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.
I'd heard so much about Colleen Hoover's books, a lot of people whose opinions I trust have rated these books 1000000/10. She's basically a legend when it comes to romance novels, so I finally decided to pick up one of her books to see what I thought.
I really enjoyed this book, but it was not what I thought it would be. Can I tell you what it was? No. The best advice I can give you is to just pick this book up without knowing anything about it, because if you read the synopsis, you'll just be mislead and be expecting something completely different. (Like I did).
I know, it's so annoying how much mystery I'm leaving here, but trust me, you don't want to know the point of this book. All I can tell you is that it takes place in a contemporary setting and has some romance in it. This is an adult/ new adult novel, so if you're younger, maybe not the book for you? Then again, I was reading this kind of thing fairly early and watching things like the Vampire Diaries and Gossip Girl in 3rd Grade, so maybe I'm not the best person to give advice on the whole age thing. This book presents a very important message, and I think it is definitely a must read, if solely for that message. 7/10 stars. Sure, it most certainly wouldn't be something I'd pick up if I knew its secret, but once I read it, I was glad I did so.
Hoover creates some pretty great characters and an interesting story in her novel. It's been a while since I read the book, but I remember appreciating its cast and story. Ugh. I'm sorry I can't tell you what the THING is, just read it!
I'd recommend just reading the novel without reading this, but here's the synopsis if you're interested:
Sometimes it is the one who loves you who hurts you the most.
Lily hasn’t always had it easy, but that’s never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She’s come a long way from the small town in Maine where she grew up
— she graduated from college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. So when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid, everything in Lily’s life suddenly seems almost too good to be true.
Ryle is assertive, stubborn, maybe even a little arrogant. He’s also sensitive, brilliant, and has a total soft spot for Lily. And the way he looks in scrubs certainly doesn’t hurt. Lily can’t get him out of her head. But Ryle’s complete aversion to relationships is disturbing. Even as Lily finds herself becoming the exception to his “no dating” rule, she can’t help but wonder what made him that way in the first place.
As questions about her new relationship overwhelm her, so do thoughts of Atlas Corrigan — her first love and a link to the past she left behind. He was her kindred spirit, her protector. When Atlas suddenly reappears, everything Lily has built with Ryle is threatened.
I just had to talk about this. I can't believe how much this novel faked me out. Oh, and I just read the synopsis above "a little arrogant?" Ryle is VERY arrogant. You know, I went into this novel expecting a angsty sort of romance with the current love interest who took a while to warm up to and now they're finally together and the past love shows up. That is lowkey the start, and then we get into the real message / reason for the story. Domestic Violence.
When Ryle first hit Lily, my mind just went shit. Like no, that's not what this novel is going to do. and then the stairs. And the worst part about it is I was still hoping Ryle could get his shit together and fix himself because I loved the character so much. Hoover built him up to be exactly my type, and I truly fell in love with him, just as Lily did. I wanted him and Lily to end up together, and make it. I wanted him to be able to get better. That was truly the worst part, because Hoover put my thoughts and rationalization through exactly what I would imagine a victim of domestic violence would. He can fix himself. He wouldn't do it again. But Ryle couldn't, and ultimately I'm glad she and he didn't end up together-- that would be send a horrible message and would be very wrong on so many different levels. It's good that Lily ended up with Atlas, who was good and capable of caring for her without hurting her. I'll admit, I was rooting for Ryle until the whole domestic abuse thing popped up. Damn, I can't believe how fooled I was by this book. It broke my heart, and sent the exact message it intended. It sucked me in with Ryle's charms and then send me on a wild and confusing ride. Ugh. I had genuinely fallen for Ryle before everything happened. This book truly hurt my heart.
After reading It Ends With Us, I was a little hesitant going into this novel as I wasn't sure I would get what I was expecting. Well, I didn't get what I was expecting but in a different way. I haven't read enough of Hoover's books to make this a definitive statement, but after this one I began wondering if she write light and cute romance books? Because it seems like her romances are more heavy handed. I was especially in need of a light romance after finishing It Ends With Us, and this was not exactly the cure I needed.
While Maybe Someday is more romantically oriented, it's by no means a light, fun story. It's far more serious, and realistic, in a depressing way-- light rom coms can also be realistic.
So yes, it was not what I needed in the moment, and also just not the book for me in general. I was expecting some sort of turmoil about the whole best friend and boyfriend being caught cheating thing (not a spoiler, literally part of the synopsis), but instead that's only mentioned a few times. It's much less about a scorned/hurt girl and circulates more around the relationship between Sydney and Ridge. I will admit their relationship is quite interesting, and it was an experience to get to see it progress, and I enjoyed the honesty between the two of them, but altogether not what I was looking for in a novel at the moment.
At the start of the novel Sydney is moving into Ridge's apartment, as the apartment she had was shared with her best friend... who was sleeping with her boyfriend. Sydney and Ridge then begin to bond over a shared love of music, and feelings begin to stir. Only, Ridge has a long term girlfriend.
It's an interesting set up, and an interesting story. Just, as I feel like I've said a number of times, not what I was expecting and not what I was wanting.
The two things I liked the most about this novel are that a. Ridge is deaf, so it's interesting to see how that works into the plot and b. Colleen Hoover worked with a musician on the book, so when Sydney and Ridge write songs together you can literally LOOK THESE SONGS UP and listen to them. That adds an extremely unique and fun experience to reading. All together, not my favorite romance book, but still an interesting read. Sorry to all the hardcore Colleen Hoover fans I'm offending. 6.5/10 stars.
Contains exclusive content: songs from Griffin Peterson
Sydney is living in an idyllic bubble—she's a dedicated student with a steady job on the side. She lives with her best friend, has a great boyfriend, and the music coming from the balcony opposite hers is fast becoming the soundtrack to her life. But when Sydney finds out her boyfriend is cheating on her, the bubble bursts. The mysterious and attractive man behind the music, Ridge, gives Sydney hope that she can move on and they begin to write songs together. But moving on is harder than she expects, Sydney can only hope….
Colleen Hoover draws you in to this passionate tale of music, love and betrayal…
The Diviners by Libba Bray
I'm not usually an audiobook kind of girl. See, I'm a fast reader, and can absorb novels far, far faster than can be comfortably listened to. But here's the thing, as I am a seventeen year old girl with the heart of a grandmother, I recently got obsessed with knitting and crocheting, and I can't very well read while doing such hobbies. So I decided to try the audiobook for the Diviners, since it's a book that been waiting on my shelf for a very long time.
At first I found the voices and the pace a bit annoying, but as I got into it more, I found myself constantly listening to the audiobook, and getting through the absurdly long audiobook in a couple days. Not only did I listen to the book when I was crocheting, I would also listen to it while brushing my teeth, getting ready for school in the morning, while driving to the store to buy more yarn, and even while reading other school books (I'm surprisingly good at multitasking.) This was both due to the combination of an excellent novel and also because after getting used to being read to instead of reading, I really got into the whole audiobook format. I would set the sleep timer and go to sleep listening to the book. Really, there was never a quiet moment. If you're too busy to read, I would highly recommend trying the audiobook (or any audiobook)! It's actually quite useful and enjoyable.
Now on to the actual novel. The Diviners was nothing like I was expecting. The story mainly follows Evie O'Neill, a girl who goes to live with her uncle in New York City in the 1920s after causing a little too much trouble at home. I thought this would be a very serious story with a serious investigation into murder and an Avengers-like come together moment, it was nothing like that. I don't even know how to describe this book, it's so unique. There's a definite element of horror, like sometimes I deeply regretted listening to this as I was falling asleep. The murder scenes are creepy as what, made creepier by the audiobook since the narrator actual whistles and sings the songs as the murderer approaches. There's also just teen drama going on. Evie's a party girl, she's a flapper after all, and doesn't like to take things too seriously. It's such a strange combination, and yet... somehow it all works. If you're tired of the same old tropes and whatnot, definitely check this book out, because there's nothing like it.
Evie is truly her own person, I can't think of any other protagonists to compare her to. She's extroverted, stubborn and possesses an overabundance of confidence. She has the special ability to read any object she puts her hands on, which, while some other protagonists might keep their talent a secret, she literally uses it as a party trick. Yeah, Evie is definitely different from any protagonist you might read, but she's not one you'll be likely to forget anytime soon. At first she may come off as frivolous and a bit annoying, but as you get deeper in the novel, you can't help but fall in love with her.
This is one of those novels that has a whole giant cast of characters with a plethora of POVs. I found that Evie's POV and those around Evie were the most interesting. Meaning that every single time we got to a Memphis chapter, I got a little bored. Sorry everyone who likes Memphis, he's just not all that interesting to me.
Here's a brief overview of all the characters you'll be meeting
Mabel Rose-- she's Evie's best friend, and her polar opposite. She's meek, quiet and introverted, quite happy to just follow Evie around and live under the shelter of her helicopter parents and silently pine after Jericho Jones. I'll be honest, Mabel is not my favorite character, never has been. In the first book she's okay, but as the series progressed, she became my least favorite and at times I was ready to throw some punches at her.
Sam Lloyd-- Let's just introduce this beautiful boy as my one true love. Sam is by far my favorite character in the entire series, with Evie coming in as a close second. He's a thief and skilled liar, yet he is also extremely charismatic and his banter with Evie is something I live for. He gets on her last nerve and will poke at her to get a rise just for fun. If that isn't #perfect, I don't know what is. Oh, and he may have a mission and goal of his own along with some surprising secrets...
Will Fitzgerald-- Evie's uncle who she comes to live with. He runs The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition and the Occult-- more commonly known as The Museum of the Creepy Crawlies, which isn't doing so hot lately. Like almost all the characters in this story, he's basically filled past the brim with secrets and backstory, many of which have yet to be revealed. Will is friends with a detective, which is why, when a ton of strange murders occur, Will is brought in to consult. (And then Evie tags along, much to her uncle's annoyance. )
Jericho Jones-- this is Will's sort of adopted son / employee. He's a stoic young man of giant stature yet quiet nature who is hiding (shocker) a big secret. Jericho is not my favorite character. He's sweet but when the book is filled with some much more colorful characters, Jericho falls behind in the race for my love. (also I will mention things later in other reviews of the later books).
Theta Knight-- She's a strong minded woman who doesn't mind causing a bit of scandal-- not nearly as much as Evie does, though. At first when she was introduced, I expected Theta to be your typical mean girl, but instead she and Evie become fast friends. I loved that element of the novel. And yes, she's also hiding a deep dark secret. Theta lives with her best friend, Henry, and I have to say I adore their relationship and wish it was explored to greater depths.
Henry DuBois-- Not much is revealed about Henry in book 1, other than he plays piano and is gay. He's funny for the tiny bits of time that you see him, and well, he's hiding something too. Shocker. You get to find out a whole bunch more about Henry in book two. I love this guy, can't t really say much more than that, sorry!
Memphis Campbell-- yup. This is the guy whose chapters I found to be boring. He used to have power, but he lost it after a tragic event in his past. Perhaps one of the reasons I was so bored by his storyline was because it was so detached from the others who I already loved and whose fates were quite intertwined (and I'd argue their storyline was more intriguing as well.) He lives in Harlem with his little brother and their highly religious aunt. He's black, which adds an interesting and sometimes sad dynamic as you see how racist many people were back in the 20s.
Remember how I mentioned earlier about that dash of horror? More like a heaping of horror. The story starts with some sort of spirit named Naughty John being released, and oh boy, do I wish those dumb kids had left that Ouija Board alone, because Naughty John created some creepyass scenes that will probably haunt my dreams for a long time. The creep factor of this story... Wow. If you get the opportunity, I would seriously suggest audiobooking this one because it elevates the spookiness by so much. Here's something to think about, cheerful singing whilst committing brutal murder...
Overall, I just highly recommend this book. It's nothing like you're expecting, with a unique and interesting cast of characters and an even more unique story. Still, there were some things that just felt like they were missing. Like there were a ton of satisfying moments and scenes I would've liked to have seen, but they happened without actually being written, like they're mentioned, but we never actually get to be in the scene. The relationships are just assumed, too. Like pivotal moments between characters and just the characters getting to know each other and whatnot is more mentioned than what we actually see. I think the story's strong points are its setting and plot, while its characters' relationships and developing them is a bit of a weakness. (This becomes more prominent in later books.) See, I'm the type of person who wants to be IN the action, not hearing mention of it later! And I also love watching relationships build and seeing dynamic between characters instead of just assuming something happened "off-screen," and that a lot of what these books want you to do.
7/10 stars. The first book is nothing AMAZING, but it's a really fun read. I was left wanting to see more moments from the "side characters" aka everyone other than Evie, as some of them (Memphis) seemed pointless to the story arc. The novel definitely had a slow side, but it also created an enchanting world.
Evie O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City—and she is pos-i-tute-ly ecstatic. It’s 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls, and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with her uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the occult.
Evie worries he’ll discover her darkest secret: a supernatural power that has only brought her trouble so far. But when the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene, Evie realizes her gift could help catch a serial killer.
As Evie jumps headlong into a dance with a murderer, other stories unfold in the city that never sleeps. A young man named Memphis is caught between two worlds. A chorus girl named Theta is running from her past. A student named Jericho hides a shocking secret. And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened.
Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray
Somehow this book is able to take on a completely different tone from the first, yet still be absolutely riveting and sufficiently scary, in its own manner. And dare I say it? I do, I think that Lair of Dreams is even better than its predecessor. Again, I audiobooked this one as I am unfortunately unable to physically read whilst crocheting, which is my latest obsession.
Going to be real honest here-- I'm writing this part of the review in May when I audiobooked it in November.... Which means it's most definitely not fresh in my mind.
I don't want to say much, especially because it's been so long that my feelings and thoughts are not completely accurate, but THIS IS A FANTASTIC NOVEL. It was a lot of fun to read, especially if you're curious about the seemingly side characters-- they're main, but were pretty off to the side in book one, meaning Henry, Theta, Mabel etc. Really, Henry's storyline is what drives the book. You get to find out so much more about him, and even get introduced to a new main character-- Ling Chan. She took a bit of getting used to for me, but now I like her-- I'm just not good at adjusting to new things, haha.
While Henry's storyline really drove the plot, there were plenty of other things going on with the other characters to keep the reader entertained and intrigued. You dig a lot deeper into Theta's backstory, follow Mabel as her life is completely turned on its head... sorry, not a big fan of her, and MOST IMPORTANTLY get caught up in a whirlwind fake romance between my true love and my fave. Aka Sam and Evie get stuck in creating a fake romance, which is positutely the best thing that could've occurred. Fake romances are cliche, but they're legit one of my favorite things, especially when being run by one of my SHIPS! Seriously, this fake romance was SO much fun because Sam and Evie's banter never fails to entertain. I mean, also they're both perfect, so they perfectly belong together, am I right or am I right?
Anyway, sorry for the shitty review. Read this book if you liked the first one, but be aware the the tone is very different than that of the first (which still works!) Again, same as with the first book, my biggest issue is the lack of the "people" moments, really seeing a lot of vital moments in relationships and whatnot. It's not insta-stuff seeing as there's a lot going on in the background that you just don't get to see, but I want to see it! 7.5/10
The longing of dreams draws the dead, and this city holds many dreams.
After a supernatural showdown with a serial killer, Evie O’Neill has outed herself as a Diviner. With her uncanny ability to read people’s secrets, she’s become a media darling, earning the title “America’s Sweetheart Seer.” Everyone’s in love with the city’s newest It Girl…everyone except the other Diviners.
Piano-playing Henry DuBois and Chinatown resident Ling Chan are two Diviners struggling to keep their powers a secret—for they can walk in dreams. And while Evie is living the high life, victims of a mysterious sleeping sickness are turning up across New York City.
As Henry searches for a lost love and Ling strives to succeed in a world that shuns her, a malevolent force infects their dreams. And at the edges of it all lurks a man in a stovepipe hat who has plans that extend farther than anyone can guess…As the sickness spreads, can the Diviners descend into the dreamworld to save the city?
In this heart-stopping sequel to The Diviners, Printz Award-winning and New York Times bestselling author Libba Bray takes readers deeper into the mystical underbelly of New York City.
Gonna be real honest, the first time I saw this book I was attracted to it because I recognized the cover art's artist. It's the same artist who does Sarah J. Maas works, I think it's Charlie Bowater? But I'm not exactly sure. Then I looked up the synopsis and wasn't exactly hooked, so I continued scrolling.
I actually forget what finally convinced me to order this book, possibly all of the amazing ratings I'd been seeing. For example, one of the reviews I read said that Rogerson was BORN to write, so I figured I shouldn't miss out on the hype and go ahead and try it out.
Overall thoughts is yeah, it's a fun, light read. Especially if you're a fan of fae, which I am. (fan is a bit of a soft word for how obsessed I am with the fae lol.) One of the problems with the story is just how short it is-- I literally read it in one sitting. Due to the lack of length, it felt a little lacking in the building of certain aspects. Reading this book was an odd combination of pieces that felt too fast and others that felt way too slow. The ending especially felt rather rushed-- the magnitude of big threats wasn't felt all that much with how quickly the story wrapped up.
I absolutely adored the descriptions in this novel, they were very vivid and illustrated. I could really see the world and its characters in my mind's eye. I also found myself laughing A LOT whilst reading this one. I loved all of the intricacies with the fae, like if you're polite to them they HAVE to be polite back. Also, the fae we get to know best throughout the novel-- Rook, is hilarious because of his childish tendencies. Seriously, he just thinks he can has what he wants and throws temper tantrums when he doesn't get them, and while that sounds unattractive, it's adorable and hilarious the way it's shown in the novel. Basically, Rook doesn't know any better when it comes to interacting with humans. Actually, all the fae are very childhish in ways, haha. One of my notes is literally "lol, all the fae are children."
Another thing that I really enjoyed about this book was Rogerson's take on the Fae, and how, despite all the amazing things in their lives, they're empty inside. They have no emotions, which is something they envy the humans for. They're all not the glamorous beings portrayed in many other fae novels. Instead, they're all vain and glamoured beings-- not nearly as beautiful as they show themselves to be. In fact, these Fae glamour everything, including their food to make their lives seem as perfect as possible. Since they're empty inside, Fae are unable to create, which is why they are so fascinated by humans, and their dabbling in the arts.
The romance in the book was borderline instalove, which I hate-- because then you get no time to really get attached or root for the relationship. Borderline, not totally. See, the attraction and connection springs up real quick, but the romance such doesn't happen for a long while, so I was pretty excited when the romance kicked in.
Again, my biggest issue with the novel was how short it is. I think most of the other issues I have with it come with its length. Like there's this whole larger set up in the background about an issue with the world that I expected to be somehow resolved, but it wasn't, which left me feeling a little disappointed any empty. Also, the plot was rather predicable for me-- all the big twists I saw coming from about 200 pages away (which is about the length of the book.
All in all, a very enjoyable, light read 7/10 stars. There's a fun romance, and interesting and exciting plot. However, I'd advise not to expect too much depth going into the novel. It's there to tell one story, and it does that job well. It brushes on ideas that hint at greater depth in the world, but those are never truly resolved or used to their greatest potential.
A skilled painter must stand up to the ancient power of the faerie courts—even as she falls in love with a faerie prince—in this gorgeous debut novel.
Isobel is a prodigy portrait artist with a dangerous set of clients: the sinister fair folk, immortal creatures who cannot bake bread, weave cloth, or put a pen to paper without crumbling to dust. They crave human Craft with a terrible thirst, and Isobel’s paintings are highly prized. But when she receives her first royal patron—Rook, the autumn prince—she makes a terrible mistake. She paints mortal sorrow in his eyes—a weakness that could cost him his life.
Furious and devastated, Rook spirits her away to the autumnlands to stand trial for her crime. Waylaid by the Wild Hunt’s ghostly hounds, the tainted influence of the Alder King, and hideous monsters risen from barrow mounds, Isobel and Rook depend on one another for survival. Their alliance blossoms into trust, then love—and that love violates the fair folks’ ruthless laws. Now both of their lives are forfeit, unless Isobel can use her skill as an artist to fight the fairy courts. Because secretly, her Craft represents a threat the fair folk have never faced in all the millennia of their unchanging lives: for the first time, her portraits have the power to make them feel.