The Sandcastle Empire–Kayla Olsen

I needed some young adult in my life after reading Lolita. 

WHOOOOOAAAA what a horrible way to phrase that.

And yet I left it so you could read it and be mortified with me and for me. 

You’re welcome.

Anyway: I love YA novels that have heart. And murder. Lots and lots of murder. And mystery. But mostly murder.

Is something wrong with me? Who knows. But this book was SO. DAMN. GOOD.

This book is about how Eden who had a pretty good life (talking good parents, nice house, just above middle class upbringing) until the revolution happened and then she was left with only a handful of relics and clues from her dad about where a secret island is. That which is a sanctuary to all those who reach it. Far from the horrible daily grind of living in a hellish world.

This book was part thriller, part female empowerment, and part suspense.

And I believe there was a hot ginger in there somewhere that had me happily trailing along through this book.

Read this if you were into The Hunger Games. Because it’s sort of like that but somehow more mature? I don’t know.

Can’t wait to read more! 

Constant vigilance!

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Worlds of Ink and Shadow–Lena Coakley

I was having a really hard time reading anything for a very long time. (And if you noticed, also writing anything beyond “Good book. Must read. Gronk loves rock.”.) 

But this book was so fucking fantastic. 

It’s based off of the Bronte family and intersperses their real life history with an interesting notion of jumping in and out of time and through their stories to meet their characters and rule the worlds. 

It was soooo well written and an interesting premise. And I learned so much about the Brontes! 

Like that there was a brother. Who knew? haha. 

And that the facts the author used are verified. At least by Wikipedia. 

Constant vigilance!

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This Savage Song–Victoria Schwab

Uuuuuuurgh. 

With joy. 

This book was soooooo fucking good. This was one of my OwlCrate books, and honestly, I’m so glad I got that box every month for awhile because it’s given me some of my favourite books. 

And this time it gave me a book series. Which was accidental. I didn’t realize (classic) that it was going to be a series and was like ‘Wait, what?!” at the end because it didn’t end where I thought it was going  to and left me wanting so much more. And then it was all “We’re a series!” and I’ve never been so happy since. (JK. JK. JK.)

But seriously over the moon about it being a series I can keep up with.  

A YA novel about humans and monsters co-existing in a sense. 

This was a beautiful tale of good and evil and how to fight the good fight while living in the grey area. 

It’s fucking Romeo and Juliet with monsters and it’s sooo fucking good. 

Talk about fan girl feels.

The ‘Sweep’ Series–Cate Tiernan

I’m going to review these all together because there were so many books in this teen series and if I tried to review all 15 of them individually I might explode.

Especially since they were grouped together in compendiums of three, so I think I’ll do the same and review them like that.

(Spoilers ahead.)

Book of Shadows/The Coven/Blood Witch

This series is about a teenager named Morgan who is learning that she is a witch. Things start to happen to and around her and she discovers she has powers. But not just an ordinary witch: a powerful as fuck witch. Her bloodlines date back centuries.

Now in this first compendium we are going through the motions with Morgan and learning all these things with her, she’s a very ‘Bella’ from Twilight type character.

Mousy to a fault, boyish body, can only survive on Diet Pepsi. or Coke. I don’t remember, but that was always something she did first thing in the morning and it annoyed me and grossed me out.

She’s a Plain Jane with a brilliant mind and quiet personality. Overshadowed somehow by her younger sister who thrives with her good looks and even better personality.

Then along comes Cal. Oo la la. A hot new boy in school. Go figure.

He doesn’t like anyone, all the girls have gone after him, but he casts them aside.

But what is this??? A mousy brunette too intimidated by him to speak???

HE MUST HAVE HER.

Okay, I’m over emphasizing. But that’s pretty much the entire plot of the first three books.

Turns out Cal is a real blood witch too and his mother is a psychotic power hungry piece of work who wants Morgans powers as her own.

Go figure.

Oh but I forgot the best part: Cal has a halfbrother who is British called Hunter and Morgan hates him on sight.

BECAUSE SHE’S UNDER A SPELL. Oooooooooo

For teen magical dramas, that’s pretty big.

Dark Magick/Awakening/Spellbound

These three dragged a bit at the beginning but picked up hard at the end, there’s a serious betrayal and then a….wakening. Ha.

She realizes that she was put under a spell and is breaking it and coming to grips with her heritage and what it all means.

The Calling/Changeling/Strife

In the first of these three the coven heads to New York in the hopes of finding Amyranth (another coven). Hunter is searching a wayward witch, Morgan is having issues controlling her powers, then she meets a long lost family member.

These three were obviously to set up the remaining books. So far, I really like these, they are easy to read and I love a decent witch story.

Seeker/Origins/Eclipse

These took a hard left when it came to plot. We find out that not only did Morgan’s father reappear, but so did Hunters. (He thought they were dead after so many years of being on the run from the Dark Wave.)

Basically: all dads have issues and these two are trying to deal with them.

 Origins is where I was like “What just happened???” because all of a sudden we are centuries back to literally the origin story of the dark wave, we don’t see our main characters for so long and it just seemed kind of out of place. I wanted to know what was happening with everyone and here I was reading about characters I didn’t know. It was fine, it gave a good back story, but I was still confused for a hot minute as to why she did this.

Reckoning/Full Circle/Night’s Child

These last three books were probably the best of the bunch. I love when things end with a bang!

Not only that but they moved forward in time so that we could see Morgans future child and I like when books tell us what happened to the characters in the future.

All in all, this series was pretty good even though I found it tediously long at times. I don’t think I’d read it again seeing as how it is meant for teens, but Teenage Alli would’ve been all over this if she only had it way back when.

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Constant vigilance!

Ballroom Blitz

I’ve been pretty busy these last few mon–years. Things have gotten out of control and I’m only JUST starting to patch things together to make them workable.

One of those things being writing “reviews”, which at this point they are more or less just blurbs on like “Read it if you feel like it” and “HOLY HELL THIS BOOK WAS AMAZING”. Either way, things have gotten pretty laissez-faire around here. Which was my whole life until I realized that I needed to pull myself together because I’m reviewing books from last summer and I have no clue what to write about them.

Which is why I labelled this segment: Ballroom Blitz.

Because I’m going to throw a bunch of tentatively labelled “reviews” at you.

Bunheads–Sophie Flack

‘Bunheads’ was on my summer reading list last year it was a nice beach book for sure.

Not intense in content, but still a decent story and plot. It’s about ballerinas, one in particular, and you follow their story of competitiveness, heartbreak, life, and their need to dance.

It was really well written (unlike these reviews), and I look forward to finding something else of hers in the future.

Definitely take this on a trip with you.

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The Invisible Ones–Stef Penney

This book was pretty decent given that I didn’t know what I was walking into. The plot centres around gypsies and their lifestyle, but only because one of them goes missing and a cop is trying to suss out what happened.

It was well written and I look forward to reading some of the authors others books.

I liked reading about gypsies, and I enjoyed the characters and the plot twists.

Definitely a good mystery for anyone looking for one.

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The Night We Said Yes–Lauren Gibaldi 

This book was sent in one of my OwlCrate boxes, I was interested in reading it since it was all about how these people spent a night (you guessed it) saying ‘Yes’ to everything.

It was a silly story and definitely more for teens than even Young Adults. I’m neither, but still, it should’ve had a little more juice to it. It barely had any meat on its bones, and it was the first book from OwlCrate that I was really really disappointed in.

Handed it off to head to a thrift store. Hopefully some tween will enjoy it more than I did.

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Next week will focus solely on Roald Dahl’s works.

Constant vigilance!

 

Miles to Go–Miley Cyrus

This needs some explanation as to why on Earth I would read something like this.

For the past two years I’ve been participating in a book challenge called ’26 Books With Bringing Up Burns’. It’s helping me get through my shelves, read books I wouldn’t think to read, and overall expanding my genre selection.

Now. You’re probably thinking “Why the hell did you have this book in the first place’ ????

Four words: Thrift store. One dollar.

Also, sick curiosity.

What was Miley like before she became this new version of Miley. Well, there’s a reason no one should let 15-16 year olds write their biographies. Not that nothing interesting happened to Miley, sure, she was a goody two shoes once upon a time, and it was nice to hear just how much she loves her family and read a little on her Hannah Montana lifestyle.

But it was obviously very juvenile and not a completely honest book. (How could it be when she was still immersed in all that and not allowed to do much besides that? Don’t bite the hand that feeds, right?)

So where did this book land on my reading list? ‘#22 A Book With Pictures” There were plenty of these to go around, and she made lists of tons of things no one cares about but the person writing the list, and she even added in how heartbroken she was when her ‘Prince Charming’ broke up with her. And refused to call him anything but that.

Girl, we know you were talking about Nick Jonas.

Overall, only terrible because it was muffled writing from a 15 year old brain. And I would absolutely read a book that was written by her again because I’m sure that a tell-all from 20-odd year old Miley would be way more interesting now.

Constant vigilance sets you up for some weird stuff.

 

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The House of Hades–Rick Riordan

Wwwweeell, Annabeth and Percy kind of sort of fell into Tartarus.

Whoops.

This is their battle to get out and close the Doors of Death while the team up top tries to find them and close it from the other side. As naturally, it has to be a team effort.

Now, this book was brilliant in that it involves Nico di Angelo more, someone from the original series who has been in and out of our lives, he knew about both camps and kept it to himself for the safety of everyone, he can raise the dead, he can shadow travel, he can command hellhounds.

And the kid is just plain old cool to me.

He’s been one of my favourite characters since we met him early on where he was obsessed with a card game called Mythomagic. He was bouncy and exuberant but as he grew so did his darkness.

Nico was hiding many secrets, not the one where he was trapped in a time warping casino since the 40s, but the one where he wasn’t in love with Annabeth, but he was in love with Percy.

This is the first gay character I’ve read in a teen series! (As far as I’m aware.)

And the best part of it is that while Nico is ashamed and scared to reveal this about himself because he was born in a time where it was seen as a bad and shameful thing, when he DOES tell someone about it, they act like a person should and treat him with respect and kindness and show that it really isn’t a big deal, they are still themselves and just because you like someone of the same sex doesn’t mean you are a freak or any less a member of the team.

You still matter.

Rick Riordan is so good at writing and including everyone without making it seem forced or like he has an agenda, because I don’t think he does. He’s just writing about PEOPLE being people.

I love these books. I’m so happy.

Constant vigilance.

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