Thursday, September 14, 2017

The Book Jumper - Mechthild Glaser

Before we even get to the actual story, let's talk visuals for a second. This book cover is GORGEOUS. Seriously, I fell in love with it the second I picked it up off the shelf at the library. If I there was a poster of this cover, I'd totally buy it. That being said, I didn't let my love (okay, okay - obsession) with the cover cloud my judgement for this review. After this sentence, it's strictly content. Aaaand go.

Amy Lennox lives with her hippie mother in Germany along with her closest companions: books, as many of them as she can get her hands on. An avid reader, Amy spends her days adventuring with her favorite characters. When a bad breakup hits at home, Amy and her mother decide to return to their ancestral home, Stormsay, in Scotland for a summer getaway. She'd always been told her mother's family was a little crazy and she soon realizes the truth behind it when they land on the tiny island with almost no inhabitants in the middle of a storm. But what was supposed to be a relaxing vacation takes an unexpected turn when Amy learns that she has inherited her family's gift of book jumping, the ability to jump into a story and interact with the characters while she is of a certain age. Not only that, but the power is stronger in her than other members of the family, allowing her to jump from wherever she desires instead of under the portal required by the others. Soon, she is meeting her favorite characters and seeing her favorite fictional places, but there's a catch to her newfound powers; whatever happens, the plot of the story must continue as normal.

Amy begins attending classes with the two others people on the island that share her powers, and it soon becomes apparent that something is wrong in the literary world. Sherlock Holmes goes missing, and the key ideas behind classic stories are being stolen without warning. Amy, who has been sneaking into books without her instructor's supervision, makes friends with an unlikely literary character who tries to help her uncover the culprit. As Amy learns more about the history of her family's gift and gains more experience with book jumping, she begins to piece together an idea of what's going on. Along the way, she enlists the help of Will, a fellow book jumper who was charged with protecting the Sherlock Holmes story when he went missing. The two become closer as the investigation progresses and it soon becomes apparent that they're up against a more serious and close evil than they could've guessed.

The first thing I thought when I picked up this book was "THIS IS THE GREATEST, MOST BEAUTIFUL COVER I'VE EVER SEEN!" The second thing I thought was "THIS IS THE GREATEST, MOST BESTEST IDEA I'VE EVER SEEN!" What reader doesn't dream of living through their favorite stories? The way the author pulls in classic texts makes you feel like you're the one doing the book jumping and her attention to describing details is stunning.

With that being said, there are some downsides. After Amy's initial jumps, there really isn't a lot of time spent inside the actual stories. It's a little disappointing when you think about that being the premise of the book, but it makes sense not to detract from this novel's plot by spending extensive amounts of time on well-established classics. As far as the actual plot, I felt there could have been a little more complexity; once you hit a certain point fairly early in the book, it becomes less of a mystery and more of a "catch-up-with-the-bad-guy" line. Despite that, the ending actually did manage to surprise me somewhat, so it's not a total loss.

Pros:
  • I'm so sorry, but does the cover count?
  • Awesome plot 
  • Fast-paced, can't-put-it-down read
Cons:
  • Not a lot of depth in the actual book jumping portions
  • There's not really any mystery once you reach a certain point in the book, and the point isn't as far in as you'd expect
  • Certain plot aspects are a little too fast-paced (*cough cough* romance *cough cough*)
Despite its downsides, I would still definitely suggest this book. It's a great idea, even if it's not executed perfectly. Aside from that, take a look at this quote from the novel. It perfectly encapsulates every reader's mindset when picking up a new book or walking into a library and I love it!


Easy Peach Cobbler

Is there anything tastier than a warm peach cobbler fresh out of the oven with a scoop of slow-churned vanilla ice cream on top? Obviously I don't think so since I just spent so much time describing it in so much detail.
Seriously though, the ice cream melts a little on top and combines with the warm cobbler... it's bliss.


Ingredients:
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup flour
2 cups sugar, divided
1 tablespoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 cup milk
4 cups fresh peach slices
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Ground cinnamon or nutmeg (optional)

Directions:
  1.  Melt butter in  13 x 9-inch baking dish.
  2. Combine flour, 1 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt; add milk, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Pour batter over butter (do not stir).
  3. Bring remaining 1 cup sugar, peach slices, and lemon juice to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly; pour over batter (do not stir). Sprinkle with cinnamon, if desired.
  4. Bake at 375 F for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with vanilla ice cream on top.
Source: Southern Living: All-Time Favorites

Monday, September 4, 2017

Harrison Squared - Daryl Gregory

Harrison Harrison isn't your average teenager. First off, he's saddled with the name Harrison Harrison thanks to an old family tradition. As if that wasn't bad enough, his dad was killed in a mysterious boating accident that also left Harrison without one of his legs at a very young age. He was always told a piece of scrap off the ship was responsible, but he remembers it differently; long tentacles with suckers, and a mouth full of razor sharp teeth. Believing this is his imagination's way of filling in blank parts of his memory, he tries to live his life as normally as possible.

Harrison's mother is a marine researcher of the ABM category, or Absent-Minded Professor; she shuts out almost everything when she's working, even Harrison. When she decides to follow her research to middle-of-nowhere Massachusetts, Harrison manages to convince her to let him tag along. It seems like a good idea until they arrive in Dunnsmouth, a tiny town with no cable and plenty of creepy inhabitants. On the surface, the school is full of students who seem as if they've been brainwashed: uniforms exactly in place, no talking during or even between classes, and following expectations to the letter. The teachers are even creepier, leading the students in daily ritual chants and pointing them towards the wrong ideas. Harrison's attendance record in the first week is sketchy at best, but then his mother goes missing while placing one of the research buoys necessary for collecting data and he uncovers the hidden side of the students. Although they seem compliant on the surface, they're secretly rebelling against the "religion" being forced onto them at the school and by their relatives. As Harrison desperately searches to find his mother, he reveals the dark secret of Dunnsmouth, one that goes back centuries and pulled in all of the town's inhabitants. Shockingly enough, it might even have something to do with his father's death and the loss of his leg. Will he and the other children be able to defeat the evil that hangs over Dunnsmouth, or will they too become victims of an ancient cult?

Talk about "couldn't-put-it-down" reads. When I started reading this one, I was really unimpressed, but it only took until about the third chapter before I was totally hooked. One minute you think you're reading a straight-up mystery and then POW! Sea monsters and evil cults and super creepy scrimshanders (which I learned the definition of in this book). I went from "I guess I'll finish it just so I can get it off my to read pile" to "I WILL MAKE A FOREVER HOME FOR YOU ON MY SHELF"!

Pros:
  • Super multi-dimensional plot keeps things very interesting
  • Mystery + horror + adventure = <3
  •  Really bizarre, fun characters
Cons:
  • Some of the plot points didn't add up (e.g. estranged aunt dropping everything to come live with Harrison when his mother disappears)
  • Ending goes really fast compared to the rest of the story
  • Fair bit of language

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The Other Mr. Darcy - Monica Fairview

Who doesn't love Pride and Prejudice? If the answer to this question is you, you can probably skip this post entirely. This novel is entirely based on the classic; it's written in a similar fashion, it's set in the same time period, and it has all of the same characters. If you love Pride and Prejudice (like me), you may enjoy this read (also like me). If you don't, you won't.

Caroline Bingley was always certain she would manage to snag the elusive Mr. Darcy as a husband. She followed the rules of flirting she learned from Mrs. Drakehill's finishing school and the advice of her mother. Everything was going perfectly... until he married Elizabeth Bennet. Stunned by the loss of what seemed a sure future, Caroline is horrified to find herself weeping at his wedding. As if it wasn't bad enough that she was crying over a man, there's a witness to her emotional display; Mr. Darcy's American cousin, Robert. Believing she'll never see him again, Caroline convinces the handsome stranger to keep the little incident a secret and they go their separate ways.

Life at Netherfield continues normally until Robert Darcy reappears bearing grave news; Elizabeth has fallen ill and would like Jane to come visit her at Pemberley. Jane, unsure of how to maintain a household as large as Pemberley, enlists Caroline's help. As a result, Caroline reluctantly finds herself being escorted (with her sister Louisa) by the dashing foreigner. A county fair forces the company to stop at a friend's home until they are able to pass, but disaster strikes. A rumor is circulated that Caroline is engaged to one of her most promising prospects, a fatal move if the proud Sir Cecil were ever to discover the ploy. Not understanding the rules of London society and hoping to help Caroline save face, Robert announces their engagement instead. Now, Caroline faces an even bigger problem: how is she supposed to make a good match when everyone thinks she's engaged? The group continues on to Pemberley, where they are joined by the entire Bennet family. Unsurprisingly, another crisis arises; Lydia Wickham shows up claiming her impulsive husband has run off with a married woman. As the group tries to navigate this new hurdle, Caroline finds herself drawing closer and closer to Robert, despite his somewhat scandalous ideas on common societal issues. Robert, who runs a business in the states, initially has no desire to marry a woman like Caroline, but as he gets to know her better, he finds himself falling for her. But will either of them be able to overcome their pride and confess their feelings before it's too late?

As I've previously said, I LOVE Pride and Prejudice. I know, I know, it's such a chick flick (chick book?) but it's just so good! The cool thing about this novel is that it's essentially a continuation of Austen's book. Unlike some sequels that change little things around and make different assumptions, everything is the same. Fairview even manages to capture the different characters' personalities really well!

Pros:
  • There's no such thing as too much Pride and Prejudice (unless you count Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Ick.)
  •  Written in the same style with the same characters
  •  Makes a pretty good standalone if you've never read Pride and Prejudice (which you should definitely do eventually)
Cons:
  • Caroline comes across as a slightly different character than in the original
  •  Probability problem - how likely is it Mr. Darcy happens to have a cousin that Caroline happens to accidentally get engaged to? 
  • If you're a stickler for not changing anything from the original, you might not like some of the plot twists
If you've never ready Pride and Prejudice, I would highly encourage it. Elizabeth Bennet is one of my favorite literary characters! Besides, who can resist a good romance novel, especially one with rejection and bad life choices in it? Here's a trailer for the movie, which I also really love!


Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Liebster Award!

I am so excited to be nominated for the Liebster Award by the fabulous Lark and Lily! The last time I got an award was when I won a ping-pong championship in 2013 (roundabout), so I'm ecstatic to have something to show for the past 6-ish months of blogging. Prior to being nominated, I had never heard of the award (or Lark and Lily, for that matter), but I'm so glad I've been introduced to both! The Liebster Award is meant to help promote book bloggers in the blogging community, and Lark and Lily is certainly a good one! So, here's the rules:




Rules
If you have been nominated for the Liebster Award and you choose to accept it, write a blog post about the Liebster Award in which you do the following:
  • Thank the person who nominated you and post a link to their blog.
  • Display the award on your blog by including it in your post and/or displaying it using a widget or gadget.
  • Write a 150-300 word post about your favorite blog that is not your own. Explain why you like the blog and provide links.
  • Provide 10 random facts about yourself.
  • Nominate 5 - 11 blogs who have less than 200 followers that you feel deserve the award.
  • List these rules in your blog post.
  • Inform the people/blogs that you nominated that they have been nominated for the Liebster Award
  • If you have been nominated before at any time, please share the love. Many people believe the Liebster Award is similar to a chain email/letter and it shares similarities, but the underlying idea is to help promote each other's blogs.
Questions from Nominators
1) Favorite author?
This is like asking a parent who their favorite child is. I don't really have a "favorite" author so        much as I do favorite books within an author's works, but if I had to pick one, I'd say probably Hilari Bell. I LOVE the Knight & Rogue series and the Goblin Wood (which I just posted about recently).
2) Favorite quote from a book?
Does a poetry book count as a "book book"? If so, it's gonna be this one from Rupi Kaur's "milk and honey":
 If we're saying that doesn't count as a "book book", I'm going to have to go with the oh-so-classic:
 Call me sappy. You're not exactly wrong, but you can't tell me you don't love Mr. Darcy.
3) Would you rather win an Olympic gold medal or an Academy Award?
Simone Biles. This is all.
4) If you could be any character from a book, who would you be?
I would definitely pick Will from the Ranger's Apprentice. That's the first book series I ever loved and I was OBSESSED for the longest time. I still kinda am, but I hide it better.
5) What is the last book you read that was so bad you had to put it down?
I've started lots of books and never finished them, and almost all of them have been e-books. I can't remember the title of the last one, but it was the cheesiest, worst romance story I have ever had the misfortune to download. Boy did I get out of there quick.
6) If you were in a movie, would you rather play the villain or the hero?
I spent 99.7% of my childhood loving Batman. It's too late in the game to switch sides on him now.
7) Infinite chips or infinite candy? (That you can eat without getting fat)
I was going to say candy until I remembered the world's greatest invention: ranch dip. Original Ruffles and ranch dip is all you need, my friends. 
8) Vacation to South America or Asia?
South America is sooooo beautiful, so I'd probably have to pick there. There's lots of places in Asia I'd like to go, but just picking one for a vacation, I'd pick South America.
9) Least favorite book cover?
I hate it when they remake book covers from movie shots. Like, can we just not? Please? I also can't stand when really really good books have terrible covers. If you're a cover judge-r, you might miss out on a really great read because of an awful cover. 
10) Least favorite book to movie cast?
Generally speaking, Harry Potter is one of the best-cast book to movie conversions I've ever seen, but specifically, Peeves is the worst because his movie version DIDN'T EXIST. (Yes, we're all still salty about that.)
11) Physical books or e-books?
There's something really comforting and magical about a bookshelf stacked high with your favorite reads. Also, tea and paperbacks go together a lot better than tea and e-books.


Questions for Nominees
1) If everyone in the world had to read one book and you got to pick it, what book would it be and why?
2) Chocolate chip cookies or apple pie?
3) If you could be a fantastical beast, what would you pick?
4) What book have you read that made you the most emotional when reading it?
5) Would you rather zipline or skydive?
6) What's your favorite genre?
7) If you could suddenly know how to play an instrument, which would would it be?
8) Batman or Superman?
9) What's your favorite movie?
10) Why do you enjoy reading?
11) How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

Favorite Blog 
Prior to being nominated for the Liebster Award, I really hadn't done much digging into other book bloggers. It takes me so long to actually write up a post that I find acceptable that I'm usually exhausted by the time I finish. Consequently, I really had to go out and dig for a blog I'd be comfortable recommending to others. And this is how the hunt ended with The Crazy Bookworm. This blog reviews books on a variety of topics, but what really got me is the gifs randomly interspersed throughout the reviews for dramatic effect. I. Love. Gifs.

10 Random Facts 
1) I've seen every episode of Star Trek: The Original Series. At least twice.
2) I've broken the same bone three times, each time on or near Mother's Day.
3) I could happily live my life with nothing but Blue Bunny chocolate sundae crunch bars to eat.
4) I really want a horse.
5) I've caught the microwave on fire because I tried to heat up an Arby's sandwich in the wrapper.
6) Vanilla chai with two sugar and a dash of milk is the world's most perfect brew for reading.
7) If I had a pet camel, I would name it Alexander Camelton.
8) I can sing all the songs from Phantom of the Opera (while hitting most of the notes) AND role hop between singers. Boom.
9) I study Brazilian jiu-jitsu and jeet kune do.
10) S'mores are life.

Nominees 
1) Thinking Like A Fangirl
2) Of Stacks and Cups
3) You, Me, and a Cup of Tea
4) Books As You Know It
5) The Life of a Mirkwood Elf

So ends the longest post of my blogging career. I hope you find some great new blogs to inspire your reading!

Edwina - Patricia Strefling

Remember that chat we had on a previous post about e-books? Well, I'm back with yet another great find! I know what you're thinking: "what in the name of Alexander Hamilton is an Edwina?" or maybe "why is the cover pic such terrible quality?" To answer the first, Edwina is a very old-timey sounding name. Like Agnes. Or maybe Ethel. As for the low-resolution cover, I'm guessing it's because few people actually bother buying a physical copy of an e-book, which means fewer available pictures for use by bloggers like yours truly. But enough about that.

Edwina Blair is a small-town librarian whose greatest aspiration is to write the perfect romance novel. Painfully practical, plain, and a little overweight, Edwina's life is as routine as her father's yearly sock purchase during the January whites sale. Contrarily, Edwina's half-sister, Cecelia, is beautiful and business-minded, believing that her success has nothing to do with her good looks and movie-star mother. Despite their differences, the two get along well aside from the occasional spat. When Cecilia books a relaxing vacation to Scotland, she naturally tries to get Edwina to go with her. Anticipating a negative response, Cecilia took the liberty of including Edwina in her plans before letting her know about the trip. Once she finds out, it's too late for her to cancel without significant cost to Cecilia, and Edwina, never one to throw away money, resigns herself to a tour through Scotland. The two are preparing to board the plane out of the States when Cecilia is called away by an emergency. Alone and inexperienced, Edwina flies to Scotland without her wordly sister's help. Once there, she realizes just how far in over her head she is: the ritzy hotel, booked by and held for Cecilia, refuses to accept Edwina in her place. The overwhelmed and exhausted Edwina faints dead away at the desk and comes to a few moments later in the arms of a very handsome Scot who was in line behind her. Aware of the ordeal facing the American and anxious to get home to his fiancee, he insists that Edwina come to stay at his home until she has recovered enough to get back on her feet. Edwina, too overwrought to protest, finds herself the guest of one Alex Dunnegin, a Scottish laird and owner of the beautiful castle Edwina is taken to.

Once situated in the Scot's home, Edwina realizes she's been given the opportunity of a lifetime; the romantic Scottish hills, handsome laird, and rich surroundings are the perfect fodder for her romance novel. Soon, however, she realizes that there's something more going on at the castle than what's on the surface.; Laird Dunnegin is constantly being called away on mysterious legal matters and there are murmurs of a tragedy not long past. Edwina tries to take everything in during her short stay, but she feels oddly remorseful when she leaves for the rest of her trip. After some vigorous touring, Edwina is surprised to find Laird Dunnegin calling on her at the hotel. A dinner meeting reveals a job proposition, one made relevant by the departure of the now ex-fiancee, but it's cloaked in secrecy. True to her nature, Edwina ultimately declines, citing her job, family, and obligations at home as the reasons she can't possibly accept. Believing the matter to be closed, she returns to her tiny apartment and routine life in Michigan.

Edwina finds that things have changed since her trip, but she's startled to discover that she's changed too. When she's fired from her librarian position on false claims, she's almost relieved to be free of the daily grind her life was before the impromptu vacation. She decides to go visit Cecelia in one of the new apartments she's fixed up in New York, especially as she's preparing for guests Edwina invited from Scotland. The guests arrive as planned, but the accompaniment of Laird Dunnegin comes as a shock to Edwina. Once again, he has a job proposition for her, but now he reveals some of the details that were in the dark the last time. Should she choose to accept the position, Edwina would act as a teacher for Laird Dunnegin's daughter, who is currently the focus of a legal dispute meant to take her away from him. His wife, who died when the child was very young, was the daughter of a rich American, groomed to take up the family business. With her dead, Paige is next in line for the business, and her grandfather intends to get her however he can. Again, Edwina declines the offer, but she realizes that the things that had prohibited her last time were no longer an issue. Aside from that, she desperately wants to help her knight in shining armor and show that his faith was not misplaced. A little nervously, Edwina accepts the position. As she uproots her life to move to Scotland, will she be able to fulfill her duties without her feelings for the handsome laird getting in the way? Will Laird Dunnegin be able to keep his daughter from the clutches of her grandfather? Most importantly, will a common bond bring the two closer than the employee-employer relationship they have now?

To be honest, this is a pretty far cry from the books I normally read/review. This is, unabashedly, a romance story. Yeah, it's got a little bit of mystery and some fun cultural tidbits, but not enough to make it anything but a romance. With that being the case, it's a teeny bit surprising that I love it as much as I do. Generally speaking, I'm the one laughing at the sappy romance cliches, but I really relate to Edwina and her struggle to find her place in the world. Her safe life is a result of her insecurities, but all it takes is one spur-of-the-moment trip to Scotland to make her realize that there's so much more to life than saving a few bucks a month by having a shower instead of a bathtub in your apartment. She's got some really fun, quirky habits and she's surprisingly funny. 

My biggest critique of this book is a structural issue. I don't know if it's because it was converted from an e-book or what, but my paperback version is LOADED with misspellings and formatting errors. Of all the books on my shelf, Edwina easily has the most errors in it, which drives me absolutely insane. As far as problems with the actual text, there are a couple of instances where Edwina comes across as really whiney, which also drives me absolutely insane. Additionally, sometimes the timeline is a little confusing; for example, a few days in Scotland translates to a substantial first part of the book, but when she returns, a couple of weeks go by in a page or two. While that actually ties in kind of well with how her life goes in general, it can still be a little disorienting.

Pros:
  • Handsome Scottish lairds with castles
  • Not your typical "beautiful girl and handsome boy fall in love and live happily ever after" story
  • Relatable characters with really great development arcs
Cons:
  • SO. MANY. FORMAT. ERRORS.
  • Not consistent in how much time is represented per chapter (awkward wording, but check the last paragraph and you'll see what I mean)
  • Really (really really really) short chapters, probably another side effect of e-book to actual book

Friday, June 23, 2017

The Gobin Wood - Hilari Bell

How much do I love this book? ALL OF IT. ALL OF THE LOVE. I have read this book pretty much every summer since the year I first signed up for our local library's teen reading program, which works out to about 8 years now. (And suddenly, I feel old.) Despite reading it over and over, I still find myself racing through to find out what happens. The primary issue within the novel, which is told from the perspective of two very compelling characters on opposite sides, is complex enough that you may very well find yourself switching between sides.There are very few books that I would recommend without having to add a caveat, and this is definitely one of them.

Makenna is a hedgewitch, or at least she will be when her mother teaches her a little more about their magic. Despite being declared insufficient for priesthood at birth because of her lack of strong magic, Makenna is content to live in their little town and learn while her mother treats the villagers for various injuries and problems. Lately, it's been getting more difficult to continue their work uninterrupted as the priests, under orders the ruler of the land received from the Bright Ones, begin cracking down on unholy sources of magic. Suddenly, goblins that had previously lived in uneasy truce with humans are cast out and hedgewitches that were trusted members of a community are punished. For Makenna, everything changes the day her mother is murdered by the very people she had served. Grief-stricken and alone, Makenna flees into the forest with nothing but her mother's precious spell books and her rage to support her.

While she tries to eke out a living in the woods, she unwittingly angers a group of goblins who, in typical goblin fashion, make her life miserable in creative and extremely irritating ways. Soon, she learns the goblin system of trading; if she sets out enough food, they'll return the pack they stole the night before or mend her broken gear. When she finally manages to capture one of them and promptly sets him free, she inadvertently gains his indebtedness to her for the unbalanced trade. Cogswhallop, for so he is called, becomes her ally and, eventually, her friend, bringing her food and providing information about the road ahead. Just when it seems he has paid his debt, he comes to her and asks for her help to rescue a goblin family that is about to be killed by a mob nearby. Despite her best efforts, she only manages to save some of the family, and the heartbreaking screams of the rescued goblins as their family burns strike a chord in Makenna. From that point on, she vows to lead the goblins in a war against the humans that mindlessly slaughter their people and betrayed her mother.

On the other side of the conflict, Sir Tobin finds himself an unwilling accomplice to a treasonous plot that would've resulted in execution for his brother, the real perpetrator. As his father's heir, the punishment Tobin faces for his supposed involvement is much lighter than the one his brother would've faced. Stripped of his knighthood and disowned by his father, Tobin is desperate to recover his honor. Soon, he is approached by Master Lazur, a priest of the Bright Ones who offers Tobin a chance for redemption; help capture the sorceress that reigns in the Goblin Wood and all will be forgiven. Unwilling to commit murder even for the return of his honor, Tobin learns that barbarian attacks are slowly but surely driving the people of the realm further north towards the wood where the sorceress and her goblins have made their new home; unless the goblins are driven out so the people can relocate, the realm faces utter destruction. Master Lazur gives him a stone from the mysterious Otherworld which, if planted close enough to the sorceress's camp, will allow the priests to scry for it and determine the location of the rebels. Tobin travels to the Goblin Wood with every intention of carrying out the plan, but the sorceress, who turns out to be a mere hedgewitch, proves to be more elusive than he expected. When he is captured and forced to live among the goblins, he realizes the issue isn't as black and white as it seems.

Have I mentioned yet that I love this book? I honestly feel like this review doesn't do it justice, but I tried. As I said previously, the issue facing the characters is a complex one with valid points on either side, which is what makes it so interesting. It's showcased beautifully by the passion of each character to their cause and the insight we're given into what they're thinking. The novel is part of a series, but the book addresses most (if not all) loose ends that are presented. I seriously can't say enough about this book, so I think I'm just going to stop there!

Pros:
  • Complex, engaging dilemma (not to be confused with "dilemna", which is apparently NOT a word. That's 21 years of my life I'll never get back.)
  • Likable, relatable characters
  • Great writing, fabulous storyline, and no iffy content! (Is this the Holy Grail of young adult fantasy lit?!)

Cons:
  • I legitimately can't think of any
  • Nope
  • Not even one