Down the TBR Hole #2

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Good hello, friends!

Here we are with round number two! I’m really enjoying this blog series so far and it makes me really happy to see certain aspects of it dwindling down, and me prioritizing what I need to read!

Down The TBR Hole was originally created by Lost In A Story.

Anyway, it works like this:

  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

Here’s round two! (And you’ll see a theme in the kinds of books picked)

18143977Book number one is All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. This is a book I added to my TBR when I was on my historical fiction kick, and this is one of those books that I’m still SO interested in and ready to break my heart. I know that the WWII setting is one that hopefully will keep me drawn in, but if I go in with super high hopes, the fear of disappointment is definitely lingering nearby.

Verdict: KEEP

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A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles is one that I’m really excited to read, again for the atmosphere of the novel. The historical fiction kick continues, just in a different era of time, but in a country I feel is very close to home. My mother’s family grew up in Russia, so I have a lot of Russian influence in my life. I’m definitely interested in seeing how the culture is portrayed and what my enjoyment of it will be.

Verdict: KEEP

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Alright, sue me. I haven’t read The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, and when I tried to read it, I genuinely couldn’t. I started reading it for a bit, but the topic for how I was feeling at the time was FAR too deep and difficult for me to read. I know it’s highly praised and rated, but I know I won’t be reading it anytime soon, despite it being on my shelves.

Verdict: GO

128029To continue the trend of Khaled Hosseini’s books, I also have no real interest in reading A Thousand Splendid Suns. I think the primary reason (now that I’m really thinking about it) is the fact that I’m not extremely interested in stories taking place in the Middle East – and that’s okay! I definitely guilt myself in wanting to be interested in basically everything, so this is a great way of keeping myself accountable for it.

Verdict: GO

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The final book on today’s list is Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer. I definitely added this book to my TBR after the movie came out in 2011, but I was 12 at the time and I genuinely had no intention of reading the book or watching the movie, so I added it to my TBR and there it was… sitting for literally years. Finally, I’ve addressed this badboy and will be determining it’s fate…

Verdict: GO 

WOW! Thats 3/5 books being removed off my TBR! If I’m being completely honest with myself, these were definitely books I did not care to pick up for quite some time, but they were definitely an “I’ll get to them eventually” addition. The entire point of this challenge is to be brutally honest with yourself and really think if you’ll read the book in the foreseeable future, and the answer is no for those three. Even more so, the fact that these are all historical fiction novels really shows what kind of mood I was in when they were added. I haven’t read a historical fiction novel in quite some time, but that’s alright too! I know my interest in the two novels is definitely high enough to prioritize them once I’m in the mood for it!

I hope you guys enjoyed Down the TBR Hole #2! I’ll chat with you next Friday for #3!

xo,
Mel

 

 

 

 

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REVIEW [ARC] – The Girl the Sea Gave Back by Adrienne Young

Book Info (1)

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The Girl the Sea Gave Back
by Adrienne Young
Published by Wednesday Books
Releasing on September 3, 2019
Young Adult – Fantasy – Historical Fiction

GOODREADS | AMAZON

 

 

Book Info (2)

The new gut-wrenching epic from the New York Times bestselling author of Sky in the Deep.

For as long as she can remember, Tova has lived among the Svell, the people who found her washed ashore as a child and use her for her gift as a Truthtongue. Her own home and clan are long-faded memories, but the sacred symbols and staves inked over every inch of her skin mark her as one who can cast the rune stones and see into the future. She has found a fragile place among those who fear her, but when two clans to the east bury their age-old blood feud and join together as one, her world is dangerously close to collapse.

For the first time in generations, the leaders of the Svell are divided. Should they maintain peace or go to war with the allied clans to protect their newfound power? And when their chieftain looks to Tova to cast the stones, she sets into motion a series of events that will not only change the landscape of the mainland forever but will give her something she believed she could never have again—a home.

Book Info (3)

Adrienne Young is a born and bred Texan turned California girl. She is a foodie with a deep love of history and travel and a shameless addiction to coffee. When she’s not writing, you can find her on her yoga mat, scouring antique fairs for old books, sipping wine over long dinners, or disappearing into her favorite art museums. She lives with her documentary filmmaker husband and their four little wildlings beneath the West Coast sun.

For information on release, appearances, ARCs, giveaways, and exclusive content, sign up for the newsletter at https://adrienneyoungbooks.com/

Instagram: @adrienneyoungbooks
Twitter: @adriennebooks

Book Info

When I first starting reading The Girl the Sea Gave Back, I went in with an open mind. I knew that if I went in comparing this to Sky in the Deep, I’d be disappointed because I really did love SITD so much! The world building was done so beautifully, and the cultural aspects of the story truly captured me. Despite going in with this open mind, I stay comparing the two.

Throughout the novel, I found many phrases, ideas, and storylines repeated. Whether that be a phrase like “the sea gave you back to us,” or someone who’s not supposed to be alive being alive trope, or trying to uncover the past, it felt very unoriginal in terms of Young’s debut novel. I know it’s a companion, but this wasn’t something I was excited about while I was reading it.

That being said, I started to sort of get invested around 50% of the way through, and that’s way too late to get invested in a story in my opinion. I didn’t care for the characters or the world in the same way I did for SITD, and that absolutely breaks my enjoyment of this novel. The book itself, like SITD, is such a quick read, but it isn’t because the story flows so quickly. It’s because the writing is kind of basic and lacking in excitement. Yes, there is a slow build-up, the plot thickens, and there’s an interesting historical aspect behind it (which I think was one of it’s bonuses), but it just wasn’t enough.

Overall, I’m giving The Girl the Sea Gave Back a 2.5-3/5 star rating. I do enjoy the historical fiction aspects of this, though it isn’t as heavily viking implored as Young’s debut. The truth-seer element of Tova’s character combined with her internal struggle between fate, the future, and her purpose in it is done so well. I also continue to appreciate that Young doesn’t force a romance throughout the novel to help carry it. I’m slightly disappointed because of the difference in the debut and the companion, but it was a quick read nonetheless.

Down the TBR Hole #1

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Good hello, friends!

Hope you’re all doing well. I’ve been hard at work already with this fall semester and it’s only the second day! I got to evaluating my reading goals and I think this is a great first step in that. A blog I follow called Sarah Lillian Books does these all the time, and so I definitely felt inspired to really think about which books I should keep on my TBR and which should definitely go.

Down The TBR Hole was originally created by Lost In A Story.

Anyway, it works like this:

  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

Here’s round one!

46164._SY475_.jpg Book number one is Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald! I definitely added this when I was in my Gatsby phase, and Fitzgerald’s writing was what I was genuinely so into. I think with the courses I’m currently taking, it would still be worth the read! So if I keep it, it’s being read like SOON, and if I don’t – it’s being removed 🙂

Verdict: KEEP

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Alright, the next book may come as a shock as to how I haven’t read it yet, but it’s The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak. I loaned this book to one of my coworkers and I haven’t gotten it back. And to add on, I don’t work at my old job anymore because of school so I won’t be getting that back. Anyway ~ I do think I’d still like to read this book eventually!

Verdict: KEEP

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Book number three is It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini. This was definitely a BookTube made me add this to my TBR kind of book. I remember it being described as quite triggering, kind of sad, but also having some really funny moments. Despite this though, I don’t think it’s the book for me.

Verdict: GO

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This next one is one I’ve owned for some time now, and I just kind of stare at it and wonder what I’m going to do with it and that’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. I’ve already read Strange the Dreamer by her, and I definitely enjoyed the writing and everyone I know ABSOLUTELY loves this book. I’m definitely a little intimidated by it only because it’s starting another trilogy BUT whaTeva! 

Verdict: KEEP

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When the Ready Player One movie trailer came out and I found out this was a book, immediately I was like okay gotta read it before the movie. Did that end up happening? Nope! And not to be that person, but now that the movie has been out and I still haven’t seen it, I don’t think I’ll be reading the book. I just don’t have any real interest in it despite how good it may be, and if I really want to, I can watch the movie.

Verdict: GO

I’m really excited to start this little series and continue to go through my TBR to figure out what I really care for and what I really don’t! It’s time to clean that bad boy out!

Let me know, would you keep the books I did? Which would you let go and which would you keep?

xo,
Mel

Classes I’m Taking in the Fall of 2019 – The Transfer Experience

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Good hello, friends !

As some of you may know, I’m a transfer student. I just finished two years at a community college, and I’m lucky enough to continue my educational journey at a four-year university! I won’t disclose said university, but I do get to continue playing water polo and furthering my major studies in Sociology with a concentration in social justice, as well as minor studies in English!

This semester, I’m FULLY loaded with 18 units, which means I have 4 four-unit classes, and 1 two-unit class.

Studies in the American Novel – Fictions in the 20th Century (M/W)

Now this class is all about texts written in WWII with key American values (yikes) for the times. What this class consists of is a ton of reading (yay!!), a ton of discussions, and a ton of in-class writing assignments. I think my excitement for this class spans from the fact that I get to continue to read different works that I’m not necessarily exposed to! I do think that the class moves fairly quickly just based on the syllabus alone so I really have to CRACK DOWNNN on myself and make sure I stay on top of it!

Sociological Theory (M)

Hehe…. this is the class I’m most nervous for. It’s a major requirement class, and although that doesn’t entirely intimidate me because it’s expanding upon the theories I’ve been studying the last two years, it’s still got some heft behind it. The class requires three phat textbooks and is my one late evening class that ends at 10:00pm on Monday’s only, and honestly… that’s late for lil grandma me. We’ll see how I do.

Social Change (W)

This is yet another class that I’m SO excited for because I love my major classes! This is clearly all about social change and how to understand modern times based on various sociological theories, then using our own experiences to understand macro-levels of social changes. All this, and the textbook is real cute.

University Experience (F)

This class is really the simplest thing ever. It’s the sophomore experience class, though I really like to call it the transfer experience class. Freshman have to take the equivalent of this class as well. I think I’m like kind of passive with this class because it’s just something that I need to take as a requirement and that’s fine, but it’s Friday afternoons and that was the only thing that worked well with my schedule soooo 😦 I’m gonna have a hard time coming home because of traffic on those evenings if I decide to do so.

Graphic Novels (Online)

Yes, you read that correctly. I’m taking a graphic novels course. I’m so excited for this class because it’s all about the DC and Marvel comics, and how they are direct parallels with our lives throughout history! I think this is going to pair really well with my American Novels class because it’s going to overlap at some point with the WWII references, and I’m just pumped I get to read a bunch of comics (and a supplemental textbook) for class!

Along with these classes, I’m really excited to finally get back in the pool and start practice! I’ll be at the pool bright and early on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s with a FULL day ahead of me of school work and success. I have applied for some on campus jobs, so we’ll see how those go as well!

All in all, I’m so excited to get this semester started tomorrow!

xo,

Mel
Class of 2020′ (i hope lol)

 

 

June & July Wrap Up – HOLY this is late… but 21 books!

Good hello, everyone! This is easily the LATEST I’ve posted a wrap up before, but I blame the fact that I did the mid-year book freakout tag, participated in a ton of readathons, and I started uploading tons more on my channel, so, here it is… at the end of July… 🙂

To review, I read 5 five-star books, 4 four-star books, and 2 three-star books. I read 7 novels, and 4 graphic novels. Of those 7 novels, 2 were physical books, 4 were audiobooks, and 1 was an ebook. Overall, I feel like my reading was the best it had been throughout the month and I didn’t feel very slumpish at all which is a total bonus!

40367270Book number one that I completed was Four Dead Queens by Astrid Sholte! WHAT A SURPRISE! I was so happy with the pacing of this novel, the sheer stakes of it all, and the murder-mystery who-dun-it was done so well in my opinion. I really enjoyed seeing the trials and tribulations the characters would go through, and that FREAKIN PLOT TWIST SHEESH. Not to mention, Astrid posted my face on her story so, I guess you can say I had my moment of fame :’-) (5/5 stars)

33815781._SY475_Up next was a very surprising favorite of mine of the month, which was The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory! I really liked this book so much for multiple reasons. It started off with the fake-dating trope which I LOVE, then once the real dating starts (bc who are we kidding thats no spoiler, its thE trope), they go through some real life issues and I think that’s so important! Loved this, and can’t wait to continue reading more books by her! (4.5-5/stars)

41150487._SY475_.jpgHERE WE GO WITH A FAVORITE OF THE YEAR. Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston is such a favorite like I genuinely loved the entire cast of characters, and Zahra stays one of my favorites. There were moments where I wanted to absolutely rip my hair out at the stupidity of these characters but ya know what, it makes the book all the better. Alex and Henry are definitely an OTP of mine, and my heart is so full when I think of this book. (5/5 stars)

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“This triggers a comfortable level of self-awareness where I’m dangerously close to discovering how full of shit I am… thankfully I have an entire system of lies and tricks in place to prevent me from realizing how shitty I really am.” What a way to describe Hyperbole and a Half – I was SO surprised by this graphic novel memoir. Super relatable, but also really hilarious! The art style is guaranteed to make you laugh, especially when her dog is involved. (4/5 stars)

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Ugh, Good Riddance was such a meh book and that’s the best way for me to describe it. The story of an obsession over school yearbooks and scandals and whatnot sounded SO interesting, but I found myself feeling like the story just kept DRAGGING on. This felt like a filler novel for my reading for the month. (2.5-3/5 stars)

 

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WOWIE okay, I Wish You All the Best talks about a nonbinary person named Ben who is so full of love and hope, but also is so broken down by the world. My heart hurt for them, but also healed with them. I can see how this would be a great novel to understand how members of the LGBT+ community live their truth, and how important it is for everyone to become more educated in order to understand that. (4/5 stars)

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LETS GO SMUTTY BOOKS ALERT >> THE KISS QUOTIENT << was so much more than what I thought it would be. From my favorite fake dating trope, to families getting involved, to real feelings, to raw and emotional lives together, this book does it all for me. Not only that, but Helen Hoang does such a great job writing slow burn romance, and hella smutty scenes while being like ‘tasteful.’ Definitely a favorite of the summer! (5/5 stars)

21427834._SY475_.jpgBro what even was this book. I have never been more confused with my thoughts for a book only because Damaged Like Us is like an overhyped fan-fiction of like a body guard and celebrity falling in love. This was hella out of my comfort zone, but despite that, I really enjoyed the angst and emotion that came out of this. It was really reminiscent of my fan-fiction, Wattpad loving days… such simpler times (3.5/5 stars)

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And finally in June, I read Avatar the Last Airbender: The Promise Volumes 1 through 3 (cover shown is Vol 1). These are the perfect gap between the shows ending, and where we’d head next before Legend of Korra. I really really enjoyed how dark, but also how each character has this internal struggle with understanding a changing world in front of them! (Overall 4.5/5 stars)

 

MOVING INTO JULY – I read eight novels, two graphic novels, and out of those eight novels, three were audiobooks. I had 3 five-star books, and 7 four-star books. I also had one DNF’d book, and one book I started then dropped reading.

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First on deck is The Cruel Prince by Holly Black. IT WAS ABOUT DANG TIME I READ THIS. I really enjoyed the madness that was this novel and the various depths that each character goes to in order to further their own agenda. The ending definitely WRECKED my brain jUST a bit! Check out my full review here! (4/5 stars)

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Up next was a book I solely picked up because Katie Wismer on YouTube recommended this as a favorite of hers for the first half of 2019, and I have to say I agree. I Miss You When I Blink is a collection of essays that is so impressionable, and so relatable, all while being so humble. I LOVED the audiobook for this and would definitely recommend listening to it, but physically reading it, you’d be able to see the beautiful writing! (5/5 stars)

44774415Thanks to NetGalley, I got to read an ARC of Mooncakes and I was so happily surprised! It’s definitely the perfect witchy graphic novel for when this releases in October. It was one of the sweetest graphic novels I’ve read with characters who go through some real hardship and learn to work with each other to understand their own personal experiences. It’s definitely a super easy read with a great overarching message for all readers! (5/5 stars)

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SHEESH I couldn’t help but compare Aurora Rising to Amie and Jay’s first series together, The Illuminae Files. This just wasn’t up to par in my opinion. I didn’t care for the characters as much, but overall, I did enjoy the novel. I like that the authors’ voices only shine more as they continue to write together, but I just felt like I wasn’t given enough time to care about the characters, and the audiobook didn’t help with it either. (3.75/5 stars)

40874032._SY475_Time to talk about one of everyone’s most HYPED books, Vicious by VE Schwab. This book stays the talk of the town and I understand why! I love falling in love for the ‘villains’ but I genuinely hated Eli so much. I didn’t love how easily this wrapped up with just the right character coming at JUST the right time, but I love seeing the motivation in a characters entire being and their malicious intent being justified. Overall, a dark delicious novel that I was happy to read. (4/5 stars)

28449207._SY475_Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor is yet ANOTHER book on my top books to read in 2019 and honestly, it was great but I didn’t feel super connected.  I do think, however, that I love the characters with my favorites being Eril-Fane and MINYA is IT. She is IT. Each side-character plays such an integral part in his developmental stages throughout the novel that they become one of my favorite parts of it. (4/5 stars overall)

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Hawkeye: My Life as a Weapon Vol 1 was such a quick read for me! I think that Kate was definitely a favorite character of mine… and yes, a favorite over Hawkeye himself. Very action packed, REALLY FUNNY especially because every edition starts with “This looks really bad” because that’s really his entire persona and his personality in a nutshell 🙂 (4/5 stars)

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Up next was a quick four hour audiobook for Dear Martin by Nic Stone. I can’t stop talking about the social commentary behind this novel. Being a SOC major, this book is genuinely SCREAMING at me because it talks about the experience of being a black youth in America and how that is vastly different form the white youth, let alone, white man. Absolutely heartbreaking, but for sure worth the read. (5/5 stars)

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Hehehe I messed up my reading experience for Truthwitch but I was so ridiculously excited for this book. I don’t necessarily think I was disappointed, but I do think that reading it the way I did via audio messed it up. The world itself is very dense in its creation and all of the types of witches are very interesting, but a bit difficult to keep up with. Overall, Safi is my favorite character, and pairing her with Merik was so beautifully done. (3.5/5 for experience, 4/5 stars overall)

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FINALLY, I read Crazy Rich Asians and rewatched the movie. The biggest thing I have to say about this is how different the endings are. CRA the book ends with a bit of a cliff-hanger which is fine, but CRA the movie has this really satisfying major motion ending. Both are completely understandable, but I’m sad that Astrid’s ICONIC LINE at Michael isn’t something Kevin Kwan wrote, but instead was added in the movie. Overall, did love this though, and I think for once, I may like the movie better. (4/5 stars)

SHEESH what a wild 21 books it has been. These last two months have been some of the most rewarding, but also some of the most hyped reads that I’ve been catching up on. I’m super excited to continue into August with the N.E.W.T’s with a monthly vlog at the end! So look out for that excitement and a wrap up at the end of August!

Happy reading!

xo,

Mel

Pancake Book Tag // doing yet another tag that I wasn’t tagged in

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I stand by the fact that pancakes are better than waffles. Fight me on it. 

I made some pancakes this morning for breakfast, and I had been meaning to do this tag for forever (even if I wasn’t tagged heh), so lets do it! I saw Olivia over at PurelyOlivia do this post, and so I felt the need to do it myself!

The Rules

  • Link back to the original creator of the post (go read it here!)
  • Feel free to use any of the pancake graphics in your post, or you can create your own. (I’m using Becky’s!)
  • Tag 5 other people at the end of your post and let them know you’ve tagged them.

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I’m going to choose the book I’m currently reading because literally I swoon over every page, and that’s Vicious by V.E. Schwab. First of all, I cannot believe how long it has taken me to even get to this book, let alone fall in love with it. She manages to write prose in such a beautiful way that is so masterful, and elegant, while still being so dark and delicious. Don’t be like me and wait to pick this up… pick it up asAP!!

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EASILY Zahra from Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston! In having to manage the First Family, and have her own life, this woman is the creme de la creme of witty. Anytime she spoke, got mad, sassed out Alex and then revealed a BIT about her personal life, I swooned. I think she’s hilarious, but so strong and I genuinely appreciate her so much!

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There’s definitely a few I could mention for this, but the two I’m picking are Everyone’s a Aliebn When Ur a Aliebn Too by by Johnny Sun and The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neill! Both of these graphic novels are two of my favorite sweet reads that just leave me with such a warm and fuzzy feeling, and because they’re graphic novels, I can enjoy them very quickly!the-pancake-book-tag-9-e1551617449866.png

Most books don’t end up giving me a hangover because I get so excited to jump into my next read, but Finale by Stephanie Garber definitely gave me a bit of a hangover! I definitely think having read the entire series again, then reading an arc, THEN rereading it with one of my friends Sarah (@curioussouls), that book really had me feeling ALL types of things.

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When I originally thought of the books I had for this tag, I had Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston BUT I definitely have to add another! After a LONG awaited time, I finally read The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang AND OH MY THE FEELS!!1!1!!! This was a book that really got me hooked and my heart genuinely was so full at the end of it. I’m so excited to read The Bride Test soon!!

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August Flynn from The Monsters of Verity duology. EASILY. When I first read This Savage Song, I was genuinely really interested to see what kind of character development he’d have, and I stand by the fact that Victoria Schwab creates some of the most DYNAMIC characters I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading !

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Caraval, Legendary and Finale (Caraval Trilogy) by Stephanie Garber were a set of books that I was constantly in a state of “what in the world is going on??” But, a murder mystery, who-dun-it type book that definitely had me guessing was Four Dead Queens by Astrid Sholte! It definitely gave me some Agatha Christie vibes, and I genuinely was so happy with it!

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OKAY for this one, I think the best answer I have is Alexa and Drew from The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory! With the premise being fake dating, then when real dating happens, and real life happens, there’s some great conversations! Alexa is black and Drew is white, and so the dialogue between the two is very important, but also the dialogue of being a woman or a man in an intersectional lens made my sociologist heart so happy! Loved the two of them together and what they create!

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Okay, like Becky, I can’t stand peanut butter. I think its disgusting and you can’t tell me otherwise.

For this prompt however, I’m choosing Maven Calore from Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard because he’s a scheming, lying piece of trash that I love to hate…. 🙂 Then again, I’ve only read the first book in the series, so maybe it’ll intensify, maybe it’ll change, who knows!

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And finally, the book with my favorite set of diverse characters has to be Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo! I definitely think this prompt was made for diversity in gender, race/ethnicity/background, sexual orientation/identification, etc, BUT I still stand by my answer. Seeing all of their backgrounds and how they come together to form this crew is still my favorite thing to see. Then seeing how they develop together and apart UGH just… just masterful.

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Well friends, that’s it! Let me know – do you agree with my picks? Would you put a different book down? What’s your favorite kind of pancake? (I think mine has anything to do with chocolate!) Let’s chat soon!

For this sweet treat tag, I tag

Lydia at Clockwrk Words

Shawna at pghbookgirl

Hasna at The Clockwork Stars

May at My 1st Chapter

Emily at EmilyReads

ANDDDD

anyone who sees this that would like to do it as well!

I hope you enjoyed!!

xo,
Mel

 

Late to the Party – The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Good hello, everyone!

So, I thought I’d start a new series of posts on my blog called “Late to the Party” where I read and review books that have been popular for either several years now (hence making me late to the party), or the hype is eating away at me and people keep telling me I NEEEEEEED to read this book and I put it off for a really long time, and now I’m finally reading it!

The first book in this new series is The Cruel Prince by Holly Black (The Folk of the Air #1). Granted, TCP was only released in 2018 and I know for a fact I have so many older, more hyped books that I’m totally late to the party for, but this will be the first in I’m sure a LONG series. With the release of The Wicked King in January of 2019, and The Queen of Nothing in November of 2019, the hype around this series has grown exponentially and everyone is so ridiculously excited for it.

Instagram @TheBookishMel

Of course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.

And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.

Jude was seven when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

As Jude becomes more deeply embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, she discovers her own capacity for trickery and bloodshed. But as betrayal threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.

I, however, am late to the party. So let’s get into this review! At the end, I’ve got 33 thoughts as I read TCP and they will be spoilery, however the review is not. 

When first diving into The Cruel Prince, I really had only a few bits and pieces of knowledge aside from the general blurb. One, that Cardan was evil and cruel and everything you wanted in a man apparently. Two, Jude AND Cardan together are a HOT mess but everyone loves them. Three… yeah, there is no three. That’s all I knew. Everyone is Jude and Cardan trash and I kind of understand why but also don’t. This book is SO much more than just Jude and Cardan!

Book One Thoughts: I think Holly Black does a fairly decent job of setting up the atmosphere for readers, and in introducing so many characters all at once in this new world we just have to accept, I think that’s where I found myself having some issues. There would be times towards the very beginning where Jude would almost be telling the reader the story and her thoughts by almost breaking that fourth wall, and that’s something I really did not enjoy. I liked that we could see Jude’s motivation for being the kind of woman she is in this world, especially with all of the hardships she’s had to face coming into it.

A common theme I’ve really been enjoying recently is seeing a character outside of their element, or struggling with where they belong and how they identify in this world, and it’s really clear with Jude’s character. Having been taken away from the mortal worlds and dealing with the feeling of being lesser than every day helps explain the drive she has, and the choices she makes.

Overall though, book one is 256 pages long. That’s 66% of the way through for a wHOLE LOT OF NOTHING to happen. And I find that the big climax for the end of part one was REALLY intense and really dark for how the earlier pages were written. Despite that, I think the build up to it made sense, and slight changes in each character were woven in well!

Book Two Thoughts: Alright. I was definitely surprised by how much this second part picked up! I think the stakes were a lot higher, and overall, the story really gained momentum. I like that Jude continued to be developed, and she became more ruthless herself because of the environment. I feel like too often, female characters especially become over powered too quickly, so it was nice to see her emotions fuel her skills too. Her decision making was…. questionable.. I’ll leave it at that.

Book two also really shows how dark and gruesome this book really is! I’ve said it to some friends, but TCP is undersold in its plot! Although as a reader, Jude is meant to be rooted for, I found myself not rooting for anyone because everyone in this book is so selfish until the plot twist at the very end. These characters, but seriously Jude in general, develops with every interaction having a purpose.

I ended up giving this book a 4/5 stars. I think it was great and definitely really enjoyable, but there could’ve been more to it.

In conclusion, everyone in this book is a literal psycho, Oak needs to be protected at all costs, and I really hope Jude builds her fighting skills in The Wicked King cause LORD KNOWS she’ll need it… and Cardan better be READY.

I hope you guys enjoyed this first review in the Late to the Party series!

xo,

Mel

33 Thoughts I Had While Reading The Cruel Prince
Huge shoutout to Lydia over at Clockwrk Words for inspiring me to do this and gave me the a-okay to! Go check her out and her Thoughts I Had While Reading posts! 

[ SPOILERS COMING NOW — :)]

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

• Jude, Taryn, and Vivi are the siblings

• Madoc is the one who took them into fae, married Oriana and had Oak as their child

• Jude definitely has an intense desire for being better than the fae primarily because she was done so dirty by them

• motivation is fairly clear, but we’ll see how it develops

• Taryn especially, but they want to keep this connection to the mortal world so they can remember their roots

• i dont love the writing style and how its as if Jude is telling us, the readers, a story, but also is experiencing it in real time

• i hate Cardan he’s literally such a dick and is so damn ready to kill for his own pride

• Locke seems kind of smitten with Jude because shes able to get under Cardan’s skin but like something also seems v off and v fishy about him

• what prevalence is this letter in Cardan’s stuff going to play later on? what debt is going to be paid?

• t/w for abuse both mentally and physically within the family, and amongst others

• The Court of Shadows – Jude, Roach, Ghost, the Bomb (made to ensure Prince Dain is King next)

• Cardan’s aggressive Jude writing ??? my guy are you doing okay???

• Taryn’s boytoy is probably Locke at this rate, but hes kissing Jude so maybe not

• YES JUDE YOU STAB VALERIAN WITH THAT COLD IRON KNIFE ugly

• whoahowhoheoahwhwhoaaa last words of Liriope and protecting ‘him’ and never telling the truth about her > she’s Locke’s mother!

• the note on Balekin’s desk, the letter implicated him as Locke’s mothers murderer

• holy shit she really killed him… im…. shes some next level rn but also rip psycho ✌🏼

• Madoc has spies, Balekin’s setting Dain’s spies up, this is a whole other mess rn

• the ending of chapter 19 is really beautiful in Madoc’s rawness with Jude’s father and mother and that story

• “Madoc has betrayed Eldred, and Dain is gone, taking all my hopes and plans with him” 241 weLP

• okayyyyy Jude has turned a whOLe new leaf, everyone in this book is SO selfish good lord

• control Cardan = control rest of world bc power oKAY JUDE

• yep, I was right, Locke is a two-timin asswhOLe but also like… Taryn, your sisters mans?? sELFISHHHHHH

• also fight scene between the two sisters is great, i can picture it perfectly in my head

• she slips his ring onto her finger HMMM there’s a whole lot of talk about prophecies and things!! HMMM

• OAK LITTLE BABY OAK OH MY GOD

• Cardan…. is scared… of Jude – now THIS is the kind of character development i like seeing!

• THEYRE KISSING AND THEY BOTH HATE IT BUT BOTH WANT IT SO BAD IM SCREAMING

• Jude’s makin some BIG promises here.. how does she manage to pull it all off???

• And the crowd goes wild for Jude’s takedown LITERALLY A BADASS WOW

• The Princess Bride reference “I spent the last few years building an immunity to Iocaine Powder” with the poisoning of the wines

• JUDE REALLY DID CARDAN SO DIRTY SUCK ON THAT ONE LIL BABY