Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
Synopsis: "Darkness never dies.
Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land. She finds starting new is not easy while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. She can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.
The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her--or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm."
Review: First off, this is the SECOND book of the Grisha Trilogy so don't read this is you don't want spoilers for Shadow and Bone!
Siege and Storm was action packed, so much so that I honestly had to pause a couple times to take everything in. There really was a bit of everything in this novel! I loved the action, adventure, romance, and emotions I experienced while reading this and I have to say that I can't stop thinking about this plot!
Now that the Grisha world was pretty much all set up, Leigh Bardugo really started the whole adventure of Alina vs the Darkling. Alina's struggle with Mal, the Darkling, Nikolai, and saving Ravka is something that is present throughout this novel and really caused a LOT of emotions. Alina really goes through a lot in this storyline whether it involve romance drama to saving the world, Alina has a lot on her shoulders. I love that Alina can make mistakes and that Alina comes from a poorer upbringing because after she is thrust into this new found glory, I just can't imagine would it would of been like if she already came from a higher upbringing.
We are also introduced to Tamar and Tolya, grisha twins whom I LOVE DEARLY (especially since I'm a twin too), but I just found them to be the side characters that really captured my attention. I actually found the characters in this novel to be incredibly unique and I really love them all.. except certain ones (cough Genya couch the Darkling)
This book had more of a focus on the culture of the people now that Grisha world was fully constructed. Although this book had much less world building than Shadow and Bone, SO MUCH HAPPENED ALL THE TIME. I honestly loved that about it! It feel like a plot induced adrenaline high? (if that's even possible because then book cardio could be real) I don't want to give anything away for those who haven't picked up this book yet so let me just say that I laughed, cried, yelled, and probably yelled some more (but mostly in my head ... I share a room ).
If you didn't get any of this review let me just make it known that this book was amazing and everyone should go and read it. (This is not even a suggestion, yeah it's that good).
Favorite Quote(s): " 'You were like a stranger, Alina. Beautiful,' he said. 'Terrible.' "
" 'he just blooms wherever he's planted.'
'I'm more of a weed,' I said drily."
" 'We're giving them hope. That's better than nothing.'
'Spoken like a man who's never had nothing,' "
" 'Fearless is other word for stupid.' "
" 'The world is changing,' ... 'We change with it, or there will be nothing left to remember us but the dust.' "
Harry Potter and The Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, & Jack Thorne
Synopsis: Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The play will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on July 30, 2016.
It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.
While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.
Review: WOW ok first of all HARRY POTTER. Anyways, I know there are plenty of mixed reviews out there but let me just say that this review is MY opinion and you guys are free to think whatever you want! I'll start by addressing what other people disliked. Many people didn't like the format... but it's a script so I definitely was prepared for it and to be honest it helped me get through the book much quicker. Although I do have to agree it felt slightly like a fanfiction, but who cares right? (She didn't have to write any more but she did so take it or leave it!) Some people also didn't even like the plot, but let me get to that in a minute.
I honestly wasn't even planning on getting this book when I did because I just happened to be at Costco to return something and my dad asked if I wanted anything and I was really hoping they would have this book and THEY DID SO I WAS LITERALLY JUST HUGGING THIS BOOK ON THE RIDE HOME. Ok whew breathe, getting a bit too excited all over again. Now let's get into it. First of all I was already aware of the mixed reviews so I was a bit cautious reading this book, but let me just say this script was intended to be a play and for all intents and purposes it did a REALLY good job. I get that maybe it didn't make the best novel, but it's a PLAY, and there isn't meant to be anymore.
My favorite part was really getting to see the crew back at it again. Harry, Ron, Hermione, just made me feel at home again. They are the three characters I could never read enough on. They are literal squad goals (seriously how many squads have the saved the world and had fun doing it?). Just getting to hear about Hogwarts again made me feel nostalgic.
Right in the beginning we are introduced to Harry's third child, his son, Albus. Albus instantly felt like a little Harry Potter clone to me despite the differences that both Harry and Albus claimed. Ok so the interesting stuff may include spoilers so I'll hide the rest and you can choose to read it or not! :)
Opinion Spoilers: We also get to meet Scorpius, Draco's son. As it turns out Albus is sorted into Slytherin as well as Scorpius and they become the best of friends, but also loners at Hogwarts due to people believing Scorpius is Voldemort's son and Albus just because he wasn't very good at magic. Honestly, I wasn't drawn in by all the new characters I just really liked seeing how the old ones were doing and what the wizarding world was like after so many years. The time traveling stuff. Ok I get it so at the end nothing was really achieved, BUT I would just like to reiterate that this is a PLAY and that this is pretty much how plays work themselves out... Besides happy endings are nice and I loved that bit of action! The time traveling also allowed for some of my favorite parts to happen!! UM SNAPE yes that's right because Scorpius and Albus go back in time, Scorpius does get to meet Snape and touching moments happen. (Seriously I was tearing up plus I mean it felt nice to get to know that Snape sort of got to know that everything was good. It felt unfair that he couldn't before.) Now Voldemort's daughter... yea she didn't make me feel anything at all. She seemed sketchy to me since the beginning and I wasn't devoting and sort of connection to her, so that part didn't do much for me. However, the rest of J.K. Rowling's amazing plot twists got me ready to read this script as quickly as possible! I could honestly see the play come to life in my mind! (well with the movie characters because they will always be the originals to me) No matter how much I wish there was more I know there really can't be more and that's why I'm grateful for the nice ending J.K. Rowling has provided with this script. All the loose ends seemed pretty tied up and I am not left yearning for another 1000000 books instead it just feels like the end and I have to say I'm pretty satisfied.
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Synopsis: "Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.
Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.
Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.
Shadow and Bone is the first installment in Leigh Bardugo's Grisha Trilogy."
Review: I totally understand the hype now. I honestly have no idea why it took me so long to pick up this book. I love it so much. Leigh Bardugo's Grisha world is mesmerizing and completely grabbed my attention. I could not put this book down.
Let me start with the plot. As some of you may know, I'm an infamous plot guesser, but there was only one thing I predicted correctly in this novel and I was already nearing the end of the book (so really does it even count?). Anyways, the plot had me completely gripped and even with a classic little love triangle, that could usually be pretty annoying, I loved it. The Grisha world is just full of everything that there's never a break, or really ever a moment, for me, or any other reader, to put down the book. I'm not putting out any spoilers so I can't talk about the plot too much just that it's awesome and action packed! This book honestly gave me the strongest feelings from worry to butterflies in my stomach I was completely attached to this book emotionally.
Ahh now we get to Alina! This girl is the perfect main, because like other mains she has a sympathetic backstory, she's not gorgeous (but guys like her anyways), and she's strong (even though in Alina's case she didn't really know!). Alina is just the kind of character to get devoted to and it's hard to help but adore her pureness of heart and positivity. However, then there's Mal and the Darkling. Yep there's the little love triangle but I won't ruin anything for you guys but let me just say the guy she ends up with is just goals and I totally ship them. Mal's character was totally dreamy, but sort of a jerk in the beginning. Then there's the Darkling who attracts everyone especially due to his incredible power. I'll leave it there for now. However, the romance that does occur felt quite unrealistic (but it's fiction and sometimes we all need/want that unreal love). PS. I liked Genya a lot, now I don't I won't say anymore.
The Grisha world is AMAZING and I can't wait to read the next two books to learn more about the world! The map at the beginning of the book honestly took up at least 5 minutes of my time because I could not stop staring. In fact, all the art and design revolving this book is GORGEOUS (seriously ... everything). From the amazing plotline, to the wonderfully written characters, all the way to the beautifully planned out Grisha world Shadow and Bone is a book I'd recommend to all Young Adult or Fantasy readers (and probably everyone else too!)
Favorite Quote(s): " 'It's always just you and me, Alina.'
For a moment, it seemed like it was true."
" I laughed nervously. 'I'm not the world-changing type.' "
" 'Where are you going?' she called after me, her voice mocking. 'What's waiting for you out there?' 'Nothing!' I shouted at her. 'No one!' "
Over the past couple of months my reading tastes have really evolved. I was definitely in a bit of a contemporary phase last year but this year is the year of fantasy. Fantasy is just another way of saying that the book can be filled with anything. It can literally include anything and everything you think of.
Last year, I was incredibly loving books like P.S. I Still Love You and Fangirl. I was most definitely in some weird sort of romance loving stage. The relationships were the main focus of contemporary books and at the time, that was what I really enjoyed reading. I loved seeing how the two characters would get together (or sometimes not get together #ATBP too soon...). I was drawn to things that pulled on my heart strings and left me in tears or made me so giddy that I couldn't physically (and mentally) stop smiling for the rest of the day. Don't get me wrong I still love a good contemporary! However, I found myself really enjoying using my imagination a lot more recently instead of my emotions.
Ever since I was little everyone wondered why I loved to read so much and why they couldn't get me to read anything, but fiction. The truth is when I read fiction novels, it's not so much of reading as watching a movie that no one else can see. My imagination is pretty crazy if I do say so myself, and so fiction books were practically the same as heading to the theaters. For this same reason I found myself drawn to fantasy A LOT this year. In contemporary novels, pretty much all the stories are set in standard and possibly real-life locations that don't require much imagination (you could probably google to find a similar location). In fantasy novels, the entire story takes place in a world someone else created, something the reader has never seen or even imagined. This is where it became exciting for me. I could see entirely new (and usually magical) things that contemporary novels could never indulge me in.
Although I think fantasy will be my top choice for many years to come, don't worry because I'm sure I'll be reading plenty of contemporary novels as well!
Let me know in the comments what your favorite genre is and if it was always that genre!
A fan of anything fiction, furry, & fun.