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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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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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 »

Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor | I lost a bit of the magic

OVERALL: ★★★★/5 

(Goodreads summary here.) 

If my reread thoughts didn’t make it clear enough, Strange the Dreamer is one of my favorite books ever. I love the magical whimsy that exudes from the pages, and Lazlo Strange has my heart and soul, largely because I feel like he is part of me.  

I wanted so badly to love Muse of Nightmares as much as Strange. But I just don’t have it in me. I keep going back and forth between 4 and 4 ½ stars, and I wish I could give it that extra half star. And it breaks my heart a little bit that I can’t even do that. 

Don’t get me wrong. I loved this book. I just don’t think there’s much that can surpass my love for Strange, even its sequel. 

Caution: Pretty major spoilers for Strange the Dreamer below. I’ll do my best to keep the Muse spoilers to a minimum. Read More »

Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J Maas | a frustratingly flat finale

OVERALL: ★★★/5  

(Goodreads summary here.)

Alright you guys, it has been a hot sec because school is overwhelming, BUT I am here with what will probably be a wonderfully controversial review! 

So. Kingdom of Ash. THE top YA release this fall. The conclusion to the Throne of Glass series. My thoughts? It was okay. And just okay.  

I should preface this by admitting I have a complicated relationship with this series and SJM in general. I remember my sister buying the first Throne of Glass book on Kindle like 6 years ago. And I remember starting it sometime shortly after that and not being able to get through the first 3 pages. And then I tried again a year later with the same result. And once again. Fast forward 3 years and one of my close friends at college is absolutely in love with this series. And so I forced myself to read it at the very end of my freshman year. And you know what? I liked it, which was crazy to me. I read the whole series (up until Empire of Storms, since Tower of Dawn hadn’t been released) in about a week and a half.  

So from the beginning, I’ve had some ups and downs with this series, but I was really hoping the finale would solidify it as a great series and sway me towards a more positive opinion of it. That didn’t happen. Let’s get into why. 

Also, this will be VERY spoiler-heavy, since I can’t think of a good way to talk about some things without it, so reader be warned! 

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Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz | I think I’ve missed something here

OVERALL: ★★★/5 

(Goodreads summary here.) 

I should preface this by saying that I really rushed through this book. My loan for it was going to be over in like 3 days when I finally got around to it, and then right after I started, I got off the waitlist for Kingdom of Ash (which I’m putting off starting to write this which is stressful). I was lucky that’s it’s a relatively quick read in general, but I think I might’ve liked it more if I hadn’t sped through the whole thing. 

That being said, I was a little underwhelmed by this book. I know a lot of people really love it, but I just found myself wondering why the whole time. Sure, it had its moments. But for the most part, I was waiting for something exciting to happen that never did. None of it really stuck with me, and I almost decided to DNF it. I’m almost disappointed I didn’t put it down. I never really got into it, and I feel like I didn’t really get anything out of it. The more I think about it, the more it seems like it just isn’t the book for me. 

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The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee| my badass ace icon is back

OVERALL: ★★★★/5

(Goodreads summary here.) 

As I write this, I’m in an airport Starbucks (a true liminal space) running on very little sleep, so please forgive me if it’s a little all over the place, that’s just where I’m at right now. Also, I apologize for the fact that this is (very) late and that I missed last week. Life happens, y’all and it stinks.

ANYWAY, I stayed up much later than I meant to the other night finishing the last 40 pages or so of Lady’s Guide, and I regret NOTHING (okay maybe just a little bit). Anyway, I was so happy with Lady’s Guide and how well it extended the Montague universe. And let’s face it, the Montagues deserve their own universe (Monty would be thrilled.) 

When I heard Mackenzi Lee was writing a book about Felicity, I was so pumped. As much as I loved Monty and Percy in Gentleman’s Guide, I thought Felicity was really underutilized as a character, as well as a bit unexplored. Well, Lady’s Guide is nothing if not chock full of exploration. 

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