Furyborn by Claire Legrand {3.0}

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Title: Furyborn
Author: Claire Legrand
Series: Empirium #1
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: May 22nd, 2018
Pages: Kindle, 512 pages
My Rating: 3 Stars

Follows two fiercely independent young women, centuries apart, who hold the power to save their world…or doom it.

When assassins ambush her best friend, the crown prince, Rielle Dardenne risks everything to save him, exposing her ability to perform all seven kinds of elemental magic. The only people who should possess this extraordinary power are a pair of prophesied queens: a queen of light and salvation and a queen of blood and destruction. To prove she is the Sun Queen, Rielle must endure seven trials to test her magic. If she fails, she will be executed…unless the trials kill her first.

A thousand years later, the legend of Queen Rielle is a mere fairy tale to bounty hunter Eliana Ferracora. When the Undying Empire conquered her kingdom, she embraced violence to keep her family alive. Now, she believes herself untouchable–until her mother vanishes without a trace, along with countless other women in their city. To find her, Eliana joins a rebel captain on a dangerous mission and discovers that the evil at the heart of the empire is more terrible than she ever imagined.

As Rielle and Eliana fight in a cosmic war that spans millennia, their stories intersect, and the shocking connections between them ultimately determine the fate of their world–and of each other.

I first heard about Furyborn while watching a book haul on Youtube, and once I heard what it was about, I knew that I had to read it immediately. Once I got a copy, I immediately started reading, and I must say, the first chapter was so captivating that I knew this was going to be a great novel. However, I had some issues with reading this book, and although I really am interested in the story, I couldn’t give it more than 3 stars because of those issues.

 

What I Didn’t Like:
1. The long, excessive narratives: As I said, I really like the story that this novel tells, but I just found the narratives to be quite boring. I often found myself skimming the pages until conversations would come up because the book is a long one. I still want to read the next book, but I just hope that the 2nd book would be more concise so it would be less boring.
2. The main characters: The main characters were both insufferable, although I must say I grew to like Eliana more towards the end of the novel. I couldn’t say the same thing for Rielle though. She’s so arrogant and prideful, and sometimes I just want to shake her awake because dude, can you see the situation you are in? Do you think this is the time to boast around your skills just because you have them? Gosh! And with Eliana, at first I couldn’t get a grip on her personality because she switches from one decision to another completely opposite decision, without thinking of how it will affect others, and within a few pages. She was confusing as heck, and it was hard to keep up with her.
3. The alternating POVs: I really, really hated the way in which the chapters ended. I feel like it just takes me out of the story, instead of deepen my interest in it. The chapters cut the POV right as I was getting interested, and because of that I kind of forgot my interest after the next chapter. It was also confusing at first, because it was hard to keep up with what was going on. I kind of wished that this was two separate books instead of one.
4. It was confusing despite the number of pages: Speaking of confusion, this book was confusing as heck! So many things happened, and yet I have no answers. I just read a 500-page novel, and I only have the tiniest clue about what this really is about. Although this book did a good job in setting the tone for the following novels, I just felt like there were still far too many questions left unanswered.

 

What I Liked:
1. The side characters: I really enjoyed the characters of Remy and Ludivine. They add a nice element to the story, and the innocence coming from them both is really just something else. I always like it whenever they appear in the story. Sometimes I like Audric and Navi as well, although other times I just want to knock Audric in the head because he can be so clueless at times.
2. The story: Although I complain about how slow the plot moves, I really am interested and invested in how the story will go. I’m genuinely interested because it seems like such a unique story. Even though I did not love this one, I see myself still continuing on with the series because I just feel the potential. I mean, angels are bad in this novel, and there are prophecies, kingdoms to save, and so many secrets yet to uncover. I honestly can’t wait for the next book!
3. The gripping start: Honestly, the first chapter was what really drew me in. I loved how action-packed and ominous it was. It’s what got me excited for this book, and it’s also what’s still hooking me to the series, even though I didn’t love it. If we’re basing it on Rielle’s chapters, the first one was actually in the future, after everything has already happened. Honestly, I’m more interested in the after of that first chapter than the before, so I just want to find out more about what happened.

 

Overall, this book is a unique story that I truly am interested in, but I just couldn’t rate it higher because the plot was moving too slow for me, it was confusing at times, and I felt like there are still so many questions left unanswered. That said, I still can’t wait for the second book because I just want to find out more about this world!
interesting-but-slow stars

 

SST Review + Giveaway: Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow


Title: Girl in Pieces
Author: Kathleen Glasgow
Series: N/A, Standalone
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Mental Health
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: September 6th, 2016
Pages: Kindle, 416
My Rating: 4.5 Stars

Charlotte Davis is in pieces. At seventeen she’s already lost more than most people lose in a lifetime. But she’s learned how to forget. The thick glass of a mason jar cuts deep, and the pain washes away the sorrow until there is nothing but calm. You don’t have to think about your father and the river. Your best friend, who is gone forever. Or your mother, who has nothing left to give you.

Every new scar hardens Charlie’s heart just a little more, yet it still hurts so much. It hurts enough to not care anymore, which is sometimes what has to happen before you can find your way back from the edge.

  I was given an ARC by the publisher through Netgalley in 
exchange for an honest review as part of the Sunday Street Team. 

When I first read the blurb for Girl in Pieces, it was either in early January or not even 2016 yet, but I already felt like I needed to read the book. So just imagine my surprise and happiness when I got approved for this book! I was really excited and began to read immediately.

However, to be honest, I didn’t really like it at first. Yes, I was excited to be reading a book about cutting but it felt awkward at first because the writing style is very much unique. I also felt like the way the other characters (Blue, Luisa, Ariel, etc.) was weird and unnatural. I don’t know why it felt that way, but it felt like that at the start. As I read on though, the way they talked either became better and more natural, or I just got used to it.

“Everyone has that moment, I think, the moment when something so … momentous happens that it rips your very being into small pieces. And then you have to stop. For a long time, you gather your pieces. And it takes such a very long time, not to fit them back together, but to assemble them in a new way, not necessarily a better way. More, a way you can live with until you know for certain that this pieces should go there, and that one there.”

What I really love about this book is how the author truly understands cutting. Kathleen Glasgow understands the struggle of trying to fight something that’s always on your mind, and how your worst enemy is yourself. Throughout Girl in Pieces, Glasgow showed the characters’ relapses, despite wanting to get better. This is a dark, dark book, and I felt like it really took me into the mind of a cutter. A cutter who is not looking for attention, but one who is only trying to help herself in the only way she knows how.

This book is heavy in both the topic and the emotion. It talks about living on the streets, mental facilities, cutting, sexual abuse, alcoholism – all the things that we prefer not to mention in our everyday conversations when these are precisely the things that we should be talking about. I truly admire Kathleen Glasgow so much for bringing all these into attention, and for making people not only aware but feel that these things truly exist.

“I cut because I can’t deal. It’s simple as that. The world becomes an ocean, the ocean washes over me, the sound of water is deafening, the water drowns my heart, my panic becomes as large as the planets. I need release, I need to hurt myself more than the world can hurt me, and then I can comfort myself.”

This book also brought about heavy emotions for me. The characters experienced a lot of complicated things in their past. They suffered through so much and they’re all broken in different places. No matter how hard they tried, they tended to go back to their all tendencies and habits. They experienced things going the complete opposite way of how they wanted things to me. They had to help themselves because otherwise, no one would. They had to go through a lot of shitty and crazy and traumatic things because the universe just wasn’t listening to them. These are all struggles of everyone, but theirs were in a much larger scale. Everything just felt so real to me while reading the book that I couldn’t finish it in one go.

When I got to the end of the book, I felt like wanting to cry and hug Charlie and the author at the same time. Then I got to the author’s note and I wanted to hug Kathleen Glasgow even more. Kathleen, you obviously won’t be reading this, but I admire you so much for being brave enough to share your story to the world; for being able to show the world your strength and weakness. Thank you for creating the words for those who, like Charlie, couldn’t voice their struggles out. Thank you for bringing cutting into the attention of everyone. Thank you for writing so beautifully, and for touching my heart. As early as now, I can say that this will be one of the closest books to my heart. Thank you.

“My own body is my deepest enemy. It wants, it wants, and when it does not get, it cries and cries and I punish it. How can you live in fear of your very self?

I highly encourage everyone to read this book. It’s a wonderful novel that everyone truly needs to read. It’s unique and heart-wrenching, but you will come out of it better and more understanding. Truly, Kathleen Glasgow is an author to look forward to!

4.5 you-have-my-heart stars
If you or someone you know is struggling and 
needs help, please consider contacting:

Crisis Text Line: Text START to 741-741
National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
To Write Love on Her Arms: https://twloha.com/find-help/local-resources/
National Runaway Hotline: 1-800-621-4000  

About the Author:

Kathleen Glasgow lives in Tucson, Arizona. She writes for the radio show The Writer’s Almanac and can probably provide you with some interesting anecdotes about historical literary figures if you asked nicely. You can find out more about Kathleen by following her on Twitter: @kathglasgow, Instagram, @misskathleenglasgow (where she posts about sunsets, depression, spirit circles, and books) or her website: kathleenglasgowbooks.com.

Giveaway

ARC August 2016

  ARC August is hosted by Read. Sleep. Repeat to tackle our huge piles of unread ARCs for the month of August.

  This is my second year of participating in this event, and I’m so thrilled! This year, our finals week falls on the last week of August, so guess what that means for me? August will a very, very busy month filled with cramming and crying. This means that I wouldn’t be having much time left for reading, but I will still try to read as much books as possible. My goal is to read 3-5 ARCs. I’ll list down my choices below, which are mostly ARCs that release in September.

The Possibility of Somewhere by Julia Day
The Memory of Things by Gae Polisner
0/ pages

How to Make Out by Brianna Shrum
0/ pages

The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis
0/ pages
Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Nieven
0/ pages

Week 1:

August 1 – August 6
Books Read

• 

Pages Read: 
Goal Progress: 

Week 2:

August 7 – August 13
Books Read
Pages Read: 
Goal Progress:
TOTAL: 

Week 3:

August 14 – August 20
Books Read
Pages Read: 
Goal Progress:
TOTAL:

Week 4:

ARC Review: The Lies About the Truth

Title: The Lies About the Truth
Author: Courtney C. Stevens
Series: N/A, Standalone
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date:  November 3rd 2015
Pages: 336
My Rating: 4 Stars

Sadie Kingston, is a girl living in the aftermath. A year after surviving a car accident that killed her friend Trent and left her body and face scarred, she can’t move forward. The only person who seems to understand her is Trent’s brother, Max.

As Sadie begins to fall for Max, she’s unsure if she is truly healed enough to be with him — even if Max is able to look at her scars and not shy away. But when the truth about the accident and subsequent events comes to light, Sadie has to decide if she can embrace the future or if she’ll always be trapped in the past.

  I was given an ARC by the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

I may have been expecting something from this book because of how much I loved Faking Normal, but I don’t know what that something is. While I am not really disappointed in this one because I feel like they’re really different, I do like Faking Normal more than this one.

7 THINGS I LOVED ABOUT THE BOOK:

The family aspect: Oh my gosh, the family aspect in this book is unbelievable! I love the relationship of Sadie’s parents – it was clear that they loved each other very much and they have a great relationship! My favorite family aspect is how Sadie’s mom can still scold and be firm with Sadie, while giving her all the support that she could get. I really felt uplifted by that and it just warmed my heart.

    “From what I could tell, happiness was getting stuck with someone and never feeling stuck.”

The friendship: The friendship in this book is so, so good. Granted, they weren’t friends for most of the book – Sadie, Gray and Gina, I mean – but it portrayed how friends will always have ups and downs and challenges to face. The way that they made up, which took a lot of time, made it seem realistic to me. I also really enjoyed all the fun times that were portrayed of the four or five friends in this book.


    “Where one goes, the other follows.”


• Sadie’s relationship with her psychologist
: In most teenage novels, the psychologists are the bad guys, the bitches, the uncaring bastards. In this book, Sadie actually appreciated her doctor and was really willing to let him help her, which I think really helped her case. It was also clear that Dr. Fletcher really cared about Sadie’s progress and was really supportive throughout everything.


    “Scars tell a story, but this week, you decide what that story’s going to be.”

• The healing journey: I love how the healing process in the book was done gradually, instead of immediately. Also, I loved how Sadie actually did the healing on her own rather than relying on the love interest, Max. Granted, she had help from Max, but he wasn’t at the core of it. I also loved the support that everyone has given her. As with the friendship, I think this one was really realistic too.


    “Sometimes the journey to let someone love you is the journey to loving yourself.”


• The writing:
Man, Courtney C. Stevens’ writing can do no wrong! She fall in love with her words with Faking Normal, and she has done it again with The Lies About the Truth. I just love how she lets her stories unravel and she has really good choice in words, which creates lots of quotable quotes in her books.

    “I missed Trent like I missed the person I used to be. Makeup covered parts of the my, scars, but nothing covered up grief.”

• Max: My gosh, Max was so sweet in this book! He was the expert at pushing Sadie to reach her goals while not being pushy or obvious. I loved how he was always there without hovering, and how he just seems to know exactly what Sadie needs. Best of all, I think he is the most patient and most understanding love interest I’ve read.

    “I think maybe everyone is a mystery. Even the people we know really well.”

• Metal Pete: My gosh, the friendship of this two is just so weird that I love it! Just imagine – a car parts owner and a teenage girl! I loved the dynamic of their friendship, and how much they understood each other without words having to come out. He was also really supportive, and I loved how Sadie could confide in him.


    “Then, somehow, you have to accept that you’re still here, and that maybe, just maybe, there’s a reason. Find the reason.”

This book was an amazing journey for me to take part in, with really amazing character development. I was not able to connect with the characters as much as Faking Normal, but I loved watching how everything unraveled. I didn’t feel like I was the main character in this book, but a spectator from afar, watching everything unfold.

4 eye-opening stars

ARC Review: What We Saw

Title: What We Saw
Author: Aaron Hartzler
Series: N/A, Standalone
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Publication Date: September 22nd, 2015
Publisher: Harper Teen
My Rating: 3 Stars

Kate Weston can piece together most of the bash at John Doone’s house: shots with Stacey Stallard, Ben Cody taking her keys and getting her home early—the feeling that maybe he’s becoming more than just the guy she’s known since they were kids.

But when a picture of Stacey passed out over Deacon Mills’s shoulder appears online the next morning, Kate suspects she doesn’t have all the details. When Stacey levels charges against four of Kate’s classmates, the whole town erupts into controversy. Facts that can’t be ignored begin to surface, and every answer Kate finds leads back to the same question: Where was Ben when a terrible crime was committed?

This story—inspired by real events—from debut novelist Aaron Hartzler takes an unflinching look at silence as a form of complicity. It’s a book about the high stakes of speaking up, and the razor thin line between guilt and innocence that so often gets blurred, one hundred and forty characters at a time.

  I was given an ARC by the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Please note that all quote mentioned here were taken from the ARC copy, not the final version.

What We Saw is different from the normal books that I read. I mostly read contemporary romance novels, but this one is far from it. This one is about rape and how rapists can get away with the crime they committed, and how the victim somehow gets blamed for being raped.

What We Saw started out slow for me. I was already 30% in when I started seeing an inkling of what was promised from the synopsis. The first 40% were really slow and I was bored. The latter 60% were at normal pace, and that made it better. Although I don’t like the pace of this book though, I must admit that there are lots of amazing quotes in this novel.

This book has a really great message, and the point made by the author really should be known by all. It’s so unfair how Stacey was blamed for being drunk and for wearing sexy clothes, when most of the people from the same party were in the same state. It was so unfair how everyone covered for the rapists’ actions just because they were popular, part of the varsity, and because boys will be boys. But another wonderful point made by the author is how sometimes, we blame the victim because the idea that the same thing would happen to us is even scarier than just blaming the victim and saying that she is different from all of us.

Aside from that, this book also featured romance, a supportive family, true friends, and a very brave girl who came forward when no else would. When she knows she’ll lose almost everything. When she knows that she’ll become a pariah. There was this point when Kate came forward and was told that she did the right thing. She replied that it sure didn’t feel like it, and the detective told her, “Sometimes that’s how you know.”

Overall, the message of this book is so important that I feel like it’s a must read, but at the same time it’s so hard to recommend it since I felt bored in the first 40% and even after then, I found myself skipping some of the narratives.

3.5 kinda ‘meh’ stars

ARC August Progress Tracker #1

  ARC August is hosted by Read. Sleep. Repeat to tackle our huge piles of unread ARCs for the month of August.

The Tattooed Heart by Michael Grant 
0/400 pages

What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler
336/336 pages
Check out my review here!

Truest by Jackie Lea Sommers
384/384 pages
Check out my review here

Love Unscripted by Tina Reber
0/600 pages

Until We Meet Again by Renee Collins
336/336 pages

The Fix by Natasha Sinel
336/336 pages
Check out my review here!

Camp Boyfriend by J.K. Rock
339/339 pages
Check out my review here

Lingering Echoes by Erika Kiefer
0/278 pages

After Eden by Helen Douglas
0/288 pages

The Way to Never by O.E. Boroni
360/360 pages
Check out my review here

Week 1:

August 1 – August 9
Books Read: 3 books

• The Fix
• The Way to Never
•Truest 

Pages Read: 1,080 pages
Goal Progress: 3/10 = 30%

Week 2:

August 10 – August 16
Books Read: 2 books

• What We Saw
• Camp Boyfriend

Pages Read: 336 pages
Goal Progress: 2/10 = 20%
TOTAL: 60%

Week 3:

August 16 – August 23
Books Read: 1 book

• Until We Meet Again

Pages Read: 336 pages
Goal Progress: 1/10 = 10%
TOTAL: 70%

Week 4: