180 Seconds by Jessica Park

180 SECONDS

“We are engaged in a form of intimacy that scares the absolute hell out of me. It’s as if there is a weight on my chest that I want to shove off, and I’ve never been this terrified before.
Or this whole and hopeful and connected.
My body starts to tremble. I want more of what I’m feeling, and I also want none of it.”

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It’s imperative to say that this is my first ever read from Jessica Park and in just one book, she was able to make me rethink about some of my opinions about some very important things.

Not really a fan of insta-love and insta-connection, 180 seconds made me reconsider my stand on this and the possibility of this happening in real life. I can tolerate instant connections so long as it is cleverly written but with this book – I not only tolerated it, I embraced it.

I love how this story just flows and grows. Initially, I was a bit hesitant to continue because our main character, Allison, sounds a lot like a main character in one of the books I recently read and did not fully support. Broken, flawed, difficult past – I felt that she will be predictable. However, I was surprised by how different she is. Her character was not stagnant. She knew she has issues, she acknowledged them and worked on them. Then there’s Esben. I cannot begin to explain how special he is and I feel like he will be one of those main characters who will stay with me for a long, long time.

I appreciate the idea of performing social experiments and using social media to promote kindness and hope. I enjoyed how relatable this story is and I am grateful for the kind of hope it gave me. At the same time, I admired the author for being realistic enough to also show the negative side of social media and the monsters that lurk in the background.

This book is spectacularly written. The pacing is perfect, I felt that it was neither slow nor being rushed making it all the more believable for me.

180 seconds may have been the push Allison needed to evaluate her beliefs and her life. But for me, this book is a catalyst of hope and making me believe that though a lot of days may be bleak, there’s still so much goodness and positivity to look forward to. There may be parts in the story where my heart broke (Damn 70%) but I understand and can accept it as well.  I know how pivotal certain events play in our MC’s life and I like how the author was very delicate and sensitive in writing those scenes.

This book is for those readers who would like to feel good, escape harsh reality for a short while, doesn’t mind a few tears and just need more positivity to boost their day. I didn’t really read the blurb but after finishing, I realized that I needed this kind of read now. So thank you Jessica for giving me Allison, Esben, Steffi, Kerry and Simon.

And though this is just my first read from this author, I am quite positive that this won’t be the last.

5 #THISKISSTHISKISS STARS!

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Review Headings -  Blurb

Some people live their entire lives without changing their perspective. For Allison Dennis, all it takes is 180 seconds…

After a life spent bouncing from one foster home to the next, Allison is determined to keep others at arm’s length. Adopted at sixteen, she knows better than to believe in the permanence of anything. But as she begins her third year in college, she finds it increasingly difficult to disappear into the white noise pouring from her earbuds.

One unsuspecting afternoon, Allison is roped into a social experiment just off campus. Suddenly, she finds herself in front of a crowd, forced to interact with a complete stranger for 180 seconds. Neither she, nor Esben Baylor, the dreamy social media star seated opposite her, is prepared for the outcome.

When time is called, the intensity of the experience overwhelms Allison and Esben in a way that unnerves and electrifies them both. With a push from her oldest friend, Allison embarks on a journey to find out if what she and Esben shared is the real thing—and if she can finally trust in herself, in others, and in love.

The Silent Waters by Brittainy C. Cherry

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“The world keeps spinning because your heartbeats exist”

*Better late than never review*

This book is one big story comprised of little moments sewn together. Brittainy Cherry is fast becoming one of my favorite authors given that this is only my second read from her.The Silent Waters.jpg

When you read a story and it touches your soul, you WILL know.

This is one of those stories wherein I have absolutely no clue as to how things will play out. I fell in love with Maggie and Brooks as kids and even more as they grew. I admire how Cherry’s plots are unlike any other, how she digs in deeper and really finds that connection to her readers.

She creates characters which are not perfect. She creates characters you can relate to, characters who are flawed that you will sometimes find bits and pieces of yourself in them. 

She reinvents flaws and make them strengths and to date, I have to say that creating characters who seem real to me will always be one of her greatest strength as an author.

It also seems like friendship and family are dominant themes in her stories. This one in particular spans years and it started during our main characters’ childhood to being young adults to adulthood. I love how the story evolved, how the characters grew and I felt myself growing with them. I can’t say a lot about the story without giving much away. What’s important for you to know is that this is superbly written, thoughtfully structured with the minor characters providing great support to the main characters. How all the characters grew and matured with time is just exceptional. Each one affects the other and the main strength of this story is in the depth of our characters. 

Books like this is one of the reasons I read – to feel, to think and to learn to appreciate even the tiniest moments. 

4.5 STARS!

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Review Headings -  Blurb

Moments.

Our lives are a collection of moments. Some utterly painful and full of yesterday’s hurts. Some beautifully hopeful and full of tomorrow’s promises.

I’ve had many moments in my lifetime, moments that changed me, challenged me. Moments that scared me and engulfed me. However, the biggest ones—the most heartbreaking and breathtaking ones—all included him.

I was ten years old when I lost my voice. A piece of me was stolen away, and the only person who could truly hear my silence was Brooks Griffin. He was the light during my dark days, the promise of tomorrow, until tragedy found him. Tragedy that eventually drowned him in a sea of memories.

This is the story of a boy and girl who loved each other, but didn’t love themselves. A story of life and death. Of love and broken promises.

Of moments.

 

Mischief in Miami by Nicole Williams

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“Life’s a sequence of gambles. You’re going to win some. You’re going to lose some. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t play the game.”

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Well, this is quite the surprise.

I have read Collared by Nicole Williams before and I LIKED it enough. I came across this series in my search for my next read after a fantasy binge and the plot intrigued me. I started this first book right away and boy, I was really fascinated.

Given the premise, the storyline could be a bit messy but I liked how the author gave life and justification to the Eves. In the simplest of terms, Eves are women who work for other women to help them get out of a marriage with a big fortune in their pockets. Eves are actually homewreckers hired by the wives to get out of their marriages with their cheating husbands.

The writing is good though it feels detached at times due to the main character’s sole narrative. However, I feel like it was a reflection of the main character’s personality. All work, no attachments. She felt impersonal, unreal and void of emotions. Her mindset is on finishing an Errand (how they refer to a job or an assignment) without any strings attached.

If you’re looking for romance or a bad boy turned good kind of story, I’m afraid that this might not be the one for you. This is a woman who consciously enters and wreaks havoc in a marriage. You might not like her, you might not understand her but in a way, I kind of understand why she does what she does. And  surprisingly, I found myself rooting for her.

We get a glimpse of Sienna and her life as an Eve in this first book. However, just when we start to understand them and their way of living, that ending kind of rocked the boat when we were given a sneak preview that these Eves also has their pasts and history. With that cliffhanger, I will surely dive into the next book. Who is that guy and why was Sienna affected by him so much?

This book is a short, fast paced read that’s not only good for killing time but also if you’re looking for a different kind of reading flavor.  

3.5 STARS

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Review Headings - Blurb

Seduction. Infidelity. Blackmail. Scandal. It can all be bought for the right price and for Sienna Stevens, business is good.

Because she’s in the business of Great Exploitations.

She’s an Eve, a member of a secret society of women contracted by the wives of wealthy, powerful men for one reason and one reason only: to seduce their husbands. To ensure their pre-nuptial agreement will be null and void thanks to a little loophole known as the Infidelity Clause. To ensure that those wives don’t find themselves on the other side of a divorce without a penny to their name.

When it comes to the Eves, Sienna’s one of the best because she follows the number one rule of the Eves to the letter: don’t let it get personal.

When the job file of her wealthiest client yet falls into her lap, Sienna realizes that this case could be the one that’s impossible to detach herself from. The payout would lead to her independence, but will the cost be too high in the end?

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

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“The rest of the world quieted into nothing. In that moment, after ten long years, Celaena looked at Chaol and realised she was home.”

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Throne of Glass ended spectacularly that I just cannot resist diving into the second book immediately. I was intrigued, I was supremely curious. What happens to Celaena now? What happens to my ship? *wink wink*

Crown of Midnight offers a multitude of events that I just cannot find the right words to describe the awesomeness packed in this story. I did not linger on a single emotion because I found myself on highs and lows. It’s too early to tell but this can be my favorite among the series. (But that’s still open for re-negotiation. AS OF WRITING, I JUST FINISHED Qos AND CoM STILL REMAINS TO BE MY FAVORITE)

In terms of character development, I am glad that I was able to see a softer (if you could call it that) side to the bratty and hard headed assassin. I felt her opening up slowly, shedding layers of her solid core. I felt like I enjoyed this version of Celaena better that the one in TOG. The hyped up assassin I was looking for is here! After this book, everything made sense! I understood the entitlement, why she can be bratty and arrogant and stubborn. It all made perfect sense.

On the other hand, I couldn’t be happier for my ship. Love triangle, you said???? I’m sorry but my ship seems winning on this one although I have to admit that Dorian was a big surprise in this book. Initially, he felt like an obstacle to me but eventually, I enjoyed how he is being shaped as his own character and being made to fully stand on his own. 

It’s not just Dorian alone but all the other characters we get to know more of are ever changing and growing. I feel like we are slowly being made to see just how HUGE this series can be with all the plot twists, all the backstories, all the complex, multilayered characters we encountered.

Crown of Midnight is emotional as it is shocking, it’s twisted as it is satisfying.

I just don’t know if I can find the appropriate words for this book. Seriously, it feels like this made up for all the small flaws in Throne of Glass. I feel like Maas gave us a taste of what she can offer with Throne of Glass then gave us the main, delicious course in Crown of Midnight. This book had me on edge since I cannot imagine how it would end. With all the complexities, all the turns and twists and the madness and chaos – I did not dare hope for a positive ending.

BUT THAT ENDING POSITIVELY SHOOK ME! That was an ending I did not see coming. 

5 STARS!

Stars - 5


Review Headings - BlurbFrom the throne of glass rules a king with a fist of iron and a soul as black as pitch. Assassin Celaena Sardothien won a brutal contest to become his Champion. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown. She hides her secret vigilantly; she knows that the man she serves is bent on evil.

Keeping up the deadly charade becomes increasingly difficult when Celaena realizes she is not the only one seeking justice. As she tries to untangle the mysteries buried deep within the glass castle, her closest relationships suffer. It seems no one is above questioning her allegiances—not the Crown Prince Dorian; not Chaol, the Captain of the Guard; not even her best friend, Nehemia, a foreign princess with a rebel heart.

Then one terrible night, the secrets they have all been keeping lead to an unspeakable tragedy. As Celaena’s world shatters, she will be forced to give up the very thing most precious to her and decide once and for all where her true loyalties lie… and whom she is ultimately willing to fight for.

WWW WEDNESDAYS – May 3, 2017

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It’s another Wednesday and as you all know, 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?


** Please forgive me, I’m still in a Maas binge and I promise to go back to some NA/Romance after all these fantasy. 

WWW1

I’m currently reading A Court of Wings and Ruin (ACOWAR) which just came out yesterday. And though I would really love to have a physical copy of this book, I just cannot wait any longer so I got myself a Kindle version first just to satisfy my reading craving. 

A Court of Wings and Ruin

BLURB:

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s maneuverings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit-and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.

As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords-and hunt for allies in unexpected places.

 

 

 


Also, I am STILL also reading Queen of Shadows which I have put on hold in the meantime to pave way for ACOWAR.

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 am truly a slow reader these days and the last one I have finished is still Heir of Fire. I know. Shame on me. I seriously need to pick up my pace.

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 I finish with CoM and ACOWAR.

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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.


There you have it, my WWW Wednesday with not much progress on my end. But I guess the important thing is that no matter how busy life can get, no matter the pressure adulting will put on you – always find time to open a book, to turn your Kindle on and find time to explore life beyond ours. The pace may be slow but at least the desire to read never falters. 

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Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris

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“When I look at him I feel dismayed as I always do at how normal he looks, because surely there should be something–pointed ears or a pair of horns–to warn people of his evilness.”

Behind Closed Doors

Oh man, I feel bad for George Clooney……

So let’s talk about BA Paris’ debut work which became a nominee for Goodreads Choice Award (Mystery & Thriller) and for Debut Goodreads Author (2016).

Despite the cluttered parts, despite the repetitive feel, despite the flaws —-  I CAN’T SEEM TO PUT THIS DOWN. It’s that addicting!

True enough, I felt a bit let down that things were already out in the open early on but I just can’t seem to stop reading. There is an excitement and curiosity as you go along and though the villain is revealed very early in the story *surprise surprise*, I still can’t wait to get to the action. (Actually, all you blurb readers out there must have figured it out even before opening the book but since I went in blind, I had no idea. Danggggggg)

What I didn’t enjoy much about this book is the way it was executed. The narrative felt disorderly and messy leading to confusion at some point. It shifts from past and present times which was unnecessary in the way the story was told. Perhaps the author felt that that kind of execution added to the buildup but to me, it only added to more confusion. There are storylines wherein a past-present POV shifting is favourable but it just didn’t work for this plot. The way she did it just gave me a headache on top of the anxiety I was already feeling.

On the other hand, what I liked about this book is that it made me feel terrified and wary of human behaviour. When a book, despite its flaws and limitations can make me feel scared, hateful, hopeful and agonized then congratulations, you got me.

There is tension and buildup and there were times when I was on the edge of my seat. The suspense in this story is NOT finding out who the villain is but in escaping the villain which was really, REALLY hard. And despite my love-hate relationship with how this book was written, I have to say that the ending totally made up for it. 

I just wish that the trend to tag books as the next this or the next that be stopped. It’s actually setting high expectations and making this current book just another recycled story. And it’s sad when that happens. It’s stripping down a book’s individuality way before a reader has even opened it. Or maybe it’s a marketing ploy.

It’s not the most spectacular read but would you look at that – I really enjoyed it.

3.5 STARS

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Review Headings - Blurb

Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace: he has looks and wealth, she has charm and elegance. You’d like to get to know Grace better. But it’s difficult, because you realize Jack and Grace are never apart. Some might call this true love.

Picture this: a dinner party at their perfect home, the conversation and wine flowing. They appear to be in their element while entertaining. And Grace’s friends are eager to reciprocate with lunch the following week. Grace wants to go, but knows she never will. Her friends call—so why doesn’t Grace ever answer the phone? And how can she cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim?

And why are there bars on one of the bedroom windows?

The perfect marriage? Or the perfect lie?

WWW WEDNESDAYS – April 26, 2017

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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

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“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.”

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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.    

Stars - 4


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 wednesday

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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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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