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/

Loveboat, Taipei

Loveboat, Taipei (Loveboat, Taipei #1) by Abigail Hing Wen

My rating: five stars

Genre: YA, romance, contemporary

Edition: hardback

Goodreads summary: For fans of Crazy Rich Asians or Jane Austen Comedy of Manners, with a hint of La La Land

When eighteen-year-old Ever Wong’s parents send her from Ohio to Taiwan to study Mandarin for the summer, she finds herself thrust among the very over-achieving kids her parents have always wanted her to be, including Rick Woo, the Yale-bound prodigy profiled in the Chinese newspapers since they were nine—and her parents’ yardstick for her never-measuring-up life.

Unbeknownst to her parents, however, the program is actually an infamous teen meet-market nicknamed Loveboat, where the kids are more into clubbing than calligraphy and drinking snake-blood sake than touring sacred shrines.

Free for the first time, Ever sets out to break all her parents’ uber-strict rules—but how far can she go before she breaks her own heart?

This book was the January Barnes and Noble YA Book Club pick. Honestly, I pre-ordered it forever ago though, so that was the greatest coincidence ever! I have been interested in this story for a long time and was so happy to have an excuse to read it immediately after getting it.

This time I am going to do the dislikes first because the likes have to do with the dislikes.

Dislikes: I swear, at the beginning of this story I was so frustrated. I was complaining to my boyfriend. I was texting my friend complaining to her. I honestly didn’t know if I could do it. The characters were SO FRUSTRATING! The best friend was terrible, the main character was interested in someone she shouldn’t be, the love interest needed to get his life together, and the second love interest wasn’t even a love interest. Just thinking about it right now is making me upset! Anyway, so the only thing that I disliked were the characters themselves and their interactions with each other, but I disliked it A LOT. I was not sure if I could read the book, but since it was for the book club I pushed on. The characters were driving me insane, but I am glad that I stuck through it because it was worth it, I believe.

Likes: If you read the fact that I rated five stars, you are probably wondering why, since I clearly had a hard time with the beginning half of the book. The reason that I ended up loving it so much was the character development. As the book goes on you learn more about all of the characters and why they are the way they are. Sure, that doesn’t justify the stuff that they did, but it does give a background as to why they are hurting so much and why they are lashing out or not going for what they want. I would actually love to read the book again to see if I have a different perspective on how the characters act now that I know why. Along with the information came growth. I saw so much growth in almost every single character. They weren’t the same people that they were at the beginning of the story which was beautiful to watch. It was so lovely to watch their growth, and though I would have preferred a different ending, I was still awed by it. Besides the character growth, I loved how realistic this book is. I have several friends whose parents act very similar to Ever’s parents. The guilt that they feel that their parents gave up so much for them, and the strictness and suffocation they feel because of this were direct parallels of each other. This story was a heart-wrencher and I loved the fact that this story could make me feel so connected to the main character.

Overall, I gave this story five out of five stars because I could go on and on saying good things about it. It is a book that I would love to re-read several times just to unpack the story and discover things I may have missed the first time. The beginning of the book did almost make me put it down, but the descriptions, the character growth, the explanation of the culture, and much more made me stay. This book gave me insight into a hardship that I can never experience and that made me understand and feel more sympathetic toward people that do go through that. I recommend this book so much, it really opened my eyes and made me feel more compassionate towards people – because who knows what someone could be going through. Let’s try and make the world a little less judgmental.