The Casquette Girls by Alys Arden: Book Review

And when all was done and all was said, we sat silently staring at the moon’s reflection on the rippling river, soaking it all in. The differences between people, cultures and times.
The monsters. The myths.
The heroes.
The victims.
The love and loss.
Loss and love.

☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆ Goodreads Synopsis: Seven girls tied by time.
Five powers that bind.
One curse to lock the horror away.
One attic to keep the monsters at bay.

After the storm of the century rips apart New Orleans, sixteen-year-old Adele Le Moyne wants nothing more than her now silent city to return to normal. But with home resembling a war zone, a parish-wide curfew, and mysterious new faces lurking in the abandoned French Quarter, normal needs a new definition.

As the city murder rate soars, Adele finds herself tangled in a web of magic that weaves back to her own ancestors. Caught in a hurricane of myths and monsters, who can she trust when everyone has a secret and keeping them can mean life or death? Unless . . . you’re immortal.

Commentary: I am so surprised by the amount of five star ratings for this book, because I felt that the book was okay. ╮(•˘︿ ˘•)╭ I was really excited for this book because I really liked the synopsis, and I had high expectations for it. I had to put this book down several times because it was very slow paced. I was not a big fan of the first part of the story. The author kept describing the scenery a lot. For example, it felt like I was reading about twelve chapters of description. I didn’t like the author’s writing style as well. There was not that much action in the first part. At times, the book was a bit creepy and I found the protagonist to be a bit annoying. I really wanted to drop the book until I got to the second part. The story became stronger and it captivated me more. o(^◇^)o

I couldn’t relate to Adele, the protagonist, she was a bit too naive. At times she was very childish, but there were a few moments where she was a bit mature. Also, I was not a big fan of the romance in this book. There was a complicated love triangle in this book. There is Isaac, who has magical powers and descendant of the original coven, and Niccolo, a vampire who wanted Adele to break the curse. If I had to chose, I like Isaac more. Isaac had a love-hate relationship with Adele and they had lots of instant chemistry, but in the book, Adele focused her attention on Niccolo more than Isaac. It felt like Isaac was the second guy, even though he wasn’t. There weren’t enough Isaac moments in this book. Even though she gets with Isaac in the end, it still felt that she was still in love with Niccolo. ⸜₍⚛•⌣•⚛₎⸝

Adele’s friendship with Desiree was better than the romance. Desiree is a popular girl, who wants to have no part in witchcraft. She had to be my favorite character. She also played a part in accidentally releasing vampires in her hometown. She seemed like a mean girl at first, but she was very helpful to Adele. I really liked how Adele and her team up when they both discover that their ancestors were part of a coven. ( ◞・౪・)

Adeline’s narrative was so much better. Her diary entries are far more interesting. Adeline was really mature for her age. I really like how she felt responsible and guilty for the deaths of many people. I would have liked this book more if there were more diary entries. I loved her friendship with the triplets. I was really shocked to find out what happened to one of the triplets. It was very sad. I did like Adeline’s relationship with Gabe too. I did feel that he was starting to fall for her. I really wanted there to be more descendants from the original coven in this book!!

The last part of the book felt quickly rushed for me, but it was still good and shocking!!! I was not expecting that twist! It was so good! It all made sense in the end. I thought there was going to be a major battle scene amongst the vampire and the coven. I was wrong. Instead, Adele find the courage to take on the vampires in order to save her friends. I felt her actions were noble. Even though the vampires were stronger than her, she had to face them alone. What I really hope for the next book is for Adeline’s father to have a backstory since he is the most mysterious character in the book. Not much of him is known and the vampires have it out against him. Also, I hope the other descendants are discovered.

Finally, I’d like to thank NetGalley for getting this arc!!

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ ☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆

Shadows On The Moon by Zoë Marriott: Book Review

“People trust their eyes above all else – but most people see what they wish to see, or what they believe they should see; not what is really there”

☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆Goodreads Synopsis: A powerful tale of magic, love and revenge with a strong female lead set in fairy-tale Japan; this is “Cinderella” meets “Memoirs of a Geisha”. Trained in the magical art of shadow-weaving, sixteen-year-old Suzume is able to recreate herself in any form – a fabulous gift for a girl desperate to escape her past. But who is she really? Is she a girl of noble birth living under the tyranny of her mother’s new husband, Lord Terayama, or a lowly drudge scraping a living in the ashes of Terayama’s kitchens, or Yue, the most beautiful courtesan in the Moonlit Lands? Whatever her true identity, Suzume is destined to capture the heart of a prince – and determined to use his power to destroy Terayama. And nothing will stop her, not even love.

Review: A fantastic reimagining of Cinderella. Suzume has gone through many hardships at such a young age. The death of her father and cousin haunt her. She is forced to live with her stepfather, Terayama, and mother, Yukiko. In this story, there are no wicked stepsisters and the Shadow Ball is not a charming escape to a better life. This story is about revenge, love, and magic.

Suzume, I loved her! She is content with being plain looking. She had to endure so much pain. Her mother was very submissive and loyal to Terayama. Suzume couldn’t talk to anyone about her feelings and resorted to cutting herself in order to cope. She has a gift of shadow weaving, she is very talented with her gift, but she was never aware of her powers. She is very determined, angsty, and stubborn. When she makes a plan, she wants to see it happen. She doesn’t believe she deserves happiness and believes that the only way to atone for her sins is to avenge her fallen family. Though Suzume has to change her identity several times, she knew how to adapt and stay strong in order to survive. ≧ω≦

Otieno, is Suzume’s love interest. From the moment he saw her, he knew that she was “the one”. He is not the prince, instead, he is close allies to the Moon Prince. He is also a talented shadow weaver. He became involved in Suzume’s life when Terayama almost tried to kill her in order to get Otieno and his family’s attention. He is Suzume’s opposite, whereas Suzume believes she does not deserve love, he does. He is optimistic about their future and may I say, he has a lot of patience with her. Though Suzume tries to avoid him, he always finds a way to be with her. Lastly, biracial couple. Yassss!!! ✧٩(•́⌄•́๑)

The magical fairy of this story would be Akira. Akira was the former Shadow Bride, who meets Suzume in jail. I really loved Akira, she was my favorite character. She was sassy and lovely. She was a legend among young children since the typical Shadow Bride isn’t a courtesan. I really loved her relationship with Suzume. I thought it was so cute how the two of them decided to stay sisters.

(☞◣д◢)☞ Lord Terayama was my least favorite character. He got what he deserved in the end. I liked how the author gave him a backstory. He wasn’t just some random background character that her mother remarries. He plays a crucial role in Suzume becoming a revenge fueled girl.  But Suzume’s mother, I was disappointed with the most. She tells her daughter that she loves her, but would rather listen to what her new husband says. She feels threaten when the attention is not on her. There were moments that showed how motherly she was, but most of the time, she wants to move on and forget all about the past. She never protects Suzume, ever. If I could describe her in one word it would be coward.

The Moon Prince isn’t the love interest, one would think since this is a Cinderella retelling. The Shadow Ball isn’t the dreamy party of the year. In fact, the Shadow Ball is an event for one girl to become the prince’s Shadow Bride. The winner of the Shadow Ball is to be with the prince, but could never marry for the rest of her life. I loved the world that the author created. It would have been cool if the author went into more detail about the moon kingdom. After reading the final chapter, I wanted more. I wanted to know the fate of Suzume and Otieno. But for now, I’ll just imagine that they got their happily ever after. ╭(♡・ㅂ・)و ̑̑

Shadows On the Moon did remind me of Cinder by Marissa Meyer. I would recommend this story to fans of the Lunar Chronicles and pretty much anyone who loves a good revenge story. It’s a standalone book too. There are no frustrating love triangles!!!

Quotes:

Better naked and alive than decent and dead, I thought.”

“You see, that is why it is so easy to fool people with our illusions, Yue. In this world, illusions are usually much kinder than the truth.”

“Real love is hard because it requires one to know and accept another person with all their faults.”

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4.25)

Book Trailer

Read the first chapter for free. ☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☆

Beastkeeper by Cat Hellisen: Book Review

“Because you can’t go around breaking curses willy-nilly. It doesn’t work like that Curses are strict There are rules to follow and conditions to meet. That’s the beauty of them. And why they cannot be broken.” – Alan

Goodreads Synopsis: Sarah has always been on the move. Her mother hates the cold, so every few months her parents pack their bags and drag her off after the sun. She’s grown up lonely and longing for magic. She doesn’t know that it’s magic her parents are running from.

When Sarah’s mother walks out on their family, all the strange old magic they have tried to hide from comes rising into their mundane world. Her father begins to change into something wild and beastly, but before his transformation is complete, he takes Sarah to her grandparents—people she has never met, didn’t even know were still alive.

Deep in the forest, in a crumbling ruin of a castle, Sarah begins to untangle the layers of curses affecting her family bloodlines, until she discovers that the curse has carried over to her, too. The day she falls in love for the first time, Sarah will transform into a beast . . . unless she can figure out a way to break the curse forever.

Commentary: Reading fairy tale adaptations are my favorites. I picked this book up because the plot was very interesting since the girl is the beast and she’s trying to remove her curse. I thought it was going to be a young adult novel, and a bit more romantic. This novel is really bittersweet. First of all, the curse is a bit confusing for me. The males in her family become beasts while the females become birds, and Sarah becomes a beast. I thought she would have became a bird like her grandmother and mother, not a beast. Not that I have a problem with Sarah being a beast, but one would assume she would become a bird. Yes, it’s true that the protagonist develops feelings for Alan, a beastkeeper, but romance does not play a huge role in reversing the curse. I loved how true love’s kiss would break the curse. Sarah had to discover how to change back by discovering her family’s secret. I felt really sorry for Sarah, her family sucked. Her mother left her, her father left her, and her grandparents love her. I didn’t feel any emotional connection towards any of her family members. They were really selfish. Now, the curse was placed on her family because of bitterness and jealousy. Sarah was the only sane member of her family. Her grandmothers were reluctant to share any information on the curse. The curse could have been lifted if her witch grandmothers would have talked instead of being angry with each other. Sarah is the only character to mature, and I liked her journey to become human. I also liked how Alan and Sarah chose to become friends. This story is not your typical happily ever after and it was far more different than I imagined. It’s a fast read, but not as entertaining as I thought it would be. Would I recommend it? Yes, I fell in love with the author’s writing style and though the ending was bittersweet, it felt a bit more realistic than a happy ending.

Quotes:

“You can’t make someone fall in love with you…and that is where the storytellers write their own sugary versions of the truth. A pack of lies until they reach ‘The End.’ But no story ever comes to an end, at least not one so neat. There are vioices silenced, characters erased at the storyteller’s whim.”

“People fall out of love slower than they fall in, to be sure, but there’s the story no one wants to tell. It’s dull. Boring. The good ones don’t always win. Nothing lasts forever.”

“It was love that cursed, and love that saved.”

“The people who should have loved her hadn’t; her enemies wore smiles, and her family, snarls.”

“You told me yourself that curses always go in circles. I am choosing to step out of the circle. Maybe I can’t break it, but I can refuse to be a part of it, to step away from revenge and jealousy…I can do what you couldn’t. I can forgive.”

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (3.5)

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater: Book Review

“My words are unerring tools of destruction, and I’ve come unequipped with the ability to disarm them.”

Goodreads Synopsis: “There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

From Maggie Stiefvater, the bestselling and acclaimed author of the Shiver trilogy and The Scorpio Races, comes a spellbinding new series where the inevitability of death and the nature of love lead us to a place we’ve never been before.

Commentary: I considered dropping this book, I really did. I really tried reading through this book and my mind kept wandering from start to finish. I have no idea how I finished either, but anyways, this book had a very good plot. I did not enjoy the author’s writing style, that was my main problem. I have to say that the book started to get interesting once I read past 100 pages or so. This story was told in multiple perspectives. The main protagonist is Blue Sargent that lives in a house full of physics, except she isn’t one. Instead, she is more like a battery and she helps the psychics get a better reading. Then there is also Gansey who is Blue’s true love and comes from a wealthy family. He doesn’t show off his wealth and luxuries, instead he prefers the supernatural and is on a quest to search for Glendower. I kept imagining a really huge Hugh Grant whenever I read Gansey’s perspective. What I appreciated about this book was that Blue didn’t immediately fall for Gansey, instead the book focused on their friendship. As a reader, it’s a given that Gansey and Blue will at some point develop romantic feelings for each other. It was interesting that Blue and Adam got together. I didn’t sense any chemistry between them; I felt that they should have been friends rather than be in a relationship. Blue kept rejecting his romantic advances (ex: Adam wanting to kiss her) even though she already knew that Gansey is her true love and not Adam. I’m not sure how it is going to be in the second book. Will it become a love triangle or not? I’m hoping that it won’t become a love triangle. I hope that Blue and Adam just break up without any drama. One of my favorite scenes from the book was discovering that Noah was a ghost. I had a feeling that there was something supernatural about him since I felt he was the least mentioned from the boys, and also because he would never talk about school with them. It was really sad knowing that he has been dead all along, and what is sadder is that none of his friends realized it. I like how it was revealed that his best friend at the time, Barrington Whelk, killed him in order to awaken the ley line, but it didn’t work. Barrington Whelk was wealthy when he was an Aglionby student until his family became broke. The best way to describe Whelk is that he is a man-child. He was spoiled and wanted to be rich again even if it meant sacrificing Noah. The sacrifice ritual did not work for him seven years prior to present. Once he discovered that Gansey was searching for the ley lines, he wanted attempt to awaken the ley lines again. I thought he was a perfect villain for the first book. He is the perfect representation of an Aglionby boy according to how Blue used to see them as. Ronan grew on me because at first I thought he was violent and had anger issues, and needed therapy, but later on its revealed that he cares deeply for his friends and would do anything for them. Now near the ending of the book had me shocked when he says to his friends that he pulled Chainsaw, the raven, from his dreams. What?! I wanted to know more about Ronan’s power, and hopefully there’s more to him in the second book. Lastly, there’s Adam. I liked him, I really did, but then towards the ending of the book I was like “Adam why?” I felt that he was the opposite of Whelk, Adam felt that he had to work hard in order to be successful. He was very prideful and stubborn to accept help coming from Gansey. There was so much going on the book that I can’t even describe it all in one review. It was creepy and scary, but I couldn’t get over how descriptive the author’s writing style was. I did like the plot, and I might continue reading this series just because there are still many unanswered questions such as what happened to Ronan’s father, does Blue’s father have psychic abilities, will Neeve return, what happens to Adam now that he has sacrificed his free will, and so on.

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (3.5)

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo: Book Review

“I missed you every hour. And you know what the worst part was? It caught me completely by surprise. I’d catch myself just walking around to find you, not for any reason, just out of habit, because I’d seen something that I wanted to tell you about or because I wanted to hear your voice. And then I’d realize that you weren’t there anymore, and every time, every single time, it was like having the wind knocked out of me. I’ve risked my life for you. I’ve walked half the length of Ravka for you, and I’d do it again and again and again just to be with you, just to starve with you and freeze with you and hear you complain about hard cheese every day. So don’t tell me why we don’t belong together,” he said fiercely.”

Goodreads Synopsis:

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.

 Characters: I have to say that I did not like Alina when I started the book. I felt she was a bit annoying, that was until she was taken to the Little Palace. I have to say that I liked how strong she became and how she was determined to become powerful and useful to the Darkling. Though the Darkling is the villain of the story, I did feel that he and Alina had chemistry together, though he was just seducing her. I was beyond shocked when the real intentions of the Darkling were revealed. I really liked them together, but not as much as Alina and Mal. Now Mal, I liked his character development. I really did not think that Mal was going to win me over. He was introduced as this Don Juan type of guy who was extremely popular with everyone and I was feeling meh about him especially since he did not write back to Alina. But when he comes back into Alina’s life, I was far more intrigued. His confession to her was so sweet, and it was in that moment where he won my heart. Usually, I don’t like the love triangles, but I thought this one was very interesting. I loved the Darkling; I can’t seem to hate him despite being a villain. The secondary characters were interesting, I really liked Genya, and I wonder if she will become stronger in the second book.

Commentary: I kept seeing great reviews coming from this book series on both Tumblr. I haven’t read any books on Russian fantasy, so it was a very interesting to see how the author created this magical realm. I kept picturing the Little Palace as a boarding school. I loved the ball scene when Alina and the Darkling perform in front of the royals. Morozova’s stag reminded me of the deer from Princess Mononoke, even the death scene (maybe it’s just me). Near the ending of the book, I had no idea what was going to happen to Alina and Mal. I did not want Mal to die, and luckily he didn’t! I had no idea how Alina and Mal were going to escape the Darkling’s clutches when they were in the Fold, but that whole scene was amazing. I kept picturing Alina surrounded by beautiful light rescuing the guy she loves, that was my favorite part. I loved how Alina realizes that she has the power to break free from the Darkling. I did have a few problems with the book and that was some of the words. I wish the author had put a glossary in the back of the book just so I can easily look up the meaning of the words. Some parts did feel a little cliché, but those were just minor problems. I am really glad that this book met my expectations and I can’t wait to finish this series. Lastly, I read that this series will get a movie adaptation; I hope that when the movie comes to theaters, it does not flop, but instead satisfy fans of this series.

Final Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️