Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab Review

our-dark-duet-victoria-schwab-cover-revealOur Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab (Monsters Of Verity #2)

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Release Date: June 13, 2017

Pages: 510

Summary: 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?

My Rating: ★★★★☆

My Thoughts: Through Schwab’s character-driven and immersive finale, a new monster emerges in the world of Verity as Kate and August’s adventures conclude in Our Dark Duet!

It saddens me that this novel wasn’t a full 5 stars similar to This Savage Song (which I adored! <3) however it is definitely a solid conclusion! 

Similar to all of Schwab’s other novels, I love how she builds the atmosphere of her worlds! Through her writing, her stories/worlds are always immersive and unique!

It was great to see August and Kate develop as they are set on their own paths, especially August since This Savage Song.

Kate now in works as a monster hunter, but when a new monster emerges she finds herself heading back to Verity.

As their stories progressed, it was heartbreaking to read them come to accept difficult truths not only about the fate of their city, but of themselves.

As a new monster emerges, it was also fascinating to get a lot of POV chapters from Alice and Sloan. They get much more development than in Book 1 and it really brought more depth the story overall to see their plans unfold over course of Our Dark Duet.

Additionally, what made them so fascinating to read about, was being able to get into their head and learn more about who they are and what their goals/plans do to them along the way.

I also loved the inclusion of Soro’s character, another Sunai (who identifies as gender fluid) and used they/them! They were a great character who was such a supportive friend to August when he found it difficult to use his Sunai abilities and coming to terms about humanity and what it means to be human. Above all Soro was an amazing character and even though they were just introduced in this novel, definitely became one of my favorite characters.

As mentioned above, through the inclusion of Sloan + Alice’s chapters, we got even more depth into the hierarchy and inner workings between the Malchai and Corsai!

As for world-building, there is a little more in terms of the different monsters and their role in Verity, which I loved because they were such an interesting part of the world. However, in terms of setting I do wish there was a little more description.

Schwab’s writing especially in this novel, really shows the stark differences between Kate & August, with that, we see the dark truths of humanity and the divide between good & evil which really built into the story.

As to why I took off a star, I did find that since this novel read as a dystopian (for me personally) and found there to be some tropes I usually find in those novels, present in this one, which really made this novel feel difficult to get through at points.

I felt what made TSS so much fun, was the interaction/connection of August & Kate and I felt they really didn’t have that many scenes together in Our Dark Duet which made me so sad :'(!

There were also a couple important plot points that felt super rushed as I neared the end, which really made it difficult to really grasp their severity.

Above all, it felt like there was just something missing from this novel that made it quite different from This Savage Song.

Regardless…

Our Dark Duet is a solid, action-packed conclusion to this dark, character-driven duology! Monsters still roam the streets of Verity and with that, Kate and August must face the difficult truths of who they are!

Shadowsong by S. Jae-Jones Cover Reveal

S. Jae-Jones, author of Wintersong had a cover reveal for the sequel, Shadowsong, which is set to release January 30, 2018!

wintersong-by-s-jae-jonesWintersong has definitely made into my top books of 2017 and I cannot wait to see where Liesl’s journey is headed in the sequel!

This novel was magical and enchanting!! If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it ❤

The writing, world, characters, everything is brought to life through the lyrical and enchanting writing!

Aside from a cover reveal, on June 8 Bustle also revealed an excerpt, which you can read Here!

Now for Shadowsong’s cover:

Shadowsong Cover Reveal

WOW!! 😍💖💕❤️💜💙

Such a fantastic cover! It takes a contrasting turn with the shattered glass and darker colors, but similar to Wintersong, I just love how they match (featuring flowers + a snow globe)!!

Above all, its a beautiful cover and I am super excited to see where the story goes!~

What are your thoughts on Shadowsong’s cover?

If you’ve read Wintersong, are you eager to read the sequel?

April 2017 Wrap-Up

# Of Books Read: 4

The Golem And The Jinni1.The Golem And The Jinni by Helene Wecker (The Golem & The Jinni #1)

The Golem And The Jinni Full Review

Publisher: Harper

Release Date: April 23, 2013

Pages: 486

My Rating:★★★★★

Overall Thoughts: I hardly ever rate books a full 5 stars, but this novel truly deserved it! It captured my heart! I loved everything about this novel from the characters, writing, world-building…I could go on & on about this book! It follows both Chava (a Golem) and Ahmed (a Jinni) as they learn more about  themselves and the world when they find themselves in 1899 New York. There is multiple POV, but Wecker does a fantastic job at differentiating them through the 3rd person POV. This is a novel I will never forget! A true gem + Highly recommend!

Hunted by Meagan Spooner2.Hunted by Meagan Spooner

Hunted Full Review

Publisher: HarperTeen

Release Date: March 14, 2017

Pages: 384

My Rating:★★★★☆

Overall Thoughts: A magical and captivating Beauty & The Beast retelling! Spooner delivers such complex characters and makes them + their development a huge part of the novel! The writing really delivers a “magical” tone to the novel and I loved that! I do wish there was more description for setting + faster pacing towards the middle/end. Regardless, this is a captivating tale with an immersive plot and wonderfully written characters/atmosphere! Spooner takes a classic fairy tale and makes it her own!

A Crown Of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi3. A Crown Of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi (TSTQ #2)

A Crown Of Wishes Full Review

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin

Release Date: March 28, 2017

Pages: 369

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: Chokshi’s previous novel, The Star-Touched Queen was one I felt dispapointed me, however A Crown Of Wishes blew me away! It was phenomenal! Following Gauri and Vikram, they find themselves teaming up to compete in the Tournament Of Wishes! Chokshi’s writing is exquisite, she elegantly crafts her characters, world/setting and plot through both 3rd + 1st person POV! The plot is filled with twists & turns + is nothing short of magical! I adored it! ❤

Every Heart A Doorway4. Every Heart A Doorway by Seanan McGuire (Wayward Children #1)

Every Heart A Doorway Full Review

Publisher: Tor Books

Release Date: April 5, 2016

Pages: 173

My Rating:★★★★☆

Overall Thoughts: This novel takes the idea of of portals and other worlds and gives it depth. The main characters struggle when they find themselves returning from their Door, eager to find a way back. Filled with a diverse cast of characters, atmospheric writing, and a good amount of mystery, McGuire’s novel is engrossing and unique! My only issues were slow pacing towards the middle and a few disappointments plot-wise. Regardless, this unique tale will keep you turning the page!

Additional Posts From This Month:

Literary Listens: YA Books That Need Podcast Adaptations

Waiting On Wednesday I #9 (When Dimple Met Rishi)

A Crown Of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi Review

A Crown Of Wishes by Roshani ChokshiA Crown Of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi (TSTQ #2)

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin

Release Date: March 28, 2017

Pages: 369

Summary: An ancient mystery. An unlikely union. For one young princess in a state of peril, a dangerous wish could be the only answer…

She is the princess of Bharata—captured by her kingdom’s enemies, a prisoner of war. Now that she faces a future of exile and scorn, Gauri has nothing left to lose. But should she trust Vikram, the notoriously cunning prince of a neighboring land? He promises her freedom in exchange for her battle prowess. Together they can team up and win the Tournament of Wishes, a competition held in a mythical city where the Lord of Wealth promises a wish to the victor. It seems like a foolproof plan—until Gauri and Vikram arrive at the tournament and find that danger takes on new shapes: poisonous courtesans, mischievous story birds, a feast of fears, and twisted fairy revels. New trials will test their devotion, strength, and wits. But what Gauri and Vikram will soon discover is that there’s nothing more dangerous than what they most desire.

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: Chokshi deliver’s a magical tale with lush and vivid writing, fascinating characters, rich and wondrous settings, and a plot that will have you captivated from start to finish!

Going into ACOW, I was unsure of what to expect, because while I really enjoyed TSTQ there were a few issues that kept it from being a 5!

However once I started A Crown Of Wishes, I knew it would be a fantastic read! This book went above and beyond my expectations!

Being a companion to The Star-Touched Queen it doesn’t necessarily spoil a lot, however there are references throughout!

The plot follows Gauri, warrior princess of Bharata who wants to reclaim her throne and Vikram, the Fox Prince who seeks to be more than the “Puppet King” he is assumed to become. They team up to compete in the Tournament of Wishes, finding their way to Alaka and completing 3 tasks in order to win a wish!

Vikram in need of a partner in order to compete decides that Gauri, currently a prisoner in his kingdom of Ujijain, will be perfect!

Though they don’t get along at first and bicker along their journey, they learn to understand each other and forge a friendship/relationship that encourages them to bring out the best in each other!

While I found myself captivated by both Gauri and Vikram separately, I adored their interactions and their overall dynamic was superbly written!

There are elements of romance and Chokshi did it magnificently! It really flowed well with the pacing of the story and overall was beautifully written!

Told through Gauri’s 1st person POV and Vikram’s 3rd person POV, we get an in depth look at their past and how the outcome of this tournament can change their lives for the better. While their focus remains a central part of their story, Chokshi’s writing really paints the complexities of their emotions and inner struggles they must face.

Chokshi really highlights the flaws or obstacles these characters encounter and makes their journey of overcoming them and accomplishing their goals a major part of their development! Both major and side characters have complexity to them that unravels and gets revealed as the story unfolds!

The plot itself goes in directions I wasn’t expecting and I loved every moment of it! Flashbacks that appear, really became an integral part of the characters stories and their development!

There were so many themes and messages of independence, acceptance, personal growth…the list can go on! The characters are definitely not the same once you finish the novel and it shows from the journey they undergo in A Crown Of Wishes!

A big message I found throughout this novel that really built into the story as Vikram and Gauri find themselves in the Tournament Of Wishes, was that their actions or decisions influence more than just themselves! It really brought an aura of mystery and suspense as the plot unfolds!

No major spoilers but, I adored the ending and how it wrapped up! With how the story develops I felt truly satisfied with the ending! I adored it so much!

My only minor issue was slow pacing towards the end! However the plot really drives the story forward and wasn’t really a bother because I was just so invested in the story!

A Crown Of Wishes melds Indian folklore and mythology and is weaved all throughout! The characters, plot and world come to life through Chokshi’s magical and captivating writing-style! Vikram and Gauri’s journey to obtain their wish is filled with action, adventure, witty banter, and so much more!

This book will leave you enchanted! Highly recommend!

Hunted by Meagan Spooner Review

Hunted by Meagan SpoonerHunted by Meagan Spooner

Publisher: HarperTeen

Release Date: March 14, 2017

Pages: 384

Summary: Beauty knows the Beast’s forest in her bones—and in her blood. Though she grew up with the city’s highest aristocrats, far from her father’s old lodge, she knows that the forest holds secrets and that her father is the only hunter who’s ever come close to discovering them.

So when her father loses his fortune and moves Yeva and her sisters back to the outskirts of town, Yeva is secretly relieved. Out in the wilderness, there’s no pressure to make idle chatter with vapid baronessas…or to submit to marrying a wealthy gentleman. But Yeva’s father’s misfortune may have cost him his mind, and when he goes missing in the woods, Yeva sets her sights on one prey: the creature he’d been obsessively tracking just before his disappearance.

Deaf to her sisters’ protests, Yeva hunts this strange Beast back into his own territory—a cursed valley, a ruined castle, and a world of creatures that Yeva’s only heard about in fairy tales. A world that can bring her ruin or salvation. Who will survive: the Beauty, or the Beast?

My Rating:★★★★☆

My Thoughts: Spooner delivers a magical and captivating Russian-inspired Beauty & The Beast Retelling! With vivid characters, themes of sisterhood and family, immersive plot and rich world, you will be enchanted!

Told through a 3rd person POV, we follow Yeva (the Beauty) and the journey she undergoes when her family (Her sisters & father) loses their fortune! Forced to move to their old cabin in the woods, they must adjust to their new life.

However, when their father gets lost in the woods (presumably searching for the Beast), Yeva sets out to rescue him! As the story progresses she finds herself in Beast’s castle and learns more about herself and the magic that lies deep in the woods.

The characters were wonderfully written! While it may seem that this is a very romance-heavy novel, it really isn’t! It focuses so much on the characters and their development.

Spooner really showed the bonds that the sisters (Yeva+Asenka + Lena) have with each other and no matter what tragedies or trials they face along the way, they are always there to help and support each other! No jealousies or rivalries. Just sisterly love/support and I loved that so much! ❤ ❤

Even the male characters, who show feelings for some of the sisters don’t have romance as a central part of their story. They help the sisters and stick by them.

Each character was crafted wonderfully! There was never a character trait/motive that felt out of place or dragged the story. They all remained focused and nothing they did ever felt out of character!

Yeva was my favorite! She longs for freedom and wants to seek out more for herself and her life! While she may be eager to seek out the magic of her world on her own, she always puts others happiness first before her own! ❤

The world, while setting wise could have used a little more description, was very well constructed and the Russian-Folklore elements weaved perfectly into the story!

While reading, this story felt magical and I loved that!

Above all, a lot of fantastic elements to a fantastic retelling!

However, my only issue was towards the 50% mark or so, the story felt like it slowed down for me personally. For the rest of the novel, I was powering through. Not that I didn’t enjoy it…I really did! It just felt that once the story progressed and Yeva finds herself back home, the rest of the story’s pacing felt very slow.

Aside from that, as for the plot while I’m very familiar with the tale, I loved Spooner’s retelling and found myself surprised along the way! Overall the originality and surprises of this tale, kept me turning the page!

Spooner delivers a magical that puts emphasis on characters and their development! With magic weaved throughout each page, you will find yourself captivated Russian-Inspired retelling of Beauty & The Beast!
Spooner’s tale is spellbinding, bringing a wholly original take to a classic fairy tale!

Literary Listens: YA Books That Need Podcast Adaptations

literary-listens-24hryabookblog-feature-bannerLiterary Listens is my newest blog series/feature where I discuss podcasts & books!

Check out my most recent feature, which was “Podcast Recommendations For Writers.

This week’s post is all about “adaptations”–in a way.

I’ll be sharing with you YA Books that I’ve read, that would translate very well to audio and should have their own audio drama podcasts!

~Every now and again on Twitter, I update with my latest podcast obsession I’ve caught up with! 😂😂

While I am by no means an expert, I have listened to quite a few “Audio Drama Podcasts.” The easiest way I can explain them are, essentially stories/overarching plots (like that of a novel) told episodically through audio.

What makes them so unique compared to other mediums is that because its told through sound (sfx, voice actor/actress, etc.) everyone’s interpenetration of characters/setting can be vastly different and the episodic format of podcasts can give you an in-depth perspective on the story being told!

Now onto the list of YA Books that would make a great transition from page to audio!

six-crows-leigh-bardugo-cover1.Six Of Crows/Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

The Six Of Crows duology has such a fascinating and rich world from the bustling streets of Ketterdam to the wonderfully written characters like Kaz Brekker, Inej Ghafa, and the other members of the Dregs! 

~Add in the high stakes and expansion of the world further developed in Crooked Kingdom and it would make for quite a series!

Bardugo is a master at crafting characters, descriptions and dialogue that’s witty, clever and creates such an atmosphere! If this were to ever happen and the right voice actors were found, it would truly bring her world to life through a podcast!

when-the-moon-was-ours-anna-marie-mclemore2.When The Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore

McLemore creates such vivid and unforgettable characters and through her magical writing, it delivers such a rich and magical story!

Through her lush writing style, the Latinx folklore, magical realism, and important themes and messages weaved throughout would translate perfectly!

Crafting such a magical and memorable story When The Moon Was Oursif it were to be adapted as a podcast, would be a captivating one!

This Savage Song July 53.This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab (TSS #1)

The uniqueness and creativity of Schwab’s worlds, especially in This Savage Song would make for such a compelling podcast! 

Through audio, the characters of Kate Harker & August Flynn would really be at the center, with the depth and emotion that Schwab brings to them in the novel a driving force, if this were to become a podcast!

~Just picture each chapter in their POV like one episode! Each chapter of the story could translate to one episode of them…recording their thoughts or relaying them through a diary??

Plus the city of Verity itself is dark yet has so much mystery that it would interesting to see unfold through a podcast! Even with its monsters like the Sunai, Corsai, and Malchai!

97800623807534.The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig (TGFE #1)

What I adored about Heilig’s novel The Girl From Everywhere, was not only the rich history weaved throughout, but the overall originality of the plot!

16th Century Hawaii + Ships + Maps that can take you anywhere in time? Wouldn’t that be just beyond amazing for audio?? ❤ ❤

There are so many important themes such as family, friendship and finding yourself found all through out the story. Additionally there’s a great + diverse cast of characters! (character who’s bipolar, characters of color- 1/2 Chinese, Persian)

The beautiful imagery/description of setting that Heilig weaves into her story I feel would also translate seamlessly!

With the fascinating plot, diversity and important themes, The Girl From Everywhere would make such a magnificent audio drama podcast!

wintersong-by-s-jae-jones5.Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

Wintersong was an enchanting tale! Along with the gorgeous writing, dazzling setting and fascinating characters, Jones’s story could really be brought to life through audio! (Like the Underground and Goblin Grove!)

~Music is a big factor in this story and as a podcast, would add even more!

Through Liesl’s elegantly-constructed POV, it would really transport the listener and bring the enchanting world to life!

Do you think these YA Books would make interesting audio drama podcasts?

Any YA Books you think would be great as podcasts?

Let’s Discuss In The Comments Below! 🙂

March 2017 Wrap-Up

# Of Books Read: 7

wintersong-by-s-jae-jones1.Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

Wintersong Full Review

Publisher: Thomas Dunne

Release Date: February 7, 2017

Pages: 436

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: There was so much pre-release hype + buzz surrounding this book and I was not disappointed! The writing-style (1st person POV) really sucks you into the story and brings the setting and characters to life! Elements of family, loyalty + independence were weaved all throughout this magical tale. What really stood out to me though was the atmosphere Jones created which really made this book stand-out! Highly recommend!

Daughter Of The Pirate King2.Daughter Of The Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller (DOTPK #1)

Daughter Of The Pirate King Full Review

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Release Date: February 28, 2017

Pages: 320

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: I loved everything about this book! We follow Alosa as she plans her own capture aboard The Night Farer in order to help her father “The Pirate King” locate a map! Levenseller blends action, adventure, and romance perfectly! The plot surprised me with every page! The characters, plot and world are wonderfully developed. This was a perfect pirate adventure & I cannot wait for Book 2!

Empress Of A Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza Cover Reveal 20173.Empress Of A Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza (EOATS #1) 

Empress Of A Thousand Skies Full Review

Publisher: Razorbill

Release Date: February 7, 2017

Pages: 314

My Rating:★★★★☆

Overall Thoughts: A unique and fascinating character-driven Sci-Fi/Space Opera! Belleza discusses and expands on very timely topics and she kept those a central part of the novel! Told through 3rd person, she does an incredible job with dual POV! Additionally, the plot, characters (+diversity), politics, world, etc. are all put at the center which was fantastic! However I do wish the world was expanded on more (more/richer atmosphere)! Regardless, there were so many great elements to this novel & I cannot wait to see how it wraps up in Book 2!

The Girl From the Other Side-Siúil, A Rún Vol. 14.The Girl From The Other Side: Siúil A Rún Vol. 1 {TGFTOS #1} by Nagabe

The Girl From The Other Side Full Review

Publisher: Seven Seas

Release Date: January 24, 2017

Pages: 180

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: This manga was fantastic! Both dark + enchanting, we follow Shiva & “Teacher” as they live in a world with “Insiders” + “Outsiders” (monsters, similar to what Teacher is). Teacher wants to keep Shiva safe so they live in a quiet cottage near the woods. Themes of family + the shades between light vs. dark are central in this story! It kept me surprised with each and every page! The artwork is wonderful and really brings the story to life! 

under-rose-tainted-skies-by-louise-gornall5.Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall

Under-Rose Tainted Skies Full Review

Publisher: Clarion Books

Release Date: January 3, 2017

Pages: 320

My Rating: ★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: Norah has both agoraphobia & OCD and with that, finds it difficult to leave her house. However along the way, she comes to understand the bravery that she’s had all along. While reading, I could really follow Norah’s thought process and could really relate to her, in regards to her anxiety. However I did feel the ending was rather rushed near the end. This novel emphasized personal growth and I adored that so much! If your looking for a great YA Contemporary (+ #Ownvoices) definitely check this book out!

we-are-okay-by-nina-lacour6.We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

We Are Okay Full Review

Publisher: Dutton Books For Young Readers

Release Date: February 14, 2017

Pages: 234

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: The writing is what brought so much emotion and depth to Marin’s story.  Additionally, it also brought the characters to life + atmosphere to the setting! While there is slow pacing, themes and character development are weaved throughout! This novel discusses themes of friendship, family, grief/loss, and love! 

Crazy Messy Beautiful by Carrie Arcos Review7.Crazy Messy Beautiful by Carrie Arcos

Crazy Messy Beautiful Full Review

Publisher: Philomel Books

Release Date: February 7, 2017

Pages: 320

My Rating:★★★★☆

Overall Thoughts: Arcos delivers a unique contemporary that puts an emphasis on friendship. In English class, Pablo gets assigned a research paper on a classmate. Pablo & Callie really develop a friendship/bond over the course of this novel. However Pablo realizes he may be falling for Callie. I did find that aspect to be rather rushed + some other plot elements that felt incomplete! Regardless, Arcos really makes friendship a huge factor of this novel while also delivering a unique take on love.

However:*There was one line I *personally found to be questionable, which can be read on my Review* I would love reviewers to give me feedback, perhaps I just misunderstood? 

Additional Posts From This Month:

Literary Listens: Podcast Recommendations For Writers

Traitor To The Throne Reading Playlist + Wintersong Reading Playlist

Waiting On Wednesday I #8 (Forest Of A Thousand Lanterns)

Warcross by Marie Lu Cover Reveal