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Tuesday, January 1, 2019

THE CRUEL PRINCE (The Folk of the Air) by Holly Black [Book Review]



Title:The Cruel Prince
Author: Holly Black
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication date: January 2018
Paperback: 384
Of course I want to be like them. They're beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.
And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.

Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him--and face the consequences.

In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.

Source: Scribd 
Format Read: Audio Book

Review: 

I once wrote an entire post regarding how I was just not into fairy's back in 2010. You can find that here. 

Now, in 2019 I can officially say that I enjoyed THE CRUEL PRINCE. I heard so much about this book I had to put aside my preconceived notions regarding Fae tales and give it a chance. Ultimately, I'm happy I did. 

Our main character, Jude lives in an in between world of sorts. She was raised in the real world, our world, and then was taken to the High Court of Faerie and was forced to fit in. Her parents were dead and she had only their killer to see as a father figure. Just that alone would lead to some wicked issues, but add faeries on top of that and you have a story filled with deception paired with disadvantage. 


Things I liked: 

The world building in this novel is masterful. I LOVED the details and the darkness felt palpable even through the page. Holly Black made every minute detail related to the world of Fae. Something as small as a tea cup would be described and bring you further into the world of fae. Acorns abound and I loved it! 

I love Vivi and found her character to be very believable. She was in many ways the most likeable character in the book for me and I am excited to have more of her story in book two. 

I loved the slow build of this novel. The pacing was very well done with a slow reveal and build up that left me needing to continue to discover what was going to happen. 

I enjoyed the twisty family dynamics and the very real relationship they all had. Jude is fully aware she should be upset about her parents and even being in the Court. However, it's all she's ever really known. 

Things I didn't like: 

The first half of the novel felt different than the last half. It felt to some degree like the beginning had one set of goals and the second half had another. There was so much great build up that it kept building and building, but then everything changed. I was still ferociously reading to discover what was going to happen, but it felt... different. 

I did not like the love interest at all. I like bad boys and hate to love storylines. What I do not like is when a person is so incredibly hateful but yet somehow the protagonist likes him anyway. I get that Carden has his own things going on, but he isn't a nice guy. Towards the end I didn't feel that sense of understanding that others seemed to feel. He was still the guy who allowed others to be incredibly mean and cruel so... not a fan. 

I wanted to see more training. There was such a great intrigue subplot where Jude joins other Fae to truly prover herself and I wish we'd seen more of the development for it. I wanted to see what set her apart and made her great. Things were alluded to but we didn't see enough of it. 
Ultimately... 
I enjoyed the Cruel Prince and will be reading The Wicked King when it is released on January 8, 2019! Some of my observations may be due to a lack of reading when it comes to Fae stories, but I did enjoy The Cruel Prince and am eagerly awaiting the next one. 
I'm very hopeful for more understanding from Carden and very excited to delve back into the twisty world of the Fae High Court. 


How I Plan My Writing and Reading Life in a Bullet Journal...

Bullet Journal's have been everywhere recently and I really wish I could tell you that they're overhyped and that using a traditional planner is just as helpful for your daily life. I am always wary of things that everyone swears by. I'm always afraid I'll get into something that redirects me from what is actually helpful for me. But....

I LOVE my bullet journal. I fully believe it made me a better person and redirected me to the things in my life that actually matter and that I actually care about. The beauty of bullet journaling is that it can be whatever you want and whatever you need AND you can change it at the drop of a hat. 

I began a new journal for 2019 pictured below (isn't it gorgeous?!). So, I thought with the new year and this brand new set -up it would be the perfect time to show you how the Bullet Journal Method works for me! Granted, I don't Bullet Journal traditionally like Ryder Carrol's book. I do create my own planner with to do lists, and keep track of goals to better my life. 

I've found, by writing down my goals I am MUCH more likely to hit them. 





I begin each notebook with future logs, trackers, and large scale goals. Below is my initial 2019 book tracking list. After each book I complete I will keep track of the title, author, date completed, along with a general star rating. This page will hold 75 books. 


I do like to make my Bullet Journal relatively pretty - the below spread is my pretty and fun Book Log for 2019. The one below keeps track of the date completed/my feelings on the book. This one is just to satisfy me visually. PLUS this list holds over 100 titles, which I'm hoping I may be able to hit this year. 

Whenever a title is completed I will color in the book and keep track of the title. I am SO excited to fill this in! :D 



Once a book is completed or a book is purchased, I place the plan for review below by month to sort out my posting plan. 


I am attempting to be more serious with my writing goals this year and am determined to finish my first draft and edit/complete all the things. 


The below log is a general goal for each month, whether it be drafting, editing, querying, etc... 

I tend to work as a I go with the journal. I will start by tracking January, setting those goals and go based on what is completed. I know some people will plan out an entire year but I KNOW things will change and will not put that down in ink just yet. 




This list below is a year in pixels so I can keep track of my productivity throughout the entire year for writing. Some people do habit trackers with multiple things tracked in one graph BUT that's way too much for me to handle. This tracker is just for writing and things related to writing so I can (hopefully) stay accountable. 




As I said earlier, I do attempt to make my journal a tad pretty and artistic. My art skills are horribly limited, but I do like to do nice literary cover pages! 




I track reading and writing goals in my monthly as well as my weekly planner as well, however it is much more limited. The monthly tends to be my big goals for the month and my plan for getting things done. 



So... do any of you bullet journal or want to know more about it? I have truly found so much joy from making my own pages and being able to make it everything I need at the time. If there's something pressing that I need to track, I can add a special tracker and personalize it to fit everything I need. 

What do you think? :) 

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Hello everyone! 

The month of December is notoriously crazy. I know many of us are running around cooking, cleaning, wrapping gifts and preparing for the big day. 

I wanted to pop in to wish each of you a Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday, but also to remind you to stop and breathe. Allow yourself to soak in the wonderful and don't be too stressed. It's easier said than done, but please enjoy your holiday! 


Wishing each of you peace and love. 

XOXO

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Ten Years Later... The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

Anyone who has followed my blog for some time has more than likely heard my gush about The Truth About Forever on more than one occasion. I read this book at fifteen. I was a sophomore in high school and life felt so... hard.

I'd previously read Just Listen on a whim and at this time my story searching went as far as the bookstore shelves. I read TTAF next and it was the first time I'd ever stayed up all night reading a book. I still remember the awe I felt, closing the pages at five in the morning, school looming in two hours... I was so caught up in the story that I felt as if I was still in a daze.

Now its been twelve years later and life gets so out of control. From high school, to college, and then to working full time things get difficult. Life becomes harder and harder to juggle until you lose yourself and have to remember the things you enjoy.

Reading The Truth About Forever was my way of remembering me, and I hope each of you has a favorite book that draws you back every time.


The Truth About Forever 
By: Sarah Dessen 


Macy’s summer stretches before her, carefully planned and outlined. She will spend her days sitting at the library information desk. She will spend her evenings studying for the SATs. Spare time will be used to help her obsessive mother prepare for the big opening of the townhouse section of her luxury development. But Macy’s plans don’t anticipate a surprising and chaotic job with Wish Catering, a motley crew of new friends, or … Wes. Tattooed, artistic, anything-but-expected Wes. He doesn’t fit Macy’s life at all–so why does she feel so comfortable with him? So … happy? What is it about him that makes her let down her guard and finally talk about how much she misses her father, who died before her eyes the year before? Sarah Dessen delivers a page-turning novel that carries readers on a roller coaster of denial, grief, comfort, and love as we watch a broken but resilient girl pick up the pieces of her life and fit them back together.


On my third re-read of The Truth About Forever, I stayed up until 3am, with work looming the following morning WHEN I ALREADY KNEW WHAT HAPPENED. To me there is no higher praise. 

Macy Queen is completely ordinary, but longing for the ellusive idea of perfection and the badge of approval. 

What I love most about TTAF is the amount of things happening. We have Macy's library day job, the chaos of Wish, the memories of her father, her mother's townhouse development, and each storyline is tied together perfectly. 

Wish catering is my favorite reminder that perfection isn't all it's chalked up to be. I long to work for Wish, to serve meat balls to over eager guests and ride in the Bert-mobile. I love the backdrop of catering to contrast Macy's otherwise search for perfection. While striving to be perfect amongst her mother, her library job, and her complicated relationship with Jason, Wish catering becomes our chaos. 

The slow build between Wes and Macy is one of the sweetest build ups I've ever experienced. Each time I've become swept into it their game of Truth and the development of their story. The relationship they build based on trust, truth and a true understanding of the other person for who they really are. 

The Truth About Forever is every bit as perfect as it was twelve years ago. Upon this re-read I was reminded of my fifteen year old heart, and reintroduced to friends who have always stayed with me, if only on the page. 


Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Revisit! Nine years later... Graceling by Kristin Cashore [Book Review]

I've been a reader for a very long time, and as such, I often find myself remembering titles that I read years prior. What often happens with me is I remember liking a book but beyond that I remember NOTHING else.

I've recently come across a new favorite app (guys, apps weren't even really a thing when I first started this Blog -- how times have changed) called SCRIBD which has a wonderful selection of audio books.

Graceling was amongst the audiobook selection so I decided to feast on the memories of years prior and OH was it a wonderful feast.

Here is my review of Graceling, (nearly) ten years later, nine years older, nine years wiser.





Kristin Cashore

Length- 512 pages

Publisher: HMH for Young Readers

Publication Date: September 07, 2009

Graceling tells the story of the vulnerable-yet-strong Katsa, who is smart and beautiful and lives in the Seven Kingdoms where selected people are born with a Grace, a special talent that can be anything at all. Katsa’s Grace is killing. As the king’s niece, she is forced to use her extreme skills as his brutal enforcer. Until the day she meets Prince Po, who is Graced with combat skills, and Katsa’s life begins to change. She never expects to become Po’s friend. She never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace—or about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away . . . a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone.




_________________________________________________________________________

After the first time I read Graceling I remember thinking to myself that this book, more than any I had read prior, was truly epic fantasy... at least in the young adult genre.

Graceling is fantasy done right -- the world feels large and all encompassing. The story is gripping and while in the world I found myself truly in her world and fully entranced by the story.

Some fantasies lead me to eye rolling when the plot becomes too convenient, but with Graceling this was not the case.

We begin the story with Katsa showing her colors, and one thing I truly loved about Katsa is the fact her imperfections are not hidden. She's a killer. She's killed many, many people and this has led her character to be different than the typical YA heroine.

The idea of Graces was a nice addition to the plot line and it made sense to the world, and I especially loved that the author did not use a blanket opinion of Graces the same for every land or culture. While this world is incredibly large, we also find out that different members of it see the Graced differently.

The relationship between Katsa and Po was slow building making it feel more genuine.

If I were to have a complaint -- it would be only that the end in some ways did feel rushed. For such a long story the end and completion seemed to come quickly and end swiftly. There was very little finality with the end which did leave me ever so slightly dissatisfied.


All in all, nine years later I agree with my previous rating of 5/5.









Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday!

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by the Broke and the Bookish!



Release Date: May 3, 2016 

In this Bridges of Madison County for teens, Michelle Zink weaves a magnetic tale about summer love that stays with you long after the seasons change.

Rose Darrow never wanted to spend her life working on her family’s farm. But when her family is rocked by an unexpected tragedy she has no choice but to put her plans for the future—and dreams of escaping her small town—on hold.

Bodhi Lowell left home as a kid and hasn’t looked back. Years of working farm jobs has given him the one thing he wants most: freedom to travel without answering to anyone. He’s already looking past his job at Darrow Farm and plans on leaving in September—until he meets Rose.

Neither Rose nor Bodhi can deny the sparks flying between them, but with the end of summer looming, they must decide if it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.... 

What are you guys waiting for this week? 

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Let's Talk: Surprising Books You've LOVED!


So, have you guys ever received a book and expected not to like it? 

I think sometimes we condition ourself to our "thing" and then don't want to accept something outside of it. 

For instance, I am a historical, fantasy, and contemporary girl. I don't do mysteries, and I don't typically do anything too cutesy/serious. I don't like for drama to be too crazy, because it tends to throw me off. I also don't like for all of the characters in a book to read like they have a smile plastered to them. 

However, there are always the exceptions... 

Like these!






So, what are some books you guys didn't expect to like but ended up loving?

Did it change you as a reader, or do you still stay away from that type of book in general?

Let me know in the comments! 

 
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