#T5W: Favorite Villains

Top Five Wednesday is a book meme that Lainey started and I discovered through the lovely Samantha‘s videos. I absolutely loved the idea of joining the group and making my own lists. If you’re interested you can join the goodreads group to get the topics for each week.

This week’s topic is favorite villains and I really like it because I feel like we rarely get a chance to talk about villains. Sure, we talk a lot about heroes and anti-heroes, but sometimes villains make the story just as much as the heroes do.

It was suggested that we avoid mentioning any of the Harry Potter villains because they are so many and so well-done that they would dominate every list. So here’s my HP-free list:

5-Jan van Eck (Six of Crows/Crooked Kingdom)

I hate his guts. He’s a hateful and ignorant man that only cares about his business and is willing to throw his son away the moment he’s not like he expects him to be. I despise him as a man and most of all as a father.

4-Black Jack Randall (Outlander)

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I’m slightly cheating since I’ve only seen the TV show and I haven’t actually read the books, but I just couldn’t not include him in this list. He’s a sadistic bastard and I was sick for several days after finishing Season 1 of the show, where he showed his true nature. I don’t think I’ve ever been so shaken by a villain before, and I even admit that I almost regretted having started the show at all. I mean, I’ve read/watched some pretty dark characters in my life, but he beats them all.

3-Manon’s grandmother (Throne of Glass series)

I feel like sometimes villains that have a familial bond to the main characters hit you deeper than others. Families are, after all, a place where you should feel safe and loved. Manon’s grandmother is a witch, and I guess you shouldn’t exactly expect love from her. I mean, the witch society is pretty brutal, but still there should be respect and safety within it. Manon is one of my favorite characters of all times, and her arc and relationship to her grandmother has been building up for two books (Heir of Fire and Queen of Shadows) and in Empire of Storms it has reached a point of no return. No spoilers here, but something happened in EoS (chapters 17 and 18 y’all) that shook me hard and made my love for Manon grow even more (I didn’t really think that was possible to be honest).

2-The Regent (Captive Prince series)

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Speaking of families. The Regent is Laurent’s uncle and he’s a really disgusting human being. There’s not much else I can say without giving any spoilers away, but even if Laurent wasn’t my favorite character in the entire world (which, he totally is) I’d still hate the Regent with all my being.

1-The Darkling (Grisha trilogy)

I feel weird mentioning the Darkling in this list of disgusting villains. All of the other ones I truly hated, but the Darkling has and will always have a special place in my heart. There are many anti-heroes that I love,  and I gave myself a bit of time to think whether the Darkling might actually be an anti-hero, but no. The Darkling is a villain and he’s the only villain I truly love, and he’s one of two people from the Grisha trilogy that will always stay with me no matter what (the other one being Nikolai). His story has hit me so freaking hard. His immortality and power are what brought him to be a villain. His arc was one of the best things in this series in my opinion, despite us never seeing his point of view. Enduring centuries of hatred and prejudice against his particular type of magic is what made him do what he did, and I believe he truly convinced himself that what he was doing was good.

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Review: The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon

I was sent this book as an advance copy by the publisher via NetGalley for reviewing purposes, but all opinions are my own.

★★★★

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Picture by yours truly

I am always nervous before starting a new contemporary. I’ve come to accept that most contemporaries are not for me, but still the occasional contemporary book catches my attention and I venture into it with conflicting expectations.

I am happy to say that The Sun Is Also a Star is one of the few contemporary books I’ve liked so far! And when I mean I liked it, I mean I enjoyed every single word of it. And that’s a very satisfying feeling after having had bad experience with similar (on paper) books.

So, about the plot. It takes place within a day (a little more than 12 hours, excluding the epilogue) in New York City and it follows two main characters, Daniel and Natasha.
Natasha is 17 and about to be deported to Jamaica with her family. She is trying to use her last day on US soil to somehow change this, being the only one in her family that is actually going to be hurt by the deportation. She is a science girl, she believes in tangible, observable facts and I particularly liked this aspect of her personality. I am in fact that way myself, and it was refreshing to see a character like that (especially a girl!).
Daniel is also 17 and Korean American. His parents moved to the US before he and his brother were born and expect great things from both sons. In fact, Daniel is on his way to an interview to be able to be accepted into Yale, a future he doesn’t really want but doesn’t think is unavoidable.
The two meet and end up spending the day together. The way this book is written, we get both point of views alternatively, with the occasional point of view from people in their family or people they interact with. All point of views, even the very short ones, are meaningful and well-placed within the story.

So now you’re thinking, wait. Isn’t this supposed to be a romance? And it takes place within less than a full day? You’re telling me you’re giving 5 stars to a book that has insta-love? Um, I mean, I guess I am! But I swear it made sense to me! I can’t really explain it very well, but this insta-love didn’t bother me one bit and I actually found it very realistic.

I genuinely cared about the main characters and about their stories and their future. I’m not even ashamed (okay, a little bit) to say that I even cried a bit? But happy tears, don’t worry.

With that said, is this book for everyone? Probably…not. But it was definitely a book for me, and it gave me a few happy hours when I needed them.

#T5W: Books I Want to Re-Read

Top Five Wednesday is a book meme that Lainey started and I discovered through the lovely Samantha‘s videos. I absolutely loved the idea of joining the group and making my own lists. If you’re interested you can join the goodreads group to get the topics for each week.

This week’s topic is pretty self-explanatory, it’s all about the books you want to re-read.
Here are mine:

  1. Harry Potter: I have re-read this series so many times during high-school, but it’s been way too long since I last did it, and I really want to read it again now that I’m a more experienced reader (and older, sigh). Moreover, I really want to read it in English for the first time. I don’t know when that will happen, but I’m looking forward to it.
  2. Six of Crows/Crooked Kingdom: It’s not even been two months since I’ve read this duology, and I already want to read it again. I’m complete trash for it and I want to meet and fall in love with the Dregs all over again.
  3. The Raven Cycle: I’ve also read this only recently, but this whole series is so full of deeper meanings and symbolism that I think one could read it a thousand times and find something new every time. Plus, I really miss Ronan and Adam and it’s still too long before the Ronan trilogy comes out.
  4. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe: This is such a quick and fluffy read that I know I have to read it again soon.
  5. Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda: Speaking of fluffiness, this book is the fluffiest thing I’ve ever read. To date it’s the only book that I finished and I started reading again right away, so technically I have re-read it, but I don’t care. If I could I would read it every day.

I only included series that are finished or standalones. There are more books that I plan on re-reading because the next one in the series will come out but for some of them it’s more a necessity (because my memory sucks) than a real need to re-read them.

Tome Topple Readathon: November 18th to December 1st

Later this week I’ll participate in my first readathon! It’s probably a tough one to start with because it’s all about those big books (>500 pages). But I figured I might as well join it since there are two books on my Kindle that fit the requirement for the readathon and that I really want to read.

I found this readathon watching Samantha @ThoughtsOnTomes and Adriana @perpetualpages‘s announcement videos, as they are two of the hosts for the event.
Here’s the description on the goodreads group:

The next round of the Tome Topple Readathon will take place from midnight in your time zone on November 18th to 11:59pm in your time zone on December 1st!
The whole point of this readathon is to read big books (over 500 pages). You don’t even need to read a lot of them. You don’t even need to finish one. The point is that we are all reading those big daunting books at the same time and supporting each other.

This group will feature discussion boards about some of the more popular book choices for the readathon, as well as some suggestions for any of you struggling with which tome to read.

Definitely keep in touch using the hashtag #tometopple on all social media and following @tome_topple on twitter.

Topple those Tomes!

They also announced some challenges that might help you decide what books to read or just give you some more motivation:

1. Read more than 1 tome
2. Read a graphic novel
3. Read a tome that’s part of a series
4. Buddy read a tome (use goodreads and twitter to find buddies!)
5. Read an adult novel

Personally I will be fulfilling four out of five of those challenges (provided I can read both books I have in mind), so I’m really excited.

The books I chose are The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch and The Demon King by  Cinda Williams Chima.

If you want to partake in this readathon you should definitely join the goodreads group and make sure you follow the hashtag #tometopple on twitter and instagram so you find other people that read your same book(s).

I really hope I can complete both books in that time. Are you planning on participate? What tomes would you like to topple?

Standalone Sunday: Truth in the Dark by Amy Lane

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Standalone Sunday was created by the lovely Megan @bookslayerreads for a chance to talk about your favorite standalone books (which is, books that aren’t part of a series). I’m not sure I’ll manage to do this meme every week, since I rarely read standalones. But after finding it, I knew I needed to take this opportunity to talk about one of my favorite standalones that I read this year.

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Truth in the Dark is a book that surprised me in many ways. I went into it knowing next to nothing, except that it was a MM-romance. When I started it, the first thing that caught my attention was the writing. The story is told in a first PoV perspective and it’s extremely raw. That’s truly the best adjective I could find to describe the writing style: it won’t spare you any details (good or bad) and it won’t be nice. Oh, and there’s cursing.
The writing perfectly matches the protagonist and narrator: Naef/Knife is a disabled boy that hates the world. Rightfully so, I might add. The story is an Eros and Psyche and Beauty and the Beast retelling, and I don’t think I can even begin to express how much I loved every single thing about it. The romance is adorable and hot. Both main characters are well-rounded and both Naef’s character development and the romance felt very realistic. I will go even as far as saying it’s one of the best love stories I’ve read in my life, so yeah.

It’s definitely a book I will read again, and I recommend it to anyone that is into romantic fantasy adult books.

Series review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

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★★★★

Karou was plagued by the notion that she wasn’t whole. She didn’t know what this meant, but it was a lifelong feeling, a sensation akin to having forgotten something.

The Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy has been a weird one for me to read. Usually, when I start a series that is fully published, I marathon the whole thing. That’s just the most enjoyable way for me to read series, and also why I generally prefer series than standalones. Anyway, that’s not what I managed to do when I first started reading this last year, so I ended up reading only the first two books before being hit by a huge reading slump. I still enjoyed both of them, but it wasn’t the books’ fault.
When I picked them all up again this past month, I did manage to read all of them finally, but it took me longer than normal for some reason because I kept being distracted, and also that’s around the time I started this blog and my fanfiction. Despite all that, I loved these books.

The writing is something that really resonated with me. That’s a very personal thing, because I know some people who were initially put off by it (and once -some of them at least- they looked past that, they ended up loving this series). It is lyrical, poetic, humorous at times, and it definitely fit the story it was telling. I’m really looking forward to reading more by Laini Taylor, to see if she can capture me again like she did with this trilogy.

The story was completely beautiful. It’s an urban fantasy that features humans, angels (not in the religious way) and chimaera, as well as two separate worlds (Earth and Eretz). Love is definitely one of the main themes, but as much as the romance is a really important element, it’s not the only one. In fact, throughout the series there are so many themes that are discussed or mentioned, and while not all of them reach a conclusion and are only mentioned in passing, they still make you think.

I can’t really say which part of these books I enjoyed most, but something I care very much about when I read is the way characters are portrayed, and I have to say I wasn’t disappointed. Both the main characters and the secondary ones were really well done and I even found some of my new all-time-favorites in them.

The world building was honestly amazing. Things start off on Earth (specifically in Prague) and slowly you learn that there are other creatures (chimaera and angels), and then you learn there’s another world, and then you learn there’s magic, and…well, saying more would be very spoilery, but I can only say at the end of the third book there’s a lot more than you thought at the beginning. There’s never any info-dump and everything is slowly built and thus it’s made credible.

If you want to check out my individual reviews you can do so on goodreads:
Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Days of Blood and Starlight
Dreams of Gods and Monsters

Needless to say, I gave all of these books 5 stars (maybe 4,75 to the first one) and I really recommend this series to everyone!

Teaser Tuesday: The Alchemists of Loom by Elise Kova

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

But a soul driven by vengeance was a selfish soul. A soul driven by vision was a generous one-one that bore itself before others and put the needs of the many before the needs of the few.

˜96%, eARC of The Alchemists of Loom by Elise Kova

I finished this book two days ago but I’m buddy-reading it again with a few people that also participate in The Guild Games. There were so many quotes that I liked (I basically highlighted the whole book lol) but they were either spoilery or too long to really fit the two-sentences requirement, so I went with this one.