Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2) #BookReview #SpoilerFree

Crooked Kingdom, the conclusion to the Six of Crows duology, is an epic Fantasy novel that has the magic of Harry Potter and Sword of Truth, mixed with the friendships of The Lord of the Rings, the adventure of The Wheel of Time, and the sneaky, twisty plot of Game of Thrones. 📚

Crooked Kingdom

 

Title: Crooked Kingdom

Author: Leigh Bardugo

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy, LGBTQ

Publisher: Henry Holt and Company

Date published: Sept 2016

Page Count: 546

 

 

synopsis

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

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.”

My Review

photography – READING UNDER THE RAIN

After hearing I didn’t need to read the Grisha Verse trilogy before reading Six of Crows, I decided to go ahead and give it a go. The first book of the duology, Six of Crows, was great, but Crooked Kingdom mashed together everything I love about all my favorite books.

Let’s start by talking about the beautiful cover, and unique red pages which clearly represent bloodshed and love. The maps at the beginning of the book help immerse the reader into this world. Crooked Kingdom is divided into six parts: Forsaken, A Killing Wind, Brick By Brick, The Unexpected Visitor, Kings & Queens, and Action & Echo.

Mohammed Arabey’s review of Crooked Kingdom

Angela Jones-Cuéllar on Twitter: "I'm so pumped for ...

Crooked Kingdom starts one month after Kaz Brekker and his crew left Djerholm. They have been back in Ketterdam, a city on Kerch island, for a week. Told with multiple perspectives, I enjoyed learning more about each character through another’s eyes.

The Six of Crows

Kaz Brekker, 17 year-old gang member of The Dregs, ruthless, resourceful, devious Leader of the Six of Crows, focused on getting revenge against Van Eck and Pekka Rollins. I love his witty sarcasm: “It was that or snap her neck and make it look like she fell down the stairs, Wylan. I think I showed remarkable restraint.”

 

 

 

 

 

Inej: 16-year-old tenacious, talented, and nicknamed the Wraith. She has a strong connection to her Suli heritage. To one of her captors, also a Suli, she said, “You are forsaken. As you have turned your back on me, so will they turn their backs on you.”

 

 

 

 

Jesper: 17-year-old carefree, comical, Grisha sharpshooter with a gambling addiction. Crooked Kingdom gives us Jesper’s heart-breaking story of losing his mother as a child. He moved to Kerch to study at University, but was drawn to the other part of town where he met Kaz.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nina: 17-year-old confident, beautiful, Grisha Heartrender. In Six of Crows, Nina was able to make Wylan look like Kuwei by using jurda parem, an addictive drug that boosts a Grisha’s power. The withdrawal from the drug almost took her life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Matthias: 18-year-old big, tough, former Grisha hunter, in love with Nina. She helped open his mind so he could better understand the good of Grisha abilities. He helped her through the jurda withdrawal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wylan: Van Eck’s 16-year-old son, illiterate, with exceptional demolition skills. His father tried to have him killed, he ran away and joined the Six of Crows.

 

 

 

 

 

Other Characters
Van Eck: powerful, Ketterdam mercher (Wylan’s father).

Pekka Rollins: leader of the Dime Lions (another gang in Ketterdam) who swindled Kaz and his brother Jordie when they were new to the city.

Kuwei: Grisha Inferni. His father helped to create jurda parem, a powerful drug that enhances Grisha power, and now that his father is dead everyone wants to know where Kuwei is so they can gain access to the recipe.

Colm Fahey: Jesper’s father, jurda farmer.

Throughout Six of Crows I struggled to care about Wylan. Crooked Kingdom gave me everything I needed to add him to my long list of favorite characters. We get to see just how horrible his father treated him and it broke my heart.

“The letters from his father continued to arrive, once, sometimes twice a week. Wylan didn’t know what to make of them. Were they threats? Taunts? He stashed them in a stack beneath his mattress, and sometimes at night he thought he could feel the ink bleeding through the pages, up through the mattress and into his heart like dark poison.”

I will also admit that I wasn’t a fan of Kaz after reading the first book. Crooked Kingdom unveiled a new Kaz that I fell for.

“He was going to break my legs ,” she said, her chin held high, the barest quaver in her voice. “Would you have come for me then, Kaz? When I couldn’t scale a wall or walk a tightrope? When I wasn’t the Wraith anymore?”
Dirtyhands would not. The boy who could get them through this, get their money, keep them alive, would do her the courtesy of putting her out of her misery, then cut his losses and move on.
“I would come for you,” he said, and when he saw the wary look she shot him, he said it again. “I would come for you. And if I couldn’t walk, I’d crawl to you, and no matter how broken we were, we’d fight our way out together—knives drawn, pistols blazing. Because that’s what we do. We never stop fighting.”

Jesper + Wylan ♥ I love how Bardugo wrote about the attraction between Jesper and Wylan. It’s always refreshing to see LGBTQ representation in popular Young Adult books.

My one and only complaint is that there was too much romance for me. Nina + Matthias, Wylan + Jesper, Inej + Kaz…did they really need to pair up romantically? However, they are a group of teenagers, so it is realistic for them to pair up I suppose.

Quotes

“Sometimes,” said Kaz, “a proper thief doesn’t just take. He leaves something behind.”

“When fear arrives, something is about to happen.” – Inej

Suspenseful, surprising, and filled with action, Crooked Kingdom weaves important topics such as race, freedom, and slavery within a story that will keep you thoroughly entertained and leave you heart-broken, but satisfied.

About the author.jpg

Leigh Bardugo is the #1 New York Times bestselling and USA Today bestselling author of the Six of Crows Duology and the Shadow and Bone Trilogy, as well as the upcoming Wonder Woman: Warbringer (Aug 2017) and The Language of Thorns (Sept 2017).

She was born in Jerusalem, grew up in Los Angeles, and graduated from Yale University. These days, she lives and writes in Hollywood where she can occasionally be heard singing with her band.

http://www.leighbardugo.com/index1.html

https://twitter.com/Lbardugo

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Blue Lily, Lily Blue ⚘ (The Raven Cycle Book 3) #BookReview

📓 Blue Lily, Lily Blue, the third book of “The Raven Cycle” series by Maggie Stiefvater, is Young Adult Fantasy with a sprinkle of paranormal and magic.  📚 😌

blue lily, lily blue

Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

Title: Blue Lily, Lily Blue

Author: Maggie Stiefvater

Genre: YA Fantasy/Paranormal/Magic

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Date published: October 2014

Page Count: 391

 

 

synopsis

Blue Sargent has found things. For the first time in her life, she has friends she can trust, a group to which she can belong. The Raven Boys have taken her in as one of their own. Their problems have become hers, and her problems have become theirs.

The trick with found things, though, is how easily they can be lost.

Friends can betray.
Mothers can disappear.
Visions can mislead.
Certainties can unravel.”

My Review

2,700+ Free Toploader music playlists | 8tracks internet radioThis series takes place in a fictional town, Henrietta, Virginia, on top of an ancient ley line, near a magical forest called Cabeswater. In the previous book, The Dream Thieves, Adam had given himself to the ley line, which helped to restore its power. Adam can now feel and hear Cabeswater, his friend Persephone is teaching him how to communicate with the enchanted forest so he can learn how to repair the ley line, making the mysterious woods strong enough to help their friend Gansey wake the Raven King (Glendower).

THE RAVEN BOYS by itsnucleicacid on DeviantArt

Their friend Ronan is the Greywaren, the Dream Thief, able to bring objects and people back from his dreams. Blue can increase paranormal power. She’s recently discovered that not only can she amplify abilities, she can also block them from being able to use her power. Adam, Gansey, Ronan, and Blue receive help from Noah (ghost friend), Calla, Persephone, Mr. Gray, Dr. Roger Malory, and a few new characters, on their quest to find Blue’s mother, Maura and wake the Glendower.

“How ungrateful they’d become, how greedy for better wonders.”

 I even enjoy the unlikable characters, like Greenmantle’s spoiled wife. I really hated her, but she man she’s hilarious.

Persephone ("the Raven Cycle" by Maggie Stiefvater) #art # ...

 

My favorite character throughout the series is Persephone, followed closely by Adam, Ronan, and Blue. I also enjoyed the new character Jesse Dittley quite a bit. He reminded me of Haggard from Harry Potter. Likewise, I appreciated another new character, Gwenllian, a crazy woman with raven black hair who claims to know Blue’s father Artemus.

 

I am incredibly interested to see what happens between Ronan and Adam.

“Queens and kings
Kings and queens
Blue lily, lily blue
Crowns and birds
Swords and things
Blue lily, lily blue”

Blue Lily, Lily Blue is a driven by a suspenseful plot with fabulous characters. I found myself holding my breath, wanting to read “just one more chapter”, and yes…even shed a tear.

100+ ideas to try about The Raven Boys | Boys, Maggie ...

There isn’t much I disliked. I will say that I am not a Gansey fan. I find him annoying, and not worthy of being the “leader” of their group. I don’t see what Blue sees in him. I also have a problem with how all the characters accept the fact that Mr. Gray murdered people as a hitman, and yet, that doesn’t change the way they feel about him. I don’t get it. Shouldn’t they have a hard time trusting him? What has he done that made them believe he’s become a better person?

Blue Lily, Lily Blue is an imaginative story about friendship that broke my heart. I can’t wait to read the last book of the series, The Raven King.

 

 

Whichwood (Furthermore #2) By Tahereh Mafi #BookReview #SpoilerFree

📓 Whichwood, the sequel to Furthermore, is a Young Adult Fantasy novel about a thirteen year old girl named Laylee who is overwhelmed by her fated task of washing dead bodies before sending them on their journey to Otherwere. Alice and Oliver (two characters from Furthermore) come to help Laylee. 📚 😌

Whichwoodcover

 

Title: Whichwood (Furthermore #2)

Author:  Tahereh Mafi

Genre: YA Fantasy

Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers

Date published: November 2017

Page Count: 368

 

 

synopsis

A new adventure about a girl who is fated to wash the bodies of the dead in this companion to Furthermore.

Our story begins on a frosty night…

Laylee can barely remember the happier times before her beloved mother died. Before her father, driven by grief, lost his wits (and his way). Before she was left as the sole remaining mordeshoor in the village of Whichwood, destined to spend her days washing the bodies of the dead and preparing their souls for the afterlife. It’s become easy to forget and easier still to ignore the way her hands are stiffening and turning silver, just like her hair, and her own ever-increasing loneliness and fear.

But soon, a pair of familiar strangers appears, and Laylee’s world is turned upside down as she rediscovers color, magic, and the healing power of friendship.” Goodreads

 

My Review

This dark and tragic story takes place during Winter in a magical city called Whichwood, a mystical place connected by rivers and canals. In Summer residents travel by boat, in Winter they travel by sleigh over ice. The city smells of cinnamon-mint, and all you can hear is music and laughter. A girl named Laylee Layla Fenjoon lives far from the city, unable to hear the melody or feel happiness, she takes her anger out on everyone around her, and must somehow learn how to forgive others and herself.

The main character from Furthermore, Alice, arrives in Whichwood so she can fulfill her task of helping Laylee. I can’t figure out why, but Alice drives me right up the wall. She’s incredibly self-centered and annoying. Oliver’s character was flat and almost completely unnecessary. Laylee’s neighbor, Benyamin, is my favorite character. He’s a thirteen year old boy who’s always covered in insects – and can CONTROL all insects by speaking with them.

If the dead aren’t washed by a mordeshoor within 90 days then their ghost could break away from their body’s location and “steal skins from the first persons they could find”. We are on day 87, 88, and 89 – this fact creates a fantastic feeling of necessity, tension, and excitement that help to make this book a page turner.

I love how we get lots of little details that enrich the five senses. The idea that every mordeshoor is “born with two skeletons: one they wore under their skin, and another they wore on their back” is an outstanding detail that is super creative and unique.

I do have a major beef with the marketing of this book. I don’t think this is a Middle Grade read. Here’s why:

1. Laylee  has some very dark thoughts. “But even the strong and the wise and the ancient have faltered without compassion or companion, and while Baba had madness and Maman had nonsense, Laylee, in their absence, had locked hands with loneliness, darkness feeding darkness until all light was lost.” I know there are children who suffer from depression/anxiety (I was one), but I think there are many young readers who will find Laylee’s thoughts excessively dark.

2. There are some graphic details which I find more suitable for a Young Adult novel than a Middle Grade one. For example, when Laylee pulled the fingernails and toe nails off the dead bodies.

3. TV and movie ratings say that for children aged 7-12 the story can have bloodless violence. Yet, in Whichwood there most certainly is blood, and in fact the book says “a strange and bloody madness awaits”.  This story also has strange physical abnormalities, and self-reflection, which is more suitable for a Young Adult story.

Middle Grade is usually accepted as geared towards children aged 8-12 years old. I strongly feel that Whichwood is not fitting for a child that age. That being said, I REALLY liked this read and give it 4 stars.

Whichwood is a unique, dark tale about pain, depression, anxiety, but also about gratefulness, second chances, and compassion. I recommend this one to fantasy fans older than 15 years old.

About the author.jpg

She was born in a small city somewhere in Connecticut and currently resides in Santa Monica, California, where she drinks too much caffeine and finds the weather to be just a little too perfect for her taste.
When unable to find a book, she can be found reading candy wrappers, coupons, and old receipts.” Goodreads

My favourite book and movie: The Last Unicorn ~ Spoiler-Free Book Review

The Last Unicorn (2008)

Title: The Last Unicorn

Author:  Peter S. Beagle

Genre: Fiction: Fantasy, Young Adult, Classic

Publisher: Penguin Roc

Date published: 40th Anniversary Edition published 2008. First published 1968.

Page Count: 294

 

 

synopsis

She was magical, beautiful beyond belief — and completely alone…

The unicorn had lived since before memory in a forest where death could touch nothing. Maidens who caught a glimpse of her glory were blessed by enchantment they would never forget. But outside her wondrous realm, dark whispers and rumours carried a message she could not ignore: “Unicorns are gone from the world.”

Aided by a bumbling magician and an indomitable spinster, she set out to learn the truth. but she feared even her immortal wisdom meant nothing in a world where a mad king’s curse and terror incarnate lived only to stalk the last unicorn to her doom…” https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29127.The_Last_Unicorn?ac=1&from_search=true

 

My Review

Two hunters who have failed to track down their prey are traveling through the unicorn’s forest. She overhears one hunter tell the other that this forest must be protected by the last unicorn. They decide to move on and the unicorn is left to wonder whether she truly is the last of her kind. She decides to leave her forest and find the other unicorns. On her journey she meets a talking butterfly who tells her about the Red Bull who chased all the other unicorns away.

“He was the color of blood, not the springing blood of the heart but the blood that stirs under an old wound that never really healed. A terrible light poured from him like sweat, and his roar started landslides flowing into one another. His horns were as pale as scars.” – Decribing the Red Bull

While sleeping the unicorn is captured by a witch named Mommy Fortuna who runs a traveling carnival of caged mythical creatures, including the evil Harpy, Celaeno. Mommy Fortuna tells the unicorn that the Red Bull belongs to King Haggard.

“…the Red Bull will know you when he sees you.” – Mommy Fortuna

Schmendrick, a magician who works for Mommy Fortuna, helps the unicorn escape. Molly Grue, a middle-aged woman, joins Schmendrick and the unicorn as they travel to the castle where King Haggard and his son Prince Lír live.

 

The Last Unicorn, a third person narrative, is a story about how we are often our own worst enemy, and when we find ourselves in the most dire situation surrounded by evil we must let love show us to believe in ourselves and each other.

“You must never run from anything immortal. It attracts their attention.” – The Unicorn

There is a ton of story with breath-taking language smashed into this small book. I cannot name one character as my favourite. Schmendrick, Molly, King Haggard, Prince Lir, the Red Bull, are all extremely well-written characters with distinct and authentic personalities. The unicorn and Lady Amalthea are the same being, and yet feel like two completely different characters.

“The hero has to make a prophecy come true, and the villain is the one who has to stop him – though in another kind of story, it’s more often the other way around. And a hero has to be in trouble from the moment of his birth, or he’s not a real hero. It’s a great relief to find out about Prince Lír. I’ve been waiting for this tale to turn up a leading man.” – Schmendrick the Magician

The Last Unicorn has been my favourite movie since I was a child. I cannot possibly count how many times I’ve watched it. For some reason, I’ve never read the book. I wonder that perhaps I was afraid the book would let me down, or I would realize my most treasured movie was a horrible adaptation. I’m happy to say the book took my breath away. I LOVE the movie, but the book is SO MUCH BETTER than the movie. I know I will be re-reading this book many, many times.

“‘Haggard, I would not be you for all the world,’ he declared. ‘You have let your doom in by the front door, though it will not depart that way.” – Mabruk (King Haggard’s magician)

READ THIS. Even if you don’t like fiction. Even if you don’t like fantasy. Even if you don’t like unicorns! 🙂

 

About the author.jpg

Peter Beagle.jpgPeter S. Beagle

“Peter Soyer Beagle (born April 20, 1939) is an American fantasist and author of novels, nonfiction, and screenplays. He is also a talented guitarist and folk singer. He wrote his first novel, A Fine and Private Place , when he was only 19 years old. Today he is best known as the author of The Last Unicorn, which routinely polls as one of the top ten fantasy novels of all time, and at least two of his other books (A Fine and Private Place and I See By My Outfit) are considered modern classics.”

 

Renegades by Marissa Meyer – Spoiler Free Book Review!

RenegadesRenegades (Renegades #1)

Published November 2017
552 pages
YA Sci-Fi Fantasy
Secret Identities. Extraordinary Powers. She wants vengeance. He wants justice.
The author of The Lunar Chronicles has brought a brand new story about superheroes, villains, freedom, and power. The story takes place in Gatlon City – which reminded me of Batman’s city, Gotham. This world has prodigies – people with superpowers. The general public was not supportive of prodigies. Like many superhero stories, the prodigies are feared, unaccepted, and were hunted until Ace Anarchy decided that needed to change. He put together a group of prodigies, called the Anarchists, who tore the city apart. They destroyed government and law enforcement, thinking they were giving people freedom. The Age of Anarchy lasted for 20 years. Different gangs of prodigies were formed, and began fighting for control. In response, a band of superheroes called the Renegades formed, and worked together to stop the Anarchists.
Nova is a six-year-old girl, living with her mom, dad, and baby sister Evie in a small apartment. Nova has a gift, she can put people to sleep with one touch. Her father is also a prodigy who can “pull threads of energy out of the air” and sculpt objects with this energy. As Nova was watching her father making something new, she asked him what he was making. One evening, Nova’s family are killed by a man working for a villain gang. She managed to survive by putting the assailant to sleep. Nova’s father always told her that if anything bad happened the Renegades would come to save them. They let her down. Her Uncle Alec – also known as, Ace Anarchy, found her, raised her, and trained her to become Nightmare.
Ten years later, it’s the 9th anniversary of the The Day of Triumph, when the Renegades took on the Anarchists and won. To celebrate this day the city holds a Renegade Parade. Nightmare and her team of villains plan an attack at the parade to take out the Council, founding members of the Renegades. While at the parade Nova meets Adrian, also known as Sketch. He is also a prodigy, who can make his drawings come to life.
In the first couple of chapters there is a lot of action and we are introduced to a bunch of characters. Ingrid – The Detonator, Phobia, Honey – Queen Bee, Winston – The Puppeteer, Leroy – Cyanide, and Nova – Nightmare, are Anarchists. The Council are Hugh Everhart (Captain Chromium), Simon Westwood (The Dread Waren), Tamaya (Thunderbird), Evander (Blacklight), and Kasumi (Tsunami). At this parade we also meet more Renegades: Magpie, Red Assassin, Smokescreen, and the Sentinel. See what I mean? Way too many names! It would have been a lot better to have just their superhero/villain name, then introduce their real personas later on.
One cannot be brave who has no fear.
Because Nova wears a mask and a hood when she is Nightmare, the Renegades don’t know who she really is or what she looks like. She decides to compete at the Renegade Trials so she can become a Renegade and spy on them from the inside.
One of the most interesting Renegades is a boy named Max who lives in a glass room at Renegade Headquarters. There are so many questions I have about Max and I hope the next book gives me more about his story.
I also enjoyed the same-sex relationship between Captain Chromium and The Dread Waren, who adopted Adrian (Sketch) after his mother was killed. Adrian is convinced Nightmare knows who murdered his mother. He creates a secret alter-ego, the Sentinel, in an attempt to find Nightmare and hopefully get answers he’s been wanting for many years.
Even though there are info-dumps, and the first 100 pages are kind of confusing, I REALLY enjoyed this book and gave it 5 stars on Goodreads. There are a lot of questions to be answered, and I’m extremely interested to see what becomes of these characters. I am also hoping that we meet more villains because we met a bunch of Renegades, but not very many villains. The story is a little longer than it needs to be. The middle part slows down quite a bit, and there is a lot that could have been cut. BUT! It’s a fun read and I LOVED it!
During the last 10 pages my jaw dropped further with each page. I did NOT see that coming and I LOVE it when an author can blindsided me like that. If you’re a fan of The Lunar Chronicles you’re gonna like Renegades. Highly recommend this one!

The Waste Lands (The Dark Tower Book 3) By Stephen King #SpoilerFree #BookReview

The Waste Lands The Waste Lands (The Dark Tower #3)

By Stephen King, Illustrated By Ned Dameron

Published by Plume January 1992 (first published August 1991)

ISBN 0452267404

422 pages

 

The Waste Lands is an epic fantasy horror science fiction story with bad-ass gunslingers and sociopathic bad guys brought to you by Stephen King. King begins The Waste Lands novel with an “argument”, providing a quick summary of the first two books, along with some intriguing insights. The story then picks up “some months” after the ending of The Drawing of the Three, over 60 miles from the Western Sea in Mid-World. Roland Deschain of Gilead, the Last Gunslinger, has drawn two companions into his world, Eddie and Susannah Dean, who have agreed to help him find the Dark Tower. Eddie was once the Prisoner. Susannah, the Lady of the Shadows, was once Odetta Holmes and Detta Walker. While Roland is training Susannah how to shoot she confesses that she knows there has been something wrong with him since the conflict on the beach. He claims that there is nothing wrong. While they are talking, Eddie is leaning against a tree whittling away at a piece of wood when they all hear an enormous crash in the woods.

Mir, parasite-infested, largest and oldest creature in the Great West Woods charges toward Eddie, who manages to scramble up the highest tree nearby.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Roland’s shoulders Susannah successfully shoots the spinning rusty radar-dish on Mir’s head, which “kills” him. Roland tells them this enormous bear is one of the twelve Guardians. It is 2,000-3,000 years old and its real name is Shardik. The Great Old Ones created the twelve cyborg Guardians to stand watch at the twelve portals. The Thirteenth Portal, which rules all the worlds, is found at the Dark Tower. Roland explains that if they can find the portal Shardik was protecting they would be able to follow a straight line to the Dark Tower. As they journey to the portal Roland is slowly going more insane. He finally tells them the tale of his journey through the desert, under the mountains, and how he sacrificed Jake in order to catch up with the Man in Black. Roland has two memories of what happened at the Waystation – one where he met Jake, and one where he didn’t. Time travel is a bitch ain’t it? Roland throws the Man in Black’s jaw bone into the fire and Eddie watches it change and become a key. Eddie is convinced that he has to remember the exact shape of the key. After finding Shardik’s portal Roland, Eddie, and Susannah begin their journey traveling along one of the magnetic-type Beams which help to bind and hold this world together. Eddie is overwhelmed by an urge to cut a piece of tree next to them. He has no idea why, but he believes he is meant to carve this piece of wood, replicating the key he saw in the fire.

We then flip to Jake’s perspective. It’s May 31st, 1977. We get to learn more about Jake’s childhood, family, and school. Jake thinks he’s going mad. He hears voices in his head who insist Jake was hit and killed by a car on May 9. During the last ten days Jake has become fascinated by doors. He’s going about his days, attempting to pretend that he’s okay.

While in class he glances at the title of the final paper he has no memory writing, “My Understanding of Truth”. He continues searching for the door that will take him back to Roland’s world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Understanding of Truth

The gunslinger is the truth.
Roland is the truth.
The Prisoner is the truth.
The Lady of Shadows is the truth.
The Prisoner and the Lady are married. That is the truth.
The way station is the truth.
The Speaking Demon is the truth.

Roland let me die. That is the truth.
I still love him.
That is the truth.

When is a door not a door? When it’s a jar, and that is the truth.
Blaine is the truth.
Blaine is the truth.

You have to watch Blaine all the time, Blaine is a pain, and that is the truth.
I’m pretty sure that Blaine is dangerous, and that is the truth.

I want to go back and that is the truth.
I have to go back and that is the truth.

Choo-choo, and that is the truth.


 

It took me a long time to read The Waste Lands, but that was not because I wasn’t enjoying it. It’s definitely the most exciting book in the Dark Tower series so far. My favorite character is Oy, a billy-bumbler that Roland and his crew meet during their journey. Oy has black and gray striped fur and gold-ringed eyes. He’s intelligent and can mimic what he hears. I mean, it’s the perfect pet! I really want a billy-bumbler for Christmas. Maybe I could dye my cat’s fur to make him look like one.

King has an amazing ability to create characters who are unbelievable and yet they feel completely real. I don’t want to spoil the story, so I’ll just say Roland’s crew meet some pretty interesting characters: a Demon, a group of old folks at the river crossing, Gasher, the Tick-Tock Man, and Blaine the Mono Rail. There are many beautiful illustrations throughout the book,  but they aren’t located in the right spots during the story. I don’t know why this bothered me so much, but it did. The pace was extremely slow in between extremely intense moments. I find the romance between Eddie and Susannah slightly annoying at times and feel like it could have been left out. Maybe there IS a reason for their relationship, I guess I’ll find out as I keep reading the series. There are a lot of unanswered plot points in the first three books, and I’m really needing answers for at least a few. FYI – The Waste Lands ends on a BIG cliff hanger. It took King six years to publish the next book and I’m extremely grateful that I don’t have to wait six years before reading Wizard and Glass.

I recommend this one to anyone 16 years and older (sex, violence, swearing) who likes to leave their troubles behind and enter fantastical worlds, perhaps via Blaine the talking train 😉

Six of Crows – Spoiler Free Book Review

Six of CrowsSix of Crows (Six of Crows #1)

Young Adult, Fantasy
Published September 2015
Six of Crows, set in the same world as New York Time’s Bestselling series The Grisha Trilogy, is the first book of the “Six of Crows” duology. It’s a heist story written from a few different points of view, focusing on themes such as building relationships, self-discovery, identity, substance abuse, with a couple LGBT characters. It takes place in Ketterdam at the end of Winter.
Van Eck, a member of the Merchant Council, thinks someone is controlling Grisha with jurda parem. Grisha are humans who practice the art of manipulating matter. They are divided into three groups: Coporalki, Etherealki, and Materialki.
  • The Corporalki have three types: Healers, Heartrenders, and Tailors. Healers use their powers to mend bones and heal wounds. Heartrender can control and damage a person’s internal organs. Tailors can change a person’s appearance. This ability is now taught to all Corporalki Grisha.
  • The Etherealki have Inferni (can manipulate fire), Squallers (can manipulate wind), Tidemakers (can manipulate water), and Summoners (can manipulate light).
  • The Materialki have two types: Durasts (can manipulate anything solid) and Alkemi (specialize in chemistry). Durasts and Alkemi are usually lumped into one category called Fabrikators.
Van Eck is worried about the use of jurda parem and thinks if it’s released into the world it will lead to war. He wants to save Bo Yul-Bayur, a well-known chemist who helped to create jurda parem, currently imprisoned at the Ice Court. Van Eck doesn’t want their government connected to the situation in any way. He asks Kaz to break into the Ice Court and save Bo Yul-Bayur and in return Kaz’s crew will be paid 30 million Kruge. There’s one problem: The Ice Court has NEVER been breached. Kaz wants that money. It would change his life. So he goes about putting together the perfect crew – The Six of Crows.
crow-1582138_960_720.jpgKaz Brekker is known as “Dirty hands” and “the Bastard of the Barrel”. He may be young, but he’s a bad-ass with a grumpy attitude. He uses a cane with a crows head due to a leg injury that causes him to walk with a limp. He is the leader of a gang of thieves known as “the Dregs”.
crow-1582138_960_720Inej Ghafa is “a spy known as the Wraith.” She’s a serious girl, and one of the few people who Kaz trusts. Inej silently sneaks around in order to gain information for Kaz. “The only law that applied to her was gravity, and some days she defied that, too.”
crow-1582138_960_720Nina Zenik is “a Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.” Nina is super confident and hilarious. She agrees to help him on this quest so that Kaz will help her get Matthias Helvar out of prison.
crow-1582138_960_720Matthias is a Druskelle soldier (a Gisha hunter) from Fjerda who used to work for the Ice Court.
crow-1582138_960_720Jesper Fahey is a light-hearted, sarcastic “sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.
crow-1582138_960_720Wylan Van Eck, Van Eck’s son, is “a runaway with a privileged past.” He knows how to take things apart, put them back together, and blow things up.
Switching the point of view enabled me to become better acquainted with the main characters past, thought-process, goals, and motivation. The first half of the book is a slower pace than the second half, and it was a little hard to “get into” the book. However, once I was “in” I couldn’t put it down. I liked a few characters quite a bit, but if I had to choose a favourite I think I’d have to pick Inej. She is a STRONG FEMALE CHARACTER. In fact – MANY of the female characters are strong and quite able to help themselves “thank-you-very-much”. There’s nothing I despise more than all of the female characters depending on men to help them. BIG POINTS for the slow-burn, very under-the-radar romance stories going on as well. There is NO INSTA-LOVE happening here, and the romantic bits never take over the story and do not drive the plot. There were a few funny parts, but for the most part it’s quite a dark, suspenseful story with characters who have dismal pieces to their past. Six of Crows reminded me of the Ocean’s Eleven movies.
I don’t like when I don’t know how to pronounce the name of a character. If I can’t pronounce their name I have a hard time connecting with their story and find it easier to forget them. The flashbacks used to tell us more about each character’s history were slightly jarring. The book is much longer than it needs to be, and FYI – the ending leaves us with a cliffhanger.
I recommend this book to 16+ (for some graphic violence) readers who enjoy long, multi-character stories with morally grey characters.

Friday Reads! What are you reading this weekend? 😀 📚 🤠 🐦

I can’t wait to fit in some reading this weekend. This weekend I’m reading…

Six of Crows.jpgSix of Crows (Six of Crows #1)

YA, Fantasy, Adventure, Romance, LGBT
Published September 2015
Criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker has been offered wealth beyond his wildest dreams. But to claim it, he’ll have to pull off a seemingly impossible heist:

Break into the notorious Ice Court
(a military stronghold that has never been breached)

Retrieve a hostage
(who could unleash magical havoc on the world)

Survive long enough to collect his reward
(and spend it)

Kaz needs a crew desperate enough to take on this suicide mission and dangerous enough to get the job done – and he knows exactly who: six of the deadliest outcasts the city has to offer. Together, they just might be unstoppable – if they don’t kill each other first.“

If I somehow manage to finish it this weekend then I’ll be reading another ARC…

The shoe on the roofThe Shoe on the Roof

Expected Publication October 17, 2017
Adult Fiction (Canadian, Mystery, Relationships, Psychology, Humour)
Imagine…meeting someone with the same name, the same history, the same family, the same identity as you. Now, imagine meeting another person making the same exact claim. What would that do to you?
From the Giller Prize–winning novelist of 419 comes the startling, funny, and heartbreaking story of a psychological experiment gone wrong.

Ever since his girlfriend ended their relationship, Thomas Rosanoff’s life has been on a downward spiral. A gifted med student, he has spent his entire adulthood struggling to escape the legacy of his father, an esteemed psychiatrist who used him as a test subject when he was a boy. Thomas lived his entire young life as the “Boy in the Box,” watched by researchers behind two-way glass.
But now the tables have turned. Thomas is the researcher, and his subjects are three homeless men, all of whom claim to be messiahs—but no three people can be the one and only saviour of the world. Thomas is determined to “cure” the three men of their delusions, and in so doing save his career—and maybe even his love life. But when Thomas’s father intervenes in the experiment, events spin out of control, and Thomas must confront the voices he hears in the labyrinth of his own mind.

The Shoe on the Roof is an explosively imaginative tour de force, a novel that questions our definitions of sanity and madness, while exploring the magical reality that lies just beyond the world of scientific fact.“

What are you reading this weekend?

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September 2017 Releases I want to Read

September 2017 new books! 🙂

Clash of Kings Graphic novel #4George R.R. Martin’s A Clash Of Kings #4

by George R.R. Martin, Landry Q. Walker (Adapter), Mel Rubi (Illustrator)
Expected Publication: September 20, 2017
Arya continues to travel north to the Wall, and makes the acquaintance of a most unusual character – Jaqen H’ghar– but when the recruits for the Night’s Watch are stopped by the Gold Cloaks, a confrontation seems inevitable… Meanwhile, Catelyn Stark must come to terms with her son, Robb, is now also the King in the North – and that sometimes family and politics conflict.”

Sleeping BeautiesSleeping Beauties

Expected Publication September 26, 2017
In this spectacular father-son collaboration, Stephen King and Owen King tell the highest of high-stakes stories: what might happen if women disappeared from the world of men?

In a future so real and near it might be now, something happens when women go to sleep; they become shrouded in a cocoon-like gauze. If they are awakened, if the gauze wrapping their bodies is disturbed or violated, the women become feral and spectacularly violent; and while they sleep they go to another place. The men of our world are abandoned, left to their increasingly primal devices. One woman, however, the mysterious Evie, is immune to the blessing or curse of the sleeping disease. Is Evie a medical anomaly to be studied, or is she a demon who must be slain? Set in a small Appalachian town whose primary employer is a women’s prison, Sleeping Beauties is wildly provocative and gloriously absorbing.“

Little Fires Everywhere.jpgLittle Fires Everywhere

Published September 12, 2017
In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is planned – from the layout of the winding roads, to the colors of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules.
Enter Mia Warren – an enigmatic artist and single mother – who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenaged daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.
When old family friends of the Richardsons attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town–and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia’s past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs.

There's someone inside your houseThere’s Someone Inside Your House

Expected Publication: September 26, 2017
Scream meets YA in this hotly-anticipated new novel from the bestselling author of Anna and the French Kiss.

One-by-one, the students of Osborne High are dying in a series of gruesome murders, each with increasing and grotesque flair. As the terror grows closer and the hunt intensifies for the killer, the dark secrets among them must finally be confronted.

International bestselling author Stephanie Perkins returns with a fresh take on the classic teen slasher story that’s fun, quick-witted, and completely impossible to put down.“

they both die at the endThey Both Die at the End

Published September 5, 2017
On September 5, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news: They’re going to die today. Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but, for different reasons, they’re both looking to make a new friend on their End Day. The good news: There’s an app for that. It’s called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure and to live a lifetime in a single day.”

The Language of ThornsThe Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic

by Leigh Bardugo and Sara Kipin(Illustrator)
Expected Publication: September 26, 2017
Love speaks in flowers. Truth requires thorns.

Travel to a world of dark bargains struck by moonlight, of haunted towns and hungry woods, of talking beasts and gingerbread golems, where a young mermaid’s voice can summon deadly storms and where a river might do a lovestruck boy’s bidding but only for a terrible price.

Inspired by myth, fairy tale, and folklore, #1 New York Times–bestselling author Leigh Bardugo has crafted a deliciously atmospheric collection of short stories filled with betrayals, revenge, sacrifice, and love.

Perfect for new readers and dedicated fans, these tales will transport you to lands both familiar and strange—to a fully realized world of dangerous magic that millions have visited through the novels of the Grishaverse.

This collection of six stories includes three brand-new tales, all of them lavishly illustrated with art that changes with each turn of the page, culminating in six stunning full-spread illustrations as rich in detail as the stories themselves.“

What new books are you excited to read?

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The Dream Thieves: Book Review ~ Spoiler-Free

The Dream Thieves

The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater is the second book of The Raven Cycle series. After reading The Raven Boys in August I immediately put a hold on the second book at the library. This is a fantastically written young adult fantasy series featuring a group of friends trying to find the Glendower, learning more about themselves and each other in the process.

Hardcover 439 pages

Published: September 2013 by Scholastic Press

If you have not read The Raven Boys DO NOT READ this review – consider yourself warned – there may be spoilers!

At the very beginning of The Dream Thieves we learn Ronan Lynch has a secret. He’s a dream thief. He can dream of an object and bring it back to real life when he wakes.

Ronan’s friend Adam has a secret too. It’s been one month since Adam sacrificed himself to Cabeswater in an attempt to wake the ley line which would lead them to the Glendower. Ever since that sacrifice he’s been feeling strange, and seeing weird images. “He had a strange, disconcerting feeling that he couldn’t trust his senses. Like he was tasting an image or smelling a feeling or touching a sound.” (p.67) Adam desperately wants to be the one to wake Glendower so he can ask the King to fix his life.

Adam’s girlfriend Blue also has a few secrets. Blue hasn’t told Adam the real reason why she won’t kiss him. It has been predicted that if she kisses her true love then her true love will die. She also hasn’t told their friend Gansey that the ghosts seen on St. Mark’s Eve will die within the next 12 months. Gansey’s spirit was seen that evening – it was the first and only time she’s ever seen a spirit. She wants to help Gansey find the Glendower in hopes that the King will save him.

Blue’s mother Maura has secrets too. She won’t tell Blue who her father is. She tells Blue she has potential, but never what that potential could mean.

Ronan, Adam, Blue, Gansey, and their dead friend Noah, team up with Blue’s mother Maura, Blue’s older cousin Orla, and Maura’s psychic best friends Persephone and Calla to try to find the ley lines so they can wake Glendower. They aren’t the only ones looking for magic in Henrietta, Virginia.

The Gray Man is a hitman hired by Dr. Colin Greenmantle to find the Greywaren, a relic that allows the owner to take objects out of dreams. “For quite a long time now, the Gray Man has been hunting for things that couldn’t be found, couldn’t be bought, couldn’t be acquired, and his instincts were telling him that the Greywaren was not a piece that was going to come quickly.”

Joseph Kavinsky is a fellow student with a horrible attitude problem. He loves to push Ronan’s buttons and is constantly harassing Ronan and his crew, flaunting his money and drag racing his seemingly never-ending identical Mitsubishi cars. What is his problem? Why is he obsessed with Ronan?

My favorite character is Persephone…she was also my fav in the first book The Raven Boys. I would love to read more about her past, her childhood, her future. I think she’s fascinating.

I love the chapter length and flow from one chapter to the next. The character development is outstanding. I’m emotionally attached to many of the main characters, and if anything happens to them I WILL CRY. The pace is perfect, naturally speeding up as we go along, helping to build up to the climax. There were times I had to remind myself to breathe.

Let’s talk about prologues. Sometimes prologues are great, and necessary. Sometimes prologues are not necessary. I feel like the prologue in The Dream Thieves falls into the second group. It didn’t supply anything important that the reader needed to know upfront. It could have easily been included within the story and not have interrupted the flow.

There are some scenes, and even characters, in this story which could have been completely left out. I won’t name anything in particular – Spoilers – just throwing it out there to explain why I didn’t give this read five stars.

For me The Dream Thieves is almost the perfect YA novel. It’s so very, very, very close. I’m looking forward to reading the third book Blue Lily, Lily Blue.

My Rating 4.5/5

 

 

About the Author

Maggie Stiefvater

Maggie Stiefvater (Goodreads Photo)

“New York Times bestselling author of The Shiver Trilogy, The Raven Cycle, and The Scorpio Races. Artist. Driver of things with wheels. Avid reader.

All of Maggie Stiefvater’s life decisions have been based around her inability to be gainfully employed. Talking to yourself, staring into space, and coming to work in your pajamas are frowned upon when you’re a waitress, calligraphy instructor, or technical editor (all of which she’s tried), but are highly prized traits in novelists and artists. She’s made her living as one or the other since she was 22. She now lives an eccentric life in the middle of nowhere, Virginia with her charmingly straight-laced husband, two kids, two neurotic dogs, and a 1973 Camaro named Loki.”

 

Check out the Author’s Website