V.E. Schwab’s Vicious: Delicious Morally-Grey Enemies

The Love for V.E. Schwab

I started reading V.E. Schwab’s work about a year ago. Prior to this, I had only collected her books with some vague assumptions of their greatness. Having read most of her stories, I had one more book to go: Vicious. Back when I was sure of my belonging in Slytherin, I thought of this book as a staple to the nature of that house.

The Premise of Vicious:

The story alternates between two points of a decade where two friends prepare for their thesis in university. Eli and Victor unravel the process of becoming people with powers. At the end of the timeline, we see Eli and Victor as sworn enemies.

Through a cat-and-mouse chase, we get to see the tension between these former friends crackle to life while they rely on two allies who were sisters, Sydney and Serena.

Vicious and Morality

My favorite aspect of this story is the opposite journeys we experience with Eli and Victor. At first, I was certain that Victor would not ever make sense but the biggest surprise is watching Eli become bewilderingly nonsensical. I mean, I follow his train of thought, but my goodness, he is terrifying.

The most shocking element in Eli’s thinking was how warped his faith in God collided with his view of the powers he has and the attitude he has towards other EOs.

Reminding me of Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows, Vicious had me cheering for the “bad” guys. For the most part, the antagonists (in the novel’s society, at least) were simply trying to exist. They were on the run.  While Victor does terrible things along the way, he is focused on facing Eli, who did some shady things, okay.

Connections in Vicious

Serena and Sydney mirror Eli and Victor’s closeness in the earlier sections of the book’s timeline. There are loads of mistrust and uncertainty. Besides, the chase between the two sisters was also ruthless.

The bad blood between Eli and Victor bound the story’s plot in thick threads and tendrils. Like all relationships, the way each person acts is a result of a series of perceptions. Eli thinks of himself in a certain way, and he reacts to other EOs because of this view. The same thing can be said about Victor (who is kind of my baby, I just want you to know this upfront).

That Ending…

Oh, this book ends with the tables totally turned.  I have never been this happy about a smile.

Easily, this novel is among my favorites. It was so good.

Some of you may know that I lived in Egypt in the 90s. I was
In the most recent months of 2018, I have been aiming to read beyond my
        **Before I continue, I have to credit the following brilliant photographers:

Final Week of May 2018 Series Crackdown

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

For the final week of May 2018, I am participating in some SERIES CRACKDOWN action. Series Crackdown is a readathon where you tackle series that you have not finished (or started). Because I have a few series that I am in the middle of, I am going to try and focus on them this week.

Series Crackdown 1: A Shadow Bright and Burning series

The first book of this series was so much fun to read, and I want to pick up the second one. I already have a copy of it. What will happen next to Henrietta and Rook? Only time will tell. Of course, I want to pick this up as soon as possible.

Series Crackdown 2: Something Strange and Deadly series

Ages ago, I read the first book in this trilogy by Susan Dennard. I enjoyed it but did not continue to the next book. For this week, I am cracking down and reading (at least) the next book in the series. It’s steampunk and features zombie-like creatures (from what I remember).

Series Crackdown 3: Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy

For some reason, I keep pushing this series away in favor of other series. Actually, I know why: I am scared of what will happen next. Anyway, I am going to try and tackle the second book this week.

Series Crackdown 4: Shiver

It would be amazing if I can get started on Linger by Maggie Stiefvater. The first book was a quick read, so this is possible to accomplish. I want to read more about Sam and Grace. Plus, I have been perusing the Internet and people talk about this other couple (Cole and someone else. I don’t remember if I’d met Cole in the first book…).

Finish up: Legacy of Kings

I am currently at the 30% mark of this book. It does require some extra effort to read because the cast of characters if huge (Or it feels that way). But, I am intrigued to see what happens to them.

I haven't been able to post on my blog for most of September. The world
As someone who is afraid of space and traveling in general, it's hilarious that I
Happy September to my peeps! After attempting to squish my library books and TBR into

May 2018 Week 4 Weekly Wrap Up: The Letdowns and the Surprises

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo by Irina Kostenich on Unsplash

Week 4 of May is ending and I have so much to tell you in this wrap-up. Grab a cup of tea, get ready for some fan-girl action.

Books Read

First off, I devoured Michael Grant’s second book in the Gone series, which was called Hunger. 

Even though I have read these books ages ago, I still found myself annoyed with the Human Crew or whatever the heck they called themselves. Duck, as a character, was so intriguing. I want more of the Breeze, Dekka, and all of Sam’s team. I remember snippets of what will come next, so I am going to take a break from reading the series.

Strange Angels by Lili St. Crow
Reading this book was a strange experience because it was a fast read but it was also not fulfilling. There was vagueness when it came to any fight scenes, mythology or lore of the supernatural elements of the story, and even in the main characters’ history. I gave it two stars.

A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess
This book was such a surprise. Not only did I fly through it, but I also enjoyed Henrietta and her journey to find her place within a rather male-dominated society. She and Rook literally find their power and strength. I may write a whole review for this book because it truly impressed me.

Vicious by V.E. Schwab
Easily one of my favorite 2018 reads, this book took me a single day to read and finish. Eli and Victor have this cat-and-mouse chase throughout the story and, man, I was living for their tension. Again, I may write more about this book because I loved it so much.

Netflix Chronicles

The Office is still what I watch daily. I am nearing season 4. By the way, I dislike Andy so much more than Michael, which is saying a lot. There are moments when I feel sad for Dwight, who is so loyal that it breaks my heart. Also: I am not a fan of Roy.

Videos

I have essentially been watching so many videos of Sarah J. Maas, who is just pure delight to listen to. Videos of her give me the courage to openly like things that are often criticized. My favorite video of her is this one, where she talks about how much fun she had while writing Manon.

All her video with YouTubers are great, too, but my favorite panel of hers is the one she had with Alexandra Bracken, Susan Dennard, and Victoria Aveyard. It made me so happy to see a group of talented women fangirling with not a hint of sarcasm.

John Green’s video called The Liger Delusion was also a hit for me this week. It got me thinking quite a bit. Cynicism and conspiratorial thinking, jumping to conclusions, these are things I feel I should be more aware of because they don’t create healthy dialogue.

Elsewhere on the Internet

I also published another hub on my Hubpages account. The hub was one where I discussed Jane the Virgin and telenovelas. You can read it here. 

 

You may have noticed the absence of a wrap up last week. I am, as
Image courtesy of username 1103489 on Pixabay. In my first week of July, I have
Goodbye June, you were a rough month. Growing up is hard work, but I am

Top 10 Absolute Best Character Names in YA Books I Have Read (So Far)

Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

In a surprising turn of events, I found myself with enough time to start another post today. Hopefully, this will mean I’ll be able to post at least twice this week. Small victories (I am celebrating them). For this post, I am participating in Top 10 Tuesday’s prompt for this week, which is the top 10 best character names I have encountered so far.

Let’s go.

10. All the Peeps in Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas

I honestly find Chaol’s name to be a perfect representation of his reserved and withdrawn nature. He is straight up like kale. I like him. Celaena’s name is also rather fetching. Dorian. Manon. I just love all their names. They just suit them perfectly. And, for some reason, I never felt like they were made up names. They feel real.

9. Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephenie Perkins

All I remember about this book is that: a) Lola is very quirky, b) she has gay dads, and c) her love interest is a boy named Cricket. His name, unlike Maas’ characters, did draw my attention. However, it soon acted as part of his charm. I remember him because of his strange name and because he was such a sweet character. Actually, the more I think about it, both of their names are delightful. Lola and Cricket.

8. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

I know. You probably saw this coming. Karou’s name is like candy to me. It sounds so out-of-this-world cute, unique, and almost fairy-like. I love her name.

7. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Cathrynne M. Valente

Briefly, I had glanced at the first few pages of this book. One thing became abundantly clear: the main character is a curious and sassy kind of gal. I still have to read it to learn more, but, get this, the main character’s name is SEPTEMBER! It’s such a unique yet tangible name.

6. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

You are probably expecting this book to be on the list, I know. It’s not just Blue’s name that is precious. In fact, I adore all her family’s names. Persephone. Calla, Maura, Neeve. Besides, all the nicknames the Raven Boys give her are hilarious.

“Jane.”

5. Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

I read this book once and I am in need of a reread (and to continue with the trilogy), but I remember one of the characters giving Sophie a hard time about her name?

Here’s the quote, “Let’s see . . . brown hair, freckles, whole girl-next-door vibe going on . . . Allie? Lacie? Definitely something cutesy ending in ie.”

Oh, here is a bonus. “So if you can heal with your touch, why are you working here as like, Hagrid, or whatever?”

*Wipes tears* Oh, Sophie. I don’t know if I love you more because Archer made fun of your name, or because you are hilarious.

I want to finish this book and get the rest of the series because it is so good.

4. Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Baz has the most perfect name that ever existed in all of fiction. This could be a very biased statement, but let me tell you something: I read Carry On years ago and I STILL love Baz more than so many other characters. I guess Simon is cool, too. I am fond of the girls’ names as well. Agatha sounds like an old lady name, and it is just perfect for this story set in a reserved magical world. Penelope’s name is also pure love.

3. This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

All I want to protect in this world is my monster, August. He is pure and his name is so ordinary but it just suits him so well. My violin-player.

For the top two spots, I have yet to find books with awesome names, so I am reserving them for now.

What are your favorite character names? How do you find a name cute? Are you into quirky names? Traditional ones? Please share in the comments!

 

Slumps, of all kinds, are the worst. It doesn't matter if you can do your
Image courtesy of Couleur on Pixabay. Not a genre I normally reach for, middle-grade books
For this week's Top 10 Tuesday, I am twisting the prompt a bit. Rather than

May 2018 Week 4 Reading Plans With A Twist

 

 

Ah, May reading plans are still a mess because of my mental headspace for the past week. Nevertheless, I am continuing the fight with new reading plans for this upcoming week by following a twist. The Duodecathon is running this week, and I am attempting to include some of its challenges to guide my reading.

A Book Recommended by Someone

The Diviners by Libba Bray is one of the books recommended in the Goodreads group, which you can access here. It has been on my shelves for a while and I am looking forward to seeing Bray’s portrayal of metaphysical forces at work in 1920’s America.

A Book With Multiple Points of View

A Legacy of Kings by Eleanor Herman, I think, has multiple points of view. I recall hearing that it is a historical fiction novel with a touch of fantasy in there. It clearly has to do with kings and royalty, so I thought it fitting to include it in this week’s reading plans.

A Book About a Villain

Vicious by V.E. Schwab has been waiting for me ceaselessly. Aside from the Archived duology, this series marks my completion of all Schwab’s published work. I am thrilled to read some Slytherin-inspired characters. Plus, the book has a beautiful cover now (and in the reprinting. Totally love them both).

A book with Antonyms in the Title

I did not know what to use for this challenge, but lo and behold, on a list of suggestions, I found Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr. I am trying to make my way through all my unread books. This will be a nice, satisfactory check on my list. However, I am also considering A Shadow Bright and Burning. 

A Second Book in a Series

Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor, of course, has to be on this list. I just need to find the mental space to read. But, the first book was a hit for me, and it just blew me away, honestly. Naturally, I look forward to reading this story’s continuation.

I doubt I’ll be able to finish all these books in a week but I’d like to at least start. Bonus points if I can tackle Twilight along the way.

**Photo image by Zwaddi on Re: Splashed

I haven't been able to post on my blog for most of September. The world
As someone who is afraid of space and traveling in general, it's hilarious that I
Happy September to my peeps! After attempting to squish my library books and TBR into

Angst and May Week 3 Wrap Up

 

 

 

May Week 3’s wrap up is coming with a heavy dose of angst. I am annoyed with myself for not having a steady work schedule. Lovely people have commented sweet things on Twitter. But, I think I may have to revise my attitude toward blogging and writing in general. Let’s move on from this depressing topic. Here is May Week 3’s summary.

Books Read:

First, I want to share the book that broke me this week. Freaking Nightshade by Andrea Cremer upset me so much. I had only made it to the 20% mark before realizing it was fueling this rage. Then, I had put it down.

But then, I was torn. Twilight has some unhealthy depictions of relationships, and I like that series. Why can’t I like this one? The truth is that werewolf lore in the story is very reliant on aggression. I kept thinking of Leah from Twilight and how she challenged this violence so clearly, even if it was a minor part of the narrative.

So, I picked it up again. I made it to the 60 something percent mark before I just decided it was not for me.

I could vent a lot about the way Calla’s virginity and Ren’s hyper-sexuality kept getting enforced, with no challenge. Oh, and the whole “growling” thing. I get it. They’re werewolves. But, they’re human, too. I just don’t see the supposed romance behind aggression like that.

Nope.

Then, I start Michael Grant’s Hunger. Right now, I am at the 54% mark. I should be able to finish it up within the weekend. It’s such a fast read.

In addition, I am at the 30% mark of Lili St. Crow’s Strange Angels, which is another intriguing read.

Movies

I got my copy of Kings of Summer a few weeks ago and I finally watched it this week. It was hilarious. I think there’s a lot to be said about how masculinity is shown in the film. Maybe I’ll need to rewatch it a couple of times to come to a better understanding of the film’s message regarding maturity and masculinity.

Shows

I have officially made into season 2 of The Office. Even though my progress is somewhat slow, the show does make me laugh. Again, still fascinated by Dwight and Jim’s arguments. Mostly, I am impressed by Jim and Pam budding romance while they cause trouble around the office. So cute.

Your Turn:

How was your week? Are you enjoying the month of May? What are some highlights you await over the next couple of weeks?

See you in the comments.

 

You may have noticed the absence of a wrap up last week. I am, as
Image courtesy of username 1103489 on Pixabay. In my first week of July, I have
Goodbye June, you were a rough month. Growing up is hard work, but I am

Cartwheeling into May 2018’s Week 3 with Epic Reading Plans

Photo Credit: Phoebe Dill on Unsplash 

 

 

 

This week is officially marking a halfway point of May 2018. While I have been slowly making my way through my huge TBR piles, I am hoping to keep trying to pick up the pace. In other words, I am catapulting my reading with some ambitious plans. Without further stalling, here are my ambitious reading plans for the week.

Reading Plans via Challenges from the #KillYourTBR Quest

A Book With a One-Word Title: Hunger by Michael Grant is on my list of books I desperately want to tackle before the end of the month. I have read these books ages ago and I am aiming to reread them as I repurchase used copies of the series. My reading plan for the rest of the year is to revisit this series. It is a grim story but I do enjoy the characters and their story arcs.

 

 

A Collection of Short Stories from a Genre You’re Unfamiliar With: Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman is not a collection of short stories. However, it is a fairly short novel and, more importantly, it is from a genre I am totally unfamiliar with. I have read only a steampunk interpretation of Westerns as a genre. This one, from what I gathered, is more of a faithful adaptation to the staples of this said genre.

A Book With an Animal on the Cover: Nightshade by Andrea Cremer is a book I am interested in reading this week. I want to contrast this take on werewolves compared to Twilight and Shiver. 

A Book With a Five-Word Title: Days of Blood and Starlight is a given here. Obviously, my heart has been aching for more Karou, Akiva, Zuzana, and Mik. That’s all I have to say on this matter.

A Book With a Character With a Disability: I am unsure if this is accurate but I recall Talon from Under the Never Sky having a disability that I foolishly cannot remember. I am now on the second book in the trilogy. It should be a fun ride.

Oh. And finally. The First Book in a Series: I am thinking of getting to Alexandra Bracken’s The Darkest Minds. Amandla Sternberg plays the main character in the film and I am a fan of their work (they use they/them pronouns). It’ll be nice to read something a little different than the rest of my pile.

Obviously. This is an ambitious pile. I want to read more but I recognize that I read slowly. 

I haven't been able to post on my blog for most of September. The world
As someone who is afraid of space and traveling in general, it's hilarious that I
Happy September to my peeps! After attempting to squish my library books and TBR into

Book Review: Laini Taylor’s Breathtaking “Daughter of Smoke and Bone”

 

 

 

 

**Before I continue, I have to credit the following brilliant photographers:
Blue haired girl photo by Ben Waardenburg on Unsplash

Halo photo by Ravi Roshan on Unsplash

Hand reach out photo by Ian Espinosa on Unsplash

Leaning Together Photo by Joao Silas on UnSplash Dark Curls Photo by Carlos Arthur on Unsplash

I hesitated to read Laini Taylor’s novels for a long time as I sniffed out the rumor of a slow-paced discography. Something compelled to keep her work around. Thus, when the courage pooled around my head, I grabbed Daughter of Smoke and Bone, expecting nothing. Let me tell you about my favorite book of the year thus far.

Premise

Karou is an odd girl. Naturally blue hair, hamsas in her palms, and a father figure who trades with teeth. She has no parents, no family, and she draws surreal creatures that she claims to know on a one-on-one basis.

When her portal to a world of magic is sealed, and a mysterious figure follows her, she comes to face her identity, roots, and her connection to the mysterious Akiva.

Book Review-Character Love

Laini Taylor writes Prague such fond tenderness. I could almost taste the pastries Karou and Zuzana eat. The lively streets, the colorful costumes, the tourists wandering, the hushed tones of Karou’s mysterious life urging me to keep on reading. It was delightfully surprising to finish the book in two days.

First, let’s talk about Karou, who, even with all the secrets she keeps, she maintains a softness and purity that led to my completely unwavering loyalty toward her. She gets hurt and uses wishes for revenge. Her manner of responding to cruelty is never exceedingly vicious. I mean, her ex-boyfriend got an itch while posing for a nude portrait. But, as the story unfolds, it becomes abundantly clear that this jerk hurt her in a way much more likely to leave a scar.

Akiva is still a mystery. I know the word is overused in this review but it’s from lack of information on him, truly. I like his quiet strength, the way his past haunts him, his isolation.

It’s amazing to contrast Akiva/Karou with Zuzana/ Mic. Zuzana, the fierce and tiny friend of Karou’s, left my heart aflutter. Seriously. She and Mic were so cute and I hope to see more of them in later books because they have a nectar-sweet presence that I find myself missing often.

Overall

This book was a delightful experience and I cannot wait to read more Laini Taylor books. She writes with such elegance and depth. Her characters are tangible yet somehow otherworldly. I loved Daughter of Smoke and Bone. 

 

Some of you may know that I lived in Egypt in the 90s. I was
In the most recent months of 2018, I have been aiming to read beyond my
The Love for V.E. Schwab I started reading V.E. Schwab's work about a year ago.

Disappointments, Surprises, and Relevant Films: A May 2018 Week 2 Wrap Up

 

May 2018 is proving to be tumultuous in terms of reviews. Week 2 of May had intense highs and lows when it comes to reading, in particular. Here are some reflections on stories I have experienced this week.

Books: The Good, the Lovely, the Ugly

I started out my week with Dark Days Club taking some time to wrap up. Upon completing that book, I jumped straight into Miss Mayhem by Rachel Hawkins.

Miss Mayhem was a fun ride albeit sometimes heartbreaking. It had a powerful conflict between David and Harper, Bee and Ryan too. A lot of people say it was not a memorable read; however, I would say that it was a central development of David’s character as an Oracle and Harper’s test of her Paladin status. The refreshing tone of the story coupled with the reality of the setting pushed the story to be amusing and intensely stressful.
I have not settled on a fair rating of this story yet.

Poison Princess by Kresley Cole was the next book I attempted to read. It was definitely not what I expected. The characters were crude and unlikable. The book made me uncomfortable. DNF-ed it.

Spunk & Bite is a writing manual mixed with a writing advice collection. I read Strunk & White in grad school because my style was blander than tofu. Needless to say, my writing needs fine-tuning (a lot) more.

Finally, I wrapped up my reading week by tackling the steampunk novel The Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin. It was an alright read. While its tone was quite grim, I do enjoy the pacing. A 3-star rating for this one.

Media

Jane the Virgin, season 4 is up on Netflix, and you know what that means. I started watching it. What a ride has it been! So good. Anzeika and Petra are currently giving me all the feels right now. Jane, my brave and strong soul sister, is such an incredible lead character. This show is fantastic.

I also watch Lady Bird on DVD. It was not what I expected and I want to write more on it, but I am in need of processing it a little longer.

Finally, I did watch Almost Friends, which was a mellow film with an occasional spike in intensity. It did have my favorite kind of humor in there, so I can’t really fault it for not following the typical indie-film sequence of events.

Songs

“Happy With Me” by HOLYCHILD has been my go-to cheery song. I leave you with this bite-sized sunshine and joy in song form.

 CREDIT: Photo by Philipp Cordts on Unsplash
You may have noticed the absence of a wrap up last week. I am, as
Image courtesy of username 1103489 on Pixabay. In my first week of July, I have
Goodbye June, you were a rough month. Growing up is hard work, but I am

May 2018 Book and Film Haul

 

 

 

 

For May 2018, I decided to branch out more than usual. I gathered some used movies and books that I have been wanting to get a hold of for quite some time now. There are some exciting stories coming into my little world. Are you ready? Let’s go.

Films

Lady Bird has garnered some wonderful feedback from audiences over the past year. I like Saoirse Ronan’s portrayal of a daughter who is in conflict with her mother. It does sound like a story I would connect with as someone who does clash with her own mother as well. Besides, it seems like a sweet coming of age story that could be a feel-good tale to battle the blues that I experience.

Almost Friends is one of the very few Freddie Highmore recent films I could find. His film with Emma Roberts titled The Art of Getting By is charming and hilarious, so I obviously wanted to watch more films with him in the lead role. In Almost Friends, Freddie Highmore plays a chef who happens to be a prodigy but then ends up not becoming successful and has to live with his mom. The story takes off from there. Highmore has this timeless self-deprecating humor that I adore. I look forward to seeing him in this coming of age story as well.

The Kings of Summer reminds me of this other film I have called Son of Rambow in the sense that it focuses on the friendship between boys as they navigate the path to finding their identity and independence while balancing their connections with other people simultaneously. This story features Nick Robinson who plays Simon Spier in Love, Simon.

I am including links to the films’ trailers so you can get a feel for what I am going for.

Book Haul

Glimmerglass by Jenna Black has one of the most beautiful covers I have ever seen. It is a book I have always wanted to read. Even though The Cruel Prince was not my perfect approach to faeries, I still find myself intrigued by faeries’ lore and mythology. Perhaps Jenna Black will nail the balance between the cute and mysterious. I know faeries are not typically nice, but can we not have broad generalizations sweep over a whole set of creatures?

 

 

Poison Princess by Kresley Cole was a book I once owned (I had the first two books in the series) and then I got ashamed of being interested in something based on tarot, which is silly of me. I want to give these books a chance. Plus, I like the idea of archetypes in a dystopic setting. Fun!

 

 

The Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin was a book I saw Gail Carriger highly praise it. While I am not quite sure how I stumbled upon the title, seeing one of the coolest authors ever like it compelled me to get my own copy. I am excited to read it.

Miss Mayhem by Rachel Hawkins. Since I adored Rebel Belle, I am ready to explore the next installment in this series. Furthermore, I am planning to check out more of Rachel Hawkins’ other work as well. Right now, I have Hex Hall on my shelves awaiting my squeals.

Nightshade by Andrea Cremer is one that I have seen around for years. Needless to say, I am venturing into the world of werewolves now that I have started Stiefvater’s Shiver. I am into paranormal and urban fantasy books and I am embracing said love.

Finally, I got myself Strange Angels by Lili St. Crow, a book I know very little about. It was on this list I found featuring books similar to Hex Hall. I read a bit of that book, liked it, and searched for stories that have the same feel as Rachel Hawkins’ stories.

What about You?

Did you get any fun books, films, or shows for May? If you did not purchase them yet, share your plans in the comments!

Thanks for stopping by!

 

I have been having a difficult lately with life and I apologize for being scarce.
Image by Capri23auto on Pixabay As a bookworm, it is the greatest joy in life to
    Welcome to my book haul for the month of April 2018. I do