Tuesday, January 10, 2017

RoseBlood {by A.G. Howard}

 RoseBlood by A.G. Howard
Title: RoseBlood
Author: A.G. Howard
Genre: YA Fantasy/Retelling
Rating: 2 stars
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
source: NetGalley

In this modern day spin on Leroux’s gothic tale of unrequited love turned to madness, seventeen-year-old Rune Germain has a mysterious affliction linked to her operatic talent, and a horrifying mistake she’s trying to hide. Hoping creative direction will help her, Rune’s mother sends her to a French arts conservatory for her senior year, located in an opera house rumored to have ties to The Phantom of the Opera.
At RoseBlood, Rune secretly befriends the masked Thorn—an elusive violinist who not only guides her musical transformation through dreams that seem more real than reality itself, but somehow knows who she is behind her own masks. As the two discover an otherworldly connection and a soul-deep romance blossoms, Thorn’s dark agenda comes to light and he’s forced to make a deadly choice: lead Rune to her destruction, or face the wrath of the phantom who has haunted the opera house for a century, and is the only father he’s ever known.

I…am still not sure what to think of this book. I did enjoy it as I read it but it was also just very…odd. I love anything Phantom of the Opera and so I was super excited when I saw this. I’ve heard great things about A.G. Howard’s books, although I haven’t read any myself. This isn’t a retelling of Phantom as much as it is a sequel. I loved that idea, and for the most part, I think the story is executed very well. But this book also fell a little flat for me.

Writing: the writing was beautiful, and I can see why people are drawn into Howard’s story. The prose is lyrical and haunting, perfect for this story. But it is also so overly detailed. I got lost in the story, because the writing was sometimes confusing and overshadowed the plot. This story is not very fast-paced to begin with. I almost DNF’d 3 times in the first 50%, but pulled through. I did like the dual POV, as I thought it added more depth and interest.

Characters: I think I liked the characters. That may be a weird thing to say, idk. But they had so much potential, and I think I liked who they could have been. But again, it was overshadowed by a lot of the weirdness going on in the book. For the most part, Rune knew what was going on was creepy af, so any bad decisions she made, she knew they were bad. I loved her group of friends, and wish we got more of them in the story. I loved Thorn and the relationship with the Phantom, and thought that part of the story was well-done.

Plot: The plot definitely could have been better. I like the idea of the plot. And the way it played out wasn’t terrible. But as I mentioned, the book dragged for the first half. And then I feel like everything happened too quickly all at once at the end. And did I mention that this book was just weird? Don’t get me wrong, I love weird. But this book had me wondering what the heck is going on right now way too much to actually enjoy it. The whole destined lovers definitely put me off, as it was not romantic, just creepy.

I can see why people would love this book, and just because it wasn’t for me, doesn’t mean it’s not for you. I was waffling between giving this book 2 or 3 stars, but after mulling on it for a few days, I went with 2. I enjoyed it while reading, but my thoughts after the fact are mostly just meh. (Also, has no one else mentioned her use of g*psy, multiple times? It soured the end of the book for me, quite frankly. I know that she has an answer for why, but I don't agree or think her reasoning sufficient). While I would still love to pick up Splintered, this one unfortunately was just not for me.

A.G. Howard:

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Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Love and First Sight {by Josh Sundquist}

 Love and First Sight
Title: Love and First Sight
Author: Josh Sundquist
Genre: YA Contemporary
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
source: The NOVL

On his first day at a new school, blind sixteen-year-old Will Porter accidentally groped a girl on the stairs, sat on another student in the cafeteria, and somehow drove a classmate to tears. High school can only go up from here, right?
As Will starts to find his footing, he develops a crush on a charming, quiet girl named Cecily. Then an unprecedented opportunity arises: an experimental surgery that could give Will eyesight for the first time in his life. But learning to see is more difficult than Will ever imagined, and he soon discovers that the sighted world has been keeping secrets. It turns out Cecily doesn't meet traditional definitions of beauty--in fact, everything he'd heard about her appearance was a lie engineered by their so-called friends to get the two of them together. Does it matter what Cecily looks like? No, not really. But then why does Will feel so betrayed?
Told with humor and breathtaking poignancy, Love and First Sight is a story about how we related to each other and the world around us.

While this book was a pretty quick read, it was full of emotion and humor and raw feelings. You could tell this book was heavily researched and carefully written, so as to relate as true of an experience as possible.

I liked Will, and reading about his struggles trying to navigate a public high school. Sundquist did a really thorough job of getting into his head, showing us the process and struggles of a blind person, that sighted people would not even think to consider. Will finds his group of friends, who I enjoyed very much. They were fun, and kind of reminded me a little of my own group of friends in high school. 

This is a romance, and I did like the relationship between Will and Cecily. It blossomed slowly, and I loved them. However, I feel that this book did not necessarily focus on the romance. It's a huge part (I mean, it is the title) but this is a book about Will. I was a little apprehensive about the "giving Will eyesight" part of the story, as that could have gone so wrong, but I should have known Sundquist would handle the subject with great care. Will's thought process leading up to his decision was carefully expounded, and everything that happened after was carefully researched. The writing was detailed yet precise, letting us really see everything that was happening.

I loved this book. I love how all the different subjects were handled, how touching this story was while still being fun. Sundquist wrote a great story, and I can't wait to see what he comes out with next.

Josh Sundquist:

Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 in Review

In all honesty, this year has been a weird one. I know it has been for all of us, but mentally and emotionally it has worn me out. I'm sure you could tell by the on-again, off-again way I've been on the blog and social media throughout the year. I know I technically quit the blog last year, but obviously not. I'm not sure what I will do this coming year, but I am hoping to find more balance.

Anyway, you're here for books. I've had a weird reading year as well. While I know that I read about the same amount as I always do, I feel that I don't have as many that stand out in my mind, that I loved. (Partly because I have yet to read both of V.E. Schwab's 2016 releases what is wrong with me??) I did read more nonfiction this year, which I am proud of, and hope to read even more next year. But here are the top books I read this year.



I'm not going to explain all of them, but if I had to pick my top books it would be Stalking Jack the Ripper and The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (they're basically the only two I rec ask anyone). My top series would be Harry Potter and The Raven Cycle (while I only have one book each listed, they represent the whole series). 

Here's to a better 2017, both reading wise and other. Happy new year!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

November Wrap-Up

Hiiii. Wow. Okay. I haven't done a monthly wrap-up in 2 1/2 years (hehehe...oops) and really can't remember the last time I did any sort of personal/chatty post. Which makes me sad, so I have decided to bring them back. I'll probably change up things in these first few until I settle on a format, but they will mostly be casual and chatty. Anyway...on to this month (how is it already December?!?)

If you follow me on Goodreads, you might have noticed that back in July, I stopped rating books. I decided just to try this, since I already did not rate nonfiction/classics, and found that it made reading much less pressured and therefore more enjoyable. I have decided to still rate review books, as well as 5-stars, but those will be the only ones with a star rating.

5-star reads: The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet
Audiobooks: Bossypants, Modern Romance

If you follow me on any social media, you know that I actually took a break for the month of November. This didn't work as well, as I ended up getting back on Snapchat and Tumblr within like a week. BUT I did manage to stay off of Twitter and Instagram, which were really the ones I was concerned with anyway.
Other than that, I've been super busy with school, and now with finals coming up, I'll probably still be staying off the internet until they're over.
Music: Hamilton Mixtape drops TONIIIITE and I am so excited for it, but I pretty much have not played another song since Immigrants (We Get the Job Done) came out. hashtag obsessed.

I want to start adding maybe a "month in photos" part here, but I am very bad at taking photos of real life (seriously, I haven't posted on my personal insta since July). I also want to add different types of posts to the blog, maybe a "What I've been Reading" since I don't review every book I read. Basically, I don't know.

If you have any ideas for posts, or how to make these wrap-ups less rambly, or how just how to get back into the groove of blogging in general, I would love to hear them. Also, make sure to follow me on tumblr because that's where I seem to spend most of my time these days.