Mini Reviews: Ninth House + The Beautiful

Well guys, it’s been a minute since I’ve written a review. I don’t feel quite ready to do a deep dive into a full length review for either of these (I also waited a little too long since I read them before sitting down to do this and didn’t take good reading notes, so I’m a little blurry on the details.) Still, I really thought both of these were phenomenal for entirely different reasons; I fully expected to love Ninth House because I love Leigh Bardugo and everything she does, and I was really pleasantly surprised by The Beautiful. Without further ado, let’s get into what I thought about these books! Just a note: the last paragraph of my thoughts on The Beautiful contains some spoiler-y stuff, although I keep it really vague. Just be aware it’s there!

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June Wrap-Up and July Goals

Hi everyone! June has finally come to its end, even though I certainly feel like summer has just begun. I’m lucky enough that my one of my summer jobs has opened back up, so I’ve been busier the past week than I have been in months, but it’s also so nice to have something to do and a way to make some money. Anyway, June wasn’t a great reading month for me, but again, now that I’m at work more regularly, I actually have more incentive to read because it’s one of the only things that I can do easily in my downtime. But let’s get to this wrap-up!

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Take 2: Restarting the Blog

Well everyone, it’s been a hot sec. This blog really fell by the wayside, and I’m sorry for that (except for the fact that I’m not really because I just got way too busy.) But there’s nothing like a global pandemic, a post-graduation existential crisis, and a lack of a summer job to make you get back to blogging! I have no idea what this will become in the future or even the coming weeks, but I do know that, at least right now, kinda miss writing, so here we are. Let’s just start with a little life update. 

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The Poppy War by R. F. Kuang | a complex, brutally honest depiction of war

OVERALL: ★★★½/5 

(Goodreads summary here.)

I picked up The Poppy War based solely on the fact that so many people read and liked it when it came out last year. I’ve been trying to delve a little bit more into adult novels, and this was one that really seemed up my alley. I am happy to report that I was right. There were aspects of it that I absolutely loved and that hit really hard, although there were some parts of the writing that threw me just a bit.

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I Don’t Like Rereads, Which Is Exactly Why I’m Trying Them | Discussion

I know I’ve said it many times before, but I really have a hard time rereading books. I can totally see the appeal, but I really struggle with the idea that I’m reading something I’ve already read when there are so many books out there that I want to read and haven’t yet. I also have this inherent fear that I won’t like a favorite as much if I read it again (and let’s face it, we only ever want to reread favorites, right?) Because of all that, I’ve only reread 3 books (for fun; school doesn’t count). And the most recent one is what sparked me to write this post. 

The backstory: I still consider myself to be a huge fan of the Percy Jackson series. It has, however, been 5 years since I read a book in this series (Blood of Olympus. I just looked up when it released.) And I know a lot of people don’t really find that weird, and most of me doesn’t. But there is a part of me that wonders what about those books I loved and why they’ve stuck with me. It’s kind of the same deal with Harry Potter, and it’s been even longer since I read those, but Harry Potter is something that I am continually exposed to through new media and rewatching the movies. I can’t say that for Percy Jackson (movies? What movies?). Since The Lightning Thief musical released their cast album (go listen to it. Seriously.), I realized there’s a lot I really don’t remember about the series, especially the original 5 books. So I decided I’d just go for it: I was going to reread The Lightning Thief. 

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Wildcard by Marie Lu | I love ethics-driven sci-fi

OVERALL: ★★★★/5

(Goodreads summary here.)

Hello again! Long time, no post because I’m a busy (albeit lazy) bee, so much so that I’m only just now writing a review for a book I read a month ago! I hate doing this, but I am happy to say that I remembered way more of my original thoughts than I expected to, so go me! With that in mind, this review may be a bit shorter and less put together than some of my others, but it is still an accurate reflection of my opinions. In short, sorry I stink at the whole “schedule” thing (being on top of everything? Don’t know her.) Without further ado, let’s review.

I am not sure if I’ve said it before, but Marie Lu has written some of my absolute favorite books and all of my favorite finales (*cough The Midnight Star cough*). Needless to say, I had some pretty high expectations for Wildcard. While Warcross was far from my favorite book or favorite book by Lu, I still thoroughly enjoyed it and couldn’t wait to see what happened in the sequel/finale. I’m happy to report that it met my expectations. But that’s about it. I really did like it, and there were even parts that I loved, but I wasn’t blown away. It is still very much a satisfying Marie Lu ending, which I have to give it credit for because I tend to be very critical of series finales. Anyway, let’s get into the nitty-gritty.

Minor spoilers for Warcross below, but nothing major from Wildcard.

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Vengeful by V. E. Schwab | morally gray characters are my favorite characters

OVERALL: ★★★★/5 

(Goodreads summary here.) 

I know a lot of people were kind of disappointed in where Vengeful took Viciouss story. I just am not one of those people. I think some of it might have been a direct result of this exact fact, that so many people didn’t like the sequel so much, that my expectations were a bit lower than they might have been otherwise. Because I knew people who were disappointed, I didn’t want to get my hopes up. 

And you know what? I don’t think I needed to worry. I never liked Vicious as much as the A Darker Shade of Magic trilogy, which I read in relatively close proximity to Vicious, so my expectations were never sky high. I also only read it in mid-2018, so I had not been waiting 5 years for Vicious’s sequel the way some people were. (Also you can catch my review for it here!) 

So I really did love Vengeful. It’s not my favorite book ever, nor my favorite Schwab book by a landslide, but I definitely enjoyed it. I totally ate it up, and I was lucky enough to read the vast majority of it on the beach, which I just found really funny since it’s definitely not what most people consider a “beach read” (honestly, I live for reading things in the opposite situation as their vibe.) A lot of this review will focus on what I’ve heard other people say about the book, just because I’ve seen a lot of the same complaints all over the place and I want to put my two cents into those conversations. 

This will have some unavoidable spoilers for Vicious, and then some spoilers for Vengeful at the very end, but, as always, they will come with warnings when we get there! Read More »

Lifel1k3 by Jay Kristoff | tbh I’d probably find Kristoff’s grocery list compelling

OVERALL: ★★★½/5 

(Goodreads summary here.) 

I think I can now officially say that Jay Kristoff is one of my all-time favorite authors. Maybe it’s just because he writes my favorite genres, but I really just think his writing style is perfect for me. It’s clear and not too wordy, yet descriptive as hell, and he knows how to keep the action going. Also, his Instagram stories get me every time. 

Okay, now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about the actual book. Lifel1k3 is full of action and adventure, science and friendship, badassery and morality. It’s definitely not my favorite of Kristoff’s, but it was still really damn good. I really want to be able to give this 4 stars, but the truth is that I was a little unimpressed until about 75% way through the book, and I don’t think a book that took 300 pages for me to get into can get 4 stars from me. 

Because of that, the last portion of this review will have major spoilers for the ending, so reader beware! I will let you know when they’re coming up. 

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Grace and Fury by Tracy Banghart | give me more female friendships like these

OVERALL: ★★★½/5 

(Goodreads summary here.) 

I am not going to lie: I was so excited for this book. It has so many things I love. Commentary on sexism and oppression? Yes. Mistaken crimes? Yes. Loving yet complex sibling relationships? Yes.  

I was a little disappointed, though. Grace and Fury definitely had all the things I was excited about, but it also just fell a little flat overall. I enjoyed it, but I also don’t think it was anything overwhelmingly special. I would still recommend it if you like sibling dynamics and social commentary via fantasy worlds, but I wouldn’t break your back to get your hands on it if you haven’t already. Read More »