Six of Crows & Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
Catwoman by Sarah J. Maas
Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Manis Calco
Foolish Hearts & Famous in a Small Town by Emma Mills
It Ends with Us & Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover
The Diviners, Lair of Dreams & Before the Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray
An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson
Yes. It's a lot of books, but not a lot of books when you think of the time period I've read them over. This is between August and January, you guys (with a few books I'm going to try my hardest to give full reviews to in-between. Those include: Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas, Queen of Air & Darkness by Cassandra Clare & Wicked King by Holly Black.) I really haven't been reading all that much lately. Not because I don't want to, but because my life has been crowded in every sense imaginable. Here's me making an effort to get back on things. (I did just read two books in the span of the last day, so that seems rather promising.)
WARNING It's been a very long time since I've read some of these, and I did not take excellent notes so.... These may not be the most passionate reviews. I apologize.
Here we go.
Here's a novel I've heard SO much about and yet have waited about an era to actually get around to reading it. It's been a while since I read it, so here's the lasting impressions it left on me. I am not enamored with it, but I don't have a strong dislike either. Basically what I'm trying to say is this book didn't push me to passion on either side of the passion spectrum, but I remember enjoying it. I think there were some times that felt a bit slow and some characters that I felt very eh about (who I will not name for fear of starting a riot against me) but overallI I really enjoyed the novel, with its complex cast of characters and thrilling heist plot line along with ALL the twists and turns along the way.
My favorite characters by far are and will forever be Kaz and Inej. I love both their relationship and them in general. I love how ruthless and cunning Kaz is, he's really everything I could want in a protagonist. And Inej is just all the way around awesome. She's clever, talented and yet she has morals. I love Inej's effect on Kaz, their relationship is gold and I LOVE how Kaz gets when Inej is in danger. And by relationship, y'all, I don't necessarily mean romantic, just how they interact with each other.
I also really enjoyed the brutality of this novel, like things got very violent and intense sometimes and it was SO MUCH FUN! (Also shocking reveals as to how FAR these characters will go to get what they want.) As was the relationship dynamics with different members of the group with each other. Nina and Inej was especially nice since they were friends, not catty rivals. Oh, also I loved the mistrust between Nina and Mattias.
All together, Six of Crows was a really fun novel and if you like a. fantasy b. heists c. a diverse cast of complex characters you'll spend the whole novel trying to figure out, you'll definitely enjoy this one. Though it had a bit of a slow start, trust me, it catches up very quickly. And then you'll be sprinting through the novel.
Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price–and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…
A convict with a thirst for revenge.
A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.
A runaway with a privileged past.
A spy known as the Wraith.
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.
A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.
Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.
WARNING. DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVE NOT READ SIX OF CROWS YET.
This novel is everything you will have wanted after reading Six of Crows. More careful, cunning planning. More blossoming relationships. Higher Stakes. Kaz. Inej. Like I said, everything you could want, and more haha.
I'm not kidding when I say I'm obsessed with Kaz and Inej. Seriously, I lived for their moments together in the novel. It's such a strange dynamic between them, and I really enjoyed seeing where it went. Inej is the only one who Kaz really trusts and AH. I love them.
I seriously have no other notes on this novel other than stuff about Inej and Kaz, so I'll just leave it at I really had a lot of fun reading this. I tore through it so quickly, I almost regret how fast this series went by for me. 8/10. If you read the first book and liked it, definitely pick this one up.
Welcome to the world of the Grisha.
Kaz Brekker and his crew of deadly outcasts have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn't think they'd survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they're right back to fighting for their lives.
Double-crossed and badly weakened, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz's cunning and test the team's fragile loyalties.
A war will be waged on the city's dark and twisting streets - a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of the Grisha world.
Little upset that Kaz and Inej didn't end up together definitely but I LOVED their interactions. He bought her freedom. That's literally the cutest thing ever, and then she threatened Pekka for him. If that isn't true love, what is? Aha.
I was a little hesitant getting into this book after reading Wonder Woman. Yes, Leigh Bardugo is a fantastic writer (if you didn't notice from my above reviews about her books). It wasn't the writing or even really the plot of the novel that irked me about Wonder Woman, it was that this story was not one that I wanted my beloved character of Wonder Woman in. If the novel had been about a differently named person, I'd have probably liked it more. Basically what I'm saying is that I've been staying away from these YA adaptions of my beloved comics because I have a bias against them that I just can't get over.
But this is a Sarah J Maas books! And I adore Sarah and need to support everything she does. Plus they were giving away free popsockets for everyone who preorders this, so of course I preordered it. And boy, am I glad about those popsockets, because without them I probably would've missed out on a phenomenal novel.
Yes, I LOVED CATWOMAN. I was especially hesitant about this because she's not with Batman, and Catwoman and Batman are a ship (another reason I didn't read the Batman novel, I love Marie Lu but I don't wanna see him with some random, made up girl... It's really my biases that would ruin these novels for me, and I feel bad about it, but can't change it.) Yet, I jumped on board the Nightwing x Catwoman train very, very quickly. Like wow, I love their dynamic, and I love that they're attracted to each other in both their normal selves and alter egos. I loved the backstory given to both characters and well, what didn't I love about this novel? haha. Sarah has yet to truly disappoint me (and somehow I doubt she ever will?). The dynamic between Holly and Luke was fun, the sexual tension pretty palpable, but I think the more fun dynamic had to be between Catwoman and Nightwing. (Aka their supervillain/hero names). Because yeah, the sexual tension is also there, but they also are enemies so...? Basically all this mixes together to become a whole lot of fun.
Selina was depicted perfectly. Playful, confidant, clever and cunning. I couldn't dislike anything about her. She was perfect. I'm so sorry, I'm using perfect too much in this review, but I really can't help it. She's smart, has an extremely compelling backstory and a mission she's determined to complete. I'm lowkey in love with how she was written.
Not only that, but I love the team up between her, Poison Ivy and Harley. Maas depicted Harley's tender balance of lunacy and sanity (trigger word) perfectly. And their dynamic and relationship of distrust yet friendship with each other was a whole lot of fun, as were their heists together.
If you feel hesitation towards these novels as I do, I would still strongly encourage you to read this one, it is so worth it-- even if you don't get a free popsocket out of it. But if you know nothing about superhero things, you can and still will REALLY love this novel! I promise. 8.8/10 stars.
When the Bat's away, the Cat will play. It's time to see how many lives this cat really has. . . .
Two years after escaping Gotham City's slums, Selina Kyle returns as the mysterious and wealthy Holly Vanderhees. She quickly discovers that with Batman off on a vital mission, Batwing is left to hold back the tide of notorious criminals. Gotham City is ripe for the taking.
Meanwhile, Luke Fox wants to prove he has what it takes to help people in his role as Batwing. He targets a new thief on the prowl who seems cleverer than most. She has teamed up with Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn, and together they are wreaking havoc. This Catwoman may be Batwing's undoing.
By now just about everyone has heard about Crazy Rich Asians because of its hit movie of the same name featuring one of the first big Hollywood prominently Asian casts.
Yet, the common person did not know it was based off a book. I'll admit, I didn't know until I looked the book up after seeing the trailer. Of course, as a bookie, I instantly ordered the book and swore to read it before seeing the movie.
From the trailer, I was expecting very light and cheery writing-- like a rom-com book. The movie turned the story more rom-com, while the book is more of a satire with romance, but less stress on it. The humor in the story is a little more obscure, but just as much fun when (or if) you pick up on it. The writing of the book is distinctly more serious feeling than I was expecting going in. Then again, what is it I'm always saying? That expectations can ruin books?
However, I did end up quite enjoying that the book wasn't just a rom-com. No, instead it follows the whole family of the crazy rich asians, getting perspectives from many, mother, cousins, basically everyone. It was really cool and interesting to hear the history, the family ties between all of these closely knit people and to see the dynamics of their relationships. Kwan really paints a dazzling world with his writing, though sometimes the plot felt a bit weighed down by the amount of set up needed.
I ultimately was very happy that I read the book before the movie, because the book reaches depths and complexity for all the characters that couldn't be covered in the movie. They completely changed Astrid's storyline in the movie, and all the other cousins were more side thoughts, while in the book people like Eddie and Bernard and even Colin (I'm aware some of them aren't cousins, it's just easier to say cousins than to say cousins and others) were well rounded characters who you really felt like you got to know. (Which is why it was all the more satisfying when Fiona stood up to her husband.) Astrid especially was cheated out of her story in the movie, in the book she is almost one of the main characters with the complexity of her storyline and past.
I'd give this book 6.5/10 stars. It was interesting, and a fun read at times, but sometimes I felt like I was dragging my feet through scenes. If you want to catch more of the subtle hints that allude to more in the movie though, or you just want to read this novel, by all means, try it! :
When Rachel Chu agrees to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, she envisions a humble family home, long drives to explore the island, and quality time with the man she might one day marry. What she doesn't know is that Nick's family home happens to look like a palace, that she'll ride in more private planes than cars, and that with one of Asia's most eligible bachelors on her arm, Rachel might as well have a target on her back.
Initiated into a world of dynastic splendor beyond imagination, Rachel meets Astrid, the It Girl of Singapore society; Eddie, whose family practically lives in the pages of the Hong Kong socialite magazines; and Eleanor, Nick's formidable mother, a woman who has very strong feelings about who her son should--and should not--marry.
This book is still a conundrum for me. I can't get a strong grasp of how I feel about it, even know looking back. I liked it enough to buy the next two books as soon as I finished, but I still haven't actually read them. (Secret: I started the second one, but still haven't finished because then Kingdom of Ash came out and then felt no inspiration to pick it back up.)
I had a like/dislike relationship with our protagonist, Audrey Rose. She was too perfect for me to really love her as a protagonist. It's like the author looked at everything that made protagonists interesting and shoved them all together. She's a strong female in the late 1800s, which don't get me wrong, I appreciate, but she was made to be too perfect that it was irritating and at times seemed very try hard in trying to please the eye of the modern audience instead of just being a strong character.
Then there's Thomas and I cannot get a read on this dude. At times he's that stereotypical cocky bad boy with a heart of gold (a stereotype that I will admit I love) and other times he's a very awkward boy who's bad in social situations. It confuses me and I have difficulty putting his two personalities together in my head. Then again, I did enjoy the novel a whole lot more and felt more interested when Thomas was around, so maybe his split personality okay?
The romance was entirely too rushed for my taste. We all know how much I hate that. I have a deeper appreciation for the slow burn or at least not falling in love like the snap of a finger. Then again, the whole novel felt very fast paced, and sometimes rushed.
It's a bit of a mystery story, as you're trying to figure out who Jack the Ripper is. It was fun to try and figure it out with all the clues dropped, yet I have to admit even with all the red herrings, I guessed basically from the get-go who the killer was. It was literally my first note written, and I was very satisfied to know I was right, haha. One day I'll get to the next book, but at the moment I don't plan on picking it up anytime soon due to my misgivings about the main characters and structure of the plot. I have bought the next two books though, so I gotta read them at some point. (Forgot to mention, I do love the setting of 1800s London, though.)
6.5/10 stars. I literally had to set this book down and take breaks while reading because of the points made above. It was interesting, but all together not enthralling.
Presented by James Patterson's new children's imprint, this deliciously creepy horror novel has a storyline inspired by the Ripper murders and an unexpected, blood-chilling conclusion...
Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord's daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.
Against her stern father's wishes and society's expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle's laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.
The story's shocking twists and turns, augmented with real, sinister period photos, will make this dazzling, #1 New York Times bestselling debut from author Kerri Maniscalco impossible to forget.
It's been established again and again that Emma Mills writes a phenomenal contemporary novel. Despite its not exactly attractive cover, Foolish Hearts has everything you think you need and more. Like all of Mills' novels, it doesn't solely concentrate on the romance (which would be fine too, since her romances are so CUTE), she elevates the novel by including compelling, very realistic relationships like friendships or family connection.
Mills always comes up with unique, kind of strange ideas for her novels, yet they always emerge as masterpieces, and this book is no different.
The main character, as usual, is very relatable and affable. I've noticed a recurring theme in Mills' novels is that the protagonist is always very oblivious to when someone likes her, and Claudia is no different. She's very likable though, and when you find out why she thinks that this guy doesn't like her, it made me a little emotional. AKA little teary. Like wow, I don't usually cry during books, especially considering this isn't a sad book at all, yet I did get a little teary at times during the novel, just because of the depth that Mills took with some of her characters. But if you're getting hesitant because you think this will be a sad book, it's not! Like all of Mills' novels, it's the epitome of CUTE. 8/10 stars. If you like cute contemporary romances, pick this one up! And if you haven't read any of Emma Mills' books, you're missing out. Read them all! Haha.
A contemporary novel about a girl whose high school production of A Midsummer Night's Dream leads her to new friends—and maybe even new love.
The day of the last party of the summer, Claudia overhears a conversation she wasn't supposed to. Now on the wrong side of one of the meanest girls in school, Claudia doesn't know what to expect when the two are paired up to write a paper—let alone when they're both forced to try out for the school production of A Midsummer Night's Dream.
But mandatory participation has its upsides—namely, an unexpected friendship, a boy band obsession, and a guy with the best dimpled smile Claudia's ever seen. As Claudia's world starts to expand, she finds that maybe there are some things worth sticking her neck out for.
I actually just read this book this morning, so it's on the front of my mind. (Yes, these reviews are not totally in the order that I read them.) Like all of Mills' novels, this one was heartfelt, cute and funny. It had a cute romance, but more importantly, it had some very compelling and complex relationships between other characters like friendships and siblinghood. (I don't think siblinghood is a word?) As I've said before, Mills really elevates her novels by not just putting romance in them, the deep relationships between other characters are what make her books so amazing and stand out from the crowd of other romances.
Brit and Sophie's friendship was particularly compelling, as they're polar opposites but they have such a deep appreciation for each other, and will stick by and protect the other no matter what.
I did really enjoy Sophie's love interest, August as well. He's funny, willing to turn basically everything into a joke, and very charismatic. I loved his and Sophie's banter.
I related to a lot in the book, especially the small town aspect. I live in a town so small that it can't even be called a town. It's a "borough." So the whole everyone knows everyone and everyone has to be involved in everything aspect particularly spoke to me. And the no new romance things? YES. It's such a mood.
Like all of Emma Mills' novels, the plot line is far from stereotypical, which really adds to the whole realness feel of it. Though, I think that it would have been better suited for a different title because you'd think one of the main characters is famous from the title, but none of them are. The famous person isn't even really in the actual book.
Like foolish hearts, I shockingly found myself shedding some tears. Not because the novel is sad, because it really isn't, but because of how much this story spoke to me. I really relate to Sophie's innate need to try and make sure everyone she loves is happy and then the whole thing with her sister... Wow. My life definitely doesn't follow Sophie's directly, but there are elements of her and her life that speak to things with me, so yes, I found my eyes very watery at moments. Which is strange and a bit annoying because I don't usually cry in novels, not even when my beloveds die, but somehow this one spoke to the depths of my soul, haha.
Despite that, this is probably my least favorite of Mills' novels. I still love it, a lot, but I just love the others more. I wanted a bit more of a climax to the romance plot line, and there was just something about it that made it falter next to its companions. Still, a very fun, cutsy and REAL novel. I highly recommend as I do all of Mills' books. 7/10 stars.
For Sophie, small-town life has never felt small. She has the Yum Yum Shoppe, with its famous fourteen flavors of ice cream; her beloved marching band, the pride and joy of Acadia High (even if the football team disagrees); and her four best friends, loving and infuriating, wonderfully weird and all she could ever ask for.
Then August moves in next door. A quiet guy with a magnetic smile, August seems determined to keep everyone at arm's length. Sophie in particular.
Country stars, revenge plots, and a few fake kisses (along with some excellent real ones) await Sophie in this hilarious, heartfelt story.