Guardian of Secrets Blog Tour Review

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I am really excited to take part of the Guardian of Secrets blog tour, hosted by Chapter by Chapter Blog Tours! Thank you to the hosts and thank you Entangled Teen for making me aware of this tour and for sending me a finished copy of this book.

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Goodreads¦ My Review (3 stars)

Gia Kearns would rather fight with boys than kiss them. That is, until Arik, a leather clad hottie in the Boston Athenaeum, suddenly disappears. While examining the book of world libraries he abandoned, Gia unwittingly speaks the key that sucks her and her friends into a photograph and transports them into a Paris library, where Arik and his Sentinels—magical knights charged with protecting humans from the creatures traveling across the gateway books—rescue them from a demonic hound.

Jumping into some of the world’s most beautiful libraries would be a dream come true for Gia, if she weren’t busy resisting her heart or dodging an exiled wizard seeking revenge on both the Mystik and human worlds. Add a French flirt obsessed with Arik and a fling with a young wizard, and Gia must choose between her heart and her head, between Arik’s world and her own, before both are destroyed.

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Guardian of Secrets (Library Jumpers #2)

by Brenda Drake

Publication Date: February 7, 2017 

Publisher:  Entangled Teen

Being a Sentinel isn’t all fairytales and secret gardens.

Sure, jumping through books into the world’s most beautiful libraries to protect humans from mystical creatures is awesome. No one knows that better than Gia Kearns, but she could do without the part where people are always trying to kill her. Oh, and the fact that Pop and her had to move away from her friends and life as she knew it.

And if that isn’t enough, her boyfriend, Arik, is acting strangely. Like, maybe she should be calling him “ex,” since he’s so into another girl. But she doesn’t have time to be mad or even jealous, because someone has to save the world from the upcoming apocalypse, and it looks like that’s going to be Gia.

Maybe. If she survives.

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Review:

Guardian of Secrets is the thrilling sequel to Brenda Drake’s Thief of Lies.

I have to admit that I din’t really know what to expect when I started this book. I was definitely afraid that the few issues I had with the first book will carry-on and that the plot would be predictable. I’m very happy to report that most of the issues did not reappear, or if they did they were minimal and towards the beginning, and that the plot took my by surprise over and over and over again!

Since I love lists (and because I don’t want to give away too much) here’s a list of thoughts about the book:

  • Complex, but easy to understand magic system
  • Detailed world building
  • Learned more about the characters
  • Heart-breaking love triangle
  • Intriguing plot
  • New settings
  • More creatures
  • PLOT TWISTS

My main issue with the first novel was that because of the fast pacing, I didn’t get to know the characters or enjoy the intense scenes much. Brenda Drake remedied that in this book and I am hooked. I absolutely adore all of the characters! I’m not a fan of the love-triangle trope, but it was so well written. I haven’t felt so conflicted about a love triangle since The Infernal Devices!

highly recommend this series to anyone who is looking for a unique read with magical elements. I cannot wait for the next book in this series!


brenda-drake

Brenda Drake is a New York Times bestselling author of Thief of Lies (Library Jumpers #1), Guardian of Secrets (Library Jumpers #2), Touching Fate (Fated Series #1), and Cursing Fate (Fated Series #2). She grew up the youngest of three children, an Air Force brat, and the continual new kid at school. She hosts workshops and contests for writers such as Pitch Wars and Pitch Madness on her blog, and holds Twitter pitch parties on the hashtag, #PitMad. When she’s not writing or hanging out with her family, she haunts libraries, bookstores, and coffee shops, or reads someplace quiet and not at all exotic (much to her disappointment).

Website – http://www.brenda-drake.com/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/brendadrake

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/pages/Brenda-Drake/171424269657164

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/brendadrakeauthor/

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7012713.Brenda_Drake

 

Hyperion Reviews: Shadow Magic & The Hidden Oracle

shadow-magic Shadow Magic by Joshua Khan

Goodreads ¦ Amazon

Pub Date: April 12 2016

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Thorn, an outlaw’s son, wasn’t supposed to be a slave. He’s been sold to Tyburn, an executioner, and they’re headed to Castle Gloom in Gehenna, the land of undead, where Thorn will probably be fed to a vampire.

Lilith Shadow wasn’t supposed to be ruler of Gehenna. But following the murder of her family, young Lily became the last surviving member of House Shadow, a long line of dark sorcerers. Her country is surrounded by enemies and the only way she can save it is by embracing her heritage and practicing the magic of the undead. But how can she when, as a girl, magic is forbidden to her?

Just when it looks like Lily will have to leave her home forever, Thorn arrives at Castle Gloom. A sudden death brings them together, inspires them to break the rules, and leads them to soar to new heights in this fantasy with all the sparkle and luster of a starry night sky.

I’ve been meaning to review this book for quite awhile! I read it over the summer and absolutely fell in love with it, which I should have expected because Rick Riordan blurbed it and because the person who gifted it to me told me that he thought I’d like it since I love Harry Potter.

It’s been awhile since I’ve read this book, so here are some bullet points I jotted down after finishing the book in August, mixed in with some present day comments.

  • Well developed characters: If you’ve been following me for awhile you know that I love well-developed characters. Lily and Thorn were beautifully crafted characters that are unlike any others that I’ve come across. Both are young, but so wise and strong! I don’t want to give away too much, but they may be my new favorites.
  • Strong and concise world building: I feel like I’m going to be using the word ‘unique’ a lot in this review because it perfectly captures the story. The world was so original and well thought out, Joshua Khan did an excellent job painting the scenes and atmosphere without info-dumping. The entire time I was reading I was completely immersed in the world.
  • Interesting magic system: Once again, I don’t want to give away too much but the magic system was intricate, but easy to understand.
  • YAY BATS: I don’t think I’ve ever read a book where bats had an important role, but there definitely should be more!
  • Addictive and compelling writing: I vividly remember trying to go to sleep after starting this book and my mind was swirling with facts about the world, magic, and characters. Finally I gave up on sleep and tip-toed to my grandmother’s kitchen so I can finish the book without disturbing her.
  • Surprisingly unique plot: With a market saturated by the same story with different characters, it was refreshing to see a middle-grade book that stood out. It’s definitely a bit darker than most kids books, but not enough to scare kids.

The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan hidden-oracle

Goodreads ¦ Amazon

Pub Date: May 3rd 2016

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

How do you punish an immortal?

By making him human.

After angering his father Zeus, the god Apollo is cast down from Olympus. Weak and disorientated, he lands in New York City as a regular teenage boy. Now, without his godly powers, the four-thousand-year-old deity must learn to survive in the modern world until he can somehow find a way to regain Zeus’s favour.

But Apollo has many enemies—gods, monsters and mortals who would love to see the former Olympian permanently destroyed. Apollo needs help, and he can think of only one place to go… an enclave of modern demigods known as Camp Half-Blood.

I always start off a new year with a Rick Riordan book because I know that it’ll be a good start to my reading year and this year was no exception.

It was a wonderful surprise to see that Uncle Rick decided to use a different writing style to share the trials of Apollo, opting to write in past tense instead of present. It was really cool to hear Apollo narrate his own life as a god stuck in a mortal’s body. Readers were able to get into Apollo’s mind and see what he truly cares about…himself! All jokes aside their was some amazing character growth in this novel that really moved me.

As expected there were a couple of cameos of some old favorite characters, but we also were able to learn more about some characters that played minor roles in past books. I loved learning more about Will and the rest of the Apollo cabin, as well as meeting Meg- a spunky demigod that carries dark secrets.

The book picks up around six months after The Blood of Olympus, the final book in Riordan’s Heroes of Olympus series. The cast of characters are dealing with the aftermath of the final battle which, of course, was not really over. (Do demigods ever catch a break?) This was a really fun read and I’m already looking forward to the sequel!

Bookish Resolutions Tag!

I am ringing in the New Year (almost two weeks into 2017) by completing the Bookish Resolutions tag which was created by Charr Frears on YouTube. Every new year I write down some goals that relate to all aspects of my life: school, work, personal, and blog. However I never made specific goals for books other than the Goodreads goal. After looking over the questions in this tag, I decided that this would be the perfect opportunity to push myself to read the books I’ve been pushing off! I hope you enjoy this post, and if you want to do it yourself- consider yourself tagged!

Authors you’d like to read (that you’ve never read before):

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Despite the numerous number of bloggers and booktubers that recommend Adam Silvera, V.E. Schwab, and Mary Pearson’s novels I still have yet to pick them up! I own A Darker Shade of Magic, More Happy Than Not, and The Kiss of Deception trilogy.

 

 

 

Books you’d like to read:

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I was lucky enough to receive ARCs of Violet Grenade (thank you EntangledTeen!) and The Bone Sparrow (thank you Seale!), but have not have the chance to read any of them. My goal is to read and review Violet Grenade before its release in May. The Bone Sparrow was released in November 2016, but I still am putting it on the top of my TBR pile!

 

 

Classics you’d like to read:

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These are both books I was *suppose* to read for literature classes I took when I was in college, but never actually finished. I had to read Pride & Prejudice for a Lit & Film class and only managed to get halfway through before we moved on to the next book- but I loved it so much I want to finish! I am ashamed to say that I never touched Wuthering Heights, but since I own a copy I might as well try it.

 

Books you’d like to re-read:

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Does this even need to be explained? Since I own the illustrated editions of the first two Harry Potter books, I would love to revisit the story in a different medium. I also want to revisit another childhood favorite, Percy Jackson! It’s been 7 years since I completed this series and as I continue on with Rick’s other books I discovered that I don’t remember the references he adds in. So I want to remedy that by rereading the series!

 

 

Books you’ve had for ages and want to read:

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I am kind of embarrassed that I still have not picked up these books! I attempted to read The Night Circus when I was on a trip to Boston but was so busy that I never got passed the first chapter. I’ve only heard wonderful things about it and hope to get to this soon! I also can’t believe that I haven’t picked up The Bane Chronicles since I am obsessed with Magnus Bane- this year will be the year of Bane.

 

 

 

Big books you’d like to read:

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I absolutely adored The Diviners and would love to dive into the sequel Lair of Dreams! The size and the fact that the series is no where near complete keeps holding me back from reading. I just received a copy of Six of Crows (thanks mom and dad!) and cannot wait to see what all the hype is about.

 

 

 

Authors you’ve previously read and want to read more of:

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This year I read my first Sarah J Maas books, ACOTAR & ACOMAF, and instantly realized why everyone was obsessed. I am eagerly anticipating the next book in the series, but I also want to read her Throne of Glass series now that it is finally coming to a close. I somehow managed to avoid spoilers, so I can’t wait to jump in. Jennifer L Armentrout will forever be one of my favorite authors and I will not rest until I have read and own every book she’s published!

 

Books you got for Christmas and would like to read:

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Does Christmas gifts for myself count? I actually had a signed copy of Heartless wrapped and placed under the tree as a gift to myself… Despite all the mixed reviews, I am stoked to read it and see what I think. My sister got me the screenplay of Fantastic Beasts and I am planning to wait until the movie comes out on DVD so I can read along as I watch the movie.

 

 

A series you want to read (start and finish):

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My sister got me The Young Elites three years ago and despite being OBSESSED with Lu’s Legend books, I still haven’t picked it up. Since the series is complete I am looking forward to marathoning it ❤

 

 

 

A series you want to finish (that you’ve already started):

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I have a horrible habit of starting series and not finishing them! I need to read Fairest, Winter, and Stars Above to complete The Lunar Chronicles. The only book I need to read to complete the Miss Peregrine trilogy is Library of Souls. I cannot wait to check these two series off of my TBR list!

Do you set reading goals? If so, how many books do you want to read in 2017?

Yes! I set a Goodreads goal for 65 books, but I’m hoping to surpass it and read 100 books!

Any other reading goals?

My main reading goal for this year is to exclusively read from my bookshelf. The only time I can borrow a book from my sister or the library is if the book is part of a series I already started. Which brings me to my next goal, I want to decrease the number of series I have not completed, which I’m hoping to so a separate post on. As always, I want to limit the number of books I add to my collection, from now on I want to only purchase books I see myself rereading in the future.

A List of Reasons Why You Should Read ‘A List of Cages’

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A List of Cages by Robin Roe

Goodreads ¦ Amazon

Pub Date: Jan 10th 2017

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

When Adam Blake lands the best elective ever in his senior year, serving as an aide to the school psychologist, he thinks he’s got it made. Sure, it means a lot of sitting around, which isn’t easy for a guy with ADHD, but he can’t complain, since he gets to spend the period texting all his friends. Then the doctor asks him to track down the troubled freshman who keeps dodging her, and Adam discovers that the boy is Julian–the foster brother he hasn’t seen in five years.

Adam is ecstatic to be reunited. At first, Julian seems like the boy he once knew. He’s still kind hearted. He still writes stories and loves picture books meant for little kids. But as they spend more time together, Adam realizes that Julian is keeping secrets, like where he hides during the middle of the day, and what’s really going on inside his house. Adam is determined to help him, but his involvement could cost both boys their lives.

Why is it always so difficult to review the books you love the most. Ever since I finished this book a few days ago I’ve been trying to string together words that accurately represent my feelings about this story, and I’ve failed. The only thing I can do at this point is beg you to see for yourself, because no matter what I write I will never give it justice.

So instead of a formal review, here is a list of reasons why I loved and think you should read A List of Cages:

× Beautifully written: The writing immediately sucked me into the story, allowing me to be blissfully unaware of the turning of pages as I progressed through the book

× Engaging plot: (This also ties in with the beautiful writing) This book was addicting, I sat down around midnight to read a couple chapters and ended up staying up well until 3 AM to finish!

× Well developed characters: Anyone who knows me well knows that I love getting to know a character so well that I feel like I’ve met them in real life. Every character in this novel has a story, a quirk, and an important role in the overall plot.

× Amazing friendships: There aren’t too many books that I’ve read where I love the friends as much as the main characters! There were quite a few friends in this book, but they all brought something different to the table.

× Unique but relatable: This novel includes characters that have ADHD and dyslexia, an orphan, and some heavy topics- however it is done in a way that people who cannot relate to those specific situations or conditions can still grasp an idea of how it feels.

× It sticks with you: I am currently trying to read another novel, but my heart and mind are still stuck on A List of Cages! I miss the characters and I actually wish that I could live in their world and see how they are doing- it’s insane, but true.

This novel hits book stores today, so I highly encourage you to go and pick up a copy now! When you finish come back here and we can try to write a review that reflects its perfection together.

An Open Letter to Estelle Laure

this raging light This Raging Light by Estelle Laure

Goodreads ¦ Amazon

Pub Date: Dec. 22nd 2015

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

My full review (:


 

Dear Estelle Laure,

I’m going to be honest with you, I’ve been working on this post for the better part of the day and still can’t seem to find the right words to start off this letter. All I really want to say is thank you. I’m in a semi stressful time in my life right now. I felt almost as if I was drowning in all the things that I wasn’t doing right, so I decided to take a break and pick up a book that will take my mind off of things for a bit.

There are so many aspects of this book that I adore- your poetic writing style, the cast of characters, but what I loved most was the overall message of the story. Lucille seemed to be hit with some kind of misfortune every day, but that didn’t stop her from fighting. Sure she has a few hiccups along the way and occasionally breaks down but that’s what makes her human (and so so relatable!)

I really needed this book and I’m so happy that I read it when I did. It gave me some perspective about my own life and how all the things that are bringing me down are just temporary. Lucille taught me so much and I’m really going to miss her. Thank you so much for telling her story, it really resonated with me and gave me the push that I needed.

Sincerely,

Ana

Review/Ramble: Oblivion

Oblivion Oblivion by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Goodreads ¦ Amazon

Pub Date: Dec 1st 2015

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I knew the moment Katy Swartz moved in next door, there was going to be trouble. Lots of it.

And trouble’s the last thing I need, since I’m not exactly from around here. My people arrived on Earth from Lux, a planet thirteen billion light years away. Plus, if there’s one thing I know, it’s that humans can’t be trusted. We scare them. We can do things they only dream about, and honestly, we make them look weak as hell. ‘Cuz they are.

But Kat is getting to me in ways no one else has, and I can’t stop myself from wanting her—or wanting to use my powers to protect her. She makes me weak, and I’m the strongest of our kind, tasked with protecting us all. So this one simple girl…she can mean the end for us. Because the Luxen have an even bigger enemy—the Arum, and I need to stay on my game.

Falling for Katy—a human—won’t just place her in danger. It could get us all killed, and that’s one thing I’ll never let happen…

Review:

I fell in love with Jennifer Armentrout’s writing when I read her Lux series a little over a year ago, so when I found out that she was writing Oblivion I almost cried tears of happiness. For those of you who don’t know, Daemon Black is my first ever book boyfriend so I was in literal heaven reading from his point of view! I pre-ordered a Kindle version so I was able to read the first three books of the Lux series in his POV (vs the print version which only has Obsidian in his POV). It totaled in 1005 pages, which I devoured in three days!

Honestly, I’m not the biggest fan of books that are the same story but with a different POV because most of the time authors just regurgitate the same exact thing as the original story- which is pretty boring. But, of course, Jennifer was able to tell the same story in such a new, exciting, and funny way that made me enjoy it just as much as the first time I read Obsidian. It was also very illuminating seeing some conversations and scenes through his eyes.

Something I’ve never seen before in other books like this was a subplot that was completely unique from Kat’s story, which was very refreshing. I learned so much about Daemon and fell even deeper in love with him. When I read from Kat’s point of view I wanted to strangle and kiss Daemon most of the time because of how rude and annoying he was, but now I see his point of view and kind of understand why he did what he did- although I still think he was really dumb for doing some of it.

Another thing I was not expecting was to have that ‘first time’ experience reading this book. I already knew what was going to happen, but yet I still went through the motions. Each death and major event hit me just as hard, if not harder, than the first time. I still got scared whenever something bad was happening and held my breath when an intense scene was going on. I am truly in awe of Jennifer’s writing and will continue to collect all of her books.

I HIGHLY recommend this book to any of my fellow Daemon Black lovers. If you REALLY love him you should definitely get the e-version since it’s three entire books of just his POV. This review was super rambly, but all you really need to know is that I loved this book and that you should go buy it. ❤

ARC Review: The Prophecy of Shadows (Elementals Book 1)

elementals cover Elementals: The Prophecy of Shadows by Michelle Madow

Goodreads ¦ Amazon

Pub Date: Jan 26th 2016

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

When Nicole Cassidy moves from sunny Georgia to gloomy New England, the last thing she expects is to learn that her homeroom is a cover for a secret coven of witches. Even more surprisingly … she’s apparently a witch herself. Despite doubts about her newfound abilities, Nicole is welcomed into this ancient circle of witches and is bedazzled by their powers—and, to her dismay, by Blake—the school’s notorious bad-boy.

Girls who get close to Blake wind up hurt. His girlfriend Danielle will do anything to keep them away, even if she must resort to using dark magic. But the chemistry between Blake and Nicole is undeniable, and despite wanting to protect Nicole from Danielle’s wrath, he finds it impossible to keep his distance.

When the Olympian Comet shoots through the sky for the first time in three thousand years, Nicole, Blake, Danielle, and two others in their homeroom are gifted with mysterious powers. But the comet has another effect—it opens the portal to the prison world that has contained the Titans for centuries. After an ancient monster escapes and attacks Nicole and Blake, it’s up to them and the others to follow the clues from a cryptic prophecy so that they can save their town … and possibly the world.

Review:

Can I just point out that the last review I’ve posted was in October for Michelle’s last release Diamonds are Forever! How funny (and fitting) that after my mini hiatus I would come back with a review for her upcoming novel? I’m so incredibly lucky ❤

I would like to thank Michelle for choosing me to be one of the fifteen lucky people to receive a paperback ARC for promo and review! I’m having so much fun making edits and taking pictures of this gorgeous book.

Michelle pitched this book at her release party for Diamonds are Forever and the second she said it will appeal to fans of Percy Jackson and The Secret Circle I immediately knew that this was the book for me! My middle school years consisted of me obsessing over those two series and I was so excited to read something new that was reminiscent of them, so you can only imagine my excitement when I finally had the book in my hand- and boy it did not disappoint. I swear I could have read this in one sitting, but dumb responsibilities (like finals) made me read it in two instead.

The world, the history, the magic! It is very evident that Michelle took a lot of time to intertwine the different elements together into one beautifully crafted story that made me absolutely envious of her writing skills (especially since I was fresh out of NaNo!). I’ll be honest, I was a bit skeptical, but intrigued, when I thought of how she was going to connect Greek mythology with magic powers and witches. It seemed like it would be hard to connect the two, but she managed to do it seamlessly with a rich and intricate history to further explain it. I was in awe of how beautifully put together the magic system was, it was so interesting to learn about.

Despite the very detailed explanations and history, Michelle avoided the dreaded ‘info dump’ that many books fall victim to. Clearly she must have some magic of her own because I felt like I could’ve explained the history and origin of the characters’ magic after just learning about it! Makes me wish that she wrote the textbooks for my class…

The characters were spectacular, since Nicole is new to this school we get to experience the ‘introductions’ to the different characters in a natural way. Darius, her teacher, seems like the coolest teacher ever and he does have some Chiron (from PJO series) vibes. He seems calm, intelligent, and truly values the thoughts and ideas of his students- all wonderful and rare qualities in teachers. One of the first students we meet is Kate and I really, really like her! If Kate was a Harry Potter character she would be best friends with Hermione Granger, she is referred to as a goody two shoes and seems to be extremely smart and studious- which is why I like her so much. Chris is just adorable to me, he is such a sweet guy and is down for anything fun and adventurous. He is really outgoing and I cannot wait to read more about him. Blake and Danielle are the ‘cool kids’ of the book, the ‘it’ couple and honestly my favorite characters. They both have a sense of mystery and this book begins to shed some light on who they really are.

Our main character Nicole is pretty awesome as well. She makes the best of the situation she’s in instead of complaining about it, which is a relief since we’re in her head, and is not afraid to fight for what she wants. I really admire her bravery and perseverance. I’d be lying if I’d say that I wasn’t sure about her at first, she was a bit indecisive of what she believed at first even though she practiced the magic but after that passed I grew to love her so much.

Since I haven’t read Michelle’s Transcend Time series, this is the first book by her I’ve read that has adventures, mythical creatures, and even a bit of badass fighting and I loved every second of it! She flawlessly weaved together our world with this beautiful world that she created in a way that made me think ‘if this mythical creature existed and attacked me, this is EXACTLY how I would handle it (hopefully).’ The adventure our characters go on is extremely entertaining because of what happens, but also because we learn more about them! And if that isn’t enough to keep you satisfied, Michelle adds in a little humor that can give Percy Jackson a run for his money. This book has everything- humor, adventures, friendship, mystery, and even a bit of romance.

Honestly this book is probably one of my favorites of 2015 and I think I may even reread it next year before the sequels are released. My favorite part of the whole reading experience was being able to DM Michelle on twitter whenever I got to a part that I just HAD to share. I cannot wait for book 2! If you have the opportunity to get this book I HIGHLY recommend that you do- it’s so worth it!