The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo

In December I plan on writing a post on my most disappointing books of the year and this series will be somewhere near the top. Leigh Bardugo’s books get all the hype on Instagram and almost every bookstagrammer has at least one (if not more) photo of Six of Crows on their feeds. To be honest, I was sure I’d like this series as well, since it has such a high rating on Goodreads. As it turned out, I was sorely disappointed.

What annoys me the most is the fact that I actually bought the first book in the series! And not on book depository where it costs about 8 euros, no, I bought it at my local book shop, paid 13 euros for it and now it just sits there on my shelves, waiting for me to either sell it or give it to someone else. Though truth be told, I wouldn’t want to gift it to anyone because it was so bad.

Image result for grisha seriesThe first book in the series actually didn’t start off so bad or at least that’s what I tried to make myself believe. I did notice while reading it that I wasn’t that invested in the story and that the main character got on my nerves but I just thought that’ll pass by the time I get to the next book in the series. So I read the second book on my kindle and the beginning was midely interesting but then the story got SO BORING.

I struggled to read on and thought about DNF-ing it. When I reached 70 % I decided that was that, so I just skimmed through the rest to see what happens. SNOOZE FEST! I watched a video made by @booksundays on Youtube to see what happens in the third book just to see the story to the end. But I honestly can’t see why there is such a hype around this series and why people adore it.

First of all, the writing is poor. Think Stephenie Meyer on a bit of a higher level but that’s about it. Secondly, the characters are flat. In other words they are one dimensional and BORING. There is no depth in these books, I wasn’t emotionally involved AT ALL. Thirdly, the story plotline is repetitive and … can you guess it? Yes, BORING! Whilst the first book introduced the world and we get to see the mechanics of the politics and the power struggles, the second book just seemed pointless.

Our main protagonist Alina spends most of her time worrying about a boy, albeit her one true love, Mal. She is the most powerful Grisha in the world (with the exception of the Darkling), yet all she does is worry about her love interest. I am so fed up with this type of female protagonist. If you break down the second book, you realise that nothing really happens. You could easily shorten the book but no, the world needs more trilogies. *sigh*

When it comes to the story plotline, the second book offers such an obvious hint regarding Alina’s quest for the amplifiers that I immediately started to roll my eyes at it. You basically already know what will happen in the third book. I didn’t read it and I could easily predict it. What happens in the second book is basically this: Alina and Mal escape the Darkling, then they get caught, then they manage to escape again and then they are confronted by the Darkling … AGAIN.

Image result for leigh bardugo

Regarding the emotional depth (or lack of it), this series reminds me of the Vampire Academy though that series was better. The writing itself was better. I do think highly of having a distinct writing style and Bardugo’s just wasn’t good. There it is, I said it. I know you can’t objectively say why a certain writing style works and why it doesn’t. But Bardugo’s story telling is just so plain and rudimental.Β It lacks in the richness of the language which separates a good book from a great one.

Once again we get to see a YA fantasy series that is mediocre but somehow beloved by the readers and most especially by the bloggers. Talk about over hyped books. If you are a fan of YA fantasy books, I would urge you to pick up Laini Taylor’s Strange the Dreamer or Maggie Stiefvater’s The Raven Boys. These books are wonderful, the writing style is on a whole new level and the story is fresh and original.

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It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

TRIGGERS: domestic abuse

As a deeply personal novel, this story offers a lot and while it is not my favourite CoHo book it is perhaps the best when it comes to the structure and the overall message. I had some issues with the writing (again) and wasn’t blown away by the story as a lot of people were. To me it was good but a bit over the top when it comes to characters and their personal stories.

I’ve noticed this before with Hoover, she tends to write characters who are deeply scarred and “damaged” but here it felt too much, every person had their own tragedy lurking in their past. And yes, I do think we are all a bit screwed up but this was just taking it to a whole new level and it was simply TOO MUCH.

My favourite parts of this novel were actually the flashbacks. I didn’t care for Ryle that much because I got a hunch something would be off with him, like the relationship was too perfect. Atlas was such a sweetheart but perhaps a bit too cheesy at times. I really liked how the relationship between Lily and her mother was portrayed, and the ending was just beautiful.

However, I do have some issues with how CoHo wanted to sort of excuse Ryle’s behaviour by giving him this tragic childhood backstory. Yes, I agree, it was horrendous (and a bit too much in my opinion) but I felt like she used that story to explain his awful behaviour. So what you’re saying is, he wouldn’t have acted the way he did if he had a happy childhood? Seriously?

Lilys bravery and her final decision was what made this story a good one. I applaud her for her courage. And I also think CoHo was really brave to tell her side of the story and to go this deep into it. Domestic abuse is something that is still not discussed enough and I think she really helped women by sharing her experience.

Wrap-up: April 2018

April was such a stressful month for me, I literally have no idea what happened during these 30 days. Since I had so much work to do for uni, I didn’t get to read as much as I wanted to but those books that I did manage to read, were absolutely wonderful, I think I gave five start to all of them. So these are the books I managed to read in April:

  • The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden (Winternight Trilogy #1)
  • The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
  • The Curse by Jina S. Bazaar (Roxanne Fosch #0.5)
  • Heir of Ashes by Jina S. Bazaar (Roxanne Fosch #1)
  • The Whispering Skull by Jonathan Stroud (Lockwood & Co. #2)

I also managed to reread some of my feel-good novels from the lovely Joss Stirling and these two were the ones I picked:

  • Angel Dares by Joss Stirling (Benedicts #5)
  • Summer Shadows by Joss Stirling (Benedicts #6)

Since I wrote full reviews on most of these books, I won’t get into too much details. Besides all of the books listed above I also read some short stories from Unexpected Magic: Collected Stories by Diana Wynne Jones. Now, I started reading this collection at the beginning of the year but something just seems off about it, I honestly have to struggle to finish a story. I adored the Crestomanci short stories but these are just weird and not my cup of tea. I only have one left, but it’s a pretty long novella, so it will take me some time to finish.

My lovely Benedict brothers brightened my too-dark days and I’m really glad I bought the entire series. I just keep going back to them and when there’s nothing left, I read fanfiction. I normally don’t read fanfiction but this series is the exception and I even wrote two stories myself, about my favourite Benedict brother, Victor. Honestly I have no idea why I’m so obsessed with this series. *sigh*

May is going to be even busier than April so I probably won’t have time to read as much. That’s okay, though, I will catch up during the summer. Now if I had to pick my favourite book of last month, I’d probably pick Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society though I also adored The Bear and the Nightingale. But Guernsey just broke my heart and I know this book will always have a bit of my soul.

Speaking of this absolutely stunning novel, my bookish friend Samanta and I (https://samyinbookworld.wordpress.com/) started our very own book club! And this was the first book we read together. We’ll write a joined post on it somewhere in the (hopefully near) future. And we already decided on what our next read will be. Now we just need to find the time to start reading it.

Heir of Ashes by Jina S. Bazzar

Roxanne Fosch had a perfectly normal life at the age of twelve. Cool, popular, pretty, smart. Her dreams of a perfect, successful and prosperous future seemed well within her grasp.
By the time she was twenty-two she had become a commodity. A fugitive. She was being hunted.
As Roxanne embarks on the dangerous quest to search for half-truths about her past, she discovers she’s not just an abnormal human, but a rarity even among her Fee peers.
She is hunted by scientists, keen to exploit her extraordinary abilities, as well as other beings far more dangerous whose plans for her she cannot fathom. (blurb taken from Goodreads)

I read The Curse which is the prequel to Heir of Ashes first and I ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT! The story line was so complex and original, though I did wish for more explanations but since it is just a prequel it works perfectly. We were introduced to this mystical world of supernatural beings and to an unlikely love story which ended tragically. This was the opening to Roxanne’s story and it was by far the best prequel I’ve read.

Heir of Ashes was a wonderful urban fantasy novel though I did wish it would contain more fantasy elements, like the prequel. Roxanne was such a great main character, strong, independent, flawed, but still determined to gain her freedom and lead the life she wanted. I admired her courage and the fact that she didn’t sulk and gave in to self-pity. She knew how to handle herself and exploit her strenghts.

Logan was also a great character though I wish we’d learn more about his past (maybe in the next book? I sure hope so.) and his relationship with Archer and Roxanne’s father. The only thing that bothered me about Roxanne and Logan was the fact that Logan kept rescuing her. I mean she’s way stronger than him, why couldn’t she save herself? I do wish the tables will turn in the next book and that Roxanne will get a chance to save him from a deadly opponent or something similar.

The action scenes were a bit too long for my taste and the book itself is quite long which at times didn’t work so well. But overall I really enjoyed the story and would definitely recommend it to fans of urban fantasy and fantasy novels. The one thing I LOVED about this book was the fact that Roxanne wasn’t a teenager. Finally we get a twenty-something-year-old for a main character! How refreshing!

I am very curious about Roxanne’s next move and her relationship with Logan and about the entire supernatural world. Hopefully we’ll get to see more of that in the next book. The writing style was superb and the story kept moving in a fast pace, so I wasn’t bored. I also felt like a lot of thought went into the dialogue which I highly appreciate because a lot of YA fantasy novels are pretty predictable regarding that.

Thank you Jina S. Bazzar for sending me a copy of your book for review, I thoroughly enjoyed myself while reading it and Logan is probably somewhere in my top ten favourite fictional boyfriends. Roxanne was such a delight and I feel like the story really explored her pysche and her background and we got to know her pretty well. I can’t wait to see where life takes her next!

Wrap-up: March 2018

The sun is shining and it’s finally getting warmer. After a long and bitterly cold winter, I welcome the spring like a cat sunbathing on a tiled roof (which is what I was observing during my classes on Thursday because why would you listen to the professor if you can admire a stray cat sitting on a roof next door?). March wasn’t actually a good reading month for me because I sort of hit a slump. I felt pressured into reading review copies and so I ended up reading what I had to instead of what I wanted to. Plus when I finally got to read what I wanted, the book disappointed me big time and I just became angry and frustrated.

Despite my reading slump I did manage to read 6 books which isn’t at all bad. Besides that I also reread some of my favourite feel-good books but since I only read the parts I loved, not the whole books, I will list them separately. So here are the books I read last month:

  • The Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night by Jen Campbell
  • SonΒ by Lois Lowry
  • Happily by Chauncey Rogers
  • Legend’s Legacy by Amanda Witow
  • Mariana by Susanna Kearsley
  • Keepers by Sacha de Black

Rereading:

  • Finding Sky by Joss Stirling
  • Seeking Crystal by Joss Stirling
  • Misty Falls by Joss Stirling

My favourite book of last month was Keepers by Sacha de Black and I actually finished reading it on the last day of the month! So despite the previous disappointments, the month ended pretty good. I posted an entire review of it just this week so I won’t get into too much details here. Suffice it to say I absolutely loved the book and I am (im)patiently waiting for the sequel to come out.

The Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night was my second favourite of the month. Jen Campbell is my favourite booktuber and I love watching her videos, her voice has a surprisingly calming effect on me. While I really enjoyed reading her short stories, I was impressed by some and indifferent towards others. This always happens with short stories so it’s hard to rate the entire book. But I would definitely recommend it to fans of fairytale retellings and magic realism.

Next I read two books which were sent to me by the authors in exchange for an honest review and since I already posted reviews on both of them, you can stroll back through the review section on my blog and read more about Happily and Legend’s Legacy. Also, I won’t get into too much detail about the biggest disappointment of the month, Mariana, because I ranted about it in a separate review, so go read that as well if you want to hear my opinion on it. While the story seemed compelling after reading the blurb, the actual writing was just terrible.

I finished a series this month, and although I loved the first three books in the Giver quartet, the final book Son didn’t deliver it for me. I felt like the book could’ve been way shorter, like the others in the series, and some parts were just redundant. The ending was a bit rushed and I would’ve liked to see more of it. Overall I was highly impressed by this series and I totally understand why readers are in love with it, the story is so unique and complex and it offers a lot in merely 200 pages per book.

Last of all, I reread some of my favourite feel-good/guilty pleasure books in my beloved Finding Sky series. I know this series isn’t the best of what YA has to offer but I just adore the characters and the writing and the warm sensations I get when I pick up the books. Whenever I’m feeling sad I reread some of my favourite parts of the books and it makes me feel less alone. And isn’t that the whole reason behind why we read?

My bookish friend and fellow bookblogger Samanta from Samyinbookworld (https://samyinbookworld.wordpress.com/) is hosting a readathon this weekend and I wanted to join her if even for a day but our kitchen is being remodelled and I have a presentation on Monday so unfortunately I had to pass on the offer. I am however thinking of doing a readathon later in the month, perhaps before or during spring break. I do have a lot of books to read so it would be a perfect oportunity to cut down the size of my TBR pile. Even though I am constantly adding new books to it so it’s pretty much a mission impossible to have any kind of control over it.

Have a lovely bookish weekend!