Book Review – Take the Key and Lock Her Up by Ally Carter

Take the Key and Lock Her Up (Embassy Row #3)

Author: Ally Carter

Publication: December 27th, 2016

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Format: Kindle Edtion, 336 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Thriller, Mental Health

Read: April 2017

Ally CarterGoodreads

 

Synopsis
The princess is dead. Long live the princess.
Centuries ago, the royal family of Adria was killed…or so everyone thought.
Now Grace Blakely knows the truth: There was one survivor, and that survivor’s blood runs through her veins. This simple fact could cause a revolution—which is why some people will stop at nothing to keep it from coming to light.
There is only one way for Grace to save herself, save her family, and save the boy she loves. She must outmaneuver her foes, cut through the web of lies that has surrounded her for years, and go back to the source of all her troubles, despite the risk.
If she wins, she will inherit a throne.
And if she loses, she will inherit the fate of all the dead princesses who came before her.

Critically

Plot – 3.5 out of 5 stars
Sadly, I’m still disappointed. The plot of this book is full of mystery and suspense. There’s action, it’s dramatic, full of death and violence. But it was still kind of boring. Honestly, I just think this series tries too hard to be intense and it doesn’t pull it off as well as it thinks it does. This book was not as entertaining as I wanted and the ending wasn’t that surprising.

Writing Style – 4 out of 5 stars
Part of me feels like I should complain more about the writing style considering that most of my issues with this series comes down to execution but I just can’t help flying through these books. The writing is set a medium place but it’s simple and easy to read. It’s a bit intense, kind of emotional but unfortunately, those things didn’t really translate well. It was confusing sometimes and it could get repetitive.

Characters – 3.5 out of 5 stars
This is definitely my least favorite part of this series which is so sad because I’ve really loved this author’s characters in the past. I just wasn’t feeling the main character and the side characters barely show up enough throughout the story to be considered a part of it.
Grace gets on my nerves. I tried, I swear I really tried to understand where she’s coming from but she’s just really dramatic and pessimistic to the point where reading from her point of view was draining for me. She’s reckless and angry and she gets pulled into crappy situations because she’s just not clearheaded at all. She’s depressed, worried and just totally and completely frustrating for me.
There’s not enough page time for the side characters. From the friendships, to the romance, even to the familial relationships portrayed in this book, they all just show up when they’re needed and there’s never any actual development to back up everything the dialogue is trying to say. I don’t know the side characters well at all and it’s another one of the things that made this series disappointing overall.

Emotionally

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Series Review – The Wolves of Mercy Falls Trilogy by Maggie Stiefvater

Shiver, Linger and Forever (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #1, #2 and #3)

Author: Maggie Stiefvater

Publication: August 1st 2009, July 13th 2010 and July 12th 2011

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Format: Kindle Edition 402 pages, Kindle Edition 369 pages and Kindle Edition 405 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal

Read: December 2016, January 2017 and April 2017

Maggie StiefvaterGoodreads

Shiver

Synopsis
From a dazzlingly talented young writer, a haunting and original supernatural romance in the vein of TWILIGHT.

For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf–her wolf–is a chilling presence she can’t seem to live without. Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human . . . until the cold makes him shift back again.

Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It’s her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human–or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.

Critically

Plot – 3 out of 5 stars
This is a re-read for me so I wasn’t expecting to be surprised by anything and I was right. The plot was kind of slow, sometimes confusing and sometimes boring. It’s a good pace and easy to get through, but it had insta love. However, I really liked the kind of werewolf lore the author decided to go with, I think it’s a really interesting concept that I can’t wait to see explored more.

Writing Style – 3.5 out of 5 stars
In general, the writing is really descriptive and detailed. However, it’s really slow paced so I felt like it dragged as I was reading and made it hard to keep my interest. It’s lyrical and poetic and there’s also in my opinion some great dialogue.

Characters – 3 out of 5 stars
I don’t really know how I feel about these characters. They’re all kind of strange in their own peculiar ways and the story helps by creating a very peculiar atmosphere.
Grace is the protagonist in this book and she’s kind of stoic. She’s really independent and has had to basically raise herself since her parents tend to leave her alone a lot. She’s a little bit obsessed with the wolves outside her backyard which starts this entire adventure and she’s determined to understand everything that’s going on. I found her to be kind but also she’s kind of a stickler for stuff haha.
There’s various other side characters involved in the story, including the male love interest and while I generally enjoyed them, I feel like all the characters to have a bit more complexity. They all seem a little bit cardboard, as in that they have a singular personality and this is the kind of person that they are within the story and there’s not much room to grow beyond that.

Linger

Synopsis
The astonishing #1 New York Times bestseller. In Maggie Stiefvater’s Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other. Now, in Linger, they must fight to be together. For Grace, this means defying her parents and keeping a very dangerous secret about her own well-being. For Sam, this means grappling with his werewolf past . . . and figuring out a way to survive into the future. Add into the mix a new wolf named Cole, whose own past has the potential to destroy the whole pack. And Isabelle, who already lost her brother to the wolves . . . and is nonetheless drawn to Cole.

Critically

Plot – 3 out of 5 stars
Again this book is really slow. The romance is the main focus in the entire series but in the first two books specially which can be annoying for some people. There’s a lot more information of the werewolves which I really appreciate and I think it was really well thought out. This one was full of angst and it kind of got on my nerves.

Writing Style – 3.5 out of 5 stars
Again, descriptive and detailed. Super slow paced though it’s very poetic and lyrical and easy to read. This one in particular had several points of views which was okay, but they never really felt distinct between one another. The narrative dragged a bit while reading but it was really emotional so I liked that.

Characters – 4 out of 5 stars
I enjoyed the characters much more in this one. Part of the reason is because it’s a second book so we get more page time with them but also because there are more points of views so I can see into the minds of those characters that I was more detached from.
Grace is still pretty stoic, I’ve accepted that it’s just her personality. She’s much more emotional in this one though. She’s defiant of her parents and the way they treat her and independent and itching to spread her wings and do something for herself. She’s a little bit reckless, a lot scared but just as kind as she was in the first book. She’s kind of winning me over.
Sam is pretty much exactly the same way I thought he was in the first book, maybe a little more sad in this one. He’s lost, vulnerable and scared with everything that’s going on in his life. He’s still very earnest and I can’t even explain what I mean by that but that’s the kind of vibe he gives.
There’s more side characters in this one as well but they’re definitely getting more development than they did in the first book. They’re a little bit too crazy and too dramatic for my taste but I understand what they’re doing within the story.

Forever

Synopsis
The thrilling conclusion to #1 bestselling Shiver trilogy from Maggie Stievater
In Maggie Stiefvater’s SHIVER, Grace and Sam found each other. In LINGER, they fought to be together. Now, in FOREVER, the stakes are even higher than before. Wolves are being hunted. Lives are being threatened. And love is harder and harder to hold on to as death comes closing in.

Critically

Plot – 3 out of 5 stars
Honestly, I was hoping the plot of this book would improve over the previous two but it was very similar. There was a much bigger conflict which was interesting but then another angsty romance was added to the lineup. It got boring sometimes again and I felt like the ending was interesting but kind of sad all the same.

Writing Style – 3.5 out of 5 stars
There’s nothing much that’s different from this book to the previous one. The writing style is descriptive and detailed though slow paced. The narrative dragged a bit and kind of made it hard for me to keep engaged. However, it was still poetic and lyrical in delivery.

Characters – 4 out of 5 stars
I kind of wish I could say that I ended up falling in love with these characters by the end, but that’s just not true. I like them all well enough but the whole story as well as their personalities were just too dramatic for me.
Grace changed in this book. From the end of the second book to this one, she’s quieter, much more vulnerable. She kept her defiant spirit as well as her independence. But she’s tired and that really came through.
The rest of the side characters are also much more stressed out, specially since the plot of this book is pretty intense for them. They’re all dealing with a lot of different things and it affects each of them in different ways.

Emotionally

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Series Review – Fire and Thorns Trilogy by Rae Carson

Book Review - Fire and Thorns Trilogy

The Girl of Fire and Thorns, The Crown of Embers and The Bitter Kingdom (Fire and Thorns #1, #2 and #3)

Author: Rae Carson

Publication: September 20th 2011, September 18th 2012 and August 27th 2013

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Format: Kindle Edition 448 pages, Kindle Edition 416 pages and Kindle Edition 449 pages

Genre: Young Adult, High Fantasy, Paranormal

Read: October 2016 and February 2017

Rae CarsonGoodreads

The Girl of Fire and Thorns

Synopsis
Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness.
Elisa is the chosen one. But she is also the younger of two princesses. The one who has never done anything remarkable, and can’t see how she ever will.
Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king–a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs her to be the chosen one, not a failure of a princess.
And he’s not the only one who seeks her. Savage enemies, seething with dark magic, are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people’s savior, and he looks at her in a way that no man has ever looked at her before. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake.
Elisa could be everything to those who need her most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesn’t die young. Most of the chosen do.

Critically

Plot – 4 out of 5 stars
The plot is medium paced but it doesn’t really seem like it. There’s a lot of adventure and travel. This book sets up the world which is Catholic/Hispanic and Latinx inspired which is amazing and it also sets up the conflict for the future books. It’s all about magic, religion and so much mystery. I loved getting swept up in this story since it hadn’t happened in a long time. There’s also very little romance which was refreshing for the first book in a YA fantasy series.

Writing Style – 4 out of 5 stars
This author’s writing style is really simple, but also descriptive and detailed. However, it’s also really intense and powerful. It’s emotionally heavy but the narrator has kind of a dry narrative. In this book, she’s very unsure about everything that’s happening with her but it’s still entertaining and engaging to read.

Characters – 4 out of 5 stars
I feel like this group of characters is going to take over my heart very quickly. There’s so much for me to connect to, not only with the main characters but with the culture and the world in this book. I’m slowly drowning in the depths of these dynamics.
Elisa is a very shy and quiet main character. Usually, main characters in fantasy are tough and ready to take on the world and it was a nice change of pace to see someone much more unsure and lost. She’s been kept in the dark about things pertaining to her and she spends a lot of time trying to get on the same playing field as everyone else which was a very interesting point of view to see. But we learn that she’s really smart and a great strategist. I love how she becomes more confident, honest and strong throughout the book.
There are quite a big number of side characters in this series which tends to happen in high fantasy. Each one is complex and interesting on their own and kept me guessing and wondering how they were going to shift the plot. I’m a shipper so I like to mention the romance but it’s very unclear in this first book. I know there is one because of what I’ve heard people talk about from this series but there’s practically nothing in this book.

The Crown of Embers

Synopsis
She does not know what awaits her at the enemy’s gate.
Elisa is a hero.
She led her people to victory over a terrifying, sorcerous army. Her place as the country’s ruler should be secure. But it isn’t.
Her enemies come at her like ghosts in a dream, from foreign realms and even from within her own court. And her destiny as the chosen one has not yet been fulfilled.
To conquer the power she bears, once and for all, Elisa must follow a trial of long-forgotten—and forbidden—clues, from the deep, hidden catacombs of her own city to the treacherous seas. With her go a one-eyed spy, a traitor, and the man whom—despite everything—she is falling in love with.
If she’s lucky, she will return from this journey. But there will be a cost.

Critically

Plot – 4.5 out of 5 stars
I am falling in love with this series, really and truly. This book is full of adventure and travel (again). There’s much more information on the world and the background of it, like how it was created and what led to the setting we see here. It deals with magic, religion, action, drama, politics, war and death. And just to sweeten things up a bit, we have a bit more romance in this one haha.

Writing Style – 4 out of 5 stars
The writing style is descriptive and detailed. It’s simple but at the same time, really powerful and intense. There’s a lot of emotion that pours out of the page through the writing style. It’s medium paced but intricate and entertaining, I could’ve read this book in one sitting honestly. There’s some drama in here but it’s such an enjoyable read.

Characters – 5 out of 5 stars
I’m so obsessed guys! I am officially in love with every single character in this series. They all have a place in my heart, they are my babies and I will protect them with my life!
Elisa astounds me. I loved her character development in the first book, but I’m also super glad that it wasn’t that she had an “easy fix” to the personality she had. She was still unsure and worried about the things happening around her but she’s determined to be the best Queen she can possibly be to this kingdom she now has control of. She’s defiant and selfless. She’s a really strong, smart and honest leader and I think she’s a total badass to be quite honest.
The side characters also continue to grow and astound me. They’re each complex and intricate individuals and the relationships they create between them are just as real and powerful. They feel like real people while reading. The romance also makes a more obvious appearance and I loved it! I’m a huge shipper and this romance gave me the most wondrous feels!

The Bitter Kingdom

Synopsis
The epic conclusion to Rae Carson’s Fire and Thorns trilogy. The seventeen-year-old sorcerer-queen will travel into the unknown realm of the enemy to win back her true love, save her country, and uncover the final secrets of her destiny.
Elisa is a fugitive in her own country. Her enemies have stolen the man she loves in order to lure her to the gate of darkness. As she and her daring companions take one last quest into unknown enemy territory to save Hector, Elisa will face hardships she’s never imagined. And she will discover secrets about herself and her world that could change the course of history. She must rise up as champion – a champion to those who have hated her most.

Critically

Plot – 5 out of 5 stars
IT’S SO GOOD, GUYS! This was the epic finale to end all the finales for me. It was action packed, full of even more adventure and more travel. We see even more of the world and it continues to astound me how big this creation is. There’s politics, magic, religion and so much more romance that just made me ecstatic! There’s a war going on but it’s almost Cold, it deals with stealth and strategies first which was super interesting.

Writing Style – 4 out of 5 stars
The writing style is powerful and intense, it packs an emotional punch and took me through the wrenches haha. It’s detailed, descriptive yet simple. There’s drama, there’s entertainment and everything is intricately woven together. Though it has a medium pace, the writing flies by and the book can be easily finished in one sitting.

Characters – 5 out of 5 stars
I LOVE THEM SO MUCH! These characters give me life and happiness more than the majority of the characters that I’ve encountered lately. They are all so amazing and beautiful and just so awesome!
Elisa is my Queen! I absolutely adore her. She’s confident and determined. She’s facing upheaval and mutiny within her advisors and she’s going into extreme enemy territory as well. She’s smart and strong and has such a resilient spirit. I liked being able to see much more of her compassionate side in this book. I consider her such a badass that even though that has a “tough only” connotation, it just reminds me of how complex she is as a character. She’s a defiant individual but also in tune with her emotions and her faith. She’s grown so much throughout the series that it’s kind of mind blowing. It makes me so proud of her which sounds kind of weird but that’s the kind of feeling she brings up in me.
Just like the side characters who are complex and intricate individuals. One of my favorite things about this series is the slow build of relationships. From friendships to romances to alliances, every thing is done with care and each one grows exponentially as the stories continue.

 Emotionally

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ARC Review – Done Dirt Cheap by Sarah Nicole Lemon

book-review-done-dirt-cheap

done-dirt-cheap-cover

Done Dirt Cheap

Author: Sarah Nicole Lemon

Publication: March 7th, 2017

Publisher: Amulet Books

Format: e-ARC, 336 pages

Genre: Contemporary, Coming of Age, Romance

Read: February 2017

Sarah Nicole LemonGoodreads

I received an e-ARC of this book from Abrams Kids and Amulet Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

Synopsis
Tourmaline Harris’s life hit pause at fifteen, when her mom went to prison because of Tourmaline’s unintentionally damning testimony. But at eighteen, her home life is stable, and she has a strong relationship with her father, the president of a local biker club known as the Wardens. Virginia Campbell’s life hit fast-forward at fifteen, when her mom “sold” her into the services of Hazard, a powerful attorney: a man for whom the law is merely a suggestion. When Hazard sets his sights on dismantling the Wardens, he sends in Virginia, who has every intention of selling out the club—and Tourmaline. But the two girls are stronger than the circumstances that brought them together, and their resilience defines the friendship at the heart of this powerful debut novel.

Critically

Plot – 3.5 out of 5 stars
This book doesn’t have a linear plot in my opinion, it’s much more character oriented. But there’s a lot of amazing themes expressed and developed in this story. It’s a coming of age and it talks about hope, ambition, trust, friendship, honesty, bravery and just general girl badassery. It took me awhile to get into it but it caught my attention after the first quarter.

Writing Style – 4 out of 5 stars
This author’s writing is one of my favorite things about this book. Contemporaries tend to have very simple and easy to read writing, and while this has that, it’s also really poetic and lyrical. There are some really beautiful lines in this book that paint a detailed picture with descriptions that are intense. This book has dual POVs since the two main characters narrate the story but the distinction is very subtle and I wish it could’ve been more obvious to have an easier time transitioning between narrators.

Characters – 4 out of 5 stars
This is the selling point of this book. Not only are there two amazing female protagonists but they build such an incredible friendship that is pretty much the most important part of the story. I am kind of obsessed with these girls and their bond to be honest. Tourmaline is kind of the more naive of the two. She’s been sheltered her entire life and has a certain perception of the world because of who her father is and what he does. She feels really guilty for what she did when she was younger. However, she’s learning a lot about what is really happening around her and she’s defiant and determined. I loved seeing her become more confident as the story progressed. Then we have Virginia (it got a bit confusing sometimes since the setting is also Virginia) and she’s kind of like rough and tough. She’s definitely been through hardship and her life isn’t really what she envisions for herself. She makes the most of what she has but slowly things start to unravel and she wants to look to escape. She’s very vulnerable and scared, she’s dealing with a lot of anxiety but she’s also learning to open up and depend on others. Again, the friendship between these two characters is absolutely incredible and the best part of this book. But there are also a lot of complex and interesting relationships and romances that I feel were very well developed but didn’t take away from the friendship being the focal point of the story.

Emotionally

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Series Review – Age of Legends by Kelley Armstrong

book-review-age-of-legends

Sea of Shadows, Empire of Night and Forest of Ruin (Age of Legends #1, #2 and #3)

Author: Kelley Armstrong

Publication: April 8th 2014, April 7th 2015 and April 5th 2016

Publisher: HarperCollings

Format: Kindle Edition 406 pages, Kindle Edition 432 pages and Kindle Edition 448 pages

Genre: Young Adult, High Fantasy, Paranormal, Horror

Read: October 2016 and February 2017

Kelley ArmstrongGoodreads

Sea of Shadows Cover

Sea of Shadows

3-stars1

Synopsis
In the Forest of the Dead, where the empire’s worst criminals are exiled, twin sisters Moria and Ashyn are charged with a dangerous task. For they are the Keeper and the Seeker, and each year they must quiet the enraged souls of the damned.
Only this year, the souls will not be quieted.
Ambushed and separated by an ancient evil, the sisters’ journey to find each other sends them far from the only home they’ve ever known. Accompanied by a stubborn imperial guard and a dashing condemned thief, the girls cross a once-empty wasteland, now filled with reawakened monsters of legend, as they travel to warn the emperor. But a terrible secret awaits them at court—one that will alter the balance of their world forever.

Critically

Plot – 3.5 out of 5 stars
This book is really slow paced and there was some action that kept me entertained but it wasn’t what I was expecting. The world building was really confusing and it took me awhile to really get into the story and to grasp everything that was going on. This book deals with death, monsters, religion and rituals. There’s a lot of play on legends and magic which was everything interesting.

Writing Style – 4 out of 5 stars
This particular writing style is really verbose and old fashioned. It’s at a slow but steady pace and it’s descriptive and detailed. However, the world building is really confusing and messy. I didn’t understand it at all and it kept me from automatically getting lost into the story. In general, it took me awhile to get into the story because of the older style writing.

Characters – 3 out of 5 stars
This is probably my least favorite part of this book. I felt like the majority of the characters fit into certain boxes or stereotypes and it didn’t help me connect to any of them. The two main characters are twins, Moria and Ashyn. First thing first, it took me a really long time to get comfortable with the names. They are much more complicated than they need to be. I kept reading Moria as Moira and it drove me nuts honestly.
Both of them are stereotypically completely different. Moria has a really strong personality. She’s kind of defensive and temperamental. She’s definitely more of a warrior type and spends a lot of time investigating and practicing fighting. She’s really protective of her sister but not overly emotional. She tends to be seen as the tougher one, with a kind of coldness and practicality to her personality.
Ashyn on the other hand is really shy, meek and quiet. She’s much more book smart and the more romantic of the twins. She’s really naive and almost overprotected in a way. She feels very much out of her depth and completely unsure of how to stay safe and stay alive. She knows more about medicine and tending to wounds but is kind of useless in a battle.
There are also a lot of side characters in this book, each with their own complex personalities. It took me awhile to keep everyone straight in my head because there’s a lot of different players in this complicated story. Because of that, it was harder for me to connect to them and I wish I could’ve seen them grow more then they did in this book.

empire-of-night-cover

Empire of Night

4-stars1

Synopsis
Sisters Moira and Ashyn are the Keeper and Seeker of Edgewood.
or at least, they were.

Their village is gone. Their friends have betrayed them. And now, they are all but prisoners in court, forced to watch and wait while the Emperor decides whether to help the children of Edgewood, who remain hostages of the treacherous Alvar Kitsune.
But when the emperor finally sends the girls on a mission to rescue the children – accompanied by Prince Tyrus and a small band of men – the journey proves more perilous than any of them could have imagined. With lies and unrest mounting in the empire, Moria and Ashyn will have to draw on every bit of influence and power they possess to unite their people and avert an all-out war.

Critically

Plot – 4 out of 5 stars
This book picked up the pace a bit more and it’s much more action packed as well. Thankfully, there’s much more information on the world and how the empire they live in actually works. It’s still a bit confusing though with this second book, I’m definitely getting the hang of things. There’s more romance in this one, lots of twists and turns and monsters. It was definitely a lot more exciting than the first book.

Writing Style – 4 out of 5 stars
The writing style is, luckily, really easy to read and has a steady pace to go along with the plot. It’s really descriptive and detailed though it can still get kind of confusing sometimes. It’s really verbose and old fashioned. The characters voices sound much older than they are because of the way their empire is. However, the world building has definitely improved in this one and things make much more sense.

Characters – 3.5 out of 5 stars
This is still the section in which I’m struggling with the most in this series which sucks because characters are my favorite parts of books. Though it’s definitely improved from the first book as well.
Moria is really freaking angry in this book. The ending of the last book kind of shook her and she’s now questioning the things she thought were right. She’s hurt and she feels betrayed. However, she’s still smart and confident in who she is and the plot of this book pushes her to become much more open and honest.
While I’m not the biggest fan of Ashyn, I really like the development she had in this book. She’s much more confident and much more outgoing but without losing her personality and the person that she is. She’s still smart and is becoming much more aware of her surroundings but still can’t really fight and is overprotected by some of the male characters.
There are more side characters added in this book, much more than I was expecting, but at the same time, they’re all fleshed out much more than in the first book. I enjoyed that there was much more development for all of the characters.

Forest of Ruin Cover

Forest of Ruin

4.5-stars1

Synopsis
The empire rests on the edge of a knife, and sisters Ashyn and Moria are the handle and the blade. Desperate to outmaneuver the evil Alvar Kitsune, whose hold on the people grows stronger every day, Emperor Tatsu begs Moria to put aside past grievances and ally with Gavril—at least long enough to make an attempt on Alvar’s life. Meanwhile, reunited with her long-lost grandfather, Ashyn discovers that she is the key to a ritual that could reawaken an ancient dragon and turn the tide of the coming battle in their favor.
But with lies and betrayal lurking around every corner, Ashyn and Moria will have to decide once and for all where their allegiances are. And it may not be where their hearts would lead them…
In this breathtaking final book in her trilogy the Age of Legends, author Kelley Armstrong blends fantasy, action, and romance to give readers the unforgettable ending they’ve been waiting for.

Critically

Plot – 4 out of 5 stars
This book is set at a steady, medium pace but the action keeps going. There’s also some mystery in this one, revolving around dragons which is pretty cool. There’s a lot more focus on romance in this one as well and it’s so much easier to understand than the rest of the books have been. There’s twists and turns and lots of violence (it can get graphic) but I feel like the ending was very solid and conclusive.

Writing Style – 4 out of 5 stars
The writing style as always is descriptive and detailed. There’s a steady pace that flows with the plot and I really enjoy that the POV’s are very distinct. The characters speak with big words and it’s all very old fashioned in style. It’s easy to read and I ended up enjoying it much more as the series continued.

Characters – 4 out of 5 stars
Finally, one of these books where I don’t have some huge complain about the characters. They will never become favorites of mine but I have to say that they definitely improved as the series went on.
Moria is a freaking badass lady. She’s so logical, smart and crafty. She’s gotten better at working through her emotions but it doesn’t stop her from continuing to be brave and fiercely protective and strong. She’s super blunt and is always looking at things in a different perspective than other people. Though she had a lot of development, I think it was more of building on who she already was and making her even better.
Ashyn on the other hand had the most extensive development out of everyone in the series. She started out really shy and timid and pretty much scared of a bunch of things. But as things progressed and she started to become more confident, she blossomed. She’s passionate, determined and smart. She’s kind as always but much more blunt and honest with herself and others. I love how self-confidence helped her become a much more well rounded person and someone that can kick ass in her own way.
All the side characters now feel much more three dimensional and fleshed out. They’ve always been complex but since there were so many, I never felt like I got to know them as much as I wanted to but that was definitely fixed in this book.

Emotionally

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ARC Review – the princess saves herself in this one by Amanda Lovelace

book-review-the-princess-saves-herself-in-this-one

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the princess saves herself in this one

Author: Amanda Lovelace

Publication: February 14th, 2017

Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing

Format: e-ARC, 208 pages

Genre: Poetry

Read: January 2017

Amanda LovelaceGoodreads

I received an e-ARC of this book from Andrews McMeel Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

4-stars1

Synopsis
From Amanda Lovelace, a poetry collection in four parts: the princess, the damsel, the queen, and you. The first three sections piece together the life of the author while the final section serves as a note to the reader. This moving book explores love, loss, grief, healing, empowerment, and inspiration.

Emotionally

So this review is obviously a little different than all the ones I’ve done before. I’ve never reviewed a poetry collection before so I’m kind of winging it at the moment. I hope everything I share here makes sense and if it doesn’t, please let me know!

I first heard about this collection on Twitter. A lot of mutual book community friends were raving about it and though I hadn’t read poetry in a really long time (since high school), I wanted to give it a try. When I say that it was up to Read Now on NetGalley, I jumped at the chance to check it out!

This collection is divided into four parts: the princess, the damsel, the queen and you. It explores themes of love, loss, grief, death, empowerment and honesty. Because this is contemporary poetry, I don’t feel like it’s right to make a critically section in this review. The writing style is incredibly personal and the way the stanzas and poems are laid out are part of that experience. All the poems were raw and powerful, there was a lot of emotion emitted from the pages which is completely tangible as you read.

I enjoyed the entire collection but I have to say that I found it hard to connect. I liked the stories and pictures the author painted for the reader but I didn’t connect with the majority of them. I felt like I was reading a much more personal journey than something for me to feel connected to. For some reason, it felt much more intrusive to me, like I was looking into the intimate details of a stranger’s life and I didn’t have any right to it. But that’s just me being weird because the content and delivery of these poems is beautiful and intense.

My favorite section is definitely the queen. It was the part I connected to the most out of all of them and I felt like it was the culmination of the journey the author was telling in the first two parts. We learn about so many personal things from her life, so many hardships that the queen section feels like her triumph. It feels like this is the person she is now because of all the learned from all the things that happened then. And I think that 1. that was really brave of her to share with the world and 2. it’s incredibly empowering to read and to absorb.

Here are some of my favorite poems from the collection:

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Overall, I’m glad I read this collection when I did. I hadn’t read poetry since high school and this reminded me oh how much I enjoyed it. Definitely recommend it!

So that’s it for this post! This was one of the hardest reviews ever because I couldn’t use my usual format and it screwed me up haha. I’d love to know if any of you have read this collection and what you thought! Thanks so much for reading and I’ll see you on my next post!

send-off

Book Review – Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge by Paul Krueger

book-review-last-call-at-the-nightshade-lounge

last-call-at-the-nightshade-lounge-cover

Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge

Author: Paul Krueger

Publication: June 7th, 2016

Publisher: Quirk Books

Format: Kindle Edition, 288 pages

Genre: New Adult, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal

Read: January 2016

Paul KruegerGoodreads

 

 

4-stars1

Synopsis
In this sharp and funny urban fantasy novel, booze is magic, demons are real, and millennial Bailey Chen joins a band of monster-fighting Chicago bartenders instead of finding a “real” post-college job.
Bailey Chen is fresh out of college with all the usual new-adult demons: no cash, no job offers, and an awkward relationship with Zane, the old friend she kinda-sorta hooked up with during high school.
But when Zane introduces Bailey to his monster-fighting bartender friends, her demons become a lot more literal. It turns out that evil creatures stalk the city streets after hours, and they can be hunted only with the help of magically mixed cocktails: vodka grants super-strength, whiskey offers the power of telekinesis, and rum lets its drinker fire blasts of elemental energy. But will all these powers be enough for Bailey to halt a mysterious rash of gruesome deaths? And what will she do when the safety of a “real world” job beckons?
This sharp and funny urban fantasy is perfect for fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, and grown-up readers of Harry Potter. Includes 14 recipes from a book of ancient cocktail lore.

Critically

Plot – 4 out of 5 stars
I really liked this book which was kind of surprising for me. I feel like the premise is really new and interesting, I’ve never read anything like it before. It’s action packed, there was mystery, it was entertaining and I enjoyed it. I liked that the paranormal creatures described and involved were unique. There was some graphic descriptions but the ending was conclusive though slightly open ended which is great!

Writing Style – 3.5 out of 5 stars
The writing style is really simple, descriptive and detailed. I found that the world building was really interesting and thorough, there were a lot of special elements that made it so much easier to understand and to immerse myself in. It’s kind of graphic but also kind of funny and engaging. I was really invested in the book while reading and flew through it.

Characters – 3.5 out of 5 stars
I liked the majority of the characters in this book but they all have their annoying moments. Some of their decisions and actions were questionable and irritating but in general, I liked them and their personalities and they made the story fun and entertaining. Bailey is kind of annoying but I really liked her determination and bravery. She actually reminded me (and my book club) of me which I don’t really know what that says about me since she has a kind of anal and obsessive personality. She’s smart, hardworking, curious, kind and defiant. She had moments when she was kind of petulant and moments where I just wanted to shake her silly but overall, I liked her as the narrator. There are quite a few side characters in this series. Some that I loved that totally brought a lot of energy and joy into the book and into what was going on. Others that I did not like at all and that I was totally suspicious of. However, I feel like they were all really individual and complex by themselves. Some weren’t as fleshed out as I wanted them to be and I would’ve wanted to get to know them a lot better but they all added something special to the story. There was a lot more drama than I was expecting, specially for an urban fantasy book and we definitely talked about that in our book club book chat. Some of the characters had shitty stuff happen to them and that made me so sad and this whole paragraph makes no sense, sorry guys haha.

Emotionally

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Series Review – The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

book-review-the-lunar-chronicles

Cinder, Scarlet, Cress and Winter (The Lunar Chronicles #1, #2, #3 and #4)

Author: Marissa Meyer

Publication: January 3rd 2012, February 5th 2013, February 4th 2014 and November 10th 2015

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Format: Kindle Edition 400 pages, Kindle Edition 464 pages, Kindle Edition 560 pages and Kindle Edition 833 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, Science Fiction, Retellings

Read: December 2015, October and December 2016

Marissa MeyerGoodreads

Cinder Cover

Cinder

3.5-stars2

Synopsis
Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl.
Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

Critically

Plot – 3 out of 5 stars
This book is really interesting and entertaining but oh my goodness, it was so predictable. I’m pretty sure I figured out everything that was going to happen in this book in the first quarter of it. That was disappointing because I expected so much more considering how much hype this book has. However, I liked the mystery involved (even if I figured it out) and how the author incorporated the original story line with her world.

Writing Style – 4 out of 5 stars
I liked Meyer’s writing style. It’s really simple and straight to the point. There’s a lot of detail and description and it was engaging enough to keep me interested in the story although I knew where it was going. It was captivating enough but there wasn’t much distinction between character perspectives.

Characters – 3.5 out of 5 stars
Characters are what make books for me. If I’m not feeling the characters, its a sure fire way to make me lose interest in a book which was what happened here. There’s nothing particularly wrong with the characters, but they didn’t really captivate me much. They were all just… there.Cinder is cool. She’s really jaded and kind of has a rude/sassy attitude. Some of her lines were kind of funny and I like how she tried not to take shit from other people around her. She’s really strong, specially after the life she’s had. I liked her determination and how independent she was. While she’s kind of a closed off person, she’s also really kind. I think all the things she had to deal with in her family and as a cyborg really made her conscious of how she should treat people and thinking beyond herself, even when that wasn’t reciprocated to her. However, there wasn’t anything about her that stood out to me and made me her fan or to want to root for her as I read.
There are also quite a few side characters. Kai, the prince in this story, was okay. He’s really young and inexperienced and the poor guy has the whole world on his shoulders. However, he’s determined to do the best job he can to keep his people safe and I admired that. I want to also mention that I love Iko, she’s amazing haha. There’s a lot of great changes with the characters and what they represent but they are still close to the original.

Scarlet Cover

Scarlet

4-stars1

Synopsis
Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison—even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive.
Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.

Critically

Plot – 4 out of 5 stars
Plot wise this book definitely stepped it up in the series. The various story lines as well as the original stories are starting to intertwine which makes it much better for me because this one didn’t feel as predictable as the first. It was interesting and entertaining. It was action packed, fast paced and much more gruesome than I expected. I definitely enjoyed this particular story much more.

Writing Style – 4 out of 5 stars
Again, the writing style is really simple and straight forward. I think the author does a great job with connecting the existing stories together as well as with the original ones. It’s detailed, descriptive and engaging. I think the distinction between POVs was much better than the first book, I felt like I was reading about and from different people.

Characters – 4 out of 5 stars
I wasn’t the biggest fan of the characters from the first book, there was nothing that really captivated me about them. However, this book got so much better! Not only did I feel like they were more distinct in their voices and personalities, but I think the fast paced plot helped make me care more about what was happening to the characters.Scarlet became an instant favorite. She’s just so fierce! She’s determined and stubborn. I love how caring she is and how she doesn’t back down. She listens to her gut and follows it no matter what, that’s so inspiring to me. She’s loving to the people she cares about and takes awhile to warm up to others. I think she’s badass and I want to read more from her point of view.
There are also many more side characters introduced in this book. Wolf is one of them and he’s pretty great in my opinion. He has such a powerful presence and he’s fierce and apologetic. But you still get the sense there’s more to him than meets the eye. However, there was one character that was introduced in this book that blew everyone else out of the water and that is Thorne. I absolutely loved him, he stole the show for me. He’s hilarious, a bit self-centered and just a great character overall. I’m a big fan of him.

Cress Cover

Cress

4.5-stars1

Synopsis
In this third book in Marissa Meyer’s bestselling Lunar Chronicles series, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, now with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and prevent her army from invading Earth.
Their best hope lies with Cress, a girl trapped on a satellite since childhood who’s only ever had her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker. Unfortunately, she’s being forced to work for Queen Levana, and she’s just received orders to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.
When a daring rescue of Cress goes awry, the group is splintered. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a higher price than she’d ever expected. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing prevent her marriage to Emperor Kai, especially the cyborg mechanic. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only hope the world has.

Critically

Plot – 4.5 out of 5 stars
I’m really glad to say that these books keep getting better and better as the series continues. This one was entertaining, action packed and intense. It was definitely much more unique than I was expecting since the ones before were predictable in some ways. This one deviates from the original story a whole lot more and I loved it! This original science fiction, revolution story is taking over the series and it’s pretty great. The plot of this book was also so much more emotional. It’s getting down to the wire and you can definitely feel it as you read.

Writing Style – 4 out of 5 stars
I’ve come to really enjoy Meyer’s writing style. It’s simple and engaging, it’s easy to slip back into the world and the story because of that. It’s very detailed and descriptive, specially this book because there is so much traveling. These books are very fast paced and the author has gotten much better at creating distinction between all the POVs she’s working with which I really appreciate.

Characters – 4 out of 5 stars
This part of the books just keeps on improving which each one. When I read the first book, I wasn’t really feeling most of the characters, but now that there’s more of a crew and the cast has gotten larger, I’ve warmed up to and am rooting for them much more. I was really interested in meeting Cress since I heard about this series, I really wanted to know how the author was going to work with the Rapunzel story and I really enjoyed her. She has such a sweet disposition despite all that she’s gone through. I found her naivety to be really endearing and cute. She’s so amazed by everything around her and even when she’s terrified of something, she does the best she can and is determined to push through no matter what.
I already knew I loved Thorne and that feeling just grew tenfold in this book. He’s charming, funny, smart and strong. I also like that he has character development in this book, he goes beyond just comic relief.
A lot of the side characters make appearances together as a group and I’m really loving their dynamic now. Shit got complicated but they did their best to stick together and to make it work with each other. I still love Iko and Wolf and Scarlet. I liked how Kai and Cinder were reunited in this book, it definitely got me to like them a bit more individually and together than I had in the past.

Winter Cover

Winter

5-stars1

Synopsis
Princess Winter is admired by the Lunar people for her grace and kindness, and despite the scars that mar her face, her beauty is said to be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana.
Winter despises her stepmother, and knows Levana won’t approve of her feelings for her childhood friend–the handsome palace guard, Jacin. But Winter isn’t as weak as Levana believes her to be and she’s been undermining her stepmother’s wishes for years. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that’s been raging for far too long.

Can Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter defeat Levana and find their happily ever afters? Fans will not want to miss this thrilling conclusion to Marissa Meyer’s national bestselling Lunar Chronicles series.

Critically

Plot – 4.5 out of 5 stars
This is my favorite book in the series by far. I don’t know if its just because its the finale and the culmination of everything the gang has been trying to do for so long but I loved it. It was action packed, intense and powerful. There was a lot more blood shed and violence than the previous books but it was just as exciting and emotional as I wanted. The books have shifted so much from the original stories but there are so many correlations and intricate connections. However, this book was really, really long.

Writing Style – 4 out of 5 stars
Again, the writing style really works with making the story shine. It’s simple yet engaging and easy to read. It’s really descriptive and detailed. I love how there’s so much more distinction between the different POVs now and I can tell who’s telling the story just by the first few lines. It was intense and action packed and really fast paced, though this book was definitely a bit too long for me.

Characters – 4 out of 5 stars
I’ve definitely become a fan of this cast of characters as the series went on. The group as a whole has a really great dynamic and they bring out the best in each other. I loved seeing how they all worked together and how they watched each other’s back through this crazy finale.
I really, really wanted to meet Winter. She sounded like such an interesting character but I was not prepared to being inside of her head. She’s really sweet and kind, an all around good person. However, she has delusions which affect how she sees the world which makes her very vulnerable. I just wanted to put her in a little bubble and protect her but at the same time, I wanted her to leave her comfort zone and kick butt haha.
Jacin is a character that annoyed me since coming onto the page, I couldn’t really understand him and his motivation… until I read this book. His relationship with Winter is so pure and open and just ride or die (I don’t know how else to say it haha). His personality, however, gets on my nerves. He has such a singular focus that his protective nature and his determination can rub me the wrong way. But I can’t fault him for being so dedicated.
SO MUCH HAPPENED TO THE CREW. I can’t even wrap my mind around everything the characters went through. I can say though that I really liked seeing them all together as a team and getting shit done together. Their fierce protectiveness of each other is just amazing.

Emotionally

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ARC Review – Dreadnought by April Daniels

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dreadnought-cover

Dreadnought (Nemesis #1)

Author: April Daniels

Publication: January 24th, 2017

Publisher: Diversion Books

Format: e-ARC, 265 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, LGBTQ+

Read: January 2017

April DanielsGoodreads

I received an e-ARC of this book from Diversion Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

4-stars1

Synopsis
An action-packed series-starter perfect for fans of The Heroine Complex and Not Your Sidekick.
Danny Tozer has a problem: she just inherited the powers of Dreadnought, the world’s greatest superhero. Until Dreadnought fell out of the sky and died right in front of her, Danny was trying to keep people from finding out she’s transgender. But before he expired, Dreadnought passed his mantle to her, and those secondhand superpowers transformed Danny’s body into what she’s always thought it should be. Now there’s no hiding that she’s a girl.
It should be the happiest time of her life, but Danny’s first weeks finally living in a body that fits her are more difficult and complicated than she could have imagined. Between her father’s dangerous obsession with “curing” her girlhood, her best friend suddenly acting like he’s entitled to date her, and her fellow superheroes arguing over her place in their ranks, Danny feels like she’s in over her head.
She doesn’t have time to adjust. Dreadnought’s murderer—a cyborg named Utopia—still haunts the streets of New Port City, threatening destruction. If Danny can’t sort through the confusion of coming out, master her powers, and stop Utopia in time, humanity faces extinction.

I am a cisgender, straight woman and I know very little about transgender issues. If I say anything in this review that can be seen as offensive to the transgender community, please let me know!

Also here’s a review by a trans woman writer which I found on this list of reviews of trans/non-binary literature by trans/non-binary reviewers.

Critically

Plot – 4 out of 5 stars
The plot of this book was really action packed and intense. It kicks off right away with the scene described in the blurb and has a lot of emotional and powerful moments throughout. There were times when I was a little confused with the world building. It was kind of choppy, some things I felt were over explained with a lot of time spent with them and others didn’t have as much of a spotlight. However, I really enjoyed how the author explored themes of family, friendship, identity and acceptance.

Writing Style – 3 out of 5 stars
Honestly, it was hard for me to get into this book in the beginning. It had a medium pace but I still felt like the book dragged. For some reason, the book took me a really long time to read even though I was enjoying it. The writing style is really descriptive and detailed though I felt like some things were more so than others. And it’s also graphic and unapologetic when depicting not only action scenes but the prejudices that Danny faces.

Characters – 4 out of 5 stars
I really liked the characters in this series though for some reason I was very confused with Danny’s race. I don’t know why going into this book it was something that I fixated on, I can’t even tell you why, but I couldn’t picture her for half of the book because it never specifically said the color of her skin. There’s a certain point where another character comments on her whiteness and that’s the only mention of it. I don’t know if it’s just because I’m trying to be more conscious about race or what, but yeah that threw me for a loop. But anyway, I really liked Danny as a narrator, though there is SO MUCH going on in her life from the moment that we meet her that it sometimes made it hard for me to wrap my head around. She’s very happy about the situation she finds herself in but also really scared and nervous about how that is going to change her life. She struggles a lot with decisions and I liked her sweet, kind and brave nature. Sometimes I think she pushed herself too far too fast and it made me nervous for her well being but it definitely showed the determination she has. There are also a lot of side characters in this book, so many that it felt like they weren’t developed enough. I wanted some of them to have more page time and others to have a whole lot less than they ended up having. They were all very unique and I had some favorites obviously, though again, I got some mixed signals with the appearances of some of them. There’s also a lot of antagonists I guess you could say, people who are against Danny for some reason or another and damn did those characters create so much crap for the poor girl. It was so harsh and painful and yet so brutally honest and real, specially since this is an own voices trans book that it broke my heart and pissed me the f off at the same time.

Emotionally

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Series Review – Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

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Hex Hall, Demonglass and Spell Bound (Hex Hall #1, #2 and #3)

Author: Rachel Hawkins

Publication: May 28th 2010, March 1st 2011 and March 13th 2012

Publisher: Disney Hyperion

Format: Kindle Edition 337 pages, Kindle Edition 365 pages and Kindle Edition 233 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy

Read: November and December 2016

Rachel HawkinsGoodreads

Hex Hall Cover

Hex Hall

4-stars1

Synopsis
Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It’s gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie’s estranged father-an elusive European warlock-only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it’s her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters.
By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tagalong ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire on campus.
Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect. As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her.

Critically

Plot – 3.5 out of 5 stars
This whole book is just pure fun and entertainment. It’s a really simple concept and a simple plot but it’s fast paced with some action. This is a re-read for me and I have to say that it was just as fun the second time around. The world and the paranormal elements are really interesting. However, this is more on the younger side of YA.

Writing Style – 4 out of 5 stars
The writing style is really simple and easy to read. It’s fast paced and entertaining. The main character’s narration is really funny, she’s really sarcastic which is fun to read but at the same time she can get a bit juvenile and immature. She is a teenager so I can’t really fault her that much though it gets kind of annoying after awhile.

Characters – 3 out of 5 stars
This is probably my biggest problem with the book. I liked the majority of the characters, specially the main character, but there are also others that felt like stereotypical, card board cuts outs of the kind of people you’d usually find in a high school somewhere. Also the majority of the relationship feel flimsy, they appear to have no real basis in companionship. And there’s girl hate which I really don’t appreciate because you can dislike someone for various reasons, but not just because they are a girl and they have a cute boyfriend. It’s not necessary. And the boy aint that cute anyway.
Sophie is a really young protagonist so like I said above, she can act immature, but yeah, it’s understandable. She’s really naive about the world she’s walking into which causes a lot of sucky situations for her and bullying opportunities for other people which was really upsetting. She’s really confused but she’s also really spunky and sarcastic, she rolls with the punches really easily which makes for an entertaining story.
Like I said above I feel like the side characters were kind of stereotypical and too simple. There wasn’t much to them and their relationships. I wanted more substance, more depth to them that I just did not find while reading. This is a book that’s just fun and entertaining to read but not really there to make you think deeply about anything and the characters reflect that.

demonglass-cover

Demonglass

4-5-stars1

Synopsis
Sophie Mercer thought she was a witch. That was the whole reason she was sent to Hex Hall, a reform school for delinquent Prodigium (aka witches, shapeshifters, and fairies). But that was before she discovered the family secret, and that her hot crush, Archer Cross, is an agent for The Eye, a group bent on wiping Prodigium off the face of the earth. Turns out, Sophie’s a demon, one of only two in the world—the other being her father.
What’s worse, she has powers that threaten the lives of everyone she loves. Which is precisely why Sophie decides she must go to London for the Removal, a dangerous procedure that will destroy her powers. But once Sophie arrives she makes a shocking discovery. Her new friends? They’re demons too. Meaning someone is raising them in secret with creepy plans to use their powers, and probably not for good. Meanwhile, The Eye is set on hunting Sophie down, and they’re using Acher to do it. But it’s not like she has feelings for him anymore. Does she?

Critically

Plot – 4 out of 5 stars
Again, another book that’s just fun and entertaining. This one however is a lot more intense and mature. There’s so much more information about the Prodigium world and their laws, how everything is meant to work. It’s still fast paced and is super easy to read. My biggest complaint in this series is the romance. It bothers me so much, so cliche and just like the stereotypical paranormal romances that I’m just not a fan of. Would enjoy it more without it but that will never happen haha.

Writing Style – 4 out of 5 stars
Really enjoy the writing style, specially because it’s just a fun book. The writing is fast paced, easy to read, simple and funny. The narrative goes through some growth because the main character does as well. It’s a lot more emotional and intense thought it doesn’t lose the entertainment value. The main character is still really sarcastic though also indecisive as she’s struggling with some tough decisions in this book.

Characters – 3.5 out of 5 stars
This section got a lot better in this book. I think the author added a lot more layers to the characters’ personalities which added a lot of needed complexity and depth. There are also adult presences which are hard to find in YA books so I really appreciated not only adults, though not all of them are very nice, but also parents and parental relationships with their children and the importance of them. That was awesome.
Sophie has definitely grown. The events of the first book have made her more mature though she’s done something that I tend to do as well which is go from one extreme to the other, using her magic and trying to perfect it to now wanting nothing to do with it. She’s really torn about what she should do and really scared about what’s going on. She’s much more powerful than she realized and just as stubborn as she showed in the first book which might not be the best combination. Though I really like that she’s kept her sass and spunky personality.
The side characters are improving. There are a few that I really enjoy reading about and some that I’m still not a fan of. There’s a lot of new faces in this book as well which change the dynamics of the story and that was interesting to read about. There should still be more development with them in my opinion, but it’s improving.

spell-bound-cover

Spell Bound

4-5-stars1

Synopsis
Hailed as “impossible to put down,” the Hex Hall series has both critics and teens cheering. With a winning combination of romance, action, magic and humor, this third volume will leave readers enchanted.
Just as Sophie Mercer has come to accept her extraordinary magical powers as a demon, the Prodigium Council strips them away. Now Sophie is defenseless, alone, and at the mercy of her sworn enemies—the Brannicks, a family of warrior women who hunt down the Prodigium. Or at least that’s what Sophie thinks, until she makes a surprising discovery. The Brannicks know an epic war is coming, and they believe Sophie is the only one powerful enough to stop the world from ending. But without her magic, Sophie isn’t as confident.
Sophie’s bound for one hell of a ride—can she get her powers back before it’s too late?

Critically

Plot – 4 out of 5 stars
The plot of this book, like the ones before, is really entertaining though this one is also much more serious. It’s fast paced and intense. There’s a lot more focus on family and Sophie’s relationship with all the people that make up her family. This one also focuses a lot on her friendships and her little squad that are trying to help her save the Prodigium world, as always haha. I think the conclusion was really satisfying but I am very angry at one particular thing that happened and I’ll never get over it.

Writing Style – 4 out of 5 stars
I really like this author’s writing style. It’s really funny, sarcastic and easy to read. It’s fast paced and simple. This one in particular is a lot more intense and emotional. There’s a lot more action and the culmination of the series makes the writing a lot more powerful.

Characters – 3.5 out of 5 stars
By this time this book rolled around, I became a huge fan of this cast of characters. I’ve really enjoyed their dynamics as a group though I can still find a lot of problems or things I can complain about in regards to the characters in particular, but I really enjoy the group.
Sophie is a ball of nerves in this book. She’s worried and scared out of her mind, she’s got a lot of responsibility on her shoulders and no idea how to pull it off. However, she’s determined to save her friends and her family and she’s hoping to use her ultimate powers to make it happen. Her stubborn nature is alive and well and I like how that pushes her beyond what she thinks she can do.
I’m am such a mess over the side characters! There’s one that I love more than any of them and I am just emotional over him. I really like the majority of them and like I said above, their dynamics as a group are great. Something I haven’t mentioned in awhile is the romance, which I don’t like. This is one of the only books where I ship the guy in the love triangle that doesn’t win haha. And he is so much better than the actual guy she picks and he has the worst fate handed to him and it makes me so much! This book’s emotional section might be spoilery so beware.

Emotionally

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