Havenfall by Sara Holland

Genre: YA, Ya Fantasy

My Rating: DNF @pg. 90 ⭐️⭐️💫 (2.5 stars)

I really wanted to love this one! After all, I have the ARC for Phoenix Flame. 🙈

If I have to try this hard to stay invested in a story, not only is it not worth it, but it’s time for me to call it quits!

Unfortunately, it was the continuous reminder of Maddie’s feelings and past (in every single chapter) that grew tiresome and bordered on to a painfully slow read. The premise is what had me going initially, along with the setting of the Inn and magical realms. But it wasn’t enough to keep me invested. It was easy for me to spot who the villains were. It was very obvious from the get-go.

As for plot..well, this was the ultimate downfall for me. It wasn’t a very plot driven novel, which is a no-no for me when it comes to Fantasies. I need my fantasies to be as equally plot driven as the character and world development is. This was really bland in all departments.

Nothing really happens until chapter 6, and even then, it slows right back down! 🤦🏻‍♀️

This one had so much potential..it’s too bad it didn’t shine through.

Have you read this one? Any plans to read the next instalment?

Maddie loves spending summers at her uncle’s Inn at Havenfall. But the Inn is much more than a Maddie’s safe haven, and life in Havenfall isn’t without its secrets. Beneath the beautiful, sprawling manor in Colorado lie hidden gateways to other worlds, some long-sealed by ancient magic.

When a body is found on the grounds, the volatile peace brokered between these worlds is irrevocably compromised. What’s worse is that Maddie’s friend Brekken stands accused of the murder. With everything she loves at stake, Maddie must confront shocking truths about the dangers lurking beneath Havenfall – and discover who she really is. 

A Torch Against The Night by Sabaa Tahir

Genre: YA, YA Fantasy

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

“Loyal to the end”

“Even if it means my sister’s destruction. Even if it means a madman running the Empire. Even if it means I have to torture and kill my best friend.” “To the end.”

This is the first time I’ve ever thought the second book in a series was just as good as the first! It was equally as brutal, with just as much (if not more), going on. I said it in my last review, and I’ll say it again! I frikkin love Helene!! And love that we get her POV in this one.

My heart broke multiple times. Those who have read it, will know which parts I’m talking about.

I loved the surprises in this story! Especially with the Nightbringer!! I so did not see that coming.

And omg. I’m dying to know who Elias’ father is! I hope I get to find out either in the next book or the last one!

I’m also really liking Harper. I was intrigued by him early on in the book, and wanna see what his deal is.

Normally by now, I’d be taking a long break before reading the next instalment, but I cannot wait!!

“You are a torch against the night-if you dare to let yourself burn .” -Cain to Helene

Have you read it? What did you think?

After the events of the Fourth Trial, Martial soldiers hunt the two fugitives as they flee the city of Serra and undertake a perilous journey through the heart of the Empire.
 
Laia is determined to break into Kauf—the Empire’s most secure and dangerous prison—to save her brother, who is the key to the Scholars’ survival. And Elias is determined to help Laia succeed, even if it means giving up his last chance at freedom. 
 
But dark forces, human and otherworldly, work against Laia and Elias. The pair must fight every step of the way to outsmart their enemies: the bloodthirsty Emperor Marcus, the merciless Commandant, the sadistic Warden of Kauf, and, most heartbreaking of all, Helene—Elias’s former friend and the Empire’s newest Blood Shrike. 

Bound to Marcus’s will, Helene faces a torturous mission of her own—one that might destroy her: find the traitor Elias Veturius and the Scholar slave who helped him escape…and kill them both.

An Ember In The Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

Genre: YA, YA Fantasy

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

OH-M-GEE! This book is INSANE!! It’s the most intense, action-packed story I’ve ever read. I actually feel sorry for anything I read after this, cause there’s a lot to live up to.

Is it possible to give a book more than 5 stars? Cause this is the best Eff-ing book I’ve read in a really long time! Talk about giving me a bookgasm. I’m legit hungover right now, it’s left me breathless.

I have no clue as to why it took me this long to read it. I’ve had it on my tbr for years! Shame. I know. Better now than never, right?

Loved the alternating POV between Elias & Laia. It was done incredibly well. Sabaa Tahir is definitely a new fave author of mine and super talented.

The character development was amazing. All the characters in this book were well-written, including the ones that got under your skin.

The Commandant

⁃ Argh..she was just so cruel!! The most brutal & heartless character I’ve ever come across. I seriously wanted to kill her and give her the same slow and painful death she’s given to her victims. She was always one step ahead, which drove me nuts! But she was such a good villain!

Elias

⁃ He couldn’t be any more different than his mother. His emotions were palpable throughout the entire book. It was interesting to see him struggle between duty and what he wanted, which was freedom.

Laia

⁃ she kept referring to herself as weak and a coward, but she had the heart of a warrior in my opinion. Things she endured..fuck. I don’t know if I could do it! She was also careless, which was kinda frustrating to watch at times.

Helene

⁃ She was so badass! Definitely a fave character of mine.

Marcus

⁃ Ugh. Another character that made my blood boil and wanted to butcher. He was such a douche and so undeserving.

Keenan

⁃ I really liked Keenan. I found him intriguing and wanted to know what his deal was from the get-go.

Mazen

⁃ I didn’t trust this guy from the very beginning and kept waiting for the other shoe to drop, cause that’s what I felt like was gonna happen with him.

TRIGGER WARNINGS:

– mention of rape, abuse, violence, blood.

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

Stalking Jack The Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

Genre: YA, Historical Fiction, Mystery

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 (4.5 stars)

If you like:

-YA

-Gothic, historical settings

-Mystery

I reeeally enjoyed this one! Dead bodies, brutal murders..yes please!!

Was I surprised by who Jack turned out to be? Not really, but I did have someone else in mind who I thought was more likely. Hats off to the author for making me second guess myself and proving me wrong!

Really looking forward to reading the next book!

Have you read it? What did you think?

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. 

Skyward by Brandon Sanderson

Genre: YA, Sci-Fi

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 (3.5 stars)

This book has been sitting on my shelf for a really long time, and I finally had a chance to buddy read it with Jonny @Jaunts & Haunts

Here’s how our chat went down:

Jonny: I’ve never flown a plane before, but I figure it can’t be much harder than driving a car, right?

Gigi: I’m afraid of heights, so I’d be too afraid to fly a plane (even though I’ve been on one a few times). 😜

Jonny: Yeah, I’d need to strap some pillows on me for reassurance, haha! Alright, on to the buddy rant!

Jonny: So how did you like this book? This was my first time reading Brandon Sanderson, and I think he did a pretty great job!

Gigi: It was my first time reading his work as well. Overall, I enjoyed it. But it wasn’t quite the 4 or 5 star read I was hoping for it to be.

Jonny: Well I’m glad it wasnt a total disappointment for ya. We talked about this during our read, but the first half of the book’s pacing was kind of here and there. One chapter would have great developments, then the next would be a little slow for my taste. Rinse and repeat.

That being said, after that the pacing was really good, enough so for me that I think it redeemed itself.

Gigi: I agree. The beginning was a little rocky. It had some great moments & revelations, but then it would lose momentum. The second half was the best part and what really kept me going. I wanted to see if I was right about Spensa’s dad.

Spoiler alert: My theory was that something else happened but got covered up. I didn’t believe he was truly a coward.

Jonny: Oh yeah, the truth behind her dad’s death was a big part of it for me too.

Did you like Spensa in general? I did like her spunky, scrappy demeanor. Characters like that usually win me over pretty quickly, but I actually liked M-bot better with it’s odd humor and personality. ‘I hate your shoes!’

I actually wish she would’ve spent even more time with the ship, so I’m hoping the next one has tons of M-bot.

Gigi: I like her initially, but her arrogance ruined it along with the constant use of the word ‘scud’.

I really liked M-bot too! He kinda reminded me of AIDAN from Illuminae, even though they’re completely different.

Jonny: Yeah, I do think that she could’ve been a bit less arrogant, but I do think she had some good progression along the way.

Haha, I agree! I didn;t mind the use of scud, but if they came up with more swear words to switch out it would’ve been less repetitive.

I actually haven’t read Illuminae yet. Hmm, the best comparison I can make is that he’s kinda like a mix of Ax and the Helmacrons from Animorphs. The humor and personality was super unique and I loved every second of it, especially his little rivalry with Rodge.

Did any other characters stick out to you?

Gigi: I actually liked Jerkface (aka Jorgen). It was easy to judge him for being privileged, and I really liked that we got to see the other side of him. As with real life, it’s so easy to judge others without knowing their background.

How about you? Who else did you like? Or not like?

And omg. You need to go read Illuminae! Coolest book you’ll ever come across! You need to get your hands on a physical copy!

Jonny: Haha, deal once my TBR settles down a smidge. I actually liked Kimmalynn a lot. She reminded me of my high school friend Michelle. Talented, but has a hard time accepting it sometimes.

I didnt like the admiral Ironsides, but I think that was what the author wanted. Even after we learn all the knitty gritty I still felt like ‘Nah, I still dont like you very much’, but it can be hard for me to forgive characters after some shady business.

Gigi: I didn’t like Ironsides either! She was really petty.

Yes! I liked Kimmalynn too. She had a good heart. Loved when she gave Spensa a dinner roll in one of the chapters!

I did like the flight training and all the scenes with them flying the ships and fighting the Krell. I too, liked that we weren’t overwhelmed with info!

Jonny: I know, right? Even though things were more complicated than meets the eye, I think she could’ve led her people better and strived to be a better person.

Totally! That and Kimmalynn had a cute sense of humor. ‘Bless your stars’, haha! She definitely gets miss congeniality award in this book.

Yeah, some of those fights were insane and action-packed, just like I like it. Would you consider reading other Sanderson books in the future? I have a copy of the first book in the Reckoners series that I’m just dying to give a try!

Gigi: 😂 Yeah..Kimmalyn was a sweet heart.

Hmm.. I don’t know to be honest. I might try a different series of his down the road, just to give it another chance. But I know for this particular series, I’m going to leave it.

How about you?

Jonny: Most definitely!

That’s fair. His novels span a good many genres, so who knows what may work for you a bit better down the line.

I think I’ll continue with the next book in this series in a little bit. I think he even has a third coming out this year if I’m not mistaken. Definitely going to try out some other stuff of his in the future.

Thanks so much for reading this with me! I can’t wait for our next adventure!

Gigi: Yes, the 3rd in this series is supposed to release this year!

You are so welcome! I’m so glad we read this one together. As always, it was fun! I’m looking forward to our next read!! ❤️

 So..What did you think? Have you read this one?

Defeated, crushed, and driven almost to extinction, the remnants of the human race are trapped on a planet that is constantly attacked by mysterious alien starfighters. Spensa, a teenage girl living among them, longs to be a pilot. When she discovers the wreckage of an ancient ship, she realizes this dream might be possible—assuming she can repair the ship, navigate flight school, and (perhaps most importantly) persuade the strange machine to help her. Because this ship, uniquely, appears to have a soul.

 

The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

Genre: YA, YA Fantasy

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

The story started off very strong, but as the story progressed, it became underwhelming for me.

What Didn’t Work..

⁃ It started to feel like something I’ve read before. Like all the fairytales I’ve read growing up, crammed into one. Think, Shrek and Alice in Wonderland put together.

⁃ this read more like it was meant for a younger audience..like a middle grade book. I mean, it wasn’t horrible. I love MG books! But if I wanted to read one, it’s what I would have chosen.

⁃ All the characters were just ‘meh’ to me, except Grimalkin. I liked him the most, but he also felt way too familiar. There’s nothing original about a talking cat.

The story does move at a really good pace. There was enough going on to keep the reader focused. But the amount of creatures encountered combined with the number of captures and escapes, were completely unnecessary in my opinion.

Like I said, it wasn’t a bad read, but it’s not a series I would consider continuing either.

Have you read it? Have you read the Shadow Of The Fox series?

MY NAME IS MEGHAN CHASE.

In less than twenty-four hours, I’ll be sixteen. Countless stories, songs and poems have been written about this wonderful age, when a girl finds true love and the stars shine for her and the handsome prince carries her off into the sunset.

I DON’T THINK IT WILL BE THAT WAY FOR ME.

Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan Chase’s life, ever since her father disappeared when she was six. Ten years later, when her little brother also goes missing, Meghan learns the truth—she is the secret daughter of a mythical faery king and a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she’ll go to save someone she loves, to stop a mysterious evil no faery creature dare face…and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.

Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust

Today’s Burn Book entry..

Genre: YA Fantasy, Retelling

My Rating: DNF @ ch.8 ⭐️⭐️

The story started off really well..just like a fairytale. I was very intrigued by Soraya and her curse of being poisonous. But somewhere along the way, it started to go downhill for me. It was slow with very little happening. I grew bored and a little frustrated with Soraya. Did we really need an entire chapter describing Soraya’s need to talk to her brother during the Nog Roz celebration. She’s gifted with this power/curse and could have been a fierce MC, yet cowers and lets Ramin treat her like shit. Umm.. aside from her power, isn’t she royalty?!! It was infuriating. And don’t even get me started on the instalove/love interest! It felt forced.

It’ll come down to personal taste (doesn’t it always?), but I really wanted more action and evil! I would have been more interested in seeing Soraya become evil or killing someone. But that’s just me. Maybe the story picks up later on? I don’t know, and really didn’t care to find out.

Have you read this one? If so, did you like it more than I did?

There was and there was not, as all stories begin, a princess cursed to be poisonous to the touch. But for Soraya, who has lived her life hidden away, apart from her family, safe only in her gardens, it’s not just a story. 

As the day of her twin brother’s wedding approaches, Soraya must decide if she’s willing to step outside of the shadows for the first time. Below in the dungeon is a demon who holds knowledge that she craves, the answer to her freedom. And above is a young man who isn’t afraid of her, whose eyes linger not with fear, but with an understanding of who she is beneath the poison. 

Soraya thought she knew her place in the world, but when her choices lead to consequences she never imagined, she begins to question who she is and who she is becoming…human or demon. Princess or monster.

[#BookReview] Crave by Tracy Wolffe

Any fans of Mean Girls??🙋‍♀️ Remember that pink book Regina George had? The Burn Book?

Well, I’m starting my version of the Burn Book here on my blog by roasting books I DNF’d, thought were overhyped and hated.

First up..Crave by Tracy Wolffe

Genre: YA

My Rating: ⭐ – DNF @chapter 7

Vampires are making a comeback this year, and I’ve been in the mood for a good blood-sucking read..

This. Was soo not it!

How bad is it when you’re the one who makes the book selection for a buddy read, and is the first to DNF it??! 🤦‍♀️⁣

This book was a disaster from the get-go. I’m sorry if you loved it. But I hated it!

I know this is supposed to be YA, but the MC spoke like a 12 year old valley girl. And frankly, it was fucking annoying.

I went from the physical book to audio, thinking it would be better. NOPE. It was worse. And it wasn’t even the narrator’s fault. It was the book. ⁣

⁣Sorry (not sorry)..but this was pure dumpster fire.

Loved the 30 day return/exchange with Amazon, cause that was my favourite part! 😜😆

Have you read it? Did you love it? Or did you trash it?

My whole world changed when I stepped inside the academy. Nothing is right about this place or the other students in it. Here I am, a mere mortal among gods…or monsters. I still can’t decide which of these warring factions I belong to, if I belong at all. I only know the one thing that unites them is their hatred of me.

Then there’s Jaxon Vega. A vampire with deadly secrets who hasn’t felt anything for a hundred years. But there’s something about him that calls to me, something broken in him that somehow fits with what’s broken in me.

Which could spell death for us all.

Because Jaxon walled himself off for a reason. And now someone wants to wake a sleeping monster, and I’m wondering if I was brought here intentionally—as the bait.

Shadow & Bone By Leigh Bardugo

Genre: YA

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

I finally got around to reading this one! It’s been sitting on my shelf for over 2 years!! 🙈

I was definitely hooked in from the beginning and even thought I might like it more than Six Of Crows. However, I’m not obsessed. I can’t put my finger on it, but it feels like something is missing. Is it crazy that I wanted the heat turned up on some of the romance? It was actually a little too PG for me, to be honest. I also thought the book lost a bit of traction between chapter 9-13.

I do however, think Leigh Bardugo does a fantastic job when it comes to character and world building. I loved the Darkling & Genya. I didn’t care too much for Mal if you ask me. He could have been eaten by the volcra and I would’ve been ok with it. 😜 Now that..would have been a great revenge story!

Overall, it was a great story and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it.

Have you read it? Which did you like more? The Shadow & Bone series? Or Six of Crows?

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

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

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

One Of Us Is Next by Karen McManus @DelacortePress @PenguinTeenCa

Genre: YA, Mystery & Thrillers

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ 1/2

Come on, Bayview, you know you’ve missed this.
If you’re a fan of:

✔ Pretty Little Liars
✔ Multiple POV’s
✔ Plot twists


True, Jellyfish.  He did get caught.
But his inspiration lives on in Bayview.
And he’d fucking love the game I’m playing right now.
-Darkestmind

Always take the dare!

It was a tad slower than the first book in some areas (which you need to read, if you haven’t), but I still found myself not wanting to put the book down and enjoying it!

There were some twists and turns I didn’t see coming, which I love! Cause it’s becoming pretty rare for me in the thriller genre.

I only guessed half the answer with this one, and even then, I still doubted myself!

Well done Karen! 👏👏👏

Have you read it yet? If you haven’t, what are you waiting for?!!

A ton of copycat gossip apps have popped up since Simon died, but in the year since the Bayview four were cleared of his shocking death, no one’s been able to fill the gossip void quite like he could. The problem is no one has the facts.

Until now.

This time it’s not an app, though—it’s a game.

Truth or Dare.

Phoebe’s the first target. If you choose not to play, it’s a truth. And hers is dark.

Then comes Maeve and she should know better—always choose the dare.

But by the time Knox is about to be tagged, things have gotten dangerous. The dares have become deadly, and if Maeve learned anything from Bronwyn last year, it’s that they can’t count on the police for help. Or protection.

Simon’s gone, but someone’s determined to keep his legacy at Bayview High alive. And this time, there’s a whole new set of rules.

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