Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Review: Frostblood by Elly Blake

(Frostblood Saga #1)
Publication Date: January 17, 2017
Hardcover, 384 pages, Little, Brown Books
Genres: YA, Fantasy

Seventeen-year-old Ruby is a fireblood who must hide her powers of heat and flame from the cruel frostblood ruling class that wants to destroy all that are left of her kind. So when her mother is killed for protecting her and rebel frostbloods demand her help to kill their rampaging king, she agrees. But Ruby's powers are unpredictable, and she's not sure she's willing to let the rebels and an infuriating (yet irresistible) young man called Arcus use her as their weapon. All she wants is revenge, but before they can take action, Ruby is captured and forced to take part in the king's tournaments that pit fireblood prisoners against frostblood champions. Now she has only one chance to destroy the maniacal ruler who has taken everything from her and from the icy young man she has come to love.

Fast-paced and compelling, Frostblood is the first in a page-turning new young adult three-book series about a world where flame and ice are mortal enemies—but together create a power that could change everything.

My Review

Another fantasy book has been released upon the young adult world, and, unsurprisingly, it’s a good one!

Okay, so before I begin, I do have to admit that there are similarities between this book and other popular fantasy books, but this is completely okay. The similarities aren’t blatantly obvious and the major differences are rather huge. However, I would say, for the popular YA fantasy fans, Frostblood is kind of a cross between Red Queen and Ruined by Amy Tintera. It’s fast-paced, full of action, and rife with powered people.

Ruby is one of those powered people. She’s a fireblood, perhaps the only fireblood now that the king’s wiped them out. While Ruby doesn’t seem to have a very unique personality, she’s strong-willed, and her fiery temper that comes about as a result of her powers is rather amusing at times, especially around Arcus. Arcus is the frostblood who saves Ruby from a group of the king’s soldiers. He’s also mysterious, emotionally and physically scarred, and a frostblood. I very much enjoyed him. Although, I’m hoping he gets some more character development in book two.

As for the plot of this particular story, I managed to thoroughly appreciate the first half. While the prologue kind of made Ruby’s imprisonment seem less dire once the actual book began, everything did flow naturally after that. I felt Ruby’s pain and suffering, and I wanted her to become a stronger version of herself through her various trials.

However, after the first half, things weren’t as focused. There’s a bigger emphasis on everyone’s powers, but no limitations are set up in regards to these powers, so it was a little confusing at times watching Ruby go from “I can’t throw fire at a bush,” to “I’m spouting out walls of flame towards this enemy.” Also, the gods aspect along with the magic voodoo going on kind of threw me off. I was expecting this story to be solely about two races of powered people, but there ended up being more magic involved. Sometimes, I was okay with this, other times, it seemed strange.

None of these minor issues really took away from my enjoyment. It’s a fun book that uses some regularly seen fantasy tropes and shapes them into a unique storyline. I just hope book two sets up an even bigger world with even greater stakes. Oh, and there also needs to be a map in the finished copy. A map would be very helpful.

*Note: I received an ARC of this book to review from the publisher via Netgalley. This in no way affected my opinion/review.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

I'm Not Dead!

Hello! I just wanted to write a quick post to update you all on why I've been gone for so very long. 

I'm currently in graduate school, and, while grad school is normally hard for the two or so years it takes to get everything done, I decided to be a smart cookie and get everything done in one year. 

What does this mean? Well, it means I have very little time for blogging. I'm still reading every once in a while, but reviewing has been fairly impossible, as any time I spend not working as a graduate assistant or doing homework is spent sleeping/eating/bathing/working out/doing other essential tasks. 

I fully plan on being back once I graduate, and I have a lot of things that I'd like to share with you, including my recent (awesome) trip to New York, a signing I went to last fall, and what books I loved in 2016. (Above is a picture of me on the Staten Island Ferry.)

If you find that you can't live without me and my updates, make sure to follow me on Twitter and/or Instagram. I try to post on those platforms often.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Stacking the Shelves: The Green & Blue Edition

"Stacking the Shelves" is a weekly haul meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews. It allows book buyers to share their accumulation of books with the online book-loving community.

I bought more books. Ugh. This is becoming a problem.

Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas
Dead of Winter by Kresley Cole
Stars Above by Marissa Meyer
Unforgiven by Lauren Kate
The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson
Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

Okay, so I’ve read most of these books already, but I had to have physical copies. When Book Outlet had them for cheap, I had to go for it. Plus, I need these for the signings I plan on going to in the fall. Rae Carson, Sarah J. Maas, and Marissa Meyer are all coming to St. Louis soon. Ugh. So much to buy before then…

What books have you bought/received lately?

Friday, August 26, 2016

Dean Winchester Friday

Dean Winchester (or sometimes Jensen Ackles) Fridays make me a very happy fangirl. You'll see why when you look at the video.

Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki are two big dorks. They took this on the set of CW’s The Flash, and they tweeted Grant Gustin (who plays Barry Allen) the video. I’ll show you how they messed with Stephen Amell (Oliver Queen) later.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Review: Forever with You by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Forever with You
(Wait for You #5)
Publication Date: September 29, 2015
MMP, 370 pages, Avon
Genres: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance

In the irresistibly sexy series from #1 New York Times bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout, two free spirits find their lives changed by a one-night stand…

Some things you just believe in, even if you've never experienced them. For Stephanie, that list includes love. It's out there. Somewhere. Eventually. Meanwhile she's got her job at the mixed martial arts training center and hot flings with gorgeous, temporary guys like Nick. Then a secret brings them closer, opening Steph's eyes to a future she never knew she wanted—until tragedy rips it away.

Nick's self-assured surface shields a past no one needs to know about. His mind-blowing connection with Steph changes all that. As fast as he's knocking down the walls that have kept him commitment-free, she's building them up again, determined to keep the hurt—and Nick—out. But he can't walk away. Not when she's the only one who's ever made him wish for forever . . .

My Review

Another good new adult book from Jennifer L. Armentrout!

I have to admit that I wasn’t super excited to read this book. Nick had always seemed like somewhat of a side character with no real intrigue behind his actions or words. I also didn’t remember Stephanie at all, despite the fact that she showed up in a previous Wait for You book. Now, that being said, I still actually enjoyed this installment. Let me tell you why…

Nick still didn’t exactly make the list of my favorite leading men in this series, but he was so sweet to Stephanie once things got rolling that he began to grow on me. The same could be said for Stephanie, who really didn’t have much of a backstory. Her story arc really only seemed to come alive with this book. However, their back-and-forth and overall cuteness had me very happy.

Okay, so I wasn’t super thrilled with the plot. Why? Like I mentioned, it seemed like Stephanie had no past and that her situation was her sole life and, even when we got some more development in there, she was absolutely unrealistic. I mean she didn’t even want her mother to come over when something major happened. WHAT?! That’s what made me demote this book’s rating: the disconnection and seemingly unrealistic actions Steph had. I did enjoy everything leading up to the major event and some stuff after though.

All in all, it’s another solid JLA read with an interesting plot and some characters who are quite cute together.

*Note: I borrowed a copy of this book from the library. This in no way affected my opinion/review.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event, hosted over at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases we're eagerly anticipating.

This week, what's really got my pages in a twist is...

Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy
(Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy #1-10)
Publication Date: November 15, 2016
Hardcover, 672 pages, Margaret K. McElderry Books
Genres: YA, Paranormal

The New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling collection of short stories chronicling the adventures of Simon Lewis as he trains to become a Shadowhunter is now available in print for the first time with ten brand-new comic illustrations!

Simon Lewis has been a human and a vampire, and now he is becoming a Shadowhunter. The events of City of Heavenly Fire left him stripped of his memories, and Simon isn’t sure who he is anymore. So when the Shadowhunter Academy reopens, Simon throws himself into this new world of demon-hunting, determined to find himself again. Whomever this new Simon might be.

But the Academy is a Shadowhunter institution, which means it has some problems. Like the fact that non-Shadowhunter students have to live in the basement. At least Simon’s trained in weaponry—even if it’s only from hours of playing D&D.

Join Simon on his journey to become a Shadowhunter, and learn about the Academy’s illustrious history along the way, through guest lecturers such as Jace Herondale, Tessa Gray, and Magnus Bane. Written by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson, and Robin Wasserman, these moving and hilarious short stories are perfect for the fan who just can’t get enough of the Shadowhunters.

My Thoughts

I didn’t buy the novella ebook versions of these stories, simply because I knew a bind-up of all of them was coming out. Also, the only reason I’m excited for this bind-up is because of MALEC and what I’ve heard happens to them. I’m not a fan of Simon, so his viewpoints, along with the Shadowhunter history that’s going to play a part in this book, doesn’t really interest me.

What book are you waiting for this Wednesday?

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

My Thoughts on the Justice League Trailer

I thought I’d share my thoughts and feels about the new Justice League trailer that was released during Comic Con. In case you haven’t seen it, I’ve posted it below:

Okay, so first of all, I have to mention that music. I think the showrunners were going for bada$$, but instead what they really got was douche-y background noise. I just don’t think it meshes with any of the characters, especially with the supposed seriousness of Batman running around trying to gather superheroes for this so-called threat.

Speaking of threats, I’m not sure when/how Bruce even came across knowledge of this new big bad. Did Lex have it locked away somewhere? How does Bruce know what’s going to happen? Is he psychic? In the Avengers movies, the threat is always shown and is usually discussed in the trailers in relation to the superheroes, but here, it’s just implied that there’s a threat (the box that I can’t remember the name of right now). I feel like that’s poor editing on their part. They’re focusing on the relationship between the characters but not on what’s actually bringing those characters together.

Okay, I think that’s the end of any real complaints I had with this trailer. For the most part, I did enjoy the team dynamics. Aquaman is very… nice (*wink, wink*) and not at all the comically powered superhero that everyone used to make fun of. Flash is a little off for me. I just expected his role to be a bit more serious—still comedic, but serious. And, of course, Cyborg doesn’t get a lot of time in the trailer, but he looks pretty cool.

Oh, one more minor complaint. I think it’s weird that Bruce is just going around and advertising his alter ego. It’s like with what happened in Suicide Squad. He’s just all la-tee-da about being Batman. I understand why they did it for the plot’s sake, but I just don’t really like it. It feels out of character.

Any of these complaints are overshadowed by the fact that this trailer looks way better than what the Batman vs. Superman movie looked like. There’s no god-awful Lex Luther in the trailer (and hopefully not the film) to ruin it for me.

All in all, the trailer was aesthetically pleasing, the characters looked good, and the release date needs to be sooner.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Happy Birthday to Me!

Simple post today because I’m taking a break. Why? Because it’s MY BIRTHDAY! I have been on the planet Earth for exactly one more year! Woot! Woot!


I have no exciting plans for today, as I have my first day of class (thankfully, it’s a night class), and I’ve already purchased some birthday goodies for myself, which you’ll see in an upcoming Stacking the Shelves post. I will resume my regular posting upon the morrow. ;)

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Review: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Six of Crows
(Six of Crows #1)
Publication Date: September 29, 2015
Hardcover, 465 pages, Henry Holt and Co.
Genres: YA, Fantasy

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can't pull it off alone...

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can't walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Kaz's crew are the only ones who might stand between the world and destruction—if they don't kill each other first.

My Review

I hadn’t read a Leigh Bardugo book in what seemed like forever, so I decided it was finally time to pick up Six of Crows, and, with all of the hype going on, I—brace yourselves—didn’t love it.

Don’t get me wrong, I liked it. It was an enjoyable read. I simply think there was too much buildup surrounding the story and characters. Additionally, I’ve heard from a lot of internet peeps that this book is better than the Grisha trilogy. I did not think that at all. I guess I’m a sucker for the typical fantasy trope story, but I’ll get to that in a little bit.

So this story has a lot of main charactes. There’s Kaz, who’s an interesting conman with a mysterious and tragic backstory; Inej, who also has a tragic backstory and is like a young, female version of Batman; Nina, who is the heartrender/soldier; Matthias, the escaped convict with an attitude problem; Jesper, the gambling addict; and Wylan, the guy we rarely hear about. See what I mean? A lot of characters.

Okay, let me break down which characters I thought were more likable. Kaz is too show-offy. While I like a good heist story (I’m thinking White Collar here), it does get annoying when the MC is prepared for almost every plot twist. As for Inej, her development into a character who is going to fight for something was probably the best growth of the book. Now, Matthias and Nina were two of my favorite characters in this story. I feel like I could have just read a book about them and it would have been soooooo much better.

Moving on now to the typical fantasy trope thing I mentioned earlier. I like it when we get the girl/boy who fights the evil baddie/becomes royal/goes on an adventure. That’s probably because I’ve been reading a lot of those and binging myself on first-person female narratives. This heist story just didn’t mesh with how I, personally, like the plots of my books to go. I want a 1, 2, 3, linear story, and this had a 1, 2, 3 linear story told from six perspectives with so much craziness thrown in.

Also, towards the beginning, it was kind of hard to even get into the world and remember what had happened from the Grisha books. Furthermore, the tone didn’t help because it was very dry for the beginning chapters. I do have to say, however, that things got much easier to follow along with and I became 90% more invested in the characters once the actual heist started to pick up.

All in all, if you’re looking for a continuation of the Grisha trilogy, definitely reconsider picking up Six of Crows right away. It needs some time to digest both before and during its consumption, and booklovers should read the original series before starting this one, simply for clarity’s sake.

*Note: I purchased a copy of this book for myself. This in no way affected my opinion/review.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Stacking the Shelves: The End of the Trilogies Edition

"Stacking the Shelves" is a weekly haul meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews. It allows book buyers to share their accumulation of books with the online book-loving community.

After having not bought books for more than a month, I caved and bought some books. *sigh*

The Beauty of Darkness by Mary E. Pearson
United by Melissa Landers
Between Now and Never by Laura Johnston (not pictured)

I ordered the two YA titles because I just needed to know the endings to these series. I’ve already read and reviewed The Beauty of Darkness (check it out here) and very much enjoyed it. As for Between Now and Never, it’s free on Amazon, so I downloaded it. ;)

What books have you bought/received lately?

Friday, August 19, 2016

Dean Winchester Friday

Dean Winchester (or sometimes Jensen Ackles) Fridays make me a very happy fangirl. You'll see why when you look at the pic.

Okay, so Jensen isn’t actually in this one, but he was the one who posted this. Now, normally, I don’t really care about celebrities’ lives. Yes, their babies are cute and sometimes it’s fun to see celebrity couples together, but this baby announcement was adorbs! Jensen Ackles and his wife are expecting twins! So cute!