REVIEW: Gracy and Fury – Tracy Banghart (ARC)

36546635Title: Grace and Fury
Author: Tracy Banghart
Rating: ★★★

ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

The premise of Grace and Fury is really intriguing and I was excited to finally read it. However, as much as I wanted to love this, I just didn’t end up connecting with the story. There were a lot of elements about it that I liked, but in the end there was just something missing for me to really love it. 

The story follows the journeys of sisters Serina and Nomi. The chapters alternate between each of their POVs which helps lend a unique voice to each girl. Serina begins the book as a quiet, demure young woman who has spent her entire life relying on her beauty and training to become a Grace. Her younger sister, Nomi, on the other hand, starts the novel as headstrong, brash, careless, and a bit selfish. I was looking forward to following both sisters’ stories as they are thrust into roles neither are prepared for. Unfortunately, I only found myself enjoying Serina’s POV, and couldn’t really care about or connect with Nomi. Both Serina and Nomi start out naive, but Serina was the only one whose character had any growth as the story progressed. As Serina adapted to her surroundings and developed traits that made her stronger, Nomi remained naive and brash, which resulted in landing her in a whole heap of trouble by the end of the book – unsurprisingly.

There was a lot of positive girl power themes present, which is always a nice thing to see! There was also good representation of sibling relationships between Nomi and Serina; neither of them understand their sister, but it’s obvious how much they care about one another and the lengths each of them are willing to go to save each other. There is some romance, but it’s hardly present and to be honest I felt pretty meh about both. 

Grace and Fury has an interesting premise and a lot of potential, but I just couldn’t connect to the story or characters as much as I wanted to. The story has a The Selection meets Red Queen vibe for those who enjoyed those books! 

WWW Wednesday #8

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words in which the three W’s stand for:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

36546635WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

Grace and Fury by Tracy Banghart

 

 


36329818WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

Legendary (Caraval #2) by Stephanie Garber

 

 


31019831WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

Beast: A Tale of Love and Revenge by Lisa Jensen

BookCon 2018: Experience + Haul

I just flew back yesterday from BookCon and I’m still reeling from all the fun I had! I’m so thankful for my decision to spontaneously buy tickets at the beginning of the year. This was my first year attending BookCon, and I was not disappointed! I’m also really glad my mom came with me: we used to go to the Chicago Blackhawks Fan Conventions every year, and so the two of use have created a pretty good system which we were able to apply at BookCon. Although I did have a pretty rough start Saturday morning, luckily things went smoothly after that.

The bookish community is such an amazing thing to be a part of! I’m not one to make small talk while standing in lines, but I struck up so many conversations with other people while waiting and it really added to my experience. I have hardly any friends IRL that read, so it was great to talk with fellow book lovers about authors, upcoming books, other events, etc. 

IMG_7934I ended up getting a lot of the books I wanted, and then some. Mom came in clutch on Sunday when she battled the horde of people at Penguin Teen and came out victorious with Four Dead Queens! She also managed to snag a copy of Shadow of the Fox, which was one of the books I was really hoping to get my hands on. I still can’t figure out where she got it because I had looked and asked everywhere after I missed out on Julie Kagawa’s signing. Needless to say, my mom is now required to come back with me again! I’m also going to humble brag a bit, but as I was standing with my mom figuring out what to do next, Simon Teen tweeted out a password for a bound manuscript of Crown of Feathers, and I got one of the only three copies they had!

Things I Learned:

1. People can be giant a**holes when it comes to ARCs. I learned this first thing in the morning on Saturday as people just shoved their way through for the ARC drop of Rule. I talked to the workers at NOVL later and they said they had to start earlier than they wanted because they had no control over the crowd and people just kept grabbing them and running off. So I was pretty disappointed that I didn’t get one, but I ended up winning one on Sunday anyway!

2. It pays to be nice. They did an Escaping From Houdini ARC drop on Sunday afternoon the same time I was standing right next to one of the Hachette booths waiting for my mom to meet me. Someone came up and asked me what they were giving away and I told her, and even showed her the password from the Twitter notification on my phone so she could grab a copy. She was very grateful when she saw me again, and then she let me know about a different ARC drop they were doing at another booth that I hadn’t known about. At the end of Sunday, my mom was spinning the wheel at Fierce Reads, but since it was the end of the convention, there were only a couple options left to win. We got a graphic novel, which is totally not my thing, so I asked a girl standing nearby if she wanted it. It turns out, the book my mom had won was exactly what she wanted, and she offered me a signed copy of Ace of Shades that she didn’t really care for. Amanda Foody’s signing was something I had wanted to go to, but ended up being too busy to swing by, and I was thrilled. Whoever you are that traded with me, thank you so much!!

3. No matter how comfortable your shoes are, your feet will still be killing you by the end of the weekend. And on top of my extremely sore feet, my back and shoulders ache terribly. I’m also really sleep deprived, and probably a little dehydrated. I would also like to shout out to those booths that had the super plush carpeting: it was magical and my feet thank you.

Overall, BookCon was a huge success for me! Although I am feeling a little anxious about the amount of books I have to add to my TBR. So many books, so little time! I kind of wish I had taken pictures (I didn’t take a single one) but that’s something I’ll think about for next time. I had such a fun time and I can’t wait to come back to BookCon next year! If anyone was there, let me know how your weekend was! 

Monthly Wrap-Up: May 2018

My birthday month is officially over! Overall, May was a pretty decent month of reading. There were a couple of books that I really enjoyed, and a fair number that were only okay. I leave for BookCon tomorrow morning and I. Am. So. Excited. This is my first year going, so I’m a little nervous. I made my schedule and game plans for the weekend, and I’ve also tried to prepare myself for the fact that a lot of things probably won’t go as planned lol. If any season BookCon-goers have any tips or advice, I would love to hear it in the comments!


BOOK REVIEWS

35959740CIRCE: I’ve been a huge nerd for Greek mythology for almost half my life, and I was so excited when I saw Madeline Miller was writing this! Circe is a book completely character driven book about her: we follow her journey as she discovers who she is and what she is capable of. We see all of her ups and downs, her struggles and inner turmoil, her heartache, her anger, her resolve, her love.  [review]  ★★★★★

32295486BEYOND A DARKENED SHORE: This book features both Celtic and Norse mythology, plus the addition of vikings, and yet it never fully grasped my attention and sadly I wasn’t very invested in the story or the characters. I’m always looking for more books set in Ancient Ireland, so I was a bit disappointed that this fell flat for me.  ★★★

 

34942737DEFY THE WORLDS: I forgot how much I love the world Claudia Gray created and the characters until I started reading this. Sci-Fi books set in space are one of my absolute favorite genres, and this series has everything I want. Also, I was under the impression this was just a duology, so it was a very welcome surprise when I learned it would be a trilogy!  ★★★★½


36134048WHISPER OF THE TIDE:
 This was such a fun sequel and the perfect ending to the series! It’s such a shame that these books don’t have more popularity; they’re expertly written, have tremendous world-building, fantastic characters, and are full of entertainment! There are so many things about this book to love: pirates, treasure hunts, female friendships, adventures. If you enjoy Pirates of the Caribbean and books like Daughter of the Pirate King, then I would definitely suggest reading these books. They’re totally underrated and need more love from the bookish community. ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley.  [review]  ★★★★

34323570FURYBORN: From the prologue, I was completely hooked by the story. It not only connects the stories of the two protagonists, Rielle and Eliana, but also gives a glimpse to how one of those stories will end up unfolding by the time the series is over. I also loved the fact that we’re told from the very beginning who the Blood Queen is. It made reading her chapters all the more fascinating; we follow her growth and become invested in her story, all the while knowing how it will end. The alternating chapters between Rielle’s and Eliana’s POVs moved the plot quickly as each one is full of non-stop action. I can’t wait to continue with the rest of the series! ARC provided by the publisher.  [review]  ★★★★

33275690FOOLISH HEARTS: This was an okay story, but I wasn’t as thrilled with it as I was will Emma Mill’s other books. I think my issue was I didn’t particular like or connect with any of the characters, and therefore I wasn’t invested in the story. I will say, though, that I did really enjoy the Midsummer’s Night Dream subplot; it reminded me of my freshman year of high school when I was in the drama club! ★★★

35068705THE POPPY WAR: This is a blessed year of absolutely stunning debuts. This book is a spectacular grimdark fantasy featuring a fierce heroine, addictive writing, and plenty of action. There are so many amazing elements about it that make it a totally engrossing read. My favorite thing about it was the amazing protagonist, Rin. She was such a well-developed heroine and her growth as a character was amazing to follow. Be forewarned: this is a grimdark, so it does contains graphic violence, graphic rape, mutilation, torture, mass murder, drug abuse, and many other things of that nature.  [review]  ★★★★

29958272ALL THE LITTLE LIGHTS: There was nothing really wrong about this book, I just didn’t enjoy it. The characters didn’t stand out, the plot was not compelling, and the writing never drew me in. Again, it wasn’t a bad book, but it was not the book for me. ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley. ★★

 

31179006SWEET BLACK WAVES: When I say I want more books featuring Celtic mythology and set in Ancient Ireland, this is what I’m talking about. This was absolutely everything I could have hoped for and more. To start, the world-building stunning, and the way the fantasy was woven with history elements was fantastic. The writing was absolutely breathtaking; it was lush, descriptive, and dreamy. And that ending: my heart broke so hard for poor Branwen and my stomach is still a knot of angst thinking about it. ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley.  [review]  ★★★★★

27188596WAR STORM: Although the size of this was quite daunting, I ended up reading it relatively quickly. I think because I was so intrigued by how the series would finally end. There were four more POVs in addition to Mare’s, and I actually really enjoyed them all, except for Iris’s. There was a lot of tension and angst between Cal and Mare throughout the book and it was killing me! The ending was a bit of an open-ending, which I both liked and disliked. There’s a certain aspect to one major event that I guess could be open to interpretation (if you’ve read it, you know what I’m talking about!) Overall, I thought this was a great finish to a series that I’ve really enjoyed reading.  ★★★★

28524058BEFORE SHE IGNITES: I think this has been my biggest disappointment of the year. I was really looking forward to reading this when it came out last fall, but it got pushed back on my TBR. I finally decided to pick it up and it didn’t capture my attention like I thought it would. For a book about illegal dragon trafficking, there wasn’t a whole lot of dragons in it. I get that it’s probably setting up for the sequel, but I was bored throughout most of the book. ★★½

20734002THE WEIGHT OF FEATHERS: Anna-Marie McLemore’s books are always surreal and magical. No one writes magical realism quite like her. I was instantly drawn into this story of feuding families. Elements of the story were drawn from Romeo and Juliet, which is not my favorite Shakespeare play, but it was so well done. This was just such a dazzling book. ★★★½

 

37754670FRESHMEN: Freshmen was an enjoyable read and I appreciated the honest take of life in college. It was both funny and realistic, sometimes even making me cringe in second hand embarrassment as I sympathized with Phoebe. It also brought forth memories of my own time as a freshman, both the good and the (sometimes horribly) bad. However, I do wish there had been a bit more to the plot. I also wish that Luke would have had a bit more character development, especially being one of the protagonists. And I was not too keen on the ending: it was very abrupt and came out of nowhere. ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley.  ★★

OTHER

Top 5 Wednesdays: Character’s I’ll Always Defend | QUIZ: Sort Your Dog Into a Hogwarts House | WWW Wednesday #7 | The Cookie Book Tag | Top 5 Wednesday: Finished Series I Need to Read | #ARCstravaganza: Onyx and Ivory | Top 5 Wednesday: DNF Books | Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Color Book Covers 

Top 5 Wednesday: Characters I’ll Always Defend

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Thoughts on Tomes. If you want to join or find out more information about the weekly themes check out the Goodreads page! May is going to be Top 5 Wednesday Rewind month, so the topics are open to any that we’ve missed out on in the past. When I was browsing through old topics I saw this and I was SO EXCITED! I immediately thought of three of my characters who I will defend until my dying breath, and then I started writing this post, and realized those were the only three characters I could think of! So this is more of a Top 3 Wednesday haha, but this topic was way too important to me to skip.

SANSA STARKThe North knows no queen but the Queen in the North, whose name is Stark. The amount of people that vehemently hate Sansa Stark is so disheartening. It’s okay to dislike a character, but the reasons people hate her are terrible. She gets blamed over and over for the death of Ned when she was only an eleven year old child who was cleverly manipulated by adults. People seem to hate her for the mere fact that she is more feminine in nature and enjoys things such as singing and fairytales. She’s most often compared to Arya and Daenerys and found lacking because she’s not as “badass” or strong. I think that’s the issue that bothers me the most: if a female character doesn’t show interest in weaponry and fighting, then they’re considered weak and insignificant, even if it’s far from the truth. I happen to like things that are often considered “girly” (such as clothes, makeup, the color pink) and so I like characters that show more traditionally feminine traits because I find myself connecting with them better. And the amount of people that believe Sansa deserves everything that has happened to her – beaten, tortured, raped – and hope she is killed next are absolutely sickening to me and I have no time for any of that nonsense in my life. 

CHAOL WESTFALL – I’m a proud and original member of the #ChaolDefenseSquad. The treatment of his character by SJM is one of the main reasons I cannot stand her. The fact that an author can destroy the characterization of one of the protagonists all for the sake of another ship and to boost affection for a new character, is horrible. And the amount of fans that completely ignore the fact that she basically rewrote entire plot lines mid-series is such a shame. The introduction of Rowan and Rowaelin (which was completely fanservice, but that’s another issue I won’t delve into) gained her so much popularity that wasn’t there with the first couple of books, and so she decided to toss Chaol aside like trash and many fans followed suit. We are a small, but us few members of the #ChaolDefenseSquad will always defend that sweet, loyal Captain of the Guard. 

MALYEN ORETSEV – This just baffles me. The amount of hate Mal gets is so unnecessary and uncalled for. I honestly believe a lot of people started to hate him when they realized Alina would never choose the Darkling. And listen, I love the Darkling as much as the next girl, but Malyen Oretsev is my boy. Yes, he has his moments of weakness, but he’s human like the rest of us. He walked half the length of Ravka to get to Alina. He was loyal to her above all else. He loved her fiercely. He understood who she was, supported her, and never once tried to change her. He fought for her, risked his life for her, fucking died for her. Goodness, where can I find a man like Malyen Oretsev?