A violent—and violently beautiful—book. | THIS SAVAGE SONG by Victoria Schwab

A violent—and violently beautiful—book. | THIS SAVAGE SONG by Victoria Schwab
This Savage Song
Monsters of Verity #1

Written by: Victoria Schwab
Published by: Greenwillow Books
Release date: July 5th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 464
Source: Edelweiss
Format: ARC
Buy: B&N, Amazon, Book Depository, Audible
Add on: Goodreads


Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives.

There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from author Victoria Schwab, a young woman and a young man must choose whether to become heroes or villains—and friends or enemies—with the future of their home at stake. The first of two books.

MyThoughts_v2

I’ve been putting off finishing this review for so long, you guys. This is a tough one. But not because I didn’t love it. It’s tough becuase I did love it. Way too much.

Sunai, Sunai, eyes like coal,

Sing you a song and steal your soul…

I first read This Savage Song back in December, and I fell completely head-over-heels for it. But like many books I love, This Savage Song is not easy to explain, and neither are my feelings about it. I tried writing down some vague notes after the first time I read it, but honestly? I was in such a state of “oh my god this book how why i just can’t ugh,” and those notes didn’t make much sense. So I re-read the book in May, hoping it would help clarify my earlier notes and give me a better idea how to express my feelings. …It didn’t. But what it did do is solidify my very firm belief that Victoria Schwab’s books are all incredible, and they just keep getting better and better. This Savage Song is no exception. It is phenomenal.

This Savage Song does so many things so, so well. This is a violent, and violently beautiful, book. There is a lot of darkness — it’s set in a city where violent acts create literal monsters — but the way that darkness contrasts with hope and light is just… achingly gorgeous. The writing is incredible, as well. Victoria Schwab strikes the perfect balance for me, between words that simply disappear in favor of the story, and beautiful prose that reaches out of the pages and grabs me and doesn’t let go.

Other than those constants in Schwab’s works, there are three other things I want to talk about that This Savage Song does so well: its characters, its emotions, and its message.

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ARC Review: EMMY & OLIVER by Robin Benway

ARC Review: EMMY & OLIVER by Robin Benway
Emmy & Oliver

Written by: Robin Benway
Published by: HarperTeen
Release date: June 23rd 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Pages: 352
Source: Edelweiss
Buy: B&N, Amazon, Book Depository
Add on: Goodreads

Emmy’s best friend, Oliver, reappears after being kidnapped by his father ten years ago. Emmy hopes to pick up their relationship right where it left off. Are they destined to be together? Or has fate irreparably driven them apart?

Emmy just wants to be in charge of her own life.

She wants to stay out late, surf her favorite beach—go anywhere without her parents’ relentless worrying. But Emmy’s parents can’t seem to let her grow up—not since the day Oliver disappeared.

Oliver needs a moment to figure out his heart.

He’d thought, all these years, that his dad was the good guy. He never knew that it was his father who kidnapped him and kept him on the run. Discovering it, and finding himself returned to his old hometown, all at once, has his heart racing and his thoughts swirling.

Emmy and Oliver were going to be best friends forever, or maybe even more, before their futures were ripped apart. In Emmy’s soul, despite the space and time between them, their connection has never been severed. But is their story still written in the stars? Or are their hearts like the pieces of two different puzzles—impossible to fit together?

Readers who love Sarah Dessen will tear through these pages with hearts in throats as Emmy and Oliver struggle to face the messy, confusing consequences of Oliver’s father’s crime. Full of romance, coming-of-age emotion, and heartache, these two equally compelling characters create an unforgettable story.

MyThoughts_v2

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t pick up Emmy & Oliver mostly partly okay, fine, mostly because it has a boy named “Oliver” in it. But give me a break, okay? I have a thing for characters with that name. I don’t know what it is, but I always end up liking them. Are they typecast? (Can characters be typecast?) I don’t know. I don’t care. Just give me all the Olivers and no one will get hurt.

Okay, all joking aside, though, this book was phenomenal. It was literally everything I wanted it to be, and so much more.

We stayed and looked and waited for him to come back, as if our love was a beacon that he could use to light his way home [ . . . ]

After a while, though, after years passed and pictures changed and false tips fell through, it started to feel like the beacon wasn’t for him anymore. It was for those of us left behind, something to cling to when you realized that scary things could happen, that villains didn’t only exist in books, that Oliver might never come home.

Until, one day, he did.

eARC, 3%

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ARC Review: CRIMSON BOUND by Rosamund Hodge

I received this book for free from Balzer + Bray. This in no way affected my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

ARC Review: CRIMSON BOUND by Rosamund Hodge
Crimson Bound

Written by: Rosamund Hodge
Published by: Balzer + Bray
Release date: May 5th 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 448
Source: Edelweiss
Buy: B&N, Amazon, Book Depository
Add on: Goodreads
Also by this author: Cruel Beauty


When Rachelle was fifteen she was good—apprenticed to her aunt and in training to protect her village from dark magic. But she was also reckless—straying from the forest path in search of a way to free her world from the threat of eternal darkness. After an illicit meeting goes dreadfully wrong, Rachelle is forced to make a terrible choice that binds her to the very evil she had hoped to defeat.

Three years later, Rachelle has given her life to serving the realm, fighting deadly creatures in an effort to atone. When the king orders her to guard his son Armand—the man she hates most—Rachelle forces Armand to help her find the legendary sword that might save their world. As the two become unexpected allies, they uncover far-reaching conspiracies, hidden magic, and a love that may be their undoing. In a palace built on unbelievable wealth and dangerous secrets, can Rachelle discover the truth and stop the fall of endless night?

Inspired by the classic fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood, Crimson Bound is an exhilarating tale of darkness, love, and redemption.

MyThoughts_v2

So, I have a confession to make. I didn’t really read the blurb before reading this book. Which is weird for me. I did know going into it that Crimson Bound was inspired by Little Red Riding Hood, but other than that… I really didn’t have much info. I’d read Hodge’s Cruel Beauty, and though I had a few issues with that one, I liked it, and it definitely showed a lot of promise, so I was ready to give her second book a chance. And I’m really glad I did.

Crimson Bound was inspired by Little Red Riding Hood, though on the retelling-spectrum it’s definitely of the “loosely inspired by” variety. There’s a Big Bad called the Devourer, but it’s not a wolf, more like an evil god, or a force. There’s a forest, but this Forest is sort of like an alternate reality/ancient fae world, that overlays the “real world”, which was inspired (loosely) by 17th century France — think old French towns and the palace of Versailles. This is something I really liked about Crimson Bound — the world. It was filled with rich history, myths, and legends. The Forest was super cool, a constant presence because it could manifest almost anywhere that wasn’t specially protected from it. I loved it.

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SimonVs Blog Tour: Review! Giveaway! OREOS!!!

SVTHSA_blogtour

I’m so, so excited to be a part of the blog tour for this amazing book, Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda! So let’s get this show on the road: I’ve got a short review for you (aka, my flails), a bit about how I eat my Oreos, PLUS info for two giveaways (including an Oreo giveaway), so be sure to read till the bottom of the post!

(And, FYI: Simon loves Oreos. Thus, all the Oreo love surrounding this book. Not that there needs to be an excuse for Oreos. Because OREOS. …Just sayin’.)

SimonVs Blog Tour: Review! Giveaway! OREOS!!!
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

Written by: Becky Albertalli
Published by: Balzer + Bray
Release date: April 7th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 320
Source: Edelweiss
Buy: B&N, Amazon, Book Depository
Add on: Goodreads

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

MyThoughts_v2

People really are like houses with vast rooms and tiny windows. And maybe it’s a good thing, the way we never stop surprising each other.

Guys, what can I even say about this book?? I sat down to start writing this review immediately upon finishing Simon, because I don’t want to lose this feeling – this floaty, can’t-stop-smiling, everything-is-right-with-the-world feeling… Ugh!! I’m so ridiculously happy, it’s disgusting. I can’t even.

Simon is one of those books that is just immediately good. You start reading, and you go, Yes, I love this character’s voice! How many pages have I read… 20? I already love these characters! This is the best!! And it just. Never. Stops.

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ARC Review: THINGS WE KNOW BY HEART by Jessi Kirby

I received this book for free from HarperTeen. This in no way affected my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

ARC Review: THINGS WE KNOW BY HEART by Jessi Kirby
Things We Know by Heart

Written by: Jessi Kirby
Published by: HarperTeen
Release date: April 21st 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 304
Source: Edelweiss
Buy: B&N, Amazon, Book Depository
Add on: Goodreads

Quinn Sullivan lost the love of her life when her boyfriend, Trent, died in an accident their junior year. In an attempt to get closure, she reached out to the recipients of his donated organs. Though some answered her letters, the one Quinn feels matters most--the person who received Trent's heart--has been silent.

Nineteen-year-old Colton Thomas has spent the last several years in and out of hospitals waiting for a heart transplant. Now that he's finally received a new heart, Colton is regaining strength, and he's walking away from his bedridden past with no intention of looking back. He doesn't want to know about the person who had to die so that he could live. He only wants to move forward.

But Quinn can't let it go. Venturing outside the system to find Colton, Quinn takes a risk in hopes of finally laying her memories to rest. But what begins as an innocent conversation quickly becomes an attraction--and to make matters worse, Colton has no idea how they're connected. His zest for life pulls Quinn from her months of sorrow but leaves her torn between honesty and utter betrayal. Because no matter how hard she's falling for Colton, each beat of his heart reminds her of all she's lost...

MyThoughts_v2

A ship in the harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.

Okay, full disclosure: I was actually considering not reading this one. And let me tell you right now: That would have been a huge mistake. But this was the last book I was considering reading in March, and I was in the mood for a contemporary with heart (hah… okay that was bad, I’m sorry), so I thought I’d give it a chance. And all jokes aside, I am so glad I did.

Right from the start, I was hooked. Things We Know by Heart does not hold back when it comes to ‘the feels’. They start on page 1, and I’m not gonna lie — I was already getting teary within the first few pages, because it took that little time for me to feel connected to the main character. If this isn’t the equivalent of a flashing neon sign saying THIS BOOK IS GOING TO BE GOOD, I don’t know what is.

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ARC Review: A WICKED THING by Rhiannon Thomas

I received this book for free from HarperTeen. This in no way affected my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

ARC Review: A WICKED THING by Rhiannon Thomas
A Wicked Thing
A Wicked Thing #1

Written by: Rhiannon Thomas
Published by: HarperTeen
Release date: February 24th 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Retelling, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 352
Source: Edelweiss
Buy: B&N, Amazon, Book Depository
Add on: Goodreads

One hundred years after falling asleep, Princess Aurora wakes up to the kiss of a handsome prince and a broken kingdom that has been dreaming of her return. All the books say that she should be living happily ever after. But as Aurora understands all too well, the truth is nothing like the fairy tale.

Her family is long dead. Her "true love" is a kind stranger. And her whole life has been planned out by political foes while she slept.

As Aurora struggles to make sense of her new world, she begins to fear that the curse has left its mark on her, a fiery and dangerous thing that might be as wicked as the witch who once ensnared her. With her wedding day drawing near, Aurora must make the ultimate decision on how to save her kingdom: marry the prince or run.

Rhiannon Thomas weaves together vivid scenes of action, romance, and gorgeous gowns to reveal a richly imagined world … and Sleeping Beauty as she’s never been seen before.

MyThoughts_v2

You know that book? The one that might not be The Most Amazing Thing Ever, but it’s pretty entertaining, and it makes you smile while you’re reading it? This was that book for me.

…Until the last 25%.

See, the problem with not-amazing-but-fairly-happy-making books is that, for them to be memorable and recommendable, they need to also have a strong ending. At least for me. I want to be able to say “Yeah, it was light, but it was entertaining and fun and it wrapped up nicely!” But take away a strong ending, and you just have… well, an okay book that ended in a disappointing manner.

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