The Queen Of Blood by Sarah Beth Durst Review

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

Publisher: Harper Voyager

Release Date: September 20, 2016

Pages: 353

Summary: An idealistic young student and a banished warrior become allies in a battle to save their realm in this first book of a mesmerizing epic fantasy series, filled with political intrigue, violent magic, malevolent spirits, and thrilling adventure.

Everything has a spirit: the willow tree with leaves that kiss the pond, the stream that feeds the river, the wind that exhales fresh snow . . .

But the spirits that reside within this land want to rid it of all humans. One woman stands between these malevolent spirits and the end of humankind: the queen. She alone has the magical power to prevent the spirits from destroying every man, woman, and child. But queens are still just human, and no matter how strong or good, the threat of danger always looms.

With the position so precarious, young women are chosen to train as heirs. Daleina, a seemingly quiet academy student, is under no illusions as to her claim to the throne, but simply wants to right the wrongs that have befallen the land. Ven, a disgraced champion, has spent his exile secretly fighting against the growing number of spirit attacks. Joining forces, these daring partners embark on a treacherous quest to find the source of the spirits’ restlessness—a journey that will test their courage and trust, and force them to stand against both enemies and friends to save their land . . . before it’s bathed in blood.

My Rating:★★★★☆ ½

My Thoughts: The Queen Of Blood is an enchanting fantasy tale that will transport you to a world entwined with nature, wicked spirits, and a daring adventure that will keep you hooked!

This book was absolutely incredible!! ❤️❤️ + Definitely got Final Fantasy vibes from this book! Which I loved!! 💖✨😍

From the chilling opening lines:

Don’t trust the fire, for it will burn you.
Don’t trust the ice, for it will freeze you.
Don’t trust the water, for it will drown you.
Don’t trust the air, for it will choke you.
Don’t trust the earth, for it will bury you.
Don’t trust the trees, for they will rip you,
rend you, tear you, kill you dead.

I was captivated by the unique and magical world that Durst created!

The writing style featured multiple POV’s, which expanded the world and showed how rich and lush it was!

The world of Aratay itself is highly guided by nature and the elements. The spirits of this world live among humans but can be quite vile towards them if they are left uncontrolled. That becomes quite apparent in this novel when spirits begin destroying villages and killing not only citizens, but potential Heirs!

And women are the only ones who can control them and protect the citizens. By becoming queen!

If they choose, women must take part in an exam to see if they are able to enter into an academy where they will spend many years training and if ready, will receive a Champion and train even further to become an Heir. From there they will go against other Heirs for the one and only spot of being Queen.

Enter Daleina. She isn’t the top of her class in terms of her ability to control the spirits. But she gets by with her intellect and her determination and I loved that about her so much! I could definitely see myself in Dalenia! There are certain things I’m not necessarily good at, but I always do my best to keep going no matter what and found that trait in Dalenia not only relatable, but inspiring.

Daleina is training to become a Queen Of Renthia, but knows very early on she isn’t cut out for it. However she keeps at it for many years training at the academy and learns more about who she wants to be and find the strength/confidence in herself.

Along the way she befriends young women just like her who are training to be queen. As the day approaches, she finds herself chosen by a disgraced Champion, Ven, who has a special bond with the queen and sees Dalenia as his only hope to bring control to the restless spirits!

There is so much girl power and female friendships which I absolutely loved! Dalenia befriends other women like her and they support each other along the way, regardless of the obvious competition between them for the spot of Queen. As time passes in the novel, they remain friends and continue to remain at each others sides when times get tough.

I did take away .5 because there is a romance (which doesn’t interfere with overall plot) and I felt was a rather rushed and did take me out of the story at times.

The characters were fantastically written and developed! Even with minor characters who were given few lines or mentioned in the background, they still felt real and vital to the story.

I seriously cannot pick between Ven and Dalenia! Both were wonderfully written characters and I could definitely understand their struggles and obstacles that they faced in this novel!

But there is so much more to this than just wayward spirits and queens. There is blood, betrayal and deep messages about connection with those you love/care about and finding yourself!

The world, characters, and plot in The Queen Of Blood come together to create a magical and unforgettable tale! ✨

I’ll definitely be reading book 2!

November 2016 Wrap-Up

# Of Books Read: 6

Yoon_9780553496680_jkt_all_r1.indd1.The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon 

The Sun Is Also A Star ARC Review

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Release Date: November 1, 2016

Pages: 384

My Rating: ★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: In another incredible contemporary from Nicola Yoon, she explores themes of destiny and love. Main characters Daniel and Natasha are complete opposites, but learn more about themselves, confront tough obstacles and come to bring out the best in each other.

The Midnight Star Cover Reveal2.The Midnight Star by Marie Lu (TYE #3)

The Midnight Star Full Review

Publisher: G.P.  Putnam’s Son’s Books For Young Readers

Release Date: October 11, 2016

Pages: 316

My Rating: ★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: Adelina’s dark story comes to an end in this fast-paced conclusion. The world does continue to expand in some aspects and the plot definitely keeps you surprised.

Screen Shot 2016-02-03 at 11.24.46 AM3.Blood For Blood (Wolf By Wolf #2)

Blood For Blood Full Review

Publisher: Little Brown Books For Young Readers

Release Date: November 1, 2016

Pages: 481

My Rating: ★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: The stakes are raised in this conclusion to Wolf By Wolf. The world continues to develop and world/character development play a huge part in this novel. Tone and pacing are quite different than book 1, but Graudin delivers a fantastic plot that will keep you turning the page!

the-grift-of-the-magi-by-ally-carter-book-review4.The Grift Of The Magi by Ally Carter (Heist Society #3.5)

The Grift Of The Magi

Publisher: NLA Digital LLC

Release Date: November 1, 2016

Pages: 105

My Rating: ★★★★☆ ½

Overall Thoughts: Readers return to the world of Heist Society in this holiday novella! Kat and her crew come together to save a charity when one of its valuable auction pieces has been stolen! The plot is fast-paced and entertaining! Characters are given great development and the plot, while wrapping up quite quickly in the end, is filled with mystery and surprise!

labyrinth-lost-by-zoraida-cordova-book-review5.Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova (Brooklyn Brujas #1)

Labyrinth Lost Full Review

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Release Date: September 6, 2016

Pages: 336

My Rating:★★★★☆

Overall Thoughts: Weaving together Latinx Culture + Urban Fantasy, we follow Alex, a bruja who is unsure if she wants to keep her powers. When a spell makes her family disappear to Los Lagos (a mythical land) she must find a way to bring them back. The world/plot could have used more development, but regardless its a magical story of self-identity and family!

bound-by-blood-and-sand6.Bound By Blood And Sand by Becky Allen (Bound By Blood And Sand #1)

Bound By Blood And Sand Full Review

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Release Date: October 11, 2016

Pages: 320

My Rating:★★★★☆

Overall Thoughts: In a magical desert world water is running out and Jae may be the only one who can bring it back. This novel is filled with remarkably written/developed characters that truly come to life on the page. While the world could use a little more development, both world/plot are fascinating and unique. The little-to-no romance leaves so much room for character/plot development.

Additional Posts From This Month:

Book Bytes I #8

What Did You Read This Month? 🙂

Bound By Blood And Sand by Becky Allen Review

bound-by-blood-and-sandBound By Blood And Sand by Becky Allen (Bound By Blood And Sand #1)

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Release Date: October 11, 2016

Pages: 320

Summary: Jae is a slave in a dying desert world.

Once verdant with water from a magical Well, the land is drying up, and no one remembers the magic needed to keep the water flowing. If a new source isn’t found soon, the people will perish. Jae doesn’t mind, in a way. By law, she is bound by a curse to obey every order given her, no matter how vile. At least in death, she’ll be free. 

Elan’s family rules the fading realm. He comes to the estate where Jae works, searching for the hidden magic needed to replenish the Well, but it’s Jae who finds it, and she who must wield it. Desperate to save his realm, Elan begs her to use it to locate the Well.

But why would a slave—abused, beaten, and treated as less than human—want to save the system that shackles her? Jae would rather see the world burn.

Though revenge clouds her vision, she agrees to help if the realm’s slaves are freed. Then Elan’s father arrives. The ruler’s cruelty knows no limits. He is determined that the class system will not change—and that Jae will remain a slave forever.

My Rating:★★★★☆

My Thoughts: Allen delivers a character-driven fantasy that shows a dark and oppressive world, but the bravery and lengths characters will go to bring change!

The best part of this novel was definitely the characters. Allen created her characters with such complexity and wasn’t afraid to show their dark and flawed sides. In doing so, Jae,Tal, Shirrad, and Elan go through immense character development and really come to life on the page.

Additionally there was no romance! Which was definitely a plus for me. With that, more development and focus is given to the characters and plot.

Jae is a slave living in a fantasy desert world. She lives in a house with other slaves (Closests) called Aredann where she among others are forced by their Curse to follow orders by the owner of the property Lady Shirrad to care for it and have minimal freedoms.

From page 1 Jae, is out for vengeance to free herself and her twin brother Tal from the awful Curse and escape after years of oppression.

She discovers there is magic on the property and figures that will be the only way she can bring water back to the land and free herself and other Closests just like her.

A prince from a neighboring land comes to inspect and reveals that the minimal water will leave Shirrad no choice but to vacate.

As the novel progresses prince Elan discovers Jae’s magic and wants to use her to find a magical Well which can bring water back. However, Jae who has been seen as less by Elan’s people (the Highest) is skeptical of his motives and doesn’t trust him.

As Jae learns more about her magic, she discovers there is more to her world’s history than she is lead to believe and that she may be the only one who can bring back the water and free herself once and for all.

However there were 2 issues that prevented this from being a full 5!
1.Pacing: A majority of this novel moved extremely slowly for me personally and that really took me out of the story at times.
I will admit, for me it definitely picks up around the ~70-80% mark and I was hooked to the very end.

2.Elements of world-building:
I felt the world-building (in terms of background history + magic) was quite under-developed. Flashbacks were the general bulk of the historical aspect of the world building and b/c of that I felt the world didn’t feel as rich and developed.

However I applaud the author with her writing style because I could really picture the setting and the characters and overall the plot itself is very unique!!

There were definitely many heart-breaking and emotional moments in this book! Allen weaves in and discusses many topics in this novel such as abuse/assault and social class.

I felt so connected to the main characters Jae, Tal and Elan and could definitely understand their differing points of view + individual struggles over the course of this story!

Bound By Blood And Sand is filled with rich and captivating characters that definitely drive this story and an intriguing world/plot that shows promise for the next installment!

Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova Review

labyrinth-lost-by-zoraida-cordova-book-reviewLabyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova (Brooklyn Brujas #1)

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Release Date: September 6, 2016

Pages: 336

Summary: Nothing says Happy Birthday like summoning the spirits of your dead relatives.

Alex is a bruja, the most powerful witch in a generation…and she hates magic. At her Deathday celebration, Alex performs a spell to rid herself of her power. But it backfires. Her whole family vanishes into thin air, leaving her alone with Nova, a brujo boy she can’t trust. A boy whose intentions are as dark as the strange markings on his skin.

The only way to get her family back is to travel with Nova to Los Lagos, a land in-between, as dark as Limbo and as strange as Wonderland…

My Rating:★★★★☆

My Thoughts: A magical coming-of-age story, with themes of family and self-identity!

What originally drew me to this novel was the  premise! Being Latina I was quite familiar with the magical and cultural elements of this story and I adored reading them in an urban fantasy setting!

Family is a big theme of Labyrinth Lost, and I felt the magic and the bonds between Alex’s mother and sisters, Lula and Rose, the moment they were introduced. Along those lines, many themes interconnected and gave so much depth to the overall world.

Themes of family and self-identity merged definitely weaved together with the Latinx heritage and culture.

There was so much diversity in this novel, which was fantastic! Latinx Culture, Bisexuality, and GLBT+ characters!

Alex is unsure whether or not she wants to accept her magic/power as an Enchantrix and definitely has an internal struggle of wanting to forge her own path, yet feeling unsure because of what her family expects of her.

After a spell goes horribly wrong, she finds herself headed to Los Lagos, a mythical land tied closely with Brujas. She finds herself teamed up with Nova, a family friend and Rishi, her best friend as she explores the mythical and magical land to save to her family.

The myths and legacy of the Brujas, magic system and world of Los Lagos was the best aspect of this novel. I’m very familiar with the idea/folklore surrounding brujas and found that to be a wonderfully rich and engaging part of the world/story.

Descriptions of Brooklyn, Los Lagos, and the history of the Brujas comes to life through the writing and I could really picture myself there. Both the world and characters are given such depth and were wonderfully written.

It was great reading from Alex’s strong, engaging, and empowering POV. While reading, I was captivated by the rich world of magic and Latinx culture that definitely showed the magic of familial/sister bonds which I could relate to so much!!

However the novel did have one con.

Through the 1st person POV, while I definitely got an overall rich and magical view of Los Lagos, I would have loved if the settings/world was expanded and given a little more depth. Additionally, I would have loved more from the plot. The “rescue” part of the novel felt rather jumpy and I would have loved more development from that, considering a majority of the novel took place there.

Overall with a satisfying conclusion, Labyrinth Lost dives deep into a magical world filled with Brujas, magic, Latinx Culture, and introduces many themes that weave together to tell a tale just as magical.

I will definitely be reading the sequel and can’t wait to see where Alex’s journey is headed!

Book Bytes I #8

Book Bytes is a monthly feature I created to share news in the world of YA!

Each month posts can contain anything from new cover/title reveals, book-to-movie news, even the latest book deals!!

flame-in-the-mist-renee-ahdieh-excerpt1. Flame In The Mist Excerpt

Renee Ahdieh, author of The Wrath And The Dawn Duology, had an excerpt of her upcoming 2017 novel Flame And The Mist shared on Entertainment Weekly!

Full excerpt can be found Here

Flame In The Mist is set to be released May 2, 2017!

2. If Birds Fly Back Cover Reveal

Carlie Sorosiak, 2017 debut author, had a cover reveal for her upcoming YA Contemporary If Birds Fly Back on October 5 over at Pop Goes The Reader 

Its set to be released June 27, 2017 from Harper Collins!

Here’s a summary: A sparkling debut about love, family, and the mysteries of the universe.

Linny has been fascinated by disappearances, ever since her sister Grace ran away in the middle of the night without saying goodbye.

Sebastian can tell you how many galaxies there are, and knows how much plutonium weighs. But the one thing he can’t figure out is the identity of his birth father.

They’ve never met, but Linny and Sebastian have one thing in common: an obsession with famous novelist and filmmaker Alvaro Herrera, who went missing three years ago and has just reappeared. As they learn more about the mystery of Alvaro, Linny and Sebastian uncover the answers they’ve been searching for.

when-dimple-met-rishi-cover-reveal3.When Dimple Met Rishi Cover Reveal

Also on October 5 Sandhya Menon had her cover reveal + excerpt for When Dimple Met Rishi, over at Bustle!

Set to be released May 30, 2017 from Simon Pulse, this YA Contemporary is “A laugh-out-loud, heartfelt YA romantic comedy, told in alternating perspectives, about two Indian-American teens whose parents have arranged for them to be married.

Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.”

4.Now I Rise by Kiersten White Cover Reveal + Excerpt

On October 12, EW revealed the cover + an excerpt for the sequel to And I Darken.

Now I Rise is set to be released June 27, 2017!

5.Miss Peregrine’s Trilogy Expands

As of October 20, it was announced that Ransom Riggs, author of Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children will be adding 3 more books to the original trilogy!

The next book is set to be released Fall 2017!

6.Epic Reads Summer 2017 Covers

As of October 24, Epic Reads has a number of books coming Summer 2017 so they put together a list (30+) and stated they have more covers to come!

You can check it out Here

Some include: Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab, Dividing Eden by Joelle Charbonneau, and The Crown’s Fate by Evelyn Skye!

7.Leigh Bardugo 2-Book Deal

Leigh Bardugo, author of the Grisha Trilogy and recently concluded Six Of Crows Duology, will venture out of YA Fantasy to write Ninth House.

This adult series will center around:

“Alex Stern, a 20-year-old California high school dropout with a criminal past who is mysteriously offered a second chance as a Yale University freshman. Ninth House, the first book, follows Stern’s freshman year, where she is charged with monitoring Yale’s secret societies, who engage in sinister occult activities.”

More info can be found on The Hollywood Reporter announcement Here!

8.The Girl Who Drank The Moon Gets A Screenwriter

On October 26, it was announced that Kelly Barnhills’s middle grade novel The Girl Who Drank The Moon found screenwriter Marc Haimes (Screenwirter of Kubo And The Two Strings).

Currently with Fox Animation, The Girl Who Drank The Moon is also set to be a hybrid live-action/animation.

Full article from Deadline can be found Here!

What Book News Have You Heard? 📚✨

When The Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore Review

when-the-moon-was-ours-anna-marie-mclemoreWhen The Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie Mclemore

Publisher: Thomas Dunne

Release Date: October 4, 2016

Pages: 240

Summary: To everyone who knows them, best friends Miel and Sam are as strange as they are inseparable. Roses grow out of Miel’s wrist, and rumors say that she spilled out of a water tower when she was five. Sam is known for the moons he paints and hangs in the trees, and for how little anyone knows about his life before he and his mother moved to town.

But as odd as everyone considers Miel and Sam, even they stay away from the Bonner girls, four beautiful sisters rumored to be witches. Now they want the roses that grow from Miel’s skin, convinced that their scent can make anyone fall in love. And they’re willing to use every secret Miel has fought to protect to make sure she gives them up.

My Rating:★★★★★

My Thoughts: Magical realism at its finest! With lush prose and phenomenal story telling, When The Moon Was Ours not only captivates but tells a story of identity,family and courage!

There were so many amazing aspects of this book! From the diversity (LGBT, Trans MC, Pakistani + Latina MC) to the wonderful messages of finding one’s self and the importance of family/identity.

Being Latina myself, I am very familiar with the legend of La Llorona (in this novel are the Bonner Girls) and I absolutely loved  reading McLemore’s take on it! 💖💖

The novel’s writing style and characters are truly unforgettable! I cannot count the number of times I stopped to reread passages! Every page had such memorable and magical quotes!!

Miel and Sam have secrets, but regardless have built a beautiful friendship. They protect each other no matter what. But when the Bonner Girls, who are rumored to make any boy fall in love with them, think Miel’s roses (that grow from her wrist) will keep their influence strong, they threaten to expose Miel + Sam’s secrets to get what they want.

Miel and Sam’s relationship is threatened when the Bonner Girls begin to use Miel’s roses for their own gain and Miel distances herself from Sam for fear that they may no longer be able to stay together.

Originally being Samira, Sam’s mother believes its just a phase, however he’s not so sure. Over the course of this novel, Sam comes to understand who he is and who he wants to be.

Miel fell out of a water-tower as a child and cannot remember how she got there, but knows she can grow roses from her wrist and had a family. She is trying to understand who she is and where she’s headed.

Character development is truly at the heart of this novel, from the Bonner Girls to Aracely, Miel’s caretaker, each and every character changes over the course of this story.

If I could I would give this book millions of stars! This book is truly unforgettable and tackles/discusses so many topics and themes. From LGBTQ to racism, family, importance of culture + identity, and so much more.

When The Moon Was Ours delivers a stunning prose, wonderfully written characters, and an overall plot that is utterly magical! ✨🌙💖

Forest Of Memory by Mary Robinette Kowal Review

forest-of-memory-by-mary-robinette-kowalForest Of Memory by Mary Robinette Kowal

Publisher: Tor Books

Release Date: March 8, 2016

Pages: 88

Summary: Katya deals in Authenticities and Captures, trading on nostalgia for a past long gone. Her clients are rich and they demand items and experiences with only the finest verifiable provenance. Other people’s lives have value, after all.

But when her A.I. suddenly stops whispering in her ear she finds herself cut off from the grid and loses communication with the rest of the world.

The man who stepped out of the trees while hunting deer cut her off from the cloud, took her A.I. and made her his unwilling guest.

There are no Authenticities or Captures to prove Katya’s story of what happened in the forest. You’ll just have to believe her…

My Rating: ★★★★☆

My Thoughts: A captivating and mysterious short story where technology has become a fundamental part of everyday life.

Having listened to audio drama podcasts recently (many in the vein of quirky sci-fi/fantasy) I was easily transported into this Dystopian/Futuristic Pacific Northwest.

Centering around a futuristic world where AI Tech is a part of everyday life, Katya Gould, the main character, recounts her story on a typewriter of what happened to her when she found herself in a forest with her connection to her AI tech mysteriously cut-off and how she gets tangled with a mysterious character who is hunting deer.

Katya’s recollection of this moment in her life was written in such a unique way. There are misspellings/typos throughout this short story and I felt they really tied into how this world with so much tech. had influenced Katya as a character and the imperfections of memory.

Another aspect that made this short story so much fun to read was the overall concept. Katya is an antiquities dealer who trades objects (mostly tech) that are vintage or everyday objects we have today, such as books, that have been used/have lived through experiences and are seen as nostalgic to people in this world.
This novella brings up fascinating ideas in such a short amount of time such as man and machine, connecting with nature, and the importance of memory. The ending is rather open ended, but I felt so connected to this world in such a short amount of time.

However I did take away a star b/c the pacing felt slow at times and I wish Katya’s job dealing with Authenticities was given a bigger role because it was such a fascinating concept!

Overall a mysterious, unique and immersive story that I highly recommend. Katya’s POV will keep you reading from start to finish as you uncover more about this peculiar world!

YA Book Recommendations For Hispanic Heritage Month

Every September 15- October 15 is Hispanic/Latino Heritage Month!

Being Latina myself, I’d love to celebrate by sharing with you a recommendation list of 12 YA Books that are written by Hispanic/Latinx authors and/or feature Hispanic/Latinx characters!

If you have additional recommendations or have read any of the books I’ve listed below, feel free to leave a comment so we can discuss! 🙂

YA-book-recommendations-For-hispanic-heritage-month-graphic

1. Aristotle And Dante Discover The Secrets Of The Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

2. Gabi, A Girl In Pieces by Isabel Quintero

3. History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera

4. Hollywood Witch Hunter by Valerie Tejeda

5.Juliet Takes A Breath by Gabby Rivera

6. Just Visiting by Dahlia Adler

7. Labyrinth Lost (Brooklyn Brujas #1) by Zoraida Córdova

8. More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

9. Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older

10. The Weight Of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore

11. Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard

12. When The Moon Was Ours by Anne-Marie McLemore

Walk On Earth A Stranger by Rae Carson Review

17564519Walk On Earth A Stranger by Rae Carson (The Gold Seer Trilogy #1)

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Release Date: September 22, 2015

Pages: 436

Summary: Gold is in my blood, in my breath, even in the flecks in my eyes.

Lee Westfall has a strong, loving family. She has a home she loves and a loyal steed. She has a best friend—who might want to be something more.
She also has a secret.

Lee can sense gold in the world around her. Veins deep in the earth. Small nuggets in a stream. Even gold dust caught underneath a fingernail. She has kept her family safe and able to buy provisions, even through the harshest winters. But what would someone do to control a girl with that kind of power? A person might murder for it.

When everything Lee holds dear is ripped away, she flees west to California—where gold has just been discovered. Perhaps this will be the one place a magical girl can be herself. If she survives the journey.

My Rating: ★★★★☆

My Thoughts: The Gold Rush comes to life in Carson’s YA Historical Fiction/Fantasy mash-up!

Leah/Lee’s 1st person POV really transports the reader to the era of the Gold Rush. Additionally, the wild west elements really show the gritty/strenuous journey of traveling during this time period!

Carson does a fantastic job at slowly weaving in the light fantasy elements (Lee’s gold sensing ability) with historical fiction while still making it an immersive + rich world!

There’s also discussion about women, considering Lee dresses up as a boy for a majority of the novel, with a lot of discussion of how she views herself and begins to question if she should stay disguised or not when she goes to California.

I will admit my rating is low for a few reasons:
1.The pacing was really slow for me + dragged in some parts (mostly on the journey)
2. Lee’s magic isn’t used as much as I expected  + isn’t given much explanation either
3. I wanted more from the plot 

Regardless I will definitely be reading the sequel! The 1st person POV made the novel feel very immersive and I was really able to connect with Leah and her struggles as a character. Her overall character and character-development/growth along the way was the best part of this entire novel. Additionally, the elements of mystery and suspense made the novel fun + enjoyable.

I loved reading how Leah slowly but surely became friends with the people on her journey, considering this takes place over numerous months, it made sense that the development of those relationships took quite some time.

Carson does a phenomenal job at creating the atmosphere/setting of the Gold Rush and weaving in “Wild West” elements and the small hints of fantasy. They all flowed very well together.

Overall an enjoyable 1st book in the trilogy + great setting! While the pacing + plot suffer a little, I’m definitely interested to see where the story goes!

Crooked Kingdom Playlist

crooked-kingdom-playlistToday I am happy to share with you my Crooked Kingdom playlist!

Crooked Kingdom is the finale to the Six Of Crows duology.

A Spoiler-Free review of Crooked Kingdom is already up on my blog which you can read Here!

Songs featured in today’s playlist were one’s that I not only listened to while reading CK, but songs I felt matched the atmosphere of this magical + fantastical world that Bardugo created!

Songs Feat. From: Kingdom Hearts (Spin-Off Titles) + Final Fantasy (XIII & XV)

Songs:

• Le Sanctuaire (Kingdom Hearts 3D) • La Cloche (Kingdom Hearts 3D) •
• Black Garden (Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep) • Miracles (Final Fantasy XIII) •
• Forever Fugitives (Final Fantasy XIII) • Apocalypsis Noctis (Kingsglaive Final Fantasy XV) • At Struggle’s End (Kingsglaive Final Fantasy XV) • Our Hope Goes With You (Kingsglaive Final Fantasy XV) •

Let Me Know Your Thoughts On This Playlist In The Comments Below! 🙂