Book Review 012

Hey guys! I am back with another book review. These are the books that I’ve read since finished the Throne of Glass series in mid-October. I’ve started a book journal recently so I’m hoping that it will be easier for me to write my reviews now. So let’s get into the books.

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

So if you guys didn’t watch my Vlogtober videos, you might have missed that I recently purchased a bunch of classic novels. I was drawn by the beautiful covers, but I also haven’t read many classics so I decided to purchase 11 lol. I choose Frankenstein as the first one to read since it was October and I wanted something for the spooky season.

I’ve heard of Frankenstein is passing but I didn’t know the actual story. For those who also don’t know, Frankenstein is a Swiss scientist who creates this creature who wreaks havoc on Frankenstein’s life (Frankenstein was the scientist, not the monster). So I enjoyed learning the actual story. There are so great lessons to learn from the novel, and I also liked how the story ended. But that’s where my positives end.

I wasn’t very engaged while reading Frankenstein. I often found myself taking phone breaks, something I don’t normally do. I also fell asleep once while reading the novel. I found that they were too many descriptive passage and long monologues that didn’t add anything to the storyline.

When reading a horror, thriller, or mystery, predictable is an important aspect. I don’t mind if I can predict the plot twists, but I prefer it when I don’t. I predicted some things and other things I didn’t. So if you are someone who hates predictability, this book was 50/50.

Frankenstein is supposed to be one of the most famous gothic horrors. Now I don’t know much about the genre, but I expected to be scared. Overall I don’t think this is scary by modern standards, but I understand that at the time it could have been radical. Overall though I didn’t satisfy my wish for something scary during the Halloween season.

I give this book a 3/5. I can see why it’s a classic and why people like it. But I wasn’t engaged or scared, two things that I wanted from this book. Fingers crossed that some of my other classics are better than this one.

Gimme a Call by Sarah Mlynowski

I have a very large physical to be read list, with books that I’ve purchased back in middle school on my shelf. This is one of them. I kept this book because I’ve read quite a few other Mlynowski books, with the Bra and Broomsticks series being one of my tween faves. So I decided to give this book a chance.

The story follows Devi, a high school senior who drops her phone in a fountain and can only talk to her freshman self. Devi gives her younger self advice, such as staying away from her ex-boyfriend and how to get good grades. I loved the concept of this novel. Mlynowski took the simple idea of what would you say to your past self and developed into a story. I liked that whenever Devi tried to change the past it had ramifications for her current self, and they were both positive and negative.

I think there are great themes and lessons in this novel. I think they are great for younger readers to read and learn about. I think if I was 14 I would love this book, but a lot of the lessons I’ve just learned myself growing up.

There was also a lot of second-hand embarrassment that is common in younger YA novels. I’m not a huge fan of it. Sure it’s fine in small doses but too much is just too cringy for me. But maybe that’s just my age showing.

This book is also set in the late 2000s/early 2010s, so it was so fun to reach about fashion and technology back then. I grew up during this time so it was fun to reminisce.

I give this book a 3.5/5. I loved this concept and it’s something I will think about in the future. I would recommend this to younger readers, maybe 12-16. If I was younger I think I would enjoy this book more. But at 23 I just couldn’t handle the second-hand embarrassment.

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari

A nonfiction book for once! I don’t read a ton of nonfiction but I had read amazing things about this book. I also love history so I thought this would be a good read for me. Sapiens is an overview of humankind from our creation to our current times (published in 2014) and also looking at future possibilities.

Now I took a break reading this book when I was about halfway through. I started it back in August, trying to read nonfiction and fiction at the same time. Then I started Throne of Glass and that went out the window. After Gimme a Call I decided to dedicate myself to finishing this book.

First, let’s breakdown the content. I picked up this novel hoping to learn a lot and I honestly knew a lot of what he talked about already. I’ve taken a few anthropology and history courses at university as well as learning many different ideological theories during my studies. Because Harari is covering such a large timespan, he just skims the surface on many different things. I wish he would have dived deeper into certain subjects more. But he does have an in-depth reference list, so I could look at his sources if I want to learn more about a certain subject.

What stands out though is that Harari has a different point of view compared to what I learned in school. So it was interesting because some of what he says is contrary to popular opinion. I also enjoyed his section on happiness because it was one of the few areas I didn’t know anything about it. The only thing is I don’t remember much of what he said. I almost needed to have taken notes to help me absorb some of what he said.

Now let’s breakdown the writing, because I think that’s just as important as the content for nonfiction. I found his writing style to be very straight forward and simple. The times that I didn’t know about something already, it was easy for me to get because it explained it well. I did find it a bit dry though. So the combination of me knowing information and a dry style meant that I wasn’t very excited to read the novel. I set myself daily page goals to get through this book. Nonfiction books can be engaging, but this one just wasn’t it.

So overall I give this book a 3/5. I would say it’s not the most exciting but it is easy to read. I would recommend this to anyone who is interested in history but doesn’t know much about it. If you have a moderate knowledge of history and anthropology, then you’ll be like me and be bored.

So guys those are the novels I’ve heard recently. Three very average books. Let me know if the comments what you have read recently and if you have any recommendations. I have a pretty long TBR, but I can always bump books up if you want me to read them sooner. 🙂

xoxo

Lea

Introducing my Book Journal

Hey guys! So if you haven’t noticed, I’ve gotten into reading recently. I loved reading when I was a teenager, but university and college impacted my reading levels. I was just so tired from studying all day that I wasn’t very motivated to read. But the combination of finishing school and being in a pandemic has increased the amount of reading I’m doing. I decided to start reviewing books on my blog and my Tiktok. But I realized I needed a better way to keep track of everything. That’s where the idea to have a reading journal came in.

Before I had two ways of tracking my reading. I have a page in my bullet journal where I simply rate the books I’ve read. It’s right beside my page for tv shows. Then after I finish book I write on a sticky note some of my thoughts and put it in the book. From there I would write a blog post. But I felt a void in this system. My notes weren’t quite small and simple. I also wasn’t keeping track of the dates. And finally I like to have physical records of thing (case in point my bullet journal), so I wasn’t satisfied with just digital reviews. So that’s why I decided to create a reading journal.

My previous book tracking system

I’ve seen it mentioned on TikTok before so I decided to do some research. And well it was a little overwhelming. There were so many different ones. Some people like to write notes while they read. There are some premade journals on the market as well. And finally some people are creative and do almost bullet journal like spreads for the reading journal. I debated buying a premade journal but I couldn’t find one that I liked exactly.

Then I had the brilliant idea of just creating my own layout in a notebook. As a notebook hoarder I have a few empty ones lying around. So I grabbed one and look at different layouts and pick and choose what I wanted to include in my.

My index page

The first thing I wrote was an index. It’s funny because I don’t use my index in my bullet journal, but I knew it would be important in this reading journal. That way I can look at the index and see what page a book review is, instead of flipping all the pages to find what I’m looking for. It might be easy for me to find what I’m looking for now, but in the future once I have dozens on books in here it might be difficult.

Next I decided to dedicate one page per book/series. I know people have different thoughts on reviewing series. I’m personally team review-series-as-a-whole. I never read one individual book of a series. I prefer to read series all together and will avoid reading a series if all the books aren’t out. And I wouldn’t recommend a series to someone if the last book sucked even if the first book was good. So that’s why in my example Throne of Glass series is one page, similar to how I wrote one book review for the whole series.

So obviously I decided to include the book title and author. Then I included some descriptive information such as genre, length and publication date. That way if I don’t have the physical book with me I can remember certain aspects. This is also helpful to giving recommendations – if someone wants a short fantasy novel I can flip through and find that quickly.

My review of the “Throne of Glass” series

Next I included start and end dates. I have a pretty good memory of when I read books even if I don’t remember the plot lol. My mind works in interesting ways. But I thought the start and end date would be interesting to see how long it took me to get through a book.

Then for ratings I put overall rating as well and excitement and ease. I think that while excitement and ease factor into a book’s overall rating, they can be different. For example I gave Frankenstein a 3/5 for overall but only 2/5 in excitement. A book could be easy to read but not the best book. For example, I read Gimme a Call which is meant for young teens. So it was super easy for me to read, but other factors brought the rating down.

The biggest section is my thoughts. This is where I go in-depth into what I thought. I debated putting in a synopsis section, but then I realized I can easily just Google that if I forget it. Whereas I can’t Google my thoughts about the book if I forget it. So here I just put whatever I think about the book. I talk about plot, character development and relationships, world-building, writing style, themes, etc. This journal is for me so I write whatever I want.

Finally I put a recommend to section. Just because a book is good doesn’t mean it’s for everyone. Lots of people only read certain genres or certain subjects. Some people only read YA or adult books, so it’s good to identify if people outside YA or adult could read the novel. This will be helpful to reference back to as well. If someone is like “Oh I’m looking for a book with romance but doesn’t necessarily need to be just a romance book” I can flip through a find that.

So that is the layout of my reading journal. I currently have three books in here that I filled out this weekend. I am excited to use it more and hopefully stick with it. Maybe in a couple of months I’ll update you guys on how it’s working and if I would change anything. Let me know if you have a reading journal and how you use it in the comments below!

xoxo

Lea

Book Review 011: Throne of Glass series

Hey guys! Today I am reviewing the Throne of Glass series so this is going to be a long post. I am going to do this in sections because there is a lot to discuss. So first I am going to give my overall thoughts on the series, without any spoilers. Then I will discuss the reading order because these novels can be complicated. And finally, I am going to break down each book individually and there will be spoilers in this section. I’ll mark where the spoilers begin so you can skip that section. But I thought I would include my thoughts just in case you have read the series and are interested in what I thought. Okay, let’s get into it.

I’ve mentioned this on other social media platforms but I have quickly become obsessed with booktok – which is the book community on TikTok. I have changed my TikTok account to be a booktok account, so if you like books I would recommend you follow me there. Anyway, it’s been a couple of years since I was really into reading so there were so books that are popular that I haven’t read. One of the most popular series on booktok is the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas. It’s a high fantasy novel and I haven’t read anything like that for a while so I decided to give it a go. There are seven books and one book of novellas.

Series Review

The first novel is about Celaena, a trained assassin who has been imprisoned by the King of Adarlan. She is given the chance to compete against 23 other assassins to serve the King and be free. As Celaena competes she befriends the Crown Prince and the Captain of the Guard. But as the competition progresses, the competitors start mysteriously dying. Celaena must win the competition but also figure out what is going on in the castle.

Now the plot of this series advances from this first novel. There is magic, witches, fae and dragons in the later novels. There is lots of fighting and death but also a fair share of magic as well.

So things I liked about this series. I loved the main character Celaena. She is the badass fighter but she also has a girly side where she loves dresses and the arts. I like that Celaena is balanced because sometimes female characters in fantasy novels can be quite one-sided. She can be quite stubborn and selfish in the earlier novels, but I loved how her character develops throughout the later novels.

I found that the vast majority of the characters in the novel were pretty complex and developed throughout the series. Maas has a huge cast of characters throughout the series. It can a little annoying at first because I just wanted to read from Celaena’s point of view, but I grew to love the other characters and were happy to read from their point of view. The only characters who I didn’t love were Dorian and Aedion because I found both of them to be quite one-note.

I also love the world-building in the novels, especially in Tower of Dawn. The world that Maas created is huge. There are multiple continents and I appreciated how each one was different. Maas put details in how these places looked, smelled, what they wore and what they ate. I was very immersed and would love to visit some of these places.

Now the things that I think could be improved. First, if you go on booktok you’ll notice pretty quickly that while they love this book they are also very quick to point out that there isn’t much diversity. Yes, there are so diverse characters in some of the later novels but they all side characters. It’s a fantasy series so Maas could have made some people purple but a lot of them were white with either blonde or dark hair. I think it would have been great if Maas had made her characters more diverse.

There is a lot of history and folklore in the series, which was mainly introduced in Heir of Fire. I found it somewhat overwhelming to be thrown all this lore all at once. I also sometimes found myself forgetting which god or dead queen/king was who. I think Maas could have done a better job of slowly introducing these elements in the earlier novels and giving better reminders throughout the series.

I also wasn’t a huge fan of the way that the magic system was described, but I think that’s a very personal opinion. For example, Aelin’s power is fire and I’ve (somewhat) recently read Red Queen where one of the main character’s power is also fire. I just didn’t like the description as much compared to Red Queen. It just didn’t seem as real or organic is that makes any sense.

Finally, the last two novels are more war-based plotlines and that’s just not as much my thing. I’ve read a few war plotlines and I just don’t like them as much, even though it’s a common element in fantasy novels. I find war to be tedious and sad. But despite the war, there were still some great elements in the later books.

So overall I would give this series 5/5. I know, that’s my first 5/5 I think since starting to rate novels. And even though I did have some cons to this series, I found that they didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the series. This is the fastest I’ve ever read a series. The first couple of novels I was reading within 3/4 days. I read Empire of Storms within a week. A similar length novel is Midnight Sun and it took me three weeks to read that novel. I was engaged and felt very connected to the characters. And I cried so much during the last novel. If you like fantasy, you HAVE to read this series. It’s great!

Reading Order

So I’ve mentioned that there are seven books and one book of novellas that are a prequel to the series. In a similar way that they are multiple ways to watch Star Wars, there are multiple ways to read this series. There is no ‘wrong’ way, but the order can change how much you perceive the series. So I read:

  • Throne of Glass
  • Crown of Midnight
  • The Assassin’s Blade
  • Heir of Fire
  • Queen of Shadows
  • Empire of Storms
  • Tower of Dawn
  • Kingdom of Ash

The Assassin’s Blade is the prequel novellas but they are quite important to the series. It’s helpful to read them because there are characters in them that come back later in the series. I had read online to read them after Crown of Midnight because you don’t need to before them. But Crown of Midnight ends on a cliff-hanger and I wished I could have gone straight to Heir of Fire. So I actually would have read The Assassin’s Blade after Throne of Glass. I think Throne of Glass has a complete enough ending where you want to continue the series but you wouldn’t be annoyed going back in time. But I wouldn’t read The Assassin’s Blade first because it’s helpful to know a bit about the world before going to the book.

Also, Empire of Storms and Tower of Dawn happen simultaneously. I know some people skip Tower of Dawn because Empire of Storms has a huge cliff-hanger. But I would highly recommend not skipping Tower of Dawn because it’s a great book. Where Tower of Dawn takes place is one of my favourite places in the series and some of the characters are very important for Kingdom of Ash. If you don’t think you can handle not having a cliff-hanger, there is some tandem-reading list where you go back and forth between Empire of Storms and Tower of Dawn. I didn’t read it that way so I’m not sure what it’s like, but either way I wouldn’t skip Tower of Dawn.

*** Spoilers coming up**** Individual Book Reviews

Throne of Glass

I liked this book! I read it in three days which is a record for me. I was just so hooked and engaged. I like Chaol better than Dorian. I know that they are a lot of Dorian fans online, but there is something about him that I just don’t like. I find him to be a bit of a f*ckboy where he just cares about himself.

It’s hard for me to remember what Chaol was like in the first novel since he has such a huge character development throughout the series and he was an asshole in the middle of the series. But I think I liked him in the first novel because he was just trying to help Celaena and be her friend.

My one critique was that I wished there was more romance because it was pretty bare in the first novel. (Don’t worry, there is more later in the series).

Crown of Midnight

I liked the first half of the novel. I enjoyed the building romance between Chaol and Celaena. I also enjoyed the friendship between Celaena and Nehemia. So you can imagine how gutted I was when Nehemia was killed. I guessed that Nehemia was going to die sometime within the series, I didn’t expect it the way that it happened.

It’s quite hard for me to wrap my head around Nehemia’s death and the repercussions it had. At the time I was frustrated because I shipped Chaol and Celaena hard and this moment ruined their relationship. But what happened and their reactions are super important to the over-arching storyline. So at the time, I thought everyone was overreacting but now I’m happy if that makes any sense.

I also guessed that Celaena was Aelin but I did not guess that Celaena was fae. So basically every plot twist Maas writes I partially guess but not fully it seems.

The Assassin’s Blade

As I mentioned before, I wish I had read this novel after Throne of Glass. But after reading it I could see how it’s important. The first three novellas are Celaena meeting people who will later be allies in the later novels.

I was shocked by The Assassin and the Red Dessert. I never expected that Ansel was going to betray the Silent Assassins.

I know that a lot of people loved Sam but I wasn’t as huge of a fan. I could see how the relationship was doomed in some sense by the way they acted in the last two novellas. But I do see his importance in being her first love. Which is something that I like that Maas does. She does switch up the love interest but that’s what real life is like. Some people do meet and stay with their first relationship, but most people have many relationships and they learn and grow from them. I think Sam is her first love and is important because he showed Celaena that it’s possible to love and care for people.

Heir of Fire

As I mentioned above, I found the beginning of this novel to be a little confusing. All of the fae and witch lore were thrown all at once so it was a little confusing to keep track of everything. This is also the first novel where Manon’s storyline is thrown in so the extra point of view can be a bit confusing. I found myself always wanted to go back to Aelin’s point of view just because I didn’t connect to Manon yet and found what was happening back in Rifthold not as interesting.

I wasn’t as sure that I was going to like Rowan as much as Chaol but he quickly grew on me. As soon as I learned about his relationship with Lyria I was in love with him. This love only continued to grow throughout the series.

On the other hand, I found Dorian’s relationship with Sorscha to be so bland. He said that he loved her but to me, it felt more like an infatuation. But I was pretty shocked when Sorscha was murdered though. That was crazy.

This novel was when Aedion was introduced as well. And I’ll say it here that I’m not a huge fan of Aedion as well. I found him to be pretty one-note and honestly just not that interesting.

I found this pacing of the second half of the novel to be pretty good with what was happening in Mistward (and whatever else happened in this novel that I can’t remember lol).

Queen of Shadows

This is my favourite novel in the series. I found it was a perfect balance between battle and court intrigue. The only thing is that I couldn’t wait until Aelin and Rowan were reunited, but I think helped me read through the first half of the novel quickly. The only thing I didn’t like was reading Dorian’s point of view, but I was happy that it was kept to a minimum.

I love Lysandra’s plotline in this novel. I knew I was going to like her even when she was supposed to be a bitch in The Assassin’s Blade. I was happy that she got to kill Arobynn in the end.

I know a lot of people didn’t like Chaol in this book and I do agree that he said some pretty awful stuff to Aelin. Calling her a monster was pretty uncalled for. And he also endangered everyone’s life by trying to get to Dorian with the witches present. But I do get that Chaol was going through a crisis of his whole world going up-side-down and he was just scared of something that he felt was out of his control. But I think he did realize he was in the wrong and apologized in the end.

I also loved Manon and Elide’s plotline in this book. I really like Elide because she shows that you can be a strong and brave person without having to have magic like some of the other characters. I also liked seeing Manon grow and realize that she doesn’t have to be a hateful person.

Empire of Storms

I did not expect the twist with Darrow denying Aelin her crown. But it leads to Aelin going to Pirate’s Bay and I love this twist with Lysandra becoming a sea dragon. I thought it was great.

Also, I got the romance that I was looking for in this novel. I think the scene when Aelin and Rowan were in the water after the fight at Pirate’s Bay was immaculate.

I enjoyed reading about Elide and Lorcan. I think their romance is my favourite after Aelin and Rowan. They are enemies to lovers but I love how even with everything that Elide keeps her independence.

I was shocked and saddened when Maeve captured Aelin, but I didn’t find that I needed to immediately go to Kingdom of Ash and skip Tower of Dawn. There was a part of me that knew Aelin would escape somehow so I was fine to pause that storyline and go to Tower of Dawn.

Tower of Dawn

I liked this one! I think it might be my second favourite after Queen of Shadows. I just loved the world of the southern continent and found it so interesting compared to the northern continent.

I think Chaol’s character development throughout this novel was amazing. He went from an asshole who thought he was worthless to being a great guy. I loved Yrene and the relationship between the two was great.

I also loved Nesryn’s adventure she had with the ruks. I also cried when Sartaq came to Nesryn’s uncle’s house at the end of the novel. He told Nesryn was named heir and wanted to be with her if she would have him. Oh, I just love it!

I found this novel to be very engaging and I didn’t necessarily miss the other storyline. I was very happy that I read it.

Kingdom of Ash

Man, I have a lot of thoughts and feelings about this novel. First I cried SO MUCH while reading it. Some tears were of sadness and some were happiness.

I finally understood why people like Fenrys because I found him bland before this novel. He stood beside Aelin while she was being tortured. And he broke the blood oath to help her and she returned the favour by giving him the blood oath to keep him alive.

I found that it took forever for Aelin to escape/get rescued. I found it agonizing to read about Aelin getting torture, but I understand that Maas probably did that to help the reader understand what Aelin was feeling.

I loved with Elide rode into the field to find Lorcan even though there was a high chance that she would die. I found the whole scene so romantic but also scary because they could have died. There were many emotions.

I also loved when it Manon was crowned Queen of the Witches and called everyone to war. It gives me shivers thinking about it.

I sobbed when I read the Thirteen sacrificing themselves. I think Maas developed the relationship between Manon and the Thirteen well so it was heart-wrenching when they died. And then all the city putting stones to honour their sacrifice – I am still tearing up thinking about it.

I guessed that Aelin and Dorian would try and seal the gate together, but I did not guess that Aelin would kick Dorian out and try to do it herself. I was also crying happy tears about the fact that Rowan tattooed a map for Aelin to get back home to him. The love between the two of them is unreal.

I think Evangeline’s character was so cute. She was able to melt Darrow’s heart so she would be named his heir and ensure that Aelin would be crowned in the end. I like how Aelin asked Evangeline to win back her crown earlier in the series and she managed to do so later.

I was sobbing as well with the moments between Gavriel and Aedion right before Gavriel sacrificed himself. It’s so sad. I like how Maas built different relationships within the novel. There were romantic relationships but also friendships and family. I also cried when Aelin gave Gavriel the blood oath after he died. I’m crying right now just writing.

And my final favourite moment is Aelin saying to Yrene that they were a long way from where they met in The Assassin’s Blade. Aelin also asked all the women to walk with her after she was crowned. There was some amazing male character in this novel, but the female characters were all spectacular. They were strong and independent and they were the ones that saved the kingdom at the end of the day.

And that is my very long review of the Throne of Glass series. Sorry that it’s so long but the series was long and there was so much I wanted to say. I promise that not every book review will be like this. This is a special book review for a special book series. I am very excited to read Maas’ other books in the future!

xoxo

Lea

Book Reviews 010

Hey guys! I am back with another book review post. These are all the books I’ve read since mid-July. If you want a quick recap of my thoughts on these books, you can check out my TikTok where I post quick reviews of all the books I’ve read in a month. The only book not in this list is Drums of Autumn. That book is apart of the Outlander series, so I will review it when I do the series as a whole.

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins

This is the first of two books based on favourites from my teenage years. This novel is a prequel to the Hunger Games series. It follows Coriolanus Snow, who becomes President Snow in the Hunger Games. Coriolanus is a mentor in the 10th Hunger Games and must help Lucy Gray, the female tribute from District 12.

I loved going back into the Hunger Games universe. I really enjoyed the world that Collins has created. This book shows the origins of a lot of aspects that are so important in the later novels. It was fun to find all the little Easter eggs within the book.

While I did enjoy reading about the universe again, I will say that this novel was a little too long. The story is just over 500 pages. And while I think it was a nice long ark and I don’t think that there are necessarily any passages that should be cut out, I do think that some things could have been paired down. There were just some small comments that were completely unnecessary. It would get tedious at times, so taking out some bits would have speed up the read.

When I don’t like the main character of a novel I usually don’t like the novel overall. But despite not liking Coriolanus I still rooted for him. I still wanted him to do well. He’s arrogant, selfish and a know-it-all. This book does a really good job of giving the backstory of President Snow.

*SPOILER* I liked how this romance was. Lucy and Coriolanus fall in love but you can tell it’s not that deep. It’s only circumstantial. So it makes sense that when they have the chance to be together it all falls apart. I loved that they tried to kill each other, it just makes so much sense.

So overall I rated the book a 3.5/5. A little long and I didn’t like Coriolanus, but I loved returning to the world and learning more. I also loved Lucy Gray. I would recommend this book for any fan of the Hunger Games.

The Siren by Kiera Cass

The Siren, Kiera Cass

I am a huge The Selection series fan, which was also written by Cass. So I had high expectations to say the less and I was quite disappointed.

The novel follows Kahlen, who is a siren. She works for the Ocean but luring humans to their together. By chance, she meets and falls in love with Akinli who is human, even though she can’t speak to him. I must say that I love the concept of Kahlen being a siren. She lives with a few other sirens and it was so interesting to learn about them. I wish she had developed the aspect of them being sirens more.

This has the potential to be an epic love story, but Kahlen spent most of the novel complaining! She was crying or sad or depressed. There were some create moments in the novel, like when she is in Port Clyde. I also loved her friendship with her siren sister Aisling. But in the end, I just wasn’t satisfied with how the novel finished.

Also wanted to note that this novel was written before The Selection series but published after they were out. And I think that shows. Cass was a young writer trying to figure out her grove during this book.

So I would give this book a 3/5. It has a great concept and some great moments, but the complaining was annoying. I would recommend this to anyone who is a Cass fan who wants to read her whole collection.

Midnight Sun by Stephanie Meyer

Midnight Sun, Stephenie Meyer, Twilight

Ahh, I loved Twilight when I was a teenager. I didn’t get into reading until I was a tween, so this was one of the first series that I fell in love with. I was new to reading so I was able to overlook a lot of the bad writing lol. But yes I love Twilight, saw all the movies opening weekend, had posters, collectors book and even necklaces with the book cover on it. So when I say that Stephanie Meyer released Midnight Sun I immediately purchased it.

Midnight Sun is a retelling of the first novel from the perspective of Edward. It was great to return to the Twilight universe and learn more. Because it’s from Edward’s perspective, the reader can learn so much more about the Cullen Clan. The clan is arguably my favourite part about the series so I enjoyed learning about them.

Because it’s also Edward who is narrating, the reader is to experience that it’s like for Edward to hear people’s thoughts. I love the sections where Edward is listening to people. It makes you change how you feel about characters. For example, I didn’t mind Jessica from Bella’s perspective, but she is a bitch from Edward’s perspective! So I really enjoyed that.

But MAN this novel was long, slow and repetitive. The first half of the book is just Edward complaining about how good Bella’s blood smells. After a while, I was just so tired of it. I think Meyer could cut out large sections of the novel and I would be happier.

Also, Edward is very controlling. You would think that hearing Edward’s rationale would make the reader maybe sympathize with him, but I couldn’t take it. He literally would watch everything that Bella did and didn’t believe she could do anything herself. I was more of Team Jacob when I was younger and I think this novel solidified how annoying Edward can be. I think he isn’t a bad character necessarily, just how he acts with Bella is just too much.

I would give this book a 3/5. Any Twilight fan has to read this novel. But this isn’t the best book out there.

The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

The Truth About Forever, Sarah Dessen

I finished this book on Saturday so it’s not included in my August book review on TikTok. My friends and I were huge Sarah Dessen fans when we were teenagers. I think one of my friends has read all the books she published. I’ve read a few of her books and I had a few that I haven’t read yet on my shelves. I accidentally had this book on my to-read-shelf even though I’ve read it before. It took about 10 pages to realize that I have read this novel, but I couldn’t remember exactly what was going to happen so I decided to read the book anyway.

The story follows Macy, who struggles to deal with her grief her father while her boyfriend is away for the summer. She decided to take a job catering at Wish, where she befriends the chaotic crew and mysterious Wes. The novel is an ‘effortless perfect’ type, where Macy seems perfect but the reader realizes along with Macy that it’s okay to not be perfect and to be a real human.

This novel is like a Hallmark movie in the sense that there is some cheesiness and the ending is predictable. Everything works out and everyone is happy. I think there are some great moments. And I will admit that there were some moments where I teared up a bit. I don’t know what to say guys, I am a sucker for a Sarah Dessen novel.

So I would give this a 4/5. Yes, it’s cheesy and predictable but I still thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

And those are my book reviews guys! Woo, that was a lot. I am currently reading the Throne of Glass series, so I won’t have another book review until I’m done. But at the rate I’m going it might not be that long haha.

xoxo

Lea

Book Review 009

Hey guys! Today I am back with another book review! I am pretty impressed within myself that these book reviews are almost becoming a monthly occurrence. If you want to see more book content, check out my TikTok (@leaveittolea) because it’s slowly becoming a booktok account haha. So today I have three books, two older ones and one recent bestseller.

Restoring Harmony by Joelle Anthony

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You know I bought this book a while ago by the fact that I got this through Scholastics hahaha. This stand-alone dystopian novel follows Molly as she travels from Canada to the US to bring her grandparents back home. Along the way she befriends Spill, a mysterious boy who helps her out.

First I enjoyed the fact that this was a stand-alone novel and didn’t focus on toppling some corrupt government. I find that’s all YA dystopian novels seem to be so this was refreshing in a sense. I also found the reasoning behind the current situation was quick reasonable and realistic, but I do wish it was explained a bit more. But that’s a difference between YA and adult novels, is that YA focuses on relationships while adult focuses on the world more.

Now I found the main character Molly to be a little one dimensional. Her one trait was that she was quick naive. This caused her to be kind to everyone and get into trouble. I wish there was just more depth to Molly because I just found her annoyingly stupid at times. Also, she’s into farming so there would be sections that just focused on farming. I often find myself going “okay let’s finish farming and get on with it”.

I decided to give this a 3/5. I enjoyed it but it wasn’t anything mind-blowing. If you are a big fan of dystopian novels then check this out.

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

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So I had high expectations going into this novel because it was on the top of the New York Times bestseller list for months. And honestly? I was kind of let down. Like I thought this was going to be like Educated by Tara Westover where I was blown away and made me think and question everything. And while I did cry at the end for the majority of the novel I was bored! Okay, I’m getting ahead of myself.

Where the Crawdads Sing follows two timelines that slowly intertwine through the novel. The one timeline follows Kya, a girl who lives by herself in a marsh after her family abandoned her. The other follows the murder of Chase Andrews, who lived in the same small town as Kya. As the novel progresses, Kya grows older and we learn of her relationship with Chase.

So first when you hear that there was a murder you would think it would play a bigger part of the story. I love a good thriller, but the murder was the secondary plotline. A large part of the novel is actually the descriptions of the marsh landscape. The passages were beautifully written but were so numerous that I got so bored. After I finished the novel I found out that Owens is a zoologist who was written many nature books so it all made sense.

I think I would summarize my feelings towards this novel as bored for the majority of the time. Yes, there were some sad parts where I cried and yes there were some nice romantic parts. The majority of the novel was descriptions of the landscape or descriptions of Kya’s loneliness which I didn’t find very captivating. I think some readers might connect with Kya more and would therefore enjoy the novel more but I didn’t have that.

I gave this a novel a 3/5. The ending saved this novel from being any lower because it did make me cry. I think that if you enjoy nature descriptions than you would enjoy this novel. Or if you are someone who resonates with stories of being alone or distanced then you might enjoy it as well. But to be fair I seem to be in the minority because most people on Goodreads absolutely love this book. So proceed with caution is all I will say.

Hunger Journeys by Maggie de Vries

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This book was really interesting! First, Maggie de Vries is Canadian and I love supporting my fellow Canadians. As well, I’ve read many novels set during World War 2, but nothing from a Dutch, non-Jewish perspective. The war impacted everyone’s lives and I didn’t know that much about what happened to the Netherlands during this time. I’ve been to Amsterdam and visited the Dutch countryside so it was fun to read a novel of a place I’ve visited and be able to visualize where they were.

The story follows Lena as she travels from her hometown of Amsterdam to Almelo with her friend Sofie to find food for her family. Along the way, they befriend two German soldiers. Lena also develops connections to the Dutch resistance.

I think what was interesting is that all the characters were flawed. Even Lena was flawed and she struggled with her flaws throughout the novel. There were moments where I liked Lena and Sofie and other moments where they annoyed me. The only thing is that there was very little character development throughout the novel. I would Lena developed a little by the end but Sofie was annoying throughout.

My other major issue with the novel was how rushed the ending was! So many events and changes happened to the girls and then everything was just over? I was just left wanting more.

Overall I would rate this a 3/5. I was really interesting compared to other war novels I’ve read, but the lack of character development and the rushed ending made the book average.

And those are the books I’ve read. As always, let me know some of your book recommendations! I have a long to-read list but I can always add more books to it haha.

xoxo

Lea

Book Review 008

Hey guys! I am back with another book review! I am pretty proud of myself, I now read books at the rate of 1 per week/week and a half. I never had the energy to read when I was in school, but now that’s I’m done it’s all I want to do. Today I have four books, one stand-alone and series.

The Woman in the Window by A. J. Finn

I believe that my mom got this for me either for my birthday or Christmas a year or two ago. After reading The Woman on the Train a couple of years ago I’ve gotten into adult mystery/thriller dramas. It makes sense since I enjoy watching thriller movies. This one was okay. The story follows Dr. Anna Fox, an agoraphobe (someone who is afraid of leaving their home/crowded places) who witnesses a brutal crime in her neighbours’ house.

I liked Anna, the main character. Finn really plays up the unreliable narrative aspect of Anna, so I was supposed to question what Anna was thinking. But because I liked her I couldn’t help but believe her. It was also interesting to read about an agoraphobe during a pandemic because Anna was too scared to leave her house and I wasn’t supposed to leave my house.

I found that not a lot happened throughout the novel. And when stuff did happen it wasn’t that exciting or impactful. I also found the twist at the ending that amazing. I didn’t guess it, but it wasn’t very satisfying.

I am giving this book a 3/5. I enjoyed it, but there are better thriller novels out there.

The Lacey Chronicles by Eve Edwards

I like to review series altogether, because realistically who reads the 3rd novel of a series if they didn’t read the rest? Some books in a series are better than others, but I like to recommend them as a whole. So overall I give The Lacey Chronicles a 4/5 and will break it down.

The first novel, The Other Countess, follows Ellie and Will. Ellie is the daughter of a Spanish Countess and English alchemist. Will is the Earl of Dorset. Will hates Ellie because her father financially ruined her late father. The second novel, The Queen’s Lady follows Jane and Will’s younger brother James. Jane is a widow and the newest lady in waiting to Queen Elizabeth and James is setting sails to the Americas. The final novel, The Rogue’s Princess, follows Kit and Mercy. Kit is the illegitimate brother of Will and James and a famous actor in London. Mercy is the daughter of a rich, Puritan merchant.

As you can tell, all three novels are historical romances. What I really like about them is that they focus on aspects that are not always common in YA historical novels. The novels discuss alchemy, death, racism and religion. They are not deep dives into these topics, but they give more than some other novels. For example, an important secondary novel in the second book is Diego. He is a black man who was stolen from Africa and is a servant to Will and James. Edwards gives Diego autonomy by writing in his perspective and he is integral to the storyline instead of just being a token black person. Now I will say that Edwards doesn’t necessarily dives deep into these topics, but I appreciate that she at least mentions them instead of leaving them out.

It’s hard for me to pick a favourite. I like the main characters in the first the most, but I found that the first lacked the depth and complexity of some of the later novels. I give this series because I think it’s some of the best YA historical fiction I’ve read. But I wouldn’t say it’s genre-breaking, so it isn’t a 5/5. If you like historical fiction I highly recommend you read this series.

And those are the books I read. With every book review, please let me know in the comments what are some of your favourite books or books that you have read recently.

xoxo

Lea

Book Review 007

Hey guys! Today I am back with another book review. Today I have three books! I am very impressed with how much I have been able to read lately. I am making up for the fact that it took me four months to read one book. 😂

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I have also decided to instill a rating system to help give some structure to my reviews. 5/5 is amazing everyone should read. 4/5 is pretty good but not perfect. 3/5 is not bad, if you are interested in the novel then read it but not wow everyone needs to read it. 2/5 is major issues but I was still able to finish the book. 1/5 is trash but I finished the book still. 0/5 would be for a book I didn’t finish.

The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

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I actually wrote my first book review on the first novel, The Handmaid’s Tale! I have since watched the tv show and I love the tv show. I know it’s not for everyone, but media academic in me absolutely adores the tv show.  It also won the Man Booker Prize AND was Goodreads Best Fiction of 2019. All of this preamble is to say that I had high hopes going into this novel.

Well it did not disappoint. I quickly settled into the world of Gilead again. This novel is set 15 years since The Handmaid’s Tale and follows the story of three woman: Aunt Lydia, Agnes and Daisy. The novel borrows aspects from the tv show but some things are different than the show. I think having watched the tv show will help the reader, but having not seen wouldn’t hinder someone.

I liked all three of the main characters. Atwood did an amazing job of creating complex characters. I liked them but also would get frustrated with them, just like real people. I also like how the characters point-of-view can change my feelings on a character. For example, I generally liked Agnes, but found her annoying from Daisy’s point-of-view. I think this highlights how important people’s perspectives are.

I found this book way more readable compared to the first novel. One of my comments on the previous novel was that I found some passages to be a little too description and heavy with literary devices. This novel did have some, but it was mostly Aunt Lydia’s sections that had it. It was in small enough doses that I found it interesting. I think the average reader would find the novel easy to read.

Overall I was happy with the ending. I’m sure some people might be disappointed. But this novel is not about the fall of Gilead but the build up to it. I also found the epilogue to be super satisfying for me personally.

Overall I give this novel a 4.5/5. I think this novel was well written and the themes are super important. But I do realize that this novel deals with some heavy themes are just not for everyone.

The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White

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So I bought this novel when I was a teenager – this book was published in 2013. I know Kiersten White is famous for her Paranormalcy series and I heard good reviews about that series so I thought this book would be good.

It’s not yet I still couldn’t put the book down.

This book is confusing. Isadora is the human daughter or Egyptian gods, and she moves to California to live with her brother. Unless you know a lot about Egyptian gods this book is very confusing. By the end of the book I can say I have a better understanding on Egyptian mythology, but I had to do a lot of Googling at the beginning because White didn’t explain anything very well.

The exposition wasn’t very great and the conflict was very flat throughout the novel. Like this is such an interesting concept and White didn’t do anything interesting with it!

Also none of the characters felt real. Isadora was infuriating and I didn’t connect with her whatsoever. She was just annoying and nothing is worst than an annoying protagonist, especially when it’s a first-person novel. Ry, the love interest, was so idolized that he didn’t feel real. Their romance was just so fake.

I predicted the big reveal at the ending. I think it’s fine to be able to predict the ending but it has to be satisfying. I can always predict at the end of a Hallmark romance movie that the girl and guy will get together, but if they did a good job of setting up the romance it will be satisfying. This end was just flat because there was a lack of conflict leading up to it.

BUT despite all the flaws I was still hooked into the novel. I kept finding myself wanting to read the novel to find out what was going to happen. I think because of the lack of a good plot line I was always hoping it would get better but it didn’t.

Overall I would give this a 2/5. It was pretty bad and I wouldn’t recommend it. But I still finished it and enjoyed the book even though it was so bad.

Educated by Tara Westover

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This book has been on my to-read list for a while. It’s a best-selling novel – last I checked it’s at number two on the non-fiction list. There is a lot of hype around the novel.

The book is a memoir of Westover’s life growing up in a Mormon survivalist household. Her father rejects many Western conventions such as public education and health care because he is afraid of the government. She grows up in rural Idaho with her six older siblings. The story follows her life and how she progressively receives higher education.

The book is a real slow burn at the beginning. It took me a couple of days to get through the first 150 pages. But I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing because it made me sit and reflect on what I was reading. But once you settle into Westover’s novel I became hooked, and read the last 100 pages in on sitting.

The content can be quite shocking. Tara Westover is the victim of much violence from one of her problems. Many of her family members, including herself, and subject to horrible injuries that are described in much detail. So I wouldn’t recommend this novel if violence and gore and aspects you steer clear of.

Much of the violence and injury is because Westover’s father puts his faith before the safety of his family. This is one passage that Westover discusses this that made me sit back and think. Westover is figuring out her religion and her relationship with her family, which is oftentimes at odds against the education that she is seeking.

I also want to note that this is a memoir, which is a tricky vehicle of storytelling because it’s one-sided. I do like that Westover acknowledges the issues with her memory. Many times she has footnotes describing how she and members of her family remember an event differently. I like that she included these notes in her book.

Overall I think this is a good book. It’s hard to say I enjoyed parts of the novel because it can be hard to read about people’s trauma. But I liked that this book made me sit and think about themes such as religion, family and education. I would give the memoir a 4/5. I don’t think everyone would love this book, but I think it’s an important book and I’m glad I read it.

And those are my book reviews guys! Totally opposite books haha. Let me know what you have been reading lately or if you have any book recommendations for me!

xoxo

Lea

Book Review 006

Hey guys! Today I am here with another book review. One of the few good things about quarantine is that I have more time to read. Hopefully, I will be posting book reviews more frequently.

book review 006

Today’s book is Mad Love by Suzanne Selfors. I have read Coffeehouse Angel by Selfors as well, but I can’t remember the plot or my thoughts about the novel. It’s an older novel, published in 2011. I bought this when I was a teenager and just now got around to reading it.

I picked this novel because I wanted something light and easy. Like a Hallmark movie that is easy and has a happy ending. WELL, this novel is not what I expected.

Description: The main character, Alice, is the daughter of a best-selling romance author. But her mother has been secretly hospitalized for mental illness. Alice needs to write a new book for her mother. Alice meets Errol, a stranger who claims to be Cupid and has a story for her to write.

Now maybe I just misread the except, but I thought Alice was going to be writing the novel near the beginning of the novel. But it takes a while to get going. During the first half of the novel, I was wondering when they were going to get to the book writing back.

The book is very readable. So while I was waiting for the plot to speed up, I still was going through the book quickly. The tempo was good that I was always wanting to pick up the book and learn what was going to happen next.

Now I thought this book was going to be a romance novel, so I was disappointed when the romance was a secondary plot. Tony, the love interest, is cute and I liked him. But I was left wanting more.

The main theme/point of the novel was mental illness. Alice’s mother is bipolar. Throughout the novel, Alice is dealing with her relationship with her mother. She is also afraid that she is going to inherit her mother’s disease, which complicates her relationship with Errol.

It’s hard because this novel is nine years ago and society’s views and opinions on mental health have come a long way since this book came out. I think at the time it was one of the first YA novels discussing it, so I think that’s good that it broke down the stigma. But I think our understanding of mental illness has changed since the book came out and so some things are outdated. This is just something to keep in mind – especially since I didn’t know the novel was going to focus so much on this when going into it.

There is also some magical realism in the novel with the character Errol being Cupid. While I understand that Alice was reluctant to believe Errol because of her fear of mental illness, I also found it infuriating. I was like come on, just accept it and let’s move on. I also wanted more. I felt that the magical realism was very surface level and wasn’t explained very thoroughly. I think Selfors could have taken away from other side characters to have better told Errol’s story.

What I loved most about the novel is the cast of characters. They are all so different and not what you see in an average teen romance. I enjoyed all the characters and thought most of them were more multidimensional than the main character. I also liked how all the characters plot-lines ended.

My overall thoughts were that I enjoyed the book even though it wasn’t what I expected going into it. I was hooked and wanted to know what going to happen next. I would recommend this book if you are interested in reading a YA novel about mental illness. Like I mentioned it’s a little outdated but still cute.

And that is my review! Let me know if you have read this novel and what your thoughts were. I am also currently reading The Testaments by Margaret Atwood and I’m also done so there should be another book review soon.

xoxo

Lea