Long Time, No Update! (Sorry ’bout that)

Long time no update, friends!

It feels so, so good to be back to posting. After a month of inactivity on the blog and Instagram, I feel like I’m learning how to walk again. With everything that has been going on I had to put blogging on the back burner, which is harder to get back into now that I’ve been thrown off my groove.

So what exactly has been going on?

In a condensed recap, I left America at the very end of July to come to Japan on a year-long contract to teach English to preschool through middle school age students. It’s been a wild ride since arriving, and it hasn’t really slowed down yet. I love my new job, students, and coworkers, but my hectic schedule, along with the general disorientation of moving to a whole new country, really did a number on my blogging and reading updates. The first two weeks I was here I didn’t have internet set up at my home so I was updating when I could with the Wi-Fi at work, but wanted to be careful.  I didn’t want to come off as unprofessional, so I had to limit the amount of time I was playing around on my phone. Plus, the timing from when I was at work with internet was off from my usual publishing schedule, meaning that not many people of my usual audience would be seeing my posts. That wasn’t really reason enough alone for me to stop posting, but I really wanted to be respectful in the office and be mindful that I wasn’t on my phone too much.

Luckily, that’s not really a problem anymore now that I finally have internet, which has made this whole transition a whole lot better. It wasn’t until after my whole two-step verification debacle that I was able to finally sign in, so now that I’ve got everything worked out I’m really looking forward to getting back into the swing of things. I haven’t had much time to read because I’ve thrown all of my focus into getting oriented with the town and socializing with the other ALTs in my area, but now that I’m feeling more settled in I want to start doing my own thing and picking my hobbies back up.

Moving to a new country can be disorienting and acclimating to a new normal can be incredibly jarring, so it is important to me to hold onto pieces of my old routines. I’m hoping that picking my hobbies back up will bring some sense of normality. Over the past year, this little corner of the internet dedicated to reading has become my creative outlet and my ultimate happy place. It’s where I come to get inspired, to geek out, and to connect with my friends in the book community. Hopefully getting into the routine of blogging and reading will ultimately help with this transition into my life here in Japan; plus, I’m just super excited to share my experiences with you guys along the way!

I’ll be back on Friday to hit you with a book review, and in the meantime I’ll definitely be lurking around here and on Instagram so make sure to pop by and say hey!

See you Friday, fam~

BOOK REVIEW: THREE DARK CROWNS

Goodreads Synopsis:

When kingdom come, there will be one.

In every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born—three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.

But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose…it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins.

The last queen standing gets the crown.

3.5/5

The first half of this book is rough, friends. The second half of the book really saved the book for me, but it was hard to get there. It took me a few days to get through the first half of the book because I could not connect to the characters and didn’t care about what was happening to them whatsoever, the saving grace being Jules, Arsinoe’s best friend. Her story was what propelled me through the first half of the book, even when I was flipping pages to get past some of the slower parts of the novel. However, this book picked up around 50-60% percent of the way in and I had no problem reading through the last 40%. It was around that point that I started really liking Arsinoe (jk I straight up adore this chick) and Mirabella and investing in their stories, so I’m glad to say that I did start warming up to the characters. The third sister, Katherine, was really flat to me but I think this girl’s got some scary awesome potential. And Juuuuuuules! I swear, I’m so glad that she’s got a significant part in this novel because she is what really carried me through, but I would love to see even more of her. This girl needs her own book, just sayin’.

There’s so much going on with the romances in the this book, so to avoid any spoilers I’ll just say this: I’m not super invested in any of the romances right now but as plot devices I am super interested, which deviates from the norm of how I usually feel about the romances but in this case I think it may really work. OH THE DRAMA.

I would definitely endure this book again for that ending because oh my. That is how an ending should be.  The last 10 chapters of the book or so absolutely hooked me, and I wish that it had been like that the whole novel. The world building was super slow and I felt like the plot dragged on, and I wouldn’t have even continued but I had heard that the ending was worth it, and it totally was.

This book is slow and a little dry at the beginning, and while I didn’t care for any of the characters (save Jules, of course), things really do pick up and become easier to invest in. I know that’s not a raving endorsement and you’re probably thinking, “Wow Jillian, you really suck at this whole ‘selling the book’ thing,” but straight up, if you can get through the first half of the book I really think it’s worth it. Overall, I didn’t love the book but I’ll definitely be picking up the second one, if only to see how this ending is addressed. I think there may be some serious potential, so fingers crossed!

 

BOOK REVIEW: THE HATING GAME

Goodreads Synopsis:

Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman hate each other. Not dislike. Not begrudgingly tolerate. Hate. And they have no problem displaying their feelings through a series of ritualistic passive aggressive maneuvers as they sit across from each other, executive assistants to co-CEOs of a publishing company. Lucy can’t understand Joshua’s joyless, uptight, meticulous approach to his job. Joshua is clearly baffled by Lucy’s overly bright clothes, quirkiness, and Pollyanna attitude.

Now up for the same promotion, their battle of wills has come to a head and Lucy refuses to back down when their latest game could cost her her dream job…But the tension between Lucy and Joshua has also reached its boiling point, and Lucy is discovering that maybe she doesn’t hate Joshua. And maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game.

Hey guys, long time no see! It’s been a while, but today I’m bringing you some of my thoughts on The Hating Game, which was one of the last books that I finished in 2016.  I’m not usually super into contemporary romance novels, and adult romance novels are usually way off my radar, but I read a couple of reviews and decided to try it out.

Overall Rating 3.5/5

My thoughts:

I’ll admit that I was a bit apprehensive about novel due to it being considered Adult Romance, which in my experience I haven’t consistently enjoyed because of the writing styles. However I’d seen a bunch of recommendations and positive reviews for it and decided to go ahead and give it a try.

And I’m glad that I did because I found it to be a really easy and quick read, full of funny banter, relatable characters, and I loved the main character Lucy, so really, what isn’t there to love? But I didn’t love it. Unfortunately the main thing that held me back from really loving the book was the romance, and it wasn’t until I read it through again that I was able to pinpoint what exactly I wasn’t a fan of. It wasn’t the whole frenemies thing because, not gonna lie, I’m a sucker for the whole enemies-turned-love-interest trope, and this is the one of the first that I have read in a long time.  While the romance undoubtedly had its cute moments, I wasn’t entirely sold on Josh.

To summarize a bit, Lucy and Josh both worked as the assistant managers to the CEOs of their respective publishing companies until they were thrown together when their companies merged. They’re both competitive and snarky, which is only amplified when they are pitted against each other to fight for the new manager position.Lucy and Josh are polar opposites; Lucy is outgoing and kind, and Josh is pragmatic and ruthless. This definitely sounds like it could be promising on the whole frenemies front, but for me I felt like the romance was a bit flat.

Josh did have some dorky, charming moments, but mostly he just irked me. I’m not into the possessive-jealous love interests, so seeing him react to Lucy interacting with other characters (*cough cough* Danny) in some parts felt really overbearing and rubbed me the wrong way. One of the reasons that I did really like Lucy was because she called him out on his overbearing (and sometimes rude) attitudes, but I was just annoyed that there was a reason for her to even have to.  To put it plainly, Josh is kind of an asshole. And to be clear, this characterization was intentional and is a central part to the story and to Josh’s character arc. He’s got his reasons to be bitter, but I didn’t love how his actions were sometimes ignored or justified. This was definitely the case with Josh, and while these issues were directly addressed within the story and used as part of Josh’s character growth, ultimately I think his actions/personality kept me from being completely sold on the romance.

Now I know that this sounds like a negative review, but there were definitely things that this book did really well. I felt a whole range of emotions while reading this book; there was laughing, there was cringing, and I might have (definitely) had moments where I had to step away from the secondhand embarrassment, but I think that definitely goes to show  the strength of the writing and the connection to the characters.

I loved the fact that Lucy was quirky and kind of out there and Josh would just roll with her antics. I loved the fact that Lucy collected Smurf figurines, that she was a total book nerd, and her lipstick addiction was painfully relatable. I feel like these little touches made Lucy feel so real and relatable.

So overall, if someone were to ask me if I liked it I’d tell them that I thought it was funny read with a great main character and some cute moments, but I don’t know that I’d boost it too hard. The writing itself was enjoyable but the romance was not really up my alley, unfortunately.

Have you read The Hating Game? How did you like it?

BOOK REVIEW:TRUTHWITCH

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Goodreads Synopsis:

In a continent on the edge of war, two witches hold its fate in their hands.

Young witches Safiya and Iseult have a habit of finding trouble. After clashing with a powerful Guildmaster and his ruthless Bloodwitch bodyguard, the friends are forced to flee their home.

Safi must avoid capture at all costs as she’s a rare Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lies. Many would kill for her magic, so Safi must keep it hidden – lest she be used in the struggle between empires. And Iseult’s true powers are hidden even from herself.

In a chance encounter at Court, Safi meets Prince Merik and makes him a reluctant ally. However, his help may not slow down the Bloodwitch now hot on the girls’ heels. All Safi and Iseult want is their freedom, but danger lies ahead. With war coming, treaties breaking and a magical contagion sweeping the land, the friends will have to fight emperors and mercenaries alike. For some will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.

After a couple previous false starts, Truthwitch was one of the last books that I finished in 2016. I’m glad that I stuck through it til the end, because I actually ended up really liking it! For those of you who haven’t read it, the basic plot line is:

Safi is a rare Truthwitch and her ability is to discern truth from lies, a highly sought after ability in a time where the threat of war is brewing. After a close encounter with a Bloodwitch (who basically has the ability to hunt them down like a Bloodhound), Safi and Iseult are forced to go on the run, along the way meeting Prince Merik, and together they work to keep Safi away from everyone who is hunting her.

There’s magic and adventure and a lot of running, but it drives the pace and keeps things interesting. What kept tripping me up was the first quarter/third of the book. It wasn’t bad, but it was a bunch of world building that felt super dry and kind of slow. I made it through because I really liked the potential that the characters (i.e. Iseult and Safi) had, and while the world building wasn’t well executed, it was intriguing to see how the magic in this world was set up. I really loved the different types of magic that were introduced throughout the book, and I really hope to see it flushed out more in the sequel.

I really liked the all the main characters, but Safi and Iseult were definitely what kept me going. I loved the friendship and comradery that they had, and it was definitely the most potent bond throughout the book (even more so than the romance!!!). I wasn’t completely sold on the romance in this novel actually, and I didn’t get the feeling like the characters did either. It seemed a bit forced, which is mildly unfortunate because I like the characters themselves, so hopefully we’ll see it either grow or turn into a kickass friendship. The Bloodwitch was a really interesting character and I’m so so excited to see where his character goes in the sequel. Plus, his powers just sounded really cool (for any of you that have seen ATLA, think back to the episode where Katara learned how to Blood Bend).

Overall, I really did enjoy the book, it just took some endurance to get through the introduction of the story before it felt like it really picked up. There’s a lot of questions that I have and a lot of characterization/ relationships that cannot wait to see how they progress in the sequel, that of which I will definitely be checking out!

BOOK REVIEW: THE SCORPIO RACES

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What the whaaat? I’m updating? Seems impossible I know, but I couldn’t think of a better way to close out the month than to bring you a review of the Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater. I remember when I first read the Scorpio Races I was a little off-put by the writing style, but once I got into the groove of things I was able to soak in all the magic and beauty this story has to offer. After rereading it (again and again and again) I can’t really figure out what tripped me up, but I guess I’m telling you this for anyone who might feel the same way that I felt, and to encourage you to definitely carry on, because I really don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

5/5 stars

My thoughts:

I’ve been telling my friends (and anyone who will listen, really) to read this book for so long, and when I try to describe it I keep finding that the atmosphere of this book is so incredibly hard to pin down.  The story takes place on the island of Thisby, and the residents are plagued by the presence of the eerie and dangerous capaill uisce, or water horses, that make their way to its shores. How is it possible for a dreary and seemingly sleepy island town to hold so much danger and still feel like magic? I don’t really know, but Maggie Stiefvater is good with things like that. The story follows Puck and Sean, who are both desperately working for something that they can call their own; Puck is fighting to keep her family’s property and hold the family together, while Sean is working to break out of his employer’s control and finally be able to own the horse he’s been competing with for years.  And only way they can get what they need is to win the Scorpio Races.

The stakes are high with no guarantee of surviving the race, and capaill uisce are as dangerous as they are otherworldly, only adding to the magic of the story.  I really liked the supernatural aspect that the capaill uisce brought, and honestly, how cool is it that there is an annual race with untamed demonic water horses (you know, aside from the bloodshed)? So of course the story is going to be action-packed and intense as we follow the characters interacting with these unpredictable creatures. And aside from the capaill uisce, the main selling point of this book for me was the characters.

The POV switches between two characters, and I loved both of them. Puck (otherwise known as Kate) is determined to participate in the race, not only for the money, but also to prove that she, the first female to ever participate in the Scorpio Races, has what it takes to win. She’s fiery and caring and doing her best to keep her family together. I really adored Sean; he’s stoic and hardworking and wants nothing more than to own his horse, and I admired his character so much. Neither of them have been handed an easy lot in life, as both are without parents and trying to support themselves, and we follow them as they train and prepare for the Scorpio Races.

With everything this book has going for it, the romance is the icing on the cake: it doesn’t take over or drive the whole story, but rather is just present, slow burning, and is just a really nice development .

This book offers so much action and otherworldly charm along with a truly unique story, so if you’re looking for my opinion, read it. I think you’d like it so much that I’d bet on it.*

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*(…get it? Horse racing pun? …sorry im so lame u guys)

A Revisiting Review: The Name of the Star

Goodreads Sysnopsis:

Jack the Ripper is back, and he’s coming for

 Rory next….

 

Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London to start a new life at boarding school just as a series of brutal murders mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper killing spree of more than a century ago has broken out across the city. The police are left with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. Rory spotted the man believed to be the prime suspect. But she is the only one who saw him – the only one who can see him. And now Rory has become his next target…unless she can tap her previously unknown abilities to turn the tables.

 

Rating: 4.5/5

My thoughts:

If you’ve ever checked out my Bookstagram account you’ve probably seen my occasional posts about the books in the Shades of London series.I really love this series and I feel like I talk about it all the time, so I’ve decided to review them and let you in on what my hype is all about, starting with the first book called The Name of the Star:

I will admit that this book started off rather slow for me, but it was still interesting to see England introduced from Rory’s perspective. I love books/TV shows/ movies set in England, so this was right up my alley. What’s more, it’s set in London but with a paranormal thriller twist, as famous serial killer is making his rounds yet again and this time has his sights set on Rory. Getting to explore this spoopy behind-the-scenes version of London is a lot of fun, especially following Rory as she uncovers the truth about the killer.

Rory’s narration has a pretty distinct and dry tone to it, which I recognize that might be a little off-putting to some, but I found it to be hilarious.  She’s super quirky and odd, and her side tangents made me laugh out loud. I really really liked the side characters, but I felt like their characterization was reserved and that there could be a lot more to them that we’re not getting (which is why you should definitely check out the following books!). The romance threw me off guard a little bit and it definitely was not the shining aspect of the book, but I guess that’s pretty understandable considering that Rory is a little preoccupied with stopping a psychotic serial killer.

Which brings me to the plot: I really loved the premise of this book! Who doesn’t love a good story about Jack the Ripper? The original case is interesting enough, but now he’s back and terrorizing the streets of modern day London and it’s not exactly like you’d expect. I don’t want to give anything about this series away to those of you who haven’t read this just yet, but I will tell you that the paranormal aspect of this book is absolutely what makes this series for me!

This book is funny and quirky and I highly recommend everyone who likes paranormal thrillers to give this series a try!

A REVISITING REVIEW: THE WRATH AND THE DAWN

Goodreads synopsis:

One Life to One Dawn.

In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad’s dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph’s reign of terror once and for all.

Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she’d imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It’s an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid’s life as retribution for the many lives he’s stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?

Rating: 3.5/5

My thoughts:

I remembered that I really liked this book when I first read it last year, and thought that the setting and characters was a breath of fresh air. It had an absolutely gorgeous setting, the characters were witty and bold, and I enjoyed the story. I realize that revisiting the book allows me to be a bit more critical because it is already familiar, so this time around I wasn’t as swept up and I noticed the writing a bit more.

The Wrath and the Dawn is inspired by A Thousand and One Nights and it’s evident through Shahrzad’s nightly encounters with Khalid as she enchants him with stories. The setting as mesmerizing and vibrant as I remembered, and I loved the hints of magic throughout the story. Being based off of A Thousand and One Nights makes for a really interesting premise with a lot of potential, but I felt that there were some points that could have been explored differently or more fully, namely focusing on side characters and their roles, but I realize that the focus is mainly on Shahrzad’s story. To that extent, I felt that some of the relationships were a bit hollow they were more tell-not-show in that aspect. However, that is not to say that I didn’t like the characters. I liked the dialogue, and I loved the quick-witted banter between the characters. To be completely honest, I never really warmed up to Khalid, but I liked Shahrzad’s boldness and brashness, even if it did border on arrogant at times. Thankfully, her handmaiden Despina was just as clever and bold and grounding, so their exchanges were entertaining and felt really authentic,

I wasn’t as invested in the romance this time around because I found it a little too insta-lovey. Looking back on it, I’m a little disappointed at how quickly Shahrzad’s resolve crumbled. The story starts off with this character so determined to bring down the murderous king that I could feel her spark, but then it just flickered out. I don’t really think of myself as a grudge holding person, but when a character vows vengeance I usually like them to put in a solid effort before caving into their emotions, and I really didn’t feel that this was the case. I was annoyed with how quickly Shahrzad kept flipping between her resolve to end Khalid and her (rather unfounded) love for him. I like relationship development and the anticipation that builds from it, and I couldn’t really find that in my reread.

I definitely think my tastes in romance has changed because this time around Khalid and Shahrzad really didn’t do it for me. I wasn’t super invested in their love story, but I still did really like the banter and Shahrzad’s interactions with the other residents within the palace. I feel like I just totally bashed this book, but I want to end off my review by stating that this really is a fun and quick read that I would still recommend, maybe just not from the romance aspect!

Little Updates!

Hey guys! I just wanted to pop by and just give an little update, along with posting a book review! I only just started this blog in June with the full intention of doing reviews on a regular basis, but alas, life got in the way and I got busy. That made it a little difficult to blog since I didn’t have the time to read, let alone write down my reviews, but now I’ve decided to carve out the time to start blogging regularly, if only once a week. While trying to start blogging I came to another issue; as much as I’d love to fill up the good ole bookshelf with recent releases, I (as well as many people) quite frankly don’t have the money to constantly be adding to my shelf, but luckily I’ve been reading for a lot longer than I’ve been blogging! So while a lot of the books on my shelf are already read, I haven’t necessarily shared my thoughts on them so I thought it would be fun to reread some of my favorites and write reviews on books that I haven’t visited for a while, not only for blogging/review practice, but to brush up on my shelves and see if my tastes have changed!  I don’t know why I told myself  that recent releases were the only way to go, but I have a lot to say about the books that I’ve read in the past (distant and recent) and loved! That’s not to say that I won’t be blogging about recent releases, I just think adding this in will allow me to update a little more and mix it up a little!

I’m gonna call them ‘A Revisiting Review:___’ until I can come up with a better name, and hopefully this will prompt me to crank out some more posts. I’m hoping to set a posting schedule (mainly for my own personal sake and to kick me into gear) and plan on updating at the very least on Tuesdays, if not more throughout the week, so keep tuned!

 

BOOK REVIEW: IVORY AND BONE

Goodreads synopsis:

A prehistoric fantasy—with allusions to Pride and Prejudice.

Hunting, gathering, and keeping his family safe—that’s the life seventeen-year-old Kol knows. Then bold, enigmatic Mya arrives from the south with her family, and Kol is captivated. He wants her to like and trust him, but any hopes of impressing her are ruined when he makes a careless—and nearly grave—mistake. However, there’s something more to Mya’s cool disdain…a history wrought with loss that comes to light when another clan arrives. With them is Lo, an enemy from Mya’s past who Mya swears has ulterior motives.

As Kol gets to know Lo, tensions between Mya and Lo escalate until violence erupts. Faced with shattering losses, Kol is forced to question every person he’s trusted. One thing is for sure: this was a war that Mya or Lo—Kol doesn’t know which—had been planning all along.

Rating:

4/5

I picked this one off of the library bookshelf because I’d seen Ivory and Bone everywhere on social media, and thought I’d just give it a go even though I knew absolutely nothing about it. Despite the interesting “Pride and Prejudice” premise, I was skeptical of Ivory and Bone because (in my opinion) it lacks aspects of stories that I enjoy. I love world building and I love feeling so connected to the characters that I could just reach over and high-five them, and this book really didn’t have either of those… and it worked. Being set in a prehistoric time, of course they’re not going to really know a whole lot of the far-off outside world, and other than that of their own clans there’s probably not going to be a lot of culture established since they are mainly focused on hunting and surviving. We didn’t really get to see a whole lot of the world, but the author makes up for it with a fascinating setting.

While this book gave me feels, it was hard to feel connected to the characters as it felt like they were kept at an arm’s length. It was like observing their story rather than being involved, but given the storyteller narration style of the book, I understood and found that I really didn’t mind it. I think the uniqueness of the setting and narration style was so appealing that I realized the things that I typically like to see in books really didn’t apply because of those aspects.

The romance was a central theme to this book but it wasn’t a driving force, instead taking a back seat to allow for the exploration of the characters’ personal growth and strength. Ivory and Bone was certainly different from anything else that I have read so far this year (or a while, for that matter), and I would highly recommend it. I honestly don’t think that it’s a book for everyone as there are some slow moments and I can see the narration style throwing people off, but I certainly encourage everyone to give it a go!

BOOK REVIEW: CROOKED KINGDOM

 

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Goodreads synopsis:

 Kaz Brekker and his crew 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 left crippled by the kidnapping of a valuable team member, 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 magic in the Grisha world.

REVIEW:

5/5  Would Read Again

*I’ve been meaning to write a review since the night (…morning?) that I finished this, but life kept getting in the way. Never fear though because*

It’s HERE. I’ve been so stoked for Crooked Kingdom and it was by far was one of my most anticipated releases for 2016. I started off with the intention of reading in moderation to make sure that I got some sleep the night it came out, but alas, I totally lied to myself and finished somewhere around 4 am?

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Crooked Kingdom started off a little slow for me, but I really started to get into the groove of it about halfway through. Not to say the first half wasn’t good, I think I was super pumped and anxious for answers and I felt that it was a little underwhelming. Not to worry though, it definitely picked up.

I won’t go too much into the plot because I don’t want to spoil anything, but I’ll just tell you that it was fast-paced, clever, and we get to explore a whole lot more of Ketterdam this time around. There are a wide range of characters, some old and some new, and so so much character development to be had, especially if you compare from start of this series. Each of the six are working through their own personal battles on top of the main tasks at hand, and we get to read from each of their POVs. Basically, you’re just gonna end up loving them more than you already do.

The dialogue is sharp and witty, full of banter that’ll make you want to join in (or crack a smile at the very least), and always made me want to high-five someone for their smooth moves (here’s lookin’ at you, Jesper). One of the reasons I think this book (or this series, for that matter) is so brilliant is because it is so vibrant— it honestly reads like a movie. It’s got the characters that you hate to love and love to hate, the fast-paced action, the clever dialogue with seamless movement, all set in a darkly alluring city (kind of like a gothic-steampunk Venice?). What more could you want, really? I’m so incredibly sad to see this story finish, but I was (mostly) satisfied with how this duology ended. All in all I ABSOLUTELY RECOMMEND this series. Planning on checking it out? Harboring the idea of reading it? On the fence? Not at all interested? Love yourself, friends, and just do it. You can hate me for it later.