[review] THE SUN IS ALSO A STAR BY NICOLA YOON

 

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Overall

Both the dust jacket and naked cover are gorgeous. I like the way the chapters are broken up with fact pages and deeper accounts from side characters as well as individual perspectives from the main characters. It gives the story a sense that everyone matters, but at the same time shows that the world doesn’t revolve around the two main character’s lusty romance. Everything is so scientifically poetic and is basically nerd heaven. It’s normal. They are like normal kids who sniff hair & fall in lust & have crazy families + immigration issues.

Dark matter + love (the analogies and all of the sciency explanations made my nerd heart happy).

The Sun is Also a Star was a great inside look into what it means to be an immigrant and to have to live with your parent’s mistake. Daniel and Natasha’s simple love story and the fact that sometimes “meant to be” doesn’t mean forever was cute (if a bit unrealistic). Things don’t always work out perfectly, but life isn’t perfect. Sometimes life is a string of imperfect perfections that come together and save lives. Sometimes people save lives in the most mundane of ways.

Even though it was a cute story, I felt like there were so many coincidences that just happened to work out and they seemed to both be willing to throw away everything for a person they had only just met. Sure, they both didn’t feel they had much to lose because they didn’t like the lives their parents were forcing upon them, but still… The suspension of disbelief boundaries were pushed.

CHARACTERS

  • Daniel is a poet. His parents want him to be a doctor who goes to the best school (or second best) and follows the American dream. To them, happiness comes from money and as long as he has the opportunities his father didn’t, he can be a rich doctor who will be happy. Daniel is quick witted, and funny and was so extremely wonderful!
  • Natasha is an immigrant from Jamaica, but her family is in America illegally. Her parents also have problems and her father is extremely selfish. She is afraid to dream and be passionate because what she has seen of her father’s dreams and passion has only led to heartbreak and destruction. I love all of her “Observable Facts” and how eventually Daniel makes her want to be passionate and illogical. She begins to believe the scientifically impossible.
  • Daniel & Natasha balance each other out in an against-all-odds OTP phenomenon. They are the perfect opposite nerdy couple and I LOVE THEM SO MUCH. To quote my notes: “SO CUTE OTP OHMYGOSH I LOVE HOW THEY ARE BOTH NERDY IN DIFFERenT WAYS LOVEloveLOVE” Daniel’s quest to make Natasha fall in love with her, and her purely scientific scoffing was so entertaining and was a whirlpool I could not escape from. Cynicism + Optimism = love that makes each other better. LITERALLY saying ahhhhh

THEMES

  • Everyone and everything are more than they seem.
  • Immigration & the fears that come along with it
  • There are so many different histories and cultures. People may believe they understand someone and they may believe they understand their culture, but everyone experiences different things and have different histories.

Summary

Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?

(credit goodreads)

Quotes

“There’s a Japanese phrase that I like: koi no yokan. It doesn’t mean love at first sight. It’s closer to love at second sight. It’s the feeling when you meet someone that you’re going to fall in love with them. Maybe you don’t love them right away, but it’s inevitable that you will.” (74)

“We have big, beautiful brains. We invent things that fly. Fly. We write poetry. You probably hate poetry, but it’s hard to argue with ‘Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate’ in terms of sheer beauty. We are capable of big lives. A big history. Why settle? Why choose the practical thing, the mundane thing? We are born to dream and make the things we dream about.” (101)

“Maybe part of falling in love with someone else is also falling in love with yourself.” (150)

Love, Aubrey

CLASSIC FAIRY TALES ROUND 1 [review] “peter’s snow carol adventures”

I’ve wanted to read classic fairy tale books for a long time.

Enter ROUND ONE.

[audiobook] Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Audiobook read by Jim Dale

I never loved the movie, but I really enjoyed the book. I listened to it read by one of the best narrators ever (Jim Dale) & it was so well done. The story is trippy at times & involved a lot of changing in size, but I enjoyed it & think I will watch the movies again.

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“Everything’s got a moral, if only you can find it.”

I loved following Alice’s adventures and it was so much fun. I couldn’t help but smile at the silliness and mad people. Also, there are quite a few wonderful quotes (I just wish I had been reading it instead of listening for that reason. It’s hard to get down quotes when you are listening to the story.)

alice3dieting
tangent because… every “diet” ever

[audiobook] A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Audiobook read by Simon Creeble

I was on a 18 hour car ride while reading this and fell asleep a lot throughout, so I don’t have the fullest picture of the story, but was familiar with it before I even started. I liked it, but it isn’t my favorite. I felt that it was well done, but not as exciting as Peter Pan. That’s pretty much it…

The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Anderson

This story was a little all over the place, but nonetheless adorable. The devil takes a mirror that shows opposites up to the sky to try to show it to God, but it shatters before it even gets close, and the shards fall down to earth. If people get the shard in their eye it causes them to see everything in a dark light, and if they get a shard in their heart they turn to ice and stop feeling things. Kai, a little boy, gets a shard in both, and then goes missing. This short story details his best friend’s journey to find him and save him from The Snow Queen.

  • It was very interesting, and if it was more organized I’m sure I would have liked it a lot more.
  • I enjoyed the simple writing and the length, but it just didn’t make too much sense and the characters were extremely shallow.
    • Also, WHY WEREN’T THESE CHILDREN’S GUARDIANS WORRIED ABOUT THEM? They were missing for a while and when they got back, the Grandmother just acted like nothing had happened.
    • The characters were honestly the only thing that ruined it for me. UGHH.
  • I know I should just LET IT GO, but it was nothing like frozen…letitgo.gif
(*all gifs are the property of Disney and their creators and are for entertainment purposes only)
Disclaimer: I received this book in return for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

[audiobook] Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie

Audiobook read by Jim Dale

  • favorite of the four
  • so classic and well done
  • the lost boys are ‘precious’*
  • from the very beginning I was in love with Peter (there is just something about him, you know?). He did annoy me at times, but I could get over that.

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  • finding yourself: “who are you?”
    • everyone needs some sort of adult who will love them and take care of them
*note: I am not Smeagol, but they were just so adorable.

I have read retellings from a few other character’s perspectives and I still can’t get enough. All of the characters enjoy freedom of interpretation. I fell into the story & want to read all of the retellings and watch all of the movies because there is always so much going on. All of the characters could be explored in much more depth and I adore it.*

*any Peter Pan retelling recs?

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SUPER WELL DONE RETELLING OF PETER PAN FROM TIGER LILY’s POV: Tiger Lily Review

Related: Fairytale/Retellings DISCUSSION

//

have you read any of these stories? what did you think? do you want to read any of them? do you have any recommendations for me? LET ME KNOW BELOW 🙂 Also, I’m thinking about rebranding and redesigning my site… what do you think? I might also upgrade to a .com or .blog any advice?

Love, Aubrey

[Review] sassy magnus strikes again THE HAMMER OF THOR BY RICK RIORDAN

thehammerofthor

Overall

It wasn’t incredibly complex or deep, but it was a fun read and such a great book and story and GAH I need the next one IMMEDIATELY!!! The way Riordan has begun to weave the worlds together with enough sass to leave me laughing out loud is genius and I NEED MORE! (actually as soon as I finished this book I started reading The Trials of Apollo). The Hammer of Thor is somehow a step up from the last book. (If you are interested in my first review: The Sword of Summer) and I can’t wait to see what else will come.

Theme

I have learned so much about mythology of all types just by reading his books. They are generally pretty accurate and this is the type of sneaky learning I love doing.

Plot & Setting

Rick Riordan is so good at building worlds into each other. There are a lot of references to the other worlds he has created, especially since Magnus and Annabeth Chase are related. The way he made the gods’ world in the world we know and understand creates a connection. It makes it easier to visualize and creates a link between their world and ours.

Structure, Style, & Tone

The humor OH THE HUMOR! From chapter titles, to sassy characters, to edge of your seat excitement, this book is so funny. At times I could tell it was written for a younger audience, but that just added to it because it was very fast paced because of this.

Characters

Alex is so feisty and sassy and the gender fluid thing is kinda confusing but I ship her & Magnus so much. Sam is feisty in a different way & I really enjoyed the foiling between the two. Amir & Sam are the cutest & I loved how they worked through everything. The gods are idiots and never help with anything. Hearth & Blitz are two of the best & Jack is so stinking funny. THE SASS IS PALPABLE with Magnus. I like Magnus more and more with every line. He is just such a likeable and good guy. The way he handles everyone and everything is certainly worthy of Valhalla.

Quotes

I was so into the story that I didn’t even think about taking notes or quotes down. I was just reading and consuming this book. That being said, it wasn’t a John Green novel, and there weren’t a ton of quotable quotes.

Summary

Thor’s hammer is missing again. The thunder god has a disturbing habit of misplacing his weapon–the mightiest force in the Nine Worlds. But this time the hammer isn’t just lost, it has fallen into enemy hands. If Magnus Chase and his friends can’t retrieve the hammer quickly, the mortal worlds will be defenseless against an onslaught of giants. Ragnarok will begin. The Nine Worlds will burn. Unfortunately, the only person who can broker a deal for the hammer’s return is the gods’ worst enemy, Loki–and the price he wants is very high. -credit to Goodreads

Love, Aubrey

LET’S SQUEAL TOGETHER: What did you think about The Hammer of Thor? Did you like it better than The Sword of Summer? Are you as excited to attack any more Riordan books as I am? Which series of his is your favorite (I think Percy still beats them all)? Let me know in the comments.

 

[Review] all the knowledge of a textbook in a more interesting way AVENUE OF SPIES BY ALEX KERSHAW

avenueofspies

Summary

The best-selling author of The Liberator brings to life the incredible true story of an American doctor in Paris, and his heroic espionage efforts during World War II

The leafy Avenue Foch, one of the most exclusive residential streets in Nazi-occupied France, was Paris’s hotbed of daring spies, murderous secret police, amoral informers, and Vichy collaborators. So when American physician Sumner Jackson, who lived with his wife and young son Phillip at Number 11, found himself drawn into the Liberation network of the French resistance, he knew the stakes were impossibly high. Just down the road at Number 31 was the “mad sadist” Theodor Dannecker, an Eichmann protégé charged with deporting French Jews to concentration camps. And Number 84 housed the Parisian headquarters of the Gestapo, run by the most effective spy hunter in Nazi Germany.

From his office at the American Hospital, itself an epicenter of Allied and Axis intrigue, Jackson smuggled fallen Allied fighter pilots safely out of France, a job complicated by the hospital director’s close ties to collaborationist Vichy. After witnessing the brutal round-up of his Jewish friends, Jackson invited Liberation to officially operate out of his home at Number 11–but the noose soon began to tighten. When his secret life was discovered by his Nazi neighbors, he and his family were forced to undertake  a journey into the dark heart of the war-torn continent from which there was little chance of return.

Drawing upon a wealth of primary source material and extensive interviews with Phillip Jackson, Alex Kershaw recreates the City of Light during its darkest days. The untold story of the Jackson family anchors the suspenseful narrative, and Kershaw dazzles readers with the vivid immediacy of the best spy thrillers. Awash with the tense atmosphere of World War II’s Europe, Avenue of Spies introduces us to the brave doctor who risked everything to defy Hitler. -credit Goodreads

i liked...

  • Extraordinarily researched (2 years)
  • Learned a lot about free and vichy france, and got a lot more context as to the extent of how much wars affect everyone involved. America is normally a bit more removed from wars, but during World War II, even people who were separated from the actual fighting were still slaughtered in their homes and the people who were deemed inadequate were destroyed just for who they were.

i didn't like...

  • It was slow and I never truly got into it until the last few chapters. I was interested as to what would happen to Sumner and his family, but it took me over a month to get through and I had to frequently stop and read other books or do other things.

Overall

I enjoyed the story and learned a lot, but it was one of the slower books I have read. That, however is my only complaint. It has very interesting concepts. It was better than a textbook, but not quite a novel.

Quotes

Before the story even starts, it opens with this quote and I love it!!!

“We lived in the shadows as soldiers of the night, but our lives were not dark and martial… There were arrests, torture, and death for so many of our friends and comrades, and tragedy awaited all of us just around the corner. But we did not live in or with tragedy. We were exhilarated by the challenge and rightness of our cause. It was in many ways the worst of times and in many ways the best of times, and the best is what we remember today.” (Jean-Pierre Levy)

Okay, so maybe love isn’t the right word, but it is such a great description.

Love, Aubrey

I received this book from the publisher in return for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

[my motivation & review] spiritual health ft. JESUS ALWAYS BY SARAH YOUNG

 

the-journey-of-a-thousand-miles-begins-with-one-step-lao-tzu-1

Lately I have become increasingly obsessed conscious of health. I have always enjoyed working out and such, but lately I have been more focused on the entire scope of health.

Physical: exercise, eating clean(er)

Mental: productivity, motivation, leadership, happiness

Spiritual: relationship with God and other people, joy

All forms of health are more connected than you may think. They are all incredibly important, but today I’m focusing on spiritual health.

A person’s spiritual health can affect all aspects of health. Most of the time when I am arguing with my friends or family for no reason, or my relationships with other people are not going well, it is an issue with my relationship with God. If everything I do is not for the Kingdom of God, it is just dumb (dom) work.

(get it? Take the King out of Kingdom and you just have dom… no? okay.)

I want to start my day off on a positive foot. SO, I spend the first few minutes of my day in thankfulness and giving my worries to God.

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I recently started going through Jesus Calling by Sarah Young as well, and it has very quickly become my favorite devotional books because it has one for every day of the year, and they are written in letter form as if from God. There are scriptures to read and look up every day. Every day I am amazed by the things that God seems to be speaking to me about and many times I learn so much just from the two or three minutes it takes to read this devotional. Young has done a great job encouraging readers through hard times because she was going through hard times herself while writing this book. I cannot wait to delve in for the rest of the year and grow in my faith one baby step at a time.

Sarah Young’s first 365-day devotional since Jesus Calling.

With scripture and new personal reflections, the #1 New York Times bestselling author Sarah Young, brings Jesus’ message of joy—for today and every day. Experience true joy—now and always.

Life today is full of difficulties—loss, sadness, fear. In the midst of these challenges, joy often feels impossible or out of reach. But Jesus has more for His followers than a life of striving, pain, and discontent. He offers life abundant, life to the fullest, life brimming with joy! Jesus Always, the new 365-day devotional from bestselling author Sarah Young, was written as part of Sarah Young’s exploration of the promises of joy in scripture. Written as if Jesus Himself is speaking directly to the reader, Jesus Always invites you into a new way of living—a life of joy.

Reaching out with joy-filled reminders from the Word of God, these devotions will intimately and gently connect you with Jesus—the One who meets you where you are. Draw near to Him in Jesus Always. (Courtesy of BookLook Bloggers)

Love, Aubrey

I received a copy of Jesus Always (THANKS!) in return for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

[Review] predictable but lovely THE CROWN BY KIERA CASS (#5 The Selection Series)

thecrown

I read The Crown faster than I have read a book in a really long time. It was the lighthearted story I needed.

CHARACTERS

The characters have improved so much. My main problem with The Heir was how *mean and bratty* Eadlyn was to everyone. In The Crown she seems like an entirely different person and warms up to everyone so much more. She seems to finally be letting her guard down a little. Her character is about empowerment, but even more than that I think it is about self-improvement. Her character has come so far!

*I would love to use a different word here, but…

Then the boys are an improvement as well… No spoilers here, but SHRIEK WITH ME IN THE COMMENTS PLEASE.

Maxon and America’s love is still adorable and “the power of love/follow your heart” etc.

I FELT THE FEELS

Maxon’s dad jokes were pretty dang funny (just me? okay). I kept getting drawn in. I don’t think I have cried so hard over a book in a very long time and the thing is it wasn’t even that it was particularly sad, I was just so drawn into the story and the OTPs were growing. (Why was I crying though? For reallll???)

Overall

Now I want to reread the series. The entire Selection series is widely disputed and has a bad rap to a lot of people, but they are just such feel good gravitating books. Not perfect, but lovely. It was still predictable, but I appreciated that it didn’t involve too much thinking (I have been reading too many textbooks for school). Yes, it has it’s issues, but it was still a good book.

Can we just take a moment to appreciate that in Kiera Cass’ bio it calls her a lover of cake? Beautiful. Just beautiful.

Quotes

“‘This is a dandelion,’ I told him. He shrugged. ‘I know. Some see a weed; some see a flower. Perspective.’” (9)

“I drank champagne and laughed too loudly and ate half my bodyweight in chocolate.”(183)

“I’m telling you, Eady, wars and treaties and even countries will all come and go. But your life is yours, singular and sacred, and you should be with the person who makes it feel that way every blessed second you live it.” (187)

Summary

When Eadlyn became the first princess of Illéa to hold her own Selection, she didn’t think she would fall in love with any of her thirty-five suitors. She spent the first few weeks of the competition counting down the days until she could send them all home. But as events at the palace force Eadlyn even further into the spotlight, she realizes that she might not be content remaining alone.

Eadlyn still isn’t sure she’ll find the fairytale ending her parents did twenty years ago. But sometimes the heart has a way of surprising you…and soon Eadlyn must make a choice that feels more impossible—and more important—than she ever imagined. (Goodreads)

Love, Aubrey

[Review & Interview] THE LEGACY GIRLS BY AUGUSTA BLYTHE

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i liked...

  • All of the girls are unique to each other and they all have different character traits and skill sets. They have potential to work well together (however they fight worse than siblings).
  • LARK was my absolute favorite character because she is so sassy and witty and she has had a really hard life, but she has a good heart despite all of that.
  • The girls have a pretty good dynamic going. After seven chapters, I really started to enjoy the story and the banter between characters. When the girls finally got past some of their differences and started getting along, they became much more relatable. 
  • It’s very mysterious and I’m not quite sure where it’s going. Even though I thought it would be super predictable, I actually didn’t know what was going to happen and was surprised.

Quotes

“‘It isn’t so much that I’m a believer, Claire. It’s just that if I were going to be drop-kicked into the middle of a fairy tale, it wouldn’t be like one of yours with a prince, a castle, and a marriage proposal. It would be exactly like this.’ She gestured to the chaotic scene in the cabin. ‘A giant madman on the loose and my life on the line.’” (82%)

“‘Because whatever we’re dealing with,’ Bronwyn said, ‘I’m afraid it’s more Grimm than Disney.’” (82%)

i didn't like...

  • The characters seem very trope-y & some of their traits weren’t super realistic.
    • Most of the girls seem so much shallower than real people. What is with the gasps when their phones are taken away? Also the way they treat lark drives me crazy.
    • CLAIRE: She pushes all of the wrong buttons for me. She is just so petty and is a brat. I understand that there needs to be a antagonist who causes trouble with the group, but I got really sick of all of the sibling like arguing between Lark and Claire. It was always so malicious.
  • I understand that they were happy to be part of something and were just going with the flow, but WHY AREN’T THEY QUESTIONING THIS SUPER SKETCHY HOUSE WAY MORE? They blindly agree to do so much.

Overall

The Legacy Girls certainly had a MG feel to it. It took a while for me to get into the story and to get over some of the character traits, but by the end it left me wanting to know more about what will happen to the Legacy Girls. I was jumping to read the next chapter, and took my kindle with me everywhere.


interview

Augusta, author of The Legacy Girls, agreed to participate in this rockin’ interview and tell us a little about herself.

Tea or coffee?

Tea when I first get up in the morning and a latte later in the day.

Do you prefer ebooks or physical books?

I read both. I only buy print books of a short list of authors, though. Our house was overflowing with books and there’s just no room for all of them.

What book(s) are you reading right now?

I just finished the third book in Mary E. Pearson’s Remnant Chronicles (The Beauty of Darkness). I highly recommend the trilogy! I’m also reading a nonfiction book about George Washington’s life after the Revolutionary War but before he became president. It’s fascinating.

When did you decide to become a writer?

In preschool, I was given the award of Best Storyteller. I took my cue from that.

If you got the chance to be the original author of any book that is currently out, which would it be and why?

It has to be George RR Martin! (And I would have finished Winds of Winter by now. Harumpf.) His stories have so many layers and are incredibly detailed…He never fails to surprise me and I love that in a book. I missed my bus stop in London because I was so caught up in a particularly horrible event in the book. I ended up yelling like a lunatic at the page. Only a great story can evoke a reaction like that. I’m planning to reread the series once the last book release date is finally announced.

How is your day structured? Do you have a special time to write? Do you write full time or have another job?

I am a full-time writer with two school-aged kids and a puppy so my day is in constant motion. I write during the hours when the kids are out of the house and again when they go to bed. I leave marketing and emails for when they’re home and I’m more easily distracted.

Are any of the characters inspired by you or people you know?

There’s a little bit of me in all my characters, but I have 5 MCs in this series so I tried to keep them as different and unique as possible. I knew which qualities and characteristics I wanted them to have and went from there. Claire is a little bit Caroline from Vampire Diaries. Blond, perky, competitive and highly organized.

Which character was the most fun to write?

Lark is my favorite to write because she’s the snarky one with a troubled past. She doesn’t come from the same background as the other girls, but they still manage to find common ground because underneath all that grit, she has a good heart.

Are you working on any books right now?

Damsel, the next book in the series, will be released in October. You’ll find out then what happened to the girls at the end of The Legacy Girls.

***

Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to interview with me!

Augusta Blythe is the author of Winterborne and Ravenstoke, YA urban fantasy novels. She is also the author of Hostel Takeover written under the pseudonym Keeley Bates. She currently lives in England with her husband, two children, a clown fish, a cleaner shrimp and a mine urchin. [goodreads]

You can find her on her: Website // Facebook // Twitter  // Amazon // Goodreads // Instagram: @augustablythe

Summary

Five girls. One incredible secret.

The lives of five students at an elite college are forever altered when they are invited to join the secret society of Legacy, led by the mysterious Matron. It doesn’t matter that no one on the rural campus has heard of Legacy House; the five young women are just happy to be chosen. When the challenges of pledge season become increasingly fantastical, they realize that the secret society is not what it claims to be.
Credit: Goodreads

Love, Aubrey

*I received a copy of the book from the author (thanks!). All opinions expressed are my own.

[Review] SALT TO THE SEA BY RUTA SEPETYS

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Salt to the Sea is one of the best pieces of historical fiction I have ever read. Not only does it tell the story from a different perspective (four teenagers who are from different countries and AREN’T jews), but it comprehensively tells the story from the switching perspectives of these four teenagers as their history and future unwinds. It was beautiful.

  • I really enjoyed the format the story was told in. All four narrators (Joana, Florian, Alfred, and Emilia) were from different countries and situations, but were all extremely affected by the war.
    • Florian warmed my heart and was a true hero. He is just such a genuine guy and always (however reluctantly) has to help people.
    • Emilia and her story constantly surprised me and kept me wondering what would happen next.
    • Joana is a caring and competent character, but really becomes better when she is with other people (doesn’t really matter who, but people make her more interesting *cough* *Florian and Klaus*).
    • I felt like Alfred was missing substance for most of the story. He was a despicable character who had been brainwashed by Hitler and really just wanted to make a name for himself and become famous. The worst and most annoying part is that he went about it in the absolute worst way and was terrible to most of the people he deemed “below him” (even though he wasn’t a high ranking person).
    • Some of my favorite characters were the secondary ones such as the Shoe Poet (Heinz) because he was so loving and cared about Klaus so deeply, the wandering boy (Klaus) because he showed how age didn’t matter when it came to the war’s devastation (also, he is the innocence of the story, and I hope he got to hold on to a little of it despite all he endured), and Sorry Eva (who also annoyed me a lot, but was still funny at times).

I read this book because this year’s Academic Decathlon (nerd competitions) theme is WW2, and so I wanted to slowly drift in the direction of the required reading while still learning more about WW2. Even though it was fiction, I still learned a lot, and some of it was based off of real events. It made me think about different perspectives in the war and how many different groups were affected by the war.

Quotes

“No one wanted to fall into the hands of the enemy. But it was growing harder to distinguish who the enemy was.” (21)

“If you observe carefully, dear, you won’t have to ask.” (128)

“I became good at pretending. I became so good that after a while the lines blurred between my truth and fiction. And sometimes, when I did a really good job of pretending, I even fooled myself.” (147)

“Yes, it is calming in an indescribable way to find oneself. Few men have the opportunity. I am one of those men. I now understand what it is to feel superior. And I quite like it.” (277)

Summary

Winter, 1945. Four teenagers. Four secrets.

Each one born of a different homeland; each one hunted, and haunted, by tragedy, lies…and war.

As thousands of desperate refugees flock to the coast in the midst of a Soviet advance, four paths converge, vying for passage aboard the Wilhelm Gustloff, a ship that promises safety and freedom.

Yet not all promises can be kept.

Inspired by the single greatest tragedy in maritime history, bestselling and award-winning author Ruta Sepetys (Between Shades of Gray) lifts the veil on a shockingly little-known casualty of World War II. An illuminating and life-affirming tale of heart and hope.

Credits: Goodreads

Love, Aubrey

[Review] characters and world building explosions A COURT OF MIST AND FURY BY SARAH J MAAS **contains minor spoilers**

*THIS REVIEW CONTAINS MINOR SPOILERS FOR BOTH A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES AND A COURT OF MIST AND FURY. PLEASE DO NOT SPOIL YOURSELF.*

YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED

acomaf

Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.

(summary from goodreads).

 

SJ Maas did it again. She is one of my favorite authors ever because of her complex characters and extensive worlds. I am freaking out and NEED the next story. AHHH!

 

i liked...

Maas’ books are always filled with some of the most complex characters out there. Even the smaller characters all have a backstory and motivation. It is a big reason why I love her books and stories so much. Her characters complete and make the story go above and beyond what it would be otherwise.

Strong Female Characters

Feyre was notably strong, but also admitted her flaws. I think the strongest female the whole story, even more than Amren, would be Mor.

“A special strength in enduring such dark trials and hardships… And still remaining warm, and kind. Still willing to trust–and to reach out.” (239)

“I thought of that merry face, the flippant laughter, the female that did not care who approved. Perhaps because she had seen the ugliest her kind had to offer. And had survived.” (397)

Most of the characters have a certain likeableness to them that can very quickly and easily be turned on its head. I love how easily the entire story changed and I quickly changed my allegiances to the characters.

I like how broken and vulnerable many (if not all) of the characters are. Everyone has messes in real life, and this book showed that. The Fae aren’t perfect even if they appear to be.

Character interactions

Overall, I liked the chemistry between the characters even better in ACOMAF than in the Throne of Glass series. There is something raw about the bonds between Rhys, Feyre, Azriel, Cassian, and Amren. They are a family, and their jokes and sarcasm was so real I felt like I was part of it.

Empowerment

Through Rhys and a few other characters, there is a clear message of empowerment. Everyone feels like they aren’t worth it sometimes, but they are valued and loved even when they may not know it.

It made me feel things

I was hooked. Still am, honestly. I can feel the book hangover coming.

The characters all go through genuine pain and it hurt me. They were all so extremely sacrificial and GAHHH!

Quotes

“I am drowning. And the more you do this, the more guards… you might as well be shoving my head under the water.” (100)

“No one was my master–but I might be the master of everything, if I wished. If I dared.” (319)

“When you spend so long trapped in darkness, Lucien, you find that the darkness begins to stare back.” (461)

 

i didn't like...

Tamlin doesn’t notice much. Would he have even liked Feyre without the curse?

Can I rant for a moment? Well, I’m going to anyway, so jokes on you! Ha! It drives me crazy that new adult authors and books somehow feel like they have to include steamy scenes in them. I could DEFINITELY deal without. The number of these scenes was outrageous. I had to skip pages a lot and it honestly took away from the book for me. I understand that some people will say I shouldn’t be reading “adult books” if I can’t handle it, but I don’t think it is necessary to describe all of that. I think it adds nothing, and people who need those details in their minds from the pages of books can crawl to their erotica and be happy and vulgar.

 

Overall

I think I would have rated this book 5 stars if it weren’t for all of the explicit details, but that was a major turn off for me. I still adored the book and its characters however, and am in need of the next one (how on earth are there supposed to be EIGHT OF THEM???)

 

What did you think? Do you agree with me? Disagree? Let me know your thoughts and feeling so we can fangirl(boy) together in the comments below!

Love, Aubrey

[Review] magical and sacrificial A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES BY SARAH J MAAS

acotar

This was such a wonderful book. Honestly, I had meant to clean up the review a lot sooner, but I started reading ACOMAF right away, and didn’t get around to it. I actually wrote the ACOMAF review first (anticipation), and it is much more structured and complete. This is a general stream of consciousness type of review on my thoughts for this lovely story. Let me know what you think in comments. Let’s fangirl (or fanboy) together!

i liked...

The book I needed to bring me out of my slump. A wondrous reminder as to why I love Sarah J. Maas so so much!

Characters: there is always so much detail to each of S.J. Maas’ book characters and it makes me love them so much. Every character, no matter how minor, seems to have an extreme backstory, motivation, and a depth that most books don’t even brush the surface of.

  • Feyre is a strong character with weaknesses. I like her name. I like how bold she is and how it almost gets her killed every time.
  • The creativity in all of the beasts and monsters. Also, the way she reveals the monster inside each character and how they fall apart. Faeries can be destroyed and have weaknesses too.

The characters slowly, but surly warm up to each other.

They all have stereotypes about each other’s species and prejudices but they end up being wrong.

 

Plot: it is so simply complex and I have been surprised multiple times. When I can guess the plot, or what is going to happen, I am not disappointed. (Also, I guessed the riddle a few pages after I read it, not to brag or anything.)

What would you do for love?

 

ALL THE FEELS!

I feel like there is no way to not grow attached to the characters and their attachments to each other. All of the relationships and enemyships in the story are felt very deeply.

Quotes

(Oh snap sass)

“He also said that you like being brushed, and if I’m a clever girl, I might train you with treats.” (158)

“Because your human joy fascinates me–the way you experience things, in your life span, so widely and deeply and all at once, is… entrancing. I’m drawn to it, even when I know I shouldn’t be, even when I try not to be.” (172)

“‘I love you,’ he whispered, and kissed my brow. ‘Thorns and all.’” (248)

“Be glad of your human heart, Feyre. Pity those who don’t feel anything at all.” (414)

 

 

i didn't like...

  • Unwanted steaminess in a couple of scenes… skip skip skip

 

Love, Aubrey