all fall down

Review // All Fall Down

4:00 PM

All Fall Down by Ally Carter
Pages: 320
Published: January 20, 2015
Genre(s): YA, Spy Thriller, Mystery
Cover Rating:  (Eh. Not too crazy about this one. Love the type treatment though.)

Grace Blakely is absolutely certain of three things: 1. She is not crazy. 2. Her mother was murdered. 3. Someday she is going to find the killer and make him pay.

As certain as she is about these facts, nobody else believes her -- so there's no one she can completely trust. Her past has come back to hunt her . . . and if she doesn't stop it, Grace isn't the only one who will get hurt. Because on Embassy Row, the countries of the world stand like dominoes, and one wrong move can make them all fall down.



~~~


It was really interesting seeing espionage from a different standpoint than the Gallagher Girls and Heist Society series. Those people are pros. They know exactly what they're doing, why they're doing it, and when they're doing it. (I recommend those books by the way. The Gallagher Girls books especially are some of my favorite books ever.) 

Grace kind of knows what she's doing and kind of doesn't. Yeah, she knows a trick or two from her military dad but she doesn't know everything. Which was a refreshing point of view. I really liked how I got to see more into "embassy life" too! It was fun reading about all the different nationalities and how they had to be careful not to overstep boundaries or work around national tensions. 

On the other hand, I felt like too much energy was devoted to telling the reader about Grace and her "craziness" and her struggles so the background scenes and characters were neglected. 


It took a while for things to get going. The important, big things didn't start to happen until probably half way through the book (or at least it felt that way). However, the mysterious/plotting side of the story was pretty fabulous. It's one of Ally Carter's great strengths and she proved herself yet again with this one. 


In conclusion, to me it was the kind of book where you have to give it a chance and maybe wait a little while to be wowed. 


You guys know that characters are usually my favorite part of books.


Aaaaaand... I didn't love the characters in this book as much or as quickly as in other ally carter books. It just didn't work for me as well. Grace came across to me as pretty bratty at first. I did like a few other characters right away but they weren't as developed as they could be. 

Also the whole Alexei situation was kind of weird. 

It might be said that these kinds of books need the "dark, brooding" male character (not said by me though). It felt like he only existed for this sole purpose. For certain dramatic guy-girl scenes and then for the rest of the time he was out of the picture. Eh. It didn't make sense to me. 

I'm really really hoping for more relationship development (friendship relationship) in the next book because the friendships in this book are really promising. I'm so thankful that when I thought the author was bringing in a love interest he wasn't. He was just a friend, which is great. We need more of that. 

I was also super impressed by how the author wrote for Grace's character. Is she crazy? Is she not? I CAN'T TELL. It drove me crazy. My point is though--I was impressed and learned a bit more about how the human mind works.

P.S. That ending though! Stick it out and be awed. 

My Rating:

Disclaimer: I was not reimbursed for this review in any way. All opinions or thoughts expressed are my own.

blog award

Blogger Award: Sisterhood of the World

4:00 PM

I was nominated for this award by Amanda Emma from Little Miss Reader (about five short months ago *sarcasm*). Thank you so much. You're my favorite. :)



Rules:
1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and link their website
2. Use the award logo on your post
3. Answer the 10 questions provided by the blogger who tagged you
4. Nominate 10 bloggers
5. Ask them 10 questions


What's your favorite thing to eat or drink while reading?

I don't really eat or drink stuff when I read because I don't want to mess up my pretty baby books. If I had to say something though, I'd say lemon water and chocolate? (But obviously not together. Gross.)

Which classic is your favorite? If you don't read classics, then which one do you think would be your favorite?

I'm going to be really cliche and say Pride and Prejudice. It was one of the few classics I read through without experiencing extreme headaches and boredom. 


What can I say? I'm not a classics person. #notashamed

What is your biggest book pet peeve?

Dog-earing pages. Just don't do it people. Don't. And OHMYGOSH writing. Writing in books is the ultimate sin. 


Writing-wise.... I really don't like reading books in second person. It's weird to me. *shrugs*

Do you use bookmarks? If not, what do you use then?

I try to use bookmarks. The thing is... I lose things really really easily (seriously I'm so scatter-brained) so I substitute other things most of the time. The list of weird-things-used-as-bookmarks is pretty big-- a pen, hair thing, sticky note pad, my phone, a roll of tissue paper. Yeah. I was desperate.

How do you decide which books to read next?

It depends because sometimes I'm in a certain mood so I'll pick urban fantasy or a spy story or whatever... depending on the mood. Other times I use a random selector on my computer (when I'm feeling super indecisive). Of course sometimes I just happen to have the book I've been wanting to read for ages and read that.

What do you love most about blogging?

The community. Always the community. I've met some of my closest friends on here. I'm not especially good at friending in real life... but it's easier in the blogging community. 

Although I am super forgetful (I should have a disclaimer for my friends) and not especially good at consistent communicating.

A close second is writing something and then having it appreciated. It's a great feeling to write a post and then have it get a ton of views. 

What do you love most about being a reader?

I love being able to immerse myself in a different world where impossible is possible or where I meet people who are so much like me it's crazy. 

What got you into blogging?

I think it was a random idea (haha HA. pun intended. not sorry at all). One day I just felt like starting a blog and writing down what I felt. Of course it was anonymous then. And it was about different things. But I think in the end it was all about having somewhere to release my creativity and emotions. 

Which book is at the top of your wishlist at the time?

Hmmm. This is a hard question. Probably A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis (crazy people + asylums + detective work) or Dream a Little Dream (weird doorknobs + guys who know secrets + talking stone statues) by Kerstin Gier. 

Which book(s) do you look forward to reading these next months? (released or to be released, doesn't matter)

Well. A lot. But mostly these...

The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater
Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices #1) by Cassandra Clare
A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis
Dream a Little Dream by Kerstin Gier
Passenger by Alexandra Bracken
The Accident Season by Moira Fowley-Doyle
Glass Sword (Red Queen #2) by Victoria Aveyard

My Questions:
1. Who is your favorite Avenger? (or if you're not into the Avengers then favorite superhero is fine)
2. What do you do to get out of a reading slump?
3. What's your favorite thing to do to relax?
4. What's your favorite part of blog work? (writing posts, design, replying to comments, etc.) Why?
5. Boots or sneakers?
6. Do you collect anything? If so, what?
7. Do you have a secret talent? *wiggles eyebrows*
8. What's your favorite book of this month?
9. Would you rather wash the dishes or clean your bedroom?
10. Blue ink or black ink pen?

My Nominees:
Victoria @ Stori Tori's Blog

+ whoever wants to because sadly I can't think of ten bloggers for this right now (and if I nominate the same people over and over again in a row I feel like I'm plaguing them with too many tags >.< )

book review

Review // The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender

4:00 PM


The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton
Pages: 301
Published: March 27, 2014
Genre(s): YA, Fantasy, Magical Realism
Cover Rating: ✰ (Yes. YES. This is one of my favorite book covers of all time. I love the way the title is incorporated in the feather. I love everything.)

Foolish love appears to be the Roux family birthright, an ominous forecast for its most recent progeny, Ava Lavender. Ava—in all other ways a normal girl—is born with the wings of a bird. In a quest to understand her peculiar disposition and a growing desire to fit in with her peers, sixteen-year old Ava ventures into the wider world, ill-prepared for what she might discover and na├»ve to the twisted motives of others. Others like the pious Nathaniel Sorrows, who mistakes Ava for an angel and whose obsession with her grows until the night of the Summer Solstice celebration. 


**note: The book image links to its Goodreads page.

~~~


I've been wanting to read this (and hadn't) since it got published. I mean who wouldn't want to read a book with that cover and title. The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender has such a whimsical cover and blurb too. Everything about it screams "LOVE ME." 

I had great expectations. 


Unfortunately, this book didn't meet them. 

It really reminded of a book I had to read for my World Literature class called One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Marquez which I did. not. like. I probably should have realized it would be similar since TSBSAL (which I'm going to call it because the title is waaay too long despite it being beautiful) is also based on magical realism but I didn't. 

And I don't like magical realism. Or at least, I didn't like it in these books. 



The plot was strange and disjointed which I could enjoy to some extend but I felt like some of the events that happened were extremely unnecessary. I'm a pretty logical person book-wise. Most of the time, I want there to be a legitimate reason behind something that happens. There were almost NO reasons. 


It was a book of random events with a loose plot threading it together. 

Sexual descriptions (of certain encounters or body parts) and sexualization of situations abounded. And they were completely unnecessary to the story. I didn't like it because we talk about not sexualizing different things and this books does that all the time. FOR NO REASON. It took a lot away from the story. 


The characters honestly were probably my favorite thing about this book. They were quirky and they had faults, which is endearing because no one is perfect. The author also did a good job making these half-fantastical, half-real characters that seemed to float between the worlds of magic and the real world, never really in one or the other. 

Buuut, there were unhealthy relationships. Especially between guys and girls. There was mistaking physical attraction for love. Staying in a relationship because of perceived love or duty. 

I feel like maybe the author was trying to show true love in the end, but in the process it explored all the other kinds of love that are really bad in more depth. 

I know this review might seem a bit ranty. It is. A tiny bit. 


No, but seriously, even though this book didn't really settle with me there were some good points. Like I said earlier, most of the characters were written quite well. 

I liked the whimsy. The maybe-even-the-impossible-is-possible feeling. And lastly, I really did like the way the main character finally found herself.

But.... it wasn't enough.

My Rating:

Disclaimer: I was not reimbursed for this review in any way. All opinions or thoughts expressed are my own. 

cheese in the trap

January Recap

4:00 PM


Yoooo it's the end of January. It has been COLD. 


The good thing about coldness and tons of snow though is that (at least this time) classes got canceled. Which is completely legendary at my school. So it was fun and kind of weird at the same time because I'm not used to that much free time when I'm away at school. :)


I'm so happy about the amount of books I read. It's been a while since I've had such a good month. And I finally finished the Gallagher Girl series!! Still one of my all-time favorites, hands down. 



The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Brennan, & Maureen Johnson ✪ (my review
A Gallagher Wedding by Ally Carter 
Out of Sight, Out of Time (Gallagher Girls #5) by Ally Carter (re-read)
Winter by Marissa Meyer 
All Fall Down by Ally Carter 



SURPRISE. It was also a good month of shows.


I always watch way more TV shows when I'm at school, always. Just in general and also more than movies. It feels like less commitment. ;)



The Shannara Chronicles is apparently based on a book series but I haven't read it (and had never heard about it actually). THIS TV SHOW IS AWESOME. First of all, there are elves. Which is already epic, but these elves are also the descendants of humans instead of vice versa. There are different races too and I'm just loving the plot and characters so far. And the world is stunning.

DeokspatchX2 is a little show that can be found on YouTube that's about Monsta X. They're one of my favorite Kpop groups, they just debuted in 2015, and they're hilarious & adorable. (Don't worry they have English subs.) 

Shadowhunters is inspired by The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare. But that's it, it's inspired by it. If you're expecting a super accurate re-telling of the books, you're going to be disappointed. HOWEVER, if you come in with an open mind than I think it's a pretty great show (albeit a little corny and dramatic). 

Gosh, Cheese in the Trap is my new Kdrama child. It's sooo relatable. It's about a girl in college and while it does focus on cliche Kdrama things like love triangles and chic guys, it also deals with life-- annoying little brothers that you still love, friends who have your back no matter what, being poor, being a college student who's poor. I love it so much. 

I found Moorim School because Hongbin (one of the members from VIXX my favorite Kpop group) is in it. But I stayed because of the cool story world and the karate. You can't go wrong with karate. It's very urban fantasy-ish which I think is rare in Kdramas. 

JYP Sixteen is a pre-debut reality show that was used to form the new girl group Twice. I'm becoming a fan of Twice and I just think it's cool learning about their personalities more through the show. Although I am really sad now because there are some other people I really like now that never made it to the group. (SOMI). 


I decided to do things a little different this time and put snippets and titles of all my favorite songs of this month in one video. That way it takes up less space and doesn't make my recap posts as monstrously long. 





>>> I started my internship for realsies.
>>> I cleaned up my blog design a little bit (new tabs, new social media links, etc.).
>>> I've been trying to eat better, treat myself better in general, hang out with friends... in other words, trying to live out my belief that a person shouldn't put off living to the fullest in order to get work done now. There's a healthy medium in there somewhere. I'm trying to find it.


>>> Trying to learn how to do clay things in my Intro to Clay class. #1 thing I learned: clay is messy. It's messy when it's wet (otherwise known as plastic. weird I know) AND it's messy when it's dry (clay powder everywhere man, everywhere).



>>> 20 Reasons to Hate Blogging written by SJ @A Tree Grows in Bookland because blogging can be gross sometimes even if you love it.

>>> It's always good to know How to Nicely Attack People with Friendship Online and Cait @Paper Fury tells you how to do that excellently well. My favorite thing is the thing about not being afraid to put yourself out there in comments or social media because it can be tough. But it's also the best when you find friends.

How was your January?

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