Thursday, January 17, 2019

REVIEW: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black - 4.5 stars

Posted by HelloJennyReviews at 9:00 AM 0 comments
Title: The Cruel Prince
Genre: YA Fantasy/Fae
Author: Holly Black
Publisher: Little, Brown
Publication: January 2nd 2018
Cover Rating: 5/5
Reading format: Owned Hardcover

The Cruel Prince is a wonderfully morbid and cruel story based around Jude's life as the "daughter" of a fae military leader. We get to see how horribly Jude is treated because she is human but we also know that she is living with the man who murdered her parents so her life can't be easy.

Jude was a wonderful character. She did not take crap from anyone, even if it meant getting herself or her sister bullied, badly. And she does get bullied badly. She goes to school with the youngest Prince of the High Court of Faerie and he is a very nasty person. Well, he isn't THAT bad, but his followers are disturbingly evil and most of that evil is reflected on to Jude.

While the book focuses a lot on how cruelly Jude is treated, there is also some heavy politics going on in the High Court of Faerie. The current king is looking to step down and wants to pass his crown off to one of his worthy sons. The king picks a certain son and the other son isn't so happy about that so a lot of stuff goes down and that is pretty much where the pulp of the story lies. Jude is hired to be a spy for someone and this gig might just land her where she truly wants to be; as a member of the high society. 

Through Jude's spy gig we get to see a lot of behind the scenes politics and learn a lot of secrets that shouldn't be known. Once all of the political stuff goes down, Jude concocts a plan to put the crown on someone else's head after she finds out the true parentage or someone close to her. There is so much chaos and political mayhem and backstabbing going on in this book that it was hard to not enjoy it.

In the end, I really loved this book and I can't wait for the next one. If you are like me and you've never read a Holly Black book but are wanting to then I highly suggest starting with this book. I now want to read her other books that I own and see if I like them just as much.

Overall, I gave the book 4.5/5 stars.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

REVIEW: Paper Girl by Cindy R. Wilson - 4.5/5 stars

Posted by HelloJennyReviews at 9:00 AM 1 comments
Title: Paper Girl
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary - Mental Health, Family Issues
Author: Cindy R. Wilson
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Publication: December 4th 2018
Cover Rating: 5/5
Reading Format: Provided Paperback

Paper Girl by Cindy R. Wilson is the beautiful and painful story of Zoe, a girl who can't leave her apartment, loves making art from folded paper and is excellent at chess and Jackson, a boy who has lost his mother, ran away from his addict father and is trying his hardest to beat someone at online chess.

Zoe was a very fun character to get to know. She had panic attacks and from that she became agoraphobic. She was afraid to leave her house and she was afraid of social situations. She liked to say she was afraid of everything but after getting to know her, that appeared to not be the case. She could speak her mind fairly freely and once she started seeing a new therapist, she came out of her shell rather fast. 

Then we have Jackson. This story is told in back and forth points of view between the two main characters so we get as to know as much about Jackson's life as we do with Zoe. Jackson is about to graduate high school, top of his class, but he has a secret. After his mom died, his dad fell off the wagon and Jackson decided the best thing for him to do was to not be home with his dad. So he took to sleeping in his car, taking odd tutoring jobs to save up for college and practically living in the library. 

Tutoring is what brings out characters together. Zoe isn't doing so well in Math and Physics for her homeschooling classes so her mother hires Jackson, who also happens to be Zoe's sister's friend. Zoe knew him before she had her breakdown and she might have had a little crush on him. 

Mae, Zoe's sister pissed me off a lot in this book BUT she was real. When someone you love is hurting or has some kind of illness you can't cure, you tend to feel VERY useless and sometimes that useless feeling results in you lashing out and hurting the person who made you feel useless. I know this too well from personal experience. So, while I might have been pissed at Mae, the author wrote her character to be very realistic and that got her bonus points in my eyes.

With the help of Gina, Zoe's new therapist, Jackson and herself, Zoe takes steps to better herself. Her main goal is to go to her sister's graduation, which also happens to be Jackson's graduation, but she has a lot of little things to conquer along the way. She has a bunch of ups and a ton of downs and she pushes people away because she feels like she can't really conquer anything if she is being helped, but at the end of the day, she makes progress and keeps trying. She never gives up and that is beautiful.

And Jackson's story has a similar ending. Zoe helps him to face some things he was trying to avoid and by the end of the book he was glad he did. Jackson was a very forgiving character which had both good and bad points. 

I do think the pacing of Zoe getting better was a little fast. She hadn't left her home for a year but within a matter of weeks, she was doing better. I think if I had to have one problem with this book, that would be it. 

In the end, the heart of this book lies with 3 things. Mental illness, family issues, and chess. If I had to sum the book up those would be the three things I would choose. This story was sad but happy at the same time. As someone who lost almost 10 years of her life due to panic attacks, this book hit home but at the same time, it didn't. This book was very romanticized but still, underneath that, there were real problems being dealt with and I think that is more realistic than just breaking down the points of having a mental illness and making that into a story. People with mental illnesses live life every damn day and we are so much more than our illnesses.

Overall, I gave the book 4.5/5 stars.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Mini Review: Finding Baba Yaga by Jane Yolen - 3.5 stars

Posted by HelloJennyReviews at 9:00 AM 1 comments
Title: Finding Baba Yaga
Genre: Fantasy Retelling
Author: Jane Yolen
A young woman discovers the power to speak up and take control of her fate—a theme that has never been more timely than it is now…
You think you know this story.
You do not.
A harsh, controlling father. A quiescent mother. A house that feels like anything but a home. Natasha gathers the strength to leave, and comes upon a little house in the wood: A house that walks about on chicken feet and is inhabited by a fairy tale witch. In finding Baba Yaga, Natasha finds her voice, her power, herself....
A mythic yet timely novel-in-verse by the beloved and prolific author and poet Jane Yolen, “the Hans Christian Andersen of America.”
Publisher: Tor
Publication: October 30th 2018
Cover Rating: 5/5

Whew, this was one weird book. It goes from a somewhat modern time period with Natasha who has a controlling father that she wants to get away from then it goes to the woods where she meets Baba Yaga. From there she meets another young woman but this young woman isn't as headstrong as Natasha and she lets a guy get into her heart and take her away to some castle. That is pretty much the gist of the outside story. 

The inside story is about Natasha trying to find herself in a world where she was constantly controlled by her father. Finding Baba Yaga helped Natasha find herself. The story is very whimsical and strange but it is also beautiful if you take the time to understand what is going on.

Side note: I would like to thank this book for reminding me about Baba Yaga. When I started reading another book series, Throne of Glass, there are some witches in the book that are described like Baba  Yaga with the iron teeth and nails, etc. Without reading this book previously before starting Throne of Glass I probably wouldn't have put those clues together.

Overall, I gave the book 3.5/5 stars.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

REVIEW: Crown of Thunder by Tochi Onyebuchi - Paige

Posted by HelloJennyReviews at 9:00 AM 0 comments

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from Razorbill/Penguin. Thanks! All opinions are my own.
Rating: 4/5
Publication Date: October 16th, 2018
Genre: YA Fantasy
Recommended Age: 15+ (violence, romance, slight mature scenes, sins, and slight gore)
Pages: 336


Taj is headed west, but the consequences of leaving Kos behind confront him at every turn. Innocent civilians flee to refugee camps as Karima’s dark magic continues to descend on the city. Taj must return, but first he needs a plan.

With Arzu’s help, Taj and Aliya make it to the village of her ancestors, home of the tastahlik—sin-eaters with Taj’s same ability to both battle and call forth sins. As Taj comes to terms with his new magic, he realizes there are two very different groups of tastahlik—one using their powers for good, the other for more selfish ends.

Aliya is struggling with her own unique capabilities. She’s immersed in her work to uncover the secret to Karima’s magic, but her health begins to mysteriously deteriorate. With the help of a local western mage, Aliya uncovers her true destiny—a future she’s not sure she wants.

As Taj and Aliya explore their feelings for each other and Arzu connects with her homeland, the local westerners begin to question Taj’s true identity. Karima is on his heels, sending dark warnings to the little village where he’s hiding. Taj will have to go back and face her before she sends her mostly deadly weapon—Taj’s former best friend, Bo.

I felt like for a sequel this book was well done. The writing was still as strong as it was in the first book and the plot was so interesting. I liked the relationships that were explored in this book and I liked how the characters are more developed in this book. I feel that this was a solid book and I would love to see more of this series.

However, I do feel that the ending was very rushed and it felt that there were things that were left unsaid. Some of the parts of this book could have used a bit more fleshing out. I also feel that this book had some continuation issues. It felt that there were some parts of this book that didn’t seem to line up with the first book.

Verdict: Overall, I think this is a solid read and the series is fantastic despite my nitpicking. Definitely pick up book 1 and 2 this Halloween season!

Saturday, October 27, 2018

REVIEW: Beasts Made of Night by Tochi Onyebuchi

Posted by HelloJennyReviews at 9:00 AM 0 comments
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from Razorbill/Penguin! Thanks! All opinions are my own!

Publication Date: October 31st, 2017
Genre: YA Fantasy
Recommended Age: 15+ (violence, slight gore, sin)
Pages: 298


In the walled city of Kos, corrupt mages can magically call forth sin from a sinner in the form of sin-beasts – lethal creatures spawned from feelings of guilt.

Taj is the most talented of the aki, young sin-eaters indentured by the mages to slay the sin-beasts. But Taj’s livelihood comes at a terrible cost. When he kills a sin-beast, a tattoo of the beast appears on his skin while the guilt of committing the sin appears on his mind. Most aki are driven mad by the process, but 17-year-old Taj is cocky and desperate to provide for his family.

When Taj is called to eat a sin of a royal, he’s suddenly thrust into the center of a dark conspiracy to destroy Kos. Now Taj must fight to save the princess that he loves – and his own life.

A gritty Nigerian-influenced fantasy.

I had seen this cover in like every bookstore and I’ve always been so intrigued by it. I will say that the cover very accurately matches the tone and the happenings of the book. The character development in this book is very well done and the plot is interesting throughout the book. I felt like this book was really well written and I think the whole plot was a very interesting concept.

However, I did feel that there were a lot of characters in this book, some of them with similar names, which made it hard for this reader to keep them all straight in her head. I also feel that this book was a tad too slow paced for me.

Verdict: Overall, a very well written and solid read! Definitely recommend.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

REVIEW: The Lantern's Ember by Colleen Houck - Erin

Posted by HelloJennyReviews at 9:00 AM 0 comments
The Lantern's Ember
The Lantern's Ember
by Colleen Houck
Hardcover, 386 pages
Published September 11th 2018 by Delacorte Press
ISBN3: 9780399555725

Welcome to a world where nightmarish creatures reign supreme.

Five hundred years ago, Jack made a deal with the devil. It’s difficult for him to remember much about his mortal days. So, he focuses on fulfilling his sentence as a Lantern—one of the watchmen who guard the portals to the Otherworld, a realm crawling with every nightmarish creature imaginable. Jack has spent centuries jumping from town to town, ensuring that nary a mortal—or not-so-mortal—soul slips past him. That is, until he meets beautiful Ember O’Dare.

Seventeen, stubborn, and a natural-born witch, Ember feels a strong pull to the Otherworld. Undeterred by Jack’s warnings, she crosses into the forbidden plane with the help of a mysterious and debonair vampire—and the chase through a dazzling, dangerous world is on. Jack must do everything in his power to get Ember back where she belongs before both the earthly and unearthly worlds descend into chaos. (GoodReads)


I really did like this book. It’s the rushed ending that forces me to only give this book 3 stars. I really thought this book was going to have a sequel…. but no…. the last 20-30 pages just rushes to an end that just wasn’t fulfilling. Sure all the characters’ stories have an end of some sort… but I wanted more. I really wanted an epic battle. Or at least more to the main story that made sense. It was like the author ran into a page limit and was just like “Ok I guess I’ll just smash something that could be a hundred pages into twenty”. This book could have been so amazing!

Despite the bad ending, the rest of the book was fun and entertaining. As a HUGE Halloween fan, it was great to see so many spooky character and places connections. Jack is a lantern (Get it? Jack O’Lantern!) and he guards a covered bridge and has a creepy ghostly horse and he likes to ride around with a lit pumpkin to scare people…. Does that description remind you of Sleepy Hollow at all? That’s just the tip of the iceberg. He guards a gate to the monster world. There were many gates that he’s helped protect in the past including one in Salem, Sleepy Hollow, and Roanoke (three “spooky” towns!!!). In the monster world we have vampires who stories connect to Transylvania, a man made monster who resembles Frankenstein, a mad scientist who owns an island like the island of Dr. Monroe and so many great connections.

Main character wise…. I loved our little witch, Ember, though she did act very naive sometimes. Jack was an interesting guardian, though I feel like his romance was a little too easy.  Finny was a good overall sidekick, but nothing super special. Dev was a decent vampire though his longing for Ember got tiresome. The love quadrilateral (yes there were four people instead of our usual three) was kind of odd and a bit pointless. I feel like it was rushed and in some ways just didn’t make sense. Many of the other characters in the book we interesting and cool as well, but I feel like they didn’t get enough attention. I blame part of that problem yet again on the rushed ending.

Overall, this was a fun quick read especially for the Fall/Halloween season. It’s a “clean” read so young tweens and teens of all ages can enjoy it. Give it to someone who’s a fan of horror connections. 

Image result for halloweentown meme

Sunday, October 21, 2018

REVIEW: Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi - Paige

Posted by HelloJennyReviews at 9:00 AM 0 comments

Disclaimer: I bought this book on my own accord. Yay me!

Publication Date: March 6, 2018
Genre: YA Fantasy 
Recommended Age: 14+ (violence, gore, mature scenes, romance, magic, diversity!!!)
Pages: 525


They killed my mother.
They took our magic.
They tried to bury us.

Now we rise.

Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.

Now Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers and her growing feelings for an enemy.

Holy hell what can I say about this wonderful book? It’s like Harry Potter level of addiction and it makes me happy inside! I love this book!! The characters are complex and developed. The plot in intriguing and there’s not an “easy way out” or “one simple solution”. The book has a lot to talk about in regards to racism and prejudice. The book has an excellent and unique magic system. The book is just WONDERFUL! I was intrigued throughout the book. I felt that the pacing was on point and the writing was well done. I also realized why there was so much hype about this book: IT’S FUCKING GOOD! It’s the diverse fantasy that I’m happy and excited to see in the book community and it’s the best thing to read when it’s rainy outside (I tested this so definitely do this).

The only thing I would nitpick on is that I felt it was a bit long. I feel like the book could have been broken up into two books and it would have still been just as good, so I’m wondering how long this series will be and if there will be enough material for all of those books.

Verdict: Diverse fantasy that we needed yesterday.

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