Monday, March 13, 2017

February Reads // Big Triumphs

In January I barely read, but in February I was voracious! I read four books in the first 9 days, (the first three I recapped in my January Reads post). Once I started Where'd You Go Bernadette... my reading plummeted to a screeching halt. To be fair I was also insanely obsessed with Miss Fisher's... and just wasn't reading much. LOL I did finish strong in the reading department. I finally finished Mistborn in the first few days of March, and another book the same day, So I'm including those too! I'm still plugging away on Erin's 6.0 challenge. :)

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

4.5 Stars - I recommend this if you enjoy fantasy and adventure reads or kickass female characters. Also, if you're in it for a series.... because there are more books! This book borders YA and high fantasy, so there's a lot of plot, you won't be bored!

Celaena Sardothien is the deadliest assassin in Erilea. When the prince and the captain of the royal guard pluck her from her enslavement in the salt mines, she's made an offer she cannot refuse. She'll compete against 23 other competitors (assassins, warriors, thieves, etc.) to win the title of the King's Champion assassin. If she wins, she'll serve him for 4 years (and then be free), if she loses, she's sent back to the salt mines. Along the way she'll make friends and enemies, discover truths of the land's ancient past, and learn of a dark threat - that's killing off her opponents one by one.

I've obviously heard a ton about this book. Everyone seems to love Sarah J. Maas's books, and I can't blame them! She writes power-house characters, brutal action scenes, and intriguing worlds so well. It's a good mix of action, high fantasy, and romance. I read A Court of Thorns and Roses before I read this book... and so I was expecting something a bit different, but I wouldn't say I was disappointed by this one, it just wasn't what I imagined. This book takes place in the human world and the plot resides a lot around the castle, the court, and the competition. I imagined there might be more related to a magical plot, but I think that will be coming in later books. Overall I liked Celaena. I liked that she was confident and totally bad ass. Occasionally she'd get kind of girly (very interested in dresses, etc...), I didn't mind it, but it started reminding me a decent bit of The Selection Series. I guess overall I just wanted her to be super brutal all of the time, is that weird? ha. There's a love triangle here, but it's not over powering. After reading Court though, I did expect a bit more steam... alas. I liked that she made friendships as well as love interests, and I'm excited to see where the magic and relationships go. If you've read it, did you have a (book 1) favorite? (no spoilers from other books, please!) I'm currently team Chaol. *Swoon*

A triumph because I've been meaning to read foreverrrr!

Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple (why no question mark?!)

2 Stars - I recommend if you enjoy family dramas and reading about characters that you love to hate.

This book follows 15 year old Bee's journey as she tries to track down her mother Bernadette. After Bee gets a perfect report card she chooses a prize of a family trip to Antarctica. Bernadette has been worn down by her life in Seattle, and can't stomach it anymore, and leaves. This book is a collection of letters, emails, notes, etc. that are collected by Bee as she tries to track down her mother.

Overall this book was incredibly hard for me to read. I liked the format, and the idea behind the book, but I did not like almost any of the characters. I'm admittedly pretty judgy... but my goodness, these characters were INSIPID AF. Well written certainly, as they were meant to be cringe-worthy.. but oh my! I thought that the format made it a quicker read, and I actually loved the format. I basically just had a hard time sympathizing with most of the characters. About 60% through it picked up and I started to be a bit more grabbed by the plot... and I felt for Bernadette and Elgie more. I loved the last part of the book the most, the setting was really interesting and you get to learn a lot more about Bee. I would have been more interested in the story if it was written from the character's perspectives instead of the little notes I think. I liked Bernadette and Bee's dynamic, and Elgie and Bee's dynamic. I don't know. I think this book is well written. You really get immersed in the upper-class Seattle world... I just hated it.... So I give it a 2 as far as my enjoyment, it was tough to rate because the writing was really good. She makes you hate Seattle and most of the characters. hahah 

A triumph because it was SO difficult to get through for me!

I finished these on March 3rd... but hey, I'm putting it here anyhow! :) 

The Final Empire (Mistborn #1) by Brandon Sanderson

4 - 4.5 Stars - I would recommend if you enjoy fantasy and high fantasy novels. Also if you root for the band of underdogs or the con artists. (think Guardian's of the Galaxy, LOTR, Ocean's movies) This is a thick one, but the world building and magic system are absolutely fantastic. There is a reason that everyone recommends this to you.

This book follows Vin, a street urchin, a skaa (lower born) who is part of thieving crew in The Lord Ruler's lands. In a male dominated world and profession she is used for her abilities and harshly abused. One day Kelsier and his band of colorful friends come to acquire her for their team. They assume there is more to her ability than meets the eye. She quickly gets swept up into the world of Mistborn (allomancers - those who can manipulate metals) and a plot to overthrow The Lord Ruler. Vin learns how to disguise herself as lady Vallette, siphoning gossip and news from court. As the crew makes progress, one question remains, how can they assassinate an immortal ruler?

I was given this book (and the other two in the original trilogy) about 4 years ago. A friend of ours really wanted me/us to read them. I clearly put it off forever, or wasn't in the right mood for quite a while, but once I started I was pretty into it. I was hesitant to read an official high fantasy novel, but I found it really accessible once I got a few chapters in. I unfortunately started this in December and fell off the reading wagon during the holidays. Then I packed it away by accident when we moved... so it took me a while to find and then finish. Overall I really enjoyed this book. I liked the characters, the rag tag band of skilled misfits will remind you of things like guardians of the galaxy or LOTR. However, this book is a lot more than that. I think that Sanderson's capacity for world building is astonishing. He creates a crazy and unique society. The magic (allomancy) is really fascinating and nothing like powers in other books I've read. I highly recommend this if you're looking for an engrossing fantasy read.

A triumph because it had been on my shelf for such a long time, and from a friend to-boot. (spelling?)

Alex & Eliza: A Love Story by Melissa de la Cruz

3.5 - 4 Stars - I recommend if you like fluffy YA, Hamilton, and historical fiction. Though this book is more romantic fiction than it is historical fiction.

This book follows Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Schuyler's love story during the American Revolution. Alexander is a well-known man working for General Washington, but he's also a penniless bastard from the Caribbean. Eliza is a wealthy general's daughter. Whip smart, beautiful, and passionate about her country. When Alexander delivers bad news to her family they're off to a rocky start. As the story goes, the two are pulled together by the war.

Overall this book was really cute and fun to read. It took me just a day, and was very fun and fluffy. I enjoyed the first half of the book the most, I felt like it was just a tad weak toward the end. But to be fair, I was also starting to get pretty tired. This book is much more romantic than it is historical, though I did enjoy the historical bits of it. I can't say I'm a history buff, so I always enjoy reading historical fiction for the tid-bits that I don't remember or never knew. I haven't seen Hamilton, but it's not the entire story, and it's fuzzied up a bit. It is YA after all. The beginning reminded me a bit of P&P or something else regency (sassy sisters, mother who wants to marry off daughters, balls, extreme automatic dislike for romantic lead...etc.) Toward the middle and end I felt like Alex and Eliza's characters act or seem a different than they did. And not in a "they changed during growth" way, but in a "they are either pretty wishy-washy or just not that defined..." kind of way. If that makes sense. I basically thought I had a good idea of their characters, and then they felt completely different later in the book. Overall it's pretty cute. So if you're looking for a solid YA romance, check this one out.

**I was given an advance "sneak peek" of this book by Netgalley. I was able to purchase an ARC version of the full text though. :) So my review is based on the full thing ARC edition.

A triumph because finding a paper ARC is like finding a 4 leaf clover!

Currently Reading:

A Fork in the Road edited by James Oseland
The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco - HOW GORGEOUS IS THIS COVER?!

Books on Deck:

Here are some of the books I'm hoping to start/finish/re-read soon, and obviously working on Erin's 6.0 challenge too! So far I'm 4/10 or 65 points after Where'd You Go Bernadette.

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger
Just Ella by Margaret Peterson Haddix
The Witch of Portobello by Paulo Coelho
The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
The Dry by Jane Harper 

Linking up with Jana and Steph for Show Us Your Books tomorrow. :) 

Life According to Steph

Glad to have read something, but hoping for much more in the coming months! :) 

What have you been reading? What do you hope to read this year?!

Let's be friends on Goodreads!



* Asterisks denote titles that I was given advance access to by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. These reviews are my own opinion, and based on the edition of the book I was given at the time. Thank you Netgalley!

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