Book Review: Havenfall by Sara Holland

Book: Havenfall by Sara Holland

Published March 2020 by Bloomsbury YA|400 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: Havenfall #1

Genre: YA Fantasy

A safe haven between four realms. The girl sworn to protect it–at any cost.

Hidden deep in the mountains of Colorado lies the Inn at Havenfall, a sanctuary that connects ancient worlds–each with their own magic–together. For generations, the inn has protected all who seek refuge within its walls, and any who disrupt the peace can never return.

For Maddie Morrow, summers at the inn are more than a chance to experience this magic first-hand. Havenfall is an escape from reality, where her mother sits on death row accused of murdering Maddie’s brother. It’s where Maddie fell in love with handsome Fiorden soldier Brekken. And it’s where one day she hopes to inherit the role of Innkeeper from her beloved uncle.

But this summer, the impossible happens–a dead body is found, shattering everything the inn stands for. With Brekken missing, her uncle gravely injured, and a dangerous creature on the loose, Maddie suddenly finds herself responsible for the safety of everyone in Havenfall. She’ll do anything to uncover the truth, even if it means working together with an alluring new staffer Taya, who seems to know more than she’s letting on. As dark secrets are revealed about the inn itself, one thing becomes clear to Maddie–no one can be trusted, and no one is safe…

I liked Havenfall!  I was excited about this book after reading her Everless series, but I have to say, I didn’t like this book as much as Everless.

I like the world, and I like the idea of a sanctuary in the mountains that connects all of these different worlds.  I personally had a hard time remembering which world was which, and I also had some trouble keeping of some of the characters.  I also liked the setting, and I wish we got to explore more of Havenfall.  It seems like a beautiful place, and I really hope we get to see more of it in the next book.

I know we had to stay in the inn for this book, and it makes me a little sad, because I feel like there’s a lot more we can see and explore.  It really does seem like the perfect intersection between all of these different worlds, where they can all come together at a neutral meeting ground.  I really, really hope this world will get a little bit bigger in the next book.

I felt like we went from event to event with not a lot in between, which is weird because it also felt like the book moved at a really slow pace.  I know this is the book in a series, and we might get more information as the series goes on, but I felt like I didn’t get enough information in this book.

I was surprised by the mystery aspect of it.  I was expecting it to be more of a fantasy.  Don’t get me wrong, that was definitely there, and I kind of like the mystery elements.  It did keep me reading because I wanted to know what happened next.

I’m honestly not sure what else to say about Havenfall- I feel like I’ve said everything I’ve needed to say, so onto my rating!

3 stars.  I liked it enough to want to read the next book, and I really hope we see more of the world in the next book.

Book Review: Bone Crier’s Moon by Kathryn Purdie

Book: Bone Crier’s Moon by Kathryn Purdie

Published March 2020 by Katherine Tegen Books|480 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the e-book from the library

Series: Bone Grace #1

Genre: YA Fantasy

Bone Criers have a sacred duty. They alone can keep the dead from preying on the living. But their power to ferry the spirits of the dead into goddess Elara’s Night Heavens or Tyrus’s Underworld comes from sacrifice. The gods demand a promise of dedication. And that promise comes at the cost of the Bone Criers’ one true love.

Ailesse has been prepared since birth to become the matriarch of the Bone Criers, a mysterious famille of women who use strengths drawn from animal bones to ferry dead souls. But first she must complete her rite of passage and kill the boy she’s also destined to love.

Bastien’s father was slain by a Bone Crier and he’s been seeking revenge ever since. Yet when he finally captures one, his vengeance will have to wait. Ailesse’s ritual has begun and now their fates are entwined—in life and in death.

Sabine has never had the stomach for the Bone Criers’ work. But when her best friend Ailesse is taken captive, Sabine will do whatever it takes to save her, even if it means defying their traditions—and their matriarch—to break the bond between Ailesse and Bastien. Before they all die.

This book was really cool!  The world is different but there’s something familiar about it too.

I really liked the idea of Bone Criers, and how they use animal bones to ferry dead souls.  I don’t know why, but it made me think of Greek mythology.  The fact that they use strengths from the animals is pretty cool, and I like that there’s a purpose to it.

Bastien was interesting- I get why he wanted revenge, but by taking revenge on Ailesse, he finds himself in the same position as his father.  He and Ailesse end up in a very interesting position and I’m curious to see how it works out with what happened to Ailesse at the end of the book.  The second he crossed Ailesse’s path, I knew it would change things drastically.  I wasn’t wrong, and my predication ended up being right.

I felt for Sabine, and from what we see about the Bone Criers, I don’t blame her for not having the stomach for it.  I wouldn’t either, honestly.  But after what happened to Ailesse, she doe change her tune a little bit.  It’s obvious she wants Ailesse to be okay, and she really will do anything for her.

What Odiva does…it really changes things for their whole family.  I’m not completely sure that I like her, but she is interesting, and I kind of wanted to know more about her.  I don’t know that we’ll learn more about her, but we might get bits and pieces.  I’m not going to lie, I did want it to be connected to Bastien and his friends somehow.  I think it would have thrown another wrench in things, but we definitely get enough of that in this book.  Still, I really would have liked that.

I am looking forward to the next book.  I really want to see where things go, and how things work out for both Ailesse and her family.

I actually liked the multiple narrators in this book.  Sabine, Ailesse and Bastien take turns narrating, and I thought it worked well.  Given they’re all on different paths, we get see what’s going on with each characters, and the reader has a better idea of what’s going on than the characters do.  Ailesse and Bastien do spend a lot of the book together but I liked seeing what they were thinking.  Since they do spend some time apart, it also means we get see what they’re doing when they’re not together.

3 stars.  There’s a lot I liked and I have a lot of questions.  I didn’t love it, but I’m still looking forward to the next book.

Book Review: Tarot by Marissa Kennerson

Book: Tarot By Marissa Kennerson

Published February 2019 by Razorbill|288 pages

Where I Got It: I own the hardcover

Series: None

Genre: YA Fantasy

Anna was never supposed to exist. Born of a forbidden union between the Queen and the tyrannical King’s archnemesis, Anna is forced to live out her days isolated in the Tower, with only her mentors and friends the Hermit, the Fool, and the Magician to keep her company. To pass the time, Anna imagines unique worlds populated by creatives and dreamers—the exact opposite of the King’s land of fixed fates and rigid rules—and weaves them into four glorious tapestries.

But on the eve of her sixteenth birthday and her promised release from the Tower, Anna discovers her true lineage: She’s the daughter of Marco, a powerful magician, and the King is worried that his magical gifts are starting to surface in Anna. Fearing for her life, Anna flees the Tower and finds herself in Cups, a lush, tropical land full of all the adventure, free-spiritedness, and creativity she imagined while weaving.

Anna thinks she’s found paradise in this world of beachside parties, endless food and drink, and exhilarating romance. But when the fabric of Cups begins to unravel, Anna discovers that her tapestries are more than just decoration. They’re the foundation for a new world that she is destined to create—as long as the terrors from the old world don’t catch up with her first.

I am a little disappointed in Tarot.  I wanted to like it, but unfortunately, I didn’t like it as much as I thought I would.

I did like the world, but I felt like I was missing a lot.  I mean, Kennerson did draw from Tarot cards, which is cool.  I do wonder if that’s why I felt like I was missing something.  I like the idea of some of the cards as worlds, and some of the cards as characters.  I really like that idea, and it’s really unique.

I’m not really familiar with the different cards and their meanings, and I can’t help but wonder if that’s why things didn’t feel as developed as they could have.

Does it feel more developed if you’re really familiar with tarot?  If that’s the case, it is a little sad, because a lot of the world won’t feel completely developed for people like me, who don’t have a lot of familiarity with it.  I’m really hoping that’s not the case, because the book was pretty short, so it’s not like a lot of time could have been devoted to explaining the world a little more.  I like the world enough that I’m hoping it’s because of the length of the book.

I’m not sure how I feel about the characters.  They were okay, but I couldn’t begin to tell you most of their names or anything about them.  Part of it is I just don’t remember a lot of the characters, even though I know they exist.  I know there’s the Fool, the Hermit and the Magician, plus the king and Anna but I couldn’t tell you who the other characters are.

It’s interesting that Kennerson didn’t give them another name, and that they were the Fool or the Magician the whole time.  It was hard to care about them, because I felt like they were just an image from a card, and weren’t important enough to have any other names.

Anna wasn’t memorable either, which is disappointing for the main character.  Other than being locked away in a tower for her whole life before escaping to Cups, I couldn’t tell you much about her.  I’m glad she got out and was able to experience life outside a tower.  I liked seeing her experience things for the first time, but it also made me really sad for her.  Other than that, though, I didn’t really know a lot about her.

1 star.  I liked that the world and characters came from tarot cards but I wanted more from the book.

Book Review: All The Stars And Teeth by Adalyn Grace

Book: All The Stars And Teeth by Adalyn Grace

Published February 2020 by Imprint|384 pages

Where I Got It: I own the hardcover

Series: All The Stars And Teeth #1

Genre: YA Fantasy

She will reign.

As princess of the island kingdom Visidia, Amora Montara has spent her entire life training to be High Animancer—the master of souls. The rest of the realm can choose their magic, but for Amora, it’s never been a choice. To secure her place as heir to the throne, she must prove her mastery of the monarchy’s dangerous soul magic.

When her demonstration goes awry, Amora is forced to flee. She strikes a deal with Bastian, a mysterious pirate: he’ll help her prove she’s fit to rule, if she’ll help him reclaim his stolen magic.

But sailing the kingdom holds more wonder—and more peril—than Amora anticipated. A destructive new magic is on the rise, and if Amora is to conquer it, she’ll need to face legendary monsters, cross paths with vengeful mermaids, and deal with a stow-away she never expected… or risk the fate of Visidia and lose the crown forever.

I am the right choice. The only choice. And I will protect my kingdom.

Set in a kingdom where danger lurks beneath the sea, mermaids seek vengeance with song, and magic is a choice, Adalyn Grace’s All the Stars and Teeth is a thrilling fantasy for fans of Stephanie Garber’s Caraval and Sarah J. Maas’s Throne of Glass series.

I really liked All The Stars And Teeth!

It’s a really interesting fantasy, and the beginning of it really does remind me of Throne Of Glass.  Amora really wanted to save her kingdom, and I admire what she went through in order to do it.

Her journey takes her all over Visidia, and there’s a lot she doesn’t know.  I can understand why her father kept it from her, but I also feel like she made the decisions she did because it was kept from her.  Then again, I feel like the book would be a little bit different if she had all of the information.

I loved the adventure, and the unlikely group of people traveling all over the place.  I think, if you liked Six Of Crows, you’ll like this book.  There’s just something about this group that made me think of them.

Besides, how can you go wrong with a crew that has a mermaid, a pirate, and a stowaway, all captained by a princess?  Our fearless mermaid was not in this book enough, but hopefully, we’ll see her more in the next book.  I really wish I could remember her name.  Or the name of anyone besides Amora.  I’m just not good at remembering names, but I really did like everyone.  They work pretty well together, and make a good team.

I am wondering how everything relating to Amora’s magic is going to work out.  I mean, I’m sure it will, but I’m excited to see how that works itself out.

The descriptions are amazing, and there were quite a few times I just let it sink it.  I feel like I’ve read a lot of books lately that have great descriptions, and this is one of them.  I could picture things really well as I was reading, and I’m glad we got to see so much of Amora’s world.  I really could see each place so well, while also be able to use my imagination a little bit.  It was a pretty good balance.

4 stars.  I really liked All The Stars And Teeth, and I am really excited about reading the next book.

Book Review: Deathless Divide by Justina Ireland

Book: Deathless Divide by Justina Ireland

Published February 2020 by Balzer + Bray|560 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the e-book from the library

Series: Dread Nation #2

Genre: YA Alternate History

The sequel to Dread Nation is a journey of revenge and salvation across a divided America.

After the fall of Summerland, Jane McKeene hoped her life would get simpler: Get out of town, stay alive, and head west to California to find her mother.

But nothing is easy when you’re a girl trained in putting down the restless dead, and a devastating loss on the road to a protected village called Nicodermus has Jane questioning everything she thought she knew about surviving in 1880’s America.

What’s more, this safe haven is not what it appears – as Jane discovers when she sees familiar faces from Summerland amid this new society. Caught between mysteries and lies, the undead, and her own inner demons, Jane soon finds herself on a dark path of blood and violence that threatens to consume her.

But she won’t be in it alone.

Katherine Deveraux never expected to be allied with Jane McKeene. But after the hell she has endured, she knows friends are hard to come by – and that Jane needs her, too, whether Jane wants to admit it or not.

Watching Jane’s back, however, is more than she bargained for, and when they both reach a breaking point, it’s up to Katherine to keep hope alive – even as she begins to fear that there is no happily-ever-after for girls like her.

I liked Deathless Divide, but not as much as Dread Nation.

So, this book picks up where Dread Nation left off, and we follow Jane and Katherine after leaving Summerland.  Both Jane and Katherine narrate, which was a good thing, because they do get separated.  But I didn’t care for Katherine’s half of the book, and I spent her chapters wishing we could get back to Jane’s story.

I was a lot more interested in Jane’s story, and I think it’s because we follow her in the first book.  I didn’t particularly care about Katherine, or what happened to her.

The two narrators are a big reason why I didn’t love this book.  It was hard to stay interesting when I only cared about reading one of the characters.  Not only that, but I thought the first book was pretty well resolved, and I didn’t particularly care about what happened after.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad I read this book, and I’m glad that I got to see what happened after the first book ended.  I just didn’t care as much as I thought I would.

I struggled to get through this book.  I was bored for a lot of it, and it was really hard to concentrate on this book.  I haven’t been in a reading mood lately, so that’s part of it.  I wanted more action, and I didn’t really get it in this book.

I really like the premise, and how zombies blend with U.S. history.  I’m glad we got to see more of the world Jane and Katherine live in, because it is one I would not want to live in.  I’m not sure if I’d read another book in this series, if there is going to be another one.  Maybe one day, but I also wouldn’t be rushing out to get it.

3 stars.  I liked Deathless Divide, but I had a hard time getting into it.

Book Review: Imagine Me by Tahereh Mafi

Book: Imagine Me by Tahereh Mafi

Published March 2020 by HarperCollins|464 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the e-book from the library

Series: Shatter Me #6

Genre: YA Dystopia

The explosive finale to the New York Times and USA Today bestselling Shatter Me series.

Juliette Ferrars.

Ella Sommers.

Which is the truth and which is the lie?

Now that Ella knows who Juliette is and what she was created for, things have only become more complicated. As she struggles to understand the past that haunts her and looks to a future more uncertain than ever, the lines between right and wrong—between Ella and Juliette—blur. And with old enemies looming, her destiny may not be her own to control.

The day of reckoning for the Reestablishment is coming. But she may not get to choose what side she fights on.

I loved Imagine Me!  I am really sad this series is over, because I’ve liked the series from the very beginning.  I’ve loved Juliette’s story, and I’m glad she’s okay.

Imagine Me is narrated by Juliette and Kenji, and I very much preferred Juliette’s story.  I liked Kenji’s story as well, and it’s clear that Juliette is very important to him.  Not only that, but with Kenji narrating half the book, we do get a much-needed perspective on what else is going on in this world.  Still, it would have been nice to see what Warner was thinking and to get more chapters narrated from him.  We only get the epilogue, which was great but having at least one or two chapters from his perspective would have been nice.

Some of the formatting in Juliette’s chapters reminded me of when we first met her in Shatter Me.  I can’t remember the last time I read the first three books, and as I write this, I’m currently re-reading Shatter Me.  Juliette was so broken and her thinking was so chaotic and fractured, but in Imagine Me, she is so much stronger.  I loved seeing how much she has changed, and there is a huge difference from what I’m seeing in Shatter Me and what we saw in Imagine Me.

Juliette’s chapters were heartbreaking but so beautifully written.  There were so many times when I just stopped reading to take it in.  Juliette has gone through so much, and all I want is for her to be okay.  I feel like she is going to get that, and hopefully, it will stay that way.  Juliette really deserves it.

I liked seeing how Warner dealt with Juliette being gone.  Obviously, he doesn’t know what was going on with her while she was in Oceania, but we see how much her not being there affects him.  It’s obvious that he really cares for her, and he’s a very different person when she isn’t there.  He’s kind of like the Warner we see at the beginning of the series, but hopefully, he’ll be the Warner who’s not a terrible person now that Juliette is back.

This book was a really good ending to the series.  It felt pretty open-ended, and things were not really wrapped up the way I thought it would be.  There’s a lot of loose ends that weren’t wrapped up, but I actually don’t mind it.

Would it have been nice to know for sure what their world was like once everything was over?

Of course.  We don’t see any aftermath, and we have no idea what happens between the last chapter and the epilogue.  More of what happened in between would have been nice, and seeing some things wrapped up more completely would have been nice.  It didn’t stop me from loving this book, though.

Restore Me, Defy Me, and Imagine Me were unexpected, because I really thought this series had ended with Ignite Me.  I feel like there is more story that could be written, so I’m wondering if that’s why things felt a little bit unfinished.  As far as I know, this series is definitely over, so we are all left wondering what happened in between the last chapter and the epilogue.

5 stars.  I loved Imagine Me, and Juliette’s chapters were so beautifully written.  Things felt a little unfinished but I still thought it was a great ending.

Book Review: The Chaos Curse by Sayatani DasGupta

Book Review: The Chaos Curse by Sayatani DasGupta

Published March 2020 by Scholastic Press|368 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the e-book from the library

Series: Kiranmala And The Kingdom Beyond

Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy

Creating order out of chaos has frightening consequences in this New York Times bestselling series!

Kiranmala must leave the Kingdom Beyond and travel to her hometown of Parsippany to save Prince Lal, who has been spirited to the unlikeliest of places — a tree in the yard of her best-enemy-for-life. She also faces evil serpents (of course!), plus a frightening prophecy about her role in the coming conflict between good and evil. Most troubling of all, though, is the way reality all around her seems to waver and flicker at odd moments. Could it be that the Anti-Chaos Committee’s efforts are causing a dangerous disruption in the multiverse?

Kiran must grapple with the increasingly tangled threads that threaten to ensnare her…and everyone in the world and the Kingdom Beyond.

I liked The Chaos Curse!  I wish I liked it as much as the first two books in the series but I still liked it.  Even if it wasn’t as much as I wanted to like it.

The characters felt really young in this book.  I know it’s middle grade, and the characters are supposed to be young.  It’s weird, because I didn’t feel that way with the other books in the series.  We are living in pretty weird times, and maybe I just wasn’t reading this book at the right time.  I’m not in the biggest mood to read right now, so I’m pretty sure that’s why I had a hard time with this book.

The thought that the characters seemed young was something I thought pretty much the whole time I read the book.  Don’t get me wrong, I really like Kiran and seeing what adventures she has.  Overall, this book was just as fun as the other books, and I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

I really liked the story.  Everything is definitely mixed up and very alternate universe.  Things do go back to normal, of course, but things definitely go haywire for a while.  I’m glad Kiran and her friends were able to get things back to normal.

Well, as normal as they’ll ever be for this world.  Things always go wrong, and there’s always an adventure to be had.  I really like the world, and I really feel like we learn more about it with every book in this series.  It’s a really big world, and I liked that there were all of these different dimensions and alternate worlds/timelines.  We definitely saw one of them in this book, and it makes me wonder how many other versions of Kiran’s world are out there.

We also see how connected everything is in this book.  It’s not surprising in a world like Kiran’s, but I liked seeing how complicated things get, and how changing one thing changes so many other things.  I think DasGupta did a great job with that, and I really liked seeing how Kiran dealt with that.  I enjoyed seeing the characters try to save the stories they know and love.

It’s a fun book, and a really good addition to the series.  I also love the different characters we meet, and even though I will probably never read the original stories DasGupta drew from, I also love that she included stories from a variety of mythologies.  In my opinion, these are great books for Percy Jackson fans.  Or if you really want a series drawing from mythology that’s not Greek mythology.

3 stars.  I liked The Chaos Curse and I am excited about reading the next book.

Audio Book Review: Within These Lines by Stephanie Morrill, Narrated by Andrew Kanies And Morgan Fairbanks

Book: Within These Lines by Stephanie Morrill, Narrated by Andrew Kanies & Morgan Fairbanks

Published March 2019 by Blink|Run Time: 9 hours, 37 minutes

Where I Got It: I own the audio book

Series: None

Genre: YA Historical Fiction

Evalina Cassano’s life in an Italian-American family in 1941 is everything it “should be” until she falls in love with Taichi Hamasaki, the son of Japanese immigrants. Despite the scandal it would cause and that inter-racial marriage is illegal in California, Evalina and Taichi vow they will find a way to be together. But anti-Japanese feelings erupt across the country after the attack on Pearl Harbor, and Taichi and his family are forced to give up their farm and move to an internment camp.

Degrading treatment make life at Manzanar Relocation Center difficult. Taichi’s only connection to the outside world are treasured letters from Evalina. Feeling that the only action she can take to help Taichi is to speak out on behalf of all Japanese Americans, Evalina becomes increasingly vocal at school and at home. Meanwhile, inside Manzanar, fighting between different Japanese-American factions arises. Taichi begins to doubt he will ever leave the camp alive.

With tensions running high and their freedom on the line, Evalina and Taichi must hold true to their values and believe in their love to make a way back to each other against unbelievable odds.

I liked Within These Lines!  I didn’t love it but I did like it.

For me, Taichi’s story was so much more interesting than Evalina’s.  I really felt for Taichi, and everyone else who had to go to the internment camps.  It wasn’t until listening to this book that I realized how little I know about the internment camps.  I’ve heard of them, but all I knew was that they came about after Pearl Harbor.  I didn’t know anything else, and I was horrified by what Taichi went through at Manazanar.

No one should have to go through that, and the way people talked about Japanese-Americans was horrible.  But I was reminded of today, and how people are still treated because of where they come from.  It’s just hard to believe that it happened only 70 or so years ago.  It feels like it was a long time ago, and yet, it also feels so recent.

I was glad Evalina was so outspoken about what was going on.  I don’t think she realized or knew how bad it really was, but I was glad she spoke up about it.  It would have been really easy for her to not say anything, and just let it be.  She definitely did not let it be, and I thought it was really cool that she wanted to be a lawyer.  In the epilogue, we see she’s a civil rights lawyer, and that seems to fit her very well.  I wasn’t as interested in her story as Taichi’s, but I thought their stories together were important.  As a whole, the story was great because you see how it affected people, but on an individual level, Taichi’s story got my attention a lot more than Evalina’s.

The epilogue really got to me, and I was definitely crying because of how it still affected Taichi.  Even though the epilogue was years later, I was heartbroken for Taichi.  I don’t think it will ever be over for him, but I did think his story was really well done.  I hope he’s able to find peace after everything that happened.

I did like the narrators, Andrew Kanies and Morgan Fairbanks, though I did like Kanies a little bit more.  They both brought the characters to life, but Kanies really stood out, and really made Taichi someone worth caring about.  It’s not that I didn’t care about Evalina, because I did.  Just not as much as I cared about Taichi.  Still, Fairbanks did a great job at narrating Evalina’s part of the story.

3 stars.  I liked Within These Lines, and thought Taichi’s story was one worth reading.  His story really made this book worth reading.

Book Review: Harley In The Sky by Akemi Dawn Bowman

Book: Harley In The Sky by Akemi Dawn Bowman

Published March 2020 by Simon Pulse|416 Pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the e-book from the library

Series: None

Genre: YA Contemporary

The Greatest Showman meets This Is Us by way of Sarah Dessen in this heart-wrenching, hopeful contemporary novel about a multiracial teen who risks it all to follow her dreams by joining the circus, from the critically acclaimed author of Starfish.

Harley Milano has dreamed of becoming a trapeze artist for as long as she can remember. With parents who run a famous circus in Las Vegas, she spends almost every night in the big top watching their lead aerialist perform, wishing with all her heart and soul that she would be up there herself one day.

After a huge fight with her parents, who continue to insist she go to school instead, Harley leaves home, betrays her family, and joins the rival traveling circus Maison du Mystère. There, she is thrust into a world that is both brutal and beautiful, where she learns the value of hard work, passion, and collaboration. At the same time, Harley must come to terms with the truth of her family and her past—and reckon with the sacrifices she made and the people she hurt in order to follow her dreams.

From award-winning author Akemi Dawn Bowman comes a luminous, unforgettable examination of love, loyalty, and the hard choices we must make to find where we truly belong.

I loved Harley In The Sky!  It’s such a beautiful book, and I loved it so much I ended up buying a copy to keep on my shelf.

I really loved Harley, who has to deal with a lot.  She left her family and friends behind, and hardly talks to them.  I loved the emails from her mom, though, and I really felt for her mom.  It seemed like her mom really loved her and wanted the best for her, even though Harley didn’t see it.  I also really felt like her mom regretted some of the things she did, in terms of how she dealt with Harley.

I understood why her mom acted the way she did.  It made a lot of sense, and once I read that part of the book, everything really fell into place for her mom.  Okay, this isn’t about Harley’s mom, but what Harley wants and what her parents want for her lead Harley to leave the family circus to join another one.  She betrays her family to follow her dream of being a trapeze artist, and while I love that she wants to follow her dream, I also hate how she does it.

Things aren’t easy for her at this new circus, but I also feel like Harley learns a lot.  Not just about being a trapeze artist but who she is.  She learns some very hard lessons along the way, and the guy running Maison is a horrible, horrible person.  I really hated that guy, and I felt really bad that Harley was taken advantage of.  He is not a good guy, and even though Harley made some friends at Maison, I was also glad when she realized she wanted to go home.

I was crying by the end, and I was glad Harley was able to work things out with her parents.  Things aren’t going to be easy for them- and for Harley especially- but it seems like they’re headed to a better place.  It seems like Harley may have some mental health stuff going on as well.  It wasn’t directly mentioned, but it was hinted at, and I hope that is something she works on and gets help for.

5 stars.  I LOVED Harley In The Sky, and it was worth reading.

Book Review: Girls Of Storm And Shadow by Natasha Ngan

Book: Girls Of Storm And Shadow by Natasha Ngan

Published November 2019 by Jimmy Patterson Books|403 pages

Where I Got It: I own the hardcover

Series: Girls Of Paper And Fire #2

Genre: YA Fantasy

In this mesmerizing sequel to the New York Times bestselling Girls of Paper and Fire, Lei and Wren have escaped their oppressive lives in the Hidden Palace, but soon learn that freedom comes with a terrible cost.

Lei, the naive country girl who became a royal courtesan, is now known as the Moonchosen, the commoner who managed to do what no one else could. But slaying the cruel Demon King wasn’t the end of the plan—it’s just the beginning. Now Lei and her warrior love Wren must travel the kingdom to gain support from the far-flung rebel clans. The journey is made even more treacherous thanks to a heavy bounty on Lei’s head, as well as insidious doubts that threaten to tear Lei and Wren apart from within.

Meanwhile, an evil plot to eliminate the rebel uprising is taking shape, fueled by dark magic and vengeance. Will Lei succeed in her quest to overthrow the monarchy and protect her love for Wren, or will she fall victim to the sinister magic that seeks to destroy her?

I loved Girls Of Storm And Shadow!  I loved the first book when I read it, and this book didn’t disappoint!  This series is definitely worth reading, and I’m really looking forward to reading the next book.

I really liked Lei in this book.  While the first book was more of the direct aftermath of everything Lei had to deal with, this book is more about dealing with it long-term.  Lei is still dealing with everything that happened, and you really see how it affects her.

I don’t have strong feelings about Wren one way or another, though some of the things we find out towards the end of the book…I don’t know how I feel about it.  I definitely don’t see her the same way, but I can understand why she thought what she was doing was right.

The writing is absolutely beautiful!  There were quite a few times that I paused at her descriptions, and let in sink in.  I loved how she described things, and there were some things that sounded so pretty!  I also feel like there’s a lot of care with how Lei is dealing with everything.

Everything is explained and described so well, and it’s so easy to see why Lei is dealing with things the way she does.  Ngan does such a great job with making the reader care about Lei and what happens to her.  I just want Lei to be both happy and living in a world where she has her own agency, and hopefully, we’ll see that in the next book.

I’m always hesitant with sequels, because they feel like filler before we get to the last book.  This is not one of those books- there’s a lot going on, and it picks up where the first book left off.  Even though this is fantasy, there were parts of the book that felt very real, and there were things that I could totally see happening in our world.  Things were very ground in reality, and yet, I loved the world and how different but similar it is to our own world.

5 stars.  I loved Girls Of Storm And Shadow, and I can’t wait to read the next book.