Just as beautiful as the last: The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater [REVIEW]

17370618The Dream Thieves by Maggie Steifvater
Series: The Raven Cycle#2
First published in September 2013
Tags: Young Adult, Fantasy

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Source: Purchased
Rating:  photo five stars_zpsr2o5iiuv.png

The second installment in the all-new series from the masterful, #1 NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater!

Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Ronan, Gansey, Blue, and Adam will be the same. Ronan, for one, is falling more and more deeply into his dreams, and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life. Meanwhile, some very sinister people are looking for some of the same pieces of the Cabeswater puzzle that Gansey is after…

This series, guys. This series. This is the type of thing I wish I could write. 

I don’t know what to say about this to be honest, because a lot of it will just be echoing my review of The Raven Boys, because the plot is still just as fantastic, the writing is just as stunning, and the characters are just as lovable. I don’t have any superlatives left. 

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I don’t get the hype: Caraval by Stephanie Garber [REVIEW]

27883214Caraval by Stephanie Garber
First published in January 2017
Tags: Young Adult, Fantasy

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Source: FairyLoot subscription box 

Rating:  photo two stars_zpsbcb0mxir.png

Whatever you’ve heard about Caraval, it doesn’t compare to the reality. It’s more than just a game or a performance. It’s the closest you’ll ever find to magic in this world . . .

Welcome, welcome to Caraval―Stephanie Garber’s sweeping tale of two sisters who escape their ruthless father when they enter the dangerous intrigue of a legendary game.


Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval, the far-away, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show, are over.


But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.


Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But she nevertheless becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with the other players in the game. And whether Caraval is real or not, she must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over, a dangerous domino effect of consequences is set off, and her sister disappears forever.

I don’t know, you guys, I’m the black sheep again.

black-sheep

This one just didn’t live up to the hype. I actually really disliked it for the most part and I’m having trouble understanding the hype at all. 

Sometimes I dislike books but still understand why people love them, like A Darker Shade of Magic. Those books aren’t bad at all, I was just personally bored by them for some reason. With this though… I think it’s a bad book. If you like it that’s great, I wish I did, but just… no. 

To make sure this review won’t be five hundred miles long, I’m just going to do it mostly in list form in the hopes that it will shorten it a little. 

But first, in case you didn’t bother reading the long synopsis, here’s the short version. Scarlett and Tella live with their controlling and abusive father. For years since she was a child, Scarlett’s been sending letters to Legend, the master of the legendary Caraval, a magical performance/game that changes locations every year, asking him to please bring Caraval to their island so she can experience the magic. Then suddenly one year, she receives a personal invitation from Legend himself. But once at Caraval, accompanied by a mysterious and hunky sailor, Tella disappears, and Scarlett realizes the game revolves around getting Tella back alive. 

Alright, so that’s a pretty interesting premise. A magical game that may or may not have life or death consequences. Alright, I’m on board. But it fell so very flat. 

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Atmospheric and haunting: We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson [REVIEW]

we-have-alwaysWe Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
First published in 1962
Tags: Adult, Classics, Gothic, Horror

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Source: Purchased

Rating:  photo four stars_zps2ktftgcp.png

Merricat Blackwood lives on the family estate with her sister Constance and her Uncle Julian. Not long ago there were seven Blackwoods—until a fatal dose of arsenic found its way into the sugar bowl one terrible night. Acquitted of the murders, Constance has returned home, where Merricat protects her from the curiosity and hostility of the villagers. Their days pass in happy isolation until cousin Charles appears. Only Merricat can see the danger, and she must act swiftly to keep Constance from his grasp.

First off I just have to say how much I love this particular edition of the book. The cover is beautiful and creepy, and the edges of the pages are frayed so they look old and worn. Gorgeous. My original plan with this had been to get it on my kindle, but I was powerless to resist it when I saw it in a bookstore. RIP wallet. 

Second, this is such an atmospheric book. It’s beautiful and gothic, but don’t be mistaken, this book (probably) won’t scare you, it’s not that kind of horror book. The horror is subtle and psychological, you won’t find anything supernatural here. If you go into it expecting that then you might be disappointed. It left me with a haunting feeling. 

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I’m not crying, you’re crying: Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt [ARC Review]

orbiting jupiter reviewOrbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt
Published on December 31 2015
Tags: Contemporary, Middle Grade, Young Adult

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Source: ARC  (NetGalley)

Rating:  photo four half_zpszfonypqk.png

A heartbreaking story, narrated by twelve-year-old Jack, whose family is caring for fourteen-year-old Joseph. Joseph is misunderstood. He was incarcerated for trying to kill a teacher. Or so the rumours say. But Jack and his family see something others in town don’t want to.

What’s more, Joseph has a daughter he’s never seen. The two boys go on a journey through the bitter Maine winter to help Joseph find his baby – no matter the cost.

I received a free ARC ebook copy from Penguin Random House UK via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

I was so happy to find this NetGalley even though it was published over a year ago, as it’s been on my TBR for quite some time now. I had wanted to read this book because I kept seeing reviews that talked about how it made them ugly cry and it intrigued me. 

I WAS STILL NOT PREPARED.

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Could have been better: And I Darken by Kiersten White (ARC review)

and i darken reviewAnd I Darken by Kiersten White
Series: The Conqueror’s Saga #1
My edition was published in June 2016 by Penguin Random House UK
Tags: Young AdultHistorical Fiction

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Source: ARC 

Rating: and i darken review

No one expects a princess to be brutal. And Lada Dragwlya likes it that way. Ever since she and her gentle younger brother, Radu, were wrenched from their homeland of Wallachia and abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman courts, Lada has known that being ruthless is the key to survival. She and Radu are doomed to act as pawns in a vicious game, an unseen sword hovering over their every move. For the lineage that makes them special also makes them targets.

Lada despises the Ottomans and bides her time, planning her vengeance for the day when she can return to Wallachia and claim her birthright. Radu longs only for a place where he feels safe. And when they meet Mehmed, the defiant and lonely son of the sultan, Radu feels that he’s made a true friend—and Lada wonders if she’s finally found someone worthy of her passion.


But Mehmed is heir to the very empire that Lada has sworn to fight against—and that Radu now considers home. Together, Lada, Radu, and Mehmed form a toxic triangle that strains the bonds of love and loyalty to the breaking point.

I received a free ARC ebook copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

I was so disappointed in this book. The premise sounded fantastic. What this is is basically a re-imagination of the life of prince Vlad III, also known as Vlad the Impaler or Vlad Dracula. He’s believed to have inspired Bram Stoker’s character Dracula. In And I Darken, Vlad is a girl called Lada. So I was intrigued. A young adult book about a female Vlad the Impaler??? Count me the hell in.

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Good, but not memorable: This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab [Review]

23299512This Savage Song by Victoria (V.E.) Schwab
Series: Monsters of Verity #1
First published in June 2016 by Greenwillow Books
Tags: Young AdultFantasy

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Source: Purchased

Rating:  photo three stars_zpsohkkn6ww.png

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


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

I don’t know how long this review will be, because I honestly don’t have that much to say. I have a very on-again-off-again relationship with V.E. Schwab. I gave Vicious a glowing 5 star review, it’s one of my all-time favorites and everyone should read it, but A Darker Shade of Magic bored me to tears. 

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There’s no other book like it: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater [Review]

15743650The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Series: The Raven Cycle #1
First published in September 2012 by Scholastic Press
Tags: Young AdultFantasy

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Source: Purchased

Rating:  photo five stars_zpsr2o5iiuv.png

“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.


Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.


His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.


But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.


For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.


From Maggie Stiefvater, the bestselling and acclaimed author of the
Shiver trilogy and The Scorpio Races, comes a spellbinding new series where the inevitability of death and the nature of love lead us to a place we’ve never been before.

I’ve gushed about this book a lot on this blog already, but it deserves a proper review as well so I’ll try to do this coherently. 

I’ve always been skeptical to this series, despite knowing how many people love it. First off, the covers look cheesy and the synopsis on the back of the book is even cheesier. The tagline needs to go. Combined, it all makes the book sound like your regular, dramatic YA romance. “Female character can’t kiss her true love or he will die.” Yawn. Well, THAT’S NOT EVEN WHAT THIS BOOK IS ABOUT. Even the synopsis from Goodreads focuses mostly on that, and it doesn’t do the book justice at all. At most, the true love’s death kiss is more on an overarching mystery that always looms in the background. Who is Blue’s true love? Is it actually Gansey? We’ve already seen he will (probably??) die, as Blue saw him as a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve, but how will he die? Why? 

Before reading the book I thought Blue was like Juliette in Shatter Me, that there was something physical about her that made her kiss lethal, but it’s not like that. Thank god. It’s not a power/curse she has. I think this is important to point out, because it’s way less cheesy this way. 

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