BOOK REVIEW #1 // THREE DARK CROWNS

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Yay! first book review!
I found this book when I was puttering through amazon.com's book section, looking for new releases (as you will commonly find me doing). Sure enough, there were some new books*, among them Three Dark Crowns. The concept was really interesting, so I got it and read it! Let's just get into my review! I'll try not to include any major spoilers!

*obviously, madeline. did you just think that the authors would just stop writing in the month of September?


Three Dark Crowns
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 lose...it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins.
Rating: 
I really wanted to like this book. The plot concept was really interesting, and I was hoping the book would be action-packed and full of fighting queens. But it just wasn't was I was expecting. It was mostly about the months leading up to the Quickening (aka the year in which the queens kill each other) as opposed to taking place in the actual Quickening. In terms of pacing, this book is sloooww. At times, I came to enjoy this and start to get into the political aspect, but mostly, I was just wondering when the action was going to start. It did pick up about two-thirds in, but the first half was just plain slow with lots of fluffy stuff (aka filler).
setting? I thought the world-building was actually pretty good. I thought the concept of an island separated from a mainland with totally different values and culture was interesting. Also, the idea that a "Goddess" chooses when the current queen should have children and be ostracized was intriguing. Overall, I really felt like I understood the island of Fennbirn and was part of it instead of feeling as if I was watching from the outside.
characters? I didn't love any of the characters. I guess my favorite was Arsinoe because she seemed the most real, but she just kept making bad decisions! Cutting runes into yourself is never a good idea, girl! Honestly, Mirabella just felt flat and one-dimensional. I get that she is having second thoughts about killing her sisters, but it just seemed predictable. Katharine was just there. Until the very end, I didn't see any action from her. All three sisters just seemed too gullible to the whims of the other characters. Show some attitude to those manipulative minor characters, girls!
any love interests? There was a love triangle. A love triangle with two girls and one boy instead of two boys and one girl, but still, I'm tired of love triangles. 
other thoughts? I know I'm bashing this book, but I still did like it OK. The beginning drew me in as well as the last third of the book. BUT THE ENDING. I thought for once this would be a nice one book story but no. Of course it's not. The end was effective through. It left me wanting more of Fennbirn. I don't know yet whether I'll read the next book. I probably will because I'm ocd that way about having the whole series on my bookshelf (If it's a series, there's no "just having one." pfff. It's just like candy on Halloween. you don't just have one.). It was good enough for me to want the next book but not for me to desperately need it. Overall, this book was a strong "meh" earning a 3-star rating (leaning towards 3.5). 
I think if I had held a different mindset going into the book, knowing it would be slower, I would have enjoyed it more. This is not a bad book at all, and I think if you like a slower paced book, you will love Three Dark Crowns!




Thanks for reading my first book review! What were your thoughts on the book? Let me know if you have any book review requests here. Buy Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake here


xoxo, madeline

my favorite books ever // top 5

Saturday, October 29, 2016


Time to talk about my favorite books!

Actually, there's a good variety of genres of books in here! I was kind of expecting them all to be fantasy (my fav genre) and historical fiction (my second fav), but we've actually got a good mix. These are all books I would give a five-star rating, hands-down, no questions asked! This list includes my favorite contemporary books but does not talk about my favorite classics! hint, hint, future post... 
Let's get to it! 





1. The entire Harry Potter Series
by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter has no idea how famous he is. That's because he's being raised by his miserable aunt and uncle who are terrified Harry will learn that he's really a wizard, just as his parents were. But everything changes when Harry is summoned to attend an infamous school for wizards, and he begins to discover some clues about his illustrious birthright. From the surprising way he is greeted by a lovable giant, to the unique curriculum and colorful faculty at his unusual school, Harry finds himself drawn deep inside a mystical world he never knew existed and closer to his own noble destiny.

Yes. I know. This is seven whole books and would take up the whole and then some of my top 5, but I love all of them. In my humble opinion, all seven of these books counts as one unit, and they must be counted as one. There is no reading only one. I mean you can read just one of them, but will you be able to stop? That's the real question here...
I also know this is on a lot of people have this on their favorite books list but for good reason. The characters are amazing, the world is amazing, everything about the series is AMAZEBALLS. It holds a special place in my heart being one of the first series I actually committed to. Wanting to read it again and again is one of the defining features of books I love, and I have read the entire Harry Potter Series over about 14 times. Literally. 


Favorite quote from the books: "We could all have been killed-- or worse, expelled." -J.K. Rowling in The Sorcerer's Stone






2. Six of Crows
by Leigh Bardugo
Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price--and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can't pull it off alone...
A convict with a thirst for revenge. A sharpshooter who can't walk away from a wager. A runaway with a privileged past. A spy known as the Wraith. A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.  A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes. Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz's crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction―if they don't kill each other first.

AHHH I love this book so much! I read Six of Crows after finishing the Grisha Trilogy (and immediately wanting more of the Grishaverse). I picked it up not really expecting much of it. Mostly, I got it because it was Leigh Bardugo, and I knew I already liked her writing (Sidenote: this is a problem. I tend to stick to authors I know and love, which means less variety in my reading). I ended loving this book SO MUCH MORE than the Grisha trilogy! It's a bit darker than the Grisha trilogy, which I think was why I loved it so much. The characters were my favorite part, my very, very favorite being Inej, but all six were so complex and well-developed! Plus, THE COVER is so pretty, and it has black pages (black stained pages I tell you!), for goodness sake!
I just recently read Crooked Kingdom (the second of the duology)and I loved it just as much. I won't give anything away about it, but it was so good! I loved it, but ALL THE FEELS.

Favorite quote from the book: "I will have you without armor, Kaz Brekker. Or I will not have you at all.”  - Leigh Bardugo in Six of Crows





3. Rena's Promise
by Rena Kornreich Gelissen and Heather Macadam

In March 1942, Rena Kornreich and 997 other young women were rounded up and forced onto the first Jewish transport of women to Auschwitz. Soon after, Rena was reunited with her sister Danka at the camp, beginning a story of love and courage that would last three years and forty-one days. From smuggling bread for their friends to narrowly escaping the ever-present threats that loomed at every turn, the compelling events in  Rena’s Promise remind us that humanity and hope can survive inordinate brutality.

OK, so this is one of those memoirs I was talking about. This is a lesser known book, but it is amazing. World War II is a time in history I am particularly interested about, and Rena's Promise falls under this category. I first read this book in sixth grade when a friend lent it to me, and looking back on it, this is an incredibly dark book for a sixth grader (but then again, dark books seem to be a theme in my favorites). I think it has a powerful message that love can survive even in the most difficult of circumstances. The Holocaust was a horrible thing, and I think that we must recognize this not by ignoring it, but by learning about it. I usually read this once or twice a year, and each time, I can equally appreciate the message that it gives.

Favorite quote from the book: "I make this oath to you: that from this day on, if you are selected I will join you no matter what. I swear that you will not go onto the trucks alone." - Rena Gelissen in Rena's Promise.



4. To All the Boys I've Loved Before
by Jenny Han 
What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them…all at once?
Lara Jean Song keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren’t love letters that anyone else wrote for her; these are ones she’s written. One for every boy she’s ever loved—five in all. When she writes, she pours out her heart and soul and says all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly, Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control.

Books like these are rarely found in my collection, "these books" being romance novels. I usually have no patience for sappy writing about falling in love, but for some reason, I really loved this book! It was light-hearted and entertaining, and obviously, I love it if it's in my top 5! I have read it several times since I first picked it up a couple years ago. Yes, it's a love triangle (which I am honestly quite tired of) but in the best possible way. Somehow, it works in this book. I also love that Lara Jean is half-Korean (because I too am part of the halfie club!). It was nice to see some diversity!

Favorite quote from the book: “I want to say yes, but I don't want to be with a boy whose heart belongs to somebody else. Just once, I want to be somebody else's first choice” - Jenny Han in To All the Boys I've Loved Before



5. The Book Thief
by Marcus Zusak
It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still.
Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement. 
In superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award-winning author Markus Zusak, author of I Am the Messenger, has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time.

Finally, here is that historical fiction I was talking about. This is another book about World War II, and if you haven't figured it out already by the fact that there are two WWII era books in my top 5, I really love reading about this time period. Anyway, this book was just plain magical without the need of any magic. I love that it has a unique point of view, being narrated by Death, and I think that is what I love so much about it. Not that we have already gone over this or anything, but this book is rather dark. Who would guess? (at this point, I think the main idea I have addressed in this post is that I love reading dark books. sorry I'm so predictable). But yeah, this book was AMAZING. It moved me almost to tears, and I would have cried if I were not in a science exam when I finished it. I haven't reread it in a while, but I know I will in the future.

Favorite quote from the book: “Usually we walk around constantly believing ourselves. "I'm okay" we say. "I'm alright". But sometimes the truth arrives on you and you can't get it off. That's when you realize that sometimes it isn't even an answer--it's a question. Even now, I wonder how much of my life is convinced.”  - Marcus Zusak in The Book Thief

Thanks for reading about my favorite books! These are some pretty basic choices, not really obscure or unique, but these are the books I go back to when I want to feel comforted or when I just don't know what to read! 



Hope you enjoyed the post! What are your favorite books ever? Comment below!

xoxo, madeline