Six of Crows

ALSO KNOWN AS THE BOOK THAT CONTAINS SO MANY FEELS THERE SHOULD BE A WARNING ON THE BACK.

FANGIRL MODE

Phew. I’m sorry. I just… I needed to get that out of the way.

*This review/rant/display of my feels contains much fangirling. Read at your own discretion*

Going into Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, I had expected amazingness. So many top reviewers had raved about it, and it had been on my TBR list for the longest time.

And all this hype was not without reason. THIS TRULY IS AN AMAZING BOOK.

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I guess I loved it so much because it managed to tug at my heartstings so many times throughout my reading experience, not just by rooting for this ramshackle team of thieves, convicts, spies, Heartrenders, gamblers, and runways to get away with their impossible heist, but for my ships to WORK OUT!

Because really, I think Bardugo was being a bit of a tease.

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Let me just begin to say that never have I fangirled so badly for two characters, shipping them with all my heart. Going onto Goodreads I scrolled through many proclaimations of the shipping of Nina and Matthias, but my ship was COMPLETELY FOR KAZ AND INEJ.

Disclaimer: I loved ALL of these characters. They were so determined and clever; each of them brought something to Six of Crows that made them all crucial to the novel.

But my heart was set on Kaz and Inej. YES YES ONE HUNDRED PERCENT YES.

They were just EVERYTHING to me. EVERYTHING!

 If you need more convincing to know how much I adored this book, here’s a collage I made personally with some of my favourite Six of Crow quotes. (Yes, most of them are Kaz and Inej related. No, of course I couldn’t help myself.)

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To fantasy lovers out there, or lovers of a novel that contains an always-twisting plot, READ THIS BOOK. It is 465 pages of beautiful writing, spectacular world-building, an impossible heist so crazy you can’t help but root for it, and an incredible cast of characters. (There’s also an ending that will just knock you off your feet, but… I digress.)

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Love Fortunes and Other Disasters

So recently I read Love Fortunes and Other Disasters, the debut novel by Kimberly Karalius. When I first heard about the book I was drawn by the cover, but was hesitant to read it. The synopsis didn’t really intrigue me, oddly enough, even though it was a new YA and had lots of buzz. But once I began to read it… I was addicted. The beautiful cover and the wonderful writing was just the perfect combination, and together they made my reading experience all the more amazing!

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This story takes place in the wonderful town of Grimbaud, where protagonist Fallon Dupree is there attending high school. She is extremely excited because the town is home to Zita’s shop, home to the famous 100% ACCURATE love fortunes. It is tradition that high school students receive their fortunes before each school year starts, so that they know what to fully expect for their love life that upcoming year. Fallon naturally is both ecstatic and nervous when it is her turn to get her love fortune, especially when the generations of Duprees before her have gotten ones that helped them marry their high school sweethearts. So when Fallon’s fortune tells her that her love will never be requited, she is heartbroken. When she is recruited by twins Mirthe and Femke, she is joining the rebellion to fight Zita and her tyranny on the town, supporting all those who have been told they will never find love. Along the way she gets closer to Sebastian, the supposedly “notorious heartbreaker”, and finds out that despite Zita’s fortunes, it is possible to fight their fates and follow their hearts.

This book was beautiful. The writing style was incredibly progressive and gripping, and there were rarely any parts where I felt like I could doze off. Each chapter said what needed to be said without overwhelming it with words, but still descriptive and sweet. I dreaded for the book to end, glad to see that Phew, I still have ten chapters to go, and Thank goodness there’s still sixty pages left, oh my. It was a story and a setting I didn’t want to leave, and with every page I rooted for Fallon and the twins’ rebellion.

I have no bad things to say about this book. My only complaint was that I wanted more. It was such a cute, light read, yet also something that has been different from a lot of books I’ve read lately. I wouldn’t call it a realistic fiction, just because the town of Grimbaud had a little sprinkling of magic throughout it, such as the love fortunes and charms. But I loved that about it, and how the people of the town were so dependent of these fortunes that they couldn’t believe it was possible to find love all by themselves. While some people could protest that it was too predictable, aren’t all romances? When you pick them up, you expect for a happy ending, and would be disappointed if it was any other way. I knew what I was getting into when I first started this book, and was left emotionally satisfied when I closed it.

And now for a Fangirl Moment… (Skip if you please)

I can’t close off this review without once again mentioning HOW CUTE THIS COVER IS. While I know that you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, it’s what most readers do. And as a reader of YA, I have noticed that so many of the genre’s covers are just so beautiful. This book’s was no exception. I love how we can see all the cute elements of the town, such as the footbridges and the Tunnel of Love, as well as Zita’s shop and the cobblestone paths. There’s the canal with the booth that has the mermaid statue, and of course, Grimbaud High. We have the quaint little shops and cafes that are frequently mentioned, and all the important characters of the novel that are also featured. As someone who dreams of becoming an author and writing a novel someday, I could only hope for such an adorable cover!

I’m so happy to say that there will be a sequel to this book, called Love Charms and Other Catastrophes! The difference with this novel is that it will not be about Fallon but about another character Hijiri Katamura. I’m excited to see how it will turn out, because Hijiri was a person in this book who interested me greatly, and I just can’t wait to hear her story, as well as more great writing by Kim!

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*sighs in absolute delight and utter anticipation*

So if you haven’t gotten the message already, it was that I completely fell in love with this book. I recommend it to any YA lovers out there, or fans of romantic sweet reads! Pick this book up, and while you’re at it, come by the blog tomorrow for a very special interview with author Kimberly Karalius, as we get a glimpse into her writer’s life!

Keep on reading!

Zoie ❤

Red Queen: Why You Should Read It

Dear readers,

As I write this, I’m sure you are wondering why I’m creating an open letter about why you should read Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard, and not post a review in its place. The answer for that is simple. Red Queen was an amazing read, leaving me consumed by my own emotions, conflicted as they were. I have so much to rave and rant about, but alas, a rant about a book is not a review, and I would be a fool to sell it as one.

Just to catch you up (in case you haven’t already read Red Queen and is the only reason you are reading this letter right now), this novel is about Mare Barrow, and her country which is divided by blood. There are those like her, the common red-blooded folk, who for as long as they remember have served the elite Silvers, who have supernatural abilities, and are nearly gods compared to the Reds. When Mare discovers that she has a special ability of her own- she can control lightning- and in front of the royal court at that, the King quickly has her act the role of a lost Silver princess, in order to hide this seemingly impossible occurrence. From there Mare is transformed into Lady Mareena Titanos, but she refuses to forget the true colour of her blood, and the way these people have treated her own. Thriving to make a change, she serves as a double agent to the Scarlet Guard, a Red rebellion that is rapidly growing.

Reason #1 on why this novel should be read by you is this: it leaves you befuddled, and you don’t know who in the book to trust anymore, not even who in the book to root for.

It sounds crazy, believe me, but it has been a while since a story has made me feel this way- torn, astounded, stupefied. As an avid reader, it’s honestly an amazing feeling. You know you have been invested in the novel if it makes you feel such emotions, and I believe that if it has managed to do that to you- melt you into a puddle of confusion and uncertainty- then it most definitely is a story worth reading.

It was just ALL THE FEELS, evoking emotions out of me I didn’t expect would be evoked. As I read Red Queen, it wasn’t rare to find me ranting on about my troubles, especially when twists that were uncalled for were thrown at me, causing me to drown in my own hopes and doubts. There was a line in the novel that was used throughout, and I can say that it was very appropriate to use in this case- Anyone can betray anyone.

Reason #2: The Characters

Oh, the characters! So many of them with unique attributes, each masterfully crafted. Victoria Aveyard managed to create a variety of them within this novel, every single one bringing front a new heroine, hero… or villain. But there was never a character that was truly evil, or even completely good. I liked that each one seemed real, whether they were Silver or Red. I loved being introduced to new ones as the plot progressed, and as the lies and truths of them unraveled, I felt like I was getting to know their true personalities, no matter what I first believed.

Reason #3: The Dystopian, Fantastical, and Science Fictional Elements

Okay, so just based on that reason, you know it’s extremely impressive that author Victoria Aveyard even managed to combine all the aforementioned elements into one novel, and managed to pull it off.

Enough said.

Reason #4: The Writing

This book read like it was extremely well planned out. Of course with dystopian novels (and fantasy and sci-fi), there has to be some amount of outlining in order for the author to know what direction they want their story to go, especially one as complex as this one, with many plot twists that managed to twist my heart as well. I thought to myself a number of times as I was immersing myself in Mare’s world that this stuff just couldn’t be onthe-spot-thinkingThere was no way that Aveyard would be able to enter such lengthy paragraphs of description and back story all in the spur of the moment. This was all carefully constructed, and the most beautiful part was, it still managed to flow smoothly, despite it being obvious that the author must have spent countless hours thinking about the setting and plot beforehand. The writing itself was enticing and addictive to read. I loved it, because it seemed like the author knew was she was talking- ahem, writing- about.

Reason #5: The Plotline

I’ve already sort of touched up on this in the reason above, but it deserves to be a reason on its own. I mean, a world divided by blood? Genius! It’s something that hasn’t really been touched upon before, if only because (as far as I know) red is the common colour of blood that pulses through our veins. Books have covered barriers among people with different genders, races, and wealth (or factions, districts, castes), but never blood. And the fact that one of the Reds contains powers and abilities only Silvers should possess is extremely appealing. I needed to see how she would turn out- what would happen to her– as she is betrothed to a prince, while secretly plotting behind the King and his nobles in a Red rebellion.

So that’s all my reasons, even though there are several sub-reasons I could come up with if I wanted. Of course, that would make for an endless letter, so hopefully you have read enough about why I believe Red Queen should be a must read on your list and read it to see for yourself. You see, my secret plan does not differ much from Mare Barrow’s. I am hoping to have a Red rebellion of my own- to convert all you red-blooded beings out there into hard-core Red Queen fans!

I’d like to finish off this exceedingly long letter by apologizing to anyone I talked an ear off to expressing the love I had for Red Queen, and all the troubles I experienced while reading it (Even now, I don’t know who to ship! It’s quite perplexing). I figured that it’d be more fair to the people I did this to if I shared my thoughts in an open letter for all of you to read! So, in a way, it worked out for us all 😉

Signing off,

Zoie, a reader who is itching to get her hands on the second book, Glass Sword.

P.S. Victoria Aveyard, if you haven’t realized this by now, you’re a mastermind.

Mad Miss Mimic

In her debut novel, author Sarah Henstra introduces to us a tale of romance, mystery, and adventure.

imageFrom a young age, Leonora Somerville has suffered from a terrible stutter. But what is especially peculiar is that along with this speech impediment is the ability to mimic the voices of others flawlessly. Unable to control who or when she imitates, Leo is christened Mad Miss Mimic, and is underestimated as a seventeen- year-old heiress living in 1872, London.

As the city becomes gripped with opium fever, brother-in-law Dr. Dewhurst endeavours to create an injectable form of the drug, with the help of his business partner Mr. Thornfax. The attention of the latter is soon caught by Leo, but her heart struggles when Tom Rampling, the doctor’s working class boy, begins to frequent her thoughts and always seems to be near. But when an opium gang known as the Black Glove begins to terrorize London with explosions, Leo must find the relations between these attacks and Dr. Dewhurst’s cure, as well as the truth about her two love interests, in order to solve this captivating mystery.

Mad Miss Mimic was an incredibly spellbinding tale, beginning with the gripping introduction, all the way to the characters and the riveting plot. The fact that it was set in first person alone was enough to make it a thrilling page-turner, as readers thrive to learn more about Leonora’s story, when ironically her words fail to speak it out loud. And although this novel was set nearly two centuries ago, the message will forever remain the same: we all have problems and insecurities, but we’re always able to overcome them and settle comfortably into our own skin, as Leo struggles to accept but finally learns is possible.

The vocabulary exhibited was enriching yet refreshing, a welcomed change from today’s display of modernized literature. I felt as if I were in the very room, the descriptive settings seeming to just rise from the page, brought to life by the reader and the author. It was incredibly well written, each word being used historically accurate, graceful and enthralling. It had the writing of a classic but all the characteristics of a great YA.

In this new and engaging read, adults and teenagers alike will find themselves immersed with Leonora’s story, and what it means to find your own voice.

Check out the author interview I did with Sarah Henstra featured on TPL Teens! 

The Truth About Forever

If you read my last post, you’ll know how much Sarah Dessen means to me as a writer, and what a huge inspiration she is to me. Of all the books by her that I’ve read, The Truth About Forever is by far one of my favourites. There are so many things going on in this book, yet Dessen manages to tackle them all head-on, which is why I admire her so much. It paid off in the end, because the result is a wonderful bundle of 374 extremely well-written pages. And maybe I’m being a bit biased, because I enjoyed most of Sarah Dessen’s other novels, but there really is no denying the fact that this book was a prize.

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The Truth About Forever begins with our protagonist, Macy Queen. As we first open to the first chapter, we see that her boyfriend, Jason, is going to Brain Camp.

“It had another name, a real name, but that’s what everybody called it.”

Once Jason is gone, Macy is then faced with the prospect of a long and meaningless summer. Her plans: filling in for Jason at his job at the library information desk, as well as studying in the evening, prepping herself for her senior year. And while this doesn’t seem like such a wild and exhilarating two months, it’s the way Macy wants it to be. If she portrays her life as perfect, everyone will believe it is. And that was all she had ever wanted, especially since she watched her father pass away right before her own eyes.

So no one is more surprised than her when she takes up an offer to work at Wish Catering, which begins a new kind of journey for her. It is with her boss, Delia, and co-workers-turned-friends that she is finally able to understand the true definition of forever, and what it means to just throw your life away to be perfect, when it is truly impossible to achieve just that. Along the way we meet Kristy, someone who herself has experienced trauma and yet found a way to keep on going, and Wes, who accepts flaws and sees potential in everyone. Together they help Macy realize that with forever, you could never just expect it to be the same- it is constantly ever-changing. And with every moment that she lives, as well as everyone else around her, it is to accept that forever is happening, and sometimes you just need focus on the moment on hand, not revel in the past or the future. They also encourage her to finally seek comfort in her mother about her father’s death, where up until then it was a forbidden topic, never to be spoken of unless absolutely necessary.

I especially loved this Sarah Dessen novel because I feel a lot of us today focus on trying to create this image of ourselves we hope others would view us as, even if it is not completely true. The Truth About Forever sends the valuable message that we cannot dwell only in the instants we hope will last, but live in the ones right here, right now. If we keep re-living our past, how will we ever be ready to move forward? It made me remember how important it is to enjoy every moment, because it may be gone in a flash. But the best part about this world and this life is that we have more opportunities to set things right, or just make more memories. There is a reason tomorrow is not today- because it means a second chance if your current one doesn’t work out.

I can’t tell you how many times I found myself laughing at these characters and their words, or lack thereof in Monica’s case, Kristy’s sister, with her very few three default phrases. It was people like these who made up the story, because each was different and unique in their own way. Everyone had a story to tell, and together they made each other’s lives, enfolding into one huge world, and ultimately, one huge forever.

Sarah Dessen has always been a great supplier of amazing YA novels, and like all the others written by her, this one did not dissapoint!

Atlantia

I just finished Ally Condie’s latest book, Atlantia. I read her Matched trilogy and thought I’d give this a try. I didn’t know how much I’d love it.

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Altantia is a book about an underwater city, built so that society can survive. Every year they have a Divide, when the people Below choose whether they want to stay in Atlantia or go Above. For as long as Rio could remember, she’s dreamt of going Above, to feel the sun on her face and see the endless sky. But after her mother’s death, she promises her twin sister that she will stay with her Below. So when the time of the Divide comes, and Rio forever chooses to stay, her sister Bay abandons her and is whisked away to Above.

Confused and heartbroken, Rio is left Below with no parents or sister. But with the help of her aunt Maire and new friend True, she tries to figure out why her sister has gone and raises questions about her mother’s mysterious death. She learns the truth about her world and more about her true identity- and how using your voice really can make a difference in the outcome of things.

Atlantia was amazing and wonderful and I love, love, loved it! I thought the idea of an underwater world was genius, especially when the Above still existed. This book drew me in and I couldn’t put it down! Thank you Ally Condie for this story that I could have never imagined made possible! Atlantia is definitely a story that I’d recommend to readers that love dystopian plots. Only this story has many creative and original ideas and was crafted to perfection!

Anne of Green Gables

Sorry that I haven’t posted in a while! But I’m trying to keep on track with the quotes of the week and reviews now! 

This review is on Anne of Green Gables, a classic novel by Lucy Maud Montgomery. The book is about a young orphan named Anne, who is a charming and imaginative girl. She is brought-up by Marilla and Matthew  Cuthbert, and makes many friends such as Diana Barry, her fellow kindred spirit. Anne of Green Gables takes us from her life as a twelve year old all the way to her sixteenth year. I loved following Anne get into much mischief, for her imagination and curiosity always got her into trouble.

I dearly wish I could live in the time Anne was at Green Gables! I would absolutely adore being able to visit the beautiful Lake of Shining Waters, and watch the Snow Queen blossom every spring. Alas! I do not live in that time, but fortunately L.M Montgomery describes the  world Anne lives in so vividly that I can see it all.

It was so fun to watch Anne grow up, and I connected with her as if she were my very best friend. Like everyone in the town of Avonlea, I fell under the spell of dear Anne, who made everyone she crossed paths with’s day so much better! She made even the outspoken Mrs. Rachel Lynde grow fond of her, as well as the stubborn Ms. Barry.

I’m so glad I decided to finally pick up Anne of Green Gables, because it certainly is one of my favourite books now, possibly even the favourite! Thank you Ms. Montgomery for this fine, fine book! I enjoyed immensely and was sad for it to have ended. Luckily, there’s many more in the series!

-Zoie ❤