Summary: Rune Germain is shipped off to a French boarding school where she realizes that the The Phantom of the Opera is not just a story, and that she has inherited a curse that makes her the Phantom’s long awaited target.
Thoughts: DNF less than eighty pages from the ending. I was really excited for this book, and so sure that I’d love it but I just couldn’t get into it. The main character had a very weak personality, which made her narration so hard to get into therefore making the entire story read meh. There were some beautiful sentences and descriptions in the book but the MC’s voice made it so difficult to focus or feel their importance. Sentences were packed with more adjectives than was necessary, making it hard to follow those sentences. And the other MC in the story – Thorn, the Phantom’s apprentice and Rune’s instant love interest – his narration was more focused than hers but packed with so much backstory that by the point the backstory was finished, you couldn’t remember where he was at or what he was doing once he started reminiscing. I’m so bummed I couldn’t enjoy this book, and because I didn’t finish it, I can’t rate it.
Summary: Captain Alosa, the daughter of the notorious Pirate King, tricks a rival ship into kidnapping her to ransom her off to her father while she searches their ship for a piece of a map that will lead to an island of vast treasure.
Thoughts: I love this book from the very first page. Alosa was a cocky, confident and funny heroine whose voice stood out from the start. Despite Alosa’s light tone, she is brutal when she needs to be and she is exactly what I look for in a character. I loved her relationship with Riden, the first mate of the ship she was held “hostage” on, and how honest she was with herself about using him to get what she wanted, no guilt involved, even if she did like him, and didn’t want to admit it. The world building was light, mainly because most of the scenes took place on a ship somewhere out at sea, and what happened on land wasn’t as important as what was happening between the pirate lords. This is one book where less world building made it read better. Even though the plot twists weren’t so surprising, they were very enjoyable and they kept me hooked. If you’re looking for a swashbuckling adventure full of heartfelt humor and a romance that doesn’t overshadow the main plot, then you will love Daughter of the Pirate King.
Summary: Tella arranges for her sister, Scarlett, to be kidnapped and taken to a magical island where they can play a mysterious game known as Caraval. All Scarlet wants is to go back home. But when Tella gets kidnapped as part of the game, the only way to save her is to win. But the game is dangerous and nothing is what it seems.
Thoughts: I haven’t read a book so ridiculously magical in a very loooong time. Not since The Night Circus came out, to be exact. This book was very character-focused and light on the world-building. Usually, this is not something I look for in a fantasy novel, but with Caraval, I think any more world-building would have just upped the word-count without adding much to the plot because – put simply – everything important in it, revolved around the competition and the mystery around it. The prose in this book was so gorgeous. Scarlett felt things in color, and the writing reflected that very beautifully. As a character, I found her a bit hard to sympathize with at the start because she was very uptight and whiny – and for the better half of the book – very dependent on Julian – the love-interest and the sailor who Tella got to kidnap her. But I really loved their relationship’s progression and how she grew more confident of herself towards the end. And Julian is my favorite character in this book! What I loved most about Caraval was how every time I thought one thing, it turned out to be something else. Nothing is what it seems, for real. That’s so very literal in this book. Prepare to doubt every word you’ve read! Caraval is a thrilling book full of magic, intelligent twists and mysteries and a beautiful setting you’d be wishing was real.
Summary: Ever since a horse fell on him and killed his mother, Finn Easton has seen the world through miles instead of minutes. Besides that, he’s convinced he’s a character from one of his father’s best selling books. But when Julia Bishop – his first love – leaves town, Finn is heartbroken. Soon after that, Finn and his best-friend Cade Hernandez embark on a trip from Southern California to Oklahoma that shows them that sometimes life’s many detours can take them to exactly where they needed to be.
Thoughts: This book was everything I look for in a YA Contemporary! Finn was a smart and funny character. From the very first chapter he had me laughing out loud as I read. Andrew Smith isn’t an author I’m familiar with but from now on, I’m aiming to read all of his books. This book had no plot, but I couldn’t stop turning the pages for some reason. Oh yeah, Finn’s very realistic and funny narration!! Ugh, I miss him and Cade already. I think one of the main reasons I kept flipping the page to read what happens even though I didn’t know what I was reading towards was because of all the random things that kept happening. Ultimately, this book was about all the unexpected detours that life takes you on to get you to where you need to be and Smith’s writing did that so well. Now the one thing that made it a 4-star instead of a 5 was the blurb. It spelled out everything for me, including the ending. If you haven’t read the blurb yet, then don’t. You’ll enjoy the book more that way. I still loved the book and I think that it’s definitely worth a read. Especially if you haven’t read any of Andrew Smith’s books yet, this one will get you wanting to do so right away!
Summary: For Cate Cahill and her sisters, keeping their magic a secret is the difference between life and death. After she uncovers a secret that changes everything she’s ever known, keeping her sisters and herself safe becomes almost impossible.
Thoughts: For a book that heavily revolved around romance, I really really loved it. Months before her seventeenth birthday, Cate must choose whether she’ll marry or choose the sisterhood. Except she doesn’t want to join the Sisterhood – which is basically a convent. And as for marriage, who will she marry? All that aside, Cate and her sisters are all witches and if anyone finds out the truth about them, then they will be sentenced to the mad house or sent to a prison ship. I loved Cate’s relationship with her sisters and I loved how much she fought to keep them safe. Cate’s narration and her ability to read into things, really made the story and plot that much more engaging. The story is set in New England in the 1890’s, and it follows an alternate timeline. However, one thing pulled me out of the story, which was the mention of other cities in the world – specifically Dubai. Ugh Dubai is a very new city that did not exist in the 1890’s and the history geek in me could not let that slip. That aside, the story was full of so many secrets that really heightened the stakes. Cate was a strong heroine who didn’t shy away from doing what was right even though it was hard and would have cost her what she wanted most. The setting was beautiful and Spotswood’s prose made the story read so real! I’m looking forward to reading the sequel!