Category Archives: Young Adult

Book Review: Marrow Charm by Kristin Jacques

The Parliament House
TBP Oct. 1, 2019

Azure ‘Azzy’ Brimvine lives in a world decimated by magic, where humans have retreated underground from the overwhelming dangers of the surface. But Below is no safer than Above.

Magic borne plagues continue to eat away at the remaining human cities, a sickness that doesn’t merely kill, but creates aberrations from the stricken: people twisted by magic into something dark, dangerous, and powerful. It is an existence of fear and constant dread. When Azzy’s brother, Armin, is infected and cast out into the Above, she sets out after him, determined to be there for him no matter what he becomes.

The world Above is full of monsters, both wild and cunning, some more human than Azzy was led to believe. Armin is captured and bound for the Auction block of Avergard, a ruthless city of inhuman lords and twisted creatures. To reach him, Azzy must brave the perils of the Above and the chaotic life forms created by the Gate. To reach him, she must find allies and forge new bonds in this broken world.

And Azzy must reach him, before Armin’s new power is used to open the Gate once more. -Goodreads

This is going to be a short review because I actually didn’t care for Azzy or Armin. More Azzy than anything. She did a lot of whining and a lot back and forth and did things without much thoughts.

For life underground, she really didn’t try to know more or achieve more. She just went though the motions until her life was disturbed and then there was a problem. Normally, I wouldn’t exactly have an issue with this but I do because she worked under a apothecary but didn’t really have the motivation or drive to learn things on her own. It was a bit disappointing to read.

However, there was something that I liked about this book and that was the magic and the setting. The author has skill in sucking you into the world and keeping you there. Not to say I would live in that world because its messed up but one of the aspects I like was a side character Azzy meets. But Azzy shows a lack of understanding, care and investment because this character could have done wonders for Azzy like real wonders but Azzy doesn’t think that far ahead.

I digress on this short review. I can see why people love it so much but I wasn’t exactly thrilled with it and I was bored.

Overall,

2 Pickles 

Book Review: The Good Luck Girls by Charlotte Nicole Davis

Tor Teen
TBP: October 1st 2019
352 Pages

Aster, the protector
Violet, the favorite
Tansy, the medic
Mallow, the fighter
Clementine, the catalyst

THE GOOD LUCK GIRLS

The country of Arketta calls them Good Luck Girls–they know their luck is anything but. Sold to a “welcome house” as children and branded with cursed markings. Trapped in a life they would never have chosen.

When Clementine accidentally murders a man, the girls risk a dangerous escape and harrowing journey to find freedom, justice, and revenge in a country that wants them to have none of those things. Pursued by Arketta’s most vicious and powerful forces, both human and inhuman, their only hope lies in a bedtime story passed from one Good Luck Girl to another, a story that only the youngest or most desperate would ever believe.- Goodreads

There is a lot of hype for this read and it is well warranted. I loved the cowboy aspect of this book because all I thought of was that movie Gang of Rose with Monica Calhoun. This may have been an unintentional reference but it was all my mind was on and I freaking loved it.

Beyond this image I had, there is something about the writing that kept me sucked in even when I wasn’t really feeling some of the characters. I was not necessarily on the edge of my seat but I was invested in the book and refused to read anything else until this was done.

I had a love hate relationship with the characters. Not just one but all of them. Nothing in me felt that they were fully written. What I mean by this is that it felt as if the author had a thought but didn’t complete it; Aster especially. She was just pure rage, indecisiveness and I would say reckless. Yes, there were decisions that had to be made on the fly but she allowed her emotions to take a lot out of her, throughout the entire book and as the book is told through her point of view that is all you see and here.

I felt that her sister, Clementine was a brat and that was purely Aster’s fault for continuously babying her. I also believe that Clementine was not as remorseful as she should have been. I would have like the author to have explored their relationship a bit more as it would have added depth to the story.

I really enjoyed the flow of the story but felt that the characters were not developed enough, there wasn’t enough history or richness in the environment and the conflict didn’t bring the girls together or develop them as a group.

The ending wasn’t what I was expecting and that isn’t necessarily a good thing. It ended too easily and although there is a book two, it left me wondering what book two is about.

Overall, I did enjoy this book because it gave me a nostalgic feel and it was written pretty well. There is a lot of potential for this to develop into an amazing series.

3 Pickles

Book Tour Book Review: The Gilded King by Josie Jaffrey

Self Published
Published June 25, 2018
303 Pages

In the Blue, the world’s last city, all is not well.

Julia is stuck within its walls. She serves the nobility from a distance until she meets Lucas, a boy who believes in fairytales that Julia’s world can’t accommodate. The Blue is her prison, not her castle, and she’d escape into the trees if she didn’t know that contamination and death awaited humanity outside.

But not everyone in the Blue is human, and not everyone can be contained.

Beyond the city’s boundaries, in the wild forests of the Red, Cameron has precious little humanity left to lose. As he searches for a lost queen, he finds an enemy rising that he thought long dead. An enemy that the humans have forgotten how to fight.

One way or another, the walls of the Blue are coming down. The only question is what side you’ll be on when they do. – Goodreads

This is not your typical vampire story and I am here for it. I am just going to jump in and say it that although Julia’s and Cameron’s story are connected (they told separately but trust me its completely fine and works fantastically), I found myself more engaged with Julia’s side than Cameron’s. Normally, I would figure it was due to me be able to empathize with her because she is a human that was dealt with a trash card but I actually liked her beyond that. She had a grit to herself that didn’t completely define her. She was able to still open herself to experiences outside of what she has always known or thought of and it made her an easier and enjoyable character to read.

Cameron was a bit. . . not annoying but a “alright, I get it. You have a chip on your shoulder, you’re trying to find the girl and life sucks.” His emotions became a bit redundant because it was constantly being repeated “I won’t come back until I find her.”

However despite this, I fully enjoyed reading both point of views because they provided, very clearly, details about what was going on each side. Although one side was human and the other vampire, as a reader you are able to sympathize with both of them and understand why things are happening in the way that they are.

The pace of the novel was really good. It was easy to get sucked into the world because you know it is full blown mess with hope of redemption once you meet Julia. The setting was clear and detailed without dragging on. Although I wish more for some more history and intensity, a reader couldn’t go wrong picking up this book.

Overall,

3 Pickles

Manga Monday: Otherworldly Izakaya Nobu

Udon Entertainment
September 18th 2018
164 Pages

A Japanese style pub called “Nobu” exists in a back alley of the fictional medieval European city of Eiteriach. Its customers? A pair of slacker soldiers, a spoiled heiress, an uptight tax collector, and more… When the citizens of this strange world sit down to enjoy some unfamiliar Japanese cuisine, their troubles simply melt away…

The curtain rises on this otherworldly eatery and the gourmet fantasy about to unfold within!- Goodreads

I have only read the first volume to this series and I am completely in love.

I have a thing for cooking. It doesn’t matter if I am cooking it myself or watching/reading other people cook. It inspires me and it is just so fascinating.

What I loved about this manga so far is the fact that it introduces you to the different characters by surrounding them around this restaurant that makes food they have never heard of. Each character has their own story and as a reader you get to exam each one as they eat and experience joy through food.

As it is the first volume, you have your ideas of what could be going on and there is a bit of confirmation, however, nothing is exactly set in stone in this volume. There are still ways to go to find out information of the restaurant. However, the way the story is written, you don’t have a pressing need to know everything.

Its like sitting down at a bookstore, in the fall, with your tea, at a window seat. You are taking your time and just enjoying the refreshing peacefulness that you feel. This manga is slow but it is refreshing, especially for someone that constantly reads the action fantasy or drama-filled fantasy.

Artwork is on point. Especially when they zoom in on the food :) I loved the contrast of colors between the world outside of the restaurant and inside. You see and feel the difference and it clearly shows that this is intentional. It is really beautiful how the illustrations are done.

Overall, completely in love with this read and looking forward to taking the time to read book two.

4 Pickles

Fall Cover Love

If you are a new follower, I do a cover love post throughout the year. Here I display different books that will be released between 1-3 months. You can check out January here and June here.

Which are your favorites? And what books coming out this year that I should be looking for?

Book Review: 100 Days of Sunlight by Abbie Emmons

Self Published
TBP: August 7th 2019

Terrified that her vision might never return, Tessa feels like she has nothing left to be happy about. But when her grandparents place an ad in the local newspaper looking for a typist to help Tessa continue writing and blogging, an unlikely answer knocks at their door: Weston Ludovico, a boy her age with bright eyes, an optimistic smile…and no legs.

Knowing how angry and afraid Tessa is feeling, Weston thinks he can help her. But he has one condition — no one can tell Tessa about his disability. And because she can’t see him, she treats him with contempt: screaming at him to get out of her house and never come back. But for Weston, it’s the most amazing feeling: to be treated like a normal person, not just a sob story. So he comes back. Again and again and again.

Tessa spurns Weston’s “obnoxious optimism”, convinced that he has no idea what she’s going through. But Weston knows exactly how she feels and reaches into her darkness to show her that there is more than one way to experience the world. As Tessa grows closer to Weston, she finds it harder and harder to imagine life without him — and Weston can’t imagine life without her. But he still hasn’t told her the truth, and when Tessa’s sight returns he’ll have to make the hardest decision of his life: vanish from Tessa’s world…or overcome his fear of being seen.- Goodreads

I don’t really read contemporary especially contemporary romances. However, I won’t lie this cover and the title really caught my attention and let me just say this book was so freaking adorable.

Seriously adorable and I loved so much about this.

Tessa is feeling it; as she should. She is a hermit that doesn’t go out often and when she does unfortunately, she gets into an accident that makes her blind for a 100 days. The fact that she may get her sight back doesn’t exactly help because it is a big MIGHT and she doesn’t have much faith in things right now.

Enter Weston and he is determined to make sure Tessa doesn’t fall down a dark hole because he knows that it is a very easy thing.

One of the most important parts of this book that I loved is the fact that it is told in both of their point of views AND you also get to read about Weston’s past first hand. It was just raw honesty. I appreciate the author taking the time and care to dig into Weston as opposed to making this book only about Tessa.

Speaking about that. I strongly believe that this book favors Weston more than Tessa. Yes, she is a focal point but something about the way the author writes, the digging of Weston’s past nothing in me believes this book is about Tessa but about Weston and how he helps someone overcome the darkness growing inside him and how he pretty much does the same for himself.

But out of everything I read, the best part of the book was the ending. It broke my heart. It really broke my heart and Weston is perfect. He is such an adult for a 16 year old well actually all the surrounding characters appear to be older than they actually are.

Overall, this was a good book and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

4 Pickles

Book Review: Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

Margaret K. McElderry Books
Published June 4th, 2019
456 Pages

All sorcerers are evil. Elisabeth has known that as long as she has known anything. Raised as a foundling in one of Austermeer’s Great Libraries, Elisabeth has grown up among the tools of sorcery—magical grimoires that whisper on shelves and rattle beneath iron chains. If provoked, they transform into grotesque monsters of ink and leather. She hopes to become a warden, charged with protecting the kingdom from their power.

Then an act of sabotage releases the library’s most dangerous grimoire. Elisabeth’s desperate intervention implicates her in the crime, and she is torn from her home to face justice in the capital. With no one to turn to but her sworn enemy, the sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn, and his mysterious demonic servant, she finds herself entangled in a centuries-old conspiracy. Not only could the Great Libraries go up in flames, but the world along with them.

As her alliance with Nathaniel grows stronger, Elisabeth starts to question everything she’s been taught—about sorcerers, about the libraries she loves, even about herself. For Elisabeth has a power she has never guessed, and a future she could never have imagined. – Goodreads

Just like Margaret Rogerson’s first book, An Enchantment of Ravens, Sorcery of Thorns has been hyped months before it was released and hyped as one of the best books of June. However, just like An Enchantment of Ravens, Sorcery of Thorns fell flat half way through the book (you can see my review of it here).

I love love love the fact this story is surrounded by a library and books. Rogerson does a great job world building and spilling in that love of books not only within the characters but in the entire book and world. I was sucked into this story because of that.

There was a promise that Elisabeth would be this timid girl that will come out swinging to save her world, not just her world but her world. This promise holds for a while but every time Elisabeth did something, I never understood how. This girl who doesn’t really know much some how is able to do all these things. I was searching for her personality. Yeah, you can say she is determined, you can say that she is smart, you may even be able to say brave but there is nothing else.

The whole orphan mystery can only get you so far.

What bothered me was how she viewed sorcerers. She lumps them all in one category as evil and eventually makes an exception for one. This really bothered me. Because she is rude . . . like disrespectful rude and everyone allows that. Nathaniel entertains that stereotype she has and marks it off as if she is naive. I was not for that.

I was very close to DNF this book at 49%. Nothing was really happening and I was felt that I was being lead on the promise that something better was coming. I got bored. Nathaniel wasn’t really doing anything for me. He had no depth and was just as boring as Elisabeth.

For me, this book wasn’t worth how long it was. The ending was cute (yes I did finish it) and actually appreciated it although it was predictable.

Overall,

The book has massive potential but was dragged and the characters did nothing to help the amazing world, Rogerson was able to create.

2 Pickles

Book Review: Teen Titans: Raven by Kami Garcia and Gabriel Picolo (Illustrator)

DC Ink
Published July 2nd, 2019

When a tragic accident takes the life of 17-year-old Raven Roth’s foster mom—and Raven’s memory—she moves to New Orleans to recover and finish her senior year of high school.

Starting over isn’t easy. Raven remembers everyday stuff like how to solve math equations and make pasta, but she can’t remember her favorite song or who she was before the accident. And when impossible things start happening, Raven begins to think it might even be better not to know who she was before.

But as she grows closer to her new friends, her foster sister, Max, and Tommy Torres, a guy who accepts her for who she is now, Raven has to decide if she’s ready to face what’s buried in the past… and the darkness building inside her.- Goodreads

I picked up this book because of Gabriel Picolo. I love his artwork and have been following him for some time now. So when it was announced he was doing the artwork for this book, I was all over it. I will read anything that has his name attached to it.

As for Kami Garcia, I have never read anything by Kami Garcia. So I was excited to get into a new author (to me) and also I have a soft spot for Raven. But about the book.

It was good. However, there was a lot packed into this and I did not like that about this. The book takes place in New Orleans; so you already know that there is a lot of magic and history. The thing about it is the author chooses not to dig deep into the history and the magic. Its brushed over and I missed that. I wanted that richness but this story, Raven’s story was so fast. I was expecting more of a backstory and that didn’t exactly deliver.

If you are a fan of Raven, there are some new things to her story but there isn’t much. Going pack to this book being packed. . . its a fast read. Things happen very quickly and there are things missing with the story. Do you leave with more questions than answers? No but you do leave with questions.

Now the art :D

FREAKING AMAZING. The artwork helps the story so much because it fills in what the words do not have. I love how the Black characters were drawn. I loved the style because it is true to Gabriel Picolo but also matches Raven’s personality.

Overall,

I want more story but this wasn’t a bad read.

3 Pickles 

 

Book Review: Shadow Frost by Coco Ma

Blackstone Publishing
TBP Oct. 1, 2019

When Asterin Faelenhart, Princess of Axaria and heir to the throne, discovers that she may hold the key to defeating the mysterious demon terrorizing her kingdom, she vows not to rest until the beast is slain. With the help of her friends and the powers she wields—though has yet to fully understand—Asterin sets out to complete a single task. The task that countless, trained soldiers have failed. 

To kill it.

But as they hunt for the demon, they unearth a plot to assassinate the Princess herself instead. Asterin and her companions begin to wonder how much of their lives have been lies, especially when they realize that the center of the web of deceit might very well be themselves. With no one else to turn to, they are forced to decide just how much they are willing to sacrifice to protect the only world they have ever known.

That is… if the demon doesn’t get to them first.- Goodreads

I tried to give this book a try not once, not twice but three times. Eventually I was able to finish it but not without a sigh of relief.

If you didn’t notice, I did not like this book but it was not for lack of trying. Let’s talk about characters first. Asterin was a brat from beginning to end and she wasn’t as humble as she should have been given everything that had happened; especially at the end. Seriously . . .at the end of the novel she showed her true colors and she was just trash. How could anyone actually like her (in real life AND within the novel) I don’t know.

The surrounding characters were lack luster as well. ESPECIALLY, the romantic interest. There was no depth to any of them and although the author tried to give them a grand backstory and a huge plot twist, they were generic cookie cutter characters that was suppose to make Asterin’s story complicated but fruitful.

*rolls eyes*

I know that I seem to be a bit harsh with this review. But I cannot hide my disappointment and mostly because the ending was the best part of the book. Not because it ended but because Asterin’s true colors came out and how selfish and just not as great as everyone boosted about all book. Yes, the grit of the book comes full circle at the end, however, it came off that the author was throwing everything in at once. Too much information was being discovered last moment in the middle of a fight scene and again Asterin was pretty lame.

Overall, this book was a no for me. I kept giving it a chance because of how highly it was being rated. But when I first started the book I stopped at 20% in. The second time I stopped at 46% and the third time I finished it.

I am not a fan of this book OH! And that last page. . . nice try.

1 Pickle

Book Review: Pan’s Labyrinth: The Labyrinth of the Faun by Guillermo del Toro and Cornelia Funke

Katherine Tegen Books
TBP: July 2nd 2019
272 Pages

This book is not for the faint of heart or weak in spirit. It’s not for skeptics who don’t believe in fairy tales and the powerful forces of good. It’s only for brave and intrepid souls like you, who will stare down evil in all its forms.

Inspired by the critically acclaimed film written and directed by Oscar winner Guillermo del Toro and reimagined by New York Times bestselling author Cornelia Funke, this haunting tale takes readers to a darkly magical and war-torn world filled with richly drawn characters like trickster fauns, murderous men, child-eating monsters, courageous rebels, and a long-lost princess hoping to be reunited with her family.- Goodreads

I didn’t know I needed this book until I saw that it was coming. This is my first arc approved through Edelweiss + and to say that I didn’t boot my kindle up the moment that I received that approval email would be a lie.

This books is almost exactly like the movie. However, there is a lot of context that isn’t in the movie. For instance, you find out more details about what happened for prior to Ofelia entering the picture. Also each task that Ofelia has to complete has a very specific story that is connected to the lost princess and her family.

I loved it and I loved it not because the movie is completely embedded in my heart but because this is a fairy tale in every aspect. Each word offers a lightness that even when you know (well that is if you saw the movie) what is about to happen, you don’t feel overwhelmed with heaviness. There is hope but also an unforgettable sadness that sticks with you throughout the book.

Each “side” story brings you closer to understanding the role of each character; because you already know about Ofelia, you are, for a lack of better term, living her story. What this book gives you is the details. What happened when Ofelia left the underground? How did those that love her deal? Was Ofelia the only Ofelia? These are questions that weren’t answered in the movie but was answered with more than what you initially thought you wanted in the book.

From beginning to end, I was sucked back into the story and although I have watched the movie so many times, it felt new and I credit that to add the additional stories and not making this book just a play by play of the movie.

I have every intention of purchasing the physical book when it releases in July.

5 Pickles