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

that feeling when…

There’s a particular feeling you get when you finish an excellent book. You know the one I mean. Anyone who loves reading–actually, anyone who has even read just one book that they connected with–knows this feeling. It’s like your mind is whirling, yet it’s at peace. You’re deliriously happy yet screaming despairingly because the book is over. You’re about to burst from emotion but can only stare at a wall trying to comprehend what’s happening to you.

That feeling.

Somehow, I lost that feeling over the last few years. I’m not sure how; looking back, I think I was just too preoccupied with life, with pursuing other feelings, with the go-go-go that success seems to require these days. I was taken over by trying to figure my life out. And that was okay. More than that, it was necessary.

Now, though, I find myself in an odd place. Two years ago, I thought the go-go-go would never end, that I was on a rise to the top and nothing was going to stop me. I was wrong. Lots of things have stopped me. And I now find myself at a standstill of sorts, in a melancholy, slow part of life in which I’m not quite sure if I’m happy but I do have more free time to read. And, of course, I have time to rediscover that feeling.

That feeling is what’s getting me through my days right now. Sort of a depressing thought, but it’s true. I have other things going for me, of course, but letting myself get lost in a good book for a few hours a day is what I most look forward to and what I can’t stop myself from doing. One of my unofficial resolutions for the year was to start reading more, and boy, have I accomplished that resolution and then some. I’ve read at least a little almost every day of the year so far, and I’ve rediscovered my love for books, which may or may not be my one true love and calling. (Still trying to figure all that out.)

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Most recently, I finished the Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson. Each one of them gave me that feeling and then some. Shoot, I could keep reading this series for days (and well, *ahem*, that’s exactly what I seem to be doing, but that’s beside the point). Reading these books, I was transported to a new world, made some new friends, loved and lost and learned and triumphed. The experience was wonderful.

I consider myself really quite lucky that reading the Mistborn trilogy wasn’t the first time this year that I’ve gotten that feeling. I’ve been able to catch up on so many books I missed out on over the past few years, and I’ve made plans to continue reading even more. I have rediscovered this passion of mine, and I don’t see myself letting it go very easily ever again.

That’s what brings me here, I guess. I need a place where I can gush about books that make me feel that type of way, or critique books that didn’t quite hit the mark. And maybe more, who knows? I used to fancy myself a writer once upon a time, so maybe I’ll use this blog to tap back into that. Maybe I’ll be inspired to revisit old writing projects. Or maybe I’ll just share pictures of all my knitting and crochet projects like the little homebody I truly am.

Either way, I’m here and giving this thing a shot. I promise I’m friendly, so don’t hesitate to say hello should the desire arise. We’ll see where this thing takes us.