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.

 

 

One of the best books I’ve read this year – The Astonishing Color of After #BookReview

I feel incredibly grateful to have received an advanced copy of The Astonishing Color of After in exchange for my honest, unbiased opinion. Thank you to the publisher, author, and NetGalley, for allowing me to review. This is one of my most favorite books ever. I can’t wait to buy my own copy!

the astonishing color of after

 

Title: The Astonishing Color of After

Author: Emily X.R. Pan

Genre: Teen/YA Contemporary Romance

Publisher: Little Brown Books

Date published: Expected March 20, 2018

Page Count: 480

 

 

synopsis

“Leigh Chen Sanders is absolutely certain about one thing: When her mother died by suicide, she turned into a bird.
Leigh, who is half Asian and half white, travels to Taiwan to meet her maternal grandparents for the first time. There, she is determined to find her mother, the bird. In her search, she winds up chasing after ghosts, uncovering family secrets, and forging a new relationship with her grandparents. And as she grieves, she must try to reconcile the fact that on the same day she kissed her best friend and longtime secret crush, Axel, her mother was taking her own life.
Alternating between real and magic, past and present, friendship and romance, hope and despair, The Astonishing Color of After is a stunning and heartbreaking novel about finding oneself through family history, art, grief, and love.”

My Review

The Astonishing Color of After is a freeing, haunting, quirky, contemporary romance novel about depression, suicide, grief, family secrets, forgiveness, and love. This story takes place in America and Taiwan. Told with luxuriant writing, I wish I could share some of my favorite passages, however because this is an advance copy I’m not allowed. The writing quality is exquisite.

Leigh, the main character, is a girl who thinks of every life event as a color, yet only sketches in black and white. Leigh’s best friend is a guy named Axel, who creates pictures using colors and shapes to match the song in his head, then he makes the music to match the image. He calls it opera electronica. And yes, he is as cool as he sounds. Though Leigh has a secret crush on Axel, this is not an insta-love situation. Her other close friend, Caro, is a lesbian with a super quirky, loving family. Caro’s grandparents are absolutely adorable, and definitely a couple of my favorite characters.

When Leigh travels to Taiwan we get to meet her grandparents. As Leigh travels around Taiwan, visiting her mother’s favorite places, we get to learn a lot about the food and places. Feng is a close family friend who accompanies Leigh during her travels, teaching her more about the traditions and language. In her room at her grandparents place, Leigh finds some very dark sticks of incense. Burning each incense stick transports Leigh to a world of “Smoke & Memories” where she gets to relive moments of the past from her loved ones perspective. Flashbacks can sometimes be annoying, however these “Smoke & Memories” chapters are absolutely fantastic. Leigh’s mother always wore a cicada necklace, and I was curious about what the symbolism was for this. I learned that the cicada is a symbol of immortality or rebirth, which fits perfectly.

I appreciate how much time and careful consideration it must have taken to create a narrative centered on suicide in such an authentic and gracious manner. I smiled, I laughed, I cried tears of sadness and joy. I even got goosebumps many times reading the last 15% of this magical tale. I can’t recommend this one enough – 5 STARS!

 

About the author.jpg

Emily X.R. Pan lives in Brooklyn, New York, but was born in the Midwestern United States to immigrant parents from Taiwan. She received her MFA from NYU, where she was a Goldwater Fellow. She is a co-creator of FORESHADOW: A Serial YA Anthology, and a 2017 Artist-in-Residence at Djerassi. She logs the books she reads in an Excel spreadsheet and a secret other Goodreads account.Goodreads

Emily Pan’s Website

Pre-Order “The Astonishing Color of After”

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.

The Drawing of the Three By Stephen King #FirstChapterFirstParagraph

Drawing of the ThreeWhen I pick up a book to decide if I’d like to read it I often read the first chapter, first paragraph. I thought perhaps other readers do the same. I also like to share the first chapter first, paragraph so I can highlight fantastic writing. That first paragraph is often the one that draws you in to the story. Without further ado, here is first chapter first paragraph of The Drawing of the Three (The Dark Tower #2) by Stephen King.

“Three. This is the number of your fate.
Three?
Yes, three is mystic. Three stands at the heart of the mantra.
Which three?
The first is dark-haired. He stands on the brink of robbery and murder. A demon has infested him. The name of the demon is HEROIN.
Which demon is that? I know it not, even from nursery stories.
He tried to speak but his voice was gone, the voice of the oracle, Star-Slut, Whore of the Winds, both were gone; he saw a card fluttering down from nowhere to nowhere, turning and turning in the lazy dark. On it a baboon grinned from over the shoulder of a young man with dark hair; its disturbingly human fingers were buried so deeply in the young man’s neck that their tips had disappeared in flesh. Looking more closely, the gunslinger saw the baboon held a whip in one of those clutching, strangling hands. The face of the ridden man seemed to writhe in wordless terror.”

The Raven Boys By Maggie Stiefvater – Book Review #SpoilerFree

The Raven Boys

Published 2012 by Scholastic Press (Goodreads Photo)

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater is a unique, hard-to-put-down young adult fiction novel. It’s not your typical fantasy romance story. A few of the characters have some real shit going on their life. When I say hard-to-put-down I mean it. I picked this up when I could fit in a page or two here and there throughout my day. If I wasn’t a mom with “adulting” responsibilities I could have devoured the entire book in one sitting. I want to put aside the rest of my August TBR and see if the library has the second book of The Raven Cycle series…Okay, I checked. The library does have it. The next book is The Dream Thieves. I put it on hold LOL (P.S. if you didn’t know you can put a hold on a book, so when it is available they call you for pick up).

 

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.” (Goodreads Blurb: Author Page)

The Raven Boys main character is Blue Sargent, the teenage-daughter of a medium, Maura Sargent. They live with Maura’s psychic best friends, Persephone and Calla, in a house at 300 Fox Way, Henrietta, Virginia. Maura and other mediums have told Blue that she will cause her true love to die. Unlike her family and house-mates Blue is not psychic, but when she is near she’s like an amplifier, helping Maura, Persephone, and Calla make predictions and read tarot cards.

On April 24, St. Mark’s Eve, Blue accompanies her mother’s half-sister, Neeve, on the church watch. This is the night where mediums can see the souls of the people who will die within the next 12 months. Blue jots down notes as Neeve asks each spirit their name. Neeve, Maura and their psychic friends will use this information to let clients know their fate. For the first time Blue can see one of the ghosts making his way to the church doors. He wouldn’t tell Neeve his name, hence Neeve asks Blue to get his name. Blue has to ask a few times before he finally tells her that his name is Gansey.

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

Richard Campbell Gansey III is an “all-American” rich boy who attends Aglionby Academy, a private all boys school. The Aglionby uniform includes a raven emblem, and therefore students have the nickname “the raven boys”. Gansey’s friends are Adam, Ronan, and Noah. Adam is an incredibly polite boy who attends Aglionby Academy thanks to a partial scholarship. Ronan likes to make people feel uncomfortable. He’s a bad-boy struggling with his father’s death. Noah is extremely shy, with pale skin and combed-back fair hair. Gansey, Ronan and Noah live in an old abandoned manufacturing building once called Monmouth Manufacturing.

On St. Mark’s Eve, Gansey had also been sitting at the old church with his recorder, hoping to hear the dead. He’s attempting to find a ley line which will lead him to the tomb of Owain Glyndwr (Glendower), the Raven King. Legend says the one who wakes the Glendower will receive a favor.

Gansey longed for him like Arthur longed for the grail, drawn by a desperate but nebulous need to be useful to the world, to make sure his life meant something beyond champagne parties and white collars, by some complicated longing to settle an argument that waged deep inside himself.

Adam, on the other hand, needed that royal favor.

And that meant they needed to be the ones to wake Glendower. They needed to be the ones to find him first.”

Gansey captured the discussion between Blue and his ghost. The recording gets the boys, especially Gansey and Adam, excited that they are on the right track to finding the ley line. Gansey schedules a reading with Blue’s mom to hopefully gain information about hidden energy fields in Henrietta. This is when Blue and Gansey will meet, and the adventure begins…

My favorite character is a toss-up between Persephone and Adam. Persephone, one of Maura’s best friends, has wavy white-blond hair down to the back of her thighs, black eyes, and speaks in a very soft voice. In my mind she reminds me of Lady Amalthea in The Last Unicorn, which is my most favorite movie of all-time. Ronan blames his bad choices on his hard life, where Adam uses his dreary life as fuel to improve. Adam is mature well beyond his years and I just can’t help but want him to find happiness.

My one complaint is that I had a hard time connecting with Neeve. She was interesting, yet for some reason I just couldn’t picture her in my mind and didn’t understand her motivations.

The Raven Boys is one of the best books I’ve read this year. I’m anxious to pick up the next book to see what will happen next. I recommend this book to anyone who likes teenage friendship quest stories, with a little paranormal ghost stuff weaved in.

Maggie Stiefvater’s website: https://www.maggiestiefvater.com/

July Wrap Up

The Books of Magic

The Books of Magic

By Neil Gaiman

Illustrated By: John Bolton, Scott Hampton, Charles Vess, Paul Johnson

Published January 2013 (first published 1993)

Genre(s): Graphic Novel, Fiction, Fantasy

My Review: The Books of Magic by Neil Gaiman #spoilerfree #bookreview #fantasybingo

 

Little Deaths

Little Deaths

By Emma Flint

Published January 2017

Genre(s): Fiction, Mystery, Historical, Thriller, Crime

My Review: Little Deaths: #SpoilerFree #BookReview

 

 

 

The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower #1)

By Stephen King

Published October 2016 (First published June 1982)

Genre(s): Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, Science Fiction

The Gunslinger by Stephen King #FirstChapterFirstParagraph

My Review: The Gunslinger Book One of #TheDarkTower by #StephenKing

 

 

 

 

 

The Edge of EverythingThe Edge of Everything

By Jeff Giles

Published February 2017

Genre(s): Fiction, Fantasy, Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance

My Review: The Edge of Everything By Jeff Giles #spoilerfree #bookreview

The Edge of Everything By Jeff Giles #spoilerfree #bookreview

The Edge of EverythingThe Edge of Everything

By: Jeff Giles

Published February 1st, 2017 by Bloomsbury Children Books

360 pages

ISBN: 9781619637535

Genre: Young Adult, Fiction, Fantasy (Paranormal), Romance, Adventure, Family Dynamics

“Holed up in their missing neighbors’ cabin in a Montana blizzard, seventeen-year-old Zoe and her little brother are rescued from an intruder by X, a bounty hunter sent from the Lowlands to claim the souls of evil men.”

Zoe and her family have had a horrible year. Her father died in an accident while exploring a dangerous cave. His body hasn’t been recovered and Zoe wants the cops to retrieve his remains in order to help her and her family have closure. Zoe’s neighbors, who were like family, were kidnapped by an intruder and never seen again.

Her eight-year-old brother Jonah has ADHD and reminded me of my own eight-year-old son. He’s funny, a little odd, but very smart in his own way. He quickly became my favorite character. Jonah was playing outside while Zoe was inside waiting for their mom to come home when the storm suddenly picked up. For some insane reason she didn’t ask Jonah to come inside, and instead went around the house taping the windows. If the storm was bad enough to feel the need to tape the windows why in the world did she not get Jonah and the dogs inside?

Zoe was written as a strong, independent, resourceful teenage girl who isn’t afraid to speak her mind, but sadly she’s also incredibly selfish and uncaring towards others. I had a really hard time relating to her and found her unlikable. When she finally goes outside to get Jonah she finds he is missing, and follows his tracks into the woods towards Bert and Betty’s house. It’s getting colder and colder, and she’s searching for her brother for what seems like a long time, when she finally finds him laying underneath the dogs (who had saved his life by laying on top of him to keep him warm). She carries Jonah to their neighbors abandoned house for shelter to wait out the storm.

While at the house a truck arrives driven by Stan the Man, who claims to know Bert, Betty, the dogs, and Zoe – but she doesn’t know him. He attempts to drown the dogs, but they are saved by a mysterious stranger who is pale, with long messy hair, wearing a long dark blue coat. This stranger projects a movie of Stan’s sinful actions onto his back, and when Stan looks away the stranger moves the projection onto the house, and the snow.

Zoe realizes that she can talk to the stranger in his mind, and he in hers. They both feel an insta-bond. With her mind she tells him to have mercy and let Stan go free. The stranger tells Stan to flee, and Stan runs away into the woods. The stranger carries Zoe and Jonah home, then leaves.

Zoe decided to take a picture of the stranger projecting Stan’s sins on his skin and later when she’s at her house uploads the pic to Instagram? WHAT THE HELL?! She’s had an incredibly stressful evening where her brother was missing in a blizzard, they are attacked by Stan who attempts to kill their dogs, then a strange man did some crazy shit and she decides to go on Instagram! It’s like she has no emotion!

In the morning Zoe wakes to hear her mother downstairs talking to three cops, Chief Baldino (bad cop), Maerz (dopy cop), and Sergeant Vilkomerson (good cop). The cops attempt to question her because they had seen the picture she put on Instagram. Zoe’s mom shuts the conversation down pretty quickly and the cops leave.

Zoe, Jonah, and their mom hear loud noises coming from the shed and upon investigation find the stranger who’s in really bad shape, burning up with a fever. “The fever that racked his body was called the Trembling. It was his punishment for letting Stan go.”…..The Trembling wouldn’t leave until X resumed his search for Stan, somehow being near Zoe made the Trembling and pain decrease.

Zoe convinces her mom to let him stay with them and again I am confused because her mom lets this strange, ragged-looking man stay with them! I am a mom with two kids and there is no way on earth that I would allow some strange man to stay in my house! Call the cops, “Hey the guy in the pic he’s here man come get him.” Anyhow I could rant about that topic so let’s move on.

The stranger, who they decide to call X, claims he is from the Lowlands (Hell), and is a bounty hunter sent to take Stan’s soul as punishment for his sinful actions. The bounty hunters and other prisoners are ruled by the lords who are ferocious creatures. X tells them all bounty hunters are also prisoners who had their soul taken because they did something bad, but X claims he is innocent and hasn’t even been told the reason why he’s in the Lowlands. (and for some reason they believe him! Seriously!)

There’s some major insta-love happening in this story, which I’m not a fan of, especially in YA novels. I don’t think teens should read stories like this where characters claim they love each other after knowing each other for less than a day – and then risk their life trying to save the other. It just felt ludicrous to me and inauthentic.

I also had a problem with how Stan’s character was written. From the way Stan the Man speaks most of the time he seems uneducated but somehow used the words “contentious” and “acrimonious” in a sentence which I found unbelievable.

There wasn’t much world building about the Lowlands, which is a shame because that place sounds fascinating.

One thing I did like was the sense of humour, it reminded me of Rick Riordan’s writing style. I also think that many of the characters were extremely well-developed and interesting.

All in all, The Edge of Everything is a quick read, fast-paced, mysterious adventure. Even though it has some flaws, it is an easy read. As a series debut I feel like it can only get better from here and I will be checking out the next book of the series once it’s published.

Have you read The Edge of Everything? What did you think?

 

 

Mid-Year #BookTag #TagTuesday

Technically Mid-Year was a few weeks ago, but I’ve seen this tag all around Youtube and thought it would be a fun way to see how my reading is going this year. I tag anyone who wants to do this Tag: the questions are at the bottom in a list for easy copy/paste.

Original Tag Creators:
ReadLikeWildFire https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=03gz6k0IB-Y
Earl Grey Books https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X_Wh0rPGfRg&t=6s

1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2017.

The Essex Serpent

 

The Essex Serpent

By Sarah Perry

Here’ s the link for my review: The Essex Serpent Book Review – Spoiler Free

 

 

 

 

2. Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2017.

I’ve only read one sequel so far this year!

library of souls

 

Library of Souls (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children Book 3)

By Ransom Riggs

My review Library of Souls: Third Novel of Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children #bookreview

 

 

 

 

 

3. New release you haven’t read yet, but want to.

Dress Codes for Small Towns.jpg

 

Dress Codes for Small Towns

By: Courtney Stevens

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year.

Sleeping Beauties.jpg

 

Sleeping Beauties

By: Stephen King and his son, Owen King

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?”

Expected Publication: September 26, 2017

Book Tour Updates and More: www.stephenking.com

 

 

5. Biggest disappointment.

wyrd sisters

 

Wyrd Sisters

By: Terry Pratchett

A lot of people recommended this one to me, and it was just okay. Here’s my review: Wyrd Sisters Spoiler-Free Book Review

 

 

 

 

 

6. Biggest surprise.

Outlander

 

Outlander

By: Diana Gabaldon

I wasn’t sure I would like this one, and have been putting it off for years. I thoroughly enjoyed the book AND the first season of the TV show (on Netflix). I can’t wait to continue this series! Here’s my review: Outlander: Spoiler Free Book Review

 

 

 

7. Favorite new author. (Debut or new to you)

dianagabaldon

 

Diana Gabaldon

www.dianagabaldon.com

Diana Gabaldon on Goodreads

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8. Newest fictional crush.

August Flynn from This Savage Song, by Victoria Schwab. My Review: This Savage Song #spoilerfreebookreview #borrowathon

This Savage Song

9. Newest favorite character.

fantastic-beasts-and-where-to-find-them-1476282246-custom-0.jpg

 

Newt Scamander from “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”, written by J. K. Rowling. His character is quirky, smart, and mysterious. I can’t wait to learn more about his past, and hopefully learn more about his interactions with Dumbledore and involvement at Hogwarts.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to find them

 

My Review: Fantastic Beasts #SpoilerFree #BookReview

 

 

 

10. Book that made you cry.

A Tapestry of Tears

 

A Tapestry of Tears

By: Gita V. Reddy

My Review: A Tapestry of Tears #SpoilerFreeBookReview

 

 

 

 

 

 

11. Book that made you happy.

momswhodrinkandswear

 

Moms Who Drink and Swear

By: Nicole Knepper

My Review: Book Review: Moms Who Drink and Swear: True Tales of Loving my Kids While Losing My Mind

 

 

12. Favorite book to film adaptation you saw this year.

Jamie and Claire marriage

 

Outlander TV series (I watched on Netflix)

 

 

 

 

 

 

13. Favorite review you’ve written this year.

Thirteen Reasons Why #spoilerfree #bookreview

 

14. Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received)

LOVE the cover of Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King!

Bazaar of Bad Dreams.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

15. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

Dark Tower Book Series.jpg

I have an ARC to read:

A Bold and Dangerous Family in Edelweiss by HarperCollins.

A bold and dangerous family.jpg

Fantasy Book Bingo (Reddit) r/Fantasy Challenge:

  • Non-Fiction Fantasy Related Book
  • Fantasy Novel on “To be read” list for over a year
  • Award Winning Fantasy Novel
  • Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic/Dying Earth
  • r/Fantasy Big List 2016 Under-read/Under-rated
  • Horror Novel
  • Fantasy Novel featuring a Desert setting
  • Re-use any r/Fantasy Bingo Square
  • Self-published fantasy novel
  • Fantasy Novel published in 2017
  • Sequel: not the first book in the series
  • Novel by an r/Fantasy AMA(Ask me anything) Author or Writer of the Day
  • Fantasy of Manners
  • Fantasy Novel Featuring Dragons
  • New Weird
  • Fantasy Novel Featuring Seafaring
  • Steampunk
    • Five Fantasy Short Stories
    • Novel by an author from an r/Fantasy Author Appreciation Post

    Getting Too Old For This Crap: (50+) Protagonist

 

Dewey Decimal NonFiction Challenge

  • A book with Dewey Decimal 400-499
  • 600-699
  • 800-899
  • 900-999

 

A TO Z CHALLENGE — LOCATION EDITION

Book with location starting with the letter J, K, U, X, Y, Z

 

The questions:
1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2017.
2. Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2017.
3. New release you haven’t read yet, but want to.
4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year.
5. Biggest disappointment.
6. Biggest surprise.
7. Favorite new author. (Debut or new to you)
8. Newest fictional crush.
9. Newest favorite character.
10. Book that made you cry.
11. Book that made you happy.
12. Favorite book to film adaptation you saw this year.
13. Favorite review you’ve written this year. (Booktube version: Favorite video you have done so far in this year)
14. Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received)
15. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

 

The Books of Magic by Neil Gaiman #spoilerfree #bookreview #fantasybingo

The Books of MagicThe Books Of Magic: The Deluxe Edition

Written By: Neil Gaiman

Illustrated By: John Bolton, Charles Vess, Scott Hampton, Paul Johnson

Originally Published 1990, 1991 by DC Comics

Goodreads Blurb:

From Neil Gaiman, the bestselling novelist and creator of the world-renowned comics title The Sandman, comes a mesmerizing tale of the dangers and opportunities of youth, and its endless possibilities. Illustrated by four of comics’ most accomplished artists, John Bolton, Scott Hampton, Charles Vess and Paul Johnson, THE BOOKS OF MAGIC collects all four issues of the original
miniseries that introduced the character of Timothy Hunter and set the stage for his continuing adventures.

Timothy Hunter could be the most powerful magician in the world, but does he really want to be? Guided through the magical world starting at the begining of time by a group of DC Universe magicians, often refered to as the Trenchcoat Brigade (John Constantine, Phantom Stranger, Mister E, and Doctor Occult), they attempt to aid Timothy in his decision whether or not to embrace his gift. However, by the time Timothy makes a choice, it may have already been made for him.”

This edition has all four books:
Book I: The Invisible Labyrith
Book II: The Shadow World
Book III: The Land Of Summer’s Twilight
Book IV: The Road To Nowhere

trenchcoat brigade.jpgThe “Trenchcoat Brigade” (Constantine, Doctor Occult, Mister E, and an unnamed stranger) take twelve year old Timothy Hunter on the most amazing journey to the past and future.

 

“It is up to the four of us to ensure that he chooses his path correctly”.

Timothy first travels to “the void” where he sees angels and archangels. Here he learns that people kill what they fear. John Constantine then takes Timothy on a plane to New York where Timothy meets Boston Brand. Boston warns Timothy that people are looking for him. Boston Brand is quite an interesting character who takes control of the minds of random people a few times throughout the story in order to warn Timothy of danger. Mister Fate, AKA Doctor Fate, AKA Kent Nelson, also visits Timothy to warn him that there is now a price on his head. Nelson pleads Constantine to find sanctuary.

Timothy continues on his journey with his other guides, meeting more interesting characters, is chased by a witch who owns a house with legs, and in the end must choose either an exciting, but dangerous life with magic, or a less exciting, but safer life of science.

I’ve only read one other graphic novel that I can remember, so I’m afraid I can’t offer an weighted opinion. The art was fantastic, very dark DC comic feeling. The Books Of Magic reminded me of A Christmas Carol with appearances by fate, fairies, and witches. I did find it quite strange that Timothy is a young teen who wears glasses, has a pet owl and is learning about magic…remind you of anyone? I’m all for authors taking an idea and running with it, and J.K. Rowling certainly did create an entire world that had nothing in common with Gaiman’s world that I could tell, but Harry Potter and Timothy Hunter sure have a lot in common. Perhaps she hasn’t even read The Books Of Magic and it’s a huge coincidence. Neil Gaiman has written about it on his blog if you’d like to see his opinion.

I gave it three stars on Goodreads because I did like the characters, the worlds were creative, the art was beautiful, but the plot was predictable for me and I feel like there could have been a bit more detail into the Trenchcoat Brigade’s motivations.