Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2)

                Hello happy readers!  I’m happy to be back.  My travels were pretty great it was nice to get away from the heat, humidity, and bugs for a bit and even better to see my family.  That said I was also thrilled to sleep in my own bed again and see my fur baby who has been giving extra cuddles since I came home.  I did go with my mom and while I intended to get some serious audiobook time in with two 13 hour car rides I got no audiobook time in as my mom and me chatted most of the time and listened to music.

                However, I did have a chance to finish three books via other formats so yay for reading!  I also did an interview with Hannah Bucchin debut author of Paintbrush (review) which will be posting Friday!  I’m excited about this one so stay tuned.  Now, one of the books I finished during my trip was one I had been both eager to read and nervous as it was the end, Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2) by Leigh Bardugo.  The sequel to one of my favorite books I have read and also the final book in the two part series.  I got it the day it came out eager to start but held off because I was scared to let it end but eventually I had to know and started listening to the audiobooks at a slow pace to savor and enjoy.  Now having finished I am thrilled to share my thoughts.

Rating:  5 Stars

                I previously reviewed Six of Crows and I LOVED it!  I was so devastated by the ending.  Inej was taken and I just couldn’t believe that ending after everything they went through being beat down at the very end.  Now our crew is beat down, separated, and tired but they are not out for the count.  They have to regroup and come up with more plans.  Their lives are more dangerous than ever and old allies could just as easily be enemies these days.  When you go up against the more powerful in Ketterdam you need to have more than luck to save you.

                I didn’t listen to the first book I read it through but having listened to this one I really enjoyed the narration and how each character had a different narrator.  As we see the story from different POVs hearing a different person with a different accent and style was really rather thrilling.  I now picture certain accents with the characters that I didn’t before but now seem so natural.  The multiple POVs is something I loved because it gave us all the information we needed but seeing things from different views you see how everyone can hear/see the same things but take away different things from it.  All of their prospective are important and play off one another.  They each have something to bring to the table, the same thing that made them special in the first book we just know and love them more.  Each of our characters has a special place in my heart.  Kaz and his cold and clinical way of looking at things in terms of what they do for him or how they can be used in the future.  Inej and her ability to blend into any shadow and disappear yet despite her life she still has a kindness and good heart to her.  Nina who is far from her home but will risk her own life for those she loves.  Mathis and his turbulent inner battle between what he was raised to believe and what he has seen and felt to be true.  Jesper in his flawed and self-destructive nature full of charm and good intensions.  And Wylan the son who has always felt less than and flawed for his inability but has found a home and people who see his abilities rather than flaws. 

                “Crows remember human faces.  They remember the people who feed them, who are kind to them.  And the people who wrong them too.  They don’t forget.  They tell each other who to look after and who to watch out for.”

                All of my crows were in my heart and I couldn’t wait for them to save Inej because they had to.  I had no other option in my head.  Well that is the start of the plan, save Inej and get revenge on Van Eck.  He has no only betrayed them and tried to have them killed after they upheld their side of the plan but more he did that and took one of theirs and when you have so many enemies your reputation is important in helping fend off the wolves.  I loved all the different plots and schemes from the first page to get Inej and the revenge they deserve.  To get what is owed and set things right because no monster like Van Eck can be left standing.  There is a difference between being a criminal and being a criminal with no value behind your word.  Some things are sacred.

                Things don’t go as planned.  Oh so many beautifully crafted plans and of course wrenches thrown into the mix.       I am struggling so hard to review this book without spoiling things because there is so much happening.  So many little subplots that take place and all the little details that are just amazing.  Like seeing characters from the original Grisha series come into play and go toe to toe with Kaz and crew.  One of the best moments.  Inej, some of her chapters just broke my heart.  Her captivity, the flashes back to when she was forced to work in the menagerie before Kaz saved her.  So powerful.  Bardugo has really captured so much emotion within the story.  Things are in chaos all around them but still even between the plotting, scheming, running, and fighting they were able to have such deep moments between one another.  They care for one another deeply even if they fight.  Even if they don’t always show it.  A few lines in particular that just hit me in all the feels….

                “I would come for you.  And if I couldn’t walk, I’d crawl to you, and no matter how broken we were we’d fight our way out together—knives drawn, pistols blazing.  Because that’s what we do.  We never stop fighting.”

                I was rooting for my characters and rooting for others to get what was coming to them because they are just so dang vile.  Seriously.  Nina is struggling with her addiction and how it has changed her and her power.  While Mathis sees just how wrong he was and his hope to try and help others see like he did.  Oh but his time with Nina being there for her through it all…I adore him.  Kaz and Inej are both so different but they are so good together and understanding one another in a way that no one else can.  Both damaged.  Both strong and weak.  Both with baggage.  I love this and shipped them so hard! And of course we had a bit of a spark between the wild card Jesper and our shy and quite Wylan which is adorable how they come to count on one another and support one another in times of need.  Each of them have their own journeys to work through and I enjoyed being there as they went through them.  They knew the odds for the life they chose to lead. 

                No mourners, no funerals.  Another way of saying good luck.  But it was something more.  A dark wink to the fact that there would be no expensive burials for people like them, no marble markers to remember their names, no wreaths of myrtle and rose.

                The story and pacing of this book was so well done for me.  With the larger overall story but full of side stories and little inner stories that just made a more developed adventure.  The pacing was on point and it felt like you were there with them rushed and escaping death one moment then having a few moments to regroup.  It never let you fully off the edge of your seat but kept you leaning there ready to go.  My poor heart was a mess keeping up with it. 

                This book was everything.  One of my favorite series by far.  I loved everything.  Even the end that had me sobbing.  Okay several parts of the book had me choking back tears for several different reasons.  My heart raced through it all and even though I took my time reading it fearing the end and while I wish I had more and parts made me sad I love it.  It is such a fitting end (minus one part I don’t think I’ll ever get over) for this story and this crew.  It started with one job and ended with so much more.  I love this book and I would highly recommend this series to anyone and everyone.

                Until next time…

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The Wood

                Hello happy readers!  Internet issues aside, seriously I’m about ready to just cancel my service since I spend more time on hold with customer service and trying to fix it than I do being able to use it, I had a great weekend.  While I didn’t get to post my Friday review as planned or share my one new book I did a pirate themed escape room with some friends and we rocked it and escaped with time to spare!  Plus I can do my review today so it works out.  But before I get to my review I have a small bit of news.  I am going out of town for a family reunion and won’t have my computer since I’ll be spending 36 hours in a vehicle and the rest with family who don’t believe in having wifi. So I will be taking off tomorrow until next Wednesday.  Bright side is car time should be read/listen time!  Now for todays review I received a copy of The Wood by Chelsea Bobulski in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley.

Rating: 4.5 Stars

                The Wood is a suspenseful supernatural debut book.  Winter is a guardian redirecting any travelers back to their portal when they accidentally step from their time and place into the wood.  She is the only one after her father went missing.  He stepped off the path.  That is impossible for a guardian leading Winter to suspect there is something off about his disappearance than she is told.  One day she comes across a boy in the wood who is not there by accident and is determined to pass through.  It’s her job to keep him in his time.  But when he believes his mission may be connected to her father’s disappearance and why the wood has started to change, Winter determines it may be worth the risk to work with him.

                Going into this book I was intrigued by the cover and the summary but I didn’t know fully what to expect.  It had so many elements woven together into this story with the Old Ones, guardians, the wood and all that fill it, time travel, and more.  The wood managed to play both an eerie and dangerous backdrop to the story but also a character itself.  Always changing and evolving almost as if it has its own personality.  I enjoyed the way we learned about the wood and this world.  Everything seems normal on the outside but inside the wood things are very different.  I understood it and it made perfect sense to me.

                Winter is easy to relate with.  She has this huge responsibility on her shoulders.  She didn’t choose this life but was born into it.  She is just trying to make the most of her life as she tries to balance normal things like school and friends with running off to take care of travelers.  She has a complicated relationship with her mother that has ups and downs.  Henry is likable from the start.  He’s cute and sweet trying to find those he loves.  He is a man out of time (and I admit to having some Kate & Leopold flash backs) and has the childlike amazement of seeing the world and things we take for granted as the miracles they are (showers and electricity).  He was determined on his journey but he is also very protective. 

“What is this infernal contraption?”
“It’s an alarm clock,” I say, my voice deep and sleep-scratchy.  “It wakes you up.”
“Evidently not.”

                This is one complete story that manages to bring an entire little world to life and wrap things up in the end.  It was a neat standalone that I could easily see having more books with different parts of the world. While most things did wrap up nicely there was one specific part I had been hoping for a bit more on, though I have since come up with my own little epilogue in my head to resolve that.  Aside from that little thing, that may be in part to my selfishness I loved this book.  I loved all the different layers wrapped inside this one story of the wood. 

                That’s all for me for the next week.  I’m going home after work to pack (yes I waited until less than 12 hours) and have some wine because packing deserves it and get ready to head out.  When I come back I have an author interview with Hannah Bucchin and more.  Wish me luck. 

                Until next time…

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

~Waiting on Wednesday~ The Speaker

                “Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.  Basically books that are not yet out that we are dying to get our hands on.  This week’s pick is:

The Speaker (Sea of Ink & Gold #2) by Traci Chee
Out:  11/7

From Goodreads:
                Having barely escaped the clutches of the Guard, Sefia and Archer are back on the run, slipping into the safety of the forest to tend to their wounds and plan their next move.  Haunted by painful memories, Archer struggles to overcome the trauma of his past with the impressors, whose cruelty plagues him whenever he closes his eyes.  But when Sefia and Archer happen upon a crew of impressors in the wilderness, Archer finally finds a way to combat his nightmares:  by hunting impressors and freeing the boys they hold captive.

                With Sefia’s help, Archer travels across the kingdom of Deliene rescuing boys while she continues to investigate the mysterious Book and secrets it contains.  But the more battles they fight, the more fights Archer craves, until his thirst for violence threatens to transform him from the gentle boy Sefia knows to a grim warrior with a cruel destiny.  As Sefia begins to unravel the threads that connect Archer’s fate to her parents’ betrayal of the Guard so long ago, she and Archer must figure out a way to subvert the Guard’s plans before they are ensnared in a war that will pit kingdom against kingdom, leaving their future and the safety of the entire world hanging in the balance.

Why I’m Waiting:
                I really enjoyed The Reader and look forward to seeing what happens next with this world.  I hope my Archer doesn’t turn evil though. 

                What are you waiting on?  Tell me below what you think of this title and leave a link to your WoW as well so I can check it out.