The Golden Compass #Bookreview #Fantasy

The Golden Compass is the first book in the His Dark Materials trilogy. I started reading it with my son, but ended up finishing it on my own after realizing it’s a little too mature for a nine-year-old.

“You cannot change what you are, only what you do.”

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Title: The Golden Compass

Author: Philip Pullman

Published April 1996 by Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers (first published 1995)

Genre: YA Fantasy

Page Count: 399

Lyra is rushing to the cold, far North, where witch clans and armored bears rule. North, where the Gobblers take the children they steal–including her friend Roger. North, where her fearsome uncle Asriel is trying to build a bridge to a parallel world.

Can one small girl make a difference in such great and terrible endeavors? This is Lyra: a savage, a schemer, a liar, and as fierce and true a champion as Roger or Asriel could want–but what Lyra doesn’t know is that to help one of them will be to betray the other.”

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The Golden Compass is an epic adventure that begins in a parallel universe at Jordan College in Oxford, England. Lyra is a twelve-year-old girl who lives at Jordan College with her daemon Pantalaimon. Every human has a daemon, which is a physical representation of the human soul. The daemons of children can change forms, but once the child becomes an adult the daemon remains in the same form. She was left at Jordan College by her Uncle Lord Asriel, a military leader. Lyra’s best friend is a kitchen boy named Roger Parslow, who goes missing. There are many missing children, and Lyra believes they’ve been taken by The Gobblers. One day a politician named Marisa Coulter comes to Jordan College talking about a trip North. Lyra knows her Uncle Lord Asriel has gone North and wants to find him. She agrees to go with Ms. Coulter and be her assistant. Before she leaves she’s given an alethiometer (the golden compass), and believes it is her mission to give it to her Uncle Lord Asriel.

“It lay heavily in her hands,the crystal face gleaming, the brass body exquisitely machined. It was very much like a clock, or a compass, for there were hands pointing around the dial, but instead of the hours or the points of a compass there were several little pictures with extraordinary precision, as if on ivory with the slenderest sable brush. She turned the dial around to look at them all. There was an anchor; an hourglass surmounted by a skull; a bull, a beehive…..Thirty-six altogether and she couldn’t even guess what they meant.”

With the help of Farder Coram and John Faa, Lyra travels to the North where she meets new friends like an armored bear named Iorek Byrnison, balloonist Lee Scoresby, and my favourite character, witch queen Serafina Pekkala. I wanted more about her, and am hoping the next book gives me more of her back story and life.

“You are so young, Lyra, too young to understand this, but I shall tell you anyway and you’ll understand it later: men pass in front of our eyes like butterflies, creatures of a brief season. We love them; they are brave, proud, beautiful, clever; and they die almost at once. They die so soon that our hearts are continually racked with pain. We bear their children, who are witches if they are female, human if not; and then in the blink of an eye they are gone, felled, slain, lost. Our sons, too. When a little boy is growing, he thinks he is immortal. His mother knows he isn’t. Each time becomes more painful, until finally your heart is broken. Perhaps that is when Yambe-Akka comes for you. She is older than the tundra. Perhaps, for her, witches’ lives are as brief as men’s are to us.”

Although Lyra is brave and smart, she’s also a spoiled brat without manners. The characters felt flat to me, lacking personality, and desires, I just couldn’t connect with them.

“We are all subject to the fates. But we must act as if we are not, or die of despair.”

The writing itself is stunning. The world-building is pretty good, although there are some things left unexplained (such as daemons). The plot is relatively fast-paced, creating an exciting story that had me hooked from the beginning. There’s a lot of debate about the anti-religious themes. A nun in the book does say Christianity is a “powerful mistake”. In interviews Pullman has said things like he is trying to undermine Christianity through his work. The Golden Compass is about the search for Dust, which basically represents sin. Children have no “dust” on them, while adults do. The villains in the book are trying to find a way to prevent Dust. Does this novel have anti-religious concepts, yes, however, I feel like it didn’t add or take away from the narrative. The main problem with this book is that it is too mature for kids, yet immature for young adults.

“Human beings can’t see anything without wanting to destroy it. That’s original sin. And I’m going to destroy it. Death is going to die.”

Imaginative, exciting, whimsical, The Golden Compass is a great fantasy novel about spirituality, morality, the human soul, and science versus religion, that I recommend to anyone fourteen-years-old+ who like a plot-driven story with an unlikable protagonist.

“So Lyra and her daemon turned away from the world they were born in, and looked toward the sun, and walked into the sky.”

 

Setting: 3.5/5
Plot: 4/5
Characters: 2.5/5
Writing: 3/5
Message: 2/5
Overall: 3/5

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In 1946, acclaimed author Philip Pullman was born in Norwich, England, into a Protestant family. Although his beloved grandfather was an Anglican priest, Pullman became an atheist in his teenage years. He graduated from Exeter College in Oxford with a degree in English, and spent 23 years as a teacher while working on publishing 13 books and numerous short stories. Pullman has received many awards for his literature, including the prestigious Carnegie Medal for exceptional children’s literature in 1996, and the Carnegie of Carnegies in 2006. He is most famous for his His Dark Materials trilogy, a series of young adult fantasy novels which feature free-thought themes. The novels cast organized religion as the series’ villain. Pullman told The New York Times in 2000: “When you look at what C.S. Lewis is saying, his message is so anti-life, so cruel, so unjust. The view that the Narnia books have for the material world is one of almost undisguised contempt. At one point, the old professor says, ‘It’s all in Plato‘—meaning that the physical world we see around us is the crude, shabby, imperfect, second-rate copy of something much better. I want to emphasize the simple physical truth of things, the absolute primacy of the material life, rather than the spiritual or the afterlife.” He argues for a “republic of heaven” here on Earth.

In 2007, the first novel of the His Dark Materials trilogy was adopted into the motion picture The Golden Compass by New Line Cinema. Many churches and Christian organizations, including the Catholic League, called for a boycott of the film due to the books’ atheist themes. While the film was successful in Europe and moderately received in the United States, the other two books in the trilogy were not be adapted into film, possibly due to pressure from the Catholic Church. When questioned about the anti-church views in His Dark Materials, Pullman explains in an interview for Third Way (UK): “It comes from history. It comes from the record of the Inquisition, persecuting heretics and torturing Jews and all that sort of stuff; and it comes from the other side, too, from the Protestants burning the Catholics. It comes from the insensate pursuit of innocent and crazy old women, and from the Puritans in America burning and hanging the witches—and it comes not only from the Christian church but also from the Taliban. Every single religion that has a monotheistic god ends up by persecuting other people and killing them because they don’t accept him. Wherever you look in history, you find that. It’s still going on” (Feb. 2002). Pullman has received many threats by ardent believers over his choice of subject matter.

http://www.philip-pullman.com/

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The Telling by Alexandra Sirowy #bookreview

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Title: The Telling

Author: Alexandra Sirowy

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Date of Publication: August 2016

Genre: YA Contemporary, Horror/Thriller/Mystery

Page Count: 389

ISBN: 9781481418898 (hardback)

 

 

 

synopsis

Lana used to know what was real.

That was before, when her life was small and quiet.

Her golden stepbrother, Ben, was alive.

She could only dream about bonfiring with the populars.

Their wooded island home was idyllic, she could tell the truth from lies, and Ben’s childhood stories were firmly in her imagination.

Then came after.

After has Lana boldly kissing her crush, jumping into the water from too high up, living with nerve and mischief.

But after also has horrors, deaths that only make sense in fairy tales, and terrors from a past Lana thought long forgotten: Love, blood, and murder.”

My Review

I picked this book as my Five Star Prediction read for Contemporaryathon. Sadly, I was greatly disappointed.

“For the girls who are sharks, and those who are kittens, and those who are heroes, and those who are villains.”

The Telling is about a teen named Lana becoming a different person after she witnesses her stepbrother’s murder. Before his murder she was a quiet “kitten”, worried about what other’s thought of her, spending most of her time with her close friend Willa. After his murder she’s becoming a more confident “shark”, hanging out with the popular group of friends known as “the core”: Josh, Carolyn, Rusty, Duncan, and Becca.

My favourite characters are Lana’s stepbrother Ben, a good guy who couldn’t stand living on rich Gant Island after volunteering in Guatemala, and Lana’s best friend Willa, studious, cool-minded, and not impressed by “the core”.

I liked the paranormal aspect of Ben’s stories coming to life. It was a page-turner, but only because I guessed who the killer was really early on, and wanted to find out if I was right (hoping that I was wrong so I could be surprised).

I didn’t feel connected to any of the characters, and wasn’t upset when any of them were in danger. Detective Sweeny and Wood are flat, uninteresting, one-dimensional, typical good cop/bad cop.

It’s disappointing that we never get to meet “Skitzy-Fitzy“, even though he’s mentioned multiple times.

I was really confused when the parents let Detective Sweeny and Wood interview Lana, Willa, and “the core” without a parent or lawyer in the room. The detectives told Lana details about Maggie’s death during the interview which I think should have been kept private. It felt extremely unbelievable that a detective would be giving a suspect that much information about a possible homicide.

The Telling felt like a cheesy horror novel with stereotypical characters that lack real emotion. Pardon the pun, but The Telling did just that – too much “telling”, not enough “showing”.

Even though I didn’t like it, a lot of my friends on Goodreads did. So don’t take my word for it! I recommend The Telling to readers who are into YA horror/mystery stories.

About the author

“I WRITE ABOUT GIRLS WHO RESCUE THEMSELVES, TRUE LOVE AND FRIENDSHIP, SECRETS AND LIES, AND MONSTERS AND HEROES THAT LOOK LIKE ME AND YOU.”

http://www.alexandrasirowy.com/about.html

Book Review ~ Thief of Happy Endings

📓 I didn’t know I needed a contemporary, young adult love story set on a horse ranch until Thief of Happy Endings.  📚 😌

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Title: Thief of Happy Endings

Author: Kristen Chandler

Genre: Teen YA

Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group/Viking Books for Young Readers

Date published: June 19th, 2018

Buy this book on Amazon

Buy this book on Barnes & Noble

Buy this on Indie Bookstore

synopsis

Ever since her father moved out, Cassidy feels like her life has been falling apart. So a summer of riding horses at a ranch camp in Wyoming sounds like just what she needs–never mind the fact that she has a paralyzing fear of horses. She’s determined to move past her fear, even if that means taking lessons from the insufferable (yet irresistible) junior wrangler Justin and embarrassing herself in front of the other campers. What follows is a summer of rodeos, complicated friendships, and a wild mustang thief on the loose.

My Review

Thief of Happy Endings calls attention to many important themes such as resilience, friendship, racism, prejudice, bullying, divorce, parenting, mental health, physical abuse, and animal cruelty. After her father moves out, Cassidy is struggling with depression and anxiety. Her parents send her to a horse camp in Wyoming to hopefully help Cassidy overcome her fear of horses.

Cassidy’s character feels credible. Her love interest, Justin, is intriguing, layered, complicated. Cassidy’s roommate, Alice, is probably my favourite character. An amazing friend from the beginning to the end, Alice is reliable, smart, and experiences an enormous amount of personal growth by the end of this story.

The characters are unique with distinctive voices. The story taught me a lot about horses, and in particular the mustang population in western USA. THIS IS NOT AN INSTA-LOVE! Chandler takes the time to let us get to know the characters before introducing a romantic interaction. Drawn into Thief of Happy Endings from page one, I couldn’t put it down, and I can’t think of any dislikes.

Wild, honest, charming, and entertaining. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟!

I received a complimentary copy in exchange for my honest, unbiased opinion. Thank you to the publisher, author, and NetGalley, for allowing me to review.

 

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“Kristen Chandler is the author of the award-winning Girls Don’t Fly and Wolves, Boys, and Other Things That Might Kill Me.”

Kristen Chandler Goodreads Author Page

Final Draft #Bookreview #Netgalley #FinalDraftBook

📓 Final Draft is a Young Adult Contemporary novel written by Riley Redgate. I received a complimentary copy in exchange for my honest, unbiased opinion. Thank you to the publisher, author, and NetGalley, for allowing me to review. 📚 😌

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Title: Final Draft

Author: Riley Redgate

Genre: YA Contemporary

Publisher: Amulet Books

Date published: June 12th, 2018

Page Count: 272

🌟🌟🌟🌟

 

 

synopsis

The only sort of risk 18-year-old Laila Piedra enjoys is the peril she writes for the characters in her stories: epic sci-fi worlds full of quests, forbidden love, and robots. Her creative writing teacher has always told her she has a special talent. But three months before her graduation, he’s suddenly replaced—by Nadiya Nazarenko, a Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist who is sadistically critical and perpetually unimpressed.

At first, Nazarenko’s eccentric assignments seem absurd. But before long, Laila grows obsessed with gaining the woman’s approval. Soon Laila is pushing herself far from her comfort zone, discovering the psychedelic highs and perilous lows of nightlife, temporary flings, and instability. Dr. Nazarenko has led Laila to believe that she must choose between perfection and sanity—but rejecting her all-powerful mentor may be the only way for Laila to thrive.” https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35960813-final-draft

My Review

Set in Brooklyn, Final Draft is a third-person story about friendship, grief, mental health, and sexuality, with a DIVERSE cast. The main character, Laila, is a biracial, pansexual, Ecuadorian/French-Canadian teenager. Her inner thoughts remind me of things I said to myself as a teenager. Laila’s soft-spoken teacher, Mr. Madison, reads her stories and encourages her to keep writing. He’s the kind of teacher we’ve probably all had. This is a purposefully slow story that takes place the summer before Laila and her three friends leave for college. I didn’t like Nazarenko’s character, but it didn’t ruin the story for me.

Beautifully introspective. Redgate isn’t afraid to speak the truth, writing about big things like sexual orientation, female sexuality, and racial identity.

 

I was annoyed when descriptions of people mentioned they didn’t look “normal”, or that it was shocking for a larger person to have confidence. Throwing homeopathic remedies and healthy food under-the-bus was also unnecessary. Having a teenager complain about healthy things has been done, and I feel that it’s not authentic.

This would be a great Summer read. Be sure to visit your local bookstore or library and check out this brand new novel.

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According to Amazon, Riley Redgate is a graduate of Kenyon College in Ohio. She’s the author of Seven Ways We Lie (2016), Noteworthy (2017), and Final Draft (2018).

May Wrap Up [2018] #reading

I read 6 books in March:
2 Young Adult (Fantasy, Contemporary Romance)
2 Adult (Anthology/Fantasy, Mystery Crime Thriller)
2 Middle Grade (Fantasy Graphic Novels)

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I follow the Goodreads rating suggestions:
🌟= did not like it
🌟🌟= it was ok
🌟🌟🌟= liked it
🌟🌟🌟🌟= really liked it
🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟= it was amazing

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Title: Our Dark Duet

Author: Victoria Schwab

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Date Published: June 2017

Page Count: 510

My Review: 🌟🌟🌟 Our Dark Duet By Victoria Schwab #BookReview

 

 

 

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Title: Some Of The Best From Tor.com

Author: Various

Publisher: Tor.com

Date Published: January 2017

Page Count: 667

My Review: 🌟🌟🌟  Some Of The Best From Tor.com 2016 #BookReview #Free #KOBO

 

 

 

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Title: Find You In The Dark

Author: Nathan Ripley

Publisher: Text Publishing

Date Published: April 2018

Page Count: 352

My Review: 🌟🌟🌟  New Thriller by Canadian Author #Findyouinthedark #Netgalley

 

 

 

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Title: The Last Council (Amulet #4)

Author: Kazu Kibuishi

Publisher: Graphix

Date Published: September 2011

Page Count: 219

My Review: 🌟🌟🌟🌟  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10537195-the-last-council

 

 

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Title: From Twinkle With Love

Author: Sandhya Menon

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Date Published: May 2018

Page Count: 336

My Review: 🌟🌟🌟 New Teen Contemporary Romance #BookReview #Netgalley #FromTwinkleWithLove

 

 

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Title: Prince of the Elves (Amulet #5)

Author: Kazu Kibuishi

Publisher: Graphix

Date Published: September 2012

Page Count: 203

My Review: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2400981523?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

New Teen Contemporary Romance #BookReview #Netgalley #FromTwinkleWithLove

📚 “Told through the letters Twinkle writes to her favorite female filmmakers, From Twinkle, with Love navigates big truths about friendship, family, and the unexpected places love can find you. ”  📚

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Title: From Twinkle, With Love

Author: Sandhya Menon

Genre: Teen Contemporary Romance

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Date published: May 22nd, 2018

Page Count: 336

A Junior Library Guild Selection!

A Barnes & Noble Most Anticipated Sophomore Novel of 2018!

Available in Scholastic Book Clubs starting Fall 2018!

An Indie Next Summer 2018 Pick!

One of Popsugar’s 10 Exciting Summer Releases!

synopsis

Aspiring filmmaker and wallflower Twinkle Mehra has stories she wants to tell and universes she wants to explore, if only the world would listen. So when fellow film geek Sahil Roy approaches her to direct a movie for the upcoming Summer Festival, Twinkle is all over it. The chance to publicly showcase her voice as a director? Dream come true. The fact that it gets her closer to her longtime crush, Neil Roy—a.k.a. Sahil’s twin brother? Dream come true x 2.

When mystery man “N” begins emailing her, Twinkle is sure it’s Neil, finally ready to begin their happily-ever-after. The only slightly inconvenient problem is that, in the course of movie-making, she’s fallen madly in love with the irresistibly adorkable Sahil.”

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36373464-from-twinkle-with-love

 

My Review

From Twinkle, With Love takes place in June, Colorado Springs, told from the perspective of sixteen-year-old Twinkle Mehra, who feels like an invisible “wallflower”.

A refreshing, modern, coming-of-age story about learning from mistakes and discovering your true self. This story has a diverse cast of characters, which is always nice to read. Sahil, the twin brother of Twinkle’s crush Neil, is my favorite character. He’s an adorable, ideal example of how young modern men should treat women.

I enjoyed the use of letters, text messages, emails, and blog posts to tell the story. It made for an interesting, quick-read, which is great for the hesitant reader.

Despite a few plot holes, From Twinkle, With Love is a light, funny,  charming novel for readers 12 and up (no sex, drinking/drugs). A great summer read 🙂

I received an advanced copy in exchange for my honest, unbiased opinion. Thank you to the publisher, author, and NetGalley, for allowing me to review.

About the author.jpg

Author of light, bright, diverse YA. Hiding behind my coffee cup, eavesdropping on your conversations.https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14834224.Sandhya_Menon

http://www.sandhyamenon.com/

Our Dark Duet By Victoria Schwab #BookReview

📓 Our Dark Duet is the conclusion to the Monsters of Verity duology. If you haven’t read This Savage Song, then be warned – spoilers ahead! 📚 😌

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Title: Our Dark Duet

Author: Victoria Schwab

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Date published: June 2017

Page Count: 510

 

 

synopsis

THE WORLD IS BREAKING. AND SO ARE THEY.

KATE HARKER isn’t afraid of monsters. She hunts them. And she’s good at it.

AUGUST FLYNN once yearned to be human. He has a part to play. And he will play it, no matter the cost.

THE WAR HAS BEGUN.

THE MONSTERS ARE WINNING.

Kate will have to return to Verity. August will have to let her back in. And a new monster is waiting—one that feeds on chaos and brings out its victims’ inner demons.

Which will be harder to conquer: the monsters they face, or the monsters within?” Goodreads

 

My Review

Six months after Kate Harker left Verity, she is now a monster hunter living in Prosperity. She comes face to face with a new kind of monster. This shadow monster has Malchai red eyes and Corsai claws. It feeds on chaos and violence. The “Chaos Eater” leaves a piece of itself in her eye, giving her the ability to know where it’s heading. When Kate realizes that it’s heading to Verity she decides to go back and find August.

Our Dark Duet is a story about the moral gray area that lives between the dark and light. If we can see a guilty soul glow red, does that mean we get to end their life? Can people (or monsters) change?

 

Kate Harker is the daughter of Callum and Alice Harker. Kate is a stubborn, fearless fighter with a strong personality. She has strong feelings for August Flynn.

Callum Harker, who was the leader of North Verity. In This Savage Song, Kate shot him and August reaped his soul.

Sloan: a Malchai. He caused the car crash that killed Kate’s mother, Alice. Sloan was made when Callum committed a sin.

Henry Flynn: leader of FTF (Flynn Task Force). Married to Emily. Adoptive father to Ilsa, Leo, August, and Soro.

Ilsa Flynn: August’s sister, also the first Sunai. My favorite character. She is strong, but gentle. Graceful, yet deadly.

Leo Flynn: August’s brother, was also the second Sunai. August reaped Leo’s soul, and now August seems to be hearing Leo speak to him in his mind.

August Flynn: the third Sunai to be created. He met two other Sunai, Isla and Leo, after he was adopted by Henry and Emily Flynn.

Soro Flynn: the fourth Sunai created. Androgynous and prefers gender-neutral pronouns (is referred to as “they” in novel).

Alice, is a monster born when Kate committed a sin. Alice purposefully named herself after Kate’s dead mother. I particularly enjoyed Alice. She is ruthless, cunning, devious, and strong.

Our Dark Duet is filled with action, suspense. A very fast read for a book with over 500 pages. If you feel attached to any character, prepare to get your heart ripped out.

I didn’t like this book as much as This Savage Song. I can’t quite explain why, but I felt more connected to the characters while reading the first book. I think I would have enjoyed it more if it were from one perspective. The ending wasn’t quite enough. It didn’t resolve any of the big problems. It left me wanting more, and not in the good way.

In summary, this is a mediocre plot with great characters. If you read This Savage Song, then yes, go ahead and read this. You may end up feeling disappointed, but at least you get to let your mind wander to this fantastic world with interesting characters.

About the author.jpg

Victoria is the product of a British mother, a Beverly Hills father, and a southern upbringing. Because of this, she has been known to say “tom-ah-toes,” “like,” and “y’all.”

She also tells stories.

She loves fairy tales, and folklore, and stories that make her wonder if the world is really as it seems.”

https://twitter.com/veschwab/

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

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.

 

 

Book Review ~ Gemina (Illuminae Files #2)

📓 Gemina, the second book of the Illuminae Files series, is a Young Adult Sci-Fi thriller set in the future that takes place in space. If you haven’t read the first book, be warned –  this review is full of spoilers. 📚 😌 Both books are a compilation of emails, instant messages, security camera footage, pictures, and “regular” narrative.

Gemina

 

Title: Gemina

Author: Amy Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Genre: YA Sci-Fi/Thriller

Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers

Date published: October 2016

Page Count: 659

 

 

synopsis

Moving to a space station at the edge of the galaxy was always going to be the death of Hanna’s social life. Nobody said it might actually get her killed.

The sci-fi saga that began with the breakout bestseller Illuminae continues on board the Jump Station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of the BeiTech assault.

Hanna is the station captain’s pampered daughter; Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while the pair are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy’s most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion.

When an elite BeiTech strike team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station residents one by one, and a malfunction in the station’s wormhole means the space-time continuum might be ripped in two before dinner. Soon Hanna and Nik aren’t just fighting for their own survival; the fate of everyone on the Hypatia—and possibly the known universe—is in their hands.

But relax. They’ve totally got this. They hope.”

My Review

Survivors of the Kerenza attack on January 29th, 2575 fled aboard the Hypatia, Copernicus, and Alexander. Pursued by the Lincoln, a Beitech Industries spaceship, Hypatia is the only remaining ship. Reaching the Heimdall Jump Station is their only hope to escape and let the rest of the universe know what Beitech has done. According to a comment Jay Kristoff made on Goodreads, Gemina begins 5 minutes after Illuminae ends, 15 days prior to Hypatia’s estimated arrival at the Heimdall Jump Station (home to over 10,000 people).

Mikhail Malikov is the leader of the House of Knives. Living on the Heimdall, he and his nephew, Niklas, inject worm-like creatures into living cow’s brains to create an addictive drug called “dust”. Nik is Hanna Donnelly’s drug dealer. She is the Heimdall‘s commander’s daughter, and is dating the incredibly handsome Jackson Merrick. A highly trained crew hired by Beitech attack the Heimdall, planning to use the jump station to reach Hypatia, destroy all people and evidence of the Kerenza attack.

In a strange turn of events, Hanna and Nik find themselves having to work together to try to save Heimdall and Hypatia.

Hanna is a lot like Kady, the main character from Illuminae. I love reading about smart, bad-ass women like Hanna and Kady. Nik is the bad boy that you’d love to date, Merrick is the guy you introduce to Dad. As you’ve probably guessed Hanna and Nik end up crushing on each other. The slow-burn/romantic triangle is slightly annoying at times, but I was able to put it aside thanks to the relatively fast-moving plot. My FAVORITE character is Nik’s cousin Ella, a genius 15-year-old hacker.

Gemina is a fast-paced, action filled page turning thriller that made me laugh.

I didn’t like that we don’t read about the character’s from Illuminae until the 55% mark. Even though the mixed-media delivery of this novel does make this a fast read for a book with over 600 pages, there is a lot that could have been cut. Even though they are strong, female leads, Hanna and Kady feel like the same character. The way they talk in the emails and instant messages felt like it could be the same person. I also had a hard time believing 18 year olds could outsmart well-trained adult agents.

I rate this one a strong 3.5 stars. Illuminae Files had better characters, Gemina had a better plot, I’m hoping the third book Obsidio will give me both. I would not recommend the e-book version, it just doesn’t work very well with the book format.

In case you’re interested, here’s my review for Illuminae Files.