rose petal graves

Rose Petal Graves by Olivia Wildenstein

Publisher: Olivia Wildenstein
Release Date: March 29, 2017
Pages: 390
Genre: Young Adult, New Adult, Supernatural
[Goodreads]

Let me start by saying thank you to Olivia Wildenstein and Netgalley for giving me a copy of this book for review. *My opinions are my own and I totally respect that others might think differently.

I had just finished rewatching the Buffy episode “Pangs” when I came across Rose Petal Graves on Netgalley. If you’ve never watched Buffy before, leave this blog right now. Just kidding!! “Pangs” is the 8th episode of season 4.

Long story short:

It’s Buffy’s first Thanksgiving away from home and she’s feeling blue about it. She decides to throw a feast for her friends at Gile’s house.

mushy peas

Xander, currently a construction worker, is about to excavate a location on UC Sunnydale (Buffy’s college) ground when he falls into a ditch. The ditch ends up being a room in the lost Sunnydale missionary. Decades ago there was an earthquake that people thought destroyed the missionary when in reality it was actually buried.

Xander, always the unlucky one, awakens the spirit of an angry native american who in turn curses him with various diseases like smallpox and syphilis.

you look like death

In typical Buffy nature what follows afterwards is a lot of humor a battle and in this case, a nice sit down Thanksgiving dinner.

a bear you made it

undo it

i didnt mean to

 

 

 

 

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Let me preface by saying that Rose Petal Graves was not my cup of tea. I was mislead by the description, I despised the main character Catori and I was overwhelmed by all the characters and side plots.

Rose Petal Graves had immediately piqued my because the description reminded me of one of my favorite Buffy episodes. Come to find out though, it wasn’t anything like “Pangs” which kinda bummed me out. Also, Rose Petal Graves was quoted as being perfect for fans of Court of Thorns and Roses (A new favorite series of mine) and Pocahontas. This description is super misleading. Yes there’s faes and there’s Native Americans in Rose Petal Graves, but that doesn’t mean it’s a book that appeals to fans of both.

I found Catori our MC super annoying and unlikable. She’s heading home in the beginning of the book to attend her mother’s funeral. Early on she meets this super delicious medical examiner who she immediately falls for. Another guy comes along who she barely knows and is clearly not a good choice and she’s finding herself falling for him too. I loath triangles and this triangle was worse than most because she barely knows the guys and they’re both sort of sketchy jerks.

I don’t really know what else to say about this book. The whole Native American/Fae storyline held so much promise but it just wasn’t developed enough. The characters were either totally unlikable or totally irrelevant.

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1 Stake because I was able to finish this book regardless of the fact that I didn’t like it. That’s a huge feat for me because usually I don’t make it to the end if a book gets only 1 stake.

 

Empire of Storms perfect cover

Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass #5) by Sarah J. Maas

Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s BOok
Pages: 693
Release Date: September 6, 2016
Genre: Young Adult, High Fantasy, Romance
[Goodreads]

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Wow. Seriously though… wow!!! If Empire of Storms is but a taste of the end, I don’t know if I’ll make it through book 6. I barely made it through book 5.

There’s so much emotion running through me right now, especially for Aelin. Pride for what she sacrificed in Empire of Storms and sorrow for what she has already and surely will lose in the final book.

Aelin now knows who she is and what her ancestors expect of her. I seriously hate her ancestors at the moment. Aelin’s life has never been hers, neither has the other characters in this series actually – Elide, Rowan, Dorian, Manon as well as others. Their lives are all falling into predetermined places.

This “review” is more like a handful of sentences with my thoughts about Empire of Storms. I really don’t want to get too into this book because there’s so much to dissect. I also don’t want to share major spoilers.

Did you read this latest installment in the Throne of Glass series? What did you think? Are you as devastated as me? Are you super impressed (like me) at what Lysandra in her many forms accomplished in this book?

Lysandra as well as Elide are two of my current favs right now. This book had so many badass females.

run the world gif

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5 stakes! Duh.

5stakes

girl at midnight cover

The Girl at Midnight (The Girl at Midnight #1) by Melissa Gray

Publisher: Delacorte Press
Pages: 357
Release Date: April 28, 2015
Genre: Young Adult, Supernatural, Fantasy
[Goodreads]

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I quickly and easily became invested in The Girl at Midnight. From the moment I met our MC Echo I knew I was going to like her. Echo is sassy and smart. She’s gotten a raw deal in life but still perseveres. Even though Echo often jumps headfirst into bad situations, she always seems to make it through. She’s clever and observant which makes her a very accomplished thief. She steals everything from books to trinkets to magical objects.

Echo’s early childhood is a mystery to us. She was living on her own in a public library when she met Ala, an Avicen. Avicens are a race of human/bird supernatural creatures. The only thing we know about Echo’s parents is that they weren’t “very nice”. Echo is found by Ala in the beginning of The Girl at Midnight. After a few pages of introduction the story shoots 10 years into the future.

10 years later: Echo is a teenager who has an Avicen best friend named Ivy and a newly acquired Avicen boyfriend, Rowan. Besides Ivy, Rowan, Ala, and a couple other Avicens, Echo is rejected by the Avicens. Being the only full human in the nest, Echo has felt out of place among the Avicens. It also doesn’t help that the majority of Avicens gossip, look down at her, and all but say she doesn’t belong.

The Girl at Midnight really gets juicy when Echo finds a hidden message in a music box she stole for Ala. The message contains a riddle that has to do with the legendary Firebird, a creature who is said to wield such immense power, that it could end the war between the Avicen and the Drakharin. The Drakharin is another race of supernatural creatures in this book. Unlike the Avicen, the Drakharin are human/dragon. Echo, by Ala’s request, undertakes the journey to find the Firebird.

I appreciated Echo’s humor throughout The Girl at Midnight. Even in dark moments, like sitting in a Drakharin dungeon, Echo kept her sarcasm.

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I didn’t give this book 5 stakes because even though it was great, it wasn’t spectacular. There wasn’t really a cliffhanger at the end of The Girl at Midnight, but I liked the ending well enough to want to read the next book.

 

crown of midnight final cover

Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2) by Sarah J. Maas

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Pages: 418
Release date: August 27, 2013
Genre: YA, High Fantasy
[Goodreads]

 

***Somehow this review got lost in my blog queue. I actually read Crown of Midnight months ago, and then wrote this review. Anyways — I got a kick out of reading this review when I found it because I just finished book 5 and so many things have changed since book 2!! My Review banner 2

Yep. I’m officially and incredibly addicted to this series. I’m not going to beat myself up for not starting it sooner anymore because I’ve officially hopped on the bandwagon and I’m invested in Celaena’s journey.

Crown of Midnight isn’t one of those books that succumbs to the dreaded second book slump, in fact, I’d say that Crown of Midnight was even better than Throne of Glass. Everything was just so heightened in Crown of Midnight. This book was darker, deeper and more devastating.

We see Calaena unlike we’ve ever seen her before. In her grief and rage shes becomes a deadly creature with no sense of restraint. She’s unstoppable. It was actually quite scary to see how powerful she truly is able to become. Her emotions flip off and she’s lost in blood lust.

Enough of the dark and gloomy! There was some light in this book…mainly Celaena and Chaol my current favorite ship. Celaena, since book one, has been see-sawing between Chaol and Dorian.  However, after pulling away from Dorian she fully leans toward Chaol in Crown of Midnight. I just love these two together so damn much. He’s uniform and logical and she’s reckless and unpredictable, together they just fit wonderfully. They help each other grow in ways they didn’t think possible.

A lot of reveals were made in Crown of Midnight regarding the king’s agenda, Celaena’s past and where her future lies.

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5 whopping stakes of course! This series excels at many things especially when it comes to creating compelling characters like Celaena. She has so many layers and it’s been such a treat to peel them back.

5stakes

frostblood final cover

Frostblood by Elly Blake


Publisher:
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Pages: 376
Release date: February 10, 2017
Genre: YA, High Fantasy
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Okay, so here’s the thing, I started Frostblood right after I finished Empire of Storms. Empire of Storms was absolutely incredible. In my opinion, it was one of the best books in the Throne of Glass series. So when I began Frostblood I was already riding high on sizzling romance and shocking twists. I was an emotional tornado.

While reading Frostblood, I couldn’t stop comparing it>to Empire of Storms. Because… BOTH series has a main female character who 1. wields fire 2. is part of a prophecy 3. life is interrupted many times by a god who has a plan for her. ALSO in both book series there’s a slow budding romance between the main character and a secondary character. The relationships both begin with verbal and physical sparring. Now I’m not trying to say that Frostblood is a rip or anything, there is just A LOT of similarities and I feel like I scrutinized Frostblood because of how fresh Empire of Stormswas in my mind.

Don’t get me wrong, there is still a lot of differences between the two series. For instance, the whole frostblood vs. fireblood thing is definitely different. There’s only 3 types of magic wielders in the Frostblood world (at least as far as we know). The gods at play are connected to the directions/different winds. Nor of the North is the father of frostbloods, Sud of the South is the mother of firebloods, there’s also Cirrus of East who seems to be the most reasonable and benevolent of the bunch. Then there is Eurus of the West who is very dark, tricky and dangerous.

The current king, and frostblood sitting on the ice throne is malevolent. He has no interest in creating peace between the frostbloods and firebloods, instead he imprisons or outright kills firebloods. Some firebloods also end up in a tournament against warrior frostbloods that fight and kill firebloods for sport.

Frostblood’s writing style is basic in the sense that it relies mostly on dialogue with very few descriptions of characters, their positioning, physical looks including facial expressions, and mental processes. I had a hard time picturing what each character looked like, what each character was doing and what Ruby was thinking in every scene. It’s a shame because I liked Ruby, she was sassy and motivated to survive. She also had a lot of compassion, even for those that she considered enemies.

I’m not sure if I will read the second book. The whole end “fight scene” was brief and underdeveloped. I skimmed through the last 30 pages.

I was all around let down by Frostblood. It had one-of-a-kind gods and a great rivalry between firebloods and frostbloods. Unfortunately neither story line was fully fleshed out and utilized. The characters melded into the background because there wasn’t enough descriptions.

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I’m giving Frostblood 2 instead of 1 stake because even with it’s pitfalls I found some enjoyment while reading. This book was a quick read because of the lack of descriptions so I flew through it. It cleansed my palate after reading Empire of Storms and made me ready for the next (hopefully) great read.

that summer final cover

That Summer by Sarah Dessen

Publisher: Viking Books for Young Reader
Pages: 208
Release Date: April 6, 2006
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Coming-of-age
[Goodreads]

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With such a low rating you’re probably wondering why I didn’t DNF this book. Well, because of my own damn stubbornness, that’s why. Being my first “Sarah Dessen” book, I was determined to read it through. Dessen books seem to be very popular and well-known so I thought That Summer would be a sure thing. As they say: there’s no such thing as a sure thing.

Contemporaries are my least favorite YA genre type. I find that I quickly lose interest unless one of two things occur; epic romance and/or fantastic characters. I get the sense that ‘That Summer’ is geared towards Middle Grade readers, which excuses this book from having no romance(s) to root for.

So then there’s the characters. What can I say about the characters? Well…. SNOOZE. I couldn’t connect or relate to a single one. That Summer follows Haven, a 15 year old girl who’s trying to stay the same while the rest of her world changes. She’s hitting puberty at a fast rate and she’s having trouble accepting it. This sounds like an interesting, albeit, usual coming-of-age story, unfortunately, the characters (including Haven), are lackluster, making the story even more sluggish and agonizing.

My own stubbornness saw me through to the end of That Summer. I really wanted to quit this book about 40 pages in. The only reason I gave this book one stake is because the last 20 pages of That Summer was actually pretty good. The story finally went into hyperdrive and the climax supernova’d. I think if the characters had been quirkier and that more significant moments had occurred, I would have liked ‘That Summer’ a whole lot more.

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I give That Summer one stake. It’s going to be a while before I give another Dessen book a go. I’m going to have to do some better research next time.

a court of thorns and roses final cover

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Pages: 421
Release Date: May 5, 2015
Genre: Young Adult, High Fantasy, Romance
[Goodreads]

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Sarah J. Maas – you’re officially one of my new favorite authors. I plan on filling my shelves to the brim with your amazing books!

I really enjoy the Throne of Glass series, and now I’m completely in love with A Court of Thorns and Roses series. Sarah’s level of creativity is amazing! She flawlessly creates vivid worlds and one-of-a-kind characters. Although A Court of Thorns and Roses seems to be inspired by Beauty and the Beast, Sarah diverges from the original story by spinning new plots and new captivating characters.

Feyre is such a wonderful character. She’s been neglected and taken advantage by her family, her entire life. When Feyre’s mother was dying, Feyre made a promise that she would take care of her two older sisters and father. Even when Feyre was 8, her mother knew that Feyre was the only one with her wits about her. Her mother knew that Feyre would do anything and everything to keep her little family alive. Feyre has taken care of her older sisters Elain and Nesta, and father, in any way she can since her mother’s passing. The family lost their fortune many years ago which forced them into a ramshackle itty-bitty cottage. Feyre taught herself how to hunt to be able to feed her family and herself, a feat that at times, is near-impossible. She and her family are all underweight, malnourished and miserable.

Tamlin, a ferocious-seeming faerie quickly shows up in the story when Feyre accidentally kills a fae friend of his. He gives her the option to either die or go to live with him forever in the fae lands. After making sure her family will be spared, Feyre grudgingly goes with Tamlin to his home.

I really enjoyed the interactions that took place between Tamlin and Feyre. Feyre was resistant to all things fae in the beginning of the story because she had grown up hearing stories of their torturous and murderous ways. She viewed them as monsters that only caused pain and destruction for humans. Through the time Feyre spends at Tamlin’s home she begins to see things differently though…

A Court of Thorns and Roses was so addicting. Tamlin was a tall, handsome mystery that I wanted to unravel immediately. Feyre was a spirited girl who cared more about others than herself. There was also Lucien, another fae whose role was of the sarcastic best friend and ally to Tamlin. Lucien clearly has some type of problem with Feyre from the beginning which made for hilarious bickering between the two.

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There’s so much to love about this book but I’m going to stop here. You NEED to read this one asap.

sweethearts final cover

Sweethearts by Sara Zarr

Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Release Date: February 2, 2008
Pages: 217
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
[Goodreads]

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My feelings for Sweethearts are muddled. I simultaneously think this book lacked “something” and yet, was satisfying. Confusing? Very!

To start-off, this book is pretty short. My NOOK was showing me about 210 pages, but Sweethearts ended up only being about 150 pages. This book felt more like a short story vs. a full length novel.

Sweethearts is an emotional book that tackles tough issues, mainly; bullying and child abuse. Zarr did a great job of presenting these subjects with care and knowledge. On a personal level, I could really relate with some of the characters. Their tribulations and thoughts, really struck a cord with me. Zarr’s writing is simple, yet powerfully emotional, because of this I became captivated with the story.

As I write this review I’m stuck thinking that this book was too short, yet, still, perfectly numbered. On one-hand the story and messages come through with so little of pages. On the other-hand, I feel sad that things didn’t play-out as I secretly wanted. Basically, because this review isn’t confusing enough, I thought that this story was enough yet not enough.

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Either way, if you like emotional stories, with good messages, that end bittersweet, you’ll enjoy Sweethearts. I give it 3 stakes.

Have you ever read a book that left you with confusing, conflicting thoughts?