arc review: black bird of the gallows

to read a synopsis about this book on Goodreads, click here

I was generously provided this ARC in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you Entangled Teen publishing! 

expected publication: september 5


Where can I find more paranormal YA like this? Seriously, this was so good! I’m going to be honest and say that I don’t care much for reading about the paranormal. I’m more content watching it because I get more scared that way or something. I don’t know why I torture myself with paranormal stuff. But this book has changed my mind. By instilling a little bit of Supernatural-esque lore like harbingers of death and the Beekeepers, this kept my attention from start to finish.

What I really loved about this book was the MC, Angie. She was a girl that was into DJing. Like how cool is that? I have yet to read a book where a MC girl is interested in something like that. Secret time: I used to want to be a DJ. I thought that controlling music like that was so cool. Perhaps I’ll get back into that. 😉 But moving on, Angie was a real solid MC. She didn’t make dumb decisions and even when there were girls being nasty to her, she was still incredibly strong. Given what her past was, I’m amazed she didn’t break down.

I liked Reese as well. Yeah, he tried to be the whole  I’m not going to tell you stuff because I’m macho and need to save you thing but that quickly dropped, which I am thankful for. He trusted Angie and what she was doing and that was refreshing. He let her make decisions, even if he didn’t agree with him. Even at the end, he was still letting her make decisions and accepting them, regardless if he liked them or not. I don’t know about you guys but that is a winner in my book.

A couple of other things that I really like was the dad/daughter relationship between Angie and her dad. He cared about her so much and let her be who she wanted to be. Their relationship was so open and refreshing. The friendships Angie had with Deno and Lacey (!!! I squealed excitedly when I saw my name (misspelled) in this book) were awesome too. Shout out to Meg Kassel for proving that guys and girls can be friends with no romantic overtures.

Overall, I am thoroughly pleased with this book. I took a chance on a genre I never read and it paid off in spades. I was just sucked in by that beautiful cover. I’m going to have to buy the physical copy when this book is released so I can stare at it all day. You all should do it too.

 

xxlacy

shadow and bone

to read a blurb about this book on Goodreads, click here


Okay, let me get this out in the open right now: I want to hit myself in the head for not picking this up sooner! This was such a cool and fascinating book! I mean, I’m just stunned at how awesome this book was. It’s clearly obvious that I missed the Grisha world by the way I am gushing. I seriously should have read it before Six of Crows , though because it explains each of the Grisha and their powers a bit better than SoC did.

On to the characters. Believe or not, I actually kind of liked Alina. At first I wasn’t so sure about her because she was just so weak. She didn’t seem to want to grow or want to change. She was constantly whining about how she didn’t belong in the Grisha world despite showing immense power repeatedly. She did a lot of things to hinder herself and I wanted to smack the crap out of her on more than one occasion. But finally, there was a turning point and she grew and grew and grew. I want to put my Kindle down and scream “Hallelujah!” Because up until that point, it was a 4 star read for me.

The Darkling was something else. I really did enjoy learning about his power as well. It’s a sign of a good author when I am still unsure if he is good or bad. Yeah, I’m still debating on it. And I probably will for the rest of the series. No matter if he is good or bad, I can’t help but deny that he is an interesting character and I am curious to see more of him and maybe get some history on him as well.

As for the romance/love triangle, it was actually really nice and it didn’t overshadow the story as much as I feared it would. I liked that Alina and Mal grew up together. That is my favorite type of romance because of all the history they have together. It gives me tingles when two friends, who grew up together, find out they are each other’s soulmates. Personally, I believe that is the strongest kind of love but that is just me.

As for Alina and the Darkling, I felt it but not really. I don’t like anti heroes all that much so I don’t pair them with the MC (unless it’s Six of Crows). But, as much as I don’t like anti heroes, I cannot deny that Alina and the Darkling had chemistry. Personally, I am still rooting for Mal and Alina.

Overall, I’m very surprised by this book. I had read a lot of conflicting reviews. Some were saying that this book is one of Leigh Bardugo’s shining moments while others say to skip this book and the rest of the series entirely. You want my opinion? I would say that reading this book first wouldn’t hurt. It talks a lot of Grisha and explains the powers, how they are trained, how they are tested, all that stuff that wasn’t talked about in SoC. I would personally recommend reading this book before SoC but you will not miss a lot if you don’t.

 

xxlacy

fantastic beasts and where to find them

to read a blurb about this book from Goodreads, click here

to read my review on the movie with the same title, click here.


I love that Jk Rowling gave us a couple of textbooks from the world of Harry Potter. It really brings the story more to life because you actually get to read what the trio read. I am still waiting for Hogwarts, a History but until then, I will live with this book and Quidditch Through the Ages.

Out of both texts, I prefer this one. It reads very easily and is organized alphabetically. The beginning prologue, which explains how the Ministry of Magic rating system came to be and other information like that, is a tad on the boring side but textbooks can’t always be fun and exciting. I do wish that there was more information about each creature and maybe even some pictures. The movies only show a few of the creatures, like the ones that play a major part in the story. However, I did like the little notes and drawings that the trio wrote in them. It gives the book a more personalized feel so it’s not so much a textbook but an extension on the original series.

I really can’t complain though. This was highly informative and I’m glad that it was released to us Muggles. Yes, I know that I am American and should use the term “No-Maj” but honestly, Muggle sounds better.  It really is a must have for the die hard Harry Potter fans but it’s also a good book to have just in your library as well because the cover is so dang pretty!

As far as how this compares to the movie, you almost can’t compare them. The movie took the creatures from the text and put them into a situation. It would be fairly difficult to try and make a movie just from this text. The only way I can see this happening is if they did like an infomercial type of movie with Newt (or Hagrid) showing us each character. I could even see it like a documentary that is often on Animal Planet or Discovery Channel.

I am pleased with both book and movie. They each contribute something wonderful to the Harry Potter world. With the movie, we are introduced to Newt, a wonderfully adorable and awkward man and is the predecessor for Hagrid. In the book, we learn a little more about the creatures in the series and just how dangerous/not dangerous they are. Each has their own merits and I cherish both of them.

 

xxlacy

mistborn: the final empire

to read a synopsis about this book on Goodreads, click here.


6/29/2017: On Twitter, there was a controversy surrounding Brandon Sanderson, the author of this book series. It was brought to people’s attention that Sanderson’s view on gay marriage was not good. Basically, from what I have gleaned from the tweets and some sources, he believes that gay marriage is wrong. That those in the LGBT+ community should resist the “homosexual urges” like he resists the urge to cheat on his wife. He is apparently a Mormon and this is where his beliefs stem from. 

When I started this series, I had no idea about any of this. I literally woke up, checked Twitter and saw this. I do not know where the one tweet that seemed to start this came from but a couple of people linked two different sources which I will also link so you all can see what is going on. 

I do not support what he has said about gay marriage. As I have mentioned, I am an avid supporter for the LGBT community and my blog is a safe spot. That being said, I will continue with this series because it was bought for me and I think it would be incredibly rude to not finish it.

source one

source two


I have no idea why I put this book series off for so long. Maybe it was the fear of the genre because fantasy has always scared me. Maybe it was the fear of the hype because super hyped up books have a higher potential of being awful. cough cough Caraval cough cough. Brandon Sanderson is so hyped up as this god author, right up there with Stephen King and Jk Rowling, and I have been so disappointed lately in hyped up books and authors that I didn’t want it to happen again.

I was so wrong.

This book was so cool. That was the word I was thinking while reading this book. I know, as a professional review, you think I would have more words in my arsenal. distant sarcastic laughing The world was probably my favorite thing in the entire book. Everything about the world just so fantastic and I read at the speed of light to soak it up. And there wasn’t any info dumping. Everything was told in a correct time and place. It was mentioned and then I would get slightly confused and desperate to know more and then it would be explained in such a natural way, like I had always known what it meant.

What I think really drew me in was the concept of metal and how it could be used. I haven’t read a book where one uses metal like it was used in this book. The fact that Vin and Kelsier swallow metal and use it like a form of power. I mean, that is just really cool. I could easily see that being portrayed very well in a movie, should they ever decide to make these books into movies.

Whenever the story started to feel stagnant or I felt myself getting a little bored, like with the planning scenes or the training scenes, Sanderson made something happen and I was sucked right back in. That is the sign of a good writer. And everything happened organically . Nothing happened for shock value. All the plot twists contributed to the story and weren’t just thrown in there willy nilly. Every single detail had its reasoning for being in the story. No word or sentence was wasted. I hate filler and this book had no filler.

If I could give one teeny tiny complaint, it would be the amount of characters and what all the characters could do. I had a bit of a hard time keeping track of everybody and what they did. I eventually just went with it and hoped I would figure it out on the way or remember a detail. I like a healthy amount of characters, but it did just get to be much. But this is really such a minor complaint. Because overall, this was a fantastic book and I can’t wait to read the rest of the series.

 

xxlacy

harry potter series review

to read the blurb about the Sorcerer’s Stone on Goodreads, click here.

to read the blurb about the Chamber of Secrets on Goodreads, click here.

to read the blurb about the Prisoner of Azkaban on Goodreads, click here.

to read the blurb about the Goblet of Fire on Goodreads, click here.

to read the blurb about the Order of the Phoenix on Goodreads, click here.

to read the blurb about the Half Blood Princes on Goodreads, click here.

to read the blurb about the Deathly Hallows on Goodreads, click here.


This series essentially defined my childhood and continues to define my adult life. I base every book I read on Harry Potter. I often wonder what House a main character would be. For example, I think Kaz from Six of Crows would totally be a Slytherin. I own so much Harry Potter stuff, it’s ridiculous. You can say that Harry Potter consumes my life on a daily basis. I often talk about Harry Potter so much, my family gets rather annoyed with me.

Everybody always tells me that Harry Potter is a kid’s book and that it isn’t even that good of a series. Those nay sayers can shove off. Harry Potter is so much more than a children’s book. It contains tons of adult themes such as war, distrust of the media, death, etc. You could pick any book and find at least five different adult themes. It teaches children, teenagers and young adults so much about the world and it’s nastier side.

Words fail me when it comes to expressing my love for this series. I know that this probably sounds incredibly silly but Harry Potter got me through some really rough times. I was picked on a lot as a kid. I was just extremely socially awkward. I have anxiety but it was undiagnosed for a very long time. I didn’t know what was wrong with me or why I couldn’t act normal. As a result, I got kind of lonely because nobody could deal with me and how clingy I would become. Thank god I found a few friends that understand me and understand why I am the way I am. Without them, I would be lost.

I don’t know how I acquired the series. All I know is that I somehow got them because I saw the Chamber of Secrets at a friend’s house. I asked her what the movie was and she told me. I was instantly intrigued, once I found out it was an entire book series, and that started my obsession. These books kept me company and soothed my mind when it was racing. I knew that if I had a rough day, Harry Potter would be there, waiting for me.

This series also taught me that my awkwardness was okay. Hermione and Luna were a big part of that. Hermione taught me that being smart and a girl was completely okay. You can love learning and still wear dresses. Being a nerd was okay and people will still love you. Luna taught me that weirdness is fine. There is someone out there that will think you are perfect, weirdness and all.

I truly think that everyone should give this series a try. The first couple of books are a bit middle grade so they may seem simplistic. But it’s just building up to something so much greater, darker and amazing. I mean, man, I’m struggling for words right now. This series just means so much to me. I want everybody to love it as much as I do.

 

 

After all this time? 

Always.

 

xxlacy

the night circus

to read a blurb about this book on Goodreads, click here

 

This was an interesting book to say the least. I do see why people are into magic realism. It really is a wonderful genre. But it’s not something I would want to read all the time. This book was something special, though. It was beautifully written and flowed perfectly. There was just the right amount of mystery and the right amount of…well everything. It reminded me of A Star Touched Queen. with the beautifully flowing writing.

I was slightly confused at first because this book starts with two different periods of time that slowly merge together. Once I figured that out, the book became a lot easier to read. I actually really liked that aspect. It’s definitely something that you don’t see a whole lot of. I do wish that the game was explained a bit more thoroughly, however. I wanted to know everything about the game and why it came into existence. But I’m one of those people that insists on knowing everything.

As beautiful as this book was written, I found it hard to connect to the two MC’s, Marco and Celia. I was rooting for them as a couple but separately, I just couldn’t connect with them. They just seemed kind of two dimensional. Again, maybe it’s a me thing. I prefer character driven stories than plot driven stories. And I’m not entirely sure if this was a character driven book, a plot driven book or neither.

It sounds like I didn’t like this book but I really did. I can’t get over the writing and how wonderful it flowed. I just found it really hard to connect with the characters, both the MC’s and all the side characters. There were kind of a lot of side characters so I got slightly confused. It also didn’t help that I started the book really confused because I didn’t read the chapter beginnings closely, which was my own fault.

I will say this though, it was SO MUCH MORE BETTER than Caraval. I mean, it was a 100 million times better. This book didn’t lie to me for the sake of lying, which I will forever be salty about. And even though I didn’t connect with the characters, they were so much more better what Caraval came up with. I mean seriously, why is Caraval even a book? I usually don’t rag on a book so hard but it upsets me because Caraval had a lot of potential and it just flopped.

Overall, this book was good. I liked the writing and I liked the concept. The Night Circus sounds like a badass circus that I would love to attend. The descriptions even between the “chapters” made me want to find the nearest circus. I just couldn’t connect with the characters which is why it has four stars instead of five.

 

xxlacy

caraval

to read a blurb about this book from Goodreads, click here

 

I’m just going to come right out and say that this YA book was a miss for me. I just didn’t connect with really anything about it until about the last 30% but even though I only finished it for the sake of finishing it. I hate leaving books unfinished and that’s why you will never see me not finish a book. I will slog through a book to the very end, hoping that the ending will give me a pay off.

This book kind of did that.

The plot itself is very interesting. Every year there is a game called Caraval. Solve the clues, get to the prize first and win a wish from the master Legend. It sounds interesting but it just didn’t pay out for me. I feel like this is what The Crown’s Game should have been. I think it would have worked there.

To give a positive in what is going to be a pretty negative review, I liked the store concept. To buy something, you had to tell a secret, give up something valuable, tell a desire, etc. That was a cool concept and I wouldn’t mind seeing more books use it.

One of the big reasons that I didn’t like this book was the magic realism concept. I didn’t like that everything was not as it seems. Yes, I know that was the concept of the book but I felt like this book was lying for the sake of lying. Even magic realism books have to have some sort of foundation on which to build from. This book didn’t and I couldn’t stand it.

I didn’t like the characters all that much either. Scarlett worried so much that it just put me off. I understand that she came from an abusive place and that she probably has PTSD or something similar. I think I just don’t like to read books about those characters because it reminds me of my own anxiety. I thought Tella was incredibly selfish and I wanted to smack the crap out of her. Julien was okay. He seemed the most honest and the most grounded to me, which I found surprising. Legend…well I don’t know. I didn’t really get a chance to know him that well.

Honestly, this book fell into that hype trap. It was hyped up too much and it doesn’t deserve it. I know that I sound really harsh but I’m just calling it like I see it. This book wasn’t for me and unfortunately the ending piqued my attention just enough that I want to read the next book.

 

xxlacy