Posted in Book Blog, Book Reviews

Book Review: The Golden Enclaves (The Scholomance #3) – Naomi Novik

Rating: 4/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy, Magic, Horror, Dark Fantasy

Review:

Orion Lake is an idiot. A big, fumbling idiot. Don’t get me wrong, I still like him. I still think he’s cute but he’s still a big annoying idiot. Anyone else who read The Golden Enclaves with me on this? Well, even if you’re not I still think he’s an idiot.

Just when the students of the Scholomance thought they’d gotten off scot-free, that the hard part was behind them, Naomi Novik throws us yet another curveball. Make that a dozen curveballs all hitting you at the same time so there’s no way to catch them all or time to run for cover. With this conclusion to the Scholomance trilogy, will El stay the course or finally step into the dark side?

Without giving away any spoilers, there were so many big excruciating, horrific revelations in TGE I felt bad for El who had to live through it all, endure all the pain and heartache. But we did get all the reasons why.

I have to admit that at times, it was annoying when the writing got too lengthy and wordy over scenes that could have been short and I was also a bit disappointed at the ending. I guess I wanted more ‘Oomph’ and a more deserving resolution for some things but I would still endorse the Scholomance series for its originality, fantastic storyline, and awesome characters.

Stay tuned.

∼Lyn

Synopsis:
Saving the world is a test no school of magic can prepare you for in the triumphant conclusion to the New York Times bestselling trilogy that began with A Deadly Education and The Last Graduate.
The one thing you never talk about while you’re in the Scholomance is what you’ll do when you get out. Not even the richest enclaver would tempt fate that way. But it’s all we dream about, the hideously slim chance we’ll survive to make it out the gates and improbably find ourselves with a life ahead of us, a life outside the Scholomance halls.
And now the impossible dream has come true. I’m out, we’re all out–and I didn’t even have to turn into a monstrous dark witch to make it happen. So much for my great-grandmother’s prophecy of doom and destruction. I didn’t kill enclavers, I saved them. Me, and Orion, and our allies. Our graduation plan worked to perfection: we saved everyone and made the world safe for all wizards and brought peace and harmony to all the enclaves of the world.
Ha, only joking! Actually it’s gone all wrong. Someone else has picked up the project of destroying enclaves in my stead, and probably everyone we saved is about to get killed in the brewing enclave war on the horizon. And the first thing I’ve got to do now, having miraculously got out of the Scholomance, is turn straight around and find a way back in.
Posted in Book Blog, Book Reviews

Book Review: The Last Graduate (The Scholomance #2) – Naomi Novik

Rating: 4/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy, Magic, Horror, Dark Fantasy

Review:

Senior year – now, what exciting new ways will the Scholomance come up with to make life hell for El and the other students? Sweeter yet, all the delightful ways to off you, make you kick the bucket, give up the ghost, go way of all flesh, croak, perish in the most excruciating of ‘accidents’ and eventually, rest in peace. You get the idea. 😉

In this second installment, El is put through further ordeals to lure her over to the dark side and turn her into the beautiful, evil sorceress that she has all the makings for. But our sarcastic, sassy heroine is determined to thwart all the signs leading to her dreadful destiny of reign of terror. I absolutely love her snarky attitude.

And we can’t forget our cute bumbling hero, Orion Lake, sending hopeful looks in her direction. The interactions between them just crack me up. It was even funnier this time around as they both tried to figure out if they were actually in a relationship or not.

The plotline got better, more complicated in The Last Graduate. The intensity level racked up, stakes got higher. By the end of it, I was in a shell-shocked state and of course, that is all the reason you need to devour this book.

Stay tuned.

∼Lyn

Synopsis:
A budding dark sorceress determined not to use her formidable powers uncovers yet more secrets about the workings of her world in the stunning sequel to A Deadly Education, the start of Naomi Novik’s groundbreaking crossover series.
At the Scholomance, El, Orion, and the other students are faced with their final year—and the looming specter of graduation, a deadly ritual that leaves few students alive in its wake. El is determined that her chosen group will survive, but it is a prospect that is looking harder by the day as the savagery of the school ramps up. Until El realizes that sometimes winning the game means throwing out all the rules . . .
Posted in Book Blog, Book Reviews

Book Review: A Deadly Education (The Scholomance #1) – Naomi Novik

Rating: 4/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy, Magic, Horror, Dark Fantasy

Review:

Ever since I read Spinning Silver, Naomi Novik’s become one of my favorite authors. So of course, I follow all her new releases. The only reason I didn’t start A Deadly Education when it first came out is because I’m on a self-imposed Incomplete-Series ban. I still am — it kills me to have to wait for the last book in a trilogy/series so now I just hoard until the last book is out and I can binge-read. But A Deadly Education was so worth the wait.

Welcome to the Scholomance, a dark school of wizardry unlike any other, with monsters lurking at every corner—one second of inattention and you could end up really, really dead. I love this darker tint to wizardry, a grim outlook of magic and all the baggage that came with it. It was unique and fascinating with all its workings and dangers.

The main character, our beautiful sorceress-in-the-making, one Galadriel “El” Higgins, with her snarky point of view and her Wednesday Addams attitude, was a dark delight. She was such a myriad of contradictions and always, always fighting her own nature. She was a pretty amazing character. I loved all the insight into her personality, the little childhood stories which provided dark humor at times.

Now, onto her nemesis, the heroic, fumbling Orion Lake in awe of the dark sorceress. Oh my God, I found Orion just too cute with all his quirks. I enjoyed the interactions between these two a lot. And let’s not forget the side-characters who were compelling on their own.

I had a lot of fun reading this book! A Deadly Education is the kind of book that makes you love reading and that is the highest kudos I can give it.

Stay tuned.

∼Lyn

Synopsis:
Lesson One of the Scholomance: Learning has never been this deadly.
A Deadly Education is set at Scholomance, a school for the magically gifted where failure means certain death (for real) — until one girl, El, begins to unlock its many secrets.
There are no teachers, no holidays, and no friendships, save strategic ones. Survival is more important than any letter grade, for the school won’t allow its students to leave until they graduate… or die! The rules are deceptively simple: Don’t walk the halls alone. And beware of the monsters who lurk everywhere.
El is uniquely prepared for the school’s dangers. She may be without allies, but she possesses a dark power strong enough to level mountains and wipe out millions. It would be easy enough for El to defeat the monsters that prowl the school. The problem? Her powerful dark magic might also kill all the other students.
Posted in Book Blog, Book Reviews, Netgalley

Book Review: Namesake (Fable #2) – Adrienne Young

Rating: 4/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Review:

I remember when I finished the book, Fable and I was in pins and needles after that cliffhanger. I needed Namesake. I was dying to know what happened next. However, when I did get my hands on Namesake, I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to read it. I’m glad I waited to read it, otherwise, I might not have enjoyed it as much as I did now. In fact, I almost missed my stop one afternoon because I was so engrossed in reading, lol.

I started Namesake on Tuesday and every day I anticipated when I’d be able to continue reading it. The first few chapters were a bit slow but as the story progressed and I got in deeper and deeper, I enjoyed the intrigue and plot twists.

I saw a softer side of Fable that I found at odds with her character in the first book – I mean, I wanted her to be stronger, fiercer. Alternatively, I liked the darker side to West though I didn’t agree with some of his decisions. I enjoyed the emergence of the new characters who added value to the story as a whole.

Overall, in this duology I loved the originality of the concept of gems found in the seas, gem sages, and the dredgers. The plot twists were excellent and I loved that climactic conclusion to the story. Bloody fantastic! The ending was another satisfactory conclusion. The one thing I admired the most was how the author’s writing drew you in with a vividity that left you breathless.

Stay tuned.

∼Lyn

Synopsis:
Welcome to a world made dangerous by the sea and by those who wish to profit from it. Where a young girl must find her place and her family while trying to survive in a world built for men.
With the Marigold ship free of her father, Fable and the rest of the crew were set to start over. That freedom is short-lived when Fable becomes a pawn in a notorious thug’s scheme. In order to get to her intended destination, she must help him to secure a partnership with Holland, a powerful gem trader who is more than she seems.
As Fable descends deeper into a world of betrayal and deception, she learns that the secrets her mother took to her grave are now putting the people Fable cares about in danger. If Fable is going to save them, then she must risk everything—including the boy she loves and the home she has finally found.

 

Posted in Book Blog, Book Reviews, Netgalley

Book Review: Quiet No More – Nikki Barthelmess

Rating: 4/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

Review:

Life after surviving sexual assault. How do you do it? How do you pick up the pieces and get on with your life? Is that what you’re supposed to do? Can you? That is what Victoria strives to figure out after surviving sexual assault by her father and the hardship of foster care.

Victoria’s now in college, trying to get through her classes while inside her emotions are all messed-up. Her father’s sentencing looms ahead and she’s stuck in a love-and-hate tug of war for him, trying to grasp the right thing to do.

I empathized with Victoria over what she was undergoing and the author did a good job showing her doubts, confusion, her pain, her struggle not to let what happened to her drown her.

Right and wrong have always been pretty black and white for me. So I wanted Victoria to see her father for what he was, and I wanted her to make the right decisions but it’s hard to do that when you’ve been pushed into a certain mold.

What her so-called friend did was horrible and a breach of trust and friendship. I don’t condone that. Quiet No More is a book worth reading, providing awareness on what victims and survivors of abuse face from friends and family, strangers and society in general.

Synopsis: College freshman Victoria Parker is trying to move on with her life after surviving sexual assault by her father and six months in foster care. She’s focusing on the positives–attending college, living on her own, repairing old relationships and making new ones, and getting involved with an abuse survivors activist group on campus. But everything’s thrown into disarray when a strange woman shows up, claiming to be Victoria’s aunt and asking Victoria to lie about what happened to her. With her father’s sentencing in a few months, she’s nervous about having to share the truth of what happened with a judge. She’s not even sure if she has the strength to go through with it. But when her fellow club members begin pressuring her to speak out, Victoria has to decide how to share her story while remaining true to herself.
Posted in ARC Reviews, Book Blog, Book Reviews, Netgalley

ARC Review: Fable (Fable #1) by Adrienne Young

Rating: 5/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Pub Date: 01 Sep 2020

Review:

One fateful night leaves Fable without a mother and abandoned on an island where she has to fend for herself until the day she finds passage off it with the help of a young trader, West. And so begins the start of unlikely alliances as they strive to navigate peril and keep their head above water.

Fable’s story, how she had to strive to live, to survive, broke my heart. I felt so much pain for this young girl, left to fend alone, having to stay on guard all the time. I wanted to hug her and make her life better. Give her food, shelter, protect her. The author wove such a heartbreaking character with a core of steel that you couldn’t help but feel for her.

As for West? He was an enigma, layers and layers of complications and secrets. I wanted to know everything about him, and finding those answers, getting to know him better – drew me in deeper. The ending chapters? Oh, I tipped over the edge and fell for him.

The side-characters, the crew of the Marigold—each one with their unique voices, charmed and endeared me to their plights. As secrets are revealed and pacts made, this story grabs you and hooks you in to the last page.

The world-building and descriptions were excellent. The author’s writing was a pleasure to read and the cliffhanger left me in high anticipation for more. This was my first book by Adrienne Young, and I have to say she completely won me over. I cannot wait to read the next book.

*Thanks to the publisher, St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.⁣

Synopsis: As the daughter of the most powerful trader in the Narrows, the sea is the only home seventeen-year-old Fable has ever known. It’s been four years since the night she watched her mother drown during an unforgiving storm. The next day her father abandoned her on a legendary island filled with thieves and little food. To survive she must keep to herself, learn to trust no one and rely on the unique skills her mother taught her. The only thing that keeps her going is the goal of getting off the island, finding her father and demanding her rightful place beside him and his crew. To do so Fable enlists the help of a young trader named West to get her off the island and across the Narrows to her father. But her father’s rivalries and the dangers of his trading enterprise have only multiplied since she last saw him and Fable soon finds that West isn’t who he seems. Together, they will have to survive more than the treacherous storms that haunt the Narrows if they’re going to stay alive. Welcome to a world made dangerous by the sea and by those who wish to profit from it. Where a young girl must find her place and her family while trying to survive in a world built for men.
Posted in Book Blog, Book Reviews, Netgalley

Book Review: This Eternity of Masks and Shadows – Karsten Knight

Rating: 4/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, LGBTQ, LGBT

Review:

In a world where Gods reincarnate as humans, Cairn is an 18-year-old whose life used to be normal and her worries that of a simple teen. Then she lost her mother in what looked like suicide. Her life fell apart and she spiraled into a dark place, hell-bent on self-destructing. Until she unearthed secrets her mother had been keeping. As she dug deeper, she found out there was a lot more to her mother’s death than she realized. Continue reading “Book Review: This Eternity of Masks and Shadows – Karsten Knight”

Posted in Book Blog, Book Reviews

Book Review: Every Reason We Shouldn’t (Every Reason We Shouldn’t #1) – Sara Fujimura

Rating: 2/5 🌟🌟

Genre: Young Adult Romance

Review:

Olivia’s parents own a skating rink where she spends most of her time. She used to be a figure skater until something happened to end her career. Enter Jonah Choi, skating prodigy who starts training at the rink. Sparks fly as they clash.

The synopsis gives the impression of a rivalry, an opposites attract vibe between Olivia and Jonah but I didn’t see it. Even the title hinted at it but it was missing from the story. Their first meeting was a volley of barbs but after that, the relationship did a rapid 180. Trust me, I do like when relationships progress fast but the segue lacked a smoothness that felt wrong to me. Continue reading “Book Review: Every Reason We Shouldn’t (Every Reason We Shouldn’t #1) – Sara Fujimura”

Posted in Book Blog, Book Reviews

Book Review: What I Like About You – Marisa Kanter

Rating: 3/5 🌟🌟🌟

Genre: YA Contemporary, Young Adult

Review:

This book is about a Jewish teen, Halle Levitt who has a popular YA blog which she started under the persona Kels. Her bookish blog is famous for custom cupcakes with book covers and reviews. Things are going great for her until she meets and falls for her online best friend, Nash, in real life without telling him who she really is. Nash believes Kels and Halle to be two different persons. Talk about a complicated mess. As Sir Walter Scott said, “Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive! Continue reading “Book Review: What I Like About You – Marisa Kanter”

Posted in Book Blog, New Releases

New Book Releases – 28 April 2020

Hola, Book Dragons! I got this book on Netgalley and it looks really good. Is the cover amazing or what? I’m still reading the ARC and let me tell you, it’s an intriguing story.

Happy Book Birthday to:

Incendiary (Hollow Crown #1) – Zoraida Córdova

Incendiary

Synopsis:

I am Renata Convida.
I have lived a hundred stolen lives.
Now I live my own.

Renata Convida was only a child when she was kidnapped by the King’s Justice and brought to the luxurious palace of Andalucia. As a Robari, the rarest and most feared of the magical Moria, Renata’s ability to steal memories from royal enemies enabled the King’s Wrath, a siege that resulted in the deaths of thousands of her own people.

Now Renata is one of the Whispers, rebel spies working against the crown and helping the remaining Moria escape the kingdom bent on their destruction. The Whispers may have rescued Renata from the palace years ago, but she cannot escape their mistrust and hatred–or the overpowering memories of the hundreds of souls she turned “hollow” during her time in the palace.

When Dez, the commander of her unit, is taken captive by the notorious Sangrado Prince, Renata will do anything to save the boy whose love makes her place among the Whispers bearable. But a disastrous rescue attempt means Renata must return to the palace under cover and complete Dez’s top secret mission. Can Renata convince her former captors that she remains loyal, even as she burns for vengeance against the brutal, enigmatic prince? Her life and the fate of the Moria depend on it.

But returning to the palace stirs childhood memories long locked away. As Renata grows more deeply embedded in the politics of the royal court, she uncovers a secret in her past that could change the entire fate of the kingdom–and end the war that has cost her everything.

What about you guys? Is this book on your TBR?

∼Lyn