Our Dark Duet – Book Review

Author: Victoria Schwab
Published: June 13th 2017 by Greenwillow Books
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Monsters
Rating: ★★★★✰

THE WORLD IS BREAKING. AND SO ARE THEY.OurDarkDuet
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?


“Monsters,” he said slowly, “all want the same thing: to feed. They are united by that common goal, while you are all divided by your morals and your pride. What do I think? I think that if you cannot come together, you cannot win.”

I loved This Savage Song. It was the first Victoria Schwab book I had ever read and I knew before I even finished that I had to read her other works. The way she write is just amazing. And the way, the style in which she wrote this beautiful soul crushing book was just perfect. She definitely is not afraid to mess with our feelings and strike right for the feels. Our Dark Duet picks up a few months after the ending of This Savage Song. Kate is now living in Prosperity hunting the few monsters that are there. August has stayed behind to take Leo’s place in the Flynn Task Force with his dead brother haunting his thoughts. While hunting monsters Kate comes across a monster no one has ever seen before. Not a Malchai, Corsai, or a Sunai, but something else entirely. She tracks it back to Verity. And thats where things really start getting good. or really bad. depending upon how you look at it.

August Flynn. He is an amazingly well rounded character. A monster that only wants to be human forced to do monstrous things to save humans. He is seriously messed up in this book. Killing his brother and Kate leaving and the city going to hell in a hand basket and having to reap more and more souls is just taking its toll on him. He struggles with what to do, hearing Leo’s voice in his head telling him to let go and let the monster loose but not wanting to lose what little “humanity” he has.

Kate Harker. I love my blondies. There really aren’t that many out there so I am biased towards them. Kate has started over, she has a new name and a new identity. She tries to cover up her pain and loneliness with monster hunting. She meets new friends  colleagues  fellow monster hunters in Prosperity and fills her life with that. All in, the only way Kate knows how to. But Verity is always in the back of her mind.

I don’t feel like I can say much more without spoiling. The book starts out a bit slow but then as soon as it picks up you are hurled full force into that heart wrenching ending. Oh that ending. I have to say I knew part of it was coming but that still doesn’t prepare you for it! Ugh. I loved it though, I don’t know how she could have ended it any better while getting the point across.

“People were messy. They were defined not only by what they’d done, but by what they would have done, under different circumstances, molded as much by their regrets as their actions, choices they stood by and those they wished they could undo. Of course, there was no going back—time only moved forward—but people could change.
For worse.
And for better.”

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The Sandcastle Empire – Book Review

Author: Kayla Olson
Published: June 6th 2017 by HarperTeen
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopian
Rating: ★★★★✰
sandcastle_empire_book_cover_-_embed_-_2016Before the war, Eden’s life was easy—air conditioning, ice cream, long days at the beach. Then the revolution happened, and everything changed.

Now a powerful group called the Wolfpack controls the earth and its resources. Eden has lost everything to them. They killed her family and her friends, destroyed her home, and imprisoned her. But Eden refuses to die by their hands. She knows the coordinates to the only neutral ground left in the world, a place called Sanctuary Island, and she is desperate to escape to its shores.

Eden finally reaches the island and meets others resistant to the Wolves—but the solace is short-lived when one of Eden’s new friends goes missing. Braving the jungle in search of their lost ally, they quickly discover Sanctuary is filled with lethal traps and an enemy they never expected.

This island might be deadlier than the world Eden left behind, but surviving it is the only thing that stands between her and freedom.


This book was in Owlcrate’s May box just as I was hoping it would be! It was marketed as a Lost meets the Maze Runner but I feel like there was more Catching Fire in the mix then The Maze Runner.

The year is 2055 and the lower income downtrodden citizens named The Wolves have started a war and taken over the country, forcing the one percenters into work camps as revenge for years of oppression. Our MC Eden is confined to one of these work camps. She has lost everything to The Wolves, but that doesn’t stop her from planning an escape. She has a map given to her by her father that has directions to the only known neutral territory left on earth. Sanctuary Island. In an action packed moment of surprise Eden escapes with 3 other girls, none of whom Eden knew. She convinces them to sail to Sanctuary Island, it’s really not that hard, where else could they go? Once there it doesn’t take long for them to realize that the island is anything but safe. When one of their members vanishes in the night they search for her, discovering just how dangerous the island really is. Eden is a strong character, she lead a life of privilege before the war but losing her friends, her boyfriend, her father and her freedom made her find strength within herself. She has to face many more hardships and challenges on the island, including conquering her worst fears and facing *SPOILERS!* It’s really hard to talk about much from this book without spoiling it!

I loved the setting. Husband and I are currently binge watching Lost on Netflix, me for the first time and him for the second, so this island was not hard to picture at all. In my mind the island was a mash up of the Island from Lost and the arena from Catching Fire. The plot was so full of action and suspense it kept me turning pages waaay after my bed time! I mean the book starts off exploding into action and it doesn’t let down until the last page!

Aside from some unconvincing insta love, which felt really forced and unrealistic, and a ending I felt was a bit rushed, I really enjoyed this book. I honestly would have given it 5 stars if the romance had fit in the plot better. I love that it is a stand alone. As much as I love series and trilogies they take a lot out of you, you invest a lot of time into them. This stand alone was a nice fun read. It’s over and I can move on to the next book!

I’ve heard rumors that this book is going to make it’s way to the big screen with Leonardo DiCaprio attached to it. That would be fantastic if it is true! This story was so easy to visualize while reading, just cast the right people (I’m looking at you Divergent) and this would make a great movie! Fingers crossed it happens!

 

Once again this was an Owlcrate book with an exclusive cover to Owlcrate subscribers. The white cover is the exclusive and the green is the original. I think I prefer the green one, but I still like my exclusive cover complete with signed book plate!

June Wrap-Up

This month I read 11 new books. And only reread one (yes you read that correctly – One).

  • The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black
  • Opal by Jennifer L. Armentrout
  • Everland by Wendy Spinale
  • Origin by Jennifer L. Armentrout
  • Oblivion by Jennifer L. Armentrout
  • The Season of You & Me by Robin Constantine
  • Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
  • The Wrath and The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
  • The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan
  • Opposition by Jennifer L. Armentrout
  • Shadows by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Favorite: Well, favorites, were the Lux novels: Opal, Origin, Opposition, Oblivion and Shadows. I just finished off the series and I’m already trying to stop myself from starting back over with Obsidian! They were really, really good AND the main character is a book blogger! Hard to relate to that amirite?

Least Favorite: was The Darkest Part of the Forest. You can read why in my review. It’s not you Holly Black, it’s me. I’m just still not that into faeries.. that aren’t from a Sarah J. Maas novel. Sorry.

Most Surprising Read: was probably The Season of You & Me. (BTW thanks EpicReads!)
The_HostI only reread ONE book this month. ONE. That must be a record. I’m sure I will make up for it next month. After reading The Hidden Oracle I’m already itching to start rereading all my Percy Jackson. Anyways, I reread The Host after YouTube deleted the Lux audiobook I was listening to at work. Rude. (BTW YouTube has a lot of audiobooks, who knew. However sometimes they will disappear before you get to read them or before you get to finish them..) I love this book. It’s one of my favorites to read over and over. and it was one I read straight through in a few hours. Could not put it down. I did put off reading it for a long time because it was written by Stephenie Meyer. But the movie was coming out which actually looked good and several friends recommended it and said it was amazing so I caved. Thank Goodness for that! *Even if your Twilight haters you can still like this book.

Currently Reading:

Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley

The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton & Jodi Meadows

Have you read any of these? What are you thoughts?

Everland – Review

COMPUTER IS FIXED AND I AM READY TO GO!

Author: Wendy Spinale
Published: May 10th, 2016 by Scholastic Press
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Steampunk, Retelling, Dystopian
Rating: ★★✰✰✰

Everland was the book in Owlcrate’s May Steampunk themed box. 26085520It’s a steampunk post apocalyptic retelling of Peter Pan. It takes place in a decimated London that was destroyed by the Germans when they bombed the city. The bombing causes the release of a deadly virus called the Horologia virus that has wiped out the adult population, the only survivors are kids and they are starting to show symptoms of the virus. Gwen Darling and her siblings Joanna and Mikey are among the survivors, hiding on the outskirts of London, now called Everland, to avoid capture from the ruthless Marauders. Led by Captain Hanz Otto Oswald Kretschmer (see what she did there?) they are certain the cure to the virus can be found in one of the survivors. No child they capture ever returns, that is until the day they snatch Joanna. To save her Gwen must team up with a daredevil Pete, sharpshooting Bella and a group of Lost Kids who have been living in a hidden city underground. They must work together to outsmart Hook and the Marauders.

All together I believe this was a decent retelling, especially for her first novel. I feel like she might have leaned a little to heavily on the original fairytale but maybe I have just been spoiled by Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles.. . but I still think she could have been a little more creative with it. I loved the setting, a post apocalyptic London, loved that we got spilt POV’s between Gwen and Hook. The writing was a little more middle grade then young adult, which bothered me. I found myself rolling my eyes at times especially at one point toward the end where everyone had to take turns blaming themselves.. “oh it’s all my fault” “no its my fault” “no no it’s my fault” dear God it’s the climax of the plot please shut up and save England all ready!

World Building gets a thumbs up. Character development gets a thumbs down. Gwen was just a paper doll, very little depth to her other then her love for her family. I liked that she wasn’t infatuated with Pete right off the bat like in the Disney movie, but she does start liking him pretty quickly considering the entire book takes place over a span of like 24 hours. Pete and Bella were typical Peter and Tinkerbelle down to the rooster crow and the strong hatred for Wendy/Gwen. Ugh the rooster crow.. don’t even get me started on the rooster crow. . They’re in LONDON and what teenage boy runs around crowing like a rooster in the wake of an apocalypse? Someone you need to stay away from thats who, can you say coo coo for coco puffs?! Anyways, the point is I just didn’t connect with any of the characters.

I wish that the book had been a little longer. The ending seemed very rushed and was left open ended. It is a retelling so we know that they escaped Hook but the way that they left Hook bothered me. I want to know what happened. It seemed very cut off. I was a little bummed. There is a mention to it being “book one” inside the book so hopefully that means it’s not a standalone and we will get some answers. It was such a good concept, a steampunk Peter Pan in Post-Apocalyptic London… but the writing and characters just weren’t up to par. If you like fairytale retellings I would still recommend Everland, it’s still better then some that I’ve read. I think Marissa Meyer has just ruined me for fairytale retellings. I’m now feeling the need to reread Cinder…

May Recap

This month I read 13 new books. My favorite by far was A Court of Mist and Fury! I’m already in the process of rereading in, hopefully slower this time.. I finished off two series this month with The Crown – The Selection series and The Last Star – The 5th Wave. Read through The Curse Workers series and started a series I was very surprised to find myself loving!

I only reread 3 books this month, I think that shows some pretty good restraint. I reread A Court of Thorns and Roses in anticipation for A Court of Mist and Fury, The Raven King because I just couldn’t let it go and the Duff because we all need a little fluff now and then!

Currently Reading: Everland by Wendy Spinale

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May Owlcrate – Bookish

So last month my husband got me an Owlcrate for my birthday and I LOVED it! So much so that I am now addicted. This month is my second Owlcrate and it was just as exciting to open as the first! If you’re not familiar with Owlcrate they are one of many subscription boxes out there. They offer a brand new hardback YA book, one that has been recently released, as well as several bookish goodies and a note from the author of that book.

This months theme was Steampunk, not typically a genre that I read a lot but I was intrigued. And it turns out this month’s box contained a book that was already on my Goodreads to read list!

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Everland by Wendy Spinale

Forget the story of Peter Pan you know. Because in Everland, the only way to grow up is to survive. Wendy Spinale has created a unique spin on the classic story. Disease, airships, Marauders, and more! The only survivors still iving in the city of London are children and our heroine Gewn Darling will do anything to protect her siblings. When her sister is taken captive, Gwen teams up with a mysterious boy named Pete, a sharpshooter named Bella, and a gang of Lost Boys who have been surviving in an underground city. But will it be enough to rescue her sister from the clutches of the army, and the ruthless Captain Hook?

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The bookish goodies in the box includes a ring inspired by The Infernal Devices by Sparks Emporium. A Skeleton key pendant necklace created by Crystal Compass Designs. Some steampunk nail wraps by Espionage Cosmetics. A unique steampunk style ring from Elope and a minimalist art print from Creative Daffodil. Wendy Spinale also included some goldflash tattoos with her book and authors note.

I’m really looking forward to reading Everland! It’s like a post apocalyptic dystopian fairytale retelling with some steampunk sprinkled in. I am deeply satisfied with this months box and I am so glad I ordered it! Also inside the box was a sneak peek of next months theme which is (drumroll)

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Owlcrate is describing it as an awesome mix of humor, history and fantasy. And if you like The Lunar Chronicles and Red Queen then you wont want to miss the Royalty themed June Box. I know I’m already signed up!

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9 Book Mini Reviews

So it’s been awhile since my last review.. I promise I haven’t been slacking. We had a huge project at work that required me to work up to 80 hours a week staying late and taking work home on weekends and when I finally finished I didn’t want to be near a computer screen much less look at one if I didn’t have to. So the trauma has finally worn off and I’m back! Lets get to it! Here are a few of the books I’ve read since my last post.

23364341New World:Rising by Jennifer Wilson
Published: August 14th, 2014 by Oftomes Publishing
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, Fiction
Rating: ★★★✰✰

This was an interesting take on the dystopian genre. In a futuristic dystopian world human kind is split into 2 groups. Those who live inside the protective walls of the Sanctuary and those who are left outside in Tartarus: the smoggy ruined remains of the world. A cruel and ruthless city, Tartarus is controlled 5 savage tribes.

Phoenix, who witnessed her parents murders at 11years old by one of tribes, fights to survive in the new world. Living as a rogue she survives until the day she breaks all of her rules to save a child. That one act sent her life into a spin. An underground group who claim no allegiance to the tribes or the Sanctuary captures her. I really enjoyed the world building Jennifer Wilson created for this story. It wasn’t difficult to picture this gritty post apocalyptic world. I’m eager to get my hands on the next book but can’t for the life of me find it anywhere!

Endure by Sara B. Larson
Published: December 29th, 2015 by Scholastic Press
Genre: Young Adult, Fiction, Fantasy
Rating: ★★★✰✰

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The final book in the Defy series. Sara B. Larson wrapped up the trilogy with a nice little bow and an epilogue that will make you smile. Ever since reading Allegiant I have had a wariness when it came to the final book in a series. (I mean can you blame me?!) If you like your endings happy with all questions answered then this is the series for you. Out of the three books I would still say Defy was my favorite. Getting to know Alex and her secret, the kidnapping and marching through the jungle, being held prisoner and forcing her the learn how to fight and defeat a black sorcerer; it all just appealed to me more then the second two.

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Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
Published: October 17th 2011 by Tor Teen
Genre: Young Adult, Horror, Paranormal
Rating: ★★★✰✰

A creepy (but not quite as creepy as I was hoping for) ghost story. Cas Loewood is a ghost hunter, he travels the country with his mother investigating legends and killing the ghosts behind them. Searching for a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas expects the usual: track, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he’s never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, now stained red and dripping with blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home. Yet she spares Cas’s life. The story of why Anna’s spirit is trapped in that house and how she was murdered will chill you. I’m looking forward to the conclusion in Girl of Nightmares as soon as I can pull myself out of my shadowhunter rereading frenzy!

15777621This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales
Published:September 17th 2013 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Genre: Young Adult, Fiction, Contemporary
Rating: ★★★✰✰

This book broke my heart a little bit. This is the story of Elise Dembowski, who just doesn’t fit in and tries so hard to make friends and be average and just can’t manage to do it no matter how hard she tries. When her last attempt to make friends fails she almost gives up on life. Then one night while walking the streets she stumbles upon a warehouse party and meets Vicki who takes her under her wing and Char a Disk Jockey who helps her discover a love for DJing. It’s a sad coming of age story that gave me a bit of a flash back to middle school. Kids are so mean and everyone deserves to have at least one friend. By the end of the book Elise discovered she had more then she thought. So many time while reading this I just wanted to reach through the pages and give Elise a hug, and I am not a hugger at all. This is a book that will stick with you, in the back of your mind.

25689074Stars Above by Marissa Meyer
Published: February 2nd, 2016 by Feiwel & Friends
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Fiction
Rating: ★★★★✰

I absolutely loved this collection of short stories. A few I had already read on Marissa Meyer’s website but the new ones, especially the last 2 , The Mechanic and Something Old, Something New were amazing! I feel like that should have been the epilogue for Winter. Reading it made me feel like I was having a reunion with old friends. This is a series that is hard for me to let go of, so any thing extra from this world that Marissa Meyer will give me I will gladly take! I am looking forward to her new work Wires and Nerves, the first of 2 graphic novels coming out next year.

*not so silently fangirls in the corner*

25350996Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Published: February 25nd, 2016 by Macmillan
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Fiction
Rating: ★★★✰✰

If you have read Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl then you already know all about Carry On Simon. If you haven’t read Fangirl… turn around right now and GO READ FANGIR! You can still read Carry On without having read Fangirl, but Fangirl is just so good, I’m doing you a favor here.

Carry On has a bit of a Harry Potter feel to it: A boarding school for magicians, a chosen one destine to save the world of Magicks, a mortal enemy from a wealthy sketchy magical family. But it’s also completely its own story. I love Rainbow Rowell’s writing. She suckered me in with Eleanor & Park and now I will read every word that woman writes.

*also, go read Fangirl!

Untitled-1The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater

The Raven Boys: The Dream Thieves: Blue Lilly Lilly Blue

Published by Scholastic Press
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Fiction, Supernatural
Rating: ★★★★★

How do I even begin to describe the awesomeness that is the Raven Cycle series?

I read Maggie Stiefvater’s Wolves of Mercy Falls series (Shiver, Linger, Forever, Sinner) and was extremely unimpressed. I actually sold the books back to Half Price Books (with the exception of Sinner, I liked her secondary characters MUCH better then the main characters) so I was extremely hesitant to start the Raven Boys. It wasn’t until after I read her Scorpio Races standalone that decided to go back and give The Raven Boys a try. Oh man am I glad I did! But how to describe it? You have a house full of physic ladies and one non psychic daughter. 4 private school boys on a quest to find a welsh king all with their own secrets. 1 backwoods Virginia town and ley line magic!  Blue Sargent is the daughter of a psychic, she’s has been warned her entire life that if she kisses her true love he will die. Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother on St. Mark’s eve as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue has never them, until this year, when a boy wearing an Aglionby sweater, from the rich local private school, speaks to her “Gansey, that’s all there is”
Blue has a rule about staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble. But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He is on a quest that has includes three other Raven Boys: Adam, the local scholarship student who resents the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce Irish soul who has some anger issues; and Noah, the shadow of the group who notices many things but says very little.

Together they make up an amazingly diverse group of characters that discover a magical forest, wake the ley line and dodge crazy teachers, psycho classmates and a hit man out to steal the greywarren for an irritating rich man. I HIGHLY recommend reading this series. It’s one of my favorites to reread both in print and on audio book, the narraror does a great job with all the voices. The last book comes out on April 26th and my copy has been pre-ordered pretty much since I finished reading that oh so mean cliffhanger at the end of Blue Lilly Lilly Blue. Counting down the days now.. 21…