February ’17 Wrap Up

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Hello everyone!

February has been filled with nostalgia and sadness mixed with hope and excitement. I’m a walking ball of nerves and anxiety guys and it’s not gonna get better until I’m on the other side of March 3rd. Besides that, I’ve managed to read a bit this month. The last few weeks got super hectic and my reading slowed down because of that and it kind of sucked honestly. But I read a lot of books that I enjoyed and I can’t wait to tell you about them!

SO let’s get started!

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Book Traveling Thursdays Feb. 23rd – The Oscars Are Coming Up…

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Hello everyone!

It’s BTT time! This is a weekly meme created by Danielle at Danielle’s Book Blog and Catia at TheGirlWhoReadTooMuch. You can find all of the information you’ll need to participate on the Goodreads page.

This week’s topic is With the Oscars coming up soon, choose a book that you would like to see as a movie. This took me a little while to think of because most of the time, I get really scared about adaptations. There are a lot of ways that a movie adaptation can mess up in my opinion. If it’s not a 100% representation of the story, I tend to be disappointed though there are some movie adaptations that I really love. So I picked about that I enjoyed but that wouldn’t enrage me too much if it was done wrong.

SO let’s get started!

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Series Review – Age of Legends by Kelley Armstrong

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Sea of Shadows, Empire of Night and Forest of Ruin (Age of Legends #1, #2 and #3)

Author: Kelley Armstrong

Publication: April 8th 2014, April 7th 2015 and April 5th 2016

Publisher: HarperCollings

Format: Kindle Edition 406 pages, Kindle Edition 432 pages and Kindle Edition 448 pages

Genre: Young Adult, High Fantasy, Paranormal, Horror

Read: October 2016 and February 2017

Kelley ArmstrongGoodreads

Sea of Shadows Cover

Sea of Shadows

3-stars1

Synopsis
In the Forest of the Dead, where the empire’s worst criminals are exiled, twin sisters Moria and Ashyn are charged with a dangerous task. For they are the Keeper and the Seeker, and each year they must quiet the enraged souls of the damned.
Only this year, the souls will not be quieted.
Ambushed and separated by an ancient evil, the sisters’ journey to find each other sends them far from the only home they’ve ever known. Accompanied by a stubborn imperial guard and a dashing condemned thief, the girls cross a once-empty wasteland, now filled with reawakened monsters of legend, as they travel to warn the emperor. But a terrible secret awaits them at court—one that will alter the balance of their world forever.

Critically

Plot – 3.5 out of 5 stars
This book is really slow paced and there was some action that kept me entertained but it wasn’t what I was expecting. The world building was really confusing and it took me awhile to really get into the story and to grasp everything that was going on. This book deals with death, monsters, religion and rituals. There’s a lot of play on legends and magic which was everything interesting.

Writing Style – 4 out of 5 stars
This particular writing style is really verbose and old fashioned. It’s at a slow but steady pace and it’s descriptive and detailed. However, the world building is really confusing and messy. I didn’t understand it at all and it kept me from automatically getting lost into the story. In general, it took me awhile to get into the story because of the older style writing.

Characters – 3 out of 5 stars
This is probably my least favorite part of this book. I felt like the majority of the characters fit into certain boxes or stereotypes and it didn’t help me connect to any of them. The two main characters are twins, Moria and Ashyn. First thing first, it took me a really long time to get comfortable with the names. They are much more complicated than they need to be. I kept reading Moria as Moira and it drove me nuts honestly.
Both of them are stereotypically completely different. Moria has a really strong personality. She’s kind of defensive and temperamental. She’s definitely more of a warrior type and spends a lot of time investigating and practicing fighting. She’s really protective of her sister but not overly emotional. She tends to be seen as the tougher one, with a kind of coldness and practicality to her personality.
Ashyn on the other hand is really shy, meek and quiet. She’s much more book smart and the more romantic of the twins. She’s really naive and almost overprotected in a way. She feels very much out of her depth and completely unsure of how to stay safe and stay alive. She knows more about medicine and tending to wounds but is kind of useless in a battle.
There are also a lot of side characters in this book, each with their own complex personalities. It took me awhile to keep everyone straight in my head because there’s a lot of different players in this complicated story. Because of that, it was harder for me to connect to them and I wish I could’ve seen them grow more then they did in this book.

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Empire of Night

4-stars1

Synopsis
Sisters Moira and Ashyn are the Keeper and Seeker of Edgewood.
or at least, they were.

Their village is gone. Their friends have betrayed them. And now, they are all but prisoners in court, forced to watch and wait while the Emperor decides whether to help the children of Edgewood, who remain hostages of the treacherous Alvar Kitsune.
But when the emperor finally sends the girls on a mission to rescue the children – accompanied by Prince Tyrus and a small band of men – the journey proves more perilous than any of them could have imagined. With lies and unrest mounting in the empire, Moria and Ashyn will have to draw on every bit of influence and power they possess to unite their people and avert an all-out war.

Critically

Plot – 4 out of 5 stars
This book picked up the pace a bit more and it’s much more action packed as well. Thankfully, there’s much more information on the world and how the empire they live in actually works. It’s still a bit confusing though with this second book, I’m definitely getting the hang of things. There’s more romance in this one, lots of twists and turns and monsters. It was definitely a lot more exciting than the first book.

Writing Style – 4 out of 5 stars
The writing style is, luckily, really easy to read and has a steady pace to go along with the plot. It’s really descriptive and detailed though it can still get kind of confusing sometimes. It’s really verbose and old fashioned. The characters voices sound much older than they are because of the way their empire is. However, the world building has definitely improved in this one and things make much more sense.

Characters – 3.5 out of 5 stars
This is still the section in which I’m struggling with the most in this series which sucks because characters are my favorite parts of books. Though it’s definitely improved from the first book as well.
Moria is really freaking angry in this book. The ending of the last book kind of shook her and she’s now questioning the things she thought were right. She’s hurt and she feels betrayed. However, she’s still smart and confident in who she is and the plot of this book pushes her to become much more open and honest.
While I’m not the biggest fan of Ashyn, I really like the development she had in this book. She’s much more confident and much more outgoing but without losing her personality and the person that she is. She’s still smart and is becoming much more aware of her surroundings but still can’t really fight and is overprotected by some of the male characters.
There are more side characters added in this book, much more than I was expecting, but at the same time, they’re all fleshed out much more than in the first book. I enjoyed that there was much more development for all of the characters.

Forest of Ruin Cover

Forest of Ruin

4.5-stars1

Synopsis
The empire rests on the edge of a knife, and sisters Ashyn and Moria are the handle and the blade. Desperate to outmaneuver the evil Alvar Kitsune, whose hold on the people grows stronger every day, Emperor Tatsu begs Moria to put aside past grievances and ally with Gavril—at least long enough to make an attempt on Alvar’s life. Meanwhile, reunited with her long-lost grandfather, Ashyn discovers that she is the key to a ritual that could reawaken an ancient dragon and turn the tide of the coming battle in their favor.
But with lies and betrayal lurking around every corner, Ashyn and Moria will have to decide once and for all where their allegiances are. And it may not be where their hearts would lead them…
In this breathtaking final book in her trilogy the Age of Legends, author Kelley Armstrong blends fantasy, action, and romance to give readers the unforgettable ending they’ve been waiting for.

Critically

Plot – 4 out of 5 stars
This book is set at a steady, medium pace but the action keeps going. There’s also some mystery in this one, revolving around dragons which is pretty cool. There’s a lot more focus on romance in this one as well and it’s so much easier to understand than the rest of the books have been. There’s twists and turns and lots of violence (it can get graphic) but I feel like the ending was very solid and conclusive.

Writing Style – 4 out of 5 stars
The writing style as always is descriptive and detailed. There’s a steady pace that flows with the plot and I really enjoy that the POV’s are very distinct. The characters speak with big words and it’s all very old fashioned in style. It’s easy to read and I ended up enjoying it much more as the series continued.

Characters – 4 out of 5 stars
Finally, one of these books where I don’t have some huge complain about the characters. They will never become favorites of mine but I have to say that they definitely improved as the series went on.
Moria is a freaking badass lady. She’s so logical, smart and crafty. She’s gotten better at working through her emotions but it doesn’t stop her from continuing to be brave and fiercely protective and strong. She’s super blunt and is always looking at things in a different perspective than other people. Though she had a lot of development, I think it was more of building on who she already was and making her even better.
Ashyn on the other hand had the most extensive development out of everyone in the series. She started out really shy and timid and pretty much scared of a bunch of things. But as things progressed and she started to become more confident, she blossomed. She’s passionate, determined and smart. She’s kind as always but much more blunt and honest with herself and others. I love how self-confidence helped her become a much more well rounded person and someone that can kick ass in her own way.
All the side characters now feel much more three dimensional and fleshed out. They’ve always been complex but since there were so many, I never felt like I got to know them as much as I wanted to but that was definitely fixed in this book.

Emotionally

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Sara 101: I’m Moving!

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Hello everyone!

I am back today with my personal feature, Sara 101, where I talk about me and myself and I and anything and everything that I could want to share about my personal life.

For the last few weeks, I’ve been talking about some changes that will be happening in my life and as you can tell from the title, I am moving! This post is basically gonna be explaining what’s happening, where I’m going, why I’m going and what will happen in the meantime with my blog. I hope you stick around and read this one because I like to share my life with all of you.

SO let’s get started!

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Freadom Recs: High Fantasy

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Hello everyone!

I have not done one of these posts since I debuted this feature in March of last year. That’s a really long time ago and I can’t believe I let go so long. I always feel kind of strange giving recommendations because I don’t want to give ones that everyone else has already recommended because it can get really repetitive. I hope that you find books that you’ve never heard of or heard very little about within this list and that you consider giving them a try!

This week I am going to be recommending some High Fantasy series and books. This is my favorite genre, I spend every first month reading high fantasy books to my hearts content and I can’t wait to share some of my favorites with you!

Click on the covers to go to the Goodreads page.

SO let’s get started!

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Book Traveling Thursdays Feb. 16th – There’s Still More Love to Share…

btt-feb-17-16

Hello everyone!

It’s BTT time! This is a weekly meme created by Danielle at Danielle’s Book Blog and Catia at TheGirlWhoReadTooMuch. You can find all of the information you’ll need to participate on the Goodreads page.

This week’s topic is There’s still more love to share… Choose a book that deserves more love. There’s a lot of books that I feel don’t receive as much love as I think they should but most of them haven’t been published in international countries which would make this post really boring. So I went really far back in my read list to a book that I really enjoyed that I haven’t talked about in awhile.

SO let’s get started!

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ARC Review – the princess saves herself in this one by Amanda Lovelace

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the princess saves herself in this one

Author: Amanda Lovelace

Publication: February 14th, 2017

Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing

Format: e-ARC, 208 pages

Genre: Poetry

Read: January 2017

Amanda LovelaceGoodreads

I received an e-ARC of this book from Andrews McMeel Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

4-stars1

Synopsis
From Amanda Lovelace, a poetry collection in four parts: the princess, the damsel, the queen, and you. The first three sections piece together the life of the author while the final section serves as a note to the reader. This moving book explores love, loss, grief, healing, empowerment, and inspiration.

Emotionally

So this review is obviously a little different than all the ones I’ve done before. I’ve never reviewed a poetry collection before so I’m kind of winging it at the moment. I hope everything I share here makes sense and if it doesn’t, please let me know!

I first heard about this collection on Twitter. A lot of mutual book community friends were raving about it and though I hadn’t read poetry in a really long time (since high school), I wanted to give it a try. When I say that it was up to Read Now on NetGalley, I jumped at the chance to check it out!

This collection is divided into four parts: the princess, the damsel, the queen and you. It explores themes of love, loss, grief, death, empowerment and honesty. Because this is contemporary poetry, I don’t feel like it’s right to make a critically section in this review. The writing style is incredibly personal and the way the stanzas and poems are laid out are part of that experience. All the poems were raw and powerful, there was a lot of emotion emitted from the pages which is completely tangible as you read.

I enjoyed the entire collection but I have to say that I found it hard to connect. I liked the stories and pictures the author painted for the reader but I didn’t connect with the majority of them. I felt like I was reading a much more personal journey than something for me to feel connected to. For some reason, it felt much more intrusive to me, like I was looking into the intimate details of a stranger’s life and I didn’t have any right to it. But that’s just me being weird because the content and delivery of these poems is beautiful and intense.

My favorite section is definitely the queen. It was the part I connected to the most out of all of them and I felt like it was the culmination of the journey the author was telling in the first two parts. We learn about so many personal things from her life, so many hardships that the queen section feels like her triumph. It feels like this is the person she is now because of all the learned from all the things that happened then. And I think that 1. that was really brave of her to share with the world and 2. it’s incredibly empowering to read and to absorb.

Here are some of my favorite poems from the collection:

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Overall, I’m glad I read this collection when I did. I hadn’t read poetry since high school and this reminded me oh how much I enjoyed it. Definitely recommend it!

So that’s it for this post! This was one of the hardest reviews ever because I couldn’t use my usual format and it screwed me up haha. I’d love to know if any of you have read this collection and what you thought! Thanks so much for reading and I’ll see you on my next post!

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Book Review – The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

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The Lies of Locke Lamora (The Gentlemen Bastard #1)

Author: Scott Lynch

Publication: September 18th, 2008

Publisher: Orion

Format: Kindle Edition, 573 pages

Genre: Adult, High Fantasy, Science Fiction

Read: January 2016

Scott LynchGoodreads

 

4.5-stars1

Synopsis
They say that the Thorn of Camorr can beat anyone in a fight. They say he steals from the rich and gives to the poor. They say he’s part man, part myth, and mostly street-corner rumor. And they are wrong on every count.
Only averagely tall, slender, and god-awful with a sword, Locke Lamora is the fabled Thorn, and the greatest weapons at his disposal are his wit and cunning. He steals from the rich – they’re the only ones worth stealing from – but the poor can go steal for themselves. What Locke cons, wheedles and tricks into his possession is strictly for him and his band of fellow con-artists and thieves: the Gentleman Bastards.
Together their domain is the city of Camorr. Built of Elderglass by a race no-one remembers, it’s a city of shifting revels, filthy canals, baroque palaces and crowded cemeteries. Home to Dons, merchants, soldiers, beggars, cripples, and feral children. And to Capa Barsavi, the criminal mastermind who runs the city.
But there are whispers of a challenge to the Capa’s power. A challenge from a man no one has ever seen, a man no blade can touch. The Grey King is coming.
A man would be well advised not to be caught between Capa Barsavi and The Grey King. Even such a master of the sword as the Thorn of Camorr. As for Locke Lamora . . .

Trigger warning for graphic violence.

Critically

Plot – 4 out of 5 stars
The plot  is really intricate and super intense. It was so much more complicated than I was expecting it to be but it was exciting all the same. There’s violence, blood and stealing but also friendship, love and intelligence and personal growth. Honestly, there were like various different plot lines going on that managed to intertwined in the coolest of ways and I was really impressed.

Writing Style – 3.5 out of 5 stars
This is my biggest issue in this book because of one thing: the world building. I was so confused the entire time I was reading and it was a huge bummer. There wasn’t enough explanation though it still managed to be detailed, descriptive, intricate and thorough. The story moves between the past and the present and it’s really intense and also really graphic, so watch out if you’re squeamish.

Characters – 4.5 out of 5 stars
Never in my life did I think I would get so incredibly attached to the characters in this book but here we are. They are so precious to me in their little deceitful and crass way. Locke is such a shit but in the best way possible. We get to know him as an adult and as a kid and we see how he grows up. He’s street smart, cunning and kind of cocky. He’s really good at what he does and he’s kind of the brains of the operation. But he’s also a really sucky fighter and he gets caught in this worst situations ever. He’s kind of desperate towards the end of the books and really hurt and torn over what to do. I liked seeing his progression as a person and also how he interacted with the rest of the crew. They are amazing as well! Honestly, one of my favorite parts of this series is seeing the dynamic of these gentlemen bastards. Their friendship is so honest and real and they care about each other, but in that dude way where you like give each other shit for stupid stuff that you do, it’s so awesome. They’re hilarious and loyal and one of them is the most adorable thing to live on the page and it just made my reading experience so much better. Jean is Locke’s closest, maybe even best friend, and their bromance was amazing. They look out for each other, they care for each other and they just want to steal and live life to the fullest together and gosh, I love them.

Emotionally

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