Top 5 Wednesday: 2nd Book Was the Best

top-5-wednesday

T5W is a weekly meme created by Lainey from gingerreadslainey, now hosted by Sam from ThoughtsOnTomes. You can check out the goodreads group to learn more.

 

August 9th: Second Book is Best
–We’ve talked about series that went downhill, and series that are worth it, but which series were best in the middle?

 

Ugh, I almost didn’t even do this topic because I couldn’t think of any books. I’m not 100% sure I’m happy with my choices, but oh well. In no particular order…


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Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo– Ok, I gave both books in this duology 5/5 stars, but I think I enjoyed Crooked Kingdom just a tiny bit more. (My review of both books here)

 

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Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins– I read this trilogy ages ago, so I actually don’t remember too much about each book, but I do remember not totally loving Mockingjay, and on goodreads I said I liked this better than The Hunger Games, so…

 

 

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New Moon by Stephenie Meyers– A friend convinced me to read the Twilight Saga and I never understood the appeal. I pretty much hated everything about the whole series (sorry, fans!), but I gave this one 2/5 stars instead of 1/5 stars like the rest. (Actually, I think The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner was the best book related to this series.)

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Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater– I think I gave this entire series 5/5 stars, but this one was my actual favorite. I loved it, and if I could only re-read one book in the series, I’d pick this one.

 

 

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Season 8 (vol. 2): No Future for You
by Brian K. Vaughan & Joss Whedon (illustrated by Georges Jeanty & Cliff Richards)– Ok, this one might be cheating because I stopped reading this series after volume 2. I just wasn’t loving it, and I heard really bad things about later volumes. But, I liked this one more than volume 1, so here we are.

 


Are there any middle books you liked best?

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March Wrap Up

march wrap up

Wow, I can’t believe it’s spring, March is over, and I read 15 books in March! I’m sure that’s nothing for a lot of people, but it’s awesome for me. I was in a slump for basically two years and reading 5 books was a miracle during that time, so I’m glad to be back to what used to be normal for me.


 

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo was fantastic and I have no words, so here’s my review on it and Six of Crows. (I’m still screaming in my head about those two!) Obvious 5/5 stars ❤

Then I read A Gathering of Shadows and A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab were also both obvious 5/5 star reads and I can’t believe the Shades of Magic series is over, holy crap. I’m not ok, because these books destroyed me and I love them.

the princess saves herself in this one by Amanda Lovelace was kind of a re-read, sort of, because I read the self-published edition last year. But, this version is expanded by like 40 poems, so it was only partially a re-read. Here’s my review for the first edition. This one is still a 5/5 star book ❤

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A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas was a mediocre at best read for me. I gave it 2/5 stars and you can check out my review here.

 

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The Chaos of Longing by K.Y. Robinson was a beautiful, heart-wrenching collection of poetry that was equally difficult to read and inspiring. I’ll be reviewing it later this month for National Poetry Month, but I gave it 5/5 stars.

Dirty Pretty Things by Michael Faudet was another poetry collection I read last month, and I very much enjoyed it. I gave it 4/5 stars and I’m looking forward to picking up his other book ASAP.

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The Dogs I Have Kissed by Trista Mateer wasn’t what I expected, but I still enjoyed this poetry book. I gave it 3.5/5 stars, rounded up to 4 stars. I’m also looking forward to reading more of Trista’s work soon.

 

Broken Flowers by Robert M. Drake was probably my least favorite of the poetry books I read last month. It was good, but I don’t think it was really for me. I gave it 3/5 stars and I’ll definitely be checking out some of his other books.

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The Romance Reader’s Guide to Life by Sharon Pywell was so good, and it just released today! Check out my review here, but I gave this one 4/5 stars.

 

Cinder by Marissa Meyer has been on my TBR for so long, and I hate that I didn’t love it as much as everyone else. I gave it 3/5 stars and reviewed it, if you want to know what I rated it lower.

Suicide Squad vol. 1: Kicked in the Teeth by Adam Glass did not impress me. I gave it 2/5 stars and I’m not sure if I’ll read more.

Blood Promise and Spirit Bound by Richelle Mead are books 4 and 5 of the Vampire Academy series, which I kind of love at this point. I gave them 4/5 stars and 5/5 stars respectively.

Paper Girls vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughan was so freaking weird and I loved it! I actually knew almost nothing about this one before I read it, so it was a bit of a shock, but a good one. I can’t wait to pick up volume 2 ASAP, and I gave this one 4.5/5 stars.

Mar wrap up


For the #RockMyTBR Challenge, I met my goal (reading at least one book that’s been on my shelf or Kindle for 1+ year) with Cinder and The Dogs I Have Kissed off.

I’ve passed my goal of reading 12 books this year, and I’m now up to 26, whoo! (More on why my goal was so low in my New Year’s Resolution Book Tag post.)

I also have a massive haul I might post about, combining February and March. It’s been a not bad time for books, and I’m so glad because that massive slump was killing me.


How was your March? Did you meet any goals, or read anything particularly awesome?

T5W: Favorite Angsty Romances

top-5-wednesday

T5W is a weekly meme created by Lainey from gingerreadslainey, now hosted by Sam from ThoughtsOnTomes. You can check out the goodreads group to learn more.

 

March 22nd- Favorite Angsty Romances
–This topic has been much requested! Talk about your favorite ships that have a healthy side of angst. (definition: adj.: describes a situation or literary piece which contains dark, depressing, angry, and/or brooding emotions from the participating characters.)

 

This might be the most difficult T5W topic I’ve done. I just…don’t love a lot of popular angsty romances (whether they’re romance books, or some other genre with an angsty romance in it), so I’ve been looking through my read books all month trying to find good picks that A) were angsty, and B) I actually liked. I’m still not 100% sure these all count, but here we go, in no particular order…


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Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte– Ok, this one I really liked. Jane Eyre is one of my favorite books, and definitely one of my favorite classics, but the romance between Jane and Mr. Rochester was just so…well, angsty. I love it though.

 

 

 

 

 

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Easy by Tammara Webber– I read this a few years ago and liked it, but I’m not sure how I would feel about it now. I do remember it was an emotional roller-coaster of a book, though, and stuck with me for a while after I read it. I reviewed it on my tumblr if you’re curious. (I think this was angsty…)

 

 

 

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Unteachable by Leah Raeder/Elliot Wake– (AKA “The ship I loved to hate to ship”) So. Much. Angst. This was not an easy, fluffy, fun book, but I read it in about a day and a half because I couldn’t put it down.

 

 

 

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Clockwork Prince (actually, all of The Infernal Devices) by Cassandra Clare– (AKA “Which ship should I ship?”) I hated Clockwork Angel, but I liked the other two books in this trilogy, so I’m using Clockwork Prince. I don’t even know what else to say about it :/

 

 

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Six of Crows (and Crooked Kingdom) by Leigh Bardugo– Uuugh, my children. I’m not talking about who this is about so I don’t spoil anything, but if you’ve read both books, you know (and you probably know if you’ve only read the first).

 

 


Do you have any favorite angsty romances?

Book(s) Review: Six of Crows duology by Leigh Bardugo

Genres: fantasy; YA

Why I read it: I have a bit of an obsession with Leigh Bardugo’s writing. I think she writes awesome characters, her world-building is fantastic, and she knows how to keep you guessing about what’s going to happen.

Who I’d recommend it them to: If you liked the Grisha trilogy, you’ll probably like this, maybe even more. I think fans of V.E. Schwab might enjoy these, and anyone who likes well-written fantasy and a fast paced plot.

My rating: ★ ★ ★ ★  (each)

Six of Crows: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble
Crooked Kingdom: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble


What Six of Crows is about:

Criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker has been offered wealth beyond his wildest dreams. But to claim it, he’ll have to pull off a seemingly impossible heist:

Break into the notorious Ice Court
(a military stronghold that has never been breached)

Retrieve a hostage
(who could unleash magical havoc on the world)

Survive long enough to collect his reward
(and spend it)

Kaz needs a crew desperate enough to take on this suicide mission and dangerous enough to get the job done – and he knows exactly who: six of the deadliest outcasts the city has to offer. Together, they just might be unstoppable – if they don’t kill each other first.


Review:

I’m not giving a description for Crooked Kingdom because ~spoilers,~ but there are no significant time lapses or anything. I think the second book picks up a couple of days after the end of the first. (I don’t know why I decided to review these together, but if I searched my soul, the answer would probably be: because I’m lazy.)

I have never been a big fan of multi-POV stories, but Leigh Bardugo does it so well. The books are both told from the alternating perspectives of each of the six members of this strange group. Each character was so freaking different! I loved that. I loved that I could keep track of who we were focusing on just by the way the language and stuff shifted. Their interactions were so believable, too. There were arguments and clashes of will, sweet moments between friends, struggles with inner demons and taking it on those around them, and there really wasn’t much of the blind loyalty I’ve seen in other books. The others followed Kaz because they knew what he was capable of, and he’d earned their trust to get them through things.

Most people seem to agree that you can read this without reading the Grisha trilogy first, but I think it would be really helpful if you did. I mostly knew what everything meant, and had a vague idea of the layout of this world, but even though I just finished the Grisha trilogy last year, the details were fuzzy and slow to come back. I think you absolutely could read this duology first, but I’d recommend reading the Grisha books to get acquainted with the Grisha orders and stuff. (And there’s kind of a Grisha spoiler in Crooked Kingdom.)

While it took me almost two weeks to read these, it wasn’t the fault of the books. I started Six of Crows and then got caught up in other things for almost a week, so I ended up reading most of both books in about a week. When I sat down and finally had the time to read, I felt like my eyes wouldn’t move fast enough and I had to tear myself away to eat and sleep. I was flying through them, desperate to know what was going to happen next, how they’d get themselves out of trouble, worrying someone was dead, and by the end, I had several new fictional children. I don’t think I could choose a favorite character, though.

Crooked Kingdom picked up pretty much right where we left off, and never really slowed down. It was just off, full-speed ahead, from the very beginning. I had no clue what to expect–from either of these–while I was reading them. I saw a few twists coming, but mostly I was clueless and I loved it (and hated it). These were the kinds of books that made me completely forget I was reading, because they were so immersive. I was sucked in, and it was weird looking around and not being in their world.

The crew got into some serious trouble in Six of Crows, but it was nothing compared to Crooked Kingdom. The group is like a magnet for trouble, and it was coming from all sides, and I don’t think my pulse ever calmed down while I was reading.

Both books have intricately woven plots that always have several smaller plots going on, and I don’t think I ever realized a subplot was unfolding until I was deep into it or at the end. I just didn’t see it coming. This is quite possibly the best sequel I’ve ever read. If it isn’t, it’s definitely in the top three. I didn’t think Leigh Bardugo could top Six of Crows because it was that good, but she did, and my mind was blown.

Throughout both books, I was gasping, squealing, and sometimes trying not to scream, but I actually teared up at least once during Crooked Kingdom. In my head, I’m still screaming, and it’s taking a lot of effort to keep from screaming and fangirling about them to anyone who will listen.

I’ll wrap up by saying that I. LOVED. These. Books! And I desperately want novellas, or another series with some of these characters making an appearance.

 

Have you read this duology, or the Grisha trilogy? What did you think of them?