The Wrath and The Dawn

The Wrath and the Dawn (The Wrath and the Dawn, #1)

Author: Renee Ahdieh
Series: The Wrath and The Dawn #1
Publication Date: May 12, 2015
Source: Purchased (Boston Teen Author Festival)
Amazon | B&N | Book Depository
Summary from Goodreads: One Life to One Dawn.
In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad's dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph's reign of terror once and for all.
Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she'd imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It's an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid's life as retribution for the many lives he's stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?
Inspired by A Thousand and One Nights, The Wrath and the Dawn is a sumptuous and enthralling read from beginning to end.

The quick and dirty review: loved it, couldn't put it down, left me wanting more.

Retellings are really in right now, and I was immediately drawn to The Wrath and the Dawn because it was totally unique. I was quickly drawn into this story. I liked Shahrzad right away and was rooting for her to exact her vengeance. I loved how brash and unafraid she was to be herself. The characters are well done, I was especially impressed by the supporting characters. The romance was angsty, in a slow burn kind of way. I swooned a bit. The plot moved at a decent pace; occasionally the perspective switch bugged me, but I think that was because I was SO interested in Shahrzad's storyline that I found Traiq's storyline to be distracting. The magic was a bit lackluster, it almost felt tossed in as an after thought or like it was written in after the author decided to write the sequel. The writing was beautiful and I was so wrapped up in it that I couldn't wait to pick it up every night before bed. I totally recommend it!

This Monstrous Thing

This Monstrous Thing

Author: Mackenzi Lee
Publication Date: September 22, 2015
Source: Purchased
Amazon | B&N | Book Depository
Summary from Goodreads: In 1818 Geneva, men built with clockwork parts live hidden away from society, cared for only by illegal mechanics called Shadow Boys. Two years ago, Shadow Boy Alasdair Finch’s life shattered to bits.
His brother, Oliver—dead.
His sweetheart, Mary—gone.
His chance to break free of Geneva—lost.
Heart-broken and desperate, Alasdair does the unthinkable: He brings Oliver back from the dead.
But putting back together a broken life is more difficult than mending bones and adding clockwork pieces. Oliver returns more monster than man, and Alasdair’s horror further damages the already troubled relationship.
Then comes the publication of Frankenstein and the city intensifies its search for Shadow Boys, aiming to discover the real life doctor and his monster. Alasdair finds refuge with his idol, the brilliant Dr. Geisler, who may offer him a way to escape the dangerous present and his guilt-ridden past, but at a horrible price only Oliver can pay…

I picked up this book after hearing Mackenzi Lee talk about it at Boston Teen Author Festival. At the event Mackenzi described the book as a steampunk Frankenstein retelling that was unique because Mary Shelley, the author of Frankenstein, is a character in the book. Listening to how excited Mackenzi was about her book and the way she described it, I expected to be swept away to 1818 Geneva into a mysterious place where people had clockwork body parts.

Unfortunately, I found the world building to be lacking, I never felt pulled into 1818 Geneva. I also felt like the steampunk aspect could have been given more attention, but it just kind of felt like there was an expectation that the reader was already familiar with steampunk and would fill in the gaps of the descriptions.

The characters were OK. They were consistent and flawed, but not particularly well developed. The plot moved at a somewhat slow pace. There wasn't enough action for me, it felt a little ho-hum at times. There is a great deal of hinting toward a secret and an eventual big reveal, but unfortunately when the big reveal came, it was pretty predictable. There were a few surprises, but nothing spectacular.

All that being said, I ultimately felt like this book had a lot of potential but fell a little short. I enjoyed it, but likely wouldn't pick it up again.

Six of Crows

Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1)

Author: Leigh Bardugo
Series: Six of Crows #1
Publication Date: September 29, 2015
Source: Purchased
Amazon | B&N | Book Depository
Summary from Goodreads: Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can't pull it off alone...
A convict with a thirst for revenge.
A sharpshooter who can't walk away from a wager.
A runaway with a privileged past.
A spy known as the Wraith.
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.
A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.
Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz's crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don't kill each other first.

Let me be completely honest, I was hesitant to pick this book up. I really enjoyed The Grisha Series and I wasn't sure how a spin off series would do. But, my fellow bloggers were RAVING about it and when I heard Leigh Bardugo speak about the book, I knew I had to give it a chance.

The book started out a bit slow for me, but then before I even realized it, I was completely swept into the story. Bardugo does an excellent job setting the stage, while I recommend reading The Grisha Series, this series could stand on its own. 

I loved the crew of six main characters. Each character is totally unique and has an interesting history, I was really impressed by how well developed they were. I also loved how bits of their character were revealed at various times in the story, it felt really natural.

As I already said, the book started out a bit slow, but once it picks up, it really takes off. The journey was adventurous and filled with some unexpected twists that really kept me on the edge of my seat. 

Overall, the story is a bit dark, but it was really really good. The ending left me dying for the next book.

Book Event Etiquette - Bookish Discussion

The purpose of this post is to have a discussion.I am not trying to call anyone in particular out and not looking to cause trouble.I understand that we all have different opinions and I hope that we can have a healthy and respectful discussion.

I recently attended my fourth book event. Each event has been completely different - different locations, different number of authors, and different size events. Being a blogger from a somewhat small blog I am always a little nervous attending these events, but always super excited.

girl animated GIF At the two larger events, there were a few things that struck me about etiquette at these events. The biggest thing that I noticed was that there were several people at these events with multiple bags of books to be signed by authors at these events. At the most recent event I went to, I saw at least five people with three bags filled! Like busting at the seems filled. I get it, these bloggers have multiple collections of these authors books (ARCs, US, UK, etc),  and they LOVE these authors; and to be honest they are lucky to have so many books. I also know that a lot of times, bloggers like to have extra copies signed in order to host giveaways on their blogs. But looking at the crazy long lines, I felt completely annoyed. I felt like these bloggers were monopolizing author time and being really inconsiderate of the rest of the people attending the event. I find it particularly annoying and rude when there is a time limit on the book signing.

On the other hand, there is almost always a book seller at these event, usually a small, locally owned business. I personally feel obligated to buy books at these events because I like to support local businesses. Again, when I see people walking in with 3 bags of books and no intention of making a purchase, I feel annoyed, kind of feel like they are stiffing the book seller and the host of the event.

So, I am curious what are your thoughts about etiquette in terms of bringing a large number of books to these events? Have you experienced this, if so how does it make you feel? Or, are you one of the bloggers who does this and has a different perspective to add to the conversation?

A Court of Thrones and Roses

A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #1)

Author: Sarah J Maas
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #1
Publication Date: May 5, 2015
Source: Purchased
Amazon | B&N | Book Depository
Summary from Goodreads: When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.
As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she's been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it... or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

I literally could not put this book down. I started it on Friday night and finished it Saturday night.

I loved everything about this book. The setting, the characters, the romance, the plot - it is all amazing. Literally this book is everything that you want in a high fantasy novel. This book was definitely more mature than I expected it to be. I also love how Maas was able to put a completely new and original spin on Beauty and the Beast. There were elements that were clearly inspired by the original tale and then there were elements that were totally new. I loved this story.

The characters were amazing. Feyre was fabulous, she is a sassy teen/young adult who evolves into a strong woman. I swooned over Tamlin - hello yummy. I also loved his sidekick, Lucien. Each character was consistent, even the secondary characters and the villains. The romance is steaming hot - give me more please!

The plot moved at an excellent pace. I loved the inclusion of plot elements that were reminiscent of the original tale. While there wasn't a lot of action and adventure, I never felt like it was lacking. The last quarter of the book was intense!

Honestly, I loved this book so much that I'm tempted to read it again right now. I really don't know how I am going to wait for book 2. Also, I will buy anything Sarah J Maas writes.

Red Queen

Red Queen (Red Queen, #1)

Author: Victoria Aveyard
Series: Red Queen #1
Publication Date: February 10, 2015
Source: Ashley @ The Caffeinated Booknerd
Amazon | B&N | Book Depository
Summary from Goodreads: This is a world divided by blood - red or silver.
The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to Mare Barrow, a seventeen-year-old Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change.
That is, until she finds herself working in the Silver Palace. Here, surrounded by the people she hates the most, Mare discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of power.
Fearful of Mare's potential, the Silvers hide her in plain view, declaring her a long-lost Silver princess, now engaged to a Silver prince. Despite knowing that one misstep would mean her death, Mare works silently to help the Red Guard, a militant resistance group, and bring down the Silver regime.
But this is a world of betrayal and lies, and Mare has entered a dangerous dance - Reds against Silvers, prince against prince, and Mare against her own heart...

I love the world that this book takes place in, the divide between people with red or silver blood was a totally unique aspect. I found the politics of this world, the characters and the plot to be interesting. Unfortunately, none of the characters stood out to me as extremely well developed. I also felt like there were a few inconsistencies in the book when it came to the power of the Silvers, Mare's powers, and the history. The romance stuff just didn't work for me. 

The best part of this book is that I found myself literally rolling my eyes thinking that this book was predictable, but then everything I had predicted was wrong and I was pretty blown away by the twists in the plot.

I wouldn't rush out to buy the next book in the series, but if I had time, I would definitely borrow the next book from the library.

The Fire Wish

The Fire Wish (The Jinni Wars, #1)

Author: Amber Lough
Publication Date:July 22, 2014
Source: Boston Book Festival
Summary from Goodreads: A jinni. A princess. And the wish that changes everything. . . .
Najwa is a jinni, training to be a spy in the war against the humans. Zayele is a human on her way to marry a prince of Baghdad—which she’ll do anything to avoid. So she captures Najwa and makes a wish. With a rush of smoke and fire, they fall apart and re-form—as each other. A jinni and a human, trading lives. Both girls must play their parts among enemies who would kill them if the deception were ever discovered—enemies including the young men Najwa and Zayele are just discovering they might love.

"Meh" about sums up how I feel about this book. It had so much potential, but unfortunately was under developed. The main character, Zeyele and Najwa, were not well developed which made the alternating point of view difficult and made the switching places aspect a bit difficult. The secondary characters were so so. The plot moves at about an average ho-hum pace. About two thirds of the way into the book, things start to get good. We learn about the history behind this human vs jinni war and the action finally begins. The climax and resolution are quick and really would have benefitted from some fleshing out. Also, the ending wasn't even really an ending for a book, it felt more like how you end a chapter. While I liked the book, I can't say that I would continue the series. I do think that this book would be a good read for middle grade students.

The Book Thief

The Book Thief

Author: Mark Zusak
Publication Date: March 14, 2006
Source: Gift

Amazon | B&N | Book Depository
Summary from Goodreads: It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .
Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.
This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.

The very first thing I noticed while reading this book was that I enjoyed the narrator's voice. I loved that the story is told by Death, it feels fitting given the content, and it gave the book a unique spin. I also felt like this version of Death was approachable. The set up of the book is unique and Death tends to give away the ending, but it works.

I immediately liked Liesel and was saddened by her circumstances. I felt like this book did an excellent job portraying what life was like for a family living in Germany during World War II. I also loved the story of how they ended up with a Jewish man in their basement, this really made it feel real for me. I loved Liesel's step-father, he honestly seems like such a good man. I also liked several of the other secondary characters, they were all well developed.

The story moves somewhat slowly, but for some reason that never bothered me. I loved getting to know the characters and following them along. I loved the discussion on the power of words and the discussion and use of Hitler's Mein Kampf in the story. I felt like the author was trying to not only tell a story of a girl, her family, and the Jewish man they let live in their basement, but he was also trying to provide a platform for a discussion.

It's an emotional read, not necessarily a happy ending, but the ending did feel right to me.

Stacking the Shelves #37

Stacking The Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews and is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

Purchased at Boston Teen Author Festival

Shadow and Bone - Leigh Bardugo
Lion Heart - AC Gaughen
Bloodwitch - Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
The Wrath and the Dawn - Renee Ahdieh
This Monstrous Thing - Mackenzi Lee
Six of Crows - Leigh Bardugo

(I pre-ordered Queen of Shadows by Sarah J Maas and got these pins in the mail too!)

October 2015 Book Blog BINGO Link-Up &Giveaway

Welcome to the June Review and Progress Link-Up for the 2015 Book Blog BINGO Challenge. Before linking up, make sure you signed up for the challenge. Don't forget, you can update or change your goal at any time!

My Goal
A Double BINGO (2 traditional BINGOs in any direction)

My Progress

A book that takes place in a school: The School for Good and Evil
A book purchased in 2014: Shadow and Bone
The second book in a series: Siege and Storm
A book with magic or paranormal characters: Ruin and Rising
A book written by an author that you've never read before: The Donor
A book with romance: A Wizard Rises
A book published in 2015: Bright Fire
A book that made you cry: The Sin Eater's Daughter
A review persuaded you to read it: The Winner's Curse
A book outside your comfort zone: Moneyball
A book that has been on your TBR shelf for two years or longer: Ashes of Foreverland
A book with a dragon: The Girl at Midnight
A book more than 500 pages: Days of Blood & Starlight
A book with a beautiful cover: Daughter of Smoke & Bone
A book with a color in the title: Scarlet
A book you (should have) read in high school: The Book Thief
A book from the New York Times Best Sellers List: Queen of Shadows

Three Surprise YA Books
(trick or treat - it's a surprise!)

Imagination Designs