The Nightingale Review!

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Genre : Adult, Historical Fiction

Goodreads Synopsis : 

Despite their differences, sisters Vianne and Isabelle have always been close. Younger, bolder Isabelle lives in Paris while Vianne is content with life in the French countryside with her husband Antoine and their daughter. But when the Second World War strikes, Antoine is sent off to fight and Vianne finds herself isolated so Isabelle is sent by their father to help her. 

As the war progresses, the sisters’ relationship and strength are tested. With life changing in unbelievably horrific ways, Vianne and Isabelle will find themselves facing frightening situations and responding in ways they never thought possible as bravery and resistance take different forms in each of their actions.

My Review : 

I initially thought going into this book that it was going to be more of a romance rather than a true historical fiction and boy, was I wrong. While there is two minor love stories, they are ultimately put on the back burner of the plot. I loved this aspect of The Nightingale because it really focused on history and above all, feminism. Two things that I absolutely love reading about. This was an interesting take on World War 2, as I’ve never read anything about France’s involvement. Once all the men were sent off to fight in the war, all of the women and children were left behind. While reading this we really got to see what struggles those people still living in an occupied France were going through, needless to say it was horrific.

The first 100 pages or so of this book felt extremely rushed. I was truly discouraged at this point but I pressed on and I became completely engrossed in the novel. We follow first and foremost, Vianne, a married woman whose husband is off at war and she is left to take care of her daughter and their home. It seems simple enough but when a German soldier claims his stake on their house and moves in it becomes a lot more complicated. Vianne in much of the book wanted to turn a blind eye to the politics and wholeheartedly believed that their French soldiers would keep the war away from their home. Unfortunately as time moves on, Vianne realizes this is not the case and she must do everything she can to protect her family, her friends, and eventually even strangers. I really enjoyed watching Vianne grow as a woman and as a warrior in her own way. Even though in the beginning of the book Vianne was unable to keep her sister Isabelle under control and they were consistently fighting, you could really see her motherly instincts and regret over it. Vianne felt human in a way that most characters in novels do not.

Moving onto Isabelle, the wild child, I couldn’t have been more obsessed with her journey. Isabelle starts out as a young woman, a teenager to be exact, who just wants the attention and love of her father who has shunned her from his life ever since his wife passed away. Isabelle meets a young man on her way to her sisters home in France because Paris is no longer safe, and from there we get a very short love story, as he abruptly abandons her when they arrive at their destination. From here on out Isabelle is completely engrossed in becoming a member of the French Resistance and fighting for her country in the best way that she can. This starts off as her delivering ‘terrorist’ newspapers to keep her neighborhood informed on what was truly happening in the war, and not what the Nazis occupying their city is telling them. From there, Isabelle hops a train to Paris and becomes ‘The Nightingale’. What this means without any spoilers is she risks her life day in and day out to fight her own little piece of the war.

At the end of this book I was sobbing, I was proud, I was heartbroken, I was more educated, and I was satisfied. I was excited to see after finishing that The Nightingale is being made into a move. (Please give us Emma Watson as Isabelle). I can’t wait to read more from this author in the future.

4 stars

 

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The Young Elites Review!

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Genre : YA, Fantasy

Goodreads Synopsis : 

Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Adelina’s black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale, and now she has only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. Her cruel father believes she is a malfetto, an abomination, ruining their family’s good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars—they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites.

Review : 

I’ve read Marie Lu’s previous Legend series and didn’t hate it but I also didn’t love it. I decided to give this one a chance because I didn’t want to base one (okay) experience on an author. I enjoyed The Young Elites much more than her previous works but it still wasn’t something that blew my mind.

I absolutely adored the premise of this book, the blood fever, the malfetto’s, the very small amount of politics involved, and of course super powers. I also wanted to give this story a round of applause for having a villain as the main character as opposed to going on another heroes journey. This was something new for me as I don’t really read much from the bad guys perspective. The characters were pretty incredible, the setting was very atmospheric, and the plot was intriguing. What I didn’t like was the pacing. For the entire middle chunk of this book I was bored out of my skull but I’m pleased that I finished it (for the most part) because it picked up at the ending. Judging by the last chapter I think I’ll continue on with the next books in the series.

I liked this book, I didn’t love it. I don’t know why I felt this way. Nothing was adherently wrong with the writing or anything, I just didn’t connect with any of the characters personally. I do believe as the series goes on I will enjoy it more though, fingers crossed. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who is a Young Adult Fantasy lover. This is a good ride and a fun time.

 

3 stars

This Savage Song Review!

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There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from author Victoria Schwab, a young woman and a young man must choose whether to become heroes or villains—and friends or enemies—with the future of their home at stake.

This book has been hyped up all over Instagram, Goodreads, and Youtube so when I saw it at the library I decided to give it a go. The premise of this book is that once a heinous crime has been committed, a monster will be created. There are three different types of monsters, one that is a classic eat your face off monster, the other is a vampire type, and the last and most rare is one that steals your soul with a song. One of our main characters is the type to steal your soul.

Kate is one of the main characters and when she was introduced I couldn’t stand her. She was stand-offish, rude, crabby, and all together unlikeable. As her story went on the reader is able to collect information on why exactly she puts on this facade but still by the end of the book she just seemed cookie cutter young adult bad ass female to me. Nothing truly stood out in her personality. August, our other main character, is a monster who wants nothing more than to be human. I had better luck with Augusts character which is surprising because normally I don’t particularly enjoy the heroes of the story. August struggles with what he is and how he has to feed to keep his composure and it’s all very basic.

The only thing that stood out for me was the setting. I’d like the future novels to delve into the other cities surrounding Verity. I am interested in seeing the main characters travel and to learn more about what was once the United States. I always find a dystopian setting extremely satisfying so now that we got a small taste of the world I just want more.

As far as plot twists go, there were many of them. I saw most of them coming from a mile away but at the end I was pleasantly surprised. The ending was the only thing that made me want to continue on with the series. It just spiked my curiosity. One thing that was a relief for me is that our main character Kate figured out relatively quickly that August was a monster. I think if she hadn’t been so fast in that realization it really would have drove me insane. For all my fellow young adult readers out there, you know how annoying it is when a main character is clueless or voluntarily blind to obvious clues. (Twilight for example, it was so obvious). Overall I gave this a three star rating because it had me involved enough to make it a quick read but nothing was really spectacular about it. I’d recommend reading it to others if the plot seems interesting to you. I’ll be picking up the next book, Our Dark Duet, when it becomes available at my library. I don’t intend on ever spending my own money on these books but I’m not opposed to the authors other works or future novels.

 

3 stars

July 2017 TBR

I generally make a TBR each month for myself just to establish some monthly goals and get reading done. I’ve decided to start posting them on here to make myself more accountable. Sometimes I slip heavily from my TBR and I’d like to continue to stay on track as much as possible. Also, this month I went through my bookshelves and wrote down all the books that I own and haven’t read, or that I own and would like to read again. Each title I wrote down, I folded up and put into a three separate cups so that each month I can pull out three surprise books and read them. My cups are set up as one being middle grade, one is classics, and the other is a free for all. My plan is to read everything on my shelves and if I don’t finish the books on time then I need to donate them. I’m trying to reduce the amount of books on my shelves because I plan on moving into a smaller house and I honestly just don’t have the room or necessity for so many books. Here’s this months TBR broken down into categories.

Library Books

This Savage Song – Victoria Schwab

The Young Elites – Marie Lu

The Diviners – Libba Bray

Vassa in the Night – Sarah Porter

The Nightingale – Kristin Hannah

Slasher Girls & Monster Boys – Anthology

Books Owned – Physical Copy

Crossed – Ally Condie

The Red Queen – Philippa Gregory

Books Owned – Kindle

A Crown of Wishes – Roshani Chokshi

The Rose & The Dagger – Renee Ahdieh

TBR Random Cup Pulls

Goosebumps: The Cuckoo Clock of Doom – R. L Stine (Middle Grade pick)

And Then There Were None – Agatha Christie (Classic pick)

Snow Falling on Cedars – David Guterson (Free for all pick)

Throne of Glass Review!

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After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.

This is technically my second time reading Throne of Glass but it’s been so long and I wanted to continue on with the series so I decided to read it another time. The first time I rated this a four star book, this time it’s a solid 3.5 stars for me. I think I gave it less of a rating because I’ve read two other Maas books and they’ve set the bar higher for me and her writing.

Throne of Glass starts out and reads as any typical young adult fantasy book. The overall feeling felt like something that wasn’t out of the ordinary but as it progresses it became more unique. This book is truly set in its own unique world and the magic system was different than most, I really appreciated that aspect. The world building was slow but thorough and I felt like she really constructed her own atmosphere at a perfect pace.

Our main character Celaena is an assassin, headstrong, stubborn, and blatantly violent. Those were the characteristics that were presented to us in the beginning of the book but throughout time we saw that Celaena enjoyed getting dolled up, she was narcissistic, she enjoyed elaborate balls, she had musical talent, and really loved engrossing herself in a good book. At first I thought these personality traits really contradicted themselves but once I thought about it I felt like Celaena’s hardened exterior was for a reason and therefore valid. You’re allowed to be a stubborn hardass but also enjoy being dressed up and flattered.

Our two love interests were both equally interesting. I don’t even think I could pick a favorite of the two if I had to because they both serve a special place in my heart. I thought the writing of their love triangle was exactly how a love triangle should be written. It was part of the story but it wasn’t revolved around them.

Celaena also develops a nice yet shaky friendship with a princess from a neighboring country. I loved seeing the similarities between the two girls but also how they contrasted and worked together.

I thought the overall plot was fantastic. There were side characters I’d love to see more from in future novels. The conflicts were many and the outcomes were full of strife and heartache. There were twists, there were turns, and there were moments of complete awe. I think Sarah J Maas was really onto something when she wrote this book and I can’t wait to get back into the world with book number two. I know it just gets better and better from here.

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The White Queen Review!

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The White Queen tells the story of a woman of extraordinary beauty and ambition who, catching the eye of the newly crowned boy king, marries him in secret and ascends to royalty. While Elizabeth rises to the demands of her exalted position and fights for the success of her family, her two sons become central figures in a mystery that has confounded historians for centuries: the missing princes in the Tower of London whose fate is still unknown

Do you have an author that you trust so wholeheartedly that you’d read the back of a shampoo bottle if you knew they wrote it? For me that author is Philippa Gregory.

The White Queen follows our main character Queen Elizabeth of England and her life story, starting from the time she becomes a widow due to her future husbands war. Philippa Gregory is the master of researching history and getting inside the minds of those people to try and tell their story to her utmost ability. Every time I pick up a Gregory novel I know I’m not only going to have a good time, I’m going to learn something. There is also a television show based on this three book series and I watched it along side reading The White Queen. I’m not sure how the remaining two novels are going to go as far as chronological order of history but I’m going to find out because anything that remotely pertains to the Tudors, I will be interested in.

Elizabeth as a character was so vivid, as were all the other characters and even side characters. I didn’t get lost in the nonsense of the court life or the politics which is something I’m always worried about when it comes to accurate historical fiction. These characters were well researched and Gregory breathes such life into them that you can’t help but feel saddened that the people the novel is based off of are long gone.

Aside from the masterful research put into it and the beautiful writing I was pleasantly surprised to find out some major events that my (terrible) history classes left out of the books. I had no idea about the war of the roses, or so they called it. I learned very little in school when it comes to wars and the like but the thing I was most pulled into was the lost princes in the tower.

Leave it to Gregory to bring to light the fact that two small boys, I believe of the ages of 8 and 12, were locked in the Tower of London because they were the princes who would inherit the throne, and never to be seen again. I think it’s probably a little obvious what happened to them, given that their uncle wanted the crown for himself and would have been third in line to inherit it if they were alive. Yet after I started reading about those two tiny princes I found myself in the deep depths of wikipedia and any article about the lost princes that I could find on google. Just like every historical fact that Gregory brings up in her novels, I had to research them for myself. I always find myself SO invested in anything she writes and for long after I am searching for more information on the events. More facts, more theories, more opinions.

Not only was this book a five star read for me, it was an educational experience to say the least. To say the most, it’s now a burning obsession of mine and I’m probably going to go ahead and completely inhale anything else Gregory goes on to write.

5 Star Rating