Review: Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

I was going to write a review about When Breath Becomes Air but after finishing the book and my bedside box of tissues, I couldn’t bring myself to write a review so soon. That being said, it’s an incredibly beautiful novel and I would highly recommend it (Just make sure you’re mentally prepared and have many tissues handy).

Instead, I decided to write today’s review about another book that I recently finished.

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Truthwith by Susan Dennard, The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye (Excellent book), and the shawl I’m working on for my best friend’s birthday. 

Overall Score: 8/10

First thoughts

I’m so glad that this isn’t a stand-alone book (not that it wouldn’t be great as one). I liked the characters, the world, and the plot. I can’t wait for more! Safi and Iseult have a wonderful partnership and I loved that the main focus of the novel was on friendship and family (not to say that there wasn’t any romance). I loved the way witchery was portrayed and how we saw characters of all strengths. Although I do have to say that Evrane was a huge surprise in how awesome she ended up being. I also adored the opening of the book (particularly because I’m a sucker for a good con story).

Review

This book was built around an incredibly strong female friendship. I could not be happier to see how the friendship is portrayed. No matter what, Safi and Iseult have each others’ backs. The idea of Threadsisters (and brothers) was a very unique one. It was interesting to see the contrast between those relationships and the romantic ones.

The plot – The story moved along at a very fast paced, which I really enjoyed. One scene flowed into the next very logically and you weren’t left confused at any point of the story. The only negative for me about the book was Safi’s hot-headedness. I know that it helps the Cahr Awen story that she and Iseult are so different but I think that she should have been able to coherently think through a plan. This didn’t really bug me overly much though and I did see how it fit in with the story. The political story was great and definitely helped me understand the various characters motivations.

Characters – Each character was so well developed and all played a role in the story. One of my favorite things about the novel was that Safi and Iseult both had relatively harmless witcheries compared to some of the other seen in the novel (mastery over storms, lightning, iron, blood, etc.) However, they were able to fight using other gifts and best those with better witcheries. Additionally, I enjoyed that they are going to play such a large role in the religious aspect of the books.

This book was definitely entertaining and fast-paced. I’m excited for Windwitch although I’m not entirely sure who the main characters are going to be (I’d prefer a focus on Safi and Iseult rather than Merik). I would recommend this book if you’re looking for a fast-paced, adventure fantasy read.

Page Length: 416

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Publisher: MacMillan

Source: Library

Review: The Passenger By Lisa Lutz

I was incredibly excited when I stopped by the library a few days ago and found Lisa Lutz’s newest book. If you haven’t read The Spellman Files, I highly recommend you go check those out. They’re kind of like the Shopaholic series if Becky were a private investigator. I started reading The Passenger on Tuesday and just finished it on my lunch break today.

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With tea from The London Tea Club (aren’t the test tubes adorable??) and the colors I picked for my newest crochet project.

Overall Score: 8.5/10

The Essential Story

A woman already on the run from her past goes on the run again after she finds her husband dead. (I can’t add much more than this without including spoilers!)

First thoughts

Oh man, definitely not the conclusion I was expecting at all but it was somehow better than I thought it would be. This book kept me thoroughly engrossed the entire time I was reading it. The story is even darker than I thought it would end up being (there’s a few murders) but it’s a very well written book. The pacing was perfect and I was never bored.

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Review

So the story starts out with a Tanya’s husband falling down the stairs and dying. Afraid that an investigation will reveal that she doesn’t actually exist, Tanya goes on the run, changing identities as she goes. Along the way, she meets some very interesting characters (I don’t want to spoil too much but I love Blue and Domenic, they are seriously cool characters).

In the end, we found out why Tanya was on the run in the first place and exactly what happened. Throughout the book you get email exchanges between Ryan and Jo, which hint at a backstory that is actually very interesting. The twists and turns of this story will keep you hooked. It’s definitely dark and there was one scene that I think was a little unnecessary (I don’t want to spoil it but having something blow up didn’t really do a ton to advance the plot in my mind).

I really liked how every time Tanya switched her identity, the book started off with a new section. While you could see who she was as a person throughout, it was definitely entertaining to see how she adapted to each identity. Additionally, the number of ways in which she acquired new identities were incredibly creative and inventive. I found attending funerals to be perhaps the most morbid, yet creative, way that I’ve heard of yet.

Overall, this was a very entertaining book and I highly recommend it if you’re in the book for a dark thriller that doesn’t take itself too serious.

Page Length: 320

Genre: Thrillers & Suspense, Crime

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Source: Library

Mandalas and Books

This week’s weekend projects is a little late (Okay, a lot late because I’m still getting the hang of this whole blogging thing) because I decided to postpone writing this in order to celebrate my boy friend’s birthday Monday and my uncle was visiting Tuesday. After way too much cake, I’m a little nostalgic for all the reading and crochet time I had this past weekend (well plus the two days of vacation I had before the actual weekend).

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The mandalas are Puffs and Picots by @mobiusgirl and I love how it worked up so beautifully in two very different yarns.These were my first mandalas and I couldn’t be more pleased with how they turned out. The pattern was complicated enough that I learned something new but was still able to enjoy the process without getting frustrated. Plus they were relatively quick to make!

Midnight Sun: 5/10

I loved Jo Nesbo’s Harry Hole series but Midnight Sun wasn’t really my cup of tea. I can’t exactly explain it and I really wanted to like it but I just don’t. The story follows a “fixer” for a crime lord as he attempts to escape his previous life. In his escape, he meets a woman and her young sun.

There weren’t many plot twists and the writing itself didn’t feel particularly inspired (Note: this is a translation so I don’t know what part of that is due to the author and what part to the translator). That is entirely my opinion though.  If you liked Blood on Snow, you’ll probably like this one!

Assassin’s Heart: 6/10

Assassin’s heart was decent, definitely lived up to the description of the Godfather meets Romeo and Juliet. Check it out if you’re in the mood for a book about revenge, love, and family.

There was a religious aspect to this book, however it was very similar to that seen in the His Fair Assassin’s trilogy (which I highly recommend if you haven’t already read it). I felt as if there wasn’t enough build-up in the beginning for me to really care about Val, the Romeo character. It would also have been nice to have a little bit more world-building at the beginning. Those are relatively small complaints though and this was a decent book. Might be more appropriate for a younger reader- I think I would have loved this book in my mid-teens but at 24, I tend to look for stories that are a little bit more complex and well-written.

The Glittering Court:6/10

The Glittering Court has been on my TBR list for a while and I’m only about half-way done with it so far. I have such mixed feelings right now so I’ll let you know my opinion once I’m done.

So far, the story is about a countess who decided to escape an arranged marriage to her itchy cousin (totally don’t blame her for this part) by joining the glittering court, where common women are transformed into high-class brides for the rich men of a new nation. The main love interest is established early on and I never doubted that they’d end up together, which definitely causes the story to lose a lot of its tension. If you just take it as a “boy meets girl, they fall in love, and have to overcome some obstacles” story, it’s a good book. TBD if that continues in the last bit….

So I actually finished the book between when I originally wrote this and publishing it so I’ll just finish up my review here. The ending of the book seemed way too tidy and there really wasn’t enough detail (the entire conclusion just seemed a little forced and the whole bit about Warren was kind of hinted at but a lot of things just came out of nowhere, which I’m not a huge fan of). When the next book comes out, I’ll probably get it at the library again rather than buying it.

(Note: there’s small a chance I’m still suffering from A Court of Mist and Fury book-hangover)

Review: A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

 

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I recently finished A Court of Mist and Fury and was absolutely stunned by the ending (not to mention the plot, the characters, and pretty much everything about this book). It is easily one of the top three books I’ve read so far this year. This is the second book in the A Court of Thorns and Roses trilogy – for a brief review of the first book, see my first post below). If you haven’t read the first book, there are spoilers below! 

Overall Score: 10/10

The Essential Story

A woman has gone through a horrible, traumatic event and must deal with the aftermath of choices she has made and how they have changed her. At the same time, a war is brewing that may destroy all that she has come to care for.

First Thoughts (written after I finished reading)

This book was wonderful and every time I stopped reading, I couldn’t wait to start again. After I finished the book, I debated starting over from the beginning. The third book in the series cannot arrive soon enough. Is it 2017 yet…? The characters all (even the minor ones) in ways that remained true to who they were in the first book while becoming more fully-fleshed out and complex characters. The major romance in the book was one that I had been rooting for since the first appearance of the male character in the last book so that made me incredibly happy. I honestly don’t even know who my favorite character is anymore, but I know that I will be pre-ordering all books written by Sarah J. Maas in the future (I’ve had Empire of Shadows on pre-order for months now).

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Take when I was about 1/4 of the way through the book! The crochet bookmark was a gift from my grandmother and is one of my favorites. 

Detailed Review

This book started off with Feyre shattered by what she had done Under the Mountain and struggling with the aftermath. I loved how she was given time to process and grieve. The fact that Maas allowed her protagonist to shut down and become a pawn was a brilliant move on her part.  It truly allowed the reader to see exactly what Feyre was going through and how long the process of healing can sometimes take. Throughout this book, I was constantly impressed with the variety of ways she portrayed female characters and traumatic experience they had been through (I adore Mor as a character). Also, maybe it was just me, but the speed of how the story developed seemed to be entirely matched to Feyre’s healing process, which just made it so much better.

The story itself was incredible. I was constantly surprised by plot twists and turns. Each character had a fully-fleshed out back-story and more characters from the last book appeared than I was expecting. I won’t go too much in detail because this is truly a book you need to read for yourself but you will be on tenterhooks pretty much throughout the entire book.

There was one love triangle in this book and it was developed in a way that made me understand why the characters were in it (aka it was one of the only love triangles I’ve ever enjoyed reading about). Some of the romance scenes in this book are definitely not appropriate for younger teens, however they definitely do add an extra layer to the book. Feyre is a grown, adult woman and I’m incredibly glad that she is portrayed as such.  Her realizations about her romantic feelings towards character were incredibly mature.

Feyre’s relationship with Tamlin in the first book was very much a first-love relationship. In this book, you see her grow and come to terms with everything that happened at the end of the last book. As she changes, her relationships with those around her become more complex and are constantly evolving. I liked how Maas truly made Feyre’s romantic journey more of a self-realization one and how she ends up with a man who doesn’t try to change who she is.

Side notes: I can’t wait to see more of Nesta + Elain in the next book! The only downside to this book was how most of the characters found their mate, which just seemed a little too coincidental. But seeing how the rest of the book was so well-written, it didn’t bug me that much.

Overall, this was one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. I highly recommend it (and really all of her other books but that’s a bit of a time commitment).

Page Length: 640

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA

Source: Purchased

Weekend Projects

After much thought and running into length restrictions on Instagram comments, I decided to start a blog in addition to my Instagram adventures. I’ll publish detailed reviews of both books and my crochet projects here and see where that takes me!

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First crochet hat (and attempted scarf), Seven Brief Lessons on Physics, A Court of Thorns and Roses

So if you’ve been following me on IG, I mentioned that I was going to finally read Lauren Groff’s Fates and Furies. I ended up getting distracted by both of these books…. Oops! Feeling intrepid, I decided to also crochet my first hat (and scarf – pictured here as the ball of yarn).

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas: 4.5/5

It only seems appropriate that this is the first book I review. I’ve been a fan of Maas’ writing since the first Throne of Glass book and was incredibly happy when I found out she was doing a Beauty and Beast re-telling (also Persephone but that’s for a future post). This is the second time I read this book. I actually enjoyed it more this time around, perhaps because I was judging it on its own merits, rather than in comparison to Throne of Glass.

The characters: Every character, even the minor ones, was fully developed and was allowed to grow. I absolutely adored Feyre. Every one of her actions was understandable and consistent with her characterization. This review will be spoiler-free but her actions, and subsequent feelings, in the last third of the book are what really won me over. I wasn’t the biggest fan of Tamlin but perhaps that will change in the next book.

The plot: I am a huge Beauty and the Beast fan so I loved the fact that Maas stuck to the basic storyline but really made it her own. While I would recognize elements (such as the dress scene or the dinners together), there were still twists that surprised me and kept me glued to the page.

Love triangle: Not at all! Finding young adult books without love triangles is the holy grail for me.

Overall: This book left me eagerly awaiting the second. I was just as engrossed the second time.

Seven Brief Lessons in Physics by Carlo Rovelli: 4/5

Physics simplified! A great overview of the subject written in an engaging, entertaining manner. Plus it’s only 88 pages and manages to be informative without being  too technical. I’m a science person so I enjoyed this very quick read.

The Hat (and Attempted Scarf)

So this was my first attempt ever at crocheting a hat. I just recently mastered the magic circle to start with and that opened up a whole new world of possibilities. I carefully selected my yarn (KnitPicks, Brava Bulky) and a pattern.

First of all, I absolutely love this yarn! I’m highly allergic to wool so I’ve been on an on-going quest to find a good acrylic or cotton yarn. This one is acrylic, incredibly soft, and the finished product is squishy and warm.

After finishing the pattern, I tried on the hat on, looked in the mirror and immediately burst out laughing. It was stretched tight and barely covered my head. I looked back at the pattern and realized that instead of using a herringbone half double-crochet, I just used a half double.

I decided to add a brim to the hat, which luckily solved the most pressing problem, namely that of the length. Now instead of looking like something Santa’s elves would wear on vacation, it resembles a hat that I would actually wear when it gets cold.

I started on a cowl using the remainder of the yarn (I was aiming to use one skein per project) and ended up frogging it entirely. I still like the pattern I was going to use, however I need to start with a shorter chain. Keep an eye out for the complete set in the future!