Smoke, Reads and Caffeine

Since I was a kid, I was amazed by how people could express themselves in words. My first diary was a makeshift novel, where the characters I created would go through my experiences in their fantasy world. I am nothing special - I could be your classmate, your girlfriend or your coworker, but always carrying a backpack full of books.

The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo: Siege and Storm (Book #2) Review

Siege and Storm - Leigh Bardugo







Siege and Storm simply didn't live up to my expectations. The storyline's progress was fine at first and then it became slower than death. To my personal opinion, this book was worth reading just for the last 25% of it. I was reading a few pages per day, trying to finish it. The only reason for me not to quit was because I am curious to see how the trilogy ends, and it would be impossible if I skipped the second book.

The story unravels first in Fjerda, a neighboring country to Ravka, then on a ship somewhere in an icy sea and finally (and for the rest of what felt like an eternity) in the Little Palace. Undeniably in these books I like the world - Ravka is consisted by a variety of landscapes. So, with such a nice countryside at hand, why do we have to stick into that stupid Little Palace?

And here we come the most frustrating part of all: the character development. If you have read the first book, you probably agree with me that the most dominant character is the Darkling. How nice from the writer's part to whisk him away for the 70% of the book! And then we have Alina, who is plain as a stick, with no exceptional traits of character, who has almost created a love square between a prince, the Darkling, Mal and herself. No, none of them wants her just for her power - they all want her for who she is. I can't swallow that, I am sorry. I just think that the characters are undeveloped, and the relationships between them are even more so.

Focusing on the royal figures... When you have a country, and a palace, and a King dying, and two heirs to the throne, and a powerful woman, and an even more powerful enemy, you have the foundations to create very intriguing situations. On the contrary, the royal courtyard couldn't be more dull and childish. At first, prince Nikolai gave me a start, and I was prepared for all that awesome George Martin stuff - an assassinated king, some kind of a white marriage, even an uprising. Instead: Highschool drama again, a suddenly and stupidly arrogant Alina, and the referring prince stirring her skirts and requesting her attention like a puppy would do. Another thought that keeps bugging me, is that the writer seems skilled in the third person narrative, as you may have noticed from the prologues and epilogues, and it might be better if the whole trilogy wasn't in first person, at all. My general message to Leigh Bardugo is: If you are incapable to do it, avoid doing it.

I am certainly going to read Ruin and Rising, hoping that Siege and Storm was just a weak stepping stone and things will get better.

I am linking my SAS review down below, because in my Blogspot page I have thoroughly reviewed the characters too. Click on the image to be redirected.



Daughter of Smoke and Bone Review

Daughter of Smoke & Bone - Laini Taylor



"The streets of Prague were a fantasia scarcely touched by the twenty-first century—or the twentieth or nineteenth, for that matter. It was a city of alchemists and dreamers, its medieval cobbles once trod by golems, mystics, invading armies. Tall houses glowed goldenrod and carmine and eggshell blue, embellished with Rococo plasterwork and capped in roofs of uniform red. Baroque cupolas were the soft green of antique copper, and Gothic steeples stood ready to impale fallen angels. The wind carried the memory of magic, revolution, violins, and the cobbled lanes meandered like creeks. Thugs wore Mozart wigs and pushed chamber music on street corners, and marionettes hung in windows, making the whole city seem like a theater with unseen puppeteers crouched behind velvet."


When I first saw Daughter of Smoke &Bone in Goodreads, I made the mistake to judge the book by its cover (the original cover). I wasn't enthralled, the exact opposite - I wanted to avoid another teenage romance book worth maximum 3 rating stars. Halfheartedly, it made it to my Want-To-Read- List. So, without any expectations and armed with patience, I started reading it.

One day later:



First of all, the Laini Taylor is an authoring genius. Karou's portrait was mystifying, her sketches were clearly displayed before me and all the urban landscapes were enchanting and creepy at the same time. The ending was pitch-perfect, the romance perfectly balanced and each relationship between the characters rang true. Above all though, is that this story is brand new and has nothing to do with any other you might have read until now. Finally!


To read more about the full trilogy review and the characters, click the image below and you will be redirected to my blogspot review of DSB

"Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea" Review

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea - April Genevieve Tucholke


When I chose that book through Goodreads, I had no idea what i was getting into. Well, using the Devil as a possible character could always end up as a huge fiasco - but here comes Tucholke's genius to teach me that you don't have to portrait the actual Devil, but if he is what you're searching for, traces of him will be everywhere. 

The story takes place in a town named Echo, somewhere in the US. The first thing my mind drifted upon, was that the plot has something to do with things that used to be, but now only echo's of them remain. And it couldn't be more true. I could not decide what year is it, or what place this is - i just felt like relaxing in the sun like Sunshine, read my books on some old manor's steps like Violet, or even go to the cafe and flirt like Luke would do - and let time go by unnoticed.

Until someone named River West rents the guest house, and i find myself gripped in the endless questioning. Is he the Devil? Or not? My toes curl as Violet begins to fall in love with him, and deep down i believe she could not have done worse - when the story follows an unpredictable turn.



  • 1.Violet White: Violet is 17 years old, born a "natural" painter. She likes reading books. As a part of the once-rich White family the townsfolk would describe her as snobby and distant, something that during the book she considers to change. Her parents have left both her and her twin brother Luke alone, for a year or so, visiting art galleries in Europe and seemingly without caring for their kids' welfare.  Violet is brooding and logical, honest at heart and with a strong temper. She's also a bit cold, humorless and aged beyond her years. She misses terribly her grandmother, Freddy. 
  • 2.Freddy White: Freddy is Luke's and Violet's grandmother, who passed away 5 years before the book's current time. Normally I wouldn't include her to a book's Character's list, but she is an exception as she seems to live through Violet's vivid remembrance. Freddy is described as a beautiful woman in her youth, with strong temperament whose life's complicated turns have a strong connection to the book's plot.
  • 3.Luke White: Luke is Violet's twin brother. When the book starts, Violet makes it wide known that their relationship is pretty terrible - we meet Luke as someone pretty dumb, mean to his sister, without any interests other than body fitness and girls. Later on, it unravels though that the above are just Luke's defense to his major problems - their terrible economic situation, and their abandonment by their parents. 
  • 4.Sunshine Black: Sunshine is the White's only neighbor, Luke's love interest and Violet's "almost" friend. She is pretty, sexy and very very flirty. Through Violet's eyes she seems annoying, but I don't agree. She is lightheaded and plain as a person, but I really like that as she balances out Violet.

    [spoiler]When Violet finds out that Sunshine and Luke really want each other, it made me extremely happy. I don't know why. I just don't know.[/spoiler]

  • 5.River West: I can't decide how I feel about River. A certain attraction was there at first, as I always get to feel for "the bad guys". Then I was so angry towards him when I realized what he's doing, but there was also pity when the truth was uncovered. River definitely is dangerous, a pathological liar and in knee-deep trouble. He is someone that Violet should stay away from, something she realizes without a doubt. But can she?

6. <spoiler>

  • Neely Redding: Neely is River's younger brother, a handsome boy with crooked nose and a fiery temper. He does not share his brother's "glow" but he has the interesting ability to always end up into a fight. He comes into Echo so that he will stop that destruction of a brother, as he always does. He too seems enamored with Violet in the end, though her point of view on that stays unclear. I really do choose him over River - he is much more simple, honest and caring. 



If you want to read my almost spoiler-free reviews of favorite -and not- books click the image below to be redirected to my blogspot page.