Arc August Review: When I Am Through With You (Sins and Scandals #1) by Stephanie Kuehn

When I Am Through With You by Stephanie Kuehn

Published by: Penguin Random House/Dutton Books

Date of Publication: August 1st 2017

Genres: YA Thriller/Mystery/Suspense

Pages: 304

Format: eGalley

    

“This isn’t meant to be a confession. Not in any spiritual sense of the word. Yes, I’m in jail at the moment. I imagine I’ll be here for a long time, considering. But I’m not writing this down for absolution and I’m not seeking forgiveness, not even from myself. Because I’m not sorry for what I did to Rose. I’m just not. Not for any of it.”

Ben Gibson is many things, but he’s not sorry and he’s not a liar. He will tell you exactly how what started as a simple school camping trip in the mountains ended the way it did. About who lived and who died. About who killed and who had the best of intentions. And he’ll tell you about Rose. But he’s going to tell you in his own time. Because after what happened on that mountain, time is the one thing he has plenty of.

 Let’s just start by getting this out of the way….I LOOOOOOOVED this book!!!! Ok, now that I’ve gotten that out of my system I’ll tell you why 😉

 In what I found to be a unique form of story telling, our MC Ben is telling us this story as he sits in Jail which is disclosed in the very beginning & in the synopsis (no spoilers here lol). This had me asking all sorts of questions & all of the answers made this one story i’ll find hard to forget. From the opening pages, Ben Gibson starts off by recounting the day he met Rose. He’s automatically infatuated with everything about this gorgeous girl who seems too mature to be in High School. Even more unlikely is Rose approaching him and making him her boyfriend. Make no mistake, Rose doesn’t ask she tells him they are now in a relationship. This pretty much sets the tone for this story, both are complex characters for very different reasons. Ben is someone who comes from a toxic home environment & Rose is the polar opposite but she has her own dark passenger. Ben is part of the schools Orienteering class where you are taught all there is to know about camp, survival, map & compass reading. This is one thing that makes Ben feel good about himself and there isn’t much of that in his life. We’re introduced to the other students in the class who all fall into the cliques we’ve all seen form in High School. Ben however, is the teachers right hand man and he sort of leads the class whether they like it or not. They prepare to go on one class trail exploring trip with Ben spear heading while their teacher supervises. Ben, a character who likes to be in control of every variable has his doubts about whether he can successfully lead. He has no idea how justified his doubts really are. This book might have played out like one of those movies we’ve probably all seen where campers get lost in the woods & everything that can go wrong DOES go wrong. The thing is with so many players on the board having their own personal demons, it eliminates all predictability. I was HOOKED! this tale is DARK and twisted, it will make you question our MC who is also narrating since this is first person POV. It will have you looking at every character with a mean side eye lol & ultimately leave you shook!

Without getting into too many specifics, I can tell you this isn’t your ordinary cast of High School students. They each have secrets, some are manipulative, and others think they are better off than they really are. Ben Gibson isn’t like any MC I’ve ever come across in YA or even Adult Fiction for that matter. I wondered whether he was a unreliable character or just dead inside. It seemed like he couldn’t catch a break at times & others left me wondering if certain events cemented his fate. I found his story to be tragic and he surprised me when I read the last line in this book with a tear streaked face. I was left wondering what could’ve been if life had dealt him a different set of cards & not just him. All of the characters seemed lost inside & they kept me invested in this story. I NEEDED to know how and why. It’s been so long since I’ve come across characters that leave me thinking of them after I’ve read the last page.

GRIPPING! DARK! TWISTED! I’ve read other YA thrillers but NONE like this before. Yes I have already added this authors other books to my TBR, I’m definitely going to need more from where this came from lol. I inhaled this book similarly to how my read of Mary Kubica’s Every Last Lie went last month…to the very early hours of the morning. Although we are given the end game in the beginning with Ben sitting in jail, how he got there is one MESSED up story you can’t possibly see forming til you’ve been given the final piece. I think writing this story in first person POV worked so well in giving us a sense of what Ben does & does not feel. Being in his head isn’t the easiest but that only heightened my interest. You really shouldn’t expect to like any of these characters, they don’t even like themselves but know you’re in for one hell of a sick ride! I was surprised to see on Goodreads that this is a start to a series & would love to know if the next book will have us following a new set of characters or the same. My guess is that it’s going to be one of those series where each book stands on its own but it any of you know please let me know down in the comments.

*HUGE thanks to Penguin Random House/Dutton Books and Stephanie Kuehn for this eGalley in exchange for an honest review

Hello Readers! happy FRIYAYYYY! AYYY! hope you’re all enjoying this day & getting ready to start your weekends. Have any of you read When I Am Through With You? if so, how bout those feels? eh? haha!


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Top Ten Tuesday 8/15/17

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish! Each week, a new topic is put into place and bloggers share their top ten accordingly. I LOVE lists, they keep me happy and I’m so glad to see this meme return this week after a mini hiatus. This week was a freebie of sorts where you are prompted to list 10 bookish recommendations. I’ve linked my reviews for each of these as well, please excuse the older reviews since I didn’t know what I was doing in terms of format, a year ago when I 1st started this blog lol. Here are my top 10 picks for this weeks topic (in no specific order):

August 15th 2016:Ten book recommendations for Bookworms looking for Diversity:

 

1. Saints & Misfits by S.K. Ali

*features a Arab Indian-American hijabi teenager, her friends, family, and community. Janna Yusuf is like many other teenagers trandealing with social pressures, first love, and friendships. We follow Janna’s story as she tries to reconcile her wants with her faith. (Trigger warning: attempted rape) check out my review here.



2. You’re Welcome Universe by Whitney Gardner

* features a Indian deaf girl with 2 deaf moms & a honest f/f friendship with it’s ups & downs. Our main protagonist is skilled in Grafitti art & has a wicked sense of humor 😉 Check out my review here.

 

 


3. When The Moon Was Ours by Anna Marie-McLemore

* features a transgender Pakistani boy & LATINX girl as main characters in this Magical Realism story guaranteed to stir emotion. The writing is lyrical & lush with vivid imagery. Check out my review here.

 

 


4. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas 

* A raw & moving read relevant to our current times. It’s hard to read THUG & not walk away feeling like you need to do your part in the Black Lives Matter movement. Check out my review here.

 

 


5. Labyrinth Lost (Brooklyn Brujas #1) by Zoraida Córdova

* a LATINX Young Adult Fantasy with elements of Alice in Wonderland. This story centers around a young Bruja’s (witch) Death Day celebration which is a rites of passage. In the Authors Afterword, the ancestors who appear in this book are from Ecuador, Spain, Africa, Mexico, and the Caribbean. Check out my review here.

 


6. American Street by Ibi Zoboi

* features a Haitian main protagonist who leaves Haiti with her mother in search of a better life in Detroit Chicago. We get a different perspective on a religion we often see in mainstream media. The writing in American Street is a mix between Fabiola’s native culture and the raw grittiness of Detroits mean streets. Check out my review here.

 


7. The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. Yee 

* features a Chinese American teenager slayyyyying demons! centered around the Chinese tale of The Monkey King, this book offers up a kick a** protagonist who doesn’t take ish from anyone & I loved her! Check out my review here.

 

 


8. History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera

* features a gay couple with AMAZING parents who I wish we had more of both in real life & in our books. This book deals with grief & will leave you reaching for the nearest box of tissues. Check out my review here.

 

 


9. The Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana

* Lush with Persian influences & steeped in Indian folklore, this book will leave you questioning whether we are in control of our own fate. This book also features a positive f/f friendship & a beautiful father/daughter bond. Check out my review here.

 

 


10. Noteworthy by Riley Redgate

* features a Chinese-American teenager in a gender bending story. Jordan Sun is on a mission to join Acapella in order to stand out in her college applications. The only thing standing in her way is that Acapella is all male only. When Jordan decides to dress as a boy in order to try-out, she wasn’t expecting to find a diverse cast of characters she feels most at home with. Check out my review here.

 

Happy Tuesday Bookworms!!! have you read any of the books I’ve listed? are you as excited as I am to have TTT back?!?! I guess I’m more excited than some since just when I started doing this meme again, the hosts announced their hiatus leaving me with a ton of unused excitement haha! 


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#ARCSTRAVAGANZA #5: The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden

#ARCstravaganza is a weekly meme hosted by the wonderful Flavia over @Flavia the Bibliophile where book bloggers/bookstagrammers have a chance to show off their ARCs/eARCs/Galleys!

Hello Readers! This is my 5th week participating in #ARCstravaganza Monday & this week I’ve chosen one of my most highly anticipated sequels of this year!!! *eeeeeK* I still cannot believe I was approved on Netgalley but this truly made the end of last week cuz overall last week was a really sucky week in general. The book Gods definitely blessed me with some magic to make up for my troubles haha! Ok so, last year at NYC Comic Con I picked up a copy of The Bear and the Nightingale (see review here) not knowing that it would be my most favorite score. I read it sometime in December 2016 which btw is PERFECT weather for this read, and I fell in love with the writing & the story. From the opening scene in front of a warm fire to the very end, it felt like I was sitting down for story time every single time I picked it up. The cozy feels are real and I am so thrilled to have a early copy of the sequel The Girl in the Tower! Both the covers for these books are S-T-U-N-N-I-N-G! *heart eyes emoji*

*If you haven’t read The Bear in the Nightingale yet, I’d skip the 411 section after my photo*


The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden

 


The magical adventure begun in The Bear and the Nightingalecontinues as brave Vasya, now a young woman, is forced to choose between marriage or life in a convent and instead flees her home—but soon finds herself called upon to help defend the city of Moscow when it comes under siege.

Orphaned and cast out as a witch by her village, Vasya’s options are few: resign herself to life in a convent, or allow her older sister to make her a match with a Moscovite prince. Both doom her to life in a tower, cut off from the vast world she longs to explore. So instead she chooses adventure, disguising herself as a boy and riding her horse into the woods. When a battle with some bandits who have been terrorizing the countryside earns her the admiration of the Grand Prince of Moscow, she must carefully guard the secret of her gender to remain in his good graces—even as she realizes his kingdom is under threat from mysterious forces only she will be able to stop.

What are some ARCS/eGalleys you’re excited to have Bookworms? If you’ve participated in #ARCstravaganza this week, please feel free to drop your links & I’ll make my way around <3’s!


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Review: Our Dark Duet (Monsters of Verity#2) by Victoria Schwab

Our Dark Duet (Monsters of Verity #2) by Victoria Schwab

Published by: Grenwillow Books

Date of Publication: June 13th 2017

Genres: Young Adult Fantasy/Paranormal

Pages: 510

Format: I own physical book

Rating:★★★★★ 5 Stars

*Please note there are spoilers for This Savage Song in this review. If you’d like to check out my review for This Savage Song, please see here.

THE WORLD IS BREAKING. AND SO ARE THEY.

KATE HARKER isn’t afraid of monsters. She hunts them. And she’s good at it.

AUGUST FLYNN once yearned to be human. He has a part to play. And he will play it, no matter the cost.

THE WAR HAS BEGUN.

THE MONSTERS ARE WINNING.

Kate will have to return to Verity. August will have to let her back in. And a new monster is waiting—one that feeds on chaos and brings out its victims’ inner demons.

Which will be harder to conquer: the monsters they face, or the monsters within?

It has now been 1 week since I finished Our Dark Duet aka “Breaker of Hearts” in my home *sobs* & since this is the sequel to a duology, I’ll keep this review short, dark, and spoiler free 😉

Great track to listen to while reading ODD, Windmill Song is strictly Violin & it def has that Monstress tone to it 😉

When we last left Verity, Kate & August had confronted Harker (her dad) & asked for his truths. After finding out that Harker is responsible for the death of her mother & also for breaking the truce, Kate doesn’t hesitate to shoot at her father. August intervenes & reaps his soul so as to prevent her from making the kill shot & thus creating her own monster. They each go their own ways with the expectation that it would be their last time seeing each other. This was all fine & well until the world as they knew it grew even darker than before while under the “protection” of Harker. With Harker out of the way, Sloan a Malchai (Monster) has taken up the mantle with a full crew of monsters & deviants to do his dirty work. Up until now, Verity was the only place infested with these creatures. Kate soon learns about a new monster behind violent acts & it is roaming the streets of Prosperity a place known to be safe from the darkness that plagues Verity….

The events in This Savage Song left deep scars in all of the players involved & also left some questioning the very foundation of their principles. In this new world innocents seek shelter from the monsters that have taken over more than half of the city. However, a warm bed/meal on the opposite side of the city is made available only to those souls who have never taken a life voluntarily or in self defense. August is now a leader in the FTC & to him is left the toughest task of reaping souls. We all know August as a Sunai who longed to be just an ordinary boy going to school & not acceptant of his true nature. We see August give in to his darker side in ODD & kind of go numb to his new world. Kate on the other hand has gone full on vigilante mode in Prosperity. She’s even found a group of hackers that serve as kind of her “Over watch” who go by the name of The Wardens while she goes on missions to clean up the streets one monster at a time. I found this addition of new characters to be a bit odd this late in the game but I’m keeping hope alive that this leaves the door open for a spin-off. As always, Schwab doesn’t disappoint with character development. She has created a dark world filled with fear & desperation that has molded these characters in order to fight back. Seeing both Kate & August’ slow progression to their end game cemented my attachment to these characters. Heavily flawed & jaded yet holding on tight to the belief that humanity is worth saving…

Photo credit: alekzandermorozova

“People were messy. They were defined not only by what they’d done, but by what they would have done, under different circumstances, molded as much by their regrets as their actions, choices they stood by and those they wished they could undo. Of course, there was no going back – time only moved forward – but people could change.

For worse.

And for better.

It wasn’t easy. The world was complicated. Life was hard. And so often, living hurt.

So make it worth the pain.”

It’s safe to say that I will read anything Schwab writes at this point. She speaks to that dark part of your soul…yea I truly do believe we all have a smidge of that (some more than others lol). I’m also noticing that as I follow her writing career through her books, she gets better & better with each new book. I’ve gotten accustomed to her first book in any series being slow paced while it builds to the sequel & yet I do not mind. She is wonderful at weaving complex characters and worlds where nothing is ever as simple as Good or Evil. Her characters always walking that thin line between either or making them much more authentic. I’m sad to see this world come to a close & that ending truly destroyed me, yet I am satisfied with it all. A ending that isn’t neatly wrapped up & one where the reader shares in the pain of the characters they love. AMAZING. Fingers crossed that the door to Monsters of Verity is left even a fraction open, I’d take that 🙂

Are any readers out there mending a broken heart? (no spoilers in comm plz) I sure am! any theories on The Wardens? I’m being hopeful here lol!

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish! Each week, a new topic is put into place and bloggers share their top ten accordingly. I LOVE lists, they keep me happy…here are my top 10 picks for this weeks topic:

June 26th 2016: Best Books You’ve Read In 2017 So Far…

*had this been a prompt for the 2nd half of the year I think I would’ve tapped out with all the great books we have coming our way. The books listed below are in no particular order.

(Covers  —-> Goodreads Links)


320756711. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

*A raw & moving read relevant to our current times. It’s hard to read THUG & not walk away feeling like you need to do your part in the Black Lives Matter movement. Check out my review here.

 

 

 

 

 


2. love, and you by Gretchen Gomez34335011

*For all those who have experienced that one toxic relationship, you know? the one you simply cannot let go…this one is for you. Love, and you will haunt you with each turn of a page & ultimately will leave you with hope for healing. Check out my review here.

 

 

 

 

 


   3. History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera   history-is-all-you-left-me

* If you’ve been following me for a while now, this comes as no surprise. I ADORE Adam Silvera to pieces! so much so that after being pushed by a mob at Bookcon for his new book They Both Die at the End, my hubby went into full on Superhero mode & got me a copy smh lol. Every single one of his books make me cry & I keep going back for more! smh. Check out my review here.

 

 

 


4. The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
Upside

*Upside was my 1st Albertalli book & it was everything I could’ve hoped for and some. I laughed so hard & fell in love with all of these characters. Filled with diversity & positive body rep, Upside is a Gem of a book <3. Check out my review here.

 

 

 

 

 


5. A Million Junes by Emily HenryA Million Junes

*STUNNING writing! if you’ve ever felt a tad bit intimidated (Me) by Magical Realism or even had a bad experience reading a MR book, please give this one a go, it’s not at all the type that will have you looking all types of constipated trying to figure it out lol. A beautiful story at its core about a daughter trying to find answers from her father who passed away…Check out my review here.

 

 


6. The Bear And The Nightingale by Katherine Arden

25489134*This was Katherine Arden’s debut novel & OMYGOSHHH how is it so damn good?!?! Atmospheric, slower paced, filled with Russian folklore gahhhh! female protog reminds me of Merida from Brave lol, be still my heart! Check out my review here.

 

 

 

 

 


300954647. The Bone Witch (The Bone Witch #1) By Rin Chupeco

*The Bone Witch has a ton of mixed reviews, mostly the complaint was based on the slow pacing & I won’t deny that it is slow paced.  However, as a lover of Memoirs of a Geisha, I instantly got sucked into this world and its main protog. This one is for the lover of lush worlds & details. I am looking forward to the sequel . Check out my review here

 

 


8. Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappa Eliza and her monsters

*I am still a mess from having to leave this world & these characters. For those who have ever loved being part of a fandom, Eliza is your girl! filled with bits of comic strips and online chat messages this book will make you wish Monstress Sea was a real thing 😉 Check out my review here.  

 

 

 

 


291028969. Bad Romance by Heather Demetrios

*Impactful, raw, painful, but necessary. A story centered around dating abuse & domestic violence  I just recently finished Bad Romance & it’s safe to say that it will resonate with me for years to come. This isn’t the type of book I’d recommend to just anyone as it does tackle many difficult topics. Check out my review here.

 

 

 


Our Dark Duet10. Our Dark Duet (Monsters of Verity #2) by Victoria Schwab

* I couldn’t possibly compose a list of my favorites so far & not include the most satisfying conclusion to a duology. Our Dark Duet left me in tears & heartbroken yet at the same time, it was perfect. Review to come just as soon as I could work up my nerve to write my RAVE review lol 😉

 

 

 


Happy Tuesday Bookworms!!! have you read any of the books I’ve listed? It’s already the last week of June & there are a ton more EPIC reads ahead of us *Gasps* legit wish I could slow down the hands of time just a smidge 😉

Review: Red Sister by Mark Lawrence

25895524Red Sister (Book of the Ancestor #1) by Mark Lawrence

Published by: Ace

Publication Date: April 4th 2017

Genre: Adult Fantasy/LGBTQ

Pages: 432 pages

Format: eGalley (Netgalley)

Rating: ★★★★★

HUGE thanks to Ace, Netgalley, and Mark Lawrence for the eGalley of Red Sister in exchange for a honest review. All opinions are my own.

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I was born for killing – the gods made me to ruin.

At the Convent of Sweet Mercy young girls are raised to be killers. In a few the old bloods show, gifting talents rarely seen since the tribes beached their ships on Abeth. Sweet Mercy hones its novices’ skills to deadly effect: it takes ten years to educate a Red Sister in the ways of blade and fist.

But even the mistresses of sword and shadow don’t truly understand what they have purchased when Nona Grey is brought to their halls as a bloodstained child of eight, falsely accused of murder: guilty of worse.

Stolen from the shadow of the noose, Nona is sought by powerful enemies, and for good reason. Despite the security and isolation of the convent her secret and violent past will find her out. Beneath a dying sun that shines upon a crumbling empire, Nona Grey must come to terms with her demons and learn to become a deadly assassin if she is to survive…

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My very 1st Mark Lawrence read & boy was it something! nothing could’ve prepared me for what lay ahead but the first few pages in the first chapter did manage to leave me wide eyed. Right off the bat we are introduced to a 8 year old Nona & the harsh reality of the world she lives in. The opening scene had me asking strangers on the train “oh! so no man, woman, or CHILD is safe under Mark’s pen huh?!?!” well the answer to that is NO! no one is safe & plenty are hungry enough to sell their children to avoid starvation. Nona is literally saved from the noose at the very last second by a Nun from Sweet Mercy Convent which is by no means your typical convent. This also won’t be my typically styled review, I finished this book days ago & have gone above & beyond to avoid a book hangover. I will try my best not to fangirl all over this review, back to the Plot…

Sweet Mercy Convent gave me Hogwarts mixed with a Ludus (like in Spartacus) vibes. The nuns at Sweet Mercy all specialize in one skill or another ranging from fighting to magic. Everyone in this world is a descendant from of the following four tribes:

Hunska: Speed (faster than your average human)

Gerrant: Physically large & strong

Marjal: ability to do magic on a smaller scale

Quantal: ability to walk the path & more complex magic

The students who enter are sorted by the abilities they’ve shown a inherent skill towards or in the case of Gerrant & Hunska, are visibly on display. The girls also attend classes in various subjects pertaining to each skill and go through ranks in the following order: Red Class, Gray Class, Mystic Class, and Holy Class. Nona will have 10 years of education in the convent in order to become a Red Sister. During her time & training in the convent there are outside forces at work seeking retribution for old wounds. Nona has secrets, ones that she doesn’t want her peers to ever find out for fear they will see the darkness within her. Nona has a bloody violent history leading up to the noose where she would be hung for her crime. We follow her progress in Sweet Mercy Convent as she learns to hone her skills all the while dealing with inside & outside threats.

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We follow Nona from age 8 to about age 11 in this first installment in the Book of the Ancestor series. She has only known violence & the need to survive when she is brought to Sweet Mercy Convent. She is shrouded in mystery & likes it that way, often times making up stories for her past. Perhaps Nona’s biggest weakness is her unquestioning loyalty to those that call her “friend”. In Sweet Mercy we are introduced to the Abess & sisters who run the convent & teach the classes. I found myself enjoying some of these characters like Sister Apple for her specialty which I won’t reveal since it is spoilery. Also, Sister Kettle who watches over the library, won me over with her threat to anyone caught folding pages in books. Besides the vast array of sisters, there were three other girls in Nona’s class we get to follow closely. There’s Clera who has a love/hate relationship with Nona, Arabella who fiercely watches over Nona, and Hessa who is connected to Nona & often plays the voice of reason. Friendships play a center focus in Red Sister, we see Nona learning the highs & lows all the while living in a competitive setting. Arabella was hands down my favorite & seeing their friendship unfold was awesome since as a reader of Young Adult, I don’t often see positive F/F friendships. This was a change of pace & there were definitely betrayals & double crossings in the mix but that’s to be expected in this world where violence is the law of the land. I like my characters flawed & complex and Lawrence delivers with Nona as well as her friends. No one is wholly “good” or “evil” & therefore nothing is ever black or white in this world, we get a ton of gray til the very last page.

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I finished reading Red Sister some time last week & was left speechless…so much so that I couldn’t bring myself to write this review. I needed to digest what was my first ever Mark Lawrence book & gather my thoughts. From start to finish, Red Sister held me in its grip for various reasons including the no holds barred violence that follows our main protagonist. The world building at first seemed like it would overwhelm me but Lawrence weaves in the ranks & paths so well, that there really was no need to refer to the glossary. About the glossary LOL! MAJOR points for placing the glossary at the very beginning of the book as opposed to the very end where no one ever thinks to look haha! although as previously mentioned, it wasn’t necessary other than as back-up info to this world. The writing is very detailed but in a useful way if that makes sense, it wasn’t overkill. The fighting/training scenes were the most detailed & I was able to get a vivid picture almost as if I were watching a movie. Told in third person POV, Red Sister’s opening pages starts you off with a glimpse of events taking place in the future. This alone was a HUGE motivator for me as far as page turning goes, I needed to find out what that whole scene was about & how everyone managed to get to that point…WHAT WENT WRONG?!?!?! to say that I loved my 1st Mark Lawrence book is a HUGE understatement, I’m in it for the long haul my bookish peeps! If you’re a mostly Young Adult Fantasy reader & are considering taking the leap into Adult Fantasy, this may be a great place to start. For fans of bad a** female heroines, vivid  fight scenes, positive female friendships, positive LGBTQIA representation and elements of the Potterverse…this book is for YOU! 😉

Some of my closest book blogging buddies have already read Red Sister & I will spend Monday visiting their reviews to finally read their thoughts & complain about the wait til’ book 2 haha! Is anyone else reading Red Sister? If you have a review up, please drop that link in the box below & I’ll gladly swing by for a chat 🙂

Review: Hunted by Meagan Spooner

Hunted by Meagan Spooner

Published by: HarperTeen

Publication Date: January 14th 2017

Genre: YA Fantasy/Re-telling

Pages: 352 pages

Format: eGalley

Rating: ★★★★★ (4.5 Stars)

goodreads-synopsis-2

Beauty knows the Beast’s forest in her bones—and in her blood. Though she grew up with the city’s highest aristocrats, far from her father’s old lodge, she knows that the forest holds secrets and that her father is the only hunter who’s ever come close to discovering them.

So when her father loses his fortune and moves Yeva and her sisters back to the outskirts of town, Yeva is secretly relieved. Out in the wilderness, there’s no pressure to make idle chatter with vapid baronessas…or to submit to marrying a wealthy gentleman. But Yeva’s father’s misfortune may have cost him his mind, and when he goes missing in the woods, Yeva sets her sights on one prey: the creature he’d been obsessively tracking just before his disappearance.

Deaf to her sisters’ protests, Yeva hunts this strange Beast back into his own territory—a cursed valley, a ruined castle, and a world of creatures that Yeva’s only heard about in fairy tales. A world that can bring her ruin or salvation. Who will survive: the Beauty, or the Beast?

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Hunted is the story of Yeva aka Beauty and her love for the hunt & desire for more than court life (reminds me of one of my fave protogs Freya from Long May She Reign). Yeva has only known the wealthy aristocratic life keeping the baronessa company which she finds boring & constricting. She is the youngest of 3 girls and lives with her father who is known as a wealthy business merchant. It is a business deal with good intentions-gone wrong that throws Yeva and her family into poverty. Forced to sell their home & live in their father’s cabin in the forest, their lives drastically changed. The shame & disappointment of it all proves to be too much for Yeva’s father. The Goodreads synopsis sums up the events that transpire following their misfortune. On the surface Hunted is a re-telling that runs parallel with the original classic Beauty & the Beast. However, besides the similarities this story is also about want & greed and the consequences of never being sated. Starting with a father who wanting more for his village, went as far as staking his entire mass fortune. We see Yeva abandon her home where her sisters depend on her hunting skills for their livelihood, in search of their father who’s gone missing. The thrill of the hunt has always called to Yeva who like her father, has a natural skill for it. The Beast also has his story but revealing that here would be a spoiler so i’ll keep that one to myself lol. Just as in the original, the Beast is cursed and is in need of rescuing…I think this is what I love most of this tale, that the Beauty or princess isn’t in need of rescuing. 

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I love seeing YA Fantasy turn the tables on the outdated trope of the princess needs saving & so it’s no wonder why I end up loving the Yeva’s & Freya’s of YA Fantasy. I enjoyed Yeva as a character because of her flaws, she isn’t Belle from BATB although they do share similarities. We see Yeva make questionable decisions and ultimately also be affected by her unquenchable desire for more. When I got to thinking about Yeva, I realized this made her all the more human to me. We also meet her two older sisters Lena and Asenka, & I liked them alright as supporting characters. Asenka has a physical disability that she hides and like Lena focuses on keeping the house maintained. Asenka is a giver she will sacrifice it all for her family & I rooted for hers all through the end. Lena wasn’t all too fleshed out but what I saw of her, I liked enough. Now, the real show stopper award goes to Doe-Eyes, Yeva’s hunting dog who previously hunted with her father. From what I could gather, Doe-Eyes is a female dog (I may be wrong but this is what i’m going with lol) & very loyal. Wherever Yeva went, Doe-Eyes would follow no matter how impossible this feat may have seemed. To say that I fell in love with this dog is an understatement, Doe-Eyes was spunky & lively, she wasn’t getting left behind from all the action. I couldn’t get enough of her whenever she showed up unexpectedly (Yay for dogs in YA!). Last but not least we have the Beast (I promise I did not intend for that to rhyme -_-) who just as in the original, we get brief glimpses of. What I loved about Beast? the fact that we see him warring with the human nature he carries within. We also get to know his backstory of how he came to be cursed which unlike the original, actually has some meat to it. Besides his backstory, everything else about Beast is pretty similar to the original & I appreciated Spooner staying close to the original while still making him her own.

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 Hunted is my very first read by Meagan Spooner & I’m officially a fan! this book gave me such Bear and the Nightingale (LOVED!) feels with its use of Russian Folklore. The story telling was on point. I’m always weary when picking up a re-telling of a childhood favorite but Spooner pulled it off with Hunted. Maybe it was the mixture of similarities to the original & her own take on it but…I felt like I got a piece of my childhood back, a very nostalgic reading experience. I especially enjoyed the chapter “enders” (made this word up) where we were given the Beast’s inner monologue as the human inside him wars against the beast he’s become. The pacing is a bit on the slower side but I’m the type of bookworm that doesn’t mind the slow build-up. I don’t however think that it’s so slow that it drags or bores, it felt like I was being read a fairy tale which is what I wanted. To date, this is my favorite Beauty and the Beast re-telling. It has me listening to the original soundtrack & watching the original just to stay a little longer with this tale as old as time…

*Thank you HarperTeen, Edelweiss, and Meagan Spooner for the eGalley of Hunted in exchange for an honest review, all opinions are my own.

Photo credit: Crushermyheart https://crushermyheart.tumblr.com/

Have any of my bookish peeps read Hunted? thoughts? did you enjoy the similarities? are any of you watching Beauty and the Beast? I know I’ll be watching it next wknd & attempting my 1st movie review 😉

Review: Daughter Of The Pirate King (Daughter of the Pirate King #1) by Tricia Levenseller

dotpkDaughter of the Pirate King (Daughter of the Pirate King #1)

Published by: Macmillan 

Publication Date: February 28th 2017

Genre: YA Fantasy

Pages: 320 pages

Format: eGalley

 

 

Butterfly Butterfly Butterfly Butterfly Butterfly

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A 17-year-old pirate captain intentionally allows herself to get captured by enemy pirates in this thrilling YA adventure.

Sent on a mission to retrieve an ancient hidden map—the key to a legendary treasure trove—seventeen-year-old pirate captain Alosa deliberately allows herself to be captured by her enemies, giving her the perfect opportunity to search their ship.

More than a match for the ruthless pirate crew, Alosa has only one thing standing between her and the map: her captor, the unexpectedly clever and unfairly attractive first mate, Riden. But not to worry, for Alosa has a few tricks up her sleeve, and no lone pirate can stop the Daughter of the Pirate King.

Debut author Tricia Levenseller blends action, adventure, romance, and a little bit of magic into a thrilling YA pirate tale.

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Daughter of the Pirate King is the story of Alosa, a 17 year old pirate captain who has been sent by the Pirate King AKA her father to find a hidden map. Alosa along with her crew of female pirates plot her own kidnapping, fully intending to allow herself to be taken by another ships captain. She downplays her physical capabilities as well as other abilities that would give her a serious advantage in any physical altercation. The objective is to be taken onto the ship in order to find the hidden map that will lead them to a Island filled with treasures. There are three important/royal pirate families descended from three well known & highly feared pirates. Alosa is descended from the Pirate King himself and they hold one of the maps needed to find the island, the other two maps can be found within the other two pirate families. Alosa successfully manages to pull off being kidnapped however, her mission turns out to be much more difficult than she had anticipated. Although she was trained by the Pirate King himself in a all manners of defense, it is keeping those skills hidden that will prove to be her biggest weapon. We get to follow Alosa on board the enemy ship as she gathers intel all the while trying not to raise suspicions. After all, no one can know that she fully intended to be captured or what she hopes to find…

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The characters in Daughter of the Pirate King remind me plenty of those in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise only I enjoyed this cast a bit more. Starting with Alosa, the daughter who wants nothing more than to make her father proud and follow in his footsteps ruling the seas. Alosa is strong physically & mentally, she is also very sharp & sarcastic which quickly made her a fave. We get a bit of background on her and how she came to be so strong. Her relationship with her father is not a positive one but Alosa is very proud & grateful for how it has molded her into a force to be reckoned with. Alosa has a crew of women on her very own ship, all of which she has handpicked herself. Each woman has their strengths & Alosa values everyone one her crew. Once on the enemy ship, we get introduced to their captain and first mate who happen to be brothers. Alosa & the first mate have some fierce chemistry and their banter throughout the book often made me laugh out loud and visibly shake my head. These two know which buttons to press to get the other one going & NOTHING is too far below the belt. There is plenty more that I LOVED about Alosa that I can’t quite say because *spoilers* but just know that she is seriously kick a**!  I got Merida from Brave/ blended with Jack Sparrow/Pirates of the Caribbean vibes & I couldn’t get enough. I haven’t had this much fun with a cast of characters like I have with Daughter of the Pirate King, in a very long time!

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Ok, the selfish bookworm in me just wants to get this out of the way…this book was way too short for me! I need more of this fantastic crew, more of this adventure/quest, more Riden! I had so much fun reading Daughter of the Pirate King that I seriously had to pace myself when I noticed that I was inhaling the book. I want to gush all about what I loved about Alosa but I know that I can’t for fear of spoilers lol. The YA Fantasy genre has been a go to for me this past year & therefore has gotten bit harder to find new story lines/characters. However, not only is Alosa a refreshing new character but she will catch you unawares. Just like she manages to keep the crew of the enemy ship in the dark, we the reader also don’t fully grasp the depth of her skills. We get introduced to a very cocky, self-assured, and brave female protagonist & then we are shown that she can back up everything that she says & thinks she is. Hands down my 1st fave female protagonist in YA Fantasy since…thinking…thinking…yea no, she simply is my favorite (the Illuminae Files girls don’t count cuz that’s more sci-fi lol). This being Tricia Levenseller’s debut fantasy series, i’d say she’s onto something here cuz who doesn’t like pirates? this book will leave you wanting to hop on the next ship out of port to your very first adventure with no care in sight. Many of the fighting scenes have a cinematic feel and overall was a ton of fun to visualize. I can’t wait for the sequel to Daughter of the Pirate King, the next adventure that i’m sure will be packed with non-stop surprises 😉

*HUGE thanks to Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group, Netgalley, and Tricia Levenseller for the eGalley of Daughter of the Pirate King in exchange for an honest review

Are any of my bookish peeps looking forward to meeting Alosa, Daughter of the Pirate King? What do you make of that cover? I can’t stop staring at her fierce red hair contrasted against the black & cream parchment *heart eyes*

Review: Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick

scrappy-little-nobodyScrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick

Published by: Touchstone

Date of Publication: November 15th 2016

Genres: Autobiography-Memoir-Humor

Pages: 271

Format: Audiobook

Rating:★★★★ (4.5)



Goodreads:

A collection of humorous autobiographical essays by the Academy Award-nominated actress and star of Up in the Air and Pitch Perfect.

Even before she made a name for herself on the silver screen starring in films like Pitch PerfectUp in the AirTwilight, and Into the Woods, Anna Kendrick was unusually small, weird, and “10 percent defiant.”

At the ripe age of thirteen, she had already resolved to “keep the crazy inside my head where it belonged. Forever. But here’s the thing about crazy: It. Wants. Out.” In Scrappy Little Nobody, she invites readers inside her brain, sharing extraordinary and charmingly ordinary stories with candor and winningly wry observations.

With her razor-sharp wit, Anna recounts the absurdities she’s experienced on her way to and from the heart of pop culture as only she can—from her unusual path to the performing arts (Vanilla Ice and baggy neon pants may have played a role) to her double life as a middle-school student who also starred on Broadway to her initial “dating experiments” (including only liking boys who didn’t like her back) to reviewing a binder full of butt doubles to her struggle to live like an adult woman instead of a perpetual “man-child.”

Enter Anna’s world and follow her rise from “scrappy little nobody” to somebody who dazzles on the stage, the screen, and now the page—with an electric, singular voice, at once familiar and surprising, sharp and sweet, funny and serious (well, not that serious).

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I went into listening to Scrappy Little Nobody with very little expectations since besides Pitch Perfect, I really didn’t know much about Anna Kendrick. I did know that she was someone who I wanted to know more about, her on-screen presence giving you only hints of her actual personality. She’s one of the few funny ladies that I love watching yet I didn’t know why. In Scrappy Little Nobody, Kendrick completely obliterates any notion that she is fame ready & the belief that she’s this A-list celebrity reaping all the benefits of Hollywood stardom. Kendricks very humble beginnings set the stage for what was to come but it wasn’t easy and it was her fierce determination & hunger to do what she loves that got her to where she stands now. She invites us into her youth days when she auditioned for many small time plays, commercials, and movies. Like the time she played one of many supporting actors/actresses on the Twilight set as a corpse covered in blood. She didn’t turn her nose at any of the roles thrown her way but instead took them as an opportunity to fatten up her resumé. She tells us about a time she had been offered an audition in NY & her parents allowed her to take the metro to the city. The audition turned into a call-back and her parents paid for a hotel, called ahead and informed the hotel that they were certain to follow when in reality they just needed to be there for the following morning. After all, in show biz there are no rooms for excuses & a second chance is hard to come by. She jokes that whenever an actor/actress thinks to raise a complication or complaint, they are offered a glass of water…the show must go on. Anna washed her clothes in the hotel sink and used the $40 in cash her parents had given her to buy shoes from Payless. You can tell she is proud of these humble beginnings and this made me love her all the more for it. Later in her career, Kendrick began to generate some buzz and with it came roles like Up In The Air alongside George Clooney, a film that went on to win many Academy awards. All throughout, she lets us know that she by no means had her life together while starring in these films. She was however, a struggling actress living paycheck to paycheck and it was reflected in the simple clothing she wore and in the small apartment she shared with 2 of her friends. The well put together Anna we saw on the red carpet was polished hours before we saw her. She was often left in awe at some of the clothes & jewelry that she was allowed to wear, mostly rentals because of the price tag but nonetheless it didn’t go unnoticed by her that these were indicators of her progress in making her dreams come true. All throughout she remains humble, giving us an inside look on what it takes to make it when you come from nothing. I had many laugh out loud moments listening to hilarious takes of her trying to get a scene right only to have it cut as a whole, leaving her physically bruised but never defeated. She speaks on body issues, being a smaller size was never easy and she’s honest about the teasing & challenges that shopping presented. I love her resilience & fighter personality. I found myself rooting for her whenever she found herself confronted with a bully or an awkward situation with one of the guys she was dating. Scrappy Little Nobody is a title that fits this book so perfectly that now that i’ve finished it, I can’t imagine it being named anything else…

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I don’t think i’ve ever understood friends or strangers when i’ve heard them say they wished a certain celebrity was their real life friend lol. After finishing Scrappy Little Nobody, Anna Kendrick is now this person for me. She is one of the few rare gems that shine and just aren’t aware of it. Anna narrated Scrappy Little Nobody herself & the sincerity is there. I felt her awkwardness in many situations and also her eagerness & motivation to do what she loves. Like many of us, she works on being comfortable in her own skin and including this made her only more relatable. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t easy to experience some of the things mentioned in her book, but they seem to have been a contributing factor in the wonderful human being she is today. I’ve never once looked at her on screen & thought her weak or small or less than. I get now, that what I loved about her while admittedly knowing very little about her, is her energy and fighter attitude. I’ve added Up In The Air on my queue, a movie that i’ve stayed away from because I find movies about cancer patients to hit too close to home. In her book, she lets us know that neither the cast or herself thought this movie would win anything & it came as a huge surprise when it did. I’d like to see her performance & will definitely be following her career in acting since I love what i’ve seen so far…btw i’d check out her Twitter, she is seriously funny on Twitter she isn’t kidding haha!

7041930Born in: Portland, Maine, The United States 
August 09, 1985
Anna Kendrick is an American actress and singer, born and raised in Portland, Maine. She is widely known for her roles in The Twilight Saga, Up in the Air, and Pitch Perfect. Throughout her acting career, Kendrick has received various awards and nominations.
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The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

2213661The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Published by: HarperCollins

Date of Publication: September 30th 2008

Genres:

Pages: 312

Format: Audiobook (self-narrated)

Rating:★★★★ (4 Stars) 

 

 

 

Goodreads Synopsis

After the grisly murder of his entire family, a toddler wanders into a graveyard where the ghosts and other supernatural residents agree to raise him as one of their own.

Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn’t live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead. There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod’s family…

Beloved master storyteller Neil Gaiman returns with a luminous new novel for the audience that embraced his New York Times bestselling modern classic Coraline. Magical, terrifying, and filled with breathtaking adventures, The Graveyard Book is sure to enthrall readers of all ages.

 

The Audiobook Experience…

I’ll keep this one short and sweet since i’m beginning to believe that Uncle Gaiman can do no wrong when he begins to spin his tales. You would be sadly mistaken if you were to think that you can resist the magic of his worlds once they begin to reel you in. The Graveyard Book By Neil Gaiman is now the 2nd book i’ve read by this author and it has only served to cement my feelings towards him…I simply LOVE Uncle Gaiman! It has now become the norm for me to reach for the audiobook vs. physical or even digital format for Gaiman’s books. Treat Yo self to a feast for your ears & imagination with the audiobook narrated by Gaiman himself. Not only is his voice truly one of of the most soothing story telling voices i’ve come across but he also has a few other talents up his sleeve. Gaiman gave each of the characters in this book their own distinct voice without sounding over the top. I truly enjoyed listening to his audiobook and often found myself wanting to return to the graveyard at all hours of the day.

The book opens up right after the murder of a mother, father, and daughter. Baby Nobody Owens aka Bod, managed to crawl over his crib railing and out of the house, too little to know he had just escaped his families murderer. Bod wanders off into the street and eventually walks right into the cemetery where he meets all sorts of interesting characters  no longer of this world. The Owens, a married couple who were never able to conceive children of their own take to “adopting” Bod who is still a baby. They grant him full freedom of the cemetery  to wander off & also get Silas who is neither living or dead (believed to be a Vampire) to become his guardian. Together, the many characters in the graveyard, raise Bod and protect him from outside dangers by providing a safe home for him amongst the tombstones. We get to see Bod the baby grow into a young man who becomes curious about the outside world & experiencing it for himself. Just like any child his age, Bod gets into a bit of mischief (more like adventures lol) that teach him theres more than just the dead…there’s the living he has yet to experience. All the while, The Man Jack (Bod’s families murderer) is out and about looking to tie the loose ends of the night he intended to kill baby Bod in his crib.

The characters in The Graveyard Book all played a role in educating young Bod and keeping him safe. I thoroughly enjoyed The Owens as well as the other supporting ghosts Caius Pompeius and Scarlett Perkins to name some of my faves. I found out later on while blog hopping that some of the characters in Gaiman’s books crossover one way or another. In this book we get an appearance from a relative of Daisy Hempstock from Stardust, my 1st Gaiman & favorite thus far. With such descriptive story telling & imagery, Gaiman’s ghosts/characters will probably stick with me for many years to come. It really doesn’t matter what age you are, if you’re young at heart and are looking for a heartwarming story then The Graveyard Book is the book for you 😉

“Kiss a lover, 
Dance a measure, 
Find your name 
And buried treasure. 
Face your life, 
It’s pain, 
It’s pleasure, 
Leave no path untaken.” 
― Neil GaimanThe Graveyard Book