Siege & Storm

Title: Siege & Storm (The Grisha #2)
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Publisher: Indigo
Publication Year: 2013
Genre: Fantasy | YA | Romance
Rating: 3

You are right about one thing, Summoner. The Darkling is a powerul enemy. You might want to think about making some powerful friends.

I don’t. Like. Mal. Any more?

Well, I don’t like the Mal only seems to care about Alina and nothing but Alina. What happened to Mal from the first book who loved his friends and had a passion for tracking and defending Ravka? All he seems to focus on now is being jealous of anyone who even lays eyes on Alina, fighting to get over Alina and doing whatever he can to make himself look better to Alina. It irked me so much and I found him so annoying! In the first book I was seriously enjoying him and his relationship with Alina and in this one they just need to sit down and work things out. But instead all they appear to be doing is butting heads and arguing and not doing anything remotely helpful!  I can only hope that they fix it so that Mal can crawl back into my good favour in the next book because I found him seriously annoying in this one.

In fact, I might go as far as to say that I didn’t really enjoy this book? Okay, that’s a lie. At the beginning I adored the book. It had a serious Six of Crows vibe and while I adored that book, this one quickly fell from the high level that I had placed SoC on. When the Darkling was involved, everything was dangerous and exciting. Then came the vagabond Sturmhond and I adored him. I couldn’t help it! I have a thing for swaggering pirates with an abundance of charm and a smirk to boot. He caught me in seconds and I was in love with him long before I found out who he really was. My only issue was that, after that, Siege & Storm really started to seriously lack any sort of interesting plot. The novel spirals back into that of the first, leaving us in the mind-numbingly boring world of the social elites. Once again Alina’s thoughts turn to beauty and her romance rather than the real impending situation that she should be dealing with.Basically, it felt like it was dragging it’s feet for the majority of the middle of the novel before finally escalating into something interesting in the final quarter.

AND THOSE FINAL FEW CHAPTERS. AAAH.

But moving swiftly on, the one big issue for me in this was the Darkling was MIA for most of it. After the first part, he disappears only to reappear briefly now and then. I found the way that Bardugo did this incredible and I can’t wait to read the explanation for his random appearances in the final instalment! There’s so much about the Darkling’s newfound abilities that I don’t understand and I can’t wait to discover just what has happened to him! Especially considering he’s so much stronger than Alina when she’s got her amplifier. It’s so intriguing and I can’t wait to see how it all develops and if Alina will ever really be strong enough to defeat him!

Hopefully with the aid of our Steampunk!Pirate Privateer Alina will be able to do some damage to his ego! I need to read book 3 like now, to see how this all works out!

The Sky is Everywhere

Title: The Sky is Everywhere
Author: Jandy Nelson
Publisher: Walkers Books
Publication Year: 2013
Genre: YA | Romance
Rating: 3

“Doesn’t matter what anyone else would call it, Len,” he says. “This is our story to tell.”

What I would give to be able to remove a few parts of this story and tweak it ever so slightly to be able to make it better. The best thing about reading Jandy Nelson book sis that Nelso has a way with words that I’ve always admired. She writes and it’s raw feelings that get printed onto the page, I’m sure of it! Then every feeling that you read gets soaked up inside of you and you’re suddenly experiencing them yourself. Every quiver of excitement or drag of doubt. Every burst of love and even the harsh waves of inner turmoil. Nelson just has a way of inspiring emotions. It makes sense that her writing is so beautiful when you realise that Nelson is a published poet!

But once I got over Nelson’s beautiful beautiful writing and this gorgeous book (I’m not kidding, this book is seriously gorgeous! Before every chapter they have a lovely quote photograph and it just looks so good), I just couldn’t get into the story. One of the issues is that it has a lot of instalove. The moment that Lennie meets Joe she finds him hot and from there it’s just a straight leap to love. There’s no inbetween reall. But the one thing I couldn’t stand was that she didn’t just love Joe, she also had a thing with her sister’s boyfriend. That’s the thing irked me the most. Nelson tried to explain it but I just couldn’t see it as anything but wrong. It was so wrong. Especially as the novel developed and more things happened; I just couldn’t stand it. Perhaps it was okay at first but when her relationship with Joe began to develop I assumed it would stop. There were so many times when I was mentally-screaming “Lennie no!” only for things to get worse.

Despite that, there were moments of this book that had me laughing out loud. Gram was definitely one of the best characters. She brought so much comic relief to the story, sending me into the loudest laughs after everything had just been sad. Her family is just a ton of crazy weirdos and I loved everything single one of them. From her green-thumb Gram with aphrodisiac roses to her love drunk Uncle, who is believed to benefit from these magic roses (in the sense that he has had a lot of relationships!). This loveable family makes light of a terrible situation in their own way, fighting back against the sadness of losing someone close to them.

Then there’s the way death was handled. Those final chapters were so emotional! I swear it went from a regular story to just suddenly ripping at your heart-string and leaving you sobbing. It was terribly emotional and this is why it’s gotten as many stars as it did. 1 for the writing, 1 for the characters and 1 for the way that Nelson closed it all. It was so good.

I wasn’t a huge fan of this one but I know that a lot of people love it. I would definitely suggest giving it a go. I would love to hear what you all think of it~

A Study in Charlotte

Title: A Study in Charlotte (Charlotte Holmes #1)
Author: Brittany Cavallaro
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Year: 2016
Genre: Mystery | YA | Romance
Rating: 3.5

“Like you said, you can take care of yourself,” I told her, finally. “If you murdered hm, I bet there would be twenty witnesses who saw him put the gun to his own head.”

I adore Sherlock Holmes novels. I think I’ve read all of them as well as the many spin offs that have come as a results. As far as I’m considered, nothing can beat the BBC show – I can’t get enough of that awesomeness – but I am constantly searching for something just as good for these long seasons breaks, which brought me to rewrites. Some of them are brilliant and funny while some are like this and sort of a flop. Don’t get me wrong this was a fun read, I just found it a bit lacking at times and it didn’t really cover some serious subjects properly, or at least as far as I’m concerned it didn’t.

So first things first, the use a murder from a book to frame a real life murder is getting a little overused for me. I’ve seen it done quite a few times in literature and while it’s cool it’s getting a little repetitive. Having said that, one of the things I liked about the way Cavallaro has done it here, is reading about James’ reaction to it. James Watson is the voice of A Study in Charlotte and I found it rather humorous reading the scenes shortly following the murder when he commented on the original Watson’s writing of it. It just made me laugh. Especially the one where he talks about how he really doesn’t understand what was going through Watson’s mind when he wrote that scene.

Admittedly James’ narration of the novel is very funny at times. It was well-written and he is really witty and funny, which makes the whole thing very entertaining. However at points I was a little disappointed at the YA route the novel took. I love a bit of Johnlock but in this book it just felt forced to me from the very beginning. He was obsessed with Holmes at first, always talking about her and the way he flew to her defence in the beginning was something straight out of a twilight novel. As the book developed and we got to know more characters, I found his obsession with Moriarty (or Moriarty and Holmes’ relationship) a little annoying. I get that it would be a popular ship, but part of me wanted this just to be a best friend relationship. However they appeared to be destined from the very beginning.

I also want to point out that while this is a retelling (of sorts) the characters don’t have to be identical to their predecessors. I feel like this is always an issue that comes up in adaptions and I definitely felt it here. Just because Charlotte is Sherlock’s great grand-daughter doesn’t mean that she also has to be stellar at deductions, a violin player, an ass, and a hardcore drug addict on top of everything. She just felt too much like carbon copy at times.

Which brings me to the issues that I felt weren’t handled properly. For starters her drug addiction: Charlotte is addicted to oxy but no one seems to do anything about it. She also smokes and again receives no comment or aid with this as far as I can tell. I just feel like this in a teenager would have been reacted on a lot more than in the adult Sherlock. Not to mention the scene with Dobson is completely glossed over and James seem to be the only person angry about this! This would have had a much bigger reaction in modern day but people are more obsessed with the murder and Holmes and Watson rather than that. I just found it a bit unrealistic, especially the way it all happened.

The last thing that bugged me was the ending. For the entire novel we were fed little bits of information and then right at the end the murderer was revealed and suddenly we get all of the information, at once. It was wildly confusing, only made more so by James’ writing. I just think that this could have been handled a lot better, especially when the facts about the first murder came out. I feel like Holmes’ would have had more of a reaction to that, but she didn’t.

Altogether I did like this book, don’t get me wrong it was funny at times and had a decent plot. But I just felt like it was trying to hard to be the original duo in modern times, with a twist. And it also badly advertises drugs and smoking. As well as uses an incredibly traumatic experience as a minor plot point. 

Blue Lily, Lily Blue

Title: Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle #3)
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Year: 2014
Genre: Fantasy | YA | Romance
Rating: 4.5

Ronan kept going, his voice louder. “No. Do you hear me, Cabeswater? You promised to keep me safe. Who are we to you? Nothing? If you let him die, that is not keeping me safe. Do you understand? If they die, I die, too.”

The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1)
The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle #2)

THIS BOOK WAS STILL AMAZING. I have no idea how Maggie Stiefvater is doing this. Usually series drop of after a while, or not every book is that great but so far this series has been A+ through every book. I cannot put these down. I cannot tear my eyes away from the page and at 2am when I finished a chapter and complained to Paige that I had work in the morning, I still found myself turning the page and continuing. I just had to find out what happened!

That was probably the worst idea to be honest because this book took such a dark turn, I thought, and I dread to think what the last one will be like (but I’m still definitely going to be reading it).I thought that the Night Terror was scary, but everything takes on an even creepier level of frightening in this one and I wasn’t prepared. But it was still so so good! After the reveal of Ronan’s abilities in the first novel and then the development in the second novel, reading about his magic in this one is beyond amazing. Learning about him honing them in the second book was so interesting but seeing his ease at which he controls his dream world now is unbelievable.

Again I felt like this book dragged a little bit and the introduction of enemies at the start of a book and then vanquishing them or turning at the end is feeling much to comic book for me. But other than that I had nothing bad to say about this novel.

In fact I have a lot of good to say, such as the character development is unreal! I thought that we had discovered all that could be discovered in the last one, but then Stiefvater threw a whole lot more mystery and surprises at me and I was floored by it. It’s all starting to add up though and I’m so terribly excited for the last book! There were times when I was reading and things would click into the first place and I would wonder how on Earth I had been so oblivious to these developments in the first place. Surely it was obvious that that would happen and why didn’t I realise that that happened so that they could do that? IT WAS SO GOOD.

Then there’s the relationships, the relationships! Because Pynch is so close that I can almost reach out and touch them but they’re just not there and it’s like hell waiting for them to finally click. But it’s so good at the same time because it’s slow and building and we get to see them watching at each other and testing the waters and watch it all building. And the dam is so close to breaking! Not to mention Blue and Gansey who are still not my favourite but are growing on me with their late night phone calls about birds and the devil’s number and it’s terrible and brilliant at the same time. One relationship I didn’t expect to like was Piper and Colin because they were so evil but they were just so terribly perfect for each other. They were both so bad that they worked and some of their conversations were hilarious.

Part of me also feels like I should mention the psychics because there were a lot of developments for them in this one and gosh I never expected some of the things that happened to happened. There were a lot of surprises in this one, don’t get me wrong, but that one just- I had to stop and put the book down for a moment. I couldn’t believe it.

There’s so much I want to say about this novel but so much that I could give away by accident. If you haven’t read this series yet, please please please start it. Then come and fangirl about Pynch with me.