Friday, February 27, 2015

Weekly Wrap-Up 2/22-2/28

Since I'm finally starting to have a bit more spare time, I'm going to be start doing more weekly updates, possibly daily updates/themed posts. So to start that off, here is my weekly wrap-up for this week!
This week was a pretty slow week as far as finishing any books. However, I did manage to finish Sea of Shadows by Kelley Armstrong. I really enjoyed it, and should have a review up by the end of the weekend!

Currently Reading:
Centurion by O.C. Shaw (courtesy of NetGalley)
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas (AMAZING)
Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch 
I'm hoping to finish these either this weekend or the beginning of next week, so then I can finally get around to finishing The Song of Achilles!
What books did you guys read this week?

Monday, February 23, 2015

Review Policy

As I begin to delve deeper and deeper into the world of reviewing books, I have finally realized the need for a review policy. Or rather, a need to finally get around to creating mine. Thus, my review policy is as follows:
  • Physical copies of books are preferred, but I will also accept/review eBooks. I prefer .mobi and .epub file types if possible.
  • I will read most genres, but my preferred ones (in order of preference) include Fantasy, Young Adult (preferably anything BUT contemporary/romance), Graphic Novels, Literature, Children/Teen's, Mystery, Thriller, some Science Fiction, biography/memoir. If your book lies in a genre not listed, just ask. :)
  • I do not read erotica, overtly religious, or romance. 
  • I will read and review books in as timely a manner as I am able. I also attend university, work, and have internships, but I will make time to complete my reviews. Generally, one can expect a review up in roughly a month after receiving the book. If a book is not received on time, rescheduling will occur, however I cannot guarantee the speediness of the rescheduling, as I have other commitments I must get to that were made prior to the rescheduling conflict. 
  • I am 100% honest in my reviews. If I do not like a book, I will say it. If I love it, I will say it. I will always be courteous, but I will always  be honest. I generally am able to point out both strong areas and flaws in most books, whether I liked it or not, so most books generally get a fair shot. I will not pretend to like a book that I did not enjoy, and I will not promise any type of review. I will not accept payment for a false review.
  • I am best reached at I check it daily, unless stated otherwise. You may also try to reach me through Twitter or Tumblr.
  • I will respond to every review request. I cannot promise that I will accept every review request, but I will respond whether I accept or deny it. 
  • I will listen to author pitches, but I will not guarantee that I will read the book. I accept self-published books, but again, only after I have been given information about the book and am able to make my decision. 
  • Once I have completed a review book, I will have the review up within three days. I will also most likely post the review on Goodreads and Amazon, unless asked otherwise. 
I reserve the right to alter the above policy in any way as the needs arise. If you have any questions, please to not hesitate to email me at foreverlostinliterature AT gmail DOT com. 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Daughter of Smoke and Bone, by Laini Taylor. Little, Brown; 2014. 448 pages. Ebook.

I loved this book. I really, truly did.

The backstory (skip if uninterested): I first heard about it a couple of years ago when it first came out, thought it sounded interesting... but then quickly forgot about it and moved on. I don't think it particularly stuck out to me at the time. Then, as the years progressed, I kept seeing and hearing more and more about this book, and I added it back to my "to read soon" shelf. I finally picked it up (and bypicked it up, I mean checked it out from an online  library - heck yeah, love those things) on my Kindle. I don't really like reading on my Kindle, but I had absolutely no problem making it through this one.

However, I find it necessary to clarify: just because one may love a book, it does not mean that there were not elements that I did not enjoy. Okay, clarification over.

The review:

Laini Taylor is a serious master wordsmith. Her writing is a lyrical, flowing masterpiece. She knows exactly how to craft her sentences and words to create a perfect scene or emotion. With Taylor, simple says a lot. I can honestly say that her writing did not appear cliche'd in any manner, and truly seemed unique. It really helped with the creation of the world she has created, a world that is truly entertaining and remarkable. Taylor has also been able to incorporate some truly marvelous humour into her narrative that really brings color and life into the story.

Another aspect that I really enjoyed about this book was the characters. Taylor has created an extremely vibrant cast, each with their own distinct personality. They really have depth, as well, which, sadly, I have not been able to find lately in a lot of books. It was so entertaining to read the banter that went back and forth between the various characters. I also really liked the fact that her characters were so real. By that I mean that they weren't perfect. They make mistakes, they say and do stupid things, and they have realistic personalities ad reactions.

The only thing that I wasn't a huge fan of was the shifting perspectives and storylines. I tend to get confused fairly easily with books when they do this, and to be honest it just annoys me, so this bothered me a bit. However, I will say that it did not negatively impede the story or flow, and as you can see, I was still able to really enjoy the story.

I realize that this review has been slightly vague, lacking details about specific characters and such, but I really feel that this is a book that you should go into knowing the basic plot of, but not knowing too much about (not that it's bad if you know a lot). I honestly did not know much, and it just seemed to make it much more enjoyable for me.

So if you, like me, have been putting this book off for a while, don't do it any longer. Pick it up as soon as you can and just allow yourself to get sucked into this truly remarkable world. I've been in a  little bit of a reading rut lately, and it's been hard for me to lose myself in a book like I used to. With this book, however, it was so easy. Go grab a copy, and don't put it down.

Monday, February 9, 2015

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton. Eccos; 2014. 400 pages. Hardcover.

This book disappointed me. Now don’t get me wrong, it was still entertaining – but, sadly, disappointing. It was imaginative, but flighty. I couldn’t put it down, yet at times I wanted to do nothing but that. I think I had my hopes too high for this book. I had heard so much, and I truly believe it was simply too over-hyped.

The novel starts off with a young girl of 18, Petronella, – or Nella, as she prefers to be called – and her arrival in Amsterdam to begin her new life married Johannes, a merchant trader. This presented the first problem for me: her age. Although I know how mature women can be at the age of eighteen, Nella simply seemed too mature. She had the airs of a woman quite a few years her senior, and it simply seemed a bit too much. She did have quite a lot of naiveties, which was more realistic, but it didn’t quite match up to her supposed age. Her sophistication seemed to go beyond her years, especially for having grown in a rather average setting before moving to Amsterdam.

But alas, moving on. I truly enjoyed Burton’s writing. She has a wonderful grasp on using language to capture emotions and set up a scene. While I didn't necessarily enjoy the way in which she always used this language, which I will get to momentarily, I really do think Burton is a wonderful wordsmith, who truly is a natural and gifted writer. I immensely enjoyed her descriptions and language during moments of crises; it was a very simplistic style, yet it conveyed so much.
However, this brings me to my second issue: confusion. Although I loved the way in which Burton wrote and styled her story, I found it to be a bit confusing at times as far as plot was concerned. I found myself unsure of what was happening at times, largely due to the fact that her writing style does not always provide enough description or information about a scene or event that is occurring. Similarly, her writing style is one that leaves a lot up to the reader to deduce, and sometimes it is not as obvious as one would think.

Now, the characters. It was a fun cast of characters, each with their own extremely distinct personalities. However, I must say that they tended to be somewhat clich├ęd. Besides Nella and Johannes' sister, Marin, they weren't overly multi-dimensional or dynamic, as we did not see many sides to some of them. I suppose many people wouldn't see this as a flaw, but character development can truly make or break a novel, and this novel was rather lacking. 

Also, there is one aspect of the book that is left unexplained. And I must say, it kills me a little bit. There are times when authors can perfectly execute an “unexplained” or “open to interpretation” ending, but this was not quite one of them.

Overall, I would recommend this book, but not to someone who is overly picky about their books. It is an enjoyable read, and definitely interesting. As annoyed as I would become with this book at times, I found myself unable to put it down; I just had to know what would keep happening to this unfortunate group of people!