I’m SO HERE FOR THIS | A Court of Mist and Fury Review

Title: A Court of Mist and Fury
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Published: May 3, 2016
Pages: 640
Goodreads!

Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.

With more than a million copies sold of her beloved Throne of Glass series, Sarah J. Maas’s masterful storytelling brings this second book in her seductive and action-packed series to new heights.

HOLY SHMOLY GUACAMOLE

I’ve been keeping this on my TBR looming over me and I finally cracked and got it from Target. Well actually, my mom got it for me but semantics. I had meant to keep it for my flight to Taiwan, but guess what? I couldn’t help myself and ended up reading it WELL before my flight and the payoff was so great I don’t even regret it. 
First of all let me just get this out there, the Night Court are all precious children and should be protected at all costs. They are great. I need more of them like right now. 
Now then. 
The amount of character development in Feyre is colossal in this novel. It starts with her after all that happens in ACOTAR, actually we’re three months past and we are witness to what such trauma and trials have affected her and Tamlin. It’s honestly an incredible journey for her and at the end I was like, “Yes. You go Feyre. YES.” 
A huge part of this journey is the abuse she takes and I’m not going to go widely into it because it’s really spoilery, but I’m glad that Maas has brought this topic out in the open so… unforgivingly. There’s the way she wrote it that just makes you want to pull Feyre out of this and it brings you to Rhy’s side in the end. I know there was some debate over Tamlin and Rhys, but after everything I’d rather take Rhys to be quiet honest. 
Chapter 55. 
That’s all I’m going to say about that. If you’ve read it, you know. If you haven’t, read it and you’ll know. It’s great. A+
The ending is such a build up and it’s killing me. This is why I wait for all books to come out so I can binge read, but in this case I’m going to have to WAIT. I’m upset because I need to know how this ends. I need to know what happens and GAH.
Either way, this was a great sequel to ACOTAR. It has a completely different tone to it and it takes this story into a completely new direction I didn’t see. I can’t wait to read more of this. I honestly like this series more than I do the ToG series. Maas just has a great way of creating a world, dynamic characters, and just bringing you on in this crazy journey. While your heart might bleed, you keep coming back for more. 
This review is short because I’m trying not to screech about spoiler parts of this novel but this novel is essentially a spoiler so I’m giving you the basics. If you’re into it, just go and read it. Like right now.

Current Joys: Podcasts | Life

While I’m still trying to figure out how I want this blog to be, I decided to try and add a kind of new feature: Current Joys. It’ll be something that’s highlighting something that I’ve gotten interested in or somewhat obsessed with. 
Currently I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts. I have this weird thing where when I’m doing something that has any sort of concentration or mild focus (this can be from studying for finals to cleaning the house) I have to have some kind of background noise and usually that falls into just idle chatter. This is the reason why I go to cafes and such to study sometimes. There’s idle music and chatter going about so it’s really easy to let my mind focus. I know, I know. It’s weird.

Anyway, here are a few of my favorite podcasts so far:

 Explain Things to Me is a podcast by Anna Akana (if you haven’t checked out her YouTube, I highly recommend) and her, I believe, current boyfriend. They bring in people from different professions and essentially ask them to explain what they do. It’s very interesting and I love hearing about these different kinds of careers and what actually goes on in their field. 
Favorite Episodes: Criminal Lawyer Hart Levin, Paleontologist Nathan Caroll, Entemologist Phil Torres
The Black Tapes is a documentary like podcast that talks about the paranormal with Alex Reagan. It kind of starts off with one case and spirals into more and more mystery and intrigue. If you’re into ghost stories, demons, and anything paranormal I highly recommend this podcast. I’ve been listening to it nonstop. 
Favorite Episodes: All of them. Lol I can’t really pick a favorite.

Let’s Make Mistakes Together is a podcast created by Philip Defranco who has a channel on YouTube where he reports the news with his little bit of commentary and also has some fun videos on the weekends. LMMT is a podcast where he invites his friends who also do YouTube and just general great people from YouTube and they talk while playing some games and sometimes they drink too.
I love listening to people conversing, so I have a lot of fun listening to this.

Favorite Episode: 5 Stitches & A Chipped Tooth w/ Hardcore Henry’s Sharlto Copley!

 Most Notorious with Erik Rivenes is a podcast that documents most notorious killers and criminals in American history (at least the ones I’ve listened to have to deal with American history). He brings on experts who’ve written books and done huge amounts of research. It’s a great history podcast if you’re into it and plus, it gives you great material for characters in your writing!

Favorite Episodes: “Count” Victor Lustig, 1920s and 30s Con Man and Public Enemy w/ Jeff Maysh

Stuff You Missed in History Class is kind of self explanatory, but it’s an amazing podcast to listen for trivia or just general obscure history hosted by Tracy V. Wilson and Holly Frey. Each episode is only about thirty minutes, but they squeeze in a lot of information. It’s super fun and the ladies are really fun to listen to (and again, great material for writing). 
Favorite Episodes: A Brief History of the “White Wedding”, Oliver Haugh, Serial Killer Pt. 1 & 2
Again, if you’re into listening to people talk about cool things and scary things, I would recommend listening to these or any podcasts. They’re fun and I’ve only gotten into them recently. I highly recommend. They’re great for relaxing or when you have a particularly long flight or drive. 
Do you listen to podcasts? What would you recommend?

Let’s Talk About Love | A Discussion

As Young Adult readers, we’re quite familiar with romances in books. Actually when I first started to blog again I was actually pretty irritated by all of the romance (which is odd because I can read shojo manga for hours). Most of the time I felt that when I started reading YA again it was now becoming a marketing and selling tool. I felt that it was no longer something that was genuinely born from the story, but something shoe horned in to sell more copies. Call me a snob or whatever, but I would rather read something that’s so incredibly genuine that I don’t bat an eye at the romance (or how this romance comes to be) whether than recognize that a well written romance was there, but only for copies being sold. 
Now a little more context, I had a really bad slew of novels that were just filled with really bad romance so I was getting sick of it. 
But that’s not really the point of my post. I wanted to talk about things that are constantly criticized in novels:
Insta-love and Love Triangles

What about them? 
To be honest? I don’t really mind either. Hell I don’t really mind a harem. As long as it is genuine and not something that’s so campy and tropey.  
Insta-Love:
Shit, sometimes you just click with someone and the next thing you know you’re best friends for life or you’re in a perfect and normal relationship. It doesn’t happen very often from my life, but I’ve experienced the kind of just spark with some people. Sometimes you just get someone right off the bat and with that you build a great relationship. 
Now, this doesn’t mean the relationship goes on to be void of obstacles, squabbles, and even the occasional silent treatment. It just means that there’s a connection that’s strong from the beginning and that there’s a foundation already laid–but there’s still a journey to be had. I love slow burn romances and relationships, so while two people might automatically have a connection (good or bad), where they go from there is the important part of me. 
For instance, what if a MC automatically finds some kind of romantic (or platonic) draw from a person and pursues? They think they’re in love with them, but then they find that the person has all of these layers and demons, etc. etc.? That’s what I care about. I don’t really care if the person is like “OMG I LOVE YOU” already (though granted, it can be v. annoying. I’m looking at you Cal). I mostly care what the person does with that emotion. 
What do I not like? I’ll call this the “Romeo and Juliet” syndrome. When two characters are so infatuated and automatically in love with each other to kill people (or each other in the case of Shakespeare) in the name of love. I think this is what gripes most people about insta-love. It’s this sudden devotion. Where does this devotion come from? I want it explored and tested.
Love Triangles:

“Alexa, you… do you like love triangles?”
Fuck. 
Yeah.
I love love triangles. Blame it on me watching a lot of kdramas when I was in middle school or reading a lot of shojo manga, but I love love triangles. I thrive on the tension that builds among the characters and usually the two love interests complement two completely different sides of our MC and it’s really interesting to see where the character goes with these endeavors. I mean I’ve been in the position where I’ve thought about falling for the dark, mysterious kind of character, but I’m drawn back towards a sweet and overly kind character. I mean sweet and spice right? 
The thing that I really don’t like about love triangles that can happen? When, for instance, the two love interests are guys and they begin to fight over the MC (as if she couldn’t make a decision herself). It’s incredibly possessive and that’s when I get a pit prickly. I don’t like it when two guys try to out alpha-male each other. It’s irritating and just so eye roll inducing, to be quite honest. 
I thrive on love triangles, if I were to be completely honest. Esp. when it’s between a very safe and “good” love interest and a not so safe “villain” love interest. It’s just a trope I enjoy reading and exploring, but again, it’s only when it’s built organically and it earns the romance. Maybe I picked this up while in theatre, but everything is earned somehow. Is this love interest seductive, but there’s also something rippling underneath that is begging to just be pulled out? Or is this love interest a stable, sturdy foundation in a world that feels like it’s crumbling apart? These kinds of things are important to me. 
Are you against these tropes in novels? Do you agree or disagree?

Ugh :( | Bound By Birthright Review

Title: Bound By Birthright
Author: Janeal Falor
Published: June 6, 2016
Goodreads!

Elven princess Arabella is set to marry the human Prince Phillip but her countrymen do not hesitate to express their anger with her parents’ attempt to improve relations with the humans. With death threats plaguing her, Arabella is forced into hiding.

When her sanctuary is usurped by pirates, Arabella goes on the run with humans who vow to help and keep her safe. She finds herself drawn to one of the humans, the dashing Robert, who steals her heart.

Arabella would like nothing more than time to get to know Robert better, but with pirates attacking and her wedding date approaching, time is one thing she doesn’t have. Arabella’s on a flight for her life and must reconcile with the truth—she can never be with the one she wants.

If only her heart would agree.

I got this off of Netgalley recently and decided that I should keep the fantasy binge alive and well while I’m at it. This story has a pretty interesting premise. Elven princess off to marry a human prince in the name of duty and diplomacy, plans begin to falter after an assassination attempt and being in the hands of pirates? I mean that sounds like a pretty good adventure not to mention some character building. I was pretty excited to get into this book. I thought it might be a little bit of a Pirates of the Caribbean feel. 
Unfortunately that didn’t really seem to be the case. The book started out okay I guess, but the assassination attempt is within like… two percent of the story. So immediately I’m bit confused. I don’t have any notion against being thrust into the middle of the action head on, but there was no build to it. It was kind of like “haha! I am here to assassinate you!”
I only got up to around 15% of the book before I had to put it down. Everything about this story was incredibly bland. It honestly felt like it was a rough draft or even an outline of a novel instead of a finished one because everything was so bare bones. It felt like it was the bare minimum for a story and a character and I couldn’t bring myself to read more or even try to care about the characters. The writing felt rushed and there wasn’t any real indication of characterization or description of… anything. Almost too much was left to the imagination. 
All in all I’m pretty disappointed by this book and I don’t know if I’ll ever pick it up again. I tried really hard to get into it, but nothing really grabbed me except for the pirates and even then that was a bit bland. 
*I was granted this eARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*

What Just Happened? | The Graces Review

Title: The Graces
Author: Laure Eve
Published: Projected September 1, 2016
Pages: 432
Goodreads

Everyone said the Graces were witches.

They moved through the corridors like sleek fish, ripples in their wake. Stares followed their backs and their hair.

They had friends, but they were just distractions. They were waiting for someone different.

All I had to do was show them that person was me.

Like everyone else in her town, River is obsessed with the Graces, attracted by their glamour and apparent ability to weave magic. But are they really what they seem? And are they more dangerous than they let on?

This beautifully-written thriller will grip you from its very first page.

What. Just. Happened????

I finished this book maybe ten hours before writing this post and I’m still asking myself this question. It went from this mystical, gypsy like witch novel to just shit hitting the fan everywhere. I didn’t see it coming, I didn’t know it was going to happen. Honestly it felt like I was watching Puella Magi Madoka Magica ALL OVER AGAIN (which, if you haven’t, you should search it and watch it because then you’ll know EXACTLY what I mean). I finished the book and my head felt like a huge question mark. 
I got strung into reading this book because I thought it was going to be this kind of bohemian witch novel that was like “ooh are they into dark magic too?” but wow it was so much stranger than that. I honestly don’t know how to react to it. 
It’s painfully obvious while reading this book how River wants to feel accepted and loved. Her mother is pretty absent in her life (except for when her friend’s parents are like don’t see our kids and then suddenly she’s there? like aight mom of the year) and she’s constantly seen as this weird book worm kid that no one wants to talk to. I felt that because I’ve been in that position, but she had this incredible obsession with Fenrin, one of the Graces. She was absolutely in love with him and so she joins Summer (another Grace, I believe the youngest) and she decides to use a spell to draw Fenrin to her. 
That’s a rough summary, but honestly that’s what starts the whole thing. Girl loves boy, girl wants boy to love her, girl joins a witch coven to bewitch said boy. But then it gets weirder and suddenly things start to go very, very wrong. There’s this point in the novel where everyone thinks that everything is going to be okay and that they were going to be besties and I’m just kind of sitting here like “mmmmMMMM someone see the calm before the storm cuz I DO”.
And guess what. 
Shit. 
Hits.
THE FAN.
HARD.
Like people start disappearing, people start dying, people start threatening each other–it’s a whole mess everybody. It was so hard to keep up with because it kind of came from left field. I was like where is this coming from, what is happening, why is it happening? It was very, very crazy. 
The end was a little bit of confusion with a splash of disappointment. I thought it was going to go the route where River was gonna just be like peace, I’m out–but she goes back to the Graces and it’s kind of like everything ends with this nice tattered bow and I just couldn’t really buy it. I think it was supposed to be a kind of silver lining, but everything had gotten so dark so fast that I think it needed more time for that kind of closure. Which is really strange because I thought this book needed more but it’s already 400+ pages??? 
Anyway, this book overall is a very plot based novel. The characters weren’t flat but they weren’t incredibly dynamic either. We kind of jumped through so many events that it was hard to see what these characters were really like and since I’m a character driven reader it kind of hurt my experience of the book a little bit. If you’re into a more plot driven thriller, than this book might work out for you. Now it’s not magic like the Grisha or anything, it’s more like Wiccan type of witchcraft so it’s not super exciting with fire bolts or whatever. 
I didn’t really… hate this book, but I wasn’t impressed with it either. I was more confused than anything haha. Everything happened so fast that I wasn’t able to really have it sink in. In the end it felt a lot like that one song in Into the Woods where they’re all pointing fingers at each other and it was very, very panicky. 
It was alright but just… what?

*I received an eARC of this book through NetGalley. This does not affect my review or my opinions about this book.*

WARNING: The Month of July Will be (Mostly) Travel

Before I went on my unintentional hiatus, I spoke about getting accepted to a study abroad program in Taiwan and excitingly enough I leave for Taiwan in a little more than a week! 
*internal screaming*
While I’m incredibly excited and nervous (because this is my first time going outside of the US), I’m also thinking about what to do about the blog. There’s no doubt that I’ll probably read at least one book in my colossal 13 hour flight, but I’ll probably read a lot more while I’m there as well… but it’s kind of hard to tell. I might get so wrapped up in exploring a new country that I might not read until the flight home. Who knows? 
So because of that, I’ll start blogging my travel experiences here for the time being. I might try to keep it daily or weekly, but if anything I’ll try to post when I see or go somewhere incredibly amazing and take a lot of pictures. I might take a couple of books with me, but I’ll most likely be bringing my tablet or kindle because… well virtual books are just lighter. So hopefully I’ll have some great pictures to post on my super dead instagram @ Words Off the Page. We’ll see. 
Anywhoodles, I just wanted to give you guys a heads up for what’s going to be happening. Once I’m back in the States I’ll probably shift it back to good ol’ book posts and maybe a little bit more life bloggy things. 
Much Love.

Reading Comfort Zones and Moving Away | A Discussion

This year I wanted to try and move away from my reading comfort zones. My reading comfort zones currently lie in fantasy, any book with magic, and books with fey. I find myself being drawn to these books time and time again (even if they’re terrible) and while I try to reach out to more genres, I find it to be incredibly difficult. It’s probably because I have such an ingrained love for fantasy, magic, paranormal creatures, and just adventure that these books don’t have to fight for my interest. If it has magic or anything variation, I’m so here for it. Where as contemporaries or historical fiction novels have to have just that little extra bit of pizazz to gain my interest. 
This SUCKS
It sucks especially because I hear so many people that I follow praising these contemporary novels and all of these other novels, but I just can’t bring myself to go and read them myself. I’ve only read maybe three or four contemporary novels (most of which have gotten pretty good reviews from me) and I find it harder and harder to pull myself towards contemporaries. Maybe it’s because a lot of the time it takes place in high school and I never really liked high school, haha, but I never really been like “Yeah contemporaries!” 
I think when I was in high school I read a little more of the contemporary style, but I still stuck to a lot of fantasy novels. 
Ack.
I’ve tried to fight this by just kind of forcing myself to try a different genre once in a while. In this case it’s really hard for me to stay interested and for me to keep reading, but I think I get more pleasantly surprised when it happens to pull me in so quickly. This is probably why the better contemporary novels I’ve started have gotten pretty high reviews, because I was really afraid to not enjoy the book that I when I did I was super excited. 
What about you? Are you currently trying to move away from your reading comfort zone? What are your comfort zones?