Throwback Thursdays

Throwback Thursday: Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

It seems appropriate on today, the first truly cold day of the year, to write my Throwback Thursday mini review about Maggie Stiefvater’s Shiver.

I’m also thoroughly enjoying Stiefvater’s new book this week, which I will review once I finish it.

Shiver is the story of Grace and Sam, the wolf and the girl who fell in love. If you’ve never read one of Maggie Stiefvater’s books before, I cannot possibly describe them with the amount of words that I’ve alotted myself for these mini reviews. Maggie Stiefvater so carefully places each word on the page, it’s like poetry, or maybe it’s like music, because the spaces between the words act like the melody, and her words are so beautiful that I’ve sometimes wept at the sheer miracle of them. It is an amazing blessing that she has chosen this genre, YA, that often gets so much crap for being shallow, when Stiefvater’s characters force you to feel deeply.

Grace is a pretty ordinary girl. She’s a good student, with friends and family that love her. Sam is the opposite of ordinary. Turned into a wolf at a young age, he has lived two lives that have only one thing in common, the girl that he loves both as a wolf and as a boy.

It’s been quite a while since I’ve read it, so I don’t have a whole lot of specific detail to put out there,  but the whole trilogy is incredible, and if you only ever read one book with werewolves in it, EVER, this should be it. And then, of course, you should read everything else that she’s ever written.

This is going to be the miniest review, because I am currently in the middle of participating in National Novel Writing Month (NanoWriMo) and am already writing at least 1,667 words a day, so at this point I’m feeling a little out of words. I will definitely not be making my book a week this month, but I will continue to post reviews and Throwback Thursdays, just probably not as long and detailed as you’re used to getting.

Thanks for sticking with me!

Throwback Thursdays

Throwback Thursday: Bitten by Kelley Armstrong

For this week’s Throw Back Thursday, I’m going to give you a mini review of the first book in one of my favorite series, Women of the Otherworld by Kelley Armstrong.

Bitten is the story of Elena Michaels, reporter by day, werewolf by night. She didn’t choose to become what she is, but she has taken her life back by leaving her Pack behind and living in the city. She’s got a human boyfriend, a human job, almost everything to make her life perfect. The only thing that breaks the illusion is having to sneak off very once and a while and change into a wolf. But Elena is willing to live with that so she can have the life she’s always wanted. But when her old Pack alpha calls her home, she knows she can’t ignore the summons, even if it will pull her headfirst back into the world she has been trying to escape.

I’ve read this whole series a couple of times, and even just flipping through this book looking for parts to review makes me want to jump back in.

I don’t read a lot of adult fiction: I find that the storylines often get a little bit campy and predictable. Not that it can’t happen in YA too, but I’ve found that I’m not as engaged in as much adult fiction. Kelley Armstrong is really the exception. She writes for YA too, but Women of the Otherworld is my favorite of hers. Her world is thrilling urban fantasy filled with smart independent women. And while all of these women have amazing power of their own, steamy romances make it that much more enthralling. Women of the Otherworld has werewolves, vampires, necromancers, witches, half-demons, really anything you could ask for in fantasy.

I went on a bit of a tangent on the series as a whole, but Bitten really is the perfect first book to set the series off. Armstrong originally wrote it as a standalone novel, but fans wanted more of Elena, so Armstrong wrote a sequel that set the whole series up for Elena to be joined by more outstanding protagonists. Though I do love the others, Elena will always be my favorite. She really is a strong female role model for other young women to look up to. She’s got a traumatic, haunting past, and while that never goes away, she learns live with who she is and what she has survived, and become stronger because of it.

Bitten is packed (ha, pack-ed, as in wolf pack), with great characters. The alpha, Jeremy, is a wise, fatherly leader, but one who is human enough to make mistakes, too. And how can I not mention Clay, the biggest heartthrob to ever appear in ink.

People ask me often what my favorite book is, and I can never answer, because I read amazing books all the time that astound me with their characters, their worldbuilding, engaging plots, inspiring and relevant themes. And while Kelley Armstrong is a great writer, Bitten is not the “best” books I’ve ever read. But it is up there on my favorites because I can pick it up again and again and feel the same thrill, and fall in love with the characters all over again.

But I will warn you: if you pick up Bitten, you may very well get hooked. And Women of the Otherworld is 13 books long, so you’d better be willing to be in it for the longhaul.

Throwback Thursdays

Blog Update/Throwback Thursday: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

shadow and bone

Hi everyone,

I just wanted to post a little update, as I’m going to be changing around how I’m doing my blog. I will still be reading a book a week, but I won’t be reviewing every book I read, as I have decided to no longer review sequels (there will be a few exceptions, I’m sure, but for the most part I won’t be doing it).

Since that throws the consistency of blog posts out of whack (though lets be honest, they haven’t been that consistent in a long time) I am going to start posting Throwback Thursday reviews into the mix.

Every Thursday, I will be posting a mini-review of a book that I read before I started reviewing books for this blog. They will be much shorter than normal and won’t follow my usual format, but will give me the opportunity to talk about books that I read long ago that I love, but won’t get the chance to write full reviews for on this blog.

My first Throwback review is by one of my favorite authors. It is, in fact, Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo.

This book tells the story of Alina Starkov, an ordinary girl with an extraordinary gift. She goes from being just one of thousands soldiers in the royal army to being swept up into the glamerous life of the Grisha: the magical, elite class of the kingdom of Ravka. The leader of the Grisha, known only as the Darkling, believes that Alina’s unique gift is the key to destroying the Fold, a realm of unnatural darkness that is filled with monsters. The Fold grows larger every year, threatening to engulf not only Ravka but the entire known world. But nothing in the world of the Court is as it seems, and Alina must reconcile her new power with the person that she has always been.

I honestly don’t do this book justice in the description. In this story, Leigh Bardugo teaches a masterclass in world building. I honestly have never read any world like hers, or come upon magic like hers. Her Grisha wield incredible power, but they are abilities that are almost believable.

One of my favorite things about this introduction to a sensational trilogy is the Fold, or the “Unsea”. It is a sinister void filled with monsters, both terrifying and awe-inspiring in its creativity and mystery.

I honestly cannot recommend this book (well, really, the whole trilogy) more. Its one of those stories that draws you in from the first pages, and Alina is a character that is both admirable in her strengths and relatable in her weaknesses. Leigh Bardugo was my #1 new author for 2016, and I give all 5 of her books that I’ve read a full 5 out of 5 stars.

If you’re looking for an engaging, unique book to pick up this week, try Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone. You won’t regret this foray into magic and darkness.