Crown of Midnight Book Review (Spoiler Free)

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Author: Sarah J. Maas

Publisher: August 27th 2013 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Pages: 418

Rating: 4.5/5

GoodReads

MY EMOTIONS ARE A WRECK. R U KIDDING ME????? SARAH, WHY MUST YOU DO THIS?? I will admit when I started this book, I was a bit hesitant since I didn’t want to run into a case of Second Book Syndrome but OMG was I completely wrong! I feel as if my heart has been ripped out. MY GAWD I CAN’T.

I will advise that there are minor spoilers in the description for Throne of Glass so you have been warned! 🙂

Summary (From GoodReads):

From the throne of glass rules a king with a fist of iron and a soul as black as pitch. Assassin Celaena Sardothien won a brutal contest to become his Champion. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown. She hides her secret vigilantly; she knows that the man she serves is bent on evil.

Keeping up the deadly charade becomes increasingly difficult when Celaena realizes she is not the only one seeking justice. As she tries to untangle the mysteries buried deep within the glass castle, her closest relationships suffer. It seems no one is above questioning her allegiances—not the Crown Prince Dorian; not Chaol, the Captain of the Guard; not even her best friend, Nehemia, a foreign princess with a rebel heart.

Then one terrible night, the secrets they have all been keeping lead to an unspeakable tragedy. As Celaena’s world shatters, she will be forced to give up the very thing most precious to her and decide once and for all where her true loyalties lie… and whom she is ultimately willing to fight for.

Characters:

Celaena – From the previous novel, we know that despite her strong exterior, Celaena has some internal burdens and monsters of her own. Though we do see a glimpse of it in Throne of Glass, it is interesting to see how everything is handled in the second novel. There are times when I can’t quite identify what side she is on since she typically operates on a Gray Line so her intentions and reasons are quite obscure. Again, this is a quality which is interesting to see in a character since it is not typical in YA fiction; however, it does set the playing field for more potential character growth in the future and I cannot wait to see how it will play out. Slay Gurl Slayyyyy

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Chaol – We definitely learn a lot more about Chaol in this novel and I liked that we were able to finally see a little more into his background. The way in which his mind operates is different from the other characters and I appreciate that the author added the various character POVs so we clearly see that differentiation.

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Dorien – Wow. Just Wow. I didn’t expect to see this much of a character growth with Dorian but he definitely was the one who surprised me the most and it is amazing to see how he progressed from the first book to the end of the second.

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Nehemia – OMG I honestly love Nehemia. She has such a level of maturity, intelligence and class which is worth admiring. GOALS GUYS! ABSOLUTE GOALS! There are some scenes which her words are truly inspiring and I love how dedicated she is to helping her people and even those around her.

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Final Thoughts:

What originally starts off a character driven novel soon takes a dramatic shift to political intrigue and world building. There is definitely an addicting quality to Sarah’s writing.  The pacing is well developed due to the small length chapters which you can’t help but devour one after the other. It was no surprise that I basically flew through this book. And let’s not forget the amount of plot twists with this book. WOW. It took some unexpected turns that I did not see coming.

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As characters deal with the outcomes of the previous novel, Sarah continues to expand on their development and it was really well done. While it is true that Celaena is the main character of the series, Sarah does take time to venture into the lives of the other characters and show how they mature. This was an aspect I really enjoyed reading about since this unveiled themes of individualism and inner strength and ultimately showcased where their allegiances lie.

Did this book cause me to drown in emotional turmoil? Yes it did. About halfway through the novel, the atmosphere shifts to a darker tone and you can’t help but drown into the void. The ambiance is far different from the first novel with the heightened level of mystery and secrets among the characters. Hence, it is clear that the author’s plans for the direction of the rest of the series will be phenomenal.

Have any of you read Crown of Midnight? 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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Girls with Sharp Sticks ARC Book Review (Spoiler Free)

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Author: Suzanne Young

Publication: March 19th 2019 by Simon Pulse

Pages: 400

Rating: 3.5/5

GoodReads

Thank you very much to Netgalley and the publisher for the free advance copy in exchange for my honest review.

When I first began to read a few pages of this book, I will admit that I wasn’t as hooked. It was probably due to the typical YA dystopian aura I felt from earlier books that it did not grasp me. However, it was not until the 80 page mark when I noticed a more mysterious and thrilling atmosphere looming within the pages. I grew curious and that made me more invested into wanting to complete the book. It wasn’t long before I found myself flying though the pages wanting to know what happens next. If you are a fan of dystopian/thriller novels, then I think this one is the book for you!

Summary:

The Innovations Academy prioritizes in providing the studies and activities for the girl students to be the best in society. However their curriculum is quite different from those offered today. Some of which include courses such as  “Growing a Beautiful and Prosperous Garden” to “Art Appreciation” and “Interior Design.” The main purpose is to ensure that the girls grow to be obedient young ladies – something that Mena and her friends realize is part of a darker scheme within the school. Together they hope to uncover the secrets of the school, their background and the purpose of their studies there no matter how ugly the truth may be. 

My Review:

Setting : Who doesn’t love a boarding school setting? Especially if it incorporates a thrilling atmosphere such as this one? While it is quite obvious from the first few pages that the Academy is not your typical High School, it still peaks your interests with the strange behaviors of the students and faculty.

“The roses. . . They’re alive, you know. All . of them. And if you listen closely enough, you can hear their shared roots. Their common purpose. They’re beautiful, but it’s not all they are.” 

Plot: I believe the main issue for me was the story line. Maybe it was because I read a lot of dystopians before but it felt a bit similar especially in the beginning. However, over time I noticed the story changing and when the elements of thrill were thrown into the mix, that was when I became invested into the story. I will admit there were moments which made my skin crawl! I didn’t expect that going into this book. And the amount of plot twists in this book too! These were the moments which the author handled very well since she cleverly weaves the threads of suspense and danger into the book where the readers would have no choice but be glued to the pages!

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Characters: We follow the perspective of Mena who in the beginning we see her venture through her school life one day at a time, but a sequence of events has her questioning the origins of the Academy and because of her experiences, she grows to be very dynamic. I really liked her as a character since she truly cares for the other girls around her and develops an intense bravery despite the odds. We also see her with her close friends, Sydney, Brynn, Marcella, Annalise, Valentine, and Lennon Rose. We also have a side character by the name of Jackson who is the romantic interest; however, it was not over bearing and it did not overshadow the main plot.

Themes: Definitely do not let the Girls Private School setting fool you! While some may expect to find a lot of toxic jealousy, I was so surprised to see the amount of female friendship in this novel and it was truly one of the aspects that made it a delightful read. The feminism in this book is worth noting and I love the spin the author took on this subject and I am sure it is something that the readers will find intriguing.

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Overall, I did find this to be a quick easy read and it is definitely something to get you out of a reading slump for sure!

Until next time, keep reading and I will see you all in my next bookish post!

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Throne of Glass Book Review (Spoiler Free)

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Author: Sarah J. Mass

Published: August 7th 2012 by Bloomsbury USA Children’s

Pages: 406

Genre: YA Fiction; Fantasy

Rating: 4/5

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

I am so late this series, it’s really SAD hahaha I do believe that this was originally a loose Cinderella re-telling that eventually took flight with it’s own unique storyline in the future books. Overall, I did find this book to be a great start to the series despite some minor flaws. Regardless, I am positive that I will continue with the series and I cannot wait to learn more about our characters and the adventures to come 🙂

Summary (From GoodReads):

After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.

Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king’s council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for four years and then be granted her freedom. Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilarating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her … but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead … quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.

Characters:

CelaenaStrong, Determined, and Quite Hilarious – As soon as I read the first few pages of Celaena’s introduction, I knew I was going to enjoy her character. While it is true, she can be a bit rash and arrogant, I found it refreshing to see these qualities in a female lead. I think these characteristics add to her personality and make her more interesting to learn more about. Sarah definitely incorporated a lot of layers to Celaena’s character which gave her more depth. While being feared in a country for being a ruthless assassin, there were moments which she surprised you. For example, she was pretty much a book nerd and I found myself fangirling! Sorry but I just love it when our characters love to read! I honestly found myself to grow more curious about her and I hope to see more of her growth in the future novels.

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DorianCharming, Playful, Jovial – Another character who I loved to read about! Plus, he likes to read too! Hoorayyy! I loved how his relationship with Celaena grows throughout the novel. All of his witty moments were a pleasure to read about as well! One thing I did appreciate with Dorian was seeing a bit of character growth by the end of the novel and I hope to see more of his strength in the next book.

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ChaolBlunt, Skilled, Professional – I wish we had more scenes with Chaol since we couldn’t see much of his personality or backstory since he remained professional throughout the novel since he was Captain of the Guard. I felt that he was a bit restrained and was not in a position to share more information about him or his past/experiences with Celaena. Due to this issue, there was not much layers to his character so it was difficult for me to relate to him. I hope we can learn more about him in the future novels.

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NehemiaIntelligent, Brave, Strong – Besides having a great story line, relatable characters, and relevant themes/morals, an aspect I also enjoy seeing in books are strong female friendships. In the case with Celaena and Nehemia, their connection and growth over the novel is worth noting.

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Final Thoughts: 

In terms of the story line, it does resemble previous YA fiction, such as the Hunger Games with engaging in a competition, but I noticed that it did not focus too much on that aspect. The author did add an element of mystery to the story when she mentions the disappearance/slaying of the other competitors and it tends to peak your curiosity. This is where the story gains momentum, builds on the world and really pulls you into the novel. In addition, there is a bit of a love triangle but it was not overbearing as with other YA literature.

The writing was well done that everything flowed together and Sarah did her best to create cinematic images where you can visualize the scenes in your head. I also loved the playful banter between the characters which helped to lighten the atmosphere amidst the dark moments within the novel. In addition, Sarah also did a great job in adding complexity to the different relationships as the story progressed and it will be intriguing to see how these relationships grow in the upcoming novels.

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

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

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Stalking Jack the Ripper Book Review (Spoiler Free)

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“Fear is a hungry beast. The more you feed it, the more it grows.” 

Author: Kerri Maniscalco

Publication: September 20th 2016 by Jimmy Patterson

Pages: 337

Genre: Fiction; YA; Mystery

Rating: 4/5

Summary:

Audrey Rose Wadsworth is not like many women her age – organizing tea parties, attending silk dress fittings, or jumping in on the latest gossip. Instead, she lives a secret life unbeknownst to her father as an apprentice to her Uncle, a professor of forensic medicine. Amidst her dissection studies, she stumbles upon an investigation of a notorious serial killer who rampaged the streets of London. Despite the brutality of the murders, Audrey’s curiosity and tenacity pushes her to search for answers and reclaim justice for the victims. But as she gets closer to unraveling the clues, it leads her to the most blood chilling conclusion.

Characters: 

Audrey Rose WadsworthSmart, Witty, Kind, Fearless – Its official. Audrey has fallen into my top favorite female leads of all times 🙂  She has such a great combination of strength, tenacity and intelligence which makes you want to root for her throughout the novel. Despite these esteemed qualities, she does have her weaknesses too and that showcase her to be more relatable as a character. Nevertheless, I loved her curiosity and her passion for forensic science and it was so refreshing to see her fight for women given the time period that the novel is set in.

“By my blood, I will make this right or die trying.” 

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Thomas CreswellCharming, Witty, Arrogant – Oh Lord. This guy haha A close representation of Thomas’ character would probably be Captain Thorne from the Lunar Chronicles whom I adored from the start and Thomas was no different. I swear, the amount of eye rolls and laughter I experienced whenever he would comment with a sly and witty demeanor is exponential 🙂 And when paired with a feisty heroine with sass of her own, you get the most entertaining banter ever! I loved it!

“I don’t blame you, I am rather attractive. The tall, dark hero of your dreams, swooping in to save you with my vast intellect. You should accept my hand at once.” 

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Final Thoughts: 

After finishing Truly Devious, I was in the mood for some more mystery novels and this one immediately caught my attention. Everything about the premise was so interesting and I am happy to say that the author delivered an awesome story! One aspect of the novel which I really enjoyed was the setting. The late 1800s London was very well delineated and I honestly felt as if I was walking through the streets with these characters. It was also refreshing to read about a heroine who is from a mixed background – half Indian and half British. It’s not so often I come across characters who I can relate to! And I loved the bits of Indian heritage that the author had woven into the story but I would have definitely liked to have seen more of it.

In addition, the author does a fabulous job setting the tone for the novel, creating an eerie yet mysterious atmosphere which entangles you into the story. I will say that there were certain parts of the novel which completely creeped me out! But if you are a fan of forensics and criminal investigations, then I would definitely recommend this book to you!

Have any of you read Stalking Jack the Ripper? What were your thoughts on it?

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

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BTS LOVE YOURSELF BOOK TAG

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What could be better than putting together the two things I love in life: BOOKS AND BTS ❤ I’ve been an ARMY since Day 1 and it’s so heartwarming and beautiful to see how much they have grown and accomplished! I am so proud of them! This was a group that helped me through the toughest points in my life and constantly reminded me to love myself and they will forever hold a special place in my heart ❤ As for my biases, it would most likely be RM (Namjoon) and Jin (Seokjin) but they are all so sweet and adorable I’m unable to choose between them lol

A huge thanks to Beaucoupbooks for creating this awesome tag! Please check out her page, it’s amazing!

The Rules

  1. Tag/pingback @beaucoupbooks in your post so I can see!
  2. Feel free to use the graphics on Jess’s page.
  3. Tag at least one other person to do this tag but really, you don’t need to be tagged to do this post, anyone can.

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harry potter

My love for books started with Harry Potter by J.K Rowling. Ever since the movies came out, I wanted to know what the hype around this series was so I picked up the first book, then the second and before you know it, I was not only Potterhead but also a book lover.


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Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi – If you have not read this book . . . THEN READ THIS BOOK. OMG. Everything about the world, the African culture, the characters and the plot was just brilliantly crafted. So fast paced and addicting! Plus – the author is also a fellow ARMY like me hahaha


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Edward Cullen  – HMM I think some people might disagree with me on this. Plz don’t hurt me!! However, I have to say that my reading taste has changed from 10 years ago. When I initially picked up this book I did fall into the Twilight craze but now when I look back on it, my feelings towards the characters are quite impassive, especially the relationship between Edward and Bella. I find it to be quite unhealthy due to his possessiveness.


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A Darker Shade final for Irene

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E Schwab – I absolutely devoured this series and it was so hard for me to part from it since I was attached to the characters. However, I do know the author is working on the Threads of Power series which is set in the same world as this one so it’s comforting to know we are getting more books! 🙂


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Levi in Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell – What’s not to love about Levi? He’s so sweet and adorable. I love his relationship with the main character since she does remind me of my self. I don’t usually pick up contemporary reads but I really loved this one!


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Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine – The books that Gail Carson Levine wrote were one of my top book crazes back in day. I loved the spin she took on classic fairy tales and the pre-teen me absolutely loved them. Definitely makes me nostalgic about my middle school years hehe


SINGULARITY

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The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer – I would read anything by Marissa Meyer and it would instantly make me feel better lol I think it’s safe to say that she is one of my favorite authors of all time! I started this series during a difficult period in my life and it gave me the escape I needed and most importantly: hope that things will get better in the future. And this pretty much mirrors the reasons why I love BTS as well 🙂


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An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir – Another series which I am completely in love with. Am I the only one who loves the cover change? I finally got to see someone who looks like me on the cover! AHHHHH!!! That’s so cool!!! And this was a novel which taught me that I am capable and stronger than what I give myself credit for and I highly recommend it!

 

Thank you all for reading! I would definitely like to open this tag to anyone who wishes to do it! Keep spreading the bookish and BTS love!! I purple you!

And for all my fellow ARMYs out there, let me know your bias and favorite songs! ❤

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

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Truly Devious Book Review (Spoiler Free)

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Schools may be famous for many things: academics, graduates, sports teams. They are not supposed to be famous for murders.

Author: Maureen Johnson

Publication: January 16th 2018 by HarperCollins

Pages: 416

Rating: 5/5

One of my reading goals for 2019 is to read novels of various genres and I am so excited that I picked up this one! Truly Devious completely strays away from the typical fantasy novels I usually reach for and it definitely surprised me!

Summary:

Amidst a late April night of 1936, a business tycoon’s named Albert Ellingham found that his wife and daughter were kidnapped and the only real clue was within a mocking riddle signed as Truly Devious. And now present day, Stevie Bell, a girl who wishes nothing more to have a successful career as detective, ventures into the Ellingham Academy as a student. She has one goal in mind: to reopen and solve this cold case. In a sudden twist of events, the past returns to the Academy and the students are surrounded by a death which has them shocked and bewildered – Was it an accident or was it murder?

Characters: 

Stevie – Goal-oriented, Diligent, self-driven – Don’t we all love a smart female lead? I was really thrilled to read about character like Stevie who is able to notice quirks that maybe we as readers may sometimes miss. I definitely found her relatable since she also seems grounded with her awkwardness in social situations despite having a brilliant and intuitive mindset.

Janelle – Smart, Kind and Driven – Janelle was a such a pleasure to read about and I loved that the author included diversity within the novel. Although we did not see too much of her within this book, I definitely found her to be a character who values relationships and her friendship with Stevie.

Nate – Distant, Secluded, Writer – As with Janelle, I felt that we did not see too much of Nate in this book and he did not have much layers to his personality as we see with Stevie. However, I did find him to be a great friend to Stevie even with his grumpy personality.

Final Thoughts: 

Written in a dual past and present day perspective, this novel is surely a thrill for fans of Agatha Christie and Sherlock Holmes. I would say that the present day narrative does flow slowly; however, the author does this for a reason as she tries to enable the reader to understand the present day characters, environment and circumstances. The flashbacks were interesting to read since we get glimpses of secrets and twists to the cold case. The author did create a good balance of when and how to switch from the past and the present so we as readers understand the case well enough to follow with the present timeline.

There is also a moment in the book where a major plot event occurs and after that, I couldn’t help but fly through the pages. I just could NOT put it down. That was how addicting it was! The author kept you on the edge of your seat and offered many twists and turns that had you scrambling to figure out who the culprit could be. AND THAT ENDING!!

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Overall, I think Truly Devious is a wonderful read for anyone who loves mystery novels and the second book is definitely on my 2019 TBR!

Until next time, keep reading and I will be back with another post!

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Wolf by Wolf Book Review (Spoiler Free)

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“Her self-reflection was no reflection at all. It was a shattered mirror. Something she had to piece together, over and over again. Memory by memory. Loss by loss. Wolf by wolf.” 

Author: Ryan Graudin

Publication: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, October 20th 2015

Pages: 388

Rating: 5/5

Plot:

Set in an alternative history during the year 1956 where the Axis Powers of the Third Reich and Imperial Japan hold significant control over the world, Wolf by Wolf details the journey of a young girl named Yael who vows to restore unity to the world through destroying the one man responsible for her people’s suffering: Adolf Hitler. After her heartbreaking and terrifying experiences within a death camp, Yael tattooed five wolves on her arm to serve as a reminder of the ones she lost, each representing a significant part of her character. Through cruel and painful experimentation, Yael develops the ability to skinshift – allowing her to exhibit the facial features of a character she chooses to imitate. As a result, she proves to be a brilliant candidate for the Resistance to take part in the imperative mission to bring down Hitler. By winning the annual Motorcycle Tournament under the character of the previous year’s champion Adele Wolfe, Yael would be given the opportunity to dance with Hitler himself at the Victor’s Ball. But the mission seems to grow complicated as Luka, Adele’s former love interest, and Felix, Adele’s twin brother, enter the picture. Even with the growing relationships with the other candidates, Yael must prove herself to be as ruthless and daring enough to bring down Hitler and his regime.

 

Characters:

Yael – Strong; Smart; One of my favorite aspects of Yael was that she was very goal oriented from the start and her passion and determination for her mission is truly remarkable.

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Adele Wolfe – Passionate; Strong; Although we see Adele Wolfe for a limited time within the novel, we can already see that she is strong and capable of standing on her own.

Felix Wolfe – Protective; Supportive; Smart; Felix was enticing from the start. He loves his family and will do anything he can to keep them together.

Luka – Extroverted; Bold; Strong; Adele’s former love interest who has a strong passion for winning the game despite knowing that Adele (Yael) is participating.

 

Final Thoughts:

If you have not read this book, please pick this up!

It is a thrill ride and it had me hooked from the start. One of my favorite aspects of the entire novel is the writing and storytelling – it is absolutely amazing and so well done. The setting does shift from the past to the present many times within the novel but I never felt as if it slowed the pace or left the plot lagging. It was done at the appropriate moments to add depth to the character and progress the story. By revealing her past experiences, we learn why Yael is the way she is and what are her weaknesses/regrets/strengths. It was through these areas of the book where I found her to be relatable since she is a strong character; yet she also had her own monsters/vulnerabilities’ within her which made her seem more human.

I have also developed a strong appreciation for the historical fiction genre. As with writing any novel, research is crucial to develop a thorough world/setting. However, with historical fiction it is imperative to maintain accuracy to previous events in order to provide credibility to the reader. While Wolf by Wolf is an alternate history novel, I truly appreciate the author’s efforts for creating a work of literature while maintaining a believable world and an accuracy to history. Previously I have read Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anna Blankman which had a sense of mystery and intrigue entangled with the historical fiction genre which made it a compelling and brilliantly crafted read. This was the first novel that really helped me to venture into a new genre and through reading Wolf by Wolf, I will definitely be picking up more in the future!

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Have any of you read Wolf by Wolf? What are your thoughts on it? And if you have any historical fiction recommendations please let me know 🙂

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

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