Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter (Book Review)

vassa

Publisher: Tor Teen
Page Count
: 296

Vassa in the Night was featured in the September FairyLoot box and I was quite excited to read this new take on Russian folklore. I’ve heard of the myth of Baba Yaga before, but rarely set in modern days (except for Lost Girl I think), so the longer I waited for my FairyLoot box to arrive, the more curious I got. I am sorry to say that the excitement did not hold up.

Have you ever watched a really artsy independent film and thought that it was simply stunning in its visual work, but by the end of the movie you had absolutely no idea what you’ve actually watched? That would very much sum up my experience reading Vassa! There were words and they formed sentences, but sometimes it still didn’t make sense to me. Several times, I had to re-read passages simply because I didn’t get what just happened. It wasn’t even difficult language like in old Shakespearean tragedies, but rather usual every day vocabulary and I still struggled somehow.

You KNOW that I love myself some magic and fantabulism, but there needs to be some logic to it. I thoroughly believe that this was my biggest issue with the book. Vassa’s Brooklyn is speckled with magic around every corner. Nights that last a whole weekend long, shops that dance on chicken legs, our heroine has a living wooden doll as her closest friend, so one would think that magic is generally acceptable in this world, right? No! Vassa still continued to be baffled and confused about so many things that were happening, while she just accepted others without the blink of an eye. I just couldn’t understand which incidences counted as “unusual” magic and which were generally okay for the human populace.

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It didn’t help much that I just got more annoyed with Vassa and her doll Erg as time continued. You know something is weird when an unattached hand grows on you more than a human … however, despite everything I just said, the descriptions were still vivid and beautiful at times. Night in itself is something magical and this was a truly magical, at times disturbing, tale. As of now this is a standalone, but from what I hear Sarah Porter might be thinking about expanding this into a series. I have no idea how I feel about that, because I still have to work through some of the things that happened in this book.

Fazit: 3/5 stars! Partially I am still confused about what I read. Also – beware of unattached body parts!

3stars

Did you read Vassa? How did you feel about it?

It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover (Book Review)

iewu

Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Page Count
: 376

It Ends With Us was another buddy read with fellow Blogateer Cátia, She’s already a huge CoHo (= Colleen Hoover) fan, but this was my first venture into her world of writing. I am not yet 100% sure I was converted, but IEWU definitely hit home in a way. Now, before I get into any kind of detail, I don’t think I can do this without Spoilers. I’ve thought about it, but even talking about what the book’s main topic is, can’t be said without spoiling something. So, proceed with caution! 

Have you ever looked at the face of someone you love and been scared? And I am not talking about scared you’re loosing them, or scared for them – I am talking about being afraid for your own safety. It irreversibly breaks something in the relationship you had. It’s something that can never be mended, but it does not mean that you stop loving them, because that’s not how this works. Lily, our main protagonist in IEWU, has to find out exactly that! Yes, this book is about domestic abuse.

In my opinion, CoHo went about this in a very smart way. She dazzles you with Ryle’s charm and looks, you fall for him alongside Lily. At the same time, she introduces you to her past, her issues with her father and Lily’s first love, Atlas, who is about to re-enter her life. All the while, you are certain, that girl will never get into an abusive relationship herself. Well, of course that’s not how the story goes. Shortly after the first incident, you are shocked and devastated. It’s the kind of incident that people try to rationalize and explain away, but no matter what the reasoning is, that doesn’t excuse it. Yet, Lily stays and it happens again and again.

I am not going to go into detail, or tell you what she did in the end, but that whole story tied my stomach into knots. I actually felt sick with what was happening, but I was very glad about the people in Lily’s life. They had her back, no matter what, especially when neither Lily nor the reader expected them to and that simply warmed my heart.

coho

Ultimately, I really enjoyed the writing. It was beautiful and felt very real, however, there are just a couple things that don’t make it the perfect read. To me, the story was very much about Lily and her growth. I wouldn’t really classify this as a romance to be honest or at least say that was the least important part of it. So, Ryle aside, I liked Atlas and I realise how important he was for Lily’s past and that she needed closure for that, but I probably would have felt a lot better about him, if he hadn’t just turned into a picture-perfect man. What’s his story? I have so many questions about him and how he became the person he’s now. To say he wasn’t necessary in the present tense would be a vast exaggeration, but I could have done without the epilogue … Still, I whole-heartedly believe that this was not my last CoHo book! Until next time!

Fazit: 4/5 stars! It was heartbreaking and raw, but I still could have done without a couple of elements.

4stars

 Have you read this one? What are your thoughts?

September OwlCrate & FairyLoot Unboxings!

unboxings

I know, I know – we are coming towards the end of October and I just now decide to do the unboxing post for the September boxes? Well, for one, they came extremely late last month and then I never had good light (still didn’t, but I just gave up on waiting) and it therefore took me a while to get around to the post. However, I did subscribe to not only OwlCrate but also FairyLoot last month (Click on the names to find out more details about each service). So, you will get to see not just one, but two unboxings! YAY!

OwlCrate

This is the fourth time that I have ordered an OwlCrate box and I not once have I been disappointed so far. You can imagine that I didn’t get around to reading the book yet, but let’s break down what was in last month’s “Darkness” box:

The Book

I’ve had my eyes on Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake for a while now and was extremely pleased to find it in this box. It’s a tale about three sisters who have to fight each other (to the death? probably not …) for the throne. As always in the past months, the book was accompanied by a hand-written letter from the author, as well as a signed book plate. I love how my collection of signed books is just growing and growing.

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The Goodies

I hope the picture sort of shows everything that was in the box, but just in case it doesn’t, here’s some more info:

  • A canvas pouch by Out of Print – it has a quote from Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children on the other side. I am not yet sure what I am going to put in it, but I always wanted to have something from Out of Print and now I do!
  • Candle from The Melting Library – it’s inspired by Celaena’s Cake from the Throne of Glass series (which I still haven’t read – SHAME). I quite like it, although I cannot place the smell at all.
  • Fortune Telling Bath Bomb from Da Bomb – I cannot wait to finally try this! Before throwing the bath fizzer into the water, you are supposed to think of a question that can be answered with yes or no. Then, as soon as it’s dissolved, the bath bomb will reveal the answer to said question. SO COOL! (and inspired by our favourite psychics from 300 Fox Way)
  • Crooked Kingdom bookmark by Evie Bookish – I shall read the series soon. The books are already on my shelf!
  • A passport to a new world – it’s a first look at the now already released, but at the time not yet released, novel Moon Chosen by P.C. Cast. Not only can you read an excerpt but there are also two images you can colour in. So, it’s double the fun.
  • Remade – have you ever read a serial novel? I sure haven’t, but Remade is Episode 1 of Season 1 of the Remade series. There are about 14 more episodes I think, however so far I have only found them as ebooks. I will see how desperate I am for answers after I’ve actually read it though.

FairyLoot

This was my first FairyLoot box and I was extremely excited to finally try another service other than OwlCrate (which I still love, but you know, variety is key). I can tell you right away, that you see with how much love and effort these boxes are created and I was not disappointed with what I got. Here’s the breakdown of the “Magic & Mayhem” box:

The Book

The September box featured Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter. From the theme and mention of Russian folklore, I was pretty sure that I knew which book we were getting and I am always happy when it turns out that I was right. The story includes the myth of Baba Yaga, which already has me very intrigued, however, I have a bit of a reading vs. writing struggle going on again, which is why I am not very far into the book.

There was also a letter and signed book plate from the author, which I really appreciated. Also, the book was in a cloth bag, which is so awesome! I never want my books to get hurt, you know? Another fun feature of Fairyloot is that you also get a hashtag and number, which only your personal buddy shares. Mine was #FairyLoot2007, but no one ever answered or I just didn’t find anyone with the same #, which is too bad really. I am just going to read it by myself now!

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The Goodies

The goodies all featured a very common theme, which was mostly related to Leigh Bardugo’s writing. In general, I like theme’s like that, but since I have read neither the Grisha books nor the Six of Crows duology, I felt like I couldn’t appreciate it as much as some people who are fans of the books might have. But I am getting ahead of myself, here are the goodies:

  • Grisha Notebook by Literary Emporium – a girl can never have enough notebooks!
  • Materialki candle from Castle of Fables – there were 3 different candles you could get, all representing one of the Grisha orders. I like the colour of mine, but I am afraid that’s it. The first time I smelt it, I thought it was fine, but then it made me quite nauseated and I just can’t stand it anymore. It’s too bad, because I usually like scented candles a lot.
  • Felix Felicis sticker by BookOtter – it’s cute and I will be forever scared of putting it on anything because I won’t want to waste my one chance.
  • Russian doll necklace by Pastel Cloud – by far my favourite item in the box! It’s so cutesy and adorable and pretty! (and one of the things you definitely cannot really see on the photo … sorry)
  • Shade of Magic badges by BookOtter – I love that series and instantly recognised the badges. They are awesome!
  • Grisha print by GoodNightKittens – as mentioned above. Pretty, but I just don’t have an attachment to the series yet.
  • Vassa bookmark by Behind the Pages – it’s a really beautiful bookmark, with actual sparkly stars. I love it!
  • Bonus: Six of Crows postcards!

So, that was it from my side. I did not order any boxes for October, so there won’t be any more unboxing posts soon. I did order the November box from OwlCrate though. I had to decide between OwlCrate and FairyLoot (the latter being already sold out by now), because I think they feature the same book. If you want to talk about my guess on the book, just ask in the comments. I just don’t want to spoil people who don’t want to know!

Have you ordered a book box lately? 

The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater (Book Review)

theravenking

Publisher: Scholastic
Page Count
: 439

The Raven King is the final installment in the Raven Cycle! You can find my previous reviews for The Raven Boys, The Dream Thieves and Blue Lily, Lily Blue by clicking on the titles!

If you’ve read my previous reviews for the series, you know that I am adamant on not wanting to give away much of anything, which meant they were extremely vague. And I am talking super vague! As a little forewarning, this won’t be much different. There is just something about these books that makes me feel inherently protective of the story and even more so of the characters. Just like Blue, I’ve slowly fallen in love with all the boys and they’ve become MY Raven Boys in the process.

I usually don’t like endings, for obvious reasons, because it means the end. There are stories that I wish could go on forever and I am pretty sure that this is one of the few that actually could (also a reason that I am really, really happy about the companion series from Ronan’s POV coming out in the distant future). So, finales always take me so much longer to read, but I couldn’t pace myself with The Raven King. The stakes have been getting higher and higher for our friends with each book, but this was just pure intensity and despair and what-is-even-happening the entire time, so that I NEEDED to know what happened next. Every time I had to stop reading because of work, but was at a thrilling moment (which was a lot), I seriously cursed that place and adulthood.

However, even though it was a read that gave me all the feels and had me on the edge of my seat, I am not entirely happy about it. I feel like Noah was a character whom I adored, but who was constantly ignored. As far as endings go, I thought that Maggie Stiefvater did well, EXCEPT for Noah again. If I take that aside, the relationships went even further in this one. It had laugh-out-loud moments as well as the ones that made me want to dissolve in tears. The Raven Cycle has such an intricate magical world that just keeps on expanding. The entire series you grow along and learn about the world with the characters. Even though their problems are mostly of the supernatural kind, I felt like so much of it could be applicable for a regular human as well – wanting to belong, being curious, finding your place in this madness!

Fazit: 5/5 stars! Definitely a deserving end of one of my new favourite series!

5stars

What’s your take on the Raven King? Did you enjoy it as much as I did?