Reading Update: Crown of Midnight

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I finally finished Crown of Midnight, by Sarah J. Maas. I had to take a little break from reading because I had to start another book for university. But now that it’s Thanksgiving break, I actually have an opportunity to get to the things I’ve been wanting to do like finish this book! As much as I love this world and the many different characters,  Celaena really started to irritate me in this book.

Without giving away any spoilers, Celaena goes through something that makes her question whether she can trust certain people, and I just felt like at a certain point it just started getting old. The way she thinks sometimes and the things that she does are the types of things that makes the audience say, “no, don’t go in there. Don’t do that. Nooooo!!” It’s like come on, girl listen reason.

Despite these reservations, I did really enjoy that the plot is thickening and building up the conflict concerning the queen. I look forward to reading Heir of Fire, but I think I’m going to take a break from the Throne of Glass series and read something else.

Overall, I rate this book 3.5 stars.

Speaking of stars, I plan to read These Broken Stars, by Amie Kaufman next!


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ALSO: If you’re interested in a blog about feelings, relationships, family, love, life, and the human experience, feel free to check out my other blog:

https://sgilmore625.wordpress.com/

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(Mini) Book Review: FINISHED TOG

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I finished Throne of Glass, and I have to admit that I am absolutely HOOKED.

Thank goodness I already own Crown of Midnight and Heir of Fire, so now I can marathon-read them!

I love the world and the characters within it. I’m so curious to unfold all of the mysteries that Sarah J. Maas packs within this book. I want to find out more about Celaena’s past and her suppressed memories. I want to figure out what the heck the king is up to, and why Celaena has such a weird reaction around him. I want to see more of her and Chaol (and Dorian obvi) and how that will all play out.

AHHHH I need to be home already so I can cozy up in bed and dive into Crown of Midnight!


Don’t forget you can find me in other cyber spaces:

Instagram: @bookrecs625

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/SamiG

ALSO: If you’re interested in a blog about feelings, relationships, family, love, life, and the human experience, feel free to check out my other blog:

https://sgilmore625.wordpress.com/

August Wrap-Up!

August turned out to be a really good reading month for me. I read a total of 8 books. This is a miraculous number for me since I recently suffered a terrible reading slump. I’m super content with this number, as well as the quality of the books that I read. There were only 2 low-rated books from the month of August, which is pretty darn awesome!

Below is a list of the 8 books I read in the month of August (in order of date read), along with a brief synopsis and review of each book.

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Cinder, by Marissa Meyer

Cinder is a fairytale retelling of Cinderella with a sci-fi twist. The story is set in futuristic New Beijing (China) and follows Cinder, a cyborg in a world where that is not socially acceptable. After a chance meeting with a prince, Cinder finds herself caught up in a whole mess of royal/political intrigue.

I really enjoyed this story. I found it to be both fun and captivating. The world Meyer creates is so complex and interesting that it sucks you in so quickly. I love the budding relationship between Cinder and Prince Kai and all of the obstacles they face. Immediately after finishing this I desperately needed to read Scarlet. And I did.

3.5 stars

Goodreads

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Scarlet, by Marissa Meyer

Scarlet is a continuation of The Lunar Chronicles, and it follows Scarlet in futuristic France. Scarlet’s grandmother has been missing for weeks, and Scarlet is determined to find out where she disappeared to and why. Unsure of how to go about doing so, Scarlet meets Wolf, who offers to help her in her quest. However, Wolf may not be who he seems, and as a result Scarlet discovers horrifying truths about the world around her and what happened to her grandmother.

Again, such a fun and exciting read. I love how Meyer interweaves the two stories of Cinder and Scarlet. This book added even more world-building to the initial world of Cinder.  We’re also introduced to more awesome characters. I absolutely love Cinder and Scarlet, along with Kai and Wolf. But my absolute favorite character of this series is Captain Thorne.

3.5 stars

Goodreads

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The Bassoon King, by Rainn Wilson

If you are not yet aware, Rainn Wilson is an actor, most famous for his role as Dwight Schrute in The Office (U.S.). I love Dwight, so that was the main reason I purchased this book. I was not at all prepared for how hilarious, insightful, and resonant this book truly is. In The Bassoon King, Wilson regales the tales of his childhood through to his adult life, discussing the main events of those years that shaped him into the person and the actor that he is today. Unlike most celebrity memoirs, this book is so much more than a window into his life. Wilson offers up the personal truths he came to conclude through his life experiences, and gives advice to those seeking careers in the creative world. He also discusses the importance of discussion when it comes to taboo topics, such as religion and spirituality. Highly recommend this book! (Also, watch The Office).

5 stars

Goodreads

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Cress, by Marissa Meyer

This is third installment in The Lunar Chronicles and follows Cress, a lunar shell and a hostage to the Queen’s right hand. She’s locked away in a satellite in space with the sole job of spying on Earth and Prince Kai by hacking their systems. However, Cress is secretly an Earthen sympathizer who has been secretly helping hide Cinder and her gang. The group attempts to rescue Cress, spurring a domino-effect of chaos.

This book was so crazy action-packed and intense. And again, I absolutely LOVED Captain Carswell Thorne. I NEED Winter.

4 stars

Goodreads

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Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, by J.K. Rowling

I don’t think this needs a synopsis at all, so I’ll just say that this book was funny, heartbreaking, and amazing. Definitely one of my favorites. I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to actually pick this book up, but I’m so glad I finally did. After finishing this book, I nearly cried hysterically. You know why.

5 stars

Goodreads

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Obsidian & Onyx, by Jennifer L. Armentrout

These are books 1 & 2 in the Lux series by Jennifer L. Armentrout. The story centers around a girl named Katy who moves to a small town in West Virginia with her single mom. Everything seems normal aside from her neighbors being extremely odd. It turns out this oddity is due to the fact that her neighbors are aliens.

I was very skeptical going into this series. I’ve heard reviews from complete opposite sides of the spectrum; I’ve heard people who absolutely love this book and its characters, and I’ve heard people who absolutely hated this book. Unfortunately, I agree mostly with the latter group of people. I found the story to be addicting, but the quality of the writing could definitely be improved. There were several instances where the humor seemed too forced, so the “jokes” ended up being pretty cringe-worthy. The romance was extremely cringe-worthy. It seemed that Armentrout tried to create too much drama between them, causing the main character to appear unreasonably fickle and sort of pathetic. I will give credit to Armentrout for weaving an interesting plot as far as the aliens and their Earthen enemy. I’m debating whether I will pick up the other books or not.

1 star

Goodreads: Obsidian

Goodreads: Onyx

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An Ember in the Ashes, by Sabaa Tahir

An Ember in the Ashes  is about a girl named Laia, whose family is murdered by the Martial Empire soldiers. All but one: her brother. In an attempt to rescue her brother, Laia acts as a spy for the rebellion and volunteers to be a slave to the evil Commandant.There she meets Elias, the most promising soldier at Blackcliff Martial Academy, and the least loyal.

In one sentence, this book was AMAZING. I was curious to see if I would like this book as much as other people do, and I was pleased to discover that I freaking loved this book. I was completely hooked to the story, and every chapter ended in a fantastic way that made you want to keep reading. There’s so much in this book that is so good. There are great characters, great world-building, great plot, and an amazing writing style. This story is told from dual perspectives (Laia and Elias), so if you’re not a fan of that, beware. But even if you aren’t a fan of dual perspective, this book is so amazing that it is definitely worth a try.

5 stars

Goodreads


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Book Review: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

cruel beauty

I cannot express how badly I wanted to like this book. Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorite stories of all time, so I was super excited to find another retelling after loving A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas. I had such high hopes for Cruel Beauty.

I was left comepletely underwhelmed and disappointed.

The story follows the main protagonist, Nyx, who was sold off to a demon by her father during a bargain. She was raised to marry the demon and trained to kill him. Being a Beauty and the Beast retelling, you can imagine what happens when Nyx moves into the demon, Ignifex’s house. She “slowly” starts to fall in love with him. I’m going to have spoilers from here on out, so I would leave if you’re still planning on reading Cruel Beauty. However, I don’t recommend it.

1 Star

**SPOILERS AHEAD!!**


 

You may notice that I put quotations around the word “slowly.” This is because it was not a gradual process at all. In fact, Nyx starts falling in love the moment she gets there. At first she starts to fall in love with Ignifex’s shadow, conveniently named Shade. Ignifex and his shadow are separate beings, yet also the same. Yes I know, it’s confusing.  The whole inst-love vibe I got from this book really turned me off. It also made me hate Nyx. I felt like she was an idiot, or just a prepubescent middle school girl falling in love with anyone who pays attention to her. (Yes, have all been there, don’t lie).

Another element of this novel that really bothered me was the writing style. I feel like this story has so much potential, but Rosamund Hodge just tried to fit it in too tiny of a space. One book of 342 pages is no where near enough pages to fully develop this story and its characters, and that seemed to be the major downfall of this book. If she gave herself more room to develop and really tell the story, it could have been so good. The idea was interesting mixing Beauty and the Beast with Greek mythology, but not enough pages! As a result, we got insta-love, awful metaphors, and a sickeningly vague and abrupt ending.

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Examples:

  • On page 77, during Nyx’s first night (or maybe second): “Standing on my toes, I kissed Shade on the lips.” WTF. She doesn’t know anything about this person, nor has she ever kissed anyone. It just seems SO unrealistic to me.
  • “His touch was light, but I felt it as precisely as the lines of a lithograph, with my body for the paper.” (129). What the hell Hodge? What kind of pathetic metaphor is this?!
  • And don’t even get me started on the ending. Nyx and Ignifex figure out how to break the curse, but the solution separates them for years, but also bends time so that they’re still the same age. Then somehow, miraculously, she remembers she married a demon and races through the forest to go save him. Then she offers to be put into a jar of darkness (yes you read that right) just to be with him. Then all of a sudden his name is Lux, and they’re falling into this jar of darkness that somehow turns into a gorgeous meadow. I just have no words.

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I really have nothing else to say other than that this book was a terrible letdown, and I would never recommend this to anyone.

1 star


Well, I hope this review/rant was enlightening for you guys. Do you have recent disappointing reads? Let me know in the comments below!

In addition to WordPress, I am also on Instagram: @bookrecs625

I’m so behind on reviews but I promise more are coming your way!

Happy reading!

 

Book Review: Me Before You, by Jojo Moyes

me before you

I posted about this book previously as to why I felt the absolute need to read this book. Yep, that’s right: the movie trailer. I’ve seen this book everywhere from BookTube to the shelves of every bookstore I frequent. After seeing the movie trailer, I knew this book was going to be something special. However, I did not expect to fall as deeply in love with this story and its characters as I did.

The story follows a young woman named Louisa Clark. Louisa comes from a poor family who rely on her to help provide for the family. When Louisa’s boss drops the bomb that he’s closing down the cafe, she becomes frantic for another job. After countless attempts, Louisa comes across a job listing for a caretaker. After a slight hesitation, she jumps at the opportunity. That’s when she meets Will Traynor, a wealthy, adventurous young man who, after a tragic accident, is now trapped in a wheelchair as a quadriplegic. But Louisa’s job as Will’s caretaker turns out to be much more than she bargained for and would change her life forever.

I fell in love with this story, with all of its characters, and the overall message of the book. I would 100% recommend this to everyone and anyone, so if you haven’t read it, go read it now!

5/5 Stars

*WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD*


 

 

This story completely broke my heart. I have never cried so much while reading a book ever. Around 60 pages in is when the reader discovers what Will’s intentions are, and I cried. 60 PAGES INNo book has ever done that to me. While I understood why Will felt the way he felt, I was really counting on him to change his mind and choose to live on with Lou. The scene when she poured her heart out to him and told him she loved him, and he just rejected it and said he wouldn’t change his mind… that destroyed me. I cried from that point all the way to the very last page of the book.

And when Lou didn’t go to Sweden at first. Again, I understood why. She didn’t want to see the man she loved die in front of her. But it was Will’s dying wish, literally. I was silently screaming at Lou for not going. I was so relieved when Camilla called Louisa begging her to come to Will’s side. And thank goodness she went.

I loved Lou and her quirkiness. But even more, I loved Will’s snarkiness. I totally sympathized with how frustrated he must have been in that chair, so I was laughing hysterically when he tried to scare Lou off on her first day with the “Christy Brown impression” :

“In the center of the room stood a black wheelchair, its seat and back cushioned by sheepskin. A solidly built man in white collarless scrubs was crouching down, adjusting a man’s feet on the footrests of the wheelchair. As we stepped into the room, the man in the wheelchair looked up from under shaggy, unkempt hair. His eyes met mine, and after a pause, he let out a bloodcurdling groan. Then his mouth twisted, and he let out another unearthly cry.”

I was laughing out loud just typing that out LOL. Will had such a great sense of humor, often morbid, but so funny. Another one of my favorite Will moments was on Lou’s birthday when he was leaving. There was so much tension between Will and Patrick during the dinner, but Will’s parting words to Patrick were so funny:

“Well, you’re a lucky man,” Will said, as Nathan began to steer him out. “She certainly gives a good bed bath.” The words came out so quickly that the door was closed before Patrick even realized what he had said.”

Safe to say Will is my favorite.

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Aside from the plot and characters, the theme really makes this book so wonderful. Prior to this job, Louisa really struggled with finding motivation for her life. She was too comfortable doing nothing and staying in the dead-end little town that she lived in. She felt no need to leave that comfort zone to find adventures. The readers discover why Louisa felt so frightened and hesitant to branch out and live her life spontaneously and adventurously. But Will sees what a light Lou is, and seeks to inspire her to live her life. It’s such a universal message told in such a beautiful way. Another motif that ran throughout the book was this idea of “enough.” What constitutes as “enough” to want to go on living? What makes a person “enough.” I really enjoyed seeing this concept come up time and time again throughout the narrative.

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I hope you enjoyed this post. If you’ve read Me Before You, let me know what you thought about it! Also, check out my bookstagram and hit that follow button! @bookrecs625

Happy Reading!

Favorite Books of 2015

This post is long overdue, but after brainstorming what to post on my blog next while I work on finishing Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, I realized that doing a post on my favorite books of 2015 would actually be really fun.

So, here are some of my 2015 favorites (in no particular order):

Saga

The Saga Series by Brian K. Vaughan

As I was going through the criteria for the 2015 Reading Challenge, I saw that one of them was “read a graphic novel.” I had never explored this realm of the book world before, so I had absolutely no idea where to start. There are so many books out there, including soooo many graphic novels… “Which one should I choose?” I ended up ignoring this criteria for quite some time until I noticed a pattern in the BookTube community: nearly every channel mentioned a graphic novel series entitled, Saga. 100% of the blurbs on BookTube were positive feedback, claiming Saga was one of the best graphic novel series they’d ever read. Naturally, I felt like I found my answer. Saga is such an interesting, Sci-fi,action-packed story following several different characters with their own stories that intertwine throughout each volume. I’m completely caught up with the series and anxiously awaiting Volume 6.

Anna and the French Kiss

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins 

This was another heavily hyped book I came across. It’s a YA novel, and if you’re into cute stories and love happy endings, definitely go pick this up. I fell in love with Anna and Etienne, and the book made me miss France so much! I loved their story, and it’s the best book to read whenever you’re in the mood for something light and fluffy. Most definitely one of my favorites, as well as a big candidate for a re-read!

Harry Potter Series

The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

DUH.

Okay, seriously. Although I’m still working on book 4, I absolutely love this series. I completely understand why everyone is so obsessed with this series. Every book is such an adventure, and Harry, Ron, and Hermione are the three best heroes. They are so loveable with all of their greatest attributes and greatest faults as young children growing up in such a magical world.

Us

Us by David Nicholls

I didn’t know what to expect going into this book. I believe I picked this up in an airport on my way to Hawaii. I read One Day a few years ago, and I loved that book so much, so I was excited to see what other stories Nicholls had to offer. I was so surprised by how much this book broke my heart. It was one of those books that’s funny with sad undertones. I remember laughing my way through the book, but literally crying (full-on tears streaming down my face) by the time I finished this book. I highly recommend this to those who enjoy adult contemporary fiction and aren’t opposed to being subjected to the almighty “feels.”

Voyager

Voyager by Diana Gabaldon

Again, DUH.

This book is the third installment in the Outlander series, and I absolutely loved it! How could you not love time travel, castles, and a hot red-headed Highlander?! I read this book back in May of 2015, I blazed through all of its 1,000+ pages within a week. It was so much more fast-paced than the previous book, A Dragonfly in Amber.

And, um….. JAMIE FRASER.

Jamie Fraser

Just sayin’…

 

 

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

There are many mixed reviews floating around about the film adaptation of this book. I feel that reading the book is necessary to appreciate the film because the book offers so much more insight into the characters’ minds, especially Amy Dunne. I loved the themes that unfolded throughout this book, and the overall f***ed-upness of the entire plot. I can’t say much without spoiling it for those who have not been spoiled already. Seriously, even if you were iffy on the movie, read the book and see if that makes it any better. I think Flynn is a genius because of Gone Girl; it’s one of those books that really makes you think and question life.

The Beloved by Kahlil Gibran

All I can say about this is it’s beautiful, and I suggest everyone read it to further appreciate the beauty of life.

Red Rising by Pierce Brown

I LOVED this book. I’m just now getting my hands on the second book, “The Golden Son,” not-so-silently willing BookOutlet.com to expedite this shipping already so I can start reading it! The first book was amazing, and I have to give it to Pierce Brown for doing such an outstanding job on his debut novel. It’s a dystopian novel, and many have compared it to The Hunger Games trilogy… but it’s so much more than that. The world is massive, and Brown makes it so enjoyable to accompany Darrow on his voyage to vengeance. The third book, Morning Star was just released, and I can’t wait to continue on with this incredible series.

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

What suckered me in to reading this book was this description: “It’s a Beauty and the Beast retelling.” … … … ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Of course I had to pick it up.

The thing, I bought it, but it took me months and months to actually pick it up and read it. But once I did, oh my gosh it was amazing. I loved Feyre’s story, the background she comes from, and her personality. She’s definitely a force to be reckoned with, (although she had a couple of moments when her stupidity really irked me). And Tamlin…

Tamlin.

I mean come on people.

The connections between this story and Beauty and the Beast are there, but this story is unique on its own as well. Definitely a 2015 favorite. Can’t wait for A Court of Mist and Fury to come out this year as well!


 

I hope you enjoyed my Favorite Books of 2015. If you enjoyed this post, feel free to hit that like button, as well as the “follow” button for more book-related posts. I’m also on instagram: bookrecs625 🙂

Happy Reading My Friends!

 

Book Review: Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Got Married

Gary Chapman

So this review is a little different because it’s a review of a self-help book. When my fiance and I got engaged, one of our old coworkers recommended that we read a couple of books written by a renowned premarital/marital counselor, Gary Chapman. One of these books was Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Got Married. 

Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Got Married is a book about all of the most common issues that tend to go unnoticed while dating but eventually become issues after marriage. Chapman’s goal is to bring these issues to the forefront before marriage, so that they can be discussed prior to marriage to save a lot of arguments and conflict after marriage. Some of the issues he talks about include: realizing that love alone is insufficient as a foundation for marriage, figuring out finances, marrying into a family, personality differences, religion, sex, and more!

I found this book to be a little intimidating but really helpful in the long run. It is a little daunting having your relationship challenged by the book you’re reading. It challenges the actual compatibility between you and your partner to see if the two of you should really be planning a marriage together. Despite the moments of fear, this book actually made me feel a lot more confident in my relationship with my fiance, and I really believe that we can have a wonderful marriage that will last for the rest of our lives.

For the most part I found truth and insight in what Chapman writes in this book. He has years of experience with his wife, and he continuously uses he and his wife as relevant examples for his topics. However, there were a couple instances where I felt I disagreed with him. The one that really comes to mind every time I think about it is his argument that the statements, “like mother like daughter,” and “like father like son,” are completely true. He argues that analyzing the behavior patterns of the parent is a sure sign of what your spouse will be like. I find that to be somewhat true… to an extent. I do believe that the potential spouse may look at their parents and decide that they don’t want to be like their parents. Yes, most children end up like their parents, but to argue that those statements are 100% true is absurd.

Other than my disagreements, there were a lot of benefits from this book. I am much more confident in my relationship with my future husband, and I feel like I am much more prepared for marriage. I am young, and a lot of the issues he brought up were vague ideas that I knew in the back of my head. Now I feel more well-informed about the topic and feel ready to take on the married life!

4/5 Stars

If you’ve read this book, let me know your thoughts. Feel free to leave questions and comments down below. I love hearing from you guys.

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