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{Bookish Thoughts} Goodreads: A blessing or a curse?

Do you ever wish that you didn’t read a review or check the average rating for a book on Goodreads before giving it a go yourself? I love Goodreads, I truly do because it helps me keep track of the books I’ve read and the books I want to read. I discover a lot of new books I might not of heard otherwise as well. I also get to connect with other great readers through posting and reading reviews. I always thought Goodreads was miracle-sent but lately, I’m been thinking resentful thoughts.

I can’t think of a single book that I’ve read in the last 6 years (joined GR in 2011) that I didn’t research on Goodreads beforehand. I don’t know about you, but I’ve just become so conditioned when it comes to reading. I always need to skim reviews and gouge the average ratings. This is something I NEVER used to do. I used to read the synopsis and if it sounded good I’d buy or borrow it from the library.

I’m so glad that there’s a great resource where I can checkout what other readers are thinking, but lately, I’ve also been irritated with how it influences my reading decisions. I feel like my initial perception of a book and rather I’ll enjoy it or not is being influenced by other’s opinions. I try to take other’s views with a grain of salt but I still find myself shying away from 3.5 or less starred books regardless of the varying opinions.

Do you feel like Goodreads is a curse and blessing? Do non-amazing ratings make you iffy? Is Goodreads affecting your choice in reading a certain book? Do you wish that you could start taking leaps of faith again?

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A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2) by Sarah J. Maas

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Pages: 626
Release date: May 3, 2016
Genre: Young Adult, High Fantasy, Romance
[Goodreads]

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Do you ever start drafting a review for a book before you even finish it? This is what I started doing with A Court of Mist and Fury. I had a lot of thoughts running through my head so I started jotting them down before I forgot them. Emotions and thoughts are so fresh while reading. Sometimes I think my reviews are actually more thought provoking and energized when I jot notes down while reading.

I felt an emotional attachment to Rhysand in book one, now in book two, I am helplessly in love with him. His shell cracks and his mysteries began to unravel in A Court of Mist and Fury. All the other courts see Rhysand as this tough, murderous, cruel and conniving High Fae Lord, when in reality he’s thoughtful and kind. He cares so much about his Court that he sacrifices himself time after time. He also clearly cares terribly for Feyre.

Feyre is slowly wasting away in body and mind in A Court of Mist and Fury. She’s struggling with adjusting to life as an immortal fae. She’s also experiencing PTSD after being imprisoned by Amarantha under the mountain as well as being forced to kill two innocent fae in order to rescue Tamlin and the rest of the faes entrapped by Amarantha’s curse.

We, and Feyre, learn so much more about the Night Court than we ever learned about the Spring Court. Feyre realizes that Tamlin has purposefully kept secrets about his court from her. The few new tidbits she learns shocks her because she holds such different views on these matters. After a huge blowout with Tamlin, Feyre is whisked away to the Night Court by Rhysand and his cousin Morrigan.

My mind has made so many comparisons between Twilight and A Court of Mist and Fury. Tamlin started reminding me of Edward Cullen which was not a good thing. Like Edward did to Bella in Eclipse, Tamlin starts hiding important and dangerous facts from Feyre. He treats her as such a small fragile thing and won’t allow her to make her own decisions. Enter Jacob, I mean, Rhysand who knows how strong Feyre really is, mentally and physically. He encourages Feyre to embrace her strengths and budding abilities. Rhysand respects Feyre enough to make her own decisions. Swoooon.

Long story short, I don’t like Tamlin anymore. He reminded me too much of a character from another series that I despised.

I LOVED A Court of Mist and Fury. I loved it even more than A Court of Thorns and Roses. We learned so much more about Feyre’s world and met a sleuth of wonderful new characters. We also learned that everything isn’t so black and white like we were set to believe in book one. There’s so many lies for the good and bad that we begin to learn about.

I’m going to waste away waiting for book three…

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The holy gold tipped pink stake means I gave this book 5+ stakes for shear awesomeness and addictedness.


5PLUS

Waiting on Wednesday: The Last Magician

TheLastMagician

From Goodreads:

In modern day New York, magic is all but extinct. The remaining few who have an affinity for magic—the Mageus—live in the shadows, hiding who they are. Any Mageus who enters Manhattan becomes trapped by the Brink, a dark energy barrier that confines them to the island. Crossing it means losing their power—and often their lives.

Esta is a talented thief, and she’s been raised to steal magical artifacts from the sinister Order that created the Brink. With her innate ability to manipulate time, Esta can pilfer from the past, collecting these artifacts before the Order even realizes she’s there. And all of Esta’s training has been for one final job: traveling back to 1902 to steal an ancient book containing the secrets of the Order—and the Brink—before the Magician can destroy it and doom the Mageus to a hopeless future.

But Old New York is a dangerous world ruled by ruthless gangs and secret societies, a world where the very air crackles with magic. Nothing is as it seems, including the Magician himself. And for Esta to save her future, she may have to betray everyone in the past.

When I read that there would be magicians in New York my mind automatically went to Magnus Bane, one of my favorite TMI characters. Also, that cover? SO stunning, dark and mysterious.

The Magicians comes out  July 18, 2017! Are you eagerly awaiting The Magicians too? What’s your WoW for this week? Link me up!

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That Summer by Sarah Dessen

Publisher: Viking Books for Young Reader
Pages: 208
Release Date: April 6, 2006
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Coming-of-age
[Goodreads]

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With such a low rating you’re probably wondering why I didn’t DNF this book. Well, because of my own damn stubbornness, that’s why. Being my first “Sarah Dessen” book, I was determined to read it through. Dessen books seem to be very popular and well-known so I thought That Summer would be a sure thing. As they say: there’s no such thing as a sure thing.

Contemporaries are my least favorite YA genre type. I find that I quickly lose interest unless one of two things occur; epic romance and/or fantastic characters. I get the sense that ‘That Summer’ is geared towards Middle Grade readers, which excuses this book from having no romance(s) to root for.

So then there’s the characters. What can I say about the characters? Well…. SNOOZE. I couldn’t connect or relate to a single one. That Summer follows Haven, a 15 year old girl who’s trying to stay the same while the rest of her world changes. She’s hitting puberty at a fast rate and she’s having trouble accepting it. This sounds like an interesting, albeit, usual coming-of-age story, unfortunately, the characters (including Haven), are lackluster, making the story even more sluggish and agonizing.

My own stubbornness saw me through to the end of That Summer. I really wanted to quit this book about 40 pages in. The only reason I gave this book one stake is because the last 20 pages of That Summer was actually pretty good. The story finally went into hyperdrive and the climax supernova’d. I think if the characters had been quirkier and that more significant moments had occurred, I would have liked ‘That Summer’ a whole lot more.

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I give That Summer one stake. It’s going to be a while before I give another Dessen book a go. I’m going to have to do some better research next time.

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A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Pages: 421
Release Date: May 5, 2015
Genre: Young Adult, High Fantasy, Romance
[Goodreads]

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Sarah J. Maas – you’re officially one of my new favorite authors. I plan on filling my shelves to the brim with your amazing books!

I really enjoy the Throne of Glass series, and now I’m completely in love with A Court of Thorns and Roses series. Sarah’s level of creativity is amazing! She flawlessly creates vivid worlds and one-of-a-kind characters. Although A Court of Thorns and Roses seems to be inspired by Beauty and the Beast, Sarah diverges from the original story by spinning new plots and new captivating characters.

Feyre is such a wonderful character. She’s been neglected and taken advantage by her family, her entire life. When Feyre’s mother was dying, Feyre made a promise that she would take care of her two older sisters and father. Even when Feyre was 8, her mother knew that Feyre was the only one with her wits about her. Her mother knew that Feyre would do anything and everything to keep her little family alive. Feyre has taken care of her older sisters Elain and Nesta, and father, in any way she can since her mother’s passing. The family lost their fortune many years ago which forced them into a ramshackle itty-bitty cottage. Feyre taught herself how to hunt to be able to feed her family and herself, a feat that at times, is near-impossible. She and her family are all underweight, malnourished and miserable.

Tamlin, a ferocious-seeming faerie quickly shows up in the story when Feyre accidentally kills a fae friend of his. He gives her the option to either die or go to live with him forever in the fae lands. After making sure her family will be spared, Feyre grudgingly goes with Tamlin to his home.

I really enjoyed the interactions that took place between Tamlin and Feyre. Feyre was resistant to all things fae in the beginning of the story because she had grown up hearing stories of their torturous and murderous ways. She viewed them as monsters that only caused pain and destruction for humans. Through the time Feyre spends at Tamlin’s home she begins to see things differently though…

A Court of Thorns and Roses was so addicting. Tamlin was a tall, handsome mystery that I wanted to unravel immediately. Feyre was a spirited girl who cared more about others than herself. There was also Lucien, another fae whose role was of the sarcastic best friend and ally to Tamlin. Lucien clearly has some type of problem with Feyre from the beginning which made for hilarious bickering between the two.

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There’s so much to love about this book but I’m going to stop here. You NEED to read this one asap.

Waiting on Wednesday: A Court of Wings and Ruin

A Court of Wings and Ruin

I’m absolutely obsessed with The Court of Thorns and Roses series and I’m not just saying that because I want Rhysand to be the father of my children…

I blew through books 1 and 2 in less than a week. In fact, I finished A Court of Mist and Fury in less than 24 hours. I haven’t read a book that fast since Deathly Hallows came out!!

Are you obsessed with Rhysand too? Or Tamlin? (please don’t say Tamlin LOL) or the series as whole? ALSO. What’s your WoW pick this week?

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{Bookish Thoughts} Re-reads: Do your ratings ever change?

Have u ever loved a book a lot and then when you re-read it a couple years down the road – not love it as much as you used to? That’s how I recently felt about Shatter Me. I was obsessed with this book a couple years ago, but now, not so much.

Don’t get me wrong, I still love Shatter Me. I especially still love the tragic bad boy Warner. I think that it’s just been a few years and a few spectacular books since I last read Shatter Me and therefore my expectations have risen. 

I still plan on reading the books that follow Shatter Me, so fingers crossed that my original fiery love for the series returns.

Can you think of any book that you re-read that wasn’t as amazing the second time around? Or perhaps, a book that you re-read that ended up being more spectacular than you originally thought it was?

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Sweethearts by Sara Zarr

Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Release Date: February 2, 2008
Pages: 217
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
[Goodreads]

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My feelings for Sweethearts are muddled. I simultaneously think this book lacked “something” and yet, was satisfying. Confusing? Very!

To start-off, this book is pretty short. My NOOK was showing me about 210 pages, but Sweethearts ended up only being about 150 pages. This book felt more like a short story vs. a full length novel.

Sweethearts is an emotional book that tackles tough issues, mainly; bullying and child abuse. Zarr did a great job of presenting these subjects with care and knowledge. On a personal level, I could really relate with some of the characters. Their tribulations and thoughts, really struck a cord with me. Zarr’s writing is simple, yet powerfully emotional, because of this I became captivated with the story.

As I write this review I’m stuck thinking that this book was too short, yet, still, perfectly numbered. On one-hand the story and messages come through with so little of pages. On the other-hand, I feel sad that things didn’t play-out as I secretly wanted. Basically, because this review isn’t confusing enough, I thought that this story was enough yet not enough.

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Either way, if you like emotional stories, with good messages, that end bittersweet, you’ll enjoy Sweethearts. I give it 3 stakes.

Have you ever read a book that left you with confusing, conflicting thoughts?