A Very Bookish European Tour!

Hey all! I did a poll on Twitter to see if you guys would be interested in this post and it got overwhelming reviews, so here we are. I traveled to Europe in July for a few weeks (and I miss it terribly) and I stopped some bookish places along the way! I felt a little bit like Monty, Percy and Felicity from GGTVAV with my whole ~tour of Europe~ thing going on…

Continue reading A Very Bookish European Tour!

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Review: ‘The Darkest Part of the Forest’

Well. Here I am, trying another Holly Black book. Because I want to like her books, I really do.

 
Title: The Darkest Part of the Forest

Author: Holly Black

Series: Standalone

Rating: 2/5 stars

Summary

I… Didn’t like this book. At all. If it was longer, I would have not finished it (DNF’d, in reviewer terms). It was ~170 pages so I figured I would suffer through it and try to get myself to like it. But I just couldn’t. This story follows Hazel and Ben, who wake up a faerie prince and then some serious stuff goes down in the rest of the book.

Likes

I will say I gave this book 2 stars because I did see the potential it had and I liked the plot of the book. I thought it was interesting to have a town plagued by faeries, who think faeries are real, and make deals with them on occasion. I thought having the faerie Prince rise was a neat idea and to have the characters stop this beast that awakens as well. Ben is also eventually revealed to be gay in this book and I also liked that because it was very gradual and felt very real when dealing with the other characters’ reactions. I felt this book was for younger readers (more on that later) and if more young people read this book, I think they could relate to Ben if they are also struggling with the coming out process or exploring their sexuality.

Dislikes

Now, to what I didn’t like. I feel this book moved way. Too. Fast. It was only ~170 pages and so much happened that my head spun. I think elaborating a bit would have made it much more enjoyable and I would have been able to feel like I was in that forest, with the characters, instead of just seeing a quick summary of what happened. I also did not really care for the writing. I have read other Holly Black books in the past and I didn’t like one of them (Coldest Girl in Coldtown) but I liked her Curse Workers series A LOT. I think that series had more of an adult/YA feel to it and this seemed very middle grade to me. I Googled it to make sure it wasn’t, and it’s in teen/YA on Amazon, so I just didn’t get that feel. I also have a ton of unanswered questions because the book is so short and hurried, that I would have loved to find out the answers to and had a little bit more elaboration and detail.

Recommendation

I would recommend this book to younger readers, probably not past 12-13. I think if you enjoy a quick and painless read then this would also be a book that you would like to pick up!

Happy reading! ~ Taylor

Review: ‘Words In Deep Blue’

Words in Deep Blue is the perfect summer read to take to the beach or read poolside. If you love books (I’m going to assume you do), this book is for you.

Title: Words In Deep Blue
Author: Cath Crowley
Series: n/a – Standalone
Rating: 3/5 stars

This story takes place in Australia, which, if you know anything about the author Cath Crowley, will make sense – since she is Australian. I didn’t know this going into the book so it was a delightful surprise when I listened to the audiobook and immediately heard Australian accents rather then American ones I’m used to! Happy surprise! Personally I think this is a book better read rather then listened to – there were specific parts I liked, but if you can, I’d recommend reading this one over listening to it.

It’s told in dual perspectives – best friends since childhood Rachel and Henry – and told via letters. The main setting is a bookstore owned by Henry’s family called Howling Books. Inside the store is a “letter library” – books that aren’t for sale, but that customers can write notes in, underline their favorite passages, or leave letters in for someone else to find. Throughout this story, the characters all leave letters to each other in specific books and they write back to each other. Now you may be wondering, why write letters when you could talk face to face? Sometimes things you can’t say in person can be said better when written down. I really liked this concept and wish I knew a bookstore in real life that had a “letter library” (if there is one that exists, please let me know!)

This is a story about book lovers, for book lovers. Many well-known books are mentioned through this story and it’s fun to hear what the characters each think about the books or what meaning it might have to them. This is about how even if things seem like they’re falling apart, sometimes you can find comfort in the books and the people already around you if you just ask – and sometimes writing a letter will help.

But at the end of the day, the story isn’t about just the books. It’s about the people who read them and the notes and letters they leave behind. It’s an imprint of themselves and of a moment in time – and that’s what will stick with me from reading this book.

Overall this was an enjoyable summer read and if you’re looking for a contemporary book, I would recommend this one. Its fast paced and leaves you smiling and feeling for these characters.

~Missy

August YA Releases

Hey all! So this is my first post that isn’t a review and it’s a little nerve-wracking: but I thought about what I would like to see on a book blog if I was reading and I thought this was a great idea. In this post, I’ll list 5 of my most anticipated releases in YA for the month of August!

Continue reading August YA Releases

Review: ‘The Girl With the Red Balloon’

Hi! I was lucky enough to jump in line at BookCon in time to grab this read. I had previously spoken to the author on Twitter and she is such a sweet person: she even remembered talking to me, which was pretty cool.
Title: The Girl With the Red Balloon

Author: Katherine Locke

Series: The Balloonmakers

Rating: 4/5 stars

Pub date: September 1, 2017

I received this book as an ARC from BookCon. This is an honest review.

Summary

This book rocked. I have to say that the time period it is written in is very interesting and has been to me, as well as the setting in Germany. The story follows a girl named Ellie, who is on a trip to Germany in the present day. She sees a red balloon, grabs onto it, and is transported back in time to East Germany in 1988. The rest of the story chronicles her meeting of a group that uses magical red balloons to transport people over the wall to West Berlin to keep them safe & give them freedom.

Likes

I have to say that the history was my favorite part of this book. It was written so well and had so many details, including accurate depictions of what life was like in East Berlin. I knew from history class that East Berlin was not the best place while the Wall was up and West Berlin was the better place to be. This illustrated that and even reminisced on the Nazi occupation during WWII, with residents needing to carry around papers and possibly being arrested for being a certain religion/race. It was a very powerful read and include different POVs, mainly Ellie, Kai (a person working with the the Balloonmakers) and Benno (whose story was set in Nazi Germany, not in 1988). I felt emotionally attached to these characters, but especially to Benno’s character. While his involvement in the story is revealed later on in the book, his entire story broke my heart and reminded me of the horrors that occurred during the Holocaust. The author is Jewish so I can see her strong personal connection to this subject matter, and the writing was very beautiful. Ellie’s character also hit home for me. She wanted to return home so badly, to the place she knew so well, because this new place was so scary and foreign. She needed to really brush up on her German and realize that she needed to be much more careful in the past, as not to get caught by the police, who were still prejudiced against Jewish people. She also made a strong bond with Kai, who swore to protect her since the moment he found her clutching the red balloon.

(Dis)likes

There isn’t much I didn’t like about this book. I thought it was a little short, at 277 pages (ARC count), and I wanted there to be more to the story because it was so rich and addictive. I felt that the story was wonderfully different and the magic element was incorporated well into the storyline. I also felt a deep connection to Kai and how he felt about both Ellie and his sister. And I forgot to mention! We also have an LGBT character in this book and she has blue hair: you all know how I love when characters depict different representations AND have fantasy hair colors!! I thought this book was very thorough in its use of history and I will definitely be picking up the sequel!

Recommendation

I would recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of historical fiction or likes a story that is different from the norm. This was so imaginative and I thought the integration of a different religious culture as well as German culture, and American culture, was a wonderful addition to an already moving story.

Happy reading! ~ Taylor

Weekly TBR: July 31-August 6

Wow! I just want to take a moment to thank each and every one of you for following us and reading our reviews. We reached 50 follows this weekend and that’s a huge milestone for us that we are so happy about!

To celebrate, I’m writing my first ‘non-review’ post for you. I read quite quickly and I have a regimented reading schedule that I like to stick to. I schedule at least 1 book a day to read but that really helps me wind down after I get home from work so it isn’t bad! Posting 3 reviews per week is something that keeps me reading and helps me get through my schedule.

I figured I would try something new and make a weekly post of books that I am going to read! Reviews will be coming and we already have a TON queued up for you each week. (I’d also like to add that I won the books below through a giveaway on Twitter from Angie (disquietus))

 

Continue reading Weekly TBR: July 31-August 6

Review: ‘An Enchantment of Ravens’

This book has had so much hype on Twitter. I actually hadn’t heard of it, but my co-blogger Missy had been searching for it for ages! We randomly walked by the Simon and Shuster booth at BookCon and I saw it on a table as a giveaway. Needlesstosay, we ran to that table really quick!
Title: An Enchantment of Ravens

Author: Margaret Rogerson

Series: Standalone

Rating: 4/5 stars

Pub date: September 26, 2017

I received this as an ARC from BookCon. This is an honest review.

Summary

I have mentioned before that I don’t tend to like books about the fae and faerie realm. Because of the buzz, I figured that I would try it out! I was pleasantly surprised. This story follows Isobel, who is a Craft worker. She does paintings and many fae come to have their portrait done by her. Fae are somewhat bloodthirsty for Craft pieces and Isobel’s are no exception. One day, a faerie Prince comes to have his portrait done and, unhappy with the results, kidnaps Isobel.

Likes

I felt that the story was pretty unique in itself. Humans doing Craft work for fae is something I hadn’t read about before and the relations between humans/fae aren’t always the best in books I have read previously. Fae give humans enchantments in exchange for their Craft work and Isobel is famous for hers, so she is visited by many fae. I liked Isobel as a character, but I think I liked Rook (the prince) a little bit more. I thought he was… Well, enchanting, for lack of a better word and his power was pretty cool. He was able to shape shift into a raven, hence the title of the book. The story brings the two to a faerie court and I thought the tale they had of the Green Well was interesting and magical on its own. It fit into the story and did not feel rushed at all.

(Dis)likes

There are a few things I didn’t like about the story. There was a romance and I just… Didn’t feel connected to it. It felt out of place and I didn’t really see the development as much as I would have hoped. There was a lot of banter, etc. but it wasn’t like banter that I would normally associate with a budding relationship. I also found that the names of the courts were pretty similar to Sarah J Maas’ ACOTAR. There was a summer, winter, spring, and autumn. I don’t know if that is something that is typical in books about the fae, but I have only read a couple so I can’t comment on that. I just found it a little odd. Finally, I didn’t feel a true connection to the characters very much. I enjoyed the book and the story, but I didn’t have many emotional reactions when there could have been one.

Recommendation

I would compare this book to a mixture of the courts of ACOTAR and the Seelie Court from TMI. The story itself is entirely different, but the backstory seems familiar to these two books. I would suggest this book to anyone who is a fan of magical fae books, possibly ones by Holly Black. I would also recommend to anyone looking for a unique story.

Happy reading! ~ Taylor