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

book review // Crooked Kingdom

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Welcome to another review, peeps! This week I'll be talking about, as you have already figured out, Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo, also known as the sequel to my favorite book, Six of Crows (check out the review for this here). I really enjoyed this book, and I'm also very upset that there will not be a third one.

BTW I can't promise that there will not be any spoilers in this review. I mean, I won't give away anything major, but there will probs be some teensy spoilers. I repeat, if you have not read CK yet, proceed at your own risk.

I was so pumped when I got this book last month, and I am equally excited now to share with you my thoughts on it! Let's do it!

by Leigh Bardugo

Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn't think they'd survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they're right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and badly weakened, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known asjurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz's cunning and test the team's fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city's dark and twisting streets―a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of the Grisha world.

Let me give you a little backstory on my excitement for this book: Once upon a time, last spring, I read Six of Crows and loved it, and then it ended, and there was not a second one until September*. Of course, I was upset, mostly because of the ending of SOC. So, I made do with inferior books and waited impatiently until I could finally purchase it on amazon. Now, I have it, and I am happy.

*I think that's when it was released(?) maybe? i should know this but i don't. also, I have no clue how I waited that long. i was probably rereading Six of Crows.

Ok, so we are going back to the shallowest topic of all: the book's appearance. 

I really like the cover design for the book but not quite as much as the first book. I really liked the strictly black, white, and red color scheme of SOC, but Crooked Kingdom has the addition of beige. I don't love beige*. BUT I do still like the cover with that giant crow on the front. AND more stained pages. This time they're red. I still prefer the black pages though, tbh.

Overall, the cover design gets a strong B+. Huzzah!

*really sorry that I sound so snooty, but I don't particularly like beige.

Again, like SOC, the characters were the reason why I LOVE LOVE LOVED this book so much.

All of them were so well done, and I changed my mind about Wylan. I really enjoyed reading his POV. Still best described as "cute."

Jesper we learned so much more about Jesper this time around! Learning more about his story made me like him so much more! I'm sorry, but he just wasn't my favorite character in SOC. He still isn't my favorite character now, but he's definitely higher up than he was!

Nina and Matthias definitely got a lot closer, and I really love them together. The end of the book made me really happy but also really sad :( 

One of the things that most impressed me about Matthias was how much he changed throughout the two books! He really is one of my favorite characters. But then again, all six are my favorite characters. It's just like I said: they're all really well done.

Kaz and Inej Kaz and Inej's relationship may have seemed almost understated, but hey, they made a lot of progress. Their relationship took a long time to develop to the point of holding hands, and I can appreciate that. It was nice to see that their love for each other was realistic in the fact that it took a long time to develop.

I really enjoyed the fact that the book was 500 pages. Normally, this would freak me out a little (because there is so much potential for me to be bored), but in this case, it was the perfect length. I almost wanted more. The characters, the setting (just everything) was perfect, and I think this was the reason why the length didn't bother me. In fact this was me opening the amazon box for the book:

a conversation with myself
me: *opens box* heck yeah. a hefty book that will actually take me a while to read.*
me: yesss. 500 more pages of Kaz and Co.
me: let me immediately devour this book.

* I am a book devouring piranha who eats 200-300 page books for breakfast. If you actually want to distract me for a while, give me a 500 page book ­čśü

The ending of CK (like I mentioned above) was happy in some aspects, but it was sad in others.  It was however, a satisfying ending. I would have been severely disappointed if Leigh Bardugo had given me a vague/unsatisfying ending, but she delivered, and the ending was really good. 

I really loved the plot of the book because it was so complicated. Honestly, I don't usually enjoy overly complicated plots, but it worked here. Somehow.

I won't ruin anything else for you.


I can't say anything more than, it was amazing. Not quite as good as Six of Crows, but still amazing.

have you read Crooked Kingdom? Did you enjoy it? What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below! 

Contact me here with book review requests or email me at  
Hope you enjoyed this review!

xoxo, madeline

6 fictional names I can't pronounce and never will be able to

Friday, November 11, 2016

Happy Veteran's Day, all! I was thinking about what I could post today, and I eventually decided I wanted to tell you guys about the names of characters I couldn't pronounce if my life depended on it. This post is inspired by Cait Grace's (at Paper Fury) post like this! She is one of my most favoritest* book bloggers ever! Check her out!
If you know me closely, you probably know that I mangle words a lot. It could be a simple four letter word, or it could be "epitome." Why the heck is there an "eee" sound at the end? Why can we not just say it like it is spelled? 
If you are close to me and do not know that I am unable to correctly English, WELL, it's probably because I only use words I know that I can pronounce around you. #perfectionistthings.  Maybe you should reconsider your definition of being close to me**.

*If that's even a word
**I'm kidding. No one probably knows that I am unable to English. even my sister. I pretend that I am a confident pronouncer of words.

from The Wrath and the Dawn

This one was also in Cait's post, and when I read it my actual thoughts were, Same, girl, same. I mean. It just won't click in my mind. It's like, when I try to spell it my mind registers the "sh" and "ad" parts but the rest is just an undefined fjdgdfdkz sound that my mind just ignores. My brain literally skips the whole thing except the first and last two letters. I can say it (at least, I think I can) but I cannot spell this name for my life.

from the Harry Potter series

Ok, so this one isn't really a character's name per se, but I'm going to count it. This mispronunciation was from a few years ago when I was a little younger. 
You may be thinking, "Madeline, how could you mispronounce that. There's no way to mess that up!" Well, my friend. Somehow, I did. When I watched the first Harry Potter movie, I figured out that it was, in fact, not pronounced Gryffindor as in "defender." Sometimes I have trouble with the whole putting stress on syllables thing...
In my defense, it is a rather strange word, though.

from Ettiquette and Espionage

I haven't even heard this one spoken out loud, and I already know that I am pronouncing it wrong. Is the second o hard or soft?? On which syllable is the stress put? this whole name is just a ??? for me.
If you're a normal, functioning human bean who doesn't second guess every thought and also second guess that thought (what the heck am I even saying?), you'll probably be fine with this name. But that's not how I roll, apparently.

from The Heir/The Crown

Is this one pronounced like Aaron or is it just pronounced like it looks?? I don't know anything about anything!
Update: I just looked it up, and Kiera Cass said it was pronounced like "Aaron" or "Erin." 
Well, I've been pronouncing it wrong for this long, so there's no changing it now.

from Six of Crows/Crooked Kingdom

Considering Inej is my favorite Six of Crows character, you would think that I could pronounce her name correctly. Nope.
I was reading the pronunciation guide at the end of Crooked Kingdom a couple weeks ago* and I noticed that Inej is pronounced In-ezh Guh-fah. Not only have I been pronouncing her first name incorrectly but also her last name. Bonus points for that?

*yep, I am that desperate for more of this duology. Does anyone else do this? probably just me.

from the Harry Potter series

 I think this is one we have all mispronounced at some point. And if you said it right from the beginning, you deserve some kind of reward. You are a pronunciation wizard*.
I think I managed to figure Hermione's name out during the fourth book when she is explaining how to say her name to Krum, but I definitely realized it after watching the movies. Fun fact that you probably already know: J.K. Rowling included the whole Krum pronunciation scene because she knew some people everyone was having trouble with her name.

*haha. puns.

Thanks for reading! There are probably a lot more names that I forgot to put in this list, but these are the ones I could think of off the top of my head. What fictional names do you mispronounce? Do you have as much trouble as I do? (the answer is probably no but I'll ask anyway) Comment below!

xoxo, madeline

book review // With Malice by Eileen Cook

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

photo property of a chic bookworm

Hello, people! 

I was planning to do this review next week to give myself some time to finish the book at my leisure, but I actually ended up finishing With Malice by Eileen Cook a couple of days ago. I was really excited to read this book because it is a thriller, and I am known to enjoy a good thriller on occasion. So let's just get into my review!

by Eileen Cook

Eighteen-year-old Jill Charron wakes up in a hospital room, leg in a cast, stitches in her face and a big blank canvas where the last six weeks should be. She discovers she was involved in a fatal car accident while on a school trip in Italy. A trip she doesn’t even remember taking. She was jetted home by her affluent father in order to receive quality care. Care that includes a lawyer. And a press team. Because maybe the accident…wasn’t an accident.As the accident makes national headlines, Jill finds herself at the center of a murder investigation. It doesn’t help that the media is portraying her as a sociopath who killed her bubbly best friend, Simone, in a jealous rage. With the evidence mounting against her, there’s only one thing Jill knows for sure: She would never hurt Simone. But what really happened? Questioning who she can trust and what she’s capable of, Jill desperately tries to piece together the events of the past six weeks before she loses her thin hold on her once-perfect life.

I really enjoyed We were Liars by E. Lockhart, so I was hoping I would enjoy this one. I am such a sucker for drama, so this seemed right up my alley!
Before I start, I'll just say that this is one of those books. You know, the ones I can't really tell you much about without giving it away. So I'll try to refrain from giving away anything, if you haven't read it.

I'll start with the good then. 

I really enjoyed the format in which the story was told. Every other chapter or so was told from Jill's point of view, but there were also chapters mixed in that were full of witness interviews, blog posts, media reports, etc. I liked the fact that we the readers were learning what happened to Jill just as she was remembering herself. If the whole book had been in Jill's perspective, I definitely would not have enjoyed it half as much. 

The whole multimedia concept kind of reminded me of Gossip Girl, especially the blog posts (I started reading it in the gossip girl voice. love me some gossip girl.). You may be wondering what I mean by this, but gossip girl fans, I think you'll understand when you read it. The media reports were very interesting in the fact that they showed how far the press can twist things.

This book was definitely a page turner. It was fast paced and exciting, and it kept me wanting more. Like I'd just zone out because I was so interested in what was happening, and then I would be hours later. I don't think it was a piece of great literature that will be remembered a hundred years from now, but it sure was interesting. 

This book was a pretty quick read at about 300 pages. I think it would be perfect for a day on the beach, especially since I feel that it has a summery vibe to it. It was the perfect length; if it had been any longer it would have just felt monotonous.

Although this book was overall pretty good, I still have some bad things to say about it. 

Most of my disappointment in this book came from the ending. The last few chapters leading up to it were very interesting and intense, but it was like the author just wanted the book to end already and abruptly stopped it in a very random, vague spot. 

When I think of an ending of a book, I classify them into two categories: 1) satisfying/happy ending and 2) thought-provoking/everybody dies/shocking. I enjoy both types of endings, and I was hoping for a type two shocking ending for this book, but disappointingly, it ended up being in between type one and two in an annoying gray area, otherwise known as the 3) unsatisfying/vague ending. A few chapters from the end, I could tell that I wasn't going to like the ending of the book, but I held out hope for as long as I could. and was very disappointed. I can think of several things I would have changed in the book to make the ending better (but don't worry, I won't say them and spoil the book for you).

Another thing I disliked was the characters. Well, I didn't really strongly "dislike" the characters, I just felt pretty meh about them. Jill wasn't particularly likable, and at times, she was even annoying. She was a know-it-all and sometimes whiny. Simone seemed very distant, and I didn't get enough information about her to form a clear opinion of her. I think Anna was the only character that I liked because she told it like it was and didn't sugarcoat  it.
Also, anyone who's read the book, did it seem convenient to you that Anna just happened to know a computer guy? let me know in the comments.


Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It had some flaws, but they didn't completely overshadow the good parts of the book. I'd say it leans more to a 3.5 star rating than a 4, but a four-star rating is accurate enough. This book was definitely a page-turning thriller, so I'd recommend it if you're into that :)

Hope you enjoyed my review! Have you read With Malice by Eileen Cook? Did you enjoy it? Let me know in the comments! 
Contact me here if you have any book review requests!

xoxo, madeline

why I love fantasy novels // 4 compelling reasons

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Bon weekend! Right now, I am still trying to figure out my posting schedule, so bear with me if my posts are just flying everywhere with no rhyme or reason. I think what I am going to do is book reviews on wednesdays and a couple of other miscellaneous/reading/fashion posts on the weekends/friday. I already messed up this schedule yesterday by posting a review on Friday, but that's ok because the New Schedule™️ will officially begin next week! (or that's just what i'm saying...)
So, today, for a misc post of the weekend, I will be explaining exploring why I love fantasy novels so much (because I don't even know for sure why I love fantasy books so much!). I started this blog last week, and already, I have mentioned my love for fantasy many times. Which is why I will be explaining my obsession in depth today. Fantasy-haters, it's ok if you dislike my favorite genre, but I am still going to attempt to convert you to the dark side. Here are 4 reasons why I really love fantasy.

The fact that I get to live in a world totally different from my own (for the few days that I read a book) is probably the single greatest reason why I love fantasy novels so much. With contemporaries, there's a pretty good amount of variation with what you can write about, but with fantasy, oh man. There's an endless and infinite amount of worlds you can create. I love to read fantasy because although it is far from reality, it intrigues my imagination.

I think that fantasy novels are generally more creative and out of the box than contemporaries. They can be as out-worldly and eccentric as an author wishes or maybe a little closer to home. 

I'm not saying that our world is not interesting, but sometimes, you want to go somewhere else for a while. Where the 2016 presidential election isn't happening, where the adv. bio test won't ever take place, and where you can just escape from everything*.

The world-building in a fantasy novel also has the potential to ruin the book. I think this is why I either really really enjoy fantasy novels or flat out just don't. There are some novels in the middle of this, but that is rare for me.

But just think about it: it's really amazing that we can dream up our own fantasy worlds and put them down on paper.

*you still have to face your problems at some point, but it's ok to get lost in a book for a little while.

photo property of a chic bookworm

I have read many a book featuring magic, and yet, it never gets old. There are definitely times in life I would love to have magical powers and just fly to the end of the cross country race. Of course, that's not how it works in our world, but fantasy novels allow us to get lost in a world where magic actually is possible. 

Magic is not only a topic of many fantasy novels, but it is also a part of it. When you read Harry Potter you can't help but feel the magic.  Without meaning to, you can feel the magic of the world J.K. Rowling has created every facet of. Seeing is not always believing.

I don't really know how to explain it, but there's a certain feeling of happiness I get when I read about magic. It just feels special, like it is your own totally personal world.

photo property of a chic bookworm

This one sort of ties into the topic of magic. The characters in fantasy novels have the potential to be so much more interesting than just regular people. Usually, fantasies feature a) a person with magical powers or b) someone who doesn't have special powers but is just as powerful as those who do. 

I love reading about both. When I read about characters who don't have magical powers (in a world of people who do), it just makes the character that much more special. They might not have special magic, but they can survive the fireballs and/or dragons rushing at them. That's an accomplishment. 

When a character does happen to have magical powers, they are still pretty special. They are the ones who can take a hit from the fireball/dragon and end up fine. But usually they are the ones controlling the dragon in the first place. This is also an accomplishment.

I feel that characters in fantasy novels can be more diverse, and they tend to have more unique personalities. 

Finally, I really enjoy the action that takes place in fantasies. I do enjoy a more chill book now and then, but mostly, I just want to read about action, adventure, and some more action. I think it's safe to day that there is definitely more action in (most) fantasy than in (most) other books. I don't know about you, but I tend to only pick up the fantasy that has plenty of action. 

Fantasy has the potential for monsters and other trials that cannot be faced by characters living in a normal world. And when do dragons not make a book that much more exciting? No time whatsoever is the answer. 

The action is much richer in fantasy than in any other genre. There isn't anything that will compare to dragon-fighting in any contemporary, is there? I didn't think so.

There is usually a love triangle/love interest in fantasy novels, and while I don't really like love triangles, the action/adventure parts of a fantasy will usually balance this out. 

photo property of a chic bookworm

 I think the main point I am trying to get across is that fantasy can be anything you want it to be. An author can make a world wayyy more beautiful than our own or one that is darker, one in which we are glad we do not have to live. I love fantasy because it is a glimpse into a world that is not our own. 

Hope you enjoyed this post! Do you enjoy reading fantasy? What is your favorite/least favorite part about it? Comment below!

xoxo, madeline