Skulduggery Pleasant Resurrection by Derek Landy

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The skeleton detective is coming back to life… again! It’s the tenth, triumphant novel in the Skulduggery Pleasant series, and it will rearrange your world.

Skulduggery and Valkyrie are back in the tenth instalment in the bestselling Skulduggery Pleasant series – an incredible and unexpected treat for the legions of fans around the world.

We can’t say much but we can say this: Skulduggery and Valkyrie are going to team up with beloved characters from the first 9 books as well as an all-new cast, including new teen co-star Omen Darkly, for an adventure that takes the story to truly global proportions… while answering questions that go right back to the beginning.

And Derek says this: “I was halfway through Last Stand of Dead Men, I think, when I realised that I had more stories to tell. I told myself that if Skulduggery and Valkyrie survived the series, I would leave the option open of returning to their world. There were still secrets I need to reveal, after all, and there were still horrors they had to face. They survived the first series. But they’re really going to wish they hadn’t.”

Goodreads

Disclaimer: There be spoilers…

Okay, so Skulduggery Pleasant Resurrection isn’t our favourite skeleton detective novel and we’re kind of okay with that?

To begin with we were a little disappointed when we finished the book because we’d hyped it up so much in our head and our expectations had become astronomical. We were thinking of magic and action and a damn good mystery. Derek delivered all of it, but there was just something off about the entire thing.

The novel starts just over five years after the events which led to Darquesse being sent to another world. Valkyrie is back from America with her dog Xena, but she’s not ready to be in the same place as the sister that she killed. She’s not ready to look her parents in the eye because she knows something they don’t…she knows a lot of things they don’t and those things are dark.

They’re dark and heavy.

We’ll be blunt. Valkyrie is depressed. She doesn’t want to be with Skulduggery. She doesn’t want to do the things she used to love doing and it weighed on us a little bit. Derek introduced us to a new, more cynical version of our beloved Irish heroine and we can barely cope with the fact that she doesn’t want to kick ass and save the world anymore.

She’s also, somehow, still the most magically inept person and that grates on us. Grates on us SO. VERY. MUCH.

But enough of Valkyrie Caine. A lot more happened in this book.

We got introduced to the brand new Roarhaven and Omen Darkly! One’s ruled by the magnificent China Sorrows and the other is the brother to a chosen one. Lol. Sidekick.

Roarhaven is thriving these days. China lives in a palace. She has a magical school. She has minions and wealth and money and Eliza Scorn across the road in a massive church that we bet China is just itching to destroy. Eliza bye.

Omen is a pretty cool kid and that’s something of a bone of contention bewteen Arbiter Pleasant and Arbiter Caine (Arbiter meaning independent operative/s who aren’t tied to one Sanctuary. So cool!)

Val doesn’t want another kid to be put in the danger she was put into because she doesn’t want someone having to lie and make the hard choices she did. It’s too much for someone so young even when the young person thinks it’s all just one big adventure. The reality hits them eventually.

But Omen, are little sidekick isn’t to be detained or withheld from what he wants. He likes that people notice him now and he likes not being looked at as the brother of the Chosen One when he is noticed. We can’t really blame him.

The whole plot was really fun. It had some really good twists. Scorned women rising from the dead to take revenge. Nutcases being controlled by said scorned women because what’s an major evil villain without little villains?

A NO ONE. THAT’S WHO.

Controlled nutcases causing panic and death and danger and mayhem and fun!

We’re smiling just thinking about it.

But dear god, did one of those villains annoy us. Every time he opened his fictional mouth we experienced pain. Italics and dots and more italics. It’s a miracle we managed to turn out sane by the end of everything.

Other things that also grated on us were a few pages near the start of Resurrection that had way too many capitals and fancy event names. We were confused and we were annoyed and Cassandra and Finbar are dead? What.

Someone better rescue us from the misery.

The whole, there is a remnant of Darquesse floating around Valkyrie that only she can talk to was brilliant! We genuinely thought she was a little crazy for a while, but she’s not and that’s good because we really want more Val and remnant conversations in the future. We want them like we want air…or food.

And that’s pretty much it.

Thanks for reading our review guys!

Arkon, Annie and a creator.

 

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Vicious by V.E Schwab

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Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.

Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end?

Goodreads

Disclaimer: We did a really good job of not spoiling anything. We are amazing.

Okay, so let’s be honest here. Vicious isn’t Schwab’s best book, but it’s damn good. It has a man called jailbird named Victor, a righteous killer named Eli and a dog that’s come back from the dead. So, you know. Read it.

What we loved about Vicious is the fact that it’s full of all kind of grey areas. 

Victor Vale, our villainous boy-toy of the week is a man who went to prison for a crime he definitely committed, but he’s the good guy. Honest. He just has this thing for inflicting pain and crossing ethical lines and pulling children into  a decade old feud that is basically just some twisted bromance gone wrong.

BUT REALLY. HE’S THE GOOD GUY.

You’ll have heart eyes for him by the end of the novel.

The novels takes place on different timelines and it’s interesting because you imagine young (deranged?) Victor being all adorable and cute and intelligent and sexy and-

that’s not where we’re going with this…

As a reader, it can often be jarring to have your mind operate in two or more timelines created by an author for the purposes of a story because your brain has to segregate characters to a certain period of time and it also has to not obsess over the many events that could have taken place in the interval between the chapters which are set then and the chapters which are set now.

Vicious doesn’t have that problem. It’s very easy to know where and when you are because there’s an obvious difference in the characters.

In college, Victor wants more than anything to take the mask of his best friend Eli and see what kind of monster is lurking beneath. He wants to find a monster like him to bond with and spend time with. Student Victor wants to push science to the very brink and discover something new and wonderful and powerful.

He wants to be ExtraOrdinary.

Post prison Victor wants to end his best friend and he doesn’t care how he’s going to do that. He will hurt and maim and completely destroy those who wish to stop them because Eli is a creature made from dangerously sharp and evil components.

He’s a genius who has become full of the belief that he’s meant to kill other’s like him who are super-powered. Because they are wrong. They are magnificent and they are wrong. Their souls are gone. They are the devil given human skin…

SERIOUSLY? WHAT IS IT WITH PEOPLE AND THEIR WITCH HUNTS? HUH?

Someone is different. Kill them. Someone is different. Kill them!

Someone. Is. Different.

Kill. Them.

We’re complaining about it, but we don’t actually mind that much. It’s so much fun seeing fanatics being taken down. So fun.

For us, Vicious lacked the depth that we found in Victoria’s Shades of Magic trilogy. We think it’s due to the fact that it’s an earlier work of hers and the fact that it is, for the moment, a standalone novel. We haven’t been gifted with another four hundred plus pages to see a world of secretly powered people be fleshed out.

We’re happy to know that we’re getting those pages though. Sometime next year if everything goes to plan.

What’s interesting about this novel is how people receive their powers. They have to come very, very close to death. And we’re talking I’ll reap your soul in just a second close. It seemed to us, to be a pretty cool system that allowed for Schwab to get imaginative with the powers she bestowed on her creations.

To finish this all up, Vicious is the kind of powered up fiction that will draw in the lovers of wicked deed and sharp, sharp characters who are so riddled with flaws that it’s a miracle they don’t break. It’s also a book that moves very fast and allows you to only make connections with just a few of those aforementioned flawed characters. You’ll either like it or hate it, love it or feel kind of meh about the whole thing, but we promise that you’ll be exploring into Victoria’s other rich worlds.

Thanks for reading our review!

Arkon, Annie and a creator.

Four London Book Tag

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Disclaimer: You’ll either like this or you’ll love this. There’s really no other option.

Welcome one, welcome all to the Four London Book Tag! *screams internally* We honestly can’t believe it’s finally here. So, we came up with the idea all the way back in November to do this tag, but school and procrastination and life got in the way so it didn’t happen. Then we thought we’d have it up and running for the release of A Conjuring of Light in February, but that didn’t happen.

HAPPILY, THOUGH, TODAY IS MS. SCHWAB’S BIRTHDAY (something the confirmed to us yesterday on Instagram because we didn’t believe Wikepedia. It’s not always reliable) AND WE THOUGHT WE JUST HAD TO FINISH CREATING THIS TAG ONCE AND FOR ALL IN HONOUR OF HER REACHING THE THIRD DECADE.

We’ve heard that the thirties are quite fun.

Now, obviously the Four London Book Tag is based upon the Four Londons of Schwab’s Shades of Magic trilogy. Grey, Red, White and Black. There will be questions related to each London with pretty graphics as we go along and we’re so ecstatic and oh my gods let’s get going. We can’t wait any longer!

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Isn’t it gorgeous? *insert heart eyes here*

Like Lila with the Stone’s Throw in her regular old grey London, she just can’t seem to get away from the place. No matter how many times she runs away to seek adventure and get herself a ship. So, we wondered what book/series is essentially the Stone’s Throw for us in literary form? And the answer is, The Twilight Saga.

We know. We know what you’re thinking. The Twilight Saga? Seriously? We thought you had better taste and we do. We have great taste, but seriously. No matter how many times we marvel at the shocking differences between book Bella and movie Bella and no matter how many times we cringe at the existence of Jacob Black and Edward’s my poor soul thing we sporadically open up our copy of Breaking Dawn or New Moon and read.

It just has this spark of magic that we are drawn to.

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Lila said goodbye to Grey London with a wave and a grin and never looked back. She was done. She was over it. She wanted bigger and better things.

We said goodbye to the Lorien Legacies series only a little while ago with the final book, but we’d kind of left the series long before that and we have no intention of ever reading the books again. Never, ever, ever. We will not read the Lorien Legacies books again in our celestial lifetime because there are bigger and better things for us to read.

Examples of such are:

  • Godsgrave. It’s the sequel to Nevernight and we won’t be seeing it til September. But it’s all good. No, seriously. It’s ALL GOOD. We can look at the beautiful ARC cover and final cover designed by Kerby Rosanes on Instagram whenever we like. WE’RE NOT STRESSING OVER THE FACT THAT OTHER PEOPLE HAVE IN THEIR POSSESSION ADVANCE COPIES OF THE STABBY BOOK. We’re not stressing. You are.
  • Renegades. Marissa Meyer is diving into the world of Superheroes and Super-villains with Renegades and it’s exciting and the cover is beautiful and we’ve read an excerpt and we know that we’ll likely love the villains more than the heroes. Who wouldn’t?
  • And finally, The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock. We received an ARC for it the other day on NetGalley and we’re only forty something pages in. It feels like a classic. Yes.

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We had an answer planned for this…

Hold on…

Wait *plays holding music*

Grey London is the only London that’s basically devoid of magic. It’s dead or it’s dying and very few people can access that scraps of power that are left. But ignore all that.

WE HAVE FOUND OUR ANSWER and it’s Teardrop by Lauren Kate. It had such a pretty cover and we always judge books by their covers (we’re not superficial…OK, we are, but we always have this notion that when a book cover is pretty more money has been spent on it? You understand. We know you do.)

And it had a great concept. A girl who would flood the world when she cries. Oh my gods, yes. It’s like the Sept being blown up by Cersei with Wildfire in episode 6×10 of Game of Thrones except better because Margaery doesn’t die. It failed though. Failed so hard.

Red london

There are many forms of Aven (blessed) in the Shades of Magic books. There are the priests and the Antari. Both have a different form of magic. The Antari can control all forms expertly and equally. The priests are similar in that the have access to all forms, but they’re not particularly talented at any of them.

Where there talent lies is in balancing the elements to heal and grows.

It was really tough finding the right book for this and in the end we couldn’t decide on just one, so we have two.

The Deviants by C. J. Skuse is a book that will tear your itty bitty heart out and rip it all up while making you love it. And the Original Ginny Moon is the most fabulous gem that was sent to us all the way from Canada by its publisher. The main character is a girl with autism and we love her.

We love her so much.

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Kell’s coat is the most fantastic piece of clothing that we’ve ever read about and we so want it. You can change it up whenever you like and there just might be an infinite amount of forms for it to take.

The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon who is a goddess is a book we’ve read…four times and we manage to have a new opinion on it every single time we finish the last line. They’re all positive opinions. They’re just all different. One of the questions we always ask our self about it is where on earth is our dearest Michael? WHERE IS HE?

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Holland and Kell to a greater extent are loved and feared simultaneously. People look at them and marvel at their power, but they also fear them because tiny, tiny mortals don’t like sentient beings to be able to do more than them. Be more than them.

Similarly, we adore the world of Harry Potter in the time of Voldemort. There is so much love and resilience and magic and (our emotions are overloading) stuff that we are unable to not smile when we think of Hogwarts and Diagon Alley and everything.

But if we were in that world when people are disappearing and Dementors are running loose and something as basic as your parentage can make you a target or a lesser being to be killed then we think we’d curl up and cry.

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At the beginning of the series White London was even worse than Grey London is some respects. To take the throne, you had to kill. The hygiene of the general populace was terrible and Astrid or Athos Dane could bind you a bury you at whatever moment they saw fit.

By the end of the trilogy, after we’d developed a burning love for dear old Holland and shrivelled into a patch of nothing when he died, White London took a breath and exhaled life back into the world.

SO, WHAT BOOK/SERIES WAS MEH AT THE START? The first two Throne of Glass novels, that’s what. So many exclamation marks and mehdom (we’re trademarking that word).

AND WHAT WAS FULL OF LIFE AT THE END? The third and fourth Throne of Glass novels, that’s what. We’re ignoring Empire of Storms and the destruction it levelled on the series due to the fact that our love burns bright for Manon and Elide and Lysandra in books three and four. We just can’t let anything taint that.

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(If you turn your screen at just the right angle you can read what we’ve written here, but if you’re feeling lazy we’ll repeat our demand/question/whatever).

A book/series that you would kill for.

Harry Potter. ‘Nuff said.

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White London was dying. Holland saved it. May the potentially ungratefully denizens of the palest of London’s mourn his soul.

We’d save Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince because for some reason over the last few years it has become our favourite Harry Potter book with Deathly Hallows close behind. We’d bring with us a copy of HP6 into Armageddon or Ragnorak or The End of Days or The Rapture no matter what.

We have a few reasons for this.

  1. It’s orange and we could pretend that we have that valuable resource called fire so little people would come close to us and then in their devastation upon their realisation that we do not in fact carry heat, we’d rob them of all their goods. Not their clothes though. Ew.
  2. We’d need a boy like Draco to keep us warm at night…get your minds out of the gutter.
  3. Hermione would still manage to be the only other being that we’d enjoy having a conversation with because she is an intellectual.
  4. And Luna. OBVIOUSLY LUNA.

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Osaron and his massive ego consumed the people in Black London and tried to consume all of the population of Red London (White London and Grey London just weren’t good enough. Rude) but he failed and only consumed a few. They died horrible deaths. It was exciting.

A book series that utterly consumed us was the Shades of Magic trilogy! We stayed up for a great deal of the night over in Wales reading A Conjuring of Light even though we knew we had to be up at 6:30am and we knew that we’d have a very day ahead of us, but we didn’t care. We revelled in our exhaustion and devoured half of the book.

We also reviewed it, so, here.

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Every good person in all the Londons that mater aka Red and White know that Black London is to be treated as if it is the plague. *cough* someone tell Kell *cough* and there are some books which we absolutely stay away from.

SOME OF THOSE BOOKS ARE WRITTEN BY RAINBOW ROWELL.

We haven’t read anything by her because the potential level of cutesy is to high. It makes us recoil.

Some of you are probably calling us heathen right now, but lol. We don’t care. We’re secure in our reading choices. We are…we know it…

someone please pass us a Rainbow Rowell book…

someone please…

someone.

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Magic man Osaron is a puppet master. He says buy me a rake, you do it. He says shove that rake in your eye, you do it. He says call me you crazy magic lover boy, you do-  wait, what?

We’re getting carried away with our self *insert blush here*

J. K Rowling is the Osaron to our money. When we discovered that The Cuckoo’s Calling and The Silkworm were written by her, we persuaded our Life-Giver to buy them for us immediately. We didn’t even have to bed. And when Career of Evil came out, it was something like eighteen euro, but we got it there and then.

We fretted for about thirty seconds, but still. We bought it, read forty pages of it and somehow forgot to ever open it up again. We plan on fixing that soon!

AND THAT IS IT FOR THE FOUR LONDONS, BUT DON’T WORRY. WE’RE NOT DONE YET. THERE’S A BONUS ROUND AND THEN INFO ON PARTICIPATION. ALSO, WE’RE GOING TO TAG A WHOLE BUNCH OF PEOPLE AND HOPE THEY DON’T SHOOT US.

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What character/s from the Shades of Magic trilogy would you like to see have a spinoff?

Our answer is definitely Nasi who was introduced to us in A Conjuring of Light in White London and we think she’ll become Queen and turn out to be just like the priests of Red London because she’ll be able to balance the elements, but obviously she won’t be a priest because SHE’LL BE QUEEN! And she’ll create and order of women who will do cool stuff and, and-

We hope you’re reading this Victoria!

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If you could rule one of the four Londons, which one would you rule?

White London. Definitely White London. It’s somehow managed to become our favourite London and also we couldn’t bare to take Rhy or any future Maresh children of the throne. He and Alucard would have glorious children. Never mind the fact that neither of them can carry a child.

Of course, we’d wait til Nasi was done ruling. White London would totally keep the whole strongest person rules thing, but it would do away with the you must kill the weaker person thing. We simply don’t have the energy for that much killing.

So, the demands/questions are done and there’s just a couple of things left to sort out.

One: We uploaded some of our designs on to our Society6 store because we love them. And you can get gorgeous pillows and tote bags and other things and support us because we’re poor.

Two: YOU CAN ALSO PARTICIPATE IN THE FOUR LONDON BOOK TAG. To do so all you must do is use our prompts because they’re vital. You can use our graphics as well, if you want as long as you reference us, but you don’t have to! We’re 99% sure that all of you can create your own stunning graphics.

(Do you really want to pull your hair out though? Do you want to look like a hairless cat?)

We also ask that you link back to us and/or comment you link here in the comments so we can check out your brilliants answers!

TAG! YOU'RE IT.

We have a whole bunch of people that we need to tag and the first one is Victoria Schwab herself (ambitious we know)! If you are indeed reading this, you wonderfully creative woman, we want to thank you for creating such an immersive world which magic and blades and secrets and wonder.

This is a birthday gift, so sorts to you, so HAPPY BIRTHDAY AND THANK YOU!

Next up we have the creators of all the amazing blogs that we read *adoring emoji*

Cait from Paper Fury, Anna from A Literary Potion, Stacee from Adventures of A Book Junkee, Aentee from Read at Midnight, Ashleigh from A Frolic Through Fiction AND EVERYONE ELSE!

There are so many of you with blogs, but it’s almost midnight and we’re running out of birthday hours here! Consider yourself all tagged! We promise to start commenting on your stuff again soon. Summer is here and we’re ready to pester you all *evil laughter*

THAT’S IT GUYS. THIS POST IS OFFICIALLY DONE. It’s an immense beast totally at 2,500 and something words and we couldn’t be more proud of our self. We’ll see you all again on Tuesday because we have a schedule now. Tuesdays and Fridays for all our stuff and every other day for ARC reviews and the like.

Arkon, Annie and a creator (it feels good to say that again)

 

 

Lord of Shadows By Cassandra Clare

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Would you trade your soul mate for your soul?

A Shadowhunter’s life is bound by duty. Constrained by honor. The word of a Shadowhunter is a solemn pledge, and no vow is more sacred than the vow that binds parabatai, warrior partners—sworn to fight together, die together, but never to fall in love.

Emma Carstairs has learned that the love she shares with her parabatai, Julian Blackthorn, isn’t just forbidden—it could destroy them both. She knows she should run from Julian. But how can she when the Blackthorns are threatened by enemies on all sides?

Their only hope is the Black Volume of the Dead, a spell book of terrible power. Everyone wants it. Only the Blackthorns can find it. Spurred on by a dark bargain with the Seelie Queen, Emma; her best friend, Cristina; and Mark and Julian Blackthorn journey into the Courts of Faerie, where glittering revels hide bloody danger and no promise can be trusted. Meanwhile, rising tension between Shadowhunters and Downworlders has produced the Cohort, an extremist group of Shadowhunters dedicated to registering Downworlders and “unsuitable” Nephilim. They’ll do anything in their power to expose Julian’s secrets and take the Los Angeles Institute for their own.

When Downworlders turn against the Clave, a new threat rises in the form of the Lord of Shadows—the Unseelie King, who sends his greatest warriors to slaughter those with Blackthorn blood and seize the Black Volume. As dangers close in, Julian devises a risky scheme that depends on the cooperation of an unpredictable enemy. But success may come with a price he and Emma cannot even imagine, one that will bring with it a reckoning of blood that could have repercussions for everyone and everything they hold dear.

Goodreads

Disclaimers: This post is riddled with spoilers for both Lord of Shadows and previous books by Cassandra Clare.

COMMENTARY

  • This cover is ugly.
  • Jules, Emma – when are you going to get it into your thick heads that Cortana can cut through anything. Including the Parabatai bond. We figured it out in Lady Midnight and you killed legendary bronze people who are almost godly and shouldn’t be able to die. Like, seriously.
  • Dru, darling, you’ve been neglected. You got far less time than the others and while we thought you’d die we’re happy you didn’t. ALSO, we thought Diana would get the chop and maybe Diego and Zara. Good god she needs to be stabbed.
  • The Centurions are a collection of entitled idiots.
  • If Mark doesn’t hurry up and decide between Christina and Kieran we will scream. Alternatively, we could maybe see the three of them working together…but maybe not.
  • Magical weakness, sick Warlocks, INTRIGUE – the naming of children after dead people isn’t necessarily a good idea. They died after all. Honestly, Magnus and Alec get with it
  • Jamie! JAMIE. Why aren’t you the evil, scheming wretch we were hoping you’d be? Why do we have emotions for you? Positive ones. Not even stab, stab, stab emotions.
  • Oh my god, Julian. Your baby Livvy is dead. We will never recover. It’s like Margaery going up in Hellfire in Game of Thrones all over again and we can’t cope and what about Ty and what about Kit. THERE WAS FRIENDSHIP BLOSSOMING. And by the Angel how will everyone be able to keep going.
  • Where’s our kiss between dearest Tiberius and Kit? It isn’t anywhere, that’s where it is.
  • Clary. Jace. You are so out of place in this book. Go home. We hate seeing you in novels that aren’t your own.
  • We need more of Mark. He’s adorable.

ANALYSIS

It’s easy to say that Lord of Shadows is a step up from Lady Midnight and that was good already. We’re proud of you Cassandra Clare.

Lord of Shadows succeeded on many levels, but the main thing that concerned us, THE ONLY THING THAT CONCERNED US was Ty and Kit. They are the future. They are what mankind should aspire to be like.

Side note: We are also what mankind should aspire to be like.

Okay, so…where do we start?

The second book in The Dark Artifices trilogy took on a global feel ala Sense8 and really explored the interconnecting worlds of Faerie and regular old Earth where human angels endeavour to drive back demons and make sure disgusting undead sea demon warlock hybrids don’t eat little children. Yes, Malcolm we’re talking about you.

We got to see the politics that influence how Institute Heads are appointed, the mechanics of Unseelie royalty where having fifty sons really means you’ll have a bag of extra bargaining chips to throw and spend at your disposal unless of course they kill each other. We got to see the ever-increasing hate that a great deal of Downworlders have for Shadowhunters be compacted into two sections. The actions of Shadowhunters and the attitude of Shadowhunters.

Let’s discuss the attitude of Shadowhunters.

Those who have drank from The Mortal Cup to be gifted by the angel Raziel are less likely to have the overwhelming arrogance of your average, I was born this was Shadowhunter. You’re regular Shadowhunter believes that they can do anything, that their way is the right way in most cases. Granted, there are exceptions, but as a whole they believe this.

Even Emma and Julian think it’s okay to threaten Downworlders for information so long as it gets them where they want to be.

It’s this attitude that has them looking down on Mundanes, being amused by Mundanes as if they are creatures in a zoo and distrusting anyone with fair folk blood. It’s this attitude that led to the Clave not bothering to try and rescue Mark and sentencing Helen to exile on a tiny, tiny island that is cold and miserable.

It’s this attitude that has stopped Diana, fierce and gorgeous she’s rightly named after the Roman incarnation of Artemis, from helping the Blackthorns in the way she truly wants to (by becoming the Head of the Los Angeles Institute). In Lady Midnight, Cassandra Clare made it clear that Diana had secrets. AND FINALLY, WE GOT TO KNOW THEM.

Diana was born Michael. She was born in a body that wasn’t her own. Diana is transgender, but that’s not what has stopped Diana from becoming the quintessential boss of all LA based Shadowhunters. At least that’s not what we got from what was written. What’s stopped Diana from it is the manner in which she became herself.

She used Mundane methods.

She underwent operations don’t by mortal doctors, she went through the process of transitioning with Mundane professionals all around her. In a scene with Gwynn she explained that she chose to do so because of the permanence of it all. A spell can be undone by another spell and there was no way in heaven or hell that she was going to live with the chance that a wayward Warlock could turn her into something that wasn’t her.

What’s nice about Diana’s complexity as a character and in particular the manner in which her hidden truths were revealed to us as readers was that none of it came across as a cheap gimmick. Cassandra didn’t place something so emotional and profound in Lord of Shadows because people demanded it, but because Diana as a character demanded it. It was well done and felt honest unlike certain other revelations that have happened in books we’ve read recently (ACOWAR).

ONTO OTHER EMOTIONAL STUFF and back to the actions of Shadowhunters.

Annabelle Blackthorn, our recently risen Shadowhunter was someone we hailed as a hero when she savagely stabbed Malcom to death prior to the weird tentacle incident. And then someone we condemned when she killed our dear Livvy. We were okay when she almost killed Emma and Julian, they’re not Ty and Kit, they’re not the parties that make up the most epic romance. And we were definitely okay when she killed Robert. Lol, bye. #Savage

Her betrayal of the glorious Blackthorn family is because of how long dead members of the family acted towards her. How they treated her and made her dead. Her betrayal is, in some ways a pre-emptive act that one may commit in war. And it is now War because Julian will kill her. He will make her suffer and we will cheer.

The actions of Shadowhunters, the implementation of the Cold Peace by those who use fear to breed hate and anger are the foundations of what is the come in Queen of Air and Darkness (something which we recently found out we’ll have to wait two years for. Here’s hoping we’ll get an arc)

Is it too much to say that although the actions of Shadowhunters have saved countless human lives, they have also caused them all the pain they’ve ever felt? Yes? No?

We don’t think it’s much of a reach. The Circle came into existence because of Valentine’s superiority complex where Downworlders were concerned. Sebastian came into existence because the Clave didn’t do their jobs properly and wipe him off the face of the Earth. The Seelie Court aligned with Sebastian because they knew they’d never be treated as equals under the current rules. And now, with the Dark War having concluded in City of Heavenly Fire and the Cold Peace that we’ve already mentioned having been in place for five years, the Fae are demeaned and less. They are angry. They are vengeful and war is approaching because of Shadowhunter choices.

CONCLUSION

With Lord of Shadows, Cassandra Clare gave us so much to think about and we ended up writing a review in a different style to what we usually write because we just had to share some of our thoughts without being confusing and changing tone every few sentences. Over the space of the next two years, we’ll be reading this book multiple times and we can’t ever see us loving it any less than we do right now.

So, what did you all think of Lord of Shadows? Did it exceed your expectations? Did it rip your fragile, mortal hearts out? Let us know in the comments!

The Original Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig

ginny

For the first time in her life, Ginny Moon has found her “forever home”—a place where she’ll be safe and protected, with a family that will love and nurture her. It’s exactly the kind of home that all foster kids are hoping for. So why is this 14-year-old so desperate to get kidnapped by her abusive, drug-addict birth mother, Gloria, and return to a grim existence of hiding under the kitchen sink to avoid the authorities and her mother’s violent boyfriends?

While Ginny is pretty much your average teenager—she plays the flute in the school band, has weekly basketball practice and studies Robert Frost poems for English class—she is autistic. And so what’s important to Ginny includes starting every day with exactly nine grapes for breakfast, Michael Jackson, bacon-pineapple pizza and, most of all, getting back to Gloria so she can take care of her baby doll.

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Disclaimers: We received this book in the form of a physical ARC courtesy of the publisher (Park Row Books) This review may contain some things you consider to be spoilers. You have been warned.

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The Edge of Everything by Jeff Giles

edge of everything

It’s been a shattering year for seventeen-year-old Zoe, who’s still reeling from her father’s shockingly sudden death in a caving accident and her neighbors’ mysterious disappearance from their own home. Then on a terrifying sub-zero, blizzardy night in Montana, she and her brother are brutally attacked in a cabin in the woods–only to be rescued by a mysterious bounty hunter they call X.

X is no ordinary bounty hunter. He is from a hell called the Lowlands, sent to claim the soul of Zoe’s evil attacker and others like him. Forbidden to reveal himself to anyone other than his victims, X casts aside the Lowlands’ rules for Zoe. As X and Zoe learn more about their different worlds, they begin to question the past, their fate, and their future. But escaping the Lowlands and the ties that bind X might mean the ultimate sacrifice for both of them.

Gripping and full of heart, this epic journey will bring readers right to the edge of everything.

Disclaimer: We received a copy of this book from NetGalley courtesy of the publisher (Bloomsbury)

Why we chose it: Both the cover and the description grabbed us. They were enticing, they were intriguing and so we did a little research on the author. What we liked, we found.

Review: The Edge of Everything has left us conflicted. Our mind is in many factions – somewhere between like, love and minor dislike. The book wasn’t perfect, but we’ll get to that later.

The first thing that struck us is the same thing that we always notice first. Our main character. In The Edge of Everything that main character is Zoe. Her point of view is told in third person which works perfectly – it allows an intimate look at her persona without getting caught up in unnecessary detail the way a lot of books do. Let’s start with how funny she is…..

Damn that girl is hilarious. On numerous occasions at the start of and throughout the novel we laughed out loud. Thankfully there was no one around to offer us weird looks or ask questions that would distract us from reading. We can’t stress how wonderfully Jeff Giles captured an authentic sense of humour that has just enough sarcasm and elements of oddity. Zoe’s thoughts and mannerisms came across as unique to her. She’s not a used up trope or an archetype. You’ll find there are some aspects of her character that are flawed (genuinely flawed) but we won’t mention what they are just yet.

After the original sense of giddiness that overtook us we hit that point in a book where you wonder “Are we getting too much information, too soon?” It’s not necessarily the author’s fault – they’ve got a whole world with a cast of characters and a backstory to introduce us to. They’ve got to do it quickly and coherently so we don’t start asking questions later on like “When were we told the colour of Zoe’s eyes?” or “What was Zoe’s relationship with her Dad?” For a moment Jeff Giles managed to annoy us in the way he wrote it (an almost flashback scene that we usually have a thing against)

After a small break we continued on, but it wasn’t long before we hit another snag that had us truly contemplating never reading another word from this book again.

In an event (that we won’t disclose any details on besides what’s given in the description) Zoe meets a guy she’ll come to call X. Jonah, Zoe’s brother meets him too, but Jonah isn’t what’s of importance right now. What’s important is that we feel the connection between Zoe and X is almost immediately too strong despite the event with undisclosed details mentioned above. To us, as readers and reviewers it’s okay for two characters to instantly have a connection. A weak one and maybe even a moderately strong connection, just enough to build on. It felt like what was between X and Zoe had already been built on prior to their meeting which seemed very odd to us…..

We even had to re-read a few pages repeatedly to see if there’d been some sort of time jump we’d skimmed over or something that could explain it to us. We couldn’t and then as our frustration built so did a headache which caused us to stop reading, take a drink and think.

Could we overlook what’s almost like instalove, but isn’t? Could we read on knowing that from this point on a book that had started out promising despite a little flaw could turn into a full on disaster? It was surprising really that we could. We simply liked Zoe in a singular way that allowed us to.

X himself is an interesting character away from Zoe for us. His life…..life is an exaggeration, but we lack a better word and the type of magic depicted are borderline fascinating. We also liked the characters who came along with him as his story thread was woven in. Ripper and Banger, as well as others proved entertaining. They were more than just secondary characters there to fill a role. They added heart and emotion in a similar way that the other character of Zoe’s life such as her brother (we mentioned him briefly earlier) and her best friend Val.

In particular though, there’s something about children characters that we can’t help, but adore when done right. Jeff Giles definitely does it right in The Edge of Everything. Jonah is beyond perfect including his ADHD, he’s so wondrous and loving that if at any point during our read or in the future we discover a way to spirit him off the page and into our life then we will do so. His interactions with the world and his uniqueness made him easy to fall in love with. For everyone to fall in love with. Zoe of course being the older sibling could be at times impatient with him. On occasion she acted wrongly towards him and that made us want to act in a way that resembles violence toward her.

(We don’t condone violence towards characters in books. It’s unlikely to end well, but Jeff Giles seems to have a thing for weaving emotion)

The plot of the book itself isn’t all that unique if we’re honest and we’re always honest when it comes to books. A girl and indeed a family coming to grips with the loss of a father and a bounty hunter forbidden to reveal anything to said girl. It’s pretty generic right? Especially the fact that he breaks all the rules for this one girl. X breaks all the rules for Zoe and together the two of them discover what fate has in store and what the future may hold.

Blah, blah, blah.

What spices this book up and makes it not all about the forbidden couple is that it actually takes the time and the words to show you how the girl comes to grips with the loss of her father. How she tries to come to grips with the loss of her father. It shows how breaking the rules has consequences, but that these consequences are limited to those members central to the crime. Not the world. This isn’t a save the world book. It isn’t even a book that shoves insane Ripper and hilarious Val to the sidelines because there’s a muscly boy on the loose.

It’s a book that manages to tell a story and not the remnants of one.

As we neared the end of the book there were some twists and turns that we didn’t see coming. At all. Our theories on what was going to happen didn’t pan out….well, one did, but you don’t need to know that. When the book ended, we were satisfied with the ending. It didn’t feel rushed and it didn’t have a false happy ending to please the reading public. It was honest to the story being told and we appreciated that.

To conclude, while The Edge of Everywhere has some problems they’re not too big and can be overlooked. In terms of those factions we stated at the very start of this review, we’ve found a home for our opinions on this book. It’s a book that we almost love, but can’t truly. At least not yet. It’s possible that in the future after some re-reads we will indeed love it because the book certainly has the potential to be loved due to the writing style and as always the characters who can make or break anything.

AS ALWAYS, THANK YOU FOR READING! Have you read this book yet? What did you think? Let us know what you think in the comments and don’t forget to follow us on:

And we’d love to be friend with you on Goodreads so send us a friend request. That way we’ll be able to see what you’re reading.

Arkon, Annie and a creator.

Life in a Fishbowl by Len Vlahos

fishbowl

Fifteen-year-old Jackie Stone is a prisoner in her own house. Everything she says and does 24/7 is being taped and broadcast to every television in America. Why? Because her dad is dying of a brain tumor and he has auctioned his life on eBay to the highest bidder: a ruthless TV reality show executive at ATN.

Gone is her mom’s attention and cooking and parent-teacher conferences. Gone is her sister’s trust ever since she’s been dazzled by the cameras and new-found infamy. Gone is her privacy. Gone is the whole family’s dignity as ATN twists their words and makes a public mockery of their lives on Life and Death. But most of all, Jackie fears that one day very soon her father will just be . . . gone. Armed only with her ingenuity and the power of the internet, Jackie is determined to end the show and reclaim all of their lives, even in death.

Goodreads

Disclaimer: We received this book via NetGalley courtesy of the publisher (Bloomsbury) This review may contain some things you consider to be spoilers. You have been warned.

Why we chose it: Dying man auctions his life on eBay? Yes please

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Windwitch (Extract) by Susan Dennard.

 

 

Disclaimers: We received two advanced digital copies of this book courtesy of the UK and US publishers (Tor and Tor Teen which are imprints of Pan Macmillan and Macmillan-Tor/Forge respectively). This review may contain some things you consider to be spoilers. You have been warned.

Why we chose it: Read our review of Truthwitch right here.

Review: So, we might have accidentally requested both UK and US extracts of Windwitch on NetGalley at the exact same time and been approved for both, but you won’t judge us…right? We adored Truthwitch and our extreme requesting skills for its sequel should be applauded.

Applaud us while you read this review and then applaud yourselves because you’re great.

We’re not ones to usually talk about the language used in books, but for this novel we feel it’s very important to touch on the words used and the feeling they create as we read them. Susan Dennard likes to use the word ‘for’ a lot and we’d forgotten that when we opened up Windwtich on our phone, so while we fell right back into the world she had created – we also experienced some annoyance.

But don’t worry dear friends. That annoyance faded quickly as we became used to the writing style and because of that we can focus on another aspect of the language used.

The curse words.

We enjoyed them so much because cursing is fun and cursing in a fantasy novel is just accurate. It gives the characters a realness as they speak. There emotions come across so very clearly when an author doesn’t feel the need to make everything PG.

In the one hundred and something pages that we read there was a lot covered. Merik became an even more prominent character and we expected that. The title is Windwitch and Merik is the only such witch we know of. Merik’s temper isn’t under the control it once was and we really liked that because his chapters had an edgier feel. A darker tone.

Vivia has garnered her own individual page time now that Merik has become a focus point and even after only a short time experiencing her mind we can happily say that she’s a character we’re going to enjoy. She has similarities to her brother, but there are some subtle and not so subtle differences to her world perspective that we think will endear her more to us when we get the chance to read the full novel.

Everyone who’s read Truthwitch is fully aware that Safi and Iseult, the threadsisters who are brilliance and clever and deceptive and kind. Who are wicked and wonderful together in the way they play off of one another are separated. There are many things that we can say about their new adventure, their different, but ultimately the same adventure –  so many things that we could say and yet we have absolutely no intention of sharing anything with any of you.

We’re cruel like that. We like to pull at your heart strings because we have none and we like to leave you needing more which is something that this extract did to us. We knew the cut-off point was coming. We had mentally prepared ourselves for it and yet when we were unable to continue we felt shocked.

This can’t be where they leave us we thought. There has to be more we promised ourselves. There has to be, there has to be. There wasn’t.

We wanted so much more to devour. We should have more to devour and knowing that Susan has written it makes us feel slightly better, but not completely. We have to wait for the rest and we have no patience. It’s a problem of ours that we do not intend to rectify.

This extract of Windwitch that we were lucky to read had many revelations and so many new developments that honestly…we can’t help, but flail excitedly.

THANK YOU ALL FOR READING THIS REVIEW! We’ll have another one on Windwitch when we get the chance to read the full thing and it will be more in-depth than this one because there will have been more to process and examine and it’s entirely likely that we’ll be left with a bunch of new theories and questions for the third book.

Have you read Truthwitch? Did you love it? Let us know in the comments and don’t forget to follow us on:

And we’d love to be friend with you on Goodreads so send us a friend request. That way we’ll be able to see what you’re reading.

Arkon, Annie and a creator.

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

homegoing

Effia and Esi are born into different villages in eighteenth-century Ghana. Effia is married off to an Englishman and lives in comfort in the palatial rooms of Cape Coast Castle. Unbeknownst to Effia, her sister, Esi, is imprisoned beneath her in the castle’s dungeons, sold with thousands of others into the Gold Coast’s booming slave trade, and shipped off to America, where her children and grandchildren will be raised in slavery. One thread of Homegoing follows Effia’s descendants through centuries of warfare in Ghana, as the Fante and Asante nations wrestle with the slave trade and British colonization. The other thread follows Esi and her children into America. From the plantations of the South to the Civil War and the Great Migration, from the coal mines of Pratt City, Alabama, to the jazz clubs and dope houses of twentieth-century Harlem, right up through the present day, Homegoing makes history visceral, and captures, with singular and stunning immediacy, how the memory of captivity came to be inscribed in the soul of a nation.

Goodreads

Disclaimers: We received an digital copy of this book via NetGalley courtesy of the publisher (Viking) which is an imprint of Penguin. This review may contain some things you consider to spoilers. You have been warned.

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Shadow Rites by Faith Hunter

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Jane is keeping the peace between visiting groups of witches and vamps in the city, but then trouble comes knocking on her doorstep. When her house is magically attacked, the wild chase to find her assailants unearths a mystery that has literally been buried deep.

A missing master vampire, presumed long deceased, is found chained in a pit…undead, raving mad, and in the company of two human bodies. Now it’s up to Jane to find out who kept the vampire hidden for so long and why, because the incident could tip already high supernatural tensions to an all-out arcane war.

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Disclaimers: This review may contain spoilers for both the book it focuses on and the previous nine books in the series. You have been warned.

Why we chose it: Jane Yellowrock is a winner.

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A Collection of Unfinished Books.

a-collection-of-unfinished-books

Overall disclaimer: These reviews are shorter than what we usually write.

It’s true. There have been more than a few books that we haven’t finished lately and we were hesitant to review them because we don’t really like leaving a book unfinished and then writing up our thoughts on them without all the information. It feels like cheating, bur we’ve come up with a solution!

We’re going to put all the books we did not finish into one post and have a collection of mini reviews because that way we feel less guilty and our post doesn’t look embarrassingly short.

Our genius never fails to amaze us.

Let’s get on with it, shall we?

haven

Princess Haven was never meant to be Queen.

Her immortality has saved her time and time again, but when the last of her royal family dies at her feet, she is next in line to rule a nation on the brink of war. With no formal training on how to be Queen, Haven must rise to the occasion with the help of her best friends, and personal guard, or risk losing everyone she has ever loved.

With war to the West, and no escape to the East, the evil tyrant Kadia sets her sights on the six kingdoms. Haven’s neighbors are quick to fall under the swords of Kadia’s shadow soldiers, leaving a sea of bodies and a clear path to Haven’s only home.

As Kadia’s obsession with Haven mounts, little time remains, and Haven must make a choice; join together with her fellow Royals, and test her immortality in a final stand against the evil Queen, or flee across the sea to a foreign republic in hopes of salvation. Both choices have a cost. Both plans could go awry. Haven must decide quickly, or she might be the only one left.

Goodreads

Disclaimers: We received a digital copy of this book via NetGalley courtesy of the publisher (Friesen Press). This review may contain some things you consider to be spoilers. You have been warned.

Why we chose it: It sounded fun.

Review: The writing was really a problem for us in Haven. It was such a problem that we stopped well before fifty percent. In fact, we only managed a few chapters before we gave up and it still gets to us how wrong everything felt. We thought we might teeter of the edge of a cliff if it were to get any worse. Characters felt as if they’d simply been thrown together without any regard for the chemistry, whether platonic or romantic that should be between them. We couldn’t stand it.

Our main character, Haven, is immortal in the sense that neither injury or disease can take her life. Chop off her head and it would probably grow back. Shoot an arrow right through her chest and she’d be fine in moments. We thought, because it was written that way that Haven’s immortality was common knowledge. It felt like everyone knew about it, but then it seemed at an early point in the book as if it wasn’t?

The arrow we mentioned was shot at Haven in an assassination attempt and the reactions people had to it were over exaggerated. Protect the Queen. Protect the Queen. No one batted an eyelid when she healed up. Hello, Queen’s Guard. You’ll all die before she does. Our eyes figuratively rolled out of our head.

It all made no sense and you all know how very much we hate things not making sense.

We completely understand now why some people abstain from period novels no matter what the genre is. Up until the book dialogue written in novel not set in a modern time didn’t bother us. It never felt stilted or stupid or forced…the dialogue in Haven felt forced. Things were said and then basically said again. It was frustrating.

We feel like there’s a slight possibility that the execution of the plot could have redeemed this novel if the writing hadn’t been so annoying, but saying that is grasping at straws. This book is very similar to the many fantasy books that already exist out in the world. Better fantasy books. It’s unfortunate because we really wanted to enjoy Haven.

To conclude, Haven was just not something we could get behind and though we feel bad about writing a negative review, it is honesty that is required of us and it is honesty that we give. This book might very well be the next best thing for some people, but for us it is something we simply couldn’t get behind.

burning-bright

In 1812, Elinor Pembroke wakes to find her bedchamber in flames—and extinguishes them with a thought. At 21, she is old to manifest magical talent, but the evidence is unmistakable: she not only has the ability to start fires, but the far more powerful ability to control and extinguish them. She is an Extraordinary, and the only one in England capable of wielding fire in over one hundred years.

As an Extraordinary, she is respected and feared, but to her father, she represents power and prestige for himself. Mr. Pembroke, having spent his life studying magic, is determined to control Elinor and her talent by forcing her to marry where he chooses, a marriage that will produce even more powerful offspring. Trapped between the choices of a loveless marriage or living penniless and dependent on her parents, Elinor takes a third path: she defies tradition and society to join the Royal Navy.

Assigned to serve under Captain Miles Ramsay aboard the frigate Athena, she turns her fiery talent on England’s enemies, French privateers and vicious pirates preying on English ships in the Caribbean. At first feared by her shipmates, a growing number of victories make her truly part of Athena’s crew and bring her joy in her fire. But as her power grows and changes in unexpected ways, Elinor’s ability to control it is challenged. She may have the power to destroy her enemies utterly—but could it be at the cost of her own life?

Goodreads

Disclaimers: We received a copy of this book via NetGalley courtesy of the publisher (Curiosity Quills Press). This review may contain some things you consider to be spoilers. You have been warned.

Why we chose it: This cover is so pleasing in a way.

Review: There’s nothing truly awful about Burning Bright, but there are a few problems and there’s one main reason why we stopped reading before the end. We grew bored with this book because we felt like we’d read it before. Young girl defies predominantly male society. Young girl has magic (granted magic is a common enough thing in the world of Burning Bright). Young girl is the only one with the power to save the world. Young girl has trouble controlling it, but really gains control far too quickly.

HELLO SPECIAL SNOWFLAKE!

The young girl is Elinor and she bored us. Her character really wasn’t very interesting and things that were exciting or anxiety inducing to her had zero affect on us. Elinor’s defiance of her father and decision to join the navy came across as…dull and we have a problem with that.

Elinor is an Extraordinary and she is the only one who has the ability to wield fire in England for over a century. We thought that the discovery of her powers would have more repercussions than it actually did. There was no real big ripple to the unveiling of her fire power and that leads us to another problem.

The magic system in this book felt hastily explained. We were introduced the elemental magics and non-elemental magics and everything, including Elinor’s own magic was subsequently glossed over. It made for not so good world-building.

One thing we hate in books is when the main character makes epic declarations about their faith and destiny when they’ve done absolutely nothing to support their pretty words. There is no backing in character development, story arcs, or anything that makes us feel what the character says is actually viable. We don’t understand why it’s done and we couldn’t understand why the author had Elinor do it.

In conclusion it seems we had more issues with Burning Bright that we previously believed and feel that while we may not have discussed them in an in depth manner, we have done enough to portray our feelings towards the book.

WELL THIS WAS INTERESTING. This post is probably the longest one we’ve written to date and it feels nice getting these two reviews out of the way because we think if we were to stew on them, we’d end up wondering how the books ever got published.

Thank you for reading! Did you like how we wrote this post? Have you read any of the books we’ve mentioned? Let us know in the comments and don’t forget to follow us on:

And we’d love to be friend with you on Goodreads so send us a friend request. That way we’ll be able to see what you’re reading.

Arkon, Annie and a creator.

 

 

 

The Best Possible Answer by E. Katherine Kottaras

answer

AP Exams – check
SAT test – check
College Application – check
Date the wrong guy and ruin everything you’ve spent your whole life working for– check

Ultra-high-achiever Viviana Rabinovich-Lowe has always had a plan—and no room to be anything less than perfect. But her quest for perfection comes toa screeching halt when her boyfriend leaks racy pictures of her to the entire school. Making matters worse, her parents are getting divorced and now her perfect family is falling apart. For the first time, Viv feels like a complete and utter failure.

Then she gets a job working at the community pool, where she meets a new group of friends who know nothing about her past. That includes Evan, a gorgeous guy who makes her want to do something she never thought she’d do again: trust. For the first time in her life, Viv realizes she can finally be whoever she wants. But who is that? While she tries to figure it out, she learns something they never covered in her AP courses: that it’s okay to be less than perfect, because it’s our imperfections that make us who we are.

Goodreads

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