Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: The Hate U Give - Angie Thomas

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week I'm waiting on The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas!

Before I begin my ~post~ I'd like to insert a ~formal apology~ for not posting for...a month. (Let's not talk about the frequency of these apologies and just appreciate that I Care.) The excuse is the same as always: school, grades, finals, etc. My last final is actually tomorrow (today by the time this is posted) which of course means I'm Not Studying and writing this post instead but also means that I'll have winter break to read and write reviews and actually blog like a human with a life that doesn't revolve around school!!! Anyway, I wanted to do this Waiting on Wednesday post partly to procrastinate and partly to liven the blog up a lil and partly because this book sounds hella cool and I just wanted to talk about it!! Anyway here we go:

The Hate U Give
Angie Thomas
Series: N/A
Release Date: February 28th, 2017
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Waited on by: Noor

Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed. Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this is a powerful and gripping YA novel about one girl's struggle for justice. Movie rights have been sold to Fox, with Amandla Stenberg (The Hunger Games) to star.

There's been a lot of discussion about #ownvoices lately -- authors of diverse/marginalized groups writing books featuring characters representing those same groups -- and this is a great example of one! Angie Thomas is a black author whose book features a black young adult protagonist. The themes described in the blurb are not only timely to our current societal issues but make for an interesting plot. I've seen this book promoted on Twitter a few times -- which is how I first heard of it -- so I hope it'll end up being a well-written, enjoyable debut. Also, two side comments before I leave: 1. this cover is hella cute and I'm hella feelin it and 2. I saw it was a February release and I was like "Okay, cool, that's like a month and a half, that's so soon," but it's the END of February, literally the LAST DAY of the month.

- Noor

What are you waiting on?
Let us know in the comments!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Review: The Sun Is Also a Star - Nicola Yoon

The Sun Is Also a Star
Nicola Yoon
Series: N/A
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

How fitting that, in the wake of the cataclysmic outcome of the 2016 election, I am reviewing a book whose plot is driven by one character's impending deportation. Like, this book was so real when I read my ARC in July, and it was even more real last week when I skimmed through it again because I was supposed to post this review a week ago but of course that did not happen, and now it's even more more real post-election.

Before I start actually ~reviewing~, a brief preface/disclaimer. If you don't know, this book is about two teens -- Natasha and Daniel -- and takes place over the course of one day, a day that begins with them meeting and ends with Natasha (and her family)'s deportation to Jamaica. Some of the reviews I've read have chided it for instalove, but I think in a book marketed as a love story, with the time restrictions of the plot very clear in the description, it's inevitable that two characters will develop a relationship more quickly/intensely than would work in another, slower paced book. This doesn't mean it's something bad and I think it's something that works within the vacuum of books like this.

Anyway, I have so much to say about this beautiful, beautiful book and I have no idea where to start. We have Natasha: a fan of physics and math and the nontemporary and measurable (read: does not believe in love) and Daniel: supposed to go to Yale and be the Perfect Korean Doctor Son but really wants to write sad poems and look into people's eyes and talk about love all the time. Their paths cross and the story alternates point of view between them. Even though it mostly focuses on the day at hand, sometimes there are some introspective chapters about their lives and one of my favorite parts of the book is that there are a lot of cool vignettes. I said it alternated between their POV and while that's mostly true, there are short, one or two page scenes from the view of the USCIS officer, or Natasha's dad, or the train conductor, or explaining multiverses. I loved the vignettes so much, I thought they added such a nice touch to the story.

Daniel and Natasha themselves were such well developed characters, along with their families and even the one-off characters. I could feel Natasha trying to quash her own hopes when going to the USCIS building because, in her words "The trouble with getting your hopes too far up is: it's a long way down." I felt the seed in Daniel growing that wanted to throw caution to the wind. I felt the tiredness in Mrs. Kingsley's body after years of living her life with no reprieve. In a book with everything happening so quickly, it would have been so easy for character development to have been hasty and forced, but it felt so easy and natural, like they had known each other their whole lives, like they just fit together.

Of course, a lot of parts of the book might not have worked if the writing wasn't as eloquent as it was. Like, I went back to some of the pages I marked for quotes and just ended up reading half the book over again because it was so captivating. There is something elegant written on every page. Some books are all elegance and no substance but The Sun Is Also a Star packed so much into so few pages. Natasha and Daniel tackled their different experiences as first-generation immigrant children of different social classes, with different expectations of them and different expectations of their parents. They talked about uncertainty in life and love and there was just so much to take away from this book, whether from Natasha and Daniel and their 36 questions, or their respective families, or the short glimpses into other characters' lives.

I could honestly gush about this book for hours so I will stop here while I've kept some coherency, but on an end note: when Nicola Yoon's first book, Everything, Everything came out last year, I absolutely loved it and was both excited for her next book but afraid it would not live up to her debut. The Sun Is Also a Star has destroyed those fears and shown that Yoon is a phenomenal author with a beautiful gift for spinning words and I cannot wait to read all the books she writes in the future.

- Noor

Do you believe there is a science to falling in love?
Let us know in the comments!

Friday, October 21, 2016

Review: Let It Snow - Maureen Johnson, John Green, Lauren Myracle

Let It Snow
Maureen Johnson, John Green, Lauren Myracle
Series: N/A
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Christmas
Publisher: Speak
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Okay, so I fully intended to review Spare and Found Parts today. Actually, I fully intended to review it last last Friday, when, you will recall, I posted my Poisoned Blade review. The book had come out on the 4th and I was scheduled to post on the 7th -- it was perfect timing!!! Alas, I have been hit by not one but two waves of midterms (not uncommon in college, as some of you may know). Are there more coming? Will they bleed into finals? Who knows? Not me. In any case, my Book Reading has been lacking (gasp!!!!) and so I have not even started Spare and Found Parts (note: I wrote pants instead of parts and like...that's definitely a book I want to read). I read Let It Snow some time over the summer (Poisoned Blade too, for the record, since I mentioned it earlier) even though I love both John Green and Maureen Johnson to death and Lauren Myracle's ttyl series was definitely part of my preteen reading selection at some point so I really should have read it years ago.

Anyway, the point of that long paragraph was: fight me if you're bitter I didn't post a review on a ~current~ book.

Okay!!! Let's get down to business!!!!! So the book is three separate stories, but they take place in the same snowstorm in the same town so they're like ~connected.~ The first is Maureen Johnson's, which I loved from the first line. Her writing was so ~sharp~ and the voice was so strong. The plot was a little ridiculous but I think it worked because 1. the plot was kinda ridiculous for all three stories so it wasn't like a high then a low then a high or some other combination, it was just a constant maintenance of shenanigans where you could kinda suspend your disbelief, 2. I feel like Christmas stories and movies always have that quality about them where a lot of things happen that would be absurd normally but are played for drama or sappiness or something. Also, her character's name is Jubilee which is fun to say so like does anything else really matter? I'd give her story 4 or 4.5 stars.

I liked John Green's story as a whole but I liked it slightly less than Maureen Johnson's and I didn't think it was his best work or anything. I think the highlight was the element of Waffle House, which, as a resident of the South, I truly appreciated. Anyway, I think the reason I didn't like his as much as I wanted to was that when considering the characters against the plot, both are good but not great and neither holds the weight of the novella enough to justify the unexceptional nature of the other. The characters are well-written and witty but a little two-dimensional even for a novella. The plot isn't boring or anything but it doesn't bring anything new. The story is enjoyable and fun and I certainly liked reading it but I wouldn't reread it again and again, you know (which I definitely would with some of John Green's other works so it's not the writing so much as this specific story). I'd give it a 3.5.

I liked Lauren Myracle's the least. Her main character was hella annoying but!!! even though she sucked to read, that was actually not the worst part of the story. Although some stories the unlikable protagonist ruins things, I don't necessarily need to like the main character to like a story and this was one of those cases. I could mostly ignore her, especially since she seemed so caricatured there was no way she wasn't depicted this way on purpose, to lead to some sort of epiphany that would make her kind and good at the end or something. The narrative was just...unfulfilling, however, and annoyed me pretty hardcore at times (the whole time). I think Addie (the protagonist) was supposed to have experienced some growth during the events that transpired, but like, it was weird and didn't work. 1 star for the way the stories came together at the end and the teacup pig. (Also, out of the two Lauren Myracle stories I've read that weren't when I was like 12, this is the second one I'm giving 1 star, so maybe she should just...Not)

I know the star ratings I gave don't average out to 3.5 stars but like...fight me. Anyway, the book is cute, especially to get in the holiday mood (because like, you can never start too early) and I may or may not recommend reading the first two stories and then skipping to the last chapter.

- Noor

Waffle House or IHOP?
Let us know in the comments!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Review: Gemina - Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff 
Series: The Illuminae Files, #2
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Romance, Action
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Thanks to Penguin Random House for the ARC I received at BEA!


As I'm writing this review, it is the end of May and I have just finished reading Gemina because after receiving an ARC at BEA this year, I could not resist reading it as soon as possible. While I am so happy I didn't have to wait a long time to read this epic follow up to Illuminae, I also hate myself because now I'll have to wait extra long to read the next book, which is going to be torture considering how much I LOVED Gemina.

For those of you who haven't read Illuminae, you need to get on that ASAP, and you can read my review for more details on why that book is awesome. Continue on to find out why the sequel is equally awesome.

Like Illuminae, Gemina is told through a dossier, this one following Hanna Donnelly and Niklas Malikov as their home comes under attack. As if hostile invaders weren't bad enough, there are also alien predators and a broken wormhole to deal with. Basically, things are pretty messed up.

"The universe itself depends on you.
... No pressure."

I absolutely LOVED Hanna and Nik! I think I liked Kady a little bit better, but Hanna is still a really strong heroine - she kind of reminded me a little bit of Annabeth Chase from the Percy Jackson books. On the other hand, I liked Nik a little bit more than Ezra, which I think is, in part, because he is more present throughout Gemina than Ezra was throughout Illuminae. Nik's humor is so great, and I loved all his interactions with Hanna and his cousin Ella.

While in Illuminae Kady and Ezra knew each other and had a relationship before the book started, Hanna and Nik aren't really friends at the beginning of Gemina. It was really cool to see how the two are brought together throughout the book, despite the unfortunate circumstance. There were so many ups and downs for them - it was a wild ride.

I also really loved Nik's cousin Ella. While she isn't present for most of the action, she's an absolute riot whenever she interacts with anyone. She's the really cool background hacker who keeps everyone alive. It's great. AND KADY'S DAD! I actually screamed when he was introduced because I was so excited. It was fun hearing him talk about Kady after having read about her through Illuminae.

Gemina did not disappoint when it comes to the same thrilling action, romance, and humor readers of Illuminae will expect. All the twists and ~science things~ were so much fun to follow, and it was such a great second book that left me starving for book three. Readers of Illuminae will not be disappointed by Gemina, and if you haven't read Illuminae yet, you should get on that. This is definitely one of my favorite series, and I highly recommend it. Can't wait for book three!

Frobisher better watch her back.

- Kiersten

If your home was being invaded and you could only save one thing, what would it be?
Let us know in the comments!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Blog Tour Review: Holding Up The Universe - Jennifer Niven

Holding Up the Universe
Jennifer Niven
Series: N/A
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young readers
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I have so many feelings about this book!!!! I don't even know where to start!!!!!!!! I read the ARC Kiersten picked up for me at BEA back in August and seeing the hype surrounding the release a few days ago just makes me want to reread it and take it all in again (which tbh I will probably do when I'm not tryna write 15 papers).

Holding Up the Universe shifts between two points of view: 1. Jack Masselin, who has prosopagnosia, or face-blindness (basically everyone looks like strangers to him, even his own family) but for some reason does not tell anyone and just tries to fake it til he makes it, and 2. Libby Strout, who, after her mother's death, started stress/binge eating and ended up being dubbed "America's Fattest Teen" and had to be cut out of her house but has since lost enough weight to stop homeschooling and go back to high school.

Both of these characters were so phenomenally well-written I can't possibly do them justice in a review. But this was most certainly a character-driven story, so I guess I do have to talk about them and attempt to show you why I love them. Jack oozed ~swagger~ and ~cool guy vibes~ but inside was just a precious little nerd. I found him so endearing and also so incredibly real like at any moment while I was reading I would look up and he would be there, spouting off his dialogue. He had a calculated, mathematical way of thinking that sounded so intriguing and engaging.

Libby also felt super real, but I feel like I just liked Jack a lil bit more and so I connected to him a little more. This isn't to say I didn't like Libby of course because she was great. Her character also could have been in the room in front of me and I would not have been surprised. Libby was definitely a lot ~softer~ than Jack. She loved dancing and literature and writing quotes on her shoes and finding herself in unexpected places. Her narration was also always eloquent and expressive. Also, she had this book she was obsessed with, We Have Always Lived in the Castle, and it looked and sounded super cool and I looked it up and it's being made into a 2017 movie with Sebastian Stan and Alexandra Daddario and the girl who played Violet in AHS (also, it was a really cool, well-incorporated motif throughout the book which is why I bothered looking it up in the first place).

Anyway, Jack and Libby seem like characters from such different walks of life but they're alike in a lot of ways -- tough exteriors, squishy interiors, etc -- and their stark differences really help them grow as individuals and also find the things that are similar. I don't know if that made sense, but the two have a lot of chemistry. I was rooting for them so hard.

The story is cute and one of my favorite contemporaries I've read this year. I know it's gonna be a book I read hella times. Jennifer Niven makes the reading experience seem like you're not even reading, just floating through the lives and the drama of the characters. Her writing just feels so effortless. The characters are so well-developed -- side characters included -- and the story draws you in both with the main plot and the tiny little details that add so much to the story. Basically, read the book. You will not regret it.

Also, before I end, one quick note. I've seen some ~~controversy~~ about the book and people finding it offensive and I think a lot of it was posted in the months leading up to the release from people who hadn't actually read it, but like, it's not an offensive or distasteful book in the slightest. Libby doesn't become ~thin and beautiful~ and then get the guy and Jack doesn't love her "despite" her body and there's no magic weight loss journey or whatever else people are crying about. The book is a diverse, beautifully written journey of two teens struggling with their respective issues and it doesn't trivialize or make fun of those issues in any way.

- Noor

Cool guy vibes or cute dancing queen vibes?
Let us know in the comments!

Friday, October 7, 2016

Review: Poisoned Blade - Kate Elliot

Poisoned Blade
Kate Elliott
Series:Court of Fives, #2
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young readers
Rating: DNF

I honestly cannot remember the last time I DNF'ed a book. I've finished books so bad they took me a month to bring myself to read, but I finished. I'm actually a little surprised that this is the book that I finally ended up DNFing because from what I read, I didn't totally hate and utterly despise it or anything. I've finished (and reviewed) way worse books. But oh well, c'est la vie.

If you have no idea what this book is about, I reviewed the first book in the series with Amrutha last year and you can read that here! Basically, it's about a girl who lives in a world with major class divisions and lots of political ~~shadiness~~ and also there's a Prince and and some Games and some other stuff. In my Court of Fives review I'm a little on the fence about how much I like the book, but in my experience the second book in a trilogy is often the strongest so I was optimistic about this one.

The book picked up right where the first book ended, which would have been cool if I hadn't forgotten half the plot and had to piece it together as I read Poisoned Blade. That's not a point against the book or anything because it's pretty biased toward my own memory, but now you know what I had to go through. Moving on, one of my grievances is against the characters, which I'm pretty sure was also a grievance in the first book. I liked Jessamy -- the protagonist -- in Court of Fives, but in this book she seems more annoying and introspective. I also wasn't all that impressed by any development of her sisters -- they still felt like stock characters to me -- though I'm sure that could have changed by the end of the book. Also Kalliarkos was kind of irritating as well -- I can understand it a little because Jessamy did him dirty but also homeboy's gotta stop being petty.

Speaking of Kalliarkos, I mentioned in my review of the previous book that I wasn't all that into their romance and it holds true for this one. Their interactions were even weirder here than in Court of Fives. I'm lowkey hoping that in the last few pages some previously unknown second love interest comes out of the woodwork because I'm really not feeling this.

In general, the book was just hard to get through. The writing itself wasn't bad, but I would get bored very quickly and not come back for a long while and I like to read books in long uninterrupted chunks when I can, so the way I read it (which was a result of the content, not like...laziness or something) just added to the lack of enthusiasm for reading it. I still can't pinpoint what exactly it is about the book that makes it this way. It was a lot more heavy with the ~politics~ but I actually liked that and found it one of the things that kept me interested. I think the main issue is that there was so much going on and so many plots that eventually it got a little bit all over the place and ended up becoming uninteresting.

There are so many 4/5 star reviews for this on Goodreads that I think I might give this another chance in a few (many) months and see if I just read it at the wrong time or something, but for now I'm just going to accept that this series is not for me.

Side note: Can we appreciate that I tend to ramble so much that I basically wrote a full length review for a DNF book?

- Noor

Do you DNF books often?
Let us know in the comments!

Friday, September 30, 2016

Review: A Shadow Bright and Burning - Jessica Cluess

A Shadow Bright and Burning
Jessica Cluess
Series:Kingdom on Fire, #1
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: Random House BFYR
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Kiersten picked an ARC of this book up for me at BEA and, looking for something to use to help me procrastinate, I realized this had a recent release date -- September 20th, 2016 -- so I thought I'd read and review for those interested!

I didn't know anything about the book before picking it up and reading the back cover, at which point I learned it involved Sorcerers and Magic -- two things I can always get behind -- and a protagonist who was Not the Chosen One (also something I can get behind). The book, in a nutshell, focuses on Henrietta Howel, a girl who can control fire, in a time when female sorcerers essentially Do Not Exist. Her powers are discovered and she is sent to train with London's best.

I had a hard time figuring out how to rate this one. I liked it more than 3.5 stars but less than 3.75 stars?? I'm gonna stick with 3.5.

One of the things I found coolest about this book was how it just took the concept of the Chosen One and turned it on its head. We know from just the back cover that Henrietta isn't the Chosen One and that forces us to ask: Who is she and what role does she play in this narrative? And if she as the protagonist is indispensable in their fight what title does that give her?

In general, I liked the whole ~vibe~ of the book -- fighting monsters in Victorian England using magic; all my favorite things!!!! However, each facet had something bringing it down too, which contributed to my confusion about how to rate it. Let's examine, shall we?

General themes/plot/etc:
I said I liked the vibe and the concept and everything but I feel like it was definitely not as fleshed out as a first book in a series should be. It's told from Henrietta's first person POV as a 16 year-old who's lived her entire life in this world and she kinda just talks about it in passing -- in a way that would be natural for every day life -- and we have to put the pieces together. Obviously Cluess tries to add some dialogue and narration in that serves as explanation but the worldbuilding is definitely lacking. We get a general understanding of what's going on but I definitely hope the second book will provide more insight.

So, I loved all the characters at first glance -- you have the charming, flirty handsome dude, the brooding, mysterious, sullen dude, the stable boy best friend, a charming old man trainer, a terrifying old man trainer, Henrietta herself, etc, and lots more. While reading, they're all fun, and this book is full of dialogue to make you angry or excited or nervous or whatever emotion. Except, when you keep reading, they start to feel a little like Character Tropes. I realized it when Lord Blackwood kept reminding me of Mr. Darcy with his brooding too-good-for-you attitude one minute and then small moments of helpfulness. I'm not saying they're all tropes or stock characters but I think they need a little more dimension. Like, it was super fun to read them in this book but when another one comes out they might seem a little flat if they don't have another layer or two.

I'm not spoiling anything here so I'm not going to say or imply anything, but!!!! I want to make a point to say that I think people in general are using the term "love triangle" too loosely. Like, people are saying "omg!!!!! this book has a Love Triangle!!!!" about every book that just has more than one character that the protagonist can be attracted to. I don't really think that's a love triangle, I think that makes a book fun because I can have a ship and see who gets together at the end, rather than just having two people destined from the start. I think a love triangle is more like when three people are all involved in each other's love stories. Anyway, living with like eight guys, there was bound to be some Choices for Henrietta to make and I thought this was a great part of the book that I can't wait to explore in the next book!

Victorian England:
This is purely subjective and did not really impact my review but I think Jessica Cluess should have utilized Victorian England more in the book. Because I really like it as a concept and a time period.

Anyway, this is getting long so some final thoughts: I don't want my negative comments to deter you from reading -- they were more fleshed out than my positive comments so they probably seemed longer and more intense but I really did like the book. I read through it in one sitting because it was a pretty captivating read. I have no qualms with things that actually happen story-wise and am excited to explore things like magicians and magic and the Ancients even more in the next book -- I feel like a lot of this book was Setting Up for things to come. While I do wish some things were more fleshed out, like characters and worldbuilding, I'm still excited to continue this series and for a book that I went into with zero knowledge and zero expectations I was pleasantly surprised.

- Noor

If you could control an element, what would it be?
Let us know in the comments!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Blog Tour + Cover Cosmetics + Giveaway: Nemesis - Anna Banks

About Nemesis

The princess didn't expect to fall in love--with her nemesis.

Princess Sepora of Serubel is the last Forger in all the five kingdoms. The spectorium she creates provides energy for all, but now her father has found a way to weaponize it, and his intentions to incite war force her to flee from his grasp. She escapes across enemy lines into the kingdom of Theoria, but her plans to hide are thwarted when she is captured and placed in the young king's servitude.

Tarik has just taken over rulership of Theoria, and must now face a new plague sweeping through his kingdom and killing his citizens. The last thing he needs is a troublesome servant vying for his attention. But mistress Sepora will not be ignored. When the two finally meet face-to-face, they form an unlikely bond that complicates life in ways neither of them could have imagined.

Sepora's gift could save Tarik's kingdom from the Quiet Plague. But should she trust her growing feelings for her nemesis, or should she hide her gifts at all costs?

Makeup Look Inspired by Sepora

For my makeup look, I wanted to incorporate the Egyptian influence on this book as well as the fact that Sepora is a Forger. The spectorium she forges is used for energy and can be used as a weapon. When I think of energy, I think of electricity, so I fused a lightning-like zig zag to the side of the eye with what ancient Egyptian eyeliner would look like. I kept with metal tones because of the cover as well as the fact that she can be used as a weapon.

In terms of how this look was accomplished, I used my all time favorite liquid eyeliner: Kat Von D's Tattoo Liner. It's a brush tip pen-style eyeliner, and I love how it allows me to use liquid liner without having to dip the brush back into the pot. I also used pointed q-tips with Urban Decay's Primer Potion to clean up the edges if I over drew one of the lines. Both of the eyeshadows I used are from the Too Faced Pretty Rebel palette.


As part of the blog tour, Anna Banks is giving away a finished copy of Nemesis and $25 Ulta gift card at each stop. All you have to do to enter is fill out the Rafflecopter below! This giveaway is US only, and is open through October 10th. You must be 13 or older to enter or have a parent enter for you. The winner will be selected shortly after and will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is selected. Additionally, one person will be selected to be entered to win a tour wide grand prize of an Egyptian bib collar necklace or silver Serpen armband. Best of luck to all who enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, September 16, 2016

Review: Tales of the Peculiar - Ransom Riggs

Tales of the Peculiar
Ransom Riggs
Series: Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children, 0.5
Genre: Paranormal, Fantasy
Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I've mentioned on more than a few occasions how invested I am in the world of Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children so it should come as no shock that I preordered this new addition to the series forever ago.

Tales of the Peculiar is to the Miss Peregrine's universe what Grimms' Fairy Tales are to this one. The ten stories are a collection of folklore featuring peculiars, and they're all told a little bit differently -- a clear fairytale, a life lesson, a hidden message.

I didn't know a short, standalone story collection like this was something I wanted or needed until I read this but now that I have, I can't believe I lived without one for so long.

The writing is absolutely phenomenal. Each story has its own tone, but there is an overarching style that makes the book feel cohesive and not just like a few stories thrown together. It flowed super well and there was a cadence to the writing that made even the macabre parts of the stories seem compelling rather than shocking.

The stories themselves were captivating and I loved that Ransom Riggs took this opportunity to go somewhere new. In the series, he is bound by the rules of his own plot, but here, there are no rules. These are short, standalone stories. One of my favorite aspects of the series itself actually is just the concept of the peculiars and the writing of the books so combining both these things into a book that doesn't need to follow a plot or the rules of one was super exciting for me. There was a story about a princess and about a ghost (side note: I love ghosts (also princesses)) and about the origin of ymbrynes and they took place all over the world so it was a really cool experience reading all the stories. The book is really short too -- the ten stories take up 160 pages total and it's easy to read in one short sitting.

Als, the book is narrated by Millard Nullings (who you'll recognize if you've read the series) and his character offers annotations in the form of footnotes throughout the stories. I thought this was a really nice touch and added to the reading experience.

If you're a fan of the series already, I think you should definitely read this book. It has all the elegant writing of Miss Peregrine's but with fun, new one-off stories that I don't see how anyone could dislike. If you haven't read the series, I personally would read it before reading Tales of the Peculiar, if only for a little background info (also I just like reading things in order), but if you don't have that kinda time or inclination, you can definitely still read it on its own without feeling confused!

Basically, I love it and you should all read it. On an end note, the physical book itself is beautiful and whether you buy it or not, please go admire a copy right now. It's green with a gold leaf print embossed onto the hardcover (rather than a book jacket) and it's got beautiful pages and inside print and I just love everything about this book. If I wasn't on my computer I'd put several crying emojis here.

- Noor

What's your favorite fairytale/folktale?
Let us know in the comments!

Friday, September 9, 2016

Review: Mosquitoland - David Arnold

David Arnold
Series: N/A
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: Viking Children's
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

I bought this a long-ish time ago (it's definitely been like a year) and always intended to read it while traveling -- because it's a book where the protagonist takes a 947 mile road trip and I'm all about symbolism. And I'd always bring it on every flight I took and every road trip and I just never got around to reading it (I always bring lots of options on trips and just kept picking different books). However, this past August, I road tripped to New York (I live in North Carolina if you're new) and finally read it!

Just like me, David Arnold seems to love symbolism and metaphors because this book was full of them. It centers around Mim Malone, a 16 year old girl who runs away with the emergency money she steals from her stepmom's dresser drawer and hops on a Greyhound from Mississippi (where she lives) to Ohio (where her mom lives). Even though it's been a little while since I've finished it, I'm still not totally sure how I feel about this book.

The writing was definitely the best part. It's told through first-person by Mim and interspersed are letters she's writing to her aunt Isabel as the trip goes on. Mim had a really unique voice and a lot of the book was Inner Monologue (which I thought was cool and worked with this book) that served to teach us about her character and "the whys behind her whats." I've seen a lot of the negative reviews of this book call the writing "wannabe John Green" but I feel like that's an unfair way of looking at it -- just because someone writes a contemporary novel with an "odd" character doesn't mean they're trying to be John Green. As much as I love him, he didn't invent the Quirky Protagonist. Anyway, I didn't make the connection while reading but if you like John Green's books and are wondering if you should read this: I think the writing style might appeal to you but the book as a whole package is something a little different so that's just a matter of personal taste.

Anyway, the writing really was beautiful and flowed exquisitely and I really just liked the way David Arnold strung words together. It was for sure my favorite aspect of this book.

There actually isn't that much in regard to plot, which is why I think the inner monologue works. A heavy plot and a constant inner monologue would be way too much. The book is just a coming-of-age type thing where she goes on a trip and meets people and learns from them and Weird and Unexpected Complications arise. If you don't like light plots and need something super involved with like crazy plot twists and hella foreshadowing this is maybe not the book for you. This is mostly just shit happening and rolling with the punches. For the most part I didn't feel bored or anything but there was a chunk around the end that felt kinda slow and where I wished it'd hurry along.

I read Mosquitoland essentially in two chunks and while I was reading, I really liked everything, but when it was over I was a little confused about how I felt. I think I was just enamored by the writing style and didn't pay attention to much else and then when it wore off I had time to process. One of the confusing things is Mim herself. She's an unlikable protagonist, but not in the way that makes you hate a book. Like, I've definitely reviewed books where I couldn't stand the book because the main character was just so insufferable and this isn't like that. This is more of a Catcher in the Rye situation where you know Holden Caulfield is a jerk but you still appreciate the book. Mim is very 16 but very much believes that she transcends what it means to be 16. Sometimes, her oddities do make her a character you can like and appreciate, like getting seven scoops of ice cream at a pit stop just because she can, but sometimes they kinda miss the mark, like when she basically goes on a Not Like Other Girls tangent. She also is kinda mean to Walt, her friend/traveling-companion who has Down syndrome. (They have a third companion, a 21(ish) year old named Beck who Mim is highkey in love with but thankfully he has enough common sense to understand how young 16 is).

Mim is also definitely an unreliable narrator, which you understand right from the get-go. She talked a lot about her dad and stepmom forcing her to see a psychiatrist for psychosis and delusions, just like her aunt, and I thought that was gonna play a bigger part in the plot and kept like watching to see which characters interacted with which ones (honestly every time I read a book I always assume someone is gonna be dead or not real the whole time I'm the worst). I kinda wish it'd been elaborated on more.

Overall, I enjoyed the story and loved the writing style. There were a few awkward and questionable parts but the characters were all unique --not just Mim; I know I didn't touch on side characters much but they were all great. I think it's definitely worth a read but it might not be everyone's cup of tea. I'll definitely be looking out for David Arnold's other works!

- Noor

Where's your next road trip destination?
Let us know in the comments!

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Review: The Wrath and the Dawn - Renee Ahdieh

The Wrath & the Dawn
Renee Ahdieh
Series: The Wrath and the Dawn, #1
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy, Retelling
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Rating: 4.75 out of 5 stars

I don't even know how to start talking about this book. It gave me so much more than I asked it for; it blew my expectations out of the water. I've always thought 1001 Nights was an interesting tale and because it's so old and so interesting there are many attempts at retellings -- some popular, some not so much. I remember last year this came out just slightly before A Thousand Nights and everyone was comparing the two which is unfair to both books but inevitable nonetheless and I read the other one first and was Not Impressed and did not want the impression of that one to influence my feelings about this so I didn't prioritize it and now I'm hella late to the game but I just read it this past July and I cannot stress enough how amazing I thought it was!!!!!!!

Everything in this book has so much passion -- the writing, the characters, the story. It's so beautifully executed. If you're unfamiliar with the story, it centers around Shahrzad, who vengefully volunteers to be the bride of Khalid, an 18 year old boy-king who takes a new bride every night -- her best friend having been taken the previous night -- and kills each one with a silk cord around her neck the next morning. She stalls her fate by telling him a story and leaving it unfinished, making him wait until the next day, forcing him to keep her alive night after night.

Shahrzad has such a fire in her that was so refreshing to read. I'm really not entirely sure how to describe her because she's very perceptive but very stubborn and sometimes rash and just a combination of so many traits that it's hard to describe her in terms other than herself, ya feel??? Mostly, she's just full of wit and full of thoughts.

Honestly, every single character in this book was so well written. It was beautifully done. The point of view shifts between various characters, from Shahrzard to Khalid to her dad to some other people we meet throughout the book and it really gives insight into the bigger picture of what's going on and also what was happening before she got to the palace and what's happening elsewhere and all this other cool stuff and I never once felt like I was bored of one POV and it was dragging or that it was extraneous, so this book was really well put together.

Also, speaking of how the book was put together, the writing was!!!! so!!!! beautiful!!! Honestly, I knew from the prologue this book would be eloquent because one of the first few lines is "They watched the pale light of the early morning sun push back the darkness with slow, careful deliberation," and just try and tell me that isn't one of the best ways you've heard a sunrise being described. There are lots of other quotes I saved but for concision's sake I will leave them out and you can read them in the book yourself because reading this review is a promise that you will read it (if you have not already).

I realize I led into the well-written characters and kinda side-tracked into something else so I'll just talk character highlights:

I already mentioned how much I love Shahrzad, but Despina -- her handmaiden -- is just perfect. She's like a sassy lil grape. I love that she refuses to take any of Shahrzad's shit and is constantly sassing her; their relationship makes me so happy. I also super love Jalal -- Khalid's cousin and commander of the guard. I love his friendship/brotherly-relationship with Khalid and I love him as a person and I think if there were anyone I'd want teaching me how to shoot a bow and arrow, it'd be him. Speaking of Khalid, I really liked the way he started off closed-off and standoffish and slowly warmed up to Shahrzard. He's a sweetie in a bad situation and I can't wait to see more of him in the next book. Also, I want to see more of her dad, who highkey went crazy looking for magic things but that's neither here nor there. And I want to see less of Tariq, her childhood sweetheart, who feels entitled to her and is Not Impressive.

I hope there isn't a love triangle with Tariq in the next book, less because it's a love triangle and more because Tariq just makes me uncomfortable. The romance otherwise was honestly well done. In the beginning, I was a little iffy about it because I felt like they jumped from hatred to Not Hatred kinda quickly but there were also some time skips (not long ones, like one or two days) so it wasn't like Weird or anything. Other than that, I thought the progression was so natural and I especially liked Shahrzad's constant questioning of her morals and how this affected them and her reasons for coming her because I really felt like it grounded her as a character.

Besides the romance, the other plot aspects were phenomenal. The magic was subtle but integrated in so well and I hope to see more of it in the next book because I think it could be something cool to explore. The pacing started off moderately fast and then got kinda slow and then packed a lot in the final few chapters, but they were so good and so intense that I didn't find myself caring whether or not the change in pace was brought on suddenly.

Anyway, this is getting super long so I hope you guys appreciate my attempt to keep my emotions in check and give you a coherent review (I feel like I succeeded tbh). I seriously highly recommend this book and hope you all read it.

Side note: the book was fantastic, but I also hella loved the ~story-within-a-story~ parts that Shahrzad was telling Khalid and I wish there were more but I am also very satisfied with the way they were done and how much of the book they were incorporated into.

- Noor

What's the craziest thing you've done for your best friend?
Let us know in the comments!

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: Empire of Storms - Sarah J. Maas

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week I'm waiting on Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas!

Empire of Storms
Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass, #5
Release Date: September 6, 2016
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Waited on by: Kiersten

The long path to the throne has only just begun for Aelin Galathynius. Loyalties have been broken and bought, friends have been lost and gained, and those who possess magic find themselves at odds with those don't.

As the kingdoms of Erilea fracture around her, enemies must become allies if Aelin is to keep those she loves from falling to the dark forces poised to claim her world. With war looming on all horizons, the only chance for salvation lies in a desperate quest that may mark the end of everything Aelin holds dear.

Aelin's journey from assassin to queen has entranced millions across the globe, and this fifth installment will leave fans breathless. Will Aelin succeed in keeping her world from splintering, or will it all come crashing down?

I absolutely LOVE the Throne of Glass series, so I'm so excited for the release of Empire of Storms next week! I know there was some drama on Twitter about spoilers and some other things, but I've managed to avoid the spoilers (perks of being too busy to go on Twitter), and I'm still really excited about Empire of Storms! I can't wait to see where this story goes in this book! It's sure to be epic and probably heart smashing.

- Kiersten

What are you waiting on?
Let us know in the comments!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Books that Have Been on Your TBR Since Before You Started Blogging

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Here at We Live and Breathe Books, two of us choose five books each week. This weeks topic is...

Books that have been on your TBR since before you started blogging!

Kiersten's Picks

WLABB has been around for 3+ years, so this is going to be a little embarrassing. There are so many books I've wanted to read since before I started blogging, but for this list, I'll be sorting my Goodreads shelf by date added and including the top five!

The Night Circus
Erin Morgenstern

This is the actual first book that I ever added to a shelf on Goodreads. I'm not sure how I stumbled upon it, but I know that since I got Goodreads, I've always wanted to read it. In the past, Marlon and Noor have both written glowing reviews of The Night Circus, but I still haven't gotten around to it.

Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children
Ransom Riggs
Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children 

I really have no excuse for this one because I own this book. I don't know why I keep putting it off. I'm hoping to have time to read this before the movie comes out, but knowing my school schedule, I won't have time to read the book or see the movie. Hoping for the best!

Looking for Alaska
John Green

I've been really slow at reading John Green books. I'm not much of a contemporary reader, so even though I've heard great things about his books and I've enjoyed the two that I've read, these just don't end up being a reading priority for me.

Daughter of Smoke & Bone
Laini Taylor
Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #1

This is another book where I have absolutely no excuse for not reading yet. I've heard this series is really amazing, and I really do want to read it soon! Also, Strange the Dreamer sounds so amazing, so either way, I will definitely read a Laini Taylor book in the next year. I must!

Lesley Livingston
Starling, #1

Honestly, when I saw this on my TBR on Goodreads, I was only vaguely aware of adding it, but I didn't even remember what it was about (which isn't rare for me, but still). I read over the description again before adding it to this list, and it sounds really great. Maybe I'll get around to reading it sometime in this lifetime.

Noor's Picks

I am really bad at procrastinating reading books. I can have a book I want to read so intensely and then just...not read it. For months. Years. My entire life!!!! Like Kiersten mentioned, we've been around over three years so it's probably a little sad that I still haven't gotten around to reading these but it's not for lack of interest!! Just lack of action (like me taking action, not action that happens in the book). I am going to make a vow to finally read the books on this list within the next six months.  

Marie Lu
Legend, #1

Okay, so I'm not a very organized person and so I don't really keep track of my TBR other than noticing a book looks cool and making a mental note to eventually read it (much to the dismay of Kiersten, who thinks we should all utilize our Goodreads as much as possible). If I remember correctly, I made the mental note to read Legend back in high school (around winter 2012-2013) which was definitely before we started blogging. I own both Legend and Prodigy so there's really no excuse and I have no idea why I reach for other books when I could reach for this one and finally read it, but here we are.

Shatter Me
Tahereh Mafi
Shatter Me, #1

I have wanted to read Shatter Me forever. I'm highkey obsessed with Tahereh Mafi as a person -- her Instagram, her other Instagram, her marriage to Ransom Riggs (one of my favorite authors) and I feel totally fake doing so without having read any of her books but I just keep putting it off???? I've heard so many good things about the writing style of this one and I actually think I'm gonna prioritize it to be read sometime soon, especially since her book Furthermore (that Kiersten just reviewed) is coming out next week and if I read that I'll probably just be ~in the zone~ and read this too.

Dan Wells
Partials Sequence, #2

This is one of the most ridiculous ones on this list. So Partials, the first book in the series, came out in 2012 and I read it maybe a month after it came out after seeing it in like the New Releases section of my Nook. And I really really loved it, I thought it was one of the best ~post-apocalyptic dystopian robot fiction~ books I'd ever read (that description makes it sound like A Mess but it really isn't, I highly recommend it). And obviously since I read it so soon after the release, there was no sequel. So I patiently waited and then, when the sequel did come out, I just didn't read it??? I honestly can't tell you why. I own it and everything. And the worst part? The third book came out too, and I still haven't even read the second book!!!!! Why am I like this!!!!!!!

Marissa Meyer
The Lunar Chronicles, #2

Okay, so you know how I said Fragments was one of the most ridiculous ones on this list? This is the most ridiculous one on this list. I read Cinder a few months after it was published and totally fell in love with it. I lovelovelove fairytale retellings and I was so enamored with the way this story was told. I made sure to keep this series on my radar so I'd know about sequels. And yet, five more books (and like five million mini-stories) later, guess who has still only read that first one? I am absolutely The Worst. Scarlet is actually one of the books I plan to read relatively soon but I'm so ashamed I didn't read it when it actually came out and keep up with the series.

Kristin Cashore
Graceling Realm, #2

I actually bought Graceling, Cinder, and Partials all at the same time when I went to Boston and we visited a really nice bookstore. I think it was the fact that I was reading all those books I'd bought one after the other that the thought of reading the sequel fell by the wayside. And then I impulsively bought Bitterblue one day because I saw the words "companion novel" on the cover but I realized it was the companion to this book so once I get around to purchasing it I will finally finish this series.

What books have been on your TBR the longest?
Let us know in the comments!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Review: Furthermore - Tahereh Mafi

Tahereh Mafi
Series: N/A
Genre: Fantasy, Middle Grade
Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers
Release Date: August 30, 2016
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Thanks to Dutton Books for the ARC I received at BEA!

The best word to describe Furthermore is whimsical. From the start, the reader is thrown into a fantasy world called Ferenwood. In Ferenwood, color is everything - the more colorful, the more magical. However, poor Alice has no color at all, making her feel inadequate and out of place. On top of that, her mother seems to hate her and her father went missing three years ago. On her twelfth birthday, Oliver, a boy she once went to school with, says something that changes everything: he knows where her father is.

Furthermore follows this beloved duo as they journey into the land of Furthermore, which is far stranger than Ferenwood. In Furthermore, there are no rules - anything is possible - and that makes it so much more dangerous. Furthermore is absolutely not the kind of place you would want to vacation.

I couldn't help but be reminded of The Phantom Tollbooth (one of my favorite books) and Alice in Wonderland while reading Furthermore. There's something about the logic (or lack-there-of) in these three books - the fact that you never know what sort of backwards logic is actually normal in the world - that I absolutely love. I also thoroughly enjoyed the way the story was told. I kind of just imagined sitting on the floor, looking up at Tahereh Mafi reading this book to me with fun voices. It really does read so much like a fairytale, but it's more like a Grimms brothers fairytale than a Disney one.

More thoughts this way!

When it comes to the characters, I really loved the way Mafi built them. They were very far from perfect, and they had to learn how to get past things before they could truly work well together. There are so many themes explored in this book, from friendship and trust, to darker themes like prejudice and abandonment. There's even a bit with Alice's mother having an addiction to berries that make her less sad when father is away.

The plot of this book was so topsy turvy! The ending was a bit abrupt, but I kind of liked it because it was so Furthermore. Sometimes there's a big struggle to get where you're going, but other times you might just end up in the right place at the right time.


Overall, Furthermore was such a fun, whimsical adventure. Even though this is middle grade (which is not a typical genre for me), it's such a fun fantasy that I think anyone can enjoy if they're in the mood for something lighter. Here's to hoping there will be a sequel!

- Kiersten

What's your favorite fantasy world?
Let us know in the comments!

Friday, August 19, 2016

Review: The Geography of You and Me - Jennifer E. Smith

The Geography of You and Me
Jennifer E. Smith
Series: N/A
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Poppy
Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Disclaimer before I talk about this book: I love Jen E. Smith. I think the other books of hers I've read are wonderful and some of my favorites!! However, I think this one just missed the mark.

I picked this up when I was looking for things to bring back for my sister from the library (because my mom thinks she doesn't read enough) and when I read the premise I actually thought it sounded kinda like The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight (which I loved) which seemed a little suspicious, but they're pretty different stories other than the whole ~interesting meet-cute and parting of ways~ thing.

Anyway, I was totally expecting to love this book but I just couldn't seem to enjoy it. The story focuses on Lucy and Owen -- two teens who live in the same NYC apartment building but have never met and get stuck in the elevator together during a citywide blackout. Even though they bond through the night, they're pulled apart when Lucy moves to Edinburgh and Owen travels across the country with his dad.

The book's biggest positive was the writing itself. Jennifer E. Smith is definitely skilled and even if I had issues with the story, I can't deny that she wrote beautifully. One of my favorite parts is when she describes the way Owen feels about his life by comparing him to a fish that has "the capacity to grow in unimaginable ways if only the tank were big enough." She uses the phrase "he'd always felt himself bumping up against the edges of his own life" which I really liked and feel like a lot of people can relate to. There were a few other gems and notable snippets and I think they really significantly added to the reading experience. If this story was told by an author with less flair for language, I'm sure it'd have a much lower rating.

Even though I appreciated JES's writing, I wasn't that into the story. I'm always here for cutesy cheesy love stories with no other plot than the Happily Ever After but I really feel like nothing happened in this book. It was all fluff. And I am not anti-fluff!! I love fluff!!! But sometimes fluff just doesn't work, especially when it is trying so hard to not be fluff. I think fluff should own up to it and accept itself for what it is. Anyway, I just kept waiting for plot progression but it was so minimal.

Also, I thought Lucy was a kinda boring main character. She had no friends in New York and the ones in Edinburgh I wasn't that invested in, no stand-out personality traits, and even when I felt a little bad for her because I thought her parents left her behind on their vacations for funsies, I stopped feeling bad when I realized she had never actually bothered talking to them about wanting to go. Owen was a little bit better. His problems were a little less frivolous but he could be irksome too. I liked him as a whole though, although one thing that still bothers me about his character is that, when his dad and him decide to take off on a cross-country road trip in the beginning of the school year, he's like ~oh yeah I have enough credits to graduate it's chill~ but if he had enough credits at that point before his first semester was over he should have had them at the end of his junior year and should have already applied to schools!!!!!!!! I know it's nitpicking but it's always gonna bother me.

Anyway, the whole idea of the story is cute and I love the fact that they send each other postcards and that there's a turtle named Bartleby and that Owen likes stars but overall I was underwhelmed and got bored pretty quickly and anxious to finish. It was a quick read so it didn't take up too much of my time or anything but it's been a few weeks and I've already forgotten half of the details so that about sums it up.

- Noor

What's the weirdest place you've met someone?
Let us know in the comments!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: Furthermore - Tahereh Mafi

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week I'm waiting on Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi!

Tahereh Mafi
Release Date: August 30th, 2016
Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers
Waited on by: Noor

There are only three things that matter to twelve-year-old Alice Alexis Queensmeadow: Mother, who wouldn't miss her; magic and color, which seem to elude her; and Father, who always loved her. The day Father disappears from Ferenwood he takes nothing but a ruler with him. But it's been almost three years since then, and Alice is determined to find him. She loves her father even more than she loves adventure, and she's about to embark on one to find the other. 

But bringing Father home is no small matter. In order to find him she'll have to travel through the mythical, dangerous land of Furthermore, where down can be up, paper is alive, and left can be both right and very, very wrong. Her only companion is a boy named Oliver whose own magical ability is based in lies and deceit--and with a liar by her side in a land where nothing is as it seems, it will take all of Alice's wits (and every limb she's got) to find Father and return home to Ferenwood in one piece. On her quest to find Father, Alice must first find herself--and hold fast to the magic of love in the face of loss. 

You might have seen Kiersten's last Stuffed Animal Saturday talking about this book and I'm sorry to be repetitive but I am just so. freaking. excited for it. This may or may not be a good time to admit I actually haven't read Tahereh Mafi's Shatter Me series yet (I think I own them though??? maybe). I of course do plan on reading them in the near future but after God knows how long of stalking her Instagram and obsessing over her existence as a person, I feel like this is the perfect book to start off my Tahereh Mafi reading journey with -- it's only one book so it's not daunting and it has the perfect premise. There's only like two weeks left until it comes out and I am counting down every last second.

- Noor

What are you waiting on?
Let us know in the comments!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Books Set in a Fantasy World

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Here at We Live and Breathe Books, two of us choose five books each week. This weeks topic is...

Books set in a fantasy world!

Kiersten's Picks

A Court of Mist and Fury
Sarah J. Maas
A Court of Thorns and Roses, #2

I absolutely LOVE the world in the ACOTAR series, especially the Night Court! I could go on and on forever about how much I love Rhysand and his squad, but I'll keep it short here since I've already written a full review. I am so excited to see what happens in the next book!

The Phantom Tollbooth
Norton Juster 

The Phantom Tollbooth is like the OG favorite fantasy world for me. This was one of my favorite books I read in elementary school, and I still have so much love for it. My inner math nerd was living for the world ruled by numbers. This world is so whimsical and fun.

Jay Kristoff
Nevernight, #1

I know there have been mixed reviews for Nevernight, but my love for this book is unreal. This world is so cool! It's the most different fantasy world I've read as of late in terms of being different from our world. Check out my review for more thoughts!

Sarah Fine
Guards of the Shadowlands, #1

Sanctum is a book I read a long time ago, but I really loved this series. The series doesn't take place entirely in a fantasy world, but most of Sanctum takes place in the Shadowlands, which is the afterlife. I thought Sarah Fine's imagining of the afterlife was so wonderful, and the more she built on it through the series, it got even better! I never wrote a review for this book, but I do have a spoiler free review of the finale!

The Girl of Fire and Thorns
Rae Carson
Fire and Thorns, #1

The Girl of Fire and Thorns is one of the first fantasy books I read when I started becoming a reader and blogger (review here). This is one of those epic fantasy type of worlds, and I loved it. I connected with the main character because she really loves sweets.

Amrutha's Picks

Harry Potter 
J.K. Rowling

Who would I even be if I didn't put Harry Potter on here...I started reading HP when I was seven or eight and it was my actual introduction to fantasy. It's been over 10 years since I started the series and I can still almost verbatim recite a bunch of scenes.

Cornelia Funke
Inkworld, #1

Love this series!!! Inkheart was the first major fantasy series I read after Harry Potter, and just confirmed for me that fantasy is amazing. The book is about a girl named Meggie who's father can read characters from books to life. Her mother disappeared into the story of a book he read aloud years ago. You have to read the rest to find out what happens!

The Chronicles of Narnia
C.S. Lewis

We've all thought about Narnia and loved the The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe but there are 6 other books that go along after it!!!! Read them, travel to Narnia, live your best possible lives and scour every inch of these books because they are so, so good. I might actually reread them soon because they are so worth it.

Legacy of Kings
Eleanor Herman

Historical fiction with a bit of fantasy, but still a damn good book. I never actually reviewed this but our pal Marlon did here! Empire of Dust just came out recently and while I haven't had time to read it yet, I'm really excited about it. Also, Eleanor Herman is an absolute sweetheart.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Ransom Riggs

I'm really ashamed that it took me so long to read this book (I haven't actually finished the other books yet but our girl Noor loves this series, as you can see here). I'm also really excited about the movie!

What are your favorite fantasy worlds?
Let us know in the comments!