The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

The Raven KingTitle: The Raven King
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Series: The Raven Cycle
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Published: April 26th, 2016
Rating: ★★★★★ (5 out of 5) Continue reading

Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke by Anne Blankman

ConspiracyTitle: Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke
Author: Anne Blankman
Series: Prisoner of Night and Fog
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Published: April 21, 2015
Rating: ★★★★☆ (4 out of 5) Continue reading

Book Review: A Cold Legacy by Megan Shepherd

Title: A Cold Legacy
Author: Megan Shepherd
Series: Madman’s Daughter trilogy
Rating: ★★★★

A Cold Legacy

I didn’t realize how much I liked dark retellings until this series. The Madman’s Daughter was not a book I would have usually picked up. And then I loved it and had to read Her Dark Curiosity. And then I was even more in love and couldn’t wait to read A Cold Legacy.

Juliet is engaged to Montgomery. She’s finally admitted that while she cares for Edward and the Beast, she truly loves Montgomery. She’s also a little horrified by the actions she took at the end of Her Dark Curiosity. She’s afraid she’s turning into a madwoman, taking after her father. She doesn’t want to go down that road, but she feels a pull towards it anyway.

Juliet, Montgomery, Edward, and Lucy travel to Ballentyne to escape from police after the events of Her Dark Curiosity. There, they find a new mix of people and questions. Juliet discovers a secret that would push her beyond her father’s legacy and she must decide what her road will be.

I don’t want to say too much about the plot, as I think everything is best discovered as you read, but I will say I could not put the story down. I read page after page, and didn’t even want to stop to sleep. The Scottish moors location provides the perfect backdrop for the dark tale. I only really had one issue with the book, and it happens at the end of the story. I felt like a storyline was left just a little too open and unresolved.

I am happy Juliet decided to be with Montgomery. Even if she can’t see it, when she chooses Montgomery, she also choses the kind of scientist she wants to be. Edward and the Beast represent the mad desire she wants to run from so badly, and Montgomery represents the other curious, but respectful side. I think, in making her choice between the two, she unknowing decides the type of scientist she will be. She might question herself and keep secrets, but I just think she doesn’t really understand herself until the very end.

My only issue with the book is how much emphasis is put on which parent she will take after. It was a little frustrating to read, over and over, how Juliet didn’t want to end up like her father, but she also didn’t want to end up like her mother. It seemed like Juliet, as well as her friends, never really voiced the opinion that Juliet is Juliet; she doesn’t have to end up like either of her parents. Just because she was their daughter does not mean those are the only two paths she has.

A Cold Legacy was an almost perfect end to a wonderful series. I would still recommend it, though. It’s definitely not a book series for everyone, as it’s dark and a little gruesome at times, but it still is completely fantastic. If you’re up for a little darkness, the entire Madman’s Daughter series is perfect.

If you’d like to read A Cold Legacy, you can purchase it here:
Barnes and Noble

Thank you to Edelweiss and Balzer + Bray for an advanced copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: Her Dark Curiosity by Megan Shepherd

Title: Her Dark Curiosity
Author: Megan Shepherd
Series: The Madman’s Daughter trilogy
Rating: ★★★★

Her Dark Curiosity

I really enjoyed The Madman’s Daughter and was anxious to read Her Dark Curiosity. I became even more anxious when I read it was inspired by The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

There are certainly issues with this novel. Juliet definitely made some stupid decisions. There’s a love triangle and some people just aren’t fans. But those issues never took me out of the novel. Shepherd explains them, or they play such a big part of the story that they make complete sense.

Take Juliet, for example, and some of her more unintelligent decisions. She feels compassion for the Beast and Edward. She trusts him when she probably shouldn’t. She keeps secrets when she shouldn’t. But each time she does one of these things, it makes sense. She herself isn’t completely human, so she understands Edward and the Beast in a way. She questions whether she can truly be at peace with what she is if she treat someone else created is a negative way. She knows and recognizes how mad her father had gotten, and she knows how far she fell after he was cast out. She fears that admitting she has the same curiosity means she will end up like her father, and telling people those secrets scares her.

I get it. I understand why Juliet sometimes comes off as making bad choices. She makes stupid decisions, but I can understand the reasoning behind them.

As for the love triangle, I never really felt like it was done to make people love one person and hate the other. The two interests mirror Juliet’s feelings about herself. There’s Edward and the Beast on one side, playing to Juliet’s fear of her father and her own madness. On the other side is Montgomery, showing Juliet that science doesn’t have to mean madness. I thought it was really well done.

Her Dark Curiosity continues the amazing journey The Madman’s Daughter started. It makes you think about what makes people good and evil. It’s fantastic in its descriptions and story. Like its predecessor, it’s dark, but wonderfully so. I am loving this series.

If you’d like to read Her Dark Curiosity, you can purchase it here:
Barnes and Noble

Book Review: Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

Title: Blue Lily, Lily Blue
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Series: The Raven Cycle
Rating: ★★★★★

Blue Lily, Lily Blue

I’ll be honest. I went into this book thinking it couldn’t live up to the last two books. Not because I don’t think Stiefvater can’t write well, but because I couldn’t see how the story could possibly get any deeper than it already was. The last two books were so good that I didn’t think there was much room left to develop the story. And I was completely wrong. Thankfully.

Blue Lily, Lily Blue starts right where The Dream Thieves left off. Blue’s mother has gone missing and everyone is about to start school again. Gansey is devoted to finding Glendower. Adam has promised himself to Cabeswater and is feeling the weight of his promise. Rowan is trying to bring his dream world and the real world together. Blue is experiencing what true friendship is as she falls even more for Gansey.

Each of these characters has a piece of my heart. They each have their struggles, but they are really showing how true and strong their friendship is. They are there for each other, not out of obligation, but because that is what friends do. The little moments between Blue and Gansey are slowly cracking my heart. Each time they have a moment alone, the emotions are right there, nearly punching me in the gut.

I don’t want to talk about the plot of the story too much, since I think this novel is best experienced without and preconceptions. I will say that new characters are introduced, new complications arise concerning Glendower, and the world of the Raven Boys becomes even more clouded and wonderful.

I loved this book. Absolutely loved it. It had a little of everything I wanted. Characters are continuing to develop, as are their relationships with one another. There never feels like there’s a slowing of the pace and I was anxious with every page turn. I’m in love with this series and can’t wait to see how everything finally comes to an end.

If you’d like to read Blue Lily, Lily Blue, you can purchase it here:
Barnes and Noble

Thank you to NetGalley and Scholastic Press for an advanced copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.

New Review: The Fall by Bethany Griffin

Title: The Fall
Author: Bethany Griffin
Rating: ★★★★

The Fall

I will admit to not knowing of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher” before getting this book. So I looked the story up and read it. And became thoroughly creeped out. And then I picked up Griffin’s story. And got the chills.

The Fall of the House of Usher makes up only a portion of The Fall. Griffin takes Poe’s story and expands on it, turning it into a novel about growing up in a house that makes you crazy. I even felt a little off while reading it. Madeline was born in the house, grew up in the house, and understands that the house will eventually destroy her. Generations before her have gone mad, the house pushing them to insanity and death. Madeline and her brother Roderick are next. Roderick was sent away to school with the hope that keeping him away from the house will keep the curse from harming in.

This causes Madeline to face the brunt of the house’s feelings. The house feels heavy. It feels cursed. But the house also protects Madeline and gives her a dog for a companion. Growing up, her feelings about the house aren’t completely black and white. As the story progresses, it’s clear that the only hope for Madeline and Roderick to escape the curse is to destroy the house.

Through flashbacks, Madeline’s life story is told. I really felt for her. She didn’t have the same opportunities her brother had, and she was subjected fully to the house’s whims. She was lonely, aching for human companionship. Her brother is away at school, the doctors that live at the house only want to test her, and the only friend she’s ever had is a dog.

Based on the opening chapter, as well as Poe’s short story, you know where the story is going. But getting there is horror-filled and chill-inducing. Just reading about the house gives the feeling of heaviness and of evil. The history of death and insanity flows through every page and it honestly made me uncomfortable at times. I loved it.

The Fall is a fantastic paranormal horror novel. My only complaint is that sometimes the pacing didn’t feel right to me. However, this is definitely a good book to read if you want to get that creepy feeling. It’ll give you chills from first page to last.

If you’d like to read The Fall, you can purchase it here:
Barnes and Noble

Thank you to Edelweiss and Greenwillow Books for an advanced copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.

New Review: Blackbird by Anna Carey

Title: Blackbird
Author: Anna Carey
Series: Blackbird Duology
Rating: ★★★★


Blackbird was not quite the book I thought it would be. I was really interested in the story, but I wasn’t sure if I could get into the 2nd person point of view. The first few chapters didn’t really connect with me, but eventually the story drew me in and the 2nd person point of view became an incredible way to feel like part of the action.

A girl wakes up on the train tracks with only minutes to react. She doesn’t know who she is, where she is, or why she’s there. She can’t remember a thing. She wants answers, but has the sense to know that answers are likely dangerous. She has a feeling that she is being hunted, but doesn’t know why or by whom.

Imagine that type of scenario. That panic and fear. The desire to know what is going on, but the worry that searching for answers will only make things worse. That is what the 2nd person point of view conveys in this book. It makes you, the reader, the main character. It’s not like other books where you have to imagine yourself in the place of one of the characters. Instead, the entire book is detailing your life, and you’re just as clueless to what’s happening around you as the main character is.

I think that’s the really interesting thing about this book. I think this would have been a good book from any point of view. The story is interesting and engaging. The characters feel real. But using 2nd person puts the reader directly into the action. I felt the same panic and fear that I was supposed to because I wasn’t reading about some character’s life. The entire book is filled with “you” statements. “You run,” “You are about to do this,” made me feel although I was the main character. I was the one in the book. It’s a feeling I rarely experience so fully in novels written in 1st or 3rd person.

I completely understand that the POV of this book will likely turn some people away. It’s not for everyone. But for me, it made the book more exciting (once I became used to it). I stopped picturing a character doing all those things and was instead putting myself into the book. I don’t mind that there weren’t many answers. It’s all a part of the 2nd person and I’m really looking forward to seeing where this story goes.

If you’d like to read Blackbird for yourself, you can purchase it here:
Barnes and Noble

Thank you to Edelweiss and HarperTeen for an advanced copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.