Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault by Candace Robinson

Summary:
Some see it… Some don’t…

People in the town of Deer Park, Texas are vanishing. There is a strange museum, known as Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault, that appears overnight. Perrie Madeline’s best friend and ex-boyfriend are among the missing. Perrie and her friend August go on a pursuit for them in the mysterious museum. Could the elusive Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault have anything to do with the disappearances?

Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault is the start of a thrilling duology full of magic, danger, and romance.

glass vault
Review:
I received this book as an e-book version advanced readers copy (my first ARC ever!) from Parliament House Press. I was interested in the summary of this book along with the fact that it’s a horror/fairytale retelling – oh, and the cover. How cool is this cover? I’m trying to expand my reading tastes and horror books are not usually high up on my tbr list, but I’m glad I went out of my usual books and requested this book.
This story follows our main character, Perrie (I love this name.) while she’s trying to figure out what the hell is going on in her town. We get to meet her cousin/best friend Maisie, who was probably my favorite character in the entire book. Maisie wears eye patches that she designs and wears for fun. She doesn’t give a hoot what anyone thinks and knows that she’s an oddball. I love that she’s super enthusiastically her own person and doesn’t let anyone tell her she should behave differently. Though her silly, oddball personality ends up getting her into trouble.
Now, our main character, Perrie, she’s a total band geek who just wants to finish high school and figure out what she wants to do with her life. She has some mommy issues because her mother left when she was younger. Perrie is a super relatable character and I liked her, mostly. She seems to be trying to move forward from a hard breakup. Neven used to be one of her best friends as well as her boyfriend. The circumstances of their breakup are not revealed until a decent way into the story. This was a little annoying to me and I don’t know that it was entirely necessary to create so much suspense and mystery around the reason that Perrie broke up with him.
The last character I want to mention is August. There’s so much I’d like to say about him that I can’t because it would be a spoiler, but I will say what I can. I love August. I love his friendship with Perrie – even through the plot twist that I totally did not see coming. He was funny and charming and seems to be a great friend. He played an interesting part in the friend group. The three of them together, Perrie, Maisie, and August were entertaining to read about. They were relatable high school kids.
There were a few things that I didn’t like about this book. The writing was a bit awkward here and there. There were just a few places that the writing was awkward and things could have been written a bit better. At the beginning of the story, Perrie and Maisie say things like, “Oh darn.” But then later they’re swearing up a storm. They seemed to go from super innocent to mostly normal high school kids; it was just a weird change. The start of this story was a bit slow. It took me a few days and reading sessions to get into it, but once I got into the story I stayed up way too late to finish it. Much to my dismay, CLIFFHANGER. Oh, how I hate cliffhangers.
I enjoyed the storyline once I got fifty or so pages into the book. It’s a very unique and creative fairytale retelling. And not a retelling of just one tale, there are several different fairytales involved in Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault and I was definitely entertained by the horror aspect that the author used.
Ultimately, I liked this book. The writing could have been a bit better, but the story was interesting and creative enough for me to look past that. I really enjoyed the characters. They were relatable and entertaining. I especially enjoyed the plot twist because I did not see it coming at all. Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault was a fascinating mix of horror with the traditional fairytales. I would recommend this book to the older end of young adult readers because of the horror aspect. I would also really like to know when the second book is being released because the cliffhanger ending was killer and I need to know what happens next.
Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Book Tag – The Ultimate 25 Bookish Questions

Happy Saturday bookworms!

Welcome to our second book tag post! Last week’s was just so fun that when I saw this one I knew Antonia and I had to do it together. I found this book tag in my reader, Alana over at The Bookish Chick posted it and it looked like fun. Thanks for posting Alana!

So here goes!

Do you get sick while reading in the car? 

Amanda- No, thank god. I wouldn’t have survived my childhood if I had motion sickness (like my brother does). Books were the only thing that kept me sane on family road trips and vacations.

Antonia- Usually only if I’m in the backseat. It can be pretty random though, long car rides when it’s raining and mercury is in retrograde. There’s not really any rhyme or reason to it, but sometimes I get car sick and sometimes I don’t.

Which author’s writing style is completely unique to you and why? 

Amanda- I’m going to say Ellen Hopkins just because the way she writes her books is so unique and I’ve never seen any other books (aside from poetry) written the way she has them set up. Also, the topics she writes about are hard and serious topics that need to be discussed more.

Antonia- Patrick Rothfuss because the books are narrated by the main character as if they’re talking to you and telling you their story. He also uses a really good mix of descriptive writing and does a great job of showing us what’s happening instead of just telling us.

Harry Potter Series or Twilight Saga? Give three reasons to defend your answer.  

Amanda- Harry Potter (nothing against Twilight though because I was a huge fan before those horrible movies came out)

  1. Hogwarts, who doesn’t want to go to school there?
  2. Wizards, who doesn’t want to be a magical witch or wizard?
  3. I read the Harry Potter books first and loved them first, so they hold first place in my heart. (Sorry Twilight.)

Antonia- Harry Potter (said with a duh tone of voice.)

  1. The Twilight movie
  2. Magic is my favorite and I’d love to be a witch.
  3. I just love the Harry Potter world that Rowling created better than what’s in the Twilight books. It’s so well planned and thought out and it’s become a place that millions of people dream of going to.

Do you carry a bookbag? If so, what’s in it (besides books)?

Amanda- Okay, so I carry a small backpack as a purse. I’ve hated carrying “shoulder purses” for years now, so I stick with mini(ish) backpacks, but I wouldn’t consider it a bookbag. I always have either my Kindle or whatever I’m currently reading (sometimes both), my mascara and some lipstick for when I need to feel fabulous at a moments notice, about a hundred lip balms because I’m addicted to buying them, all the pens of life (I’m actually a pen thief so watch out), my wallet, keys, sunglasses and whatever miscellaneous junk rolls around at the bottom.

Antonia- No, I just carry a purse. I don’t really even put books in my purse anymore because half the time they don’t even fit so I just carry them.

Do you smell your books?

Amanda- I’m sorry, are there people that don’t smell their books?

Antonia- Of course, what kind of bookworm doesn’t smell their books?

Books with or without little illustrations? 

Amanda- Only if they’re significant to the story. If they’re just random little drawings then I don’t care, but I do enjoy when the illustrations add to the story.

Antonia- I enjoy them because I think it adds a little something and helps me picture what’s going on a little better.

What book did you love while reading but discovered later that it wasn’t quality writing? (We’re just going to mention books that we outgrew, who are we to say what’s good writing or bad writing.)

Amanda- I’m thinking the House of Night by P.C. & Kristen Cast. I’d say I outgrew these, mostly because I never even finished the series and I don’t know that I have any interest in ever doing so.

Antonia- I definitely outgrew Twilight by Stephenie Meyer because of a combination of the movies being awful and just growing up in general. I still have fond memories of the books (I mean they kind of started my friendship with Amanda,) but I could never read them again.

Do you have any funny stories from your childhood involving books? Please share!

Amanda- This is super not funny (though my siblings will say differently) but my step sister and my older brother used to steal my books while I was reading them to make me chase them around to get my book back. They did this because they wanted me to play with them and I wanted to read. It was not funny and actually traumatizing, but I’m sure they would tell you it was hilarious.

Antonia- So I totally convinced my mom to let me have Christmas lights in my room because I “didn’t like the dark” but in reality, it was so that I could read past my bedtime without anyone seeing light from my flashlight under my door. And if someone came to check on me I could just slip my book under the covers and pretend I was sleeping.

What is the tiniest book on your shelf?

Amanda- It’s between The Alchemist by Paul Coelho and The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis. I could get up and actually check the page count, but I’m lazy so I’m not going to. I could also probably google it too but I’m not going to do that either.

Antonia- The Time Machine by H.G. Wells. 

What is the thickest book on your shelf? 

Amanda- It’s tied between Cassandra Clare’s two books Lady Midnight and Lord of Shadows. They’re both around the same size and that size is giant.

Antonia- Styxx by Sherrilyn Kenyon. 

Do you write as well as read? Do you see yourself being an author in the future?

Amanda- That’s the goal. I’m actually in the middle of writing two stories at the moment, one short story and one (hopefully) novel. I have a few short stories and half-finished novels already along with tons of ideas that have yet to make it to paper.

Antonia- Yes, that would be lovely, if I could ever finish writing a book.

When did you get into reading?

Amanda- When I would go to visit my mother for the weekend. I would spend the whole time reading with my Nana and Great Aunt because that’s all I’d ever see them doing, so I wanted to see why. I started with  The Ugly Duckling by Iris Johanson and haven’t stopped reading since.

Antonia- I don’t remember a time that I didn’t love books.

What is your favorite classic book? 

Amanda- The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, mostly because I don’t read many classics but I read these as a kid.

Antonia- The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Duman

In school, what was your best subject?

Amanda- English, duh.

Antonia- Math.

If you were given a book that you had read before and hated as a present, what would you do? 

Amanda- I don’t think this would happen to me because people don’t buy me physical books unless I tell them a specific book I want. But if it did, I would probably be honest and say that I’d already read and that I didn’t love it. (I would be nice and wouldn’t say it was garbage or anything.)

Antonia- It would depend on who gave it to me. If it was Amanda or my mom I would be honest and say that I’d read it and it was awful. But if it was my MIL or something, I’d probably awkwardly thank her and keep it, maybe eventually donate it.

What is a lesser known series that you have read that is similar to Harry Potter or the Hunger Games? 

Amanda- The Secret of Spellshadow Manor by Bella Forrest is a series about kids with magic (though a different sort of magic from those in Harry Potter) who all go to this school together that the rest of the regular world doesn’t know about it. I actually loved these books, so read them (ahem, Antonia.)

Antonia- The Valkyrie Series by Linsey Hall is the only series I can think of that can even come close to being okay for this question. Everything else I’ve read that’s similar to either series is super well known. So, here you go magic school (kind of.)

What is a bad habit you always do while blogging?

Amanda- Once I’m blogging I’m fine, but I’m forever procrastinating everything. So not blogging is my bad habit?

Antonia- Getting distracted by the internet.

What is your favorite word?

Amanda- Befuddled.

Antonia- Ostentatious.

Are you a nerd, dork or dweeb? Or all of the above? 

Amanda- Nerd, more specifically a book-nerd. If you’re going to call me names, at least use the right one.

Antonia- NERD. (Nerd Camp forever.)

Vampires or Faeries? Why?

Amanda- Faeries, How can I not choose faeries when I have so much love for Rhysand from ACOTAR. They’re just way cooler (and I’m not sorry for saying that.)

Antonia- Faeries, they usually have more magic and also their own special realms. Vampires mostly just hang out in the real world and kill stuff or sparkle.

Shapeshifters or Angels? Why? 

Amanda- Shapeshifters mostly because the books I read with angels in them are usually fallen angels, so regular angels seem pretty lame in comparison.

Antonia- Shapeshifters because of the variety of what they can do. Angels are just angels but shapeshifters can be anything.

Spirits or Werewolves? Why? 

Amanda- Spirits. Love me some ghosts man. Just think of the stories they have? Plus werewolves always want to eat people or have to struggle to refrain from eating people.

Antonia- Neither? I don’t hate either, but they’re certainly not go-to topics for me.

Zombies or Vampires? Why?

Amanda- Vampires because zombies pretty much terrify me.

Antonia- Vampires because they’re not always soulless monsters whereas zombies legit don’t have brains so they can’t exactly make interesting characters.

Love Triangle or Forbidden Love? Why? 

Amanda- Forbidden love. I feel like stories with forbidden love just have more to them. The stories more interesting and has more depth. The love triangle has been totally overdone and is just annoying.

Antonia- Forbidden love because I’m so so sick of love triangles.

Full on romance books or action-packed with a few love scenes mixed in?

Amanda- Both. I love me some sappy mushy sexy romance novels, but I also really love seeing characters kick butt and save the world.

Antonia- Also both, it depends on what I’m in the mood for. Sometimes I love super sappy love stories and sometimes I like more fighting and action and suspense.

 

That’s all the questions we have today! I hope you had as much fun reading this as we did writing it. Feel free to tag us if you choose to participate in this book tag!

Amanda & Antonia.

The Plastic Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg

Summary:
Wall Street Journal bestselling author Charlie N. Holmberg returns to the enchanting world of The Paper Magician.
Alvie Brechenmacher has arrived in London to begin her training in Polymaking-the magical discipline of bespelling plastic. Polymaking is the newest form of magic, and in a field where there is so much left to learn, every Polymaker dreams of making the next big discovery.
Even though she is only an apprentice, Alvie is an inventor at heart, and she is determined to make as many discoveries-in as short a time frame-as she can. Luckily for her, she’s studying under the world-renowned magician Marion Praff, who is just as dedicated as Alvie is.
Alvie’s enthusiasm reinvigorates her mentor’s work, and together they create a device that could forever change Polymaking-and the world. But when a rival learns of their plans, he conspires to steal their invention and take the credit for it himself.
To thwart him, Alvie will need to think one step ahead. For in the high-stakes world of magical discovery, not everyone plays fair…

Review:
The Plastic Magician is the newest book in The Paper Magician series. Holmberg is back, writing the story of this crazy unique book world, but with all new characters. A few months ago I read the first three in the series and fell in love. Holmberg does a wonderful job building this unique world. The story is based in London in the early 1900s, so it’s mostly seated in the real world. I liked this because the author found a way to insert magic into the real world making it realistic instead of creating a fantasy place for these magicians. Being from the United States, I really enjoyed reading the story taking place in Alvie’s point of view. She’s also from the U.S. and getting to travel to London (somewhere I have always wanted to travel) for the first time. So the reader gets to see the world from the fresh perspective of someone coming to London for the first time.
In The Plastic Magician, the world is full of ‘material magics’ with plastic being newly discovered. With the discovery of a new material comes enthusiastic and creative magicians. Elvie and her teacher, Magician Praff, are two people that are both incredibly excited about Polymaking and the things still to be learned. Our main character, Alvie, was someone that I really enjoyed reading about. She’s excited about this new adventure, moving across the world to study a new kind of magic with the goal of making new discoveries to better the world. Alvie is super intelligent and really tries to think outside of the box, this out of the box thinking helps her in so many ways throughout the story. She seems to be a strong independent woman that doesn’t let what others think to determine her path in life. For example, she hates wearing skirts, which is what most women wear daily because it’s the early 1900s, so she wears trousers and doesn’t give a damn about what anyone has to say about it. She’s a little awkward and a lot nerdy and I absolutely adore it. I love reading about a nerdy main character, it just makes me happy. She’s creative, with Polymaking, but also with any situation that is thrown her way. She’s also so clever which’s helps her in a few different situations that could have gone way worse had she not been a quick thinker. The only thing I didn’t like about Alvie was that she has a bit of low self-esteem when it comes to her relationship with a guy that she meets at the train station. He’s a perfect gentleman to her and gives her more chances than most would, and she can’t seem to stop doubting what they have. It’s a little bit annoying. But their whole relationship was a little annoying. Even at the end of the book, they hadn’t actually talked about their relationship or anything. They were sweet and innocent which I think it what was trying to be portrayed, but it was a smidge on the irritating side.
I liked the dynamic with Alvie and her mentor Magician Praff. I hope Holmberg is going to continue this series with our new character Alvie and her training. I like that this apprenticeship isn’t the typical one. Alvie’s traveled across the world to study under one of the leading minds in Polymaking. They work incredibly well together and I liked Praff because he’s a great teacher. Praff makes sure to take time to listen to what Alvie is thinking. They end up being a really great team and I think they could have more adventures for sure.
There is a little bit of mystery here and there throughout the story but in an obvious way. We meet our villain at the beginning of the story and to me, it was pretty obvious that he was the villain from the moment we met him. This was only reinforced every time we saw him. I thought the villain totally could have been done a bit better, maybe just made a little less obvious that he’s the villain. I actually have some suggestions that I’m not going to make because they would be spoilers. Aside from the lame villain, I liked the mystery. There were break-ins all over London, but only at the houses of Polymakers, it was an interesting feature that definitely added to the story.
The one last thing I want to mention is the question I had from the very first page, “But do we get to see the characters from the first three books?” The answer is yes. I won’t say where or when, but yes. And yes, I did squeal a little when they appeared.
Ultimately, I really enjoyed this story. It was fun to read and I enjoyed getting to know these new characters in a world that I already love. I’m going to end this review a little differently than most. The Plastic Magician ended with a sentence that I really just found delightful, so I’m going to leave it here for you all.

“After all, it wasn’t about the magic it was about the discovery.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

*Please be aware that the book cover on this post is a link to purchase this book through Amazon. Feel free to purchase with our affiliate link (just click on the book cover) to support us!

Book Tag – Fall Out Boy

Hello, lovelies! I found this book tag recently when I made a new bookish friend, Danielle over at YA Allegiance. Go check her blog out, she has an excellent taste in books and has posted some great book tags. This book tag is one that I have to do for the fifteen-year-old girl deep inside me that will forever be in love with the band Fall Out Boy (plus, books and music, what could go wrong?) So, the Fall Out Boy Book Tag was done originally by Jace. I’m really excited to do this, so here goes.

American Beauty / American Psycho 

AB.AS

Pick a book with a twisted romance that you may or may not love – 

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

I think the relationship between Alina Starkov is pretty twisted, but I actually sort of loved it. Am I the only one? Something about the big bad Darkling was just super appealing. I guess I really just love me some villains.

Save Rock and Roll 

save rock and roll

Pick a book or series that has a lot of battles and heroes  – 

Age of Legends Trilogy by Kelley Armstrong 

I’ve read this series a few times now and it just doesn’t get old. Armstrong has created an incredible world where an unlikely group band together and journey to try to save the empire. These heroes, led by a set of twin sisters, face many challenges, trials, and battles throughout the pages of the three books in the series.

Folie á Duex

Folie a Duex

As folie á deux means the madness of two, pick your most favorite strong friendship from a book or series – 

Rose Gardner Investigations by Denise Grover Swank 

The Friendship between Rose and Neely-Kate is one that keeps me laughing. These girls are a great example of real friendship. They support one another, even when they may not be making the best choices. These two girls are real friends and I love to read about them and their crazy adventures.

Pax am Days (The King is Dead)

Pax am Days (the King of the dead)

Pick a villain that you were the happiest to see dead – 

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Um, hello THE KING OF HYPERION. Giant jerk bag and I’m pretty sure I jumped for joy when he was killed.

Infinity on High 

infinity on high

Pick a series or a book that makes you happy – 

A Shade of Vampire Series by Bella Forrest 

So many people have left bad reviews for this series so it may not be for you. But personally, I love these books. They’re so incredibly creative and out there. Once I start reading, I just can’t stop. The struggle of waiting for the next book to come out is too real, luckily the are released pretty quickly.

Believers Never Die (FOB’s Greatest Hits)

greatest hits

Pick your favorite book or series of all time – 

Book – Looking for Alaska by John Green

Series – A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas 

If you’ve read these, then this explanation is unnecessary. If you haven’t read these, then you need to. That’s all I have to say about it.

I had too much fun with this book tag. I’d love to see some other Fall Out Boy fans participate (or anyone really,) so feel free to tag our blog in your post or leave your answers in the comments!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Shadowcaster by Cinda Williams Chima

Summary:
A lifelong war.
Alyssa ana’Raisa is the reluctant princess heir to the Gray Wolf throne of the Fells, a queendom embroiled in a seemingly endless war. Hardened by too many losses, Lyss is more comfortable striking with a sword than maneuvering at court. After a brush with death, she goes on the offensive, meaning to end the war that has raged her whole life. If her gamble doesn’t pay off, she could lose her queendom before she even ascends to the throne.
A life in peril.
Across enemy lines in Arden, young rising star Captain Halston Matelon has been fighting for his king since he was a lytling. Lately, though, he finds himself sent on ever more dangerous assignments. Between the terrifying rumors of witches and wolfish warriors to the north and his cruel king at home, Hal is caught in an impossible game of life and death.
The shadow of defeat.
Set in the world of the acclaimed Seven Realms series, this is a thrilling story of unfathomable costs of war, the allure of dark magic, and two principled and conflicted characters drawn together despite everything they stand to lose.
Review:
This is the second book in Cinda Williams Chima’s Shattered Realms series. I reviewed the first book, Flamecaster here. In this book, we follow another member of the royal family of the Fellisian queendom, the heir to the throne, Lyss. I really enjoyed following Lyss in this story. She’s a character that I really enjoyed watching develop. At the beginning of the story she’s a young girl who’s just lost her sister and with that has become the new heir to the throne. We get to see into her relationship with her brother, Ash – who is the sibling that we follow in Flamecaster. She’s confiding in him about how she’s not ready to be queen and she doesn’t think that she’s the right person for this responsibility. He promises her that he will always be there for her and that she’s not alone with this new responsibility. And then he abandons her because of his own issues. Lyss is a girl that has been dealt the worst hand, over and over again. It only makes her stronger. Lyss takes all of her struggles and turns it into strength, into determination, into motivation to be the best she can for her people. It’s clear that she cares deeply about her friends and fellow soldiers – she’s a captain of her own special ‘Grey Wolf Squad’ that we learn is more like a little family. The members of the Grey Wolves care about each other and do what they need to in order to look out for one another. It’s clear that Alyssa is going to be a great leader regardless of all of the doubts she has about herself. We get to see these doubts and insecurities come out when Lyss is around her cousin Julianna. Julianna is the girl that I think Lyss sees that Julianna is excelling at all of the political and diplomatic things that Lyss is most insecure about.
There are so many things I like about this story. One of them is the timeline. This second book is happening partially at the same time as the first. So we get to see more details into events that we heard happening in the first book, but we get to read about how these important events happened. I thought it was cool that we got to see both siblings on both sides of the world both playing huge roles in their quickly changing world. Getting to see the two stories meet up and the characters come together was a nice touch. I liked how Chima did this, it was really well written. Everything just fits together nicely. The pace of the story (and series) was great. There was an ample amount of suspense but done the right way. It’s not too much or too little. We’re left wanting more, but not overwhelmed with questions. All of the characters necessary to the story are introduced slowly which I like because we really get to know them. They may be secondary characters, but they’re real and they’re fully developed because we’re not overwhelmed with characters and Chima took the time to really get into each one. I’m anxious to see the characters all meet and to see who else we will meet in the third book and beyond.
Jenna is one of the characters that we met in the first book. We only get to see bits and pieces of what she’s up to in this book, but I loved what we did get to see. We get more into her relationship with Cas which had me laughing the whole time. I absolutely adore Cas and everything about him. He has his own personality and it just cracks me up. I love the relationship between these two and I’m excited to see more of it in the next book. Jenna is a girl I really love. She always tries to do the right thing, even if it’s something that’s a risk to her own well being. She’s got great instincts and seems to know just the right time to get out of any given situation. She’s the first we meet with the magemark. The next is Breon. A very interesting guy. A character I’m not totally sure how to feel about. He’s one giant mystery. We learn just enough about him to know that he’s a good guy deep down inside, even though he mostly hangs around the wrong kind of people. Bree is surrounded by mystery and I really can’t wait to read more about him in the next book. There are so many unanswered questions with him. Why can’t he remember anything before he was ten? Where did his ability to sing someone’s song come from? What does this have to do with the magemarks? Also, an interesting aspect of the story is Bree’s addiction. He smokes a plant that they refer to as ‘leaf’. I liked this aspect because it made Bree flawed. It was really refreshing to have a character so flawed. He’s a character that has issues that he needs to work on. I’m anxious to see where these magemarked characters will take us in the rest of the series.
My favorite character in this book was Halston Matelon. Hal is the mirror of Lyss, minus the royalty part. He’s a part of Arden’s army and just trying to do his best for a country that he knows isn’t the best. He’s a man with honor. He wants to do the right thing, but he’s conflicted because the right thing and his orders aren’t always in line. There’s a great dynamic between him and Lyss. They’re both leaders, just on opposite sides of the war. Hal knowledge is full of misconceptions; misconceptions about the royal women of the Fells, misconceptions about Lyss and who he thinks she’s involved with, and misconceptions about northerners in general. Because of these, we got to see his thought process change once he was faced with the truth. It was fascinating to follow the character development for Hal. I also got a kick out of Hal’s internal conversation. He’s always talking to himself internally. It’s sometimes hilarious, especially when he’s thinking about Lyss. He compares her to a wolf for most of the book not knowing that she is the heir to the grey wolf throne. He also is forever talking about how he’s never met a woman like Lyss and it really just emphasizes the cultural differences between Arden and the Fells, specifically their women. I could go on and on about Hal, but I’ll stop here.
There were a few little things that I didn’t like about this book. One of them is that we didn’t see Ash, not even once, so we’re left wondering what’s happening with him the whole time. Another thing, at the beginning of the book Lyss is about eleven years old talking to her brother and then suddenly we’re four years into the future. Then a chapter or two later we do another time jump of a few months, it’s just off and a little bit confusing but it only happened in the beginning and not again after these two times. There were way more things that I liked about Shadowcaster than disliked. Chima is an incredible world builder. I love this book because we get to see even more of the Seven Realms, from Delphi to the heart of Arden, we get to travel all over in this series and it’s incredible to see more of this place. I’m excited to read the third book and the others when they are published so that we can explore the realms further. I have a feeling we’re going to get to explore the southern islands and I’m very intrigued to see them. Chima also creates amazing characters. They’re real and relatable to the reader, but also to one another. They’re a generation of kids that were all forced to grow up too soon because of this ridiculous war.
Overall, I loved this book (can you tell?) and I can’t wait to read the third one, Stormcaster. This book is great for anyone that likes fantasy, especially those who like a strong female lead.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

*Please be aware that the book cover on this post is a link to purchase this book through Amazon. Feel free to purchase with our affiliate link (just click on the book cover) to support us!

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

Summary:
Between 1854 and 1929, so-called orphan trains ran regularly from the cities of the East Coast to the farmlands of the Midwest, carrying thousands of abandoned children whose fates would be determined by pure luck. Would they be adopted by a kind and loving family, or would they face a childhood and adolescence of hard labor and servitude?
As a young Irish immigrant, Vivian Daly was one such child, sent by rail from New York City to an uncertain future a world away. Returning east later in life, Vivian leads a quiet, peaceful existence on the coast of Maine, the memories of her upbringing rendered a hazy blur. But in her attic, hidden in trunks, are vestiges of a turbulent past.
Seventeen-year-old Molly Ayer knows that a community-service position helping an elderly widow clean out her attic is the only thing keeping her out of juvenile hall. But as Molly helps Vivian sort through her keepsakes and possessions, she discovers that she and Vivian aren’t as different as they appear. A Penobscot Indian who has spent her youth in and out of foster homes, Molly is also an outside being raised by strangers, and she, too, has unanswered questions about the past.
Moving between contemporary Maine and Depression-era Minnesota, Orphan Train is a powerful tale of upheaval and resilience, second chances, and unexpected friendship.

Review:
I was given this book by my Aunt (when I say given I mean that she sent me home with a book stack like five books tall and I wasn’t really given a choice or opinion about it) to borrow because it really left an impression on her. I’m really glad she gave me no choice in borrowing this book because I have many feelings about it. It’s not a book that I would generally choose for myself to read. It’s a super serious book and I tend to stick to fun, lighter topics or books that have deeper meanings. I really enjoyed this story though, it was eye opening and heart wrenching and made me feel all of the emotions.
Orphan Train is the story of a young girl that’s been screwed again and again by the foster system. She’s with yet another set of foster parents, one that wanted her and one that agreed to make her husband happy and she never lets Molly forget it. Molly’s foster mother is a bitch. There’s no other way to say it. She’s unnecessarily mean and goes out of her way to make life harder for Molly. With her foster father as the middleman that never really picks a side between Molly and his wife, he just hopes they’ll work it out. His lack of any sort of intervention is really frustrating to me since he’s the one that wanted to foster Molly in the first place. Enough about them, they suck.
Molly is a girl I could get along with. She’s been through a lot in the short amount of years she’s been alive. Regardless of all of that, she has a pretty good attitude. She tries to maintain a ‘whatever’ attitude as if she doesn’t care about anything, but we get to see her crack and actually let herself care about people in her life (but not her foster parents because they suck). It was really nice to see Molly come out of her shell once she meets Vivian, our other main character. Vivian is a very interesting character because we meet her at the end of her life. We see that she’s made something for herself. She’s a wealthy widow that lives in a big beautiful house. Going from knowing her in this part of her life to learning about the struggles of her childhood was interesting. I liked it because reading about all of the complicated (sometimes horrible) things that Vivian endured was hard, but we already knew that it got better because of her situation in the present day. Reading Vivan’s story was honestly hard. She endures so much, so many traumatizing and horrible things for a girl so young, but through all of it she doesn’t give up. If I were her, I would have just given up on everything, but she doesn’t. She kept moving forward, looking at the positive things like friends she’s made and getting to go to school until eventually, life gets better. I enjoyed getting to see what made Vivian into the person that she is today.
My favorite thing about this story was probably the way that it’s written. Orphan Train is written with two alternating perspectives. The first perspective is the present day where we get to follow Molly as she meets Vivian. They connect and learn how alike they really are. The second point of view is Vivian’s life as she’s telling her story to Molly. I thought it was written really well in a thought-provoking way. The alternating perspectives gave us just enough information to see the similarities between these two orphans despite the different time periods they grew up in. I really enjoyed that it’s written in a way to set up to compare and contrast the orphan experience with a then and now kind of effect.
Overall I really enjoyed this story of two independent but strong women who learn to accept the help of those who care about them, even though they don’t want to. I appreciate that they both learned so much about themselves through the stories of each other. Finally, I love that even though Molly and Vivian both went through some series struggles, they came out on top and got their own happy ending (of sorts.)

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

*Please be aware that the book cover on this post is a link to purchase this book through Amazon. Feel free to purchase with our affiliate link (just click on the book cover) to support us!

The Heart Forger – Rin Chupeco

Summary:
No one knows death like Tea. A bone witch who can resurrect the dead, she has the power to take life…and return it. And she is done with her self-imposed exile. Her heart is set on vengeance, and she now possesses all she needs to command the mighty daeva. With the help of these terrifying beasts, she can finally enact revenge on the royals who wronged her-and took the life of her one true love.
But there are those who plot against her, those who would use Tea’s dark power for their own nefarious ends. Because you can’t kill someone who can never die…
War is brewing among the kingdoms, and when dark magic is at play, no one is safe.
Review:
I am super happy to say that I enjoyed this book WAY more than I did the first one, The Bone Witch (reviewed here.) I was hesitant to even read The Heart Forger because I was so disappointed with the first book, but I am happy to say that I liked it way better. Now that’s not to say that I didn’t think there was anything wrong, because I do have some negative opinions.
This book is told from two points of view, just like the last one. I liked the way that this story was told except that it leaves so much room for unanswered questions. A large amount of unanswered questions is honestly my biggest problem with this series so far. I totally understand the need for suspense and leading up to the big unveiling, but this is just a little ridiculous.
Let’s talk about our main character, Tea. She’s pretty much just a badass chick that’s out to burn the world down, at least, that’s how she wants us to see her. She spends so much time making herself out to be this big bad villain that the rest of the world is out to defeat. Yes, most of her ‘friends’ are trying to get her to come back to her city because of killing someone (we still don’t know who she supposedly did or didn’t kill, but it seems to be a huge deal in these books and I kind of can’t believe that we don’t get that little tidbit of information until the third book.) And yes, she’s raised and is controlling the daeva (big, scary, gross monsters that the whole world is afraid of, except Tea’s discovered that they’re just misunderstood.) So, Tea for sure makes a convincing villain, but only in the present. In the bits of the book that is her telling us her past, her being a villain just doesn’t make sense most of the time. It’s finally starting to make a bit more sense now that I’ve read two out of the three books in the series (the third doesn’t come out until March 2019, sadly.) Tea is someone that I genuinely like. She really cares about her friends, to the point where she does reckless stuff to try to protect them. She’s hard-headed, but not so much that she doesn’t listen to her loved ones when they’re trying to tell her she needs to chill out before she loses it completely. She’s just a girl that I can support. She’s flawed and isn’t ashamed to admit or talk about it. She makes mistakes and owns up to those mistakes trying to make amends when she does something dumb. She’s a realistic girl that I enjoyed reading.
Tea’s not the only character I liked. In this second book, we got to see some relationships develop further and some weird relationships develop that I didn’t even realize were happening. There were a few supporting characters that were developing relationships of their own (which I’m totally for) but it was weird because we didn’t really get to see how the characters got there. So it was kind of like all of a sudden these two characters actually love each other, surprise! We did get to see Tea and her brother, Fox, interact more and see what their relationship was like. This is something I complained about for the last book, so I’m glad we got to see them poking fun and messing with one another. We also got to see them worrying and trying to protect each other. They’re just a nice brother/sister pair and I liked them.
Now, prince charming, Kalen. This relationship kind of bugged me. Mostly because Kalen acted like a five-year-old for the entire first book and a good chunk of the second playing the ‘I’m going to be mean to her because I secretly like her’ game and I just didn’t like that at all. I get the whole ‘I have feelings for her but I’m scared to admit them to myself or anyone’ but c’mon, man up and at the very least stop being such a jerk to Tea all the time. Then, when he does stop, he goes from jerk to admitting that he’s in love with her in no time at all. I just feel like the progression of this relationship was a little off and wasn’t all that realistic. Though, once they both pulled their heads out of their butts and admitted that they cared about each other, I was all for it. They’re a way better match than Tea and the prince jerk-face who I’m not even going to talk about because I’ll just get mad all over again.
I do want to briefly mention the heart forger (apprentice) Khalad. I just really liked everything about this character and I can’t wait to read more about him in the next book. He’s just all around a good dude.
There were a few things I didn’t like about this story. The first being the time progression, this story is supposed to be two years after the start of the first book, The Bone Witch. That just doesn’t make sense to me unless we missed a big piece of time in between The Bone Witch and The Heart Forger, but there’s nothing that indicates that. So this was just a little confusing. The next thing was that there were some things in the first book that weren’t in the second. In the first book, after Tea has become a full blown approved and all that asha, she’s required to attend all kinds of parties and events and things like that. There’s none of this in the second book, which after a certain point it just wouldn’t make sense to have her doing this stuff, but at least at the start of this book, shouldn’t she be doing all of these things that are required of asha? It just didn’t make sense to me and left me a little confused.
I did really like the way this story was written, by that I mean that Rin Chupeco really has a way with words. Some of the pages I had to sit back and reread a few times and just take it all in. This was a beautifully written story. I’m not referring to the story here, but the actual words, the language used. It paints a very pretty picture in what is likely to be a pretty scary book world.
By the end of this book, I was fully invested. Invested in the characters and finally invested in the story. So, if you’ve read the first book and liked it, you will for sure love the second one. If you read the first one and didn’t like it, you should give the second one a chance because it was great. If you haven’t read either, you should.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

*Please be aware that the book cover on this post is a link to purchase this book through Amazon. Feel free to purchase with our affiliate link (just click on the book cover) to support us!

The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

Summary:
Tea is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy makes her a bone witch, who are feared and ostracized in the kingdom. For theirs is a powerful, elemental magic that can reach beyond the boundaries of the living-and of the human.
Great power comes at a price, forcing Tea to leave her homeland to train under the guidance of an older, wiser bone witch. There, Tea puts all of her energy into becoming an asha, learning to control her elemental magic and those beasts who will submit by no other force. And Tea must be strong-stronger than even she believes possible. Because war is brewing in the eight kingdoms, war that will threaten the sovereignty of her homeland…and threaten the very survival of those she loves.
Lyrical and action packed, this new fantasy series by acclaimed author Rin Chupeco will leave you breathless.
Review:
This book is going to be hard for me to review. I’m a girl that loves books. It really doesn’t matter what they’re about, as long as it’s interesting and makes sense (mostly) and there is a point to the story. This book, I honestly don’t even know that it got to the point that was trying to be made by the last page. I closed this book after finishing still just as confused as I was for most of the story.
Okay, let’s back up a bit. From the very first pages of The Bone Witch, I could tell it was meant to have a dark or spooky tone to it. In between each chapter we got to see a bit into the present day. At first, we didn’t know who was narrating in the present day, I thought it was the main character, Tea, but didn’t get confirmation for too many pages. So Tea is telling her own story to this mysterious Bard that’s from another land (kingdom?) I liked the back and forth at first. I liked getting to see how Tea got to wherever it was that she was telling the story. I liked it until I realized that she never told the full story. I’m assuming because I haven’t started it yet, that we will get the rest (or hopefully more of at the very least) of her story in the second book that I will probably be starting tomorrow. I did very much like how the story is told. It’s told in first person point of view, but it’s told by Tea to someone else. Tea is telling her own story. Because of this, I feel like we really got to know who Tea is according to Tea rather than anyone else.
There were more than a few things I didn’t like about this story sadly. It was actually a little hard to read at times. I had to keep putting it down and coming back to it the next day. I feel like the author was trying to create suspense with her use of present-day Tea telling the story of how she got to where she is and giving hints about what she was up to/ going to do next, except that we never got there. The book ended with Tea leaving her little beach (or wherever it is that she was) and we still didn’t get the rest of the story as to why she was doing the things she’s doing and what she was hoping to accomplish. There’s just quite a few parts of this story that I feel are unclear and shouldn’t be. Maybe the author was trying to create suspense, but for me, it was just confusing. Along with this, parts of the story were boring. Present day Tea is telling us about Tea in the past, starting with her bringing her recently killed brother back from the dead, which is how she discovers that she is an infamous bone witch.
From here, she is brought across the land to the Willows by her teacher Mykaela, where she is promptly dumped at her new home. Instead of being a student like you’d think when she was told that she would be trained, she’s trained in how to clean the compound. The head asha treats her like she’s trash (but only until she proves herself and starts making money for the compound.) I don’t understand why she wasn’t taught right from the start of arriving. If Tea is so important because there are so few bone witches, why wouldn’t it be important for her to be trained? I really admired Tea with all of this because she was determined to take all of the crap and stupidity she was given and run with it. If she was going to be a glorified maid, then she was going to be the best maid you ever saw. And once she showed how powerful she was and actually started to train she put her all into her training, even the areas she (and everyone else) knew she was bad at. I also liked that there were areas that she didn’t excel; I like a character with flaws. It makes them more real to me. What was a little unreal was that she went from essentially being a made to be a full-blown asha in the period of just a few months when the process usually takes years. This is something that I always notice with stories, is the timeline realistic? And it’s not. It would have been easy to make it a longer more realistic timeline too. She went through all of the stages, but instead of saying, “over the next few months all I did was train and blah blah blah” it all happened in days or weeks which is just unreasonable to me.
Narrator Tea seemed interesting and seemed to be where the story was headed, even though we didn’t really get there before the book ended. She made herself out to be the villain of the story and I will be giving the second book a try so that I can see why or how she became this villain. (I love a good villain.) There were a few subtle hints throughout the story that she was planning to do something crazy to change the responsibilities of the bone witches, but her thoughts as the story was being told and her plans as narrator Tea didn’t connect very well. The one thing that I think is probably why I’m going to read the next book is something “the oracle” said to Tea at her last visit. She said, “You are dangerous. Left unchecked, you can spell the downfall of the Willows. Of Kion.” But then the Oracle lets her continue on with whatever she’s thinking, so I’m not sure if it’s that she’s powerful or that her ideas can change the world.
The relationships in this story seemed a bit forced to me. Aside from Tea and her brother Fox, which I think seemed better because we got to see so much of them. But Tea seemed to idolize and look up to Mykaela even though Mykaela wasn’t even in the Willows for half the series and when she was she was confined to bed because the bone witch responsibilities were essentially killing her. We got a bit more with Tea’s relationships to her other “sisters” but even then, one was a rivalry that seemed silly until the last twenty pages when we found out the reasoning behind it. I just didn’t love this book and half the time I was so bored that I had to put it down and try reading again later.
Overall, this story was definitely not one of my favorites. I hate to say that I didn’t like a book. So I’m hoping that the second book clears up all of these questions that I’m left with because the ending of The Bone Witch will for sure leave you saying, “What the heck just happened?”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

*Please be aware that the book cover on this post is a link to purchase this book through Amazon. Feel free to purchase with our affiliate link (just click on the book cover) to support us!