💭Book Review: The Hating Game

Hello, my lovely bookworms!
How are you all doing? I have been a bit MIA this week because this was the week I submitted my primary medical school applications… so this week has been hectic in that regard and there have been some recent changes with my hospital job so that too has been hectic!

Today I am going to be doing a mini review on The Hating Game by Sally Thorne. This review is going to be more of a casual, conversational review unlike my more structured reviews!

Normally, I post my Flashback Friday post as it is Friday but I decided to go ahead and post this mini review because I have had it sitting in my completed drafts! I hope you guys enjoy the review.

The Hating Game

My Thoughts

Overall, I thought that the book was pretty good. I didn’t absolutely love the book but I still liked it. I think that the ending was the best part of the book! It started off pretty good… There was a bit of a plateau for me in the middle, but the end-middle to the end was great!

Lucy’s character: I found Lucy’s character to be likable in some ways and in others, she bothered me. I think my prime example for that was how she was always thinking about Josh’s body. I do want to preface this by the fact that I think there was a reason that was in the storyline and that the author was trying to convey something important. However, that being said, I still found myself irritated that there were so many descriptions of Lucy, quite frankly, lusting after and objectifying his body.

Games: Another thing was, I often times got confused by some of their games. It sort of felt like the reader was not let in on some of the thoughts behind the games and the significance of them. This might just be a “me” problem but yeah, all I can say is that, at times, I really was not sure what was going on in terms of the games that Lucy and Josh played while they were at work.

Bashing the Nice Guy: I found myself really annoyed with the nice guy bashing. I understand why it was in the novel but I think that there could have been just a little bit less of it. I got tired of reading it over and over after a while. I think that the author tried too hard to make the “bad boy” attractive and she tried to do it through bashing the nice guy type. It isn’t a good look to make yourself appear better by pushing others down is all I am going to say. I mean, we all love a good bad boy character but that is not because we do not like the nice guy. There are plenty of books where we all swoon over the nice guy!

Hate and Love – A Thin Line: I think that is an interesting concept that the author tried to convey. In a way, it is true. A lot of the emotions and feelings we experience when loving or hating are the same – we feel a rush of adrenaline, our hearts are racing. In the same vein, then, we can say that anger and love are similar. When we are angry, we get a rush of adrenaline and our heart rate is high. But I want to say that true hate is very different than love, at least in my opinion – feel free to disagree with me. I think that, if we look deeper, we see that Lucy hates that she loves Josh but she never actually hated him.

Father and son having issues because son is not a doctor thing: This is a pretty common cliche that we see among books and movies. I think that this sets forth/continues an unhealthy stereotype. It conveys that physicians are arrogant to the point that they think every other profession is below them, which is not the case. I have worked with physicians who talk about how amazing social workers are, for example, or how amazing teachers are and that the work that those individuals do impacts lives just as physicians do. I think we need to get over this idea that all physicians want their kids to follow in their footsteps just because all other professions are less. It is totally natural for parents to want their kids to go into something they themselves were involved in… and it is far more common for parents to want their children to follow in their footsteps for the sake of following in their footsteps than because being a doctor is lucrative, prestigious and anything else is considered less.

Rating: I am rating the book as a 3.75 stars. I think that it was a good read, but just not a great one! It pains me to discuss things that I did not like about a book and I am usually pretty generous about my ratings (if you didn’t notice that I mostly give 4 or 5 star reviews 😂). The reason I am cautious about my ratings and reviews is because I always try to keep in mind the author and that all books are works of art in their own right and that we all have very different tastes! I also want to end this review by saying I did like the book despite some of the criticism I listed above! Oh and I am still excited to watch the upcoming movie adaptation!😁

I know this review was pretty casual and rant-like, but I hope you still enjoyed it! 😂 I hope you all have a wonderful and safe Friday.

-Maya🌹

📺💭TV Review: Shadow and Bone on Netflix

Hello, everyone!
Happy Monday evening. How was your day today? I hope it went well and it wasn’t chaotic as I know Mondays tend to be. If it was chaotic, then know that the day is coming to a close and you made it through. I am proud of you!! And you should be proud of yourself too.

Today, I will be discussing my thoughts on the Shadow and Bone Netflix series. I buddy watched the show with Leslie @BooksAreTheNewBlack. My sister even got in on the action and watched it with me. We all finished the show earlier this week but since we finished, I may have re-watched the show yesterday and today 😂 My sister and I might just be a little bit obsessed with it. 😂

I want to caution anyone who has not yet watched/finished the show as there may be spoilers in this review!

My Thoughts on the Shadow and Bone Netflix show:

Overall, I thought that the show was wonderfully done. The acting was fantastic. Ben Barnes is 😍. Jessie is an outstanding actress… Archie as Mal was 👌🏼 (Netflix Mal >>> book Mal) and the Crows were amazingggg. Freddy = awesomeness. Amita was exactly how I imagined Inej. Jesper was freaking hilarious and provided lots of comedic relief when things were pretty intense! Oh, and Nina and Matthias… I loved them!

It was interesting to see how the writers wove the dregs/the crows into the Shadow and Bone plot. I really liked how the story switched from Alina to the Crows to Nina and Matthias. It really reflected the structure of the books with how the books switched POVs/time periods. I never found myself confused, either, so I thought that they did a great job!

Things I Loved

The Darkling: Okay. So let’s talk about how great Ben Barnes is as the Darkling. Ben did an amazing job with his portrayal of the Darkling. I loved how Ben is soft spoken yet he radiated power and authority. He was the perfect Darkling! I thought it was interesting that they gave the Darkling more of a backstory… They made his character more morally gray than just being a power hungry eternal dude. Since I have not yet read the other books, I was not sure if what was in the TV show was the same as the books or if it was even in the books and Leigh and the other writers just fleshed out his motivations a bit more for the purposes of the show.

—I was literally screaming when the Darkling and Kaz came face to face. Who do you think would win a fight between the Darkling and Kaz? My money would be on Kaz! While the Darkling has his Grisha powers, Kaz has his unique genius… and, knowing Kaz, he would have already anticipated the Darkling’s play!

Mal: I thought Mal was okay in the book but Netflix show Mal had my heart melting. I know a lot of people were tired of seeing the same meadow scene over and over, but I think that it was important for that to be in the show in order for the viewer to really get the feeling of the connection between Alina and Mal.

Nina and Matthias = perfection. Loved it!
-I loved Matthias’ accent. I couldn’t believe my ears when I heard Cal talk without an accent!

Leigh’s cameo: I was totally screaming when I saw Leigh in her purple kefta! What a huge moment for her and then for fans to see her on screen as a character in the books she created! It was wonderful (not so wonderful for my sister’s ears because like I said… I was legitimately screaming with delight).

Jesper: loved Jesper! He is just as lovable as book Jesper. Loved Inej! That moment when she sees Sankta Alina summon the sun was so beautiful!

Sound effects: I thought it was really cool that they added in a sound effect for when the Grisha use their powers. From an outsider’s perspective, such as my sister, it was really helpful to know when they are using their powers!

Show structure: I loved how it flipped back and forth to the past and present, to the Crows and Alina. It really reminded me of the structure of the book and, as it did in the book, it really gives an extra punch to the feels.

Random side note: I totally fan girled whenI saw that The Lives of Saints was actually in the movie. I am also pretty sure that the book that David threw at Jesper was a copy of Shadow and Bone! 😂 I love when little things like that are throughout the show. It really demonstrates that the creators of the show cared about the books and doing right by the reader.

Kaz: I found myself a little disappointed with the writing with Kaz. I thought that Freddy did an amazing job portraying Kaz BUT I think that the writing was what was disappointing. I felt that you really could not see his genius behind his plans and honestly felt that the side character Arken was doing the plotting and not Kaz. So in that way the show fell short on that front for me. However, I will say that I appreciated the “lynx flush” twist. I just wish there had been a bit more of Kaz’s classic, witty lines from the books but I also realize that much of the material was “prequel,” and thus the Six of Crows lines might be mostly saved for the next season?

Things that could have been improved

I wish Inej did more scaling. Sometimes, I feel like TV shows try to convey impressive skillsets by having characters do things like jumping down from impressive heights but Inej’s talents are rooted in her discreteness and her ability to find a way when no other could. In other words, her methods are not the “in your face” type. I felt like her jumping down in front of Kaz was just “typical” and and a too obvious effort to make her talents impressive.

Kaz’s Crow Club Fight Scene: Can we talk about how in episode 2, Kaz is taken down in, like, two seconds by Pekka’s men? That is literally so unrealistic. Your girl may have shouted at the TV at that 😂 But seriously.

Alina’s fighting skills: I thought that there was a lack of development between Botkin and Alina and even with Baghra and Alina… I thought that, since it is a TV show, there would be more development in that area but they ran through that pretty quickly – much like a movie would have (okay, the scenes would have been a bit shorter still but my point still stands).

Show length: the episodes were about 45-50 minutes long, which I thought was a great length. There were only 8 episodes though, which I found to be very disappointing. I think that the series could have been stretched by at least one more episode… if they had included a bit more of the Crows in there and more of that training development with Alina.

Overall
I absolutely loved the show overall! I think that the episodes got better and better as they went on. I think the acting was fantastic, the creators of the show did right by the reader, etc. My sister and I may be a bit obsessed with the show as we have re-watched all the episodes 😂 We have also rewatched episodes 4 a few times over and over. If you are so curious as to why we watched episode 4 over and over.. it is because my sister is obsessed with the part where the Darkling says, “please, call me Aleksander.” She basically swoons every time. 😂

I hope you all enjoyed reading my thoughts on the new Netflix TV show, Shadow and Bone. What did you think of the TV show? Did you have a favorite episode? Let me know in the comments below.

I would also like to thank Leslie @BooksAreTheNewBlack for buddy watching this series with me. It was so much fun to fan girl and discuss the show with you!❤️ 

-Maya🌹

💭Book Review: A Court of Silver Flames🔥

Hello, hello friends! Happy April 1st! I know I said this about March, but can you believe that it is already April?! 💜 Also, this week is flying by, too 😂 I can’t believe it is already Thursday. Where did the week go?! Today I had a relaxing yet productive morning. I slept in until close to 9 am and then I ran some errands before work! How is your day so far?

Anywho, I am (finally) coming to you with a book review for A Court of Silver Flames. I decided to hold off on posting the review to allow time for others to read the book. I think that, with this being the 5th book in the series, this review is inherently, in some ways, spoilery. So I want to caution anyone who has not yet read the previous 4 books.

Additionally, I would also caution you if you have not read ACOSF just because I will be talking about things that I would consider spoilery. I wanted this review to be a bit more in depth and, with that there comes a bit of spoilery stuff. (I will be mostly talking about Nesta’s character and her journey) I still tried to keep spoilers to a minimum though!

Book: A Court of Silver Flames
Author: Sarah J Maas
Published: Feb 16 2021

I want to preface this review by saying a few things. Firstly, this review mostly analyzes the characters rather than the book as a whole. Secondly, I want to say that I was not a huge fan of Nesta at all. I really didn’t like her character, hated her behavior but after reading this book… my thoughts on her are completely different! She is not my favorite character and I love her in a different way than I do Feyre, but I definitely do not hate her anymore. Serious props to SJM for being able to change my (and many other’s) thoughts on Nesta! Lastly, I know there were a lot of readers who loved this book and those who just did not like it. I think that, some — not all — of those readers who did not like the book thought that the book was going to be more plot driven novel. However, ACOSF is much more character driven with the main focus being on self-acceptance, self-love, and self discovery… with a side of the “ACOTAR” plot.

Okay now onto the review! I hope you enjoy. 😊

I want everyone to be able to find pieces of themselves in my books.

– SJM

Nesta

When we first meet Nesta, we find that she is proud, selfish, very prickly (to say the least), and she has this fire inside of her, this anger, that is what one might call otherworldly. (😂) However, ACOSF gives us a much different perspective on why Nesta is the way she is. I found her character to be real and relatable in a way that was totally unexpected. She was relatable from the way she thinks about herself to the way she lashes out with unkind words… the way way she wields and uses harsh words as her armor when she is hurt or to push people away to make herself unlovable because she believes she is. Because of her nature, Nesta is a hard character to love. However, she is not impossible to love. And I think that really gives this book a raw and real feeling. This reminded me of a book I saw my mother reading one time when I was younger called “How to Hug a Porcupine: Easy Ways to Love the Difficult People in Your Life.” I am not sure why she was reading that (possibly because I can be difficult to love at times) but anywayyyyy. My point is that we all have people in our lives that are difficult to love (whether it be at certain times in our lives or all the time) and reading about Nesta and how the other have to learn how to love her because she is prickly made this book that much more real to me.

I was not expecting to love ACOSF as much as I did because I simply did not really want to read about Nesta. BUT the joke is totally on me because I found parts of myself in Nesta’s character (😂). In Nesta’s journey of self acceptance, self love and self discovery, I felt like I was reading about my own personal journey (okay but my journey did not have a hot Illyrian warrior named Cassian so that was disappointing). At a several points in the book, I said, “woah that is me.” I don’t think I have ever truly found myself in a book, but I did with ACOSF. Through reading about Nesta, things about myself came to the forefront of my mind and it honestly helped me deal with them and accept them in a more deliberate way than ever before.

Credit as pictured: @m.dona flor

Rhysand

Like many of you, I did not like the way SJM portrayed my baby Rhys in this book. But I understand why he was the way he was. At least in terms of him being protective over Feyre since that’s in his nature with her… situation (if you get me). However, I really disagreed with him — and the Inner Circle — when they wanted to keep Nesta in the dark for fear that she would take several steps back in her progress. Treating someone of Nesta’s nature like that will totally make things backfire and I saw the consequences of that coming from a mile away. (and yeah, it totally ended up how I thought it would 😂) I also disagreed with Rhys feeling the need to protect the other girls from Nesta that one day when they were training. He wasn’t even giving her a chance! I sort of felt like Rhys was out of character in this book, but I think that might be due to the fact that we are seeing him from others’ perspectives when we previously only had Feyre’s POV of him. Additionally, there are new challenges that Rhys and the Inner Circle have faced so that might also account for that feeling of him being out of character.

Credit: Dominique Wesson

Cassian

I always loved Cassian but I definitely fell more in love with his character throughout ACOSF. I also loved that we got to see more of the relationship between Cassian and Feyre. Their friendship makes my heart melt. Also, Rhys is great and he is still 10/10 BUT Cassian was so patient and so understanding with Nesta and I think that is why I love him so much. He understood her nature and quite frankly he loved those parts of her, which I thought was beautiful.

Credit: bxromance

Cassian and Nesta

I love the way Cassian and Nesta complement each other. I think it is interesting how Nesta is referred to as Death and Cassian, who is a warrior knows Death and is humbled before Nesta (Death). I loved reading that prose! I always enjoy SJM’s prose. I think it gets better and better with every book she writes! I also loved the training scenes between Cassian and Nesta — the way Cassian was strict but not judgemental about Nesta’s weaknesses. One of the parts of the books that I really identified with was how Cassian came to the realization that Nesta did not want to train at the camp because there were people there and she does not want to fail in front of others. I am similar. When it comes to working out or training, I do not want to look weak or, quite frankly, like an idiot. 😂 Anyway, I love Cassian and Nesta together and I think that their relationship is sooo different (in a good way, not in a bad way) compared to Rhysand and Feyre that it really would be like comparing apples to oranges if I were asked to pick a favorite.

credit: witchlingsart

Valkyries + Friendship

I loved the friendships in this novel between Nesta, Gywn and Emerie. SJM has a special gift when it comes to bringing characters together in friendship. I think that this was one of my favorite parts of the novel. SJM could just have easily left the whole Valkyrie idea out and just had the girls train like Illyrians. But she didn’t. She took it a step further. She made the girls even more badass! I thought SJM highlighted some beautiful parts of friendship. Namely, how as friends we can support and push each other and find solace in each other’s company. How we can come together and overcome challenges and/or trauma together. I also thought it was hilarious how the girls bonded over their love for reading (smutty) books. 😂

Plot

In a way, I thought that this book was a characteristic “second novel” type installment where the plot is really being set up for further books. Because of the emphasis on the character arcs and the more character driven plot, I did not mind that the plot wasn’t the forefront of this book. I thought that SJM did a really nice job with prioritizing the character driven aspect of the novel but not completely leaving out the ACOTAR plot. This may be an unpopular opinion, but I thought that the main focus on the character driven plot with a side of ACOTAR plot added a nice dimension to the series overall.

Rating

5/5 stars – definitely a book to be desired!

Overall, I found A Court of Silver Flames to be a beautiful book about healing, self-discovery, and acceptance. I could write for days about this book! There was so much that I didn’t cover but I also didn’t want to make this review pages and pages long. 😂 I cannot wait for the next book in the series (I think it is going to be about Azriel😍). The next book can’t come soon enough! Did you read ACOSF? What were your thoughts? What did you think of my review? Let me know in the comments below!

-Maya🌹

📚Book Review: Crooked Kingdom

Hiya everyone!
I hope you are all doing well and having a lovely week so far. I have been having quite the week! I had a few shifts added on last minute. I was also not supposed to work Wednesday, but was called in last minute! (which is fine because I like working) So what I am trying to say is that is why I was not able to post yesterday. Which is totally fine because I am still reading The Stand and The Wicked King. 😂 I am making progress though!!

So today I have a book review for you! I buddy read Crooked Kingdom with Hayden @FollowingGoodBooks. The two of us had a lot to say about CK! 😂 Hayden recently posted a book review of Crooked Kingdom. Hayden’s review was wonderful and I highly recommend giving it a read. You can find Hayden’s blog/review @FollowingGoodBooks.

Note: For the most part this review is spoiler free, however, there is a spoiler section so just be sure to skip that section if you haven’t read the book/don’t want to have anything spoiled. Also, this review contains quotes from the book. They are not spoilery but just wanted to let you know in case you would prefer to skip over them.

Book: Crooked Kingdom
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Published: 2016

When reading the duology, I listened to Dark Harbor by Two Steps from Hell. I have included the music below for you to enjoy while you read the book review if you feel so inclined. 🙂

Synopsis (from Goodreads)
Kaz Brekker and his crew of deadly outcasts have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives.

Double-crossed and badly weakened, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz’s cunning and test the team’s fragile loyalties.

A war will be waged on the city’s dark and twisting streets – a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of the Grisha world.

Crows remember human faces. They remember the people who feed them, who are kind to them. And the people who wrong them too. They don’t forget. They tell each other who to look after and who to watch out for.

Crooked Kingdom, Leigh Bardugo

My Thoughts – Non spoilery
Overall, I really enjoyed the book! I was a little hesitant to read Crooked Kingdom after loving Six of Crows so much and I was worried that maybe the tricks and cunning plans would not be as good. However, I thought that Leigh Bardugo did an amazing job with the plot and she really took the scheming and games to a whole new level. There were brilliant twists and turns to the story and I loved every one of those! The plot was not bland… the story had me on the edge of my seat… a lot 😂

“Sometimes,” said Kaz, “a proper thief doesn’t just take. He leaves something behind.”

Character Development
I am mainly talking about Kaz because he was the character that I felt had the most character development throughout the books.
Kaz: As the reader, you get a lot more insight into the deep, dark mind of Kaz Brekker’s and learn more about him not as the notorious Dirtyhands but as Kaz (the human)- if that makes sense. It really gave his character more dimension and made him more relatable. You get more of the side that he tends to hide. However, I found his character frustrating at times because of the way he shut the others out even though you know that he cares or when he would do something halfway decent and deny that it was because there is good in him. Besides that, I loved how the reader did not get all the insight into Kaz’s scheming at times. There were quite a few surprises that had me like😱 Side note: I wish we had gotten to Kaz’ POV sooner in the book. It was quite a few chapters in the book before we got to him. Yeah, that is small and picky but I really love reading from his POV.

My Thoughts – Spoilery – Please skip this section if you do not wish to read spoilers
I felt that the ending was underwhelming, specifically between Kaz and Inej. After I read Six of Crows, I was really hoping that we would get more of the two of them together. Throughout Crooked Kingdom, there are small moments between Kaz and Inej – I would say that they are more significant than some moments in Six of Crows – but the ending… just missed that “oomph” for me. I get why the ending was just them holding hands (because of Kaz’s trauma and all) but I also felt that Bardugo could have written it in a way that gave the reader more closure and made the feelings between Kaz and Inej more significant, more real. Also Matthias’ death felt extremely unnecessary. It honestly felt like “oh because things are going so well for the crew, something bad needs to happen, someone needs to die” – that sort of thing.

Themes/Takeaways

But if you couldn’t open a door, you just had to make a new one.

Perseverance/Making a new way. I loved the way the author conveyed the idea that when one way doesn’t work, you make a new way. It was an inspiring message!

When you can’t beat the odds, change the game.

Final Thoughts
Overall, Crooked Kingdom was a fast paced, brilliant read with twists and turns at every corner. While the ending felt a bit underwhelming, I still enjoyed the book overall! Underwhelming ending or no, Leigh Bardugo wrote a riveting story and I am really looking forward to the Netflix series Shadow and Bone, which combines the storylines of the Shadow and Bone series with Six of Crows.

Rating
3.75 stars (but still a book to be desired!)

I hope you all enjoyed this review! I apologize that it took me forever to write it. 😂. Catch up with you all tomorrow for Flashback Friday. 😊

-Maya🌹

📚Book Review: The Right Time

Hello, hello!

How are you all doing? The weekend is almost here! We can make it.
So today I am coming to you guys with another book review! I was recommended this novel by a family member and I am so glad that she recommended it to me because I really did like this book. It was also my first Danielle Steel book!

Note: this is a spoiler free review!

Book: The Right Time
Author: Danielle Steel
Published: 2017
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Adult Fiction

Brief Summary
The Right Time follows Alex, a girl with a passion and talent for writing mystery stories, as she navigates through her life as a successful and famous writer. Because she writes under a man’s name, she faces unique challenges in her life and, as her fame intensifies, it becomes harder to keep up the lies of her true identity. Ultimately, Alex will have to decide to keep up the lies or come out with the truth.

Overall Thoughts
This was my first Danielle Steel book and I really enjoyed it! The novel/Alex’s story had a really nice, clear arc – from Alex as a little girl, to a teenager, to an adult – and, because of that arc, you feel as though you know Alex as you would a family member or a best friend.

Main Character
Alexandra Winslow: Mystery novel author under the name of Alexander Green.
I loved her personality, perseverance, dedication, and passion for writing. Her character was very relatable and, as I mentioned above, I enjoyed how the reader watched/experienced her growing up, trying new things, going on adventures, and trying to find the right man. It made her character real and made her feel all the more relatable. While not everyone is an author, the obstacles she faces – in her work and personal life – are some that we all experience at some point in our lives and I really enjoyed reading how she went about these situations and the challenges that came with her decisions.

Themes/Takeaways
The Right Time
This one is pretty obvious but one that should not be understated. “The right time” was evident in many parts of the book with the most obvious one being that the right man will come at the right time. However, I think there are also other ways that this is realized in the book, such as Alex’s struggle to disclose the information of her writing the Alexander Green mysteries. She has to bide her time and wait until the time is right to disclose this information to those around her. While not all of us are hiding a secret about writing mystery novels, I think that this is an important lesson – knowing when to bring up certain topics and with whom to bring them up. Overall, I think that the novel conveys the lesson of having faith that there is a “right time” for everything in our life – whether it be meeting a future spouse, a career goal, etc.


Success/Fame/Validation
As an author using a pseudonym, Alex doesn’t get the public credit she deserves. I think one of the things that I really enjoyed about this novel was the way Alex handled situations where she couldn’t claim that the novels were her brilliant creations. I found it admirable the way she happily faded into the shadows and let all the credit go to a mysterious man, her pen name “Alexander Green.” My point is, she didn’t need validation for her work. She didn’t need to be the face of her novels for her to feel deserving of the praise her books earned — because of her love for writing. The fact that her writing was appreciated — even if she was hiding under a man’s name — and the fact that she loves to write was all she validation she needed.

Dedication/Passion/Ability
This novel highlighted the misconception that only men can write a gripping and brilliant mystery novel. I think this has wider meaning in that women can achieve anything a man can achieve – it may be harder but if you have the passion and dedication, then nothing can stop you! I found this message to be really inspiring given my own personal experiences as a woman.

Rating
5 stars

Final Thoughts
The Right Time is a beautiful story of a girl discovering herself and navigating through life. From Alex’s character, the struggles she faces and the decisions she makes, Alex’s story is so real it feels like your own. The character development is wonderfully done and I thoroughly enjoyed the themes and takeaways from this novel. Overall, I am really happy that I gave this novel a read; I am usually a fantasy sort of person so I don’t normally seek out books similar to The Right Time. I am really glad it was recommended to me or else I most likely would never have picked it up!

I hope you all enjoyed this review! I apologize it took me so long to get this up. I guess I was just waiting for ~ the right time~ 😂

-Maya🌹

💬Book Review: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

Hello hello!
Today’s post is another book review! At the beginning of this year, I posted my Reading and Blog Goals post, which discussed writing more book reviews. My goal for this month was to do at least 2 so this post will make that goal! My first review of the month was Six of Crows. Here is my review of Six of Crows in case you missed it! 😊

This is a spoiler free review. However, this contains quotes from the book, none of which are spoiler-y but just thought I would let you know. 🙂

Book: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue
Author: VE Schwab
Page Count: 442
Publication Date: Oct 2020

Before I get to the summary, here is the song I listened to when reading the book. I am not trying to toot my own horn here, but I came across a wonderful song to match with this book. The song feels as epic as Adeline’s story was! Feel free to listen to this during the review! I hope you like it. 😊

“And no matter how desperate or dire, never pray to the gods that answer after dark.

Summary
Adeline LaRue wants more out of her life than the limits of her small town life in Villon, France and she certainly doesn’t want to marry. While Estelle, the lady who worships other gods in her small village, warns her not to pray to the gods that answer after dark, Addie finds herself forced to call upon the dark gods in a moment of need. After striking a deal, Addie will live forever with the unrestricted freedom she always yearned for. But there is a catch – she will never be remembered by everyone and anyone she meets. While she has the freedom she once longed for so desperately, Addie finds herself shackled with the new limits of her bargain.

Initial Thoughts
I had heard so many good things about this book that I was so excited to read it. Faustian-like bargains, living forever, and navigating total freedom – but with a cost – intrigued me.
A while back, I watched The Age of Adeline in theaters and I loved that movie. The ideas are somewhat similar here with living forever and the main character’s name also being Adeline, but other than that… there is nothing else similar between them! I would highly recommend watching that movie, though. So good.

Time Jumps/Character Development
The time jumps throughout the novel were excellently put together… I think that they gave this novel an extra pull to the heartstrings. It was so impactful to go back and forth and compare the difference in Addie’s resilience, how she navigated her newfound struggles, and how her relationship with Luc (the dark god that she struck her bargain with) evolved.

*This novel was from a couple POVs, but I don’t want to risk spoiling anything, I won’t go into depth about the other character, Henry!

“What is a person, if not the marks they leave behind?”

Addie LaRue, VE schwab

Adeline “Addie” LaRue: I found her character very likeable! Actually, I loved her character. She is wonderfully stubborn, defiant, and resilient. I enjoyed her evolution into a devilishly clever woman. I think one of my favorite parts of her character, though, was how she continued to discover – whether it be new places in the world, the meaning of life, what it is to truly live, etc–even after living for so long.

“Do not mistake this—any of it—for kindness, Adeline.” His eyes go bright with mischief. “I simply want to be the one who breaks you.”

Luc

Luc is the dark god that Addie strikes a deal with. I loved him as the antagonist of the story. I found him intriguing and surprising – sometimes, even relatable! However, his character was also quite cruel, possessive and toxic. In a way, Luc’s undesirable attributes and his (sometimes) humorous games force and challenge Addie to think more creatively – albeit his ways were heartless and ruthless. Sometimes, his behavior even pushed Addie to further refuse him even though she felt like giving up. Luc’s attributes, in combination of Addie’s defiance and unwillingness to yield to him, makes their relationship dynamic, games, and story just that much more alluring.

Themes/Takeaways
I think this book touched on a lot of human nature – from the idea that our time in life is limited and we desire to make the most of it…to the innate, universal need to be remembered, to make our mark on this world. The way the author deals with the fear of being forgotten really brings into perspective what it would be like if those things were taken away and it hits home for all of us.

“…it is sad, of course, to forget.
But it is a lonely thing, to be forgotten.
To remember when no one else does.”

I loved the way art and the power of an idea was interwoven throughout the novel – that art and ideas can take root in the most unlikely of places. While this is certainly true for major movements throughout history to begin over an idea, Schwab turns this on its head and uses art and idea to give power to the individual, to the seemingly insignificant and inconsequential.

“Art is about ideas. And ideas are wilder than memories. They’re like weeds, always finding their way up.”

Final Thoughts
After reading the book, the best words I can use to describe the book are “poignant,” “soulwrenching,” and “unforgettable.” This book hit me right in the feels! Like a truck. The attention to detail added an extra punch to the feels and the way the author touched on human nature, time, remembrance, loneliness, art and history, made the reader not feel fully immersed and invested in Adeline’s story, but also led the reader to recognize the Addie (or Henry) inside of themselves. And that ending… it was not quite what I expected!

Rating/Desirability
5 stars
A book to truly be desired!

-Maya🌹

💭Book Review: Six of Crows

Hello, hello everyone! 🥰
Today I am coming to you with a book reviewwwww! I am trying to do these more often because practice makes perfect. I have a degree in biology so it definitely poses a challenge for me to talk about writing and books, but I like the challenge! It also doesn’t help that when I really like a book, I find myself at a loss for what to write about that book besides “I loved this, this, and this.” 😂 I know some you guys also struggle with that so it makes me feel better I am not the only one, haha!

🎶📚I thought I would try something different in my reviews to enhance your experience of reading my posts while also sharing my love for combining music and reading with you all. I can’t remember if I have mentioned this before, but I actually listen to a specific song while reading a specific book. It is usually an instrumental piece of music much like “trailer music.” If the song “feels” right, then I use it! It really enhances my reading experience and, when I finish the book and listen to the song only, I find myself watching the events of the book play out in my mind. It is a really neat experience! That being said, I figured I would share with you guys the songs that I listen to for the books that I review! I placed it at the beginning of the review in case you would like to listen to it while reading my book review. 😊🎶📚

–I am also thinking about creating a post that highlights the songs I listened to for other books I have read. That way, it would include more books. Let me know!–

Note: this is a spoiler free review, but I do mention two characters’ romantic feelings for each other. Besides saying how much I liked the romance in the book, there aren’t any spoilers, but if you don’t want to know who likes who, then I skip the section, “Romance.”

Book: Six of Crows
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Publishing date: 2015
Page Count: 465
Genre: Fantasy

No Mourners.
No Funerals.

Six of Crows, Leigh Barudgo

Summary

Set in a world of magic, a crew of criminals come together to conduct an impossible heist with an undeniably satisfying reward but a costly price should they fail. Kaz, Inej, Jasper, Wylan, Nina, and Matthais will have to set their prejudices against each other aside for the sake of the reward. What will be harder: the heist or not killing each other?

Overall Thoughts

If you crossed the movies Ocean’s 11 (or one of those movies) with The Italian Job and put it in book form, you would get something like Six of Crows. I loved the idea of six characters with unique skills and backgrounds coming together (while still bickering endlessly) to conduct an impossible heist with a hefty reward and a steep punishment if they fail.

Multiple POVs/Character Development

The Dregs

“A gambler, a convict, a wayward son, a lost Grisha, a Suli girl who had become a killer, a boy from the Barrel who had become something worse.”

Six of Crows, Leigh Bardugo

I think the greatest aspect of the crew was their unique background and how their previous experiences/traumas have shaped who they are, what they do, and why they do it. I loved the way the author toggled between the past and present for each of the characters (except Wylan – he did not have chapters from his POV). It provided great insight as to why the characters behave as they do and it really puts into perspective that, while they are thieves and killers, they are also just kids trying to survive in a cruel, harsh world.

I also appreciated that you can really differentiate the dynamic between each member of the crew. While they might have weird ways of showing it or saying it (*cough cough* Kaz), you can feel that they care for one another. I greatly appreciated the humorous banter between the dregs and how they all poke fun at Kaz, the most serious (and arguably most dangerous) member of them all.

The book is written from multiple points of view, each of which are typically the members of Kaz’s crew. I found all of their chapters interesting and well-done. I felt invested in each character’s well-being, which doesn’t always happen. Sometimes, there is that one character that you don’t vibe with or something like that. Additionally, with multiple POVs, I sometimes tend to prefer a certain character’s chapters more than others. I, of course, really enjoyed chapters from Kaz, but I also enjoyed reading all of the other’s chapters.

There are two characters that I particularly fell in love with… Kaz and Inej.😍

Kaz Brekker

credit

“When everyone knows you’re a monster, you needn’t waste time doing every monstrous thing.”

-Kaz

Six of Crows, Leigh Bardugo

Kaz is the mastermind behind the dregs and is also known by the nickname “Dirtyhands” because of all the bloodshed he is responsible for. He has quite the reputation for being a ruthless, cold blooded killer, and though he does not wear gloves for this reason, people whisper that he has to wear gloves because his hands are permanently red from killing. To sum up Kaz, he is exceptionally street-smart, a scheming mastermind, and a damn good thief.

I really love Kaz’s character. I feel as though he is the character you hate to love. He is witty, ruthless, a villain (yet a hero in his own way), and has lots of blood on his hands, yet… you love him. In other words, he is a morally gray character and is written wonderfully well. As the story is written in the third person, I found myself impressed with how much the reader gets in terms of Kaz’s thoughts and feelings — the other characters included. I enjoyed the flashbacks to younger Kaz and how they tied in with what was happening in Kaz’s present. (This actually applies to all of the characters.)

Inej Ghafa

credit

“Besides, she was the Wraith – the only law that applied to her was gravity, and some days she defied that, too.”

Six of Crows, Leigh Bardugo

As the “Wraith” as she has been nicknamed, Inej is the spy of the dregs, sneaking around, climbing buildings, gathering secrets and killing people for Kaz. She gains comfort from the presence of her knives and is a pretty reserved character, but she isn’t afraid to speak her mind or kick butt. In other words, she is a total badass.

Romance

“She’d laughed, and if he could have bottled the sound and gotten drunk on it every night, he would have. It terrified him.” -Kaz

Six of Crows, Leigh Bardugo

“I will have you without armor Kaz Brekker. Or I will not have you at all.” – Inej

Six of Crows, Leigh Bardugo

This romance killed me. In the best way possible. Throughout the novel, the author teases you with these moments of affection/romance between Kaz and Inej and, each time, you want (need) more of them. I enjoyed the slow build up of their feelings for each other over the course of the novel… At the end, I found myself screaming “just admit you like each other already!” 😂 Overall, it added a nice dimension to the novel without completely stealing the show and it always left you wanting to read more chapters between the two of them. I can’t wait to see where their relationship goes in Crooked Kingdom!

Grisha/Magic System

There are three orders for those who have powers: Corporalki, Etherealki and Materialki. Each group is subdivided into specialties – Heartrenders are within the order Corporalki, for example. There is no way I can explain the magic system without completely butchering, but I will say that it was refreshing to read something that has a different magic system than swirling your hands or wiggling your fingers and something magical happens.

Final Thoughts

I found Six of Crows to be a compelling, action packed read. From the beginning of the novel, I felt totally immersed in the world of the Dregs and the Grisha. I had not yet read a novel quite like Six of Crows and it was the book I didn’t know I needed to read until I read it!

Desirability/Rating

5! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I hope you all enjoyed this review and, if you haven’t read Six of Crows, that you will give it a go!

-Maya🌹

📚Book Review: From Lukov with Love⛸

Hey lovelies!
I know, it has been a minute since I said that I would post this and I am posting pretty late in the day. Life has been really busy with the Christmas season, work, and my motivation for reading/writing has not been its usual. But we are working through it! Anyone else have those slumps? Tell me I am not the only one! 😂😬

I am bringing you another book review, but, as I said last time I reviewed a book, I am not the best at this.😂 This book review is a little less formal just because it has been hard for me to organize my thoughts lately partly due to my lack of motivation. I also just felt like typing up a review that felt more chatty so 😂 I guess whatever gets me to post this, right?! Also, this post is longer than my usual post (sorry about that), but I hope you still enjoy it!

So today I am talking about From Lukov with Love! This was a book recommended to me by Deanna @A Novel Glimpse (thank you so much!) based off of my Top Ten Tuesday: Non-Bookish Hobbies post (weekly meme hosted by ThatArtsyReaderGirl). This review does not contain spoilers.

Okay onto the review⤵…

Book: From Lukov with Love
Author: Mariana Zapata
Published: Feb 1 2018
Page count: 493

From Lukov with Love

Synopsis (from the back of the book):

If someone were to ask Jasmine Santos to describe the last few years of her life with a single word, it would definitely be a four-letter one.

After seventeen years-and countless broken bones and broken promises-she knows her window to compete in figure skating is coming to a close.

But when the offer of a lifetime comes in from an arrogant idiot she’s spent the last decade dreaming about pushing in the way of a moving bus, Jasmine might have to reconsider everything.

Including Ivan Lukov.


🧐Initial Thoughts
I really enjoyed this novel! I do not actively seek out romance novels not because I dislike them, but just because I am obsessed with fantasy. I am also a HUGE mood reader (sorry if I have mentioned that a lot) so I have to be in the mood for a romance novel. Or any novel, really. But you get my point. 😂 Since this one was recommended to me, I decided to give it a go! (I love when I get book recommendations so if you have any for me, let me know in the comments! I will read it!) It also involved figure skating and, as someone who has a passion for figure skating, this book was right up my alley in that regard. ⛸

Characters and Character Development
I really enjoyed Jasmine as the narrator. She was funny, tough, sassy, and very relatable. I wasn’t a huge fan of some of the language in the novel, but I will say that the novel wouldn’t be the same without it as quite a bit of the humor was derived from it. Or, at least to me, it was.
I enjoyed watching – I mean, reading – Jasmine’s character evolve throughout the novel. It added another dimension to the story that made the novel that much more enjoyable overall.

Figure Skating Aspect
You all know I have to discuss this part of the book being a former competitive figure skater and all! I was pleasantly surprised with this element of the novel. I was afraid that this book would fall into the black hole of stereotypical “figure skating” things that so many movies fall into. (I know I just compared books and movies but I haven’t really read any other figure skating books so😂) These stereotypes include unrealistic eating habits/negative views of unhealthy foods (potato chips is a common example) occasionally/figure skaters being stuck up and snotty, petty girls, etc. These really bother me because it is pretty untrue. I think it feeds a dangerous narrative in a few ways.

1). It conveys that you can’t have unhealthy food cravings. When you deny your body that, you will feel the need to eat it 10x more. I have noticed that, when I say, “I am not having any sugar for the next month” all I do is want sugar. Rather, let’s say to ourselves “Let’s limit our sugar intake.” I always do better with that!

2). Yes, you do have to watch what you eat but it is only because you want to be healthy and strong not because you need to be as skinny as a twig. 4). It makes it seem as though you have to go on crazy, strict diets to be healthy. You do not.

3). It is unfair to say that all figure skaters are arrogant, petty, self-absorbed, etc. Maybe some are! But… I am sure there are plenty of other athletes like that, too.

Sorry (not sorry) for the rant😂 Back to the novel!

That being said, this novel was very good about not falling into those traps I mentioned above. there were a few instances of weight loss/gain and dieting in the novel, but it wasn’t too cringey for me. It was also completely made up for later on when strong, healthy bodies were praised and considered beautiful (as they should be).

As a former figure skater, I will say that much of the book was accurate and realistic and I really appreciated that. I liked how the author highlighted the sacrifices that must be made to follow your (skating) dreams because it is true; it is not all sunshine and daisies and the novel conveyed that.

Lastly, I will say that one thing I didn’t love was the emphasis on wanting to win. However, I don’t think the author was conveying the idea that you should only do something to win. I think Jasmine’s desire to win could be misconstrued for only being in the sport to win because her desire to win is repeated many, many times throughout the novel. It would be easy think that she only skates to win. So while, I think the author did a nice job of staying away from that idea by coupling the desire to win as a result of Jasmine’s past history of failures and a desire to prove herself, I will say that it was easy to lose track of that.

❤️Romance Aspect
The first thing that comes to my mind is that it was very developed. You could see a clear arc in the romance element throughout the entire story. I actually really like how it took a while for the two of them to actually recognize their feelings for each other. Without that length of time and the events in between, the romance would have felt forced and ultimately, it would have fallen flat. The way Mariana structured their romance makes the end result so much sweeter!🥰😍

A big part of this book that I loved was the banter between Jas and Ivan. This book has me laughing my butt off (yes, I got weird stares from my friends and the public😂). And once the romance started settling in, this book had me melting⛄️☀️💦😂 There is nothing more than some good banter in a novel!

💬Final Thoughts
Overall, I quite enjoyed this novel! I would definitely read it again and I most likely will read it again sometime soon. While I do skate every once in a while, it is not as often as I would like and it isn’t completely the same as training was. But this novel helped me cope with that, in a way. It helped me get lost in the world of figure skating and training again. Oh, and the love story part is pretty great too. 😊🥰 

⭐️Desirability (Rating)
4.5 stars

Have you read From Lukov with Love? Let me know in the comments below!

-Maya🌹