Fire Flies Glow Only In The Dark

One thing I absolutely adore about the bookstagram and blogging community is the support. Just a huge group of people all with a common passion, helping out and inspiring others! So when I saw the gorgeous Ruth Morse, someone who I had found through bookstagram, had published her very own book, I knew I had to read it! As some of you may know, I’m typically more into books of the Fantasy genre, so giving this book a try was like stepping outside of my comfort zone. I’m glad I did.

This book follows Lana, a girl who has gone through a lot. She’s facing family problems and depression. As the story first starts, we are given hints at her background through nightmares. Then Max is introduced. He’s a guy similar to Lana in the fact that he too, carries his own emotional baggage. The story becomes one of two people, helping themselves and each other grow and heal through their relationship.

While I know all the basic facts about Lana from reading, I don’t know that much more. I wish Morse would’ve added additional happenings that really showed more about Lana. I feel like it’s difficult to fall in love with her and Max as a couple if I know so little about her. On to Max, he’s a cool guy. I love the mystery around him and his background. The fact that I didn’t know exactly what was up with him kept me reading.

Them together was a little hard for me to grasp at first, due to the fact that they had an almost instant relationship. They didn’t go out and do much or experience much together before they were already in love. Nevertheless, the dialogue between them was sweet and they did go on a few pretty run of the mill dates. I understand someone seeing a guy and thinking, “oh, he’s cute” but falling in love in such a short amount of time, granted I don’t have diddly squat in the experience department, seems a wee bit too good to be true. My feelings toward them together changed for the better towards the end of the book though.

I felt like the ending was rushed, I would’ve really enjoyed more time to get to know Lily, a girl who supposedly means a lot to Max and grows to mean a lot to Lana so I could understand more of her relationship with the two main characters. Max knew Lily for a long time, she was like a sister to him. Lana had only just met Lily and I felt like there was too much of a focus on her emotions. On the trip, I would’ve enjoyed if Morse also focused on how Lana helped Max with his own emotions. Because of what happened, as a reader, it would’ve had more of an emotional impact if there was just more. More interactions at the hospital, more developments in Lilly’s case.

Ruth’s writing was really creative and her descriptions were unique, most of the time. While in other sentences, I felt like her statements were pretty basic and cut and dry. She’s a great emerging author and she’s teeming with potential!

This was a sweet, charming, heartfelt book, that was really fun for me to read! It was a step into a genre I haven’t read in ages, but for this gem, I’m glad I did! I may have nitpicked a little… okay maybe a bit more than that, but I truly encourage you to give this book a shot! This book is beautiful both inside and out! I give it 4.5/5 Stars.

Academy of Assassins & Heart of Assassins

This week I re-read Academy of Assassins by Stacey Brutger because I found out the second book was released! I was very excited and tore through not only the first but also the second book, Heart of Assassins. I’m happy to say that these books are amazing! I’m almost ashamed to admit this, considering how cheesy and repetitive these books can be, but for some reason, I love them anyway. But for the sake of this review, I suppose I’ll nitpick a little.

The first story starts off with fantastic world building. You understand all the dynamics and everything that’s going on. But as you make your way to the second book, things become confusing. I found myself often looking back and re-reading passages multiple times, in an attempt to comprehend the story. They throw you into an alternate universe with little background information.

Moving on to the main female character, Morgon: I love, love, loved her! For what feels like the first time in forever, I completely agree with everything the main character does. She’s a strong female, but she’s been through a lot and it shows. She has doubts like a normal person and she’s never described as perfect. Onto the romance side of the story. Ever heard of a love triangle? Well, this is even more insane! Morgan is in love with 5 people, and those 5 guys are all head over heels for her. Those guys are also described as being perfect, setting unrealistic body expectations for men and for girls to have in men. One of these men, Kincade, thinks it’s his right to push Morgan around, telling her what to do and controlling her life. Morgan still loves him through this, making it seem acceptable to treat people in a similar fashion. Another main character, Atlas, really develops in the second book. We get to see a little more of his thought process and get to know him as a person better, whereas in the first book he’s mostly described as having indifference towards everyone. Although, as a reader, I find it odd and unrealistic, that in the first book Atlas doesn’t want anything to do with Morgan. He ignores her and whatnot, then in the second book he describes Morgan as being his world ever since he met her, but he’s just now showing it in the second book. I realize Atlas has many reasons for hiding his feelings, but I feel like it shouldn’t have been such an extreme change in emotions from one book to the next.

Lastly, while Brutger is a lovely writer, a few of her descriptions became old and repetitive towards the end of the second book. I hope in future books her writing grows and evolves more. I definitely plan on reading them!

In general, I’d love to see more female friends for Morgan. Not everyone she meets and associates with has to be in love with her. But that’s just tiny—I love a good romance!

I know it sounds like I didn’t like a lot of things in this book, but this was me really nitpicking every little thing that slightly annoyed me. This book is fabulous! If you can deal with a little bit of cheesy-ness and stereotypes then I highly recommend! I couldn’t put it down! 4 out of 5 stars.

The Balance of Reading and Life

Hi, I’m Ky, and I’m what could be described as an avid reader. When asked what I do in my free time, the answer is always reading. When asked what my hobbies are, the first to come to mind is always reading. Reading is a big part of my life. But, reading can often become too big.

Every once in a while, I find myself picking up that one special book, the kind you simply cannot put down. While being able to find a book like this is a blessing, it can also be a curse. I often find myself teetering on the edge of mixing up my priorities. Big test tomorrow? Nothing compared to the next chapter. Party this weekend? Who can think of socializing when the main character is about to die? I find myself trapped, living in the fictional worlds of my books for days, even a week at a time. When the book is so enchanting that even when you aren’t reading your thinking about the story, you can find it easy to imagine yourself in the character’s place. I have the bad habit of always putting the book first, and everything else in life second. I live, breathe, and think in a whole different world for spans of time. As much as I love this, my teachers and friends don’t.

My grades sometimes take a hit due to my constant reading sprees. So, through my many years of reading, I’ve come to the conclusion that a balance must be had. I am in no way discouraging anyone’s love for reading, but I merely think that instead of reading, maybe study for 20 minutes and then reward yourself with a chapter or two. Replace your time wasted on social media with sneaking in a few more pages. Add reading in little bite-sized increments throughout your day. On the bus or on the way to school, 15 minutes before bed, while waiting at the doctor’s office. If you’re a fellow book-bosomed buddy, chances are you’ll be able to fit in a few pages here and there to soothe your craving.

Another way I fit in reading is by managing my time wisely. That’s the key. If I pick up a good book from the store, a book I’m sure I’ll love, I try to finish all chores, homework, and work in general that day. This way the next day I’m free to read the entire day, as much as my heart desires.

Even though I say this now, I still find it hard to put the book down when I know I need the sleep and it’s up into the wee hours of the morning. Maybe every once in a while it’s okay to let go of responsibility and stay up to finish that chapter. I know though that, at least for me, I’d be up all night every night reading if I could. But, it’s very important to keep a good sleep schedule. Maybe night reading is for weekends!

All in all, reading is fun, but it’s very important to not get lost in our fictional worlds. It is necessary that we sometimes put down the book and do our homework every night. You can always get in more reading after studying, before bed, and more. Happy reading, and we hope you find this helpful!

Shadow and Bone

The last few weeks I’ve found it increasingly difficult to find a good book to read. I just can’t get into any of the stories or seem to sit still long enough to read. As some of you may know, I’ve been constantly traveling with hardly a moment to collect my thoughts let alone crack open a new book. Some would call this a reading slump. I would agree.

A few days ago, in desperate need of a book to review for this week’s blog post, I picked up my third book of the week. One of the 8 books I packed in my suitcase to bring with me across the country. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo has cured my restless mind ladies and gentlemen.

The story immediately picked me up and carried me away to a place where setting down my book is not an option. I spent the entirety of the night with a flashlight swinging from the top of my tent and the pages of my book turning with an almost desperate fervor to find out what happens next.

The book instantly starts by throwing you into this simply one of a kind world created by the wonderful mind of Leigh Bardugo. Although it’s a bit slow to completely explain all aspects of the Grishaverse world, many things can be assumed through careful attention to detail. I admire the main character, but I look forward to getting to know her on a deeper level in the coming books.

While reading the second half of the book I often found myself wishing the author went through more of Alina’s thinking processes. She made many decisions towards the end I felt didn’t quite match up with her character from the beginning of the book. I 100% understand she changed both mentally and physically from the beginning of the book to the end; I’d just like to see her change happen slower and more realistically.

Huge props for the plot twist, it’s rare I find one I didn’t see coming. I think for many others, though, the plot twist will be slightly more obvious; unfortunately, I was blinded by the Darklings’ good looks and easy charm, same as Alina I suppose. I hate to admit it, but towards the end not only did things seem rushed but Alina and Mal’s reconnection seemed awfully cheesy to me. And talk about predictable.

I will admit I simply loved the author’s descriptions of secondary and even background characters. I found it easy to like people like David, Genya, Marie, Nadia, and Baghra with Alina (the main character) having only little interactions with them. Overall I’m looking forward to the last book for a multitude of reasons; reason number one this book being phenomenal. A definite four out of five stars!

Buy the book here!

Ash and Bramble

Recently I found myself stumbling upon the book Ash and Bramble by Sarah Prineas. Having read the description, I was instantly in love, thinking “this is right up my alley!” Then I started to read. Right up my alley… maybe three years ago. The dark, twisting tale of the Fairy Godmother actually being evil has so much potential. Sadly, that was all this book had.

This book would’ve made a great trilogy; when the author tried to cram all of the information into one book, the result was confusing, to say the least. There were nearly no character arcs, nor was there any development for the main character Penelope (or Pin). She’s there, and she exists. She doesn’t really seem affected by all of the crazy stuff happening around her, in a character building, personality altering way. The first good 100 pages, we barely know Pin or how she got to the Godmother’s fortress in the first place. It really makes it hard to relate to her and like her if we don’t know anything about her.

I think that overall if there were a prequel to this book, we would’ve gotten a better idea of the world in which the characters live. If we knew Pin, the whole memory loss thing had the potential to bring lots of feels. I know I would’ve cried if my favorite character just lost all her memories, that is if I actually knew enough about her first to care. (I have cried when my favorite character lost their memories—in the Legend trilogy. Marie Lu really knows how to bring the waterworks, but that’s a story for a different review.)

Onto the fact of the instant love triangle. I mean, come on! She knows Shoe for a whole of two days and suddenly he’s in love with her? And can we take a moment to acknowledge that for a good ¾ of the book his name is Shoe, and then, out of nowhere, the author just decides to sometimes call him Owen… so now we’ve got two completely different names for the same person! I understand he doesn’t have a name—whatever. But if I suddenly don’t remember my name, Shoe would be the last thing on my mind, considering it’s not an actual name. Besides his name, though, I’ll have to say that Shoe was the reason I finished the book. His character is the easiest to come to know and love. I’ll even admit I felt a little worried for him towards the end.

Another thing that infuriates me is that Pin (Pen, whoever!) did not even try to bring back her memories. The author brushes off the idea of Pin knowing her past and her mom (all things that would help us understand the book better) seemingly just because she’s too lazy to make it up. I’m not sure, but I do know there was not enough explanation of who Pin’s mother was and why she was important. I like where she was coming from with the idea of the story, but honestly, I was just confused. Was the Fairy Godmother the real antagonist or was it the story? Also, why was the Godmother serving the story? All Pin used was a thimble to destroy the story. A thimble which the godmother had an almost exact replica of…

Although I have found some major issues in this book (in my opinion), this is a good book if lack of detail and explanation doesn’t bug you. Maybe kids ages 10-13 will find it appealing. I’m not sure why it was classified as young adult. I rate it two out of five stars.

Buy the book here!

#takeyourbookoutdoors

What many of you may not know is that we live in the desert city of Phoenix, Arizona. This oh-so enjoyable place where in the summer temperatures reach eyeball-melting degrees and the sun shines with a relentless fervor. To some this may be ideal, but unfortunately I cannot say the same. I was born and raised in a small town called Antioch just outside of Chicago Illinois. Trees, grass, and rain is where I find my happiness. Thankfully, every summer I am given the amazing opportunity to fly back home and stay with family and friends for a month or two.

During this time you will always find me outdoors, taking advantage of the lovely scenery. I head outside into the grass, bare-foot and book-bosomed. I must admit I’m quite content to read anywhere where there’s a nice tree and good grass! Although, one of my all-time favorite places would have to be this small, secret beach hidden down the road from the house I grew up in. It doesn’t even have an official name, but with incredible views of the lake, it’s really a beauty. Add this with the fact that it’s not well known, so it’s never crowded!

The past 10 days or so I’ve been in Washington and Oregon. My family and I spent a lot of the time hiking and outdoors! I always made sure to keep a book in my hand; I even went on a 6 mile hike with three different books! My favorite places to read during the trip would have to be the Hoh Rainforest and the Mt. Rainier National park. The views from both are insanely beautiful. Two of my favorite things nature and reading, I’m glad I’m able to combine the two. #takeyourbookoutdoors

Sky in the Deep

This weekend, in my local Barnes and Noble bookstore, I found myself drawn to the beautiful cover of the book Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young. Now, I don’t ever only buy books just for their covers, so I proceeded to open the book and read the jacket cover. This cover featured a blurb about the story, promising war, romance, and a kick-ass female protagonist. I finished the book a few hours ago and I’m disappointed to say it didn’t quite live up to my expectations.

The first few chapters of the book were wonderful and fast moving. The main character, Eelyn, is in the middle of a fast-paced action scene when she spots her supposedly dead brother among the crowd. She goes after him, and this leads to the rest of the book. Once she is captured by her brother, now part of the rival clan, the Rikis, the pace of the story starts to drastically slow. Although I finished the book in one day, I found it easy to put it down and go to bed at a reasonable time.

While the author does a good job of explaining what’s going on and describing the surroundings, there is a clear lack of suspense building. Everything in this book is straightforward and to the point. There wasn’t any foreshadowing or plot twists, much to my dismay.

On the other hand, the main character and her thoughts are portrayed in a good way, making the protagonist easy to like. Eelyn, as a character, grows and develops in sync with the events in the book; her character arch is predictable but enjoyable to read.

But, the way Eelyn grew up was as a warrior: she was taught to never cry or show weakness. This is stressed and mentioned multiple times throughout the book. While I get that her journey is a hard one, I don’t understand how her upbringing of never showing weakness just crumbles and she starts crying all of the time. She is a fierce warrior, yet in a span of a few weeks, she throws away all she has grown up to believe and starts loving her enemies. For a girl with fire in her veins, as is said about her by other characters in the book, she seems awfully easy to get to comply as a dyr, a type of slave.

Now, I always love the idea of forbidden love, and I believe, though used a lot, this can still turn out good with its own twist. In this book, however, I find it hard to believe Eelyn is actually in love with Fiske, who shot her with an arrow, bought her as a slave, and said that it was all in the name of protecting her. I agree that these actions did help save her life, but were it not for him capturing her in the first place, the ENTIRE mess wouldn’t have happened. Although I believe it to be unnecessary, this was the first snowflake in the snowball effect that creates this story. The two supposed lovebirds (although the word love is never mentioned to each other, they do express strong feelings for each other) have barely spoken! I feel, as a reader, that I hardly know who Fiske is. I wish there were more dialogue to explain the feelings between the beloved Eelyn and this Fiske. Also, how exactly is Fiske able to kick Eelyn’s butt so easily? They have both trained as warriors, and Eelyn is out on the battlefield killing all of these other trained warriors like she could do it in her sleep. Then, Fiske comes along and her ass is handed to her in seconds.

I feel that overall this book was lacking in dialogue, and because of this, we don’t get to know any of the characters really well. For example, besides Fiske, there is Myra, Eelyn’s supposed best friend. We don’t really see this proven through their limited interactions. We hardly even get a glimpse of who Myra is to Eelyn.

My last wish for this book would be to have more dialogue between Eelyn and her brother. She has a lot of pent-up anger, and she’s described as being pretty furious at him. Over time they have one brief discussion and that’s it. I feel like Eelyn should’ve exploded, or there should’ve been some sort of fight; instead, the problem is just swept under the rug and never dealt with.

Despite all this, it was a lovely simple day read. It left me wanting more for character relationships because I liked the characters so much. The ending was sweet and a refreshing compared to the common cliffhanger endings. This book didn’t really ignite “the feels” in me, but it was not in any way a bad book. If you’re looking for a quick, simple read I hope you’ll take this into consideration. Through all of my nit-picky comments, I still rate the book four out of five stars.

But the book here!