Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (123)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that allows bloggers to share which books we are most anticipating.
This week I am waiting on Jesse’s Girl by Miranda Kenneally (07/01/15):

Description (on Goodreads):
Everyone at Hundred Oaks High knows that career mentoring day is a joke. So when Maya Henry said she wanted to be a rock star, she never imagined she’d get to shadow *the* Jesse Scott, Nashville’s teen idol.

But spending the day with Jesse is far from a dream come true. He’s as gorgeous as his music, but seeing all that he’s accomplished is just a reminder of everything Maya’s lost: her trust, her boyfriend, their band, and any chance to play the music she craves. Not to mention that Jesse’s pushy and opinionated. He made it on his own, and he thinks Maya’s playing back up to other people’s dreams. Does she have what it takes to follow her heart—and go solo?
Why I’m Waiting:
I love all of Miranda Kenneally’s books. I own every book she’s written, and I’ve never been disappointed in any of them. They make for great contemporary romances. I love how strong her girl main characters are. And I love all of the slow-building romance. I’m excited to see a different kind of girl in this one, with a musician. It’s not my favorite of her book covers, but it looks like it fits, so I’m not complaining. It does have a super cute title. It’s just a long wait until July…
What are you waiting on this week?
And also, Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Brown Girl Dreaming

Summary (from Goodreads):
National Book Award Winner

Jacqueline Woodson, one of today's finest writers, tells the moving story of her childhood in mesmerizing verse.

Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement. Touching and powerful, each poem is both accessible and emotionally charged, each line a glimpse into a child’s soul as she searches for her place in the world. Woodson’s eloquent poetry also reflects the joy of finding her voice through writing stories, despite the fact that she struggled with reading as a child. Her love of stories inspired her and stayed with her, creating the first sparks of the gifted writer she was to become.
What a great reading week I have had! I have read one book of short stories, one graphic novel, and now one autobiography done in verse and I have loved each and every one of these books, particularly this one. I have read a couple other books by this author, though, none since I was a teen. Both the title and the gorgeous cover put it on my radar early on and I made sure to order it for my library right when it came out. I admit though, that I didn’t pick it up to read myself until after it won the National Book Award, by which point, I was dying to read it. It sounded so good!
The whole thing is written in poetry. But, it’s narrative poetry (like two of my all time favorite YA Books: What My Mother Doesn’t Know by Sonya Sones and True Believer by Virgina Euwer Wolff).  They are told poetically, but the poetry makes up one large story. I must admit I have not read a ton of books in this format, but since I have had good experience with this in the past, I wasn’t too hesitant about the style. I can see how it might turn away a few reluctant readers though.
Any way, after all that, what I wanted to say is it’s beautiful. Literally, there were passages I’d re-read several times, just to soak up the words. Some of it even demands to be read out loud. Certain poems were goose bump inducing.
A lot of the book deals with racism and civil rights. I think my favorite passages are the ones that cover these topics. But, a lot of the book is also about family and family history. I loved the differences between the north and the south, and how we got to go back and forth between them. I loved the differences among the siblings. And I loved seeing this world in such a different, unique perspective.
The passages about religion and being different from the other kids (always) just makes it impossible not to love Jacqueline. Her sense of justice and self worth (as a child) is so powerful. And I loved her family too. At the end of the book, are real-life photographs of the characters from the story. And my heart just about melted looking at her grandfather. He was my favorite character.
Also there was so much in here about writing, and dreaming about being a writer. I loved how important words were. And I loved the concepts of stories being passed along through the generations. There was one part where Jacqueline could only partially pass the stories she heard to her siblings because she wasn’t allowed to hear the rest, so she just made up her own endings. She loved making up words and stories.
One of my favorite passages, that I’ve re-read over and over comes toward the end in a chapter/poem called “Revolution.” This is the middle of the poem:

            When I hear the word
            I think of the carousel with
            all those beautiful horses
            going around as though they’ll never stop and me
            choosing the purple one each time, climbing up and onto it
            and reaching for the golden ring, as soft music plays.

            The revolution is always going to be happening.

            I want to write this down, that the revolution is like
            a merry-go-round, history always being made
            somewhere. And maybe for a short time,
            we’re a part of that history. And then the ride stops
            and our turn is over. (pg 308-309)

I keep making comparisons in my head between this book and Sandra Cisneros’ The House on Mango Street. They are very different stories, but they both so strongly deal with the topics of home and family from a very young and powerful perspective. And I can see this book growing to the popularity level of Cisneros’ work.
I slowly devoured this one. You will read it and just want to soak up the words. But, it also moves rather quickly. You want to see how things go for Jacqueline and her siblings. I loved it. I give it a 10/10.

Monday, December 29, 2014

In Real Life by Cory Doctorow and Jen Wang

Summary (from Goodreads):
Anda loves Coarsegold Online, the massively-multiplayer role-playing game where she spends most of her free time. It's a place where she can be a leader, a fighter, a hero. It's a place where she can meet people from all over the world, and make friends.

But things become a lot more complicated when Anda befriends a gold farmer--a poor Chinese kid whose avatar in the game illegally collects valuable objects and then sells them to players from developed countries with money to burn. This behavior is strictly against the rules in Coarsegold, but Anda soon comes to realize that questions of right and wrong are a lot less straightforward when a real person's real livelihood is at stake.

From acclaimed teen author (Little Brother, For the Win) and Boing Boing editor Cory Doctorow and Koko Be Good creator Jen Wang, In Real Life is a perceptive and high-stakes look at adolescence, gaming, poverty, and culture clash.

I loved this book! There are so many good things going for this book that I was a little worried that there would be too many things all at once (jammed down my throat). But, somehow, all these fantastic ideas/concepts worked fantastic all together. What are some of these great things? There are girl gamers (!), there’s politics, there’s economics, there’s strategy, and there’s so much reality.
By reality, I mean there was just so much about this book that spoke true and that seemed genuinely authentic. I loved that the main character wasn’t skinny (though her created avatar was). She wore normal person clothes (like jeans and sweaters). She had to explain to her mother the world of gaming and her mother had to work hard to understand it, or even believe that it was more that a sick place for perverts to meet teenage girls.
I love how Anda learns and grows through this game. She first sees gold farming for what it is: a way to the cheat the game to make a profit. But when she becomes friends with a gold farmer who works all day in China, and then works all night for someone else as a gold farmer, just so he can have an hour of the game for his own personal use (it’s a different story). Her friend is being paid to cheat the game, and it’s his only way of getting to play. It’s a way of survival for him. Right and wrong become less clear to Anda.
And when Anda finally thinks she’s doing something “right,” she ends up inadvertently hurting her new friend. There’s culture clashing, language learning, politics, and so much involved in this game. I loved how seriously the authors took this. I loved how they made the game both fun, but also serious and real.
In other words, for a book that only takes about an hour to read, infinite amounts of important topics were covered. And never did I feel like I was being preached to about what was right and what wasn’t. A lot of was in a grey area where I could decide what I thought was good. I give this one a 10/10.  

Sunday, December 28, 2014

My True Love Gave to Me by Stephanie Perkins

Summary (from Goodreads):
If you love holiday stories, holiday movies, made-for-TV-holiday specials, holiday episodes of your favorite sitcoms and, especially, if you love holiday anthologies, you’re going to fall in love with MY TRUE LOVE GAVE TO ME: TWELVE HOLIDAY STORIES by twelve bestselling young adult writers, edited by international bestselling author Stephanie Perkins.
This was one of those books I had to get immediately, the day it was published. I love YA short story anthologies. I also love so many of the YA authors who contributed to this, not to mention Stephanie Perkins put it together!  However, I’m not always the biggest holiday story person. It’s hard growing up and not seeing special Chanukah episodes of your favorite shows. That, and the whole Santa/elf thing always seemed so silly to me (and I’m a Children’s librarian –big advocate of the silly). I just find it weird that there are so many adult holiday stories that involve Santa…I was super excited the day after Christmas because I could turn on the radio and have normal music back. All that aside, I had a feeling I’d love this book.
I think what I loved the most about this particular anthology was that it was unconventional. It wasn’t all about Christmas. There even was one Chanukah story! There was one story about a girl who celebrated Winter Solstice. Another story was all about New Year’s Eve. And yes, there was still a lot of Christmas. But even the Christmas stories themselves tended be more modern and unconventional. So, I was pleased overall!
Since each story was so different, and written by a different author, I thought (like most other reviewers) I’d review and rate each story (maybe just a few sentences about each because there are a lot).

Midnights by Rainbow Rowell

So, more often then not in these types of collections, I’m surprised by not liking the ones I think I’ll like the most and then loving the stories I had no idea I’d love. And while this did happen in this book, it did not happen with this story. I thought I’d love it, and I did! I think it may have been my favorite story in the whole thing. Rowell just is so good at capturing first love, crushes, awkward moments, and dialog. And just Wow, this started the whole book with a Bang. (10/10)
The Lady and the Fox by Kelly Link
I’ve only really read this author in these kinds of collections before. And she’s always hit or miss with me. This one started off good. But then it got weird, and then the ending was rushed. It’s like she was given a page limit and had to somehow end things in a limited amount of time. It was a little confusing and while I loved the beginning, overall I was disappointed. (7/10)
Angels in the Snow by Matt De La Pena
I don’t believe I’ve read this author before (the only one I can say this about), and I wasn’t expecting to love it. But, I did! What a surprise. I loved that the two characters were so different.  I’m not sure I ever read anything YA where the main character was struggling so much economically that they were physically hungry. I loved the NYC setting. The girl wasn’t quite as believable/likeable for me as the guy, but I still loved it. (9/10).
Polaris is Where You’ll Find Me by Jenny Han
This one wasn’t my favorite. Besides the whole “why are adults/teens supposed to go for the Santa thing” concept that I kind of mentioned not liking before, I feel like this had really good potential for being awesome. It was the only story to involve elves. I liked the idea of the girl being different amongst a world of elves. There was just so much I wasn’t feeling/believing about the guy, about her “friends,” and about her family situation. (6/10)
It’s a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown by Stephanie Perkins
This probably makes a close second place for the Rainbow Rowell one. And I was afraid the authors I loved the most would have meh stories. This one was adorable. I liked having a character who celebrated the Winter Solstice and science. I liked the long-lasting crush, the interest in animation, and all the awkward conversation. Also, I’m still swooning over the guy. Don’t ever stop writing, Stephanie Perkins.  (10/10)
Your Temporary Santa by David Levithan
Yay for an LGBT story! I really enjoyed this one too. I thought the concept of doing anything for the person you’re starting to date is so spot-on. This story captures that moment when you’re in a relationship and you realize you might actually being falling harder than you thought. But, more than that, it was also about family and doing something nice for someone who needed nice. (9/10)

Krampuslauf by Holly Black
This was a weird one. I either love Holly Black’s stuff or I don’t. And I guess I loved this one. There were some definite magic/fantasy elements going on here. And I loved the combination of contemporary with the magic. I thought the party, the economic divide, the boyfriend drama with the main character’s friend, were all so believable. So, when the magic happens, it was a surprise, and just well executed. (9/10)
What the Hell Have You Done, Sophie Roth? By Gayle Forman
I also either love or hate this author’s work. And I ended up loving her story. Yay for a Jewish story! Also, yay for an interracial love story! I super connected to the main character’s rural adaptations. I also went from a big city to a rural college, and understood a lot of her melancholy.  I loved the diner scene. Though, the one thing I didn’t love was the resolution. I felt like the main character accomplished a little too much in one night/one story to be believable. Short stories don’t always have to have such an ending. (8/10)
Beer Buckets and Baby Jesus by Myra McEntire
This was my least favorite story. I love this author’s books, but I just wasn’t feeling this one. This one also tried to accomplish too much. Short stories don’t have to have such strong conclusions. Also, I don’t like how much the main character had to be explained. His rash behavior was analyzed and talked about. And I guess I’d rather see his behavior and then make up my own mind for why he was acting the way he was, no explanations needed. (6/10)
Welcome to Christmas, CA by Kiersten White
This was a fun one! I loved the magical realism in here. Also, loved the food elements. I liked that this one was as much about family as it as about love. And I liked all the twists the main character went through in discovering the love of her family. (9/10)
Star of Bethlehem by Ally Carter
I read this one super fast. It wasn’t my favorite. I guess it was more what I was expecting all the stories to be. It was super adorable and a little bit ABC Family Christmas movie cheesy, but in a good way. The situation just seemed so unbelievable. However, I loved loved loved the relationship that grew in this story. (9/10)
The Girl who Woke the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
I was expecting to like this one a little bit more. All the other reviewers have raved about it. While, I got lost in Taylor’s wonderful writing style (and it was nice to see her writing style with a totally different story/world), I never really felt the romance. I liked that it was dark. The world and customs of this world were super interesting. I just never got a chance to fall for the dreamer, let alone really understand him. His explanation didn’t make sense to me and there was a lot of vague stuff going on. It just felt like the author needed more time/more pages to say what she really wanted to. (8/10).

Overall, I give the anthology a 9/10. I enjoyed it. I enjoyed being surprised by the unconventional holiday stories. And I’m glad only one story involved Santa.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

A Good Week in Books (94)

I had a nice little book week. I received two new books for review. Thank you Macmillan and Hachette. I’m extremely excited to read both of them. I also got some NaNoWriMo swag in the mail this weekend! I donated a little money to the organization that helped me and inspired me to write a novel in a the month of November. And in return, I got a bracelet that reads: NaNoWriMo Wizard, a bookmark that says “In Honor of Your Wizardly Beneficence”, and some really cool stickers that say things like: “My Own Personal Plot Bunny” with a picture of a bunny and “In Case of Troubling Characters” with a picture of a shovel).
The Books:

The Ghosts of Heaven
by Marcus Sedgwick
This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
How was your week in books?

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Eon by Alison Goodman

Summary (from Goodreads):
Sixteen-year-old Eon has a dream, and a mission. For years, he's been studying sword-work and magic, toward one end. He and his master hope that he will be chosen as a Dragoneye-an apprentice to one of the twelve energy dragons of good fortune.

But Eon has a dangerous secret. He is actually Eona, a sixteen-year-old girl who has been masquerading as a twelve-year-old boy. Females are forbidden to use Dragon Magic; if anyone discovers she has been hiding in plain sight, her death is assured.

When Eon's secret threatens to come to light, she and her allies are plunged into grave danger and a deadly struggle for the Imperial throne. Eon must find the strength and inner power to battle those who want to take her magic...and her life.
I’m a little late on the Eon parade. It looks like it came out in 2010. It is on my 2014 challenge list. Actually, it’s the last book in my challenge (so yay mission complete!). But the question I find myself asking right now is why aren’t more people obsessed with this one? It was magical. Really, I haven’t read such a fun, epic fantasy in way too long.
It was this kind of hodgepodge story made up of Japanese and Chinese mythology and dragons. It was an adventure about a girl pretending to be a boy to become a dragon warrior. Between the sword fighting, the dragon magic, the political back-stabbing, the children fighting each other to become the next apprentice, the poverty to riches element, the masterful world-building, and the high stakes battles at the end, seriously, this book was amazing.
There were some extremely interesting characters too. Between the man who was known for dressing as a woman, the master who knowingly trained a girl for a man’s job, the evil political figures, the other dragon eyes, the eunuchs, the revolutionary servants, and the crippled friend, there really wasn’t anyone just normal.
Also the main character was a bit crippled herself. How can you not immediately love a crippled girl fighting to be a warrior in a world where if she were discovered, shed’ be killed? Seriously, Eon was one brave human being. It’s such a story about an underdog, it’s almost like an epic fantasy version of a Glee episode. But, there’s no music or high school, or anything remotely similar now that I’m thinking about it.
I found the whole concept of the dragons to be so unique. Only certain people could work to see the dragons (though Eon could see all of them when most could just see their own). And each dragon represented a different year of the Chinese zodiac. There’s this whole idea of these kids training to be able to share power with the dragons. And the form of government that developed from this was really unlike anything I’ve ever read about.
One of the things mentioned in other reviews is a somewhat slow beginning, heavy on the world-building. I never really found the book to be slow. I was intrigued from page 1. Though, I do happen to really like a well-developed fantasy world. And if you don’t like world-building, this is not the book for you. There was also a lot of fighting/sword-fighting. There were definite Samurai elements. And I loved that Eon could compete with the boys in this brutal world.
The one thing that was lacking was romance. There just wasn’t any. I kind of get how this would have been hard to impossible, considering how Eon was mostly dressed as a boy and not many people knew that she was in fact a girl. I can see where something might start in book 2, and I really hope it does start. Though,  I guess this was a good example of a book that actually didn’t really need romance.
While I got to see so much of this incredibly interesting world and the fascinating characters who lived in it, I do wish I got to see a little more of the dragons. There is still so much I don’t know about them. Book two better come with more information!
Also, that was one epic ending! Seriously, I was shocked by how things went down. And I cannot wait to see what some of the results are in book 2. All in all, I absolutely loved and devoured this book. I loved the main character. I loved the whole cast of underdogs. I loved the politics and the fighting. I loved the dragons (though I want to know more about them). I loved the creative, unique world. And I can’t really come up with much I didn’t love. It so gets a 10/10 from me.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray

Every Day meets Cloud Atlas in this heart-racing, space- and time-bending, epic new trilogy from New York Times bestselling author Claudia Gray.

Marguerite Caine’s physicist parents are known for their radical scientific achievements. Their most astonishing invention: the Firebird, which allows users to jump into parallel universes, some vastly altered from our own. But when Marguerite’s father is murdered, the killer—her parent’s handsome and enigmatic assistant Paul—escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him.

Marguerite can’t let the man who destroyed her family go free, and she races after Paul through different universes, where their lives entangle in increasingly familiar ways. With each encounter she begins to question Paul’s guilt—and her own heart. Soon she discovers the truth behind her father’s death is more sinister than she ever could have imagined.

A Thousand Pieces of You explores a reality where we witness the countless other lives we might lead in an amazingly intricate multiverse, and ask whether, amid infinite possibilities, one love can endure.
Like apparently the rest of the planet, this book has been on my radar since its initial cover release. I mean just look at it. I also happen to be a real sucker for alternate universe stories. After watching a Gwnyth Paltrow movie as a kid, called Sliding Doors, I could never really get enough of these kind of stories. Also, back in the day, I remember enjoying Gray’s vampire series too. Though, I don’t believe I ever finished it.
Any way, I had high hopes for this one. And for the most part, it delivered. Between the murder of the main character’s father, the traveling between universes, the love triangle to end all love triangles, the art, the science, the technology, and the action, there was never really a good point to put the book down.
The notion that there are worlds so similar to this one, but not quite the same because of something as simple as one differently made decision, was just mind-blowingly cool.  Also, was I the only one imagining the time piece from the third Harry Potter novel? The firebird was an almost steam punk/mechanical necklace the travelers would wear. And the functions of the necklace were a little scary. For instance, they were set to give the wearers “reminders” so they wouldn’t revert to the person they were taking the place of. And these reminders were painful electric shocks.
Also, I’m a girl, and I can’t not comment on the crazy romantic notion that some people are just meant to be together in all versions of the world, in all universes. This is such a crazy notion. And it makes the idea of the main character falling in love with one version of her soul mate, but not another version a little bit confusing. But, also so so cool. Also cool was getting to see different countries in different worlds. Some worlds were decades past ours in technology and advances, and one world seemed centuries behind. My favorite worlds were of course the romantic/backwards Russia and the crazy dystopia-esque water world. I kind of wish we got to see more worlds. But, a huge chunk of time was spent in futuristic London and backwards Russia.
The one thing that nagged at me about the romance was that I wish I got to see more of the build up. There were only a few brief flashbacks to the more normal life Marguerite used to lead before her father was killed. But, I wanted more. I wanted to see her relationship with the boys develop more. And then I might have believed where it went a little bit better. I get that one of her relationships built at a slow pace, but I don’t see when it really started…I wanted more.
And then came the loopholes. It can be really tricky writing these kinds of stories with so many rules about other worlds. But, there were a few things I really wished the editor had caught on to. Like, there’s this one time in Russia when Marguerite’s tsar of a father gets news of his other children way too quickly for sleigh ride mail…Or how likely is one character, who’s never done anything with firebirds and other world travel really, really going to be able to fix a traveling device?
Despite these loop holes, and lack of a history (shown) for the romance, I did love this book. I read it very quickly. I gushed over the soul mate concept taken to a new level. I got sucked into the action and drama. And I got lost in the world building of each of the alternate universes. I give this one a 9/10.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Summary (from Goodreads):
Mara Dyer wants to believe there's more to the lies she’s been told.
There is.

She doesn’t stop to think about where her quest for the truth might lead.
She should.

She never had to imagine how far she would go for vengeance.
She will now.

Loyalties are betrayed, guilt and innocence tangle, and fate and chance collide in this shocking conclusion to Mara Dyer’s story.

Retribution has arrived.
This is one of those books whose publication date kept getting pushed further away. I was worried I’d forgotten too much since book 2, which came out over two years ago. I was also a little worried about not getting all the facts I was so desperate to know from earlier in the series.
Let me tell you right now: I remembered everything as soon as I got sucked back into the story. And I got to learn all there was to know about Mara. I forgot how much the author sucks you in. There is no good place to put the book down. I read it under 24 hours. I could not take my eyes off the pages. And it was nice to have another final book in a series, where I was so excited to learn answers and see what the results would be instead of calling everything from page 1. Hodkin shocked me, made me cry, and had me biting my nails in suspense.
There was not a single dull second in this story. Between the torture, teen experiments, crazy supernatural powers, abductions, hitchhiking, clue-solving, snip-bits from the past (aka: Mara’s grandmother’s story), break outs, murder, and revenge, this book was so action-packed, it’s made other action-packed YA novels look boring. The last 100 pages or so went by in a whirlwind for me.
Mara’s not the easiest character to love either. You feel bad for her because well, torture. But, you never know how sane or reliable she is; she does talk to illusions that no one else sees, and sometimes her reflection, which doesn’t always mirror her…And also, she’s gotten to be a little less good. She has no qualms about killing bad guys. While the rest of her friends (also with abilities) might hesitate about what to do, Mara is all about acting on her powers first, and not thinking too much about it later. And she got a little scary.
But, I loved her. I did. I loved having a main character who wasn’t Super Man or Harry Potter or someone so keen on being morally conscious all the time. It stood out for me. And maybe a small part of me was even on her side for her toughest moments. Who wouldn’t want to kill the person responsible for torturing you and your friends for an extended period of time? Main characters aren’t very realistic if they are so good always. And Mara definitely wasn’t so good always.
It was also kind of great to see her coming into her powers. She was finally embracing who she was. She didn’t want a cure. She never once didn’t trust her sanity (though I might have a little), and she stopped at nothing to find what she needed.
I loved this chapters in her grandmother’s point of view. It was so interesting to see the history of this strange gene pool. I’m not 100% sure I understood all the explanation I received about why Mara is the way she is. And there might have been a couple of explanations that made me go, “huh?” However, I love love loved the ending. Right when you think the story is going one way, the author changes it. And then you get comfortable (kind of with the new ending), and BAM, it’s changed to something else completely. I was continuously surprised. I love being surprised in YA!
All in all, this book rocked. It moves at the speed of light. There is so much action. Mara has become a fantastic main character with some extraordinary abilities. All the questions are answered. The surprises and twists kept coming. And while I’m not sure I believed in all the explanations, nothing could take away from my enjoyment of this one. It gets a 10/10 from me.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (122)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that allows bloggers to share which books we are most anticipating.
This week I am waiting on The Marvels by Brian Selznick (2015):

Caldecott Award winner and bookmaking trailblazer Brian Selznick once again plays with the form he invented and delivers a moving and mesmerizing adventure about the power of story. Two seemingly unrelated stories -- one in words, the other in pictures -- come together with spellbinding synergy! The illustrated story begins in 1766 with Billy Marvel, the lone survivor of a shipwreck, and charts the adventures of his family of actors over five generations. The prose story opens in 1990 and follows Joseph, who has run away from school to an estranged uncle's puzzling house in London, where he, along with the reader, must piece together many mysteries. How the picture and word stories intersect will leave readers marveling over Selznick's storytelling prowess. Filled with mystery, vibrant characters, surprise twists, and heartrending beauty, and featuring Selznick's most arresting art to date, The Marvels is a moving tribute to the power of story.
Why I’m Waiting:
2 reasons: 1) It’s another Brian Selznick book. 2) The cover.  Is that not the most gorgeous cover you have seen in a long time? I adored The Invention of Hugo Cabret. And then I fell in love (love not even being a strong enough word choice) with Wonderstruck. And yes, there might be a couple more works by this author that I have not read yet, but still. There’s something about how he mixes the mediums of words and art, and manages to tell separate stories in just the artwork that is so unique. It’s kind of like those picture books I love that have no words –which are great for early literacy; these middle grade books are kind of like a whole new kind of literacy for the more mature brain. They are art and they are beautiful. And I cannot wait to read this one.
What are you waiting on this week?

Monday, December 15, 2014

Eternal by C.C. Hunter

Summary (from Goodreads):
All her life, Della's secret powers have made her feel separated from her human family. Now, she's where she belongs, at Shadow Falls. With the help of her best friends Kylie and Miranda, she’ll try to prove herself in the paranormal world as an investigator—all the while trying to figure out her own heart. Should she chose Chase, a powerful vampire with whom she shares a special bond? Or Steve, the hot shapeshifter whose kisses make her weak in the knees? When a person with dark connection to her past shows up, it’ll help her decide which guy to choose–and make her question everything she knows about herself.

From bestselling author C.C. Hunter comes Eternal—a must-read for fans of the Shadow Falls series—and the sequel to Reborn.
I love these books. This one in particular was the supernatural/romance/comedy medicine I needed to get me back into my reading craze. I finished this book in a couple of days, and literally within seconds of putting it down, picked up another book, which is also already finished. I’m in a book obsession craze again. Thank you, C.C. Hunter. I’m already half way through another book.
There were so many things I loved about this book. For starters, Della is pretty awesome. She’s even more awesome as she learns to use her super reborn vampire powers. She may have some issues letting other people in, and or showing her emotions sometimes; however, she’s the strongest and probably most feminist character in this series, and for that I give her major points. I love that she stands up to the camp director when he gets overprotective. I love that she never gets side-lined for being a girl. And I super love that she’s not afraid to hit a guy where it hurts, when it comes to protecting herself and those she loves.
Her friend, Kylie, may be known as the protector, but Della certainly will stop at nothing to protect her friends. I also found her family back-story to be very interesting. You get to learn a lot more about her dad, cousin, aunt, sister, and mother in this one. There’s still just enough info left out, to make you want to pull out your hair in curiosity, but hey, there’s one more book coming. I’m sure the answers will come then.
The other thing I loved in this one was Della’s handling of the boy situation. At the beginning of the book (it’s not’s really a spoiler if it happens right away), Steve sort of plays the whole, “this needs to be over between us so you can do what you need to do and figure things out,” card. Instead of pining dramatically or being depressed for a year (like some YA heroines are want to do), Della is just angry at Steve for being an idiot. And while she misses the guy, her life goes on. While I’m not the largest fan of the other boy in her life, as I gather most aren’t, I really felt like this was a much better/healthier teen reaction to heart ache, than what I have seen in books past.
There’s also more creepy ghost stuff in this one. Add that to an FRU case about missing vampire teens, a possible family murder, an interesting scene with the Vampire Council, tons of action and violence, and well this book was C.C. Hunter at her best.
And best of all, these books, at their core, are about friendship. They’re about 3 very different, supernatural girls who have each other’s backs. I love their Diet Coke dynamic. Though, speaking as a former Diet Coke addict, these books gave me serious cravings. So, even though Della is the least emotional of the group, she still has a group that accepts her for who she is.
I’m just sad there’s only one book left to the series. Will that be all for Shadow Falls? Will Miranda get books too? I give this one a 9/10. And if you like YA paranormal romance at all, I highly recommend these books.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (121)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that allows bloggers to share which books we are most anticipating.
This week I am waiting on The Trouble With Destiny by Lauren Morrill (2015).

Description on Goodreads:
It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey. . . .

With her trusty baton and six insanely organized clipboards, drum major Liza Sanders is about to take Destiny by storm—the boat, that is. When Liza discovered that her beloved band was losing funding, she found Destiny, a luxury cruise ship complete with pools, midnight chocolate buffets, and a $25,000 spring break talent show prize.

Liza can’t imagine senior year without the band, and nothing will distract her from achieving victory. She’s therefore not interested when her old camp crush, Lenny, shows up on board, looking shockingly hipster-hot. And she’s especially not interested in Russ, the probably-as-dumb-as-he-is-cute prankster jock whose ex, Demi, happens be Liza’s ex–best friend and leader of the Athenas, a show choir that’s the band’s greatest competition.

But it’s not going to be smooth sailing. After the Destiny breaks down, all of Liza’s best-laid plans start to go awry. Liza likes to think of herself as an expert at almost everything, but when it comes to love, she’s about to find herself lost at sea.
Why I’m Waiting:
I’ve been a fan of this author since Meant to Be. She writes the kind of fun, adorable YA contemporaries that I find myself sometimes craving like chocolate. I know the main character will learn a thing or two by the end of the book. Her books all have a great coming of age vibe going for them. I know the romance will be great. And I know I won’t be able to put it down. I also love the cover. And I’m sensing that the ship might break down…I love a good survival story too.
What are you waiting on this week?

Monday, December 8, 2014

The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson

Summary from Goodreads:
A heart-stopping story of love, death, technology, and art set amid the tropics of a futuristic Brazil.

The lush city of Palmares Três shimmers with tech and tradition, with screaming gossip casters and practiced politicians. In the midst of this vibrant metropolis, June Costa creates art that’s sure to make her legendary. But her dreams of fame become something more when she meets Enki, the bold new Summer King. The whole city falls in love with him (including June’s best friend, Gil). But June sees more to Enki than amber eyes and a lethal samba. She sees a fellow artist.

Together, June and Enki will stage explosive, dramatic projects that Palmares Três will never forget. They will add fuel to a growing rebellion against the government’s strict limits on new tech. And June will fall deeply, unfortunately in love with Enki. Because like all Summer Kings before him, Enki is destined to die.

Pulsing with the beat of futuristic Brazil, burning with the passions of its characters, and overflowing with ideas, this fiery novel will leave you eager for more from Alaya Dawn Johnson.
I’d like to just take a moment to thank Alaya Dawn Johnson for actually creating a future world/fantasy world/dystopia world/cyberpunk world where women are not oppressed or anywhere near the bottom of the food chain. Finally, there is a future where women are in charge! And yes, this future world is also heavily flawed. There can be so much commentary on the connections between the economic divide in Palmares Tres and the economic divide in the US right now. But, I am so happy that there is finally a fantasy world ruled by women. More please.
Also incredible was the setting. I have never read a YA book that takes place in Brazil. And the mixture of this future Brazil’s customs, art, and politics truly made this book unlike anything else I have ever read before. The city literally came to life. (No really, it sometimes talked to the main characters).
The emphasis on both art and technology was beyond cool. June kept creating these urban street art/political statements. And it took me a little while to fully understand what she was risking, but I was completely blown away by her bravery. June is creative, brave, strong, rebellious, and angry. And she was one killer main character.
A lot of this book was confusing and not everything makes sense right away. It took me a while to fully understand the world. But once I did, it was amazing. The book also had a unique take on sexuality. It seemed relatively normal for the characters to be attracted to both men and women. It was one of the most interesting love triangles I’ve read about. June and her best friend (who is a boy –who she lost her virginity to) are both in love with the Summer King. And the Summer King loves them both back…I also don’t think I’ve ever read a YA book where there’s a full scene of the girl main character pleasuring herself. But, this isn’t so much a book about sex or love, so much as it is about art and politics.
This book is definitely not for everyone. It’s a little out there. And it’s not the easiest to read/piece together. It took me a little longer than normal to finish, and it’s not exactly a fast read. It’s a read that needs to take its own time. But reading it makes me feel like a more artistically creative person. It’s a beautiful book. It’s like nothing else I have ever read. And I know it’s the kind of book that will have me thinking for a long time to come. I give it a 10/10.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (120)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that allows bloggers to share which books we are most anticipating.
This week I am waiting on A Court Of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas (5/5/15)

Description on Goodreads:
A thrilling, seductive new series from New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas, blending Beauty and the Beast with faerie lore.

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she's been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

Perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore and George R. R. Martin, this first book in a sexy and action-packed new series is impossible to put down!
Why I’m Waiting:
Because I’m human…No, really. Why would anyone not be waiting for this one? I love this author’s other series. I know she can seriously write great characters, insanely interesting worlds, hilarious sarcasm, and lots of great action/adventure to boot! Plus, this one is also supposed to be like Beauty and the Beast? Does anything not sound fantastic here? The cover kind of reminds me of the Pretty Little Liars covers for some reason. But, I don’t care. I would want this book if the cover was the worst cover of all time.  May is an awfully long way away though.
What are you waiting on this week?

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Atlantia by Ally Condie

Summary (from Goodreads):
For as long as she can remember, Rio has dreamt of the sand and sky Above—of life beyond her underwater city of Atlantia. But in a single moment, all her plans for the future are thwarted when her twin sister, Bay, makes an unexpected decision, stranding Rio Below. Alone, ripped away from the last person who knew Rio’s true self—and the powerful siren voice she has long hidden—she has nothing left to lose.

Guided by a dangerous and unlikely mentor, Rio formulates a plan that leads to increasingly treacherous questions about her mother’s death, her own destiny, and the complex system constructed to govern the divide between land and sea. Her life and her city depend on Rio to listen to the voices of the past and to speak long-hidden truths.
So, I’m probably not the first reviewer to say this, but I was expecting something a little more Little Mermaid and a little less dystopia. I am a fan of Condie’s early dystopia trilogy and I was kind of looking forward to a more fantasy/fairytale-esque book. And I’m not even totally sure why that was what I expected. The summary doesn’t quite scream Little Mermaid. Maybe it’s the whole wanting to live above, “Wish I could be part your world” connection I was making, but that’s kind of where the comparison ends.
Like with her other books, Condie’s writing style is very poetic. I can totally see why she has people drooling over her writing and why she has also has people not liking it. You either like it or you don’t; I don’t see many in-betweens. I happen to be one of the readers who loves it. The way she writes about this world is mesmerizing. She legit had me seeing the surreal underwater city. From the races to the black market, to the strange/mythological temple, I saw it all. This is definitely a book for those who like their world-building. Condie nailed this.
It was also slightly a twin story. And you know I love those. But more than that, what it really was, was a story of escape. There was the whole, typical dystopia theme of realizing that everything you thought you knew was most likely a lie. And there’s a lot about learning who to trust, what to believe, and doing what you need to do to survive. I found the siren aspect to be different. I liked that the sirens were both powerful and submissive. I liked how strong the ladies of this world are (even the ones who seem to be incarcerated).
There was a little bit of romance, and I liked it. The love interest (for the first time in a long time) was not a jerk! He was super nice and worked with machines, but was also an artist. All the scenes that took place with the romantic interest helping the main character with the races and the extreme sports type scenarios was just so much fun to read about. I liked the role seashells played in the story. And I also liked all the twists and turns the author kept throwing in.
I think the book is a standalone too (so yay!). It wasn’t perfect. It did read a little bit slowly and it did take me a week to read (though, it was also during the week I was finishing up with NaNoWriMo, which I’m finished with now!). But still, it was a bit descriptive heavy for YA. And I can see not everyone being into this. I did enjoy it though.
I also think the main character could have been a little bit more interesting. She was smart and strong and willing to do whatever it took to go above and find her sister again. But, I never really loved her like I do other characters. And I really wanted to love her.
All in all, the writing was beautiful, and the world-building top-notch. It was descriptive heavy and a little slow at times.  But, the twists and turns, and classic dystopian elements mostly made up for this. I do wish I felt more for the main character, but I’m not really 100% sure why I felt such a disconnect; I just did. I give it an 8/10.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (119)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that allows bloggers to share which books we are most anticipating.
This week I am waiting on Tonight the Streets are Ours by Leila Sales (4/7/15)

Description on Goodreads:
Tonight the Streets Are Ours is a YA novel about a teen girl living in the suburbs who becomes obsessed with a blogger in New York City, and sets out to track him down in real life.
Why I’m Waiting:
So, I realize that isn’t much of a description, and I also realize there is almost a year to wait on this book. However, I absolutely loved This Song Will Save Your Life, and hopefully a year will be plenty of time to read her other YA that she wrote earlier. Also, it’s about finding a blogger! Can there be a hotter topic right now? And, what a gorgeous cover! I know this one will be good.
What are you waiting on this week?

Monday, November 24, 2014

I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

Summary (from Goodreads):
Jude and her twin brother, Noah, are incredibly close. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and dramatic ways . . . until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as someone else—an even more unpredictable new force in her life. The early years are Noah's story to tell. The later years are Jude's. What the twins don't realize is that they each have only half the story, and if they could just find their way back to one another, they’d have a chance to remake their world.

This radiant novel from the acclaimed, award-winning author of The Sky Is Everywhere will leave you breathless and teary and laughing—often all at once.
As I said on Goodreads earlier, sometimes you finish a book, and it's so good, and you feel so strongly connected with the characters that even when you know it's over, you can't quite let the book go. This is one of those books. It's the kind you finish, and then clutch to your chest in a book hug. This author got so many things right. Things about siblings, and families, and love, and grief, and hate, and art.
I knew right away that this book was different. The writing style was beautiful. I can see some people not getting it and loving it. It’s layered upon layered in metaphor. And I don’t always love so much metaphor, but in this case, it just flowed. It was natural. The writing style was both natural, yet also exaggerated. And that just worked perfectly with the story that was also both of those things.
I’m so glad I read this one when I did.  I needed it this week. I did. And I’m so glad I didn’t read it earlier to its release date when my own grief might not have mixed well with the grief going on here. There is so much loss in this book. There’s pain and then there’s pain that makes you cut through stone over night like a stone-cutting ninja sculptor warrior. So many tough things happen. There’s loss, depression, lying, cheating, affairs, and so much darkness and drama.
But there’s also this great, sarcastic sense of humor throughout everything too. There’s always a disease to think about to distract oneself from charming, leaning British artists. And there’s animal facts and stargazing, and first love too. There is some steamy romance in here (both between Jude and her leading man, and between Noah and his), mixing with the heart-wrenching break-ups and realizations. It was also a twin story, and I can’t get enough of those.
I’ve never read a YA book that discusses art like this one does. Between the painting, the street art, the drawings, the museums, the sculpting, and the stonework, I don’t think I’ve ever had such a great sense of image from a book before. The artwork was leaking off the pages. I was seeing it all, and I wanted to see more.
Also important, is the romance isn’t just of the heterosexual variety. I thought Noah and Brian’s relationship was both usually more interesting than Jude and Oscar’s, and more sizzling. It was the slow building variety. And I was shipping them for so long! I was shipping Oscar and Jude too…just actually not quite as much.
I feel like I’m not even giving this book enough justice. It was powerful, strong, and unique. It’s one of my favorites of the year (I think I did vote for it on Goodreads as my favorite of the year) I give it a 10/10. Go read it.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

A Good Week in Books (93)

So, I had a rather uneventful book week. I did purchase two new books that are oh so pretty. But, I haven’t even finished reading one book this week! The book I’m reading now is super amazing, and I think it’s actually one of my favorite books of the year, but my mind is not focusing. My mind is on the novel I’m writing. I’m kind of dreading not finishing it by the end of November. I just hit 30,000 words this morning. And I kind of have 20,000 more words to write in a week…What am I thinking? I’m still trying to read 100 books this year for my Goodreads challenge, and I’m a little afraid of not finishing all these challenges.
On the plus side, I’m writing a YA book that I’m a little bit proud of. And even if I don’t finish it in 7 days (though, I will try!), I will definitely finish it soon at the crazy rate I have been writing it. When I’m not focusing and not reading all the YA books like I normally would, I am in book zone, thinking about my characters.
Any way, challenge worries aside, these are the lovely books I purchased and that I just cannot wait to get started on:

The Bane Chronicles
by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, and Maureen Johnson
The Body Electric by Beth Revis
How was your book week?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (118)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that allows bloggers to share which books we are most anticipating.
This week I am waiting on Lies I Told by Michelle Zink (4/7/15):

Description on Goodreads:
What if, after spending a lifetime deceiving everyone around you, you discovered the biggest lies were the ones you've told yourself?

Grace Fontaine has everything: beauty, money, confidence, and the perfect family.

But it’s all a lie.

Grace has been adopted into a family of thieves who con affluent people out of money, jewelry, art, and anything else of value. Grace has never had any difficulty pulling off a job, but when things start to go wrong on the Fontaines' biggest heist yet, Grace finds herself breaking more and more of the rules designed to keep her from getting caught...including the most important one of all: never fall for your mark.

Perfect for fans of Ally Carter, Cecily von Ziegesar, and Gail Carriger, this thrilling, high-stakes novel deftly explores the roles of identity and loyalty while offering a window into the world of the rich and fabulous.
Why I’m Waiting:
I really enjoyed the Prophecy of the Sisters series by Michelle Zink. I know she’s written more since then, but I still need to get to it. And this one sounds super awesome. It has an Ally Carter feel to it, and I’m all about it. The mixture of conning the wealthy and falling for her mark makes this main character sound beyond interesting. It will be fun to read something a bit more contemporary by this author too. I’m not sure I’m feeling the cover because it’s kind of yawns-ville, but I just know this book will be good.
What are you waiting on this week?

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Young Elites by Marie Lu

Summary (from Goodreads):
Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Adelina’s black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale, and now she has only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. Her cruel father believes she is a malfetto, an abomination, ruining their family’s good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars—they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites.

Teren Santoro works for the king. As Leader of the Inquisition Axis, it is his job to seek out the Young Elites, to destroy them before they destroy the nation. He believes the Young Elites to be dangerous and vengeful, but it’s Teren who may possess the darkest secret of all.

Enzo Valenciano is a member of the Dagger Society. This secret sect of Young Elites seeks out others like them before the Inquisition Axis can. But when the Daggers find Adelina, they discover someone with powers like they’ve never seen.

Adelina wants to believe Enzo is on her side, and that Teren is the true enemy. But the lives of these three will collide in unexpected ways, as each fights a very different and personal battle. But of one thing they are all certain: Adelina has abilities that shouldn’t belong in this world. A vengeful blackness in her heart. And a desire to destroy all who dare to cross her.

I’m a big Marie Lu fan. I loved the Legend Trilogy. It’s one of my all time favorite YA dystopias. When I heard a new book was in the works, I just about jumped for joy. Was this one as good as Legend? Not quite. Was it still a lot fun? Definitely.
I feel like everything I’ve been reading has been good, but nothing has been amazing in a while. I was kind of hoping for an amazing with this one, and got stuck with just another plain old good.
This book had a very French Revolution type vibe going for it. Though, the setting seemed more reminiscent of Venice, Italy. There seemed to be a lot of water and gondolas –not to mention giant, masked ball type celebrations. However, the Dagger Society felt a lot like the revolutionaries. They wanted the malfettos to be treated better, or at least equally to everyone else. All the plotting, spying, secret missions, royal politics, and training felt like revolutionary school for beginners. And all of this was super fun to read about.
Also, what’s not to like about a main character who’s missing one eye and has silver hair? She’s so not the typical hero. Yes, I felt bad for her. But, she had some dark mojo going on too. She thrived on people’s fear…And got a little too into the killing aspect of her job. However, I really couldn’t blame her. She got the short end of the stick on her childhood situation. Also, there was some seriously dark family drama going on with all the twisted flashbacks to the worst dad of the year. And the whole sister relationship aspect of the story was also really cool. I like stories where siblings are important and not just background noise.
So, why wasn’t this awesome sounding book amazing? I never really felt like I cared for any of the characters. I grew to love the main character and her sister. But everyone else? I could care less when death happened. I really was never afraid for the Dagger Society’s members. And I guess I wish I cared more for the people in here, particularly the romantic interest, who mostly just came off as a jerk to me.
I loved the plot. Lu knows how to write those suspenseful twists and turns. And wow, that ending was so good, and frankly a little unexpected. So, even though this wasn’t totally amazing, I still need book 2 now. Please. The story, the setting, the concept, the main character, and the revolutionary feel made this worth the read. I just wish I cared more about the characters. I give it 8/10.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers

Annith has watched her gifted sisters at the convent come and go, carrying out their dark dealings in the name of St. Mortain, patiently awaiting her own turn to serve Death. But her worst fears are realized when she discovers she is being groomed by the abbess as a Seeress, to be forever sequestered in the rock and stone womb of the convent. Feeling sorely betrayed, Annith decides to strike out on her own.

She has spent her whole life training to be an assassin. Just because the convent has changed its mind doesn't mean she has...
I have been a fan of this series since the beginning. Is anything not interesting about about a group of nun assassins? I find it a little odd that these books are always classified as historical fiction, when there are so many magical/supernatural elements to them. Is it because the supernatural elements involve religion? I don’t know. They definitely read more like good old-fashioned fantasy novels. Between the journeys, the war, the magic, and the very mythological feel, not a lot of it feels too historical. It does take place in the 15th century. But in a 15th century that accepts nuns as assassins, and allows women to work independently from men (as long as they are followers of a God/prophet).
I love a good book with girl power! And all three books in this series definitely are loaded with this. The beliefs and interactions with the gods (particularly the god of death) have a very Greek mythology type of feel to them. The author kind of combines the ideas of saints with Celtic gods (pre-existing the spread of Christianity). At least this is what I gathered from the note at the end of the book. I was reading an ARC, so hopefully the note is left in the final version because I found it super interesting.
While I find Annith’s character to be kind of fascinating, I actually think I liked this book the least out of the 3. I still enjoyed it. And there were so many good things here, but I just didn’t fall into it like I did with the first two. I also feel like I’m in a bit of reading rut. This is third or so book in a row that I was hoping to love a lot more than I did. I even DNF’ed a book this week (something I rarely do).
Any way, the things I loved were: the 3 assassin friends coming together again(!), the answers we finally receive (Finally, I understand the abbess and all of my questions were answered!), the way in which all three of the stories connected, the romance, the politics, the character of the duchess, and the Helloquin (you have to read it to learn what this is and why it was amazing).
What I didn’t love: nothing was surprising (there were 3 or so major twists that I kind of called from the first chapter and kind of wished would end even slightly different than how I predicted), the repetition, and the final resolution. What was repeated? There were a few too many scenes where Ismae’s and Sybella’s men would fret over their safety. Every time one of the assassins volunteered to do something there would be disputes. And while I guess this probably would happen, I’m not sure I needed to always see it. It became rather repetitive and boring. It made my two favorite characters seem boring to me. I eventually started skimming all the scenes that involved planning political schemes because they all ended the same way. I would have loved to see more of the three women interacting than seeing these disputes over and over.
I won’t talk too much about the end because I don’t want to spoil things. I guess I just wanted to be a little more surprised and a little more impressed. That’s all I’ll say. I did really enjoy the series. And this book certainly tied everything up really nicely. There are no unanswered questions. There are plenty of new, wonderful characters. I just wished for less repetition and more surprises. I give it an 8/10.