WWW WEDNESDAYS – April 26, 2017

WWW MAIN

It’s been a week already and I am back to report on the progress I have on my reading list. First and foremost, WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Taking On a World of Words where you just have to share a quick reading update.

The three W questions are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Just like the previous week, my WWW Wednesday reading list today is a bit predictable due to my Throne of Glass series binge. 

WWW1

I am now on the fourth book in the Throne of Glass series and boy, this series is FREAKING AMAZING!! I am halfway through this as of writing and I just can’t wait to see how Celaena will save everyone dear to her. 

queen of shadows

BLURB:

The queen has returned.

Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she’s at last returned to the empire—for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past…

She has embraced her identity as Aelin Galathynius, Queen of Terrasen. But before she can reclaim her throne, she must fight.

She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die for her. She will fight for her friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable prison. And she will fight for her people, enslaved to a brutal king and awaiting their lost queen’s triumphant return.


WWW2

I just finished Heir of Fire, the third book from the Throne of Glass series and though I had problems with the pacing, this was still a delight to read! Seriously, I AM HOOKED!!!!

heir of fire

BLURB:

Celaena has survived deadly contests and shattering heartbreak―but at an unspeakable cost. Now, she must travel to a new land to confront her darkest truth . . . a truth about her heritage that could change her life―and her future―forever. Meanwhile, brutal and monstrous forces are gathering on the horizon, intent on enslaving her world. Will Celaena find the strength to not only fight her inner demons, but to take on the evil that is about to be unleashed?


WWW3

Quite predictably, since I am serious and dedicated in finishing this series – I will immediately go to EoS right after CoM. I can’t see myself stopping now. This is too good for words!

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BLURB:

KINGDOMS WILL COLLIDE.

The long path to the throne has only just begun for Aelin Galathynius as war looms on the horizon. Loyalties have been broken and bought, friends have been lost and gained, and those who possess magic find themselves at odds with those who don’t.

With her heart sworn to the warrior-prince by her side, and her fealty pledged to the people she is determined to save, Aelin will delve into the depths of her power to protect those she loves. But as monsters emerge from the horrors of the past, and dark forces become poised to claim her world, the only chance for salvation will lie in a desperate quest that may mark the end of everything Aelin holds dear.

 


 As you can see, even though my reading pace is a bit slow these days, I am pretty much dedicated in finishing this series. Not only is this series truly complex and well crafted, I love Sarah J. Mass’ writing as well. My ToG journey has been enjoyable so far and I already feel angsty waiting for that sixth book!

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Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

“My name is Celaena Sardothien. But it makes no difference if my name’s Celaena or Lillian or Bitch, because I’d still beat you, no matter what you call me.”

throne of glass

I’ve read Maas’ ACOTAR and ACOMAF and loved both immensely. I am among the legion impatiently waiting for ACOWAR that is why it doesn’t come as a surprise that I would start this series too.

The thing is, I’m late to this series and if I will commit, this will be quite a lengthy read. However, my husband included some of the books in the series as part of his surprise wedding gift so I really have to read it to not let the gift go to waste.

Initially, I tried not to set high expectations for this book. The premise is not so new, a female assassin with something to prove and evil to prevent.

But what I did not expect was for me to enjoy the book as much as I did. I can’t believe I waited this long to start this series!!!!

Celaena Sardothien – the name alone receives my seal of approval. She is feisty, vain, a girl yet a hardcore warrior. She is witty and sarcastic and takes crap from no one. She is broken and damaged and having survived everything she’s been through, she can oftentimes be aloof and arrogant.

There are two prominent males in this story, Dorian and Chaol. I do not care what ship you’re rooting for but all I know is that I adore Chaol’s character more. He is quiet, brooding, a bit of a mystery yet protective towards Celaena. And although I am Team Chaol (for now), Dorian is also a character to love. He is sweet, a bookworm and we can see his more mature side slowly emerging as the story progress.

Aside from the main characters, Maas was able to bring to life these secondary characters who are as developed as her main ones. For starters, I love Nehemia and cannot wait to know more of her story. There’s also the dead queen and the King of Adarlan, characters who do not have a lot of exposure but are still impacting and relevant to the story. I also feel that this side of Celaena is just the first layer and I cannot wait to get to know her more.  

I love the plot and the world building. I am astonished at the intensity of the deaths and the feeling of being transported to another world. However, I felt that certain parts of the story were a bit predictable and it was just matter of how Maas will let the story unfold. With that said, I am just in awe of how Maas shaped this world, how she let the plot flow and how she made a mark and let this story of hers shine. 

For all of you wanting an action packed fantasy, this one’s for you. Just don’t expect much on the romance side because you won’t get much in that premise. Though Celaena, Dorian and Chaol are both well developed characters, I am glad that they were able to stand on their own without relying too much on a love triangle or romance aspect.

SJM is now one of my favorites and I will definitely finish this series.    

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Review Headings -  Blurb

After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.

Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king’s council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for four years and then be granted her freedom. Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilarating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her … but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead … quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.

WWW WEDNESDAYS – April 19, 2017

WWW MAIN

Yesterday, I posted my first ever blog post after a very long time without realizing that it’s Wednesday and forgot to work on this post altogether. 

Anyway, this may be a day late but I am ready with my 3 W’s.

First and foremost, WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Taking On a World of Words where you just have to share a quick reading update.

The three W questions are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Since I am currently on a Throne of Glass series binge, this WWW of mine is quite predictable.

WWW1

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I am now in the third installment of the TOG series and I am anxious excited on what awaits Celaena. 

WWW2

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It was actually weeks ago when I finished this and that ending just left me…  speechless. I was getting annoyed at Celaena for most of the book when I felt that she was being too entitled, too bratty and too hard headed and BAMMMMM — there’s a reason for it all.  

WWW3

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Well, well, well. Look at that cover!! Celaena just looks mighty fierce and angsty. I am not stopping now. No matter how slow, I intend to work my way through this series. 


And there you have it, my WWW predictable reading list this midweek. Do you have any suggestions? Anything good you’ve read recently? Feel free to share. 

Happy reading!

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Resurrection and Life Update

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2016 has been a fairly good reading and blogging year for me and I already consider it an achievement that I haven’t missed a single month of blogging. Yay!

However, 2017 is an entirely different story.

My reading pace is dreadful at best and I just can’t seem to get myself to write a single review.

Is there such a thing as a blogging slump? Because if there is, I sure fell into a huge, HUGE ball of blogging laziness.

Anyway, I guess things kind of just piled on me hence the slump.

For starters my boyfriend for 10 years and I got married last January. We were both hands on with all the preparation and after the wedding, it was one form of relaxation after another. It was such a good feeling to not be thinking and worrying about the preparations anymore and in my post wedding daze, I kind of sacrificed blogging too.

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Also, I had a new work client by March and that month was mostly for me to learn new work processes and tasks.

You see, adulting got in the way for the first quarter and now I am soooo back to pick up the pieces of where my blog left off.

It’s high time for me to dust this blog off and bring it back to life.

Stick with me.

Stay with me.

This small space of mine is here to stay (but still prone to hibernation every now and then).

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Bad Mommy by Tarryn Fisher

“I can make you part of something great and beautiful and still portray you as the ugly thing you are”

badmommy_amazon_ibooks Tarryn Fisher does what Tarryn Fisher does best – she plays with your psyche and makes you think.

If you plan on reading and interpreting this book literally, you might feel letdown. This book has so much symbolism in it and the best thing about TF books is that they are so fun to dissect afterwards.

The first few chapters of the book felt a bit disconnected and I was on edge to see where it will pick up. It’s so confusing and tiresome to be inside the head of a crazy. But once it picked up, there’s no putting it down. Tarryn played with the mind and emotions and allowed us to take apart the raw, ugly and flawed mold of her characters.

Her characters can be me.

They can also be you.

And that’s what creeps me out.

How many friends do we have? How many people do we know? Do we really know them to the core? Do we know them, truly? Will be trust them with everything and everyone we hold dear?

At the end of the book, I cannot say who was worse, Fig or Darius. I cannot choose between a sociopath and a psychopath and what creeps me out is that these kinds of people are those who look normal, who seem normal and those usually just within our vicinity.

Fig is a leech and legit crazy. She sees something she wants, competes to have what she wants then aims to replace the person she sees is undeserving of what she has. She is complex, demented, careful and thorough. She makes plans and executes them to her liking.

On the other hand, Darius is a master manipulator, a cheat and a liar. He has awareness of his actions but still pushes through without taking ownership. She professes love but destroys and hurts them to serve his own agenda. I always try to see something redeeming when I read about villains, but there’s nothing for these two. The worst thing is that their kind do not show any form of remorse and not even the least bit apologetic for their actions.

Lastly, my favorite POV, Jolene.

Jolene is the writer, Jolene is Bad Mommy.

** And no, this is not a spoiler, you will learn this almost immediately.

She has a ginormous and welcoming heart which sometimes prevents her from recognizing and accepting truths. Her biggest weapon was her heart but it was also her biggest weakness.

This book made me think how many people I have encountered and if any of them have been sociopathic, psychotic or both. I’ve said that I had a Fig before, not as destructive as our Bad Mommy’s Fig but this story made me realize that Figs are real and should not be ignored.

Don’t ask me what genre this is. My answer will always be the same. Tarryn’s books exist on a whole different genre for themselves. Writing wise, it’s exceptional and captivating. You have to really look deeper to see the mind games and psychological flaws of these characters.

I devour Tarryn’s books because you won’t find like books anywhere. She’s the only one. Her books and stories are never normal, sometimes uncomfortable, mostly thought provoking but always, ALWAYS consuming. Her words will always push you to your mind’s limits and will really make you think and understand. People will say that it wasn’t what they expected and that’s basically it. The moment Tarryn writes books that we HAVE EXPECTED, then that’s not Tarryn anymore.

Now what are you waiting for. Bad Mommy and Fig, they’re both waiting.

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4 FIGGIN’ STARS!

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The Demon in the Wood by Leigh Bardugo

Before he became the Darkling, he was just a lonely boy of extraordinary power.

I was truly intriguThe Demon in the Wood.jpged by the Darkling’s history and though I don’t see myself rooting for him anytime soon, I felt empathy (YES, YOU READ THAT RIGHT!!!) and compassion towards the child that was the Darkling. Without giving thought to the adult (is adult EVEN the right term for his age?!) that he has become and just thinking of him as the child, it’s impossible not to feel sadness and remorse for what happened to him. All he wanted was acceptance and belongingness. He wasn’t an instant villain. All the villain-ness came from a deep rooted past of not being accepted in his harsh childhood. Another interesting facet of this short story is the Darkling’s close relationship with his mother making me wonder how their dynamics changed and evolved.

Only 30 pages BUT filled with so much depth and revelations.

Now I know why Leigh’s writing gets all the hype.

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Ten Below Zero by Whitney Barbetti

“I so desperately wanted to be his gravity, to hold him on this earth and keep him from leaving me.”

ten-below-zero

What prompted me to read this book is the number of readers with like interests and genres loving this and being the stalkerish bish that I am, I decided to read it once and for all.

I started it.

I finished it.

That’s it.

I wish I’m not writing this review right now but I’m never one to beat around the bush so here goes.

The premise is intriguing and right up my alley. Broken souls, scarred humans ~ finding friendship and love in such an unlikely place and time. It’s supposedly made for readers to feel all the broken feels but to me, it just fell flat.

I found no love for Parker. I tried, I really tried to work around her character, see beyond her flaws but I just can’t connect with her. She’s rude and detached and it was only on the very last pages that I glimpsed warmth and emotions from her. Speaking of rude, the “rude thing” banter between the two of them was sort of cute at first but got old real fast. I’m not sure if it was meant to showcase more of Parker’s character and personality but there was one scene when she was acting as a decoy which felt unnecessary to me. 

On the other hand, I know Everett was supposed to be another tortured soul I should empathize with but with his POV lacking, I just can’t get into his head. I am like only half-heartedly with him. There were times when he starts to grow on me but no, not going there.

Despite my issues with the characters, there were also things about this book that I really liked. First, I love the message that it’s trying to convey – fighting for your happiness and fighting for your life. This book is basically is basically the voice of two numb souls who had their second chance at life and love. Second, I did enjoyed the twist, well not really a twist but a semblance of explanation to some questions I had along the way and also, that ending basically salvaged what I thought has been a weary read.

PLUS, you cannot ignore all the quotable quotes scattered all throughout the story. I lost count how many I have marked. 

Another thing I’d like to point out is that I felt like while reading, I was subconsciously comparing it to another book with quite a similar theme and premise – The Edge of Never, if you’re curious and just so you know, I loved the hell out of that book.

I’m not particularly sure how I felt about the writing – some parts were good, some felt a bit choppy. I didn’t love it as much as I hoped I would and had the urge to put it down a number of times. The ending was better than the entire story. The last few pages were so emotion filled and just raw and powerful. I wish that I felt just as strongly while reading the whole book. I know A LOT of people who loved this but maybe this is not the book for me. I did enjoy reading it but I was more of an audience looking in rather than being one and connecting to the story. 

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Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

“The problem with wanting is that it makes us weak.”

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I was checking the list of books I have read for this year and saw that I am truly behind in fantasy. Like way, wayyyyyyyy behind. For this year, I have only read A Court of Thorns and Roses, A Court of Mist and Fury, The Wrath and the Dawn and the TWAD novellas. And that’s it. I was planning to remedy this before the year ends so I got the Six and Crows-Crooked Kingdom duology.

I was about to dive in but I was talking to a friend who is also an OC reader and from our conversation, we decided to start with the Grisha trilogy first before jumping into SoC and CK. We know it’s different stories but the worlds are the same.

Anyway, enough of my intro-slash-explanation. I have heard so much praise for Leigh Bardugo and being the hype-averse type of reader that I am, I tend to ignore. But eventually, I decided to give in. Heck, everyone I know is reading her books and I wanted to see for myself.

There is no denying Leigh’s talent. She is beyond good and I can see why so many readers got lost in the world/s she has created. This woman has created an entirely different universe, far beyond the scope of my imagination. It’s a dark, intriguing place and I was hooked.

Given, I’m in a rather busy stage of my life right now and it took me a while to finish this but there was VERY  MINIMAL TIME when I felt disconnected to the story or the characters. On the contrary, I was reeled in and I couldn’t wait to find out what happens next.

Alina is a likable heroine, not exactly my favourite but she has her strengths. There were certain parts of the story when I felt the YA-ish texture of the novel especially on Alina’s vanity moments. At first, I pegged her for being weak but she redeemed herself in the end. She actually showed that she can be feisty and strong yet her heart is in the right place. She started out as a lost girl, unsure of where she stands and what her purpose is. Eventually, she found her strength and drive and I loved the Alina that emerged from the power. I do hope I get to see more of this side in the next books.

Mal on the other hand is my guy. Alright, at this point I ship Mal and Alina. He is loyal to the core and would do anything for her and their friendship/relationship. At this point, I’m not sure where they stand but Mal is an okay guy and I would love to know more about him. There’s not much said about him and his background and I feel like I need to know more, I want to know him more. 

Probably, the most interesting for me is the Darkling. I know I’m supposed to loathe him after what went down in the end but there’s a big mystery and story surrounding his character. I can feel it. I can tell there’s more to him and that his role in this trilogy is essential.

With those things I have loved about this book, there are also some things that I found lacking. These are not really big issues, but these prevented me from giving it more stars.

For starters, I was actually looking forward to a lot of action, a lot of high intensity fight scenes but I only got a few. I’m not sure where this expectation of mine came from but I was not expecting a lot of narratives about cliques, mean girls, gossip, and who is prettiest and who is most popular. It swayed from the dark and intriguing vibe of the premise.

Also, I felt like I was blindly thrown into the world without any guide at all and I had to look different words up to grasp what I was reading. It was a few chapters in before I felt the connection to the book. 

Despite its flaws and my indifference to some of the characters, I liked, no scratch that, I L-O-V-E-D Bardugo’s writing. It was easy to read and captivating and definitely the main factor why I’m keeping the next books in my TBR list.

3.5 SHADOW FOLD STARS

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Hearts in Darkness by Laura Kaye

“Sometimes distance was easier than acting, or explaining.”

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I didn’t realize that I was reading a novella until I was done with it. Initially, I was having mixed emotions since I am not a huge fan of instalove. But for a quick read, it was …… okay.

This is a charming short story about Makenna and Caden and one fateful day trapped in the elevator. With only each other and the darkness keeping them company, they started opening up to each other, breaking down barriers bit by bit. This is a very fast, and I emphasize on FAST, strangers to lovers type of story.

Commercial: Am I the only one who thought of The Voice while reading this?

To those of you unfamiliar with The Voice, it is an international reality television singing competition   wherein the blind auditions have the judges/coaches facing away from the artists. With this, they will only be judging them based on their voices alone.

The HID plot is a lot like that. Trapped in a pitch black elevator, without any idea when they will be let out, Makenna and Caden had to lean onto each other for support. It was a sweet survival mode as they traded stories, backgrounds and even food and water. They found companionship and attraction in a very unlikely situation.

Personally, I found the story to be cute and fun but truly unrealistic. I was detached from the main characters from start to finish. I mean, I could understand some of the things that happened in the elevator but the rest that followed felt a bit too much. It’s entertaining at best but the insta-lust meter is just blaring. I felt like majority of the story was more on sexual and less on plot and emotions.

The writing is okay though I was a bit distracted with the sudden shifts in POV. I would suddenly get lost as to whose voice I was already reading but I quickly recovered. If you’re looking to pass time, a bit bored maybe or if you’re looking for a quick steamy fix – then this one might do.

Heads up: I am still curious as to what happens to them and their relationship (seeing as they professed love right away. Um okay.) as they discover more about each other, see each other in the light of day and tackle more day to day dilemmas without the bubble of an elevator. With that said, I am definitely not closing my doors on the next book.

2.5 STARS

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Royally Screwed by Emma Chase

“Infamy is temporary, celebrity is fleeting, but royalty…royalty is forever.”

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Let it be put on record that Drew Evans is and still remains to be my undefeated favorite Emma Chase bae. If you’re asking why, clearly, you haven’t read the Tangled series yet and I am imploring you to do so. Again,let me repeat, Drew Evans remains undefeated!!! UNDEFEATED!!

Prince Nicholas may have failed to steal the top Emma Chase book boyfriend crown from Drew but this book still wins in more ways than one.

Both characters, Nicholas and Olivia are likeable enough. Nicholas’ playful nature totally contradicts his princely demeanor. There’s a balance between seeing him on his boyfriend element and on his role and duty. On the other hand, Olivia is a freaking fighter. She does what she wants, she doesn’t second guess herself and she’s not afraid to risk it. Again, like I said, likeable.

However, Nicholas and Olivia’s characters are not new. Feisty female + Cocky male. Yeah, I’ve read about the likes of these two. But I was still entertained because the plot has very minimal drama. Other books go on and on about repetitive dilemma but what I enjoy about this pair is that they talk. They actually communicate. In a story with steamy sex scenes, I find it refreshing that Nicholas and Olivia also talk and discuss. There’s a connection that’s not just sexual and I like it. I really appreciate it. 

As for the other characters, I just wish I can see more of them in the future books. I know that Royally Matched will be about Prince Henry (so I guess I won’t be missing him too much) but I would also love to see and know more about Franny (yes Ugly Bitch!!), Ellie and even the bodyguards. I mentioned it before but I would also like to point it out here that it’s always good to have main characters who are dynamic and engaging. But it is equally important to build up secondary characters with depth and meaning, not just haphazardly thrown into the story to complete the cast. And Chase nailed just that!

There were parts when I was feeling meh but got easily pulled back in because of the banter and humor. This story is cute and fun. It was a steady read but I think it was in the last few chapters when I started feeling a teeny tiny bit emotional. Though I know it’s fiction, there was something about the resolution that was honest to goodness too good to be true. And also, the main characters have been fretting  about THAT problem since the beginning then here comes a solution – why havent they thought of that before? Alright, I understand that it was a big something that was given up. But still, it was not like his whole life will change. It’s the one big conflict in the story and initially, it was presented like there’s no solution at all except to accept that it was the way it’s supposed to be. Then all of a sudden, bammm, here’s a solution for y’all. Convenient eh?

And also, do I still need to talk about the writing? Ladies and gents, it’s Emma Chase! The writing is flawless and fun and full of snark and wit. She writes with precision and her dual POV is sharp as always. She has once again delivered a fun yet lovable story of a cocky bad boy and a strong heroine.

What kept me glued to the story is the superb Chase writing. I don’t think I could ever get tired of reading her because her writing style just flows. However, the reason I cannot give any more stars is because of the abundance of cheesiness, predictability and lack of wow factor in terms of overall plot. 

It wasn’t actually bad. But it was just okay. If you want something fun and light to read? Prince Nicholas is in the waiting room

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