Thursday, December 31, 2015

favorite books of 2015

hey guys! can you believe 2015 is almost over? its been a great reading year for me, so i thought i'd share some of my favorite books i read this year! here they are! *all pictures are mine*

harry potter / j.k. rowling
2015 is the year that i finally join the harry potter fandom! i know, i'm really behind, but i'm so glad i picked up these books. the story is incredible. the characters have taught me more than i ever imagined. the amount of love i have for harry potter is endless, and it will forever hold a special place in my heart! #potterheadforlife 

winter / marissa meyer
okay so i'm usually not a huge fan of sci-fi or fairytales, but marissa meyer made me one. the lunar chronicles are the best fairytale retellings i have ever read! winter was released this year, and it was the best series finale ever! i couldn't help but feel so attached to every character, there were so many great ships, and i just loved every single second of it. #lunarticforlife

queen of shadows / sarah j maas
this book made me an emotional wreck. sarah never fails to impress me with her writing. i actually read the entire throne of glass series this year, but queen of shadows is my favorite book so far. i love every single one of her characters so much, and the magic world they live in is just fantastic. and can we take a minute to appreciate how GORGEOUS the covers are?

infernal devices / cassandra clare
this was another series that turned me into an emotional wreck. i fell in love with the world of shadowhunters while reading these books. the way the story plays out, the twists that you never see coming, the feels. each of the characters have such amazing relationships, and although there is a love triangle, its a good one. like, really good. will & jem & tessa <3 

six of crows / leigh bardugo
i read leigh's grisha trilogy earlier this 
year and loved it, so when i heard about six of crows i couldn't wait to get my hands on it! this was definitely one of the more unique books i read this year. i mean, whats better than a group of six teenagers taking on a near-impossible, deadly heist? add that to the fact that some of them may have abilities that definitely come in handy during their heist. 

red queen / victoria aveyard
the characters. their powers. the betrayal. the scarlet guard. need i say more?  this book was action packed and incredible, and kept me on the edge of my seat. (i've actually read this twice, and even the second time around was shocked at the plot twist!) i can't wait for glass sword! p.s., if you'd like to see my review on this book, you can click here!

a court of thorns and roses / sarah j maas
like i said earlier, not a huge fan of fairytales, but once again, sarah has outdone herself. this book was SO GOOD. i'm pretty sure i read it in one day... anyways. the worlds sarah create in her books are so interesting, and the way she weaves magic into it is beautiful. may 3rd needs to come sooner!

Sunday, December 27, 2015

review: red queen, by victoria aveyard

Title: Red Queen
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Synopsis: (straight from the book)

Mare Barrow's world is divided by blood- those with red and those with silver. Mare and her family are lowly Reds, destined to serve the Silver elite whose supernatural abilities make them nearly gods. Mare steals what she can to help her family survive, but when her best friend is conscripted into the army she gambles everything to win his freedom. A twist of fate leads her to the royal palace itself, where, in front of the king and all his nobles; she discovers a power of her own- an ability she didn't know she had. Except her blood is Red. To hide this impossibility, the king forces her into the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to once of his own sons. 
As Mare is drawn further into the silver world, she risks her new position to aid the Scarlet Guard- the leaders of a Red rebellion. Her actions put into motion a deadly and violent dance, pitting prince against prince- and Mare against her own heart.

hey guys! this is my first review on this blog, so i hope you like it! 

*i tried to be critical, but the book was just so good it was tough to say bad things about it!*

when i read red queen, i had just finished the harry potter series and was thinking "how in the world is any other book going to live up to this?!" 
let me tell you, red queen certainly did not disappoint. it was one of the few books i read this year that was able to keep me on the edge of my seat throughout the entire book. it was action packed and lovely. there were so many unexpected twists and turns and i loved it! 

characters - 4.5/5 stars

mare: i'm a red girl in a sea of silvers and i can't afford to feel sorry for anyone.
i think she had the greatest character development out of everyone. she was brave, smart, sassy, and i absolutely loved her! always willing to fight for her family and friends in the scarlet guard, and always willing to fight for whats right. she was a strong character, and i can't wait to read more about her in glass sword!

cal: i like to see how things really are in the kingdom, instead of being told by advisers and diplomats. thats what a good king would do.
i was iffy about him throughout almost the whole book. it was always hard to tell whose side he was on, mare's or the king's. i ended up loving him by the end of the book, though! he proved himself to be a good guy, despite being the son of tiberias and elara. 

maven: i told you to hide your heart once. you should have listened.
i was iffy about maven as well, but liked him better than cal at first. he was such a sweetheart to mare, helping make sure she adjusted to her new life. i found it intriguing that they shared this one thing in common: "being the shadow of the flame," or in other words, living in their siblings' shadows. mare in gisa's, maven in cal's. i think this was the main factor that really sparked their friendship. 

kilorn: you've made your choices. now i'm making mine.
i'm really glad that he was in the story, that mare had a childhood friend around given her current situation. it was like having that little piece of home, that sense of familiarity while going through everything. i didn't like when they argued, though. their bickering got annoying at times, but i understood why it had to be included in certain points. overall their friendship was great and i ended up liking kilorn a lot more than i thought i would!

tiberias & elara: if you know someone's fear, you know them.
i didn't really like either one of them at first, mainly because they were the type of ruler who said they were doing what was right for their country, when everyone knows that they obviously weren't. they were both cruel and brutal, but i guess thats how its gotta be when you're king and queen.

julian: words can lie. see beyond them. 
okay, does he remind anyone else of dumbledore? yes? no? maybe? he was like mare's mentor, helping her figure out who she was, just as dumbledore did for harry. anyways, i loved julian and was really glad that he always had her back. he was super smart, and his power was super cool. i mean, being able to basically hypnotize someone into doing what you want? scary, but cool.

lucas: you know, we'd get there a lot faster if you actually moved.
BROTP. even though we don't see too much of lucas in the story, i really liked how he and mare were able to just talk to each other on the way to lessons. i loved the friendship they had and how they both seemed like themselves when they talked. since this is one of my favorite BROTPs, i must include my favorite scene from the book:
M: "are you going to babysit me every day or just until i learn my way around?"
L: "what do you think?"
M: "here's to a long and happy friendship, officer samos."
L: "likewise, my lady."
M: "don't call me that."
L: "whatever you say, my lady."

the barrow family: gisa, don't be too much of a show-off even though you deserve to be. mare, don't be such a brat all the time, and stop beating up that warren boy. dad, i'm proud of you. always. love all of you.
FAMILY GOALS. i love every single one of them with all my heart. the fact that the bree, tramy, shade, and their father all went to war and came back alive is incredible. gisa was super talented in sewing and making clothing and stuff (something i always wish i could do). it made me both sad and happy that mrs. barrow cried so much over her children. like awww. if that doesn't shout LOVE, i don't know what does.

the scarlet guard: rise, red as the dawn.
coolest. rebel. group. ever.
farley always has a plan, and a backup plan for basically everything. walsh disguised herself as a servant and spied on silvers right under the kings nose. i mean, seriously?! how amazing is that?! i think the scarlet guard will do some pretty awesome stuff in glass sword, and i can't wait to read about it!

Plot - 4.5/5 stars

the plot in this book was INCREDIBLE. i never knew what to expect next, and like i said earlier, it kept me at the edge of my seat the entire time i was reading! THE BETRAYAL AND PLOT TWISTS IN THIS BOOK WERE UNREAL. SO GOOD, GUYS. SO. GOOD. 

there were a few moments where the story moved a little too quickly, and i'd have to reread a paragraph a few times to comprehend what was happening. this was probably done so that we could get to the action-packed scenes quicker, but it was a bit much for me. 

the world it is set in, where the silvers and reds are divided, was really interesting. victoria was able to describe it in such great detail. it was nice to be able to see the differences in their living standards, and this definitely helped me understand why reds hated silvers so much.   

last but not least, THE SCARLET GUARD. rise, red as the dawn. first of all, thats such a cool name for a rebel group. second, they were a really strong rebel group. in previous books i've read that included a rebel group, they often failed quite a few times before managing to get anywhere. the scarlet guard was able to outsmart the king and queen, who then had to cover it up with a fake story and act as if it was just another casual mishap. HA.

overall, i give this book 4.5/5 stars! definitely one of my 2015 favorites and i highly recommend it! oh, and did i mention that the sequel, glass sword, comes out february 9th? I'M SUPER EXCITED! 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

if you liked this / you'll like that + introduction


hello everyone! i'm going to start off this blog with a little introduction (then we'll get to the interesting book related stuff). my name is sophia, and this is my new book blog! i'm 15 years old and am a major bookworm! i created this blog to post reviews, recommendations, and other book related stuff. i also have an instagram, @vivalabooklife, if you wanna check it out! i mainly post bookish pictures. so yea! now we can get to the interesting part of this post: an "if you liked this book, you'll like that book" type thing! i don't know about you guys, but i find these helpful when i'm in a reading slump so i decided to make my own! hope you like it!

if you liked SHADOW AND BONE by Leigh Bardugo, 
then you'll like RED QUEEN by Victoria Aveyard

First of all, if you have read both of these books, you'll know why i chose them for this. while reading Red Queen, I couldn't help but notice that the main character, Mare Barrow, really reminded me of Alina Starkov, the main character in Shadow And Bone. both girls were born into a what seemed to be normal life, that is, until one day they released a power they never even knew they had. suddenly thrown into a life of royalty, both girls must master their power so that they can help save their country. these books are both SO GOOD and the writing and characters and oh the PLOT TWISTS and i just love everything about them! they're. just. so. good. read them.

if you liked LEGEND by Marie Lu, 
you'll like AN EMBER IN THE ASHES by Sabaa Tahir

Although Legend is more of a dystopian novel while An Ember In The Ashes is more of a fantasy novel, their stories had some similarities. June Iparis is the main character in Legend. She is a girl raised who was raised in the Republic, the wealthy, well-educated part of the country. She's, like, uber smart. It's pretty cool and comes in handy in near-death situations. The other main character, Day Wing, is a thief trying to make a living in the slums. Their paths cross, and together they try to make things right in the government. Laia, the main character in AEITA (i'm gonna abbreviate it cause i'm too lazy to type the whole title out) lives with her family, but when her brother is taken away from her, she leaves her home in search of a way to free him. She crosses paths with Elias, who may just be able to help her find her brother. These books may not seem similar based on the way i'm describing them (you'll soon see that i'm terrible at summarizing... my apologies) both girls must fight to save their loved ones. (i'm gonna say this a lot, but i highly recommend both of these books!)

if you liked SIX OF CROWS by Leigh Bardugo,
you'll like ZEROES by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, and Deborah Biancotti

Just like Six Of Crows, Zeroes is a story of 6 friends who, together, encounter and conquer near-impossible heists. Did i mention they each have super cool powers, such as being able to see through another persons' eyes? It is what sets them apart from others, why they call themselves the "Zeroes." (cool, right?) Whereas Six Of Crows is set in Ketterdam, a high fantasy world, Zeroes is set in more of a modern day area, but nonetheless both books are amazing! Especially the characters, i really enjoyed how diverse they were and the relationships between them! highly recommend!

if you liked THESE BROKEN STARS by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner,
you'll like ILLUMINAE by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Okay so both of these are sci-fi, which i'm not a huge fan of, but DANG! these books blew me away. They both take place in space (obviously). While in These Broken Stars, the spaceship/shuttle has crashed, in Illuminae, the majority of the story takes place on 2 different spaceships. I also especially liked the fact that both main female characters, although not expecting to be thrown into their current situations, proved to be strong and fight through it. Oh, and LOOK HOW COOL ILLUMINAE LOOKS WHEN YOU TAKE THE JACKET OFF! If you're a fan of sci-fi, you'll definitely love these! 

if you liked ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS by Stephanie Perkins,
you'll like THE TRUTH ABOUT FOREVER by Sarah Dessen

Basically, if you like Stephanie Perkins, you'll like any of Sarah Dessen's books! (and may i add, there are a LOT of them!) Their books and writing style are both so cute and amazing!

if you liked PAPER TOWNS by John Green, 
you'll like LETS GET LOST by Adi Alsaid

Both of these books (as you may be able to tell just from the titles) are about adventure. Most of you know Paper Towns, so i'm not gonna say too much about it. Lets Get Lost, however, is about a girl named Leila who just wants to go places and do things. So she gets in her beat up red car, and drives off to who knows where. She encounters 5 different people along the way, and LGL tells the stories of stuff that happened when Leila crossed paths with each person. Personally, i actually liked LGL better than Paper Towns! It was a lot more interesting and the characters more complex and the story flowed really well!

if you liked LET IT SNOW by John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle,
you'll like MY TRUE LOVE GAVE TO ME by Stephanie Perkins (+11 more authors)

Not much to say about these, other than the fact that they both contain the CUTEST holiday short stories ever written! I'd recommend reading these around Christmastime, as all the stories are set in the winter/around Christmastime!

if you like any type of fairytale retelling,
you'll like THE LUNAR CHRONICLES by Marissa Meyer and A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES by Sarah J. Maas

Okay. Deep Breath. I LOVE BOTH OF THESE SERIES' SO FREAKIN MUCH I CAN'T EVEN BEGIN TO EXPLAIN! We'll start with The Lunar Chronicles. It consists of 4 books (Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, Winter) and 1 prequel story (Fairest). Like i said, they are fairytale retellings.
Cinder > Cinderella, Scarlet > Little Red Riding Hood & Beauty And The Beast, Cress > Rapunzel, Winter > Snow White, Fairest > the story of how the Evil Queen came to be.
Although they are retellings, Marissa Meyer makes it so much more than that! The characters are AMAZING AND BEAUTIFUL AND I LOVE THEM SO MUCH. The series is action packed, and not once was i ever bored while reading! If you couldn't tell, this is on of my favorite series, so I rambled on for awhile, but seriously. READ THE LUNAR CHRONICLES. You won't regret it.

Next, A Court Of Thorns And Roses! This is a Beauty And The Beast Retelling, and can i just say WOW! Sarah J. Maas never fails to impress me. First her Throne Of Glass series, and now this masterpiece! Anyway, ACOTAR is going to be a series (there is only one book out, the second comes out May 3. YAY!). The main character, Feyre (pronounced Fay-ruh, you're welcome) is a hunter, super artistic, sassy, and an all around great character! And of course, then theres Tamlin and Rhysand and they're both just *insert heart eyes emoji here*. Tamlin, the warrior and High Fae. Rhysand, the black haired blue eyed (i'm a sucker for those) mysterious guy who may be able to help Feyre just when she needs it most. I've said this a lot lately, and I'll say it again. READ THIS BOOK!