Review: City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments #1)

Title: City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments #1)
Author: Cassandra Clare
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Source: Purchased
Format: Paperback
Release Date: May 27, 2007
Rating: ★★★★★

goodreads-badge-add-plus-71eae69ca0307d077df66a58ec068898

Goodreads Synopsis:

When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder― much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It’s hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing―not even a smear of blood―to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know…

Review:

When Clary Fray goes to an all-ages nightclub in New York City with her best friend, she witnesses a murder of a teenager by three other teens. However, her best friend Simon couldn’t see them. One of the teens, Jace, finds Clary the next day and brings her into the world of the shadowhunters, who hunt demons. Clary becomes personally involved in the lives of the shadowhunters when her mother disappears after being attacked by demons. Clary has to find her mother, while also discovering the secrets of her past.

I had been holding off on reading this series, because I knew I would love it and would have to read it all immediately once I started. I was sucked into this world right away. I loved that there were so many different creatures all in one world, including vampires, werewolves, and warlocks. They had a wide range of powers, but they all fit into the world.

The twists and big reveals in the story were predictable. When secrets of a character’s past were revealed, I could predict how it would affect the lives of the main characters. Even though it was predictable, I loved the storyline. I’m excited to see where it goes next!

What to read next:

City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments #2) by Cassandra Clare

Have you read City of Bones? What did you think of it?

Review: Little Creeping Things

Title: Little Creeping Things
Author: Chelsea Ichaso
Genre: Young Adult, Thriller
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: June 2, 2020
Rating: ★★★★

goodreads-badge-add-plus-71eae69ca0307d077df66a58ec068898

Goodreads Synopsis:

When she was a child, Cassidy Pratt accidentally started a fire that killed her neighbor. At least, that’s what she’s been told. She can’t remember anything from that day, and her town’s bullies, particularly the cruel and beautiful Melody Davenport, have never let her live it down.

But then Melody goes missing, and Cassidy thinks she may have information. She knows she should go to the cops, but she recently joked about how much she’d like to get rid of Melody. She even planned out the perfect way to do it. And then she gets a chilling text from an unknown number: I’m so glad we’re in this together.

Now it’s up to Cassidy to figure out what really happened before the truth behind Melody’s disappearance sets the whole town ablaze.

Review:

Cassidy Pratt is known as the fire girl in her town because she started a fire when she was a child. The fire killed her best friend, while Cass was saved by her brother. When Cass’s enemy at school, Melody, goes missing, Cass thinks she knows what happened. Melody’s disappearance seems to follow a list that Cass wrote down in her notebook of how she would kill Melody. Cass gets threatening text messages from the unknown person who has her notebook. Finding the person who is blackmailing Cass will lead her to solve Melody’s disappearance.

This book was a quick read for me. It was fast paced and moved along quickly. There were loads of twists that kept me surprised. It was also creepy, since someone had seemed to perform the actions that Cass listed in her notebook. It had to be someone that she knew, since they got ahold of her notebook, so I considered everyone a suspect.

In many young adult books, the lack of parental supervision is strange. Some of the decisions that the parents made in this story were unusual, particularly ones revealed at the end. The way that Cass was the only one blamed for the fire was one way that I found the parents to be unusually absent. Kids can be mean and find any reason to tease another child, which explains the way other children called her the fire girl. However, an adult should have been supervising them so they couldn’t start a fire, yet none of the parents were blamed for their part in the fire. That part was not explained, which put all of the blame and pressure on Cass.

I enjoyed this fast paced thriller.

Thank you Sourcebooks Fire for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson

Have you read Little Creeping Things? What did you think of it?

Review: The Beautiful (The Beautiful #1)

Title: The Beautiful (The Beautiful #1)
Author: Renée Ahdieh
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Historical Fiction
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Source: Purchased
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: October 8, 2019
Rating: ★★★★

goodreads-badge-add-plus-71eae69ca0307d077df66a58ec068898

Goodreads Synopsis:

In 1872, New Orleans is a city ruled by the dead. But to seventeen-year-old Celine Rousseau, New Orleans provides her a refuge after she’s forced to flee her life as a dressmaker in Paris. Taken in by the sisters of the Ursuline convent along with six other girls, Celine quickly becomes enamored with the vibrant city from the music to the food to the soirées and—especially—to the danger. She soon becomes embroiled in the city’s glitzy underworld, known as La Cour des Lions, after catching the eye of the group’s leader, the enigmatic Sébastien Saint Germain. When the body of one of the girls from the convent is found in the lair of La Cour des Lions, Celine battles her attraction to him and suspicions about Sébastien’s guilt along with the shame of her own horrible secret.

When more bodies are discovered, each crime more gruesome than the last, Celine and New Orleans become gripped by the terror of a serial killer on the loose—one Celine is sure has set her in his sights . . . and who may even be the young man who has stolen her heart. As the murders continue to go unsolved, Celine takes matters into her own hands and soon uncovers something even more shocking: an age-old feud from the darkest creatures of the underworld reveals a truth about Celine she always suspected simmered just beneath the surface.

At once a sultry romance and a thrilling murder mystery, master storyteller Renée Ahdieh embarks on her most potent fantasy series yet: The Beautiful.

Review:

In 1872, Celine Rousseau moves to New Orleans after being forced to flee Paris. She moves into a convent with some other girls who have just arrived from Europe. When a wealthy woman asks Celine to create a dress for her, Celine gets involved in a secret society, causing death to those around her.

I loved this setting. Both the time period and location made it so mysterious and extravagant. This was also a time period with a lot of change in society. Celine is biracial, but she can pass for white. She notices that there are people of different races working in the city, which is something she hadn’t seen before. She commented on what a big change this was for society. It’s a shame that 150 years after this book takes place, there is still so much racial inequality.

This story was really exciting. I liked the mystery surrounding the deaths. The ending was surprising and left me with a lot of questions. I hope they will be answered in the next book.

I really enjoyed this story!

What to read next:

Serpent & Dove (Serpent & Dove #1) by Shelby Mahurin

Grim Lovelies (Grim Lovelies #1) by Megan Shepherd

Have you read The Beautiful? What did you think of it?

Blog Tour Review: Jo & Laurie

Title: Jo & Laurie
Author: Margaret Stohl, Melissa de la Cruz
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: June 2, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

goodreads-badge-add-plus-71eae69ca0307d077df66a58ec068898

Goodreads Synopsis:

Bestselling authors Margaret Stohl and Melissa de la Cruz bring us a romantic retelling of Little Women starring Jo March and her best friend, the boy next door, Theodore “Laurie” Laurence.

1869, Concord, Massachusetts: After the publication of her first novel, Jo March is shocked to discover her book of scribbles has become a bestseller, and her publisher and fans demand a sequel. While pressured into coming up with a story, she goes to New York with her dear friend Laurie for a week of inspiration—museums, operas, and even a once-in-a-lifetime reading by Charles Dickens himself!

But Laurie has romance on his mind, and despite her growing feelings, Jo’s desire to remain independent leads her to turn down his heartfelt marriage proposal and sends the poor boy off to college heartbroken. When Laurie returns to Concord with a sophisticated new girlfriend, will Jo finally communicate her true heart’s desire or lose the love of her life forever?

Review:

Jo March has just published Little Women. Since it has been so successful, her publisher wants her to write a sequel about the March sisters becoming wives. However, since her sisters haven’t gotten married and moved on in their lives, Jo doesn’t know how to continue the story. While she is struggling to write the continuation of the story, Jo has to deal with her family growing up and changing in ways she isn’t ready for.

This story combines the real life of Louisa May Alcott, author of Little Women, and Jo March, the main character of Little Women. Louisa based Little Women on her life with her sisters, with Jo being herself. I could see the influences of Little Women, yet there were anecdotes that seemed to come from real life. After reading this story, I’m interested in reading about Louisa May Alcott’s life.

As a reader and a writer, I found the storyline of Jo writing her book fascinating. She was pressured into writing something she wasn’t comfortable with because of the success of her first novel. She had to rewrite the story multiple times in a short period of time, which I imagine would be incredibly difficult. Jo had to keep rewriting it because her male editor wasn’t satisfied with her ending. It wasn’t until she was satisfied with her own life that she could finish the story.

I really loved this story!

Thank you G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy: A Graphic Novel: A Modern Retelling of Little Women by Rey Terciero, Bre Indigo

About the Authors:

Melissa de la Cruz is the New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of many critically acclaimed and award-winning novels for teens including The Au Pairs series, the Blue Bloods series, the Ashleys series, the Angels on Sunset Boulevard series and the semi-autobiographical novel Fresh off the Boat.

She has worked as a fashion and beauty editor and has written for many publications including The New York Times, Marie Claire, Harper’s Bazaar, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Allure, The San Francisco Chronicle, McSweeney’s, Teen Vogue, CosmoGirl! and Seventeen. She has also appeared as an expert on fashion, trends and fame for CNN, E! and FoxNews.

Melissa grew up in Manila and moved to San Francisco with her family, where she graduated high school salutatorian from The Convent of the Sacred Heart. She majored in art history and English at Columbia University (and minored in nightclubs and shopping!).

She now divides her time between New York and Los Angeles, where she lives in the Hollywood Hills with her husband and daughter

Margaret Stohl is a #1 New York Times bestselling nerd, world-builder, video game creator, comic book writer and festival founder.

As an award-winning young adult author, she has been published in fifty countries and thirty-two languages and has sold more than ten million books worldwide. Beautiful Creatures debuted as the Amazon #1 Teen book of the year; seven of Margaret’s books have reached bestseller lists around the world.

When not roaming the halls of Seattle game developer Bungie -where she oversees the creation of new global IPs -Margaret can often be seen at a Comicon or at one of the teen and youth book festivals she co-founded, YALLFEST (Charleston, SC) and YALLWEST (Santa Monica, CA), thelargest in the country. Wherever she goes, you can find out more about her (and invariably her cats) at @mstohl on twitter or margaret_stohl on instagram or margaret_stohl on snapchat or at mstohl.com

Blog Tour Schedule:

https://fantasticflyingbookclub.blogspot.com/2020/04/tour-schedule-jo-laurie-by-margaret.html

Have you read Jo & Laurie? What did you think of it?

Review: Sky in the Deep (Sky in the Deep #1)

Title: Sky in the Deep (Sky in the Deep #1)
Author: Adrienne Young
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: April 24, 2018
Rating: ★★★★

goodreads-badge-add-plus-71eae69ca0307d077df66a58ec068898

Goodreads Synopsis:

Raised to be a warrior, seventeen-year-old Eelyn fights alongside her Aska clansmen in an ancient rivalry against the Riki clan. Her life is brutal but simple: fight and survive. Until the day she sees the impossible on the battlefield—her brother, fighting with the enemy—the brother she watched die five years ago.

Faced with her brother’s betrayal, she must survive the winter in the mountains with the Riki, in a village where every neighbor is an enemy, every battle scar possibly one she delivered. But when the Riki village is raided by a ruthless clan thought to be a legend, Eelyn is even more desperate to get back to her beloved family.

She is given no choice but to trust Fiske, her brother’s friend, who sees her as a threat. They must do the impossible: unite the clans to fight together, or risk being slaughtered one by one. Driven by a love for her clan and her growing love for Fiske, Eelyn must confront her own definition of loyalty and family while daring to put her faith in the people she’s spent her life hating.

Review:

Eelyn is a warrior for her Aska community. She fights alongside her father in their rivalry against the Riki. When she is almost killed in a battle, she sees her dead brother among the enemies. Her father assures her that he couldn’t have been there, but when she meets her brother again on the battlefield, he takes her as a prisoner. Eelyn has to figure out how to get back to her father and how to deal with the betrayal of her brother.

This story had a Nordic setting. They were like a viking community. I’ve never read a book like this, but I learned about vikings in school, so I found it really interesting. I really liked that the women were considered warriors alongside the men in this community. In many stories set in ancient times, the women have to stay home while the men fight, leading the main female character to figure out a way to fight. However, Eelyn was able to focus on other issues, since she was already a warrior.

The story started out quite fast paced. The moments where Eelyn saw her brother on the battlefield to when she was captured happened very quickly. The story slowed down a bit once she got to her brother’s new community. However, I was pleased with the ending. I thought the next book in the series would be a continuation of this story, but it has a new plot. I’m looking forward to reading it because I loved this setting.

Thank you Wednesday Books for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

The Girl the Sea Gave Back (Sky in the Deep #2) by Adrienne Young

Other Books in the Series:

  • The Girl the Sea Gave Back

Have you read Sky in the Deep? What did you think of it?

Blog Tour Review: Out Now: Queer We Go Again!

Title: Out Now: Queer We Go Again!
Author: Saundra Mitchell (editor)
Genre: Young Adult, LGBTQ, Short Stories
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: May 26, 2020
Rating: ★★★★

goodreads-badge-add-plus-71eae69ca0307d077df66a58ec068898

Goodreads Synopsis:

QUEER WE GO AGAIN! A follow-up to the critically acclaimed All Out anthology, Out Now features seventeen new short stories from amazing queer YA authors. Vampires crash prom, aliens run from the government, a president’s daughter comes into her own, a true romantic tries to soften the heart of a cynical social media influencer, a selkie and the sea call out to a lost soul. Teapots and barbershops, skateboards and VW vans, Street Fighter and Ares’s sword: Out Now has a story for every reader and surprises with each turn of the page!

Review:

This is a collection of queer short stories. They were funny, heartwarming, and heartbreaking. There were a variety of genres, including contemporary, fantasy, and science fiction.

These stories all have the same themes of being queer and coming out, yet they were all so different. Some of the characters knew exactly who they were, while others had to discover it in the stories. They were all different but most of them had a positive outlook.

One of my favourite stories was called What Happens in the Closet, which was a story about Vampires invading a party. Another favourite of mine was Victory Lap, where a boy tries to find the best way to tell his dad that he’s gay, but his dad already knows. One Spell Too Many tells the story of a girl who mixes up two magical pastries, giving a love spell to the wrong person. These stories were so different in genre and plot, yet they all had the same themes, so they fit into the collection.

I loved this collection of queer stories.

Thank you HarperCollins for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

All Out: The No-Longer-Secret Stories of Queer Teens Throughout the Ages by Saundra Mitchell (editor)

Have you read Out Now: Queer We Go Again!? What did you think of it?

Review: Romanov

Title: Romanov
Author: Nadine Brandes
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: May 7, 2019
Rating: ★★★★★

goodreads-badge-add-plus-71eae69ca0307d077df66a58ec068898

Goodreads Synopsis:

The history books say I died.

They don’t know the half of it.
 

Anastasia “Nastya” Romanov was given a single mission: to smuggle an ancient spell into her suitcase on her way to exile in Siberia. It might be her family’s only salvation. But the leader of the Bolshevik army is after them, and he’s hunted Romanov before.

Nastya’s only chances of saving herself and her family are to either release the spell and deal with the consequences, or enlist help from Zash, the handsome soldier who doesn’t act like the average Bolshevik. Nastya has only dabbled in magic, but it doesn’t frighten her half as much as her growing attraction to Zash. She likes him. She thinks he might even like her.

That is, until she’s on one side of a firing squad . . . and he’s on the other.

Review:

When her parents and sister were sent away from her home, Anastasia’s father, the Tsar, gave her the task of smuggling a special Russian doll with a hidden spell to their new hideaway. However, the leader of the Bolshevik army is after them and he knows that Anastasia has the secret magic. Her situation is further complicated by her sudden attraction to one of the soldiers who is guarding her family. Anastasia will only be able to use the spell when the moment is right, so she has to hang onto the doll until she can save her family.

I knew of the Romanov’s before reading this book, but I didn’t know the details of what happened to them. It was a tragic story. I kept looking up the details of the real Anastasia’s life while I was reading, to find out what was fact and what was fiction. This story follows the real history of what happened to the Romanov’s quite closely.

One part that is fictional is the fantasy aspect. Anastasia wasn’t the keeper of a special spell to save her family. However, the fantasy aspects serve to fill in a gap in Anastasia’s story. Her body wasn’t discovered with her family’s bodies. There were women over the years following their death who claimed to be Anastasia. That was a fascinating story to read about! I don’t want to give anything away, but this story attempts to give an alternate history for Anastasia Romanov to account for the reason her body wasn’t buried with her family.

This was an amazing historical fantasy story!

Thank you Thomas Nelson for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Fawkes by Nadine Brandes

My Lady Jane (The Lady Janies #1) by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows

Have you read Romanov? What did you think of it?