UPDATE – SEMI HIATUS

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Β I’m sorry for the delayed wishes for the new year (and I mean both Jan 1st New Year and Chinese New Year πŸ™‚ ). Β It’s been a long time since I’ve posted, and as the owner of this blog I’m absolutely horrified with myself! Β I miss this blog almost everyday, the feeling of thinking up materials for posting, and then posting them.

Hopefully soon, I’ll be back to my usual posting.

Until then, Words That Flow Like Water is on a semi hiatus. Β I’ll post from time to time, but it seems I don’t have enough inspiration and my life has become a bit cluttered.

I will update you all as soon as I can and get back soon :). Β For now, though, if you want to follow what I’m doing or reading you can find me here:

Wordsthatflowlikewater @ Instagram

Nina {ᴑᴏʀᴅs α΄€Ι΄α΄… ᴑᴀᴛᴇʀ} on Goodreads

I’m so sorry! I’ll be back soon!

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In the Eye of the Storm. Storm and Silence #2. Robert Thier.


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In the Eye of the Storm by Robert Thier

My rating: 4.5 stars

Many thanks to the author for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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ReleasedΒ August 3rd!

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4.5Β stars (Is it possible to make these numbers bigger?!?!)


Initial thoughts

I really wish I wrote this as soon as I finished it.
But I was on a train….
With not enough to time to write out a frenzied review….. -_________-

(Originally written in July 2016)

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You know, I had my ups and down with this book. Initially I was really excited to receive the ARC from the author, since I found myself loving Storm & Silence for all the reasons I listed in my review. But with In the Eye of the Storm, it was a little different. I came at it full force, with lots and lots of expectations and also, ideas I of what I didn’t want, and yet…this…surprised me more than anything.

Like S&S, I finished this quicker than I expected.

What I love about Thier’s books so far is that they’re ALL fast paced. Every chapter has a climax (of sorts) that leaves you hanging for the next chapter. And when you pass the 50% mark, the rest is free fall. Meaning. Just hang on tight and go for the ride.

And like with S&S there’s everything from steamy kisses to being shot at to who knows what’ll happen next!

Oh yes, and did I mention the fake marriage? The Captain Lilly keeps running into? The poor Old Lady whose holiday was cut short because of Lilly’s lies? A conversation between Rick and Dick?? Oh and Mr Ambrose?


PROS – yes, the things YOU’LL DEFINITELY want to read

1) Mr Ambrose! He is my favourite character (but only because Karim didn’t get so much page time this time….) in this sequel. He was an ass a lot of the time to Lilly, but then Lilly was also being a bit of a stubborn donkey. Mr Ambrose was always relatively reasonable, and I think, despite the fact that we don’t know much about his history yet (a thing I am dying to know more of), he is still very well rounded as a character with evident likes and dislikes. Even better crafted all round than Lilly who is the main protagonist. I mean really…what kind of man would walk through a sandstorm just because it’ll waste time to camp? But it’s the fact that he’s a logical city man, that he makes his decision, which realistically, makes alot of sense. Even more so since Mr Ambrose gives orders, and takes his own advice……..including….

Β  Β  Β  He gave me a look. One of those looks. β€˜Do you know the size of an average grain of sand?’
β€˜No,’ I had to admit.
β€˜It is between 0.0024803 and 0.08 inches. Now, think carefully for a moment. Do you think I am going to let myself be stopped by something smaller than the tenth of an inch?’
β€˜Um… no.’
β€˜Indeed, no.’ (Kindle Locations 5484-5489).

2) The always obedient Lilly Linton and her feminist mindset :D. I love it when she goes all out feminist, specially during the second half. Lilly’s not a girl to be left behind, nor is she is a damsel in distress! For the first half of the book though, I wanted to shake her – specially when she’s pretending to be Mr Ambrose’s wife (it was so nice to see her in a dress again!) – because she was acting so……STUBBORN. There were a lot of things she did which she could have done without well, making Mr Ambrose look like he did. But at the same time, she was just sticking to who she is!

3) Every conversation between Lilly Linton and Mr Ambrose. There wasn’t a moment where I wasn’t thinking not to laugh. Both of them have a really good dynamic with each other. As stubborn as a donkey, and yet logical and willing to compromise! Such as…a conversation about appropriate husbandly names for Rikkard Ambrose:

Β  Β  Β  I thought about it for a moment, rolling the name around my tongue. Then, suddenly, an idea came to me, and a grin spread over my face. β€˜I’m sure there are other abbreviations for your lovely name. How about β€œDick”?’
He gave me a glare that sent shivers down my back. But my smile only widened. Inside, I was rolling on the floor with laughter, gasping for air. Ha! Payback time!
β€˜It’s β€œRick”, Miss Linton! No discussion!’
β€˜Just as you say,… Dick.’
His glare cooled another dozen degrees. β€˜I’m your employer, Miss Linton! You are obligated to follow my orders!’
In return for his ferocious glare, I gave him back a cheerful smile. β€˜Apparently, you’re not my employer. You’re my husband now, Dick. Haven’t you heard?’
(Kindle Locations 2858-2864).

4) THE ACTION – while the beginning contains less action, this book is filled with it. From beginning to end. There is every single moment in it worth waiting for. But my favourite part, is the end ;).

5) The little old deaf lady! While in the end the joke got a tad bit old, she was a cracker. Poor woman, being tied into Lilly’s work by accident!! And strangely, I was waiting for the moment where she says ‘I’m sorry to hear that’ and actually has all of her hearing! But then, it didn’t happen, and yet, she was still a fun character :D.

6) The setting. To some degree, it’s pretty vivid. Thier has expected social customs down to a pat, so it makes it clearly to visualise without great detail in the description of the world. So in a way, this makes his plain but humorous style of writing really engaging and quick to read. The worldbuilding is built into the conversations, into the scenes of action, and through the characters interactions with each other!

7) This sequel actually reminds me of the kind of series where in each book the characters encounter a new problem that they have to solve while still remaining their somewhat ambiguous yet high in chemistry relationship!

8) THE ENDING IS NOT FAIR. I was expecting, expecting some kind of IDK and then it ended, with Lilly returning to work, and………..where is my Mr Ambrose and Lilly Linton moment?!?! Or SOMETHING. ANYTHING.


CONS – yes, no book is free of cons!

1) The plot felt a bit scattered and a bit weak, at the same time, it was simple, with one motivation in hand. HOWEVER, because there was only one motivation, the ending thus, seemed a bit abrupt, which left me mourning :(((( and wondering what might happen to Lilly and Mr Ambrose next!

2) VERY romance focussed for the first half. I actually really liked the development of Mr Ambrose and Lilly’s relationship in S&S but In the Eye of the Storm, their relationship takes another level while still remaining in the same position.

3) LILLY LINTON WHAT ARE YOU DOING HALF THE TIME?! Especially the first half. Even though I understand everything you do, I still have to con you! Because sometimes I wanted to shake you so badly. It wouldn’t kill you to behave for at least one or two of your acting scenes with Mr Ambrose, would it?! But then, actually, with the way you’re written, it also makes more sense, since later on, the scene where you’re obedient is actually a little bit more touching!

4) Lilly finds excuses wayyyyy too easily to escape from her home. It makes me wonder sometimes if it’s in the 1920s instead of earlier, considering how chaperoning was more serious and her aunt really doesn’t seem to care much at all ^^”. Then again, Lilly’s family isn’t excessively rich….but well! Logically, it does all work out, I kind of look forward to the moment when her lies/secrets are exposed!


CONCLUSIONS

(Yes, lovelies, I’m awfully aware that I am not writing an essay lol.)
A lovely sequel to S&S. I loved it for the action, for the fast paced, and also for most of the Mr Ambrose and Lilly moments. Goes well with a plain cup of tea i.e. a boring day. Robert Thier is also very humourous in his writing, so there’s not really a chapter where you’re wondering if you’re going to be bored (if you followed my statuses, and wondered what I was referring to around the 50% mark, I was mostly complaining about the romance part, since it was getting a tad tedious but then the WALL exploded and BULLETS were flying and MR AMBROSE was rescuing a DEAF OLD LADY and Lilly at the same time, even though moments before they were kissing like mad – er Lilly and Mr Ambrose, not Mr Ambrose and the Old Lady lol.) If Thier writes another book, I will definitely be reading it. Oh Yes, because the ending of this one is UNSATISFACTORY. GIVE ME MORE MR AMBROSE.

And on a final note there was a lovely surprise at the end of this book with additional chapters from Mr Ambrose’s POV which I LOVED. It was sooooo nice to read from his POV. I actually would love to see chapters from his pov. Mr Ambrose has such an interesting mind after :P.

View all my reviews

Shadow Study. Maria V. Snyder.

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Shadow Study
by Maria V. Snyder

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

(This review was actually done last year and chronicles my reading experience!)

F I R S T Β I M P R E S S I O N S

Omg so it’s true, there are three more books! Well, I can’t say that I’m not excited, because I am, and because I really love the original three, but will they live up to my expectations? Yelena and Valek are my favouritest couple ever! I guess I’m excited?? But expectations…are hard to live up to sometimes.

update–16th Nov 2015 at 00:15am
loveeedddd this! missed this world so much!! Yelena, Valek, ari, Janco, everyone and everything!

more detailed review later!

U P D A T E
– 11am 16th Nov 2015

So technically it’s 4.5 stars but in this case, the rating doesn’t really matter because as a long time fan of this series, I loved this installment a lot! And my expectations weren’t disappointed (mainly because I really was soooo in the mood to read this).

Welcome back Yelena and Valek, and all the crew of the Study series. This time though, rather than simply being told from Yelena’s perspective, the story is alternated between Yelena, Valek and Janco. This was a nice change, and while I usually have reservations about one character being told in first person, and the others in third, Snyder blended it in pretty nicely. In many ways, Shadow Study is more Valek’s story than Yelena’s, as we learn so much about him than we ever had in previous books.

It never ceases to amaze me how easily I can slip into the Study series’ world. Comprised two countries: Ixia and Sitia, one North, the other South, one organised like a military with a Commander as its head, the other more relaxed and functioning with a Council and full support for the existence of magicians. Snyder doesn’t bog down the writing with long and winded, detailed and sometime painfully irritating descriptions of the world. Yet, somehow, it’s so very easy to imagine her worlds. Her details are brief yet somehow, oddly vivid. In a way, it helps that the original trilogy was written in first person, because it does, I feel, help the reader become immersed into the world a lot easier. Plus, Snyder had a nice way of providing info without the usual infodumping (in the lessons Yelena had with Valek way back in Poison Study).

This book is set across both lands. Which is great, though still, predominantly in Sitia, I was happy to see more of Ixia, since I missed seeing it in Magic Study and Fire Study.

Yelena, Valek, Janco, Ari, the Commander, the Master Magicians are all back! Along with more familiar faces! Good guys and bad guys alike!

The only difference though, is that it’s been eight years since the events of Poison Study. And it was both odd and normal to see Yelena as a 27 year old woman. It was a little strange, mainly because she didn’t sound any different or act any different to the original trilogy, yet, she is definitely older. Though, still, sometimes as immature as before (specially when she’s around her brother Leif). I liked that she was familiar, it made it all the more easier to re-engage with this series.

Valek. Oh Valek! I learnt so much about you this time. It was really nice to see your life before Yelena, and I like also, seeing your development, after all, we never really got to get to know you before not like this. Still, I really wonder how you’ll deal with all the problems you’re facing, and are coming at you next! And not to mention the cliffie at the end of this book.

Janco–I totally didn’t expect to read from his perspective, but that was interesting! But unlike Valek’s part, Janco’s is written like Yelena’s in the sense that it was action orientated rather than character building. Though, told from third pov perspective. As one of my favourite characters always simply because he has such a big mouth and is unable to ever sit still, it was nice seeing how he thought, and his attitudes to people.

Ari, more of a support than main, poor guy he didn’t get his own personal pov, but that’s alright! The little snippets of him and Janco were, like always, absolutely hilarious. They really make a great pair, and are one of my favourite comedy relief characters, such a good broship.

Other supporting characters: Opal and Devlen return, they were great to see! Opal is so mature and nice, I’d forgotten that. Devlen is still growing on me. Leif was the best! I mean someone really needs to figure out how to plug his stomach up. The Master Magicians, helpful but had a really small role. And the Commander. Oh, the Commander, what are you planning?

This was actually quite straightforward, and a little predictable, but it has that classic Snyder flavour of twists and turns, and sudden surprises. All the study books have a focus on mystery, so I’m not surprised that the majority of this book was also focussed on a problem that’s affecting both Ixia and Sitia.

Valek’s job, while he has always cherished it, since meeting Yelena, has thought about retiring. And while he’s always been challenged, there hasn’t been a challenger quite like this one. So while he’s worried about Yelena, he must also figure out the challenger, the Commander, and figure out what’s going on behind the smuggling operation.

Yelena’s magic is suddenly blocked, why? She doesn’t know, but for the book, she’s vulnerable. This plot development early on actually gave me the chance to see a side of Yelena I hadn’t seen before. It’s funny because the last time she had no magic was back in Poison Study, and for her to revisit that feeling, it’s such a scary thing for her. Yet she remains strong, even though for the most of this book, she feels lost. So while she’s trying to figure out what secret is lurking behind the recent breakout of a notorious prisoner, and trying to figure out what happened to her powers, she’s vulnerable to anything.

Very easy to read. Colloquial and not dense at all. Descriptive without being overly so! And Snyder has a nice way of leaving each chapter ending with a hook to make you keep reading! It’s also high fantasy. Definitely YA even though the main characters are beyond YA ages, however the writing and storyline is very YA. Complex enough for the genre, but not as complex and in depth like an adult novel.


Really enjoyed this installment–my opinion ladies and gents is unfortunately very biased based on the fact that I’ve loved this series for ages! If I was’t so biased, I might have rated this lower, maybe 4 stars, maybe 3.8 because although there was a lot going on, and although Snyder does a brilliant job with switching povs, there felt like something missing. But it was only such a slight small thing (I don’t know what it is), that I guess it doesn’t matter to me!

It’s a great YA high fantasy splashed with mystery. It has one of my favourite OTPs too. And it’s got a nice mix of serious characters and humorous ones so it doesn’t feel so heavy.

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Top 5 Favourite Book Covers

Another totally random post! Β I love the Top 5 theme, but as for the topics, I suppose I’m still figuring out whether I want to stay Books Only, or branch out to other favourites – so we’ll see!

Today’s topic is favourite book covers – this is so hard!! Β I don’t even know where to start, but I suppose this top 5 will be my favourite standout book covers ever (and I think I’ll avoid repeating any covers noted in the other top 5 postΒ for now!)

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Β β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡ β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡ β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡

Undoubtedly one of my absolute favourite book covers isΒ A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray. Β I also love the other covers in the series – they’re just as gorgeous. Β I actually bought this book based on the cover, and also based on Sam’s (over at A History of Books) recommendation. Β I’m really looking forward to reading this when I get round to it, which will probably be around the time when the third and final book comes out. Β What I love about this cover is the blend of colours. Β I really love the colour scheme here. Β I love the watercolour texture – particular the way it makes the images of the two cities (the bottom more than the top) look as if they’ve been painted. Β And I really love the simplicity of the font.

β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡ β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡ β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡ β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡Β β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡

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Β β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡ β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡ β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡

Omg, yes. Β The Winner’s CurseΒ by Marie Rutkoski is beautiful. Β It truly is a very beautiful cover. Β And I love it a WHOLE lot more than the new covers -> HERE. Β I am a bit biased though because I read the books with the original (above) covers. Β And when I think of Kestrel, I see a girl like the one in the cover. Β The new covers ARE truly pretty and I think they’re awesome BUT I don’t think it represents the story. Β In fact, I feel like they misrepresents the Winner’s Trilogy. Β KestrelΒ isΒ kickass, but it’s with her mind. Β She just isn’t like the girl on the new covers. Β The new covers make her look like an assassin, but the old ones give a sense of gentle distress, of silent conflict, and of a world of power and politics – the dress seems to represent to me a world of fashion, polite society. Β I absolutely cannot wait until I readΒ The Winner’s Kiss!Β 

β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡ β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡ β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡ β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡Β β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡

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Β β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡ β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡ β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡

AlienatedΒ by Melissa Landers is a cover that really attracted me. Β I think what I like about it most is the composition. Β Then the sky in the centre, and then lastly the position of the people. Β I think the name of this book also captures my attention. And there’s a sense of alienation between both the people on the cover. Β This was a cover that made me really want to buy it, and I have plenty of plans to do so soon!

β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡ β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡ β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡ β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡Β β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡

4.Β 18284908

β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡ β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡ β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡

Undeniably one of my favourite covers for the dress. Β Look at that dress! Β I love they way it just billows about, green amongst the sea of stars. Β It’s really pretty! Β I really love the blue of the starry sky. Β The cover too really matches the story even though most of the story is actually situated on a deserted planet. Β What I loved most about this story was the way both Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner approached the possibility of life beyond Earth. Β And not just your usual humanoid life, but something that well, gave me a bit of the creeps. Β The cover though, doesn’t quite translate that part into it, but on the whole symbolises the need that both the main characters had and needed from each other.

β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡ β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡ β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡ β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡Β β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡

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Β β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡ β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡ β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡

And lastly, for now, is this beautiful cover. Β I bought this book in part because of the cover, and on the other part, because of the story. Β I’ve heard only good things about this story! Β And it’s like a scientific approach to reincarnation. Β From the premise on Goodreads, I also get the sense Β of All Our Yesterdays (time travel). Β I can really see the whole time after time thing in the cover, and I’m really excited to read this. Β I think whoever designed it was and is a genius.

β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡ β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡ β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡ β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡Β β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡

And those are my top five favourites! Β What about you? Β What are some of your all time favourite book covers?

β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡ β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡ β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡ β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡Β β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡β–‡

Oh and to wrap up – some honourable mentions!

  • Wither (The Chemical Garden, #1) by Lauren DeStefano Fever (The Chemical Garden, #2) by Lauren DeStefano Sever (The Chemical Garden, #3) by Lauren DeStefano – The Chemical Garden Trilogy by Lauren DeStefano
  • The Selection (The Selection, #1) by Kiera Cass The Elite (The Selection, #2) by Kiera Cass The One (The Selection, #3) by Kiera Cass The Heir (The Selection, #4) by Kiera Cass The Selection Stories The Prince & The Guard (The Selection, #0.5, 2.5) by Kiera Cass The Crown (The Selection, #5) by Kiera Cass – The Selection Series by Kiera Cass (though I dislike the Crown cover, because the dress looks way too big! The colour is nice though)
  • Matched (Matched, #1) by Ally Condie Crossed (Matched, #2) by Ally Condie Reached (Matched, #3) by Ally Condie – Matched Trilogy by Ally Condie
  • Eon (Eon, #1) by Alison Goodman Eona The Last Dragoneye (Eon, #2) by Alison Goodman – Eon Duology by Allison Goodman
  • Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1) by Sarah J. Maas Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass, #2) by Sarah J. Maas Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass, #3) by Sarah J. Maas Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass, #4) by Sarah J. Maas – Throne of Glass series by Sarah J Maas
  • Incarnate (Newsoul, #1) by Jodi Meadows Asunder (Newsoul, #2) by Jodi Meadows Infinite (Newsoul, #3) by Jodi Meadows – Newsoul Trilogy by Jodi Meadows
  • The Orphan Queen (The Orphan Queen, #1) by Jodi Meadows The Mirror King (The Orphan Queen, #2) by Jodi Meadows – Orphan Queen duology by Jodi Meadows
  • And more!

Fairest. Marissa Meyer.

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Fairest
by Marissa Meyer

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

 

I am so conflicted by Fairest. I loved diving back into this world, even if it was just a small snippet. And I liked seeing Levana’s story. But truly, this was just a novella.

(Er….warning, some spoilers ahead! But only a little – I think I’m a bit vague, but if you don’t like spoilers, avoid this altogether!)

In truth, I would have loved to see this story in more depth with even more detail. But at the same time, I liked this story the way it is.

This was Levana before we see her in Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter.

My very first impression when I finished the 220 page novella was that….that’s it?! No more?!

I won’t say that my first impression was that I loved it. Because I didn’t. I didn’t like that several years had passed (around a decade or so) in the space of 220 pages. It was too much of a skim than something more. And I think, if what I read in Fairest was any indication, then Levana probably could have had a full novel to herself. In some ways, I felt like comparing her to Darth Vader lol, only more of a ….sociopath.

Of late, I really love my villain stories. And I really want well crafted villain. All through the Main Lunar Chronicles series, I had my doubts about Levana, because she seemed so…two-dimensional. And yet, she also had the hints of a deeper backstory, of the why she became the opposition.

Fairest is Levana’s backstory. It’s the lead up to what made her tick. Truthfully, I would have loved to see this story woven into the main series. But it’s nice she got her own book.

What I love about this novella and this villain story, is of course, the making. The making of villain, to me, is more important than anything. And in fact they should probably be even more emphatic than the protagonist. Everyone knows the protag is going to be the good guy, the morally straight compass, the one who wants to save everyone (or at least, inadvertently saves everyone), whereas the villain and the antihero are usually doomed to lose.

Which is why I was excited to read Fairest. (And now, am seriously considering rereading Winter soon – maybe even rereading the whole series again.)


SO THE T H O U G H T S

[1] Story: Meyer weaves the story of Levana’s history from when she was a child to early adult hood thereabouts. The only major climax is Levana’s realisation that her husband doesn’t love her, and that her own thoughts had become so twisted to believe that she deserved everything she had. What I did love about the story was seeing how Levana meander into the depths of well…evilness. I don’t like using the word evil. Twisted is better. Yes. This story tells the tale of how Levana became so twisted. And it isn’t pleasant. Levana begins as an innocent, naive, somewhat neglected little girl living in the shadow of her older sister. However, she slowly descends into a twisted reality after what her sister did to her – tricking her into burning herself. the scars that mar her, haunt Levana, eating away at her confidence in herself until by the end of the novella, it becomes abundantly clear that Levana is too far gone. She has already convinced herself that she deserves it all, and that she would do anything to get it. Most importantly, Fairest highlights the people in her life that influenced the person she became.

[2] Character: Levana – I would like to say that she is a pitiful creature, but I can’t really bring myself to believe it. I feel for her. But I think the biggest impression that was left with me when I finished this novella was the hopeless feeling that this was a woman too far gone. Her mental state, and of course, Meyer’s brilliant writing, left me feeling haunted. Perhaps even frightened of this woman that Levana became. And I think, this was something that didn’t really translate in the main Lunar Chronicles (there, she seemed less fleshed out, and more shallow). But here, I saw it vividly. How unhealthy her thoughts became after what her sister did to her. And then afterwards, just because she took a kind gesture too deeply, events unfolded into a twisted reality for Levana. Twisted to everyone but herself. To Levana who only wanted to be loved, found what she couldn’t have, and rather than leaving as it was, she took it. Made the man her husband. Even though this man…didn’t love her at all, and though he resisted, Levana made him. I think, for the majority of this story, I was frustrated with Evret for the way things unfolded. He made several errors – some which he could not be blamed for, but ultimately to which lead to the events after.

As I’m writing this, I can still remember the way Levana acted, and it’s kind of frightening. A girl with immense glamour abilities who can manipulate the way you think, who is scarred by her past, physically and psychologically, always lonely, undoubtedly might mistake his actions. It’s kind of scary. Especially when Evret was just being nice. He didn’t know how psychologically messed up Levana was. And Levana, to ease any guilt she felt about what she did and was doing told herself excuses that eventually she believed. The same way her sister had excused what had happened to her.

So I guess I need to hand it to Meyer for doing this with Levana.

[3] Romance: It’s not really romance, but to Levana it is! To everyone else, it’s clear that Evret doesn’t love her the way she thinks she loves him. It’s kind of sad really. I actually really did somewhat feel sorry for Levana, well after I got over the twisted nature of her thoughts, and worked my way through the feeling of I-need-to-get-out-of-this-poisonous-mind. But in many ways, I wish Evret had done something earlier. Except, how could he do that when Levana is the way she is? And this was the problem. I think I really liked Evret, but in the end, he was like the guy with all the bad luck in some horror film who managed to make it through the movie while dealing with the crazy one.

Other T H I N G S

This doesn’t have to be read before Winter, but you could and it might enlighten you a little.

I would DEFINITELY have loved to read a novel sized version of Levana’s story and did felt like the novella didn’t fully do enough justice to the story. Like with Star Wars: Lost Stars, the way this story was told and the feeling I got, just made me feel like it was just a ‘filler’ and not really a story in its own right. And in many way it is a filler, but still, this is Levana’s story.

Is it just me, or did it feel like there was something perhaps…missing? Maybe the thing I feel that’s missing might be related to the above paragraph, but still, there is something that just nags at me!

O V E R A L L

An interesting insight to the mind of Levana. Can’t wait to read Stars Above.

P.s. Apologies for any typos present!

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Top 5 Favourite Book Series.

Totally random post (and I have no idea what day I’m scheduling this for!), but I felt like sharing 5 of my favourite book series. Β Since I’m only going for 5, they’re probably all going to be YA. Β But I do have some favourite adult books and of other genres!

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  1. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Harry Potter, #1) by J.K. Rowling Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter, #2) by J.K. Rowling Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter, #3) by J.K. Rowling Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter, #4) by J.K. Rowling Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter, #5) by J.K. Rowling Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter, #6) by J.K. Rowling Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, #7) by J.K. Rowling

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Harry Potter! Of course, I LOVE this series. It takes an undebateable top spot on this list simply because this was the first series I ever read and loved to bits. Even though when I first came in contact with this series, I was around 7 or 8? Β I had it read to me, because I was at a point where I couldn’t read it for myself yet. But by the time Prisoner of Azkaban came out, I was reading the books on my own, over and over again. Β So of course, this series takes the number one spot on my top five favourite series. Β How can it not? Β πŸ˜›

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2. Β A Great and Terrible Beauty (Gemma Doyle, #1) by Libba Bray Rebel Angels (Gemma Doyle, #2) by Libba Bray The Sweet Far Thing (Gemma Doyle, #3) by Libba Bray

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Next on the list would have to be the Gemma Doyle Trilogy. This is on here because it was the first YA series I read during highschool. I’d love to say I read books every single day since I first encountered HP but truthfully, I stopped for a while for a variety of reasons. And because I stopped, I wanted to get back into the swing of things. And doing that, I started with standalones like Just Listen (Sarah Dessen), The Truth about Forever (Sarah Dessen) and Thirteen Reasons Why (Jay Asher). But the Gemma Doyle Trilogy was my first series. And I LOVED it for the historical setting. LOVED it for its gothic story. LOVED the ending even though it was somewhat heartshattering. Β But it was also the first time I had ever encountered a story that did not end in happy ever after (if you’ve read this series, then you’ll understand what I mean!)

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3. Poison Study (Study, #1) by Maria V. Snyder Magic Study (Study, #2) by Maria V. Snyder Fire Study (Study, #3) by Maria V. Snyder Shadow Study (Soulfinders, #1) by Maria V. Snyder Night Study (Study, #5) by Maria V. Snyder Dawn Study (Soulfinders, #3) by Maria V. Snyder

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Next would have to be the Study Series. This holds a special place in my heart for being so awesome. Β I think what I loved about this series was that Yelena is the main character. Β Despite her hard history, she is able to stand on her feet and keep trying. Β Although she falls in love, their romance is not the sole focus of the whole story. Β I love how it’s there, and yet, doesn’t take over the whole show! Β Not to mention that this was perhaps one of the first series where I decided to read itΒ again right after I had just finished it. Β How did I come across it? Β I think I was looking for stories that involved assassins – in particular female, since I really was in the mood. Β This wasn’t it, but it came up in the search, and I figured I’d give it a try. Β It was also one of the first few books in which I actually did not mind the larger age gap between the main protagonist and her love interest.

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4. Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles, #1) by Marissa Meyer Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles, #2) by Marissa Meyer Cress (The Lunar Chronicles, #3) by Marissa Meyer Fairest (The Lunar Chronicles, #3.5) by Marissa Meyer Winter (The Lunar Chronicles, #4) by Marissa Meyer Stars Above (The Lunar Chronicles) by Marissa Meyer

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Even though I’ve only read this series recently, it definitely deserves a place on my list of favourite series for simply being amazing. Β I think it’s one of the most creative retellings I’ve ever come across in a long time. Β  l love the mesh of science fiction, fairy tales, and imperfect characters. Β The romances are also very adorable. Β But what holds this series together, is the well planned out plot. Β Some of it was very predictable, but there was enough emotion to keep the roller coaster going. Β I had to consume each book as quick as possible, and I think, asides from the other books on this list, this is something I haven’t done for a long time (or so it feels like!)

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5. Obernewtyn (The Obernewtyn Chronicles, #1) by Isobelle Carmody The Farseekers (The Obernewtyn Chronicles, #2) by Isobelle Carmody Ashling (The Obernewtyn Chronicles, #3) by Isobelle Carmody The Keeping Place (The Obernewtyn Chronicles, #4) by Isobelle Carmody The Stone Key (The Obernewtyn Chronicles, #5) by Isobelle Carmody The Sending (The Obernewtyn Chronicles, #6) by Isobelle Carmody The Red Queen (The Obernewtyn Chronicles, #7) by Isobelle Carmody

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I include the Obernewtyn series here as well because I feel I need to add at least one Australian author on my list. Β And there aren’t many Australian authors with series I wanted to list that I’ve finished. Β But Obernewtyn, though I started it late, is definitely a long time favourite of mine. Β I forgive the somewhat slow ending because I love, love love what Carmody does with her story here. Β Not only is it a great story that features heavy themes about Being Kind to Animals and whatnot, Carmody does something really special with the language. Β As a linguist, I don’t see this kind of creativity very often. Β Most other authors who’ve written books set in the future and are considered YA don’t really give much attention to the language. But language, people! is tied with our existence, and it does not truly remain the same. Β It evolves! Β It would definitely look different in the near and distant future. Β Carmody knows language. Β It’s beautiful. Β I think this was probably one of the reasons why I was really attracted to her story (that and all my favourite characters!) Β She even gives the animals a really believable language system too! Β And this is why I also love the Obernewtyn series (not just the story!), it’s because of her approach to the language.

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And those are my top five favourites! Β What about you? Β What are some of your all time favourite book series?

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Oh and to wrap up – some honourable mentions!

Star Wars: The Lost Stars. Claudia Gray.


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Lost Stars by Claudia Gray

My rating:

 

So actually I finished this on Saturday (a week ago), but I just didn’t have to time remove it from my status lol. (It also took so much longer to read because well, just been so ridiculously busy 😦 )

I am a MASSIVE fan of Star Wars – I love all the films to pieces, and have been in a totally Star wars mad phase since the most recent movie came out. Reading this took me back to this world. I really love this world. So much, yet, I am not exactly versed in the universe, which is why I totally want to read more of the expanded universe.

Lost Stars though was really interesting in the sense that, I was expecting – well, I don’t know what I was expecting, but I was expecting something like the movies, only this wasn’t like that. Not really. And truthfully, I don’t know how I feel about it. I know I’m not overwhelmed but it, but I’m also not underwhelmed.

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W H A T Β  I Β  T H O U G H T

Romance
This was the main focal point of the whole story. The romance between two Imperial officers (in a manner of speaking, their statuses change throughout the story). A romance that defies any loyalty to any side of the war. It was cute, sweet, and very strong, I’ll give it that. So that’s the pro. The con, is that it overtook most of the plot. The events that took place didn’t matter as much. It was how Thane and Ciena overcame any obstacle that got in the way – in particular, their changing alliances, their loyalty to their causes, and also to each other – and still managed to love each other.

The Story & Time Period
Set a little before Star Wars Episode 4, all the way through those first three movies, through to a short period after Episode 6. Firstly, I really loved seeing those original movies, being told from a different perspective. Thane and Ciena both, since they were young, admired and dreamed of piloting the biggest ships in the galaxy by being part of the Imperial military. And so the story follows their journey, follows Ciena’s supreme oath to the Empire, and Thane’s somewhat fluctuating alliances. They age throughout the book. So the pro here is, that I really enjoyed seeing it from the Imperial side. The con is, there were too many events. There didn’t seem to be any focus in the story except the romance to give the book much focus. So I didn’t really enjoy it as much. I really wanted more of the action.

But I will say, I really liked the way Gray worked in the themes of loyalty, allegiance, politics, idealism – and in particular, I love the ending, you can really see the lead up to Star Wars Episode 7.

The Action
Plenty of it happening! But strangely, is it just me or did it feel like it dragged a little? Each major scene – like the destruction of the first Death Star, the Battle of Yavin, and the destruction of the second Death Star – was great! Plenty of things happening, and yet…it was as though extreme excitement was never achieved? There were other significant events, like when both Ciena and Thane were tested for their loyalty to each other, and to the Empire. Those were great. I like that it wasn’t just a story of the original three movies, retold. Ciena and Thane have their own stories outside of those movies. I just wished that there was less focus on the romance. I will say though, that my favourite, absolute favourite scene in the whole book was at the end, involving Ciena and a Star Destroyer – that was GREAT, I love how her character really shines in that moment, up until it’s a little spoilt by the arrival of Thane (but actually, that was also mostly okay with me too).

The Characters
Ciena and Thane were both pretty well fleshed out. Though I think a first person pov would have been better for this story, because the third person shift didn’t really do their feelings much justice. At the same time, it wasn’t really a story killer. I really love how Gray emphasised on Ciena’s loyalty. I feel the conflict that swirls inside of Ciena as she questions the Empire – though her doubts aren’t as pronounced as Thane’s. We do catch and hear glimpses of old favourites – Princess Leia, Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, and Orlando (Was it Orlando, I’ve blanked on his name) Calrissian – so that was fun! But there are only a handful of other characters that stand out. Most of them die.



This was interesting. Loved diving into the world again. Loved seeing it from another pov. Gawd, now I’m craving Star Wars again, even though this wasn’t exactly the most interesting expanded novel story I’ve read. But it was alright! I think I do really like Ciena and Thane even though I think the whole story felt like it took a bit too long (then again, I took so long reading it because I have been so busy!!)

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