Book Review – The Scorpio Races + November Cakes!!

Hi friends! Welcome back to my first book review since April. Honestly, I’ve pretty much forgotten how to write reviews, and I’ve kind of forgotten how I felt when I first finished reading this book, but here we are. I’m so glad I started taking notes of what I liked and didn’t, otherwise, I probably would never have been able to write this.

Anyway, here I am today with my review of The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater, including some pictures and thoughts on her November Cakes recipe. I’m super excited, so let’s jump right in!

Continue reading “Book Review – The Scorpio Races + November Cakes!!”

Spoiler Free Review – Deceptive Waters

Hey there friends! Today I’m going to be reviewing Deceptive Waters. This was an interesting ARC read that kept me hooked even though I didn’t really like the characters and the ending raised quite a few questions.

Book: Deceptive Waters

Author: Carolyn Courtney Lauman

Genre: Adult, Mystery

Summary: When Mary Branson witnesses a car hurtle off the Golden Gate Bridge in the fall of 1998, little does she realize that, twenty years later, she’ll find herself revisiting the haunting details of that crash. But when a woman’s body is found floating along the dark shores of the Chesapeake Bay, Mary tasks herself with unravelling the truth behind both deaths.

Not everyone wants Mary to uncover that truth, let alone publish a novel based on the secrets she exposes. With ominous forces working to silence her, Mary turns to her law enforcement husband and a street-savvy private investigator for help. Can she stay alive long enough to finish her story?

In Deceptive Waters, Carolyn Courtney Lauman introduces her readers to Mary Branson, the lead character in her mystery and suspense Deceptive series. Enjoy reading how Mary transitions from international business executive to writer of true-crime-turns-fiction. You won’t be disappointed.

Continue reading “Spoiler Free Review – Deceptive Waters”

Spoiler Free Book Review – Mistborn: The Final Empire

Hello hello! Welcome back y’all!! Today, I’m going to be reviewing Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson. You’ve all seen me scream about how awesome and believable this book was, so let’s jump right in to my finally full review.

Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson - Cover

Book: Mistborn: The Final Empire

Author: Brandon Sanderson

Genre: Epic Fantasy, Adult

Summary: For a thousand years the ash fell and no flowers bloomed. For a thousand years the Skaa slaved in misery and lived in fear. For a thousand years the Lord Ruler, the “Sliver of Infinity,” reigned with absolute power and ultimate terror, divinely invincible. Then, when hope was so long lost that not even its memory remained, a terribly scarred, heart-broken half-Skaa rediscovered it in the depths of the Lord Ruler’s most hellish prison. Kelsier “snapped” and found in himself the powers of a Mistborn. A brilliant thief and natural leader, he turned his talents to the ultimate caper, with the Lord Ruler himself as the mark.

Kelsier recruited the underworld’s elite, the smartest and most trustworthy allomancers, each of whom shares one of his many powers, and all of whom relish a high-stakes challenge. Only then does he reveal his ultimate dream, not just the greatest heist in history, but the downfall of the divine despot.

But even with the best criminal crew ever assembled, Kel’s plan looks more like the ultimate long shot, until luck brings a ragged girl named Vin into his life. Like him, she’s a half-Skaa orphan, but she’s lived a much harsher life. Vin has learned to expect betrayal from everyone she meets, and gotten it. She will have to learn to trust, if Kel is to help her master powers of which she never dreamed.

This saga dares to ask a simple question: What if the hero of prophecy fails?

Continue reading “Spoiler Free Book Review – Mistborn: The Final Empire”

Book Review – The Queen of Nothing | ft. a rant about why I’m super disappointed

Hi there, dear friends!! Welcome back to another book review! Today, I will be discussing the absolute mess that was The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black. Or well, why I think it was an absolute mess.

Title: The Queen of Nothing

Author: Holly Black

Published: November 19th, 2019

Genre: Fantasy, YA

Summary: After being pronounced Queen of Faerie and then abruptly exiled by the Wicked King Cardan, Jude finds herself unmoored, the queen of nothing. She spends her time with Vivi and Oak, watches her fair share of reality television, and does the odd job or two, including trying to convince a cannibalistic faerie from hunting her own in the mortal world.

When her twin sister Taryn shows up asking of a favor, Jude jumps at the chance to return to the Faerie world, even if it means facing Cardan, who she loves despite his betrayal.

When a dark curse is unveiled, Jude must become the first mortal Queen of Faerie and uncover how to break the curse, or risk upsetting the balance of the whole Faerie world.

Spoiler Free Review:

This was incredibly disappointing. All the things that made The Wicked King amazing – politics, Jude’s plotting, her ruthlessness, the absolute complexity and amazingness of the characters and the plot – were missing from this book. The plot was incredibly lackluster, the politics were dialed down, and Jude was tame. TAME. She was so soft, much kinder, and a totally different person from the ruthless Queen that she was in TWK.

And that was annoying. I kept waiting for her to become the Jude I know. I kept waiting for the Jude who is a destructive force of nature, who is constantly on her toes, and constantly scheming, and it didn’t happen.

The plot was just a big question mark and the plot twist left me speechless. It was that bad. I still don’t understand why on earth it was used.

One of my biggest problems is how short this book is. It’s ONLY 300 pages. This book that I’ve been waiting a whole year for, a book that I was truly excited to read, was not only a hot mess, but also a very short one that didn’t do this series any justice. There was no build-up and no excited anticipation. It just went from A to B in five seconds (with the above mentioned totally weird plot twist) and then the ending. Everything was neatly wrapped up, some things happened off page, and characters who deserved so much worse were given a “punishment” that felt more like a joke.

I’m tired of this book. I’m just so disappointed and so tired of it.

To hear my completely unfiltered thoughts with spoilers, keep on reading for the spoiler part of this review.

If you don’t want to see spoilers, you can skip straight to the end to hear my recommendation! But beware of the comments which may have spoilers too.



Spoiler Review:

So. After much consideration and debate with fellow readers, I’ve come to the conclusion that either HB didn’t write this book someone else did under her name. y’all I’m that desperate to explain this mess, or she was willing to sacrifice a potentially phenomenal ending to a good series to later make spin-offs.

But why am I so upset with this book? Let’s start off from the beginning.

Some of the major characters (aka JUDE) were totally out of character in this book. Some others were the same.

Jude went from a ruthless Queen to…this Jude. This very forgiving, very accepting, totally not intricately scheming, very emotional Jude. She was so incredibly tame and bleh, she’s almost like a whole different person. Her rich and powerful character was watered down so much in this book, and it ruined everything.

Example: she kind of forgave Taryn. TARYN. That back-stabbing so called “sister”. One second Taryn’s betraying Jude, the next, Jude is willing to overlook everything to get back to Faerie, and eventually just lets Taryn be, even with all she’s done.

Oh, and can someone explain to me how Taryn is pregnant??? Like what? And she killed her husband Locke because of this weird super petty non-excuse? And she wanted Jude to go back to Faerie to lie to Cardan for her since Jude can’t be glamoured?? And Jude said fine??? Okay, yes she did it partly so she could sneak back into Faerie but still. And that’s all????

Locke was killed off-page for some non-excuse and Jude asks like one or two questions about it and that’s it? LOCKE WAS KILLED AND THAT’S IT?

Like others have mentioned, it’s kind of lazy, but also super fishy. And I don’t like how it’s pretty much ignored and Taryn doesn’t get punished for it. It just happens and that’s that.

Now to Vivi and Heather. I love Heather. She’s so sweet and innocent, and I love how she’s trying to reconcile with Vivi, but is also very rightfully untrustworthy of her. I wish Heather had been given some time so that she could talk to Jude and understand Faerie properly, so that she has a good idea of what she’s getting in to if she continued her relationship with Vivi.

Which she did. After having Vivi wipe her memories.

That’s horribly disturbing, and I hated Vivi by the end of this book. I don’t trust her at all, and she doesn’t deserve Heather. I really really wanted to give Vivi a second chance, because I liked her in the first two books. But she messed up at the end of the last book, as well as in this one and she should not have agreed to wiping Heather’s memories. Their relationship is completely unbalanced with Heather being mortal, and Vivi being a faerie, and the fact that Vivi can glamour Heather doesn’t sit well with me. Especially since she did it before so easily.

Also, I initially totally forgot about the fact that there was pending war/conflict with the Queen of the Undersea and Nicasia, but then someone mentioned it and I remembered and I wonder what happened to that. But okay, whatever.

Nicasia was just absolutely weird and emotional in this book. Like Jude, she was ruthless and determined and this cruel steely person in the previous books, and the few pages where she was talking in this book (it was probably like only 3 or 4 pages max) she was absolutely emotional and teary and “you have to save him!!” because Cardan was a snake. And I’m utterly confused because I can’t connect the Nicasia that I knew to this new person.

Madoc was still the same incredibly ruthless and cruel guy, and I don’t think I had an issue with him. It’s just what happened to him in the end that annoys me.

Cardan was still the awesome great Cardan. But he barely had any page time at all! I can remember all the instances where he was Cardan and not a snake on ONE hand.

  1. When Jude first returned
  2. Their passionate reunion afterwards
  3. After the snake where he’s with Jude giving out punishments
  4. Afterwards when they’re in the Mortal World

Yeah. I think that’s it. That’s it!! He deserved so much more, and I missed him.

Orianna was so interesting and I wish she was explored a lot more. But sigh.

Lady Asha confuses me. I have no idea where she stands in this whole drama, and why she was included. Every question I have about her starts with Why. I don’t understand her role in this story.

Now, for the characters who I loved.

Oak was so adorable and cheeky, and I loved him!! He reminded me of a mini sassy Cardan (not the cruel part, just the awesome sassy part) and I loved him so much, and I just wanted them to protect him and keep him far away from this mess.

Grima Mog was so interesting, and hilarious and I’m so glad she was in the book!! She’s the only character besides Oak, Heather, and Cardan that I liked.

And I think that’s the majority of the characters who I feel like mentioning.

*laughter*

First of all, there was no exciting build-up. No tense situations, betrayals, back stabbing, and all of that jazz that throws a wrench into Jude’s plans (well she didn’t have any plans, but hypothetically speaking) and creates so many little plot twists before the main amazing and magnificent plot twist.

Second of all, the Court of Teeth? Okay. They confuse me. And I’m very creeped out by their girl Queen. Everything related to them was just disturbing. I mean, Madoc worked with them, so yeah, obviously they are very disturbing people.

Third of all, that plot twist with Cardan turning into a snake and all of that.

I know, I used a GIF!!! But really, there’s no other way to understand my utter confusion without it.

The whole problem with his book is that it is short. It’s just 300 pages. So the plot was rushed, not fleshed out well, horribly wrapped up, and this big plot twist with Cardan breaking the crown, and then turning into a snake, and Jude dissolving into a rather teary-eyed Queen who’s trying to be strong, but still teary eyed- it was just totally out of the scope of plausibility or awesomeness.

I was expecting this book to go right, and it went left. That’s not bad, but the way it went left is horrible, and I’m still utterly confused about how this snake and war drama was supposedly a good idea.

I mean come on? What was that “war”? And the snake? Okay, fine, let’s have a snake great way to add it to the cover btw. What’s next?? Where’s the actual awesome plot twist?? Is this snake supposed to be a wrench in Jude’s “plans”? Where’s the actual big and awesome part?

But nope. It is the major plot twist, Rukky. And after this, everything’s just fine and dandy, and everyone gets let off so easy, and nothing happens to Taryn and this is supposed to be the spectacular and amazing finale that you were waiting a whole year to read. Didn’t you just love it?

No. I hated it.

Another thing that was weird was that Locke was killed off page. Like he dies, and Taryn explains it with her crappy excuse and that’s it. Locke, Master of Revels, Cruel and Heartless, the guy that I hate for a lot of good reasons, he just dies, and we’re told about it, and that’s just it.

??????????????????

After the awesome twisty plot of TWK, this plot was just a really really big flop and let down. Sigh.

Ahh, finally. The ending.

Madoc gets banished to the Mortal world.

The Court of Teeth is no longer a valid court, but they still get an ambassador who is Lady Asha.

Lady Asha is apparently being punished by being an ambassador for a none existent court.

That weird girl queen on the bridle is let loose.

Some of the traitors who fought for Madoc are turned into hawks (or ravens or something??)

Some of them are forgiven (I believe?)

The Ghost is free and happy (he was locked up with Madoc before). He and Taryn are apparently, um, idk, but they share this Look at the end that is highly disturbing.

Cardan is free and happy.

People have accepted Jude as their Queen.

Heather gets back with Vivi after wiping her memories. She is also happy. Vivi doesn’t learn anything, and she’s also free and happy.

Orianna is fine, free, and happy.

And they all (aka Jude and her fam) head back to the mortal world to celebrate Jude and Cardan’s wedding, and everything is wonderful and dandy.

Take a wild guess about how I feel about this ending.

Let’s pretend this book didn’t happen. Or at least I’m going to try and pretend that it didn’t, because my brain is tired of thinking of this book. My brain is tired of this utter disappointment. I am exhausted just thinking about how everything went wrong.

And it hurts even more because I was very excited and expecting a fabulous book. This book just crushed everything.

end

In the end, I did not like this and I wouldn’t recommend it. This was one of the most disappointing books that I’ve read. I expected so much from it, and it didn’t live up to my expectations at all.

Here’s Kay’s much nicer and wonderful review that you could check out if you want to see a more positive review. For some, this could have been an awesome final book, but for me it just wasn’t.

One sentence summary: A very disappointing finale with bland characters, ridiculous plot twists, and a horrible ending.

Overall, 1 star.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

So, that’s the tea! It was honestly really therapeutic while still very exhausting to write this review.

Have you read The Folk of the Air series? Were you super excited for this book? What were your thoughts? Am I being overly salty? Do you agree or disagree with me? Share your thoughts in the comments below!!

Book Review – The Book Thief

Hey ya’ll!! Welcome back to my first book review of the year (and my first one since November)! I’ve said it a few times now, but I’m going to start working on posting reviews more frequently maybe if I say it enough it’ll become reality. Honestly, I kind of miss writing them, and hopefully I’ll keep it up from here.

Today, I’ll be reviewing one of my favorite books of 2019, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.

Title: The Book Thief

Author: Markus Zusak

Published: December 18th 2007

Genre: Historical Fiction, YA, Coming of Age

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Summary: It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will be busier still.

By her brother’s graveside, Liesel’s life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Gravedigger’s Handbook, left behind there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery. So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordian-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor’s wife’s library, wherever there are books to be found.

But these are dangerous times. When Liesel’s foster family hides a Jew in their basement, Liesel’s world is both opened up, and closed down.

In superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award-winning author Markus Zusak has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time.

Review Summary:

This was a really emotional coming-of-age book set in Nazi Germany during World War II. It has a really unique narrator who follows the life of Liesel, after the death of her little brother, and her placement in a foster home. Originally, it was slow, but towards the second half, I was really attached to all the characters, and I loved the story. The ending hit me so hard even though I knew it was coming.

Quote: “The only thing worse than a boy who hates you: a boy that loves you.”

*Characters. I love the characters. They were real and so wholesome. Liesel, Rudy, Mama, Papa, the Mayor’s wife, all the characters on Himmel street played a role in making this book what it is. Death as well, was a phenomenal narrator, and it was so interesting seeing the story from his point of view. I loved the relationships between each of the characters, and how they loved each other, despite Mama seeming really harsh. She still loved Liesel so much, and it made me feel so warm and happy to see all of their interactions with one another. Rudy was hilarious, mischievous, and very much a saukerl. Papa was kind, patient, and adoring. Mama was harsh, loud, but still loving underneath. The Mayor’s wife was quiet, kind, and so lonely. All of them supported Liesel in their own way, and I loved reading about their lives.

*Death. Having death as a narrator was different and really interesting. It was sad, it was painful, and I sympathized with him so much. One thing I didn’t expect was for me to like having him as a narrator. He’s not this gloomy cruel thing that loves death. He had feelings. He was real. You could feel the sorrow and sadness coming from him. It made me sad that he had to see so much horror and that he had such a depressing job.

*Story. I like how the story moved through the years, pointing out the big events, and mentioning the small ones as well. It was a coming of age over several years, and even though the pacing was slow to start, I got used to it later on and I didn’t want it to end. I just wanted their story to continue, to see all the mischief and adventures that Rudy and Liesel would have, to see them grow up and grow old. It was so heartfelt and I loved it.

Quote: “I have hated words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right.”

*Max. Max was really interesting. What happened to him was horrible, but I’m glad that he still survived, that he found a family with the Hubermanns. I’m also glad that he found a way to express himself, and that he became Liesel’s reading companion. There’s so much power and beauty in words, and instead of falling into depression, or chronically over stressing, he wrote his story and stayed the strong despite the bleakness of his situation.

*Books. The book starts off with Liesel stealing a grave digger’s handbook, and it becomes a passion of hers. She has Papa teach her how to read, and as the years pass, she swipes books when she can to read some more. She meets the Mayor’s wife while doing laundry for her, and discovers a library full of so many books. The best thing is that the Mayor’s wife lets her come and read, which makes Liesel’s knowledge and power with words grow. I’m glad that books held such a special place in Liesel’s heart.

*Message. This book has several messages, and all of them are so important. Nazi Germany was a horrible time, and I loved how the Hubermanns, and Liesel, fought Hitler in their own way. They hid a Jew, showed sympathy to other Jews despite the severe consequences, and used Hitler’s own powerful device, words, to fight and tell their own story. This was about giving them a voice, when they didn’t have any. This was about doing what’s right, even when your whole country, your own son, is against you. It also offered a new perspective, because this was the first time that I’ve read a book about a non-Jewish German family hiding a Jew in their own home. It’s about the horrors of war, of the Holocaust, and how it can affect one small family that just wants to stay far away from it. And I absolutely loved it.

*Ending. That ending punched me so. hard. It still hurts to think about it. You know it’s coming, you get warned beforehand, but I still spent a few hours crying, feeling so much pain and sadness for all these amazing characters.

Quote: “Like most misery, it started with apparent happiness.”

*Slow. Starting out, it was slow, and I was a little impatient because of it. But once I got used to the pacing, and I began to like the characters, I didn’t care that it kind of dragged anymore.

Quote: “He does something to me, that boy. Every time. It’s his only detriment. He steps on my heart. He makes me cry.”

In the end, I loved this, I would highly recommend it, and I hope you enjoy it if you read it! The characters are so interesting, and it was so heartwarming to read about their lives. The ending shattered me. Great job to Zusak for absolutely destroying my heart.

One sentence summary: A heartbreaking and important historical fiction novel with amazing characters and books.

Overall, 5 shining stars.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

That’s it for today! I’m working on my Monthly Wrap-Up post, so you can expect that either tomorrow or Thursday.

Have you read The Book Thief? What did you think? Am I the only one who fell in love with Mama as the story progressed? What are some of your favorite World War II books? Chat with me in the comments below!!