Is this book the light of my life? (spoiler-free review)

Title – The Light Over London

Author – Julia Kelly

Rating – 4/5

Release Date – January 8th, 2019

Publisher – Gallery Books

Format – ARC received from Simon and Schuster in exchange for an honest review

Cara works with an antiques dealer. Dealing with the past of others is better than dealing with her own difficult past of course. At one estate she finds an unfinished WWII diary. Cara pours herself into finding the author and learning more about her wartime life, which turns out to not be what Cara expected. As a nineteen year old in 1941, Louise Keene knows that her life has already been set for her. When she meets a pilot who is from a local base, Louise finally decides to take control of her own life. Louise joins the British Army women’s division and while she loves what she is doing for the war effort, she finds that wartime romance is not like she thought it would be. The stories of these two women intertwine as the reader is brought to London during WWII.

I loved this book! I can’t recall any other historical fiction books that I have read, so I believe this is my introduction to the genre and what an introduction it was! I cannot wait to pick up more from the historical fiction genre. I definitely recommend this i you are trying to get more into the genre or start getting into the genre! The Light Over London is such an easy but still very engaging read and it is so hard to put it down! I feel like I flew through it!

The story switches from the perspective of Cara and the perspective of Louise, and since each character’s voice is so unique I never felt like I was confused by perspective shifts. Each of the two main characters were so realistic. Both of them dealt with situations that I feel like many people can relate to as readers and I feel that they reacted to their situations accordingly. They showed emotion which really allows the reader to connect to them and empathize with them. I really love good characters and the amazing story line of the book just all came together to make a great book.

Liam and Paul are the main guys in the story and I loved Liam but Paul kind of sketched me out. I loved Paul when he was first introduced because he was so caring and such a gentleman, but then some things happened and I ended up hating him in the end haha. Liam is so smart, awkward, and kind which made him so lovable and I am glad he arrived in Cara’s life at just the right time.

The whole concept of Cara’s job helping an antique dealer is so unique and interesting! I loved how her job easily led into her finding the diary and then everything just fell into place so nicely. There were so many different aspects to the story and little details here and there which made the story so intricate and enjoyable.

There is so much more to this book in terms of finer details and a few plot twists that I think you should pick it up and give it a read! I think that even if you don’t like historical fiction then this one could still work for you because there is Cara’s perspective that is in the modern day so the book is not heavily historical.

Have you read this book? If yes, what did you think? If not, are you planning on picking it up? Let me know in a comment! 

Circle of Feelings?? (spoiler-free review)

Title – Circle of Shadows

Author – Evelyn Skye

Rating – 4/5

Release Date – January 22nd, 2019

Publisher – Balzer + Bray

Format – ARC provided free from publisher in exchange for an honest review

Inspired by feudal Japan, Circle of Shadows is an exciting and unique fantasy with a variety of amazing characters. Sora is a skilled wielder of Taiga magic, while her gemina Daemon is more skilled in physical fights. They complement one another in a special way, and as apprentices of the Society of Taigas they must use their gift of magic given to them by the gods to serve and protect Kichona. Since the Blood Rift Rebellion the kingdom has been peaceful and Sora and Daemon have not had to put their skills to a true test, but things quickly change when they stumble upon an unusual camp of soldiers unknown to them. Sora and Daemon take risks, they have to in order to do what they think is right to protect Kichona. With the help of their friends and anyone in the Society of Taigas who believe in them, will they be able to maintain the peace of the kingdom?

I have mixed feelings on this book, but my feelings lean more towards positive. I really loved the general story-line of the book because it felt quite unique and the pacing was really well done. I flew through this book because it was always kept interesting. Some parts of the story felt a little juvenile and cheesy which I can’t discuss without spoiling the book, but the better aspects of the book definitely helped me overlook that.

My favourite thing about this book is the characters. Sora is so realistic, always showing emotion while trying to maintain her toughness as a Taiga. Daemon is literally the sweetest and the way he cares for his friends made a little tear slip from my eye once in a while. Empress Aki was someone we did not get to see too often but I really love how much she cared for her people and how dedicated she was to maintaining the peace of Kichona. Glass Lady was someone who I really despised because she is very selfish and in my pinion never kept the best interests of the kingdom in mind (because she was closed-minded to any suggestions other than her own. Fairy and Broomstick (more on the strange names later) are another set of gemina and they are Sora and Daemon’s best friends. Fairy is one of my favourite characters because of her huge personality. It’s not often that characters like her are in YA novels. Broomstick is more low key but he is very smart and cares a lot for his friends which is so nice to see.

There were a few well-placed plot twists that had me truly shocked, and they really helped with the development of the story. They kept up the story’s pace and intrigue and the author did a really good job with them. Something I wanted more development that would have made the story so much better is the magic system. There are two different types of magic in the novel and I personally wanted to more about the way the magic works and the history behind them. They were really interesting concepts but I feel like the explanation and history was a bit too brief.

The whole book was really good but the ending was not my favourite. I feel like it was a little too rushed and things worked out in a way that seemed too easy. I do see why the author did that, but personally I feel like they could have gone a different route. Honestly I think a cliff hanger would have been better so that the ending of this book could have been at the beginning of the second book and made to be more developed. I am looking forward to the next book though to see what will happen next.

I have said this a lot about recent books that I have read, but this book is truly a good book to get you out of a reading slump. As someone who is not a contemporary fan, seeing the majority of recommended slump-destroying books be contemporary, I have been trying to find a good fantasy that will be good for a slump. Usually fantasy books are really heavy reads, but this one felt really light. The characters are enjoyable, the pacing is perfect, and despite it being almost 500 pages I found myself speeding through it. If you’re looking for a good fantasy read to help you out of a sump, definitely check out Circle of Shadows!

Have you picked up this book? If so, what did you think? If not, are you planning to? What are you reading this weekend? Let me know in a comment!

The field guide to a good contemporary! (spoiler-free review)

Title – The Field Guide to the North American Teenager

Author – Ben Philippe

Rating – 3/5

Release Date – January 8th, 2019

Publisher – Balzer + Bray

Format – Free ARC from publisher (Harper Collins Canada / HCC Frenzy) in exchange for an honest review

This book follows Norris Kaplan, a black French Canadian who just moved to Texas with his mother. In his new high school he is given a journal by the secretary, and in this journal he writes about all the types of people he meets, a ploy to hold him over until he can move back to Canada (he hopes…). Then he meets someone who he could possibly start a relationship, and she makes him rethink wanting to go back to Canada. Then Norris messes up, big time. This makes him realize that maybe his previous approach to life will not work out anymore.

This was a fun read. A dramatic high school story with many different types of characters made for an interesting dynamic. There were some things I enjoyed, but there were also quite a few things that I did not like (which I really feel is a personal thing; I’ll explain later).

I loved the characters in this book so much. Even though a few of the cheerleaders and “jocks” were very annoying and most of them were stereotypical which sucked, I found all of the characters very interesting and unique from one another. All of their voices were distinct which I really appreciated since it was from the one perspective and with some books it feels like the character is just talking to themselves since all the characters sound the same haha.

Norris has a really unique humor which always either got him in trouble or saved his case. The way he made friends was really natural and he was overall a really realistic character. Liam was a strange character, but is so sweet and caring and was probably my favourite character. Maddie was someone I didn’t like at first, but then when Norris got to know her more she turned out to be a really nice person. My opinion got more negative about her at the end, but I do understand why she acted the way she did. Aarti was someone I had mixed feelings about throughout the whole book. She was really quirky and her personality and humour were amazing. She’s also into art and is really fashionable which I thought was so cool. She was a little mean at time with the way she acted, but I guess she does have her reasons. We also get to meet Aarti’s parents in the book for a little bit and I love them! Norris’ parents were interesting, and I definitely liked his mother a lot more than his rude father. Eric, Norris’ friend from Canada, was really funny and I wish we got to see more of them.

The characters were my favourite part of the story because I wasn’t too fond of the plot. I get that this is a high school drama type story, but it was kind of at a stand still the whole time for me. I feel like there could have been less drama and more events that happened.  I thought that all the drama was really exaggerated. I mean, I don’t know if this is how high school is actually like in America, but as a high school senior in Canada I couldn’t relate to or even see much of what happened in the book as believable. Although the book wasn’t very eventful it was a quick read since it wasn’t a difficult read. I thought it was pretty fun but I feel I would have enjoyed it more if I was in a contemporary mood (I unfortunately felt like I needed a good fantasy read when I was reading this).

Norris’ whole story and background is very interesting and I felt that there was quite a lot of diversity in this one. This was an own-voices novel which made it so much more meaningful. I highly recommend this book to someone looking for a fun and diverse contemporary read!

Have you read this one? What did you think? Are you planning on reading it? Let me know in a comment!

I have no more room for books! (Book Unhaul)

Hi friends! Instead of the usual weekly meme, I am going to be sharing with you some of the books that I have recently unhauled! I like to do unhauls periodically because my shelves get so cramped and i have to make room for new books since I have no room to get another bookshelf aha.

All of these books I donate to a local non-profit because I feel like stores like this could always use young adult books. These books are all ones that I have not read and am unhauling because I unfortunately no longer have interest in reading them.

  • Salt to the Sea
  • Everyone Brave is Forgiven
  • Tuck Everlasting (this is actually one that I read a long time ago in elementary school but do not see myself ever rereading it)
  • The Game of Hope
  • Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy
  • The Winner’s Curse trilogy

I know it isn’t much, but like I said before I enjoy doing smaller unhauls more often so that it doesn’t hurt my heart as much to get rid of books haha. I think it’s really good to unhaul books because there may be someone out there who the book would end up with and who would get so much joy from it!

Do you unhaul books? What are some books you have unhauled recently? Let me know in a comment!

My rating is in between… (spoiler-free review)

Title – The Light Between Worlds

Author – Laura E. Weymouth

Rating – 3.5/5 stars

Release Date – October 23rd, 2018

Publisher – Harper Teen

Format – ARC provided from publisher (Harper Collins Canada / HCC Frenzy) for free in exchange for an honest review

What happens when you have to return to the real world? Six years ago, siblings Philippa, Jamie, and Evelyn were whisked away to the Woodlands during a WWII air raid. They were in the Woodlands for years as time remained “frozen” in the real world. Ever since their return they have been struggling to adjust to their original world, especially Evelyn. Evelyn struggles to deal with her immensely strong connection to the Woodlands while she is forced to go through daily life in the real world like nothing ever happened. All of the sibling’s worlds have been turned upside down since their return, but will all of them be able to cope?

Hello friends! I’m back with another review of an amazing book that I picked up this year! I really enjoyed how laid back this book felt and how easily I could get through it. It’s the first book in forever that I’ve read in under two weeks!

I read The Chronicles of Narnia forever ago, but the Woodlands in this book really reminded me of Narnia! Mostly because of Cervus, but also just in general in terms of the world. The whole book gave me slight Narnia vibes which was really cool because I’ve never read anything that I can remember that reminds me of Narnia. I really liked this nostalgic aspect of the book.

I quite enjoyed the characters in this book. Tom is such a caring person and he really deserves the best. I loved Tom’s family too, although we did not see very much of them.

Philippa is very realistic in the sense that she wants the best for others, but still sees the need to do what is best for her. Philippa is very strong-willed which I really appreciated.

Evelyn I did not like very much because I felt that she could be selfish at times (it is a bit understandable though considering her situation at times in the book, but I still think she was overreacting at some points).

Jamie is someone I’m indifferent on because I wasn’t really able to associate him with certain characteristics or a solid personality. The only thing Jamie has going for him is that he can be protective when he needs to be.

We did not get much of Jack in the story, but I ADORE him! He is the sweetest person in the world and everyone needs a friend like him. His brief backstory broke my heart and his personality just made me love him so much.

I think what made this book so easy to read is the fact that it is not too heavy. It has a plot that does not come to a stand-still which makes it addicting. It would be a really good book for a reading slump read. There was a shift from the present to the past almost every chapter which kept it interesting because the past was intricately weaved into the present. There was also a shift in perspective part way through the book which kept things interesting too.

The only reason this book doesn’t have a higher rating is more of a personal issue because it wasn’t the book I needed at the time. I wanted something more action-packed rather than a more chill and easy read like this one. I think for sure though that if you are in a reading slump then you should try this book out!

Have you read this book? Are you planning on reading it? Let me know in a comment!

Books = Power (Two For Tuesday)

Hello friends! I’m back this week with another book blogging meme! Two for Tuesday is hosted by Rae’s Reads and Reviews. This week’s prompt is: Two books that remind you of someone. You can check out the rest of this month’s prompts here!

I am a really sentimental person so I remember the stories behind each book on my shelf whether or not they are special, so this post is going to be really fun for me to do! I think it’s really cool that books have the power to carry such immense individual stories while also creating I know that it says two books but for the first one I put a series so let’s just count the first book for that one…

  1. No Safety in Numbers trilogy by Dayna Lorentz – When my dad and I first discovered that good books can be found at Dollarama (crazy right?!) I remember he brought the first book in this trilogy home for me as an early Christmas present. He went on to buy me the second book in the trilogy for Christmas that year and soon after I had read and was obsessed with the trilogy. I went on to buy the third book in the series with my Christmas money haha. I remember this series of events clear as day! The trilogy reminds me of my dad because he bought the first two for me and started a new obsession and it also reminds me of my mum because she was the one who took me to the bookstore to buy the third book because of all my nagging. Wow, good times.
  2. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas – I have quite the story behind this book. So it first off reminds me of my mum’s friend’s daughter because I remember being at their house one day and she was reading Throne of Glass. At this point I had never heard of the book before and was really intrigued but also skeptical because it didn’t really sound to me like something I would enjoy. The book reminds me of my grandma because I remember that she bought me the first three books in the series for Christmas and I started reading it right away. I remember thanking her a million times over for buying me them because of how much I loved them haha.

Do you associate your books with memories? What are some books that remind you of someone? What’s one of your favourite memories with/about one of your books? Let me know in a comment!

It took a while for my interest to catch fire… (spoiler-free review)

Title – When We Caught Fire

Author – Anna Godbersen

Rating – 3/5

Release Date – October 2nd, 2019

Publisher – Harper Teen

Format – ARC provided for free from publisher (Harper Collins Canada / HCC Frenzy) in exchange for an honest review

1871 Chicago. Emmeline Carter is now engaged to Chicago’s most eligible bachelor, Freddy as she prefers to call him, as a result of her father’s sudden accumulation of wealth. Emmeline is in a good spot as she prepares for her marriage and adjusts to her place in high society. The catch? She can’t seem to stop thinking about her childhood and her first love Anders who she left behind when her and her father moved. The one person still with her from her childhood is her best friend, Fiona Byrne, who is now her maid. Fiona sees Emmeline’s engagement to Freddy as a good thing because she can now claim Anders for herself. Things get complicated, an inevitable part of the drama of high society, and plans change. The question is: will they be changed for the better?

When We Caught Fire is a historical fiction novel about the Great Fire in Chicago in 1871 and after reading the author’s description of the novel’s historical background was very intriguing. I read the background after I had already finished the book and was delighted with the similarities that can be found between the fictional work and the actual history of the event. Godbersen did a fantastic job with the historical fiction aspect of the work.

I really wanted to adore this book and while I had fun while reading it, there were some problems that I had. I really loved the time period of the book because I have an undying love for the drama of the time’s high society; I honestly think if I lived back then I would have a grand old time at the balls that the girls go to. The dresses and the glamour would be nice, but the drama? Not so much.

Emmeline was quite an unlikable character. I believe that she was meant to be representative as being a product of her environment, and in that case she is perfect, but I found her to be extremely selfish and unintelligent. She seemed very juvenile and acted as if everything were not to be taken seriously. She is very careless regarding those around her, namely her father which made me sad since he just wants the best for her. She did not seem to treat Fiona, her supposed best friend, very well either. As I look back on her character I do see how maybe she was meant to be like this, but it just disappointed me.

Fiona was one of my favourite characters in this book simply because of how loyal she is. She took up the job as Emmeline’s maid so that she could remain with her friend and ,although she left her family behind to do so, she took care of them and visited them all the time. Fiona wanted the best for Emmeline and went to many extremes for her that I do understand what she did in the end. Fiona is very strong-willed and shows this during the last third or so of the book.

Anders is a character that I wish we knew more about as an individual. He had the potential to be a very fleshed out character but the most of what we got regarding him was always in relation to Emmeline and/or Fiona. His life situation made me feel for him and he remained such a sweet and caring guy throughout the whole story. Freddy on the other hand seemed like such a sweetheart but my opinion quickly changed on him later on (you’ll have to read the book to find out why!).

The plot in itself as a historical fiction novel was interesting because I was always left wondering how the story would play out and weave the history through it. The writing overall was engaging and easy to read, but the plot at the beginning was not my cup of tea. There was a lot of set up at the beginning with character and circumstance, and then the book picked up a ton of speed around the 200 page mark.

After the 200 page mark I felt like everything happened way too quickly which was bad, but also good? It was good because it made the story more interesting, but it was kind of sad because I felt like my time with the characters after all that set up time was disappearing too quickly. The pacing of the book could have been more spread out and I think that would have brought my rating up to a four star.

Overall I enjoyed this book. I think it would be a good read for someone who’s really busy; it does not have an absurd amount of stuff going on in the plot so you could pick it up and put it down repeatedly no problem, and I think it would be able to keep you out of a slump.

Have you picked up When We Caught Fire? What did you think? If not, are you planning on picking it up? Let me know in a comment!

I only love two books…?! (Two for Tuesday)

Hello friends! As you may know from last week’s Top 5 Wednesday post, I am trying to participate in a weekly book blogging meme in an effort to post more on here! I will be trying to do at least one a week, but I may do two once in a while. I am going to be keeping my book reviews for Saturdays.

Today I am participating in Two For Tuesday, a new book blogging meme by Rae’s Reads and Reviews! The prompt for this week is: Two books that helped you fall in love with reading. To check out the prompts for this month if you’re interested in participating then click here!

I have been a reader since I was born. My parents read to me ALL the time and I am so grateful for that. I have had a shelf full of books since a very young age because of this, but there was a point where I started really taking hold of my own reading and making the effort to pick up a book myself without the motivation of my parents.

  1. Junie B. Jones – The Junie B. Jones books were my absolute FAVOURITE things ever when I was growing up. I had copies of all of them that ended up completely destroyed because I had read them so often. I was so invested in the story and the characters and it was probably the first time that I had ever been so in love with books. I brought them everywhere with me and they earned the title of furiously igniting my love of reading.
  2. Judy Moody – These books were my love after the hype of Junie B. Jones died down for me. I remember I was a little older when I read these books and I vividly remember when I first got the books. I was in a huge bookstore in downtown (that is sadly not there anymore) and my grandma saw how excited I was when I found them at the store that she bought them all for me. I binge read them all at her cottage. I remember that weekend clear as day and it’s such a great memory to have.

These books and this post just remind me how powerful words are and the fact that a bunch of pages can change one’s life and turn them into a passionate reader is amazing. I’m so grateful for my family who kept feeding my love of reading throughout my life because I am so happy to be able to call myself a reader. I wish I still had the copies I read of these books just for the good memories they have but I had an obsession with selling my books to get new ones at my local bookstore when I was around that age so unfortunately I don’t haha.

What are the books that got you into reading? Do you have any copies of them still? Let me know in a comment! 

 

This book is on fire! (spoiler-free review)

Title – For a Muse of Fire

Author – Heidi Heilig

Rating – 4/5

Release Date – September 25th, 2018

Publisher – Greenwillow Books

Format – ARC received for free from publisher (Harper Collins Canada / HCC Frenzy) in exchange for an honest review

Hello friends! Long time no see, I know! I am finally free from the claws of exam season and am starting a new semester with (hopefully) more time to read and blog! I have a jam-packed semester (my last one of high school eeek) but I’m hoping that I can manage my time better to make room for what I love. Anyways, now onto my review.

For a Muse of Fire is the first in a new trilogy following a girl named Jetta, a member of the family that has the title of the most talented shadow players. Behind the screen Jetta can make it seem as if the puppets are moving without any string. Jetta’s secret is that she can see the souls of beings both human and animal and bind them to the puppets with her blood. This must be kept secret because these are the old ways, and the old ways are forbidden since the colonizing army took control of their country. Jetta must never let anyone discover her secret, her skill and fame are her family’s only hope. The hope that they can make enough to get to Aquitan where shadow plays are insanely popular and where the King is rumoured to have something that can cure illness, a cure that Jetta so desperately needs. Things change when the rebellion gains ground and Jetta meets a smuggler, with only danger and tough decisions to follow.

Sounds amazing, right? I KNOW! I ate this book up. The plot was so perfectly paced. Even in places that felt like nothing much was happening, the book just leaves a lingering thought that there is something crazy brewing. It is so addicting and just flies by. I would sit down to read a chapter and the next thing I knew I had read 100 pages! While it could technically have been a bit of a shorter book in my opinion, it did a fine job as a long book since it didn’t drag on.

The format of the book was also really cool. I read it as an ARC, but I know that these little details will make so much of an aesthetic contribution in the finished copy (that I haven’t been able to get my hands on yet). There were chapters set up like a play, there were telegraphs and letters and poems at the beginning of each “Act” (yes, the book was set up like a play too where there were sections but they were referred to as acts?! I love it!). The poems added a lot of lyrical beauty to the story which I really appreciated.

There was a bit of the French language sprinkled throughout the book which I thought was really unique and personally found enjoyable. It added a lot of depth to the characters because when the characters used a different language they felt more expressive (revealed a bit of their personality).

This is a bit of a side note but there was a character list at the beginning with who the characters all were which was SO helpful!

I really loved the characters and Leo was especially adorable. Leo was very kind but also very mysterious. Jetta was quite the interesting character and I wish we got to know a bit more about her (I’m hoping the next book goes more into her development, which I’m predicting it will considering where the plot is going). I really appreciated the heavy focus on family as one of the main plot points because that is not seen enough in YA.

One of the things that I was not really a fan of throughout the book was that there were some things that just worked out a little too conveniently in my opinion. I understand that the author is trying to set up a trilogy, but considering the length of the novel I feel that there would have been a better way to make some of these situations play out a bit more realistically. The good thing about this is that the ending did not work out conveniently at all. It was kind of insane?! I’m really looking forward to the next book to see what happens!

The romance was definitely not the focus of the novel (which is also something that I appreciate since it is not seen much in YA either) which I am very glad about because it could have been bad. In my opinion is was developing really nicely (definitely not insta-lovey) but then all of a sudden things moved really quickly and kind of threw all of that nice development out the window. It made me sad but I’m hoping that the next book will take the pace back down with the romance.

I would really recommend this book to anyone looking for a unique and moderately paced fantasy read!

Have you picked this book up? If so, let me know your spoiler-free thoughts! If not, are you planning on picking it up? What was your first read of the year? Did you like it? What are you planning on reading in February? 

Hopping on the ship of nostalgia! (Top 5 Wednesday)

Hello friends! I’m going to try and participate in at least one weekly meme so that I can post more than just the book reviews I’m going to be uploading on Saturdays.

This week I am going to be participating in Top 5 Wednesday! This week’s topic is: Nostalgic Ships! Check out the Top 5 Wednesday Goodreads page here to see the weekly topics if you’re interested in participating!

There are so many ships from books I read a while ago and looking through my Goodreads shelf and my actual shelf to activate the memories was kind of wild.

  1. Peeta and Katniss from The Hunger Games – I remember when I first read The Hunger Games and I shipped these two SO HARD. I was a complete Peeta and Katniss fangirl and now that I look back I feel like it was just because I imagined myself with Gale hahaha.
  2. Tris and Tobias from Divergent – This is basically the same thing as with Peeta and Katniss, but when I read Divergent I remember being so obsessed with these two. I was so invested in their relationship and that made me so invested in the story.
  3. Margo and Quentin from Paper Towns – I gave my copy of Paper Towns away because I knew that I would never read it again, but I remember when I was obsessed with this book and I was completely in love with the idea of Margo and Quentin. When they went on their little adventures I was basically squealing because I thought it was so cute. Their relationship high key tore me apart when I was younger because I was way too invested haha.
  4. June and Day from Legend –  Honestly now that I look back I think their romance was a little rushed but I remember myself not caring and just being obsessed with how their personalities meshed together. Even though I remember not enjoying this trilogy too much I think the romance was the saving grace for me.
  5. Levi and Cath from Fangirl – Now this still remains my favourite ship ever I think. Levi was the most perfect character in my eyes and I saw so much of myself in Cath that I just adored their relationship so much.

Now that I think about it, I really want to reread these series (especially The Hunger Games and Divergent) because I want to feel ALL the nostalgia! Awww this post was actually so fun to do; all the nostalgia is the best! I wish I had more time to reread books honestly.

What are some of your nostalgic ships? Do you still ship any of them? Let me know in a comment!