THE WICKED KING (The Folk of the Air #2) by Holly Black | Review

Amazon | TBD | Goodreads

You must be strong enough to strike and strike and strike again without tiring.

The first lesson is to make yourself strong.

After the jaw-dropping revelation that Oak is the heir to Faerie, Jude must keep her younger brother safe. To do so, she has bound the wicked king, Cardan, to her, and made herself the power behind the throne. Navigating the constantly shifting political alliances of Faerie would be difficult enough if Cardan were easy to control. But he does everything in his power to humiliate and undermine her even as his fascination with her remains undiminished.

When it becomes all too clear that someone close to Jude means to betray her, threatening her own life and the lives of everyone she loves, Jude must uncover the traitor and fight her own complicated feelings for Cardan to maintain control as a mortal in a Faerie world.


I have to say that I remember really enjoying The Cruel Prince. I re-read my review of it, and while coming across a little harsh, I still stand by it. I felt, in short, that I just really didn’t like the main character, Jude, but the surrounding characters, mainly Cardan, were really well written, and that’s what kept me interested.

So, naturally, my expectations for the second book were relatively high, hoping for some character correction with Jude. But, unfortunately, I just don’t think we got that.

In fact, I think we added on another issue — the pacing. I understand that some people want to go into a book where one thing after the other happens sentence by sentence, but this sequel, to me, just seemed so poorly paced, it was almost ridiculous. I feel we spent a good 150 pages getting aquatinted with everyone again, while having 20 pages for conflict build up, 30 pages with the actual conflict, and the rest just winding down to the ending.

Cardan, again, was the best character, but I felt we hardly got to see him. Jude remained annoying, and the story ended with a “cliffhanger” that, I will admit, I didn’t see coming. But with such major pacing issues, as I felt this book had, I’m just not sure I want to continue with this series. We’ll see. The thing is, is I don’t really know if I should be blaming Black here or her editors.

In the end, this book was enjoyable, just not Black’s best.

Rating


Have you read The Wicked King? What did you think? What’s your favorite Holly Black book? Let’s chat int he comments!

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Song Request Book Tag (Original)

Hi everyone! I haven’t posted an original tag since the Spring Cleaning Book Tag, so I figured it was about time that we did another one!

Rules:

  • Thank and link back to tagger.
  • Credit to Daniel @ Page to Page
  • Listen to tagger’s song requests! After you’re done listening to the three songs the person who tagged you has chosen, choose a book that you think best goes along with that song and tell us why you chose it!
  • Request 3 songs of your own! Give any three songs (and your corresponding book choices that think go well with said song) you want for your taggers to listen and respond to!
  • Tag 5 people!

Note:

Since I am starting the tag, I will, obviously, only have “requests”.

My Requests

1. “Falling Apart” by Broods

I feel like I’m definitely going to have to go with my most recent read, The Witch Elm by Tana French for this one, as it seems everything is “falling apart” for Toby, and he’s constantly wondering when he’s going to get his hold on things.

2. “Not What I Meant” by dodie

This one brings to mind You’d by Mine by Erin Hahn for the reason of the line “have I built a little empire or made a fucking mess,” which is kind of how I feel Annie feels throughout the work.

3. “The Luckiest” by Ben Folds

For this, I chose Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett. This song and book very much remind me of my own situation. And that’s pretty much all I have to say about that.


Tagged

Sara | Kaleena | Laura | Destiny | Ally

Also! Just because I did not tag you does not mean you can’t do it! I am excited to see where this goes ❤

THE WITCH ELM by Tana French | Review

Amazon | TBD | Goodreads

528 Pages

Toby is a happy-go-lucky charmer who’s dodged a scrape at work and is celebrating with friends when the night takes a turn that will change his life: he surprises two burglars who beat him and leave him for dead. Struggling to recover from his injuries, beginning to understand that he might never be the same man again, he takes refuge at his family’s ancestral home to care for his dying uncle Hugo. Then a skull is found in the trunk of an elm tree in the garden – and as detectives close in, Toby is forced to face the possibility that his past may not be what he has always believed.


I don’t think it’s any surprise to say that I absolutely loved this book.

First, let’s address some things:

  • this is a standalone
  • it’s a “slow burn”
  • but it’s absolutely bloody brilliant

Standalone — The Ending . . . ? (no spoilers)

Yes! This book, unlike the rest of French’s work, is a standalone. I was slightly nervous about this. The idea that there would (probably) be no more of these characters or “world” once the final sentence was read kind of scared me. What if she didn’t wrap it up well?

Why did I ever doubt?

This book . . . let me just say that this book has one of the tightest, most mind-reeling endings I’ve read in a very, very long time. There could have been a more perfect ending for this work.

Slow Burn

This book was not her best rated on Goodreads, because a lot of people complained that the plot didn’t start or pick up until page 250 and because the main character is an ass.

I would argue that they are wrong and that it being a “slow burn” (though I wouldn’t say that, and I’ll explain why in a second) is what makes this possibly French’s best work to date.

The first part of this book is a very, very deep character development-type device that French is a master of. Sure, she could have condensed everything you read up to page 250 into a cool 50 pages, but, I will scream this so the people int he back can hear, YOU CANNOT BUILD A HOUSE WITHOUT A FOUNDATION!!!! I will tell you that I was never once bored when reading this book. Getting to know Toby, his family and the people around him are what make the rest of this and the ending so impactful.

French is a master at this, people! Trust in her skills.

This Book is Bloody Brilliant

No, I am not British.

BUT THIS BOOK IS ABSOLUTELY BLOODY BRILLIANT.

Am I biased since I have a previously liking to the rest of French’s works? I don’t think so.

This book is so smart, from beginning to end. Even if you figure out the “who”, I guarantee you will not figure out the “why”. And, if for some miraculous reason you do figure that out, I bet you won’t figure out what happens at the end.

French is setting you up. The second you read that first paragraph, you’re trapped, because the last one will have you screaming.

This could possibly be French’s best work to date. If you have not read anything by her yet, please, what are you doing?!?! I implore you: READ THIS ONE!

Rating


Have you read anything by Tana French? Have you read The Witch Elm? Let’s chat in the comments!

VICIOUS by V.E. Schwab | Review

Amazon | TBD | Goodreads

Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong. 

Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end? 


I found myself at the end of my sophomore semester in college having nothing to read, and I was having a stroll around the library and decided to pick this one up. For as long as I can remember, this has been on my TBR, and I’m glad that I decided to pick this one up!

I found myself actually liking Victor’s motives, and I understand this is supposed to be like a “villain v villain” type of story, but I actually felt sympathy for him, while having absolutely no remorse for Eli.

While I really enjoyed all of the stories and characters, my one critique would have to be the extremely short chapters. While I prefer short chapters over extremely long ones, I just felt that the short chapters in this one made it hard to really get into the story. The story just seemed chopped up so much.

But, overall, I really enjoyed the story and would recommend picking this one up if you haven’t already.

Rating:

LIFEL1K3 by Jay Kristoff | Review

Amazon | TBD | Goodreads

Eve isn’t looking for secrets—she’s too busy looking over her shoulder. The robot gladiator she’s just spent six months building has been reduced to a smoking wreck, and the only thing keeping her Grandpa from the grave was the fistful of credits she just lost to the bookies. To top it off, she’s discovered she can destroy electronics with the power of her mind, and the puritanical Brotherhood are building a coffin her size. If she’s ever had a worse day, Eve can’t remember it.

But when Eve discovers the ruins of an android boy named Ezekiel in the scrap pile she calls home, her entire world comes crashing down. With her best friend Lemon Fresh and her robotic conscience, Cricket, in tow, she and Ezekiel will trek across deserts of irradiated glass, infiltrate towering megacities and scour the graveyard of humanity’s greatest folly to save the ones Eve loves, and learn the dark secrets of her past.


(Jay, if you’re reading this, please know that I still love your work, and it pains me greatly to write this.)

I really did buy this very randomly, though it’s slightly shocking it took me so long to, since Nevernight and Godsgrave have been some of my favorite books this year. Unfortunately, this one was not.

The first thing I thought when I started reading this was of The Lunar Chronicles, probably the only sci-fi series I’ve ever read. Maybe it was the constant comparison to that or the fact that this really didn’t feel like a “book one” to me and more like a prequel.

I felt the Kristoff’s skill in world building for some of his other novels just didn’t come through with this, and that’s probably another reason this fell flat for me. And the fact that I just didn’t really care for the main character.

Another issue I had with this is that, in general, Kristoff seems like a very non-censored person, and this just seemed to held back. I understand that this is YA, but would I have liked it more had it been intended for the adult audience? While I can’t answer that accurately, I can say that the answer is, most likely, “probably”.

On the good side, I really enjoyed Lemon’s character, and her alone is what kept me reading.

In the end, maybe it’s just that sci-fi isn’t my thing or that I just felt this world was described as a heaping pile of metal and nothing else that made me not like this that much. The story is fun and I can see the audience that would really read and enjoy this, but unfortunately that just wasn’t me.

Rating:


Do you like sci-fi? Have any recommendation? Let’s chat in the comments!

Holiday Drinks | Book Tag

Merry Christmas!! I was tagged by the amazing Sara and this tag was created by Ariel @ WavesOfPages as part of Browsing For Books’ Bookmas.


HOT CHOCOLATE: MARSHMALLOWS AND CHOCOLATE AND WHIPPED CREAM, OH MY! RECOMMEND A BOOK THAT’S SWEET THROUGH AND THROUGH

Okay, okay, this isn’t even out yet. But, I received this as an ARC and loved every second of it. PRE-ORDER THIS ONE!! IT’S SO GOOD!

PEPPERMINT MOCHA: THE FLAVOR OF PEPPERMINT IS STRONG AND DISTINCT. RECOMMEND A BOOK WITH A LOT OF STRONG EMOTIONS.

The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfus

This book . . . laughing, crying, everything . . .

APPLE CIDER: IT’S SO GOOD IT CAN’T BE GOOD FOR YOU, BUT IT’S FROM APPLES—THAT MEANS IT’S HEALTHY, RIGHT? RECOMMEND A BOOK FULL OF CHARACTERS WITH QUESTIONABLE MORALS.

Red Rising by Pierce Brown

Every character’s morals change so drastically in this book, and by the end you really don’t know who to trust and it’s kind of frustrating.

EGGNOG: IT’S CREAMY AND SMOOTH, WITH A LITTLE SPICE, AND SOME PEOPLE EVEN ADD ALCOHOL TO IT. RECOMMEND A BOOK THAT’S MOSTLY FUN, WITH JUST A HINT OF DANGER.

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

Surface level, Holden is a funny, carefree kind of guy, but as you dig deeper, you start to see his layers of emotion may be more serious than you once thought. Plus, walking through New York City alone at night as a teen? Scary!

GINGERBREAD LATTE: A DRINK WITH A VERITABLE EXPLOSION OF SPICES. RECOMMEND A BOOK WITH A LOT OF ACTION.

The Chemist by Stephanie Meyer

For some reason I don’t think this was the best received book, but when I read this, it was a full 5 stars. This is a PAGE TURNER. And, who knows, maybe if I read it now, I would hate it. But who doesn’t like a scientist who’s company tried to kill her and is on the run?


OH, here’s a little bonus of my cat, Jonas, in his little Christmas sweater 😀


Whatever holiday you are celebrating, I hope you have the best of it!

The Sunshine Blogger Award

Thank you to Sara @ The Bibliophagist for tagging me!!

My Answers

1. What’s your perfect “me” time?

Oooo. Probably getting up super early and going to one of my favorite breakfast places. I usually read until my food comes, chow down, then grab a cup of coffee and write for a couple of hours!

2. Who’s your most-read author?

Thta’s a tough one. As it stands, it’s probably Ellen Hopkins. While I don’t religiously read her works as much now, in high school I would read her books constantly.

3. What book are you always thinking about even though you read it a long time ago?

This probably isn’t much of a surprise, but either The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfus or Faithful Place by Tana French. Every once in awhile I’ll catch myself thinking of particular things about those books. All such good ones!

4. What was the happiest day of your life?

The happiest day of my life *so far* has probably been multiple days. All of the times I was able to see Lorde in concert, the day I saw Taylor Swift on the 1989 World Tour, and probably (I’m predicting), a day in the near future when I get to see Taylor on the Reputation Stadium Tour.

But, I have so many days other than concerts, that I couldn’t choose one.

5. If you could spend the day with any fictional character, who would it be and what would you do?

Easily Kvothe from The Kingskiller Chronicle. And I would make him teach me name calling (not what you think, I promise).

6. If there’s one unfinished book/TV/any other medium series that you could have finished right now, which would it be?

THE LAST BOOK IN THE KINSKILLER CHRONICLE. I understand masterworks like that take time, but it’s been 6 years since the second book was published.

7. You’re given the option of knowing the exact date and time of your death or staying blissfully unaware. Which do you pick?

Blissfully unaware. Knowing me, I would just fret about it and not be able to enjoy life.

8. If you were told you could be an expert in any one thing instantly, what would you pick?

Probably playing the piano. I’ve played for almost 5 years now, but it would be cool to wake up one morning and be able to play Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1.

9. What’s the most recent book that you were unable to (or struggled to) finish?

How to Set a Fire and Why by Jesse Ball. What garbage. Check out my review here.

10. If you had six months with no obligations or financial constraints, what would you do with the time?

Work on getting a project I’m working in polished to where I want it. Then I would go to California and visit all of the theme parks. Then Europe probably.

11. There was no question, so hi

I Tag: Rebecca | Maddie | Becky

Tagging 11 people is a little excessive, in my opinion. Plus, I’m volunteering at a summer camp right now, so I don’t really have time for all of that haha.

My 11 Questions

  1. If you could prevent one book from ever being published, which book would it be?
  2. You can get front row and backstage passes to any concert of your choice. Who would you see?
  3. Who are three people that you look up to?
  4. If you published a book, who would you want to blurb it?
  5. Hot chocolate or chocolate milk?
  6. What’s your favorite ice cream flavor and topping?
  7. What’s the worst book in your favorite series?
  8. What’s the best book in your favorite series?
  9. If you had your own island, what would you name it and why?
  10. Which book character would live with you on that island and why?
  11. If you weren’t answering these questions right now, what would you be doing?

 


Thanks to Sara again for the tag!

Best, Daniel