Wicked Fox Book Review (Spoiler Free)

“Well, dear, sometimes the universe works in odd ways, but family does not always come about through blood.”

Author – Kat Cho

Published June 25th 2019 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Genre – Urban Fantasy, Korean Mythology

420 Pages

GoodReads

When I first heard about the release of this novel last year, I was automatically intrigued! An urban fantasy inspired by Korean folklore? I was completely onboard especially since I am quite a fan of k-dramas! And after reading this, I can honestly say it definitely did feel like a k-drama! I could pinpoint so many scenes sprinkled throughout the story which were reminiscent of iconic moments in the dramas I have watched. Overall, I really enjoyed reading this novel! It was super fast paced, with great characters and a great mix of romance, fantasy, and angsty drama!

Summary

Eighteen-year-old Gu Miyoung has a secret–she’s a gumiho, a nine-tailed fox who must devour the energy of men in order to survive. Because so few believe in the old tales anymore, and with so many evil men no one will miss, the modern city of Seoul is the perfect place to hide and hunt.

But after feeding one full moon, Miyoung crosses paths with Jihoon, a human boy, being attacked by a goblin deep in the forest. Against her better judgment, she violates the rules of survival to rescue the boy, losing her fox bead–her gumiho soul–in the process.

Jihoon knows Miyoung is more than just a beautiful girl–he saw her nine tails the night she saved his life. His grandmother used to tell him stories of the gumiho, of their power and the danger they pose to humans. He’s drawn to her anyway.

With murderous forces lurking in the background, Miyoung and Jihoon develop a tenuous friendship that blossoms into something more. But when a young shaman tries to reunite Miyoung with her bead, the consequences are disastrous . . . forcing Miyoung to choose between her immortal life and Jihoon’s.

Characters

MiyoungHeavily guarded; Brave; Can be fearful; While having to deal with her strict mother, Miyoung is forced to maintain a balance between her Gumiho and student life which requires mostly blocking any form of human interaction. No matter how hard she tries, Miyoung finds herself to be very different from her mother since she refuses to give into the monstrous side of her gumiho form. It was very interesting to see her perspective while trying to manage her supernatural abilities and overcome her fears of her nature.

JihoonPlayful, Curious, Determined – I was drawn to Jihoon from the moment we were introduced to him. I felt he had the characteristics of a male lead of a kdrama – charismatic and playful – and it was very interesting to read about his journey with Miyoung and his friends. Which leads me to my next point – Somin and Changwon – who were both wonderful additions to this novel since their friendship is so precious!

Setting

The novel itself had me feeling as if I was walking through the streets of Seoul! I felt completely immersed in the setting as if I was right beside the characters themselves. The author did a tremendous job in making sure we as readers are completely within the story through her level of detail. The pacing was also brilliantly done! Since the chapters are quite short and we have important plot elements revealed in each one, it becomes quite addicting at one point where you can’t help but keep reading. If only I did not have an exam or work, I am pretty sure I would have finished it in one sitting!

Final Thoughts

Overall, this was such a fun and cute read! Being a k-drama fan, I was stunned at the amount of Korean terminology I instantly recognized and more importantly, the amount of iconic k-drama scenes. If you are a fan of these dramas, then I am pretty sure you know what I am talking about haha

The characters are also a great element of this book. They were all different and had their own unique voice with plenty of backstory to give them enough depth. There were moments where you felt deeply for the struggles they were going through and other moments where you were a bit aggravated but thats the kdrama life!

Nevertheless, I thought it was a great read for those who are looking for a pick me up or just want to read a refreshing urban fantasy. We normally do not see too much of Korean mythology represented in YA fiction so I was so happy to read more stories from this genre. I especially loved how the author dove back and forth between the current story and back to Gumiho folklore. It added more depth to the story and I loved that I was able to catch a glimpse of the Korean culture through this book.

I also heard the next book will follow two side characters from this debut novel and when I heard who they were, I automatically went to grab a copy of the sequel/companion novel. I can’t to read the next installment and dive back into the world with all these lovable characters!

Have any of you read Wicked Fox? What were your thoughts on it?

Until next time, keep reading and I will see you all soon with another bookish post!

A Court of Mist and Fury Book Review (Spoiler Free)

“To the stars who listen— and the dreams that are answered.”

Author: Sarah J Maas

Published: May 3rd 2016 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Pages: 626

Rating: 4.5/5

GoodReads

I was seriously debating on whether I should make this a spoiler or spoiler-free book review because OMG I HAVE SO MUCH FEELS! In the end, I decided to do a spoiler-free review but if I ever get some time I would like to do a complete GUSH review since there is so much to talk about. After reading ACOTAR, I was a bit underwhelmed since I was not too overly fond of the plot until the last few chapters. However, this sequel made me change my mind about the series entirely since it was so well done!

Summary (From GoodReads)

Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.

With more than a million copies sold of her beloved Throne of Glass series, Sarah J. Maas’s masterful storytelling brings this second book in her seductive and action-packed series to new heights. 

Characters

Feyre – From the last book, we leave off with Feyre in complete shambles from the events Under the Mountain. She was forced to do things she did not want to and the past continues to plague her mind. One of the best aspects of this entire novel is how PTSD and mental illnesses were portrayed in this book and how Feyre grew as a character. Moreover, we also get to see the differences in relationships and how some can be toxic but people can be disillusioned at the time to realize it. Sarah was able to really delineate those parts very well and I appreciated how she was able to handle these mature themes.

Rhysand – Alright FAM. I get it! I understand the hype behind Rhys and I fully understand it since he deserves the praise. Ever since ACOMAF dropped, nearly every reader I came across named Rhys as their favorite male lead of all time. If I were to be completely honest, that was also one of my reasons for diving into this book because I JUST HAD TO KNOW WHY! Dark, sarcastic and charming AF! But I mostly loved learning about his thoughts and views on how he thought the world could be and how he carries himself within his inner circle and his city. We learn so much more about him and his past and it ended up breaking my heart in so many scenes.

The Inner Circle Mor, Amren, Cassian, Azriel – Alright guys! This crew right here is SQUAD GOALS! Let me tell you. I absolutely loved them the moment they were introduced and their continuous banter and chatter between each other is so cute! The familial bonds between this group just warms your heart and each of them has their own unique backstory which makes you love these characters even more.

Tamlin – It was interesting to see the shift in character and it almost makes me want to reread the first books to see if there were occasions where Sarah managed to foreshadow it since she is quite good at planting hints throughout her novels. Nevertheless, it was interesting to see his character progression since this novel made me completely change my perspective of him. I’m curious how his role will play out in the future.

World

ThemesMental Illness, Depression, PTSD, Relationships

One of the best aspects of this novel is how well it deals with high level themes such as mental illness and toxic relationships. It’s hard to find a lot of fiction which represent these topics and on top of that, those which are able to execute it well. There are multiple occasions where I myself experience anxiety and while I may not have endured the same struggles as Feyre, I did find so many relatable moments in the book.

These are not topics which are frequently talked about and I do appreciate Sarah for incorporating these elements into new adult fiction. In regards to toxic relationships, I was impressed at how Sarah was able to cultivate such a harsh environment to the point where it best exemplified one from real life. And this is not only regarding the people involved in the relationship but also those who are around them. Furthermore, the topics of PTSD and depression were also addressed. We see Feyre suffering from the aftermath’s of the previous book and we are also able to feel her pain and guilt through the pages. With all these crucial elements in play, Sarah was still able to showcase a phenomenal character arc for Feyre which makes it more touching for us as readers.

Final Thoughts

Overall, I thought this was a great addition to the series. Usually, a lot of series typically fall into the second book syndrome where the plot generally slows down or we don’t experience the same spark as the first book but this was not the case for ACOMAF. It was very enjoyable. And of course, we have the typical Sarah J Maas sultry romance which was delivered in this book as well. AND OMG! Can we please talk about all the stellar quotes in this book because it is just divine! Here were a couple that stuck out to me:

“There are good days and hard days for me—even now. Don’t let the hard days win.”

“When you spend so long trapped in darkness, you find that the darkness begins to stare back.”

“He thinks he’ll be remembered as the villain in the story. But I forgot to tell him that the villain is usually the person who locks up the maiden and throws away the key. He was the one who let me out.” – OMGGGGGG ❤

“I was not a pet, not a doll, not an animal.
I was a survivor, and I was strong.
I would not be weak, or helpless again
I would not, could not be broken. Tamed.”
– YASSSSSSS

I guess the only drawback for me was that the novel was a bit lengthy and while it was interesting, it did not have that addictive pull as her other novels. I think a major reason for that could be the emphasis on Feyre’s character progression so there was a reason for the book to have less action and be more focused on her development since her character arc was the highlight of the novel. Other than that, this was a solid addition to the series and I will definitely be continuing with the future books!

How about you guys? Did you enjoy ACOMAF?

Until next time, keep reading and I will see you all soon with another bookish post!

The Black Kids Book Review (Spoiler Free)

Author – Christine Hammonds Reed

Published August 4th 2020 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Pages – 359

Rating – 3.5/5

GoodReads

Hey there book lovers! I hope you all are having a fabulous day! Today, I am here to bring you my book review of The Black Kids by Christine Hammonds Reed. I was able to receive a copy of this book from the publisher through the SDCC giveaway so I want to give a huge thank you to them for being able to send me this book since it was one of my anticipated releases of this year. So without further ado, lets dive into this review!

Summary from Good Reads

This coming-of-age debut novel explores issues of race, class, and violence through the eyes of a wealthy black teenager whose family gets caught in the vortex of the 1992 Rodney King Riots. Ashley Bennett and her friends are living the charmed life. It’s the end of senior year. Everything changes one afternoon in April, when four LAPD officers are acquitted after beating a black man named Rodney King half to death. Suddenly, Ashley’s not just one of the girls. She’s one of the black kids.

As violent protests engulf LA and the city burns, Ashley tries to continue on as if life were normal. With her world splintering around her, Ashley, along with the rest of LA, is left to question who is the us? And who is the them?

Characters:

Ashley Bennett – Ashley is quite flawed since she herself cannot see the red flags and discriminatory acts since she lets them slip under the rug without speaking up against it even when her own friends commit them. I found that so shocking. It could be because of the area where she was raised up that she cannot recognize them or she just decides to shrug them off but the entire friendship between the group I found to be quite unhealthy. But it was very interesting to see this perspective since this was a completely different take on other lead characters.

Jo Bennet – I wanted to see more of Jo’s character in this novel. In all honesty, her passion to create change and retaliate against the injustice within the political system was something I wished I could see more of and also her mental struggles as well. There were times when I wished I could jump into the pages and give her a hug. I hope we can get a novella of Jo’s story!

LaShaun – As soon as he was introduced in this novel, I really hoped we get to see more of him and I was quite thankful he did. No surprise but I really liked his character in this novel. He was one of the characters who contributed to Ashley’s character growth and challenged her views and perspective on the current events in her hometown and I liked seeing the progress of their relationship.

Final Thoughts

Because the main character and her sister are in the upper class, it was difficult to connect with them due to their lifestyles being so different from mine. However, when we go deeper into story and learn more about their trials and tribulations, they do become characters who you develop an attachment to. Ashley and Jo grow up in a beautiful and lavish residence which creates a sheltered lifestyle for them. Despite being one of the few black kids in her school, all of Ashley’s friends are white. And with the Rodney King riots, her entire world is brought upside down. She goes on a journey with her family and friends to understand what it means to be black in America and begins to reexamine her life.

There are also a lot of foreshadowing elements within the book that we as readers are able to decipher and realize that there will be constraints with Ashley and her friends in the future. While the pacing was a bit slow in the early stages of the book, I would say that the plot did become more interesting within 250 page mark. However, there are reasons for the slow buildup since the author does try to show the impacts of the riots on the characters as well as their perspectives on it. The way she incorporates the real life content and the historical event to frame this storyline was really well done.

While storyline’s adherence to the political injustice to the black community was brilliantly told, I was not a huge fan of the stream of consciousness writing. I understand that this type of writing was chosen due to the main protagonist being a teenager but for some reason, I can never be completely immersed in the novel when I am reading something in this format. I feel that it sometimes does take me out of the storyline.

In a way, reading this book was a bit saddening since this novel takes place in the 1990s yet we are still facing the same issues today nearly 30 years later. It breaks my heart that the Black community continues to face this injustice and police brutality even today. But I am thankful that these types of enlightening YA books are being released to showcase a human perspective on police brutality and I hope we can see more of these novels in the future.

What about you guys? Have you read The Black Kids?

Until next time, keep reading and I will see you all soon with another bookish post!

Top Ten Tuesday – Favorite Book Quotes

Hey everyone! Guess what time it is!!!?? Its time for another Top Ten Tuesday! And this time it deals with our favorite quotes which I am super excited to share with you all! So without further ado, let’s jump in and get started!

  1. “I’d rather die on an adventure than live standing still “
  • A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E Schwab

2. “To the stars who listen and the dreams that are answered”

3. “I have good days and bad days, even now. Don’t let the bad days win.”

  • A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas  

3. “You can rattle the stars, you can do anything if you only dared” 

  • Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

5. “Fear is only your enemy if you allow it to be. Too much fear and you’re paralyzed. Too little fear and you’re arrogant.”

  • An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

6. “Hope can be found in the darkest of times, if only one remembers to turn on the light.” 

  • Harry Potter by JK Rowling

7. “Every person has the power to change their fate if they are brave enough to fight for what they desire more than anything.”

  • Caraval by Stephanie Garber

8. “That was when I realized, as terrifying and painful as reality can be, it’s also the only place where you can find true happiness. Because reality is real.”

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

9. “Krasivaya. It means beautiful, but with strength. Unique.”

10. “Was it harder to die, or harder to be the one who survived?”

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Septeys

Of course, I had to include a Ruta Septeys quote because this woman owns my soul with her literary masterpieces! And these two quotes completely crushed me when I read this book. If you have read it, then you know what I mean . . .

So these are some of my favorite quotes! And quite honestly I have a huge list! How about you guys? What are some of your favorite literary quotes?

Until next time, keep reading and I will see you all soon with another bookish post!

Eleanor, Alice and the Roosevelt Ghosts Book Review (Spoiler Free)

Author: Dianne K. Salerni

Published : 2020 by Holiday House

Pages: 240

GoodReads

Rating – 3/5

Thank you to Holiday House for providing me a copy of this book for review from BookCon 2020.

Summary (From GoodReads)

Murderous ghosts and buried family secrets threaten young Eleanor and Alice Roosevelt in this thrilling middle-grade novel that puts a supernatural spin on alternate history.

It’s 1898 in New York City and ghosts exist among humans.

When an unusual spirit takes up residence at the Roosevelt house, thirteen-year-old Eleanor and fourteen-year-old Alice are suspicious. The cousins don’t get along, but they know something is not right. This ghost is more than a pesky nuisance. The authorities claim he’s safe to be around, even as his mischievous behavior grows stranger and more menacing. It’s almost like he wants to scare the Roosevelts out of their home – and no one seems to care!

Meanwhile, Eleanor and Alice discover a dangerous ghost in the house where Alice was born and her mother died. Is someone else haunting the family? Introverted Eleanor and unruly Alice develop an unlikely friendship as they explore the family’s dark, complicated history. It’s up to them to destroy both ghosts and come to terms with their family’s losses.

Told from alternating perspectives, thrills and chills abound in Dianne K. Salerni’s imaginative novel about a legendary family and the ghosts that haunt their secrets. 

Characters

Eleanor – Calm; Inner Strength; Resilient – While vastly different from her cousin Alice, Eleanor was still a pleasure to read about due to her inner strength and rational thinking. I love that she had goals and wanted to study. We see her character grow and she becomes more capable of voicing her opinion and I loved that progression.

Alice – Outspoken; Strong; While struggling with her own familial issues, we see Alice as a direct opposite of Eleanor in that she is quite fierce and determined to state her opinion in any situation. She is daring and willing to investigate the mystery surrounding the ghosts in this story.

Final Thoughts

It’s interesting to note that the world in this book is well aware that ghosts do exist and there are societies and organizations which are designated to eliminate ghost hauntings within a household. I found that aspect to be very interesting since we typically do not see that type of environment in ghost mystery novels. Instead, we are left in complete isolation without official organizations to reach out to and need to unravel the full mystery ourselves.

Unfortunately, the downside to this novel would have to be the writing and the plot. The writing styles tend to switch back and forth from 1st person to 3rd person when changing perspectives and I personally did not like that. I would have preferred if it stuck to one form of writing throughout the book to make it more uniform. The story itself while it is interesting in terms of the mystery, I thought it could have been better developed in more detail. I did not feel that there was a steady progression to the end of the novel. It lacked flow which is disappointing since it did have potential to be a really great thriller.

Have any of you read any mystery/thriller book from the Middle Grade genre?

Until next time, keep reading and I will see you all soon with another bookish post!

Top Ten Tuesday – Books On My Fall 2020 TBR

Hello my fellow book lovers! I hope you all are having a fantastic day! Guess what time it is! It’s time for another Top Ten Tuesday prompt! This week’s prompt is about book on our Fall TBR and boy do I have a ton! Thankfully, I will keep this list short and summarize the top ten books which I am targeting to read this Autumn!

  1. Wicked Fox by Kat Cho

This book was on my radar for a long time, especially since I heard such great things about it. I loved the concept of intertwining Korean folklore with urban fantasy with the tales of Gumiho. I think this has such a potential to be a great story!

2. Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J Maas

I know for sure that this one is going to be such an emotional read for me. I have seen reviews and reading vlogs for this finale and I am not sure if I am ready for this. (Especially after that ending in Tower of Dawn – uM, Excuse me – WHAT?) More importantly, I don’t think I have the heart to say goodbye to our characters. . .

3. The Invisible Life of Addie Larue by Victoria Schwab

At this point, I am convinced that whatever V.E Schwab releases, I will read it. Ever since reading A Darker Shade of Magic series, I was blown away with her creativity, her characters, and the world building. It was so intriguing and I am sure this book will not disappoint either. I am super excited for this release on October 6th and you bet I will be reading this as soon as I get my hands on it!

4. Wicked Kingdom by Kerri Maniscalco

If you guys have been following by blog, then you will know I am HUGE fan of Stalking Jack the Ripper series! Even with this debut series, I was completely intrigued by the mystery, the Victorian setting and the characters. It was just so well done that I was blown away. So when I heard that Kerri Maniscalco was releasing a new series, I knew this one would have to be amazing as well. I can’t wait for this release on October 27th!

5. Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

Alright guys! I think this might be the time I finally pick up the Infernal Devices! From all the Shadow Hunter series, I know that this series is quite popular due to the characters and the storyline and I am really curious about it! And I will finally know the hype behind Will Herondale 🙂

6. Circe by Madeline Miller

I’ve always loved learning about Greek mythology and any books which incorporated this, have done a great job in portraying these myths and intertwining original stories such as The Percy Jackson series. I always wanted to look into this book ever since I heard a lot of talk on this especially since the author also wrote another similar novel – A Song of Achilles. I really hope I get to this book by the Fall. It looks like such a great read!

7. The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys

I’ve always been a fan of Ruta Sepetys ever since her reading her previous novels – Between Shades of Grey and Salt to the Sea. I love how she incorporates important key events in history which not many people are aware of. It is crucial to shed light on these unknown historical events since they are equally important. I am so eager to learn more about the fascist dictatorship of General Francisco Franco in Spain with this novel and I am sure it will be an emotional yet gripping read.

8. Escaping From Houdini by Kerri Maniscalco

I am huge fan of Stalking Jack the Ripper series and even though I have only completed the second book, I can say that this is probably going to be one of my favorite series of all time! I think this is all due to the Victorian setting which is well captured by the author that it almost feels as if you are walking beside the characters. Another aspect would be the mystery and the steampunk elements. And finally – the characters. Audrey Rose Wadsworth and Thomas Creswell are a fantastic couple and their banters made this series quite an enjoyable one.

9. All the Stars and Teeth by Adalyn Grace

This book was on my radar ever since it was released but unfortunately, I was never able to pick it up due to my other reading priorities. But I am determined to get to this one within the next month or so. Who doesn’t love a seafaring adventure with pirates and mermaids?

10. Legendborn by Tracy Deonn

Words can’t describe how excited I am to get into this novel! I have heard a lot of buzz about this one on BookTube and I am really curious! This urban fantasy sounds inspired by the Arthurian legend sounds like something I would really enjoy and I can’t wait to pick this one up!

How about you guys? What are you planning to read in the Fall?

Until next time keep reading and I will see you all soon with another bookish post!

A Study in Charlotte Book Review (Spoiler Free)

a study

” . . . if you wait for full disclosure from a Holmes, it might be years before you learn a damn thing.”

Author: Brittany Cavallaro

Published March 1st 2016 by Katherine Tegen Books

Pages – 321

GoodReads

Ratin – 3/5

After I read Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson, I was craving for more mystery novels and one of my colleagues recommended me this book. When I read the premise of this book, I will admit I was deeply intrigued and I loved the parallels and references they made to the classic Sherlock Holmes tale! 

Summary (From GoodReads) 

The last thing Jamie Watson wants is a rugby scholarship to Sherringford, a Connecticut prep school just an hour away from his estranged father. But that’s not the only complication: Sherringford is also home to Charlotte Holmes, the famous detective’s great-great-great-granddaughter, who has inherited not only Sherlock’s genius but also his volatile temperament. From everything Jamie has heard about Charlotte, it seems safer to admire her from afar.

From the moment they meet, there’s a tense energy between them, and they seem more destined to be rivals than anything else. But when a Sherringford student dies under suspicious circumstances, ripped straight from the most terrifying of the Sherlock Holmes stories, Jamie can no longer afford to keep his distance. Jamie and Charlotte are being framed for murder, and only Charlotte can clear their names. But danger is mounting and nowhere is safe—and the only people they can trust are each other. 

Characters:

Jamie Watson: Voice of Reason, Level-Minded;  I love all the sassy comments he makes from time to time and it just puts a smile on my face! It was interesting to see the events unfold from his POV since we as readers do not know what to expect, as he himself is surprised through Charlotte and her actions. I think sets up a great narrative for a mystery since we are on the edge of seats! 

Charlotte Holmes: Bold, Daring, Smart; Charlotte is not a perfect character but I think that’s what makes her intriguing. She is brilliant when it comes to the world of mystery and crime solving but you don’t see her as well put together or organized – quite like the original Sherlock Holmes! And yet, she still manages to surprise us with how well she can read people and know their thoughts and motives. It’s mind boggling!

Final Thoughts

While the summary of the novel is quite intriguing and the references made to the original Sherlock Holmes stories were well done, I did find a couple of issues with this book.

To begin with, I would have liked the story more if the pacing was a bit better. As a mystery novel, I understand that certain plot points can only be revealed at certain times but overall, I felt that the plot slowed in some areas and it didn’t really grasp me or have my full attention. Sometimes there were moments where something is revealed or a shocking event occurs and then the momentum quickly drops back down. 

While I normally do love a good school setting in novels, I was not quite impressed with this one. I think Shanon at I Am Still Waiting For My Satyr stated it best when she mentioned that this novel best resembled RiverDale meets Sherlock Homes type of narrative. And while this set up might seem intriguing to many readers, it was not something which I personally enjoyed. 

However, I did like the incorporation of the Sherlock Holmes stories into the novel. I thought that was a nice touch. For example, the suspect in this novel yearns to frame the main characters but they set up each crime scene from the most famous mysteries of the classic Sherlock stories. Overall, while the main mystery did intrigue me (though the ending did not surprise me too much), I felt that the pacing could have been better.

How about you guys? Have you read A Study in Charlotte? What were your thoughts on it? 

Until next time keep reading and I will see you all soon with another bookish post! 

Fablehaven Book Review (Spoiler Free)

fablehaven

Author: Brandon Mull

Publication: June 7th 2006 by Shadow Mountain

Pages: 351

Rating: 4/5

GoodReads

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For centuries mystical creatures of all description were gathered into a hidden refuge called Fablehaven to prevent their extinction. The sanctuary survives today as one of the last strongholds of true magic. Enchanting? Absolutely. Exciting? You bet. Safe? Well, actually, quite the opposite.

Kendra and her brother, Seth, have no idea that their grandfather is the current caretaker of Fablehaven. Inside the gated woods, ancient laws keep relative order among greedy trolls, mischievous satyrs, plotting witches, spiteful imps, and jealous fairies. However, when the rules get broken — Seth is a bit too curious and reckless for his own good — powerful forces of evil are unleashed, and Kendra and her brother face the greatest challenge of their lives. To save their family, Fablehaven, and perhaps even the world, Kendra and Seth must find the courage to do what they fear most.

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I rarely talk about Middle Grade novels in my Blog but with the current The Adventures through Wonderland Readathon hosted by A Touch of Whimsy and Middle Grade Monthly, I thought it would be perfect opportunity to join the fun and dive back into some memorable Middle Grade books. One novel in particular which i enjoyed when I was younger would be Fablehaven. I am not sure what intrigued me, the overall mysterious and eerie aura of the book or the hidden fantasy realm, but I was instantly hooked the second I picked it up and couldn’t stop reading. Now when I picked it up to read after all these years, I realize why my younger self enjoyed these types whimsical books – Who wouldn’t want to stumble across a hidden, magical world?

The build up to the world of Fablehaven was very well done. I felt the author carefully laid out clues for the reader to decipher along with Kendra and Seth and together we go on this eerie journey to unlock the secrets of their Grandfather’s preserve. Both our main leads had very diverse personalties; Kendra, who is curious but rational and Seth who outspoken and can be a bit reckless. With these two personalities, they are able to balance each other out but it also makes way for some crazy and witty banters.

I also appreciated that the magical creatures within this world were given their own personalities and history. It really helped to make the world more believable. In addition, the author’s writing also served as another world building technique since he was able to masterfully paint the scenes in which we can visualize them very well. It was also interesting to see the twists and turns as well as how the past storylines weaves into the current times.

Overall, I thought this was a great storyline for the first book in a middle grade series. Since this is a reread, I found that I had forgotten a lot of the details from when I originally read it but it was interesting to dive back into the world and recover them again.

Have any of you read Fablehaven? What were your thoughts on it?

Until next time, keep reading and I will see you all soon with another bookish post!

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Fall and Winter 2020 Anticipated Releases

2020 releases

Hey there my fellow book lovers! Hope you all are having a fantastic day! Don’t you all just love the Fall season? For me, its the times that alludes to such cozy vibes where you can snuggle under the blankets with some tea/coffee and a good book 🙂

Now that we are approaching this season, we have a plethora of new book releases on the way! Here are a couple that I am really looking forward to:

September 2020

 

A Deadly Education

Author: Naomi Novik

September 29th 2020 by Del Rey Books

Naomi Novik is certainly a well established writer in the book community through her previous novels – Uprooted and Spinning Silver (both of which I still need to read – Shame on me!) BUT OMG. The Summary itself has me sold! A school for the magically gifted? YES! And one with lurking dangers and secrets! DOUBLE YES! I can’t wait for this one! Sounds like the perfect book for the Fall time!

Legendborn

Author: Tracey Deonn

September 15th 2020 by Margaret K. McElderry Books

The plotline of this novel seems so intriguing with the mix of the Arthurian Legend and Demon Hunters such as the ones from the Shadowhunter series. I love that we follow a woman on color in this YA fantasy since it is not typically done within this genre so I am excited to see how this goes!

Fable

Author: Adrienne Young

September 1st 2020 by Wednesday Books

Ok. This book just alludes MAJOR Pirates of the Caribbean vibes! Not going to lie, that may be the sole reason why I will be after this book! Who doesn’t love an adventurous seafaring journey filled with pirates?

Shine

Author: Jessica Jung

September 29th 2020 by Simon Pulse

I will be honest, I am a bit curious about this novel. I used to listen to SNSD when they were active so I am interested to see what Jessica has to offer in this story. Now I know we should NOT judge a book by its cover but I am getting a romcom, cutsey type vibe but I do hope that she dives into deeper themes and messages. I also noticed that there seems to be additional books in the work for this . . . so is this a series or a set of companion novels . . . Guess we have to wait and see!

October 2020

Kingdom of the Wicked 

Author: Kerri Maniscalco 

October 27th 2020 by JIMMY Patterson

Ever since her debut series, Stalking Jack the Ripper, I knew Kerri Maniscalco would join my favorite authors list. Plus Audrey and Thomas were probably one of my favorite book couples to ever exist! And when I heard she had another novel in the works, I was beyond excited and the synopsis sounds so interesting! Another thrilling mystery!! And I have a feeling she is going to destroy us all with another intoxicating romance!

The invisible Life of Addie Lardue 

It’s not often we see V.E Schwab enter into the realm of romance since her previous novels seem to stay more within the fantasy/adventure territory. I personally do not automatically reach for romance novels but this one caught my attention: “a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.” HOW CAN YOU NOT WANT TO READ THIS? I really wonder how Victoria is able to get her concepts for her books. Her imagination and creativity astounds me sometimes.

November 2020

cast in firelight

How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories 

Author: Holly Black

November 24th 2020 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

I am a huge fan of the Folk of the Air series ( I still need to read Queen of Nothing but I will get to it, I swear!) so as soon as I heard we will be getting a short story collection within the Elfhame realm, this was added to my most anticipated list!

These Violent Delights 

Author: Chloe Gong

November 17th 2020 by Margaret K. McElderry Books

I am a huge fan of retellings so when I heard this book was Romeo and Juliet retelling set in 1920s Shanghai, you bet I was intrigued. While Romeo and Juliet is not my favorite Shakespearean work, I am interested to see how this plays out.

Cast in Firelight

First off, that cover is stellar! And second, having read some early review of this novel, I have feeling this is going to be a fantastic fantasy series!

December 2020

askybeyondstorm

A Sky Beyond the Storm 

And now onto a book which may potentially destroy me. Who am I kidding? I was already destroyed with the amount of emotions Sabaa Tahir made me go through within this entire series! And now that the series is coming to an end, I am a bit nervous but also excited to see how the events will turn out. I just want my characters to be happy . . . IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK? IS IT????

How about you guys? What new fall/ winter book releases are you looking forward to?

Until next time, keep reading and I will see you all soon with another bookish post!

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Tower of Dawn Book Review (Spoiler Free)

“You would be surprised by how closely the healing of physical wounds is tied to the healing of emotional ones.”

Author – Sarah J. Maas

Publication – September 5th 2017 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Pages – 680

GoodReads

Rating – 4.5/5

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Like a couple of other readers, I was pretty hesitant going into this book. And this was partially due to the fact that we were away from the main storyline/ crew with Aelin/Dorian and also because we follow Chaol who I was pretty much on the fence about especially after the events of Queen of Shadows.

But WOW. This book surprised me. And I have come to appreciate Chaol as a character and his growth within this novel. We also have the opportunity to meet a new amazing characters as well such as Yrene and Falkan who are both from The Assassin’s Blade. I highly suggest that you read the novella bind up if you have not done so already since it will provide you the backstory before diving into this novel.

While I will admit the first half of the novel was pretty slow, it definitely did pick up the pace during the end and MAN, do we discover some major news before the big finale! I’m so excited but also a bit nervous LOL

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Please note that there will be spoilers for the previous books if you have not read them:

Chaol Westfall and Nesryn Faliq have arrived in the shining city of Antica to forge an alliance with the Khagan of the Southern Continent, whose vast armies are Erilea’s last hope. But they have also come to Antica for another purpose: to seek healing at the famed Torre Cesme for the wounds Chaol received in Rifthold.

After enduring unspeakable horrors as a child, Yrene Towers has no desire to help the young lord from Adarlan, let alone heal him. Yet she has sworn an oath to assist those in need—and will honor it. But Lord Westfall carries shadows from his own past, and Yrene soon comes to realize they could engulf them both.

In this sweeping parallel novel to the New York Times bestselling Empire of Storms, Chaol, Nesryn, and Yrene will have to draw on every scrap of their resilience if they wish to save their friends. But while they become entangled in the political webs of the khaganate, deep in the shadows of mighty mountains where warriors soar on legendary ruks, long-awaited answers slumber. Answers that might offer their world a chance at survival—or doom them all . . . 

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Chaol – Stubborn; Brooding; Prideful; While initially I was not a huge fan of Chaol in the novels, I did like that we were able to see more from his character’s POV in this novel. It really did transform my own view of him too. We dive into his inner thoughts and how he feels about himself and his life and there were moments which were heartbreaking to read. Sarah truly delivered on his character arc and it was wonderful to see his progression through this novel and how he was able to fight against his inner demons.

Yrene – Level-Headed; Driven; Smart; Sympathetic; I personally loved Yrene and I think she is one of the best female characters in this entire series. We initially saw her in Assasin’s Blade and while she did not have too much of an impact there, it is amazing to see her character development in this novel. We can see that her initial meeting with Celeana truly transformed her in the way she carries herself in the world today. I love that we are able to witness a female character with an immense fervor for knowledge and helping others. 

Nesryn – Strong sense of honor and courage; While initially Nesryn’s chapters were not my favorite to read in this novel, her plot quickly takes an interesting turn at the end and I could not put it down. We see her searching for adventure and action in this novel and it was interesting to see where her journey takes her. In previous novels, she was conflicted on where her “home” truly was and it was nice to see her character’s progression to finding the group of people who embrace and welcome her.

Sartaq – Kind; Charming; Prince of Antica; Ok, I really liked his character! I think everything about him and the way he carried himself was so down to earth and natural that you can’t help but adore him. In addition, it was also interesting to see his perspective on his homeland and political system vs. his siblings since that really puts interesting twist on the perspective of his character against the royal family.

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In this novel, we are in a completely new setting from the previous books within the land of Antica and I was pleasantly surprised with the new characters and change in setting. It was definitely interesting to learn about the new culture, politics and the royal family. I found it so surprising that their laws were completely different from Adarlan and because of that we see much more of prosperity within the society. Maybe is can be something that both Aelin and Dorian can learn from in order to create a better world for the future!

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If I can describe this book in one word I think it would be: Healing. The major themes within this novel manly circles around the disability representation, loving oneself and emotional healing and I believe Sarah did a decent job conveying these messages. I really did appreciate the fact that Sarah was able to bring in a character with disability into the fantasy world and even have one entire novel focused on him and his growth since there is a lack of this representation in YA fantasy. I also understand that there is a lot of controversy surrounding on how well she carried out this representation. Therefore, I also wanted to gain perspective and understanding of this fully so I have looked into both positive and negative own voices reviews. While reading their criticism, I do understand their POV and where there are moments in the book which can be problematic.

For me personally, when I see this book as a whole, I feel that the central message is clear – You are not less. No matter who you are or what you are capable of doing, You are valuable. And Sarah really worked to ensure that Chaol is able to go on this emotional journey to discover this and in my opinion, she did deliver on that aspect. These demons and darkness that Chaol is suffering from can be demons which people are battling against everyday. Everyone can make mistakes throughout their lives but that is what being human is about. We are not perfect. However, it is how we go about facing the future that is important. Through Chaol’s journey, I was able to sympathize with him and understand why he feels the way he does and I think this is what helped me change my POV of his character as a whole.

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When compared to the first novels of this series, I will say that Sarah’s writing has improved tremendously. She is able to describe the surroundings with just the right amount of detail that you feel that you are with the characters. In addition to the setting descriptions, the way she delineates a scene of tension and suspense is so well done (specifically Chapter 10 – I had major goosebumps in that scene!). She was able to cultivate such an eerie aura within that entire chapter which can send a chill down one’s spine! 

Overall, I thought this was a very gripping read since Sarah was able to tackle some heavy themes within this novel. Despite having a slow start, it definitely improved from the midpoint onwards where we have a series of revelations and twists thrown our way which made this such an entertaining ride!

And now with everything that we learned from the ending of this novel, I am really excited but also very anxious going into the final book. From taking a quick glance at other reviews, it looks like the last novel will be quite an emotional one and I don’t know whether I would be able to say goodbye to all these characters! At this moment, I am not sure when I will get to it, since there are a couple of other books on my TBR (plus the book is massive – roughly 980 pages) but I am sure I will be picking it up within the next few months. Especially after that last chapter! Sarah – How could you do this to me???

Kingdom of Ash – Here I come!!!!

Until next time, keep reading and I will see you all soon with another bookish post!