Children Of Blood And Bone by Tomi Adeyemi Review

Children Of Blood And Bone by Tomi AdeyemiChildren Of Blood And Bone by Tomi Adeyemi (Legacy Of Orïsha #1)

Publisher: Henry Holt Books For Young Readers (Fierce Reads)

Release Date: March 6, 2018

Pages: 525

Summary: Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zelie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were targeted and killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.

Now, Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers—and her growing feelings for the enemy.

*There will be a few spoilers in this review!*

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: Children Of Blood And Bone is an epic YA Fantasy you don’t want to miss! Written through 3 fantastic POV’s Adeyemi’s tale delves into such timely subjects, while developing a rich, magical world all throughout her brilliantly woven plot!

Children Of Blood And Bone was amazing from start to finish! I honestly don’t know how I’ll be able to wait for Book 2! 😂✨

Zélie lives in Ilorin, a small ocean village in the land of Orïsha, with her father and brother, Tzain. She, among others in her world, are either maji (those who have unlocked their magical abilities) or Divîners, those who have yet to unlock their abilites (though they are all identified by their white hair).

Majis + Divîners are looked down on by King Saran and the monarchy. With his ruthless and harsh ideologies surrounding them, they are treated brutally.

My heart broke for the Majis + Divîners and what they endured under the king and his guards.

The 3 differing POV’s were so distinct, while also weaving together and developing so well, that I truly loved each and every character from Zélie, to rogue princess Amari, and Amari’s brother, prince Inan.

Through the writing you get not only get such a strong sense of their characters, but also see how their views either change or grow as the story progresses. The way their stories intertwine was so brilliantly done and not once was I ever confused as to who’s POV I was in!

Adeyemi’s writing is cinematic and the first person POV builds Zélie, Amari, and prince Inan into such deeply moving characters, but also the family they have and how their beliefs allow them or not, to see each other and their goals in differing ways.

Overall just seeing the depth and conflict that each of the 3 main characters had and how it pushed them throughout the novel was brilliantly explored. The  complexity and depth to these characters, built and developed so well through the people they know/encounter, even the side characters!!

The antagonistic characters are also written in such a way that even though they have done such brutal and awful things, through Inan’s POV you begin to (while not sympathize) but understand where their coming from when it comes to their views on magic.

The characters are delivered with such complexity, that their motivations/personality are seen in such differing lights as you progress and I loved that! Seeing such conflicting sides to a lot of the characters just continued to build even more into the already amazing story!

Zélie soon finds the opportunity to bring magic back and with the passing of her mother (who was a Reaper; which involved having magic revolving around life and death) + the grief she endures, knows its what is best for her and the people of Orïsha! She is such a brave and determined main character, you will root for her all throughout her journey!

She soon finds herself meeting princess Amari and she joins Zélie + Tzain on their quest. What made this journey so interesting too, was how Inan wove his way into the story and seeing how much he grew as he was tasked with tracking them down!

I also loved the sibling dynamics, especially between Zélie and Tzain! Seeing how their relationship grows + changes as Tzain understands Zélie’s determination to bring magic back all throughout Children Of Blood And Bone, was written and explored so well through not only Zélie’s POV, but also Inan’s and Amari’s especially.

There’s also the amazing female friendship that develops between Zélie and Amari! Though Zélie is hesitant at first, I loved seeing their friendship, among others that Zélie makes, grow over the course of the novel! I also loved the friendship/dynamic between Tzain & Amari!

Family and the bonds we have with those we love was a theme so deeply explored throughout the novel and you got a sense of it with each page.

The world-building was excellent! There’s so many locations that are explored across Orïsha throughout this story. I find what happens most times with fantasy books is that settings almost blend together. However, that is not the case with this book!

The rich culture and mythology sweeps itself into each page of the story and continues to build till the very end. Additionally, Adeyemi explores + tackles racism and injustice + w/ inspiration from the Black Lives Matter movement in this novel as well, its just so powerful and I find it’s important to see it explored, discussed, and tackled in YA Fantasy!!

Each new location is vibrant, descriptive, and atmospheric, as Zélie, Tzain, & Amari are on their quest to restore magic!

The plot has everything! Magic, adventure, politics, & so much more!

I truly loved each of the main protagonists! But the characters I felt really stuck with me, were Zélie + Inan! With these two on opposing sides and seeing how they clashed, while also forging a bond with each other as the novel progresses was developed in such a brilliant way.

Seeing especially how Inan’s allegiances change as he we learn more about him + how he grew to better understand what Zélie and other maji’s/divîners go through, was such a pivotal point in his development. While there’s still the duty he has to his father + his kingdom, he slowly begins to see how magic wielders of Orïsha are treated and the pain + suffering they’ve endured.

As an aspiring writer, I truly enjoyed the reading experience, from analyzing the writing-style to the world-building, characters, etc. I hope to write my own YA Fantasy someday and just reading Adeyemi’s novel really left me feeling inspired to continue with my writing!!

While I’m still debating between 4.5 & 4 34 , the only minor issue I had was that the pacing did slow for me at some points and specifically in a section where Zélie finds herself on a rescue mission. But other than that, I loved everything about this book!

Children Of Blood And Bone is a though-provoking, immersive, and epic YA Fantasy! Adeyemi’s brilliantly developed and complex story weaves in important themes, stellar world-building, action, adventure, and so much more! Children Of Blood And Bone will leave you on the edge of your seat, eager for the next book!


Daughter Of The Siren Queen by Tricia Levenseller Review

Daughter Of The Siren QueenDaughter Of The Siren Queen by Tricia Levenseller (DOTPK #2)

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Release Date: February 27, 2018

Pages: 352

Summary: Alosa’s mission is finally complete. Not only has she recovered all three pieces of the map to a legendary hidden treasure, but the pirates who originally took her captive are now prisoners on her ship. Still unfairly attractive and unexpectedly loyal, first mate Riden is a constant distraction, but now he’s under her orders. And she takes great comfort in knowing that the villainous Vordan will soon be facing her father’s justice.

When Vordan exposes a secret her father has kept for years, Alosa and her crew find themselves in a deadly race with the feared Pirate King. Despite the danger, Alosa knows they will recover the treasure first . . . after all, she is the daughter of the Siren Queen.

My Rating:★★★★☆ 

My Thoughts: Daughter Of The Siren Queen is a character-driven, action-packed  tale that concludes Alosa’s adventures in the Pirate King duology! When Alosa learns more about her past, she’s on a race to escape the pirate king at every turn with her crew at her side! Action, adventure, romance all blend together in Levenseller’s finale to her swashbuckling pirate adventure!

Alosa learns a lot about her past in this book & I loved how character-driven + focused this novel was on her. We definitely know her reputation as the ruthless daughter of the pirate king, but when secrets are revealed, it really builds onto the Alosa we thought we knew at the end of Daughter Of The Pirate King!

With Alosa having taken over the Nightfarer and gathered up the remaining loyal crew, she takes charge to find answers for herself! She quickly learns of the secrets her father has been hiding and feeling betrayed, goes after the treasure on her own!

Now Alosa + her crew are headed to the Isla de Canta to retrieve Kalligan’s treasure and try to get him off their tails.

The banter is as great as always! Levenseller really made the dynamic between Alosa, her crew, + Riden so entertaining!

We get introduced to Alosa’s all-female crew in Daughter Of The Pirate King, but in this book they really get to shine. I loved Rosly’s fierce and courageous spirit, Sorinda’s stealth + relatable quiet personality, and so much more from Mandsy, Kearen, Enwen, Wallov, Niridia, Deros, Lotya & Deshel!

Riden himself gets a lot more character development too! Now as a part of Alosa’s crew, she struggles to understand his loyalty to his brother Draxen after how he treated them. Over the course of the novel, this really allows us to see the growth not in Riden’s character, but also in his relationship with Alosa as she learns more about her siren abilities.

I loved how much this novel really allowed Alosa’s character to shine! We obviously get a sense of who she is from book 1, but when secrets are revealed, we see how determined she is to prove herself & attempt to find the answers she’s looking for!

With her siren abilities coming into question, I loved how her powers were explored so much more and that it really built into the mythology of the sirens set up in Daughter Of The Pirate King!

There is also a bit romance! Similarly to DOTPK, I love how Levenseller weaved it into the plot in such a great way. The banter between Alosa + Riden continued to be so well done!

While I’m still leaning towards 4 stars or 4 14, I will admit that sadly I did enjoy Daughter Of The Pirate King just a bit more~ While I loved the beginning + ending from its plot, pacing to development, Daughter Of The Siren Queen’s middle is where I felt it dragged a bit for me personally. I wanted a bit more plot from a few in-between chapters as Alosa & her crew tried to escape Kalligan.

Aside from that, I really loved how Levenseller wrapped-up the duology. Knowing this would be the conclusion,  I was pretty sad that there wouldn’t be anymore pirate adventures from Alosa to look forward to. But once I actually reached the end, I was surprised at how I felt!

While I’m not surprised Levenseller left this book on such satisfying + happy note, that the last page didn’t feel like the end to Alosa, Riden, and the crew & I loved that!

With how much I loved this duology, I cannot wait to read Tricia Levenseller’s next book: Warrior Of The Wild & see what other grand adventures she sets up next!

Daughter Of The Siren Queen is a sea-faring adventure + conclusion to The Pirate King duology! From expansion to the siren lore and world, comedic banter, and adventures on the high seas, Levenseller brilliantly concludes Alosa’s adventures!

Flight Season by Marie Marquardt Review

Flight Season by Marie MarquardtFlight Season by Marie Marquardt

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Release Date: February 20, 2018

Pages: 352

Summary:Back when they were still strangers, TJ Carvalho witnessed the only moment in Vivi Flannigan’s life when she lost control entirely. Now, TJ can’t seem to erase that moment from his mind, no matter how hard he tries. Vivi doesn’t remember any of it, but she’s determined to leave it far behind. And she will.

But when Vivi returns home from her first year away at college, her big plans and TJ’s ambition to become a nurse land them both on the heart ward of a university hospital, facing them with a long and painful summer together – three months of glorified babysitting for Ángel, the problem patient on the hall. Sure, Ángel may be suffering from a life-threatening heart infection, but that doesn’t make him any less of a pain.

As it turns out, though, Ángel Solís has a thing or two to teach them about all those big plans, and the incredible moments when love gets in their way.

My Rating:★★★★★

My Thoughts: Flight Season is a gem of a novel! Heartfelt, impactful, and beautifully written through 3 brilliantly woven POV’s , Marquardt’s novel discusses love, grief, loss, family, forgiveness, and acceptance! 

From the very first page I fell in love with Flight Season and it easily became not only another one of my all-time favorite YA Contemporaries, but just connected with me in such a way I am truly grateful for!

You know when you read a book & feel you read it at the most perfect moment? That’s definitely what reading Flight Season felt like~

Told through 3 phenomenally developed POV’s, we follow Vivi Flannigan, TJ Carvalho & Ángel Solis.

Vivi has just barley passed her classes at Yale for pre-med, now in order to stay in the program she’s required to complete a summer internship at a hospital in the heart ICU. There she meets nurse aid TJ & patient Ángel.

TJ is planning to complete his training at the hospital & classes in community college to become a nurse.

Ángel Solis is an 18-year old patient, who finds himself in the hospital with a heart infection due to an incident from his job.

The 3 POV’s were all written so wonderfully and each had their own unique and distinct voice. I truly loved reading how these POV’s all weaved together.

One aspect I loved about Flight Season so much was the growth/development seen within each character. Though Vivi’s journey is essentially a huge aspect of this novel, both TJ + Ángel’s perspectives are equally as important and their stories are progressed so wonderfully!

These characters are very much different from their first introductions to the very last page and Marquardt brilliantly gives insight and depth to our 3 main characters that they just truly come to life!

Reading the friendship and deep connection the characters create with each other over the course of the story was miraculously developed and seeing how supportive they became of each other was written so beautifully!

Vivi herself was so relatable to me because she went through moments (especially thinking about university/majors) about whether what she’s studying is really what she wants to pursue. Also considering she heavily handles the emotions of grief and loss was just something for me personally I struggled with not too long ago and reading her long, but fulfilling journey to accept what happened w/ her father was just so beautiful to read & I felt for her with each and every moment.

Additionally what truly made this novel so much more special for me was the Latinx representation! We have TJ who is Brazilian-American & Ángel who is Indigenous Guatemalan & speaks Mam (an indigenous Mayan language).

This is actually the very first time I can say that I am truly writing a 100% #OwnVoices review (with my culture being represented) and that honestly meant so much to me reading it in Flight Season!

With my ethnic background being Guatemalan, it just felt so surreal to read that explicitly stated in the text, reading through Ángel’s falshbacks about Guatemala (& later Vivi’s POV), from the description of the setting to the indigenous languages, just had me crying tears of joy!!😭

I truly loved each of the 3 main characters with all my heart. Their personalities just shine through with each page and you really see their slow, but definite development when you reach the end of Flight Season.

Vivi is really into birds and bird-watching. Throughout the novel we see entries in her journal from the various birds she sees and what exactly they represent for her.

Flight Season discusses grief throughout a majority of the novel through Vivi, and we see how these birds later represent a sense of acceptance for her with the loss of her father + how that not only impacts her from before the start of the novel, but also her mother + the struggles (mainly economic) they face as the novel progresses.

TJ + Vivi both struggle with finding where their place in the world, but support each other when issues come up and through their *almost hate-to-love relationship, really shows their growth as characters and how they learn to really lift each other up + better understand who they want to be!

Though I loved all 3 main characters equally, Ángel was easily my favorite. His perspective in a way broke the 4th wall as he was essentially talking with us (the reader) as he narrates his time in his hospital room, how he got there & with the friendship he builds with Vivi + TJ.

The dynamic he has with each of them was so beautifully done and overall just his witty +  kind personality made his character very refreshing to read about! He was just a really nice and supportive person throughout the novel and regardless of what obstacles he faced, just remained optimistic + hopeful!~

The themes throughout Flight Season were very well developed and explored, from loss (through the explanation of the death of Vivi’s father + Ángel’s family), but also acceptance and the importance of friendship & how it can allow for healing through difficult times.

Flight Season is one of those truly special books that takes you on an quite a journey and doesn’t let go for a single page! From the beautiful characters, writing, themes, and uniquely plotted story, Marquardt’s novel is a must read YA Contemporary!

The Prince And The Dressmaker by Jen Wang Review

The Prince And The Dressmaker by Jen WangThe Prince And The Dressmaker by Jen Wang

Publisher: First Second (FierceReads)

Release Date: February 13, 2018

Pages: 288

Summary:Paris, at the dawn of the modern age:

Prince Sebastian is looking for a bride―or rather, his parents are looking for one for him. Sebastian is too busy hiding his secret life from everyone. At night he puts on daring dresses and takes Paris by storm as the fabulous Lady Crystallia―the hottest fashion icon in the world capital of fashion!

Sebastian’s secret weapon (and best friend) is the brilliant dressmaker Frances―one of only two people who know the truth: sometimes this boy wears dresses. But Frances dreams of greatness, and being someone’s secret weapon means being a secret. Forever. How long can Frances defer her dreams to protect a friend? 

My Rating:★★★★★

My Thoughts: The Prince And The Dressmaker is a delightful graphic novel that will capture you from page 1 as it breaks gender norms in Paris at the turn of the 19th Century! From the delightful artwork, characters, and fast-paced, but wonderfully developed plot, this story is filled with important themes such as trust and friendship. The Prince And The Dressmaker is a must read graphic novel for 2018~

The Prince And The Dressmaker was such an immersive story that had me hooked from the very beginning!

The story starts with Frances, a lower-level seamstress. However, when she gets assigned to create a dress for Lady Sophia for an upcoming ball hosted by Prince Sebastian, her life quickly changes.

When word spreads of her dress, Frances gets approached by someone who offers her 5 francs for to work for an unknown client. She quickly learns that client is none other than, prince Sebastian.

Prince Sebastian loves wearing dresses and he now entrusts Frances to keep his secret. He dresses up and goes out into town by the name of Lady Crystallia.

I loved the friendship + dynamic between Frances & Prince Sebastian so much! The prince & the dressmaker forge such a beautiful friendship forged on trust and the growth that develops overtime as Frances continues to make dresses for him.

Sebastian goes through such development as we learn more about him. Seeing the stress and pressure put upon him by his family to find a wife, we see how unhappy he feels. But with Frances happy to help him, we see him shine as Lady Crystallia.

“…I don’t feel like Prince Sebastian could lead a nation into battle, but Lady Crystallia could.”

Similarly, as Frances wants to grow as a seamstress, we see the stress she feels at times to hide who she is in order to keep Sebastian’s secret. However, what we learn further into the story is that Frances feels without her work as a seamstress, she’ll be nothing.

Through their beautiful friendship, we see how their stresses and struggles fade as both Frances and Sebastian come to see how it allows them both to shine.

The artwork is so beautiful! You can see the deep emotion and beauty of Frances dresses come to life through the art. The colors weaved in with each page bring so much to the brilliant artwork!

I highly recommend The Prince And The Dressmaker & The Tea Dragon Society if your looking to get into graphic novels! Both are fast-paced, but capture you with their beautiful and immersive stories, characters & artwork!

The Prince And The Dressmaker is delightful, charming, and diverse graphic novel that breaks gender norms and puts a focus on trust and friendship! Everything about this graphic novel from the story to the characters, and messages will capture your heart in this delightful + heartwarming story!

February 2018 Wrap-Up

# Of Books Read: 6

Hero At The Fall by Alwyn Hamilton1.Hero At The Fall by Alwyn Hamilton (Rebel Of The Sands #3)

Owned | Started January 31 + Finished on February 2 |Rating:★★★★☆ ½ |Hero At The Fall Full Review

Overall Thoughts: The Rebel Of The Sands Trilogy concludes with such a character-driven and immersive finale! Amani and the remaining rebels band together to take down the sultan. There’s so much character-development and the depth to the world of Rebel, the magic system, and politics continue to develop till the very end! My issues however continue to be the time-jumps/quick pacing through locations and how they tend to rush through character development/interactions & setting description/atmosphere. However, above all Hero At The Fall really wraps up Amani’s adventure & the trilogy as a whole, to a very satisfying conclusion!

Shadowsong by S. Jae-Jones2.Shadowsong by S. Jae-Jones (Wintersong #2)

ARC| Started February 5 + Finished on February 7|Rating:★★★★☆ ½ |Shadowsong  Full ARC Review

Overall Thoughts: Shadowsong is an enchanting and captivating finale to the Wintersong duology. I loved every moment of this book! Very much a darker continuation, this novel takes place 6 months after the events of Wintersong, focusing on Liesl as character with her internal development + growth as she comes to terms with having left the Underground + the Goblin King behind. The elegantly constructed POV continues to brings such depth and life to the many aspects from world to characters, music etc. of this phenomenal duology. The dynamic between Liesl & Josef is heavily explored in this novel & plays such a huge role in this novel. Shadowsong is a captivating, elegant, heart-wrenching, and brilliant finale to the Wintersong duology! (This novel is #OwnVoices for bipolar disorder)

The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton3.The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton (The Belles #1)

Owned | Started January 23 + Finished on February 9|Rating:★★★★☆ |The Belles Full Review

Overall Thoughts: The Belles seamlessly weaves in political intrigue, themes and discussions of beauty, all through a descriptive and dazzling writing! Camellia Beauregard wants to secure her spot as the Favorite, but not everything is as it seems. Soon, the idea of beauty and power begin to shift as Camellia learns in her quest to prove herself as the Favorite! The descriptive, dazzling, and magical world of Orléans immediately transports you and the mythology/history of the world itself is explored in such an intriguing way! Though the pacing does slow throughout the middle, the intrigue, magic & mystery of the plot keeps you immersed! (#OwnVoices for black rep.)

Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman4.Starfish by by Akemi Dawn Bowman

Library |Started February 12 + Finished On February 16 |Rating:★★★★☆ ½ | Starfish Full Review

Overall Thoughts: Kiko wants nothing more than to get into her dream art school. Living with a family, who never seem to understand her, she learns what family means to her and figures out who she wants to be along the way. Kiko has anxiety and because of that, its difficult for her to speak her mind. However, throughout the novel she knows she has support from friends, both new & old, that help her find her place in the world.The writing flows so beautifully, though the heaviness of the story is there. The writing really allows you to see the characters in such a unique way and are given such depth. Starfish is a character-driven and beautifully written YA Contemporary that builds to an inspiring message of hope! (#OwnVoices for Japanese-American rep. + Social Anxiety)

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black5.The Cruel Prince by Holly Black (The Folk Of The Air #1)

Library | Started February 18 + Finished on February  22 | Rating:★★★☆☆ ¾ | The Cruel Prince Full Review

Overall Thoughts: Jude and her 2 sisters were forced to go to the land of the Fae when they were young, however 10 years later all Jude wants is to fit in. Both Jude & her twin sister Taryn are bullied by the fae royalty and this just fuels Jude’s anger to prove herself to them. The descriptions of the setting and various themes of politics, intrigue, and mystery all weave together really well. There were characters I was unsure how I felt about in the beginning, but ended up truly surprising me as I read. While there were elements I really enjoyed, sadly there was a mix of reasons why I rated the book low: I did find the pacing to slow a bit and felt the direction of the plot got a bit lost at times. Personally, I also didn’t really connect with or enjoy the twin sister relationship between Jude & Taryn. I also found that big moments nearing the middle and end really had much build up, so it felt difficult to really invest myself. I also found that the morally grey/anti-heroine aspects of Jude’s character that many had mentioned, felt more sporadic than I had hoped.However, the ending did leave me interested in seeing what happens next.

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo6.The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo 

ARC | Started February 24 + Finished on February 25 | Rating:★★★★☆ ½ | The Poet X Full ARC Review

Overall Thoughts: The Poet X is such a powerful and unforgettable YA Contemporary. Told through poems, Xiomara goes on a journey of questioning and exploring many different aspects of her world from love to religion, and finding her voice through poetry. There were a number of topics explored and discussed such a relationships, body image/self-love, and tackling sexism. Character-driven and impactful, the poems are filled with so much heart, emotion, and depth. The power of Acevedo’s words shines with each page. I also really loved the dynamic between Xiomara & her twin brother Xavier and seeing their relationship change and grow as the book progressed. The Poet X is a must read, so definitely keep an eye out on this book in March! (#OwnVoices for Dominican rep. + there is also gay & Trinidadian rep.)

Additional Posts From This Month:

February 2018 YA Books I’m Looking Forward To!

Literary Listens: Audio Drama Podcasts That Need Book Adaptations

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo ARC Review

The Poet X by Elizabeth AcevedoThe Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

Publisher: Harper Teen

Release Date: March 6, 2018

Pages: 368

Available for Pre-Order Through: The Book Depository

Summary: Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking.

But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers—especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about. With Mami’s determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself.

So when she is invited to join her school’s slam poetry club, she doesn’t know how she could ever attend without her mami finding out, much less speak her words out loud. But still, she can’t stop thinking about performing her poems.

Because in the face of a world that may not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to be silent.

*I received an ARC from the publisher through Karina (Afire Pages)* Thank You!! 😄❤💕

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: The Poet X is must read! Told through honest, raw, and impactful poems, Xiomara finds her voice through the written word as she questions + navigates her world to understand who she wants to become!

If you haven’t added The Poet X to your TBR yet, I highly recommend you do!

Told through verse, Acevedo’s writing evokes so much passion, emotion, and with each poem Xiomara’s story becomes so vivid and real!

Xiomara feels a number of divides and uncertainties in her world. With a sense that she will never be the perfect daughter her mother expects, to the rocky dynamic/relationship she has with her twin brother Xavier and her father, to the questions she has about religion, life, and love.

With each and every poem you get deeper into Xiomara’s life, her as a character, & how she wants to better understand herself in the many conflicting aspects of her world.

Probably one of my many favorite character dynamics of The Poet X was between Xiomara and Xavier (usually called Twin). Having a twin myself, I loved the little details that not only explored their dynamic as twins (such as Xo’s comment on twin telepathy) but also the unique side to their distant relationship that develops and changes as the story progresses.

I felt that the contrasts and differences with Xiomara & Twin (from seeing them at spearate schools, differing hobbies, and their own personal way of showing their care/love for each other), were just so well explored and developed that it really allows you to see the growth of their distant relationship to a much closer bond, & how this development changes their dynamic for the better.

The Poet X is such a character-driven story and although the poems are fast-paced & quick, they leave such an impact through the heart, emotion, and depth that Acevedo weaves into each one. From Xiomara to Twin, her mother & father, her English teacher Ms. Galiano, Xiomara’s bio lab partner Aman, and so many other characters, they all shine through the moving and complex poetry!

The characters all come to life through the power of Acevedo’s words and just stay with you throughout the entire book!

There were so many themes and topics discussed in this novel and I felt they were all fully developed and explored. From family, body image/self-love, independence, love/relationships, religion, and tackling sexism–through Acevedo’s impactful writing you get the messages she’s exploring with each and every one.

Through the raw and vivid writing, Acevedo made The Poet X such a gripping read as I learned more about Xiomara and her world. As mentioned above, though the poems are fast-paced and quick, they continue to build every aspect of Xiomara and her world from her dreams, thoughts, and the family/friends + other important people in her life!

What also made this novel so special for me was the Latinx representation! Xiomara & her family are Dominican and just reading the phrases or words of Spanish throughout the poems just allowed me to connect with this novel so much and left such an impact!

As for other representation, we have Aman who is Trinidadian and there is also gay representation that is explored as we learn Twin is in a relationship with one of his classmates.

Seeing how poetry and the power of words allows Xiomara to connect to the world and find her place was such a deeply explored message throughout the entire story. Seeing her journey to share her love and connection of poetry was so beautifully weaved into each and every aspect of The Poet X.

Xiomara’s dynamic with her mother was such a vital aspect of the story, that was explored through a number of ways. From Xiomara’s views on herself & love, to her uncertainty with religion, seeing how her mother impacted them in such huge ways really allowed me to see just how their complex and difficult relationship shaped so many different aspects of Xiomara’s life.

The Poet X is a powerful and inspiring coming-of-age story that deeply explores the power of words, their emotional impact, and how they allow one to find their voice! With such deeply explored themes of family, love, religion and so much more, Xiomara uses the power of poetry to find her place in the world and make herself heard!

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black Review

The Cruel Prince by Holly BlackThe Cruel Prince by Holly Black (The Folk Of The Air #1)

Publisher: Little Brown Books For Young Readers

Release Date: January 2, 2018

Pages: 384

Summary: Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.

My Rating:★★★☆☆ ¾

My Thoughts: The Cruel Prince is a solid start to a unique YA Fantasy trilogy! There’s intrigue, immersive world-building, and a plot that goes in such unique directions with surprises at every turn!

I’m honestly so surprised with my rating!! I really thought I would give this book at least 4 stars. I’d heard so much buzz and great things about The Cruel Prince, but sadly it just didn’t live up to all the expectations as I’d hoped for and fell a bit short.

Now, even though my rating is a bit low, I will absolutely be continuing with this trilogy. Overall I found myself to be even more invested in the story as I neared the end.

The book takes off right away told through a 3rd person POV of Jude, her older sister Vivi, her twin sister Taryn, and her parents going about their day when a mysterious man arrives at their doorstep.

This man we learn, Madoc, is actually Vivi’s father and comes from the land of the Fae (which makes Vivi ½ Fae). He murders the girls’ parents and is forced to take them back to Faerieland for the mistake that their mother made of leaving Madoc and the land of the fae behind.

Now, told through a 1st person POV, 10 years have passed and all Jude wants is to feel a sense of belonging in Faerieland. Madoc has trained all 3 of them, but Jude just wants to prove to herself and to the other fae royalty, like Prince Cardan, that she does belong.

Jude and her twin sister Taryn continue to face ridicule and bullying from Cardan and his friends, which I saw as such defining aspect to Jude and her actions.

I really sympathized with her and the anger she felt. Being one of a few humans in this world given protection through a higher level fae, she just wants to find a sense of belonging, now knowing she can never fit in the real world again.

While I don’t want to give to much of the plot away, I will say the story continues as Jude wants to gain her place in this land and will use any means she can to achieve her goals.

What I really enjoyed about The Cruel Prince was how wonderfully the setting merged with the themes and complex elements of the story. For example in the land of Elfhame the descriptions Black uses, make the story almost cinematic and immersive, while also building/weaving in politics, intrigue, and mystery to the world so easily, which I really loved.

The beginning couple chapters were really strong. They perfectly set up the dark, magical and mysterious world of The Cruel Prince.

Another aspect I really loved was the development of certain characters. They were ones I honestly either wasn’t too much of a fan of or felt they were a bit flat, but as the story progressed, I ended up enjoying where their development led them.

Those characters include: Prince Cardan, Prince Dain & Locke (one of Cardan’s friends). All 3 of those characters really surprised me more than I thought they would and really had a lot of development throughout the story.

Especially Prince Cardan. He changes significantly as the story progresses and I truly felt he surprised me the most. I really wasn’t expecting to like him so much, but the more that is discovered about him + his unique development, made him one of my favorite characters of The Cruel Prince.

Vivi, Jude’s older sister, was probably another one of my favorite characters + one I adored from the very beginning! What made her so interesting was how she viewed the land of the Fae, not only being the oldest, but also seeing the unique way the author explored her strong connection to the real world than the Fae. Vivi’s choice to exclude herself from this world as much as possible, was to me, just a really unique direction and was explored in such a great way! (+ There is also an f/f relationship, when we learn that Vivi has been dating a girl from the real world)

As for Jude, what I liked the most about her was the intrigue and deception that builds and becomes such a vital part to her as a character.

Now as to why my rating was pretty low:

I felt there was a mix of things that made this book a bit disappointing for me. To start, I felt the pacing became rather slow for me personally and it made it a bit difficult for me at times to stay truly invested in what was going on. It made the plot feel much less gripping + in general, I felt the plot easily lost its way at certain points.

Another aspect that didn’t sit well with me (*this is completely personal/subjective*) was the dynamic of Jude w/ her twin sister Taryn. Having a twin myself, I was so happy to read about twin sisters, especially in YA Fantasy! However, there were certain moments or scenes that I felt made it difficult for me to really see them as twins.

For example, I felt that Jude/Taryn’s personalities were so starkly different that they felt less like twins and were more just sisters + opposites just being called ‘twins.’  We had Jude who was the tougher of the two & Taryn who was the more timid/emotional one.

While I understood why that was done, personally I found it would have made their relationship much more interesting if they had more similarities than differences and see how that played out instead. Also I found they had such few scenes together!~

There was also moments where through the writing, it would feel like there wasn’t much build-up to what was going on & then out of nowhere things would happen. I felt it made it really difficult for me to really invest myself in those moments because they came & went so quickly!

I also did find it difficult to really buy that Jude was the anti-heroine/ morally grey character I’d seen so many people talk about. I felt that those moments were more sporadic for me and she wasn’t as dark/cunning as I had expected.

Regardless, as I found myself reaching the end I closed the book feeling more positive and intrigued to see where the sequel will take the story (the epilogue really surprised me!).

The Cruel Prince is an immersive YA Fantasy that takes you on a magical adventure exploring the politics and intrigue in the land of the fae! The writing allows not only for various themes and topics to be explored, but also sets up an intriguing + magical world. Filled with mystery, politics, and magic, Black’s novel develops (though a bit slowly) to leave readers eager for the next installment!