Believe the hype, Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo is just as amazing as everyone says! It's addictive, action-packed and intriguing, the characters are some of the best written ones ever, and the plot keeps you on edge with worry and anticipation all the way to the end. I recommend this book with all my heart!
I have to confess though that I did struggle a bit with getting into the story at first. I’d heard so many wonderful things about it, but I just couldn’t get past the first two chapters when I first started reading it. I actually had to re-read these chapters to get into all the characters and details. But once I got past those chapters, I was completely hooked. So if you’re struggling with the beginning too, please know that the book is so worth to keep reading!
What makes this book so amazing is the characters. The story is told from multiple character’s third point of views. I absolutely loved how brilliantly Leigh Bardugo created a web with so many layers, when each characters added his or her piece, but still kept the main story together. I absolutely fell in love with all of the six main characters. They were so unique and interesting, mean but kind, bad but also good, and the all added so much depth to the story. And they all had troublesome pasts that helped you understand how they’d ended up in this band of thieves, but you also got to know about their dreams for the future and their hidden feelings and thoughts, which made you relate to, and love them, even more. And this is only the first book, I can only imagine how they will grow character wise in the next book in this series.
And the story; what an amazing tale of adventure, magic and entertainment! It was slightly different than many other YA/fantasy books as it did not have much focus on romance. There were two (potential) ones, and I totally ship them both, but it was not the driver of this action-packed, thrilling rollercoaster ride of a story.
Overall I loved this book and recommend it with all my heart. And I’m already starting on Crooked Kingdom. Can’t wait to see which adventures Leigh Bardugo will take the characters on, and how the romance will evolve. (Fingers crossed for Kaz and Inej, obviously…)
Find out more about Six of Crows and the author here: Leigh Bardugo
My reading tips this week is all four books in the magically wonderful The Raven Cycle series by Maggie Stiefvater. This series is such as a sweet, unique and completely addictive read. It’s like a modern fairytale, Maggie Stiefvater is a true storyteller who manages to make the books both so easy to read and so complex at the same time.
The Raven Cycle is something of a paranormal romance combined with a murder, old-fashioned adventures and Welsh mythology. Sounds a bit strange when you try to explain it, but it’s so good! So, so good! This books are completely addictive and fast-paced, and Maggie Stiefvater does a remarkable job in describing the characters with all their flaws and depths.
In the first book, The Raven Boys, we get to meet Blue and her big bohemian family, and eventually the four Raven boys Gansey, Adam, Noah and Ronan. I was immediately hooked by this book and had a long agonizing wait for the rest of the books to arrive.
When they did, I binge-read all of them during two days. Yes, three books in two days; this series is that good and addictive!
I love Blue, the heroine so much, and her aunts, that are so sweet and kind of nuts at the same time. And the four Raven boys with all their dark secrets and family problems, and their friendship and love for each other. They will (literally) die for each other.
In the sequel, The Dream Thieves, the story continues with great character growths. This book dragged a little at first, but then it took off with a new twist in the love story and the increased focus on Ronan and Noah. Ronan really grew as a character in this book and from not liking him very much in the first book, I’m now his biggest fan! I’m also a huge fan of the new love twist (don’t want to make any spoilers) but Adam was never the guy for me. What’s so great with this series, is that even though there is romance, it’s absolutely not the focus. It’s happening more or less in the background and is allowed to take its time. It’s a slow-burn, intense, real love story that adds so much to the overall story without taking over. Instead, focus is on the development of the friendship between Blue and the Raven boys.
In the third and fourth books, Blue Lily, Lily Blue, and The Raven King, the story gets darker, almost creepy. There are demons, more dead people and intense blackness and danger. But most of all, there is remarkable character developments. All the characters have changed and developed so much during this series, which is definitely one of the reasons why I love this series so much. Maggie Stiefvater is a master on making her characters into real persons, showing all their flaws and hidden feelings and desire. And my heart aches so much for Gansey and Blue, I’m dying for Blue to kiss her true love, curse or not!
I don’t want to give too much away about the story, since it has its twists and turns, and since it’s difficult to describe in a way that would even be close to do it justice. But it’s an amazing story about friendship, bravery, staying true to yourself and trusting your instincts. And the writing is marvelous, almost poetic of sort, with a perfect mix of reality and magic. And amazingly, the books just keep getting better and better throughout the series. Often I find that the first book in a series is the best and you feel let down by the sequels, but this is not the case here! The story just increases in character development, action, feelings and intensity all until the crescendoing end.
Find out more about The Raven Cycle series and the author here: Maggie Stiefvater
Today I’m doing a shoutout for a wonderful trilogy that has now reached it finale in such a five-star, unexpected, but completely perfect, way and has been released into a new collection as well, The Surrogate Series, with the new collection The Third Wheel, by Haley Rhoades. All the books in this series are fast-paced, enjoyable and addictive, and dealing with a new topic I’ve never read about before, surrogacy. But also with friendship and love, and about wanting something so bad you won’t let anything stand in your way.
In the first book, The Proposal, we get to meet Taylor as she’s going for a reunion with her two best friends, the married couple Kennedy and Jackson.
Taylor, the main character, is such a lovable person. She’s definitely not flawless (a lot of booze and bad decisions…) but that makes her even more lovable. She’s fun, smart and bad-ass. Her background story is described so well that you can really relate to her struggle to find herself and build up her confidence again after getting out of an abusive relationship.
I love the friendship between three of them and how Kennedy and Jackson never gives up on Taylor and how supportive and protective they are of her.
In the book we also get to follow Kennedy and Jackson’s struggle to start their eagerly awaited family. When this turns out to be impossible the “ordinary” way, Taylor volunteers as the surrogate.
The Proposal is such an enjoyable, fast and fun read! I read it cover to cover in one sitting basically. One thing I totally adored in the book was the song references and the game “Song of the day”. So gonna start playing that game with my own family!
The second book, The Deed, picks up right where The Proposal ends, with Taylor agreeing to be the surrogate mother of Kennedy’s and Jackson’s child.
In this book my heart reaches out to Taylor even more, I feel that she’s kind of letting her friends take advantage of her. I’m also getting a hunch that I might not like her friend Kennedy as much as I thought from the first book; I’m really eager to find out what will happen to their friendship in the next one!
This book started off a bit slower than The Proposal, and it is also longer, but the second half really took off with so much happening and intensity. This book contains some really sexually explicit scenes and talk that made me blush even though no one saw me reading it…
In the third and last book, The Confession, Taylor is successfully pregnant. But Kennedy is being eaten by guilt for the things she’s done to reach her endgame, and Taylor and Jackson are experiencing strange flashbacks, threatening the harmony and trust between the threesome. Will this friendship endure nine long months of love, sacrifice, and loss?
The third book is definitely darker and really getting into the difficulties. I really liked the character developments and the focus on their feelings and thoughts. And what an ending, I so did not see that coming! Often when you read a series you get a little disappointed at the end as it seldom lives up to your expectations. But not this series!
The Confession not only met, it exceeded, all my expectations! It was a rollercoaster of emotions, and even though I never expected the story to end the way it did and there were some really sad events leading up to it, I cannot think of a more perfect ending.
Find out more about the books and the author here: Haley Rhoades
My reading tips this week is the melancholy, bittersweet, heart-breaking and enchanting Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman. This is one of the most touching, beautiful love stories ever. Completely unforgettable. There is so much emotions going on underneath, all hidden feelings, all subdued passion; it’s a story that will go straight to your heart!
Call Me By Your Name is a passionate coming of age novel with an all-consuming love story. It takes place in Italy the summer that Elio turns 17 and his father invites the doctoral student, 24-year-old Oliver, to stay with them for the summer. Elio is immediately drawn to Oliver, years later he can still remember “watching him step out of the cab, billowy blue shirt, wide-open collar, sun-glasses, straw hat, skin everywhere. It might have started right there and then.”
I love the writing style, it’s so beautiful, almost poetic. It’s like every word has a hidden meaning, as if each and every word has been chosen carefully to provide as much feelings as possible; to really make you feel deep down Elio’s heart-wrenching longing for Oliver yourself. Even the title of the book has a deeper meaning, just watching the cover now brings out so many feelings!
This sure is a book that gets under your skin! It has so many layers and levels, and André Aciman does a remarkable job in describing the over-whelming mix of desire, fear, lust and joy, that comes with first love. The story is affecting, melancholic and passionate without ever being melodramatic.
And not to forget, the Italian setting and the vivid descriptions of the summer house, the views and the village, adds so much to the story. Reading this book make you feel the warm Italian sun on your skin and smell the flowers. To give you an idea, this book is a bit like A Room with a View meets Brokeback Mountain. Or Brideshead Revisited taking place in Italy in the 1980s.
One of the most beautiful and heartbreaking quotes in the book is this:
“Elio,” I repeated, to say it was I speaking but also to spark our old game and show I’d forgotten nothing. “It’s Oliver,” he said. He’d forgotten.
Such a beautiful way of expressing so much and yet so little. In this quote, André Aciman manages to describe what they both shared together and the significance of it.
The book has also been turned into a movie, showing right now at cinemas, but I think I’d rather avoid it and keep living with all the vivid images I already have of Oliver and Elio and the Italian summer settings. One thing is for sure, I will never forget this devastatingly beautiful book.
Find out more about the books and the author here: André Aciman