may wrap-up

It’s that time of the month…

I had a great balance of activities in May. Read a decent amount, completed a few bigger crochet projects, made decent headway on a story I’m writing, and started a new job! Plus, summer has finally arrived, and I couldn’t be happier for the sunny weather.

Read on for my monthly wrap-up!

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bookish things

stats

  • Total books: 6 books and 1 novella read, 1 DNF
  • Total pages: 3,044 pages
  • Longest book: A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J Maas
  • Shortest book: The Hope of Elantris by Brandon Sanderson (novella)
  • Favorite book: Elantris by Brandon Sanderson
  • Least favorite book: It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover

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mini reviews

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J Maas: ★★★ 1/2

I was disappointed with this one. I will always love Feyre and Rhys, but this conclusion to their story really fell flat for me. I didn’t really like the plot, the ending, or the writing.

Read my full review here.

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh: ★★★★

I liked this! It was a solid YA read–which I think is both a compliment and a complaint. The writing was good, the romance was sweet, and most of the characters were nicely crafted. I’m planning to read the sequel in June.

Elantris by Brandon Sanderson★★★★ 1/2

My last (adult) Sanderson book–of COURSE I loved it. It took me a little longer to get into this one, as it’s more heavily focused on religion and I didn’t enjoy Hrathen’s chapters as much. But eventually I was totally sucked into Raoden and Sarene’s story. I didn’t want it to end!

The Hope of Elantris by Brandon Sanderson: ★★★★★

A very sweet (and short!) novella that felt like a sentimental epilogue to Elantris. Loved it.

The Sword of Summer (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard #1) by Rick Riordan: ★★★★

This was fun! Riordan has his book formula down pat, and yet he manages to make each book full of new adventures and diverse characters. I think maybe I’ve outgrown these books, but they’re fun to read when the mood strikes.

This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab: ★★★★

This one was different yet more than I expected. The more I sit on it and think about it, the more I think I really liked it–especially my newest book boyfriend, August. *heart eyes* However, I did have some issues with the ending and overall pacing.

It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover: ★★

Blegh. Didn’t enjoy this one, but I can see how others might. It was the entertainment I needed at the time, but it’s the kind of contemporary I can never seem to enjoy at all. Not to mention it’s all about domestic abuse, which I was completely clueless about before I started reading.

DNFed

The Heartbeats of Wing Jones by Katherine Webber

I’d read a few good reviews about this one, but by about 30 pages in, I had to set it down again. I didn’t love the characters, and the setting was too high school for me. And again–contemporary (even with a touch of magical realism–though I’m not entirely sure if this book has that or not) just isn’t doing anything for me at the moment.

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crafty things

I was busy with crochet this month! Baby blankets are too fun to make. I know of a few expectant moms through my friends and sisters, so I might get commissioned to make a blanket or two in the next few months. These blankets ended up being great practice! Plus, I am still definitely a novice but my finished products don’t come out looking too shabby, do they?

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completed

  • peachy ripple baby blanket (above left)
  • teal icicle stitch baby blanket (above right)
  • set of 6 gray hexagon coasters for my sister

in progress

  • hexagon blanket-turned pillow cover — I’m lazy and procrastinating on this
  • body pillow cover — somehow ended up extremely messy, but it’s going
  • chevron gray and maroon afghan for my sister — chipping away at this daily!

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bloggish things

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How was your month of May? What was your favorite book you read or crafty thing you made?

Until next time,
Brianne

 

top 5 wednesday | may 24

I’m back again for another Top 5 Wednesday!

Top 5 Wednesday is run by Sam thoughtsontomes. Check out the Goodreads group if you’re interested in learning more or joining in on the fun!

Today’s prompt: Favorite Minor Characters

Note that today is all about minor characters and not side characters. So I’ll be talking about those characters who only make a small appearance in the book but are still named and important–and whom I love very much despite their minimal screen time.

Let’s get into it!

1. Dobby from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

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art by zquadlocks @ tumblr

Oh, Dobby! He creates so much trouble for Harry in The Chamber of Secrets, but it’s only because he cares! How much Dobby loves Harry gets me every time. I loved how he popped up throughout the books, and the important role he ended up playing in The Deathly Hallows! He really stands for all of those who are underestimated yet rise to the task and succeed. Also, I don’t know if I’ve ever cried as hard as I did when he died in the last book.

2. Spook (AKA Lestibournes) from The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson

Spook eventually becomes a more important character as this series goes on, but in book one he is such a random misfit teenager within the group of mature characters. I loved him immediately. He is so shyly into Vin, speaks in this bizarre (and entertaining, and confusing) dialect (for example, “Wasing the where of needing”), and is sweet with his uncle. I was super excited when I kept reading the series and got more of him!

 

3. Matthew from The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater

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art by aymmichurros @ tumblr

Matthew is just sunshine personified. How can you not love him? I love how sweet and innocent he is, and how much he loves his brothers. Also, he’s an actual dream thing? That Ronan dreamt up? Because he wanted a little buddy? I will never get over that (and I will never get over Ronan Lynch, straight up). I really just want the best for Matthew, and I care deeply about his well-being.

4. Kuwei from the Six of Crows duology by Leigh Bardugo

I’m not sure Kuwei should really be on this list; first, because he’s nearly a side character but not quite, and second, because we have a hate-to-love relationship going on. I hated Kuwei in this series. He’s just the worst! He always has some snarky comment he has to add in or he’s otherwise getting in the way and not contributing to the success of the group. (Not to mention his intervention between Jesper and Wylan…grrr.) But I know he’s really just a helpless kid and honestly, his bits in the books were just the right amounts of exasperating and amusing. I guess he deserves a bit of recognition.

5. Bridge Four from The Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson

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art by tigonxz @ tumblr

I couldn’t resist doing more Sanderson…I know, I have a problem. But Bridge Four, you guys! They are all the best. I adore the way they all bond over their late-night stew and follow Kaladin like the fearless leader he is. Rock in particular was one of my favorites; his way of speaking and silly comments are always the perfect comedic relief. Not to mention how he has this hidden talent for archery but only wants to be a chef. What a sweet, lovable Horneater.

 

And there you have it. As usual, this was harder than expected! Who would make your list of favorite minor characters?

Until next time,
Brianne

awesome book moms…do they exist?

After celebrating Mother’s Day with my mom yesterday and being inspired by some fellow book bloggers today, I thought I would write up a post on Awesome Book Moms. Perfect time of year to show moms some appreciation, right?

Except, I have a problem.

I’m not sure Awesome Book Moms exist.

Okay, I admit, this is an exaggeration. The posts I read from other book bloggers featured some great Awesome Book Moms. However, when I went through the list of books I’ve read this year (33 so far), I realized they didn’t include even one mom for me to gush over in this post.

All 33 books I’ve read in 2017 fell into one of these three categories:

  1. Awesome Book Mom did not exist because Main Character was an orphan
  2. Awesome Book Mom was icky and decidedly not awesome–she was not supportive of Main Character and not worth of any sort of gushing
  3. Awesome Book Mom was great but played a very small, if not insignificant, role in the book

What is with this? 

I know 33 books is not a huge number in the grand scheme of things, but I still find it astounding that there wasn’t one Awesome Book Mom within my 2017 reads. What is the meaning of this? How dare we treat our moms this way?

I have a few theories as to why this could be.

First: Perhaps it has to do with the genre I’ve read most this year–fantasy.

How common is the main-character-is-an-orphan trope in fantasy books? Answer: VERY COMMON. Like, more common than common. Not to mention the mom-died-when-Main-Character-was-young trope. Just as commonly common. At least in the fantasy books I’ve been reading this year. So, obviously, there can’t be Awesome Book Moms in books that simple don’t have any moms. Makes sense, I guess. Still makes me frown.

Second theory: Moms are easy obstacles for the main character.

Have you seen this in books? Sometimes Book Moms are made out to be so caring and cautious that they just get in the way of the main character accomplishing their goals and dreams. As such, they become almost an antagonist or enemy to the main character. Why can’t we have a healthier balance of this? Moms can be caring, but they can also be supportive.

Or, on the other hand, Book Moms might disapprove of the main character’s goals and dreams, getting in their way and becoming an enemy in that sense. Maybe it’s just wishful thinking, but I would hope most moms could eventually support their children’s goals and dreams. I guess not Book Moms.

My last end-all theory: We take our moms for granted.

Authors aren’t the only ones who fall prey to this, but it certainly becomes clear in books. Let’s be honest–moms really are awesome. Where would we be without them? (Not existing, that’s for sure.) We take our moms for granted, and in novels, that means their awesomeness doesn’t get the chance to shine through and make a difference toward the main story goal. Moms deserve more, don’t they?! Authors–and the rest of us–just don’t give moms the credit they deserve.

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So there you have it. I, for one, am now on a quest to find some more books with Awesome Moms in them.

Do you know of any Awesome Book Moms? Am I just reading all the wrong books this year? Leave a comment down below!

Until next time,
Brianne

book review | a court of wings and ruin by sarah j maas

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A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J Maas

My Rating: ☆☆☆

A Court of Wings and Ruin is the third book in the A Court of Thorns and Roses series and concludes the story arc for Feyre and Rhysand (as far as we know, anyway). Feyre finds herself back in the Spring Court and immediately begins her work that continues throughout the rest of the book: stopping the King of Hybern from destroying the world she knows and loves. Along with the help of the Night Court, her sisters, and other allies, Feyre concludes her epic journey, though not without some mishaps and romance on the way.

Recommended if you like:

  • Fantasy of the fae and fantastical creatures variety
  • Steamy romance
  • Fun, dramatic characters with great chemistry

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My Spoiler-Free Review

Just like many other readers I know, I eagerly anticipated the release of this book for months. I enjoyed book 1 in this series, and book 2 was even better–possibly one of my favorite new books. I couldn’t wait to see how Feyre’s story would wrap up.

Unfortunately, I was disappointed.

After loving the first two books so much, I certainly had high expectations, but the book fell short on so many levels that I can’t figure a way I’m being unfair. It just missed the mark. I didn’t love the writing, I didn’t love the plot, and I finished the book feeling unsatisfied.

The few things I enjoyed about the book were enough to keep me reading; most of all, I love Feyre and Rhysand. Their relationship was what I loved most about book 2, and Rhys continues to support and love Feyre just as hard in ACOWAR. He makes me swoon for days. *heart eyes*

I also love many of the side characters in this series, and it was fun to see how newer characters meshed with those I grew to love in book 2. There was interesting and entertaining chemistry between some character that I didn’t expect.

It was clear that Maas took to heart some criticisms regarding diversity in her books, because ACOWAR included many diverse characters! That was great to read.

However, for all the things I enjoyed, they still weren’t quite what I’d hoped for.

In book 2, it was great to see Feyre and Rhysand’s growth, individually and together. ACOWAR really lacked any sort of growth between them or in each individually. Not to mention that Rhysand is basically perfect–he has no flaws. While I still adore him, looking back on it, his character was a little flat in this novel.

There were SO MANY side characters, and I often found them overly dramatic. They’re supposed to be immortal fae, but they act and talk like immature teenagers in this novel. This didn’t sit right with me, and neither did some of the romantic pairings.

And as for the diversity, the representation was great but it didn’t feel genuine. Many of the LGBT+ characters seemed to be thrown in just for the sake of being there. I liked the diversity, but I think it could have been done in a better way.

I could probably go on and on–I have a lot of thoughts about this book. If you’re interested in reading more, check out my Goodreads review, which includes more spoiler-free thoughts and also a spoilery gushy/ranty section.

 

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

Until next time,
Brianne

april wrap-up

It’s that time of the month…

As you’ll see if you continue reading any further through this post (heck, even if you just take a look at the picture of my reads for April), you’ll notice I was rather single-minded this month. *coughs embarrassedly* Yes, every book but ONE that I read this month was written by Brandon Sanderson. I just couldn’t help myself! I can be incredibly indulgent at times, and discovering a new favorite author is one of those times I don’t feel the need to hold back.

So, the bookish section of this wrap-up might be a bit of overkill. BUT! At least take away a glowing recommendation from me to get yourself some Sanderson books and start reading. I have loved him THAT MUCH. Seriously. You might as well just walk away from this post and read one of his books instead, you’ll be much better off.

But, if you insist on staying…read on for my April wrap-up!

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bookish things

stats

  • Total books: 7 books and 2 novellas read, 1 DNF
  • Total pages: 4,544 pages
  • Longest book: Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson
  • Shortest book: The Eleventh Metal by Brandon Sanderson (novella)
  • Favorite book: The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
  • Least favorite book: Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones
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SO. MUCH. SANDERSON.

batch mini reviews

Mistborn Era 2 (Alloy Era) by Brandon Sanderon: ★★★★

Overall, I enjoyed this series (so far), but I did have some problems with relationship developments in the later books. I thought this era started off really strong, but books 2 and 3 just didn’t quite hit the mark for me. Still good reads, especially for the simple fact that the Mistborn world feels so familiar and wonderful to go back to.

The Eleventh Metal and Secret History by Brandon Sanderson: ★★★★★

I read these two novellas in the Arcanum Unbounded bind-up (if that’s what it’s considered, not really sure). I don’t usually bother with novellas, but Secret History in particular was AMAZING and so worth it. Sanderson is so indulgent with his stories sometimes (but I’m not complaining), and this was definitely, 1000% one of those times, but Secret History was also just so fascinating! And just a good read, too. After being slightly disappointed by the Era 2 books, I was so relieved and happy to feel at home again with these Mistborn novellas.

Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones★★★

I bought this book a while back and finally got around to reading it (as I attempted a break from Brandon Sanderson…ha). This book was dark and creepy yet fascinating. In the end, it didn’t quite work for me but it was still an intriguing read. For more of my thoughts, you can read my full review here.

Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson: ★★★★★

I LOVED THIS BOOK. As a standalone book, this one would be a great way to break into Brandon Sanderson’s writing without too much pressure. I found the romance and slightly less complex magic system to be really approachable and enjoyable! Plus, I’m just coming to adore the way Sanderson creates these fantasy worlds with gods and magic and religion and real characters. Highly recommend this one. Read more of my gushy thoughts here.

The Stormlight Archive (books 1 & 2) by Brandon Sanderson: ★★★★★

WHAT TO SAY about this epic series. OH my goodness. I only just finished book two after a whirlwind of reading; these books were utterly unputdownable. This is the epitome of an epic series, and it’s so easy to get sucked into the epicness of it all. As always, Sanderson writes each book in a way that it can stand on its own, with its own arcs, and the characters he crafts are completely irresistible. With each book at about 1,000 pages each, SO MUCH happens yet in the grand scope of things, this story has only just begun. I cannot wait for the third book to come out in November. Keep an eye out for a full review on these soon (if I can manage to get my thoughts straight at all).

DNFed

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Everyone was gushing so much about this one that I picked it up from the library and got about 100 pages into it, but it just wasn’t jiving with me. Perhaps I’m not a huge fan of flowery writing? I just wanted to skim to the ending, and not because I was excited to know what was going to happen. I liked Lazlo, but I just didn’t care about the story being told. So far, at least. I’d like to try and pick this one up again, but I now have mixed feelings on it.

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crafty things

I was a little lazy this month with my crafting. I was so sucked into reading that I often had to force myself to take a break and make some headway on my projects…but I also let myself get lazy and start new things instead of working on WIPs. But productivity is productivity, right?! I think so.

I’ve started thinking about opening an Etsy shop, but a whole host of concerns comes along with that, namely: my lack of self-confidence, my lack of original patterns, and–most important–my lack of an amazing store name! I’m still considering it, but it’s not something I’m expecting to start up anytime soon.

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My first completed baby blanket!

completed

  • a (second) set of 4 dahlia coasters
  • gray baby blanket (see above!)

in progress

  • peachy ripple baby blanket — almost complete (you can catch a peek in my April reads picture!)
  • hexagon blanket — haven’t touched at all lately
  • more coasters — attempting to design a decent original pattern
  • body pillow cover — not yet started, ideas only so far!

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bloggish things

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How was your month of April? Read any Sanderson? If not, let me know so I can natter on at you about why you should. 😉

Until next time,
Brianne