Book Review: Lockwood & Co. The Screaming Staircase

Summary: When a ghost-hunting trio accidentally burn down the house of a client to banish a ghost, they are left with a debt that they can’t pay unless they sell the house they live in and operate from. But a chance presents itself that is both dangerous and deadly. They will have to go into the most haunted house known – that even the best ghost-hunting agencies couldn’t clean up, and dispel the ghosts that live there or risk losing their business and home.

Thoughts: This book is fast, action-packed and funny with characters that literally leap off the page with how real they feel. Not once did it get boring and the mystery was so well done, for a moment I felt like I watching an episode of Scooby-Doo. It was surprising, yet believable. I had so much fun reading this book and I can’t wait to read the sequel!

Stars: 5/5

Book Review: The Paper Magician

Summary: Ceony wants to bespell metal, but much to her disappointment, she’s assigned an apprenticeship in pager magic with Magician Emery Thane. Once bonded to paper, she can’t become any other sort of magician. Yet, paper magic turns out to be more incredible than she’d initially thought. However, her education is threatened when a practitioner of dark magic (Emery’s ex-wife) invades the cottage and pulls out Emery’s heart. Ceony embarks on an adventure that takes her into the chambers of Emery’s heart to face the evil that did this to him and save him before the paper heart she replaced his actual heart with crumples and finishes what his ex-wife started.

Thoughts: A friend got me all three books and I was so sure I was going to love this before I even started on the first book. This is not to say I didn’t enjoy it, but I went in with so much expectation only to reach the end, half-dissapointed. There were many things I loved about the story: the magic, the society surrounding it, Emery Thane and his backstory, even Ceony who I couldn’t really stand at the start, I ended up warming up to by the time I finished. The writing and prose were very beautifully done, and I wanted to keep reading the descriptions of the cottage and the magic etc. But everything happened way too fast. Her attraction to Emery came as a surprise. I knew she cared about him but it wasn’t very clear that she loved him more than a teacher or a friend. That wasn’t an issue though, because I assumed having watched his heart being ripped out of his chest must have brought her feelings into focus, but even then, I felt like Emery fell in love with her even though he was unconscious for the better half of the book – so was that love there from the start, or not? That wasn’t really clear to me. So many things happened once Ceony went into Emery’s heart but I felt like so many things were shown without explanation. The reader had to assume it was magic and just be at peace with that. And given the illusory quality of her surroundings and quest, I felt like I needed more handholds. There were a lot of places where I had to pause and re-read and think, “wait, how did this happen?” But all in all, I’m pretty sure I’m going to read the second and third books and I really hope I love them and get to discover more about the characters because this book felt more like an introduction to something bigger rather than a full arc with possible sequels.

Stars: 3/5

Book Review: It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

Summary: After Lily opens her own business and starts falling for Ryle Kincaid, her life becomes almost too good to be true. Except that Ryle has an aversion to relationships. Still, Lily tries her best to make it work until more questions arise about their relationship. Enter Atlas Corrigan, her first love and her link to the past, putting everything Lily has built with Ryle on the line.

Thoughts: I’m not a fan of romance in general, but this is one book I couldn’t not read. I loved how Colleen Hoover portrayed Lily’s relationship with Ryle, and then going into the past to show us  her relationship with Atlas, and how it all just came together in the present. There were times where the scenes were so graphic, I’d cringe and have to put the book down just to take a few deep breaths before continuing. I just felt Lily’s fear and sadness and I think this is my favorite book by Colleen Hoover as of yet. It is a great and very emotional read. Ultimately, this is a story not only of abusive relationships, but of love and forgiveness and how the choices we make not only effect us, but those around us and those who come after us. I highly recommend this book, even if it is a bit uncomfortable to read at times, the topic is too real and important to ignore.

Stars: 5/5

Book Review: The Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta

Summary: After the death of his uncle, Thomas Mackee’s life falls apart. A year after his uncle’s death, Thomas is still mourning his uncle’s death and once his flatmates kick him out, he moves back with his aunt and grieving father and starts working at a pub with his former friends as he works to build his life back up again.

Thoughts: This book was a bit confusing for me since I didn’t know a lot of the characters from Saving Francesca because I didn’t read it. My bad, obviously, but I still really enjoyed The Piper’s Son, despite not having known a lot of the secondary character from the first book. I loved Tom. He’s the perfect bad-boy on the outside and total softie on the inside. It’s very obvious that he’s hurting and so is his family, though each in his or her own way and even though Tom lashes out and appears like he doesn’t notice their pain, he’s really very intuitive and it shows in his relationships with everyone around him – from his former friends, to his family and the girl whose heart he broke but still loves. Overall, it was a beautiful story about loss, grief, family and second chances and I really enjoyed it.

Stars: 4/5

Book Review: Landline by Rainbow Rowell

Summary: Georgie Mccool’s marriage is in trouble and she only makes it worse when she opts to stay in Los Angeles to work on a script for her TV Show instead of visiting her husband’s family in Omaha for Christmas. Once Neal leaves with their daughters, Georgie begins to wonder if she actually ruined her marriage for good this time until she discovers a magical phone that allows her to talk to her husband in the past so that Georgie can fix her marriage before it starts.

Thoughts: The thing I loved most was watching Neal and Georgie’s relationship from the end to the start. I loved how there was time-travel, but not exactly and I loved the flashbacks. They were so beautifully done. Georgie was a tad bit too irrational but I guess in her situation, who wouldn’t be? The dialogue was perfect and the romance was cute without being cheesy. All in all, I really enjoyed it.

Stars: 4/5

Book Review: A Mad, Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller

Summary: After posing nude and getting expelled from her French finishing school, 17-year-old Victoria Darling returns back to London scandalized. Her parents have arranged for her to get married but Victoria has other plans – aside from her clandestine application to attend the Royal College of Art – a nearly impossible dream for a girl in 1909 – she finds herself involved with the suffragette movement and harboring a growing attraction for a working class boy.

Thoughts: This is one of my favorite books this year. It is funny and serious, light and honest and full of dreams and emotions. I loved watching Victoria fight for everything she wanted, I loved watching her grow and come to terms with the sacrifices she would have to make to achieve her dreams. Victoria is a character with many flaws and it really should have made me dislike her at some point, but I just couldn’t. If anything, her stubbornness at the start really made her more endearing towards the end.

Stars: 5/5

Book Review: Dreamdark by Laini Taylor

Summary: Magpie Windwitch is a fairy who hunts demons with her gang of crows, until she stumbles on the opened bottle of an evil demon (Blackbringer) whose bottle was sealed by the ancient Djinn King. Together with her band of crows and a wingless fairy prince, they seek the help of the Djinn King to seal Blackbringer back into his bottle before his darkness ends the world.

Thoughts: I really love Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone series, so I went into this with very high expectations. I was expecting a darker take on Tinkerbell, and I was partly right, but I couldn’t wrap my head around the story itself. Partly because I just couldn’t relate to Magpie and feel the urgency of her quest, and partly because the narrative read a bit passively to me. Like a story that was told a long time ago. I loved the illustrations and I loved the world-building and Laini Taylor’s lyrical prose is just as beautiful here as it is in Daughter of Smoke and Bone but I couldn’t get into the story or the character, try as hard as I could.

Stars: 3/5

 

Book Review: Starflight by Melissa Landers

Summary: Wanting a fresh start where no one cares that she’s a felon, Solara Brooks indentures herself to her high-school bully (Dorian Spaulding) for safe passage to the Outer Realms only to end up kidnapping him after he threatens to throw her out in the middle of nowhere in space. Dorian is framed for conspiracy back on Earth and is being hunted by the authorities, but he and Solara must look past their difference and work together to evade their arrest.

What I loved: Solara and Dorian! The character development between them both was so beautifully done and even though Dorian started out as a pompous ass, I couldn’t get enough of him when I finished the book. The world-building was easy to follow and even the technical terms weren’t confusing at all. It was light, funny and full of heart and adventure. Exactly how I love my space operas!

What was okay: I did see that ending coming, so it wasn’t really a surprise but I still flipped through without stopping.

 

Stars: 4/5