The Girl From The Other Side: Siúil A Rún Vol. 1 {Manga Review}

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

Publisher: Seven Seas

Release Date: January 24, 2017

Pages: 180

Summary: In a world split between the Inside and the Outside, those living in both realms are told never to cross over to the other side, lest they be cursed. A young girl named Shiva lives on the other side, in a vacant village with a demonic guardian known only as “Teacher.” Although the two are forbidden to touch, they seem to share a bond that transcends their disparate appearances. But when Shiva leaves Teacher’s care to seek out her aunt, the secret behind her mysterious living arrangement comes to light.

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: As though it were a fairy tale, The Girl From The Other Side is both dark and enchanting!

This manga was utterly fantastic!! I found this one while scrolling through Goodreads and it was the cover that originally had me sold! However, once I read the summary I knew I would adore it!

The story unfolds as we come to learn about the rules that govern the world for the Outsiders, who are still human to some degree, but are creatures of darkness that can turn men to monsters with a single touch.

A dark and mysterious plot drives this manga forward, with such in-depth characters and themes of family, and the shades in between light + darkness!

Shiva, a young girl, lives on the Outside w/ Teacher who is her guardian (+ an Outsider himself) in a quiet little cottage and watches over her as she waits for her aunt to return.

Shiva is a very optimistic child and is eager to explore what’s in the forest beyond the small cottage where they both live.

However, Teacher wants to ensure her safety and keep an eye on her at all times, because he doesn’t want her to become an Outsider as well!

Teacher is a very kind and understanding, however when its discovered he has a secret which is vitally linked to Shiva, he is unsure of what to do because he wants to ensure her happiness.

Regardless, he does all he can to keep Shiva safe, even when she finds herself deep in the forest and runs into guards from a near by town.

There’s a lot of mystery surrounding the Outsiders and how they came to be, yet the guards from a near by town suspect it was neighboring town, however no one knows for certain.

There’s a big discussion on how we view those who are different (w/ the Outsiders vs. Insiders for instance) when guards search the woods of the Outside to ensure the safety of their town as they continue their search to rid themselves of Outsiders.

The sophisticated, yet subtle artwork is masterfully done. Teacher, for instance, being an Outsider is a hybrid sorts (donning a shadowed animal-head, mouthless face and piercing eyes). However through the art his expressions are carried through mostly his eyes, yet also in the elegant way he carries himself.

Through the artwork, Nagabe also brings an eeriness to the world itself, but transports the reader in an instant.

The Girl From The Other Side is a dark, mysterious and magical tale that has so much depth from its characters to plot, you will be hooked from page 1!

February 2017 Wrap-Up

# Of Books Read: 8

traitor-to-the-throne-by-alwyn-hamilton1.Traitor To The Throne by Alwyn Hamilton (Rebel Of The Sands #2)

Traitor To The Throne Full Review

Publisher: Faber&Faber

Release Date: February 2, 2017

Pages: 512

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: A fantastic sequel that truly surprised me! Hamilton focuses more on the politics and world of Miraji, while expanding on the magic/mythology. Her writing style as with Rebel keeps the story moving and really immerses you into the story! I am beyond excited for what’s to happen in Rebel Of The Sands #3!

kings-cage2.King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard (Red Queen #3)

King’s Cage Full Review

Publisher: HarperTeen

Release Date: February 7, 2017

Pages: 528

My Rating:★★★★☆ 

Overall Thoughts: The world and characters really develop over the course of this novel compared to the previous installments. There is much needed expansion beyond Norta & many aspects of the world and politics surprised me + really added more depth to the world. However with the addition to multiple POV’s, there was 1 POV in particular really dragged the story  & did more of *showing instead of *telling.  Additionally, there are certain characters who I wish were present more. Regardless, Aveyard’s 3rd installment was entertaining and kept me turning the page! Interested to see how the Red Queen Series ends in Book 4!

welcome-to-the-ballroom-volume-13.Welcome To The Ballroom Vol. 1 by Tomo Takeuchi

Welcome To The Ballroom Full Review To Come

Publisher: Kodansha Comics

Pages: 192

My Rating:★★★★☆ 

Overall Thoughts: A great introduction to a new manga series about Tatara, a high school student who gets involved with ballroom dancing! I wish there was more development with the characters b/c they were all introduced wonderfully! Overall there’s comedic moments, dynamic characters and a unique plot that has me eager to read the next volumes!

the-valiant-by-lesley-livingston-book-review4.The Valiant by Lesley Livingston (The Valiant #1)

The Valiant Full Review

Publisher: Razorbill

Release Date: February 14, 2017

Pages: 384

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: A character-driven tale about a Celtic princess turned gladiator! The engaging and well-rounded characters made this novel so much fun to read. I do wish the story’s pacing was a little faster + had more action! Regardless, this was an immersive tale about sisterhood, family, & honor! Cannot wait to read where Fallon’s journey is headed in the sequel!

because-of-the-sun-by-jenny-torres-sanchez5.Because Of The Sun by Jenny Torres Sanchez

Because Of The Sun Full Review

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Release Date: January 3, 2017

Pages: 272

My Rating:★★★★☆

Overall Thoughts: The writing style is very “dream-like” and makes this YA Contemporary so unique! Dani has lost her mother and must adjust to a new life with her aunt in New Mexico. She forges a friendship w/ Paulo and he is very supportive during her time of grieving. There is an additional POV in this story, which added tons of background but did slow the story a little for me. Overall, themes of grief, family, love and loss are weaved perfectly into this novel that truly focuses on Dani’s journey as she comes to terms with her mother’s death.

ronit-and-jamil-by-pamela-l-laskin6.Ronit & Jamil by Pamela L. Laskin

Ronit & Jamil Full Review

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Release Date: February 21, 2017

Pages: 192

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: Written in verse, Laskin’s modern take on Romeo & Juliet is lyrical and fast-paced! Ronit & Jamil can’t help but fall in love. However a wall across their lands keeps them separated, but they know deep down their love won’t be fractured. Conflicts arise and their family wants what’s best for them. While there are some moments it does feel rather rushed, overall this tale delivers a message of hope!

A Conjuring Of Light7.A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab (Shades Of Magic #3)

A Conjuring Of Light Full Review

Publisher: Tor Books

Release Date: February 21, 2017

Pages: 624

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: Phenomenal character development + world-building weave throughout the masterfully crafted plot! A truly phenomenal conclusion to the Shades Of Magic Series!

monthly-girls-nozaki-kun-volume-28.Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun  by Izumi Tsubaki (Vol. 2)

Monthly Girls Full Review To Come (Vol. 1-3)

Publisher: Yen Press

Release Date: February 23, 2016

Pages: 144

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: Monthly Girls Nozaki-kun is easily becoming one of my favorite Manga series!
As always, romance/high-school tropes are given unique+comedic spins & that’s what makes it so fun to read! There is tons of character development and the plot continues to be fun, unique, & engaging! Cannot wait to read volume 3!

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A Conjuring Of Light by V.E. Schwab Review

A Conjuring Of LightA Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab (Shades Of Magic #3)

Publisher: Tor Books

Release Date: February 21, 2017

Pages: 624

Summary: The battle between four magical Londons comes to a head in this stunning finale to the New York Times bestselling Shades of Magic trilogy by rising star V. E. Schwab.

Londons fall and kingdoms rise while darkness sweeps the Maresh Empire—and the fraught balance of magic blossoms into dangerous territory while heroes and foes struggle alike. The direct sequel to A Gathering of Shadows, and the final book in the Shades of Magic epic fantasy series, A Conjuring of Light sees Schwab reach a thrilling culmination concerning the fate of beloved protagonists—and old enemies.

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: The Shades Of Magic Series comes to an end in this spectacular + marvelous third and final book, A Conjuring Of Light!

I do not know where to start, but… I LOVED THIS BOOK SO MUCH! ❤ ❤

As always Victoria is a master at characters/character-development and this final book felt bitter-sweet, but I adored it all the same!

*I will try my best to leave out major spoilers, however I will mention minor one’s here & there! (Be aware)*

Schwab’s writing as with previous novels is rich + detailed and even in this final novel she continues to build on her fantastical parallel Londons!

She crafts scenes and character struggles with such emotion and gravity, you feel for each and everyone as you turn the page!

Another aspect which made this novel a well-rounded and overall epic conclusion was the immense development + inclusion to a number of characters we’ve seen/read about in previous installments!

Osaron has conjured up a devious plan to conquer Red London for himself however Kell & the crew, while they have their clashes, are willing to do whatever it takes to keep their world safe.

While reading this novel, I couldn’t help but realize with each + every page Schwab continued to build the world to the very end! Her world-building is a huge foundation to this series and she truly approaches it with finesse & subtlety because while not every aspect of her worlds can be explained, the mysteries and secrets make it that much more magical!

Adding to the character development, Schwab gives each of the main/prominent characters the perfect amount of space/time throughout the story to follow their internal struggles and triumphs as darkness looms close.

Schwab perfectly balances the grave dark fragments of this world, with hopeful shards of light and its done in an absolutely flawless way!

The core characters, Kell, Lila, Rhy, Holland & Alucard are like a family and this novel truly highlights those important friendships/bonds they have with each other!

Kell and Rhy’s deep bond is also tested as darkness continues to spread and they risk everything to bring peace to their world.

My only minor issue was the slow pacing/dragging of scenes in some parts!

Schwab masterfully concludes her Shades Of Magic Series with A Conjuring Of Light! A truly unforgettable journey to bring an end to an absolutely brilliant and wondrous world!

 

January 2017 Wrap-Up

# Of Books Read: 6

uncaged-wallflower-by-jennae-cecelia-review1.Uncaged Wallflower by Jennae Cecelia

Uncaged Wallflower Full Review

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Release Date: October 6, 2016

Pages: 70

My Rating:★★★★★

Overall Thoughts: An inspiring collection of poetry! Filled with such positivity, Uncaged Wallflower had me hopeful and inspired! It was a spectacular read to start off the new year! Highly recommend!

a-list-of-cages-by-robin-roe2.A List Of Cages by Robin Roe

A List Of Cages Full Review

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Release Date: January 10, 2017

Pages: 320

My Rating: ★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: Roe’s debut is not one to miss! Adam and Julian (Adam’s foster-brother) find themselves meeting again after some time apart! A List Of Cages tells the story of the power of friendship and kindness, even when facing the most difficult situations. This novel is heart-breaking *discusses abuse & neglect* but you will feel so attached to these characters, even the minor ones through Roe’s spectacularly written dual POV.

frostblood-by-elly-blake3.Frostblood by Elly Blake (Frostblood Saga #1)

Frostblood Full ARC Review

Publisher: Little Brown Books For Young Readers

Release Date: January 10, 2017

Pages: 384

My Rating: ★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: A fantastic start to a new fantasy series! Blake delivers great character dynamics which is clearly seen between Ruby and Arcus! History and politics play a huge role in the world. The division/hierarchy between the Firebloods and Frostbloods was wonderfully done and its clear its not all black and white which was one of my favorite aspects! The plot while slow at times, definitely keeps you hooked as you learn more about Ruby and the world she’s in! 

crystal-storm-by-morgan-rhodes-review4.Crystal Storm by Morgan Rhodes (Falling Kingdoms #5)

Crystal Storm Full Review

Publisher: Razorbill

Release Date: December 13, 2016

Pages: 379

My Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Thoughts: Not the strongest novel in the series in my opinion, however it is very character driven and expands even more on the world/magic Rhodes has built thus far! The slow pacing/plotting and introduction to certain characters/motives really made the tone of this novel feel rather off than previous novels! However, the ending definitely will leave you eager for Book 6!

Take The Key And Lock Her Up5.Take The Key And Lock Her Up by Ally Carter (Embassy Row #3)

Take The Key And Lock Her Up Full Review

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Release Date: December 27, 2016

Pages: 336

My Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Thoughts: Carter delivers such originality to her stories, there are twists and turns you don’t see coming. There are new characters introduced just in this final novel that Carter manages to create so memorably! Grace’s repetitive narrative, lack of side-characters prevalent in previous novels and overly cryptic characters made this novel rather confusing at times due to lack of info which made this a little disappointing! However, Carter ties up the story delivering a satisfying conclusion to Grace’s adventures on Embassy Row!

history-is-all-you-left-me-by-adam-silvera6.History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera

History Is All You Left Me Full Review

Publisher: Soho Teen

Release Date: January 17, 2017

Pages: 294

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: Told in Griffin’s POV’s  (History & Today) we come to understand how his best-friend  +first boyfriend Theo, died. Through out this novel are themes of love friendship, love/loss + acceptance. Through the writing the characters truly come to life. This is a gem of a story you don’t want to miss!

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Crystal Storm by Morgan Rhodes Review

crystal-storm-by-morgan-rhodes-reviewCrystal Storm by Morgan Rhodes (Falling Kingdoms #5)

Publisher: Razorbill

Release Date: December 13, 2016

Pages: 379

Summary: The ruthless Empress Amara of Kraeshia has taken the Mytican throne, and now uncertainty looms over the three kingdoms. Since Lucia unleashed the fire Kindred, wreaking havoc throughout the land, Myticans have been looking for someone—anyone—they can trust. They believe in Amara, not knowing her grand promises are built on lies.

In Paelsia, Magnus and Cleo reluctantly follow King Gaius to the home of his exiled mother, Selia. Selia is a powerful witch and claims she can help unlock the magic of the Kindred—if the visitors agree to her terms. When Jonas arrives from Kraeshia, he is shocked to find that his rebel army now includes his sworn enemies. Along with Nic, Felix, and the mysteriously resurrected Ashur, the contentious group agrees to cast aside old grudges—for now—and united against their common enemy: Amara.

Meanwhile, bearing the child of a Watcher and feared by all, Princess Lucia travels across Mytica to find her family. But time is running out. The impending storm signals the dark prophecy Timotheus warned her about. Her fate is written, and it includes none other than the rebel Jonas. When their paths collied, Jonas and Lucia must decide between blindly following their destiny or fighting for their own free will.

The battle for power culminates at the Paelsian palace, where Amara resides. Rain pours. Blood spills. And soon all will discover that the darkest magic comes at an even darker price.

My Rating:★★★★☆

My Thoughts: Rhodes delivers a character-driven continuation to her Falling Kingdoms Series!

It saddens me that this wasn’t a 5-star read, but it definitely sets up for an epic conclusion for the 6th and final book in the series!

This novel picks up right away following the events of Frozen Tides and Magnus + Cleo find themselves following King Gaius to unlock the Kindred’s magic!

As with the previous novels, Rhodes executes the multiple POV’s wonderfully and with each chapter I’m never left confused as to who’s POV I’m reading from.

Many of the main characters like Cleo, Magnus, Jonas, Nic and Ashur have now teamed up to find a way to take down Amara who has taken control of Palesia due to some convincing of Kyan.

Lucia is on a mission of her own to understand what her magic is destined to do her and what is to become of her and her child. She makes her way to the Sanctuary and meets Timotheus who tells her of her fate and what is happening to the magic of their world b/c of the Kindred.

Now Lucia wants to set things right and find her family.

Character development was a huge part of this novel. However there is significantly more depth given to Gaius, Amara, Jonas & Lucia!

With King Gaius and Prince Magnus, their father-son relationship is really given more development. Secrets are revealed and you come to learn more about the King Of Blood and his past. Overall it becomes quite a big element of this novel in terms of character motivations and plot direction!

We come to have a behind-the-scenes look at Amara’s plan as she takes over Palesia and what she’s willing to do to gain even more magic and power.

In terms of world-building, there is definitely more expansion on the Kindred and development on who is now, as I can gather, the main villain Kyan! As the story progressed, I felt there was more depth given to the magic system and world of Mytica as a whole.

There was obviously a lot of things that happened, but there were issues I had which makes me really unsure of how to rate this! (Though the pros do outweigh the cons).

I took off a star because, I personally felt that the stakes weren’t as high as with Frozen Tides for instance and I feel that has mostly to do with the pacing which was slow for me in parts.

There were events that occurred or POV’s we followed which really dragged the story in some parts (especially in the beginning), for example Lucia’s! Personally I’ve always found it difficult to enjoy/connect with her character, but as I neared the end I found myself enjoying her development at seeing her redeem herself in wanting to set things right.

However as I reached the end, the pacing was much faster which I loved! Secrets are revealed and I found myself turning the pages wanting to know what was going to happen. The characters come together nearing the conclusion and I loved their interactions/dynamics!

Regardless of those minor issues…

Rhodes continues to deliver an engaging, character-driven fantasy  with secrets, schemes and Crystal Storm definitely hints at an epic conclusion I will absolutely be reading!

I’m definitely marking my calendar for book 6 to see how it wraps up!

Frostblood by Elly Blake ARC Review

frostblood-by-elly-blakeFrostblood by Elly Blake (Frostblood Saga #1)

Publisher: Little Brown Books For Young Readers

Release Date: January 10, 2017

Pages: 384

Summary: Seventeen-year-old Ruby is a fireblood who must hide her powers of heat and flame from the cruel frostblood ruling class that wants to destroy all that are left of her kind. So when her mother is killed for protecting her and rebel frostbloods demand her help to kill their rampaging king, she agrees. But Ruby’s powers are unpredictable, and she’s not sure she’s willing to let the rebels and an infuriating (yet irresistible) young man called Arcus use her as their weapon.

All she wants is revenge, but before they can take action, Ruby is captured and forced to take part in the king’s tournaments that pit fireblood prisoners against frostblood champions. Now she has only one chance to destroy the maniacal ruler who has taken everything from her and from the icy young man she has come to love.

*Received ARC through a trade*

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: Frostblood has all the elements I love about YA Fantasy! Blake delivers a fascinating world filled with magic, intrigue, and the perfect amount of romance! I could not put it down!

This novel was definitely high up on the list of most anticipated books of 2017! From early reviews and buzz surrounding Frostblood, I was worried the hype would get to me, but I’m glad I was able to push it aside and ended up absolutely loving this book!

Blake crafted a fascinating world where frost and fire are enemies and Ruby finds herself tangled up in the politics of this world!

In terms of world-building, legends and myths slowly get weaved into the story as does the history between Fire/Frostbloods.

While elements of the world are introduced rather quickly at times, overall its built in a way where your able to really picture this world and a solid foundation of the setting, politics and history!

Blake develops the divisions between Fire/Frostbloods, light/dark, good vs. evil, but also really shows the shades of gray that come with it and that really helped to set the tone for the entirety of the novel. And overall this was one of my favorite aspects of the world.

In terms of characters I loved their dynamics and considering this novel is in Ruby’s POV, through her voice the characters are all well developed/established, engaging, and I felt her dynamic and banter with the mysterious Arcus was done very well and through her POV his character really comes to life!

At the start of the novel, Ruby’s mother tells Ruby to never practice using her powers, however she soon finds herself caught by Frostbloods. Then when her mother is killed during the incident she is soon caught and is sent to a prision. However, she is soon rescued and finds herself at a monastarey. Once there Arcus helps her to strengthen her powers but he along with Brother Thistle soon convince her that she must destroy the Frostking. Along the way she comes to accept what has happened and while dark forces are always lurking she stays on the right path and continues to fight for what she believes in. She does find herself in trouble throughout, but along the way is willing to grow and learn (especially when it comes to the Frostbloods). I loved reading from her POV!

The plot itself is rather slow paced and there were times I wanted more from the plot itself (hence the 4.5), but truly with each page I got more and more invested in the story! There are hints of romance throughout the novel, but it never felt like it took a central role in the story which was a plus! Additionally there are some fun plot twists that definitely surprised me and had me even more invested as the story continued!
Overall this is a delightful debut with intrigue, adventure, and magic woven throughout that has me eager for the sequel!

December 2016 Wrap-Up

# Of Books Read: 6

the-queen-of-blood-review1.The Queen Of Blood by Sarah Beth Durst (Queens Of Renthia #1)

The Queen Of Blood Full Review

Publisher: Harper Voyager

Release Date: September 20, 2016

Pages: 353

My Rating: ★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: I loved this book so much, the characters, world, EVERYTHING!! Its a magical story with themes of family and friendship I won’t ever forget! Daleina works very hard to prove herself as potential queen + along the way comes to meet Ven, a disgraced Champion. When things don’t seem right in the world of Araty w/ its magic/spirits, they team up to figure out what’s going on!

goldie-vance-vol-12. Goldie Vance Vol. 1  by Hope Larson + Brittney Williams (Illustrator) (#1-#4)

Goldie Vance Vol. 1 Full Review

Publisher: BOOM! Box

Release Date: October 11, 2016

Pages: 112

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: A retro, 60’s-style comic featuring Goldie Vance, detective! There is so much diversity from characters to family dynamics, etc.! The plot unfolds quickly and I can tell there’s more mystery and adventure to come in Volume 2!

descender-volume-2-machine-moon3.Descender Volume 2: Machine Moon by Jeff Lemire + Dustin Nguyen (Artist)

Descender Volume 2 Full Review

Publisher: Image Comics

Release Date: May 10, 2016

Pages: 116

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: Slower paced than the previous volume, but delivers much needed expansion on characters/development! But its filled with twists and turns that will keep you on the edge of your seat!

the-weight-of-zero4. The Weight Of Zero by Karen Fortunati

The Weight Of Zero Full Review

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Release Date: October 11, 2016

Pages: 387

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: Fortunati delivers an unforgettable YA Contemporary which introduces the reader to Catherine, who has bipolar disorder and depression and over the course of the novel, as she fears “Zero” is returning she finds hope in the new friendships/relationships she creates along the way. Fortunati’s writing style brings a rawness to Catherine’s story and overall is a wonderfully written YA Contemporary!

monthly-girls-nozaki-kun-volume-15.Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun Vol. 1 by Izumi Tsubaki

Full Review To Come

Publisher: Yen Press

Release Date: November 17, 2015

Pages: 114

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: I loved this manga so much! It pokes fun at classic High School/Romance tropes! The plot jumps around rather quickly, so I was watching the anime while reading along and I love the characters! My favorite character is Mikoshiba ❤ ❤ He was so funny!! + He appears to be the typical heart throb that all the girls are after, but over the course of the story you figure out just how shy/anxious he is around them & really struggles to talk to them!  I can’t wait to learn more about him in later volumes!! I adored the characters & the plot was a little slow at times but it was definitely a blast to read and had me laughing! Can’t wait to read the other volumes!

ever-the-hunted-book-review6.Ever The Hunted by Erin Summerill (Clash Of Kingdoms #1)

Ever The Hunted Full ARC Review

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

Release Date: December 27, 2016

Pages: 400

My Rating: ★★★☆☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: An enjoyable first book to a new fantasy series!  Summerill’s plotting and character development keeps the story moving and really brings an element of mystery to the characters! However my biggest issues were the lack of world-building and heavy focus on romance (mainly through Britta’s 1st person POV)! However the ending definitely has me interested to see how it wraps up in book 2!

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