Shadow of the Fox

Shadow of the Fox (Shadow of the Fox, #1) by Julie Kagawa         

My rating: five stars

Genre: YA, Fantasy

Edition: Hardback

Goodreads Summary: One thousand years ago, the great Kami Dragon was summoned to grant a single terrible wish—and the land of Iwagoto was plunged into an age of darkness and chaos.

Now, for whoever holds the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers, a new wish will be granted. A new age is about to dawn.

Raised by monks in the isolated Silent Winds temple, Yumeko has trained all her life to hide her yokai nature. Half kitsune, half human, her skill with illusion is matched only by her penchant for mischief. Until the day her home is burned to the ground, her adoptive family is brutally slain and she is forced to flee for her life with the temple’s greatest treasure—one part of the ancient scroll.

There are many who would claim the dragon’s wish for their own. Kage Tatsumi, a mysterious samurai of the Shadow Clan, is one such hunter, under orders to retrieve the scroll…at any cost. Fate brings Kage and Yumeko together. With a promise to lead him to the scroll, an uneasy alliance is formed, offering Yumeko her best hope for survival. But he seeks what she has hidden away, and her deception could ultimately tear them both apart.

With an army of demons at her heels and the unlikeliest of allies at her side, Yumeko’s secrets are more than a matter of life or death. They are the key to the fate of the world itself.

Shadow of the Fox was the pick for a book club that I am in, and I couldn’t have been happier. I have been interested in Japanese culture for most of my life, and so this book sounded so intriguing. I ended up really enjoying it and can’t wait to read the next two!

Likes: I love how Yumeko just connects with everyone that she comes across. She makes friendships so effortlessly and convinces people to help her easily. She is a truly likeable, though ignorant, character. I also liked all the other characters. They each had different personalities and backgrounds, and I loved learning about each and every one of them. The story itself was fun and adventurous. Yes, the reason that she must flee with the scroll is disturbing and sad, however, the adventure itself was fun for me to read about. Yumeko was sheltered in the temple her whole life, so to read about her experiencing all these new things was enjoyable. Not only were the main characters interesting, the villains were intriguing as well. There was so much mystery surrounding all of them, it left me wanting to keep reading to learn more.

Dislikes: There wasn’t really anything that I disliked. Yumeko’s ignorance could be annoying, however it was completely understandable since she had never stepped foot outside her temple. Another thing that didn’t make the most sense to me was why Tatsumi couldn’t see that Yumeko was a half kitsune. Some people could and it was explained why they could and that made sense. However, Tatsumi literally has a demon in him and is connected to that world quite literally, so I don’t understand why he wouldn’t have been able to see what she was.

Overall, I really liked this story. It takes place in a setting that I am extremely interested in, and a world that is so magical and yet seems like it could be real. I loved all the myths that the story delved in to, they were myths that I have read about in Japanese culture books, but to actually have them in a fantasy book fun. I loved all the characters, even the villains, and I loved the plot. The small couple dislikes I had with Yumeko’s ignorance and Tatsumi’s inability to see that Yumeko was a half kitsune were small annoyances and didn’t really take away from my love of this story. I gave it five stars and recommend it to everyone!  

The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1) by Suzanne Collins

My rating: five stars

Genre: YA, Dystopian

Edition: Audiobook

Goodreads Summary: WINNING MEANS FAME AND FORTUNE.LOSING MEANS CERTAIN DEATH.THE HUNGER GAMES HAVE BEGUN. . . .

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and once girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister’s place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before—and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weight survival against humanity and life against love.

I have decided to try and re-read this series before the prequel, A Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, comes out. I have watched the movies several times but only read the books once a long time ago, so I am excited to delve back into this world and see what I think now that I am older.

Likes: I know many people think that dystopian YA novels from around this time are overrated and overused, but I absolutely love them. I do like the plot of this story. The government that was created after the United States fell apart is interesting to read about and the lengths that Katniss goes to keep her family safe, that lead her into terrible situations, are inspiring. I like Suzanne’s writing style; it is descriptive without being over the top. The government and culture that she created is fascinating. It is horrid in too many ways to count, but the stark contrast between the Capital and the Districts is captivating to read about. I liked reading about how the Games work, along with their intricacies. There were so many factors that went along with the Games. It wasn’t just them going into an arena and fighting each other to their death. Katniss had to go through training, had a “test”, interviews, and so much more. This is the main thing that I like about this story, how intricate Suzanne went into creating this world. It could have been so simple, but I can tell that she worked hard to create a detailed world that the readers can immerse themselves in.

Dislikes: I did not care for the love story in this book. In the movies I was completely “team Gale”. I did not like Peeta at all, and felt little sympathy for him. However, I believe he was so much more flushed out in the stories and was actually given a personality. I was rooting for him, and I think that it was terrible how Katniss was using him. I understand that she was doing it to try and stay alive, but I do not believe that she would have kept it a secret from him and used him like that. It was like she did not have any faith that Peeta could keep a secret or act at all. It just didn’t make much sense to me that Katniss would do that, and I think it was very out of character for her. She is an open book usually about what she is feeling and about what is going on, and Peeta is there for her through all of her emotional break downs. It doesn’t make sense for her to not discuss things with him, and I disliked that unbelievability.

Overall, I did rate this book five stars because I did have a great time reading it. It was well paced, I loved the writing style, and the details in it were intriguing and kept me wanting to read more. Yes, I did not enjoy the romance or how Katniss treated Peeta at all, but I am not deducting a star because I still really liked this story. 

Artemis

Artemis by Andy Weir

My rating: five stars

Genre: Sci-fi

Edition: Audiobook

Goodreads Summary: Jazz Bashara is a criminal.

Well, sort of. Life on Artemis, the first and only city on the moon, is tough if you’re not a rich tourist or an eccentric billionaire. So smuggling in the occasional harmless bit of contraband barely counts, right? Not when you’ve got debts to pay and your job as a porter barely covers the rent.

Everything changes when Jazz sees the chance to commit the perfect crime, with a reward too lucrative to turn down. But pulling off the impossible is just the start of her problems, as she learns that she’s stepped square into a conspiracy for control of Artemis itself—and that now, her only chance at survival lies in a gambit even riskier than the first.

I started Artemis because my boyfriend had listened to the Audiobook and said he enjoyed it. I was also craving some sci-fi, and I am a huge mood reader, so I decided to pick this up. I decided to listen to the Audible version of this book and it was a really good Audiobook! I am slightly picky about what books I listen to, and this one did the book justice.

Likes: The main character is amazing. She is strong-willed, intelligent, and complex. So many people in her life bash her and think that she can do so much more with her life, but she stands up for herself and keeps doing what she wants. I am not saying what she does is good, but her ability to be so strong is admirable. Another thing I like about this book is how scientific it is. As an engineer, I enjoy how in-depth the author goes when describing things, while also making it to where I truly believe non-engineers will be able to understand what is happening. He goes in-depth but uses great descriptors to make it understandable. Another thing that I like is the complexity of the storyline. So many events are happening, and there are so many characters in play that it gets crazy. The story starts simple and it just blows up and becomes this big conspiracy and I love it. Props for an incredible storyline.

Dislikes: The only thing that I really disliked was a backstory that Jazz has with one of her ex-friends. I am not going to go into detail and spoil anything, but it just seems unrealistic that a best friend would betray her like he did. It was also bizarre that he was still trying to be friends with her and acted like what he did was completely fine. I don’t know, it was just weird.

Overall, even though I did not like the relationship with Jazz and her ex-friend, it was such a small part of the book that I am not deducting a point. I rated this story five stars because I thoroughly enjoyed it. I liked the main character, the story line, the complexity, and the different scientific aspects. I recommend this to anyone that likes sci-fi!

February 2020| Reading Wrap Up

Crown of Midnight
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Rating: ★★★★★

*** SPOILERS FOR THRONE OF GLASS (because this is the sequel)***

Crown of Midnight is the second book in the Throne of Glass series. In Throne of Glass Celaena becomes the King’s Champion. This book is about the experience that she has being the Champion. The struggles of having to kill for someone she hates, and all of the judgement she gets for it. The mysteries in this book were fascinating, and the addition of magic (that was seen at the end of Throne of Glass) into this story added another element to it that I loved. This books brings us closer to side characters and learning more about them was exciting to me. I loved all the side characters and hope that we continue to learn more! The main thing that I disliked with this story were all of the secrets between characters. Especially because I truly believe it goes against the character’s personalities and relationships. I don’t believe it is something that they would have done, it seems like the secrets were there to move the plot along. Some devastating things happen that could have been avoided if there weren’t so many secrets.

Pros: gained more information on side-characters, mysterious, magic system was interesting, wrenched my heart.
Cons: so many secrets that were unnecessary and unbelievable.
Full Review: https://classicsquidney.com/2020/05/05/crown-of-midnight/

Legend
Author: Marie Lu
Genre: YA, Dystopian
Rating: ★★★★

Legend takes place in what used to be western United States, but is now the Republic. It is a story of a girl named June – who is trying to become a top military leader – and a boy named Day – who is one of the most wanted criminals in the Republic. June’s brother is murdered and Day is the main suspect. This is a story full of mystery, hardship, relationships, and trust. One of the things that I love about this story is that it has so many themes, there isn’t just one main element to the story, there is a lot going on. What we are lead to believe at the beginning of the story quickly shifts and changes as the story progresses. I love this complex aspect of the book. It also has two wonderful main characters who both believe that they are doing good, even though some might see them as “bad guys”. I appreciate when books have complex characters that are morally gray. It leads to great morality discussions which I believe are important to grow. Though I did love the two main characters, I did not enjoy parts of their relationship that developed because it seemed too fast and unrealistic given the circumstances. It seemed forced to me.

Pros: complex story arc, morally gray characters, good pacing, full of surprises.
Cons: main character’s relationship seemed unnecessary and unrealistic.
Full Review: https://classicsquidney.com/2020/05/08/legend/

Strange the Dreamer
Author: Laini Taylor
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Rating: ★★★★★

Strange the Dreamer is about a boy named Lazlo Strange whose dream is to go to the lost city of Weep. He is a junior librarian who spends most – if not all – of his time in the library, so it seems like he will never fulfill that dream. However, one day a band of warriors from Weep show up requesting that people come with him to their city. This begins a huge journey for Lazlo, who wants more than anything to solve the mystery of Weep. I love Laini Taylor’s writing; Daughter of Smoke and Bone is one of my favorite series ever, and I was not disappointed with this story. The writing was just as beautiful, and the world building was complex and thorough. I loved the characters, as well as the relationships that evolve between them. The magic in this book was surprising and interesting, not what I was expecting at all. The only thing that I did not care for was that it was pretty slow in the beginning. I still liked what I was reading, it was just a little slow for my taste.

Pros: plot twists, beautiful writing, interesting magic system, intriguing mystery.
Cons: pacing was slow in the beginning.
Full Review: https://classicsquidney.com/2020/05/13/strange-the-dreamer/

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson

My rating: five stars

Genre: YA, mystery

Edition: e-book

Goodreads Summary: Everyone in Fairview knows the story.

Pretty and popular high school senior Andie Bell was murdered by her boyfriend, Sal Singh, who then killed himself. It was all anyone could talk about. And five years later, Pip sees how the tragedy still haunts her town.

But she can’t shake the feeling that there was more to what happened that day. She knew Sal when she was a child, and he was always so kind to her. How could he possibly have been a killer?

Now a senior herself, Pip decides to reexamine the closed case for her final project, at first just to cast doubt on the original investigation. But soon she discovers a trail of dark secrets that might actually prove Sal innocent . . . and the line between past and present begins to blur. Someone in Fairview doesn’t want Pip digging around for answers, and now her own life might be in danger.

This is the story of an investigation turned obsession, full of twists and turns and with an ending you’ll never expect.

This was the March Barnes and Noble YA Book Club pick. I honestly had never heard of it before now, but once I read the synopsis I was intrigued. I haven’t read many mysteries recently, but I tended to enjoy the ones that I have (as long as they weren’t too predictable). After listening to One of Us is Lying, I have been wanting to read another mystery and so this was a perfect pick.

Likes: Man, did this book surprise me! One reason that YA mystery books are not my favorite is usually because I can predict what is going to happen. However, I seriously had no clue during this entire book. The author somehow made me feel like I knew what was going on the entire time, and I was so confident, but it turns out I was so wrong it isn’t even funny. I have no clue how she did that, but I love it! I also like the main character quite a bit. Her enthusiasm and passion for her project is contagious and her “goodness” is refreshing. I am not going to talk about the other characters, even though I really want to, simply because I don’t want to give anything away. I will say that the pacing of this book was quite fast (which I like), and it always kept me on my toes.

Dislikes: Throughout this story I was frustrated with the main characters because they wouldn’t investigate events and other characters that I thought they should have. I was so sure of myself and that I knew what had happened. However, it turns out that I was being led in the wrong direction and that my frustrations at them were misplaced. So besides that, I did not dislike anything about the story, and even my dislike with the main characters was probably purposeful by the author to mislead me.

Overall, I did love this book. It was truly mysterious, misleading, fast-paced, and so much more. I did not have the highest hopes for this book but ended up really enjoying it. The ending wrapped up nicely and I was left satisfied with the events of the story. I would definitely recommend this book, it was a ton of fun!

Strange the Dreamer

Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer, #1) by Laini Taylor

My rating: five stars

Genre: YA, fantasy

Edition: paperback

Goodreads Summary: The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around—and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries—including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?

Welcome to Weep.

I have been wanting to read this book for the longest time! Daughter of Smoke and Bone is one of my favorite series EVER and it made me curious to read this series. Chloe from bookswithchloe on YouTube had a read along and a liveshow where she talked about this book on her Patreon at the end of February. It was just so perfect that this book was chosen (as I read it in February and am just super behind on my blog posts)! I honestly wish I hadn’t waited this long because I LOVED it.

Likes: All the suspense and questions were beautifully worked into this story. I usually don’t care for not knowing things, but the way that it is done in this book makes it fun and like a game. I love the characters in this story so much. They each have their positives and negatives, but they have such rich backstories that explain why they are who they are. The only person I did not care for might be a spoiler, but I swear they are the worst. I get that bad things happened in their past, but that just doesn’t excuse the things they are doing in my eyes. There is so much beautiful imagery in this book. The descriptions of dreams and the different parts of the world are incredible. I truly love Laini Taylor’s writing. Something else besides her descriptions that I love are the plot twists and crazy surprises that are in her stories. She always makes mysteries that I think are the main big one that I am trying to solve throughout the book, and then, BAM, there was really a huge twist that comes that I didn’t see because I was so focused on the smaller mystery. It is insane how skilled she is to be able to do this, and it makes her stories powerful and unique.

Dislike: The book was a little slow in the beginning. It wasn’t to where I was bored or anything, it was just kind of dragging on. I don’t know how to explain it exactly. I was loving what I was reading, but I wasn’t enjoying the process of reading it because of the pacing. Another thing that I did not like was a huge spoiler at the beginning of the book. I won’t say any more about it except that it really made me enjoy later parts of the book less.

Overall, I was not disappointed in this story at all. I had high expectations because of how much I loved Daughter of Smoke and Bone, and this book lived up to them! I don’t think I liked it as much as that series, but I did truly love it and look forward to reading the next one!

January 2020| Reading Wrap Up

Throne of Glass
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Rating: ★★★★★

Throne of Glass is about an assassin who enters into a competition to become the King’s Champion. It is a story full of training, trails, secrets, and even some romance. The writing was incredible and kept me at the edge of my seat. I liked Sarah J. Maas’s descriptions and how well she paced the book. It didn’t seem to lull, and I enjoyed how well I was able to picture the story. The ending wasn’t my favorite, but I didn’t deduct a star for that because I loved the rest of it so much.

Pros: had great pacing, a strong female main character who had other interests than just being an assassin (reading, fashion, etc).
Cons: did not appreciate how she treated the two male leads, ending was bizarre.
Full Review: https://classicsquidney.com/2020/04/03/throne-of-glass/

Shadow and Bone
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Rating: ★★★★★

Shadow and Bone is the story of Alina, a “normal” girl who ends up finding out that she has powers of Light – a rare ability that could save the entire country. She is taken away to be trained with the Grisha – the magical elite – under the watchful eye of the Darkling. I did really enjoy this story. The magic system with the different types of Grisha was interesting, I loved hearing about all the different types of magic. There was great world building too, I liked learning about the Shadowfold and all the mysteries surrounding it. I didn’t care for the ending and the “plot twist”, nor did I enjoy the weird love scenario that was going on.

Pros: interesting classes of magic users, great world building, many enjoyable characters – some of her instructors were hilarious
Cons: her “insta-love” with a character that is supposed to literally be the Boogie Man and terrify her, the twist was relatively predictable and I didn’t believe a certain character would take the actions that they did, I was surprised that there didn’t seem to be a negative to magic – there was no trade off besides becoming more beautiful and living longer…
Full Review: https://classicsquidney.com/2020/04/14/shadow-and-bone/

Loveboat, Taipei
Author: Abigail Hing Wen
Genre: YA, Romance
Rating: ★★★★★

Loveboat, Taipei is a story of Ever Wong who is sent to a summer program in Taipei against her will. Her parents sent her there thinking it was a prestigious program where she would study for college the whole time, however, it turns out that it is full of partying and very little supervision. This story is all about Ever trying to find herself and become more confident in who she is and who she wants to be. I will be honest and say that the first half or two thirds annoyed me to no end. The characters were unlikeable and I hated the romance. However, as the story went on and I learned more about character backstories, and as the characters themselves grew into stronger people, I started to love it. The character growth itself was so powerful that it completely turned around my views of this story and made me love it!

Pros: Extreme character growth for most of the characters, the culture and how well it was shown.
Cons: The characters were so unlikable at the beginning that I seriously thought about not finishing it.
Full Review: https://classicsquidney.com/2020/04/16/loveboat-taipei/

Warriors Fire and Ice
Author: Erin Hunter
Genre: Middle Grade
Rating: ★★★★★

Warriors Fire and Ice is the second book in the Warriors series. It is about Fireheart – a warrior of ThunderClan – and his struggles becoming a warrior and keeping his clan safe. There are threats from other clans, and even within his own clan, that he has to worry about. I liked Fireheart’s loyalty and his tenaciousness when trying to help other cats. I like how much he cares about other cats and how he is so determined to prove that he is meant to be a part of ThunderClan. This book had more adventure than the first book, and I loved seeing more of the other Clans and the outside world. I did not really care for Greystripe in this book… I did not believe that his character would act so carelessly, no matter what the reason, because he has such respect and love for his clan and for Fireheart.

Pros: Fireheart’s character growth, expansion upon the world, the strong bond between Greystripe and Fireheart even when they are going through a tough time.
Cons: Greystripe’s character regression for most of the book was pretty unbelievable, Bluestar’s distrust of Fireheart.
Full Review: https://classicsquidney.com/2020/04/21/warriors-fire-and-ice/

House of Teeth
Author: Dan Jolley
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Rating: ★★★

House of Teeth is about a boy named Henry who is sent to the Louisiana bayou one summer to stay with his uncle and cousin. While he is there he learns that he is part of a long line of rootcrafters – people who can see memories of people whose teeth they touch. Throughout the story he learns there is so much more to rootcrafting than he could ever imagine. I did have fun listening to this story. The history of rootcrafting along with the abilities that it gives people was pretty unique and interesting to read about. However, the characters themselves and their actions weren’t as believable as I would have liked.

Pros: The story building and history behind rootcrafting, the abilities that are discovered throughout the book.
Cons: Certain characters choices were out of character which made a lot of the story unbelievable.
Full Review: https://classicsquidney.com/2020/04/27/house-of-teeth/

Interview with the Robot
Author: Lee Bacon
Genre: Middle Grade, Sci-fi
Rating: ★★★★

Interview with the Robot is a middle grade sci-fi book about a robot named Eve, who discovers some crazy things about the place that she grew up in, and therefore runs away. She is caught shoplifting and is inverviewed by a woman from the Child Protective Services. This is where the story starts – her being interviewed. While being interviewed, we learn about her life and what caused her to run away. I really liked the interview format, it is something that I don’t see often in books and it made it interesting to listen to. The full cast of characters added some enjoyment to the story and they all did a great job narrating. As for the story itself, I enjoyed the character growth that happened, as well as the way in which the author slowly unraveled secrets. I was so surprised by most of the plot twists and information that was uncovered, I definitelly did not see most of it coming. Even though I loved the mystery of this novel, the ending was not the best. The story was short so I understand that the author did not have much time to wrap things up, however, I did not like how the ending was so abrupt and we didn’t get any closure. I would have loved to see where Eve’s relationship with some of the characters went.

Pros: character development, surprising plot twists, slow reveal of shocking information, cute relationship between main characters.
Cons: abrupt ending with no closure, character relationship regression.
Full Review: https://classicsquidney.com/2020/04/24/interview-with-the-robot/

Legend

Legend (Legend, #1) by Marie Lu

My rating: five stars

Genre: YA, dystopian

Edition: audiobook

Goodreads Summary: What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths—until the day June’s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias’s death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

After reading Warcross, I knew that I needed to read more by Marie Lu. I love her writing style, and the audiobooks are incredible! I chose to listen to this book and I was not disappointed in the quality of it.

Likes: I absolutely love the two main characters. They are so similar to each other, and yet they both have completely different goals and are on different sides of the war. It reminds me of Renegades in the fact that it is about two people who both want to do good, and they both think they are on the right side of the war. I love these type of stories! Another thing that I liked about the book is the fighting match that takes place later in the book. I know it is such a minuscule part of the story, but I love how Marie describes the character’s thought process while fighting and I love how she describes the moves. I also like how surprised I was through the whole thing. The whole book was fast paced and there seemed to be surprise after surprise. Usually this could get tiring, but somehow Marie just made me want more. It was wonderful pacing and terrific writing.

Dislikes: I thought the relationship between the two main characters happened in a strange way. It just seemed fast to me considering the circumstances that they were under. She is so distraught and laser-focused on finding her brother’s killer, it just seems unlikely to me that she would be able to be distracted that easily. It would have made more sense to me if they had just been friends in this book, their relationship just seemed unnecessary to me.

Overall, I am again blown away by Marie Lu. She really can make some great books, this one was extremely entertaining. I loved the characters, the growth that they exhibit as more information is given to them, and the conflict between them. I would recommend this to everyone, but if you liked Warcross or Renegades, I think you will especially like this.

Crown of Midnight

Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass, #2) by Sarah J. Maas

My rating: five stars

Genre: YA, fantasy

Edition: paperback

Goodreads Summary: From the throne of glass rules a king with a fist of iron and a soul as black as pitch. Assassin Celaena Sardothien won a brutal contest to become his Champion. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown. She hides her secret vigilantly; she knows that the man she serves is bent on evil.

Keeping up the deadly charade becomes increasingly difficult when Celaena realizes she is not the only one seeking justice. As she tries to untangle the mysteries buried deep within the glass castle, her closest relationships suffer. It seems no one is above questioning her allegiances—not the Crown Prince Dorian; not Chaol, the Captain of the Guard; not even her best friend, Nehemia, a foreign princess with a rebel heart.

Then one terrible night, the secrets they have all been keeping lead to an unspeakable tragedy. As Celaena’s world shatters, she will be forced to give up the very thing most precious to her and decide once and for all where her true loyalties lie… and whom she is ultimately willing to fight for.

The Throne of Glass and Shadow and Bone series are two of my most anticipated series to read of the year. Since I can’t choose between the two, I am planning on going back and forth between the two. I loved Throne of Glass, but the ending was odd and therefore I didn’t have the highest expectations for Crown of Midnight. I was unexpectedly surprised with how incredible it was!

Likes: I had no clue where this book was going to be going with how Throne of Glass ended. However, I really liked it! The mysteries, the secrets, and the new discoveries kept me on the edge of my seat. The entire book Celaena is trying to figure out a certain mystery, and I loved getting snippets of information continuously throughout the story. This is one of the only books that made me cry and cry and cry, want to throw it on the ground, and yet, still love it. There were parts that had me crushed, wanting to hate the book, and somehow I don’t. There are few stories that I have found that can make me feel this way, and though I want to put it in the dislikes – because this story broke me – I won’t, because that is a sign of beautiful writing.

Dislikes: There are so many secrets between characters and honestly there is no point to a lot of them. This frustrated me throughout the whole book, and made me honestly angry with one of the actions a character took that completely changed the story. If the characters would have just talked then so many horrific things wouldn’t have happened and that was annoying. There was so much trust between many of the characters so it doesn’t make sense that they wouldn’t share information.

Overall, I did love this story. It had added elements that the first book didn’t have, and though I thought I wasn’t going to like that, I ended up really enjoying it! There was more political intrigue in this book, more insight into Celaena’s background, and more POVs in this story which I loved. The only dislike was the catastrophes that could have been easily avoided if characters would have just talked with each other. However, I loved it so much and it ripped emotions out of me that most books can’t. Because of this I rated it five stars and can’t wait for the next one!

O.W.L.s Readathon 2020 TBR

I know this is extremely late because the readathon is almost over, but I still wanted to post it just to spread the word and show what I read. If you are just hearing about this, you can still participate in the N.E.W.T.s in August.

Introduction

The O.W.L.’s Magical Readathon is a yearly readathon taking place in April that is based off of the O.W.L. exam in Harry Potter. There is a second part of this readathon called the N.E.W.T.s that takes place in August.
For the O.W.L.’s Readathon you can pick a Wizarding Career. These range from Aurors to Broom Maker and each of them have different exams that you have to take.

There are 12 reading prompts for each class subject exam, and each Wizarding Career requires you to do a certain number of prompts to pass. I will show an example of this down below when I explain what path I am taking.

Along with a Wizarding Career, you can also choose a Magical Feature. For example, Dragon Tamer Training. These don’t require as many prompts as a Wizarding Career so they are nice if you don’t think you can read enough to get a Career or if you want to read even more than a Career has.

My Wizarding Career and Training

This is my first year participating in this challenge, and I am extremely excited to hopefully complete it! I chose the Career Path Astronomer with Animagus Training as my Magical Feature.

To complete the Astronomer path, I have to pass three O.W.L.s:

  1. Arithmancy
  2. Astronomy
  3. History of Magic

To complete the Animagus Training, I have to pass three more O.W.L.s:

  1. Arithmancy
  2. Potions
  3. Transfiguration

Thankfully, Arithmancy is a common test that I have to pass, so overall I just need to read 5 books.

Arithmancy: read something outside your favorite genre

The Hidden Power of F*cking Up by The Try Guys

I usually don’t read non-fiction, and when I say that I “usually don’t”, I mean almost never. However, I watch The Try Guy’s videos and love them. I even went to their concert last year! I find them humorous, and yet inspiring. I am excited to hear about what they learned from their failures and their different “Trys”.

Astronomy: read the majority of this book when it is dark outside

Warriors: A Dangerous Path by Erin Hunter

This is really going to show how far behind I am on reviews still, but the book I want to read for this prompt is the fifth book in the Warrior’s series. My goal for the year is to read one or more Warriors books a month, and I have been sticking to that pretty well!

History of Magic: book featuring witches/wizards

Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

Another one of my resolutions for 2020 is to read the entire Throne of Glass series. This is the next one that I have to read, and I especially look forward to this one because there are supposed to be a bunch of new characters and the this is supposed to be a book that changes the story significantly.

Potions: book under 150 pages

Cruel Crown by Victoria Aveyard

I am counting this one as being under 150 pages because I am not including the exerpt of Glass Sword since I have already read that. This is a wonderful series that I love and so I look forward to reading these short stories, especially the first one that is supposed to discuss what happened to Queen Coriane.

Transfiguration: a book/series that includes shapeshifting

Soul of the Sword by Julie Kagawa

I read the first book a couple months ago for a book club that I am a part of, and since Night of the Dragon just came out, I definitelly want to read this so I can get to the last one. The first book was so enjoyable, and I have heard nothing but good things about this one, so I am extremely excited for this!

Are you joining this readathon and if so, what Career/Magical Feature are you going for and what books are you reading?