top 5 wednesday | april 26

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I’m back again for another Top 5 Wednesday!

If you don’t already know, Top 5 Wednesday is run by Sam thoughtsontomes. Here’s the Goodreads group if you’re interesting in learning more or joining in on the fun!

Today’s prompt: Authors You Want to Read More From

This is actually a weirdly hard prompt for me, because I’m the kind of reader who discovers a new favorite author and immediately inhales everything they’ve written. I’m sure (*I hope*) I’m not the only one like that out there!

However, since I’ve been kind of out of the reading game these past few years, I’ve been frantically catching up on what I’ve missed. As such, I just haven’t had enough time to inhale all the words by some authors I’ve recently discovered.

So, without further ado or useless commentary on my behalf, let’s get started!

1. Brandon Sanderson

Returning readers, are you starting to see a theme on my blog?

I am currently mid-inhale with Brandon Sanderson, and I can’t seem to stop reading his books or gushing about them on this blog. But I can’t bring myself to really care! I just love his unique fantasy worlds, his straightforward writing, and his positively epic stories.

Also, I find it just the Coolest Thing Ever that his books are all somehow connected, even in the tiniest of ways, and that there’s this broader scope to the universe (ahem, excuse me, the Cosmere) he’s created. SO. COOL. Can I be like Brandon Sanderson? In your dreams, Brianne.

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Only *slightly* embarrassing how many Sanderson books I currently have in my posession. (And I have one more on the way…)

2. Victoria Schwab

Around the end of February and beginning of March, I read the Darker Shade of Magic trilogy by V.E. Schwab, and I loved it! Oh man, those characters got me so emotional. Kell and Rhy! *wipes away tear* I adore them.

I’ve heard lots of good things about Victoria Schwab’s other books, and they all seem especially unique, from each other and from other popular books these days. I’m hoping to pick up another one of hers in the next month or so!

3. Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

I might be breaking the rules by lumping these two together, but hear out my reasoning! The only books I’ve read by these two were ones they wrote together, the first two books in the Illuminae Files series. Holy moly, how cool are those books! I was so skeptical over the mere design of these books, but they were so great. Again–what characters! If they could make me care about characters who I learned about only through journal entries, interviews, and the like, I’m super intrigued to see what these authors could do in a more traditional novel.

4. Maggie Stiefvater

I’ve kind of had a change of heart with Maggie Stiefvater, although it’s not really all that dramatic. When I was in high school, I picked up her Shiver series from the library, and I thought they were all right but didn’t quite hold my attention. Back then I had the TERRIBLE habit of skimming through books, whether I was enjoying them or not. (I know, I’m cringing as I write this!) So, of course, I skimmed through the Shiver series, and, of course, completely ruined my entire reading experience.

Now, though, I’d like to go back and re-read those books because I realized how amazing Maggie Stievater is after I read the Raven Cycle last year. Oh, those books were so mystical and creepy and heart-wrenching. I had just the best experience binging that series, and have come to follow Maggie on social media and learn just how awesome she is. The rest of her works are on my eventual TBR.

5. Rick Riordan

Rick Riordan! Ending this list with a bang! How great is the Percy Jackson series? I read them while in college but still ADORED them. For me, it was one of those rare cases where I saw the movie and enjoyed it enough that I wanted to pick up the book. (Might’ve also had something to do with Logan Lerman, can’t lie about that.)

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I mean, how cute is he? Such a sweet babe.

I started reading the Heroes of Olympus series after, but college got too busy and I never finished. Now, I’m hearing that the Magnus Chase series is Super Great, so again, all of Rick Riordan’s series are on my eventual TBR.

And there you have it! What authors would you like to read more from? If you’ve read from any of these five (six, technically), which books would you recommend I read first?

Until next time,
Brianne

book review | warbreaker by brandon sanderson

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Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson

My Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆

Warbreaker centers around five main characters: two sisters, two gods, and the Warbreaker. Two countries, Idris and Hallandren, are on the brink of war, and the king of Idris sends off his daughter to marry the God King of Hallandren to fulfill their treaty and hopefully appease his enemies. Except, he sends his younger daughter Siri, instead of the expected older sister, Vivenna. Suddenly, Siri finds herself completely unprepared in the city of T’Telir, about to marry the all-powerful God King, and Vivenna finds herself purposeless. She decides to take on a new mission: to save her sister and take her rightful place as wife of the God King. However, she find herself pulled into more than she expected in T’Telir, something a reluctant god, Lightsong, is also starting to discover on his side of the city. And finally, Vasher, the Warbreaker, is wreaking havoc for mysterious reasons, with his sentient sword Nightblood. All five of them play important roles in shaping the events in T’Telir as they resist–or provoke–the war.

Recommended if you like:

  • High fantasy
  • Multiple POVs
  • Slow-developing yet intricate story lines
  • Characters with chemistry and dynamic relationships

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My Spoiler-Free Review

I finished this book days ago and I’m still thinking about it. Just when I wondered if it was really possible Brandon Sanderson was the writing god I suspected, I read this.

This book, guys. It ticks all the boxes.

✓ Well-developed, super interesting fantasy world!
✓ Dynamic, interesting characters!
✓ Teasing romance and burning chemistry!
✓ Just the right amount of action!
✓ Political intrigue and questioning religion!
✓ Ridiculously satisfying ending!

I just adored this book. I wish there could be more in this world (and maybe there will be someday?), but it did work really well as a standalone. Sanderson wrapped everything up and left the reader satisfied yet hopeful for the future of the characters, yet also mourning bittersweetly over those who didn’t make it. (It’s a Sanderson book–yes, there were deaths. Bah.)

I can’t help but marvel again how Sanderson creates such great characters, who have amazing  chemistry with each other, AND puts them into these amazingly, intricately developed fantasy worlds. I was hesitant that I wouldn’t like his other books because I so enjoyed the Mistborn world, but Hallandren and the magic of BioChromatic breath sucked me in (ha) and didn’t let me go. I’m not sure I loved the magic as much as the Mistborn world, but it was still so well written. I wish we could have seen even more regarding the use of BioChromatic breath–we didn’t really see what it was or what one could do with it until much further on in the book. But still–super cool.

And can I just gush about the characters a minute? These characters are all working out their role in their world, yet they’re all so unique, with clear motives and problems they want to solve. I love that Sanderson’s characters question themselves and their beliefs, and come out better for struggling through it. They all manage to niggle their ways into my heart for different reasons, and I just love them dearly!

Warbreaker is definitely less action-packed than some of Sanderson’s other novels, but it worked for me. I could see how other readers might find it slow, but the politics and the developing relationships were enough to propel me forward (and even look ahead in a few spots, oops). I mean, c’mon…who WOULDN’T keep reading for more of Siri and the God King? Sanderson did a better job writing a fantastic romance than most supposedly dreamy YA authors I’ve read lately.

Overall: again, this book ticked all my boxes and then some. I loved it. I think especially women would enjoy this book, but Sanderson has a great way of writing to appeal to a broad audience. Basically: READ THIS BOOK. You won’t regret it.

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Have you read Warbreaker? What did you think of it? Leave your thoughts below!

Until next time,
Brianne

so i guess i’m accidentally participating in tome topple

So I’ve come to the realization that I’m (maybe not so) accidentally participating in Tome Topple.

Here’s what happened: Initially, when I heard about Tome Topple a few weeks ago, I didn’t think I’d participate because I didn’t want to limit myself in regards to my reads; I like to go with the flow and see what calls to me. And I THOUGHT a few books I wanted to read next were short and wouldn’t qualify. But here’s the reality: 3 of the last 4 books I’ve picked up qualify. (And the one that doesn’t I think I might save for later.)

So, hooray?! I’m probably the only person accidentally joining Tome Topple Round 3, but I’m going with it.

Let’s back up. For those of you who don’t know, Tome Topple is a readathon hosted by Sam at thoughtsontomes (yes, I KNOW I just mentioned her in another post but I really do love her videos and we have such similar tastes and opinions) and a bunch of other awesome readers. Round 3 started April 7 and will continue until April 20. The only “rule” is that the books you read must be 500+ pages, aka “tomes.” There are also other challenges, such as:

1. Read more than 1 tome
2. Read a graphic novel
3. Read a tome that’s part of a series
4. Buddy read a tome
5. Read an adult novel

So, since all my recent/current reads are 500+ pages, I decided I’d join in. I may be late, but hopefully no one minds.

 

My Reading Plan:

✓ Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones (506 pages) > see my review here

✓ Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson (588 pages) > review coming soon!

☐ Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor (532 pages) > currently trying to read

 

If I manage read all three of these, I’ll complete challenges 1, 3, and 5! All of these are parts of series, to the best of my knowledge, and Warbreaker is an adult novel. I’m really going to try my best to use this as motivation to finish Strange the Dreamer, since I’m struggling with it a little bit

So, yay! Tome Topple! I was initially intimidated, but I guess I like to be intimidated because nearly all of the books I read lately are 500+ pages. Apparently it’s a thing for me.

Are you participating in Tome Topple? If so, what books are you reading? Let’s talk!

BOOK REVIEW: wintersong by s. jae-jones

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Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

My Rating: ☆☆☆

Wintersong is about a girl named Liesl, eighteen years old and a composer. She writes music for her little brother, Josef, who is a prodigy on the violin and the other half of her soul, and she loves her younger sister, Käthe, who is beautiful and adventurous. The book begins on the night the old year dies, according to the calendar of the Underworld. It is a time when the threshold between the world above and below is thin, and this is the start of Liesl’s pull down to the Underworld and the Goblin King, and the beginning of her self-discovery.

Recommended if you like:

  • Hades/Persephone inspired stories
  • Teasing yet steamy romance
  • Strong sibling relationships
  • Classical music

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My Spoiler-Free Review

This book is dark, creepily fascinating, infused with music. Although the overall experience wasn’t a perfect hit for me, there sure were some elements in this book that I don’t think I’ve ever read before.

Wintersong felt like a cross between Phantom of the Opera and Caraval. In fact, it had all the elements I had expected in Caraval and didn’t quite get when I read it earlier this year–Wintersong has strong sibling relationships that were prominent and relevant to the plot, mind-bending games that actually did confuse me, and true chemistry seen in the romance between Liesl and the Goblin King. After being let down by Caraval, it was nice to get these things out of the book even though I hadn’t been expecting them from Wintersong.

I certainly identified with Liesl, but I’m not sure I really connected with her, if that makes sense. She’s the older sister who isn’t extraordinary or amazingly beautiful; she easily fades into the background. I feel that on a deep level. But I didn’t quite connect with her and sympathize with her; I still saw her as the confusing, though selfless, and rather horny (lets be real here) girl that she truly was.

I think it came down to the writing and the plot. It was all very YA, if that makes any sense, though the book certainly had some more mature than YA moments. Events were a little all over the place, there really weren’t many secondary plot lines going on, and the world-building was practically nonexistent. If the whole book was developed just a bit more, and a bit more cleanly, I think it would have wowed me a lot.

That said, I did enjoy Wintersong. It only took me a few hours to read because I really was weirdly fascinated with what was happening and definitely wanted to know more about our dear, austere Goblin King. I also loved that music played such a big role as that’s something I can also identify with greatly and enjoyed reading about. I’m happy there will be a sequel because I wouldn’t mind more of a resolution to this story; it doesn’t quite feel finished yet.

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Have you read Wintersong? What did you think of it? Leave your thoughts below!

top 5 wednesday | april 5

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This is my first top 5 Wednesday post. Hoorah!

I first learned of Top 5 Wednesday from Sam thoughtsontomes’s Youtube channel (check her out, I love her videos!), and afterward I, of course, joined the group on Goodreads and immediately began planning my future blog posts. I’m aware that there’s also a Top Ten Tuesday that goes around the book blogosphere, but those prompts didn’t quite resonate with me? Also, is it just me or is 10 a lot more intimidating than 5? Yeah, it probably is just me. But alas, I’m going to stick with Top 5 Wednesday for now.

Today’s prompt: Top Science-Fiction / Fantasy Books on Your TBR

Oh man. Let’s just say I definitely have more than five science-fiction and fantasy books on my TBR. My TBR is basically made of ONLY science-fiction and fantasy books. Especially thanks to my recent revelation that fantasy is my favorite genre, my home, my comfort place–something I hadn’t really acknowledged before. I’m weird, I know.

Now, I’m going to force myself to narrow things down by not including upcoming releases. This list is the top 5 books I’m most likely to pick up next (which means I’ll likely have read them by the end of the month, honestly).

Here we go! *in no particular order*

1. The Stormlight Archive series by Brandon Sanderson
I’m including this whole series (just two books, SO FAR) because I can. I’m on a Sanderson kick and I’m super interested to see if he really can pull off creating an entirely different world apart from the Mistborn world and manage to get me invested in the characters just as much. I’ve also heard his writing is so great in this series and that it’s really his shining moment, so obviously I need to know if this is true. I will probably get these from the library next time I go.

2. Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones
I recent bought this one and I’m really excited to try it. Anything Hades/Persephone immediately intrigues me, AND I’ve heard that this really is kind of unexpectedly sultry. I need somma that in my life, please and thanks.

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“Lush, sexy, and gorgeous” = YES PLZ

3. The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
Again, I bought this one recently and it seems different than what I’d usually read but also very interesting. I’m super into character-driven stories, so this seems like it’ll be a good fit. Fingers crossed I’ll actually like it. I mean, I’m already half in love with it thanks to the gorgeous cover, so let’s see if I’ll be all the way in love thanks to the book itself as well.

4. Red Rising series by Pierce Brown
I’ve had this series on my TBR for a while but recently became more interested because I saw an interview of Pierce Brown on Youtube and his gorgeous majesty was revealed to me (see below). Damn. *fans self* Now I need to know if such a beautiful human can really write something great. If so, I shall be falling hard. The book summary sounds interesting enough, so we’re off to a good start.

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Cute boy + cute puppy = me dead. (Go look at his instagram, you won’t be sorry.)

5. This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab
After reading the Shades of Magic series by V.E. Schwab, I knew I wanted to read as much of her writing as I could! This Savage Song seems like a good place to start, although I’m not sure how I’ll like a book with absolutely ZERO romance. Not knowing if a book will have romance going into it is very different than deliberately picking up a book that you already know is romanceless, right? But I have to say that some of my favorite parts of the Shades of Magic series were NOT about romance at all; in fact, my favorite relationship was the one of brothership between Kell and Rhy. So I think Schwab might be able to pull this off for me.

And that’s it! Like I said before, I have WAY more science-fiction and fantasy books on my TBR, not to mention upcoming releases that I’m SO excited for! But these are the five I’m most likely to read next. 🙂

What science-fiction and fantasy books are you excited to read soon? Do you have any recommendations for me that I should read before these five? Leave your thoughts in a comment below!

Until next time,
Brianne

march wrap-up

It’s that time of the month…

Since this is my blog and I get to do things my way, I figure I’ll take this opportunity to not only share my monthly wrap-up on bookish and bloggish things, but also my crafty things!  (The main reason for this is that everyone I know is sick of hearing my blabbing about my projects, so I need somewhere new to let out my nerdy excitement. I figure my lil blog will be the perfect place.)

Without further ado, here’s my March wrap-up!

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bookish things

stats

  • Total books: 6 read, 2 DNF
  • Total pages: 3,390
  • Longest book: The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson
  • Shortest book: Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton
  • Favorite book: Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson
  • Least favorite book: Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

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mini reviews

A Conjuring of Light by V. E. Schwab: ★★★★★
I was lucky enough to binge-read this series in one go, and A Conjuring of Light was the perfect series finale. It tied up all the loose ends, gave me all the feels, and had me bawling my eyes out for days afterward. (I’m not kidding.) Schwab did not let up on the action or the heart-wrenching POVs for the entire book.

Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton: ★★★
I didn’t love this one very much, unfortunately. It was all right, intriguing enough to get me reading until the end. But I didn’t connect with Amani and although I loved Jin, the relationship just wasn’t doing it for me. Also, the pacing of the book was all over the place, and I felt pretty meh when I finished. Not super compelled to keep reading the series.

Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay: ★★★★
This was a very sweet spin on a fairy tale retelling. I loved, loved, loved the relationship between Aurora and Niklaas; something about falling in love even when the girl is disguised as a boy speaks to me. The plot was simple in this one, but there was enough action that I was never bored. A very cute and easy read.

Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson: ★★★★★
I’m grouping these together because the trilogy really just consumed me for the course of two weeks, and I enjoyed it so, so much. I was unsure about the series at first because I don’t usually read adult fantasy. Something about it just intimidates me. Also, I tend to like books best with a healthy dose of romance, or at least so I thought. This trilogy really made me realize my tastes aren’t quite what I claimed they were. I was just fine with only the smidgen of romance Sanderson gave us in the trilogy, and the adult fantasy-ness of the novel was hardly something to be intimidated by! I embraced the added complexity of the plot and realized it was exactly what I’d been missing in some YA books I’ve tried over the past few months. It didn’t hurt that Sanderson is a masterful writer (how many times can I say this about him? I used that word at least once in every Goodreads review I wrote for these books). He made me care so deeply for all the characters in the trilogy and their struggles and triumphs. I am still deeply devastated by the ending–I can’t stop thinking about it–but as I’m beginning the next set of books in the series, I think I’m slowly forgiving Sanderson. I mean, when he can produce so many great, high-quality novels, how can I really hold anything against him?

DNFed

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
I picked this one up at the library because I saw it on the shelf and I had heard good things about it. I’ve skim-read Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, and it wasn’t my favorite, but I know she’s a big author these days so I wanted to give her another try. Since Carry On seemed like more my kind of novel instead of the usual contemporary she writes, it seemed like a good idea. Wrong. I only made it about 50 pages in before I got bored. It seemed kind of silly and I didn’t enjoy the characters. I skimmed most of the ending because I wanted to know how the romance came about, and I was glad I didn’t make myself wait until the last 100 pages to find out.

Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas
I was surprised that I really kind of hated this book. I battled with myself so hard before setting it down. I’ve read the Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J Maas and loved it! I had heard so many good things about her and was excited to try another series to continue soaking up her greatness. Unfortunately, Throne of Glass was on a totally different spectrum than ACOTAR. Mostly I really disliked the main character and found the writing juvenile. I think others have said the books get better as the series goes on, but I’m just really over the hype at the moment. Maybe I’ll pick up book 2 or 3 another time to give it another go.

Pax by Sarah Pennypacker
This was one of the middle grade books I got at the library because I had convinced myself I wanted to spend my free time becoming a teacher-friendly book reviewer and read books that might be found in classrooms. I have obviously decided to take my blog in a different direction; I just couldn’t find it in me to dedicate all my free time to reading books that weren’t the ones I was most interested in. I have only just rediscovered my love of reading…I want to spend as much time as I can catching up on all the good books I missed. So, I gave up on the middle grade books, for now at least.

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crafty things

I have been busy this month teaching myself to crochet and experimenting with patterns. I have bought way too much yarn, made lots of terrible attempts at projects, yet also found my groove and made some cool things. Rest easy, you can anticipate MANY more pictures coming soon!

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My darling mug cozies! I’m just so in love with them.

completed

  • a set of 4 dahlia coasters
  • many mug cozies (although technically they are still awaiting the last touch: a button)
  • one or two washcloths (can’t quite remember what I did at the beginning of the month!)

in progress

  • more mug cozies
  • a baby blanket (need to get more yarn to complete)
  • a hexagon blanket (which will probably take me years to complete, ayyy)

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bloggish things

  • that feeling when…: my slightly obnoxiously reflective and sort of unnecessary introduction post

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I suppose that’s that! March was a pretty good month in terms of bookish and crafty things, and I’m excited about April as well–especially since I’m unexpectedly starting off the month with a week off for break! I will never complain about having more time at home to do allll the things.

Until next time,
Brianne