Friday, June 26, 2015

Review: The Council of Mirrors

The Council of Mirrors (The Sisters Grimm, #9)The Council of Mirrors (The Sisters Grimm #9)
Michael Buckley
Peter Ferguson, illustrator
Middle grade fantasy 

In the final volume in the Sisters Grimm series, Sabrina, Daphne, and the rest of the Grimms and their friends must face off against the Master to decide the fate of Ferryport Landing—and the world. When Mirror fails to escape the barrier using Granny Relda’s body, he turns to his plan B: killing all the Grimms so that the magical barrier collapses. In the meantime, Sabrina has gathered the other magic mirrors as advisors on how to deal with their mortal enemy. They tell her to join forces with the Scarlet Hand against Mirror, in exchange for offering all the citizens of Ferryport Landing their freedom. This final chapter is the end of the road for several beloved characters, but the conclusion is sure to satisfy devoted fans of the series.

Ok, lemme just rave for a second. 

The Sisters Grimm is the best series EVER. I read the first one as a fourth grader, with my best friend. We quickly fell in love and bought the rest, but at the time the 9th wasn't out and I hadn't gotten my hands on it till recently.

A series with female protagonists and their male faerie best friend (who is their adorable royal pain in the butt), it is suitable for both middle grade boys and girls, and is like LITERALLY LAUGH OUT LOUD hilarious. You think I'm exaggerating but I'm not. I loled in grade 4, I loled in grade 11. That should say everything. 

I was always able to see myself in Sabrina like I never have in other fictional girls. She is everything other heroines never were - she's really smart but not like Hermione or Annabeth (like, that's not the big outstanding quality that everyone always points out, and basically their role in the story), she's angry and annoyed a lot, mistrusts people and looks out for her family like it's nobody's business. She's not one of those heroines that are written purposely badass to make a feminist point- she cries, she gets frustrated and she frustrates everyone else, all she wants is to be a kid and frequently points out that she got dragged into everything against her will.

And yet - she's the one calling the shots, making decisions, getting things done. She's got a smart mouth and keen eye, and knows how to use them. She talks back to adults and gets reprimanded. She has temper tantrums. She makes mistakes, admits them, and learns. She boils over but then apologizes. SHE IS THE BEST, SMARTEST, MOST MATURE AND REALISTIC 12 YEAR OLD FICTION HAS EVER SEEN. 

And Daphne? The perfect one to balance out Sabrina, representing a different kind of smart, a different kind of girls out there. Their relationship is believable and lovable, and I'll miss it. 


And for another fantastic quality of The Sisters Grimm rarely seen in children's literature, say hello to ADULT SUPERVISION. Granny Relda and Mr. Canis have been there since the beginning, joined later by The Parents Grimm, Uncle Jake, Charming and Snow White. The adults tend to infuriate the kids, but they scold them, teach them, care for them, and yeah, sometimes rein them in while being totally fun, hilarious, sometimes childish, and kick-ass themselves. IT'S SO REFRESHING.

I realize I have been raving more than a second. And I could go on and on. But I won't waste your time and instead just tell you to get your hands on The Sisters Grimm #1, Fairytale Detectives PRONTO. In the meantime, I will cry into my pillow and mourn the ends of one of my all time favorites series and my childhood. 

Rating: Obviously,

Have a great weekend and happy reading!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Review: Chasing Bristol

Chasing Bristol (The Finding Trilogy #2)Chasing Bristol (The Finding Trilogy #2)
Shane Morgan
NA clean suspense

*Can be read as a standalone

Bristol is trying to move on from a cheating ex. The last thing she wants are roses, gifts, and suggestive notes popping up at her apartment and at work. 

When Bristol meets Mason—a charming and sweet guy who wants a chance with her—she’s convinced that he is the mystery guy trying to capture her heart. The thought fizzles when what appeared to be harmless turns into something much more terrifying, and Bristol realizes that Mason isn’t capable of such things—not in his position. 

Bristol’s secret admirer is determined to have her for himself, no matter what. Will she have the courage to fight?

Hi all! Back for a brief hiatus in studying to review Shane Morgan's newest release! You can read my review of her book Impossibly Love here. Thank you Shane for the opportunity to review your book! 

I haven't read Finding Julian, so I came into this novel not knowing what to expect- and so can you. The books in this trilogy can be read as standalones, though if you have the experience I had, you'll want to read the others!

Chasing Bristol is the perfect bridge into NA for younger audiences (like me) and the perfect book with suspense for the fainthearted (also, unfortunately, me) therefore making it a book I can recommend to a lot of different people. Also, the girls featured in this book go through terrifying experiences but stay strong and resilient throughout, something I loved that makes Chasing Bristol a great read for those looking for brave and capable heroines. 

What I was worried about when picking up this novel was predictability. The majority of mysteries that I've read (granted, not too many) have had me rolling my eyes with their obvious-ness. I can happily announce that this happened with Chasing Bristol- because I TOTALLY FELL for the red herrings in the beginning(: However, don't come with too high expectations- your jaw won't drop, but it's not the person you guessed. 

The novel is a short one, without any subplots or anything. Not a complaint, I liked it as it was. Rating:

To those of you in the Northern Hemisphere who have started/are starting/will start their summer vacation soon, have an amazing beginning of summer!

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Stacking the Shelves and The Sunday Post

Stacking the Shelves and The Sunday Post are weekly memes hosted by Tynga's Reviews and Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

Boy, have I missed these. 
Hey all!

Behold, the books I have received since I last did this... in January. 

From Netgalley:

Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead 
Angelfall by Susan Ee

A School for Unusual Girls by Kathleen Baldwin

For review:

Chasing Bristol (The Finding Trilogy, #2)

Chasing Bristol by Shane Morgan


Blink and Caution by Tim Wynne - Jones
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo


The Lightning Thief: 10th Anniversary Edition (B&N Exclusive Collector's Edition) (Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series #1)

You don't need me to tell you what this is. Suffice to say I did a happy dance. Multiple happy dances. Some screaming, too. 

Nowhere But Here (Thunder Road, #1)

Nowhere but Here by Katie McGarry

Summary: E-X-C-I-T-E-M-E-N-T 

What have you received recently?
Happy reading!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Review: Wither

Wither (The Chemical Garden, #1)Wither (The Chemical Garden #1)
Lauren DeStefano
Post apocalyptic dystopia

By age sixteen, Rhine Ellery has four years left to live. She can thank modern science for this genetic time bomb. A botched effort to create a perfect race has left all males with a lifespan of 25 years, and females with a lifespan of 20 years. Geneticists are seeking a miracle antidote to restore the human race, desperate orphans crowd the population, crime and poverty have skyrocketed, and young girls are being kidnapped and sold as polygamous brides to bear more children. 

When Rhine is kidnapped and sold as a bride, she vows to do all she can to escape. Her husband, Linden, is hopelessly in love with her, and Rhine can't bring herself to hate him as much as she'd like to. He opens her to a magical world of wealth and illusion she never thought existed, and it almost makes it possible to ignore the clock ticking away her short life. But Rhine quickly learns that not everything in her new husband's strange world is what it seems. Her father-in-law, an eccentric doctor bent on finding the antidote, is hoarding corpses in the basement. Her fellow sister wives are to be trusted one day and feared the next, and Rhine is desperate to communicate to her twin brother that she is safe and alive. Will Rhine be able to escape - before her time runs out?

Together with one of Linden's servants, Gabriel, Rhine attempts to escape just before her seventeenth birthday. But in a world that continues to spiral into anarchy, is there any hope for freedom?

Hi all. Back from insane exam season for a quick review (:

Since 2011, when this book was all over the blogoshpere, I couldn't wait to read it. I picked it up after a hard week expecting a cool, Divergent-y dystopia to take my mind off things.

Boy was I wrong. 

Wither was DARK. Truthfully you can deduce that from the blurb, but lots of books advertise themselves like this so I didn't think much of it. I was scared and creeped out, for practically the entirety of the book, so on that front it was a total success - just not if you were looking for something light. 

I LOVED the character complexity in the story. Jenna and Cecily felt real, and I came to love each girl and her tragic story. I did not know what to think about Linden, which I think was the desired effect for our clueless captor. And of course, Housemaster Vaugn gave me chills. 

The writing, too, was pretty flawless. Everything flowed quickly and thrillingly. The trapped feeling of being stuck in a glorious prison came across strong. All that was sick and wrong with the so-called 'marriage' was aptly described in way that was obvious to the reader but normal to Rhine, who grew up used to this world. I would have given Lauren DeStefano an A if not for some gaping worldbuilding problems:

WHY, if girls are so valuable for breeding, would the ones Linden rejected be killed and not sold to someone else? WHERE are the authorities in all this- they're running orphanages but oblivious to when said orphans are sold for marriage? HOW exactly did the world senselessly wipe itself out? WHY would North American women suddenly become victims in the legal system after World War III? If society is going to have a major regression like that, you're going to have to explain it. 

All in all, I still don't know how I feel about Wither. I think that had I read it knowing what to expect and at the right time I would have been raving more. As it is, I wasn't in the right state of mind for the story when I read it, and it would have been better with more explanation of the backstory. Rating: 3.5 stars