Shadow and Bone

Shadow and Bone (The Shadow and Bone Trilogy #1) by Leigh Bardugo

My rating: five stars

Genre: YA, fantasy

Edition: paperback

Goodreads Summary: Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.

I have heard so much about this series (and the Six of Crows duology) for so long, I can’t believe I am just picking it up now. One of the reasons why is that I found the box set on sale for pretty cheap, and so of course I bought it. Also, with the show coming out soon, I figured I should read it! All I have heard about the book is concerning The Darkling. So many people are in love with the Darkling and that certainly made me intrigued. One of my friends personally doesn’t see what the hype is about him, and I am very interested in seeing what my thoughts are after reading the series so we can talk about it! Unfortunately, I believe I have heard some spoilers and that has been making the whole reading process not as exciting because I think I know what is coming.

Likes: I really enjoyed the magic system and how Leigh describes the use of it. How someone grasps at their magic is such a personal and obscure thing to think about, but because of Leigh’s descriptions, I can picture it vividly which makes the story lifelike. The magic itself is also interesting. The different groupings of magic users, and what each of them can do was fun to learn about. Leigh can make characters so lovable and then make you hate them in the next sentence, and vice versa. It is kind of frustrating but at the same time I love it. The fact that she has the ability to do this is truly unique and makes this story full of twists and turns.

Dislikes: So, the Darkling is supposed to be this all-powerful figure. Everyone is terrified of him and he is basically the boogie man. However, when the main character meets him, she doesn’t act like she is scared of him at all! If I suddenly met someone who I (and everyone else) was terrified of, I most definitely would not be joking and flirting with him! That just seemed a little unrealistic. Another negative was that it was predictable. Most of this is because I had already heard huuuge spoilers (which I will not say here). I could guess some of the things that were going to happen on my own, but the spoiler that I heard gave a ton of it away which made the book frustrating to read. So most of it is not Leigh’s fault at all, however, other parts that were not spoiled for me were still predictable.

Overall, I gave this book five out of five stars. I had such a fun time reading this – minus the spoilers that ruined some of it. It was lighthearted at parts and dark at others. The contrasting elements really drew me in, and the magic and characters added to that. I am not going to take off a point for the interactions between the Darkling and Alina, simply because I thought it was cute and fun. Was it unrealistic? Yes. However, I still enjoyed it. I am also not going to take off points for it being predictable because a lot of it was because of the spoiler, and the other parts weren’t that big of a deal. I would definitely recommend this book and I can’t wait to read the rest!

Throne of Glass

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1) by Sarah J. Maas

My rating: five stars

Genre: YA, fantasy

Edition: paperback

Goodreads Summary: After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.

Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king’s council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for four years and then be granted her freedom. Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilarating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her … but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead … quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.

I have been meaning to read this book series for SO LONG. One of my new year’s resolutions for 2020 is to read the entire series, and so I have finally started it! The series is still daunting to me because those last few books are enormous, but I feel ready to tackle them!

Likes: I love how the main character is this bad-*** woman who everyone is terrified off and who can kick anyone’s butt, but at the same time she is witty and for the lack of better words – human. In so many fantasies, if the main character is an assassin or fighter of some sort, they tend to take themselves too seriously. They seem to just be all about being strong and scary, and it can seem unrealistic. Celaena, however, has hobbies and likes that have nothing to do with killing and that is so refreshing. She loves reading and fashion, she cares about animals and people, and she has a sense of humor that leaves me laughing out loud. I also like the trials that she goes through to become the King’s Assassin. I won’t give any of them away, but there are quite a few of them and they truly seem like a test of a skills that assassins should have – I enjoyed how realistic it was. The build up and tease of magic makes me want to read the second book immediately to see if there will be more in it. Also, very little was told about Celaena’s backstory and though that was frustrating, it also made me excited to read the next in the hopes that they will explain more. Lastly, Captain Westfall (Chaol) was so adorable! I love his personality and how he can be so soft sometimes when most of the time he tries to be the tough Captain that he is supposed to be.

Dislikes: I know I just talked about how I love Chaol, but I really don’t really care for the love triangle in this story. How Celaena treats both of the men is annoying. Especially at the very end, I was just so confused. I also had problems with how un-assassin-like she was. I know that I discussed how I liked how she had hobbies and she was down to earth, and that is all great, but she didn’t exhibit qualities I would expect her to have as an assassin. For example, people would just go into her room all the time while she was sleeping without her realizing it. They wouldn’t even be quiet about it! I’m not a light sleeper and even I wake up most times if someone comes into my room! I just expected her to exhibit more skills. Also, after a year in one of the worst jails in the world; after a year of being whipped and tortured; I expected her to have some type of sign that all this had happened to her. Sure, she had scars, but I expected her to mentally have some sort of sign that it had happened to her. I understand she is strong willed, however, no matter how strong willed you are, I feel like after an experience like that she would exhibit some sort of symptoms.

Overall, this was an incredible book. It had quite a few strong female characters which was refreshing, the character’s personalities were fun and creative, and the storyline itself was enjoyable. I love the style of writing, it is easy to read and yet really descriptive and fun. Though there were some negatives in regards to the love triangle and her assassin abilities, I still had a great time reading this book! I honestly think that all of the positives overshadow the negatives and that is why I am still giving it five stars. I can’t wait to read the rest of the series!

20 Books I Want to Read in 2020

1-3. Shadow and Bone series

I have heard so much about this series, and I really want to read it before the TV show that takes place in this world comes out!

4-11. Throne of Glass series

Along with Shadow and Bone, this is an incredibly popular series, and I have actually never read anything by Sarah J. Maas. Everyone raves about her writing, and with Crescent City coming out in March, I want to see if I like her writing so that I know if I should buy Crescent City.

12. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

I have read and watched the Hunger Game movies and I loved both. It has been a while since I have read this series, and though I do not expect to have time to re-read them like I want to, I at least want to read The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes!

13. Strange the Dreamer

Laini Taylor wrote one of my favorite series in the world – Daughter of Smoke and Bone. This has been on my TBR for so long since I already know I love her writing, I just haven’t read it yet for some reason. I would love to finally get to it this year!

14. Shadow of the Fox

I LOVE Japan and the culture, it has been something I have been interested in since I was in middle school. I really want to read Shadow of the Fox and it’s sequel this year before the third book comes out.

15. Archenemies

I listened to Renegades last year and immediately wanted to read Archenemies. However, I entered into the pre-order event where if I pre-ordered Supernova then I would get my name in the back (or front?) of the paperback of Archenemies. Unfortunately the paperback release date was pushed back, and I don’t want to purchase the audiobook and the paperback, so I haven’t been able to read it. Hopefully the paperback will come out this year so I can finally see what happens!

16. Supernova

I pretty much explained why I haven’t read this book above. If the paperback of Archenemies comes out this year then I will definitely read Supernova because I am loving the series!

17. The Queen of Nothing

I love the Cruel Prince and the Wicked King. This was published in November, and I own it, so I have no clue why I haven’t read it. It just seems like I have been so busy and needed to read certain books for book clubs, so I haven’t been able to pick this one up. I am hoping to read it this year though!

18. We Free the Stars

To be honest, We Hunt the Flame wasn’t the best book in my opinion. I believe I only gave it three stars. However, I think a lot of the flaws were due to this being her debut novel (I believe), and so I have high hopes for the second book.

19. The Last Wish

I started playing The Witcher 3 last year and am having a blast with it. THEN the show came out and it was so wonderful! So much so that I want to watch it again. So now I want to get into the book because I have heard it is somehow even better.

20. Crazy Rich Asians

I LOVED this movie. Like “saw it multiple times in and out of theaters” loved it. I recently bought the book and want to get to it soon!

Things to Do During a Quarantine

When you are stuck at home for a long period of time, it can get boring and difficult to find new and interesting things to do. Here, I have included my top recommendations for:

  • TV Shows and Movies
  • Games
  • Books
  • Other Entertainment

I hope you find some new things to do, if you have any recommendations of your own, feel free to comment them down below!

TV and Movie Recommendations

TV Shows
1.The Office
2. Switched at Birth
3. The Mandalorian
4. The Witcher
5. The Dragon Prince
6. Rick and Morty
7. The Grand Tour/James May Our Man in Japan
8. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
9. Prison Break
10. Shadowhunters

Movies
1. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before
2. Spider-man Into the Spider Verse
3. A Series of Unfortunate Events
4. Indiana Jones series
5. The Other Guys
6. Mission Impossible series
7. Book Club
8. Daddy’s Home series
9. How to Train Your Dragon series
10. Arrival

Games

Video Games
1. Stardew Valley
2. Mario Party
3. Apex Legends
4. Worms
5. Lego Harry Potter
6. The Witcher 3
7. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
8. Pokemon Sword/Shield
9. Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
10. Sims

Board Games
1. Betrayal at House on the Hill
2. Spyfall
3. Clue
4. Risk
5. Catan
6. Mysterium
7. Rick and Morty Total Rickall
8. Ticket to Ride
9. Exploding Kittens
10. King of Tokyo

Books

1. Harry Potter
2. Red Queen
3. Daughter of Smoke and Bone
4. Warriors
5. City of Bones (and other Shadowhunter books)
6. Godspeaker Trilogy
7. Daughers of the Moon
8. Game of Thrones
9. Throne of Glass
10. The Last Vampire

Other Entertainment

Puzzles
Crochet
Paint by Numbers (or just painting)
Cross Stitch
Cooking
Bullet Journaling
Writing

Top 5 Books of 2019

Let me just say that picking only five books was so difficult, as I read many five star books this year! However, after much thinking I narrowed it down (plus a few honorable mentions) and am happy with my list. If you would like to read my full spoiler free reviews, I have linked them below in the title of the books. These are not in a certain order, I just randomly picked.

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Red Queen is about a girl named Mare who is a “Red”. In this world there are people with silver blood, who are royalty, and people with red blood, who are commoners. People with silver blood have abilities and that is one of the reasons that they are the elite. Mare, however, has abilities even though her blood is red. In this book she has to try to hide this fact from the Silvers while being stuck in the midst of them. I love the action, the world, and the romance in this book. I have read the second and third books too and really enjoyed them as well!

This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

This Savage Song is about a split city full of monsters, and two people trying to survive. August Flynn is the son of the leader of one half of the city and a monster that can steal someone’s soul just by playing his violin. He hates this about himself, and so desperately wants to be human. Kate Harker is heir to the other half of the city, and wants to be as merciless as her father. This book is about the two sides of the city trying to keep an eye on each other and one-up each other. This story was deeper and more mature than I expected, which was a pleasant surprise. It goes into psychological matters that I found interesting. I have read both books in this duology and it has become one of my favorite series of all time. Definitely recommend it!

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

This series is adorable! I read all three books in 2019 and even though I did love the second two books, the first is definitely my favorite. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is about a girl name Lara Jean. She is a romantic, but is extremely shy, so instead of confessing her love to her crushes, she writes love letters to them that she hides in her closet. However, one day all the letters are sent out, causing some of the recipients (including her best friend/sister’s boyfriend) to confront her. This book includes wonderful relationship dynamics (familial, friends, and lovers), a great cast of characters, and realistic scenarios. Every character seemed so REAL and I love that about this book. It is one of my favorite romance series, and the first two movies are quite great as well.

SLAY by Brittney Morris

SLAY is about a 17-year old girl named Kiera. She is one of the only black students at her high school. However, when she gets home, she is secretly the creator of an online game called SLAY where she is joined by thousands of Black gamers. No one knows. Not her family, her friends, or even her boyfriend. So when a teenager is killed over a dispute involving SLAY, her life is turned upside down. Everyone in the world immediately wants to know who she is and are split between celebrating her and wanting her to pay for the teen’s death. This book discusses Kiera’s struggle with who she is as a person. This struggle is discussed and analyzed throughout the book with many different characters. This story has a lot of suspense and mystery, as well as humor throughout it. It opened my eyes to struggles that I have never experienced, and I think that everyone should read, as it is a wonderful fun book with an incredibly unique game (as a gamer, I had a ton of fun reading about it. However, you don’t have to be a gamer to understand the game), it is an eye opener, and powerfully empowering story celebrating all different types of Blackness.

Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman

The Arc of a Scythe series is such an incredibly interesting series. In 2019 I read both Thunderhead and The Toll, and honestly preferred Thunderhead. I will discuss the plot of Scythe, just to not give spoilers of what happens. Scythe is a story of a world so advanced that death has been beaten. No one really dies of natural causes any more (there are some exceptions but I am not going to go into those). People are even “ageless” since they can’t die of old age and can rewind time and become any age they want to be. However, since they are still having children, the population has to be controlled somehow. That is where scythes come in. Scythes are people whose jobs are to keep the population in check by killing (“gleaning”) a certain number of people a year. This story follows Citra and Rowan who are unwilling apprentices to a scythe. They must learn the ways of the scythes and become one, or die. I love how this story was so thought provoking, the ideas of mortality and morality were discussed thoroughly throughout this book (and all of the others). The characters were amazing, the world was intriguing, and the plot of all three books continuously went places that I was not expecting. I would recommend the entire series to anyone who wants a fun but dark read.

Honorable Mentions

Warriors: Into the Wild by Erin Hunter

This series is my childhood, so I know very well that I am biased when I recommend this book. However, I do truly think that it is a fun, easy, short read that many people would enjoy. Into the Wild is a book about a cat named Rusty. Rusty is a house cat who wonders into the woods one day and encounters “clan cats”. He decides to join them and the story is about him learning the ways of being part of Thunderclan. I love the clan system in this book. There are four clans total that make up the forest, and they each have their own territory that they protect. The interactions between the clans, and sub-plots throughout the story are fun and surprising. I just love this book and all the books in the series that I have read. It is a middle-grade novel but I definitely believe that people that are older than that age group would still love it.

The Wicked King by Holly Black

I LOVE this sequel, possibly even more than the first one! However, again I don’t want to give spoilers, so I will be talking about the Cruel Prince right here. The Cruel Prince is about three human (or half human) sisters trying to survive in the world of the Fae. Jude and her two sisters were stolen from the human world when they were young and were then raised in the High Court of Faerie. Jude wants to belong in the court and become one of the greatest knights that the fae have seen. This story involves betrayal, sinister plots, fighting, cunning, and more. I love the magic and world of the Court and how Jude tries to be one of them. I have yet to read The Queen of Nothing, but I did enjoy the first two books very much.

Again, but Better by Christine Riccio

Again, but Better is about a college girl named Shane who feels like she hasn’t been very successful in college. She just goes through the motions and doesn’t take many risks. However, when she sees a study abroad opportunity to London, she decides to be tenacious and go. This story is a beautiful one about courage, confidence, and self-improvement. It is about finding yourself, and getting over hurtles that are in your way. This book resonated with me because I somehow feel like certain decisions that I have made were not the best ones, and I wish that I had the courage to do certain things that I am too nervous to do. I think that many people can connect with this on some level, and so it is an extremely lovable book. This book is incredibly inspiring, and there is a twist in there that I don’t think a lot of people will expect.

Renegades by Marissa Meyer

Renegades is about a group of people (called Renegades) that have superpowers and are trying to establish peace in a dystopian society. Nova is a “villain” who wants to overthrow the Renegades because of a tragic event that happened in her past. Adrian is a Renegade boy that wants to do good and help people, while making the villains pay for hurting his loved ones. When they meet they both start to question themselves and their allegiances. I love the abilities in this book, there are so many of them and it is wonderful to see how each character uses them. The power struggle between the Renegades and the Villains is complex and enjoyable to read about. If you are a lover of superheroes, villains, complex moral qualms, plot twists, and a dash of romance, then this is the book for you!

2019 Reading Wrap Up

2019 was a great reading year for me! For the past few years I have only been able to read a couple books a year because I was too busy with college to read. However, now that I am out, I am trying to read a lot more and catch up with everything that I have missed.

My goal for 2019 was to read 24 books, and I ended up reading 37! Here are the list of them with their ratings. If you would like to read more about my thoughts, I have linked each review to the titles below.

Thunderhead
Author: Neal Shusterman
Genre: YA, Dystopian
Rating: ★★★★★

Eragon
Author: Christopher Paolini
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Rating: ★★★★★

The Wicked King
Author: Holly Black
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Rating: ★★★★★

The Magicians
Author: Lev Grossman
Genre: YA, Contemporary Fantasy
Rating:★★★★

Again, but Better
Author: Christine Riccio
Genre: YA, Romance
Rating:★★★★★

Slay
Author: Brittney Morris
Genre: YA, contemporary
Rating: ★★★★★

Renegades
Author: Marissa Meyer
Genre: YA, Dystopian
Rating: ★★★★★

The Everlasting Rose
Author: Dhonielle Clayton
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Rating: ★★★★

We Hunt the Flame
Author: Hafsah Faizal
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Rating: ★★★

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before
Author: Jenny Han
Genre: YA, Romance
Rating: ★★★★★

Wicked Fox
Author: Kat Cho
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Rating: ★★★★★

Neverwhere
Author: Neil Gaiman
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Rating: ★★★

Wilder Girls
Author: Rory Power
Genre: YA, Dystopian
Rating:★★★★

The Selection
Author: Kiera Cass
Genre: YA, Romance
Rating: ★★★★★

P.S. I Still Love You
Author: Jenny Han
Genre: YA, Romance
Rating: ★★★★★

Always and Forever, Lara Jean
Author: Jenny Han
Genre: YA, Romance
Rating: ★★★★★

This Savage Song
Author: Victoria Schwab
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Rating: ★★★★★

Aurora Rising
Author: Amie Kaufman
Genre: YA, Sci-fi
Rating: ★★★★

Silent Kingdom
Author: Rachel L. Schade
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Rating: ★★★

I’m Not Dying with You Tonight
Author: Kimberly Jones and Gilly Segal
Genre: YA, Contemporary Fiction
Rating: ★★★★

Our Dark Duet
Author: Victoria Schwab
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Rating: ★★★★★

Permanent Record
Author: Mary H.K. Choi
Genre: YA, Romance
Rating: ★★★★

Warcross
Author: Marie Lu
Genre: YA, Dystopian/Sci-fi
Rating: ★★★★★

Red Queen
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Rating: ★★★★★

Serpent & Dove
Author: Shelby Mahurin
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Rating: ★★★★★

Glass Sword
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Rating: ★★★★★

Wildcard
Author: Marie Lu
Genre: YA, Dystopian/Sci-fi
Rating: ★★★★

Into the Wild
Author: Erin Hunter
Genre: Middle Grade
Rating: ★★★★★

One of Us Is Lying
Author: Karen McManus
Genre: YA, Mystery
Rating: ★★★★

Different
Author: Scarlett Haven
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Rating: ★★★

Skyward
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Genre: YA, Sci-fi
Rating: ★★★★★

Secondborn
Author: Amy A. Bartol
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Rating: ★★★★

The Fountains of Silence
Author: Ruta Sepetys
Genre: YA, Historical Fiction
Rating: ★★★★

The Toll
Author: Neal Shusterman
Genre: YA, Dystopian
Rating: ★★★★

Reverie
Author: Ryan La Sala
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Rating: ★★★★

King’s Cage
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Rating: ★★★★

King’s Cage

Image result for king's cage

King’s Cage (Red Queen, #3) by Victoria Aveyard

My rating: four stars

Genre: YA, fantasy

Edition: Hardback

Goodreads Summary: In this breathless third installment to Victoria Aveyard’s bestselling Red Queen series, allegiances are tested on every side. And when the Lightning Girl’s spark is gone, who will light the way for the rebellion?

Mare Barrow is a prisoner, powerless without her lightning, tormented by her lethal mistakes. She lives at the mercy of a boy she once loved, a boy made of lies and betrayal. Now a king, Maven Calore continues weaving his dead mother’s web in an attempt to maintain control over his country—and his prisoner.

As Mare bears the weight of Silent Stone in the palace, her once-ragtag band of newbloods and Reds continue organizing, training, and expanding. They prepare for war, no longer able to linger in the shadows. And Cal, the exiled prince with his own claim on Mare’s heart, will stop at nothing to bring her back.

When blood turns on blood, and ability on ability, there may be no one left to put out the fire—leaving Norta as Mare knows it to burn all the way down.

I was finally able to pick up the third book in the Red Queen series, and I am so glad I was able to. Even though I rated the second book four stars, this is still one of my favorite series of all time. So the fact that it took me so long to pick up King’s Cage is sad, but I am so happy I waited until I a time that I could focus on it fully.

Likes: The whole situation that Mare is in is insane. The ending to Glass Sword shocked me, and seeing how that situation is playing out is CRAZY. Even though it would normally be boring because she is just sitting in a cell all day, somehow Victoria makes it entertaining. This book doesn’t have many physical fights, but the mental battles that go on are equally as intriguing. I love learning about psychology and how people think, and this book was full of that. I am not one of those Maven lovers who are hoping for a redemption arc, however, I can see how messed up his childhood is and I feel sorry for him. I do not think that it is a reason for him doing the things he did, but it does show some of the actions that caused him to become that way. All the character development throughout this book is wonderful, and I love reading about it. I also love one of the fight scenes that happens later in the book, the descriptions are so cool, and some of the characters involved were not as surprising as I wished but were still great.  

Dislikes: This story honestly seemed so slow. For some reason I was just dredging through it so slowly and it seemed like it was going on for forever. That was one of the only negative things that I found with the book, and it did make reading it not as enjoyable. The only thing that really annoyed me about this book was the ending. One reason is because of how predictable it was. The subject was brought up so much I figured that it had to happen sometime. But I didn’t want it to! Like what the crap, why even. I feel like there was so much character growth in all the characters that this scene shouldn’t have happened. In the first book it would have made sense, but these characters have grown so much, the last scene just seemed unrealistic and undoes all the good that the characters have accomplished personally.

Overall, even though the pacing was slow, and I did not like the ending at all, I still loved this book. It took me through a whirlwind of emotions, and the psychological aspect of it was interesting. I loved the character growth and how the characters grew together. This was just a deep book that solidifies why I love this series so much. I can already tell that the last book is going to wreck me.

Reverie

Reverie by Ryan La Sala

My rating: four stars

Genre: YA, contemporary fantasy

Edition: Hardback

Goodreads Summary: All Kane Montgomery knows for certain is that the police found him half-dead in the river. He can’t remember how he got there, what happened after, and why his life seems so different now. And it’s not just Kane who’s different, the world feels off, reality itself seems different.

As Kane pieces together clues, three almost-strangers claim to be his friends and the only people who can truly tell him what’s going on. But as he and the others are dragged into unimaginable worlds that materialize out of nowhere—the gym warps into a subterranean temple, a historical home nearby blooms into a Victorian romance rife with scandal and sorcery—Kane realizes that nothing in his life is an accident. And when a sinister force threatens to alter reality for good, they will have to do everything they can to stop it before it unravels everything they know.

This wildly imaginative debut explores what happens when the secret worlds that people hide within themselves come to light.

This was the January Barnes and Noble book club pick and to be honest I had never heard of it before I saw that it was picked. However, after it came out I started to see it everywhere, and for good reason! I loved the cover, was intrigued by the vague synopsis, and found out that I really like it.

Likes: I went into this book not knowing what it was going to be about at all. My friend and I had a great time trying to guess but none of them were even close to the actual plot of the book. This kept the story interesting and seemed unique to me. It reminded me of inception to be honest but there were so many differences I wouldn’t say that they were too alike. I also enjoyed the characters. Their personalities are so diverse, and I love that. To be honest, in a lot of books I get characters mixed up if their names are too complicated because so many stories have similar-personality characters. In this book however, I had no problem remembering which character was which because of how different they are. If you have read or watched the Magicians, it reminded me of that and how the characters were complex and different. I also liked the different dreams that the characters went into. They were so crazy! Some of them were so insane, it was awesome to read about! I loved the author’s writing too because I could picture the different reveries and imagine that I was there.

Dislikes: I won’t say with who, but there is a love story between two characters in this book. The love story honestly seemed awkward and strange to me. This is because of how suddenly it happened. Also, because one of the characters was acting in such a way that didn’t make sense if they loved the other person. Yes, I understand some things happened in the past, but it just seemed like there wasn’t enough communication. It seemed like the only reason that this communication wasn’t put into the book was for suspense. I don’t like when authors keep something a secret when it isn’t realistic just for the sake of keeping it a secret. It was just strange to me. Which is sad because I really love them together! Another thing that I didn’t like was the miscommunication and secrets between the friends. Again, it seems like it was just there to build suspense, but it did not work well for me. It was unnecessary and unrealistic. Their reasons for keeping secrets were unbelievable and I did not like it.

Overall, I gave this book four out of five stars. I did love the book, and I had a wonderful time reading it. However, there were just so many things that seemed unbelievable and out of character to me that I couldn’t get past. It just took away the credibility of the characters. I did enjoy the story, the character’s personalities, and the writing though. I would love to read more books by Ryan! I just couldn’t get past the character relations and actions. I would still recommend this, it was a great read.

The Toll

The Toll (Arc of a Scythe, #3) by Neal Shusterman

My rating: four stars

Genre: YA, dystopian

Edition: audiobook

Goodreads Summary: It’s been three years since Rowan and Citra disappeared; since Scythe Goddard came into power; since the Thunderhead closed itself off to everyone but Grayson Tolliver.

In this pulse-pounding conclusion to New York Times bestselling author Neal Shusterman’s Arc of a Scythe trilogy, constitutions are tested and old friends are brought back from the dead.

The Arc of a Scythe series is absolutely one of my favorite series, and so when The Toll came out, I couldn’t wait to listen to it! I chose to listen to it because I listened to the first two books and I loved it – the narrator was fantastic.

Likes: Like the first two books, the world in this story is so insane. It provokes so much thought about death and how the lack of it would affect our society. The ways in which the government is changed in the story to fit around this lack of natural death is wonderful to read about. How people’s actions change is extremely interesting too – for example, people literally “splat” (jump off buildings) for fun for the adrenaline rush. As for this book specifically, I like that we got to learn more about other people besides Rowan and Citra. There are several POVs in this book that weren’t as prevalent in the first two books and I really liked learning about these other characters and their place in the world. The pacing was also great. It seemed like there was always something crazy or interesting going on somewhere. If not much was going on in one POV, there would be another where a plethora of events would be unfolding.

Dislikes: The ending to the second book was absolutely insane and I had no clue where this book was going to go. I LOVED that about Thunderhead. However, I personally did not care for where this book went in the end. It was just so out there and got away from what I believe this book series is about. I think that the ending made sense, but there could have been better places this story could have gone.

Overall, I will say that this wasn’t my favorite book of the series. I still love the writing, the characters, the pacing, and so much more, this book just went in a direction that I personally didn’t care for. I honestly debated my rating for a long time. I wanted to give it five stars because I love the series so much, but I finally decided that if I was having to debate it for so long, that it wasn’t worth five stars. So, I gave it four stars because of the direction that it went and because I didn’t love it as much as the first two, however, I would still recommend this book and this series to everyone. It is phenomenal!

Different

Different (Shifter Academy, #1) by Scarlett Haven

My rating: three stars

Genre: YA, paranormal romance

Edition: e-book

Goodreads Summary: My whole life, I’ve known there’s something different about me. I didn’t realize how different until four guys show up all claiming that they are destined to be my mates.

They’re not human, and they say I’m not either.

But if I’m not human then what am I?

Now I’m forced to go to a school where I don’t belong and am reminded of it everyday.

Creatures I never imagined were real that used to give me nightmares are everywhere I turn.

The world that once existed is gone.

Will anything ever be like it was again?

I was browsing through my Kindle trying to find a free book to read and I thought this one sounded interesting. I did not have high expectations for this book at all which is probably why I gave this book three stars.

Likes: I know the premise is pretty strange, but I thought this book was a lot of fun! It has supernatural creatures and reminded me of avatar with the different elements of the creatures. There is a whole range of characters – from funny to petty- and I enjoyed meeting and learning about all of them. The whole mate aspect was so weird that I found it enjoyable. I don’t mean to make fun of the book, don’t think I am trying to be judgmental when I say “weird” and “strange”. I honestly mean it in a nice way, I just can’t think of any words with better connotations. I think strange and weird is wonderful, who wants to be normal?? Anyway, continuing on with the review, I also liked how fast paced this book is. It never seems to lull or get boring, something is always happening.

Dislikes: The writing is honestly not that great. There is a lot of repetition in the writing which isn’t my favorite. The way that the characters talk to each other and think to themselves seems immature and unrealistic. It just seems like she describes the character’s interactions in a mundane way that makes the book immature. Along with that, the whole plot just seems a little….fanfiction-y. I can tell that there is supposed to be a deeper plot about her heritage and stuff, but it seems like the main plot is her figuring out how she is going to be in a relationship with all these boys who are completely okay with being in a polygamous relationship with her. It just doesn’t seem deep.

To be honest it was not a well-written book. It was hilarious and a ton of fun to read, but wasn’t the best quality. It is the type of read that I like when I don’t want to think too much and I just want a quick quirky romance. For that reason alone I gave it three stars. I did get a lot of enjoyment from it and was chuckling through the whole book, but I wouldn’t say it was a high-quality story.