REVIEW: a court of thorns and roses

REVIEW: a court of thorns and roses, by sarah j maasA Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #1
Published by Bloomsbury Publishing USA on May 5th 2015
Genres: Action & Adventure, Fantasy, Fantasy & Magic, High fantasy, Legends, Myths, Fables, Love & Romance, New Adult, Retelling, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 416
Format: Hardcover
Source: Gifted
Amazon // The Book Depository
Goodreads

A thrilling, seductive new series from New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas, blending Beauty and the Beast with faerie lore.

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she's been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it... or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

a court of thorns and roses


A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES was a very hyped book that i thought was merely okay. there wasn’t anything i particularly disliked about it, but there also wasn’t anything really special. however after finishing the second novel, i feel that this was more of a prequel and the series is DEFINITELY worth reading/continuing. this is more of a starter book and things make more sense after book two.

the beginning started slowly. the story didn’t start picking up until maybe… halfway through the book? but the plot was like a roller coaster ride that continued to go faster and higher, and by the end there was no turning back. i love the way sarah j maas retold beauty and the beast and still remained true to the original storyline, but also added a lot of her own twists. i forgot the majority of beauty and the beast (girl somehow falls in love with a beast? uh, sounds about right) but reading ACOTAR made me remember other vital parts of the original story.

“Don’t feel bad for one moment about doing what brings you joy.”

the characters were my least favorite aspect of this novel. it’s not that they were bad or annoying or flat; i just couldn’t decide what to make of them. i liked them, but i didn’t LOVE them. i felt feyre, our main protagonist, had potential to be more fleshed out (BUT IT GETS BETTER IN BOOK TWO!). as for the love interest(s?), i was pretty neutral about it. the romance escalated too quickly and there were some parts that made me feel questionable about them. there’s kiiiiinda a love triangle, but not really? (BUT IT GETS BETTER IN BOOK TWO!)

ACOTAR was a good preview for the series. i couldn’t find anything really REALLY exceptional about this novel, but i know IT GETS BETTER IN BOOK TWO. if you wanted me to judge as a standalone novel (because with the way it ended, it almost could be a standalone), i’d say the plot is interesting enough but the characters and relationships could’ve improved. but since i know it’s part of a series, i’d highly recommend it those who enjoy fantasy, fairy-tale retellings, and romance. keep in mind, there are scenes that could be a bit mature so if you’re uncomfortable with steamy romance, i’d pass.

Rating Report
Plot
Characters
Writing
Pacing
Cover
Overall: 3.9

time management

if there’s something you should know about me, it’s that i want to do everything. i want to be a professional ballet dancer (which is time-consuming) but i’m also still working on school (which is time-consuming) and i also love reading (which is time-consuming) and blogging (which is time-consuming. unfortunately, the lack of hours in a day doesn’t make managing all these interests an easy feat. i’m actually awful at managing my time, but here are tips i’ve caught on to make my life SOMEWHAT manageable.

be aware of time

this is something i still struggle with. there are still days when i lay in bed for a few hours and do literally nothing. suddenly the day is half gone and all the productive things i planned are out the door and i begin to feel like the upside-down-smiling-emoji. this is something that can happen really easily especially since i go to an online school. it’s bad. be aware of the passing of time! it’s so easy to get distracted by your phone or a book and hours (literally hours!) could pass by simply scrolling through instagram/twitter/whatever. some productivity apps like forest can be helpful for situations like this.

prioritize

as much as i want to blog or read or simply ~chill~, things need to be finished. i need to study and turn in my assignments. i need to rehearse my solos and stretch. i need to take care of myself and sleep. there are simply things that NEED to be done; know those things. on the flip side, it’s also important to make time for your interests and relax.

set time aside for the “less important” stuff

it’s a given that school and work will always hold the winning hand over books and blogging (unless books/blogging become my full-time job, i will have to admit this unfortunate fact). i recently started planning my blogging/bookstagram schedule weekly. for bookstagram, i’d write out all the photos i hope to take, plan the way it’d look, and keep them in my phone until the day i intended on posting it. this way i wouldn’t need to stress about not having consistent photos or new content or whatever. as for blogging… i’m still working on it. but i HOPE to simply write it all at the beginning of the week and schedule it for the next few days. you could also schedule in your reading, but i have an entire post on how to read when you’re busy.

plan your weeks and days out

this is the part where i say MY BULLET JOURNAL SAVED ME. since i have a very flexible schedule, it’s easy for me to get sidetracked with ~all the things~. did i make sure to ship all the orders? reply to those emails? draft my review? stretch my feet? submit the assignment? take out the trash? cook my meals?? if i didn’t write and plan everything out, i’d get nothing done. my bullet journal post is so outdated that i feel that i need to share another update soon. but regardless of what type of organizer you use, planning your day (with specific time slots or with specific tasks) is an easy way to make sure you’re being productive.

do you have any tips for being better with time management and improving productivity? let me know in the comments!

review: the raven king

REVIEW: the raven king, by maggie stiefvaterThe Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater
Series: The Raven Cycle #4
Published by Scholastic on April 26th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Fantasy & Magic, Fiction, Friendship, General, Legends, Myths, Fables, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 439
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Amazon // The Book Depository
Goodreads

Nothing living is safe. Nothing dead is to be trusted.

For years, Gansey has been on a quest to find a lost king. One by one, he’s drawn others into this quest: Ronan, who steals from dreams; Adam, whose life is no longer his own; Noah, whose life is no longer a lie; and Blue, who loves Gansey… and is certain she is destined to kill him.
Now the endgame has begun. Dreams and nightmares are converging. Love and loss are inseparable. And the quest refuses to be pinned to a path.

the raven cycle

the raven king is emotional, unexpected, and more than what i’d ever dreamed it’d be.

series finales always worry me. i can’t wait to read them, but i also don’t want to read them for fear of disappointment and the knowledge that we won’t ever hear about these characters ever again. how morbid. but THE RAVEN KING is one of those rare conclusions that not only continue the story after the end, but also enhanced all the previous novels. it made all the previous books make much more sense.

i’d found the first three raven cycle books to be kinda murky and mysterious. the story follows a group of prep school boys and a psychic’s daughter to find a dead welsh king? it’s not exactly fantasy and it’s not exactly contemporary; it just is. but what am i really reading?????? all previous foreshadowing and misinterpreted references become clear. it’s like a veil is lifted and i suddenly UNDERSTAND. it’s so evident that maggie stiefvater knew how the story would play out before even starting THE RAVEN BOYS. everything just clicked together and the story was whole.

“I just want you to look at your future as a world where anything is possible.” (pg. 75, ebook)

the main thing that kept me entrapped in the series were the characters. each and every one of our characters are uniquely themselves. by the final book, you’d expect them to just be themselves but like real people, they continued to be infinitely complex and human. gansey, ronan, adam, noah, and blue are stripped apart (metaphorically) and we finally finally see them as who they are under these dire situations. it made me love them even more. a new-ish character is also introduced and I LOVE HIM. the relationships are great; the characters are great; everything is great.

“Humans were such tricky and complicated things. (pg. 371, ebook)

the most unexpected aspect of this experience (aka reading TRK) is how emotionally invested i was. if i’m being completely honest, the first three books left me feeling neutral. i enjoyed the story and cared for our characters, but that was just… it? but even from the prologue of TRK, i knew this book was going to be different. every other chapter made my hair stand on its end, made me take a moment to stop the rising tears, made me feel like my lungs were going to burst from the internal screams. it was strange and scary and exciting and refreshing, especially since i hasn’t felt this way about a book in a loooooooong time.

“When you dream, do you dream of the stars?” (pg. 288, ebook)

if you’d asked me before reading THE RAVEN KING, i’m not sure if i would recommend the series to you. not because i didn’t like it or anything, but because i felt that the strangeness might not be everyone’s cup of tea. but now? GO READ THIS SERIES. the writing is so good. the pacing is so good. the characters are so good. everything is so good. i usually try to be critical with my reviews, but there’s nothing i can say wrong about this conclusion. THE RAVEN CYCLE deserves all the hype it gets.

Rating Report
Plot
Characters
Writing
Pacing
Cover
Overall: 5

five tips for new bookstagrammers

the bookstagram community is growing day by day and i feel like such a proud mama. it makes me happy because it’s combining two of my favorite things – books and photography – with fantabulous people. i was asked if there’s some words of wisdom i could offer to new users, so here are some things:

focus on the community aspect

bookstagram is a community of people sharing their love for books. see a photo of a book you like? comment about how it’s one of your favorites. hear someone discussing an unpopular opinion? join the conversation and share your thoughts as well. interact with other’s photos and people will reciprocate.

participate in tags, challenges, and book clubs

sometimes people will do “tags” and share a creative photo of the tag prompt. an example is one i created dubbed #twirlingpages, in which people take pictures of pages twirling and include the hashtag. you can also tag people in the photo to do the tag, which will allow others to notice your account by doing something fun! #MayBooksBeRead16 there are also book challenges people can choose to participate in. usually, there are a few people (or a few groups of people) who create their own individual monthly challenges where there’s a photo prompt for each day of the month. i created one with celine and monica this month and often search through the tag for new accounts. it’s a great way to challenge your creativity and also find other bookstagrammers. some people work with other bookstagrammers to create book clubs on instagram. i’m one of the moderators of @bibliophileacademy and i’m always checking to see who reads with us, what their thoughts were, etc. these are some ways to discuss and participate in the conversation. make friends!

… or create your own!

i wouldn’t recommend creating one of these if you’re suuuuper new to bookstagram in case nobody participates (always a disappointing possibility). if you’ve been around for a while and have a decent amount of followers, creating your own tag and/or challenge will be a good way for more people to find your account. collaborating with other users to start a book club is also possible and fun.

share photos consistently

if you know you’re going to be busy, go on an “instagram photoshoot” and take a bunch of pictures to prepare. especially if you’re a new account, inconsistency is not a habit you should build. bookstagram is time-consuming, but the most time-consuming part is the picture taking. writing a caption and clicking publish will only take a few minutes. post consistently and show you want to be part of the community, instead of simply sharing a few pictures every so often. (and if it is a place you want to share photos once in a while, that’s fine too! just don’t expect to gain a huge following overnight.)

bookstagram

don’t be so obsessed with your follower count

this is something that bothers me immensely. the whole “shoutout for shoutout,” “like for like,” and “follow for follow” is annoying. i know most of the previous tips are for more followers and likes, but it shouldn’t be the only thing that matters in your account. if that’s all you care about, it’ll become evident in your photos and captions; you’ll constantly be disappointed and negative and instagram won’t be so fun anymore. people (including me) will see that and turn the other direction. i’m not saying you shouldn’t celebrate your milestones in followers and likes, or give the occasional shout out. it becomes annoying when you give ten shoutouts at once then delete it ten minutes later and repeat the sequence in an hour; it becomes annoying when the only comment you leave is “s4s?”; it becomes annoying when all your captions mention something like “thanks for __ followers!!” when it wasn’t that big of a difference from the number before; it becomes annoying when the number is more important the photos and people.

other bookstagram related posts:

i hope these tips were helpful to your bookstagramming journey! do you have any tips of your own? let me know in the comments!

farewell, foresight, favorites

favorites

another month has passed whhhhaaaattt??? i’ve begun to accept that fact that time is a fluid and i’m slowly (or not so slowly) becoming an old fart. (and my eighteenth birthday is coming in two months and THAT FRIGHTENS ME.) i’ve also begun to accept that i will be obsessed with hamilton for quite a while so there’s that. but besides my growing obsessions with time (did you know i’ve only been – roughly – alive for 6,500 days?! my whole life! in 6,500 days!) and hamilton (if you only had time! i rely on angelicaaaa – and her voice of an angel because she is ANGELica… okay i will stop now.), here were my other obsessions:

bookish aesthetics

i dedicated an entire post to this and have been constantly tweeting about it, so it’s not all thaaaat surprising. there’s something weirdly satisfying about finding the PERFECT picture for a book/character and finding three other pictures that compliment each other SO WELL and basically sum up the book.

the twirlings clothing

if you didn’t know, my sister and i founded a clothing shop dubbed “the twirlings” and we (finally) got new merch last month! i’ve been shamelessly obsessed with our new stuff, which is to say i’ve been wearing the same three shirts for the past month.

my fans think i'm so don q'ute i have no shelf control bibliophile

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