Friday, April 24, 2015

Review: Red Queen (Red Queen #1)

by Victoria Aveyard
Series: Red Queen #1
Publication date: February 10, 2015
Published by: Harper Teen / Orion
Hardcover, 383 pagees
My rating: 4/5 ★

Mare Barrow's world is divided by blood--those with common, Red blood serve the Silver- blooded elite, who are gifted with superhuman abilities. Mare is a Red, scraping by as a thief in a poor, rural village, until a twist of fate throws her in front of the Silver court. Before the king, princes, and all the nobles, she discovers she has an ability of her own.

To cover up this impossibility, the king forces her to play the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks everything and uses her new position to help the Scarlet Guard--a growing Red rebellion--even as her heart tugs her in an impossible direction. One wrong move can lead to her death, but in the dangerous game she plays, the only certainty is betrayal.

If I had to describe Red Queen in one word, I would have to go for solid. The book neither exceeded my expectations (which were pretty high) nor did it let me down. Overall, it was pretty much exactly what I thought it would be. The story was nothing entirely new or different but it was executed well and very well written. I liked all the characters (at first at least) but didn't feel overly connected to any of them. The romance aspect was nicely done but it didn't make my heart race. The plot twists were kind of expected but the story still kept me on edge because I could never be entirely sure what as going to happen (well, until I glanced at the last page and spoiled myself. Stupid, stupid, STUPID!).

I think I just described a pretty average book, so why did I give it four stars instead of three? Because I still enjoyed Red Queen a lot, more than a three star read. I have this soft spot for the common-girl-is-thrown-into-nobility kind of story and the fact that our main character, Mare, was learning about an ability she never knew she had at the same time only added to that. Although it was nothing new and I think I've read many similar books before, I still loved reading another one. Especially because Red Queen was beautifully written and the small things that set it apart from the books I've read before were enough to make me really like the book.

I loved the world of Silvers and Reds. The Silvers with their supernatural abilities were fascinating and I kept comparing their powers to eachother and thinking about what ability I would want to have (I haven't decided yet). Other than that the Silvers have cool powers, however, we don't really know much about the world Mare lives in. There's a king, the Silvers are privileged, the Reds suffer and have to fight a brutal war for the Silvers. More than that, I still don't really know. But considering that the story is told from Mare's point of view and she probably doesn't know more about her world either, I can't say that the worldbuilding lacked or anything like that. I do want more information in the next books, though.

The romance aspect, or lack thereof, was another thing I really liked. Often with books like these, I expect a heavy focus on who the girl falls in love with. Red Queen was certainly different on that point. Throughout the book, Mare doesn't really have the time and energy to think about what feelings she has for which guy and that just made so much sense to me. Here's a girl whose world just changed completely from one day to the next and it would've ruined the story for me if her only problem had been that she doesn't know who she's in love with. Thank you, Victoria Aveyard, for not doing that.

Overall, I feel like Aveyard took the best aspects out of several books and put them together with the goal to create a believable story that feels simply right, leaving out all the things that sometimes bother me about YA fantasy. Hopefully, the other books in the trilogy will keep this up (I do not want that love triangle I can see coming, thank you!).

I would definitely recommend Red Queen to anyone who's intrigued by the story (or also just by the absolutely gorgeous cover).

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday #2: All Time Favorite Authors

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

This week's Top Ten Tuesday topic is All Time Favorite Authors and boy, was it a hard one. I don't have ten TOP favorite authors but then of course a lot that I really like. So it was hard to choose exactly ten to mention here. Also, I tried to not pick authors that I've only read one book or series from because I think it takes more than one good story to become a favorite author. But of course there are also some of those on here, mostly because I'm convinced that I will like anything that they write. 

So before we get to my list of favorites, I want to mention two authors at this point that haven't made the top ten, even though I love the one series I read by them to pieces. First, someone who I'm sure will be mentioned in many Top Ten Tuesday posts: J.K. Rowling. Of course, I love the Harry Potter series; they're the books I grew up with and will always have a special place in my heart. But somehow I'm not very interested in Rowling's other books, such as The Casual Vacancy or The Cuckoo's Calling (which she worte as Robert Galbraith), which is why I can't really call her a favorite author, even though Harry Potter is certainly one of my favorite series. The same goes for Suzanne Collins. The Hunger Games trilogy is another of my all time favorites, but since I haven't read anything else by Suzanne Collins, I didn't want to put her in my favorites.

But now, let's get to my actual list of Top Ten All Time Favorite Authors. I tried to put these in some sort of order, whereas the top five really are my top favorite authors.

10. Sophie Kinsella
I used to read a lot more by Sophie Kinsella before I got into YA but she's still one of those authors where I know that I will like any book I pick up. I haven't read the Shopaholic series, but most of her standalone novels, which I all love.

9. Abbi Glines
Abbi Glines' books are kind of a guilty pleasure of mine. I absolutely love her Rosemary Beach series even though I'm well aware that it isn't the height of literature. Her books just make me feel good and I will continue reading them as they come out. I also gave the Sea Breeze books a try but kind of hated the first one. Still, I intend to continue with those as well and hope they will get better with time.

8. Jamie McGuire
So far, I've only read the Beautiful Disaster/Maddox Brothers series/companion novels, whatever you want to call it. I do intend to try her other books and as soon as she writes something else in the New Adult genre, I will be all over that. Her writing style is so easy to read and her books, again, just make me feel good and happy.

7. Stephanie Perkins
Just like every other person on this planet, I loved Anna, Lola and Isla. I've also read My True Love Gave To Me and Stephanie Perkins' story was one of my favorites. I just need more by her because she writes the cutest stories ever.

6. Cassandra Clare
I'm going to read everything Cassandra Clare comes out with. Unlike some other people, I love the idea of more than one series taking place in the same world and I will most likely never get bored of the Shadowhunter world. I liked The Mortal Instruments, loved The Infernal Devices and am looking forward to anything else we'll get.

5. Gayle Forman
Another contemporary author I admire. Even though none of Gayle Forman's books can quite live up to the Just One Day duology, so far I liked everything by her and will continue to read anything she comes out with.

4. Sarah J. Maas
This is where I cheat a little because obviously I've only read the Throne of Glass books by her. But considering how blown away by those I am and all my excitement for A Court of Thorns and Roses, I think it's safe to say that Sarah J. Maas is indeed a favorite author of mine. 

3. John Green
It's been a while since I read a John Green book but he has a top spot in this list for sure. I just love his writing and enjoyed each and every one of his books.

2. Laini Taylor
I first fell in love with Laini Taylor's writing through her story in My True Love Gave To Me. With the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy, my love has grown and grown and grown. Laini Taylor knows how to touch my heart by stringing words together.

1. Rainbow Rowell
Does this come as a surprise? I don't think so. Fangirl was the first book I ever read by Rainbow Rowell and even though I didn't like the others quite as much, I've never been let down by a Rainbow Rowell book. Her stories and especially the characters always feel very real and I just want sequels to all of her books.

What about you? Do we share any favorite authors?

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday #1: Inspiring Quotes

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Sooo, this is my first Top Ten Tuesday post and I'm excited! After a long time only reading (and loving) all the Top Ten Tuesday posts, I thought why not join in on the fun. Since I also desperately need some post inspiration and always LOVE lists, I think this is the perfect meme for me to do. As you may know, I used to do Top 5 Wednesday because five books seem to be much easier to choose than ten, but the topics over at Top Ten Tuesday are always so good, I couldn't resist.

So this week's topic is Top Ten Inspiring Quotes from Books. I love to write quotes I like in one of my many notebooks. I had a look through them and here are the ten most inspiring ones I found that made me think when I read the book, in no particular order:

"Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy."
(The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank)


"Laws and principles are not for the times when there is no temptation."
(Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë)

"If people were always kind and obedient to those who are cruel and injust, the wicked people would have it all their own way; they would never feel afraid, and so they would never alter, but would grow worse and worse."
(Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë)

"The river was mild and leisurly, going away from the people who ate shadows for breakfast and steam for lunch and vapours for supper."
(Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury)


"I learned joy and pain at the same time. I learned that happiness is not what you have, because I never had anything and I was so happy."
(Desert Flower by Waris Dirie)

"Never forget what you are, for surely the world will not. Make it your strenght. Then it can never be your weakness. Armour yourself in it, and it will never be used to hurt you."
(A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin)

"We'd been born into an ugly world, and the OASIS 
was our one happy refuge."
(Ready Player One by Ernest Cline)

"Grown-ups don't look like grown-ups on the inside either. Outside, they're big and thoughtless and always know what they're doing. Inside, they look just like they always have. Like they did when they were your age. The truth is, there aren't any grown-ups. Not one in the whole wide world."


"We all fight our own private wars."
by Benjamin Alire Sáenz)

"Do not pity the dead, Harry. Pity the living, and, above all those who live without love."

Let me know below some of your favorite quotes!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Review: The Mistborn Trilogy

Sooo, I finally did it! I finished the Mistborn trilogy and I am feeling very accomplished and happy and, most of all, SO MUCH LOVE for these books. I don't think I've ever written a review for an entire series before but I have to talk about Mistborn on here, otherwise the past few weeks would feel like a waste of reading time.

Let me start by saying that, overall, I loved this series. It takes place in a very unique world with a complicated and deep background that I loved to learn more about with each book. On top of that, there is a great variety of characters who are equally as unique and interesting. I enjoyed getting to know all these people and meeting new ones throughout the books. They all had their faults but also their good sides and that made them feel very real to me. But what really made this trilogy stand out to me was the world building and originality of the magic system. This is not to say that I didn't like the characters because I did very much and I would love to have all of them in my life. They just didn't feel like the main focus of the story compared to other books I've read. For these reasons, I would recommend this trilogy to anyone looking for a good fantasy story who is more interested in the big picture rather than individuals to fall in love with.

I don't want to give anything away about the plot of the series. I went in not knowing much at all and I think that's the best way to do it. All you need to know is that some people in this world can draw different powers from metals they digest. That should catch your interest, trust me.

The first book in the trilogy was a great introduction to the world and the characters. I remember feeling much more attached to them in the beginning than I do now. We learn about the basics of the magic system, the different societies and their basic problems. I love how much Vin, our main character, developed and grew in this first book. Overall, everything was off to a perfect start.
by Brandon Sanderson
Series: Mistborn #1
Publication date: July 17, 2006
Published by: Gollancz
Paperback, 643 pages
My rating: 5/5 ★
In the second installment, things weren't as simple anymore. I usually hate when things become too complicated and seem too hopeless but due to all the action and excitement, I still couldn't put this book down and again, I loved every second of it. Also, despite the fact that our main characters faced some pretty impossible odds at times, I still felt confident that they could beat them, like I was just waiting to see how they would do it.

by Brandon Sanderson
Series: Mistborn #2
Publication date: August 21, 2007
Published by: Gollancz
Paperback, 763 pages
My rating: 5/5 ★
I kind of lost that feeling in the third book, which is part of why the last installment was my least favorite in the trilogy. Now, things really did seem hopeless. The story wasn't nearly as action-packed as in the first two books and it seemed to drag on a bit at times. What bothered me most, though, is how I kind of lost my connection to the characters. For some reason, I became less and less interested in the people I had loved to read about in the first and second book. 

by Brandon Sanderson
Series: Mistborn #3
Publication date: October 14, 2008
Published by: Gollancz
Paperback, 724 pages
My rating: 4/5 ★
Also, because there was less action involved, the story focused more on the thought process of each character and on how they figure out the last secrets of the world they live in. And then everything was resolved rather quickly in the end and in a manner that didn't fully satisfy my need for closure. It all became too big and too abstract and I just didn't like that very much.

I'm trying not to let these slightly disappointing last few chapters taint my perception of the entire trilogy because overall, as I said, I loved the story. It really is brilliantly thought out and almost every revelation of information along the way made total sense to me even though I hadn't figured it out beforehand. I was always surprised when someone discovered something new and that is what I want to feel like when reading a book.

I would give the trilogy overall a five star rating, even if the last book couldn't quite live up to that. I will also certainly have a look at Sanderson's other work in the future when I'm in need of a well thought out story. Now, everyone who hasn't done so already should sit down and read these books.

Have you read the Mistborn trilogy? 
What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

March Wrap-Up

Hello there and happy April! March went by incredibly fast, I can't believe I'm already writing my Wrap-Up. I didn't read all that much but as I explained in my last post, I'm trying not to let that bother me. I'm also trying to not be bothered by the fact that my last post was uploaded on March 16 when it's April now already. I just haven't had any inspiration for blogging lately and since I haven't read a lot of books I want to review this month, my blogging suffered a little (okay, a lot). I'm sorry. I'm hoping to have more time and ideas in the future but it most likely won't get any better until the end of June, when I'll finally be finished with my first year of University. It's just all a little stressful at the moment.

Buuuut anyway, let's talk about books.

What I Read 

I read three books and four graphic novels this month and that is okay with me. Most of all, I'm proud of myself for trying something new and picking up a graphic novel, but I'm also really happy with the books I read (they were big and I took my time with them and it completely paid off!). So here's what I read:
  • The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson, ★★★★
    Thank GOD I finally picked up the Mistborn books. This first installment blew me away. The world building, the characters, the magic system, it was brilliant. This reminded me of why I love fantasy. Seriously, so good!
  • The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson, ★★★★★
    My goodreads two-sentence review for this one went like this: "I hate half the things that happened in this book.. but in a good way! This is such an interesting and unpredictable series, I can't wait to see what the last one brings." I think that sums up pretty much all the feelings I have for this book and the series in general - a lot of things happen that I wish wouldn't but at the same time I can't stop reading. It's just an amazing series.
  • Saga Volume 1-4 by  Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples, ★★★★
    These are, as I said, the very first graphic novels that I've read. Surprisingly, I really enjoyed them. I didn't expect to like these as much as I did, even if I still prefer 'regular' novels to graphic novels. I'm definitely going to continue with the Saga series though!
  • Shadowboxer by Cari Quinn (ebook), ★★★
    This book was pretty meh for me and I would've liked to give it 2.5 stars if goodreads allowed that. A full review should be up soon.
Along with these, I also reread some of my favorites this past month like Fangirl and Beautiful Disaster, or other books where I picked out a few scenes that I wanted to experience again. 

What I Bought

I bought three books and four graphic novels this month which I'm really happy about. Especially because, except for one, I've already read all of these, so my TBR hasn't grown over this last month. Success! So here's what I bought:
  • Clipped Wings by Helena Hunting
    I read this one last month as an ebook but because I'm stupid, I also wanted to own the physical copy.
  • Inked Armour by Helena Hunting
    Same for this one. I don't know why I always do this, it would make so much more sense to spend my money on books I haven't read yet, but oh well.
  • Saga Volume 1-4 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
    Already read these as well and they were totally worth buying.
  • A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
    I ordered this because it's the Little Book Club's book of the month for March and April. That makes three Victoria Schwab books on my shelf, all of which I have yet to read. Shame. On. Me.
And that's already it! I'm so proud of myself.

April TBR

I'm currently reading The Hero of Ages, the third book in the Mistborn trilogy, so that's obviously my top priority and I hope to finish it sometime next week (I'm about halfway through). I also finally want to get to I Was Here by Gayle Forman as well as Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard. Other than that, if there is time, I'll read what I feel like picking up, as always!

Other Exciting Things Happening in April

I'm going to PARIS tomorrow for four days and am very very excited. I've never been to Paris even though it's only a four hour train ride from where I live. I'm still trying to decide whether I should reread Anna and the French Kiss or Just One Day while I'm there because, you know, Paris.

So that's it, I'm off packing now! Hope you're having a great day and a wonderful month ahead of you. 

What did you read in March?
Anything exciting to look forward to in April?