Shadow and Bone (The Grisha Trilogy #1) by Leigh Bardugo
Published June 5th 2012 by Henry Holt and Company
Source: Purchased
Rating: ★★★★☆

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.

Hi, my name is Chri. I run a book blog called Aerou, obsess over tiny details, and read books fifty thousand years behind everyone else.

I had a pretty hard time rating Shadow and Bone, actually, because I actually enjoyed Shadow and Bone quite a bit, but my read wasn’t without reservations. It actually came as a bit of a surprise, because a lot of people I know had bones to pick with the plot, the characters, or both. And in all honesty, I wasn’t too wowed by the plot. It’s nothing terribly new – it’s a little on the predictable side, even. But I really enjoyed the way the author crafted and wrote the story and the way her main characters seemed to lift off the pages. Shadow and Bone was interesting and engaging in Leigh Bardugo’s words, with just enough mystery and intrigue to keep you flipping the pages. The story feels dark and cold and strange and a little desperate. I finished this one in one sitting.

And the characters! I loved the complexity to Alina’s character – how she wasn’t exactly strong but wasn’t exactly weak, as well as the struggle that brought on, especially as the plot thickened.

I wasn’t a fan of Mal at all at the beginning of the novel. He was denser than you’d think was possible and couldn’t read the atmosphere for shit, and it really made me wonder why Alina even bothered sticking around. On the other hand, I was super on board with The Darkling – my shounen manga character tastes are seeping into YA lit too (oops), and I like those dark, raw characters with redemption arcs. Which I thought was going to be the case in Shadow and Bone. Heck, it kind of happened? Kind of? Before everything did a complete 180 and I’m reminded of why I tend to wait until a series has been completely published, or until a series has at least half of its books on the shelves before I start reading.

Because I actually ended up liking Mal a lot! His character in the later half of the book is sweet and selfless and brave. You can definitely see the author setting up the relationship between him and Alina to be the endgame, and honestly, I don’t mind. He definitely improved with the story, but conversely, I ended up liking The Darkling less than I did at the start? It’s mainly what the story did to him – if you’re going to make a character a villain, make him a villain. He doesn’t have to be unapologetically a villain, but I feel like it would be so much stronger if he was unapologetically written in. Since the author’s planning on dropping the bomb like that, make it benefitting of his character! I felt like everything was revealed too early on and too half-heartedly, adding to the whole manipulative, did-it-for-the-gasps kind of feeling that isn’t all too pleasant to experience as a reader. In the process, he ended up losing a lot of that build up and characterization, which is a shame because he’s really quite an interesting character, regardless of where he actually stands.

The much-quoted “Fine… make me your villain” line, though! I knew it was coming, and it still had that shot-through-the-heart effect… Damn.

My favorite character by far was Genya, though. Where the rest of the story felt a little well-worn, and a little predictable at times, Genya was a breath of fresh air. I love what she brought to Shadow and Bone in terms of her voice, her character, her relationship with the other characters, her backstory… just, her. She added a kind of depth to the court and Alina’s post-summoner confusion that would’ve made the story rather bland otherwise, I think. I’d definitely read an entire book on Genya. She’s really, really cute, and I hope she gets her happy ending.

Though the plot could be rather typical at times, the characters and the writing really upped that sense of emotional attachment and sent the pages flying. And though I wasn’t entirely blown away enough to feel an overwhelming sense of urgency in picking up the sequel, I’ve added Seige and Storm to my TBR list, and I’m definitely looking to get started on that soon.

I’ve broken 1,500+ books added on Goodreads right now, which is kind of insane – especially since half of them are under the to-read label. And a good portion of them are books from a series, be it the first book, or a following one. I think I tried cutting down that to-read shelf a couple times, but somehow it kept growing and growing, and now I don’t even know where to start trying to downsize that monster…

I just want to curl up in bed without any of the usual responsibilities and read all the books – is that too much to ask?

I used to be better at keeping up. I remember really liking the Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa. I started really book blogging around the time the original trilogy was published (before The Iron Knight – now you can guess at how long I’ve been doing this thing! loloops). I EVEN MADE IT ALL THE WAY UP TO THE IRON KNIGHT. That’s how in love and dedicated I was!! And then the author extended the series, and I tried! I think I got an ARC of The Lost Prince (hoooly crap nostalgia’s hitting me like a truck right now), but it fell apart after that. I didn’t even know the next two books were called The Iron Traitor and The Iron Warrior, so I’m kind of a failure at being a fan of the series. There’s just too many books and all of them are gorgeous and shiny and I WANT TO READ THEM ALL.

Continuing the trend of series I started way back when, I also remember reading The Girl of Fire and Thorns! I think it’s the Rae Carson one? I don’t really remember what I thought of it. I do remember that it didn’t really catch on until a while after the first book was published, so when the buzz started going around I also distinctly remember thinking that I should get back into the series! But. Guess who hasn’t yet.

But really – I don’t know how you guys all do it?

Like, man, cliffhangers get to me too. But I think because of that, I generally try to wait until the entire series is done, or at least until the majority of the books in the series are published before starting. I know, I know, my willpower is great heheh.

– I kid. I’m actually just the lazy type^^;;; whoops.

And also The Ascendance Trilogy! I read The False Prince and remembered really enjoying it, and I remember telling myself that I had to pick up book two… but then book one ended too neatly? Maybe that’s why. So even though I loved the book, I never really felt the urgency to continue.

I’m a ball of complications and a failure of a series fan.

Flash forward to the semi-present day, and it’s the Shadow and Bone series! I’m probably the last person on the planet to read Shadow and Bone, but HORRAY I DID AND I LOVED IT. I ALSO BOUGHT SIX OF CROWS AND I READ WONDER WOMAN and at this point I think I will read whatever Leigh Bardugo writes, even if the actual story doesn’t quite float my boat.

But Shadow and Bone. IT WAS A GREAT READ.

…and, again – I told myself I’d pick up book two (Seige and Storm?).

I read The Young Elites! I told myself I’d pick up book two – The Rose Society.

But I haven’t. And as much as I enjoyed reading those books, I don’t really feel an urgency to continue the series? This is probably in part due to the fact that I have this weird habit where if I read book two and there’s more then I HAVE TO CONTINUE. Which is probably the only reason why I finished all the YA PNR that were big back when I started blogging. Y’know, Hush, Hush, Fallen, Halo, Twilight, and the like. Because once I read book two, I’ll finish the series unless something super shitty happens, but the amount of motivation, for the lack of a better word, needed for me to start book two is high. It’s like one of those exothermic reaction curves okayIllstopnow.

I have serious commitment issues.

Glad we established that.

I’m even having a hard time continuing the A Darker Shade of Magic series…! I also haven’t had time to stop by the bookstore, but last time I went with the intention to buy A Gathering of Shadows, I ended up walking out with other books instead which is weird because I loved ADSOM? As many complaints as I have for Schwab’s YA, I love her adult? I’m just. Why am I like this. Why.

But I just recently finished Red Queen and I OWN Glass Sword (so I’m most likely going to read it because I’m weird about small things like having to read every book I own before it leaves my hands, even if it takes me forever to getting around to doing so), and King’s Cage came out so – I might be able to finish a series? Finally? DUN dun DUNNNNN…

We’ll see 😀

THREE weeks until I’m officially done with this semester and able to fly home and I can’t wait. I’m so excited and tempted to pull out my suitcase and start packing but I told myself I’d wait until at least December to do so. Also, midterms are finally done and out of the way, and we’ve just finished with the last batch of research participants down at my lab, so things are finally starting to feel a little like the end of the semester! And now, to the blog – here’s how November looked-

November on the blog

  • I reviewed Scarlet by Marissa Meyer with unamused Benedict Cumberbatch gifs, which basically sums up my reading experience.
  • Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes was… marginally better… but I still kind of wanted to punt some of the characters off the edge of a cliff.
  • I switched things up a little and posted an ongoing list of amazing Asian drama! 10/10 would highly recommend watching them when you get the chance^^
  • As You Wish by Chelsea Sedoti was another disappointing read, to put it lightly.
  • tHEN I READ A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC BY VICTORIA SCHWAB AND IT SINGLE-HANDEDLY SAVED MY READING LIST THIS MONTH PRAISE.

Out and about

/Insert inhoherent screaming and tearful rambling here because I JUST RECEIVED TO KILL A KINGDOM BY ALEXANDRA CHRISTO and not going to like the tentacles on the cover look hella weird bUT IM STILL EXCITED ASDFJDLKGDSF/

In the realm of beauty products… I’ve gone through and tried out most of the new products in my stash, so there really isn’t much to say anymore. I did finally open the TonyMoly Panda’s Dream White Hand Cream. I love the packaging! It’s super cute, and as for the inside – the formula smells amazing, and while I don’t see any of the effects people are raving about online, it’s true that it isn’t too oily, and absorbs nicely into your skin. It’s rather meh, though, packaging aside. I also tried TonyMoly’s shiny foot moisture cream with similar results, cute packaging aside. It’s decent and does the job, but doesn’t go above and beyond, and isn’t worth raving about.

I was so, so tempted to splurge on Black Friday, but bills are kind of tight this month (@NYC what’s up) – which, speaking of, because of this I’m going to put up a ton of the books I have for sale, so if you’re interested, please keep an eye out on my twitter! Aughhhh there were so many eye-catching sales though! Did you guys get anything? Let me know so I can live vicariously through you, heheh.

All that aside, this entire month’s mostly been an endless cycle of eat, sleep, school. I wish I could post about more interesting things, but unfortunately, the most noteworthy thing I’ve done was accidentally burn the skin off my pinky and dye half of my left hand purple (which is a more common occurrence in our lab than you’d think, ahah). Next month, though! I’ll be heading back home and getting to eat all that good food and catching up with my friends, so there’ll be things to ramble about then. I can’t wait <3

October on the playlist

  • 打上花火/DAOKO×米津玄師(cover)【96猫×天月】
  • 病名は愛だった / 天月×96猫 【歌ってみた】
  • back number – 「瞬き」
  • [Alexandros] – 明日、また (MV) (short ver.)
  • Rita Ora – Anywhere

So there we have it! My November in a nutshell. And now, onto you – how was your month? How was your Thanksgiving, if you celebrated it? (Or rather, how did you celebrate it? I’ve never done so, and I’m curious!)

A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic #1) by V.E. Schwab
Published February 24th 2015 by Tor Books
Source: Purchased
Rating: ★★★★½

Kell is one of the last Antari—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black.

Kell was raised in Arnes—Red London—and officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see.

Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.

After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive.

4.5

I’m something like two years late to the party, but oooooh wow. Dang. All that hype? They aren’t lying – A Darker Shade of Magic is really, really good.

There’s something about the author’s writing that I love. I’m usually a huge fan of delicate descriptions and subtleties weaved into prose, and while it’s not quite like that – the author’s writing is a lot more matter-of-factual – there’s something about it that just works really well, especially with stories of this sort. It’s the ordinary undertone she takes while telling fantastical stories, I think, and the way she moves the story so fluidly from being gentle and quirky and whimsical to uncertainty and despair. The former bit like so:

“Kell wore a very peculiar coat.
It had neither one side, which would be conventional, nor two, which would be unexpected, but several, which was, of course, impossible.
The first thing he did whenever he stepped out of one London and into another was take off the coat and turn it inside out once or twice (or even three times) until he found the side he needed. Not all of them were fashionable, but they each served a purpose. There were ones that blended in and ones that stood out, and one that served no purpose but of which he was just particularly fond.”

The story is also pretty fucking cool, and the execution lives up to expectations. There are many Londons! Magical Londons! Non-magical Londons! Crumbling Londons! Pirates and whimsical magic and chess pieces and curious stones and masquerade parties and traveling smuggling princes and! I! Just! It’s a little strange and a little out there but it worked, and it made for an incredibly interesting read.

The characters were just the same, from Kell – a little curious, a little cool, and a little morally gray, taking with him elements of the author’s other book, Vicious, which may be one of my all-time favorite reads – to Lila, who was self-confident and brave and determined, though it did take me a bit to warm up to her (her introduction wasn’t exactly the most endearing of scenes). There’s also Astrid Dane and Athos Dane, both chilling and unflinching and villains to the bone and Rhy, the prettily charming and charmingly pretty prince. And Holland, who, at first glance, seems like the stone-cold foil to Kell, but! It’s a V. E. Schwab book, so everyone’s vulnerable and nothing’s as it seems and so of course shit happens and of course I feel partial to Holland and of course my taste in characters is equal parts terrible and untimely. 🙂 sobcriesbye

I do wish there was a glossary of sorts at either the beginning or end of the book, though, with some of the Antari phrases and their meanings. I’m a little slow at remembering that kind of stuff, and a lot of the book would read so much smoother and engaging if I knew what the characters were saying and what they meant when they said it, rather than having to pause every once in a while to flip back to the beginning to look for an explanation.

The ending’s unexpectedly satisfying for a book that’s the first in a series – no cliffhanger! Which, in theory, means you could just stop here. The real question is, why would you?

(Also, um. I. Really want that coat?)

As You Wish by Chelsea Sedoti
Expected publication: January 2nd 2018 by Sourcebooks Fire
Source: ARC from Publisher
Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

What if you could ask for anything- and get it?

In the sandy Mojave Desert, Madison is a small town on the road between nothing and nowhere. But Eldon wouldn’t want to live anywhere else, because in Madison, everyone gets one wish—and that wish always comes true.

Some people wish for money, some people wish for love, but Eldon has seen how wishes have broken the people around him. And with the lives of his family and friends in chaos, he’s left with more questions than answers. Can he make their lives better? How can he be happy if the people around him aren’t? And what hope is there for any of them if happiness isn’t an achievable dream? Doubts build, leading Eldon to a more outlandish and scary thought: maybe you can’t wish for happiness…maybe, just maybe, you have to make it for yourself.

How do I put this? I really like the concept of the new cover for As You Wish – it’s really eye-catching and well thought out, and definitely something I’d put up on the wall. I wouldn’t, however, buy a copy of the book itself for my bookshelf.

Reason number one: Eldon was a prick. A giant bag of dicks, if you will. He was also the main character, so you can see where that might present a bit of a problem. As You Wish opens with Eldon working his shift at the gas station, preening about how good-looking and charming he is while inwardly mocking the customers, and it’s only downhill from there. Throughout the novel, he beats people up when things don’t go his way, blames everyone else for his missteps, and inflates his insufferable ego. In all honesty, I’m surprised he has friends – he treats everyone around him terribly, and they just? Keep coming back? (Though granted, that entire town isn’t exactly the most pleasant bunch either.) I get that his sister’s in a coma, it sucks that he was dumped (though not for the reasons Eldon keeps assuming, which was also pretty shitty of him) and hey it kinda sucks that he’s not in shape on the football field anymore BUT HI HELLO IT DOESN’T CHANGE THE FACT THAT
1) Eldon’s an insufferable jerk.
2) Eldon needs to get over himself and grow up.
3) tRAGIC BACKSTORY DOESN’T EXCUSE AWFUL BEHAVIOR.

Oh, and get this: when he bumps into a drunk classmate, his first thought is that he cAN GET INTO HER PANTS BECAUSE SHE’S DRUNK. Then a short while later, he kisses a girl who didn’t want to be kissed and feels indignant, then writes it off as being drunk. The victim-blaming is strong in this one and I wish I couldn’t believe I’d actually read those scenes with my own two eyeballs. If anyone figures it out, do tell me when things were supposed to start to change because every sentence vaguely tied to him read as another nail in the proverbial coffin that housed Eldon’s problematic self.

And on that note, this is a pretty long story and nothing happens for the first 90%? This book would’ve been a lot better if 90% of it hadn’t been Eldon angsting over his wish and spewing his misogyny onto all the girls in his life – he didn’t even spare his mom – while vehemently insisting otherwise. And when things do start happening… none of it makes any sense? Random characters appear out of nowhere and random bridges that Eldon burned magically repair themselves and suddenly everything’s falling neatly into place except in a bizarrely disconnected way? I like plot-driven novels. I tend to like character-driven novels slightly more, so slow-moving plots to me are fine if the character’s changing but this book? It was neither plot-driven nor character-driven. Or anything-driven, really. It barely moved, which is a pretty incredible feat for 430+ pages.

And, for all that talk about how people shouldn’t attempt to play God, the attempted resolution was one very big attempt at playing God. It was also another shitty move by Eldon so. Congratulations, Eldon – you managed to make it through your “redemption” arc and get worse instead of better.

One more: okay so I was actually liking all the historical tidbits about other people who had made their wishes UNTIL we got to the part about someone who wished their gayness away and became romantically and sexually attracted to nobody, except the entire thing was written in an insultingly ace/aro-phobic way at which point WELP please leave.

Final verdict? I thought it was a cool idea and the author obviously had a lot to say, but the execution sorely missed the mark. I also do apologize if I got any of the chronological orders wrong in my review but I really didn’t want to go back and pick through the book. Once was more than enough.

Let’s talk about another guilty pleasure of mine: asian drama. I was actually going to write this post a looong time ago, but then I kept getting sidetracked^^;; I came up with a list of my favorite dramas, but then I’d remember another drama not on the list that I liked, and then another, and then of course I had to re-watch the dramas to see which one I liked better… and then a couple weeks slipped by. Oops? So I decided that, instead of an all-time-best list, I’d just make one never-ending list and add to it every once in a while, because there are so many great dramas and it’s impossible to just choose a few. In no particular order, here are the first five!

锦绣未央 [The Princess Weiyoung]

This one’s basically a gift to your eyeballs. The costumes, the music, the editing, the background… everything is gorgeous and meticulously planned. The gorgeous setting helped the plot seem sprawling and effortless and augh this was so, so beautiful. And the characters! Tiffany Tang is one of my favorite actresses, and I love the chemistry she had with Luo Jin, as well as the close-knit relationships between her character and many of both her family and “family” members! Drama aside, it was very heartwarming to see. It’s worth pointing out though that this follows the novel extremely, incredibly loosely – I wouldn’t recommend watching if you expect the drama to be exactly like the novel. But if you’re looking for gorgeous visuals and a headstrong lead and incredible chemistry between an equally talented actor and actress, I’d highly recommend this drama!

태양의 후예 [Descendants of the Sun]

I’m never going to make an asian drama list and not include this drama – it strikes a perfect balance between action and romance and cheese and sweetness, and the concept is different and really interesting. I don’t know why but it took me a few tries to get into this drama, but I’m so glad I did finish it because it was so good *O* I especially liked the second couple’s story /ducks pleasedon’tkillme/. HEARTSTRINGS ARE TUGGED. And the easy, sweet, and caring relationships between all the characters, despite their situations, were really enjoyable to watch. I loved the action scenes, the bantering scenes, the sweeter scenes… this is such a good show^^

역도요정 김복주 [Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Soo]

This is one of those dramas where the main leads just make the entire show, you know? The story’s meh and skimps out on addressing the real issues, but I loved how refreshing and genuine and solid of a relationship KBJ and JJH had. It was a little silly, a little awkward, but it was so nice to watch. Between strangers-to-lovers and friends-to-lovers, I’d pick the latter any day, and Weightlifting Fairy had one of the best relationship portrayals I’ve seen on screen: supportive, warm, and trusting. They’re so precious ;__;

微微一笑很倾城 [Love O2O]

This is one of those dramas I can watch over and over again. I actually read the novel first, and it remains one of my favorite books, and I loved the drama as well. I loved the concept, and how scenes were split between the online game and real life. I love my historical drama, but I also love my modern-day drama, and this just struck the perfect balance! The friend, family, and love relationships were so cute and never ceased to put a smile on my face. And the relationship between Wei Wei and Xiao Nai! I loved how, instead of your typical romcom when it’s the two romantic leads getting into a misunderstanding, in this drama the two romantic leads are on the same side, and in a misunderstanding with someone else. The scene on the basketball court was particularly memorable, where one of the side characters is surprised that Xiao Nai didn’t doubt Wei Wei, and he replies with “why should I doubt my girlfriend?” Hearts. Fluttering.

힘쎈여자 도봉순 [Strong Woman Do Bong Soon]

The plot definitely isn’t as tight as it could’ve been, and the mystery and crime aspects not blended with the romance and comedy as well as it could’ve been, but somehow despite the flaws, I thought this was a really nice drama just the same. It’s one of those shows to watch when you want to see something cute and with a happy ending, you know? One of those ones where you can count on funny scenes and cute romance and good defeating evil. The leads are cute as fuck – I really liked Park Bo Young, Park Hyung Shik, and Ji Soo (though, isn’t it time he got something other than the third wheel role?^^;;;). I’d really recommend if you’re just in the mood for something fun! Especially that last episode. I can admit to watching and re-watching it more than a few times.

Raised by Wolves (Raised by Wolves #1) by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Published June 8th 2010 by EgmontUSA
Source: Purchased
Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Adopted by the Alpha of a werewolf pack after a rogue wolf brutally killed her parents right before her eyes, fifteen-year-old Bryn knows only pack life, and the rigid social hierarchy that controls it. That doesn’t mean that she’s averse to breaking a rule or two.

But when her curiosity gets the better of her and she discovers Chase, a new teen locked in a cage in her guardian’s basement, and witnesses him turn into a wolf before her eyes, the horrific memories of her parents’ murders return. Bryn becomes obsessed with getting her questions answered, and Chase is the only one who can provide the information she needs.

But in her drive to find the truth, will Bryn push too far beyond the constraints of the pack, forcing her to leave behind her friends, her family, and the identity that she’s shaped?

Because I’ve been staring at this page for a few days now and still have no idea how to start this review, some lists!

Things I liked:

  • I enjoyed the first third-or-so of the story! It was fast-paced, interesting enough, and Bryn’s voice really shone through the pages. You could feel her strong character, and while she was kind of cringe-y at times – maybe just because I’m pretty close to her polar opposite and wouldn’t do a lot of the things she did – it was really fun to keep up with her.
  • The cubs! They were really cute.
  • Ali, Bryn’s mom, is fierce and protective and loyal and all-around wonderful and must be protected.
  • SHE PROTECTS BRYN AND TREATS HER RIGHT AND WHEN ABSOLUTE SHIT HITS THE FAN, SHE SAYS THINGS LIKE THIS: “…if we weren’t leaving because of what they’d done to you, we’d be leaving because the pack has twisted you enough to make you think that it’s okay for someone to treat you that way.”

Things I disliked:

  • I said I liked a third of a book but it’s more like the first quarter or the first fifth? I liked everything up until when Chase popped in.
  • Who’s Chase? Some super hot, super mysterious werewolf guy. I think. I have no idea. He was super protective of Bryn, and super love-struck if that counts?
  • But really all we know is that a handful of short, supervised meetings between him and Bryn are enough to get her to throw away her family, her friends, and the life she’s always known to basically tie the rest of her life to this guy.
  • We’re treated to a lot of cheesy lines but there’s very little substance to Bryn and Chase’s relationship. I want to swoon and coo over their relationship but there’s nothing to swoon or coo over because their relationship is built on very close to nothing.
  • The book after Chase appeared meandered in this downward spiral toward nothingness.
  • All that talk about how extra super special Bryn was really didn’t help the book’s case either.
  • There is also some plot – if you read close enough. About a rabid. But it’s drowned out by Bryn and Chase’s attraction and all this talk about how Bryn’s a Super Special Snowflake.
  • I actually kind of liked Callum in the beginning, and then he became more and more overbearing, and then he took things way too far. Protecting someone! Isn’t an excuse! For beating the shit out of them!
  • !!!
  • !!!!!!!
  • I haven’t read a lot of werewolf books, and I think Raised by Wolves might be my first YA werewolf book, or at least the first Goodreads and I can remember, but yeah, I get that a lot of fantasy novels about werewolves like to play with and reinforce the idea of strong bonds between the pack members, the idea of a pack hierarchy, and consequentially, what happens when those things are toyed with or broken. But still! I like to think that everyone, human, somewhat, or not, would agree that violence is hardly not the answer, and definitely not the answer here.
  • Raising a hand against someone in the name of protecting that very person is not okay, but everyone aside from Ali – even Bryn – just accepts it.
  • Holy fucking shit.
  • Callum gets of way too lightly, with very little repercussion. Instead, he’s basically crowned as all-knowing and all-seeing. //gag//

Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles #2) by Marissa Meyer
Published February 5th 2013 by Feiwel & Friends
Source: Borrowed
Rating: ★½☆☆☆

Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison—even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.

I’m going to be honest here: probably the only reason why I finished Scarlet was because I read it during history (because I’m a perfect model student, didn’t you know?). Because, really, anything is more interesting than history with a clueless substitute teacher. Even a story that nearly drove me to tears of boredom and frustration.

The most annoying thing about Scarlet was Cinder’s identity. Or, rather, the other characters’ inability to put together two and two and realize who Cinder was. I’m pretty close to crying, guys. Scarlet and Wolf were LOOKING for Princess Selene. By the end of the book, they KNEW the princess was secretly smuggled to earth and taken in by someone with the last name “Linh.” They KNEW that a Lunar teenager had recently broken out of prison (don’t tell me they didn’t know there were so many broadcastings about it) with the last name “Linh.” If they were really looking for Princess Selene, wouldn’t they have been just a little suspicious? Then if they’d done the math, they would have realized that – surprise! – the escaped fugitive and the princess were around the same age. Don’t even get me started on Captain Thorne (HE WAS WITH HER FOR THE LONGEST).

And KAI. It’s been maybe a year since I’ve read Cinder, so I might be wrong, but I’m pretty sure that whole capture thing at the end of Cinder and the Lunar Queen (whose name I’ve conveniently forgotten) were huge clue-ins to Cinder’s identity as Princess Selene. Of course, that’s not the only fuck-up from him. His big decision at the end to “save everyone” made no sense whatsoever. Yeah, okay, Earth’s going to be okay for a little bit. A couple years at most. But after that? It’s going to be goodbye, Earth.

Cinder? It’s best if you stick with Captain Throne. Granted, he isn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer, but at least he hasn’t doomed an entire planet. Yet.

That aside, the romance didn’t raise any points for Scarlet, either. It wasn’t terrible, I suppose. Just… lacking. There wasn’t really any base for the romance. Since romance is one of the genres, it’s pretty obvious that Scarlett and Wolf are going to get together, but when they do, it’s pretty disappointing. One minute they’re flinging fruits at each other and in the next they’re kissing in a jail cell and there’s literally no in-between.

The Queen’s Army/wolf pack left me equally interested and confused. I will admit to skipping over some details and things towards the end because I just wanted the story to hurry up and end already, but even so… the hierarchal system and the wolf/man concept just seemed hazy and I felt so lost. Other little things confused me too, like the setting. Sometimes it took a while to figure out where they were because all the settings seemed so similar, and the narrative neglected to point out any landmarks or such for clarification.

Captain Thorne, inability to see what was dancing in neon lights right in front of his nose aside, was funny and witty, and generally I liked him. Cinder too had turned quite interesting and badass (I greatly preferred her narratives over Scarlet’s). But that aside, there weren’t very many redeeming points for Scarlet as far as I’m concerned.

The way my rating system’s set up, I’ve described a one-star as “eh, don’t bother” and a two-star as “interesting enough to finish, but too many flaws for my liking” – pretty much Goodread’s “did not like it” and “liked it.” So I’m setting Scarlett in the middle. I did finish it, but would only recommend it for people who really enjoyed Cinder. Then again, 86% of Goodread-ers gave Scarlett 4 and 5 stars, so I guess I’m the black sheep?

But there’s my two cents ( ´ ▽ ` )ノ

Another month – done! We’re inching closer and closer to winter break! I’m booking tickets home tonight, and I’m ridiculously excited. I hate riding airplanes, but if it means heading home for the holidays… YES PLEASE! But I’m getting a little ahead of myself. So. Today on the blog: the month that was October!

October on the blog

  • I read and loved The False Prince!
  • THERE IS A THREE INGREDIENT BOBA RECIPE and you can find it riiight here.
  • Death Sworn was also a really nice read! Right up my alley 🙂
  • The Book Thief was a good read? Quiet and lovely, but definitely not all I was hoping for.
  • On the other hand, I didn’t know what to expect with The Reader and it turned out to be a really fun read!
  • My good-reads streak was broken by the “meh” This Song Will Safe Your Life…
  • And The Bone Season

Out and about

I’ve safely survived my first lab evaluation, handed in a major translating project, and just finished my first batch of midterms, and I’m honestly terrified because my bio scores come out in two days (or, two days at the time of writing up this post), and I have absolutely no idea how it went – I did manage to answer every single question in detail, but I might’ve done them all wrong? It’s happened before ><;; (thank god for ochem’s otherwise depressingly low averages, ahah).

But, a different subject! I got around to trying the Mediheal Acai facemask I was talking about in my last month’s wrap-up! It smelled lovely, but I’ll be honest: I’ve tried masks from Mediheal, Tonymoly, and Innisfree, and the way they feel on my skin and the results they produce appear just about the same. I still have quite a few masks to go through, but next time I’m buying, I really think I might just go for the cheapest options, in this case. Does anyone have any recs, maybe?

I’ve also been expanding items on my menu list! I’ve been telling myself that I should make dumplings – they’re a bit time-consuming, but once they’re done, I can throw them in the fridge and the batch’ll probably last me a week or two, right? But I’m super lazy to attempt it… I have finally lugged a bag of rice back to my apartment, and I finally got around to buying proper cooking utensils, so I’ve been making things like Korean pancakes and pasta and omelets and stir-fried noodles, though! So that’s a step? I’m still averaging just one big meal and one little meal per day, but at least my mom’s not convinced I’m going to die of hunger anymore…^^;;;

October on the playlist

  • 여자친구 GFriend – 유리구슬 Glass Bead
  • 여자친구(GFRIEND) – 시간을 달려서(Rough)
  • 여자친구(GFRIEND) – 너 그리고 나
  • 여자친구 GFRIEND – 오늘부터 우리는
  • GFRIEND(여자친구) _ LOVE WHISPER(귀를 기울이면) (so, I got really into a certain group this month…)

So there we have it! My October in a nutshell. And now, onto you – how was your month? The good, the bad – let me know! There’s only two months left of the year – we can do this!!

The Bone Season (The Bone Season #1) by Samantha Shannon
Published August 20th 2013 by Bloomsbury USA
Source: Purchased
Rating: dnf

The year is 2059. Nineteen-year-old Paige Mahoney is working in the criminal underworld of Scion London, based at Seven Dials, employed by a man named Jaxon Hall. Her job: to scout for information by breaking into people’s minds. For Paige is a dreamwalker, a clairvoyant and, in the world of Scion, she commits treason simply by breathing.

It is raining the day her life changes for ever. Attacked, drugged and kidnapped, Paige is transported to Oxford – a city kept secret for two hundred years, controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. Paige is assigned to Warden, a Rephaite with mysterious motives. He is her master. Her trainer. Her natural enemy. But if Paige wants to regain her freedom she must allow herself to be nurtured in this prison where she is meant to die.

I felt like I was drowning.

The Bone Season was quite possibly my most anticipated book of 2013. Granted, that was years ago and my reading tastes could’ve changed, but I was really, really, really looking forward to it. There was so much hype from so many people I share similar tastes with, and the blurb had me at “criminal underworld.” That’s probably where things started going wrong.

Thing is, The Bone Season starts out perfectly fine. There might be one too many characters to keep track of at first, but it’s not bothersome. Paige, while nothing outstanding, is a character that I’d be comfortable enough to spend the book’s 500-or-so pages with. Then things kicked off – dangerous, criminal underworldly events that got me really excited, and I remember telling my friend who had gifted me the book that things were getting really good and I was starting to really love it. Famous last words, right?

Flash forward a handful of pages and the book does a complete 360. No more criminal underworld. Goodbye to the life vest and flotation device – a couple chapters in, Paige wakes up in a completely different place, and it seems as if the author just discarded the first part and restarted. The Bone Season drop kicks you off the cliff, and it’s all downhill from there.

The world-building is everywhere and nowhere all at once, and I found myself constantly flipping back to the glossary at the beginning, and still completely and utterly confused. Information comes in huge, indigestible glops, the breaks between which are just as massive, and it’s amazes me how something can be so simultaneously vague and intricate. The Bone Season really doesn’t do anything half-assed.

Somewhere between the realization that you could pretty much kill off any character, Paige included, and I wouldn’t be able to care less, and the awkward budding of romance that had no basis upon which to exist, I gave up and set the book aside, and I don’t think I’ll be continuing.