This acclaimed novel was originally published in 1986, but I discovered it the way I think a good number of people did: through the 2004 animated film adaptation produced by Studio Ghibli and directed by Hayao Miyazaki. Usually, I wouldn’t bother reading a book if I’ve seen its movie already, but I had always had an exception for Howl’s Moving Castle. The movie was just so magical and beautifully-crafted, and the soundtrack (the soundtrack!) was so good that I knew I had to see where it was born from. After finally reading the book, I can say that it was completely worth my time.
Ellie grew up hearing the stories of the magical red balloon that saved her late grandfather from a German WWII concentration camp.
When she took a school trip all the way to Berlin from the USA, Ellie expected to practice her German while she finally explored Germany—a country her grandfather never forgave for all his heartache. Instead, her life turned on its axis after she noticed and latched onto a floating, red balloon reminiscent of the ones from her grandfather’s tales. In a blink of an eye, she was flung back and trapped in 1988 East Berlin where the past, present, and future were fantasticallymore entangled than anyone knew.
Once upon a time, a *lonely middle schooler randomly plucked The Graveyard Book off the shelves of her school library. It was by an author named Neil Gaiman, the same man who wrote the scariest movie she had seen in her pubescent life, Coraline. The girl was temporarily transported to a cemetery in England where she fell in love with the ghosts, witches, and other mystical creatures who walked the grounds. The book became one of her most beloved memories.
For years, she told herself that she would visit further stories by the man who penned her favorite quote, “Wherever you go, you take yourself with you.” Finally, after a few years shy of a decade, she clicked play on an audiobook by the author in discussion and was once again immersed into a fantastical story that begun this time in… Florida.
*Lonely middle schooler was totally not me. I had level 10 people skills by the age of eleven that did not include hiding in the library during lunch 😬.
Ash Princess is the first book in its title series following Princess Theodosia.
Ten years before the start of the story, Theodosia’s mother, The Fire Queen, was murdered before her eyes by the Kaiser—and her kingdom fell to the tyrant. For a decade, while her people were slaughtered and enslaved, Theodosia lived as a prisoner in her own palace, beaten and looked down upon by the Kaiser and his court. But after a traumatizing event, Theodosia’s heart is set aflame with vengeance for her mother and kingdom.
Ruby Red is the first book in the Edelstein series. It follows sixteen year-old Gwyneth who unexpectedly replaces her cousin Charlotte in a secret time travel society when it’s discovered that she has the female time traveling gene, not Charlotte. After being kept out of the loop of the society’s mysteries all her life, Gwyneth has to learn what the rules are of time traveling and her duties as a time traveler. She’s not alone in learning as she has Gideon, the obnoxious male equivalent of Gywenth from another family, to help her learn the ropes of time travel.
Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and badly weakened, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz’s cunning and test the team’s fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city’s dark and twisting streets―a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of the Grisha world.
Crooked Kingdom retained all of the elements that I loved in Six of Crows—strategic scheming, morally ambiguous characters, strained romances—and expanded on them.
Writing this review was an interesting experience for me. For starters, it encompasses my thoughts and feelings for three different books instead of one. I also wrote it well after finishing all the books so my memory of them is kind of fuzzy. Usually, I jot notes while reading books I’m going to review, but I had no intention of making this post until I was almost finished with the third book.
Criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker has been offered wealth beyond his wildest dreams. But to claim it, he’ll have to pull off a seemingly impossible heist:
Break into the notorious Ice Court (a military stronghold that has never been breached)
Retrieve a hostage (who could unleash magical havoc on the world)
Survive long enough to collect his reward (and spend it)
Kaz needs a crew desperate enough to take on this suicide mission and dangerous enough to get the job done – and he knows exactly who: six of the deadliest outcasts the city has to offer. Together, they just might be unstoppable – if they don’t kill each other first.
I’m probably the last person under the sun to read this book.
Despite it seeming like everything I wanted in a book—a heist, clever thieves, angsty romance—it never felt like the appropriate time to read the book. I still can’t say that I finally read it at good time. I picked this book up after reading The Final Empire, another fantasy book that revolves around a heist and one that I love dearly. I couldn’t help but compare Six of Crows to it. That, combined with all the hype surrounding the book, was a recipe for disappointment. However, I still really enjoyed Six of Crows.
Goodreads Description: 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.
This is the first book in the Monsters of Verity duology written by acclaimed author Victoria Schwab.
I almost didn’t read this book because, in my experience, I found Schwab’s books to be over-hyped. However, the concept really interested me, so I decided to give the author a second third chance. I’ll try not to spoil too much in this review because I feel like the less you know about this book, the better.
Goodreads Description: This year, best friends Sophie and Agatha are about to discover where all the lost children go: the fabled School for Good & Evil, where ordinary boys and girls are trained to be fairy tale heroes and villains. As the most beautiful girl in Gavaldon, Sophie has dreamed of being kidnapped into an enchanted world her whole life. With her pink dresses, glass slippers, and devotion to good deeds, she knows she’ll earn top marks at the School for Good and graduate a storybook princess. Meanwhile Agatha, with her shapeless black frocks, wicked pet cat, and dislike of nearly everyone, seems a natural fit for the School for Evil.
But when the two girls are swept into the Endless Woods, they find their fortunes reversed—Sophie’s dumped in the School for Evil to take Uglification, Death Curses, and Henchmen Training, while Agatha finds herself in the School For Good, thrust amongst handsome princes and fair maidens for classes in Princess Etiquette and Animal Communication.. But what if the mistake is actually the first clue to discovering who Sophie and Agatha really are…?
I had heard great things about this book since it was published a few years ago, so I was especially excited when a friend lent it to me to read.
I’ll admit that the first fifty pages had me thinking that this was yet another over hyped book, but I was thankfully proved wrong.