Dreams of Gods and Monsters

Dreams of Gods and Monsters (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #3) by Laini Taylor Gods and Monsters

By way of a staggering deception, Karou has taken control of the chimaera rebellion and is intent on steering its course away from dead-end vengeance. The future rests on her, if there can even be a future for the chimaera in war-ravaged Eretz.

Common enemy, common cause.

When Jael’s brutal seraph army trespasses into the human world, the unthinkable becomes essential, and Karou and Akiva must ally their enemy armies against the threat. It is a twisted version of their long-ago dream, and they begin to hope that it might forge a way forward for their people.

And, perhaps, for themselves. Toward a new way of living, and maybe even love.

But there are bigger threats than Jael in the offing. A vicious queen is hunting Akiva, and, in the skies of Eretz … something is happening. Massive stains are spreading like bruises from horizon to horizon; the great winged stormhunters are gathering as if summoned, ceaselessly circling, and a deep sense of wrong pervades the world.

What power can bruise the sky?

From the streets of Rome to the caves of the Kirin and beyond, humans, chimaera and seraphim will fight, strive, love, and die in an epic theater that transcends good and evil, right and wrong, friend and enemy.

At the very barriers of space and time, what do gods and monsters dream of? And does anything else matter? (Goodreads)

I have to be honest. I don’t know how to review this book because I don’t know how to say goodbye to this beautiful, breathtaking series. I mean, hello, I read this book last summer. Like, the summer that came before the one about to start. But it’s painful to let go.

I adored the first two books, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, followed by Days of Blood and Starlight. Laini Taylor is an incredibly gifted writer, both in the worlds and characters she’s created, and in the heartachingly lovely way she tells their story. Her words are so gorgeous, so fraught with beauty and lust and pain that I could physically devour them.

If you have not read Daughter of Smoke and Bone I implore you to do so. You are missing out on something so unique. In fact, I envy you that you get to experience the heartbreak and unfathomable richness for the first time. And seriously, I don’t want to spoil it all for you. But OMG. The feelings.

This third and final book picks up after Days of Blood and Starlight. Karou, now the leader of the chimera through some crafty deception, is still estranged from Akiva. The White Wolf is dead and those who were once loyal to him must continue to believe that he is alive (when really it’s Ziri in all her awesomeness who has taken on Thiago’s form. Whew. It’s a lot to digest, I know). Basically, no one likes Akiva. Thiago’s loyal followers are suspicious of Karou, as always, there’s a queen who wants to kills Akiva. And that’s just part of the story. There’s so much going on that it’s a bit overwhelming.

My Thoughts:

This book had a slow build. There is so much going on, so many characters, that I both found it hard to keep up and hard to get into. In the beginning it felt as if nothing much was happening other than the inward struggle to keep Karou in power and the evil forces at bay. But there was a turning point, a place where 1) Karou and Akiva make slow progress toward each other once more (this is incredibly important to me, the romantic fool) and 2) It becomes glaringly obvious that they can’t ever be (but they have to try!).

Of course this story is much more than one of Karou and Akiva. It’s about family, friendship, and love, about sacrificing self (and often love) for the good of all. There are so many obstacles here, and so many times I hoped beyond hope that Brimstone would be back and life would return to the way it was in the beginning. Karou knows it’s not possible so she, despite what she fears or what she desires, does what she must. It’s almost painful to watch at times, but I couldn’t help but love her more and more every step of the way (and I’m speaking of the entire trilogy and the suffering she endures). In the same way, I love Akiva, led by this deep love for Madrigal, and later Karou, he too goes against the grain and sacrifices himself, partly to make up for his past sin and partly because it’s the right thing to do. His love for her… the feelings it gives me. The moments these two have, they’re magical.

I realizing I’m telling you very little about the actual story. I’m trying to avoid anything too spoilery. I feel like so little happened and yet so much. What I know is this: I love this trilogy. I love the characters and everything about the story. It ended differently from what I’d expected or hoped and yet it felt right. It left me with so many emotions that even now I’m not sure I’m ready for a reread.

Crush Intensity: 4.75/5 Nothing will ever top book #1, but this was a very satisfying end to a completely imaginative series. If you start it and struggle, press on. It’s worth the wait, I promise.

Sometimes I Suck at Blogging

well hello It’s been a really, really long time. Lots of fun things have happened. I’ve been working on a project that seems never-ending. I went to the first ever YALLWEST in April with my daughter and some friends of mine where, OMG I met Lauren Oliver and had a mini freakout (more pictures to come). YWSIGN And I’ve read some books. I mean, obviously.

Most important, I was reunited with the Fake Man of My Dreams, Michael Moscovitz. WHAT???? I know. I got an advance e galley of Royal Wedding a few months ago and devoured it. Royal Wedding It’s been so hard not to talk about it, but I thought the review would be best right before the book’s release (so you’ll see it next week after I read it again because Michael). As a teaser, here is a text I sent to a couple of dear friends while reading the book:

“Michael Moscovitz has hair on his chest and he and Mia play a sex game called Fireman. I MAY DIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

  Honestly, I’m lucky to have friends who understand this obsession. Or who at least pretend to.

Also, at the recommendation of Daphne and Sandie, I read a fantastic book called I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios. This book will go down as one of my favorites this year because it had that certain Taylor/Jonah Effing Griggs quality I so admire. I promise to review it soon, but let me just warn you now: swoonfest. I'll Meet You There Mostly, other than these two books, I haven’t done a ton of reading. I start books and don’t finish them–or I spend time enjoying books I’ve read a million times. I think it’s in part due to the fact that I loved both Royal Wedding and I’ll Meet You There so much that nothing new has compared. I’m hoping to come out of this slump STAT since I have a list of books to buy for summer, including Sophie Kinsellas’s first ever YA, Finding Audrey Finding Audrey

P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han

PS I Still Love You

 And Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

23009402Saint Anything

For now, it’s just good to be back!

I Mustache You A Question

fab9a-mustache-questions-300x300Tagged by the ever-awesome Daphne @ Gone Pecan

Four Names People Call Me Other Than My Real Name

1. Tammy (my real name is Tamara)

2. Tam

3. Mama (perhaps my favorite)

4. Tee

Four Jobs I’ve Had

1. Assistant Buyer for a retail/catalog house (women’s dresses)

2. Wholesale Rep for an intimate apparel company

3. Account Executive for a sweater company

4. Cashier/Visual Merchandiser (so, I dressed mannequins) for a retail store

Four Movies I Would/Have Watched More Than Once

1. Signing in the Rain

2. Bridget Jones’ Diary

3. Any Disney Princess movie (because I love them)

4. Love, Actually

Four Books I’d Recommend*

* Um, really? FOUR?

1. The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

2. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

3. The Princess Diaries series

4. The Harry Potter series

Four Places I’ve Lived

1. Baldwin Park, CA

2. West Covina, CA

3. Phillips Ranch, CA

4. Corona, CA

Four Places I Have Been

1. Hawaii

2. Chicago

3. New York

4. Honduras

Four Places I’d Rather Be

Disclaimer: I want to be wherever my family is, so they’d have to be with me

1. English Countryside

2. Paris

3. Disneyland

4. Home (which is cheating because I’m home right now)

Four Things I Don’t Eat

1. Red Meat

2. Sushi

3. Anything “diet” (artificial crap)

4. Tofu (which makes life interesting because I eat mostly vegetables, and tofu offers

so much protein for people like me. It’s also disgusting).

Four of My Favorite Foods

1. Chocolate (does this count?)

2. Potatoes

3. Soup (like, I could live on soup)

4. Veggies (especially zucchini, baby spinach, and cauliflower)

Four TV Shows That I Watch

1. Bewitched (I own all the DVDs. They make me happy).

2. Downton Abbey

3. The Vampire Diaries

4. Fixer Upper

Four Things I’m Looking Forward To This Year

1. Big family vacation this summer (with my little family, my parents, and my favorite cousins)

2. YALLWEST

3. Royal Wedding, by Meg Cabot (which I’ve already devoured, but I’m excited to buy a beautiful official copy)

4. Foo Fighters concert in September with some of my favorite people!

Four Things I’m Always Saying

1. I love you (to my husband and children)

2. No! (to my dog, Boo Radley)

3. Dinner’s ready (seriously, I feel like I run a restaurant)

4. What’s in that? (I’m an organic loving label-reading Nazi. I’m sure it’s annoying to everyone around)

Four People I’m Tagging

I can’t think of four people who haven’t done this.

1. Sandie @ Teen Lit Rocks

2. Brittany @ The Book Addict’s Guide

And that’s all I’ve got…

Things to Spazz Over in 2015

There’s all kinds of bookishness going on this year and like any nerd, I’m falling all over myself about most of it. The majority of it is related to real live hotly anticipated books, but some of it is related to films and event. It’s a feast for the book nerd in you.

 

Adorable

Adorable

Royal Wedding by Meg Cabot (June 2015)- This is a major event in my life and I’m going to love it. I think we can all agree on that because my fake boyfriend, Michael Moscovitz is back. I am already swooning with anticipation. As Mia would say:

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Amiright?

 

23009402Saint AnythingSaint Anything- Um, you guys, Sarah Dessen has a new book coming out next year. ‘Nuff said.

 

The Raven Boys #4- THE LAST ONE. I’m already tearing up. If Gansey dies I’ll cut someone. Actually, if any of the characters I love dies I will lose it.

 

I was hereI Was Here by Gayle Forman- Love her. Can’t wait for anything new she writes.

 

P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han- This is the sequel to To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before. And I love Jenny Han.

 

 

 

 

Films:

Insurgent– I didn’t love the first movie but I appreciated two things:

  1. A fabulous YA book getting some actual cred
  2. Theo JamesFour

 

Mockingjay Part 2– I am constantly stunned at how well-done this film series has been. Of course, the books are always better, but the legions of young women who are hopefully being inspired to pick up one of these books, and better, to channel their inner kick-ass, is awe-inspiring.

 

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children– With Time Burton at the helm and Asa Butterfield attached to play Jacob, I have high hopes for this one. The book was absolutely magical.

 

Eleanor and Park– This book gave me so many feelings. It snuck up on me in the most incredible way. I cannot wait for the movie.

 

The DUFF- I am SO interested to see what they do with this book. It was funny and crass. The trailer I’ve seen looks quite different, but I’m holding out hope here.

 

Paper Towns- It’s such a wonderful thing to see John Green, who was loved for years in our world, get his due in the film industry as well. This is my second-favorite Green novel (because TFIOS, you guys. It cannot be surpassed), and have already been charmed by the photos and updates Green shares regularly online. Fingers crossed here.

 

Suite Francaise- How I adored this book. Though it’s not YA, it is breathtaking and thoughtful and the story of how it came to be…it’s incredible. Based on the trailer, it looks as though the filmmakers chose to focus on the second part of the book (the novel is broken up into two books that are related only by circumstance), but it looks gorgeous.

 

 

Event:

 

Ya’ll West– Have you seen the list of authors here? I will be making a fool of myself, no question.

 

Festival of BooksLA Times Festival of Books– This event is always epic (and there’s a crepe truck, hello!)

 

Happy New Year Everyone!

It’s Almost Time

Happy Monday!

 

You guys, it’s almost NaNoWriMo time. Or, if you’re 17 and under, it’s YWP NaNoWriMo time. Are you ready?

I have to confess, I’m not sure if I’m up to it this year. My daughter’s 9th birthday party is coming up (and this is our theme inspiration, as well as this, and pretty much everything here).

On top of that I’m working on another writing project that isn’t quite right just yet. I’m also re-reading Twilight (which is really interesting because, you know, it’s been YEARS) along with my other two books, Atlantia by Ally Condie (my bathtub book)

Atlantia

 

and Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater (the book I’m trying to savor slowly).

Blue lily

 

AND I’m becoming obsessed with The Lizzie Bennet Diaries (hello, late to the game, I know).  In fact, it’s on as I’m typing. I CAN’T STOP!

So, I think if I join NaNo this year it may be late, definitely after the first week of November.  Really all this means is that I’ll get ticked off and throw in the towel later in the month than usual, right?  That’s what I’m thinking. What about you? Any Nano takers this year?

 

When You Don’t Love a Book You Should

images

Have you guys ever read a book that everyone LOVES (like, to die for swoonfest, I want to name my baby after this book kind of devotion) and then you read it and thought…meh. I mean, it’s not bad, in fact, it’s solid. It’s good. It’s just not something you love. But then you turn around and everyone–even the people you agree with all of the time–love it?

Do you wonder if something is wrong with you?  Do you feel like you’ve missed something? Do you consider rereading it and then go, um wait, no thanks? All of this made worse by the fact that its written by an author you adore.

That’s where I am right now. I read a book and it was good. It was a solid 4/4. I’d recommend this book to other people in a heartbeat. But we didn’t fall in love. There weren’t even any major sighs. This book and I have no real future together. Oh, maybe I’ll see a quote somewhere and feel slightly nostalgic remembering that part (most likely I won’t remember it at all), but I’ll never wish we could get back together. And even though I’ll probably read the next book–because I’m telling you, the first one was good–I’ll do it knowing we have no hope of growing old together.

Do you guys ever feel this way? I think in my case I’m bummed because I love the author so much and am so in love with characters from her previous books. I actually feel guilty for not falling head over heels this time. Maybe it isn’t fair to compare, but she’s set the bar so high, I just want major feels every time.

You want to know what book? Ugh. I still have to write the review. Maybe next week.  🙂

Trailers, Baby!

Two amaaaaazing trailers premiered recently.  Last night at the VMA’s (no, I didn’t watch because I’m old. I checked my Twitter feed like everyone else), the first Divergent teaser trailer was shown.

Um, that was, in a word, AWESOME!!!! I think I watched it about twelve times last night (and not because Four is hot, I swear). It looks so good. I have high hope for this one. I love Divergent. I love it even more than I did The Hunger Games and I think they can pull this one off.

And then the trailer for The Book Thief was released last week. If you’ve not already seen it, feast your eyes.

This one gave me chills.  My husband, who has not read the book and knows nothing of the story, got a little verkelmpt, too. I think this movie will be beautiful. I’m interested to see how they handle Death and whether or not he will narrate any portions of the story (the voice over in the trailer makes me think not), but it looks like they’ve captured the heart of the story.

So what do you think?

Reading Drought

Do you guys ever go through a phase where nothing you read blows you away? I mean, I’ve read several things recently, and many of them have been solid (some have been just OK), but I’m dying for that book that will make my heart sing. I want tingles and love at first sight and swoon, and to be so in love with it that I have to pick it back up the moment I’ve put it down.  I want to be sad that the story ends and I want to love it so much that I need to call or tweet or e-mail my friends to blab on and on about it.  I want to feel so attached to the characters that I just can’t say goodbye.

I just haven’t had that lately and to be honest, it totally sucks!  So give me some recommendations. Tell me what’s totally rocked your world.  Like I said, I’ve read some good books recently, but not anything that consume me, one’s I’d happily recommend, but that I’m not still thinking about a week later.   I want to be swept away. I sound like Veruca Salt, right? I want the world. I want the whole world…

Tell me what you’re reading! Pretty please.

Fair Coin

Fair Coin by E.C. Meyers

Sixteen-year-old Ephraim Scott is horrified when he comes home from school and finds his mother unconscious at the kitchen table, clutching a bottle of pills. The reason for her suicide attempt is even more disturbing: she thought she’d identified Ephraim’s body at the hospital that day.

Among his dead double’s belongings, Ephraim finds a strange coin—a coin that grants wishes when he flips it. With a flick of his thumb, he can turn his alcoholic mother into a model parent and catch the eye of the girl he’s liked since second grade. But the coin doesn’t always change things for the better. And a bad flip can destroy other people’s lives as easily as it rebuilds his own.

The coin could give Ephraim everything he’s ever wanted—if he learns to control its power before his luck runs out. (Goodreads)


The Story:

Ephraim’s life is a little screwy.  He comes home one day to find that his mom has attempted suicide after being forced to identify her only son’s body in the morgue.  After getting her to the hospital he finds the belongings of this poor boy among her things.  Assuming it’s a case of mistaken identity since he’s quite obviously alive, Ephraim is shocked to find that this dead boy had his library card—the one still in his wallet—among his possessions.  And he has a strange quarter unlike any he’s ever seen.

It turns out that this isn’t any old quarter.  No way mama.  This coin is magic. Ephraim finds that he can wish for anything and he gets it.  New, non-suicidal mom? Check.  His lifelong crush suddenly interested in him? Oh, check it.  A hot date for his dorky BFF, Nathan?  Check. That. Business.  Off.

The problem is that with each wish there seems to be a consequence, a chain reaction of sorts.  In some ways, the coin is a huge gift–a way to make his life exactly as he always hoped it would be, but in other ways it’s a curse.  Ephraim begins to wish he’d never found the coin.  Every time he attempts to fix things, he makes more dramatic changes to his life and to the lives of those around him and he doesn’t know how to undo any of it.

My Take:

I really liked this premise.  I can’t give too much away without really spoiling it, but trust me when I say that my description barely scratches the surface.  This is not simply a story about a magic coin. This is truly sci-fi. There are so many twists and turns and every time you think Ephraim’s plan will set it straight, something goes awry.  Not only that, but there are moral questions raised here. Ephraim is an essentially good guy.  Sure, he wants his mega crush, Jenna, to like him–but otherwise he’s pretty honest.  He suddenly has this cool power to grant wishes (as the coin only seems to work for him), both for himself and his loved ones…and yet should he go around changing people’s lives just because he can?

Outside of Ephraim, I liked the female characters in this story, especially Jenna and Zoe, two girls Ephraim is undeniably drawn to.  These are strong girls who are smart and who have more to them than meets the eye.  They can definitely take care of themselves.

There were a few points where I got confused because the scenes began to change rapidly, but otherwise I totally enjoyed this book.  Meyers pulled together an interesting, unique story with tons of twists.  The explanation for Ephraim’s “double” at the beginning of the book (the boy who died) was not at all what I thought it would be, and I loved that.  It’s good to be surprised.

Crush Intensity: 3.75/5

Thank you to Pyr Books for sending me a copy of Fair Coin in exchange for an honest review. It was a fun read!

Fangirl Five- April 27th

Woot! It’s Friday! That means it’s time to spazz over whatever crazy business has my panties in a bunch this week.

Fangirl Five is hosted by Evil Eva over at Nancy Drew is My Homegirl.

1. The Five Year Engagement– Tomorrow my husband and I are going to see  this movie.  So, yay!, I get a quick date with my boy.  Then yay! for movies where people fall down, get hurt, or get shot with arrows.  I already love this one.

 

2. Linkin Park– I didn’t realize until this week that Linkin Park has a new album coming out in June. I love them.  They’re such good workout music (not that I, you know, actually work out very often).

Here’s the first single, Burn it Down:

 

3. Ian Somerhalder– You guys, there is no way in hell that I will read Fifty Shades of Grey, but if Ian Somerhalder is in the movie, I will so totally be there!!!!!! Clearly the film will be a ginormous piece of NO, but Ian Somerhalder is so very YES.

 

4. The Vampire Diaries– I haven’t watched this week’s episode yet, but if you haven’t seen last week’s here a spoiler: Elena kisses Damon. Like, big time. First, she was totally staring at him half shirtless when he didn’t know she was watching (which is apparently only creepy if you’re a dude) and then he caught her.  EEEEEEE!  Then he came and sat next to her on the bed and held her hand. Oh, the sweetness. But of course, Elena was ready to burst into a ball of flames at this point, so she leaves the room and he follows and then…Elena and Damon sitting in a tree. K-I-S-S-I-N-G–except it was all forbidden and steamy.

 

5. Books– I am drowning in books right now! Books on my nightstand, books I want to read, books I want to re-read, and lots of book recommendations from bloggers and friends. It’s such a good, sweet place to be!

 

Have a great weekend!