Historical Romance Thursday #2

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Romancing the Duke

Castles Ever After #1

Tessa Dare

4.5stars


 

As the daughter of a famed author, Isolde Ophelia Goodnight grew up on tales of brave knights and fair maidens. She never doubted romance would be in her future, too. The storybooks offered endless possibilities.

And as she grew older, Izzy crossed them off. One by one by one.

Ugly duckling turned swan?
Abducted by handsome highwayman?
Rescued from drudgery by charming prince?

No, no, and… Heh.

Now Izzy’s given up yearning for romance. She’ll settle for a roof over her head. What fairy tales are left over for an impoverished twenty-six year-old woman who’s never even been kissed?

This one.

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I really need to start rating based on genre because within the HR genre (yeah I’ve only read like 3, but still) this definitely should have 5 stars.  Maybe I’ll figure out  away to do that someday.

But I loved this book.  While I really enjoyed both Izzy and Ransom as individuals, it was their relationship which made this book.  The banter was awesome and I love a good “hate to love” trope.  While I’m usually not a fan of the tortured hero, Ransom was just the right amount of cocky to make up for it.  Plus he did tend to veer away from self pity for the most part.

The Goodnight Tales (was that what they were called? Curse my memory) and the whole Moranglian subplot was one I actually enjoyed as well.  I didn’t think I would but I really, really did.  It was a bit over the top but whatever.  It definitely added to the charm of this novel

I’d heard that Tessa Dare wrote funny books, and I was really happy that I agree! I actually laughed quite a few times.  Real laughs too, not just a little chuckle which is what usually happens.

This is a really shitty review and I feel like I nothing I say can even show how much I loved this book.  If you haven’t read it and you are into historical romances definitely pick it up.  It is so much fun. I definitely plan to continue this series and I’m really looking forward to reading more of Tessa Dare’s novels.

Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

review

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Blue Lily, Lily Blue

The Raven Cycle # 3

Maggie Stiefvater

4.5stars


 

There is danger in dreaming. But there is even more danger in waking up.

Blue Sargent has found things. For the first time in her life, she has friends she can trust, a group to which she can belong. The Raven Boys have taken her in as one of their own. Their problems have become hers, and her problems have become theirs.

The trick with found things though, is how easily they can be lost.

Friends can betray.
Mothers can disappear.
Visions can mislead.
Certainties can unravel.

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Before I get into the review, I just need to say that there is no way I can accept that that is Blue on the cover.  That is Johnny Depp as Edward Scissorhands and no one can tell me otherwise.

Again, another fabulous addition to this wonderful series.

As soon as I finished The Dream Thieves I jumped right into Blue Lily, Lily Blue and I finished the next day. I went so long without being able to read a single book and now I’ve read 3 in 3 days.

This one was a bit different than the other two. The pacing wasn’t as quick and there wasn’t as much action, but I loved it all the same. That is, for sure, a sign of a very talented author. Also, I am super confused about 75% of the events that occurred and the plot arc in general, but I think that’s intentional. I don’t think it’s a sign of weak writing or my inability to comprehend. I think we are purposefully being left in the dark in certain situations, and while usually I hate that, I am totally fine with it in regards to this series.

Now I just have to wait a month for the final book to come out. Is it too soon to reread? I just don’t know what else I could possibly read that would even come close to the magic I felt while reading the first 3 books. I’ve been considering giving her Wolves of Mercy Falls series another try to bide the time. I got pretty far into Shiver and was a bit bored so I put it down for a bit, and now 3 years later I still haven’t finished.

Another Win: Review of The Dream Thieves

review

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The Dream Thieves

The Raven Cycle # 2

Maggie Stiefvater

4.5stars


If you could steal things from dreams, what would you take?

Ronan Lynch has secrets. Some he keeps from others. Some he keeps from himself.

One secret: Ronan can bring things out of his dreams.

And sometimes he’s not the only one who wants those things.

Ronan is one of the raven boys—a group of friends, practically brothers, searching for a dead king named Glendower, who they think is hidden somewhere in the hills by their elite private school, Aglionby Academy. The path to Glendower has long lived as an undercurrent beneath town. But now, like Ronan’s secrets, it is beginning to rise to the surface—changing everything in its wake.

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This is not a proper review.  I don’t really have much to say about this book. Words fail me.  If books 3 & 4 stay on the same level this will probably go down as one of my all time favorite series.

The writing was just as beautiful, the plot just as gripping, the characters just as wonderful (although I might dislike Adam a little more now).  Again, my love for Ronan is way above my love for the others, but what can I say? Mickey goddamn Milkovich in book form.  I am totally here for that.

I only have 2 minor issues with this fantastic second book:

  1. Within the first few chapters, The Gray Man beats up Declan and tells him to find the Greywaren.  Declan agrees and then  I don’t think we see him again until the last few chapters of the book. I feel like Declan has a much larger roll to play in this series (I might be wrong), but I just kept wondering where Declan was throughout this entire book.  Also, why was he still living in the dorm during the summer when he had already graduated?
  2. The Gray Man and everyone’s reaction to him.  Ok so within the realm of this world I find it totally plausible that the characters do not blink at the supernatural elements of their world.  There is a magical Welsh king that has been asleep for six centuries in the mountains of Virginia? Ok cool, that’s fine.  But for the characters to barely blink an eye at a self confessed hit man?  And it’s not like they think he’s joking either.  They know he is telling the truth. Do better, favorite characters.  Do Better.

These are really the only minor annoyances I had.  This is such a wonderful series and I am so glad I am finally reading it.

My Slump is Over! Reivew of The Raven Boys

review

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The Raven Boys

The Raven Cycle #1

Maggie Stiefvater

4.5stars


 

“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.Divider

This was a reread for me, although the original read dates have disappeared from Goodreads. I know I read it while I was living in Michigan so I think it was Summer 2014. But anyway.

I read it, and really enjoyed it. And then I waited a few weeks before picking up the second book and I had basically forgotten a lot of what happened in the first book. Sometimes I can blame this on the book just not being memorable, but I think this time it was me. So I put off finishing the series because I don’t think the 3rd book had even been released yet.

But now with the 4th and final book’s (I think) publication about a month away I decided to reread it. Plus it helps that I finally got the 2nd and 3rd books (a very late Christmas present).

So, even though I have been in a pretty massive reading slump, I picked this up yesterday and I blew through it. I loved almost everything about it. In fact, I don’t think there is one thing that I didn’t like, except I still can’t bring myself to give it 5 stars. Maybe if Ronan had had a POV chapter here and there it would have been a 5.

The writing was beautiful; not too over the top that I roll my eyes. There were lots of times I wish I had been near a computer so I could have jotted a few sentences down but I couldn’t tear myself away from the book to even do that. I think the pacing was just right for me. Maybe it was because I had already read it, but I was racing through it. I knew the general plot but there was a lot I forgot. I was extremely interested in the quest for Glendower and learning about the ley lines and everything.

And to top it all off, we get to know a great group of characters and there is barely any romance! I don’t know what it is, but sometimes it is just so refreshing to have a book that does not focus on the romance. (Of course there is major foreshadowing to future romances/love triangles, but whatevs.  As long as it doesn’t overpower the character development and the quest plot, I’m fine with it).

And I love all of the characters. Of course, as I always prefer a misunderstood bad boy, Ronan is my absolute favorite. He just reminds me so much of Mickey Milkovich from the US Shameless, and that is extremely high praise because Mickey Milkovich the love of my life. The only character I’m kind of meh about is Adam. I don’t know why because I feel like it should be Gansey that I’m not particularly fond of, but I love him.  Even Blue, who very easily could have been another cliche female character, was great.

I’m currently almost half way through the 2nd book, and I really, really hope that I’m heading up out of the slump!

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

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There are some books I just can’t even think about reviewing. The Harry Potter series, A Song Of Ice and Fire series, etc. Basically if I love it too much I just can’t form the words. I’ve been having a problem writing my review for Winter, by Marissa Meyer, probably for that same reason. It’s just too good and my words won’t do it justice. So instead, I decided that I would just do quick, mini reviews for the entire series. I don’t usually give 5 star ratings to books, but I think this series comes pretty close. There are probably some minor spoilers, but nothing huge. I’m not really going to discuss the plot, just my overall feelings of the characters and the novels in general.

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Cinder

TLC #1

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When it comes down to it, I love Cinder simply because it is the first book of the series. I think it is a beautiful introduction to the characters, the story and the world in general. Out of all the female MCs, Cinder is probably my least favorite. I know she is basically the most important character, but I just don’t connect with her as much as I do Scarlet or Cress. And, at the same time, Kai is my least favorite love interest. And their relationship is my least favorite “ship”. It probably seems like I hate them, but I don’t at all. I still love them, and the book, but there are other characters and books I love more.

 

 

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Scarlet

TLC #2

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One of my favorite parts of this series is how each story introduces a new character and beautifully continues the plotline. While Cinder was a bit boring and reactive, Scarlet is the take charge type of woman. She is the most badass of the characters. While Wolf might not be my favorite love interest, I really, really loved that sex was included in this book. Ok, well, a little. It’s totally hinted at that Scarlet and Wolf slept together. Even if it takes place off page, sex in YA is important. The pacing was a bit slow and disjointed for a lot of this book, but I forgive it because of the introduction of my Lunar Chronicle’s man crush, Captain Carswell Thorne. He really helped give this book a (not so needed) boost.

 

 

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Cress

TLC #3

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Oh Cress, how I love you. This is definitely my favorite book of the series and a lot of it has to do with Cress and Thorne, individually and together. Cress is my favorite, with all of her beautiful naivety and dreaming of a prince to save her and figuring out she sometimes has to save herself. And Thorne just makes every scene better. Cress fixed the main issue I had with Scarlet, which was the pace. It is basically nonstop throughout this entire book. Cress also made me rethink my earlier assessment of Cinder, because I realized how much she had changed from the first book.

 

 

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Winter

TLC #4

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I’d like to use Winter as an example of how to end a series, especially one that continued to improve with each novel. Yes there were some points that were a little slow, but I didn’t even mind. Nothing could have turned me away from finding out how it all ended. Winter and Jacin are probably my second favorite relationship in the series. And I do love Winter.   I loved how Winter’s mental illness was handled for the most part. I could have done without Scarlet calling her crazy all the time, but overall I think it was good. I think a big part was that it expressed that Winter didn’t need to be fixed. And I loved Jacin and how supportive and caring he was. Basically I loved almost everything about this book.

 

Final Thoughts:

The Lunar Chronicles is probably one of my favorite fairytale retellings. Each novel brings new life to old tales in creative and original ways. A cyborg Cinderella, a kickass Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel trapped on a satellite and a black, mentally ill Snow White. Each new character added to my overall enjoyment of the series.

There are few series that continue to get better with each additional installment, and The Lunar Chronicles is definitely one of them. Taken together, the entire series is wonderful and is one I know I will be able to read again and again without tiring.

 

ETA: It’s a minor annoyance,  but does anyone else notice how the apple isn’t as red as the shoe, cape and ribbon??