Book Review: A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab ★★★

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“Dangerous. Reckless. Foolish. Mad. The words were beginning to feel more like badges of pride than blows.”

Hello, friends!

I must say, being back in the world of multiple Londons was comforting and fun. These books continue to capture my attention, with their fabulous writing, great worldbuilding, and wonderful characters. That being said, I do feel like this middle installment was plagued with second book syndrome quite a bit. I don’t know, something just felt different this go around and made me enjoy Kell and Lila’s stories a bit less. I’d ultimately give it 2.5 stars for that reason mainly.

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Book Review: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern ★★★★

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“You think, as you walk away from Le Cirque des Rêves and into the creeping dawn, that you felt more awake within the confines of the circus.
You are no longer quite certain which side of the fence is the dream.”

Oooo guys. I loved this book! It was honestly gorgeous in every way. I know, I know. I’m pretty late to the game here, but I gotta be straight with ya; I did not expect this book to be so good! It has been sitting on my shelf for years and I just never got around to reading it. I kept putting it off do to my rather lackluster attitude toward circus books (I blame Water for Elephants for that 👎). But, I quickly discovered that the circus here is more of a magic show, complete with real magicians and illusionists. Did you ever see the movies The Prestige or The Illusionist? It’s more like that, which is so much cooler!! I cannot stress enough that, if like me, you foolishly neglected to read this book, you need to do so right now!

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Book Review: The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson ★★

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“My time in camp with Kaden had become awkward several times, or perhaps I was just more self-conscious now.

I had known he cared about me. It was hardly a secret. It was the reason I was still alive, but I hadn’t quite grasped how much he cared. And in spite of myself, I knew in my own way, I cared about him too. Not Kaden the assassin, but the Kaden I had known back in Terravin, the one who had caught my attention the minute he walked through the tavern door. The one who was calm and had mysterious, but kind, eyes.

I remembered dancing with him at the festival, his arms pulling me closer, and the way he struggled with his thoughts, holding them back. He didn’t hold back the night he was drunk. The fireshine had loosened his lips and he laid it all out quite blatantly. Slurred and sloshy but clear. He loved me. This from a barbarian who was sent to kill me.”

Okay, I am sure you guys think I am a huge cynic now who hates love stories or something, yada yada yada, but come on!! This book is marketed as a high fantasy adventure novel complete with badass female characters and assassins, and THIS is the crap we are given?!

The Dude just does not abide.

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Book Review: Hex on the Beach by Gina LaManna ★

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“Slipping under the covers, I replayed the day’s events in my head, from Gus’s announcement that Leonard had been found dead, to the strange incident with Harpin and ensuing rescue by Aarik. My last thoughts before drifting off to sleep centered around Ranger X’s softer side. The one I’d seen at his cabin, and I wondered what I’d have to do to see the gentle side of him once more. To see the man who’d rubbed salve on my neck with a touch so gentle it made my heart flutter, who fed me bread though I was certain it was the only food he’d had left. The man who riled me up to the point of boiling then cooled me down with a single smile – that brief, fleeting smile was the last thing I saw before slipping into my dreams.” 

Unfortunately, the above quote exemplifies why I hold such distaste for this novel. It is positively vapid in most parts. None of the characters can hold the story, which really has no plot, and the entire thing needed about a hundred more pages of narrative and probably 6 more rounds of edits. It was not good and sadly it was clear that it was a self-published novel. I give it 1.5 stars for the potential it had.

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Book Review: An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson ★★

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“You would claw your neighbor’s eyes out for a mouthful of dust. Yet dust is all around you. The whole world is made of dust, and always returns to it. There is nothing else.”

I was really excited to read this book! I thought the cover was beautiful and I love stories about faeries/the fae, so I was pretty hyped. And then, I started to hear some great things about the book, including people comparing it to A Court of Thorns and Roses (which, duh, I love).

Unfortunately (!), An Enchantment of Ravens was nowhere near as awesome as I expected. Nothing turned out to be as I expected, really, which resulted in a pretty boring, sappy, and basic story. Ugh! I am so disappointed 😡

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Book Review: Heart of Mist by Helen Scheuerer ★★

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“Bleak straightened herself; she wasn’t going to die for the king. She wasn’t going to become a prisoner or experiment of his. She’d rather die with salt water in her lungs and mist in her heart. She was free. She had to try.”

Hey, guys! I am back with a review for Heart of Mist by Helen Scheuerer! I found this book at random on Goodreads and downloaded it onto my e-reader right away. It sounded really cool and started out pretty strong. It did not quite live up to my expectations, but I am glad that I read it, nonetheless.

Spoilers under the cut!

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Book Review: Tower of Dawn by Sarah J Maas ★★★

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Wind-seeker, her mother had once called her. Unable to keep still, always wandering where the wind calls you. Where shall it beckon you to journey one day, my rose? 

How far the wind had now called her.”

Guys. This past weekend, I was very prepared to post a book review and my write my Book Tag Tuesday, even though I had to drive to Pensacola for a memorial service. I was so prepared in fact, that I did not even feel the need to bring my laptop >:/ And, of course! I needed it to finalize the post/pictures. So, that did not get done this weekend and then work has already been crazy this week…I know these sound like excuses, but I swear I will tighten up!

But, anyway, I am back for a new review!! Yay! This one is a book that I was not too excited to read, but did so out of loyalty and trust in the author. And of course, Sarah J Maas did not disappoint! Tower of Dawn was an amazing book. It was written so well, the story was captivating, and the ending/plot twists packed a serious punch! There were some things that I did not enjoy, which forces me to give the book 3.5 stars, as opposed to the 5 I would give it otherwise. I feel a bit bad, but I could not overlook the way some things in the book were handled. But, more on that below!

And, duh, spoilers.

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Book Review: Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor ★★★

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“”Life won’t just happen to you, boy,” [Master Hyrrokkin] said. “You have to happen to it. Remember: The spirit grows sluggish when you neglect the passions.” 

“My spirit is fine.”

“Then you’re going sadly wrong. You’re young. Your spirit shouldn’t be ‘fine.’ It should be effervescent.””

This book was extremely frustrating to review. Some parts were so good, but other parts were not good at all, not even in realm of good. And sadly, those parts clashed with what I loved about it. Ultimately, it balances out around 3.5 stars, with most of those points going to writing quality alone. That score is way lower than I was expecting to give, when I first started reading. I thought for sure this was going to be a 4.5/5 star read and I am disappointed in how it turned out. But, I could not overlook its flaws. Hopefully, I can articulate exactly how I feel about Strange the Dreamer for you guys.

This review contains spoilers!

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Book Review: Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones ★★★

“”You are the one who wanted a happy ending, my dear. So you tell me, how does the story end?”
Tears slipped from my face, and he wiped them away with his thumbs.
“The foolish young man lets the beautiful maiden go.”
“Yes.” His voice was clotted thick with unshed emotion. “He lets her go.””

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Cover image courtesy of Goodreads, as I do not own the book.

Well, this book was hard to review. I was wavering between two and three stars forever on this one, so I would officially give it 2.5 stars with an extra half star for the beautiful writing. This is another book that came out early this year that I was super excited for. I read the multi-chapter preview right when it was released and I loved it! The cover is beyond gorgeous and I was so intrigued by the idea of a Labyrinth-inspired story, despite being kind of terrified of the original movie when I first saw it in 6th grade (those tights gave me nightmares). But, once again, when I finally got to read all of Wintersong, it was just…meh? Ultimately, I was just underwhelmed. Maybe I had unrealistic expectations, but I wanted more from Liesl and the Goblin King! Continue reading

Book Review: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab ★★★★

“”Aren’t you afraid of dying?” he asked Lila now.
She looked at him as if it were a strange question. And then she shook her head. “Death comes for everyone,” she said simply. “I’m not afraid of dying. But I am afraid of dying here.” She swept her hand over the room, the tavern, the city. “I’d rather die on an adventure than live standing still.””

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Yay! A good one! A Darker Shade of Magic was a magnificent, well-crafted fantasy adventure with great world-building, pacing, and characters.

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