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Book Review

Crooked Kingdom | Review

Crooked Kingdom | Review

So if you haven’t heard, Crooked Kingdom is the follow up sequel to Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. Both books revolve around a gang of teenagers trying to survive rivals and being double-crossed, while also pulling off a giant heist. It kinda reminds me of Ocean’s 11. Just with teenagers and more danger.

This was basically me when I finished Crooked Kingdom.

jaw-drop

 

Crooked Kingdom is good, y’all. Not only does the clifhanger from Six of Crows get resolved (pretty quickly, I might add) but we learn more about each character, watch them learn, grow and start to resolve their personal conflicts. The amount of plot within plot within plot that Bardugo weaves together boggles my mind. I don’t know how she keeps up with it and strings all these pieces together for such a seamless story.

All of that part is fantastic.

What isn’t quite so fantastic is the fact that a good portion of the book moves very. very. slowly.

slow

I felt like the book had fits of start/stop. There would be rapid page turning of fast paced action and then boring filler for chapters. I think part of this was due to the multiple POVs, but there were parts of the book that just felt a little discombobulated. Now these weren’t big parts or major parts, but it happened enough when reading to make me pause a little.

Another thing that made me pause was the constant reference to age. I honestly don’t recall really noticing the gang’s age in Six of Crows (which I just re-read before CK came out). The age factor seemed much more front and center in Crooked Kingdom, and the characters would act like emotionally driven, stereotypical whiny teenagers in one scene, while being levelheaded, emotional mature young adults in the next. It gave me a little whiplash.

I don’t want to get into any spoiler details, but there is something that happens towards the end that didn’t necessarily feel wrong, but it felt rushed. And then the actual ending. It was nice, and it was pretty, but it felt a little forced. However, I do get that this may be intentional, as the two characters I’m referring to here are working through some personal, internal things and are in the process of changing and finding themselves to some degree.

My favorite line: I would have come for you. And if I couldn’t walk, I’d crawl to you, and no matter how broken we were, we’d fight our way out together-knives drawn, pistols blazing. Because that’s what we do. We never stop fighting.

My favorite visual: Jesper’s guns. I always see them so clearly.

Rating: 4 stars

Links: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads

Have you read Crooked 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

Threats of Sky and Sea | Review

Threats of Sky and Sea | Review

I was first drawn to Threats of Sky and Sea for the same reason many of my fellow YA book readers were. The cover design. It’s gorgeous, right? Let’s all swoon.

swoon
Now that that’s out of the way. On to the book.
Threats of Sky and Sea is the story of Breena and her father, who owns the Bridge and Duchess, a tavern. But one day Breena’s fathers past catches up with them and suddenly Breena finds herself going from your average barmaid to being thrown into court life, while her father is imprisoned. Breena finds out that her father isn’t who she thought. Does that means she isn’t who she thought she was, as well?

shock
Despite the betrayal, Breena wastes no time trying to find ways to free her father, while also trying to free herself from the rules and confines of court. Her hatred of corsets and skirts is admirable.
And then Caden enters the picture. He’s a prince. And handsome. You know where this is going.

love
But no worries, because the romance between Breena and Caden isn’t stuffy or cliche, it’s on par with the characters.
I don’t want to give away too much, but the use of elemental magic is interesting, especially the way each kingdom has control over out of the four elements (earth, air, fire, water).
Overall I felt like the writing was solid and the plot was well thought out so it’s wasn’t a roll-your-eyes-seen-it-before-trope.

I received a digital copy of Threats of Sky and Sea from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 4 stars

Have you read Threats of Sky and Sea? 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

Let It Out | Review

Let It Out | Review

Let It Out is a book written by young blogger Katie Dalebout, chronicling her foray into the journaling world and more specifically how she used journaling to heal herself and her life. The book is divided up into useful sections, with the first half being Dalebout’s story and the second half being journal promos and exercises targeting specific goals.

So this book is definitely written for a younger audience (teens to mid twenties). And if I’m honest, the beginning of the book where Dalebout tells her story of how she won a contest with her book idea (yep, this book) comes off as a little naive. I actually had to force myself to read through this and not just put the book down. To me, Dalebout sounds like a young woman who thinks she knows everything, while those older just shake their head, knowing she’ll learn eventually.

But if you can get past the eye rolling, the book does get better as Dalebout goes into tips and techniques for journaling, mediation and general life betterment.

Also for much of the book Dalebout isn’t sharing new ideas or journaling techniques, she’s just summarizing those in other popular self-help books (like The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up) so heads up, if you are a collector of self-help books, you probably won’t learn anything new here.

The summary is useful though, especially the way the tips are organized by category, so this book all in all is a useful reference book for those that have already read through the reference material.

Overall, I think this book would be perfect for someone younger who is going through a hard time and needing a healthy coping mechanism. I also think this book would be wonderful for high school writing classes.

I received a digital copy of Let It Out from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 3 stars

 

Have you read Let It Out? 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!

Book Review

Outrun the Moon | Review

Outrun the Moon | Review

Outrun the Moon has a great synopsis. The tale of a young girl who grew up in San Francisco’s Chinatown who has an adventurous heart and longs for more than what her current situation provides. She uses her intellect and cunning to get a chance at her dream, and then her world comes tumbling down as a massive earthquake strikes San Francisco.

Sounds so amazing, right?

excited2

And it is! Kind of. I’m not sure. For some reason this book and I didn’t completely gel, because the reviews I’ve seen of this book have been amazing. And there were definitely parts that were, but the pacing just felt off to me. The book started out really well and I was instantly drawn in, but once Mercy got into St. Clare’s there seemed to be a lot of stuff happening that wasn’t needed. I mean, when you pick up the book and start reading, you know an earthquake is going to happen because it says so on the book jacket, but I kept reading the book thinking ‘where’s the earthquake?’.

The earthquake doesn’t happen until almost halfway through the book.

bored

So I suppose I just feel like there is a good portion of the first half of the book that just doesn’t need to be there. I also felt like I didn’t connect to many of the characters until the last half of the book, which is where a lot of the character development happens.

Basically, the book lost it’s momentum for me about a third of the way through it, and then gained it back in the last third, which just made the rest of the book overall less enjoyable.

However, now that all of that is out of the way, I really did enjoy Mercy’s spunk and loved her mom with her fortune telling and all the cultural elements that were woven in throughout the book. The characters grew on me as the book went on and I found myself crying along side them. I also really liked how Lee was frank and upfront with the issues Mercy and her friends faced at that time, like the sexism and racism. Overall, I think it’s a great story and obviously well researched with lots of cultural references that honestly made me want to do some research and learning of my own. At the end of the book, Lee does make note of how this is a historical fiction novel, and therefore there are some slight differences between the book and what would have been likely to happen at that time, which is much appreciated.

My favorite line: “It is like the moon. We can see it differently by climbing a mountain, but we cannot outrun it. As it should be.”

My favorite visual: The Floating Island

Rating: 3 stars

 

Have you read Outrun the Moon? 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

A Court of Mist and Fury | Review

A Court of Mist and Fury | Review

My first thought when finishing this book was: I need to read that again. Follow quickly by: Why won’t Goodreads let me rate something with 5 million stars?!?

I just. Ugh. I don’t even know where to start! So many people that I’ve talked to after reading this book feel like they need to re-read it because so much happens in it. I’ve also heard a lot of comments about having a major book hangover that nothing can cure, so just a heads up!

So hopefully you’ve read A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas. If not, go read it. Now. Yes, a quick synopsis is that it’s a re-telling of Beauty and the Beast, but it is so much more than that, especially once you get into A Court of Mist and Fury (ACOMAF from here on out for typing ease).

Feyre grows by leaps and bounds in this book. All the characters do really, but I have so much more love for Feyre now. Without spoiling anything, there’s a huge shift that happens that I don’t think anyone on the face of the planet was expecting but IMO it was so realistic and human and…. perfect. It allowed for so much character growth and plot twists and turns. Feyre really comes into her own in this book.

And the romance level in ACOMAF! Oh man, this book was steamy! Like totally unexpected but very much appreciated.

I really loved this book. Like it shot straight to the #1 spot on my favorite book list. I’m already planning on re-reading it later this summer, along with all of Maas’s work.

My favorite line: “When you spend so long trapped in darkness, Lucien, you find that the darkness begins to stare back.”

My favorite visual: Feyre’s crowns/diadems.

Rating: 5 stars

5stars

Have you read A Court of Mist and Fury? 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

Lady Midnight | Review

Review: Lady Midnight

I’m a huge fan of The Mortal Instruments series, so of course I was super thrilled when I first heard about Lady Midnight. And overall, the book did not disappoint.

It is a pretty big book. Like when I first saw it, my jaw dropped a little. It is 668 pages, after all. I went to Barnes & Noble the day it came out, saw it on the shelves, did a happy dance in my head, picked it up and went…

PumbaJawDrop

Now, I don’t have anything against big books (I digress, but please tell me that I am not the only one that sings Sir Mix-A-Lot to themselves replacing ‘big butts’ with ‘big books’) but I do have a problem with size without substance. Because the first one-half to two-thirds of this book is slow. Molasses slow. I put this book down and started (and finished) other books numerous times with no issue whatever. In the beginning, this book really goes nowhere. I hate to say it, but the start of this book could have easily been condensed. Based on my Goodreads (where I eagerly mark a book as currently reading the day I start reading it), I started Lady Midnight and then stopped it to start reading and finish other books nine times.

Normally, that would mean I would put a book away and stop trying to read it, because it basically came down to Lady Midnight just not reeling me in. But I had heard from others that the beginning of the book was slow, but the ending totally made up for it. So I kept going back to it.

Dutifully. I kept returning and slowly making my way through all 668 pages.

And then around the midway point of the book, the plot really started to pick up. During the last third, I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough, I had to know how the whole thing was going to end.

So heads up, the book does take a bit of time and motivation to get through (especially if you’ve just read A Court of Mist and Fury which is giving everyone a major book hangover) but it is so worth it.

Now on to the characters!

exited

I fell completely in love with Emma. Her bravery and determination shines throughout the book. We know going in that her the death of her parents has shaped who she is, and throughout this book you see her loyalty and fierceness as she protects those she loves. Speaking of love, I thought it was a really interesting twist to show a different layer to parabatai and what that bond means when there is romance involved.

Julian of course steals the show being the artistic soul with the weight of the world on his shoulders. That is, at least until Mark comes along and just wrecks beautiful havoc on everyone’s lives.

There are so many new characters in this book, but they all stand out and have very distinct voices, which I love.

The way the book ends pretty much as people in two camps and personally, I loved the ending. For me, the ending made the stopping and starting and trodding through the beginning of the book entirely worth it. I can’t really say more without giving much away, but I think if you can get through the slowness of the beginning, you’ll love this book. The last half is action packed and full of surprises.

My favorite line: “There was beauty in the idea of freedom, but it was an illusion. Every human heart was chained by love.”

My favorite visual: The fairy steeds.

My rating: 4 stars

 

Have you read Lady Midnight? 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!