The Graces by Laure Eve

thegracesbookreview

Goodreads Synopsis

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.

Commentary

I finally decided to pick up The Graces by Laure Eve. I had the book on my reading list for almost a year. I was in the mood to read a story with a creepy atmosphere, and I am such a big fan of stories that have witches. I saw the rating on Goodreads…it was lower than I had anticipated, but I decided to read it. I tried not letting the ratings bother my reading, and everyone has different experiences when reading. When it came to finishing the book, now I understand why The Graces has low ratings.

I’ve read some terrible books this year, but River is possibly the worst snowflake offender for 2018. River mentioned so many times that she was not like other girls…Okay, River is the definition of a “pick me” character:

Urban Dictionary:

  1. A person who begs for the attention, acceptance and approval of a certain group in different things they say. In most case, it’s to attain the attention, acceptance and approval of the opposite sex.

River is the living embodiment of a “pick me” character. River is introduced as the new girl who can’t make friends, and a bit of a loner. Though she has a hard time adjusting to her school, she is entranced by The Graces. The Graces happen to be popular siblings attending her high school, both rich and mysterious. It is rumored that the Graces are witches. River is madly in love with Fenrin, the only male sibling. River tries to be a cool girl with a non-conformist attitude, but she desperately wants to fit in with the siblings. Most importantly she wants to be like the siblings. Her life revolves on pleasing the siblings and pretending to be something she is not.

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River’s home life is not great. Her father mysteriously disappeared, and her mother ignores her daughter’s life. River is given independence, and most of her life revolves around the Graces. She cannot live without them. River gets accepted into the group, because she becomes the best friend of Summer. River tries to be different from all the other friends of the Graces. River tries to be so cool that she makes it known that she is not interested in Fenrin, though as a reader, you know that she loves him. The love is pretty much one-sided. Because all the girls love Fenrin, the Grace siblings do not have permanent friends.

River is the only person that gets accepted into the inner circle, and rises to popularity. Although River is dear to the siblings, she is not fully accepted.

“The Graces had friends, but then they didn’t. Once in a while, they would descend on someone they’d never hung out with before, making them theirs for a time, but a time was usually all it was. They changed friends like some people changed hairstyles, as if perpetually waiting for someone better to come along.”

Summer is the goth, Fenrin is the hot dreamboat, and Thalia is the manic pixie girl. All the siblings are best friends with each other. Each character had dark secrets, and the friends were not as united as I had assumed. The siblings aren’t aware of the privilege and status they have. The Graces manipulate people and cause damage to the people that get involved.

The magic of the book is never really explained. Though the Graces are considered witches, the magic system is based on the intention of words. It reminded me sort of The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman. The Graces never really indicate whether they are witches. Each sibling has a different belief. Summer believes in magic, Fenrin doesn’t care, and Thalia is frightened by the supposed curse on the family.

This book is messy with drama. River is accepted into the lives of the Graces. She gets involved with drinking and partying. All the characters are messy. There are ridiculous events that happen in the book. Even though I don’t like the characters, I found them to be entertaining, and the book was laughable. Like I mentioned, the romance is one-sided. Fenrin is a tease and a flirt. River sees signs of Fenrin being interested in her, but he never acts on it. Fenrin doesn’t have permanent relationships with women. I felt that Summer might have had romantic feelings for River. I would have liked to see a romance between the best friends rather than Fenrin and River. There was one character that I did not like because he was there, and his name is Wolf. I did not care for him, but he plays a crucial part in the story, which I never saw coming.

“It was easy to romanticize tragedy, like you suddenly transformed into some sort of Byronic hero, sitting in darkened rooms with crystal glasses of whisky, hair tousled and artfully lank from all those sleepless nights starting at the walls and cursing the gods.”

I couldn’t take the book seriously. It reminds me a lot of Twilight, but with witches instead of vampires. Fenrin and Edward are similar, but Fenrin is not a stalker like Edward. Neither is Wolf like Jacob. River is an unreliable narrator, and a try hard. There were a couple of twists that did make the last half of the book more enjoyable. I initially rated this book 2-stars, but I did like it more than I imagined. I do look forward to reading the sequel for this series. The second book will be in Summer’s perspective from the synopsis on Goodreads. I am looking forward to reading about this problematic siblings and their angst.

Final Rating: ⭐⭐⭐ (3.25)

 

A Court Of Mist And Fury by Sarah J. Maas

a court of mist and fury

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Genre: New Adult, Fantasy, Romance

Link: Amazon

Goodreads Synopsis: 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.

overall feelings copy

Hey guys, it’s been a while since I last reviewed a book. I finished A Court of Mist and Fury last month. Let’s be honest here, I wasn’t a big fan of the first book in the series. I was debating on actually reading A Court Of Mist and Fury. I’m proud that I read it. There will be minor spoilers for the first book since I’m reviewing the second book. So if you’re reading this review, stop reading! You have been warned!

spoilers

If you didn’t love the first book, you’ll end up falling in love with the second book, I can guarantee that. Now, this book takes place months after Feyre has saved Prythian. She is a completely different person from the first and she has a complete personality change in this book. She is a faerie, but has a hard time adjusting to her new surroundings. She is broken. She suffers from post traumatic stress disorder. Who can blame the girl? She died in the first book. She is no longer the human huntress, but is now a fae with several magical abilities. She was saved all thanks to the High Lord of the Night Court. Even though she comes back to life, she suffers from constant nightmares and she is not getting the help she requires. Tamlin is utterly useless, there I said it, useless when it comes to helping Feyre cope with her trauma. It’s mentioned that he too is affected by what happened under the mountain. Tamlin causes Feyre more harm than anything else, and it doesn’t help that he keeps pushing her away. Their relationship physical, there is no emotional connection between the two.

Alright, A Court of Mist and Fury is going to change the way you see the male characters. Especially Tamlin. I haven’t read Sarah J. Maas’ Throne of Glass series, but I know what she did to a certain character in her last book. (Unavoidable spoilers on Tumblr). I really liked Tamlin, I really did. I had to look over my ACOTAR review just to see my thoughts on him. As I’ve mentioned in my previous review, I didn’t see Tamlin as the beast…and I was right. Though I am not a huge fan of seeing Tamlin the Tool as a villain, I wished the author could have gone for another route such as Feyre falling out of love with Tamlin. The Tamlin from the first and the second book are completely different. Tamlin is such a tool…forget Tamlin and Feyre as endgame. Don’t get me started on Lucien…Lucien was my favorite character. I was looking forward to a lot more of Lucien, but I was so heartbroken. I was disappointed with the lack of Lucien and I can’t completely “hate” Lucien for his actions. I do feel that his friendship with Tamlin is borderline abusive. You may be asking why I can’t hate Lucien, well it’s because he tried to help out Feyre even though his actions failed. Lucien is pressured to be in a position that is of high status, and he can’t go against his Lord (even though Tamlin’s actions are very questionable indeed). I hope that Lucien plays a bigger role in the last book, I want him to be a spy as well.

As for Rhysand, I loved him.  Rhysand is one of the most interesting characters in ACOTAR series. He got my attention the first time around, and I adore him. I love his backstory. Rhysand truly is the “beast” while Tamlin is Gaston since it was based on Disney’s Beauty & The Beast. Now going back to Rhysand, everything had a purpose. His actions are explained, there was a reason why he acted that way towards Feyre in the first book. Rhysand has a persona to play, he’s supposed to be “wicked”, but he’s not. I really respect Rhysand as a character because he is a feminist. But as much as I love Rhysand, I did find him to be a little too perfect…that’s one of my minor issues with this book. Rhysand’s inner circle is really loveable. His inner court is fantastic, and they were such a great addition to this series. My favorite had to be Amren. Why? She has no fear whatsoever and she’s fiercely loyal to her group of friends. One of my favorite scenes with Amren had to be when she used her bounty as a paperweight. Hopefully her backstory gets told in the last book. The ladies of the Night Court are badasses. The guys are just as great, especially Cassian.

I felt that ACOMAF focused a lot more on Feyre finding her own freedom and overcoming her obstacles. Feyre is in a abusive relationship. Tamlin doesn’t do anything to comfort Feyre. There is hardly any communication between the two. Tamlin believes that material items will bring joy to Feyre. Instead of trying to resolve Feyre’s brokenness, he rather lock her up. Feyre is miserable, and it’s especially telling when Feyre constantly throws up. I really despise how he forced Feyre to adjust to her faerie life. Also, Ianthe was the worst…I did not trust her and my intuition was completely right about her. She also made Feyre suffer, for example Feyre tells Ianthe that she doesn’t want any red for the wedding and what does Ianthe do? She includes red in Feyre’s wedding. I have a couple theories on what might happen in the last book, but I’ll save that for another time. As I’ve mentioned, Feyre isn’t given any freedom in the Spring Court. When Feyre lives in the Night Court, everything is drastically different. Rhysand lets Ferye do what she wants. He doesn’t force Feyre into situations like Tamlin. Feyre doesn’t realize that was in an abusive relationship until much later in the book! I am impressed with the character development of Tamlin, Feyre, and Rhysand.

I did feel that the book did drag on a bit. It was enjoyable, don’t get me wrong, but I felt that some chapters could have been cut shorter in length. I felt that the plot was stronger in ACOMAF than ACOTAR. Also, I really didn’t expect those plot twists. ACOMAF left me wanting more. I did buy my edition from Target since that edition came with a bonus story. Another minor issue I had with the book is that there were several love relationships being established. You had the main ship: Feyre and Rhysand, and others. But, I did end up liking the romantic pairs. One of my favorite secondary pairing is Cassian and Nesta, I like those two a lot. I love how Cassian,who is mostly interested in himself, finds himself captivated by a fiercely loyal human. I hope to reading more about that pairing. I’m hoping that Lucien and Elain get more scenes together in the last book since they are mates. I still don’t understand why ACOTAR & ACOMAF are labeled as YA. It’s not YA! Not with those sex scenes. Overall, ACOMAF was such a great read and there’s one book left! I can’t wait to see what happens. Especially excited since the last book is going to be a Snow White retelling, and now that I got to read!

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4.5)

The Rose & The Dagger by Renée Ahdieh

the rose and the dagger

Genre: Fantasy, Retellings, Romance, Young Adult

Links: Goodreads | Amazon 

Goodreads Synopsis: The darker the sky, the brighter the stars.

In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad is forced from the arms of her beloved husband, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once thought Khalid a monster—a merciless killer of wives, responsible for immeasurable heartache and pain—but as she unraveled his secrets, she found instead an extraordinary man and a love she could not deny. Still, a curse threatens to keep Shazi and Khalid apart forever.

Now she’s reunited with her family, who have found refuge in the desert, where a deadly force is gathering against Khalid—a force set on destroying his empire and commanded by Shazi’s spurned childhood sweetheart. Trapped between loyalties to those she loves, the only thing Shazi can do is act. Using the burgeoning magic within her as a guide, she strikes out on her own to end both this terrible curse and the brewing war once and for all. But to do it, she must evade enemies of her own to stay alive.

The saga that began with The Wrath and the Dawn takes its final turn as Shahrzad risks everything to find her way back to her one true love again.

overall feelings copy

The Rose & The Dagger has been very hyped up since last year, and I was one of the fans that was highly anticipating the conclusion to The Wrath & The Dawn. The hype did not kill my reading experience at all, in fact I was really excited when I was reading it. The Wrath & The Dawn duology is absolutely perfect. There were hardly any flaws in both books, and I am so glad that it was just two books.

I’ve noticed that most readers complained that the beginning of the story started off slowly, but that was not the case for me. The story was good from beginning to end. This book had several things going for it. The curse, and the upcoming war played a huge part in this book. I was stressed when I was reading the book. More than usual. And the stress wasn’t unnecessarily bad, it just made the reading experience much more fun. I was emotionally invested, and I love being transported into the world.

Now, moving on to the characters. I love Shahrzad, she is terrific and just as feisty in this book. Her character was consistent throughout the book, and she did get some character development. Shahrzad may not be physically strong, but when you mess with her, she fights like a lioness. I found her interactions with Khalid to be hilarious, especially concerning her temper. As for Khalid, he was wonderful. I really can’t imagine anyone else for Shahrzad, besides him. Also, how can you not like him?

“Two stubborn lovers, protecting each other from the very same threat.”

As for the supporting characters, I grew to love Irsa (Shahrzad’s younger sister). I loved the sister dynamic. Shahrzad is fighter and loud, while Irsa is docile and meek. I love the way how Irsa would compare herself as a meek mouse. I can completely relate with Irsa. I was glad that she got a lot of screen time in the book, and I especially love the growth she goes through. She even stands up to Khalid, even though she is completely terrified of talking back to royalty. Irsa’s story had me in tears. (That was probably the only time that I cried during reading TRATD)

I was a bit disappointed that Despina and Jalal were not as involved with the story. I really wanted more moments between Despina and Jalal. I have to say that Despina’s family history is revealed, and I was not expecting it, and what a twist. That’s one of my minor complaints from the book since I loved them in the first book. Lastly, I loved how much girl power this book had. I don’t really want to spoil this book, because it is one of my top books for this year.

Renée Ahdieh has a beautiful writing style, and she’s been one of my favorite authors since last year. If you find yourself having a reading slump, then I would highly suggest reading this series. Honestly, the first book was the one to save me from my reading slump and it has a special place in my heart.

Quotes: 

“It was because they were two parts of a whole. He did not belong to her. And she did not belong to him. It was never about belonging to someone. It was about belonging together.”

“I’ve missed the silence of you listening to me.” Shahrzad attempted a weak smile. “No one listens to me as you do.” His expression turned quizzical. “You don’t wait to speak,” she clarified. “You truly listen.” “Only to you,” Khalid replied gently.”

“For nothing, not the sun, not the rain, not even the brightest star in the darkest sky, could begin to compare to the wonder of you. Khalid”

Final Rating:⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

 

Monthly TBR: June 2016

Hey, and good day! I hope everyone is having a wonderful day. Now, the month of May was a good reading month. I didn’t get through all the books I wanted to read, but I can’t let that sadden me. I looked at my Goodreads challenge, and I’m actually 15 books ahead of my schedule. I set the goal for 50 books for this year, but I may change it to 75 since my reading progress is better than expected!

Goodreads Challenge Update 2016

 

 

Here are the books I read in the month of May:

  1. The Crown by Kiera Cass
  2. Manga Classics: The Scarlet Letter by Stacy King & Nathaniel Hawthrone (original)
  3. The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski
  4. Zodiac Starforce by Kevin Panetta & Paulina Ganucheau
  5. The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

The books that I haven’t finished reading are The Rose & The Dagger, and A Court Of Mist And Fury, which I started last month. Those two books shall be included in this month’s tbr.

Now moving on to the books I want to read for this June.

the rose and the daggerGoodreads Synopsis: The darker the sky, the brighter the stars.

In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad is forced from the arms of her beloved husband, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once thought Khalid a monster—a merciless killer of wives, responsible for immeasurable heartache and pain—but as she unraveled his secrets, she found instead an extraordinary man and a love she could not deny. Still, a curse threatens to keep Shazi and Khalid apart forever.

Now she’s reunited with her family, who have found refuge in the desert, where a deadly force is gathering against Khalid—a force set on destroying his empire and commanded by Shazi’s spurned childhood sweetheart. Trapped between loyalties to those she loves, the only thing Shazi can do is act. Using the burgeoning magic within her as a guide, she strikes out on her own to end both this terrible curse and the brewing war once and for all. But to do it, she must evade enemies of her own to stay alive.

The saga that began with The Wrath and the Dawn takes its final turn as Shahrzad risks everything to find her way back to her one true love again.

a court of mist and furyGoodreads Synopsis: 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.

one paris summerGoodreads Synopsis: Most teens dream of visiting the City of Lights, but it feels more like a nightmare for Sophie Brooks. She and her brother are sent to Paris to spend the summer with their father, who left home a year ago without any explanation. As if his sudden abandonment weren’t betrayal enough, he’s about to remarry, and they’re expected to play nice with his soon-to-be wife and stepdaughter. The stepdaughter, Camille, agrees to show them around the city, but she makes it clear that she will do everything in her power to make Sophie miserable.

Sophie could deal with all the pain and humiliation if only she could practice piano. Her dream is to become a pianist, and she was supposed to spend the summer preparing for a scholarship competition. Even though her father moved to Paris to pursue his own dream, he clearly doesn’t support hers. His promise to provide her with a piano goes unfulfilled.

Still, no one is immune to Paris’s charm. After a few encounters with a gorgeous French boy, Sophie finds herself warming to the city, particularly when she discovers that he can help her practice piano. There’s just one hitch—he’s a friend of Camille’s, and Camille hates Sophie. While the summer Sophie dreaded promises to become best summer of her life, one person could ruin it all.

summer days and summer nightsGoodreads Synopsis: Maybe it’s the long, lazy days, or maybe it’s the heat making everyone a little bit crazy. Whatever the reason, summer is the perfect time for love to bloom. Summer Days & Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories, written by twelve bestselling young adult writers and edited by the international bestselling author Stephanie Perkins, will have you dreaming of sunset strolls by the lake. So set out your beach chair and grab your sunglasses. You have twelve reasons this summer to soak up the sun and fall in love.

Featuring stories by Leigh Bardugo, Francesca Lia Block, Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, Brandy Colbert, Tim Federle, Lev Grossman, Nina LaCour, Stephanie Perkins, Veronica Roth, Jon Skovron, and Jennifer E. Smith.

the crown's gameGoodreads Synopsis: Vika Andreyeva can summon the snow and turn ash into gold. Nikolai Karimov can see through walls and conjure bridges out of thin air. They are enchanters—the only two in Russia—and with the Ottoman Empire and the Kazakhs threatening, the Tsar needs a powerful enchanter by his side.

And so he initiates the Crown’s Game, an ancient duel of magical skill—the greatest test an enchanter will ever know. The victor becomes the Imperial Enchanter and the Tsar’s most respected adviser. The defeated is sentenced to death.

Raised on tiny Ovchinin Island her whole life, Vika is eager for the chance to show off her talent in the grand capital of Saint Petersburg. But can she kill another enchanter—even when his magic calls to her like nothing else ever has?

For Nikolai, an orphan, the Crown’s Game is the chance of a lifetime. But his deadly opponent is a force to be reckoned with—beautiful, whip smart, imaginative—and he can’t stop thinking about her.

And when Pasha, Nikolai’s best friend and heir to the throne, also starts to fall for the mysterious enchantress, Nikolai must defeat the girl they both love… or be killed himself.

As long-buried secrets emerge, threatening the future of the empire, it becomes dangerously clear… the Crown’s Game is not one to lose.

Hello, I Love You by Katie M Stout: Book Review

Goodreads Synopsis: A teen escapes to a boarding school abroad and falls for a Korean pop star in this fun and fresh romantic novel in the vein of Anna and the French Kiss.

Grace Wilde is running—from the multi-million dollar mansion her record producer father bought, the famous older brother who’s topped the country music charts five years in a row, and the mother who blames her for her brother’s breakdown. Grace escapes to the farthest place from home she can think of, a boarding school in Korea, hoping for a fresh start.

She wants nothing to do with music, but when her roommate Sophie’s twin brother Jason turns out to be the newest Korean pop music superstar, Grace is thrust back into the world of fame. She can’t stand Jason, whose celebrity status is only outmatched by his oversized ego, but they form a tenuous alliance for the sake of her friendship with Sophie. As the months go by and Grace adjusts to her new life in Korea, even she can’t deny the sparks flying between her and the KPOP idol.

Soon, Grace realizes that her feelings for Jason threaten her promise to herself that she’ll leave behind the music industry that destroyed her family. But can Grace ignore her attraction to Jason and her undeniable pull of the music she was born to write? Sweet, fun, and romantic, this young adult novel explores what it means to experience first love and discover who you really are in the process.

Commentary: When I first about this book, I immediately put in on my to be read list. I really love KPOP and I thought it was going to be super interesting!! Now, I had mixed feelings about the book before I got it. It could have been great or a train wreck. Well, this book was a bit of a train wreck for me. Grace Wilde, the main protagonist, was so annoying!! She made Americans look bad! She was quite nosy, she wanted to know everything personal about the secondary characters, it’s like she has never heard of privacy…and insensitive about Korean culture. First of all, she didn’t really want to go to South Korea. She chose the first school according to Google results. If she really wanted to get away from her family, she should have chosen a place where she wanted to go to…that’s one of my main problems with this book. She could have at least been a bit more enthusiastic about her stay there, but no. Also, I thought Jason Bae was going to be in a Korean pop group, but that wasn’t the case. He was in a band, and Grace was so suprised that Koreans play instruments like Westerners. Secondly, I don’t think this book is for any KPOP fan at all. There weren’t really any references to KPOP…The book mainly focused on the developing love-hate relationship between Jason and Grace. I was very disappointed because this book was really hyped up. I felt sorry for Jason since there was a lot of miscommunication between he and Grace. Grace was mostly angry and quite annoying, I don’t know how he and his band member fell for her.  She constantly got angry at Jason…and overreacted to so many situations…I don’t know how I even finished the book. I also felt that the second guy was a bit pointless. I feel that the author tried to create drama between the characters, but I believe that it didn’t work since Grace was too distracted by Jason and how hot he was. The secondary characters were fun. I really like Sophie, Jason’s twin. She was really nice and helpful to Grace. I would have loved if Grace’s sister, Jane, were the protagonist! It would have made this book a little more readable. In addition, the synopsis says that Grace wanted to get away from the music industry, but that’s a lie. She was willing to help out Jason out with his song. Whoever wrote the synopsis should rewrite because it fooled me! The book title is based off The Door’s song, Hello I Love You. Lastly, I really couldn’t stand Grace. She was snobby and wasn’t really willing to learn in her new environment. Was the book worth the price? No, I found it to be a tad expensive for a meh book. Would I recommend it for my fellow KPOP fans? Absolutely not. I would rather read KPOP fanfictions on Wattpad.

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️ (1.5)