Rating: 5 OWLS
WOW! Just WOW WOW WOW!!! Strange the Dreamer is truly a work of art. Laini Taylor is an extraordinary storyteller with outstanding world building skills and an astonishing ability to develop unforgettable characters. I am writing this review a few weeks after I finished reading the book because I was absolutely speechless when I finished and felt that I needed a few weeks to fully digest and process what I had read. I am in awe of the story Laini Taylor wrote and I am still thinking of it. Since finishing it I have gone back and flipped through some of my favorite parts and I have a feeling this will be a re-read for me sometime in the future.
At its core Strange the Dreamer is one of the most beautifully written love stories of all time; it’s a magnificently beautiful love story, but extremely painful at times. Even though the love story is central to the tale it doesn’t take over the story. Rather it is beautifully woven into the main story that focuses around the city of Weep, a mythical city that was cut off from the rest of the world 200 years ago.
The story has two main characters and Laini Taylor managed to develop both equally well. Lazlo, is an orphan turned junior librarian, an expert in fairytales. His obsession is the city of Weep takes him on an awesome adventure. I liked that Lazlo is described as a shy introvert, didn’t possess any fighting skills, and is a dreamer. His strength is his intellect and his compassion.
Sarai, the Godspawn blue haired girl, is struggling with her conflicting emotions. She has every right to hate all humans, but yet she finds it in herself to understand and forgive what was done to her and her kind. Her compassion and pure heart is what drew me in to fully love her.
The world building was so amazing; Taylor created a wonderfully complex world with meticulous details that allowed me to imagine myself in the world she created. I really can’t say anything else about this without spoiling the book, but just know that it completely goes above all expectations you had entering this beautiful masterpiece.
All in all Strange the Dreamer was pretty much perfect. The lyrical writing style that I have come to expect when picking up a book by Laini Taylor still manages to blow my mind. I believe that if someone would give me one of her books without listing her name I would be able to say who wrote the book because I can’t think of anyone else writing quite like her; she is unique in the best way possible.
A heart to protect. A debt to repay. A game to win.
After being swept up in the magical world of Caraval, Donatella Dragna has finally escaped her father and saved her sister Scarlett from a disastrous arranged marriage. The girls should be celebrating, but Tella isn’t yet free. She made a desperate bargain with a mysterious criminal, and what Tella owes him no one has ever been able to deliver: Caraval Master Legend’s true name.
The only chance of uncovering Legend’s identity is to win Caraval, so Tella throws herself into the legendary competition once more—and into the path of the murderous heir to the throne, a doomed love story, and a web of secrets…including her sister's. Caraval has always demanded bravery, cunning, and sacrifice. But now the game is asking for more. If Tella can’t fulfill her bargain and deliver Legend’s name, she’ll lose everything she cares about—maybe even her life. But if she wins, Legend and Caraval will be destroyed forever.
Welcome, welcome to Caraval...the games have only just begun.
Why I Can’t Wait:
Caraval, the first book in this series, was one of my most anticipated and favorite books of 2017. So it would only make sense that Legendary is one of my most anticipated sequels for 2018. Based on the synopsis above, it would seem that the events will follow Scarlett’s sister Donatella as she plays the game. The entire concept for this series is fascinating and I can’t wait to see what Stephanie Garber has in store for us. While the book release is still a few weeks away, there is still time to enter the pre-order campaign on Stephanie Garber’s website.
VICTORY COMES AT A PRICE.
Mare Barrow learned this all too well when Cal’s betrayal nearly destroyed her. Now determined to protect her heart—and secure freedom for Reds and newbloods like her—Mare resolves to overthrow the kingdom of Norta once and for all . . . starting with the crown on Maven’s head.
But no battle is won alone, and before the Reds may rise as one, Mare must side with the boy who broke her heart in order to defeat the boy who almost broke her. Cal’s powerful Silver allies, alongside Mare and the Scarlet Guard, prove a formidable force. But Maven is driven by an obsession so deep, he will stop at nothing to have Mare as his own again, even if it means demolish everything—and everyone—in his path.
War is coming, and all Mare has fought for hangs in the balance. Will victory be enough to topple the Silver kingdoms? Or will the little lightning girl be forever silenced?
In the epic conclusion to Victoria Aveyard’s stunning series, Mare must embrace her fate and summon all her power . . . for all will be tested, but not all will survive.
Why I Can’t Wait:
War Storm is the fourth and final book in the Red Queen series. I first read Red Queen when it was originally released and really loved it. Since then however I didn’t get a chance to read the other two books in the series, Glass Sword and King’s Cage even though I own both. Now with the conclusion of the series on the horizon, I picked up Glass Sword and am loving it. Needless to say, I am beyond excited about War Storm. I love being able to marathon series so now I have one week left to catch up. Also, next week I will get the chance to meet Victoria Aveyard in one of her tour stops. YAY!!! Can’t wait to see how this incredible series concludes!
Follows two fiercely independent young women, centuries apart, who hold the power to save their world...or doom it.
When assassins ambush her best friend, the crown prince, Rielle Dardenne risks everything to save him, exposing her ability to perform all seven kinds of elemental magic. The only people who should possess this extraordinary power are a pair of prophesied queens: a queen of light and salvation and a queen of blood and destruction. To prove she is the Sun Queen, Rielle must endure seven trials to test her magic. If she fails, she will be executed...unless the trials kill her first.
A thousand years later, the legend of Queen Rielle is a mere fairy tale to bounty hunter Eliana Ferracora. When the Undying Empire conquered her kingdom, she embraced violence to keep her family alive. Now, she believes herself untouchable--until her mother vanishes without a trace, along with countless other women in their city. To find her, Eliana joins a rebel captain on a dangerous mission and discovers that the evil at the heart of the empire is more terrible than she ever imagined.
As Rielle and Eliana fight in a cosmic war that spans millennia, their stories intersect, and the shocking connections between them ultimately determine the fate of their world--and of each other.
Why I Can’t Wait:
Furyborn is the first in the Empirium trilogy by author Claire Legrand. I am super curious to see how Rielle and Eliana’s stories are connected; based on the synopsis I would think that we would alternate between the two timelines since Rielle and Eliana are born centuries apart. Furyborn captured my attention last year and I’ve been desperately trying to get an ARC, but never got a chance to. I’ve already pre-ordered this and participated in the preorder campaign (details here).
Hello, Booknerds!!! Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly post hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic is Books I’d Love to Get Early. This is a great topic since there are quite a few books that I am sooooooo ready to get my hands on and I wish and dream for ARCs of all of these. I am splitting my books between books that had cover reveals and books that did not.
King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo – January 29, 2019
The Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor – October 2, 2018
These Rebel Waves by Sara Raasch – August 7, 2018
Catwoman: Soulstealer by Sarah J. Maas—August 7, 2018
What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera – October 9, 2018
Escaping From Houdini by Kerri Maniscalco – September 18, 2018
No Covers Yet
Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas – October 23, 2018
Wildcard by Marie Lu – September 18, 2018
The Queen’s Resistance by Rebecca Ross – February 2019
New YA Novel by Rainbow Rowell – totally unknown book by Rainbow Rowell, but she said that it’s happening, a new YA novel—and basically I will get it no matter what because she is one of my favorite authors.
I am very excited for all of these books, but my most anticipated book from this list would have to be King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo because Nikolai was one of my favorite characters in the Grisha Trilogy, second only to The Darkling, and I’ve been dreaming and wishing for him to get his own story pretty much since I first read the trilogy in 2014. My dreams are finally coming true!!!!
What books are you most looking forward to?
They call her Traitor Kate. It’s a title Kate Brighton inherited from her father after he tried to assassinate the high king years ago. Now Kate lives as an outcast, clinging to the fringes of society as a member of the Relay, the imperial courier service. Only those most skilled in riding and bow hunting ride for the Relay; and only the fastest survive, for when dark falls, the nightdrakes—deadly flightless dragons—come out to hunt. Fortunately, Kate has a secret edge: she is a wilder, born with magic that allows her to influence the minds of animals. But it’s this magic that she needs to keep hidden, as being a wilder is forbidden, punishable by death or exile. And it’s this magic that leads her to a caravan massacred by nightdrakes in broad daylight—the only survivor her childhood friend, her first love, the boy she swore to forget, the boy who broke her heart.
The high king’s second son, Corwin Tormane, never asked to lead. Even as he waits for the uror—the once-in-a-generation ritual to decide which of the king’s children will succeed him—he knows it’s always been his brother who will assume the throne. And that’s fine by him. He’d rather spend his days away from the palace, away from the sight of his father, broken with sickness from the attempt on his life. But the peacekeeping tour Corwin is on has given him too much time to reflect upon the night he saved his father’s life—the night he condemned the would-be killer to death and lost the girl he loved. Which is why he takes it on himself to investigate rumors of unrest in one of the remote city-states, only for his caravan to be attacked—and for him to be saved by Kate.
With their paths once more entangled, Kate and Corwin have to put the past behind them. The threat of drakes who attack in the daylight is only the beginning of a darker menace stirring in the kingdom—one whose origins have dire implications for Kate’s father’s attack upon the king and will thrust them into the middle of a brewing civil war in the kingdom of Rime.
Why I Can’t Wait:
Magic and creatures and romance! Oh My! I am so excited for Onyx and Ivory. This book sounds like something right up my alley. It’s an epic fantasy that promises to beautifully blend magic and romance in a story that will have me staying up way late reading.
Narrated by Feyre and Rhysand, this bridges the events in A Court of Wings and Ruin and the upcoming novels in the series.
Feyre, Rhys, and their close-knit circle of friends are still busy rebuilding the Night Court and the vastly-changed world beyond. But Winter Solstice is finally near, and with it, a hard-earned reprieve. Yet even the festive atmosphere can't keep the shadows of the past from looming. As Feyre navigates her first Winter Solstice as High Lady, she finds that those dearest to her have more wounds than she anticipated--scars that will have far-reaching impact on the future of their Court.
Why I Can’t Wait:
I don’t think I can fully express how ready I am for this book. Even though it is considered more as a novella that would bridge the events of A Court of Wings and Ruin and the upcoming books, at 272 pages it seems more like a novel; a short novel considering that all of Sarah J Maas’ books are range between 400 and 800 pages. Also, did I mention that Rhys is narrating parts of A Court of Frost and Starlight???? I adore him and I am beyond excited for that!
Also, if you are interested, there is a pre-order campaign for a really nice Night Court enamel pin (here).
Leah Burke—girl-band drummer, master of deadpan, and Simon Spier’s best friend from the award-winning Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda—takes center stage in this novel of first love and senior-year angst.
When it comes to drumming, Leah Burke is usually on beat—but real life isn’t always so rhythmic. An anomaly in her friend group, she’s the only child of a young, single mom, and her life is decidedly less privileged. She loves to draw but is too self-conscious to show it. And even though her mom knows she’s bisexual, she hasn’t mustered the courage to tell her friends—not even her openly gay BFF, Simon.
So Leah really doesn’t know what to do when her rock-solid friend group starts to fracture in unexpected ways. With prom and college on the horizon, tensions are running high. It’s hard for Leah to strike the right note while the people she loves are fighting—especially when she realizes she might love one of them more than she ever intended.
Why I Can’t Wait:
Leah was one of my favorite characters in Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda and I am so happy she gets her own story. Becky Albertalli is such a wonderful story teller and her characters are so well developed and easy to love. The minute I finished Simon vs. I was wondering about what was next for Leah, and I was beyond excited when the announcement for Leah on the Offbeat came. I already pre-ordered the book and I expect to read it as soon as it gets here.
What made your list this week?
Hello Booknerds!!! Hope everyone is doing well. As mentioned in some of my previous posts, this year I decided to participate in five different challenges; so far I am doing just okay in all of them, but have plenty of time to improve. You can check out my reading challenges announcement on my Reading Challenges page for additional details on which challenges I committed to and get access to the amazing bloggers hosting each of the challenges. Below are the books I’ve read since my last wrap-up blogpost and which challenge they count towards:
2018 GoodReads Challenge
For this challenge I decided to go with 50 books for the year and so far I completed 10. I am a bit behind schedule here, but I feel like I’ll be able to catch up in no time. The books I’ve read since my last Wrap-up post are: Secrets of Bennett Hall (review), Pride & Prejudice, The Rose & The Dagger, The Hate U Give, Fangirl, Strange the Dreamer and The Upside of Unrequited.
2018 Series Enders Challenge
My goal for this challenge is 7 books for the year and I am happy to finally have a book count towards this challenge, The Rose & The Dagger.
2018 New Release Challenge
My goal in 2018 is to read a minimum of 15 new releases and so far I’ve read two books counting towards this goal. The book I’ve read since my last wrap-up post is: Secrets of Bennett Hall.
2018 Audiobook Challenge
My goal for the Audiobook challenge this year is a minimum of 17 books and so far I’ve listened to 7 audiobooks. The books I’ve listened to since my last wrap-up post are: The Rose & The Dagger, The Upside of Unrequited, Fangirl, Strange the Dreamer, and Pride and Prejudice.
2018 Mount TBR Reading Challenge
My goal for this challenge is 36 books for the year and so far I have six books counting towards this challenge. The books I’ve read since my last wrap-up post are: The Hate U Give, The Upside of Unrequited, Strange the Dreamer, and The Rose & The Dagger.
Are you participating in any reading challenges this year? How are they coming along? Let me know in the comments below. Happy reading!!
Rating: 4 OWLS
Becky Albertalli’s sophomore novel is everything you could hope and wish for and then some. The Upside of Unrequited is an uplifting young adult novel, a quick, fun, and heartwarming read that tackles some very important issues in an easy, natural way.
If you are familiar with Becky Albertalli’s debut novel, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda (side note: if you are not, what are you waiting for??? Your life will exponentially improve by reading it) you know that her books tend to be very much character driven. The Upside of Unrequited is wonderfully diverse in a natural way. There is religious, sexual orientation, race, and so much more diversity that it will blow your mind. And guess what?? It is not the focus of the book!!! This is entirely a Molly centered book and everything else is just there in a natural way. I don’t know how Becky Albertalli manages, but all her characters are extremely well developed so that by the end you are completely emotionally committed to their happiness. She developed beautiful friendships that left me awed. I found myself quickly attached to most of the characters and I wanted to know what happened to them in the end, which Albertalli managed to deliver flawlessly.
One thing that stood out to me more than anything else was the normalization of prescription medicine for mental illness. I feel like there is such a stigma surrounding the topic that it was utterly refreshing seeing Molly’s casual mentions of her anxiety medication.
Another thing that I tend to really enjoy in Becky’s books is the family relationships. We need more books with positively portrayed parents and even more importantly present parents (I mean seriously, where are the parents in 97% of books???). Patty and Nadine were the absolute perfect moms!!!! I loved them to pieces.
The Upside of Unrequited was an insanely fun read that tackled very realistic struggles in a non-preachy way. Becky is an incredible storyteller and I am looking forward to reading more from her. She is an auto-preorder author for me because I know that I will not be disappointed. Her new book, Leah on the Offbeat will be released on April 24 and I cannot wait to devour it!