The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton

“Camellia Beauregard is a Belle. In the opulent world of Orléans, Belles are revered, for they control Beauty, and Beauty is a commodity coveted above all else. In Orléans, the people are born gray, they are born damned, and only with the help of a Belle and her talents can they transform and be made beautiful.

But it’s not enough for Camellia to be just a Belle. She wants to be the favorite—the Belle chosen by the Queen of Orléans to live in the royal palace, to tend to the royal family and their court, to be recognized as the most talented Belle in the land. But once Camellia and her Belle sisters arrive at court, it becomes clear that being the favorite is not everything she always dreamed it would be. Behind the gilded palace walls live dark secrets, and Camellia soon learns that the very essence of her existence is a lie—that her powers are far greater, and could be more dangerous, than she ever imagined. And when the queen asks Camellia to risk her own life and help the ailing princess by using Belle powers in unintended ways, Camellia now faces an impossible decision.

With the future of Orléans and its people at stake, Camellia must decide—save herself and her sisters and the way of the Belles—or resuscitate the princess, risk her own life, and change the ways of her world forever.”

-Synopsis taken from Goodreads

Hello guys, Allison here! I just finished the newly released, highly hyped The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton.

Quote: “Someone’s demeanor can become an obstacle for them.”

Stars (Out of 10): 8.5

Favorite Character: Camellia

Spoiler Free: The Belles has a beautiful cover, but the world is what really reels you in. While at first it may seem overwhelming, but as the story goes on, the world of the Belles is one of the most unique I’ve ever read. From teacup lions and elephants to the magic of the Belles, the world building is phenomenal. You can easily come up with images in your head as the descriptions flow across the pages. However, that doesn’t mean this story was perfect and there were some things I didn’t enjoy as much, such as the cliche love interest and the lack of common sense most of the characters seem to share.

Careful! Spoilers beyond this point!

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The Serpent’s Shadow by Rick Riordan

“He’s b-a-a-ack! Despite their best efforts, Carter and Sadie Kane can’t seem to keep Apophis, the chaos snake, down. Now Apophis is threatening to plunge the world into eternal darkness, and the Kanes are faced with the impossible task of having to destroy him once and for all. Unfortunately, the magicians of the House of Life are on the brink of civil war, the gods are divided, and the young initiates of Brooklyn House stand almost alone against the forces of chaos. The Kanes’ only hope is an ancient spell that might turn the serpent’s own shadow into a weapon, but the magic has been lost for a millennia. To find the answer they need, the Kanes must rely on the murderous ghost of a powerful magician who might be able to lead them to the serpent’s shadow . . . or might lead them to their deaths in the depths of the underworld. Nothing less than the mortal world is at stake when the Kane family fulfills its destiny in this thrilling conclusion to the Kane Chronicles.”
-Synopsis from Goodreads

Hey guys! Allison here. I finished my reread of the Kane Chronicles last weekend and I have to say, the Kane Chronicles is Rick Riordan’s most underrated series.

Quote:If a person cast no shadow at all, he wouldn’t be alive. His existence became meaningless.”

Stars (Out of 10): 8.5

Favorite Character: I love them all equally.

Spoiler Free: While it’s rare for a finale book to be the shortest in a series, this finale book manages to pull it off. It’s very well written and is a good finale, but there are moments where the pacing kind of slips from you. I don’t know if it’s from the stress the characters are facing, or just from being a busy, busy book, but the deadlines the characters have don’t always feel so imminent. Other than that, the characters all got the endings that felt right for them and it was just a good finale altogether.

Careful! Spoilers beyond this point!

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The Throne of Fire by Rick Riordan

“Ever since the gods of Ancient Egypt were unleashed in the modern world, Carter Kane and his sister Sadie have been in trouble. As descendants of the House of Life, the Kanes have some powers at their command, but the devious gods haven’t given them much time to master their skills at Brooklyn House, which has become a training ground for young magicians.

And now their most threatening enemy yet – the chaos snake Apophis – is rising. If they don’t prevent him from breaking free in a few days’ time, the world will come to an end. In other words, it’s a typical week for the Kane family.

To have any chance of battling the Forces of Chaos, the Kanes must revive the sun god Ra. But that would be a feat more powerful than any magician has ever accomplished.

First they have to search the world for the three sections of the Book of Ra, then they have to learn how to chant its spells. Oh, and did we mention that no one knows where Ra is exactly?

Narrated in two different wisecracking voices, featuring a large cast of new and unforgettable characters, and with adventures spanning the globe, this second installment in the Kane Chronicles is nothing short of a thrill ride.”

-Synopsis from Goodreads

Hello guys! It’s Allison here, back with my Throne of Fire review. I’ve been sick so I have had all the time in the world to read.

Quote: “We can be slow to realize what is important. Sometimes, it takes us a while to appreciate something new, something that might change us for the better.”

Stars (Out of 10): 8.5

Favorite Character: Zia Rashid

Spoiler Free: This second book did not suffer through second book slump. In fact, it realistically followed its predecessor, giving some space between the first book. It kept up the humor of a Rick Riordan book. It also kept up the action and pace. You can see the build up for a good solid finale, but the book holds itself on its own.

Careful! Spoilers beyond this point!

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The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan

“Since their mother’s death, Carter and Sadie have become near strangers. While Sadie has lived with her grandparents in London, her brother has traveled the world with their father, the brilliant Egyptologist, Dr. Julius Kane.

One night, Dr. Kane brings the siblings together for a “research experiment” at the British Museum, where he hopes to set things right for his family. Instead, he unleashes the Egyptian god Set, who banishes him to oblivion and forces the children to flee for their lives.

Soon, Sadie and Carter discover that the gods of Egypt are waking, and the worst of them —Set— has his sights on the Kanes. To stop him, the siblings embark on a dangerous journey across the globe – a quest that brings them ever closer to the truth about their family and their links to a secret order that has existed since the time of the pharaohs.”

-Synopsis from Goodreads

Hi guys! Allison here! So after reading Magnus Chase, I had the strongest urge to reread the Kane Chronicles so that’s exactly what I did! I don’t usually like reading author’s older pieces after reading their newer ones recently. After all, every author is constantly growing. However, this experience wasn’t bad at all!

Quote: “I am Carter Kane, Blood of the Pharaohs, Eye of Horus. And now, Set-brother, uncle, traitor-I’m going to crush you like a gnat.”

Stars (Out of 10): 8

Favorite Character: Sadie Kane

Spoiler Free: This isn’t my first time reading this book. However, I remembered nothing about it. I have never experienced such a fresh reread. This is one of Riordan’s underrated series, and it’s honestly pretty good. It’s a different take than “children of the gods”, especially since there is a whole focus on magic people who hate the gods. This book has amazing family dynamics and an interesting plot. The romance side of the picture has some awkward dynamics, but it could be worse.

Careful! Spoilers beyond this point!

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The Ship of the Dead by Rick Riordan

Magnus Chase, a once-homeless teen, is a resident of the Hotel Valhalla and one of Odin’s chosen warriors. As the son of Frey, the god of summer, fertility, and health, Magnus isn’t naturally inclined to fighting. But he has strong and steadfast friends, including Hearthstone the elf, Blitzen the dwarf, and Samirah the Valkyrie, and together they have achieved brave deeds, such as defeating Fenris Wolf and battling giants for Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir. Now Magnus and his crew must sail to the farthest borders of Jotunheim and Niflheim in pursuit of Asgard’s greatest threat. Will they succeed in their perilous journey, or is Ragnarok lurking on the horizon? ”

-Synopsis from Goodreads

Hello! Allison here and back with my second Magnus Chase review.

Quote: “I figured something out. You can’t hold onto hate forever. It won’t do a thing to the person you hate, but it’ll poison you, sure enough.”

Stars (Out of 10): 10

Favorite Character: Alex Fierro

Spoiler Free: Please read this series. Just please read this series.

Careful! Spoilers beyond this point!

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The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan

“Thor’s hammer is missing again. The thunder god has a disturbing habit of misplacing his weapon–the mightiest force in the Nine Worlds. But this time the hammer isn’t just lost, it has fallen into enemy hands. If Magnus Chase and his friends can’t retrieve the hammer quickly, the mortal worlds will be defenseless against an onslaught of giants. Ragnarok will begin. The Nine Worlds will burn. Unfortunately, the only person who can broker a deal for the hammer’s return is the gods’ worst enemy, Loki–and the price he wants is very high.”

-Synopsis from Goodreads

Hello! Allison here! After reading Magisterium, I got the urge to read a Rick Riordan book. With this new found motivation, I got through the last two books of Magnus Chase and, oh boy, did I enjoy them! Here’s my review for the second book of the series.

Quote: “Maybe that’s why Vidar, the god of vengeance, had seemed so gentle and quiet. He knew it didn’t take much to start a chain reaction of violence and death. One insult. One theft. One severed chain.”

Stars (Out of 10): 10

Favorite Character: Alex Fierro

Spoiler Free: Maybe I should have written this review before I finished book three, but it’s too late now. I loved this book. It was a little slow at first and I was a little lost because I haven’t read book 1 in a while, but I fell in love with the characters. If you’re looking for a series with a diverse cast, romance in the background, and a strong theme of “found family”, this is definitely the series for you. I cannot believe this series is technically middle grade. Also, a third of my highlights is chapter titles, I was laughing so hard. Got to love Riordan humor.

Careful! Spoilers beyond this point!

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The Silver Mask by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

“A generation ago, Constantine Madden came close to achieving what no magician had ever achieved: the ability to bring back the dead. He didn’t succeed . . . but he did find a way to keep himself alive, inside a young child named Callum Hunt. Now Call is one of the most feared and reviled students in the history of the Magisterium, thought to be responsible for a devastating death and an ever-present threat of war. As a result, Call has been imprisoned and interrogated. Everyone wants to know what Constantine was up to-and how he lives on. But Call has no idea. It is only when he’s broken out of prison that the full potential of Constantine’s plan is suddenly in his hands . . . and he must decide what to do with his power. In this spellbinding fourth book of Magisterium, bestselling authors Holly Black and Cassandra Clare take us beyond the realm of the living and into the dangers of the dead.”

-Synopsis from Goodreads

Hello guys! Allison here! I’m back with a buddy read with Meaghan!

Quote: “This is just prison with sandwiches.”

Stars (Out of 10): 6.5

Favorite Character: Ummmm…..I’ll get back to you on that

Spoiler Free: I’m trying to find words for my review, but this is the best way I think I can describe my experience. Imagine you’re on a train. You didn’t like the place you were leaving from and you for sure don’t think you’re going to like the place you’re going. As the train leaves the station, it promptly derails and everything that could go wrong does. However, after a while, the train just hops right back on the tracks like nothing bad ever happened. You’re pleasantly surprised by all the views along the way. And as you reach the final station, it’s the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen. It’s the most unexpected thing, but it makes it so much better. This is the best way to describe my experience reading the Silver Mask.

Careful! Spoilers beyond this point!

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This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

“10:00 a.m. The principal of Opportunity High School finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.

10:02 a.m. The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.

10:03 a.m. The auditorium doors won’t open.

10:05 a.m. Someone starts shooting.

Told from four different perspectives over the span of fifty-four harrowing minutes, terror reigns as one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.”

-Synopsis from Goodreads

Hello Allison here! Once again, back with a buddy read I did with Meaghan and a mutual friend of ours.

Stars (Out of 10): 6.5

Overall Thoughts: My thoughts about this book are very complex and not easy to explain, so I’ll try my best. I felt it was hard to fall in love with the characters since the chapters were told more in a snapshot way, bouncing between characters, but I still ended up ugly crying in the end. In fact, I’m writing this review with tears still in my eyes from said ugly crying. This book is a fast read and honestly you could read it in a few hours in one sitting. The writing is beautiful and that is most of the reason I’m crying so much. The logic in this book isn’t always good, but it tries it’s best.

The Good: The writing is amazing and I cried about characters that I didn’t even feel attached to. The writing just gave me chills. There are some lines that I will never be able to forget. You never really realize how much can go down in a minute, but this book really packs a lot in the fifty four minutes. It’s a fast read. I loved the tweets and blog posts and texts from other characters that don’t get a point of view at the end of each chapter.

The Bad: I never grew attached to any one character more than the others due to the quick change of point of views. I felt that the characters did not always have the smartest plans or the most logical actions to the situation. There were a few points where I accidentally found myself doing the invisible equations meme because of how dumb the characters were. The shooter is pretty much one dimensional.

Spoilers down below!

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Seven Ways We Lie by Riley Redgate

“Seven students. Seven (deadly) sins. One secret.

Paloma High School is ordinary by anyone’s standards. It’s got the same cliques, the same prejudices, the same suspect cafeteria food. And like every high school, every student has something to hide—from Kat, the thespian who conceals her trust issues onstage, to Valentine, the neurotic genius who’s planted the seed of a school scandal.

When that scandal bubbles over, and rumors of a teacher-student affair surface, everyone starts hunting for someone to blame. For the seven unlikely allies at the heart of it all, the collision of their seven ordinary-seeming lives results in extraordinary change.”

-Synopsis taken from Goodreads


Hello Allison here! When I read the concept for this book, I knew I had to read it. I buddy read it with Meaghan and a mutual friend of ours and we all loved it.

Stars (Out of 10): 7.5/10

Overall Thoughts: This book was amazing. Honestly, I was hooked once I got 100 pages in. I couldn’t put it down. Most of the characters were easily loveable, even with their sins. I highly recommend this book if you like the concept of characters from very different backgrounds and social circles coming together to form a cool group, bonded by a unique experience. That’s quickly becoming my favorite trope and this book does it so well.

The Good: Most of the characters are loveable or you can grow to love them. The plot is interesting and it is great how it unites all the characters. The characters are very diverse in background. It also has great representation of sexuality, including a pansexual character and a aro/ace character. Likewise, it has a female character who embraces her sexuality but is still treated as a genuine human being and I’m so happy for that.

The Bad: This book is not for you if you do not like student-teacher affairs to be seen in a positive light. Also, one of my biggest complaints about this book is the ending, but I don’t want to get too spoilerly so I will talk about that under/within the spoiler tag.

*Spoilers below*

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This Is Not The End by Chandler Baker

I wonder if for the rest of my life, I’ll be haunted by beautiful days.

On one cloudless, radiant summer afternoon, Lake Devereaux lost everything. The car crash claimed the lives of her best friend and boyfriend, the people who had become her family after her own fell apart. But she doesn’t have to lose them both.

The development of resurrection technology has changed the world. Under the new laws regulating the process, each person gets one resurrection to be used or forfeited on their eighteenth birthday. Mere weeks away from turning eighteen, Lake faces an impossible choice.

Envisioning life without one of the people she loves most is shattering enough, but Lake carries an additional burden: years ago, under family pressure, Lake secretly—and illegally—promised her resurrection to someone who isn’t even dead yet.

The search for answers about her future draws Lake more deeply into the secrets of her past until she begins to question everything about those closest to her. Betrayals and hurts both new and old threaten to eclipse the memories she once cherished.

Then Lake meets a boy unlike anyone she’s encountered before, who unflinchingly embraces the darkest parts of her life . . . and who believes that all resurrections are wrong.

Which path is the right one? And how can Lake start to heal when she can’t move on?”

-Synopsis from Goodreads

 

Hello! Allison here with another ARC.

This ARC was provided to me by the publisher in January at ALA Midwinter 2017 in exchange for an honest review. Quotes, characters, and actions in this book are subject to change. Thank you to the publisher for this opportunity.

Stars (Out of 10): 4

Overall Thoughts: Okay, when I first read this description, I was like this sounds amazing! I can’t wait to read it. Reading it, though, I was frustrated. I had to force myself to read it. This book is full of cliches, some of my least favorite ones too. Don’t get me wrong, the potential for a good story is all there despite the cliches, but a good story never comes. This book had an amazing concept, but a poor execution of said concept.

The Good: The plot twist at the end almost made me give it three stars. It had amazing foreshadowing and put a lot of the book in perspective.However, upon thinking back on it, my love of this plot twist does not extend to my feelings of this book. Despite some good parts, I still can say that I did not like the book.

The Bad: Like I said: good concept, bad execution. There are unnecessary characters by the bucket loads. There are cliches upon cliches. There are parts that are just frustrating and unnecessary in general.There are messages sent in this book that I am not entirely comfortable with.

*Spoilers down below*

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