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? 😄📚✨

The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell Review

The Last Magician by Lisa MaxwellThe Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell (TLM #1)

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Release Date: July 18, 2017

Pages: 512

Summary: Stop the Magician. Steal the book. Save the future.

In modern-day New York, magic is all but extinct. The remaining few who have an affinity for magic—the Mageus—live in the shadows, hiding who they are. Any Mageus who enters Manhattan becomes trapped by the Brink, a dark energy barrier that confines them to the island. Crossing it means losing their power—and often their lives.

Esta is a talented thief, and she’s been raised to steal magical artifacts from the sinister Order that created the Brink. With her innate ability to manipulate time, Esta can pilfer from the past, collecting these artifacts before the Order even realizes she’s there. And all of Esta’s training has been for one final job: traveling back to 1902 to steal an ancient book containing the secrets of the Order—and the Brink—before the Magician can destroy it and doom the Mageus to a hopeless future.

But Old New York is a dangerous world ruled by ruthless gangs and secret societies, a world where the very air crackles with magic. Nothing is as it seems, including the Magician himself. And for Esta to save her future, she may have to betray everyone in the past. 

My Rating:★★★☆☆

My Thoughts: The Last Magician mixes fantasy with historical fiction as we follow Esta and her mission to travel back to 1902 to find an ancient book protected by the Order! With the book she will be able to save Mageus, such as herself, in the present and hopefully, future! Maxwell’s novel has elements of fantasy, mystery and adventure to keep you turning the page!

After reading the synopsis, hearing great buzz, and reading such positive reviews, I went into The Last Magician expecting to really enjoy it, sadly that wasn’t the case and I found myself quite disappointed.

While this book wasn’t necessarily my cup of tea, there were definitely elements I really enjoyed and the plot itself has me intrigued to read the sequel and see what happens next!

Overall my biggest issue was the writing-style. It felt very flat to me and did more “telling” rather than showing. Because of that, it gave too much of the characters upfront and never really left room for interpretation. With the writing, so much of the characters motivations and personalities were stated so obviously and the writing itself was very direct, so I never really felt connected to any of the characters.

While it was great to also see the story from differing perspectives through the 3rd person POV, the pacing did become extremely slow and because of the writing style, the characters and elements of the story felt very flat to me. I had to put down the book a number of times within the couple weeks I read it, because the pacing and writing never really clicked.

While I found the characters a little difficult to connect to, Maxwell did make the story very character driven which I liked!

There was definitely a fantastical/magical tone that came with the story, though the writing which I liked! I also really enjoyed how the writing flowed well among the multiple POV’s. Being split among 4 parts, I did find parts 1 & 4 to be the most fast paced and immersive!

Time travel is something I enjoy in stories and felt that Maxwell did a great job at easily transitioning the tone of the story from present to early 1900’s and the setting, while very surface level at times, was presented well.

The plot itself left me very invested to see how Esta would be able to find the Ars Arcana, the Book and use it to bring down the Order, an ancient + secret organization that doesn’t like magicians such as herself.  The first chapter really pulled me into the story as the action started right away!

Professor Lachlan, her father-figure and guardian has trained her as a thief to find and protect artifacts used by the Order. So, he instructs her to use her ability to manipulate time to travel to 1902, find the Magician and prevent them from losing the book and ensure she can bring the book back to her time.

Once in the past, we learn more about characters such as Harte Darrigan who wants to find the book as well, but to be able to escape New York and start a new life. There’s also a gang introduced called The Devil’s Own, led by Dolph Saunders who’s crew is made up of Mageus and he’s looking for the book as well.

Esta spends a majority of the book with The Devil’s Own and I couldn’t help but compare the group to the crew in Six Of Crows! While they do have their differences, to be honest there were so many similarities that I picked up on between the characters. I never really found a connection to them, because they felt too much like characters I’d read before.

The magic system in this book was introduced very well and I found the idea of the Brink to be the most interesting aspect. The magical barrier that kept magicians trapped in New York was explored through the multiple POV’s in different ways and I really enjoyed that. But it would have been great to get more background on the magic because many aspects were very surface level.

As Esta becomes more involved with the characters in that time period, she learns more about the Order and how they work in early 1900’s New York and just how much is at stake if she doesn’t find the Book.

Overall this book had a lot of well thought out elements, I just personally found that the execution of the story sadly didn’t really work for me.

The ending did have twists and turns I didn’t expect, but it did feel a little too rushed when all the pieces finally came together. However, I was left very interested to see where the plot would be headed in the sequel!

The Last Magician is an enjoyable historical + urban fantasy novel to check out! While the pacing can be slow at points and the writing a little flat, the story itself has a lot of good elements for an immersive and character-driven tale!

Unhooked by Lisa Maxwell Playlist

Unhooked Lisa Maxwell Playlist.jpgToday I’d love to share w/ you my playlist for Lisa Maxwell’s Unhooked.

This novel is a dark retelling of Peter Pan!

If you are interested to know more check out my Full Unhooked Review Here.

While reading Unhooked I mostly listened to OST’s from Kingdom Hearts! (more specifically the spin-off 358/2 Days + the prequel Birth By Sleep)

 

If you’ve read unhooked, listen to the songs & tell me what you think in the comments below!

 

 

 

 

February 2016 Wrap-Up

# Of Books Read: 6

Between-shades-of-gray1.Between Shades Of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Between Shades Of Gray Full Review

Publisher: Philomel Books

Release Date: March 22, 2011

Pages: 344

My Rating: Full StarFull StarFull StarFull Star

Overall Thoughts: This was my first Ruta Sepetys novel and it was amazing! While heartbreaking, this story focused on another side to WW2 not usually explored. I really felt for each character and their struggles during the war. The pacing was a little slow at times, so that’s why I took away a star.

9781481432696_3be562. Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman

Blackhearts Full Review

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Release Date: February 9, 2016

Pages: 384

My Rating: Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarFull Star

Overall Thoughts: By the end, I felt I really knew each and every character. Anne and Teach slowly develop a relationship and through the writing, I really felt I was transported to that time period. With each chapter, I really saw their relationship develop and grow! Definitely a wonderful debut novel!

51791fac06ad83b1f20c93afe76b15dbe0df3b813.Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard (Red Queen #2)

Glass Sword Full Review

Publisher: Harper Teen

Release Date: February 9, 2016

Pages: 448

My Rating: Full StarFull StarFull StarFull Star

(Still in between 4/4.5)

Overall Thoughts: Glass Sword definitely had a different tone to it than RQ. Maven’s transition to a villain really made this book a blast to read! He is now my fave. character in the series! My issues were mostly with plot direction and world building! But this was definitely a solid sequel! I do plan to continue the series!

2 Salt To The Sea4. Salt To The Sea by Ruta Sepetys

Salt To The Sea Full Review

Publisher: Philomel Books

Release Date: February 2, 2016

Pages: 400

My Rating:Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarFull Star

Overall Thoughts: Told through multiple, short, POV’s we follow 4 people as they plan to board the Wilhelm Gustloff! The writing style truly creates such emotion and depth within each character! Similar to Between Shades Of Gray, this novel focuses on war from a different angle. This novel was absolutely brilliant! Highly recommend ❤

1 Unhooked5.Unhooked by Lisa Maxwell

Unhooked Full Review

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Release Date: February 2, 2016

Pages: 342

My Rating: Full StarFull StarFull StarFull Starhalf star--Book Blog

Overall Thoughts: This was a dark and immersive retelling of Peter Pan. The tone/atmosphere was definitely present all through out the story. The characters and plot were wonderfully developed. However, I did feel the ending was quite rushed!

Earths-End-Cover-Only6.Earth’s End by Elise Kova (Air Awakens #3)

Earth’s End Full Review

Publisher: Silver Wing Press

Release Date: February 11, 2016

Pages: 350

My Rating:Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarFull Star

Overall Thoughts: A great continuation to an amazing series! Character development is huge in this story. The end will definitely leave you wanting to get your hands on Book 4 right away!

What Books Did You Read This Month? 🙂

Let Me Know In The Comments Below!

Unhooked by Lisa Maxwell Review

1 UnhookedPublisher: Simon Pulse

Release Date: February 2, 2016

Pages: 342

Summary: For as long as she can remember, Gwendolyn Allister has never had a place to call home—all because her mother believes that monsters are hunting them. Now these delusions have brought them to London, far from the life Gwen had finally started to build for herself. The only saving grace is her best friend, Olivia, who’s coming with them for the summer.

But when Gwen and Olivia are kidnapped by shadowy creatures and taken to a world of flesh-eating sea hags and dangerous Fey, Gwen realizes her mom might have been sane all along.

The world Gwen finds herself in is called Neverland, yet it’s nothing like the stories. Here, good and evil lose their meaning and memories slip like water through her fingers. As Gwen struggles to remember where she came from and find a way home, she must choose between trusting the charming fairy-tale hero who says all the right things and the roguish young pirate who promises to keep her safe.

With time running out and her enemies closing in, Gwen is forced to face the truths she’s been hiding from all along. But will she be able to save Neverland without losing herself?

My Rating: Full StarFull StarFull StarFull Starhalf star--Book Blog

***SPOILERS AHEAD***

My Thoughts:

I do have some knowledge of the original story & of course from the classic Disney film!

So having that knowledge, I really did enjoy my first Peter Pan retelling ❤

What made this book so good was the setting + tone.

Lisa makes this retelling quite dark, but through her writing style I really felt I was in Neverland w/ Gwen.

In terms of plot it was very well done! Fey and dark “shadow” creatures among other things are introduced, which really went well with the story.

When Gwen gets taken to Neverland she becomes a part of Captain’s crew. He was such a well developed character! When he is introduced we are meant to believe he is a heartless character, but as the story progresses we come to know he is far from that! He was definitely my favorite ❤ ❤

The relationship that develops between both Captain & Gwen was wonderful!! ❤

As for Pan, he was quite the opposite. Unknown to Gwen in the beginning, he manipulated/used her, only to unlock her hidden powers and take over Neverland.

From the moment he was introduced, I just knew he would he wasn’t what he seemed!

As the plot progresses the history of Neverland is revealed and a Queen is revealed to be a big role in Peter’s plan.

The major plot points/twists, in my opinion, never felt rushed or random. With the overall atmosphere of Neverland, they all felt relevant.

As stated before, what I loved about this retelling was the dark tone/atmosphere Lisa created.

Lisa also does a wonderful job at weaving betrayal/deceit into her characters which, for some, makes it difficult to know who to trust!

My only issue was that ending did feel a little rushed & I was sad that Olivia, Gwen’s friend, never returned home w/ her 😥

But overall this was a fun, dark, atmospheric and immersive retelling!

If you’ve read Unhooked let me know your thoughts in the comments below 🙂

 

February 2016 Book Releases I’m Looking Forward To!

In order by date, here are the books I’m excited to get to this month!

1 Unhooked
Publisher: Simon Pulse Release Date: Feb. 2

1.Unhooked by Lisa Maxwell

Summary: For as long as she can remember, Gwendolyn Allister has never had a place to call home—all because her mother believes that monsters are hunting them. Now these delusions have brought them to London, far from the life Gwen had finally started to build for herself. The only saving grace is her best friend, Olivia, who’s coming with them for the summer.

But when Gwen and Olivia are kidnapped by shadowy creatures and taken to a world of flesh-eating sea hags and dangerous Fey, Gwen realizes her mom might have been sane all along.

The world Gwen finds herself in is called Neverland, yet it’s nothing like the stories. Here, good and evil lose their meaning and memories slip like water through her fingers. As Gwen struggles to remember where she came from and find a way home, she must choose between trusting the charming fairy-tale hero who says all the right things and the roguish young pirate who promises to keep her safe.

With time running out and her enemies closing in, Gwen is forced to face the truths she’s been hiding from all along. But will she be able to save Neverland without losing herself?

2 Salt To The Sea
Publisher: Philomel Books Release Date: Feb. 2

2.Salt To The Sea by Ruta Sepetys

Salt To The Sea Full Review

Summary: In 1945, World War II is drawing to a close in East Prussia, and thousands of refugees are on a desperate trek toward freedom, almost all of them with something to hide. Among them are  Joana, Emilia, and Florian, whose paths converge en route to the ship that promises salvation, the Wilhelm Gustloff. Forced by circumstance to unite, the three find their strength, courage, and trust in each other tested with each step closer toward safety.

Just when it seems freedom is within their grasp, tragedy strikes. Not country, nor culture, nor status matter as all ten thousand people aboard must fight for the same thing: survival.

 

 

3 Revenge And The Wild
Publisher: Balzer+Bray Release Date: Feb. 2

3.Revenge And The Wild by Michelle Modesto

Summary: The two-bit town of Rogue City is a lawless place, full of dark magic and saloon brawls, monsters and six-shooters. But it’s perfect for seventeen-year-old Westie, the notorious adopted daughter of local inventor Nigel Butler.

Westie was only a child when she lost her arm and her family to cannibals on the wagon trail. Nine years later, Westie may seem fearsome with her foul-mouthed tough exterior and the powerful mechanical arm built for her by Nigel, but the memory of her past still haunts her. She’s determined to make the killers pay for their crimes—and there’s nothing to stop her except her own reckless ways.

But Westie’s search ceases when a wealthy family comes to town looking to invest in Nigel’s latest invention, a machine that can harvest magic from gold—which Rogue City desperately needs as the magic wards that surround the city start to fail. There’s only one problem: the investors look exactly like the family who murdered Westie’s kin. With the help of Nigel’s handsome but scarred young assistant, Alistair, Westie sets out to prove their guilt. But if she’s not careful, her desire for revenge could cost her the family she has now.

51791fac06ad83b1f20c93afe76b15dbe0df3b81
Publisher: HarperTeen Release Date: Feb. 9

4.Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard (Red Queen #2)

Glass Sword Full Review

Summary: Mare Barrow’s blood is red—the color of common folk—but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control.

The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince—the friend—who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.

Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors.

But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat.

blackhearts-9781481432696_hr
Publisher: Simon Pulse Release Date: Feb. 9

5.Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman

Blackhearts Full Review

Summary: Blackbeard the pirate was known for striking fear in the hearts of the bravest of sailors. But once he was just a young man who dreamed of leaving his rigid life behind to chase adventure in faraway lands. Nothing could stop him—until he met the one girl who would change everything.

Edward “Teach” Drummond, son of one of Bristol’s richest merchants, has just returned from a year-long journey on the high seas to find his life in shambles. Betrothed to a girl he doesn’t love and sick of the high society he was born into, Teach dreams only of returning to the vast ocean he’d begun to call home. There’s just one problem: convincing his father to let him leave and never come back.

Following her parents’ deaths, Anne Barrett is left penniless and soon to be homeless. Though she’s barely worked a day in her life, Anne is forced to take a job as a maid in the home of Master Drummond. Lonely days stretch into weeks, and Anne longs for escape. How will she ever realize her dream of sailing to Curaçao—where her mother was born—when she’s stuck in England?

From the moment Teach and Anne meet, they set the world ablaze. Drawn to each other, they’re trapped by society and their own circumstances. Faced with an impossible choice, they must decide to chase their dreams and go, or follow their hearts and stay.

9780062380753
Publisher: Greenwillow Books Release Date: Feb. 16

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

Summary: It was the kind of August day that hinted at monsoons, and the year was 1774, though not for very much longer.

Sixteen-year-old Nix Song is a time-traveller. She, her father and their crew of time refugees travel the world aboard The Temptation, a glorious pirate ship stuffed with treasures both typical and mythical. Old maps allow Nix and her father to navigate not just to distant lands, but distant times – although a map will only take you somewhere once. And Nix’s father is only interested in one time, and one place: Honolulu 1868. A time before Nix was born, and her mother was alive. Something that puts Nix’s existence rather dangerously in question…

Nix has grown used to her father’s obsession, but only because she’s convinced it can’t work. But then a map falls into her father’s lap that changes everything. And when Nix refuses to help, her father threatens to maroon Kashmir, her only friend (and perhaps, only love) in a time where Nix will never be able to find him. And if Nix has learned one thing, it’s that losing the person you love is a torment that no one can withstand. Nix must work out what she wants, who she is, and where she really belongs before time runs out on her forever.

What Feb. Book Releases are you looking forward to?

Let me know in the comments below 🙂