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REREAD: Truly Devious (Truly Devious #1) – Maureen Johnson


Truly Devious (Truly Devious #1) – Maureen Johnson

Truly Devious (Truly Devious, #1)

Title: Truly Devious (Truly Devious #1)

Author: Maureen Johnson

Release Date: January 16, 2018

Publisher: Harpercollins

Format: Hardcover

Page Number: 416

Source: public library

Ellingham Academy is a famous private school in Vermont for the brightest thinkers, inventors, and artists. It was founded by Albert Ellingham, an early twentieth century tycoon, who wanted to make a wonderful place full of riddles, twisting pathways, and gardens. “A place” he said, “where learning is a game.”

Shortly after the school opened, his wife and daughter were kidnapped. The only real clue was a mocking riddle listing methods of murder, signed with the frightening pseudonym, Truly Devious. It became one of the great unsolved crimes of American history. 

True-crime aficionado Stevie Bell is set to begin her first year at Ellingham Academy, and she has an ambitious plan: She will solve this cold case. That is, she will solve the case when she gets a grip on her demanding new school life and her housemates: the inventor, the novelist, the actor, the artist, and the jokester. But something strange is happening. Truly Devious makes a surprise return, and death revisits Ellingham Academy. The past has crawled out of its grave. Someone has gotten away with murder.

4 out of 5 stars


Okay. I think I’m FINALLY OUT OF MY READING SLUMP!

This is the second time I’ve read this book because I REALLY wanted to continue on with the series, but didn’t really remember what happened, and I think I liked it even more the second time.

ORIGINAL REVIEW

Truly Devious follows Stevie trying to actually solve the Ellingham case from the 1930s. Two people died, and one is still technically missing. Stevie is obsessed with detective work and she loves true crime, so when she got accepted to the Ellingham school she dove into trying to learn more and solve the case.

Super cool concept, and it was executed SO WELL.

I forgot how much I love rereading books, and I was a little concerned because I haven’t ever reread a mystery, but it’s so cool to see all the clues when they’re happening! I also remembered way more than I thought I would, but it was great because then I could follow along easily with what I remembered.

I’m so excited to see where the second book goes, and I’m actually going to start it right after I finish writing this. This book set up the next so well.

Series:

The Vanishing Stair (Truly Devious #2)

Aubrey Joy

Review: Six of Crows (Six of Crows #1) – Leigh Bardugo


Six of Crows (Six of Crows #1) – Leigh Bardugo

Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1)

Title: Six of Crows (Six of Crows #1)

Author: Leigh Bardugo

Release Date: September 29, 2015

Publisher: Henry Holt and Company

Format: Hardcover

Page Number: 462

Source: Barnes and Noble

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone. . . .

A convict with a thirst for revenge

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager

A runaway with a privileged past

A spy known as the Wraith

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes

Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

4 out of 5 stars


I totally understand the hype. I get it. I’m part of it.

Six of Crows follows a group of 6 criminals tasked with breaking a very important man out of prison, but not just any prison… the most well secured prison there is. They have to work together despite their differences, and if they succeed, they’ll be rich beyond their wildest dreams. Some of this infamous band of thieves are called Grisha, who are people with magical powers that are able to be honed and used for either good or evil.

Six individuals. Six very different lives. Thousands of opportunities to fail. Can they complete the mission?

This book REALLY wanted to be a 5 star book for me, and it was almost there. It was still a really great book, but I think life stuff took over a little bit for me and it was kind of hard to focus on what was actually happening in my life, so my reading took a backseat. I am very happy to announce that I am now out of my reading slump! And I can give credit to this book yay thanks Leigh Bardugo.

Anyway, enough of the tangents.

I seriously LOVED theses characters. I loved their depth and complexity and how the whole book lends itself to being morally very grey, so it makes you wonder about each one of the characters. Every character is different and has a unique, very complex and detailed, backstory that just adds so much to the book. I also really enjoyed the multiple perspectives a lot. I honestly have felt like I prefer from one POV my whole life, but after this book I can totally totally totally see the draw for having multiple perspectives. I loved getting to see into each of the characters and learn more about their backstories.

Now here’s the deal. There is SO. MUCH. ROMANTIC. TENSION. IN. THIS. BOOK. I’m not saying sexual tension because no one actually got together… yet. I know it has to happen in the second book, but the set up for all the relationships? AMAZING.

These are spoilers ahead so if you don’t want to be spoiled *I promise you don’t* then come back again. Hope you enjoyed your time here, thanks byeeeee.

I’m going to break this next section into the (potential) couples and talk about them a little individually.

Kaz and Inej – Kaz is such a broken sad-boy, but he’s also super strong and cares so much, he just doesn’t know how to show it. He wants to love Inej, and he realizes that he truly does have feelings for her, but doesn’t know how to tell her. Inej has been falling for Kaz since day one, but he’s such a mystery that you can’t really blame her for not trying to pursue him seriously. I love that Kaz told Inej to stay in Ketterdam and even though she’s loved him for FOREVER she stayed strong and didn’t let herself be whisked away by his words. You go, Inej! I am kind of pissed that Kaz didn’t go after Inej at the end…. there will definitely be something about that and I’m predicting that Crooked Kingdom will start off with her.

Jesper and Wylan – I don’t know what it is, but I’m ALWAYS a sucker for a non-heterosexual relationship, and one is brewing here between Jesper and Wylan. I think I just see that love is love no matter what *honest opinion, it’s okay if you don’t agree* and it’s so cute seeing these two interact. I’m rooting for this relationship so much and I’m going to be really salty if it isn’t carried out well in the next book.

Nina and Matthias – Okay, I lied. There is definitely some sexual tension in this relationship. They’re not supposed to want each other, but they literally can’t help themselves. Even after everything that they’ve gone through, they NEED each other. Nina is going through some hard stuff at the end of this book because she sacrifices herself for the group (Matthias) and just wants everything to work out so she and Matthias can maul each other later, but we do get a very passionate kiss scene from them. Yay living vicariously through book relationships lol. I was SHOOK when Matthias seemingly betrayed Nina. Oh man I was pissed. But no worries, it all worked out within a few chapters, but you should have seen me furiously flipping the pages.

I love all the characters because, like I said, they’re all so complex and unique. Their backstories are so cool and that’s part of what makes this book so great. There is a depth to this book that is missing with a lot within the young adult genre.

If you can’t tell, I really did like this book, and I am SO EXCITED to read Crooked Kingdom. I’ve heard that it only gets better! I do think that I will reread this duology in the future because I think theres still more to unpack from this book. If you like fantasy, you should read this. You won’t be disappointed!

Series:

Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2)

Aubrey Joy

Review: My Not So Perfect Life – Sophie Kinsella


My Not So Perfect Life – Sophie Kinsella

My Not So Perfect Life

Title: My Not So Perfect Life

Author: Sophie Kinsella

Release Date: February 7, 2017

Publisher: Bantam Press

Format: Audiobook

Page Number:

Source: Libby

Everywhere Katie Brenner looks, someone else is living the life she longs for, particularly her boss, Demeter Farlowe. Demeter is brilliant and creative, lives with her perfect family in a posh townhouse, and wears the coolest clothes. Katie’s life, meanwhile, is a daily struggle–from her dismal rental to her oddball flatmates to the tense office politics she’s trying to negotiate. No wonder Katie takes refuge in not-quite-true Instagram posts, especially as she’s desperate to make her dad proud.

Then, just as she’s finding her feet–not to mention a possible new romance–the worst happens. Demeter fires Katie. Shattered but determined to stay positive, Katie retreats to her family’s farm in Somerset to help them set up a vacation business. London has never seemed so far away–until Demeter unexpectedly turns up as a guest. Secrets are spilled and relationships rejiggered, and as the stakes for Katie’s future get higher, she must question her own assumptions about what makes for a truly meaningful life.

Sophie Kinsella is celebrated for her vibrant, relatable characters and her great storytelling gifts. Now she returns with all of the wit, warmth, and wisdom that are the hallmarks of her bestsellers to spin this fresh, modern story about presenting the perfect life when the reality is far from the truth.

4 out of 5 stars


My Not So Perfect Life follows Katie Brenner through her newly formed life in London at a fancy marketing company. She feels like she’s finally figuring the big city life out and enjoys her job… or so she tells herself. She’s so desperately wanted to love everything about London that she might be compromising with some of the things in her life. Like her hour long commute on the Tube, and living in a small flat with two roommates she doesn’t like. But she loves her London life, right? Katie is struggling at work to be noticed by her seemingly perfect boss, Demeter. Demeter has it all together, and Katie aspires to be just like her, and she’ll be able to once she can just move up in the company.

This book was EXTREMELY predictable, but it served it’s purpose as a contemporary novel. This was my first Sophie Kinsella book and I really liked the writing style! I thought it was fun and easy to understand; I listened to it on audio and the voice actor was also really great.

I could actually partly relate to a lot of the London struggles in this book because I just took a trip to England over my winter break at school. The Tube is fast and efficient, but also includes figuring out the stops and which line you need to get on going whatever direction. It was really cool because I actually recognized a lot of the place names she was talking about. I also really relate to the whole “this is what I’ve always wanted, why don’t I love it?” feelings Katie was having.

England, and London specifically, had been my DREAM for so long. Seriously so long. At least 10 years of my life, so when I got there and didn’t love it, I felt like something was wrong with me! I think Katie also had some of this struggle because of choosing to move there from the countryside of Somerset.

I think the romantic relationship in this book was kind of unrealistic, but that could also just be my “I’ve only ever been in one relationship and don’t know how to date” mentality. I think the ending where he came back for her was… kind of cheesy. It was cute, but not the kind of romance I prefer. I like the slow burn, still have each other against all odds, but that could also be my high fantasy perspective lol.

I loved reading about the countryside of England. If I were to ever live in England, which is very unlikely, I would want to live in a small country town where everyone has thick country accents and everyone-knows-everyone. I just love small towns because of their cosy feel, so it was fun to read about that. I think the farm setting made me feel at home, too.

Even though the relationship between Katie and Demeter changes by the end of the book and you get to see a different side of Demeter, I still wasn’t a huge fan. Just be a genuine person and portray yourself accurately and you won’t run into any of the problems she dealt with. I don’t know, it just seems counter productive to me.

Overall I think this was a cute book, and if you have traveled around the UK you would find it enjoyable! I definitely want to read more by Sophie Kinsella in the future, possibly the Confessions of a Shopaholic series.

Aubrey Joy

Review: Elantris (Elantris #1) – Brandon Sanderson


Elantris (Elantris #1) – Brandon Sanderson

Elantris (Elantris, #1)

Title: Elantris (Elantris #1)

Author: Brandon Sanderson

Release Date: May 30, 2006

Publisher: Tor Fantasy

Format: Mass Market Paperback

Page Number: 622

Source: Barnes and Noble

Elantris was the capital of Arelon: gigantic, beautiful, literally radiant, filled with benevolent beings who used their powerful magical abilities for the benefit of all. Yet each of these demigods was once an ordinary person until touched by the mysterious transforming power of the Shaod. Ten years ago, without warning, the magic failed. Elantrians became wizened, leper-like, powerless creatures, and Elantris itself dark, filthy, and crumbling.

Arelon’s new capital, Kae, crouches in the shadow of Elantris. Princess Sarene of Teod arrives for a marriage of state with Crown Prince Raoden, hoping — based on their correspondence — to also find love. She finds instead that Raoden has died and she is considered his widow. Both Teod and Arelon are under threat as the last remaining holdouts against the imperial ambitions of the ruthless religious fanatics of Fjordell. So Sarene decides to use her new status to counter the machinations of Hrathen, a Fjordell high priest who has come to Kae to convert Arelon and claim it for his emperor and his god.

But neither Sarene nor Hrathen suspect the truth about Prince Raoden. Stricken by the same curse that ruined Elantris, Raoden was secretly exiled by his father to the dark city. His struggle to help the wretches trapped there begins a series of events that will bring hope to Arelon, and perhaps reveal the secret of Elantris itself.

A rare epic fantasy that doesn’t recycle the classics and that is a complete and satisfying story in one volume, Elantris is fleet and fun, full of surprises and characters to care about. It’s also the wonderful debut of a welcome new star in the constellation of fantasy.

3 out of 5 stars


You guys. I finally finished this book after reading it for a month!

Elantris follows three main storylines of Raoden, Sarene, and Hrathen. Raoden is the Prince of Arelon, Sarene is from Teod and is to get married to Raoden, and Hrathen is a Derethi priest sent to convert everyone in Arelon to the Derethi religion.

This book is really hard to explain because there’s so much going on at all times, it’s actually crazy. In short, there is a ton of politics, super cool magic, interesting characters, and a slowly developing plot that wraps up nicely at the end.

This is a typical high fantasy in the sense that it is mostly surrounding intricate politics. I really enjoyed this book and was debating between 3 and 4 stars. I would give the first 3/4 of the book a solid 3 stars, but the last 100ish pages would definitely be 4 stars. So I’m going with my gut and saying 3 stars is a solid way to describe the book.

It was such a slow read for me. This could be because I started reading it when I started backpacking around England, so I was a little preoccupied with… literally everything. I didn’t have a lot of time to read during the trip, so that could have also contributed to it feeling a little disjointed. I also just feel like this is a slow-paced book. It was a really good book, but you have to love reading in order to get through it.

I personally really enjoy “slow burn” books where it takes awhile to get everything sorted out and figure out what’s happening, but it’s also kind of exhausting. This book was 622 pages long, so when I was reading it, it felt like it took me forever to make any notable progress. That being said, I think it was a beautifully crafted book.

I really enjoyed the characters of this book, and the story was definitely character driven. There was a lot happening with the plot, but it mostly focused on the characters. I loved Raoden and how he developed this second life when he got sent to Elantris. I think it said a lot about his character and morals because he didn’t just give up or give into the pain he was feeling.

At the time of reading it I REALLY wanted him to tell Sarene who he was once she started going into Elantris, but after finishing the book, he told her at the perfect time. Any earlier and it would have disrupted the story, and any later it would have been too late. I love them together and seeing how much they love each other just makes my heart so happy.

The magic system was pretty cool, but it took so long to actually get to anything dealing with the magic. I honestly think this book could have been at least 150-200 pages shorter. There was a lot of this book that wasn’t necessary to the story to be able to understand and appreciate what was happening.

I’m looking forward to reading more Brandon Sanderson books because I’ve heard that the Mistborn trilogy is AMAZING. I enjoyed his writing style, so can’t wait to pick those up!!

 

Series:

The Hope of Elantris (Elantris #1.5)

REREAD Review: City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments #6) – Cassandra Clare


City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments #6) – Cassandra Clare

City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments, #6)

Title: City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments #6)

Author: Cassandra Clare

Release Date: May 27, 2014

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry

Format: Hardcover

Page Number: 725

Source: Barnes and Noble

In this dazzling and long-awaited conclusion to the acclaimed Mortal Instruments series, Clary and her friends fight the greatest evil they have ever faced: Clary’s own brother.

Sebastian Morgenstern is on the move, systematically turning Shadowhunter against Shadowhunter. Bearing the Infernal Cup, he transforms Shadowhunters into creatures out of nightmare, tearing apart families and lovers as the ranks of his Endarkened army swell.

The embattled Shadowhunters withdraw to Idris – but not even the famed demon towers of Alicante can keep Sebastian at bay. And with the Nephilim trapped in Idris, who will guard the world against demons?

When one of the greatest betrayals the Nephilim have ever known is revealed, Clary, Jace, Isabelle, Simon, and Alec must flee – even if their journey takes them deep into the demon realms, where no Shadowhunter has set foot before, and from which no human being has ever returned…

5 out of 5 stars


THIS IS SUCH A GREAT FINALE.

Cassandra Clare is a genius, and I will fight you if you say otherwise… lol maybe not fight you, but strongly disagree.

The small connections made throughout the Shadowhunters Chronicles are insane, and must have taken and insane amount of careful planning. I can’t even imagine the time that has been spent on creating these books, but I’m so grateful for them.

I think this is my favorite Cassandra Clare book… or they just keep getting better and better every single time and the newest one will always be my favorite… either way. This was an amazing book; even better the second time!

One thing that stood out to me about this book was the prevalence of Emma and Julian from The Dark Artifices. At the time, Lady Midnight hadn’t come out yet, so I didn’t know them, but now that I’ve met them already I gained even more appreciation for them! Seeing them as their twelve-year-old selves made me so happy. I love them. They’re my favorites. Ugh everyone is my favorite lol.

Yay for relationship development! I love Clary and Jace. They love each other so much, and their little speeches are always perfect. I love Alec and Magnus. They’re my ALL TIME favorite couple because yay for that LGBTQ+ rep! I appreciate their relationship so much. I love Simon and Izzy even though it’s a little different at the end… no spoilers, but anyone who hasn’t read this series, get on top of it. It’s so good and you’re missing out.

The first time I read this I hadn’t read The Infernal Devices, so Tessa and Jem kind of just went over my head, but I’M HERE FOR IT NOW!!! They’re so precious and I love that we get to see them again. I just love them. I love all the characters. Redundant, I know.

I love picking up on so many little things I missed the first time. There are so many little things that just shows that Cassandra Clare is a queen wow.

Favorite quotes:

EMMA ABOUT JULIAN:

He was going to be so handsome, she thought; girls would be all over him and one of them would take him away from her forever, because Emma was his parabatai and that meant she could never be one of those girls now. She could never love him like that.

BOI. She knew that she loved him when she was 12 !!! Excuse me. Come on I know that being parabatai is what you’re “supposed” to do, but if you know you already love him don’t put either of you through that! So much foreshadowing. I love it I love it I love it.

MAGNUS TO SIMON:

Because the world isn’t divided into the special and the ordinary. Everyone has the potential to be extraordinary. As long as you have a soul and free will, you can be anything, do anything, choose anything.

So true. So beautifully worded. Magnus, you always know best. I was almost in tears during this part because I kind of forgot what happened at the end of the book because I read it 4 years ago, and man a lot has happened since then.

CLARY TO JOCELYN:

F is for Fairchild, and the rest for Gray.

yes kill em with all these connections. I just. It’s just so good. I run out of words sometimes.

Also, Clary and Jocelyn have red hair because of Henry from The Infernal Devices. HOW DID I MISS THIS BEFORE NOW?

Amazing. Wonderful. Beautiful. Romantic. Perfect. I just love these books.

Series:

City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments #1)

City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments #2)

City of Glass (The Mortal Instruments #3)

City of Fallen Angels (The Mortal Instruments #4)

City of Lost Souls (The Mortal Instruments #5)

REREAD Review: Clockwork Prince (The Infernal Devices #2) – Cassandra Clare


Clockwork Prince (The Infernal Devices #2) – Cassandra Clare

Clockwork Prince (The Infernal Devices, #2)

Title: Clockwork Prince (The Infernal Devices #2)

Author: Cassandra Clare

Release Date: December 6, 2011

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry

Format: Paperback

Page Number: 502

Source: Barnes and Noble

In the magical underworld of Victorian London, Tessa Gray has found safety with the Shadowhunters. But that safety proves fleeting when it becomes clear that the mysterious Magister will stop at nothing to use Tessa’s powers for his own dark ends.

With the help of the handsome, tortured Will and the devoted Jem, Tessa discovers that the Magister’s war on the Shadowhunters is deeply personal and fueled by revenge. To unravel the secrets of the past, the trio journeys from mist-shrouded Yorkshire to a manor house that holds untold horrors. When they encounter a clockwork demon bearing a warning for Will, they realize that the Magister knows their every move—and that one of their own has betrayed them.

Tessa is drawn more and more to Jem, though her longing for Will continues to unsettle her. But something is changing in Will. Could finding the Magister free Will from his secrets and give Tessa answers about who she really is? As their search leads to deadly peril, Tessa learns that secrets and lies can corrupt even the purest heart.

5 out of 5 stars


I didn’t think it was possible to love these books more than I did before, but I literally can’t express how much I love them. Every reread just keeps getting better and better, and seeing Cassandra Clare’s writing evolve is beautiful and magical.

I love everything about this series and can’t fathom not having them in my life. So so so dramatic, but I’m just caught up in my feels right now.

I am never the biggest fan of love triangles, but Will, Jem, and Tessa are the epitome of a perfect love triangle. Tessa loves them both so much. The first time reading this series I was TOTALLY against Jem because I loved Will so much, but now I can see why people would want Tessa and Jem to be together. Will is still my favorite. He always will be. He’s my dream guy, just saying, but I see why people love Jem.

I just see that Tessa loves Will more… even if she doesn’t know it yet. My gosh, it’s just so good.

I love all the characters. The plot is amazing. The setting is amazing. I’m LOVING this reread and can’t wait to continue on so Clockwork Princess can break me again. I’m ready for the heartache of the finale of the trilogy.

Series:

Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices #1)

August Wrapup


Read:

  1. Champion (Legend #3) – Marie Lu *review*
  2. A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel – Hope Larson, Madeleine L’Engle *review*
  3. I Have Lost My Way – Gayle Forman *review*
  4. Love & Gelato – Jenna Evans Welch *review*
  5. Almost Adulting: All You Need to Know to Get It Together (Sort Of) – Arden Rose *review*
  6. The Bucket List: 1000 Adventures Big & Small – Kath Stathers
  7. Entrepreneurship: The Practice and Mindset – Heidi M. Neck, Christopher P. Neck, Emma L. Murray
  8. City of Glass (The Mortal Instruments #3) – Cassandra Clare *review*
  9. Leah on the Offbeat (Creekwood #2) – Becky Albertalli *review*