december wrap-up // goodbye 2016!

Saturday, December 31, 2016

AHHH where has 2016 gone?? It's 2017 tomorrow, guys!!

book review // I'll Give You the Sun (aka the most beautifully-written book ever)

Wednesday, December 28, 2016
Hey guys!! I'm back at it again with another book review! I can't believe Christmas is already over, and we are rapidly approaching 2017!

When I went to the library, I wasn't even planning on getting this book in the first place but I'm SO GLAD I did. It was such an amazing read.

by Jandy Nelson

At first, Jude and her twin brother are NoahandJude; inseparable. Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude wears red-red lipstick, cliff-dives, and does all the talking for both of them. 
Years later, they are barely speaking. Something has happened to change the twins in different yet equally devastating ways . . . but then Jude meets an intriguing, irresistible boy and a mysterious new mentor. 
The early years are Noah’s to tell; the later years are Jude’s. But they each have only half the story, and if they can only find their way back to one another, they’ll have a chance to remake their world. 
This radiant, award-winning novel from the acclaimed author of 
The Sky Is Everywhere will leave you breathless and teary and laughing—often all at once. 

 So here are 4 of my thoughts because there is no way I can write a review of this book without spilling my innermost thoughts about this BEAUTIFUL book.
I love love LOVED the format in which the story was told.
The story was told by Noah at 13 years old and Jude at 16 years old in alternating chapters. Reading Noah's chapters, you can just tell that everything is going down hill, especially his relationship with Jude. With Jude's perspective, you can see the result of the twins broken relationship. 

You could really see what time and heartbreak did to them and the contrast of this to their former selves.* Having both perspectives at different ages majorly strengthened the story as a whole.

I really loved piecing together what happened to make them fall apart. As I made the connections from chapter to chapter, it made the book even more complex and beautiful.

*geez this book is making me think very deeply.

It was written so beautifully.
seriously. SOO LYRICAL AND BEAUTY-FUL. ahHHhh. The writing was so whimsical and gorgeous, especially in Noah's chapters. I would say that Noah is definitely more of a dreamer than Jude, hence the fact that his chapters are more poetic.

I did have a bit of a difficult start with this book though. Just for the record, I am a not a poetry type person. I am (without question) a logical, black-and-white type thinker, and this book was definitely not that type of book. and at times, the writing was so metaphorical that I didn't know what the heck was happening. Ultimately though, I got over it and super enjoyed the writing style.

The romance felt just a little too insta-lovey for me.
Particularly with Noah and Brian's relationship. 

Here's how it went down (basically): 
noah and brian meet. the next day.
Noah: yep. I'm in love with Brian.

And in the blink of an eye, without all that much going on, Noah is suddenly in love with Brian. I would've liked to see more development before Noah and Brian actually fell for each other. I dunno, it just felt a little too love-at-first-sight for me.

With Jude and Oscar, there was a good amount more development, and this I appreciated. As much as I wanted to see them together at the end of the book, they were still working out their relationship, and that's ok. It was just a more realistic relationship development.

I could really relate to the characters. They just felt real.
Noah and Jude had their strengths and their flaws, and I would go as far to say the book was mostly about these flaws. But these flaws were what made them exceptional characters. I could genuinely feel their heartbreak and sorrow and joy.

What really made the book shine though, was the secondary characters. From Guillermo*, to Oscar, to their Dad (heck, even to their dead Grandma). They were so well-developed and important to the story without totally taking over (like some secondary characters do). But they were still there and crucial to the development of the story.

*guillermo is my actual fave in this book. he is actually the sweetest ever.

Rating: ★★★★★

Almost everything about this novel, I loved. This book does not quite make my favorite books of all time, but it's pretty close. Without question, I recommend it to all of you!

have you read this fabulous book?? what are your thoughts on the writing style and format? I must know!! chat with me in the comments!!

xoxo, madeline

christmas photography + some thoughts about 2016

Sunday, December 25, 2016
Merry Christmas, everyone!! I hope your day has been full of holiday cheer!

a christmas Q&A with hailey

Friday, December 23, 2016
I can't believe that there's only two days until Christmas!! *squeals* 

Since we're deep into the holiday season at this point, I thought it was only right to do a Christmas-themed Q&A! And, even better, why not do this Q&A with my Blogger Gift Exchange recipient, Hailey Hudson? 

Hailey Hudson blogs over at Now All I Know is Grace. Go check her out because she is an awesome human bean and writer! I've loved reading her Blogmas posts throughout this December! Thanks for doing this Q&A with me, Hailey! Hope you have a merry Christmas!

Let's get to it with the Q&A!

01. Are you excited about Christmas? 

I couldn't be more excited about Christmas if I tried. I love this time of year! 

02. What are your favorite Christmas movies? 

My favorite Christmas movies are Elf, A Christmas Story, Miracle on 34th Street--all the classics--plus a Hallmark movie with Candace Cameron Bure called Let It Snow.

03. When do you start playing Christmas music? Favorite songs? 

I start playing Christmas music sometime in November--I'm ready in August, but if I started then, I feel like it would make the time until Christmas drag much too slowly! I love all of For King and Country's Christmas songs, plus this MercyMe CD--it's my mom's favorite, so it was the soundtrack to all my Christmas memories growing up.

04. What are your most favorite-est things about Christmas? 

My favorite things about Christmas include the steady stream of sweets coming into our house, my dad having two weeks off work, the excitement that's in the air wherever you go, and the way people go out of their way to give generously to their friends and even to strangers--something I want to do year-round. 

05. Which is your favorite, the weeks leading up to Christmas, Christmas Eve, or the actual Day? 

That's a tough one, but I'm going to go with Christmas Eve! For me, the hustle and bustle of parties and final exams and buying gifts is over by then, and I can just enjoy myself and anticipate the next day.

06. When do you put your decorations up? 

My family generally decorates the first or second weekend in December.

07. Do you like giving or receiving presents more? 

Receiving presents is great, of course, and I definitely tend to fall into the trap of just wanting more gift bags with my name on them. But I try to like giving presents more, and most of the time, I succeed. It's so fun to choose the perfect gift for everyone on my list, even though I'm typically on a pretty tight budget. *rolls eyes at my cheapskate self*

08. Does your family have any Christmas traditions? 

On Christmas Eve, my family goes to our church service, which ends with everyone lighting candles and singing "Silent Night." After church, we eat dinner at Krystal, which is something my dad grew up doing on Christmas Eve; then we come home, read the Christmas story from Luke 2 under our tree, and watch A Christmas Story.

09. real or artificial tree? clear or colorful lights?

Definitely a real tree* and colorful lights!

*sorry to interrupt (madeline, here) but I'm with you, girl! real trees for the win!!

10. What is your favorite food to eat around Christmastime? 

My favorite food to eat near Christmas is probably a tie between four things we normally have on Christmas day: ham, sweet potato souffle, baked pineapple, and chocolate pie. *drools*

Hope you enjoyed this Q&A!! Thanks to Vanessa for organizing this!
xoxo, madeline

my top 10 anticipated releases of 2017!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016
Christmas just seems to get closer and closer. and you know

book review // Throne of Glass

Monday, December 19, 2016
a chic bookworm
Hooray! Winter Break is here!
I don't know why it took me so long to pick up this book and read it. (probably because my library card was expired) It was amazing, and here's my review on it.

by Sarah J. Maas

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. Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king's council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she'll serve the kingdom for four years and then be granted her freedom. Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilarating. But she's bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her ... but it's the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.Then one of the other contestants turns up dead ... quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.

THE WHOLE BOOK. I'm kind of kidding you on this but not really. Let me break it down for you. 

- the world building. gah it was so good! details about the religion/history/etc were appropriately placed where they were needed instead of pages and pages of raw information. The world was well-developed without going overboard.

the characters. also fabulous and well-developed.

Celaena Sardothien has a puppy for goodness sake!* also: she loves clothes! finally, a character who can kill people with her bare hands and love puppies/clothes/food. the best of both worlds! She was a strong female character without being particularly manly.
 *see also: when there is a dog in a book, madeline loves this dog even more than the actual characters.

She is also probably the sassiest sassmaster you will ever meet. Basically, the whole book was a compilation of her sass towards Chaol and Dorian, but I see that as a good thing. It was so funny to read her sass.

literally Celaena the whole time.

Chaol* Westfall is the captain of the guard, and one of Celaena's potential love interests (I'll get to that in The Bad). He's pretty cool, but honestly, how the heck is he captain of the guard?? I mean, he's young, and he's never even killed anyone! I do think he has a lot of potential to develop in the next several books, though.

*I keep pronouncing his name like "kale" and picturing a leafy vegetable. how do you pronounce this??

Dorian Havilliard is the crown prince of Erilea. I personally hated him at first but grew to love him as the story went on. He is the other potential love interest in the Celaena-Love-Triangle. I personally think that Celaena would be better off with Dorian, based on the sole fact that he is the only one (maybe??) who can make her laugh. also, their chemistry seems better, in general. But what do I know? Nothing, so you can't just assume I know what I'm talking about. I'm going to open the next book and like Chaol so much more than Dorian, aren't I? who knows!

- the perspective. The book was written in third-person, which, at first, I was unsure that I would like since I usually gravitate towards books written in first-person. BUT I really enjoyed the perspective for a couple of reasons.

1) remember how I said that I love first-person books? well, this book was a teensy break from that, and it was refreshing. maybe I'll even read more third-person books now!
2) This is the big reason: we got to see perspectives other than Celaena's (!) such as the King (aka the Evil Guy), Kaltain (aka Crazy Caste-Climbing Woman), and even sometimes Dorian and Chaol (aka the Leafy Green Vegetable)

a chic bookworm

This section really should be called "the less good" because there wasn't much I dislike about the book.

-the love triangle. from previous reviews, you might know me to be a love-triangle-hater, but this one wasn't too bad. There wasn't a crazy amount of romance in this book, so I will simply tolerate the love triangle instead of glaring at it until it bursts into flames.

-the plot. I actually enjoyed the plot, but I will mention this for those of you who it might bother. The plot was a little bit similar to the Hunger Games (tributes competing for their lives with tests along the way), but I didn't mind this at all. In fact, I really like the whole idea of the competition.

Rating: ★★★★

This was a really great book! It may not make my favorite books of all time list because I don't know yet if I would read it over and over again, but it was a well-done book! I totally recommend it to all of you out there! Go forth and read it!
Thanks for reading this review!

Have you read this fabulous book?? What are your thoughts on it? Does anyone else think about leafy vegetables when they see Chaol's name? (probs just me.) Let me know in the comments!

xoxo, madeline

morning musings #1 // thoughts

Friday, December 16, 2016

So I've been MIA for a couple weeks. like I said in my November Wrap-Up, this couple weeks has been hectic with exams and shenanigans like that. but I'm back now for the winter break and better than ever!

Here is the start of a new series. Don't get me wrong, I love books and reading, but sometimes I want to discuss something else. And this is *my* own personal corner on the internet, so I shall do what I want with it. This probably won't be an every week kind of thing?? probably?

So obviously this is a series that I will post in the morning, hence, "morning musings."* I don't really have a strict format or anything like that yet for these posts. I'll figure it out as I go...

So for today at least, I am going to tell you about the previous week and the week ahead of me. things that made me happy and stuff like that. capiche? capiche. cool, peeps.

*any ideas for a witty name for this series I could use?? let me know! I mean, I like "morning musings" but any other ideas?

- I went to New Hampshire last week and experienced the first snow of the season! it was so so beautiful!! I wish I had pictures to show you but, like a doofus, I didn't take any :( but take my word for it that IT WAS BEAUTY-FUL.

- studying with friends. studying for exams is definitely not fun alone, but throw your closest friends in the mix, and now biology is bi-HOLLA-gy. sorry. that was so stupid but I had to say it. friends make studying bearable. that's the key point here. Plus, saying information out loud helps me remember it.

- I finished about 3 books this week. and I'm about to read about 10 more because it's winter vacation! You know what that means: LOTS of books reviews coming up in the next couple of weeks.

- and finally: beautiful music from Abbiee's post. Ruelle and Fleurie are my new favs when it comes to writing music. I am now inspired to make my writing playlist better than ever!

I wouldn't say that this was a horrible week, but it did have it's low points.

- when this picture sums up your whole week:
You can see that my week was absolutely great! SO FUN.

-my Bûche de Nöel. STORY TIME: I made this buche de noel (aka yule log) for french class and there was this competition for the best one and everything. So we had to drop it off to be judged before 7:45am in the morning. GUESS WHAT HAPPENED?? There was a wreck outside the school and I got to school at 7:47am. Two minutes late. It took me LITERALLY FIVE hOurs to make this thing. *flails arms angrily* Argh. I give up at bûche-ing.

But actually when I think about it again now, this whole buche-incident cracks me up.

- I read about 3 books this week. I was supposed to be studying. probably with that 400 question Biology quizlet. (see above picture)

This week, I learned that sometimes I just need TO CHILL OUT a little bit. (from the incident of the bûche and exams) If you know me personally, you would probably agree that I am probs the least chill you will ever meet. I'm pretty stressy.

Sometimes (like in the case of exams), I just need to trust myself that I'll be ok. I've already learned and tested well on the information. I will be fine with it. I have studied hard and all I can do now is have confidence.

Other times, like the situation with my yule log, I just need to laugh it off and move on. I'm still a little bit annoyed by it, but IT'S A BUCHE DE NOEL for gosh sake. I can't get that upset.

- read even more books. it's winter vacation, and you know what that means! curling up under a fluffety blanket and hot chocolate for most of the day! (it may not seem like it, but I am way behind on the number of books I want to read this year)

- run a lot, so I'm not out of shape when I go back to track practice.

- destress and relax. I've had a stressful couple of weeks, so that is just what I need right now.

- write a ton more blog posts. I'm sorry I've been MIA, but there'll be a bunch more posts in the next couple of weeks. I kind of want to do a couple of christmas photography posts...what do you think??

- BE MERRY AND BRIGHT. because it's the most wonderful time of the year, and there has been a (shocking) lack Christmas spirit so far in my house. We still need to break out the decorations and wreaths.

How has your week been?? anything happen that was really awesome? Are you excited for Christmas like I am?? let me know in the comments!! 

xoxo, madeline

november wrap-up // what happened this month!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

it's already almost December guys. and when did November happen exactly? *looks around confusedly* i really don't know to be honest. it just flew by. 

book review // A Torch Against the Night

Friday, November 25, 2016

Hello and Happy (late) Thanksgiving! 
Hope all of you have had a great week! My Thanksgiving was very good! We actually had it on Wednesday (because my sister had a soccer tournament on Thursday), something I would like to call "Fakes-giving." There was fudge pie.

You may have noticed that I have changed the look of my blog! (you probably didn't notice, honestly) But, if you did notice, I changed the look of my blog, and I love it! :)

On another note, today I will be talking about An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir. Unlike my last post, which was a short snippet of my thoughts, this post will be the full blown rampage review! So let's get rampaging!
Here are some of my thoughts on A Torch Against the Night. (I can't promise that there won't be any spoilers. I'll try not to include anything major).

by Sabaa Tahir

Elias and Laia are running for their lives. After the events of the Fourth Trial, Martial soldiers hunt the two fugitives as they flee the city of Serra and undertake a perilous journey through the heart of the Empire. Laia is determined to break into Kauf—the Empire’s most secure and dangerous prison—to save her brother, who is the key to the Scholars’ survival. And Elias is determined to help Laia succeed, even if it means giving up his last chance at freedom. But dark forces, human and otherworldly, work against Laia and Elias. The pair must fight every step of the way to outsmart their enemies: the bloodthirsty Emperor Marcus, the merciless Commandant, the sadistic Warden of Kauf, and, most heartbreaking of all, Helene—Elias’s former friend and the Empire’s newest Blood Shrike.Bound to Marcus’s will, Helene faces a torturous mission of her own—one that might destroy her: find the traitor Elias Veturius and the Scholar slave who helped him escape…and kill them both.

There certainly is a lot of running going on.

I went into this during my Disappointing Books post, but I am going to mention it again (and no, you can't stop me). 

During the first half of the book, the only thing going on is -- wait for it -- running. AHHHH. It's just too much.

Elias and Laia are running from the Empire. More specifically, Elias is running from his own death. Oh and we can't forget Helene! She's running from the choices she needs to make! Did I mention that there was a bunch of running? I mean, I do enjoy a good bit of running, just look at my About Page, but enough is enough.

I haven't yet written a full review on An Ember in the Ashes*, but I really loved that book and was expecting a lot of action and adventure from this one. I kinda got that from this book, but in all honesty, I was very much disappointed. I get bored with books pretty easily, and this one was a bit of a struggle for me to finish. Mostly, it was the first half that was the problem; the end was actually better.

*You might be thinking, Wow, Madeline. Great job planning. You can't even review books in order. Well, my friend, you are absolutely correct. I am not organized right now. But I don't care. I just wanted to review this book before I forgot what I wanted to say in this post.

Oh, hello there. It's Helene's POV.

You don't know this yet (because the review for AEITA isn't up), but Helene was basically my favorite character in the book. I love me a strong female character. I mean, I kinda hated her at times but she was still my favorite character. Sooo, I was excited to see her development in this book! I ended up being pretty happy with it! 

First of all, I really enjoyed having Helene's POV included. In fact, it was basically the only thing that got me through the book. Laia and Elias were in the same place for practically the whole book, and having Helene's point of view broke it up. 

However, some of Helene's chapters ended up being a little boring. Overall though, having Helene's perspective included really enhanced the story. Helene ended up having lots more feelings than I thought she did!

Speaking of Laia: I don't know why I ever liked her. Last book, she was OK, and now, she's turning into a special snowflake for no good reason. Why?? I don't even have a clue why she now has powers (and I have a feeling it won't tie into the next story very well). Also, LOVE TRIANGLE ALERT. Why is Keenan even a love interest? Honestly, I didn't like him from the beginning.
Also speaking of Elias: He was pretty selfless and all in this book going to Kauf to rescue Darin. Thumbs up to seeing him using his Mask skills for good. Buuut, I would have liked to see more of a face-off between him and Helene.

The Commandant is crazy.

I assumed that, like all the other characters, the Commandant would also develop, but apparently I was wrong. 

In a good villain, I expect to see good qualities as well as bad qualities. The truth is, a person can't be totally bad, and to be realistic, a character can't be either. She was so ruthless and horrible, and I completely hated her. I was sure that we would get to see other facets of her or even learn part of her story. That obviously didn't happen.

But wait there's more! She was even more ruthless and crazy this book than last book if that's even possible! 

What bothered me about this book: There isn't really an effective villain in this book. Sure, there was the Commandant, the Warden of Kauf Prison, and the mysterious Nightbringer, but none of them have been consistent antagonists throughout the story. The commandant is a lunatic (see above paragraphs), the Warden is just plain weird, and I know nothing whatsoever about the Nightbringer. I guess he will be a main part of the third book. The point is, the plot kind of fell apart for me because  there wasn't a well-developed villain.

The twist didn't really surprise me.

I won't go into specifics about the twist near the end of the book, but I will say that it was pretty predictable. I think the main point of a "twist" is to surprise you and make you go "Whaaaat." but this one didn't do that for me? Does anyone else feel this way? (*SPOILER* about Keenan/the Nightbringer?)

I think it was also the fact that I just didn't care about Laia anymore that made the twist so underwhelming. Usually after a particularly jarring twist to a story, I just have to sit there for a second and take it all in, but during this one, I just kept reading and wasn't that surprised.

Meh. *shrugs*

My Final Rating:  
It wasn't a totally bad book (in fact, it was actually written well), but I think it was my expectation for it to be amazing that ruined it for me. An Ember in the Ashes was fantastic, but A Torch Against the Night was nowhere near as good. 

I did read An Ember in the Ashes a while ago though, and my expectations of books have grown quite a bit since then, so maybe my memories of it being amazing are inflated. I'll have to reread it soon before I review it. BUT I am 90% sure that ATAtN will still be weaker than AEItA by far. Probably.

Have you read A Torch Against the Night? What are your thoughts on it? Let me know in the comments! (sorry that this review was a bit disorganized! I have been very busy and didn't have a lot of time for this review!)

hope you enjoyed this review! email me at or fill out my contact form if you have any review requests!

xoxo, madeline

4 disappointing books // cue the sad face emoji

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Hello again, friends!

So. Whether we like it or not, there will always be books that disappoint us. And it always makes me so sad when I read a book that I end up disliking. 

About 90% of the time, the books I am disappointed in have a really cool/unique concept involved, and usually, the cool concept is (for me, usually) the book's downfall. It just falls flat on its face. sad face. Here are 4 books that I really wanted to be amazing, but they just weren't. :(
These will probably be like mini reviews with a brief explanation of what I did not like about the book/what I was disappointed in. That is not to say that someday I won't do a full review on any of these!

by Renee Adhieh

Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi’s wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend. She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.

Ahh, my girl, Shahrzad whose name I cannot spell (check out that post here). I have mixed emotions about The Wrath and the Dawn. I read this book the past summer and expected it to be amazing. I heard so many reviews absolutely raving about this book. After reading it, I really just didn't get it.

Actually, now that I think about it, my disappointment in this novel probably stems from my general aversion to fantasy novels. Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy a good sappy romance now and then, but I was expecting more of the revenge aspect from this book and a little less falling in love. 
The reason I picked this book up was the fact that it was a retelling of The Arabian Nights. I was hoping that many of the stories she told would be mixed in, and the book would be an amazing mesh of stories and Shazi and the Caliph falling in love. Instead, the whole book can be summed up like this:

Shazi: I must get revenge for my friend.
Shazi: But I also love the Caliph for no good reason.
Shazi: But first revenge.
Shazi: No. Love first.


It was just back and forth. and back and forth. I really didn't understand why exactly she needed revenge, and I didn't feel anything for her friend, Shiva. Maybe if I had been shown Shiva and Shazi's friendship, I would have cared about her revenge more, but that obviously didn't happen. What else annoyed me: my girl Shahrzad just talked about revenge and never actually did anything.
I mean, this book is alright. BUT one thing that majorly stands out to me: When I love a book, I want to keep reading. I almost has to force myself to finish this one. Overall, that's why I was disappointed in this book.* I probably won't be reading the sequel.
I would give this book a 2.5 star rating.

*sorry. this "mini review" ended up being like four years long. I just had a lot of thoughts on this book.

by Sara Raasch

Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now the Winterians' only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter's magic and rebuild the kingdom ever since.
Orphaned as an infant during Winter's defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, Winter's future king—she would do anything to help Winter rise to power again.
So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore Winter's magic, Meira decides to go after it herself—only to find herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics—and ultimately comes to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.

I'm sorry to say that I never finished this book. Maybe I'll try it again some day and love it, but for now, I'm disappointed. Yep, one of my only DNFs.

First of all, the concept of the world in this book was really interesting to me. A kingdom divided into 8 kingdoms: 4 Season Kingdoms (Winter, Summer, Autumn, and Spring) and 4 Rhythm Kingdoms (Cordell, Yakim, Ventralli, and Paisly). The concept itself was the only part I enjoyed. Now, the plot and the characters? Ehhh.

I didn't feel any connection to the characters. They were fairly well developed, but I just couldn't bear to care about them. They all seemed distant and cold. AND THE NAMES. All of the names just annoyed me, for some reason. It's not that they were hard to pronounce, it's just that they sounded weird. Angra? Mather? The names didn't click for me.

I did like the fact that Meira fought with a chakram, instead of, say, a bow and arrow like every recent YA character ever. That was a plus. And the fact that she actually fought, instead of sitting around and whining. Now, she did have her whiny moments, but at least she wasn't sitting around the whole time.

Again, I just didn't feel the spark with the book that makes me want to read it. I got bored a lot with this book, and the characters just weren't my favorite. Meh. Didn't love it.
I'm giving this book a 2.5 star rating too although I did not finish it.

by Kendare Blake

In every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born: three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.
But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins. 
The last queen standing gets the crown.

I have already talked about this book several times on my blog (check out the full book review here). This book wasn't bad. In fact, it was very interesting at times. BUT, it certainly wasn't great. It disappointed me because it wasn't what I was expecting. 

What I expected: Action and magical queens trying to kill each other.

What I didn't expect: Politics. Two "defective" queens. A love triangle*.

It was probably the fact that I was expecting something else that ruined this book for me. Which isn't exactly a good thing. The back cover blurb led me to believe this book would be something else that Three Dark Crowns most definitely was not. Umm. Katharine isn't even a true poisoner. The idea was definitely better than the actual execution of the story.

As in Snow Like Ashes, I did not feel any attachment to the characters. The three queens were not very well developed in my opinion, and well-developed characters are what make favorite books my favorites. Obviously, this book is no where near my favorite.
This one just wasn't for me.
In my full review, I gave this one three stars.

*ughh. love triangles. no thank you.

by Sabaa Tahir

After the events of the Fourth Trial, Martial soldiers hunt the two fugitives as they flee the city of Serra and undertake a perilous journey through the heart of the Empire.
Laia is determined to break into Kauf—the Empire’s most secure and dangerous prison—to save her brother, who is the key to the Scholars' survival. And Elias is determined to help Laia succeed, even if it means giving up his last chance at freedom. 
But dark forces, human and otherworldly, work against Laia and Elias. The pair must fight every step of the way to outsmart their enemies: the bloodthirsty Emperor Marcus, the merciless Commandant, the sadistic Warden of Kauf, and, most heartbreaking of all, Helene—Elias’s former friend and the Empire’s newest Blood Shrike. 
Bound to Marcus's will, Helene faces a torturous mission of her own—one that might destroy her: find the traitor Elias Veturius and the Scholar slave who helped him escape...and kill them both.

The key word here is "so far."

I haven't finished this one quite yet, but I will soon. I only have about 100 pages left.
And I can already feel that this sequel will definitely not be as good as An Ember in the Ashes. I'll accomplish a real feat here and give you a summary without spoilers of what has happened so far in the first 300 pages.

    • running away.
    • escaping and running.
    • OH LOOK. more running*.
    • (and Helene's inner struggle. lots of inner struggle.)
So that's essentially what has happened in a nutshell. BUT PEOPLE. In the first 300 pages. I have been expecting a fast paced plot for five months, and this has just not lived up to my expectations. I do like the fact that we get Helene's POV, but SO MUCH inner struggle. Maybe too much?

It's been OK, but it would take a miracle to make this book totally amazeballs. I'll give you an update and a full review a couple of weeks from now. 'Kay?
My rating (so far) would be 3 stars. It's pretty meh.

*you can just feel the sarcasm and annoyance seeping out of me.

So, that's it! I've heard plenty of reviews raving about all of these books, but I just don't understand the hype.

What books have disappointed you? Do you dislike/love any of the books I talked about above? Let me know in the comments!
Hope you enjoyed this post!

xoxo, madeline