REVIEW: Nevernight – Jay Kristoff (ARC)

26114463Title: Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicle #1)
Author: Jay Kristoff
Rating: ★★★½

ARC received through NetGalley.

I have to be honest: I went into this book not expecting to like it at all. I had read multiple reviews that were not very good and it dropped my expectations. So no one was more surprised than me when I finished and found that I had actually really enjoyed it.

Despite my rating, there were quite a few things I did not like, and they seem to be the same things that everyone else had problems with too. The footnotes at the end of the chapter were annoying. Maybe if I had a hard copy they wouldn’t have bothered my as much, but since I had a eARC, I couldn’t flip to the end of the chapters and back to read them, so by the time I got to them I couldn’t even remember what they were in reference to. Some of them were also way too long. I don’t want to read footnotes that are paragraphs in lengths and so I ended up skipping the longer ones and only reading the ones that were a sentence or two. Even though I didn’t particularly like the footnotes, I do have to say that I did find the tone of them very amusing, or at least the ones I didn’t skim.

The next thing I really disliked was the writing, at least during the first half of the book. It was too dense and took forever to push through. The amount of long similes and metaphors was, quite frankly, obnoxious. They were abstract to the point that I had to read passages multiple times to try and figure out what the author was trying to say and it took away from the plot. For instance:

“But if the inn were a man and you stumbled on him in a bar, you’d be forgiven for assuming he had-after agreeing enthusiastically to his wife’s request to bring another woman into their marriage bed-discovered his bride making up a pallet for him in the guest room.”

I can’t even tell you how many times I have read this and still have no idea what the author is supposed to be saying to describe the inn.

The entire first half of the book is filled with many more metaphors like this, as well as long descriptions, to the point that is was distracting from the plot. However, if you can power through the first half, the book becomes infinitely better by the second. I don’t know if it’s because the similes/metaphors stopped, or if they just became less obvious due to the fact that I was so immersed in the story. I also liked the fact that the romance was not the main focus of the story. It was subtle enough that it didn’t take away from the plot, but still gave me something to hope for. I’m looking for to the release of the second in the series!

Many people stopped reading this midway and had I followed suit, I also would have given this a much lower rating and would have liked it as much as I did. As I stated earlier, I think the book gets much better during the second half, and is worth pushing yourself through the thick of the first 50%. It feels strange rating a good review and liking a book that many other people disliked since this has never happened to me before. I’m typically on the other end of the spectrum: hating books that everyone else raves about. But oh well, all that matters is that I like the book. 

Top Ten Tuesday: Books Set Outside of the US

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is books that are set outside of the United States. Since historical fiction is one of my favorite genres to read, I actually have read quite a few books set outside of the US so it was a struggle to pick only ten. I decided to narrow it down to those whose events occurred within the century (or close to it). 

Books Outside US

France and Germany during World War II

2. ATONEMENT by Ian McEwan
England during World War II

3. THE BONE SEASON by Samantha Shannon
Futuristic London in 2059

4. THE BOOK THIEF by Markus Zusak
Germany during World War II

5. FEVER by Karen Marie Moning
An urban fantasy Dublin

6. ALL SOULS TRILOGY by Deborah Harness
Paranormal England

7. HARRY POTTER by J.K. Rowling
United Kingdom

8. THE HUSBAND’S SECRET by Liane Moriarty

Regency England

10. WOLF BY WOLF by Ryan Graudin
Alternative history version of Europe in 1956

Comment and tell me what some of your favorite settings outside the US to read about are! 

Liebster Award

I would like to give a big thanks to readfromreality for nominating me for the Liebster Award!

Rules of the Liebster Award:

1. Post 11 facts about yourself
2. Answer 11 questions from the person who nominated you
3. Nominate 11 other blogs with less than 200 followers and ask them 11 questions (let them know you nominated them!)

11 Facts About Me:

I made a post the other day for Top Ten Tuesday with facts about myself so it was quite hard to come up with 11 more!

1. I consider myself to be in both Ravenclaw and Slytherin. Every time I take a house personality test or get sorted on Pottermore it’s always an even split between the two. I feel comfortable belonging to either one which makes sense since I’m a Gemini and we tend to have duel personalities.
2. I’m not huge into fitness or anything, but I love doing hot yoga and spin classes. 
3. Friends is one of my favorite tv shows. In college, I watched reruns every night while in bed and would fall asleep to them. When it finally went on Netflix I binged watched it in a couple of weeks. Out of ten seasons, there were only two episodes that I had never seen before.
4. I once accidentally subscribed to get People magazines weekly but I never unsubscribed because I love doing the crossword puzzles in the back when I work night shifts. 
5. Wolves are my favorite animals. My room was even wolf themed when I was younger. They’re one of the last exhibits I go see at a zoo because I always spend the longest time there. 
6. I have a slight obsession with makeup. I love buying and trying new stuff. I have an ipsy account so I get new samples every month, plus I always redeem my Sephora and Ulta points for freebies. My favorite makeup item is probably lipstick. I love all the colors!
7. I’m very flexible. Amongst other things, I can do the splits, I have three double jointed fingers, I can touch my tongue to the tip of my nose, and I can lick my elbow!
8. I went to Catholic schools my whole life. Even the college I went to was a private Catholic college. 
9. I don’t like chocolate. I was never a huge fan of it before, and then earlier this year I learned (the hard one) that certain types make me break out in hives. 
10. My favorite color is purple because its the color of royalty. I also love pink (clearly) and pastel blues and greens.
11. I have a freckle on my right ankle that is shaped like a heart. 

Questions Asked By My Nominator:

1. What inspires you? Stories and being outdoors.
2. Favorite food? Pasta. Any pasta.
3. Dream career? My ultimate goal is to become a Certified Nurse Midwife.
4. If you could have a ten minute conversation with one person, dead or alive, who would it be? Either of my mom’s two brothers. They both passed before I was born so I would love for a chance to get to know a little bit about them.
5. Favorite feature on your body? My eyes.
6. Person who has had the most impact on your life? My parents.
7. Any pets? I have two dogs and a cat. Reyna is my Australian Shepherd, Balto is my Siberian Husky puppy, and my cat’s name is Hero.
8. Are you reading anything right now? If so, what is it about? Unfortunately, I’m in a bit of a reading slump right now. I’m waiting for Torn to be released next week but other than that I don’t really have anything I want to read at the moment. 
9. Funniest/most embarrassing story about yourself? I have been staring at the post for hours and honestly, I’m completely blanking on a story. I think it’s because whatever embarrassing/funny stories that happen to me I’ve repressed.
10. Favorite holiday? Why? Halloween. In addition to dressing up and costume parties, I love the dark, creepiness of it and the interesting history of how the holiday came to be. 
11. If you could have one superpower, what would it be? Invisibility. 

I Nominate:

I only follow ten blogs that have under 200 followers so I figured that was close enough!
1. bookishserendipityco
2. booknerdmomo
3. thriceread
4. Unboxing My Thoughts
5. readinghappyblog
6. rhodesofreading
7. happilyeverbookish
8. lifeisabookblog
9. meltotheany
10. bookspoils

Questions To My Nominees:

1. What’s your favorite quote?
2. When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
3. Favorite place you’ve traveled to?
4. Congrats, you’ve won the lottery! What are the first three things you’d do with your winnings?
5. Best compliment you’ve ever received?
6. If you could be trapped in an elevator with any fictional character, who would it be?
7. What’s your favorite season? Why?
8. Summer Olympics or Winter Olympics?
9. What was the last song you listened to?
10. If you could time travel, where would you go?
11. What’s your favorite joke?

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Facts About Me

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is ten facts about yourself (bookish or otherwise). Since my blog is relatively new I thought this would be a good chance to tell you all a little bit about myself!

1. I’ve been reading since I was three years old (no, really). The earliest books I have memory of are my collection of Dr. Seuss books, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, and the Magic Tree House books. Before I started kindergarten, my mom told my teachers that I could already read but they didn’t believe her; they thought she just meant I could read a couple of words, not whole books. 

2. I was a very active kid and did a variety of sports growing up: soccer, dance, martial arts, softball, track and field, and ice hockey. The longest I stuck to one sport was hockey. I started playing when I was nine and continued into college, where I played all four years at a Division III school.

3. I was actually born in Clearwater, Florida. We moved to the Chicago area, where my dad is originally from, when I was five. 

4. I work as a nursing assistant on the mother/baby unit at a large hospital near me. I absolutely love my job! I already have a Bachelor degree in psychology, but I plan to go back to school in the fall to earn my BSN for nursing. When I graduate I want to work as a OB/GYN nurse on a high-risk obstetrics unit, and then eventually become a Certified Nurse Midwife. 

5. I have one tattoo (so far!) and I plan to get a couple more in the future. My name means “noble, strong, virtuous”. I got the Irish word for noble, uasal, in ogham on my left wrist.

6. During my senior year in college, I studied abroad for a semester at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. To this day, it is one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. If you’re able to, I highly recommend going abroad for a semester or year to everyone! I met amazing people, did incredibly things, and learned a lot about the world and myself.

7. I’m attempting to learn to speak Irish. Although I’m more Italian than Irish, I feel very connected to my Irish heritage for some reason. I’m not very good about sticking to the learning but I’ve still managed to pick up quite a bit fairly quickly. If anyone out there wants to learn a new language you should check out Duolingo! It’s amazing!

8. Besides having a large book library, I’m also an avid movie collector. I have hundreds of movies in my room. My favorite movies are The Departed, Pirates of the Caribbean, Twister, and Jurassic Park. I love hosting movie nights, but hate when people talk through the whole thing. A few comments, jokes, and questions are fine, but don’t have complete conversations or stare at your phone the whole time or I won’t invite you again!

9. I have a two year old Australian Shepherd named Reyna, who helped inspired the name of this blog, and we just got a 12 week old Siberian Husky named Balto.

10. My ultimate goal in life is to write a book. It doesn’t even need to be published. I have so many ideas that I’ve half-started and then can’t seem to continue with. I just want to be able to finish a whole novel.

REVIEW: This Savage Song – Victoria Schwab

This Savage Song

Author: Victoria Schwab
Rating: ★★★★

“Monsters, monsters, big and small,
They’re gonna come and eat you all!”

This Savage Song is a gritty, violent gem of a story set in an urban fantasy setting. Once again, Schwab has proved what an incredible writer and storyteller she is. She created an amazing, convincing world with wonderful characters. The plot was creative and original and had me hooked from the synopsis.

“You wanted to feel alive, right? It doesn’t matter if you’re monster or human. Living hurts.”

Though the book was lacking plot-wise, I was entertained from start to finish. I was okay with the limited action since we learn a lot about the world and the monsters in it, as well as becoming well-acquainted with the two main characters, Kate and August. Kate was cold, snarky, and tough, but it was what she choose to be, rather than who she actually is, in order to impress her father and be accepted by him. August, a monster, was loyal and kind. He wishes he was human and struggle to comes to term with who he is, especially since he only feels relatively normal after consuming the souls of not-so-innocent humans. Both Kate and August have hidden vulnerabilities that make them complex, well-rounded characters that are easy to connect with. 

“It was a cruel trick of the universe, thought August, that he only felt human after doing something monstrous.”

There was no romance in this book, which for me had both its pros and cons. On the plus side, it’s not very often we see YA books feature characters who have great chemistry without any romantic feelings (Rowan x Aelin don’t count anymore #stillbitter). The book proves that romance isn’t a necessity for a story to function well. The only negative is more of a “it’s not you, it’s me”. Call me a romantic, but I like to see at least a little romance in the books I read. I’m holding out hope that it develops in later books, because I believe there was definitely something there between them.

I really look forward to reading the next book and hope to learn more about how monsters are created, and how the world came to be as it is. This Savage Song was a very compelling read that I enjoyed immensely!