Review: Siege and Storm (Grisha Trilogy #2)

The second book in the Grisha Trilogy is Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo. Now, second books are usually the worst in the series and don’t try to argue with me on that. Y’all know it’s the truth! Okay, well maybe except for Golden Son by Pierce Brown, because that book absolutely kicked ass. But yes, for the most part the second books are usually a downgrade from the first. I even sometimes wonder if writers do this on purpose so the final installment seems even way more awesome than the second book. Admit it, you’re thinking the same thing now! Luckily for Bardugo, I didn’t feel that Siege and Storm was a step down from Shadow and Bone (you can find my full review of it HERE).

Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land. She finds starting new is not easy while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. She can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.

The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her–or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.

Just like in the first book, the action picked up right from the start. There was no waiting around for 200 pages for something interesting to finally happen, which is what I like to call ‘Second Book Syndrome’. No, Bardugo immediately thrusts you right back into the thick of things and has us begging to see where Alina is headed to next (and if you’re like me – hoping that Mal dies in the process). I do know that for some, the middle dragged a bit and the pace never quite caught up until the end but for me that wasn’t really an issue. Instead of action, we got a much more thorough glimpse of the politics and power struggle that Ravka is famous for. With someone who has a degree in a political science, I found this to be insanely fascinating. Don’t worry if you don’t though, the book isn’t all politics!


Siege and Storm still finds Alina a bit whiney and in over her head in regards to where her journey has taken her. However, I was much more pleased with the way she begins to handle the situation. She finally finds a backbone and has learned to take control instead of running from her problems as she cries, “why me?” (if you read the first book then you know what I mean!). Also, her interactions with Nikolai are the best of the entire series, seriously.

Which leads me to Nikolai… Can I just say, that without him this series would have felt incomplete? I can? You agree with me? Oh good! It’s true. In Shadow and Bone, I thought there was something missing. I wasn’t sure if I just wasn’t connecting with the characters or if Bardugo just isn’t a character writer. It’s how I felt, sue me! Other than the Darkling, all of the characters were boring and shallower than I don’t know what. Lucky for me, Nikolai was able to change that! He is funny, charismatic, mysterious, and quite a bit manipulative. So basically he’s the Darkling but with humor! You’re already in love with after reading that description, aren’t you? His conversations and interactions with Alina helped her become a better leader in my opinion. He didn’t tell her what she wanted to hear but taught her to face her destiny. Which, after Mal and the annoying way he acts, she needed this.


Mal. His behavior in this book infuriated me. He was even more selfish than before and I’m not even sure how that’s possible but it happened. He’s even more controlling and emotionally stifling for Alina than the Darkling. He keeps trying to influence her and change the way she is by telling her that he shouldn’t be here, blah blah blah. He knows that will make her second guess her choices and think that it would be better if she just left Ravka to its own devices. What a freaking jerk.

The Darkling is still being his deviant self and wreaking havoc. We see just enough of him to keep it interesting but he’s not so much a focal point as he was during Shadow and Bone. Don’t worry though, he definitely makes some grand entrances!

I would say that this book was pretty equal to its predecessor. It was well written, full of excitement, and throws in some important tidbits here and there that you may blink and miss if you aren’t careful. I also appreciated that we get to see more of the world, rather than just trotting around Ravka the whole time. I still think that characters are a bit of a weak spot but it’s getting better (thank you, Nikolai!). THAT ENDING THOUGH. Fabulous, simply fabulous. I wasn’t expecting it and neither will you. If you are one of those people who got/gets bored during the middle of this book, the ending more than makes up for it so stick around!

Final Verdict: 4/5 Stars


Review: Shadow and Bone (Grisha Trilogy #1)

Normally, when I hear about books that everyone is obsessed with, I tend to get excited but a little leery. I let my expectations get the best of me just to see them not met. That sucks. Lucky for me, Shadow and Bone (Grisha Trilogy #1) by Leigh Bardugo was able to hit those expectations.

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.

Bardugo is a master world creator. Ravka is brought to life so wonderfully and with so many details that slip into it effortlessly. History is wonderful so the fact that Bardugo modeled Ravka after Imperial Russia? Flawless, absolutely flawless. History buffs will appreciate comparing and contrasting the two. Okay, okay, that may just be a me thing because I definitely enjoyed it. She was able to mirror Imperial Russia just the right amount to impress me and help me to better visualize Ravka, yet not enough to where it lost the fantasy aspect.

I also enjoyed the flow and pace of the plot. There was action right from the start, which for me really helps to grab my attention and keeps me interested. Yet, it did slow down enough throughout that you didn’t feel like you were just jumping from one scene to the next (I absolutely hate when that happens). Don’t worry about getting bored though, there’s so much to the story that it will keep you turning page after page to see what happens next!


Alina. Where do I even begin? She’s the main protagonist but I felt her to be a bit of the cliché type that has permeated YA books, the really small and unattractive girl who has always been weak. Listen, I get that there are tons of small girls out there but come on man, YA has basically created an army of them by now. I understand that it’s supposed to be the weak and unassuming that rise to be the hero in the fairy tales and stories but it’s getting a little old now. Tiny? Check. Weak? Check. Orphan? Check. Self-confidence issues? Check. In love with her best friend? Check. Whiny? Check… Guys, I could keep going on with this and the list would just pile up. Do you see what I mean? Maybe this is just an issue that I have but I prefer my protagonists to be kicking ass and taking names. Let’s make her 6’3 with a mind as sharp as her longsword and her tongue just as deadly (and by that I mean her words not her actual tongue).

Her best friend and the love her life, Mal? He’s just blah. He brings nothing to the table to make me think, what a cool dude. Nothing, zip, nada. I’ll be honest, when he disappeared for a while, I was so glad and was hoping he would die in a hunting accident. There was just no depth there. He was the same person throughout the whole book, selfish with his head stuck up his butt.

Oh, Darkling, what would I have done without you? This was a character I could love. In the  immortal words of Shrek, “Darklings are like onions. Onions have layers, Darklings have layers!” Okay, maybe he didn’t say it exactly like that but close enough that it still fits in this situation. The Darkling was such a great character. He was vicious, calculating, mysterious, insane, and oozed sex appeal. Girls, you’ll love him. He’s that character that you absolutely love to hate and can’t get enough of. The best scenes in the book were the ones with him. Easily.


Writing style, plot, and world building was incredible for this story. Bardugo did a fantastic job of creating a story that drew you in and took you to a completely fantastic world. I mean, there’s a reason I finished this book in just two days, it was great. However, I do think that there were a lack of interesting and likable characters, for me at least. I never felt connected to Alina. There was something about her relationship with Mal that just kept me from rooting for them to be together, as well. For me, I was more interested in The Darkling and secondary characters such as Genya. But all in all, that didn’t bother me enough to keep me from finishing this book and I highly encourage for those of you who haven’t read this to try it out for yourselves!

Final Verdict: 4/5 Stars

3 Days, 3 Quotes – Day 2

Remember, if you’re tagged but have already done this challenge recently, you don’t have to do it! I won’t be mad or call you names. 😉


Day 2 – Quote #2


If you had a bad day, week, month, or even year.. Guess what? Listen to my dear friend, Anne, and always remember to keep your head up.

Know that you are wonderful. Know that you are worth it. Know that you are loved.

I love you, my lovely fellow bookworms!


Review: February Owlcrate Subscription Box

I love when subscription boxes have a monthly theme. I’m always excited when they tease you for a few weeks and then BAM, finally tell you what it’s going to be. I love every second of it. Needless to say, when Owlcrate decided that February’s theme was going to be Sci-Fi Love, I did a little happy dance.


Seriously, look at all of the awesomeness in this month’s box. 2 BOOKS?! Stop it, Owlcrate, you’re just spoiling us now.

  • Lunar Chronicles Tote Bag – Okay, so I may have only read Cinder when it first came out but my dad decided to read it after me and LOVED it so much he went and bought the second book while I was living in Prague. Now they’re both just staring at me on my bookshelf, practically screaming at me to reread and catch up. Have no fear lovelies, I’ll get to you soon! But seriously, this tote is wonderful and I can’t wait to take it to the beach. It was designed by the Owlcrate team specifically for this box. So you could say it’s a limited edition.
  • TARDIS Brooch – I’m not the biggest Doctor Who fan in that I’ve only seen like 10 minutes of an episode. But this handmade wooden magnet by Vector Engraving is amazing and so pretty.
  • The Time Machine by H.G. Wells – Not a big fan of this book but it is the original sci-fi classic. Everyone should read it at least once in their lives. I do appreciate that this book came with a discount code to Rock Paper Books which is a company that publishes classic books with modern art created by digital artists! How cool is that?!
  • The Love That Split The World by Emily Henry – This debut novel is about a time-traveling romance. I’ve heard some really great things about it and can’t wait to read it for myself. I had already purchased it a few weeks ago so now I have two copies and am looking to do a giveaway of it soon. I’ll probably include my TARDIS brooch as well, because hey, time-travel! I know some of you Whovians will appreciate it!
  • Signed Bookplate and Letter – I’m in love with the signed bookplate this month. It’s beautiful and the quote is fantastic. I think it may even be a sticker! But my absolutely favorite thing in this month’s box was the letter from the author. I teared up reading it because it’s so heartfelt and sweet and wonderful and lovely. I plan to frame it in the near future and showcase it on my nightstand. Because of it, even if I don’t enjoy this first book by her (which I’m sure I will!), I will continue to buy every book she writes. If I ever meet her, I want to give her the biggest hug and say thank you for being so kind.

Run, don’t walk, and go and order a box from Owlcrate to see for yourself just how amazing their boxes are. They ship internationally so wherever you are, you’ll be able to join in the fun! You can visit there website HERE. Next month’s theme is Writer’s Block so I’m really interested in seeing how it turns. My fingers are crossed for a notepad or  journal!

3 Days, 3 Quotes – Day One

I was tagged by the wonderful Lila @ The Bookkeeper’s Secrets to do this 3 day challenge. For the next few days I will post a quote from a book that I really enjoy. They could be funny, serious, sweet, or sad. You just never know what I’ll come up with. I’ll also be tagging 3 people daily. Let me go ahead and say this ahead of time, I’m sorry if you’ve already been tagged to do this by someone else. Feel free to ignore me, I know a lot of people do! 😉

Day One


My first quote is from Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo. I finished this book a few days ago but I keep thinking about this quote. For those of you who follow me on Twitter, you probably have already realized this. I may or may not be tweeting quotes from this series like it’s going out of style. I can’t help that I get inspired while I’m reading! Sorry, not sorry.

How can this quote be anything but epic? It’s deep and speaks the truth. I think that people in positions of power should really think about why they’re there and what they truly want from it. Maybe read The Grisha Trilogy for a little perspective while they’re at it. Heh.

Thanks to Bardugo for writing this, because now all I can think about is if I’m being infinitely greedy when I don’t share my food when someone asks for a bite of it.

My Tags for Day One:

Review: February Uppercase Subscription Box

Who doesn’t love a good monthly subscription box? I know I do! I love the surprise. I love that feeling of anticipation and excitement that builds as the date of the delivery gets closer and closer. You just never know what that month’s box is going to bring you but you know that whatever it is, it’s going to be awesome. February’s Uppercase Box was exactly that.


Y’all look at how awesome this box was! I’ve loved every box from them so far but I think this one just might be my favorite.

  • Book: Starflight (Starflight #1) by Melissa Landers – This book is a YA science fiction (love me some sci fi) that is being compared to the tv show, Firefly. That’s some seriously high praises right there. It’s currently holding a 4-star rating on Goodreads. So far so good, right?

Life in the outer realm is a lawless, dirty, hard existence, and Solara Brooks is hungry for it. Just out of the orphanage, she needs a fresh start in a place where nobody cares about the engine grease beneath her fingernails or the felony tattoos across her knuckles. She’s so desperate to reach the realm that she’s willing to indenture herself to Doran Spaulding, the rich and popular quarterback who made her life miserable all through high school, in exchange for passage aboard the spaceliner Zenith.

When a twist of fate lands them instead on the Banshee, a vessel of dubious repute, Doran learns he’s been framed on Earth for conspiracy. As he pursues a set of mysterious coordinates rumored to hold the key to clearing his name, he and Solara must get past their enmity to work together and evade those out for their arrest. Life on the Banshee may be tumultuous, but as Solara and Doran are forced to question everything they once believed about their world—and each other—the ship becomes home, and the eccentric crew family. But what Solara and Doran discover on the mysterious Planet X has the power to not only alter their lives, but the existence of everyone in the universe…

  • Starflight Poster and Bookmark – Beautiful matching design to the book. I really like the quote that they used as well, it’s cute and cheesy and fills you up with those warm fuzzy feelings. Sold!
  • Starflight Nail Wraps – I’ll be honest, I’ve never actually used nail wraps as I thought that was something little girls used, like how we used to use those sticker earrings (don’t act like you never used them, I know you did!). However, I did see a picture on Instagram of someone who wore these and I have to say, they turned out to be really cool looking. Do you think my local nail salon would put them on for me? I can’t paint my own nails. And yes, I do know that I am a terrible girl. My mom loves to remind me that every day.
  • Anne of Green Gables Infinity Scarf – Now this here, this is AMAZING. So amazing in fact, that I’m currently wearing mine as I write this blog post. It’s beautiful, lightweight, and the softest scarf I now own. So soft, I can barely even tell that I’m wearing it. It might be my new favorite article of clothing. Also, it’s an ANNE OF GREEN GABLES QUOTE!

As you can see for your yourself, this subscription box is definitely worth it. All of the items are of really great quality, each book is a new hardback YA released that month (so don’t worry about getting the paperback edition of some book released in 1995), and every book is either signed by the author or includes a signed nameplate. For $23 a month, that’s quite a bargain. However, it currently only serves the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico.

What do you think? Are there any subscription boxes that you recommend?

WWW Wednesday – February 24th,2016

Welcome back to another episode of WWW Wednesday! This weekly meme is currently being hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words, so make sure you stop by her blog and show her some love! Anyone and everyone is welcome to join, just remember to leave a link to your post so when we can go check it out.

What are you currently reading? What did you recently finish reading? What do you want to read next?



Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Yeah, I’m a bit of a latecomer to the #BardugoObsession but I am totally on the hype train now. Seriously, why did I let this series sit on my TBR shelf for so long?!



The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

OK, so I didn’t “technically” finish this book in the sense that people normally are referring to when they say that they finished a book. For me, it means I read the first part and just didn’t care for it at all so I said I’m done and picked up Shadow and Bone instead. Yeah, my boyfriend absolutely loved this book and wanted me to read it, so I tried, I really tried. Let’s just say he’s not very happy with me because of it. I’m sorry Douglas Adams, but you are a try-hard.


An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

Yes, I liked this book but it didn’t totally blow me away as it did for some people. I might’ve just been having a moment though, because I picked it up immediately after finishing Morning Star. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t over the ending of one of my favorite series ever. Instead of acknowledging I was having a book hangover, I just kept on trucking. Kind of like that time I was wayyyyy hungover from whiskey and decided to drink a massive Bloody Mary. Bad idea. You can find my full review HERE.


14061955.jpg 14061957.jpg Six-of-Crows

All of These Books by Leigh Bardugo

Hahahahahaha come on now, you should have seen this coming. #BardugoObsession

See anything you like? See anything you don’t like? Let me know and leave a comment!

Teaser Tuesday – February 23rd, 2016

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by MizB from A Daily Rhythm. All are welcome to join in the fun!


-Grab your current read

-Open to a random page

-Share two ‘teaser’ sentences from somewhere on that page

-BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! You don’t want to give too much away so as to not ruin the book for others!

-Share the title and author so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers.

My Teaser This Week:


“And there are rumors that he isn’t strictly royal.”

“He’s a bit of a black sheep anyway.”

-Shadow and Bone (The Grisha Trilogy #1) by Leigh Bardugo


Please leave a comment with either the link to your own Teaser Tuesday post, or if you don’t have a blog then just leave us your own teasers! I can’t wait to see what y’all are reading right now!

Review: An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

The hype train is at full-speed ahead in the #bookstagram community for An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir, so obviously I had to get in on the action. Y’all know that I can’t pass up a good book hype, right?

Laia is a slave.

Elias is a soldier.

Neither is free.

Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.

It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.

But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.

There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.

This book is based off one of my favorite periods in history, Ancient Rome, so I was quite intrigued to see how this book was going to represent Roman culture in a fantasy setting. Red Rising is able to really emulate it because it’s set in the future, but An Ember in the Ashes is set a different world entirely. However, while Tahir was able to build this world and bring it wonderfully to life, I just wasn’t thoroughly as impressed with it as I was hoping to be. Call me a cynic, but I wasn’t captivated by the world of the Martial Empire. Don’t shoot me for saying this, but I can’t help compare it to the world of Red Rising and it just wasn’t as interesting. I know, I know, I’m sorry!

Laia is a great character. I appreciate that Tahir was able to really dive into character development with her. At the beginning of the novel I didn’t really care for her. She was too busy being scared and constantly belittling herself to make me feel sorry for her. The whole time I was thinking, yeah, we would never be friends. Harsh, I know. Luckily, by the end of the novel she has completely transformed and is kicking ass! Snaps for Laia and her road to self-confidence!

Elias is your typical anti-establishment teenager. He’s moody and self-loathing but in a good way. He sees the Martial Empire for what it truly is, one big terrible place. However, just like your average teenager, he would rather just run away from it then try to change it. Which makes sense considering that he’s seen it at it’s worst and has spent the last 14 years of his life getting his butt kicked at the military academy. However, it’s his loyalty and compassion that makes him such a wonderful character. It’s such a juxtaposition to the life he has been living and the job he’s training for, to become a Mask. The commitment he shows to his friends is very admirable as well. Unlike Laia, he isn’t afraid to do what’s right when push comes to shove.


But I think my favorite character has to be the Commandant. She’s crazy evil but I find her to be so fascinating! I was always extremely interested to see how she was going to react to certain situations. I can’t tell if she just suffers from a case of my-daddy-didn’t-love-me-enough or if there’s something else going on with her internally. I would continue reading the future books of this series if only to find out what her deal is, even if this book really sucked except for her character. It didn’t and I enjoyed it, I’m just saying!

The plot was a pretty steady uphill climb through the whole book. There are only a few lulls here and there but nothing bad enough that it makes you want to put the book down and not pick back up. But the last 50 pages? That’s where it leaves you begging for more and of course, right when it gets good, Tahir leaves us with a cliffhanger. Authors can be so sadistic when they do that to us, huh? But seriously, you won’t get bored with this book. I promise!

Final Verdict: 4/5 Stars