Friday, November 25, 2016

Book Review: Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas

Title: Empire of Storms
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass #5
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's
Publication Date: September 6, 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Length: 704 pages
Format: ebook
Source: Borrowed

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N

The long path to the throne has only just begun for Aelin Galathynius. Loyalties have been broken and bought, friends have been lost and gained, and those who possess magic find themselves at odds with those who don't. 

As the kingdoms of Erilea fracture around her, enemies must become allies if Aelin is to keep those she loves from falling to the dark forces poised to claim her world. With war looming on all horizons, the only chance for salvation lies in a desperate quest that may mark the end of everything Aelin holds dear. 

My Thoughts:

"The world began and ended in fire."

This is the 5th book in the Throne of Glass series and there is really no way to review this without a few spoilers so if you haven't read these books, you probably shouldn't read this. Also, if you haven't read The Assassin's Blade you really should because a lot of stuff in this book only makes sense if you've read that prequel. 

I may have taken a little too long to write this review so the feelings aren't as strong and I've had time to mull over everything that I liked and didn't like about Empire of Storms. Even so, it isn't as fresh in my mind now so this probably won't be very long.

Ok, I have to start with what I liked least about this book and that is the erotica. I am not a big fan of 'smut'. I don't mind romance. I actually enjoy romance in fantasy. And I ship so many people in this series. And Aelin and Rowan are so freaking perfect. BUT, the sex scene in this was just too pornographic. We go from almost no hook ups to all out erotica in this and it was not ok. I mean, I felt all that sexual tension between them building and it was beautiful and then it began and it just got out of hand. It could have been perfect but it wasn't. It was just... too much. 

Also, this is probably my least favorite book in the series, besides the first book. I'm not sure now if it was just the smut or if there was something else that really bothered me about it (maybe the ending) but I just didn't get as much from this book as I did the previous three. 

But other than that it was pretty much amazing as usual. There's a ton of action, everything is escalating towards some great big war, and the characters are just as perfectly flawed and lovable as ever. 

Aelin and Rowan are basically perfect soul mates... and now I just want to cry need to shut up before I spoil things.

Manon is still my precious fictional lady crush and everything I hoped would happen with her and Aelin basically did in this book and she plays such an important role at the end. Even though it's upsetting, I still love her to bits. Plus the dark interest between her and a certain prince is basically everything to me right now (besides maybe Aelin and Rowan.)

Lysandra is once again so very badass and she puts her life on the line for Aelin and the others so many times that I just want to hug and cuddle her in her leopard form even though I'm pretty sure I'd be mauled to death for it. I'm sure Aedion feels the same way. 

Elide is a pretty new character, debuting in Queen of Shadows and I honestly didn't really like her all that much in this one but I did enjoy her and Lorcan's involvement. To a point. 

Seriously though, this series is so amazing and everything that happens in this book is putting us on the doorstep of a full out war that I actually can't wait to see unfold. I'm dying to read the last book but at the same time, I'm really afraid that Maas is going to destroy us all. We are at her mercy. 

My Rating: 4.5 stars

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Picture Book Review: The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce

Title: The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore
Author: William Joyce
Illustrated by: William Joyce & Joe Bluhm
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: June 19, 2012
Length: 52 pages
Format: Hardcover
Source: Borrowed

Morris Lessmore loved words.
He loved stories.
He loved books.
But every story has its upsets.
Everything in Morris Lessmore's life, including his own story, is scattered to the winds. 
But the power of story will save the day. 

My Thoughts: 
Morris Lessmore loved words.
He loved stories.
He loved books. 

I was in love with this book in the time it took to read those first three very short sentences. This is a book for book lovers. From the story of a boy who loves to read, to a library full of flying books, this is the perfect book for readers of all ages. 

Morris Lessmore loves to read. One day he encounters a woman being carried on the wind by a bunch of flying books. She gives him one and it leads him to a grand library full of flying books that he then takes care of and reads. As the years pass, he writes his own story, and when he is too old to care for the books any longer, they return the favor and fly him away. 

The story itself is both beautiful and heartbreaking. The idea of living with and for books is something that I hold dear to my heart. The ending is very touching. 
The illustrations are wonderful with a warmth that gives a sense of belonging. I absolutely adored them. 

This is a book that I must have for my daughter's shelves. I can only hope that she will continue to love it for years to come and perhaps read it to her children some day!

Disney adapted this picture book into a short film that won an Oscar! It's only about 15 minutes long but if you haven't seen it, you can watch it on youtube! I highly recommend it! 

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Blog Tour: The Gardenia Curse by C.M. Savage

BeachBoundbooks is pleased to be coordinating a Blog Tour for the middle grade fantasy The Gardenia Curse by C.M. Savage. The tour will run November 7 - November 28, 2016.


About the Book


Title: The Gardenia Curse | Author: C.M. Savage | Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy | Number of Pages: 158 | Release Date: October 26, 2015

Book Description: Thirteen-year-old Eva Thomas finds herself in a life threatening mystery when her dreams become real. Night after night, she is transported to Dreamland, where an evil being, the Shadow, wants her dead. Can Eva save herself and her dreams before it’s too late? Exhausted from troubled sleep, Eva stumbles through her days in a new town where her grandmother is known as an eccentric and in a new school where a bully has decided Eva needs to be put in her place. Eva is left feeling alone and uncertain until she meets Alice, a quirky classmate with non-stop questions about Eva’s family. Is Alice a friend or is she after something more? 

In Dreamland, Eva is constantly on the run from the Shadow, even after she meets Herman, her dream-guide. Will Herman be able to protect Eva from the Shadow and shed some light on why the Shadow wants her dead? Or are Eva’s dreams destined to remain a nightmare? 

Mystery, evil and a touch of romance—all in a night’s dream.

What others are saying...

"In The Gardenia Curse, Eva’s adventure unfolds like a gardenia blossom, a little at a time, getting more intriguing with each pedal that unfurls until finally the full thing is open to enjoy." - Amazon Review 

"The Gardenia Curse is an exciting middle grade fantasy that easily captivates readers with it's imaginative plot and interesting characters." - BeachBoundBooks 

"The author really captures your mind and heart. I am looking forward to the authors second book to see what happens next!" - Amazon Review

About the Author


C. M. Savage began writing at a young age. She used a typewriter and crayons to write and illustrate her first book when she was in second grade and continued to write off and on through college. After traveling, she enjoyed working with birds of prey, mammals and endangered Hawaiian birds. She is a second degree black belt in Taekwondo, enjoys crafting and having fun with her family. She recently moved back to Bend, Oregon with her husband and two daughters. The Gardenia Curse is her debut novel. She is now working on the sequel.

Blog Tour Prize Pack Giveaway


Prize: One winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card or $25 PayPal cash prize(winner’s choice), a copy of The Gardenia Curse, and a Book Flower.
Giveaway ends: November 28, 11:59 pm, 2016
Open to: Internationally.
How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.
Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the author, C.M. Savage and is hosted and managed by Stacie from BeachBoundBooks. If you have any additional questions feel free to send an email to

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, November 11, 2016

Book Review: Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

Title: Crooked Kingdom
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Series: Six of Crows #2
Publisher: Orion Children's Books
Publication Date: September 27, 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Length: 536 pages
Format: ebook
Source: borrowed

Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn't think they'd survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they're right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and left crippled by the kidnapping of a valuable team member, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz's cunning and test the team's fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city's dark and twisting streets--a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of magic in the Grisha world.

My Thoughts:
Following the big heist in Six of Crows, Kaz Brekker and his dubious crew are back to settle scores and take control of the Barrel, their money, and their lives.  

Ok, so I have mixed emotions about this book. I really liked it and gave it a solid 4 stars but afterward I was wondering if it should be more like a 4.5... I just can't bring myself to give it a full five stars and I feel terrible about that but I wanted so much more from it that I didn't get. That's a little unfair but there were also a couple of other reasons why I didn't 100% love it. (But mostly, yeah, I loved it.)

I remember thinking that the backstory for the characters in Six of Crows really started the book off slowly but eventually really had me attached to just about everyone. In Crooked Kingdom it seemed like that extensive character development was strategically placed just to slow down the plot, because otherwise it would be go, go, go with not a single moment to relax. So the flashbacks seemed really important to divy up the pacing but at the same time, a lot of it was stuff I remember from the first book and made me think that some of it was just filler. At times I just wanted to say, 'Get on with it. I already know this.' 

I also had a hard time getting interested in the beginning. Maybe it was the year gap between books, but then again it seems to be that way for a lot of people. I was hooked again as soon as the action picked up though. This is definitely the kind of book you can speed through just because you're dying to know what happens next. 

I was not disappointed in the continued theme of thieves, liars, and double-crossers in Crooked Kingdom. If any book will make you fall in love with a bunch of crooks and murderers, it's this one. Bardugo has you rooting for these Barrel thugs and wanting to squeeze hug them and push them together so they'll just flippin' kiss already

I'm kind of in love with how Bardugo wrapped up this duology. The ending wasn't as satisfying as I wanted it to be but it was still pretty amazing. I'm eager to see more about this world and the Grisha in the future (despite that I still haven't read the Grisha trilogy yet) and hope that Bardugo still has some stories to tell about them. 

My Rating: 4 stars

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Picture Book Review: Maxwell the Monkey Barber by Cale Atkinson

I received a free ecopy of this picture book from Netgalley and Owlkids Books in exchange for an honest review.

Title: Maxwell the Monkey Barber
Author: Cale Atkinson
Publisher: Owlkids Books
Publication Date: August 9, 2016
Length: 32 pages
Format: ebook
Source: Netgalley

Maxwell the monkey operates a barbershop, where he offers everything from a trim to a chop. He excels at helping his fellow animals look shipshape and feel their best, no matter how unruly their locks. Whatever the coiffure quandary, Maxwell is your monkey. He tames Baboon's curls, styles Lion's mane, and trims Bear's beard, exclaiming each time: "Your hair's the best I've seen today!"

All's well until Elephant comes in, feeling sad because he has no hair. Can Maxwell help? Of course! After some careful thinking, he devises a solution to help even Elephant feel his best. 

Cale Atkinson's bright, cartoon-like digital illustrations beckon readers into Maxwell's world in this playful tale. Rhyming text, speech bubbles, and a refrain make this story a fun read-aloud accessible to early readers. Full of personality and style, Maxwell has a genuine charm and enthusiasm for helping others that kids will find immediately contagious. 

My Thoughts:
Maxwell runs a barber shop and gets all sorts of creatures in need of a haircut. When Elephant asks for something to cover his cold, hairless head, Maxwell thinks on it and comes up with the perfect idea! 

This was very simple but cute and warmed my heart. Maxwell ends up making Elephant a wig out of all the hair that he has cut from other animals and makes Elephant's day. I definitely think this would be a good story to read to kids who don't have any hair of their own for one reason or another. 

The few words are very simple so this would be perfect for storytime or for very young readers. The illustrations are fun and bright and full of animals that will really appeal to small children. 
The author / illustrator has a lovely style that can also be found in a few other picture books that I've both loved and have my eye on such as 'To The Sea', 'Explorers of the Wild', and If I Had A Gryphon. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday #93 - Recent Additions to my Goodreads TBR List

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

Top Ten Books I've Added To My TBR Recently

I'm going to go with books I've added to my Goodreads TBR list instead of my physical list since I share my hauls here on the blog.

Short Stories from Hogwarts... by J.K. Rowling (+ the 2 others) - I'm not up to date on these but I think they are just ebooks? I prefer to wait until they are physical books to bother buying them though so I probably have a bit of a wait. 

Dream Magic by Joshua Khan - The upcoming sequel to middle grade dark fantasy read, Shadow Magic, which I quite enjoyed. 
Updraft by Fran Wilde - A steampunk fantasy. I don't know much more than that but I really want to read more steampunk.
Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis by Anne Rice - I used to be really into these books but I'm nowhere near caught up so this might never happen. 

The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell - I think this is urban fantasy (set in modern day NY) so not my usual fantasy read but still intriguing. 
The Pressed Fairy Journal of Madeline Cottington by Brian & Wendy Froud - I've been a Froud fan since I was a kid. His illustrations are amazing.
Spindle Fire by Lexa Hillyer - I think this is a Sleeping Beauty retelling which is not usually my go-to choice but this one sounds 'different' enough to be interesting. 

The Vagrant by Peter Newman - Just a sci-fi dystopian-ish fantasy novel that caught my attention. 
Traveler by L.E. DeLano - Fantasy time travel with the possibility of steampunk pirates.
Frostblood by Elly Blake - This fantasy just sounds really awesome so go check it out. 

I haven't actually added a lot to my Goodreads TBR list lately so I'd love to see what you added to yours! Please leave a link in the comments and I will visit! 

Sunday, November 6, 2016

The Sunday Post #44 - Daylight Savings Time (Ugh)

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer
It's a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things you received, share news about what is coming up on your blog for the week ahead, and more.

I may or may not have wasted a huge chunk of this past week playing Skyrim (Xbox One re-release) because the Elder Scrolls has been a part of my life since 2004 and I just can't help it. Thank goodness I am not participating in NaNoWriMo this month because that would have been a huge fail.
My reading has suffered a bit as well. I haven't finished a book yet this week though I'm almost done with Crooked Kingdom. I need to push through it tonight so I can join in on the Alchemists of Loom by Elise Kova ARC readalong hosted by @thebookishcrypt & @amybraunauthor on Instagram. I'm really looking forward to that.

This Past Week On The Blog
October Wrap Up
November TBR
Book Review: The Cartographer's Daughter by Kiran Millwood Hargrave
Book Review: The Pumpkin House by Chad P. Brown
Book Review: Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi
Stacking the Shelves #75

Coming Soon
Top Ten Tuesday - Recent Additions to my GR TBR list
Picture Book Review: Maxwell the Monkey Barber
Book Review: The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury
Book Review: Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas

Books I Finished This Week

What I'm Currently Reading

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
I'm not loving this as much as I remember loving Six of Crows but it's still pretty good. 

(physical book)
A Gathering of Shadows by VE Schwab
I'm in love with this trilogy so far and this one even more because Lila is such a badass. Plus pirates. 

Anybody else bothered by this daylight savings time? I was up at 5 am this morning! Ugh. I need more sleep. 

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Stacking the Shelves #75

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by TYNGA'S REVIEWS that features the books we bought, borrowed, were gifted, and were given for review.

I missed sharing last week's haul and Saturday is already half over but I didn't want to wait another week or I'd never remember everything I've hauled this week!


My hubby ordered the September Darkness OwlCrate for my birthday but forgot to cancel the subscription! I really wasn't too thrilled with this box at all but I am pretty excited about the exclusive 'Wonderland' themed November box so I'm hoping he'll 'forget' to cancel again! Haha



Another thrift store haul (of course).

I picked this one up at the Dollar Tree. It's the 3rd book in this particular series but it came with a pretty awesome poster so I'm not mad. I've been slowly collecting these books to read someday.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Book Review: Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi

Title: Furthermore
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: August 30, 2016
Genre: Middle-Grade, Fantasy
Length: 416 pages
Format: Hardcover
Source: borrowed

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N

There are only three things that matter to twelve-year-old Alice Alexis Queensmeadow; Mother, who wouldn't miss her; magic and color, which seem to elude her; and Father, who always loved her. The day Father disappears from Ferenwood he takes nothing but a ruler with him. But it's been almost three years since then, and Alice is determined to find him. She loves her father even more than she loves adventure, and she's about to embark on one to find the other. 

But bringing Father home is no small matter. In order to find him she'll have to travel through the mythical, dangerous land of Furthermore, where down can be up, paper is alive, and left can be both right and very, very wrong. Her only companion is a boy named Oliver whose own magical ability is based in lies and deceit--and with a liar by her side in a land where nothing is as it seems, it will take all of Alice's wits (and every limb she's got) to find Father and return home to Ferenwood in one piece. On her quest to find Father, Alice must first find herself--and hold fast to the magic of love in the face of loss. 

My Thoughts:
Ferenwood is a world filled with color and magic and it's inhabitants are just as bright, but a young girl named Alice, who was born with no color at all, stands out with her milk-white skin and hair. When she fails to procure a task at her Surrender, she joins a boy named Oliver on his quest to Furthermore, where her secrets are revealed, her magic comes to light, and her story comes together. 

The #1 word I can think of to describe this book is UNIQUE. It's very imaginative and colorful. Everything about this book was so very different than anything else I've ever read and at the same time it does remind me a little of Alice in Wonderland, and not just because the main character's name is also Alice. The whole 'falling' into Furthermore thing kind of solidified that comparison for me. There seemed to be quite a bit of nonsense as well. 

I'll admit that for the majority of this book I was nothing but confused. I was so confused that it was starting to give me a headache. In fact, the one sentence that stood out to me the most from this book was something like, "I've never been more confused in my life!"
I think the writing style also had something to do with my confusion. There were things like "a single pair of days" that made me squint and just wonder why. At the same time, some of the oddness in the writing really brought the story to life. At times it was almost poetic and I ended up enjoying it.

There were a few inconsistencies that bothered me a little bit. The biggest was the issue with Alice's clothes. In the beginning we are told that she hates clothes and would rather run around in her 'underthings' but a few chapters later we are told that Alice loves clothes, especially if they are layered, heavy, and adorned with copious amounts of embroidery or trinkets such as sequins or hammered copper circles. The garish clothes really added to the story but the back-and-forth confused me a little.

I also wasn't thrilled about the repetitive way the mother was put down towards the beginning of the story. I definitely understand that we don't all have perfect mothers but the author spent more time describing that Alice doesn't like her mother than showing or telling us why. It does seem to come to light at the end of the book but it was a little bit bothersome at first. 

Otherwise, I really enjoyed Alice as a character, even though at times I felt like she was a little too stubborn and impulsive. I think I liked the visual and magical aspects of her character more than anything. She is brave, loyal, and a number of other good things though so I can't dislike her. 

The worldbuilding of Ferenwood was decent and kept my attention but Furthermore seemed like a big melting pot of ideas that weren't solidified or described properly enough for me to get a good mental picture of them. Like I said previously, it was just really confusing. 

The ending seemed very rushed. One minute we were in the thick of things and the next it was all sorted out and everyone was back where they started. That was a little frustrating because it took so long to even get used to what was happening and then it was over. 

I'm struggling a bit with how to rate this because I did have some problems with it but it was also one of those books that is so different that I don't think I will forget it anytime soon. 

My Rating: 3.75

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Book Review: The Pumpkin House by Chad P. Brown

Title: The Pumpkin House
Author: Chad P. Brown
Publisher: Three Crows Books
Publication Date: March 7, 2013
Genre: Horror
Length: 110 pages
Format: paperback
Source: purchased

Every Halloween, Charles Keenan's farmhouse, dubbed as the Pumpkin House, is the main attraction for at least fifty miles in every direction. Mr. Keenan decorates his front yard with hundreds upon hundreds of jack-o'-lanterns in order to protect the good souls of Smith's Grove from a monster known as Old Notch-foot. 

Ronnie Lancaster volunteers at the Pumpkin House to escape from his own monster at home, his mother's boyfriend Rick. While volunteering, he meets Sarah Bowen, who still carries the haunting memories of a monster from her own past. 

As Halloween night approaches, friendships are formed, secrets are revealed, and the physical abuse Ronnie's mother endures from Rick comes to a head. Now, Ronnie must decide whether the legend of Old Notch-foot is true. 

My Thoughts:
Ronnie Lancaster wants nothing more than to escape his mother's abusive boyfriend, Rick, so he signs up to help out with the local 'Pumpkin House'. Elderly Mr. Keenan is known for carving a pumpkin for every single soul in town each year at Halloween. As the town grows, more and more people come to help the old man with the task. Ronnie is paired up with Sarah, who seems to have her own reasons for being there, and they soon become friends. When Ronnie first learns why Mr. Keenan carves the pumpkins, he doesn't believe him but the story of Old Notch-foot becomes all too real when Ronnie decides to take action on the evil that plagues his own life. 

I only know of this book because of my love for the cover artist, Abigail Larson. She does a lot of dark, macabre artwork that I absolutely adore. I'll admit that the title also really grabs my attention but for the most part, this was a cover buy. I'm always willing to add to my horror shelf though and I'm glad I took the chance. 

I really enjoyed this. The writing wasn't amazing and it was pretty predictable but this was perfect as a Halloween read. I really enjoyed the story of Old Notch-Foot and the idea of carving a pumpkin for every person to save their souls from an evil that no one but Mr. Keenan and his volunteers even seem to know about. 

Because of the dark themes in this book (abuse, rape, murder) I would probably only recommend to mature young readers and older despite that the characters in this book are 12 and 14 years old. It's not exactly scary but with the dark themes and the story itself, it makes for the perfect sort of book to read in October. 

My Rating: 3.75 - 4 stars

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Book Review: The Cartographer's Daughter by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

I received a free ecopy of this book from Netgalley and Knopf Books in exchange for an honest review.

Title: The Cartographer's Daughter
Author: Kiran Millwood Hargrave
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: November 1, 2016
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Length: 304 pages
Format: ebook
Source: Netgalley

Forbidden to leave her island, Isabella Riosse dreams of the faraway lands her father once mapped.

When her closest friend disappears into the island's Forgotten Territories, she volunteers to guide the search. As a cartographer's daughter, she's equipped with elaborate ink maps and knowledge of the stars, and is eager to navigate the island's forgotten heart. 

But the world beyond the walls is a monster-filled wasteland -- and beneath the dry rivers and smoking mountains, a legendary fire demon is stirring from its sleep. Soon, following her map, her heart and an ancient myth, Isabella discovers the true end of her journey: to save the island itself. 

From this young debut author comes a beautifully written and lyrical story of friendship, discovery, myths and magic -- perfect for fans of Philip Pullman, Frances Hardinge, or Katherine Rundell. 

My Thoughts:
Isabella lives with her father in a small village on an island that they are forbidden to leave. Her father spent his youth traveling all over the world and making maps and Isabella can only dream of doing the same. But she doesn't want to go out into the world to make maps. She just wants to go to the center of the island. Why are they forbidden to go there? When a village girl is murdered, Isabella's best friend, Lupe, the daughter of the Governor, runs away into the land of the Banished. Isabella really just wants to find her friend but she takes the opportunity to map the land as well. But there's a darkness on the island. A force that has sent hordes of animals stampeding into the ocean to drown, a darkness that has plagued the Banished and now the village. Can Isa find her friend before it's too late? 

This was originally published earlier this year as 'The Girl of Ink and Stars' with a completely different cover. That first cover and title caught my attention and had me very interested. I only learned that this is the same exact book after I had read it and I do have to say that I prefer the new title and cover. They fit the actual book much better than 'The Girl of Ink and Stars' even though that is a very lovely title. 

I didn't go into this with many expectations other than to have a good old adventure. We do get an adventure but the story as a whole was a bit confusing. I felt like I was just mysteriously supposed to know things about this story in adavnce. Is it a fantasy world or is this set in the real world in an actual time period that is not mentioned? There are places mentioned like Afrik and Amrica that clearly hint at 'real' but at the same time, there's a chance that they are just 'made up' names for places in this made up world. There didn't seem to be any clear idea of where this island is located and considering that this is a book about a girl who has spent her whole life around maps of the world, leaving out those key details seemed a little strange.
Without knowing whether it is set in a real or fictional place, the book kind of set me adrift and I had a hard time staying tethered to the story. 

The characters were likewise a little hard to understand. I'm not sure if it was lack of description so that I couldn't really picture them or if they just weren't fleshed out enough to care about. Isabella's most memorable quality was her loyalty to her friend Lupe and her father.The fast-paced plot seemed to be the driving point since the characters were lacking and the world-building was rather vague.  

The thing about this book that stuck with me most was the oppression within the village at the beginning of the book. That really set a tone in the beginning that didn't match up with the rest of the book. It felt early colonial era (maybe?) but then the story sort of turned towards mythology or fantasy and led to the confusion. 

Ok, so I haven't had many good things to say about this book but I do think younger readers might enjoy it. It's not a bad story. It just left me with lots of questions. I did like the ending. I really liked the idea of Isa's mother's map that she uses to help her navigate the Forgotten Territories. I can't say anything about the physical book but I've heard that it's quite beautiful with some map-like qualities. This might be the perfect read for others but I was just not very entertained by it. 

My Rating: 3 stars

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

November 2016 TBR

For the next two months I plan on reading the books that have been on my TBR that I didn't get around to in past months. That way, hopefully, I can start all over with a brand new TBR in 2017. Of course, these lovely review books and other new arrivals are probably going to kick those plans to the curb but I'm going to try!

For Review
1. The Fearless Travelers Guide to Wicked Places by Pete Begler (March 2017)
2. The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco (March 2017)
3. The Alchemists of Loom by Elise Kova (Jan 2017)
4. Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones (Feb 2017)

Lists (Books on special lists or my original TBR, book to movie adaptations, etc)
1. The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman
2. Inferno by Dan Brown
3. The Magic of Oz by L. Frank Baum
4. Glinda of Oz by L. Frank Baum (last book in the series!)

Books I Own
1. Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
2. Everland by Wendy Spinale
3. Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
4. And I Darken by Kiersten White
5. Gemina by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
6. Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter

MAYBE (Books borrowed on on hold at the library)
1.Thursdays with the Crown by Jessica Day George
2. Fridays in the Tower by Jessica Day George
3. A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab
4. Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo CR

Here's to hoping that I have a good reading month again! And also, a good blogging month!