The Raven Cycle

Books, books and more books! I’m back with a new series of books that you all should read… And this time the chosen ones were The Raven Cycle books writen by Maggie Stiefvater. This series is made up by four books: The Raven Boys; The Dream Thieves; Blue Lily, Lily Blue; and The Raven King.

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The plot focus on the story of Blue Sargent, Richard Gansey III, Ronan Lynch and Adam Parrish and their quest to find a long lost sleeping Welsh king called Glendower. Gansey started his quest after he was killed by hornets, which he is fatally allergic to, seven years before. As he was dying, a voice told him that Glendower would let him live because someone else was dying on the ley line when they shouldn’t. So they embarked on this journey together, but there are a few catches… For starters they’re from different worlds.

Blue is the only non-psychic member of a family full of psychics and she has a course over her head… If she kisses her true love, they will die. She never thought this would be a real problem until she sees a boy emerge from the dark and speak to her on the dead walk past. This boy is called Gansey, a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school who is involved in one of the biggest quests known to men. Then there are Gansey’s Raven Boys: Adam, a scholarship student who resents the privilege that surrounds him; Ronan, the fierce boy whose emotions range from anger to despair and is keeping a big secret from his friends; and Noah, the quiet watcher who notices everything that happens around him.

Although Blue promised herself never to get involved with the Aglionby boys, she takes a chance on these boys and helps them in their quest to find the King that can give them a favour. Along the way these kids become a family, grow up together and learn to love each other with their qualities and flaws.

I had heard mixed reviews when I decided to read this series… There were people that loved the books, others that didn’t liked it much and others that liked, but had some trouble reading the first books. Well, i fit myself in the 3rd category… The 1st book took me way to long to read and I don’t even know why. But then after the middle of the 2nd one, I was more quick and the story really gained so much interest to me. I really liked the magic, dreams and psychic aspects of the books, but mostly I fell in love with these characters and how they related with each other.

tumblr_ngffvsJQcC1r5z675o1_500I loved to see Blue and Gansey get over the things that separated them and just begin a tentive friendship that later envolved to something more. But then you have Ronan and Adam… They were always so different, but they found a common ground, something to keep them intertwined. These two went through things that only them could have handled, things that made them stronger as individuals, but also together. And finally you have poor, sweet Noah that sees everything and that everyone wants to protect fiercely. Honestly, it was beautiful to read the character development all of them went through!

But there were things that left me a little bit side-eyeing the books. There were some details especially on the last book that weren’t very obvious. In fact, too many threads of the story were left open. This is something i noticed in all the chapters before the epilogue… The story ended in a weird way to me, but then you had the epilogue which solved the mistery a bit for you. But then when you started the next book, you’d feel a little left out and that something was missing. I believe that for me the 4th book misses some details that would give you a little closer of some characters that were also important. For example, the Grey Man plot, Blue’s psychic family, but most importantly Cabeswater and Glendower. Too much to know, so little information about it!

Also just a funny thing I notice, the books were mostly writen from different points-of-view, but I think it’s safe to say that each book focus more in one character’s personal life. For example, and this is probably my personal opinion, but the 1st book focused on Adam’s, the 2nd one on Ronan’s, the 3rd one on Blue’s and the last book focus more on Gansey’s. I don’t know if others felt this way too, but it seems that Maggie high-lighted some aspects in each book connected more to a specific character. In fact, that all relates to the titles of each book. Am I projecting too much? I don’t know, but this is just something that made me think.

So that’s basically it… I hope you take my advice and read these books! You’ll have a bit of everything. Magic, dreams, psychics, love, hate, obsession and a purpose. It’s certaintly a nice read, so go for it 🙂

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The One with “In Vogue”

tumblr_oc2uijlvw61v8m1zpo1_540Well doing this review here on my blog is an honour… Ink & Smith Publishing gave me the opportunity to read “In Vogue” before the release date and review it. It’s their first published book and what a great story to begin their project with. You can pre-order it here on Amazon, by the way.

(Before starting with my review I just have to say that yes I’m listening to Florence + The Machine to write this! I couldn’t talk about this story and not listen to them since their music is so heavily present in this story. It would feel like cheating on the book…)

So what’s In Vogue? This book was writen by Lucia Laurent and started as a fanfiction in the One Direction fandom but it evolved into so much more. Yes, it started as a fanfiction, but now you can’t even feel a trace of it (well, only if you’re deeply involved in the fandom and know one or two important “phrases”). Here is a little summary to keep you curious:

King of New York fashion and editor-in-chief of the prestigious Couture magazine, Miles Brodeur loves his demanding job and a routine that means he always knows what’s coming next. Deeply involved in the magazine’s content and culture, Miles doesn’t have the time or the desire for a relationship.
Alexander Mackenzie is a former model turned magazine editor who is just learning about the politics that exist at the intersection of high fashion and publishing. He’s always dreamt of turning Miles’ head and one night, at a glamorous party, his fantasy becomes reality. But Miles’ workaholic nature conflicts with Alexander’s belief that “there’s more to life than what’s printed on the pages of a magazine.”
Despite their fundamental differences, Alexander can’t help but follow Miles back to New York, and once there it becomes clear their association could be addicting – and possibly life-changing. Set in a world where the beauty of art and the written world collide, Miles is confronted by a fundamental question: is someone ever worth slowing down for?

As you can see a lot will happen over the course of more than 180 pages. But for those who like the fashion world, this is a book for you! This book made me feel like I entered the world of “Gossip Girl” with all the descriptions of fabulous clothes, shoes, accessories and life-style, while entering a soft version of “The Devil Wears Prada”.

Miles Brodeur seems to be inspired on Miranda Priestly. The same centric and focused in work character,but at the same time a mature character that cares deeply about his friends and is generous to his employees. There isn’t a mean bone inside Miles, although he can be ruthless when his work is on the line. He didn’t got that position by not respecting others or by not following an hierarchy… No, he got there because he deserved it and there wasn’t a better person for the job! But Miles will get through so much more in his personal life and he will learn that the thing he has been running from is right there.

In contrast to Miles, you have the lovely Alexander Mackenzie, Cut’s editor-in-chief. This character is always described through the book as hard-worker, but also has a dreamer… He dreams about all these things he still wants to do. He wants to explore more of the world and fashion, but not only that. He is young and fiercely loyal which makes him respected in his field. Alexander mostly dreams of love and it always seemed to me that he was looking for it and found it exactly where he was supposed to.

Then you have all these secondary characters like: Zia the brilliant creative editor of Couture and Miles’s longstanding best friend; Kane a world-renowned DJ and one of Alexander’s best friend; Dylan the Cut’s sports editor and Alexander’s other best friend; and lastly (I really have to mention this) Miles’s loyal assistent, Sabine.

You’ll laugh with these characters and cry a little bit towards the end because what good book won’t make you cry? It’s a book that gives a good representation of the LGBTQ+ community and we all know that we need more of these. We need more stories where being part of the community isn’t wrong and looked frowned upon. It’s a story where the most influential person in the fashion world is a man and he is gay. It’s a rich book where you can learn about fashion, but also on how to run a magazine and how social media can be used to improve your own work. A good structured story that really discusses real problems like anxiety and depression… On how you can ask for help even if it’s hard! There will always be someone there to hold you and help you through the dark.

The only thing that makes me sad is that we can’t see all these amazing outfits that are being described. I wish it was possible for us to be redirected to the clothes because Lucia made a brilliant job of describing them visually. Another little detail that in my opinion is lacking is more history background of Miles’s and Alexander’s family. I feel like there is a piece missing in that part, but I don’t know if it’s me that is very curious or if the story can “live” without it. Lastly, another little thing I noticed that could be different was the transictions from Miles’s to Alexander’s point of view through the story… Also it isn’t very balanced because you can clearly see that Miles is the priority maybe because he’s a more deep character. I don’t know if I’m being picky but I would also like to see more things through Alexander’s point of view.

So in conclusion I’m gonna use a 1 – 5 scale to basically say that I give this book a solid 4,5. It’s a very good book with some imperfections that are usual. No major things that will make you stop reading it or disliking it. No, it’s a book that can use some of its imperfections to tell you a happy story. A story about struggles that will be overcomed with a little patience.

Basically the question that remains unanswered and it’s for you to figure it out is “Will it be a Couture wedding?” Or will Miles let work get in the way of love?

The Foxes

Another month and I got yet another trilogy of books to share with you. This time it’s a trilogy called All for the Game by Nora Sakavic. This trilogy is divided in The Foxhole Court, The Raven King and The King’s Man. I discovered them once again through Tumblr and a friend made me read them! She said to me: “If I had to go through this pain, you’ll do it too!” Yeah we really like to suffer…

So what are these books about? Without spoiling to much I’ll just say that these books are about Neil Josten and his obsession with Exy… It’s really more than that, it’s about friendship, family and self-discovery. But the first chapter shows us a tired Neil after a game of exy that gets the proposal of his life… To keep playing exy in Palmetto State University! But you see Neil is on the run from his father since he was 10 years old and his mother died to protect him, so he can’t just simple go play for a university and have his face on tvs all over the country. Most of all he doesn’t want to play in the same team as Kevin Day (a person that remembers him of his past as The Butcher’s son) and Andrew Minyard (a guy that has some serious psychological problems and has a tendency to be violent). Well, Neil just wanted to be selfish for a while and took the proposal to play exy there!

But what is exy you ask? I’m gonna describe this like my friend did to me… It’s a violent sport close to lacrosse, played in a football (soccer) field and enclosed like in ice hockey! Each team has six players on the field: a goalkeeper, two backliners, a dealer and two strikers. To enter the Foxes team there is a catch… Every single one of them were chosen because they had some trouble/problem in their past like violence, drugs, alcohol, etc. They’re coach, Wymack, just wanted to give a second chance to those who were left behind or didn’t have any support from their families. So the foxes team is constitued by: Andrew Minyard and Renee Walker as goalkeepers; Nicky Hemmick, Aaron Minyard (twin brother of Andrew) and Matt Boyd as backliners; Dan Wilds and Allison Reynolds as dealers; and Kevin Day, Neil Josten and Seth Gordon as strikers.

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These are the main characters of the story! This story will tell you their goals, their disappointments, their secrets and their strengh to overcome difficulties. They will have lots of enemies along the way… Sometimes even themselves! But maybe all they needed was a boy to unite them, to make them have a common goal and just fight until their last breath for what they wanted.

Yes of course there isn’t only pain in these books. There are good moments and a boy that gains a family that will protect him at all costs. There is some romance, mainly queer and lots of character development. But there is also lots of violence and lies. For every good thing that happens, two bad things will happen! When I finished the first book I realised that bad things would keep happening until the last chapter of book three… I thought I was ready! But somethings always catched me by surprise!

If you saw me reading I’d be smiling like a crazy person and in the next second I’d have my hand in my mouth and I was crying silently. All of these characters had demons and all of them had their ups and downs… But there was no one that could cause you more pain than Neil with his sassy mouth that would cause him big troubles and Andrew that was so high on pills that he simply couldn’t be himself. You get to know them and you basically fall in love so easily! I didn’t even realised it until the first tragedy happened and I was already so involved with them. I was crying for them and I was laughing with them!

With all this said, I’m gonna recommend this trilogy to everybody and their mothers! It’s a trilogy that will get you hooked and that it’ll most definitely cause you pain. You have to be ready for it and let yourself feel it all! You’ll get all momma bear with these characters and you’ll suffer with them. But if you have triggers for violence, drugs, alcohol and rape maybe try another thing because this story isn’t for you! So I’ll only say one last thing that it was the first thing that I asked my friend after she described these books to me… Yes, it has a happy ending! It’ll take some time, but it’s going to be a good thing 🙂

P. S. Also if you read them and are curious to know more about this world the author Nora Sakavic has a blog with extra content. And there is this amazing fanfiction called Lessons in Cartography that it’s basically the 4th book of the series that will make you very happy.

P. S. S. I’m waiting for Netflix to pick up these books and make them into a series with Troye Sivan as Neil Josten, by the way!

Captive Prince Trilogy

Books can definitely change your life… There are good books that make you obsessed and you can’t stop reading… There are bad books that you just stop reading or don’t make any sense in the end… And there are “bah” books that aren’t bad, but you just read them and move on because they didn’t awake anything in you.

So I’m here to talk about a trilogy that definitely changed my life… Recently everybody and their mothers was talking about the Captive Prince trilogy by C. S. Pacat on tumblr and twitter. Comments were something like: “Read these because it’ll change you”, “These books are so good”, etc. And you know what? I’m a curious person… So after so many people saying that I should read them, I suck it up and bought the three books. It took them 15 days to arrive and it was bad because I got so anxious. So finally, a week ago they arrived and I just started reading them…

For those of you who don’t know here is a little summary of what the books are about:

“Damen is a warrior hero to his people, and the rightful heir to the throne of Akielos. But when his half brother seizes power, Damen is captured, stripped of his identity, and sent to serve the prince of an enemy nation as a pleasure slave. Beautiful, manipulative, and deadly, his new master, Prince Laurent, epitomizes the worst of the court at Vere. But in the lethal political web of the Veretian court, nothing is as it seems, and when Damen finds himself caught up in a play for the throne, he must work together with Laurent to survive and save his country. For Damen, there is just one rule: never, ever reveal his true identity. Because the one man Damen needs is the one man who has more reason to hate him than anyone else…”

So as you can read there was more in this story that meets the eye. It’s a story about love for your country, but also of forgiveness of your enemy. It’s about treason, but also commitment to a cause. It’s a story about arrogance and intelligence. And in the end it’s a story about two different heirs to the throne that put their differences aside to work together… That learn to love and grow up through all of their adversities. They become stronger with each other!

To say that I was addicted since the first sentence isn’t a lie. I got totally obsessed! I got so into the world designed by Pacat and fell in love with her characters. Damen and Laurent made me feel like I was intruding in their story… I was allowed to be there and participate, but it was their story not mine. It was a honour to be in that world! And the tension between them was excruciating…

Also there were moments through the three books that you could guess what would happen, but at the same time it was always a surprise. (SPOILER = like for example, when you discover that Laurent knew all along that Damen was Damianos the prince-killer! Like I was “Yes! I knew it! Laurent always knows everything”, but at the same time I was shocked at the surprising way that the author wrote that scene) It was always a surprise. You could guess a little bit of the outcome, but you couldn’t guess how you would get there. The author took you through the past and the present with such an easy discourse that got me hocked to the story.

And the politics of the books are perfectly described. You can feel the injustice and suffering of those who get involved in the schemes. You feel that not only strengh will help you win a war, you also need intelligence. Also don’t be afraid of the “pleasure slave” part. It’s a part of the story that will help define both Damen and Laurent and their perspective about the subject. Until a point in the end, that both of them want to end slavery. It’s a trigerring subject but it also changes so much since the first book that it’s worth the reading.

Even  now after two hours of finishing the last book, I’m here in my couch thinking how did I get there? How did these characters changed so much but at the same time stayed the same? What can I do next? And the ending is so bittersweet… It’s the right time to end, but also you want to know more. You want to shout to the author “Give me more, please! Take me there again”. And well, I didn’t do the request personally but apparently the author is going to release this year three new short stories about the books. One will be about Jord and Aimeric (which have a great side story), the other about Damen and Laurent (an epilogue, probably) and the last one will be a surprise. So I’m very excited to read them and please if you’re looking for something new to read, go read these books! It’ll teach you so much and you’ll fall in love with the story 🙂

‘What’s that sound?’
He could hear it even in the slave baths, muffled but audible, the sound ringing out from the highest peak, a peal of notes, proclaiming a new king.
‘Bells,’ said Damen.

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“The Shadowhunters Chronicles”

All Characters

So I’ve been away for a while, but I was busy finishing some books I had to read… As the title of this post suggests, I’ve been reading “The Shadowhunters Chronicles”. After six books and more or less 5 months of intensive reading (yeah I know i was a bit slow, but I had other things to do and read!), I finally finished yesterday.

I’ve some mixed feelings about it, you see. Like I only started reading because my friend Kati said that I’d like it and the tv show was about to start so I wanted to know the story. And what a wild ride! There were some good moments, but also some eye rolling moments. But overall it’s a good universe that was created. (I don’t know exactly by who since Cassandra Clare was accused of plagiarism for some books she wrote). I was pretty excited with the promise of nephilim, angels, demons, vampires, werewolves, faries and warlocks.

Let’ start with the beggining… I already said that I loved the universe and it was very interesting how all these different type of people interacted. But what really shocked me in the end was that the most interesting characters, the ones with more history, were not the main characters. It wasn’t Clary and Jace that made me devour the books… It was Magnus, Alec, Isabelle, Simon and Maia.

In the first book I was a little fascinated with Jace and even Clary was cute, but after the second book it was just another impossible romance between them. Clary had some girl power don’t get me wrong and she saved all of them, but the girls that made me feel more power were Isabelle and Maia. These two didn’t get the recognition they deserved… Both were very strong female characters that got put behind Clary. Both were fighters that lost almost everything! And poor Simon too that had the full potential to be a main character since the first book but only got recognition in the last three books. He was transformed into a vampire and it was very hard for him to fit in the Downworlders, but in the end the author took the easy way out. Dear Simon made a bargain with a demon to save his friends and forgot who they were. So sad! His relationship with Izzy will never be same even though he remembers somethings thanks to Magnus.

And don’t get me started on Magnus and Alec. Magnus is an ancient warlock with so much life experience! I was a little shocked he wasn’t given some time in the books. He was always treated like a secondary character and the author started to write his story so many times, but then at the last minute she cut out the supply! And Alec, dear lovely Alec… He was a guy that was starting to feel more for his bff and for this new warlock he met, but you can’t even read his struggle. It’s there and you can feel it so many times, but it makes me sad that it was put under the rug! Like how in the last two books you realise his father has been pretty awful to him because he was gay, but then in the last chapter it was like the author took the easy way out. I needed more from these two (thank god for fanfiction!).

Other characters too made me sad that were gone (Max, Amatis, etc.) and others didn’t get the ending they deserved! The Blackthornes for example they lose everything in the end and you get the feeling that they deserved more. They deserved that the Clave rescued their brother and that their sister could be with them. It was sad that the author started so many interesting plots and then left them! There were also details that could have been more explored…

But I got to say that what fascinated me in the end was how the villains were basically perfect for the story. Valentine, his son Jonathan aka Sebastian, and even the Seelie Queen fitted like a glove. You were until the last book to make an opinion on the Seelie Queen, but with Valentine and Sebastian you could tell that they’re pure evil. Although Sebastian wasn’t like that by choice, it was how Valentine raised him and the demon blood that circulated in his veins. Overall great characters that had what they deserved in the end, except the Seelie Queen that you never figure out what happened to her. She literally disappeared from the books after one chapter. What really happened to her?!

Also, the politics behind the books were brilliant really. The way the different factions of the society were treated and how the Clave ruled were really interesting. Some bad political decisions and probably not the best method to make some decisions, but I liked how the Clave inclunded warlocks, werewolves, vampires and even faeries in their Consul in the 3rd book. It was really interesting to see the prejudice that they had against each other, but also to see that in the end when needed they helped each other to defeat a common enemy. (And just for the record Magnus was right about the faeries, Consul!) And I liked that in the end of the book it really didn’t matter anymore if a shadowhunter was in a relationship with a warlock or a vampire. They got over it and accepted that it’ll always happen!

So, in the end, I liked the books and they’re pretty interesting. The author should have done more for some characters, but we can’t ever be fully happy about a book or a show if it wasn’t us that wrote it. Once again, thank god for fanfiction that is going to be my main source for the unfinished business, and now off to read “The Bane Chronicles” to know more about Magnus (fave character, probably!). Also I’m excited to see how the tv show is going to continue now 😉