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The Price Guide to the Occult by Leslye Walton | Review

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**Thank you so much to the publisher for providing me with an ARC of this book. This did not change my opinion or review in any way.**

3.5 stars.

Oh, where to begin. I should probably tell you guys about the fact that I had been anticipating this book ever since I read Leslye’s first book, Ava Lavender, three years ago. I loved it so much: the writing, the story, the characters, the magical realism. Of course I would be excited for Leslye’s new book! (Ava Lavender was, and still is, one of my favorite books to this day).

Sadly, despite this being a good book, to me, it did not live up nearly to the wonderfulness that is The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender. Don’t get me wrong–it certainly wasn’t bad. It was a good book (hence the 3.5 stars). But my expectations were too high, and they weren’t met; which means I am now currently pretty disappointed. This will be spoiler-free.

Unlike Ava Lavender, I’d say this book is basically urban fantasy. Magical realism has something different about it–it’s more subtle, less public, and it’s accepted and not questioned but people do recognize the fact that there is something different. This book, as I was saying, I felt like tried to have magical realism, but it didn’t work. The fantastical scenes were too intense, and the atmosphere of the book wasn’t working well with me.

Perhaps the most disappointing part of this novel for me was the fact that the beautiful writing in Ava Lavender did not seem to show up. Leslye’s writing is still good, but it didn’t blow me away. I didn’t feel the atmosphere of the novel; I didn’t feel enchanted or captured by the words (which is what I had been expecting).

Regardless, I still enjoyed reading The Price Guide to the Occult. It was still intriguing, and I wanted to get to the end. It just didn’t hook me as I had expected it to, and I didn’t end up loving the characters or feeling much attachment to them. Personally, I thought Leslye’s writing shone the most when she wrote about the past (i.e.; Rona and her descendants) rather than Nor, maybe because it reminded me of Ava Lavender. It ended with a hook, though, so I am curious to see what will happen if there is a future novel because I think it will definitely be more interesting. Also: regarding the romance–I didn’t get the point. There was a half (?) love-triangle, but I thought Reed’s character was 100% useless. The book would have been much more interesting if the main love interest had been Gage, since Nor and Gage display much more tension than do Reed and Nor. Anyway, I really hope we get a second book because I think these issues may be resolved then, and maybe I’ll be satisfied once again :’).

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Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones | Book Review

Hi everyone!

About a month ago, I started reading Wintersong, intrigued by it because I knew that it was about goblins and kidnapping, and now I’m happy to say I read it. Although, I didn’t quite love it–I’m giving it around 3.5-3.75 stars–it was definitely enjoyable, so I hope you stick around to continue reading this review.

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One thing I would like to point out is that you should definitely go into this book without knowing much. If you’re aware that it is about goblins, and that it has really beautiful writing, I think you’re set. What I realized while reading was that the synopsis given on the inside of the book as well as the one on Goodreads actually spoils part of the book. That is, I kept expecting the story to move forward more quickly, because what was happening was already given in the synopsis itself. It turned out, however, that the synopsis basically tells you what happens for at least a third of the book. So: if you want to be slightly more surprised, I recommend not reading a summary.

(This review will be spoiler-free).

Things I Liked:

As I mentioned already, I loved the writing. It was probably my favorite part of the book. It’s flowy and nice-sounding and really sets the atmosphere of the book. The world is super interesting as well. You want to continue reading purely because of the fact that everything is so mysterious and dark. Literally: when I think of this book, I imagine the color scheme of the (beautiful) book cover–dark blue laced with shining silver.

Another aspect I really enjoyed was the character development. By the end of the novel, Elisabeth is basically entirely transformed. When we first meet her, she has no self-esteem, doesn’t know what she’s doing, is bitter and unsatisfied with her life. Throughout the novel, she finally finds herself and her music. I also really liked the fact that her music was such a central aspect of her story, as books often erase hobbies and passions for plotlines.

Things That Could Have Been Better

My biggest complaint for this book is that nothing happened. I could have skipped a good 100 pages, and I would have understood what was going on because that’s how slow it was. I was expecting Elisabeth to do something besides stay weepy and mourn and lust, but she didn’t, most of the time. And this is coming from a person who can usually read slow books–I just couldn’t deal with it. It felt really repetitive at times, so much so that the romance got boring and even the beautiful writing didn’t faze me. It felt like I was reading the same lines over and over again.

I also wish that the author had expanded the world of the novel. There was so much more to know! It could have been so much more adventurous and interesting if something had actually happened. Don’t get me wrong: I usually enjoy character-driven books–I LOVE characters, even if the plot isn’t amazing–but for a book that was supposed to be a fantasy, I was expecting a little more action. So many things went unexplained; and I assume that they will be elaborated on in Book 2, but still.

Overall, however, I did end up liking this book because it had a really different taste to it. I’m not really sure if I’ll get to the second book, just because I don’t know if I can deal with another super slow book in a long time now.

Have you read Wintersong? Did you enjoy it, or were you one of those that thought it was mediocre?

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An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson: A Pleasant Surprise

Hey guys!

About two weeks ago, when we had just entered 2018, I picked up An Enchantment of Ravens on a whim. I kind of just felt like trying it out; since I knew it had faeries in it…until I got hooked. I hadn’t felt like reading something avidly in such a long time, and it just felt so good. Even when I wasn’t reading it, I was thinking of it and the characters.

So–I decided I might as well tell you guys a little bit about it in this review-raving post. (This is spoiler-free, so don’t worry about it).

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Isn’t the cover SO beautiful?

I personally think you don’t really need to know much about this book before going into it. It’s barely 300 pages; so if you learn too much about it, then it might spoil the book for you. The only things you should know are: it’s about faeries, and it has beautiful writing.

Now, just a heads up: this is one of those books that’s definitely a hit-or-miss. For me, it was a hit. I get why people wouldn’t like it as much–but for me, I could overlook the flaws because my enjoyment outweighed the things that would usually bug me. In fact, it was kind of out of the ordinary for me to enjoy a book like this.

Normally, I despise instalove. I’ve written so much about how much I hate it; and I still do. An Enchantment of Ravens had instalove. I still love it. For such a short book, I became so invested in the characters that I didn’t care about the fact that the romance took place in such a short bit of time. That said, let me tell you why I loved this book.

  • The writing was so pretty. Reading it, I thought I was a faerie myself, floating through this mystical world. It was poetical without the long, wordy descriptions some books have.
  • loved the characters. Yea, yea. Isobel could be stupid sometimes; she fell in love super easily, etc. etc. I didn’t care. She was also passionate and stubborn about what she wanted; she didn’t give up easily and that’s what made the story nice. Rook? I LOVE HIM SO MUCH. As a reader you expect him to be all stiff and annoying and like a trickster, but he’s actually such an innocent smol bean. He’s cluelessly adorable, but at the same time–he’s not stupid.
  • The WORLD. Anyone who knows my taste in books knows I am an absolute sucker for anything faerie related. Do books include intriguing worlds with faeries/fey who can’t lie and have all the nature-y stuff related to them? Cool. I’m in. And this was just that. Rogerson took my image of nature-bound faeries who couldn’t lie right out of my head and put it in her book.
  • And just about everything else.

Again, I feel like I need to clear this up: this book had a lot of flaws. Besides the instalove, there were a lot of plot holes that I feel like could have been addressed had the book been longer. But in actuality? I didn’t really care. I liked the fact that not everything had been cleared up, because it let the intrigue of the book stay.

My only complaint is that I wish this book was longer, since Rogerson definitely could have extended it to answer some questions. At times it felt like it was slightly rushed, as if the author needed to fit in the plot in an X amount of words. I just wish that there was another book to look forward to, especially since certain conflicts could be extended more. (Though I’m not complaining about the ending we got!)

Regardless, if you couldn’t tell, I loved this book, and I can’t wait for any other books Margaret Rogerson has to offer us. ❤

Have you read this book? How did you like it? I’d love to chat!

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Always and Forever, Lara Jean | Review

The Lara Jean series (otherwise known as To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before) has always been one of my favorite contemporary series, ever since I first read them in 8th grade. I love the cuteness, the little details, the innocence. When Jenny Han announced that she was writing a third book, I was over the moon: I liked PSISLY, but I wanted more.

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ADORABLE picture from PaperTrailDiary.com (it’s so cute ahh!!)

This book was just what I wanted.

Those who don’t like books that have no specific plot likely won’t enjoy this story. And really, I think it was in a way a delayed coming-of-age story. It continues with Lara Jean’s past personality, and she makes more mistakes, but she’s somehow more mature. She has to make actual, important decisions (like college) and it feels more real. Whereas with the other books I enjoyed them but couldn’t connect to them, with this one, I could see my future self having to go through the same things.

(I haven’t even gone through college application stuff yet–but it’s looming over me, so it was really interesting reading about it.) Then of course, all of the small things that made me love this book: Lara Jean and Peter’s relationship, the cute little decorations, baked goods, etc. etc.

I hadn’t been completely immersed in a story that filled me with happiness in a while, but I was with this one. It may not have the best writing, plot, or characters, but it made me happy and I think that’s why it deserves 5 stars.

Have you read this series? What did you think of this bittersweet conclusion?

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Airplanes in the Night Sky Regular

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5

The Sun is Also a Star: Or, This Book is Also a Star

The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon is one of those books where (as I talked about in my previous post) I was not expecting to love it. I read Everything, Everything as an ARC, and although I liked it, I definitely did not love it.

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But, when I saw a brand new copy of this beautiful book in my school library just standing there [see: above], I decided I’d give it a shot and pick it up. My first reaction was how diverse this book was. Both main characters aren’t white (one is Jamaican, and the other Korean-American) and the book deals with issues like racism and stereotypes, which I thought were done very well. (This a spoiler-free post.)

The other thing I noticed was how…readable it was. A lot of times I force myself–even if I’m enjoying it–to continue reading books. It’s not that I don’t like reading, but because I find I procrastinate if I don’t motivate myself. This was one of the books where I didn’t have to do this. Once I started reading, that’s all I wanted to do.

It had everything I look for in a contemporary novel, and not only were the characters unique, but the book itself was unique too. It would switch POVS (but not in an annoying way) and go to someone else’s perspective which just added so much more to the story. So, not only would you get the main characters’ perspective, but also minor characters that influenced the story and the characters. On top of that, there were little chapters of “history” or “a story of ______” that again added perspective to why certain characters were acting in certain ways.

This book of course was not only about romance but about family and love in general. What even is love? Why do humans do certain things? What would happen if we didn’t do certain things? And things like this. It made me think about things that are always in the back of my head but I don’t actually question.

If I absolutely HAD to choose something bad about this book it would be–and not necessarily bad–to make the romance a little more slow paced. It did feel kind of insta-lovey, because the whole book took place in a single way, but there are reasons certain things happened which is why it really didn’t bother me. It didn’t have an instalovey feel because it felt like you know the characters for so much longer.

The characters! Oh god, the characters. ❤ I think this is getting a bit too long, and I don’t want to give anything away. Again, you can totally read this without knowing anything so I think it’s best if you just gave it a shot and hopefully fell in love with it like I did. 🙂

5 stars for this star of a book!

Have you read this book? Did you love it as much as I did? I hope so! Let’s discuss!

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Why Were My Expectations So High? Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White Review

Hey guys! Last month I read Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White, so here’s my review! (As the title says, I wish my expectations hadn’t been so high…)

*I tried to insert the cover but it wasn’t working and I’m way too tired to investigate why…sorry!*

3.75 ish stars!

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, but I was ultimately let down by it. Coming into this book, I expected to love it as much as And I Darken, which is one of my favorites. I had also heard that it was really good from a lot of reviewers I trusted so my hopes were really high.

Until about halfway through the novel–which is like only 140 pages–I was really let down. Don’t get me wrong, I never hated it, but I wouldn’t have given it more than 3 stars. I didn’t like reading from Jessa’s POV so much, and nothing happened despite the fact that this book is really short. The romance between Jessa and Finn wasn’t TOO instalovey, considering the fact that this book is really short, but I would have liked a more slow-burning romance with less of Jessa swooning over how attractive Finn’s collarbone is every two seconds.

My main problem for this book, however, was that it wasn’t character driven. Nothing really happened until like 200 pages, and that’s the majority of the novel. I felt like Jessa just WAITED for the villain to do something and THEN she decided she needed to do something about it. I did like Jessa’s character, especially towards the end, but her stubborness was annoying at times. Nonetheless, she wasn’t a terrible character, but definitely not a favorite of mine.

The same goes with all of these characters. Either because the book was too short or the characters were too trope-y for my liking, I don’t know, but none of them really clicked with me, even the villain. I did not fall in love with Finn and didn’t much care what happened to anyone, really.

That being said, the plot does get really interesting in the last 100 pages. There are multiple plot twists that I didn’t see coming, though I did suspect certain things with certain characters. The writing was really easy to get through, despite the fact that I finished this in a long time considering it’s really short. Another aspect I really enjoyed was the politics with the countries because it represented how some things are in our times as well. Oh, and, Jessa is a woman of color, and she struggles through being accepted both as a woman and a person of dark skin, so I thought that was a great addition too. 🙂

Overall, I did enjoy this novel but I thought it could have been better. The last few scenes were really cut short and I think it could have been extended to at least 300 pages. In general, though, I do recommend this if you want a fun fantasy that’s not too confusing and has plot twists.

How did you like Illusions of Fate? Do you agree with me? Let me know!

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5

It Could’ve Been Better: Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

Hey guys! Last month I read Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes and I wrote a review on it, describing my conflicted feelings and why I was disappointed. You can check it out on Goodreads here and see the cover here:

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Rating: 3.75 stars.

I think one reason why I was let down by this book is because it sounds like everything I want in a high fantasy. I heard, before reading, that it had numerous plot twists, amazing characters and plot, etc. etc. So going into it I expected to love it. (I’ll be discussing spoilers, so if you haven’t read this book yet, do so now.)

Now, despite the fact that the book certainly was super fast paced and easy to read–it was also entertaining–I was…let down. It feels like The Kiss of Deception all over again: I thought I would love it, and I didn’t hate it, but it was just okay. I did enjoy this one more than TKOD, but ultimately there were a lot of things that bothered me.

First of all, none of the characters pulled me in. They just didn’t have that spark that I usually like in my fantasy characters. I hated reading from Cleo’s point of view basically until the last page when she finally decided to become badass. She wasn’t strong, and not in the physically strong sense. She literally could NOT stand up to the asshole Aron, and she needed someone to save her from every situation. Look, I don’t mind if a character is whiny. If she gets her stuff done by the end and uses her brain. When she got into trouble, she started thinking of her dear Theon and would wish for him.

“There was nothing easy about this. But Cleo was confident that Theon was going to win. He was her hero. He’d saved her once. He would save her again.”

An example from pg. 294.

My favorite POV I read from was Magnus’, but there was something that put me off. His feelings for Lucia. This did not add ANYTHING to the story besides me being put off by Magnus, while I would have liked him much more. I get that they’re not really siblings, but it doesn’t work that way. Magnus has known Lucia his whole life as a sister and the fact that he is attracted to her romantically is sick. It doesn’t matter if they’re not really siblings, or if Magnus is a morally ambiguous character. I like Magnus, okay? But you can’t sugarcoat that he’s normal.

I found Lucia to be way too perfect. If she had shown some type of flaw I would have liked her better, but she didn’t. Aron I hated. And Theon? I didn’t know him enough to be able to develop a solid opinion. He was only used as a tool to rage Cleo on, and their “romance” felt too pushed for me. Frankly, I didn’t care at all that he died. I also did like reading from Jonas’ point of view and I am curious as to see how his plans with Cleo are going to work out in the future.

Now onto some more positive things: this book was incredibly easy to read and although I was quite annoyed at times, I did enjoy it. As I was reading it I didn’t realize how quickly time flew and I finished it really quickly–less than 3 days. I feel like the world wasn’t as complex as I would have liked, but maybe it will be touched more upon in the next few books. I feel like I’m being harsh right now because I had expected so much.

I did like the plot twist that Eirene was the exiled Watcher, but, I knew that Emilia was going to die from the start. And I expected there to be many more plot twists besides this one. In future books I predict that the Watchers will become a bigger part of the story and I am much more interested in the magic of this world.

All in all, I did really enjoy this book. But, I think I read it at the wrong time. If I had read it a year or more ago, I know I would have fallen in love with it as I wanted to now. However, my reading tastes have changed and since I am now a more critical reader, I didn’t find this to be as complex and intriguing as other high fantasies I’ve read. The characters fell flat, and so did the world. That being said, I do want to continue on with this series just because I know it will improve, based on the ending.

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Airplanes in the Night Sky Regular

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