WE HAVE MOVED!

Hey guys! I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but this will be the last post on Weezled for a while. I have started a joint project with my friend Cynthia and we have opened Shelfie!, a book blog and YA podcast! I will be posting my reviews there from now on. Come and check us out! Our first podcast will be live in the next week or so!

Thanks for all of the comments and likes. You guys have been awesome and I really hope you will check out Shelfie!

Shelfie2.png

See you on the other side!

AESTHETICS

Waiting on Wednesday: A Torch Against The Night

icecream (1)

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

torchTitle: A Torch Against the Night (An Ember in the Ashes #2)
Author: Sabaa Tahir
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Publisher: Razorbill
Publication Date: August 30th, 2016

From Goodreads:

A Torch Against the Night takes readers into the heart of the Empire as Laia and Elias fight their way north to liberate Laia’s brother from the horrors of Kauf Prison. Hunted by Empire soldiers, manipulated by the Commandant, and haunted by their pasts, Laia and Elias must outfox their enemies and confront the treacherousness of their own hearts.


In the city of Serra, Helene Aquilla finds herself bound to the will of the Empire’s twisted new leader, Marcus. When her loyalty is questioned, Helene finds herself taking on a mission to prove herself—a mission that might destroy her, instead.

Why I am waiting:

For starters, hi guys! I’m back! I sincerely apologize for my recent inactivity. I’ve had a pretty rocky couple of months, but things are stabilizing now. I am so happy to be back! Expect some more substantial updates in the very near future. Including several reviews. 😀

So, I really wasn’t sure what to expect from An Ember in the Ashes. To be honest, I didn’t expect much when I picked it up. That said, I adored this book. It was incredible! The pacing was perfect, the characters were wonderfully developed. It was just great all around. There is no way that the sequel will not be just as magical, right? This series can’t possibly suffer from second book syndrome like a couple I have read this year. Nope. No way. This book is going to be awesome, I just know it! 


Are you looking forward to A Torch Against the Night? Did you love An Ember in the Ashes as much as I did? Or are you looking forward to something else? Please share your thoughts in the comments!

It’s great to be back, guys!

AESTHETICS

Waiting on Wednesday: The Rose & The Dagger by Renee Ahdieh

icecream (1)

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

roseanddaggerTitle: The Rose & The Dagger (The Wrath and the Dawn #2)
Author: Renee Ahdieh
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Publication Date: May 3rd, 2016

From Goodreads:

The much anticipated sequel to the breathtaking The Wrath and the Dawn, lauded by Publishers Weekly as “a potent page-turner of intrigue and romance.”

I am surrounded on all sides by a desert. A guest, in a prison of sand and sun. My family is here. And I do not know whom I can trust.

In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad has been torn from the love of her husband Khalid, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once believed him a monster, but his secrets revealed a man tormented by guilt and a powerful curse—one that might keep them apart forever. Reunited with her family, who have taken refuge with enemies of Khalid, and Tariq, her childhood sweetheart, she should be happy. But Tariq now commands forces set on destroying Khalid’s empire. Shahrzad is almost a prisoner caught between loyalties to people she loves. But she refuses to be a pawn and devises a plan.

While her father, Jahandar, continues to play with magical forces he doesn’t yet understand, Shahrzad tries to uncover powers that may lie dormant within her. With the help of a tattered old carpet and a tempestuous but sage young man, Shahrzad will attempt to break the curse and reunite with her one true love.

Why I am waiting:

I have to admit that I didn’t love The Wrath and the Dawn. I enjoyed it. But I didn’t love it. I had some problems with the pacing and the romance felt a bit forced in places, but those are minor complaints coming from me. In the end the book was a solid 3/5 stars on Goodreads (since I don’t give star ratings here on Weezled).

3 stars is risky territory for me these days. I gave Red Queen 3 stars and we let down by the disastrous sequel Glass Sword. But, I can’t let that get me down. I have to believe that sequels can be just as good as the first book in a series, or even better in some cases. Especially since most of the books I read come out around 3 stars. Meaning, I liked it fine, but there is room for improvement. Wow me with the sequel.

I think The Rose & The Dagger will do just that. Most of my issues with the first book happened in the first half of the book. By the end I was hooked. If the author rides that momentum this sequel could amazing.

So, what do you think? Are you looking anxiously awaiting the release of The Rose & The Dagger? Or are you on the edge of your seat over something else? Please share in the comments!

AESTHETICS

Top Ten Tuesday: Characters I Love and Hate

STACKING (16)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly event, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday give you a choice. You can do ten characters everyone loves but you just don’t get or ten characters you LOVE but other people seem to dislike. I flip flopped back and forth between the two and finally decided that I would just do both. Five of one and five of the other. 

Let’s start with characters I don’t like, but other people do.


STACKING (10)
I know this is probably a very unpopular opinion, but I just hate Jace Wayland. I tried really hard to see the dreamboat that everyone else saw. I just never could. In the end all I saw was a selfish, spoiled kid who really needed to grow up. Admittedly he might have done some growing up in the 5th and 6th books, but City of Fallen Angels felt so unnecessary that I stopped reading the series. If you ask me, it should have been a trilogy.

STACKING (9)Ok. I hated this guy! I know everyone loves him and the whole redeemed villain plot line, but I don’t. Once an abuser, always an abuser. No matter how steamy the romance scenes are. And in my book, Warner abused Juliette. I’m not saying Adam was a gem of a person, but I completely understand his outrage at this stockholm syndrome-ish relationship. Sorry, just a no go in my book.

STACKING (6)So this one is probably cheating since I really didn’t like this series. That said, I have read countless reviews praising America and I just don’t get it. She drove me absolutely bonkers. The fact that I made it through three books written in her point of view baffles me. She’s whiny, silly, and incapable of telling the truth. This might be because she’s not sure what the truth is, but stringing along two guys for three books, all the while telling them what they want to hear, is just not cool.

STACKING (7)This one is probably a pretty popular opinion. I try not to dump on this series too much around here because I would sound like a broken record. But I can’t help it. I really truly despised Bella Swan. I mean what kind of girl constantly puts herself in danger so she can  see a hallucination of guy who broke her heart, while using and ignoring the people that are really there for her? Yeah. No thanks.
STACKING (8)This is probably cheating too, right? Since Anastasia Steele and Bella Swan are basically the same character. But, there is enough difference that I felt they both needed to be on this list. Both girls are so caught up in the fact that this powerful and beautiful man is in love with them that they don’t stop to look and see if the relationship is really healthy. In Anastasia’s case it’s more severe. She ignores the instincts that tell her she is uncomfortable with certain aspects of their relationship because she’s afraid he won’t like her or something? Not my kind of girl. 

 

Now for the characters that I like but other people don’t. 


STACKING (11)I know that he’s a tough cookie to crack, but once you get to the gooey center of Severus Snape it is impossible not to love him. At least, that’s how I feel. Then again, I was never on the villain train. Even after the end of Half Blood Prince, I knew that Snape was a hero. Plus, his history with Lily is just so heart warming. In the end I think he is the most developed character in the Harry Potter series and is BY FAR my favorite.

STACKING (12)Most people who have read this fast paced fantasy series seems to be firmly in camp Aldrik . I sort of get it. He’s dark, broody, and the object of Vhalla’s interest. But, in my head he’s erratic and rude. Baldair is supposed to be the contrast. The beautiful golden son who is known for bedding many women. There is so much more to him, though. He wants to take care of everyone around him. The way he is always there for Aldrik even though their relationship seem to be broken beyond repair is truly admirable. And his confession to Vhalla in Earth’s End was heart breaking. Yeah.. I have a little bit of a crush. 😛 


STACKING (13)Magnus has a bit of a questionable moral compass. He fights between doing what is right and what his father wants. He often lands on the wrong side of it and does what his father demands either because he wants his approval or he is terrified of the conquering king. I know I’d be pretty scared of that guy. He’s off his rocker. But the more the books progress, the more Magnus rebels. He outgrows many of his childish feelings and steps out of his father’s shadow to become a good and true leader. I was really impressed with his character development and look forward to seeing where the author takes him in the future.

STACKING (14)This character appeared out of the blue in Heir of Fire and people were caught off guard by her presence. They weren’t really sure why she was around. There seemed to be very little connection. I didn’t have that reaction. I just trusted she was important and enjoyed the ride. Manon is tough and she doesn’t tolerate disrespect from anyone. She also has an odd sense of compassion that I would not have expected from the ruthless leader trope that I expected her to be. I suppose I am saying she has lots of tough layers, and I love them all.

STACKING (15)I can see where this character could be pretty polarizing. He’s not a teddy bear and he never will be. He’s a con man and a thief. But that’s not all he is. I don’t want to go into too much detail because I try to be as spoiler free as possible (and this book is still relatively new), but Kaz Brekker is a complicated dude. He’s suffering silently after tragedies in his past. I was captivated by him. Not in a crush way, just in a “Wow. This character seems so real.” sort of way. I was impressed with his quick wit and devious nature. He was definitely a stand out character for me. 

So, do I love your least favorite character? Do I hate your favorite? Let me know in the comments!


AESTHETICS

Second Book Syndrome: A Review of Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

glassswordTitle: Glass Sword (Red Queen #2)
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy / Dystopian
Publication Date: February 9th, 2016
Kindle Edition: 448 Pages
Source: Personal Purchase

Mare Barrow’s blood is red—the color of common folk—but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control.

The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince—the friend—who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.

Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors.

But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat.

Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?

The electrifying next installment in the Red Queen series escalates the struggle between the growing rebel army and the blood-segregated world they’ve always known—and pits Mare against the darkness of her own heart.

“If I am a sword, I am a sword made of glass, and I feel myself beginning to shatter.”

Red Queen was not the best book I have read, but I did enjoy it quite a bit. In spite of it being predictable and a bit formulaic, it was still a fun filled, fast paced fantasy. And if you haven’t noticed, I am sucker for all things fantasy. So, I was really excited about Glass Sword. When I bought it, I was bouncing in my chair excited to see what would happen next in the Red’s struggle against Silver tyranny.

Glass Sword did not live up to my expectations. I wanted more of Red Queen, and got something completely different. That wouldn’t have been a bad thing if the sequel had been new and improved. Instead, it felt like the writing and development took several steps back.

For starters, the first half of the book was really slow. A lot of things happened, but none of them felt important. They were running from the Silvers trying to salvage The Guard and save the Newbloods, but I found myself not caring. Scenes that should have had me on the edge of my seat fell flat. It picks up a little in the second half, but not enough. The ending would have needed to be Half Blood Prince levels of good in order to make up for the crawl that was the first 250 pages.

In Red Queen we got to know Mareena. In Glass Sword we got to know Mare. I prefer Mareena. The Mare we get in Glass Sword is unlikeable. Maybe this was intentional on the author’s part, but it still drove me insane. She’s winy and self-obsessed. I understand that the book is in first person, so we are getting Mare’s inner dialogue and her views about the world around her. It’s just not a pretty or enjoyable view and the other characters suffer for it.

Glass Sword trades the well-developed and interesting supporting cast of Red Queen for a crowd of stick figures with powers. I know, that’s harsh. But, I couldn’t help but feel that way. Mare went around collecting people for her little army and all you ever really learned about them was what they were capable of contributing to the cause. Basically, you learned their powers and that was it. I wanted to love new additions like Cameron and Nanny, but the reader was never given enough time with them or information about them to develop any kind of emotional connection. There were times where I know that I was supposed to be afraid that one or all of these characters might die. Sadly, I wasn’t. Because they didn’t really feel like people. Remember, never get attached to a Redshirt.

I wouldn’t include Cal in that group. Though, I do think he could have used a little more development, we did see him grow throughout the book. He seems poised to act as Mare’s conscience moving forward. Which, is preferable to their awkward “romance”. I knew it was coming. I just thought it would be more interesting. Instead, it felt tossed in to fill the required YA romance quota. I would have rather read a book with no romance at all since it brought very little to the narrative.

Speaking of narrative, where were the bad guys? Our band of revolutionaries are haunted by Maven and Elara, but you never see them for more than a couple of minutes at a time. You glimpse the destruction that comes in the wake of Maven, but that doesn’t have the same effect as interacting with the character. Especially since he was one of the more interesting and better developed characters in the first book. Villains should be absolutely terrifying, especially Elara, who is the mastermind behind this entire debacle. Unfortunately, they are both strangely absent which really lowers the scare factor.

In the end I couldn’t find much of anything that I enjoyed about this book. Honestly, it was very difficult to finish. I put it down at least five times in favor of better options. That said, if you like dystopian fantasy novels that are action packed with a powerful female main character, this one may be for you. Sadly, it didn’t do it for me.

AESTHETICS

Stacking the Shelves #1

STACKING (2)

Stacking the shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews in which we talk about the books we’ve acquired (bought, received for review, borrowed from the library, etc.). Here’s what I’ve acquired in the past week:

A Gathering of Shadows FinalTitle: A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic #2)
Author: V.E. Schwab
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Tor
Publication Date: February 23rd, 2016

I have needed something, anything to get me out of my reading rut. I am not sure if A Gathering of Shadows will do that or not, but I am sure of one thing. I LOVED the first book in this series. The world was interesting, the characters felt real, and I was constantly on the edge of my seat. V.E. Schwab writes killer Fantasy, and I am sure that A Gathering of Shadows is no exception. Plus, just look at that cover! It’s gorgeous! I just couldn’t leave it on the shelf. I had to take it home.

lastdaysTitle: The Last Days of Magic
Author: Mark Tompkins
Genre: Fantasy / Historical Fiction
Publisher: Viking
Publication Date: March 1st, 2016

This one was a bit of an impulse buy. I read a fabulous review of it over at The Bibliosanctum so, I added it to my TBR list. Then my husband and I were walking through Barnes and Noble and it caught my eye. I was waffling on whether or not I wanted to buy it. My husband was the deciding factor. You see, he prides himself on being able to predict whether a book is going to be good or bad based solely on the synopsis in the dust jacket. He swears this one is going to be brilliant. So, I bought it. Partly to see if he’s on a roll or not, but mostly because it sounds awesome. 

Have you read either of these? Or did you find a new gem at your local library or bookstore? Tell me what you are stacking your shelves with!

AESTHETICS

Surviving the Slump

 

So, in my recent review of Air Awakens by Elise Kova, I mentioned that it saved me from a serious reading slump. At the time, that was true. Sadly, the slump has returned. I finished up Frozen Tides by Morgan Rhodes two days ago and nothing I have read since has stuck. I keep picking up books and putting them right back down. And I really can’t figure out why. They can’t all be bad, right? Some of them even have rave reviews on goodreads.

I decided that It might help claw my way out of the slump if I wrote down what was bothering about each of the books I am trying to read. Maybe not, but hey, it’s worth a shot, right?

glasssword

Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard – I was really excited for Glass Sword. Red Queen wasn’t the best book I have ever read, but I really enjoyed it. The palace setting combined with magic training and a dash of court politics made for a really fun and easy read. I was expecting Glass Sword to have a similar feeling. Unfortunately, I am half way through it and it’s really dragging. The tone is so different from Red Queen. We’ve left the palace for the outside world and we’ve left all of the fun behind. Mare feels hollow now that her Mareena mask is gone. Cal should shine now that he is out of Maven’s shadow, but he just falls flat on the page. I really wanted to like this one, but I am considering adding it to the DNF pile.

icelikefireIce Like Fire by Sara Raasch Snow Like Ashes was another one of those fun and fast paced YA Fantasy reads. It was slightly formulaic, but enjoyable none the less. I picked up the sequel immediately after finishing it, hoping that I would devour it as well. That wasn’t the case. I thought Ice Like Fire would show us more of Winter, this place of legend. And it does start there. But then sets off on another world journey that seems to make the plot inch forward. Having Meira and Mather in separate places means the addition of  separate POV chapters, and the shifts are jarring and a bit distracting. I find myself wanting to skip Mather’s chapters all together. Please give me a reason not to DNF this one.

wolfbywolfWolf By Wolf by Ryan Graudin This book was not really in my wheelhouse. But, people were raving about it on Goodreads and I was looking for something a little out of my comfort zone. So, I bought it. To be honest, I was really enjoying it… until I suddenly wasn’t. I don’t know what happened. I only have 88 pages left in this YA Alternate History, but I just can’t pick it back up. I don’t know if it was the back and forth between past and present or what, but something really threw me off. It may have been the fact that I marathoned The Man in the High Castle on Amazon. Nazi overload? But 88 pages really isn’t all that many, right? I need to just suck it up and finish it. I might even like it when I’m done.

brokenstarsThese Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner This one was an impulse read. I had just finished Illuminae and I really wanted more YA Sci-Fi. Turns out this one isn’t as Sci-Fi as I wanted it to be. It’s more of a survival epic. The Space opera bit is over a quarter of the way in and then it’s all romance and survival. I am really not sure if that is my thing. Maybe I should have read the synopsis a little better before I decided to dig into this one. Oh well. Now I need to decide if I am going to give it another shot or just move on. Jeez, it sounds like I am looking for relationship advice, doesn’t it? But really, has anyone else read this one? Did you love it? Hate it? If someone wouldn’t mind convincing me, I’d be forever grateful!

Ok, so those are my general opinions on the books I keep failing to read. It’s kind of depressing, right?

Can you help me out here, guys? Convince me to stick with these books. Tell me why you loved them. Forward me your reviews. Or tell me why I should move on. Hell, give me suggestions on other things to read. Anything to get me out of this rut.

Thanks in advance!

AESTHETICS

 

Stunning Space Opera: A Review of Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

illuminaecoverTitle: Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1)
Author: Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Genre: Young Adult / Science Fiction
Publication Date: October 20th, 2015
Hardback: 599 Pages
Source: Gift

This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do.


This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

“The universe owes you nothing, Kady. It has already given you everything, after all. It was here long before you, and it will go on long after you. The only way it will remember you is to do something worth remembrance.”

Five years ago a friend loaned me a copy of House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski. I got a quarter of the way into the 700 page tome and decided it just wasn’t for me. I absolutely hated the non-traditional formatting the author used to tell his story. I considered taking scissors to the book in order to “correct” it a handful of times before I finally called it quits. I promised myself that I was done with “unique” formatting. My OCD simply couldn’t handle it.

I stuck with that promise until Christmas, when I asked for Illuminae. I couldn’t help it. I knew going in that the formatting was going to be interesting. I knew that I would probably hate it. The reviews were just too good to ignore. Plus, I can’t get enough space opera. So, I broke my promise and I read it. It took me a grand total of three days to blow through all 599 pages.

Guess what? I didn’t reach for my scissors once.

Illuminae is wonderful.

Kaufman and Kristoff took a risk with the storytelling and it really paid off. I was certain there would be issues with character development due to these decisions. I was wrong. Katy and Ezra were extremely well developed and easy to love. They even utilized IM chat speak in order to show the differences in personality. It was very well done (if a tad bit annoying at first).

This book was like reading a puzzle. The reader is constantly storing information provided in the dossier in order to piece together the entire story. It made the story more engaging. Nothing was obvious or predictable, and nothing was given away too soon. I found myself on the edge of my seat throughout most of the book.

To top it all off Illuminae is the most beautiful book I have ever owned. Each page is more visually stunning than the next. I can’t imagine the amount of work that went into creating this graphic masterpiece. It is truly stunning.

I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys Science Fiction or just wants to read something fun and attractive with a nice romance. My only suggestion would be to buy it in hardcover or paperback, as this book would be nearly impossible to read in ebook format.

AESTHETICS

Waiting on Wednesday: A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas

icecream (1)

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

sixTitle: A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2)
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Publication Date: May 3rd, 2016

From Goodreads:

Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court–but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people.


Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms–and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future–and the future of a world cleaved in two.

With more than a million copies sold of her beloved Throne of Glass series, Sarah J. Maas’s masterful storytelling brings this second book in her seductive and action-packed series to new heights.

Why I am waiting:

I love everything Sarah J. Maas. The Throne of glass series is basically the bar that I measure all other YA Fantasy series against, and A Court of Thorns and Roses is a beautifully crafted fair tale. I really can’t to see what she does with the world now that it is firmly in her hands and no longer a retelling.

So, between loving the Fae lore in this series and have a pretty significant crush on Lucien, this book might as well be my Waiting on Wednesday pick until it finally comes out in May. Because, in reality, I’m not very good at waiting.

So, what are you waiting on? Let me know in the comments!

AESTHETICS