Red Queen By Victoria Aveyard

41vtpdcaq5l-_sx330_bo1204203200_

Goodreads Summary here.

So here’s the deal: I really, really wanted to like this book. I really did. But I just didn’t. I reread this book (I read it for the first time in April of 2015) thinking that I might be able to see it with a fresh perspective, but I think I liked it even less than I did then. There are so many things about this book that just crawled under my skin and stuck there. I mean, I understand where all the hype for this book comes from… For one, the premise is AMAZING. That’s what initially got me hooked on wanting to read this book. But the contents were… disappointing. Like, I swear this book was written in cliches. Not just like, “bleh, I’ve heard this story before,” but in that way where the text I was reading felt like a thousand other books I’ve already read. It was full of ideas that have been used countless times before. And its so repetitive. every single word was just Mare saying, “oh boo-hoo, poor me, I have to disguise my true self, my life is hard, I cant let anyone see who I really am” etc, etc. There could have been beautiful descriptions of the palace, of the world, the gowns, the powers, even the people. Heck, I don’t even know what Cal looks like. But the writing just definitely fell flat to me.

Also, let’s talk about the relationships. There was a love square ?? Sort of ?? But not really ?? And Mare somehow doesn’t realize that one of the boys (I won’t say who for the sake of spoilers) loves her? There was absolutely no development of the romance in this book. There was “oh, and we kissed…” with NOTHING leading up to it. And then two chapters later, “oh, what an a**hole,” and then “oh, but we’re in this together.” I just… NONE of the relationships made sense, and there was just no emotion in any of them, and there was no growth in them. Suddenly all these relationships were just… there. Even the supposedly close, loving ones. Then there was that plot twist, the one that EVERY SINGLE PERSON has been raving about. It should have felt epic, should have been shocking, but to me it just wasn’t. Everything was just Mare being angry and Mare being frustrated, so much so that when the author DID try to put another emotion in, it’s completely overpowered. And sorry to be harsh, but Mare was SO EFFING ANNOYING. JUST SHUT UP, PLEASE. And this coming from me, the girl who had no problem with Eadlyn and America Singer.

In short, this book brought absolutely nothing new to the table, and could have been executed sooooo much better. It’s just so completely and utterly overhyped it’s not even funny. I have never found a book more overhyped than this one; this was a definite disappointment. I’m sorry for the (very) harsh review, but the hype around this book raised my expectations way too high, making me all the more angry when something I wanted to like so badly fell short.

(Yes, I still ordered the signed copy of Glass Sword from Barnes and Noble. Don’t ask me why. Maybe it’s the small hope that Victoria Averyard’s writing will have improved? I feel like this series could be redeemable… but the second book better be pretty effing spectacular.)

My rating: 2/5 stars.

Top 5 Wednesday | Disappointing Eye Candy

Hey guys! I decided to join Top 5 Wednesday, hosted by Lainey over at gingerreadslainey on Youtube. Top 5 Wednesday is weekly meme with a new topic to discuss every Wednesday. All you have to do is just talk about your top five books in that category! (Simple and fun, right?) If you’re interested in joining, feel free to check out the Goodreads group.

This week’s topic is disappointing eye candy, so without further ado (from the least of the most disappointing to the most disappointing books)…

5. Madly by Amy Alward

23309862

I definitely didn’t dislike this book (I think I gave it a 4/5 stars), but it just wasn’t memorable. This cover may actually be on my favorite covers list, but while the content was entertaining and different, it didn’t blow me off my feet like the cover did.

4. All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

18460392

I had heard sooooo many amazing things about this book, everyone saying they bawled like a baby and that this story was so, so special. But to me, it felt fabricated and just didn’t live up to the hype. I’m actually considering getting rid of this one, despite the beautiful cover…. You can read my review of it here.

3. The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton

18166936

Again, I had heard people talk about how beautiful the writing in this book was, and I figured that beautiful writing + beautiful cover = YES. But sadly, I wasn’t all that impressed with the writing, and the story was just a bit too weird for my taste. You can see my mini-review of it here.

2. November 9 by Colleen Hoover

n9cover

Just like all of the above, the hype drove me to this book. I didn’t hate it, but it wasn’t oh-so-spectacular. Whenever I look at the gorgeous, gorgeous cover, I really, really want to like this book more. But although I loved the beginning, it just slowly went downhill and I didn’t end up loving it. Trust me when I say, I wish I liked it more!!!! See my full review of it here.

1. Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

41vtpdcaq5l-_sx330_bo1204203200_

Ah, Red Queen. The most disappointing of them all… believe me when I say this was the book I most wanted to like, but it just fell so, so flat for me. It was so, so sad when I realized how much I didn’t like this book. It’s one of my few 2 star ratings. Read my review of it here. (Beware – it’s very… passionate.) I just get a little sad when I think about how much potential was wasted in this one.

So, this sort-of kind-of ended up being a big fat list of overhyped books as well – whoops. Just remember – these are my opinions. I don’t mean to personally offend anyone, and I hope you enjoyed my little list!

xoxo,

Anna

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Mass: Thoughts, Feels, and OTPs.

16096824

This is a book that reminds me of why I love to read.

Summary (taken from Goodreads):

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it… or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

Sarah J. Maas’ writing never ceases to amaze me. It grabs you by the heart and takes you to worlds like no others. She makes you feel with the characters, and she makes you hate some with all your guts. And no matter what I’m reading by her and no matter how gruesome or fantastical the scene, I always have a clear picture of everything that’s happening. Sarah’s writing is like my favorite movie, fantastically captured in a book.

My only problem with this book lies in part of the romance. When Feyre and Tamlin were together… oh man, that was hot. That was amazing. Sarah J. Maas really knows how to write about love; I could feel the passion almost rippling off the pages. My problem, however, was with how the two characters come together. Sure, there was a lot of tension between them, but I felt like maybe the characters were being… forced?… together? Does that make sense? Once they were together, though… AMAZING.

There were so many layers to the plot, so many things that happened… I have no idea how Sarah fit it all into one book (and did it spectacularly at that). Although the beginning was a little slow, pretty soon I was flying through this book, just wanting more and more, totally sucked into the story.

A Court of Thorns and Roses was wholly entertaining, hot, engrossing, and a fantastic story. Even a month after reading the book, I just want more of the characters, of the world, and of the writing. I am DYING to get my hands on the next book.

A definite 4.5/5 stars.

Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

alexandra-bracken-passenger

Summary (taken from Goodreads):

passage, n.
i. A brief section of music composed of a series of notes and flourishes.
ii. A journey by water; a voyage.
iii. The transition from one place to another, across space and time.

In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles but years from home. And she’s inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she’s never heard of. Until now.

Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods—a powerful family in the colonies—and the servitude he’s known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes the insistent pull of the past that he can’t escape and the family that won’t let him go so easily. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, Nicholas’ passenger, can find. In order to protect her, he must ensure she brings it back to them— whether she wants to or not.

Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveler who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods’ grasp. But as they get closer to the truth of their search, and the deadly game the Ironwoods are play­ing, treacherous forces threaten to sep­arate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home . . . forever.

HOLY. COW. This book was everything I hoped it would be, everything I needed it to be. I kid you not, I was sucked in from the very first page all the way to the end of the book (which was quite a bang). The best part was, I could never have predicted that ending. During the entire story, I was constantly questioning everything, never quite knowing where it was going or what would happen next. And my mind is completely boggled with all of the time travel logic… It was just so so interesting, and everything explained thoroughly.

Let’s talk about the writing. By far one of the most impressive aspects of the novel was how Alex Bracken so effortlessly and interestingly wound the historical settings into the book, how captivating the different times were. Her writing just flowed so effortlessly, so seamlessly, so beautifully, that at multiple times during the book I literally had to stop reading just to take in all the amazingness and feel how utterly impressed I was. I mean, really… who would expect that from a book about time travel and pirates??

Another thing I adored about this book was how it addressed past (and present) issues such as the distinction of class based on race and the rights of women. I loved how fierce Etta was, how determined she was to show everyone that these distinctions don’t have to matter, how fiercely she fought for the things she believed in.

If there was one thing I had a problem with, I would have to say it would be the romance. Don’t get me wrong, I loved both of the characters with all my heart and their relationship with each other was A+. But I did feel a little bit of insta-love…. All in all, I think that the romance in this book wasn’t spectacular and didn’t seem altogether necessary, if you know what I mean. I could just as easily see it being a friendship, or better yet, a friendship that later turns into a romance. It didn’t quite feel like part of the plot, but rather a bit separate, which bothered me a bit.

Aside from the romance, I can’t recall any other issues I had with this book. It was compelling, fast paced, and completely entertaining, all while still retaining depth. It was crazy and fun to wrap my mind around the logic behind the time travel, how it worked, the what if’s, etc, and it really was a beautiful story, from the logic to the settings to the characters.

4.5/5 stars and one heck of a craving for historical fiction/time travel novels. If anyone knows any good ones, tell me in the comments! I’m in desperate need 🙂

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh

18798983

Omg… Can someone please get me the next book, like, now, please??

Summary: (taken from Goodreads)

One Life to One Dawn.

In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad’s dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph’s reign of terror once and for all.

Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she’d imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It’s an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid’s life as retribution for the many lives he’s stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?

My favorite part of this book was the romance. Khalid and Shahrzad… sigh. I think I’ve just found my new OTP… (and if Tariq tries to barge in on this I will personally hunt him down). I felt so attached to both of them on a really powerful level, and I felt like I just truly understood both of them. Actually, I really liked all of the characters… The author did a fantastic job of giving each their own unique personality, of making me love the protagonists and hate the “villains” (although they’re not just straight-up villains, obviously – they have their reasons).

Another thing I loved about this book was the atmosphere. The whole book had this magically secretive/mysterious undertone, and yet there were also moments where I felt so comfortable and content. There was danger but there was friendship; there were secrets but there was honesty. The book was a perfect balance of all the things I needed.

Of course I have to admit that this book has its flaws (for example: the big reveal didn’t seem like such a ‘big reveal’ for me, occasionally repetitive, and some word choice was questionable), but these flaws didn’t take away any of my love for the book. I would recommend it to anyone; it has romance, secrets, plots, politics, friendships, and even some action. It was a really well-written, beautifully executed book.

5/5 Spectacular Stars.

All Fall Down by Ally Carter

22571275

Synopsis (taken from Goodreads):

Grace Blakely is absolutely certain of three things:

1. She is not crazy.
2. Her mother was murdered.
3. Someday she is going to find the killer and make him pay.

As certain as Grace is about these facts, nobody else believes her — so there’s no one she can completely trust. Not her grandfather, a powerful ambassador. Not her new friends, who all live on Embassy Row. Not Alexei, the Russian boy next door, who is keeping his eye on Grace for reasons she neither likes nor understands.

Everybody wants Grace to put on a pretty dress and a pretty smile, blocking out all her unpretty thoughts. But they can’t control Grace — no more than Grace can control what she knows or what she needs to do. Her past has come back to hunt her . . . and if she doesn’t stop it, Grace isn’t the only one who will get hurt. Because on Embassy Row, the countries of the world stand like dominoes, and one wrong move can make them all fall down.

Well it’s official. I will never stop loving Ally Carter. I didn’t know what to expect going into this book, seeing as the last time I’d read an Ally Carter book was probably when I was 11, and though I LOVED the Gallagher Girls then, I didn’t know if I would still be into her books. But boy oh boy, this book blew WAY past my expectations and then some. It was, simply put, amazing. It was a perfect blend of politics, friendship, and mystery, and I read it at the speed of light. Seriously. I was supposed to be doing homework, but I started this book this morning and ended it tonight. I loved it that much.

My favorite part of the novel was probably Grace. She was broken, determined, and yes, a bit crazy. But that’s what made her amazing. I never quite knew what was going on, if I could trust Grace or not, and if she really was completely coo-coo. And not in that annoying We Were Liars way, where I felt cheated by the author and the main character, with no real connection to the characters. I loved Grace and I rooted for her 100%. I don’t know how Ally Carter could write someone so complex, someone quite honestly crazy, and make the readers able to understand and see the character so clearly. And Grace’s little group of misfits and long-lost friends? It was a really well-written relationship between characters and a friendship I really enjoyed.

And that PLOT TWIST. I thought I had actually figured it out, I thought I actually knew what was going to happen, but just when I thought my beliefs were being confirmed… man, was I wrong. The direction changed completely, and just when I was beginning to understand THAT new direction, WHAM! The real, whole truth hit me like a rock. Suffice to say, I did not see it coming… And I was very, very impressed. The twist certainly set this novel up for an interesting sequel, along with some possible romance… 😉 I am DYING to get my hands on the next book, like, now. Like, I can’t even think of a single thing I disliked about this book. Sosososososo good.

My rating: 5/5 stars ◊

November 9 by Colleen Hoover

n9cover

Synopsis (taken from Goodreads):

Fallon meets Ben, an aspiring novelist, the day before her scheduled cross-country move. Their untimely attraction leads them to spend Fallon’s last day in L.A. together, and her eventful life becomes the creative inspiration Ben has always sought for his novel. Over time and amidst the various relationships and tribulations of their own separate lives, they continue to meet on the same date every year. Until one day Fallon becomes unsure if Ben has been telling her the truth or fabricating a perfect reality for the sake of the ultimate plot twist.

There were things I liked about this book and things I didn’t. It started off with a bang, and I was immediately sucked into the story. The first November 9 was definitely my favorite. I especially loved how Ben and Fallon met. Just… hilarious and cute and amazing. But after the first November 9, things went a little downhill for me.

I wanted to know more about what happened between the November 9s, especially to Fallon, but all we got were the vague “I landed a couple jobs” etc etc. The book kept talking about Fallon’s acting career, but we never really got to know much about it except the fact that she wanted to be on Broadway and her scars ruined her acting career, blah blah blah.

Also, I feel like after the first November 9, nothing about Fallon and Ben’s relationship was realistic or believable. Like, CoHo didn’t go into a lot of depth outside those November 9s, and it was just painful to sit around and wait for the ending of the November 9s, when they could finally be together. It was as if nothing existed for them (especially Fallon) outside of the day they met every year, which I found unrealistic and quite frankly a bit pitiful. Like, if the thing you look forward to the most every year is that one day, then just drop your stupid rule already!! It’s not like anything reeeally important developed from their being apart. And don’t get me started on Fallon’s stupid rule: “You’ll never be able to find yourself if you’re lost in someone else.” The quote is a good quote, a good motto, but either I’m missing something or the way that Fallon found herself WAS in falling in love with Ben. And to be honest, although I like Ben at the beginning, I was really annoyed with him by the end of the book (because of certain events, but also because he just annoyed me). Also, I feel like the characters grew the most in the first November 9; after that, they played pretty stagnant and it wasn’t super interesting (although the plot twist really got me). I don’t know; I guess this book frustrated me quite a bit.

I know this review has been pretty negative, but I didn’t dislike the book. I just wanted to like it more than I actually did. I still had a fun time reading it; It was quick and easy, and fairly enjoyable. What bothered me was that the whole thing just felt a little… off. Would I recommend this book? Probably not… Honestly, the greater distance I get from this story, the more I’m confused about whether I like it or not. But I am excited to read more by Colleen Hoover in the future (this being my first of hers) because I enjoyed the writing, even if I didn’t particularly enjoy this story.

My rating: 3/5 stars (because it was a quick, enjoyable enough read)