Monday, February 27, 2017

ARC Review: The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

Title: The Bone Witch
Series: The Bone Witch #1
Written by: Rin Chupeco
Published: March 7, 2017 by Sourcebooks Fire
(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: A Publishers Weekly Most Anticipated Young Adult Book of Spring 2017! 

In the captivating start to a new, darkly lyrical fantasy series for readers of Leigh Bardugo and Sabaa Tahir, Tea can raise the dead, but resurrection comes at a price... 

Let me be clear: I never intended to raise my brother from his grave, though he may claim otherwise. If there's anything I've learned from him in the years since, it's that the dead hide truths as well as the living. 

When Tea accidentally resurrects her brother from the dead, she learns she is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy means that she's a bone witch, a title that makes her feared and ostracized by her community. But Tea finds solace and guidance with an older, wiser bone witch, who takes Tea and her brother to another land for training. 

In her new home, Tea puts all her energy into becoming an asha-one who can wield elemental magic. But dark forces are approaching quickly, and in the face of danger, Tea will have to overcome her obstacles...and make a powerful choice. 

Memoirs of a Geisha meets The Name of the Wind in this brilliant new fantasy series by Rin Chupeco!

*** I received and advance copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This fact has not changed my opinion. ***

I was so excited to red this book. I love me some dark fantasy and a book about witches where one is a Necromancer sounds totally up my alley. And while this was an interesting read, I didn't love it.

The one thing I did really enjoy about this book was the world. That was without a doubt the most interesting part. As far as the magical system goes, it was kind of an interesting take on elemental magic. Each person who is able to do magic has a specific gift and they mostly revolve around controlling an element, except out our MC who controls dark energy and can raise creatures from the dead. I loved seeing the magic at work and learning more about it throughout the book as Tea was trained. It was a bright spot in this book for me.

Perhaps I liked the world and magical setting so much because this was absolutely an exposition sort of book. Much of the plot revolved around setting up the story that I assume the next book is going to explore. And that story is going to be fascinating, but this one fell flat for me. There was a lot of potential with some cool action scenes and a pretty good mystery in the end but I spent most of the book waiting for the plot to kick in.

But I waited a lot in this book. It is a very slowly paced read. I like books that slowly build to a thrilling conclusion but if it takes three quarters of the book before you never get to an semblance of a plot that it too slow. It may have been a little too late for me in that case. I did find the format interesting of telling the story in flashbacks on how Tea got to be where she is at the beginning of the book but that may have also kind of slowed the pacing down a little bit. They had to spend a lot of time explaining things that maybe could have been pared down if the main plot was the present timeline.

I also didn't totally connect with the characters. Tea was interesting enough and I did connect with her feeling of loss in the beginning and her desire to prove herself worthy and capable of skill throughout the book but it never went deeper than that. She felt a little one note. And the rest of the characters felt so forgettable that I honestly forgot who people were at the end during the big reveal. I think in general I just didn't connect with the characters.

On the whole I think The Bone Witch just suffered from a bit of first book syndrome for me. I'm interested to see where the series goes because t does have a fascination world and a lot of potential but this book didn't super impress me.

I give The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco 8 out of 10 stars

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Borrow. This is probably one of those books that I would suggest reading when more of the series is out. It's interesting enough but there is a lot of exposition and if you can marathon it with the second book in the series I think it will be more engaging. 

Have you read The Bone Witch? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Friday, February 24, 2017

Audiobook Review: The Dark Days Pact by Alison Goodman

*** This is a sequel so if you have not read The Dark Days Club be careful of potential spoilers. Here is my review for that book. It's really good and you should read it. ***

Title: The Dark Days Pact
Series: Lady Helen #2
Written by: Alison Goodman
Published: January 31, 2017 by Razorbill (Penguin)
(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: June 1812. Just weeks after her catastrophic coming-out ball, Lady Helen Wrexhall—now disowned by her uncle—is a full member of the demon-hunting Dark Days Club. Her mentor, Lord Carlston, has arranged for Helen to spend the summer season in Brighton so that he can train her new Reclaimer powers. However, the long-term effects of Carlston’s Reclaimer work have taken hold, and his sanity is beginning to slip. At the same time, Carlston’s Dark Days Club colleague and nemesis will stop at nothing to bring Helen over to his side—and the Duke of Selburn is determined to marry her. The stakes are even higher for Helen as she struggles to become the warrior that everyone expects her to be.
Last year I remember really enjoying The Dark Days Club and finding it a fun combination of history and fantasy. So when I saw the sequel coming out I wanted to read it, I just wasn't sure when I could get to it. And then I saw that the audiobook was narrated by Fiona Hardingham so when I was in need of a new audiobook I decided to reread Dark Days Club and listen to this one. And I am so glad that I did because I seriously loved this book.

For one thing I love the way this book handles the historical elements. So many fantasies and historical mysteries these days take place in Victorian England. And now I am totally a fan of this setting so I love reading those kinds of books, but sometimes they don't handle it in the way that I hope. In The Dark Days Pact it was handled perfectly. The author clearly did her research into what life was like in the Victorian era and she does a great job of incorporating things that might otherwise seem mundane into the story. I loved the historical aspects of the first book in the series and I loved it again in this book.

But the best thing about the historical fiction of this book is the themes it addresses about women and their place in society. So much of the plot and historical aspects of this book involve around Lady Helen and the unique position she is in as a female Reclaimer. I mean they even make learn how to dress and act like a man so she can get around and fight more easily. I mean they're not even trying to veil that symbolism. But I honestly loved it. I am such a sucker for feminist themes and I love the way it was perfectly handled to bring attention to the historical perspective in a way that felt relevant and interesting.

But the thing that really impressed me about this book was the plot development. For one thing, this was an incredibly thrilling read, especially as it built to the climax. And I will say, the pacing was a bit slow and it took awhile to get going, when it did it was amazing. This is a book and a series that is full of exciting action scenes and tons of mystery that kept me on my toes from beginning to end. You guys probably know that I'm a huge plot-driven reader and I need an exciting plot and I definitely found one here. And honestly, I was pleasantly surprised by that because in the first book I felt like the thrills and fantasy elements were lacking. Here they existed in force and I loved that. It's definitely an exciting plot.

I also really enjoy the characters in this book. How can I not love Lady Helen as she literally fights for humanity in a society that sees her as a lesser class citizen. She's tough, smarty, and sassy. I love the way she developed throughout this book becoming a hero and still fighting convention. Alison Goodman plays with the "Chosen One" trope a lot with Lady Helen and as always I enjoyed that a ton. But this is also a book that is full of complex and engaging secondary characters. So many of them are either completely villainous or potentially villainous and you know how I feel about a dark and dubious character. There were some great dubious old characters back again like the Duke of Selburn who I am super suspicious of, and some really great new characters like Pike and the Comte who are complex in a dark and odious way. But seriously every character in this book was incredibly engaging.

Then again, everything about this book was engaging. I seriously couldn't stop reading it. The audiobook was amazing and it was a sequel that I might say is better than the original. I love the direction this series is going and I can't wait to see where it goes in the next book. It's a thrilling read with a great historical fiction world and an exciting fantasy world.

I give The Dark Days Pact by Alison Goodman 9 out of 10 stars

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Buy. If you liked the first book in this series you definitely have to get your hands on the second. But I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of historical fiction and especially fans of historical fantasies. It's a great read.

Have you read The Dark Days Pact? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Throwback Thursday Review: The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

Title: The Historian
Written by: Elizabeth Kostova
Published: June 14, 2005 by Little, Brown Books
(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: To you, perceptive reader, I bequeath my history....Late one night, exploring her father's library, a young woman finds an ancient book and a cache of yellowing letters. The letters are all addressed to "My dear and unfortunate successor," and they plunge her into a world she never dreamed of, a labyrinth where the secrets of her father's past and her mother's mysterious fate connect to an inconceivable evil hidden in the depths of history. 

The letters provide links to one of the darkest powers that humanity has ever known and to a centuries-long quest to find the source of that darkness and wipe it out. It is a quest for the truth about Vlad the Impaler, the medieval ruler whose barbarous reign formed the basis of the legend of Dracula. Generations of historians have risked their reputations, their sanity, and even their lives to learn the truth about Vlad the Impaler and Dracula. Now one young woman must decide whether to take up this quest herself--to follow her father in a hunt that nearly brought him to ruin years ago, when he was a vibrant young scholar and her mother was still alive. What does the legend of Vlad the Impaler have to do with the modern world? Is it possible that the Dracula of myth truly existed and that he has lived on, century after century, pursuing his own unknowable ends? The answers to these questions cross time and borders, as first the father and then the daughter search for clues, from dusty Ivy League libraries to Istanbul, Budapest, and the depths of Eastern Europe. In city after city, in monasteries and archives, in letters and in secret conversations, the horrible truth emerges about Vlad the Impaler's dark reign and about a time-defying pact that may have kept his awful work alive down through the ages.

I have been wanting to do this review for so long and for some reason I have not gotten around to it. This is one of my all-time favorite books and I read it years ago and just before I really started blogging but I never officially reviewed it. But I'm trying to do a monthly throwback reviews that fit the monthly theme and this is the perfect one for this month so let's dive right in.

First off I love the plot development of this book. I describe it as Dracula meets The DaVinci Code. It is one of those books where you are taken on a worldwide adventure to hunt for clues and believe me when I say it is a thrilling adventure. I am frequently whining about how much I dislike travel monologues and how they aren't plot points to me and I think it's because this book ruined all future books like this for me because it is so good. It's so well plotted as the clues unfold and you are taken along for an exciting ride. I think the thing that the author does so well is that there is not only are the stakes really high but each step along the way is purposeful and interesting. The plot was so exciting that even the second time around I was just as surprised and enthralled. And many of you will probably know that I can be a bit of a snob when it comes to mysteries. I knew how this was going to end and it still managed to keep me on my toes which really is the mark of a great read if you ask me.

The other great thing about this plot development is the historical aspect. The reason that I am doing this throwback review during this month is because this is a classic example of a historical mystery and why that is my favorite subgenre. The thing I like most about historical mystery is it takes something that happens in the past and attaches it to a mystery in the present. So because of that there are so many great elements of historical fiction, in this case Vlad the Impaler or the real Dracula, and the mystery of the main character trying to find her parents. The two elements blend together beautifully to craft a story full of mystery, fantasy, and adventure.

This book also has a great setting and world. As I said, this is one of those worldwide adventures kind of stories so there are plenty of places to explore. Most of the book takes place in different parts of Eastern Europe like different parts of Romania, Bulgaria, and Turkey. Each different place comes alive in your mind as you can perfectly visualize the locations and the history of the place. I felt like I could perfectly imagine everything from the castles of Romania to the markets of Istanbul. The author definitely transports you to these places as you are reading and it's one of the main reasons that the travel works and the book is so enjoyable.

Finally, I really liked the characters of this book. Because this is a book with a ton of mystery and is all about secrets it should come as no surprise that this is a book full of complex and mysterious characters. Every single one of them has something to hide and because of that they keep you on your toes. I loved getting to know each of them and learning about their past and present, It made for a really interesting read to see them at their best and their worst. The other thing about this book is that main character never gets a name. She's just sort of this nameless young woman. That might sound strange and annoying but it sort of lead this great thing where you could immerse yourself into her perspective and the story. It made things even more interesting.

As I said, The Historian is one of my all-time favorite books. I absolutely love everything about it. The plot, the mystery, the setting, the world, the characters. It's engrossing and enthralling. I read it ten years ago and loved it, I read it four years ago and loved. I could read it today and I would probably still love it.

I give The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova 10 out of 10 stars

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: BUY! Is there any doubt? I love this book so much and want everyone and their dog to read it. If you like historical mysteries or books that take you on a worldwide adventure you must check this book out.

Have you read The Historian? I know a few of you out there love it as much as I do. Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Hyped Books I Thought I Would Love But Didn't

A weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

Last week I posted a discussion post about hype and whether or not it is a good thing or a bad thing. Did you read it? Read it here. So when I saw this week's topic I knew I had to talk some more about hyped books. I didn't mention any examples in that discussion post so here are my examples of hyped books I thought I would like and didn't.

A little disclaimer: None of these are bad books. They are just books that a lot of people seemed to love or I was seeing everywhere and I didn't end up enjoying. If this is one of your favorites, that's cool.

1.) Open Road Summer by Emery Lord - My Review
Yeah, let's start out with a bang shall we? I had heard nothing but amazing things about this book when it first came out. I bought myself a copy as a birthday present to myself and didn't love it. I'm a total black sheep on this book but I don't like road trips so it's no surprise.

2.) The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern - My Review
Well if you didn't hate me before I'm sure that you do now. This book is so freaking beloved within the blogosphere. I listened to the audiobook a few months ago and I was expecting to love it but I just didn't. But I'm realizing lately that I don't love books set in a circus.

3.) Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard - My Review
Oh my god was this book over-hyped. Part of this was definitely from the publisher, they made sure that this book was everywhere. And part of it was from bloggers who seemed to really love it. I did not love it though. I didn't even really like it.

4.) The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi - My Review
Okay, so hear me out. I did like this book. I enjoyed the world and the characters. The beginning was really interesting and the writing was pretty. But then I just started losing interest. I think that the romance kicked in and I didn't like that. Either way, hyped and I didn't like it as much as I thought.

5.) The Kiss of Deception by Mary Pearson - My Review
This is another book that I bought for myself because I had heard so many amazing things from bloggers and was really hyped by the publisher. It was okay but I just didn't love it. I found it a little predictable and then halfway through it became a travel monologue.

6.) An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir - My Review
And another one that was really hyped by the publisher and had great reviews from bloggers. It seems totally up my alley too. Brutal fantasy world, tons of action, audiobook narrated by Steve West and Fiona Hardingham. And yet I wasn't impressed.

7.) A Court and Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas - My Review
This one hurts the most. I was super excited about not only because I had heard nothing but amazing things about this but I'm a huge Sarah J, Maas fan. And I was a total black sheep for this book. I didn't like the romance, I didn't like the fae, and I didn't like the characters. Told you it hurts.

8.) Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman  - My Review 
I was super excited about this one too and I know a ton of people loved it. I mean it's historical fiction about pirates. Or is it? There were almost no pirates in this book and I wanted pirates. No, this read like a historical fantasy and that's not my thing.

9.) A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess - My Review
I picked up a copy of this up at BEA last year and I was pumped. It seems totally up my alley, an alternate Victorian England with monsters and a plot that plays with the chosen one trope. But in the end it felt a little tropey and didn't impress me.

10.) Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins  - My Review
I guess I'm ending with a bang too. I know a lot of you love love LOVE this book. I read it because I've heard even people who aren't big contemporary fans still enjoy it and that it was fun and fluffy which I like in my contemp. It did not live up to the hype for me though.

Honorable Mentions (some recent reads):
My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and - My Review
Caraval by Stephanie Garber - My Review

There you have it, all the super hyped books I thought I would love and didn't. Like I said, none of these are bad books, they were just good or okay reads for me and they hyped made me think I would love it. What books made your list? Leave me a comment from your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Book Review: The Valiant by Lesley Livingston

Title: The Valiant
Series: The Valiant #1
Written by: Lesley Livingston
Published: February 21, 2017 by Razorbill (Penguin)
(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: The youngest daughter of a proud Celtic king, Fallon has always lived in the shadow of her older sister Sorcha's legendary reputation as a warrior. But when Fallon was a young child, the armies of Julius Caesar invaded the island of Britain and her beloved older sister was killed in battle.  

On the eve of her seventeenth birthday, Fallon is excited to follow in her sister's footsteps and earn her rightful place in her father's royal war band. But she never gets the chance. Instead, Fallon is captured by a band of ruthless brigands who sell her to an exclusive training school for female gladiators—and its most influential patron is none other than Julius Caesar himself. In a cruel twist of fate, Fallon's worst enemy, the man who destroyed her family, might be her only hope of survival.  
Now, Fallon must overcome vicious rivalries, chilling threats and the dangerous attention of Caesar himself to survive the deadly fights that take place both in and out of the arena—and claim her place in history among the Valiant.

I am a big fan of historical fiction, as I'm sure many of you who have been around are aware. But I think sometimes we see the same kind of stories and the same kind of settings when you read a lot of historical fiction. I'm always looking for something different which is why I was so excited for The Valiant. Female gladiator? Sign me up!

And as historical fiction, this was a great book. I love my historical fiction to take real events and real people and then intertwine their own character and plot around that. That's what The Valiant did. It took the setting of Ancient Rome under Julius Caesar and the gladiators and worked a story around that. It was so interesting to run across Caesar and some of the other Senators and even get a little bit of the political intrigue of the time. Although if I'm being entirely honest, my politics loving self would have liked a bit more of that but I do understand that wasn't the focus. The actual setting of Rome was just a jumping off point but it still felt like an interesting and I could visualize what it might have been like as the center of the world.

The actual focus of this book was the gladiators. So much of the "world" here was exploring what life was like for gladiators and especially gladiators in training. It looked at every aspect of how someone could have become a gladiator, from the capture and selling into slavery to the earning your spot in the arena. It seems like the author did her research into what it was probably like for the gladiators. And the reason I say this is because to be entirely honest, it wasn't super exciting. It was interesting and engaging but it wasn't all gory fight scenes and heroic battles. In that respect it felt realist and much more historical.

But that being said, the plot did kind of suffer from that realism. It's a silly thing to say that a book wasn't exciting because it was realistic but that's kind of how I felt. When you go into a book about gladiators you expect there to be some epic fight scenes and some unexpected deaths. And don't get me wrong, there was but it took it's sweet time to get there. The first third of the book was all a travel montage, and you guys know I hate a travel montage. Then the second half of the book was a training montage, which was interesting but I kept waiting to get to the good stuff. It was only in the last third of the book did I get what I came here for. But I do think that because there wasn't a ton of action scenes when there was a big fight I appreciated it a little bit more because I wasn't being desensitized to it. And I know it's good that there was a slow build up to a thrilling conclusion but it was definitely a slowly paced book and didn't have the action and adventure as I was expecting.

What I think redeemed this book a lot was the characters. I really enjoyed the main character of Fallon. She was complex and interesting in a way that I really appreciated. In one respect, Fallon is a warrior, she wants to fight and be tough just like the men. But she is also vulnerable and feels an incredible amount of guilt for what she does. It seems like a contradiction to say that I wanted more fighting but I respected the main character for not being all about the blood and death but it's true. She was a balanced and complex character and those are the best ones. I also really enjoyed Fallon because everything she was doing, she was doing for herself. She was completely herself and I liked that. Plus much of the story was about freedom. Even before she became a slave and a gladiator Fallon wanted to be who she wanted to be and that didn't go away throughout the book, it got stronger. That made it easy to connect with her and to root for her throughout the book. Plus it's a little bit of a character driven story too. It had a good balance.

On the whole I enjoyed The Valiant. It's not the kickass blood and guts gladiator story I was expecting. It's more of a subtle look at what gladiators endured and the story of a young woman fighting for herself and her freedom.

I give The Valiant by Lesely Livingston 9 out of 10 stars

But/Borrow/Bypass: Buy/Borrow. Fans of historical fiction should check this out. If you are looking for a unique setting and an interesting story then pick up a copy of this book. If you want something with a ton of action and fighting, this might not be the book for you.

Have you read The Valiant? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping buy and HAPPY READING!

Friday, February 17, 2017

ARC Review: Gilded Cage by Vic James

Title: Gilded Cage
Series: Dark Gifts #1
Written by: Vic James
Published: February 14, 2017 by Del Ray Books
(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: Not all are free. Not all are equal. Not all will be saved. 

 Our world belongs to the Equals — aristocrats with magical gifts — and all commoners must serve them for ten years. But behind the gates of England's grandest estate lies a power that could break the world. 

A girl thirsts for love and knowledge. 

Abi is a servant to England's most powerful family, but her spirit is free. So when she falls for one of the noble-born sons, Abi faces a terrible choice. Uncovering the family's secrets might win her liberty, but will her heart pay the price? 

A boy dreams of revolution. 

Abi's brother, Luke, is enslaved in a brutal factory town. Far from his family and cruelly oppressed, he makes friends whose ideals could cost him everything. Now Luke has discovered there may be a power even greater than magic: revolution. 

And an aristocrat will remake the world with his dark gifts. 

He is a shadow in the glittering world of the Equals, with mysterious powers no one else understands. But will he liberate—or destroy?

*** I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This fact has not changed my opinion. ***

I really wanted to like this book. It sounds totally up my alley, a dystopian fantasy with political intrigue and magic. But unfortunately it did not work for me. There were some okay elements, and parts of the book that I did enjoy, but for the most part it just felt basic and underwhelming. It could have been a great read and it didn't for me.

The one thing that I did like about this book was the world. It wasn't a particularly creative world but it was solid and interesting. For one thing you had the setting or actual world, which I did enjoy. It's kind of an alternate history, dystopia, and fantasy all rolled into one. You have an England that still has slavery and the aristocrats and ones in power use magic to keep it that way. I'm a sucker for these sorts of stories because I love the themes about opression and power that they deal with. Gilded Cage had some good elements of that but it didn't quite make good on my expectations. It explored this theme a little bit but it didn't really come into the plot until the very end. I wish it had explored it a little more a little earlier.

I also think that part of the problem a I had with this books is that it also didn't spend a lot of time focusing on the world building. I thought for a while that this is a book that was very heavy on the exposition. If you are a blog follower you know how I feel about exposition, not very favorable. I get that it's needed but less is more. But this is a book that had less and it still didn't work. Looking back on it I realize that maybe it didn't explain much. I liked the magical system, I found it super interesting. I love magic where people have what is essentially a super power and this was like that, so any time someone would use their magic I was all for it. But I wanted to know more and I wanted to learn more about it.

The one thing this book did have a lot of was characters and character perspectives. The characters were interesting enough and complex but there were seriously so many of them.  I knew going into this that there were going to be a lot of perspectives, I mean the synopsis mentions three perspectives right there. And three would have been okay, But no, this book had six or seven. I don't even know. Because honestly every voice sounded the same. I had such a hard time keeping track of who was who and who was speaking. It was overwhelming. When the book began it changed perspectives so many times with every chapter that it was hard to connect with anyone or even their story. I wish it had a bit of a narrower character perspective and focused more on other aspects.

And unfortunately the increased character perspectives and my inability to focus on one aspect of the story also impacted my enjoyment of the plot. I'm such a plot-driven reader and I need to be able to connect with the plot of a book. It doesn't have to be full of action but it does have to capture my interest. Unfortunately, the plot of this book didn't capture my interest because I wasn't exactly sure where it was going until the very end. Maybe it was just very slowly paced, because it definitely was. It took it's sweet time to get to the good stuff for me. In a lot of cases like that it means that the book drags and reads slow, but this book didn't. I breezed through it but it still didn't feel like it had much substance. It felt a little basic in terms of the plot and that felt like a detriment to me.

On the whole Gilded Cage had a lot of promise but it didn't quite take things to the next level for me. It had an interesting world and magical system but it didn't explore it as much as I would have like, it had complex characters but there were too many perspectives, and it had a plot that took a really long time to kick in. Despite being excited to read it, it wasn't my kind of read.

I give Gilded Cage by Vic James 7 out of 10 stars

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Borrow/Bypass. I think if you are a more character-driven reader you may like this book a little bit more. It's not an exciting or thrilling read for plot-driven readers but it does have an interesting world and complex characters.

Have you read Gilded Cage? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Discussion Post: Is Hype a Good Thing or a Bad Thing?

So lately I have been reading a lot of super hyped books that I haven't been loving and it's got me thinking, is hype good or bad?

One thing I learned being withing the blogosphere almost right away is the fact that there is always going to be some super popular book that everyone seems to be talking about. It doesn't matter if it's a book that just came out, one that's coming out soon, or one that has been out forever there is always going to be a book that is almost universally loved that you feel left out if you haven't read it. The hype is real with so many books. But, is that a good thing or a bad thing?

On the one hand I have found some absolutely amazing books because of the recommendation from bloggers and because of the hype surrounding them. I probably never would have found Sarah J. Maas, Leigh Bardugo, Rainbow Rowell, or Brandon Sanderson if it wasn't for the hype around their books. I had heard basically everyone talking about the Throne of Glass series, the Grisha trilogy, Eleanor and Park, and Mistborn when I first started blogging. These are now books I consider to be favorites and I never would have found them if it wasn't for the hype.

Even more than that, I feel like hype around upcoming releases like debuts can definitely help me diversify my reading. When I first started blogging and even up until a few years ago I had a much narrow focus on my reading. I read pretty much only genre fiction and was even picky about that. Then I started to see the hype around other books and ended up deciding to try some books I wouldn't have read if they weren't super popular. I definitely think hype can be good in that it causes people to break out of their comfort zone.

I also think hype can be a good way to build community. The book blogging community is surprisingly big. I am constantly finding new blogs because people are just starting out or I just never interacted with them before. And sometimes it can be hard to start up a conversation. But if everyone is talking about the same book and you loved it, it makes it easy to gush along with them. In that same vein, if you do a review of a super hyped book it brings people to your site because they want to see your thoughts. It can definitely brings people together.

But it can also be a bad thing. I've gone into books with super high expectations because a book was so hyped up and popular that I thought it was going to be the next great American novel and then been disappointed in the book. If everyone is raving about a book you can't help but assume that it is going to be mind-blowing. I have been burned many times by books that everyone was raving about, which I didn't love. Sometimes they were good but not as good as I expected, and sometimes they were just not good and I didn't get the hype at all. And in cases like this you feel like such a black sheep and don't want to talk about the book at all because everyone seems to love it but you. You wonder if it's you or the book.

And if I am being entirely honest, sometimes I wonder if the hype surrounding a book is actually genuine. It could very well be just that a book has really good marketing. You know what I mean, right? There are just some books the publishers are doing a great job hyping up. You see the cover all over Twitter and there are blurbs and previews, people are talking about it in their WoW posts, and even a few early reviews are coming in. I can't help but wonder in those cases if the book is really worth the hype or I'm just seeing the book everywhere. These are instances where I wait for more reviews, especially ones from trusted reviewers.

But after all of this, do I think hype is good? Yes. And do I think hype is bad? Yes. There are definite benefits to the hype. It helps you find books that are amazing, it helps you diversify your reads, and it builds community. But there are also downfalls like you can have really high expectations, you can feel like a black sheep, and it can be disingenuous. I think the key thing is to just be aware that hype doesn't always mean that the book is right for you. Try and suspend your expectations and like every other book you will love it or not like it.

What do you think? Is hype a good thing or a bad thing? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday: The Pearl Thief by Elizabeth Wein

*** This contains Code Name Verity spoilers so if you haven't read that proceed with caution. But also FREAKING READ THAT BOOK... It's amazing and everyone should read it. Here's my review. ***

A weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine

Title: The Pearl Theif
Author: Elizabeth Wein
Published: May 2, 2017 by Elizabeth Wein

Synopsis: Before Verity . . . there was Julie.

When fifteen-year-old Julia Beaufort-Stuart wakes up in the hospital, she knows the lazy summer break she’d imagined won’t be exactly like she anticipated. And once she returns to her grandfather’s estate, a bit banged up but alive, she begins to realize that her injury might not have been an accident. One of her family’s employees is missing, and he disappeared on the very same day she landed in the hospital.

Desperate to figure out what happened, she befriends Euan McEwen, the Scots Traveller boy who found her when she was injured, and his standoffish sister Ellen. As Julie grows closer to this family, she experiences some of the prejudices they’ve grown used to firsthand, a stark contrast to her own upbringing, and finds herself exploring thrilling new experiences that have nothing to do with a missing-person investigation.

Her memory of that day returns to her in pieces, and when a body is discovered, her new friends are caught in the crosshairs of long-held biases about Travellers. Julie must get to the bottom of the mystery in order to keep them from being framed for the crime.

In the prequel to Printz Honor Book Code Name Verity, this exhilarating coming-of-age story returns to a beloved character just before she learned to fly.

Why I'm Waiting:

CODE NAME VERITY PREQUEL... Hyperventilates. Fly the plane, Maddie. Holds back tears.

I loved Code Name Verity so much! It absolutely wrecked me but in the best possible way. It's such a fantastic historical fiction book and I love that it's set during WWII but shows a little bit of a different take on the period. But even if you don't like historical fiction you should check that book out because it really is so good. Okay, now that that is out of the way you all know why exactly I am so excited for this book. It's a prequel to a book that I seriously loved.

One of the things that I loved so much about that book is the characters. I fell in love with the complex and interesting the characters in Code Name Verity and I am so freaking excited to have more about them. Especially Julie. I am so excited to learn about why and how Julie got involved in the war and everything. But honestly I think I may miss seeing Maddie because I loved the friendship between them. But more Julie!

But honestly, it doesn't matter at all what this book about because it's a Code Name Verity prequel and I will read and I'm sure I will probably love it. I'm sure a lot of you are just as excited about this because I know so many of you love Code Name Verity as much as I do. I mean it's one of my book club's favorite books. I know that and I didn't even read it with them. I just preordered a copy of this and I can't wait to read it in May when it comes out.

What about you? What are you waiting for this Wednesday? Are you waiting on The Pearl Thief along with me? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!