Image

Weekly Reads: Week 24

**Welcome to Weekly Reads! Each Monday I’ll share reviews for my most recent reads. For more reviews, please visit my page, The Reads: From A to Z.**

Last week was incredibly busy – though I’ve been there for a year as a temp, my first week as a full time employee was one of my busiest yet! I’ll be getting several new tasks to add to my already full plate, but the more the better, I’m ready for the challenge! Hopefully, with time, my schedule will even out and I’ll have more energy to blog in the evenings. For everyone who has stuck around in my down-time, thank you! I promise I’ll be back full force soon!

Side note, I’ve been juggling several longer reads for a week now, and then even MORE holds popped up, one of them being A Court of Mist and Fury….so what else was I to do? How can you have ACOMAF in your possession and NOT read it immediately!? You can’t! But now it’s read, and the year long wait for the next installment begins.

23492661

Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Hopping city to city one cinnamon roll at time, Hannah Martin is living the life many only dream of, but at twenty nine, wihout a steady job and recovering from a messy relationship with a married man, she’ll pack her bags and move back to Los Angelos. There, she reconnects with old friends and an old flame after a wild night out at the bars. Should she leave early with her friend and current couch lessor? Or should she risk it all and leave with her ex, the one that got away all those years ago? Well, lucky for her, she won’t have to choose as fate has other ideas – leading two separate lives in two separate realities, Hannah will find just what she’s looking for, and who.

“I know there may be universes out there where I made different choices and they led me somewhere else, led me to someone else. And my heart breaks for every single version of me that didn’t end up with you.”

“You can only forgive yourself for the mistakes you made in the past once you know you’ll never make them again.”

There are, and always be, those moments we’ll question the rest of our lives – pivotal moments where everything we knew changed, moments you can look back on and say “there! that was it!”. Whether good or bad, these moments shape our lives forever. I love the idea of another world where perhaps my choices were different – maybe I didn’t major in geology, maybe I never moved to Texas, maybe I went to a completely different college. All those what ifs and what could have beens… we all have them, and for Hannah, they shape two different and yet, similar lives. But alternate realities aside, Hannah’s journey is relatable on so many levels. She’s hopping job to job, homeless, and stuck between the choice of two men. She’s at the precipice of making incredible life choices that could change the course of her life forever – so, what do you choose? How do you choose it? Reid has an amazing way of keeping the tone level headed no matter the turmoil strummed up by Hannah’s choices, giving us helpful hints page after page. Maybe in Another Life had thinking of all my choices over the years, but by the end of Hannah’s journey, I was reminded of all of the great things that have happened to me because of the choices I made – for everyone who feels stuck or at those first steps in life, this is the novel for you.

Rating: 4 Stars      GoodReads      Amazon

17927395

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

Following A Court of Thorns and Roses, the story continues as Feyre returns to the Spring Court with Tamlin. Though they survived the trials from under the mountain, the effects are still apparent – night terrors, visions, constant reminders of the pain and torture. Tamlin does what he can for Feyre, but constantly away defending the territory, she is often left alone and confined to the grounds for her safety, giving her plenty of time to plan the upcoming wedding ceremony and enjoy every splendor the court has to offer. But just as her happy ending is coming to a close, the High Lord of the Night Court, Rhysand, appears make good on their bargain. During her weeks at the Night Court, she’ll find the answers she seeks and questions she never imagined she’d have to ask herself, or even the man she loves. With a new threat looming, Feyre will need to summon great strength to overcome her weakened soul to save the faerie realm once again, discovering new powers and forging new bonds, she’ll discover unlikely allies and shocking enemies along the way.

“He thinks he’ll be remembered as the villain in the story. But I forgot to tell him that the villain is usually the person who locks up the maiden and throws away the key. He was the one who let me out.”

“No one was my master— but I might be master of everything, if I wished. If I dared.”

If the summary above is a little scanty, it’s because how can you really summarize this novel without giving away the whole story!? Each chapter is a new cliff hanger, a new twist in the plot, and I can’t imagine spoiling this story for anyone – twofold, I’m glad I didn’t read any summaries, myself! If you read my review on ACOTAR last week, you noticed while I was intrigued by Rhysand, and generally liked his character, I was pretty hung up on the whole bargain thing, and completely missed where Maas was taking the story. This definitely didn’t ruin anything for me, actually it kept me on my toes the whole way through! I love the direction she went with Feyre’s relationships in the sequel – as a character, she is sooo much more appealing in this book, and much more developed in terms of a back story with the emotional pulp you need to reinforce it.

 Beware: Spoilers Ahead!!

First, the elephant in the room: Tamlin. They’ve both undergone dramatic changes since their time under the mountain, but that’s no excuse for his controlling and neglectful behavior – sure, he has his own demons to face, and probably wants to protect her from them, but why avoid her? Why never discuss the issues – doesn’t he see she’s wasting away to NOTHING! I would have thought now, with the curse broken, he’d be more open with Feyre, wanting to share his world with her unimpeded, especially now that she’s High Fae. So imagine my surprise to find her confined to the castle grounds – wear pretty dresses, plan your wedding, I’ll see you for five minutes later and we can have sex, ok, bye… Nope, that doesn’t work – it never works. Poor, poor, clueless Tamlin, he let the curse get the better of him.

Thankfully, Rhysand is the complete opposite of Tamlin. While Tamlin basks in his goodness, always seeking approval and praise, Rhysand hides behind his shadows – literally. He’s the definition of selfless, letting the world think the worst of him while actually saving the day. He has to be one of the most selfless characters I’ve read, and Feyre clearly learns a few things by him by the end. Their relationship is slow to form, but everything I loved about the first book is still there, only this time, most of the playful flirtation is over magical letter writing – a little faerie IMing. Burt you can tell Feyre has learned her lessson, asking him anything and everything she can think of, getting all the details and then making her decision, on her own terms, and still having plenty of time left over for a little romance. I was so proud of her! She’s grown from a whiny human to a broken young faerie to a captive to an escapee to a warrior, and now High Lady, in a very short amount of time, and yet, all the way, she’s pushing and learning and fighting her way to the top. Nothing is given to her – she has earned her place next to Rhysand, especially after her one-on-one with the Attor. I can’t wait to see where her story leads next – her espionage, her manipulations over Tamlin, her escape back to the Night Court, the war…what will she do next!?

Rating: 5 Stars     GoodReads      Amazon

What have you been reading lately? Have you finished ACOMAF!?

**This post contains affiliate links. All reviews are of my own opinion. Thank you for supporting my love of reading!**

Image

Weekly Reads: Week 23

**Welcome to Weekly Reads! Each Monday I’ll share reviews for the books I’ve recently read. For more reviews, please visit my page, The Reads: From A to Z. **

Good news, friends! My temporary position has become full time! I’m so excited to be brought on by the company I’ve been working for so long, but it’ll be a busy next few weeks as I take on more responsibilities. I’m hoping to continue a good balance between work and blogging still, but if a post is late or missing, you’ll know why!

As you’ll see with my reviews this week, my latest obsession with YA hasn’t slowed yet – I can’t get enough! When I was younger, I read my fair share of YA and Juvenile Fiction, but it seems so different these days – bigger and better, everything I wish was available in my teens. I’m so jealous of the youth today for having such a wonderful selection and wide range of genres within YA to choose from. Most of the novels I read in middle school were family focused, real world adventures or romance novels – a fantasy or dystopian novel for teens was unheard of then. But, as we all know, YA is not just for the young! Their themes speak to tragic and emotional personal battles, outlining issues we can all relate to at any age. What are your favorite YA novels?

23523012

The Chimes by Anna Smaill

The Chimes is an exquisite link between the literary world and the power of music – set in a dystopian world where memory is forbidden and written language forgotten, where music is the last remaining key to the past and the only way to build a new future. With his parents’ deaths, Simon journeys to London, a directive given by his mother, a last hope for building his future and discovering the truths of the past, but with drastic change to his every day routine, his memory is flooded and his quest forgotten. He joins a pact of runners, a group of teenagers searching the deserted underground tunnels of London for fragments of palladium, a metal that disrupts the memory erasing effect of the chimes. By honing his ability to retain memories and those of others, Simon finds an ally in Lucien, the leader of the pact and a talented musician, trained by the very order responsible for the demise of memory. With great imagination and musical prose, The Chimes is not a novel to miss – a great choice for LGBT Pride Month.

“How without mercy and without blame we have all of us been. And how careless to have misplaced so much.”

Where to begin? This novel is amazing, and thinking back on my reading, I’m tempted to add another star to my rating! The novel begins quite suddenly with Simon’s short journey to London. Once there, the language of the action is taken by the melody of confusion – both for Simon and for me. I wasn’t quite sure on the specifics of the world Simon lives, what are they hunting for in the river? Why is it important? The specifics of their world are only revealed as Simon is able to recover his memories and learns them for himself, bonding the reader to Simon’s plight and making for a thrilling discovery. Though, once the secrets behind the Order are revealed, the novel comes to a quick conclusion. This is the reason for the lower rating – the end is both rushed and anticlimactic with little more than a simple explanation behind the creation of the chimes. I was left wanting more, more of the history and more of the whys and the hows, but especially more of an ending for Simon and Lucien.

Rating: 3 Stars      GoodReads      Amazon

16096824

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Thorns and Roses is the fantastical retelling of Beauty and the Beast we’ve all been waiting for. Living on the outskirts of Prythian, the land of the Fae, nineteen year old Feyre is out hunting for her family’s survival when startled by the presence of a wolf. Days later, after selling the wolf’s pelt, she’s visited by a beast demanding penance by an ancient treaty between the fae and human kind: death, or her return with him to Prythian for the rest of her days. Little does she know, but the beast is no animal, but Tamlin, High Lord of the Spring Court and high fae. Expecting to be treated prisoner, she finds herself treated equal with all the indulgences the court has to offer laid at her feet, but with a magical blight o’er the land, there’ll be vast mysteries to uncover as she finds herself caught amidst an ancient war between faeries.

“I threw myself into that fire, threw myself into it, into him, and let myself burn.”

I absolutely loved this novel! Full of action, mystery, lore, and romance, there’s absolutely nothing lacking in this beautiful retelling of Beauty and the Beast. Let’s just start with Feyre – I love her character. She’s smart and independent, but she’s also vulnerable and while she doesn’t often take no for an answer or let others push her down, she easily lets her family take advantage, a soft spot I think we can all relate to. Though her relationship with Tamlin is difficult from the start, their teasing slowly turns to respect, to friendship, and then to love, a path all to familiar in life. Part of their relationship is based on his kindness, for the first time in her life, Feyre is treated as an equal, someone to be cared for and not forgotten, something that truly opens her eyes to Tamlin, but I can’t help but feel something desperate lurks in his intentions.

PLEASE STOP READING – SPOILERS!

My issues with the novel begin with the rite – though it’s an ancient tradition that he’s required to take part, I still can’t believe she’d forgive him so easily. He slept with someone else and had the gall to pursue her right after doing so, like an animal. He’s controlling and more than the gentle giant we’re introduced to at the novel’s start. And for his chance to finally see her under the mountain, he spends their time lusting for her when he could be consoling her, helping her. He does nothing but for himself, but that’s just my two cents. Then there’s the riddle – wasn’t it glaringly obvious?? Each line seemed to correspond perfectly to a specific character and their given background, but given her duress, I can see her difficulty in solving the puzzle. Oh, but Rhysand. I’m still not sure what to make of him – why should he help her? And why is he so much more attractive than Tamlin? His cunning and teasing – he always brings about Feyre’s snarkier side. Still, I thought she died, so why is the bargain still valid? I thought faeries were always specific with their wording and all about their loopholes – so with her new beginning, the bargain should be dead in the water. Guess we’ll just have to see what happens in the latest installment, The Court of Mist and Fury!

Rating: 4 Stars      GoodReads      Amazon

20958632

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

The Darkest Part of the Forest is the perfect fusion of modern life and faerie lore, a combination I couldn’t resist. Hazel and her brother Ben live in a magical town on the outskirts of the forest, side by side with the magical fae and a mysterious glass coffin in the heart of the forest. Waves of tourists flock to their little town to visit the peculiar horned boy asleep in the coffin, but the people of Fairfold know better than to test the limits of the fae. Never eat their food, never drink the wine, never say thank you… There are rules to be followed to ensure peace between kinds, until the day the glass is shattered and the enchanted prince awakes. As secrets are revealed and loyalties made, Hazel will have to trust her instincts to save the town.

“Hazel, Hazel, blue of eye. Kissed the boys and made them cry.”

A modern fairy tale with faeries? Count me in! I really enjoyed the premise of the novel, expecting to be wowed by enchanting characters and faerie lore, and while Black did deliver on those points, the melding between the modern and the fantastical didn’t always work. The novel novel felt separated into two parts, one story in which Hazel is a normal teenage girl: family problems, boy crazy, self-doubting, a total tease, and the second part in which Hazel is a bad ass knight – kicking ass and slaying monsters. As more of her story is revealed, we see she has even more problems that implied at the beginning, an element of the story I struggled with. Yes, the end of the novel focuses more on her childhood and parental abandonment all those years, but it’s not really dealt with, so much as acknowledged, and for a girl who’s spent years exerting so much violence – how is she so normal? But, that aside, Hazel is pretty great: loyal, brave, willing to stand up for others, she’s stronger than she knows and makes for an excellent hero. Sub-story to the plot, there’s a good deal of romance thrown into the mix. Hazel falls for a changeling, Jack (yup! I really love that there’s a changeling in this story – maybe it needs another star) while her brother falls for the faerie prince, an unexpected romance but my favorite. While Hazel’s relationship seemed rush in its progression, the story reveals Ben has been a frequent visitor to the glass coffin for years, talking to the prince as he would a friend – culminating to a grand gesture and heartbreak. Together, the fantastical elements, romance, and focus on friendship makes for an amazing read, AND another great YA for LGBT Pride Month – and yes, just another fun happenstance in that regard.

Rating: 3 Stars      GoodReads      Amazon

What have you been reading lately?

** This post contains affiliate links. All reviews are of my own opinion. Thank you for supporting my love of reading! **

Image

Weekly Reads: Week 10

Hello friends! Thank you for visiting Vivacious Reads, and I hope you’ll visit again soon!

Each week I’ll be sharing short reviews of what I’ve been reading lately.

There’s nothing better than a classic novel in the springtime. Last week I caved to my impulses and finished two I’ve been meaning to read for a while. But I might have gone too far this time, considering both picks are packed with marital intrigues.

This week, I’ll be working on The Passage by Justin Cronin. I’ve heard a lot of hype about it, but had no idea it was so LONG. Luckily, Easter is coming up and I have an extra week with my library copy because of the holiday!

What have you been reading lately?
Continue reading