A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

Summary: Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.

Review: As much as I loved the first book, I loved this one more. I read it in about a day even though it’s over 600 pages long and I was a little overwhelmed when I was done. Not necessarily in a bad way, it’s just that so much happened and I had so many feelings that I was a bit lost when it was over.
In my review of A Court of Thorns and Roses, I talked about how I liked the fact that Feyre isn’t your typical hero; she does what she has to to protect those she loves even if it’s not “the right thing”. Some of these actions from the first book have resulted in her having PTSD. Partly because of the awful things that were done to her or that she saw in Amarantha’s court Under The Mountain, but a huge part of it is the things she herself did Under The Mountain. Even if we completely ignore the fact she’s been turned into High Fae (she’s literally not even human anymore and that’s an insane adjustment for anyone), everything that’s happened since the beginning of ACOTAR has been traumatizing. She’s trying, and failing, to cope as she comes to terms with who she’s become. This book had some of the best character development for her, particularly because it doesn’t happen overnight. Throughout this entire book she’s changing, growing, learning who she is and who she wants to be. A huge part of that growth is influence by Tamlin and Rhysand in vastly different ways but I’ll go into more detail about that later.
I slowly hated Tamlin more and more throughout this book. This seems to be the source of some contention for fans. Readers seem to either think his personality in ACOMAF is completely different from ACOTAR and that Maas forced it that way to make room for Rhys to be with Feyre; OR readers think it’s simply an extension of Tamlin’s personality that we didn’t see in ACOTAR but that was sort of amplified by the trauma of Under The Mountain. Honestly, I’m not sure what I think but it seems to fall somewhere in the middle for me. His change in ACOMAF definitely felt just a little forced but I’m also not surprised by it. As much as I loved him in ACOTAR, I definitely got that sense that he was a little controlling, a little possessive. Part of the problem might be that in the first book, that’s what Feyre wanted. She wanted to feel protected for once in her life, not have to do the protecting but after Under The Mountain she needed some semblance of control of her own life and Tamlin wouldn’t let her have that. I understand he watched her die and doesn’t know how to deal with that but even months later after Feyre’s tried telling him what she needs, after he’s promised to be better about it, he only gets more and more controlling. All that said, I still felt a little sorry for him right up until that last scene. I won’t spoil it for anyone but his actions at the end were the final straw for me. In my mind, there’s no excuse for what he did and I won’t forgive him for it.
Rhysand. Is. Perfect. Not that he doesn’t have flaws; of course he does. His flaws just made me love him more. Everything about Rhys’s story gave me all the emotions. It’s tragic and beautiful and funny. For me though, the main reason he’s my new favorite book boyfriend is for the way he interacts with Feyre. He works so hard to give her what she needs to deal with her trauma and he listens to her and respects what she says whether he agrees with her or not. He never tries to control her and actively gives her the freedom to act for herself to the point where, if there’s danger, he lets her handle it; he might step in when necessary but he never tries to fight her battles for her. This more than anything helps Feyre grow because she finally has the freedom to do what she needs to do for her own well-being. Rhys never treats Feyre as anything less than his equal and I absolutely adore that.
Rhys’s Inner Circle was one of my favorite parts of this book. Mor, Cassian, Azriel, and Amren are such unique, complex, lovable characters. I love that they, including Rhys and later Feyre, are a family first and the Night Court second. I’m beyond excited to see more of them in the next book.
Overall, this is one of my new favorite books. It had everything I want from a story; romance, friendship, complex character development, action, heart-wrenching moments, laugh-out-loud scenes, and an ending that just about killed me. I recommend this to everyone. Seriously. Just read this book.
I’d love to hear what you think. Thanks for reading!
-Antonia

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Summary: Feyre’s survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price …

Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre’s presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever.

Review: I’m. Obsessed.
Maybe not as much as Amanda is (she literally called me when I told her I finished it and asked a billion questions about what I thought), but I still loved it. I’m having trouble focusing on writing this review because I just want to start the next book.
I was a little wary going into it. Amanda’s been trying to get me to read them for the longest time and my husband just read them recently. They’re both pretty good about not giving away huge spoilers but between them and the internet in general, I knew a lot about this series beforehand. Now I don’t want to spoil it for anyone else so I’ll be kind of vague, but certain things I knew about the characters ahead of time made me worried that I wouldn’t be able to connect with them the same way I normally would. Luckily it didn’t turn out to be a huge problem. I was still able to love the characters while impatiently waiting for the story to progress to certain parts I’d been excited for.
Feyre is my favorite. She has her ‘ignorant human’ moments (is anyone else getting as sick of this trope as I am?), but overall she’s a brave, intelligent, strong character who fights to protect those she cares about no matter what. I actually really enjoyed that side of her. So often, authors try to make characters who always do the right thing; the heroes have this unwavering moral compass and that’s what makes them heroes. Feyre isn’t like that. She protects herself and those she cares about and that’s it. She’s willing to do things, for her family, for Tamlin, that weigh on her conscience and would probably make her less of a hero t some. For me, I loved her more because she was so flawed.
I liked Tamlin a lot more than I was expecting to. He’s brooding, tough, sexy but able to have gentler moments with Feyre where he lets his guard down. I definitely think there were parts he could have handled differently. He has the arrogance of an immortal which might not have been bad by itself but combined with him treating Feyre as a fragile human who needs to be protected, resulted in some really awful things that might have been avoided if he’d done things differently.
Rhysand drives me nuts. I mostly only saw him toward the end of the book and I just need MORE. I know (from Amanda and my husband) that I’m going to love him later in the books but right now he’s still acting like a jerk. I can’t wait to get to know him better in the next book.
Lucien was a really fun character who added a lot of humor to otherwise serious scenes. Feyre’s sisters, Elain and Nesta, annoyed me at the beginning but I have hopes for my feelings changing later in the series, especially for Nesta.
Being a painter, Feyre’s descriptions of the setting were vivid and detailed without being tedious which I really liked. It gave her a reason to notice her surroundings in a show-don’t-tell sort of way. It was something I appreciated because it’s why I usually have trouble with settings.
The plot was fantastic. A little slower in the middle as Feyre and Tamlin got to know each other but the last half was insane. Fast-paced and filled with drama and action that kept me on the edge of my seat. Except for the couple chapters I started yesterday, I read this book straight through in one sitting.
I’d recommend it to anyone who likes YA, fantasy, romance, and especially stories about faeries. I thought the magic surrounding them and their culture was extremely unique in this book. I’d love to hear what you think in the comments. Thanks for reading.
-Antonia

*Please be aware that the book cover on this post is a link to purchase this book through Amazon. Feel free to purchase with our affiliate link (just click on the book cover) to support us!

If I Should Die by Amy Plum

Summary: I will not lose another person I love. I will not let history repeat itself.

Vincent waited lifetimes to find me, but in an instant our future together was shattered. He was betrayed by someone we both called a friend, and I lost him. Now our enemy is determined to rule over France’s immortals, and willing to wage a war to get what they want.

It shouldn’t be possible, none of it should be, but this is my reality. I know Vincent is somewhere out there, I know he’s not completely gone, and I will do anything to save him.

After what we’ve already fought to achieve, a life without Vincent is unimaginable. He once swore to avoid dying—to go against his nature and forsake sacrificing himself for others—so that we could be together. How can I not risk everything to bring my love back to me?

Review: I really enjoyed the final book in this trilogy. It had all the elements I expect from a good conclusion with no loose ends. I also loved that there was a little epilogue which jumped five years in the future so I got to glimpse the characters’ lives later on. It’s something I always want more of in books.
The only thing I didn’t love about this book was that it was really predictable. I couple of the big twists were things I saw coming since the first book so nothing surprised me. Now, this isn’t a huge problem for me personally. I’m one of those weird people who frequently reads the ends of books before I start them so I have no aversion to spoilers. However, it’s always nice when a story surprises you and I didn’t get that here. That being said, it wasn’t so predictable that reading it became tedious. It was more the larger plot points that I guessed but the small details surrounding them were unique enough to keep the story interesting.
I continued to love Kate more and more up until the end. The end of the last book was so traumatizing for her, especially since it hasn’t been all that long since her parents died, but she didn’t let it destroy her. She kept pushing past it to try to find a solution because she refused to accept that this was her and Vincent’s fate. I really admired her strength throughout this book.
As for Vincent, my feelings for him are pretty much the same they’ve always been. I like his character, he’s romantic and brave, but I never felt like I got to know him very well. Everything is continuously through Kate’s eyes and they’re so frequently separated that up until the end, Vincent didn’t feel like a very complex character to me. There’s nothing wrong with him; I just didn’t get a chance to love him and I found it a little disappointing.
I really enjoyed how detailed this book was when it came to revenant history. I’ve always enjoyed the way Plum created these supernatural creatures and got to learn so much more about them in this last book. I thought they were extremely unique, with a complex mythology behind them.
Overall, (despite the predictability) I loved this book. It had an interesting plot, fun characters, and excellent supernatural creatures. I’d recommend it to anyone who likes YA or paranormal, particularly if you enjoy a little romance. I’d love to hear your own thoughts on this series. Thanks for reading!
-Antonia

 

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Until I Die by Amy Plum

Summary: Kate and Vincent have overcome the odds and at last they are together in Paris, the city of lights and love.

As their romance deepens there’s one question they can’t ignore: How are they supposed to be together if Vincent can’t resist sacrificing himself to save others? Although Vincent promises that he’ll do whatever it takes to lead a normal life with Kate, will that mean letting innocent people die? When a new and surprising enemy reveals itself, Kate realizes that even more may be at stake—and that Vincent’s immortality is in jeopardy.

In Die for Me, Amy Plum created a captivating paranormal mythology with immortal revenants and a lush Paris setting. Until I Die is poised to thrill readers with more heart-pounding suspense, spellbinding romance, and a cliff-hanger ending that will leave them desperate for the third and final novel in the series.

Review: Let me start by saying I really enjoyed this book and can’t wait to read the third. However, I did not enjoy it quite as much as the first. In my review of Die For Me, I talked about some of the annoying YA tropes that were present in the first half of the book but that it got better by the end. I was hoping this book would continue that way but was a little disappointed to find more of those tropes I dislike so much.
First, after ending the last book with Kate and Vincent being in a good place in their relationship, this one starts with them keeping secrets from each other and continues that way for most of the book. This is something I’m getting really sick of seeing in books. It’s one thing if the relationship isn’t healthy to begin with but making these otherwise honest characters lie to their S/O just to add some sort of challenge to the relationship is seriously aggravating. Kate and Vincent’s relationship is based on the promise to never lie to each other. When she finds out he’s a revenant and starts learning about his world, she specifically asks him to never keep her in the dark about the supernatural stuff even when he only wants to shield her from it. Now he does just that. At first it’s just, “I don’t want to get your hopes up if my idea doesn’t work but I’ll tell you soon” then turns into six weeks later and she knows something’s wrong and she’s scared but he still won’t tell her. This in turn provokes Kate to start keeping things from Vincent. I was kind of sad about all this especially because it meant I didn’t get as much of the romantic Kate and Vincent as in the first book. It seemed they were barely together for half the book.
Another thing I found annoying was something that seems to happen anytime the supernatural is involved. The human’s parent/ guardian finds out and forbids them from seeing each other. I mean, are you serious? If it was a natural progression of the plot I wouldn’t mind but it always feels like it’s thrown in just to add another challenge to the characters’ relationship.
Otherwise I liked this book. I felt that Kate kept growing in the right direction (keeping things from Vincent excluded of course). She’s a lot more sure of herself and starts taking more initiative instead of letting others solve her problems for her. I’m really excited to see how she handles this most recent challenge that was thrown at her at the end of this book.
I still liked Vincent about as much as I did before. The problem is that because he and Kate weren’t together for a lot of this book (and it’s entirely from Kate’s perspective) I didn’t get to know him any better. I was really hoping to learn more about him and I didn’t get that.
I really liked both the plot and setting. It ended on a bit of a cliffhanger and I’m actually really excited about it. Sometimes you can kind of guess how cliffhangers will be resolved in the next book but I have absolutely no idea. I won’t go into detail since it’s a pretty big spoiler but I’ll just say Plum has her work cut out for her fixing this.
I’d recommend this book to anyone who likes YA and paranormal. I’d love to see your thoughts in the comments. Thanks for reading!
-Antonia

*Please be aware that the book cover on this post is a link to purchase this book through Amazon. Feel free to purchase with our affiliate link (just click on the book cover) to support us!

Die for Me by Amy Plum

Summary: In the City of Lights, two star-crossed lovers battle a fate that is destined to tear them apart again and again for eternity.94628121

When Kate Mercier’s parents die in a tragic car accident, she leaves her life–and memories–behind to live with her grandparents in Paris. For Kate, the only way to survive her pain is escaping into the world of books and Parisian art. Until she meets Vincent.

Mysterious, charming, and devastatingly handsome, Vincent threatens to melt the ice around Kate’s guarded heart with just his smile. As she begins to fall in love with Vincent, Kate discovers that he’s a revenant–an undead being whose fate forces him to sacrifice himself over and over again to save the lives of others. Vincent and those like him are bound in a centuries-old war against a group of evil revenants who exist only to murder and betray. Kate soon realizes that if she follows her heart, she may never be safe again.

 

Review: I had very mixed feelings for the first half of this book but ended up really loving it by the end. When I first saw this book, I thought the idea of revenants- sort of undead guardian angels- was really unique and had to know more but I still approached this book with a little trepidation.
YA can be really hit or miss for me and too many of those YA cliches annoys the crap out of me so I was worried this one would fall under that category. For the first part of the book, it did. Now don’t get me wrong, I love a bad boy. Written well, they can make the best, most swoon-worthy love interests. Written badly, and I want to strangle the protagonist for being stupid over a guy. There was definitely some of that at the beginning. She knows he’s keeping secrets and thinks multiple times that he’s dangerous but still keeps seeing him. There were also some stalker jokes and, while it’s sort of explained away as a revenant thing, there were a few too many for my tastes.
Luckily Kate started to get smarter about it and about halfway through was making choices I approved of. I liked her character from the beginning, her naivete over Vincent excluded. She’s still trying to cope with the trauma of losing both her parents which in her case means shutting down and just going through the motions without really living. Meeting Vincent is what starts to wake her up and I loved watching her sort of evolve into this new person; not quite who she was before the accident but heading in the right direction. I really admired her by the end. She’s been sucked into this supernatural world that she doesn’t fully understand but no matter how scared she is she always tries to help the people around her. She’s a very brave, strong-willed character and I can’t wait to see how she grows in the next books.
I wasn’t sure how much I liked Vincent at the beginning. Most of that stems from my problems with the whole “bad boy” trope but I’m happy to say my opinion of him increased after the story finally got away from all of that. He ended up being really sweet, romantic, and badass all at the same time.
One of my favorite parts was the setting. Paris is not a place I read about often and I frequently struggle to really visualize settings. I think because Plum has lived in Paris and used many real places in the book, it was a lot easier for me to picture where the characters were. Her descriptions were really detailed without those overbearing, page-long paragraphs that we all hate.
I enjoyed the storyline a lot. I think Plum’s idea for the revenants was well thought out and detailed enough that I didn’t feel like I was reading about vague supernatural creatures without any substance. The story was fast paced and nothing felt forced in order to push the characters in a certain direction or create suspense.
Overall I loved this book and am excited to see where the series takes me. I’d recommend this to anyone who likes YA or paranormal. Leave your thoughts in the comments and thanks for reading.
-Antonia

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Summary: Orphaned and expendable, Alina Starkov is a soldier who knows she may not survive her first trek across the Shadow Fold – a swath of unnatural darkness crawling with monsters. But when her regiment is attacked, Alina unleashes dormant magic not even she knew she possessed.

Now Alina will enter the lavish world of royalty and intrigue, as she trains with the Grisha – her country’s magical elite – and falls under the spell of their notorious leader, the Darkling. He believes Alina can summon a force capable of destroying the Shadow Fold and reuniting their war-ravaged country, but only if she can master her untamed gift.

As the threat to the kingdom mounts and Alina unlocks the secrets of her past, she will make a dangerous discovery that could threaten all she loves and the very future of the nation.

Review: Amanda has talked about this book so much that I finally had to get it and I’m glad I did. This was a fun, suspenseful story with some really unique ideas.
First is the setting; Bardugo took initial inspiration from Russian culture then made her own world from there. I thought it was a really unique, well-described world. I could really see the places (that’s something I usually struggle with) and people and it was easy to understand the culture, the politics and even things like the “small sciences” (this world’s version of magic) made sense.
I liked Alina right from the start. She’s tough, smart, and even though she struggles to fit in she never gives up her values to do so. I thought she had some great character development throughout the book and I enjoyed seeing her stop fighting her magical side and finally grow into herself. She makes mistakes but owns up to them and does what she can to fix things afterward. I really admire her character and am excited to see where the story takes her in the next books.
I didn’t love Mal at first. He seemed like the generic guy in all YA who’s been best friends with the protagonist forever and is oblivious to her love for him until it’s too late. And he sort of fits that mold at the beginning but gets away from that when he comes back into the story later on. I ended up loving his character by the end.
The Darkling, I have mixed feelings about. Every other review I read, people talk about how much they love him but, while I appreciate him as I villain, I definitely don’t love him. I think my main problem is how the other characters didn’t know he was evil. I knew before I read the book because it’s all over the internet but it still seemed so obvious to me from the writing that he was not a good character. The fact that everyone continues to follow him, even after his actions at the end of the book, astounds me. Following someone out of fear is one thing but the fact that not a single person other than Alina and Mal was willing to fight back seemed completely unrealistic to me.
Otherwise I really enjoyed this book. I thought it was fast-paced and suspenseful enough to keep my attention and I loved the unique way Bardugo wrote about the magical aspects of the world. I can’t wait to see where the rest of the series goes. I’d recommend this book to anyone who likes YA and fantasy. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments and thanks for reading.
-Antonia

*Please be aware that the book cover on this post is a link to purchase this book through Amazon. Feel free to purchase with our affiliate link (just click on the book cover) to support us!

Crime of Magic by Linsey Hall

Summary: To solve this crime, I’ll have to risk it all

Training at the Undercover Protectorate’s Academy is kicking my butt. My sister aced it in a few months—but I’m lagging behind like a three-legged poodle at a greyhound race. I don’t want to have to leave my new home in this amazing castle, so I’ve got to get a grip on my magic. Soon.

When thieves steal valuable dragon magic, it puts our whole castle is put at risk. Worse, our friends are dying. It’s my destiny to hunt the thieves, but my boss doesn’t get that. When she tells me to stand down, I have to listen. And that means our magic keeps weakening, and our friends are closer to death.

Unless I ignore my boss… 

My home and friends are in danger, so I’m going rogue. Fortunately, I’ve got the sexy shifter mage Lachlan Munroe on my side. Together, we’ll race against time to solve this crime of magic.

Crime of Magic is a fast-paced urban fantasy adventure starring a kick butt heroine, a powerful hero, and magic that will blow your socks off.

Review: I blew through the second book in Hall’s Dragon’s Gift: The Druid series. All of these books are pretty quick reads but I finished this one even faster than I normally do. It was one of my favorites that I’ve read so far of Hall’s books.
I really enjoyed watching Ana finally start to gain a little control over her magic. In the first book she had so many doubts about herself that it was nice to see her start gaining some confidence. As with the first book, she’s trying to get a handle on her newly developing magic while trying to figure out which pantheon she belongs to. (Ana and her sisters are DragonGods, which means they possess the powers of the gods of whichever pantheon they belong to.) We sort of find out Ana’s pantheon at the very end of the book but I still have a ton of questions about what it actually means.
At first I was a little disappointed because this meant there wasn’t really any mythology in this book and that’s one of the things I love about these series. I ended up being really happy with the alternative though. Instead of mythology, Hall used twisted fairytales. Some were from old, lesser-known versions and some she simply put her own twist on but they were all really interesting and fun.
I still don’t know what I think about Lachlan. We don’t know too much about him yet which I hope is remedied in the next books. I like the stuff that I do know about him but, personally, I need more from the male MC. The romantic tension between Ana and Lachlan was done pretty well; enough small details inserted into scenes to show it’s something continually on their minds but not so much that it becomes overbearing and ridiculous.
Overall I absolutely loved this book and can’t wait to see where the rest of the series takes these characters. I’d recommend it to anyone who enjoys paranormal and urban fantasy though I suggest starting with the first Dragon’s Gift series. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments and thanks for visiting our blog!
-Antonia

*Please be aware that the book cover on this post is a link to purchase this book through Amazon. Feel free to purchase with our affiliate link (just click on the book cover) to support us!

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

Summary: Imagine it were possible to bring the characters from a book to life. Not like when someone reads a book with such enchantment that the characters seem to jump off the pages and into your bedroom…but for real. Imagine they could actually climb out of the pages and into our world.
Then, imagine if those characters brought their world into ours.
One cruel night, young Meggie’s father, Mo, reads aloud from Inkheart and an evil ruler named Capricorn escapes the boundaries of fiction and lands in their living room. Suddenly, Meggie is smack in the middle of the kind of adventure she has only read about in books.
Somehow, Meggie and Mo must learn to harness the magic that conjured this nightmare. Somehow they must change the course of the story that has changed their lives forever.
This is Inkheart, a timeless tale about books, about imagination, about life.
Dare to read it aloud.

Review: This is a book that I can honestly say I liked every part of. The plot was well-rounded and fast-paced; even slower parts kept my attention so I was never bored. The characters were complex and even the villains were enjoyable to read about. I also didn’t really feel like I was reading a children’s book. Certainly some darker topics were skirted around and parts that were more from Meggie’s POV had a more child-like tone but she is a child and that’s to be expected.
One of my favorite things about this book were the quotes at the beginning of each chapter from all sorts of different books, mostly classics, some that I knew and some I’d never heard of. It just added to everything else that makes this the perfect book for bookworms.
Another thing I loved is simply the way the characters talk about books. I’ve quoted this book before in a Top Ten Tuesday from years ago and even highlighted some of my favorite ones in the book itself. Here are just a few:

“Stacks of books were piled high all over the house – not just arranged in neat rows on bookshelves, the way other people kept them, oh no! The books in Mo and Meggie’s house were stacked under tables, on chairs, in the corners of the rooms. There were books in the kitchen and books in the lavatory. Books on the TV set and books in the closet, small piles of books, tall piles of books, books thick and thin, books old and new. They welcomed Meggie down to breakfast with invitingly opened pages; they kept boredom at bay when the weather was bad. And sometimes you fell over them.” Inkheart, Chapter 1- A Stranger in the Night

“They were her home when she was somewhere strange. They were familiar voices, friends that never quarreled with her, clever, powerful, friends – daring and knowledgeable, tried and tested adventurers who had travelled far and wide.” Inkheart, Chapter 2- Secrets

“Books loved anyone who opened them, they gave you security and friendship and didn’t ask anything in return; they never went away, never, not even when you treated them badly.” Inkheart, Chapter 47- Alone

Now to the plot itself. The idea of characters literally coming out of their books to interact with us is a thought that every bookworm has had. We wish desperately to have adventures with our favorite characters, to become best friends with the protagonists, to defeat the villains and become heroes. This is what happens to Meggie and her father, Mo, but they realize quickly that adventures aren’t as fun in real life as they are to read about. Villains are wonderful on paper but being face-to-face with them is terrifying. I loved the storyline overall. It was relatively realistic (excluding the fantasy aspects, obviously) and had excellent detail without the tediously long descriptions I hate.
The characters were wonderful. Meggie is strong-willed and kind. Thanks to her father, she’s already an avid reader at the age of twelve and I loved all her little bookish quirks. I really admired the way she handled all the traumatic events throughout the story. She’s young and terrified but kept pushing past her fear to try to get through each situation. I also loved her relationship with Mo. They’re friends as well as parent/child and it’s always been just the two of them so they’re constantly looking after one another.
Mo was great, too. He lost his wife when Meggie was just three and has had to cope with that while raising Meggie by herself. He’s compassionate and always tries to do the right thing for everyone.
Dustfinger has always been my favorite. He’s so lost in the real world even after nine years and only ever wants to get back home. He does some less than admirable things to try to get there but I think he steps up enough when it counts. I can’t wait to read more about him in the next books because I just want him to get a happy ending.
Overall this book was amazing. It’s fast-paced, fun, suspenseful, and even a little sad at times. I’d recommend it to all bookworms who love getting lost in the adventures they read about. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments. Thanks for reading!
-Antonia

*Please be aware that the book cover on this post is a link to purchase this book through Amazon. Feel free to purchase with our affiliate link (just click on the book cover) to support us!

The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan

Summary: Nico had warned them. Going through the House of Hades would stir the demigods’ worst memories. Their ghosts would become restless. Nico may actually become a ghost if he has to shadow-travel with Reyna and Coach Hedge one more time. But that might be better than the alternative: allowing someone else to die, as Hades foretold.51tu-gt5uzl-_sx329_bo1204203200_

Jason’s ghost is his mother, who abandoned him when he was little. He may not know how he is going to prove himself as a leader, but he does know that he will not break promises like she did. He will complete his line of the prophecy: To storm or fire the world must fall.

Reyna fears the ghosts of her ancestors, who radiate anger. But she can’t allow them to distract her from getting the Athena Parthenos to Camp Half-Blood before war breaks out between the Romans and Greeks. Will she have enough strength to succeed, especially with a deadly hunter on her trail?

Leo fears that his plan won’t work, that his friends might interfere. But there is no other way. All of them know that one of the Seven has to die in order to defeat Gaea, the Earth Mother.

Piper must learn to five herself over to fear. Only then will she be able to do her part at the end: utter a single word.

Heroes, gods, and monsters all have a role to play in the climactic fulfillment of the prophecy in The Blood of Olympus, the electrifying finale of the best-selling Heroes of Olympus series.

 

Review: I. LOVE. THIS. BOOK. It was a really excellent conclusion to a series that’s definitely a new favorite of mine. I enjoyed pretty much everything about this book, with only a few, minor complaints.
First I’ll talk a little about the characters. (I go into more detail about some of these characters in my review of the last book, The House of Hades.)
Jason grew on me a bit more during this book. He’s felt so torn between the Greek and Roman camps and finally seemed to accept the fact that he belongs to both of them and that’s okay. I liked learning more about Jason and watching him grow as a character but he’s never going to be one of my favorites.
I started the series not liking Piper very much but have slowly been liking her more and more throughout the series; during this last book she actually became one of my favorite characters. She might be a daughter of Aphrodite but she’s brave, strong-willed and is always there for her friends. She became someone I’d love to be friends with.
I still love Leo. He’s funny, quirky and I’m so happy he makes an appearance in Riordan’s next series The Trials of Apollo.
Nico continued to make me love him throughout this book. He’s always been so sad and broody; kind of keeping himself apart from everyone because you can’t hurt or be hurt by people who you don’t let get close to you. I loved finally seeing some character development from him as he finally starts to trust people.
Last we have Reyna. One of my favorite parts of this book was getting to see from her point of view. She’s made appearances in the first four books of the series but never played a huge part and that changed in this book. I enjoyed getting to know her better. She’s pretty much the most badass in the series, which we already kind of knew, but I also got to see another side to her; she’s scared, has doubts, cares deeply about the people (and even animals) around her. When she talks about her pegasus and friend dying at the end of the last book and when another similar scene happens in this one, I actually cried. Behind her tough, leader exterior, she’s compassionate and just wants to do the right thing no matter the consequences for her. She quickly became another favorite character of mine.
One of the things I didn’t like was not getting to see the POV of all the characters, especially Percy and Annabeth. We still follow them, Hazel, and Frank through the eyes of the other characters but it’s not quite the same and I was a little disappointed about it.
**SPOILER WARNING**
Another problem was the final battle with Gaea. They’ve spent five books trying to stop her from waking up because she’ll be impossible to defeat and when it finally happens the fight was very anticlimactic. They’ve had tons of other battles that were more challenging than this one. It just felt a little underwhelming in the end.
**END OF SPOILERS**
My last problem isn’t really a problem. I just wanted more. I want to know everything happening with the characters after the book ends. Yes, I know all of us readers think that way; I just felt it a little more with this book than I usually do.
Overall I absolutely loved this book and the rest of the series. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys YA or mythology. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments. Thanks for reading!
-Antonia

The House of Hades by Rick Riordan

Summary: Hazel stands at a crossroads. She and the remaining crew of the Argo II could return home with the Athena Parthenos statue and try to stop Camp Half-Blood and Camp Jupiter from going to war. Or they could continue their quest to find the House of Hades, where they might be able to open the Doors of Death, rescue their friends Percy and Annabeth from Tartarus, and prevent monsters from being reincarnated in the mortal world. Whichever road they decide to take, they have to hurry, because time is running out. Gaea, the bloodthirsty Earth Mother, has set the date of August 1 for her rise to power.51dguf1ez2bl-_sx331_bo1204203200_

Annabeth and Percy are overwhelmed. How will the two of them make it through Tartarus? Starving, thirsty, and in pain, they are barely able to stumble on in the dark and poisonous landscape that holds new horrors at every turn. They have no way of locating the Doors of Death. Even if they did, a legion of Gaea’s strongest monsters guards the Doors on the Tartarus side. Annabeth and Percy can’t exactly launch a frontal assault.

Despite the terrible odds, Hazel, Annabeth, Percy, and the other demigods of the prophecy know that there is only one choice: to attempt the impossible. Not just for themselves, but for everyone they love. Even though love can be the riskiest choice of all.

Join the demigods as they face their biggest challenges yet in The House of Hades, the hair-raising penultimate book in the best-selling Heroes of Olympus series.

 

Review: Oh. My. God. This book was intense. We start where the last book left off; with Percy and Annabeth falling into Tartarus. If you’ve read any of Riordan’s books, you know he uses a lot of humor to lighten the mood, even during serious scenes. While there was still a bit of that, the scenes with Percy and Annabeth were a lot darker than usual. Not surprising since they’re in Hell, but it definitely made for a more serious read.
Percy and Annabeth continue to be my favorite characters, especially now that I’ve seen them go through all the terrible things Tartarus put them through. This is why I love their relationship so much. No matter what they’re there for each other when it counts and you see that so clearly in this book. They’re in pain, starving, being hunted by all the monsters they’ve killed and they still support each other. I really enjoyed seeing a darker side to these characters as well. They didn’t suddenly turn into villians but there’s things they’re willing to do to get out of Tartarus that they never would have contemplated before. This especially is where we see them supporting each other, as they sort of pull each other back from the edge.
I won’t say too much more about the Tartarus stuff because I don’t want to give anything away but these scenes did make me cry multiple times.
The rest of the story continued along the same lines as the previous books; the rest of the demigods are questing and fighting monsters in order to reach the Doors of Death and try to save Annabeth and Percy.
Since there are a lot of characters and I don’t want to make this too long, I’ll try to do a quick overview of each one.
I continue to find Jason underwhelming. Don’t get me wrong, he’s not a bad character. He’s kind and always tries to do his best for the group but he never really does anything particularly amazing. Everyone else has a moment where they save the group with their individual talents and Jason doesn’t get that. Especially for a Son of Jupiter, I found it a little disappointing.
Piper exceeded my expectations in this book. I talked about my thoughts on her in my review of The Mark of Athena. The little disappointments I had over her were erased during this book. It felt like she finally stepped up so she could try to be as useful on the quest as possible. I really enjoyed her character development.
Hazel was really impressive in this book. After the loss of Percy and Annabeth, the group was kind of lost for a bit without a leader and Hazel really stepped up to try to fill this role. It seemed like she finally embraced all her powers and it was nice to see her stop fighting that part of her.
Frank was amazing. Like Hazel, he’s been fighting the part of himself that is a Son of Mars. He never wanted the war god to claim him and has always sort of resented it. He finally acknowledges it and changes a lot in the process (a serious growth spurt included). I found Frank’s journey a little bittersweet. He’s come into his powers but even he knows he’ll never fully be the same as he was and I thought that was a little sad.
I found Leo’s story a little sad as well and really hope to see it resolved in the next book. I won’t say much more about this one but there may be some romance in Leo’s future.
Nico was an extremely interesting character. He’s always slightly on the outside of groups like this. A lot of that is his own doing and partly it’s because he’s a Son of Hades and even demigods tend to be a little reluctant around them. He’s so sad all the time and I just want to hug him and tell him it’ll be okay.
Overall I absolutely loved this book. It had some of everything and I recommend it to anyone who like fantasy and mythology. I’d love to hear what you think in the comments. Thanks for reading!
-Antonia

The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan

Summary: Annabeth is terrified. Just when she’s about to be reunited with Percy—after six months of being apart, thanks to Hera—it looks like Camp Jupiter is preparing for war. As Annabeth and her friends Jason, Piper, and Leo fly in on the Argo II, she can’t blame the Roman demigods for thinking the ship is a Greek weapon. With its steaming bronze dragon figurehead, Leo’s fantastical creation doesn’t appear friendly. Annabeth hopes that the sight of their praetor Jason on deck will reassure the Romans that the visitors from Camp Half-Blood are coming in peace.511apj6b2bkl-_sx326_bo1204203200_

And that’s only one of her worries. In her pocket, Annabeth carries a gift from her mother that came with an unnerving command: Follow the Mark of Athena. Avenge me. Annabeth already feels weighed down by the prophecy that will send seven demigods on a quest to find—and close—the Doors of Death. What more does Athena want from her?

Annabeth’s biggest fear, though, is that Percy might have changed. What if he’s now attached to Roman ways? Does he still need his old friends? As the daughter of the goddess of war and wisdom, Annabeth knows she was born to be a leader—but never again does she want to be without Seaweed Brian by her side

Narrated by four different demigods, The Mark of Athena is an unforgettable journey across land and sea to Rome, where important discoveries, surprising sacrifices, and unspeakable horrors await. Climb aboard the Argo II, if you dare. . . .

 

Review: I keep loving each book in this series more than the last. The adventure gets a little bit crazier and so much happens (not surprising since it’s almost 600 pages), but I never felt like I was being overloaded with information. Since this book follows seven demigods on the quest, I was worried too many main characters would make things confusing but it’s only told from four of their points of view so I was able to follow all the characters without feeling like too many voices were talking to me at once. I’ll just go into detail about the four whose point of views we see though I talk about a couple of the other characters in my review of The Son of Neptune.
As always, Percy is my favorite. I’m so so happy he and Annabeth were reunited at the beginning of this book because their separation during the first two books was absolutely awful. I really love their relationship. While they have a lot in common, in many ways they’re opposites and I couldn’t help thinking throughout the book how much they complement each other.
Annabeth is obviously my other favorite. As a daughter of Athena she’s extremely smart but she’s also tough and stubborn. She uses confidence to mask her doubts and fears and I really liked watching her struggle with that while she tried to be a good leader. During this book she had to undertake a quest all by herself and I loved seeing how resourceful and brave she can really be.
I just feel so bad for Leo. His mother died, his other family refused to take him in and now he’s finally found a home and friends but nothing seems to go right for him and it’s rarely his fault. At one point he does something terrible while possessed and even though he had no control and his friends don’t blame him, he still feels like the consequences of it fall on his shoulders. It doesn’t help that, because the other six demigods have grouped into couples, Leo’s usually just a seventh wheel. He’s an amazing character and I really hope things go better for him in the next books.
I’m never entirely sure how I feel about Piper. I seem to alternate between being annoyed and impressed by her. She’s a daughter of Aphrodite which might make you think she’d be really superficial but she actively tries to avoid the things that people expect from Aphrodite’s children. Her only demigod power is charmspeak; she can convince people to believe or do things just by speaking to them. Unfortunately it doesn’t tend to work on more powerful monsters so in most fights she’s not very helpful. However she’s smart and compassionate so she tends to be more of an asset outside of battles. I hope to see her grow more during the rest of the series.
Overall this was an amazing book. It ended on an awful cliffhanger so I can’t wait to start the next book and see what happens. I’d recommend this book to anyone who enjoys YA, fantasy, or mythology. I’d love to hear what you think in the comments and thanks for reading!
-Antonia

The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan

Summary: Percy is confused. When he awoke from his long sleep, he didn’t know much more than his name. His brain fuzz is lingering, even after the wolf Lupa told him he is a demigod and trained him to fight with the pen/sword in his pocket. Somehow Percy manages to make it to a camp for half-bloods, despite the fact that he has to keep killing monsters along the way. But the camp doesn’t ring any bells with him. The only thing he can recall from his past is another name: Annabeth. 51zk6kgt8dl-_sx327_bo1204203200_

Hazel is supposed to be dead. When she lived before, she didn’t do a very good job of it. Sure, she was an obedient daughter, even when her mother was possessed by greed. But that was the problem—when the Voice took over her mother and commanded Hazel to use her “gift” for an evil purpose, Hazel couldn’t say no. Now because of her mistake, the future of the world is at risk. Hazel wishes she could ride away from it all on the stallion that appears in her dreams. 

Frank is a klutz. His grandmother says he is descended from heroes and can be anything he wants to be, but he doesn’t see it. He doesn’t even know who his father is. He keeps hoping Apollo will claim him, because the only thing he is good at is archery—although not good enough to win camp war games. His bulky physique makes him feel like an ox, especially in front of Hazel, his closest friend at camp. He trusts her completely—enough to share the secret he holds close to his heart. 

Beginning at the “other” camp for half-bloods and extending as far as the land beyond the gods, this breathtaking second installment of the Heroes of Olympus series introduces new demigods, revives fearsome monsters, and features other remarkable creatures, all destined to play a part in the Prophesy of Seven.

 

Review: I absolutely loved the second book in the Heroes of Olympus series. Like Riordan’s other books, it’s a really fun story of demigods going on a quest from the gods. They face tests of intellect and strength, they battle monsters, and mostly just fight for their lives.
I enjoyed this book even more than the first. (You can read my review of The Lost Hero here.) I think most of that is because Percy came back in this one and he’s always been my favorite. He’s strong, funny, stubborn, loyal, kind, and a little goofy sometimes. Since his memory was taken away, we see him struggling for the first half of the book as he tries to remember not only his past but who he is. I really enjoyed seeing him push past it as he continued to try to do the right thing despite everything he was going through. I don’t think he will ever stop being my favorite character.
I also adore Frank. He’s cute and clumsy and awkward. He never feels like he’s good enough and, other than his skills with archery (which are kind of looked down upon by most of the other characters), he doesn’t think he has any talents. I loved watching him come into his own as he realizes he CAN do amazing things as long as he believes in himself.
Hazel was the only one of the three I didn’t love entirely. I definitely didn’t hate her and started to like her more by the end of the story but found her a little annoying during the beginning. It just felt like she kept throwing herself a pity party; granted she had fairly legitimate reasons for it and she’s only thirteen years old so I can’t expect her to be mature about everything but I couldn’t help being a little irritated when the story was in her POV.
I really enjoyed the plot throughout the book. A lot of times in fantasy, even with the help of magical beings and objects, the progression of the story can be a little awkward. I know it’s something a lot of readers have trouble with since it can be hard to find a balance between the fantasy aspects of the story and still be realistic enough for you to immerse yourself in it. I felt that this story fell nicely between the two; e.g. they had help from a magic horse that can run at supersonic speeds but it still took them time to travel long distances.
Overall this was an amazing book that had a little bit of everything (including two really excellent battles). I’d recommend this to anyone who likes YA, mythology, fantasy, or action. As always, I’d love to see your thoughts in the comments and thanks for reading.
-Antonia

The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan

Summary: Jason has a problem.
He doesn’t remember anything before waking up in a bus full of kids on a field trip. Apparently he has a girlfriend named Piper, and a best friend named Leo. They’re all students at a boarding school for “bad kids.” What did Jason do to end up here? And where is here, exactly?91vcdxkm3dl

Piper has a secret.
Her father has been missing for three days, ever since she had that terrifying nightmare about his being in trouble. Piper doesn’t understand her dream, or why her boyfriend suddenly doesn’t recognize her. When a freak storm hits during the school trip, unleashing strange creatures and whisking her, Jason, and Leo away to someplace called Camp Half-Blood, she has a feeling she’s going to find out.

Leo has a way with tools.
When he sees his cabin at Camp Half-Blood, filled with power tools and machine parts, he feels right at home. But there’s weird stuff, too—like the curse everyone keeps talking about, and some camper who’s gone missing. Weirdest of all, his bunkmates insist that each of them—including Leo—is related to a god. Does this have anything to do with Jason’s amnesia, or the fact that Leo keeps seeing ghosts?

Review: I read Percy Jackson and the Olympians (written “PJO” for the rest of the post) a few years ago and immediately loved them so much I had to get the Heroes of Olympus series. I read the first three books but around the time I was starting the fourth, I moved across the country and it somehow got lost in the chaos. I’ve finally replaced it but since it’s been so long I’ll be rereading and reviewing the entire series.
I loved this book just as much the second time as I did the first for many different reasons. First, mythology is a topic that’s always interested me and I’ve always loved seeing how different authors turn those myths into fiction. I instantly loved Riordan’s take on Greek mythology and am really excited that this series includes some Roman mythology as well. If you don’t know, Roman mythology came directly from Greek so a lot of it is very similar but they’re still considered two entirely separate pantheons. In this book I got to see all of those similarities and differences and am excited for more of it in the next books.
Another of my favorite aspects of this book is the characters. First, I was really happy I got to see some of the old characters from the PJO series though I am very sad Percy wasn’t in it. Second, I just really love the characters Riordan creates. They’re flawed and relatable but also amazing and badass. I feel like they’re a better portrayal of their ages than many other YA books. The characters are around 15-16 in this book and while they have moments of maturity (being heroes and fighting monsters makes you grow up fast) you never forget that they’re still children. It’s one of the first things I loved about PJO as well. The children acted like children. They worry about silly things, they make gross jokes, their priorities are sometimes skewed, they’re impulsive. Since they’re a few years older in this book there’s certainly a bit more maturity but they’re still just kids.
The plot was really fun. There’s a lot of action and suspense, even a little romance, but mostly it was just fun to read. Our main characters are demigods going on a quest so there’s all sorts of magic and monsters. Crazy things happen to them constantly so if you’re looking for something realistic you should probably look somewhere else.
One of my favorite things about the way Riordan writes is the little clues he gives us. Either through prophecies and visions, or sometimes just things a character sees; and you’ll think, “oh, yeah! That means this” and other times you have no idea what it means. Usually it turns out to be a little different than you originally thought but there’s always this moment where something just clicks and you realize that scene earlier in the books had a hidden meaning.
Overall, I absolutely loved this book and can’t wait to start the next. I’d recommend this to anyone who like YA, fantasy, or mythology. I suggest reading PJO first but you likely wouldn’t be too confused if you skipped it. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments. Thanks for reading!
-Antonia

The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie


Summary: There has been a murder at Styles Court. Detective Poirot comes out of retirement to solve who would want the rich heiress Inglethorp dead, and would have the impudence to poison her. The jagged plot turns keep Poirot – and the reader – guessing as suspicion shifts from one peculiar character to the next.

In Agatha Christie’s first published work, the reader meets Belgian detective Hercule Poirot, destined to become the central detective of her mystery novels.

Review: I’ve been wanting to read Agatha Christie’s books for a long time but continuously put it off in favor of others. When I read Sabriel’s review of Murder on the Orient Express the other day, I decided I finally had to get one of her books. I immediately got the first Hercule Poirot novel and finished it in about four hours.
Now I’m kicking myself for not reading her books sooner. This was a fantastic mystery that kept me guessing the entire time. It was a relatively light (for a mystery), quick read and I appreciated that it didn’t lean towards the scarier side of the mystery genre. (I’m a wuss when it comes to scary stuff.)
The narrator, Arthur Hastings, was the only part I didn’t love. I found him a little self-absorbed and mildly annoying at times though not enough to diminish my overall enjoyment of the book. He worked very well as narrator; since he didn’t have a direct connection to the murder, he was able to observe events without influencing them too much. He appears in several of the other Hercule Poirot novels so I hope I’ll start to like him better later on.
I found Hercule Poirot extremely entertaining. He’s a Belgian detective who appears in most of Christie’s works. He works in a style similar to Sherlock Holmes, using seemingly insignificant clues to solve the mystery. He’s a little dramatic and flamboyant and has funny little quirks, like straightening objects on a mantelpiece when he’s agitated, that combined to form a very clear picture for me. I absolutely can’t wait to read more about him.
The rest of the characters were fairly diverse in their personalities and I was surprised that they were more complex than I expected from a book written in the early 20th century. I’ve found many older books have secondary characters that are more two-dimensional.
I found the plot interesting throughout despite a great deal of back and forth over who the murder suspect could be. There were so many clues and behaviors, small and big, important and irrelevant, that I could never quite figure out who the murderer was.
Overall, I’d recommend this book to anyone who enjoys mystery, detective novels, and crime. I can’t wait to read the rest of Christie’s books. Please leave your own thoughts in the comments and thanks for reading!
-Antonia

*Please be aware that the book cover on this post is a link to purchase this book through Amazon. Feel free to purchase with our affiliate link (just click on the book cover) to support us!

Inferno by Julie Kagawa

Summary: TODAY, WE STRIKE BACK.

WE SHOW TALON THAT WE WILL NEVER ACCEPT THEIR NEW WORLD.

Ember Hill has learned a shocking truth about herself: she is the blood of the Elder Wyrm, the ancient dragon who leads Talon and who is on the verge of world domination. With the Order of St. George destroyed, Ember, Riley and Garret journey to the Amazon jungle in search of one who might hold the key to take down the Elder Wyrm and Talon—if they can survive the encounter.

Meanwhile, Ember’s brother, Dante, will travel to China with a message for the last Eastern dragons: join Talon or die. With the stakes rising and the Elder Wyrm declaring war, time is running out for the rogues and any dragon not allied with Talon. 

The final battle approaches. And if Talon is victorious, the world will burn.

Review:

DISCLAIMER: Since this is the last book in the series, there may be spoilers from previous books in this series. If you haven’t read books 1-4, you may not want to continue reading.

I. Love. This. Series.
Inferno is the fifth and final book in the Talon series and I’m happy to say I was very pleased with this last installment. That’s not to say it was perfect, but I wasn’t really disappointed by anything.
Ember continued to grow into herself right up until the end; from the impulsive, immature child to the daring rogue ready to take on everyone and finally, to the young woman at the end who I’d love to be friends with. Good character development is one of my favorite things so the fact that Ember went from someone who really annoyed me to a character I can actually admire made me extremely happy.
This was somewhat true for Riley and Garret as well. They didn’t have as much growth as Ember did but as I slowly got to know them better throughout the series, I liked them more and more.
The only character I actively dislike is Dante. There are a lot of bad guys in the series that I can appreciate as villians but Dante wasn’t one of them. He really just annoyed me for most of the series until I ended up hating him at the end. I think mainly it’s because his actions in this book felt off to me; the Dante I’d been reading about wouldn’t act like this. It might just be me but I definitely found the end of his story arc frustrating.
I really enjoyed most other aspects of this book. As with most series conclusions, there was a lot happening but it didn’t feel like I was being overloaded with information or like everything was happening too fast. One of my favorite bits was that Riley finally got a chance to go after the Talon facility that houses their breeder females. (It’s basically a lab where female dragons who aren’t considered important enough for anything else are kept as broodmares. It’s despicable but I can’t get started ranting about it or I’ll never stop.) This has been Riley’s white whale for at least a few decades. He’s been searching and searching for it in order to free the dragonells but was never able to find it until now. I really loved seeing what this meant for his character.
I also really liked getting to finally see the Elder Wyrm in dragon form. It. Was. Amazing.
Overall I really loved this book. It made an excellent conclusion to a wonderful series. It fits more into the YA and fantasy genres but I believe it can be enjoyed by pretty much anyone. Let me know what you think in the comments and thanks so much for visiting our blog.
-Antonia

*Please be aware that the book cover on this post is a link to purchase this book through Amazon. Feel free to purchase with our affiliate link (just click on the book cover) to support us!