Rule Number 32

Enjoy the little things. ~Zombieland

Wearing a cute print. {The Little Things}

Clothes with cute prints make me very happy, and being a bit meta with a print is always fun. Wearing this umbrella print on rainy days make them a little less gloomy.

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Crooked Kingdom review

Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2)
Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“No mourners, no funerals. Another way of saying good luck. But it was something more. A dark wink to the fact that there would be no expensive burials for people like them, no marble markers to remember their names, no wreaths of myrtle and rose.”

It took me way longer than necessary to reread this because I didn’t want it to be over… I love being in this world so very much and I always feel so connected to these characters. This is easily my favourite duology ever. The writing is lovely and there are many beautiful moments, yet this is mixed with the exciting story of a bunch of criminals trying to work the system to get what is owed to them. Perfection!

These characters are so so so amazing and I love them all. There is so much personal development packed in here and so many adorable relationship moments that melted my heart. They may be some of the worst Ketterdam has to offer, but I love them all anyway… The new and improved Wylan who starts to accept himself is one of the biggest stars of the show, Inej slays literally every scene she’s in, Nina and Matthias give me life and relationship goals, Kaz trying to stay focused on ruining Van Eck and Rollins instead of falling deeper for Inej is too precious, and Jesper trying to be a better person is so pure. (Seriously though, the tension between Kaz and Inej is some of the purest and most amazing writing ever. “I can help you.” gives me chills every time.)

After all their mad escapes and close calls, he’d started to believe the six of them were somehow charmed, that his guns, Kaz’s brains, Nina’s wit, Inej’s talent, Wylan’s ingenuity, and Matthias’ strength had made them somehow untouchable.

The schemes get ever more elaborate in this book, and it’s so fun to learn how much planning Kaz and the crew put into it all. There are so many details that are hidden from the reader and from members of the crew, so it’s often shocking to see how Kaz planned for literally everything. Each character has important roles that play to their strengths and talents. Kuwei is kind of an honorary member of the crew, but he doesn’t have nearly as much development and isn’t featured as much. I also have to throw in some appreciation for Rotty and Specht – they are super important for a lot of these schemes but are usually just chilling in the background.

The world of Ketterdam is explored way more in this book, and I freaking loved every little detail. I want to be a member of the Dregs and explore this city with Inej on the rooftops and eat waffles with Nina and Jesper and lurk in shadows with Kaz as he stashes things all over the place. I just love these books so much!

“I would come for you,” he said, and when he saw the wary look she shot him, he said it again. “I would come for you. And if I couldn’t walk, I’d crawl to you, and no matter how broken we were, we’d fight our way out together—knives drawn, pistols blazing. Because that’s what we do. We never stop fighting.”

First read: I can’t get over how amazing these characters are and how perfect the plot is. Every little detail in Kaz’s plan that is revealed blows my mind. It’s just so well thought out! Wylan and Jesper are SO cute. I feel so sad for Nina, both with what she has to go through with her powers and what she loses… I definitely cried a lot. I didn’t want this to end and I could honestly read a book about them just sitting around talking and it would be the greatest thing ever – these characters are just too perfect. I look forward to more writing about the Grishaverse in the future, especially if it involves Nikolai. My heart will be patiently waiting.

She felt his knuckles slide against hers. Then his hand was in her hand, his palm was pressed against her own. A tremor moved through him. Slowly, he let their fingers entwine. For a long while, they stood there, hands clasped, looking out at the gray expanse of the sea.

I really don’t want this to be over…

Final thought: So yeah, patiently waiting for King of Scars

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Six of Crows review

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Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A gambler, a convict, a wayward son, a lost Grisha, a Suli girl who had become a killer, a boy from the Barrel who had become something worse.

Still perfect the second time around! My love for this book honestly can’t be put into words. It has my vote for Best Book Ever. These characters each earned a little piece of my heart and I won’t be asking for them back.

I love the mix of action, emotions, description, world building, and dialogue – each word was carefully placed to add up to the most perfect book ever. I was grinning like crazy for a lot of this, and feeling all the deep emotions for the rest of it. Each character is so complex and layered, and I had no choice but to love all of them. And then the intricate plot is added on top of their personal stories to make for an insanely fun and daring heist – can it get better than that?!

The way that each dynamic was crafted was so amazing. All six main characters have relationships with each other (whether minor or major) and they all had their own feel to them. The three main pairings are lovely of course, but I also love scenes between Inej & Nina and Kaz & Matthias. They are all so perfect!

This book manages to be deep and complicated while also being easy to devour. It tackles serious issues, as each of these characters is battling with something from their past and present at the same time. Leigh Bardugo handled all of these issues with such care and I swear she poured a piece of her soul into this book. I know it managed to steal a piece of mine.

“It’s not natural for women to fight.”
“It’s not natural for someone to be as stupid as he is tall, and yet there you stand.”

First read:
Everything about this book is perfect. There are so many twists and turns – it really kept me guessing and I loved that some details were kept secret until later chapters to add to the wow factor. It blows my mind that so much character development was woven into the fast pace of the plot.

KAZ – what a gem. His internal dialogue is super cute. My appreciation of this character is unreal, and I love how he loves a certain someone. 😉 (BUT he still needs to man up. *screams internally out of frustration*)
The dynamic relationship between Nina and Matthias is so so so good.
Jesper making Wylan blush is gold. (Making him feel like he’s wanted is pretty good too.)
These characters are perfection.

“No mourners,” Jesper said as he tossed his rifle to Rotty.
“No funerals,” the rest of the Dregs murmured in reply. Among them, it passed for “good luck.”

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Theme Thursday: Main character was heavily lied to

This always makes for crazy reveals or fun times knowing things the character doesn’t!

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After the End ~ Breaking Sky
Image result for vengeance roadImage result for these broken stars
Vengeance Road ~ These Broken Stars
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White Cat ~ The Final Empire

The Girl They Left Behind review

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The Girl They Left Behind by Roxanne Veletzos

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I received a digital ARC thanks to the “Read Now” feature on NetGalley!

I really enjoyed learning about Romania’s history in WWII and all that happened after it. There were so many tragedies that occurred in this country that I didn’t know about before. Having Natalia’s story develop along with these events made for a very interesting read.

I liked the characters well enough, but I didn’t feel as connected to them as I wanted to and it was difficult to feel completely invested in their stories. The book was a tad long and I lost focus of the main points of Natalia’s journey a few times. Some of the chapters had dates at the start, and I think it would have been beneficial to have these with all the chapters, as I was confused about when some events were happening.

As for the plot, I mostly enjoyed Natalia’s whole story, but there were parts that were a little boring. I really liked her relationship were her parents and how much love they shared. Victor definitely wasn’t my favourite character… The last couple chapters were amazing and really brought the whole book together.

The little bit of family history at the end and the true story that this book was based on were lovely and such a great reason to write this story. Preserving family history in this way while also adding a fictional element to it was beautiful.

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Renegades review

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Renegades by Marissa Meyer

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“Your days of villainy are over, Nightmare.”

She scoffed. “You sound like you’ve read too many comics.”

“You sound like you think that’s a bad thing,” he retorted.

Wow, I had an unreal amount of fun reading this! It felt like a comic book or superhero movie a lot of the time, which was pretty different from most of what I read – but there were still tons of YA elements to flesh it out, and it was the pure and delightful writing that I love from Marissa Meyer. There were aliases, secret identities, fight scenes, plenty of silly statements, and opposing super groups.

There were tons of characters, and most of them had aliases, but they were actually super easy to keep track of. They all have such unique personalities and cool abilities, and they interacted in a way that made them all memorable. Nova and Adrian were great MCs and they are really adorable and badass. Their closest associates featured heavily throughout the book and my quick thoughts on them are: Max is beyond adorable, Oscar is so funny, Oscar and Ruby are cute, Winston is majorly creepy, Dana wasn’t around much but seems legit, Ingrid = ugh, Honey and Leroy didn’t really matter to me, Phobia is mysterious and weird, and the members of the Council are iffy.

“What exactly are we looking for?”

“Villains, doing villainous things.”

There is so much sass going on in this book. It’s a really fun and light read (most of the time, but there are some darker turns of course). Nova is amazing and I really admired her, even if some of her decisions and reasoning were flawed. One of the best lines in the entire book was, “Paper beats rock.” OH dang!

The history of the current political situation was cool. I liked how Nova fit into it all and how much the events of her past are directing her present decisions. She started out with a solid focus on her plan at the beginning, but by the end of the book she has some distractions and a lot to think about. (And a specific someone to think about!) I hope to learn even more about the prodigies and how they fit into the world in the next book, as it is really fascinating. It’s really cool that Nova keeps questioning the way things are and how reliant the general public is on the Renegades and their abilities. I suspect a big shakeup will be coming!

Adrian’s ability is really neat and it will be fun to see what else he does with it in the next book. He’s a tough cinnamon roll and definitely won the award for cutest character. He’s such a good teammate and friend – it will be interesting to see how his actions continue to affect Nova’s thoughts on the Renegades.

I predicted the “surprise” ending at the very beginning of the book because I am skeptical as fuck. It was cool to know what was coming throughout the book and speculate about the exact circumstances. There are still so many unknowns and I need answers! I’m looking forward to reading about how Nova, Adrian, and the gang figure it all out in book two.

One cannot be brave who has no fear.

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Not Our Kind review

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Not Our Kind by Kitty Zeldis

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

This was so freaking relevant to the current social and political climate, which is depressing seeing as it is set in the 1940s… There were many complex relationships in this book that were explored in a great way. The views of the time period and the characters were heavily focused on and were the main drivers of the plot. Eleanor was also discovering who she wanted to be as a young woman at the same time, which exemplified her strength and perseverance in the midst of all of the crap she was forced to endure. The writing of this book was really lovely and engaging, but some scenes felt off to me and distanced me from the characters a bit.

Eleanor and Margaux formed such an interesting and lovely bond. It was marred by the hatred and distrust of Wynn, along with the distance Patricia kept from Eleanor, all of which was based solely on the fact that Eleanor was Jewish. I fucking hated Wynn. I rarely hate a character this thoroughly, but he managed to gain my loathing very early on. He was an all-around shitty person. There was also a budding romance with Tom, which had problems of its own to overcome. The issues in this book were so complex and layered that they can’t really be discussed without revealing too much of the plot…

So I’m going to hop up on my soapbox here and rant: The anti-Semitism expressed in this book by characters in post-WWII New York has so many echoes in our current society, which is disheartening, terrifying, and so infuriating. Being Jewish was warped into an awful thing that needed to be treated as “other” and so many members of our society have continued to just go along with this insane notion. It has literally been decades, and an entire group of very diverse people is still ostracized, alienated, and targeted by hate crimes. Reading this book in the wake of the shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue caused me to think more deeply about all of the issues presented. I took special note of the way anti-Semitic remarks were phrased, from the outright hatred to the almost-indifferent to the quietly-rejecting. These are varying degrees of awful, but the common themes of hostility, distrust, animosity, and pure hatred persist and are perpetuated by everything these characters say and do when they act or speak out against a Jewish person or the Jewish faith. This is clearly still true of our society: this hateful view is a learned one – it is perpetuated by every comment and action that a child is exposed to, every time they are told they are better than a Jewish person, and every time they are prevented from getting to know anyone who is “different.” Margaux was a perfect example of this problem. Her views of Jewish people were not yet full of hatred and distrust, but there was a severe lack of understanding presented through her statements when she first met Eleanor – all because of the ways her parents spoke and acted around her. Choosing to hate an entire group of people simply because their faith is not your own, especially one as diverse as the Jewish community (from the most devout to those who identify as Jewish simply because they come from a Jewish family) is fucking mind-blowing. I will never be able to understand the insanity of this, and it makes me so angry, frustrated, and extremely sad that I can’t change peoples’ minds about this. All I can do is continue to accept people as people, judging them by their personal character and not by one aspect of their identity…

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