Mid-Year Freak Out Tag! 2020

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Best book you’ve read so far in 2020

Origin (Lux #4) by Jennifer L.Armentrout

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@bookswithnatasa on Instagram!

 

 

 

Ignite Me (Shatter Me #3) by Tahereh Mafi

Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2020

Lord of Shadows (The Dark Artifices #2) by Cassandra Clare

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New release you haven’t read yet but want to

So many! The first two coming to mind are; Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare ( I’m not caught up yet) and Blood and Honey (Serpent & Dove #2) by Shelby Mahurin, I have an e-ARC.

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Most anticipated release for the second half of the year

The Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco

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Biggest Disappointment

A Heart So Fierce and Broken (Cursebreakers #2) by Brigid Kemmerer

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Biggest Surprise

Obsidian (Lux #1) by Jennifer L.Armentrout

117597529_656804588524638_2128174929958046954_n    @bookswithnatasa on Instagram!

Favorite New Author

Jennifer L.Armentrout!!! I finally picked up Obsidian the first book in the Lux series after my good friend Christina’s recommendation. I’m currently almost done with this series and has become one of my all-time favorites!

Newest Fictional Crush

Fictional Crush?! I hope you mean real crush that no one can see 😂

Daemon Black ❤️❤️❤️

Newest Favorite Characters

Daemon Black

Books that made you cry

I don’t think I have cried while reading a book this year, I rarely do!

Books that made you happy

The Lux books by Jennifer L.Armentrout

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Favorite book to film adaptation

Little Women

Favorite post you have done this year

Mm, I have no idea! I really enjoyed writing reviews for the Lux books.

Most beautiful book you’ve bought this year

I haven’t bought many books.

SJTR

What book do you need to read by the end of the year

Oh all of them! Some of the books on my 2020 TBR that I haven’t read and so many rereads 🤩🤩🤩

 

What has been your favorite read of this year so far?

 

 

Opal (Lux #3) by Jennifer L.Armentrout Review.

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Synopsis:

No one is like Daemon Black.

When he set out to prove his feelings for me, he wasn’t fooling around. Doubting him isn’t something I’ll do again, and now that we’ve made it through the rough patches, well… There’s a lot of spontaneous combustion going on.

But even he can’t protect his family from the danger of trying to free those they love.

After everything, I’m no longer the same Katy. I’m different… And I’m not sure what that will mean in the end. When each step we take in discovering the truth puts us in the path of the secret organization responsible for torturing and testing hybrids, the more I realize there is no end to what I’m capable of. The death of someone close still lingers, help comes from the most unlikely source, and friends will become the deadliest of enemies, but we won’t turn back. Even if the outcome will shatter our worlds forever.

Together we’re stronger…and they know it.

Review:

I can’t think. My heart is still racing. My sense of dread won’t disappear. And my cheeks, well they are still damp with tears. But you know what? I loved Opal. I loved every single heart wrenching, giggle-inducing, sighing moment. It has every element that I always seek in a book. That’s why I love Jennifer Armentrout’s writing so much, she always delivers! So now I find myself desperately trying to sort out my thoughts as quickly as possible so I can start the next book in this series. I have to know what is going to happen, until then, my heart will still hurt.

“Screw going home. This wasn’t the 1950s. I wasn’t a fragile human being. And I sure as hell wasn’t the Katy Daemon had initially met. He was going to have to deal with it.”

The ending of Onyx was phenomenal, in almost every way imaginable. Katy is back safe and sound and so is Dawson. They are both forever marked from the torture that they endured, but poor Dawson is almost crippled by it. He is barely a shadow of who he used to be, and that has everyone on pins and needles. Because he has to go back and get Beth. How could he ever live without her? But Dawson isn’t the only wild card in this book. Whatever happened to Will? Did the mutation take, are they bound to him forever, or did it fade away? And where did Blake go? Is their secret safe? With so many unknowns hanging in the air, this book was exciting, fast-paced, and shocked me quite a few times!

“I clamped my hand over my mouth, stifling a giggle. He was such an asshole, and I loved him.”

But my favorite element in this book, besides getting to see Dee a lot more (I LOVE her!), was that we get to see Katy and Daemon function as a team. Finally, yes finally, one wasn’t pushing the other away. And don’t worry, because even though they are together at last, we don’t lose out on any of our favorite types of moments that had us falling for them in the previous books. There’s still the snarky banter, which they do perfectly. There’s still the steamy tension. And they still have those moments that make you sigh and melt into a puddle. But with so much chaos constantly surrounding them, these moments felt exceptionally special and more meaningful. This along with my favorite characteristics (a kick-ass heroine who won’t take anyone’s crap and a bad boy who use to be a jerk but always had a heart of gold and will do anything for the ones he loves) makes it impossible for me not to still love them, even as they continue to still make mistakes.

“My heart stuttered and then skipped a beat. It sunk in and threatened to pull me through the seat. Shock washed over me, quickly followed by a bolt of anger so fierce I jerked forward. I couldn’t sit here. I couldn’t breathe.”

Of course, I’m not going to tell you any more than that. I never do but there were tons of things that happened that I never once saw coming. Neither did Katy or Daemon. The most shocking was that ending. That ending nearly destroyed me. I’m still in a state of panic and I can’t shake out of it. Wow, this series just keeps getting better and better!

My Rating: 5/5 stars.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Onyx (Lux #2) by Jennifer L.Armentrout Review.

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Synopsis:

Being connected to Daemon Black sucks…

Thanks to his alien mojo, Daemon’s determined to prove what he feels for me is more than a product of our bizarro connection. So I’ve sworn him off, even though he’s running more hot than cold these days. But we’ve got bigger problems.

Something worse than the Arum has come to town…

The Department of Defense is here. If they ever find out what Daemon can do and that we’re linked, I’m a goner. So is he. And there’s this new boy in school who’s got a secret of his own. He knows what’s happened to me and he can help, but to do so, I have to lie to Daemon and stay away from him. Like that’s possible. Against all common sense, I’m falling for Daemon. Hard.

But then everything changes…

I’ve seen someone who shouldn’t be alive. And I have to tell Daemon, even though I know he’s never going to stop searching until he gets the truth. What happened to his brother? Who betrayed him? And what does the DOD want from them—from me?

No one is who they seem. And not everyone will survive the lies…

Review:

This was a brilliant second installment to the Lux series. The tension and chemistry between Daemon and Katy were so steamy that I thought I would melt, the mystery that surrounded people and events left me reeling trying to figure out what was really going on and again that ending left my heart crying out in happiness and sadness for what had happened. Onyx was thoroughly addicting, and when I was done absorbing every single word and meaningful moment, I was desperately reaching for the next book in this series.

He took a fortifying breath. “I always liked you. From the moment you first flipped me off.”

We start out in one of my favorite situations. Daemon and his damn pen pestering Katy in class. How can something as simple as poking and bothering someone put the biggest grin on my face? Daemon is harassing Katy that they have to work off her trace, again. But things are different. Her and Daemon’s heartbeat are in sync, she can tell when he is near because her neck tingles, and after Katy gets sick she ventures into the unknown. With a thought, Katy can move and cause things to happen. Locker doors are opened, the shower is turned on, but why? Shouldn’t aliens be the only ones to do that?

Sometimes I seriously wanted to just punch him in the face, but it made me warm in all the right places to see this side of him again, too. “You’re insufferable.” “You like my kind of suffering.”

A new kid transfers to the school, a hottie who is a surfer named Blake. Let it be known that I loathe Blake. My heart is 1110% Daemon and it exasperated me that Katy would even fathom hanging around another boy. I understood why, but still, it drove me crazy! Katy feels a kinship to this normal, human boy and when she’s around him all things alien can momentarily be forgotten. Because after that epic battle, she needs some reprieve and normalness in her life. But Daemon has other plans. His jealousy and hatred for Blake was nothing short of entertaining. Daemon refused to call Blake by his real name. Ben, Brad, Bob, Biff, Bart, Bo and so on. I laughed each and every time! His confidence and cockiness knows no limits and he definitely lets Blake know that. Daemon and his infuriating sexiness (YAY!!!!!) is back in copious amounts in this book, so be prepared to be swooned while he tries to win Katy over!

I was used to the sarcastic and rude Daemon. In an odd way, that version was easier to deal with. We could trade insults all day. But this Daemon…this one who wouldn’t give up was kind and gentle, funny and – dear God – thoughtful.

I don’t want to say anymore, other than you are in for an exciting ride! My assumptions for events and people and my patience for stubborn Katy were definitely put to the test. And at the end of the book, I was elated with how the story progressed and ended. This is such a fun and sexy read and I highly recommend it!

“Not when you’re mine.” Daemon backed us up and slid down the wall, pulling me into his lap so I was straddling him. “And you’re mine.”

P.S I usually have a huge problem with nicknames. They rub me the wrong way and bug me throughout the whole book. BUT when Daemon calls Katy Kitten, oh my gosh, it makes my heart race! I love it!

My Rating: 5/5 stars.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Obsidian (Lux #1) by Jennifer L.Armentrout Review.

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Synopsis:

Starting over sucks.

When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I’d pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring…until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up.

And then he opened his mouth.

Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something…unexpected happens.

The hot alien living next door marks me.

You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon’s touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I’m getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades.

If I don’t kill him first, that is.

Review:

I’ll be honest here, I didn’t think I was going to love a book about aliens. That’s why I put off starting this book for so long. After listening to my good friend Christine rant about how amazing this series is pushing me to read it(Thank You Christine!) I decided to pick it up.  It’s not that I had anything against them, I just wasn’t sure if they were my ‘thing’, you know?? I was wrong. Horribly wrong. They are SO my thing. Well, at least Daemon is. Holy hotness. He’s just… *fans self*… seriously for a YA book, the sexual tension is just out of CONTROL!! I mean wow! I totally loved it!!

Ok… let’s talk about the book…

In an effort to ‘start over’ after her Dad dies, Katy’s mom moves them to a small town. And although Katy would much rather spend her time reading books or writing her review blog (yes, she writes a blog. So cool!! Instant bond!), her mom encourages her to get to know the neighbors… and she does. Meet Daemon Black. Gorgeous, tall, alluring. with dreamy emerald eyes. But after her first conversation with him, she quickly realizes he’s also arrogant, stab-worthy and oh-so-very-very-infuriating.

“He was probably the hottest guy I’d ever seen in real life, and he was a total douche. Go figure.”

“Beautiful face. Beautiful body. Horrible attitude. It was the holy trinity of hot boys.”

But something just feels a little off about him and his polar-opposite warm, sweet, fun twin sister who has befriended her. The way people treat them, little glances, tricks of the light… something about them is different and Katy is about to find exactly what it is.

I fell in love with this book and with the characters from the first chapter. It was fresh, fun, and catchy. The dialogue was snappy, the banter was awesome, the story-line was engaging, and there was Unresolved Sexual Tension thick enough to cut with a knife. I mean holyyyy!!

The writing style had an easy flowing pace that never dragged or felt rushed. Honestly, it just a purely enjoyable experience. Total brain candy 🙂

I loved the light feel of the book. The little hints at mystery. The humor. The snark. The intrigue. But despite the ‘alien’ thing, it never felt over-the-top fantastical. And it was quite refreshing to have a new twist on the typical paranormal storylines.

Daemon… I couldn’t help but fall for him. Underneath all the bad boy, arrogant, stab-worthiness was a really gorgeous softie that we got little glimpses of here and there. Oh, and he apologizes!!! I’m such a sucker for guys who are badass enough to apologize and still remain badass 🙂 Even before you read his POV scenes at the end, you can tell that he’s a good guy despite some of his infuriating actions.

But I loved that despite his chemistry with Katy being undeniable, she didn’t put up with Daemon’s crap – not even for a minute. She called him on it, gave him the middle finger on occasion, and just because she swooned over him, didn’t mean she just turned into a puddle of goo. She stood up for herself, held her own (I’m thinking about a certain cafeteria scene here involving pasta being dumped on someone’s head) and honestly, never annoyed me.

“Holy Hawt Chemistry, Batman!”

No kidding!! Half the time I just wanted to shove them at each other and be like ‘just kiss already!!!!!’

“Geez, I thought you guys were supposed to be nice and charming.”
He frowned. “What guys?”
“You know, the knight in shining armor and saving the damsel in distress kind.”…
“I’m not your knight.”

This book is a little different than a lot of romances because the main couple isn’t officially a couple for the whole of this book. There is a lot that comes between them. His kind isn’t supposed to mingle with humans and she is a huge liability to him, his family, and his people. But events just keep throwing them together and by the end, we do get some feeling of ‘togetherness’ between them. And quite honestly, with his attitude in the beginning, if they had gotten together any sooner, it wouldn’t have felt right.

As for the ending, this is the first book in a series of 5 so there is definitely a lead into the next book. But there is no nail-biting cliffhanger and although I promised myself that I would only read book #1 to see what all the fuss was about and then stop until the rest came out but I need MORE!!! So yeah… I’ll keep reading them as they come out 😛

Bottom line – definitely add this to the YA to-read pile! 🙂

My rating: 5/5 stars.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

 

July 2020 | TBR

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Opal ( Lux #3) by Jennifer L.Armentrout – first time read – ebook

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Origin (Lux #4) by Jennifer L.Armentrout – first time read – ebook

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Opposition (Lux #5) by Jennifer L.Armentrout – first time read – ebook

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Queen of Air and Darkness (The Dark Artifices #3) by Cassandra Clare – first time read – physical (make it to the halfway point)

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July 2020 | Wrap Up

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Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater – first time read – ebook

Rating: 5 stars

Read June 30th – July 6th

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The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater – first time read – ebook

Rating: 5 stars

Read July 7th – July 16th 

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Obsidian by Jennifer L.Armentrout – first time read – ebook

Rating: 5 stars.

Read July 17th – July 24th 

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Onyx by Jennifer L.Armentrout – first time read – ebook

Rating: 5 stars.

Read July 24th – July 30th

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The Raven King ( The Raven Cycle #4) by Maggie Stiefvater Review.

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Publisher: Scholastic Press

Publication Date: 26th April 2016

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy, Paranormal

Source: Amazon

Synopsis:

The fourth and final installment in the spellbinding series from the irrepressible, #1 New York Times bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater.

All her life, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love’s death. She doesn’t believe in true love and never thought this would be a problem, but as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

Review:

The story is set one week after the events of Blue Lily Lily Blue, with Maura and Artemus back in Fox Way along with the cryptical Gwenllian —the latter two who are not exactly getting along well— while the Gangsey & Co are still in the search for their Welsh King of Myth. A new addition to their group is made in the form of charismatic and brave Henry Cheng, who will reach and touch Gansey in more ways than one.

One final kiss will be shared.
Two last glimpses of special someones will be given, and without a goodbye they part.
Three relationships that will at last set sail. 
And one final door will at last close 
but it will leave so many more open, so many many more.

This book also highlights the relationship not just between Blue and Gansey, but also between Ronan and Adam. Both entanglements are depicted in lovely passages that capture the glimmering moments of hesitancy, tenderness, and passion common to first love. There is no one better, in my opinion, in capturing the mood and moment of young romance than Stiefvater:

“[Ronan’s] feelings for Adam were an oil spill; he’d let them overflow and now there wasn’t a damn place in the ocean that wouldn’t catch fire if he dropped a match.”

Gansey talking about why Henry’s toga party was wonderful:

“It was this: Gansey saying, ‘I like you an awful lot, Blue Sargent.’

It was this: Blue’s smile – crooked, wry, ridiculous, flustered. There was a lot of happiness tucked in the corner of that smile, and even though her face was several inches from Gansey, some of it still spilled out and got on him.”

And when Gansey and Blue are watching the magic made by Henry’s magical device, the RoboBee:

“As they watched it together, Gansey opened up his overcoat and tucked Blue inside it with him. This, too, was a weird and specific magic, the ease of it, the warmth of him around her, his heartbeat thumping against her back.”

Gansey, who is only 17, has started to realize that “He wanted the rest of his life.” . . . “He was a book, and he was holding his final pages, and he wanted to get to the end to find out how it went, and he didn’t want it to be over.”

He would never really say this to his friends, or ask them to help him, and yet they do. It has to do with, as Henry explains to Gansey, the concept of jeong. The way Henry explains it is:

“We are friends at once, we would instantly do what friends would do for each other. Not just pals. Friends. Blood brothers. You just feel it. We instead of you and me. That’s jeong.”

The Raven King is what the Raven boys’ friendship is for Blue: Breathtaking, all-powerful, all-consuming and engrossing. Maggie’s ever praised prose is better than ever, it makes you feel everything you have never been able to put into words between all of the character’s arc climax, the creepier and scarier atmosphere throughout the entire book, her ever-present quirky humor, and the larger than life vibe this book is. Its entire more-ness, because that is what it is. More.
The Raven King is more than YA itself, its more than fantasy and its more than The Raven Boys, The Dream Thieves and Blue Lily Lily Blue ever was. It is the ever so deserved end, carefully wrapped up in a satisfying end that leaves open the possibility of so much more.

Ronan is a sensible, sensible thing. If anything the entire opposite of Blue’s sensible, prudent. No, Ronan feels too much, too hard, and too deep. He wasn’t your YA charismatic bad boy, Ronan was broken and angry, but Ronan craved for love and affection and most especially handing it to others. It had all been so subtle up until that quote, where I put my book down and had to smile to myself for a good ten minutes before I could pick it back up.

Ronan would start wars and burn cities for Adam Parish’s smile. The power of those words hit me like a rock, and no, I didn’t suddenly suspect they would get involved romantically even then.

IT WAS AMAZING.
I will be honest when I say I was half bored and half doing something else when I read this chapter and I missed Ronan leaning in to kiss Adam. Instead, I sat through Adam’s description of a kiss before going back and realizing it was Ronan who had just kissed hi,

I felt my heart stop in joy.
Then tears in my eyes.

THESE BOYS ARE JUST SO BLESSED? I’m NOT OKAY HOLY CHRIST.
Like, let’s just sit back and take a moment to appreciate Maggie didn’t just do this to please all of her LGBT+ readers once and move on? We had three heartfelt kisses between these boys that moved me three times as any interaction between Blue and Gansey could’ve ever. We had several descriptions and accounts for how much they had kissed, and how it felt and the intensity of their feelings.

My feelings are an oil spill. I am so pleased Maggie reached this concussion between her characters, Adam and Ronan did deserve the best. They grew and changed together, this relationship is the one that could feel the most deserved in the entirety of YA.

Shoutout to Blue and Ronan’s friendship. 
This and Ronan trying to dream Blue eye cream in the middle of his life going to shit. I’m so happy to see how their friendship has evolved.

“Gansey asked, “Do you have time to run an errand with us? Do you have work? Homework?”
“No homework. I got suspended,” Blue replied.
“Get the fuck out,” Ronan said, but with admiration. “Sargent, you asshole.”
Blue reluctantly allowed him to bump fists with her as Gansey eyed her meaningfully in the rearview mirror.”

And one last shoutout all the way back to The Raven Boys.

“Ronan said, “I’m always straight.”
Adam replied “Oh, man, that’s the biggest lie you’ve ever told.”

THOUGHTS ON HENRY CHENG:

He…. Happens.
And it’s weird.
People love him and I don’t…. Get it.

Henry Cheng is an absolutely useless, diversity pick character who Stiefvater decided to throw in at the end of the series. Oh forgive me, he did give Gansey some life-changing thoughts on beating your fears and like that’s chill; but it feels like something any other character could’ve done if they would’ve been given the right exposition or backstory. Like Ronan or Adam, who are both characters who have been through some shit and could believably have more to their backstory than what we already know.

But why would you add a main character who adds nothing to the story and add around 200 pages of filler about him? Not to mention Gansy and Henry became instant best friends The Toga party was by far one of my favorite scenes simply because of the simplicity of it. It was a break from the creepy and omnious tone to remind us: Yo, they’re still kids js and it was a nice and very welcome addition. The scene that actually made me appreciate Blue and Gansey as a couple too and I had Cheng to thank for that… Now, why couldn’t we leave it at that? Robobee and the dream black market arc was just… Odd. And the way he came in, helped Gansey fight his fear, the robobee acted as a glorified GPS was way too convenient in my opinion. The book could’ve done perfectly without and it was absolutely irrelevant and especially distracting. Especially through the end scenes where he just seemed to be mindlessly following and strutting along while getting… Absolutely nothing.

The worst of it is the fact that Cheng got more spotlight than Noah. A character that was long established in the previous books and that fans were actually curious about his development and what was going on with him. We had a Cheng word vomit in exchange for Noah’s ever-continuing loose ambiguity.

 

My rating: 4.75/5 stars.

⭐⭐⭐⭐.75

Audiobook Recommendations

Hello friends and fellow book lovers! If you haven’t noticed, I don’t usually do recommendation posts. Maybe it’s because recommendations are incredibly subjective. What I might enjoy, you might think is awful but that’s a discussion for another day. Anyways, let’s get back to what this post is supposed to be about.

  1.  The Diviners by Libba Bray (series)

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Synopsis of Book 1:

15 parts 18 hours 14 minutes

SOMETHING DARK AND EVIL HAS AWAKENED… Evie O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City—and she is pos-i-tute-ly ecstatic. It’s 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls, and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with her uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the occult. Evie worries her uncle will discover her darkest secret: a supernatural power that has only brought her trouble so far. But when the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene, Evie realizes her gift could help catch a serial killer. As Evie jumps headlong into a dance with a murderer, other stories unfold in the city that never sleeps. A young man named Memphis is caught between two worlds. A chorus girl named Theta is running from her past. A student named Jericho is hiding a shocking secret. And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened…

Includes an Introduction Read by Libba Bray

   2. Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco (series)

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Synopsis of Book 1:

Presented by James Patterson’s new children’s imprint, this deliciously creepy horror novel has a storyline inspired by the Ripper murders and an unexpected, blood-chilling conclusion…

Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord’s daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege, stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

Against her stern father’s wishes and society’s expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle’s laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.

The story’s shocking twists and turns, augmented with real, sinister period photos, will make this dazzling, #1 New York Times bestselling debut from author Kerri Maniscalco impossible to forget.

3. Caraval by Stephanie Garber (Trilogy)

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Synopsis of Book 1:

Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval—the faraway, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show—are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt-of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. Nevertheless, she becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic.

4. Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin (Trilogy)

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Synopsis of Book 1:

Bound as one to love, honor, or burn.

Two years ago, Louise le Blanc fled her coven and took shelter in the city of Cesarine, forsaking all magic and living off whatever she could steal. There, witches like Lou are hunted. They are feared. And they are burned.

Sworn to the Church as a Chasseur, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. His path was never meant to cross with Lou’s, but a wicked stunt forces them into an impossible union—holy matrimony.

The war between witches and Church is an ancient one, and Lou’s most dangerous enemies bring a fate worse than fire. Unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, a choice must be made.

And love makes fools of us all.

5. Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

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Synopsis of Book 1:

The year is 2380, and the graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Star pupil Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but his own boneheaded heroism sees him stuck with the dregs nobody else in the Academy would touch…

A cocky diplomat with a black belt in sarcasm
A sociopath scientist with a fondness for shooting her bunkmates
A smart-ass techwiz with the galaxy’s biggest chip on his shoulder
An alien warrior with anger management issues
A tomboy pilot who’s totally not into him, in case you were wondering

And Ty’s squad isn’t even his biggest problem—that’d be Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley, the girl he’s just rescued from interdimensional space. Trapped in cryo-sleep for two centuries, Auri is a girl out of time and out of her depth. But she could be the catalyst that starts war millions of years in the making, and Tyler’s squad of losers, discipline-cases and misfits might just be the last hope for the entire galaxy.

They’re not the heroes we deserve. They’re just the ones we could find. Nobody panic. 

6. The Lunar Chronicles

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Synopsis of Book 1:

The first book in the Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer! See where the futuristic YA fairytale saga all began, with the tale of a teenage cyborg who must fight for Earth’s survival against villains from outer space.

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . .

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty, and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

With high-stakes action and a smart, resourceful heroine, Cinder is a Cinderella retelling that is at once classic and strikingly original.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post, I hope you found some good picks for your next audiobook listen.

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Caraval ( Caraval #1) by Stephanie Garber Recap.

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Scarlett has written the Caraval grandmaster for years. He responds offering her three tickets just as she’s engaged to be married. She takes the tickets to her sister Donatella and finds her with a sailor named Julian. Their father believes Scarlett has been with the sailor and punishes Donatella for it.

Julian will sail them to Caraval for free. If they want to go, they should meet him at dawn.

Another letter arrives. Both sisters are invited to live at the Count’s mansion once they’re married.

The sisters argue because Scarlett thinks they should skip the Caraval because her marriage will get them off the island.

Scarlett calls a secret meeting with Julian on the beach. Her father drowned her friend Felipe here and threatened to do the same thing to Donatella. Scarlett offers her three Caraval tickets if Julian will sail away without Donatella. But Donatella is there. They drug Scarlett.

Scarlett dreams about their grandmother telling them about the Caraval master, Legend. He fell for Annalise, the one girl he couldn’t have. Legend thought you could have your one greatest wish with the help of magic. He asked to have the best troupe of actors. He thought this would win Annalise over, but he was wrong.

Scarlett awakes in a raft with Julian. He says Donatella will be on the island with them. She made it look like Scarlett was kidnapped so she can still marry her Count.

The boat takes on water. They swim for shore. Scarlett’s dress and corset weigh her down. Julian cuts them away so she can make it.

The only thing open in town is a clock shop. They find clothes, food, and a note to Scarlett from Legend.

A man opens a portal in one of the clocks, a shortcut into Caraval. Julian tells her not everyone in Caraval is what they seem and won’t take it. He leaves while Scarlett’s still trying to decide. She declines but sees Donatella as the door closes.

Scarlett finds Julian. At the Serpiente House, Julian acts like he’s Scarlett’s fiancé and says Legend gave them special tickets. The girl who takes their tickets reminds them it’s just a game.

Scarlett asks Julian why he lied. He says what happens on the island stays on the island. He knows because he’s played the game before.

They enter a large balcony. Scarlett doesn’t understand how this village fits in the house. Julian says it’s a big theater. They’re watching from above.

A boy enters and tells them they’ll be solving a mystery. He says they cannot get too caught up in the game or they could go mad or be killed. They sign a contract in blood.

They must make it to the Serpiente before dawn because the doors lock. Participants can only be out at night. They arrive at the hotel just in time. Julian is trapped outside. Scarlett convinces the innkeeper to re-open the door. They pull Julian inside just before dawn breaks.

Scarlett asks if Donatella checked in. The lady cannot say who the other guests are.

Julian appears in Scarlett’s room. He begins to undress and get into bed. Scarlett says it will ruin her reputation if anybody finds out they spent the night together. She will get another room.

Julian tosses her an envelope, presumably their first clue. Inside is a green key with ‘Donatella’ on it. Scarlett goes to the room and calls for Donatella, who tells her not to enter. A young man’s in the room with her.

Scarlett falls asleep in the hallway. Dante and Valentina wake her. Dante offers his room to Scarlett. He can sleep in his sister’s room. He invites Scarlett to dinner the next day. She says no because of the ruse with Julian.

The next morning, Donatella’s room has been ransacked. Other contestants steal her belongings and look for clues. A man grabs red earrings that were Scarlett’s. She chases him. She leaves everything she has gathered with a pregnant woman. She returns without the earrings. Everyone’s gone.

Julian tells her this is part of the game: people try to sell items from Caraval. Scarlett just wants to get her sister out of here. Julian says to do so she needs to win the game. There’s more to the message on the key’s ticket. The second clue can be found in Donatella’s room. There will be three more. Scarlett needs to stay longer than one day.

Julian and Scarlett form a shaky partnership. The next clue is a picture card. Dante appears. Julian hears a male voice and is protective of Scarlett. When ‘fiancé’ is mentioned, Dante leaves quickly. Julian tells Scarlett to be careful. Dante won the last game he played, but it cost him. He thinks Dante’s back to win again and use the wish to right his life.

They want to go to the palace pictured on the playing card. The grounds have all kinds of wonders. Scarlett goes to the fortuneteller to check their future for Donatella. The man offers to tell her future each time she answers a question truthfully.

The first question is what she thinks about Julian. She says he’s the most attractive man she’s ever seen but he’s dodgy and devious. He tells her she gets two questions in return. She only gets one question asked. She should be asking about her sister, but she asks whether the Count is truthful and good. The fortuneteller says he is neither but there’s a chance he could end up good.

Scarlett begs him for another clue. The fortuneteller says to follow the boy with the heart. When she emerges outside, she doesn’t see Julian.

Scarlett enters a tent filled with magical potions. The proprietor sprays a solution to help her find the potion she needs the most. She’s drawn to one that says ‘protection.’ Scarlett can have it in exchange for her greatest fear. It’s her father.

She gets the potion and thinks she sees Julian outside. She follows him and ends up in a little garden with a wishing well. She notices a button in the well with the Caraval symbol on it. She pushes it, the water drains, and a staircase appears.

Scarlett climbs down. She hears someone scream and sees someone being tied up. She hears a male scream but convinces herself it’s not Julian. She reminds herself it’s just a game.

Julian isn’t back at the hotel. Then he stumbles in bleeding. Scarlett cleans his wounds. He drops the red earrings into her hand. She can’t believe he retrieved them.

She tells him about the tunnels below the castle and asks if he thinks Donatella is there. He says Legend doesn’t work that way. Scarlett asks why Donatella is a prisoner. Julian says she’s starting to ask the right questions.

He sways as if he’s going to pass out. Scarlett rushes to hold him up. She thinks he’s going to kiss her. She wants him to but feels guilty for it.

The door blows open, bringing in two giggling girls and Dante. She notices his pushed up sleeves and a black heart tattoo on his arm. Scarlett follows him as he heads back out. She loses him quickly and wanders, encountering a boy selling burnt sugar cider in return for her most recent lie. It will make her see things as they should be. After she drinks it, Caraval’s colors fade away.

Back at the hotel, Aiko’s journal is the only thing in color. Scarlett and Aiko wander the streets and meet a man with the carousel.

Scarlett sees an attractive man in color. She can’t decide whether to follow him or Aiko. The man disappears. Aiko says she’ll give her a glimpse of the journal. It’s pictures of Scarlett’s Caraval journey. She wonders why this round of Caraval is all about her.

Aiko reports each round of Caraval through pictures. For a price, she’ll show Scarlett the pictures of all the games. Scarlett would love to see Dante, Julian, her grandmother, the lady who died, and Legend.

Scarlett can glimpse the journal if she buys two new dresses in a special shop. One costs her biggest fear. One costs her greatest desire. Or she can purchase each for two days of her life. She decides to answer the questions. Her greatest fear is that something will happen to her sister. Her greatest desire is to get her sister back. The scale weighing her answers doesn’t believe this is the truth. She has to give it two days of her life.

The shop owner says she’ll take the days now. Dante finds her along the way and helps her back to the hotel. His sister has disappeared.

When they make it to her room, Julian punches Dante and takes Scarlett from him. She explains what she’s done. He thinks he can trade one day of his life. He pricks both of their fingers, her tasting his blood and then him tasting hers. Scarlett lies against his chest and dies.

She sees a lot of strange things: Donatella, a younger version of her grandparents (her grandpa calls her grandma Annalise instead of just Anna), and people gossiping about Rosa flinging herself from a roof when her fiancé found her with Legend. She sees the boy who lost his fiancé: Dante. She sees Legend’s face. It’s Julian.

When Scarlett awakes, she feels like she has to get away. Julian’s still dead, so she rushes into the hallway. She sees her father and rushes back into the room. Julian awakes. She has to act like she doesn’t know who Legend made her think he is. She pulls away from him and can see genuine hurt in his eyes. She can sense his emotions in color now like she can sense her own, maybe because they shared blood.

Scarlett sees the man who stole her red earrings and another man with her father. She sees Julian dart into Donatella’s room. When she goes in, he’s not there. She finds a button by the fireplace which reveals a hidden staircase. She follows the sound of footsteps. She sees a severed hand and then Dante’s dead body. Julian’s there.

Scarlett runs. Julian catches her. She accuses him of being Legend. He says Rosa was his sister. He and Dante came back, secretly working together, to avenge her death. She questions him about his other suspicious actions. He finally comes clean. She believes him.

They hear footsteps and run. They end up in a room that shrinks each time they feel fear or discomfort. It gets quite tight until they figure it out and escape.

Scarlett asks Julian how he knew she was getting a ticket. He explains the story of her grandmother and Legend. Legend planned to punish all her heirs and doom their marriages since she broke his heart. This is why Legend would accept her request when she was engaged.

Scarlett thinks she hears her sister screaming. Julian realizes it’s a trick and pulls her back. She asks whether he knew all along that Donatella would be held as part of the game like Rosa was. He knew one of the two of them would be.

Scarlett’s second dress is delivered. It’s a little more scandalous, is wedding-dress white, and has added buttons. The note is signed -D with a top hat picture. There was a button-lined path to a hat shop by the dress shop. This might be the final clue. Julian thinks it seems too easy. Scarlett agrees something’s a little off but has an inkling this is the leap of faith she needs to take.

She thinks the young man wearing a top hat is Legend. He denies it. She realizes who he is: the man she saw the day her vision went black and white. He kisses the back of her hand. Julian is furious. He asks him to stop looking at his fiancé like that. The man is her true fiancé, Count Nicholas Darcy.

Her father enters from a door behind the counter. Scarlett and Julian run out into the pouring rain and are chased through town. Her father looks afraid. They escape in a boat and paddle to a dock at the Castillo.

Scarlett accuses Julian of being jealous in the hat shop. He admits he was. She wants him to share his feelings. He says there’s too much she doesn’t know about him. She’s not scared of his secrets anymore. They kiss.

They head back to the hotel because dawn is approaching. Scarlett thinks the fifth clue might be hidden in the roses. Her father and the Count capture them. Her father cuts one side of Julian’s face. Scarlett begs her father to let Julian go. He says she’ll sleep with the Count as an early wedding present. Scarlett asks the Count if he really wants her under these circumstances. He orders her father to release Julian. He does. Julian begs her not to do this for him. Her father orders him to leave.

The Count takes Scarlett to her room. She uses a hot fire poker to keep him at bay. Then she remembers the protection elixir in the pocket of her dress in the wardrobe. She opens it. Julian falls out. She grabs the elixir and throws it on the Count. She and Julian leave.

Scarlett tries to decipher the fifth clue and considers the phrase leap of faith. She thinks it might apply to a dream she had about Rosa on the balcony. She tells Julian and her suspicions. They decide to go to the balconies.

It’s daytime and Caraval is abandoned and covered in a white fog except the roses around carousel. They’re one of the few things she saw in color when her world was black and white. They look for a staircase hidden there. Scarlett finally finds one hidden among the thorns. A black hole opens in the middle of the carousel.

Scarlett jumps. She feels like she’s in cold water. She ends up by two praying statues. Legend is there. She asks where her sister and Julian are. He asks who she would choose if she could see just one again. She doesn’t answer. Legend is furious. He asks her why she thinks Caraval only happens at night. She can see Donatella if she answers correctly. She says it’s because people will do things in the dark when they think others can’t see.

Legend says Caraval isn’t just a game. The repercussions for what happens here linger. Julian appears. Legend says he and Dante have been working for him all along. He’s surprised she was more drawn to Julian. She asks Julian if the Rosa story is true. It is except Rosa wasn’t his sister.

Scarlett touches the pocket watch Julian gave her before they leapt into the carousel. Legend notices and opens it. A message from Julian sounds. He tells her it isn’t just a game to him. Legend stabs Julian. Scarlett tries to stop the bleeding, but he dies.

Donatella will be killed one hour after sunrise unless Scarlett finds her first. She finds her in a balcony room. She’s glad to see Scarlett because she’s bored. Scarlett tries to convince her to escape. Donatella thinks everything’s fine and Scarlett’s gotten too caught up in the game. She’s says it’s over now.

Scarlett tells her their father is and the Count are there. She shows her the invitation Legend gave her to Donatella’s funeral. It has transformed into an invitation to a Caraval staff party. Donatella wants Scarlett to meet the boy she met here. She’s engaged to him. Scarlett can’t believe her ears. She wants to run but knows Donatella won’t follow her.

The girls change. Donatella’s fiancé Daniel arrives. He’s Legend. Scarlett tells Donatella. She doesn’t believe her. Their father and the Count walk in. Legend admits it himself. Donatella would rather die at the edge of the world than go back to life on Trisda. She jumps off the balcony to her death.

Scarlett turns on her father. She isn’t scared anymore since he can’t hold harming Donatella over her. She says she will tell how he killed Felipe. He’ll never be safe in his own country again. Legend says he’s the one who killed Dante.

Scarlett asks for her wish before she leaves. She knows she’ll choose Donatella, but it’s harder than she ever imagined to not choose Julian. Legend won’t grant the wish after everything that’s happened. She rushes below to try to save her sister with her blood or magic. It doesn’t work.

Scarlett sees a glass box in Donatella’s room that wasn’t there before. It has the Caraval symbol on it. Inside is a letter Donatella wrote a year ago requesting a ticket to Caraval because of their abusive father. Scarlett suddenly realizes this wasn’t all about their grandma. The game might still be going on.

She asks a man to take her to Legend. He’s not really Legend, just an actor. Few of the Caraval actors have met him. He has a few more letters to give Scarlett. He says Donatella managed to catch Legend’s attention. The letters went back and forth with Donatella tempting Legend to be a hero and get the redemption he wanted after Rosa’s death.

Dontella appears and explains how she helped plan this round: leaving tickets for her father and the Count before they left, watching Scarlett play the game, and making Legend promise to take any player out of the game if Scarlett developed feelings for them. She knew how much Scarlett wanted to marry the Count, after all.

Julian is still alive! Scarlett is confused about how much was real and how much was the game. Donatella says the players are given rules but have to improvise as the game progresses. If they die in the game, it’s actual death. They feel it all. But at the end of the game, the magic of Caraval brings them back to life. Scarlett’s relieved Dante’s alive. Julian wasn’t intended to play so long. He was supposed to leave her at the clock shop.

Donatella and Julian were never together; it was part of getting the game started. Scarlett is mortified she fell for a boy she thought her sister liked. Donatella doesn’t care.

HOW IT ENDED?

It’s time for the party. Scarlett doesn’t feel like going. Donatella says she’s going anyway. It’s rare that non-performers are invited.

Scarlett is nervous to face Julian. A pretty brunette is flirting with him, but he walks to Scarlett as soon as he sees her. He asks her to stop looking at him like she doesn’t know him. He says the actors bring themselves to the roles, so she knows a lot about him. While he can’t say it, Scarlett figures out he’s Legend’s brother. He almost left but came back when his brother said he had a shot at redemption. He wanted Legend to turn around the villainy. He stayed because of Scarlett.

Scarlett notices there’s a scar where her father sliced the side of his face. Even though they resurrect at the end of the game, they retain scars. She realizes she still loves him. They kiss.

Donatella is drunk and dancing with everyone at the party. A man drops a note in her dress pocket and then disappears. It’s signed by “A friend” and says her mother will be proud of how she survived the game. She should be able to see her soon. First, she must keep up her end of their bargain. The writer hopes to collect on it very soon.

Blue Lily, Lily Blue ( The Raven Cycle #3 ) by Maggie Stiefvater Review.

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Publisher: Scholastic Press

Publication Date: 21st October 2014

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy, Paranormal

Source: Amazon

Synopsis:

Blue Sargent has found things. For the first time in her life, she has friends she can trust, a group to which she can belong. The Raven Boys have taken her in as one of their own. Their problems have become hers, and her problems have become theirs.

The trick with found things, though, is how easily they can be lost.

Friends can betray.
Mothers can disappear.
Visions can mislead.
Certainties can unravel.

Review:

When I finished The Dream Thieves I never expected that Blue Lily, Lily Blue would suck me into the plot so much. Oh boy, what a journey this book has been! I wish that the previous book would have been that great and now I really hope that The Raven King won’t disappoint me, but here we go.

“There was something unfamiliar about him. Something ferocious about his eyes, some sort of bite in his faint smile. Something altogether hectic and unsettled. She stood on the ledge of his smile and looked over the edge.”

 

I have mixed feelings for this one though. I mean, it was okay-ish for me, but definitely, the third book in the series could do much better than being the “filler” book in the series. I felt like there wasn’t much happening in the book and it dragged on, relentlessly. The first chunk of the book was interesting because I was once again invited into the familiar setting of the books and I really, genuinely, wanted to know why Maura disappeared. However, the search for Maura was slightly tiresome to read and I really had to sludge through the middle of the book, which fell a bit flat, for my liking. Thankfully, things did pick up in the end and there was the whole grand ending of the book that did set up the finale of the series in The Raven King.

“There is no good word for the opposite of lonesome.
One might be tempted to suggest togetherness or contentment , but the fact that these two other words bear definitions unrelated to each other perfectly displays why lonesome cannot be properly mirrored. It does not mean solitude, nor alone, nor lonely, although lonesome can contain all of those words in itself.
Lonesome means a state of being apart. Of being other. Alone-some.”

 

Blue Lily, Lily Blue was more emotional than all the other books. By now, we know the characters and how they used to be, but this book changed a lot and went deeper with everything. It slowly builds towards the big showdown, the final revelation of what we expected to happen since book 1.

As for the characters in Blue Lily, Lily Blue, Maggie Stiefvater never fails to impress me with the way she gets into her characters’ heads and express all their doubts, feelings and insecurities for the readers to interpret. I did appreciate the slight romance between Blue and Gansey. Three cheers for Bluesey, guys! It happened. Sort of. But it wasn’t enough. It took three books to get the shipping out of the docks. Maggie Stiefvater, I really hope there’s more of Bluesey in The Raven King or else I would combust.

“How unfair she’d been to assume love and money would preclude pain and hardship.”

Another issue I had with this book was the absence of Noah and Ronan. I understand that the latter had the entire book focused on him (The Dream Thieves) but I really wanted Maggie Stiefvater to give him a bigger arc, romance-wise, after the revelation of his sexual preference in the previous book. I needed more Ronan. I really hope the tiny sparks between him and Adam would burst into fireworks in the final installment of the series. Great play with the hand lotion, by the way, Ronan. You playa.

“Blue was perfectly aware that it was possible to have a friendship that wasn’t all-encompassing, that wasn’t blinding, deafening, maddening, quickening. It was just that now that she’d had this kind, she didn’t want the other.”

There were some baddies introduced in this book, like Greenmantle, the Gray Man’s former employer who disguises himself as the boys’ new Latin teacher and his eccentric, smart-mouthed wife who reminded me of that evil blonde in 22 Jump Street – Channing Tatum though – which were a good addition to the storyline.

Like, finally some progress of being a step closer to finding Glendower! Or that Adam has enough of being his old self and Ronan of doing something good with his dream power. Gansey showed some vulnerability as well and doesn’t seem to be this perfect, polished guy anymore. He is still the obvious leader of the group, but something raw starts to show through. Which for me, is character development and less boring than having Gansey from books 1 and 2.

“They regarded each other. Adam fair and cautious, Ronan dark and incendiary. This was Ronan at his most truthful.”

Also, finally, there is some attention to Blue’s character and her power. Everything seemed far more interesting this time around. There are new characters (funny ones!!), new locations, more in-depth moments. I’m starting to repeat myself, but woah, just so much happened that makes me happy (and sad?!).

Sadly, I didn’t enjoy Blue Lily, Lily Blue as much as I hoped. I really wanted to love this one but I wasn’t blown away. It didn’t surprise me with the same spark like the previous two books had and I just wanted things to piece together so I can finally see the gang awaken Glendower. Though I might have had some issues with Blue Lily, Lily Blue, it did succeed in getting me excited for The Raven King.

I can’t mention it enough, but the story moved forward and I’m so excited about this! I can’t wait to read The Raven King, because I’m psyched!

My rating: 5/5 stars.

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