Review: The Sister by Louise Jensen

41csvk9nzml-_sx332_bo1204203200_Image and synopsis from Amazon:

” “I did something terrible Grace. I hope you can forgive me …”

Grace hasn’t been the same since the death of her best friend Charlie. She is haunted by Charlie’s last words, and in a bid for answers, opens an old memory box of Charlie’s. It soon becomes clear there was a lot she didn’t know about her best friend.

When Grace starts a campaign to find Charlie’s father, Anna, a girl claiming to be Charlie’s sister steps forward. For Grace, finding Anna is like finding a new family, and soon Anna has made herself very comfortable in Grace and boyfriend Dan’s home.

But something isn’t right. Things disappear, Dan’s acting strangely and Grace is sure that someone is following her. Is it all in Grace’s mind? Or as she gets closer to discovering the truth about both Charlie and Anna, is Grace in terrible danger?

There was nothing she could have done to save Charlie …or was there?”


 

Continue reading “Review: The Sister by Louise Jensen”

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WWW Wednesday #1

WWW Wednesday is a meme  hosted by Sam@ Taking on a World of Words.

To participate, all you have to do is answer the following questions:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently reading:

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

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I’ve been pretty busy this week so I haven’t have had much reading time which is a shame because this book is AMAZING! I’m also not sure I want it to end because I know I will have such a hard time waiting for Crooked Kingdom.

Recently Finished Reading: 
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The Sister by Louise Jensen and Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

I recently posted my review of Shadow and Bone. You can read it here. I enjoyed this book, but overall it was so-so for me. The Sister was definitely an exciting read and now I want to read more psychological thrillers! That review will be coming sometime this week.

What I’ll read next: 

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Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor,  The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett by Chelsea Sedoti and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne

Daughter of Smoke and Bone as been on my TBR for a while and with all the great reviews I am excited to get started on that. The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett is my very first ARC approved by Netgalley which I am very excited about! I also pre-ordered a copy of Harry Potter so I will hopefully be reading that next week. I’m trying not to be too excited about this because I don’t know what to expect, buuuut I’m still pretty excited. 🙂

What’s on your TBR?

Teaser Tuesday#3

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by MizB of Books and a Beat

Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!


 

Here is my teaser this week from Six of Crows. So far it is fantastic! I can’t believe it took me so long to pick this one up.

“She’d murdered for Dregs, stolen, brought down bad men and good, and Kaz had never hinted that any of the assignments were less than a command to be obeyed. This was the price she’d agreed to when Per Haskell had purchased her contract and liberated her from the Menagerie. So what was different about this job?”

Inej- Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, pg 67

 

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“Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price–and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction―if they don’t kill each other first.”

 

What are you reading? 

Review: Shadow and Bone (The Grisha#1)- by Leigh Bardugo

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Image and synopsis from Amazon: 

“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.”

 


Continue reading “Review: Shadow and Bone (The Grisha#1)- by Leigh Bardugo”

What’s Next? #1

 

I decided to try out another meme and since my TBR pile just keeps growing, this one looked fun!  What’s next is a weekly meme hosted by IceyBooks. To participate, select 3-5 books that you want to read (or have to) and have readers help you decide!

 

 

Here are my choices:
51kn2ohb8fl-_sx329_bo1204203200_Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

“This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded.
      The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than a speck at the edge of the universe. Now with enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to evacuate with a hostile warship in hot pursuit.
     But their problems are just getting started. A plague has broken out and is mutating with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a web of data to find the truth, it’s clear the only person who can help her is the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.
      Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, maps, files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.”
 


 

516kgqh6dml-_sx354_bo1204203200_ Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

“Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”; she speaks many languages–not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When one of the strangers–beautiful, haunted Akiva–fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?”


 

 

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The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson

“David Piper has always been an outsider. His parents think he’s gay. The school bully thinks he’s a freak. Only his two best friends know the real truth: David wants to be a girl.
On the first day at his new school Leo Denton has one goal: to be invisible. Attracting the attention of the most beautiful girl in his class is definitely not part of that plan. When Leo stands up for David in a fight, an unlikely friendship forms. But things are about to get messy. Because at Eden Park School secrets have a funny habit of not staying secret for long , and soon everyone knows that Leo used to be a girl.
As David prepares to come out to his family and transition into life as a girl and Leo wrestles with figuring out how to deal with people who try to define him through his history, they find in each other the friendship and support they need to navigate life as transgender teens as well as the courage to decide for themselves what normal really means.”

 


 

 

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Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch (Snow Like Ashes Book#2)

“It’s been three months since the Winterians were freed and Spring’s king, Angra, disappeared—thanks largely to the help of Cordell.

Meira just wants her people to be safe. When Cordellan debt forces the Winterians to dig their mines for payment, they unearth something powerful and possibly dangerous: Primoria’s lost chasm of magic. Theron is hopeful and excited—with this much magic, the world can finally stand against threats like Angra. But Meira knows that the last time the world had access to so much magic, it spawned the Decay. So when the king of Cordell orders the two on a mission across the kingdoms of Primoria to discover the chasm’s secrets, Meira plans to use the trip to garner support to keep the chasm shut and Winter safe—even if it means clashing with Theron. But can she do so without endangering the people she loves?

Mather just wants to be free. The horrors inflicted on the Winterians hang fresh and raw in Jannuari—leaving Winter vulnerable to Cordell’s growing oppression. When Meira leaves to search for allies, he decides to take Winter’s security into his own hands. Can he rebuild his broken kingdom and protect them from new threats?

As the web of power and deception is woven tighter, Theron fights for magic, Mather fights for freedom—and Meira starts to wonder if she should be fighting not just for Winter but for the world.”

 

 

I also had Six of Crows on here..but I got too excited and started reading it already. What should I read next? I’m so excited to get to all of them!

 

Review: A Faerie’s Curse By Rachel Morgan (Creepy Hollow Book 6)

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Image and synopsis from Amazon:

“A witch’s curse. A world-ending prophecy. A daring rescue mission. Don’t miss the heart-pounding finale to Calla’s story!
On the run from the Guild of Guardians, Calla Larkenwood and her team of fellow outlaws plan a daring rescue operation into the Seelie Court itself. As if that isn’t enough to keep them busy, the power-hungry Princess Angelica has begun preparations for a horrifying prophesied spell that will forever change both the magic and non-magic realms.

When Calla is blindsided by an unspeakable tragedy before the rescue can be carried out, she struggles to remain focused on her mission. She believes she’s reached her lowest point—until a witch reveals the final blow: she has cursed Calla’s magic. With time running out, can Calla save the one she loves and stop the prophecy from being carried out before the curse claims her life? “


Continue reading “Review: A Faerie’s Curse By Rachel Morgan (Creepy Hollow Book 6)”

Teaser Tuesday #2

 

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by MizB of Books and a Beat

Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

 

Here is my teaser from this week! Its from The Sister by Louise Jensen. I discovered it from a few other bloggers and so far am enjoying it 🙂

“We all have to carry the consequences of our own actions, no matter how heavy they are. I know better than anyone.”

Pg 42, The Sister

41csvk9nzml-_sx332_bo1204203200_” “I did something terrible Grace. I hope you can forgive me …”

Grace hasn’t been the same since the death of her best friend Charlie. She is haunted by Charlie’s last words, and in a bid for answers, opens an old memory box of Charlie’s. It soon becomes clear there was a lot she didn’t know about her best friend.

When Grace starts a campaign to find Charlie’s father, Anna, a girl claiming to be Charlie’s sister steps forward. For Grace, finding Anna is like finding a new family, and soon Anna has made herself very comfortable in Grace and boyfriend Dan’s home.

But something isn’t right. Things disappear, Dan’s acting strangely and Grace is sure that someone is following her. Is it all in Grace’s mind? Or as she gets closer to discovering the truth about both Charlie and Anna, is Grace in terrible danger?

There was nothing she could have done to save Charlie …or was there? “

 

What are you reading right now?

 

Review: Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

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Image and blurb from Amazon:

“A striking fantasy tale of dark magic, dangerous politics, and discovering your true self—perfect for fans of Game of Thrones, An Ember in the Ashes and A Court of Thorns and Roses.

Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now the Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild the kingdom ever since.

Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, Winter’s future king—she would do anything to help Winter rise to power again.

So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore Winter’s magic, Meira decides to go after it herself—only to find herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics—and ultimately comes to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.”


thoughts

 

I thoroughly enjoyed this story. I pretty much read it in one sitting which is always a good sign. While the plot originally seemed fairly typical of a YA novel (kingdom overrun by evil, young unlikely protagonist fights to reclaim her kingdom, etc) there were quite a few twists and turns throughout the story that I enjoyed.

It took me a while to catch on to the structure of the world in Snow Like Ashes, but once I did I appreciated the world-building. There are eight kingdoms, four Season and four Rhythm. Many of the cities are a play on the names of months such as Jannuari and Abril. Each kingdom has a magical conduit that helps ensure prosperity for the people (good health, agriculture, etc). The way magic was incorporated into the world was clever. It was used in concert with nature to provide for the kingdoms, which is fitting with the structure of the world!

Yes, there is a lot of information shared when you first start reading but I felt it was necessary to understand the workings of Meira’s world and the relationships between the kingdoms. Meira’s kingdom is Winter, and sixteen years ago they were conquered. There are not many Winterians left but they are planning on fighting to retake their kingdom. Mather is the heir, and Meira’s childhood friend. She also has feelings for him.

Again, this has a lot of elements of a typical YA fantasy plot, but pretty early on the book takes a surprising turn and things really speed up from there!

I really liked Meira as a character. She was an exciting, kick-ass heroine. I like that she was so overeager and naive in the beginning. She desperately wanted to be “someone” in her kingdom. She wanted to do anything possible to help, when she was often too young and inexperienced to go on the missions. This mindset made for some great character development later in the story when Meira is forced to face some truly difficult decisions and is faced with the possible extinction of her kingdom. Also, those chakram are awesome! I loved seeing her fight with such a unique weapon.

 

So then there’s that love triangle…

I actually didn’t mind it, and I honestly think it added to the story. Typically, I am not a huge fan of love triangles because the first love is the young childhood friend who never has a chance when the protagonist meets her new, more interesting love interest. That was not the case in this book! Both Mather and Theron are complex, wonderful characters and I thoroughly enjoyed them both. I hope there is more to see from both of them!

I even loved the fact that later on in the book when things start to calm down, Meria notices that the two boys are still jealous, and how happy she is that that’s all she has to worry about. I definitely get annoyed in some books when something huge is happening (like the fate of a kingdom) and the girl is sitting there dreaming about her man like its the end of the world. The romance here was appropriate and gave us more insight into each of the characters.

Normally when there is a love triangle, I am a fan of the new guy. While I REALLY did enjoy Theron, I loved Mather as well! He is such a beautifully complex character and I am not ready to give up on him yet. His relationship with Meira is complicated and I think they both have a lot of growing to do. But he is definitely not this flat, annoying childhood friend character that we so often see in YA books. Poor Mather goes through so much in this book and I feel for him! I think he will have a huge impact on future books.

I truly enjoyed this story and I while I was pleased with some of the directions the plot took, I still felt as if it lacked that extra step of originality. However it does have excellent character development and world-building. I am not desperately running to pick up the next book but it is definitely on my TBR! 🙂

4/5

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Review: The Bird and The Sword by Amy Harmon

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Image and blurb from Amazon: 

“Swallow, daughter, pull them in, those words that sit upon your lips. Lock them deep inside your soul, hide them ‘til they’ve time to grow. Close your mouth upon the power, curse not, cure not, ‘til the hour. You won’t speak and you won’t tell, you won’t call on heaven or hell. You will learn and you will thrive. Silence, daughter. Stay alive.

The day my mother was killed, she told my father I wouldn’t speak again, and she told him if I died, he would die too. Then she predicted the king would sell his soul and lose his son to the sky.
My father has a claim to the throne, and he is waiting in the shadows for all of my mother’s words to come to pass. He wants desperately to be king, and I just want to be free.
But freedom will require escape, and I’m a prisoner of my mother’s curse and my father’s greed. I can’t speak or make a sound, and I can’t wield a sword or beguile a king. In a land purged of enchantment, love might be the only magic left, and who could ever love . . . a bird?”


 

thoughts

This book got great reviews and I was excited to start reading it. Also, the cover is beautiful! I was not really sure what to expect other than it being a fantasy, as the synopsis does not give away much information. One of the first things I noticed about the book is that the writing is wonderful. Harmon has excellent pacing and I enjoyed the story so much more due to the beautiful, lyrical writing. I love how the story is framed with the idea of the power of words. In this particular story they have a magical quality, but we also see how Lark learns the value of words by learning to read and write. She sees power in words and that is an important theme throughout the story.

Our main character is Lark, a mute narrator. Though she is quiet, she has no trouble communicating with those around her. She is a wonderful narrator and we get plenty of insight through her internal dialogue. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Lark’s character development throughout the story. She changes from someone who has been silent and caged for most of her life to someone who learns about herself and her gifts. She learns to use her words in a very powerful way.

Another major character is the king, Tiras. He is a complicated character as well. He has an unwavering loyalty to his kingdom but is also dealing with an internal struggle that prevents him from protecting the people of Jeru. While  I did enjoy Tiras and Lark’s interactions, I found their romance to be lacking. They definitely had their cute moments, but overall I felt as if the relationship was more strategic than anything else.

Other than Tiras and Lark, there were not any other well-developed characters. While I enjoyed learning about other characters such as Kjell, Lark’s father and Boojohni, they were not developed enough and they came across as very two-dimensional.

The plot itself was multi-layered and complex. On the surface, Lark and Tiras face a very physical threat to the kingdom. The story is also very much a coming of age/self-discovery story for both Lark and Tiras. I loved the symbolism of the title with the story, it has so many meanings! Both Lark and Tiras are caged (in a way) and are searching for a way to be free. Tiras wants to protect his kingdom, Lark’s father wants to be king and protects Lark’s life but also holds her back. I believe Harmon intended for there to be multiple meanings for the bird and the sword in the title. I also enjoyed the twists at the end as well as Lark’s revelations about herself and the power of her words.

Finally, I really enjoyed some aspects of the world-building although I wish this too was developed more. Towards the beginning of the book we learn about the history of the changers, tellers, spinners and healers but that was all we learned about them. Why were the abilities so varied in different people? Why did some people seem to have multiple abilities? Why were some people stronger than others? Some of these questions were not fully explained, just accepted as fact in the story. There was a lot of beautiful dialogue about these gifts but nobody explained it further.

I was overall quite satisfied with the story and will definitely be picking up another Amy Harmon book in the future! I do wish there was more development from the supporting characters and the world-building, but that is mostly because I was so interested in Lark’s world and I wanted to learn more. It is a lovely book and I would definitely recommend.

4/5

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Kindle Deal: An Ember in the Ashes

I am always a fan of great deals on my kindle. An Ember in the Ashes is now $2.99 for the ebook! I’m pretty sure I bought it for wayyy more than that. If you haven’t read it yet, you should definitely pick it up. You can see my review of it here. The sequel comes out soon and it looks AMAZING!


an-ember-in-the-ashes-by-sabaa-tahirFrom Amazon: “Laia is a slave. Elias is a soldier. Neither is free.
 
Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.
 
It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.
 
But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.
 
There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.”