I’m so behind on reviews it’s embarrassing. Here’s a list of the reviews to come (eventually). I’m sorry! Bear with me, senior year is a busy time at the point.
It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover
Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover
The Diviner’s, Lair of Dreams & Before the Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray
An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Roberson
Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas
Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare
The Wicked King by Holly Black
Match Me If You Can by Tiana Smith
Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch
Malice, Valor, Ruin & Wrath by John Gwynne
Bloodwitch by Susan Dennard
The Fork, The Witch & The Worm by Christopher Paolini
I am hanging my head in shame as I write this. Seriously, I am so very far behind on reviews. There are just too many to catch up on. Too many to even put in the title. Here are the mini reviews provided in this post:
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.
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
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.
Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
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.
Catwoman: Soulstealer by a Goddess, sorry, Sarah J. Maas
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.
Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
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.
Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco
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.
Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills
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.
Famous in a Small Town by Emma Mills
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.
Thank you for reading, be sure to check out part 2 when it comes out! (I decided to split them up since there are so many)
The Exiled Queen, The Grey Wolf Throne & The Crimson Crown by Cinda Williams Chima (Seven Realms Books 2-4)
An action filled story, set in a fantastical world with compelling characters and complex relationships... What more could you want in a series?
Cinda Williams Chima's high fantasy series is nothing like any high fantasy you might imagine. What high fantasy about a hunted princess ends up in a school. It's such a strange combination. Like you don't really expect there to be high school-esk teen drama when there are such high stakes, and yet here we are in the Exiled Queen, following our cast of characters all attending the same academy-- whether they know it or not. Yet, Chima still managed to blend these two very different categories seamlessly. Somehow they work.
I'm going to be really honest with you all right now. This is not going to be the review that you deserve. I read these books back in August and have altogether forgotten the minute details that would make this review wholesome. This is just going to be a basic overview of how I felt about these books-- and a little spoilers below to discuss some of my particular feelings on events that happened during them.
Similar to the first book, these three all had the same strange feeling of while you're reading it, it's intriguing, but when you put them down there's no magnetic pull forcing every thought to be around the plot and characters.
One issue that I took note of with these books (literally, I took a note, which is why I'm mentioning it right now.) was that the stories are all really more plot driven, not relationship. As we all know, a good story has a balance of both, unfortunately I found the Seven Realms' novels a little lacking in the relationship section. For example, there's this instantaneous OUT OF NOWHERE attraction/obsession one character apparently feels for another, and just... wow. I can't really say anything other than WHERE DID THAT COME FROM? WHERE? Certainly not anywhere in the Milky Way. There were just tender or relationship building moments I felt like could've really elevated these novels, and that I really would've liked to see.
Still, I don't want you to think these were bad reads-- I actually really enjoyed them. I gave the Exiled Queen 7.5/10 stars, The Gray Wolf Throne 7.8/10 stars and the Crimson Crown 7.9/10 stars, ( and if you forgot, I gave the Demon King 7/10 stars), so yes, this series actually just gets better and better as it continues on, which is fantastic. It will never be one of my all-time favorite books that I reread once a month (yes, I do do that with some), but they were definitely fun and enjoyable reads. I would recommend if you enjoy fantasy with a hint of teen drama. These novels are certainly unique, as I mentioned earlier. They use tropes but then turn them on their heads by placing them in an unimaginable setting.
There are some very predicable big "reveals," but somehow I didn't find that hindering my experience. What really bothered me was the relationship thing that I mentioned above. Though the next big bothering factor is truly just personal. WHY ISN'T THERE MORE MICAH BAYAR IN THESE BOOKS? I'm in love with him and have been since book 1. It wasn't his fault his father was evil and had evil marriage plans for him and Raisa! He's such a complex character (and I'm in love with him), I think the lack of Micah in all the novels is a waste of an intriguing character. (side note: one of my notes literally says Micah Bayar? I think you mean Micah Bae-yar). I think he has a bad exterior but is good underneath, (and we all know that is SO my type), and I truly believe that poor Micah was wronged by his lack of presence in any of the novels. I also would've liked to have seen more of the Micah-Fiona dynamic. There's a moment in one of the books (I don't fully remember it) but Micah says something along the lines of she's (something, I forget), but we protect each other and just, my heart. If you couldn't tell, playing with the relationships is something that is really important to me, and all together I would've liked to see more of Micah and his as I find them intriguing. (Half my notes are on Micah ahaha). Don't get me wrong, I do really like Han, and I really like the idea of him with Raisa, I just love Micah, and I wanted to see more of him, I didn't want him to end up with Raisa, though, I did want him to have a happy ending.
Okay, one last negative about the series before I get back to the positives. This is a slight spoiler, but not intense. THE ENDING OF THE NOVEL WAS NOT A F****ING ENDING. It resolves the BIG plot issues, but staying true to a theme seen throughout the entire series, the closure on the people and their relationships was woefully lacking. The only closure you get is on the main characters, all of the side characters' fates are just left behind, not resolved. In fact, the novels bring up several issues and rifts between characters that are never resolved in the series, which, sure I guess could be interpreted as realistic, but let's be real here, I'M NOT LOOKING FOR REALISTIC IN MY NOVELS ABOUT MAGICIANS AND STOLEN CROWNS. Really, though, the ending of Crimson Crown really pissed me off because of how abrupt it was, all the side characters were really just forgotten, and that irks me even now, months later. Here's the literal note I wrote (with a little bit of censoring) (MILD SPOILERS, SKIP BELOW QUOTE IF YOU'RE SENSITIVE TO MILD SPOILERS, NOT MAJOR)
"F***K EVERTHING. THERE WAS NO CLOSURE ON _________....... (spoilers) MAYBE SIDE ******* CHARACTER.... BUT [they're] IMPORTNAT TOO.... Like this is really not okay. The ending was just shoved together and only [the main characters] got full closure and a happy ending. I am so angry and upset right now."
And before you go, Anji, there's a sequel series. I know there is, that's actually why I started this one in the first place, so I could read flame caster, but now I'm just salty. This was supposed to be a finale novel, yet the only "final"-ness came to the main characters, and none of the plethora of side ones. And you'll note earlier that The Crimson Crown had my highest rating-- it could've made it to the 8 if not higher if not for the ending that was thrown together and pissed me off, because before the ending the novel was phenomenal. And I have to admit, the ending scarred me about this series a little. It would've never been one of my all-time favorites, but I think I would've left it with some fonder memories if not for this last bit of the novel.
Back to the positives. The two components I loved the most about this series were its intricately crafted world and political aspect. I love novels that play with the political games of court (if you know any good ones, please contact me), and the world was beautiful with all its details and careful set up of tensions and different cultures (clans, wizards, humans).. YES these novels truly did have good aspects to them, I promise, for some reason it's just easier to go on about the negatives. Maybe because I take the good stuff for granted unless it really stands out whereas all the flaws stand out to my critical mind?
Anyway, sorry for the random, branching review. Here's the synopsis for Exiled Queen, and below are some real spoilers on my thoughts (or maybe just my notes) from reading these books.
Haunted by the loss of his mother and sister, Han Alister journeys south to begin his schooling at Mystwerk House in Oden’s Ford. But leaving the Fells doesn’t mean that danger isn't far behind. Han is hunted every step of the way by the Bayars, a powerful wizarding family set on reclaiming the amulet Han stole from them. And Mystwerk House has dangers of its own. There, Han meets Crow, a mysterious wizard who agrees to tutor Han in the darker parts of sorcery—but the bargain they make is one Han may regret.
Meanwhile, Princess Raisa ana’Marianna runs from a forced marriage in the Fells, accompanied by her friend Amon and his triple of cadets. Now, the safest place for Raisa is Wein House, the military academy at Oden's Ford. If Raisa can pass as a regular student, Wein House will offer both sanctuary and the education Raisa needs to succeed as the next Gray Wolf queen.
Everything changes when Han and Raisa’s paths cross, in this epic tale of uncertain friendships, cut-throat politics, and the irresistible power of attraction.
SPOILERS FOR EXILED QUEEN
Basically how these are going to go is that I will just copy over my notes, unless I feel I have something else to say on them.
"lol where did this Fiona attraction come from" (this is what I was talking about earlier) "[most] Relationships created in this book are instantaneous-- not a relationship driven story."
"Give me more Micah, like chill the marriage wasn't his idea."
"SO AWKWARD Amon caught her spying."
"FINALLY HAN AND RAISA MEET AGAIN." See, I did ship them and love them together, I just also LOVE Micah and want my baby to find happiness, just not with Raisa.
Here's a thought from now me. Was anyone else actually surprised that Crow was Alger? Because I sure as hell wasn't. It was pretty obvious.
SPOILERS FOR GRAY WOLF THRONE
"Why does everything have to go wrong, ugh."
"Also Han get over it, she clearly loves you."
"MICAH KNELT FOR RAISA. I'M CRYING." See what I mean? Micah really does have a good heart. Yes, I'm biased, shut up haha.
"Alright Mellony time to get your ass outta here." Seriously, I barely remember anything, but I do remember how ANNOYING this girl was.
"HE GAVE HER HANALEA'S RING."
"Loved the political aspect."
SPOILERS FOR CRIMSON CROWN
"Such an intricate world."
"Yay Alger knows his line continued."
"Han slightly possessed? Outburst to Fiona."
"Micah threatening Han for Raisa. Bae." I forget what this was about, but pretty sure it was in regards to Raisa's safety which was a real turn on for me, haha.
"The flash piece Fire Dancer had-- I knew it! It's a trigger or something."
"Ugh, still haven't seen enough of Micah."
"Jt was Lucius, not Hanalea, who betrayed Alger. Calling it now." -- and I was right.
"Glad there's not the typical turning on each other plot." That was enjoyable about these books-- they weren't typical.
"Him only remembering the tavern song. I'm dying." That was a pretty funny moment.
"FINALLY A MICAH CHAPTER." and I had hope for nothing, because there was only one.
"Yo, dude, Micah deserves to know his family is dead." This really made me angry at Han. No matter how much Han may dislike Micah, don't you think he has the right to know that they're gone? Especially Fiona, his twin-- this was when that quote I cited earlier happened. Wow, I really wish we'd gotten to see more of their relationship.
Okay next quote was one where I was getting mad at Han about him preaching about getting over the past and then going to to think of all the things he resented Micah for and wouldn't be helping him with... But he didn't say Micah, he called him "a Bayar." It was something like he wouldn't be "teaching to a Bayar." Which just goes to show that Han is still chained by family prejudices-- literally what he was just saying that Micah or someone should get over.
"Micah just getting his heart broken. My poor baby."
"Micah thought Han was dead, okay? HE DIDN'T KNOW." Really, Micah's fam did wrong him by lying to him. He thought he was telling Raisa the honest truth by saying Han was dead and trying to help her by proposing a marriage. I hate that this was never resolved and the novel ended with Raisa thinking Micah had lied and resenting him for it. I waited for a last scene just between the two of them clearing things up, imagine my disappointment when that never happened. If you couldn't tell, I just want my baby to be happy, haha.
"Lol Raisa is my age and getting married." And yet I still haven't had a boyfriend... hmmm...
"I KNEW IT. ALGER AND HANNALEA REUNITED." yeah, this was actually one of the perks about the end of the book. I'm glad they got to see each other again.
And then there was the quote about lack of closure in the ending. You guessed it, it was Micah I was raging about. But also Fire Dancer and Cat and the rest of them didn't get a happy ending or closure or anything. Only Raisa and Han did, so I rest my point. Not the best ending.
Anyway, thanks for reading this scattered review, sorry it took so long to come out
Love you all,
As not only December, but 2018 comes to a close, I bear the sad weight of knowing that I've barely posted on my blog this year. I'm always coming up with excuses, I know, but here-- I promise to try and write up a few reviews in my remaining days of break before school comes back. Happy New Year everyone!
Sorry guys, no reviews or anything this month. I really don't have time between all my other commitments (field hockey, college applications, AP courses, etc.). Honestly I haven't read all that much either-- I still have a lot of reviews to catch up on though so hopefully I'll be able to get around to that at some point! (If you're interested in knowing my immediate thoughts, friend me on goodreads).
Here's a book that's been on my TBR for years now. A decadent world filled with magic and culture, a delicate balance of power between the monarchs, wizards and clanspeople... so delicate that it's about to collapse. Filled with intrigue, action and just a dash of romance, The Demon King truly is a fun and enthralling ride.
While this book has been on my radar for years and years now, I've always been hesitant to pick it up. Why? Well, years back I tried out the Chima's other series-- the Heir Chronicles, and was not particularly impressed. I read the first and second book, bought the third, and still have yet to pick it up. Maybe one day, probably not. But then again, I felt drawn to this series, mostly because of its high rating on Goodreads (4.2-- anything above 4 means most likely a phenomenal book.) Of course, I still didn't get the push I needed to read it, until I read a recommendation for Flamecaster, which is the first book in a sequel series to the Seven Realms series (this series). I wanted to just read Flamecaster, but I read a review saying I have to read the Seven Realms series first... So here we are. And let me make this clear from the get-go: I am so glad I read this series.
The Demon King follows two main protagonists-- Raisa ana'Marianna, the rebellious crown princess, and a reformed thief Han Alister. Both characters and their separate are quite interesting-- though, if I'm being honest, The Demon King definitely is the worst/ least interesting book in the series. As is common with high fantasy books, it takes a lot to set up the world, therefore, a lot of The Demon King was exposition-- just introducing the characters and the world they live in. Still, there was something that kept me reading it. Like, while reading, it's very hard to extract yourself and put the book down (after a bit in, I'll admit the start was a bit slow), but once you put the book down, it's not all that hard to not think about it anymore either.
The most impressive thing about the book was its world. It took a lot of effort to really set it up and show where you were. I loved the political conflicts between the clans, the wizards and the monarchs. It made the world seem so much more realistic and relatable. There is a true complexity and depth written into their strained relationships-- and it was intriguing to read about.
I would give the Demon King 7/10 stars, it was fun, but like I said, when I put it down, it wasn't something that I felt tugging at me to pick back up again. If you didn't get the vibe from the review, I'm actually writing after having finished the entire series so, just take my word for it and believe me when I say the series most definitely gets better-- worth the read, especially if you enjoy fantasy / action with a dash of romance like I do.
Times are hard in the mountain city of Fellsmarch. Reformed thief Han Alister will do almost anything to eke out a living for his family. The only thing of value he has is something he can't sell—the thick silver cuffs he's worn since birth. They're clearly magicked—as he grows, they grow, and he's never been able to get them off.
One day, Han and his clan friend, Dancer, confront three young wizards setting fire to the sacred mountain of Hanalea. Han takes an amulet from Micah Bayar, son of the High Wizard, to keep him from using it against them. Soon Han learns that the amulet has an evil history—it once belonged to the Demon King, the wizard who nearly destroyed the world a millennium ago. With a magical piece that powerful at stake, Han knows that the Bayars will stop at nothing to get it back.
Meanwhile, Raisa ana'Marianna, princess heir of the Fells, has her own battles to fight. She's just returned to court after three years of freedom in the mountains—riding, hunting, and working the famous clan markets. Raisa wants to be more than an ornament in a glittering cage. She aspires to be like Hanalea—the legendary warrior queen who killed the Demon King and saved the world. But her mother has other plans for her...
The Seven Realms tremble when the lives of Hans and Raisa collide, fanning the flames of the smoldering war between clans and wizards.
Thanks for reading (sorry for such a short review, it's actually been a couple weeks since I read the book and I kinda forget the big things since I didn't take notes)
The Darkest Minds Never Fade in the Afterlight.
Three stellar novels, containing strong, complex characters and intriguing plots filled with action, adventure and high stakes. Plus a heart wrenching romance. What more could you ask for? These books are beloved to me-- one of the first series I read that helped to trigger my now insatiable book obsession.
Whenever I hear one of my favorites books are being turned into a movie, the news is always accompanied with a mixture of emotions. Excitement because it'd be amazing to see my favorite stories and characters come to life, and get the recognition they deserve... but there's also a strong sense of apprehension. See, book-to-movie adaptations have a strong history of being huge disappointments. For every amazing book-to-movie, there's tons of unsuccessful adaptations that just disappoint everyone. For example, the Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings movies are amazing, but The Mortal Instruments, Divergent Trilogy, Vampire Academy, Percy Jackson, I Am Number Four etc. were all terrible flops that really just disrespected the books.
Where does the Darkest Minds fall in all of this? Unfortunately this movie is the latter. I had such strong hopes for it-- I've been following news on the movie ever since it was even announced that the story had been picked up for adaptation rights, so this release was a big deal for me.
I wasn't able to get to see the Darkest Minds on its release day, or even its release week, but I was keeping up with it... and my heart sunk when I saw its shockingly low ratings just about everywhere. I think The Darkest Minds had only been in theaters for two weeks by the time I found the chance to see it... and it was already not playing in most of them. I had to travel an absurd distance to get to a theater showing it, and even though I'd heard all of the negative reviews, I still went in hoping for the best-- but soon enough I realized that the movie was certainly not going to be that.
I can never understand how book-to-movie adaptations go so horribly wrong-- I mean seriously! You already have a successful script in book form! I get that some things need to be changed to make the movie producible, but vital plot points plus changing things just for the sake of changing them? Ugh. I can't. Too many things in this movie were switched, and not even for the better-- I think it was just made to appeal more and be more "intense" but the book was plenty fascinating.
There were elements of the story that made absolutely no sense to me and just seemed ridiculous. Such as the fact that the kids' eyes glow their power color? Also no one even mentions that ever-- so is it just something that the viewers can see... or? But why does this make any sense at all? Because the government gave the powers their colors because of their level of danger... so why would the powers abide by the colors given to them by the government?
There were also moments where the tone of the movie was unclear. There was a serious car chase action scene going on and then it cut to this weird picture of Lady Jane bouncing to music in her car. It just couldn't seem to stick to a tone, which caused the film to be muddled-- which doesn't make it easy to really get into the story.
The whole relationship between Liam and Ruby was just... fast and wrong. It was totally rushed-- it felt like they fell in love in just about three days. When the film ended I leaned over to my companions and said, "Bet you after fifteen days they're going to be engaged." It was a joke, but it really did apply.
The book made Liam and Ruby a slow burn that made it impossible not to fall in love with their relationship. All together the movie's depiction of Ruby and Liam's connection was disappointing. In the book Liam bears the burden of being the leader of his group (Chubs and Zu), he feels responsible for them and it's a heavy weight... Ruby helps to connect with him and lift a bit of that burden away. They just have these touching moments that really make their relationship tangible-- the movie had none of that and just tried to skip ahead to the romance. It was the most insta-love-y connection I've ever seen. And I hate instalove.
Just a few more examples of weird things are when Liam and Ruby are like trying to compare themselves to Harry Potter characters-- that scene might have tried to be comedic or relatable, but instead it just turned out uncomfortable and awkward. Then there's that scene in the mall where the telepaths literally press Liam and Ruby together, why was the position needed? I think it was added to make more sexual tension between the two of them but it just... like everything else it was weird. Also the very end scene Ruby just walks up to Liam and hugs him from behind which is WEIRD because it seems like a totally comfortable movement, when they'd never been depicted doing that before. Not only were scenes made weird, but Liam's whole character from the book was just different and a whole lot more likable/ easier to get attached to than movie Liam. (Why did they make Chubs a green? So that the whole group was very color? That just makes it more unrealistic! Ugh. He's supposed to be a blue, if you didn't know.)
Actually, I could go on a rant about all the things made wrong in this movie, but... well, you all don't really want to read that. I did appreciate the characters of Zu and Chubs-- they were definitely the best part of the movie. Otherwise... Not much else was impressive. Sometimes I literally had to look away I was just so done with the movie and how it decided to depict the story. All and all, I was very disappointed. 4/10 stars. It got sucked into all the classic cliches, changing things to try and make the movie a hit, when in reality, it would've already been one if it hadn't made those changes. The cliches and attempts to make a hit movie are really what sunk that ship.
Sorry if this review just seemed long and ranty... I'm not really sure where this is going so I'm jus too to say-- thank you for reading! Sorry this review came out so late-- I started it a long time ago but then school started and well... I've been busy.
"A prince may be the subject of myth and legend, but he can't live in them. He should live in the real world, where he can create them. You should pay less mind to fairy tales, Elian, or that's all you'll become."
Vicious and clever, Alexandra Christo tears her way into the book world with her stunning debut novel To Kill A Kingdom. Loose fairytale retellings seem to be all the rage these days (Cinder, A Court of Thorns and Roses, etc.), yet I never knew I needed a wicked retelling of the Little Mermaid until I read this book. I was missing out, and I didn't even realize it until this book came along.
Like I said before, it's wicked, and it's cunning, and it's a whole boatload (haha) of fun. Usually when I'm in a deep book hangover, the only cure is to read a sweet romance to snap me out. It's usually no good to read another action/fantasy story, because my mind is still stuck in another world. I still picked up To Kill A Kingdom for some reason-- even though I knew the odds of me liking it were slimmer due to the fact I was still feeling hurt by the ending of the Wolf by Wolf. Yet against all odds, I didn't just end up liking the book. I love it.
"Royalty cannot be unmade. Birth rights cannot be changed. Hearts are forever scarred by our true nature."
It very loosely tells the story of The Little Mermaid-- and I mean loosely. Like, the main character is half fish, her love interest is a prince and she has red hair and at some point gets turned into a human. The rest is a series of twists and turns that are all their own. To Kill A Kingdom will take you on a marvelous ride, stealing your breath and yanking at your heartstrings. It has a fun and intriguing plot, and even more fun and lovable characters.
The "mermaids" of the story are not, in fact, mermaids. They are sirens, not the creepy vulturelike type of siren, but the mermaid-like sirens who sing to sailors and are their peril. Every year on her birthday, a siren will enchant some poor sailor and rip out their heart. It's brutal and it's vicious, and I love everything about them. They're solitary, cruel creatures who care for nothing but themselves. They do not bond, and they do not care. They simply exist to satisfy their own pleasures.
"I may not have my fins, or even my voice, but I am my mother's daughter. I am the most murderous creature in the hundred kingdoms."
While all sirens are feared, not many sprout as much terror in the hearts of man as the Prince's Bane, otherwise known as Lira, the princess of the sea. Lira is cruel and brutal, just as a siren should be-- or at least, she tries to act that way. I loved Lira's character because of how sharp she is. She's nothing like the sweet, naive Ariel. Nope, Lira is a personality of her own, and the only way to describe her is sharp. She's cunning, and more than that-- she has a very sharp tongue, always quick to lash out with clever words. Her and Elian's word spars are part of what made the book so enjoyable. She's a strong protagonist, able to defend or attack even when in a strange body in an even stranger setting.
The story is told from dual POVs, Lira's and Elian's. Elian is a pirate at heart, but stuck in a Prince's body. All he wants is to be out at sea with his loyal crew, hunting the creatures who hunt him-- sirens. Yet, he has a duty to his family and to his country, a duty that he despises. How can he be responsible for a nation when he feels an undeniable calling to the sea? Like Lira, he's not just clever, but he's also cunning. He comes up with the most devious plans, and never backs away from a fight.
Neither Elian nor Lira are what you'd, or at least I, expect(ed). They're both masters of sass, and clever snaps, which makes their interactions a joy to read. I found myself laughing out loud and snorting more times than I could count. Their banter just... made everything so much better.
"You can't win a war. Someone else just loses."
The world Christo has created is rich and beautiful. Not only did she create a glittering setting, but she also even went as far as to write parts of a language for the story! Now that's impressive and takes good commitment. I was shocked when I reached the end of the book and discovered it to be a standalone-- from the intricate world Christo put the effort into setting up, and the amazing characters, I assumed (and wanted) there to be more books. Yet, so far there aren't any plans for more. Unfortunately.
Every element of this story is breathtaking, not just the world. It's all so beautifully written and... Wow. This really is just a work of art. It would be impossible to know that this was the author's debut novel-- some authors have been publishing for years and still have yet to master the elegance that Christo has with her words, her characters and her storytelling. 8/10 stars, To Kill A Kingdom is a truly beautiful and exciting masterpiece.
I will admit that yes, the beginning of the story seemed a bit slow-- perhaps overly slow in my eyes because I was still fawning over Luka Lowe and Yael, but it really catches up, I promise. You just have to learn to love the characters, and then everything follows. :) I highly recommend this book to any and all, it has every element you could possibly want and more. You honestly don't know you're missing out, but you really are if you haven't read To Kill A Kingdom yet.
Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most lethal of them all. With the hearts of seventeen princes in her collection, she is revered across the sea. Until a twist of fate forces her to kill one of her own. To punish her daughter, the Sea Queen transforms Lira into the one thing they loathe most—a human. Robbed of her song, Lira has until the winter solstice to deliver Prince Elian’s heart to the Sea Queen or remain a human forever.
The ocean is the only place Prince Elian calls home, even though he is heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world. Hunting sirens is more than an unsavory hobby—it’s his calling. When he rescues a drowning woman in the ocean, she’s more than what she appears. She promises to help him find the key to destroying all of sirenkind for good—But can he trust her? And just how many deals will Elian have to barter to eliminate mankind’s greatest enemy?
Thanks for reading,
Ever wonder what really happened during the last race between Luka and the real Adele Wolfe? Iron to Iron answers that question. Unfortunately it isn't a fully fledged novel, only about 100 pages, but any time with Luka Lowe is worth the read for me.
It was a bit of a painful read, seeing as Luka isn't falling for Yael, he's falling for Adele. Still, definitely worth the read because it's set in this world with these characters! How could you not read every last word dedicated to them?
I enjoyed this novella. It was adorable seeing Luka turn into this little puppy falling in love, and then horrible seeing him hurt. Seriously, it was leading up to the betrayal moment and I silently wished for it not to happen while also silently rooted for it to occur. Why these warring thoughts? Because if the betrayal never happened Luka would never have been hurt, and I never want to see my precious baby hurt, but if it had never happened, Luka also probably would have never fallen for Yael for a lot of reasons including the fact that Adele would have not won so Yael could never enter the race and also that Luka would still be in love with Adele, which would be inconvenient seeing as he absolutely must be in love with Yael.
After reading this book, I just need more closure with Yael and Felix... and a Wolf by Wolf from Luka's POV. That's not too much to ask for, right? Haha. Ryan, if you're reading this, please, I need more Luka Lowe. Give me a Wolf by Wolf from Luka! I'll buy all the copies if necessary to pay you the adequate amount. Haha. Well, I'd give Iron to Iron 8/10 stars. It was a fun read, of course it wasn't as good as the actual books in the series, though.
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