March 2016 Wrap-Up + April TBR

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A lot of really important things happened in March that went by really fast. I received my last college letters, I committed to where I’m going next year, (University of Illinois class of 2020!) and now I’m into the last quarter of my high school career. I’ll admit that now that I’ve gotten here it’s a little bit scary. I’m glad I now have a plan, and yet… My life is going to be changing in a lot of ways. I’m ready for it, but I also a little fearful. I think now is the time to try and savor my last two months of high school (as much as I can enjoy school 😁) and have some fun with my real life friends before we all separate.

I didn’t do pretty much any blog stuff over this month until spring break this last week, but you may notice that my blog looks a little different! I was getting a little tired of the old theme and I decided to switch things up. I hope you like it as much as I do!

What I’ve Been Reading:

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  • The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive #1) by Brandon Sanderson ☆ A slightly slow yet explosive start to a series that I now love. This is a 1000 page adult high fantasy book, which is not normally my style, but it’s also Sanderson, so… I was willing to really dive in and I knew I would like the flow of the writing and the world building. This is definitely a grittier and heavier book than many of the Sanderson novels I love, but also soooo necessary to understanding the whole story of his other high fantasy books as this series really dives into all the books’ interconnected universe. I had a few frustrations with this book: It was a huge book and therefore sometimes felt long, my favorite character(s) were sometimes absent as narrators so I would be waiting for them to come back, and one character who I now like annoyed me a lot in this first one. All in all though, the magic system is great and the plot is so nuanced I enjoyed it anyways.
  • Words of Radiance (The Stormlight Archive #2) by Brandon Sanderson ★ The parts of Way of Kings that I didn’t like were totally worth it to read just so I could get to Word of Radiance. No second book syndrome here, as this book moved much faster than the first. I enjoyed Words of Radiance considerably more than Way of Kings; partly because I had warmed up to the characters I didn’t connect to in the first book, partly because my two faves took center stage, partly because all the characters finalllllyyyy met each other and their story connected, and partly because it extended the universe and magic that had been already introduced and it was fantastic.
  • Enter Title Here by Rahul Kanakia  A solid NO from me. I recommend reading my goodreads review for my full thoughts. Mostly, the main character here went way belong the “dislikable” category and landed solidly in the “cruel and uncaring” category, with the book framing her behavior as okay and even admirable. The ending seemed to be trying for character development, but I didn’t see any changes at all.
  • The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins Not my cup of tea.
  • Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices #1) by Cassandra Clare ☆ Review!
  • Anna and the French Kiss by Stepanie Perkins ☆ This was really cute and lovely but I enjoyed the first half a bit more than the second half. I think the level of indecision just kind of got to me?? I can’t really pinpoint any sort of problem but there’s some sort of feeling there knocking it down to four stars. Stephanie Perkins’ writing is truly GREAT though. It flows so perfectly and makes her books so hard to put down.
  • The Winner’s Curse and The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski ★ These were rereads in preparation for the third book, and were JUST as good as the last time. This trilogy is so addictive I could barely stop reading it, even with the knowledge of everything that was going to happen. The writing is beautiful but also very flowing and easy to follow in a way that leaves me hanging on and wanting more. I love the world, and I love the characters, and I am both scared and excited to read The Winner’s Kiss in April.

Events

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I went to two book events this month: first was a stop on the Penguin Teen tour with Alison smallmarierutkoskiGoodman, Sabaa Tahir, Rachel Hawkins, April Genevive Tucholke, Alwyn Hamilton, and Karen Bao. I have yet to read books by most of these authors but they were all so great and the event was filled with people and was a lot of fun.

The second event I attended was one with Marie Rutkoski on her tour for The Winner’s Kiss, the final book in The Winner’s Trilogy. I loooove this series and after re-reading the first two books this week it was so cool to meet the author. She spoke about musicianship and the real-world inspirations for the fantasy world in the book and was super interesting.

Quote of the Month:

“All people are musicians … The question is whether or not they share their songs” – Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson

Music of the Month:

April TBR

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Not going super ambitious on the tbr this month because I am notoriously bad at sticking to them. (I always seem to get new ARCs I really want right after posting a tbr) Also, totally accidentally this group of books turned out very red, white, and blue…

How was your month? Did you read anything great?

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Review: The Winner’s Crime

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The Winner’s Curse (The Winner’s Trilogy #2) by Marie Rutkoski

Genre: YA Fantasy Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux Format: Format
Source: Bought Rating:  (4/5 Stars) Synopsis: 

The engagement of Lady Kestrel to Valoria’s crown prince means one celebration after another. But to Kestrel it means living in a cage of her own making. As the wedding approaches, she aches to tell Arin the truth about her engagement… if she could only trust him. Yet can she even trust herself? For—unknown to Arin—Kestrel is becoming a skilled practitioner of deceit: an anonymous spy passing information to Herran, and close to uncovering a shocking secret.

As Arin enlists dangerous allies in the struggle to keep his country’s freedom, he can’t fight the suspicion that Kestrel knows more than she shows. In the end, it might not be a dagger in the dark that cuts him open, but the truth. And when that happens, Kestrel and Arin learn just how much their crimes will cost them.

First things first: I enjoyed The Winner’s Curse more than it’s sequel. However, The Winner’s Crime was still very good and shared most of the best attributes of the first book.

For one, the world building in these books is great. Each warring culture is very fleshed out and unique and interesting, and the dynamics between them are both fascinating and horrible. This series has the amazing ability to make me at the same time understand and like characters of each country while disliking them as a whole.

Going off of that, all the characters are good, but the two point of view characters are really great. They are amazing and flawed and you can’t help but root for them both, even when they are working against each other.

Lastly, the writing in these books is really beautiful. The descriptions are rich but still to the point, and certain sentences can just rip your heart out. It’s just so good.

The Winner’s Curse and The Winner’s Crime are really great and you should read them, especially if you’re a fan of YA fantasy! I can’t wait until next March when the third book will be released.

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