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)

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” . . . 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)

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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

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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!

Top Ten Tuesday – Books that Should be Adapted into Netflix Shows/Movies

Hey there Reader Fam! Did you ever stop reading a book and think about how awesome it would be if it were a movie/ drama? Well, that is what today’s Top Ten Tuesday post is all about: Books that Should be Adapted into Netflix Shows/ Movies (granted that they are given proper direction/cast to be executed well lol). 

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Caraval Trilogy – How amazing would it be to see this dark and unique fantasy world of Caraval brought to life on screen? Even when reading this series, I was astounded by the vivid and rich depictions of the world that I always thought it would be a cinematic masterpiece! Everything from the intricate games, the carnival themes, AND Lets not forget THE MAGIC! It would be amazing! 

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The Lunar Chronicles – This series will always remain close to my heart for the stories and the brilliant characters that Marissa Meyer cultivated in this EPIC group of novels. A fairytale re-telling set in a sci-fi universe? You bet I would want to see that on screen! How awesome would it be to see the stunning depictions of the Lunar Kingdom and New Beijing? As well as the cinematic action sequences in space? I would definitely be up for it! 

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Stalking Jack the Ripper – This series is probably the first which actually got me interested in the mystery and the historical fiction genre. Combined with a gripping storyline and witty characters, you cant help but be enticed by this series so I would love to see it on screen. Plus, Audrey and Thomas are one of my favorite YA couples so . . . 

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Salt to the Sea – Historical fiction is a genre that I recently jumped into within YA. I think this would be such an important topic to present to the public if it can be adapted to Netflix. These historical events often go unnoticed but they are as equally important as the events we learn in our classes growing up. 

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An Ember in the Ashes – This has got to be one of my favorite YA fantasy novels of all time! Of course I would want to see this be turned into a movie! Just imagine seeing the Martial Empire, the epicness of the trials and the thrilling, high stakes plot within Blackcliff Academy. Plus Elias is bae ❤ and my girl, Laia’s character arc is stunning! 

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Throne of Glass – I will be honest, the entire time I was reading this series, I felt like it was a movie. Everything from the descriptive writing, the plot, the action sequences seem to be so suitable to translate onto the big or small screen. I did hear talks that this was going to be adapted into a series but as of now I am not sure of the current status but I hope it is executed well if chosen! 

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Children of Blood and Bone – Now I have a feeling that this series is already chosen for a movie adaptation but I wanted to mention it anyway since this read was phenomenal! I loved that it was based on West African folklore and the magic system and politics were so intriguing that I was completely glued to the pages from start to finish! 

Six of Crows/ Crooked Kingdom – I for sure would never want to live in Ketterdam but I would love to see this gritty and dark city brought to life though the big screen! One of the key elements which makes this duology so amazing are the characters and the high stakes plot! When adapted to a movie or series (which I believe this is along with Shadow and Bone) it would be simply outstanding! 

A Darker Shade of Magic – This series is probably another one of my all time favorites! I absolutely adore the use of the magic system, alternate worlds, amazing characters and thrilling plotline and all these elements would make sure such an awesome movie/tv/ netflix series! 

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Heartless – Since we have seen Maleficent brought to the big screen, wouldn’t it be awesome to see a re-telling/ backstory of the Queen of Hearts? Marissa Meyer is just amazing when in comes to fairytale re-tellings! As she had done with the Lunar Chronicles, she manages to create a beautiful plotline with a heart-wrenching conclusion which you cannot help but hold dear to your heart. In addition, her depiction of the Catherine/Queen of Hearts is someone who you do feel for and that is something difficult to do when it comes to villain storylines but Marissa Meyer carried this out flawlessly. 

 

How about you guys? Do you have a favorite book or series which you would like to see adapted? 

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

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Top Ten Tuesday – Books I Loved but Never Reviewed

Hello everyone and welcome to another Top Ten Tuesday! For this week’s prompt, its all about favorite books – but favorite books which for some reason we never reviewed. Some of my choices listed here are ones which I loved back when I was young or when I did not start my platform to post reviews; therefore, I did not have the opportunity to post them after I read it but I did end enjoying these titles immensely.

*Top Ten Tuesday is an original blog meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and is currently being hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.*

So without further ado, lets get on with the list!

Fablehaven, Harry Potter, Chronicles of Narnia, Cam Jansen, School for Good and Evil

So for these series, I mostly read a majority of them when I was young so at that time I did not have a platform to post my thoughts. As a result, I did not get the opportunity to review them. However, that did not stop me from talking about these books nonstop to my family and friends who were probably flabbergasted at how passionate I was about these whimsical middle grade worlds!

Queen of Shadows, Empire of Storms, Ella Enchanted, Illuminae, The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

So . . . I have no excuse for Queen of Shadows or Empire of Storms. Its just that I probably binged these two and forgot to write my thoughts down coherently since my feels were all over the place and I was still recovering from EoS ending that I could not bring myself to complete it. BUT I loved these two books! I did however, manage to complete my review for Tower of Dawn so that will definitely be posted soon! #progress

I remember doing a reread of Ella Enchanted some time ago but unfortunately did not get a chance to write my thoughts down. The same goes for Illuminae and The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer which were both amazing books but I just did not have time to complete my reviews for these books. Maybe sometime in the future if I decide to do a reread of these novels, I might try to post a review! 

How about you guys? Do you have any books which you loved but did not get a chance to review? 

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

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Salt to the Sea Book Review (Spoiler Free)

War is catastrophe. It breaks families in irretrievable pieces. But those who are gone are not necessarily lost.

Salt to the Sea, Pg. 378

Author – Ruta Sepetys

Genre – Historical Fiction, World War II

Published – February 2nd 2016 by Philomel Books

Pages – 378

Rating– 4.5/ 5

GoodReads

While the Titanic and Lusitania are both well-documented disasters, the single greatest tragedy in maritime history is the little-known January 30, 1945 sinking in the Baltic Sea by a Soviet submarine of the Wilhelm Gustloff, a German cruise liner that was supposed to ferry wartime personnel and refugees to safety from the advancing Red Army. The ship was overcrowded with more than 10,500 passengers — the intended capacity was approximately 1,800 — and more than 9,000 people, including 5,000 children, lost their lives.

Sepetys (writer of ‘Between Shades of Gray’) crafts four fictionalized but historically accurate voices to convey the real-life tragedy. Joana, a Lithuanian with nursing experience; Florian, a Prussian soldier fleeing the Nazis with stolen treasure; and Emilia, a Polish girl close to the end of her pregnancy, converge on their escape journeys as Russian troops advance; each will eventually meet Alfred, a Nazi peon with delusions of grandeur, assigned to the Gustloff decks. 

After reading Between Shades of Gray, I was guaranteed to pick up this one and I will say that this did not disappoint. Its official. A new favorite genre of mine is Historical Fiction and this means I accomplished one of my reading goals of 2020 – To expand into new genres! This book was phenomenal and quite emotional in certain parts as well and I strongly urge everyone to read it!

One of the most amazing aspects of Ruta Septeys’s novels are that they are about significant historical accounts which a lot of people have not heard but they should be remembered since they are very significant. In all honesty, I did not know anything about the Wilhelm Gustloff when I first ventured into this novel and I was astounded to learn about the plight of this ship and the tragic deaths which arose with its sinking.

With her writing, Ruta offers a diverse voice for each character and her use of parallelism in certain parts of the story were quite clever to see since I have not come across that style in other novels. Each of them carry their own secrets and it was interesting to see them slowly unravel through the story. Usually multiple POVs may drag the storyline or as a reader, we may end up liking one character over another but in this case, it was not true – Except maybe Albert because reading the thoughts of a a Nazi is quite disturbing but its interesting from a psychological perspective to see how his mind has been twisted into believing such ghastly thoughts.

JoannaLithuanian, Caring, Determined – It took me while to realize to recognize that Joanna was a character from Between Shades of Gray! As a companion novel to the book, Salt to the Sea shows the outcome of Joanna’s story and I love how Ruta was able to do this while tying in a piece of significant history. Joanna truly displays the qualities of a great nurse and I loved how determined she was to take care of those her around her. With the amount of shadows from her past which are following her, you see her struggle with her demons but also maintain a level head to get the people around her to safety. Such a Mom lol

“I moved from body to body, treating blisters, wounds, frostbite. But I had no treatment for what plagued people the most. Fear.” – Pg 21

FlorianPrussian, Mysterious, “The Knight” 🙂 – While being a lone traveler from the start, it is interesting to see him open up and bond with the other characters. While he does have his reasons for wanting to travel alone, certain circumstances bring him to the group and you see his character slowly develop and welcome those moments of comfort and love. I especially loved the moments with him and one of the secondary characters, The Poet! Emilia initially calls him “The Knight” and while he may not appear so in the beginning since he tends to have his guard up at all times, he certainly does become one at the end 🙂 I also adored the moments with him and Joanna! It was realistically portrayed without overshadowing the main plotline.

“Did war make us evil or just activate the evil already lurking within us?” – Pg. 79

EmiliaPolish, Kind, Resilient; OMG. Such a sweet yet amazing character. While it may not appear so in the beginning, I certainly loved her by the end. I am so thankful that Ruta wrote about a young woman like her since there probably a lot of woman who are like her. I loved her brother/sister relationship with Florian. It was quite sweet to see! And I think this is one of the things that Ruta does best. While the novel is dark, she weaves in certain moments that can ease our heartache and offer light/hope.

“Was there a bird for the souls of people like me?” – pg 115

AlfredNazi Sailor, Narcissist, Superiority Complex. As mentioned before, I was not a fan of his perspective since I found them to be quite disturbing but there are certain moments where I did feel for him due to the overwhelming dismissive attitude he receives from his superiors and fellow sailors/ soldiers. However, it is still no excuse to have such backward attitudes about other cultures as members of the Nazi regime did.

“You see, fear is a hunter. It encircles us when we are unarmed and least expect it.” – Pg 353

Secondary Characters – I cannot just leave out all the side characters in the novel. They were all truly a gem! Ingrid (So insightful and brilliant!), The Poet (Such an amazing character, Loved how he can understand everyone through their shoes!), Klaus (such a precious baby, I want to give him a hug) and Eva (Lord. While she can be obnoxious sometimes, she does have her good moments)! Their interactions between the main characters offered moments of beautiful character development and I loved seeing that progress!

Humanity, Love, Perseverance

One of the most beautiful aspects of this novel is how it ties together the threads of humanity, love and perseverance. Moments of darkness truly tests the human spirit but it is within these moments when humanity rises to face its adversary with ultimate levels of courage and love. This is clearly displayed within the moments of the ship’s sinking and how the characters strive to take care of one another and help others get to safety.

The World War II era is probably one of the most written about settings in historical fiction. But what makes this one truly special is that it sheds a light on a significant piece of history that we have missed out on. It is crazy to think that a ship capable of holding only 1800 people ended up carrying 10,500! And nearly 9000 people died! To even think about the amount of despair and panic these people must have experienced during this time is truly devastating. Ruta was able to capture these heartbreaking moments with precision and detail that you really feel for the characters and what they were witnessing.

Did I get emotional? Yes.

Did I tear up? Yes.

Would I recommend this book? ABSOLUTELY YES!

If you have not picked up Salt to the Sea yet, I highly suggest that you do because it has pretty much confirmed by new appreciation and love for historical fiction and it is important that these stories are heard and remembered.

I also loved the writing of this novel. Its not overly detailed but just enough to offer the best picture of the situation and characters that you feel a deep attachment for. Not to mention that it is extremely addicting! I think it helped that each POV was quite short and ended with a slight cliffhanger that you could not help but continue reading. I finished this book within two work days which is kind of crazy for me! I also felt there were perfect doses of romance which does not take away from the storyline, tension to create a gripping storyline, mystery to evoke your interest and a bit of action as well.

Did any of you read Salt to the Sea? What were your thoughts on it?

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

Stay at Home Book Tag

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Hello everyone! I hope you all are having a fabulous week! Today I decided to do a tag I saw floating around the book community amidst the COVID-19 outbreak and this is the Stay at Home Book Tag! This tag was created by Madison Mary over at Princess of Paperback. Definitely check her out since her videos are awesome!

So without further ado, let’s jump right into the prompts!

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*Not going to lie. I have been slouching and just chilling in my bed watching my favorite series for most of the time. #QuarantineLife*

harry-potter-uk-edition

I would have to go with a classic and say pretty much any one of the Harry Potter novels. Its just something about the world, the magic and the characters which automatically transports you to your second home away from home that is Hogwarts. Who wouldn’t want to experience a bit of magic in a time like this?

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*I will admit my biggest fear with the current state that we are all in is that I will eventually run out of quarantine snacks! But my sister and I are prepared. We managed to save some brownie/cookie recipes that we wanted to try out so in case our pantry does become empty, we have a back up! I have been cooking a lot more too so I guess there is brighter side to all this chaos, right? 🙂

doon

The Doon series is definitely a guilty pleasure read for me. I remember the first time when I read the first book, I immediately wanted to grab a copy of the second and pretty soon, I finished the entire series! I am grateful for this series since it was one which got me out of a reading slump and become a quick, pick-me-up type of read.

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*OMG the amount of series I started is ridiculous! I mean, we have the time, so what better way to make use of it than to watch some great shows right? I recently started to re-watch Avatar- The Last Airbender and WOW, the amount of nostalgia! There was a reason I loved that show when I was a kid and watching this again makes me love it even more!*

vicious

Vicious is a series I really want to start! I have heard nothing but great things about it. I was always a fan of V.E Schwab ever since I read the ADSOM series and I knew that I wanted to read her other novels. Victoria always comes up with the greatest plot and gray characters which we can’t help but find intriguing. I really hope I have the opportunity to start this soon!

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falling

Honestly, I can’t recall how long I had this book. It must have been on my shelves ever since I started this blog! And what’s crazy is that it is one of the most iconic YA Fantasy out there so you would think that I would have at least picked it up! Who knows? Maybe during this quarantine I actually might have some time to read it. It does seem quite interesting and maybe a fantasy adventure could really help with these times.

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serpent and dove

I’m not going to lie – Ever since I saw the massive reviews on this book all over BookTube and the Book Blogging community, I just had to know what the hype was so I did end up buying it. Plus, take a look at that gorgeous cover! I really hope the story delivers though!

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*I can say that quarantine really did help me dive back into doing the things I enjoy. In way it helped slow down time so we can focus a little bit more on ourselves and I am thankful for that. I started blogging again and this time, I am trying to create more creative post ideas/ graphics, etc. I also started reading again which was great since I have so many books on my TBR! I also started Journaling – something that I missed doing for a long time!*

between shades of gray

I was stunned after reading this novel. I mostly do not reach for historical fiction but this one so intriguing that I could not bring myself to put it down. I love how Ruta Sepetys bases her novels on unheard historical stories that should be brought to the light. Sometimes there are moments in history which we do not talk about and are equally important and Ruta Sepetys was able to give voice to those people. I can definitely appreciate her efforts for writing these stories and I really want to read more of her novels.

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a heart so fierce

Unfortunately, not many people around me are into reading as much as I am which is why I am thankful I have the blogging community to share all my FEELs after finishing a great novel. I don’t believe anyone has gifted me a book but there is one I personally bought – because WHY NOT? And this recent purchase is  A Heart so Fierce and Broken. Let’s face it. After the ending of the first novel, I just had to find out what happens next!

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I would say that Journaling really helps calm my anxiety sometimes. I find it quite relaxing and its interesting to see how my journals spreads grew over the years. What started out as a diary format soon became one that started to look more like an art journal where I created colorful spreads of the events, birthdays, or hangouts I have been to. It’s definitely a creative way to capture moments of your life. Another important piece of self care involves Music – anything from OSTs, Pop/ R&B, BTS – really does help me deal with the situation we are in right now. I know its crazy times we are living in, but we will overcome it!

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the ballad of songbirds

Release Date:  May 19th 2020 

I am pretty sure nearly everyone in the book community knows about the release of this book in May. I am really curious about this Hunger Games prequel. Its been nearly 10 years since the release of the last Hunger Games book which spurred a global sensation with the release of films. But now that we are taking a step back into the past, I am curious as to what stories Suzanne has to offer. It will definitely be interesting to revisit Panem!

And now I nominate anyone else who would like to do this tag! If you do end up completing it, share your link below and I will definitely check it out!

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

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