Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Top Ten Goals/Resolutions For 2015

Top Ten Tuesdays is a weekly feature created at The Broke and The Bookish.

1. Do more read-a-thons. I did a couple this year, and they were really enjoyable. I would love to do more next year.

2. Relatedly, do more reading challenges. Even if I don't succeed at all of them, it pushes me a little out of my reading comfort zone. Perhaps not the Goodreads challenge though...

3. Comment more. I still feel sort of weird about commenting on other people's blogs? Is that just me? (Because, you know, if you feel weird about commenting on my blog, you'll obviously comment to let me know. That's clearly how things work.)

4. Timely reviews. That's a carry-over from last year. I think I've (for the most part) gotten a little better, but I still sometimes put off reviewing a book for quite a while.

5. Figure out some HTML and CSS. I've tried before, but I'm not very good at it. Hopefully I'll manage better the next time I try to learn. (Anyone know some good resources?)

6. Do more non-review posts. I didn't do enough posts that were just spontaneous, one-off posts this year, but I enjoyed the ones that I did (like this one... I got to show off my amazing skills with Microsoft Paint too).

7. Cultivated more of a reviewing style. I'm still settling into one I like... I've tried a couple of new things this year, and I think I'm finding a way that I enjoy writing reviews. Its an ongoing process.

8. Organise my Goodreads. I have reviews that I haven't posted on Goodreads, I have duplicates in my lists... suffice to say it isn't exactly pretty over there.

9. Organise everything else. I have a 2015 calendar just waiting to be updated. With things.

10. On the subject of things. Do things. Like actually going to a book fair/ signing/ thing in 2015.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Review: The Young Elites

The Young Elites (The Young Elites, #1)Title: The Young Elites
Author: Marie Lu
Series: The Young Elites
Volume: 1
Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy

A Quick Introduction: Adelina Amouteru survived the devastating blood fever, only to emerge scarred- and marked with white hair and lashes. She's one of the malfetto, children who survived the plagues but are now dogged by suspicion and rumours that they have unnatural powers. When these rumours are proven true, Adelina is thrust into the world of the Young Elites, and a group led by Enzo Valenciano. Adelina has been hurt and betrayed many times in her life, and she's done taking all of the abuse from the world. She's ready to start paying people back.

Out of Ten: 6/10

Review at a Glance: An opening to a dark fantasy series whose characters I could not invest in.

Review: I enjoyed Marie Lu's debut Legend as well as its sequels Prodigy (review) and Champion (review), and was intrigued by her preliminary art for this series (like this). On the other side, I'm not sure how I feel about it. There were a lot of things about this book that I really didn't enjoy, but I don't think they are a result of poor writing or storytelling.

These mixed feelings are best explained by- and perhaps rooted in- the character of Adelina. She is overall not a very likable character, and isn't really intended to be. She's bitter and vengeful, and generally enjoys the torment of those whom she feels have wronged her. It made her an aggravating character to read, as well as making her someone whom I found myself unable to root for or connect to. However, that does not me she is not a vivid, multi-faceted character, because she is- she just isn't a very good person.

The other characters were generally as vividly formed as Adelina and were quite diverse, although also difficult to connect to, especially as a result of Adelina's narration and view of them. The romance was also difficult for me to invest in, and felt stilted and underdeveloped. Adelina and Enzo did not seem to know, much less trust, each other at all and didn't really seem to like spending time with each other.

The plot was overall straight-forward, both a plot in itself and a set-up for a larger story, as this is the first book in a series. It is closely interlinked with introducing the world and magic system, which is still somewhat unclear- to the characters as well as the reader, as the powers are fairly new to the world. This set's up Adelina's back story, which is more of a villain's origin story than that of a hero. The world itself is fairly well defined, and is set up to be explored more in the following book.

This is, as I have mentioned, a part of a series, that I am, at present, unsure if I will continue. I did not really enjoy reading much of the book, and actually found myself losing interest occasionally, even into the climax. Overall, I feel like this book was alright as a piece of writing, but really wasn't for me. The characters are somehow both very vibrant and very hard for me to invest in.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Top Ten Books I Wouldn't Mind As A Gift This Year

Top Ten Tuesdays are a weekly feature over at The Broke and The Bookish.

1-3. AirbornSkybreaker and Starclimber in the new covers. I already have copies of the books in fairly good condition, so I can't justify buying them for myself right now, but I really, really like the tenth anniversary editions.
4-5. Angelfall and World After. I haven't bought them... for no real reason in particular. I really enjoyed them, I think they were never quite on the top of my list, but always near the top. I will probably purchase them at some point in the new year. I'm kind of wondering what wings will be on the last one.
The Manual of Aeronautics: An Illustrated Guide to the Leviathan Series
6. Manual of Aeronautics. This is another one that has been on my list for a while. I own the Leviathan trilogy, and this is a companion to it. I haven't read it, but I enjoyed the illustrations in the trilogy, and I would enjoy seeing them in colour.
7-8. For Darkness Shows the Stars and Across a Star-Swept Sea. I was waiting for them both to be out in paperback before buying them, and I haven't purchased them yet. I will probably do that eventually.
9-10. Fullmetal Alchemist Omnibus Editions Vol. 8 and 9. I haven't bought either of them yet. I've read the whole series, but I haven't bought all of the books yet (I waited for the omnibus editions because they were less expensive). I don't really read much manga (I mean, comparatively), but I really enjoyed FMA.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Review: Rites of Passage

Rites of PassageTitle: Rites of Passage
Author: Joy N. Hensley
Genre: Realistic Fiction, Contemporary

A Quick Introduction: Sam has always had a weakness for dares, which is how she finds herself enrolled in the first female group of students at Denmark Military Academy. It is the last dare that her brother ever gave her, and is will be the hardest one for her to follow through, because there are people who don't want the school open to women. People willing to do anything that they can to get her out.

Out of Ten: 8/10

Review at a Glance: A strong debut driven by character, as well as by plot, though it felt somewhat incomplete.

Review: This was another of the few debut novels that I enjoyed this year. It was a bad year for me as debuts go. It was also a contemporary which I don't usually read, but I enjoyed it more than I was expecting.

Sam was such a strong character. Raised in a military family, she's familiar with a lot of the demands of that life, as well as being under constant pressure from her father, a well respected officer. She enrolls in the DMA knowing that the stakes are against her- there's a lot of people who don't want a girl at the academy, and will do just about anything to send her packing. But Sam is tough as nails, and doesn't back down from anyone. She's incredibly determined, though not without her struggles. While the attempts of the boys to scare her off don't shake her, the dynamics within her family make her insecure. She had her vulnerabilities, and they made her seem human, when her determination and strength might have made her seem inhuman.

I don't usually read contemporaries, but I did enjoy the plot of this one. While Sam herself was the main force that pulled this novel along, she wouldn't have shone without the plot. She's up against a lot, on top of the rigors of the military school (which are intense), it isn't just a few malcontents trying to get her out of school- it is a secret society, and they seem like they're everywhere. There aren't a lot of people who she can trust. Sam was amazingly tough, and someone who I found myself really rooting for.

I didn't end up minding the romance in this one. I was a bit worried about a love triangle, but it didn't really end up happening, so that was nice. I did like that the relationship between Sam and Drill was good in that it was very much based on trust and respect, and was overall quite well done. Sam's relationships with her family were, as mentioned, troubled, especially due to her attending the DMA and her brother's recent death. She does also form some relationships with some of her classmates, but some of them felt a little inconsistent (or possibly cliche?) in their arcs.

Really, for me, my only complaint was that it felt unfinished. There isn't a planned sequel, but it felt very open to another book, and I really would prefer that it have one. There were some aspects that were a little too open ended, more as if certain things had not been touched on (her brother's death, and her family situation were something that I felt could have had more focus). It just felt like there was more to the story, that some things were either wrapped up too easily or not wrapped up (and I couldn't tell which). I think this was part of why I had minor issues with arcs of some of the minor characters. I suppose it was just that I was expecting more.

I greatly enjoyed Sam's character and the plot, though I felt like there was more to the story than what was given when the book wrapped up.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Top Ten Books I Read In 2014

Top Ten Tuesdays are a weekly feature over at The Broke and The Bookish.

I think my top ten books fluctuate by mood. Here's what they are right now.

The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski.

Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater.

A Mad Wicked Folly by Sarah Biggs Waller.

Sea of Shadows by Kelley Armstrong.

Across a Star-Swept Sea by Diana Peterfreund.

Cress by Marissa Meyer.

World After by Susan Ee.

Unmade by Sarah Rees Brennan.

Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo.

Rites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Review: A Thousand Pieces of You

A Thousand Pieces of You (Firebird, #1)Title: A Thousand Pieces of You
Author: Claudia Gray
Series: Firebird
Volume: 1
Genre: Science fiction, fantasy, romance

A Quick Introduction: Marguerite Caine has just lost her father and his killer got away... to another dimension. Marguerite's parents were a team of brilliant physicists and inventors, and together they created the Firebird, a device that allows a person to transport their consciousness from one version of themselves to another, in another dimension. Grieving her father and desperate to get some justice, Marguerite takes a prototype Firebird and follows the last person she would have expected to hurt her father, her parent's assistant Paul into another dimension.

Out of Ten: 7/10

Review at a Glance: This novel has an interesting premise, and, though it ended up being carried more by plot than character for me, it was enjoyable nonetheless.

Review: Overall, I enjoyed this one, it was quite engaging, though there were some things that pulled me out of the story. (Also, look at the cover. It's lovely.)

I enjoyed the science fiction component of the story- I don't know too much about multi-dimensional theories, and, though the idea of the Firebird is likely far-fetched in physics terms, it was a fun "what-if," which is really a main component of sci-fi. The dimension-jumping was interesting, and I would like to know more about that at some point. It was described well enough that the idea worked within the world Claudia Gray introduced.

The characters were fairly engaging, but not ones I really connected to. There was enough going on plot-wise, that this was less of a problem than if the novel had been entirely dependent on being character driven, though it reduce how invested I was in the story and its outcomes.

The romance... was convoluted. Part of it, for me, was that my reaction was basically, "Wait-what-suddenly-romance?" Possibly because I don't really buy that you can be the same person when your entire world is different, because, you know, nature vs. nurture, the environment a person is raised in dramatically alters them- their outlook, many aspects of their personality... So to me, when Marguerite was in alternate-dimension Russia, it was as if she took very little time and very few encounters to be utterly, completely in love with someone she had just met. So I essentially understood the idea of it, but it didn't really work for me.

There are a lot of different worlds introduced, and were generally pretty well-formed, though more more background for how each dimension had diverged from the one Marguerite calls home would have been interesting. This is the first book in a series, and I'm looking forward to exploring more of this world.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Top Ten New-To-Me Authors I Read In 2014

Top Ten Tuesdays are a weekly feature over at The Broke and The Bookish.

I read very few new authors this year that I really enjoyed.

I'll just give you the three that jump to mind.

1. Marie Rutkoski: I read The Winner's Curse and I loved it.

2. Sharon Biggs Waller: She's kind of a debut author (this was her fiction debut), but I'm really looking forward to her next book. Which comes out in 2016.

3. Holly Black: I hadn't read anything from her prior to this year... for no reason I can fathom. I have now decided that I must read The Spiderwick Chronicles, though. The art looks lovely too... Basically I don't know if she's in here because of what I read this year, or because I really want to read Spiderwick... but she's here.

Some whose series I'm going to continue, but I don't know if I would read a book not part of said series... basically judgement pending.

4. Maria V. Snyder: I read Poison Study, I enjoyed it, though I didn't love it. I'm continuing the series with hopes that I'll get more absorbed as time goes on.

5. Claudia Gray: I quite enjoyed A Thousand Pieces of You, and I will likely read the next book in the series.

I think that's it. Can you tell this post was a bit unplanned? I'm in the middle of exams right now and I didn't schedule it in advance because I'm a genius like that. I might come back and edit this once I've got some time.

Note to self: branch out more next year.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Review: Poison Study

Poison Study (Study, #1)Title: Poison Study
Author: Maria V. Snyder
Series: Study
Volume: 1
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: March 1, 2007

A Quick Introduction: Yelena is about to be executed for murder, when she is offered a chance to live as food tester to the ruler of her nation. Though the job is not without risk, and she will never be truly free, she takes it. As she learns to navigate her new position, and attempts to find a way that she might be free, unrest in the nation spreads. Yelena must tread carefully, especially when she begins to develop strange magical abilities beyond her control.

Out of Ten: 7/10

Review at a Glance: An enjoyable opening to a fantasy series, though the characters were somewhat difficult to connect to, and the world would benefit from more detail.

Review:I enjoyed this one, though I was hoping to like it more. I like the premise a lot- Yelena is offered a choice- to be executed for murder (all killings are considered punishable be death, no matter what the reason), or to become food taster for the leader of Ixia, and likely eventually die by poison.

I found Yelena fairly likable, though I did not completely connect to her. Perhaps part of it was that she felt very multi-talented without being multifaceted? She felt generally quite straightforward as a character, though I could see that she was meant to have depth, that depth just didn't feel completely real to me. This aside, she's a very enduring person, she's had a lot of horrible things happen to her in the past, and she pushes on despite that. She's fairly intelligent and curious, and slow to trust because of her past, and forms bonds to other people slowly.

As a result, she takes some time finding her place in the palace, but she does make friends. One complaint I did have was that her relationship with her love interest, Valek, moves very quickly from friendship. It seemed strange, given the abuse in her past, for Yelena to be comfortable moving that quickly into an intimate relationship. It just seemed sudden, it might have done with more build-up, more time for the relationship to evolve.

The world was one that lacked a history, as there was a recent uprising, replacing the nobility with a military leader. The new leadership bans magic, endangering Yelena further, as power begins to awaken in her. I would have liked for there to be more depth to the world, parts of it were hard to picture. The plot was engaging, both a complete story and a part of a larger arc, as this book is part of a series.

Overall, I enjoyed this book, and I am planning on continuing the series, and I hope that I will connect more with Yelena in the next book.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Review: Shadows

Shadows (The Rephaim, #1)Title: Shadows
Author: Paula Weston
Series: The Rephiam
Volume: 1
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal
Release Date: September 10, 2013

A Quick Introduction: Gaby's been having nightmares. She would attribute them to the trauma of her twin's death, except that they're not about the car crash he was killed and Gaby herself was badly injured. They're about a nightclub, and in it she kills things that don't exist, with people she's never met. Never met, that is, until one of them turns up in the town where she's living with her best friend to tell her that she's not who she thinks she is.

Out of Ten: 6/10

Review at a Glance:  This quartet opening was quite a fast read, though not one with characters or plot that I was entirely invested in.

Review: This was a fairly easy read, though one that I wasn't entirely engaged in. Gaby was a fairly sharp-edged character, likely partly due to the fact that she's still dealing with the loss of her brother. She's generally fairly harsh and callous, which didn't bother me, though I did have a hard time connecting with her. I just couldn't quite get into her head, though I generally could follow why she acted as she did, at least to a degree. I don't really have that much of an opinion on the other characters, they all seem fairly simple at this point. I'm not sure what it was, but I just found if difficult to care much about any of the characters.

My lack of connection to the characters may have been a part of the reason that the romance didn't end up interesting me. It felt like there was an imbalance, with the action lagging to allow for the romance, such as is was, to develop (or not develop...). It stilted the flow of the novel slightly in places, to the end that the two plot lines felt separate, rather than cohesive.

In some parts of the book were difficult to follow, in that I didn't understand how certain characters had certain information... parts of it seemed too convenient, which pushed the limits of my suspension of disbelief a little. This is the first book in a quartet, so the plot is just starting to build this book, and it does feel like its building up to something, rather than having a standalone plot. It is more set-up than it was plot.

Overall, I am giving the second book in this series a try, though I'm still uncertain if I'll end up finishing the series. We'll see if it picks up for me or not.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

November DNF

These review-y things are becoming noticeably longer. I don't write full reviews for books I haven't finished, simply because I don't have a full scope of the book. So these are my DNF reviews for the month.
The Jewel (The Lone City, #1)
The Jewel by Amy Ewing
204 pages
Yes, that right I actually got over halfway through. This does happen. Here's the thing: I was on the fence to begin with about it, but I saw it at the library and I tried reading it, and nope. It started off alright. Not perfect, by any means, but alright. And then it went downhill. Here are some thoughts:
  1. This book is a stock YA post-apocalyptic novel. It was trope-y all get out. There was a scene that was incredibly similar to those in The Hunger Games. It has all the pitfalls that YA dysopia novels sometimes fall prey to. There's no realistic background for how the dystopia happened, not explanation as to how it functions (because it really shouldn't) and absoloutely no reason for the society to continue functioning as it was. I have a hard time with "it's sci-fi, anything goes"- I need background.
  2. The character of Violet bothered me from the start, but I could push it aside, since I brushed them off as being mostly "me" problems. There was just nothing to attach me to her character.
  3. I thought I would be able to finish it until we met the love interest... and I knew then that I wouldn't be able to to deal with how the story was going to play out. I, personally have a hard time with insta-love. I mean, I get that people can be attracted to someone the first time they see them, but there's a big difference between that and love.
So, what I'm saying is it didn't work for me. I think if you liked The Selection or Landry Park, this might be something for you to check out, they have a similar feel.

Trust Me, I'm Lying
Trust Me, I'm Lying by Mary Elizabeth Summer
65 pages
I haven't had very good luck with debuts recently. This was another one that just didn't work for me at all. My rule is that I give a book 50 pages... and I stopped right after that mark with this one. I just couldn't do it. I had hopes for this novel, especially because I really liked the title (I think I liked the old cover better, but that's neither here nor there). Thoughts:
  1. Julep bothered me. Not in an "she was an unlikable character" respect, though I didn't find her particularly likable, but in an "you say you are intelligent and good at what you do, but I'm REALLY not seeing it" respect. Part of this was there was a lot of telling and not a lot of showing (at least as far as I got). From what I've gathered, manipulating people requires subtlety, and she's about as subtle as being bashed in the head with a hardcover. It's also necessary to observe the people you're manipulating (and be observant in general), and she just wasn't.
  2. This might sound petty (probably), but Julep's so called "wit" bothered me. Being really witty generally requires some though behind it, and she didn't think. I know some very witty people, and the thing that lets you pull it off is that there's intelligence behind it.
  3. There was a love triangle of sorts lurking on the horizon, about as subtle as a thunderhead. Or possibly a tornado. I have a hard time with love triangles, they are extremely difficult to get right. This was not getting it right, even in the early stages, and I just wasn't willing to drag myself through another if there was one to be had.
  4. I started getting the sense that this was going to be one of those mystery stories where everything is incredibly convenient for the main character to solve. 
I think that this book mainly suffers from a lack of finesse. Everything is told to the reader, rather than shown to them. Much of it was likely a problem of personal preference. 

All That Glows (All That Glows, #1)
All that Glows by Ryan Graudin
100+ pages
I actually got fairly far into this one. I thought I wasn't going to finish it, then I thought that I was, and in the end I didn't finish it. I sort of put it on hold again and again until I had to return it to the library.
  1. The romance in this book really, really came out of nowhere in this one. I was expecting insta-love, but it was really fast, even by the usual standards.
  2. I found that didn't connect to the characters. I think an element of that actually came from the sudden relationship- I found it really difficult to understand Emrys's thought processes or choices.
  3. The world in this one just didn't win me over. The world building didn't make if feel particularly vivid and I didn't really understand how the magic system worked. 
In the end, this just didn't interest me. I'm very hit-and-miss with fae books, and this just ended up being a miss for me. I'm not entirely sure exactly why... I didn't have a strong dislike for it or anything, it just didn't grab me. I might try it again at some point... we'll see. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A to Z Book Survey

Look at what I found collecting dust in my drafts.
Jamie of the Perpetual Page-Turner  put together a survey, which sounded fun, so I figured I would give it a go. (Click the sign above for her competed version.)

Author you've read the most books from:
Eoin Colfer. I've only mentioned my adoration of the Artemis Fowl series about a million times. I just love Colfer's writing. I think he's the author I have read most.

Best Sequel Ever: I really enjoyed Skybreaker, sequel to Airborn

Currently Reading:
I'm re-reading  the Harry Potter series. I'm almost finished Going Vintage, though it has been sitting neglected for almost two weeks. I've got less than 100 pages left of The Omnivore's Dilemma. So, basically I have a bunch on the go.

Drink of Choice While Reading:
Lemonade, or cranberry raspberry juice. Or, basically, whatever I feel like at the time.

E-reader or Physical Book?
Physical. People keep telling me to get an e-reader, but there's something about physical books. Also, I have been known to drop many a book, and paper is a lot more forgiving than wiring.

Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated In High School:
Tough one. I don't tend to take fancies to fictional characters.

Glad You Gave This Book A Chance:
Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices, #1)
I wasn't going to read it, but a friend of mine loved it. It has plenty of flaws, but I still overall enjoyed it. I have a weird relationship with this trilogy...

Hidden Gem Book:
Airborn by Kenneth Oppel. A lot of people haven't read this one. I don't know if it would be such a hidden one if this cover was the one that you see in stores, but, sadly that isn't the case. Or maybe people have read it, but didn't like it as much as I did?

Important Moment in your Reading Life: Recently? Reading The Scorpio Races. Ever? Deciding to read Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone on my own after my family finished it, when I was in the first grade or so. I read before that, but it cemented me as a reader.

Just Finished: *laughs guiltily* nothing... Okay. I finished Blue Lily, Lily Blue again. I'm in a rereading phase.

Kinds of Books You Won’t Read: Anything pitched as a "gritty contemporary novel" or such. I've tried it. I don't like it. I tend to be an escapist when I read, and I don't really enjoy reading about people's real-world lives.

Longest Book You’ve Read:
The Lord of the Rings (The Lord of the Rings, #1-3)
I think that would have to go to Lord of the Rings. On top of being over a thousand pages long, the writing is a little more intricate that I typically read.

Major book hangover because of: I don't usually get book hangovers. Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare and Unmade by Sarah Rees Brennan were both draining for me to read, though, since I was pretty invested in them... end of a trilogy, lots of emotions sort of thing.

Number of Bookcases You Own: Three in my room, but I'm lucky enough to live in a house full of books...

One Book You Have Read Multiple Times: I re-read almost obsessively. I don't often buy something that I don't think will get more than one read-through. I reread The Scorpio Races obsessively.

Preferred Place To Read: Anywhere. Chairs, buses, before bed, at lunch (the only time that I get solid reading time during my school day is while I attempt eat my food one-handed). Probably a comfortable chair.

Quote that inspires you/gives you all the feels from a book you’ve read: This one is always super hard for me. There are a lot of quotes that I find myself thinking of for no apparent reason... One of my favourite passages is the entire description of Gansey's journal in The Raven Boys. It's a very tactile description, and yet sort of... whimsical... maybe, at the same time.

Reading Regret: That I didn't go to the Toronto International Book Fair this year. This isn't really a huge regret, but I just didn't have the time or energy, I had a lot of labs and what not. I'm hopefully going next year though

Series You Started And Need To Finish(all books are out in series): I have yet to read the last book in the His Fair Assassin trilogy, I'm waiting on Mortal Heart. I'm also waiting for The Retribution of Mara Dyer, to finish the Mara Dyer trilogy.

Three of your All-Time Favorite Books:
Not an easy question... at the moment?
1. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
2. Artemis Fowl: The Lost Colony by Eoin Colfer
3. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Unapologetic Fangirl For: So many books. I've mentioned The Scorpio Races about 18 time in this survey, so that. I adore the whole Artemis Fowl series (at one time, most of my decision as to whether or to go on a trip was contingent on whether or not I could get the last book in eBook- I could, so I went, and spent about a day locked in a hotel room in Belize to read it). As mentioned, I have a weird relationship with The Infernal Devices and the Shadowhunter universe...

Very Excited For This Release More Than All The Others: Right now? The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski. (Though there's an untitled book by Sarah Biggs Walter coming out in 2016 that I'm really looking forward to as well at the moment).

Worst Bookish Habit: I've had friends scold me because I open books too wide (ie I crack the spine), I think I'm a little rougher on my books than some people, they tend to look a little lived in after I've read them a couple of times.

X Marks The Spot: Start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book: The Magician by Michael Scott (Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel book #2). These books have marvelous covers, especially the last few.

Your latest book purchase: Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater and Talon by Julie Kagawa.

ZZZ-snatcher book (last book that kept you up WAY late): Many, many. Blue Lily, Lily Blue made me stay up later than was wise when I had to get up at 5:30 to catch the bus for classes the next morning. (Who has no self control? Me. The answer is me.)

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Top Ten Books On My Winter TBR

Top Ten Tuesdays are a weekly feature over at The Broke and The Bookish.

I'm going to go with December to March. (Though in Canada, winter is pretty much November to April some years.)

Already Released:
Mortal Heart (His Fair Assassin, #3)
Mortal Heart. I got reacquainted with Grave Mercy a little while ago when I discovered that I had the audiobook (from SYNC's free audiobook thing a few summers ago, I believe). My library will probably have it available some time in the next four months. Maybe.
A Thousand Pieces of You (Firebird, #1)
A Thousand Pieces of You. That cover. Again, hopefully my library will get around to getting that in some time soon so I can read it.
The Retribution of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, #3)
The Retribution of Mara Dyer. Library again, hopefully... you've heard this before. Ah, long hold lists...
The Girl of Fire and Thorns (Fire and Thorns, #1)
Girl of Fire and Thorns. I still haven't read this, and I really should. Hopefully I'll be able to binge-read the trilogy when I get off university this semester.
World After (Penryn & the End of Days, #2)
World After. I really enjoyed Angelfall, but I haven't gotten around to reading book two yet.
The Queen of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling, #1)
Queen of Tearling. Another that I've got on hold a the library, hopefully it will come in in time for me to read it over my break.

To Be Released:
The Winner's Crime (The Winner's Trilogy, #2)
The Winner's Crime. It comes out in March... finally. I just finished doing a reread of The Winner's Curse, which was still wonderful, and I am definitely more than ready to continue this story. 
Fairest (The Lunar Chronicles, #3.5)
Fairest. I'm not looking forward to it nearly as much as I'm looking forward to Winter, though.
Shadow Scale (Seraphina, #2)
Shadowscale. Its been a longer-than-average wait (it will have been almost three years by the time it comes out). I listened to the audiobook of Seraphina (which I read a while ago) over the summer, and I'm looking forward to finding out what's next for Sera.
Transcendent (Starling, #3)
Transcendent. I've had mixed feelings about this trilogy, but I'm looking forward to finishing it.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Top Ten Sequels I Can't Wait To Get

Top Ten Tuesdays are a weekly feature over at The Broke and The Bookish.

I'm not sure about how I did on this list... it ended up being kind of extemporaneous because I've been in the throes of education chaos these past few weeks (finals approach...).


The Infinite Sea (The Fifth Wave #2)
The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancy
I still haven't gotten a chance to read it yet, though I would like to at some point soon. (Is this breaking the rule... I mean, I am looking forward to it, it's just that I haven't gotten to it yet... Oh well, its staying.)
The Retribution of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, #3)
The Retribution of Mara Dyer.
Basically I would like to finish this series. I have it on hold at the library right now... there's no telling how long it will take for that to come in (its kind of unpredictable).
Transcendent (Starling, #3)
Transcendent by Lesley Livingston.
Again, it's the end of a trilogy that I would like to finish. I've had mixed feelings about the trilogy itself, but we'll see how it goes whenever I get a chance to read it.


Shadow Scale (Seraphina, #2)
Shadowscale by Rachel Hartman.
The sequel to 
Seraphina, which I really enjoyed... this one has been a while in the making, and I'm really looking forward to being able to read it.
The Winner's Crime (The Winner's Trilogy, #2)
The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski.
I really liked The Winner's Curse... and it left on something of a cliffhanger. I'm excited for this one. And what a cover.
Winter by Marissa Meyer
I actually had mixed feelings about the release of Fairest being announced, because it meant that Winter's release is pushed back another 6+ months... I really enjoy the Lunar Chronicles, and I'm really looking forward to the final installment. 

Raven Cycle book 4
Maybe I shouldn't be thinking that far ahead? Oh well, I am. I'm quite anxious to know how this ends.  I'm also really excited to see the cover (and to see the title for that matter). Hopefully there's less fiasco about the release date this time around.

Empire of Night (Age of Legends, #2)
Empire of Night by Kelley Armstrong.
While Sea of Shadows wasn't perfect, I still have high hopes for this series. I'm hoping for a more concrete world and (please, please) no love triangles (I feel like there is maybe one lurking but I'm hoping that I'm wrong)... We shall see.
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Its technically the start of a sequel series, but I'm counting it. I'm really looking forward to revisting the world. (Maybe cameos too? That would be nice...)

Miss Mayhem (Rebel Belle, #2)
Miss Mayhem by Rachel Hawkins
Rebel Belle was an enjoyable read and I'm looking forward to seeing where it goes. I'll probably get it out of the library before it comes out.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Top Ten Characters I Wish Would Get Their OWN Book

Top Ten Tuesdays are a weekly feature over at The Broke and The Bookish.

This is weird for me because, when I want more of a story, I typically just want another book with the characters that are already in the book... so this might bridge into that because I'm terrible that way.

1.Aiofe and Niten from Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel. Actually, much of the cast of these books. So many of them have lived an incredibly long time, and have had so many adventures. They've been together a long time and they're a great team, and care about each other a lot (in their vaguely emotionally stilted way). I would love to seem them meet and go on adventures...

2. Virginia Dare from Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel (again, so sue me). We got a little of her back story in The Enchantress, but I could do with some more adventures. She was interesting in that she could be very ruthless, but had a very strong set of guiding personal values. Also Billy the Kid and Black Hawk. Like I said, I would enjoy stories for 90% of the supporting characters...

 3. Zoe from Darklife and Riptide. She's Ty's little sister, but I would love to see her at sixteen or seventeen going crazy things in the name of marine biology. Because she would.

4. Minerva Paradizo from Artemis Fowl: The Lost Colony. I feel like she showed up and then disappeared, and I would love to see what she's up for. I would really like for her to become a go between for the fairies and the humans eventually.

5. Kate de Vries from Airborn, Skybreaker and Starclimber. Okay, I'm 50/50 on whether I would want a book from her point of view, but I'll tell you what I do want: her field notes. Which, I have decided, count. Especially if there are drawings. I would read them. (Also, I could really do with another book. Really.)

6. Nikolia Lantsov from the Grisha Trilogy.  Again, I'm a fan of adventures, and he's certainly had a few (also, airships, I am a fan of airships), and I would love to revisit this world (which I will get to, there's a duology planned in the same world). I would also love to read a story centered on Zoya, perhaps after the events of Ruin & Rising.

7. Dr. Barlow from the Leviathan Trilogy. I would enjoy reading young Dr. Barlow making her way as a lady scientist in a Victorian-style society- even with her famous  ancestor, it can't have been easy.

8. Anne Treleaven and Felicity Frame from the Agency series. Mostly because I'm curious how The Agency was even founded. They have a complicated relationship, and we don't see much of it besides the fallout. (I also didn't feel like Rivals in the City closed out the story, I could have done with another book...)

I think that's about it for me...

Friday, November 7, 2014

Review: Talon

Talon (Talon, #1)Title: Talon
Author: Julie Kagawa
Series: Talon
Volume: 1
Release Date: Oct. 28, 2014

A Quick Introduction: Dragons live in hiding among the humans. Ember Hill is learning is out in the world for the first time, learning to blend in with humanity, in her human form. Ember is thrilled to, for the first time, be free. This may be her only taste of freedom, before she is inducted into the dragon organisation Talon. Unfortunately, she's got dragon hunters on her tail-dragon hunting has changed over the years, trading  swords for guns and armour for carbon-fibre, evolving with the changes in the dragon world. Soldier Garret Xavier Sebastian has been raised to kill dragons nearly his entire life, but he isn't prepared for how human Ember seems, and the growing suspicion that his superiors haven't told him everything.

Out of Ten: 5/10

Review at a Glance: This book is a simple and somewhat predictable series opening, with characters that were somewhat difficult to invest in.

Review: This book was alright, but it just didn't wholly pull me in. The character of Ember wasn't one I found easy to connect- not because she's a dragon, but because she didn't feel like a complete character. All the framework was there, but her thought processes just didn't line up, and her emotions were something that I couldn't follow. It wasn't that I disliked her, it was just that I couldn't connect with her, or Garret really. They both frustrated me sometimes. All this said, they worked alright together- Ember challenged him, and they both grew through the story.

The plot itself  was fairly straightforward, and simple. It was, of course, somewhat predictable and it was also a little slow in places, where if felt like there was nothing happening that contributed to the development of the plot.  Much of the novel was simply build-up, as this is to the first in a series.

The writing was simple, overall. Something that did bother me about it was that the descriptions and method of referring to characters were both rather repetitive (which is likely linked to the simplicity of the writing style), it just made things feel somewhat unnatural.

Overall, this book just didn't quite work for me. There were parts of the execution that could have been improved and I had a hard time connecting to and investing in the characters sometimes. Though it didn't work for me, I think fans of Julie Kagawa's other work, or people who are interested in the premise might still want to pick it up. I'm still not sure if I plan on continuing the series, I might pick up the next book when it comes out, but we'll see.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Top Ten Books/Series I Want To Reread

Hah. Top ten. I an obsessive rereader, but here we go. (Also, I know I haven't been doing Top Ten Tuesdays for... a month. I'm awful.)

1. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater. It's one of my go-to reread books. It hits so many personal notes for me as a reader, and it's just such a beautiful book. I adore it as an audiobook as well. (I feel like it ends up on a lot of my TTT lists... oops?)

2. Cinder, Scarlet or Cress by Marissa Meyer. These are books that I often turn to when I've got reader's block (which is a relatively new phenomenon for me). The downside is they make me very impatient for Winter, which doesn't come out for just over another year. I think I reread Cress the most, and Scarlet the least.

3. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I haven't read it in three years, and I feel like I should probably read it a second time at some point.

4. Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater. I read it when it came out as an ebook, but now I have the physical copy and I want to read it more thoroughly (I kind of sped through the first time). I reread the other two books in The Raven Cycle a lot too.

5. The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare. I reread them a lot... I have a weird relationship with these books.  I think I'll leave it at that for now.

6. The Matt Cruse trilogy by Kenneth Oppel. This is another go-to reread. And I want to reread it with it's new covers at some time in my life because they are lovely.

7. Dark Life and Riptide by Kat Falls. Fun, light, quick read, and I really like the world.

8. East by Edith Pattou. I read it a while ago and really enjoyed it, and I think that I would enjoy reading it again.

9. As You Wish by Jackson Pearce. I've read it a couple of times. I borrowed if from the library several times and it's been a while.

10. The Lynburn Legacy by Sarah Rees Brennan. I just did a group reread of these books on Twitter. They're really enjoyable.

Man. One day I'll make a list of all my go-to rereads, because this doesn't even cover it.

Top Ten Tuesdays are a weekly feature at The Broke and The Bookish.

Monday, November 3, 2014

October DNF

The Vanishing Season
The Vanishing Season by Jodi Lynn Barnes
This one just didn't do it for me. I started off interested, and the point of view of the ghost was interesting, the plot didn't really progress toward... anything... for me. I think this was a mostly an "It's not you it's me" sort of situation here, I just wasn't in the proper mood for it, or I was just kind of lukewarm toward it. This is one that I may give another go at some other time. Maybe.

Buzz Kill
Buzz Kill by Beth Fantaskey
Oct 3, 2014-Oct 7, 2014
Well, I knew this one would be a long shot, but I still grabbed it when I saw it on the shelf at the library. I got about 100 pages in before I threw in the towel. I just couldn't stand the main character, and I'm beginning to see that I'm someone who needs to at very least not hate the narrator. But Millie was pretty awful, and, honestly, not at all cut out for detective work or anything else requiring an sort of intellect. The plot... was there a plot? Maybe I didn't get that far? Essentially, I didn't like any of the characters, got a general not great feeling from the book and didn't find myself enjoying the plot. I remember Nancy Drew very differently from who it's described in this book (though far from perfect, those books were at very least interesting). Everything felt sort of flat.

The Bone Season (The Bone Season, #1)
The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
Sept. 26- Oct. 7
I hereby dub this "Infodumping, an novel". That was the main flaw with  The Bone Season. The world itself is incredibly complex- unnecessarily so- and the writing style does not carry it. I think I am more toward the "Show don't tell" end of the scale as fantasy writing philosophies go, and this book just doesn't deliver. 
Feel free to tell me what you thought of these. Are they worth me giving them another try?

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Review: The Body Electric

The Body ElectricTitle: The Body Electric
Author: Beth Revis
Genre: YA, science fiction, post-apocalyptic, dystopia
Release Date: October 6, 2014
eARC received through NetGalley

A Quick Introduction: Something strange is happening to Ella Shepard. She's been having vivid nightmares about her dead father, and she's plagued by imagined bees. She thinks she's losing her mind, though she's trying not to let on that anything is wrong, especially because everything else seems to be falling apart- her mother's illness grows worse by the day, there's unrest in the city, and she's been given a cryptic warning by a boy she's sure she's never met before.

Out of Ten: 5/10

Review at a Glance: Though plot and characters didn't engage me, fans of the Across the Universe trilogy might want to check it out.

Review: I do like the cover of this one. I just like the layout a lot... and green is a wonderful colour. I read the first two books in the Across the Universe trilogy, but I never finished Shades of Earth. As this book is just a spin-off, and contains only passing references to the trilogy, it wasn't really a problem.

Unfortunately, this wasn't really for me. I had the same problem with is as I did the Across the Universe series- I just wasn't pulled in, and I think that there were a couple things that contributed to this.

I found that I didn't feel anything for the characters- it was like they were placeholders. I just didn't find myself buying their feelings or following their thought processes. It wasn't that they were unlikable, it was just that they weren't really anything one way or the other, and they just didn't feel complete. They didn't compel me. This meant not only that the characters were difficult to invest in, but that the relationships felt contrived sometimes, just because there was no connection there.

Second for me was the world-building and plot, which I felt went hand in hand for this novel, the world was revealed as the story went on, as Ella lived in a very limited sphere when the story started. The world-building often occurred as the plot was rapidly moving forward, and both things were not done at once, leading to gaps in action to describe the setting, which impaired the flow of the novel. The plot felt, overall, sort of loosely created, jumping from event to event, and somewhat predictable, though there were aspects that I felt had potential. I liked the idea of the bees, and I enjoyed aspects of the futuristic world, like the androids and the computer-cuffs, though I struggled somewhat with some of the finer points of the nanobots (some of their behaviours in the book didn't mesh with my knowledge of nanotechnology, though I am, admittedly, no expert) and the reverie technology (I found myself curious about how it worked, but it wasn't ever explained to my satisfaction).

Finally, the writing. For me, it just didn't carry the plot. The writing can be a clincher for a story with a somewhat flawed plot, but, unfortunately, it just didn't pull me in enough to make up for the fact that the plot and characters didn't engage me. It felt somewhat inconsistent.

While this book wasn't really for me, I think this book is something that people who loved the Across the Universe trilogy will probably like, though it doesn't revisit the characters or places they'll be familiar with from the trilogy.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A Peek Into My Non-Book Life

Because I feel like I have been on an impromptu hiatus. It wasn't the intention, I promise, school has just been very hectic. Here's how:

  1. I'm currently in a co-op option for my course, which means I'm applying to something very like internships while I'm doing my courses. This means resumes and cover letter, as well as occasionally interviews. It's been draining, because the application process is kind of stressful, and then there's the lingering anxiousness of the fact that even if I do get a job, it will be a very steep learning curve.
  2. I've been trying to figure out the release date of Blue Lily, Lily Blue in Canada, since there has been some sort of communication breakdown between Scholastic Publishing and Canadian bookstores. Basically Scholastic says the week of Oct. 20th, and the bookstores say Nov. 1... I don't know how these things happen, but it happened.
  3. I've been DNFing everything. It's been incredibly frustrating for me, to be honest. I just want a book to really pull me in and not let me go until it's over (or possibly not even then), and this really hasn't happened at all in October. Not even for Blood of Olympus, which I was looking forward to. It's just been aggravating.I'm hoping I'll get through Heir of Fire... though I've struggled with finishing any of the Throne of Glass books the first time I try. 
  4. I've been obsessively rereading books. They're the only thing that I can actually get through. (In other news, my Goodreads challenge is likely to be doomed). I'm in several read-alongs this month, and those are always fun.
So that's what has been happening. I'm hoping to pull out of my reading slump as soon as possible...

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Review: The Boundless

The BoundlessTitle: The Boundless
Author: Kenneth Oppel
Genre: Fantasy, Alternative History

A Quick Introduction: The Boundless  is the greatest train in the world- hundreds of two-story cars bound for Victoria, British Columbia, from Halifax. When Will, first-class passenger and son of a railroad executive, gains possession of a key to a car containing priceless treasures, he finds himself target of a ruthless man from his past. To stay alive, Will joins a traveling circus, and attempts, with the help of the ringmaster and escape artist, to reach his father and warn him before it is too late. But, as they hurtle through the unknown, Will finds that even those helping him have  ulterior motives, and that not only those on the train pose a threat.

Out of Ten: 6/10

Review at a Glance: An alright read, but it's characters, plot and world didn't meet my expectations.

Review: This book was alright, it just wasn't quite at the standard that I expected. It was fine, but it didn't capture me as some of Kenneth Oppel's other works did. I've read both The Silverwing trilogy, which I enjoyed and The Matt Cruse trilogy (Airborn, Skybreaker and Starclimber), which is one of my favourites, and this book just didn't work as well for me as either of them.

The world building was something of a weakness in this book, it was just somewhat unclear what exactly did and didn't happen in the world. The lack of structure made it somewhat difficult to fully invest in the story. The Sasquatches worked for me but everything else didn't seem to fit with the world up until then.

Another thing that made it challenging to cultivate any interest in the story was the characters. They just didn't make me feel anything- not even a vague sense of interest. There just wasn't anything about them that I liked about them. Nothing about them felt very real to me, not their interests, or, really, any of their choices.

This book is told from third person, in present tense, which is a perspective that I don't read much of (I'm not a huge fan of present tense narration). The perspective is generally limited to Will, the main character, and Brogan, his main adversary. They style of the storytelling distanced me from the characters.

All this said, I loved the idea of the Boundless itself. A giant train? Yes please. This is the tale of the Boundless's maiden voyage, so it was interesting to see the cracks that were already showing in the social structure on the train, and how the train was designed. It also acknowledged the darker sides of the building of the railroad- the treatment of the rail layers, especially immigrant workers, as well as the treatment of Native peoples in Canada's history. Seriously, anyone who thinks Canada has this super-nice history where people didn't get hurt should have a look at a residential school for starters. This country definitely has some dark blots in our history... but I digress.

Overall, I felt parts of the story had potential, but it didn't really bear fruit for me. In the end, it wasn't really for me, I don't think- it just didn't hit enough notes for me, personally, as a reader.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Trees of Reverie Read-a-thon: Wrap Up

I said I would post this yesterday. But yesterday rapidly turned into today as I was working on a lab for Uni, so you’re getting it after I’m (slightly) more rested than I was.
Final Page Count: 2008
Books Finished
  • The Assassin’s Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke
  • The Pirate’s Wish by Cassandra Rose Clarke
  • Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas
  • Unmade by Sarah Rees Brennan
Daily Posts
Reading Challenges:
  • Read a book by an author you haven’t read before
  • Read a book in the fantasy genre
  • Read a book with an LGBTQ+ character
  • Finish a book in a series you’ve not yet completed
  • Write a book review for one of the books you read (here)
  • Take part in The Raven Cycle Read-A-Thon hosted by Readers in Wonderland and Books of Amber
  • Finish an entire book in ONE day
  • Read outside
Anyway, this was super fun. I think I’m (maybe a little?) getting the hang of read-a-thons. The last week was a bit… unproductive, because school crushed my reading time slightly, but the first week was good. I would love to do this read-a-thon again sometime, I liked the two week layout and the challenges were super fun. I’m still working through a couple of books that I started during the read-a-thon, hopefully I’ll have time to finish them soon. School has been incredibly hectic these past few weeks, so my page count wasn't quite what I would have liked it to be, but these things happen.

Friday, September 26, 2014


Things have been beyond hectic the past few school weeks, so I'm some of the books I've read won't be getting full reviews, or, at least, won't be getting them right now. So here are a couple of informal, miniature ones that may be expanded later.

The Pirate's Wish (The Assassin's Curse, #2)
I felt much the same about this one as I did about The Assassin's Curse. (Full review of The Assassin's Curse here). It didn't really captivate me. Some books just don't, I guess. I still had the feeling that the parameters of the world hadn't been set, which weakened it as world-building went. I was still pretty "meh" about the romance, and still found some of the characters remained pretty static.
Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass, #2)
I still don't know how I feel about this series. It seems that I can't get through a book in the series on the first try (Throne of Glass took me three, this took me two). It seems kind of like "high fantasy-lite", if you will. I found myself somewhat frustrated with how long it took for characters to come to conclusions that I had reached in the first quarter of the book (the riddle was pretty obvious and such). Celaena still doesn't really feel like an assassin to me (most of the time), and certain other characters bothered me. That said, I did still enjoy reading it, despite my occasional frustration, and I am interested in what is coming next. I'll read Heir of Fire when it becomes available at my public library.
Unmade (The Lynburn Legacy, #3)
This was one that I was eagerly anticipating. I found both Unspoken and Untold to be fun and entertaining reads, and this one mostly lived up to what I was expecting. I almost always end up feeling like endings in trilogies like this were rushed (or even a little deus ex machina), and this wasn't really an exception. The climax felt like it was over too fast. This book was more emotional for me than the other two. There was still a lot of humour in the is one, but much of it would fall into the category of "gallows humour,"because there was a lot of dark stuff going on. My favourite parts often included Lillian and Jon (they have a fun dynamic), and I generally really liked most of the characters, though I do still question some storytelling decisions. Overall I enjoyed it, though there were still some things that I wasn't a huge fan of. I will probably do an informal "Book Talk" for this at some point, if not a review.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Trees of Reverie September Read-a-thon Week 1

I'm mostly active on my tumblr for the read-a-thon, which I honestly find more appealing than posting on my blog every day about it. It's just more comfortable, in a way.

So here are the posts that I made this week (not including today):
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
Day 5
Day 6
Day 7

This has been a fantastic first week, and I'm really looking forward to continuing.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Review: The Assassin's Curse

The Assassin's Curse (The Assassin's Curse, #1)Title: The Assassin's Curse
Author: Cassandra Rose Clarke
Series: The Assassin's Curse
Volume: 1
Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy, Adventure

A Quick Introduction: When seventeen-year-old pirate Ananna flees an arranged marriage, she figures the threat of her betrothed's family sending an assassin after her is empty. After all, they're only stories. That is, until they actually follow through on it, and she accidentally activates a curse that binds her would-be killer to her, forcing him to protect her. Reluctantly, they become travelling companions, searching for a way to break the curse so that both of their lives can go back to normal.

Out of Ten: 6/10

Review at a Glance: An enjoyable adventure, though with some flaws in world-building and some weakness in character development and relationships.

Review: Can we talk about the over for a moment? Let's. I like this cover, I think it speaks to some of the elements of the story, without directly saying it, and the font is lovely. This is how you make a cover.

This book kind of came right up the middle for me. Good enough to be engaging, but nothing that blew me away. One of my main issues was that I just wasn't fully immersed in the world. At best, I made superficial connections to it, there just wasn't enough of it. The information about the world was conveyed mainly through the narrator telling everything to the reader, which, in this case, served to jolt me out of the story somewhat. (Hint: maps. A picture is worth a thousand words).The elements of the world just somehow didn't feel cohesive, it was as if various fictional creatures were just thrown is as they occurred to the author rather than enmeshed in the world completely. The magic system was explained fairly well, and as it is fairly conventional, that was all of the explanation needed.

Pulling me out of the story was probably the other flaw that kept me from being completely engaged- in both the information being provided and in the language. It's a nitpick-y little thing, but the language was generally very modern, though the world felt historical. I know this is a fantasy novel, however some of the more modern language felt stilted and somewhat inconsistent when juxtaposed onto a historically-inspired world.

This is told in first person, by Ananna. I didn't really love her as a person, but she is certainly a flawed, multi-faceted character. Two things that bothered me about her were that she is impulsive and prejudice, she tends to judge based on appearance first. Some of her choices drove me slightly mad... (if you got attacked the first two times you went outside unprotected, what do you expect to happen the third time?). I think it was the not learning from mistakes that bothered me more. It led to her feeling somewhat static as a character at times. Her companion is an assassin who was sent to killer her after she fled the marriage, until she accidentally bound him to her by saving his life. Now he's stuck protecting her until they can figure out how to break the curse. I still feel like I don't know terribly much about him, and that prevented me from connecting to his character at all. This meant that I struggled a bit with the romance aspect at times, as if felt like Ananna didn't really know him either.

Despite the fact that I struggled with connecting to the characters and wasn't fully immersed in the wold all of the time, I still found this a fast-paced and fairly enjoyable read, and have also read the second part of the duology The Pirate's Wish.