Hi there! I hope you’re having a wonderful day. I know that it’s been warming up around Michigan so I’m excited to read outside! I was sent a copy of this book by Harlequin Teen for an honest review, and I’m pleased to shared it with you today.

Synopsis: A new Black Witch will rise…her powers vast beyond imagining.

Elloren Gardner is the granddaughter of the last prophesied Black Witch, Carnissa

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Gardner, who drove back the enemy forces and saved the Gardnerian people during the Realm War. But while she is the absolute spitting image of her famous grandmother, Elloren is utterly devoid of power in a society that prizes magical ability above all else.

When she is granted the opportunity to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming an apothecary, Elloren joins her brothers at the prestigious Verpax University to embrace a destiny of her own, free from the shadow of her grandmother’s legacy. But she soon realizes that the university, which admits all manner of people—including the fire-wielding, winged Icarals, the sworn enemies of all Gardnerians—is a treacherous place for the granddaughter of the Black Witch.

As evil looms on the horizon and the pressure to live up to her heritage builds, everything Elloren thought she knew will be challenged and torn away. Her best hope of survival may be among the most unlikely band of misfits…if only she can find the courage to trust those she’s been taught to hate and fear.

Publisher: HarlequinTeen                                My Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Expected Release: 2 May 2017                        Source: HarlequinTeen/Publicist

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I don’t read reviews prior to reading books. I don’t think it’s a bad thing if you do! I like to form my own opinions of books before I see what others have to say, it’s just a personal preference of mine. That being said, I read a few of the reviews of this book when I was about half way through the book. I had been enjoying the book so far and was adding it to my Goodreads (finally). It had a low, low rating of 1.88 stars (avg), and it really caught my eye. I found that there was a reviewer on Goodreads who expressed extremely negative opinions about the book calling it racist, homophobic, and ablest – to name a few. While I don’t agree with her opinion, what really bothered me was that people jumped right on board with her before reading the book themselves and began to rate the book as 1 star. I think it’s fine that she rated it so low! People are entitled to their own opinions! However, it is unfair of the other members of Goodreads to immediately assume that that reviewer’s word is gospel. Her opinion of the book is just that – an opinion. What I write in my reviews may differ what you think about the book, and that is okay! I am allowed to think what I think and you are too. I think one thing people are forgetting here is that we need to read and think critically. And that means that we need to encounter things first-hand to see if things match up to what is being said before jumping to immediate conclusions.

With that rant out of the way – here are some more thoughts I had about the book!

I enjoyed this book! It was definitely high fantasy and a little different from the ones I’ve read before. I liked the various descriptions of the people and how intricate it was. I did find that a little confusing at times though, but not enough for it to really be a bother.

I found Elloren to be really annoying at first. She was irritating and I hated the thought process she went through and how she viewed her world. However, stepping back I could see the perspective the author wanted me to take. I read in the author’s letter that she was trying to mimic and grow a person who is prejudiced deeply, and Elloren really shows it. One thing I didn’t understand was how much more progressive her brothers were versus Elloren because they were raised in the same environment.

The development of the other characters was a fun thing to read about. I liked seeing the veil of prejudice come up as Elloren attended University. I felt like it showed how sheltered she was and ignorant of the world. My favorite character is Diana by far. She is strong willed and fierce.

The language of the book was a little awkward and repetitive at times, but I felt like it was pretty good for a debut novel.

Overall a good book to read, especially if you have time!

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂

Book Review: The Black Witch by Laurie Forest

Posted in Bloggers, Reviews, Sophie

Book Review & Giveaway: Alex and Eliza by Melissa de La Cruz

Hi guys & happy (belated) Easter (if you celebrate it, my family does). I’m here today to celebrate the recent release of this awesome novel by Melissa de La Cruz  Alex & Eliza. 

What you want to know about the book:

1777. Albany, New York.

Alex and Eliza
As battle cries of the American Revolution echo in the distance, servants flutter about preparing for one of New York society’s biggest events: the Schuylers’ grand ball. Descended from two of the oldest and most distinguished bloodlines in New York, the Schuylers are proud to be one of their fledgling country’s founding families, and even prouder still of their three daughters—Angelica, with her razor-sharp wit; Peggy, with her dazzling looks; and Eliza, whose beauty and charm rival that of both her sisters, though she’d rather be aiding the colonists’ cause than dressing up for some silly ball.

Still, she can barely contain her excitement when she hears of the arrival of one Alexander Hamilton, a mysterious, rakish young colonel and General George Washington’s right-hand man. Though Alex has arrived as the bearer of bad news for the Schuylers, he can’t believe his luck—as an orphan, and a bastard one at that—to be in such esteemed company. And when Alex and Eliza meet that fateful night, so begins an epic love story that would forever change the course of American history.

In the pages of Alex and Eliza, #1 New York Times bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz brings to life the romance of young Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Schuyler.

Publisher: Putnam                          My rating: 4/5 stars

Release Date: 11 April 2017          Source: Penguin RandomHouse

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Here are some initial thoughts when I finished the book:

I was enamored with this book! It was sweet and lovely. I love Eliza and her sisters – they seem to really pop off the page and become the women I would have wanted to be friends with. Eliza is like a real-life Lizzie Bennett – spunky, spirited, and quick-witted. She quickly became one of the women I love in literature. I definitely need to do more research on her!

I completely agree with my original self! It was a sweet read all around and I really enjoyed myself when I read it. Eliza was super fun to read and I love the voice that de La Cruz gave her. She is the woman I would have wanted to be if I had been alive during the Revolution. Throughout the book she becomes less of a woman in history (lesser known, too) to someone who is living and breathing within the pages. I love the life that de La Cruz has given her.

I haven’t jumped on the Hamilton craze yet. I know, I know, it’s pretty much blasphemy these days to say that but I haven’t had time to seek out the music. That being said, I really love how this illustrates history. I’m a big history junkie and this was right up my alley.

This reminded me of a colonial version of Pride and Prejudice. The banter between the main characters and the general voices of the characters really carried that vibe. I like to think that Darcy is a hopeless romantic at heart, so it was fun to see Alex’s side of the story as well as Eliza’s.

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Because I loved this book so much I’m giving away a hardcover copy! It’s US only (sorry guys, shipping isn’t cheap!). It ends on the 22nd (1 week from today). Just click the Rafflecopter link below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂

Hey there! I’m so happy to be working with Rockstar Book Tours today to bring you a review on Royce Rolls, the latest by Margaret Stohl.

Title: ROYCE ROLLS

Author: Margaret StohlRoyce Rolls(1).jpg

Pub. Date: April 4, 2017

Publisher: Freeform

Pages: 400

Formats: Hardcover, eBook, audiobook

Find it: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Goodreads

Sixteen-year- old Bentley Royce seems to have it all: an actual Bentley, tuition to a fancy private school, lavish vacations, and everything else that comes along with being an LA starlet. But after five seasons on her family’s reality show, Rolling with the Royces, and a lifetime of dealing with her narcissistic sister, Porsche, media-obsessed mother, Mercedes, and somewhat clueless brother, Maybach, Bentley wants out. Luckily for her, without a hook for season six, cancellation is looming and freedom is nigh. With their lifestyle on the brink, however, Bentley’s family starts to crumble, and one thing becomes startlingly clear– without the show, there is no family. And since Bentley loves her family, she has to do the unthinkable– save the show. But when her future brother-in- law’s car goes over a cliff with both Bentley and her sister’s fiance inside-on the day of the big made-for- TV wedding, no less-things get real.

Really real. Like, not reality show real.

Told in a tongue-in- cheek voice that takes a swipe at all things Hollywood, Royce Rolls is a laugh-out- loud funny romp with an LA noir twist about what it means to grow up with the cameras rolling and what really happens behind the scenes.

Here’s a little about the author!

The #1 New York Times bestselling author Margaret Stohl got her start as the head of theMargie.png Dark is Rising fan club in third grade in a highly gifted magnet school in Los Angeles. Going on to study at a creative writing program at UEA Norwich, England, and to write and direct an autobiographical one-act play at Amherst College—where she founded the school’s first women’s literary magazine, Madness This—Margaret knew she was a writer. After optioning two feature screenplays to Nickelodeon Pictures and Clasky-Csupo, Margaret began a sixteen-year career in videogames, co-founding 7 Studios game developer with her husband Lewis Peterson, and contributing to both Marvel’s Spiderman (ActivisionBlizzard) and Fantastic Four (7 Studios / ActivisonBlizzard) among many other titles—Dune 2000; Command & Conquer Red Alert Retaliation; Pirates of the Caribbean The Curse of Jack Sparrow; to name a few.

When Margaret co-wrote the first of the internationally bestselling Beautiful Creatures novels (published in nearly fifty countries, named Amazon’s top teen book of 2009, short-listed for the ALA’s 2009 Morris award, and released as a feature film from Warner Brothers) on a dare from her three daughters, she fell even more in love with teen culture. Her first sci-fi series, Icons, is now in development as a feature film with Alcon Entertainment. Her Black Widow series from Disney Publishing (Black Widow: Forever Red and Black Widow: Red Vengeance) is a welcome chance to rock a strong female character and to return to her beloved Marvel roots. She is also writing the Mighty Captain Marvel comics.

If asked, Margaret will tell you that the Women of Marvel panel at New York Comicon was the greatest single hour of her life, and that she fangirls all girls who read comics. As a co-founder of YALLFEST, the biggest YA book festival in the country, and its offspring YALLWEST, Margaret believes her readers are her kindred spirits and her tribe.

Margaret lives in Santa Monica with her husband, who builds drones and robots, and her three daughters, who are competitive epee fencers—and who, like Natasha Romanov, have always known how to rescue themselves.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Here are my thoughts about the book…

I had been putting off reading this book for a long time and I don’t know why I did anymore. After getting around the Core chapter I was instantly hooked into Bent’s story. She’s one that truly jumps off the page. 

One of my favorite parts was the family dynamic that is written into te story. It begins as this rigid business like thing but as the story goes on it evolves into something more closely resembling a real family. I love the relationhip between Bent and Bach. They have each other’s backs and it’s cool to see them fight for each other. I also liked the moments when the characters would do something out of their scripted roles. It made them more human and unpredictable. 

A defining characteristic of Bentley is her undying loyalty to her family. She goes to the end of the Earth to help them and doesn’t expect anything in return. (Though I think the latter is from years of doing these things and not being recognized for it.) I love that about her character, but I also love the way she developed into herself. She becomes her own woman and begins to assert herself, putting her dreams and wishes as a priority too. 

There’s a lot more mystery and intertwining pieces to this story than I originally thought. It was exciting to see how they all connected in the end and a bit of a surprise. I like how Stohl keeps you on your toes the entire time. 

There’s a giveaway for the book here!

3 winners will receive a finished copy of the book, US only. Click here for the link to the Rafflecopter!

Be sure to check out the other stops on this lovely tour!

Tour Schedule:

Week One:

4/10/2017- YA and Wine- Blogger Post

4/11/2017- The Mind of a Book Dragon- Review

4/12/2017- Novel Novice- Review

4/13/2017- Page Turners Blog- Blogger Post

4/14/2017- The Best Books Ever- Review

Week Two:

4/17/2017- Book Briefs- Review

4/18/2017- Tales of the Ravenous Reader- Blogger Post

4/19/2017- Seeing Double In Neverland- Review

4/20/2017- Mundie Moms- Review


4/21/2017- The Young Folks- Review

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂

Tour Stop: Royce Rolls by Margaret Stohl Review

Posted in Bloggers, Reviews, Sophie

Book Review:The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

Hey there! I’m here with a review on Becky Albertalli’s latest The Upside of Unrequited. This is due out this Tuesday!!!!!!!! This book was a riot! I could not put it down and I was so excited to see that it was in our bookstore’s January whitebox.

Synopsis:

Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love. No matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can’t stomach the idea of

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Goodreads

rejection. So she’s careful. Fat girls always have to be careful.

Then a cute new girl enters Cassie’s orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly’s cynical twin is a lovesick mess. Meanwhile, Molly’s totally not dying of loneliness—except for the part where she is. Luckily, Cassie’s new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. If Molly can win him over, she’ll get her first kiss and she’ll get her twin back.

There’s only one problem: Molly’s coworker, Reid. He’s a chubby Tolkien superfan with a season pass to the Ren Faire, and there’s absolutely no way Molly could fall for him.

Right?

Publisher: HarperTeen

Expected publication: 11 April 2017

Page #: 352

Edition: Hardcover, US

My rating: 5/5 stars

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I remember before I finished this book, I was riding the train on the way to Chicago for a Model UN meeting and I told my friend that the book was making me so happy and I couldn’t wait to finish it. About 20 minutes later, I walked back to her seat sobbing because I had finished the book. Needless to say, this book was phenomenal. I loved it every minute I spent reading it.

Last year I read Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda (review) and loved it. I was excited to read more by Albertalli, and I was definitely not disappointed. This is one of the books that, when I finished it, I instantly wanted to pick it back up and read it again. Is it possible that I can wipe my memory and reread it? Is that a thing? Better question, why isn’t it a thing yet? I bet you so many book lovers would love this. There is nothing better than reading a wonderful book for the first time.

But, I digress. Molly Peskin-Suso is so wonderful I wanted to hug her the entire book. I love the way her character develops throughout the story. She is absolutely hilarious – I found myself laughing out loud in public (no shame at all, the people staring at me were just jealous they weren’t reading what I was). She is a girl who struggles to find her voice and when she does it’s absolutely amazing.

The other characters are so wonderful too. I think I started eating more Cadbury Mini Eggs just because of Reid. Seriously guys, I’ve had more bags this year than usual and I’m totally tempted to buy more bags when they go on sale after Easter. Cassie is spunky and I love her spirit. Her character is a nice balance to Molly and it’s fun to see her interact with Molly. The entire Peskin-Suso family has to be one of my favorites, up there with the Weasleys. I love how mismatched they are and that even though they’re unconventional, it shows how much they are just like any other family out there.

I love the theme of sisterhood throughout the book. I have three sisters and a sister-in-law myself so I grew up with a lot of female bonds in my life. I love how Albertalli illuminates this special relationship and how it’s different for everyone. It’s sad to see Cassie and Molly grow up and apart but this is just a part of life that had to happen eventually. It’s one of the main struggles of the plot and I loved how it worked out in the end.

This is one you definitely need to get your hands on this year!

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂

 

Hi everyone! It’s Beth over at The Books Are Everywhere, and I’m here to talk about one of my new favourites! Here’s my review for the incredible Caraval, which don’t worry – I have begged Sophie to read 🙂

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Goodreads | Amazon

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.

Oh. My. Gosh. Where do I even start with this book? Well, let’s just say it took me only 2 days to finish this 407 page novel – and I wouldn’t say I’m a quick reader!

“Whatever you’ve heard about Caraval, it doesn’t compare to the reality.

This book is poetry. It is a spell, cast over every single reader. It is majestic, enchanting and truly mind-boggling. Stephanie has created such an amazing world in my head, and it has completely taken over my brain for the past couple of days.

It’s more than just a game or performance.

For a book with so many twists and turns, I also managed to follow every word. That is truly impressive for me. And for a fantasy book to capture my attention for that long, for so many hours when I should have been doing work, to inspire me to make both a playlist and a mood board (coming Thursday!), this book is just simply awesome.

Also, the romance isn’t cheesy! I’m going to try and do this spoiler-free, but OHMIGOD SHIPPING. SERIOUSLY. I SHIP THOSE TWO SO DAMN HARD. It wasn’t insta love. I didn’t know what was going to happen at any time. All of the reveals in this book came as a surprise – everything was so incredibly original!

Okay, so as you know I don’t usually fangirl over a novel, or characters. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever felt so invested in a fantasy world as I do now. I feel like this book has twisted my mind into loving circuses and carousels and beautiful, twisted cities with rivers for roads.

It’s the closest you’ll ever find yourself magic in this world.”

As you can probably gather, I also adored this world. Yes, it was dark and creepy. It was full of secrets and lies. It was twisty, and twisted. But at the same time, it was intriguing and captivating and just truly magical.

Stephanie Garber, I don’t know how I’m going to even attempt explain to you how grateful I am for your novel. This has to be the first fantasy I have truly fallen in love with, and is definitely the best fantasy I’ve ever read…and my favourite of the year so far. To put it simply – I LOVE YOU.

Oh, and to back up my claims about this book, it’s been out for only 21 days and it already has over 6000 Goodreads ratings. If that’s since the release, over 285 people have rated this book a day. And it has an overall rating of 4.14 stars. That means it has a higher rating than The Night Circus and Red Queen – two of the most famous, most hyped fantasy novels in YA fiction. No wonder everyone is talking about this novel.

So, without a doubt this book simply has to be given 5/5 moons from me. Gods teeth, it gets more than that. I’d give it 100 if I could!

P.S. UM. THIS BOOK IS GOING TO BE A MOVIE. FOX HAVE OFFICIALLY PURCHASED THE RIGHTS. I’M SO EXCITED!!

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Beth: Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Book Review: The Last of August by Brittany Cavallaro

There are so many next-books-in-a-series coming out and this is one I’ve been looking forward to since I finish A Study in Charlotte last March. Here I’ll be discussing the sequel The Last of August which was released on Valentine’s day. THERE WILL BE MILD SPOILERS FOR A STUDY IN CHARLOTTE SO PLEASE PROCEED WITH CAUTION IF YOU DON’T WANT TO BE SPOILED. You can find my review of A Study in Charlotte and a discussion on it here. Thank you to Justine Magazine for sending me an advance copy!

Things you might want to know about the book:

The Last of August (Charlotte Holmes #2)

In the second brilliant, action-packed book in the Charlotte Holmes trilogy, Jamie and Charlotte are in a chase across Europe to untangle a web of shocking truths about the Holmes and Moriarty families.

Jamie Watson and Charlotte Holmes are looking for a winter break reprieve in Sussex after a fall semester that almost got them killed. But nothing about their time off is proving simple, including Holmes and Watson’s growing feelings for each other. When Charlotte’s beloved uncle Leander goes missing from the Holmes estate—after being oddly private about his latest assignment in a German art forgery ring—the game is afoot once again, and Charlotte throws herself into a search for answers.

So begins a dangerous race through the gritty underground scene in Berlin and glittering art houses in Prague, where Holmes and Watson discover that this complicated case might change everything they know about their families, themselves, and each other.

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Release date: 14 February 2017

Page #: 336

Edition: Hardcover, US

My rating: 5/5 stars

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This novel picks up right where you get left off in A Study in Charlotte. Since it’s been almost a year since I’ve read the first book a few of the details were a bit hazy. I loved refamiliarizing myself with all the characters and getting to know the new ones too.

Charlotte Holmes is a fantastic character all around. She is prickly and calculating but that doesn’t make her less. If anything it makes her more. More human, more real. She continues to struggle with the sexual assault that she experienced, and throughout the book it remains a prominent part of her character’s troubles. (I don’t mean this in a dismissive way, sexual assault/violence is something you don’t simply “get over.”) Although this is something that continually gets in the way for her and her attraction to Jamie, it’s something I appreciate reading about. It adds dimensions to her character that I have longed to see in female characters. It speaks volumes to her overall strength as a woman.

The book is told mostly from Jamie’s perspective (of course, why wouldn’t Watson be telling the story, honestly). There are a few parts that Charlotte tells, but it’s mostly told from his point of view. I enjoy Jamie as a character. There are developments to his character that I found to be wonderful. He both knows how to be friends with and handle Charlotte, but on the flip side it seems like he’s shooting in the dark. He knows that she can handle herself, but his loyalty and caring spirit win out and he always is looking after her.

Their friendship dynamic is a weird one. It’s caught in between just friends and something more, and I don’t mind that it isn’t defined. I can’t wait to see how it plays out in the third (and final) book though. Something tells me the ambiguity will go away and something will establish itself one way or another. Or it could end ambiguously. At this point, they’re so mercurial I don’t know what to predict.

The overall plot line was interesting. I like how there were multiple parts interwoven. I didn’t know which one to keep my eye on and when you would forget one it would come back in curious ways. August Moriarty comes into play in this novel, and I grew fond of his character. Though Jamie (very much) dislikes him, I liked reading about a third character upsetting the balance of the Holmes/Watson duo.

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂

Posted in Bloggers, Reviews, Sophie

Book Review: Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

Hi there! I’m back at it again with another review this Sunday. This time it’s for Passenger by Alexandra Bracken. This made quite a splash when it was published last year (the day before my birthday if I may add) and it took me forever to actually read it, but my lovely friend Brittany totally did. I’m so glad to have read it, and I can’t wait to read Wayfarer.

Here’s some things about the book:

Passage, n.
i. A brief section of music composed of a series of notes and flourishes.
ii. A journey by water; a voyage.
iii. The transition from one place to another, across space and time.

 

Passenger (Passenger, #1)
Goodreads

In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles but years from home. And she’s inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she’s never heard of. Until now.

Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods—a powerful family in the colonies—and the servitude he’s known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes the insistent pull of the past that he can’t escape and the family that won’t let him go so easily. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, Nicholas’ passenger, can find. In order to protect her, he must ensure she brings it back to them—whether she wants to or not.

Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveler who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods’ grasp. But as they get closer to the truth of their search, and the deadly game the Ironwoods are playing, treacherous forces threaten to separate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home… forever.

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion                My rating: 5/5 stars

Release Date: 5 January 2016               Page #: 486

Edition: Hardcover, US

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I started reading this over Christmas break and I was super excited to get to it. I waited almost an entire year to actually read it and I can’t believe I did. What I loved most about it was Etta and her strength. I’m a sucker for strong female characters, and this definitely delivered.

I love different eras and this brought me right to them. I loved how detailed each setting was and how accurate it seemed to be. One of my weaknesses is that I’m a history junkie and learning about them even if it’s through fiction is awesome to me. It’s even better when they’re accurate and to my knowledge this one hits the nail on the head.

The story alternates points of view and it’s nice to see both sides of their story. I love seeing people and characters develop through the other characters’ perspectives especially in action books like this one.

Music is a huge element in this book and as a music nerd I kind of loved it. The idea of how things that are connected and interwoven through music and that music is a language everyone speaks is beautiful. I love how much it brings people together and that this was a big part in helping Etta especially come off the page. It added depth to the story that I’m not sure it would have had without it.

Overall this was a really exciting book. I moved through it at a generally fast clip, but didn’t have much time to sit down and read it. I will say that I enjoyed it when I did get the chance to read it in snippets.

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂

 

 

Book Review: Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven

Hello there! I hope you’ve had a good weekend so far. I’m busy in Chicago and I’ll be getting home tonight at a decent time (hopefully). Anyway, I’ll be reviewing Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven. Niven debuted in YA with All the Bright Places and I loved it soooo much. I met her twice last May when I went to BookCon and she is one of the loveliest people I know. (Shoutout to her for reviving that wonderful word.) If you haven’t read ATBP yet I definitely recommend you do.

Here’s what you need to know about the book:

Everyone thinks they know Libby Strout, the girl once dubbed “America’s Fattest Teen.” 28686840But no one’s taken the time to look past her weight to get to know who she really is. Following her mom’s death, she’s been picking up the pieces in the privacy of her home, dealing with her heartbroken father and her own grief. Now, Libby’s ready: for high school, for new friends, for love, and for every possibility life has to offer. In that moment, I know the part I want to play here at MVB High. I want to be the girl who can do anything.

Everyone thinks they know Jack Masselin, too. Yes, he’s got swagger, but he’s also mastered the impossible art of giving people what they want, of fitting in. What no one knows is that Jack has a newly acquired secret: he can’t recognize faces. Even his own brothers are strangers to him. He’s the guy who can re-engineer and rebuild anything, but he can’t understand what’s going on with the inner workings of his brain. So he tells himself to play it cool: Be charming. Be hilarious. Don’t get too close to anyone.

Until he meets Libby. When the two get tangled up in a cruel high school game—which lands them in group counseling and community service—Libby and Jack are both pissed, and then surprised. Because the more time they spend together, the less alone they feel. Because sometimes when you meet someone, it changes the world, theirs and yours.

Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers

Release date: 4 October 2016

Edition: Hardcover, US                                    Page #: 391                             My rating:4/5 stars

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I enjoyed this book – not as much as All the Bright Places, but I liked it in its own right. The entire time I read the book I found myself both frustrated and in love with the characters. I was invested in seeing what would happen to them, and I liked how it alternated the chapters.

I was not as emotionally wrecked after this book like I was for All the Bright Places. Instead I felt hopeful and happy with the way things ended for the characters. Jack and Libby are adorable and I definitely squealed (out loud) reading some parts of the novel. This book gave me happy, mushy feels a lot and my inner romantic was in heaven.

One of my favorite parts of the book was how it was structured. The alternating perspectives along with the small background chapters came together nicely. They portrayed each character beautifully and I could really understand them both. I loved seeing Jack and Libby’s relationship unfold from both sides! It was like being friends with the guy and gal in a flirtationship and watching them get together. I am just a big mushy romantic sometimes so this definitely made me smile a lot.

The main themes throughout the book address mental health. I personally cannot speak on the struggles of mental health, but I sympathize with people who do. I always enjoy reading different books with characters that have mental health or talk about it in a way that is accurate and different. I commend Niven for writing not one, but two great novels that deal with this sensitive subject. Getting different perspectives out there are always a great way to build empathy between people. It also gives people like me a better idea of what it’s like for people who deal with mental health issues (along with other ones about race, religion, identity, etc.).

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂

Book Review: Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

Hey there! I hope you’ve been having a lovely weekend. It started snowing again back here in Michigan and it’s quite blustery – a great day to read a book in my opinion! Today I’ll be talking about Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo. This is the sequel to Six of Crows and is the last book in this duology. Please note there will be a few spoilers for Six of Crows in this review. If you would like to read my thoughts on the first book click this link here.

You have been warned!!

Here’s what you probably want to know about the book:

When you can’t beat the odds, change the game.

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Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and badly weakened, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz’s cunning and test the team’s fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city’s dark and twisting streets―a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of the Grisha world.

Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.

Release Date: 20 September 2016

Edition: US, Hardcover                                   My rating: 5/5 stars

Page #: 546

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This was a fantastic ending to a fantastic beginning. It starts you right off in the middle of the action much like Six of Crows did. I loved familiarizing myself with the characters again. I have to be honest – Inej is totally my favorite of the six. Next of course is Nina – I mean how can you not love her and her spirit?

One element that pleasantly surprised me was the multilayered plot line. With the first book it was focused solely on getting into the prison, but with this one there were multiple schemes going on at once. I loved to see how it all tied together and how the characters reacted to each other. When all hope seemed to be lost there was always something Kaz had up his sleeve to counteract them.

There is something I love so much about the world building Bardugo used. It thrusts you so completely into a whole new world that I was intoxicated with a culture that doesn’t even exist. I wish I could visit Ketterdam and the world of the Grisha. It’s thrilling to be part of this world even for a little bit.

Toward the end there was a plot twist I was not expecting. I couldn’t fathom what happened and why it happened. I was happy with the way things before this happened!

Alright, I’ll see you guys again tomorrow!

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂