Monday, October 17, 2016

Review: Vicious by V.E. Schwab

Title: Vicious

Author: V. E. Schwab

Pages: 364 (paperback)

Synopsis: "A masterful tale of ambition, jealousy, desire, and superpowers.

Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.

Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end?

In Vicious, V. E. Schwab brings to life a gritty comic-book-style world in vivid prose: a world where gaining superpowers doesn't automatically lead to heroism, and a time when allegiances are called into question." -Goodreads

Okay let's talk about how much I adored this book.

Firstly, I want to say that I originally had picked this book up in April after first meeting Victoria Schwab for a buddy read with Sierra, that we were both really too busy to deal with at that point in the year. I want to say that I do believe that reading this book at that point in the year was a bad decision for me and that I'm glad I put this down.

The reason I was hesitant to pick this book back up was because I actually thought this book was the reason I wasn't excited to dive back in, but really I was just reminded of that time so I was not excited.

When I first started this book, I really enjoyed the characters, the plot, and the development of the story. I felt content with the first 100ish pages, and was excited to continue until my life was filled with stress and I didn't want to look at a book. So I put this down until I finally read The Archived.

When I picked this book back up, I fell in love with all the characters all over again and found myself actually obsessed with the story. I found myself fangirling over the smallest thing that Victor Vale would do and falling in love every time I imagined this snarky smile on his face. I obviously was routing for him throughout the entire story, but it didn't change that I also adored Eli and his God complex.

I find myself still coming back to these characters and thinking about what it would be like to have the two ego's in one room together.

The characters in this story feel raw and add this element of realness to the story. Victoria and Eli are both selfish and neither of them are heroes in any regard. These two men are truly a representation of our worst characteristics as a human: revenge, greed, selfishness, power.

Not only did these characters anchor me into this story, but the plot really drove me forward. This antihero story really caused me to keep turning the pages even when I was ready to just go to bed. It made me fight my heavy eyes, so that I could figure out how the story would end. The story that was crafted in a way that made me stop and actually reconsider becoming an author. This is the type of literature that makes me believe in great storytelling.

Lastly, I would like to touch on the writing. Stepping back and looking big picture, I find myself being amazed at how well the flashback scenes were able to build this world and the background of this story without being overbearing or boring. It helped give the reader the information they needed to understand the story, but also enough to allow them to become invested and grow as they read about the journey these characters were on. I've found very few books that are able to use flashback scenes to build a story in the way this one did, and that is one of the most impressive things about it.

I really found this story to be flawless, and I couldn't think of anything that I would change. If you are interested in an adult book with no romance and you enjoy antihero stories, then you need to read this one.

Have you read Vicious?

Monday, October 10, 2016

Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater (The Raven Cycle #3)

Title: Blue Lily, Lily Blue

Author: Maggie Stiefvater

Pages: 391 (hardcover)

Synopsis: "There is danger in dreaming. But there is even more danger in waking up. 

Blue Sargent has found things. For the first time in her life, she has friends she can trust, a group to which she can belong. The Raven Boys have taken her in as one of their own. Their problems have become hers, and her problems have become theirs.

The trick with found things though, is how easily they can be lost.

Friends can betray.
Mothers can disappear.
Visions can mislead.
Certainties can unravel." -Goodreads

First of all, I would like to note that this is easily my least favorite of the series thus far, but it was still amazing.

I will not continue to repeat myself on how much I love these characters, but I do have some notable things I'd like to mention:

• Adam's character changes a lot. He really came full circle, and he honestly made me change my mind about not liking him. He actually made me consider moving him closer to the top of my list of Raven boys.

• Ronan & Adam. I don't know if this is canon in book four, but I need them together. They literally own my entire heart. The dynamic between them is so beautifully crafted, and I can feel the slow burn of their romance.

• There was not enough Noah. This was not okay. We all know that Noah is my baby, and I need as much of him as possible.

I like how in this installment we finally start to address some of the issues that have been building since book one. I like how we kind of address how the ley lines are affecting Noah, and how we address the other mysterious that are going on in the background.

As much as I love Maggie, I hate how she kills off her characters. She makes you grow so attached to them and then just takes them away from you. I love that she can make me so emotionally invested and then break my heart, but I don't appreciate the misery it causes.

Really my only complaint ever for this series is that I'm never sure what the plot is. I know the large, overall plot for the series, but I always find it hard to pinpoint the exact goal of each installments.

Please read it, thanks.

What was your favorite part of Blue Lily?

Monday, October 3, 2016

Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen

Title: Water for Elephants

Author: Sara Gruen

Pages: 335 (paperback)

Synopsis: "Orphaned, penniless, Jacob Jankowski jumps a freight train in the dark, and in that instant, transforms his future.

By morning, he's landed a job with the Flying Squadron of the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth. By nightfall, he's in love.

In an America made colourless by prohibition and the Depression, the circus is a refuge of sequins and sensuality. But behind the glamour lies a darker world, where both animals and men are dispensable. Where falling in love is the most dangerous act of all..." -Goodreads

I want to start by saying that I adored the film adaptation of Water for Elephants. I found it to be so magical and fun. I went into this book excited, but unfortunately, I was very disappointed.

I want to start by saying that the chapters of Jacob as an old man were annoying, uncomfortable & frankly, out of place. I found the two voices to be so very different, but at times exactly the same. There were times where I felt like I was reading from young Jacob while in the older Jacob's pov. There were also times where his voice sounded to hard to be this loving and kind person that he was in his youth, but maybe that changed because of him growing older.

I found the plot to be very interesting and captivating, but it just fell a little flat. The story didn't really begin until they finally train Rosie. That didn't happen until 2/3 of the way through the book.

There were moments where the descriptions of certain parts were just too uncomfortable. I found myself rolling my eyes a lot, and at one point also putting the book down because of about 3 paragraphs about how Jacob finally goes to bed with his special someone.

I do have to say that I adored the atmosphere. I loved the picture that I painted in my head of Rosie and the circus. I loved the way the author made me imagine the scenery, even though I didn't really like anything else.

Maybe I just didn't like this book because the film was done so well? Maybe if I would have read the book first, it would have been one of my favorites. I just found myself too bored and too uninterested in the lack of Rosie and overabundance of drama.

What is one animal you'd want to keep from a circus? 

Monday, September 26, 2016

The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater (The Raven Cycle #2)

Title: The Dream Thieves

Author: Maggie Stiefvater

Pages: 347 (hardcover)

Synopsis: "If you could steal things from dreams, what would you take?

Ronan Lynch has secrets. Some he keeps from others. Some he keeps from himself.

One secret: Ronan can bring things out of his dreams.

And sometimes he's not the only one who wants those things.

Ronan is one of the raven boys—a group of friends, practically brothers, searching for a dead king named Glendower, who they think is hidden somewhere in the hills by their elite private school, Aglionby Academy. The path to Glendower has long lived as an undercurrent beneath town. But now, like Ronan's secrets, it is beginning to rise to the surface—changing everything in its wake.

Of The Raven BoysEntertainment Weekly wrote, "Maggie Stiefvater's can't-put-it-down paranormal adventure will leave you clamoring for book two." Now the second book is here, with the same wild imagination, dark romance, and heart-stopping twists that only Maggie Stiefvater can conjure." -Goodreads
I don't know how to even review these books anymore. I've been putting off doing this review for literally months because I've been so scared that it wouldn't make any sense, but I've finally just realized that it doesn't matter. My reviews of the Raven cycle are for me to look back on when I get to my reread. So first of all, this is my favorite in the series at the moment.

How do I even express how much I love these characters? I think everyone will get use to me just talking about how they feel like my family. They came to life on a page, and I connected to them in a way that I never have before. Each character has a place in my heart, just for them.

Noah, you take most of it, but you do sometimes share.

Gansey, you bring out all my adventure and make me want to do more with my life.

Adam, you piss me off, but you are still one of my little Raven boys.

Blue, your sass and moments of realization pull me further into the story than I already am.

Ronan... My little Ronan, who quickly pushed himself to the top of my list. You, though are not Noah, are so close to being my favorite that it physically scares me. In this book you honestly won me over. In book one, you didn't really cross my mind as one of my top Raven Boys but after living this book with you, I couldn't forget you.

The one thing that I will forever praise Maggie on is her characters. I have grown to love them more and more with each installment.

It took me a while to read just because Maggie's writing style is so beautiful and whimsical. I can't count the number of post it notes that are inside my copy of this book. I will never be able to say a bad thing about any of these books or any of the characters.

This book was much slower than the first, but I thought it was so beautifully written. The atmosphere was magical and whimsical, and I found myself lost in the world the whole time.

Who is your favorite character from The Raven Cycle?

Monday, September 19, 2016

Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover

Title: Ugly Love

Author: Colleen Hoover

Pages: 324 (paperback)

Synopsis: "#1 New York Times bestselling author Colleen Hoover returns with a new heart-wrenching love story.

When Tate Collins meets airline pilot Miles Archer, she doesn't think it's love at first sight. They wouldn't even go so far as to consider themselves friends. The only thing Tate and Miles have in common is an undeniable mutual attraction. Once their desires are out in the open, they realize they have the perfect set-up. He doesn't want love, she doesn't have time for love, so that just leaves the sex. Their arrangement could be surprisingly seamless, as long as Tate can stick to the only two rules Miles has for her.

Never ask about the past. 
Don't expect a future.

They think they can handle it, but realize almost immediately they can't handle it at all.

Hearts get infiltrated. 
Promises get broken. 
Rules get shattered.
Love gets ugly." -Goodreads

I've been putting off reading a Colleen Hoover book for the longest time because I've been terrified of the hype that surround them. I finally decided that being a lover of contemporary that I should try this book, so I did... And I really liked it.

As for the characters, I can honestly say they stole my heart. I loved Tate and her hope and ambition. I love how she pushed herself in what she did and try to accomplish all her goals. I also love how even when I would lose hope, she would show back up and keep kicking.

I also loved Miles. In the beginning, I thought Miles was too obsessive in his chapters. I felt like his behavior was really uncomfortable and his internal monologue was just weird. I will say it took at while to get over this, but after we get the backstory that his parts are telling, you can see the growth and progress he has made.

I can't lie either when I say that Corbin was another character that stuck out to me. He melted my heart, and his role as the protective older brother was genuine.

This book ripped my heart into shreds. It left me emotionally exhausted. I was so satisfied with the ending of the book and the way the story tied up, but it didn't change how drained I felt after reading the last pages with these characters.

As for the plot, it is very vague. As for the overall story of these two people with a friends with benefits relationship, there was only so much you could do. I will say that the sex scenes actually got really boring about half way through. If it wasn't for the secondary plot that was unraveling every other chapter, I would have DNF'd this book because the lack of substance.

I want to say this was a fun and thoughtless read, but I can't really say that. This was a heartbreaking and beautiful read, that left me thinking about it for weeks. It left me in a state of desire to reread the entire book again from start to finish.

Have you read anything by Colleen Hoover?

Friday, September 16, 2016

In Defense of Noah Czerny

For as long as I can remember, side characters have always annoyed me. They have always just fell flat in comparison to the main characters that were driving the story. I never wanted to hear about what our main character's best friend was doing at that very moment or what the love interest did before they became relevant in the story. This is probably really sallow of me because it left with such a face value reading experience.

I felt this way until recently. I found my opinion completely changing after reading The Raven Boys for the first time.

I know that I've said this a million times, but I will literally sit through the worst plotted book in the entire world in order to spend more time with characters that I love. I'm not saying that The Raven Cycle isn't a well plotted book. It was just an example. When I read The Raven Cycle, I became consumed by the characters.

Every. Last. One.

This included Noah Czenry. I so quickly fell in love with him in a way that no character, period, had ever stolen my heart. I honestly felt myself falling in love with all of his one liners as I read each one. I couldn't get enough of him and when I read over the final scene of The Raven Boys my heart sank in panic.

I read a confession on an anonymous Twitter account about how Noah was basically irrelevant and pointless in The Raven Cycle, and I truly have to disagree. I am bias, and I do admit to having more love for him than most other fictional characters that I care about. However, I have good reasoning behind that.

Here is my defense for why Noah Czenry is just as relevant and amazing as every other character in this beautiful series.

Noah puts a smile on my face in the happiest and saddest moments.

Noah makes me laugh at his bluntness.

Noah makes me appreciate life.

Noah gives me hope in the world.

Noah makes me feel important.

Noah makes me fearless.

Noah makes me think that maybe, just maybe, we have something to offer to the world with our goodness.

I know because he is not always around in the Raven Cycle, he is easily forgotten or brushed to the side, but If you really look at Noah and think about what his character faces you can see my points. Noah may be a side character and he may also be some people's least favorite and he also doesn't get a lot of time, but I will say that Noah is important.

I couldn't see this series without him because without Noah, where would we look for our will to never back down and to live?
Who is a side character that you want to defend?

Monday, September 12, 2016

The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett (The Arkwell Academy, #1)

Title: The Nightmare Affair

Author: Mindee Arnett

Pages: 400 (softcover)

Synopsis:"The Nightmare Affair is the first in the gripping Arkwell Academy trilogy by Mindee Arnett. 
Sixteen-year-old Dusty Everhart breaks into houses late at night, but not because she's a criminal. No, she's a Nightmare.


Being the only Nightmare at Arkwell Academy, a boarding school for magickind, and living in the shadow of her mother's infamy, is hard enough. But when Dusty sneaks into Eli Booker's house, things get a whole lot more complicated. He's hot, which means sitting on his chest and invading his dreams couldn't get much more embarrassing. But it does. Eli is dreaming of a murder.

Then Eli's dream comes true.

Now Dusty has to follow the clues--both within Eli's dreams and out of them--to stop the killer before more people turn up dead. And before the killer learns what she's up to and marks her as the next target."-Goodreads

The Nightmare Affair was a fun and quick read that I started with low expectations. The book is quite underrated, and I can honestly say that I found a gem.

This book is written in an overly simplified style, but it got the job done. I was actually scared that I wouldn't be able to enjoy the book because of how simple the style was because I'm use to more poetic writing styles. Though I didn't really care for the simple writing style, it quickly grew on me and I forgot about the simple writing and got lost in the story.

The characters were one of my favorite aspects of this book in particular. I found the cast of characters to be really interesting and unique. Some of them felt a little 2 dimensional at times, but others felt really fleshed out.

Ex.) Dusty was very fleshed out with a personality that really connected to me. She was sassy and held her ground regardless of who told her not to. She stood up for what she believed in and she had fears but pressed on. She was brave and believable.

On the other than, Dusty's best friend with a name I have forgotten, was not. She was a side character and that's all she felt like. Just another person with not much of anything to make her stand out from everyone else. She didn't feel like a character, but more like a cardboard cutout.

Lastly on the characters, I want to talk about the relationships in the book. I won't say specifics because that would be spoilery, but the romance towards the end of the book was one of the better slow burn romances I've seen in a while regarding YA books and it was also one of the most well handled romances from both characters. There was no force to ask for a title or to understand what happened. They were just happy with what happened. That may sound really annoying to some because they don't admit their dying love, but I adored it because it drove in the punch of how realistic it was.

I want to lastly talk about the concept and world. The school setting is one of my least favorite settings to read in, but I didn't actually mind it in this book. The thing that really made love the story was the unique twist on the magic and creatures. This was a book full of different and unique creatures like Nightmares, Demons, Sirens, Wizards, and many more magical kind. Watching Dusty discover her magical abilities was one of my favorite parts because she is coming into her own.

Though this book is full of immature drama that is bound to come with teenagers and that kind of setting, I do have to say it was done realistically even though it didn't suit my taste. I liked this book a lot, and I would love to continue the series at some point.

I read this for the Cover2Cover Bookclub. Did you join in?