Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven | REVIEW

Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven
Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers on October 4th 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 400
Format: ARC

LINKS: Good Reads | Amazon | Indigo | Book Depository

Holding Up the Universe

Everyone thinks they know Libby Strout, the girl once dubbed “America’s Fattest Teen.” But no one’s taken the time to look past her weight to get to know who she really is. Following her mom’s death, she’s been picking up the pieces in the privacy of her home, dealing with her heartbroken father and her own grief. Now, Libby’s ready: for high school, for new friends, for love, and for EVERY POSSIBILITY LIFE HAS TO OFFER. In that moment, I know the part I want to play here at MVB High. I want to be the girl who can do anything. 

Everyone thinks they know Jack Masselin, too. Yes, he’s got swagger, but he’s also mastered the impossible art of giving people what they want, of fitting in. What no one knows is that Jack has a newly acquired secret: he can’t recognize faces. Even his own brothers are strangers to him. He’s the guy who can re-engineer and rebuild anything in new and bad-ass ways, but he can’t understand what’s going on with the inner workings of his brain. So he tells himself to play it cool: Be charming. Be hilarious. Don’t get too close to anyone.

Until he meets Libby. When the two get tangled up in a cruel high school game—which lands them in group counseling and community service—Libby and Jack are both pissed, and then surprised. Because the more time they spend together, the less alone they feel. . . . Because sometimes when you meet someone, it changes the world, theirs and yours.

🌟🌟🌟🌟

4 Stars

* Received an ARC from Penguin Random House via Indigo for a honest review *

First Line:

I’m not a shitty person, but I’m about to do a shitty thing.


Review

COVER 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟           PLOT 🌟🌟🌟

CHARACTERS 🌟🌟🌟🌟    ROMANCE 🌟🌟🌟

WRITING 🌟🌟🌟🌟        EMOTION 🌟🌟🌟🌟

It’s about the important things, like the way their face lights up when they laugh, or the way they move as they’re walking towards you, or the way their freckles create a map of the stars.

Holding Up the Universe – Jennifer Niven

Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven is contemporary young adult novel that stirred up some controversy before release based off a touchy synopsis and a certain type of character. BUT I am hear to tell you that this book is wonderfully written and very real in the interpretation of an overweight character, as well as a one who is face blind. Here is why:

The Good

Firstly can we stop and appreciate this pretty cover for a moment? I love the simplicity of it all, and the colors used. It represents the story well in terms of Jack being face blind, hence all the blurred circles, but being able to see Libby perfectly, hence the one clear marble. Or was that just me thinking that?

Although the original synopsis stirred up quite a bit of pre-read controversy, I have to say it holds no stance on the overall end results of this book. Holding Up the Universe is about a girl who was once the most overweight teen in America, and one of the most popular boys at school who happens to suffer from Prosopognosia (face blindness).

Niven does a fantastic job at making the characters come to life with real life situations and topics like bullying, fat shaming, and the loss of a parent. You can tell she has done a lot of research on Prosopognosia and was able to explain it perfectly. I thought the characters especially Libby and Jack were well fleshed out and each had their own clear and distinct voice and narrative.

Although there was very little to do plot wise as I felt this was a very character driven story, I was never bored. I think this has to do with Niven’s writing style. She has a way of making you feel things you never thought you had inside you. This time around as it’s her second YA novel, she goes for a more lighter subject matter but is still able you make your insides turn to mush.

This is a beautiful story about being seen in more than one aspect. Libby wants people to look past her weight and see her for who she truly is, which Jack is able to do. And for Jack, he just wants to see and remember people, especially his family members. If there is one thing to take away from Holding Up the Universe, it’s the important message of self worth. Stop looking at your flaws, everyone has them, and start appreciating what you’re good at!

Dear friend, You are not a freak. You are wanted. You are necessary. You are the only you there is. Don’t be afraid to leave the castle. It’s a great big world out there. Love, a fellow reader

Holding Up the Universe – Jennifer Niven

 

The Bad

Do I think Holding Up the Universe is as strong as her first novel, All the Bright Places? No, I don’t. I think her choice to touch on a more lighter subject matter was a good decision, but it just didn’t resonate with me as much as All the Bright Places did.

Plot wise, there really isn’t one. Did this affect the story in a negative way? No. But had there been more of an end goal here I think it might have made a bigger impact. It’s not to say that I didn’t take a lot away after reading it, I’m just saying there could have been more in my opinion.

Finally the romance. I found it rather dull. I don’t think Libby and Jack are endgame. I would much have preferred if they blossomed more with a strong friendship and appreciation for each other before jumping into a lack luster romance. I guess you can’t win them all.

It’s my experience that the people who are most afraid are the ones who hide behind mean and threatening words.

Holding Up the Universe – Jennifer Niven

I do think there is a lot to take away from this book and I highly recommend everyone to read it. The message of self worth is one worth hearing.

Let me know what you guys thought of Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven! I would love to hear your opinions as well!

Until next time,

Sig 3

TWITTER | GOOD READS | INSTAGRAM | BLOG LOVIN’

#ToBeSeen

Jennifer NivenHolding Up the Universe is Jennifer Niven’s second book for young adult readers, her first being All the Bright Places, but she has written four novels for adults —American Blonde, Becoming Clementine, Velva Jean Learns to Fly, and Velva Jean Learns to Drive — as well as three nonfiction books, The Ice Master, Ada Blackjack, and The Aqua Net Diaries, a memoir about her high school experiences. Although she grew up in Indiana, she now lives with her fiance and literary cats in Los Angeles, which remains her favorite place to wander.

The Swan Riders by Erin Bow (Prisoners of Peace #2)| REVIEW

The Swan Riders by Erin Bow (Prisoners of Peace #2)
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books on September 20th 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Dystopian, Sci-Fi
Pages: 384
Format: ARC

LINKS: Good Reads | Amazon | Indigo | Book Depository

The Swan RidersGreta Stuart had always known her future: die young. She was her country’s crown princess, and also its hostage, destined to be the first casualty in an inevitable war. But when the war came it broke all the rules, and Greta forged a different path.

She is no longer princess. No longer hostage. No longer human. Greta Stuart has become an AI.

If she can survive the transition, Greta will earn a place alongside Talis, the AI who rules the world. Talis is a big believer in peace through superior firepower. But some problems are too personal to obliterate from orbit, and for those there are the Swan Riders: a small band of humans who serve the AIs as part army, part cult.

Now two of the Swan Riders are escorting Talis and Greta across post-apocalyptic Saskatchewan. But Greta’s fate has stirred her nation into open rebellion, and the dry grassland may hide insurgents who want to rescue her – or see her killed. Including Elian, the boy she saved—the boy who wants to change the world, with a knife if necessary. Even the infinitely loyal Swan Riders may not be everything they seem.

Greta’s fate—and the fate of her world—are balanced on the edge of a knife in this smart, sly, electrifying adventure.

🌟🌟🌟🌟

4 Stars

*** CHECK OUT THE REVIEW FOR BOOK ONE: THE SCORPION RULES ***
** MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS: READ AT OWN RISK!!!**
* Received an ARC from Simon & Schuster Canada for a honest review *

First Line:

One of the advantages of a purely mechanical body is that you can literally bang your head into things in frustration.


Review

COVER 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟           PLOT 🌟🌟🌟🌟

CHARACTERS 🌟🌟🌟🌟    ROMANCE 🌟🌟🌟

WRITING 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟        WORLD 🌟🌟🌟🌟


The Swan Riders by Erin Bow is the sequel to The Scorpion Rules and the conclusion to the Prisoner’s of Peace duology. It literally picks up where the first book leaves off and takes us on a long a grueling journey of self discovery and what it means to be human. I definitely had a much better reading experience this time around and here is why:

The Good

First off I want to talk about the interesting plot, or lack there of. But I mean that in a good way. Through out the whole book there is a war of rebellion going on the in background, but the story doesn’t focus on overcoming that. The Swan Riders focuses on the characters and the struggles to stay human. It was not plot driven that’s for sure; definitely all about the characters.

Greta still remains one of my favorite aspects of the story. She is no longer human. She gave that right up at the end of The Scorpion Rules to save Elian. She is now AI (artificial intelligence). Now she is Talis’ most prized valuable. She goes through major growth moments over the course of the book and remains the strong and in control character I love.

Talis on the other hand does a total 180. We see him become human again. With that comes hardships and pain. He is dying now. I don’t think in the last 400 years has anyone seen Talis as vulnerable as he was in The Swan Riders. But I think that was such an important aspect to the story. We need to remind ourselves of where we come from and remember to stay humble in the process.

Bow knocks it out of the park with her writing. I was fully immersed within the story because of it. The way she weaves her scenes, characters and dialogue together was masterful. Where as I had some trouble following her writing in The Scorpion Rules, that was not the case this time around.

It was fun to read about a post apocalyptic Canada. The descriptions really made the world come alive for me. I thought it was very unique and creative. I loved the world Bow has created here.

I absolutely love the cover of The Swan Riders. It follows the redesigned look of The Scorpion Rules but switching out the scorpions for swans and using a very pretty blue as the background. It’s simple yet sci-fi looking which is totally fitting for this new world that Bow has built.

The Bad

Sadly the romance level in The Swan Riders was rather dull. I get that it doesn’t play a huge role in the story, I just wish there was a little more of a spark between the love interest that played out this time around. Greta and Elian just have nothing going for them, especially since I felt more of spark between Greta and Xie from The Scorpion Rules. But that’s alright, it didn’t take away from my overall satisfaction of the book!


I am definitely satisfied with how the Prisoner’s of Peace has ended. It has left just enough open for you to wonder what’s next, but not enough for you to be pulling your hair out for the sake of it.

Let me know what you guys thought of The Swan Riders by Erin Bow! I would love to hear your opinions as well!

Until next time,

Sig 3

TWITTER | GOOD READS | INSTAGRAM | BLOG LOVIN’

#NoLongerHuman

Erin BowTEN THINGS ABOUT ME:

1. I’m a physicist turned poet turned YA novelist.
2. I am world-famous in Canada, which is kind of like being world-famous in real life.
3. I wrote a book about Greta Gustafsen Stuart, Duchess of Halifax and Crown Princess of the Pan Polar Confederacy: THE SCORPION RULES, Simon & Schuster Fall 2015
4. I wrote a not-at-all-cute book with a talking cat in it: PLAIN KATE (called WOOD ANGEL in the UK), Scholastic Fall 2010
5. I wrote a book about cat’s cradles that can repel spirit zombies: SORROW’S KNOT, Scholastic Fall 2013
6. All these books will make you either cry on the bus or snort milk out your nose. I am dangerous to your dignity and should be stopped.
7. I think Hufflepuff is the best house, Xander was the best Scoobie, Five was the best Doctor, and Spock was the best everything.
8. I am married to another novelist, and we can actually pay our bills.
9. My daughters want to be scientists.
10. My bookshelves will always be full.

The Darkest Magic by Morgan Rhodes (Spirits and Thieves #2)| REVIEW

The Darkest Magic by Morgan Rhodes (Spirits and Thieves #2)
Published by Razorbill on June 28th 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Magic
Pages: 426
Format: Hardcover

LINKS: Good Reads | Amazon | Indigo | Book Depository

The Darkest MagicModern-day Toronto: Sisters Crystal and Becca Hatcher are reunited after reclaiming the Bronze Codex and narrowly escaping death. They have no one to trust but each other, and the only thing keeping them safe is the book that sent Becca’s spirit to Ancient Mytica–the same book that their enemies would kill them for.

Ancient Mytica: Maddox grapples to keep his newly discovered powers under control, while the ruthless goddess Valoria hunts him down.

Modern-day Toronto: Farrell embraces his dark side as he unwittingly falls further under the spell of Markus, the mastermind leader of the nefarious Hawkspear Society, who will stop at nothing to find Crys and Becca–and the remarkable book in their possession.

🌟🌟🌟🌟

4 Stars

*** CHECK OUT THE REVIEW FOR BOOK ONE: A Book of Spirits and Thieves ***
** MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS: READ AT OWN RISK!!!**

First Line:

Each step he took was torture.


Review

COVER 🌟🌟🌟           PLOT 🌟🌟🌟🌟

CHARACTERS 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟    ROMANCE 🌟🌟🌟

WRITING 🌟🌟🌟🌟        WORLD 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟


The Good

The Darkest Magic by Morgan Rhodes is the second novel in the Spirits and Thieves Trilogy. It is part of the companion series to Falling Kingdoms (my favorite YA fantasy series EVER!). It picks up right after the events of the first book. Crys and Becca are being secluded into hiding with the Bronze Codex, Farrell is diving deeper into the Markus King cult while trying not to go crazy with his dead brother crowding his thoughts, and Maddox back in Mytica is on a journey to overthrow Valoria from the throne.

I found this time that the characters had more time to be fleshed out and better developed. I can see a lot of growth with Becca and Crys. I love their fighting spirit and not taking no for an answer. But my favorite character overall is Maddox. You can see major growth with his character as he learns more and more about what his powers are actually capable of doing.

I like that Morgan sticks with her usual fast paced writing style. Everything flowed nicely and each character has their own individual voice and speech patterns. There was a never a dull moment and the descriptions didn’t take away from the story as a whole.

The plot is a bit finicky for me in this one. To be honest I might be on the opposite side of the majority when I say I look forward to Maddox’s POV the most. I am absolutely loving the history of Mytica. All the lies and betrayals, why Valoria and Cleiona are the way they are is just so fascinating to me. Although the modern day Toronto is a nice addition to the Spirits and Thieves series, I definitely enjoy the Mytican parts more.

The world building keeps getting more and more expansive. It’s nice to see that Morgan doesn’t stay inside the box with Mytica. We are finally getting more history and story behind the world I love so much. And that ending though…. I don’t know how I am going to wait another year to find out what it all means!

The Bad

Here comes the parts I like talking about the least. I didn’t find much wrong with The Darkest Magic, but it definitely doesn’t compare to my beloved Falling Kingdoms series!

First off I found some of the dialogue between characters to be a bit cheesy and cringe-worthy. Especially when Crys and Farrell are interacting with each other, or whenever Becca opens her mouth. (Ahhh, that sounds mean). I definitely click more with the way the Mytican characters interact with each other more then the modern day characters.

Finally, the romance is just not working for me. I definitely don’t like Crys and Farrell as a couple. They don’t seem to fit well with each other, and I don’t see how they are going to get past what Farrell did at the end of the first book. Becca and Maddox are way too insta-lovey for me. Their love seems to be a tad bit too kiddish to me. On the plus side of things, even though their really wasn’t any romance between them, I quite enjoy and ship Barbas and Liana together!


Ok, that’s it. That ending nearly killed me. I am dying to know what happens next. The wait is going to be killer. Let me know what you guys thought of The Darkest Magic by Morgan Rhodes! I would love to hear your opinions as well!

Until next time,

Sig 3

TWITTER | GOOD READS | INSTAGRAM | BLOG LOVIN’

#SpiritsAndThieves

Morgan RhodesMorgan Rhodes lives in Ontario, Canada. As a child, she always wanted to be a princess — the kind that knows how to wield a sharp sword to help save both kingdoms and princes from fire-breathing dragons and dark wizards. Instead, she became a writer, which is just as good and much less dangerous. Along with writing, Morgan enjoys photography, travel, reality TV, and is an extremely picky, yet voracious reader of all kinds of books. Under another pen name, she’s a national bestselling author of many paranormal novels. Falling Kingdoms is her first high fantasy.

Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova (Brooklyn Brujas #1) | REVIEW

Labyrinth LostLabyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova (Brooklyn Brujas #1)
Published by Sourcebooks Fire on September 6th 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Magic
Pages: 336
Format: ARC

LINKS: Good Reads | Amazon | Indigo | Book Depository

Nothing says Happy Birthday like summoning the spirits of your dead relatives.

Alex is a bruja, the most powerful witch in a generation…and she hates magic. At her Deathday celebration, Alex performs a spell to rid herself of her power. But it backfires. Her whole family vanishes into thin air, leaving her alone with Nova, a brujo boy she can’t trust. A boy whose intentions are as dark as the strange marks on his skin.

The only way to get her family back is to travel with Nova to Los Lagos, a land in-between, as dark as Limbo and as strange as Wonderland…

🌟🌟

2 Stars

* Received an ARC from Sourcebooks Fire viz NetGalley for a honest review *

First Line:

The second time I saw my dead Aunt Rosaria, she was dancing.


Review

COVER 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟           PLOT 🌟🌟🌟

CHARACTERS 🌟🌟🌟    ROMANCE 🌟🌟

WRITING 🌟🌟🌟🌟        WORLD 🌟


The Good

Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova is a whimsical fantasy filled book about a bruja (witch in spanish) coming into her powers and her struggles with wanting to be a normal teenager. Over all I hoped for more from Labyrinth Lost, but what I got was Wonderland-ish world filled with cliches.

As this is the good section of the review, I shall talk about what I did like about Labyrinth Lost. First off the cover is spectacular! It depicts the book perfectly. It has our main character Alex with day of the dead make-up. I love the color scheme the design team used as well. A+ to them!

Another great aspect of the book is the writing. Cordova knows how to write a book. Where the story lacked to grasp my attention, the writing kept me reading. It was whimsical and descriptive. The dialogue pushed the story forward instead of keeping it at a stand still and each character was given a very distinctive voice which I appreciated.

I would also like to point out how much I appreciated the diversity Labyrinth Lost provides. We definitely need more books like this one!

The Bad

Now onto the bad news…

The plot was good, but it wasn’t great in my opinion. There were no surprises that I didn’t see coming and it was pretty predictable. I loved the first 30% of the book more than anything else. I preferred the real world plotline over the fantastical one Cordova decided to take it.

Which brings me to the world, my least favorite part of Labyrinth Lost. I hated it, and I know that sounds a bit harsh, but there is no other way to express it. Los Lagos, the world Alex and her friends travel to, to save her family was really dry and boring and nothing I haven’t read before. I wish Cordova stayed in New York with the story because I would have found that aspect more interesting.

Then we have the characters and the “romance” if that’s what you want to call it. I loved the dynamic between Alex and her two sisters, and I disliked the dynamic between Alex, Nova, and Rishi. I found there was a lot of unnecessary bickering between them, and I felt no connection with them what so ever. The whole love triangle that was blooming could have been done better. I felt it to be a bit rushed and there was no sparks at all. Very disappointing.


Ok, that’s it. Read it for the diversity and Bruja aspects, don’t read it for the dull romance and lack luster world. Let me know what you guys thought of Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova! I would love to hear your opinions as well!

Until next time,

Sig 3

TWITTER | GOOD READS | INSTAGRAM | BLOG LOVIN’

#BrooklynBrujas

Zoraida CordovaZoraida Córdova was born in Ecuador and raised in Queens, New York. She is the author of The Vicious Deep trilogy, the On the Verge series, and Labyrinth Lost. She loves black coffee, snark, and still believes in magic. Send her a tweet @Zlikeinzorro

The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow (Prisoners of Peace #1)| REVIEW

The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow (Prisoners of Peace #1)
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books on June 7th 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Dystopian, Sci-Fi
Pages: 400
Format: Paperback

LINKS: Good Reads | Amazon | Indigo | Book Depository

The Scorpion RulesGreta is a Duchess and a Crown Princess. She is also a Child of Peace, a hostage held by the de facto ruler of the world, the great Artificial Intelligence, Talis. This is how the game is played: if you want to rule, you must give one of your children as a hostage. Start a war and your hostage dies.

The system has worked for centuries. Parents don’t want to see their children murdered.

Greta will be free if she can make it to her eighteenth birthday. Until then she is prepared to die with dignity, if necessary. But everything changes when Elian arrives at the Precepture. He’s a hostage from a new American alliance, and he defies the machines that control every part of their lives—and is severely punished for it. His rebellion opens Greta’s eyes to the brutality of the rules they live under, and to the subtle resistance of her companions. And Greta discovers her own quiet power.

Then Elian’s country declares war on Greta’s and invades the prefecture, taking the hostages hostage. Now the great Talis is furious, and coming himself to deliver punishment. Which surely means that Greta and Elian will be killed…unless Greta can think of a way to break all the rules.

🌟🌟🌟

3 Stars

First Line:

Once upon a time, at the end of the world.


Review

COVER 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟           PLOT 🌟🌟

CHARACTERS 🌟🌟🌟🌟         ROMANCE 🌟🌟🌟🌟

WRITING 🌟🌟🌟        WORLD 🌟🌟🌟

No, blowing up cities doesn’t work, not in the long term. You’ve got to find something that the people in charge aren’t willing to give up. A price they aren’t willing to pay.

Which leads us to Talis’s first rule for stopping wars: make it personal.

The Scorpion Rules – Erin Bow

The Good

The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow was definitely an interesting read for me. I’m a bit confused still even after reading it to be honest, but that’s not a bad thing. It follows Greta, a Child of Peace in a dystopian future of Canada. A world ruled by an AI, Talis as he tries to keep the peace among warring nations.

I loved that this book got a cover change. I disliked the previous cover and I can say that was one of the reasons I never picked the book up to begin with. But with this new cover it definitely drew me in to give it another shot!

I loved Greta as a character. All her life she knew that there was a chance that she was going to die as a Child of Peace. Let me explain what that means. So all the ruling nations of the world must give up their heir to Talis the AI. They live on a precepture with all the other children until they turn 18 and can return to their nations. The purpose behind this is to try and prevent the nations from going to war because if they do their child and only heir will die. Now flash forward back to Greta. She is strong, and intelligent and a natural born leader. I love how she interacts with the other children and friends, as well as her budding romance with Da Xia.

Talis on the other hand was the life of this book. You only hear of him in the beginning half of the book through reciting of his laws, and they were sassy as hell. Then by the last half of the book he makes his appearance through one of his Swan Riders (he took over her body with his operating system). Let me tell you, he doesn’t disappoint. He is just as sassy in person as he is in his law making.

Everyone needs to read this book, even just to meet Talis. He will by far go down as one of my favorite villain type characters!

I wished for impossible things. It was never going to have been a fairy tale for us. There are no fairy tales about two princesses.

The Scorpion Rules – Erin Bow

The Bad

There was nothing inherently wrong with this The Scorpion Rules, but I did find a couple of disappointments. One being the plot and pacing. I thought it was very dry and slow at times. I mean it spends a lot of time farming and playing around with goats. Yes I’m being serious.

Unfortunately Bow’s writing didn’t quite sit well with me. It felt a little all over the place in certain chapters then others and left me confused a lot of the time. It was quite unique, but it just didn’t work for me.

The love triangle was a bit exhausting at times as well. But I did like that Greta made a decision in the end and we were left hanging with who she might end up with.

Let me tell you something that I learned from my youth, from a sage called the Road Runner. You can walk off a cliff and the air will hold you. Only, don’t look down.

The Scorpion Rules – Erin Bow


Like I said before, there was nothing out rightly wrong with this, it just didn’t blow me away. I did enjoy it as a whole though and will definitely be picking up the sequel! Let me know what you guys thought of The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow! I would love to hear your opinions as well!

Until next time,

Sig 3

TWITTER | GOOD READS | INSTAGRAM | BLOG LOVIN’

#OneWrongMove

Erin BowTEN THINGS ABOUT ME:

1. I’m a physicist turned poet turned YA novelist.
2. I am world-famous in Canada, which is kind of like being world-famous in real life.
3. I wrote a book about Greta Gustafsen Stuart, Duchess of Halifax and Crown Princess of the Pan Polar Confederacy: THE SCORPION RULES, Simon & Schuster Fall 2015
4. I wrote a not-at-all-cute book with a talking cat in it: PLAIN KATE (called WOOD ANGEL in the UK), Scholastic Fall 2010
5. I wrote a book about cat’s cradles that can repel spirit zombies: SORROW’S KNOT, Scholastic Fall 2013
6. All these books will make you either cry on the bus or snort milk out your nose. I am dangerous to your dignity and should be stopped.
7. I think Hufflepuff is the best house, Xander was the best Scoobie, Five was the best Doctor, and Spock was the best everything.
8. I am married to another novelist, and we can actually pay our bills.
9. My daughters want to be scientists.
10. My bookshelves will always be full.

This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab (Monsters of Verity #1) | REVIEW

This Savage SongThis Savage Song by Victoria Schwab (Monsters of Verity #1)
Published by Greenwillow Books on July 5th 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal
Pages: 464
Format: Hardcover

LINKS: Good Reads | Amazon | Indigo | Book Depository

There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from author Victoria Schwab, a young woman and a young man must choose whether to become heroes or villains—and friends or enemies—with the future of their home at stake. The first of two books.

Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives.

🌟🌟🌟🌟

4 Stars

First Line:

No one must suspect what I plan to do tonight.


Review

COVER 🌟🌟🌟🌟           PLOT 🌟🌟🌟🌟

CHARACTERS 🌟🌟🌟🌟    ROMANCE 🌟🌟🌟

WRITING 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟        WORLD 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

I mean, most people want to escape. Get out of their heads. Out of their lives. Stories are the easiest way to do that.

This Savage Song – Victoria Schwab

The Good

This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab is a fantastic story about what it means to be human. It follows two protagonists, Kate and August. One is a monster and one is human. If we didn’t already know right off the bat who was who, I would say the roles could have been reversed. After a the start of a conflict between two sides of the city, Kate and August must run away together to escape, but ultimately to live. What a wild ride that was.

I loved Schwab’s writing. It was lyrical and raw. When a book can question your own humanity and what it means to be so, you know it has to be fantastic writing. Structurally I thought it flowed really nicely and I felt the pacing was perfect for a story like this. Schwab took her time telling the story and fleshing out her characters. Definitely one of the highlights of the story.

If there is one thing you take away from this review, it’s that August is probably one of my favorite characters ever written. He may be a monster, but he is more human then any of us will ever be. Throughout This Savage Song we see him in struggle after struggle. He fights his monstrosity all the way through. All he wants to be is a normal human being, but I think he embodies all the characteristics it takes to be one. He is flawed and real and that is what I loved about him.

Kate on the other hand was a tad annoying. But that is not because of bad storytelling or writing, it is because of her father. For a human, she acts more like a monster then August, but that is only because she believes she has something to prove. She grows exponentially throughout the story, going back on what she was raised to think and do. She makes decisions for herself and doesn’t let her father run her life.

One other highlight of This Savage Song is the world that was created. I love the idea of a world filled with real monsters. Schwab did a fantastic job bringing it to life and making it realistic too. Even with the creations of the different types of monsters I thought was quite creative.

Even if surviving wasn’t simple, or easy, or fair.
Even if he could never be human.
He wanted the chance to matter.
He wanted to live.

This Savage Song – Victoria Schwab

The Bad

There wasn’t too much that bothered me about This Savage Song. Which I guess is a good thing. There were only two small things that irked me a bit. One being the romance between Kate and August, and the plot itself.

For the romance I don’t feel like Kate and August are a good match. I’m not quite sure if it’s even going down the romance road either. But I literally felt nothing from their chemistry together. And as for the plot, you don’t really know what the endgame is or which direction it might be heading until maybe 70% into it. Which I guess is a good thing. It sets itself up for a good sequel to take what This Savage Song brought to the table and run with it.

I guess we’ll just have to wait and find out what happens in Book 2!

You wanted to feel alive, right? It doesn’t matter if you’re monster or human. Living hurts.

This Savage Song – Victoria Schwab

I quite enjoyed what I read, this being my first Schwab book. Let me know what you guys thought of This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab! I would love to hear your opinions as well!

Until next time,

Sig 3

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#NoSuchThingAsSafe

Victoria SchwabVictoria Schwab is the product of a British mother, a Beverly Hills father, and a southern upbringing. Because of this, she has been known to say “tom-ah-toes,” “like,” and “y’all.”

She also tells stories.

She loves fairy tales, and folklore, and stories that make her wonder if the world is really as it seems.

Harley Quinn’s Greatest Hits by Paul Dini | REVIEW

Harley Quinn's Greatest HitsHarley Quinn’s Greatest Hits by Paul Dini
Published by DC Comics on July 19th 2016
Genres: Graphic Novel, Superheroes
Pages: 160
Format: Trade Paperback

LINKS: Good Reads | Amazon | Indigo | Book Depository

Get ready for this summer’s most anticipated movie SUICIDE SQUAD with the comics that inspired the film, including fan-favorite character Harley Quinn!

Love makes you do crazy things. And Suicide Squad member Harley Quinn is madly in love.

After springing her psychotic killer boyfriend, the Joker, from Arkham Asylum, former psychiatrist Harleen Quinzel put on a clown costume and said sayonara to sanity. Now Harley brings her own unique brand of psychosis and revelry to whatever she does, whether it’s causing mayhem alongside her beloved Mistah J., saving the world as the nuttiest member of the Suicide Squad, or relaxing with her gal pals Poison Ivy and Catwoman. With her deranged mix of fear and fun, she knows how to leave a crowd in stiches!

HARLEY QUINN’S GREATEST HITS collects eight of the lovesick lunatic’s best stories from such talented writers and artists as Paul Dini, Bruce Timm, Jim Lee, Jeph Loeb, Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti, Scott Snyder and more.

Collects BATMAN ADVENTURES #12, BATMAN #613, COUNTDOWN #10, GOTHAM CITY SIRENS #7, SUICIDE SQUAD #1, BATMAN #13, HARLEY QUINN #21 and HARLEY QUINN AND SUICIDE SQUAD APRIL FOOL’S SPECIAL #1.

🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

5 Stars

First Line:

Love makes you do crazy things.


Review

COVER 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟     STORY-TELLING 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

CHARACTERS 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟    ARTWORK 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

WRITING 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟        WORLD 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟


Harley Quinn’s Greatest Hits is a collection of Harley Quinn’s best adventures in the DC Comics world. Starting from her origins and first appearances to her most recent hits over the last couple of years. In this review I will take you through each story and why I loved it!

The Origin of Harley Quinn

This one explains it all from the beginning. Who is Harley Quinn, and where did she come from? You can find that all in The Origin of Harley Quinn.

As a die hard Harley Quinn fan, most of this info wasn’t new to me, but it was still refreshing to see the story on the page. Originally published in Countdown #10 in 2008, many years after her original debut.

Batgirl: Day One

Here we have Harley Quinn’s first appearance in print from Batman Adventures #12 in 1993. It’s Batgirl’s first night on the job and who does she have to go up against? Not just Harley, the Joker’s new girlfriend, but Poison Ivy and Catwoman as well.

What I really liked about this one is the original jester costume Harley Quinn used to wear. I really miss it even though I love the modernized apparel she wears now. It was rather nostalgic to see! And she really kicked some butt, and you will just have to read if she succeeds!

The Opera

Harley’s first big solo heist against the Bat himself. Originally published in Batman #613 in 2003, ten years after her first appearance. What I love about this story is we finally get to see what she can do on her own. No longer standing in the shadow of the Joker, she takes over the Opera house and ends up walking away with some precious jewels.

The good guys can’t always win right? This story is proof of that!

Holiday Story

We get some more backstory of Harley and her family in Holiday Story, originally published in Gotham City Sirens #7 in 2010. Harley goes home for Christmas to her mother that tries to welcome her with open arms, a dead beat brother and his two kids, and a visit to her father in prison.

It was nice to get more insight into Harley’s life behind the mask and it really opens up your eyes to the reasons for the choices she’s had to make.

Kicked in the Teeth

Harley is recruited for the Suicide Squad in Kicked in the Teeth originally published in Suicide Squad #1 in 2011. She ditches her old jester costume for a more modern and sexy one in this new version of Harley Quinn.

I loved seeing the more dark and twisted side Harley takes on in the Suicide Squad, a slight difference to the Harley you see on the big screen.

Tease

In Tease originally published in Batman #13 in 2012 we see how badly the Joker has messed up Harley’s mind and heart. This one was a little harder to read because of how sad and real it felt. But I guess she couldn’t get to wear to she is now without having gone through that trauma.

I still find it baffling how she was so madly in love with that psychopath that only hurt her every chance he got. Definitely a toxic relationship.

Tug A’ War

Finally one of her own stories from her solo series originally published in Harley Quinn #21 in 2015. In this issue she goes head to head with Deadshot and you can see that she tries her best to do the right thing, even if her methods of achieving this are unorthodox.

This is one of my favorite versions of Harley. I love seeing her as the anti hero. I knew she couldn’t be all bad to the core!

Evil Anonymous

In Evil Anonymous we see Harley going through a little bit of a mind crisis. Orignally published in Harley Quinn and the Suicide Squad April Fool’s Special #1 in 2016, someone is mind-fucking with Harley. She reaches back into her roots as a psychiatrist for the baddies.

But it’s all just an ulterior mind trip by none other then Amanda Waller herself. I really hate her… Amanda Waller that is!


Overall a really well put together graphic novel of most of Harley’s best achievements and storylines. Let me know if you’ve read Harley Quinn’s Greatest Hits by Paul Dini! I would love to hear your opinions as well!

Until next time,

Sig 3

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#HarleyQuinnIsInsane

Poisoned Blade by Kate Elliott (Court of Fives #2) | REVIEW

Poisoned BladePoisoned Blade by Kate Elliott (Court of Fives #2)
Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers on August 16th 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Action & Adventure
Pages: 448
Format: Hardcover

LINKS: Good Reads | Amazon | Indigo | Book Depository

Jessamy is moving up the ranks of the Fives—the complex athletic contest favored by the lowliest Commoners and the loftiest Patrons in her embattled kingdom. Pitted against far more formidable adversaries, success is Jes’s only option, as her prize money is essential to keeping her hidden family alive. She leaps at the chance to tour the countryside and face more competitors, but then a fatal attack on Jes’s traveling party puts her at the center of the war that Lord Kalliarkos—the prince she still loves—is fighting against their country’s enemies. With a sinister overlord watching her every move and Kal’s life on the line, Jes must now become more than a Fives champion…She must become a warrior.

🌟🌟🌟🌟

4 Stars

*** CHECK OUT THE REVIEW FOR BOOK ONE: COURT OF FIVES ***
** MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS: READ AT OWN RISK!!!**
* Received an ARC from Hachette Book Group for a honest review *

First Line:

No one must suspect what I plan to do tonight.


Review

COVER 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟           PLOT 🌟🌟🌟🌟

CHARACTERS 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟    ROMANCE 🌟🌟🌟

WRITING 🌟🌟🌟🌟        WORLD 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟


The Good

Poisoned Blade by Kate Elliott continues right after the end of Court of Fives. Jessamy has saved her mother and sisters from the being tombed by Lord Gargaron and she has won her spot at the Garon stable at the expense of Lord Kalliarkos. With even more sneaking around the plot begins to thicken as characters’s true motives come into light.

With war on the horizon, Jessamy must stay on her toes as she is constantly reminded that people like her will never be safe and free. Elliott continues with her lyrical and descriptive writing that keeps you immersed and on the edge of your seat. She dwells deeper into the history and customs of the world she has built without holding anything back when it comes to the touchy subjects of racism and sexism.

I love all the strong female characters in Poisoned Blade. Jess continues to grow and adapt to her surroundings while never forgetting who she is where she comes from. She is always thinking about others before herself and will do anything to protect her family. Amaya has left the safety of her family’s safe house to be at her best friend/lover’s side behind the walls of the Gargaron’s Palace. Hidden behind her disguise she sneaks around to gather important information and would place herself in danger’s way to protect the ones she loves. Of course we have Kiya, the girl’s mother being the totem of wisdom and figure of peace everyone needs in times of trouble. Surprisingly, Lady Menoe shows she can be a real human being from time to time which was nice to see.

This was definitely a step up and forward for the series and of course the cliffhanger leaves you begging to find out what happens next. Too bad we have to wait for next year!

The Bad

I had very few issues with Poisoned Blade. My one big complaint comes from the many side plots popping up here and there. I felt it took away from the overall impact of the story and I found myself skimming through the ones that didn’t interest me too much.

My other complaint is with the romance. I feel like it isn’t quite consistent between Jess and Kal to the point where I am a bit irritated with the way they interact with each other. I mean I get it, Jess screwed him over in the first book, but come on Kal, pick up you big boy panties and move on. You were never really good at the Fives anyway.

Other then that, Poisoned Blade was magnificent and the one of the reasons I love the fantasy genre so much!


Fantastic sequel. I can’t praise this series enough. It definitely needs to be read by more people! Let me know what you guys thought of Poisoned Blade by Kate Elliott! I would love to hear your opinions as well!

Until next time,

Sig 3

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#SheMustFightAWar

Kate ElliottAs a child in rural Oregon, Kate Elliott made up stories because she longed to escape to a world of lurid adventure fiction. She now writes fantasy, steampunk, and science fiction, often with a romantic edge. It should therefore come as no surprise that she met her future husband in a sword fight.

When he gave up police work to study archaeology, they and their three children fell into an entirely new set of adventures in dusty Mexican ruins and mouthwatering European pastry shops. Eventually her spouse’s work forced them to move to Hawaii, where she took up outrigger canoe paddling.

Also, there is a schnauzer.

Morning Glories Volumes 3 & 4 | REVIEW

Morning Glories Vol. 3Morning Glories Vol. 3: P.E. by Nick Spencer & Joe Eisma
Published by Image Comics on July 10th 2012
Genres: Graphic Novel, Horror, Fiction
Pages: 241
Format: Trade Paperback

LINKS: Good Reads | Amazon | Indigo | Book Depository

One of the most prestigious prep schools in the country…But behind its hallowed doors something sinister and deadly lurks. When six brilliant but troubled new students arrive, they find themselves trapped and desperately seeking answers…and escape from a place where nothing is what it seems to be!

The critically acclaimed, smash-hit series rolls on with this collection of the blockbuster third arc, “P.E. ” The first days were just the beginning–when the faculty cancels classes and sends the students on an outing in the nearby woods, all hell breaks loose–sending the Glories on a mysterious journey through time and space.

🌟🌟🌟🌟

4 Stars

First Line:

Come on, ya little wimp… you can do better then that.


Review

COVER 🌟🌟🌟          PLOT 🌟🌟🌟🌟 

CHARACTERS 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟         ARTWORK 🌟🌟🌟🌟

WRITING 🌟🌟🌟🌟             WORLD 🌟🌟🌟🌟  


The Good

Morning Glories Vol. 3: P.E. by Nick Spencer and Joe Eisma was a wild but confusing ride for me. On one hand I love all the secrets and lies, and on the other, I still have no clue what the heck is going on. That might pose more of a problem as the volumes go on…

The stories behind what brought each of our six main characters to Morning Glory Academy have been fleshed out and better explained, while also somehow becoming even more complex and mysterious. But, weirdly, I’ve had no problem with the jumps back and forth in time, and I even like the way there’s no division, no break whatsoever, between the timelines as we read them. Some actually alternate from one frame to the next – here’s Casey now, here’s Casey then, here’s Casey now, etc., right down one page – and it works.

With every exchange between the students – good (?) girl Casey, lovable geek Hunter, tormented Jade, psychopath Ike, silent-but-maybe-deadly Jun, and homicidal mega-bitch Zoe – we get to know them so much better, and Spencer does this without using dull exposition dumps. Each character really does have a distinct voice, and none of them are one-dimensional. Indeed, I’m not even sure all of them – hell, ANY of them – are what we’ve been led to believe up to now… I wonder if even the characters know for certain what their true natures are, or what they’re capable of…

And oh, my goodness: an actual, honest, loving gay relationship subplot? I’m thrilled to see it done in a totally non-shocking, non-exploitative way, and it’s a love story I’d want to read more about, regardless of the sexes involved. I definitely did not see that coming!

The Bad

I just don’t understand what is going on. I have never been so confused about a story in my entire life. With so many characters and so many sub-plots to pay attention to, the actually story must be getting lost in the background. If you know what is going on here, please enlighten me… because this is getting ridiculous.


Morning Glories Volume 4Morning Glories Vol. 4: Truants by Nick Spencer & Joe Eisma
Published by Image Comics on May 7th 2013
Genres: Graphic Novel, Horror, Fiction
Pages: 168
Format: Trade Paperback

LINKS: Good Reads | Amazon | Indigo | Book Depository

Still reeling from the climactic events of “P.E.,” the Glories find themselves lost in time and space, confronted by a new group of students who might be even more dangerous than the faculty themselves – the truants! Questions are answered and new mysteries emerge as Season One comes to a shocking end! Collects Morning Glories #20-25.

🌟🌟🌟

3 Stars

First Line:

Oh my god–


Review

COVER 🌟🌟🌟🌟          PLOT 🌟🌟 

CHARACTERS 🌟🌟🌟          ARTWORK 🌟🌟🌟

WRITING 🌟🌟🌟             WORLD 🌟🌟


The Good

Morning Glories Vol. 4: Truants by Nick Spencer and Joe Eisma is starting to lose me. The confusion and utter lack of answers is beginning to annoy me. But let’s discuss the good stuff first.

The cover is pretty? Yeah that’s all I got.

The Bad

I just don’t get it. This was supposed to be the ending of the first season’s story arc. But it just felt like even more unanswered questions. Don’t even get me started on the introduction of 6 new students to mess you up. I spent most of this issue trying to figure out who is who, because to be honest the artwork of the characters are all starting to look alike. Especially Irina and Akiko.

I’m beginning to think Spencer has no idea what is going on either. This is starting to get dragged out for far too long just to print more issues. How about we start answering questions before new plots and ideas start making it to the page?

This volume just frustrated me beyond belief. Here’s hoping the next volume doesn’t continue on the decline it’s currently going on.


As you can see, my opinion drastically changes between volumes 3 and 4. This series is beginning to lose it’s spark with me, but I will give it two more volumes to change my mind before letting it go. Let me know what you guys thought of Morning Glories Volumes 3 & 4 by Nick Spencer and Joe Eisma! I would love to hear your opinions as well!

Until next time,

Sig 3

#MorningGloryAcademy

Nick SpencerNick Spencer is a comic book writer known for his creator-owned titles at Image Comics (Existence 2.0/3.0, Forgetless, Shuddertown, Morning Glories), his work at DC Comics (Action Comics, T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents), and for his current work at Marvel Comics (Iron Man 2.0, Ultimate Comics: X-Men).

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Joe EismaJoe Eisma is the artist & Co-creator of Morning Glories, the Eisner-nominated & NY Times Bestselling comic from Image Comics. Also worked for IDW and Boom! Studios

The Assassin Game by Kirsty McKay | REVIEW

The Assassin GameThe Assassin Game by Kirsty McKay
Published by Sourcebooks Fire on August 2nd 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller
Pages: 336
Format: ARC

LINKS: Good Reads | Amazon | Indigo | Book Depository

Who will be left after lights out?

At Cate’s isolated boarding school, Killer is more than a game- it’s an elite secret society. Members must avoid being “Killed” during a series of thrilling pranks, and only the Game Master knows who the “Killer” is. When Cate’s finally invited to join the Assassins’ Guild, she know it’s her ticket to finally feeling like she belongs.

But when the game becomes all too real, the school threatens to shut it down. Cate will do anything to keep playing and save the Guild. But can she find the real assassin before she’s the next target?

🌟🌟

2 Stars

* Received an ARC from Sourcebooks Fire via NetGalley for a honest review *

First Line:

It is about 4:00 a.m. when they come for me.


Review

COVER 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟           PLOT 🌟🌟

CHARACTERS 🌟🌟    ROMANCE 🌟

WRITING 🌟🌟🌟        THRILLS 🌟


The Good

I have never been so disappointed then I am with The Assassin Game by Kirsty McKay. But this is the good section, so I will talk about the very few good portions of the book here.

I’ll start off with the cover. The cover is what drew me into the book in the first place. The girl standing there with a mask on is really creepy! It reminds of The Purge movies. Then the title caught my attention. It is the name of the game I used to play with all my friends at night. So if The Assassin Game has anything going for it, it would be the cover and title!

Finally there was the synopsis. It explained the game I used to play perfectly but on a larger scale. Instead of just sitting around in a room, this game is played with pranks and public “kills.” Things begin to get all too real, which led me to believe the players actually start to die and Cate our main protagonist must try to find the real assassin and avoid being the next target herself. I was totally on board with this. But that is where all the good portions end. All the good portions are before you actually read the book.

The Bad

 ***At this point, there will be SPOILERS ***

Now we have the bad portions to talk about. So buckle up, it might be a bumpy ride from here.

There was nothing thrilling about The Assassin Game at all. To be honest I was actually bored 75% of the time reading it. The synopsis I found to be really misleading. When it says “when the game becomes all too real,” that lead me to believe that the players are actually going to die. But guess what? None of them do. Not a single player dies. One gets anaphylactic shock, and another gets poisoned. BORING.

The characters were all sub-par. Cate as the main protagonist didn’t really bring anything substantial to the table. I found her drab and unlikable. Vaughan the mysterious new member of the guild and Cate’s childhood best friend was creepy at most parts, but also unlikable. And don’t get me started on the side characters: Daniel, Marcia, Alex, and Rick. Their personalities and dialogue are completely off. I don’t think they were completely fleshed out.

McKay’s writing didn’t make up for the rotten plot, but it didn’t bomb the book either. But sadly enough, nothing about it thrilled me. For a mystery thriller, the writing should be able to keep you on your toes and to expect the unexpected. But sadly, I found myself skimming over parts and dreading the “mystery” of it all.

The romance between the two characters was off as well. I felt the romance was completely unnecessary, especially to the level the author took the relationship. I felt like it was just thrown into the story just to motivate the characters to save each other in the end, not to further or deepen the plot in any way.

Finally we have the most disappointing portion of all, the ending climax. We find out who the “killer” actually is, and to say I was not shocked is an understatement. At this point of the story, the 95% mark, I was just reading to finally be done with it all. I didn’t care anymore. The big reveal did nothing for me, and I found the “killer’s” motive to be completely superficial and dumb. I was pretty pissed to be honest. But then it ends, trying to tie up all the loose knots. Boring, boring, boring.


Ugh, the disappointment is real with this one. Let me know what you guys thought of The Assassin Game by Kirsty McKay! I would love to hear your opinions as well!

Until next time,

Sig 3

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#Play2Live

Kirsty McKayKirsty McKay is the author of Undead and Unfed, two wickedly funny zombie-comedies for teens. Now a full-time writer, Kirsty originally started out as an actress. She went on to write for the theater and has written extensively for commercial theater both in the UK and North America. Kirsty was born in the north-east of England, but currently lives with her husband and small daughter in the United States.

Her new novel Killer Game was published in July 2015.