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book review

Book Review

Daughter of the Pirate King | Review

Daughter of the Pirate King | Review

I’ll be honest, when I first heard about the Daughter of the Pirate King, I had no interest in it. The cover didn’t thrill me and I’ve never really been a pirate person, mainly because it seems like I’m the only one who despises Pirates of the Caribbean, and given that this book was pitched as a female Jack Sparrow I was very much ehhhhhhhhh about it.

But my library had a copy, so I decided to read it.

 

And I am oh so glad I did.

Alosa is the daughter of the pirate king, and a fearsome pirate in her own right. She’s on a mission for her father that involved her orchestrating her own kidnapping (I got some very Lila Bard vibes from this!) but her plans quickly start to go awry, and Alosa finds herself in some hot water as her special ability becomes exposed… and she starts to fall for one of her captors. Never a good combo, right?

This book really grabbed me from the beginning, and I thought the writing was great. The tone of most the book is upbeat and fast paced. Alosa’s quick-wittedness had me laughing many a time while reading. And let’s just say her fiery hair really does reflect her personality. The banter really was a shining star in this novel.

The pacing for me did get a little wobbly towards the end, but nothing major, just what seemed like a very quick wrap up. For me this was a really great, easy, weekend read and if it interests you at all, I suggest picking it up.

I can’t wait for the second book! Definitely intrigued to find to out what will happen next.

 

My favorite line: 

“Everyone has something dark in their past. I suppose it’s our job to overcome it. And if we can’t overcome it, then all we can do is make the most of it.”

My favorite visual: Omg omg omg spoiler!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

Rating: 4 stars

Links: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads

Have you read The Daughter of the Pirate King? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

This post contains affiliate links, which means that I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase through the links provided. I never post a link to a product that I haven’t used myself and love!

Book Review

The Fallen Kingdom | Review

The Fallen Kingdom | Review

This review is basically going to be me doing this:

heart-eyes

 

The Fallen Kingdom is the third book in the Falconer trilogy, and is slated to release on June 13th, 2017.

This book. This book! This. Book. THIS. BOOK.

Okay, I’ll stop.

But seriously, this book was by far the best in the series. It was amazing. It was every emotional roller coaster there could have been all rolled into a pretty package that is Aileana.

We pick up right where we left off, with Aileana having returned, but she has no memories and has these immense powers with no knowledge of where they came from. As Aileana

 

As Daleina grows and begins to understand more about her abilities, she, as well as others, start to wonder what is happening with the elemental spirits. More and more deaths are occurring, and more and more villages are being destroyed. One of those trying to save the villages in question is Ven, a disgraced champion. Fate brings Daleina and Ven together and they strike out to strengthen Daleina’s power as she trains to one day become an heir, but they also start to unravel a political plot bigger than themselves.

 

When I started reading, I was immediately sucked into this this magical world. The pacing was excellent, the action almost constant (with destructive elements, something is bound to go wrong) and the plot inventive. If you love fantasy and magic, this book is for you. The only *possible* negative thing I have to say about it, is there is a small romance in the book that to me seemed to come out of the middle of nowhere, almost as if it was an afterthought that was shoved into the already written book. But despite that, I really loved this book and can’t wait for more in this series.

My favorite line: This creepy opener stole my heart:

“Don’t trust the fire, for it will burn you.
Don’t trust the ice, for it will freeze you.
Don’t trust the water, for it will drown you.
Don’t trust the air, for it will choke you.
Don’t trust the earth, for it will bury you.
Don’t trust the trees, for they will rip you,
rend you, tear you, kill you dead.”

My favorite visual: The elemental spirits.

Rating: 5 stars

Links: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads

Have you read The Fallen Kingdom? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

This post contains affiliate links, which means that I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase through the links provided. I never post a link to a product that I haven’t used myself and love!

Book Review

Miranda and Caliban | Review

Miranda and Caliban | Review

Miranda and Caliban is slated to release on February 14, 2017.

Book blurb: Miranda is a lonely child. For as long as she can remember, she and her father have lived in isolation in the abandoned Moorish palace. There are chickens and goats, and a terrible wailing spirit trapped in a pine tree, but the elusive wild boy who spies on her from the crumbling walls and leaves gifts on their doorstep is the isle’s only other human inhabitant. There are other memories, too: vague, dream-like memories of another time and another place. There are questions that Miranda dare not ask her stern and controlling father, who guards his secrets with zealous care: Who am I? Where did I come from? The wild boy Caliban is a lonely child, too; an orphan left to fend for himself at an early age, all language lost to him. When Caliban is summoned and bound into captivity by Miranda’s father as part of a grand experiment, he rages against his confinement; and yet he hungers for kindness and love.

 

I have been a fan of Jacqueline Carey forever. I fell in love with her lyrical writing when I first read Kushiel’s Dart, and then fell in love all over again with her Santa Olivia and Agent of Hel series. Miranda and Caliban is a beautiful return to Carey’s lyrical writing that I love so much, and missed a little bit with her more recent works.

I sat down to read Miranda and Caliban when I had about an hour of spare time, thinking I’d slowly read the book over the course of a few days. Instead, I found myself unable to put the book down, I was so enthralled by the story. In fact, I read the entire book over the course of one evening, it was just that mesmerizing!

Now, if you’re not aware, Miranda and Caliban is a retelling of Shakespeare’s Tempest, so if you’re aware of the play, you know how the story is going to end up. It’s a tragedy, after all.

The romance between Miranda and Caliban builds slowly over time, and starts as many romances do, after years of friendship. Miranda is lonely and has spent much of her life very sheltered, and Caliban wants nothing more than to belong. And Prospero is pulling the strings on both, using them for his own revenge. The result is a magical and enchanting tale that Carey weaves, even knowing from the start that the star-crossed lovers are doomed.

Personally, I found myself equally invested in both the story of Miranda and Caliban, and secretly (or maybe not so secretly!) hoping for a retelling with a twist that wouldn’t lead to heartbreak. But Carey faithfully stuck to the source material, and I enjoyed the story immensely despite the feels.

The only downsides I have for this novel are:

– Even though we do see more lyrical writing in Miranda and Caliban from Carey, much like her work in her Kushiel series, this is not what I would call an epic fantasy. There is only so much for Carey to work with here, given the source material, and although she does a fantastic job weaving her plot, it’s not as layered as perhaps I was hoping.

– The size is a little disappointing, coming in at just over 300 pages. Again, I fully realize this is more due to the source material (like the above note), so take that into consideration. My disappointments were really stemming more from the fact that I want another lyrical, epic fantasy from Carey, rather than the quality of prose of Miranda and Caliban. 😉

 

I received Miranda and Caliban as an ARC on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

 

Rating: 4 stars

Links: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads

Have you read Miranda and Caliban? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

This post contains affiliate links, which means that I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase through the links provided. I never post a link to a product that I haven’t used myself and love!

Book Review

The Queen of Blood | Review

The Queen of Blood | Review

From the first page I knew this book would be good. It just had that feeling. That special, sinking into this magical world feeling. You know the one.

feeling

In The Queen of Blood humankind lives alongside elemental spirits that must be controlled through the power of the Queen, and the heirs that support her. Without the Queen commanding the spirits, their vengeful, vicious nature takes control and they wreck havoc, destroying entire villages. The story follows Daleina, a young woman who is training at an academy to learn to use to natural gift of magic to control the elemental spirits in her world. Daleina’s magic is not strong, but she has seen first hand the damage these spirits can do to a village, and she is determined to be of help to control them.

go-on

As Daleina grows and begins to understand more about her abilities, she, as well as others, start to wonder what is happening with the elemental spirits. More and more deaths are occurring, and more and more villages are being destroyed. One of those trying to save the villages in question is Ven, a disgraced champion. Fate brings Daleina and Ven together and they strike out to strengthen Daleina’s power as she trains to one day become an heir, but they also start to unravel a political plot bigger than themselves.

omg

When I started reading, I was immediately sucked into this this magical world. The pacing was excellent, the action almost constant (with destructive elements, something is bound to go wrong) and the plot inventive. If you love fantasy and magic, this book is for you. The only *possible* negative thing I have to say about it, is there is a small romance in the book that to me seemed to come out of the middle of nowhere, almost as if it was an afterthought that was shoved into the already written book. But despite that, I really loved this book and can’t wait for more in this series.

 

My favorite line: This creepy opener stole my heart:

“Don’t trust the fire, for it will burn you.
Don’t trust the ice, for it will freeze you.
Don’t trust the water, for it will drown you.
Don’t trust the air, for it will choke you.
Don’t trust the earth, for it will bury you.
Don’t trust the trees, for they will rip you,
rend you, tear you, kill you dead.”

My favorite visual: The elemental spirits.

Rating: 5 stars

Links: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads

Have you read The Queen of Blood? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

This post contains affiliate links, which means that I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase through the links provided. I never post a link to a product that I haven’t used myself and love!

Book Review

Heartless | Review

Heartless | Review

Oh. em. gee.

This. book.

giphy

So it’s about The Queen of Hearts, so there is some obviousness with how Catherine ends up, but the road is very unclear as to how Cath becomes The Queen of Hearts that we all know. And yes, the book ends sad because what else would you expect for The Queen of Hearts, but man oh man, this book was a page turner. I couldn’t put it down! Literally, I carried it around with me to sneak in reading.

Heartless is the story of Catherine, who marchioness mother is aiming for her to be Queen, but Cath has other ideas. She dreams of opening up a bakery with her maid, who is also her closest friend. Cath goes to a royal ball where (at first, unbeknownst to her) the King will propose to Cath, but instead Cath meets the new, handsome, royal Joker and all of Cath’s plans (and her mothers) start to fly out the window. Lots of interests are at play in the unfolding of destiny in this novel.

love2

As usual with Meyer, the imagery and descriptions are perfect and draw you into the world. The pacing of the plot wasn’t perfect throughout, but overall great and kept me turning the pages and wanting to know what was going to happen.

If you liked Marissa Meyer’s The Lunar Chronicles, then you’ll definitely like this. It still has Meyer’s style of writing, but it is a bit darker, sadder and grittier. Cath is one tough cookie and is determined to make her life turn out the way she dreams. Jest is instantly likeable, in that mysterious, roguish way, as are all the other Alice in Wonderland characters that you’re introduced to. My personal favorite is Cheshire, who I’ve always felt is a fairly accurate deception of a real life cat – gonna do what he wants, when he wants, and couldn’t care less about you. 😉

My favorite line: Sometimes your heart is the only thing worth listening to.”

My favorite visual: The Cheshire cat.

Rating: 4 stars

Links: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads

Have you read Heartless? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

This post contains affiliate links, which means that I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase through the links provided. I never post a link to a product that I haven’t used myself and love!

Book Review

The Secret Horses of Briar Hill | Review

The Secret Horses of Briar Hill | Review

This was one of the books I have been most anticipating all year. The cover is absolutely gorgeous, lots of my favorite authors were singing it’s praises, and it had horses in it. That’s totally the trifecta, right?

squealing

The Secret Horses of Briar Hill is a middle grade novel that is set during World War II at a children’s hospital. Emmaline knows a secret about Briar Hill that no one else does – there are winged horses in the mirrors at Briar Hill. None of the other children or staff at the hospital can see them. Only her.

magical

The story beings illustrating how dull, colorless, adventuress and downright scary Emmaline’s life can be. Her roommate in the hospital is very sick and can’t leave her bed. Emmaline isn’t allowed to go out into the garden because of the foxes. And overall, Emmaline feels lonely and scared, with the threats of bombers and invading forces.

But one day Emmaline discovers something beyond just the winged horses in the mirrors. There is a winged horse in the garden, along with a note asking whoever finds the horse (named Foxfire) to look after her. This note, and the horse, starts Emmaline on an adventure of daring, love and bravery in the face of grave danger.

cant stop reading

You learn more and more about Emmaline and her backstory and her illness as the book unfolds. Bits and pieces of her life and revealed and you start to piece together Emmaline’s life. Because of the setting of this book (World War II), there is some death and tragedy and sadness. I thought the book was well paced and plot, except perhaps for the very end, which seems to happen very quickly. The imagery and world building of the winged horse world is glorious and the perfect mirror (pun intended) for the children’s hospital.

If you’re a fan of stories like The Secret Garden, then this is a must read.

My favorite line: But there must be more out there. There must be brighter things.”

My favorite visual: All the colors.

Rating: 4 stars

Links: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads

Have you read The Secret Horses of Briar Hill? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

This post contains affiliate links, which means that I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase through the links provided. I never post a link to a product that I haven’t used myself and love!

Book Review

How To Hang A Witch | Review

How To Hang A Witch | Review

How To Hang A Witch is the story of Samantha, aka Sam. Her Dad unexpectedly fell into a coma and the doctors don’t know why, so Sam and her stepmom pack up their New York apartment and move to the historic home in Salem, Massachusetts that was the childhood home of Sam’s Dad. Traumatic enough, right? But once Sam starts school she realizes her last name has weight in this town, and not the good kind. Rumors are started, rocks are thrown and sudden deaths start, well, suddenly happening. And all fingers point to Sam as the cause. Now throw in a dreamy next door neighbor, a ghost and a curse that Sam has to figure out before other people die.

And you thought your high school years were hard, amiright?

highschool

So this book. I looked forward to it for months. It sounded like something right up my alley. I even bought a copy (I usually get my books from my local library). So you can imagine my disappointment when about a third of my way into the book I started to get bored.

Really bored.

bored2

So I trudged along. It wasn’t bad enough to stop reading. The writing was okay (if a little forced) and I knew the plot could end up going somewhere good. I wasn’t really connecting to any of the characters and *reality check here* as someone who had a parent in the hospital when I was a teenager, Sam’s actions surrounding her dad being in the hospital are totally off base IMO. She seems to forget about him unless it’s otherwise convenient. But you know, who can remember that their only living parent is in the hospital when there is a hot boy at school who is actually nice to you and lives across the street? *rant over* Basically, there were parts that felt completely unrealistic to me.

Overall the story was okay. The last bit of the book picked up but there really wasn’t any suspense building up for it and in hindsight I feel like there should have been more shock (on my end) at the big plot twist, but I just didn’t feel much about it. I expected a book that kept me riveted the entire time (a la This Savage Song) and instead I got boring soup. Sorry, just calling it like it is.

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try this book! You may love it. Just because it wasn’t my cup of tea doesn’t mean you won’t like it. In fact, the first person to contact me (via the top of the page) and tell me they want to read this book, I’ll send you my copy of the book so you won’t have to wait for your local library to get a copy or go buy one yourself. Why? Because I want this book to end up with someone who loves it, and not just collecting dust on my shelf.

My favorite line:  “The air’s crisp with the smell of autumn, and the first few leaves have started to change color. The streets have that family-friendly feel. Store windows already have pumpkins and witches’ hats in them.”

My favorite visual: The Descendants and their black clothing.

Rating: 2 stars

Have you read How To Hang A Witch? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

This post contains affiliate links, which means that I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase through the links provided. I never post a link to a product that I haven’t used myself and love!

Book Review

The Unexpected Everything | Review

The Unexpected Everything | Review

The Unexpected Everything is the story of Andie, the teenage daughter of a congressman who is caught up in a scandal that majorly alters Andie’s summer plans. And I means P-L-A-N-S, because Andie plans and preps everything beforehand, leaving absolutely nothing to change. Part of me was horrified about how type-A plan-a-riffic Andie was, but part of me swooned. This gal had escaped routes planned for parties. Someone’s after my Virgo planning heart, y’all.

swoon

So Andie’s plans change and she now finds herself working as a dog walker for the summer. Never mind the fact that she doesn’t own a dog. Or has ever walked a dog. You know, details.

But this dog walking gig is how she meets Clark, who is super dream worthy in all the nerdy right ways. And because Andie is taking risks and getting out of her comfort zone, she’s finding out more about herself and maybe, actually, falling in love. But you gotta read it to know what happens!

love

Overall I loved this story. The beginning took me a while to get into, but I think a lot of that was due to the fact that I tend to read 99.9% fantasy so this was a total off course adventure of my own. I decided to take a chance and it paid off! Also, for me the way Matson writes includes a lot of dialogue that doesn’t necessarily move the story along, it’s more of a fly on the wall type of dialogue and I found some of those parts to be a little boring. But I connected to all the characters and felt like they were well developed and realistic. Even Andie’s father, who at first seems as distant and unreachable as the-planet-once-known-as-Pluto, grows on you as a reader as you start to glimpse a little of the person behind the mask.

The size of the book was daunting at first, but once I got into I realized part of the reason why it’s so large is because of the texting in the book, which takes up a fair amount of space. It is a large book, though, no doubt about that, coming in at just over 500 pages. But it’s an easy, quick read. It’s fairly lighthearted, with some dramatic moments sprinkled in and the perfect book to take with you for a weekend beach trip.

My favorite line:  This part right here:

the unexpected everything

My favorite visual: The emojis.

Rating: 4 stars

 

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Have you read The Unexpected Everything? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

This post contains affiliate links, which means that I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase through the links provided. I never post a link to a product that I haven’t used myself and love!

Book Review

My Lady Jane | Review

My Lady Jane | Review

I’m not sure where to begin to illustrate my happiness with My Lady Jane. First the book itself is gorgeous, with gold foil on the cover, deckled edges and a ferret (!!!) on the book cover spine.

squealing

I had a strong feeling that I’d like My Lady Jane, because I love historical fiction, especially the Tudor era (I suppose I can thank Phillipa Gregory for that). So taking historical fiction and adding a fantasy element and a happy ending? All for it!

My Lady Jane tells the story of Lady Jane Grey, who was queen of England for all of nine days because of the typical manipulations of monarchy.

The interesting part of this book is how not only how it’s written by three authors (which you wouldn’t guess by the prose, btw), but also how the book changes between three points of view, Jane (previously mentioned), Edward (the King) and Gifford (call him G). Those two factors along may worry you into thinking this isn’t a book you want to risk. But believe it, it is. You cannot tell that three authors were involved in the creation of this masterpiece, and the POVs blend seamlessly from one chapter to another. Usually, I hate books with multiple POVs but honestly, I didn’t even noticed it in this book until after the face when I started writing the review, it’s that good.

this is the best

There are two kinds of people in this world, Ethians and Verities. Ethians can shape-shift into animals and Verities are not. Edward is a teenager, a Ethian supporter, and also the king of England. He also happens to be dying. Next in line to the crown is his sister Mary, who is strongly opposed to Ethians and thinks they should be rounded up and burned at the stake. To prevent his sister from destroying the fragile Ethian/Verity peace, King Edward names his cousin and best friend, Jane Grey, as his heir and tells Jane that she is to marry Gifford Dudley, and that the crown will go to the children of Jane and Gifford.

Sounds simple enough. But Jane isn’t to happy about being forced to marry G, who lives among a swirl of rumors that he is well, a lady’s man. She doesn’t think all that highly of him, and would much rather just curl up and read some more books (because Jane is a total book nerd). But they get married anyway and Jane discovers G’s secret.

Overall, the book is hilarious and a super fun, light read. I recommend this to anyone, but especially those that love history and fantasy. I really loved Jane (fellow book nerd and all) and absolutely loved the re-writing of history involved here (sorry, England).

My favorite line:  The dedication:

“Dedication

For everyone who knows there was enough room for Leonardo DiCaprio on that door.

And for England. We’re really sorry for what we’re about to do to your history.”

My favorite visual: I don’t want to spoil too much, but a certain person as a ferret.

Rating: 5 stars

5stars

Have you read My Lady Jane? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

This post contains affiliate links, which means that I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase through the links provided. I never post a link to a product that I haven’t used myself and love!

Book Review

Some Kind of Happiness | Review

Some Kind of Happiness | Review

Just four pages into Some Kind of Happiness and I did something I never do – I updated my Goodreads with a status. It said “I’m on page 4 of 374 of Some Kind of Happiness: Four pages in and I already want to curl up in this book like a blanket. Cozy, lyrical writing that I love.” I was basically feeling like this:

cozy

That was somewhere between 1 and 2pm. I put the book down around dinnertime, to you know, eat dinner. And then I found myself picking it up and reading some more.

And carrying it around with me throughout the house.

And then reading it in bed.

And then staying up way past my bedtime to finish it.

cant stop reading

 

In Some Kind of Happiness, we meet Finley. Finley is every child who deals with depression or anxiety. She is so imaginative, but not everyone sees it. She keeps to herself and writes all the time in her notebook. Her parents are having a hard time, so they send her to stay with her grandparents for the summer while they try to work things out. Her grandparents whom, by the way, she has never met due to some family drama. There are also aunts and lots of cousins. And while this is new and strange, and somewhat overwhelming for Finley, it’s also beautiful because she becomes such great friends with her cousins. That is partly due to the magic of Everwood, Finley’s special world, but partly just because Finley is Finley. Finley also makes some new friends and overall the summer looks promising.

But then (in my opinion) the grandparents make some mistakes. Careless words are thrown around. Finley feels isolated and unwanted, a common issue when dealing with depression or anxiety. Family secrets come out, both new and old, and everything changes. Finley’s secret is also now out in the open.

Basically, this book was glorious. Legrand’s writing is so lyrical that I just got sucked into this place where I was alternating between Finley’s beautiful, magical world she had created, and the harsh realities of being a pre-teen with depression and anxiety, and trying to hide it. It took me back to my childhood and I was awed at Finley and the way she had learned to cope (which frankly, was a much better way than mine).

While reading this book, I wished I could go back in time and give my pre-teen self this book.  My 10 year old self connected to Finley and a part of me screamed out ‘You! You get me! You see me!’. Finley vocalized feelings I had at the same age and it was profound reading those emotions on a page, even twenty years later. Even if I had no personal connection to depression or anxiety, I still think this book would have been very powerful. It addresses something that is so prevalent but isn’t talked about, and to have a beautifully written character who is so relateable is a much needed asset. Kids (and adults) need to know that mental illness is okay. It doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with you. And this book beautifully demonstrates that.

Plot wise, this book is solid. The plot is a stunning tapestry of the golden threads of Finley’s Everwood and the muted colors of her blue days.  The characters are vivid and their voices ring clear. Multiple little subplots make an appearance here and there to make an mess of everything (just like real life).

I wish everyone would read this book. Especially if they struggle with mental illness, or know someone who does. It is such a beautiful glimpse into an anxiety riddled mind that can be so hard to understand (unless you are gifted with one of those anxiety riddled minds yourself). I honestly think this book would help folks understand and related better to friends and family who may be struggling.

In short, if you haven’t read this book, go read it. Now. It’s beautiful.

My favorite line: “I want to ask him about these things, but whenever I imagine doing so, I freeze up. I have always been better at writing things than saying them.”

My favorite visual: Finley’s notebook.

Rating: 5 stars

5stars

 

 

 

 

 

Have you read Some Kind of Happiness? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

This post contains affiliate links, which means that I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase through the links provided. I never post a link to a product that I haven’t used myself and love!