This Savage Song

“Monsters, monsters, big and small,
“They’re gonna come and eat you all.
Corsai, Corsai, tooth and claw,
Shadow and bone will eat you raw.
Malchai, Malchai, sharp and sly,
Smile and bite and drink you dry.
Sunai, Sunai, eyes like coal,
Sing you a song and steal your soul.
Monsters, monsters, big and small,
They’re gonna come and eat you all!”

Title: This Savage Song

Author: Victoria Schwab

Series: Monsters of Verity # 1

Publication:  July 5th 2016 by Greenwillow Books

Pages: 464

Source: OwlCrate

Summary from Goodreads:

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.

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.


My Thoughts:

This Savage Song is a deliciously mouthwatering masterpiece. It is a symphony of emotion, subtle yet powerfully striking imagery, vivid and luscious characters, and monsters that will make you nightmares seem like daydreams. It weaves an inescapable spell; pulling you in and dragging you way down under until it consumes you completely. This Savage Song is the thing nightmares are made of – but in the best way possible.

“It was a cruel trick of the universe, thought August, that he only felt human after doing something monstrous.”

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The Winner’s Curse

“Happiness depends on being free, and freedom depends on being courageous.”

Title: The Winner’s Curse

Author: Marie Rutkoski

Series: The Winner’s Trilogy # 1

Publication:  March 4th 2014 by Farrar Straus Giroux

Pages: 355

Source: Purchased

Summary from Goodreads:

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.


My Thoughts:

The Winner’s Curse is something I have never read before, though many parts of it seem familiar – like looking at your own skin, but with new and better eyes. The world of The Winner’s Curse, while brutal and vivid, was also unique in a very specific manner: a delicate balance of brutality and sophistication not often seen in Roman-esque fantasy novels.

If I am to be perfectly honesty, I had a very difficult time getting into the novel itself. The world was wonderful, a diamond coated blade just waiting to sink into your spine. The characters were intriguing, animated, and layered – like onions. You could peel away layers and layers of walls and secrets and stories, each time they would become a little bit more real and a hell of a lot more fun to root for. My difficulty with getting into the story lay within the plot itself. While the world and the characters and everything else was fresh and new, the plot was something I have seen millions of times before. A bad boy meets girl and a forbidden romance, no matter what awesome badass disguise it was cloaked with. I loved Arin, I loved Kestrel, I loved the conflict of the Valorians and the Herrani – but I did not like the building blocks of Arin and Kestrel’s relationship. I thought it was overdone and forced – though it still ended up giving me all the feels by the end.

I have to take some time to talk about Kestrel and Arin, because that is really what The Winner’s Curse is about.  Kestrel is something else entirely. She isn’t physically strong, not like what is expected of her by society. Also, from the very start of the novel we know she has a difficult choice ahead of her: the military or marriage. I like Kestrel for two main reasons. One, she is brilliant. She is the queen of blackmail and I would pay damn good money to see her go at it with Kaz Breker from Six Of Crows. Two, she does not have a heart of gold and her emotional conflict over right and wrong in the face of war was so breathtakingly honest and believable.

Kestrel is basically the queen of pretending not to care while simultaneously thinking of a million and one ways to have your head chopped off. She is vicious, she is kind. She is smart, but she can be oh so damn naive too. If you’re not rooting for her by the end of The Winner’s Curse, she will come for you. Just sayin’.

The we have Arin, whom I also love. Arin is a difficult sort of character. You find out some things about him early on in the story, which – as the story progresses- make his character increasingly problematic and very, very hard to get behind even though you love him with all your heart. He isn’t a bad guy, not in the slightest. I think that might be one of the reasons I love this book so much – it is yet another case of a morally gray, holy crap which side do I root for brawl. Arin at one helm, Kestrel at the other – yet the two of them are a package deal if you get what I’m saying. The slow burn between the two of them, their resistance and their yearning (especially Arin’s) is heartbreaking. Another reason I love Arin is because of his history and how he doesn’t  let the hatred rule him. You’ll see what I’m talking about. But honestly, Arin is a special sort of guy.

My poor precious…

The Winner’s Curse is a fantastic spring board for a fantasy series I am eager to fall into. It is brilliant, original, and so many other amazing things that I couldn’t even begin to list them for you. It is lyrical, vibrant, and thought provoking. The Winner’s Curse is the type of novel that will haunt you long after you’ve finished with it, and I cannot wait to dive into the rest of the series.

“The Winner’s Curse is when you come out on top of the bid, but only by paying a steep price.”


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My Lady Jane

“You’re wrong,” Lord Dudley said. “You’ve always been a fool.”

“The fool thinks he is wise,” G retorted. “But the wise man knows himself to be a fool.”

Title: My Lady Jane

Authors: Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows

Series: Standalone

Publication: June 7th 2016 by HarperTeen

Pages: 491

Source: OwlCrate

Summary from Goodreads:

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.


A Listical of Feelings about My Lady Jane:

  • brilliant satire with a masterful mix of history and fantasy
  • Jane loves books. The end.

“Put down the book.” She wanted to look away, as he seemed distracted from holding the trousers in place, but she couldn’t take her eyes off the book. What if he hurt it? What if he followed through with his threat?
“No horse jokes,”he said.
“My lord, I apologize for the horse joke. If you put down the book—unharmed!—I will give you a carrot.”

  • Alternate history that is more entertaining than actual history – but still awesomely historical.
  • Gifford wins best horsey-husband of the year award.
  • Hilarious narration/author commentary as part of the actual book.

They collapsed into each other, and although it would be indelicate to detail what happened next, these narrators will tell you that a “very special hug” does not begin to describe it.
P.S. They totally consummated.

  • A creative cast of creatures that put all zoos to shame. I never would have thought of a skunk or a ferret, just sayin’.
  • An adorable, slow-burning romance that both adds to the overall hilarity and will make your heart go all pitter-patter
  • While it is very long, it doesn’t drag and, by the end, all you want is more.

  • The whole thing is freakishly charming. It sucks you in, like a good pie that you don’t realize you’re eating until it’s all gone.

My Lady Jane is a book I did not expect to like. I love historical fiction, and the book had raving reviews, but I was nervous because of how much I love history. But, have no fear, My Lady Jane is a brilliant, engaging, and unique masterpiece of rehashed history with a bit of magical flair thrown in. I was in love by the time I’d finished the prologue. If you’re a fan of The Princess Bride or Monty Python and the Holy Grail, you will fall head over heels in love with this motley cast of misfits.


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Into the Dim

“You have more knowledge of history, and archaic languages, than many learned professors could absorb in their lifetime. Do you now understand why? You’ve been training for this since you were four years old. We need that knowledge. We need you.”

Title: Into the Dim

Author: Janet B. Taylor

Series: Into the Dim # 1

Publication: March 1st 2016 by HMH Books for Young Readers

Pages: 428

Source: Purchased

Summary from Goodreads:

When fragile, sixteen-year-old Hope Walton loses her mom to an earthquake overseas, her secluded world crumbles. Agreeing to spend the summer in Scotland, Hope discovers that her mother was more than a brilliant academic, but also a member of a secret society of time travelers. Trapped in the twelfth century in the age of Eleanor of Aquitaine, Hope has seventy-two hours to rescue her mother and get back to their own time. Along the way, her path collides with that of a mysterious boy who could be vital to her mission . . . or the key to Hope’s undoing.


My Thoughts:

Into the Dim is what younger fans of Outlander have been waiting for. With a solid gut punch of first line and one hell of a cool story line, Into the Dim is a easy book to fall in love with. If you don’t enjoy Hope’s wit and memorizing Eidetic memory, you’re sure to fall in love with the Scottish Highlands, Bran Cameron, and the captivating prospect of traveling through time.

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The Way I Used to Be

As the girl closes her eyes, she was thinking of him. Thinking that maybe he was thinking of her, too. But he wasn’t thinking of her in that way. He was holding her in the palm of his hand, wrapping her around his fingers, one at a time, twisting and molding and bending her brain.

Title: The Way I Used to Be

Author: Amber Smith

Series: Standalone

Publication: March 22nd 2016 by Margaret K. McElderry Books

Pages: 384

Source: Purchased

Summary from Goodreads:

Eden was always good at being good. Starting high school didn’t change who she was. But the night her brother’s best friend rapes her, Eden’s world capsizes.

What was once simple, is now complex. What Eden once loved—who she once loved—she now hates. What she thought she knew to be true, is now lies. Nothing makes sense anymore, and she knows she’s supposed to tell someone what happened but she can’t. So she buries it instead. And she buries the way she used to be.

Told in four parts—freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior year.

My Thoughts:

The Way I Used to Be is a hard book to read because it is a missed opportunity. What could have been a poignant novel following in the footsteps of Courtney Summers’ All The Rage and Aaron Hartzler’s What We Saw ended up becoming a one way road of self destruction and a lack of care for a serious subject.

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Ruined

The king sighed. “I suppose you could’ve done worse than Mary.”
“We should ask the priest to say that at the wedding,” Cas said. “‘And now we unite Casimir and Mary. They both could have done worse.”

Title: Ruined

Author: Amy Tintera

Series: Ruined # 1

Publication: May 3rd 2016 by HarperTeen

Pages: 368

Source: Purchased

Summary from Goodreads:

Emelina Flores has nothing. Her home in Ruina has been ravaged by war. She lacks the powers of her fellow Ruined. Worst of all, she witnessed her parents’ brutal murders and watched helplessly as her sister, Olivia, was kidnapped.

But because Em has nothing, she has nothing to lose. Driven by a blind desire for revenge, Em sets off on a dangerous journey to the enemy kingdom of Lera. Somewhere within Lera’s borders, Em hopes to find Olivia. But in order to find her, Em must infiltrate the royal family.

In a brilliant, elaborate plan of deception and murder, Em marries Prince Casimir, next in line to take Lera’s throne. If anyone in Lera discovers Em is not Casimir’s true betrothed, Em will be executed on the spot. But it’s the only way to salvage Em’s kingdom and what is left of her family.

Em is determined to succeed, but the closer she gets to the prince, the more she questions her mission. Em’s rage-filled heart begins to soften. But with her life—and her family—on the line, love could be Em’s deadliest mistake.


My Thoughts:

THIS BOOK! Holy crap, I am in love. Everything about Ruined is perfect. The story was exciting and memorable, the characters brilliant and morally gray – just everything was amazing. It was humorous, entertaining, gut-wrenching, and eye-opening. Ruined will make you question everything you think you know about war and being on “the right side”. Ruined is a masterpiece of a battle between wits, judgement, and actions that will leave you reeling and begging for more

Ruined has the thumbs up from Dean Winchester.

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Everland

“To die will be an awfully big adventure”

Title: Everland

Author: Wendy Spinale

Series: Everland # 1

Publication: May 10th 2016 by Scholastic Press

Pages: 312

Source: OwlCrate

Summary from Goodreads:

London has been destroyed in a blitz of bombs and disease. The only ones who have survived are children, among them Gwen Darling and her siblings, Joanna and Mikey. They spend their nights scavenging and their days avoiding the ruthless Marauders — the German army led by Captain Hanz Otto Oswald Kretschmer.

Unsure if the virus has spread past England’s borders but desperate to leave, Captain Hook hunts for a cure, which he thinks can be found in one of the survivors. He and his Marauders stalk the streets snatching children for experimentation. None ever return. Until the day they grab Joanna. As Gwen sets out to save her, she meets a daredevil boy named Pete. Pete offers the assistance of his gang of Lost Boys and the fierce sharpshooter Bella, who have all been living in a city hidden underground. But in a place where help has a steep price and every promise is bound by blood, it will cost Gwen. And are she, Pete, the Lost Boys, and Bella enough to outsmart Captain Hook?


My Thoughts:

I find myself growing increasingly disappointed as I sit here to write this review. Everland had the serious potential to be mind-blowing, amazing, and delicious. It mixed one of my all time favorite legends/fairy tales with a dystopian, virus riddled reality and steampunk architecture. It had everything it needed to succeed, except the most important thing of all: the writing.

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