Middlegame || Spectacular Sci-Fi

Meet Roger. Skilled with words, languages come easily to him. He instinctively understands how the world works through the power of story.

Meet Dodger, his twin. Numbers are her world, her obsession, her everything. All she understands, she does so through the power of math.

Roger and Dodger aren’t exactly human, though they don’t realise it. They aren’t exactly gods, either. Not entirely. Not yet.

Meet Reed, skilled in the alchemical arts like his progenitor before him. Reed created Dodger and her brother. He’s not their father. Not quite. But he has a plan: to raise the twins to the highest power, to ascend with them and claim their authority as his own.

Godhood is attainable. Pray it isn’t attained.


I loved this book. So much. It’s a new favorite. It would be good for fans of Vicious by V.E. Schwab.

The writing is gorgeous, but it is heavy on metaphor and imagery. It’s a little hard to read, and I was rereading a lot of passages, trying to figure out what was going on. After a while, I got used to the writing and it went a lot smoother. I’m a little suspicious of the writing, though. I’m prone to drooling over beautiful writing and ignoring what is actually being said.

The plot is intricate and brilliant, but it’s confusing. The story jumps right in without much background information, so it was especially confusing in the beginning. It was also confusing at the end with the time travel. You could say that the plot is layered like an onion, but you could also say that it’s stingy with information. The reader and the characters spend much of the book in the dark.

Middlegame is a long book, and the pacing is slow, especially for the first half. However, I enjoyed the first half more than the faster-paced second half and it was very compelling. I couldn’t put it down.

The characters were lovely, and I especially adored Dodger. Usually, the characters are my favorite part of a book, but in Middlegame, the characters seemed less important than the plot. However, they did have wonderful arcs and I loved seeing them grow up. They were very relatable.

The atmosphere of Middlegame is amazing. It’s mysterious and by the end, it feels like the book has revealed the secrets of the universe.

Rating: 5/5

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Tess of the Road || A Book Review

In the medieval kingdom of Goredd, women are expected to be ladies, men are their protectors, and dragons get to be whomever they want. Tess, stubbornly, is a troublemaker. You can’t make a scene at your sister’s wedding and break a relative’s nose with one punch (no matter how pompous he is) and not suffer the consequences. As her family plans to send her to a nunnery, Tess yanks on her boots and sets out on a journey across the Southlands, alone and pretending to be a boy.

Where Tess is headed is a mystery, even to her. So when she runs into an old friend, it’s a stroke of luck. This friend is a quigutl—a subspecies of dragon—who gives her both a purpose and protection on the road. But Tess is guarding a troubling secret. Her tumultuous past is a heavy burden to carry, and the memories she’s tried to forget threaten to expose her to the world in more ways than one.

Returning to the fascinating world she created in the award-winning and New York Times bestselling Seraphina, Rachel Hartman introduces readers to a new character and a new quest, pushing the boundaries of genre once again in this wholly original fantasy.


  • This book is ridiculously amazing.
  • It’s not for everyone, though. It’s really slow, and there isn’t much of a plot. It’s mostly just a character arc. But it’s a heck of a character arc.
  • For what little plot there was, I was confused for much of it.
  • THE CHARACTERS. Tess is an amazing character. She’s so developed and she seems like a real person. She has faults (many of them) and dreams and shames and other person-y things. She feels real, and I love seeing how she changes over the course of her journey.
  • The cover is a bit misleading. There aren’t really any dragons the way the cover implies. There’s a large, four-armed lizard and a really big snake, to say the least, but the dragons are in human form. It is fantasy, but it reads almost like historical fiction.
  • I love that the heavier topics were thoroughly discussed.
  • The book is really slow, but it’s compelling. You want to keep flipping the pages and keep reading and reading and reading (Warning: homework will suffer).
  • This takes place in the same world as Seraphina, but it’s necessary to read it beforehand. However, it is nice to read it first so you get a grasp on the world. There are also a lot of character cameos and references to Seraphina.
  • The writing, like in Seraphina, is gorgeous. I really love it.

Kingdom of Ash || A Book Review

Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas || 5/5

Years in the making, Sarah J. Maas’s #1 New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass series draws to an epic, unforgettable conclusion. Aelin Galathynius’s journey from slave to king’s assassin to the queen of a once-great kingdom reaches its heart-rending finale as war erupts across her world. . .

Aelin has risked everything to save her people―but at a tremendous cost. Locked within an iron coffin by the Queen of the Fae, Aelin must draw upon her fiery will as she endures months of torture. Aware that yielding to Maeve will doom those she loves keeps her from breaking, though her resolve begins to unravel with each passing day…

With Aelin captured, Aedion and Lysandra remain the last line of defense to protect Terrasen from utter destruction. Yet they soon realize that the many allies they’ve gathered to battle Erawan’s hordes might not be enough to save them. Scattered across the continent and racing against time, Chaol, Manon, and Dorian are forced to forge their own paths to meet their fates. Hanging in the balance is any hope of salvation―and a better world.

And across the sea, his companions unwavering beside him, Rowan hunts to find his captured wife and queen―before she is lost to him forever.

As the threads of fate weave together at last, all must fight, if they are to have a chance at a future. Some bonds will grow even deeper, while others will be severed forever in the explosive final chapter of the Throne of Glass series.


  • This book took me over a month to read. It was at no fault of the book, which I loved every moment of, but rather my life (aka homework). That’s a record for me. I think the length of time it took me to read the book distorted my perception of the pacing. I thought it dragged, but I have no idea if it actually did. That said, I don’t believe it did, because thinking back on the plot, there weren’t many moments where nothing was happening. It was an action-packed book. Which is to be expected as, you know, it’s a war.
  • This book is a very hardcore fantasy. (I read a fluffy contemporary afterward and it was jarring.) Through the first third or so of the book, there are no lighthearted moments to lighten the mood, and even after that, fun moments were few and far between. Our characters suffer a great deal.
  • I was planning to reread the series before I read Kingdom of Ash, but I didn’t get a chance (see note about homework). However, I unexpectedly didn’t have a problem with this. Yes, I remember very few details about the prior books in the series, but despite not having read the series for just over a year, I jumped right back into the story without missing a beat.
  • I appreciate the lack of detailed sex scenes in this installment of the series.
  • I love how conclusive the ending is. Kingdom of Ash is a worthy conclusion to this epic series.
  • The character development is lovely. I love seeing how the characters grow and change due to their experiences.
  • The writing style is, as always, gorgeous. It’s a work of art.
  • A random note: I noticed that the characters’ knees buckle a lot in dramatic scenes. I’m wondering if this is a normal thing or are the characters’ knees weirdly weak?

Extreme Spoiler Section. You have been warned.

Stop right there if you haven’t yet read the book. (In which case go read it now.) This is an EXTREME spoiler section. I will be discussing the ending. I hold no responsibility if your eyes betray you and read the following section without your permission. This is your final chance to turn back. You have been warned.

  • I really like that before the ending, Aelin loses the majority of her power. I like that she becomes an average Fae, and she still manages to defeat her enemies. I like that she’s not overpowered magically, and she still remains so powerful.
  • I like that she relies on her friends to defeat Maeve and Erawan instead of being the sole hero.
  • I like that in the end, it is not Aelin who ends Maeve or Erawan, but her friends.

Flashback || A Book Review

Keeper of the Lost Cities: Flashback by Shannon Messenger || 5/5

In this unforgettable seventh book, Sophie must let the past and present blur together, because the deadliest secrets are always the ones that get erased.

Sophie Foster doesn’t know what—or whom—to believe. And in a game with this many players, the worst mistake can be focusing on the wrong threat.

But when the Neverseen prove that Sophie’s far more vulnerable than she ever imagined, she realizes it’s time to change the rules. Her powerful abilities can only protect her so far. To face down ruthless enemies, she must learn to fight.

Unfortunately, battle training can’t help a beloved friend who’s facing a whole different danger—where the only solution involves one of the biggest risks Sophie and her friends have ever taken. And the distraction might be exactly what the villains have been waiting for. 


  • This book was… not what I expected.
  • I thought it was going to be super action-packed. Just look at the cover! But it wasn’t. The majority of the book centered around the characters talking and planning.
  • And I love character development, I just didn’t expect so much of it.
  • My biggest issue with this book was the pacing. There’s some action in the first hundred pages, then little action in the next five hundred pages, and then LOTS of action in the last hundred pages.
  • I love the character development in this book for Fitz.
  • However, the other characters were neglected a bit.
  • I love the writing style.
  • I love that the world was further developed and we got to learn new things about it and see more of it.
  • I love that the story is character-driven.
  • Overall, it’s an amazing series, and I love it so much, but this isn’t my favorite book in the series. I still love it, though.
  • I love seeing the characters growing up.

Vengeful || A Book Review

Vengeful by V.E. Schwab || 5/5

Sydney once had Serena—beloved sister, betrayed enemy, powerful ally. But now she is alone, except for her thrice-dead dog, Dol, and then there’s Victor, who thinks Sydney doesn’t know about his most recent act of vengeance.

Victor himself is under the radar these days—being buried and re-animated can strike concern even if one has superhuman powers. But despite his own worries, his anger remains. And Eli Ever still has yet to pay for the evil he has done.


  • The writing style is lovely, as always.
  • The characters are amazing. I love them so much, especially Victor, and I just want to lock them away in a safe house and keep anything bad from happening to them.
  • But, I liked Vicious, the first book in the series, a tiny bit better.
  • The events were difficult to keep track of chronologically. In Vicious, there were only two main time periods, so it was easy enough to keep everything straight. However, in Vengeful, there are so many different times and places and characters, so it was hard to piece together what was happening.
  • I love the characters that were established in the first book, and I loved finding out what happened to them next. And I admired the new characters in this book, but I didn’t get quite as attached to them.
  • I didn’t understand June’s motives toward Sydney, but June was a really mysterious character. We know almost nothing about her. Which is interesting and all, but it made me confused as to June’s purpose.
  • After finishing the book, I still had questions. So hopefully there will be another book in the series.

Read 10-7-2018 to 10-12-2018

Vicious by V.E. Schwab || A Book Review

This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab || A Book Review

The Traitor’s Game || Book Review

The Traitor’s Game by Jennifer A. Nielsen || 3/5

Nothing is as it seems in the kingdom of Antora. Kestra Dallisor has spent three years in exile in the Lava Fields, but that won’t stop her from being drawn back into her father’s palace politics. He’s the right hand man of the cruel king, Lord Endrick, which makes Kestra a valuable bargaining chip. A group of rebels knows this all too well – and they snatch Kestra from her carriage as she reluctantly travels home.The kidnappers want her to retrieve the lost Olden Blade, the only object that can destroy the immortal king, but Kestra is not the obedient captive they expected. Simon, one of her kidnappers, will have his hands full as Kestra tries to foil their plot, by force, cunning, or any means necessary. As motives shift and secrets emerge, both will have to decide what – and who – it is they’re fighting for.

»»§««

  • Lots of exposition dumping at the beginning that distracts from the story.
  • The romance is VERY forced.
  • It says that Kestra has been training, is violent, and dangerous, but she never really does anything to prove these claims.
  • A Super Random Observation: There’s a character named Basil. In The False Prince, there’s a character named Sage. Is there a character named Sage. Is there a herb theme going on here?
  • The fight scenes aren’t done well. To support Kestra’s supposed combative prowess, it seems as though all her opponents are unskilled, despite being trained and experienced soldiers.
  • Kestra’s says that she cares a great deal about her servants, but there are almost no interactions between them. Their relationship isn’t fleshed out and Kestra’s situation, therefore, doesn’t seem as dire as it supposedly is.
  • Kestra and Simon’s relationship is forced and unrealistic. Despite thinking about each other all the time and being attracted to each other, they constantly fight when they’re together. They are risking far too much for each other than is practical or advisable. They are planning a hypothetical future for themselves (if only their love wasn’t forbidden. *Dramatic sigh*) after only having been reunited for three days. It’s honestly kind of ludicrous that they’d “fall in love” after days. Especially since they originally hated each other.
  • Overdramatic and not suspenseful.
  • I enjoyed the ending, though the twists were not particularly surprising.
  • The antagonist was undeveloped and we only saw them once. The antagonist was portrayed more as a looming evil force.

This book was rather disappointing, especially considering how much I adored The False Prince. I most likely will not read the sequel to this book, but I will try other books by Nielsen. Overall, this book was rather forgettable. Nothing stuck out. The worst part was the romance. I don’t mind a well-done romance that is integral to the plot, but this one didn’t add anything to the story and was highly impractical. And I know love is supposedly not about practicality but *shudders* feelings. But this was such a non-romance that I was gagging at not rooting for that the impracticality took the spotlight.

Read 8/15/2018 – 8/21/2018

Currently Reading Vengeful by V.E. Schwab.

Furyborn || Book Review

Furyborn by Claire Legrand || 3.5/5

Follows two fiercely independent young women, centuries apart, who hold the power to save their world…or doom it.

When assassins ambush her best friend, the crown prince, Rielle Dardenne risks everything to save him, exposing her ability to perform all seven kinds of elemental magic. The only people who should possess this extraordinary power are a pair of prophesied queens: a queen of light and salvation and a queen of blood and destruction. To prove she is the Sun Queen, Rielle must endure seven trials to test her magic. If she fails, she will be executed…unless the trials kill her first.

A thousand years later, the legend of Queen Rielle is a mere fairy tale to bounty hunter Eliana Ferracora. When the Undying Empire conquered her kingdom, she embraced violence to keep her family alive. Now, she believes herself untouchable–until her mother vanishes without a trace, along with countless other women in their city. To find her, Eliana joins a rebel captain on a dangerous mission and discovers that the evil at the heart of the empire is more terrible than she ever imagined.

As Rielle and Eliana fight in a cosmic war that spans millennia, their stories intersect, and the shocking connections between them ultimately determine the fate of their world–and of each other.

»›§‹«

  • Overall, this was a moderately entertaining book. However, I was bored.
  • The completely different storylines were interesting, almost like two books in one, but the alternating chapters made it choppy.
  • I was also far more interested in Eliana’s story, and I found myself slogging through Rielle’s chapters to get to them.
  • It’s curious trying to figure out who the Sun Queen and Blood Queen are. It’s interesting figuring out which characters are good people and who to root for.
  • The characters aren’t developed. I didn’t really care about them.
  • I feel like this book is really similar to Children of Blood and Bone by the overall feeling of the book and what I thought of it. Too much action and not enough development.
  • The storyline is eerily similar to that of Throne of Glass.
  • Confusing at times.
  • Nice concept, poor execution.

Read 8/2/2018 – 8/9/2018


Currently Reading: Keeper of the Lost Cities: Everblaze by Shannon Messenger

Recently Finished: Vicious by V.E. Schwab

To Kill a Kingdom || Book Review

To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo || 5/5

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?

»»ℵ««

  • There are some flaws with this book, but I’m rating it 5/5 for pure enjoyability.
  • The main characters are developed, but the minor ones are not. And whatever personality they do have, it’s basically a reflection of the main characters’.
  • There wasn’t a ton of romance! Which was lovely. It’s so much better when YA books aren’t needlessly bogged down by romances. However, for the romance that there was, I didn’t feel the chemistry.
  • Fast-paced. I was never bored and kept turning pages, despite the fact that I had other things to do.
  • There are pirates! Have I ever missed an opportunity to tell you dudes how much I love pirates? I haven’t found a pirate book that I dislike yet.
  • Loved the morally grey characters.
  • Interesting and unique world.
  • It was funny. I laughed out loud quite a bit. Lovely banter.
  • The writing was pretty. There was nice imagery.

Read 7/30/18 – 8/2/2018


Currently Reading: Vicious by V.E. Schwab

  • So far this book is AMAZING. I really should be getting other stuff done, though…

Recent DNFs

Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor

  • I read the first book, Daughter of Smoke & Bone, but I didn’t particularly like it. I was bored throughout it. So I gave the second book a chance, but it didn’t manage to wow me.
  • However, the writing is beautiful.

 

Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody

  • I only read a couple chapters of this book, but I didn’t like the writing style and everything felt forced.

3 Days, 3 Quotes Challenge Day 1

Hello, peoples of the universe!

I was tagged for this in April by Sophia Ismaa (At least, I think I was. In my notes, it says that I was tagged on Day 2, but I could only find the link for Day 3. *Shrugs* Even if I wasn’t tagged by her, you should go check out her blog) and in July by the wonderful H.R.R. Gorman.


RULES

  • Thank the person who nominated you.
  • Post a quote for three consecutive days (1 quote for each day)
  • Share why this quote appeals so much to you.
  • Nominate 3 different bloggers for each day

I have more than three quotes I want to share. *Pouts*

Impossibility is a thing that begs to be disproven.

—V.E. Schwab, A Gathering of Shadows

When people say impossible, they usually mean improbable.

—Leigh Bardugo, Siege and Storm

These quotes are lovely. They appeal to me because they’re lovely. (and anything is possible.)


I’m Tagging…

Mini Book Reviews

Book reviews of I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak, This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab, and War Storm by Victoria Aveyard.


I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak || 5/5

protect the diamonds
survive the clubs
dig deep through the spades
feel the hearts

Ed Kennedy is an underage cabdriver without much of a future. He’s pathetic at playing cards, hopelessly in love with his best friend, Audrey, and utterly devoted to his coffee-drinking dog, the Doorman. His life is one of peaceful routine and incompetence until he inadvertently stops a bank robbery.

That’s when the first ace arrives in the mail.

That’s when Ed becomes the messenger.

Chosen to care, he makes his way through town helping and hurting (when necessary) until only one question remains: Who’s behind Ed’s mission?

»»¤««

This is a very unique book that I highly recommend. The writing style is beautiful, as it is with The Book Thief. It reads like poetry. The main character’s development is done well and he grows significantly over the course of the novel. The plot is different from any other book I’ve read and it is amazing and intricate. I love the message behind the book and how it encourages the readers to care more about others. The pacing was slow at times, but good overall. The conclusion was somewhat confusing, but after it sinks in, it’s breathtaking.

Read 7/8/18 – 7/12/18


This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab || 5/5

There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from author Victoria Schwab, a young woman and a young man must choose whether to become heroes or villains—and friends or enemies—with the future of their home at stake. The first of two books.

Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives.

»»¤««

This is an amazing book. While I usually don’t like school settings for YA fantasy, it worked well for This Savage Song. Like in A Darker Shade of Magic, Schwab has created a magically unique world. I adore the concept behind it and I can’t wait to see what she does with it in the sequel. The characters are well-developed and they feel real. They were likable and relatable. The plot was thrilling and kept me turning the pages, but it’s the characters that drive this book.

Read 7/12/18 – 7/15/2018


War Storm by Victoria Aveyard || 4.5/5

Mare Barrow learned this all too well when Cal’s betrayal nearly destroyed her. Now determined to protect her heart—and secure freedom for Reds and newbloods like her—Mare resolves to overthrow the kingdom of Norta once and for all… starting with the crown on Maven’s head.

But no battle is won alone, and before the Reds may rise as one, Mare must side with the boy who broke her heart in order to defeat the boy who almost broke her. Cal’s powerful Silver allies, alongside Mare and the Scarlet Guard, prove a formidable force. But Maven is driven by an obsession so deep, he will stop at nothing to have Mare as his own again, even if it means demolishing everything—and everyone—in his path.

War is coming, and all Mare has fought for hangs in the balance. Will victory be enough to topple the Silver kingdoms? Or will the little lightning girl be forever silenced?

In the epic conclusion to Victoria Aveyard’s stunning series, Mare must embrace her fate and summon all her power… for all will be tested, but not all will survive.

»»¤««

So, first, let’s talk about the good parts. The characterizations are exponentially better than those of the previous books. The characters are more fleshed out and they feel human, especially the minor characters. It’s like putting on glasses for the first time. The characters were fuzzy before, but now they’re clear.

I love the way the different moving pieces fit together and the plot is fast-paced. War Storm is as action-packed as King’s Cage was slow.

The writing is beautiful and the descriptions are amazing. We are introduced to new settings in this book that came alive in my mind. The action scenes are nicely done and they don’t feel repetitive.

The Non-Spoilery Relationships

  • Evangeline and Elane
    • The relationship is sweet. I love how much Evangeline cares for Elane and it brings a new depth to her character. However, Elane isn’t developed at all. She doesn’t speak much over the course of the novel. I’d like a novella about Evangeline and Elane because Elane is really an intriguing character and I’d like to learn more about her.
  • Maven and Thomas.
    • So we don’t know much about this mystery Thomas dude except that Maven loved him. I would love a novella about them from before Maven was totally corrupted by his mother. GIVE ME PLEASE.

 

SPOILER SECTION

YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED

I’m going to discuss the ending, so if you haven’t seen the warning above, I am warning you again. EXTREME SPOILERS AHEAD.

 

The Ending

The ending was vague and inconclusive. There’s an air of “it’s safe for now, but it’ll be dangerous again soon and the story isn’t over yet, even though the series is over”. Maven’s death didn’t feel conclusive. Cal and Mare’s relationship didn’t feel conclusive. Are they together? Are they not together? The war’s end was inconclusive. It ended with a ceasefire! I would like details of Norta’s new government. Who’s ruling? I’m left with questions, which begs the question, “Is this a set-up for a spin-off series?”.

 

Spoilery Relationships

  • Kilorn and Cameron
    • I don’t feel the chemistry.
  • Gisa and Mystery Girl
    • Details, please.

 

Maven

In the previous books, he was an intriguing and developed antagonist, but with his instability and descent into madness in this book, he is seeming to regress into the mold of “crazy and dangerous, but under-developed, villain cackling in the shadows”. He’s always been a favorite character of mine, but it’s sad to see him be like this.

Which is why I would love a Maven and Thomas novella. I’d like to see him B.E. (Before Elara). Maybe he can be redeemed.

End Spoilers.

Read More: Spinette’s Review of War Storm by Victoria Aveyard

Read 7/16/18 – 7/21/18


Currently Reading: The Traitor’s Game by Jennifer A. Nielsen

TBR

  • Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger (reread)
  • Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab
  • Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman
  • When Did You See Her Last? by Lemony Snicket
  • Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor
  • Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu
  • Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody
  • Vicious by V.E. Schwab

Mini Book Reviews

Book reviews of Emmy and Oliver by Robin Benway, Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor, and This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp


Emmy and Oliver by Robin Benway || 3.5/5

Emmy’s best friend, Oliver, reappears after being kidnapped by his father ten years ago. Emmy hopes to pick up their relationship right where it left off. Are they destined to be together? Or has fate irreparably driven them apart?

Emmy just wants to be in charge of her own life.

She wants to stay out late, surf her favorite beach—go anywhere without her parents’ relentless worrying. But Emmy’s parents can’t seem to let her grow up—not since the day Oliver disappeared.

Oliver needs a moment to figure out his heart.

He’d thought, all these years, that his dad was the good guy. He never knew that it was his father who kidnapped him and kept him on the run. Discovering it, and finding himself returned to his old hometown, all at once, has his heart racing and his thoughts swirling.

Emmy and Oliver were going to be best friends forever, or maybe even more, before their futures were ripped apart. In Emmy’s soul, despite the space and time between them, their connection has never been severed. But is their story still written in the stars? Or are their hearts like the pieces of two different puzzles—impossible to fit together?

Readers who love Sarah Dessen will tear through these pages with hearts in throats as Emmy and Oliver struggle to face the messy, confusing consequences of Oliver’s father’s crime. Full of romance, coming-of-age emotion, and heartache, these two equally compelling characters create an unforgettable story.

›»∇«‹

I previously read Far From the Tree, Benway’s other book, and I LOVED it. While Emmy and Oliver was an enjoyable read, it didn’t hold the same appeal. The plot was slow and heavily romance-based. I loved the premise, but much of the plot revolved around Emmy and Oliver falling in love.

The characters were well-developed (even the minor characters). Benway created quirky and lovable minor characters and I love them (especially Drew). Bonus: There are parents who are involved in their children’s lives! A rare spectacle in YA fiction. My favorite part of this book was Benway’s writing, which is simple, yet beautiful and very addicting. I read this book in one (very long) sitting. (But, to be fair, I probably wouldn’t have if I had anything else to do. It wasn’t that gripping.)

Read 7/2/18


Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor || 3.5/5

Around the world, black hand prints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherworldly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”, she speaks many languages – not all of them human – and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

›»∇«‹

While this was an enjoyable read with wonderful world-building, it was heavily romance-based. Much of the story involved the characters being stupidly in love and it was plain icky (sorry, but it’s true). Much of the time while reading this book was spent mentally yelling at the main character to stop swooning over the idiot and GET ACTUAL STUFF DONE. Another thing that annoyed me was how spectacularly beautiful the main character, Karou, and her love interest are and how many times this was reiterated. It’s a waste of words. We get it. You’re prettier than the average human bean. While the plot and characters were annoying for romance-y reasons, the writing and world-building were beautiful. The writing style was whimsical and had a magical feel. I fell in love with it. The world-building was unique and incredibly detailed. Overall, I recommend this book if you don’t mind all the sickly romantic junk.

Read 7/2/18 – 7/6/18


This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp || 2.5/5

10:00 a.m. The principal of Opportunity High School finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.

10:02 a.m. The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.

10:03 a.m. The auditorium doors won’t open.

10:05 a.m. Someone starts shooting.

Told from four different perspectives over the span of fifty-four harrowing minutes, terror reigns as one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.

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This was a kinda enjoyable read in the way that some songs have awful lyrics but have catchy, but bad, melodies and you kinda like them. But not really. The book is creepy, and not in a good way. In a “What have you done?!” sort of way.

I really liked the way the plot was done and how you only got bits and pieces of the story at a time. I liked the way it all weaved together at the end.

But. I didn’t like the ending. It was abrupt.

The multiple point-of-views weren’t done well. There was no difference in voice between the four main characters and I kept having to check to see whose POV I was reading from. I also didn’t get particularly attached to the characters, which resulted in a lack of suspense because I didn’t really care what happened to them. I didn’t like the writing style. It was bland and wasn’t unique. The book also failed at show-not-tell and it didn’t manage to create much suspense in general. This book wasn’t horrible, but I didn’t like it.

I probably wouldn’t have finished it if I had anything better to do.

Read 7/6/18 – 7/8/18


Currently Reading: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

TBR

  • Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger (reread)
  • Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab
  • Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman
  • When Did You See Her Last? by Lemony Snicket
  • Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor
  • The Traitor’s Game by Jennifer A. Nielsen
  • Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu
  • Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody
  • Vicious by V.E. Schwab

Mini Book Reviews

Book reviews of Who Could That Be at This Hour? by Lemony Snicket, The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls, and Seraphina by Rachel Hartman.


Who Could That Be at This Hour? by Lemony Snicket || 4/5

The adventure began in a fading town. Far from anyone he knew or trusted, a young Lemony Snicket started an apprenticeship for a secret organization shrouded in mystery and secrecy. He asked questions that shouldn’t have been on his mind. Now he has written an account that should not be published that shouldn’t be read. Not even by you. Seriously, we recommend that you do NOT ask your parents for this, the first book in his new ALL THE WRONG QUESTIONS series.
Lemony Snicket, in case you don’t already know, grew up to be the author of A Series of Unfortunate Events series.

»»∇««

As with A Series of Unfortunate Events, I wasn’t entirely sure what was going on, but it was an enjoyable read anyway. I adore Lemony Snicket’s writing style; it’s very unique and whimsical.

Unfortunately, I didn’t like this book as much as A Series of Unfortunate Events, but I have yet to finish this series (All the Wrong Questions).

The main character, Lemony Snicket, narrates the book like an old black-and-white detective show, which I like. The book also has the perfect level of absurdity, making it all the better.

I love reading prequel and spin-off series because it’s fun to see more of the minor character’s lives, but it’s unfortunate that most of the time, spin-offs are never quite as good as the original. Luckily, this was not the case for All the Wrong Questions and I highly recommend it for fans of A Series of Unfortunate Events.


The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls || 5/5

A tender, moving tale of unconditional love in a family that, despite its profound flaws, gave the author the fiery determination to carve out a successful life on her own terms.

Jeannette Walls grew up with parents whose ideals and stubborn nonconformity were both their curse and their salvation. Rex and Rose Mary Walls had four children. In the beginning, they lived like nomads, moving among Southwest desert towns, camping in the mountains. Rex was a charismatic, brilliant man who, when sober, captured his children’s imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and above all, how to embrace life fearlessly. Rose Mary, who painted and wrote and couldn’t stand the responsibility of providing for her family, called herself an “excitement addict.” Cooking a meal that would be consumed in fifteen minutes had no appeal when she could make a painting that might last forever.

Later, when the money ran out, or the romance of the wandering life faded, the Walls retreated to the dismal West Virginia mining town — and the family — Rex Walls had done everything he could to escape. He drank. He stole the grocery money and disappeared for days. As the dysfunction of the family escalated, Jeannette and her brother and sisters had to fend for themselves, supporting one another as they weathered their parents’ betrayals and, finally, found the resources and will to leave home.

What is so astonishing about Jeannette Walls is not just that she had the guts and tenacity and intelligence to get out, but that she describes her parents with such deep affection and generosity. Hers is a story of triumph against all odds, but also a tender, moving tale of unconditional love in a family that despite its profound flaws gave her the fiery determination to carve out a successful life on her own terms.

For two decades, Jeannette Walls hid her roots. Now she tells her own story.

»»∇««

I don’t usually read memoirs, or nonfiction in general, but this book was amazing nonetheless.

I’m not really sure how to go about reviewing a nonfiction book because there’s no way to really change the plot. I can’t say “the plot should’ve been stronger” because there’s only one way the plot can possibly be.

The story was captivating. Reading this book was like living a life completely different from my own, yet Walls somehow made it relatable. The most intriguing aspect for me is that despite the fact that Walls’s parents were unrefutably irresponsible parents, Walls loved them all the same and this was made obvious through her writing. I am envious of Walls’s ability to convey emotion through her writing. This is an amazing book and I highly recommend it.

(I do wish her siblings were more detailed, especially Lori and Maureen.)


Seraphina by Rachel Hartman || 4/5

In her New York Times bestselling and Morris Award-winning debut, Rachel Hartman introduces mathematical dragons in an alternative-medieval world to fantasy and science-fiction readers of all ages. Eragon-author Christopher Paolini calls them, “Some of the most interesting dragons I’ve read in fantasy.”

Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend court as ambassadors, and lend their rational, mathematical minds to universities as scholars and teachers. As the treaty’s anniversary draws near, however, tensions are high.

Seraphina Dombegh has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered—in suspiciously draconian fashion. Seraphina is drawn into the investigation, partnering with the captain of the Queen’s Guard, the dangerously perceptive Prince Lucian Kiggs. While they begin to uncover hints of a sinister plot to destroy the peace, Seraphina struggles to protect her own secret, the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life.

»»∇««

This book is hard to read. Not in that it covers a heavy topic, but in that the writing itself is difficult to comprehend. Spinette got me this book for my birthday (but she has yet to read it. I’m glaring at you) and I first read it two years ago. Two years ago, most of the book went over my head and I barely had any idea of what was going on. Likewise, I didn’t continue the series. I’m happy to say that my reading ability has improved since then and I both understood and greatly enjoyed this book. (Although I still recommend reading it with a well-stocked dictionary on hand.) Once you understand what is being said, you’ll realize that the writing in this book is gorgeous. It’s easily one of the best examples of prose I’ve read. I’d recommend it just for the writing. The plot is lovely, but it’s far from “action-packed”. There were many tense scenes, but no action scenes involving the main character. The plot was heavy on politics. The characters were lovely and the minor ones were adequately developed. Overall, I highly recommend this unique book.


Currently Reading: Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

 

TBR

  • To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo
  • Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  • Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger (reread)
  • Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab
  • Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman
  • When Did You See Her Last? by Lemony Snicket
  • Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor
  • Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu
  • Furyborn by Claire Legrand
  • The Traitor’s Game by Jennifer A. Nielsen

Book Reviews!!

Stranger Than Fanfiction by Chris Colfer || 4/5

Cash Carter is the young, world famous lead actor of the hit television Wiz Kids. When four fans jokingly invite him on a cross-country road trip, they are shocked that he actually takes them up on it. Chased by paparazzi and hounded by reporters, this unlikely crew takes off on a journey of a lifetime–but along the way they discover that the star they love has deep secrets he’s been keeping. What they come to learn about the life of the mysterious person they thought they knew will teach them about the power of empathy and the unbreakable bond of true friendship.

•••

Stranger Than Fanfiction is a somewhat light-hearted (but also sad) and really fast read. I liked how the characters interacted with each other. Yay platonic relationships. Cash Carter was my favorite character.

Colfer has an amazing writing style. He uses a ton of humorous similes that are my absolute favorite. The only thing that bugged me about this book was that it sometimes read like an LGBT+ pamphlet, which really broke from the characterization and the flow of the story.


All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven || 5/5

Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.

Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.

When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.

∴∴∴

So after reading the really sad book that is Stranger Than Fanfiction, I picked up All the Bright Places because I expected it to be happy. I mean, it has the word bright in the title!

Dudes, I was so wrong. Warning: This is a sad book.

I’ve never cried while reading a book. But reading All the Bright Places was the closest I’ve come (tied with A List of Cages).

So if you want a book that tugs on all the heartstrings, I highly recommend this one.

The writing is beautiful, but the part that pulls it all together is the relationship between Finch and Violet.


Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard || 4/5

If there’s one thing Mare Barrow knows, it’s that she’s different.

Mare Barrow’s blood is red—the color of common folk—but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control.

The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince—the friend—who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.

Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors.

But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat.

Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?

The electrifying next installment in the Red Queen series escalates the struggle between the growing rebel army and the blood-segregated world they’ve always known—and pits Mare against the darkness that has grown in her soul.

♣♣♣

This book was lovely, but not as lovely as the first one. I liked seeing how all the characters changed because of the events of the first book, and it was definitely fast-paced, but it lacks an overarching plot besides “destroy the bad guys”. It doesn’t really match the first book; it’s different, and it could definitely use some comedic relief.

Overall, I enjoyed reading the book, but it wasn’t as good as I remembered it to be from when I read it the first time.


That was a pretty good reading round! Lot’s of great books, but my favorite of the three has to be All the Bright Places.

A Note: I’m currently on a trip to Bangladesh for my cousin’s wedding so I won’t be able to respond to all your lovely comments until I get back on July 15, 2018.

Untitled Part 1

I stir the tea with a red lollipop,watching the brown swirl into a soft velvet. Clink! The “pop” part of the snack fizzes into a flurry of small, soapy pink bubbles as I hit it against the inside of the ceramic cup. With a playful smirk, I carefully lift up the white stick remaining, noting it’s end, burnt in a hue of electric purple.

I call, “Olth? Are you responsible for this sorcery?” My smile twitches, in a state between proud and furious.

Olth skips down the curved stairway, her black sneakers blending with the dark carpeting of the steps. A grin cuts through her oddly geometric face, teeth sharp and pointed. She nods, “Yes. I am. I was hoping you would drink it, first.”

“I’m not that gullible,” I say, my lips in a mock pout.

“You were about to…Allete, I mean, just look at your lollipop!” She snickers, her tall shadow towering over me. Even if she was a bit bigger, I was older and the more responsible one. She giggled a bit, her nonsensical joking followed by a cute sneeze. It reminded me of her young years.

“Wait. You just sneezed…” I stutter, my panicked side kicking in, “Where is the teapot?”

Olth’s yellow, somewhat reptilian eyes dart to the maple wood table, now empty with the exception of the poisonous drink. Her sharp teeth curve into a frown, skin paling from a purple-grey to a lighter shade. She seems to shrink.

“You teleported it, didn’t you?” I grit my teeth, clenching my fist.

“Yep,” she mumbles. Even her words seem small.

“Where to?” I ask, releasing my anger into a somewhat petty guise, stroking her hair like a dog’s fur, hoping desperately that Olth would impress me again and actually know to where she teleported the item.

“I don’t know,” She whispers, microscopically.

“You are such a chore,” I whine, whipping out my broomstick and witch’s hat. I put the hat on, muffling my messy chocolate brown hair. Olth was always jealous of it (she only has unidentifiable white noodles after all) so I pull some out of my cap, clearly agitated.

Sinking in guilt, the tall reptilian girl sulks towards the circular gold framed window, unlatching it to let in the cool May air.

Olth and I board my broom, with me in the front, ready for lift off. A puff of wind elevates us into the sky, blue and dotted with white puffy clouds.

“What’s wrong?” I question, gazing at Olth’s expression, as sad as melting ice cream. She whimpers. I can’t stay mad at her, so I tuck my hair back in my hat and say, “It’s alright. We’ll get the teapot before anyone drink out of it. Focus on searching, okay?”

Olth gives me a foxy smile, getting to work, her jet black pupils becoming slits in concentration. With her, I scan the town, glancing between the clotheslines, the brown brick buildings and the slinking smoke-stack trains. The breeze plays with my hat, threatening to to let it drop to the ground. I fight the urge to fix it, maintaining two hands on my broom stick, flying responsibly.

“I don’t think the teapot is up here,” Olth tells me, tapping my shoulder.

“Oh!” I waggle my eyebrows, “Do you want to dip down? For losing a teapot?”

“Am I that predictable?” Olth giggles as I ascend upwards above a cake white layer of fluff. Tiny dew drops sprinkle our faces as our broomstick pokes a hole in the cloudscape. My bestie yells in exhilaration; the sound of an adorable mix of a snake’s tongue and a kitty’s growl.

“Are you ready?” I declare.

“Y—”

I dip down before she can finish, the wind tearing at our faces, stomachs dropping as we went hurdling towards the ground. The broom fans out, losing a few yellow hairs. With a rush, our vehicle turns from vertical to horizontal, our legs only two inches from the brick.

“Woohoo!” I pump my fist up, energized and swiftly turn my broom towards the building, going up and down between colorfully decorated clotheslines. I howl in laughter at Olth, watching her battle a woman’s undergarment, trying to claw it off her face, “Fllll-y a bbit slewor!” she screams.

I fly a bit faster, just for kicks and giggles. “That’s what you get for losing the teapot,” I say, my voice hanging off the edge of “pot” as if asking a question.

“Tek thiz off mi faece firrst!” She demands. I stop the broom, tossing the undergarment away with ease.

“Better?” I ask.

She nods.

I look both ways, although there is no broom traffic today and in the midst of honking cars, I see a curious looking man sitting on a mini-fridge, moving the dinosaur magnets on the front as if they were puppets in a play. He opens the fridge, taking out a can of cola and for a split second I spot…

“THE TEAPOT!” Olth yells, shaking my shoulders, “The man! The mini-fridge!”

I take off, swooping under a billboard sign before landing on the sidewalk. We run over to the man, but as we do he stands up and picks up the fridge.

“No! That teapot is ours!” I yell.

He takes a long, hard look at us, his eyes squinting into nonexistence. Slowly, he bends down.

“Thank you!”Olth cheers, giving out a toothy grin.

And he gives the fridge to a little child on a red bicycle.

Olth and I exchange “what the blobfish” glances before jumping on the broom and racing after the pint sized kid. He cycles through a bustling road of traffic, the wheels on his tyke moving much faster than they should be.

Cars all around him stop and honk; some even crash into each other in a desperate flee to avoid the little devil. Our broom zig zags behind him, my partner in crime grabbing for the fridge and failing to do so on every account. She finally latches onto kid’s bicycle handle, attempting to squirm her way to fridge without falling off. Her hand brushes the side of the fridge, her hand glowing purple. She starts to say something under her breath but before she can, the boy accelerates, pulling Olth’s white noodly hair.

“OUch!” she screeches, in full on hyena type sense, “Stop that, kid! That teapot is ours!” She grabs onto the very edge of the mini fridge, body over extending between the broomstick and the bike. I take siege of her hips, as the child pedals frantically, dragging us behind him. In the end, the kid sends us tumbling down, Olth breaking my fall and I breaking my broom’s fall.

“Hey,” The little man’s voice is much deeper than expected, “What are you doing here? Why does a witch and a stupid animal want this prized petite fridge for, huh?”

Olth growls.

“We want the teapot inside…please,” I tremble as he walks up to me.

“Ha!” The kid lights up a cigarette, “You’re a such a peculiar witch. Most witches I know don’t even have sense of humor.”

“What witches do you know, you stupid kid?” Olth roars, covering me in an instant.

“Many,” He responds with cool, calm composure, “But, I certainly don’t know any of your kind. You are interesting.”

“So… can you at least check the fridge for a teapot?” I ask, my voice tiny against the verbal fighting.

“Only in exchange for your creature,” He bargains.

“She’s not a creature,” I declare firmly.

“You didn’t let me finish, you snob,” He states, “I was going to say ‘Only in exchange for creature and for you to come to the market with me!'”

“Why would you want that?” I shoot a question at him.

“Because you two are entertaining and we need entertainers for the auction tonight. The idiotic poor men always get bored and cranky.” And he deflects it, swiftly.

More Book Reviews!

Refugee by Alan Gratz || 3/5

Three different kids.

One mission in common: ESCAPE.

Josef is a Jewish boy in 1930s Nazi Germany. With the threat of concentration camps looming, he and his family board a ship bound for the other side of the world…

Isabel is a Cuban girl in 1994. With riots and unrest plaguing her country, she and her family set out on a raft, hoping to find safety and freedom in America…

Mahmoud is a Syrian boy in 2015. With his homeland torn apart by violence and destruction, he and his family begin a long trek toward Europe…

All three young people will go on harrowing journeys in search of refuge. All will face unimaginable dangers–from drownings to bombings to betrayals. But for each of them, there is always the hope of tomorrow. And although Josef, Isabel, and Mahmoud are separated by continents and decades, surprising connections will tie their stories together in the end.

 

I loved the plot of this book. It was amazing and I love historical fictions. I really liked how all the different character’s stories came together at the end.

But I didn’t really like the character development or the writing style.

Overall, it was a good book, but kind of unremarkable. I don’t have much to say about it.


Roar by Cora Carmack|| DNF

In a land ruled and shaped by violent magical storms, power lies with those who control them.

Aurora Pavan comes from one of the oldest Stormling families in existence. Long ago, the ungifted pledged fealty and service to her family in exchange for safe haven, and a kingdom was carved out from the wildlands and sustained by magic capable of repelling the world’s deadliest foes. As the sole heir of Pavan, Aurora’s been groomed to be the perfect queen. She’s intelligent and brave and honorable. But she’s yet to show any trace of the magic she’ll need to protect her people.

To keep her secret and save her crown, Aurora’s mother arranges for her to marry a dark and brooding Stormling prince from another kingdom. At first, the prince seems like the perfect solution to all her problems. He’ll guarantee her spot as the next queen and be the champion her people need to remain safe. But the more secrets Aurora uncovers about him, the more a future with him frightens her. When she dons a disguise and sneaks out of the palace one night to spy on him, she stumbles upon a black market dealing in the very thing she lacks—storm magic. And the people selling it? They’re not Stormlings. They’re storm hunters.

Legend says that her ancestors first gained their magic by facing a storm and stealing part of its essence. And when a handsome young storm hunter reveals he was born without magic, but possesses it now, Aurora realizes there’s a third option for her future besides ruin or marriage.

She might not have magic now, but she can steal it if she’s brave enough.

Challenge a tempest. Survive it. And you become its master.

 

I really like the premise of this book and I was excited to read it, but I didn’t get far. The writing style seemed a bit off, but the main reason I quit was the main character, Aurora. She seemed lovely at first, but then enter the pretty boy, and she becomes an idiot. I didn’t want to read any more of the mushiness and stupidity. Especially since it says in the synopsis that there’s going to be another pretty boy later on.

I did get to meet the author (over Skype) and she’s an absolutely lovely person, but even she admitted that it’s a romance-inclined book, so I’m glad I decided to skip it.


The Pact by Jodi Picoult || 5/5

From Jodi Picoult, one of the most powerful writers in contemporary fiction, comes a riveting, timely, heartbreaking, and terrifying novel of families in anguish—and friendships ripped apart by inconceivable violence. Until the phone calls came at 3:00 a.m. on a November morning, the Golds and their neighbors, the Hartes, had been inseparable. It was no surprise to anyone when their teenage children, Chris and Emily, began showing signs that their relationship was moving beyond that of lifelong friends. But now seventeen-year-old Emily has been shot to death by her beloved and devoted Chris as part of an apparent suicide pact—leaving two devastated families stranded in the dark and dense predawn, desperate for answers about an unthinkable act and the children they never really knew.

 

This was an amazing book. I loved the characters and the twistiness of it. You never knew the entire story and your idea of what happened keeps switching as you get new bits of information.

The writing style was absolutely stunning and it was really quotable.

The part of this book that puts the sprinkles on this already-delicious cake of a book is the characters, who are all so complex and developed with their own stories and motivations. And Picoult is amazing at big reveals, which never hurts.


Far From the Tree by Robin Benway || 5/5

A contemporary novel about three adopted siblings who find each other at just the right moment.

Being the middle child has its ups and downs.

But for Grace, an only child who was adopted at birth, discovering that she is a middle child is a different ride altogether. After putting her own baby up for adoption, she goes looking for her biological family, including—

Maya, her loudmouthed younger bio sister, who has a lot to say about their newfound family ties. Having grown up the snarky brunette in a house full of chipper redheads, she’s quick to search for traces of herself among these not-quite-strangers. And when her adopted family’s long-buried problems begin to explode to the surface, Maya can’t help but wonder where exactly it is that she belongs.

And Joaquin, their stoic older bio brother, who has no interest in bonding over their shared biological mother. After seventeen years in the foster care system, he’s learned that there are no heroes, and secrets and fears are best kept close to the vest, where they can’t hurt anyone but him.

 

Another AMAZING book with beautiful, developed characters. I loved the writing style and the neatness of the plot. All three of the main characters were vastly different, with their own lives and own problems and this was nicely portrayed. I was never confused as to which chapter was told from whose point-of-view, which is really hard to do.

The ending was a bit fast but other than that, I really liked this book.

I also got to talk to this author and she was amazing.


Leah On the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli || 3.5/5

Leah Burke—girl-band drummer, master of deadpan, and Simon Spier’s best friend from the award-winning Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda—takes center stage in this novel of first love and senior-year angst.

When it comes to drumming, Leah Burke is usually on beat—but real life isn’t always so rhythmic. An anomaly in her friend group, she’s the only child of a young, single mom, and her life is decidedly less privileged. She loves to draw but is too self-conscious to show it. And even though her mom knows she’s bisexual, she hasn’t mustered the courage to tell her friends—not even her openly gay BFF, Simon.

So Leah really doesn’t know what to do when her rock-solid friend group starts to fracture in unexpected ways. With prom and college on the horizon, tensions are running high. It’s hard for Leah to strike the right note while the people she loves are fighting—especially when she realizes she might love one of them more than she ever intended.

 

Review of Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda.

So. I have mixed feelings about this book.

I feel like this book was not planned out from the beginning, so it didn’t really fit with the first book. There were inconsistencies.

  • Nick is a different person.
  • What happened to Leah’s huge crush on Nick?
  • LEAH WAS NOT BISEXUAL.
  • HER MYSTERIOUS (but entirely predictable) LOVE INTEREST WAS NOT BISEXUAL. DEFINITELY NOT.

I didn’t like it. Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda is better as a stand-alone.

Unlike the first book, there wasn’t much of a plot in this book. It was slow and it read like a fanfiction.

I LOVE Simon; Leah, I feel kinda meh about.

But.

I loved seeing Simon in this book. More Simon=happiness. AND there was a Six of Crows reference, which made me immeasurably happy.


A Note: I’m currently on vacation in Bangladesh until July 15, 2018, so I won’t be able to respond to comments until I get back.

Mini Book Reviews!

Hello peoples! Due to finals and other life happenings, I haven’t had time to review books, but I have read quite a few books over the last few weeks. Be prepared to be pummeled with book reviews.


Ready Player One || 3/5

I feel like this book was good, it just wasn’t for me, personally.

One of the main assets of this book is all the references to ’80’s pop culture. But as I’m not particularly well-versed in ’80’s pop culture, I found them somewhat annoying whereas others could love a book that alludes to their favorite TV show as a kid.

This book took me over two weeks to finish. I think more than anything, I found it bland. I liked the plot, but it wasn’t an amazing plot. It was an average plot. The writing was also decent, but not spectacular. Average.

I didn’t like the characters in this book, especially the main character, Wade. He got on my nerves. The minor characters should’ve been developed more. The reader didn’t really get to know them, so I wasn’t attached to them at all and I wasn’t invested in what happened to them.

The plot was also overly convenient.

Let’s move on. I’m even getting bored writing this review.


Will Grayson, Will Grayson || 3/5

I usually love John Green’s books, but that’s because he is the King of Metaphor. This book, unfortunately, didn’t contain many metaphors, and when you strip John Green of his metaphors, there sadly isn’t much left.

This book, like so many of his other works, lacked a concrete and thrilling plot. Things kept happening without an overall idea holding all the different miniature ideas together.

The characters were (fortunately) developed, but they still felt bland.

I really liked the writing style, though. Especially David Leviathan’s portion of the book.


This Mortal Coil || 3.5/5

Compared to Ready Player OneThis Mortal Coil is what a science fiction should be like.

I loved the idea for this book and the apocalypse-ness of it. The characters were lovely (except for one) and they were developed (ish).

This was an addicting read that I finished in two days full of twists and turns and the writing was beautiful.

I love the concept of the Hydra vaccine and the genetic-coding aspect of it was amazing.

There was a love triangle in this book.

Also, I got a chance to talk to this author (with a medium-sized group of people) over Skype, which was absolutely lovely.

 

*Warning. Mild Spoilers Below*

Usually, love triangles don’t bother me, but this one did. Probably because I didn’t like either of the love interests. Especially Cole. Cole was not his own person with his own hopes and dreams (aside from being an artist, which was briefly touched on). It’s like his whole reason for existence revolves around being the love interest for Cat.

*End Spoilers*

 

Speaking of which, why does there always have to be some undercurrent of romance in YA books? I’m not talking about love stories where romance is the point, but high fantasy, dystopian, sci-fi, and other books where survival is the main point, not love.

I dare you to think of a book where there is absolutely NO romance.


The Hate U Give || 3.5/5

So. This book.

It was amazing in that it covers an important, heavy topic and it makes you think about society and equality in a different way.

But, for me, it wasn’t as gripping as I expected it to be. The characters were lovely, but the plot was somewhat slow.

I highly recommend this book. It just falls outside of my tastes. See review for Ready Player One above.


A Court of Frost and Starlight || 3/5

This book was fluffy and light, but kind of boring. It was nice to see the characters be able to relax after the harrowing events of the last three books. But. Usually, I like it when my characters suffer (sorry). It makes for a more interesting read.

From the description, I expected there to be a lot of character development, which I was excited to read, but I was disappointed. It didn’t really talk about how the events of the past books affected the characters. Most of the book was gift-shopping.

A lovely book for Christmas-time, I guess?

It was meh overall.


Okay, that’s it for today’s segment of Harsh Book Reviews.

Caring for Your Unicorn Master

TheWebWeavers is actually our second blog. Both Spinette and I had our own individual “first blogs” that didn’t really work. They were both unicorn-based. (This was not planned. We just both love unicorns). My blog, Unicornia, was a guide for the measly human attempting to move to Unicornia. Spinette’s blog, Unicorn Sightings, was about all things unicorn. Unicornia had three followers (two of which were Spinette and me) and Unicorn Sightings had seven (two of which were Spinette and me).

Both of these blogs still exist on the internet, but they haven’t been active for ages. I think the reason that they didn’t work was that the topics were too restrictive and it wasn’t interesting to write on over and over again. TheWebWeavers is a lot more fun because we can write about whatever we want.

However, despite being inactive, the posts on the blogs are still somewhat funny (especially Spinette’s) so they will be reshared on TheWebWeavers for everyone to read and judge. You can also determine how much we’ve improved. 😉

Here’s the second segment of the Unicornia Series, Caring for Your Unicorn Master. It was originally published on November 19, 2016.

 

Growing your unicorn is not the end of the long and tedious process of entering Unicornia. You must also care for your unicorn so they will accept you as their life-long faithful servant and follower.

When you have warmed the Magical Kernel with the bottled purple dragon breath, it will pop into a baby unicorn, similar to the way Ordinary Kernels pop into the delicious treat known as “popcorn”.

Since unicorns are the perfect creatures, they expect their servants to be perfect too. Unicorns live on a diet of chocolate, candy, and fruit. You must feed your Unicorn Master four meals a day. They normally eat about five pounds of food a meal. You must use chocolate, candy, and fruit to make creative meals every day. Unicorns are picky eaters and if you want them to accept you, you must give them good food to eat (organic, nutritious, sustainably-sourced, low calorie, etc.). Something you never want is a hungry unicorn. They will eat anything and everything. Including you.

Unicorns don’t sleep very well on Earth, so be prepared to wake up in the middle of the night (Unicorns’ sleeping patterns are similar to that of a fidgety newborn baby). Give your Unicorn Master a spacious bedroom with a lakeside view. Always tell them a bedtime story. They love stories in which unicorns are the heroes.

Even though Unicorns don’t wear clothes, they like to have a full closet. Buy your Unicorn Master lots of colorful clothing they can hang up and organize.

Every unicorn is different and they have different preferences. Get to know your Unicorn Master and eat, sleep, and breathe their likes and dislikes so you know how to care for your Unicorn Master.

Caring for your Unicorn Master is a difficult task. They expect you to be perfect at all times. There is never time for rest. If your unicorn likes and accepts you, once they get older, they will take you with them to Unicornia. In Unicornia, they will build a beautiful house for themselves and permit you to live in the stables.

Growing a Unicorn Master

Hey, peeps! You hopefully may have noticed my absence over the past week or so. This was due to my corner of the world exploding. Over the past week, I met a Holocaust Survivor (she is so sweet), participated in a Science Olympiad tournament (I won two medals!), and skinned a rat (I would post pictures, but I feel like that would be too gory for this blog).

So, you may or may not know, but TheWebWeavers is our second blog. Both Spinette and I had our own individual “first blogs” that didn’t really work. They were both unicorn-based. (This was not planned. We just both love unicorns). My blog, Unicornia, was a guide for the measly human attempting to move to Unicornia. Spinette’s blog, Unicorn Sightings, was about all things unicorn. Unicornia had three followers (two of which were Spinette and me) and Unicorn Sightings had seven (two of which were Spinette and me).

Both of these blogs still exist on the internet, but they haven’t been active in ages. I think the reason that they didn’t work was that the topics were too restrictive and it wasn’t interesting to write on over and over again. TheWebWeavers is a lot more fun because we can write about whatever we want.

However, despite being inactive, the posts on the blogs are still somewhat funny (especially Spinette’s) so they will be reshared on TheWebWeavers for everyone to read and judge. You can also determine how much we’ve improved. 😉

Here’s the first segment of the Unicornia Series, Growing a Unicorn Master. It was originally published on November 18, 2016.


Before you escape to Unicornia from this wretched world, you must know about their world. Unicorns are born from magical kernels of corn. Every corn stalk has the potential of growing a unicorn if it is cared for the right way.

Many people try to grow a unicorn before going to Unicornia. If you have a Unicorn Master, you will be more respected in your new home, and the elders will be more likely to accept you.

Growing and caring for a Unicorn Master is no easy task. Many people have tried and lost their lives in the process, but it is worth it because your amazing life in Unicornia will be much better than your boring and dull life here.

The first step in growing a Unicorn Master is finding the perfect corn seed to plant. This one of the most difficult things you will have to do. If you choose the right one, you will soon have a Unicorn Master to guide you in your new life. If you choose wrong, you may lose everything. Unicorn Kernels must be warmed by the bottled breath of a purple dragon to pop into a baby unicorn. If an Ordinary Kernel is popped by the bottled breath of a purple dragon, it will grow into a dark donkey and devour you.

The perfect corn seed is difficult to find. There is only one perfect corn seed in 4,538,862 ordinary corn seeds. The perfect one will glow a light pink in the light of an Alaskan sunrise. Always check to see if you have the right corn seed! Many brave and courageous people have lost their lives because they didn’t notice that their corn seed was glowing magenta instead of pink.

Once you have found the magical seed, grow it and nurture it. Soon the corn plant will grow. The Pink Kernel is the magic one. Heat it with the breath of a purple dragon and it will become your Unicorn Master!


Do you have any topics that you want us to talk about in a post? Leave a suggestion in the comments.

It’s Raining Book Reviews!

I think I’m starting to get a hang of this book reviewing business! I still have to start reviewing books immediately after finishing them, though. Oops.


A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab || 5/5

a conjuring of light

This is an amazing series! The world-building and plot are amazing, but I think that the most impressive part of this trilogy is the characters. They’re all so unique and flawed and they all have their own motivations. Schwab tackled multiple point-of-views really well and she was really good at creating suspense. I was terrified on behalf of the characters. This book definitely took a more tense turn and it wasn’t as carefree as the second book, A Gathering of Shadows(But that wasn’t very carefree, to begin with.)

Plus pirates. There were pirates. I love pirates.


The Rose Society by Marie Lu || 3/5

the rose society

Most of this book was boring for me and I had trouble finishing it. The end was great, though. The minor characters weren’t developed and the romance was weird and unplausible. I think the book would’ve been better without it, but I guess you can’t have a YA book without romance, right? There was a love triangle, too. I don’t usually have anything against love triangles, but I wasn’t a fan of the romance at all. I thought it was strange for not one, but two peoples to fall in love with Adelina. Also, the characters’ decisions were occasionally random and illogical without reason (A reason could be that they were heartbroken by the fact that they were planning to propose to their longtime boyfriend, but the engagement ring that they spent months saving up for was swallowed by a rogue seagull. This heartbroken-ness can cause a person to make illogical decisions.)

My least favorite part of this book was the planning sessions. I thought the plans were weak and undetailed. They were mostly winging it. And yet, usually, nothing went wrong.

I loved Lu’s writing style, though, which was apparent in her other book, Warcross.

There are two things that will usually make me instantly love a book: Pirates and anti-heroes. This book had anti-heroes, but I still didn’t like it.


To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee || 5/5

to kill a mockingbird

This book was great! I can’t believe I haven’t read it before now. My favorite part of this book was the various characters. They were all lovely, especially Atticus. The writing was beautiful and there were many amazing quotes.

I’m not planning to read Go Set A Watchmen, though. I don’t want my precious Scout to grow up.


They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera || 5/5

they both die at the end

This book takes place in a world that’s mostly like our own, but with one difference: Death-Cast will call you at (about) midnight the day you die.

So first, I want to talk about the idea of being alerted the day you’re going to die (if someone is going to die that day, they’re called a “Decker”). I feel like this is a paradox, sort of like time travel.

So, assume that you are an avid mountain climber and you are supposed to die on June 4 because your harness snaps and you fall down the cliff-side to your doom.

But at 12:05 a.m. on June 4, Death-Cast calls you and tells you that you’re going to die, so you decide not to go mountain-climbing because tumbling down a cliff seems like a painful and unappealing way to die. Instead, you decide to not leave your bed and just drink peppermint tea all day. Super safe.

You don’t die.

And because you didn’t die, Death-Cast didn’t call you that morning.

And because Death-Cast didn’t call you on June 4, you didn’t die on June 4.

You went mountain climbing and your harness didn’t break and you had a grand ole time.

Therefore, is everybody’s life extended just by the existence of Death-Cast?

Or would you have died on June 4 anyway by some other method? For example, by drowning in your peppermint tea?

Okay, let’s get to the review now.

I love the message of this book, which is to take risks and live life to the fullest because you never know how much time you have left.

My favorite part of this book was the characters. I loved Mateo and Rufus. The title (They Both Die at the End) is a huge spoiler and since I knew that they were going to die, I tried not to get attached. I failed.

The writing was amazing and there were a lot of quotable parts. (I thought it was weird that teenagers were coming up with these beautiful and poetic quotes about life and death, though. But I guess they’re dying. They have a reason to be profound.)

Silvera was great at writing suspenseful parts and light-hearted parts and I was smiling through a lot of the book, even though I knew what was coming (intense sadnesses). The characters were just so lovable. Silvera did well with multiple point-of-views, as well. I always knew which chapters were Mateo’s and which were Rufus’s based on what they said and how they said it.


Crooked Kingdom || 13/5

crooked kingdom

This one was a reread, but I don’t think I’ve reviewed it before. THIS IS MY FAVORITE BOOK. THE CHARACTERS! THE CHARACTERS ARE AMAZING! I love how much they grow throughout the course of the series.

Also, I love them.

They’re amazing

SQUEEEEEEEEE.

Sorry, I’m being incoherent.

Read it.


Currently Reading

I just finished Crooked Kingdom, and I’m not entirely sure what to read next (nothing seems as good afterward), so I’m trying out different books on my TBR to see what I’m in the mood for, so I’m at the very beginning of both Seraphina and Ready Player One.

seraphinaready player one


TBR

  1. This Mortal Coil
  2. The Midnight Star
  3. Red Queen
  4. The Unwanteds Quests: Dragon Bones

Jackie Part 3

The Giant’s P.O.V.

Oh! I peered through the eye-spot, watching a girl with a certain interest, It’s her.

“Jackie.” The word played with my tongue. I decided I liked the name, much how I appreciate the light pink flowers and the blooming scents around me. Red hair was how I remembered her, a short flash of red down to her shoulders, followed by a white shirt and overalls that had a rough texture to them, as I scanned my way down. She was a bit taller than when I encountered her last, with bread crumbs freckling her already dotted cheeks. Bored, she was throwing the last of her bread crumbs into a fire, finished with her morning meal.

The eye spot seemed to open from the chimney, in a bird’s eye view, wonderfully convenient, for this was the first time it had opened upon the girl. Particularly, I’ve been interested in her for many years, after her incident. It was amazing how humans could still stand after such crisis and problems for being such a small race. I knew for sure it was her— after all, who else could have such a rosy red appearance?

In my stalking, I heard the odd sound of lost magic: a whimsical whimper of waterfalling energy. Blue rays of light drip dropped, from my fingertips into the cloudy floor which I rested on everyday. The magic flickered under the egg white of the clouds like underground lighting.

“Am I doing too much?” I asked, frightened, staring into the waves of angry flowers. I was being too selfish again, keeping my magic from their leaves. It was better to share with others.

Their scent overtook my senses, the thick vanilla coating my lips, branching out slowly as the vines flew out towards me. They hastily grew over my figure, restraining any further action. The once peaceful set of vines quickly buckled into me, harsh thorns piercing into my skin and bone. The sensation tickled, like tiny monsters. Pain whittled in all parts of my body.

Thump! I flopped over, power draining from my consciousness, clouds bouncing upward with my descent. With panic, I scoured my cloud, overgrown with stringy green vines, blushing blurbs of blooming and budding flowers, in a sprawling spiral pattern. All suctioning my power away, ready to get me.

“Sorry.” I let my magic flow out, tending to my garden.

The vines edged away, flowers fluttering back to their sprawling legged arrangement, colors vibrant against the blank puffy cloudscape. Everything was back to normal again as if nothing had ever happened. Except for the low whistles of the blue light aggressively pumping itself back into the flowers again. A warning. Grumpily, I took a patch of the overgrowth and pushed it in my mouth, slurping it down so the awful somewhat bittersweet taste couldn’t reach my tastebuds. Vines dangled, flowers fell at my distasteful chews, and I crossed my arms, my face swelling in anger.

-By watching the antics of humans I have seemed to adopt some traits.

Magic was what kept me alive, along with the plants in the jungle like meadow—but sometimes I took too much for myself. It had so much more capabilities than just simple nutrition, such as using the middle of a flower as a telescope to watch people go by.

“Please…” I put my hands together like a begging human , “Today is a day that people congregate around for the Storytelling of Jack, and I really want to see!” I let a part of my hair fall on my blue skinned complexion, sighing. The vines hadn’t even moved in response!

“Please?” My eyes bubbled up. They loosened—however slightly, in approval. That was a good answer for me!

Blue light coursed through my body, from the very ends of my frayed white hair to the pear shape of my hips, manifested in a pleasurable moan. My hands cascaded down the bump of my neck, energy satisfyingly quenching my dry throat after the short absence of magical waves. Glowing bright, my eyes transformed into a new, ambitious shade of blue.

Feeling a breeze of relief, I gently grabbed another flower, caressing its petals. It glowed with blue light, the light drawing blue lines upon them. My thumb brushed its yellow center, dashing it with a bit of magic. Slowly, the flower telescope opened up, this time from a flower’s perspective, low down on the beanstalk.

Her back faced me, letting me take in all the mystical bits of her springy red hair, small natural ringlets formed towards the bottom. As red as ever. For some reason the thought made me want to find out more. I love the color red, fiery, ambitious, frightful, fierce, passionate… the list goes on and on. Of course, I just had to be blue! I gazed down at my knees, dark blue in its pigment and my hair also a lighter, but equally blue shade.

From behind Jackie’s figure, I saw a tiny boy. Who was this? My interest rocketed to him, his stubborn nose and a mischievous smile, strings of brown emerging from his head. And what did he want from Jackie? He appeared to be holding her hand and was certainly out of breath, huffing and puffing.

Fortunately, Jackie seemed to be in her own world, nostrils widening, (We have all heard “eyes widening” before! Why not give it a change?) to smell the scent of vanilla, whirling in the air. She enjoyed my scent! Following her nose, she ended up staring into my eyes hypnotically, through the eyespot, ready to catch a fresh whiff.

I scrambled back, a flustered blush swaying on my cheeks. Magic, having its repercussions, blasted from my fingers to the flower I was using as a telescope. Boom! It exploded, yellow pollen and seeds blanketing my bosom, as chaotic vines grew up from there. In panic, I frantically tore out the crazy plants, trying to minimize the magic I recently reloaded myself with.

Magic does two things: it either reacts with magic quickly and easily, or reacts with normal items slowly and with hard spells. – a note taken from the Witch’s Handbook.

As I tore at the flowers, more and more grew in an endless cycle, the overwhelming scent that I used to love burning the insides of my nose. They continued growing, vines swiftly edging up my torso. If I didn’t do something quickly, the plants would encase me! I shuddered at that thought, gagging at the smell as a barricade of flowers bloomed above my chest.

“Stop!” I giggled, a single leaf tickling my belly button, “Stop it!” My giggles escalated to painful stomach hollers, “hWOoo… If you don’t stop?” I was getting drunk on the scent— that’s what I get, I guess, for making such a simple mistake. They climbed up further, into strands of my hair, and circling around my neck. Everything was turning foggy, pink blobs of flowers fluttering in my face like lethal butterflies, with delusions intoxicating my mind, painting it with ink.

“STOP!” A ragged yell pranced from the corners of my mouth.

BOOM! Magic roared from up above. BANG! BOOSH!

The flowers stopped growing, doused in an infinite amount of magic. Even the cloud seemed to be exhausted from my explosion. I was out of breath, holding onto everything I could manage to grasp, every part of my body pulsing with pain, my eyes hurting the most, now dulled of their once vibrant color.  Naughtily, I gave a tired smirk, thinking, It’s all okay! If I could just…

I blacked out.

Part 1

Part 2

-Spinette Spyder