Review: Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

Crooked Kingdom
Title: Crooked Kingdom
Author: 
Leigh Bardugo
Publication Date: September 27, 2016
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Rating: 5 Stars


Welcome to the world of the Grisha.

Kaz Brekker and his crew of deadly outcasts have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives.

Double-crossed and badly weakened, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz’s cunning and test the team’s fragile loyalties.

A war will be waged on the city’s dark and twisting streets – a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of the Grisha world.


Review_

I…… don’t even know how I’m going to do this review. This is just one of those books, ya know? As soon as I started reading Six of Crows – review HERE – I knew that I was about to dive into something special (I was right), something that would grab me and shake me like Harry Potter or Twilight or any of the other super popular series that seep into you and make you obsessed with a fictional world for more than a little while (I was right).

The single thought that ran through my mind as I read through the twists and turns was that Leigh Bardugo was a GENIUS. Every single scheme was so intricate and so well thought out. Some of the ideas were completely off the wall and I have no idea how Bardugo’s brain was able to weave so many different cons with so many different moving pieces together in such a seamless way. I can’t even begin to imagine writing a plot so entirely dependent on the tiniest of details and explosive chain reactions. She’s a queen.

My single solitary complaint is that I wanted a little bit more from a few of the characters at the end of the story. Some of the gang had more time to shine than others at the end, and one in particular was kinda shoved to the side. But other than that, this was a masterpiece. A bold statement coming from someone who’s only read 2/7 books in the Grishaverse world, but I think it’s earned its place among fantasy giants like the Wizarding world.

I can’t wait to read the Grishaverse trilogy and, more important, King Nikolai’s spin-off. He made a very brief appearance in Crooked Kingdom and I already know that I love him.

5 Stars

 

Top Ten Tuesday: The First 3 Audiobooks I Listened To (And 7 More I Want to Hear)

Top Ten Tuesday (1)

I was really excited to see that this week’s TTT was an audio freebie because I’m a brand new audiobook convert. Like, I just listened to my first audiobook in 2019 new. I’ve listened to three so far but I have a long list I want to tackle!


What I’ve listened to so far:

 

The first book I listened to was Thirteen Reasons Why. It was a gentle introduction since the story is told through audiotapes anyways. Then I found the Amish anthologies that Beth Wiseman put together. An Amish Cradle was first, and I just finished An Amish Gathering a few days ago!

Next on my list:

 

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I can’t wait to read everyone else’s lists because I need some recommendations! What’s your favorite audiobook?

 

100 Followers Q&A! Why Did I Self-Publish and Office Meltdown

In case you missed it, I hit a big milestone last week! 100 followers AND 100 posts!

See the source imageIn honor of the occasion, I asked you if there was anything you wanted from me and opened the field for questions. The response was overwhelming! I got a bunch of emails from people reaching out and asking questions about the self-publishing process (it’s always so nice to get an email that isn’t spam) and quite a few fun questions in the comment section of the post itself!

Since there’s such a big interest in the writing/publishing side of things, I’m going to do a series of posts about the self-publishing process as I prepare to release my second book. Look for it sometime this summer!


Q&A

How old were you when you started writing, and how would you compare that to now?

💬 I started writing fiction seriously when I was about 18, although I wrote a few crappy fanfictions when I was in middle school. From 18 to now (23, almost 24) I think my writing has gotten stronger and matured quite a bit, but no big changes!

Why did you decide to do self-publishing over traditional publishing?

💬 Two reasons:  I’m impatient and I’m a control freak. It takes literary agents months to get back to your submissions (and some of them just never do) and I wasn’t willing to wait that long. I did query a few agents and months after my book was published got a few requests for complete manuscripts, but it just made me all the more happy to have gone ahead and put my book out in the world.

I’m also a massive perfectionist / control freak. I like everything to be perfect and I want a hand in making every single decision, no matter how tiny. When you traditionally publish a lot of that control is lost. It’s a good and bad thing, depending on how you look at it.

What’s your favorite genre to write?

💬 Definitely historical fiction. I have a Bachelor of Arts in English and History and I’m two and a half classes away from having my Master of Arts in North American History. Writing historical fiction makes me feel a teensy bit better about my massive stack of student loans! But in all seriousness, I do enjoy digging in and doing the research for a historical novel.

I know your published book is a historical romance, but will you perhaps publish books of a different genre, or do you only write historical romance?

 💬 As of right now I only write historical romance, but I have ideas for a contemporary romance (with historical elements, of course) and a royal drama with politics and a bit of love. Obviously I like writing about relationships!

If you were a character from The Office who would you be?

I need you to know that I took this question VERY seriously. I just deliberated my answer to this for too long a long time.

I have to go with…

Image result for pam the office gif

Pam! And not just because I want to marry Jim and live happily every after, although that is a great perk…

Do you listen to music or watch TV when you write?

💬 I have a playlist filled with soundtracks – mostly from historical movies or TV shows – that I listen to while I’m writing if I want some background noise. I know a lot of authors like to make playlists that go along with their story and listen while they work but I can’t listen to anything with lyrics or speaking or I get distracted and start typing the wrong stuff. Sometimes I put westerns on TV and turn the volume down super low when I’m editing though!

Are you going to keep self-publishing or do you want to be traditionally published one day?

💬 You never know what the future holds, but I’m super content with self-publishing.

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Thank you so much for all the questions! I didn’t realize how interested everyone would be in the self-publishing process and I can’t wait to start making more writing related posts!

 

 

 

 

Review: An Amish Gathering by Beth Wiseman

An Amish Gathering
Title: An Amish Gathering
Author:
 Beth Wiseman
Publication Date: December 22, 2009
Genre: Christian Fiction, Amish
Rating:4 Stars


Join three Amish couples as they experience love amidst life’s seasons. As Rebecca mourns her twin sister, Ben seeks to break through her grief. Leah would rather write than be a good fraa, but her spirit captures Aaron’s heart. And when Josiah falls for Amanda, he learns about letting go of the past.

 


Review_I mentioned in my review of An Amish Cradle that I had already started listening to another collection spearheaded by Beth Wiseman – here it is!

These books are just so stinkin’ fun to listen to! Just like the last collection, all of the stories revolved around Amish couples. This time, instead of babies, there were gatherings of one type or another – usually a ‘singing’ which is a get together for Amish young adults after church. The gathering was the turning point in the relationship of the two main characters.

I absolutely adored these stories. In the last book there were four short stories, and the first two were my favorite by far. This time, they were all amazing! I connected to all of the main characters and they all had backstories that were really well fleshed out given the short length of the stories. Maybe having three stories instead of four gave the plots more room to breathe. I do have to confess, Beth Wiseman’s story (the first) was my favorite again. I really enjoy her writing style and I’d like to pick up some of her solo work eventually.

I did notice when I was searching for another to listen to – none were immediately available through my library, boo! – that there were some repeat stories in other compilations. It’s no big deal since I can just skip over what I’ve already heard, but still a bummer since I want more!

4 Stars

100 Followers and 100 Posts Q&A! (For Both of Us)

I am SO. EXCITED! 

We’ve hit two big milestones around here: as of yesterday, my website now has 100 followers and this post is my 100th!!

Image result for celebration gif

In honor of all the goals being reached around here, I thought it would be fun to do a Q&A! Leave a comment down below with any questions you want to ask me, whether it’s about reading, writing, or what I’m up to when I’m not doing either of those things! No question will go unanswered – I’ll post my responses on Monday! (I am terrified that no one’s going to ask any questions so please, have pity on me if you see the comments section is empty 😉).

And now, I have a Q&A for you… What do you want to see more of? What posts are your favorites? Do you want to see more about the writing / self-publishing process, or would you rather I stuck to reading and bookish things?

Thank you SO SO MUCH for following along and making this post possible!

 

Are Harry Potter and Percy Jackson the Same Story?

Discussion (3)

I finally finished reading the Percy Jackson books, and let me start off by saying they were GOOD. I wish I would have read them when I was younger, but there’s a universal appeal to the story that made them just as enjoyable to read as an adult.

But something nagged at me as I was reading…

When I finished the first book and wrote my review, I took a minute to scroll through the other reviews on Goodreads. There was one gripe a lot of them had in common: Percy Jackson and Harry Potter (the books, not the characters – we’ll get to that later) were very similar.

At first I didn’t think anything of it. The first book had some similarities, but nothing that screamed HARRY POTTER! at me. The further I got into the series, the more clearly I saw why people were comparing the two stories. But is it a bad thing that the stories tend to overlap?

*Spoilers for Percy Jackson and Harry Potter below*


Characters

Percy Jackson and Harry Potter: Percy and Harry are the most similar. Both kind of stumble through life, trying to figure out why they’re such screw ups and why they can do things other people can’t (although neither exactly realizes they have ‘powers’). They’re made out to be the average Joe type who isn’t particularly smart or any more talented than the people around him, but their bravery makes up for all that.

Annabeth Chase and Hermione Granger: Annabeth and Hermione are both the intelligent member of their respective friend trios. They fight for the underdog (Hermione for house elves, Annabeth for the half-bloods who’ve gone to the dark side), and they care more about the rules than their friends.

Grover and Ron Weasely: Grover and Ron take the place of lovable, endearingly dopey sidekick. They’re the easiest to scare of their trios, both go missing at some point or another, and both return to the trio stronger and more mature.

Chiron and Dumbledore: Chiron and Dumbledore are both wise older men who council the hero of the story. Both withhold pertinent information from the heroes, afraid that they’re too young to handle it.

Kronos and Voldemort: Kronos and Voldemort are both super spooky, kill-anyone-I-have-to villains. They’ve both been defeated once, both been banished to a lesser form of life, and both use a child to come back to a human (or in Kronos’s case, titan) form.


Plot & Themes

Prophecies: Percy and Harry are both at the center of a prophecy that predicts their death and the rise of their enemies. Both prophecies are also misleading, and could have been / were about someone else in the story – Harry’s could have been for Neville, while Percy Jackson’s ended up being fulfilled by Luke.

The Maze: The labyrinth and the maze at the end of the triwizard tournament were both shifting, organic riddles filled with danger for the heroes. At the end of the books the mazes were featured in, we learn about characters who weren’t who we thought they were: Daedalus, who we thought was Quintus, and Barty Crouch Jr., who we thought was Professor Moody.

Trio of Friends Backed by Others: Perhaps the most obvious comparison is the trio of friends working to keep the villain at bay, backed by their respective organizations – Dumbledore’s Army for Harry, Camp Half-Blood for Percy – and eventually, their authority figures – the Ministry of Magic for Harry, the Gods for Percy.


Does it matter?

There are probably a lot of other ways that Percy Jackson and Harry Potter compare when you put them side by side, but does it matter?

For every element that’s similar, there are two that are different. Personally, I didn’t enjoy the story any less. As a matter of fact, the similarities are probably why I enjoyed it so much – not because I was looking for another Harry Potter, but because the things in Percy Jackson that reminded me of Harry Potter were some of my favorite parts of both stories. J.K. Rowling is a master, but that doesn’t mean that if another author uses any of the devices or techniques she did they’re ripping her off.

Besides, according to Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch, there are only 7 basic plots in the entire realm of storytelling.


What do you think?

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I’d Want on a Desert Island | TTT Throwback

It’s another TTT Throwback! If you’re scratching your head wondering why I’m doing a completely different Top Ten Tuesday topic, check out my first ‘Throwback’ HERE. Basically, any time a Top Ten Tuesday topic doesn’t work for me I’m heading back to the beginning and working my way down the hundreds and hundreds of Top Ten Tuesday’s that happened before I started participating.

This weeks topic is “Books on my Spring 2019 TBR,” but instead I’ll be doing “Books I’d Want on a Desert Island.”


 

Here’s the breakdown: a couple long series that I love/want to finish (because we know series only count as one collective book on a list like this 😉) + a few books I could read over and over even though they’re standalones or short series + Robinson Crusoe because even though I haven’t read it, I know it’s about a guy that gets stranded on an island and I’ll need all the survival tips I can get + my own book which would be left in a well sheltered area so that when they find my bones in 50 years, hopefully somehow the book will remain preserved and help them identify me so we don’t have an Amelia Earhart situation going on.

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would you take any of these books with you?