Monthly Wrap-Up: September 2018

 

Morning, everyone!

How is it the first week of October?! I’m trying to wrap my mind around that. But then again, I’m excited for Halloween to come, so I don’t care. 😂

The first half of September went great. I thought I’d breeze through my TBR pile, and then the dreaded reading slump hit me quicker than I thought was possible. I’m surprised I could finish three books. Don’t you hate when it comes out of nowhere? I just hope Wildcard gets me out of it.

Anyways, let’s get to the post, yes?

Remind me how to complete an actual reading challenge. I failed horribly with my attempt to do Kathy’s Sequel September. 😅 In addition to these ones, I wanted to read three more books, but I couldn’t do it.

Lifel1ke by Jay Kristoff

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½

Please don’t judge me. Lifel1k3 is the first book from Kristoff I’ve ever read. AND I REGRET EVERYTHING. Now, I’m a follower. I’ll sacrifice my life’s blood to get more of his books. I don’t care.

Imagine Romeo and Juliet set in a post-apocalyptic world where androids show more humanity than some humans. Well, some androids. It wouldn’t be a Kristoff book without mass murder by androids. It’s one of my favourite reads of this year!

Catwoman: Soulstealer by Sarah J. Maas

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Let me remind everyone that I am Catwoman trash. Okay, I’m also Maas trash as well, so this book works out quite well for me. The DC Icons series is getting better with each addition. I love how Maas brings a human touch to the always tough Catwoman and shows us her weaknesses along the way. If you’re looking for some Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn action, I highly recommend.

 

The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas

⭐️⭐️⭐️¾

I wanted to love this prequel. I did. But I struggled hard with it. It took me two weeks to finish reading it. And while I enjoyed it, I didn’t fall in love with it. Maybe I wasn’t in the right mindset. But the Sam and Celaena scenes will haunt me to my dying days. Review will come shortly!


Naturally, I do better buying books than reading them. Indigo Teen sent me over Tracy Banghart’s Grace and Fury. Thank you, Indigo! Finally, I got some hotly anticipated sequels I’ve been wanting to get my hands onto! I need to catch up on my TBR list. I cannot wait to get to this beauties!

 

So how was your month? Have you completed any reading challenges? What was your must-have book for September? Let’s chat. I’d love to catch up!

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Review | Lifel1k3 by Jay Kristoff

Lifel1k3 by Jay Kristoff

Published by: Knopf Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: May 29, 2018

Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopian

Page Count: 402

Rating: 4.5/5

Source: Purchase

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository


On a floating junkyard beneath a radiation sky, a deadly secret lies buried in the scrap.

Eve isn’t looking for secrets—she’s too busy looking over her shoulder. The robot gladiator she’s just spent six months building has been reduced to a smoking wreck, and the only thing keeping her Grandpa from the grave was the fistful of credits she just lost to the bookies. To top it off, she’s discovered she can destroy electronics with the power of her mind, and the puritanical Brotherhood are building a coffin her size. If she’s ever had a worse day, Eve can’t remember it.

But when Eve discovers the ruins of an android boy named Ezekiel in the scrap pile she calls home, her entire world comes crashing down. With her best friend Lemon Fresh and her robotic conscience, Cricket, in tow, she and Ezekiel will trek across deserts of irradiated glass, infiltrate towering megacities and scour the graveyard of humanity’s greatest folly to save the ones Eve loves, and learn the dark secrets of her past.

Even if those secrets were better off staying buried.


“Your past doesn’t make calls on your future. It doesn’t matter who you were. Only who you are.”

I’ve survived my first Kristoff book. And when I closed it, I didn’t know if I wanted to cry or what I should do with myself. Lifel1k3 is a brilliantly crafted novel I never knew that could exist. And yet, here I am writing a review for it. Now, I understand why so many readers love Kristoff’s work. I’m an instant fan.

Rarely do I find a book that offers everything to readers: a stellar cast, captivating writing and storytelling, explosive worldbuilding, and heartbreaking character growth. But Kristoff exceeds those expectations. I was close in dnfing Lifel1k3, but I’m thrilled that I pushed on to find one of the best books of 2018!

Eve lives with broken memories and in a shattered country once named the US. But in this post-apocalyptic world, she wants nothing more than to survive the next day with her bestie, Lemon Fresh; her logika, Cricket; and her dying grandpa. But when she uncovers Ezekiel, a lifelike, that life is over when she attracts the wrong gang that wants to see her dead.

Other than the worldbuilding, the characters are what win me over with this book. I grew to love Eve. She’s a badass, tough female lead who takes nothing from no one. And as the storyline progresses, I empathize with her once she discovers her past and the lies surrounding it. She may rock a fauxhawk and a cybernetic eye and fight robots in death matches. But by the end, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for her. Her character growth rivals that of well-written characters.

The lifelike, or android, displays more empathy, compassion, love, and humanity than most humans do. Ezekiel is swoon-worthy, but he’s the moral compass to the book. And I love that about him. Lemon Fresh—yes, that’s her name—may be the finest sidekick a woman can ever dream of. I loved the banter and sarcasm she brings to this colourful gang. And I can’t forget to mention Cricket. I can’t imagine I’d love a robot this much, but I never rooted so hard for one in my life!

Kristoff combines Tank Girl, Romeo and Juliet, and Mad Max in this outlandishly wild journey. What excels in this chaos is the worldbuilding. Eve and her cohorts live in the destruction of what was known as Kalifonya, now called the Dregs. Corporations now fight over what is left of the country after the annihilation of lifelikes, which refused to follow the Three Laws, which govern all robotics. Unfortunately, she has attracted unwanted attention from the Brotherhood. This mayhem just enhances the intricate design of the story. And with every chance I got, I reveled in it. Kristoff makes you want to love science fiction all over again.

I’m not sure if I can put into words of my admiration of this author. Even though Lifel1k3 is the first book I’ve read of his, I need the rest so I can tame my need for his writing. Not many authors have that kind of writing power. But Kristoff does. His writing enthralls your imagination from the start. You need to know how the world fell, how society made it this way, and if these characters will survive to the next chapter. This must-read science fiction needs to be on your TBR list.

Monthly Wrap-Up | July 2018

Hey, book fam!

I feel time is playing tricks on me. Do you feel the same? I feel as if July dragged on, yet it sped up too quickly by the end. I can’t believe we’re in August right now. I’ll probably say the same next month. So who knows. 🙈😂

Let me be honest with you all. I’ve been struggling lately with replying to all your comments and connecting with everyone. But I hope I can just get past everything and be myself again! Don’t worry. I’ll bug you like hell shortly.

I honestly didn’t think I’d read these many books. I’ve been putting off reading for a while now since life has gotten in the way. But I feel that if I don’t read every day, then I’m not accomplishing anything at all. Relatable? I hope I’m not alone in this. Now, let’s get to the books!

Winter by Marissa Meyer

⭐⭐⭐⭐

I don’t want this series to end. I truly do not. But here I am, writing this. And I want nothing more than to cry. This book is bittersweet for me. I may sound cheesy since I wasn’t a part of the original fandom when the series was active, but nonetheless, I fell in love just like you have.

Winter beautifully wraps up an endearing and captivating series. It takes you on a rollercoaster of emotions and still won’t let go when you close the book.

Review to come!

 

Bruja Born by Zoraida Córdova

⭐⭐⭐⭐½

I never thought I’d love the sequel of a book I didn’t love. But look at me praising this glorious book. I had zero expectations coming into it, and yet it may be one of my favourite reads of the summer. Zoraida blends together zombies, lost love, and witches. And I simply adore this book!

 

A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir

⭐⭐⭐⭐

I’ve been waiting too long for this book. TOO LONG. You hear me, Sabaa?! And it utterly broke me. And I’m not ready to write my book review yet. But I know I have to. I’ve been dreading this book since the ending of A Torch against the Night. And I’m still conflicted with my emotions.

But don’t worry. Sabaa is a queen at writing plot twists that will tear you apart. 🙃

 

A Gathering of Shadows by V. E. Schwab

⭐⭐⭐⭐

I’VE FINALLY READ THE SEQUEL (I should deserve a prize of some sort😂 Someone please shut me up). The ending is killing me right now. And I want to desperately read the final book, yet I don’t want the series to end (what is wrong with me?!). A Gathering of Shadows doesn’t sweep me away as much as A Darker Shade of Magic does. However, I fell in love with Kell, the hellion we call Lila, and Rhy all over again. And I want nothing more than to burn the royal family. 😶 DON’T HURT MY SMOL KELL.


Other than the books I received from a publisher, I had a pretty small haul this month. A lot of new titles didn’t grab my attention, but thankfully, I was able to grab these beauties!

I want to thank Thomas Allen & Son for sending me the last three books below. I’m excited to get to them!

 

So tell me how your month went. Did you snag your most anticipated book for July? Which books did you love? Which ones disappointed you? Let’s chat. I’d love to hear from you.

Review | Daughter of the Siren Queen by Tricia Levenseller

Daughter of the Siren Queen by Tricia Levenseller

Published by: Feiwel & Friends

Publication Date: February 27, 2018

Genre: Fantasy, Romance

Page Count: 352

Rating: 4.5/5

Source: Purchase

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository


Alosa’s mission is finally complete. Not only has she recovered all three pieces of the map to a legendary hidden treasure, but the pirates who originally took her captive are now prisoners on her ship. Still unfairly attractive and unexpectedly loyal, first mate Riden is a constant distraction, but now he’s under her orders. And she takes great comfort in knowing that the villainous Vordan will soon be facing her father’s justice.

When Vordan exposes a secret her father has kept for years, Alosa and her crew find themselves in a deadly race with the feared Pirate King. Despite the danger, Alosa knows they will recover the treasure first…after all, she is the daughter of the Siren Queen.


“I may not have been born in the sea, but I was born to rule it. I am the daughter of the siren queen.”

Alosa is back, and she is ready to defend what is hers. Going into this sequel, I wasn’t sure if it could top my love of the first. Oh, how was I thoroughly mistaken. Daughter of the Siren Queen reminds me why I love sirens and pirates. Tricia captures what intrigues you in Pirate King, then cranks up the thrill factor.

One downfall of the Pirate King is that it doesn’t explore the rich world Tricia has created. And while reading it, I hoped for more world building. But do not fret. Tricia comes through and shows us a devious world ripe for the taking. She makes being bad fun. And some authors don’t always achieve that feeling. But she weaves a wicked tale that will hook you in and make you want to slit some throats. I got lost in this finale, and I want the world to know this series is worth the risk.

As Alosa recovers the final pieces of the map that will lead to the lost treasure, her father’s secret surfaces, and she and her crew must race against the pirate fleet and her father in order to claim the treasure as her own.

Tricia beautifully executes a fast-paced thrill ride that keeps you on the edge. It’s almost as if you can smell the sea breeze, hear the flap of the sails, and feel the sword in your hand. She blends together loyalty, friendship, strength, and feminism to create a truly imaginative novel. And yet she squeezes in just a bit of romance, and I’m left breathless.

Even though this sequel is plot-heavy, I feel that the characters drive the overall novel. From little Roslyn to Niridia, they are the beating heart, and I fell in love with all of them. I left a special piece of myself with the crew of the Ava-Lee. I must say, though, Alosa and Riden are what solidify Siren Queen into such an enjoyable read. Both their chemistry, banter, and growth make my heart swell with pure happiness. And the way they connect with the crew is magical. However, Alosa’s development stands out the most though. She will be one of my cherished characters.

The author introduces us to more siren mythology and Alosa’s history, which is much darker than I anticipated. But what I adore is how she doesn’t make the sirens purely bloodthirsty. They’re more regal, majestic, and otherworldly. And Alosa reflects their qualities and characteristics while she internally battles with both sides of herself. That inner turmoil speaks volumes.

Daughter of the Siren Queen is one of the most enjoyable sequels I’ve read this year. Do not take another moment debating to read this series. You need to read it. Now.

“Your enchantments last long after your song fades.”

Review | Bruja Born by Zoraida Córdova

Bruja Born by Zoraida Córdova

Published by: Sourcebooks Fire

Publication Date: June 5, 2018

Genre: Fantasy, Magic

Page Count: 352

Rating: 4.5/5

Source: Purchase

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository


Three sisters. One spell. Countless dead.

Lula Mortiz feels like an outsider. Her sister’s newfound Encantrix powers have wounded her in ways that Lula’s bruja healing powers can’t fix, and she longs for the comfort her family once brought her. Thank the Deos for Maks, her sweet, steady boyfriend who sees the beauty within her and brings light to her life.


Then a bus crash turns Lula’s world upside down. Her classmates are all dead, including Maks. But Lula was born to heal, to fix. She can bring Maks back, even if it means seeking help from her sisters and defying Death herself. But magic that defies the laws of the deos is dangerous. Unpredictable. And when the dust settles, Maks isn’t the only one who’s been brought back.


“This is a love story. At least, it was, before my sister sent me to hell.”

Magic, lost love, tragic deaths, consequences, and one spell that changes everything, Bruja Born enchants readers who weren’t entranced by Labyrinth Lost. Going into this sequel, I had no expectations, but I can’t imagine skipping it now. I cried. I laughed. And I wanted more. Please, Zoraida, never let it end.

I wanted to love Labyrinth Lost, but it never hooked me like I wanted it to. With the sequel though, I finally understand why people love her work. I’ve been counting down the days when I find a witch story I love. And when it’s here, I am screaming for the final book.

Lula Mortiz tries to heal from the traumatic events that took place in Los Lagos, the in-between dimension her sister, Alex, sent her and their entire family to. I admit that I didn’t like her in Alex’s book. However, her vulnerabilities and her pain are what draws me to her now. And I love her character development. Losing her boyfriend, Maks, overpowers her every thought and self-control though. And the consequences to bring him back are more than she can handle.

The Latina magic system has always intrigued me. And Zoraida reveals more of this intricate world, which is what I’ve been hoping to see, and she raises the stakes. I loved travelling to Los Lagos. And seeing the universe she has created pulls me deeper into this richly layered series. What makes me love this book is how the author effortlessly crafts a believable world and family structure. Even though magic is a strong theme throughout her writing, the Mortiz family is the core. And sisterhood means more than anything to the Mortiz girls.

This fast-paced sequel is what I needed to convince me to stick with Brooklyn Brujas. The mythology wraps around you and sucks you in, and the diversity just makes the story that more compelling. Characters keep the storyline flowing, and I cannot remember the last time I’ve laughed at all the one-liners in a book. The sisterly bond makes my heart swell, but the fantasy finishes off a spellbinding novel.

Bruja Born may start off with a love story, but it ends with the strength of three sisters who defy the gods themselves. If Labyrinth Lost didn’t persuade you to take a chance on Brooklyn Brujas, reconsider. I want to read it again so I can step back into this magical place.

What do you look for in a series that contains witches? Which ones are your favourites? Let’s chat!

Monthly Wrap-Up | June 2018

Seriously?! June is over? I cannot believe it is. I’m kind of freaking out at how fast this year is going. So I needed to take some time away from blogging. My life has been too hectic. And just for the sake of doing so, I didn’t want to publish something half ass. But you’ll be seeing me around much more though!

Let me know how your June has gone! I’d love to check up with all of you.

 

Yeah, last month, reading took a back seat. I couldn’t decide which book to read, which one to hold off on, and which one to finish. I went back and forth from one book to the next. Don’t you hate you that? I know I do. I can’t stand it when indecisiveness rules my every choice.

But with the books I did read, I enjoyed. And I was finally able to read two of my most anticipated reads of this year!

 

Legendary by Stephanie Garber

⭐⭐⭐⭐½

I need to find my fellow Dantella groupies because I need to squee about this book. Caraval is one book that snuck on me when I didn’t expect it. And I’ve been eagerly waiting to read Legendary. But like other readers, I was hesitant to read a book solely on Tella’s POV. Tella is a tricky character for me. She bothered me in Stephanie’s debut novel, but I loved her in this one. Stephanie blends magic, intrigue, and politics and creates an enchanting experience.

I cannot wait to read Finale.

 

Smoke in the Sun by Renée Ahdieh

⭐⭐⭐⭐

This book is GORGEOUS. It rivals Flame in the Mist, and I thought that book was too beautiful for words. Smoke brings on a rollercoaster of emotions for me. Going in, I knew my favourite characters, Mariko and Okami, would suffer, but I was not anticipating the need to punch a wall and scream, “don’t hurt my babies!” at 2 in the morning.

Renée beautifully crafts a historical fantasy you’ve been hoping to read. And while the book is a slow burn, it will satisfy her dedicated readers. I’m hooked.

 

Winter by Marissa Meyer

This book is BEAST. I haven’t finished it yet, but I’m enjoying it. Even though I’m late to the game, I don’t want this series to end. Finally, the entire crew joins forces to take down the evil bitch queen we call Levana (bless my swearing skills). I feel the story starts off slow and then builds off of that. I enjoy seeing how each character interacts, and I hope to finish this monster off shortly.

I cannot wait to find more sci-fi books. I don’t want to miss any great series. So shoot me some of your favourite picks! I’d love to discover more!


Give it to me to buy more books than I read for the month. Okay, I can’t put the blame on that. I had several pre-orders, so don’t judge. What am I saying?! I’m talking to fellow book nerds.

I wanted to keep my book haul short for June since I wasn’t sure if I’d read this all (I’m glad I decided ahead of time, or I’d be kicking my butt right now). But I was able to pick up books I’ve been dying to read. And hopefully, I’ll get to them soon.

Who am I kidding? I’ll just keep adding to my pile. 😂

 

So what was your most anticipated book for June? Did you get into a reading slump like me? Let me know in the comments!!

Review | Legendary by Stephanie Garber

Legendary by Stephanie Garber

Published by: Flatiron Books

Publication Date: May 29, 2018

Genre: Fantasy, Romance

Page Count: 464

Rating: 4.5/5

Source: Purchase

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository


A heart to protect. A debt to repay. A game to win.

After being swept up in the magical world of Caraval, Donatella Dragna has finally escaped her father and saved her sister Scarlett from a disastrous arranged marriage. The girls should be celebrating, but Tella isn’t yet free. She made a desperate bargain with a mysterious criminal, and what Tella owes him no one has ever been able to deliver: Caraval Master Legend’s true name.

The only chance of uncovering Legend’s identity is to win Caraval, so Tella throws herself into the legendary competition once more-and into the path of the murderous heir to the throne, a doomed love story, and a web of secrets, including her sister’s. Caraval has always demanded bravery, cunning, and sacrifice. But now the game is asking for more. If Tella can’t fulfill her bargain and deliver Legend’s name, she’ll lose everything she cares about-maybe even her life. But if she wins, Legend and Caraval will be destroyed forever.


“Every good story needs a villain. But the best villains are the ones you secretly like.”

Sometimes a book captivates all your senses where you taste the candy apple on your lips, hear the music trickle out from every store, and watch the stars dancing above you. So how can Legendary top my love of Caraval? I’m still trying to catch my breath from Stephanie’s debut novel, but I recapture it with this book. And I want nothing more than to crawl back into this world all over again.

With Scarlet’s story, you rediscover magic. It tastes enchanting, and it doesn’t disappoint you. With Tella’s story though, this magic morphs into a dark, bone-chilling, ancient enchantment. It scares you, but you want more. Once again, Stephanie takes you on a magical yet emotional adventure. And I honestly thought I couldn’t love the sequel as much as the first. But I do.

Legend first shows you what magic can be in a world filled with pain. Now, he gives you the thorns along with the roses. New mythological creatures, the Fates, begin to weave themselves in the beloved and sought-out Caraval. And even though you should believe everything is a game, it isn’t now. The stakes are real. Magic comes with terrifying consequences Tella isn’t sure she can pay.

I thoroughly love jumping back into this world. I love trying to find out what will happen to my two favourite sisters, who Legend might be, and how this game plays out. But did I expect to be picking up the pieces of my heart once I finished the book? No.

In Caraval, I didn’t like Tella. But she develops into a strong-willed character who I was hoping for. She discovers that her mother is alive but trapped in a set of cards, the Deck of Destiny. But along the way of trying to save her, Tella uncovers buried secrets and owes a debt to a man who may rival Legend himself. This game demands sacrifice, and she must either save her mother by destroying Caraval and giving up Legend or save the game everyone lives for. But the girl who doesn’t want love may have it completely change the course of her entire life.

Dante is one character who I didn’t think would play a larger role in the sequel. However, even though I despised him in Caraval, I love him now. His complexity and depth are what make him one of my favourite characters.

The writing and storytelling hook onto your every whim and dream. You want to be a part of Caraval as much as the characters. And the suspense to reach the end is nerve-wracking. I adore how Stephanie crafts a single sentence that will break your heart but make you believe in this world. Love, sacrifice, betrayal, political intrigue, and ancient forces create an enthralling performance. I cannot wait to find the next ticket to Caraval.

Review | Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young

Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young

Published by: St. Martin’s Press

Publication Date: April 24, 2018

Genre: Young Adult, Historical

Page Count: 352

Rating: 4.5/5

Source: Purchase

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository


Raised to be a warrior, seventeen-year-old Eelyn fights alongside her Aska clansmen in an ancient, rivalry against the Riki clan. Her life is brutal but simple: fight and survive. Until the day she sees the impossible on the battlefield-her brother, fighting with the enemy-the brother she watched die five years ago.

Faced with her brother’s betrayal, she must survive the winter in the mountains with the Riki, in a village where every neighbor is an enemy, every battle scar possibly one she delivered. But when the Riki village is raided by a ruthless clan thought to be a legend, Eelyn is even more desperate to get back to her beloved family.

She is given no choice but to trust Fiske, her brother’s friend, who sees her as a threat. They must do the impossible: unite the clans to fight together, or risk being slaughtered one by one. Driven by a love for her clan and her growing love for Fiske, Eelyn must confront her own definition of loyalty and family while daring to put her faith in the people she’s spent her life hating.


“Ǫnd eldr. Breathe fire.”

Not many books put me in a slump. But after reading this book, I cannot stop thinking about it. Brutal yet beautiful, Sky in the Deep is rich and vivid. This character-driven novel will stay with me long after I slide it back on my shelf.

Adrienne blends together hatred and forbidden love, loyalty and forgiveness, and betrayal and acceptance. I’ve fallen in love with her storytelling. Even though I’d rather stay away from standalone stories, her debut novel makes me forget that fact. This coming-of-age storyline whisks you away to a lush landscape and unforgettable characters. And I wish I could travel back there more than one time.

Eelyn, a fearless Aska warrior, knows only survival, war, pain, and loss. She’s a relatable character who is fiercely loyal to her family and clan. She discovers her brother, who she thought has died, is alive. And the revelation that he would rather stay with the Riki, the rival clan, than find his way back to her just rocks her even more. This betrayal makes her vulnerable, and I wasn’t expecting this kind of character arc in a Vikings-inspired story. But that’s why it makes the story captivating. And I enjoyed it all the more though.

Don’t be fooled by this author. She effortlessly takes world building up another notch. Aska and Riki have long since battled each other. The clanspeople prepare for their day on the battlefield of Aurvanger. But they find a common ground when their people are threatened by the Herja.

The characters in this novel are what makes it stellar. They are more than just multi-dimensional. They feel tangible. Fiske, Eelyn’s love interest, will grow on you. At first, I wasn’t sure if I should trust him as a character, but this love-to-hate relationship is just what I needed. He challenges and forces her to see who he is and what her brother has become. The secondary characters are exceptional, which I don’t usually find in a historical novel.

Sky in the Deep mends the heart as fast as it can break it. It is one of the rare debut stories that will make you fear the battlefield but also give a reason to want to be on it. Filled with adrenaline and fast-paced scenes, this book is one of my favourite reads of 2018.

Review: The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

Published by: Imprint

Publication Date: September 26, 2017

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Fairytales, Retellings

Page Count: 288

Rating: 4.5/5

Source: Purchase

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository


Enter the Grishaverse…

Love speaks in flowers. Truth requires thorns.

Travel to a world of dark bargains struck by moonlight, of haunted towns and hungry woods, of talking beasts and gingerbread golems, where a young mermaid’s voice can summon deadly storms and where a river might do a lovestruck boy’s bidding but only for a terrible price.

Perfect for new readers and dedicated fans, the tales in The Language of Thorns will transport you to lands both familiar and strange-to a fully realized world of dangerous magic that millions have visited through the novels of the Grishaverse.

This collection of six stories includes three brand-new tales, each of them lavishly illustrated and culminating in stunning full-spread illustrations as rich in detail as the stories themselves.


“Dark things have a way of slipping in through narrow spaces.”

Over the last few years, I’ve been looking for more retellings, fairytales, and folklore. I can’t stop myself by gravitating toward them. What is there to complain about? Readers enjoy to jump back into a familiar story, feel at home, and just live in these stories. In Language of Thorns, Leigh whisks me away, and I love her writing, storytelling, and captivating characters. The more she writes the more I want. She has evolved into a multi-faceted and talented author who I can’t help but adore.

These stories don’t match her other ones. The tone and writing are completely separate but are a part of her Grishaverse. Is that a problem? No. I actually appreciate the separation.

I must also mention the artistry in and outside of this book. Sara Kipin, the illustrator, beautifully brings Leigh’s words to life. Each page reveals a new illustration in the book until the final one that gives you the end result. The book is worth the money, and, from time to time, I still keep catching myself flipping through the book. The Language of Thorns is a beautiful, haunting, lyrical, and dark collection of cleverly written tales. These stories aren’t you traditional folktale. She will take a traditional fairytale and turn it into a whimsically dark story of her own.

 

Ayama and the Thorn Wood

Ahh, I loved reading this story. Leigh weaves in bargains with betrayals, sacrifices, and power of an unremarkable girl, Ayama, who defies the odds of standing up against a beastly prince. Leigh incorporates many issues girls face in these kinds of stories: they can’t be the hero and must be pretty for them to have a good life. Ayama may be unattractive, but that fact doesn’t devalue her worth, and this story shows that sometimes the pretty girls don’t always get the happy ending.

 

The Too-Clever Fox

The anti-hero Koja the fox has never had a good start in life, so in order for him to survive, he outsmarts everyone in the forest. But this clever fox might be outwitted by a trickster he never sees coming. Smarts aren’t always a good thing.

 

The Witch of Duva

And here’s your twist on Hansel and Gretel and the evil stepmother. But that wicked old witch and mommy dearest aren’t the beasties you should fear. Leigh puts in the typical stereotypes in lore and then throws in a twist or two. I love this story.

 

Little Knife

Finally! Thank you, Leigh, for letting the girl not choose the man. Bow down to the queen. Give her that crown and throne. This tale is of a father who seeks the right, if I mean the most richest, suitor for his beautiful daughter and proposes a competition for all the men who want her. Whoever wins will get the hand of this fair maiden, but here’s a catch: she has other plans in mind.

 

The Soldier Prince

Leigh breaths in new life into this tale of the Nutcracker. He’s always there to serve, protect, and fight. But what if he wants something more in life. What if he wants something for himself. He finally wakes up. This story may keep you up at night.

 

When Water Sang Fire

I’ve found this story hard to read. The ending tore at me, made me want to hit something, yet showed me so much more. And that reaction is what I look for in a good story. Leigh throws in a new twist for this Little Mermaid retelling. What are you willing to give up so your people will accept you? What will you do to be who you want to be? Well, she sprinkles in some treachery and betrayal, and you have a poignant yet powerful tale.

And I finally meet a certain someone who goes by the name of Darkling. Bring on the swoon.

 

Review: A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

Published by: Tor Books

Publication Date: February 24, 2015

Genre: Science Fiction, Adult, Fantasy

Page Count: 400

Rating: 4.5/5

Source: Purchase

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository


Kell is one of the last Antari—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black.

Kell was raised in Arnes—Red London—and officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see.

Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.

After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive.


“I’d rather die on an adventure than live standing still.”

You know, not often do I find a book that reminds me why I love reading. And now I’m in this dilemma where I have no clue how I’ll get back to normal life. A Darker Shade of Magic is a rare treat for readers who hope to go back to their roots and find a book that truly surprises them.

Kell is a dying breed of Antari, a magician who travels through parallel Londons. He’s currently a messenger for Red London, one of four Londons, and a smuggler. Smuggling is forbidden though. Now it may come back to haunt him. When a deal goes amiss, he flees to Grey London where he meets Delilah Bard, a cross-dressing, aspiring pirate, and inadvertently sets off a deadly ripple effect that that may just threaten not only their lives but all the worlds.

I let a glorious book just sit on my TBR and not read it until the series ends. Why? I don’t know. Maybe life got in the way, and I underestimated my growing list. I regret not reading this book until now. I just want to pass this book onto the next reader and say, “Stop what you’re doing and read it. Now.”

I’ve only read Victoria’s Monsters of Verity series but have heard a lot of this one. And it is unlike any other book I’ve read. There were times where I had to convince myself not to burst out laughing, only to fail and scare my cat. I’m a full-fledged fan of her work now. ADSOM is a beautifully executed story that shows another side to magic.

 

“I’m not going to die,” she said. “Not till I’ve seen it.”
“Seen what?”
Her smile widened. “Everything.”

I cannot gush more about these characters. Kell is stubbornly loyal and protective to the end. That boy with those powers has a story to tell. He’s squeezed his way into my favourites list. The one character who sticks out is Delilah, or Lila. The quirky, clever, and dangerous pirate will capture anyone’s heart, then break it within a second. Her backstory intrigues me the most, and I was rooting for her from the start. I adore her. Both Kell and Lila blend seamlessly together, and I love how their chemistry carries the story. And finally an author writes a bisexual character who is realistic. I love Rhy, the devious prince from Red London and brother to Kell. You sense how much he cherishes Kell.

The four Londons take a life of their own. Victoria makes them into characters in their own right. Grey London possesses no magic. Red London strikes the right balance of it. White London is overrun with it. And Black London no longer exists because of it. She take world building to a new extreme, and I appreciate that she took the time to develop them. Don’t expect this book to be fast paced. It’s a slow burn, which she excels well in. I want the story to open up in an organic way, not rushed.

Don’t do yourself a disservice. Read this book, then proceed with the sequels. I know I will. I want to travel back to the Londons and see what these worlds have to offer.