Monday, July 31, 2017

Hunger by Roxane Gay Review

Title: Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body
Author: Roxane Gay
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Biography/Memoir
Series: Standalone
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

I borrowed this book through my local library and reviewed it.

Roxane Gay has become a household name in the arenas of both fiction and nonfiction, and when I heard that she had a new book coming out, a memoir about her body and her own personal experiences, I was really excited. I've read short fiction and articles by her, and was so stoked to finally get my hands on her work, to gain some personal insight on one of my favorite authors of all time. What I discovered is a deeply honest, painful, and poignant memoir that highlighted the pain of severe trauma, the deep love of family, both blood and not, and resilience of every kind. I read this book and came away with a feeling of inspiration and hope; I feel like everyone should read this moving, wonderful memoir. Gay lays herself bare for the reader, all of her scars and wants and hopes and regrets, welcoming you into her mind. One of my favorite books of 2017, hands down!

Roxane Gay is a highly successful author and professor at a university in Indiana, but in Hunger, she talks about her childhood, her past and how it formed her into the woman she is today, and I was just awed by the sheer degree of honesty. Memoirs are very touch and go with me, because if I feel that the author is not being truthful, that can turn me off and make me hate the book. But Hunger was so honest and so open, about every great and ugly thing that ever happened to Gay. I'm so awed, moved, inspired. (And it also didn't hurt that she talked about writing, a lot!) Gay writes frankly about feminism, body image, the meaning of self-love and getting there on her own terms, as well as a whole life's worth of personal growth. What an amazing, outstanding memoir; I can't wait to see what Roxane Gay has in store next! The bottom line: A warm, funny, and completely no-holds barred, honest memoir that had me feeling everything, I loved Hunger! One of the best books of 2017, hands down!

Rise of the Isle of the Lost by Melissa de la Cruz Review

Title: Rise of the Isle of the Lost
Author: Melissa de la Cruz
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Series: The Descendants, book three
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

I borrowed this book through my local library and reviewed it.

UGH! This book. This book. I'm so freaking sad now! I know it had to end, but I still can't help feeling like I came away with a group of lovable, hilarious new friends. It ended really well, but methinks that the ending leaves room for another story. (Maybe it's just wishful thinking?) I think, of all the books, this one was my favorite of the series. Twists and turns, new characters, magic and mayhem and adventure... As far as series closers go, this was amazing! I was as satisfied as I was sad. (You know a series is great when you walk away from it feeling like the characters are your friends.) I can only hope that this isn't the end of The Descendants, because it was just so much fun!

The Rise of the Isle of the Lost picks up where Return left off, with Mal and her friends doing their best to lay rest to their dark, wicked histories. But their peace is interrupted when King Triton's trident goes missing. Forced against the clock and other villains throughout the Isle, the kids are determined to set the rogue magic to rights, leading them on a mission on the ocean. But other forces are brewing, doing their best to stir up trouble and get the trident for their own uses. If the kids don't hurry, evil and villainy will triumph once again...

I loved this book! The pacing was breakneck, leading the reader to Auradon, the Isle of the Lost, and the ocean as the book goes on. I loved the characters, both the old ones and the new. (Especially a certain someone I won't mention because spoilers!) Adventure, magic, mayhem, secrets and political intrigue--this book delivered in spades. I also really enjoyed the way all the loose ends were tied up; it was a nice ending, and I really enjoyed it! I was laughing, crying, screaming, throughout the whole book. This series has straight up won my heart, and cemented my status as the ultimate, die-hard Disney fan! I had so much fun with the next generation of Disney villains, and I can't wait to see what de la Cruz has in store next! The bottom line: The last book in a trilogy about mini Disney villains, I loved The Rise of the Isle of the Lost! Next on deck: Hunger by Roxane Gay!

Return to the Isle of the Lost by Melissa de la Cruz Review

Title: Return to the Isle of the Lost
Author: Melissa de la Cruz
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Series: Descendants, book two
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

I borrowed this book through my local library and reviewed it.

I found out that the third, and possibly last, book of this fun series was coming out soon, so in order to prepare myself, I ended up ordering Return to the Isle of the Lost. As you guys well know, I'm pretty much a sucker for anything Disney. I loved Isle of the Lost, and I was so stoked when I realized that this was an ongoing series. And as far as sequels go, this was a really good one! I'm so excited for what the last book in the trilogy has in store for me and the characters I've grown to love so much.

Return to the Isle of the Lost picks up where the first book left off, with the children of Disney's most notorious villains settling somewhat uncomfortably into their new places on the island of Auradon. But soon, the kids start receiving threatening messages that warn of trouble in the place they once called home. Forced to go back, the kids realize that they may be the only thing standing between Auradon and a wave of catastrophic destruction, and unless they band together and stop their parents, they just might have to kiss their brand-new, good lives goodbye...

I really liked this book! I liked the premise and concept of the whole series (I mean, mini villains? Come on now, de la Cruz, you're killing me here!). But this sequel was good; it tied up a lot of loose ends, fleshed out characters, brought in new and old ones, as well as more twists and turns. It also didn't hurt that the book was full of adventures and magic, as well as many familiar characters, spun different ways, for a modern audience. That ending, too, was wonderful, and I'm so happy that the sequel is sitting next in my book stack. However, I couldn't give it a complete five stars, mostly because some of the references were a tad cheesy. Nonetheless, a solid, fun sequel, full of action, magic, and adventure! The bottom line: A meaty sequel in a fun series about the next generation of Disney villains, I loved Return to the Isle of the Lost! Next on deck: Rise of the Isle of the Lost by Melissa de la Cruz!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Definitions of Indefinable Things by Whitney Taylor Review

Title: Definitions of Indefinable Things
Author: Whitney Taylor
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary Fiction/Romance
Series: Standalone
Star Rating: 1 out of 5 Stars

I borrowed this book through my local library and reviewed it.

Definitions of Indefinable Things was one of my book club's picks for July, and frankly, I was excited, though the blurb didn't sound very good to me. I was also really excited to see the topic of mental illness was being covered, having dealt with crippling depression and anxiety my entire life. We need more books about the trials and pain that come with being mentally ill, but this book missed the mark in so many different ways. I was sorely disappointed with this debut novel, and because of it, I will be avoiding Taylor's work. Mental illness was not depicted correctly, and it really bothered me, how the characters in the book ended up seeing it and dealing with it. I came away from this book with a lot of feelings, none of them good.

Reggie Mason isn't necessarily what you'd call a romantic; she's more of a pessimistic cynic, and she finds the honest truth preferable to pretty, sweet lies. She's always dealt with depression, but after two traumatic events, she hits rock bottom. And to add to all that, she meets a boy named Snake. The two hit it off almost immediately, but there's one small problem: Snake has a very pregnant ex named Carla. The three teens collide in a messy, frightening way, and Reggie must decide if her life is worth living fully, even if it means embracing the pain she dreads.

Like I said, I had high hopes for this book. We need to talk more about mental illness and its effect on humanity. But this book... It was just done all wrong, for me. Mental illness was portrayed completely wrong, I didn't like any of the characters, and the plot was so ridiculous. It just didn't make any sense to me. The prose was good, but I just didn't like the book. The ending felt trite and not true to life at all, and the characters--I didn't like any of them, save Carla sometimes, and Reggie's dad. But I wish that the subject matter had been handled more delicately. I was hoping that I would really like this book, but it was, at most, just 'meh' for me. I wasn't feeling it, and I didn't enjoy it at all. I get the point that Taylor was trying to make, but she went about it completely wrongly. The bottom line: Though I had high hopes for this debut novel, Definitions of Indefinable Things just came across as flat and trite, and I didn't like it at all. On down the library stack for me. Next on deck: Return to the Isle of the Lost by Melissa de la Cruz!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Ptolemy's Gate by Jonathan Stroud Review

Title: Ptolemy's Gate
Author: Jonathan Stroud
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Series: The Bartimaeus Sequence, book three
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

I borrowed this book through my local library and reviewed it.

My husband and I have a little routine when it comes to books. Either I read to him aloud so we can experience the story together, or he reads it first, and I read it after him, so we can talk about it. This was the Bartimaeus Sequence for us most recently, thanks to the lovely people of the Reddit-sphere. It took me a little while to get to it, but when I did, I was drawn in immediately, and when I had to put it down, there were times when I was irrationally angry. But Stroud closes this hilarious, heartfelt trilogy with surprising tenderness and skill. Honestly, I really feel like I've lost a new set of friends, finishing this series. That ending though! Just stomp on my heart, why don't you?! (Authors and endings are going to be the death of me, I swear...)

Ptolemy's Gate picks up where The Golem's Eye left off, and I don't want to give any details away, for my readers that haven't read it yet. But what I will say is that this trilogy closes with beautiful, dazzling prose that had me laughing and crying, sometimes at the same time. Action and adventure abound as Nathaniel and Bartimaeus embark on their final quest. Kitty also shows up, trying desperately to save her country from brewing unrest and rebellion. All three of their heroes' fates collide, and none of them will make it unscathed...

I loved this book. Every crazy, hilarious moment of it. Sequels usually make me anxious, but this one delivered in every way. Breakneck pacing, twists and turns, tying up loose ends, lovable characters, old and new, all the tension that I could handle, and some that I couldn't bear, and that ending! Gah, I couldn't take it! I also loved the way the author shifted from one point of view to another, giving a fully rounded perspective on the events happening in the book. This series closer took my heart and guts and stomped all over them, and I have to say that it was worth it. I loved the way the trilogy ended, though it broke my heart and made me cry. Bartimaeus's wry, humorous commentary had me laughing and screaming in frustration. (I don't want it to end, so I ordered the prequel from my library. All the Egyptian shenanigans!) And Kitty! I loved the way she got a leading role in this book, instead of a supporting character. And Nathaniel! I loved the character development! What a book! The bottom line: The final book in the Bartimaeus Sequence, I loved Ptolemy's Gate! What a series closer! I can't wait for The Ring of Solomon! Next on deck: The Definition of Indefinable Things by Whitney Taylor!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Grace and the Fever by Zan Romanoff Review

Title: Grace and the Fever
Author: Zan Romanoff
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary Fiction/Romance
Series: Standalone
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

I borrowed this book through my local library and reviewed it.

This book was a recommended selection for the month of May, and due to browsing, shifting, and my personal and professional life getting in the way, I only just finished it yesterday. And frankly, I was bowled over. I have been waiting for this book my whole life. I don't know a woman who didn't have a period in their youth where they were obsessed with boy bands. Grace and the Fever taps into that vein and cuts it open, creating a modern tale of fandom, music, self-discovery, first love, and, wait for it, my favorite part: feminism! This book! It made me laugh, cry, cheer, and cringe. I loved every painful, funny, almost too good to be true moment of it. Easily one of the best of 2017, hands down, and Zan Romanoff has become one of my new favorite authors! What a book!

Grace has been obsessed with Fever Dream from the time she was a teenager, though it is something that she tries to hide from her friends. On the Fever Dream fandom, she's known as Gigi, and she runs a very popular blog. But it turns out that Grace's two lives are about to collide. She meets Jes, one of the boys from the band, and before she realizes what is happening, she is drawn into a web of reluctant fame, shaky alliances, and maybe, just maybe, her first love, if she can make peace with her new, accidental fame.

I loved this book! It was pretty much perfect, and feminist, to boot! I've been waiting for a book like this since my teenage years. It brought back lots of memories, albeit ones before the rise of the digital age. It made me remember my first band crushes, all the days where I'd watch concerts on TV, wishing I was there. It brought back many good memories, and it was also a creative, tender, cautionary tale about privacy and online presence. But more than its themes and original premise, I loved the characters, especially Grace, whose personal and private lives blur when she actually crosses paths with her favorite band, and the boys of Fever Dream itself. I loved this story; the prose was beautiful, the premise weird, thoughtful, and original. What a novel, full of love and tenderness and understanding, and that ending! Just stomp all over my heart, why don't you, woman?! The bottom line: A feminist coming of age novel that explores identity and first love, Grace and the Fever is one of my favorite books of 2017! Next on deck: Ptolemy's Gate by Jonathan Stroud!

Friday, July 14, 2017

A City of Saints and Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson Review

Title: City of Saints and Thieves
Author: Natalie C. Anderson
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Adventure/Thriller
Series: Standalone
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

I borrowed this book through my local library and reviewed it.

I found this book at one of the libraries that I frequent; it was standing on a display, its cover glimmering like a garnet-colored jewel. And with that gorgeous picture of a knowing girl staring out at me, I knew I just had to bring it home and discover what it was that lingered in the book's pages. (I know, I know, this wasn't a recommendation, but an impulse find. Yay! Gotta break routine every now and then, right?) What I discovered was a hard-hitting, ripped straight from the headlines novel that combines Ocean's Eleven and Blood Diamond. I also loved that the main character was African--diverse main characters, especially young women, for the win! This book was amazing, a high-octane thriller that leads the reader across the globe and into the deep reaches of cyberspace.

Christina is a thief, a person who blends in with the shadows, a woman who fights fiercely for herself and those she loves. But her ultimate motive is revenge against the man she believes murders her mother. Her journey for retribution leads her far across the globe and into the dark, deep reaches of cyberspace, desperate for answers. Forced to take a former friend as an ally, Tiny Girl must decide if she is willing to pay the ultimate price for vengeance, or if there is more to the story than even she realizes...

This book was amazing. Easily one of my favorite books of 2017. I loved pretty much everything about it. What a sizzling, eye-opening debut Anderson has penned! The premise of this book was something that was ripped straight from the news headlines and spun into a surprisingly tender, brutal debut novel that explores the horrors of war and the meaning of family. But what really won me over was not even the gorgeous, dangerous setting, from African cities to the dark depths of the bush, it was Tiny Girl, and her resilience, her sheer determination to find out what happened to her mother, though the path is fraught with peril. The pacing was breakneck, and soon I was absorbed, turning pages, desperate to make it to the end. I also really enjoyed the supporting cast of the book, especially Michael. (And the romantic tension between he and Tina! UGH, just kill me!)

The twists and turns were incredible, and that's coming from someone who guesses the ending of most mysteries and thrillers she reads. I can't wait to see what Anderson has in store next! I was really impressed with the depth of the research that went into forming the story. The bottom line: A heart-pounding thriller that combines Ocean's Eleven and Blood Diamond, City of Saints and Thieves is a fantastic debut, featuring lush prose and a diverse, strong female main character of color! I can't wait for what Anderson has in store next! Next on deck: Grace and the Fever by Zan Romanoff!

Done Dirt Cheap by Sarah Nicole Lemon Review

Title: Done Dirt Cheap
Author: Sarah Nicole Lemon
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Series: Standalone
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

I borrowed this book through my local library and reviewed it.

This book. This book! I have been waiting my entire life to read a young adult book like this one. I loved it. Easily one of my favorite books of 2017, if not the one. Done Dirt Cheap stole my heart, bewitching me with beautiful prose, gorgeous setting, and amazing characters that walked straight off of the page and into my heart. God. This book was a modern fairy tale that was a delightful, dark mix of Sons of Anarchy and Stand By Me. I really hope that SNL has another project in the works, because now, there is nothing that she writes that I won't read. Where has this book been all my life? What a heartfelt, beautifully written debut! I love strong female characters, and this book has a wealth of them, as well as adorable boys for them (and the reader) to swoon over. It was so much fun!

Tourmaline Harris is a girl who understands her place in her world, even if it happens to be ruled by her father and feels more like a role to play than anything else. But she is tired and in a rough spot, missing her mother and wishing that things were different. She meets Virginia Campbell, the tough and guarded daughter of a woman who cares more about herself than anyone else. Joining forces in a reluctant alliance, the girls discover that the world may be bigger than they realize, and that their enemies just might be the person that they need the most.

This book was amazing. The prose was beautiful, hypnotic, and I was spellbound by the end of the first chapter. I loved the premise of it as well, a plot that places two strong, flawed heroines at the forefront. (Yay strong female main characters!) It was quite near perfect. What an electrifying, sexy debut that had me laughing, crying, and tingling with emotion! All of my senses were enchanted, and two of the best parts of this story were Virginia and Tourmaline's friendship, as well as their sizzling, knee-weakening love stories. I loved the ending--it was so true to life! There was nothing that I didn't love about this book, even its villains and supporting characters. I'm so excited for whatever Sarah Nicole Lemon has in store! The bottom line: A modern, rough-riding fairy tale, Done Dirt Cheap is one of the best books of the year! Next on deck: City of Saints and Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Spindle Fire by Lexa Hillyer Review

Title: Spindle Fire
Author: Lexa Hillyer
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Series: Spindle Fire. book one
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

I borrowed this book through my local library and reviewed it.

Everyone who knows me or reads this blog also knows that I am a huge sucker for fairy tales and retellings of them. Perhaps it's because fairy tales are the first group of stories that I really grew attached to. They are some of the first stories that bore deep into my heart, and it has placed a sort of enchantment and romance on my own writing and my reading material. So when I heard that this new book was coming out, I reserved it at my library as soon as I could. I mean, a retelling of Sleeping Beauty? Wicked fairies with dangerous secrets? Political intrigue? A pair of brave, courageous, lovable sisters? This book contained some of the best elements in fantasy, taking the fairy tale and spinning it anew, all the while staying true to the original.

Aurora and Isabelle are two daughters of the same king, and they have both been tithed by the two of the many powerful fairies that populate their land. The fairies and the humans have been at war for years, but it all ended when the most powerful of them went into hiding. Forced out of their castle, Aurora, who has had her sense of touch stolen, is the favored, legitimate daughter. She is sheltered and coddled. Her sister, Isabelle, is blind, her sight the price of a fairy tithe. The two sisters must go beyond their castle, for if they don't, the sleeping sickness will swallow all.

I really enjoyed this book. The prose was lush and gorgeous, almost hypnotic in its intensity. Before anything else, the prose really caught my attention. I liked the worldbuilding, though at times it was a little bit confusing. But it was the characters, mainly the two sisters, sweet, naive Aurora, and her headstrong, fierce, unwanted sister, Isbe, that really captured my heart. All issues aside, it was this pair of sisters that I really grew to love and care for. I liked the political intrigue; that was one of the aspects that kept me turning the pages. I liked the way the familiar elements of the original story, woven up in a new tale, rife with fairies and magic and darkness. I can see why a lot of people thought it was slow, but I liked the style. And I'm super stoked to hear there's a sequel! The bottom line: A new telling of the classic Sleeping Beauty fairy tale, Spindle Fire was a beautiful, dark series debut that I really liked, despite some flaws. Next on deck: Done Dirt Cheap by Sarah Nicole Lemon!

Monday, July 3, 2017

Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab Review

Title: Our Dark Duet
Author: Victoria Schwab
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy/Horror
Series: Monsters of Verity, book two
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

I borrowed this book through my local library and reviewed it.

God! My literary pain is insurmountable. Between Cassandra Clare, Sarah Dessen, and this half of a heartbreaking, action-packed duology, that tore my heart out and made me cry until my chest hurt. These last three books really got under my skin, but especially this one. This is going to be a book hangover that I just might not ever recover from. I mean... Just, really?! I can't even deal with this. I've been reeling for a day and a half, and I'm still not sure how to put my feelings into words. WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO ME, VICTORIA?! HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO MOVE ON AFTER THAT?! GAH!

This Savage Song, the first book in this duo, was one of, if not the, best book of 2016, at least for me. Schwab completely captured my imagination, in all of its blood, gore, and horror. In the broken world of August Flynn and Kate Harker, sin is more tangible, insofar that bad acts literally create monsters. The Sunai, musical monsters that can steal your soul with a song, The Corsai, ghostlike wraiths that rend, rip, and break, and the Malachi, fanged and red-eyed all result in the dark hole of the city of Verity.

But this time, picking up where This Savage Song left off, a new monster has an eye set on Verity, a being that is even more terrifying than the usual ranks of dark creatures that populate the city. Kate and August must come together again to save their city as well as each other, if the growing body count does not overwhelm them and their loved ones. Kate must dig deep inside herself and find the strength to save her city. August must find the delicate balance between the dark urges inside and the humanity that he longs to imitate. That if, if both of them can make it off of the expanding battlefield unscathed...

This book killed my soul. It made me feel everything, the entire gamut of emotions. Sequels give me such horrible anxiety, because they hold so much promise and anticipating for me. But I needn't have worried. This book was perfect. All of the loose ends were neatly tied up, the pacing was breakneck, so by the time that my heart and mind caught up to the pages, I was so invested that there was no way of me putting it down, even when I wanted to. I loved the twists, the way Schwab cranked up the tension until I was ready to scream or cry, and the way old and new characters were brought in. Plus: the villain(s). I love it when an author can make awesome bad guys! The ending. God, that ending. It killed me! All the ugly crying, guys! I'm still trying to process it, even while I type this. Easy, hands down, one of the best books of the summer, if not the year! The bottom line: The second half of a smash hit duology, Our Dark Duet tore my soul to pieces and sewed it back together again--what a book! I'm still heavy from the hangover. Next on deck: Spindle Fire by Lexa Hillyer!

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Once and for All by Sarah Dessen Review

Title: Once and for All
Author: Sarah Dessen
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary Fiction/Romance
Series: Standalone
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

I borrowed this book through my local library and reviewed it.

Sarah Dessen is the author that made me believe in the merits of contemporary fiction. Add to that, that she is one of the bestselling young adult authors of recent times, and I'm sold. Anything that she writes, I want to read it. So when I heard that she would be publishing a new book in June, I just knew that I had to order it through my local library. (I really love my library!) This book was classic Dessen: lovable, sweet characters that were making me laugh aloud, situations straight out of a rom-com, a good, healthy dose of angst, both of teen and regular kinds, and a true-to-life ending that was both bittersweet and satisfying! This book was described as 'sweet as wedding cake and bubbly as champagne', and those two words definitely fit, but there were sad parts to it as well.

Louna Barrett is a girl who doesn't like to make attachments, despite her loneliness and longing for more from life. She also happens to be the only, beloved daughter of a world-famous--literally--wedding planner. Having been helping her mother with her business her whole life, she doesn't believe in happy endings or fairy tales. Especially when she experienced a loss so deep it changed her entire sense of life, and the world around her. But when she crosses path with a boy named Ambrose, she discovers that there might be hope for her yet.

I loved this book. I loved every messy, hilarious, painful moment of it. It was a beautiful coming of age, second chance tale that was lushly written a tender reminder to enjoy all facets of life, even when times are dark. It really gave me hope for my present and future. But more than that, I loved Louna and her quirky, adorable family. I loved the character development of them all, but especially that of Louna. It was such a slow, sweet joy to watch her open up to the world again. Ambrose and his family were equally funny and exciting. God, this book. It broke my heart and tore my soul, then sewed it all back together again. I'm not going to lie, this book straight up made me bawl. But I'd expect nothing less from one of the queens of young adult fiction! Hands down, one of my favorite books of 2017! The bottom line: A beautiful, funny book about the small miracles of life and second chances, Once and for All stole my heart completely. One of the best books of 2017! Next on deck: Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab!

Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare Review

Title: Lord of Shadows
Author: Cassandra Clare
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Series: The Dark Artifices, book two
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

I borrowed this book through my local library and reviewed it.

Oh my God. Oh my freaking God. How am I supposed to go on after this?! My life is over. God, Clare, just stomp all over my heart, why don't you?! How could you do this to me?! I'll be honest: I finished this book two days ago. But since I was basically a sobbing, emotional wreck, unable to process, I had to let the review sit. I didn't want to write a review still raw with emotion. I'm still reeling and haven't completely processed everything yet. I don't want to say too much, because I don't want to give something away. (You should all suffer! SUFFER THE EMOTIONAL AGONY! Kidding.)

Lord of Shadows takes place after the events of Lady Midnight, and in this installment of The Dark Artifices, our heroes are led into dangerous places, fighting forbidden, angsty feelings along the way. UGH. I knew this book was going to kill me, but I didn't know just how badly. Clare delivers in spades, as usual: dangerous secrets, forbidden love and killer sexual tension, twists and turns and trips to magical worlds. Add to that beautiful prose, characters that you will have no choice to fall in love with, and that ending--gah! I'm dead. Dead. What am I supposed to do with myself until 2019?! (Excuse me while I find a corner to sob pathetically in....) Ugh. This book, and this series, will make you feel everything, all the feels. Prepare yourselves, guys, because this sequel was definitely one of the most brutal. I am still reeling, and I'm even angrier that I have to wait two years from now to read the next book! One of the best and worst books of 2017, I can't wait for the third book in this series! The bottom line: A meaty, satisfying sequel with a heck of a zinger for an ending, I loved Lord of Shadows, even while it broke my heart. Next on deck: Once and For All by Sarah Dessen!