Book Review: The Witch Haven

When I first read the synopsis for this book back when it was announced, I was immediately intrigued. I love the idea of mixing WWI-era society with magic, especially from the viewpoint of women. I never realized just how much I needed a book like this in my life. 

Huge thanks to Simon & Schuster for gifting me an Advanced Reader Copy for my honest review.

The Last Magician meets The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy in this thrilling and atmospheric historical fantasy following a young woman who discovers she has magical powers and is thrust into a battle between witches and wizards.

In 1911 New York City, seventeen-year-old Frances Hallowell spends her days as a seamstress, mourning the mysterious death of her brother months prior. Everything changes when she’s attacked and a man ends up dead at her feet—her scissors in his neck, and she can’t explain how they got there.

Before she can be condemned as a murderess, two cape-wearing nurses arrive to inform her she is deathly ill and ordered to report to Haxahaven Sanitarium. But Frances finds Haxahaven isn’t a sanitarium at all: it’s a school for witches. Within Haxahaven’s glittering walls, Frances finds the sisterhood she craves, but the headmistress warns Frances that magic is dangerous. Frances has no interest in the small, safe magic of her school, and is instead enchanted by Finn, a boy with magic himself who appears in her dreams and tells her he can teach her all she’s been craving to learn, lessons that may bring her closer to discovering what truly happened to her brother.

Frances’s newfound power attracts the attention of the leader of an ancient order who yearns for magical control of Manhattan. And who will stop at nothing to have Frances by his side. Frances must ultimately choose what matters more, justice for her murdered brother and her growing feelings for Finn, or the safety of her city and fellow witches. What price would she pay for power, and what if the truth is more terrible than she ever imagined?

I was pleasantly surprised by how well-written this book was for being a debut novel. It was littered all throughout by some amazing quotes that left me really thinking.. And we all know how much I love my quotes! I also enjoyed how the author wasn’t afraid to tackle some of the known issues of the Edwardian Era, such as the atrocities done to the Indigenous population and women’s suffrage. I applaud her for handling those topics with the care that she did.

Frances was an interesting main character. I enjoyed the bond and love she had with her brother, as sibling relationships are usually non-existent in YA. She was also much tougher than I was expecting, willing to do whatever it took to get the job done. However, she did make some decisions that I didn’t quite agree with or understand her reasoning for. Though I suppose you could chalk that up to her age (and  I hate using that excuse). However, I felt that the side characters really shined in this book. I loved the mysteriousness of Finn. It kept me on my toes and always second-guessing my opinions on him. Lena was also great and I loved that the author included her story. But I have to say my favorite was Maxine. She was strong and icy, but so passionate about wanting more for her life. I loved that the author only gave you enough information about her to leave you craving to know more. I hope we finally learn her backstory in the sequel.

Women are supposed to be competent at everything, but experts at nothing. Haven't you heard

I would say that my only real issue with this story lies with the pacing. It starts off diving headfirst into the plot and immediately grabbing your attention but then the majority of the book meanders about. I thought the murder mystery was brilliantly thrown in to set the tone and give context for Frances’ connection to the magical world. However, I wish it would have played a more prominent role within the plot. It only seemed to show up at random times to move the story forward and didn’t quite feel as organic as I would have liked. Though the ending was very exciting, and while I guessed the “plot twist” early on, I still enjoyed seeing it play out.

Overall, this was an enjoyable debut novel and I’m really interested to see where the rest of the series takes us. I think that now Frances is fully integrated into the magical world, some very exciting things will start to happen and I cannot wait to see what they are!

Final Verdict: 4/5 Stars


Have you read The Witch Haven yet? If so, what are your thoughts on the story?  Is this book on your TBR? Do you enjoy reading stories about witches?

Book Review: Flash Fire (The Extraordinaries, #2)

Once again, TJ Klune has written a book that just speaks to my heart on every level. I laughed, I l cried, I had a great time. What more could you ask for?

*Happy Publication Day! And a big thank you to Tor Teen for gifting me a copy of this book for review.*

Nick landed himself the superhero boyfriend of his dreams, but with new heroes arriving in Nova City it’s up to Nick and his friends to determine who is virtuous and who is villainous. Which is a lot to handle for a guy who just wants to finish his self-insert bakery AU fanfic.

If you aren’t familiar with TJ Klune’s work, then let try and explain it to you. The way I think of it is like that moment when you’re sitting around with friends and family just laughing and talking, and then you take a moment and look around at everyone and just feel this sense or warmth and happiness.. That is what reading a book by Klune feels like. It’s sunshine and laughter in written form. Basically, it makes for perfect summer reading! Have I convinced you yet? Okay, good.

For this sequel to The Extraordinaries, I was really excited to see where Nick and Seth were going to take us. I was expecting more hijinks and humorous situations for our little ragtag group of friends. However, I was not expecting the far more serious tone of this book compared to its predecessor. The theme went deep into addressing police brutality/reform and social justice. While I really appreciate Klune taking the time to address these important issues, it did seem to take over the entire story a bit. The humor and quirkiness that was so predominant in the first book (my favorite thing about it), took a major step back in this sequel. The tone just didn’t feel well-balanced and in doing so, kind of threw me for a loop. Nicky’s well-timed quips and humor were few and far between which made me a little sad. I live for the moments when I laugh aloud at his antics. With that being said, the overall book was still light-hearted, just not near to the levels of book one.

Mintmade Fashion Pride Sale

Nick, Gibby and Jazz continue to be absolute delights. I love every second of their banter and friendship. It’s so great to see such a supportive friend group in a YA novel. Sometimes it feels like they aren’t as prevalent as they should be but maybe I just read too much fantasy, which we all know is all about that solo journey. But here it’s very fun to see how well they get along and how much they understand one another. They love Nick for who he is and are always there for him, even when he’s getting himself into trouble (which is often). I just wish Seth had a bit more personality. He still continues to be overshadowed by everyone else and that’s a little disappointing. I guess it plays well against Nick’s outogoing and bubbly persona but I think he tends to come across very flat sometimes, especially in group settings. I did really enjoy the new characters introduced, especially Miss Conduct. Seriously, I would love to read a story following just her. She is amazing and the superhero I never knew I needed! There’s also another newbie to the scene but the mystery of them is good, even if a little too easy.

If you’re looking for a series that’s super fast-paced or are needing something to pull you out of a reading slump, this is the one for you. Just like book one, I was never bored and kept wanting to read even when it was way past my bedtime. Yes, I’m now 30 years old and officially must get at least 8 hours of sleep or I’m useless. I loved the action in this one and really appreciated some of the twists that Klune gave. A few I had already guessed and a few that I didn’t see coming. And oh boy, if you’re a fan of cliffhangers like I am.. this book delivers. I need book three ASAP. Do you hear me, TJ?! I mean it!!!

Final Verdict: 4/5 Stars

Have you read Flash Fire yet? If so, what did you think? Are you a TJ Klune fan as well? 

Book Review: The Last Magician (The Last Magician, #1)

I wasn’t really sure what to expect with Lisa Maxwell’s The Last Magician (The Last Magician, #1)I had heard many good things about the book and the premise sounded very interesting, but I was never fully hyped on reading it. However, I’m glad that I did as it turned out to be an interesting read with quite a cast of characters.

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

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

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

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

Maxwell’s writing style is very straightforward. There’s no use of flowery prose to mask the plot here, which as you all know, I really appreciate. Flowery prose can be very hit or miss and I feel that it would have done a disservice to this book. This story is very plot driven with a lot of bouncing around between characters. I will say that it took some time for it to really build up, as the first quarter of the book is just a build up for all of the characters. It does start off a little slow and took me a while to really get into the story.

We really have two main characters with one being Esta, a time traveling thief with a no-nonsense attitude and doesn’t appreciate being told what to do. She is very stubborn and will do just about anything to complete her mission. Then there is Darrington, a talented Mageus with a troubled past that he’s trying to run from. His relationship with Esta is full of tension from the very moment they first meet, sexually and personality-wise. I loved watching them struggle to take control of each other. They’re both super stubborn and working towards their own personal goals, so it was always fun when they would butt heads. There was also a really large cast of supporting characters, each with their own personality and backstory that was really fleshed out so you could see why they would make the choices that they did.

Saying and doing things over and over and over makes them safe. at least it used to. i'm not so sure anymore.Don't tell.don't tell.don't, it doesn't feel safe at all..png

I would say that my biggest issues with this book was the slow beginning and the complicated world-building. I very rarely struggle to understand the world in which a book is set in, but it took me the majority of this book to really understand the history of Mageus and their struggle against the Order. I feel like there was a lack of explanation that would’ve been very helpful early on in the story, even a little prologue with a history lesson. Instead, we are immediately thrown into this world knowing there’s a struggle between the two, but no real reason as to why. It seemed like we were not really given this backstory until late in the book. I think Maxwell missed an opportunity to really flesh out the setting, focusing on the city itself and not the background.

Overall this was an enjoyable book and I do plan to continue with the series, as I really want to see how Esta’s story ends after that cliffhanger ending. While there were some flaws to the story, it was still entertaining. If you enjoy fantasy and historical fiction, I think this book will interest you as it does weave the two together really well.

Final Verdict: 3/5 Stars

Have you read The Last Magician? Did you struggle to understand the history between the Order and the Mageus? Did you enjoy the book? Have you read the sequel?

Book Review: The Wicked Deep

Everyone has been raving about Shea Ernshaw’s The Wicked Deep, ever since it was first released early last year. I was finally convinced to give it a shot recently and was pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed it as much as I did. Sometimes the hype is actually deserved…

Welcome to the cursed town of Sparrow…

Where, two centuries ago, three sisters were sentenced to death for witchery. Stones were tied to their ankles and they were drowned in the deep waters surrounding the town.

Now, for a brief time each summer, the sisters return, stealing the bodies of three weak-hearted girls so that they may seek their revenge, luring boys into the harbor and pulling them under.

Like many locals, seventeen-year-old Penny Talbot has accepted the fate of the town. But this year, on the eve of the sisters’ return, a boy named Bo Carter arrives; unaware of the danger he has just stumbled into.

Mistrust and lies spread quickly through the salty, rain-soaked streets. The townspeople turn against one another. Penny and Bo suspect each other of hiding secrets. And death comes swiftly to those who cannot resist the call of the sisters.

But only Penny sees what others cannot. And she will be forced to choose: save Bo, or save herself.

I think what I enjoyed most about this book was the writing. You would never guess that this was a debut novel, as Ernshaw has such a wonderful way with words. I was constantly finding passages that I felt were speaking to me personally. And as a reader, there’s nothing greater than coming across writing that instantly connects with you. Another writing choice that I really appreciated was how Ernshaw would give us small chapters told from the sisters points of view, providing us a glimpse into what their lives were truly like before they were drowned by Sparrow. I’m such a sucker when authors choose to do little back and forth time jumps like this. It definitely adds more substance to the story and allowing us to see from more perspectives.

Other than the small time jumps into the past, the story mostly follows Penny and so we really get to know her over the course of the summer. She’s very closed off from the rest of the world, including the people of Sparrow. She sees her life on the tiny Lumiere Island as the only option for her future, as she takes care of her mother and the lighthouse. She also sees the curse of the sisters as justified punishment for the town, even as awful as it may seem. However, during the course of her budding relationship with Bo, she begins to open up. While Bo may be mysterious, he’s passionate and isn’t afraid to push Penny to her limits. I appreciated how they fed off of each other, especially considering their difficult personal histories.

Love is an enchantress - devious and wild. It sneaks up behind you, soft and gentle and quiet, just before it slits your throat..png

The only flaw with this book was that the plot twist fell a little flat for me. I had already guessed it very early on and was a little disappointed in seeing that I was correct. Now, I tend to guess a lot of mysteries or plot twists in novel, so this may not be as much of an issue for you as it was for me. I just really enjoy a twist that comes out of nowhere and I never see coming, which is few and far between. But with that being said, that didn’t ruin the story for me nor take away from my overall enjoyment. I still really enjoyed the journey and getting to learn more about the sisters and how their brief lives continued to affect Sparrow.

I think this was a really enjoyable debut novel. The atmosphere and setting really sold the overall plot and I could almost believe that Sparrow is a real town along the Oregon coast. But for me, the real beauty of this story was the writing itself. I think Ernshaw has solidified herself as an auto-buy author for me and I will definitely be picking up whatever she graces us with in the future. If you’re looking for an atmospheric mystery to curl up with on a cold day, I think this one is the perfect fit.

Final Verdict: 4/5 Stars

Have you read The Wicked Deep? If so, what did you think of it? Were you able to figure out the plot twist beforehand? Did you enjoy the flashbacks? Do you plan on reading Ernshaw’s future novels?

Blog Tour Book Review: Songs from the Deep

Debut novels always excite me, as I could possibly have found a new favorite author. And I’m so happy to say that that was the case with this book. Kelly Powell’s Songs from the Deep was such a beautifully atmospheric story that immediately captured my attention and transported me to Twillengyle.

Big thank you to Simon and Schuster for sending me a copy for review and asking me to be a part of this blog tour!

A girl searches for a killer on an island where deadly sirens lurk just beneath the waves in this gripping, atmospheric debut novel.

The sea holds many secrets.

Moira Alexander has always been fascinated by the deadly sirens who lurk along the shores of her island town. Even though their haunting songs can lure anyone to a swift and watery grave, she gets as close to them as she can, playing her violin on the edge of the enchanted sea. When a young boy is found dead on the beach, the islanders assume that he’s one of the sirens’ victims. Moira isn’t so sure.

Certain that someone has framed the boy’s death as a siren attack, Moira convinces her childhood friend, the lighthouse keeper Jude Osric, to help her find the real killer, rekindling their friendship in the process. With townspeople itching to hunt the sirens down, and their own secrets threatening to unravel their fragile new alliance, Moira and Jude must race against time to stop the killer before it’s too late—for humans and sirens alike.

First off, I just want to gush over Powell’s beautiful writing style. It has a very classic feel that I think worked perfectly with the setting. While the writing was very lyrical, I never felt like it pulled me out of the story, nor did I struggle to understand what was going on. It’s very telling of Powell’s talent that she was able to write so beautifully, while still providing an extremely readable story. I feel like this is something that a lot of writers struggle with, as it is very difficult to write a story that is both lyrical and readable. Magical realism is a genre that is really guilty of this. Luckily, that was not an issue with Songs from the Deep.

Our main character, Moira, is a complicated person. She’s cold and would rather protect herself and the secrets that she carries, rather than form close relationships. These secrets have kept her from her childhood best friend, Jude. Where Moira is cold and withdrawn from the world, Jude is kind and helps out wherever he is needed. He is beloved by everyone on the island and they all look to him for guidance due to his work as the lighthouse keeper. I really enjoyed the relationship between Moira and Jude. You could tell that they had been really close when they were younger and had drifted apart. I like watching them slowly rebuild that relationship and see how it changes from a childhood friendship to an adult one.

To our seafarers,

I really enjoyed that a murder mystery was part of the plot. The plot is on the slower side as it is very character driven, so it was nice to have that blend of the mystery with the development of Jude and Moira’s relationship. It kept my attention and had me constantly guessing what was going to happen next. I will say that the one issue I had was that the big reveal wasn’t as twisty as I was hoping it would be. I love being completely surprised by endings but unfortunately, I had this one figured out beforehand. Luckily, I was still able to enjoy the buildup and the overall progression of the story. The mystery was really only the backdrop to the character development and setting.

Overall, I really enjoyed this story. The blend of the beautiful writing and vivid setting, was such a perfect setup for this fantastical murder mystery. If you’re looking for an action-packed story, then this book isn’t really what you’re looking for. But if you enjoy a slow-burn relationship and to be completely transported into a book, I think this is the one for you. I also really recommend reading it curled up by a fire this winter, as the atmosphere really lends itself to being a perfect fall/winter read.

Final Verdict: 4/5 Stars

kelly powell headshot300


Kelly Powell has a bachelor’s degree in history and book and media studies from the University of Toronto. She currently lives in Ontario. Songs from the Deep is her debut novel.


Are you interested in reading Songs from the Deep? Do you like action packed stories or slow burns? Do you find settings to be an important part of a story?

Book Review: The Trials of Morrigan Crow (Nevermoor, #1)

I know that almost every single one of us that grew up with Harry Potter, has had very little success recreating that feeling of whimsy and magic in other books or movies. However, I will say that while reading Jessica Townsend’s Trials of Morrigan Crow (Nevermoor, #1), I felt that feeling of nostalgia that reminded me of how I felt when I first read Harry Potter. I was completely transported into the Wundrous (little story reference there!) world of Nevermoor.

Morrigan Crow is cursed. Having been born on Eventide, the unluckiest day for any child to be born, she’s blamed for all local misfortunes, from hailstorms to heart attacks–and, worst of all, the curse means that Morrigan is doomed to die at midnight on her eleventh birthday.

But as Morrigan awaits her fate, a strange and remarkable man named Jupiter North appears. Chased by black-smoke hounds and shadowy hunters on horseback, he whisks her away into the safety of a secret, magical city called Nevermoor.

It’s then that Morrigan discovers Jupiter has chosen her to contend for a place in the city’s most prestigious organization: the Wundrous Society. In order to join, she must compete in four difficult and dangerous trials against hundreds of other children, each boasting an extraordinary talent that sets them apart–an extraordinary talent that Morrigan insists she does not have. To stay in the safety of Nevermoor for good, Morrigan will need to find a way to pass the tests–or she’ll have to leave the city to confront her deadly fate.

Jessica Townsend has proceeded to create a world that is every bit as magical and kooky as it is mysterious. I loved getting to experience Nevermoor alongside Morrigan. It is extremely imaginative and gave me Charlie and the Chocolate Factory vibes. And just like in that story, while everything gives you a feeling of wonder, there is also an underlying sense that you’re just one step away from something sinister or dangerous. I really liked that part of the setting, as it kept me on the edge of my seat. The pacing of the story was really well done as well. I was constantly engaged in Morrigan’s adventure and didn’t want to ever put the book down. I’m pretty sure I just zipped through the last 150 pages, as I just had to know what was going to happen next.

Morrigan Crow is such an awesome character. I loved her extremely dry humor and snarky comments. I think her personality played off so well against Jupiter’s kooky disposition. Their chemistry was wonderful and I was consistently laugh aloud at their exchanges. I will say that Morrigan does read a little older than the eleven years that she’s supposed to be. Though I guess you could make the argument that her isolation for so long and only interacting with adults helped mature her a bit. Then you have our wacky side characters such as the eccentric Jupiter North and our residential prankster, Hawthorne Swift.

Get to Knowthe Blogger_100 Questions No One Ever Asks.png

Honestly, I can’t find any fault with this book. It had me hooked from start to finish and really brought out my imagination. I loved that there were moments that made me laugh out loud while also being interspersed with some darker scenes. I’m also 28 years old and thoroughly enjoyed this book, so I think it’s one of those middle grade stories that can be enjoyed at any age. If you are looking for a fun book that can be read as a family, I definitely think this one is a good place to start!

Final Verdict: 5/5 Stars

Do you enjoy reading middle grade novels? If so, what are some of your favorites? Have you read The Trials of Morrigan Crow? Which character was your favorite?

Book Review: The Game of Love and Death

I was surprised by the lyrical writing in The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough. It really heightened the fantasy and romance in this historical fiction novel.

Antony and Cleopatra. Helen of Troy and Paris. Romeo and Juliet. And now . . . Henry and Flora.

For centuries Love and Death have chosen their players. They have set the rules, rolled the dice, and kept close, ready to influence, angling for supremacy. And Death has always won. Always.

Could there ever be one time, one place, one pair whose love would truly tip the balance?

Meet Flora Saudade, an African-American girl who dreams of becoming the next Amelia Earhart by day and sings in the smoky jazz clubs of Seattle by night. Meet Henry Bishop, born a few blocks and a million worlds away, a white boy with his future assured — a wealthy adoptive family in the midst of the Great Depression, a college scholarship, and all the opportunities in the world seemingly available to him.

The players have been chosen. The dice have been rolled. But when human beings make moves of their own, what happens next is anyone’s guess.

As I mentioned above, the best part of this book to me is the writing. Brockenbrough did a great job writing this story in a lyrical style, that I think worked so well as it was mixing the historical fiction romance with the whimsy of Death and Love being personified. There was also a lot more introspection done in this story that I wasn’t really expecting when I first picked it up. I originally pictured this as a straight romance, with a very plot-centered story. However, this is actually a character focused story, with an emphasis on the philosophical effects of the Game. I was pretty surprised by how deep this story got in places, especially during the Love/Death POV chapters.

Our first main character Flora was really interesting. I loved how her dream and passion was flying, which isn’t something you ever really come across in books. I liked how flying was her passion, but she was such an amazing performer that the two hobbies conflicted with one another. It’s so realistic to have people push things something that you just happen to be good at it, while not understanding that you love something else more. I really appreciated that perspective. Then we have sweet Henry, who is in love with music. His one true passion is playing the bass and luckily, he is one of those people whose passion is also his talent. I personally enjoyed Henry’s character more than Flora’s, as he was more open and I liked that he was the one willing to fight for their love. There was no going back and forth on his feelings, he knew what he wanted right from the start. Love and Death were also really interesting characters. They seemed so believable in that their immortal lives actually weighed upon them. You could readily believe that they had lived and seen far too much.

You were the sun, and i was crashing into you. I'd wake up every morning and think, _This will end in flames_..png

I think my biggest issue with the book was the lack of overall conflict. I’ll admit that the setting and synopsis had me imagining a lot more issues arising from the racial and economic issues of the Great Depression Era, and while these were touched on in certain places, it didn’t seem to have as big of an effect as I thought it would. And between this and the lyrical/introspective writing style, the pacing of the story was rather slow. I struggled with making myself actually take the time to sit down and read it, which is my biggest issue when it comes to books.

I really wanted to enjoy this book more but I need faster pacing or more engrossing storylines to keep me invested. Everything else was really well done, I just had a hard time connecting to the book. I liked the characters and thought there was some really interesting quotes sprinkled throughout, but there was just something missing in the plot. However, I do think that this could be a favorite for a lot of readers, it just missed the mark for me personally.

Final Verdict: 3/5

Have you read The Game of Love and Death? If so, what did you think about it? Do you struggle with character-focused novels?

Book Review: Sorcery of Thorns

Margaret Rogerson has truly solidified her spot on my favorite authors list with her sophomore release, Sorcery of Thorns. I thought I loved An Enchantments of Ravens, but it was nothing like my experience with this book.

All sorcerers are evil. Elisabeth has known that as long as she has known anything. Raised as a foundling in one of Austermeer’s Great Libraries, Elisabeth has grown up among the tools of sorcery—magical grimoires that whisper on shelves and rattle beneath iron chains. If provoked, they transform into grotesque monsters of ink and leather. She hopes to become a warden, charged with protecting the kingdom from their power.

Then an act of sabotage releases the library’s most dangerous grimoire. Elisabeth’s desperate intervention implicates her in the crime, and she is torn from her home to face justice in the capital. With no one to turn to but her sworn enemy, the sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn, and his mysterious demonic servant, she finds herself entangled in a centuries-old conspiracy. Not only could the Great Libraries go up in flames, but the world along with them.

As her alliance with Nathaniel grows stronger, Elisabeth starts to question everything she’s been taught—about sorcerers, about the libraries she loves, even about herself. For Elisabeth has a power she has never guessed, and a future she could never have imagined.

First off, let me just say how happy it makes me when a book revolves around the love of books. Like I immediately connect so well with the story and characters when they share that same joy with me. With that being said, when I first found out this book is based around a library and books that are basically living creatures, I knew that I was going to love it. And I was right.

I think Rogerson, once again, has created such an interesting world. It was really interesting in how the magic system works in this world, with magic being controlled by the sorcerer’s and their connection with demonic beings. I loved how she was able to add some darker elements like that to the story… Gimme all the darkness! The world was so interesting but we only got to see and learn about this one small area, which I would’ve preferred a bit more about some of the other countries that they mention going to war with multiple times. I like to think that that means there’s room to explore more in this world in other books (even though Rogerson states this is only a standalone).

The Book Courtship Tag.png

I just love Elizabeth as a character. She isn’t perfect and more than a little bit awkward, due to having grown up in the library with no social interaction really besides fellow librarians. Also, her relationship with books in general is a MOOD. The only difference is that her books can respond to her, while mine are still just inanimate objects. Dammit. But even though I love Elizabeth, Thorn is my baby. He has the best dry/sarcastic personality, constantly throwing out these witty one liners. I live for characters like that and he just gave me exactly what I love in my fictional boyfriends. And last but not least is Silas, the mysterious servant. Silas is actually the glue that keeps all of our characters together. He’s very quiet and polite, but with an edge.

You can really see the growth of her writing in Rogerson’s sophomore novel. I thought the overall plot was much more engaging from start to finish than An Enchantment of Ravens. I never felt like the plot was too rushed or too slow, but moved at a steady pace throughout the story. I appreciated the length of the novel, as it allowed us to really immerse ourselves in the world and gave us enough time to really get to know the characters. The ending was really well done as well. It gave me just enough to leave me satisfied but also wanting more. Not really sure if that makes sense or not, but there it is.. Just know that you really need to read this book, especially if you weren’t completely satisfied with An Enchantment of Ravens.

Final Verdict: 5/5 Stars

Have you read Sorcery of Thorns? Did you enjoy it more than An Enchantment of Ravens? Are you as obsessed with Thorn as I am?

ARC Review: The Fever King (Feverwake, #1)

I actually went into this book fairly blind to the plot and I am so glad that I did. The Fever King (Feverwake, #1) by Victoria Lee was such an interesting and engaging story, weaving current societal themes into a dystopian fantasy.

In the former United States, sixteen-year-old Noam Álvaro wakes up in a hospital bed, the sole survivor of the viral magic that killed his family and made him a technopath. His ability to control technology attracts the attention of the minister of defense and thrusts him into the magical elite of the nation of Carolinia.

The son of undocumented immigrants, Noam has spent his life fighting for the rights of refugees fleeing magical outbreaks—refugees Carolinia routinely deports with vicious efficiency. Sensing a way to make change, Noam accepts the minister’s offer to teach him the science behind his magic, secretly planning to use it against the government. But then he meets the minister’s son—cruel, dangerous, and achingly beautiful—and the way forward becomes less clear.

Caught between his purpose and his heart, Noam must decide who he can trust and how far he’s willing to go in pursuit of the greater good.

The Good

  • Diverse Cast – I loved how Lee was able to create such an amazing cast of MAIN characters. Noam is a bisexual biracial Latino Jewish teen (try saying that ten times fast!), Dara who is a gay POC, and then Lehrer who is queer and of German descent. I think it might be even better that Lee chose to create characters that reflected her own Jewish background, as it added a more authentic reading experience for me personally. It came through in small details here and there, very subtle.
  • Tricky Villain – It’s always fun when an author can create a villain that you’re constantly second-guessing if they truly are the bad guy or not. I love feeling conflicted over who is good and who is bad. It adds an extra air of mystery to the story when that happens.
  • Sexual Tensionnnnnn – Seriously, the sexual tension in this story is so thick you could cut it with a knife. Someone come hose me down, PRONTO!
  • Relevant Themes – It was really interesting how Lee was able to weave current social themes into this story, which only helped to increase my engagement in the story. Immigration played such an integral part of the plot and I loved that. It was interesting to see how that affected Noam’s thoughts throughout the entire story. It gave extra weight to each decision that he made, which helped you feel how much was really at stake for him.

Law Day _ 05.01.2020

The Bad

  • Rushed Ending – I feel like the ending could’ve been dragged out a little longer. It seemed like too much happened way too quickly and I was left feeling like some things were not resolved. I still had questions that I think should have been answered or explored more, even though there will be a sequel. It felt like the ending gave me whiplash over how quickly it all went down. It gave me Midnight Star flashbacks and that’s not a good thing.

Overall this was a fun and engaging read. I think the ending could have been handled a little better and that some lingering questions get answered in the sequel. I loved how current political and social themes were woven seamlessly into the story, as it really helped bring the story to life. I do plan on continuing with this series in hopes of getting to see more of this world and how Noam helps to fix it.

Final Verdict: 4/5 Stars

Have you read The Fever King? If so, what did you think about it? Did you feel like the ending was rushed? Did you agree with Noam’s final decision?

ARC Review: Pride

When I received this ARC at BookCon last year, I was really excited. I love a good retelling, especially one that is able to bring a completely new spin to the original story. And while Ibi Zoboi’s Pride was able to take the story in a new direction, it wasn’t even close to living up to my original excitement. This is going to be a brief review, y’all.

Pride and Prejudice gets remixed in this smart, funny, gorgeous retelling of the classic, starring all characters of color, from Ibi Zoboi, National Book Award finalist and author of American Street.

Zuri Benitez has pride. Brooklyn pride, family pride, and pride in her Afro-Latino roots. But pride might not be enough to save her rapidly gentrifying neighborhood from becoming unrecognizable.

When the wealthy Darcy family moves in across the street, Zuri wants nothing to do with their two teenage sons, even as her older sister, Janae, starts to fall for the charming Ainsley. She especially can’t stand the judgmental and arrogant Darius. Yet as Zuri and Darius are forced to find common ground, their initial dislike shifts into an unexpected understanding.

But with four wild sisters pulling her in different directions, cute boy Warren vying for her attention, and college applications hovering on the horizon, Zuri fights to find her place in Bushwick’s changing landscape, or lose it all.

In a timely update of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, critically acclaimed author Ibi Zoboi skillfully balances cultural identity, class, and gentrification against the heady magic of first love in her vibrant reimagining of this beloved classic.

The Good

  • Family Dynamics: The Benitez family is pretty amazing. I loved seeing how loyal they all were to each other, relying on one another and spending most of their time together. It reminded me a lot of my own family, as we are loud and crazy but love spending time together. Strong family relations aren’t usually found in YA stories and I appreciated how much Zoboi emphasized its importance. I would totally want to be a part of their family!
  • Modern Themes: It was really interesting to see how Zoboi weaved modern themes such as gentrification and class dynamics into the plot. I live in a fairly suburban and majority white area so I haven’t really experienced this personally, so it was nice to see that portrayed in the story. I know it’s been a really hot button issue the past few years all over the country and probably the world. I do wish that we would’ve gotten to see it addressed even more in the story though, as it was mentioned a lot but not really in depth.

They all had stories. They had mothers or fathers, sisters or lovers. They weren't alone in the world, mattering to no one but themselves. It seemed utterly wrong to treat them like pennies in a purse. I felt

The Bad

  • Zuri, the BITCH: Listen, I know that the whole point of Pride and Prejudice was for Elizabeth (and to some extent, Darcy) to learn not to judge people so harshly. However, she was a character that you still liked and wanted to root for. You could tell she was still a good person and someone that you would want to be friends with…. Zuri is none of those things. I’ll be honest that at no point in the book did I think that I would like to hang out with Zuri or be friends with her. She was stuck up and pretty much hated anyone who didn’t live in her own neighborhood. All she did was whine and talk down to everyone she came in contact with, like her opinion was the only one that mattered. I would’ve liked to have seen her character develop, well, really any, during the book but it never happened. The only thing that changed was her opinion of Darius, but even then it was like she still thought he was too rich but she overlooked it because she liked him. Honestly, I really just spent the entire book wanting to punch her in the face.
  • Romance Plot: I just didn’t buy it. I never saw what Darius liked about Zuri and vice versa, other than that they were both physically attractive? Darius was pretty flat as a character and I never got any depth from him. He was really just there to stand still and look pretty. I also felt like any conflict used to try and move their relationship forward, was really rushed and done with before it even made an impact on me. I think this is one of those cases where the book actually could’ve used another 100 pages to really help develop the relationship and overall plot.

Unfortunately, this book just did nothing for me. I feel like there was so much more to explore in regards to the gentrification and class struggles, but any in-depth discussion was relegated to the side or only mentioned in Zuri’s poems. Also, the only characters that I liked were the side characters, while I pretty much hated Zuri and could never find myself rooting for her. I almost wish we could get a redo and just focus the story on the rest of the Benitez family. I think we would all be much better off for it. Maybe the finished copy of the story is an improvement on the ARC copy? I can only hope.

Final Verdict: 2/5 Stars

Have you read Pride? If so, what did you think about it? What were your thoughts on Zuri as a main character? Did you feel invested in the romance?