Book Review- Haunting the Deep

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Haunting the Deep by Adriana Mather
Expected publication by Knopf Books for Young Readers on October 3rd, 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Fiction, Paranormal
Pages: 368
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Amazon

Samantha Mather knew her family’s connection to the infamous Salem Witch Trials might pose obstacles to an active social life. But having survived one curse, she never thought she’d find herself at the center of a new one.

This time, Sam is having recurring dreams about the Titanic . . . where she’s been walking the deck with first-class passengers, like her aunt and uncle. Meanwhile, in Sam’s waking life, strange missives from the Titanic have been finding their way to her, along with haunting visions of people who went down with the ship.

Ultimately, Sam and the Descendants, along with some help from heartthrob Elijah, must unravel who is behind the spell that is drawing her ever further into the dream ship . . . and closer to sharing the same grim fate as its ghostly passengers.

After being surprised by how much I liked How to Hang a Witch (read my review here), I jumped at the chance to receive this book from a fellow blogger. I was excited to dive back into the magically spooky world of Salem, and join Sam and her friends on their next adventure.
I was not disappointed.

This books picks up 6 months after the first book ends. Sam is dealing with the fallout of the events (which I will not spoil, incase you haven’t read the first book yet… which you totally should), and staying as far away from the descendants, and magic, as she can. Then she starts seeing spirits again. Spirits from the Titanic.

The mystery of this book kept me guessing until the very end. I didn’t see any of the twists coming, and honestly it was so exciting! I read this book in one afternoon because I couldn’t wait to find out what was going to happen next!

I also loved how much more developed the characters seemed in this book than the first one. One of the biggest problems I had with How to Hang a Witch was how all of the characters felt like children… even the adults. In this one, although I got glimpses of that same problem, the characters felt much more mature and true to who they were supposed to be. It was easier for me to get lost in the story because the inconsistencies were almost gone.

I loved the feeling of this book too. It was easy to read and light, but at the same time it was so full of emotion and excitement and mystery and intrigue.
I would recommend this series to anyone looking for a good spooky story. Both books are great reads!

I am going to give Haunting the Deep four out of five hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Book Review- Hunting Prince Dracula

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Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco
Expected publication by Little, Brown on September 19th, 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Horror, Romance
Pages: 448
Goodreads
Amazon

Following the grief and horror of her discovery of Jack the Ripper’s true identity, Audrey Rose Wadsworth has no choice but to flee London and its memories. Together with the arrogant yet charming Thomas Cresswell, she journeys to the dark heart of Romania, home to one of Europe’s best schools of forensic medicine…and to another notorious killer, Vlad the Impaler, whose thirst for blood became legend.

But her life’s dream is soon tainted by blood-soaked discoveries in the halls of the school’s forbidding castle, and Audrey Rose is compelled to investigate the strangely familiar murders. What she finds brings all her terrifying fears to life once again.

Stalking Jack the Ripper was one of my favorite books, so when I was able to get my hands on a copy of Hunting Prince Dracula (through a trade) I was over the moon!

Hunting Prince Dracula was every bit as dark, spooky, haunting, and swoon worthy as promised. Audrey Rose and Thomas travel to Romaina, only to find there is a murderer on the loose, and the dead bodies are drained of blood.

I loved this book, but not quite as much as I liked the first one. There were some things throughout the book that put me a little off (nothing major or worth mentioning, but still, every once in a while I would pause and go like “what? why would you put that in there? That does absolutely nothing for the plot/characters/novel at all”). But I was able to get past that pretty easily, and it didn’t really bother me that much.

As in Stalking Jack the Ripper, I picked out the killer the first time they were introduced. Literally the second that character met Audrey Rose I said to myself “and there’s the killer.” I only doubted that thought once in the book (which was some pretty good plotting on Maniscalco’s part), but in the end I turned out to be right.

I would definitely recommend this series to anyone who likes spooky, thrilling, mysterious, or gothic/dark books. These are amazing!! I honestly can not wait for the next book to come out (and this one to come out so more people can read it!), and I’m going to spend every second from now until the title is announced trying to guess just what legend Wadsworth and Cresswell are going to be chasing next.

ALSO THE SWOONS GUYS. SO MANY SWOONS I DIED.

I am going to give Hunting Prince Dracula four out of five hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

YA Series Recommendations- What are your favorite series? What series are not worth the read?

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Finding a new series to dive into can be a hard and daunting task. Series are a big commitment. They are scary. And more often than not, they get shoved down to the bottom of a TBR because who has time for that?

What are you talking about? Obviously people read series.

Obviously. But think about it for a minute: has there ever been a series that you put off reading for so long and then when you picked it up you were like “why did I wait so long to read this? This is amazing.” ???

If your answer is “no, does that really happen to people? Hah puny mortals.” then get out of here what are you doing you wizard/god

wait, actually on second thought please come back and teach me your secrets because I need them

But seriously, what is the purpose of this post?

Well:

We are gathered here today to join John and Jane in holy… oops.. wrong place

We are gathered here today to discuss great YA series and inspire each other to finally pick up that amazing series and stop missing out! I’ve put together a list of some of my favorite YA series, and then we can talk about them and you can tell me what your favorite series are and then we can all be sprinkled with pixie dust that will make all our responsibilities go away so we can read forever.

Or something like that…

So what counts as a series? Basically anything with more than one book. So douologies through 100 book series (if such series exist). Or at least that’s my definition of a series, so I’m rolling with it.

My YA Series Recommendations (in no particular order):

Anna Dressed in Blood (Duology) by Kendare Blake

I will never not recommend these books. They are amazing. The end.

Red Queen (Quadrilogy) by Victoria Aveyard

I’m not sure if this series is going to stop at 4 books, but that’s all I know of for now, and based on the ending of King’s Cage, I think the fourth (still unnamed book) is probably going to wrap everything up.

This series is one of my favorite dystopias, and I can not wait for the fourth one to come out! It is gripping and exciting. There are powers, princes, rebels, high stakes, and heart wrenching events. If you love dystopia, this is not one to miss.

Ruby Red (Trilogy) by Kerstin Gier

I regard these books as the best time travel books to grace the planet. Good luck convincing me otherwise.

The Selection (Trilogy) by Kiera Cass

I adore everything about this trilogy. I know that technically The Heir and The Crown exist… but I don’t really consider them a part of this (do you?). Plus I’ve only read The Heir and I don’t really think it lives up to the glory of the original trilogy.

This series is so adorable and swoon worthy!! And it’s a quick read, which is always a plus!

Throne of Glass (6 books? 7? More?) by Sarah J. Maas

So remember in the beginning of this post when I said something about putting off a series for wayyyy too long and then being like “why did I wait so long?” Yeah so that’s pretty much this series.

I’m only on the second book as of right now, BUT ITS SO GOOD I HAD TO PUT IT ON THIS LIST. Seriously this writing is some sort of sorcery. Don’t deprive yourself of the amazingness.


Okay so that’s it for my list.

Are there more amazing series out there?

Obviously. That’s where you guys come in! I want to hear what your favorite series are!

28962906And, also, there are of course series that are just starting. As in only the first book has been published as of now. Like Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco. SOOOO GOOD.

But I tried to only include complete or almost complete series on this list, so if anyone decides to start one of the series I recommend, you won’t be stuck waiting for the rest of the series to come out (which could take years).

Because binge reading rules!

But also support new authors. Because that is important.

But what about the series that are not worth the read?

Well, I’m sure that ever series has it’s fans. And, a lot of people like the series that I had a lot of trouble reading. But, here is a list of series that I could not get in to. Just remember that these are my opinions, and if you like any of these series that is great and I’m glad that you were able to find something in them that I wasn’t.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (Trilogy) by Ransom Riggs

I don’t have anything against this series (I actually kind of enjoyed the first book… kind of), but I could never bring myself to pick up the second book. I just don’t think this series is worth reading.

Shatter Me (6 books) by Tahereh Mafi

I don’t want to say I hated the first book of this series….

A lot of people enjoy this series, but I can’t figure out why for the life of me. I just can’t stand anything about it.

Girl Online (Trilogy) by Zoe Sugg (Ghost Writer Siobhan Curham)

These books are the bane of YA. I don’t know why they exist. The first book was so cringey that I could barely finish it.

The Maze Runner (Trilogy? Not really sure at this point) by James Dashner

The Maze Runner was actually a DNF. I tried to read it several times and never got past the middle of the book. I watched the movie, too, just incase that would inspire me to finish the book… but I didn’t really like the movie either.


Anyway, that’s it for this post!

What are your can’t-miss YA series? What series are not worth the read?

Also: if you make a post similar to this one, link me in it so I can see it!

Thanks for reading!!

Book Review- Caraval

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Caraval by Stephanie Garber
Published by Flatiron Books on January 31st, 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 407
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Amazon

Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval—the faraway, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show—are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt-of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. Nevertheless she becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic. And whether Caraval is real or not, Scarlett must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over or a dangerous domino effect of consequences will be set off, and her beloved sister will disappear forever.

Caraval was SUPPPPER hyped up. Like I saw (see?) it EVERYWHERE. No one can get enough of it. So of course, when I saw it at the library, I was like “well, checking it out won’t hurt.” And yeah, it didn’t hurt. It just didn’t bring me the amazing story that I thought I would find.

I had a number of issues with this book. Firstly was Scarlet. She just annoyed me to no end. She was whiny and acted like everything she did was Such. A. Big. Deal…. Like girl, get over yourself. I’m sorry. Also, I get that she loves her sister. Like believe me, I get it. But she just went on and on and on about it. Every other sentence was like “Oh my dear Donatella, oh how I love her so, but here are all the issues I have with her…. but still she is so dear to me.” HONEY, WE GOT IT THE FIRST TIME. Just chill.

Donatella, on the other hand, is probably the most selfish person out there. She loves Scarlet, and wants to save her from marrying this Count that she hasn’t met yet, but still, there are better ways to go about it, even with a father as terrible as theirs. I really just couldn’t get on board with Scarlet or Donatella or their relationship or anything about them really.

Julian, on the other hand, was maybe the only character I really liked. He was witty and fun and pushed Scarlet to be almost-bearable. I really liked the character development that he went through, and that he did what he thought was right, even if it could get him in trouble.

As for the whole Caraval aspect of the book (cause, ya know, that IS what the book is about), it really just didn’t appeal to me. Yeah, I liked the whole “It’s a game” thing. I thought that was awesome. But everything else was kind of weird. The whole magical aspect of the game was a little hard to get a grasp on. Basically magic isn’t real, but some of it is? I’m still not really sure. The whole thing was just kind of confusing.

I was really hoping for an amazing ending to this book. Something that would tie everything together and make sense of all the confusion. But I didn’t exactly get that. I just got more confused. And then irritated by the Scarlet and Donatella relationship.
The Epilogue was honestly the best part of this book. It threw a new twist on the whole book and honestly saved the whole thing. Will I read the second book? Probably, but only because of the epilogue.

Okay, so I know it seems like I hated this book. I didn’t. It was entertaining, and I don’t regret reading it. I just happened to have quite a few problems with the book. But really guys, it wasn’t terrible.

I would recommend this book to people who love fantasy and adventure. It wouldn’t be my top rec, but hopefully (obviously) other people enjoy this book a whole lot more than I did. Maybe this book was just too over-hyped, and my expectations ruined the story. Maybe Caraval just isn’t for me.

I am going to give Caraval three out of five hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥

Book Review- Traveler

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Traveler by L. E. Delano
Published by Swoon Reads on February 7, 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction
Pages: 352
Goodreads
Amazon

Jessa has spent her life dreaming of other worlds and writing down stories more interesting than her own, until the day her favorite character, Finn, suddenly shows up and invites her out for coffee. After the requisite nervous breakdown, Jessa learns that she and Finn are Travelers, born with the ability to slide through reflections and dreams into alternate realities. But it’s not all steampunk pirates and fantasy lifestyles—Jessa is dying over and over again, in every reality, and Finn is determined that this time, he’s going to stop it…This Jessa is going to live.

Traveler is one of those books that’s been on my TBR since before it came out. The idea behind the book sounded really interesting, but for some reason I was reluctant to pick it up. I finally checked it out from the library, and I am so glad I did, guys. This book really surprised me, and I ended up enjoying more than I ever thought I would!

The beginning of the book was a little confusing. I loved when Jessa met Finn and started to learn about being a traveler, but the whole idea behind travelers was a little hard to grasp at first. I had so many questions about why and how… but thankfully all of my questions were answered and the plot holes were filled in. So while I was kinda worried that this book would leave me unsatisfied with a half-cooked amazing idea, I am happy to report that everything was explained!

I thought Jessa and Finn were adorable too. I loved being able to meet alternate versions of each character, and explore all of the different worlds. The worlds were so well imagined and super cool, and each of the alternate characters from the different worlds were really fun to read about.

I loved how independent Jessa was. Sure, she wasn’t the strongest character out there, but all her reactions felt honest, and I loved how she stood up for what she believed in.
Finn and Ben (Jessa’s best friend/other love interest) were both awesome characters, as were Jessa’s mom, brother, and pretty much everyone. I just really enjoyed the characters in this book. They were all so developed and interesting, and even the alternates for each character were individual and well developed. It was easy to distinguish between each alternate, which really just added an amazing element to the book.

The ending of this book completely took me by surprise as well. The ending definitely just made the book for me. It broke my heart but also gave me so much hope. I really can’t wait for the next one to come out. I need to know what is going to happen!!
I would recommend this book to basically anyone who loved a good YA science fiction with some good swoons in it. This book was altogether adorable and heart pounding, and it was totally worth the read!

I am going to give Traveler four out of five hearts!

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Book Review- Winter

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Winter by Marissa Meyer
Published by Feiwel & Friends on November 10, 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Retelling
Pages: 827
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Amazon

Princess Winter is admired by the Lunar people for her grace and kindness, and despite the scars that mark her face, her beauty is said to be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana.

Winter despises her stepmother, and knows Levana won’t approve of her feelings for her childhood friend–the handsome palace guard, Jacin. But Winter isn’t as weak as Levana believes her to be and she’s been undermining her stepmother’s wishes for years. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that’s been raging for far too long.

If you haven’t read my reviews of books 1-3 of the Lunar Chronicles: Cinder, Scarlet, Cress

I had such high hopes for this book. This series was one of those that just seemed to get better the further I got. Maybe it was because of those high hopes that I was kind of let down by the finale of the Lunar Chronicles.

I know that this series is a fairy tale retelling. Cinder is Cinderella; Scarlet is Little Red Riding Hood; Cress is Rapunzel; and Winter is Snow White. I don’t have any problems with that. I love retellings! Love them so much. Which is why I’m kind of confused by my disappointment for this one.

It’s not that this book was bad. It was entertaining. I had fun reading it. But it just wasn’t anything special for me. Everything was kind of predictable (yeah, yeah, it’s a retelling, but still…) and it just fell a little flat for me. I had the same problem with Winter as I did with Cinder (the books, not the characters): they were just kind of “eh.”

After Scarlet and Cress, which were both super fast-paced and interesting, I couldn’t help but feel let down by Winter. The characters and world building and plot were still good and interesting… but this book just was not my favorite.

Maybe it was because this book was over 800 pages… but at the same time I don’t think the story could really be told in less. I wish I could tell you what exactly I didn’t like about Winter, but it really wasn’t anything in particular. The book just fell flat.

I would still recommend this book/series to lovers of dystopia, or anyone looking for a good dystopia series to try out. But, that being said, this series as a whole is not my favorite one out there.

I am going to give Winter three out of five hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥

Book Review- King’s Cage

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King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard
Published by HarperTeen on February 7, 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Dystopia
Pages: 528
Goodreads
Amazon

Mare Barrow is a prisoner, powerless without her lightning, tormented by her lethal mistakes. She lives at the mercy of a boy she once loved, a boy made of lies and betrayal. Now a king, Maven Calore continues weaving his dead mother’s web in an attempt to maintain control over his country—and his prisoner.

As Mare bears the weight of Silent Stone in the palace, her once-ragtag band of newbloods and Reds continue organizing, training, and expanding. They prepare for war, no longer able to linger in the shadows. And Cal, the exiled prince with his own claim on Mare’s heart, will stop at nothing to bring her back.

When blood turns on blood, and ability on ability, there may be no one left to put out the fire—leaving Norta as Mare knows it to burn all the way down.

If you have not read my review for the first two books in this series, click these links: Red Queen, Glass Sword

MY HEART!!! NOOOOOOO

Okay so I have so many feelings about this book. Like my heart has actually been destroyed.

Mare allowed herself to be captured so the ones she loves could get away. AND OH MY GOSH DOES SHE PAY FOR IT. I knew Maven was bad, but damn this took it too a whole new level. And then there were moments when I felt so bad for Maven and liked him and then I was reminded about what a bad person he is. The feels are too much here guys, it’s killing me.

My love for Mare is ever growing, and I just think she is an amazing character. She is so strong and resilient, even though she has been through so much. I just want a great ending for her. She deserves it.

The plot of this book was AMAZING too. It had me on the edge of my seat THE WHOLE TIME. There was a little foreshadowing, but for the most part I had no idea what was going to happen next and I NEEDED TO KNOW. Which meant yet again, I was up all night finding out the fate of Mare Barrow and the Guard.

Can I just take a second to address the FEELS IN THIS BOOK?!?! Everything was so raw and real. The love, the anguish, the heart break, the hope… it just all was too much for my poor heart. King’s Cage just ruined me. Completely.

The ending of this book (no spoilers, I promise) wrenched my heart out. WHY?!?!!?! HAS MARE NOT BEEN THROUGH ENOUGH?!?!?! I guess not. But I can not wait for the fourth book to find out what is going to happen.

If you love dystopia and have not read this series….. YOU DON’T LOVE DYSTOPIA. If you want a good dystopian series to read: LOOK NO FURTHER.

As you probably guessed, I am going to give King’s Cage five out of five hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥