Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted over at Breaking The Spine where we post one of our most anticipated releases of this upcoming year.

My Lady Jane

June 7th, 2016

The comical, fantastical, romantical, (not) entirely true story of Lady Jane Grey. In My Lady Jane, coauthors Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows have created a one-of-a-kind fantasy in the tradition of The Princess Bride, featuring a reluctant king, an even more reluctant queen, a noble steed, and only a passing resemblance to actual history—because sometimes history needs a little help.

At sixteen, Lady Jane Grey is about to be married off to a stranger and caught up in a conspiracy to rob her cousin, King Edward, of his throne. But those trifling problems aren’t for Jane to worry about. Jane gets to be Queen of England


Well, EVERYONE RAVES ABOUT THIS BOOK. I have seen like ONE review that was like "Hey this wasn't my favorite." But they still gave the book three stars!!! That's really saying something!

And honestly, this is something so different than what I usually read, and from what is actually out there on the market! So I am super duper excited about it!!!

I hope its as hilarious and glorious as I've seen from other readers! I'm super excited to pick this up on June 7th and rave with everyone else!

Buy it here:

Thursday, May 19, 2016

If Dreams Came True (Poetry #11?)

If dreams came true… I would be with you. Just simply existing together. Romantic if we wanted, but together nonetheless

If dreams came true… you would love me and I would love you. Our feelings mutual, we would be unstoppable.

If dreams came true… you would be my first real kiss. It would magical, and I’d never want another person ever again.

If dreams came true… I wouldn’t cry like I do. At the thought of loving you. With no possibility of those feelings reciprocated

If dreams came true… I wouldn’t worry about such simple things, like the small things I do around you. And whether my breath is bad, or i’m annoying you.

If dreams came true… I would stop loving you. Because it would be easier for the both of us. Wouldn’t it? I would stop loving you. Or would I?

If dreams came true… we would be happy, together, and apart the same. Because we wouldnt be dependent upon one another… but really, truly happy.

If dreams came true… I wouldnt be here alone in my room thinking about you, wishing I could be closer to you.

If dreams came true… I would be next to you.

But dreams… they dont come true.

 I’m not next to you.

 We aren’t happy.

I still love you, and it kills me.

I worry about every little detail.

Tears flow constantly down my face.

We haven’t kissed and I doubt we ever will.

You don’t love me at least not in that way. I’m not with you, and what else am I to do…

When I woke up this morning from a dream of this happy life, I realized something. It hit me hard….

Even if dreams come true… I still wouldn’t have you because you may be my dream, but I am certainly not yours.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Waiting On Wednesday #4

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted over at Breaking The Spine where we post one of our most anticipated releases of this upcoming year.

This week I am going to be featuring a book that's cover is as beautiful and cutthroat as I expect the book inside will be...

And I Darken

And I Darken by Kiersten White

Lets start off with a lovely Goodreads synopsis:


And Lada Dragwlya likes it that way. Ever since she and her gentle younger brother, Radu, were wrenched from their homeland of Wallachia and abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman courts, Lada has known that being ruthless is the key to survival. She and Radu are doomed to act as pawns in a vicious game, an unseen sword hovering over their every move. For the lineage that makes them special also makes them targets.

Lada despises the Ottomans and bides her time, planning her vengeance for the day when she can return to Wallachia and claim her birthright. Radu longs only for a place where he feels safe. And when they meet Mehmed, the defiant and lonely son of the sultan, who’s expected to rule a nation, Radu feels that he’s made a true friend—and Lada wonders if she’s finally found someone worthy of her passion.

But Mehmed is heir to the very empire that Lada has sworn to fight against—and that Radu now considers home. Together, Lada, Radu, and Mehmed form a toxic triangle that strains the bonds of love and loyalty to the breaking point.

New York Times bestselling author Kiersten White comes the first book in a dark, sweeping new series in which heads will roll, bodies will be impaled . . . and hearts will be broken

Now to pick out my favorite things from this synopsis...

1. Brutal Princess.
2. Vengeance.
3. Empires.
5. Yay for broken hearts.
6. I'm getting the sense of a LOT of court politics and that makes me super duper excited!!!!

More musings:

1. I'm pretty sure I read somewhere about this being pulling from aspects of a daughter of Vlad the Impaler, or something like that? Anyways, that really intrigued me.

2. Have you seen the UK cover? I'm not much for people on the cover but she looks BADASS.
And I Darken (Conqueror's Saga, #1)


There are just so many aspects of this book that appeal to me! I cannot wait!!!!


I find it quite ironic how much I like history and how seldom I actually like historical fiction, but I am still super excited to start this novel.

Also, Khanh and Emily May's reviews definitely hyped this book up for me!!

This book is to release on June 28th 2016!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Series Review: The Winner's Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski

Title: The Winner's Curse (Book 1), The Winner's Crime (2), and The Winner's Kiss (3)
Author: Marie Rutkoski
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Overall Series Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

The Winner's Curse Goodreads synopsis: 

Winning what you want may cost you everything you love... 

As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions.

One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin.

But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined.

Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.


This post was originally going to be just a review on The Winner's Curse, the first book in The Winner's Trilogy, but because of the chaos that senior year brings a well as the laziness that my ass brings, I have waited so long to write my original review that I have been able to read the whole trilogy, so I have now decided to do an overall series review instead.  Let's see how this goes.

Throughout the series we follow a Valorian girl named Kestrel, and a Herrani boy named Arin.  The Valorian's are those who have conquered the Herrani and their country, Herran.  The books follow Kestrel and Arin through their budding, but forbidden, romance and how their relationship causes turmoil for both of their countries.  Their allegiances to each other and their countries will be put to the test, major swooning and heartbreak are guaranteed to ensue. 

One thing I can confidently say about this trilogy, it gets better with each book.  The characters get more complex and fleshed out as the books continue and you really get immersed into Arin and Kestrel's world.  These books are categorized as fantasy and have no magic in them.  This might be a turn-off for some fantasy readers, but for me it was intriguing and refreshing.  The books may lack a magic system, but the political intrigue more than fills the void.  Honestly, the politics in these books is off the charts.  There is some action and fighting in the series, mostly in the last book, but most of the battling between characters is done through mind games and psychological warfare.

Main Characters-
Kestrel is one of the most intelligent and perceptive main characters I have ever read about.  In the first book I was conflicted because I thought she lacked depth, but as I mentioned before, as the trilogy continues her character becomes much more nuanced and fleshed out.  Something I did like about her from the very beginning was that she never gets caught up in the pettiness of Valorian society and treats the Herrani, who are enslaved, as equals, unlike many of her peers.  I absolutely loved reading about the relationship between Kestrel and her father.  It was complex to begin with and gets even more nuanced and heartbreaking as the books progress.  All she wants is her fathers approval and love, but because he is so traditional and set in his own ways, their relationship is strained and they cannot see eye to eye on how Kestrel should live her life.  I also liked the fact that Kestrel isn't very good at combat.  A lot of times in YA, a female character's strength is defined by her physical strength and fighting skills. There are many other qualities in a character that reveal strength.

Arin , our other main character, is a fighter.  He is fiercely loyal to his country and Kestrel.  This is an admirable trait, but it gets him into a into of trouble as well.  I believe you don't learn about his backstory until the second or third book, but it's absolutely heartbreaking.  I really came to care for Arin in the second book.  He was so self doubting and mistrusting of others, he was like a lost puppy in the rain that I wanted to take inside and put in front of a warm fire.  Kestrel's and Arin's relationship becomes very complex throughout the series, especially during the second book.  They are so loyal to each other that they result to the classic "lie to the one I love to protect them" tactic.   It can be quite frustrating at times, but it's the kind of frustration that keeps you wanting more and seeing if they can ever work things out. There are many things that tie them together but equally as many things threaten to tear them apart. It's honestly hard not to root for them.

All of the books in the trilogy aren't very fast paced, they aren't slow by any means, but due to the methodical nature and the political intrigue of the books, there isn't much action.  But when there is action, the scenes are crafted with such detail that I occasionally had to pause reading and shudder from the gruesome images of war.  The last book especially could be very gruesome, there were a lot of war scene painted in pretty graphic imagery.  Rutkoski's writing is beautiful and again improves even more as the series progresses.  I gave the first book 3/5 stars, being that it wasn't an amazing book, but a very strong first in a series, and it was obviously the book to lay out the groundwork for the books to come.  My love for this trilogy really began to blossom in the second book, and the last two books overall are the reason why I give praise to the series.  I cannot stress how much the trilogy improves after the first book.  Honestly the second book took me on such a whirlwind of emotions that I had to set it down a few times to calm myself.

I really did not realize how invested I was into these characters and the world they live in until I finished the last book.  I actually became teary eyed and experienced a little bit of a book hangover.   I think what really got me was how much the main characters care for each other.  It really reminded me of how Tessa, Jem, and Will care for each other in The Infernal Device's trilogy by Cassandra Clare.  And honestly, anything that reminds me of TID will bring tears to my eyes.  Anyways, The Winner's Trilogy is full of political intrigue, complex and heartbreaking relationships, and very loyal and intelligent characters.  Highly highly recommend.  

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Very Late eARC Review: Your Voice Is All I Hear by Leah Scheier

Your Voice Is All I Hear
Title: Your Voice Is All I Hear
Author: Leah Scheier
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary mystery surrounding mental illness?
Page Count: 328
Rating: 4.5 Stars <3
Source: NetGalley and SourceFire Books in exchange for an honest review. This in no way impacted my rating.
Goodreads Amazon Barnes & Noble The Book Depository
Synopsis: I was the one he trusted. I was the one he loved, the only one who believed him, even when his own mother had locked him up and thrown away the key.

And now, I was going to pass down the white tiled hallway, knock on his doctor’s office door, slam his secret notebook on her desk and make her read it, make her understand what he was hiding, make her see what only I had seen.

April won’t let Jonah go without a fight.

He’s her boyfriend—her best friend. She’ll do anything to keep him safe. But as Jonah slips into a dark depression, trying to escape the traumatic past that haunts him, April is torn. To protect Jonah, she risks losing everything: family, friends, an opportunity to attend a prestigious music school. How much must she sacrifice? And will her voice be loud enough to drown out the dissenters—and the ones in his head?


Consensus: Your Voice Is All I Hear is a heart-pounding contemporary mystery-ish book that tackles an issue as serious as Schizophrenia and does it without apology. Throughout the novel we see the effects schizophrenia has on the person and every person around them. This book is beautiful, it is harrowing, it is haunting, it is something you don't want to miss. Not only will you learn a lot about a mental illness that affects a surprising amount of people, you will be changed for the better. You will be changed for good. Please, do yourself a favor, read this book.

This book started out with a bang that completely intrigued me. The prologue definitely set the mood for the second half of the book, but not for the first half if that makes sense?

The first half of this book was a big set up for everything to follow afterwards. We meet our narrator friend, April, and she begins to tell her story to us. Of school, of her life, of her best friend moving away, of so many things... of her lack of friends... of her fear of being at school without her best friend... and the new kids arrive... and she meets Jonah.

and despite the OBVIOUS instalove, this freaking book was absolutely what I wanted to read, and just completely up my alley. For those of you that don't already know, I am completely fascinated with learning and understanding mental illnesses... this book, I feel, really helped me learn about schizophrenia and not only its effects on the person with the illness, but how it affects every single person around them. The damage it does, the pain it causes, the hearts it shatters.

This book is haunting, and for awhile, it doesn't seem that way, but it is. It's beautifully written, and I felt like I was there the entire time. Scheier teleported me to each scene through her vivid scenes and realistic dialogue.

It's honestly very hard for me to write about this book without completely spoiling it because there is just so much that is connected to every other thing.

I do, however, want to talk about the mental institution. It was very different from what I was initially expecting going in, because I have read various books that have mental institutions in them, so it was just different. and I think I liked it... but I also think it was a weaker point in the writing of the novel, because I didn't think it showcased anything that was happening there (I mean, this is probably because it was from April's POV. I think this is the one moment where I wished we had a dual POV, the rest of the novel I thought was fine in that regard other than that.)

The characters, to me, were very realistic. April was a typical teenage girl in most senses... Jonah is too difficult to explain but I felt for him every single page. Kris was very important to the story in showing how April transformed through her experiences with Jonah.

I absolutely adored Katie, Jonah's little sister because she is the TOTAL little sister/ little sibling. She is adorable and sweet and caring. There were a few moments that absolutely broke my heart. When she visited the mental institution, I teared up a little bit, because her feelings were so raw and what everyone else wanted to say but also couldn't because he was improving.

This book took me on an emotional roller coaster ride and I highly enjoyed it.

The last 10% was practically flawless. I loved that we got to see Ms. Lowry's assignment in its entirety and the effect it had on the students. It really tied together such a lovely book. I loved the ending, I thought it fit the story extremely well.

I would definitely recommend this book for anyone wanting to learn more about schizophrenia!

Before I forget to mention this, and sorry for the out of order thing... I write my thoughts as they come to me and rearranging things would make it sound funky. The familial dynamics were phenomenally displayed. I absolutely adored the way they played out. April and her mother were what you would expect, but then you have... so much that I can't say because its spoilery...


Lastly, I just need to comment on Jonah's talent. He's an artist, and he paints, and holy... I saw these pictures, I craved these pictures and the way they were incorporated put into perspective (even better than it would have without) the affects of schizophrenia.

- Cody @ Roecker Reviews <3 y'all!

Saturday, May 14, 2016

DNF eARC Mini-Review: Nirvana by J R Stewart

Title: Nirvana
Author: J. R. Stewart
Page Count: 186
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Rating: DNF, if I had read it all it may have been a 3 star?
Source: I received this from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review. This has in no way affected my rating or my review.
Synopsis: When the real world is emptied of all that you love, how can you keep yourself from dependence on the virtual?

Animal activist and punk rock star Larissa Kenders lives in a dystopian world where the real and the virtual intermingle. After the disappearance of her soulmate, Andrew, Kenders finds solace by escaping to Nirvana, a virtual world controlled by Hexagon. In Nirvana, anyone’s deepest desires may be realized - even visits with Andrew.

Although Kenders knows that this version of Andrew is virtual, when he asks for her assistance revealing Hexagon’s dark secret, she cannot help but comply. Soon after, Kenders and her closest allies find themselves in a battle with Hexagon, the very institution they have been taught to trust. After uncovering much more than she expected, Kenders’ biggest challenge is determining what is real – and what is virtual.

Nirvana is a fast-paced, page-turning young adult novel combining elements of science fiction, mystery, and romance. Part of a trilogy, this book introduces readers to a young woman who refuses to give up on the man she loves, even if it means taking on an entire government to do so.


If I have anything to say about this book it's that it is definitely something unique. It began so beautifully and developed, and Larissa was an interesting character to read about.

I read 32% of this book before putting it aside in favor of some books that I would rather read... because this wasn't interesting me as much as I would have liked it too..

What I have read of this book was good, interesting, and for the most part, well written.

Update 3/24 It has been many months since I have touched this book. I'll probably get back to reading it soon... I remember most of what happened actually, which is odd.

Update 5/11: I have officially DNF'd the book, and while I really enjoyed the plotline and the writing style, I didn't really care for the characters and that was enough to make me disinterested in the final product, so I decided to put it away. This is a book that I may come back to in a few years... maybe?

Larissa, our main character... (or as other people call her, Kenders...) wasn't compelling in my opinion... Her love, Andrew was more interesting... and when he disappears EVERY CRAZY THING HAPPENS.

The government cannot be trusted, she cannot trust anyone.

In reality, I remember a bunch of vague, yet spoilery details of this book because I did make it to 60%.

I definitely feel like many people could enjoy this book, and I actually was (for the most part) but there are just other books I would like to read more, and it wasn't holding my interest.

This is a book with loads of potential (and it's really short... it's a wonder that I couldn't bring myself to complete it...

Love y'all!

-Cody @ Roecker Reviews <3

Friday, May 13, 2016

Book Review: A Cold Legacy (Madman's Daughter 3) by Megan Shepherd (JENNA DID A REVIEW!)

  A Cold Legacy (The Madman's Daughter, #3)
Title: A Cold Legacy
Author: Megan Shepherd
Genre: Young Adult, Gothic/Steampunk twist on a couple of classics
Page Count: 388
Source: The library
Rating: is like a 3.75 a thing. Maybe a 3.97. Round it up to a 4? But that's not right. I'll come back to that. Alright, I'm back to that. I feel that 3.95 is the most accurate number I can come up with. No, maybe that's too high. I still can't decide. You guys can round it up or down, I don't care anymore, I'm tired. 

Synopsis: After killing the men who tried to steal her father’s research, Juliet—along with Montgomery, Lucy, Balthazar, and a deathly ill Edward—has escaped to a remote estate on the Scottish moors. Owned by the enigmatic Elizabeth von Stein, the mansion is full of mysteries and unexplained oddities: dead bodies in the basement, secret passages, and fortune-tellers who seem to know Juliet’s secrets. Though it appears to be a safe haven, Juliet fears new dangers may be present within the manor’s own walls.

Then Juliet uncovers the truth about the manor’s long history of scientific experimentation—and her own intended role in it—forcing her to determine where the line falls between right and wrong, life and death, magic and science, and promises and secrets. And she must decide if she’ll follow her father’s dark footsteps or her mother’s tragic ones, or whether she’ll make her own.

With inspiration from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, this breathless conclusion to the Madman’s Daughter trilogy is about the things we’ll sacrifice to save those we love—even our own humanity.


... Now that all that has been properly ignored, I shall skip promptly to the reviewing part.

In case you don't know: this is the third book in a trilogy, and yes, I will be spoiling things from the first two books. 

Hello world! Guess who made a post? It's Jenna! For those of you just joining us, I joined Cody for an interview post many months ago with the intention of joining his blog and then I promptly managed to disappear into the abyss of "Not Reading Anything for a Really Long Time". But now I've read a thing and I had some thoughts on it and here I am.

Alright, so if you know me (you probably don't but here's some free information on me to help you feel like you do), you know that I don't really read a whole lot of YA. I used to read it all the time, but truth be told, reading too much of it made me really picky about it as I became increasing desperate for new material that was original.

But this was a trilogy I had to read. When I heard that each of the three books would be based on three classic Gothic novels- The Strange Island of Dr. Moreau, by HG Wells, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, by Robert Louis Stevenson, and Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley-  I was super excited. I love all of those books, even if you may think they aren't that interesting to read because they are classical, they are certainly a very good source of inspiration and the concepts behind each novel fascinate me in their morbid-ness. 

Now on to the actual review of the actual book. Obviously, I liked the first two books pretty well, otherwise I would not be here reviewing the third one. The writing was pretty good but my major issues with that aspect was some repetitiveness and the fact that is easy to skip entire paragraphs and not notice somehow. 

On the repetitive factor: I'm mostly referring to the main character Juliet's fear of becoming like her father. I understand that it's a major fear of hers, I understand it haunts her all the time, but there are ways to refer back to that fear and let the readers connect the dots back to how she was feeling without explicitly stating it all the time. This also might be why the paragraphs were so easily skip-able as well.

Now my top priority in reading is characters. I have a whole spiel about why but I'm not going to give it now. But characters, my friends. Characters are the priority. They are what I live for. The plot can be the worst thing ever conceived, but if the characters are brilliant or just plain lovable, I will follow them through anything. And in this case, the plot wasn't the worst thing in the world. This was a battle of characters.

The problem was, I didn't really like Juliet. I mean, I liked her a little more in this book than the others, but not by much. My problem with disliking the main character of a book is the fact that now you have to suffer through all their decisions from then on. Some people like that. Some people find that interesting. I do not.

For one, it affects the way they interact with other characters. I'm not gonna list another reason because that's the one I'm focused on. Because unlike my opinion of Juliet and love interest Montgomery James, I really liked Edward Prince, and Lucy Radcliffe. 

What really turned me against Juliet and Montgomery for the first two books was the lack of compassion that they showed in particular to Edward. I get it, they were being cautious, the Beast is dangerous, etc. But it got kinda old. There were many fewer sentimental scenes to help show the characters' lovable side. Heck, I almost outright hated Montgomery until this last book. Good job, last book, you saved him!

But I adored Edward and Lucy, Lucy in particular shining in this book. I've always loved heart-bleed characters, but I think that Shepherd did a wonderful job of making the character more complex, since a character in his situation is bound to have a lot complex feelings and relationships. And, of course, it was easy to care about him, which is good, because in my experience, Caring About Edward Prince was about 90% of my life while reading.

And Lucy. I disregarded her for the first two books. But in this book, I was glad to see her shine. Shout out to Lucy for making up for the general lack of compassion. She developed far beyond Generic Best Friend and became The Hero No One But Jenna Knew They Needed and I adore her for it. Her role in this book was A+ and I appreciate finally having someone I can actually connect to, since Juliet and Montgomery were so isolating and hard to relate to for us bleeding hearts. 

Ultimately, my desire to know what happened to Edward and eventually drove me through all of these books more than any other motivation.

But one thing that disappointed me greatly... the romance between Edward and Lucy. It could have been beautiful, but as it is, I cannot support it. It felt rushed, almost last-minute, like it was only there to cause Edward and Edward Fans some extra "Emotions". But because it was so choppy and rushed, I couldn't really get into it, and those Emotions were lost in the Disappointment Abyss.

Side note, Elizabeth, Hensley, and particularly Jack Serra also deserve some shout outs... particularly Jack Serra. (But Jenna, you said Jack Serra twice! True, little readers. I like Jack Serra.)

And on that note, I'll end with the ending, or as I like to call it, The Other Thing I Didn't Like. It was, for one thing, rather inconclusive, and for another... Well, Edward's ending was so.. vague. I understand why he'd want to seek out someone else like him, but... that's it? We're just supposed to accept that our baby of three books is now just gonna wander off after something that was that was only kinda mentioned a couple of times before? It's just sad. And as much as I believe certain things that happened in the book were necessary and well timed, the extra Edward Pain was not necessary. The poor guy had enough. It wasn't even interesting anymore. Let him rest. Let Edward Rest 2k16, my new campaign slogan. 

TLDR: unbalanced/uninteresting characters and completely unsatisfactory ending kept this otherwise enjoyable book/trilogy from getting much higher than a 4, but much more interesting side characters and a very fantastic twist on some of my favorite classics cause a not-very-impressed-with-YA- reader to be pretty dang impressed. 

Jenna out *mic drop*

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Buddy Read: A Gathering of Shadows by V. E. Schwab

A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic, #2)
Title: A Gathering of Shadows
Author: V E Schwab
Page Count: 512
Genre: Adult, Fantasy
Rating: 4 Stars
Source: Annelise preordered two copies for us <3
Synopsis: Four months have passed since the shadow stone fell into Kell’s possession. Four months since his path crossed with Delilah Bard. Four months since Rhy was wounded and the Dane twins fell, and the stone was cast with Holland’s dying body through the rift, and into Black London.

In many ways, things have almost returned to normal, though Rhy is more sober, and Kell is now plagued by his guilt. Restless, and having given up smuggling, Kell is visited by dreams of ominous magical events, waking only to think of Lila, who disappeared from the docks like she always meant to do. As Red London finalizes preparations for the Element Games—an extravagant international competition of magic, meant to entertain and keep healthy the ties between neighboring countries—a certain pirate ship draws closer, carrying old friends back into port.

But while Red London is caught up in the pageantry and thrills of the Games, another London is coming back to life, and those who were thought to be forever gone have returned. After all, a shadow that was gone in the night reappears in the morning, and so it seems Black London has risen again—meaning that another London must fall.

This was the first book we have ever buddy read! We didn't really do much except reading it at the same time but it was a lot of fun!

Cody's Review: Oh god, this book. Though I preferred it's fast-paced predecessor A Darker Shade of Magic to this installation, I still absolutely adored this novel.
I love the simplistic covers, and am so thankful Annelise has no control, because she ordered two copies and so we both received the beautiful cards of Alucard, Stasion, Kamerov, and Kisimyr! They are goooorgeousss!

A Gathering of Shadows starts off four months after the ending of ADSOM and we get to see our beloved friends once more. Lila is off on a pirate, -I mean-, privateering ship. The captain, Alucard Emery is freaking fantastic, and his dynamic with all of the characters is lovely.

Kell, back in Red London is having to deal with King Maxim's wrath as Rhy and Kell often sneak out together for various adventures that Rhy decides he needs to go to. This book we see a more serious side of Rhy and less of his quirk and charm, but I really like it nonetheless.

This book is definitely more of a character driven, character development book in comparison to ADSOM, at least in my opinion. This is a strong sequel, and there is something special about the way that Schwab introduces her story, and weaves the characters together.  The book is a lot slower paced due to this, and for the most part, I was okay with that. Every once in awhile it dragged, but it would immediately pick up again.

Then there is the fact that upcoming is the Essen Tasch, the Element Games that Rhy is hosting. Alucard Emery, who has a past with a certain family in Red London, decides he is going to enter. It's a games between Arnes, Faro, and Veska in order to maintain a sort of peace between the neighboring countries.

The Essen Tasch itself is LOADS of fun to watch. I felt like I was there the entire time. That's another strength of Schwab's writing. She has this unparalled capability to write a visually striking scene. Everything she writes is so visual, playing out like a movie or a tv show (and boy am I excited for this show...) The Essen Tasch doesn't begin until almost 60% into the book so getting there takes awhile, but it is well worth the wait and a very intriguing section in the novel.

There are some scenes that we wait the entire novel for. Waiting for scenes between Lila and Kell are purely agonizing to me. I ship them so hard that waiting for them to be in the same room was crazy in of itself. But my god, do I adore their banter. Alucard and Lila's banter early in the novel was matching the banter between Kell and Lila and I was loving it, the fact that Lila had someone else to confide in and I just adored their interactions. We really got to see more of Lila's inner thoughts in this book, and she became more of a real character in my mind (She already was real, but this made her seem more real if that makes sense) Lila is the very definition of a strong female heroine (although she is more of an antihero like Kaz from Six of Crows) but Delilah Bard is my hero(ine).

I really want to know more about Rhy and Alucard's past because, well duh. I squealed at their interactions within the story. I especially love Kell's resentment of Alucard. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful.

Where do I begin with our lovely evil villains? I can't. I simply cannot. Their chapters were sparse, but I liked it that way. Schwab really drew out the suspense with everything involving them, really making us feel that slow burning sensation, that ended up bursting into a large wall of flames and destroying all of our ability to feel, by overloading that sensation in our minds. Although while reading  the novel, I wanted to get back with Lila or Kell, I think these were truly ominous strong points in the novel that I will probably remember more than the rest of the details. The fact of the matter is Schwab writes a damn good villain, and they are compelling. It will be phenomenal to see how the villains play out in the third book. It's going to be one wild ride.

Schwab wrote a cliffhanger that destroyed me. It rivals the cliffhanger I just watched on the season finale of How To Get Away With Murder for insanity levels. I love her acknowledgements when she writes how she waited six years, and nine books to use a cliffhanger like this. My god is she lovely. Evil? Yes, wholeheartedly, but also lovely.

It's been awhile since I read this book now, (about two weeks) and so I am adding a little bit... the fact that I have quite forgotten a lot of the details of this book already... Oops. I remember enough but I think that is the main reason I cannot give it 5 stars.

Annelise's Review:

Annelise's review has still not been written almost two months after we have finished the book. Eventually she will get around to writing said review, but we shall see! <3

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Book Review: All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

All the Bright Places
Title: All The Bright Places
Author: Jennifer Niven
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary, Suicide
Page Count: 400
Source: Borrowed from my friend, Ellie.
Rating: 2.5...?
Goodreads Amazon Barnes & Noble The Book Depository
Synopsis: The Fault in Our Stars meets Eleanor and Park in this exhilarating and heart-wrenching love story about a girl who learns to live from a boy who intends to die.
Soon to be a major motion picture starring Elle Fanning!
Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.

Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.

When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.

This is an intense, gripping novel perfect for fans of Jay Asher, Rainbow Rowell, John Green, Gayle Forman, and Jenny Downham from a talented new voice in YA, Jennifer Niven


Prepare for a review that contradicts itself many, many times.

Okay, where do I begin with a book that I didn't hate but I didn't really love either?... How did I come to this? Well, let's begin.

My friend Ellie was talking about this book, and I had almost bought it back in February of last year... but instead purchased My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga (WHICH I LOVED)... and we switched books.

So it took me a week to read this mind you (because of AP testing.. and other stuff... including the fact that I didn't really enjoy the writing. ) This is one of those books that while reading it, I found a bazillion other things I could be doing that I wanted to do more. But every time I wasn't reading it, I wanted to. Does that make any sense? Nope. because my tastes are a bundle of contradictions.

I didn't really enjoy the first half of the book. At all. I was reading it, and I wasn't caring about the characters (for the most part) and I wasn't connecting to anything. The characters felt unreal, and THE PARENTS royally pissed me off. Every authority figure wasn't realistic, in my opinion... almost the entire time they were very neglecting, incredibly horrible people.... and I didn't get why every authority figure would be bad. Like, seriously?

That aside, I started to feel for the character once the romance aspect kicked in Really? The romance brought me to actually enjoy the book?  And I found myself completely enamored with their relationship. I loved it. I wanted them to save each other. I wanted the best for them.

I knew that this book was going to break my heart after I saw the comparison to The Fault In Our Stars... I knew EXACTLY what was going to happen. And even seeing it coming from far, far away... I still managed to get teary eyed at the whole situation and feel poorly afterward. My heart hurt immensely, and I am still not sure if I'm okay right now... My heart clenches when I think about it.

My initial thoughts were just: This. Damn .Book.

and then I really, really thought about it.

These characters were nothing more than their illnesses. They became their illnesses. And while I honestly believe this is something that happens, I did NOT think this was realistic for both of them to be how they were. Their illnesses consumed their entirety to which they were nothing BUT their illnesses. And this pisses me off. There is so much more to someone than their mental illness, and pretending that their entire personality is based upon the mental illness itself IT IS SUPER UNREALISTIC.

So, yeah, because of this I didn't really like the characters... at least I thought I didn't. But then they started getting hurt by each other, and I did care. And their relationship was actually beautifully crafted. I loved how they got to know each other through the Wandering through Indiana... Very Paper Towns-esque (and though I absolutely adored these sections... I do feel it was very unrealistic for anybody's parents to be okay with their children doing this stuff... which again brings me to the point that the parents didn't seem to care about anything.)

Violet Markey's motivations in this book were very well thought out, and I felt for her situation earlier than I felt for Finch's. Although I liked Finch's voice better (overall)

Amanda was the most relatable character, and I cannot really tell you why without spoiling something that happens but just know... that she was very real. Probably the most recognizable person in the entire novel.

I wanted Bookmobile park to exist in real life, and I am heartbroken that it is not a real thing... I mean, CMON. I NEED IT.

Overall, this book had a great motive behind it, and the author's note was heartfelt and meaningful... but the book lacked what I believe it needed to truly be a book that I would read again... Violet and Finch's story really tugs at your heartstrings because I feel like that's how it was written, to do exactly that. And it did.

This book is very John Green-esque in general, and not the part of John Green that I particularly like. Unlike John Green though, the writing was just a little too choppy for my tastes.

I definitely see why this book is praised, and I definitely can see why some people loved it... Sadly.. I just don't think it matched a few things...

1. My expectations.
2. Realistic portrayals of characters with mental illnesses (it showed the extreme, but not the day-to-day)
3. The writing style was not to my liking.

I'm super glad if you guys liked this book, but sadly it just was not for me.

To the next book! (or review I need to do!)

- Cody @ Roecker Reviews <3

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The Post After AP Testing and Scholarship Interview


It all went so well! 

As per AP testing rules I will be super vague about everything...

This year there was three poems and two prose pieces on the multiple choice... and I suffered because of it. I felt the weakest about the multiple choice especially one of the prose pieces, and on poem... The rest I felt moderately adequate on. I should get around 35/55 about... which is 5 less than I want... but that's okay...


3 Essays...



1 ALRIGHT ESSAY BUT GOOD ENOUGH. Hopefully a 5 for good writing?

Overall, I just feel SO much better than I ever expected to! Things are definitely on the bright side! <3 <3

Thank you all for keeping me in your thoughts and prayers, I definitely appreciate it!


Okay, this was something I was TERRIFIED to do... What if I messed up? What if I failed miserably? Oh my goodness... my anxiety level was THROUGH THE ROOF!

But once I got in, there was only one guy I talked too, instead of four... because three had meetings they needed to go to...

And Dennis was very laid back, and let me talk about writing for awhile, and my future, and everything... and it was actually very refreshing.

He told me I would hear back from them by the end of the week whether or not I got my scholarship...

He also told me how he loved the passion I had when I talked about writing and English and publishing. He told me the passion sparkled in my eyes and just AHH! YAY!


Overall, this was just wonderful and I am SO happy right now!


I have started my reread of ACOTAR by S J Maas... I read like 60 pages...
I started All The Bright Places and have read 60 pages... hoping I like it more than I do now...
I read the first chapter of This Monstrous Thing by Mackenzie Lee and I want to read more! IT IS GOOD! I'm gonna read that if ATBP doesn't pick up...

I am trying this month the new style of posts where I just kind of talk to y'all... Are you guys liking this? I haven't finished a review in a while... but will post those when I'm done...

Have any suggestions? :)

Love y'all

Cody @ Roecker Reviews <3

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

A Post In Which I Cry About AP Testing...

So, tomorrow is my first AP test of the year (of two) and instead of studying, I am here, typing out this long drawn out thing about my nerves and fears for this AP test... and what I am going to do to study...

For AP Literature, we read at least 10 books/plays over the school year, and I have to be prepared to talk about one of them... So, in this post I am going to use it as a study guide, where I write the name of the book... and everything I remember about the book (Spoilery or not...)

I really should have done this before the night before the test... SOMEONE HIT ME OVER THE HEAD!

Some of this will definitely be super informal... other more formal... it depends on whether I liked the book or not.. and other such things... I HOPE YOU ENJOY.

1. The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan

I liked this book a lot more than most of the books we read over the course of the year...

The book follows four sets of mothers and daughters...

Jing Mei Woo and her mother... (what's her name?)
Lena St. Clair and Ying Ying St Clair...
Waverly Jong and Lindo Jong
Rose and An Mei

Basically, the novel really shows the differences between different upbringings... because the mothers were raised in China and the daughters were raised in America. The cultural differences play the utmost important role in the novel.

You have the chapter "Best Quality" in which Jing-Mei (June) 's mother and her go out to buy crabs for Chinese New Year and end up buying one that's leg had fallen off... this is bad luck... At dinner that night there was two crab legs left, one for June and one for her mother... and she offers to take the bad leg, so her mom doesn't have to and her mom SCOLDS her because of it. I loved the scene, and wrote an essay in class using it as well.  INSERT QUOTE HERE.

Another important scene involves when Waverly and June are learning piano... Waverly was quickly better than June (I believe... ) and this created a rivalry between the two and stuff.

My head hurts... I know a little more than this..

2. Hamlet by Shakespeare


Okay, so basically... Hamlet is the Great Dane... and lots of stuff happens.. and yeah..


Okay, so Hamlet can be called crazy... and many people would argue he is.. and many would argue he isn't...

I remember a bunch of vague details.. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are spies for Claudius...

The play begins after Hamlet's father dies... and a Ghost appears to Hamlet, and the lovely Horatio... warning that Claudius is the one that killed his father... and Hamlet has three choices he can make...

1. Do nothing.
2. Kill Claudius
3. Kill Himself

This is Shakespeare y'all, I WONDER WHAT HE IS GOING TO DO?!?

Kill Claudius!

What's his name, Poly... is killed by Hamlet while talking to Gertrude in her room... There is psychological stuff from Freudian Theory... and Oedipal Complex stuff..

Everyone dies at the end... Gertrude by drinking poisoned wine... perhaps the funniest death possible... Claudius dies... Hamlet dies by sword from being stabbed by that one dude... Uhh.. L?

Lots of comments on Hamlet's sanity.

I'm tired...  and it's only 6:45pm... GAH

3. Oedipus by Sophocles

Basically I will not be using this on the AP test... unless I have to... I mean.. You have an Oedipal Complex... and a bunch of other stuff I am waaaaay too lazy to talk about right now.

4. Antigone by Sophocles

Definitely not using. I remember nothing. Wasn't there a scene where like 3 people die in a cave?

5. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

I did NOT enjoy this book. And I feel guilty about it. The novel follows Janie Starks as she discovers herself through three marriages... Logan Killicks, Jody, and Tea Cake... Tea Cake was her final husband, he died because a dog bit him that had rabies and then she shot him and killed him.

Logan Killicks was a pragmatic SOB and Janie only married him to appease Nanny's wishes. Nanny once told her "Da nigger woman is da mule of dah world as far as Ah can see"

The one dude has a mule, and there are vultures, the mule is treated horribly... as are black people often. A good example being when they are burying the dead... and the lead guy is told that they need to bury the white people in a coffin and the black people just straight into the ground.

Janie is passable as a white woman, and she didn't realize she was black until she saw herself in a mirror.

There is this tree that my teacher told us was all about masturbation and sex, and I frankly think it's bullshit... But if it gets me a 4 on the AP Exam, that's fine with me.

There are lots of things to say... OH EATONVILLE is important because it represents more than just the place itself.

6. One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey

It's been so long since I read this one... Chief Bromden... McMurphy... lots of symbols and themes... Green Smoke... Pecking Party... Control Panel... and stuff...

7. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (At least, I read this one)

I LOVE this book. That's all I really need to say.
8. Obasan by Joy Kagawa (We had choices, I read this!)

HA, I remember nothing.
Independent Novels:

1. The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick

I could talk about Pat, Tiffany, and Dr. Patil for hours. Easily. Just finished this book.
2. The Curious Incident of The Dog In The Night Time by Mark Haddon

Very interesting outlook on Asperger's. I'm not going into detail, cause I know what I need to know...  

This post is a mess of my limited notes... I am crying because of it...

Wish me luck for tomorrow... An AP test... and a Scholarship interview! D:

I'm terrified...

Any of you taking an AP class? Is it making you want to die? Let me know what you do to study! :)

Love y'all

Cody @ Roecker Reviews

Monday, May 2, 2016

The Post In Which I Recommend My Favorite Contemporaries

Okay, so I am in love with fantasy... and that is probably my favorite genre... but I also LOVE some contemporaries, and tend to fall in love with them harder than I do with fantasies... if that makes sense?

Anyways... I decided today that I wanted to recommend some of my FAVORITES!

I have probably mentioned quite a few of these, but also should include some new ones!

1. Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
I have raved about this book time and time again, and will never stop. Simon Vs is such an adorable book that also tackles some topics that I absolutely think need to be talked about (even if they already have been, they haven't been done in this way.) My favorite part (from my first read through, I'm planning on rereading soon from my new signed copy :) ) is the comment on how Straight shouldn't be the default, that there shouldn't be a default, and I couldn't agree more. We all should have to "come out"!

Anyways, Simon Spier is a sarcastic, absolutely adorkable, lovely main character that you will easily fall in love with because of his wit and his charm! This was in my top 3 favorite books of last year! Go read this!! (Plus Becky is seriously the sweetest human being I have ever talked to, oh my goodness... I want to meet her!)
2. More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera
More Happy Than Not
This book broke me, and made me sob like a madman... Today I am showcasing the beautiful new paperback cover that I love and didn't purchase because of money constraints BUT I WANTED IT. If anyone wants to hook me up with a Leteo Institute Brochure from preordering/buying this, I would LOVE you! <3

Anyways, this book follows Aaron Soto who is considering a mind-altering procedure to forget the fact that he is gay. It is just as heartbreaking as it sounds.
3. My Heart And Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga
My Heart and Other Black Holes
This was the first of the Beckminavidera novels I read and it did not disappoint! I bought this around the same time the ATBP came out, and I fell in love with this cover more, (the premises are rather similar) and so I bought this one and I am super glad I did! This book was great and a very emotional roller coaster ride (ALMOST TIME FOR A REREAD!!!!)

Anyways, this book follows Aysel and Roman who find each other on a website called Suicide Partners... I think that's all you really need to know... Plus I have forgotten a lot of the details... But I used a quote from this for my senior project! It's insanely quotable!
4. Every Day by David Levithan
Every Day (Every Day, #1)
Oh my god. Read this book. Obvious instalove aside, it is just such a unique concept and beautiful premise, story, characters, everything. A wakes up in a different body each day, and then A wakes up in Justin's and falls in love with Rhiannon... And it continues from there... Just... read it.
5. Winger by Andrew Smith
Winger (Winger, #1)
Oh Winger...You are hilarious, and hurt me a lot... actually... This book follows *that awkward moment when it takes you a second to remember the main characters name* Ryan Dean! and I don't really want to explain any of it, it's just a lovely book. I own Stand Off (the sequel) but have yet to read it in fear that it won't match up.
6. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Thirteen Reasons Why
Thirteen Reasons Why follows Clay, after receiving these tapes from a girl who has recently committed suicide. These tapes are the thirteen reasons why she did so, and boy is it compelling, and broke my heart... and gahhhhh. READ IT.
7. Looking for Alaska by John Green
Looking for Alaska
As I have probably mentioned, this is my favorite John Green novel. I just finished rereading it in attempt to get out of my reading slump. I didn't love it as much the second time around, but I still think it is moving and it tugs at your heartstrings.
8. I'll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson
I'll Give You the Sun
I think this is the only book on this list I didn't give 5 stars, yet still loved with all of my heart. I was NOT a big fan of The Sky Is Everywhere yet I adored this book. It was more for me. These twins broke my heart. Oh Jude, Oh Noah... :) I love you. READ THIS BOOK.

I have quickly realized a theme involved in almost all of my recommendations... I'm pretty sure all but one of these made me cry...YEP. It's true. The other made me giggle with glee. I think it's pretty obvious which that is...

Anyways, I really nejoy contemporaries with a heavy mental illness focus, and obviously with gay characters.
And I'm going to leave this post at 8 Recommendations!
I'd love to hear some of your favorites! <3

Cody Roecker @ Roecker Reviews

Love y'all <3

Sunday, May 1, 2016

The Post In Which I Kind of Make A Plan for May


1. Write that review for Clockwork Angel
2. And for Silver Linings Playbook...
3. Finish a new book so you can write a review for it...
4. Post frequently (and by that, I mean, force yourself to get a post done every other day! If possible)
5. Make lists, because you like those... and others do too!
6. Write at least two NEW posts that you haven't thought of yet!


1. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
2. The Bell Jar (maybe...) If not, The Serpent King will be read!
3. Reread of A Court of Thorns and Roses (and then ACOMAF!)
4. Finish Looking for Alaska!
5. Start reread of Kingdoms of Day (in preparation for helping the author with her fourth book!)
6. Library books!
7. Your neverending pile of eARCs (from NetGalley and Month9Books... because you made a promise... and you intend to keep it. You will read those books!!!!!!)


1. DO MORE SCHOLARSHIPS (GIVE ME MONEYYYYY. I need it, so I don't go into crippling debt)
3. No, seriously, STUDY.
4. You have AP Literature on the 4th...
5. And AP Government on the 10th...
6. You need a 4 on Lit, and a 3 on Gov for college credit! YOU CAN DO THIS!
7. Stress less... :)

Now, I'm going back to reading Looking for Alaska now, because I am in sad parts... It has just became After... and I am gonna need some tissues.

What are your plans for the month of May? Let me know down below!!!

Love y'all!

Cody @ Roecker Reviews! <3