Tag Archives: Book Reviews

Series Review: “Monsters of Verity” Duology

This Savage Song (#1) by Victoria Schwab
four-star-rating-black-hiOur Dark Duet (#2) by Victoria Schwab
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I’m so excited to bring y’all another series review! 😀 Yet again, I marathoned through another series and while it was just a duology, it definitely knocked me completely off my feet! 🙂 I am in a major book hangover and in my mind, that says quite a bit about a book. I just finished the “Monsters of Verity” duology and I absolutely loved it!!! Like, LOVED it!!!

First can we just admire the two covers of these books? Major heart-eye emojis!!! 😀 I love when we get simple, yet eye-catching covers that are just so appealing on my shelves.

I will obviously not be getting into “Our Dark Duet” because SPOILERS but I will share a few of my thoughts on “This Savage Song” here before getting into my more spoiler-y thoughts. The main thing that I loved about this first book (and really, the duology) were our protagonists, Kate and August. Kate is the daughter of a corrupt man who provides protection for humans against the monsters, but for a price. Kate wants nothing more than the approval of her father, which causes her to make rash, violent decisions. August is a monster who wants nothing more to be human and not feared by humans. Both are deeply flawed, yet so endearingly relatable.

I also love the world creation and the concept of the monsters in this book. There are three classes of monsters, each born out of different violent crimes which is just a fascinating concept. In doing my research, I found out that the author wrote this book in response to the mass shootings in our country and I think this is an incredibly profound response to all of the violence in our country today.

The last thing that I truly love about these books and all of Victoria Schwab’s writing is her atmosphere creation. These books are incredibly dark, creepy and they just linger with you. I couldn’t help but think of these books when not reading and when I finished “This Savage Song”, I immediately needed “Our Dark Duet”. And I did go immediately purchase the second book.

All in all, I loved this duology!! 😀 I am going to get into a few more spoiler-y thoughts now! 🙂

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Series Review: Shades of Magic Trilogy

I honestly don’t know why it took me so long to review these books! I finally got around to finishing the third one this summer, so it only seemed right to lump them all into one super-review! And be sure to check out Christina’s review of the first, where she also offers a good summary! Needless to say, the later ones may contain some spoilers 🙂

A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab four-star-rating-black-hi

a darker shade of magicThis was my first foray into Victoria Schwab’s writing, and it definitely won’t be the last! From the get go, I was impressed by her storytelling capabilities. She expertly crafted three dimensional characters in a well-built universe. I loved the idea of four different Londons! Especially White London, which feels particularly bleak. (Didn’t Gaiman have a similar idea in Neverwhere? Clearly it’s working.) It was refreshing to dive into something that felt so new.

The best part has to be the characters. Kell and Lila felt new and exciting, both in their behavior and physical descriptions. This isn’t your cookie cutter dynamic duo, particularly since they aren’t swooning over each other every chance they get. The sadistic Dane twins worked incredibly well as the antagonists. Seriously fantastic villains. And for favorite character it may be a tie between Holland and Kell. Both Antari felt like they carried much beneath the surface. Even so, it felt at times that there was too much held below, and it was hard to connect to the characters at points. It also hit some slow points, but they end of the book definitely picked up the pace.

A Gathering of Shadows by V. E. Schwab
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If the first book was on the higher end of four stars, I would place this one slightly on the lower end. This is mainly because it felt like I’ve read this story before, even if they did do a good job of it. Arenas? Tournaments? Isn’t this in like every dystopian novel? This book also seemed to miss that villain piece that the first book nailed.

Even so, it was still a fun read, and the character development continued on. Some complain about Kell, that he’s too moody or sullen or serious, but I kinda like that about him. He and Lila balance each other out. I’m not particularly sold on them as a couple, kinda like the idea of keeping it a friendship, but I don’t hate the pairing either. Lila did grate on me at times, though.

A Conjuring of Light by V. E. Schwab
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29939230I honestly think I would be giving this book a higher rating if I didn’t switch to audiobook while doing my road trip. Seriously, the narration was so. bad. All of a sudden the characters felt annoying (or way more so than before) and I didn’t think the voices fit at all. So, big mistake on my part there.

That being said, I did think it was a good wrap up to the trilogy. Osaron was a formidable opponent, and I think he presented enough of a threat and challenge and leading to enough loss so that readers aren’t left thinking everyone’s safe. I also really enjoyed Holland’s role in this book, especially having the opportunity to learn more about his background. Thankfully, the romance between Kell and Lila played a lot better as well. Overall a satisfying ending to a refreshing trilogy!

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Quick Takes: Finding Audrey

Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella
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Image result for finding audreyHooray I’m back!

I needed a quick, fun, easy read to get me out of grad school mode, and this book was it! I first cracked it open while I was poolside, and easily got through the first hundred pages. I was on the last page before the end of the weekend.

This was a cute little romance about 14 year old Audrey, who suffers from social anxiety, and the boy who helps motivate her to work through her fears. Don’t worry though, it’s not an I’m gonna change for this boy so he can finally like me kind of story. It’s just a sweet little story. Plus, it’s not just about romantic love, but also familial. I loved the interactions between Audrey’s family. They were wacky and ridiculous without fringing into caricature territory.

I was also impressed by how well social anxiety and mental illness as a whole was treated throughout this book. This wasn’t a romanticized view of it, which some books seem to be guilty of. It was pretty realistic, and could even offer younger readers a better understanding of what social anxiety means. Heck, any readers a little less familiar with the topic of mental illness will probably learn some things.

Although I get a little tired of the pop culture references that will likely date this book in a few years, it’s a cute story that’s worth picking up if you’re in the mood for this sort of read!

 

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BookTube-A-Thon 2017 Wrap Up!!

booktubeathon

BookTube-A-Thon Wrap Up Stats

Pages Read: 769 pages
Books Finished: 3 and like the first part of a 4th
Challenges Completed: 4 – I read a book completely outside, a whole book in a day, a book bought because of the cover and a book about a character that’s very different from me

Overall, I think I did pretty well! I read 2 whole books, a graphic novel and started another novel. I was very happy with everything that I read during this past BookTube-A-Thon. Now, I am going to share some mini reviews of the books that I read this past week!

Matilda by Roald Dahl five-star-rating-black-clip-art-hi
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This is a childhood favorite of mine!! 🙂 This book fills me up with so much goodness, happiness and overall good feelings. This book is what really ignited
my fire for reading as a child. I was very shy and awkward as a child and I had a hard time making friends, so I found friends in my books. As a shy and awkward kid, it was super important for me to see that quality of love for reading in a female character. So, yes – I love this and will always love this! 🙂 ❤

If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo five-star-rating-black-clip-art-hi

I have had this for quite some time and I thought that the BookTube-A-Thon was if i was your girlthe perfect time for me to finally pick this up. I especially thought that with the ridiculous political climate, it was the perfect time to pick up a book that is about a young trans woman. I had such an emotional experience reading this book, but it definitely challenged my own cis-female privilege, as I was reading this book. This was a very light, yet deep contemporary read, which I loved! There was a lot of great character growth in the side characters around our main protagonist, which was also fantastic to read about. This was fantastic and I highly recommend!!

Prince of the Elves (#5) by Kazu Kibuishi four-star-rating-black-hi

It’s definitely been a while since I’ve read this series and this was a great prince of the elvesinstallation to jump back in with! 😀 I adore Kazu Kibuishi’s artwork – it’s like watching a Miyazaki film in book form, it’s fabulous!! The story also really picked up in this book! That’s all I can really say without spoiling the rest of the series. I highly recommend this!! 😀

I had a great time with the BookTube-A-Thon this year! 😀 If any of you also participated, I hope you all had a great run too!!

 

 

 

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Dualing Quick Takes: The Handmaid’s Tale

the handmaid's taleSo happy to share with you all a little dual quick takes style review of “The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood! 🙂 Christina and Rachel have both recently finished it, and with the Hulu adaptation currently airing how timely these reviews seem! 🙂 We hope you enjoy our dual reviews of this book!

Christina: four-star-rating-black-hi

Y’all!!!! First of all…I am definitely slightly disappointed in myself that it’s taken me this long to read this. Shame on me. Alright…now that my self-shaming session is over, let’s get onto my MAJOR feels on this book! I will say, it did take me nearly 60 pages to really get into the book. I think this happened for two reasons: one, I had just finished a YA-fantasy book which was just paced so differently; and two, this book is shrouded in a strange sense of mystery/uncertainty and the pace of the book definitely matches that. This book was gripping and creepy, only in that this book just feels way too close to home right now…le sigh. I really can’t summarize my review/thoughts in words very well…so let me leave at this: Margaret Atwood’s writing is beautiful, gripping and incredibly thought-provoking. I can’t wait to watch the Hulu adaptation to see how it translates to the screen!

Rachel: four-star-rating-black-hi

Unlike Christina, I’m actually happy I read this when I did! Apparently like everybody and their mama, I picked this up because of all the happenings in the news we hear about on an almost daily basis. As a result, the story felt all the more timely and compelling. Atwood does seem to drop readers into this world with no apparent introduction, so the first portion of the book is a bit jarring. That being said, it seemed to add to the storyline as a whole. What is going on here? Why is this happening? These are the questions you want to be asking as you progress through the pages. I think it offered a very unique take on the dystopian genre, and it’s one I believe everyone should experience. I also thought the way the ending was designed was very unique–don’t miss that afterword type chapter like I almost did! Audiobook–yay or nay? Yay! Claire Danes narrated, and she did a marvelous job. She really helped bring Offred to life, especially in passages where she is expressing her reactions to events. The chapters also start out with muffled clips of old songs, which adds to the tone of the novel. Definitely worth a listen!

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Quick Takes: Milk and Honey

milk and honeyMilk and Honey by Rupi Kaur
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poetry is not just
hitting enter on the keyboard
so that quasi-
original thoughts
might all of a sudden
sound profound.

if that were
the case
i would take all
my high school
poetry and become
a bestseller.

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Charmed by Capricorn

Schooled by Gordon Kormanfive-star-rating-black-clip-art-hi

1025250Oh my hippie-loving-heart, this book was the cutest! It has been sitting on my to-read list for the longest time–to the extent that I forgot how it got on there in the first place–but I’m so glad I finally got to it!

A homeschooled long-haired hippie kid named Capricorn has to go to the local public middle school while his grandmother recovers from a fall, and has to learn about things like checkbooks and what a “starbuck” is. There is also the hiccup of thirteen year olds not exactly being allowed to drive school busses , but licenses aren’t really a thing inside the commune. And when he finds out about the whole school locker system, he says things like:

“When we lock things away,” he said with conviction, “we’re really imprisoning ourselves.”

I mean come on, that’s at once both funny and adorable. The popular kids of course try to pick on him, in particular by getting him to run as class president, but Cap’s naiveté and kind nature help him move blissfully forward and naturally draw people to him.

This is geared towards middle schoolers, which I am definitely not, but I think it holds its own. Even though the characters can seem a bit charicature-y, they are far from two dimensional. And aside from delightful quotes like the one above, the book is also full of incredibly touching moments that completely caught me by surprise. I look forward to grabbing my own copy of this one for whenever I want an afternoon of some quick, cozy reading. A not-so-surprising five stars from this closeted free spirit hippie chick!

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