Friday, September 27, 2019

The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee Review


Title: The Downstairs Girl
Author: Stacey Lee
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Historical Fiction
Series: Standalone
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

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

                Stacey Lee is one of my favorite authors; I was obsessed with her novels last year, so when I found out that she was publishing a brand-new historical fiction offering in August, I put it on hold at my library immediately. I was lucky enough to get my library’s first copy, and it’s been sitting at the top of my stack for a few weeks now. As soon as I was finished with Vicious, I dove in, excited and expectant. The Downstairs Girl may just be my favorite in her entire body of work. Told from the point of view of a Chinese-American girl who longs for a voice and a place in the world that refuses to accept her for who she is, Jo Kuan is the best milliner in town, and she knows it. But when she is asked to leave by the shop’s proprietor, her life takes another unfortunate turn: She is asked by her father, Old Gin, to stay on as a ladies’ maid to an old childhood nemesis, Caroline Payne. Being the ladies’ maid for the Paynes, though, provides both solace and strife, and Jo must decide what she is willing to sacrifice for the life she so desperately wants.

                I’ve read three books total by Stacey Lee, and I’ve loved them all, but I think The Downstairs Girl is my favorite. One of the big reasons I love historical fiction is that it offers a perspective of the past that I wouldn’t have otherwise. Jo Kuan is a Chinese-American woman who lives in post-Reconstruction Atlanta, and she is desperate for a voice, to be heard. Never mind that she and her father figure, ailing Old Gin, are living in the basement of a white family’s house. Desperate to make a living for herself and the only adult who cares about her, she throws caution to the winds and begins writing an ‘agony aunt’ column under the pseudonym Miss Sweetie. Pleased to finally have a voice when before she was only expected to be silent, Jo begins to work with the suffragettes in Atlanta, and discovers something surprising about herself in the process.

                This book was nothing less than incredible, and it might be Stacey Lee’s best work yet. Diverse books for the win, as always! I’ve never before read a novel from a Chinese-American woman’s perspective, and Jo’s words crackled and danced off of the page. It felt like she was sitting in my living room with me, chatting with me over a cup of tea like an old friend. I also adored the way that she bucked against the social mores of the time; she was going to do what she needed to do to protect her family and be fulfilled. I liked many of the other characters in the book: Lizzie, Jo’s coworker, Billy Riggs, Noemi and Caroline and the Paynes. But my favorite was the family that Jo and Old Gin lived under, especially Jo’s love interest. I also enjoyed the way that Jo, Noemi, and the other characters clashed with the white suffragettes in Atlanta. And that ending! Oh, my gosh, it was nothing less than perfect! The bottom line: This story of gumption, spunk, faith and bittersweet joy stole my heart and gave it wings. I loved The Downstairs Girl, and I cannot wait to see what Stacey Lee has up her sleeve next! Next on deck: Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders by Neil Gaiman!

Monday, September 23, 2019

Vicious by V.E. Schwab Review


Title: Vicious
Author: V.E. Schwab
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Science Fiction
Series: Villians, book one
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

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

                V.E. Schwab is one of my favorite authors, and is an absolute titan in the writing industry. I’ve had my eye on one of her early novels, Vicious, for a long time now. Unfortunately, I had to return it to the library several times before I could actually read it. I couldn’t renew it anymore, so as soon as I was finished with Ghosts of the Shadow Market, I dove in, not wanting to return it without reading it yet again. Vicious is a tale about one of America’s classic tropes: superheroes! A dark, twisty science fiction tale full of revenge, gore, and old rivalries gone bitter, Vicious was captivating, thoughtful, and surprising—this book might be my favorite in Schwab’s extensive body of work. I cannot wait for the sequel, Vengeful!

                Victor Vale and Eli Cardale are college roommates and reluctant best friends. Both are ambitious, intelligent, and eager to show the world their abilities. They are both fascinated by EOS, short for Extra Ordinary. Both young men manipulate nature in order to control godly powers: Victor can manipulate pain levels: he can take away pain and give it in spades. Eli, on the other hand, has the ability to regenerate, rendering him practically invincible. Two former friends turned enemies, Victor and Eli are fixed on a collision course for one another, hellbent on getting revenge for their wrongs against each other. But other people, humans and other Extra Ordinaries, are going to get hurt. But what’s a little bit of collateral damage in exchange for retribution?

                I loved, loved, loved this book! Superheroes is an often-overused trope, but it’s one of my favorites and V.E. Schwab breathed fresh life into it. The pacing was breakneck, and I was immediately captivated. I also loved the way that Schwab jumped from one character to the next: Victor, Eli, Sydney and Serena. I loved this new twist on science fiction; Schwab’s gorgeous prose kept me glued to the pages, and I was thinking about the book even while doing other things. This book was thoughtful, too, and touched on things such as God, a higher power, fate, free will, and power, and what it means to have all of those things. I loved watching Victor and Eli face off, both in the past and the present. But I think my favorite part of the novel was Sydney. And that ending! Oh, my goodness, talk about a doozy! I’m so excited for Vengeful it’s difficult to put it into words! The bottom line: Thoughtful, violent, and suspenseful, I loved Vicious, and I can’t wait for Vengeful! Next on deck: The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee!

Ghosts of the Shadow Market by Cassandra Clare Review


Title: Ghosts of the Shadow Market
Author(s): Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson, Kelly Link, and Robin Wasserman
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy/Romance
Series: Ghosts of the Shadow Market, 1-10
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

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

                Cassandra Clare is one of my favorite authors; I’ve been wanting to read this set of short stories since they came out last year in ebook format. I had to return this once and I was so intrigued over it I went back and reordered it. Ghosts of the Shadow Market contains ten stories that all take place in the Shadowhunter universe, starting in the 1800s and going all the way to the present. It follows Jem Carstairs, the man who became The Silent Brother, Brother Zachariah. Jem is one of my very favorite characters, so to follow him through the years was a real treat. Honestly, this book might be my favorite of all of Clare’s work thus far; I laughed, I cried, and I was so excited for all the Easter eggs that Clare and all the other authors put in the book for fans of the previous books. This short story collection is quite possibly my favorite, and not the least of which because of its frontman! There are ten stories, so for clarity’s sake, I’ll write about the standouts and give an overall rating for the whole book. The four other authors did a fantastic job of fleshing out the gaps that Clare left in all of the other books; this short story collection is one I’d love to have in my own personal library.

                Every Exquisite Thing: 4 out of 5 Stars. I loved this story! This book begins chronologically, from the 1880s to the present. In this one, Jem finds out the truth about his wife, Tessa, and her demonic origins that made her a warlock. All of these stories made me cry to some extent, but this was one of the worst ones. It was fast-paced, dark, and surprising; that ending had my jaw on the floor. Absolutely fantastic! Told with signature flare and aplomb, I really enjoyed it!

                A Deeper Love: 5 out of 5 Stars. This story was one of my favorites, as it centered on my OTP, or one true pairing, Will, Tess, and Jem. I loved The Infernal Devices, and so when they made an appearance, I was so very happy! I loved the way this story explored their relationship with each other, and the way that they eventually met again, so many years later. It was painful, exquisite, lovely, and it made me cry, in the best way. It was wonderful, and made me ache. This whole collection did, to be totally truthful, but especially this entry.

                Son of the Dawn: 5 out of 5 Stars. I’ve been waiting forever to actually read how it was that Jace Wayland ended up with the Lightwood family as a child. So, this story made me so happy! I loved reading this story, seeing how Jace enmeshed into the family threads of them. Found family has always been an important concept to me, both in fiction and my life, so this story struck a deep chord with me. I loved every bittersweet, loving moment of this story. Beautiful, tender, and realistic, I loved it so much. One of my favorites of the whole collection.

                The Land I Lost: 5 out of 5 Stars. This story was my favorite of the collection, hands down. I loved the way it put emphasis on another of my OTPs, Magnus Bane and Alec Lightwood! I’d long been wondering how Rafael was added to their cozy little family unit, and I loved the way it showed the love between them. Alec and Magnus are called by Jem and Tessa for assistance, and the pair go meet up in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Faced with a broken Institute and corrupt Shadowhunters serving the new Clave, Alec is determined to save the Downworlders living there. His path crosses with one of a little Shadowhunter boy, orphaned after The Dark War. Magnus and Alec discover something entirely new across the globe, and I loved it. I loved it. So much. I cried, giggled, and laughed. By the time I was through, my heart felt like a hot air balloon. Easily my favorite in the entire collection. And, last but not least,

                Forever Fallen: 5 out of 5 Stars. I hesitate to even outline the plot points of this story, because Queen of Air and Darkness spoilers! I don’t specifically know anyone who hasn’t read it, but I don’t want to ruin it for anyone. HOLY CRAP, YOU GUYS ARE REALLY GONNA END IT ON THAT NOTE?! Like I wasn’t afraid and anxious before. I need to know what’s going to happen next! It’s been almost four days and I’m still stunned; I can still feel it like a punch to the chest. Cassandra Clare, you really do love to leave things on awful cliffhangers. The bottom line: This beautiful, long-awaited collection of short stories is quite possibly my favorite of all of Clare’s work, and just thinking about the way it all ended has got me antsy. I loved it so much! Next on deck: Vicious by V.E. Schwab!

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim Review


Title: Spin the Dawn
Author: Elizabeth Lim
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Series: The Blood of Stars, book one
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

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

                Elizabeth Lim is a name that I’m somewhat familiar with: She wrote Reflection, part of Disney’s Twisted Tales series. I was intrigued by that, so when I found out she was writing an original debut novel, I put it on hold at my local library as soon as I was able. It had been sitting at the top of my library stack for a while, and I didn’t want to return it without reading it. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but I loved this Chinese-inspired fairy tale, full of ambition, adventure, magic of all kinds, and romance that melted my heart. This series debut has been billed as a mashup of Project Runway and Mulan, and I’d say that that assessment would be pretty accurate. Elizabeth Lim has created a tale worthy of the legends that inspired it, and I will never forget the brave, fierce Maia Tamarin! I can’t wait for the next book in this duology!

                Maia Tamarin knows that she is the best tailor in the magical, lush land of A’landi, but alas, she is a girl, and so she cannot even be considered for a position. When the Emperor demands Maia’s ailing, alcoholic father come to the famed Summer Palace, she dresses up as a man and goes in his place. Forced to go up against seven other tailors, Maia is determined to see this quest through, even as the danger mounts. Trapped in a web of political intrigue and danger, the Emperor’s betrothed challenges Maia and the other tailors to make three gowns from the most impossible and legendary materials: the light of the sun, tears of the moon, and blood of stars. Maia sets out to get the materials, and the Imperial Enchanter insists on accompanying her. Distrustful and afraid, Maia sets out to become the kingdom’s first imperial tailor that’s a girl. But everyone is determined to see her fail, and her secret won’t stay under wraps for long… Will Maia achieve her dream and free her family from poverty, or lose everything in the pursuit of the impossible?

                I absolutely loved this book! The cover was totally gorgeous, and initially, that was the thing that caught my eye. But what really made this gem of a novel special was what was inside. I love fairy tale retellings, but this one was absolutely, utterly original, and enchanting. The pacing was breakneck, and I was instantly captivated by Maia’s voice. The worldbuilding was amazing, and I was spellbound by the magical, mysterious land of A’landi, torn apart by a vicious war. I loved the danger and magic and the nearly impossible quest that Maia must undertake to satisfy her ambition and save her family. But I think my favorite parts of Spin the Dawn were the romance between Edan and Maia, and Maia’s own character development. I loved watching her from a quiet and meek girl into a fierce warrior, unafraid to go after her dreams and take what she wanted for herself. Elizabeth Lim has become one of my favorite authors, and I’ll say it because I always do: Diverse books for the win! The bottom line: Beautiful, dangerous and unforgettable, Spin the Dawn has become one of my favorite books of 2019! Next on deck: Ghosts of the Shadow Market by Cassandra Clare!

Friday, September 13, 2019

We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia Review


Title: We Set the Dark on Fire
Author: Tehlor Kay Mejia
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy/Romance
Series: We Set the Dark on Fire, book one
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

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

                I’ll be honest: I’ve been so curious about this book, since before it even came out. Unfortunately, I had to return it three different times before I could read it. Before a total library haul overhaul yesterday, I decided that I wanted to make sure to read this book before I went back. I’d read some of Tehlor Kay Meija’s short stories in anthologies, but this was her debut novel, and I have to say that I loved it. The first book in a duology, We Set the Dark on Fire takes place in Medio, a place where men hold all of the power, and following ancient traditions, each man is given two wives: The Primera, his partner and equal in all things, and The Segurda, a woman passionate and nurturing, trusted with raising a man’s family. Daniela Vargas is assigned as the Primera to Mateo Garcia, and her old school nemesis, Carmen, is chosen as the boy’s second wife. As if this was not punishing enough, the rebellion, La Voz, has threatened to reveal Dani’s deadliest secret if she chooses not to cooperate with them. Dani finds herself trapped in a web of lies, political intrigue, and revolution, and she must decide whether to turn away from her people’s suffering at the rich’s hands, or if she will become a spy and work to free Medio from the vise grip of the powerful…

                This debut novel was absolutely fantastic; from the start, the prose crackled with life, and I was immediately spellbound by Dani’s frank, sweet voice. The pacing was breakneck, and the worldbuilding was one of my favorite parts of the novel. Medio was beautiful, forbidding, and terrifying, and reminded most unpleasantly of Margaret Atwood’s Gilead in more ways than one. The tension in this book, from the start, was at an all-time high. Dani’s parents have spent her life saving so they can send their daughter to the best finishing school for girls in Medio’s capital. But Dani carries a deadly secret: the papers are falsified. When she is selected to be the first wife to a politico’s son, she is determined to make sure that her parents didn’t sacrifice in vain. But things become even more complicated when the second wife, Carmen, is chosen. Still smarting from the other girl’s betrayal years earlier, Dani is forced to team up with her worst enemy to make this arrangement work. But it turns out everyone has something to hide, and some people are willing to kill to keep their secrets from coming to light. La Voz, the rebellion group fighting against Medio’s most powerful players, is fighting for the freedom of the people, and they recruit Dani to help make the new state a reality. Dani and Carmen begin to bond in the face of their new husband’s cruelty, and a tentative friendship blooms into something new and dangerous. In the face of growing unrest and rebellion, will Dani turn her back on her people? Or will she become a revolutionary herself?

                This book was incredible, and one of my favorite books of 2019! I can’t wait for the sequel. I loved the worldbuilding and Mexican-inspired culture and people; it was amazing! Diverse books for the win! The pacing was breakneck, and I was either gasping, swooning, or screaming. The tension was so intense that there were times that I wanted to tear my hair out. I loved all of the characters, and the forbidding islands of Medio. But my favorite parts of the novel are the romance between Dani and Carmen, sweet and shy and innocent but full of fire as well, and the ending! How am I supposed to wait until next year for the sequel?! I’m dying here, Tehlor! One of the best books of 2019! The bottom line: Sexy, romantic, thoughtful and unique, I loved We Set the Dark on Fire! Next on deck: Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim!

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

It's Always the Husband by Michelle Campbell Review


Title: It’s Always the Husband
Author: Michelle Campbell
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Series: Standalone
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

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

                I’ve heard great things about It’s Always the Husband; in fact, I was so curious about it that I ordered it from my local library. It’s been sitting in my stack for a while, and once I realized that it had a hold on it, I pushed it to the top as soon as I finished Pachinko. Once I finished it, I dove right in, not sure what to expect, as I’d never read any of Campbell’s work before. Thrillers, in general, make me leery: either I guess who did it within a hundred pages, or it’s just so predictable that I lose interest. That wasn’t the issue here, quite the opposite, in fact. The writing was a bit simplistic, but it really suited the book, and I loved the concept: How well do we truly know the people we love, especially our friends? The pacing was breakneck, and once I began, I couldn’t stop reading. I just finished It’s Always the Husband last night, and I’m still in shock. I was blindsided by the ending; I thought I had it all figured out, but it was still a nasty surprise! Michelle Campbell proves her writing chops with It’s Always the Husband, and I can’t wait to read more of her work!

                The book begins at Carlisle College in New England, with three young women from different walks of life: Aubrey, the poor kid desperate to make friends and fit in, Kate, the charismatic and wild rich girl with undeniable magnetism, and Jenny, the overachiever from a middle-class family. Roommates all, the girls form an unbreakable bond that stands the test of time, up to adulthood. But that all changes when Kate dies unexpectedly. The police are thinking that it was a suicide, but some people in town believe that she was murdered. Soon, everyone in town is under scrutiny, and dark, dangerous secrets threaten to disturb the peaceful, sleepy town of Belle River…

                This book was wonderful! It was a bit simplistic, but I think that it suited the book and the genre. The pacing was breakneck, and once I started reading, I couldn’t stop. Even when I had to put it down, it stayed in my mind, and I kept trying to untangle the gnarled, knotted threads that the mystery presented. The large cast of characters, too, made it nearly impossible to figure out who had hurt Kate. I loved all of the characters, whose true motives were hidden under layers of secrets and deceit. I was left guessing at nearly everyone’s motives, and the ending, when it came, hit me like a brutal punch to the chest. I thought I had it all figured it out, but I definitely didn’t: I finished it last night in the tub, and I’m still totally stunned. Michelle Campbell did a fantastic job with this soapy, dramatic thriller that focuses on frenemies, and I can’t wait to look into more of her work! The bottom line: Dark, oppressive, and twisted, I loved It’s Always the Husband! Next on deck: We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Meija!


Monday, September 9, 2019

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee Review


Title: Pachinko
Author: Min Jin Lee
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Historical Fiction
Series: Standalone
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

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

                I’ve been wanting to read Pachinko ever since one of my book club friends recommended it to me, and unfortunately, I had to return it to the library the first time around. Determined to discover what all of the fuss was about, I reordered it, and it’s been sitting in my library stack for a while. As soon as I was finished with The Whisper Man, I dove in, not sure what to expect, because I’ve never read any of Lee’s previous work before. Pachinko is nothing less than historical fiction at its finest: it tells the story of four generations of a Korean family, beginning with the occupation of Korea by the Japanese and ending in the 1980s. This book was a meaty, epic family saga, told with wisdom and tenderness and chronicles a period of sixty years. I loved all of the characters, the pacing was breakneck; the prose was absolutely gorgeous but brutal, as if gouged into the page with a scalpel. I was spellbound, even as my heart broke and my eyes ran with tears. This is one of my favorite books of 2019, and I can’t wait to read more of Min Jin Lee’s work!

                The story begins with a young Korean woman named Sunja, who, after a fling with a Japanese businessman, becomes pregnant. Scrambling to salvage what is left of her soiled honor over a first love, a Christian minister offers to marry her, and the couple leaves Korea for Osaka, Japan. What follows is the fracturing of the family, both from outside forces and within, over a period of years. It was painful, real, and offered a perspective on a time in world history that I knew very little about. I loved all of the characters, and one of my favorite parts of this novel was seeing the two countries of Japan and Korea change as the story went on. I also adored the way that Lee depicted the blatant racism and prejudice against Koreans, some of which still happens today, unfortunately. This book was nothing less than a bittersweet gem, and Lee has cemented her place in my heart as one of my favorite authors with Pachinko. It helped me learn, broke my heart, made me cry, and made me think, and isn’t that the whole point of a great story?

                Pachinko was a fantastic novel that opened my eyes to the cruelty that colonialism and imperialism has wrought upon the globe, and I can surely say that I will never forget it; this book may be the magnum opus of Lee’s body of work, and I can’t wait to read more of her novels; it’s been over a week since I finished Pachinko, and I still feel stunned, like I was punched in the stomach and had the wind knocked out of me. I will never forget this beautifully wrought, sad tale of a family torn apart at the seams by tragedy and circumstance. The bottom line: Rich, detailed, bittersweet and brutal, I loved Pachinko! Next on deck: It’s Always the Husband by Michelle Campbell!

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

The Whisper Man by Alex North Review


Title: The Whisper Man
Author: Alex North
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Mystery/Thriller/Horror
Series: Standalone
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

                I borrowed this from my local library and reviewed it.

                I’ve heard so many good things about The Whisper Man, and I was so sad when I didn’t receive an advanced readers’ copy. So, when I found it on the new display shelf at one of the libraries I go to, I snatched it up. I wasn’t sure what to expect, exactly, but I just finished it last night and my skin is still crawling, my mouth tasting faintly of bile and revulsion. This book just left me stunned, and if I didn’t have to return it immediately, I would’ve at least thought it over for a few days, until I got my thoughts in order. But Alex North has penned a horrifying, thoughtful debut that highlights the relationship between fathers and sons, in every way, and the darkness that hides inside of all of us. I was spellbound until the final page, and the ending will haunt me forever. I still can’t get it out of my head. I can’t wait to see what Alex North has in store for the horror, mystery and thriller genres.

                Tom Kennedy and his young son, Jake, have traveled to the small, sleepy village of Featherbank, England after the untimely death of Tom’s wife and Jake’s mother, Rebecca. Desperate for a new start in a new place, Tom tries to settle in. But he begins to discover that Featherbank has a dark past: a monster called The Whisper Man has killed little boys, and it began with the children hearing a deep, gruff voice at their window. Enter DIs Pete Willis, who has been chasing The Whisper Man for more than twenty years, and Amanda Beck, the green young detective that has been assigned to the new case. Some say that the murders are copycats, as Frank Carter is in prison for The Whisper Man’s first reign of terror. Things get even more frightening when Jake tells Tom that his imaginary friends, The Boy in the Floor, and The Little Girl, are warning him of danger. Tom finds himself entangled in a dark web of terror, deceit and true evil, and not everyone will escape The Whisper Man unscathed…

                Mysteries and thrillers are a touchy thing for me; sometimes, I can guess who did it within the first hundred pages of reading, and then the rest of the book fizzles out for me. But The Whisper Man was a twisty, intricate and dark mystery, interlaced with an awful lot of horror. The pacing was breakneck; I was utterly haunted by the tone of the book. I devoured this book in less than two days, and to say that it was a nailbiter would be a major understatement. My only complaint was that the point of view changed so often that it was sometimes difficult to figure out who was speaking. I enjoyed the large cast of characters, especially Frank, Pete, Tom, and Jake. But I think my favorite part of it was the elements of the supernatural throughout the novel; it gave the mystery such a great tone! And that ending is not one that I will be forgetting any time soon! Alex North has established himself as a new thriller writer to keep an eye on! The bottom line: Dark, terrifying, thoughtful and unique, I loved The Whisper Man! Next on deck: House of Salt and Sorrow by Erin A. Craig!

Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson Review


Title: Sorcery of Thorns
Author: Margaret Rogerson
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Series: Standalone
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

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

                Margaret Rogerson has been on my radar since her first book, An Enchantment of Ravens, came out. Unfortunately, I had to take her debut novel back to the library before I was able to read it. But when I heard that she was writing a sophomore novel, I was so excited that I put it on hold at my library immediately. Since then, it’s been sitting at the top of my library stack, waiting for me to finally read it. As soon as I was finished with Raven, I dove in. I was absolutely intrigued and excited by the premise: magical libraries, with books that spoke, loved, and held the most ancient magic! Rogerson has before been hailed as the heir apparent to Diana Wynne Jones, and after reading Sorcery of Thorns, I absolutely believe it. Full of magic, wonder, romance, political intrigue, and, of course, books, I loved this book. It might be my favorite in Rogerson’s body of work. I can’t wait to see what is up her sleeve for us next! Rogerson has cemented her place in my heart as a new favorite author!

                Elisabeth Scrievener has lived her life within the sacred walls of Summershall, one of the kingdom’s most magical libraries. She knows the danger of grimoires, and the people who wield their magic for evil: sorcerers. If the books are provoked, they run the risk of turning into Maleficts, monsters made of ink and paper. But her peaceful existence is shattered forever when an act of sabotage releases the library’s oldest and most powerful grimoire. But intervening costs her everything, and she is cast out of Summershall. With no one else to turn to, she asks a sorcerer, Nathaniel Thorn, to aid her in her quest. Armed with his magic and demonic servant, Elisabeth begins to search for answers and finds herself wrapped up in a conspiracy that goes back centuries. She discovers more than her beloved libraries are at stake: the entire world hangs in the balance. Elisabeth’s tentative friendship with Nathaniel deepens, leading her to question everything she thought she knew. She begins to realize that she holds a new, unspeakable power inside of her, and that the future she was so sure of before is nothing like she thought…

                I loved this book completely and totally; the premise was unique and exciting, and I felt so at home in Elisabeth’s world, even with all of its magic and danger. Honestly, this book felt like a childhood dream come true. The pacing was breakneck, and I was fascinated by the world Elisabeth lived in. Full of magic, danger, darkness, and love, Sorcery of Thorns was an indeed magical tale that captivated me from beginning to end. I also loved Nathaniel and Silas, and the foil they made to timid, straitlaced Elisabeth. I also adored Elisabeth herself; her character development was what really made the book for me. She went from a shy, quiet little mouse of a girl to a young woman who is unafraid to do what’s right, at the cost of her own life and everything she loves. One of my favorite parts of the novel, too, was the romance between Elisabeth and Nathaniel; I was swooning by the time it was in full swing. And that ending! Oh, my goodness, Margaret Rogerson has completely outdone herself with Sorcery of Thorns! The bottom line: Rich, romantic, funny, and dark, I loved Sorcery of Thorns! Next on deck: The Whisper Man by Alex North!