June Wrap Up 2018

June Wrap Up Banner

I didn’t read as much as I thought I would last month.  I took a week long vacation around my birthday on the 15th, but only managed to read halfway through one book.  I suppose I ended up being busier than I thought I would be at the beach because I was under the impression that I could at least finish three books plus whatever else I might buy while I was there.  However, I did read two books and i started two others.  I’m currently debating adding what I’m reading at the moment into my monthly wrap ups but I’ve decided to include it in this one; so if you like seeing what I’m reading lately please let me know!

And now here are the books I read in June of 2018:

25733990

Sleeping Giants By Sylvain Neuvel was a surprisingly good book.  And I don’t say that because I expected it to be bad, but rather that I almost never read Science Fiction novels.  This is the first in a trilogy series and I can’t wait to get my hands on the second book.  Expect a book review coming soon!

529252

If you didn’t read my last blog post then you may be wondering why I read a Sweet Valley High novel.  Well for starters I feel like there are classic book series that I missed out on growing up because I wasn’t invested in reading as much as I am today so I’ve been trying to experience them now; and also I had an idea to do a series here on my blog chronicling myself going through the entire series.  From what I have researched there are, I believe, about 140 books in the Sweet Valley High series so it would be almost a three year project if I read one book a week.  I was hoping to have others join me but I didn’t get a large response on my survey, though I did still create a goodreads group if you’d still like to join me.  I’ve only read the first book so far and it isn’t too late to join!


Onto the new section!

I don’t know how many people are like this when it comes to reading, but I typically read at least two or three books at a time.  Usually the books I read at the same time have to be different in genre and/or story line because I’ll tend to get characters mixed up otherwise, and at the moment I’m reading one Young Adult novel and a Urban Fantasy novel:

21469068

9361589

Both books I’ve owned for a while now and I’m liking each one so far.  I will admit that I thought I would be done with I’ll Meet You There by now but It is a little darker than I was expecting it to be which is causing me to read it slower than normal.  Other than that I hope to have them both read by the end of this month.

I’d really love to hear what all you have read recently or are reading currently.  Please let me know in the comments!

Happy Reading,

Meghan

Advertisements

Caraval: Book Review

38715000

“Whatever you’ve heard about Caraval, it doesn’t compare to the reality. It’s more than just a game or performance. It’s the closest you’ll ever find yourself magic in this world.”
― Stephanie GarberCaraval

Title:  Caraval

Series: Caraval Series

Author:  Stephanie Garber

Publish Date:  January 31, 2017

Genre: YA/Fantasy

Reading Format:  E-book

Publisher’s Summary:

Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval—the faraway, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show—are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt-of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. Nevertheless she becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic. And whether Caraval is real or not, Scarlett must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over or a dangerous domino effect of consequences will be set off, and her beloved sister will disappear forever.

Review:

I was almost certain that I might not come across a book this year that I would truly enjoy, but Caraval may have saved the day!

Caraval has been on my want-to-read list ever since it came out last year and I’ve almost bought it a dozen times while in Books-a-Million, but for some reason would decide to go with something else.  However, Amazon came through (or I suppose the publishers of the book did) when it was a Kindle daily deal sometime back in January or February.  I immediately bought it and couldn’t wait to start reading because I knew by reading the description of the story that Caraval was just going to be a book I would love.

And I was right. This was exactly the type of story I like.  It’s fantasy with romance and a magical world to get lost in, which are all prefect elements to books I love to read.  I will admit though that the beginning was a little slow for me, however that isn’t very uncommon in fantasy novels because world building is apart of the genre and that usually takes up some of the plot.  It was easy to get over though because once the main characters were in Caraval the story really began to take off and I couldn’t put it down. T

There is so much mystery surrounding the game of Caraval and it’s creator, Legend, that as the reader you seem to get lost in this magical place as much as Scarlett does.  And I think this makes her as the narrator of the story  a great idea because you see Caraval through all of Scarlett’s first time experiences with the game.

Also the imagery that came to my mind while reading the book showed to myself at least how much I liked Stephanie Garber’s writing.  She brings Caraval’s world to life well by her descriptions of the places and people Scarlett meets while in the game. I didn’t feel overwhelmed at anytime by the magic in the story or the world building either, but I could tell while reading the book that there was so much more to explore in this world in future books.

Which I’m super excited for the next book in the series that I already pre-ordered.  When I finished the book and knew I had to pre-order the next one, that was the best way for me to tell I really liked Caraval.  Plus I don’t have to wait that long, as it comes out the end of this month. Yay!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Happy Reading,

Meghan

The Shadow Queen: Book Review

23299513

“Her skin was as white as snow, her lips as red as blood, and her long hair as black as ebony.” — C.J. Redwine, The Shadow Queen

Title: The Shadow Queen

Series: Ravenspire

Author: C.J. Redwine

Genre: Fairy Tale Retelling

Published: February 16th, 2016

Reading Format: Audio book

Summary:

A retelling of Snow White were Snow White is a fugitive with magic named Lorelai. Her seven dwarfs come in the form of her brother, a former royal guard, and a Gyrfalcon named Sasha. And her huntsman/prince is a dragon king that both loves her and wants to kill her. Plus Lorelai is the only one who can stop the evil queen from destroying the kingdom of Ravenspire that rightfully belongs to Lorelai.

Review:

By my summary of the book you may be able to tell that The Shadow Queen isn’t exactly like the fairy tale of Snow White.  Mostly the book takes parts of Snow White but the author, C.J. Redwine, made the story her own with Lorelai. I also listened to this book through Audible and the narrator is what really sold my liking for The Shadow Queen. I truly felt like I was being told an old fairy tale by a great storyteller.

My favorite twist in this retelling is Kol. Kol’s character is both prince charming and the huntsman; he is also the new king of a neighboring land where the people there are both human and dragon.  Kol comes to Ravenspire to get help from the evil queen, Irina, where he makes a deal with her that if he brings Irina Lorelai’s heart, that the queen will then save his kingdom from the Ogres. Of course the predictably of the quest in this part of the story is that Kol does not bring Irina back the heart of Lorelai and thus Irina forces Kol into a pact to kill Lorelai that he cannot remove himself from.  The perfect twist to that plot line is that because Kol is human who can turn into a dragon, he possess both hearts of man and dragon.  Once Irina removes Kol’s human heart we as the reader get to see the internal struggle he has to control his dragon heart.

I thought The Shadow Queen was a great retelling for Snow White.  I usually stay away from retellings, as I can often find them predictable and lack surprise elements in the story line but I was not disappointed with C.J. Redwine’s version.  I just recently got the second book in the series The Wish Granter, a retelling of Rumpelstiltskin, and I’ve been holding off on it to read other books but I’d like to get to it sooner rather than later.

Star Rating: 4.75/5 stars

Happy Reading,

Meghan

The Vanishing Throne: Book Review

*There may be some spoiler’s about the first book in this series, The Falconer.

26797462

“I’m not a creature of vengeance any more. I’m not just the girl whose gift is chaos. I’m the girl who endured.”–Elizabeth May, The Vanishing Throne

Title: The Vanishing Throne (Book 2)

Series: The Falconer Trilogy

Author: Elizabeth May

Date Published: June 21st, 2016

Genre: Fantasy/YA

Book Format: E-book

Summary:

After failing to close the fae portal, Aileana Kameron is now prisoner to the evil fae Lonnrach. She is imprisoned and her memories are stolen by Lonnrach as he tries to find away to save his fairy world. As Aileana begins to weaken she is rescued and returned to her world were she discovers it lays in an apocalyptic state and years have gone in the human world while she was held captive for several weeks in the fae world. Now Aileana must access her falconer powers in order save her world and the fae world.

My Review:

I don’t know what it is about series, but usually the second book will turn out to be my favorite. At least that’s been true for a few including this one. The Vanishing Throne took me two days to read because I couldn’t put this book down.

Book two takes place immediately after book one, The Falconer, and the main character Aileana is captured by the evil fae leader Lonnrach in the fairy world.  The book doesn’t linger with this part of the story for too long, but long enough that as the reader you can see the affects it takes on Aileana while she’s there and how it affects her through the story line.  Then the book is pretty quick paced after the first few chapters.

The sense of humor that is in the first book is still there in The Vanishing Throne and all the characters are back with a few new characters.  However this book is much darker than the first book as Aileana deals with the PTSD associated with her being captured and tortured in the beginning of the book. I felt that this was handled well by the author and it wasn’t magically fixed or suddenly disappeared along the way, but an obstacle she must tackle continuously.

The Vanishing Throne also has more romance in it and I liked a lot since I ship the main character and her fae mentor, so reading their love story unfold a little more was something I was hoping for in the second book. There was also just as much action in this one as there was in The Falconer but with a more clear cut enemy in the second book I was cheering for Aileana and her friends a little more than in the previous book.

I love this series and it topped my list of favorite books last year.  If you love YA fantasy then please read this series. The last book in the series comes out in the summer of this year and it  may very well be my most anticipated read of 2017.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Happy Reading,

Meghan

The Falconer: Book Review

15791085

“You know, I’ll never look at a woman in the same way again. I’ll wonder if she’s hiding weapons under the hedges.”- Elizabeth May, The Falconer

Title: The Falconer

Author: Elizabeth May

Series:  The Falconer

Publish Date: May 6th, 2014

Genre: Fantasy/YA/Steampunk

Reading Format: E-book

Summary: She’s a stunner.
Edinburgh, 1844. Eighteen-year-old Lady Aileana Kameron, the only daughter of the Marquess of Douglas, has everything a girl could dream of: brains, charm, wealth, a title—and drop-dead beauty.

She’s a liar.
But Aileana only looks the part of an aristocratic young lady. she’s leading a double life: She has a rare ability to sense the sìthíchean—the faery race obsessed with slaughtering humans—and, with the aid of a mysterious mentor, has spent the year since her mother died learning how to kill them.

She’s a murderer.
Now Aileana is dedicated to slaying the fae before they take innocent lives. With her knack for inventing ingenious tools and weapons—from flying machines to detonators to lightning pistols—ruthless Aileana has one goal: Destroy the faery who destroyed her mother.

She’s a Falconer.
The last in a line of female warriors born with a gift for hunting and killing the fae, Aileana is the sole hope of preventing a powerful faery population from massacring all of humanity. Suddenly, her quest is a lot more complicated. She still longs to avenge her mother’s murder—but she’ll have to save the world first.


Review:  The Falconer was easily one of my favorite reads this year. It was so fast-paced that I finished the book in two days because I just couldn’t put it down.  Aileana is a strong female character and I love a good book that also has strong characters in it. I can’t really handle the whole damsel in distress thing that sometimes comes with some novels, so I’m currently loving the strong female character that is being written in books lately.

One thing that surprised me most about The Falconer was how funny it was. The character interaction comes with a lot of humor and I found myself laughing out loud at times. I think that whenever I read a fantasy novel I often expect it to be very serious but having the funny banter between Aileana and Catherine or Aileana and Gavin was nice to see (or I guess in this case read).

The story overall is different than others I’ve been reading mainly because of the the steampunk element to the story. While it isn’t the main feature of the story line of The Falconer it is more heavily present than I realized it would be, I suppose it serves the purpose of allowing some “modern” things appear in a historical setting. I don’t usually love the steampunk theme but it didn’t distract me too much from loving the book overall.

There is also a romantic element to the story it sort of builds itself up so it doesn’t take over the whole novel but I thought it was nicely done and I’m sure it is more heavily present in the second book. Which I’ve started already because once the first book ends you’ll definitely want to pick up the second.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars


Happy Reading,

Meghan

Clockwork Princess: Book Review

 

18335634

 “Men may be stronger, but it is women who endure.”

-Cassandra Clare, Clockwork Princess

Title: Clockwork Princess

Series: The Infernal Devices

Author: Cassandra Clare

Publish Date: September 5th, 2013

Genre: Fantasy/YA/Historic

Reading Format: Audiobook

Summary:  A net of shadows begins to tighten around the Shadowhunters of the London Institute. Mortmain plans to use his Infernal Devices, an army of pitiless automatons, to destroy the Shadowhunters. He needs only one last item to complete his plan: he needs Tessa Gray.

Charlotte Branwell, head of the London Institute, is desperate to find Mortmain before he strikes. But when Mortmain abducts Tessa, the boys who lay equal claim to her heart, Jem and Will, will do anything to save her. For though Tessa and Jem are now engaged, Will is as much in love with her as ever.

As those who love Tessa rally to rescue her from Mortmain’s clutches, Tessa realizes that the only person who can save her is herself. But can a single girl, even one who can command the power of angels, face down an entire army?

Danger and betrayal, secrets and enchantment, and the tangled threads of love and loss intertwine as the Shadowhunters are pushed to the very brink of destruction in the breathtaking conclusion to the Infernal Devices trilogy.


Review:  Let me first say (and this might be a spoiler) this book ended the exact way you would want it too in terms of a love triangle. At least that’s what it did for me as I was torn between loving Tessa with Jem and loving Tessa with Will. Cassandra Clare does a nice job of working that out so that the reader might feel some closer with both relationships or potential relationships. Secondly, Clockwork Princess was my favorite book in the series it was filled with action, suspense, romance, and even a little humor; what more could you ask for?

There are however a few moments of frustration while listening to this book for example Will’s sister Cecile becomes an added character to the story and I found her to be quite whinny at times. She was my least favorite character in the books and her only redeeming quality was her interaction with Gabreil Lightwood.  And speaking of Lightwood, the Lightwood brothers were a nice addition to the thrid book and Gabreil doesn’t turn out to be as annoying as he was in the first two books.

And we finally learn exactly what Tessa is. I will also say I like that she doesn’t end up being a damsel in distress type. She learns more about herself through this series and also finds a family among the Shadowhunters at the London institute which I think makes her become a stronger character throughout the books.

Lastly the audiobook for Clockwork Princess was the best one out of the three. The guy who does the narration makes an effort to give each character a voice without it sounding like it belongs to another. And with the character list of this book being so big that can be a hard accomplishment to make but it was done with this audiobook, I just wish he had narrarated all of three books.

Rating:

Five out of Five Stars


Happy Reading,

Meghan

Clockwork Prince: Book Review

10025305

“He’s very broken,” said Magnus. “Like a lovely vase that someone has smashed. Only luck and skill can put it back together the way it was before.”

-Cassandra Clare, Clockwork Prince

Title:  Clockwork Prince

Series: The Infernal Devices

Author:  Cassandra Clare

Publish Date:  December 6th, 2011

Genre:  Fantasy/YA/History

Reading Format: Audiobook

Summary:  In the magical underworld of Victorian London, Tessa Gray has found safety with the Shadowhunters. But that safety proves fleeting when it becomes clear that the mysterious Magister will stop at nothing to use Tessa’s powers for his own dark ends.

With the help of the handsome, tortured Will and the devoted Jem, Tessa discovers that the Magister’s war on the Shadowhunters is deeply personal and fueled by revenge. To unravel the secrets of the past, the trio journeys from mist-shrouded Yorkshire to a manor house that holds untold horrors. When they encounter a clockwork demon bearing a warning for Will, they realize that the Magister knows their every move—and that one of their own has betrayed them.

Tessa is drawn more and more to Jem, though her longing for Will continues to unsettle her. But something is changing in Will. Could finding the Magister free Will from his secrets and give Tessa answers about who she really is? As their search leads to deadly peril, Tessa learns that secrets and lies can corrupt even the purest heart.


Review:  Clockwork Prince was more emotional for me than the first book and I think in part that is due to fact that I learned a lot more about Tessa, Jem, and Will along with the other characters in the book.  I especially felt for Will in the second book of The Infernal Devices series, even though I had confessed in the book review for Clockwork Angel that Jem was my favorite character I felt like I got to learn about Will more and why he is the way he is in the series.

I’m also loving Magnus Bane in this series more than I did in the first three books of the Mortal Instruments series. As the reader I felt like I was getting more background on him and I really enjoyed that. Magnus also helped me to see more of Will because from Magnus’ perspective I could feel Will’s pain more. This was also illustrated through Tessa as well. Her experiences with Will in this book made me question my loyalty for Jem, so bravo Cassandra Clare you got me involved into the love triangle you created for this series.

And let’s get back to Tessa for a second and the mystery that surrounds who, or better yet, what she is.  I was so tempted to google the answer on this one because 1) I know it’s out there and 2) you don’t find out in this book either, at least not entirely.  I held off though because I didn’t want to ruin that part of the book for myself and it does keep you interested throughout the series when it comes to this unanswered question.

I did listen to this as an audiobook much like I have done with all of Cassandra Clare’s other books and also like her other books I am late to the party as these were read by most people years before. This has in no way affected how I feel about The Infernal Devices series and consider the series as a whole to be one of my favorites this year.  But as for the audiobook version I didn’t love the narration in this book as much as I liked the narrator in Clockwork Angel, having two narrators for Clockwork Prince could be a bit much for me at times.  I will say this is my only complaint about the book and it isn’t even really about the book.

Overall Clockwork Prince was a good book. It continues on from the previous story but adds a something more to the series and the Shadowhunter world, though it most certainly cannot stand on its own you would have to read the first book in order to understand this one too.

Rating:

Five out of Five Stars


Happy Reading,

Meghan