Thursday, February 23, 2017

Rise of Fire (Reign of Shadows) by Sophie Jordan

The richly suspenseful sequel to Sophie Jordan’s romantic fantasy Reign of Shadows.

Luna and Fowler have escaped the kingdom of Relhok, but they haven’t escaped the darkness. When a battle against the dark dwellers mortally injures Fowler, Luna is faced with a choice: put their fate in the hands of mysterious strangers or risk losing Fowler forever.

Desperate to keep the one bright part of her life alive, Luna accepts the help of soldiers from a nearby kingdom. Lagonia’s castle offers reprieve from the dangerous outside world—until the king discovers both Fowler's and Luna’s true ties to Relhok and their influence over the throne.

Now pawns in each kingdom’s political game, Luna and Fowler are more determined than ever to escape and build the life they’ve been dreaming of. But their own pasts have a tight hold on their hearts and their destinies. Luna must embrace the darkness and fire within her before she loses not only Fowler, but the power she was destined to inherit.


I don't know if it's the fast pace, interesting plot, or abundance of dialogue, but this series stands out among other fantasies. The premise is so dark and eerie, yet the passion within the pages is fire! There are monsters of human and creature form and there are secrets hidden in every corner...
This sequel picks up where book one left off... Luna and Fowler are separated and it's up to Luna to fight the dwellers for Fowler's safety. When she finds him underground though, it is a tad too late. He needs medical attention which leads them both to a new kingdom full of controlling people and hate. When their secrets are revealed the King does everything in his power to betroth them and unite kingdoms. Enter Chasan: The cocky, yet sumptuous prince that favors Luna. I felt so guilty, but I actually REALLY liked him like A LOT. His exterior may have been hard, but beneath the tough layer, was kindness. Luna and Fowler play the King's games for a while, but their ultimate goal is to escape. When they finally break free it's not at all what you expect. HOLY CRAP, Luna is a BADA$$ and that ending!... Just one more reason to love this series.
Why 4 stars you ask? Well book one set the standards too high... In <i>Reign</i> we met new characters, found out secrets, and explored a new creepy world. It's pages of firsts and I don't think any sequel could live up to that kind of perfect. I'm not sure if the Author plans to write a book 3, but I'm pretty sure I'd read infinite books about these characters. It's a fantastic, unique world. 

Monday, February 20, 2017

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .
Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.
This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.

This book can only be described one way, a classic. It's words were like a literary hug... Each one surrounded me, embraced, and slowly seeped into my blood stream. Their impact pulled me in with turmoil and surrounded me with tragedy. It wasn't an easy book to read, but it's one I will never forget.
Liesel may just be my favorite heroine of all time. Her gentleness and immaturity grew into raw bravery and her ugly journey was full of hope. Her story starts with her brother dying and her mother giving her away. She ends up with adoptive parents and a world full of questions. The aggravating boy next door becomes her best friend/first love and a jew moves into her basement. One thing ties all of these things together... Words. The simple, yet complex act of reading brings her family and friends closer. Her papa teaches her love through ink on pages and in the end she returns the favor. Stealing books becomes her thing and what a thing it is...
My heart was filled to the brim while reading this book. It's a different type of historical with a new take on the enemy side. I found myself confused, angry, and sad, but most importantly... overwhelmed by how educated I felt once I finished. The narrator was a unique twist and helped pack the hard punch the story needed. I don't want to say I loved it because to love a story so full of tragedy is a tad morbid, but I did love the overall execution and grit that lined the pages. I loved the love between the characters and I loved the bittersweet ending.

The Forbidden Wish (The Forbidden Wish #1) by Jessica Khoury

She is the most powerful Jinni of all. He is a boy from the streets. Their love will shake the world. . . .
 When Aladdin discovers Zahra's jinni lamp, Zahra is thrust back into a world she hasn't seen in hundreds of years--a world where magic is forbidden and Zahra's very existence is illegal. She must disguise herself to stay alive, using ancient shape-shifting magic, until her new master has selected his three wishes. 


But when the King of the Jinn offers Zahra a chance to be free of her lamp forever, she seizes the opportunity--only to discover she is falling in love with Aladdin. When saving herself means betraying him, Zahra must decide once and for all: is winning her freedom worth losing her heart?
As time unravels and her enemies close in, Zahra finds herself suspended between danger and desire in this dazzling retelling of the Aladdin story from acclaimed author Jessica Khoury.

I found myself consumed by the intricate world and overwhelmed by the unique plot... There is just one word to describe it and that word is magical.
It started out slow, but once Aladdin came along, the pace picked up and so did my heart beats. He was such a gorgeously flawed character. I swooned hard and fell more in love as the story progressed. If nothing else, you will love the love story. It's not exactly insta love because there is playful banter, but it's definitely a deep rooted thing that feels hundreds of year aged. It's gorgeous and tragic and just so many words wrapped into one.
I had a few minor issues with the plot, but the scenic descriptions and setting overshadowed those. The book world seriously stole my breath. I could see smoke billowing, darkness falling, and bright colors blooming. Each chapter painted a new picture on my mind and I was entranced to say the least. There were shape shifting Jinns... I mean need I say more? It was a crazy whirlwind adventure that mysteriously found a happily ever after.
I recommend it to middle eastern and retelling readers. The writing is seriously top notch.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.
But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.
Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.


This book was literally everything, everything I hoped for. It was John Green tragic with a quirkiness that left me smiling. Now normally... sarcasm is not for me, but with this book, each playful sentence had a deep rooted meaning. Each word punched you in the gut in the best way possible. I swooned at the epic first love and felt for the characters in a way that I can't quite describe. To say I was hooked is an understatement. I literally could not put it down. I kept saying one more chapter and ended up finishing it the same night.
It's a story about a girl that was raised with a sickness that kept her locked away in her room (a bit like Rapunzel in her tower). What she knows is what she reads and white is her safety zone. When a boy moves in next door though ... she starts seeing in vivid color, bright neons, and soft pastels. Olly, the parkour loving jokester tempts her in all the right ways. Their connection starts via window writing, progresses to emails, and ends with earth shattering, soul connecting touches. Maddy learns that love can overcome fear and that it can also make dying feel worth while. She starts to brave a new world with big ideas and eventually gets urges to feel the earth beneath her toes. Her mother is determined to keep her trapped though so deception is the only way to feel free. One big lie and an epic adventure later and her glass house is shattered.
I was obsessed and still am long after the final page. If you want a fast paced unique read, please go buy this one. I promise you won't be disappointed!
*Filled with family problems, growing up struggles, and control that is out of your hands....

Poison's Kiss (Poison's Kiss #1) by Breeana Shields

A teenage assassin kills with a single kiss until she is ordered to kill the one boy she loves. This commercial YA fantasy is romantic and addictive like-- a poison kiss-- and will thrill fans of Sarah J. Maas and Victoria Aveyard.
Marinda has kissed dozens of boys. They all die afterward. It's a miserable life, but being a visha kanya, a poison maiden, is what she was created to do. Marinda serves the Raja by dispatching his enemies with only her lips as a weapon.

Until now, the men she was ordered to kiss have been strangers, enemies of the kingdom. Then she receives orders to kiss Deven, a boy she knows too well to be convinced he needs to die. She begins to question who she s really working for. And that is a thread that, once pulled, will unravel more than she can afford to lose.

This rich, surprising, and accessible debut is based in Indian folklore and delivers a story that will keep readers on the edge of their seats.

As far as folklore and fantasy go... This one was top of the line. I found myself instantly sucked into the story and held captive by the twisty plot. The Author's words danced in my mind and the intricate story weaved it's way into my soul.

When Marinda was a child, she was fed on and poisoned by snakes to become immune. Her kisses were made to kill... Growing up she always believed her missions were for the greater good, but when she is given a mission she can't complete, she is forced to pump the brakes and look into her life. Horrific secrets are slowly revealed and when she tries to flee, her brother is taken by the snake king. Together her and the love interest, Deven, embark on a trip to visit the Raja in hopes of help. Help isn't exactly what they find though... Marinda ends up behind bars with a young boy as her only companion. She is determined to save her brother though and in the end, makes a great sacrifice to do so.

Poison's kiss was well written, fast paced, and for the most part, a very likable book. The anticipation kept me on the edge of my seat and the unique plot kept me turning the pages. I did however have a couple of minor issues... One, I needed more romance or at least a better build up to make the romance passionate and believable. Two, I felt the twists were a tad predictable. I knew in Chapter 2 what the next mission would be and I was slight bummed... However, the negative feels were slowly swept under the flawless book world.
The scenic execution was spot on. The pages truly painted vivid pictures in my mind. If I had to guess, I'd say this Author will slowly rise to the top of the fiction world. I look forward to seeing what's next.

The First Time She Drowned by Kerry Kletter

Cassie O’Malley has been trying to keep her head above water—literally and metaphorically—since birth. It’s been two and a half years since Cassie’s mother dumped her in a mental institution against her will, and now, at eighteen, Cassie is finally able to reclaim her life and enter the world on her own terms.
But freedom is a poor match against a lifetime of psychological damage. As Cassie plumbs the depths of her new surroundings, the startling truths she uncovers about her own family narrative make it impossible to cut the tethers of a tumultuous past. And when the unhealthy mother-daughter relationship that defined Cassie’s childhood and adolescence threatens to pull her under once again, Cassie must decide: whose version of history is real? And more important, whose life must she save?

A bold, literary story about the fragile complexities of mothers and daughters and learning to love oneself, The First Time She Drowned reminds us that we must dive deep into our pasts if we are ever to move forward.

This book wrecked me multiple times on multiple levels. Tears filled my eyes and butterflies danced in my stomach... It pulled me in with it's lyrical prose and kept me hooked with the tragic details...

It's a story about an unloved girl trying to make it in her own world. Cass has survived family hatred, abandonment, and years in a mental hospital... When she gets a chance at normalcy (college, friends, classes etc.), it's not exactly as easy as one might think. Actually, it feels as though she is just continuing her never ending tread to keep her head above water... She nearly drowns, is pulled back into her mothers web, and slowly remembers horrors from the past. She wants a new friend and a new love, but can't help but push them away in fear of being used or abandoned again. It takes time, hard work, and a little self exploration, but eventually she finds the key to staying afloat.

This was seriously one of the best books I've ever read. It was gritty and real and everything I love about YA contemporary. There were flaws in the characters and hurt in the words, but the progression throughout the book was a beautiful transformation of pure bravery and ultimate survival. I loved it and highly recommend that readers of all ages read it!