BOOK REVIEW: Magician’s Workshop by Christopher Hansen and J.R. Fehr!

The Magician's Workshop, Volume One

SUMMARY

Everyone in the islands of O’Ceea has a magical ability: whatever they imagine can be brought into existence. Whoever becomes a master over these powers is awarded the title of magician and given fame, power, riches, and glory. Journey with a group of kids as they strive to rise to the top and become members of the Magician’s Workshop.

Layauna desperately wants to create beautiful things with her magical powers, but all she can seem to do is make horrible, savage monsters. For years she has tried to hide her creations, but when her power is at last discovered by a great magician, she realizes that what she’s tried to hide might actually be of tremendous value.

Kai just wants to use his powers to have fun and play with his friends. Unfortunately, nearly everyone on his island sees him as a bad influence, so he’s forced to meet them in secret. When one of the creatures they create gets out of control and starts flinging fireballs at their town, Kai is tempted to believe that he is as nefarious as people say. However, his prospects change when two mysterious visitors arrive, praising his ability and making extraordinary promises about his future.

Follow the adventures of Kai, Layauna, and a boatload of other characters as they struggle to grow up well in this fantastical world.

 

Christopher HansenABOUT THE AUTHORS

Christopher Hansen

The first glimmering Chris Hansen had that there was far more to reality than he had ever imagined occurred six days after his ninth birthday. “Christopher!” cried a wise, old sage. “Life is full of deep magic. Miraculous things happen all around us.” Chris looked around him and asked, “Where? I don’t see anything spectacular.” The man held out a pair of glasses. “Here, put these on.” The boy placed them over his eyes and—“Whoa!” He was gobsmacked by the Wonder he saw. But it lasted only a moment. The man vanished in a flash of starlight and the lenses melted and trickled down his cheeks.  Then a message was sung into his ear, “Go and seek what you have seen.” Full of expectation and childlike optimism, Chris set out. To his great joy, this quest has led him to discover many more glimmerings of this miraculous Wonder, often in the most unexpected of places.

J.R. Fehr

J.R. Fehr

When J.R. Fehr popped out of the womb, he knew there was more to the world than the

four boring hospital walls that he was seeing. “Zango!” his newborn mind exclaimed as

he saw people appear and disappear through a mysterious portal in the wall. As a child he found life wowtazzling, but as he grew older the cold water of reality hit him, and the magic he once knew vanished. After spending some wet and shivering years lost in a joyless wasteland, he once again began to see magic in the world. He writes because the Wonder of true life is far grander than anything he ever thought possible.

Find them on Goodreads:

Christopher Hansen

J.R. Jehr 

ON TO THE REVIEW

A 5 Star

This book has sucked me in. By the way it moves from character to character, how every character has his or her own unique and personality, it’s a train ride all the way to the end. I talked Chris Hansen before reading this story and this is what he had to say that clarifies a lot of how this book goes down:

“I think it may be a bit like going to a party where there are a bunch of people you don’t know. As you walk in the door you’re a bit unsure about things. Is thee going to be anyone here that you’ll enjoy and become friends with? But then the person who invited you to the party sees you and waves. They come over to you and say, “Hey, I’m glad you came. Here, let me introduce you to a few people.”

Then they take you over to meet one of their friends. It’s a nice conversation and you start to get a sense of who this person is. But then your host says, “Come on, there’s someone else I want you to get to know,” and they lead you to another person. You talk with them for awhile, but then before you know it you’re whisked off to greet a third person. This happens again and again until you’ve been introduced to most of the people in the room. Some people love this sort of thing while others don’t.”

Hansen sets of a perfect example of this first volume. I discussed with Kester and Kelsey how it just seemed like a huge prologue to the next book. Of course there was a lot of action, a lot of dialogue, a lot of good stuff, but by the time I was looking forward to the Color Ceremony (a huge ceremony that has been anticipated by all the characters throughout the book), the book was over. Luckily, I have the chance to get the second book. If I didn’t, I’ll forever be left in the dark about who got a Color and who didn’t.

Overall the plot was very interesting. Hansen and Fehr did EXCELLENT at creating their own little world. There were cultures and different provinces. Orphans were called Blanks, last names were not really a thing. They went by clan name or status. “is-a Blank,” “is-a Leaf” “is-a Wave.” Stuff like that, and I found it super catchy. I thought that was so unique.

I am so excited to read the second book, which I believe is the only next book. I’ve been reassured that the second book does carry on the plot a lot farther than introductions. I honestly can’t wait.

If you haven’t gotten your hands on this book, and you love a good fantasy that’s silly and full of characters, pick this book up now! You won’t regret it. I had so much fun, and you will too!

COVER REVEAL: The Book Reapers by Mark C. King (with a giveaway!)

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Today I’m revealing the cover of Mark C. King’s YA historical fantasy, The Book Reapers, featuring artwork by Laura Clementi! Learn more about the book and check out the cover above!

Summary

Naomi Gladwyn is an awkward girl who is uncomfortable in crowds, has more self-doubt than confidence, and would much rather sit quietly reading than attend the most lavish of celebrations. After the deaths of her parents and her uncle’s mysterious disappearance along with the rest of the crew of the infamous ghost ship Mary Celeste, her prospects look grim. But just before her eighteenth birthday, when she’s to be sent to live out her days in a work house, she runs away and finds herself swept into the dark world of the Book Reapers, a secret society that knows there’s more to some books than meets the eye.

Naomi always thought reading was her safest refuge. But she’s about to learn that some books are very dangerous…

Set in Victorian England, THE BOOK REAPERS is a historical fantasy with a hint of mystery that’s perfect for fans of Gail Carriger and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle alike.

Title: The Book Reapers

Author: Mark C. King

Release Date: July 11, 2017

Publisher: Snowy Wings Publishing

GIVEAWAY TIME!

To celebrate the cover reveal, the author is giving away THREE paperback copies of the book on Goodreads! Add the book to your to-read list and sign up for the giveaway here!

 

*Apologize for the mishap from the first post

Cover Reveal! The Shape Shifter Chronicles by Lauren Jankowski

Hey, blogger people! Above you may see four beautifully made covers. That’s right! Not one… not two… FOUR cover reveals for the series reboot of The Shape Shifter Chronicles by Lauren Jankowski! Brand-new, revised editions of the four original books of this action-packed New Adult Urban Fantasy are releasing SIMULTANEOUSLY on October 31, 2017, from Snowy Wings Publishing.

Title: Sere From the Green: Book One of the Shape Shifter Chronicles
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: October 31, 2017
Title: Through Storm and Night: Book Two of the Shape Shifter Chronicles
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: October 31, 2017
Title: From the Ashes: Book Three of the Shape Shifter Chronicles
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: October 31, 2017
Title: Haunted by the Keres: Book Four of the Shape Shifter Chronicles
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: October 31, 2017

Summary!

shape shifter

In Lauren Jankowski’s Shape Shifter Chronicles, recent college grad Isis
lives a normal life in a normal world, working as a photojournalist in a small
city where practically nothing happens. One night, she photographs the
scene of a gruesome murder. A woman is found dead in an abandoned
factory. On the wall there is a strange symbol painted in blood. Isis
photographs the scene. The next day, all evidence of the crime has vanished
from her pictures and no one seems to have heard of any murd
er taking
place.
As Isis proceeds to investigate, she’s drawn into the world of shape shifters
and guardians. Secrets and mysteries are commonplace in this strange
world. And as Isis finds answers about her own mysterious past, she also
finds more questions. What is happening to the people that vanish without a
trace? Who is watching her from the shadows? And what exactly is the key
that everyone seems willing to kill for?

COVER REVEAL: Starswept by Mary Fan!

It’s cover reveal day for Starswept by Mary Fan! This sweeping YA sci-fi romance will be released on August 29 by Snowy Wings Publishing. The cover features photography by Roberto Falck, with graphic design by Streetlight Graphics.

Title: Starswept

Author: Mary Fan

Release Date: August 29, 2017

Publisher: Snowy Wings Publishing

Some melodies reach across the stars. 

In 2157, the Adryil–an advanced race of telepathic humanoids–contact Earth. A century later, 15-year-old violist Iris Lei considers herself lucky to attend Papilio, a prestigious performing arts school powered by their technology. Born penniless, Iris’s one shot at a better life is to attract an Adryil patron. But only the best get hired, and competition is fierce.

A sudden encounter with an Adryil boy upends her world. Iris longs to learn about him and his faraway realm, but after the authorities arrest him for trespassing, the only evidence she has of his existence is the mysterious alien device he slipped to her.

When she starts hearing his voice in her head, she wonders if her world of backstabbing artists and pressure for perfection is driving her insane. Then, she discovers that her visions of him are real–by way of telepathy–and soon finds herself lost in the kind of impossible love she depicts in her music.

But even as their bond deepens, Iris realizes he is hiding something from her–and it’s dangerous. Her quest for answers leads her past her sheltered world to a strange planet light years away, where she uncovers secrets about Earth’s alien allies that shatter everything she knows.

Preorder the hardback on Amazon

Preorder the e-book on Amazon (Kindle)Barnes & Noble (Nook)Kobo, or iBooks

Add it on Goodreads

About the author!

Mary Fan is a hopeless dreamer, whose mind insists on spinning tales of “what if.” As a music major in college, she told those stories through compositions. Now, she tells them through books. She is the author of the Jane Colt space opera trilogy, the Firedragon YA dystopia/fantasy novellas, and the Fated Stars YA high fantasy novellas. She’s also the co-editor of the Brave New Girls YA sci-fi anthologies, which are dedicated to encouraging girls to enter STEM careers and raising money for the Society of Women Engineers scholarship fund.

Find her online at www.MaryFan.com

Twitter: @astralcolt

Instagram: @astralcolt

 


Note from Cayli:

I actually really enjoyed reading about this. I don’t know about you, but it gave me a sort of “Star-Crossed” vibe, if any of you have watched that. Go check her out! Her cover is so beautiful, I cannot stop staring it.

Note from Kester:

I’m just about to start an ARC this beauty, and I’m super looking forward to it! 

Summer Vacation! Universal Studios’s Diagon Alley and More!

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I’m back! And boy, do I have sleep to catch up too. But no biggie. I’m super excited to reveal some of the photos I took in Orlando’s Universal Studios!

Every moment in Florida had its ups and downs, but overall, it was a pleasant experience. The one thing I did not enjoy was the traveling in between. It took like an hour to get to Walmart from our home…. crazy! And here Walmart is like five minutes away.House

But it was awesome, I have to say that. I loved seeing all the cool stores and people as we passed them on the road. Oh, and the houses! Awww just the houses themselves made me want to move here; they were so magnificent and gorgeous!

Before we even got to Universal Studios, we thought we would have fun around the town we were staying at. We hoped in the car and drove a million miles–it seemed like–to different stores to pick up bathing suits and sunscreen… and books! I felt like I had to beg them to let me just walk into Books-A-Million. I succeeded, coming back out with two new books to add to my collection plus a little button that said “You Donated to the Military.”img_0592.jpg

I just want to point out this squirrel. I mean, look at him. In the words of Danny Tanner… “Isn’t that just the cutest thing you’ve ever seen?” The little guy was laying there, staring at us as he bathed in the sun. Didn’t last long… some of my group wanted to see just how friendly the squirrel was.

Siesta

We made it to a beach! Siesta Beach is absolutely beautiful, and I completely recommend it. The downsides of beaches, though, is that there is sand EVVVEERRRYYWWHHHHEERREE. I’m still finding it in my clothes. We set up our station and waded into the water the first chance we got. It was amazing. Did I ever mention that I haven’t been to a beach in a forever?

We (and as in we I mean me ) sat down and tried to overcome the waves. But in the end, I think they won from the amount of sand in my bathing suit. Saying things like, “I am Percy Jackson! You will bow down to me. Moana says stay away- *engulfed in water*”

Girl on the TrainAnd of course I had to take some photos for my new Bookstagram!

If you have Instagram, follow me @LILBooKlovers! I’m really new, and I feel like I can use a lot of the time I’m busy doing things to post some pictures here and there to stay connected to the world of books!

 

UNIVERSAL STUDIOS!Captain America

 

And finally, we made it to Universal Studios. Amazing that it was! We first headed to Diagon Alley, skipping over everything else just because we needed to see Diagon Alley first. I just wanted to point out that this picture of Captain America and I (excuse me face) was taken the next day when we had explored every crevice and corner of Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade. Our discussion was over what House Captain America would be in, and what do you guys think?

 

PenguinHere are just a series of pictures taken during our Harry Potter time. You’ll see Hogwarts and the Hogwarts Express. Some of the great things not pictures, however, we the amazing rides and the show inside Ollivander’s Wand Shop! A little girl was celebrating her birthday on that particular day, so they gifted her with a wand that was presented in the best of ways. They had her cast spells with it all over the room,  trading wans in when they didn’t do what they were supposed to do. And everyone knew she was a wizard just by the way she fluently pronounced her spells. In some ways, she reminded me a lot of Hermione.Hogwarts

If you are ever able to go to Universal Studios, I HIGHLY recommend the Harry Potter rides of all things. I loved one ride where you flew around on your broomstick, following Harry all over Hogwarts as Dementors scared you here and there…. and I got pretty scared. The dementors themselves were not screenplayed like the flying was. Your seat would move and the next thing you knew you were face to face with one of them. They were worse than the spiders that followed.

Diagon AlleyBut yeah, that’s my post on my week. I feel pretty satisfied with all I’ve seen, learned a lot (spoiler wise) on what happens in Harry Potter, but hey, it’s taken my this long to make them my priority so I deserve it. I feel like I could possibly enjoy it ten times more now that I actually feel like I’ve done the same things they’ve done ? I don’t know, it felt really cool to walk into the different shops and get my very own wand and a chocolate frog (I got Helga by the way).

I promised pictures and so here I am! Please don’t forget to follow Lilbooklovers on Instagram along with Twitter and Facebook! We would dearly appreciate your awesome support. 

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Review: Pigeon Blood Red by Ed Duncan! With an EXCERPT from the story!

Disclaimer: I have been given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Eek! Another review! I’m so excited.

Duncan’s website for more information: https://eduncan.net/

“It’s always been said that you should write what you know. I am a lawyer – as is a pivotal character in the novel who is being pursued by a hit man – and I’m excited to be able to use my legal training creatively as well as professionally.” – Ed Duncan

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SYNOPSIS:

For underworld enforcer Richard “Rico” Sanders, it seemed like an ordinary job. Retrieve his gangster boss’s priceless pigeon-blood red ruby necklace and teach the double-dealing cheat who stole it a lesson. A job like a hundred before it. But the chase quickly goes sideways and takes Rico from the mean streets of Chicago to sunny Honolulu, where the hardened hit man finds himself in uncharted territory when a couple of innocent bystanders are accidentally embroiled in the crime.

As Rico pursues his new targets, the hunter and his prey develop an unlikely respect for one another and Rico is faced with a momentous decision: follow his orders to kill the couple whose courage and character have won his admiration, or refuse and endanger the life of the woman he loves?

“In a novel with as much action as love, it is sure to be a story that will fulfill the desires of readers of all ages, genders, and areas of interest.”4 Stars, Red City Review

“Pigeon Blood Red at 238 pages, is not particularly long as books go, but Duncan packs a lot of story into those pages. Readers in search of a tight, well written, good guy versus bad guy, crime/action/adventure will find Pigeon Blood Red by Ed E. Duncan, an engrossing story that will keep them involved to the end. And like me, they will find themselves eagerly awaiting the next installment.”  Mike Siedschlag

“This charming, classically-told crime thriller is a must for noir fans… refreshingly old-school pulp, inhabited by a familiar cast of gamblers, con men and hustlers found in Dennis Lehane and Elmore Leonard novels.”5 Stars, Best Thrillers

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ed is a graduate of Oberlin College and Northwestern University Law School. He was a partner at a national law firm in Cleveland, Ohio for many years. He is the original author of a highly regarded legal treatise entitled “Ohio Insurance Coverage,” for which he provided annual editions from 2008 through 2012.

Ed currently lives outside of Cleveland, OH. He is at work on the second installment in the Pigeon-Blood Red trilogy.

MY RATING…

A 4 Star

Coming in an easy read for anyone, Duncan’s story connects to the mysterious world of people who get themselves in tough situations, forced to do unthinkable measures. One person’s mistakes affect all those around him or her, even his/her very own life.

We meet Robert, who is the person who is responsible for the mess that the other character get into. He’s not a very kind man… perhaps more of a cheater and liar and a thief. As you can see, I did not like his character very much on the “Will I Befriend Him?” scale. Even so, Robert is the reason there is even a story. As his gambling gets worse and he ends up having to steal a precious jewel, he ends up leaving his ex-wife and wife’s “friend” to settle with the aftermath.

This story brings in a lot of characters with interesting backstories. So many of them are so diverse as in where they grew up, their personalities, and so forth. You don’t just see Rico (as said in the summary), but you also see in the eyes of many other characters.

It was really fascinating to find that this book contains a lot of character flaws. To be realistic, not all characters needs to be absolutely incredible and morally right. Duncan’s characters all have their own flaws. Rico, Robert, Evelyn… In this way, while I loved a lot of characters, I also saw them as actual people, realistic people.

I’ll be honest: I have seen a plot similar to this one in other cases. I did-however- appreciate everything else that came with this novel. The tensity, the relationships, the settings… There was a lot of moving around, a lot of point of views switching in chapters. There were some characters I did not care about all that much about as far as their back-story goes; but I did love reading about the actual main characters.

I think Paul would have been my favorite overall. His main concern was protecting Evelyn, and for that I thought that was so adorable. I loved Rico too, mostly because his character was so quiet outwardly, but when looking into his thoughts, you understood his motives and his emotions. Their characters really stood out to me, which is weird because they were almost complete opposites. Paul, the caring and loving guy who is a lawyer and a proper man… then you have Rico who is a hit man, paid to take people out and struggles a lot at showing how much he cares.

Romance? Eh, not that much, but then again this is only the first book.

Comedy? Little bit, most of it was just for smiles.

Getting into? A little confusing at first, but once it gradually sped up I understood what everything was.

Language? Very easy.

Excerpt!

If you’re interested in giving Pigeon Blood-Red a chance, take a look at this excerpt! 🙂

Pigeon Blood-Red Excerpt

Note: You do have to download this link. I apologize, but it was the only way I could get it posted. If it doesn’t work, comment and tell me so I can attempt to fix it or get a different version to post.  

Catch the Spark Within! Chapters 29 and 30 by Alex Abaz (Review!)

So happy to finally be able to post again. Over the past two weeks, I have been devoting my time on reading mostly. I am actually hooked on Pigeon Blood Red by Ed Duncan. And of course! The Trials of Apollo book two: The Dark Prophecy came out recently and I have been reading that also. I can’t wait to have Duncan’s review ready for you all to see 🙂


Click HERE to read Kester’s recent review on Caraval by Stephanie Garber.(I cannot wait to be able to read this book >.<)


Chapter 29: Selfishness and self-care are altogether different.

This one popped up as I was watching this anime Silver Spoon. I saw it on Netflix, and I decided I would give it a try. This chapter came into play as I was watching it, because the main character Hachi (I haven’t finished it yet, so I’m scared to look up his name to see how it is spelled… lol) is very much what Abaz describes in her chapter.

Constantly, Hachi is battling with himself. He thinks that he has to make everyone happy; he will do whatever he can to make others cheer up, even sacrifice his health. There was a time when he was so busy trying to get a million things done for a school festival, he fainted with fatigue as he went to go give his dog a walk. He woke up in the hospital, so scared that his friends were mad at him for leaving them to take care of the stuff he should have been there to do. He got back to school after the festival was over, and told his friends he didn’t mean to leave them, and that he didn’t deserve to go to the afterparty with them. His friends told him that he was an idiot for thinking he was going to skip the after party. They had used his very detailed notes to finish the festival which went without a hitch.

And this is what this chapter is talking about. It’s good to be selfless. It’s highly encouraged. But when is it too much? What if one day you work yourself so much you hurt yourself? Everyone needs time to care for themselves. No matter who you are.

“I have to continuously reminds myself that making me a priority is not the same thing as being selfish.”

I struggle with thinking that caring for myself is equal to being selfish. Mostly because I love helping people. I want everyone to understand that I love them, and that I’m here to help with anything they need. But I have had times when I had to say no because I just couldn’t do it. Next thing you know they quit asking me for help altogether. I don’t want people to doubt my will to help. I have been getting better at saying no lately, because I constantly tell myself I have to take care of myself.

And even on this blog, I do this. I talked with a couple friends about how I have a load of books to review. I was stressing over them. I couldn’t focus on a lot else other than getting these books read. I almost overpowered myself. I could have said no, but I didn’t. I still would have read them all, because I love to help authors with reviews and all of that, but I should have made it a note that I could not read five books at the same time. Instead, I should have said I would not get them done by this specific time more than likely. I learned my lesson.

“Nurturing ourselves makes life better… [I]t’s not either them or us; it’s them and us.”

Don’t be in a relationship where you’re constantly caring for one someone and you’re not getting anything in return. I talked with one of my friends. He told me he was always giving his friend money for gas and for other things he want, but he has not paid him back yet. That stuff makes me furious, because I have been working on myself to get out of the habit of giving to people who use me. I have to take care of myself, too, and I can’t let people run over me in that way. Make your friendship, boyfriend/girlfriend relationship and “them and us,” not a “them or us.”

Take care of yourself, take care of others. Love on them, but also love on yourself.


Chapter 30: “Beluga is my Beethoven,” said the 90-year old Betty White to Anderson Cooper.

In this chapter, Abaz told the story about how she was stuck in a bad storm with her family. Popped in a Beethoven CD and everyone fell asleep through the storm.

And I related this to my faith, honestly. When things get horrible, and I have no idea what to do, I immediately turn to God. I ask him for help. I ask him to make the pain go away. I want to fall asleep and wake up to see everything fine again.

The problems don’t go away. They don’t just disappear into thin air, and I’m left all happy again, but I do feel a better joy in what I’m going through. Through putting my faith in the Lord, and just letting him guide me through, it makes me stronger. I feel myself growing a better confidence that I can get through it. I am not alone; God won’t just walk away.

So yeah, I guess God is my Beethoven. I encourage others to take him as your Beethoven as well. He’s gotten me through times in my life just by being there. He made the problems seem not so bad. Praise be to Him and His glory.

Who is your Beethoven as of right now? Who gets you through the storms, and distracts you from the scary noises? Bestfriend? Parents? Siblings? Actors? Singers?

“When we woke up, the storm had cleared and daylight had returned as if uninterrupted.”

 

 

Book Review: Sanctum by Madeleine Roux!

Wow. Just yesterday, I was saying how I was in the middle of this book (only on page 100 out of 340) and that it may take me a little bit longer to get it finished… boy, was I wrong.

I read until twelve at night, headphones in playing some creepy music to help the mood, so determined to find out that happens next.

Unlike my past review, this review contains NO SPOILERS. That’s right. No rant going on here, because I’m kind of satisfied.

Now, this book is actually the sequel to Roux’s Asylum, but honestly, these two books could be book by themselves. Sure, you would probably need to add in some information into Sanctum, change from history blah, blah, blah, but for the most part the plot is very unique from the first book.

Summary for Asylum

For sixteen-year-old Dan Crawford, New Hampshire College Prep is more than a summer program—it’s a lifeline. An outcast at his high school, Dan is excited to finally make some friends in his last summer before college. But when he arrives at the program, Dan learns that his dorm for the summer used to be a sanatorium, more commonly known as an asylum. And not just any asylum—a last resort for the criminally insane.

As Dan and his new friends, Abby and Jordan, explore the hidden recesses of their creepy summer home, they soon discover it’s no coincidence that the three of them ended up here. Because the asylum holds the key to a terrifying past. And there are some secrets that refuse to stay buried.

Featuring found photos of unsettling history and real abandoned asylums and filled with chilling mystery and page-turning suspense, Madeleine Roux’s teen debut, Asylum, is a horror story that treads the line between genius and insanity.

Summary for Sanctum

Dan, Abby, and Jordan remain traumatized by the summer they shared in the Brookline asylum. Much as they’d love to move on, someone is determined to keep the terror alive, sending the teens photos of an old-timey carnival, with no note and no name. Finally, Dan receives a list of coordinates pointing to abandoned houses in the town near Brookline, and he is convinced that the only way to end this nightmare once and for all is to return to New Hampshire College and follow the trail.

But when Dan and his friends arrive under the guise of a prospective students’ weekend, they discover that the carnival from their photos isn’t just real, it’s here on campus–it has returned for the first time in many years. And as they sneak away from their undergrad hosts to visit the houses on their list, they find secrets far darker than anything they’d imagined.

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Would this be the book for you?

Romance? Some but not very much.

Humor? I dare say at the worst times possible… aka Jordan.

Scary? I’ll talk about this further, but it was not very creepy to me at first… until I got to the end.

Vocabulary? It talks a bit about medical terms that I did not understand at first, especially in the first book. But they are easily looked up and sometimes the characters will explain what something is. Other than that, very easy read.

How much will it pull you in? I personally did not get right into it until about the middle of the book, when it gets more in depth with the mysteries of Brookline.

My overall rating…

A 4 Star

If you’re a mystery fan and just looking for something small and easy, this book would be for you. As for me, I enjoyed it because of the creepy setting it gave off and the diverse characters; and I also wanted to learn more about Brookline Asylum.

I want to make a connection to this book and Miss Peregrine’s. If you really think about it, they both don’t have that much in common, but they do both create this ominous tone through their covers and pictures. Both use actual photos to create a story by putting the photos together. By doing so, it makes the whole thing seem so much more real. I love that about a story. I love a good picture book.

So in this story, we meet Dan, Abby, and Jordan. And when I said there is not much romance, it’s more like it’s not the main point the author is trying to get at. It’s obvious that there is something going on between two of the three main characters and it makes you kind of happy when they peck each other on the cheeks and whatnot, but in the end, it’s the friendship the trio have together that really matters in this book. They all stick together, because they know if they walk away on their own… bad things will happen.

What I think is most important about this book is its mood and tone. At first, I honestly did not feel frightened or practically anything… at first. Mostly it was just some small stuff. Oh, okay. You’re in a creepy, haunted house… that’s cool. Don’t die, Dan. That’d suck. But then I was reading yesterday and got this idea to put in my headphones at ten at night and play some creepy random music from Spotify.

Booooooooooyyyyyy, I chose the best time to play the music because that is when things started to go down. One moment we’re all having a good time and the next thing you know there someone is getting their eye stabbed out, someone else is dead, and we’re all sitting together trying to figure out how not to lose our minds. Pretty awesome stuff.

And that is when I started loving on the book. Doors were opened, problems were solved.  The conclusion did not leave off on a happy note, as I will probably figure out why in the next book Catacombs. 

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My predictions? No idea. I hardly understood what “Sanctum” meant when diving into this book. The title itself if a mystery.

The only big issues I had with this book were probably the random senses of humor, (even though it does lighten the mood a little bit but kind of needs to work on when the mood should be lightened and when it shouldn’t) and the reactions of the main characters. Some times I felt like their reactions to certain situation were a little off. They seemed chill at the very beginning. Oh, you see a little ghost boy? Just eat your cereal, Dan. We don’t have time for this. It did get better towards the end, but I mean if you see someone you were just talking to dead on the ground and don’t flip out, you probably do need to see someone about that.

If you have not read either of these books and you love a good mystery, mark this on Goodreads as a To-Read and play some creepy music in the middle of the night. I sure enjoyed it.

Catch the Sparks Within! Chapters 27 and 28 by Alex Abaz

Hey, guys! We’re close to finally finishing this amazing book. It has definitely been a journey.

Click the name of the title to see Kester’s recent review on Be Light Like a Bird by Monika Schroder

Click the name of the title to see Kelsey’s recent review Bentwhistle the Dragon in a Threat from the Past by Paul Cude!

Click the name of the title to see Cayli’s recent review The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo!

Also, if you happen to be new to Abaz’s reviews by me click HERE to see the very first post and HERE to see Chapters 25 and 26 reviews! 

As I was linking the first ever review of this amazing book, I just looked at the editting and also looked back to where I was in that time. In retrospect, it was not that long ago, but I guess that’s the magic of time. I feel like I have learned a lot more about WordPress and about this blog as a whole. This is one of the best things I could ever do. I cannot wait to grow even more, and one day be able to moderate giveaways and interviews. I’m not there yet, but I’m willing to take it one step at a time. 🙂 I also noticed around the time I agreed to do these reviews, I also agreed to start a bible study group with three other great women. I feel myself growing a lot with Alex Abaz’s chapters and with the friendship I have in my bible study group.


Disclaimer: I have received this book in exchange for an honest review.

Chapter 27: Being single and independent is hard to do.

This chapter is about the importance of a romantically involved partner. Alex Abaz includes in the very beginning that people are shunned from society when someone chooses to not marry.

And this is honestly true when looking around my high school. People constantly date just because they are too embarrassed to be seen without someone. It’s getting to a point where there is no longer a commitment… They just love the fact that they are with someone. They are in love with the thought of them. I’m sure we have all read a book about this type of central idea. It stands true.

As for me? I have never dated anyone. I have never kissed anyone. And like Abaz (thought I should not at my age), I sometimes worry I will never find someone and everyone else around me will pass that threshold while I am still on the other side.

But even though it’s kind of sad, I don’t let it put me down, you know what I mean? I am not desperate. Yes, I have had boys who have come to me telling me I’m beautiful, telling me they like me. And I turn them down. And why do I do that? Because I have standards. This is not like applying for my first job. It’s deciding who will take care of me for the rest of my life. And yeah, maybe one day I will meet someone who meets my standards, and it may not work out, but at least we tried, right? Date to marry. Not to break up. That’s my number one standard. 

While we want to believe that love and passion are the emotions that bring two people together naturally, this is only true some of the time. 

Have you had a friend who thought they were completely in love with their new boyfriend they have had for a week? Who was so in love they ditch their plans with you to go hang out with them, or constantly talked about them? They post on Instagram of them kissing saying, “Love you, bae! Happy two week anniversary!” As I type this, two people are on my mind and I can’t help but smile. Kelsey knows who I am talking about.

But it is so hilarious, because they are guided strictly on love and passion. They have no standards. They believe love is all they need. Back to books and movies, we have all read or watched that movie where the main character and her/his lover are constantly arguing, constantly having different views, constantly mad at each other. Maybe I should throw Mal and Alina in as an example, but I rather not… Anyways, they go throughout the entire series, thinking love with always keep them together: Sorry to break it to you, but this is a load of toad crap. You need guidance, you need trust, you need to have a bond that doesn’t just draw you in romantically, but draws you into a healthy relationship where you two pick each other up in the down times, and you two don’t go to sleep until the argument is resolved. Going to sleep angry is the worse way to go to bed. There has to be committment. 

Now as the chapter goes on, Abaz mentions the role of marriage, and I agree when she says that marriage is not an obsession for me. Like her, I dream now of falling in love with someone and having that commitment, but the dream of growing up, going to college, and making a strong living for myself is so, so much bigger. I won’t work to please someone. When they want to step in and be like, “Oh, cool, you read books and are socially awkward? I like it!” I will happily accept it, but I will not stop and run away from my ultimate goal just to catch them.

Chapter 28: Loss in inevitable.

This chapter is about loss and the grief that comes with it.

I’m going to be completely honest: I have never had someone super important to me pass away. Sure, I’ve gone to funerals and I’ve known some of the people whom I went to see, but I never really had a high personal connection with any of them.

Which frightens me sort of. One day someone important to me will die, and it will be the first time that has ever happened me. How will I handle it? That’s a big fear of mine. I’m afraid of grieving. I see the way it hurts other people, and in truth, no one can make them stop grieving. I have heard from so many people that the pain in a loss never goes away, but it becomes manageable.

“One must feel and process the pain, the anger, and the grief until the hurt gradually subsides.”

Note that Abaz never said “until the hurt gradually goes away.” It just becomes less intense. 

But I do cry for others. Not too long ago, an unexpected death happened in my friend’s family and I went to pay my respects. She was crying when I went up to hug her and it took all of me not to cry with her. I didn’t even know the name of her grandfather, yet I understood how much he meant to her.

And I do believe in an afterlife. I believe in Heaven. I believe when I die, I will be granted the glorious gift to see Jesus, and to live my eternal life with Him. I am so scared at the thought of death. I will lay awake at night sometimes thinking about how one day I won’t be here and my name will wear through the fabrics of time until it no longer exists. That’s a scary thought. (CUE EXISTENTIAL CRISIS…) But I always calm down knowing when I die, I won’t be scared of anything anymore. And I know those around me: my brother, my mom, my dad, my grandmother, they won’t be afraid anymore either. That’s the most comforting thought.

 


So happy to have another review in!

I am currently reading five other books to review! Wish my luck, and look out for my coming up reviews. My next review on one of these books will be Sanctum by Madeleine Roux!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review: The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo (more like emotionally unstable rant)

series

I think I’ve died multiple times while reading this series.

Grishapicture

Before I get to the dying part, let me fill you in on the summary for the first book so you understand somewhat what it is about. If you have read these series (… help me), I’m so glad, because I really need to let all the rage and pain out.

 

 

 

 

Book One: Shadow and Bone

shadowandbone

Alina Starkov doesn’t expect much from life. Orphaned by the Border Wars, she is sure of only one thing: her best friend, Mal–and her inconvenient crush on him. Until the day their army regiment enters the Fold, a swath of unnatural darkness crawling with monsters. When their convoy is attacked and Mal is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power not even she knew existed.

Ripped from everything she knows, Alina is taken to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling. With Alina’s extraordinary power in his arsenal, he believes they can finally destroy the Fold. Now Alina must find a way to master her untamed gift and somehow fit into her new life without Mal by her side. But nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. As the threat to the kingdom mounts and her dangerous attraction to the Darkling grows, Alina will uncover a secret that could tear her heart–and her country–in two.

So yeah… 

Putting to use our new rating scale! I give this series a…

A 5 Star

I absolutely loved this series. I am going to go onto my bio shortly to change everything. It is definitely a top three types of series.

If you’re confused about the genre, it’s a fantasy-adventure. It’s full of action and romance. Everything I ever want in a fantasy series.

Bardugo does amazingly with every single character within the series. You fall in love with the darkest of characters. You will feel all sorts of emotions and FEELS. Everyone is displayed in a beautiful manner.

The dialogue can be absolutely hilarious when it comes time, but will have you in tears with the beautiful way they talk. They speak more poetic, full of metaphors and lovely arrangement of their words.

And the plot itself is so enhancing. It pulled me in on the first book, carried me through in the second, and threw me out the window in the third. U just got done with it not even two hour ago. I can already tell this is a series that I will never get over. I will always want more of it.

And it killed me. It downright killed me. I’m not alive anymore. I am a ghost. I can’t eVEN ANYMORE. This is a series that will betray you, will murder you, and will tear your heart into pieces. Just saying. :-l

I really encourage ANY fantasy fan to check this out. I recommend it 10/10.

Now I will go through each of the books, explaining my thoughts on each. Keep in mind, Shadow and Bone and Siege and Storm I have read a long time ago, so my memory may be a little off–But I definitely know the large and most meaningful parts to me.

After my main point about each of them for those who have not read them, I will get into the spoilers.

Shadow and Bone:

Why you should read it: It is powerful and will pull at your heart. It will make you feel the same way the main character Alina feels, because the author does a real good job at describing everything that she is and what she goes through.

The beginning may be a little hard to get through, but believe me, it gets better real quick. So hang in there, and don’t be discouraged.


Spoiler time…

I felt so much betrayal. I never felt so hurt in my lifetime. Even when I was reading The Mortal Instruments and found out Sebastian was who he was. Not going into detail with that one, but…

THE DARKLING.

When we are first introduced to the Darkling, he was a charming fellow. He knew what to say, when to say it, and blew my mind away. And you must be wondering…

“Cayli, why did you trust someone with the ‘Darkling’?”

Well, I’ll answer that: No clue. Maybe I thought it was just a name. Like the Darkling drew Alina in with his charming smile and handsome face, he pulled my heart with his words. I trusted him, even when he used the Cut–in which I should have saw as a red flag. I was blind, just like Alina was. Then when Baghra said that he was an evil person… Like Alina, I could not believe it. I kept thinking, “No. She’s wrong. She must have messed up with something. She’s lying.” But no. Baghra was right.

My heart split in two.

I see a lot of Mal, but at the same time I don’t. He was the thought in the back of Alina’s head. He was the figure that Alina’s love and best friend. When seeing him at the end of the book, I fell in love with him immediately. I knew that whatever was about to happen, he was going cause some trouble, because he’s a “good soldier.” (lol… a late reference, but it fits him.) It hurt me to see him hurt. It hurt me to see Alina hurt.

I hurt a lot.

And it also delivered cold themes, I thought. Like at the end when Alina didn’t want to kill the stag, but then the Darkling ended up killing it. ALina saw its beauty, but in the second book (which I will get to) everything changes as the hunger and power grow.

Siege and Storm:

Now, when it comes to second books in a trilogy, it seems more like a bridge from first to second. It does not hold as much power or strength, but at the same time, we could not be without it.

Yes, this second book was kind of dull compared to the other two, but nonetheless, I fell in love with it. It focuses on the characters individually. You meet even more characters, and fall in love with them. And if you don’t fall in love with one specific character… oh, my heart hurts.


Spoiler time… 

NIKOLAI. NIKOLAI. NIKOLAI. *Raises poms poms in the air*

When we enter this book, we find ourselves quickly on this ship. The Darkling has Alina and Mal captured. The Darkling is making Mal track the second amplifier.

And that’s when we meet Tamar, Tolya, and Sturmhond.

I did not know at first how to approach these characters. They seemed okay enough, but I didn’t really notice them until Sturmhond spoke to Alina for the first time. I liked him in a way that made me suspicious — I had been betrayed once… not ready to do it again. I didn’t know who Sturmhond was, or what his goals were, so I wasn’t ready to give in just yet.

But then there’s another epic battle ans Sturmhond escapes with the Sun Summoner and Mal along with his crew. And then I fell in love with him.

I did not know what I was in for.

When Sturmhond revealed himself to be the Prince of Ravka, I think I screamed in joy. He was hot, he was lively, he was a prince. What else could I possibly want now?

Of course, I never really shipped Alina and Nikolai. They seemed more like the close-friend type. Whenever Nikolai started confessing how he felt, it felt kind of awkward, because I knew it would never happen, yet at the same time I was curious. How far would this go?

I loved how clever he was, how he knew how to say the right thing. He is my absolute favorite character of all time. When he leaves at the end of the book, I got so sad, not because I knew he could die, but because I wouldn’t get to see him for awhile.

And Alina really scared me in this book. I was scared she would actually go off the deep end, take a path that wasn’t what she wanted. Over and over, she would talk about the Firebird and how she wanted it, and Mal was pretty aware of this. He told her she was becoming obsessed.

I became more interested in Morozova and his story. Who was he? What did he accomplish? What did he leave behind?

Again, with Mal, I really felt angry at him throughout this story. He was being a big butthole. “I can’t be Alina.” CRY ME RIVER, MAL .YOU CAN BE WITH HER.

And that time he left his post, and Alina nearly died… I’m laughing now as I think about it, but I was so angry that I had to put the book down. (I am literally uncontrollably laughing right now… hold on.)

Okay, I’m back. But yeah, when he did that, I was so angry at him. I felt everyone’s pain in that one. Mal, why my man. Get your life togettthhherrr.

Ruin and Rising:

So in this book, it is the final part of Alina’s journey. It is filled with emotion and action. It was definitely one of my favorite. It will leave you smiling and hurting and dwelling over everything that just happened.

Bardugo is not kind when it comes to this story (well, maybe in the end). I was constantly worrying about the characters. One moment everything would be fine, and the next the person we were just talking is dead.

So yeah! Give it a read! 😀


Spoiler time… 

Pain.

Sorrow.

Why me?

We don’t really meet any new characters, but for the little cute boy Misha, which I really wish I got to know more. He was adorable.

We are in this underground place. The Apparat is getting on my last nerve, then Mal steps in and saves the day. Because Mal is Mal. And Mal is awesome.

I was so glad to get out of there and get to the surface. It was wonderful to venture out and explore what had become of Ravka since the Darkling took over.

AND THEN NIKOLAI COMES 😀

Okay, so I remember this part a lot, because I was so happy. If I wasn’t in class at the time, I would have been dancing around and singing.

So like the militia are surrounding our group. Looks bleak right? Yeah, it does.

And I don’t really notice it when a guy in the back goes, “How about we give them to Nikolai?”

I just shrug and go, “I mean, sure, that’d be great. But that would never happen.”

Then he starts talking… and talking… and talking.

And the minute he said, “Not bad looking? He’s [outstandingly] handsome.”

Then I smiled. Oh, my goodness. NIKOLAI IS BACK IN BUSINESS. And making quite the entrance. I expected nothing less from him.

It gets deeper and deeper into the story. The mood changes. It gets darker and darker. There doesn’t seem to be a clear way out. I’m freaking out, because I don’t want anyone to die…

And everyone goes downhill the minute Nikolai is picked up by the… *pauses as I look for the word* nichevo’ya (don’t ever ask me how to say that). I’m flipping out. Then Sergei is dead. Nikolai is transformed into some kind of dark monster and flies off. Like I’m dying over here. ALINA DO SOMETHING. MAL DO SOMETHIN-Baghra! She’ll help us!

But then Baghra dies. Thanks for that.

Then they go searching for the firebird. They realize Mal is the last amplifier. Then of course he is willing to die. When he is ever on my side? Never, because he’s a pain in the butt.

And the last battle scene… when they march into the Fold and take down the Darkling. Then Alina killed Mal for the power. I was internally screaming. But everything was okay, because I realized he can just be resurrected or something like that.

And this was when I really felt bad for the Darkling. We finally realize that he did love Ravka. He did want to rule it… he was just so alone. He was his own tragedy. I didn’t want to call him evil after that, because that wasn’t what he was. Yeah, he killed many people. He wanted to hurt Alina, but why? He was lost in his own eternal life.


If you’re still around, hey!

If you have read these books, comment down below about how you felt! I would love to talk to more about it. I will be reading Six of Crows soon. I’m so happy to have made this post for this series. I hope you enjoyed.

All the pictures taken were by me. I made this review out of my deep love for this series.