My two best friends and I are extreme book nerds. Especially for YA books. Since we are viewed as weird in the real world, we decided to go to the Internet, where everyone is weird. It has been going pretty well. Our original blog is Crazy for YA
Top Ten Tuesday is a list-based meme hosted by the amazing Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl. If the meme sounds familiar, it was formerly hosted by The Broke and Bookish.
Happy Galentine's Day! Since I am a rebel (and by that I mean single and slightly bitter), my Top Ten Tuesday is not going to focus on love and other sappy stuff as it was supposed to. Instead I am going to celebrate a much more important holiday, Galentine's Day.
For those who have not had the enlightening experience of watching Leslie Knope celebrate this holiday on Parks and Recreation, let me educate you. The day before the mushy gushy holiday on February 14 is dedicated to the power of female friendship and the awesomeness that is being a woman, regardless of whether or not you have a significant other. Galentine's Day is about girl-power and self-love, not about crying while watching The Notebook with a pint of Ben and Jerry's as your only companion.
To celebrate this wonderful day, I am sharing with you some of my favorite, kick-butt heroines from YA lit.
Click the link to learn more about some of my favorite heroines from YA and join in the discussion!
The short answer is yes, there still is a blog here. The long answer is more complicated and requires some explanation.
Is a three-month absence too long to blame on technical issues?
Unfortunately, it was not a broken computer, slow Internet, or a three-month long blackout that prevented me from blogging.
There is a fine line between annoying and intolerable. Personally, I have danced across this line so often that I am very familiar with the difference. Unfortunately, there are some characters who are completely unaware that there even is a line.
All readers have met unlikeable characters sometime in their book adventures. These are the characters who make your blood boil and your veins bulge in frustration. For some reason or another, they get on your nerves. In fact, they are a common literary tool used to stir up emotion within the reader. Think about all of the romances that are hate-to-love. In the beginning, we all hated Rhys from A Court of Thorns and Roses (and even though some of us still hate him, you get the point), Will Herondale from The Infernal Devices, the Darkling from The Grisha series, even Haymitch from The Hunger Games. When I think about it, there are a lot of characters who started pretty high on my "I'd-love-to-watch-you-burn" list, but ended up on my list of favorite characters. I classify these characters as "unlikeable" since they rub me the wrong way sometimes, but have not completely lost their chance for my respect.
But, there is another kind of annoying character. The kind that crosses the line between decent indecency and hateful scumbag. These characters are definitely unbearable, but sometimes it can be hard to discern when they changed from merely unlikeable to full-blown intolerable.
I am notorious for not finishing series. Despite my fangirl nature, I never have the guts and emotional stability to finish a journey with characters. Most of the time, I view the final book in a series as a funeral for the story and its beloved characters. The dread overwhelms my excitement and creates a paradox where I want to finish a series, but I am afraid of leaving a world behind.
Thankfully, I felt the opposite going into Queen of Chaos. Ross expertly finished Blood of the Prophet with a cliffhanger that even a person who loathes endings could not resist. Of course, I was devastated because the end one of my favorite series was nigh, but my heart was comforted by the insurance that Ross would not let me down.
And let me tell you, she did not disappoint. There are five-star books, and then there are five-star books. The books that leave you without breath, holding back tears and smiling at the same time. Books that carry you so far into its world that you take a piece of it when you leave. There are five-star books and there are books that make you feel something. Queen of Chaos is both to me. Books this heart-wrenching and phenomenal remind why I continue to read. Even though I can read a dozen one-star books in a row, the hope of reading another book like Queen of Chaos keeps me going. The mixture of pure satisfaction, hope, and longing that I felt after finishing this book cemented it as not only a five-star book but a five-star series.
This series is not something that you can read and forget. I will always have a piece of Nazafareen's stubbornness and unfailing heroism with me. I will remember Darius and his struggle to love himself and others. I will keep Tijah's feistiness and Myrri's quiet strength.
Speaking of characters, none of Ross's creations could really be called flat, in my opinion. Even stock characters without a lot of screentime are thoroughly explored. My emotions were twisted and manipulated so that I never knew who was the real antagonist. I was kept on my toes throughout the storyline. Better yet, there was no useless filler to take up words. Ross made every character, every chapter, and every word count. In a mere 300 pages, my heart was shattered, tramped on, and put back together with the power of this world.
All of the gushing aside, this is a series that all fantasy fans can enjoy. The world is unique with a brilliant magic system that I have never seen before. I felt as if I was plucked from my mundane suburban home and dropped in an exciting adventure in the deserts of magical Persia.
One of my favorite parts of this series is the shift in perspectives. Every character gets their own voice, and I was interested in pretty much all of them equally. Even though I have a little bit more of a tender spot for Darius and Nazafareen, all of the characters' stories spoke to me in different ways. Queen of Chaos gives readers the unique experience to see a story from every single perspective, which is not seen in every novel.
Anyone looking for a unique and mind-blowing fantasy novel should give this series a shot. The action-packed plot is perfectly accentuated with complex perspectives, cultivated diversity, and a healthy dose of romance. Ross's series has earned a coveted spot on my shelf alongside the rest of my favorite series.
Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme (or monthly in my case), hosted by the amazing Jill at Breaking the Spine.
Since I am a rebellious blogger, I am not following the traditional Waiting on Wednesday rules. Instead of posting the meme weekly, I am going to do it monthly (work smarter, not harder). Plus, my WOW will only include books that will be releasing (or have already been released) in the same month, so you don't have to wait forever to get these beauties.
This month features a lot of diverse books, which could not have been timed better. This year, I vowed to read and blog about more diverse and inclusive novels. With such a suffocating atmosphere in the real world, I want to be able to spotlight books that offer a more diverse, accepting, and open-minded approach to the world. Books really do have power; the power to increase knowledge, open minds, and create understanding, but only if you pick up the right ones. So, I hope that I can guide you in the right direction with my picks this month.
Click the link to see my most anticipated reads of February!
2016 was a year of contradictions.
We said goodbye to many artists who made the world a better place, including but not limited to Prince, Carrie Fisher, George Michael, and Alan Rickman.
We said hello to great movies and entertainment, like Stranger Things, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and Moana. Also, Hamilton the Musical continued its streak into fame.
We got an American Authors album that rocked my mind.
We got a president-elect who is pushing the boundaries of our nation.
The book blogging universe exploded several times from scandal, fraud, and dishonesty. Racism and poor representation burned through social media. The call for diverse books, authors, readers, and editors was met with strong disagreements.
The book blogging universe exploded with support for one another. Events like DiversityDecBingo and Loveathon shared the blogger love. Countless bloggers campaigned for diversity and representation on every platform available.
The highs and lows were reflected in every area of life, especially in my reading goals and accomplishments.
Sometimes you have a really good idea in the shower. Like you are just scrubbing shampoo in your hair, then WHAM, it hits you. Maybe it is an invention that the world just needs to have or a song that has to be written, but whatever it is, it is pure genius. Although it might seem like a great idea while the steam is fogging your brain, when you get out you realize there are many holes in the idea. The shower is a good place to start ideas, but they have to be finished on dry land.
I feel like The Ones is a book that was born and raised in the steam of a too-hot shower. The beginning of the book was great, like that AHA moment you have in the shower. There was a twist in the beginning that had my mind reeling. The beginning of the book was really realistic and I felt as if it could actually happen sometime in the future. I have to applaud Sweren-Becker for tackling such a complex issue. Whether or not you want to think about it, genetic engineering is happening right now. Eventually, humans will have to decide how far we are willing to go, which he deeply explores in his debut novel.
In the beginning, everything was great. The characters were solid. The setting, including the popular opinions and social environments of the time, complemented the conflict well. Even the different perspectives added a personal touch to each narrative.
Unfortunately, the rest of the novel was cloudy, like the steam in a shower that should have been done hours ago.
The characters changed from relatable teenagers into rebels with a cause like in so many other dystopian novels. Instead of standing out from the crowd, the characters made themselves into stereotypical, self-righteous teenagers. They ran headfirst into the "action" before considering consequences, like pretty much every other teenager stuck in a dystopian future. While the action moved along the plot and gave the characters something to do, it caused a rapid decrease in the reality of the situation along with my interest.
They fell into bad situations that I could see were traps from 10 miles away. Frankly, at that point in the novel, the characters kind of deserved what they got. The only character I ended up rooting for was James. His character remained constant throughout the novel, even though Cody changed so much that I started rooting against her.
In contrast to the amazing beginning of the novel, the later twists stopped being surprising and the ending was more frustrating that suspenseful. The potential that started so high in the beginning crash-landed at the end without any way to recover. I believe that the novel would have been five stars if it was so soggy from spending too much time in the shower.
The Ones is not the unique dystopian novel I thought it was going to be. Although the beginning was strong, the rest of the novel crumbled under pressure. If you like the idea of genetically engineered humans, then give it a shot but don't expect anything different from the rest of the genre.
I am very happy to present my stop on the Alchemists of Loom blog tour run by Xpresso Book Tours. I have been a fan of Elise Kova and her other series, Air Awakens, for a while now. So, I jumped on the chance to read this book, as you definitely should too. If you are a fan of fantasy, dragons, and dynamic heroes looking for revenge, then this is the perfect book for you.
Sometimes it can be hard to find presents for the people that you love in your life. Sure, you can always stick a gift card or some cash in an envelope and call it a day, but where is the fun in that? I am of the mentality that every person is unique, so everyone should get a unique and personalized gift.
Click the link to see my recommended gifts for bookworms!
The Sunday Street Team is a group of bloggers led by the marvelous Nori @ ReadWriteLove28 who aim to bring well-deserved attention to new and upcoming books and their authors.
This month's post is featuring Tara Sim and her steampunk debut novel, Timekeeper.
I would recommend Timekeeper to fans of historical fiction and steampunk, especially if you are looking for a new take on the genre. I would also recommend Danny's story to anyone looking for a diverse novel that does not shy away from the tough questions. Even though the middle was a little bit slow, anyone who enjoys a good steampunk will enjoy Timekeeper.
If you want to hear more of my thoughts about the book and enter in the giveaway, then click on the original link.
Over the past year, Kat Ross has become one of my favorite authors. I have devoured three of her books this year, including The Midnight Sea, Blood of the Prophet, and The Daemoniac. All three of them were 5 stars for me, which is incredibly rare for any author, especially one who is so underrated. Ross is my go-to recommendation for those looking for unique fantasy (and historical fiction) books. The Fourth Element series should be on every YA fantasy fan's TBR.
Today, I have the pleasure of fangirling about The Fourth Element Series as well as revealing the breathtaking cover of Queen of Chaos, the last book in the series.
I loved this quote from Spells and Sorcery by S. Usher Evans. If you want to read even more amazing quotes like this, enter my giveaway to win your own copy!
(P.S. There will be spoilers for the Divergent series by Veronica Roth in this discussion. You have officially been warned.)
Perfection is abundant in YA, or at least at first glance, it seems so. There is always the stunningly handsome love interest who is somehow smart, funny, popular, and well, perfect. There is always the "flawed" main character who can ace her classes, fight monsters, all while still getting the boyfriend at the end. Perfection has become a standard in YA, and one of my favorite book series is a major culprit.