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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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

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.

Daughter of the Burning City Book Review

Daughter of the Burning City.JPG

Number of pages: 384

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

Rating (out of five stars): 4

I buddy-read this with Lynn from From Oceans Away back in January, and I never got around to reviewing it. Luckily I have all of my thoughts written out by chapter, so I’m still able to review it.

I have a very weird gripe with chapter 3 specifically. I had to reread it multiple times, and I still didn’t really understand what happened in the end. It was so strange to me, because I was starting to get into the story with the first 2 chapters, but then there was this really choppy and information filled chapter that took me out of the story. And it threw me off for a couple of chapters.

Other than chapter 3, I really didn’t have any major issues with the writing. It did keep sucking me in and then throwing me back out, which was a bit frustrating, but I think it found its groove eventually.

I really hated the love interest for the majority of the book. He was the biggest jerk to Sorina for no reason. However, as I became more suspicious of him, the more he grew on me. I like that he became a more complex and interesting character along the way. Also, according to my messages to Lynn, chapter 17 really sold me on him, but I have no memory of what happened and I didn’t ever explain why.

I thought Sorina was a bit insufferable at points. She’s a person who has lived with this sketchy traveling carnival for most of her life, but she just immediately trusts people. She shares sensitive information with people she barely knows who are already acting suspiciously, and from what I remember she isn’t too concerned about interacting with people that multiple people close to her have warned her about. I also think the fact that she has no eyes, but can see perfectly was kind of lazy. And the only explanation for why this might be is essentially ‘I dunno. Magic.’

Venera was my favourite character by far, and she was a really minor part of the story. Not only was it nice to see her and Sorina’s friendship, but it’s also mentioned that she really likes working with numbers. Can we please just have more math-loving heroines in YA? I’m so sick of seeing every contemporary character groan about Calculus and worship their English teachers. And characters in other genres all just wonder how numbers work.

I think a lot of the twists were generally done really well. There were a couple I completely didn’t see coming at all. There were a few reveals that felt really anti-climactic, such as the true role of the proprietor of Gamorrah, but I was genuinely surprised by most of them.

I did end up predicting the villain early on, but what I appreciate the most about Daughter of the Burning City is that it made me constantly doubt my prediction. I ended up being suspicious of so many characters, with so many theories for why they could have done it, that my earlier theory being correct surprised me.

Overall, I enjoyed my time reading Daughter of the Burning City, though it wasn’t perfect. It has therefore earned 4 out of 5 stars.

Isle of Blood and Stone Mini Review

Isle of Blood and Stone

Number of pages: 400

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

Rating (out of five stars): 4

I’m not really sure what I expected from this book, but I was really pleasantly surprised by it. Isle of Blood and Stone was this really quite book that almost immediately made me smile in spite of myself.

I thought the world was really interesting. There aren’t many books that feature cartographers, and it was so interesting to hear about the different islands. I really think the author did a fantastic job with the world-building.

I also loved the writing. I had barely started trying to write my first book when I started reading this, and all I could think while reading was how I wanted my writing to look like the writing in this book.

I wasn’t the biggest fan of the characters. Their characterization was well done, but I just didn’t connect to most of them (although I did really like Reyna). I actually think I was more connected to and interested in the world than the characters, which is maybe why I’ve been finding it difficult to really cohesively collect my thoughts on this book.

I did predict the big reveal, but I found learning about the reasoning behind it really interesting. It was also interesting to see how the characters dealt with the person being someone close to them.

Overall, I really recommend Isle of Blood and Stone, earning it 4 out of 5 stars.

Favourite Book of the Month: July 2018

I’ve always wanted to do a TBR and wrap-up, but between life and my strange method for picking what to read next, the format isn’t a good fit for me personally. Enter this new series where I’ll be saying the best book I read that month. I’m a fairly hard reviewer to impress, so hopefully I will rate a book high enough each month to continue making these. Plus, it’s nice to be positive on For the Lover of Books once and a while.

Look at me being sort of on time for once. I know I’m technically a week late, but I’m not doing this in mid-late August, so I’m still counting it as a win. July was a generally positive reading month, so I had a couple of options this month. However, most of them were 4 star reads, meaning my one 5 star read is the clear winner this month.

My pick for July will surprise no one who has been here for a while, as the author is basically my only auto-buy author. It’s also the third book in a trilogy for which the second book was actually my favourite of the month at some point last year. Without further ado, my favourite book for the month of July 2018 is Bright We Burn by Kiersten White. You can read my review here.

Bright We Burn

What was the best book you read in the month of July?