War Storm

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Author: Victoria Aveyard

Red Queen Series #4

Pages: 662

Goodreads Synopsis: War Storm Mare Barrow learned this all too well when Cal’s betrayal nearly destroyed her. Now determined to protect her heart—and secure freedom for Reds and newbloods like her—Mare resolves to overthrow the kingdom of Norta once and for all… starting with the crown on Maven’s head.
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But no battle is won alone, and before the Reds may rise as one, Mare must side with the boy who broke her heart in order to defeat the boy who almost broke her. Cal’s powerful Silver allies, alongside Mare and the Scarlet Guard, prove a formidable force. But Maven is driven by an obsession so deep, he will stop at nothing to have Mare as his own again, even if it means demolishing everything—and everyone—in his path.

War is coming, and all Mare has fought for hangs in the balance. Will victory be enough to topple the Silver kingdoms? Or will the little lightning girl be forever silenced?

In the epic conclusion to Victoria Aveyard’s stunning series, Mare must embrace her fate and summon all her power… for all will be tested, but not all will survive.

Review:

I was devastated at the end of King’s Cage. I felt betrayed by Cal just like Mare did. Luckily Aveyard leaves off literally hours after Cal’s betrayal so there is no time jump between stories which I appreciated a lot of.

For Farley, for my family. And still, always, for him.

Speaking of stories, this one is in the perspective of Mare, Mahan, Cal, Iris and Evangeline. I love that Aveyard does this, it really makes the story more impactful for me. Not only is there this character development, but you get a glimpse into each of these characters perspectives instead of only one character thinking they understand the other.

“But we all still have the ability to choose, in the end.”

Oh did I mention character development? There’s a lot of that, and each character in this story has some part to play, I can honestly say that this is the first YA fantasy story where I didn’t find any of the characters annoying (okay, Mare at one point but really not enough to point out). These kids are trying to figure out who they are, what’s important to them and fight a war, it’s a lot to take in and they are acting more like adults than the adults.

Speaking of war, Aveyard finds this perfect blend to connect the two wars we’ve been reading about in this conclusion. Props to her for doing so.

But here’s the thing. I need more, the ending left me unsatisfied. I didn’t get the closure that I wanted which really stinks. I needed just one more chapter. However there is a rumor of novellas in the future that I hope is true.

Overall Rating: 4/5 stars

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Hiking Mount Mansfield

Most people know the Stowe area of Vermont for it’s Skiing. I am not a skier. Okay, that’s a little of a lie, I can ski and will go but I would prefer to see the Mountains without snow on them. When we lived in VT we tried to hit some of the higher peaks of Vermont. Mt. Mansfield is one of those Mountains in Stowe.

In fact, Mt Mansfield is the highest peak in VT at 4,339 feet, which in Adirondack terms, isn’t that high. The High Peaks of the Adirondacks has over 46 mountains at over 4,000 feet, it’s highest over 5,000 feet (Mount Marcy). Knowing that we were moving to New York a few years ago had us thinking about getting ready for some of these higher elevations — like Mt. Mansfield.

Mt Mansfield

The trail is about a 6.6 mile round trip hike. At times I thought I was going to die, I’m not going to lie but I also want to say I was really out of shape. There were some times where it seemed really steep for my 5 foot 2 short legs but I mean look at the view above! It was so worth it! Be aware that it’s highly popular, so don’t expect a quiet hike, there will be families and dogs everywhere, I would have loved to go maybe during the week with less people but you know, real work gets in the way.

What I am Packing For England

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I’m currently doing the last bit of my packing for my trip to England…which is tomorrow. I have so many emotions, I’ve never been to Europe so this is going to be an entirely new experience for me.

What we are Expecting & How We’re Preparing

Anyway, I’ve heard from a whole lot of people that the weather in England is unpredictable, which really means, bring everything you can think of with you (good thing we are each bringing large suitcases!). We also had to take into consideration where in England we are going to be staying. Part of our trip will be outside the city of London, on coastal beaches, cliff walks and ruins. For that, we had to really plan accordingly to what we think we will be doing.

We also wanted to get some insight on the weather earlier than a few days to really see what the predictions are. I started looking at the weather for both Cornwall and London about 3 weeks before. Especially since we are leaving mid-week, we were going to need to start packing on a weekend before we leave. This helped us determine the necessities.

The Necessities

I mean, obviously we need our Passport, for the most part, anything else is okay to forget. Here’s the thing, because weather is so predictable, I am literally packing everything I can think of. Shorts, jeans, shoed, sandals, bathing suit, rain coat, workout clothes, dresses, rompers. Basically my wardrobe. The biggest thing is that I need to make sure I still have room for souvenirs ☺. To help with all this packing, I bought some packing cubes shown below from Amazon. I am always forgetting things when I re-pack so I’m hoping this helps me.

The Electronics and Books

One thing everyone needs is that universals charger. I might not have realized this was a thing until I spoke to someone who had just gone to New Zealand. We did some research and found the below charger on amazon. It’s perfect, has everything we will need.

I’m also bringing that fancy camera I bought last year specifically for this vacation! I still haven’t practiced on it at night yet so wish me luck but honestly I love it, my Canon Rebel is absolutely perfect.

I’m only bringing one book and it’s Drums of Autumn. A re read which I thought was perfect. This way I won’t feel like I can’t stop reading on vacation, and I’m bringing my Google nexus, both of these are just for the plane, it is 6 hours, we never sleep, so we need to be preoccupied somehow!

Book Review: A Girl Like That

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Author: Tanaz Bhathena

Pages:

Goodreads Synopsis:

Review: In my mind, Jodi Picoult summed this story up perfectly: “fascinating and disturbing.” Alright, for me, I found it more disturbing than anything else. I won’t give anything away but from the first page I was pretty shocked with how the story was going to go. Since I received this in a shelflovereads box I had no idea what the synopsis was when I picked it up.

Anyway, each chapter is in the perspective of a different character and their views on their intertwining lives. It’s an interesting take and an interesting interpretation of how different other lives and counties are compared to ours. I mentioned that it was disturbing because it’s so raw and well, I honestly don’t know how to explain my feelings to this one. Did I like it? Yeah, but I didn’t love it and I felt as if it was too real and depressing in a way I just didn’t imagine.

For more information click here.

Overall Rating: 3/5 stars

May Roundup

You guys so many things happened in May! See below for all the fun things!

What’s new:

  • On the blog, not too much. The big thing is that I’ve started to do my more nicheless blog posts on Fridays. I’m really enjoying them. So far you’ve learned more about me, but I have some others coming up soon, like what I learned from house hunting.
  • In other news, we are in the process of buying a house! I can’t wait to tell you guys more about it and what I’ve learned. It was such an interesting and exhausting process

Current obsessions:

  • Not too much on obsessions at the moment to be honest, we’ve been so busy, I haven’t had time to really watch much T.V. or even read (gasp!) But I did start 13 Reasons Why — where have I been for the past year?
  • Though I just found Reign on Netflix and it’s definitely a guilty pleasure

The Adventures

It was a super rainy May, filled with house hunting.

Books Read in May

  • A Court Of Frost and Starlight 3/5 stars
  • War Storm 4/5 stars
  • A Girl Like That 3/5 stars
  • Those Who Save Us 4/5 stars

Upcoming:

We are headed to England this month (June)! I cannot wait to go and tell you all about it!

Reminiscing About Paradise Island, Bahamas

My first ever vacation outside of the country was to The Bahamas back when I was a senior in college. I didn’t think it was real, my mom kept sending me ideas of places where we could go over my winter break, she’s never been so serious about a trip before. But still, I didn’t think it was going to happen. But one day I got an email with all the bookings and where we were going, I couldn’t believe it – my roommates couldn’t believe it but it happened.

It was a much-needed vacation and looking back I can see why my mom planned it. We had gone through a rough two years – my dad passing away first and then my grandfather (my mom’s father) the year later. I think it was time but I was still young (and poor) so a vacation wasn’t even in my vocabulary. It was in my mom’s though, so for 5 days and 4 nights we headed to Paradise Island, Bahamas in 2010.

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Man, was it Paradise. Again, it was my first vacation out of the country, and while I had seen pictures of the clear turquoise ocean and white sand beaches, I still didn’t believe it was what I was going to see when I got there. I remember looking out the window on the plane and being in awe of the water and the fact that it wasn’t all a lie. I was here, I was seeing this crystal blue water and I hadn’t even gotten off the plane yet!

We made this vacation the epitome of vacation too, we stayed in Riu Hotel, an all-inclusive that had the most delicious food ever. We had a view of the pool and the water, could sit out on the beach all day in 70-degree weather. The locals were cold and said we were crazy when we got in the water but honestly, we couldn’t help it! It was Paradise!

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We didn’t just sit around either, don’t worry. One day we went out to The Blue Lagoon to swim with dolphins. It was an experience I will never forget. I love dolphins but being up so close to them was a little intimidating to be honest. My dolphin liked me (yeah, I’ll brag a bit) and went to the bottom of the ocean to give me a rock, I still have it, it will follow me everywhere because who knows when I’ll swim (and fly) with a dolphin again. To get to The Blue Lagoon, you had to take a boat from the main Island, after we swam with dolphins we stayed there for a bit and just enjoyed the quiet. We were the only people who stayed so we had out little Island to ourselves (minus the lifeguard on duty)!

Other adventures outside of relaxing on the beaches and seeing the gorgeous water and sunsets was our walk around The Atlantis and the hotel’s aquarium. They also had shops where we found the best Rum Cake. We still buy it occasionally from Amazon.

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That’s all I have for reminiscing on Paradise Island, Bahamas. I can’t wait to go back, it’s still one of those vacations where I could go back again and again. I feel like I have an itch for the Caribbean and that clear turquoise water.

Book Review: Those We Save Us

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Author: Jenna Blum

Pages: 479

Goodreads Synopsis: “For fifty years, Anna Schlemmer has refused to talk about her life in Germany during World War II. Her daughter, Trudy, was only three when she and her mother were liberated by an American soldier and went to live with him in Minnesota. Trudy’s sole evidence of the past is an old photograph: a family portrait showing Anna, Trudy, and a Nazi officer, the Obersturmfuhrer of Buchenwald.

Driven by the guilt of her heritage, Trudy, now a professor of German history, begins investigating the past and finally unearths the dramatic and heartbreaking truth of her mother’s life.”

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Review: I didn’t LOVE this book but I did really enjoy the perspective of Germany during WWII. The only other book I’ve read in the perspective of Germany was The Book Thief, and while I’ve read numerous WWII stories, this was the first the examined what life for a German woman during the War may have been like. The story goes from the present to the past with the story of Anna during the War. The story examines what I’m sure is true on how women felt they needed to survive during the War. But it does more than that, it shows that not all people are one dimensional during this time period, while some were exactly how you would expect, Blum dives a little deeper to bring to life an understanding that might have been considered one sided for so long.

For more information and to grab the book from Amazon, click here

Let’s be honest, we all know I enjoy interpretations of WWII so even if this story had some spots that felt a little long, my rating is still going to be high mainly because I feel every story, every perspective and every interpretation during a time of such hatred and unnecessary evil deserves to be understood and read.

Overall Rating: 4/5 stars