Review | The Crowns of Croswald

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By: D.E. Night

*Stories Untold Press sent me a copy of this book for an honest review.*

Overall Rating: ★★★

In Croswald, the only thing more powerful than dark magic is one secret…

For sixteen years Ivy Lovely has been hidden behind an enchanted boundary that separates the mundane from the magical. When Ivy crosses the border, her powers awaken. Curiosity leads her crashing through a series of adventures at the Halls of Ivy, a school where students learn to master their magical blood and the power of Croswald’s mysterious gems. When Ivy’s magic––and her life––is threatened by the Dark Queen, she scrambles to unearth her history and save Croswald before the truth is swept away forever.

TL; DR: This is a magical series for the next generation of young readers. If you love Harry Potter and the magic of Disney princess stories – this book is for you! Night draws inspiration from stories such as Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, and Inkheart and creates a mystical world that anyone can enjoy.

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The Good

The World of Croswald

I love me a good fantasy world, and Croswald is full of wonder and excitement! It’s not quite Hogwarts, but the Halls of Ivy comes close. It’s a school full of ghosts, magical crowns & quills, and enough mystery to keep anyone coming back.

The Villain

The Dark Queen is just present enough to make her feel like a prominent threat. She’s clouded in mystery – no one knows what she looks like, where she came from, or why she’s so bad – but you know when you meet her bad things are going down. She reminds me of a cross between The Evil Queen from Snow White and Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty – constantly trying to find the one hidden thing keeping them from true power.

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The Mystery

From the very beginning you know Ivy is special but not why. As the story unfolds you get answers but also more questions and I loved that I wasn’t able to guess every plot twist. It makes me excited for book two!

The Bad

The Heroine

Ivy Lovely isn’t my least favorite heroine, but she isn’t in my top 5. She’s impulsive and doesn’t always think about the greater good. I’m hoping she grows into her personality as the series progresses, but she was lacking something for me.

The Familiarity

While the magic of Croswald is fun to experience, I found myself comparing it to other well known stories. This isn’t always a bad thing, every amazing writer gets inspiration from somewhere, but I wished I was able to dive in and feel like I was somewhere entirely new.

The Ugly Truth

The next generation of young readers may have found their version of Harry Potter in Ivy Lovely. The Crowns of Croswald is a whimsical, witty story that anyone would enjoy. I can’t wait for The Girl With the Whispering Shadow.

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Have you read this book? If so, what did you think of it?

Review | An Enchantment of Ravens

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By: Margaret Rogerson

Overall Rating: ★★★

Isobel is a prodigy portrait artist with a dangerous set of clients: the sinister fair folk, immortal creatures who cannot bake bread, weave cloth, or put a pen to paper without crumbling to dust. But when she receives her first royal patron – Rook, the autumn prince – she makes a terrible mistake. She paints mortal sorrow in his eyes, a weakness that could cost him his life.

My TL:DR before I get into all the deets: An Enchantment of Ravens is a more dangerous version of Alice in Wonderland with a hint of  Dorian Gray thrown in. It’s whimsical, with just enough danger to keep you on your toes, but I found myself wanting more. More romance, more answers, more in-depth character backgrounds, more everything. 

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The Good

The Atmosphere

I’ve read so many books about faeries, but for some reason Rogerson’s take just seemed way more magical. When I say this reminds me of Alice in Wonderland, it’s because the world is very bizarre and whimsical in the most entertaining ways – from the fae princes down to the food they eat, there’s always something mystical to find.

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The Heroine

Isobel isn’t fierce or quick-witted like we’ve become accustomed to with YA heroines. She’s subtle, soft, smart, and endearing. Yet, she still manages to handle herself among the fae by being the cool, collected artist they crave. She sticks to her principles and even scolds herself when she knows she’s being like “those girls”. She isn’t the typical type of character I end up loving, but for some reason she just works. Not everyone needs to be a warrior princess to be amazing.

The Bad

Lack of Details

This isn’t to say that the descriptions and attention to detail were lacking, I just wish there had been more development with everything. I’m pretty sure this is just me being a sucker for a good series and never wanting stories to truly end but…¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

I just can’t stop thinking about things like: Why can’t faeries do any type of crafts? What happens to Rook and Isobel? What about the King? What about the world that people sail to to get away from magic? I just have SO. MANY. QUESTIONS. They’re definitely all unnecessary, but alas, I still think everything ended too quickly.

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The Ugly Truth

This book is a quirky, quick and fun read. If you’re into faeries and the lore, then you will definitely enjoy Rogerson’s world. Isobel and Rook are so precious and pure, their relationship will warm your heart like a mid-summer night’s dream (get it…because Puck, *badumpsh*). I’d recommend this if you need a pick-me-up from a book hangover or if you’re just looking for something light!

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Have you read this book? If so, what did you think of it?

Review | Kingdom of Ash Put Me In a Major Book Hangover

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By: Sarah J Maas

Overall Rating: ★★★★★

Aelin is in an iron coffin. Rowan is looking for his mate. Aedion and Lysandra are trying to hold off demon-soldier hoards. Dorian and Manon are off looking for some keys and witches. Chaol is off being an annoying d-bag per yoozh. Meanwhile Maeve and Erawan are just doing their thing, trying to take over the world.

How does this end? I will tell you…AMAZINGLY. It’s been almost a month and I have yet to get over this epic ending.

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Stealing this from my Rowaelin playlist because I just think it fits SO WELL. Every relationship, every plot line, everything is just End Game.

The Good

Character Arcs

I didn’t think it was possible for me to love these characters more than I already did, but I guess war really does bring out the best in people. All the main players manage to grow and thrive, even through all the hardships. And, I can’t believe I’m going to say this…but even Chaol was great in his own way. He didn’t annoy me once and that’s a pretty big accomplishment since I’ve managed to hate him for 70% of the entire series.

The Downfalls

Does it make me evil that I actually enjoyed the fact that not everything in this story works out? War is being fought in every corner of the world and I don’t think I would have been as happy if everything was a-ok and the heroes always won. Sometimes bad things happen to good people and I’m perfectly okay with that.

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The Feels

I had to stop reading at least 10 times to give myself a chance to recover from all the emotions. Even when happy things happened, I still found myself wanting to cry tears of joy. I hate hugging and showing any type of emotion…but SJM brought me to the brink of a nervous breakdown and I lived for it. If you live for having your heart ripped out and pieced back together multiple times, you’ll love this story.

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The Bad

This Could Have Been Two Books

There were several major events that take place in this book, but there’s a point where things go from slowly, slooooowwllly progressing to much MUCH more urgent. 0 to 100 in less than 10 pages. I felt like I was reading two different stories. And, while I know the set up was important, there were a few places where this book could have stopped…and then started up again as a new book. I guess this is just me being selfish and wanting more?

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The Ugly Truth

I LOVED THIS BOOK. It’s now mid-November and I still haven’t gotten over all my feels. I can’t read anything new because I’m still stuck in Terrasen with the Cadre and Aelin and I don’t mind it one bit. This might be up at the top of my favorite series endings right along with Deathly Hallows.

Talk To Me

Have you read this yet? If so, what did you think of it? Are you in a book hangover like me? Will it ever end?

Review | Nevernight Puts the Sass in Assassin

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By: Jay Kristoff

Overall Rating: ★★★★

Mia Corvere is the daughter of an executed traitor. She manages to escape her would-be killers and ends up under the tutelage of a retired assassin, who teachers her all his murder-y ways.

She joins the deadliest flock of assassins in the entire Republic—the Red Church – and tries to out-assassin a bunch of other rude, angsty, stab-y teens so she can become a Blade and get the revenge she desires. But of course, nothing is ever that easy and Mia has to deal with her feelings and an unknown murderer that keeps offing a bunch of students. Think Hogwarts, but for assassins instead of wizards.

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The Good

The Characters

No one in this story can be considered “good” and yet I still find myself rooting for these ruthless killers. Mia, Tric, Mr. Kindly and even Lord Cassius all toot my horn. Who wouldn’t want to be friends with a bunch of assassins and a demon cat? Let’s just say after you read this you’re going to wish you knew how to sword fight, mix up a poisonous elixir and be a pickpocket…and you wouldn’t think any of it was morally unacceptable.

The Writing

I felt like I was living in a Roman drama, but at the same time found myself laughing at the most inappropriate times. Like, am I reading about the downfall of Caesar if it was set in the Mean Girls world? I’m pretty sure I was, and I’m not mad about it. The dad jokes and sarcasm just made everything so much more amazing…Kristoff put literal book worms in the library. What did we do to deserve such a great story?

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THAT PLOT TWIST

It took a while for things to get really good. But oh. my. gosh. that ending took me by surprise. You think the story is going one way and then BAM! it takes a sharp turn into “what the EEEFFF is going on now?!” It was a bit like a Game of Thrones plot twist, blood and gore included.

The Bad

The Footnotes

Literally the only reason I didn’t give this book 5 starts is because of the footnotes. I LOVED the added sass by whoever the narrator is, but those footnotes were the death of me. I got through this book way more slowly than I would have because I kept having to backtrack and re-read after pausing mid-page to go down to the footnotes. Dense books just aren’t my thing.

The Ugly Truth

Nevernight was an amazing book. The story, the characters, the writing, the everything was SO. GOOD. My only wish was that it was slightly less dense. I would have even preferred if it was written in more of a play-style setting. It was halfway there anyway. I’m definitely recommending it to friends, but will hold off on a re-read until I get through the entire series!

Talk To Me

Have you read this book? If so, what did you think of it?