The Gilded Wolves ARC Review

The Gilded Wolves.jpg

Number of pages: 464

Number of times read (including the time before this review): 1

Rating (out of five stars): 5

Release Date: January 15th, 2019

*Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing a copy in exchange for a review. My opinions are honest and my own.

It didn’t manage to make me cry, but it did manage to slowly break my heart, so that’s something. I’m not really sure if I’m okay, and I probably shouldn’t be writing this right after finishing it, but I’m doing it anyway because I make good choices.

Speaking of not making good choices, prepare to meet the main cast who are all just trying their best. And their best barely keeps them alive throughout most of this. Still, I love them all so much. I just want to give them all a hug and protect them forever. If anything happens to Enrique or Hypnos in particular I’m going to riot, but they’re all still such complex (and very broken) characters.

If I were to compare The Gilded Wolves to another book it would definitely be Six of Crows. There is a heist, a diverse crew of 6, plus a bunch of other similarities that are **super spoilery**. The only thing I will say is that The Gilded Wolves is sort of like Six of Crows’ more glamourous and less broody cousin in that it isn’t quite as gritty. I still definitely recommend it if you’re in need of something to fill the Six of Crows shaped hole in your heart, but keep in mind they’re not the same book; they’re just similar.

Speaking of Six of Crows, The Gilded Wolves had a similar kind of unconscious effect on me. Less in a I cannot stop thinking about this book (though that happens to be case at the moment because I’m theorizing) way, more in a I was reading it and completely got lost in it to the point where when my dad set down diner I looked up in confusion.

The Gilded Wolves also fed my love of history and math (don’t worry, everything to do with numbers is well explained if you aren’t a huge fan of math). My love ancient history and mythology knows no bounds, so the many references to it made me very happy. I will say that if you aren’t a big history/mythology person that some of the references might not make complete sense. I could see things mentioned and pass over them because I had prior knowledge of those things, so it didn’t affect me personally.  However, the part I see there being a potential issue with is that while these things are explained to an extent, you might feel like you don’t fully understand what’s going on without any prior knowledge.

I did not expect that twist at the end, and now my mind is reeling. What does this mean for so many things? I picked up on some stuff and figured out the meaning of the honeybee, the bone clock thing, and something else that even when spoken about vaguely is spoilery well before the text made the reveal, but that’s probably because I watch way too much Murdoch Mysteries. All this is to say I need book 2 right now, followed closely by book 3.

Overall, The Gilded Wolves spoke to the nerd in me and I love it for it, earning it 5 out of 5 stars.

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2018: A Year in Review

2018

2018 was the worst year of my life by a long shot. In my 19 years of life I have never gone through a year that so completely broke me to the extent that this one has. So that means this year I’m not going to do this like I did it last year. I can’t. What I’m going to do this year is look back at all the good stuff that happened to me in 2018, because within a hell of a lot of bad there was also some good I didn’t get to fully appreciate until now. These are also in no particular order.

1. I survived. I was going to make a joke that wasn’t going to translate well to the internet here because that’s how I deal with things, but in all seriousness, as a person with depression surviving this year feels amazing. Everything felt so bleak for so long that I really wasn’t sure I was going to make it, so surviving is worth celebrating.

2. I got accepted for so many amazing and highly anticipated ARCs. Never in a million years did I think I would be able to read the books I did early. I also have so many ARCs I’m dying to read sitting on my phone. With this comes being able to participate in the blog tour for The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein, which I read a finished copy for, but I still got to review a book by Kiersten White in a more official capacity. I can’t believe I got to do that.

3. Speaking of exciting bookish community things, I got to be a part of the street team for Ace of Shades. It was so much fun to be a part of the Irons and work with so many amazingly talented people. We may not have won any of the months, but I hope we all at least had fun doing it.

4. I also get to be a part of the street team for The Gilded Wolves. As I’m writing this I just started it last night, and I’m already in love with it (I have seriously only read the prologue at this point). I can’t finish it fast enough, and I can’t wait to get to work promoting it.

5. I got to see Panic! At the Disco in Toronto. Getting into the concert may have been a mess of epic proportions (the band had problems crossing the border, so everything was chaotic), but seeing (them? him? Considering it’s just Brendon Urie and a touring band now, I’m going with him for the rest of this) live was amazing. The version of Golden Days he did made me appreciate the song more, and with the lower tier VIP seat I had I was the closest to the stage I’ve ever been, and it was amazing. Pictures below.

 

6. I got a job I love. I’m working at my university’s bookstore, and it’s been amazing. My coworkers are fantastic to work with, and I’ve learned so much from being there. Even if I sometimes question the choices of whoever makes the playlist that plays throughout the store, it’s nice to have a job I like going to.

7. I got to see my dad inducted into the communicators portion of the US Harness Racing Hall of Fame. This one has nothing really to do with me, but I’m so proud of him. I would include a picture of my family at the induction ceremony, but we look like we’re barely tolerating each other (which was probably the case).


That’s all I can think of. I’m not sad to see 2018 go, but I hope it was a better year for you. Tell me one good thing that happened to you this year in the comments. I would love the chance to celebrate your happiness.

Audiobooks

I figured I’d make my first post back after a while of being completely off WordPress a little simpler, so today I’m going to talk about some of the audiobooks I’ve read this year, and why audiobooks were one of the best thing to happen to my reading life.

Before this year I had never listened to an audiobook. I think the closest I’ve come is trying to play a cassette of Robert Munch reading The Paper Bag Princess on my radio when I was like 8. For many years after that all I knew about audiobooks was that they were expensive, and that some people decided listening to them doesn’t count as reading because it doesn’t involve your eyes (which is a ridiculous and ableist argument).

But earlier this year, Laini Taylor posted that Libro.fm was giving way the Strange the Dreamer audiobook for free for one day only, and I haven’t gone back since. Now I use Libby to get audiobooks from my library, and audiobooks and my class readings are the only reason I hit my Goodreads goal this year. And because I still have no idea how to review audiobooks (and have other books I need to review first anyway), here is what audiobooks I listened to this year and what I thought of them.

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Strange the Dreamer

I started this one right before the release of Muse of Nightmares (which I am still allegedly currently reading on Goodreads) in order to remember everything that happened in the first book. I thought the audiobook was really well done. The narrator (Steve West) did some amazing male voices. The female voices weren’t the best, but I could still tell everyone apart. Listening to the audiobook did lower my rating of the book as a whole, but I’ve been feeling like my initial rating was probably a little too high for about a year anyway. I highly recommend this one.

Sadie by Courtney Summers

Sadie

This was the first one I read from my library, and while the book itself wasn’t for me, I can still appreciate the audiobook. There’s a podcast within the audiobook, and it’s just incredible. If you’re looking to pick up Sadie and are able to get your hands on the audiobook, I recommend listening to it instead of reading it.

Radio Silence by Alice Oseman

Radio Silence.jpg

I had heard good things about this book, and the audiobook was available to borrow from my library, so I decided to give it a try. I don’t remember much of it. Anything else I try to say about Radio Silence is going to be unreliable, so I’m just going to leave it at that.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Ari and Dante.jpg

This one is narrated by Lin Manuel Miranda! I probably would have never picked this book up, but I had to read it for a class. I don’t think I would have enjoyed it nearly as much if I hadn’t listened to the audiobook. Lin Manuel Miranda isn’t great at the voices, but I could still instantly tell who was talking. I coul4d be found shouting at my phone for the duration of the audiobook (especially when I was encouraging Ari to do bad things because of things that happened to Dante).

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Theif.jpg

If you’ve been following me for a long time, you may know about my history with this series. If not, the short version is that while I loved the books when I read them independently, my dad at one point convinced me that they copied Harry Potter. I then shunned the series until I finally came to my senses this year (because I am a very stubborn person). I currently have books 2 and 3 on hold from my library because listening to this reminded me of why I loved this series so much. The mythology nerd in me was so happy listening to this, and it was even better with the amount of knowledge I have now. The only thing was that I wasn’t the biggest fan of the narrator, but this is a personal preference type of thing.

The Diviners by Libba Bray

The Diviners.jpg

I originally put this on hold to read it in October, but I didn’t get to read it until a couple weeks ago. The narrator (January LaVoy) was incredible. Her male voices blended together a bit for me, but overall I really recommend the audiobook. I did have a few issues with the book itself, mainly that it felt a little all over the place. It also felt like it was trying to take on far too much (I still have no idea what genre to put it in). That’s the only thing that makes me a little hesitant to recommend it whole-heartedly.

Pride by Ibi Zoboi

 

Pride.jpg

I think me and Ibi Zoboi’s writing just don’t mesh well together. I wish her books all the success in the world because she’s done some really interesting stuff, but her books just aren’t for me. I don’t really have any opinions for or against the narrator (Elizabeth Acevedo) here, but I did have some issues with the book itself the more I listened to it that were less opinion based.

Those are all the audiobooks I’ve listened to this year. I’m really loving listening to audiobooks so far. I can easily play one while I walk to class, so they really help me get some reading done with my ridiculous workload.

What are some of the audiobooks you’ve really loved? I would love to see if my library has them. Also, since I’ve been gone for so long, feel free to leave the link/ title of any posts you’ve done that I may have missed that you’re really proud of. I’d love to give them some belated love. If there aren’t any posts you’ve done lately, let me know how life is treating you. I hope at the very least life has been treating you okay.

 

The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein Book Review + Giveaway

ELIZABETH FRANKENSTEIN

Look at me posting on my blog and stuff! I’ve been unhealthy levels of busy lately, but I wish I were here more often. Hence why I joined this blog tour for the latest book from one of my favourite authors. Keep reading for more about the book, my review, and a US only giveaway (sorry fellow international readers. It’s out of my control).

DARK DESCENT jacket

About The Book:

Title: THE DARK DESCENT OF ELIZABETH FRANKENSTEIN

Author: Kiersten White

Pub. Date: September 25, 2018

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Formats: Hardcover, paperback, eBook, audiobook

Pages: 304

Find it: GoodreadsAmazonAudible,  B&NiBooksTBD

 

Elizabeth Lavenza hasn’t had a proper meal in weeks. Her thin arms are covered with bruises from her “caregiver,” and she is on the verge of being thrown into the streets . . . until she is brought to the home of Victor Frankenstein, an unsmiling, solitary boy who has everything–except a friend.
Victor is her escape from misery. Elizabeth does everything she can to make herself indispensable–and it works. She is taken in by the Frankenstein family and rewarded with a warm bed, delicious food, and dresses of the finest silk. Soon she and Victor are inseparable.
But her new life comes at a price. As the years pass, Elizabeth’s survival depends on managing Victor’s dangerous temper and entertaining his every whim, no matter how depraved. Behind her blue eyes and sweet smile lies the calculating heart of a girl determined to stay alive no matter the cost . . . as the world she knows is consumed by darkness.


Review

Number of times read: 1

Rating (out of five stars): 5

Kiersten White is one of my auto-buy authors, so despite having never read Frankenstein and having no interest in reading Frankenstein, I pre-ordered this book. Luckily, I was not disappointed.

Kiersten White’s writing is perfection. It felt like I was reading a classic the entire time (one of the better ones if you aren’t a huge classic person like me). I can totally picture a girl in the 1800s writing diary entries like this.

Elizabeth stole my heart, and she’s a hard girl to like. Her ambition causes her to do a lot of questionable things. On the other hand, I couldn’t help but sympathize with her. She spends so much of the book in fear, not knowing who she is because she’s been pretending to be someone else for so long. I couldn’t help feeling sorry for her.

The other characters were also complex and well done. I could see where Victor was coming from, even if I didn’t support him, and Justine and Henry were so precious. Justine and Henry definitely brought some much needed light to the story.

Speaking of much needed light, this book is dark. The book doesn’t exactly give you a false sense of security either. That bird’s nest scene in the first chapter had me desperately wanting to look away (for those who have read it, turns out what happened was so much worse than I imagined) By the way, huge content warning for animal torture. I mentioned it on Goodreads when I was on page 85 apparently, but there are a couple scenes where some not great stuff happens to animals.

This book had me stressed the entire time I was reading it. My heart was pounding. Every chapter ended with me feeling a pang of dread. It had me so sucked in, and it was perfection.

I may not have read Frankenstein, but I do know a little bit about it, and I sort of loved how Kiersten White included the cousin/ adopted sister thing from the original Frankenstein. I’m sure there are a ton of other fun twists in here for those who have read the original, but let me be proof that you don’t need to have read the original to fall in love with this retelling.

*Mild and vague spoilers ahead*

I’ve seen a few people who weren’t the biggest fans of the ending, but I really liked it. I think it raises some ethical questions if what I think happened actually happened. Assuming what I think happened actually happened, is it okay that her friends did that when she expressly did not that to happen? If it is, why would it not have been okay for Victor to do the same? I think I like that I have so many questions after finishing it. This isn’t really the kind of book that can end with everything wrapped up neatly.

*End of mild spoilers*

Overall, The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein was incredibly well done on all fronts, earning it 5 out of 5 stars.


About Kiersten:

Kiersten White
KIERSTEN WHITE is the New York Times bestselling author of The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein, the And I Darken series, comprised of And I Darken, Now I Rise, and Bright We Burn; the Paranormalcy series; Slayer, and many more novels. She lives with her family near the ocean in San Diego, which, in spite of its perfection, spurs her to dream of faraway places and even further-away times. Visit her at http://www.kierstenwhite.com.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads


Giveaway Details:

3 Winners will receive a finished copy of THE DARK DESCENT OF ELIZABETH FRANKENSTEIN, US Only.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e2389ba2816/


Tour Schedule:

Week One:

10/15/2018- Under the Book Cover– Review

10/16/2018- Simply Daniel Radcliffe– Review

10/17/2018- Novel Novice– Review

10/18/2018- My Fangirl Chronicles– Review

10/19/2018- Pandora’s Books– Review

 

Week Two:

10/22/2018- Jessica Writes– Review

10/23/2018- Tween 2 Teen Book Reviews– Review

10/24/2018- Here’s to Happy Endings– Review

10/25/2018- Savings in Seconds– Review

10/26/2018- Vicky Who Reads– Review

 

Week Three:

10/29/2018- Smada’s Book Smack– Review

10/30/2018- YA Books Central– Interview

10/31/2018- For the Lover of Books– Review

11/1/2018- Malanie Loves Fiction– Review

11/2/2018- Oh Hey! Books.– Review

 

Week Four:

11/5/2018- The Hermit Librarian– Review

11/6/2018- Tales of the Ravenous Reader– Interview

11/7/2018- BookHounds YA– Review

11/8/2018- Eli to the nth– Review

11/9/2018- Portrait of a Book– Review

Back to School: 2nd Year University Edition

Hi. It’s been a while since I’ve even been on WordPress, let alone blogged, and here I’m about to tell you why you might a have to wait even longer to hear from me again.

First I’ll explain why I’ve kind of been M.I.A. recently. I just started a new job that I really love. The only problem is that it’s an hour drive from my house, which means that if I work I normally only have a few hours to get anything done. With those precious few hours I have been packing (because I move into residence tomorrow) and reading (which means I have posts to write that I just haven’t gotten to).

I start university on Thursday and I’m overloading classes. That means I am taking one more class each semester than normal to catch up after not making the grade in Calculus. I didn’t exactly do a great job at blogging during school last year, so I don’t think I’m going to do a better job with more classes and more responsibilities. I know what to expect a little better this year, but I can’t make any guarantees that I’ll be able to figure out my life.

That’s all I’ve got for now. I just don’t like not being present here without warning. If you want more frequent commentary from me I tweet from @LoverofBooksblg all the time.

Strange Grace ARC Review

Strange Grace.jpg

Number of pages: 400

Number of times read (including the time before this review): 1

Rating (out of five stars): 1

Release Date: September 18th, 2018

*Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing a copy in exchange for a review. My opinions are honest and my own.

I’ve had my eye on Strange Grace for months, so when I saw it was available to request on Netgalley, I had to request it. Well… at least I don’t have to preorder it anymore.

The weird thing about this book is that despite not liking a single thing about it, I still want to give it 2 stars at the very least. And I skim read the last 35% of it to the point where skim reading is a very loose description of what I did.

This is also the first instance where the formatting of the e-ARC was so frustrating that I’m mentioning it in my review. The kindle version was so hard to read that I had to switch to reading it on the Bluefire reader app. This would have been fine (albeit frustrating for updating Goodreads on my progress), but there are no chapters in this book, so you just have to scroll endlessly to find where you left off. There were also random incomplete sentences in red in the kindle version. The whole thing was a mess.

I found the writing made me feel very detached from the story and the characters. The writing style is trying to be atmospheric, but it ended up causing me to stop reading to try and figure out if the metaphors used even remotely made sense. The two that stood out to me focused on sunsets. I won’t share the exact quotes because I read an uncorrected proof, but one of them was along the lines of ‘the air changed from pink to orange’, and it took me several reads of the sentence and about 20 extra minutes of confusion to figure out it was describing the setting of the sun. Feel free to let me know in the comments if I’m just dumb for not being able to figure this out in a normal amount of time.

We also don’t really get a chance to get to know the characters. There is a lot of telling us about them doing stuff like walking and picking up grass, and having characters interpret the actions of other characters, but I know next to nothing about their personalities. The only things I know about the characters’ personalities is what other characters said when describing them. Sometimes that information conflicted, sometimes it didn’t, but either way I would have liked some proof that character X was actually as brave as people kept say they were.

Strange Grace doesn’t really have a plot, and it’s not exactly character driven, so I’m not really sure what to call it. The ‘story’ was so dragged out that I lost interest about 25% of the way through. At 39% stuff was actually starting to happen, but I was already done with this book by that point. At 40% I was wondering why there was so much book left (turns out there really didn’t need to be). There was a point where while all of the exciting stuff was happening in the creepy forest, instead of us seeing it all happen in real time, we got to see nothing happen from the perspective of a character who added nothing to the story. This was so we could see all the action spread out in broken flashbacks throughout the rest of the book. This book would have made a great short story, but instead it’s a full-length novel.

I already mentioned this, but there are no chapters. Instead, there are breaks with a picture of a tree, and then a bunch of short chunks from various different perspectives. Even in this book where almost nothing happens, there are perspectives included here that are entirely unnecessary to move forward with the nothing. Again, this book was very dragged-out.

One thing I found strange was there was a lot of kissing seemingly for no reason. Rhun is smiling, so he kisses Aruthur. Mairwen is standing there, so Arthur kisses her. The devil is attacking, so Mairwen kisses him (multiple times). Rhun loves Mairwen, but not in that way, but also in that way, so he kisses her. Mairwen did the thing they were all going to do, and they’re all mad at her for it, so they kiss her. Is there a romance in this book? I couldn’t tell you. The characters throw the word love around a lot, along with the random kissing. Maybe I just missed something, but the random kissing was so frequent that I don’t think I did.

I also had issues with Arthur in particular. The characters would be talking calmly, and he’d say something like ‘let’s set some people on fire’ (not an actual quote) out of nowhere, and the other characters would pretend it never happened. Like I get that the other characters have all said Arthur burns too hotly for Three Graces, but it still feels oddly out of character (despite me knowing next to nothing about him). Is he supposed to be edgy?

Overall, I was very clearly not a fan of Strange Grace, earning it 1 star out of 5.

Aru Shah and the End of Time Book Review

Aru Shah and the End of Time.jpg

Number of pages: 355

Number of times read (including the time before this review): 1

Rating (out of five stars): 5

I wasn’t originally going to review this book. I figured I would read it, hopefully love it, and move on. I haven’t read a middle grade book since the fifth or sixth grade, and I’m about to be in my second year of university. I have no standard to base a review of a middle grade book off of anymore. But while I was reading this all I could think about was how much 11 year old me (who was just starting to fall in love with mythology at the time) would have absolutely loved this book, and that’s the angle I’m going to review this from.

That isn’t to say that current me didn’t love Aru Shah and the End of Time, because I absolutely adored it, but I can picture that 11 year old girl staying up past midnight to read this like she read Allie Finkle books (does anyone remember those?). I can picture that same girl so engrossed in it at lunch that the anxiety she feels about being in the same room as her cruel classmates fades away. This book would have given that girl hope she desperately needed, and she would have known she’s not the only one struggling to fit in. (As a quick aside, I am in fact in tears writing this review). And now I’m so glad this book exists for kids like me.

Aru Shah and the End of Time features Roshani Chokshi’s signature rich and beautiful writing style, though I felt like it was slightly more watered-down here than it is in her YA books. This isn’t a criticism; this book is aimed at a younger audience. Still, this book never treats its audience as though it won’t be able to comprehend some more complex language. Nothing is “dumbed-down”.

I loved all of the characters. They’re so complex and well done. Younger me would have would have wanted to be best friends with Aru and Mini (and let’s be real, I would have probably tried to talk to all of the birds I could find, hoping one of them would be my own disgraced guardian). Current me just wants to give them all a hug and protect them at all costs, especially the palace.

This book had me laughing almost every chapter, so I know younger me would have found it just as amusing (though she would have had to hide it better as to not alert her parents to the fact that she was still reading way past her bedtime).

I read the Percy Jackson books a very long time ago, so take this next paragraph with a grain of salt, but I really do think that if you enjoyed the Percy Jackson books that you will enjoy Aru Shah and the End of Time. From what I remember of the Percy Jackson books, you can definitely draw some parallels between this book and The Lightning Thief.

This shouldn’t affect your decision to read this book, but I had to mention it here because I am a huge nerd. There is a joke in this book about matrices (plural of matrix, the thing in linear algebra that helps you deal with vectors (I’m trying to keep the explanation simple)), and it made me so happy I had to mention it. Actually, this showcases that there is something in Aru Shah for people of all ages.

Overall, I loved Aru Shah and the End of Time, and I can’t wait to continue with the rest of the series as it comes out. It has therefore earned 5 out of 5 stars.