Sunday, August 23, 2015

Emerald Green

I completely missed it with my last post, but that review of Rumors by Anna Godbersen was my 500th post on my blog! I can't believe I've been blogging for so long. I actually missed blogging on the fourth year blogoversary! Four years and 500 posts later. Hard to believe. Well, anyway, today I'm reviewing another book with a girl in a dress on the cover. Emerald Green by Kerstin Gier is the third and final book in the Ruby Red Trilogy featuring time travelers.


14759651
Retrieved from Goodreads
It's only been two weeks since Gwenyth found out she was born with a time travelling gene, but her life has become something more intense than insane. She has to travel back in time every day to avoid doing it accidentally, and she's part of a circle of twelve time travelers whose blood fuels the chronograph that sends them back in time. The Guardians are sticking to Count Saint-Germain's plan to read all twelve travelers' blood into the chronograph, but more and more Gwenyth doesn't trust this plan. If only someone would believe her. Her only possible ally, her fellow traveler Gideon, seems to have been manipulating her to fall in love with him for his own mysterious ends. Gwenyth needs to figure out what's going on, but she's very short on time.

Sooo I've liked these books for the snappy dialogue and the pretty descriptions of clothes and the fast pace. The time travelling framework has never been...spotless. Not being able to travel purposefully to the future seemed weird, and I had a hard time keeping track of all the moving parts of the story, maybe because I didn't read them all one right after the other. But this book had all the things I've been reading them for, so overall I thoroughly enjoyed the story. There was one little hiccup at the end that really bothered me though, and kept this from five stars. Spoilers ahead so stop reading if you don't want to know something really big: So Gwenyth is immortal, and to become immortal himself, the count is supposed to kill her, but she can't die unless she kills herself for the sake of love. To get around this, Gideon makes himself immortal, and it's sort of a serious as all get out thing that is glossed over. Gwen will outlive everyone around her, and Gideon joined her in immortality after knowing her for like two and a half weeks. These are important things that are mostly ignored at the end of the story. That bugged me.

Goodreads Rating: 4 Stars (more like 3.5)
Up Next: Red Glove by Holly Black

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Rumors

I held off on reading The Luxe for a long time because I felt I'd had enough of books with girls in dresses on the front. But it kept popping up as a recommendation for me on Goodreads and Amazon, so I figured why not give it a try. I ended up really liking it! It's got a bunch elements I adore: social intrigue, detail to fashion, sass, and backstabbing. While it's light on character development and there isn't as much dialogue as I'd like, I really enjoyed sitting back and diving into New York in 1899 where the dresses are imported and the rich spend their days socializing.


2218252
Retrieved from Goodreads
New York's aristocracy has been mourning the death of Elizabeth Holland for several months. But now the holiday season is upon them, and they can't help but turn their minds to other pursuits. Henry Schoonmaker is in need of a new bride, and there are many willing candidates. Penelope Hayes is willing to do whatever it takes to marry him, even if it means leaving people ruined in her wake. Diana Holland wants to be with him for his free spirit and the connection they made while Henry was engaged to her sister. Meanwhile, Lina Broud is low on money, and no money means no way to fit in with the high brow people she's admired since she was a maid in the Holland household. She wants to become just like Elizabeth was, for Elizabeth captured the heart of Will, who Lina had been in love with. If she can do it, she can travel west and show Will that he could love her as he'd loved Elizabeth. But there's one small catch: Elizabeth is alive.

Oh the drama. Elizabeth wanted Will but was engaged to Henry who wanted Diana even though he'd previously had trysts with Penelope who wanted Henry when he was with Elizabeth and found out about Elizabeth and Will from Lina who wants Will. It's this lovely, tangled web, interspersed with beautiful clothes and delicious food and dances and operas. Honestly, this book was just fun to read. And I didn't expect the ending. It hit me in the heart and I couldn't believe it had happened. This book won't blow you away with its intricacies and examinations of the human experience. But if you're like me and adore social intrigue in books, like what happens at court in fantasy novels, then you'll enjoy this book. I absolutely will read Envy. My same complaints for the first book remain, in that there wasn't enough dialogue and the characters didn't develop much throughout the book past their role in the web. But, there was change between the books that made complete sense, so it's something. These are the only things keeping this book from being rated five stars.

Goodreads Rating: 4 Stars
Up Next: Emerald Green by Kerstin Gier

Friday, August 21, 2015

Ruin and Rising

I met Leigh Bardugo at a book signing last year. I laughed so much. She's a hilarious person, who gets just how fun it is to write food porn. She's right up there with Sarah J. Maas and Maggie Stiefvater on my list of favorite authors to see in person. So it killed me to have to wait an extra year before reading Ruin and Rising, the last book in the Grisha trilogy. I should have just gotten it in hardback, but I already had the first two in paperback sooo...But I won't make that mistake with Six of Crows. Oh no, hardback all the way, baby. Anywho...


14061957
Retrieved from Goodreads
The Darkling sits on the Ravkan throne, and Alina Starkov is still missing the final amplifier, the one that might make her powerful enough to defeat him. She's underground, worshiped as a Saint, healing from her last battle, one where the Second Army was decimated. With the Darkling on the throne and more people dying every day, Alina needs to become as powerful as possible, even if it means destroying herself in the process. With her band of Grisha and friends, she sets off to find the Ravkan prince and the last amplifier. But even if they find the amplifier, Alina's not sure it'll be enough to defeat the Darkling.

Mmmm Leigh Bardugo's writing. Sassy and beautiful and properly sad. I just...enjoy her books. There is nary a sentence I pause at and go "eh." It isn't the lyrical poetry of a Stiefvater, or the stabbing pain and humor that is a Sarah J. Maas book. Instead, it's somewhere in the middle and it's delightful. The world is richly textured, and the dialogue is powerful and snappy. I adored Oncat (a cat whose name means cat) and Nikolai and Zoya and Alina. Mal was a bit boring, but honestly, he's not the point of the story, Alina is. And Alina has so much painful stuff happen to her, and she has to balance being powerful and wanting more power with being human. All in all, this book wasn't as sad-inducing as the first two books, but it's beautiful and fun and written very well. It's not often I finish a book and then read the last few pages again, and the acknowledgments, and the short story afterward. I dunno, Bardugo just draws me in. I can't wait to see what Six of Crows is like.

Goodreads Rating: 5 stars
Up Next: Rumors by Anna Godbersen


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Winner's Crime

When I first started reading The Winner's Curse, for some reason I thought it was sci-fi. I honestly couldn't tell you why I thought that, but I had this weird, medieval-but-with-space-travel picture in my mind. Maybe I'm just excited for the Their Fractured Light to come out. Or maybe I'm missing Firefly, I dunno. But anyway, I really enjoyed the first book in this series, although I didn't care much for the narrator of the audiobook. I'm working my way through the books I got for my birthday, and this one was next on my list!


20443207
Retrieved from Goodreads
Kestrel is going to become the empress. She traded her freedom to save Arin, the new governor of the territory Herran. Now she's stuck in court, where people place bets on what her wedding dress will look like and her fiance hates her. It will be nearly a year until her marriage, but there will be events right up until the day, events that demand the presence of a certain governor. Unbeknownst to Arin, Kestrel becomes a spy for the Herrani, a gamble that, if she loses, could cost Kestrel her life and the lives of everyone she loves.

Okay, that is an admittedly crappy description of what this book is actually about. At the end of the last book, Kestrel didn't tell Arin that she got engaged to save him and his people. So he thinks it was just her trying to get power, play the same games as when the Valorians were in power in Herran. But really she's just trying to save him because she knows he'll do something stupid if he knows she's not happy. So, now that I've got the less elegant description out of the way, on to the review. I really enjoyed this book. Kestrel has a very calculating mind, and I always adore court intrigue. I felt so bad for Kestrel and Arin, even when I was mad at them both for being stupid. There are great details about clothes and cultures and food that really expanded the world beyond Herran. While admittedly, the big secret that Kestrel is trying to unravel while snooping ends up only involving a couple people and a few days of snooping, you don't mind that the story is slower because the writing is so good. There's a thing with a dog that made me incredibly sad, but I won't say any more about it here. You'll just have to read the book yourself. Love this series, and I can't wait to read the final book!

 Goodreads Rating: 4 Stars
Up Next: Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

Monday, August 17, 2015

Sinner

I adore Maggie Stiefvater. I have read pretty much everything she's published. It took me a while to work up to wanting to read the Wolves of Mercy Falls series, but when I did I loved it, if not as much as The Raven Cycle, then nearly as much. I just like magic more than paranormal in general. But that didn't stop be from tearing through Shiver, Linger, and Forever. Then I found out there was going to be a companion novel about Cole and Isabel, basically my two favorite characters from the series. But I have this habit of keeping books in the same for as the first one in the series. So since I had the Wolves of Mercy Falls in paperback, I needed to wait for Sinner to be in paperback. And it finally is!


18406862
Retrieved from Goodreads
Isabel's family moved to L.A. after everything that happened with the wolves in Mercy Falls. She's studying to be a CNA, she's working a boring job in a boring pretty shop, and she does her best not to think about Cole. Cole just came to town to film a reality show as he makes his next album. But he's also there for Isabel. She's the only one who understands why he says things just because they sound good. But just because they want each other doesn't mean it's going to work out. He's a wolf. She's a girl. Stranger things have happened.

So first and foremost, this book is not about werewolves. It's there, but it's absolutely in the background. Becoming a wolf is Cole's vice, but he's not doing it that often. This story is more about Cole and Isabel and all the stuff that keeps throwing them together and yanking them apart. Honestly, I enjoyed the story, it was interesting to see what happened with the reality show and with Isabel's family. But it's the characters I read this book for. I loved Isabel and Cole in the Wolves of Mercy Falls, so much so that I wished they'd had more page time. So getting to read how fierce and broken these two people were was a treat. That makes me sound like a horrible person. If you haven't read any Stiefvater, you need to now because then you'll understand what I'm talking about. Overall, if you're looking for a paranormal book, this isn't for you. But if you're looking for an amazingly written, tantalizing, beautiful book about two fascinating characters, this is for you.

Goodreads Rating: 5 Stars
Up Next: The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The Heir

Yeah, I know it's been a really long time since I've posted a review. It has been a long time, but as usual I have an excuse. For one, I've been tired lately. Work's been really busy lately, and I've been watching a lot of Parks and Rec which is an awesome show! I know I'm late to the game on this one, but I love it. I also had my birthday! This year, in keeping with tradition, I went on a semi-scary adventure. Last year it was hot air ballooning. This year it was whitewater rafting! I had a great time. Along with my birthday came a slew of new books that I've been wanting. The first one I dug into was The Heir by Kiera Cass.


22918050
Retrieved from Goodreads
It's been 20 years since America and Maxon chose each other. In that time, the caste system has been dissolved and they've had four children. Eadlyn beat out her brother as heir to the throne by seven minutes. She leads the life of a princess, with the responsibilities and the perks. But the people are restless. In the hopes of distracting them, Eadlyn participates in a Selection of her own, though she has no intentions of getting married to any of them. She has a plan. She'll drive all thirty-five suitors away while also giving her country something else to think about. But as she gets to know some of the men, it becomes easier said than done.

I have always been conflicted about Kiera Cass's books. I really didn't like The Elite, and despite The Selection having all kinds of problems, I found myself liking it. It was the same way with The Heir. I honestly have mixed feelings about Eadlyn. She is mean to her maid, and she's snotty to her brother. She makes some bad decisions. But I couldn't decide if that made enough sense for me to believe it. She has led a very isolated, sheltered life. She's not going to understand the nuances of dating or regular social relationships. But sometimes she was really mean. It was great to see America and Maxon and Marlee and Lucy and May again. It was a pleasant, fast read, and while I found the reason for the Selection to be contrived, I actually thought some interesting things happened. And I don't know who she's going to end up with, which is nice! And the ending did get me in the heart. So I think I'll read the fifth book in this series. It's always a pleasant few hours when I read a Cass novel.

Goodreads Rating: 4 stars (more like 3.5)
Up Next: Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater