The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones Review

5 STARS

Thank you so much to Little Brown Books for Young Readers for the free copy of this book for my review! 

This book is now one of my top favorite books of all time. It had the perfect amount of spooky, romance, and keep you on the edge of your seat creepy. I have never read a book like this before and I absolutely loved it. 

I would definitely classify this book as a dark fantasy with the rotting corpses and the dead coming back to life but it also had a lot of humor thrown in that surprised me. The writing was amazing and kept me entranced the entire time I was reading, it was so detailed and gripping. The world that Emily Lloyd-Jones created was richly-imagined but so simple at the same time, you could picture everything and that’s one thing I loved so much about this. 

I loved the characters of Ryn and Ellis, especially how Ellis was dealing with chronic pain throughout the book which is something I don’t normally find in fantasy books. Their relationship was so fun to read about and the ending honestly left me gasping and dreading for the outcome. 

Overall an excellent book that I highly, highly suggest reading. This was unlike any other fantasy book I’ve read and I doubt anything will ever compare to it. 

Review of Season of the Witch (The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina) by Sarah Rees Brennan

4 STARS

Thank you so much to Scholastic Inc. Books for the free copy of this book for my honest review!

I grew up in the era of the original Sabrina the Teenage Witch and then when I saw they were making a more modern day show I was really excited. Then they came out with a book and my world was officially complete. Witchy, dark books have always been a favorite of mine (probably because Halloween is my favorite holiday) and this book definitely didn’t disappoint!

This book is based as a prequel to the show on Netflix and follows Sabrina as she’s about to turn 16 and tries to enjoy her last summer with Harvey and her two best friends. Her cousin Ambrose helps her cast a spell on Harvey that shows all of his true feelings. But when a wood spirit deceives Sabrina and the spell goes wrong, Sabrina must decide if she’s going down the wrong path and if all this power is truly worth it.

I loved the Netflix show Sabrina so I knew I would enjoy getting to learn about her life before the show. It honestly makes the show a little better getting to know more about the backstories to everything and it was so well written. The author’s writing style kept me engaged the entire time and I love how she nailed the characters perfectly. All the characters were well developed and relatable in their own ways and the number of times I laughed at Sabrina’s aunts’ tactics made for a great read.

This book had the perfect amount of darkness, humor, with a bit of romance thrown in for a perfect summer read. I can’t wait for the next book in the series!

Review of The Evil Queen by Gena Showalter

5 STAR REVIEW
I honestly wish I could give it more.

Thank you so much to Harper Collins and Gena Showalter for providing me with a free copy of this book for my honest review.

I’m a huge fan of fairytale retellings and this one did not disappoint at all! I loved Gena Showalter’s writing for years and this book was great!

The female main character of the book Everly has been raised in the mortal world by her mom and stepdad with her twin sister Hartly. She has no idea that she’s a fairy princess and that she possesses strong powers, powers that could get her killed. Her world gets turned upside down when they both find out they have powers and are taken to the world of Enchantia. Everything that happens to Everly is done because of what the fairytale or prophecy says is going to happen and everyone must figure out if she is the Evil Queen or not.

This story was kind of hard for me to get into at first but once I started I couldn’t put it down (can you say binge reading). I loved all of the characters but I especially loved Everly. She was such a sweet girl and only wanted the best for everyone and had a hell of a time when she had to be mean or kill someone. I loved the background thinking she had in some very intense parts and I loved how snarky and sarcastic she was, kind of reminded me of myself. And don’t even get me started on the romance between her and the Prince, holy swoon.

The fight scenes in this book were also incredible. Gena goes into so much detail in her books that you honestly feel like you’re right there with them and I honestly flinched at a couple of the spots when someone got hit, it seemed that real to me. I think that was one of the best parts about this fantasy novel was how descriptive and creative everything, it sucks you into the story and doesn’t want to let you go.

Review of A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

5 STAR REVIEW

This might honestly be my favorite book I’ve read so far in 2019.  Beauty and the Beast is my absolute favorite Disney movie ever so I was so excited to see a new retelling of it come out. Everything was so vivid and detailed in this book that you could picture everything as it was happening and the characters were amazing.  My only complaint about this book was how it ended, now I’m dying for the sequel to come out.

Harper is living a hard life with cerebral palsy, her mom slowly dying from cancer and her brother Jake having to deal with unsavory loan sharks after their Dad abandons them and owes some not-so-nice guys a lot of money.  One night while Harper is playing the lookout for Jake she sees a man with a passed out woman and she doesn’t think his intentions are good.  Trying to fight him off Harper winds up in Emberfall, a magical castle where she meets Rhen.  Rhen has been cursed and is forced to repeat the same season over and over as a monster until he can break that curse, by finding a girl to fall in love with him.  Harper wants nothing to do with Prince Rhen and only wants to return to her family that she hopes are alive.  As she starts to spend time with Rhen and his Commander Grey she begins to understand their world and what’s truly at stake if the curse can’t be broken.

This was my first novel by Brigid Kemmerer and I’ve read quite a few retellings of Beauty and the Beast and this one by far was the best I’ve read.  I absolutely loved the character of Harper and how brave and courageous she was even with cerebral palsy, she never let that hold her back.  With all the crap going on in her life she is still so unselfish and only thinks of others and truly comes to care for the people of Emberfall once she gets to know everyone.  

Another favorite character of mine was Grey.  While most people would be swooning over Prince Rhen and how romantic he was to Harper I’m Team Grey over here.  He seemed like such a tough guy (“Scary Grey”) but really underneath all of that armor he was a total sweetheart.  I did enjoy the romance between Rhen and Harper but did anyone else honestly hope that Grey and she would get together?  His character was so adorable, his moments with the children were swoon-worthy, and how he came to care about Harper so much was adorable, Harper was exactly what he needed in his life after enduring the curse for so long. The ending of this book absolutely killed me in reference to him but then I found out that there will be a second book in the series and I might have squealed just a little bit.  

This was one of the best fantasy novels I’ve ever read and I’m so dang excited for the next book to come out.  Not many authors can recreate a Disney classic so well but this book was amazing!

PURCHASE LINKS:

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-curse-so-dark-and-lonely-brigid-kemmerer/1128064594?ean=9781681195087#/

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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Brigid Kemmerer is the author of dark, contemporary Young Adult romances like MORE THAN WE CAN TELL and LETTERS TO THE LOST (Bloomsbury), as well as paranormal YA novels like THE ELEMENTAL SERIES and THICKER THAN WATER (Kensington). Her next book will be her first foray into YA Fantasy, with A CURSE SO DARK AND LONELY, available January 2019 wherever books are sold. Brigid lives in the Baltimore area with her husband and four sons.

Review of No Place Like Here by Christina June

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4 STAR REVIEW

Thank you so much to Blink Publishers and NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

This was my first novel by Christina June and I was hooked right from the beginning.  I know a lot of people said it was a modern Hansel and Gretel retelling, which loosely put it could be, but I thought of it more as a YA contemporary.

Ashlynn can’t wait to be back home after spending a year at boarding school away from her parents.  But then she finds out her dad is going to prison for tax evasion, and she found out not from her parents but from social media.  And to add the cherry on top, her mom is going to rehab for “exhaustion” aka depression.  She gets shipped off to spend the summer with her relatives that she barely knows and starts a summer job at a wilderness camp that their daughter Hannah works at. 

I automatically fell in love with the main character Ashlynn.  I felt so bad for her at the beginning when she found out both of her parents were pretty much abandoning her and she had to go live with her Uncle and Aunt that she hasn’t seen in forever.  The way her tyrant Dad treated her about made me want to cry and then the sweet way her Mom acted toward her when her Dad wasn’t around made me want to cry again.  But then when she actually started becoming happy and finally made friends with Hannah my heart just soared.  You can’t help but want to root for her the whole novel.  Yeah, she messed up once but what happened to her was really not her fault at all and her Dad just couldn’t drop his ways and see that.

I also really loved the character of Baxter.  He was so tentative with her and soft-spoken at first and then really opened up at Ashlynn.  He didn’t try to be the macho douchebag like Marcus, he actually helped with Ashlynn’s family problems and was always there to help her (and rescue her!) and was an amazing friend.

This is definitely a perfect summer read about family issues and learning how to trust new people even when you can’t trust your own family.

PURCHASE LINKS:

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/no-place-like-here-christina-june/1128931453?ean=9780310766926#/

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

View More: http://hannahbjorndalphotography.pass.us/authorchristinajune

Christina June writes young adult contemporary fiction when she’s not writing college recommendation letters during her day job as a school counselor. She loves the little moments in life that help someone discover who they’re meant to become – whether it’s her students or her characters. Christina is a voracious reader, loves to travel, and hopes to one day be bicoastal – the east coast of the US and the east coast of Scotland. She lives just outside Washington DC with her husband and daughter.

She is the author of IT STARTED WITH GOODBYE, EVERYWHERE YOU WANT TO BE, and the forthcoming NO PLACE LIKE HERE.

Review of Into the Hollow by Lynn Vroman

4 STAR REVIEW

Thank you so much to Owl Hollow Press and NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

This novel is set in the town of Poplar Beach, West Virginia where we meet 17-year-old Freedom who is living in a shack without water or electricity with her younger brother and her father. Neither of the children attend school and are not allowed to have any friends. Their father is always scheming ways to make money even if it means ripping people off while Freedom works at a grocery store. Enter Cole, another teenager who also has a troublesome home life. What starts as helping Freedom out after her dad is injured turns into so much more.

I went into this book expecting YA romance which I feel I have read a million times before. I was so not ready for what this book was actually about. It’s not just a story about love, it’s a story about family and survival and teenagers with crappy lives trying to make it better and be the adults.

Lynn Vroman has an amazing writing style that will keep you interested and wanting to know what happens next. The way she details her characters and the storyline is amazing and she has a true talent for this. I loved the characters Freedom and Cole and how they had such a slow building romance while trying to help each other out. This was such a great book!

Review of Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

4 STAR REVIEW

Thank you so much to St. Martins Press and NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

I’ve been slowly easing myself into books I wouldn’t normally read and I was very excited when I received his novel. I heard that it is reminiscent of Six of Crows and even though I haven’t read that book yet it’s definitely on my TBR list. I have heard many great things about the author and her past works so I was immediately intrigued by this one.

This book is set in 1889 during the Exposition Universalle which is a fair that features displays of cars, diamonds, and a human zoo. While this book tended to lean more towards historical with a touch of fantasy, I still really enjoyed it and the characters. I got a little confused at times as the characters were building up and what their relationships were with each other but as I got further into the book it made more sense. There was a few areas of massive information dumps that I had to slowly read to not get confused (spoiler alert, I still did) but overall this was a really great book. I absolutely love the cover and how the author was so detailed in everything. The only complaint I have is the ending, that was an interesting cliffhanger and now I feel I have to read the second book in the series to figure out what the heck is going to happen next.