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Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones | Book Review

Hi everyone!

About a month ago, I started reading Wintersong, intrigued by it because I knew that it was about goblins and kidnapping, and now I’m happy to say I read it. Although, I didn’t quite love it–I’m giving it around 3.5-3.75 stars–it was definitely enjoyable, so I hope you stick around to continue reading this review.

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One thing I would like to point out is that you should definitely go into this book without knowing much. If you’re aware that it is about goblins, and that it has really beautiful writing, I think you’re set. What I realized while reading was that the synopsis given on the inside of the book as well as the one on Goodreads actually spoils part of the book. That is, I kept expecting the story to move forward more quickly, because what was happening was already given in the synopsis itself. It turned out, however, that the synopsis basically tells you what happens for at least a third of the book. So: if you want to be slightly more surprised, I recommend not reading a summary.

(This review will be spoiler-free).

Things I Liked:

As I mentioned already, I loved the writing. It was probably my favorite part of the book. It’s flowy and nice-sounding and really sets the atmosphere of the book. The world is super interesting as well. You want to continue reading purely because of the fact that everything is so mysterious and dark. Literally: when I think of this book, I imagine the color scheme of the (beautiful) book cover–dark blue laced with shining silver.

Another aspect I really enjoyed was the character development. By the end of the novel, Elisabeth is basically entirely transformed. When we first meet her, she has no self-esteem, doesn’t know what she’s doing, is bitter and unsatisfied with her life. Throughout the novel, she finally finds herself and her music. I also really liked the fact that her music was such a central aspect of her story, as books often erase hobbies and passions for plotlines.

Things That Could Have Been Better

My biggest complaint for this book is that nothing happened. I could have skipped a good 100 pages, and I would have understood what was going on because that’s how slow it was. I was expecting Elisabeth to do something besides stay weepy and mourn and lust, but she didn’t, most of the time. And this is coming from a person who can usually read slow books–I just couldn’t deal with it. It felt really repetitive at times, so much so that the romance got boring and even the beautiful writing didn’t faze me. It felt like I was reading the same lines over and over again.

I also wish that the author had expanded the world of the novel. There was so much more to know! It could have been so much more adventurous and interesting if something had actually happened. Don’t get me wrong: I usually enjoy character-driven books–I LOVE characters, even if the plot isn’t amazing–but for a book that was supposed to be a fantasy, I was expecting a little more action. So many things went unexplained; and I assume that they will be elaborated on in Book 2, but still.

Overall, however, I did end up liking this book because it had a really different taste to it. I’m not really sure if I’ll get to the second book, just because I don’t know if I can deal with another super slow book in a long time now.

Have you read Wintersong? Did you enjoy it, or were you one of those that thought it was mediocre?

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Airplanes in the Night Sky Regular

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The Grinch Book Tag

Hey everyone! It’s been a while since I’ve done a book tag, and I saw this one over at Lila’s blog, and decided I might as well do it myself. So, let’s begin!

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Also…I’ve always felt terrible for the Grinch omg 😦

1. Half of the lights on the Christmas tree are burnt out // Name a book/series/character that started out well and then went downhill.

Since I just finished The Becoming of Noah Shaw, I might as well use that for this question. If you’ve read my review, you know how disappointed I was by this installment. I know, technically it’s the first book in a series, but you can’t really read it without already having read Mara Dyer. So yes–this book definitely fits, since I loved the Mara Dyer trilogy SO much more.

2. Annoying relatives won’t leave you alone // Name a book that you did not enjoy but everyone else seems to love, and it will not stop haunting you.

It’s literally been three years, but I still don’t understand why everyone loves I’ll Give You The Sun so much. All I remember was that it was insta-lovey and just…not that good. (I will still literally rant about this book guys–it’s never going to end).

3. Your pets keep knocking over your Christmas decorations // Name a character that kept on messing everything up for everyone.

OHMYGOD how annoying the main character was in The Kite Runner! I remember liking the book when I read it last year, and the character development was good, but he was just so goddamn selfish and I could not get over it.

4. You hear your parents putting presents out and learn that Father Christmas is not real // Name a book you were spoiled for.

I’ve been spoiled for sooo many books, but here are some off the top of my head: Allegiant, City of Glass, Clockwork Princess, Heir of Fire…all of the mainstream books that I would have loved even more if I hadn’t been spoiled.

5. It’s freezing outside // Name a character you just couldn’t warm to.

August Flynn from This Savage Song. It’s not that I didn’t like him; he was fine, but I just couldn’t bring myself to care that much. At the end of the duology, because I wasn’t really emotionally attached, I didn’t end up having my heart broken like everyone else, even though I had enjoyed the books in general.

6. Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’ is being played a lot on the radio, giving you anti-romantic feelings // Name a couple that you just could not stand.

Will I ever stop screeching about just how much I hate Aelin and Rowan? I hate them so much that I changed the font of this text for the first time in my life. I just…can’t. I hated Rowan from the start; ever since he started abusing her and I despised it when Sarah turned their relationship into a romance. Blegh.

7. The scratchy homemade jumper that you got for Christmas years ago but have never worn // A book that has been sitting on your shelf for years that you are not motivated to read, but do not have the heart to get rid of.

Sadly, my sister gave me The Knife of Never Letting Go (haha, get it, I don’t want to let go of it) about two years ago, and I even got it signed(!), but I just haven’t picked it up yet and I’ve kind of lost interest. The sad thing is, I KNOW if I just start it, I’ll enjoy it, but I don’t have the motivation to. The other thing is, I don’t think I’ll ever get rid of it purely because a) it was a gift and b) it’s signed.

8. Grandma has gotten run over by a reindeer // Name a character death that you are still mad about.

*spoiler alert for Lord of Shadows by Cassie Clare*

My heart is still broken over the fact that Livvy died. I know that if she hadn’t, then the book wouldn’t have been as good as it was, but still. It was so tragic, because Livvy was so innocent and just hadn’t deserved to die, but it absolutely broke my heart.

9. Shops are overcrowded with shoppers for the holidays // Name a series with too many books, or that went on too long.

This one is really tricky, because I will always always ALWAYS harbor a special place in my heart for Rick Riordan’s books. That said, even I–a die-hard PJO fan–admit that the world of gods and monsters that Rick once created so uniquely is kind of overdone at this point. His new series (Not the Heroes of Olympus) all follow the same types of tropes with similar character archetypes, and although I understand that it is meant for a younger audience, I feel like it is a bit much.

10. The Grinch // Name a main character that you absolutely hate (not a villain).

I already kind of talked about him, but I’ve never hated a character who is not a villain with the passion that I hate Rowan with. I never warmed up to him; never thought he was as amazing as everyone made him to be, never shipped him with Aelin or any of that. Honestly, I wish he would die. (I am very aware of how controversial my opinions on him are).

Anyway, that’s it for this tag! Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed my ranting!

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Airplanes in the Night Sky Regular

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7

The Becoming of Noah Shaw: The Disappointing Reality

Hey guys! Don’t know if you remember, but about two months ago I blogged about how excited I was for The Becoming of Noah Shaw. In fact, I wasn’t talking about my excitement just on my blog; I pretty much mentioned it to all of my close friends and family. Needless to say, I was so hyped.

I’m so sorry to say that I was let down, greatly. I mean, just looking at the cover made me happy, but now it’s making me mad (that’s how let down I was)–

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I ended up giving it 2.5 stars.

Note: spoilers are discussed in this review. Also, trigger warning for suicide, self-harm, etc., due to the content of the book.

The disappointment of the year. No, really. I was SO excited for this book to come out—I waited so long for it! I couldn’t wait to reabsorb the creepiness and the plot twists and everything, as I’ve said before, a million times over and over again.

This book was not what I wanted.

Either my reading tastes have changed SUPER drastically (I don’t really think so), or this book just wasn’t good. First of all, it was overly vulgar, and overly explicit and sexual. It didn’t even mean anything because something either disgusting or supposedly “hot” was happening all the time, and I just ended up becoming desensitized and annoyed by it. There was no real plot, and I only kept reading because I wanted a plot twist at the end and I didn’t want to DNF it. I have to say, it was addicting as always, but instead of being intrigued, I just wanted to get it over with.

I was super confused the entire book, since Hodkin didn’t do a very good job of reminding us what had happened in previous books, and nothing really happened in this book anyway. I mean, I remember the Mara Dyer books as being vague, but nothing made SENSE in this one. Did Mara actually force people to kill themselves? And if she did, I mean, WHY? There was no reason to anything; it just happened and it was useless and grotesque. Basically, all the violence and the sex was pointless. I didn’t see any motive for anything, and quite honestly, this book made my head hurt.

Another part I despised was how the author used suicide/mental illness/self-harm so freely. She literally used suicide as a plot device! And with no motive! Yea yea there’s a trigger warning in the beginning of the book, but really? It was so unnecessary; and I hated how it didn’t even mean anything. The book ended unclear, which I’d be fine with, but there are some things you have to explain, and this was one of them.

I have so many more complaints, but all I want to say now is that I wish I had loved this more. Sadly, the best part of the book was the last 50 pages, and I don’t think it was worth reading the rest of the 300+ pages for that. I’m giving it an extra 0.5 stars purely for the ending (I liked the cliffhanger) and because of my nostalgia for the old books, otherwise I’d be giving it 2 stars. I’m not even sure if I’ll continue the series, but we’ll see.

Basically, the moral of the story is that you shouldn’t get too hyped. But hey! The good news is, I finally finished a book (my first in, like, 3 months)!

Have you read this book? How do you feel about it? I know other people were really disappointed too, so I would love to rant!

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Airplanes in the Night Sky Regular

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National Book Festival Experience

Hi everyone! It’s been a little while since I’ve blogged, or even went on WordPress. I also haven’t been able to go through anyone else’s posts because my app isn’t working properly; I’m sorry about that.

Anyway, last Saturday, I went to the National Book Festival in D.C. for the second time, and it was so much fun! I wanted to share my experience with you guys, so I hope you enjoy. 🙂

This year the authors I met were Sabaa Tahir, Nicola Yoon, and Sandhya Menon. It was raining and a gloomy day, and we were in a hurry to get there on time for the signings–but luckily we did. If you don’t know, the National Book Festival (obviously) is one of the biggest book festivals in the world, so it was flooding with people and signing lines. I quickly rushed over to Sabaa Tahir’s line and luckily got to meet her!

She was super nice, asked me how Eid was going which was pretty cool, and I told her how happy I was for her books to be growing so popular. We didn’t speak for that long, because the line was so long, but she was so cool that it didn’t even matter much.

I couldn’t get a really good photo with her, but I feel like this picture accurately represents my reaction to meeting her:

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Next, I met Nicola Yoon, WHICH I AM STILL SO EXCITED ABOUT BECAUSE GUYS I LOVE THE SUN IS ALSO A STAR SOO SO MUCH. I had actually drawn a picture of Natasha, the main character, and gave Nicola the photocopy and kept the signed one for myself. It was such a lovely experience; and I’m so glad I had the opportunity to meet her and give her my fan art.

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For the next hour or so, I didn’t really have anything to do while my sister met Angie Thomas (author of THUG, whom I didn’t meet but saw!), so I decided I might as well buy When Dimple Met Rishi and meet Sandhya Menon. I told her how excited I was about her book, especially the diversity, and then she also recommend a bunch of books with other brown main characters. She was also, of course, super sweet and now I’m more excited to read her book. (I don’t have a picture with her, unfortunately).

Overall, the National Book Festival was once again so much fun. The staff was super nice, it’s a huge event, and it’s just really great to be among so many people who also love books. If you live in the area (or even if you don’t!) I highly recommend you come next year!

Have you ever been to the National Book Festival? If so, who did you meet?

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Airplanes in the Night Sky Regular

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Historical Fiction Book Recommendations

Hi everyone! As some of you may or may not know, I love history. Naturally, I also love reading historical fiction, but something I’ve realized is that I don’t really read that many. And when I do, they all seem to be set in WW2–which is super important, of course–but there are so many other time periods that also deserve recognition. Anyway, today I decided to make a list of some historical fiction books I really enjoyed, regardless of the time period. (The books I chose exclusively have lots of historical information in them and are not just randomly set in a different time period).

I hope you enjoy!

The book I read most recently from this list is Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin. It’s set in a world where the Axis powers have won World War II, and the main character goes on a mission to kill Hitler. It’s super intriguing, with some fantasy elements, an awesome lead, and plot twists.

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Then, we have Between Shades of Grey by Ruta Sepetys. This book is set during World War II, however, the story is not a commonly told one as it is not about the Holocaust but about Lithuania and how it was also impacted by the war. It’s really emotional, well-written, and touched me greatly. I also finished it in only a couple of sittings because I was hooked.

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This next book is set in a historical setting that’s not as well-known either: Afghanistan. A Thousand Splendid Suns takes place within a few decades and shows how drastically one country–and its people–can change over the years. It is one of my favorite books as of now and extremely moving.

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And I Darken, obviously, I had to include on this list. This actually takes a twist on history so it’s not that historically accurate after one point, however, the setting and the characters are from the 15th century Ottoman Empire and I thought they were really well represented. When will I ever stop talking about this book? Nope.

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Distant Waves is actually a book I read a long, long time ago. (I think I was in fourth or fifth grade? So, like, 6 years ago.) That’s why I don’t remember much except for the fact that I enjoyed it. I know it had something to do with the Titanic, and like And I Darken, it changed some historical facts, but it was pretty good.

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The last book I have on this list is also one that is not well known, but when I read it I thought it was really important (and it is). The Boy Who Dared by Susan Campbell Bartoletti is actually based on a true story about a teenager in Nazi Germany who decides to tell the truth about Hitler. It is one of the saddest (and it is even sadder when you know this actually happened to someone) books I’ve ever read, but extremely worth it. I highly, highly recommend everyone pick this book up!

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That’s it for this list, since those are all of the historical fiction books I’ve read and enjoyed. I really want to read more, so if you have any recommendations, don’t hesitate to let me know!

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Windwitch: You Should Totally Read It Too!

Windwitch by Susan Dennard is the second book in the Witchlands series. Last summer I read Truthwitch and had enjoyed it very much so I was partially hesitant about reading this one. Luckily, I loved it just as much as the first book.

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This review will be spoiler-free for both books in the series, so feel free to read it (and learn why you should read this series too!)

Maybe for the first 70 pages or so, I couldn’t quite get into the story. This series has probably the most complex world I have ever read from, so I had forgotten a lot of the terminology, magic, and plot of the previous book. Thankfully, I got a hang of it once again and started enjoying it even more.

This book focuses on Merik–and I love Merik. Whereas in the first book he is mostly seen as a love interest that is kind of bland (I still loved him, but this is what I hear are the opinions of other people as well), in Windwitch, his character is almostly completely transformed. Throughout the book he goes through one of the best character developments I’ve read in a while. (It’s so great that the ending made me even happier). It doesn’t really have as much romance, because the characters are separated, but I thought it was nice to take a break from this.

All of the characters, the new and old ones, are awesome, badass, and three-dimensional. They constantly question themselves, as anyone normal would do, and often times you can’t really tell where the story is headed because they appear somewhat morally ambiguous (which I love).

On top of all the amazing characters and world, the plot was so well written. Susan Dennard cleverly switches between chapter to chapter from character to character so that you don’t get bored reading the same story. Almost all of the time each chapter ends in a cliffhanger and so you want to keep reading. And of course, there are lots and lots of plot twists–and who wouldn’t love plot twists?

Long story short, this series is probably my ideal high fantasy series and I urge everyone to pick them up. They deserve so much more recognition than they get! \

Have you read this series as well? Who’s your favorite character? (Merik is my favorite, but I love all of them).

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The First Date Book Tag

Hi everyone! I saw this book tag on Twirling Pages‘ blog (quiet possibly my favorite blog in the world), and it’s so cute so I decided to do it.

1. Awkward first date: a book where something felt off. It wasn’t a bad book, just lacked that spark for you.

For me this was definitely Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. I expected so much from it, but it just didn’t give me that “zing” that makes me like other books. It was a good book, just not amazing for me.

2. Cheap first date: A book that turned out less than you expected.

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas. The funny thing is, I loved the first couple hundred pages but after I continued reading, I realized I didn’t actually like it that much. (Sadly). I do love some of Sarah’s books, but this was one I ultimately ended up feeling “meh” about–it was kind of…cheap.

3. Well prepared first date: A book that was better than you expected.

The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon. I actually read Nicola’s Everything, Everything as an ARC and it was kind of a “meh” book for me–so my standards weren’t really that high for this one. Luckily, though, I ended up falling in love with her new book. It exceeded all my expectations!

4. Hot but dumb: a pretty book, but not so hot on the inside.

Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke. I have to say, I was initially really into this book because of the cover. I mean, yes, the synopsis sounded cool, but that cover?

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It’s so nice. Too bad I thought the book was not so nice.

5. Blind date: A book you picked up not knowing anything about.

I just went back and went through, like, my whole Goodreads read shelf, but I couldn’t see any books that I had absolutely no idea about the book before I read it. I can almost guarantee that I read the synopsis or read a review of a book before I actually read it, so…yea. No answer for this question!

6. Speed dating: A book you read super fast.

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini–I think I only mean to read a few chapters when I first sat down, but I ended up finishing the whole book within a few sittings. I surprised myself with this one.

7. The rebound: A book that you read too soon after a book hangover and it kind of ruined that book for you.

Probably The Crown by Kiera Cass. I had just finished And I Darken, which I of course had absolutely loved, so when I read this one, I just didn’t like it as much. Also, I didn’t think it was as good as the other books in this series anyway, but it does have something to do with the book I read before it.

8. Overly enthusiastic date: A book you felt was trying too hard.

Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes. Maybe because I read it way after the original publication date (which meant I had already read so many amazing fantasy series), I thought this was like a less good fantasy book. It didn’t catch my interest as much, sadly, since I felt like I had already read the same plot line a million times already.

9. The perfect first date: A book that did everything right for you.

I feel like I shouldn’t, but…And I Darken by Kiersten White. I read this over a year ago last year, and despite my expectations, I still loved it. Dark, gritty, slow-burning romance with kickass characters. What’s not to like? (Plus, Ottoman setting, and a really diverse cast of characters!)

10. Humiliating first date: A book you’re embarrassed to be seen reading in public/to say you like.

I don’t really have any books like this? Mostly because what I read is generally what is considered “appropriate”. At most it would be maybe My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick, and this is not because of the content itself, but rather because the title and cover makes it seem like it’s some stupid romance or erotica. (Which it’s not).

11. BONUS! The second date: a sequel you are most excited to read. (This question was created @ Twirling Pages, and is not part of the original tag).

After all that talk about And I Darken, do you really expect me to say a book besides Now I Rise? (Of course it’s Now I Rise. Duh.)

This tag was so much fun and I hope everyone does it, I’m so glad I found it! It’s actually one of my favorite tags right now I think. Hope you enjoyed reading, and please let me know of your opinions as well!

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Airplanes in the Night Sky Regular

my social medias: // goodreads // studygram // tumblr // questions? contact me: aloofbooks@gmail.com