2015 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,100 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 18 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Fifty Shades of Grey is Twilight???

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“Sometimes I wonder if there’s something wrong with me. Perhaps I’ve spent too long in the company of my literary romantic heroes, and consequently my ideals and expectations are far too high.”  E.L. James, Fifty Shades of Grey

Goodreads Blurb

When literature student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating. The unworldly, innocent Ana is startled to realize she wants this man and, despite his enigmatic reserve, finds she is desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her, too—but on his own terms.
 
Shocked yet thrilled by Grey’s singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates. For all the trappings of success—his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving family—Grey is a man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a daring, passionately physical affair, Ana discovers Christian Grey’s secrets and explores her own dark desires.

Erotic, amusing, and deeply moving, the Fifty Shades Trilogy is a tale that will obsess you, possess you, and stay with you forever.

Review

Okay, I really stepped out of my comfort zone with this one. I do not normally read books in whatever genre you want to label this one; Mature, Adult, Smut, atc.

I purchased this on my Kindle app because a friend of mine suggested it to me and told me that the author James, wrote this novel based off the characters in Stephenie Meyers Twilight. I have been all about Twilight since I was 14. I don’t want to hear anything from you haters! The books are actually pretty awesome. While I was interested in this books because of all the close parallels with the characters, the book made me cringe a lot. Like shut my eyes and butt cheek clench because it was so uncomfortable.

My best friend and I went to see the movie when it came out and we actually kind of enjoyed it. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think it’s some crazy amazing cinematic marvel or anything. But it is very entertaining. Which is very close to how I can describe my feelings about the book. I don’t feel as if I love any aspect of it but it is highly entertaining to read. The whole time I was reading, in the back of my head I was thinking Are their actually people out there like this? And I’m sure there is. A lot of the topics and extracurriculars they partake in this book are activities I have not even heard of til now.

A word of advice, do not google their activities. They are not for the faint of heart. Which obviously I am, or was before I googled said activities. I had to put this novel down a few times before I could pick it back up again.

I won’t lie, their passion, and infatuation with each other was fascinating.

Ana starts off as this virgin in college who has no experience with anything of the sexual nature. But then BAM! Here comes Christian Grey waltzing into her life with his Red Room of Pain and Pleasure and Ana is all like “Totes! I am so down with all this S&M stuff, even though I’ve barely held a guys hand before.” I thought that was a little bizarre but maybe it’s like when you meet a bad boy and has this uncanny way of talking you into things you never thought you would do. He’s her bad boy in the strangest kind of way.

Ana is very Bella Swan. She is a little prudeish and calculating. And Grey is Mr. Elusive and Misunderstood like Edward Cullen. I also noticed parallels with Ana’s parents and Christian’s parents to Bella and Edward’ parents.

The writing in this book is terrible. It’s as if a hormonal 13 year old boy wrote sex scenes. Awkward and uncomfortable. The way they talk to each other is strange seeing as they hardly know each other. I have to admit though, I dig the “Laters, Baby.” It makes me laugh at how silly it is. It is one of the only things they joke about throughout the novel.

My favorite parts of this novel were the emails they would send each other. They were so flirty and Ana was a much braver person behind that computer screen than she is through the whole book in person. That was relatable and cute, if anything in the book can be deemed “cute.”

I probably would recommend this book to friends, if not just to giggle and talk about all of the parts of this book that make it absurd. Which I feel that the author must have been doing when writing this book… I can’t imagine taking it seriously. I bet she was having coffee one day, thinking about Edward and Bella and was like you know what would be fun? Writing smut about Edward and Bella to giggle about with my friends. Because obviously Edward and Bella had some crazy sexual tension throughout the Twilight series. (Well until the last book at least.) I can imagine that she had some writing these books.

I’m not sure if I will read the next ones. I haven’t even looked them up so I do not know what they are even about. I gave this book 2/5 stars but now that I have written all this out I feel like I owe it 3/5.

Laters, Baby.

Favorite Books of 2015

So far I have read 41 books in 2015. Here are my favorites of the ones I have read so far. It’s only the 16th and I am about to go on break from school so I may add 1 or 2 by the end of the year.

Favorite Fantasy:

Best Contemporary:

Anna

Best Retelling:

The Wrath

Best Teen Drama and Favorite Cover:

Stolen

Best Dystopian:

Chained

Best Middle Grade:

Magnus

Best Adult Novel and Historical Fiction:

Voyager

Best Sci-Fi:

Cress

What were your favorite books read in 2015?

TBR The End and The Beginning

I haven’t done a To Be Read in a long time so I thought I would catch up for the end of 2015 and to ring in 2016. My reading challenge goal was set to 40 this year and I made it! I’ll probably set it to the same for 2016. Reading for pleasure and teaching/lesson planning 10 month of the year can be a challenge in itself.

My top 10 that are on the top of my TBR as of right now are:

Winter

Gabaldon-Fiery-Cross-220x332

doon

the walled city

heir

queen of shadows

philipa gregory

shadow

these broken

the wrong side of right

What’s on your TBR shelf?

The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas

The Assassin's Blade

“There was no way in hell she was going to move to the southern continent without all of her books.”
Sarah J. Maas, The Assassin’s Blade

(Celaena and I have something in common, a love of books! 🙂

Goodreads Blurb

Celaena Sardothien is Adarlan’s most feared assassin. As part of the Assassin’s Guild, her allegiance is to her master, Arobynn Hamel, yet Celaena listens to no one and trusts only her fellow killer-for-hire, Sam. In these action-packed novellas – together in one edition for the first time – Celaena embarks on five daring missions. They take her from remote islands to hostile deserts, where she fights to liberate slaves and seeks to avenge the tyrannous. But she is acting against Arobynn’s orders and could suffer an unimaginable punishment for such treachery. Will Celaena ever be truly free? Explore the dark underworld of this kick-ass heroine to find out.

Review

The Assassin’s Blade is a prequel to Throne of Glass. I read on a forum that Maas suggests  reading it before Throne of Glass, even though it was published after. I read it after reading Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2). And I loved it just as much as the next person.

I have been super hooked on these books. What makes it even better is that there’s already so many of them that are out. So after I finish one it’s super easy to go out and purchase the next one. I am going to be thoroughly depressed when I get all caught up and I can’t feed my addiction anymore.

The Assassin’s Blade is yes, the prequel but also a compilation of 5 of Maas’ novellas. They tell Celaena’s story pre- Adarlan’s King’s assassin championship. It starts when she’s 16 years old and still under Arobynn’s thumb. I LOVED getting to know young Celaena. 16 to 17 doesn’t seem like that much of a jump, she’s 17 in Throne of Glass, but Maas did an amazing job showing her pre-Sam’s death and The King’s championship

It was like actually knowing a person and seeing how and when thry grew up. It was right when Arobynn brought her Sam. Now to the gnats eyebrow as my grandmother likes to say! Before that awful night when Sam goes after Farran, she is a stubborn, willful, conceded, some-what prissy teenage girl who just so happens to be a trained assassin’s. She’s good at what she does but she also makes careless mistakes because she thinks she’s invincible at times. She can be a brat at times but she can also be a caring person who doesn’t want you to call them nice out loud.

There are 5 stories total in this book. My least favorite, but just as necessary as the other’s is “The Assassin and the Healer.” My favorite would have to be “The Assassin and the Desert.” I love all the characters that are in the Red Desert. I want to know what happens with Ansel later (a kind-of friend she meets there who is just as cursed with tragedy as Celaena) and I want to see Celaena go to the forest to get Spidersilk for the merchant. I think it would probably be a sad story but it reminded me so much of Lord of the Rings and Shelob.

Maas is so skilled at world building. Anytime she brings up any tidbit from the past with ANY of the characters I’m thinking “OMG PLEASE WRITE A BOOK ABOUT THAT I HAVE TO READ IT!!!!!”

I’d even buy her books about Ansel’s past or about Chaol’s life when he was growing up in Anielle if she were to write them. That’s how you know when someone has kicked ass at world building, when you just can’t get enough.

Of course this is another 5/5 stars for me.

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

Crown at Midnight

“Why are you crying?”
“Because,” she whispered, her voice shaking, “you remind me of what the world ought to be. What the world can be.”
― Sarah J. Maas, Crown of Midnight

Blurb

From the throne of glass rules a king with a fist of iron and a soul as black as pitch. Assassin Celaena Sardothien won a brutal contest to become his Champion. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown. She hides her secret vigilantly; she knows that the man she serves is bent on evil.

Keeping up the deadly charade becomes increasingly difficult when Celaena realizes she is not the only one seeking justice. As she tries to untangle the mysteries buried deep within the glass castle, her closest relationships suffer. It seems no one is above questioning her allegiances—not the Crown Prince Dorian; not Chaol, the Captain of the Guard; not even her best friend, Nehemia, a foreign princess with a rebel heart.

Then one terrible night, the secrets they have all been keeping lead to an unspeakable tragedy. As Celaena’s world shatters, she will be forced to give up the very thing most precious to her and decide once and for all where her true loyalties lie… and whom she is ultimately willing to fight for.

Review

If it’s possible, I probably love this book more than Throne of Glass.

I loved the whole trials with the criminals in the first book but I liked seeing the story weaving in this one. It goes more in depth with Nehemia and the backstory of the King of Adarlan. You start to understand why he rid the kingdom of magic. When I first started reading this story I thought it was because he was intimidated by magic, therefore he hated it. But after this book you start to understand the truth is a lot darker than that. The king is, and has been for a long time, dabbling in dark magic. What’s scary is that he’s always a few steps ahead of Celaena.

The more I read these novel the more I love her character. I love her dark side, I love hearing about where she came from (which you learn in this book), I love connecting with her strengths and weaknesses, and switching sides of the love triangles she’s in with her. At first I loved Chaol but by the end of this book I switched back over to Dorian. I like how well read and observant he is. He seems like he has a good heart even if he may not have the stomach to accept Celaena for who she is.

Chaol upset me a little too much in this novel in regards to Nehemia. I don’t want to spoil too much. You’ll just have to read it to find out!

Both Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight get surprisingly dark. Once the magic and secrets start unraveling it’s like it’s a completely different story. You would think reading a novel about a girl trained to be an assassin since she was 8 years old would already be dark, but no. It’s contradictory, but she’s an assassin with a good heart. Kind of like a darker Robin Hood. To fully understand that you would need to read the prequel.

I recently started reading The Assassin’s Blade, the prequel to this series. I’m always leery of prequels but this one has been just as good as the other books I have read. It’s composed of several short stories that Maas wrote that predate the events of Throne of Glass. The stories tell you how old Celaena is but you can also tell they go back before Endovier because of how young she seems. She’s more conceded and not as calculating yet. Little things upset her that seem trivial. I think reading this one after Crown of Midnight was a good choice. I get to see the Celaena prior to the trials and what she was like when she was with Arobynn.

Her anger and swiftly changing moods make sense now in the other books. She’s been through some series trials and tribulations. I can’t believe she’s not going full fore after Arobynn in these books. I hope that comes later though. He deserves any pain that she can inflict on him.

As much as I love these books I am probably going to take a break after I finish The Assassin’s Blade. They’re really dark and it’s Christmas time so I will probably read something a little lighter and happier. I was thinking of starting the second Doon novel by Carey Corp and Lorie Langdon. It will be a quick read and then maybe I will go on to Heir of Fire.

So far all of Sarah J. Maas’ books receive a 5/5 stars from me. If you enjoy high fantasy I suggest you pick these up! 🙂 They are well worth the read.

Happy Holidays 🙂