Once and For All – Sarah Dessen


Once and For All

Happy summer! I’ve always found summer to be the perfect time to really knock some books off your reading list. For long plane/bus/train rides, nothing makes the time pass by faster than reading. I’ve been looking forward to Sarah Dessen’s latest book for a very long time, so it’s so timely that it was released just as the summer is beginning.

“Louna, daughter of famed wedding planner Natalie Barrett, has seen every sort of wedding: on the beach, at historic mansions, in fancy hotels and clubs. Perhaps that’s why she’s cynical about happily-ever-after endings, especially since her own first love ended tragically. When Louna meets charming, happy-go-lucky serial dater Ambrose, she holds him at arm’s length. But Ambrose isn’t about to be discouraged, now that he’s met the one girl he really wants.”

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[Reread] The Shadow Rising – Wheel of Time

Wow, I’ve really forgotten how long these books are… But I am well into my reread. I just finished the fourth book of the series, so I thought I’d jot down a few of the thoughts that popped into my head on my second time reading this.

  • According to Wikipedia, “at 393,823 words, The Shadow Rising is the longest book of The Wheel of Time although it has fewer pages than ‘Lord of Chaos.'”
  • Given that information, it will probably take me all summer to get to book 14.
  • Rand’s arc is definitely the most exciting one in this book. His face-off with Couladin that leads the Aiel clan chief to declare him the Car’a’carn is so well done; the tension and climax practically leap off the pages. I could picture the scene basically akin to the Dothraki proclaiming their allegiance to Daenerys in Game of Thrones.
  • I had completely forgotten about the history of the Aiel and their connection with the Tinkers, but wow, what a reveal. This world and its history really does take on a life of its own.
  • Perrin’s arc and his victory against the Trollocs and the Whitecloaks probably comes a close second.
  • Mat is still whiny and insufferable in this book, but I’m excited for the ones to follow because his arc gets significantly more attention and importance.
  • It’s so exciting reading this series a second time because as each new character is introduced and joins the cast of characters (Egeanin, Logain, Amathera, Faile, to name a few), I can anticipate and see how Robert Jordan is setting up the events to come in later books.

[Reread] Wheel of Time – Robert Jordan

I’m currently in the beginning of my epic endeavor to reread Robert Jordan’s equally epic Wheel of Time series. A bit of background – I began reading these books when I was in middle school. I know, I know, the content is WAY too mature for a middle school child, but somehow no one ever stopped me?

Anyway, I made it to book 13 and waited and waited for the final book. Then, I learned that Robert Jordan had died and this wonderful, complex series that had essentially ruled my childhood would be left unfinished. For those of you who don’t know, every book in this series is a monster in itself. I own most of them in the Tor paperback version. Lord of Chaos, the longest one, clocks in at a whopping 987 pages, and the “shortest” one, The Great Hunt, is 681.

The brilliant Brandon Sanderson picked up the series and finished the final book in 2013. By that time, I was in high school, and didn’t even have the time to think about finishing what I had left off.

It’s now 2017. I am determined to finish this series and find out what happens to all of the characters I grew up with and this hugely complicated and populated world. Since I took a 7 year hiatus from the series, I’m starting back at square/book one (gotta refresh my memory!), and I’m going to do a full read-through without a break. That’s right, I’m gonna read all 14 books in one go. I’m currently at Book 4, and I’ll try to record my thoughts as I re-familiarize myself into this epic fantasy series, its characters and its history.

Strange the Dreamer – Laini Taylor

 

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Summary

It was impossible, of course.

But when did that ever stop any dreamer from dreaming?

This was so. good. I had high expectations going into this because I loved Laini Taylor’s previous Daughter of Smoke and Bone series (which everyone should also read), and Strange the Dreamer did not disappoint at all. I’m pretty much at the stage where I will read anything she writes, because she is just that good.

 

 

 

 

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Carve the Mark – Veronica Roth

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Summary

Well, this was… not good. Which pains me to say, since I was a huge fan of Veronica Roth’s Divergent series (even if Allegiant epically let me down). I’m having a bit of a hard time pinpointing exactly what I disliked so much about this, which probably just means that every aspect of this book overall was just a big ball of mess.

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Heartless – Marissa Meyer

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Summary

This series is one long investment. Cinder was insufferably boring for the first 80% of the book, and it took me three (three!!) attempts to finish it. All that to say, however, Scarlet and Cress more than make up for it, culminating with the epic Winter that gave me all the feels and the swoons.

Cinder had so much potential; it should have been amazing, but ultimately just fell short. To run through some of points that had me picking it up in the first place, followed by why it didn’t work (more after the jump):

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Heartless – Marissa Meyer

18584855I was really excited for this book because when I first read the blurb on Goodreads, I was like “Queen of Hearts? Wonderland? I need this.” I love when an author takes a classic story and either makes it her own or choose to take a deeper dive into the characters we have come to love or hate. Heartless is Marissa Meyer’s vision of how the Queen of Hearts became the unhinged monarch we know her as in Alice in Wonderland.

Lady Catherine Pinkerton has one simple dream – to be the best baker in the kingdom of Hearts. Her mother and her society, however, have another dream for her, and in their dream, the future Queen of Hearts simply cannot be a lowly baker.

The plot moves slowly, but this is a largely character-driven book where you really get to understand the circumstances and manipulations that shape the kind of queen that Catherine becomes. Looking back now, I don’t think I found the loveline really believable (seemed a little too love-at-first-sight), but regardless Jest is so swoonworthy it ultimately didn’t really matter because I flew through the book.

If you’re familiar with Alice in Wonderland or any of its adaptations, you’ll be thrilled by Meyer’s nods to the source material. Our Wonderland favorites (the Mad Hatter!, the Cheshire Cat!) have fairly major roles in the story, and the world is as quirky, weird, dark, and fabulous as ever.

I’m currently working my way through Meyer’s older Lunar Chronicles series (also fairytale inspired), and I can definitely see how she has refined her writing since then. I found it difficult to get through Cinder, the first book in the series, largely due to the fact that it just couldn’t hold my interest, but Heartless is such an improvement that I think I finished this in two days. Overall, it’s a fun read that builds upon an already beloved and classic world and blends the familiar and the new in a way that makes the story accessible to anyone who enjoys these kinds of classic retellings.

Rating: 4 stars out of 5