Beneath The Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire ARC Review

Beneath The Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuireBeneath The Sugar Sky (Wayward Children #3)

Publisher: Tor Books

Release Date: January 9, 2018

Pages: 160

Summary: Beneath the Sugar Sky, the third book in McGuire’s Wayward Children series, returns to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children in a standalone contemporary fantasy for fans of all ages. At this magical boarding school, children who have experienced fantasy adventures are reintroduced to the “real” world.

When Rini lands with a literal splash in the pond behind Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children, the last thing she expects to find is that her mother, Sumi, died years before Rini was even conceived. But Rini can’t let Reality get in the way of her quest – not when she has an entire world to save! (Much more common than one would suppose.)

If she can’t find a way to restore her mother, Rini will have more than a world to save: she will never have been born in the first place. And in a world without magic, she doesn’t have long before Reality notices her existence and washes her away. Good thing the student body is well-acquainted with quests…

A tale of friendship, baking, and derring-do.

Warning: May contain nuts.

*Received an ARC through a Goodreads giveaway*

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: Beneath The Sugar Sky is a colorful and charming continuation to the Wayward Children Series! Rini finds herself at Eleanor Wests home for Wayward Children looking for Sumi. Following some previous characters from Every Heart A Doorway, Beneath The Sugar takes you on a journey to the sweet and sugary world of Confection!

Though I don’t mention it much, ever since I read Every Heart A Doorway last year, its one of those books I always find myself thinking about & know it will forever hold a special place in my heart. However, there was just something about Beneath The Sugar Sky that just captivated me!

The story starts with Cora, a recent student who’s still fitting into Eleanor Wests Home For Wayward Children. She’s hanging out with her friend Nadya out by a small turtle pond near the home, when suddenly a girl named Rini falls from the sky, stating she came from the land of Confection and needs to find her mother, Sumi! If she doesn’t, Rini Onishi may cease to exist!

Now Cora & Nadya are leading Rini to talk to Kade (currently training to one day run his aunt Eleanor’s home) and Christopher, the boy with the bone flute who may hold the key to getting this journey into motion.

According to Rini they need to find Sumi’s body, essentially rebuild her and bring her back to life, to prevent Rini from disappearing and from travesty to conspire among Confection and hopefully allow Sumi (to live again) and Rini to reunite with her when the timeline is fixed.

I feel what truly made me love this book far more than the previous 2, was Kade & Chris! They are honestly my favorite characters of the entire series. They finally had more page time and I loved their banter + friendship so much! I kept thinking to myself as I was reading that I would honestly love an entire Wayward Children series just revolving around Kade & Chris! We learn much more about them as characters, got more depth to them, and their worlds than we did in Every Heart A Doorway and they just made this book so much fun to read!

Additionally as for diversity, from what I remember in Every Heart A Doorway not only do we have Kade who is trans, but it was mentioned Chris was Latinx, however what made this book so great was that McGuire specifically mentioned his ethnicity (Mexican). Overall I felt the representation for the characters of color Chris, Sumi & Rini (Japanese), were just better represented than in book 1 and I loved that!

It was also great to get even more expansion on the doors that kids go through, especially Kade & Christophers, and I felt the 3rd person narrative really brought further depth to Nonsense and Logic (as they became much more central in this novella, compared to Wickedness & Virtue). Above all, I felt because there was much more detail and depth brought to Nonsense + Logic, it further brought up many fascinating questions and new ideas surrounding all 4 types of worlds!

From candy corn fields to soda seas, and candy corn-colored eyes, the world of Confection was utterly marvelous and magical! The descriptions, characters, setting, all come to life as the mysteries of this peculiar world unravel. 

Beneath The Sugar Sky was just filled with adventure, descriptive writing that shows McGuire’s growth as a writer with this series. The writing also just brought me back to the magic I felt with Every Heart A Doorway, reintroduced and mentioned favorite characters from the previous books and overall was a great addition to the series!

I suppose my only issues with this novel in particular was the bit of adult humor. It just felt odd with the overall tone and carry-on of the series so far. To me, it just personally felt out of place. Additionally, I felt Cora’s character didn’t really click with the rest of the story. I felt she was pretty underdeveloped compared to the other characters, especially one’s introduced for a much shorter amount of time.

+ From what I read on twitter when I posted a pic. of my ARC, is that Seanan McGuire said that this isn’t the end (though I assumed it was 😂😭) of the Wayward Children Series! 💕🎉🚪✨

Colorful, whimsical, character-driven, and filled to the brim with adventure, Beneath The Sugar Sky follows a dynamic cast of characters  you will fall in love with as they go a on a journey through a sweet, dark, magical, and wondrous world to save an old friend!

August 2017 Wrap-Up

# Of Books Read: 6

Warcross by Marie Lu1.Warcross by Marie Lu (Warcross #1)

Warcross Full ARC Review

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons BYR

Release Date: September 12, 2017

Pages: 368

My Rating:★★★★★

Overall Thoughts: Warcross was a masterpiece from start to finish! Emika is a bounty hunter and hacker! When she finds a way to hack herself into Warcross, she soon gets a call from its creator Hideo Tanaka. He needs her help to ensure the safety of Warcross from a possible hack and soon she’s in Tokyo taking part in Warcross herself. This book did not let me down! Marie Lu did a fantastic job with pacing, world-building, character development (+such a diverse cast <3), everything! Being a gamer myself, I loved the references and was immediately hooked from page 1! Warcross had the perfect amount of intrigue, action, and immersive plot +setting! Highly recommend picking up Warcross ❤ ❤

The Royal Tutor Volume 1 by Higasa Akai2. The Royal Tutor Vol. 1 by Higasa Akai

The Royal Tutor Volume 1 Full Review

Publisher: Yen Press

Release Date: May 23, 2017

Pages: 192

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: The Royal Tutor easily became one of my new favorite manga series! It was fun, fast-paced, and so funny! Following Heine, this 1st volume centers around him meeting the princes and securing his role as their new tutor. The princes are all very different, so Heine learns more about them and how he can get them to accept him. Loved it so much & can’t wait for Volume 2! ❤ ❤

The Island At The End Of Everything by Kiran Millwood Hargrave3. The Island At The End Of Everything by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

The Island At The End Of Everything Full Review

Publisher: Chicken House

Release Date: May 4, 2017

Pages: 288

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: This was a tale I won’t forget! Hargrave used such a poetic and lyrical 1st person POV that brought settings and characters to life. Taking place in 1900’s Phillipines, we follow Ami and her journey to return to her mother on Culion Island. They have been separated due to the spread of leprosy and a government official forcing those w/ + without leprosy to be separated and forced onto another island.  The Island At The End Of Everything is a tale of friendship, family, courage, and finding your way home!

Down Among The Sticks And Bones by Seanan McGuire4.Down Among The Sticks And Bones (Wayward Children #2)

Down Among The Sticks And Bones Full Review

Publisher: Tor Books

Release Date: June 13, 2017

Pages: 189

My Rating:★★★★☆

Overall Thoughts: This novel sets as more of a prequel and follows Jack & Jill (twin sisters) who are introduced in Every Heart A Doorway. Their parents have their own selfish desires for how they want their “perfect child” to be and because of that the twins undergo a journey wanting to better understand who they are when they get transported to the Moors. It was dark, whimsical, and atmospheric. While there was a large reason this book really resonated with me, I had some sort of disconnect with the writing (for me there was more showing than telling at times) and felt I loved the 1st book a little more. However, I will definitely be reading the final book to see how it wraps up!

Princess Princess Ever After by Katie O'Neill5.Princess Princess Ever After by Katie O’Neill

Princess Princess Ever After Full Review

Publisher: Oni Press

Release Date: September 20, 2016

Pages: 56

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: This is sweet + diverse middle grade story that follows 2 princesses falling in love. Princess Sadie is trapped in a tower and when Princess Amira hears her call for help, she comes to the rescue. Soon after, the 2 travel across the kingdom in search of others to save and embark on an adventure. O’Neill puts clever twists and spins on classic fairy tale tropes and I loved that! There’s so many inspiring & positive messages in this novel, which is both fun and fast-paced!

Daughter Of The Burning City by Amanda Foody6.Daughter Of The Burning City by Amanda Foody

Daughter Of The Burning City Full Review

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Release Date: July 25, 2017

Pages: 384

My Rating:★★★★☆

Overall Thoughts: Sorina soon realizes her illusions are starting to get killed off, so she begins to investigate and figure out why. Foody delivers such a unique and creative concept and that is what I loved about DOTBC so much! I love reading from Sorina’s POV, getting the circus/carnival atmosphere, and was happy to see differing sexualities among the main cast! However, I felt the world-building could have been developed a little more and much was mentioned and not really expanded on. Regardless, there’s mystery, magic, politics, and a little romance dark and immersive debut!

Additional Posts From This Month:

~None This Month~

What books did you read this month? 😄📚✨

Down Among The Sticks And Bones by Seanan McGuire Review

Down Among The Sticks And Bones by Seanan McGuireDown Among The Sticks And Bones by Seanan McGuire (Wayward Children #2)

Publisher: Tor Books

Release Date: June 13, 2017

Pages: 189

Summary: Twin sisters Jack and Jill were seventeen when they found their way home and were packed off to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children.

This is the story of what happened first…

Jacqueline was her mother’s perfect daughter—polite and quiet, always dressed as a princess. If her mother was sometimes a little strict, it’s because crafting the perfect daughter takes discipline.

Jillian was her father’s perfect daughter—adventurous, thrill-seeking, and a bit of a tom-boy. He really would have preferred a son, but you work with what you’ve got.

They were five when they learned that grown-ups can’t be trusted.

They were twelve when they walked down the impossible staircase and discovered that the pretense of love can never be enough to prepare you a life filled with magic in a land filled with mad scientists and death and choices.

My Rating:★★★★☆ 

My Thoughts: Dark, gothic, and atmospheric, Down Among The Sticks An Bones is a a prequel which follows twins Jacqueline & Jillian and their adventures in the Moors set before the events of Every Heart A Doorway!

What I love about this series, is how McGuire is able to pack in so much story and character depth into such few pages! Every Heart A Doorway was just so unique and magical, I was happy to be getting more tales from this world💖~

Having a twin sister myself, I was beyond heartbroken at the forced separation that Jack & Jill were grown into from the very beginning and seeing the rift between them grow with each turn of the page. Reading passages of their resentment and just few feelings they had for each other, left me feeling so sad!

I felt the story started out completely strong with the background on their parents (Serena & Chester) and how their decision to have children really impacted how Jack & Jill would grow and see themselves. It really set the stage and tone for the rest of the story.

With their parents having their own selfish desires for what they wanted their perfect children to be, Lousie Wolcott (Chester’s mother) did her best with the time she spent with them to remind the girls to be themselves and not let anyone control who they want to become.

This quote resonated with me throughout the rest of the story “She had tried to make sure they knew that there were a hundred, a thousand, a million different ways to be a girl, and all of them were valid…(34).

Jack was molded by Serena and forced to be a proper lady in her mothers eyes, while Jill was forced to be more of a tomboy, by Chester. Up until the age of 12, they lived very different lives under the same roof and there was a rift between them because of it.

Later they soon find a doorway that leads them to the Moors and their 5 year journey begins.

Jack and Jill go their separate ways and undergo their own personal journey and we get a better understanding of who they are and how they try to break free of their parent’s molds.

Additionally there is an f/f relationship that develops nearing the middle/end of the novel!

I felt the 3rd person narrative really gave a broad scope at the world and each character in this story, which made it easy to get a sense of each character, Jack & Jill’s home life + their new life at the Moors. However, there’s just something about this novel (from the writing-style) that delivered a more “telling” rather than “showing” at times, which made the novel feel rather flat in some aspects.

While the story really did resonate with me, I couldn’t help but still feel a disconnect through the writing. Additionally, unlike Every Heart A Doorway, I felt this novel’s pacing felt much slower, which took me out of the story.

Honestly I have so many conflicting feelings about this book, because while there’s a lot that I really loved about it, I loved Every Heart A Doorway a little more~ 😭❤️🚪

Aside from those minor issues, there was still so much that I really loved about this novel. The uniqueness of the plot itself, the atmosphere of the world, and I also loved the positive messages about what it means to be a girl.

Down Among The Sticks And Bones introduces a much darker and brutal world compared to the first novella, it also delivers such powerful messages on who we are vs. what we become as a product of our environment.

Through thought-provoking writing, McGuire sets the stage for a dark but whimsical fairy tale-like world where the choices we make impact who we become.

While I had a few issues, I really enjoyed this sequel and cannot wait to read how this trilogy wraps up in Beneath A Sugar Sky!