Top 5 Wednesday: Books You’ve Read Because of Social Media

Hey beautiful people, welcome to another Top 5 Wednesday as hosted by the lovely Sam @ Thoughts on Tomes. I always love talking about this kind of topic because 98% of what I read and buy is from seeing people haul them or recommend them on some form of social media. Here’s the topic:

September 27th: Books You’ve Read Because of Booktube/Blogging/etc. 
–Discuss the books you’ve picked up because you’ve heard of them in the online book community or platform you use.

I’m pretty sure we can all say at least five books that we’ve read because of people we watch/follow on YouTube, a blog, twitter, etc., so here are my picks for books (novels) and comics (because this is my blog and I do what I want).

Books

adsom

5. A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Considering I just finished and reviewed this, this book is definitely on my mind. This was a hugely hyped book when it first came out, and subsequently the sequels were also super hyped, and I’ve gotta say: I get it now. It was such a great, fast-paced read, and I’m very excited to read the next two books soon. I don’t know exactly who I would’ve seen recommend this, but I know a lot of people did.

daughterofsmokeandbone

4. Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor

I remember watch Kat @ Katytastic one day (or several days) and how in a lot of videos she would talk about this book series. Well, I read it, fell in love with it, and this trilogy is in one of the top five spots of favorite series ever. So yeah, I’m super glad that I found this series when I did through Kat.

annaandthefrenchkiss

3. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

EVERYONE AND THEIR MOTHER WAS RECOMMENDING THIS BOOK AT ONE POINT. Actually, the whole companion trilogy was being recommended because they were such cute romance YA novels that everyone was reading and loving and so I had to jump on board. And I agree: very cute. I still haven’t read the other two, but I’ll get there eventually.

myheartandotherblackholes

2. My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga

I remember Jesse @ Jessethereader talking about this book in several of his videos, and when I watched his review I knew that I would really like it. The subject matter is intense (trigger warning for suicide and depression), but those are also topics that are just near to my heart. I remember enjoying the read, though it was a tough one for me to get through emotionally.

shadowandbones

1. Shadow & Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Okay, I’m pretty sure I saw a huge rise in this book series everywhere, but I definitely think I picked up this series finally after watching Sam @ Thoughts on Tomes recommend it all the time. It’s one of her favorite series and as I’ve read the first two books in the trilogy, I’ve gotta say that I’m hooked (and love Nikolai <3). It’s a beautiful world with lots of danger and I love it.


Comics

youjin

5. You Jin by Fujoking

I spend a lot of time on Instagram (like… way too much time lol) and this popped up in the explore section several times when I was just browsing photos. So when I read it (not on Lezhin’s website), I really enjoyed it. It’s a boy’s love (BL) story and though I can’t really remember everything that happened I do remember that I read it all and liked it and wanted a bit more.

ratqueen1

4. Rat Queens by Kurtis Wiebe

This was probably one of the comics I picked up when a lot of people on YouTube were reading it and recommending it. It wasn’t necessarily my cup on tea from what I remember, but it wasn’t bad either.

royalservant

3. Royal Servant by Master Gin

This was another one of those reads that popped up a lot on Instagram and so when I read it (again, not on Lezhin until later chapters when I actually discovered Lezhin), I was hooked. The content can be sensitive sometimes, but the plot is getting better the farther along it goes and I’m actually really invested in it now.

sirenslament

2. Siren’s Lament by quimchee

This one wasn’t actually recommended to me via social media (but Rayna, this T5W is about–) SHH, I KNOW! It was actually recommend to me in person by my best friend, and since reading it I’ve been reading it faithfully every week since (or when there’s a new update because sometimes authors have to take breaks, too, you know?). It’s a really cute and beautiful series. (Not all cute, some of it is funny or intense or mysterious.)

sagavol1

1. Saga by Brian K. Vaughan

Okay, this comic was recommended everywhere on YouTube and it’s actually one of my favorite comic series I’ve read. It’s very intense and violent and sexually explicit, but it’s still a good story. Also, I’ve owned the 7th volume for months now and haven’t read it yet. Like… what am I doing with my life?


I could go on and on about books and comics I’ve read because of social media, but these are the first five that came to mind. Honestly, would I even have read any of these books without being a blogger and being on social media as much as I am? Probably not. I’m so thankful for the ones I have read and so glad others like them as well.

Honorary Mentions

shatterme redqueen fallingkingdoms darkfever

 

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Siege & Storm Book Review

siegeandstormTitle: Siege & Storm
Series: Shadow & Bone #2
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Publisher: Henry, Holt, & Co.
Publication Date: June 4, 2013
Genre: Young Adult – Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 432
Format: Purchased Paperback

Darkness never dies.

Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land, all while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. But she can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.

The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her–or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.

As this is a sequel there may be spoilers.

This was a solid sequel filled with so much action, character development, romance, snarky responses, hope, creepiness, and darkness.

I wasn’t expecting a lot of the twists and turns that happened at the beginning of the book, as well as at the ending. I thought that the way the plot progressed I would’ve been able to see more foreshadowing, but a lot of it was a surprise to me, which I enjoyed. I thought that the action sequence at the beginning with the Darkling and Alina, Mal, and Sturmhond’s crew were all very tense, but at the same time curious because there was something about what was happening that had me questioning the motives of several people. Then it progressed into an escape, political calculations, angst, and more unhappy darkness in the end. Honestly, I enjoyed this book more than the first.

Alina, I felt, is starting to really grow more as a character and she’s really trying her best to hone her skills as the Sun Summoner, to not let her powers or her amplifiers control her. I find it interesting how she has those glimpses of darkness within her and only at the end does she realize that it’s because part of the Darkling became a part of her when he claimed her with Morozova’s stag antlers. I wished she had spoken her mind more, had made more mistakes, more slips when in the political settings because I felt she was becoming a very bland person in those situations. And outside of those situations, she still didn’t seem to know what to do, but I think she just had a better understanding of where she belonged in that moment.

Mal was kind of a little overprotective in this book, in my opinion, but I could understand and see where he was coming from in those situations. He was frustrated at the situations, frustrated that he doesn’t understand Alina and what she desires, but also he feels trapped like an animal. I have a feeling about him that maybe he has hidden Grisha powers (no spoilers, please!), but I’m not entirely sure. I didn’t appreciate when he pulled himself so far away from Alina and just went in a small downward spiral. He had a lot of control up to that point, and I understand that their relationship got complicated, but I don’t know why he didn’t try to talk it out with her (and vice versa).

Can we just talk about Nikolai because he’s my new favorite and I need him in my life and I’m adding him to my Book Boyfriend List. He has many masks that he wears, different personas for different moments of time, so you never really know if he’s being sincere or not, but every time he’d joke or say something snarky I couldn’t help but laugh aloud. I personally much preferred seeing him as a Privateer, but as a Prince he was also very much in control of the situations around him and I think that was definitely a strong point for him. I just need more of him, that’s all.

The Darkling… Oh man, he got all kinds of dark and creepy in this book. New powers unfolded from him and his obsession with Alina and power just keeps growing. I can’t tell if he actually cares for her or just wants her power, but dang. He’s kind of scary. There actually wasn’t as much of him in this novel as the last one, which was fine, but it does make me wonder just what he was doing to prepare himself for when he’d return for Alina.

The romance in this book was much more apparent and actually I wished it had developed a different way, but that’s only because I was upset that years of friendship and trust could be so easily broken because of misplaced words and hurt feelings and egos. But the small bits of it that were in there were well placed and I think that we’ll see a bit more in the next book.

The action sequences and the descriptions of the creatures in the book were amazing. I think these were some of the strongest points of the novel because they were all very vivid and fast paced. I loved thinking up the world in my mind, about Sturmhond’s flying ship, about the lands and everything in between. I think that there’s some sort of dark secret behind the creatures that live in the Fold and I hope to learn more about it in the final book.

I definitely enjoyed this book more than the first and I feel that the plot is only going to thicken more now that Alina and the others are in the situation that they’re in now.

I rated this book 4/5 stars and I highly recommend it if you’ve read the first book in this trilogy.

Shadow and Bone Book Review

shadowandbonesTitle: Shadow and Bone
Series: Grisha Trilogy #1
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Publisher: Square Fish
Publication Date: June 5, 2012
Genre: Young Adult – Fantasy
Pages: 372
Format: Purchased Paperback

Alina Starkov doesn’t expect much from life. Orphaned by the Border Wars, she is sure of only one thing: her best friend, Mal–and her inconvenient crush on him. Until the day their army regiment enters the Fold, a swath of unnatural darkness crawling with monsters. When their convoy is attacked and Mal is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power not even she knew existed.

Ripped from everything she knows, Alina is taken to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling. With Alina’s extraordinary power in his arsenal, he believes they can finally destory the Fold. Now Alina must find a way to master her untamed gift and somehow fit into her new life without Mal by her side. But nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. As the threat to the kingdom mounts and her dangerous attraction to the Darkling grows, Alina will uncover a secret that could tear her heart–and her country–in two.

This story was fast-paced, stunning, and very addicting.

Of course I had heard about the hype surrounding the Grisha trilogy for a while now. There are many, many people who are rabid fans for it and I think I understand the hype now. It was so gripping and the writing was easy to read, full of fascinating world details, beautiful names, interesting magic, and characters that were… well, they were interesting.

Alina Starkov is an orphaned girl who grew up in an orphanage where she felt lonely a lot of the time and where she didn’t really know who she was. I thought that she was a good character and was trying to figure out her place in the world, but she didn’t stand out to me. She dealt with a lot of problems of being forced into a world that she never thought she had any business in and she adjusted to it pretty quickly (well, a few months time, but still), and there were, of course, some hiccups and revelations along the way. I’m more interested to see what will happen with her in the next book because I felt like she had a lot of potential in this one and it just wasn’t quite reached. Like, she was there, but not quite. Her power was interesting and developing and I wanted to see more of that development and how she felt about it. I was very impressed with her and being able to reclaim herself in the end over the Darkling’s powers because, oh man, let’s talk about him next.

The Darkling is a mysterious figure who’s ability is to create darkness. I was wary of him in the beginning because I thought he couldn’t be trusted, and then when he was trying to gain Alina’s trust as time went on, and the kiss? I was skeptical of him after that. I’m all for romance, but that felt rushed and out of place even for me. And then we learn a bit more about him from Baghra and I’m like, “I KNEW IT!” I’m not sure where he truly stands, if what he’s thinking and doing are truly to bring Ravka peace, but I do like the line, “Make me your villain.” Because it’s true. He’s probably the most interesting character in that regard because I want to know more about his side of the story from him.

Mal grew up with Alina as an orphan, and he grew into a very good looking young man with a cocky attitude. He ends up in the First Army as their best tracker, able to “find a rabbit out of a rock,” and he is probably my favorite. He wasn’t overly complex or anything, but he touched a place in my heart and I’m rooting for him in more ways than one. As a human, he doesn’t have any powers, but I like that he uses his smarts and instincts a lot more than the Grisha do and I’m interested to see where it’ll lead them in the next book.

There were other side characters, such as Genya, whom I really liked and I thought had many sides to her. She understood court politics and I think was really becoming a friend to Alina. And then there was Baghra and I wasn’t sure what to make of her and, frankly, I’m still unsure. The Apparat is a very mysterious character and I’m wondering what he’ll do or be in the next books.

The biggest downside I had with this book was the pacing. I felt the pacing was really off, for some reason, like it was all being very rushed. I felt like I didn’t get enough time with Alina, that I didn’t get to see enough of her explore her powers, explore herself, and explore the world. I wanted more, and I felt that the pacing resulted in there not being enough to really grasp in regards to that.

And, like I said, I felt that all of the characters didn’t reach their full potential that I was so hoping for in this novel. I felt like they were so close – just a sentence or two away from really doing something amazing – but I felt like I didn’t see it. Not to say that I didn’t love the characters, because I do, but I just wanted more.

The other thing was I felt like the first half of the story wasn’t as memorable as the second half. I mean, it was still good and it obviously built up to what the rest of the plot lead to in the story, but I just haven’t grasped it fully like I have the second half.

I think the strongest element this story had going for it was the world. The world building was absolutely phenomenal and I loved it. From the vast lands, the magic, the cities, the Fold, everything was well thought out and described. It was very richly detailed and very easy to picture. I also like the map and referencing back to it because there was a lot of traveling going on, so it was nice to see just where cities and locations were.

Overall, I really enjoyed this first book. Though I had a few minor problems with it, it was still highly enjoyable and addictive and I can’t wait to read the next book.

I rate this 4/5 stars and recommend it!

September 2014 Book Haul

I have a book buying problem. Thanks Booktube.

No, but really, I’ve heard a lot of great things about all the books I bought and can’t wait to read them all. I have seven books in this haul, so it’s not a huge haul, but it’s still something!

Here are the books I got:

  • Sabriel and Lirael by Garth Nix. These two books are companion novels in the Abhorsen series and do not have to be read in the order in which they were published, but Sabriel does make an appearance in Lirael, so maybe you should read them in order… Anyway, Sarbriel is about a girl with magical powers who can use bells as her weapons. Each bell holds its own power, including bringing others back from the dead. Sounds interesting, right? And Lirael is about a girl who has to become a guardian in the magical library, but this is a very dangerous task and only the most skilled people can work there due to the dangers that lurk behind the shelves.
  • Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo. This is the first book in the Grisha trilogy and it’s about a girl named Alina who was orphaned at a young age and then taken to the royal courts to become part of the Grisha – the magical elite. There is action, romance, and mystery within this book, and I am very intrigued by it.
  • Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis. This is a story about survival in a world where the water has been tainted and only very few sources are left clean. A girl named Lynn lives next to one of these sources and guards it against any who might come looking to steal some to drink. Sounds like a realistic type of dystopian that could happen in the future, so I’m curious to see what happens in it.
  • The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas. One, the cover is gorgeous. Two, this book is about a girl named Ioanthe who has some of the greatest magic in the world (or so she’s told) and she is sent on a quest to defeat the Bane, and to go with her is Prince Titus, who does end up falling for the girl. It’s a fantasy novel mixed with romance, so what’s not to love?
  • A Dance with Dragons by George R. R. Martin. This is the fifth book in the Song of Ice and Fire series, and I got it to complete my collection of the series thus far. I have only read part of book one, and haven’t seen the show yet, but I do plan on either marathoning it or taking my time through it because these books are massive, but really well written. No, I don’t know what the fifth book is entirely about, so please don’t tell me!
  • Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. This book has been on the high side of the praise line lately and has since been turned into a TV series on Starz. It’s about a woman named Claire who is a former combat nurse in World War II, and during her second honeymoon with her husband she is somehow transported back in time to Scotland during another war in 1743. She has to learn the culture and save her own skin, all the while having her heart torn between her love for her husband and the Scots warrior whom steals her heart. It sounds very intriguing and beautiful, and I can’t wait to read it and watch the show (eventually).

That’s all I have for my book haul, but all of these books sound fantastic. I have a good feeling about all of these books and can’t wait to dive in. In the meantime, I’m going to be finishing what’s out in the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J Maas before starting a new one. If you have any suggestions as to what I should read next, let me know! But I might start one of my “scarier” books for the month of October.

Accompanying video: September 2014 Book Haul