FrostBlood by Elly Blake – Book Review

Hello! I finished FrostBlood a few days ago, but with school starting I’ve been a little bit behind schedule on posting my reviews!

If you haven’t heard of FrostBlood you can check out the official synopsis on Goodreads here: FrostBlood Synopsis. 

27827203.jpgThis book is basically a fantasy novel that features two types of people: the Firebloods and the Frostbloods. Ruby, the main character, is a Fireblood and she gets captured and is determined to end the reign of the tyrannical Frostblood king. She gets once again captured this time not by the rebels, but by men of the king and she is forced to compete in the King’s tournaments which consists of brutal physical combat.

In general, I really did enjoy this book. It did remind me a lot of Red Queen and even a little bit of Valiant by Leslie Livingston in the way that the physical combats that occurred in the king’s tournament really in my mind resembled Gladiator fights and how they would fight to the death.

Another aspect of this novel that I really liked was the romance! It was kind of a forbidden romance because one of them was a Frostblood and the other a Fireblood which added another dimension to the novel.

The only drawback that I would say this book has, is the fact that is was a little bit predictable and it had a lot of YA fantasy tropes interwoven into it. It was the typical storyline of two categories of people at odds with each other, girl refines her ability through training, has a troubled past which makes her want to seek revenge on the current government, and she has to fight for what she believes in.

But that being said, sometimes it’s nice to have an easy fast-paced read that encompasses all of our favourite elements, and for me that is what I was looking for! For some reason, even though most of the YA fantasy novels that I read follow a similar plot line I still cannot get enough of these types of novels! I think my fascination with the YA fantasy genre kind of derives from the fact that they are always so political in nature. As a Political Science major, I love novels that can have political undertones especially in this book the emphasis on tyranny!

This book was action-packed and the characters were really interesting. I really liked Arcus as a character and I was so glad when I found out that this is part of a series, because I want to read the next books to see where Ruby goes from here.

Overall, I give this novel 4/5 stars and recommend it to anyone who loves typical YA fantasy novels. It’s a fast-paced read that will grab your attention until the last page.

Some of my favourite quotes from the novel:

“Ruthlessness is not power. Tyranny is not strength.”

“Once again, all doubt, all sense of right and wrong, faded. There was only the target, his darkly beating heart, and my fire. There was no fear, no anger, no shame, no regret. Just power, surging through me…”

“Frostbloods are fully capable of feeling in every way. The danger is that those emotions, while powerful and deep, may be covered with a layer of ice that prevents the natural expression of them.”

 

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Before Now by Norah Olson – Book Review

I was kindly sent an Advanced Reader Copy of Before Now by Norah Olson by Harper Collins. I have just finished reading this really quick and fast paced book and I wanted to share my thoughts on it before it hits the book stores.

** This novel has an expected publishing date of December 26th 2017. **

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Firstly I just wanted to say that I have not personally read anything by this author before. Though I am aware of one other novel that she has written titled Twisted Fate, I am not overly familiar with Norah Olson or her writing. Therefore, I didn’t really have many expectations going into this. However, I can say that after reading this short book, I am considering reading some of Norah Olson’s other work as well.

Before Now is written as journal entries from the main character Atty. This is a very interesting novel as it has some very dark themes. The book is told from a sort of reverse timeline, where the most recent and current events are at the forefront, and then the reader gets the insights to how the characters ended up where they did in the beginning of the novel. I thought that this choice in the way the story was told really fit the context and kept the reader interested in learning more about these deep characters. their pasts, and what led to their devastating predicament in the book’s opening.

To give context to this kind of complex and deep plot line without giving away too many spoilers, this novel is primarily about a teen forbidden romance, where Atty’s father is a police officer and her mother is very religious. Her father being a police officer comes with its own set of tensions, as he has the inside information about Cole, her love interest. His mother Jennifer, struggles heavily with addiction issues and Atty’s father doesn’t want her to associate herself with a someone who comes from that kind of background. Therefore, her father overlooks the kind of person Cole is on the inside, and misjudges him completely.

I thought that the themes of this book were really deep and emotional because many people struggle with these types of issues, and it really highlights how relationships can be so strained with negative external factors surrounding them.

If I had to critique this book on anything, it would be that it was kind of short. I would have liked it to be slightly longer. Though I think that the author did a pretty good job of giving the reader a lot of context of the background of Atty and Cole and what they went through, it would have been better to get to know them just a little bit more. I felt like the only thing that I really knew about the both of them and why they loved each other was their common interest in science and EDM music. I would have liked a little bit more depth to their relationship which could have been more fully portrayed I think, if the novel was a bit longer.

Other than that, I really did like the book! I’ve actually been in a reading slump lately and it seems that every book I pick up I’ll read the first few pages and just set it down, but the one book that I continued to read and be intrigued by was this one. So for me right now to even finish this book says a lot about how good it is really is.

Overall, I give this book 4/5 stars! I recommend that you guys definitely look for it in stores and pick it up in December when it comes out!

 

Once and For All by Sarah Dessen – Book Review

The dead aren’t the only ones who vanish: you, too, can disappear in plain sight if enough is taken from you. I was still missing, in many ways. And I wasn’t sure I wanted to be found

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Hello! I just got done reading Once and For All by Sarah Dessen and I have mixed feelings on this one. I haven’t read a summer contemporary romance novel in ages, lately I’ve been really into fantasy and everything but contemporary romances, but this one caught my attention admittedly by the cover and because Sarah Dessen is a familiar author to me. I’ve read most of her other books and loved them as they all seem to have good takeaways and life lessons interwoven in them. This novel does seem to deal with a lot more heavy topics than what one would expect from a summery contemporary romance novel. Death and tragedy are laced into the plot line, giving the novel a more emotionally-charged appeal which is one aspect about this book that I did like. I started veering away from contemporary awhile back because it all seemed the same to me and it was predictable but adding diversity into YA contemporary is definitely a positive element that Sarah Dessen brings. Though I did enjoy the book it’s not without some minor flaws. The first thing that I didn’t really love about the novel is that it was very predictable to me, I think most people know who Louna is going to end up dating in the end, this is made clear basically from the beginning. This book follows the typical plot line of meeting someone at first and disliking them, getting to know them better, and discovering you have feelings for them. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing, but it is one of the major things that is overdone in contemporary YA books. Another thing that I felt could have been done slightly better was character development. There was some development in the characters, but it seemed like there definitely could have been more growth and perhaps over a longer time period, this would have added to making the novel more realistic. Some things did seem rushed to me, like Louna’s first relationship with Ethan.

However, one of the biggest problems I had with this book was just that I couldn’t really bring myself to get overly attached to Ambrose. There was just something about his personality that I found a little bit annoying I’m not 100% sure as to what that is about him that irritates me. Perhaps it’s the fact that he seems to get away with everything and still get his way, including stealing a dog with no consequences, getting a job after making a horrible first impression to his future boss, and getting the girl he wanted after flirting with many, many other girls in the process. I would have liked to see Ambrose’s character development a little bit more defined and openly recognized by the end of the novel which is one area that this book fell short.

Overall though, I did enjoy the book and of course it has valuable take-aways about love and not closing your heart off too soon. It was a good summer read and I loved the wedding planning business and getting a sneak peek inside the world of weddings and the drama and stress that comes with it! Therefore, I give this novel 3.5/5 stars.

Some of my favourite Quotes from the Book: 

“It’s about the courage to go for what you want, not just what you think you need. Sometimes we don’t even know what that is.”

“But you never know what you can do until you try, and if you’re lucky, what you love will always be waiting for you”

“You can’t measure love by time put in, but the weight of those moments. Some in life are light, like a touch. Others, you can’t help but stagger beneath.”

 

The Dazzling Heights by Katharine McGee – Book Review

Hi everyone! Harper Collins Publishers very kindly sent me an ARC of the Dazzling Heights by Katharine McGee. If you don’t know, this is the second book to The Thousandth Floor where you can find the Goodreads synopsis here to learn more about the world and the general plot overview: The Thousandth Floor on Goodreads

Here is my review of the first book: The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee – Book Review

The anticipated release date of The Dazzling Heights is August 29th 2017! 🙂


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Overall, I really loved this book, I think I might have enjoyed The Dazzling Heights more than The Thousandth Floor because we really get to see way more in-depth into who each of the characters really are. I loved getting to see inside the characters’ minds, their insecurities, their emotional challenges, and of course, how they deal with the new drama that is constantly being thrown at them. What I really liked about this book is that there is a new character introduced that wasn’t present in the first book, and I think this character really does add another layer or dimension to the storyline. This was a very fast-paced read for me, I found myself constantly grabbing for my Kindle to read more about the lives of these high-liers and what new drama they faced. I think that this book still has the “Gossip Girl” vibe that everyone loved from the first book, but offers its own unique originality and individuality that is at the same time, unlike Gossip Girl. I loved the continuation of the world-building in this novel as we are introduced to a new Tower that is built, and also the day-to-day normalities of the characters’ reliance on technology.  I also loved how some new and unforeseen romances emerge in this novel, and I like how those develop over time. My favourite romance though of course is Avery and Atlas’!

The characters that Katharine McGee has thought up for this book and also The Thousandth Floor, are all so relatable even though they are high-liers, they have such real and relatable problems in their lives. Under the surface these characters are extremely flawed, they jump to conclusions, sometimes they act irrationally, and even suffer from issues such as addiction – which make them fun and interesting to read about.

I really loved this book, I give it 5/5 stars and I am so happy that I got the opportunity to be granted access to the Advance Reader Copy! If you have read The Thousandth Floor and are questioning if you should continue on with the next book, I would definitely say that you should! It’s in my opinion even more dramatic and action packed than the first book! I really hope that Katharine McGee continues on with this series in the future because I absolutely love the originality of her work and her well thought out and relatable characters and I really want to see what happens next!

I’m so excited for you guys to read this book too and share your thoughts!

July Wrap-Up and August TBR Plans

Monthly Wrap-Up

Hey guys! Can you believe it’s almost August already? I finished school in April and it seemed like the summer flew by! Anyways, sadly I didn’t read as many books as I planned this month, but on the other hand I’ve been extremely busy with a new job and trying to keep up with my summer school course. Nonetheless let’s look at the books that I read in the month of July!

WRAP-UP: 

A Thousand Pieces of You By Claudia Gray – 4/5 stars 

Ruined by Amy Tintera – 5/5 stars 

The Valiant by Lesley Livingston – 4.5/ stars 

Dazzling Heights by Katherine McGee – 5/5 stars

Though I didn’t read a lot of books this month, I’m happy with the books that I did read. I enjoyed them all, and gave them all really good ratings and I can’t say that I was disappointed with any of them. I feel like in July I had a reading theme going on which was kind of a mix of fantasy and just other worlds and universes that differ from our own, which I really like in a book because it serves as an escape from the daily stresses.

AUGUST READING PLANS: 

So, I’ve received a few Advanced Reader Copies of books that I’m really highly anticipating and I’m super excited to be diving into those this upcoming month!

The ARC’s I plan on reading in August are:

  • Before She Ignites by Jodi Meadows
  • Even the Darkest Stars by Heather Fawcett

As for books that I already own, I want to read:

  • Once and For All by Sarah Dessen! (This book is such a summery book even the cover is beautiful and reminds me of the summer so I have to fit this one in before the summer is over!).

I’m really excited and thankful to Harper Collins for sending me Advanced Reader Copies of some really amazing sounding books that are coming out this Fall and Winter and I absolutely cannot wait to read them and review them for you guys! 🙂 I’m hoping to end the summer with reading as many books as possible!

Flowers & Lavender Farm

I feel like I haven’t posted any photography on here in awhile, mostly because I haven’t picked up my camera in awhile. I’ve been really busy lately with my work and school schedule, but I always think it’s important to take a time-out from our hectic lives even for a little while, and enjoy the creation around us! The summer months seem way too short, so it’s best to enjoy them before they’re gone! 🙂

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This photo was actually taken at a Lavender farm, where I not only got to see the rows and rows of beautiful lavender, but also got to see how the lavender goes from flower to essential oil – and the benefits of the essential oil for the human body! It was a really amazing experience! I was shocked to see how much lavender makes only a small amount of the essential oil!

 

 

 

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor – Book Review

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Hey guys, so I read this book probably about a month ago, but I haven’t gotten around to actually doing the review for it until now, but since this time has gone by it’s really allowed me to develop and collect my thoughts on it.

If you don’t know what it is about I’ll leave the Goodreads description here: Daughter of Smoke and Bone Description.

I have a lot of mixed feelings on this novel. I know a lot of people either really loved it or really didn’t, but I think that I’m one of the rare people that fall into the middle category. At first, I  was really confused while reading this book, because the world is something that I’m quite unfamiliar with. It’s not like any other world I’ve been exposed to in YA literature before. However, once I started understanding the world a little better I did become fond of some of the elements of this world, including the fact that there are different levels of wishes that could be granted. To be honest, I’m not a huge fan of mythological books, or novels that deal heavily with mythology so perhaps that is the one aspect of this book that I didn’t love. But that being said, those who do like mythology would really like this book!

I thought that the writing style was really good, it almost had a mysterious element to it that kept the reader intrigued all the way through. The romance was also done very well, and I would say is probably one of my favourite parts of the book. I also did like the description that the author provided with the world itself and especially the creatures that resided in this world. Because it is so unlike our own universe, these descriptions were both necessary and a relief for the reader in understanding and visualizing the plot and the characters.

Overall, I did enjoy this novel, though it is kind of long, it is a quick read and keeps the reader engaged in the story the whole time. I think this novel would be great for anyone who is looking for something that is different within the fantasy genre and likes a little bit of mythology and romance (that isn’t insta-love). I give this novel 3.5/5 stars!