Book Review: Every Heart A Doorway (Wayward Children #1) by Seanan McGuire

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Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children
No Solicitations
No Visitors
No Quests

Children have always disappeared under the right conditions; slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe, tumbling down rabbit holes and into old wells, and emerging somewhere… else.

But magical lands have little need for used-up miracle children.

Nancy tumbled once, but now she’s back. The things she’s experienced… they change a person. The children under Miss West’s care understand all too well. And each of them is seeking a way back to their own fantasy world.

But Nancy’s arrival marks a change at the Home. There’s a darkness just around each corner, and when tragedy strikes, it’s up to Nancy and her new-found schoolmates to get to the heart of the matter.

No matter the cost.

review

How do I even begin to write a review to such a wonderful, magical, and completely relatable book? I have to say I don’t know if I’ve ever read something so relatable in my life. “Every Heart A Doorway” is a book for us readers and us dreamers, it’s for those of us who have always wanted to live in the fantasy worlds we read about and maybe even feel like we may belong there more than where we are.

You know what I’m talking about: waiting for your Hogwarts letter, opening every wardrobe and closet door looking for Narnia, or even waiting by your window in the hope that Peter Pan will come to whisk you away to Neverland.

If you understand exactly what I mean then drop everything you’re doing and read this book!

PLOT

Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children is a place where parents send their troubled children who claim to have been to other worlds. Eleanor helps these children learn to cope with the fact that they are back in the real world and may not be able to return to their fantasy worlds again but offers a safe place for them where they can be believed. However, when the new girl, Nancy, shows up from a trip to an Underworld things start taking a sinister turn at the Home and she finds herself amidst a murder mystery.

Not only is this story very relatable to me as a reader it’s also very original in it’s acknowledgement of many different children visiting many different fantasy worlds and then going back home afterwards and having to deal with the aftermath. I absolutely fell in love with this concept, it’s never really been done before! It’s also almost heartbreaking how much I understand how the characters feel having to come back from these worlds and realizing they may not ever go back.

The world building was incredible I find it so amazing that Seanan McGuire managed to develop a world so quickly considering this is only a 173 page book! I loved learning more about all of the different worlds and how they intersect there are Underworlds, Nonsense Worlds, and Logic Worlds and all have their own unique twists. I could not get enough details about the worlds the characters all visited!

And the writing was fantastic as well it was magical, dark, and light-hearted all at once! The atmosphere the writing created was, for lack of any other words, hauntingly beautiful which is the best way for me to describe it. This book is strange, magical, and has a lot of humor as well and honestly it’s just perfection.

The only part of the plot that bothered me a little bit was that the murder mystery was a little predictable, but honestly that’s all!

characters

I really, really loved the characters in the story not only because I found them all to be very complex and well-developed in such a short amount of pages but also because of how diverse they are as well. We have an asexual main character as well as a transgender boy character and I honestly loved how well both were handled in this story, I felt it was respectful and even a little informative too. There is also racial diversity with a girl of Asian descent and a Latino boy, it was fantastic to see diversity with gender identities and races!

Almost all of the characters that are mentioned have their own worlds and backstories and it was fascinating learning about the worlds they visited and how they impacted them.

in conclusion

Overall I was incredibly impressed with every aspect of this book and I NEED more!

What I Loved:

  • The unique and amazing story
  • The world building with all of the fantastic worlds
  • The writing and eerie atmosphere
  • The well-developed and diverse caste of characters

What I Didn’t Love:

  • Only that it was too short and I want more!
  • The murder mystery aspect was a little predictable

RECOMMEND

I don’t think I can recommend this book enough! Like I said in the beginning this is perfect for those of you who always wanted to fall into a magical world.

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository

The Sassy

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Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated Releases for the Second Half of 2017!

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jamie @ The Broke and the Bookish.

This week’s theme is pretty self-explanatory: our most anticipated releases for the second half of the year! There are so, so many wonderful ones that are coming up but these are a few of the ones I’m the MOST excited for!

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10.) The Hanging Girl by Eileen Cook

The Hanging Girl

Skye Thorn has given tarot card readings for years, and now her psychic visions are helping the police find the town’s missing golden girl. It’s no challenge—her readings have always been faked, but this time she has some insider knowledge. The kidnapping was supposed to be easy—no one would get hurt and she’d get the money she needs to start a new life. But a seemingly harmless prank has turned dark, and Skye realizes the people she’s involved with are willing to kill to get what they want and she must discover their true identity before it’s too late.

I really enjoyed Eileen Cook’s “With Malice” and so of course I’d like to check out her newest book especially since it sounds just as thrilling and maybe even a little spooky.


9.) The Tiger’s Daughter by K. Arsenault Rivera

The Tiger’s Daughter (Their Bright Ascendency #1)

Even gods can be slain….

The Hokkaran empire has conquered every land within their bold reach―but failed to notice a lurking darkness festering within the people. Now, their border walls begin to crumble, and villages fall to demons swarming out of the forests.

Away on the silver steppes, the remaining tribes of nomadic Qorin retreat and protect their own, having bartered a treaty with the empire, exchanging inheritance through the dynasties. It is up to two young warriors, raised together across borders since their prophesied birth, to save the world from the encroaching demons.

This is the story of an infamous Qorin warrior, Barsalayaa Shefali, a spoiled divine warrior empress, O-Shizuka, and a power that can reach through time and space to save a land from a truly insidious evil.

First of all the tag line just grabs my attention immediately! I also really love the unique and Asian-esque fantasy theme, there’s demons, and sounds like the female characters are going to be BADASS!


8.) There’s Someone In Your House by Stephanie Perkins

There's Someone Inside Your House

One-by-one, the students of Osborne High are dying in a series of gruesome murders, each with increasing and grotesque flair. As the terror grows closer and the hunt intensifies for the killer, the dark secrets among them must finally be confronted.

International bestselling author Stephanie Perkins returns with a fresh take on the classic teen slasher story that’s fun, quick-witted, and completely impossible to put down.

It is being marketed as a sort of YA version of the Scream movie franchise which has me 100% sold right there because I love those movies…. plus there really aren’t enough YA horror books out there and especially not that many slasher stories!


7.) The Arsonist by Stephanie Oakes

The Arsonist

Molly Mavity is not a normal teenage girl. For one thing, her father is a convicted murderer, and his execution date is fast approaching. For another, Molly refuses to believe that her mother is dead, and she waits for the day when they’ll be reunited . . . despite all evidence that this will never happen.

Pepper Yusef is not your average teenage boy. A Kuwaiti immigrant with epilepsy, serious girl problems, and the most useless seizure dog in existence, he has to write a series of essays over the summer . . . or fail out of school.

And Ava Dreyman—the brave and beautiful East German resistance fighter whose murder at seventeen led to the destruction of the Berlin Wall—is unlike anyone you’ve met before.

When Molly gets a package leading her to Pepper, they’re tasked with solving a decades-old mystery: find out who killed Ava, back in 1989. Using Ava’s diary for clues, Molly and Pepper realize there’s more to her life—and death—than meets the eye. Someone is lying to them. And someone out there is guiding them along, desperate for answers.

I read and loved Stephanie Oakes’ novel “The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly” and so I’d really love to read her new books just because it’s her. I’m very curious to see how all of these different timelines and characters will interconnect though, sounds very intriguing. Plus look at how gorgeous this cover is!


6.) Final Girls by Riley Sager

Final Girls

Ten years ago, college student Quincy Carpenter went on vacation with five friends and came back alone, the only survivor of a horror movie–scale massacre. In an instant, she became a member of a club no one wants to belong to—a group of similar survivors known in the press as the Final Girls. Lisa, who lost nine sorority sisters to a college dropout’s knife; Sam, who went up against the Sack Man during her shift at the Nightlight Inn; and now Quincy, who ran bleeding through the woods to escape Pine Cottage and the man she refers to only as Him. The three girls are all attempting to put their nightmares behind them, and, with that, one another. Despite the media’s attempts, they never meet.

Now, Quincy is doing well—maybe even great, thanks to her Xanax prescription. She has a caring almost-fiancé, Jeff; a popular baking blog; a beautiful apartment; and a therapeutic presence in Coop, the police officer who saved her life all those years ago. Her memory won’t even allow her to recall the events of that night; the past is in the past.

That is, until Lisa, the first Final Girl, is found dead in her bathtub, wrists slit, and Sam, the second, appears on Quincy’s doorstep. Blowing through Quincy’s life like a whirlwind, Sam seems intent on making Quincy relive the past, with increasingly dire consequences, all of which makes Quincy question why Sam is really seeking her out. And when new details about Lisa’s death come to light, Quincy’s life becomes a race against time as she tries to unravel Sam’s truths from her lies, evade the police and hungry reporters, and, most crucially, remember what really happened at Pine Cottage, before what was started ten years ago is finished.

I know I JUST said I don’t think there are enough YA (this may be considered more new adult or adult though….) horror stories including slasher stories? Yeah, definitely excited there’s another one coming up! This one sounds very suspenseful as well as terrifying and I’ve always found the “Final Girl” concept really interesting!


5.) Retribution Rails by Erin Bowman

Retribution Rails

REDEMPTION IS NEVER FREE
When Reece Murphy is forcibly dragged into the Rose Riders gang because of a mysterious gold coin in his possession, he vows to find the man who gave him the piece and turn him over to the gang in exchange for freedom. Never does he expect a lead to come from an aspiring female journalist. But when Reece’s path crosses with Charlotte Vaughn after a botched train robbery and she mentions a promising rumor about a gunslinger from Prescott, it becomes apparent that she will be his ticket to freedom—or a noose. As the two manipulate each other for their own ends, past secrets are unearthed, reviving a decade-old quest for revenge that may be impossible to settle.

In this thrilling companion to Vengeance Road, dangerous alliances are formed, old friends meet new enemies, and the West is wilder than ever.

I did enjoy “Vengeance Road” although I did still have some issues with it, the romance in particular but I’m definitely not going to deny I’m still excited for a companion novel! YA westerns are another genre that isn’t very common so I’ll take what I can get and especially with a cover that dang pretty!


4.) The Ravenous by Amy Lukavics

The Ravenous

From the outside, the Cane family looks like they have it all. A successful military father, a loving mother and five beautiful teenage daughters. But on the inside, life isn’t quite so idyllic: the Cane sisters can barely stand each other, their father is always away, and their neglectful mother struggles with addiction and depression.

When their youngest and most beloved sister, Rose, dies in a tragic accident, Mona Cane and her sisters are devastated. And when she is brought back from the dead, they are relieved. But soon they discover that Rose must eat human flesh to survive, and when their mother abandons them, the sisters will find out just how far they’ll go to keep their family together.

It’s no surpsie that I’m excited for Amy Lukavics’ newest novel since I really enjoyed both of her previous ones. These are usually very short, terrifying YA horror novels that are also always very unique in one way or another and a new one with …..zombie sister sounds amazing!


3.) Godsgrave (The Nevernight Chronicle #2) by Jay Kristoff

Godsgrave (The Nevernight Chronicle, #2)

Assassin Mia Corvere has found her place among the Blades of Our Lady of Blessed Murder, but many in the Red Church ministry think she’s far from earned it. Plying her bloody trade in a backwater of the Republic, she’s no closer to ending Consul Scaeva and Cardinal Duomo, or avenging her familia. And after a deadly confrontation with an old enemy, Mia begins to suspect the motives of the Red Church itself.

When it’s announced that Scaeva and Duomo will be making a rare public appearance at the conclusion of the grand games in Godsgrave, Mia defies the Church and sells herself to a gladiatorial collegium for a chance to finally end them. Upon the sands of the arena, Mia finds new allies, bitter rivals, and more questions about her strange affinity for the shadows. But as conspiracies unfold within the collegium walls, and the body count rises, Mia will be forced to choose between loyalty and revenge, and uncover a secret that could change the very face of her world.

I NEED this sequel like I need oxygen! It’s no secret I practically worship the ground Jay Kristoff walks on when it comes to amazing storytelling so I’m super pumped to see where this series is going to go next, especially after all the hell that went down in the last book!


2.) Little Monsters by Kara Thomas

Little Monsters

Kacey is the new girl in Broken Falls. When she moved in with her father, she stepped into a brand-new life. A life with a stepbrother, a stepmother, and strangest of all, an adoring younger half sister.

Kacey’s new life is eerily charming compared with the wild highs and lows of the old one she lived with her volatile mother. And everyone is so nice in Broken Falls—she’s even been welcomed into a tight new circle of friends. Bailey and Jade invite her to do everything with them.

Which is why it’s so odd when they start acting distant. And when they don’t invite her to the biggest party of the year, it doesn’t exactly feel like an accident.

But Kacey will never be able to ask, because Bailey never makes it home from that party. Suddenly, Broken Falls doesn’t seem so welcoming after all—especially once everyone starts looking to the new girl for answers.

Kacey is about to learn some very important lessons: Sometimes appearances can be deceiving. Sometimes when you’re the new girl, you shouldn’t trust anyone.

Kara Thomas’s debut novel “The Darkest Corners” was one of the best psychological thrillers I have ever read, it was dark, gritty, and very twisted! I could not see any of the twists coming at all and it was very suspenseful, I’m expecting her newest book to be exactly that too!


1.) Now I Rise (The Conqueror’s Saga #2) by Kiersten White

Now I Rise (The Conqueror's Saga, #2)

Lada Dracul has no allies. No throne. All she has is what she’s always had: herself. After failing to secure the Wallachian throne, Lada is out to punish anyone who dares to cross her blood-strewn path. Filled with a white-hot rage, she storms the countryside with her men, accompanied by her childhood friend Bogdan, terrorizing the land. But brute force isn’t getting Lada what she wants. And thinking of Mehmed brings little comfort to her thorny heart. There’s no time to wonder whether he still thinks about her, even loves her. She left him before he could leave her.

What Lada needs is her younger brother Radu’s subtlety and skill. But Mehmed has sent him to Constantinople—and it’s no diplomatic mission. Mehmed wants control of the city, and Radu has earned an unwanted place as a double-crossing spy behind enemy lines. Radu longs for his sister’s fierce confidence—but for the first time in his life, he rejects her unexpected plea for help. Torn between loyalties to faith, to the Ottomans, and to Mehmed, he knows he owes Lada nothing. If she dies, he could never forgive himself—but if he fails in Constantinople, will Mehmed ever forgive him?

As nations fall around them, the Dracul siblings must decide: what will they sacrifice to fulfill their destinies? Empires will topple, thrones will be won . . . and souls will be lost.

I didn’t think I could wait a year for this sequel! This is a series that is a very dark, dramatic retelling of the history around Vlad the Impaler except in this he a female known as Lada who is just as vicious and fierce. I am practically screeching in excitement for the next book because it’s sure to be just as entertaining as the first!

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Are you excited for any of these releases as well?

Have you read any of them yet/ did you receive an ARC?

What are some of YOUR most anticipated releases for the second half of the year?

Let me know in the comments!

The Sassy

ARC Review: Alice (The Wanderland Chronicles #1) by J.M. Sullivan

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Ever since the outbreak of the Plague, life hasn’t been easy, and for seventeen-year-old Alice Carroll, it just got worse. Her sister, Dinah, has contracted the ‘un-deadly’ Momerath Virus and without a cure, will soon be worse than dead. She’ll be momerath.

Alice must leave the safety of the Sector and venture into Momerath Territory to find the antidote – if it exists. Chasing a rumor about a mysterious doctor with the cure, Alice falls down the rabbit hole into Wanderland, where ravenous momerath aren’t the only danger lurking.

review

****Big thank you to Pen Name Publishing for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review!****

I’d also just like to quickly say the only reason I picked this book up was because of my blogger buddy Ariana @ The Quirk Book Nerd’s review! Please go check it out because it’s much more convincing than mine!

So this is a horror/dystopian/zombie-filled Alice in Wonderland retelling, did that grab your attention? If you like any of those things than seriously check this book out because it has all of those things and more! I know I personally love all of those things and I definitely thought this book was such a fun, entertaining read.

PLOT

As I said this is an Alice in Wonderland retelling that is combined with a post apocalyptic world filled with zombie-esque plague victims. It’s sort of a wide variety of genres all mashed together and it WORKS! The pacing is very fast and there is a ton of action, it’s practically non-stop action and it sucks you in completely!

Another factor that helped contribute to the immersive-ness of the story was the writing, I was actually really impressed with this considering it’s Sullivan’s debut novel. Her writing is very descriptive and just gave you such a REAL feel of the action, suspense, and terror of things happening throughout the book. However, I did have some moments where I felt it was TOO descriptive since I’m the type of person that relies heavily on dialogue, but I did still like all of the action scenes!

I also really loved the unique twist on the “zombies” which are called Momeraths and are sort of a combination between zombies and mutated humans (very reminiscent of the Fallout video game series actually). What the plague and Momeraths reminded me of a lot though was the Resident Evil franchise, I could not help but think of that series the entire time while reading plus it helps that both heroines are named Alice…… So if you’re a fan then you’ll definitely enjoy this story!

The world building was also really great and unique while also still retaining elements of the original Wonderland story. It was a TON of fun finding all of the allusions to the original and getting to journey through this darker, grittier version! I would have maybe liked a bit more world building overall but I’m hoping I’ll get that in the sequel.

characters

I did enjoy a lot of the characters and they actually had quite a bit of personality and development throughout the book. I was definitely impressed with them! I wasn’t fully convinced by Alice’s character immediately but by the end of the book I was fully persuaded to LOVE her! I loved watching her grow from being a more fearful girl to this total badass, which like I said really shows the great character development. She felt very real as well with fears and weaknesses, it made her more relatable in my opinion.

Some of my other favorite characters would have to be Dr. Abbot, Chess, and the Red Queen they also played really true to their Wonderland characters and were just so much fun to read about! I really love when secondary characters have this much personality!

romance

I was actually very surprised that there wasn’t a super prominent romance in this book, and it was a PLEASANT surprise! While there is a bit of a love triangle feel to it since there are two potential suitors for Alice I really liked how she never really let any feelings distract her from her main goal: saving her sister. Seriously, what a relief that we have a YA heroine not letting boys get in the way of the main plot-line!

I also really enjoy both love interests too…..

in conclusion

I was overall VERY impressed with how thrilling, fun, unique, and interesting “Alice” was! I’m such a sucker for darker retellings though so it’s not too much of a surprsie that I really liked this one.

What I Loved:

  • The setting/world building with dark “Wonderland” and zombies
  • The writing was very descriptive
  • Lots of fast pacing and action scenes!
  • Loved the characters and how well they developed throughout
  • Very fun to pick out the allusions to the original Alice in Wonderland

What I Didn’t Love:

  • Felt a little too descriptive at times, could have used more dialogue
  • The world could have been a little more developed

I definitely recommend giving this book a try especially if you’re a fan of retellings with dark, gritty twists and anything reminiscent of the Resident Evil franchise!

Links: Goodreads / Amazon 

Discussion Post: Self-Promoting Blog Comments

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I actually had this come up this week and tweeted my slight irritation about it on Twitter and I was actually surprised that a lot of you had problems with it before! Thank you so much to all of you who replied to that tweet and inspiring this post: Michelle @ Book Adventures, Swetlana @ Reading Through The Nights, & Joce @ Write Through The Night!

So of course that gave me the idea to bring the discussion over to my blog and hear from the rest of you as well!

Of course everything I’ve written in this post is just my own opinion, I’m not trying to offend anyone by any means. Please keep that in mind while reading or commenting back! Thank you!

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What Exactly Do I Mean By “Self-Promoting Blog Comments”?

Just to clarify what this whole discussion is I’m talking about other bloggers who leave comments on our blogs that are only self-promoting their own blogs. For example those comments that are: “Hey check out my blog!” or “Hey, nice blog check out mine!” or even “I have a blog, bookstagram, booktube channel please follow them!” or literally just a link to their blogs and it goes on and on and on.

Strictly any comments that don’t discuss the content of your blog or post at all and only discuss their own blogs and material.


So What’s So Bad About It?

To be blunt it can get pretty annoying and down right rude at times. We all put a lot of effort and time into our blogs and posts and to have someone just comment on it to self promote themselves and not acknowledge YOUR content at all  is a little impolite. I mean I’m sure they wouldn’t like it if we went over and commented “Hey check out my blog!” on THEIR posts would they?

When it all comes down to it we are all here, blogging, to chat with other people with similar interests ( in this case mostly books!) and it’s hard to do that when some bloggers only care about getting views by leaving comments all over the place self-promoting themselves. I think the phrase “what goes around comes around” really applies to this because if you don’t LEAVE genuine comments then you probably aren’t going to GET genuine comments either.


When Is It OK To Leave “Self-Promoting” Comments?

There’s a very fine line between ONLY self promoting yourself like in the examples I’ve used and leaving a link to your blog or post while also leaving an appropriate comment on the other blogger’s post. I personally am 100% fine with you dropping a link to one of your posts if it’s relevant to mine or what we were discussing! I will be much, much more likely to check out your blog if you leave a more meaningful comment!

So if you wanna drop a link to your blog or post, do it! As long as you are also leaving a genuine comment on our posts as well and not JUST trying to get views and visitors to your blog.

Tip To New Bloggers: If you want to converse with other bloggers and maybe have us check out your new blog then all you have to do is like what I said above! Leave a more meaningful comment and maybe explain that you’re new and looking for other bloggers to talk to and we will be much more inclined to go over and check it out!

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What are some of your experiences with this?

How do you deal with self-promotional comments on your blog?

What are your thoughts on bloggers leaving self-promotional comments?

Join the discussion and let me know in the comments!

The Sassy

The Cookie Book Tag

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I was tagged to do this by both Jessica @ The Awkward Book Blogger and Ann @ Ann’s Reading Corner! Go check out their tags and answers as well and thank you both for tagging me! Who doesn’t love cookies?

The Rules:

  • In addition to linking back to the person who tagged you, it would be awesome if you link back to Nicole’s original post!
  • Pick a book that corresponds to the cookie’s ‘theme’.
  • Have fun!
  • Tag 1-3 people.

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Chocolate Chip

A Classic Book That You Love or Really Enjoyed

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Dracula by Bram Stoker

I think a lot of us can agree on the fact we don’t read many, many classics because we are usually forced to read them in school. I know that’s part of my problem! I’d rather read them for fun than for school! However, “Dracula” was one I read of my own volition and absolutely adored, so much that I bought my own copy. I found that the language wasn’t too hard to comprehend and it IS the original vampire story after all, it’s very eerie and thrilling!


Thin Mints

A Fandom That You Really Want to ‘Join’ AND/OR a Hyped-Up Book You Want To Read

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Strange The Dreamer by Laini Taylor

There’s actually quite a few hyped books I’d like to get around too but I do actually own a copy of “Strange The Dreamer” now to read! I absolutely adore Laini Taylor’s writing style so I’m very excited to read her newest book.


Shortbread

An Author You Can’t Get Enough Of

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Jay Kristoff

I cannot get enough of this man’s books! I have loved and adored the three of them that I have read “Stormdancer”, “Nevernight”, and “Illuminae (with Amie Kaufman) and it’s all proof to me that he is a diabolical genius! His plots are so dark, gritty, and full of plot twists and on top of that his world building is extremely unique and immersive. I want more books!


Samoas/ Caramel DeLites

An Emotional Roller-coaster (this cookie was hard … so any book that made you feel more than one emotion, strongly. The choice of emotions is up to you)

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Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

This book covers all emotions on the emotional roller coaster! There is so much action and so many plot twists that I couldn’t help but be all over the place, it’s such a thrill ride of a book!


Oreos

A Book Whose Cover Was Better Than The Story OR Vice Versa, Where The Story Was Better Than Its Cover

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The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye

Sorry if you loved this one, I know I’m disappointed in myself for not loving it too!  I love how it’s a Crown made up of Russian architecture and it’s just sooooo pretty but I really didn’t like the story…..


Tagalongs/ Peanut Butter Patties

A Book That Wasn’t What You Expected (good, bad, or just different, interpret how you wish)

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Heartless by Marissa Meyer

In this case it was GOOD! I read the first book in the Lunar Chronicles “Cinder” and was not really impressed honestly so I wasn’t really too eager to read “Heartless” but it’s an Alice in Wonderland retelling/Queen of Hearts retelling so my curiosity won. I am so happy I gave it a chance though because it was so much fun to read!


Snickerdoodles

A Book You May Never Stop Rereading/ Loving

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Vicious by V.E. Schwab

I actually am really terrible about rereading books because I have so many other books to read but I’m planning on rereading more than a few! I’d have to say the one I’m looking forward to the most (besides Harry Potter and Percy Jackson because those 2 are just a given) is “Vicious”. The characters are just absolutely fantastic and the story is as well, everything about it is amazing! I mean morally ambiguous super powered people, what more could you want?


Oatmeal Raisin

An Awful Surprise.

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Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman

Another book that I REALLY wanted to enjoy but sadly didn’t. This is supposed to be a Blackbeard origin story so I thought it was safe to assume there would be um…pirates? Piracy? Any sort of pirate-y action? But nope! That was too much to ask for! All I got was a very mediocre historical romance, with ZERO action. I wanted pirates!!!

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If you’d like to do this tag then give it a go…I tag you!

The Sassy

Top Ten Tuesday: Quick Reads for the Beach!

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jamie @ The Broke and the Bookish.

This week’s theme is a Summer Reads Freebie so basically anything summer-y you can think of! Beach reads of all kinds or fun, summer contemporaries! I decided to go with quick reads/books for the beach since we all know how busy it gets during the summer sometimes I find it nicer to read fast-paced books that won’t let your attention wander! You’ll be finished with these books before you even know it and hopefully without the sunburn!

These are in no particular order and I will link up my full review for each book if I have it!

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10.) Every Heart A Doorway by Seanan McGuire

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This book is not only quick because it sucks you into its world so easily but also because it’s only 173 pages! It’s about children who were “sucked” into fantasy worlds and when their worlds used them up and spat them back out into reality they went to attend Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children. This is where they learn to cope with the fact that they may never go back to their fantastical worlds.

“Every Heart A Doorway” is such an amazing, magical story and I wish it was longer! It’s very interesting and complex for such a short book but what’s guaranteed is that this book will suck you in start to finish!


9.) Night Film by Marisha Pessl

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“Night Film” is about a journalist investigating the death of a famous horror movie director’s daughter and also trying to dig deeper into the reclusive director’s life as well. This book is dark, gritty and very fast paced especially considering it’s a whopping 606 pages! On top of how compelling the story is it also has a very eerie atmosphere overall and you may just be glad to be reading it out in the sunshine surrounded by people……


8.) Paper Princess by Erin Watt

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You know how we may sometimes refer to some romance novels or soap operas as “trashy” but mean it with love? That’s how I feel about “Paper Princess”. It’s the kind of story you just can’t help but be completely addicted to it while reading, there’s so much drama!

It’s about a young girl whose mother passes away and is suddenly taken in by Callum Royal and transported to his lavish mansion where he lives with his gorgeous sons. However, the boys hate her and are determined to get rid of her.


7.) The Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas

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The main character, Tessa, goes back to her childhood home to try and dig up the truth of her friend’s cousin’s death that occurred when they were little girls. The thing is they lied about what they saw that night and now Tessa must find out what really happened.

This is actually pretty dark for a YA mystery/thriller but boy is it intriguing! I actually really loved how gritty it got at times and how twisted, it made it all the more exciting to read. With all of the plot twists you’ll definitely be reading all day out in the sun!

You can read my full review here.


6.) With Malice by Eileen Cook

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A very fast-paced YA thriller that’s about a girl who wakes up in the hospital with anmesia and finds out her best friend is dead and she’s the prime suspect! I don’t want to say too much more because there are TONS of crazy twists! This is also set during the summertime and a trip over to Italy so beside the very fast pacing I think it makes a great beach read that you’ll zip through in no time!

You can read my full review here.


5.) My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, & Jodi Meadows

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This one is a historic retelling of the story of Lady Jane Grey and it’s also simply hilarious! Nothing is taken too seriously in this book and it’s just so fun and heartwarming to read that you won’t be able to get enough of it!

You can read my full review here.


4.) The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

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I think it’s safe to say we all know about this book, right? It’s about a girl who lives in a family full of clairvoyants and it was foretold that kissing her one true love will also kill him. She then meets the Raven Boys, who go to a local private school and is suddenly swept up into something much bigger than worrying about kisses and true love.

There’s so much mystery in this story and you’re left with so many questions while reading you won’t be able to put this one down!

You can read my full review here.


3.) The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid

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This is a super fast-paced, action-packed space adventure about Nemesis who is a Diabolic made to protect a Senator’s daughter, Sidonia. Then an order comes demanding Sidonia  to the galactic court, as a hostage, and Nemesis must take her place in order to protect her.

So much action, so many plot twists, and so much revenge and court intrigue! This is definitely a fun book that’s packed with action and would be a great read to speed through!

You can read my full review here.


2.) Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

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A space opera told in a very unique formatting, I think we’ve all at least heard of this one! This is probably one of the MOST fast-paced books I’ve ever read, there are constant twits and turns that keep you on the edge of your seat! It’s basically one horrible thing after the other but you’ll love it!

You can read my full review here.


1.) Red Rising by Pierce Brown

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This is  a very mixed genre book it’s a dystopian, sci-fi, and even a little bit of fantasy-esque so it has everything that make up the perfect book in my opinion. There’s a lot of feelings/emotions, action, fast-pacing, and a surprising amount of brutality as well. Honestly the best way to describe it is like “The Hunger Games” but even more violent and brutal.

It’s still one of the best books I’ve ever had the joy of reading and it’s very, very compelling. You’ll care so much about the fates of these characters you won’t be able to help yourself but to finish it in one sitting!

You can read my full review here.

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What are some books you’ll be reading at the beach this summer?

Do you have any all time favorite summer reads?

Have you read any of these books? What did you think?

Let me know in the comments!

The Sassy

Book Review: An Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes #1) by Sabaa Tahir

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description

Laia is a slave. Elias is a soldier. Neither is free.

Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.

It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.

But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.

There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.

review

“This life is not always what we think it will be,” Cain says. “You are an ember in the ashes, Elias Veturius. You will spark and burn, ravage and destroy. You cannot change it. You cannot stop it.”

I have to say I was a little worried about this one since it’s a pretty hyped up book but it was definitely worth the hype in my opinion! This book is very intense and just all around amazing!

PLOT

As I said this book is intense that’s honestly the best word to describe it! It’s very fast-paced and action-packed with a plot that grows more and more complex as the story progresses. I actually really enjoyed reading both perspectives, Elias and Laia, because it added a lot of depth to both “sides” of the story even though I preferred Elias’ a bit more since it was more eventful. There’s plot twists, betrayals, secrets and even a little politics as well which all adds to the excitement.

I also really like the world building, I like the Roman inspired bits and pieces as well as a bit of the mythical and magical being tossed in for good measure. It’s also a pretty dark, nasty world as well which I loved (I’m not weird, I promise). The punishments and trials the characters face are gruesome and the threat of torture, violence, and even rape are almost constantly hanging over there heads. This book was EVIL but it also kept me turning pages because I was honestly terrified for the characters and that’s exactly what all the brutality in this book wanted was to shock and infuriate us, it succeeded!

That ending killed me though, talk about a cliffhanger! I am really curious to see how the story will further develop though since we were left with many, many questions regarding a bit of the world building and just what will happen next in general!

characters

The characters were easily the best part of the book and they aren’t the usual, run of the mill YA Fantasy characters either. I loved how complex, well developed, and unique each character was even the secondary characters were interesting! I also really loved and appreciated how realistically badass all of the women in the story were, not always with weaponry or fighting either but with their wits and compassion as well.

Laia isn’t the secretly badass heroine we always seem to see, she’s “weak” and “cowardly” and constantly thinks these things of herself as well. I feel like Laia’s trials were a lot more challenging for her because nothing came surprisingly natural for her, she wasn’t a “special snowflake” in disguise at all which was very refreshing! Overall I loved how her character felt very real she wasn’t weak or cowardly she was normal, I think it’s safe to say most of us would act the same way if we were put into similar, horrifying positions!

Elias was also a very likable protagonist and really differed from the usual YA male characters we see. Like most YA characters we see he’s trying to get away from his “fate/destiny/what’s expected of him” but what makes Elias’s story a little different is that he actually has really good reasons to feel this way that also makes him feel very real and relatable.

Like I said earlier, the secondary characters were really great as well but two that are well worth mentioning are Helene and the Commandant. Helene is a badass and I adored her ferociousness and skills, she’s just an all around great female character! As for the Commandant she is the head of Blackcliff Academy and she is a vicious bitch that I loved to hate, honestly she’s one of the most cold-hearted characters I’ve ever read about. Just so many great characters!

romance

First off I’d like to say that the romance in this book is some sort of weird love square? It’s odd but honestly I didn’t mind it at all, which is really saying something! I actually like all of the potential couples in the story and thought they’d all be great together which really kills me because if certain characters are together they break the other’s hearts, awwwww feelings!!!!!

I also like the fact that there weren’t really any other tropes concerning the romance, there was a case of instant attraction but NOT insta-love. The romance didn’t ever really feel like it was over-taking the main plot line either, it felt like a bigger part of the story after a while but never actually overshadowed anything else which I LOVED!

in conclusion

I actually really enjoyed this book and am eagerly waiting to get my hands on the next book because I need more of this world! Overall I think this was a wonderful, unique YA fantasy book.

What I Loved:

  • The characters, all of them!
  • Female representation
  • All of the action, fast-pacing, and brutality of the plot
  • The world building
  • The romance didn’t really take precedence over the plot
  • I like all of the potential romantic couples!

What I Didn’t Love:

  • I don’t really have anything to complain about!

RECOMMEND

Yes! I highly recommend checking this book out, especially if you’re a YA fantasy lover! It’s a very actio-packed, fast, unique book!

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository

The Sassy