September 2017 Wrap-Up

# Of Books Read: 4

The Victoria In My Head by Janelle Milanes1.The Victoria In My Head by Janelle Milanes

The Victoria In My Head Full ARC Review

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Release Date: September 19, 2017

Pages: 400

My Rating:★★★★★

Overall Thoughts: Victoria Cruz is shy but over the course of the story overcomes her anxieties to try new things (like joining a band) and figures out who she is & wants to be, in this spectacular coming-of-age story! It made me so happy reading how diverse this novel was, there was Cuban, Chinese, and Indian-American rep., Lesbian, Jewish, and biracial representation! Family and friendship were huge themes present throughout the novel which I loved. I adored the writing and reading from Victoria’s phenomenal POV brought tears to my eyes bc I related to her so much (being Latinx)! If your looking for a breath of fresh air in YA Contemporary, The Victoria In My Head is the perfect novel to add to your TBR!

The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell2.The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell

The Last Magician Full Review

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Release Date: July 18, 2017

Pages: 512

My Rating:★★★☆☆

Overall Thoughts: There were so many interesting + great aspects to this novel from the magic system, time-travel, and even to the atmosphere Maxwell creates! However, my biggest issue was the writing. Told through a 3rd Person POV we follow a number of characters, however because the writing is very direct and did more “telling” than showing, the characters + their motivations became very 1-dimensional/flat and the pacing became extremely slow. Additionally, I found the crew in this novel to be extremely similar to the Six Of Crows crew and never really connected with them. While The Last Magician was somewhat disappointing, Maxwell left the ending on an interesting note that has me pretty interested to read what happens! 

Heroine Complex by Sarah Kuhn3.Heroine Complex by Sarah Kuhn (Heroine Complex #1)

Heroine Complex Full Review

Publisher: DAW Books

Pages: 378

Release Date: July 5, 2016

My Rating:★★★★☆

Overall Thoughts: Heroine Complex follows Evie Tanaka (assistant to San-Fran Superhero Aveda Jupiter) and how she comes to accept who she is and possibly become a superhero herself. I adored reading from Evie’s comedic and real/relatable voice! There was never a dull moment in this book, from taking down monsters, to the friendships, and inner workings of a superhero team. However I did find the pacing to be a little slow and felt more development could have been added to expand on the superpowers/demons would have been great (hence the 4-stars). Regardless,this was a diverse, action-packed adventure that was such a fun and immersive read! I will definitely be reading the sequel!

An Enchantment Of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson4.An Enchantment Of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

An Enchantment Of Ravens Full ARC Review

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Release Date: September 26, 2017

Pages: 300

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: Isobel must journey to the land of the fae to clear her name with Autumn prince Rook leading her there, with monsters, intrigue and danger at every turn! I really loved the writing, it was descriptive and flowed really well with the story to add a unique layer to it! There were so many layers to this novel from the political intrigue of the fae, the world, depth to the fae and their adoration with Craft, etc.! I did find the pacing to be rather rushed and felt more of the plot could have been expanded on + given more depth! However, this was a unique and immersive tale that really surprised me and I cannot wait to read more of Rogerson’s books in the future!

Additional Posts From This Month:

Warcross by Marie Lu Reading Playlist

What books did you read this month? 😄📚✨

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An Enchantment Of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson ARC Review

An Enchantment Of Ravens by Margaret RogersonAn Enchantment Of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Release Date: September 26, 2017

Pages: 300

Summary: Isobel is a prodigy portrait artist with a dangerous set of clients: the sinister fair folk, immortal creatures who cannot bake bread, weave cloth, or put a pen to paper without crumbling to dust. They crave human Craft with a terrible thirst, and Isobel’s paintings are highly prized among them. But when she receives her first royal patron—Rook, the autumn prince—she makes a terrible mistake. She paints mortal sorrow in his eyes – a weakness that could cost him his life.

Furious and devastated, Rook spirits her away to the autumnlands to stand trial for her crime. Waylaid by the Wild Hunt’s ghostly hounds, the tainted influence of the Alder King, and hideous monsters risen from barrow mounds, Isobel and Rook depend on one another for survival. Their alliance blossoms into trust, then love, violating the fair folks’ ruthless Good Law. There’s only one way to save both their lives, Isobel must drink from the Green Well, whose water will transform her into a fair one—at the cost of her Craft, for immortality is as stagnant as it is timeless.

Isobel has a choice: she can sacrifice her art for a future, or arm herself with paint and canvas against the ancient power of the fairy courts. Because secretly, her Craft represents a threat the fair folk have never faced in all the millennia of their unchanging lives: for the first time, her portraits have the power to make them feel.

~Received ARC from a festival~

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: With descriptive writing, intrigue, and adventure, An Enchantment Of Ravens follows artist Isobel as she journeys to the land of the fae to clear her name!

To start, I absolutely adored the writing! Rogerson’s atmospheric and descriptive writing style really flowed with the story and added a unique layer to it overall.

The story was so immersive and no matter where/when I picked the book back up, I was transported immediately back into the world of Whimsy + the fae lands!

From descriptions to paints, forests, and even hidden emotion, I felt the first person POV really made this fantasy tale blossom on the page.

The writing not only was descriptive and immersive, but also delivered a layer of complexity to the world and characters that allowed for a unique view into this fantasy world.

Its definitely a perfect book to pick up during the fall season~  🍂🍃✨

I will definitely be reading Rogerson’s future books b/c I absolutely adored the writing and creativity of AEoR ❤

I adored the characters, setting/world, writing, plot…basically everything about this story! I loved the banter/chemistry between Rook + Isobel! The relationship they developed while traveling did feel somewhat forced in the beginning for me, but as the story progressed I really enjoyed reading about their relationship as they connected with each other along the way.

I usually really don’t like hate to love banter, but Rogerson wrote it in such a way where it never felt forced and flowed well through their character and the writing.

While I don’t read many books surrounding fae/faeries, I really enjoyed the unique lore and world Rogerson was able to weave into her world of Whimsy, whether it was the importance of Craft, the fae lands, or when learning more about the fae royals/fae themselves.

It was also interesting to read about the dynamic between fae + humans and just what Craft represented to the fae.

Isobel is a painter who is the best at her Craft, with the work she does prized by the fae. When her most frequent fae visitor Gadfly informs her the Autumn prince, Rook will be visiting her for a portrait she is honored and a little nervous (considering Rook hasn’t laft the fae lands for quite some time).

After Rook discovers the emotion she’s painted into his portrait, she now must stand on trial for her mistake. Now Rook & Isobel are traveling across fae lands, encountering monsters, and dealing with the inner politics of the fae!

Another aspect of the fae that really added depth to them and the world, was how they viewed Craft and what it represented to these people who could live for hundreds, even thousands of years, and never truly understand the depth of human nature!

That was the most fascinating aspect, that while it was explored later on in the story, was something that surprised me and added this whole other side to the fae I never considered.

As a standalone, I found that Rogerson did a great job at developing the lore, characters, world, etc. and really allowed for the story to end with everything wrapped up well, but also leave you wanting more which just added to the magic of the story so much!!

My only issue is that while the pacing was pretty even throughout the story, I felt the plot was rather rushed and felt some plot points could have been expanded on a little more to add more depth.

An Enchantment Of Ravens is an immersive tale with beautiful writing that adds such depth to a unique world and story! With the perfect blend of romance, intrigue, action, and mystery, Rogerson’s debut will sweep you into this lush and magical world!

Daughter Of The Burning City by Amanda Foody Review

Daughter Of The Burning City by Amanda FoodyDaughter Of The Burning City by Amanda Foody

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Release Date: July 25, 2017

Pages: 384

Summary: Sixteen-year-old Sorina has spent most of her life within the smoldering borders of the Gomorrah Festival. Yet even among the many unusual members of the traveling circus-city, Sorina stands apart as the only illusion-worker born in hundreds of years. This rare talent allows her to create illusions that others can see, feel and touch, with personalities all their own. Her creations are her family, and together they make up the cast of the Festival’s Freak Show.

But no matter how lifelike they may seem, her illusions are still just that—illusions, and not truly real. Or so she always believed…until one of them is murdered.

Desperate to protect her family, Sorina must track down the culprit and determine how they killed a person who doesn’t actually exist. Her search for answers leads her to the self-proclaimed gossip-worker Luca, and their investigation sends them through a haze of political turmoil and forbidden romance, and into the most sinister corners of the Festival. But as the killer continues murdering Sorina’s illusions one by one, she must unravel the horrifying truth before all of her loved ones disappear.

My Rating:★★★★☆

My Thoughts: Melding fantasy with elements of mystery, Foody’s novel follows Sorina as she soon discovers her illusions are being killed off and attempts to solve the case. Daughter Of The Burning City is filled with a unique and engaging world + mystery and magic at every turn!

Ever since I’d heard about Foody’s debut novel, I immediately put it onto my tbr and couldn’t wait to read it!

To start off, I loved the creativity of the Gomorrah Festival and in general the whole concept of DOTBC. With the descriptions of food to clothing, with each turn of the page I could always picture the festival/circus atmosphere and setting.

We follow Sorina, who is the Girl Who Sees Without Eyes. Her ability to create illusions (Illusion-Worker) has allowed her to be a part of the Gomorrah Festival Freak Show, using them as part of an act.

However they are not just illusions, but also her family. So, when they suddenly start being killed off, Sorina is worried for their safety.

She soon meets Luca, who has the ability to escape death. With his knowledge of many in Gomorrah/Up-Mountains they team up to try and solve the case.

I loved the unique dynamic she had with each of her illusions, through the fist person POV, they were so much more than just her family. She cared for them as they did for her. Villiam (the owner of their show) was like a father figure to Sorina, and with her role to one day take over, it was clear he put a lot of faith in Sorina.

I also really enjoyed Luca’s mysterious character + not only that, I also really loved the banter between both Luca & Sorina!

Foody did a great job at developing an aura of mystery throughout her novel. With Sorina trying to solve the case, I found myself making connections and solving the mysteries as the story progressed! I won’t spoil who it was, but the mystery of the story was one of my favorite parts and Foody did it so well. I found myself jumping back and forth between suspects because I constantly making new connections throughout the novel.

As mentioned above, I adored the creativity of DOTBC. It really came to life through the 1st person POV! I felt connected to Sorina and could really picture her unique world.

There was a lot of diverse representation of different sexualities among the main cast! From what I read, saw on twitter from the author + read from other reviews: Luca identified as demiromantic asexual, Sorina identified as bisexual, and Nicoleta (one of Sorina’s illusions) identified as lesbian.

Additionally, I love that Foody was able to build such a world in just one book! I find that there are never enough standalones in YA Fantasy, so if your looking for another one to add to your list, definitely add Daughter Of The Burning City. I will definitely be checking out Foody’s next books, because honestly this book was just so much fun to read! I just loved the creativity of her worlds + concepts!<3~
However, I did feel the world building could have used a little more development (such as setting and politics). Its clear there is so much history to the world of Gomorrah, the Up/Down Mountains and who rules them! However, I felt there were moments that when info was mentioned that could have used more expansion or it was mentioned sporadically and more description would have helped. I was very invested in the world and it would have been great to get more history to it.

Additionally there were a few moments I felt the pacing was a bit slow!

Aside from that..

If you like magic, politics, a bit of romance, plus the perfect amount of mystery/paranormal elements, then Daughter Of The Burning City is the dark and immersive YA Fantasy to check out!

The Library Of Fates by Aditi Khorana ARC Review

The Library Of Fates by Aditi KhoranaThe Library Of Fates by Aditi Khorana

Publisher: Razorbill

Release Date: July 18, 2017

Pages: 354

Summary: No one is entirely certain what brings the Emperor Sikander to Shalingar. Until now, the idyllic kingdom has been immune to his many violent conquests. To keep the visit friendly, Princess Amrita has offered herself as his bride, sacrificing everything—family, her childhood love, and her freedom—to save her people. But her offer isn’t enough.

The unthinkable happens, and Amrita finds herself a fugitive, utterly alone but for an oracle named Thala, who was kept by Sikander as a slave and managed to escape amid the chaos of a palace under siege. With nothing and no one else to turn to, Amrita and Thala are forced to rely on each other. But while Amrita feels responsible for her kingdom and sets out to warn her people, the newly free Thala has no such ties. She encourages Amrita to go on a quest to find the fabled Library of All Things, where it is possible for each of them to reverse their fates. To go back to before Sikander took everything from them.

Stripped of all that she loves, caught between her rosy past and an unknown future, will Amrita be able to restore what was lost, or does another life—and another love—await?

*Received ARC from a festival*

My Rating:★★★★☆ (still debating between 4 + 4½)

My Thoughts: The Library Of Fates is a character-driven tale that explores a rich and immersive world, while weaving in thought-provoking discussions! The plot goes in directions that keep you turning the page!

While I may be in between 4/4½ , just the reading experience alone made this book so much fun!

Khorana’s writing really builds the world we see through Princess Amarita’s eyes! Through the 1st person POV, The Library Of Fates easily becomes a very character-driven story that shows so many different sides to Amarita as she undergoes a journey to reclaim her kingdom.

As for plot, I adored it so much! From the very first page discussing “The Parable Of The Land Of Trees,” I felt immersed from the very beginning.

The princess has lived quite a sheltered life and over the course of this novel, yet comes to understand more about her home of Shalingar and the magic that sweeps across her kingdom.

Amarita must escape her kingdom when it gets attacked by Emperor Sikander and finds herself on the run with Thala, an Oracle (who was taken from her family and trapped within Sikander’s kingdom)! There is never rivalry, etc. between them and they support each other no matter what as they go on this dangerous journey to reach The Library of All Things and undo the fate that’s been put upon Shalingar!

However, with Sikander eager to take control of the Sybillines cave (for the powerful drug chamak), his guards among others, are never far behind, so Amarita & Thala try to stay hidden over the course of the story.

Female friendships + empowerment in this novel is also huge part of The Library Of Fates! It really focuses on Amarita & Thala’s growth as they become friends and their strength as they face struggles while learning more about who they are!

As for the other characters, such as her father Chandradev, Arjun, her childhood friend+ Mala, her lady in waiting (among others we meet along the way) they all came to life through Amarita’s eyes.

The relationships, especially between Amarita + Arjun was very well done! We learn so much about their past and strong friendship, I wish he was present in the story more!

This novel is essentially a journey story, as Amarita tries to find a way to undo her kingdom’s fate and Thala hopes to find freedom. The plot went in directions that kept me guessing and above all was unexpected for me!

Khorana’s writing really delivers a world rich with mythology and is a vital part of the novel! That aspect of the story really shines throughout the novel, as do the magical/fantastical elements + Amarita as a character!

Similar to Mirror In The Sky, what I love about Khorana’s writing is how thought-provoking it is and how it really makes you think about the bigger picture!

I did find the pacing to be just a little bit slow towards the middle + I did want more expansion/development from certain characters + aspects of the world, because I really wanted to learn more about them as the story progressed!

Aside from that…
The Library Of Fates is a complex and thought-provoking YA Fantasy that really focuses on the expansive mythology in the world as well as the characters! The plot takes unexpected turns that will leave you guessing till the very end!

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?

Another Castle: Grimoire by Andrew Wheeler and Paulina Ganucheau Review

Another Castle GrimoireAnother Castle Grimoire by Andrew Wheeler and Paulina Ganucheau (Illustrator)

Publisher: Oni Press

Release Date: February 28, 2017

Pages: 152

Summary:We are thrilled to invite you on a journey of courage, friendship, and rebellion—Another Castle: Grimoire! This volume gathers all the issues from the hit comic book series centered on the adventures of Princess Misty of Beldora, whose courageous spirit leads to her capture, and ultimately, to a heroic adventure that spans two kingdoms.

Our tale begins when Princess Misty of Beldora, who longs for a more exciting life, gets more than she bargained for when she is captured by Lord Badlug, the ruler of the neighboring kingdom of Grimoire. He intends to marry her and conquer Beldora, leading the land into ruin and chaos. The people of Grimoire already suffer under his rule and desperately need a hero… luckily, Badlug has just kidnapped one! Together with the citizens of Grimoire and a certain bumbling prince, Misty must fight to protect her kingdom and free both realms from Badlug’s tyrannical rule. Misty is determined not to be another damsel in distress; and with her new friends to protect, she’ll discover just what it takes to be the hero of the story.

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: Another Castle Grimoire is packed with action, fantastic art, and spins classic fairy tale+ fantasy tropes! 

The story centers around Princess Artemisia (Misty) of Beldora as her father prepares her for a marriage to prince Pete, however when she senses danger is lurking within her kingdom, she automatically begins conjuring up a plan. Taking her kingdom’s sword, The Leveler, she sets out for Grimoire with the only sword capable of destroying Badlug, ruler of Grimoire.

I loved Misty from page 1! She takes charge of her kingdom on her own and uses all her training to ensure her kingdom’s safety. While her father may not approve, its clear he only wants to keep her protected.

She questions and takes initiative to figure out answers on her own.

She soon discovers she is forced to be a prisoner of Badlug’s and must marry him, or her kingdom will perish. Prince Pete goes on a mission to rescue her, while encountering monsters along they way.

No matter what, she finds a way to ensure her kingdoms safety. Along the way she comes to know her attendants Fogmoth & Gorga (a gargoyle-human hybrid + a woman with Medusa-type abilites)

They forge a strong/beautiful friendship with Misty, though she doesn’t warm up to them right away. They come to trust Misty as she vows to escape Castle Grimoire and meet up with Prince Pete to get The Leveler and destroy Badlug.

I loved the twists/turns on tropes or classic hero story elements! The monsters the prince encounters, you expect to be ferocious, are friendly and kind. Everything from the characters to world, had me immersed into the story right away!

There’s a big emphasis on friendship and independence and I loved that so much. Throughout this story, there’s also an important/powerful message of acceptance and finding yourself.

The plot unfolds easily and you get a lot more backstory on Grimoire, Badlug, Misty’s mother and it all comes together in a way where it pieces together the story once you’ve reached the end.

However my only minor issue was the slow pacing around the middle and nearing the end.

Aside from Misty, Prince Pete, Gorga & Fogmoth were definitely my favorite characters! However, overall I loved each character (even Badlug!). They were all enjoyable to read about and while you don’t figure out everything about them, you learn enough to understand and sympathize.

Ever since reading Zodiac Starforce, I’ve really loved Paulina Ganucheau’s artwork! It’s colorful and bright! I love it!

I love that through the artowork, you see POC in power and characters with different body-types and there’s even GLBT-Rep.!

Another Castle Grimoire is a graphic novel with so much depth from its worlds to characters. The plot unfolds in ways you don’t expect, non-stop action, empowering female characters, and emphasis on friendship. There are so many fantastic elements!

Once I reached the end, I needed more! Hopefully there will be a Volume 2, because I adored everything about this story and I’m not ready to leave it just yet!

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!