All posts by opinionatedbookster

Review: Angelfall

angelfall

Author: Susan Ee | Pages: 283 | Series: Penryn & the End of Days, #1 | Rating: 4.5 stars

“Sometimes, as we’re stumbling along in the dark, we hit something good.”

Synopsis:

It’s been six weeks since angels of the apocalypse descended to demolish the modern world. Street gangs rule the day while fear and superstition rule the night. When warrior angels fly away with a helpless little girl, her seventeen-year-old sister, Penryn, will do anything to get her back.

Anything, including making a deal with an enemy angel.

Raffe is a warrior who lies broken and wingless on the street. After eons of fighting his own battles, he finds himself being rescued from a desperate situation by a half-starved teenage girl.

Traveling through a dark and twisted Northern California, they have only each other to rely on for survival. Together, they journey toward the angels’ stronghold in San Francisco where Penryn will risk everything to rescue her sister, and Raffe will put himself at the mercy of his greatest enemies for the chance to be made whole again.

Review:

I went into this book simultaneously excited and cautious. Countless people have urged me to start this series, and practically everyone I know who has read this book has raved about it. To make the daunting pressure even higher, I rarely like YA angel books. It isn’t for lack of interest – I love the concept, I just find that the majority of them are… lacking.

But this post isn’t about them; it’s about Angelfall. And I adored it.

There were so many things about this book that I loved. First of all, the characters. Not only is there a small collection of mental and physical challenges that I rarely find in YA (Penryn’s sister is in a wheelchair and her mother is a paranoid schizophrenic), they all felt real. It takes a special author to make their characters all feel as if they have a life, motivations, likes, and dislikes outside of the main story and/or conflict, but Ms. Ee pulls it off. And I really appreciated Penryn as a protagonist: she was kickass, yes, and more than capable of defending herself, but in the end she was still a seventeen-year-old girl, moreover one whose world had recently come crashing down around her, and who was just trying to keep it together for her family. I appreciated that.

Another thing I liked was the fact that the romance, while it existed, wasn’t insta-lovey and wasn’t the main focus for either Raffe or Penryn. They barely tolerated each other at first, but came together through shared experiences. Both of them had their own motivations, their own goals, and weren’t about to let the other distract them from that.

One thing I was also pleasantly surprised by was the atmosphere in Angelfall: It was dark and creepy and fast-paced and captivating. I liked the return to the more biblical angelic figures, the “harbingers of doom”, but some with very human desires and motivations, making for a somewhat chilling combination.

All in all, I really enjoyed this book and will be picking up the sequel, World After. I did dock a half star because there were a few little things here and there that bothered me a bit, but for the most part I’m hoping they’ll get explained in future books, so it’s nothing major. I would still highly recommend them, and I suppose I’m now in with the ravers.

Four_and_half

What about you? Have you read Angelfall and if you have, what were your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below!

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Liebster Award

liebster-award

As I mentioned in my last post, my goal is to slowly make my way back into the book blogging community after having kind of a rough time lately. So when I discovered that the amazing Connie over at Hoot Reads Books had nominated me for this award, I was not only incredibly flattered, I decided: what better way to get back into it all than with a tag?

Thank you so much, Connie!

The idea of the Liebster Award is to create a sort of chain of bloggers nominating other bloggers, allowing us to get to know and learn more about the others in this awesome community. The rules are:

  1. Thank and link the blogger who nominated you
  2. Answer their 11 questions
  3. Nominate 11 bloggers who have less then 200 followers and link them
  4. Have your nominees answer your 11 questions
  5. Notify nominees through social media

So here are the questions asked by Hoot Reads Books:

If you had to choose two authors to write a book together, who would they be?

Ooh, this is difficult! Would Laini Taylor and Maggie Stiefvater work together? I feel like if they would, they’d come up with something utterly unique and special.

Who is your favorite book couple?

For those of you who know me, this probably sounds repetitive, but I’m going to have to go with Magnus and Alec from Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series. I have so many feels for those two.

If you wanted to date a book character who would it be?

This is another somewhat difficult one, because despite the fact that I love a lot of different characters, I’m not sure that there are many of them I’d get along with enough to date in real life. Good friends, perhaps, but not to date. I guess for this one I’ll go with Levi from Fangirl, by Rainbow Rowell. Levi is great.

What is your favorite dessert?

Strawberry anything, but especially cheesecake. Yum!

Which fantasy world would you like to visit?

O.o Have we been reading the same fantasy books? I’d get killed in a second if I went to most of them. If I had to choose, I guess I’d pick Middle Earth. I could go live with the hobbits. We’re all short and enjoy food and fun, so we’d get along.

What is your favorite place to travel?

Admittedly, I haven’t traveled to many places outside the continental US, but I got the chance to go to Italy for a week a couple of years ago and it was amazing. So beautiful, and so much incredible history. I’d go back in a heartbeat.

If you had a million dollars, what would you do with it?

Buy a horse and some land, then purchase some of the many books I really want but can’t currently afford, and then take a trip around Europe. Probably also put a good bit away into some sort of savings fund. Anything left would go to charities.

Is there a book convention that you have never been to but you would like to go to one day?

Not particularly. There are a lot of book conventions that seem interesting and fun, but I haven’t really had the chance to look into them.

If you were stuck in a desert island what are 5 things that you would take with you?

Something that would enable me to make the sea water drinkable, duct tape, matches, a tent, and a book entitled How to Survive on a Deserted Island. Probably. Maybe one entitled How to Build a Raft instead.

If you were making a book time capsule that is to be open 20 years from now, what books would you put in?

Maybe this is cheating a little, but I’d probably put my sketchbooks inside. I think it would be fascinating to look back twenty years from now and see what I was drawing today. I tend to draw what’s going on in my life at the time and things relating to my favorite things at any one time, so it would give me reminders about what I enjoy now.

Choose 5 books that you cannot absolutely live without.

Oh, wow. There are so many books I love that it’s hard to choose only five! Let’s see…

  • Harry Potter, of course. We all know who these are by. As it was for so many, I grew up with this series and these characters.
  • The Shadowhunter Chronicles books, by Cassandra Clare. I have a lot of memories surrounding these books.
  • The Percy Jackson books, by Rick Riordan
  • Fangirl, by Rainbow Rowell. I relate to this book so much.

Aaaannndd… we’re actually going to leave it at four. After that, trying to choose that last book opens up a whole new can of worms.

I nominate the following blogs for the Liebster Award:

Write. Eat. Read. Repeat.

Can’t Stop Won’t Stop Books

My Café Au Livre

You Can Read Me Anything

The Random Book Blogger

Book Reviews & Stuff

Here are my 11 questions:

  1. What’s your favorite hobby/pastime other than reading?
  2. Do you have any siblings?
  3. What’s your favorite fairytale?
  4. Which fictional character would you most like to meet?
  5. What is your favorite book of the year so far?
  6. List the top three things on your bucket list.
  7. Do you listen to a lot of music? If so, do you have a favorite genre?
  8. What genre of book do you find yourself reading the most of?
  9. What’s your favorite food?
  10. Do you prefer physical books, audio books, or e-books?
  11. Which new/upcoming book release are you most looking forward to?

Apologies and Explanations

Hi, guys! I know it’s been a super long time since I’ve posted anything on here, and that’s because it’s unfortunately been a few months since I’ve been on here at all. I won’t go too much into it, but you all deserve an explanation, so here’s the short story: I have severe anxiety and depression and they got especially bad for a while. That, combined with a number of other things going on in my life, have made it hard to find time and/or the motivation to really do much reading and reviewing.

Thankfully, things seem to be clearing up for the moment, so I’m going to try to work my way back into everything. One note that I would like to make is to anyone who’s offered me books to review: I am still planning on reading and reviewing those books, hopefully very soon. I apologize profusely if it has not been done yet.

I would just like to say that I appreciate you all so very much, and it’s good to be back. 🙂

January 2015 | WRAP UP

Well, guys, we’ve made it. Welcome to 2015, I hope you all have a great year and may you remember to put the correct date on your documents.

My goal this year is to read 75 books, and I managed to make a pretty decent dent in that this last month since in January I read a total of 11 books and most of them I really enjoyed. So over all I’d say I had a pretty successful month 🙂

athousandpieces

1.  A Thousand Pieces of You, by Claudia Gray

For my first read of the New Year, this book didn’t disappoint. Fast and fun. Some of the characters bothered me a bit, especially Theo, but a lot of that got explained so I don’t mind as much as I might have otherwise. And while some of the bigger plot ‘twists’ I suspected from early on, there were a number of smaller ones that I didn’t. Overall, I found Gray’s writing to be engaging and the world (or I guess the alternate dimensions) was/were fantastic.

4 stars.

attachments

2. Attachments, by Rainbow Rowell

I actually read this as ‘A book you started but never finished’ towards the 2015 Reading Challenge. I first tried to read Attachments when I first purchased it last year, but it had the misfortune of arriving at the same time as a lot of new releases, and as such it got cast aside.

Unfortunately, while I really wanted to love this book, it just didn’t live up to the hype. It was good, don’t get me wrong (Rainbow Rowell has yet to write anything I don’t like), but I guess I was just expecting more from it. I liked the characters, but didn’t love them, and it was pretty much like that for the rest of the book as well.

I gave this book 3 stars.

writteninred murderofcrows

3. & 4. Written in Red and Murder of Crows, by Anne Bishop

I have a full review which can be found, as always, by clicking on the picture of Written in Red, but just know I loved these books! Perhaps it was because they ended up being so much more than I was expecting, but whatever it was it was great.

5 stars.

neverfadeintheafterlight

5. & 6. Never Fade and In the Afterlight, by Alexandra Bracken

Alexandra Bracken strikes again. Never Fade was a re-read for me, and just as good the second time around. In the Afterlight was actually a new read, and in true Alexandra Bracken style did not disappoint. It was great seeing Ruby and Liam and the rest of the crew again.

Full reviews for each of these books can be found by clicking on their respective covers above.

4.5 stars each.

ultimatehitchhikersguide

7. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams

I went into this book knowing that I was going to love it, and in the end I think that’s what let me down the most. It was comedic and I understood the political and social commentary but something about the story just made it hard for me to connect to. Despite this, I still enjoyed it and will eventually pick up the next book in the series.

I gave this book 3 stars.

dorothymustdie

8. Dorothy Must Die, by Danielle Paige

Full review can be found by clicking on the cover.

3 stars.

unbecomingevolution

9. & 10. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer and The Evolution of Mara Dyer, by Michelle Hodkin

I’m hoping to get up a full review for these soon so I won’t say too much, but I did enjoy them. I had my issues with Mara, but Noah more than made up for them.

The first book earned 4 stars, the second 4.5.

uglylove

11. Ugly Love, by Colleen Hoover

Ugly Love was my first Colleen Hoover book and I have to say, she’s one of the few authors that’s legitimately made me cry. Not to say I didn’t have any issues with the book, because I definitely did, but it was beautiful anyway.

4 stars.

So what books did you read in January?

Initial Thoughts: In the Afterlight

intheafterlight

Author: Alexandra Bracken | Pages: 535 | Series: Darkest Minds Trilogy, #3 | Rating: 5 stars

So with this being the last book in a series I don’t want to give a synopsis around this little bit here to risk spoiling anyone who hasn’t read the rest of the series yet, so I decided to try something different this time and just give you my notes I wrote when I finished In the Afterlight,rather than give a full review. I tend to type up or write a little after I’m finished with each book in order to give me something to look back on when I write up the review, so I thought I’d let you take a look at one just to give you an idea of how my mind works when I’m haven’t had time to compile my thoughts. Or compose them, even. Everything below the cut is literally copy-and-pasted from my notes. I figure this could be fun, or it could be a complete disaster. We’ll see!

Oh, and if you couldn’t already tell, there will be A LOT OF SPOILERS UNDER THE CUT. Please don’t read any further if you haven’t read the last book and/or don’t want to be spoiled on some of the events in the Darkest Minds series. Also, there will be a small bit of language so if you don’t like cursing, you might also not want to read it.

Okay, moving on!

EDIT: THIS IS THE CUT, BECAUSE THE READ-MORE TAG ISN’T WORKING RIGHT NOW, at least not on my screen. So, if you don’t want spoilers, please don’t read past here.

Continue reading Initial Thoughts: In the Afterlight

Review: Dorothy Must Die

dorothymustdie

Author: Danielle Paige | Pages: 452 | Series: Dorothy Must Die, #1 | Rating: 3.5 stars

I didn’t ask for any of this. I didn’t ask to be some kind of hero.

But when your whole life gets swept up by a tornado – taking you with it – you have no choice but to go along, you know?

Sure, I’ve read the books. I’ve seen the movies. I know the song about the rainbow and the happy little bluebirds. But I never expected Oz to look like this. To be a place where Good Witches can’t be trusted, Wicked Witches may just be the good guys, and winged monkeys can be executed for acts of rebellion. There’s still a yellow brick road – but even that’s crumbling.

What happened? Dorothy.

They say she found a way to come back to Oz. They say she seized power and the power went to her head. And now no one is safe.

My name is Amy Gumm – and I’m the other girl from Kansas.

I’ve been recruited by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked.

I’ve been trained to fight.

And I have a mission.

I actually thought this book started off really nicely. It had an almost contemporary feel to the first couple of chapters, and I must say, if Danielle Paige ever decides to write a contemporary, I want to read it.

And, for the most part, I still enjoyed the rest of the book. The plot moved along nicely, the story kept me engaged, and I liked the characters okay. For a little bit I thought she might try to throw in an unnecessary love triangle and while that isn’t technically out of the question, it was made less likely by one of the reveals at the end of the book (but oh, would I have fun if Amy did choose the gardener at the end of the series… :))

Still, it felt like something was missing I guess. More than once I wondered why exactly Danielle Paige was introducing us to a character, because within a couple of pages or a couple of chapters, they’d disappear. Occasionally it felt as if she’d kill off characters just to say she had. And although I liked most of the characters, I didn’t really connect to or love any of them.

But overall it was an entertaining read, and a fun time.

Three_and_half

Books I Most Want to Read in 2015

While looking through my feed lately, I noticed that DiscoRF had posted a list of the books that they most wanted to get to this year, and it got me thinking. I have enough unread books on my shelves that even if there were no new books released this year and I didn’t purchase any other books, I’m still not sure I could get through all of them. Never mind that I also greatly love re-reading my favorites.

So I looked at my shelves and decided to follow in DiscoRF’s footsteps and compile a ‘2015 TBR’ of sorts, as seen below. There’s no guarantee I’ll get to all of these, or even most of them, but these are the books that I own that, at the moment, I most want to read.

Series (First 4 are continuing series, last 6 are starting series):outlander

  • Cress, by Marissa Meyer
  • Prodigy, by Marie Lu
  • The House of Hades, by Rick Riordan
  • Dreams of Gods and Monsters, by Laini Taylor
  • The Bronze Horseman, by Paullina Simons
  • The Raven Boys, by Maggie Stiefvater
  • Throne of Glass, by Sarah J. Maas
  • Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon
  • Shadow & Bone, by Leigh Bardugo
  • Angelfall, by Susan Ee

Standalones:

  • Maybe Someday, by Colleen Hoover
  • Eleanor & Park, by Rainbow Rowell
  • The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Vicious, by V.E. Schwab
  • Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline
  • The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman
  • The Woman in White, by Wilkie Collins
  • Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen

Re-reads: rpo

  • The Harry Potter Series, by J.K. Rowling
  • Fangirl, by Rainbow Rowell
  • The Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, by Rick Riordan

Many of these I’m sure have some of you in disbelief at my not having read, and I’m really hoping I can get to a lot of them this year! (My goal is to read 75 books, so you’d think this would be do-able, but we all know what happens to the best-laid plans…)

Which of these do you think I should read first? What books are you really hoping to get to in 2015? Let me know in the comments!