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Windwitch (Witchlands #2) by Susan Dennard

If you read my review of Truthwitch, the first book in Susan Dennard’s Witchlands series, you know that I had very mixed feelings about it. I liked the book, but found my mind often wandering through different passages and I felt that there was a lot of character, plot and world development missing from Truthwitch. As I stated in my review of that book, “I hope that Windwitch can offer what Truthwitch lacked.”
Well folks, I am so happy to say that I enjoyed Windwitch more than Truthwitch.

Especially with the cliffhanger ending.

Well played, Susan Dennard, well played.

Where I found Truthwitch to be shaky and poorly organized, I thought Windwitch finally put me, as a reader, on the right track! The character development, plot organization and world building was stronger than the first book. The writing style does not vary from the first book, there are plenty of action scenes, overly descriptive passages and witty banter between the characters to keep readers entertained. 

It’s very apparent that there are a lot of moving parts with these books, and I think that Susan Dennard did a good job building on the platform that Truthwitch gave her. I know that she has said writing Windwitch was a very difficult process for her but I think it resulted in a slightly stronger novel than Truthwitch. Here’s the thing – Susan Dennard completely executed a huge dynamic shift from the first book to the second. Readers who were in these books for the ships are going to be disappointed because there is a lot more individual character development than relationship development. While I usually hate it when teams are broken, or ships are suffering from separation – THIS TOTALLY WORKED FOR ME. It may have to do with the fact that I was never interested or invested in any of the ships to begin with, so I really enjoyed the characters figuring things out for themselves without relying on their friends.

As I had hoped, Aeduan and Iseult proved to be the most interesting characters in the book and I thoroughly enjoyed their storyline. Safi showed a lot of growth from the first book, which I also had hoped – I’m interested to see where she goes and how she develops. Merik completely fell flat for me, sorry. In all honesty, I’m not very interested in Merik or Safi at this point, but the third book could surprise me. At this point, I’ll likely read the third book Bloodwitch when it comes out solely for the purpose of finding out what becomes of Iseult and Aeduan.

If you were a fan of Truthwitch it’s likely that you will enjoy this book. I think that Susan Dennard’s writing is wonderful – and I’m hoping to see a stronger third book in this series.

Buy Windwitch
Read my review of Truthwitch --> here

Anticipated New Release: The Hollywood Daughter by Kate Alcott

Thank you Netgalley and Doubleday Books for providing me with an advanced copy of the ebook of Kate Alcott's newest novel, The Hollywood Daughter, in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own and do not reflect the views of anyone affiliated with the publishing of this book.

Kate Alcott is a master story teller. She has the ability to choose a place in time, hone in on it and develop the most beautiful stories. One of my favorite historical fiction novels is her book, The Dressmaker, which follows a young woman through the tragic sinking of the Titanic and to New York in pursuit of becoming a dressmaker. It's a wonderful book - so I had high expectations for her latest novel, The Hollywood Daughter. I was not disappointed and I enjoyed this book as much as Alcott's prior work.
The Hollywood Daughter is a dazzling and emotional coming of age tale about Jessica Malloy, a young girl who is caught between the glamorous allure of the Hollywood stars and movies her father works with and the morality and rigid rules dictated by her catholic upbringing. Caught between two worlds whose morals and values seem to be ever at odds with each other, she is forced to search for her own truth during the McCarthy era in the United States.
The main character, Jesse, is the daughter of a well known Hollywood publicist and a devout Catholic mother, who from an early age develops an intense fandom for Ingrid Bergman, her father's most high profile client. For many years Jesse continues to view Ingrid Bergman's career from afar, picturing her as the pious, upright woman that she appears to be in her films. When news of Bergman's scandalous affair with Italian director Roberto Rossellini reaches Jesse and her family, it serves as a catalyst for Jesse to question everything she ever thought was true about life, love and her family. Caught in the midst of such a scandal she begins to see the fault lines in her own parent's marriage and the faith she was raised to stand on, causing her to question her own values and beliefs.
I enjoyed this book immensely and loved the story of a young girl who must come to terms with her own views on morality, values and faith in the midst of an intense political environment in the United States. The novel has a steady pace, is highly readable and fun in the sense that it gives the reader a small glimpse into the glittery world of old Hollywood and its famous icons. The political and religious themes throughout the book offer great material for discussion - I believe this would be a solid book club choice. If you're looking for a great new read for Spring, check this one out!  

The Hollywood Daughter is available to pre-order and released on March 7, 2017
Buy it on


Caraval by Stephanie Garber

“Welcome, welcome to Caraval! The grandest show on land or by sea. Inside you’ll experience more wonders than most people see in a lifetime. You can sip magic from a cup and buy dreams in a bottle. But before you fully enter into our world, you must remember it’s all a game.”

Welcome to the wonderful, rosy prosy world of Caraval – Stephanie Garber’s debut novel that is generating a ton of buzz right now.

A tale of two sisters caught in a magical game that blurs the boundary between reality and illusion, and a tall, dark and handsome stranger to help figure it out, throw in all the comparisons to one of my favorites, The Night Circus - why, this book sounds like it was written for me!

Well, actually, it was written for sixteen year olds. So, there’s that.

Scarlett and Donatella Dragna live under the roof of their scheming, punishing father on an isolated island estate. Having lost their mother and with no one to turn to but each other, the girls are incredibly close but very different. Tella rebels against her father while Scarlett obeys him. Both girls want nothing more than to escape the island where they live and be free of their father. When the girls receive an invitation to Caraval from its infamous host, Legend, Tella sees a chance at freedom and Scarlett hopes to experience the magic and romance of Caraval before she marries the stranger to whom her father has betrothed her.

Knowing that their father would never allow them to attend Caraval, The girls run away to go to the show, but when they arrive Legend whisks Tella away to be the winning piece in this year’s game. To reach Tella before the game ends and she is lost forever, Scarlett will have to partake in a dangerous game of intrigue and illusion that will challenge her in ways she never thought possible.

You will like this book if you are into a fast-paced fantasy storyline with all the romantic, intoxicating prose that makes no sense but sounds really good.

For example:
“She remembered thinking falling for him would be like falling in love with darkness, but now she imagined he was more like a starry night: the constellations were always there, constant, magnificent guides against the ever-present black.”


“He tasted like midnight and wind, and shades of rich brown and light blue. Colors that made her feel safe and guarded.”

Can someone please tell me what midnight tastes like?

There is a lot of this type of writing in this book – so if it’s your thing, you will love it.

You will like this book if you like cotton candy – this book is like sweet spun sugar that dissolves in your mouth, leaving you with a bunch of empty calories but no real substance in the end.

You will NOT like this book if you are expecting the detailed, multi-layered, intricately crafted story that was The Night Circus. I honestly do not understand the comparisons to Erin Morgenstern’s novel at all – it does not compare in substance or story. So, do not go in to Caraval expecting the same quality of writing or storyline that The Night Circus gave us.

At first I really loved this book, and now that I have had some time to ruminate on it, to be honest I really enjoyed this book for what it is, an entertaining YA fantasy novel. I can see what Stephanie Garber was trying to accomplish with this novel and I get it. It is a story about the bond between two sisters set in a fantasy world, but because that alone isn’t enough to carry the story -we need muscles to drool over – there’s the handsome guy to help guide our heroine through the twists and turns of the game keeping our heartstrings and interests alive.

While I really enjoyed this book and it was a quick read, I have a feeling that readers in search of a more substantial fantasy novel are going to see this for the cotton candy fluff it is – which is okay because cotton candy is delicious! Who doesn’t like cotton candy? I feel that if you go into this book expecting that – you will probably enjoy it.

Buy Caraval
Amazon | Barnes & Noble

New Release Tuesday: YA Fiction & Historical Fiction

Happy New Release Tuesday!

There are a few wonderful books coming out today - I'm so excited that they're available to add to your shelves. Both are debut novels and are set in England! One is a modern dystopian novel, the other is historical fiction set during WWII.

Gilded Cage (Dark Gifts #1) is available to read! It's the first in a trilogy set in an alternate Great Britain. If you're a fan of YA dystopia - you'll probably like this one.
You can check out my review of this book here.


Our world belongs to the Equals—aristocrats with magical gifts—and all commoners must serve them for ten years.

But behind the gates of England’s grandest estate lies a power that could break the world.

A girl thirsts for love and knowledge.

Abi is a servant to England’s most powerful family, but her spirit is free. So when she falls for one of their noble-born sons, Abi faces a terrible choice. Uncovering the family’s secrets might win her liberty—but will her heart pay the price?

A boy dreams of revolution.

Abi’s brother, Luke, is enslaved in a brutal factory town. Far from his family and cruelly oppressed, he makes friends whose ideals could cost him everything. Now Luke has discovered there may be a power even greater than magic: revolution.

And an aristocrat will remake the world with his dark gifts.

He is a shadow in the glittering world of the Equals, with mysterious powers no one else understands. But will he liberate—or destroy?

The Chilbury Ladies' Choir

I love historical fiction - especially anything WWII era and I'm excited to pick this one up. It sounds like a wonderful story about female friendships and small village life during WWII.

As England becomes enmeshed in the early days of World War II and the men are away fighting, the women of Chilbury village forge an uncommon bond. They defy the Vicar’s stuffy edict to close the choir and instead “carry on singing,” resurrecting themselves as the Chilbury Ladies’ Choir. We come to know the home-front struggles of five unforgettable choir members: a timid widow devastated when her only son goes to fight; the older daughter of a local scion drawn to a mysterious artist; her younger sister pining over an impossible crush; a Jewish refugee from Czechoslovakia hiding a family secret; and a conniving midwife plotting to outrun her seedy past.

An enchanting ensemble story that shuttles from village intrigue to romance to the heartbreaking matters of life and death, Jennifer Ryan’s debut novel thrillingly illuminates the true strength of the women on the home front in a village of indomitable spirit.

A Torch Against the Night (An Ember in the Ashes 2)

A Torch Against the Night picks up immediately where Ember leaves off. If you missed it - you can read my review of An Ember in the Ashes ---> here.

Laia and Elias have fled the Empire only to find themselves fighting for their lives as they leave the city.
Betrayed by the Scholar Rebels, Laia is determined to rescue her brother from Kauf - the Martials' most dangerous and highly guarded prison. With Elias beside her, she may just have a chance.

Together they leave on a mission that, if successful, could have the key to saving the Scholars from the Martial Empire. However, leaving the Empire is easier said than done. With a bounty on their heads, Laia and Elias must travel a dangerous road where they are threatened by both humans and the supernatural, and hunted by the Empire's newest Blood Shrike - Elias' best friend Helene.

Helene, who knows Elias as well as she knows herself, is given the task of hunting Elias and Laia and bringing them back to the Emperor. Caught between her duty to the Empire and her heart - Helene must make sacrifices with heart breaking consequences to determine where her loyalties truly are.
But you, Helene Aquilla, are no swift buring spark. You are a torch against the night - if you dare to let yourself burn.

I read an Ember in the Ashes - I loved it.
So then I read A Torch Against the Night and I'm not sure how this is possible, but I loved it more than Ember. 

A Torch Against the Night acts as an extension of the first book. The plot is largely the same - Laia and Elias are trying to escape and save her brother, so this book continues on as they attempt to achieve that goal. In the process they meet new forms of opposition and each character struggles with his or her own issues. There is some pretty significant character growth throughout this book, not everyone is who they seem, loyalties are challenged and friendships are strained and it is magnificent my friends!

I was very happy to get Helene's POV in this book. She adds a third dimension that is so valuable for the reader and in many ways I felt that this book was hers. I'm excited to see what she does next and the alliances she forms. I also want her to be the one who takes down the crazy, psycho hellbitch Commandant and disgusting Marcus. Helene is a badass chick and she is fully capable of laying down the law.

For those who thought An Ember in the Ashes was slow, I feel you. But I found A Torch Against the Night to be a faster paced book with so many more little plot twists, character developments, and mysterious magical elements. This book evokes so many responses from me. I raged with Helene, I had hope for Laia and Elias. The stakes were raised, new information and characters were introduced. This book kept me guessing and thinking about it long after I finished reading it.

And now I have no idea what do while I wait until 2018(!) for the next one!
Sabaa Tahir - I have questions!!

I need to know how this is going to pan out.
I need to know how you're going to fix everything.
Mostly I need to know the release date of the next book.
Why 2018?
Buy A Torch Against the Night

King's Cage (Red Queen #3)

Mare Barrow is the face of the Scarlet Guard and Red Rebellion – the Lightning girl who can rally the oppressed Reds, disenfranchised Silvers and uncertain Newbloods of Norta to stand against their Silver King, an evil boy called Maven. She is their hope and their future...

But what will happen when she loses her spark?

Glass Sword left fans of the Red Queen series in shock when Mare was captured by Maven – uncertain of her fate or that of the Scarlet Guard. Sacrificing herself to free her comrades, she allows herself to be taken by the King where she is imprisoned and tortured in a cell of silent stone, an element that diminishes her power to wield lightening and slowly drains the strength and life away from her, and tortured by the court Whisper, who uses his ability to make her relive the most devastating moments in her life repeatedly.

With no way of escape from within Maven's impenetrable fortress and her power stripped from her, Mare finds herself caught in the midst of a political battle with only her mental fortitude to help her through. Navigating Maven's court is a dangerous place, full of betrayal, intrigue, heart rendering revelation and unlikely alliances. Will she be able to free herself from the boy she once loved? Or will she burn from within Maven's cage?

Victoria Aveyard's dazzling third installment to the Red Queen series is far and away the best yet. With new points of view from a newblood who is unsure of her ability and who to trust, and an old rival and enemy who's motivations are finally laid bare, this novel is a non-stop, emotional rollercoaster.

And here's what I have to say about it:

Victoria Aveyard – how could you?!

King’s Cage landed on my doorstep, I opened the packaging and cracked the spine.
I then proceeded to read the whole book.
Now, I am an emotional wreck.
Thanks for that.

The completely shattering third installment of the Red Queen series could not have been more perfect or more evil. Victoria Aveyard successfully reeled me in with her carefully crafted characters and perilous plotlines only to sink her knife through my pounding heart and twist it on the way out.

Maybe I am being a little dramatic, but I don’t care.

This novel was so much better than Glass Sword – which is a relief because I was concerned that King’s Cage would continue down the rabbit hole that Glass Sword dug for us without any clear way out. I was afraid of more of the same - short sighted Mare, indecisive Cal, cunning Maven. A rebellion with no real leader continuing to run circles to what end? I am so happy to say that King's Cage offered character development in leaps and bounds and a defined plot that still had twists and turns.

Victoria Aveyard must have been tired of everyone whining about Mare – so she finally gave her the strength and common sense that we have been dying to see from her in the past two books. The majority of this book is told from Mare’s perspective and much of it is while she’s held prisoner by Maven. While these chapters are slower at moments, they’re necessary to Mare’s growth as a character.

We also get insight from more than one character! I'm not going to say who, because spoilers, but I really enjoyed getting in the head of someone other than Mare. It made the book so much more interesting and set up a solid foundation for what I believe is going to be an intense finale. This was something that I really hoped we would get in this book and while the new POV wasn't from characters that I was expecting - I was pleasantly surprised.

And that ending!!
Yeah. I'm just going to leave that here.
I really don't think I can convey my emotions about this any better than Jack Sparrow can show them to you.
It was #feels.
Buy King's Cage:

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

Sabaa Tahir’s An Ember in the Ashes was released in 2015 – so it’s not a new book and I realize that I’m a little late to the party. But, as they say, better late than never and I’m so glad I showed up.

Seriously, I will party with Sabaa Tahir all day.

“All the beauty of the stars means nothing when life here on earth is so ugly.”

Weakness is akin to death in the Martial Empire and anyone who runs or challenges the Empire will surely lose his life to public execution, torture – or worse.

In an Empire dominated by fierce and bloody Martial rule, Elias wants one thing – to get away from the brutality and violence that surrounds him. He is the top of his class at Blackcliff Academy – a ruthless Martial school that trains its students to serve the Empire as its soldiers – where his skills have been honed and sharpened to serve the Empire, which is the last thing he wants.

Laia is a Scholar girl who wants nothing more than to have her family back. Oppressed and held captive as slaves by the Martials, the Scholars once ruled their lands in wisdom and knowledge. Now seen as an inferior race, they fear enslavement by the merciless Martials who sweep them from their homes and families in the night. Having lost her family to the Martials, Laia is determined to find and save her brother who is captured by masked soldiers and held in a Martial prison – for he has secrets that the Scholar Rebels could use to finally fight back against their Martial oppressors and ultimately win their freedom.

Seeking a way to free her brother, Laia joins the Scholar Rebel forces and becomes a spy in the most dangerous place in the Empire – Blackcliff Military Academy, where she is a house slave to the Commandant, a soulless and ruthless woman who lives in darkness and rules in terror over Blackcliff’s inhabitants.

Within Blackcliff’s terrible walls, Laia and Elias find each other – both searching for their own version of freedom and finding their lives intertwined with great consequences.

You guys – this book!

An Ember in the Ashes was an epic fantasy thriller (the first in a FOUR book series) filled with betrayal, bloody battles, love, friendship, magic and so much angst. It was brilliant and I don't care what anybody says - I loved it.

My favorite books usually are emotional rollercoasters that have me totally invested in the world and the characters that inhabit them (regardless of the genre). An Ember in the Ashes checked all the boxes for me and left me needing more.
  • Intense environment/world building? Check.
  • Flawed and relatable characters? Check.
  • Evil, terrifying, hellbitch villain? Check.
  • Social Injustices? Check.
  • Maybe a little romance? Check.
This book had it all and I loved it.

I believe that truly talented writers are able to convey complex emotions in their characters and develop multifaceted relationships as they simultaneously shape the world around them without being pretentious or trite. Sabaa Tahir’s characters in An Ember in the Ashes are complex, relatable and flawed – which gives the reader all the more reason to invest in their wellbeing. I was completely invested in Laia and Elias’ success – which made this a great book for me.

Aside from the characters, there are many elements at play in this novel. This book highlights the social injustices of the Martial Empire, it is political, and includes magical/supernatural elements in the form of the Augurs (mysterious, prophetic, holy men) and a myriad of other demons. It is truly a terrifying world where anything can happen, and often does which adds the intensity of the plot and character narratives.

“Fear can be good, Laia. It can keep you alive. But don't let it control you. Don't let it sow doubts within you. When the fear takes over, use the only thing more powerful, more indestructible to fight it: your spirit. Your heart.”

My only complaint would be the time it takes to get into the thick of the plot. Elias and Laia narrate in alternating chapters, which causes the reader to take a while to get to the main plot. It took me about a quarter of the book to get wrapped up in the events taking place – but it was worth it.

If you like fantasy or dystopia that is intelligently written with characters that leap off the page at you, you’ll want to pick this up.

And if you are not totally 100% sure you will like it – do it so you can read A Torch Against the Night – because it gets better!

Buy it on

New Release Tuesday: YA Fantasy & Women's Fiction


Happy New Release Tuesday!

It's the first Tuesday in February and there is a ton of new book goodness on shelves today!

YA & Fantasy

For the YA Fantasy set - we have the highly anticipated third installment of the Red Queen series, King's Cage by Victoria Aveyard. We're FINALLY going to find out what's become of Mare as she's locked up by Maven.
Mare Barrow is a prisoner, powerless without her lightning, tormented by her lethal mistakes. She lives at the mercy of a boy she once loved, a boy made of lies and betrayal. Now a king, Maven Calore continues weaving his dead mother's web in an attempt to maintain control over his country—and his prisoner.
As Mare bears the weight of Silent Stone in the palace, her once-ragtag band of newbloods and Reds continue organizing, training, and expanding. They prepare for war, no longer able to linger in the shadows. And Cal, the exiled prince with his own claim on Mare's heart, will stop at nothing to bring her back.
When blood turns on blood, and ability on ability, there may be no one left to put out the fire—leaving Norta as Mare knows it to burn all the way down.

If you missed it, I wrote a full Red Queen Recap last week - check it out here.

Wintersong is also available. This is a book that I've been looking forward to for quite a while. It's Labyrinth meets Beauty and the Beast and I cannot wait to get my hands on it. I love the concept of this novel and the reviews have been very positive.


All her life, Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, dangerous Goblin King. They’ve enraptured her mind, her spirit, and inspired her musical compositions. Now eighteen and helping to run her family’s inn, Liesl can’t help but feel that her musical dreams and childhood fantasies are slipping away.
But when her own sister is taken by the Goblin King, Liesl has no choice but to journey to the Underground to save her. Drawn to the strange, captivating world she finds―and the mysterious man who rules it―she soon faces an impossible decision. And with time and the old laws working against her, Liesl must discover who she truly is before her fate is sealed.
Rich with music and magic, S. Jae-Jones's Wintersong will sweep you away into a world you won’t soon forget.

For my friends who love chick-lit, there are a couple for you too!

Sarah Jio's latest novel, Always, tackles social issues and true love in Seattle. Believe me when I say, you'll love it.
You can read my review here.

Enjoying a romantic candlelit dinner with her fiancé, Ryan, at one of Seattle’s chicest restaurants, Kailey Crain can’t believe her good fortune: She has a great job as a journalist and is now engaged to a guy who is perfect in nearly every way. As she and Ryan leave the restaurant, Kailey spies a thin, bearded homeless man on the sidewalk. She approaches him to offer up her bag of leftovers, and is stunned when their eyes meet, then stricken to her very core: The man is the love of her life, Cade McAllister.
When Kailey met Cade ten years ago, their attraction was immediate and intense—everything connected and felt right. But it all ended suddenly, leaving Kailey devastated. Now the poor soul on the street is a faded version of her former beloved: His weathered and weary face is as handsome as Kailey remembers, but his mind has suffered in the intervening years. Over the next few weeks, Kailey helps Cade begin to piece his life together, something she initially keeps from Ryan. As she revisits her long-ago relationship, Kailey realizes that she must decide exactly what—and whom—she wants.
Alternating between the past and the present, Always is a beautifully unfolding exploration of a woman faced with an impossible choice, a woman who discovers what she’s willing to save and what she will sacrifice for true love.

NY Times Bestselling author, Sophie Kinsella has a new book out today as well!
My Not So Perfect Life is available for you to add to you shelf. I haven't read this yet, but it's on my list and I'm really excited to get it. It's had great reviews - and I'm a huge fan of Kinsella's work.

Everywhere Katie Brenner looks, someone else is living the life she longs for, particularly her boss, Demeter Farlowe. Demeter is brilliant and creative, lives with her perfect family in a posh townhouse, and wears the coolest clothes. Katie’s life, meanwhile, is a daily struggle—from her dismal rental to her oddball flatmates to the tense office politics she’s trying to negotiate. No wonder Katie takes refuge in not-quite-true Instagram posts, especially as she's desperate to make her dad proud.
Then, just as she’s finding her feet—not to mention a possible new romance—the worst happens. Demeter fires Katie. Shattered but determined to stay positive, Katie retreats to her family’s farm in Somerset to help them set up a vacation business. London has never seemed so far away—until Demeter unexpectedly turns up as a guest. Secrets are spilled and relationships rejiggered, and as the stakes for Katie’s future get higher, she must question her own assumptions about what makes for a truly meaningful life.

Review: Gilded Cage (Dark Gifts #1) by Vic James

Not all are equal. Not all are Free.

Wait – have I read this before?
Vic James’ debut novel, Gilded Cage, proffers up an alternate Great Britain with all the makings of a dystopian society comprised of an elite ruling class of magic wielding aristocrats who use their “Skill” to keep their skill less counterparts – the commoners of England under control. As a means to maintain their power and infrastructure of their world, the Skilled require that all commoners serve in slavery for ten years of their lives. The Hadley family is beginning their slavedays and will be sent to serve their ten-year sentence at the estate of the highly powerful Jardine family, Kyneston instead of the slavetown of Millmoore. When Luke Hadley is reassigned to Millmoore instead of joining his family at Kyneston he befriends a ragtag group of rebels who are set on undermining the Skilled and ultimately abolishing slavery in Great Britain.
Sound familiar?
It should. Two groups battling for power and equality, where the oppressors are able to use their magical abilities to keep everyone in check? I believe I have read this before, a few times, actually.
Therefore, while the plot is nothing new, there are some good things about this book and parts that I hope she elaborates for the next two books of the trilogy:
  • The writing is easy to read and follow. I think that this will make the reader more likely to finish the book and stay with the story.
  • There are multiple points of view. The reader is able to get into the heads of various characters, skilled and non-skilled. This mechanism works for the most part, but I really wish that the author had focused on only those who were pivotal to the storyline. Luke, Silyen and Abi were probably the best developed – but I would like to see emotional growth from all three in the next two books.
  • Magical abilities and interesting sub plots. I love the magical abilities of the skilled characters and I found the history of these people to be very interesting – I hope Vic James elaborates on this as the series goes on. Moreover, I just really want to know more about Silyen’s abilities. I won’t lie, he’s the only character keeping me interested at this point.
  • The Cliffhanger! For me, it took a lot of time to get to a place where I began to invest myself in the characters and the plot of this story. The cliffhanger at the end should bait readers for the next two installments.
Overall, I found the book to be unremarkable garnering it a three star average rating from me. I would like to see a more fluid, better developed second and third installment to the series. For a first book, this works well for the genre and audience intended and I would recommend it to upper middle graders and younger high school students.
Gilded Cage is available on February 14, 2017.
Thank you NetGalley for providing a free Ebook for me to review!

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

"If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.”

Jodi Picoult’s latest novel tackles race relations, family, prejudice and tolerance in this legal drama that hits the reader like a punch to the gut. Small Great Things is a brilliant and extremely relevant novel that hooks the reader from the first few pages.

Ruth Jefferson is a tenured labor and delivery nurse with over twenty years of experience and an excellent education behind her. Ruth is wonderful at her job, soothing newborn infants and their bleary-eyed parents, keeping up with the busy schedule of the labor and delivery ward at the small hospital where she works.
When Ruth is barred from caring for the newborn son of Turk and Brittany Baur because of her skin color, a seismic shift occurs in the safe world Ruth created for herself. A split second decision will have consequences beyond her imagination, leaving her neatly woven life shattered.

Kennedy McQuarrie is a white public defender that takes Ruth's case. She would never consider herself racist, she shops at Target and lives a fairly cozy life in the same neighborhood as Ruth. As these two women come to know each other, they are forced to understand their differences, earn the other's trust and work together. Both women find themselves challenged emotionally, fighting against the world they were raised in and questioning the standards to which they hold themselves and others.

Thoughtfully and masterfully crafted, Small Great Things is a novel about love, hate, family, acceptance, tolerance and forgiveness. Fast paced and wholly engrossing, I found myself fascinated with Jodi Picoult's characters, their misgivings and even found myself doing a little soul searching with them. The varying point of views, huge plot twist at the end, and suspense of this novel made it worth every page. It was far and away, one of my favorite general fiction novels of 2016.

Please read this book – it is brilliant.

Also just in case you missed it - Small Great Things has been optioned for a move starring Viola Davis and Julia Roberts! If you're anything like me, you'll want to read the book before the movie comes out.

Buy it on

Book Review: Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

I finished 2016 with some powerhouse novels that were some of my favorites of the year.

One of these novels was Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. It’s a novel that chronicles the lives and descendants of two sisters each leading very different lives.

 Effia is married at a young age to a white slave trader and is taken from her village the life she knows to become the wife of an Englishman. She begins her new life at the Castle – the hub of the Gold Coast slave trade where human cargo is stored before it is shipped to America.

Far below in the dungeons of this same castle, Effia’s half-sister, Esi is being held. Captured by a rival tribe and sold into slavery, she endures unbelievable pain as she is shipped an ocean away from home and everything she’s known. But while Esi knows about the existence of her sister, Effia has no idea that Esi exists.

Effia’s descendants experience years of tribal war and the effects of European colonization in Ghana while Esi’s family experience span from slavery in the Southern States, convict operated coal mining to the beginning of the jazz age in Harlem.

At first I found this novel to be slightly slow to start, but once I got through the first couple of chapters I became completely absorbed by the stories of each character. The format of this novel is a little different than I was used to – each chapter is told by a different person, alternating between Effia and Esi’s descendants. There were times when I wish there would have been more to a certain character’s story, but overall I felt like this writing style worked for the novel and conveyed the message that the author was trying to tell. In some ways, this novel was like a book of short stories that were all interconnected and I loved putting the pieces together.

For a debut novel I felt that this was a very ambitious project as it covered a lot of history in a relatively short amount of time, but overall I think that it was very well executed. This novel is very relevant and in the same vein as Toni Morrison’s novel, Beloved, or Roots by Alex Haley. Pick it up if you’re looking for something that will stir your soul up a little bit.

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Six of Crows & Crooked Kingdom

No Mourners.
No Funerals.

Leigh Bardugo's popular Six of Crows duology finally made its way on to my TBR list and I absolutely devoured them both, leaving me with the biggest #bookhangover ever.
Seriously, I'm not sure how to recover.
Anybody else experiencing all the feels after finishing this duology?

Six of Crows

One part Ocean's Eleven, one part Gangs of New York, Six of Crows is a high octane fantasy thriller complete with twisty plots, heartwrenching moments and dazzling characters.

Anything is possible if the price is right - Kaz Brekker, lieutenant of the Dregs - one of the many gangs that battle in the streets of Ketterdam - is about to score the payday of a lifetime. One that will make all of his dreams come true, guranteeing his place among the big bosses of the city.

The catch?

The job he's about to take may kill him before he ever gets back to Ketterdam.

It's a high stakes, deadly heist with the odds stacked against him, but if Kaz is going to pull off the impossible, he'll need the right team to do it.
Enter: a gambler, a soldier, a heartrender, an acrobat and a merchant's kid who come together to form a motley crew of misfits that must work together to pull off the job of a lifetime - and if it doesn't kill them, they may kill each other first.

Leigh Bardugo is a master wordsmith and world builder - this book is everything I could ever want.
The plot is well formed and easy to follow, but is neither predictable or boring. It's a crazy twisty ride that keeps the reader guessing. Even when I thought I had parts figured out, something unexpected would happen and throw me off.

This book has such an atmosphere about it - Ketterdam is dark, gritty and mysterious in contrast to Fjerda's white wintery sterility. I loved that Bardugo created such a vast world without being redundant or tedious - deftly creating mutliple cultures, characters and cities that bring the story to life.

Character development is outstanding. The characters in this novel are unique and complex. Each has his or her own history and motivation for joining Kaz on this insane quest. One thing that makes me really enjoy a book is the connection to the players in it. The Crows are some of my favorite characters - their strengths, weaknesses, heartaches and victories resonated with me and pulled at my heartstrings. These are the types of books that I love to read.

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Crooked Kingdom

That's the problem with Ketterdam, Jesper thought as they stumbled through the dark. Trusting the wrong person can get you killed.

If Six of Crows pulled at my heartstrings - Crooked Kingdom ripped them apart. Thanks, Leigh Bardugo for that.

You guys - the second book in this duology has EVERYTHING in it. It's just as smart and fast paced as the first one. It's dark, twisty, unpredictable, funny, romantic and bittersweet. I LOVED IT.

Kaz and his crew barely escaped the Ice Court, but instead of collecting the payout of a life time, they've been betrayed and one of their own has been kidnapped. Determined to get what's theirs they embark on yet another high stakes game to bring down the person who wronged them.

After Six of Crows, I was a little nervous that Crooked Kingdom would be too similar to the first book plotwise. I was also worried about further character development and the crew being split up.

What can I say? I want my characters to be together!!

I really shouldn't have worried. This book was as strong, if not stronger than the first. It was a knock out sequel to the first that had me in little bursts of laughter, tears, and heart pounding suspense. Leigh Bardugo pulled out the big guns with this one and delivered one of my favorite books - ever.

Seriously, #allthefeels though.

Should you find yourself reading this - I challenge you not to fall in love with this book.
The relationships are stronger and the stakes are higher and it captures the reader's attention and never lets go. Whether you're in it for the ships or the plot - you won't be disappointed.

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