Midnight Jewel

29935867Summary: In MIDNIGHT JEWEL, Richelle Mead goes beyond the glitz and glamour of the Glittering Court, delving into the dark, political underbelly of Cape Triumph through the eyes of one girl who dares to fight for her freedom.

A refugee of war, Mira was cast out of her home country and thrust into another, where the conditions were inhospitable at best. In a life-altering twist of fate, she is given the chance to escape once more, and she takes it, joining the Glittering Court.

Both a school and a business venture, the Glittering Court is designed to transform impoverished girls into upper-class ladies who appear destined for powerful and wealthy marriages in the New World. There, Mira finds herself subjected to persecution, not only from her fellow Glittering Court jewels, but from her suitors, as well—men she would potentially be expected to give her life to.

By day, she goes through the motions, learning the etiquette and customs that will help to earn her anonymity, even making a couple true friends in the process, the forthright ladies’ maid Adelaide and the ambitious laundress Tamsin. But by night, Mira hatches a different plan entirely—one that, if exposed, could get her hanged in the highest court of Adoria.

MIDNIGHT JEWEL is the extraordinary story of a girl with few options who courageously forges a new path, finding love, passion, lifelong friendships, and maybe even a way to freedom.


Review: 4 stars

The Glittering Court  was a novel I really enjoyed. For Richelle Mead if felt a bit different than what she typically writes. This series has no fantasy aspect, but Richelle always brings forth compelling characters and interesting plots to go along with them. Now when I started Midnight Jewel I thought it was a continuation of Adelaide’s story, which confused me because I remembered it concluding to read like a stand alone. When I discovered that it told Mira’s story instead, I found myself intrigued but also a bit relieved as I didn’t have to try and play catch up since it had been so long since reading the first one. With that being said, this can be read as a standalone.

Mira is a strong female lead, headstrong, and independent. Which makes things difficult for the time period, but also makes her an interesting and compelling personality to read about. I like her story as much, if not more than Adelaide’s. Even as Mira gets involved with pirates, she keeps herself morally intact and acts more like Robin Hood than just a bandit. I really respect her choices and found her to be a character that I can admire.

Richelle Mead is one of the top authors that I idolize, having read most of her adult work. So I wanted to take a look at what makes her work stand out to me. What it came down to was really her character development more than anything. Her plots range from okay to great, but I came back every time for series that had 6 books a piece because of the characters. It really showed me how important it is to construct characters with a compelling personality. Mira had just that, an interesting backstory and a compelling personality.

Books by Richelle Mead are always on my wishlist and I hope to read the concluding book of this trilogy which will follow Tamsin’s journey in the Glittering Court. I am also on the lookout for a copy of Soundless.


The Dressmaker


Summary: Just in time for the centennial anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic comes a vivid, romantic, and relentlessly compelling historical novel about a spirited young woman who survives the disaster only to find herself embroiled in the media frenzy left in the wake of the tragedy.

Tess, an aspiring seamstress, thinks she’s had an incredibly lucky break when she is hired by famous designer Lady Lucile Duff Gordon to be a personal maid on the Titanic’s doomed voyage. Once on board, Tess catches the eye of two men, one a roughly-hewn but kind sailor and the other an enigmatic Chicago millionaire. But on the fourth night, disaster strikes.

Amidst the chaos and desperate urging of two very different suitors, Tess is one of the last people allowed on a lifeboat. Tess’s sailor also manages to survive unharmed, witness to Lady Duff Gordon’s questionable actions during the tragedy. Others—including the gallant Midwestern tycoon—are not so lucky.

On dry land, rumors about the survivors begin to circulate, and Lady Duff Gordon quickly becomes the subject of media scorn and later, the hearings on the Titanic. Set against a historical tragedy but told from a completely fresh angle, The Dressmaker is an atmospheric delight filled with all the period’s glitz and glamour, all the raw feelings of a national tragedy and all the contradictory emotions of young love.


Review: 4 stars

The Dressmaker by Kate Alcott shines a whole new lighkt on the sinking of the Titanic. Kate Alcott writes about some of the real people who were aboard the Titanic, bringing together fact and fiction.

This is another book that I picked up after visiting the Titanic museum in Pidgeon Forge. My mom and I read this book at the same time and she actually finished it first, which is really saying something for me. This book went slow for me, I didn’t feel compelled to devour it.

One thing that kind of shocked me is that the Titanic sinks relatively early in this novel. The majority of the story is about after the sinking. It’s quite different than most stories about the Titanic. I found reading about the trials that happened afterwards to be incredibly interesting.

The book really makes you think about how people act during a crisis. Some of the actions of people can be incredibly brave, yet others acted selfishly and quite despicably. It is really interesting to think on as this novel is based on true events and people. Fear really brings out the absolute best and also the absolute worst in people.

Just because I didn’t read The Dressmaker quickly doesn’t mean that it wasn’t good. Quite the opposite in fact. It was truly a thought provoking novel. I found myself wondering if I would be brave in this type of scenario. I’d like to think that I would be a hero, but you can never know how you would really act until placed in a scenario like that. I couldn’t stop thinking of the way the passengers on Lifeboat 1 acted. The characters were so well developed that by the end of the novel I could actually understand how they could act so horribly because I could see it from their perspective.

Kate Alcott is a fantastic author. This was a well researched, developed and written piece of work. It is filled with characters that you root for and ones that you despise. But above all else, it is a novel that is filled with hope.

The Heart Goes Last

24388326Summary: Margaret Atwood puts the human heart to the ultimate test in an utterly brilliant new novel that is as visionary as The Handmaid’s Tale and as richly imagined as The Blind Assassin.

Stan and Charmaine are a married couple trying to stay afloat in the midst of an economic and social collapse. Job loss has forced them to live in their car, leaving them vulnerable to roving gangs. They desperately need to turn their situation around – and fast. The Positron Project in the town of Consilience seems to be the answer to their prayers. No one is unemployed and everyone gets a comfortable, clean house to live in… for six months out of the year. On alternating months, residents of Consilience must leave their homes and function as inmates in the Positron prison system. Once their month of service in the prison is completed, they can return to their “civilian” homes.

At first, this doesn’t seem like too much of a sacrifice to make in order to have a roof over one’s head and food to eat. But when Charmaine becomes romantically involved with the man who lives in their house during the months when she and Stan are in the prison, a series of troubling events unfolds, putting Stan’s life in danger. With each passing day, Positron looks less like a prayer answered and more like a chilling prophecy fulfilled.


Review: 3 stars 

This book I picked up because of recognizing Margaret Atwood. I thought it was really interesting setting. It felt like you were taking back in time, to like the 1950’s or something. Honestly, living the way they were I probably would’ve signed up for the social experiment as well.

Pretty soon they become obsessed with their alternates, (how could you not!) which is a recipe for disaster. From the beginning this one had me hooked with the idea, it just feels “different “. But at the same time it doesn’t feel completely fleshed out. It is as if the book is just scratching the surface with a good idea. Interesting, but not enthralling

Spell Book & Scandal

35963502Summary: Shelby King is tired of living in her sister’s shadow. Just because Christina is the most powerful caster in school doesn’t mean Shelby’s any good at magic; she’s a scribe, like her mom, and everyone expects her to write spells for her sister, the way her mom always has for her dad. But Shelby’s spells fail spectacularly, and by the time she’s a sophomore, Christina won’t touch them with a ten-foot-pole; their parents aren’t much better. Shelby is fed up, and she decides to show the world she doesn’t care if she isn’t as good as her stuck-up sister, or as talented as their powerful parents. In fact, she decides it’s time to break all the rules, magical and otherwise, and she starts sneaking out to meet Jeremiah Smallwood, the second-best caster in school at illegal pop-up spell battles around town. She may not be able to scribe for him, but she doesn’t mind letting him think that she could; Shelby’s been half in love with Miah as long as she can remember, but he’s never paid attention to her until now, and she’s not going to risk her chances worrying about a pesky thing like the truth. But when Christina rats her out to their parents, Shelby can’t control her anger, and words come pouring out of her that she can’t take back even if she wanted to, threatening Christina’s future…and Shelby’s own chances with Jeremiah. It’ll take more magic than Shelby’s ever dreamed of to set things right, but no scribe has that much magic…right?


Review: 4 stars

This was incredible. Sibling rivalry, magic spells and a romance all intertwined in a way that keeps you on the edge of your seat. Spell Book & Scandal was a fast paced captivating read that I devoured in one sitting. I was disappointed when it ended, but only because I wanted more of the story.

The pacing and plot were expertly crafted and executed in this YA fantasy. Th re story keeps you on the edge of your seat with a gripping plot. Before starting this book I would suggest making sure that you have time set aside to read it, because you won’t want to set this one down. I tore through it and was left feeling hungry for a sequel.

The characters were relatable. They weren’t perfect, but they were realistic and it was fun to walk in their shoes. Sibling rivalry is a big theme in this book and it is portrayed pretty realistically. Sisters cHaracter be quite mean to each other, but in the end family loyalty is important and should win out. It is easy to understand the perspectives of both sisters in this novel.

The world building is cool, yet not too intricate. In a world full of spell casters and scribes it is funny to think that witches don’t want to be discriminated against. It is hard to imagine a world in which magic co-exists with the human world, but it works well in this novel with realistic portrayals of discrimination. The politics of the magic world aren’t explained very thoroughly, but it isn’t really necessary for this book.

The writing itself was good. At no point did I feel as if it was over descriptive, but I also never felt confused. The storyline moved fast, but not too much that the plot felt rushed. The tight rope act of weaving a well balanced story is perforgmed without fail here. I did feel as if the romantic relationship could have been built on a little more as when the story ended I felt as if I hardly knew Miah. This made me feel as if the romantic aspect wasn’t very strong, but it is also a budding relationship.

This wasn’t exactly a book that brought forward a ton of emotions. I would have liked a bit more character development and some stronger relationships. Overall I absolutely loved the story though. I tore through it and it left me wishing for more. I am eager to read more by Jen McConnel and I would recommend this to those who enjoy a quick YA fantasy novel.

Breaking Faith


I chase the dragon again. The white curly smoke drifts around me. The animal in my gut leaves me for a while, and I touch peace…

Faith Emily Hansen just wants to be loved and to live without the weight of addiction. But the lure of drugs is strong. The relief that she gets from being wrapped up in the cozy little cotton ball of heroin is impossible to ignore.

Faith’s story starts in her earliest days, before drugs, before her family falls apart. Before her mother leaves. Before her sister betrays her, taking away Faith’s last connection to home. She eventually becomes consumed by the need to “chase the dragon” – the heroin addiction that seems to keep the Darkness at bay, but leads her to live on the street. The determination to find love and comfort that lures Faith to drugs is ultimately the same stubborn force that can drive her to recover.


Review: 4 stars

This story felt so real to me. Characters that had so much depth and a story that will break your heart Breaking Faith was one of those novels that makes you feel your emotions deep in the marrow of your bones. This is a story that really helps you see the progression of addiction. It is raw. It is real.

Faith was the perfect main character. She was full of both flaws and redeeming qualities. You really empathize for her as she struggled. The story was told from her perspective, but you could also see that sometimes her point of view was skewed.

It is often hard for people to understand addiction or running away. This is a title that will bring you the viewpoint of an addict and show you how messy it can all be. Show you just how a young girl can wind up an addict. In my opinion I also believe this is an accurate portrayal of what it is like to have PTSD. It is clear the author truly understands these subjects and how they can affect someone’s life.

The broken family dynamics in this novel are showcased brilliantly. It is not just Faith who is created with so many dimensions, but even more minor characters like Norma have in depth back stories. These broken people each try and fix themselves in their individual ways, but in Faith’s case in leads to self medication.

I kind of feel that the using part of Faith’s story was glossed over a bit. I know that she was only using for about 6 months, but the lengths that she went to for her addiction aren’t shown very well in my opinion. I also feel like getting clean came a little too easily for her. A more realistic portrayal would show relapse before complete success, but everyone is different.

From a mental health perspective this is a great portrayal of the mind of someone going through these types of struggles. I hope that people can read this and become more educated on PTSD and addiction. These are lifelong struggles that are hindered by stigma. I would suggest this to people who need more education about either disorder. Breaking Faith was a realistic and heartbreaking read.

Pink Lock Picks and Sequined Witch Hats

35433429Summary: Seventeen-year-old homecoming queen, Gracie Mason, is a budding burglar.

While attempting her inaugural break-in, Gracie blacks out and wakes up far away from the scene. It turns out she accidentally intruded on a male witch’s “circle of power,” and now she’s bonded to him for life.

Gracie quickly learns that dissolving the bond with Asher, admittedly a very handsome and charming witch, is more complicated than she initially thought. To break the bond, Gracie must delve deeper into a society of witches that involves a secret club, a shadowy council, and all sorts of magical mischief. And right when it seems things can’t get any worse, witches start turning up dead.

It’s clear that Gracie is out of her depth as her quest to sever the bond magically turns into a murder investigation. But if Gracie and Asher don’t quickly uncover the killer, they might be next on the list.


Review: 3 stars

I received a review copy of this title

My initial draw to this title was that it sounded like a cute YA read and it also had witches. It sounded like a light read that I might enjoy. A few chapters in I felt as if the story was overflowing with cliches and the main character, Gracie, was too superficial. Fortunately she wound up having enough depth to her character that I was able to enjoy the read.

The world building was pretty cool. I liked the idea of witches each specializing in a particular element. The politics of witch royalty and how they must marry influential humans was all pretty neat as well. The world constructed within this story was pretty well crafted.

Asher made for a pretty interesting character and a good love interest. In some ways I did find him a little too perfect though, but it wasn’t over the top. My favorite character was probably his twin sister Willow. I think it would be far more interesting to read a story from her point of view as she is not so vanilla.

The plot and pacing were good and this was a captivating story. At times I found myself irritated with how superficial and self-absorbed Gracie was. Brand name clothes and expensive clothes were too important for me to take her seriously all the time. But from the cover and description all of that seems like what I signed up for, so it wasn’t surprising. There was no false advertising.

The plot, world building and writing really make this book shine though. It could have fell flat with how superficial and vanilla it was at times. But the author really added depth with her writing. By the end of the story Gracie felt more likable and I’m glad I didn’t give up reading this one. The best aspect of this book was probably the world building.

The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

16429619Summary:  princess must find her place in a reborn world. 

She flees on her wedding day.

She steals ancient documents from the Chancellor’s secret collection.

She is pursued by bounty hunters sent by her own father.

She is Princess Lia, seventeen, First Daughter of the House of Morrighan.

The Kingdom of Morrighan is steeped in tradition and the stories of a bygone world, but some traditions Lia can’t abide. Like having to marry someone she’s never met to secure a political alliance.

Fed up and ready for a new life, Lia flees to a distant village on the morning of her wedding. She settles in among the common folk, intrigued when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deceptions swirl and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—secrets that may unravel her world—even as she feels herself falling in love


Review: 3 1/2 stars

This novel is more of a romance book than anything else. Sure, it could be classified as a fantasy, but the fantasy elements do not appear much and are not very fantastical in nature. “The gift” is just a gut instinct and honestly, the book could tell the same story without including that aspect. I hope there is more fantasy elements in the sequel. This isn’t saying that I don’t like romance novels, I do, but I just felt like this book has been falsely advertised.

I do have to give credit because this book orchestrated a huge and incredibly well crafted twist that completely caught me off guard. Not wanting to give things away I will leave it at that. I found myself in awe because I really didn’t see that one coming.

This book didn’t have a fast paced plot, which was appropriate for the slow building romance. It does end in a cliffhanger and I was left feeling that the story was unfinished. I did enjoy the book enough to return for a sequel, but I would not say that the sequel is at the top of my current wish list. Overall it was decent, but not worth the hype.

Tithe by Holly Black


Summary: Welcome to the realm of very scary faeries!

Sixteen-year-old Kaye is a modern nomad. Fierce and independent, she travels from city to city with her mother’s rock band until an ominous attack forces Kaye back to her childhood home. There, amid the industrial, blue-collar New Jersey backdrop, Kaye soon finds herself an unwilling pawn in an ancient power struggle between two rival faerie kingdoms – a struggle that could very well mean her death.


3 1/2 stars

Review: I found Tithe exceptionally original. I haven’t found many books about faeries though, and maybe that’s why. Regardless, Holly Black creates an incredibly dark and vivid fantasy world in this novel.

The personalities of the characters were developed exceptionally well. I found myself drawn to Kaye and all her weirdness. Kaye is far from ordinary, which is one of the many aspects that make her so likable. She is beautifully flawed. She is a character who I would be friends with in real life.

Tithe has a good plot, even though it is a bit slow paced at times. One thing I have to mention is that I didn’t feel as if the character transformation or “growth” throughout the story felt believable, it suddenly felt as if Kaye was a completely different person. Also there were times where the fantasy was a bit overwhelming and felt utterly impossible. I did still find it to be quite engrossing, probably because Holly Black is such an incredible writer that it makes up for any aspect of the novel that is lacking something. With all that being said this is not the book that I would use to judge Holly Black’s abilities as an author, this is not her best work.

All the Wrong Chords

34773854Summary: Scarlett Stiles is desperate for a change of scenery after her older brother, Liam, dies of a drug overdose. But spending the summer with her grandfather wasn’t exactly what she had in mind. Luckily, Scarlett finds something to keep her busy–a local rock band looking for a guitarist. Even though playing guitar has been hard since Liam died, Scarlett can’t pass on an opportunity like this, and she can’t take her eyes off the band’s hot lead singer either. Is real happiness just around the corner? Or will she always be haunted by her brother’s death?


Review: 3 stars

I received an Advanced Review Copy from Flux publishing and Netgalley. 

I picked this book up based on the description. I have lost many loved ones due to addiction, so I was able to relate to Scarlett rather easily. At times this book helped me see things from a different light, from the perspectives of those who don’t really understand addiction. I was glad to be able to see that point of view as sometimes it is really hard to understand the thinking of those who don’t truly understand.

This was a quick, fluffy YA romance. All the Wrong Chords captured the essence of young adult love. Making mistakes, over thinking and questioning your actions and also not yet being completely comfortable in your own skin. But it isn’t all light hearted as it does show how pain can help bring people together to comfort one another and try to heal.

One of the other things that I really loved was the lyrics written for the band. I felt as if this book was serenading me. Not only do you get a cute YA romance, but you also get some cool lyrics. All the Wrong Chords is the complete package of a fluffy teen romance. It is a novel full of love, loss, heartache and healing. I would recommend this book to almost anyone, especially since it doesn’t paint the addict as a villain.




Confessions of a Queen B*


25124193Summary: Alexis Wyndham is the other type of Queen B—the Queen Bitch.

After years of being the subject of ridicule, she revels in her ability to make the in-crowd cower via the exposés on her blog, The Eastline Spy. Now that she’s carved out her place in the high school hierarchy, she uses her position to help the unpopular kids walking the hallways.

Saving a freshman from bullies? Check.
Swapping insults with the head cheerleader? Check.
Falling for the star quarterback? So not a part of her plan.

But when Brett offers to help her solve the mystery of who’s posting X-rated videos from the girls’ locker room, she’ll have to swallow her pride and learn to see past the high school stereotypes she’s never questioned—until now

My Review: 4 stars

I picked this one up because I was a super bitchy, angst filled teenager and I loved Mean Girls back in the day. It was much easier for me to relate to the bitchy characters than the head cheerleader type.

It was pretty good. Alexis was moderately bitchy, but throughout the story her ice queen exterior definitely started to melt. Brett is a little too perfect for my tastes. I am a person who appreciates flaws in romantic interests. The romance had some hot, yet YA appropriate moments, yet I still don’t find myself falling over Brett. He’s way too vanilla, but if that’s your thing, then who am I to judge?

There was a decent plot to this book though, which I didn’t entirely expect. When reading about teen heart throbs sometimes you lose that. It felt more like Gossip Girl than Veronica Mars, but I’m not going to lie, I’ve seen every episode of both TV series. But the novel ended rather abruptly. Not exactly a cliffhanger, but definitely left the story feeling unfinished.

It was a fast paced fluff read that I finished in a matter of hours. I am pleased to say that it wasn’t as cliche as I thought it would be. The characters aren’t all your cookie cutter stereotypes. I am interested to see where the story goes if I come across a copy of the sequel, but I don’t see myself seeking it out. Recommended if you need a quick fluff read to clean your pallet after something deeper.