Review: Burning Kingdoms by Lauren DeStefano

Title: Burning Kingdoms Author: Lauren DeStefano Publication Date: March 10, 2015 Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, Fantasy Series: The Internment Chronicles #2 Rating: 3.5/5 Danger descends in the second book of The Internment Chronicles, from the New York Times bestselling author … Continue reading

Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

16034235Title: Throne of Glass
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Publication Date: January 1, 2012
Pages: 404
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Series: Throne of Glass #1
Source: Library
Rating: 5/5
Summary (from Goodreads):

In a land without magic, where the king rules with an iron hand, an assassin is summoned to the castle. She comes not to kill the king, but to win her freedom. If she defeats twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition, she is released from prison to serve as the king’s champion. Her name is Celaena Sardothien.

The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard will protect her. But something evil dwells in the castle of glass–and it’s there to kill. When her competitors start dying one by one, Celaena’s fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival, and a desperate quest to root out the evil before it destroys her world. 

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My Thoughts . . .

Wow! Honestly, I cannot believe I took so long to start this series. I immediately fell in love with the world Sarah J. Maas artfully crafted, the characters, and the intriguing plot. I personally am not a huge fan of fantasy, but this one is incredible, whether you are a lover of fantasy or not. It is quite difficult, as I sit down and write this review, to put my thoughts into coherent sentences because all I want to do is spill my fangirl thoughts all over this post into an immense blob. But to start somewhere, the world building was absolutely incredible. I felt like I was in the world with the characters, feeling what they experienced–from Celaena working in the mines to when she visited the glass castle for the first time (yes, the castle is made entirely of glass!).

The creativity that oozed between the pages of this novel was overwhelmingly awesome. I loved the incorporation of magic (and how it played a major role towards the end) and diversity of the characters, where we were able to learn more about where they came from. Once I was officially sucked into the novel, so many twists and turns took place that kept on surprising me and grew more and more interesting and unbelievable. So many times my face displayed how shocked I felt when one piece of information was revealed.

But the best part was definitely the characters. I am and will forever be Team Chaol! ❤ However, I loved Dorian as a person. Despite possessing royal blood, he visibly turned away from his father’s actions, believing that the way he expanded Ardalan was unacceptable, forcing thousands of people to be enslaved or killed. He also loves to read, so that’s always a plus. Chaol, on the other hand, was less readable (no pun intended ;)). Being Captain of the Guard, he could not openly express his emotions, but I loved the times when Celaena caught him smiling. Those rare moments only fueled my love for them. Although a love triangle sort of appears, it becomes less of a triangle at the end. As much as I love romance, I am glad it did not play a major role, as greater emphasis was placed upon the plot and Celaena competing to become the King’s Champion, where after serving him for four years she gains her independence.

Throughout this novel, I loved Celaena more and more and saw her grow over the course of the novel. As an assassin, she made that perfectly clear in the beginning with her bad ass attitude, but showed a different, less aggressive side to her. Despite how different we both are, I could still relate to her and I would love to have her as a friend. I know she would always have my back. If there is anything for you to take away from this rambling review, it is this: if you want to fall in love with a strong female character, her love interests, and root for her, while bone chilling and unexpected events take place in an incredible fantasy world, this novel is for you.

My Favorite Quotes . . .

“Libraries were full of ideas–perhaps the most dangerous and powerful of all weapons.”

“With each day he felt the barriers melting. He let them melt. Because of her genuine laugh, because he caught her one afternoon sleeping with her face in the middle of a book, because he knew that she would win.”

“How long was I asleep?” she whispered. He didn’t respond.
“How long was I asleep?” she asked again, and noticed a hint of red in his cheeks.
“You were asleep, too?”
“Until you began drooling on my shoulder.”

“As my friend, you should either bring me along, or keep me company.”
“Friend?” he asked.
She blushed. “Well, ‘scowling escort’ is a better description. Or ‘reluctant acquaintance’, if you prefer.”

“I’m not ill like that,” she groaned. He sat on her bed, peeling back the blanket. A servant entered, frowning at the mess on the floor, and shouted for help.
“Then in what way?”
“I,uh…” Her face was so hot she thought it would melt onto the floor. Oh you idiot. “My monthly cycles finally came back!”
His face suddenly matched hers and he stepped away, dragging his hand through his short hair. “I-if…Then I’ll take my leave,” he stammered, and bowed. Celaena raised an eyebrow, and then, despite herself, smiled as he left the room as quick as his feet could go without running, tripping slightly in the doorway as he staggered into the rooms beyond.”

Overall . . .

If you have not yet been given the honor of reading any of Sarah J. Maas’ work, take this as an incentive to do so as soon as possible! Trust me as I say you will fall in love with Maas’ prose, as well as the world and characters she artfully crafted within Throne of Glass. The setting and plot is original and unique, which can be a struggle to find in YA these days. Although this novel is filled with serious tones, there are many times where I could not stop laughing. It is a novel that brings the best of both worlds, the moments when you fear something atrocious is about to happen, to moments where you literally laugh so hard you start crying. I personally admit to trying to fight a grin off my face as I read a scene in public. I bet my struggle only made things worse. Anyways, if you want to experience the incredible world and story in Throne of Glass, I highly recommend you start reading it right away! I cannot stress that enough, reading this novel is the only way to understand what I have been trying to get across since the beginning of this review: that it is amazing!

Thank you Safah @ Midnight Page Turners for buddy reading Throne of Glass with me! It was so much fun and I appreciate being able to vent to you at the click of a button.

Have you read Throne of Glass? If so, what were your thoughts? If not, you should be busy reading it.


Review: Guy in Real Life by Steve Brezenoff

18599748Title: Guy in Real Life
Author: Steve Brezenoff
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date:
May 27, 2014
Pages: 386
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Series: Standalone
Source: Library
Rating: 4/5
Summary (from Goodreads):

An achingly real and profoundly moving love story about two Minnesota teens whose lives become intertwined through school, role-playing games, and a chance two-a.m. bike accident.

It is Labor Day weekend in St. Paul, Minnesota, and boy and girl collide on a dark street at two thirty in the morning: Lesh, who wears black, listens to metal, and plays MMOs; and Svetlana, who embroiders her skirts, listens to Björk and Berlioz, and dungeon masters her own RPG. They should pick themselves up, continue on their way, and never talk to each other again.

But they don’t.

This is a story of two people who do not belong in each other’s lives, who find each other at a time when they desperately need someone who doesn’t belong in their lives. A story of those moments when we act like people we aren’t in order to figure out who we are. A story of the roles we all play—at school, at home, with our friends, and without our friends—and the one person who might show us what lies underneath it all.

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 My thoughts . . .

Guy in Real Life is unlike any YA novel I have ever read. It may seem like it solely focuses on life as a gamer, filled with fighting off mystical creatures and roleplaying, but it actually ventures into discovering oneself. Two main characters come into play who I have grown to love and admire, Lesh and Svetlana. Lesh: sixteen-year-old boy who dresses up in dark clothing, listens to metal, and soon finds himself sucked into the gaming world. Svetlana: seventeen-year-old girl who is the dungeon master at her school’s Gaming Club (whose members comprises of her close friends) takes her role seriously and enjoys drawing, sewing, and embroidery in her free time. As different as these characters may seem, they collide into each other early one morning and soon establish a friendship. I must admit, I found this book had some slow moments, but overall, I felt connected with the characters even though I have zero interest in RPGs.


This novel was very real; there was no sugar coating whatsoever. It covered life events (teenagers who drink and do drugs) and revealed that Lesh sometimes hung out with the wrong crowd. But luckily, it did not negatively affect him in the long run. It merely showed that not everyone is perfect and books can’t always hide the truth of reality. Some parts of the novel slowed down my progress, but there were moments that I adored. I loved reading about life as a gamer, but I most cherished the blooming relationship between Lesh and Svetlana. Both seemingly the exact opposite of one another, they somehow managed to connect and enjoy each other’s company. What I liked is that their relationship was slow and developed over time. It wasn’t a love at first sight ordeal. Although Lesh instantly developed a crush on Svetlana, Svetlana doubted her feelings and then soon accepted them.

Sometimes the characters got on my nerves at times, especially Svetlana who never wanted to spend time with her family (which saddened me) as well as what happened in the end on Lesh’s account (which infuriated me), but it’s easy for me to overcome these feelings because of how well crafted the story was and the very serious message portrayed.

What I also loved was that the book was written in two POVs, Lesh’s and Svetlana’s. It enabled you to get both sides of the story so you understood what went through both of their minds after a given situation.

Overall . . .

I would recommend this book, even if you have no interest in gamers in RPGs (like myself). As you read Guy in Real Life you will admire the uniqueness of this novel (a nice break from typical YA novels) and appreciate the original characters and their story.

* If you have already read Guy in Real Life, be sure to read this short story in Jelly’s POV:

Did you read Guy in Real Life? And if so, what were your thoughts on it?


Review: Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman

Prisoner of Night and Fog (Prisoner of Night and Fog, #1)

Title: Prisoner of Night and Fog
Author: Anne Blankman
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date:
April 22, 2014
Pages: 401
Genre: YA, Historical Fiction, Mystery
Series: Prisoner of Night and Fog #1
Source: Library
Rating: 5/5
Summary (from Goodreads):

In 1930s Munich, danger lurks behind dark corners, and secrets are buried deep within the city. But Gretchen Müller, who grew up in the National Socialist Party under the wing of her “uncle” Dolf, has been shielded from that side of society ever since her father traded his life for Dolf’s, and Gretchen is his favorite, his pet.Uncle Dolf is none other than Adolf HitlerIn 1930s Munich, danger lurks behind dark corners, and secrets are buried deep within the city. But Gretchen Müller, who grew up in the National Socialist Party under the wing of her “uncle” Dolf, has been shielded from that side of society ever since her father traded his life for Dolf’s, and Gretchen is his favorite, his pet.Uncle Dolf is none other than Adolf Hitler. And Gretchen follows his every command.Until she meets a fearless and handsome young Jewish reporter named Daniel Cohen. Gretchen should despise Daniel, yet she can’t stop herself from listening to his story: that her father, the adored Nazi martyr, was actually murdered by an unknown comrade. She also can’t help the fierce attraction brewing between them, despite everything she’s been taught to believe about Jews.As Gretchen investigates the very people she’s always considered friends, she must decide where her loyalties lie. Will she choose the safety of her former life as a Nazi darling, or will she dare to dig up the truth—even if it could get her and Daniel killed?

My thoughts . . .

An incredible novel that sheds fresh light on a ruthless leader through the eyes of a young lady from his inner circle, who falls in love with a Jew!

As a history nerd, I was extremely excited for this novel to come out, and I must say, it was no disappointment. Blankman crafted an incredible story, woven with the feelings many felt during that difficult time. Gretchen, the main character (who I adored!) has a difficult life. She might be loved by Hitler (as odd as that sounds) but she has an intimidating brother, who is not afraid to harm anyone or anything, a mother who refuses to intervene, and a father who sacrificed his life to save Hitler’s. But when Gretchen meets Daniel, she was hesitant of interacting with a Jew; it went against everything she was taught. But when she pushed those tainted thoughts aside, she learned the truth behind Hitler and the National Socialist Party. If you are not a fan of history, don’t let this novel scare you away. Putting the historical context aside for a moment, it’s a story about a young woman who discovers herself, and breaks free from what she has been taught and the people who have influenced her morals.

It has opened up my eyes. About what truly goes on in a person’s mind and how much hurt one may feel underneath all that stature and power. Personally, it has peaked my interest regarding Hitler’s complicated mind (but don’t forget, I love history).

I have found that YA historical fiction novels can be a hit or miss. They can either sound like a textbook, reiterating the facts of said time period, or artfully craft a wonderful story regarding a specific time in history. I can say with confidence that Prisoner of Night and Fog falls in the latter category.

Do not feel intimated by reading a novel about World War II (as book stores are flooded by novels of this topic) as Prisoner of Night and Fog shines from the rest. It sheds light on a different idea of World War II and Hitler’s rise in power. Instead of a book from the point of view of the Allies, how about from that of a woman who is loyal to Hitler, himself? Fascinating, right?

Overall . . .

All I can say is, Prisoner of Night and Fog will show you the interesting side of history, and unravel a beautiful story, filled with love, struggle, and a mysterious death. Please, if you have not read this book already, read it! You will not regret it, I promise! Instead, you’ll be anticipating the sequel like I am. . . and swooning over Daniel.


Review: The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd

ImageTitle: The Madman’s Daughter
Author: Megan Shepherd
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: January 29, 2013
Pages: 432
Genre: Young Adult, Gothic, Historical Fiction
Series: The Madman’s Daughter #1
Source: Library
Rating: 5/5
Summary (from Goodreads):

In the darkest places, even love is deadly.

Sixteen-year-old Juliet Moreau has built a life for herself in London—working as a maid, attending church on Sundays, and trying not to think about the scandal that ruined her life. After all, no one ever proved the rumors about her father’s gruesome experiments. But when she learns he is alive and continuing his work on a remote tropical island, she is determined to find out if the accusations are true.

Accompanied by her father’s handsome young assistant, Montgomery, and an enigmatic castaway, Edward—both of whom she is deeply drawn to—Juliet travels to the island, only to discover the depths of her father’s madness: He has experimented on animals so that they resemble, speak, and behave as humans. And worse, one of the creatures has turned violent and is killing the island’s inhabitants. Torn between horror and scientific curiosity, Juliet knows she must end her father’s dangerous experiments and escape her jungle prison before it’s too late. Yet as the island falls into chaos, she discovers the extent of her father’s genius—and madness—in her own blood.

Inspired by H. G. Wells’s classic The Island of Dr. Moreau, The Madman’s Daughter is a dark and breathless Gothic thriller about the secrets we’ll do anything to know and the truths we’ll go to any lengths to protect.

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My Thoughts . . .

The Madman’s Daughter is a delightfully creepy novel, filled with twists and turns that will render you speechless. There is never a dull moment as you blaze through the pages as if the book is on fire.

The story begins in late nineteenth century London. Juliet’s father, Henri Moreau, a once acclaimed surgeon, flees London to a remote island when rumors spread of his alleged gruesome experiments–leaving his wife and daughter, Juliet, a poor reputation. Their once glamorous life vanishes and is replaced with many hardships. After Juliet’s mother dies, Juliet is left to fend for herself. She becomes a maid in the university where her father used to work, and tries to sustain herself. One thing leads to another and before Juliet knows it, she is on a ship with Montgomery, her family’s previous servant and they travel to an island–where her father is alive. Juliet at first is determined to find out if the rumors are true but in the end, traveling to the island was a mistake.

Megan Shepherd crafted this story beautifully–with vivid imagery, well-developed characters, and a storyline that will leave you breathless. I started this novel with high expectations and I must say, they were delivered. The storyline is filled with many events, one after the other, that ensures a rapid pace, only crescendoing as more startling information is unraveled. The bottom line: your mind will explode. Especially in the end, I was not expecting that.

My favorite characters were Henri Moreau, the arrogant, overconfident madman. His experiments were intriguing and I could not believe he accomplished what he did given the time period–he truly was a mad genius. I loved his character solely because of his ill-mind–what can I say, I love mad people. Juliet. Juliet is the perfect protagonist. Her story was heart wrenching and when I discovered the truth behind her medical history, it left me dazed. Although a strong female character, she experiences difficulty containing her own madness because of her father’s blood coursing through her veins. What I admire about Juliet is how she challenged social norms when on the island. Since she is far away from London and the watchful and judgmental eyes of its inhabitants, Juliet began to care less and less about what people would think of her because of her actions. It truly reveals how absurd social norms can be as Juliet broke the expectations of a young woman. I was not very fond of Montgomery in the beginning, but as the story progressed, I started to like him more and more . . . until what happened in the end. Once the family servant, he became Juliet’s father’s assistant, helping him perform his experiments. It became clear that on the island, Montgomery was no longer the young boy Juliet knew from her childhood. On the island, Montgomery was described by Juliet as wild, from the way he dressed to his ability to survive the island’s harsh conditions. He knew his way around the island, it became his home. Then there’s Edward. Edward, Edward, Edward. Edward was the castaway found floating in a dinghy, struggling to stay alive during Juliet and Montgomery’s voyage. They rescued him and then brought him to the island so he could continue to recover. Edward has a mysterious past, which makes him alluring. He claims to have run away from his father in London, but near the end, the starling truth is revealed. Honestly, Edward’s character was the most frightening of all once the truth was uncovered.

Favorite Quotes . . .

“As a surgeon, blood had been his medium like ink to a writer. Our fortune had been built on blood, the acrid odor infused into the very bricks of our house, the clothes that we wore. To me, blood smelled like home.”

“He’d never said the accusations were untrue. Just unfair.” 

“‘We aren’t in London anymore. Who’s going to gossip?’ I hissed. ‘The birds?'”

Overall . . .

The Madman’s Daughter is a book I will never forget–it will haunt me forever. With romance, creepy experiments, and a madman, The Madman’s Daughter is a must read. There are many surprises that will leave you speechless and an ending that will leave you wanting more. Megan Shepherd’s debut novel is hauntingly delightful, and will creep you out. I cannot wait for the second book in the trilogy, Her Dark Curiosity. I am dying to find out what happens with Juliet and the island and its inhabitants that I’m sure will haunt her for the rest of her life. I regret not reading this book sooner, so if you have not done so already, pick up a copy today. You need to read this book.

Already read the book? Leave me a comment below with your thoughts on it, I would love to know what you think of it. And if you have not read it, I hope you will change that shortly.


Review: Perfect Ruin by Lauren DeStefano

17339241Title: Perfect Ruin
Author: Lauren DeStefano
Publisher: Simon & Schuster BFYR
Publication Date: October 1, 2013
Pages: 356
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian
Series: The Internment Chronicles #1
Source: Library
Rating: 5/5
Summary (from Goodreads):

On Internment, the floating island in the clouds where 16-year-old Morgan Stockhour lives, getting too close to the edge can lead to madness. Even though Morgan’s older brother, Lex, was a Jumper, Morgan vows never to end up like him. She tries her best not to mind that her life is orderly and boring, and if she ever wonders about the ground, and why it is forbidden, she takes solace in best friend Pen and her betrothed, Basil.
Then a murder, the first in a generation, rocks the city. With whispers swirling and fear on the wind, Morgan can no longer stop herself from investigating, especially when she meets Judas. He is the boy being blamed for the murder — betrothed to the victim — but Morgan is convinced of his innocence. Secrets lay at the heart of Internment, but nothing can prepare Morgan for what she will find — or who she will lose.

My Thoughts . . .

Perfect Ruin is a book that will leave you wanting more. The world DeStefano created is whimsical, creative, and most important of all, original. To understand the reason behind the formation of Internment,

The first humans were especially ungrateful. After the birth of the sun and the moon, they asked for stars. After the crops rose from the ground, they asked for beasts to fill the fields. After some time, the god of the ground, weary of their demands, thought it best to destroy them and begin again with humbler beings. So it goes that the god of the sky thought the first humans too clever to waste, and he agreed to keep them in the sky with the promise that they would never again interfere with the ground.

The History of Internment, Chapter 1”

I found Interment’s background intriguing, which pulled me into this book. If you are hesitant about the concept of a “sky god,” there is no need to fear because this book does not revolve around it. The concept of the sky god is for the inhabitants of Internment to have faith in someone or rather, something. They need to know that they were placed on Internment for a reason and that their life has a purpose.

But Morgan, does not buy it. She believes in the sky god in the beginning but once disturbing events unfold, such as a murder, she begins to question her faith. She wonders about the ground, and what life must be like there. Having a Jumper in the family (her brother, Lex) persuades her to reconsider being one herself. But the allure of the edge continues to draw her attention, and she fantasizes more about the edge than she should.

The structure of Interment is intriguing, to say the least. Individuals are betrothed to one another at a young age; expected to wear a clear ring that on their wedding day, will be filled with the other’s blood. When the couple wants to have a child, they sign up to be in the queue, where they must wait to bear a child. This ensures balance between the birth and death rate. There is a king in charge on Internment, with a police force to ensure that everything runs smoothly.

Then there are the Jumpers, those who are declared irrational because of their actions. Jumpers are those allured by Interment’s edge and who are so desperate to see the ground . . . they jump. Because Internment has a dome of wind surrounding it (to prevent clouds from colliding with them), Jumpers are pushed back onto Internment by the wind’s sheer force. All Jumpers always suffer a consequence and Lex’s was blindness.

I adored the following characters in Perfect Ruin: Morgan, the main character who as time goes on begins to realize that Interment is not as safe as she was taught to believe; Basil, her betrothed, who is a charming gentleman, always on Morgan’s side and willing to do anything with her; Pen, Morgan’s best friend since youth, who faithfully remains her friend, even after the incident with Lex; and Alice, Lex’s betrothed, who is always loyal to him and does everything for him because of their undying love for one another.

From the characters to the setting, Perfect Ruin is a must read for all lovers of unique, dystopian books.

Favorite Quotes . . .

“Every star has been set in the sky. We mistakenly think they were put there for us.”

“He gathers me up and I’m weightless before he sets me on the railing. He’s the only thing keeping me from falling back, out of the reach of daylight. I’m not afraid of falling. I don’t fear the sky beyond the train tracks like I did before. I can go anywhere just so long as it’s with him.”

“We accept gods that don’t speak to us.  We accept gods that would place us in a world filled with injustices and do nothing as we struggle.  It’s easier than accepting that there’s nothing out there at all, and that, in our darkest moments, we are truly alone.”

“So many of the things I’ve wanted are the things I’ve been taught to fear.”

Overall . . .

I loved Perfect Ruin because it differs from all the other dystopian novels I have read. It is about a young girl, whose thoughts and ideas are too large to be contained on the limited space of Internment and aspires to visit the ground and discover what’s outside the floating island she lives on. The world of Interment is very unique, which was not only admiring, but a pulling force that sucked me into this book. DeStefano’s writing was descriptive and awe-inspiring, enabling me to visualize the events on Interment and wonder about them. I was able to connect the events on Interment with the real world, which I loved because it made this fantasy world more realistic. And the ending . . . it will render you speechless.

If you are a fan of original, dystopian books, you need to read Perfect Ruin immediately. You will not regret it; instead, you will wish its sequel would be published sooner.