Book Review, Favorite Reads, ya paranormal, ya urban fantasy

Book Review | THE UNBOUND, by Victoria Schwab

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The Unbound (The Archived #2), by Victoria Schwab

Publish Date: January 28, 2014 (audiobook published March 14, 2019)
Published by: Hyperion/Tantor Audio
Audiobook Narrated by: Piper Goodeve & Gabriel Vaughan (short story at end)
Length: 10 hrs 57 min (360 pages)
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy/Paranormal
My Rating: ★★★★★ (5 out of 5 stars)


Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books. Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures that only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive.

Last summer, Mackenzie Bishop, a Keeper tasked with stopping violent Histories from escaping the Archive, almost lost her life to one. Now, as she starts her junior year at Hyde School, she’s struggling to get her life back. But moving on isn’t easy — not when her dreams are haunted by what happened. She knows the past is past, knows it cannot hurt her, but it feels so real, and when her nightmares begin to creep into her waking hours, she starts to wonder if she’s really safe. 

Meanwhile, people are vanishing without a trace, and the only thing they seem to have in common is Mackenzie. She’s sure the Archive knows more than they are letting on, but before she can prove it, she becomes the prime suspect. And unless Mac can track down the real culprit, she’ll lose everything, not only her role as Keeper, but her memories, and even her life. Can Mackenzie untangle the mystery before she herself unravels?

My Review:

Such a gripping story! There was so much happening that I couldn’t stop listening. Continue reading “Book Review | THE UNBOUND, by Victoria Schwab”

Book Review, Favorite Reads, ya paranormal, ya urban fantasy

Book Review | THE ARCHIVED, by Victoria Schwab

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The Archived (The Archived #1), by Victoria Schwab

Publish Date: January 22, 2013 (audiobook published March 30, 2019)
Published by: Hyperion/Tantor Audio
Audiobook Narrated by: Piper Goodeve
Length: 9 hrs 54 min (321 pages)
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy/Paranormal
My Rating: ★★★★★ (4.5 out of 5 stars)


Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books.

Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive.

Da first brought Mackenzie Bishop here four years ago, when she was twelve years old, frightened but determined to prove herself. Now Da is dead, and Mac has grown into what he once was: a ruthless Keeper, tasked with stopping often violent Histories from waking up and getting out. Because of her job, she lies to the people she loves, and she knows fear for what it is: a useful tool for staying alive.

Being a Keeper isn’t just dangerous—it’s a constant reminder of those Mac has lost, Da’s death was hard enough, but now that her little brother is gone too, Mac starts to wonder about the boundary between living and dying, sleeping and waking. In the Archive, the dead must never be disturbed. And yet, someone is deliberately altering Histories, erasing essential chapters. Unless Mac can piece together what remains, the Archive itself may crumble and fall.

My Review:

I really enjoyed listening to this audiobook. I’ve been struggling to find something that captured my attention as wonderfully as the Kerstin Gier audiobooks did (especially Dream a Little Dream and its sequels), and while I’ve enjoyed other audiobooks, none of them have kept me engaged as much until The Archived. Maybe it was the narrator who captured the emotion so very well (although she could have varied the voices of the characters a bit more to separate them from one another), or maybe it was Victoria who always manages to write a story that has me enchanted. Or maybe I just have a thing for other-worldly doors. Continue reading “Book Review | THE ARCHIVED, by Victoria Schwab”

Book Review, Favorite Reads, Space, ya retelling, ya sci-fi

Book Review | SOUL OF STARS, by Ashley Poston

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Soul of Stars (Heart of Iron #2), by Ashley Poston

Publish Date: July 23, 2019
Published by: Balzer + Bray
Pages: 424
Genre: YA Sci-Fi/Retelling
My Rating: ★★★★★ (5 out of 5 stars)


Once, Ana was an orphaned space outlaw. Then she was the Empress of the Iron Kingdom. Now, thought dead by most of the galaxy after she escaped from the dark AI program called the HIVE, Ana is desperate for a way to save Di from the HIVE’s evil clutches and take back her kingdom.

Ana’s only option is to find Starbright, the one person who has hacked into the HIVE and lived to tell the tale. But when Ana’s desperation costs the crew of the Dossier a terrible price, Ana and her friends are sent spiraling through the most perilous reaches of the Iron Kingdom to stop the true arbiter of evil in her world: an ancient world-ending deity called the Great Dark.

Their journey will take the sharp-witted pilot, Jax, to the home he never wanted to return to, and the dangerous fate he left behind. And when Robb finds out who Jax really is, he must contend with his own feelings for the boy he barely knows, and whether he truly belongs with this group of outcasts.

When facing the worst odds, can Ana and her crew of misfits find a way to stop the Great Dark once and for all?

My Review:

What can I say? Ashley Poston is a genius. She gave me these characters in Heart of Iron, said “Here fall in love with them!” and then proceeded to break my heart twenty different ways but also made me smile uncontrollably while doing it. Continue reading “Book Review | SOUL OF STARS, by Ashley Poston”

audiobook, Book Review, fiction, mystery

Book Review | THE 7 1/2 DEATHS OF EVELYN HARDCASTLE, by Stuart Turton

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The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, by Stuart Turton

Publish Date: February 8, 2018 (audiobook published September 18, 2018)
Published by: Sourcebooks Landmark/Tantor Media, Inc.
Audiobook Narrated by: James Cameron Stewart
Length: 17 hrs 4 min (432 pages)
Genre: Fiction/Mystery/Fantasy
My Rating: ★★★★☆ (4 out of 5 stars)


Tonight, Evelyn Hardcastle will be killed… again.

It is meant to be a celebration but it ends in tragedy. As fireworks explode overhead, Evelyn Hardcastle, the young and beautiful daughter of the house, is killed.

But Evelyn will not die just once. Until Aiden – one of the guests summoned to Blackheath for the party – can solve her murder, the day will repeat itself, over and over again. Every time ending with the fateful pistol shot. 

The only way to break this cycle is to identify the killer. But each time the day begins again, Aiden wakes in the body of a different guest. And someone is determined to prevent him ever escaping Blackheath…

My Review:

It took a little bit of getting used to the narrator, but once I did I found this story to be really intriguing and full of mystery with such a unique setting and circumstances. There were many layers to it – not only the mystery of Evelyn Hardcastle’s murder, but the mystery of Aidan Bishop and the Plague Doctor as well. There were lots of twists and turns to keep me guessing and even by the end I was still finding myself shocked and surprised. Continue reading “Book Review | THE 7 1/2 DEATHS OF EVELYN HARDCASTLE, by Stuart Turton”

Book Review, YA High Fantasy

Book Review | ROAR, by Cora Carmack

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Roar (Stormheart #1), by Cora Carmack

Publish Date: June 13, 2017
Published by: Tor Teen
Length: 380 pages
Genre: YA Fantasy
My Rating: ★★★★☆ (4 out of 5 stars)


In a land ruled and shaped by violent magical storms, power lies with those who control them.

Aurora Pavan comes from one of the oldest Stormling families in existence. Long ago, the ungifted pledged fealty and service to her family in exchange for safe haven, and a kingdom was carved out from the wildlands and sustained by magic capable of repelling the world’s deadliest foes. As the sole heir of Pavan, Aurora’s been groomed to be the perfect queen. She’s intelligent and brave and honorable. But she’s yet to show any trace of the magic she’ll need to protect her people.

To keep her secret and save her crown, Aurora’s mother arranges for her to marry a dark and brooding Stormling prince from another kingdom. At first, the prince seems like the perfect solution to all her problems. He’ll guarantee her spot as the next queen and be the champion her people need to remain safe. But the more secrets Aurora uncovers about him, the more a future with him frightens her. When she dons a disguise and sneaks out of the palace one night to spy on him, she stumbles upon a black market dealing in the very thing she lacks—storm magic. And the people selling it? They’re not Stormlings. They’re storm hunters.

Legend says that her ancestors first gained their magic by facing a storm and stealing part of its essence. And when a handsome young storm hunter reveals he was born without magic, but possesses it now, Aurora realizes there’s a third option for her future besides ruin or marriage. 

She might not have magic now, but she can steal it if she’s brave enough. 

Challenge a tempest. Survive it. And you become its master.

My Review:

Not going to lie, the cover was a real draw for me when it came to picking up this book. I was in the mood for a good high fantasy read, and I thought, “Magic and storms? Why not?” I was instantly drawn into the world of Caelira, where storms rampage sentiently, and only a certain handful of people can control them. It turned out to be a really enjoyable read, despite some qualms here and there about relationship situations and how certain plot devices were added into the storyline.  Continue reading “Book Review | ROAR, by Cora Carmack”

Book Review, YA High Fantasy

Book Review | BONE CRIER’S MOON, by Kathryn Purdie

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Bone Crier’s Moon (Bone Grace #1), by Kathryn Purdie

Publish Date: March 10, 2020
Published by: HarperCollins/Katherin Tegen
Pages: 480
Genre: YA Fantasy
My Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3.5 out of 5 stars)

**I received this as an egalley from the publisher through Edelweiss in return for an honest review.**


Bone ​Criers have a sacred duty. They alone can keep the dead from preying on the living. But their power to ferry the spirits of the dead into goddess Elara’s Night Heavens or Tyrus’s Underworld comes from sacrifice. The gods demand a promise of dedication. And that promise comes at the cost of the Bone Criers’ one true love.

Ailesse has been prepared since birth to become the matriarch of the Bone Criers, a mysterious famille of women who use strengths drawn from animal bones to ferry dead souls. But first she must complete her rite of passage and kill the boy she’s also destined to love.

Bastien’s father was slain by a Bone Crier and he’s been seeking revenge ever since. Yet when he finally captures one, his vengeance will have to wait. Ailesse’s ritual has begun and now their fates are entwined—in life and in death.

Sabine has never had the stomach for the Bone Criers’ work. But when her best friend Ailesse is taken captive, Sabine will do whatever it takes to save her, even if it means defying their traditions—and their matriarch—to break the bond between Ailesse and Bastien. Before they all die.

My Review:

I know this book doesn’t come out for quite some time (March of 2020), but I was in a bit of a rut when it came to what I wanted to read next. I knew it wanted to be some sort of fantasy but I just wasn’t sure until I came across this on Edelweiss. What definitely got me was the bit about Ailesse having to kill her soulmate in order to become a Ferrier, only to be kidnapped by him instead, and everything inside me just went YES PLEASE. It sounded so interesting, and while the concept was really original and I thought the world-building was unique, I just feel like the writing style left a lot to be imagined and didn’t make for as magical a storytelling as this could have been.
Continue reading “Book Review | BONE CRIER’S MOON, by Kathryn Purdie”