Review: Zenith

Title: Zenith

Authors: Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings 51bjkplCZwL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_

My Rating: 2.5/5

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

Most know Androma Racella as the Bloody Baroness, a powerful mercenary whose reign of terror stretches across the Mirabel Galaxy. To those aboard her glass starship, Marauder, however, she’s just Andi, their friend and fearless leader.

But when a routine mission goes awry, the Marauder‘s all-girl crew is tested as they find themselves in a treacherous situation and at the mercy of a sadistic bounty hunter from Andi’s past.

Meanwhile, across the galaxy, a ruthless ruler waits in the shadows of the planet Xen Ptera, biding her time to exact revenge for the destruction of her people. The pieces of her deadly plan are about to fall into place, unleashing a plot that will tear Mirabel in two.

Andi and her crew embark on a dangerous, soul-testing journey that could restore order to their shipor just as easily start a war that will devour worlds. As the Marauder hurtles toward the unknown, and Mirabel hangs in the balance, the only certainty is that in a galaxy run on lies and illusion, no one can be trusted.

I have mixed feelings about this book…more negative than positive. I enjoyed a bit of it, but there were also many times that I felt tempted to DNF it and start something else. This review is structured differently than how I normally do my reviews, but I feel like it is a lot easier for me to get my thoughts out when I compare what I liked vs what I did not enjoy.

Things I liked:

  • Multiple points of view. I have a love-hate relationship with this. I think that it is interesting to get inside the heads of multiple characters, since that helps me to understand them and their motives better. These characters all have completely different personalities, and the authors did a good job with making them easy to distinguish between.
  • The setting. I don’t usually read sci-fi, so I have no idea what space books are like, but I found the different planets to be really exciting. The map at the front of the book was extremely useful in helping me visualize where everything was. I also got a sort of Guardians of the Galaxy feel from this (in terms of their “planet-hopping”), and that was a lot of fun to read about.
  • The ending. I found the ending to be exciting and sort-of shocking. It makes me curious to find out what will happen in the next book.

 

 Things I didn’t like:

  • The writing style. It was okay. Sometimes I feel like it was attempting to be very dramatic, which got a little annoying. There was also a lot of showing vs telling in this book, mostly in Andi’s characterization. We are told many many times that Andi is the “fiercest woman in the galaxy” and that she is “very dangerous”, etc. And yes, we are shown this a few times through action scenes, but it gets really tiring having to read that her fingers are “itching to raise hell” all of the time.
  • It was too long. I usually don’t mind long books as long as I feel like the plot justifies the length. Some examples are the Throne of Glass books. Those books get pretty long, but there is constant action and suspense, so I don’t feel like it is as long as it really is. However Zenith has many scenes that feel unnecessary and like “fillers” and I think they could have been cut from the book without really affecting anything important.
  • It got confusing at times. There were so many plots/arcs going on at the same time that I kept having to backtrack to figure out what was happening and what I last read. This definitely took away from my enjoyment of the novel. I think the flow could be improved to make it easier to switch between flashback chapters and present time.

Final Thoughts: Although I didn’t particularly like this novel, I will probably check out the second one to find out what happens. A lot of the issues that I had with this book had to do with organization and structure, so I have hopes that those may be resolved in the next one.

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July TBR

Last month I read a total of 5 books, which I have to say, I am pretty proud of! About halfway through the month I went on vacation, so I didn’t get much reading done there, but I am confident that this month will be different!

So to start, right now I am reading Zenith by Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings. I
started this on maybe June 30 (but I didn’t read much of it until yesterday), so I am
counting it toward my July TBR!

Here are some of the other books I plan to read this month:

  1. Smoke in the Sun by Renee Ahdieh
  2. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo (reread)
  3. Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
  4. Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas
  5. A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

Later this week, I will also be taking a trip to the library, so this list may change a bit, but these are all books that I am really looking forward to getting through this month! What is your most anticipated read for this month?

 

Review: A Torch Against the Night

Title: A Torch Against the Night (Ember Quartet #2) 9780147525048

Author: Sabaa Tahir

My Rating: 5/5

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

Elias and Laia are running for their lives. After the events of the Fourth Trial, Martial soldiers hunt the two fugitives as they flee the city of Serra and undertake a perilous journey through the heart of the Empire.

Laia is determined to break into Kauf—the Empire’s most secure and dangerous prison—to save her brother, who is the key to the Scholars’ survival. And Elias is determined to help Laia succeed, even if it means giving up his last chance at freedom.

But dark forces, human and otherworldly, work against Laia and Elias. The pair must fight every step of the way to outsmart their enemies: the bloodthirsty Emperor Marcus, the merciless Commandant, the sadistic Warden of Kauf, and, most heartbreaking of all, Helene—Elias’s former friend and the Empire’s newest Blood Shrike.

Bound to Marcus’s will, Helene faces a torturous mission of her own—one that might destroy her: find the traitor Elias Veturius and the Scholar slave who helped him escape…and kill them both.

 

Spoiler-free review: 

Since the release date of A Reaper at the Gates is creeping up on us (no pun intended), I decided to post my review for the second book in the Ember quartet! I have recently reread the first and second books in the series to mentally prepare myself for what is to come. But if I’m honest, I don’t think we can ever be ready for what Sabaa Tahir has in store for us 😛

 

“Failure doesn’t define you. It’s what you do after you fail that determines whether you are a leader or a waste of perfectly good air.”

On the topic of characters:

In this book, we are given Helene’s point-of-view in addition to Elias and Laia’s. Helene is the Blood Shrike now, and Elias is her enemy. I thought that it was really interesting to see the war that was happening in her mind as she waffled between her love for Elias and her sense of duty to the Empire.

I love the character development that we see Laia go through in this book. We see her become stronger, and believe in herself more. She may not be a trained fighter like Elias, but I think that her strength comes from her ability to care about others and to do whatever is necessary to achieve what she wants.

And now Elias *swoon*. Sometimes I wish I could jump into this book just to give him a hug and let him know that he is appreciated and loved. His heart is so kind and he just cares so much about other people (which is why I will forever ship him and Laia because they are perfect together and I will not hear otherwise). He goes through so much in this book, and I am really curious to see what will happen to him in the next one.

 

“Don’t look so worried. Most successful missions are just a series of barely averted disasters.”

Thoughts on the plot:

It is very fast-paced.

I have read many books that suffer from the “second-book syndrome”, where it just feels like a filler and has a lot less action and a lot more fluff. This wasn’t one of those books. There are constant twists and turns. Sometimes you feel like you know exactly where the story is going, and then BAM you’re wrong, and the story is heading off in a different direction.

The plot of this book is more of an adventure than the first one. Elias, Laia, and Helene are constantly traveling from one place to the next, so you will treasure the map in the front of the book.

Final thoughts: I really don’t have anything bad to say about this book. It is a perfect sequel, and it answers a lot of questions that you may have after reading the first one. It’s exciting and scary (in a sitting-at-the-edge-of-your-seat kind of way). It also leaves you wondering what will happen in the next book, without giving you with that horrible cliffhanger-y feeling (at least in my experience). If you haven’t read this book and the first, you should add them to your TBR now! 🙂

Book Slumps Begone!

Everyone goes through book slumps. I feel like I go through slumps more often than the average blogger/bookstagrammer. Sometimes I find myself reading in bursts and it’s hard for me to find that push to get back into reading. So if you feel this way too, just know that you are not alone!

Whenever I am in the middle of a book slump and I want to get out of it, there are some books that I turn to. I am making a list of them here so I can refer to it later on, and hopefully this can help someone else too! I don’t really want to make this too long, so I am also going to be including links to the Goodreads page for each book incase anyone is interested in reading the synopsis!

1. Heartless by Marissa Meyer 18584855

Just a few months ago, Heartless was the book to pull me out of one of the worst slumps in my life! This book follows Catherine and her journey to become the Queen of Hearts. I found myself laughing, swooning, and crying while reading, and I think it’s safe to say that I have never felt so many emotions while reading a book!

 

 

2. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo 

23437156I’m sure most of us see this book everywhere, but it has worked to pull me out of a book slump more than once! I love the heist in this book, and the characters all feel very real. I feel that sometimes, when books feature so many POVs, it’s easy to get confused and it is difficult to connect with all of them. But I found myself loving each and every character in this book. Especially Kaz. Yup, I love my boy Kaz. With all my heart. The ultimate book boyfriend…I will always love him…did I mention I love Kaz?

 

 

3. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir 51ZtFdDCGML._SX332_BO1,204,203,200_

I read this book often and it never disappoints. This book is told in two POVs, one being a slave girl Laia and the other is a soldier from the Empire (and the second love of my life), Elias. All of the characters in this book are rich and complex, and it really is hard not to become addicted to this story. It also ends with a crazy cliffhanger, so if that doesn’t get you excited to read more, I don’t know what will! 🙂

 

 

4. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

91Dz0CVeJyLThis is one of those books that I always come back to when I’m stressed out or if I feel myself getting into a book slump. I’m sure most readers have heard of the Shadowhunter books, and totally understand why The Mortal Instruments is one of my favorite series. But I do find myself rereading City of Bones more often than the others, because I like to feel that “thrill” of entering the Shadowhunter world for the first time.

 

 

5. The Selection by Kiera Cass 10507293

I read a lot of action-packed fantasy, and The Selection is one of those lighter reads that always puts a smile on my face. It is about 35 girls who are chosen to go to the palace and compete for the heart of Prince Maxon. I will admit that sometimes the plot feels a bit predictable, but it is part of the fun, and this book continues to be one of my favorites.

 

 

6. Any Harry Potter book

maxresdefaultAny one of these books can be the perfect solution to a book slump. Of course, shorter books provide the gratifying feeling of finishing something, but I tend to pick up Goblet of Fire or Order of the Phoenix more often than the others. Yes, that’s right, I’m a monster who occasionally reads these out of order 🙂 But when you already know the story well, it’s fun to just jump right into a random spot and experience the magic.

If you have any books that help you get out of a book slump, let me know! I love adding books to my list, so that when I am in a slump, I have a bunch to choose from 🙂

Review: Wires and Nerve

Title: Wires and Nerve, Volume 1 (Wires and Nerve #1) wiresandnerve

Author: Marissa Meyer

My Rating: 5/5

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

When rogue packs of wolf-hybrid soldiers threaten the tenuous peace alliance between Earth and Luna, Iko takes it upon herself to hunt down the soldiers’ leader. She is soon working with a handsome royal guard who forces her to question everything she knows about love, loyalty, and her own humanity. With appearances by Cinder and the rest of the Rampion crew, this is a must-have for fans of the series.

Spoiler-Free Review:

Where do I start with this one?! The gang is back in this graphic novel, which is somewhat narrated by Iko, Cinder’s android. This story takes place after The Lunar Chronicles, so if you haven’t read those books, go and read those first! They’re all amazing and I highly recommend them!

There is an introduction in the beginning of the book that provides a little recap of some of the important events that happened in The Lunar Chronicles, as well as a reintroduction of the main characters. I really appreciated that, because it’s been two years since I finished The Lunar Chronicles and I didn’t really remember what happened. But the recap makes it super easy to jump right into the story.

The artwork was also really cute and fun. It doesn’t take away from the story; it’s not too intricate or too simple. Here’s a little snippet:

9781250078261.IN01

Characters:

“I misread the romantic tension, Didn’t I?”

Iko is such a great main character. Sometimes I forget she’s an android, because she has such a strong personality. She is so loyal to Cinder and the gang, and she is very confident in herself and her abilities.

We also get to see a lot of Thorne and Cress in this one. They were my favorite pair in the Lunar Chronicles, so I was very happy 🙂 There were not as many scenes including Scarlet or Wolf, but the scenes they were in gave me all the feels! (This is a non-spoiler review so I will not say any more, but if you did read this, you know exactly what I’m talking about.)

Plot: I don’t think there was a dull moment. We jump straight into the action, and we see both the views of the gang and the antagonist, so it felt like constant suspense to me. My only complaint is that it was over too soon, but the next installment is already out, so now I’m just waiting for my library to get it.

Final Thoughts: If you loved The Lunar Chronicles, then READ THIS! I read this in less than a day, and it was a refreshing change from reading a normal novel. I don’t usually read graphic novels, but now I am interested in reading some more!

If you have any graphic novel recommendations, let me know!

 

This or that Book Tag

I love to read book tag posts! I learn so much about others when I read through the questions and answers. And it’s so much fun to participate in them–sometimes I learn new things about myself! Jenna at Bookmark Your Thoughts tagged me to do the This or That Book Tag, so here it is!

1. Reading on the bed or the couch?

Hmm this is a hard one…I don’t really have a preference. I think I read more on the bed because I tend to read before I sleep!

2. Male main character or female main character?

I don’t usually read books with male main characters, but I would like to read more of them in the future! I think for me, a female perspective is more relatable, so I prefer it.

3. Sweet snacks or salty snacks when you’re reading?

While I’m reading, I don’t usually eat anything. I can’t stand the thought of getting food inside my books haha! But I do drink tea pretty much every time I sit down to read. A nice cup of chai is the perfect reading companion! So I guess you could say I prefer sweet 🙂

4. Trilogies or Quartets?

I usually prefer trilogies, because sometimes a series tends to drag on and on and on if it is too long. But some authors do it well, so I guess it depends on the series.

5. First Person or Third Person POV?

I prefer first person, because it feel a little more intimate to me. I am able to put myself in the main character’s shoes and I like knowing exactly what he or she is feeling.

6. Reading at night or in the morning?

Now that it is the summer and school is over, I prefer to read in the morning while I drink my tea. But on a normal school day, the only time that I have the opportunity to read is before I sleep, so I do most of my reading at night!

7. Libraries or bookstores?

Although I borrow books more often than I buy them, I would prefer to spend time in the bookstore. I love the feeling of walking through a store and searching the huge shelves and smelling the new books! (yes, I love the smell of new books–who doesn’t?!)

8. Books that make you laugh or cry?

I prefer books that make me laugh! Life is stressful enough as is, so I definitely prefer a book that cheers me up.

9. Black book covers or white book covers?

Black! I love how different colors and patterns look on a black background.

10. Character driven or plot driven?

For me, I can’t enjoy a book unless I like the characters. If the characters are complex and interesting, then that can sometimes make up for a lacking plot, but I don’t think a good plot can ever make up for poor characters.

Thank you for joining me on this tag! I’m not tagging anyone specific because I don’t know many people yet, but if you want to participate, then consider yourself tagged by me!

Happy Reading!

 

Review: The Cruel Prince

Title: The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air, #1)  26032825

Author: Holly Black

My Rating: 3.5/5

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

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.

Spoiler-Free Review:

I like to watch booktube reviews, and around the release of this book, the hype was REAL. Everyone was talking about it and was so excited to talk about it, so naturally I needed to get my hands on this book. But I ended up being patient *insert shocked face here*, and borrowed it from the library (which I am glad I did because I don’t think I would reread it). Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t hate this book. I actually liked most of it, but there were a few elements that really threw me off.

The beginning of the book felt really confusing. The relationships between the characters were not clearly described in the first few chapters, and I felt like I was assuming too much about them. The relationship between the two twin sisters was my favorite aspect of the book. From beginning to end, we see the influence that they had on each other, and the decisions that they made. I felt like I was able to relate to them since I am a sister myself!

I think the main reason I was not able to fully connect with this book is because of the main character, Jude. She is a human girl living in the fae world, and most of the decisions that she makes revolves around the fact that she wants to be better than the fae. While I can understand her drive to be better (especially when she is continuously bullied for being human), she was constantly comparing herself to them or complaining about her disadvantages, which became annoying after a while. I liked Prince Cardan’s character more than hers. He really is nasty sometimes, but he is a complex character with so many problems, and I found myself reading to learn more about him.

I think the plot was interesting, and well-developed. This is one of those books that seem to be going one way, and then everything changes and leaves the characters scrambling (I love when this happens in books). Also, Holly Black is a really great storyteller, and her descriptions are all vivid and detailed. She describes fairy fruits and poisons, and landscapes really nicely, so reading this book really makes you feel like you are among the fae!

Final Verdict: I think the hype backfired for this one, because my expectations were a bit too high. The plot and setting are fun and interesting, but I just couldn’t find it in me to like Jude. I’m not sure if I will be reading the second one…this one didn’t leave me with that on-the-edge-of-my-seat feeling, and I don’t really have a strong emotional connection to any of the characters.

A Fresh New Start!

Hey everyone! I’m Amanda, formerly thebookcanary. I stopped blogging and bookstagramming for a veryyyyy long time, and after a book slump that lasted me well over a year, I have decided to come back to book blogging! I have read some amazing books that got me out of my horrible slump, so I will make a post about those very soon!

I wanted to start semi-fresh, as I didn’t want to delete all of the reviews that I have previously posted. And I have so many things that I would love to write other than just reviews! I am currently in the process of plotting a book, so I would love to talk more about that as I go along and possibly document my progress. But most of all, I’m just really excited to meet new people and talk about all the bookish things, so feel free to chat!

There will be some new posts coming by very shortly. Until then, happy reading!

Review: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Title: Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Childrenmissperegrine_334x518

Author: Ransom Riggs

Date of Publication: June 7, 2011

My Rating: 4.5/5

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of curious photographs.

A horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

I know that there are many mixed reviews for this book, but I absolutely loved it!

This book started off pretty fast-paced. Right from the start, we are tossed into Jake’s hectic life, and that made it so easy for me to fly through this book. I loved reading about Jake’s travels to the island that his grandfather used to live in; there was so much description, that it was easy for me to picture the story. Ransom Riggs is such a great storyteller!

I also personally really enjoyed reading this story from Jake’s perspective. He is a very funny character, and his voice was refreshing to read especially since I have been in a huge book slump! The other characters in the novel, like the Peculiars, were very amusing, as well. Overall, I felt that the characters in this novel were well-written and nicely developed.

I also loved how the vintage photos were incorporated in the novel. I felt that they really added a creepy vibe while I was reading, and it made the whole story feel more real. This makes me want to continue with the rest of the series, because I really like how Riggs integrated the photos within the story, to add depth.

I really did enjoy this novel very much, and it definitely helped me get out of my slump. The one thing that I did not like though, was that it seemed a bit predictable at times. A few times I felt like I already knew what was going to happen, but that did not stop me from enjoying this.

Would I recommend this book? Yes! It was a quick, funny, and enjoyable read, that helped me get out of my book slump, and I think it can help others too!

 

 

Review: The Rose and the Dagger

Title: The Rose and the Dagger (The Wrath and the Dawn #2)23308084

Author: Renee Ahdieh

Date of Publication: April 26, 2016

My Rating: 5/5

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

The darker the sky, the brighter the stars.

In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad is forced from the arms of her beloved husband, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once thought Khalid a monster—a merciless killer of wives, responsible for immeasurable heartache and pain—but as she unraveled his secrets, she found instead an extraordinary man and a love she could not deny. Still, a curse threatens to keep Shazi and Khalid apart forever.

Now she’s reunited with her family, who have found refuge in the desert, where a deadly force is gathering against Khalid—a force set on destroying his empire and commanded by Shazi’s spurned childhood sweetheart. Trapped between loyalties to those she loves, the only thing Shazi can do is act. Using the burgeoning magic within her as a guide, she strikes out on her own to end both this terrible curse and the brewing war once and for all. But to do it, she must evade enemies of her own to stay alive.

The saga that began with The Wrath and the Dawn takes its final turn as Shahrzad risks everything to find her way back to her one true love again.

My Review:

This review is mostly me gushing about how much I loved this book. You have been warned 🙂

So I started this book at 11:30 P.M and I finished it at 4:30 A.M (Khalid, this is all your fault!). I couldn’t fall asleep until maybe an hour later because I just could not stop thinking about Khalid and Shahrzad and how perfect their story is. This book is pure perfection.

I thought that the plot was extremely intriguing. The magic in this book is not hard to follow, which held my interest. There are so many twists and turns in this novel; call me gullible, but I felt like I was being tricked all the time (in a good way)!

This book actually made my heart pound–it was just so gripping and exciting! I don’t want to give anything away, but this book had me wondering and guessing all the way until the end. I even cried a few times (I don’t usually cry while reading books), but these were tears of sadness and joy.

I personally loved everything about The Wrath and the Dawn, except for Shahrzad’s storytelling, which I found a bit boring. This novel is not centered around her story-telling (yay!) and is instead about her magic and finding a way to rid Khalid of his curse, which I found to be much more intriguing.

Although there were not as many romantic scenes between Khalid and Shahrzad as I had hoped for, I am SO SATISFIED with what I got! I was just so touched by how much Shahrzad means to Khalid and how much he means to her.

Khalid is my favorite character in this novel, because he has two sides to him. Not only is he intimidating and unwelcoming (to most people), but he is also sweet and loving to Shahrzad and her sister. As you can probably tell, I was uncontrollably swooning the entire time.

I personally really love Khalid and Shahrzad, so it was very enjoyable to read more about them! Shahrzad’s sister is an amazing character, as well, and we learn so much about her in this book. I love the bond that they have with each other! I have become so attached to all of these characters, because they are perfectly imperfect. 🙂

Renee Ahdieh’s writing is just so poetic at times, and the book flowed so well. I really enjoyed this read; it even left me with a book hangover!

Would I recommend this book? YES. This is one of the best novels I have read in a long time, and I already have forced some of my friends to read it (no shame). Even if you did not enjoy The Wrath and the Dawn, I am sure that you will love this one!