This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

Hey, bibliophiles!

I was so excited to read This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab, which I received in my July OwlCrate! I will admit that it’s the first novel I’ve read by Victoria Schwab, and now… I’M ADDICTED. I adore her writing and narration! But all that in time. First, here’s a quick summary of This Savage Song via Amazon:

There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from acclaimed author Victoria Schwab, a young woman and a young man must choose whether to become heroes or villains—and friends or enemies—with the future of their home at stake. The first of two books, This Savage Song is a must-have for fans of Holly Black, Maggie Stiefvater, and Laini Taylor.

Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives. In This Savage Song, Victoria Schwab creates a gritty, seething metropolis, one worthy of being compared to Gotham and to the four versions of London in her critically acclaimed fantasy for adults, A Darker Shade of Magic. Her heroes will face monsters intent on destroying them from every side—including the monsters within.


Based on the summary, I wasn’t sure how I was going to like the book. I was hesitantly optimistic; it seemed like such a fantastic idea, but I didn’t know how the execution was going to work. I WAS WORRIED FOR NOTHING. It was amazing! The story line flowed nicely. There was appropriate character development structured within an action-packed plot. At no point did I ever feel like the writing was being overly or obviously descriptive during the world-building. It came natural and I was always left with questions, but in a good way, in a way that kept me reading!

Additionally, I loved, loved, loved the theme of good vs. evil with blurred lines. What does being good really mean? How do you define evil? I hear that this is a theme in most of Victoria Schwab’s books so I’m SO EXCITED to read more by her! I appreciate that, especially in YA, there’s starting to be more novels that explore the duality of life. There’s no obvious bad guy or hero. We all have darkness and light within us. Okay, stepping off my soap box now….


It seems that this novel will be part of a series since it is a Monsters of Verity novel. There is so much excitement building inside of me, but my poor little heart can’t stand anymore waiting for another series! I spent years counting down until the next Harry Potter book came out, for the completion of The Lunar Chronicles series, and I will ALWAYS be waiting for GRRM to get on with A Song of Ice and Fire. This series is going to be right up there with all of those. GET HYPE.

Until next time, bibliophiles….

City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare

Hey bibliophiles,

I just finished City of Ashes, Book Two in The Mortal Instruments Series by Cassandra Clare. If you missed my review of City of Bones, the series starter, check it out here. As I mentioned when I started this series, this is what I’m calling “a second chance” read. A few years ago I read the first few books and I didn’t really like them. Then I harbored a grudge for the series for quite some time. However, most people rave about it, including my best friend over at kelseylikesreading, so I decided to give it another shot.

Clary Fray just wishes that her life would go back to normal. But what’s normal when you’re a demon-slaying Shadowhunter, your mother is in a magically induced coma, and you can suddenly see Downworlders like werewolves, vampires, and faeries? If Clary left the world of the Shadowhunters behind, it would mean more time with her best friend, Simon, who’s becoming more than a friend. But the Shadowhunting world isn’t ready to let her go—especially her handsome, infuriating, newfound brother, Jace. And Clary’s only chance to help her mother is to track down rogue Shadowhunter Valentine, who is probably insane, certainly evil—and also her father.

To complicate matters, someone in New York City is murdering Downworlder children. Is Valentine behind the killings—and if he is, what is he trying to do? When the second of the Mortal Instruments, the Soul-Sword, is stolen, the terrifying Inquisitor arrives to investigate and zooms right in on Jace. How can Clary stop Valentine if Jace is willing to betray everything he believes in to help their father?

Much the way I felt about the first book, this book was all right. I didn’t love it by any means, thanks to the immature feeling of the writing and cliché dialogue, but I’m enjoying the world building and character development. The biggest thing to know if you’re considering reading this series is it is VERY YA-ish. I think right now the plot and the story is carrying the series for me. I’m really continuing to read it so I can see what happens, not necessarily because I’m greatly enjoying the reading experience of the series.

All in all, I’m still enjoying the ride enough to keep chugging along. It’s not a book that I would easily recommend to others, unless they tell me that they pretty much only love YA fantasy fiction. I know this was a pretty short review, but I feel like the less I say about it, the better.


City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

Hola bibliophiles!

I recently finished up City of Bones by Cassandra Clare, which is the first book in The Mortal Instruments series. This was a bit of a different experience for me. This was the first time that I’ve ever given a book a second chance. When I originally read City of Bones a few years ago, I didn’t really like it much and there were some parts I actively disliked. However, this series has such hyped fans! I felt like I was missing out on something! So I thought, “Why not? Why not give it another shot, no judgment, and just read it through with an open mind?

open your mind.jpg

Let’s start out with a little synopsis:

When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder—much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It’s hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing—not even a smear of blood—to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know…

Okay, now to the nitty gritty. First off, let me tell you what I didn’t like the first time around. I had felt like the author, Clare (not to be confused with the character Clary), in trying to build the Shadowhunter world was trying to be complex and sophisticated, but that it just wasn’t fully fleshed out. I also felt that she had spent time weaving in the “rules” of the world, but then would break them the second the main cast needed a little help. Those were my two biggest complaints. The writing is also pretty young and a bit cliché, but it’s young adult, so that’s just a hazard of reading this genre.

This time around, I mentally prepared myself to just explore the world without tallying up every type of creature/character type and looking for mistakes. I sort of compared it to reading The Lord of the Rings. When I originally tried reading LoTR, I nearly gave up because there were so many complex family lines and everyone was “blank, son of blank, son of blank”, which was hard for me to follow. The way I eventually overcame that was to realize and accept that I didn’t need to remember all of the “son of” bits. I just let that part flow freely through my mind, helping to create a sense of wonderment in the story, but without stressing about it. That strategy is what helped me with City of Bones as well. I didn’t try to keep a detailed list of all the character traits and what each “race” could do or not do, or all the rules of the Clave, or every member of the Circle, etc. That helped me to enjoy the story immensely more.

Something that I specifically love about the novel: the underlying themes of toleration and acceptance in young people. I ADORE that Clare wrote in a young, gay character (Alec). And it’s not done in a preachy way, but rather it’s just part of who he is. He does struggle with his sexuality and he’s “in the closet” currently, but I appreciate that we’re including these themes more in young adult literature. I also connected with the theme of racism. Although it’s not in terms of black vs. white vs. minorities, there’s an echo of it in the Nephilism vs. Downworlders. I think it’s great to address these kinds of issues, whether it’s the main point of the book or not. There were definitely some flashes of brilliance.


I have to say I’m honestly glad that I gave this book another chance. I know everyone is pretty divided on this series; either they love it or they hate it. I think most people who usually enjoy young adult fantasy novels would enjoy City of Bones, especially if they know ahead of time what they’re going into. If that sounds okay to you, happy reading! I’m going to move forward with the series and read the next novel: City of Ashes. I’m also almost finished listening to Paris: A Novel so keep an eye for that post soon!

Until next time bibliophiles…


Son by Lois Lowry

Hey bibliophiles!

I just finished reading Son by Lois Lowry, the last of The Giver Quartet. You can read my reviews of the other novels in the series here: The Giver, Gathering Blue, and Messenger. Each book could essentially be a stand-alone novel, but the stories all intertwine as well. Let’s start with a summary of Son:

They called her Water Claire. When she washed up on their shore, no one knew that she came from a society where emotions and colors didn’t exist. That she had become a Vessel at age thirteen. That she had carried a Product at age fourteen. That it had been stolen from her body. Claire had a son. But what became of him she never knew. What was his name? Was he even alive? She was supposed to forget him, but that was impossible. Now Claire will stop at nothing to find her child, even if it means making an unimaginable sacrifice.

Let me just say, I love The Giver series…except for this book. I think it would have been much more powerful just as a trilogy. Furthermore, Son was such a departure from the rest of the series. It stuck out like a sore thumb.The first three novels were all about weighing the needs of individuals versus needs of society; so much so that the books didn’t feel like they were about Jonas, Kira, or Matty, but they were about community. Son, on the other hand, was about Claire. Yes, there was society in the background, but it was really just her story. Which isn’t bad in general (I love plenty of books about people’s journeys), but it wasn’t what I expected from a novel in this series. Additionally, this novel was twice as long as it’s companions and was extremely detail-oriented, which stood in stark contrast to the simplistic style of the rest of the series.

There were some nice moments and a few inspiring quotes. I was reminded that we can’t let fear control our life, but we have to face it head on and we have to look forwards, not dwell on the past. But that’s about all I got out of the story.

son quote.jpg

All in all, Son just felt repetitive and I didn’t gain as much from it as I had with the other novels. I didn’t hate the book, but I wish The Giver Quartet had stopped with Messenger. With that book, the ending was so appropriate for the series and the story lines had all tied up nicely. Son felt unnecessary.

Just as an update: I’m currently still listening to Paris: The Novel by Edward Rutherfurd and I’m going to read The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare next. And don’t worry, I have Drums of Autumn, the next Outlander novel by Diana Gabaldon, on my nightstand to read as well.

Until next time, bibliophiles…

Messenger by Lois Lowry

What’s up, bibliophiles?

I’ve been reading my way through The Giver Quartet and recently finished Messenger, the third book. If you read my reviews of The Giver and Gathering Blue, you’d know that the second book in the series wasn’t really a continuation of the story first introduced in The Giver. Well, Messenger ties up the loose ends and brings the two stories together.

Here’s a little synopsis, without giving away too much of the story (NO SPOILERS!):

Matty has lived in Village and flourished under the guidance of Seer, a blind man known for his special sight. Village once welcomed newcomers, but something sinister has seeped into Village and the people have voted to close it to outsiders. Matty has been invaluable as a messenger. Now he must risk everything to make one last journey through the treacherous forest with his only weapon, a power he unexpectedly discovers within himself.

Like the other novels in this series, this story is mainly a commentary on society, self, and how to balance the needs of one against many. It’s a discussion about the power within each of us and how we can utilize that power to affect the world around us. Especially poignant was the perception of “outsiders” in the novel. That part of the story really had an impact on me, considering the world we live in where suspicion comes so naturally. Along those lines, my blogger friend Eve Messenger recently posted a powerful story depicting that same sense of suspicion. See it here.


I loved this novel and thought it did a wonderful job continuing the story in a meaningful and creative way. The character building was as beautiful as ever. If you loved the other novels in this series, you’ll love this one as well. But, BE WARNED, it’s not a story with a happily-ever-after ending. That’s all I’m going to say about that.

Until next time, bibliophiles…

Totally Should’ve Book Tag

Hi bibliophiles! In store today is a super-fun book tag post. A big thank you to Eve Messenger for tagging me to do this fun “Totally Should’ve” book tag (created by lively video blogger Katytastic.)

1. A book that TOTALLY SHOULD’VE had a sequel.

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. Maybe not a chronological sequel, but just another novel with a similar feel to it; one where stories are interwoven so beautifully! One of my top, all-time, favorite books EVER.


2. A book/series that TOTALLY SHOULD’VE had a Spin-Off series.

I would say A Song of Ice and Fire, but I’m probably cheating. One, because the series isn’t even finished. Two, there has been spin-off-ish material written about the world. I JUST WANT MORE GAME OF THRONES ALL THE TIME! Deal with it. To all the people that tell me I need to calm down…

cercei gif2.gif

3. An author who TOTALLY SHOULD write more books.
MARISSA MEYER!!!! Are you new here? Because I love The Lunar Chronicles, and while they’re at their end, I’m so hyped for her new book coming out this year, Heartless. Until it’s released, I’ll just be here like…


4. A character who TOTALLY SHOULD’VE ended up with someone else.

Hmmm…I’m really struggling with this one. I can’t think of any one couple in particular. I would say this: I would be pleased to read more YA where the main character doesn’t “end up” with someone. Let them be single for goodness sake!


5. A book/series that TOTALLY SHOULD’VE ended differently.

Eragon by Christoper Paolini. I had many conflicting feelings about this series. I can’t say that I entirely liked it, but I didn’t dislike it. There was such a build up to like one epic battle, and then it was over. I just wanted a more settled ending, I guess?


6. A book/series that TOTALLY SHOULD’VE had a movie franchise.

The Taker by Alma Katsu. I LOVED this series: immortality, historical fiction, romance, power, drama, and even a little risque action, but just a tad. It would make for a fantastic movie franchise. Don’t be misled by the weird, seemingly unrelated covers. I don’t know whose fail that was, but the story really is excellent.

7. A book/series that TOTALLY SHOULD’VE had a TV show.

The Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld. It has such an interesting plot and just enough teen angst to create a good balance of drama for a TV show. Plus, I imagine it would be very visually stimulating on the screen.


8. A book/series that TOTALLY SHOULD’VE only had one point of view

Huh, I’m having a rough time thinking of a book that should have only had one point of view. Most of the time I really enjoy multiple POVs.

9. A book/series that TOTALLY SHOULD’VE had a cover change.

Ugh, one of my favorite books, but the cover just does not do it justice. Granted, it was published in 1985. I think they did reprint it with a movie tie-in cover, but I don’t think that counts (see my feelings above).



10. A book/series that TOTALLY SHOULD’VE kept the original covers.

While I don’t hate movie tie-in covers, I don’t really love them either. So I guess just that for books in general…

11. A series that TOTALLY SHOULD’VE stopped at book #1.

I might get some flak for this one, but Divergent. I was enraptured by the first book, slightly let down by the second, and disappointed by the third. I don’t know what happened! I could still appreciate the story change, but I felt disconnected from the characters and their relationships.


The Giver by Lois Lowry

Hello bibliophiles!

I’ve been bad… If you happened to read my New Year Resolutions blog post, you’ll know that one of my goals has been to post right after finishing a book. I finished The Giver by Lois Lowry a week ago, started a draft, and am only now finishing my post! GAH! I have to get back in the swing of things.

For anyone who might not have read the novel already (or watched the movie), The Giver is written from the point of view of Jonas, an eleven-year-old boy living in a futuristic society that has eliminated all pain, fear, war, and hatred, but also all choice. Everything from occupation to spouses are assigned by the community. When Jonas is assigned as the community’s new Receiver of Memory, he learns about the world that was compared to the world as it is.

Anywho-sies, The Giver – which I had never read in high school like everyone else apparently – was an awesome read. Simplistic in nature, the world created in the novel really draws you in. Lowry does a great job with the “show, don’t tell” concept of writing, which is huge in a novel all about emotions. I feel like I haven’t said much about the book, but it’s hard to write a long post about a novel that’s only 180 pages. Besides, The Giver stands on its own two feet as an award-winning novel with great readership.

The one quote that really stuck with me:

“He would have lived a life hungry for feelings, for color, for love.”

I think the quote really sums up the most important message of the novel: life is built from emotions and relationships. It would be a poor life without love.


As an FYI, I had previously mentioned that I was listening to The Wolf Gift by Anne Rice, but after a few hours, I just couldn’t anymore. I love Anne Rice and I rarely give up on a book, but I was really disappointed. Maybe if I had given it more time? I don’t know, but the book didn’t draw me in at all. The main character was so annoying, self-obsessed, spoiled, and ridiculous. Did anyone read it and enjoy it?

Anyways, I’ve started listening to Paris: The Novel by Edward Rutherfurd. I’m only about 15% through the nearly 40-hour long audiobook, but I’m enjoying it so far. I’ll keep you updated!

Now I’m off to read Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry, part of The Giver series. Until next time, bibliophiles…

Stars Above by Marissa Meyer

Hey bibliophiles!

I literally raced through all 369 pages of Stars Above: A Lunar Chronicles Collection by Marissa Meyer. Of course, now I’m sad that it’s over.


For those of you that haven’t read my other blog posts concerning books in this series, just know that The Lunar Chronicles are my ish. Like without a doubt, they are second only to Harry Potter in my favorite young adult book series. And even then, it’s a pretty close call. That’s saying something.

For anyone that may not know what the series is about: you’re a horrible person. Just kidding! It’s a re-telling of several different classic fairy tales that come together for one amazing, futuristic, sci-fi space adventure. I’ve never seen a fairy tale re-telling done better. There’s just enough of the original elements to help you identify what classic tale it’s from, but the writing, the world-building, and the plot elements are so drastically different from the original that you forget it’s a re-telling at all. This series has everything! Including strong female leads, disease, political intrigue, mystery, cybernetics, colonization of the moon, relationships, etc. To read more about it, here’s a link to the author’s blog: The Lunar Chronicles.


Back to the book at hand: Stars Above. A collection of short stories centered around the characters from The Lunar Chronicles, this book really knew how to tug on my heart strings. THE FEELS. OH GOD THE FEELS. I went from nearly crying to bursting out loud laughing. I’m glad I was reading this at home and not at the doctor’s office.


Some of the short stories included in the novel were actually posted on Marissa Meyer’s blog, but most were new. The stories were from several different perspectives: Michelle Benoit’s involvement in hiding Cinder for years, Ze’ev’s (Wolf) induction and training for the Queen Levana’s army, a day in high school as Carswell Thorne, Cress’ life up until she was locked in a satellite, Winter’s choice not to use her gift, Mech6.0’s struggle with love (new character, but she visits Cinder so the story links back), Kai meeting Cinder for the first time, and Scarlet and Wolf’s wedding.Additionally, there’s a sneak peak of Marissa Meyer’s new standalone novel, Heartless, that will be published this November. Essentially, it’s a story from the perspective of the Queen of Hearts (Alice in Wonderland), you know, before she was evil. I’ve already pre-ordered it.


But seriously, going back to the feelings for a minute… I felt so emotional, and not just because these are characters I’ve grown attached to, although that was surely part of it. The way Marissa Meyer instills emotion into her writing is breathtaking. In one particular story, my heart dropped when a character misses out on their chance for love. In another, I couldn’t contain my laughter at the hilarity of one character’s interrupting a wedding with lame jokes. It’s too perfect!

To wrap up my post, here are some of my favorite quotes, including a song verse, from the novel:

“Perhaps their romance was more intense for its brevity.”

“All my decisions have been my own, and I am still convinced that they were the right ones.”

“Sweet Crescent Moon, up in the sky,
Won’t you sing your song to Earth as she passes by?
Your sweetest silver melody, a rhythm and a rhyme,
A lullaby of pleasant dreams as you make your climb.
Send the forests off to bed, the mountains tuck in tight,
Rock the ocean gently, and the deserts kiss good night.
Sweet Crescent Moon, up in the sky,
You sing your song so sweetly after sunshine passes by.”

“But she was already vast and bright and endless.”

“Forevermore, you will be my mate, my star, my beginning of everything. You are the one. You have always been, and you will always be, the only one.”

Until next time, bibliophiles…

Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling

Hey bibliophiles,

Today I finished reading Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling. If you read my previous blog post reviewing her first book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), then you probably know that I ADORE Mindy. She has this way of meshing gut-busting humor and really inspirational stuff. Why Not Me? is no different; from talking about filming sex scenes and stereotypical TV show plots to discussing real concerns and how to earn confidence. That’s right: EARN confidence.


The book is just over 200 pages and consists of many different essays about a variety of topics. As I’ve said, Mindy does an amazing job taking turns at tickling my funny bone and tugging on my heart strings. I especially enjoyed the chapter Player, where Mindy discusses not a fast and furious romance, but an experience where she fell fast for a new BFF. Making friends, now that I’m out of college, has been a particular challenge for me as of late, so her discussion of BFF sparks and true best friend material really got to me.


I think it’s important to have strong, female voices that have the power to make us think about our lives, our habits, our assumptions, and our goals. To me, one of Mindy’s most powerful messages is that no one is perfect, but it doesn’t hurt to put a lot of hard work into trying to make ourselves, and by extension our work, the best it can be. Being in my twenties, I really struggle with trying to “figure out” my life so hearing someone else talk about waking up at 4AM to anxiously wonder if people think they’re gross and that someone else also makes up detailed, alternate lives gives me hope for my life.

Overall, this is a book I’d recommend to women and girls of all ages. I think it could be an insightful read for men as well, but I think they wouldn’t appreciate Mindy’s humor or be able to relate to her voice as well as women do.

In other news, I’m so excited because Voyager, the third book in the Outlander series, by Diana Gabaldon finally came in my mail today!!! That will for sure be my next read. In fact, I’m going to go start it now…

Until next time bibliophiles!

Life and Death: A Reimagining of the Classic Novel

Within one day I tore through Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined by Stephanie Meyer. I will warn you right now: if you hated Twilight go ahead and skip this post. I won’t hold it against you. We can even still be friends, but let me save you some time. You won’t enjoy what’s below.



As I explained in a previous post, my interest in this novel was first piqued when I read the foreword while standing in Target lost in a daydream about buying all the books. ALL THE BOOKS. Anyways, the premise of this book is basically that of the original Twilight novel with a crucial twist: nearly every character’s gender is reversed. It brought to mind the gender bender craze that’s been occurring of late.


Of particular interest was how this would affect people’s perceptions of Bella/Beau. Bella was constantly criticized for being a poor model for girls; she was deemed weak, dependent, and unhealthy. Now that Beau (Bella’s gender-reversed counterpart) is the one that’s a weak human, does it change how people view this character? Is he suddendly a poor role model for boys? Well, that’s a difficult question to answer. Beau’s character does come off nearly as helpless as Bella’s did; he is constantly finding himself in dangerous situations, he’s clumsy, and he’s weaker than Edythe (Edward’s counterpart). However, he still maintains a lot of independence and tends to display some traditional masculine behavior.


This conversation could go on forever, so let me sum up how I felt about gender in this book. For the most part, whether or not it helped perpetuate or negate traditional gender roles, it made me THINK about gender. It made me REALLY THINK about it, and there’s inherent value just in that. That alone makes me glad that I took the time to read this book and explore my own notions about gender roles.



The majority of the book follows the original quite closely, but the ending to Life and Death is DRASTICALLY different than that of Twilight. It was an interesting way to re-live the story and explore the what-if’s that the original book sparked. Also, the ending and the afterword leaves no question: Stephanie Meyer will not further recreate the series based on this gender reversal. This will be the only book to follow Beau and Edythe’s story. I’m trying not to give too much away!

All in all, while I would not consider this book a favorite, or even up to par for the rest of this series, I’m glad I read it. Ultimately, I would recommend it to fans of the Twilight franchise.