Review: Reign of Shadows by Sophie Jordan

Publication Date: February 9, 2016

Rating: 3.5-stars:  This was a good book. A fun, fast-paced, easy read. I made the mistake of reading some Goodreads reviews before I started it, which I generally try to avoid, and kept waiting for the terribleness to set it. It didn’t for me. I had a great time reading this. Granted I didn’t go into it expecting Pulitzer Prize for Fiction quality so maybe that helped.

This story is a retelling of the fairy tale of Rapunzel. In this very dark world, where an eclipse of the sun has darkened the land for almost two decades, we meet Luna, now 17-years old, having lived in the tower since the day of her birth. She is sweet and innocent and obviously dreams of the world outside her tower walls. There is a boy, Fowler, who ends up at the tower and yes, there is instalove on her part. In some reviews people were quite negative on the instalove but I say in this case, it actually kind of works. I mean, the girl has legit been locked in a tower her entire life with only the two adults who have raised her for human interaction. I do not find it surprising or cliche that when a young man her age finally comes into her life she would be instantly attached to him. I mean, when I was 17, I could see a guy for 2-minutes and be smitten and I certainly didn’t grow up in a tower.

The action really picks up when Luna and Fowler are forced to leave the tower and try to make their way to the island of Allu where they anticipate safety. This world is really scary, dangerous and literally dark so they come to rely on one another and over their long journey do grow to love one another. The book left off on an amazing cliff hanger and I am excited to start the second book.

So, in conclusion (hehehe), was this book perfect? No. Were there parts I rolled my eyes at slightly or noted that the author had used the same exact phrasing in previous paragraphs? Sure. Did I have a heck of good time reading it? Yes.
If you are looking for a dark fairy tale retelling that you can read quickly and just forget about life for a while, I would definitely recommend this book!

Review: Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

Publication date: February 7, 2017

Stunning – 5-stars – I loved this book.

For pretty much the entire book I was thinking I would be giving this one a 4-stars (which is a great rating, it means, I really liked a book) but then I reached the last portion of the story and it stripped my breath from me. So enchanting, so beautiful, so heartbreaking. I will admit that the first 50 to 70 pages of the book, I really wasn’t sure what to think; if I liked it, didn’t like it, what was going on, how the heck do I pronounce these names…but eventually, with a little patience, it started to weave together the most intricate, spellbinding story of forbidden love I have ever read. Perhaps it makes sense to view it as a musical composition, timid at first as the story begins to unfold, solid and constant through the middle then a crescendo as we rush towards our ultimate conclusion.

I do not read a lot of books with a strong romance element, and this story is definitely all about the romance, but this one touched me deeply. I was surprised by how quickly it turned steamy actually and believe I even blushed once or twice! The love between Elisabeth and her Goblin King is somehow fractious, violent and childish all at the same time. Their connection is so tangible, I felt it in my heart; the ups and downs of their lustful and rough coming together. The musical elements of the story were beautiful – they bring it alive – if this were to be turned into a movie, I believe it would have an absolutely revolutionary soundtrack! Overall, I felt drawn into the story, slowly but surely and once I was in, I was in, entire. I cannot wait to read the next book of the series which is titled Shadowsong and was released on February 6, 2018. I actually received a free copy of Shadowsong from the publisher in exchange for an honest review – so, time to get start!

Happy reading bookworms!

Review: Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

Yesterday I finished up listening to the audiobook of Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire.  This book is the first of The Wayward Children series – the 3rd book, Beneath the Sugar Sky, was just released on January 9th so there has been a lot of buzz on bookish media outlets regarding this series. After listening to a few different booktubers proclaim their love of these books, and their excitement for the final book, I knew I needed to check it out for myself! (and I’m glad I did)

I decided to give this 3.5-stars but rounded up to 4 on Goodreads because for me it was closer to a 4-star than a 3-star read. My favorite aspect of the book was the incredibly bizarre cast of well-drawn characters. This is definitely a character piece. The setting for the book is Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children.  Magical and dark, I loved hearing the different stories of each character’s times and travels prior to moving to the Home. There is a lot of great rep in this book and it just seems like a fun and comforting story for any young person who has ever felt misunderstood (which is probably all of us!).

I will continue with the series, as from what I have read, the books get better and better. I definitely enjoyed the author’s style, there just wasn’t as much action as I normally enjoy.

Cheers to the weekend everyone – this week has been exhausting! So ready for a book-filled next few days. What’s everyone reading this weekend?

Review: Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh

Expected Publication: January 23, 2018

Oh my goodness did I love this book! I just finished my e-ARC this morning and am so excited about the fact that I have already completed one book this year that is an early contender for ‘my favorite book of 2018’! Reign follows the story of a strong, independent female protagonist named Odessa who is a master necromancer in the kingdom of Karthia.

This books starts out quickly and in my opinion really never lets up. I read it so fast, racing to the conclusion – throughout the course of the story my pulse was raised many times, my heart crushed and my spirits soared over a full range of emotions. The magic system is very cool – I loved the necromancers, healers, beast masters, royals, etc. – and the world creation was vivid and believable. The characters were very likable (I have a few different faves) and the Shades (the monsters of our tale) scary enough to keep you glued to the pages. I would recommend this book all day long to anyone who loves YA fantasy and look forward to seeing what new horizons will await us in Book 2!!! A big thank you to the publisher, Razorbill, for giving me the opportunity to read this book early!

Has anyone else finished any fabulous new books this year? I have a strong feeling 2018 will be a great year in all things book!

Happy reading friends  : )

*Please note, I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Review: The Hearts We Sold

Happy Monday bookworms! I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend – it is always a little sad to head off to work on a Monday morning – back to the grind! I had a great bookish weekend – I finished up three books, organized my living room bookshelves and started two new books! For new books, I started The Rules of Magic, by Alice Hoffman (the prequel book to Practical Magic) and The Echo Killing, by Christi Daugherty, which is an e-ARC I received from the publisher, Minotaur Books, in exchange for an honest review.

Today I wanted to review The Hearts We Sold which is one of the books that I finished up this weekend.  The author for this book is Emily Lloyd-Jones and I received this book as part of one of my OwlCrate boxes. If you have never heard of OwlCrate, it is a YA book subscription box that you receive monthly that has one new release hardcover YA book along with a host of other bookish goodies and merch. It is a super fun way to bring new, surprise books into your life every month!

Okay, so back to THWS, this book surprised me! It is a very fun, quick YA fantasy book set in an ‘our world’ Portland, Oregon, where demons have shown themselves to exist and now make ‘deals’ with humans for a variety of different purposes. I really enjoyed the main character, Dee, who had some struggles but was on the way to finding her freedom and herself. She feels compelled to make a deal with a Daemon and trades away her heart – hence becoming one of the ‘heartless’.

My favorite character was her roommate, Gremma, who I could totally relate to and who added a bit of humor to the sometimes dark and desperate storyline. I found this book to be fast-paced with some interesting fantasy/science fiction elements weaved nicely into the plot. I would recommend this to anyone just looking to forget about life for a while and have a fun time doing so. Below is a passage from the book that I think sums up the mood of the story nicely:

“She had walked willingly into a fairy tale, into a world where she could trade her heart for her freedom. She may as well have donned a red cloak and strode into a darkened forest.
She had always known there would be wolves.
I chose this.”

Do you read YA fantasy books? If so, what are some that you would recommend? I would love to hear!

Happy Reading!

Review: Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices #1)

Happy Sunday book loves! I hope everyone has been having a productive, yet relaxing, weekend! I have finished two books so far this weekend -the first being, Clockwork Angel, by Cassandra Clare. This is the first book in The Infernal Devices series originally published in August of 2010.

I was taken aback by how much I loved this book. I have never read any books by Cassandra Clare but after hearing of her everywhere I turned (GR, Bookstagram and Booktube) I decided I needed to try one out for myself. I chose to begin with this series, the prequel to her super popular Mortal Instruments series, because I tend to gravitate towards anything set in Victorian London – a setting I absolutely prefer to urban fantasy (I believe Mortal Instruments could be classified as an urban fantasy). I was immediately swept up into the world of Shadowhunters & Downworlders!  Truthfully, in the beginning I was apprehensive about being able to follow it all (she has created quite the world here) but once the story got into a groove I didn’t find that to be a problem. I got way more wrapped up in the characters than I anticipated and have already bought the box set because I know I could read this whole series again (one of my parameters for judging fiction as 5-stars is if I would ever read it again). I am so excited to get going with the second book….I just need it to arrive! So glad I finally decided to give this one a go!
Have you ever been surprised by how much you enjoyed a book? If so, what was is? I would love to hear!
Happy reading!

Status Update: Reign of the Fallen

Expected Publication Date: January 23, 2018

I started reading my e-ARC copy of Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh on Sunday….I am already 40% through it and that is while reading 6 other books and working full time!  I am loving this one – I want to be reading it all the time, I cannot put it down! Firstly, a big thank you to the publisher, Razorbill (Penguin Group – Penguin Young Readers Group) for providing me with an early copy. This could be up there in the running as one of my top books of 2018!

Reign of the Fallen is a YA Fantasy book with a female protagonist who is a master necromancer in her city. I am totally engrossed in the magic system of this book – I love the necromancers, the healers, the royalty, the shades, the deadlands…..I could go on and on. The characters are very likable – I have had my pulse raised, my heart crushed, my spirits soaring in anticipation….do yourself a favor, if you like YA, get yourself a copy of this book.  I know I will be buying a hard copy once it is released….I mean, look at the cover and with a story this intriguing, I will definitely want to read it again!

Happy Reading Lovies!

Review: A Whole New World by Liz Braswell

This weekend I finished up with a few books, one of them being A Whole New World by Liz Braswell.  This is the first book in the Disney Press Twisted Tales series. I would give this 3.5 stars as I definitely liked it but it didn’t really blow me away.

The first part of the book is written exactly like the beginning of the movie, Aladdin – even some of the dialogue is exact. In this story however, Aladdin doesn’t awaken the genie, Jaraf does. The consequences of that, as you can imagine, are not good. The second half really picks up with Aladdin, Jasmine and friends teaming up to defeat Jafar and free Agrabah from his demonic rule (which includes an army of the dead). In parts it was a bit too simplistic for my tastes but there was a lot of action and overall it was a quick, fun read!

The second book in the series is, Once Upon a Dream, which is a retelling of Sleeping Beauty – the tagline for this one is, “what if Sleeping Beauty never woke up?”  I own this one as well so plan to read it in the Spring.  I love retellings and these ones are interesting as they just change one of the details (albeit an important detail in each one) and go from there – it’s amazing how much one action or decision can change a whole sequence of events that follow it.

Do you enjoy retellings? Which are your favorites?

Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

I went into this book with all sorts of assumptions. Well, you know what they say about those. I learned about this book (and the author) through the bookstagram community on Instagram. I was seeing it everywhere! Finally, I caved. I bought my very own copy of the book and began to read it pretty much right away once I received it. By the time I was 100 pages in, I had ordered the next two books in the series.

The protagonist, Celaena Sardothien, is an 18-year old assassin. Sure, we don’t have much in common but I love her. I find her very relatable and the whole time I am just cheering for her to succeed. There is fabulous world building in this book and the cast of characters if vivid with plenty of people to love and people to hate.

Celaena is tossed into a competition where she is up against some of the strongest, most dangerous men in all the land. She certainly holds her own and then some. I love when there are competitions in books – to me, it speeds up the pace and provides a whole Team Us versus Team Them atmosphere. There are also mystical elements to this book that were very well done.

I am very excited to move on with this series and so happy that ‘bookstagram made me buy it!’

The Glory of The Hunger Games

Happy Friyay Bookstaverse!!!  I recently began a reread of The Hunger Games.  By this point, pretty much the entire globe has either read the books, watched the movies, or both.  I read the series for the first time not long after it was published and really enjoyed all of the movies.  By far one of the best adaptations from book-to-screen for a series I have ever seen.

I wanted to reread them in order to refresh my memory as to how close the movies actually are to the books.  I am about a quarter of the way into the first book and it is blowing my mind all over again!  The introduction to the country of Panem, the way it is all controlled by the capital and meeting our kickass warrior princess, Katniss Everdeen (that’s how I think of her anyway) – it is just a delicious reading experience.  I think we all take for granted now how cutting edge this story truly was when it was published in 2008.  It was unique and grabbed people’s hearts and minds, young and old alike.

My favorite aspect of the stories is the competition.  I love stories that have some sort of competition (hency why Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is my favorite in the series); newer examples of this would be Throne of Glass or Warcross.  There is something about it that just makes a story seem that much more harrowing; your favorite hero or heroine on the brink of losing or worse losing their lives in some sort of action-packed death match!

One thing I had forgotten since my first read was the strain in the relationship between Peeta and Katniss going into the Games.  I had forgotten they were not really friends in the beginning and that Katniss feared early on that Peeta had betrayed her to the career tributes.  Reading it again, all I can picture is Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson (and of course Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson and Elizabeth Banks) – they did a really exceptional job casting the movies.

What are your favorite book-to-screen adaptations? I’d love to hear if you thought that they did The Hunger Games well or did you expect more?