Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman

My TBR list is always growing and I thought it would be fun to share my anticipation for those books with all of you. This is not my own original meme; it belongs to Breaking the Spine. It specifically spotlights upcoming releases. As it implies in the title, I'll be posting this meme on Wednesdays. Please feel free to comment and let me know what books you guys are waiting on as well!

Pre-order it: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository |
Publication Date: February 9, 2016

Synopsis:  Blackbeard the pirate was known for striking fear in the hearts of the bravest of sailors. But once he was just a young man who dreamed of leaving his rigid life behind to chase adventure in faraway lands. Nothing could stop him—until he met the one girl who would change everything. This is their story.

Edward "Teach" Drummond, son of one of Bristol's richest merchants, has just returned from a year-long journey on the high seas to find his life in shambles. Betrothed to a girl he doesn’t love and sick of the high society he was born into, Teach dreams only of returning to the vast ocean he’d begun to call home. There's just one problem: convincing his father to let him leave and never come back.

Following her parents' deaths, Anne Barrett is left penniless and soon to be homeless. Though she’s barely worked a day in her life, Anne is forced to take a job as a maid in the home of Master Drummond. Lonely days stretch into weeks, and Anne longs for escape. How will she ever realize her dream of sailing to Curaçao—where her mother was born—when she's stuck in England? 

From the moment Teach and Anne meet, they set the world ablaze. Drawn to each other, they’re trapped by society and their own circumstances. Faced with an impossible choice, they must decide to chase their dreams and go, or follow their hearts and stay. 

I love a good pirate (or pre-pirate) tale, and here we've got one about Blackbeard, so I'm sold! Also, Blackhearts promises a heart throbbing romance in Teach and Anna. You guys know how I feel about couples being torn apart by their families and society. My name is all over this book. 

Check out this info about the author Nicole Castroman:

Bio: Born in Sandy, Utah, Nicole was lucky enough to come with her very own best friend...she has a twin sister who can read her mind and finish her sentences for her.

At the age of 13, she went to Europe for the first time and it changed her life. She loves learning about different people, languages and cultures and speaks fluent German. She knows enough Spanish to get herself into trouble and can still read the Cyrillic alphabet from when she studied Russian.

She received her B.A. from Brigham Young University and has lived in Germany, Austria and two different places called Georgia. One is located on the Black Sea. The other is the state of Georgia where she now lives with her handsome husband and two beautiful children who continue to amaze her.

Connect with Nicole: Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest |

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Series You Should Read If You Like YA Fantasy

I've seen this meme on a lot of blogs and decided to join in. This meme was created by The Broke and Bookish. Every Tuesday there is a new topic that involves a list of ten books. 

This week's topic is Ten Books To Read If You Like This Super Popular Book/Author, so I decided to do Top Ten Series To Read if You Like YA Fantasy

It is absolutely insane how many people I have talked to recently who have told me they haven't read The Harry Potter series. I'm telling you that these books are a MUST if you like fantasy. They're the like gateway drug into the fantasy genre. 

I'm sure that at least a few of you were expecting Leigh Bardugo's books on my list. I'm telling you that her books are amazing and you need them in your lives. 

Although Six of Crows is connected to the Grisha books, it's still a separate series. In my opinion, it's not as fantasy-centered (as in everyone has magic powers) as the Grisha series is, but it's still a must read for YA fantasy.

Such an amazing book that stands out from the other popular YA fantasy books because the main character slowly becomes the villain. Also the world seems like something out of Studio Ghibli film, which is awesome.

I would say that this book has the typical makings of a YA fantasy with the special snowflake MC, but it has some crazy twists in it coupled with astounding writing. 

This book is the definition of perfection. Although the fantasy elements are limited to the world and minor magic wielding, it's still one of the best books I've ever read. I'm so excited for The Rose and The Dagger.

If it wasn't for The Grisha books, the Under The Never Sky trilogy would be my absolute favorite. It's set in a dystopian world and it has magical elements.

The most interesting thing about this fantasy novel is that magic is banished because it's actually bad for the society. Imagine having magic and knowing that when you use it, you're harming others? Definitely an interesting twist.

I just finished this one recently and it is fantastic! The world-building, the writing, the characters. So amazing! You guys who love fantasy and fairytales will die for this one. 

If you're looking for an action-packed, badass fantasy series, The Rephaim books are what you need. They're sexy and thrilling, and they don't get nearly enough hype for their awesomeness.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Blood and Salt (Blood and Salt #1) By Kim Leggitt ARC Review

3.5/5 Stars
Details of the Book
paperback ARC, 341 pages
Published by G. P. Putnam's Sons,
an imprint of Penguin Group
Publication Date: September 22, 2015

Synopsis: “When you fall in love, you will carve out your heart and throw it into the deepest ocean. You will be all in—blood and salt.”
These are the last words Ash Larkin hears before her mother returns to the spiritual commune she escaped long ago. But when Ash follows her to Quivira, Kansas, something sinister and ancient waits among the rustling cornstalks of this village lost to time.

Ash is plagued by memories of her ancestor, Katia, which harken back to the town’s history of unrequited love and murder, alchemy and immortality. Charming traditions soon give way to a string of gruesome deaths, and Ash feels drawn to Dane, a forbidden boy with secrets of his own.

As the community prepares for a ceremony five hundred years in the making, Ash must fight not only to save her mother, but herself—and discover the truth about Quivira before it’s too late. Before she’s all in—blood and salt.

What starts out as a really creepy read fizzles out around the middle. Since I'm not a fan of horror, I was really apprehensive about this book, but after getting through the very beginning, it stopped being scary. Also, just like the scary elements dissipated in the middle, so did a lot of the interesting aspects of the plot. Instead, there are a lot of ordinary teenage problems, such as being the outsider trying to fit in and lusting after a boy that won't give you the time of day. I wanted more fantasy and intrigue from this book, because I found the main plot line about Katia and the Larkin's to be very interesting.

Blood and Salt does pick up again once you pass the middle hump, but not enough to fully win me over.

Another problem I have is with the romance. The main couple in Blood and Salt is borderline insta-love, because they are drawn to each other due to magical reasons. Personally, I much prefer a couple that slowly get to know each other and then they fall in love; This isn't the case here.  However, I did like Leggitt's writing style because it's funny and really captures the voices of teenage characters accurately. Furthermore, I adore some of Leggitt's charactersparticularly Rhys and Beth—because they are both cute and hilarious. I will be picking up the next book in this duology because despite my problems with Blood and Salt, there were still a lot of things that I enjoyed about it.


1) I love Rhys; he is so funny and has the most normal reactions to all of the supernatural/paranormal events. You'll be seeing a few of his quotes below ;P

2) Leggitt's writing style is beautiful and witty. She really captures the voices of her characters so well that they feel real. I especially love her dialogue!

3) I love the main plot surrounding Katia and the Larkin family; It's intricate and fascinating. Also, the magic and the history are perfectly woven together.


1) I don't like the idea of people falling for each other because they are drawn to their body odor. Dane was the first guy that Ashlyn has ever smelled that didn't make her want to puke. I'm not even kidding. Yes, the lovers do spend some time together but it happens so fast and the explanation is that they are drawn magically together due to their aromas.

2) The details about Quivira and it's townspeople drag; it reads like filler information. The details of the main plot regarding Katia and the Larkin family are so interesting that when it came to the details regarding the village, I was just bored and wanted to get through it as fast as I could.

3) Even though I'm not a fan of horror, I wish that there was more of it in this book. I felt that those aspects of the book were so well-written that the other details paled in comparison.

Favorite Quotes/Moments:

1) "Did Mom seem weird to you?"

Rhys shook his head and laughed. "I don't even know how to answer that."

I scanned the crowd. "Weirder than usual."

"Other than the fact that she believes she's part of an invisible cult where our five-hundred-year-old ancestor is performing corn rituals and Coronado from my eighth-grade history class is terrorizing the world in an attempt to keep his immortality. . . not really."

2) Rhys pressed his lips together, taking a deep breath through his nose. "These people think they're going to become immortal." He tried to keep his voice low and even, but I could tell he was on the verge of a mental breakdown. "Even if Katia's real, how could she do that? They're delusional, Ash. And I don't want to be here when they figure out they've been had."

"What if you're wrong? What if all this is real? And aren't you the slightest bit curious about our dad?"

"I'm curious about the Loch Ness Monster, too, but you don't see me going to Scotland with a harpoon!"

3) People walked by carrying wooden casks of homemade ice cream. A couple of kids whipped past us, running down the hill, trailing kites behind them—not the cheap Mylar kind with pictures of Spider-Man—real kites with long ribboned tails that spiraled in the breeze.

"It looks like a Norman Rockwell painting down there," I said.

"Oh, totally." Rhys crossed his arms. "Other than the fact it's a creepy cult who worship our five-hundred-year-old ancestor who's supposedly hell-bent on wearing Mom's body like a skin suit, it's exactly like a Norman Rockwell painting."

Friday, September 25, 2015

Liesl and Po by Lauren Oliver Review *Light Spoilers*

5/5 Stars
Details of the Book
Hardcover, 307 pages
Published by HarperCollins,
an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers
Publication Date: October 4, 2011
Buy it: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository |

Synopsis: Liesl lives in a tiny attic bedroom, locked away by her cruel stepmother. Her only friends are the shadows and the mice,until one night a ghost appears from the darkness. It is Po, who comes from the Other Side. Both Liesl and Po are lonely, but together they are less alone.

That same night, an alchemist's apprentice, Will, bungles an important delivery. He accidentally switches a box containing the most powerful magic in the world with one containing something decidedly less remarkable.

Will's mistake has tremendous consequences for Liesl and Po, and it draws the three of them together on an extraordinary journey.

From New York Times bestselling author Lauren Oliver comes a luminous and magnificent novel that glows with rare magic, ghostly wonders, and a true friendship that lights even the darkest of places.

Ever since her beloved father died, Liesl has been locked up in her tiny attic bedroom. One day, a ghost named Po (and his pet, Bundle) appears in the shadowed corners of her room. Po introduces Liesl to the Other Side, where her father’s ghost is carrying out his days after death. The message she receives convinces her that her father will only be at peace once she brings his ashes to the house she grew up in. But when the alchemist’s apprentice, Will, mixes up a box containing the world’s most powerful magic with a jewelry box full of ashes, it has serious consequences for everyone around him. His mistake brings him together with Liesl and Po as the three of them go on an unexpected adventure.

I loved Liesl and Po, and I would recommend it to anyone and everyone. The illustrations are beautiful, and each of the characters is fascinating and unique. From the second I started reading, I could barely put this book down. Just like in each of her other novels, Lauren Oliver’s writing style is lovely and whimsical. Even though the plot is slightly foreseeable from the beginning of the story, it did not hinder my enjoyment of the book. Most importantly, despite Liesl and Po being a middle grade book, it is a fast and easy read that both children and adults would enjoy.


1) The artwork is beautiful. The illustrations compliment the exquisite writing style, and add a nice touch to the story.

2) All of the characters are brave, inspiring, and made me feel connected to them and invested in their story. From the very first page, I was rooting for them and felt emotionally attached to their well-being.

3) Even though this is a middle grade book rather than a young adult, it doesn't feel childish or immature. Lauren Oliver’s writing style is just as impressive and marvelous as always. 

4) Even though the POV's switched repeatedly between Po, Liesl, Will, and even occasionally Bundle, I did not find it to be confusing, nor did it detract from the storyline. In fact, I was happy to find that all of the perspectives actually added to the story—as well as my understanding of it—which is a rare thing to find and a difficult task to accomplish. Lauren Oliver, I commend you. 


1) I wish that there was not such a distinct line between ‘good’ and ‘evil’. There were certain moments in the book where I found myself wanting more of an explanation for certain characters' actions.

Favorite Quotes/Moments:

1) “She liked the word ineffable because it meant a feeling so big or vast that it could not be expressed in words.

And yet, because it could not be expressed in words, people had invented a word to express it, and that made Liesl feel hopeful, somehow.”

2) “People could push and pull at you, and poke you, and probe as deep as they could go. They could even tear you apart, bit by bit. But at the heart and root and soul of you, something would remain untouched.”

3) “Perhaps this was how the sparrows did it too; perhaps they were looking so hard at the peaks and tips of the new rooftops coated with dew, and the vast new horizon, that they only forgot that they did not know how to fly until they were already in midair.” 

4) “He had never once been frightened of a living one before. They were too fragile, too easily broken and dismantled: They had bones that broke and skin that tore and hearts that gave up with a sigh and rolled over.” 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Interview with Julie Chibbaro, author of Into The Dangerous World

Over the weekend, I was invited to interview Julie Chibbaro about her and JM Superville Sovak's (Julie's husband) book Into the Dangerous World.  I was invited to a event to celebrate her book and meet her family, friends, and members of the Penguin Random House family.

Names of the people in this photo from left to right: Jill Grinberg, Julie Chibbaro (author), Jay Sayers (artist of the Graffiti piece behind everyone), Sharyan November, and JM Superville Sovak (artist of the images in Into the Dangerous World)

I'm so grateful that I was able to attend this event and I hope I get to see all of the wonderful people I met there again soon!

Here is some info about Into the Dangerous World:

Details of the Book
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published by Viking,
an imprint of Penguin Random House
Publication Date: August 18, 2015

Synopsis: 17-year old Ror comes from the boonies and is tough as nails and all she really cares about is drawing and painting and making art. She ends up in the ghetto that was Manhattan in 1984, where she discovers that the walls, the subways, the bridges are covered with art. Before long, she runs into trouble with Trey, the ultimate bad boy and president of Noise Ink, a graffiti crew she desperately wants to join at all costs. 

When Ror falls in love with Trey, she realizes she’ll do just about anything to get up in the scene. She has some decisions to make: she wants to be a street artist but she doesn’t want get shot by the cops; she wants her stuff in the museum but she doesn’t want to die waiting to become famous; she wants to makes money selling her work in a gallery but she doesn’t want to be a puppet at the mercy of a dealer. The book follows her descent into a dangerous world, where her drawings are her only salvation. 

Ror’s journey is a seamless blend of words and pictures, cinematic in its scope - a sharp-edged, indelible creation that will live inside your head.

Meet Julie Chibbaro (right) and JM Superville Sovak (left)

Julie's Bio:
Julie Chibbaro is the award-winning author of three novels: Into the Dangerous World (Viking, 2015), a hybrid graphic/novel about a girl artist on the NY streets in 1984, Deadly (Simon & Schuster 2011, Scholastic 2012), a medical mystery about the hunt for Typhoid Mary in 1906, and Redemption (S&S 2004) a historical novel about a girl's unintended trip to the New World in 1524.

Into the Dangerous World has received a starred Publishers Weekly review, and is a Junior Library Guild Selection.

Deadly won the 2011 National Jewish Book Award, and was Top 10 on the American Library Association's Amelia Bloomer Project list. It was named a Bank Street Best Book, and an Outstanding Science Trade Book by the National Science Teachers Association. It is now part of many schools’ curriculum.

Julie Chibbaro's first book, Redemption (Simon & Schuster 2004), an epic tale of love, kidnapping, and white Indians, won the 2005 American Book Award.

Connect with Julie: Website | Twitter | Facebook |

The Interview
*Note: This is a verbal interview that has been transcribed.

1) What would you like your readers to take away from Into The Dangerous World?

A: That's a great question. Well, because it's a book about art, I feel like in our society, art is secondary to a lot of other things we're required to learn--like math. And I think art is just as important as those things, because it's where you find your creativity. You're not a machine. [Art is] where your uniqueness comes from so I think that's what I want people to feel when they're done like, "Wow I can be creative."

2) Do you personally identify with any of your characters?

A: I identify with Ror; I grew up for some time on Staten Island in a very odd household. I had 20 cats and lots of animals. It's like another planet, if you say you grew up in
"The City" (New York City) and you say Staten Island, it isn't included in what people consider New York City for most people. So I do identify as the outsider. Those jokes those kids made, they made them to me (In Into The Dangerous World the other kids in the book make fun of Ror for being from Staten Island and say things like, "isn't that where the horses are?").

3) Were there any particular scenes that were removed from the final product of your book that you wish that could have made it in?

A: There was a character, her name was Gloria, and she was Ror's best friend and they grew up together on the commune. I had a whole very deep story between Ror and Gloria and their friendship and my editor said, "That doesn't work so well because [Ror] really needs to be alone. She needs to really suffer and have nothing to go back to so she has to lose everything including friends."

4) What were your favorite scenes to write and most difficult scenes to write?

A: The KISS! I wanted to put more romance, I wanted to do a lot more but I try not to do a lot of romance because there are so many romances and people do it so well that I just wanted to focus on the art and the relationships but I wanted to see them do more of that so that was really fun.

The hardest part was the fight scene with Frankie and Trey, when Frankie comes after school when he attacks Trey. That was really hard to get right because Frankie is so big and of course he'd beat up Trey and so I had him beating up Trey but JM (her husband and artist of the images inside Into the Dangerous World) and my editor both said, "If [Frankie] beats [Trey] up there, that's the end of it, that's the end of the story." So I had to kind of make it more of a dance. So, just physically it was hard to get them working and that took a long time to put it together. I had to look up the right moves and "your momma's" to find some good ones.

5) How much research did you have to do for this book?

A: I did a lot. I was coming from a place of not at all understanding graffiti and JM is a gallery artist, so neither of us really knew [graffiti]. So, I got back in touch with people from high school (who were into graffiti) that hooked me up with professional graffiti artists and I just started asking around and I did a lot of interviews. I watched Wild Style, and watched and read a lot of graffiti films and books.

6) Do you know what your next project is?

A: Well, I'm writing about a girl who is an actress which is something a lot of people are especially in New York City but she can't dance and she can't sing, and she's not really a good actress. So, there's the twist of the story.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: The Love That Split The World by Emily Henry

My TBR list is always growing and I thought it would be fun to share my anticipation for those books with all of you. This is not my own original meme; it belongs to Breaking the Spine. It specifically spotlights upcoming releases. As it implies in the title, I'll be posting this meme on Wednesdays. Please feel free to comment and let me know what books you guys are waiting on as well!

Publication Date:  January 26, 2016

Synopsis: Natalie Cleary must risk her future and leap blindly into a vast unknown for the chance to build a new world with the boy she loves. 

Natalie’s last summer in her small Kentucky hometown is off to a magical start... until she starts seeing the “wrong things.” They’re just momentary glimpses at first—her front door is red instead of its usual green, there’s a pre-school where the garden store should be. But then her whole town disappears for hours, fading away into rolling hills and grazing buffalo, and Nat knows something isn’t right.

That’s when she gets a visit from the kind but mysterious apparition she calls “Grandmother,” who tells her: “You have three months to save him.” The next night, under the stadium lights of the high school football field, she meets a beautiful boy named Beau, and it’s as if time just stops and nothing exists. Nothing, except Natalie and Beau.

Emily Henry’s stunning debut novel is Friday Night Lights meets The Time Traveler’s Wife, and perfectly captures those bittersweet months after high school, when we dream not only of the future, but of all the roads and paths we’ve left untaken.

The Time Traveler's Wife is one of my favorite books and once I saw that The Love That Split The World is comparable to that, it had my attention. I love a good romance, especially when the couple is split by time somehow. Plus I'm always looking for new book boyfriends, so I can't wait to save meet Beau. Also, through talking to Emily Henry and discovering that we share opinions on Leigh Bardugo's books and the Harry Potter series, I know that this book won't disappoint!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books On My Fall TBR

I've seen this meme on a lot of blogs and decided to join in. This meme was created by The Broke and Bookish. Every Tuesday there is a new topic that involves a list of ten books. 

This week's topic: Top Ten Books On My Fall TBR

The above books are all being published this Fall but I have already had the fortune to read them. All of them are amazing and you guys definitely need to pick them up!

Here are the remaining books on my Fall TBR that I haven't gotten a chance to read them yet. 

Synopsis: A world battered by climate shift and war turns to an ancient method of keeping peace: the exchange of hostages. The Children of Peace - sons and daughters of kings and presidents and generals - are raised together in small, isolated schools called Preceptures. There, they learn history and political theory, and are taught to gracefully accept what may well be their fate: to die if their countries declare war.

Greta Gustafsen Stuart, Duchess of Halifax and Crown Princess of the Pan-Polar Confederation, is the pride of the North American Precepture. Learned and disciplined, Greta is proud of her role in keeping the global peace, even though, with her country controlling two-thirds of the world’s most war-worthy resource — water — she has little chance of reaching adulthood alive. 

Enter Elián Palnik, the Precepture’s newest hostage and biggest problem. Greta’s world begins to tilt the moment she sees Elián dragged into the school in chains. The Precepture’s insidious surveillance, its small punishments and rewards, can make no dent in Elián, who is not interested in dignity and tradition, and doesn’t even accept the right of the UN to keep hostages. 

What will happen to Elián and Greta as their two nations inch closer to war.

Synopsis: Lee Westfall has a secret. She can sense the presence of gold in the world around her. Veins deep beneath the earth, pebbles in the river, nuggets dug up from the forest floor. The buzz of gold means warmth and life and home—until everything is ripped away by a man who wants to control her. Left with nothing, Lee disguises herself as a boy and takes to the trail across the country. Gold was discovered in California, and where else could such a magical girl find herself, find safety? 

Synopsis: Revenge is worth its weight in gold.

When hers father is murdered for a journal revealing the location of a hidden gold mine, eighteen-year-old Kate Thompson disguises herself as a boy and takes to the gritty plains looking for answers—and justice. What she finds are untrustworthy strangers, endless dust and heat, and a surprising band of allies, among them a young Apache girl and a pair of stubborn brothers who refuse to quit riding in her shadow. But as Kate gets closer to the secrets about her family, a startling truth becomes clear: some men will stop at nothing to get their hands on gold, and Kate’s quest for revenge may prove fatal.

Synopsis: The strange war down south—with its rumors of gods and monsters—is over. And while sixteen-year-old Hallie and her sister wait to see who will return from the distant battlefield, they struggle to maintain their family farm.

When Hallie hires a veteran to help them, the war comes home in ways no one could have imagined, and soon Hallie is taking dangerous risks—and keeping desperate secrets. But even as she slowly learns more about the war and the men who fought it, ugly truths about Hallie’s own family are emerging. And while monsters and armies are converging on the small farm, the greatest threat to her home may be Hallie herself. 

Synopsis: A high-concept, fantastical espionage novel set in a world where dreams are the ultimate form of political intelligence.

Livia is a dreamstrider. She can inhabit a subject's body while they are sleeping and, for a short time, move around in their skin. She uses her talent to work as a spy for the Barstadt Empire. But her partner, Brandt, has lately become distant, and when Marez comes to join their team from a neighborhing kingdom, he offers Livia the option of a life she had never dared to imagine. Livia knows of no other dreamstriders who have survived the pull of Nightmare. So only she understands the stakes when a plot against the Empire emerges that threatens to consume both the dreaming world and the waking one with misery and rage.

A richly conceived world full of political intrigue and fantastical dream sequences, at its heart Dreamstrider is about a girl who is struggling to live up to the potential before her.

Synopsis: They exist in two different centuries, but their love defies time

Cassandra craves drama and adventure, so the last thing she wants is to spend her summer marooned with her mother and stepfather in a snooty Massachusetts shore town. But when a dreamy stranger shows up on their private beach claiming it's his own—and that the year is 1925—she is swept into a mystery a hundred years in the making.

As she searches for answers in the present, Cassandra discovers a truth that puts their growing love—and Lawrence's life—into jeopardy. Desperate to save him, Cassandra must find a way to change history…or risk losing Lawrence forever.

Synopsis: For as long as Fei can remember, there has been no sound in her village, where rocky terrain and frequent avalanches prevent residents from self-sustaining. Fei and her people are at the mercy of a zipline that carries food up the treacherous cliffs from Beiguo, a mysterious faraway kingdom.

When villagers begin to lose their sight, deliveries from the zipline shrink and many go hungry. Fei’s home, the people she loves, and her entire existence is plunged into crisis, under threat of darkness and starvation.

But soon Fei is awoken in the night by a searing noise, and sound becomes her weapon.

Synopsis: Lo-Melkhiin killed three hundred girls before he came to her village, looking for a wife. When she sees the dust cloud on the horizon, she knows he has arrived. She knows he will want the loveliest girl: her sister. She vows she will not let her be next.

And so she is taken in her sister's place, and she believes death will soon follow. Lo-Melkhiin's court is a dangerous palace filled with pretty things: intricate statues with wretched eyes, exquisite threads to weave the most beautiful garments. She sees everything as if for the last time.But the first sun rises and sets, and she is not dead. Night after night, Lo-Melkhiin comes to her and listens to the stories she tells, and day after day she is awoken by the sunrise. Exploring the palace, she begins to unlock years of fear that have tormented and silenced a kingdom. Lo-Melkhiin was not always a cruel ruler. Something went wrong.

Far away, in their village, her sister is mourning. Through her pain, she calls upon the desert winds, conjuring a subtle unseen magic, and something besides death stirs the air.

Back at the palace, the words she speaks to Lo-Melkhiin every night are given a strange life of their own. Little things, at first: a dress from home, a vision of her sister. With each tale she spins, her power grows. Soon she dreams of bigger, more terrible magic: power enough to save a king, if she can put an end to the rule of a monster.

Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Arden Huntley is recklessly loyal. Taking care of her loved ones is what gives Arden purpose in her life and makes her feel like she matters. But she's tired of being loyal to people who don't appreciate her—including her needy best friend and her absent mom. 

Arden finds comfort in a blog she stumbles upon called "Tonight the Streets Are Ours," the musings of a young New York City writer named Peter. When Peter is dumped by the girlfriend he blogs about, Arden decides to take a road trip to see him.

During one crazy night out in NYC filled with parties, dancing, and music—the type of night when anything can happen, and nearly everything does—Arden discovers that Peter isn't exactly who she thought he was. And maybe she isn't exactly who she thought she was, either.

Synopsis: Set in gilded age New York, These Shallow Graves follows the story of Josephine Montfort, an American aristocrat. Jo lives a life of old-money ease. Not much is expected of her other than to look good and marry well. But when her father dies due to an accidental gunshot, the gilding on Jo’s world starts to tarnish. With the help of a handsome and brash reporter, and a young medical student who moonlights in the city morgue, Jo uncovers the truth behind her father’s death and learns that if you’re going to bury the past, you’d better bury it deep.

What do you guys think? Any of these on your TBR? Have you read them already? Or any of these I should skip over? Let me know ^_^

Monday, September 21, 2015

The Assassin's Blade (Throne of Glass #0.1-0.5) by Sarah J. Maas Review

4.5/5 Stars
Details of the Book
Hardcover, 435 pages
Published by Bloomsbury Children's Books
Publication Date: March 4, 2014

Synopsis: Contains all five novellas.
Celaena Sardothien is Adarlan's most feared assassin. As part of the Assassin's Guild, her allegiance is to her master, Arobynn Hamel, yet Celaena listens to no one and trusts only her fellow killer-for-hire, Sam. In these action-packed novellas - together in one edition for the first time - Celaena embarks on five daring missions. They take her from remote islands to hostile deserts, where she fights to liberate slaves and seeks to avenge the tyrannous. But she is acting against Arobynn's orders and could suffer an unimaginable punishment for such treachery. Will Celaena ever be truly free? Explore the dark underworld of this kick-ass heroine to find out.

Before I started this series, so many people told me that I needed to read these novellas first before Throne of Glass. I want to take this time to thank all of those people! You guys were so right. You cannot go into this series without reading The Assassin's Blade first. Without it, you lack the emotional insight you need going into book one and understanding Celaena. However, it wasn't until after I read the first two novellas that I understood why I had to read this book first. They are kind of slow and since I wasn't emotionally attached to Celaena yet, I kept asking myself, "why should I care?" That all changed once I got to The Assassin and The Desert. This novella really grabbed onto my heart and sucked me into Celaena's character. From there on, I fell in love--particularly with Sam T_T. I've never read any novellas that on their own tangled all my feelings together until this book. I wasn't prepared for the heartache I would experience and it made me really want to jump into the other books in the series.


1) Sam and Celaena are so freaking adorable--I love them more than all of the other ships in this series. Their relationship is just beautiful, plain and simple.

2) These novellas gave me huge insight into Celaena's soul. I felt really connected to her throughout these stories--even the ones that dragged. Without all of these details about her, I don't think I would love her as much as I do.

3) Maas really knows how to incorporate a lot of the training details (that make it realistic how amazing of an assassin Celaena is) without drowning out the plot of the stories.


1) The Assassin and The Pirate Lord and The Assassin and The Healer were pretty slow. Although The Assassin and The Pirate Lord picked up at the end, it was too late. Both of these novellas didn't grab me enough and had me wondering if I should have just picked up Throne of Glass first.

2) The end of The Assassin and The Empire. I'm not going to spoil this but just know that there is a lot of betrayal and heartbreak.

Favorite Quotes/Moments:

1) Alone with Rolfe, Celaena raised her sword. "Celaena Sardothien, at your service."

The pirate was still staring at her, his face pale with rage. "How dare you deceive me?"

She sketched a bow. "I did nothing of the sort. I told you I was beautiful." (The Assassin and The Pirate Lord).

2) "Celaena." She looked back at him, her red gown sweeping around her. His eyes shone as he flashed her a crooked grin. "I missed you this summer."

She met his stare unflinchingly, returning the smile as she said, "I hate to admit it, Sam Cortland, but I missed your sorry ass, too." (The Assassin and The Underworld).

3) "I think I preferred it when you wanted to kill me."

"Sometimes I think so, too. Certainly made my life more interesting. I wonder, though--if I'm helping you, does it mean I get to be your Second when you run the Assassin's Guild? Or does it just mean that I can boast that the famed Celaena Sardothien finally finds me worthy?"

She jabbed him with an elbow. "It means you should shut up and pay attention." (The Assassin and The Underworld)

4) He brushed his lips against hers. "I love you," he breathed against her mouth. "And from today onward, I want to never be separated from you. Wherever you go, I go. Even if that means going to Hell itself, wherever you are, that's where I want to be. Forever." (The Assassin and the Underworld).

5) "Despite Sam's protests, she'd quickly snuck in while the bookseller was in the back and spied the receipt ledger behind the desk. Farran hadn't bought books about torture or death or anything wicked. Oh, no. They'd been adventure novels.  Novels that she had read and enjoyed. The idea of Farran reading them too felt like a violation, somehow." (The Assassin and The Empire).

6) Sam must have seen something like fear in her eyes, because he suddenly shook his head, his shoulders slumping. "Celaena, when you're good and ready to tell me the truth, you'll do it. And no matter what it is, when that day comes, I'll be honored that you trust me enough to do so. But until then, it's not my business, and it's not Arobynn's business. It's not anyone's business but your own." (The Assassin and The Empire). 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

The Iron Trial (Magisterium #1) by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

The Iron Trial by Holly Black & Cassandra Clare
Hardcover, 295 pages
Published by Scholastic Press,
an imprint of Scholastic Inc., Publishers
Buy it: Amazon | B&N | Book Depository |
Rating: 2/5 Stars

Synopsis: Most kids would do anything to pass the Iron Trial.

Not Callum Hunt. He wants to fail.

All his life, Call has been warned by his father to stay away from magic. If he succeeds at the Iron Trial and is admitted into the Magisterium, he is sure it can only mean bad things for him.

So he tries his best to do his worst - and fails at failing.

Now the Magisterium awaits him. It's a place that's both sensational and sinister, with dark ties to his past and a twisty path to his future.

The Iron Trial is just the beginning, for the biggest test is still to come . . .

Although most kids consider it a huge honor to pass the Iron Trial, Callum Hunt wants exactly the opposite. Call’s father has taught him to avoid all magic, and that entering the Magisterium means almost certain death. But no matter how hard Call attempts to fail his Trial, he does not succeed. However, even with his broken leg, Call begins to enjoy his time at the Magisterium. For the first time, he is able to make friends, and even enjoy learning magic. However, what Call doesn’t know is why his father is so against magic, or how his past weaves into his life as a mage.

As much as I wanted to love The Iron Trial, I simply could not. Even though the cast of characters was unique and intriguing, many elements of the book are too similar to the Harry Potter series for comfort. Even though I did like some of the world-building, there was not much of a real plot beneath it all. The pace was extremely slow, and there was a lot of unnecessary training and testing. For example, there were actually several chapters of the characters sorting sand into two piles. Even though this book had a few redeeming elements, overall I had too many problems with it to say that I found it enjoyable.


1) Each of the characters was unique, and engaged me fully in their story. I felt sympathy for each of their problems, and was interested in gradually learning their back-stories.

2) The world is well-built, with plenty of explanations of the history, problems, and different creatures that exist within it.


1) When I was just a few chapters into this book, there were already too many similarities to Harry Potter to count. There were two boys and a girl going to a school of magic, and the main character's mother was killed by a wizard who had turned evil in a magical war. Now, doesn’t that sound familiar?

2) I don’t think this book's pacing could have been any slower! There were literally several, long chapters describing the three kids sorting sand into two piles. There were numerous moments like this throughout the book, where all I wanted to do was skip ahead and read about things that actually had something to do with the plot.

3) There was a lot of info-dumping throughout the story, with lots of tedious explanations that ranged from magical history to the restrictions of magical power.

4) If asked what the plot of this book actually was, I wouldn't even know how to respond. Because there was so much focus on world and character building, there wasn't actually much of a storyline, which made me feel like there was no purpose to the entire book.

Favorite Quotes/Moments:

1) “They all yelled in excitement. Tamara yelled because she was happy. Aaron yelled because he liked it when other people were happy, and Call yelled because he was sure they were going to die.”

2) “Maybe by the time they were in their Silver Year, Master Rufus would communicate complicated theories of magic by the lifting of a single bushy eyebrow.”

3) “Warren knows the best way. Sometimes the best way isn’t the fastest.”

“Warren shouldn’t talk about himself in the third person,” Call said.