American Wolf ★★★☆☆

3 stars

So I don’t have too much to say about this book but I did want to review it because I think it’s good to have something other than YA reviews on my blog. I really enjoyed this book and I was happy to read something other than YA for a while. That being said, it did take me a decent amount of time to get through it because I never just sat down to read it.

Goodreads Summary:

Before men ruled the Earth, there were wolves. Once abundant in North America, these majestic creatures were hunted to near extinction by the 1920s. But in recent decades, conservationists have brought wolves back to the Rockies, igniting a battle over the very soul of the West.

With novelistic detail, Nate Blakeslee tells the gripping story of one of these wolves, a charismatic alpha female named O-Six for the year of her birth. Uncommonly powerful, with gray fur and faint black ovals around each eye, O-Six is a kind and merciful leader, a fiercely intelligent fighter, and a doting mother. She is beloved by wolf watchers, particularly Yellowstone park ranger Rick McIntyre, and becomes something of a social media star, with followers around the world.

But as she raises her pups and protects her pack, O-Six is challenged on all fronts: by hunters, who compete with wolves for the elk they both prize; by cattle ranchers who are losing livestock and have the ear of politicians; and by other Yellowstone wolves who are vying for control of the park’s stunningly beautiful Lamar Valley.

My Review: 

I thought this book would have been a little more boring but it was actually told in a really cool way. It never felt like I was reading some boring historical novel about how the wolves are in Yellowstone park. I’ve not had the chance to visit the park but I’ve always wanted to and tbh, this book has made me want to go even more. The way everything is described is just amazing and I really enjoyed the writing style. I will just say that it isn’t the best book to sit and read in one sitting because it might get a tad bit boring.

I really loved that the book followed a female wolf that wasn’t conventional because it really showed how wild wolves are. I mean I knew that of course, but it really showed how unpredictable they are and that they don’t follow any rules. She was really interesting to read about and I found myself hoping everything would work out for her because she was just so cool.

I would really recommend this book to anyone who loves wolves because it really gets you in the mood to go looking for wolves. While reading this, I could picture myself going out into the middle of nowhere just to sit and watch the animals do what they do. This is also a really good coffee table book because it is beautiful and you can just pick it up to read parts of it every so often.

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Turtles All the Way Down ★★☆☆☆

1.5 stars

This is officially the last John Green book I am ever going to read. I just think he isn’t for me and this book really made that clear to me. I hate giving books low ratings but I just didn’t like this book and there are more than a few reasons why.

*If you love John Green then this review probably isn’t for you.*

Goodreads Summary:

Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis.

Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.

My review:

The main character was a bore and I ended up skipping most of her inner dialog with herself. I understand that she is dealing with a mental illness and that she has no control over the thoughts that she had but gosh I just didn’t like her. I loved her best friend though. Now she was someone I could see myself becoming friends with.

This book would have been at least a 2.5 or 3 star book if it had stuck to the premise of a teenage girl working through her mental illness. But no. John Green decided that there was going to be a mystery about a missing billionaire as well? I saw no reason for it and I didn’t care about any of it at all. I opened this book expecting something that would show a young teen learning how to deal with her illness but instead, I got a book about a bad teenage romance and a mystery. Bleh.

Nothing happens in this book. It has zero depth to it. There is no real plot and half the time these two teenagers are engaging in unrealistic philosophical conversations. It was a bore and that’s coming from someone who loves space and constellations. I was so sick of hearing about the universe and how everything needed to be a metaphor. It was boringgggggg. Also can we talk about how the entire book just feels like a spew of words? There are no details about anything!

Some will say that I’m being unforgiving to a book that I cannot personally relate to and I think that’s bs. As someone with a mental illness, this book didn’t resonate with me but if it did for other people than great! I’m happy for you! Just don’t complain and tell me that I was unable to grasp how truly hard it is to live with a voice inside your head constantly critiquing you. I only included this because I did have a person irl tell me that I wasn’t understanding the bigger meaning behind the book and I did. I got it. I just didn’t like anything about the book.

All the negative points aside, I did read this book relatively fast and did enjoy certain parts of it. There were parts where I really felt like I was getting into the story and then Green would go back to spewing philisophical bs at me. The good didn’t make up for the other parts of the book that I just couldn’t stand to read. I just really wouldn’t recommend this book to anyone because I almost DNF’ed it but I was really hoping that there would be some sort of saving grace.

 

The Hazelwood ★★★★★

5 stars

This book was so weird and I loved everything about it. I fell in love with this cover and it definitely drew me deeper into the story. I read this book in less than a day on my phone and I loved every second of it. There was never a dull moment and every time I would put the book down, I would think about picking it right back up.

This book comes out on January 30th, 2018

*I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review and that fact in no way affected my review in any way*

Goodreads Summary: 

Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice learns how bad her luck can really get: Her mother is stolen away―by a figure who claims to come from the Hinterland, the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother’s stories are set. Alice’s only lead is the message her mother left behind: “Stay away from the Hazel Wood.”

Alice has long steered clear of her grandmother’s cultish fans. But now she has no choice but to ally with classmate Ellery Finch, a Hinterland superfan who may have his own reasons for wanting to help her. To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother’s tales began―and where she might find out how her own story went so wrong.

My Review:

I found this book while looking on NetGalley and I wasn’t sure I’d be able to read it but I got the email yesterday (today is the 21st of September). I was so excited to start reading it that I jumped right into the twisty story about Alice and her family. I wasn’t entirely sure what I was getting into when I started reading this book but I think this was the best way to go about it.

I really liked how odd Alice was, especially after learning about her past and what exactly she’s been through. I never saw anything coming in relation to her but maybe that’s just because I never slowed down enough to give it much thought. I really enjoyed finding things out as they happened to Alice, there was never a time when I knew something that she didn’t and it just made things more interesting for me I guess.

I loved the setting of this book because it was so mystical. I think it really reminded me of the tv show The Magicians that’s on Netflix. I ended up picturing a lot of the setting like the tv show and I don’t think it was that far off. The setting was like something out of a children’s fairy tale but with a dark twist and that made it so much cooler to me. I tend to prefer books with a darker take on things like magic and so this was a really easy book for me to love.

I would highly recommend this book because it is so mystical and it’s just a book that sucks you in and doesn’t let you loose until you finish it. I think this is going to be an amazing book to read in physical form and I’m definitely going to be buying a copy once it comes out!

There are some spoilers in the next paragraph so feel free to skip those if you plan to read this book. Feel free to read them if you think you’ll forget about it by the time the book comes out. 

The only thing I didn’t see coming at all was the fact that she doesn’t end up with Finch. This was something I haven’t seen a lot of books do, in the sense that the main character doesn’t get the love interest but I actually really liked the way this happened. I think they were good together but being in Hinterland was something that changed both of them in ways they can never fully understand.

The Valiant ★★★★☆

4.5 stars 

I read this book in about 4 total hours and it was amazing. Every time I opened the book I couldn’t stop reading. I loved reading about female gladiators and how Ceaser realized that women could fight just as good as the men. I’ve only seen a few negative reviews and I can see why! It’s just such a good book!

Goodreads Summary:

Princess. Captive. Gladiator.

Fallon is the daughter of a proud Celtic king, the sister of the legendary warrior Sorcha, and the sworn enemy of Julius Caesar.

When Fallon was a child, Caesar’s armies invaded her homeland, and her beloved sister was killed in battle.

Now, on the eve of her seventeenth birthday, Fallon is eager to follow in her sister’s footsteps and earn her place in the fearsome Cantii war band. She never gets the chance.

Fallon is captured and sold to an elite training school for female gladiators—owned by none other than Julius Caesar. In a cruel twist of fate, the man who destroyed Fallon’s family might be her only hope of survival.

Now Fallon must overcome vicious rivalries and deadly fights—in and out of the arena. And perhaps the most dangerous threat of all: her forbidden yet irresistible feelings for Cai, a young Roman soldier.

My review: 

The main character in this novel, Fallon, was such a cool character who just wanted to make a name for herself. She trained every chance that she got and was trying her hardest to become a warrior like her older sister. I love the fact that she follows the goddess of war/death, the Morrigan because I’m such a nerd when it comes to anything Celtic.
They jump straight into a romance with this book and I wasn’t ready at all. It was a shock but I can see why the author did it. It definitely led to a quickly moving plot. Even though us, as readers, are thrown into a romance that we’ve never seen before, it’s one that has been solid for a while. I haven’t read a ton of books where the main character was actually with someone in the first chapter of the book.
I didn’t really see the plot twist coming in this book until I was five pages away from it actually happening. It was such a cool twist and I feel like the characters really handled it well. Everything in this book was about sisterhood and I haven’t really read a book that focuses so much on how much sisters need each other (that’s including the sisters she makes later on in the book). It was something I really loved and want to see in more books that are coming out. I’m sick of reading books where they pit girls against each other because it is just a cheap way to make the plot “interesting.”
I feel like this book could and should have been longer. I feel like this book was just setting up the next book and to be honest, I don’t really mind it because this book was actually really good. I just got to the end of this book and was like “oh this it?” and it wasn’t like every other time that I’ve said that because it just felt like it should have had more. I’m not mad at where this book ended though because it was a natural ending that left a good starting point for the next book to happen. I think this is quickly going to become one of my favorite series.
I loved the setting in this book and I’m really excited to continue reading about the people living in it. I think that the author painted a really clear picture in my mind and I could see the entire book happening like a movie in my head. That’s something that I love. There’s nothing like letting your mind run off with the images that the words in the book create.
I’d highly recommend this book, obviously. This is one that I think lots of people would enjoy and I will definitely be telling my friends to read it while I’m waiting for the second book to come out. Only about 2 months till I can finally get back into the story!!

 

The Fifth Petal ★★★★☆

4.5 stars 

I’ve read another book! This book is actually one that I’ve wanted to read since I got it and I’m happy I got the opportunity to! I really love the cover of this book and it really fits in well with the story! It shows the girls and their last moments which is something I didn’t really get until I finished the book.

*I received this book from the website Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected this review and all opinions are my own.*

Goodreads Summary:

When a teenage boy dies suspiciously on Halloween night, Salem’s chief of police, John Rafferty wonders if there is a connection between his death and Salem’s most notorious cold case, a triple homicide dubbed “The Goddess Murders,” in which three young women, all descended from accused Salem witches, were slashed on Halloween night in 1989. He finds unexpected help in Callie Cahill, the daughter of one of the victims newly returned to town. Neither believes that the main suspect, Rose Whelan, respected local historian, is guilty of murder or witchcraft.

But exonerating Rose might mean crossing paths with a dangerous force. Were the women victims of an all-too-human vengeance, or was the devil raised in Salem that night? And if they cannot discover what truly happened, will evil rise again?

My Review: 

I wish I had picked this book up as soon as I got it because the story was so interesting. This book is all about a crazy aunt and while I can’t relate directly to that, everyone has at least one crazy person in their family. I can understand someone trying to run from their past and Callie isn’t an exception. I mean she doesn’t know that Rose is alive because of the lies that she was told but she still pushes all the memories of her mother out of her head.

I really liked Callie and everything about her character was interesting to read about. She wasn’t 2 dimensional and she actually had some substance to her. She has a really cool job working as a music therapist and I’ve never read a book where the character has a job like that. I just really liked hearing about how she used music and vibrations in order to help heal people.

I think the only character that I didn’t really like was Rafferty, the main cop that is taking care of everything related to the Goddess murders. He adds another element to the book but I really wish that we didn’t have to deal with him as much as we did. He was also just a little off and I didn’t really like the way he treated his wife sometimes.

This book is one that gets better and better as you continue to read. I really like books that are this way but sometimes the beginning will be wayyyyyyy to boring. That wasn’t the case for this book, thank god. It started off a little slow but it was enough that it made me want to keep reading to find out about Callie.

I’m still not sure if this is a continuation of some series because there is another book, The Lace Reader, and it has some of the same characters. I didn’t have any trouble reading this book if that is the case but maybe I did miss some nods to the other book.

I would really recommend this book to anyone who likes the Salem Witch Trials because there is a good amount of history in the book. There is also a very good storyline and I think it’s worth reading. I don’t think there’s any reason to mention how old someone should be before reading this book because nothing really terrible or graphic happens in this book. All in all, I’d highly highly suggest picking this book up!

Assassin’s Heart ★★★★☆

3.5 stars

I’ve had this book for a pretty long time but once I finally decided to pick it up, I couldn’t put it down. I say a pretty long time but it only came out in May. Whoops. I did kind of forget that I had bought it though and I guess November is the month for wonderful books about murder.

Before I get into the review though I thought I would share some good news with you all because I really appreciate each of you and thought you’d be interested to know. So, I recently applied to CSU and it turns out that I got in! It’s my dream school and I’m so excited to start studying science in University! Now, let’s get back to the review you are all here for!

Goodreads Summary:

In the kingdom of Lovero, nine rival Families of assassins lawfully kill people for a price. As a highly skilled member of one of these powerful clans, seventeen-year-old Lea Saldana has always trusted in the strength of her Family. Until she awakens to find them murdered and her home in flames. The Da Vias, the Saldanas’ biggest enemy, must be responsible—and Lea should have seen it coming. But her secret relationship with the Da Vias’ son, Val, has clouded her otherwise killer instinct—and given the Da Vias more reason than ever to take her Family down.

Racked with guilt and shattered over Val’s probable betrayal, Lea sets out to even the score, with her heart set on retaliation and only one thought clear in her mind: make the Da Vias pay.

With shades of The Godfather and Romeo and Juliet, this richly imagined fantasy from debut author Sarah Ahiers is a story of love, lies, and the ultimate vengeance.

My review: 

This book was such an interesting read and it was one that I couldn’t stop reading. I actually finished this book in one night while I was sick in bed. I couldn’t fall asleep and by the time I noticed that I was halfway through the book, I decided that I might as well just finish it.

I really liked the main character most of the time. Lea is a young girl who just wants to be loved and I think that the danger of being with the son of her enemy was just an added bonus. She is the around my age and that meant that I ended up relating to her a lot more than someone who was younger than me. I will say that she isn’t the best assassin out there. She messes up multiple times and makes really stupid mistakes for someone who thinks so highly of herself. I mean, yeah she’s young but there’s always room for improvement.

There is a love story in this book and I love it so much. Like I love it to the point where I am debating on reading the next book just because I get to hear more about them. There also isn’t a love triangle in this book which is amazing because there are two guys that she is interested in. Bless authors who don’t use love triangles to rip my heart to pieces.

I didn’t really care for the writing in this book. It came off as a little dull and it lacked emotion. I really hate saying that about a book I actually enjoyed but that’s just how it seemed to me. This ties in with how the middle of the book ended up being slow and it just consisted of Lea talking about how she was going to get revenge. I know she was getting her strength back and all of that, but it was a little too slow for my liking so I might have skim read a little bit. Oops.

This book also has strong religious aspects and I really wasn’t expecting that. It wasn’t terrible but I generally don’t like books with such a present religious aspect. That being said, it wasn’t something that deterred me from reading this book. I actually understood how an area could be so religious because of how they were living their lives.

I’d highly recommend this book and because it ends on a good note, there is no reason to read the additional book. This book does have like one sex scene but it isn’t graphic or anything so I think you’re fine. This book is one that I think people should read, especially if they like books about strong women who do what they need to do.

Wolf by Wolf ★★★★☆

4.5 stars

I’ve been reading this book forever because I would put it down and pick up another but once I actually got into it, I read it in like 4 hours. This book is so interesting and fast-paced that once you start reading it, you can’t really stop because you are so invested in what happens to the characters

Goodreads Summary:

Her story begins on a train.

The year is 1956, and the Axis powers of the Third Reich and Imperial Japan rule. To commemorate their Great Victory, Hitler, and Emperor Hirohito host the Axis Tour: an annual motorcycle race across their conjoined continents. The victor is awarded an audience with the highly reclusive Adolf Hitler at the Victor’s Ball in Tokyo.

Yael, a former death camp prisoner, has witnessed too much suffering, and the five wolves tattooed on her arm are a constant reminder of the loved ones she lost. The resistance has given Yael one goal: Win the race and kill Hitler. A survivor of painful human experimentation, Yael has the power to skinshift and must complete her mission by impersonating last year’s only female racer, Adele Wolfe. This deception becomes more difficult when Felix, Adele twin’s brother, and Luka, her former love interest, enter the race and watch Yael’s every move.

But as Yael grows closer to the other competitors, can she bring herself to be as ruthless as she needs to be to avoid discovery and complete her mission?

My review:

I really loved reading about Yael and I felt so deeply for her when reading about her struggles. She is bad ass but also so damaged it makes my heart ache. I wanted to kill everyone that was doing her harm and everyone that made her into the women she became. That being said, she took what they did to her and turned it into something she used to her advantage.

I’m not sure about the love story I see forming because of who it’s with, and the fact that I’ve heard about a potential love triangle in the next book. As I’m sure you know, I love love stories but sometimes they’re just not the best or they’re with people who don’t really seem to fit. I think that’s the way this next book is going to go. This book should be more pulled by the action instead of a potential love story.

This book does jump from present to past but it flows exceptionally well. It never felt like an afterthought, it was something that fit and added insight to the story. I really enjoyed reading about Yaels youth and her family dynamic. I guess it could be said that I enjoyed that a little more than the race portions of the book but I can’t really be sure.

I think I’m going to pick up the second book but that all depends on what books are coming out whenever I end up at the bookstore again. If any of you have read Blood by Blood, feel free to leave your thoughts about it in the comments because I’m still on the fence.

I do think I would end up recommending this book to people, especially if they’re interested in any type of historical book. This book is finally out in paperback and this means that more people will be interested in buying it because it is a little cheaper.