Sea Spell by Jennifer Donnelly: A Review

Sea Spell (book 4) by Jennifer Donnelly

My Rating: 4/5 stars

Publisher: Disney Hyperion

Cover Rating: 9/10 it’s gorgeous! One of my favorite things about this series is the covers. They are stunning. The black and white with jacket to give Astrid the look of her personality it’s so well done. Eye catching for sure.

Publish Date: June 14th, 2016

Number of Pages: 357

Received: thrift store buy

Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis:

At the end of Dark Tide, Book 3 in the Waterfire Saga, Astrid leaves her mermaid friends to confront her ancestor, Orfeo, the evil force behind the rise of the monster Abbadon. Orfeo possesses one of the talismans that the merls need in order to keep the monster locked up forever. But without the ability to songcast, how will Astrid be able to defeat the most powerful mage in history? Meanwhile, Serafina and her Black Fins train goblin troops for battle against her uncle Vallerio’s death riders. Will Sera ever see her beloved home–and her beloved Mahdi–again, or will the Volneros take over the mer realms while Orfeo takes on the gods themselves? Nothing less than the fate of the underwater world is at stake in this breathtaking finale.

Opening Sentence: “Manon Laveau, regal on her throne of twining cypress roots, regarded the merman before her.”

Musings:

You know a book is solid when it’s been two years between the time you read one book to the next and your not confused at all when your reading again and being reintroduced into the world. That in itself is an accomplishment. I’m in love with this riveting story about friendship and magic and doing anything to make things right in a time that is going terribly wrong.

What I loved:

The world itself! Jennifer does an amazing job at making you feel like your truly underwater. Her world building is incredible. There is no filler and every detail adds to the story in such a rich way.

The sisterhood! These girls have gone through so much over the course of this series. They’ve had drama between each other, two of them basically acted as enemies for a while, and together they’ve experienced so much loss. Through it all they’ve become so strong together and nothing could tear apart their friendship. They’ve lifted each other up and pushed each other to be the best versions of themselves. It’s such a beautiful thing of hope to see.

These lines:

I love great romance! These lines were so good especially in the deeper context of the rest of the story. Made my chest glow in joy. Had to take pictures and send them to my partner with the excitement I felt reading! I love these storylines!

The romance is there, but not at all central to the plot. The romances in this book are great and lovely, but the focus is centered around the girls friendship and their quest to save their realms from great evil. It makes me smile to see a book that has such a wonderful balance to it like Sea spell does.

The pets! I swear I love a book with pets. Plus, these ones are so unique. For example, the adorable octopus Opie owned by Marcos. I love it so much!

All in all:

I don’t want to be too spoilery in a review on a fourth book in a series. I’m just going to say that I greatly enjoyed Sea Spell. It was truly magical.

About the Author:

Jennifer Donnelly is the author of the adult novels The Tea Rose, The Winter Rose, and The Wild Rose, as well as the young adult novels These Shallow Graves, Revolution, and A Northern Light, winner of Britain’s prestigious Carnegie Medal, the LA Times Book Prize for Young Adult Literature, and a Michael L. Printz Honor Book Award. She lives and writes full-time in Upstate New York. You can visit her at jenniferdonnelly.com or follow @JenWritesBooks on Twitter.

THANK YOU ALL FOR READING! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below! 

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Checkout The Book Raven Poetry Instagramand Twitter

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The Diabolic: A Review

The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid

My Rating: 4/5 stars

Cover Rating: 7.5/10 love the metallic. It’s so shiny and it is a very simple yet beautiful representation of who nemesis is as a Diabolic.

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Publish Date: November 1st, 2016

Number of Pages: 416

Received: Special gift from special person

Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis:

A Diabolic is ruthless. A Diabolic is powerful. A Diabolic has a single task: Kill in order to protect the person you’ve been created for.

Nemesis is a Diabolic, a humanoid teenager created to protect a galactic senator’s daughter, Sidonia. The two have grown up side by side, but are in no way sisters. Nemesis is expected to give her life for Sidonia, and she would do so gladly. She would also take as many lives as necessary to keep Sidonia safe.

When the power-mad Emperor learns Sidonia’s father is participating in a rebellion, he summons Sidonia to the Galactic court. She is to serve as a hostage. Now, there is only one way for Nemesis to protect Sidonia. She must become her. Nemesis travels to the court disguised as Sidonia—a killing machine masquerading in a world of corrupt politicians and two-faced senators’ children. It’s a nest of vipers with threats on every side, but Nemesis must keep her true abilities a secret or risk everything.

As the Empire begins to fracture and rebellion looms closer, Nemesis learns there is something more to her than just deadly force. She finds a humanity truer than what she encounters from most humans. Amidst all the danger, action, and intrigue, her humanity just might be the thing that saves her life—and the empire.

Opening Sentence: “Everyone believed Diabolics were fearless, but in my earliest years, all I knew was fear.”

Musings:

The Diabolic is brutal, full of action, and takes place in an incredibly unique futuristic setting. I enjoyed the entire thing from beginning to end. It’s such a unique and fun story to read.

What I loved:

This line: sorry about the spoiler that this is, but god reading it was so good!!

Nemesis

Nemesis being a general badass. God, I love Nemesis. She’s been through crap. She has one of the hardest pasts I’ve ever read. It’s literally engineered her into being the beast that she is. She’s brutal and unapologetic and unkind (well if you mess with anyone she cares about) and she does what needs to be done. She doesn’t always do the “right thing”, but she does what she knows to be necessary based on who she is as a Diabolic.

Nemesis’s dog. Later on she gets a dog that’s just as beastly as she is and it’s one of the best things I’ve ever read. I love their relationship. It’s the best.

Nemesis learning to accept that she’s an emotional being. For a lot of the book Nemesis is cold. It’s not really her fault it’s pretty much the only way she could ever be as a Diabolic. As the story goes on she realizes she has the capacity to care. Her stepping into being something more then just a Diabolic, but a human being is one of my favorite things. It was so amazing to root for her as she realized she could love for her own choosing and not just who she was programmed to.

The futurism. This book is cool. That’s the only way to properly describe the unique and futuristic elements that make of the world. It’s so expansive and unique. Has it’s own particular politics. It has beauty bots that change people to be however they want to look. As well as inter-planetary travel. Everything is just so cool.

All in all:

This book is a fun read. It’s a blast. The only reason it’s not five stars is because while it’s incredibly entertaining there’s something about it that doesn’t quite make it five star worthy. I loved it though. I’m really happy to have gotten the chance to read it.

About the Author:

S.J. Kincaid originally wanted to be an astronaut, but a dearth of mathematical skills turned her interest to science fiction instead. Her debut novel, Insignia, was shortlisted for the Waterstones prize. Its sequels, Vortex and Catalyst, have received starred reviews from Kirkus Reviews and Booklist. Her next book, The Diabolic, comes out in the Fall of 2016. She’s chronically restless and has lived in California, Alabama, New Hampshire, Oregon, Chicago, and Scotland with no signs of staying in one place anytime soon. Her debut, Insignia, came out in July of 2012, followed by its sequels Vortex and Catalyst. The Diabolic was released in the fall 2016.

THANK YOU ALL FOR READING! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below! 

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Another Week of Write The Story #2

Back in May I bought one of the best purchases I’ve ever made, my Write The Story notebook. Since then, I’ve been off and on with writing in it, but I do my best to write in it as many times as I get the chance to. Here are the next seven stories I got to write:

1. Friends on the town

This is one of the weirdest, funniest (to me anyway), and fun stories I have ever written. It’s ridiculous, but I had fun writing it and that’s all that matters.

2. Today at the Amusement Park

This is another ridiculous story that was crazy fun to write. A hangover-esque scenario at an amusement park kinda made me wish they made another movie set at an amusement park.

3. A Day in the Life (of your average assassin)

Another fun story to write in a different way. You can tell I was really enjoying it because I used every nuke and cranny of space to write it. It was fun to write a character that has a very normal life, but is also an assassin and I want to read a book like this someday. It would be so cool!

4. The Last Moment of Childhood

It’s not that I didn’t like writing this, but it is kinda based off of what my own last moment of childhood was and the lady that told me I looked too old to be trick or treating wasn’t mean about it at all. But, it left me feeling like a kid in a adults body or at least a body much older then my true age and I didn’t like the feeling. It made me feel like I wasn’t allowed to enjoy childish things anymore. So, it’s a sad spot for me.

5. Wrapping Up a Business Trip

This was a story that I wasn’t totally feeling as I was writing it, but the point of this is not just the fun, but a challenge to how creative I can get with a prompt I’m given. I struggled a bit with this and I was just glad to finish it, but I feel I got something decent out of it anyway.

6. A Couple on a Cruise

This one is straight up a romantic fantasy. I wish someone felt this deeply about me. A really cute and well thought out date/outing resulting in a proposal after several years of dating and experiencing falling in love. Being as into that person as I ever was and them feeling the same way. Maybe someday. A girl can dream.

7. Unsolved Mystery

This story made me feel kinda sad to write because it’s kinda how unsolvable murder cases feel like to me. I didn’t even give my fictional victim a name. Which was something I was mindful of while writing, because in a lot of cold cases I feel like the victims do become that way nameless or at least like the name doesn’t matter. Especially when someone’s story gets run a lot. They become known only for having been murdered and it’s like the life they lived no longer matters.

Well… that got a little deep at the end there. Anyway, I’m excited to continue writing in this and see what comes from it.

Thank you all for reading! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below.

-Till next time!

The Warrior Maiden: A Review

The Warrior Maiden by Melanie Dickerson

My Rating: 3/5 Stars!

Cover Rating: 6/10 it is a beautiful cover. I like the balance of it. It fits what the story is as a Mulan retelling.

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Publish Date: February 5th, 2019

Number of Pages: 320 pages

Received: the publisher provided a arc in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis:

From New York Times bestselling author Melanie Dickerson comes a fresh reimagining of the classic Mulan tale.

“When it comes to happily-ever-afters, Melanie Dickerson is the undisputed queen of fairy-tale romance, and all I can say is—long live the queen!” —Julie Lessman, award-winning author

She knows women are expected to marry, cook, and have children, not go to war. Can she manage to stay alive, save her mother, and keep the handsome son of a duke from discovering her secret?

When Mulan takes her father’s place in battle against the besieging Teutonic Knights, she realizes she has been preparing for this journey her whole life—and that her life, and her mother’s, depends on her success. As the adopted daughter of poor parents, Mulan has little power in the world. If she can’t prove herself on the battlefield, she could face death—or, perhaps worse, marriage to the village butcher.

Disguised as a young man, Mulan meets the German duke’s son, Wolfgang, who is determined to save his people even if it means fighting against his own brother. Wolfgang is exasperated by the new soldier who seems to be one step away from disaster at all times—or showing him up in embarrassing ways.

From rivals to reluctant friends, Mulan and Wolfgang begin to share secrets. But war is an uncertain time and dreams can die as quickly as they are born. When Mulan receives word of danger back home, she must make the ultimate choice. Can she be the son her bitter father never had? Or will she become the strong young woman she was created to be?

This fresh reimagining of the classic tale takes us to fifteenth-century Lithuania where both love and war challenge the strongest of hearts.”

Opening Sentence: “Galloping her horse past the big oak tree, Mulan pulled the bow string taut.”

Musings:

I always have and always will have a soft spot in my heart for retellings. The Warrior Maiden is no exception. Something about being in the world of the familiar in a brand new way is awesome to me and I was happy to read this version of Mulan’s familiar tale.

What I Loved:

Mulan’s resourcefulness. I love a character that thinks outside of the box and sees opportunities where others would see blocks. She takes charge and works as hard as any of the men she fights alongside and it shows.

An interesting brotherly dynamic. Wolfgang and his brother are at an opposition. Wolfgang May be younger, but his elder brother is the black sheep of the family. Their shared guilt over a past event affects them both. One far more then the other and it leads the brother down a darker path.

The spirituality. There is a lot of mention of religion in this book and it’s nice to see. It explores sort of how Christianity was in the past and it was unique to think of how it’s changed and remained the same to this day.

What I Wished were different:

The closeness to the original. I felt like this story was a bit too similar to the original Mulan. It was different technically in the setting, but it essentially felt like the same story. It didn’t have enough of a twist to it for me.

Mulan’s and Wolfgang’s back and forth was slightly frustrating. I just wanted them to sit down and communicate clearly to each other how clearly it was they loved each other and they were both so stuck in their own heads that nothing happened most of the time. I think it’s just a personal pet peeve of mine when two people want nothing more then to love and support each other let weird thoughts and fears get in the way. I hate how something small can turn much larger and it prevents action from being taken. It is realistic, but it is frustrating.

No Mushu. This isn’t actually a concern. Having Mushu or some sort of other animal companion is something that makes me happy in general.

All in all:

I enjoyed the story. It had some action, a bit of romance, some lives being saved. It’s a sweet little adventure retelling and it was a very entertaining read.

About the Author:

“Melanie Dickerson is a New York Times bestselling author, a two-time Christy Award finalist, two-time Maggie Award winner, Carol Award winner, two-time winner of the Christian Retailing’s Best award, and her book, The Healer’s Apprentice, won the National Readers Choice Award for Best First Book. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Romance Writers of America (RWA). Melanie earned a bachelors degree in special education of the hearing impaired from The University of Alabama and has worked as a teacher in Georgia, Tennessee, and Ukraine. She lives with her husband and two children in Huntsville, Alabama.”

Thanks to everyone for reading! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below.

-Till next time!

Looking for Alaska: A Review

Looking for Alaska by John Green

My Rating: 5 Stars!

Cover Rating: 6/10 I really like this cover. I like the simplicity of it, but I feel like something different could have been done. It does fit with the story, but I feel like there are elements that could have been played with a lot more.

Publisher: Speak

Publish Date: December 28th, 2006

Number of Pages: 221

Received: from a friend

Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis:

Before. Miles Halter is fascinated by famous last words—and tired of his safe life at home. He leaves for Culver Creek boarding school to seek what the dying poet François Rabelais called “The Great Perhaps.” Much awaits Miles at Culver Creek, including clever, beguiling, and self-destructive Alaska Young, who will pull Miles into her labyrinth and catapult him into the Great Perhaps.

After. Nothing will ever be the same. 

Looking for Alaska brilliantly chronicles the indelible impact one life can have on another. A modern classic, this stunning debut marked #1 bestselling author John Green’s arrival as a groundbreaking new voice in contemporary fiction.

Opening Sentence: “The week before I left my family and Florida and the rest of my minor life to go to boarding school in Alabama, my mother insisted on throwing me a going-away party.”

*Spoiler review*

Musings:

This book feels like an odd one to review, because I loved it yes, but also it became something I could related to on a level that was deeper then most books I have read, but not in a way that makes it one of my all time favorites. More in a way that makes it a book that will always be remembered and a part of my life’s journey.

Some of you know that I’ve just gone through a breakup. When I first started reading this book it reminded me a lot of the person I was with. It was lighter in the beginning, funny, and sometimes serious too.. but that just kinda felt like who we were as a couple. Then, Alaska died and it broke my heart and as I was reading this quite slowly, my boyfriend broke up with me without a word and became as much a ghost as Alaska. It felt so raw to read this story where two guys look for answers for why she died while I looked for answers I would never find for why he left me. Finishing this book felt like saying goodbye to a guy I was convinced I loved and who loved me for good. In a way it’s helped the healing.

What I Loved:

The Humor. The humor in this book was amazing. It had some of the best one-liners I’ve read and some of the situations that arise with all the pranks make for some grade-A comedy. Except where the prank where a lot of Alaska’s books were destroyed.. that was no joking matter….

The important stuff. Even though this book was funny it also talked about heavy topics, Suicide, depression, grief, religion, and philosophical questions. Looking for Alaska is a hard hitter emotionally, but the humor bits break it all up nicely.

Alaska was a raging feminist. Alaska was a storm. That’s for sure. She was beautiful to Miles. She was the mastermind behind the best pranks and some days you’d talk to her and she’d say something cool and sometimes you’d talk to her and she’d make you feel like you’ve entered the loony bin (at least that’s how I felt like reading her conversations).

Takumi Rap GOD. I know that this is a book and it could have been written and rewritten to make it sound amazing, but I like to think that Takumi’s raps just come from a divine being. He’s just blessed to have the words come easy to him. Also in general I really loved this character. He was so cool to read about.

Everyone had their own thing. Each character had their own gift of sorts. Miles with the last words. Takumi with his rap skills. Alaska with her pranks. And so on. It was really cool to read and see everyone had their own thing that made them unique and in turn it made them memorable and they all had their own spotlight in the story.

Looking for Alaska destroyed me. I thought going into the book that it would end a certain way. I was very wrong. But in a way I was angry that Miles fell for Alaska in the first place. She was dating someone else. That should have been enough for him to stay away, but he didn’t and in so many ways Alaska led him on and because of all this her death destroyed Miles and me along with him. This is where the strongest connection with the pain of my break up lies. The looking back. Trying to hold on to beautiful memories. Realizing that it doesn’t matter why, I have no choice, but to let go. I felt all the emotions Miles felt acutely. But I didn’t have the luxury of knowing if all these emotions were just for what I’d lost or partially because of another even more difficult thing with my dad having had a stroke. Either way, this book will always be in my memories as being part of a journey of once beautiful happiness that led up to a lot of hurt.

Final thoughts:

Looking for Alaska is an amazing read that I highly recommend. This review became really personal, but it really couldn’t be helped with how it was read. This wasn’t the story I thought it would be, but I enjoyed it all the more for it.

About the Author

John Green is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Looking for Alaska, An Abundance of Katherines, Paper Towns, The Fault in Our Stars, and Turtles All the Way Down. He is also the coauthor, with David Levithan, of Will Grayson, Will Grayson. He was the 2006 recipient of the Michael L. Printz Award, a 2009 Edgar Award winner, and has twice been a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Green’s books have been published in more than 55 languages and over 24 million copies are in print. John is also an active Twitter user with more than 5.4 million followers.

Thanks for reading! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below.

-Till next time!

Perks of Being A Wallflower: A Review

Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

My Rating: 5 Stars!

Cover Rating: 8/10 weirdly.. I really love this cover. It’s minimalist in a weird almost awkward way, but that really fits Charlie as a person. This cover just makes a lot of sense to me.

Publisher: MTV Books

Publish Date: February 1999

Number of Pages: 213

Received: Ebook gift from Andrew @Groovyglasses

Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis:

“Read the cult-favorite coming of age story that takes a sometimes heartbreaking, often hysterical, and always honest look at high school in all its glory. Also a major motion picture starring Logan Lerman and Emma Watson, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a funny, touching, and haunting modern classic.

The critically acclaimed debut novel from Stephen Chbosky, Perks follows observant “wallflower” Charlie as he charts a course through the strange world between adolescence and adulthood. First dates, family drama, and new friends. Sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Devastating loss, young love, and life on the fringes. Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it, Charlie must learn to navigate those wild and poignant roller-coaster days known as growing up.

A #1 New York Times best seller for more than a year, an American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults (2000) and Best Book for Reluctant Readers (2000), and with millions of copies in print, this novel for teen readers (or “wallflowers” of more-advanced age) will make you laugh, cry, and perhaps feel nostalgic for those moments when you, too, tiptoed onto the dance floor of life.”

Opening Sentence:

” Dear Friend,

I am writing to you because she said you listen and understand and didn’t try to sleep with that person at that party even though you could have.”

Musings:

First of all, I can’t start this review without saying that this book was incredibly special to me. Not just because it was generally a really amazing book, but because it is the love of my life’s absolute favorite. I always wanted to read this book, but I’m really glad to not have had the opportunity till now, because reading it in the way I did felt really special. Discussing it all with him has been one of my favorite things ever.

What I Loved:

Charlie’s depression matches mine. Charlie isn’t suicidal. He is sad and quiet, but also doing his best to “participate”. Which is what I do. The thought spiraling he gets and the break downs and the pretty often bits of crying are all things I have. However, I’m lucky that I have a pretty good handle on it on my own. I haven’t had a major breakdown in a LONG time, but I used to get them more often then I’d like to admit.

How far the Wallflower description goes. Charlie is a Wallflower. He witnesses and he listens. He is ignored even in the most intense of circumstances. There is no other word that fits who he is as a person. However, I also really loved that it’s about the Perks of being a Wallflower, because it shows all that. The way Charlie thinks about a lot of things is SO beautiful. Even when he did something that frustrated me. Still, I appreciated a lot of how he saw the world.

This book is incredibly quotable. The one-liners and the thoughts were so beautiful that you can’t help, but become attached to certain lines.

“It’s strange because sometimes, I read a book, and I think I am the people in the book.”

“I don’t know if you’ve ever felt like that. That you wanted to sleep for a thousand years. Or just not exist. Or just not be aware that you do exist. Or something like that. I think wanting that is very morbid, but I want it when I get like this. That’s why I’m trying not to think. I just want it all to stop spinning.”

“And I thought about how many people have loved those songs. And how many people got through a lot of bad times because of those songs. And how many people enjoyed good times with those songs. And how much those songs really mean. I think it would be great to have written one of those songs. I bet if I wrote one of them, I would be very proud. I hope the people who wrote those songs are happy. I hope they feel it’s enough. I really do because they’ve made me happy. And I’m only one person.”

“please believe that things are good with me, and even when they’re not, they will be soon enough. And i will always believe the same about you.”

“And in that moment, I swear we were infinite.”


Honestly, this whole review could be just a post about my favorite Perks quotes. I adored just how beautifully this book was written.

The format. I had no idea that Perks was written in letter format before I started it. I loved how it felt very journalistic yet at the same time like Charlie is speaking to you. It made the story come together in a really different and really nice way.

Patrick. My favorite character by far was Patrick. He wasn’t the poster child of good behavior, but he was always himself. While reading, I worried about him a few times.. even over-reacted a bit. He was just so himself and funny and just an overall great person. I really liked his personality. I loved that a secondary character felt like they had a genuine personality.

Perks discusses the important things. Family, relationships, unhealthy relationships, friendship, mental health, sexual assault, etc. This book covers a lot of really great topics. It discusses the things many don’t want to talk about and it does it in a very careful and thought-provoking way.

Final thoughts:

If you haven’t read ‘Perks of Being a Wallflower’ I highly recommend you do so. It is well-worth the read. In a lot of ways it felt validating for me as someone who suffers from depression in the way Charlie does. I think that I would recommend it to everyone I know based off of that fact alone. I hope that everyone gives this beautiful little book a chance.

Thanks for reading! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below.

-Till next time!

September TBR 2018

Last month was a fabulous month of reading. I read seven amazing books. So much happened in such a short time and I am so happy about the month ahead! I have a modest Tbr this month, but I know that this is going to be the month that I will be free of my Netgalley TBR!!! I’m so exited!

On to my September tbr!

Currently Reading:

Freshman by Tom Ellen & Lucy Ivison

Uni beckons. Phoebe can’t wait to be a fresher – especially since her crush from school will be there too. She’ll be totally different at Uni: cooler, prettier, smarter … the perfect potential girlfriend. She’ll reinvent herself completely. But Luke’s oblivious, still reeling from the fallout of the break-up with his ex. Thrown head first into a world of new friends, parties and social media disasters – can Phoebe and Luke survive the year, let alone find each other?

I’m almost finished reading this and while at times it is funny and makes me laugh.. it’s not for me.. I don’t really relate to it at all. It’s not my cup of tea, but I’m going to see how it ends.

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

Children can have a cruel, absolute sense of justice. Children can kill a monster and feel quite proud of themselves. A girl can look at her brother and believe they’re destined to be a knight and a bard who battle evil. She can believe she’s found the thing she’s been made for.

Hazel lives with her brother, Ben, in the strange town of Fairfold where humans and fae exist side by side. The faeries’ seemingly harmless magic attracts tourists, but Hazel knows how dangerous they can be, and she knows how to stop them. Or she did, once.

At the center of it all, there is a glass coffin in the woods. It rests right on the ground and in it sleeps a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives. Hazel and Ben were both in love with him as children. The boy has slept there for generations, never waking.

Until one day, he does…

As the world turns upside down, Hazel tries to remember her years pretending to be a knight. But swept up in new love, shifting loyalties, and the fresh sting of betrayal, will it be enough?

I just started this book today and only a few chapters into it, but I already love the dark details of it. It’s a fairy tale with consequences. I was saving this for after I finished my Netgalley reads, but I couldn’t help myself. I’m so grateful to Andrew for sending the ebook for it.

To Be Read:

Fresh Ink by many authors

In partnership with We Need Diverse Books, thirteen of the most recognizable, diverse authors come together in this remarkable YA anthology featuring ten short stories, a graphic short story, and a one-act play from Walter Dean Myers never before in-print.

Careful–you are holding fresh ink. And not hot-off-the-press, still-drying-in-your-hands ink. Instead, you are holding twelve stories with endings that are still being written–whose next chapters are up to you.

Because these stories are meant to be read. And shared.

Thirteen of the most accomplished YA authors deliver a label-defying anthology that includes ten short stories, a graphic novel, and a one-act play. This collection will inspire you to break conventions, bend the rules, and color outside the lines. All you need is fresh ink.

I am so excited to FINALLY read this anthology!! It sounds so beautiful and I can’t wait to read this stories!

See All the Stars by Kit Frick

Part love story, part thriller, We Were Liars meets Goodbye Days in this suspenseful, lyrical debut.

It’s hard to find the truth beneath the lies you tell yourself.

THEN They were four—Bex, Jenni, Ellory, Ret. Electric, headstrong young women; Ellory’s whole solar system.

NOW Ellory is alone, her once inseparable group of friends torn apart by secrets, deception, and a shocking incident that changed their lives forever.

THEN Lazy summer days. A party. A beautiful boy. Ellory met Matthias and fell into the beginning of a spectacular, bright love.

NOW Ellory returns to Pine Brook to navigate senior year after a two-month suspension and summer away—no boyfriend, no friends. No going back. Tormented by some and sought out by others, troubled by a mysterious note-writer who won’t let Ellory forget, and consumed by guilt over her not entirely innocent role in everything and everyone she’s lost, Ellory finds that even in the present, the past is everywhere.

The path forward isn’t a straight line. And moving on will mean sorting the truth from the lies—the lies Ellory has been telling herself.

I have heard some incredible things about this book! I can’t wait to dive in!!! I have a feeling I am going to love it!

After that… it’s whatever I feel like reading.. what a dream! I haven’t been able to just pick up anything on my shelves for so long and I have so many fabulous books to choose from.. maybe I will even re-read something? Who knows!?

Thanks for reading! Let me know what your planning to read next down in the comments below.

-Till next time!

Ash Princess: A Review

Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian

My Rating: 4/5 Stars!

Cover Rating: 6/10 Ash Princess has a really strong cover and it fits the book, but I think it comes off as generic fantasy and I think that somehow that leaked into some of the reviews.. even though this while a fantasy is a story that stands on its own, but I digress.

Publisher: Random House Children’s

Publish Date: April 24th, 2018

Number of Pages: 432 pages

Received: Netgalley provided an e-arc in exchange for an honest review

Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis:

“Theodosia was six when her country was invaded and her mother, the Fire Queen, was murdered before her eyes. On that day, the Kaiser took Theodosia’s family, her land, and her name. Theo was crowned Ash Princess–a title of shame to bear in her new life as a prisoner.

For ten years Theo has been a captive in her own palace. She’s endured the relentless abuse and ridicule of the Kaiser and his court. She is powerless, surviving in her new world only by burying the girl she was deep inside.

Then, one night, the Kaiser forces her to do the unthinkable. With blood on her hands and all hope of reclaiming her throne lost, she realizes that surviving is no longer enough. But she does have a weapon: her mind is sharper than any sword. And power isn’t always won on the battlefield.

For ten years, the Ash Princess has seen her land pillaged and her people enslaved. That all ends here.”

Opening Sentence: “The last person who called me by my true name was my mother, with her dying breath.”

Musings:

Ash Princess is a fantastic fantasy about a girl who lived her life lying low finding her way to claim the title she was born to have. The world of this novel is bleak, but as characters grow and take action, hope is found in bread crumbs.

What I Loved:

Everything seemed bleak. Sometimes in life, shit hits the fan. This book has a lot of that. It’s messy and awful and almost hopeless. There are no holds barred and if this was real I think it would truly have been that way. When rulers take over countries things are awful for the oppressed. The terribleness made the book feel more real.

I didn’t like Theo. Sometimes, it’s not about having a likable character. Theo and the way she handled things was something I didn’t care for, but was I rooting for her? Yes. Right or wrong she did as she felt was best and that is admirable.

Religion. I don’t see it often in fantasy, but there are belief systems in this novel! I think it’s something a lot of fantasy books neglect. Of course people have things they believe in! It added to the authenticity of the narrative.

The little things. There are some small little things like the remembrance of a holiday that create little bright spots in a darker narrative. Even the touches of small actions characters took were lovely.

Attention to detail. There were so many subtleties to the writing that made great impact in how much I enjoyed the narrative. I felt like there was a world outside the palace even when all you got was Theo’s captivity.

Other things:

There is a love triangle in this book. A lot of people hate that. I for one enjoyed how it was done. It’s important to the story.

I’ve seen some weird reviews saying that this is a generic fantasy and it just got me to think about originality. (Especially because I’ve read books this one was compared to). This book 100% stands on its own and is in no way a copy of anything else. However, fantasy tends to read with twin flames and it is the nature of fantasy that it shows the oppressed trying to triumph over that oppression. Fantasy also often talks about the prince or princess, because in all of our hearts those are the stories we wanted to live out. Plus, it can add a political flavor that you can’t writing about other forms of politics in ya. Ash Princess is unapologetically a fantasy.. I see no fault in that.

Final thoughts:

Ash princess will take you away and into another world. It’s about fighting with what you have.. even if it’s only wit and mental strength. Being strong physically and able to fight isn’t the only way to make progress and that’s something to remember.

About the Author:

Laura Sebastian was born and raised in South Florida (the Redlands and Key Largo) and has always loved telling stories–many apologies to her little brother who often got in trouble because of them. No copies of her first book, a Cinderella retelling about angels circa 2nd grade, remain. Thankfully.

After getting her BFA from Savannah College of Art and Design, she moved to New York City thinking that she would stay for a couple of years before going somewhere better suited for a small-town, sun-loving girl. Five years later, she’s still here and madly in love with it.

When Laura isn’t writing, she’s probably reading, baking cookies or cupcakes, buying more clothes than her overstuffed closet can fit, or forcing her lazy dog Neville to take a walk.

Her debut ASH PRINCESS, the start of a YA fantasy trilogy, will be out April  24th, 2018 from Delacorte (Random House).

Thanks for reading! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below.

-Till next time!

The ABC Book Challenge: it’s raining books Hallelujah!

Don’t think I forgot about this.. it’s time to keep this train going!

Memorable Books that Start with the Letter “H”:

Heir of Fire

Celaena has survived deadly contests and shattering heartbreak―but at an unspeakable cost. Now, she must travel to a new land to confront her darkest truth . . . a truth about her heritage that could change her life―and her future―forever. Meanwhile, brutal and monstrous forces are gathering on the horizon, intent on enslaving her world. Will Celaena find the strength to not only fight her inner demons, but to take on the evil that is about to be unleashed?

The bestselling series that has captured readers all over the world reaches new heights in this sequel to the New York Times best-selling Crown of Midnight. Packed with heart-pounding action, fierce new characters, and swoon-worthy romance, this third book will enthrall readers from start to finish.

This isn’t my favorite book in the TOG series, but I did enjoy it. It was set up a lot of the great events in the future. It’s a great novel!

Hunting Prince Dracula

In this New York Times bestselling sequel to Kerri Maniscalco’s haunting #1 debut Stalking Jack the Ripper, bizarre murders are discovered in the castle of Prince Vlad the Impaler, otherwise known as Dracula. Could it be a copycat killer…or has the depraved prince been brought back to life?

Following the grief and horror of her discovery of Jack the Ripper’s true identity, Audrey Rose Wadsworth has no choice but to flee London and its memories. Together with the arrogant yet charming Thomas Cresswell, she journeys to the dark heart of Romania, home to one of Europe’s best schools of forensic medicine…and to another notorious killer, Vlad the Impaler, whose thirst for blood became legend.

But her life’s dream is soon tainted by blood-soaked discoveries in the halls of the school’s forbidding castle, and Audrey Rose is compelled to investigate the strangely familiar murders. What she finds brings all her terrifying fears to life once again.

I love this book! The Stalking Jack the Ripper series is one of my favorites and I can’t recommend it enough! This was a lovely sequel.

Books I Would Love to Read Beginning with “H”:

Hidden Pieces

Embry Woods has secrets. Small ones about her past. Bigger ones about her relationship with town hero Luke and her feelings for someone new. But the biggest secret she carries with her is about what happened that night at the Sea Cliff Inn. The fire. The homeless guy. Everyone thinks Embry is a hero, too, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Embry thinks she’ll have to take the secret to her grave, until she receives an anonymous note—someone else knows the truth. Next comes a series of threatening messages, asking Embry to make impossible choices, forcing her to put her loved ones at risk. Someone is playing a high stakes game where no one in Embry’s life is safe. And their last move…is murder.

I always need a good thriller in my life. I can’t believe it took me so long to get into this genre, but I adore it now!

Hole in the Middle

Morgan Stone was born with a hole in her middle: a perfectly smooth, sealed, fist-sized chunk of nothing near her belly button. After seventeen years of hiding behind lumpy sweaters and a smart mouth, she’s fed up with keeping her secret. On the dance floor one night, she decides to bare all.

At first she feels liberated . . . until a few online photos snowball into a media frenzy. Now Morgan is desperate to return to her own strange version of normal—when only her doctors, her divorced parents, and her best friend, Caro, knew the truth. But tragically Morgan’s newfound openness and Internet celebrity seem to push those closest to her further and further away.

Then a new doctor appears with a boy who may be both Morgan’s cure and her destiny. What happens when you meet the person who is—literally—your perfect match? Is being whole really all it’s cracked up to be?

I love magical realism and this sounds like that to me. It’s weird and strange, but if it was reality what would happen?? Those are the questions that this genre answers and I am all for it!!

Thanks for reading! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below. I would love to hear if you are also participating in this challenge. I missed creating these posts!

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-Till next time!

Black Chuck: A Review

Black Chuck by Regan McDonell

My Rating: 3/5 Stars!

Cover Rating: 6/10! It is a very strong cover! I like how dark it is and the composition of it. It really fits the story. It markets the book for what it is and I really appreciate that!

Publisher: Orca Book Publishers

Publish Date: April 3rd, 2018

Number of Pages: 304

Received: Netgalley provided an e-arc in exchange for an honest review

Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis:

“Psycho. Sick. Dangerous. Réal Dufresne’s reputation precedes him. When the mangled body of his best friend, Shaun, turns up in a field just east of town, tough-as-hell Réal blames himself. But except for the nightmares, all Ré remembers is beating the living crap out of Shaun the night of his death.

Shaun’s girlfriend, sixteen-year-old Evie Hawley, keeps her feelings locked up tight. But now she’s pregnant, and the father of her baby is dead. And when Réal looks to her to atone for his sins, everything goes sideways. Fast.

The tighter Evie and Réal get, the faster things seem to fall apart. And falling in love might just be the card that knocks the whole house down.”

Opening Sentence: “Réal hunched into his old jean jacket, running a cut lip between his teeth and not looking anyone in the eye.”

Musings:

Black Chuck made me feel like I was back watching Until Dawn, but only in a whispering barely there sort of way. Black Chuck is a story all its own and there are times where gross darkness smashes against a bit of hopeful light.

What I Enjoyed:

The dark description. When Real dreams the gross description of him killing and eating his friend. I may not like to watch that stuff happen in movies (I could never bring myself to watch raw or saw (why the names are so similar.. I don’t know) but in a book I don’t mind it at all. I think that the way it was described was in a almost tasteful way it was unsettling, but not overtly Corey. (Why does talking about this make me uncomfortable?)

The idea. The wendigo are creatures that truly fascinate me. Using them in the way this author did was smart. It kept me interested in the story. All I wanted was to see Real transform with that demon taking over him. Seeing a little into what their minds might be like was really creative and cool.

Sunny. I liked this character because she may have been completely flowed and horrible as a person, but it comes from a place that is real and I appreciate that. A lot of her thinking made sense to me even if I didn’t agree with the decisions she made.

Grey morality. The morals in this book were skewed all over the place. In a lot of ways that only added to the atmosphere of the novel. It isn’t really about rooting for the characters more as watching them live and make decisions that they tell themselves is right even when it isn’t. It added to making me feel uncomfortable and I read horror exactly for that dreadful feeling it gives.

What I Wish Was Different:

Evie’s behavior while pregnant. I know that she was thinking of giving up the baby and that it wouldn’t matter what she did, but it made me cringe on the inside with some of the actions she took. I feel like it might have all been part of the horror, but I feel like it took away more then it added.

MAJOR SPOILER AHEAD YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!!!!

The ending. This end was far too positive for my liking. I feel like a lot of what makes a good horror ending was absent. Real didn’t even eat his friend… it would have made a better story if at least someone had. It’s like all the build up and all the amazing horrific description was for naught, because in the end it didn’t matter. It was like giving me a tasty treat and saying sike as it dissolves into salt in my mouth. I just want my horror to give me horror. Let it end in the terrible darkness that began it. Don’t undue the story you have created by giving it an ending like this.

All in All:

Black Chuck is a fun thrill ride. It turns stomachs and creates an atmosphere. It is a diverse horror that I wish lacked the punch I knew it could have given.

About the Author:

Regan studied poetry at the University of Victoria with Patrick Lane and Lorna Crozier, and then promptly put the pen down to pursue a career in textile and graphic design. Now the Creative Director at a Toronto-based marketing agency, Regan spends her days designing apparel for kids, and her nights writing fiction for teens. She has no pets or children, but she does have a bass player, and is auntie, oba, and tädi to four surprising, funny little humans.

She also leaves love letters on subways for strangers to find.

Black Chuck is her first published work.

Thanks for reading! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below!

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-Till next time!