Review: Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2) – Leigh Bardugo


Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2) – Leigh Bardugo

Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2)

Title: Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2)

Author: Leigh Bardugo

Release Date: September 20, 2016

Publisher: Henry Holt and Company

Format: Hardcover

Page Number: 560

Source: Target

Kaz Brekker and his crew of deadly outcasts have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives.

Double-crossed and badly weakened, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz’s cunning and test the team’s fragile loyalties.

A war will be waged on the city’s dark and twisting streets – a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of the Grisha world.

3 out of 5 stars


Crooked Kingdom, second book in the Six of Crows duology, follows the misfit crew of Kaz, Inej, Nina, Matthias, Wylan, Jesper, and Kuwei as they unveil secrets, devise intricate and delicate plans, and ruin lives.

I don’t know what it was about this book, but I’m honestly a little disappointed. The writing style is great; a little too detailed for my taste at moments, but still nice. I love the intricacies of the characters. They’re all unique and interesting with well-thought-out back stories.

I think what bothered me about this book was the amount unspoken. I love trying to figure out what happened and why while I’m reading, but I don’t think there were enough clues given to be able to fully understand what was happening before it was explicitly stated. It’s a given that Kaz will come up with crazy plans, but sometimes it would be nice to be in on the secret before it has to be stated. I feel like there was a lot of telling and not showing throughout this book. There was NO WAY to possibly understand every nuance before it was explicitly stated, and that kind of bothered me. Yes, it’s awesome to read about a great plan, but it’s not as satisfying if you don’t get to see how it all unfolds.

SPOILERS AHEAD

The ending was SO UNSATISFACTORY. I knew something was going to happen to someone right at the end, but it just doesn’t really make a ton of sense. It seemed more like a plot device and less like an intentional choice.

Also, where the heck is the romance.

All I wanted was for some romance from these characters who OBVIOUSLY loved each other, and we barely got anything! What’s up with that? I understand this is YA, but why was the number of romantic scenes less than fingers I have on one hand? All I wanted was some cute romance. Again, I think there was too much left to the imagination.

It’s just weird because I really did enjoy a lot of this book, but overall I think my feelings were pretty “okay” about it. I just don’t understand why we couldn’t have had a real romance.

Jesper and Wylan could have EASILY been together for more than half the book. The ending with Kaz and Inej… why not more than that? He never even TOLD Inej about why he hates skin on skin contact. She spilled her heart to him and he couldn’t do the same. I’m just confused.

I see why a lot of people like this duology, but I think the first book was much stronger than this one.

Series:

Six of Crows (Six of Crows #1)

Aubrey Joy

Review: My Heroes Have Always Been Junkies – Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips, and Jacob Phillips


My Heroes Have Always Been Junkies – Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips, and Jacob Phillips

My Heroes Have Always Been Junkies

Title: My Heroes Have Always Been Junkies

Author: Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips, Jacob Phillips

Release Date: October 10, 2018

Publisher: Image Comics

Format: Hardcover

Page Number: 72

Source: Library

Teenage Ellie has always had romantic ideas about drug addicts, those tragic artistic souls drawn to needles and pills have been an obsession since the death of her junkie mother ten years ago. But when Ellie lands in an upscale rehab clinic where nothing is what it appears to be… she’ll find another more dangerous romance, and find out how easily drugs and murder go hand-in-hand.

MY HEROES HAVE ALWAYS BEEN JUNKIES is a seductive coming-of-age story, a pop and drug culture-fueled tale of a young girl seeking darkness — and what she finds there.

3 out of 5 stars


I don’t know. I’m not 100% sold.

This graphic novel follows a girl named Ellie who has been romanticizing addiction her whole life. Her mother was an addict and all her musical heroes were addicted to alcohol or drugs, so she decides to experiment with different substances. The novel starts out with her in rehab and escalates from there.

I don’t really understand the point of this book.

The art style was cool and the color scheme was nice, so I’m adding an extra star for that, but the plot was just dumb. Ellie decides to date this other guy that’s in rehab with her, and she deceives him in the end, but there was no point to her doing that. There just wasn’t a purpose for any of her motives at all.

I liked the flashbacks from her childhood about why she became obsessed with addiction, but it also doesn’t seem like a solid plot device.

This served its purpose of being a quick read. Idk I don’t really have anything else to say about it.

Aubrey Joy

Review: Alice: From Dream to Dream – Giulio Macaione, Giulia Adragna, Jackie Ball, and Jim Campbell


Alice: From Dream to Dream – Giulio Macaione, Giulia Adragna, Jackie Ball, and Jim Campbell

Alice: From Dream to Dream

Title: Alice: From Dream to Dream

Author: Giulio Macaione, Giulia Adragna, Jackie Ball, and Jim Campbell

Release Date: October 2, 2018

Publisher: BOOM! Box

Format: Paperback

Page Number: 144

Source: Library

After moving back to Ohio, Alice is stuck sharing a bedroom with her brother, and worse, sharing his dreams! The bright spot in her life is her best friend, Jamie, but there’s more history between their families than Alice realized, and there are secrets buried deep in their small town that only she’ll be able to explore…but only in her dreams!

From writer and artist Giulio Macaione (Ofelia), Alice: From Dream to Dream is an otherworldly trek into a spectacular world of dreams, nightmares, and being a teenager.

4 out of 5 stars


I LOVED the art style of this graphic novel. I think this is my favorite art style I’ve ever seen in anything, honestly. The colors were beautiful and went together so well, and the illustrations were just amazing. It was so whimsical and well suited for a graphic novel!

This story follows Alice who can experience other people’s dreams. She has been experiencing her brother’s nightmares and has been getting no sleep because of it. The only good part about her life is her best friend Jamie because he helps her deal with school bullies, and is always there for her. When he randomly starts acting differently Alice becomes very confused and sad because their friendship isn’t what it used to be. Jamie gets in an accident and ends up unresponsive and in a coma, so Alice decides she’ll try and use her ability to see other people’s dreams to go and help him.

This was a super cool concept and reminded me a lot of Alice in Wonderland. This could be partly because her name is Alice, so that seed was already planted in my mind, but who knows. I am always intrigued by dreams because mine are ALWAYS so vivid. I have the weirdest dreams out of anyone that I know, and I can pretty much always remember them in the morning. Very strange, but this made me connect with the story more!

I loved the diversity of the cast of characters. Yay for actually having different ethnicities, but not making it feel like you’re just checking off boxes. It’s always so impressive. The main character, her mother, and her brother were all black; her father and best friend were white. It was just nice seeing different groups represented.

All in all I think this was a great graphic novel and would recommend picking it up! The color scheme – 10/10.

Aubrey Joy

Review: Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy – Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson, Robin Wasserman


Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy – Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson, Robin Wasserman

Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy

Title: Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy

Author: Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson, Robin Wasserman

Release Date: November 16, 2016

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Format: Hardcover

Page Number: 672

Source: Barnes and Noble

Simon Lewis has been a human and a vampire, and now he is becoming a Shadowhunter. But the events of City of Heavenly Fireleft him stripped of his memories, and Simon isn’t sure who he is anymore. He knows he was friends with Clary, and that he convinced the total goddess Isabelle Lightwood to go out with him…but he doesn’t know how. And when Clary and Isabelle look at him, expecting him to be a man he doesn’t remember…Simon can’t take it.

So when the Shadowhunter Academy reopens, Simon throws himself into this new world of demon-hunting, determined to find himself again. His new self. Whomever this new Simon might be.

But the Academy is a Shadowhunter institution, which means it has some problems. Like the fact that non-Shadowhunter students have to live in the basement. And that differences—like being a former vampire—are greatly looked down upon. At least Simon is trained in weaponry—even if it’s only from hours of playing D&D.

Join Simon on his journey to become a Shadowhunter, and learn about the Academy’s illustrious history along the way, through guest lecturers such as Jace Herondale, Tessa Gray, and Magnus Bane. These ten short stories give an epilogue to the Mortal Instruments series and provide glimpses of what’s in store in the Dark Artifices.

5 out of 5 stars


I didn’t realize how much there is about the Blackthorns in this book! It just makes me that much more excited to reread The Dark Artifices series omg. I’m actual trash for Emma and Julian so seeing them… I’m totally not prepared for Lord of Shadows or Queen of Air and Darkness.

I love Simon, so this book is always enjoyable to read for me. I love these anthologies because they’re easy to read and give a little more information on my favorite characters. I forgot so much about this book. I think I’ve only read this one once, and the Dark Artifices weren’t published when this came out, so I didn’t understand the extent of the Blackthorns, but now I know. Now I understand, and like I said, I’M TRASH FOR THEM. I love all the characters so much wow.

Also, George. So cute. So sweet. I wish the thing didn’t happen to him. Sad.

The story with Alec and Magnus and baby Max makes me extra suspicious about this new baby. I think that Max is super fricking cute and I love reading about Alec and Magnus, but guys. Something has to happen with the backstory of this child. There’s no way it won’t come up in the Malec books.

I just love these books, everyone knows that lol. I loved them from the start and will FOREVER read everything by Cassandra Clare. Hopefully I’ll be able to go to a signing for a future book :)

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

January Wrapup


Read:

  1. Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life… And Maybe the World – William H. McRaven *review*
  2. Up to This Pointe – Jennifer Longo *review*
  3. The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living – Meik Wiking *review*
  4. Elantris (Elantris #1) – Brandon Sanderson *review*
  5. The Hope of Elantris (Elantris #1.5) – Brandon Sanderson *review*
  6. The Bane Chronicles – Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson, and Cassandra Jean *review*
  7. The Boyfriend List (Ruby Oliver #1) – E. Lockhart *review*

Aubrey Joy

Review: The Boyfriend List (Ruby Oliver #1) – E. Lockhart


The Boyfriend List (Ruby Oliver #1) – E. Lockhart

The Boyfriend List: 15 Guys, 11 Shrink Appointments, 4 Ceramic Frogs and Me, Ruby Oliver (Ruby Oliver, #1)

Title: The Boyfriend List

Author: E. Lockhart

Release Date: September 26, 2006

Publisher: Ember

Format: Paperback

Page Number: 229

Source: Goodwill

Ruby Oliver is 15 and has a shrink. She knows it’s unusual, but give her a break—she’s had a rough 10 days. In the past 10 days she:
lost her boyfriend (#13 on the list), 

lost her best friend (Kim), 

lost all her other friends (Nora, Cricket), 

did something suspicious with a boy (#10), 

did something advanced with a boy (#15), 

had an argument with a boy (#14), 

drank her first beer (someone handed it to her), 

got caught by her mom (ag!), 

had a panic attack (scary),

lost a lacrosse game (she’s the goalie), 

failed a math test (she’ll make it up), 

hurt Meghan’s feelings (even though they aren’t really friends), 

became a social outcast (no one to sit with at lunch)

and had graffiti written about her in the girls’ bathroom (who knows what was in the boys’!?!). 
But don’t worry—Ruby lives to tell the tale. And make more lists.

2 out of 5 stars


This book felt messy.

There were so many points while reading this book that I realized it was so unrealistic and so dramatic. My gosh, SO DRAMATIC.

The Boyfriend List follows Ruby through the telling of stories of past boys she’s liked or dated. She starts having panic attacks and her parents decide to send her to a therapist. This therapist tells Ruby she needs to sort through her problems, and most of her problems are stemming from boys…. so she makes a boyfriend list.

This was a fast read, but so so dumb. This girl is supposed to be 15, and I don’t know if I was just an abnormal 15 year old, but I did not think about boys this much. I’ve never been boy crazy, so I totally could not relate to this book. It was just so ridiculous sometimes! She lost friends over having crushes on different boys. Come on.

I also had a problem with the fact that she was calling them panic attacks….

These were definitely anxiety attacks because there was a definitive stressor causing the situation. They weren’t just randomly striking. This is just lack of education on the author’s part. I’ve had anxiety attacks and it’s similar to how she was describing these panic attacks she was having. I think when you’re talking about mental health you should actually be factual with your information.

There were way too many characters with not enough description for any of them. If you’re going to have that many characters, at least give some sense of background information. Some of the characters just had names that made no sense to the context of the story. Another thing. If the character adds NOTHING, then the character does not need to be there. Some of the friends listed in this book made no sense because they added nothing to the plot of the story at all.

I’m just confused at the boys she chose over others. She had a cute boy from another school that was super nice and liked her, but she just ignored him. She was friends with a nice boy from art class who always complimented her, but she was mean to him. Umm. I’m just confused why she chose the guy who didn’t even really like her and then ended up ditching her for her best friend.

I think that books like this give such unrealistic expectations to young readers. I picked this up because I enjoyed We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. I liked the writing style of that book because it was poetic and there was something deeper to the story, but this just showed very unhealthy relationships.

The relationship with the only “real” boyfriend of this book was so so so unhealthy. It reminded me so much of my own ex-relationship because the boy dictated everything and just assumed it would be fine no matter what. It isn’t healthy to show teenage girls that that’s a “normal” relationship! That isn’t how you should be treated. Your boyfriend should want to hang out with you and not make fun of you in front of his friends.

The family dynamic in this book was so whack. At one point the therapist brought up that Ruby is just following the actions her mother takes in her marriage.

  1. don’t tell a 15 year old girl that her parents are fighting and have an unhealthy relationship.
  2. if you show the mother in the unhealthy relationship, make it change by the end of the book to prove… something. That women can make their own choices and not be controlled in relationships. Don’t just let it continue on. Don’t bring it up otherwise!

I think a lot of situations in this book should have been handled much differently. I don’t think that I’ll pick up the next books in the series, but we shall see. They’re short and this first one was easy to read.

Aubrey Joy