Book Review

Book Review: Jackaby (Jackaby #1) by William Ritter

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult fantasy + mystery + historical
Length: 299 pages
Author: William Ritter
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Release Date: September 16th, 2014
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Newly arrived in New Fiddleham, New England, 1892, and in need of a job, Abigail Rook meets R. F. Jackaby, an investigator of the unexplained with a keen eye for the extraordinary–including the ability to see supernatural beings. Abigail has a gift for noticing ordinary but important details, which makes her perfect for the position of Jackaby’s assistant. On her first day, Abigail finds herself in the midst of a thrilling case: A serial killer is on the loose. The police are convinced it’s an ordinary villain, but Jackaby is certain it’s a nonhuman creature, whose existence the police–with the exception of a handsome young detective named Charlie Cane–deny.

Doctor Who meets Sherlock in William Ritter’s debut novel, which features a detective of the paranormal as seen through the eyes of his adventurous and intelligent assistant in a tale brimming with cheeky humor and a dose of the macabre. 

LOVE THE QUIRKY CHARACTERS.

I feel a short and sweet review coming.

This was a simply Sherlock-esque book with some twists. I loved that Jacakby’s abilities allowed him to see all sorts of paranormal and fantastical things. The unique mix of creatures and monsters in the world kept me on my toes.

I loved having Abigail Rook as the POV. She sees Jackaby in a light we wouldn’t get from his side (and frankly, might be a bit scattered if we did, haha). She’s stubborn, insightful and easy-going. It was effortless to fall for these characters. Jackaby definitely reminds me of Sherlock and I laughed out a loud a few times at the things he would say and the banter between him and Abigail.

The mystery had its own enigma that even surprised me a few times. I was amazed that the entire 300 page book took the space of three days. It makes me curious for the rest of the series as to how they’re spaced out.

Overall audience notes:

  • Middle-grade/Young adult historical fantasy/mystery
  • Language: none
  • Romance: none
  • Violence: descriptions of bloody murders, a few fight scenes with guns, physical and the supernatural

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Uncategorized

Book Review: Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle #1) by Jay Kristoff & Amie Kaufman

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆  
Audience: YA Dystopia Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Length: 473 pages
Author: Jay Kristoff & Amie Kaufman
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Release Date: May 7th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

From the internationally bestselling authors of THE ILLUMINAE FILES comes an epic new science fiction adventure.

The year is 2380, and the graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Star pupil Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but his own boneheaded heroism sees him stuck with the dregs nobody else in the Academy would touch…

A cocky diplomat with a black belt in sarcasm
A sociopath scientist with a fondness for shooting her bunkmates
A smart-ass techwiz with the galaxy’s biggest chip on his shoulder
An alien warrior with anger management issues
A tomboy pilot who’s totally not into him, in case you were wondering

And Ty’s squad isn’t even his biggest problem—that’d be Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley, the girl he’s just rescued from interdimensional space. Trapped in cryo-sleep for two centuries, Auri is a girl out of time and out of her depth. But she could be the catalyst that starts a war millions of years in the making, and Tyler’s squad of losers, discipline-cases and misfits might just be the last hope for the entire galaxy.

They’re not the heroes we deserve. They’re just the ones we could find. Nobody panic. 

HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO WAIT FOR THIS SEQUEL?!

Y’AAAAAALLLLLLLL.

WHAT JUST HAPPENED. Like Illuminae Files this duo has destroyed me. I buddy-read this with a Bookstagram friend and it was so much fun to go over things together with her!

This book is so good. I have no words.

I love this group of characters. Squad 312 is full of unique, emotional, interesting, creative souls. Everyone stands out in their own way and I love them all for different things. My favorite currently is probably Kal. I could go into a bunch of reasons for each character, but trust me, everyone has a reason to shine. The chapters rotated in a perfect way where the main POV was the right character to be observing from. This made the entire book soar.

There were so many twists and turns. Some you can pick out, others left me like WHAT. I’m still reeling from the last few scenes. Though, what’s really nice is that it doesn’t leave off on some major cliff-hanger. While absolutely crazy things happen, it also closes out the book. Leaving you begging for a time machine to get to book two.

The main antagonist is so complex. We only scratched the surface on what’s happening in the universe and I have so many theories. I love having theories about what’s going to happen.

A lot of relationships were thrown around and happened a little here, a little there, a maybe here, a maybe there. I think this nuanced banter and love was entrancing. Within all the action we got to the nitty-gritty of each characters flaws and dreams. Each one immensely different, but also intertwined.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult dystopian sci-fi + fantasy
  • Language: a little (mostly phrases like son of a biscuit)
  • Romance: a no-details remembrance of a night together
  • Violence: physical, guns, magic

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Book Review

Book Review: The Screaming Staircase (Lockwood & Co. #1) by Jonathan Stroud

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆ 
Audience: Middle Grade/YA Mystery + Fantasy (paranormal)
Length: 381 pages
Author: Jonathan Stroud
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Release Date: August 29th, 2013
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A sinister Problem has occurred in London: all nature of ghosts, haunts, spirits, and specters are appearing throughout the city, and they aren’t exactly friendly. Only young people have the psychic abilities required to see-and eradicate-these supernatural foes. Many different Psychic Detection Agencies have cropped up to handle the dangerous work, and they are in fierce competition for business. 

In The Screaming Staircase, the plucky and talented Lucy Carlyle teams up with Anthony Lockwood, the charismatic leader of Lockwood & Co, a small agency that runs independent of any adult supervision. After an assignment leads to both a grisly discovery and a disastrous end, Lucy, Anthony, and their sarcastic colleague, George, are forced to take part in the perilous investigation of Combe Carey Hall, one of the most haunted houses in England. Will Lockwood & Co. survive the Hall’s legendary Screaming Staircase and Red Room to see another day? 

Readers who enjoyed the action, suspense, and humor in Jonathan Stroud’s internationally best-selling Bartimaeus books will be delighted to find the same ingredients, combined with deliciously creepy scares, in his thrilling and chilling Lockwood & Co. series.

VERY SPOOKY INDEED.

I read this book based off of a recommendation from Bookstagram, and it did not disappoint.

I generally don’t read much middle-school books unless they come highly recommended, I had seen this enough from her to know I must have it (even better, if you’re a Prime member, the first book is free on Kindle!). While they’re some YA aspects, it generally leaned towards a younger audience, yet I can see how it captivates older groups. It’s a really underrated book.

This group: Lucy, Lockwood and George are a hoot to watch interact. They have funny banter, quiet moments and are a great team. Lucy and Lockwood especially made this book. It was narrated by Lucy (which I wasn’t expecting given it’s called Lockwood & Co.). I loved the world-building and how *just* enough was left out to keep me interested for further installments.

The Screaming Staircase is CREEPY. This is honestly the closest I’ll ever come to a horror book. They’re ghosts that can do all of these crazy things (including kill you). Blood coming off of ceilings, things jumping out, it was definitely intense at times.

I liked the addition of a mystery within the paranormal activity. It made me more invested as I am weary of reading paranormal books. It was another level of intrigue and wonderment as I flew through this.

Overall audience notes:

  • Middle school/YA Paranormal Fantasy
  • Language: none
  • Romance: none
  • Violence: descriptions of murders, detailed hauntings, physical, swords, guns, explosions

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Monthly Wrap-Up

Monthly Reading Wrap-Up: May 2019

Y’ALL.

WHAT A MONTH.

I didn’t even realize I had read 16 books. I am still stunned. And everything got such a great ratings I couldn’t believe it. I promise I’m not a easy reviewer. I have been trying to choose books that I think will bring me joy rather than wasting my time on reading a book for the sake of it.

Read what makes you happy, my TED Talk for the summer.


  • The Gilded Wolves (The GIlded Wolves #1) by Roshani Chockshi
  • The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicles #1) by Patrick Rothfuss
  • The Traitor’s Ruin (The Traitor’s Circle #2) by Erin Beaty
  • Two Can Keep A Secret by Karen M. McManus
  • Finale (Caraval #3) by Stephanie Garber
  • The Kingdom of Copper (The Daevabad Trilogy #2) by S.A. Chakraborty
  • The Thousandth Floor (The Thousandth Floor #1) by Katharine McGee – (RTC – ☆☆☆☆)
  • The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren – (RTC – ☆☆☆☆☆)
  • The Screaming Staircase (Lockwood & Co. #1) by Jonathan Stroud – (RTC – ☆☆☆☆☆)
  • Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle #1) by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff – (RTC – ☆☆☆☆☆)
  • Mortal Heart (His Fair Assassin #3) by Robin LaFevers – (RTC – ☆☆☆)
  • The First Girl Child by Amy Harmon – (RTC – ☆☆☆☆☆)
  • Descendant of the Crane by Joan He – (RTC – ☆☆ 1/2)
  • Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid – (RTC – ☆☆☆☆)
  • Jackaby (Jackaby #1) by William Ritter – (RTC – ☆☆☆☆)
  • Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton – (RTC – ☆☆☆☆)

Favorites of the month: Finale, The Unhoneymooners, and Aurora Rising

Least favorite: Descendant of the Crane


Have you read any of these? What do you have on your TBR? Lets talk in the comments!

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Book Review

Book Review: The Kingdom of Copper (The Daevabad Trilogy #2) by S.A. Chakraborty

Rating: ☆☆☆☆ 
Audience: Historical fiction + fantasy
Length: 619 pages
Author: S.A. Chakraborty
Publisher: HarperVoyager
Release Date: January 8th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Return to Daevabad in the spellbinding sequel to THE CITY OF BRASS.

Nahri’s life changed forever the moment she accidentally summoned Dara, a formidable, mysterious djinn, during one of her schemes. Whisked from her home in Cairo, she was thrust into the dazzling royal court of Daevabadand quickly discovered she would need all her grifter instincts to survive there.

Now, with Daevabad entrenched in the dark aftermath of the battle that saw Dara slain at Prince Ali’s hand, Nahri must forge a new path for herself, without the protection of the guardian who stole her heart or the counsel of the prince she considered a friend. But even as she embraces her heritage and the power it holds, she knows she’s been trapped in a gilded cage, watched by a king who rules from the throne that once belonged to her familyand one misstep will doom her tribe.

Meanwhile, Ali has been exiled for daring to defy his father. Hunted by assassins, adrift on the unforgiving copper sands of his ancestral land, he is forced to rely on the frightening abilities the maridthe unpredictable water spiritshave gifted him. But in doing so, he threatens to unearth a terrible secret his family has long kept buried.

And as a new century approaches and the djinn gather within Daevabad’s towering brass walls for celebrations, a threat brews unseen in the desolate north. It’s a force that would bring a storm of fire straight to the city’s gates . . . and one that seeks the aid of a warrior trapped between worlds, torn between a violent duty he can never escape and a peace he fears he will never deserve.

I LOVE THESE CHARACTERS.

First off, WE JUMPED 5 YEARS? After I got over that shock I was immediately drawn back in to this amazing and addictive world. This series needs more traction, IT’S SO GOOD.

Now now, I know I said all of that and gave it four stars. Four stars is still fantastic! And I have reasoning. This book was much more heavily focused on the politics and schemes of the kingdom. So much so that I missed a lot of action. I was definitely invested, but about 200 pages left and I was surprised at how long it was taking me to get through it. Especially because I was loving it! I think having to pay a lot more attention to make sure I didn’t miss anything caused me to be a little dulled by it all.

BUT. The last 150 pages? ARE YOU KIDDING ME. There was no way to put the book down. A lot of the politicking and scheming all made sense at once when all heck broke loose. We had some plot twists (that I’m proud of myself for figuring out beforehand), extra wicked parents and a city crumbling. YES TO ALL THE DRAMATICS.

Am I behind the maaaaaybe something between Ali and Nahri? I DON’T KNOW. I’m still stuck on Dara. The romance is truly a tiny piece of these books, yet anytime these *little* things happen I’m curious what part it will play in the finale.

Nahri is still brave, brash and bold. I love her so. She’s one of my favorite heroines. Stands up for herself, works hard, passionate about so many things. I think it’s amazing how much she does for herself which is why I think the romance is so low in this, GIRL AIN’T GOT TIME FOR THAT (it’s no lie I love books with a love aspect, but in some books it’s really amazing when I don’t even mind that there isn’t some).

Ali and Dara are these two souls that will run me ragged by the end of this. So complicated, tortured and unwilling to compromise. BOTH OF THEM. Ugh. I have hope and love for them though so I *believe* things will work out.

I just love how expertly crafted these three main characters are. Nahri, Ali and Dara all have a dramatically different perspective on their home and the issues within. It makes it feel like there isn’t a “weaker” POV because they are all so captivating.

I’m also not sure where I stand on about a handful of other characters either. A lot of people made a lot of mistakes in this book. Which I feel is total book two territory (another reason for my lower rating). Gotta build up for the last book.

Overall audience notes:

  • Historical fiction + fantasy
  • Language: a little (a handful of the f-word)
  • Romance: a kiss
  • Violence: poison, knives, physical, magic, torture, murder, war
  • Trigger warnings: slavery, human trafficking, talk of past threats of rape

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Book Review

Book Review: The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle #1) by Patrick Rothfuss

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Fantasy
Length: 662 pages
Author: Patrick Rothfuss
Publisher: DAW
Release Date: March 27th, 2007
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

This is the riveting first-person narrative of Kvothe, a young man who grows to be one of the most notorious magicians his world has ever seen. From his childhood in a troupe of traveling players, to years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime-riddled city, to his daringly brazen yet successful bid to enter a legendary school of magic, The Name of the Wind is a novel that transports readers into the body and mind of a wizard. 

WHAT AM I GOING TO DO WITH THIS BOOK.

Okay, first I’m going to start out by mentioning that I started this book on Audible. This was my mistake. I still gave it four stars (when I was truly contemplating three) because I really enjoyed The Name of the Wind much more reading it. My library happened to have a digital copy so I downloaded that because it took me almost two months to listen to it. There was something about the way it was done that never clicked. I didn’t love the voices and couldn’t appreciate the characters.

Now that I chugged along twice as fast with reading it I appreciated the story as a whole so much more.

Kvothe is an interesting child. I’m actually annoyed that he’s so good at everything, but maybe that’s the point? I did find it amusing how poor he was with women. I mean, the book ends and he’s barely 15/16. IT TOOK 600+ PAGES TO GO THROUGH THIS MUCH OF HIS LIFE? Talk about a slow burn build of a fantasy.

Everything was definitely explained well. The world-building was fantastic. I loved the differing characters and the romanticism of the story. He’s the amazing, warrior, kingkiller and everyone wants to know the tale. Since Kvothe takes his dang sweet time, nothing is left out. I haven’t read a book where I truly felt nothing was left out.

The book picked up once Kvothe made it to the University. More and more continued to happen and a lot more webs were being weaved. Kvothe is pushed by one thing, and one thing alone (spoiler if I say more!). His sheer determined mindset had me hoping he would get his answers.

The only thing I stand wondering now is, do I want to read book two?

Overall audience notes:

  • Adult epic fantasy
  • Language: A little
  • Romance: a kiss or two
  • Violence: knives, killing creatures, poison, physical, whipping

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Book Review

Book Review: The Gilded Wolves (The Gilded Wolves #1) by Roshani Chokshi

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Historical Fantasy
Length: 388 pages
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Release Date: January 15th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

No one believes in them. But soon no one will forget them.

It’s 1889. The city is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. Here, no one keeps tabs on dark truths better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. When the elite, ever-powerful Order of Babel coerces him to help them on a mission, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance.

To hunt down the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin calls upon a band of unlikely experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian banished from his home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in arms if not blood.

Together, they will join Séverin as he explores the dark, glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the course of history–but only if they can stay alive.

WENT IN NERVOUS, WALKED OUT HAPPY.

I feel like the hype for this book was ALL OVER THE PLACE. I couldn’t scroll down my Instagram feed without seeing a photo and hearing about the hype. And because of that I instead let myself sit on it for a few months. Then, my library got a digital copy, nobody had it checked out so I gave it a chance. This turned out sooo much better than I thought and I found myself really loving it overall.

I was enraptured from the beginning with the historical aspects of everything. I LOVE HISTORICAL FANTASIES. It combines my two favorite genres into spell-binding stories. The setting was (Paris – 1889) unique from most books I’ve read. A lot of research went into this. So much research that at times I felt it was a bit dense. I couldn’t wrap my head around all of the mathematics problems throughout. The historical pieces were easy to follow, but hard to grasp all together. There was an intense amount of information thrown at you about how the world worked. It was substantially more than I bargained for which is why I settled on four stars. I didn’t think it needed everything it presented to still be stellar. Even more so, I still have no idea how the magic system fully works.

With all of those complications the way it was woven it was really cool. I was amazed at how the characters, organizations, and the world itself were put together. So while a bit of an enigma, also super fascinating and impressive. This was my first Chokshi book and I’m glad this was the one I picked up!

The characters though, what an amazing, diverse, witty group. I was nervous going in having heard that it’s similar to Leigh Bardugo’s, Six of Crows. Yes, the similarities are there, but each member of this family is vastly different. The representation in this book was incredible! It made the book stand out [in the best way]. I intensely loved watching all of their interactions with each other. This book was focused more on the heist and these friendships rather than relationships (but don’t you worry, some of that is in there too!). Fantastic banter that would make me smile and moments where I wanted to hug everyone brought this home for me.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult historical fiction fantasy
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: some kisses, some tension, & remembering some dalliances
  • Violence: poison, physical, mental (through magic)
  • Trigger warnings: bullying, racism, child abuse

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