Epic Reads Reading Decathlon!

Hey book fam! In the midst of my crazy busy life, I decided to make it even crazier by taking part of Epic Reads’s Reading Decathlon. Unless you live under a rock, you probably know that the Olympics in Rio is just about wrapping up. (GO USA!!) To be honest, I didn’t watch a lot of it just the women’s gymnastics & volleyball and the men’s tennis & swimming. It was really amazing seeing all these countries competing. So Epic Reads has their own kind of decathlon — without the athleticism!

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For more information about the decathlon visit their site or just click here. If you know me at all, you’d know that I’m going for gold! #readingforgold. I am so excited, these next 10 days will be like heaven … well sort of because school starts up again AND I’m working in the middle of this. I’ve planned the books that I’ll read these 10 days but that’s as sure as my usual TBR hahah.

Are you joining in? Going for Gold, too?  Maybe we can cheer each other on! What books are you planning to read?

xoxo

Review: Half-Blood (Covenant #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

book review

half-blood

Half-Blood

Jennifer L. Armentrout
Covenant Book 1
281 Pages


Synopsis:

The Hematoi descend from the unions of gods and mortals, and the children of two Hematoi pure bloods have godlike powers. Children of Hematoi and mortals–well, not so much. Half-bloods only have two options: become trained Sentinels who hunt and kill daimons or become servants in the homes of the pures.

Seventeen-year-old Alexandria would rather risk her life fighting than waste it scrubbing toilets, but she may end up slumming it anyway. There are several rules that students at the Covenant must follow. Alex has problems with them all, but especially rule #1:Relationships between pures and halfs are forbidden. Unfortunately, she’s crushing hard on the totally hot pure-blood Aiden. But falling for Aiden isn’t her biggest problem–staying alive long enough to graduate the Covenant and become a Sentinel is.

If she fails in her duty, she faces a future worse than death or slavery: being turned into a daimon, and being hunted by Aiden. And that would kind of suck.


My Review:

4star

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My copy of Half-Blood had been sitting on my shelves for over 2 years now. Really bad. So I decided to finally give it a chance and lo and behold .. I really liked it! But why wouldn’t I? It had everything that I love: forbidden love, action, drama, Greek gods! It was great! However, as many people have already said about the book, it is very similar to The Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead. I won’t go too into detail in case you haven’t read TVA but the plot seemed very similar, along with the main character and some secondary characters. However, the more that the book progressed (probably the second half), you forget the similarities and Half-Blood becomes a book of its own. I honestly enjoyed Half-Blood more just because it was about Greek gods and not vampires.

Need covers itself with love, but need… need is never love. Always beware of the one who needs you. There is always a want behind a need, you see.

The main character was probably my biggest problem. It’s not that I didn’t like her. She was a very fierce and strong person, especially with everything that she went through before and during the book. I just didn’t like her impulsiveness and recklessness. It is the absolute opposite of me and it just really annoyed me because of course it would lead her to these consequences that could have been avoided. Anyway, that was honestly the only reason why I dropped a star. However, the great thing about it is that you can see how much she changed at the end. Um, I really love Aiden. JLA really knows how to make love interests very swoon worthy haha. He’s better than Dmitri (from Vampire Academy) in my opinion … and you know within appropriate age limits haha.

As for the plot, it was great and it had a good amount of surprises that I didn’t see coming. I thought that it was believable in the way that it progressed. I am really excited to see what is going to happen in the second book. Not just with Aiden and Alex but with the world, now with the new information on daimons. JLA’s writing is always great. She’s one of my favorites because her writing is so straightforward.

TL;DR: Half-Blood was an exciting start to the series filled with butt kicking characters, greek gods, and romance. While very similar to Mead’s Vampire Academy, it eventually has its own story that distinguishes from TVA.

xoxo

 

Amazon Book Haul!

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Hey guys! It has been such a long time since I’ve bought books … like a real book haul. I have been trying to save money but I just couldn’t do it anymore. I have over 115 books on my shelves that I have yet to read but I wasn’t really feeling any of them (whoops). So I went on amazon and just started “window shopping” and a couple of hours later, I ended up buying 7 books! Ha! I got carried away but you can’t really blame me, right? Funny thing though. I picked up one of my books on my shelves while waiting for my haul and ended up really loving it. Too bad it was the first book of a 5-book series and I didn’t have the rest of the books. Now I just want to  buy those books and finish the series. The irony haha. Anyway, here’s my haul. I think I bought wisely because I saved a lot of money (Thank you Amazon!).

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(That's me attempting to be artsy-fartsy but histerically failing)
  1. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
  2. P.S. I Like You by Kasie West
  3. The Witch Hunter by Virginia Boecker
  4. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
  5. White Hot Kiss by Jennifer L. Armentrout
  6. The Beauty of Darkness by Mary E. Pearson
  7. The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson

I am so excited to get to reading! Even funnier is the fact that I’m currently NOT reading one of these books. Actual bookworm problems. Which of these books have you read? Which book do you recommend I read first?! Let me know below!

xoxo

Review: Mortal Heart (His Fair Assassin #3) by Robin LaFevers

book review

Mortal Heart

Robin LaFevers
His Fair Assassin Book 3
444 Pages


Synopsis:

Annith has watched her gifted sisters at the convent come and go, carrying out their dark dealings in the name of St. Mortain, patiently awaiting her own turn to serve Death. But her worst fears are realized when she discovers she is being groomed by the abbess as a Seeress, to be forever sequestered in the rock and stone womb of the convent. Feeling sorely betrayed, Annith decides to strike out on her own.

She has spent her whole life training to be an assassin. Just because the convent has changed its mind doesn’t mean she has…


My Review:

5star

We are all of us, gods and mortals, made up of many pieces, some of them broken, some of them scarred, but none of them the total sum of who we are.

I am so glad that I had Mortal Heart on my shelves. By this book, I wasn’t worried about the fact that it was written in another POV since my worries were addressed in Dark Triumph. I dove into this one and pretty much read it until I finished the book. It was a fantastic ending to the trilogy. I really liked Annith’s story and how vastly different her experiences were from Ismae and Sybella. This book started before a lot of the events in Dark Triumph and Grave Mercy. I believe it started when Annith found out that Ismae was sent out before she was. I really liked that I could empathize with Annith. She was a great character and I loved her POV. She’s actually a lot like me so I really liked her. She was patient, obedient, sweet, caring, great with the younger handmaidens. (I still wish I was more like Ismae but whatever haha). I loved her faith to Mortain and I really enjoyed how different all the girls relationship with Mortain was!

I am beginning to think that love itself is never wrong. It is what love can drive people to do that is the problem.

Her story provided for a lot of surprises because her history had so many holes in it. But I am happy to tell you that they all get answered! They were some great plot twists, even though I did manage to guess some of them. I think the best plot twist was the one surrounding Balthazaar (hehe) .. which leads me to how much I enjoyed his character! Oh he was fun .. as fun as a hellion could get but I loved his sarcasm and wit .. and that plot twist! I liked their story and of course I am a huge fan of forbidden love. The writing was just as lovely and the plot progressed really well. There were some slow moments while Annith was in the forest but nothing that really hindered the story. We meet a lot of new characters and we see some of the old characters again (yay Ismae and Duval!). I think that the story really sums up the trilogy real well and it’s a satisfying ending … I mean, I want more but that’s just because I fell in love with the world LaFevers created.

TL;DR: Mortal Heart was a solid and very entertaining ending to the trilogy, filled with great surprises, drama, and swooning!

xoxo

 

Blog Update!

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Hey book family! I just wanted to update you guys real quick about my blog. You might have already seen it but I am in the middle of changing my theme and color schemes. Some parts of my blog have already been updated. I am still working hard on the other changes. I started this blog over a year ago (around February and March) and ever since then it has always functioned as a book blog. I’ve been going over it for a while now and I would really like my blog to showcase other areas in my life.

Love thy Shelf will still primarily be a book blog and I will still put up book reviews, participate in memes such as Top Ten Tuesday and continue the memes I have created on my blog, like #(f)mcm. It’s not all finalized but I wanted to add more movie reviews, perhaps even reviews on TV shows that I am watching. Along with that, I wanted to post on food, crafts, nutrition & exercise, and other aspects of life. So please bear with me as Love thy Shelf goes through these changes.

I also would like to thank the book blogging community for being so amazing! Thanks for all the follows, likes, comments, and support from you all. When I first started this blog, I never thought that it would go anywhere, much less make some wonderful friends out of it! You guys have made it all worthwhile. Stay awesome!

xoxo

Review: Dark Triumph (His Fair Assassin #2) by Robin LaFevers

book review

Dark Triumph

Robin LaFevers
His Fair Assassin Book 2
385 Pages


Synopsis:

The convent has returned Sybella to a life that nearly drove her mad. Her father’s rage and brutality are terrifying, and her brother’s love is equally monstrous. When she discovers an unexpected ally imprisoned in the dungeons, will a a daughter of Death find something other than vengeance to live for?


My Review:

5star

Hate cannot be fought with hate. Evil cannot be conquered by darkness. Only love has the power to conquer them both.

I’ve got to be honest. I really wasn’t looking forward to reading Dark Triumph when I found out that it was a companion book and written in Sybella’s point of view instead of Ismae. I was used to Ismae’s POV and I honestly loved her to pieces. However, I’m glad to inform you that I was wrong to wait it out because I loved this book too! While Grave Mercy is still my favorite, this was an equally fantastic sequel. You can tell the difference between the voices and Sybella has a more wild and darker tone than Ismae. I loved that she questioned the existence of Mortain and how it mirrors many believers. She is so different from Ismae (as you could tell from the beginning of Grave Mercy). I like that we get to know Sybella and her history, her past, and why she was so crazy in the first book.

I must have faith, but having faith is hard, so very much harder than despair.

I really like that the book kind of leaves off where the first one ended. Spoilers for Grave Mercy: it starts off with Sybella’s warning to Ismae when they brought Anne to Nantes to speak with Marshal Reiux. Sybella’s past was definitely the hardest when compared to the handmaidens. You learn that she is the “daughter” of the very hated D’Albret. Boy do I despise that man. He is disgusting and arrogant and a rapist. So many words to describe this despicable man. Him, Madame Dinan, and Marshall Reiux were such great villains though. Another character we meet in this book is Julian: Sybella’s not-really “half-brother” (you know since they had different moms and technically different dads). Hmm … it’s a love hate relationship with him. Well more like … like/hate. I don’t understand him. Just as the synopsis promises, we get to know Beast, which I didn’t expect to care for as much but look at me now haha.

The plot was fantastic and I like how it gets you excited for the next chapter. I liked that we met so many new characters and we get to see how the war was progressing. My main concern about this book was that we wouldn’t get any updates on Ismae and Duval (spoiler: especially with that proposal at the end of Grave Mercy!). But don’t worry! We get some great updates haha. But yes, I was really happy that we got to see everything that was going on but I still did miss Ismae’s point of view… and I always need more Duval!

TL;DR: Dark Triumph is a fantastic read, equal to that of Grave Mercy but with darker and … skeevy (is that even a word?! haha) undertones.

xoxo

Ten Books I’d Buy Right Now!

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Top Ten Tuesday is a meme created by the wonderful bloggers over at The Broke and The Bookish! Make sure you head over there, check out their blog, give them a follow, and even sign up to do TTT on your blog!

Hey there bookworms. We’ve all got a book wishlist where we list and list … and list books that we need to buy! I know I have one and it’s miles long and nowhere near ending! Today we get to share ten of those books! This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is a Ten Books You’d Buy Right This Second! It’s pretty self explanatory but imagine if someone just handed you a fully loaded Barnes and Noble (or whichever bookstore) gift card and told you to go crazy. I would totally go crazy of course. — Side thought: how come book stores don’t have shopping carts? — While I have hundreds on my to buy list, I’ll share some of the ones that I’ve been wanting to buy for a long time!


Ten Books I’d Buy Right Now!

Throne of Glass UK Covers

1. UK Version of the Throne of Glass Series by Sarah J. Maas: So I already have the books but I really love the UK version because of all the white. It looks so clean and neat haha

what we saw

2. What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler: I’ve really gotten interested in reading more books with raped victims because their stories are so interesting and gripping. This one really stood out because it involved a community who tried to hide the crime — which is actually what happened in a real life rape case.

torch against the night

3. A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir: Okay, okay. I know it’s not out yet but I really need it. I tried not to put in books that haven’t been released but, it’ll be out in like 4 weeks! Plus, I have yet to pre-order (trying to save money haha) so I would totally use a gift card to get me this pre-order

apollo

4. Trials of Apollo by Rick Riordan: It’s been a while since this one was released and I haven’t read a Rick Riordan book since Blood of Olympus (I really did not like that book!). But I think I’ve forgiven Riordan and can read his books again haha

magnus chase

5. Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard by Rick Riordan: So basically the same as Trials of Apollo but I am excited to read about a different kind of mythology! (Omg I love Loki!)

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6. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Illustrated) by J.K. Rowling: Look how beautiful that is! I want to get the entire series illustrated. I have yet to buy it because it’s so pricey!

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7. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling: I think I’m the only one right now who doesn’t have their hands on this book and spoilers are real my friends!

things we know by heart

8. Things We Know By Heart by Jessi Kirby: I’ve had this on my list for like 2 years now. It’s about time that I buy it lol

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9. The Hunger Games Foil Edition Box Set by Suzanne Collins: Classic. Lol just kidding. It’s not but THG means a lot to me and the foil looks so beautiful!

jane austen

10. Jane Austen Box Set (Penguin Classic Hardcovers): Another beauty! It doesn’t really need an explanation haha

What books would you buy right now? Let me know below!

xoxo

Review: Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin #1) by Robin LaFevers

book review

Grave Mercy

Robin LaFevers
His Fair Assassin Book 1
550 Pages


Synopsis:

Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others.

Ismae’s most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?


My Review:

5star

I LOVE this book! It has everything I love about books and I just can’t stop thinking about it. This past week, I binge read this trilogy. I read Grave Mercy fort he first time about 2 years ago but I wasn’t fond of the idea of the other books not being written in Ismae’s point of view. I eventually sucked it up and decided to continue the trilogy because, well, in all honesty, I already bought all  the other books haha. Anyway, so I read book 2 and 3 and then I just really missed Ismae and Duval so I ended up rereading Grave Mercy in the end haha! Okay let’s get this review rolling! I’ll try – keyword: try – to keep this review relevant and intelligible.

“Why be the sheep when you can be the wolf?”

Grave Mercy is the first book I read that covered historical fantasy/fiction, as well as the topic of female assassins. Now if there was a specific female-assassin-genre, then that would be my niche because seeing such powerful, kick-butt women is just so inspiring. So much so, for the longest time, I wanted to be trained under the convent of Mortain (god of Death). I really enjoyed all the I learned from this book. Like I said, it is a historical fiction book and you learn about the duchess Anne and the war with the French. I think that the writing was one of the best things about this book because it made me interested in the history of it all and the politics didn’t bore me like it usually does. I love that LaFevers showed the Ismae’s assassin abilities, instead of just talking about it. I love that Ismae was a dynamic character and you could see just how much she changes from the daughter that was sold off to a drunk abusive husband to the strong, independent, handmaiden of death. (Awesome title by the way, don’t call me an assassin. No call me a handmaiden of death haha). The villains in this book were truly vile. Ugh D’Albret was so disgusting. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I despise him!

“It is this kindness of his that unsettles me most. I can dodge a blow or block a knife. I am impervious to poison and know a dozen ways to escape a chokehold or garrote wire. But kindness? I do not know how to defend against that.”

Oh my gosh! Okay let me get to my favorite thing about this book! Ismae is amazing. I wish I could be like her! She’s smart, cunning, sassy, ready to fight, guards her heart. Of the three point of views in the trilogy, I definitely enjoyed Ismae the most. Sybella is too wild. Annith is too tame. (Both of which I didn’t have a problem with by the way). But Ismae was in the middle of those two and I loved it. I liked that she thought before she acted. She wasn’t impulsive and she was quick to think of a solution. She questioned things (eventually) and even though she can sometimes be seen as a psychopath because of her willingness to kill, you can also see her mercy and depth of love. I understand her hatred towards men, all the men she’s known have insulted her and abused her. But yes, you see her grow and learn that all men aren’t like her father and her first husband.

“I will sit here but an hour or two, then leave.”

I yawn. “So very long as that?”

When he answers, there is a wry note in his voice. “I do have my reputation to protect.”

Be still, my beating heart for I am in love with Gavriel Duval! He is perfect and spoiler alert: He is perfect for Ismae. They are true soul mates that complement each other real well. He’s another reason why I would love to be Ismae haha. I really enjoyed their relationship and I love that it wasn’t instantaneous. It actually took a while for them to develop a trusting, dependable relationship. He’s the one who caused Ismae to question the convent and made her really think about what she was doing and how she was serving Mortain. I love how protective Duval is and how dedicated he is to the safety of Anne. I like that he was confrontational. He faced his problems head on and didn’t shy from them. He’s very strategic, too… and smart, cunning, just like Ismae.

“You would throw away all that we have given you for a man’s love?”
“Not a man’s love,” I say softly. “But Duval’s. And I would find a way to serve both my god and my heart. Surely He does not give us hearts so we may spend our lives ignoring them.”

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TL; DR: If you enjoy historical fiction with a little fantasy and female assassins, pick this up! It’s got all the elements, history, action, romance, plot twists, great villains!

xoxo