Format: Paperback

Review: The Cursed Queen by Sarah Fine

Posted March 7, 2018 by Lily B in Reviews / 10 Comments

Review: The Cursed Queen by Sarah FineThe Cursed Queen by Sarah Fine
Series: The Impostor Queen, #2
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books on January 3rd 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Glbt
Pages: 432
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 2.5 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Ansa has always been a fighter.
As a child, she fought the invaders who murdered her parents and snatched her as a raid prize. She fought for her place next to Thyra, the daughter of the Krigere Chieftain. She fought for her status as a warrior in her tribe: blood and victory are her way of life. But the day her Krigere cross the great lake and threaten the witch queen of the Kupari, everything changes.
Cursed by the queen with fire and ice, Ansa is forced to fight against an invisible enemy—the dark magic that has embedded itself deep in her bones. The more she seeks to hide it, the more dangerous it becomes. And with the Krigere numbers decimated and the tribe under threat from the traitorous brother of the dead Chieftain, Ansa is torn between her loyalty to the Krigere, her love for Thyra, and her own survival instincts.
With her world in chaos and each side wanting to claim her for their own, only one thing is certain: unless Ansa can control the terrible magic inside her, everything she’s fought for will be destroyed.

My Struggle with The Cursed Queen was real…

The Cursed Queen is a companion novel of The Imposter Queen. Although the two are set in the same world, they follow two different sets of character. In this specific book, we follow Ansa, who as a child lost her parents to Krigere invaders and was taken and raised by that tribe of people. All Ansa knows is blood and the thrill of being a fighter, nothing else seems to matter outside of her love for Thyra, the daughter of the Krigere Chieftain.

But on one mission Ansa faces of the Witch Queen and something happens. Now Ansa fears that she is cursed by the same magic of the Kupari Queen and must not reveal the war waging inside her. As Ansa battles the invading magic from destroying everything around her, Thyra is now the new Chieftain and her tribe is being escorted by Jasper, of another Krigere tribe in hopes of “combining” their forces under Thyra’s uncle Nisse.

Got it?

Okay, I had a lot of issues with this book. I knew it wasn’t going to follow the same sets of characters, but I wasn’t expecting to be trusted into a world where there seems to be that the Krigere have, almost like a civil war going on. It felt like we started in the middle of the story and it quickly got confusing.

It did not help that Ansa was a really hard character to warm up to through most of the book. She comes off childish, with loose loyalties, immature, and flip flops so much it was giving me whiplash. Ansa was easily manipulated and what was going on between Thyra and her uncle felt like way over her head. She seemed a lot younger than Thyra especially with the level of competence she kept presenting. I also did not understand her way of turning her book on people she cared for most, especially Thyra. She kept saying how much she loves her and would follow her, but continually through the book demonstrated the opposite.

Ansa’s loyalties were all over the place and she just did not know how to trust anyone. It was a wonder that most of the characters tried to alienate her from their plans, she couldn’t really be trusted. I found her character super frustrating and I did not like her very much. She finally grew as a character, but it was also like 90% into the book and by then I was already set on not caring.

I loved the world and Sarah Fines writing was still good, there was a lot going on in the book, but it did take a while for you to kind of get used to everything. A lot of stabbiness, a lot of blood and death.

The other thing that did not work for me was the romance. I prefer mine to develop over time, this one is just there and we are supposed to accept it. I like that there was a female/female romance in this, which gave this book diversity – but it was hard to accept the romance because of Ansa’s character. For someone who was so in love with Thyra, she had a funny way of showing it with the lack of faith she started to have in her.

Overall, this is advertised as a companion novel. If you want to know more about Ansa before the third book, go ahead, but don’t hold it with too much expectation. I DNF’ed it a couple of months ago, but in light of the third book I decided to finish it. I struggled, but hopefully others had/will have a better experience.



Review: How to Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake

Posted March 3, 2018 by Lily B in Reviews / 5 Comments

Review: How to Make a Wish by Ashley Herring BlakeHow to Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake
Series: standalone
Published by HMH Books for Young Readers on May 2nd 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Romance, Glbt
Pages: 336
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 3 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

All seventeen year-old Grace Glasser wants is her own life. A normal life in which she sleeps in the same bed for longer than three months and doesn't have to scrounge for spare change to make sure the electric bill is paid. Emotionally trapped by her unreliable mother, Maggie, and the tiny cape on which she lives, she focuses on her best friend, her upcoming audition for a top music school in New York, and surviving Maggie’s latest boyfriend—who happens to be Grace’s own ex-boyfriend’s father.
Her attempts to lay low until she graduates are disrupted when she meets Eva, a girl with her own share of ghosts she’s trying to outrun. Grief-stricken and lonely, Eva pulls Grace into midnight adventures and feelings Grace never planned on. When Eva tells Grace she likes girls, both of their worlds open up. But, united by loss, Eva also shares a connection with Maggie. As Grace's mother spirals downward, both girls must figure out how to love and how to move on.

The story follows two girls, Grace Glasser and Eva. Grace just wants to have her own life, but she is emotionally trapped by her unreliable mother, Maggie. Maggie, who does not know how to be a mother and jumps from boyfriend to boyfriend, with a constant change in their living environment.

Eva has just lost her mother and now lives with Grace’s best friend Luca and his mother Emmy. She used to be a dancer before she lost her mother, now she is just looking to pick up the pieces.

Key Points

This book took me a couple of months to finish, mostly thanks to Grace’s mother Maggie. I get that this was part of the plot and to add some sort of drama, but I am honestly so fed up with crappy parents in YA books that this completely turned the book upside down for me. I get that Maggie is not the only parent in this book and that Emmy is just wonderful, warm and understanding. The difference between the two single mother women is stark, but Maggie’s actions had been literally just gross till the very end.

The plot was slow moving. Outside of Grace constantly being angry over Maggies actions and Maggie acts unhinged, there wasn’t much going on. Not for a while anyway, but at that point I didn’t really care.

I loved that this book had LGBTQ relationship and it was interracial as well. I always adore the diversity in my books. Problem is, Grace and Eva never worked for me. Grace just had too much problems and Eva was this sweet broken girl who just could not seem to understand Grace’s problem. Like really, she didn’t. Grace warns Eva countless of times to stay away from Maggie and even after Grace tells Eva why she wants her to stay away from Maggie and everything her mother is capable of, what does Eva do? Not listen to her and something bad unfolds.

I loved Eva, but the relationship felt forced and I wished Eva would have listened to Grace – I felt like she should have.

Overall, I can see how people would love this book for what it is but the main element of unhinged mother did me in. There is something that happens in the end of the book that honestly drove the rating down even lower for me.

The saving grace (no pun intended) here for me was Eva, Luca and Emmy – I thought they were great characters. I loved Emmy’s kind heart and her dynamic with Luca. I loved that she cared so much for Eva and even Grace despite everything that happened.



Short and Sweet Review: Blood Rites by Jim Butcher

Posted January 29, 2018 by Lily B in Reviews / 14 Comments

Short and Sweet Review: Blood Rites by Jim ButcherBlood Rites by Jim Butcher
Series: The Dresden Files, #6
Published by Roc on August 3rd 2004
Genres: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 452
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4.5 Stars

For Harry Dresden, Chicago's only professional wizard, there have been worse assignments than going undercover on the set of an adult film. Dodging flaming monkey poo, for instance. Or going toe-to-leaf with a walking plant monster. Still, there is something more troubling than usual about his newest case. The film's producer believes he's the target of a sinister entropy curse, but it's the women around him who are dying, in increasingly spectacular ways.
Harry is doubly frustrated because he got involved with this bizarre mystery only as a favor to Thomas, his flirtatious, self-absorbed vampire acquaintance of dubious integrity. Thomas has a personal stake in the case Harry can't quite figure out, until his investigation leads him straight to Thomas' oversexed vampire family. Harry is about to discover that Thomas' family tree has been hiding a shocking secret; a revelation that will change Harry's life forever.

Another brilliant installment in The Dresden Files series.

I just cannot seem to get enough of Harry or the trouble he keeps finding himself in.

Opening Sentence

The building was on fire, and it wasn’t my fault

This time Harry finds himself working undercover on the set of an adult film, protecting people from a deadly curse as well as trying to find the person behind such dark magic.

To top it off, another vampire of the black court has made a move into the city and is looking to kill Harry and he must find and get rid of her first before she takes any more lives.

This book was exciting. I loved the new and old characters. I loved that Thomas makes an appearance in this book and the secrets that unfold with him.

We get to learn more about Harry’s past as more characters reveal information about Harry’s mother.

I adore that Jim Butcher used the books in the past and the events that have happened not only to shape Harry’s character as he continues to develop through his experiences, but also how they effect stuff that is currently happening in the book.

I just enjoy the humor and the writing and storytelling. There is action and adventure and it just makes my day. This is one of my favorite Urban Fantasies and I cannot wait to see what happens next. I am especially excited about the changing in the dynamic of Harry and Murphy.



Guest Review: The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living by Louise Miller

Posted December 13, 2017 by Lily B in Guest Post, Reviews / 14 Comments

Hey Lovelies! Hope you December is going great! Our has been super busy, so reading is a bit slower. Today I have Sophia Rose on the blog with a review, hope you enjoy her opinion on The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living and leave her some love.

Guest Review: The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living by Louise MillerThe City Baker's Guide to Country Living by Louise Miller
Series: Standalone
Published by Penguin Books on November 7th 2017
Genres: Womens Fiction
Pages: 352
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 3.5 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

"Mix in one part Diane Mott -Davidson's delightful culinary adventures with several tablespoons of Jan Karon's country living and quirky characters, bake at 350 degrees for one rich and warm romance." --Library Journal
A full-hearted novel about a big-city baker who discovers the true meaning of home--and that sometimes the best things are found when you didn't even know you were looking
When Olivia Rawlings--pastry chef extraordinaire for an exclusive Boston dinner club--sets not just her flambeed dessert but the entire building alight, she escapes to the most comforting place she can think of--the idyllic town of Guthrie, Vermont, home of Bag Balm, the country's longest-running contra dance, and her best friend Hannah. But the getaway turns into something more lasting when Margaret Hurley, the cantankerous, sweater-set-wearing owner of the Sugar Maple Inn, offers Livvy a job. Broke and knowing that her days at the club are numbered, Livvy accepts.
Livvy moves with her larger-than-life, uberenthusiastic dog, Salty, into a sugarhouse on the inn's property and begins creating her mouthwatering desserts for the residents of Guthrie. She soon uncovers the real reason she has been hired--to help Margaret reclaim the inn's blue ribbon status at the annual county fair apple pie contest.
With the joys of a fragrant kitchen, the sound of banjos and fiddles being tuned in a barn, and the crisp scent of the orchard just outside the front door, Livvy soon finds herself immersed in small town life. And when she meets Martin McCracken, the Guthrie native who has returned from Seattle to tend his ailing father, Livvy comes to understand that she may not be as alone in this world as she once thought.
But then another new arrival takes the community by surprise, and Livvy must decide whether to do what she does best and flee--or stay and finally discover what it means to belong. Olivia Rawlings may finally find out that the life you want may not be the one you expected--it could be even better.
From the Hardcover edition.

A gentle nostalgic, heartwarming piece showcasing a woman’s slow transformation from bright lights and big city to country charm. It’s a New England fairytale that brings into play all that a person can imagine of the best and quirky parts of country living.

The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living is a combination of women’s fiction and contemporary romance. It focuses on Livvy’s personal growth, her friendships, her adjustments to a new lifestyle, and a bit of a slow burn romance.

I enjoyed the ambience and tone, the pacing and all the little details of this ideal nostalgic country life that teetered on the line of real and fantasy (not in a paranormal sense), but more wishful thinking. It was a Normal Rockwell setting and people come to life, if you will. I think if one goes in expecting this then it will work better. Livvy is snooty about it at first and is always making comparisons until she sees that there is value in both lifestyles after she settles in.

I only had one real niggle with the story. In the beginning, Livvy was ‘the Other Woman’ in an affair with a married man. There were a few other little things, but that one just stuck. I think it set the tone for me and I never completely connected with her even if I could keep reading and appreciate the rest of the book.

This is definitely a foodie’s book, too. I spent most of the book with my mouthwatering as Livvy worked her baking magic in the Inn’s kitchen or talked food with Chef, Margaret, or shopped in the market. Thankfully, her apple pie recipe is included in the back of the book.

I think the highlight for me was Livvy’s friendship with irascible Margaret. At first, they seem at odds, but then slowly Livvy learns more about her and sees the true Margaret and Margaret opens up a little.

It was not a quick reading experience, but one to pick up and curl up under a throw with me tea and appreciate. I found it a lovely reading experience all in all. I would recommend it to light women’s fiction lovers who appreciate a more soft-glow country life, a gentle romance, with a foodie as the main character.

I understand Louise Miller’s second novel, The Late Bloomers’ Club, is forthcoming from Pamela Dorman Books/Viking. My thanks to Penguin-Random House for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

About Sophia Rose

Sophia is a quiet though curious gal who dabbles in cooking, book reviewing, and gardening. Encouraged and supported by an incredible man and loving family. A Northern Californian transplant to the Great Lakes Region of the US. Lover of Jane Austen, Baseball, Cats, Scooby Doo, and Chocolate.



Review: Addison Cooke and the Tomb of the Khan by Jonathan W. Stokes

Posted November 28, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 12 Comments

Review:  Addison Cooke and the Tomb of the Khan by Jonathan W. StokesAddison Cooke and the Tomb of the Khan by Jonathan W. Stokes
Series: Addison Cooke #2
Published by Philomel Books on November 14th 2017
Genres: Middle Grade
Pages: 464
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Goonies meets Indiana Jones in Addison's second laugh-out-loud adventure! A journey through Asia in pursuit of the legendary tomb of Genghis Khan.
Fresh off of a victorious treasure hunt and rescue mission in South America, Addison Cooke just can't seem to steer clear of rogue bandits, pesky booby traps, and secret treasure troves. But it sure beats sitting around in school all day.
Addison's aunt and uncle, on the other hand, are none too happy about their habit of attracting kidnappers. When they become pawns in a dangerous gang's plan to steal the most prized possession of the notorious Mongolian leader Genghis Khan, Addison and his friends find themselves once again caught in the middle of a multi-million-dollar international heist. Armed with nothing but their wits and thirst for adventure, they travel across Asia in an attempt to rescue Addison's family and stop the treasure from falling into the wrong hands.
Brimming with round-the-clock action and tons of laughter, Addison Cooke and the Tomb of the Khan is perfect for fans of Indiana Jones, ancient history, and James Patterson's Treasure Hunters series.
Praise for Addison Cooke
"Combines the derring-do of Indiana Jones with a genuine archaeological mystery. Stokes brings a cinematic scope to the story. This lively debut promises more seat-of-the-pants thrillsfor readers who love adventure."--Booklist
"Cinematic pacing and action drive the story, but it's Addison and his friends who will keep readers engaged. Humor is never in short supply . . . and Addison's endless optimism and irrepressible confidence in his own abilities are endearing."--School Library Journal
"Addison is often one step ahead of the adults, but his lead is constantly threatened, building steady tension throughout the novel, screenwriter Stokes's debut."--Publishers Weekly

Schools out, summer is in, and Addison and his group of friends are off to Asia!

Trouble seems to follow Addison no matter where he goes, fresh of a treasure hunt and rescue mission in South America – Addison finds himself in a whole new set of trouble out in China.

When Addison and Molly’s Aunt and Uncle get kidnapped in China by the mysterious Madame Feng, they must use their knowledge as survival skills in order to beat Madame Feng to what she really wants – the Golden Whip from the lost grave of Ghenghis Khan.

This was a really fun read. At over 400 pages, the pace was steady and exciting. Addison is a very interesting 13 year old boy, who is witty, but a bit quirky at times. He hates germs, he loves to read and seems to always have the knack of knowing how to get his friends out of trouble.

The story and the progression was kind of interesting for me, because I was always interested in Mongolia and Ghenghis Khan. I actually did not know that his tomb/grave was purposely done so not even the Mongols could find it. I had to google that bit myself and the author did mostly stick to the fact at the beginning of the book about the possible locations and how he was buried.

I thought that was fun because not only does it provide middle grade kids with a fascinating plot, fun characters, great adventure and a strong set of friendships, it also educates quiet a bit.

I did have to take my time time with the rating because I wasn’t sure about a few things. I did have to keep in mind that this was a middle grade adventure novel and a lot of it does seem a bit out there, but that’s okay, because to me, it allows the children to get caught up in the excitement and imagination. That part I am fully aware of and perfectly fine with, despite some scenes. I especially loved how the author took the fact that they are kids into consideration and during a lot of scenes he limited their capabilities of what they can or cannot do. I love how they think it would play out in their head and how it actually happens is completely different because at the end of the day, Addison and his friends are still children. That kind of line of thinking was awesome and I think something that can be related to.

I wasn’t sure how the kids would relate to Addison thought because for a 13 year old, he is witty, he can talk circles around you and get himself out of sticky situations. He is also the type of kid that will read The Art of War. But, despite being a sort of prodigy (?) Addison still uses tactics that are childlike and it just makes you giggle.

This was a great book. It was fast paced. There is action, adventure, a mystery and it is really, really well written you guys. I absolutely loved the writing, Stokes just does a wonderful job that it even makes it really enjoyable for an adult because I forgot at several places that this was a middle grade book.

My favorite character I would have to say is Dax’s (the adult in this book) copilot Mr.Jacobsen a goofy Great Dane.



Guest Review: Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery + Giveaway

Posted November 21, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 45 Comments

Good Morning Everyone! Hope you guys are having a great week so far. Sophia Rose is back on the blog today. She has a review of a classic and if you follow the instruction and rafflecopter below she also has a great giveaway for you! Enjoy!

Guest Review: Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery + GiveawayAnne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery, Benjamin Lefebvre, J. Courtney Sullivan
Series: Anne of Green Gables #1
Published by Penguin Classics on March 1st 2018
Genres: Fiction, Childrens
Pages: 416
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 5 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The beloved coming-of-age tale of a spunky heroine named Anne "with an E," now for the first time in Penguin Classics and packaged in a Deluxe edition. L. M. Montgomery's novel Anne of Green Gables recounts the adventures of Anne Shirley, an 11-year-old orphan mistakenly sent to a pair of siblings who intended to adopt a boy to help work on their farm in Prince Edward Island. Yet Anne's quirky personality and good-natured spirit causes the siblings to grow to love her anyway, and soon the entire town falls for the precocious little girl with bright red hair. Cherished by both children and adults, Anne of Green Gables is a celebration of fierce individualism, and the families we create, rather than the ones we are born into. This Deluxe edition is enhanced with a foreword by bestselling author J. Courtney Sullivan, and an introduction and suggestions for further reading by Benjamin Lefebvre, as well as reviews and a selection of early writing by L. M. Montgomery about the process of writing Anne.

Decades later and I still count Anne of Green Gables as one of my favorite all-time books. As a young girl, it was likely one of the three most influential books I read. Over and over. I delighted in the later TV film adaption, but still gravitated to the sparkling, light-filled prose of the print copy on my shelf. I have carried around that copy over thousands of miles and years.

I was all agasp when I was offered the Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition knowing that 2018 marks the 110 year anniversary of the book’s release and 75 years since the gifted author’s death. The book’s whimsical cover and end papers made me sigh with happiness to see and touch them. I’m a sucker for the rougher cut style cream colored pages. And it was fascinating reading the author biography, forward, introduction, and later the discussion of how Montgomery came to write in the author’s own words.

But the piece de resistance was the ageless story about a little red-headed orphan girl brought by mistake into the colorless, lonely lives of older siblings, Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert, of P.E.I.’s Green Gables farm.

Matthew, much to his own surprise, was enjoying himself. Like most quiet folks he liked talkative people when they were willing to do the talking themselves and did not expect him to keep up his end of it.”

You’re not eating anything,” said Marilla sharply, eying her as if it were a serious shortcoming. Anne sighed. I can’t. I’m in the depths of despair. Can you eat when you are in the depths of despair?”

I’ve never been in the depths of despair, so I can’t say,” responded Marilla.

Weren’t you? Well, did you ever try to IMAGINE you were in the depths of despair?”

No, I didn’t.”

Then I don’t think you can understand what it’s like. It’s very uncomfortable a feeling indeed.”

Anne with an ‘e’ makes her odd and endearing way into the hearts of many including readers because of her sincere, honest, but many times disastrous ways. Bosom friend Diana. Long bitter school rival Gilbert (at least on Anne’s part, wink). Mentor in teacher, Miss Stacy. Nosey, managing neighbor, Rachel Lynde. And oh so many more connections in the little village of Avonlea and beyond.

“Gilbert told Charlie Sloan that you were the smartest girl in school, right in front of Josie.”

“He did?”

“He told Charlie being smart was better than being good looking.”

“I should have known he meant to insult me.”

Miss Barry was a kindred spirit after all,” Anne confided to Marilla, “You wouldn’t think so to look at her, but she is. . . Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It’s splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.”

There are no flashes of swashbuckling danger or passion in this story, but there are universal themes of childhood, family, friendship, dreams, mistakes, and growing up from a child and adult perspective with which young and old, male or female can connect. The book still brings me to laugh, cry, and sigh throughout. I’ve been quoting Anne-isms now for years like ‘tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it’ or ‘I’m having a Jonah day’ or ‘bosom friends’ or ‘we’re kindred spirits’ or ‘I’m in the depths of dispair’. So many.

My life is a perfect graveyard of buried hopes.”

I don’t know what lies around the bend, but I’m going to believe that the best does.”

Picking up this new edition with its classic tale was sheer joy. I meandered down to the Lake of Shining Waters and gasped at the beauty of the White Way of Delight, and sighed over the loveliness of October, and girlhood fancies and dreams. I was impacted by the uplift I got from reading of a more innocent time and place, but with real people going about their normal lives.

Whether you are a newbie or a long-time Anne lover, I can definitely recommend picking it up and losing yourself in the pages.


I have a treat today for US residents. Penguin Classics is offering up one print copy of the book to one of our US readers. Fill in the Rafflecopter for your opportunity to win.

  • U.S. residents 13 years of age or older (if you are underage have an adult enter on your behalf)
  • Must reply within 48 hours to collect your prize

Have you read or watched a film adaption of Anne of Green Gables? Do you have a favorite Anne-ism or favorite scene?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About Sophia Rose

Sophia is a quiet though curious gal who dabbles in cooking, book reviewing, and gardening. Encouraged and supported by an incredible man and loving family. A Northern Californian transplant to the Great Lakes Region of the US. Lover of Jane Austen, Baseball, Cats, Scooby Doo, and Chocolate.



Review: Fairest (The Lunar Chronicles #3.5) by Marissa Meyer

Posted November 8, 2017 by Lily B in Guest Post, Reviews / 14 Comments

Just a quick note today to let you know that Sophia Rose will be on the blog today with her lovely new review <33

Review:  Fairest (The Lunar Chronicles #3.5) by Marissa MeyerFairest by Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #3.5
Published by Scholastic on January 27th 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction
Pages: 224
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4.5 Stars

Mirror, mirror on the wall,Who is the fairest of them all?
Fans of the Lunar Chronicles know Queen Levana as a ruler who uses her “glamour” to gain power. But long before she crossed paths with Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress, Levana lived a very different story – a story that has never been told . . . until now.
Marissa Meyer spins yet another unforgettable tale about love and war, deceit and death. This extraordinary book includes full-color art and an excerpt from Winter, the next book in the Lunar Chronicles series.

Sometimes the villains are more fascinating than the heroes. Queen Levana has been the boogie-woman in the dark with nearly ultimate power since the beginning of The Lunar Chronicles series and she has not been afraid to wield the power to get what she wants. I was all on board for this book that takes a dip into her dark and shadowy past to see what came before and get a glimpse inside the mind of such a calculating woman.

Fairest falls between Cress and Winter in the series. I think it was a good place for the series to stop and pull over for this chronological prequel that makes sense to read it after learning the circumstances in the current situation and getting who all the players are before going back to see how it was all set in motion and then going on to get the last chapter in the story. I do not recommend reading it at the opening of the series because there is a feeling that though further back in time, that the reader has a good grasp on the world building. Plus, it’s a series spoiler in ways if read first.

So, Fairest, Queen Levana’s story and a loose retelling of the Wicked Queen and stepmother of the Snow White tale. It begins when Levana is fifteen, her parents have just died, and her sister is taking the throne. It stays with Levana as the narrator through the whole story.

I felt a certain sympathy for her. She never really stood a chance between a lack of nurture and her own nature. The story focuses on her quest to have something she can’t understand or truly grasp- love, being loved, having a feeling of belonging and family, but she snatches for it anyway. She both breaks the beauty of what she had and discovers that it was an illusion all along because she wants two very different things constantly and those things are at cross purposes and can’t exist at the same time the way she wants them.

It’s a sad story, but the author did a fine job painting Levana as she is under her glamour. I had the joy of seeing how things in the series were set in motion and the significance of the players and their roles. This is a great lead in to the final book, Winter, especially now that I know better the heroine Winter’s backstory from this book.

This won’t be for everyone and it is cleverly written so a reader can choose to read it or skip it. Worth reading it though.

About Sophia Rose

Sophia is a quiet though curious gal who dabbles in cooking, book reviewing, and gardening. Encouraged and supported by an incredible man and loving family. A Northern Californian transplant to the Great Lakes Region of the US. Lover of Jane Austen, Baseball, Cats, Scooby Doo, and Chocolate.



MARY: The Summoning by Hillary Monahan

Posted November 7, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 11 Comments

MARY: The Summoning by Hillary MonahanMARY: The Summoning by Hillary Monahan
Series: ,
Published by Disney-Hyperion on September 2nd 2014
Genres: Young Adult, Horror
Pages: 245
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 3.5 Stars

There is a right way and a wrong way to summon her.
Jess had done the research. Success requires precision: a dark room, a mirror, a candle, salt, and four teenage girls. Each of them--Jess, Shauna, Kitty, and Anna--must link hands, follow the rules . . . and never let go.
A thrilling fear spins around the room the first time Jess calls her name: "Bloody Mary. Bloody Mary. BLOODY MARY." A ripple of terror follows when a shadowy silhouette emerges through the fog, a specter trapped behind the mirror.
Once is not enough, though--at least not for Jess. Mary is called again. And again. But when their summoning circle is broken, Bloody Mary slips through the glass with a taste for revenge on her lips. As the girls struggle to escape Mary's wrath, loyalties are questioned, friendships are torn apart, and lives are forever altered.
A haunting trail of clues leads Shauna on a desperate search to uncover the legacy of Mary Worth. What she finds will change everything, but will it be enough to stop Mary--and Jess--before it's too late?

This book follows a girl named Shauna and her best friends, Jess, Kitty and Anna. Jess develops this obsession in summoning Bloody Mary and says she actually knows the correct way, all the girls have to do is follow the rules and not let go of each others hands.

Well, Jess becomes overly aggressive about her obsession over Bloody Mary and ends up holding back a few things she refused to tell the girls. One of the summonings gets out of hand and they bring Bloody Mary into their world through the mirror. Mary tags Shauna and when the spell goes wrong, Mary does not return to her world and ends up haunting Shauna through the mirrors and anything “shiny”

Now Shauna is mad at Jess for being so careless and lying, but also enlists her in the help of finding a way of getting Mary off her.

This was a quick read and it was okay. It was most definitely creepy and as I was reading this during Halloween, it definitely bought out all the freaky parts.

Some parts and descriptions, particularly of Mary, made my stomach turn.

Like the other girls, I found myself frustrated and angry with Jess because of what she had done. I found her to be a horrible friend.

Overall, like I said, it was okay. I enjoyed it well enough, I got the creepy and the freaky out of it, but also some frustration as well. Not sure if it will hurry me to pick up book two anytime soon though.



2 Young Adult Book Reviews

Posted October 30, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 15 Comments

2 Young Adult Book ReviewsAnna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
Series: Anna #1
Published by Tor Teen on October 17th 2011
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal, Horror
Pages: 316
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 3.5 Stars

Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.
So did his father before him, until he was gruesomely murdered by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father's mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. They follow legends and local lore, destroy the murderous dead, and keep pesky things like the future and friends at bay.
Searching for a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas expects the usual: track, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he's never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, now stained red and dripping with blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.
Yet she spares Cas's life.

Cas Lowood has an unusual vocation, he kills the dead. Something he inherited from his father and his father’s father before him, a sort of family business that he feels only they can do.

Cas kills ghosts using an athame knife that he believes only he can really kill with. A knife, he inherited upon his father’s death/murder in order to train and continue the family line of work. Protecting people from ghosts who get stuck in a killer loop and hurt innocent people.

One day he gets a tip from a person online and Cas sets out to a town where the ghost of Anna Korlov viciously murdered many people that have dared to set foot into her house.

In order to find out more about this dangerous ghost Cas accidentally befriends a boy named Thomas and a girl named Carmel who, after an unfortunate line of events end up helping Cas discovered the truth behind Anna and why she is the way she is – something that Cas has never seen before.

This started out strong. I was really enjoying this. Anna Dressed in Blood was EXACTLY what I wanted when it came to chilling, creepy ghost stories right before Halloween.

Unfortunately, what started out strong, creepy, and exciting fell a bit flat in the end for me.

First, the book feels like the author combined the two books into one. There was suddenly a different storyline thrown into the mix upon the group solving the Anna situation. I felt like that could have been a whole different book, but I guess the author needed this in order to set up book two.

The book reads as a mature young adult, I wouldn’t recommend this for younger audience due to some of the violent and even some graphic scenes in this book that even made me squirm. This book has a few gory scenes in it.

I really wanted to love this more and I was almost ready to give this 4 stars, but than this unnecessary thing happens in the end with the cat and it totally killed the mood I was rolling with. I was like, what, why… Let’s just say I was not expecting unnecessary violence towards animals in YA, so not only did that throw me off it kind of killed it for me.

I know a lot people love this book, it is definitely creepy, atmospheric, even scary at times. It reads a lot like a movie and you could almost picture the book as a movie, but again, it had certain parts that just did not work for me.

2 Young Adult Book ReviewsMiss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Series: Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children #1
Published by Quirk on June 7th 2011
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal
Pages: 352
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 3 Stars

A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of curious photographs.
A horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.
A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.

After his grandfather’s death, sixteen-year-old Jacob manages to convince his father to take him to a remote island off the coast of Whales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of an abandoned orphanage and suddenly maybe his grandfather’s stories weren’t just made up. Maybe he told the truth.

As Jacob explores the ruins he comes across an abandoned chest, where he discovers more pictures of the children that his grandfather told stories about and when a group of that children cross his path – Jacob is stunned that they are still alive.

This was… Interesting. It’s hard to give a blurb for the book without making a mess of it. I don’t like the blurb from goodreads, not sure that works for it either.

I got the wrong impression of the book coming into it, not only from the blurb on Goodreads, but also probably from the people who pushed this as a spooky read. Yes, it’s a bit atmospheric, but it’s strongly character driven, and I did not find most of this book spooky.

Jacob was a hard character to like. I found him boring and extremely one dimensional, lacking depth and emotion.

The romance in this book was really weird and if you think about it, really awkward.

Yes the book became a bit more spine tingling in the back, but it was short lived.

In the end, I think the book lived up to the wrong kind of standard. I might have enjoyed it more, but I found the book hard to enjoy from the MC perspective. I enjoyed some of the ending, but by that point I just felt like I wanted to get through it. Besides all of this, I think this is a case of more me than the book and I still recommend it for the people who enjoy Young Adult and Paranormal, because it is definitely original.





Review: Sanctum by Madeleine Roux

Posted October 27, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 8 Comments

Review: Sanctum by Madeleine RouxSanctum by Madeleine Roux
Series: Asylum #2
Published by HarperCollins on August 26th 2014
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal
Pages: 343
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars

In this haunting, fast-paced sequel to the New York Times bestselling photo-illustrated novel Asylum, three teens must unlock some long-buried secrets from the past before the past comes back to get them first. Featuring found photographs, many from real vintage carnivals, Sanctum is a mind-bending reading experience that blurs the lines between past and present, genius and insanity, perfect for fans of the smash hit Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children.
Dan, Abby, and Jordan remain traumatized by the summer they shared in the Brookline asylum. Much as they'd love to move on, someone is determined to keep the terror alive, sending the teens photos of an old-timey carnival, with no note and no name. Forsaking their plan never to go back, the teens return to New Hampshire College under the guise of a weekend for prospective students, and there they realize that the carnival from the photos is not only real, it's here on campus, apparently for the first time in many years.
Sneaking away from sample classes and college parties, Dan and his friends lead a tour of their own—one through the abandoned houses and hidden places of the surrounding town. Camford is hiding a terrible past, and the influence of the asylum runs deeper than Dan ever imagined.

Sanctum opens up shortly following the events of book one. Dan is having nightmare’s and he isn’t sure how to stop them. Getting away from the Asylum, he assumed that his problems would be fixed – but they are not. It doesn’t help that his friends Abby and Jordan seem to be ignoring him, and someone is sending them weird vintage carnival pictures. When a letter shows up from his ex-roommate’s mother, asking Dan to visit her son, all clues start to point for the trio to go back to New Hampshire College.

Guys, I am just adoring this series.  I think a large part of it is due to the fact that the book is mixed media, I love asylums and old creepy vintage carnivals and atmospheric books and this had all of it mixed into one. Once I picked this one up I had a hard time putting it down, I completely devoured it, and loved falling back into this series.

A large part of me wishes there were more books out there like this. I truly believe it adds to the reading experiences and the photos were creeptastic and perfect for this time of year.

Also, this entire book takes place close to Halloween time. So when Dan, Jordan and Abby go back to the college, there is a bunch of secrets that they are still trying to uncover. Including the fact that there seems to be a secret society that is linked to Daniel Crawford and the society seems to be after the trio.

This book isn’t without issues and I acknowledge that. I still feel like there is a bunch of holes that the author needs to fill and I hope everything wraps up in the final book. I don’t think everyone would love this book as much as I do. Because at times Dan and his friends have quiet a bit of drama going on, but they are pretty normal teenagers, so I can see how that would definitely play the part in the book, even if it is probably one of the few realistic parts of this book.

But, I still love it. It’s on an atmospheric side. It’s great for Halloween or fall. It’s creepy, and I am totally hooked. Plus there is a creepy carnival – I’m sold. Also, ghosts, yes?