Saturday, January 31, 2015

An Intro Into the Grishaverse

What is the Grishaverse? It's a nickname for the Grisha trilogy by Leigh Bardugo. I'm currently reading the sequel to Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm. I realized recently that I hadn't reviewed Shadow and Bone and it's novellas that I enjoyed. So here are the reviews for The Witch of Duva, Shadow and Bone, and The Tailor.

13643163The Witch of Duva by Leigh Bardugo

Prequel to the Shadow and Bone trilogy

5 stars

There was once a monster in the woods of Duva. Little girls would wonder in and be eaten. No one knew who the monster was or where it came from, but Nadya’s father is getting married to the monster… or so it seems. Nadya finds herself in the woods with a witch… who could be the monster just as much as the one hiding in her house. I love folktales. There’s just something about folktales that always entrance me and make my palms sweat and my heart race with wonder. As a child, Hansel and Gretel was one of my favorite stories. A witch in the woods who fattens kids up with sweets and eats them was horrifying, but I couldn’t get enough of the story. Bardugo loosely bases this Ravkan folktale on this children’s tale. If you haven’t read the Shadow and Bone trilogy, Ravka is the setting of the trilogy. I really enjoy the corporation of a folktale into Ravka society. I love to learn little things about fantasy worlds because that’s what makes the world. Reading about a story that centers on a folktale told around Ravka to scare children makes the world seem solid and real.

This short story is absolutely gorgeous. The writing is beautiful. The story is shocking. That’s saying a lot since this story is only 43 pages. I can’t say more than that because I don’t want to give anything away. Just know that this story is beautiful and it’s worth the read whether you’re a fan of Bardugo or just in want of a quick story with substance.

Cover Thoughts: I love this cover. It’s so stunning and gorgeous. The story always have the best artwork.

You can read this story online free here

10194157Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

First in the Grisha trilogy

5 stars

Ravka is a nation torn into two by the Black Heretic who created the Shadow Fold, a sea of darkness with horrifying features looking to feast on human flesh. Alina lives the life of a mapmaker for the army. When she enters the Fold and her best friend, Mal, is attacked she finds a power within herself. She’s a Grisha, but not just any Grisha. She can summon light- branded as a Sun Summoner and the counterpart to the Darkling. Alina enters royal court. She learns that nothing is what it seems in this new world fueled by deceit and strategies that have Ravkans’ lives on the line. A review for Shadow and Bone is long overdue. Like most of my reviews are. I still haven’t reviewed my beloved Harry Potter series (I have some reviews written, but it’s an ongoing process). My love for this book was surprising. I knew I would be intrigued by Shadow and Bone, but I wasn’t expecting to love it the way I did. I read this book in the car. While that doesn’t seem odd for most readers I hardly ever read in the car, but I read this book going and coming back from NOLA. This book was entrancing. I loved every second of Shadow and Bone. The writing was magical. The characters were captivating. The storyline kept me on my toes and anticipating what lied behind the next pages. I was enamored with the Grishaverse. I fell in love. Not in love like some of my novels, but this novel charmed me into loving it. I feel like a school girl who has a first crush while writing this review. I can’t seem to form coherent thoughts. It also probably doesn’t help that I fell for this novel back in July and it’s almost February.

The main female character is Alina. I love Alina’s backstory. Something about reading it was interesting and compelling. I loved her moments in the castle and discovering who she was not only as a Grisha but as a person. Alina is strong and resilient, but she is also caring. The thing I like most about her is that she knows she isn’t the most beautiful girl in the world, but I also wish she had more confidence in realizing that she must be beautiful to attain to very attractive men’s attentions.

Kick-Butt Heroine Scale: 8.5

The main male characters are Mal and The Darkling. Mal… I was conflicted at first. I admit I didn’t like him very much. Mostly because he was too charming (I’m still not his biggest fan), but I also loved those last sweet moments of the book before the shit hit the fan again. He is hard not to like, but with the way Siege and Storm is going Mal is losing his touch.

Swoon Worthy Scale: 7

The Villain- Ah, the Darkling. I would be lying if I said the Darkling wasn’t my favorite thing about this novel. The Darkling is just so powerful, cunning, evil, vindictive, charming, and I love him. I shouldn’t love him because he can be so cruel, but I love him. It’s probably unhealthy, isn’t it?

Villain Scale: 9

Swoon Worthy Scale: 10

I love the complexity of all the characters in this novel. Characters like Genya are my favorite. She was a great character and I don’t want to go into too much detail because then I would spoil it.

Character Scale: 8.5

I think this novel is amazing and I highly recommend it. If you haven’t picked it up yet, give it a shot because it is entertaining and a fun adventure to go on. Plus it will give you feels. How can you say no to that?!?

Cover Thoughts: I love this cover! It is so beautiful and now that I’m reading the second book I just realized that Morozova’s stag’s antlers are on the cover and that gives me feels. This cover is beautifully done.

17997353The Tailor by Leigh Bardugo

1.5 in the Grisha trilogy

4.5 stars

This a short story told from Genya’s point of view set during Shadow and Bone. I loved Genya quite a lot in Shadow and Bone. I thought her character was great. She had a lot of layers.(That could also be a pun because she’s a tailor and it’s cold in Ravka.) Anyway as a short story, I thought this was fantastic. There was character development and a little plot twist from Shadow and Bone that was further elaborated. I think Bardugo has a gift of writing great characters. I want to hate Genya, but I can’t. I like her too much. And Darkling. That man is horrifying and beautiful. Like Tate from AHS.

Cover Thoughts: I want to attend the palace and walk through the halls. It sounds so beautiful.

You can read this story free online here.

What are your thoughts on the Grisha trilogy? Are you a  fan? Let me know down below in the comments.:D

Monday, January 19, 2015

Charming by Krystal Wade

I'm not a good blogger! I took a two week hiatus and now I'm back to school and winter guard is starting and I'm dying again. I'm sorry, but I'll try to update when I can. As well as post more videos! I haven't even done my Tope 14 of 2014 because I'm lazy and when I look good and I'm going to parties or sleepovers so I have no time. I'll stop babbling now and here's a review of Charming by Krystal Wade! I originally found out about this book through Sasha Alsberg's YouTube channel abookutopia and if you're interested in the video here's a link.


Charming by Krystal Wade

3 stars

Haley Tremaine lost it all. Her mother died in a car crash that was supposed to take Haley away from her abusive father and now she’s stuck with him. She’s stuck with him and she has to protect her sister from the truth about who her father is- an alcoholic abuser. Enter Chris Charming, a boy who used to attend school with Haley and now is runner up for her mother’s candle making company. He has a reputation as a trouble maker and he won’t leave Haley alone. There’s a serial killer on the loose and Haley’s his next target. This book has been marketed as Cinderella meets Saw. I can kind of see that, but not really. I mean the Cinderella aspect is there and prominent in certain scenes, but the Saw aspect- not so much. I could see it more as Cinderella meets Criminal Minds. I’m sure at least one Criminal Minds episode is exact like this or at least close to it. The beginning of Charming is really unsettling, especially for a novel targeted to young readers. If this book didn’t read so blandly and have a high school setting I could see this as a dark adult novel, but besides the constant abuse Haley endures at home nothing about this book is extremely dark. I was completely disgusted with the abuse situation and while I can relate to Haley as a victim abuse I also can’t.

The main female character is Haley. I’m on the outs about Haley. I don’t dislike her, but I don’t like her either. I feel like she was a strong character- she’s brave and tough for having to deal with her situation- but she also downplays her situation- something I can totally understand. My problem with Haley is that her problem is portrayed very realistically, but Haley herself doesn’t seem real. I’m just very unsure about my stance on her.

Kick-Butt Heroine Scale: 5

The main male character is Chris. Chris is pretty insignificant. I didn’t get the romance with Haley and Chris. There was no connection, tension, or any sign of this so-called love that seemed to have blossomed in 7.2 seconds. Chris wasn’t interesting or charming, much to the implication of his last name. I just wasn’t buying it.

Swoon Worthy Scale: 2

The Villain- I wish I could say that I didn’t see who the killer was, but it seemed kind of obvious to me from the beginning. Since I’ve recently become a huge Gillian Flynn fan I’m constantly looking to be mind-fucked with books of this nature, but I didn’t find it. When the villain was revealed it all just seemed rushed and ridiculous. Kind of like how American Horror Story: Freakshow (which I would've complained about until I saw the most recent episode which was freaking amazing and you should all join my obsession of AHS) has been this season- completely boring and then gruesome right out of left field.

Villain Scale: 3
I did not like Haley’s sister at all. I think that as a member of Haley’s household the abuse would’ve been pretty obvious since all the signs of domestic violence were there. I didn’t like Haley’s father either and he was a douchecanoe from day one. Haley’s friend was a decent character. I didn’t love her, but I liked that she was there for Haley and was a good friend. Where did that random guy at the end come from? What was that? “I kinda know you and I’m friends with Chris so I’ll drive you to go and find a serial killer.” Like what?????

Character Scale: 4

Charming doesn’t have a concrete plot and it seemed to be going nowhere at times and then there would be random plot points popping up and disappearing and then coming back. It was off-putting and while I think Charming good it also flows too fast. The best way to describe this novel is fluff in a dark setting.

Cover Thoughts: I like the cover when I first saw it I was expecting the novel to be a dark erotica, but after reading Charming the setting of this cover makes a lot of sense.

Thank you, Netgalley and Curiosity Quills Press for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

Have you read Charming? Does it appeal to you? What or your thoughts? Let me know in the comments down below!

Short Stories That I Enjoyed in the Last Two Weeks

Hey, everyone! I've been away for a while. I moved into my apartment, started my intern teaching tenth graders at a local high school, d...