Saturday, 1 October 2016

Florence, Italy + Uni started | September 2016 Recap

Galerie Dorée, Paris

At the beginning of the month, I was finally on holidays (but spent only five days without having to worry about university, ugh) and travelled to Florence, in Italy, with my boyfriend for a few days. It was an amazing city and I'm so grateful I got to discover amazing museums and castles. We also went to Pisa, because that was where we took our plane and went to see the Tower, obviously.

The place with the cathedral & Vecchio Palace

Food :D

The Birth of Venus by Boticelli & a room in the Pitti palace

It made me eager to discover the world even more. I'd love to go to Scotland and Prague next (funnily enough, both are related to Outlander's TV show, but I wanted to go before the obsession started), maybe I'll travel to one of these locations next summer? *fingers crossed*

When I went home in France, I had to be in Paris for a couple of meetings for university. Classes started again two weeks ago and while it's been very stressful, I'm happy to have a new routine (which will change again as I'll have an internship starting during the second half of October). I've been exploring the city more lately and went to a couple exhibitions, which was so great. Now that I'm studying Cultural Heritage, I'm planning to visit museums and such more, which isn't a chore as I love it.

Blogging-wise, I'm starting to be out of my slump (it's the third post I wrote for Tea, Books and Fun today!) and created a new blog in French, where I'm talking about culture, including books, of course. It's a new adventure and I'm so excited. 




I had a pretty good reading month. I'm starting to read less books than at the beginning of the year, I only read one entire book since I started classes (but finished two I had already started, so it's fine?), I'm scared for my reading year. I even lowered my Goodreads challenge to 100 books and I'm done! So no stressing over about it anymore, yay! Except for two disappointments, I read so many amazing books. I'm so obsessed about A Torch Against the Night, Far from the Madding Crowd and Crooked Kingdom. <3

Lorenzaccio by Alfred de Musset 2 stars
A Torch Against the Night (An Ember in the Ashes #2) by Sabaa Tahir 5 stars
Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass #5) by Sarah J. Maas 4.5 stars
Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy 5 stars
Phobos (Phobos #1) by Victor Dixen 4 stars
Les Enfants Jéromine by Ernst Wiechert 4.5 stars
Ghostly Echoes (Jackaby #3) by William Ritter 3 stars
Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2) by Leigh Bardugo 5 stars

Side note: I'm dropping Tea & Screens for now so the blog will be back to be completely a book blog and I will talk more in-depth about it on my French blog. Because of that, I'll talk about the movies and TV shows I watched in my wrap-up!

Movies

Far from the Madding Crowd - After finishing the book, I had to watch the movie and I'm so obsessed with it. The soundtrack is just amazing and I keep listening to it, especially Let No Man Steal Your Thyme, sang by Carey Mulligan and Michael Sheen. Oh and Matthias Schoenaerts was attractive and now I love Gabriel Oak even more! #obsessed

Warcraft - I watched it with my boyfriend and enjoyed it, but it would have been better with more information on the world to begin with, because it was adapted from a video game. But it would have been way too long because of that, so...

TV Shows

Outlander (season 2) - I am obsessed. I was apprehensive because it would be set in Paris, but I was wrong, because it was realistic and they hired French actors, so I was pleased. I just love this season so much and the ending was heartbreaking and pushed me to finally read the books.

Jane the Virgin (season 2) - This show is so addictive, it's a pure guilty pleasure. However, the first season was so much better, because sometimes, they're using the same twists, which makes me mad because they could do so much more! It ended on a big cliffhanger so I'm very excited to see where it goes! I'm still #teamrafael.

iZombie (currently watching season 1) - I only have three episodes left and so far, it's good. For the investigations, I find it repetitive, because I'm not very into police shows and all, but the zombie aspect is just amazing! I love how it add a lot more to this show, who would feel generic without it. It makes me really like zombies, because they're clever, not stupid.

I’m stopping to put a lot of pressure on my shoulders with my TBR, because most of the time, I was writing down endless lists each month. I’d rather do monthly TBR now, like the one I did in my Top Ten Tuesday post, so you can go read it to see what I’m planning to read until Christmas. I’m currently reading Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, which I’m so excited about and after that I’m planning to read The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbrait, because a thriller would be great near Halloween. After that, I would love to get to Gemina and/or The Midnight Star, that will be published this month, because I’m so excited for them!


How was your month? What did you read? Any new favourite books?

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Books on my Fall TBR List | Top Ten Tuesday


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature created by The Broke and The Bookish, this week’s prompt being about our Fall TBRs. I recently decided I didn’t want to do monthly TBR anymore, because I pressure myself a lot with what I need to read before the month is over and that’s why I do want to make seasonal TBR. Fall is definitely my favourite season and it’s also the time I’m craving historical fiction and fantasy, so I’m all excited about that!

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon – Yes, I know, I’m finally reading this! I finished binge-watching the second season two weeks ago, and I’m still a mess. Right after finishing (and sobbing), I knew I just had to order the books, so I bought the first three, so I could catch up before the third season. I’m totally obsessed with Outlander now and I haven’t even read the books yet, but it’s happening people, and I couldn’t be more excited! Update: I actually couldn't resist and as you're reading this... I'm currently reading the book (!!!!!!!!).

Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon - While I'm at it, I should read the second book, because I need to read at least the first three before the third season, right? Because of that, I won't be reading a lot of books, because these are huge, but I do not regret it!

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo – No one should really be surprised about that, as Six of Crows was one of my favourite books of last year, and it will remind me of that glorious night I met Leigh Bardugo in Rotterdam (I still can’t believe it!!). Anyway, I can’t wait for my copy to arrive!

Like A River Glorious by Rae Carson – I feel in love with Walk on Earth A Stranger at the beginning of the year and I’ve been craving to read the second book ever since. I’m fascinated by the Gold Rush era and I’m so excited for this second book, because they will actually be looking for gold! Also, I’m totally partial to the cover, which is one of my favourites of ever: just look at this bluuuue!

Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff - Illuminae is glorious and I need the sequel more than I need to breathe (but I guess it’s not that easy in space, right?). Even though these books are huge, you can get through them pretty quickly, thanks to the unique format. Moreover, as Marie Lu is doing the art, I just need this even more!!!

The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman - When I saw the book had just been released in French, I was a little ashamed, as I received this one for my birthday, in February and ever since then, I’ve been excited for it (because I have the Infernal Devices vibes and I can’t handle them) but still haven’t read it. I was saving it for the perfect time, and it’s NOW. However, I think they changed the cover design or something for the second book (but I can’t seem to find it on Goodreads yet, only on Twitter and Instagram), and I’m so mad, because I loved the first design (they also did that for Legacy of Kings and now it won’t match, uuuugh).

The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith - It’s another situation where it’s just time to read the damn book. I just borrowed this from the library, so it’s happening soon. I used to put J.K. Rowling on a pedestal and because of that, I didn’t want to read her other books. But I have to admit that I’m pissed off she’s adding new content to Harry Potter every second. I want to have the right to imagine and she’s stealing me that. I’m sorry but these books have been out for years and now it’s our turn to have our interpretations. While I loved Harry Potter and the Cursed Child when I read it, because the characters were back and that’s all I wanted, I saw the hundred different ways this book was problematic. And now, J.K. Rowling isn’t this all-powerful author in my heart anymore, which means I’m ready for the Cormoran Strike novels. Moreover, the Fall is the perfect time for thrillers!

The Midnight Star by Marie Lu - This trilogy is coming to a close, which makes me so sad because I remember the wreck I was after I finished Champion. I don’t have the same emotional involvement than in the Legend trilogy, but I love these books so much and I cannot wait to see how it will all conclude for the characters, because it was tense where we left them off!

The Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters - I have to confess I still haven't read any of this author's books and I'm ashamed. But it came to my understand that it was historical fantasy, which is perfect around Halloween time. This book involves a hypnotist and seems a little dark, so I'm definitely excited.

Phobos² by Victor Dixen - Like I said in my last post, I'm trying to read in French again. I read a book by this author three years ago - a Goldilocks retelling - and loved it. Because of that, I started his trilogy about a speed-dating reality show where the candidates... are going to Mars. I enjoyed the first book a lot and am eager to know what will happen next.


What are you planning to read this Fall? Is there a genre you’re more attracted to during that season than the rest of the year?

Friday, 23 September 2016

Update + I'm kinda back!



I feel like I’ve tried to write this post a thousand times, but it never fitted. I’m trying again, one last time, because finally, I want to write it. Like you might have noticed, I haven’t posted… In a very long time (at least for me, it’s the first time it happened). I’ve been in this huge slump and to be honest… I didn’t miss blogging that much. But now I do.


For the past four months, my life has been crazy. For many parts, like getting my internship and going on holidays with my boyfriend, it’s been clearly amazing. But there are some other not-so-funny parts I can’t talk about in public that crushed me. On top of that, while this new school year is very exciting (I’ll be back at the internship again and I’m so pumped!), it’s also SO stressful, because of this huge dissertation I’ll have to turn in at the end of the year (it could be the equivalent of the senior thesis for American students, but we’re doing five years, soooo?). Anyway, my life is crazy, overwhelming and I have no idea how I’m even gonna survive the year. I just wanted to update you a bit on my life, for you to understand why I had been away.

On top of that… I wasn’t very happy with my blog anymore, for two reasons.

Like you know, I’m French, and since I started blogging here, I stopped reading in French, altogether. I’ve been having so much fun thinking in English 50% of the day for the last year and a half, but sometimes, it feels like I’m betraying my own country, and that I don’t fit anywhere, because I’m in the middle. I started to think a lot about this topic while seeing Australian bloggers talking about Aussie YA lit… Because I couldn’t do that for my own country. So yeah, I've started to read in French again and I won't be able to talk about it here.

Moreover, while I love books and it’s one of the most important part of my life – especially since they helped me build myself back last year – it’s not the only thing I love in life. For example, I love history. Now that I’m studying Cultural Heritage (but even before), I’m going to so much more exhibitions, and I can’t talk about them on Tea, Books and Fun, because they are in France and you guys… Aren’t. For a year, I made Tea Books and Fun a book blog and I’m glad it’s this way… But I needed another place, where I could share everything I love, without restrictions. And that’s why, at the end of August… I started a new blog, this time in French. If you understand the language, you can come say "Hi!" on Wishes and Pages (hence my new Twitter & Instagram handles, that I’m totally digging), I would love it!

Nevertheless, I’m not giving up on Tea, Books and Fun, because I’ve realized I can’t. At some points, in this past week, I’ve been feeling worthless, because of the stress of this first week at uni. I needed to remind myself I was great and I thought of my book blog. Sure, I’m not a huge blog but I’m proud of what I created here and I love you guys so much. So because of that, I’m coming back, but I won’t be there as much as I used to, because I need to take care of two blogs now and it’s gonna be very time-consuming, considering I’ll also have an internship two days a week and my dissertation/thesis to write.

Anyway, that’s all for today guys. I also wanted to thank you, because I saw that my page views didn’t stop during my “hiatus”. Y’all rock and I can’t wait to get back into the swing of things! <3



P.S. Sorry for the sappy post, my heart got the best of my brains.

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Mini-Reviews | YA Contemporary Edition

Look, it's the end of the summer and I *finally* read some contemporary novels! I'm so proud of myself, because it's a genre I don't reach for a lot... I've been very late on my reviews (I read the first two books of the post a month ago... Oops), so I choose to do a mini-review post, as it's been awhile, and you'll also have everything in one place. Yay! I've also been in a blogging slump, because I don't have a lot of alone time these days, but I'll try to fix this in September (but uni will start again so I don't know if I'll be able to *sobs*).


The Problem with Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout

I have a complicated relationship with Jennifer L. Armentrout's books. I loved her Lux series and Don't Look Back but never got into her other paranormal series, because they felt so cliché and I couldn't bear with it. I haven't read her New Adult books either, because it's a genre I hardly ever reach for - except for Colleen Hoover's novels - but I wanted to give this one a go.

In my opinion, this book is important, by the topics it brought and the message behind that. At times it could be a bit hard to read (urm listen to as I had it as an audiobook) because it didn't sugar-coat anything and I loved it. It felt so realistic and wasn't about privileged teens. If you're interested in reading about children abuse, foster kids, gangs… It was a good coming-of-age story about a girl who barely talk and I could totally relate to that (even if I don't have her trauma) and how it's frustrating not to know what to say, but also how people can judge you for it.

However, this book was way too long and it's one the main reasons I couldn't love it until the last part of the book that was fast-paced and a total page-turner. Moreover, the romance was so cringe-worthy. Mallory kept going on, and on, and on, about how hot Rider was and it was so frustrating: I GET IT, UGH. While I could feel the characters connection through it all, the way it was written made my eyes rolled, especially when the author was ending a chapter right before they kissed for the first time and then described it in details. There is a difference between romantic and cheesy…


Overall, this book tackled down some important topics and sometimes, I didn't see it coming. Nevertheless, I felt like there were so much drama at times and once again it could have been avoided (even if I understand that the characters are teens and all of that). The romance was cheesy and made me rolled my eyes more than once…


You Know Me Well by Nina LaCour & David Levithan

I went into this book without having really read anything by these authors before - except Will Grayson, Will Grayson, which David Levithan co-authored, but I definitely want to read more of their books now that I finished You Know Me Well. I picked this up because I wanted a quick read and it's definitely what I got, because I read it in a couple of hours.

It was refreshing to read a dual perspectives book where you knew, from the beginning, that the main characters weren't going to end up together. I feel like the authors' writing styles clicked well together, even though Mark and Kate's voices were distinct from each other, and I could relate to them both in different ways. Almost every character (except the parents?) were part of the LGBTQIA+ community and it was just there, for you to assume it, when the contrary happens more often than not for straight characters.

While this book involved romance aspects, it was more of a coming-of-age story about how you can't always get what you want, but also how it's okay to be lost. Moreover, it focused a lot on friendship and how you can bond with someone when you expect it the least and how it can change your life forever. You Know Me Well wasn't set at the beginning of the school year, which happens 85% of the time in contemporary, but during the last few days, where you can feel independence and freedom on the tip of your tongue. Moreover, it showed that college isn't the only way after high school, that sometimes you can need a break and it isn't discussed enough, in my opinion. It involved a lot of art, which was so fascinating and discovering the world behind all of it was interesting.


Overall, I read this coming-of-age story pretty quickly, it was addictive and I had so many feels while reading. If you're looking for a LGBTQIA+ book, I would definitely recommend this one!


 https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25486998-p-s-i-like-you

P.S. I Like You by Kasie West

Kasie West is one of my go-to contemporary authors, because her novels are always so cute, even if predictable, but well… We're talking about YA romance novels, I've given up on being surprised! Of course, when P.S. I Like You was released, I wasn't able to wait and read it almost straight away, I devoured it and oh, how I loved it.

The concept of the story was unique, because it was about getting to know someone through notes, so it was about who he was and it didn't focus on the physical aspect. It was so much fun to imagine the characters writing entire letters during class, I would've been found out straight away, but it was so cute. Of course, I had figured out the pen pal's identity straight away, but I was curious to see how the author would make me fall for this character… And oh damn, she did it! I was shipping the characters together so hard and I loved their character development, because we learnt so much about them through the letters and it brought a new light to them.

I loved the family aspect of the story, because I'm from a big family and it's a personal pleasure to read about these dynamics. Kasie West definitely captured what it felt like to be part of such a family, how you don't feel like you exist for yourself sometimes, because you always need to help your parents out, or how your family must seem crazy to strangers and it can mess up some aspects of your social life. All of that felt so realistic and Lily's family will remain one of my favourite fictional ones (I need to make a post on the subject I think!).


Overall, I think this book was amazing for a cute contemporary romance. I was rooting for the characters and fell in love along with Lily, so the author was definitely successful. I would 100% recommend Kasie West's books and you should start with this one, as it's my favourite!



Everything Leads To You by Nina LaCour

After reading You Know Me Well, I was excited to read something by Nina LaCour and I had heard so many great things about Everything Leads To You. The hype was so real but it was so well-deserved, in my opinion. I'm excited to read anything she'll write next.

It was my first F/F romance actually (if we don't count You Know Me Well) and I really enjoyed it, I will definitely read more of them in the future. While this book involved a romance, it wasn't the main focus of the book, even though the characters interacted a lot. Indeed, this book was also about a mystery surrounding a movie superstar and its legacy, it was interesting and I was as involved as Emi and Charlotte in this search.

Moreover, this novel was set in Los Angeles and it was basically a behind-the-scenes of Hollywood, which I loved, because it's so interesting to read about it. Emi was an aspiring set designer and it was compelling to read about her having new opportunities and how everything she put in place was important for a movie. I have to say the design is something I don't always focus on (even if sometimes I'm awe-struck by rooms and need my apartment to be like that, haha). In fact, I'm glad that we saw everything about the pre-production and the book ended while they were starting filming, because it means we didn't get the glamorous parts, but what ends the fantasy, as the characters say.

I enjoyed reading about these characters, most of the main ones were so lost in their life and I was rooting for them to find their way, which they definitely did. I was shipping the characters together and I'm glad they got together at the end and not while they were in the middle of their own personal drama. Nina LaCour did great with the representation part, because there were persons of colours and people from different type of sexualities and I felt so pleased with that.


Overall, I wasn't blown away by this book, because it was easy to follow but it wasn't breath-taking. Nevertheless, it was a nice romance with characters I was rooting for and it brought to light some aspects of Hollywood we don't always see in books. If you're looking for a LGBTQIA+ book, I would definitely recommend it!


Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them? What was the last contemporary novel you read and loved?

Thursday, 25 August 2016

September 2016 Releases | Grabby Hands #9

Now that Summer is coming to a close (well, I'll finally be on holidays during the first two weeks and a half of September, so I'll read all the books), publishers are getting crazy again and releasing all of my most anticipated novels. My wallet and my feels hate me, but well, I need these books in my life, okay?

                                                                      September 1st                                                                      



The Secret City (The Alchemist Chronicles #2) by C.J. Daugherty and Carina Rozenfeld - I'm sad this cover looks so much like the first one, because I wanted it to be more original... *sigh* But well, that's the way it is... Anyway, I was first drawn to The Secret Fire is co-written by a fellow Frenchie, Carina Rozenfeld and it didn't disappoint. It has this old YA vibe to it that I had missed so much, because it involves alchemists, demons and all of that. Moreover, I thought the chemistry between the main characters was on point and I cannot wait to see where they'll go next. I saw that they were going to Carcassonne and I'm so excited about that!

                                                                      September 6th                                                                      



Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass #5) by Sarah J. Maas - *whispers* It's still my least favourite cover *go hide in a corner*. Okay, so I was a HUGE Throne of Glass fan last year, but... Queen of Shadows disappointed me. It's not that it's a bad book, per se, but I didn't like the character development, like many readers. Moreover, I'm not a fan of the romance, even though I wasn't in a "team", it's just that I don't like this love interest. However, plot-wise, I'm very excited to get back into this world. I recently pre-ordered this book, so I'm excited again and I hope I will fall in love with the series again.

                                                                     September 13th                                                                     



The Reader (Sea of Ink and Gold #1) by Traci Chee - I don't know much about this book, but the title was enough to hook me. Indeed, it's about a society were almost no one can read and while it is scary, I want to understand that. I've heard good things about this one, so we'll see.

                                                                     September 20th                                                                     



Frost Like Night (Snow Like Ashes #3) by Sara Raasch - I love the concept of this world, as half the kingdoms are based off seasons and it's definitely what made me fall in love with this trilogy, considering Snow Like Ashes was one of my favourite books of last year. The second one wasn't as good, I mainly had issues with the romance, but I have high hopes for this conclusion. I'm particularly excited to see Ceridwen in action, a secondary (but now main) character that was introduced in Ice Like Fire

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake (Three Dark Crowns #1) - I've been in love with Kendare's writing since Anna Dressed in Blood, she always writes pretty cool series, but Three Dark Crowns must be the one I've been most excited about, because you know... High fantasy. *winks* The fact that the most talented sister should inherit the throne really interest me, especially when two of them don't control their gifts, I'm eager to see their development. Moreover, y'all must know I love siblings relationships, so I want to see how the girls are with each other, because they're supposed to be in competition and all of that.

A Shadow Bright and Burning (Kingdom on Fire #1) by Jessica Cluess - This is a historical fantasy novel, and you know I'm a sucker for those. The moment I knew it was set in the Victorian era, I needed it in my life, because I have a soft spot for it. Moreover, if I recall correctly, it's about a girl who's supposed to be the Chosen One, but she's actually not??? So give it to me.



Witch's Pyre (The Worldwalker Trilogy #3) by Josephine Angelini - Oops, I think I will need a recap before starting this one, because I don't recall that much. I thought I remembered the ending but it was the ending of the first book, so #fail. Anyway, the magic system is very interesting in this book and I'm looking forward to get back to it. I'm fascinated by the parallel universes in this series, because I thought it was a unique concept and that the author had treated it well. Nevertheless, it's not a perfect series and I feel like there are many tropes. But well, I need to see how it ends and I'm attached to it!

Stealing Snow (Stealing Snow #1) by Danielle Paige - I must confess that I have given up on the Dorothy Must Die series, because while the first book was good, the sequel felt empty and I had no hopes for the finale, as it was even shorter, and now there is a fourth book? WHAT? I think this series isn't worth it, but I'm giving Danielle Paige another chance to surprise me, because she has good ideas. Stealing Snow is a retelling of the Snow Queen and I don't really need another reason to read it.

The Queen of Blood (The Queens of Renthia #1) by Sarah Beth Durst - I know next to nothing about this book, but it's a high fantasy novel, I've heard great things about this author and the title is promising. So yeah, here am I, helping my TBR by adding new books to it.



Stalking Jack the Ripper (Untitled Trilogy #1) by Kerri Maniscalco - This is a Victorian era novel, so of course I need it! *maniachal laughter* So, two years ago, I had a weird fascination about Jack the Ripper with friends, it was all we talked about during a few lunches. Of course, when I knew the book would talk about the subject, I was excited, even if I'll probably be scared while reading it. Moreover, it focuses on forensic science, how cool is that? NEED NEED NEED.

Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter - Russian folklore is so fascinating and I love that this book was inspired by it. I don't know nearly enough about this country but I love its history and I'm craving to learn more about it. Books inspired by Russia are so good (yes, I'm talking about the Grisha trilogy, because I have yet to read The Crown's Game) and that's why I'm excited for this one. It's also a retelling of a Russian tale, so count me in!

                                                                     September 27th                                                                     



Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2) by Leigh Bardugo - Okay, so this is one of my most anticipated books of the year, I need it so much, guys. I have two copies of Six of Crows, gifted my best friend with the French version on her birthday and took it at the library I'm working at for my boyfriend the day I'm writing this post, so yes, I love it and want the world to love it as much as I do. This duology involves a group of criminals in an island inspired by the Netherlands, what else do you need? Oh, the ships to sail and for everyone to stay alive. I'm so scared.

Like A River Glorious (The Gold Seer Trilogy #2) by Rae Carson - This cover is one of my favourite of all times and I cannot wait to have it in my hands, because this blue! And I know it will shine! *incoherent fangirling noises* Anyway, I LOVED Walk On Earth A Stranger, it reminded me why I love historical fiction, because it was so detailed and had a subtle fantasy touch to it. While the first book was about traveling, things will get real in this one, as the characters are finally in California. I'm looking forward to dive more into the Gold Rush era and see more fantasy elements and oh, this one is part of my most anticipated books of the year.

Bright Smoke, Cold Fire (Untitled #1) by Rosamund Hodge - I haven't been a fan of Hodge's previous works, but I'm intrigued by this one, even if I hadn't planned on reading it, at first. This is a Romeo and Juliet fantasy retelling, where the Juliet is a role, for she has to punish her family enemies... which includes Romeo, of course. The synopsis also focuses on unlikely friendships, which totally interest me, because it seems like the romance is a subplot!

Are you excited for any of these books? What's your most anticipated book that will release in September?

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Paris was accurate so I'm alive! | The Magician

The Magician (The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel #2) by Michael Scott

Published: June 24th 2008 by Delacorte Press
Genre: young adult, fantasy

Goodreads summary: Ashes to ashes…

California: In the hands of Dr. John Dee and the Dark Elders, the book of Abraham the Mage could mean the destruction of the world as we know it. The most powerful book of all time, it holds the secret of eternal life—a secret more dangerous than any one man should ever possess. And Dee is two pages away from the knowledge that would bring the Dark Elders into ultimate power.

His only obstacle? Josh and Sophie Newman—who are eight thousand miles away.

Paris: After fleeing Ojai, Nicholas, Sophie, Josh, and Scatty emerge in Paris. The City of Lights. Home to Nicholas Flamel. Only, this homecoming is anything but sweet.

Niccolò Machiavelli, immortal author and celebrated art collector, is working for Dee. He's in hot pursuit, and time is running out for Nicholas and Perenelle. Every day they spend without the book, they age one year: their magic becomes weaker and their bodies more frail. For Flamel, the Prophecy is growing clearer and clearer. It's time for Sophie to learn the second elemental magic.

Fire Magic. 

And there's only one man who can teach it to her: Flamel's old student the Comte de Saint-Germain—alchemist, magician, and rock star. 

Josh and Sophie Newman are the world's only hope. If they don't turn on each other first.

REVIEW

Reading a book series everyone read and loved during their childhood involves so much pressure when you do read it, but years after. I was expecting an amazing first book, but sadly it didn't deliver, so I was a little reluctant to continue with the series, at first. But well, there are reasons everyone loves the Alchemyst series, right? So I gave the second book a go and I will definitely pick up the sequel in the future, because this series is starting to reach its potential.

WHAT I LIKED

The setting - As you know, I live in Paris when I'm at uni and because of that, I'm always anxious when American authors set their books in the City of Lights, because they're trying to make their characters speak French and the language is all wrong, or they only speak of le Louvre and the Eiffel Tower. It's cliché, but sadly, I've read so many books that fit that category that I can cry with frustration. However, Michael Scott definitely did his research, it was so realistic and I loved it. When the characters were taking the subway, he was even mentioning the name of the situation, which totally pleased me. He also named the streets the characters were passing and because of that, I felt like I was there. The author definitely captured the feeling of the city and took the reader to so many places!

Addictive writing - I have to admit that while I wasn't always entertained by the plot, the writing kept me reading. Indeed, Michael Scott has a way with words that makes me craving for more, which is definitely a gift. Moreover, he's very good at writing action scenes, because he had me turning the pages so fast.

A plot filled with tension - I wasn't very invested in the first novel, but this one was so much better. Indeed, I felt like the stakes were higher and I enjoyed the new "villain" that was introduced, because he seems so shady and I think he might become one of my favourites, okay? He's an opportunist and it's one of the best types of characters, haha. But anyway, because the characters were chased down, the plot was filled with tension and the action scenes were so well-written, like I said! Also we went to the catacombs, so it's a win-win situation for me.

The world-building - While I still noticed case of info-dumps (ugh), I was so much more invested in the world, maybe because it was set in France and I knew more about the characters based off the historical figures. But anyway, I thought it was more interesting, because it was easier to digest the information - even if it was still hard during the first chapters.

The temptation - I loved that this theme was so important in this book. Indeed, while Sophie's powers had been Awakened during the first book, Josh's, her twin, hadn't. Because of that, he was jealous of her and craving power, which lead him to be weaker in front of the temptation.


WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER

The pacing- I have to admit that I skim-read sometimes… Oops. I felt like it dragged a little in the middle, because there was so much action in the beginning and at the end of the story. Moreover, this book felt a little like a filler, as it was still about learning a new element, and it will also be the case in The Sorceress. It makes me frustrated because the plot line was similar to the first one and I wanted the main plot line to move forward. It's the problem when the series is six-book long, I guess…

I didn't like/relate to the characters - They could die and I wouldn't cry… Oops. I think it's a problem, but I have no feeling whatsoever about ANY of the characters. Please, someone tell me I'll like them when I read the next book, because I can't read a book without feelings for the characters! Moreover, I'm frustrated that even when they hadn't powers, they were SO special because they lived everywhere. How is that relatable? Most of us live in the same city until graduation, or sometimes more. It was enough to make them travel everywhere during the series, right?

The time-span - This book is set on three days… Which is ridiculous, considering it was 464 pages long! Moreover, the characters slept fourteen hours in the middle so how. Is. It. Possible? I understand that the characters were chased down and the author managed to create tension, but it's so unrealistic that so much happened in a few hours/days.

The ending - It felt anticlimactic, in my opinion. The plot was pretty good in the last third of the novel, because it was filled with tension and crazy scenes but the ending? It felt so flat. The characters are doing extraordinary things for the whole novel and then… They take the train to go somewhere else and learn another element. THE FALL WAS HARD, GUYS. At least if the author hadn't said what was going to happen next it would have been fine, but I was disappointed.

Overall, I think the Magician was a step-up from the first book and I will definitely read the sequels, because I'm intrigued to see what will happen next. While some elements irritated me, like an unrealistic time-span or a flat ending, I really enjoyed reading this book, because it was full of tension, which kept me glued to the story, thanks to the writing. This series is starting to live up to its potential and I can understand why so many readers loved it when they were younger!

Other:


Have you read this series? Do you love it? Which book is your favourite? Do you keep reading book series even when you don't really like the characters?

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Would you become who you need to be? | The Beauty of Darkness

The Beauty of Darkness (The Remnant Chronicles #3) by Mary E. Pearson

Genre: young adult, fantasy
Published: August 2nd 2016 by Henry Holt and Co.

Goodreads summary: Lia and Rafe have escaped Venda and the path before them is winding and dangerous - what will happen now? This third and final book in The Remnant Chronicles is not to be missed.

Bestselling author Mary E. Pearson's combination of intrigue, suspense, romance and action make this a riveting page turner for teens.



REVIEW

The Remnant Chronicles is a trilogy I came to like the more and more books were released and I was so pleased with this finale. Indeed, I was truly invested in the whole thing, because I reread the first two books in the series during the summer and enjoyed them even more the second time around, which had made me so excited to read The Beauty of Darkness.

I’m deeply in love with Mary E. Pearson’s writing, which was so poetic and vibrant. Since the first book I’ve been admiring her for The Song of Venda and The Last Testaments of Gaudrel, because it felt like realistic lore, as mysterious and poetic as you would imagine. Pearson transported me to her world easily, which is an amazing gift, because it means I can imagine myself traveling besides the main characters without forcing my mind too much around it.


As this book was 688-pages long, many events occurred and I felt like years had passed for the characters when I closed the book, when it had happened over the course of a few months (well, even if there was a bigger gap between the penultimate and last chapter). I can’t really say much about the plot without spoiling anything, because it’s the third and last book, but I will say that it was intense and I always had to keep reading, because I needed to know what was going to happen to the characters. The author covered a lot of ground, both in her world, but also in the type of plots she used. Some twists were totally unexpected for me and I was shocked at some point, because I hadn’t thought of some possibilities. Moreover, she wrote wonderful action-packed scenes and grasped the atmosphere of a war.

During this trilogy, Lia became such a strong and independent woman and I’m so proud of her, she will definitely remain one of my favourite female characters of all times. Time and time again, she proved that she needed no man to succeed, when it was a man’s world (no, I’m definitely not singing along ;)). She learned to trust her gift and embrace who she needed to become, even if she was ruthless at times, because she was doing what needed to be done. Pauline also went through a lot of character development in this last book, because she realized the truth on some aspects of her life (I don’t want to spoil anyone but it’s hard) and had to become tougher than the sweet girl she used to be (also, can we talk about someone’s name? I loved it <3). In fact, this book was very great at building women’s power, when this world was dominated by men.


However, I feel like it fell a bit short for the two male main characters’ development. While I recognize we saw some of it, I was disappointed a little by Kaden’s chapters, because they were way too short and didn’t help me to understand him. Yes, we learned more about this past, but it was hard to understand his relationships with the other characters, especially Lia and Pauline. Rafe was easier to understand, because his reactions were realistic considering the situation he was in, but I still needed more scenes that involved him.

For the romance, I have to say I figured out early on the path the author had chosen for her characters and was excited to read about it. I was pleased with the outcome, even if I had predicted it, because Pearson wrote it pretty well and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Some scenes were steamy in my opinion and it worked so well, because I was rooting for the characters and wanted more one-to-one time between them. However, I would have liked to see two particular characters falling in love together, because we only saw the result. Nevertheless, the romance was great, even if there was much drama in it.


The ending was pretty much a happily ever after, but for once, I didn’t mind. I loved the places Mary E. Pearson left her characters, because even if she didn’t resolve everything, she left the characters with hope for their future. Moreover, I almost cried with relief and joy when I read the last scene, my little fangirl heart melted, it was so beautiful.

Overall, I’m totally satisfied with this finale and while, like always, I feel bittersweet because it is another series coming to a close, I know I won’t regret it because it ended the right way for the characters (but also like I wanted, haha). The Beauty of Darkness was about Lia finally becoming who she needed to be and I’m glad I saw this transformation during the trilogy. The plot was filled with tension, which made me keep reading, to the point where I read this beast in three days (well, I finished it past midnight so technically it was the fourth day). I read swoon-worthy moments that made me so happy, especially at the end of the novel. I cannot wait to see what Mary E. Pearson will write next, because this trilogy is one of my favourites!


Have you read this trilogy? Do you love it? Have you read the Jenna Fox series by this author?