Batman: Nightwalker – Review

Hello my beautiful people! I hope you’re all having a good January. Mine has been more organized than usual (I’ve started bullet journaling and let me tell you, this might have saved my life). As a result, I’ve been reading and writing a ton already. I’ve already finished three books this month! And I’m currently reading two (The Belles and Killer Instinct, in case y’all were wondering).

One of the awesome books I’ve been able to read is Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu. The day this came out I put a hold on it at my library, not really expecting to get it before I headed back to school, but hopeful that I might. A couple hours later I got an email from my library that my hold was ready for pickup. I all but ran there to grab it.

Look how cool it is!

(Yes, I own a Batman beanie. No I didn’t wear it while I read. Not the entire time at least.)

So, obviously this cover is not the only thing I’m going to talk about. I mean, I could. But I don’t think you guys would be too appreciative if I spent the whole review going “LOOK AT THE COVER! LOOK AT THE COVER!” (But, for real, look at the cover!)

Okay, cover love over. There’s actual content to discuss here. It took me a little while to get through this, both because I am actually sticking to a writing schedule for once (I’m on a self-imposed deadline) and because I was reading two other books at the same time. I didn’t mind reading this one slowly, though. It was nice to take breaks in between chapters, set the book down and come back to it. It’s not the kind of book where that’s entirely necessary, unlike several heavier books, but it is helpful to work through some of the different theories you might have. I had multiple theories about who did what and what was going on as I read, so I enjoyed waiting between every few chapters.

Before I get into my theories (as much as a no spoiler review will allow) let’s get the book description in here. From Amazon:

“Before he was Batman, he was Bruce Wayne. A reckless boy willing to break the rules for a girl who may be his worst enemy.

The Nightwalkers are terrorizing Gotham City, and Bruce Wayne is next on their list.
The city’s elites are being taken out one by one as their mansions’ security systems turn against them, trapping them like prey. Meanwhile, Bruce is about to become eighteen and inherit his family’s fortune, not to mention the keys to Wayne Industries and all the tech gadgetry that he loves. But on the way home from his birthday party, he makes an impulsive choice and is sentenced to community service at Arkham Asylum, the infamous prison that holds the city’s most nefarious criminals.

Madeleine Wallace is a brilliant killer . . . and Bruce’s only hope.
The most intriguing inmate in Arkham is Madeleine, a brilliant girl with ties to the Nightwalkers. A girl who will only speak to Bruce. She is the mystery he must unravel, but is he convincing her to divulge her secrets, or is he feeding her the information she needs to bring Gotham City to its knees?

In this second DC Icons book–following Leigh Bardugo’s Wonder Woman: Warbringer–Bruce Wayne is proof that you don’t need superpowers to be a super hero, but can he survive this game of tense intrigue, pulse-pounding action, and masterful deception?”

First thing’s first: I loved the characterization of young Bruce Wayne. I felt that he was accurate to what a young Batman would be like. His behaviors, thought process, and actions all rang true as something teenage Bruce Wayne would do.

His friends were intriguing, though not really focused on too much. Without giving anything away, I will say that young Harvey Dent made want to cry and protect him. But both he and their friend Dianne Garcia were purely background characters in this story. I thought both characters could have had bigger roles, but it wasn’t a major point in the novel.

Madeleine Wallace kept me guessing until the very end. Even now, twelve hours after I finished the book, I still don’t know how I really felt about her. She’s incredibly complex, and a great character in play opposite to Bruce. I wouldn’t exactly call her a foil . . . it could be argued, for sure. But I don’t feel comfortable saying that, based on my reading. Maybe you’ll think differently (if you do, tell me in the comments).

I can’t say who the biggest villain ended up being, but I will tell you that I was genuinely surprised. I was looking elsewhere and ended up being blindsided by who The Big Bad Villain turned out to be. (Or maybe I’m just saying all this to throw you off)(I’m not). I think you’ll be surprised as well when you read this. Or maybe you won’t be. But I think it’s a testament to Lu’s writing that you can suspect anyone and no one and still end up being wrong about who Bruce can and can’t trust. (Is that spoiler-y? I don’t think so.)(If that’s spoiler-y I’m sorry.)

 

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I definitely think it’s better than a lot of books I’ve read in the past. It’s better than one of the books I’ve read already this year. There were parts that kept me guessing, moments of true insight into the characters, and a story that left just enough wiggle room for more of the Bruce Wayne we know and love. The only thing that made this a 4 star review instead of 5 was a personal dislike for how Madeleine’s storyline ended. However, it was still a fantastic read and I would (and already have) recommend it to anyone looking for a good YA.

If you’ve read this, or want to read it, or just want to talk about books, tell me in the comments! Or talk to me on Twitter (I’m pretty much always on Twitter you guys). I’m leaving to get my hair cut and drop this back off at the library. Writing time when I get back. I hope this review was helpful!

Kailey

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January Releases

Hello! I know, it’s been so long since you’ve last seen me. A whole day. You all missed me so much I’m sure.

Okay, now that we’ve gotten all my sarcasm out of the way (ha good joke Kailey) it’s time to talk about why we’re really here. It’s time for me to let you know about some January book releases!

giphy

(I finally figured out I can put gifs in these posts. Go me for taking so long to do it.)

I know, you’re probably thinking “Kailey, you’ve never done a post like this before. What is this?” Well, I’m glad you asked. In my Most Anticipated Books of 2018 post I mentioned something about monthly release posts. This is the first of that type. What I’ll be doing is early in the month (I’ll try my best to get it up on the 1st but no promises) I’ll post a list of books coming out that month that I have heard about/want to read/think sound interesting. It will obviously not be a complete list, because I’m bound to miss some books (that’s where y’all come in. Remember, my comment section is always open). But, I’ll try to give you guys a good selection of books coming out for the month. Some months the list might be longer than others (heads up, March might be a looooooooong list) but I’ll do my best to give you guys a few different titles at least to look at.

So, here’s the books I’ve chosen for January.

Love, Hate & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed – A YA Contemporary about a young Indian-American girl named Maya, who tries to find her way and where she belongs after a tragedy turns her normally kind neighborhood into a place full of suspicion and hate. Release Date: January 16th. About: Goodreads. Purchase: Amazon B&N

Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu – A YA Fantasy about a young Bruce Wayne targeted by murderous nightwalkers. While doing community service at Arkham Asylum he comes across Madeleine Wallace, who might his best bet at stopping them. Too bad he doesn’t know whose side she’s on. Release Date: January 2nd (already out!). About: Goodreads. Purchase: Amazon B&N

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black – A YA Fantasy about a young girl, Jude, who was brought to the High Court of Faerie seven years ago. Now, she’s trying to find a place to fit in–against the desires of the youngest prince. Of course, none of that matters if the Courts of Faerie erupt in civil war like they’re threatening to. Release Date: January 2nd (already out!). About: Goodreads. Purchase: Amazon B&N

You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone by Rachel Lynn Solomon – A YA Contemporary about twins Adina and Tovah, who are struggling with their fractured relationship. A diagnosis of Huntington’s disease can bring them back together or widen the gap–but only one of them tested positive. Release Date: January 2nd (already out!). About: Goodreads. Purchase: Amazon B&N

The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert – A YA Fantasy with fairy tale-esque writing. After Alice’s grandma dies, she’s got to work with Ellery, a superfan of her grandmother’s cult classic novel in order to find her missing mother. Release Date: January 30th. About: Goodreads. Purchase: Amazon B&N

Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann – A YA Contemporary about Alice, an asexual college student whose last relationship ended because her ex couldn’t separate love and sex. She’s done with relationships–until she realizes she has feelings for her co-worker Takumi. Release Date: January 23rd. About: Goodreads. Purchase: Amazon B&N

Between the Blade and the Heart by Amanda Hocking – A YA Fantasy about Malin, a Valkyrie-in-training whose world is turned upside down when she finds out her mother let an immortal live who was destined for death. Release Date: January 2nd (already out!). About: Goodreads. Purchase: Amazon B&N

Meet Cute: Some People Are Destined to Meet by Jennifer L. Armentrout – An anthology of short stories about first meetings between lovable characters by several popular YA authors, like Nicola Yoon, Emery Lord, and Dhonielle Clayton, among others. Release Date: January 2nd (already out!). About: Goodreads. Purchase: Amazon B&N

Beneath the Haunting Sea by Joanna Ruth Meyer – A YA Fantasy about a banished soon-to-be empress named Talia who works to unravel family secrets and long-forgotten history of the gods. All the while the sea is calling to her–and it’s getting harder not to answer. Release Date: January 9th. About: Goodreads. Purchase: Amazon B&N

Reign the Earth by A.C. Gaughen – A YA Fantasy about Shalia, a girl in a political marriage to prevent an attack on her desert home from her magic-hating husband. The only problem? She’s one of the magic users he despises. Release Date: January 30th. About: Goodreads. Purchase: Amazon B&N

Before I Let Go by Marieke Nijkamp – A YA Mystery about Corey, whose best friend Kyra has died while she was away. Now that Corey has returned, her community is pushing her away and she’s determined to find out why. Release Date: January 2nd (already out!). About: Goodreads. Purchase: Amazon B&N

Busted by Gina Ciocca – A YA Contemporary Romance about a girl named Marissa, who became the queen of busting cheating boyfriends (accidentally). Now she’s been asked to spy on an ex-friend’s boyfriend. But the girl he’s falling for might just be Marissa. Release Date: January 2nd (already out!). About: Goodreads. Purchase: Amazon B&N

Whew. That’s a lot of books. I hope you find one or two on here that you’ll like at least. I wanted to give a lot of options for this first month. Twelve books–I’m not even sure if I could read twelve books in a month. If you can, that’s pretty awesome. I’m sort of jealous.

I have not read any of these books, but I thought the premises sounded interesting. If you have read/are reading any of these, let me know what you think! I’d love to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment or talk to me on Twitter!

I’m trying to move this draft along so I’m off to go work on Project L. And then get some reading in tonight. I hope y’all are having a good start to the year!

Kailey

Most Anticipated Books of 2018

Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a good (and safe) holiday. I stayed home on New Year’s and wrote a couple thousand words. The draft of Project L is coming along oh-so-slowly, but nicely. I’m proud of it (for a first draft anyway).

So, a new year means new books coming out. I’ve seen quite a few posts of peoples’ most anticipated books for this year. I loved sorting through and picking out my most anticipated for 2017, and I loved doing it again for y’all this year. Like last year, this is far from an “official” list. It’s just ten books I’m looking forward to a lot. I definitely think everyone else should read these books, too, but I can’t force you. I can (and will) try to convince you of the awesomeness of these novels, though. So, without further ado, (and in no particular order) here are my most anticipated releases of 2018:

1. The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton Okay y’all. I’m not sure if you’ve heard about this book or not, but you probably have. It’s topped quite a few lists like this one–and for good reason. This story has all of the elements I think make up a gorgeous YA novel: strong characters, detailed world-building, twisting plot-lines . . . I’m squealing in anticipation just thinking about it. I’m curious as to how a Belle’s ability to help people may extend beyond just making them beautiful, though I’m excited for that part of the story, as well. The dynamic between beauty and power sounds very real-world to me, so I am looking forward to seeing how that plays out throughout the story. l have been lucky enough to win an ARC of this, and I can’t wait to dive in. It’s the first of my TBR for 2018. Genre: YA Fantasy. Release Date: February 6th. Purchase: Amazon B&N

2. Dread Nation by Justina Ireland I’m not normally one for historical. If you’ve read my blog before, you know my preference for fantasy. But, that being said, a good historical is always one I will pick up. And this one looks like it’s going to be a very good historical. You’ve got a Civil War era setting, a kick-ass young black heroine, and zombies, among other things. But, come on, zombies. That alone is enough to make me interested right there. The rest is only pulling me further into my “can I read this yet?” mentality. Plus, that cover is one to fall in love with. This own voices YA is another one I’ve seen people talking about. It’ll be one you don’t want to miss. I’m already making room for it on my shelf. Genre: YA Historical Fiction/Horror. Release Date: April 3rd. Purchase: Amazon B&N

3. Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi If that title isn’t enough to get you hooked, I don’t know what else I can do for you. Wait, I can tell you that this book is one I’m counting down the days until it’s released (it’s 64, in case you were wondering). I began hearing about this one around August, and it’s been on my list ever since. This lush fantasy world sounds absolutely magical and vivid. A main character I can’t wait to meet awaits. This little bit of description alone is enough to convince me this will be one of my favorites of the year. “They killed my mother. They took our magic. They tried to bury us. Now we rise.” Chills. I have chills. Is it March yet? Genre: YA Fantasy. Release Date: March 6th. Purchase: Amazon B&N

4. Love, Hate & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed Story time. Picture this: It’s Christmas morning, and my family and I are opening presents. I pick up a small box and tear off the Wonder Woman wrapping paper (listen to me: no one is too old for Wonder Woman wrapping paper, okay?). Inside the box is a folded piece of paper. Now picture me unfolding the paper and screaming. I have just opened a pre-order for this book. And yes, I really did scream when I opened it. Ask my mom if you don’t believe me. This own voices story promises to be real, heartbreaking, loving and taking the reader on a journey right alongside Maya, the main character. Add on top that it takes place in a Chicago suburb (aka my home) and I’ll probably read this one cover to cover. (Okay to be fair it’s probably not the same suburb i grew up in but still. Chicago. Gotta read a book set in my city) Genre: YA Contemporary. Release Date: January 16th. Purchase: Amazon B&N

5. Miles Away From You by A.B. Rutledge Okay. So. Here’s the deal with this one. Here’s why I’m looking forward to this one so much. First of all, it’s told in a series of messages to Miles’s comatose girlfriend, Vivian. Second, photography is a central element to the story. As someone who enjoys taking pictures, and has a best friend who might as well be a professional photographer, seeing this made my heart happy. Third, I’m pretty sure I’m gonna cry. Like, it’s pretty much guaranteed. Normally I wouldn’t be excited to cry at a book, but this isn’t a normal instance. Fourth, the setting is Iceland. I’ve never read a book set in Iceland. That’s going to be cool, seeing how the setting is a part of the story. It seems like there are going to be a lot of elements working together to make this novel come together in a cohesive way. This is another ARC I won, so I’ll be sure to let you all know how I’m feeling about this one soon. Genre: YA Contemporary. Release Date: March 20th. Purchase: Amazon B&N

6. Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody Do y’all remember how I went a little nutso about Daughter of the Burning City last year? Guess what? Ace of Shades is by the same author!! And I’m just as excited for this one as I was for her debut! This is a completely separate world from Daughter, but just as interesting in my mind. You’ve got mafia-style casino families, a setting called the City of Sin (I mean really. How can you not love that?), and female lead who was raised to be a proper lady, thank you very much. Unfortunately for her (but fortunately for the reader) she’s forced to work with a male lead who would rather con her than help her. *claps hands together in absolute glee* Give me all the drama, and magic, pretty please? Genre: YA Fantasy. Release Date: April 10th. Purchase: Amazon B&N

7. Nothing Left To Burn by Heather Ezell I found this author back when I submitted to Pitch Wars in 2016. And I’ve been waiting for this book ever since. And now it’s finally the release year!! Yay! The tension in this book promises to be top notch. Taking place over the course of one day, the intensity of both the wildfires and the events of our main character’s life will keep me turning pages until I look up and realize it’s 3 a.m. and I’m supposed to get up in five hours but I’ve only got fifty more pages I’ll be fine right? (This will happen I’m predicting it now)(Page-turning intensity is going to be at the center of this novel I can feel it)(I’M REALLY EXCITED) Plus, there’s romance. With a volunteer firefighter. Like, just take my money already. Genre: YA Contemporary. Release Date: March 13th. Purchase: Amazon B&N

8. From Twinkle, With Love by Sandhya Menon You’ll notice a lot of the books on this list are quite . . . intense. There’s not a lot of lighter novels on here. Part of that is just what I’m drawn to. Part of that is because there are a ton of amazing intense novels coming out. BUT, there are also quite a few lighter novels coming out as well. And this is one of them. (Don’t mistake ‘light’ for ‘less’, though. Just because a novel doesn’t have revolutions or magic or murder doesn’t make it any less amazing than the novels that do. That’s a separate rant, though.) Told in letters to female filmmakers, this story about love and friendship looks to have a cast of characters I will wish were my best friends. Or that I’ll fall in love with. Or both. And I am a total sucker for girls going after what they want in life–so a filmmaker directing a movie for a festival? Yep. I’m there. Genre: YA Contemporary. Release Date: June 5th. Purchase: Amazon B&N

9. Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli SO. In case y’all missed my fave books of 2017, I’ll remind you that The Upside of Unrequited was on that list. And maybe I should mention that I have a writing crush on Becky’s novels. Like, a hardcore writing crush. She has a gift for giving readers the stories we not only want, but the stories we need. And she does this without killing anyone (yet. She’s got a book with Adam Silvera coming out this year, too. So that whole “no one died” thing might change). Y’all know I love a good murder to activate my pain but she can bring the pain and the love. Happy endings are what I’ve seen so far, but that doesn’t mean it’s a happy story the whole way through. I relate strongly to her characters and their stories/what they go through. I have a very, very strong feeling I’m going to relate to Leah most of all. This is another one I’m going to cry over. I just know it. And I really cannot wait for it. Genre: YA Contemporary. Release Date: April 24th. Purchase: Amazon B&N

10. Tyler Johnson Was Here by Jay Coles I saw someone talking about this book on Twitter one day, looked it up, and the rest is history. Okay, there’s a little more to it than just that. A few months ago, I was scrolling through my Twitter feed when I saw someone mention this book in reference to Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give. So, I looked it up. I was blown away by THUG and figured any book that was being compared to that must be phenomenal. From what I’ve seen in reviews, discussions on social media, and my own gathering of knowledge, it will be phenomenal indeed. And I can’t look at that cover and not want to pick it up immediately. The heavy topic of the book promises to be intense, but it’s story that’s important to be told. It’s going to join the ranks of novels that break my heart this year, I’m sure of it. I have a strong feeling this is going to be one of my top reads of 2018. Genre: YA Contemporary. Release Date: March 20th. Purchase: Amazon B&N

Okay, so I guess my descriptions got a little long towards the end . . . I’d say I’m sorry, but lying is wrong. Also, apparently all my most anticipated books of the year are coming out within the first six months. Oops. Don’t worry, there are fantastic books coming out in the second half of the year, too. I’m positive of that. I’ll tell you all about them on the first of each month.

I’m somewhat surprised (and impressed) with myself that I’ve got more contemporaries on this list than fantasies. Look who is expanding what they read! Sort of. I mean, it’s a start, okay?

All of the release dates came from Goodreads, so they might not be exactly correct. I know there were a couple that conflicted with the date on Amazon. I don’t know which dates are correct, so if you plan to pre-order, I’d say just do it now to be safe. Like right now. Go buy the books. GO!

Again, I hope everyone had/is having a good holiday. This year has a lot of books coming out that I think will be fantastic. I’m looking forward to reading them all. Including ones I didn’t put on this list. Narrowing it down to ten was difficult and there are several I didn’t mention in this post that I’m looking forward to, as well. But don’t worry. I’ll tell you all about them in my Monthly Releases post. January’s is coming this week!

I’m going to go and finish working on a scene I left last night. It’s being stubborn. While I’m gone, why don’t you tell me what books you’re looking forward to in the comments or on Twitter? Let’s be book friends!

Kailey

Writer Resolutions – 2018

Okay, not just writer, but reader resolutions, too. I figured they go hand in hand. Pretty much. Right?

Oh well. So, as it’s it’s 6:30 p.m. on New Year’s Eve and I know people all over the place are making their New Year’s resolutions. My family and i are doing this as well, but, like last year, i’m making a separate set of resolutions for my writerly life. And, this year, I’m adding in my readerly life, as well.

For Writing:

  1. Finish drafting Projects A & L. I don’t know if it’s cheating that I’ve already started these, so I can’t say ‘write them’. BUT I am hopeful that I’ll be able to finish them, and maybe edit the heck out of them, too.
  2. Query TLSM. I’m starting this one this week. So, I know I’ll definitely keep it. I haven’t queried a manuscript in two years, so I’m a little nervous. But, resolutions can be about facing fears, right? Fear of rejection is something I think all writers share, at some point or another. Time to get over that one.
  3. Become a better writer. This is something I think I can always improve on. There’s always room to get better. Maybe I’ll do some more prompts and short pieces. Maybe I’ll do something else. I don’t know yet, but I know it can be done.

For Reading:

  1. Read 30 books. This year, I bit off more than I could chew. Read 50 books? It seemed entirely possible last January. Yeah. Things changed between January and now. I ended up reading 34 books, which isn’t bad. But, ten of those books came in the past two weeks. I feel like 30 is reasonable. And, hey, if I can read more, good for me!
  2. Review two books a month. This will force me to read. Which isn’t usually a hardship, but whenever real life intrudes, it always feels like reading is the first thing I push aside. This should help me read some more. Plus, I enjoy writing book reviews. I hope people enjoy reading them as well.
  3. Read some more debuts. I read a few this year, but in 2018 I hope to have more read. I enjoy reading debuts a lot, and helping support debut authors. That’s pretty much my only reasoning, but I think it’s fair. I love debuts. Sue me.

There aren’t a lot of resolutions here. Honestly, I’ll probably think of five or ten more I want to add on as the night goes on. But, these are the most important ones for me. I think these are doable, and I want to keep as many resolutions as possible this year.

What are your writerly/readerly resolutions for 2018? Let me know in the comments or on twitter!

Happy New Year y’all. See you in 2018.

Kailey

One Dark Throne – Review

Hello all!

I hope everyone is having a good holiday season. I got some great new books (and a brand new Kindle!!) and I’m very excited to dive in.

Before I can dive into these, I’ve got to whittle down my TBR a little. I’ve started doing that, with the hope of finishing ten books by the end of the year. So far I’ve read four and am starting the fifth today. I am DETERMINED to do this. (I probably won’t but, you know, determination is good.)

The books I’ve read recently include Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake, 27 Hours by Tristina Wright, Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo, and One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake. Obviously, I’ve chosen to review One Dark Throne for this post (you know, because the title wasn’t a dead giveaway at all).

As always, the Amazon summary for you beautiful people:

“With the unforgettable events of the Quickening behind them and the Ascension Year underway, all bets are off.

Katharine, once the weak and feeble sister, is stronger than ever before. Arsinoe, after discovering the truth about her powers, must figure out how to make her secret talent work in her favor without anyone finding out. And Mirabella, once thought to be the strongest sister of all and the certain Queen Crowned, faces attacks like never before—ones that put those around her in danger she can’t seem to prevent.

In this enthralling sequel to Kendare Blake’s New York Times bestselling Three Dark Crowns, Fennbirn’s deadliest queens must face the one thing standing in their way of the crown: each other.”

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD

Okay, now that you have been properly warned I’m just going to dive right in.

I enjoyed the first book in this series, Three Dark Crowns, quite a bit. There was a lot of darkness to the characters, and some were very morally ambiguous. Naturally, I loved this. When I first opened TDC I thought I would choose a favorite character. By the end of One Dark Throne, I knew I had. And she was one of the most questionable in terms of . . . most anything really. Morals. Strength. Ability. Mental fitness. Queen Katharine was, and is, my favorite character of the series so far. She’s layered, sympathetic, painted as someone you should hate, but love because she is a child fighting for her life.

Of course, Blake does well for her sisters in this respect as well. Mirabella and Arsinoe are both well-written, complex characters. I would argue they’re less complicated than Katharine, but this doesn’t take away from their likability. Whereas Katharine is painted as unlikable in many ways because she is willing to kill for her crown, her sisters are brought together in avoidance of their fate. They are determined to love one another, and flee the island in the end, deliberately being shown as working together multiple times to escape their fates.

I liked that these sisters are given the opportunity to work together, but I personally didn’t care for the idea of Katharine as a villain for them to unite against. I don’t know if this is what Blake intended, or even if this is how most people see her, but it read a lot like Katharine was being set up as a villain to her sisters’ goodness to me. However, she’s highly layered, as I already said. You can see where she’s good and where she’s struggling and where she is a cruel and evil human. So, maybe this is my own bias shining through in my reading.

The majority of my feelings on this book centered around Katharine. She’s one of many strong female characters, and one of many strong characters in general. Blake clearly doesn’t lack in characterization in her novels. And I’m a massive fan of that.

One thing I didn’t love was the start of the novel. To me, the story took a while to get started. It was so slow. But, I will say, when the action started, it went and did not stop.

There was, sadly, a lot of ambiguity surrounding Katharine’s abilities. Is she a naturalist? She was switched with Arsinoe as a baby to be raised as a poisoner. This would then lead to the idea that she is a naturalist. However a naturalist would be able to tell that her snake is dead and this is a new one, were Sweetheart (the snake from book one that died) really her familiar. Maybe it wasn’t her familiar? I don’t know. Maybe Katharine isn’t a naturalist, but possesses the War gift? She’s certainly violent enough. Could she be ungifted? Who knows?

The ending did not resolve this at all, and I was raging over it. Everything other than that felt complete. We had a solid resolution to just about every plot line. Naturally, Blake left room for another book, and enough hooks to lay the foundation for it. But Katharine–Queen Crowned Katharine who is obviously going to stay a major character–has the reader still in the dark about this HUGE part of her life.

For this, I had to knock a star off my Goodreads review. It would’ve been a damn near perfect book, were it not for these two problems.

I gave One Dark Throne 4 out of 5 stars on goodreads. I still recommend reading the series, but keep in mind not everything is resolved. Book three is coming September of 2018 and hopefully we’ll get some answers then.

I hope this was helpful! And not too harsh. I really did enjoy both of the books in the series, and despite my issues with ODT, I would read it again. If my library ever gets another copy (it’s always gone you guys. I was super lucky to grab it one of the few times it’s on shelf there). I’ll probably reread as a refresher before book three comes out.

If you’ve read the series already please let me know your thoughts! I’m curious to see what other people thought of the book.

I’m off to read another book. And maybe write a couple thousand words before the night is over. It’s gonna be a good night y’all.

Happy holidays! And happy reading!

Kailey

The Uncrossing – Review

Greetings all!

I hope everyone is enjoy this beautiful month. Or, surviving at least. This might end up being my last blog post if Net Neutrality gets repealed tomorrow. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen. (Side note: I know this isn’t book-related but call your reps. Please. This is ridiculously important.)

Anyway. Onto my review.

So I really enjoyed reading The Uncrossing by Melissa Eastlake. I originally decided to read this as a comparison text for the Rapunzel tale type & my paper in my fairy tales and sexuality class. (It wasn’t as cool as it sounds but it was pretty cool.) I’m glad I chose this book to read.

A brief summary from Amazon:

“Luke can uncross almost any curse—they unravel themselves for him like no one else. So working for the Kovrovs, one of the families controlling all the magic in New York, is exciting and dangerous, especially when he encounters the first curse he can’t break. And it involves Jeremy, the beloved, sheltered prince of the Kovrov family—the one boy he absolutely shouldn’t be falling for.

Jeremy’s been in love with cocky, talented Luke since they were kids. But from their first kiss, something’s missing. Jeremy’s family keeps generations of deadly secrets, forcing him to choose between love and loyalty. As Luke fights to break the curse, a magical, citywide war starts crackling, and it’s tied to Jeremy.

This might be the one curse Luke can’t uncross. If true love’s kiss fails, what’s left for him and Jeremy?”

I thought the premise of the novel extremely intriguing. Male Rapunzel? Curses? Two lovable characters trying to make it work against the odds??? Give me ALL of this please. In spades.

I’m a sucker for this stuff, okay? I will not be ashamed.

The characters really made the story worth reading. This setting was good, the dialogue was decent, but the characters! They made the novel. Jeremy, in particular, was relatable and loving. He was layered in a way characters in retellings can sometimes . . . not be. He wasn’t always likable, and I really enjoyed that. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the guy. I related a lot to his emotions and his reactions. But authors can shy away from making their main characters truly unlikable in key moments.

I did have a couple of things I that disappointed me in the novel. First, I would’ve LOVED more from Luke’s sister, Camille. Camille was badass. She wasn’t a main character, so it makes sense that she wasn’t the focus. Still, I think we could’ve benefited a little bit more from more Camille. Second, there was quite a bit of ambiguity in places. Some moments weren’t explained very well, and there were certain world-building elements that I felt could’ve been laid out better.

Overall though, I had very few issues with the novel. I certainly enjoyed it quite a bit, and will no doubt end up re-reading it in the future. It was a really good read. I gave it 4 out of 5 stars on Goodreads.

I’d definitely recommend this one!

I’m off to read some more books. My goal to is to read another ten books before the year is over. Good thing I’m on winter break. Wish me luck!

Kailey

Top 10 Books of 2017 (So Far)

Hello all!

Now that the year is winding down and NaNoWriMo is complete (for me at least), I thought I’d post an update to my reading life.

Update: it’s been pretty quiet. I didn’t get to read too much this year, but what I have read I’ve enjoyed for the most part. So for everyone who is looking for a good book since November is ending or something to grab during the holidays (books make great gifts y’all!) I thought I’d provide a few of my favorites for the year so far.

1. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas If you haven’t read this book yet, do yourself a favor and go do it right this very second. It’s one of the best books I’ve read in my life. It cracked the top five, which is not actually easy to do. But there is a reason Angie Thomas is the Queen of YA. Do yourself a favor and read her book.

2. Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody Okay I dedicated multiple posts to my obsessive love of this book. If you didn’t expect to see it on this list you haven’t been paying attention very well.

3. The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli This book has all the good things. I made me smile, laugh, and want to hug everyone SO MANY TIMES! I cannot express my love for this novel enough. If you loved Simon you’ll more than love Molly. (Which, if you didn’t love Simon, I’m not sure we can be friends)(Okay, we can be friends, but you have to re-read Simon VS and gush about it with me.)

4. Geekerella by Ashley Poston I actually didn’t really know about this book until recently. I’ve been hearing a lot about it lately, and saw it when I was shopping in B&N. I read the description and my inner fangirl went *squeeeeeeee* (no I really made that noise in the middle of Barnes & Noble). I didn’t buy it though until Thanksgiving night. I sat with my Kindle This was my surgery recovery read, and it did not disappoint. Cute and smart writing left me ready for more from these characters. No idea if there’s a sequel coming or not (the ending was wrapped up nicely) but I know I’ll be reaching for this one again in the future.

5. the princess saves herself in this one by Amanda Lovelace Something most people don’t realize about me is that, in addition to YA & NA, I also write poetry. This is . . . fairly recent. I started working in the world of poetry my sophomore year of college (I graduate in May) and I’ve had the same professor voluntarily ever since. She made me go from hating poetry (and talking very loudly about it) to loving it and writing it. I owe this find to one of my best friends. She’d been looking for this for a while and picked this book up in a Target in Columbus, Ohio (we are not from Columbus just so you know)(we’re not even from Ohio we just spend a lot of time there for some reason). She opened Princess to a random page and the poem printed there hit home. I did the same to the only other copy on the shelf and BOOM same thing happened to me. Naturally we both bought it.

6. A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J Maas I know there’s quite a bit out there about how the queer rep in SJM’s books is not the best. I agree. I love her books, and her writing, but this is something that needs to be addressed. However, aside from that point, I loved ACOWAR. I never really got around to posting a review for it, but I thought it was a great ending to the trilogy, and was more than happy to spend the extra time in the world SJM has created. If you haven’t read ACOTAR or ACOMAF yet, you need to read them first for sure. But if you have the time and you love a good YA fantasy, this is a great novel.

7. Windwitch by Susan Dennard WHO HERE REMEMBERS MY FANGIRLING OVER THIS BOOK AT THE BEGINNING OF THE YEAR? I think I scared away any readers after that. My opinions about this book are positive and happy even though there is so much angst (in the best way). It’s been a while since I’ve talked about it, but it’s one of my favorites of the year for sure. Would recommend 110%.

8. Island of Exiles by Erica Cameron Listen to me. LISTEN TO ME! This book. Is so good. Bisexual rep. Asexual rep. Intersex rep. Different settings. Vivid characters. Flowing plot lines. Familial ties. The importance of consent. A group of people who shouldn’t be able to survive in this harsh environment is going to do their damn best to do it. This book is one of the best I’ve read this year for sure. (Also the sequel comes out soon so if you’re looking for multiple holiday gifts here you go!)

9. The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee Okay it counts if you’re currently reading it right? I’m saying yes. I’m in the middle of it right now, and I wish I currently had more time to devour this book (*shakes fist at final papers* curse you!). So far though it’s fantastic. I’m hoping I’ll get to finish it by the end of the year and reiterate that, times a thousand.

10. One Blood Ruby by Melissa Marr Y’all know I have a problem when it comes to fantasy. I guess it’s not really a problem exactly, but more of an all-encompassing love. And I really have a thing for fae. This sequel hit all the marks with me. I adored the first novel, and pretty much the same can be said of the second. Great book, by a great author. If you’re looking for something good this coming holiday season, I would recommend some Melissa Marr.

Now, keep in mind these are my favorites of the books I read this year. I have so many books that have been sitting on my shelf all year, and that stack just keeps piling up. Some books that I bought this year that I did not get to get to, but have, heard are fabulous, and am mad at myself for not getting to them sooner are:

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

Dear Martin by Nic Stone

They Both Die At The End by Adam Silvera

27 Hours by Tristina Wright

Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo

The Ship of the Dead by Rick Riordan

There are probably so many more amazing books I’m missing. Please feel free to add your favorites of the year so far in the comments! It was not as heavy of a reading year as I had hoped, and a lot of these books are ones I intended to read right away, but just never got the chance to. This has been such a busy semester for me, and I wish I’d had more time to read, but sadly I did not. I’m aiming to remedy that after finals and over winter break.

I hope you like some (or all) of these titles! Again, feel free to comment some of your faves so far this year. I’d love to hear them.

Alright, I’m off for now. Sadly, not to read. Final papers & presentations abound in my apartment, and I must work on mine. Byeeeeeee!

Kailey

PS – the links I included are all to Amazon, but if see if your local indie bookstore has these books!