The Sandcastle Empire

The fire pops, hisses. War is like this: consuming, ravenous, feeding and feeding until there’s nothing left to take and all that’s left is ash.

Title: The Sandcastle Empire

Author: Kayla Olson

Series: Standalone (for now)

Publication:  June 6th 2017 by HarperTeen

Pages: 464

Source: OwlCrate

Summary from Goodreads:

Before the war, Eden’s life was easy—air conditioning, ice cream, long days at the beach. Then the revolution happened, and everything changed.

Now a powerful group called the Wolfpack controls the earth and its resources. Eden has lost everything to them. They killed her family and her friends, destroyed her home, and imprisoned her. But Eden refuses to die by their hands. She knows the coordinates to the only neutral ground left in the world, a place called Sanctuary Island, and she is desperate to escape to its shores.

Eden finally reaches the island and meets others resistant to the Wolves—but the solace is short-lived when one of Eden’s new friends goes missing. Braving the jungle in search of their lost ally, they quickly discover Sanctuary is filled with lethal traps and an enemy they never expected.

This island might be deadlier than the world Eden left behind, but surviving it is the only thing that stands between her and freedom.


My Thoughts:

I had no idea what to expect from this book when I pulled it out of the June OwlCrate box a week ago. I distantly remembered hearing some people talk about The Sandcastle Empire and adding it to my Goodreads TBR, but that was it. I didn’t know what it was about, who the characters were, or even what genre it was. However, I was excited to start it, and so I did. It’s not often that I read a book where I go in completely blind. Usually, I’ve at least heard something about it before – but, for The Sandcastle Empire, that blindness gave way to an amazing, unpredictable reading experience.

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Lord of Shadows

“Everyone is afraid of something. We fear things because we value them. We fear losing people because we love them. We fear dying because we value being alive. Don’t wish you didn’t fear anything. All that would mean is that you didn’t feel anything.”

Title: Lord of Shadows

Author: Cassandra Clare

Series: The Dark Artifices # 2

Publication: May 23rd 2017 by Margaret K. McElderry Books

Pages: 701

Source: Purchased

Summary from Goodreads:

A Shadowhunter’s life is bound by duty. Constrained by honor. The word of a Shadowhunter is a solemn pledge, and no vow is more sacred than the vow that binds parabatai, warrior partners—sworn to fight together, die together, but never to fall in love.

Emma Carstairs has learned that the love she shares with her parabatai, Julian Blackthorn, isn’t just forbidden—it could destroy them both. She knows she should run from Julian. But how can she when the Blackthorns are threatened by enemies on all sides?

Their only hope is the Black Volume of the Dead, a spell book of terrible power. Everyone wants it. Only the Blackthorns can find it. Spurred on by a dark bargain with the Seelie Queen, Emma; her best friend, Cristina; and Mark and Julian Blackthorn journey into the Courts of Faerie, where glittering revels hide bloody danger and no promise can be trusted. Meanwhile, rising tension between Shadowhunters and Downworlders has produced the Cohort, an extremist group of Shadowhunters dedicated to registering Downworlders and “unsuitable” Nephilim. They’ll do anything in their power to expose Julian’s secrets and take the Los Angeles Institute for their own.

When Downworlders turn against the Clave, a new threat rises in the form of the Lord of Shadows—the Unseelie King, who sends his greatest warriors to slaughter those with Blackthorn blood and seize the Black Volume. As dangers close in, Julian devises a risky scheme that depends on the cooperation of an unpredictable enemy. But success may come with a price he and Emma cannot even imagine, one that will bring with it a reckoning of blood that could have repercussions for everyone and everything they hold dear.


A Brief Explanation of All the Feels:

“Lex malla, lex nulla,” said Julian with a regretful wave of his hand. It was the Blackthorn family motto: A bad law is no law.

This was me when reading this massive and beautiful mess of pain, suffering, and giggles:

(Just in case)

 

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Rosie Girl

Title: Rosie Girl

Author: Julie Shepard

Series: Standalone

Publication: July 11th 2017 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Pages: 256

Source: Publisher in exchange for a honest review

Summary from Goodreads:

After her father passes away, seventeen-year-old Rosie is forced to live with her abusive stepmom Lucy and her deadbeat boyfriend, Judd, who gives Rosie the sort of looks you shouldn’t give your girlfriend’s step-daughter. Desperate for a way out, Rosie would do just about anything to escape the life she’s been handed. Then she finds a letter her dad wrote years ago, a letter confessing that Rosie’s birth mother isn’t dead, as she believed, but alive somewhere—having left them when Rosie was a little girl for reasons he won’t reveal.

Rosie resolves to find her birth mom, and she’ll put everything on the line to make that happen. She hires a PI paid for by her best friend, Mary, who turns tricks for money. Unlike Rosie, Mary’s no delicate flower and when she sees the opportunity to make some cash and help out her closest friend, she takes it. Romance blooms when the PI Rosie hires hands the case off to his handsome nephew Mac, but Rosie struggles to keep her illicit activities with Mary a secret. Things begin to unravel when Rosie starts getting creepy anonymous texts from johns looking for Mary. And then there’s Mary, the one person Rosie can count on, who’s been acting strangely all of a sudden.

As Rosie and Mary get closer to finally uncovering the truth about Rosie’s mom, Rosie comes face to face with a secret she never saw coming. With the ultimate unreliable narrator and twists and turns around every corner, Rosie Girl is an unforgettable tale of identity, devotion and desperation.


Thoughts:

  • Apparently, it is possible to still love a book while figuring out the plot twist from the book jacket synopsis.
  • Fabulous concept, original – at least in YA. I’ve never read another book like this before. Yay
  • Rosie has a fantastic voice. I didn’t think I was going to like her as much as I did, but she grew on me. Her persistence, drive, and humor never failed to impress me.
  • I will say this: I did not see the secondary plot twist at the end. I never even suspected it. This book goes a long way to illustrate both how dependent we, as readers, are on our narrators and how the littlest red flags can easily slip past our focus. It was mind boggling and amazing and I find myself, even now, very impressed.
  • Long story short, this is the kind of book you read once, want to reread, and then want to keep reading over and over again because more and more details appear beneath the surface.


Goodreads

Amazon

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OwlCrate: May 2017

The month of May was full of wonders. It was the end of the school year and the start of summer at home. It was getting to say hello to my dogs and spending nights with my family. It was also two weeks of salivating waiting for my OwlCrate box this month.

In case you don’t know what the glorious OwlCrate is, it’s just like Fandom of the Month only.. better? I don’t know, I love them both. OwlCrate gives you a new release in the Young Adult world and a bunch of bookish stuff centered around a specific theme. It’s a subscription box that is worth every little penny – count on that. (You guys can sign up here)

I was dying while I waited for this month’s box. Mostly because we were told that it would include one of many different super hero Pop! Funko figurines and I couldn’t wait to add another one to my bookshelf. And with that amazing lead in, May’s theme was….

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Young Adult Literature Is

A window into new places, circumstances, and ideas

An escape when you want to get away from everything

Innovative and full of controversy

A way to feel not so alone

Full of hilarious tropes and plot lines

The best way to emotionally destroy yourself (because fictional characters, duh)

The best way to convince everyone you are crazy because you laugh out loud or cry in public

The fastest way to fall in love with imaginary people (I’m looking at you, Rhys)

A way to connect with, understand, and even remember your own teenage experience

A gateway to falling in love with reading, just like I did

To me, Young Adult Literature is home

The Unlikelies

Title: The Unlikelies

Author: Carrie Firestone

Series: Standalone

Publication:  June 6th 2017 by Little, Brown and Company

Pages: 336

Source: Publisher in exchange for a honest review

Summary from Goodreads:

Five teens embark on a summer of vigilante good samaritanism in a novel that’s part The Breakfast Club, part The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, and utterly captivating.

Rising high school senior Sadie is bracing herself for a long, lonely, and boring summer. But things take an unexpected turn when she steps in to help rescue a baby in distress and a video of her good deed goes viral.

Suddenly internet-famous, Sadie’s summer changes for the better when she’s introduced to other “hometown heroes.” These five very different teens form an unlikely alliance to secretly right local wrongs, but when they try to help a heroin-using friend, they get in over their heads and discover that there might be truth in the saying “no good deed goes unpunished.” Can Sadie and her new friends make it through the summer with their friendships–and anonymity–intact?

This rich and thought-provoking novel takes on timely issues and timeless experiences with a winning combination of romance, humor, and wisdom.


Thoughts:

I’m just going to come right out and say it – I couldn’t finish this book. The sad thing is, it wasn’t the plot – not really. The characters were fine, the plot unrealistic but manageable, and the relationships and the character development were actually surprisingly good. What got me, however, was the writing. The writing wasn’t even bad, it was the structure of it. I could not get myself through the short scene to scene type writing. It was one short section, time skip, short section, time skip, short section, etc. There was hardly enough of the writing to grab hold to anything of importance. I couldn’t swallow it. I couldn’t read it. I found myself losing interest with every page as I glimpsed the small snippets of actual story awaiting me on each page. This review isn’t much of a review for one reason alone – I’ve really got nothing to review.

You might like it, go ahead and try it. The Unlikelies, in my personal taste, was simply not written in a mode that was engaging and, therefore, suffered. Oops.


Goodreads

Amazon

Barnes & Noble