Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

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Title: Shiver

Author: Maggie Stiefvater

Publication Date: August 1, 2009

Start Date: May 26, 2017

End Date: May 29, 2017

3.5 Stars

Firstly, I want to mention that I love Maggie Stiefvater’s work with all my heart and soul. I have read only one of her other series – The Raven Cycle – and fell in love with it. So I decided to give the first book of this series a try. Although I did not find it as wonderful as TRC, it was still a good read and something I would recommend to paranormal, romance lovers. However, I have only read Shiver so I don’t know what to say for the series as a whole. Back to the main review.

Shiver is the first novel in Maggie Stiefvater’s The Wolves of Mercy Falls series. It follows the life of seventeen year old Grace who, as a child, was bitten by werewolves but never shifted like she should have. Instead, she lived a normal, human life – well, as normal as it can get with her parents constantly neglecting her.

Every night Grace would walk out onto her back porch to watch one particular yellow-eyed wolf, feeling a connection towards him. Until one day, the murder of a known local citizen, Jack Culpeper, causes a wild wolf hunt to occur and for this yellow-eyed wold to turn into the boy Grace always thought he was.

The one thing that I loved most about this book is the connection between the two protagonists, Grace Brisbane and Sam Roth, before the real story begins. Their connection lead the book to become fast paced the way I liked it and it allowed the plot to immediately begin since there didn’t need to be too much building between the characters. To talk about each character:

  • Grace Brisbane. I loved her independence and ability to hold herself. She didn’t stress out or panic in any way when something happens but instead took the situation into her own hands. Her character development was also well written as she went from, you could say, slightly timid to quite brave.
  • Sam Roth. From the moment he entered the plot, I loved him. His trust in Grace, his timid personality, everything. I found him so adorable and different compared to other characters in paranormal romances.
  • Isabel Culpeper. She is, hands down, my favorite character of the whole novel. Everyone, at first glance, would look at her as the “mean girl” but I loved her insistence, confidence, and sassiness in everything she does. My love for her grew as she slowly became Grace and Sam’s good friend – with her sassiness still there of course.

Plot

It was easy for me to get directly into the plot, although at some points it did miss some flourish. The book is a paranormal romance so it was bound to have a similar plot like any other. But I did enjoy it overall as Stiefvater added a twist to the werewolf mechanism unlike in usual werewolf novels. In Shiver, werewolves only shifted into their human form during the summer due to the hot weather. Once it was cold, they shifted back into a werewolf – the human completely incapable of controlling the shift. They communicate through sending images and they each have a distinct characteristic that connects them to their human – their eyes.

What made me give Shiver a 3.5 star overall for me was because of the lack of action. I mean, there was a climax in the book that got me reading on the edge of my chair but the lead up to it was lacking. At some points I thought there could be something added into the mix to make it a bit more exciting.

I do, however, love Maggie Stiefvate’s poetic writing. The words flowed so easily, the forest, the town was built through intricate words and through an easy flow.

Overall, Shiver was an enjoyable read even thought it lacked some flourish here and there. I will definitely be reading the next book!

Moonstone by Evelyne Contant

Before I start this review, I just want to say a huge thank you to the author for sending me an ebook copy of Moonstone in return for an honest review. It was such an honor to be able to read this book and to be able to review it.

Title: Moonstone

Author: Evelyne Contant

Publication Date: February 21, 2016

Start Date: May 5, 2017

Finish Date: May 26, 2017

4 Stars

Moonstone is the first installment of the Enchantment series by Evelyne Contant. It follows the life of eighteen-year-old Lou who has lived a normal life amongst the humans until she discovers that she is an enchanter – specifically a Moonchild who can control all four elements and some more (i.e. the power of Ether). From this, she is pulled into another world filled with magic that she never thought was possible. Her life unravels further as she is told that she is the key to stopping the upcoming war waging ahead between the people she once lived with (i.e. Humans) and the people she is a part of now (i.e. Enchanters). Lou goes through conflicts and challenges she never thought she would before filled with adventure, action, romance, and trust.

Let’s break this down like I always do:

Characters:

  • Lou. I absolutely loved Lou as a character. I related to her on so many levels that it was hilarious at one point. Her bravery stood out to me and her willingness to do something that she never heard or expected before. Also, I was quite satisfied with her character development and her transition from being shocked to taking things into her own hands. However, I do still get slightly annoyed at her naivety.
  • Lord Black. I have to admit, I didn’t like Black as much at first given his domineering personality. But I slowly grew to like him as his story unveiled and many different events came to play. He became one of my favorites.

Plot

To be completely honest, the book started out quite slow for me. Maybe it was because of the extremely long first two chapters or the fact that I love fast paced novels – but it took me awhile to get into it. Although it did create the basis of the world in the Enchantment series and the different things the readers would be encountering. Once I was really into the novel, I couldn’t stop.

The plot had the elements of any fantasy novel of course with new discoveries, the protagonist being thrusted into a new world, and some romance here and there. But the author made the plot much more interesting than the usual fantasy novel. She laced in Greek mythology into the story, making every single thing mean so much more than it is. As a lover of Greek mythology, every explanation she stated in the novel made the entire story more interesting, meaningful, and compelling. Things that seem like minor discoveries to the readers suddenly becomes something vital to the plot as she allows the protagonist – Lou –  to explain the meaning behind everything she discovers.

Furthermore, the plot twist. I could not handle it. That part of the novel (in which I’m not going to mention given that I’m trying to write a spoiler-free review) was heartbreaking yet it made the novel into so much more. I was glad it was added into the story and it opened so many new doors to begin the second installment of the series.

Overall, I recommend Moonstone to YA fantasy lovers! The plot and characters are interesting and will keep you going the whole way. Thank you so much again to Evelyne for giving me the opportunity to read her wonderful novel.

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A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

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Title: A Court of Mist and Fury

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Publication Date: May 3, 2016

Start Date: May 14, 2016

Finish Date: June 7, 2016

10 Stars

“To the stars who listen—and the dreams that are answered.”

Only a few days ago have I finished A Court of Wings and Ruin and only after reading the final instalment of this series am I emotionally strong enough to write a review for the second instalment, A Court of Mist and Fury in which I read last year.

This review may be a year late and it may be irrelevant compared to the other reviews already written here but I still feel the need to write this. A Court of Mist and Fury is a book that ingrained itself into my heart and has become something that means so much to me from the characters, the setting, the plot line, everything.

*SPOILERS BELOW*

When I first read the first instalment of this series, A Court of Thorns and Roses I thought this was going to be another average fantasy novel. The typical story of the human girl falling in love with the overprotective, other worldly male. I didn’t hate it, the story was intriguing and well written in my opinion but it just didn’t stick out to me at first. To be honest, I was close to disregarding A Court of Mist and Fury because I thought I could find other more interesting books if it weren’t for my friend raving at the fact that ACOMAF was everything you could have asked for and more.

And so, I went out and bought myself ACOMAF. To this day, I have never been so glad I bought ACOMAF. To this day, I’m still not over ACOMAF – in a good way of course (sorry for the repetition, I have to get my point across).

Firstly, let’s talk about the characters:
Feyre Archeron. The character development she went through was one I never expected. She went from being, as you could say, submissive to realizing that she was entitled her own rights and choices. This is important, so important, to readers to know that they have a choice and by Sarah J. Maas integrating that into Feyre’s mindset allows readers to realize that we ourselves have a choice in our own lives.
Rhysand. I am complete, total, Rhysand trash. There’s no coming back from this. SJM has created Rhysand far differently than usual male protagonists. There’s usually always an aspect of dominance in the male protagonists, although they may be sweethearts, towards the females with the “I’m trying to protect you,” “this is what’s best for you,” blah blah blah stuff. No. Rhysand isn’t like that. He believes in Feyre in that he knows she’s capable of handling herself and, if she does need him, she’ll call for him. He also gives Feyre a choice. Although they made the deal in ACOTAR, he was never going to force her to come with him. If she said no, he would’ve left. Because of this, I love Rhysand more than anything.
The Inner Circle. This is a group of faes that are Rhysand’s most closests and trusted friends, including Cassian, Azriel, Morrigan (Mor), and Amren. I will admit, maybe there’s one character I love more than Rhysand and that’s Cassian. But we don’t need to go deep into that then this review will never end. Essentially, every character in the Inner Circle added and practically <i>made</i> the plot of ACOMAF better than what is already was. They created comedy between the characters, love, happiness, angst, everything. They defined the meaning of true friendship and what it means to have each other’s back through the best and worst times.
Lucien. Many readers, I feel, wouldn’t be too fond of Lucien throughout this book given that he is Tamlin’s right hand man. But I feel like Lucien wasn’t given a choice like Feyre was throughout the book. He was a victim of Tamlin’s just like Feyre was in the first book. Hence, I never really hated Lucien – I just hoped he would be better in ACOWAR and realize that he isn’t obligated to serve Tamlin all his life.

Secondly, there’s the plot itself. I don’t have much to say in this other than it was amazing. The twists and turns throughout this whole novel kept me reading and reading for so long. The only reason my start and finish date is so far apart was because I was so slow (as in days slow) reading the first few chapters and had to re-read it a few times before I finally put my whole self into the book. After that I read it all in one night.

Third, the setting. This itself was a twist in the novel because I never expected one of the courts to have hidden locations *wink wink*. The world building was also wonderfully written, the colors flaring so easily into the reader’s minds and the people described elegantly (although I hoped there were more variety in the description for skin color).

Finally, the messages. I have never been impacted by a book more than I did by ACOMAF. The story that Sarah J. Maas is filled with so many underlying messages that readers needed to know. But one that stood out most was this: that we always and should have a choice. Don’t let one person constrict you into doing what you don’t want to. Don’t stay with a person that won’t give you a choice in what you want to do. And that’s important because not many readers feel like they know this. Certainly, I didn’t know the full extent of it at first. After reading ACOMAF, every other book I read I realized that some of the protagonists, male and female, feel like they don’t have a choice. That their actions are defined by their partners and restricted to what their partners think is right. I think that’s why ACOMAF stood out so much to me because Rhysand was a refreshing character, one unlike the usual.

Overall, I recommend ACOMAF to all YA, fantasy readers and, to be honest, any sort of reader. This book is filled with adventure, romance, comedy, excitement, angst of all sorts that I think the world should know more about.


Bookmarks in the image above is from @readandwonder_ and @inkandwonder.designs

 

The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury

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Title: The Forbidden Wish

Author: Jessica Khoury

Publication Date: February 23, 2016

Start Date: May 9, 2017

Finish Date: May 11, 2017

4 Stars


“Have I told you I love you?” he whispers.

I smile. “Not since this morning.”
“Unforgivable. I will tell you every hour of every day.”

I first found The Forbidden Wish in a local bookstore near my house, translated into the local language of my country. My friends were all reading it and they said it was such a great read so I scavenged for an English copy of the book for myself. Frankly, I was not disappointed.

The Forbidden Wish is a spin-off of the classic fairy tale of Aladdin. The protagonist, named Aladdin of course, was led by a ring he stole to a ruin in which he found, Zahra, the jinni within the lamp. From there their adventure unravels as their feelings for each other grows and conflicts arise.

I have a huge weakness for fairy tale spin-offs so obviously, I loved this book after the first few chapters. It was filled with adventure, romance, and even some comedy from the banter between Zahra and Aladdin. Their relationship was one I love, their jokes and cheesiness amongst each other got me smiling down at the book the entire time I was reading it.

Okay, to break it down.

Firstly, I loved the author’s writing. Everything flowed so smoothly together and the world building was exquisite. Everything was described in detail from one corner to another and the image of the different places in the novel just unraveled so easily. Colors flared into your mind when you read Khoury’s writing in this novel.

Secondly, the girls in this book were so powerful. Who gave justice to the people of the kingdom? The girls. Who brought the kingdom back up when it was close to rubbles? The girls. The Forbidden Wish is filled with powerful female representation that inspires readers to believe they are can be more than what they just are. The females aren’t perfect either, they have their flaws and weaknesses which add to the representation as it embodies that females do not always have to be perfect to be strong. I think this is an important aspect of a novel since it empowers readers of both genders in many ways.

Finally, the romance. The reason I gave this book four stars instead of five was because the romance towards the beginning was not fully developed to reach what it was in the end. It was sort of sudden for me and I wish there could have been more signs from Aladdin of him liking Zahra instead of just the small signs that could be interpreted either as a character liking another or just friendship (or maybe I just missed it). HOWEVER, I still loved the fact that the romance adds to the plot instead of the plot being the romance. If it wasn’t there, the book would still be action packed and compelling to readers and would be just an equivalently awesome read. And I have to admit, the romance was cute. Aladdin was cheesy and corny as ever and I was smiling so wide, it was unbelievable.

Overall, this was a great read for me and I’m glad I found the novel. I would highly recommend this for those who love YA fantasy novels and/or fairy tale spin-offs.

-Rey

Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

Title: Wintersong

Author: S. Jae-Jones

Publication Date: February 7, 2017

Start Date: March 19, 2017

Finish Date: April 2, 2017

4.5 Stars

“You are,” I said, “the monster I claim.”
He was trembling now. “You do not know what you ask.” Panic touched his words, even as savagery played across his features.
“Oh, but I do.”

Starting this book, I had no idea what to expect. I knew it was a highly appraised and recommended book amongst the YA community. Because of this, I feared that it was too overpraised or overhyped.

I had no regrets starting this book.

I admit that it was a little slow in the beginning. It took me two tries before I finally got myself into the book but, from there, it went by really quickly.

Firstly, <i>Wintersong</i> is a novel about burdened, nineteen-year-old Liesl and her sacrifice to the Goblin King. It follows her journey with the Goblin King, ruler of the Underground, and her new found sense of guilty freedom.

Following that, S. Jae-Jones writes in such a poetic and beautiful way that the entire book flows so smoothly. Combined with the plot, the <i>Wintersong</i> was like none other. It mixes conflict, desire, romance, and affection all into one in the most beautiful way. The novel isn’t rushed in any way, the relationship and friendship between the characters grow gradually over time. The world development is also so beautiful as she describes the continuous changes in the Goblin Grove, the Underground, etc.

Finally, Liesl is a character that is conflicted (occasionally frustrating at first) but relatable. Her development is prominent through the book as she grows stronger and fights for the things that she wants – not what everyone else wants like she’s used to as she grew up. She realizes that other people shouldn’t have to control her actions and that she is more capable than she thinks. The Goblin King’s character development is also beautifully written, his secrets slowly unveiling as the novel keeps going.
This book is definitely not overhyped. It’s worth the time I spent to read and is something I highly recommend to YA readers.

-Rey

The Friend Zone by Kristen Callihan

Title: The Friend Zone

Author: Kristen Callihan

Publication Date: May 5, 2015

Start Date: April 14, 2017

Finish Date: April 17, 2017

You can see I really like this author aha.

4.5 Stars

“Mac?”
“Yeah?” The sound of the rain and the press of Gray’s body has lulled me into a state of warm relaxation, and my head rests heavily against the window. My fingers don’t stop running through his hair.
“I’m so fucking glad I borrowed your car,” he chokes out, his hand gripping my calf, rubbing it as if I’m precious. “The thought of you not being in my life tears me up. I… You are the happiness I never realized I needed.”

YOU GUYS. THE SPEED I READ THIS BOOK WAS RIDICULOUS. I STAYED UP THE WHOLE NIGHT FOR THIS AND I LOVED EVERY MOMENT OF IT.

The Friend Zone is the second novel in Callihan’s Game On series. It follows the life of Gray Grayson, Drew’s best friend team mate, and how his friendship with Ivy Mackenzie grows into more. Frankly, Ivy is the owner of the pink Fiat Gray’s agent, Sean Mackenzie, lend him in The Hook Up.

Firstly, I absolutely love Gray Grayson. To be honest, I was iffy about him in The Hook Up being that he was the ultimate playboy but, jeez, he was such a sweetheart in this book I fell in love so quickly. Towards the end of the previous novel, I had started growing a liking to him due to his dedication with Drew and his friends. Frankly, in this one I just fell through because it was that version of him the entire novel.

Second, the banter between Gray and Ivy was something I lived for – especially their text messages to each other. Thankfully, I was reading this alone because I was smiling like a loon the entire time. The banter created a dynamic flare instead of the characters simply being average friends then in love. It shows their comfort with each other and also a development of how their relationship is growing. And this could be said for most of Callihan’s books.

Finally, I loved the affection and dedication Gray had towards Ivy and vice versa. As I dubbed him a player in the last novel, I expected in this novel once the <i>real</i> conflict arises between him and Ivy he would be running away to leave her to handle the whole thing before coming back and grovelling at his feet, blah, blah. Thankfully, it wasn’t like that. He may have ran but came back almost immediately and stayed, becoming Ivy’s anchor. This was the same the other way, Ivy staying by Gray when he was in conflict. Their love was more and better than I ever expected.

However, there was one thing that stopped me from ranking the book a full five stars. During the starts of Ivy and Gray’s relationship, Ivy always felt the sense of need to soothe Gray through her body (?):

“I should take him inside, comfort him with my body and forget trying to make him talk.”

It bugged me for the longest time because I don’t think it’s right for any girl to think this way and for the readers to think that they should have to offer their body to comfort their significant other. Eventually, I realized that her mindset changed from this and that her character has developed as her relationship with Gray grew. She realized that Gray didn’t seek comfort from her body but simply her.

Overall, this novel really did it for me. I loved every step of the way from Gray and Ivy’s jokes to their simple affection (excluding the body offering stuff). I would highly recommend this for NA lovers, especially those that love college-sports romance.

The Hook Up by Kristen Callihan

Title: The Hook Up

Author: Kristen Callihan

Publication Date: September 7, 2014

Start Date: April 13, 2017

Finish Date: April 14, 2017

Because I’m a lover of romance, be prepared for a few new adult novel reviews too 😉

4 Stars

“Drew?” I nuzzle his ear.
“Yeah?”
“I think you’re real cute,” I drawl.
He bursts out laughing. “Oh, wow,” he deadpans. “I’ve just been schooled.”
“You know it.”

The Hook Up is the first of Kristen Callihan’s Game on series. It follows the life of Anna Jones in the beginning of her senior year in college and her meeting with the famous quarterback Drew Baylor.

Safe to say, I was in doubt of this book at first. I mean, within the first chapter there were already some very weird…statements that, honestly, got me cringing. Take this as an example:

“I’m about to tell Gray that I’ll see him tomorrow, maybe hit the sack in an effort to at least try to get some needed sleep, when I feel a familiar tightening in my groin and along my back.
I have no explanation for how or why it is that I know when she’s near. I just do. Like a magnet to metal, my body swivels and my head lifts. And there she is.”

GAH! I was worried this was going to turn into Fifty Shades of Grey where the guys relates everything back to his damned dick private parts. But I pushed through and decided to keep going from the numerous good reviews given for this book. I did not regret. By the third chapter I was hooked and I couldn’t stop reading. Every time I told myself to stop because it was getting late (given I ended up finishing this book at 3 A.M.) – the end of each chapter just pulled me back in to continue.

What I loved most about this book was that, Drew wasn’t an asshole. Reading through Drew’s point of view, you understand that it was just him being his nervous self and blurting out the first think he could think of (relatable tbh). It wasn’t because of his past experience that caused him to say something that could be misunderstood by a girl, he was purely nervous, like a school boy.

“So I blurted out what is possibly the stupidest thing I’ve ever uttered in my life, “Hey, Big Red.”
Yeah. Shoot me now. What the holy hell had I done? What the fuck did ‘Big Red’ even mean? My mind screamed, Do something, you idiot! Apologize! Retreat!”

In most NA books, from my experience, it’s always the guy being demanding and dominant and blah, blah, blah, the chick falls for him, blah. In this book, Drew was just a guy who really liked a girl and didn’t know what to do. I think this was one of the biggest reasons the book pulled me through. I didn’t have to put up with the I-am-a-dominant-guy-that-can-protect-you-and-you-always-have-to-stick-by-me problem but just simple, growing love between two people. Towards the end, Drew also had his own problems and fears and that’s what made the plot all the more better. Again, he wasn’t guy who thought he always had to be manly and can’t show weakness. He showed it just fine and, although he struggled with people trying to help him at first, he accepted it and got better.

I also loved the fact that Anna is such a relatable character. She has her fears of going into a relationship, especially with someone like Drew Baylor who was bound to be world famous once he’s out of college. You can’t expect to fall right through in love with a person and live happily ever after. She had her fears of what was to come in the future and she eventually overcame them as she realized that Drew wasn’t taking all this as a joke but as a serious relationship.

This is a book I highly recommend to NA genre lovers. It pulls you right through and gets you to read more and more of it until you finish it. I’m definitely reading the rest of this series with absolutely no regrets.

-Rey