War Storm – Review

War Storm – Review

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Author: Victoria Aveyard

Publisher: Harper Teen

Publication date: May 15, 2018

Pages: 662

Price: $24.99 CAD (hardcover) at Indigo Books & Music Online


Synopsis

Victory comes at a price.

Mare Barrow learned this all too well when Cal’s betrayal nearly destroyed her. Now determined to protect her heart—and secure freedom for Reds and newbloods like her—Mare resolves to overthrow the kingdom of Norta once and for all… starting with the crown on Maven’s head.

But no battle is won alone, and before the Reds may rise as one, Mare must side with the boy who broke her heart in order to defeat the boy who almost broke her. Cal’s powerful Silver allies, alongside Mare and the Scarlet Guard, prove a formidable force. But Maven is driven by an obsession so deep, he will stop at nothing to have Mare as his own again, even if it means demolishing everything—and everyone—in his path.

War is coming, and all Mare has fought for hangs in the balance. Will victory be enough to topple the Silver kingdoms? Or will the little lightning girl be forever silenced?

In the epic conclusion to Victoria Aveyard’s stunning series, Mare must embrace her fate and summon all her power… for all will be tested, but not all will survive.

First Sentence

“We drown in silence for a long moment.”

Review

Going to be real here, War Storm was my least favorite novel out of the series, and here’s why:

-Does not need to be 600 pages! 

I know that a lot happened in this novel, and I know that most concluding novels are a bit longer but War Storm really did not need to be this long. I thought there were many parts that were pointless and there was a lot of pondering in this book, which was weird considering I liked all the previous books for their great lack of pondering! Many scenes could of been cut shorter or cut out completely because they had nothing to do with the main storyline.

-Too much political talk

There were lots of meeting where the Scarlet Guard would decide the fate of Norta after Maven’s defeat but it was so long and confusing for me to read since I really don’t know anything about politics or war. Maybe to someone who is well informed on these topics would not find it as long and boring as I did, but this is a young adult novel and I doubt many teens are well informed on those subjects. This was another reason why I thought the book was too long, for example there was this scene where they were just fighting about the fate of the country, and one of those scenes would of been good, but there was at least five of them… after a while, it got pretty old.

-Weird endgame

At the time, I had no idea Broken Throne was going to come out, so I figured War Storm would be the last we’d ever get for this series. I knew the end would leave many things unresolved or unfinished because Aveyard just seems like the type to keep us really open for interpretation but I had no idea how far she’d actually go! I was so shook at the ending… we don’t even know if Marecal exists after all of this! Thankfully Broken Throne cleared the air for us!

I give War Storm 4 out of 5 stars!

 

 

King’s Cage – Review

King’s Cage – Review

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Author: Victoria Aveyard

Publisher: Harper Teen

Publication date: February 7th, 2017

Pages: 544

Price: $23.77 CAD (hardcover) at Indigo Books & Music Online


Synopsis

When the Lightning Girl’s spark is gone, who will light the way for the rebellion?

Mare Barrow is a prisoner, powerless without her lightning, tormented by her lethal mistakes. She lives at the mercy of a boy she once loved, a boy made of lies and betrayal. Now a king, Maven Calore continues weaving his dead mother’s web in an attempt to maintain control over his country—and his prisoner.

As Mare bears the weight of Silent Stone in the palace, her once-ragtag band of newbloods and Reds continue organizing, training, and expanding. They prepare for war, no longer able to linger in the shadows. And Cal, the exiled prince with his own claim on Mare’s heart, will stop at nothing to bring her back.

When blood turns on blood, and ability on ability, there may be no one left to put out the fire—leaving Norta as Mare knows it to burn all the way down.

First Sentence 

“I rise to my feet when he lets me.”

Review

Honestly, pretty sure this is my favorite book out of all the series. Now, I KNOW I also said that for Glass Sword, but I forgot how awesome King’s Cage was! Beware, I might be spoiling a bit in the upcoming paragraphs.

First off, Mare and Cal’s relationship goes through a lot of turmoil in this one. Mare being taken in as a prisoner and Cal’s indecisiveness towards the crown or the people, takes a big toll on them both. It was really hard to read because compared to most YA relationships they were pretty chill and not so uptight with each other which made it so much more chill to read and way less cringy than other books. I think a lot of this goes to Victoria Aveyard’s writing style but also the fact that both of their characters are very mature and responsible compared to most YA relationships.

Mare also goes through so much in this novel, her character really takes a crash. Her prisoner status has made her more vulnerable and sensitive so the downfall of her character is really evident to anyone who reads this one. Although she has Cal, Kilorn, and her family to help her get through it. We do see so much more of the Barrows in this novel, Mare enventually goes and lives with them again and we get to really know Bree and Tramy, – and their relationship with Mare – which weren’t as developed in the first two novels.

“Those who know what it’s like in the dark will do anything to stay in the light.”
― Victoria Aveyard, King’s Cage

My favorite scene in this book would of had to have been when the Scarlet Guard went out to save Mare. The battle scenes sounded so dramatic and epic… it was awesome! The little mind game that got played on Mare and Cal to fight each other was mighty intense. There was no battle this crazy in RQ or GS!

Once again, Victoria Aveyard does an amazing job at explaining everything poetically, throughly but with no dwelling, there’s never too much detail, but there’s always enough to picture it in my head. Some novels will spend half a page describing the light of a table lamp on a ceiling… like you could of just wrote less about that lamp and I would of still been able to picture it, and you’d have saved some paper!

Final Review/Recommendation 

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King’s Cage is definitely my favorite novel out of the Red Queen series. It never had a dull moment, was full of crazy twists and was really well written for a YA novel.

I’d recommend this book to anyone who has enjoyed Red Queen and Glass Sword or to someone who’d like to pick up an intense Fantasy/Dystopian/Romance series!

“As you enter, you pray to leave. As you leave, you pray to never return.”
― Victoria Aveyard, King’s Cage
Glass Sword – Review

Glass Sword – Review

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Author: Victoria Aveyard

Publisher: Harper Teen

Publication Date: February 9, 2016

Pages: 444

Price: $17.12 CAD (Hardcover) at Indigo Books & Music Online


Synopsis 

If there’s one thing Mare Barrow knows, it’s that she’s different.

Mare Barrow’s blood is red—the color of common folk—but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control.

The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince—the friend—who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.

Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors.

But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat.

Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?

The electrifying next installment in the Red Queen series escalates the struggle between the growing rebel army and the blood-segregated world they’ve always known—and pits Mare against the darkness that has grown in her soul.

First Sentence 

“I flinch.”

Review 

Red Queen was super wild, so I originally thought that in Glass Sword, things would calm down… but JEEZ I was mistaken! Things are getting even more intense!

In this novel, Mare and Cal’s relationship reaches new heights, Cal is skeptical because Mare did betray him and his crown, but he also know that Mare is the only one who saw what truly happened to the former king. Their growing friendship and trust was really interesting to watch develop. Same as seeing for the first time who Maven truly is. He was so docile and friendly during the first novel, its so crazy to think that was all an act!

I like this book much more than I liked the first one, mainly because it goes straight to action, whereas in RQ, there was a lot of explanations and introductions, GS starts right in battle, Mare and Cal have escaped and are currently fleeing with the Scarlet Guard. As soon as you flip to the first page, you are already on the edge of your seat.

“Fire and lightning raised Maven up, and fire and lightning will bring him down.”
― Victoria Aveyard, Glass Sword

Retelling everything that I liked from this book would take me all day, but the one thing that I did not like, was the loss of one of my favorite characters… I won’t spoil, but that loss got some tears out of me. Sacrificial deaths always get the best of me like they really did not need to do that but they did it anyway…. ouf!

Final Review/Recommendation

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I think Glass Sword was even better that Red Queen, so much happened, yet it wasn’t to overwhelming. We get to see the real faces of some of the characters and we get to know new faces too! I think that this series is off to a really good start.

I’d recommend this book to someone who read and enjoyed Red Queen, obviously, and to someone who likes dystopian YA, because these books might just make it on my fav YA dystopian series!

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“If I am a sword, I am a sword made of glass, and I feel myself beginning to shatter.”
― Victoria Aveyard, Glass Sword

Red Queen – Review

Red Queen – Review

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Author: Victoria Aveyard

Publisher: Harper Teen

Publication date: February 10, 2015

Pages: 383

Price: $20.62 CAD (hardcover) at Indigo Books & Music Online


Synopsis 

This is a world divided by blood – red or silver. The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to Mare Barrow, a seventeen-year-old Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change. That is until she finds herself working in the Silver Palace. Here, surrounded by the people she hates the most, Mare discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of power. Fearful of Mare’s potential, the Silvers hide her in plain view, declaring her a long-lost Silver princess, now engaged to a Silver prince. Despite knowing that one misstep would mean her death, Mare works silently to help the Red Guard, a militant resistance group, and bring down the Silver regime. But this is a world of betrayal and lies, and Mare has entered a dangerous dance – Reds against Silvers, prince against prince, and Mare against her own heart.

First Sentence 

“I hate First Friday.”

Review

I’m always quite hesitant when picking out a new series to read. I’m the kind of person who goes all in or not at all. So when I first heard of Red Queen I wanted to read it, but at the same time I wasn’t sure I’d want to read all the books that followed it because at the time, we had just gotten news of War Storm’s upcoming release.

I’m happy I chose to pick up this series because it was actually rather enjoyable. I immediately fell in love with Mare, Cal, Gisa, and Kilorn. They were such fun and unique characters! I got really easily attached lol.

“I’m an accident. I’m a lie. And my life depends on maintaining the illusion.”
― Victoria Aveyard, Red Queen

I also enjoyed this futuristic setting thats taken a turn for the worse sorta vibe going on because we know that the story takes place in the future but there’s not really dates or times so it remains something to ponder on. The discrimination between reds and silvers was also something I could make ties to with this day and age (colour of blood/colour of skin yanno?) and the silver abilities made things so cool! I loved how they all had a different power depending on their house! Overall, I love all the ideas in this book!

There was a couple times where I was really confused with the book, though I’m pretty sure its because I read it in French and my French is terrible. Other than that I have no complaints with this story. It was flowy and interesting and really enjoyable!

“The truth is what I make it. I could set this world on fire and call it rain.”
― Victoria Aveyard, Red Queen

But I must address the GIANT plot twist at the end of the book because OMG that BETRAYAL! I was so shocked and was totally not expecting anything like that! I was pissed but a the same time I could not WAIT to pick up the sequel.

Final Review/Recommendation 

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I really enjoyed Red Queen. I’m happy to have started this series and I am going to follow through with the rest of the books from the series! I’d recommend this novel to anyone who enjoyed The Hunger Games or would like to pick up a new and fun dystopian series!

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“Anyone can betray anyone.”
― Victoria Aveyard, Red Queen

 

The Darkest Minds – Review

The Darkest Minds – Review

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Author: Alexandra Bracken

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Publication date: January 2, 2018

Pages: 488

Price: $11.99 (CAD) at Indigo Books & Music Online


Synopsis 

Book one in the hit series that’s soon to be a major motion picture – now with a stunning new paperback look and exclusive bonus content!

When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that got her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that killed most of America’s children, but she and the others emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones.

But when the truth about Ruby’s abilities-the truth she’s hidden from everyone, even the camp authorities-comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. On the run, she joins a group of kids who escaped their own camp: Zu, a young girl haunted by her past; Chubs, a standoffish brainiac; and Liam, their fearless leader, who is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents.

While they journey to find the one safe haven left for kids like them-East River-they must evade their determined pursuers, including an organization that will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. But as they get closer to grasping the things they’ve dreamed of, Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at a life worth living. -Goodreads

First Sentence

“When the White Noise went off, we were in the Garden, pulling weeds.”

Review

Being one of the most notoriously known YA dystopian series, I knew I’d have to eventually pick up The Darkest Minds, except I had no idea it would be this soon and this fast. I can tell you right now that I am writing this review after binging the whole series, which means my thoughts are a little blurry on this first novel, but I will still write this review nonetheless.

I stumbled upon these books in one of Emma Giordano’s YouTube videos… I honestly forget what it was about, but then I realized they were making these books into movies, and I knew I’d have to read them if they were that widespread in the YA community. I ended up watching the movie first because it was there and I did not buy any of the books yet, and I was bored, so I watched it! It wasn’t that bad, it pushed me to hurry and read the books so I could find out what happens next though lol.

It took me two weeks to read the series, I took out The Darkest Minds as an ebook from my library and then waited four days for the ridiculously inexpensive box set to come in from the mail and read Never Fade, In the Afterlight, and Through the Dark as fast as my eyes would let me. I’d bring them to work with me to read during lunch break! I was utterly hooked for those two weeks!

The Darkest Minds was a good read because it was similar to all the OG dystopian YA series I read when I first started this craze, but it still had differences and twists that were totally uncalled for. I got Hunger Games and Divergent feels while reading this one! Something that was different than Divergent though, was the characters. Bracken delineates her characters in the utmost meticulous detail. I felt like I was there with those characters, that I was friends with them, whereas in Divergent, we could not really make any ties to the characters because they were so closed off and secretive. The Darkest Minds was riveting straight from the get-go, because on page one there is automatically some drama and suspense, the first line of the book made me ask questions! I like books that start straight to the action like that, it helps me get invested in the book faster than if it were just a plain old “once upon a time” or something of the sorts.

“They were never scared of the kids who might die, or the empty spaces they would leave behind. They were afraid of us-the ones who lived.”
― Alexandra Bracken, The Darkest Minds

At first, it was debatable as to if I liked Ruby’s character that much, I think it was just because we were firstly introduced to her in the camp so she was a little damaged and fragile, but when she’s hanging out with the gang later in Black Betty, I liked her character much better.

There were also times here and there where I thought the book took an unexpected dramatic turn for no reason, which made me loose a bit of interest in the novel itself because I was like “umm okay. Not that big of a deal there buddy, I think we can calm down a touch,” but other than that the only real problem I had was the length of the whole story… the novel was a total of 500-ish pages, and IT DID NOT NEED TO BE SO LONG! There were scenes that seemed to go absolutely nowhere and had no relevance to the main story line, we were dwelling on such small unimportant things, and it took them literally 250 pages to find the Slip Kid, they were mostly just driving around for 3/4 of the book – and I know that the drives in Black Betty are supposed to show the development of Ruby’s relationship with Liam, Chubs, and Zu, because she makes reference to it so many times in the following books, – and that made me loose a lot of interest as well because, I mean, they were just driving… like we had this super awesome action packed first quarter of the novel and now nothing is happening until they find East River…. I don’t know, I just thought it was a little tiring to read. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I feel like another thing I should quickly address is the freaking deal this box set was. I bought the four book box set off Indigo’s website for 29 dollars and yea they are just paperbacks but the quality of these paperbacks are outstanding. The spines don’t bend and the corners don’t fold and the book is super ploppy and I can’t remember the last time I had such nice paperbacks like this! You can also buy them individually for like ten bucks! Meanwhile, Casandra Clare is selling me 32$ hardcovers that you buy with an already cracked spine because it’s Cassandra Clare and it’s supposed to be worth it. I’m happy with my purchase of this box set even though it was in use for about a week… the books still look new even after I read them and the box set spells out “DARK” which is really spooky and neat!

“I’m a monster, you know. I’m one of the dangerous ones.
No you aren’t, he promised. Your one of us.”
― Alexandra Bracken, The Darkest Minds

Final Review/Recommendation

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I give The Darkest Minds four out of five stars because I thought it lacked a bit plot-wise, there wasn’t much happening in the middle of the book that was really important, it was more like just a bunch of small events that were not really bringing us anywhere. Other than that, I thought this novel was really enjoyable and I loved the characters and the general idea of the book. It reminded me a lot of Red Queen, The Hunger Games, and The Divergent Series, so if you liked any of those series, this might be the next one for you!  The series is also really inexpensive so its perfect for a reader on a budget!

“The Darkest Minds tend to hide behind the most unlikely faces.”
― Alexandra Bracken, The Darkest Minds

Let me know what you thought of The Darkest Minds or my review!

Have an awesome day!

-Emma 🙂

 

Speak – Review

Speak – Review

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Author: Laurie Halse Anderson

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

First publication date: 1999

Pages: 198

Price: $15.99 CAD (paperback) at Indigo Books & Music Online


Synopsis

The first ten lies they tell you in high school.

“Speak up for yourself—we want to know what you have to say.”

From the first moment of her freshman year at Merryweather High, Melinda knows this is a big fat lie, part of the nonsense of high school. She is friendless, outcast, because she busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops, so now nobody will talk to her, let alone listen to her. As time passes, she becomes increasingly isolated and practically stops talking altogether. Only her art class offers any solace, and it is through her work on an art project that she is finally able to face what really happened at that terrible party: she was raped by an upperclassman, a guy who still attends Merryweather and is still a threat to her. Her healing process has just begun when she has another violent encounter with him. But this time Melinda fights back, refuses to be silent, and thereby achieves a measure of vindication.

In Laurie Halse Anderson’s powerful novel, an utterly believable heroine with a bitterly ironic voice delivers a blow to the hypocritical world of high school. She speaks for many a disenfranchised teenager while demonstrating the importance of speaking up for oneself.

Speak was a 1999 National Book Award Finalist for Young People’s Literature.

-Goodreads

First Sentence 

“It is my first morning of high school.”

Review

Laurie Halse Anderson has been one of my favorite authors for quite some time now. I first landed upon Speak, at a used book sale and I’ve read it twice since. Her writing give me chills and delineates hurt and redemption all at once. Her stories are meticulously crafted, fictional, yet underlined with so much truth. Since reading Speak, I have read Wintergirls, which is another blog post on it’s own, and Catalyst, all very powerful stories that have changed my perception of the world.

“I have never heard a more eloquent silence.”
― Laurie Halse Anderson, Speak

Speak has gotten lots of attention, being one of the most notoriously known YA novels published in the end of the twentieth century. A very controversial novel, read throughout schools but also one of the most banned/challenged for the decade after its release all the while racking multiple literary awards. Its controversy is what attracted me to the novel in the first place, and I am happy to say that this one was most definitely worth my time!

This novel was so interesting to me because it quite literally speaks out the truth, and being published during the years it was, the truth was not always easily welcomed. We can see how hard the toll of sexual assault can have on someone as young as Melinda and how her struggle reflects onto other things in her life, like her friendships and her grades at school. I don’t really have much to say on this novel, truth be told. I find that Laurie Halse Anderson writes important books and I am really happy to be able to read books that matter as much as hers do. Speak was revolutionary during its release and still is for many now, myself included. A truly powerful and thought-provoking read. Speak is a novel we should all have on our shelves.

“You can’t speak up for your right to be silent. That’s letting the bad guys win.”
― Laurie Halse Anderson, Speak

Final Review/Recommendation 

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Reading Speak really changed my perception of my everyday life. Some people are struggling every day and we don’t see it. I read this novel for the first time freshman year and even though I have not been through what Melinda went through, I could still attach myself emotionally to her story. I’d recommend Speak to someone who has maybe gone through similar struggles as Melinda and want to know they aren’t alone, or to anyone who just wants a truthful yet short read for the summer. (since its only 198 pages)

“Censorship is the child of fear and the father of ignorance. Our children cannot afford to have the truth of the world withheld from them. They need us to be brave enough to give them great books so they can learn how to grow up into the men and women we want them to be.”
― Laurie Halse Anderson, Speak

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Let me know what you thought of Speak or my review!

Have a nice day 😉

-Emma

Shout – Review

Shout – Review

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Author: Laurie Halse Anderson

Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group

Publication date: March 12th 2019

Pages: 304

Price: $19.18 CAD (Hardcover) at Indigo Books & Music Online 


Synopsis

A searing poetic memoir and call to action from the bestselling and award-winning author of Speak, Laurie Halse Anderson!
Bestselling author Laurie Halse Anderson is known for the unflinching way she writes about, and advocates for, survivors of sexual assault. Now, inspired by her fans and enraged by how little in our culture has changed since her groundbreaking novel Speak was first published twenty years ago, she has written a poetry memoir that is as vulnerable as it is rallying, as timely as it is timeless. In free verse, Anderson shares reflections, rants, and calls to action woven between deeply personal stories from her life that she’s never written about before. Searing and soul-searching, this important memoir is a denouncement of our society’s failures and a love letter to all the people with the courage to say #metoo and #timesup, whether aloud, online, or only in their own hearts. Shout speaks truth to power in a loud, clear voice– and once you hear it, it is impossible to ignore. -Goodreads

First Sentence

“Finding my courage to speak up twenty-five years after I was raped, writing Speak, and talking with countless survivors of sexual violence made me who I am today.”

Review

Laurie Halse Anderson has been one of my favorite authors for quite some time now. I first landed upon Speak, at a used book sale and I’ve read it twice since. Her writing give me chills and delineates hurt and redemption all at once. Her stories are meticulously crafted, fictional, yet underlined with so much truth. Since reading Speak, I have read Wintergirls, which is another blog post on it’s own, and Catalyst, all very powerful stories that have changed my perception of the world. I believe I first heard of Shout in January… not sure, but I just by the title that I was going to read this when it hit the shelves.

Speak has gotten lots of attention, being one of the most notoriously known YA novels published in the end of the twentieth century. A very controversial novel, read throughout schools but also one of the most banned/challenged for the decade after its release all the while racking multiple literary awards.

“the only thing that helped me breathe was opening a book”

Shout is another strong work of Anderson, except its no longer Melinda’s story. It’s Laurie Halse Anderson’s story through poetry. She explains her books, her story, her childhood, her lived injustice, others stories, through the form of poetry. Now, I am no master poetry reader, I like to read poetry from time to time, but it is not a frequent thing. Although, Shout is generally aiming for younger readers, I mean I found it in the YA section at Chapters and not the poetry section completely across the store. Being focused on younger readers somehow made me much more confortable reading this… I don’t know, I sometimes think that I’m not understanding the poetry I’m reading like I should but if Shout is for younger readers I should get it right?

I bought this book in April and I read it on that same day in April. Once again Anderson’s writing is so powerful! I was hooked! Hearing her stories and stories from other victims really opened up my mind to the atrocities and the injustice that so many women, and men, have to go through, and how it stays with you forever. I loved this book. I loved hearing others voices and how Laurie Halse Anderson wrote Speak and Wintergirls, but Shout was not a book for me. I read it and enjoyed it, but I’m happy to know that there are books as good as this one out there for people who really need it. For those who have gone through what Laurie or so many others have gone through and feel like they don’t have a voice. Such powerful words splayed on these sheets… I hope they help someone else shout too!

“too many grown-ups tell kids to follow their dreams
like that’s going to get them somewhere
Auntie Laurie says follow your nightmares instead
cuz when you figure out what’s eating you alive
you can slay it”
― Laurie Halse Anderson, Shout

Final Review/Recommendation

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I give Shout four out of five stars because it was a super awesome read BUT personally I thought some of the poems where hard to understand. Maybe it was because I’ve never been in a similar situation. I also think that maybe writing poems was great but including a short story here and there might have been cool. But again, this book does touch some very challenging and personal subjects so detailing the scenarios more throughly might make it uncomfortable for some readers or the writer. This is just my opinion though! I am not really one to critique a book like this one because I in no way understand the agony and discomfort the author had to endure throughout those years and just the fact that she was brave enough to get up and speak about it through her books shows more power than anything I could ever do. What I’m saying is that Laurie Halse Anderson is a super powerful woman and we need more strong people like her in our world!

“This note about anatomy
from me to you
is for the remembering that
after you speak
after you shout
your open mouth
will breathe in the light
for which you’ve hungered
and your backbone will unfurl,
until you can again dance to the beat
of your steadfast heart.”
― Laurie Halse Anderson, Shout

I think everyone should give Shout a try. Even if you are not a victim, knowing what others have gone through can help you to help those and to understand those who need someone there for them. It is also a very truthful and bold read that makes you reflect on our society and bring awareness to these sorts of situations that sadly happen everyday. If you have read any of Laurie Halse Andersen’s other books and enjoyed them, I also suggest you pick up Shout because she explains the inspiration behind her other stories and characters and what stories they are loosely based off of. I thought, as a person who has read her other books before, that this was really cool to see the provenance of her novels.

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“Shame, turned inside out, is rage.”
― Laurie Halse Anderson, Shout

Let me know what you thought of Shout, Speak, Wintergirls, or my review! Have a great week!

-Emma 😉

Broken Throne – Review

Broken Throne – Review

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Author: Victoria Aveyard

Publisher: HarperTeen

Publication date: May 7, 2019

Pages: 480

Price: $24.99 CAD (Hardcover) at Indigo Books & Music Online


Synopsis

Return once more to the deadly and dazzling world of Red Queen in Broken Throne, a beautifully designed, must-have companion to the chart-topping series from #1 New York Times bestselling author Victoria Aveyard.

The perfect addition to the #1 New York Times bestselling Red Queen series, this gorgeously designed package features three brand-new novellas, two previously published novellas, Steel Scars and Queen Song, and never-before-seen maps, flags, bonus scenes, journal entries, and much more exclusive content.

Fans will be delighted to catch up with beloved characters after the drama of War Storm and be excited to hear from brand-new voices as well. This stunning collection is not to be missed!

-Goodreads

As someone who has followed the Red Queen series since its debut. I am thrilled to have gotten my hands on these short stories of all my favorite characters! (There’s also some new ones that are super awesome too!!! 🙂 )


Queen Song

Queen Coriane, first wife of King Tiberias, keeps a secret diary—how else can she ensure that no one at the palace will use her thoughts against her? Coriane recounts her heady courtship with the crown prince, the birth of a new prince, Cal, and the potentially deadly challenges that lay ahead for her in royal life. -Goodreads

First Sentence

“As usual, Julian gave her a book.”

Review

I already read Queen Song and Steel Scars before the release of Broken Throne. Yet, I’m really happy to have read them again. Out of the two, Queen Song was my favorite! Throughout the Red Queen Series, Cal talks about his mom all the time. He misses her, or rather, what he remembers of her. Julian eventually gives him Coriane’s diary to read. This story is such a riveting read because we get an in detail look at Coriane’s adolescence, how she met King Tiberias, what she wrote in her diary and how Elara was tormenting her to her death. I really enjoyed this one, even after reading it a second time! One thing I did not like but liked at the same time is how we see how Coriane dies. That scene is really sad and makes me feel bad for Cal even though he’s a fictional character and all.

A DOOMED QUEEN

pens words of hope to her future son.


Steel Scars 

Farley was raised to be strong, but being tasked with planting the seeds of rebellion in Norta is a tougher job than expected. As she travels the land recruiting black market traders, smugglers, and extremists for her first attempt at an attack on the capital, she stumbles upon a connection that may prove to be the key to the entire operation—Mare Barrow. -Goodreads

First Sentence 

“Storms ahead.”

Review

Victoria Aveyard knows how to write some frikkin awesome characters. My favorite characters are Mare, Cal, Julian, Evangeline, and Farley all at once. I can relate to all of them in some way or another and they are also just super entertaining characters. Some people think that Red Queen Series got boring after Glass Sword… those people aren’t paying enough attention to the characters! Steel Scars was a blast to read because it focused on one of my absolute favs: Farley! Such a powerful and confident gal in the series, helping Mare out all the time, having a kid and still being a warrior, pretty much leading the Scarlet Guard, this girl does it ALL. This novella takes place during the Red Queen era, so like before all the tea with Monfort and Norta and the Lakelands and way before Mareena Tatianos… Farley meets Mare like right when she’s trying to get into the Scarlet Guard and it’s fun to see Farley’s bold perspective of their meeting. Also the messages in between the Colonel (via radio transcript? I believe?) was a really cool touch. As Farley, super badass feminist icon says herself, “Rise, red as the dawn!”

A YOUNG SCARLET GUARD

captain finds a glimmer of hope

that will light a rebellion.


World Behind

First Sentence 

“I’m only twenty years old, but I’ve seen countless rat days, as crew and as captain.”

Review 

I was not expecting a story like World Behind in Broken Throne. Introducing new characters this late in the series… I thought we’d just be getting the conclusion for all of fav characters, not the beginning for new ones! It actually was not as bad as I originally thought. This story takes place in the after part of the series, and we are introduced to captain Ashe and Princess Lyrisa, who is trying to flee her Kingdom aboard Ashe’s ship. Lyrisa is obviously a sliver and Ashe, a red. But this story goes to tell that the hate, or rather fear, among silvers and reds is still prominent even after the revolution. The people in Ashe’s ship are not nice or keep their distance from Lyrisa and Lyrisa acts cold to them to keep the act going. I won’t spoil too much, but I thought it was going to end horribly because it was a short story and then I’d have to wonder into the oblivion for the rest of my life but this was actually a really good ending. I was satisfied with this story!

A SILVER PRINCESS

trusts a Red captain with her life

in the chaos of an unknown land.


Iron Heart

EvAnGeLiNe SaMoS YoU GuYs!

First Sentence

“Despite the autumn chill, the sun is bright overhead, and I squint behind my shaded glasses.”

Review

Ummmmmm so this one is totally one of my favorite stories. In Iron Heart, we find out what happens to Evangeline and Ptolemus after War Storm. EEEKKK! I was so giddy while reading this! Loved how we got to see Evangeline getting used to the normal life, where she is equal to Reds and she is able to openly love who she wants! Evangeline is a naturally cold character, so it was nice to see her warm up a bit at the end of it all. We also see her and her brothers abdication from the Kingdom of the Rift anddddd there’s a visit from mom! Such an eventful story! 🙂

“For now I can rest, and heal my iron heart.”


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♥♥♥♥Don’t we all love pretty books! *sigh* 🙂 ♥♥♥♥


Fire Light

First Sentence 

“I had my pick of days, but in the end, the snow made the decision for me.”

Review

This was what I was waiting for. This is it. The closure the Barrows, Mare and Cal, Kilorn, Julian, and Farley deserve. This story was awesome from beginning to end. The way Victoria Aveyard writes is so much better than any other YA novelist I have read to date. He descriptions are brief yet meticulous at the same time. I loved all the scenes, especially when the Barrows walk in at the ball covered in Gisa’s floral works. They quite literally were reborn. I’m happy that Cal and Mare found each other again. I think they can heal together. And GISA with her FRIEND and also KILORN and CAMERON… *wiggles eyebrows* ♥♥♥L’AMOUR EST DANS L’AIR ♥♥♥ Won’t say too much on this but I like how Aveyard doesn’t make the relationships the main idea of her books, like Divergent, or Delirium, where the world is literally on fire but the characters are all smoochy smoochy like if this were really happening I do not think that smoochy smoochy would oh, I dunno, ensure your survival? Oh, but who am I to speak? I’m just a sixteen year old who goes to school instead of fighting revolutions! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ – Anyway, all this to say: This ONE WAS MY FAVORITE STORY OUT OF ALL OF THEM!!!!

AND A HERO

whose spark started a revolution discovers

where she belongs in peace.


Fare Well

First Sentence

“I would turn this horrid little room to ash if I could, but the Silent Stone is a poison and an anchor.”

Review

I know a lot of the readers wanted lots of Maven scenes in Broken Throne. Fare Well, being one of the shorter stories might not have satisfied them, but I was for sure. I think that seeing two much Maven would really have dampened my perspective on the book. Also, Maven is dead since War Storm, so if we wanted to bring him back so bad then we might not of gotten the conclusions for our other characters who are still alive.

ENEMY BROTHERS

clash one final time.

I’m happy Cal got to get some closure with his brother, returning to the island and all. Remembering him for what he could of been rather than what he had become. Red Queen is such a different series because I don’t see many stories where we commemorate and remember the antagonist. Maven was horrible to Mare and Cal, yet they loved him so much and Mare grieves his death even if she was the one who caused it. Mare and Cal’s shared love for Maven, or rather the Maven he could of been if his mother had not brain washed him for his whole life brings them together and I like how the death of someone so bad like Maven was can actually unify a group of people. The scene where Maven is still alive and lies to Cal about how he really feels made me really sad though. OMG! And when Maven says the final good-bye to Cal but only after he left…. I was in TEARS. HE DESERVED BETTER! There was a little good left in him, he just hid it. Really emotional to read this one. Lots of weird bromance, but still really saddening. Especially when Cal is crying for his lost brother on the deserted island where Maven is buried. YOOOOO that was so sad!!!!!! Ouf, I’m tearing up right now… MOVING ON.

“Good-bye, Maven,” Cal says, his voice broken. He isn’t really speaking to me.

The farewell is for another boy, lost years ago, before he became what I am now. Cal lets go of him, the Maven I was. The Maven I still am, somewhere inside, unable or unwilling to step into the light.

This will be the last time we speak to each other alone. I can feel that in my marrow. If I see him again, it will be before the throne, or beneath the cold steel of the executioner’s blade.

“I look forward to the sentencing,” I drawl in reply, watching him flee the room. The door slams behind him, shaking paintings in their frames.

Despite all the differences between us, we have this in common. We use our pain to destroy.

“Good-bye, Cal.” I say to no one.

“Weakness,” my mother answers.


Julian’s Notes

Throughout the book, there are also random notes and articles that Julian is doing research on. He sends them to Cal so he can learn more about his family amongst other things. These little clippings where super interesting. We find out how Silvers were born, how the world got to where it is now. I always thought this took place in another world where Silvers and Reds where all that was ever known. But no! The whole series takes place in the future! Julian finds a bunch of articles on how the humans died because of climate change. There was also some articles about Mare and Cal getting married and having kids named Shade and Coriane! Those references wowie. We also learn about all the other Calore Kings and we get some updates on how things are going for blood equality in the other countries!

AN UNSEATED KING

searches for meaning in a world altered by war.


Final Review/Recommendation 

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I give Broken Throne five stars because it was the conclusion I needed for the series. I’m sad to see Red Queen officially come to an and but all good things end eventually. It was an awesome ride!

I’d recommend Broken Throne to someone who has read the Red Queen series, obviously. But I know sometimes short stories and novellas seem unappealing or a waste of time but if you read the Red Queen series, you just have to read Broken Throne! You aren’t actually done until you’ve read this one! (Bring some tissues though, because like all endings for series, you really get in your feels!)

“Go break some thrones”

-Victoria Aveyard, Broken Throne

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My copy of Broken Throne was also signed by THE Victoria Aveyard! I will probably never get to meet her but still! Um the best person in the world touched the book that I read?! AMAZING.

 

If you are still ready after all of my ranting, let me know what you though of Broken Throne or my review! Love to hear what you have to say! 🙂

Have a great day!

-Emma ♥

Northanger Abbey – Review

Northanger Abbey – Review

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Author: Jane Austen 

Publisher: Penguin English Library 

Publication date: November, 2012 (Original edition in 1817)

Pages: 247

Price: $14.99 CAD (Paperback) at Indigo Books & Music Online


Synopsis 

‘To look almost pretty, is an acquisition of higher delight to a girl who has been looking plain the first fifteen years of her life, than a beauty from her cradle can ever receive’

During an eventful season at Bath, young, naïve Catherine Morland experiences the joys of fashionable society for the first time. She is delighted with her new acquaintances: flirtatious Isabella, who shares Catherine’s love of Gothic romance and horror, and sophisticated Henry and Eleanor Tilney, who invite her to their father’s mysterious house, Northanger Abbey. There, her imagination influenced by novels of sensation and intrigue, Catherine imagines terrible crimes committed by General Tilney. With its broad comedy and irrepressible heroine, this is the most youthful and and optimistic of Jane Austen’s works. -Goodreads

First Sentence 

“No one who had ever seen Catherine Morland in her infancy would have supposed her born to be a heroine.”

Review

This is my first time reading a Jane Austen novel! I’m pretty sure my mom has read all of them, but this is my first! This novel was fairly short so it was not as intimidating at her other works. This book being shorter actually helped me a lot because this writing style is much different than the one I’m used to! I’ve got to say though, Jane Austen really knew how to write. Her writing style is hard to describe, but it seems really heartwarming and familiar even though this is my first time reading one of her books! I really enjoyed Catherine’s boldness, optimism, imagination, ans independence. I think it makes this book so much more riveting knowing that people like Austen were as bold to write about such different subjects in such a stereotyped and law abiding era.

“The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.”
― Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

I did think the storyline was a little slow though. The whole idea of going to the mysterious Northanger Abbey was really intriguing from the synopsis’ view point, but I had no idea it was going to take three quarters of the novel before they got there! Yes, the book isn’t that long, merely 200 pages or so, but the first like 135 pages of the novel got boring after a while, it seemed like not much was going on and the story was not really going anywhere. This made me bored quite fast and it made the process of reading this novel much longer than I anticipated. It actually led me into a month long reading slump! In general though, once they made it to Northanger Abbey, things picked up and got enjoyable. I won’t spoil but the ending was also really good!

Final Review|Recommendation

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I ended up really enjoying Northanger Abbey, although slow at first, it was worth my time and I eventually got quite invested in the characters. 🙂 I’d recommend Northanger Abbey to anyone who wants to enjoy a good ol’ classic (obviously) or to someone who likes reading historical fiction from the early nineteenth century!

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“It is only a novel… or, in short, only some work in which the greatest powers of the mind are displayed, in which the most thorough knowledge of human nature, the happiest delineation of its varieties, the liveliest effusions of wit and humour, are conveyed to the world in the best-chosen language”
― Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

Let me know what you thought of Northanger Abbey or my review!

Happy Sunday!

-Emma 🙂

 

We Should All be Feminists and Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions – Review

We Should All be Feminists and Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions – Review

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We Should All Be Feminists 

Author: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

Publication date: February 3, 2015

Pages: 64

Price: $11.95 CAD (paperback) at Indigo Books & Music Online


Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions

Author: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Publisher: Knopf Canada

Publication date: March 7, 2017

Pages: 80

Price: $18.00 CAD (hardcover) at Indigo Books & Music Online


Hey everyone! Today I’m going to share what I thought on We Should All Be Feminists and Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions. Both these books are not that long and are considered to be essays so I’ll just review them both in one post! Enjoy!

We Should All Be Feminists

Synopsis

What does “feminism” mean today? That is the question at the heart of We Should All Be Feminists, a personal, eloquently-argued essay—adapted from her much-viewed TEDx talk of the same name—by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the award-winning author of Americanah and Half of a Yellow Sun.

With humor and levity, here Adichie offers readers a unique definition of feminism for the twenty-first century—one rooted in inclusion and awareness. She shines a light not only on blatant discrimination, but also the more insidious, institutional behaviors that marginalize women around the world, in order to help readers of all walks of life better understand the often masked realities of sexual politics. Throughout, she draws extensively on her own experiences—in the U.S., in her native Nigeria, and abroad—offering an artfully nuanced explanation of why the gender divide is harmful for women and men, alike.

Argued in the same observant, witty and clever prose that has made Adichie a bestselling novelist, here is one remarkable author’s exploration of what it means to be a woman today—and an of-the-moment rallying cry for why we should all be feminists.             – Goodreads

First Sentence

“Okoloma was one of my greatest childhood friends.”

Review

I first read We Should All Be Feminists back in 2016 and I just reread it recently.  I’ll tell you right now that this was one of the most truthful, motivating and awe-inspiring books I have ever read. Chimamanda knows that in order to get to her readers she must use brutal honesty and real-life experiences and she is hella right! I am always welcome to pick up one of her books because I know they have an importance and they are worthwhile reads. Chimamanda’s books might be short, but they are way more than ink on paper. She retells her experience as a minority and depicts the reality many women still face in some countries, why it should not be that way, and how we can change.  This book has helped me time and time again at becoming a better person, to speak out in what I believe in, and to be your own person, no matter what standards are set.

I also was a really, I mean REALLY big fan of Beyoncé back in 2016. I still love her, but I can’t bring myself to pay twenty dollars for Lemonade. lol. Anyway, in We Should All Be Feminists, there are actually some lines that were said in some of Beyoncé’s songs! How freaking cool is that!

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Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions

Synopsis

From the best-selling author of Americanah and We Should All Be Feminists comes a powerful new statement about feminism today–written as a letter to a friend. 

A few years ago, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie received a letter from a dear friend from childhood, asking her how to raise her baby girl as a feminist. Dear Ijeawele is Adichie’s letter of response.

Here are fifteen invaluable suggestions–compelling, direct, wryly funny, and perceptive–for how to empower a daughter to become a strong, independent woman. From encouraging her to choose a helicopter, and not only a doll, as a toy if she so desires; having open conversations with her about clothes, makeup, and sexuality; debunking the myth that women are somehow biologically arranged to be in the kitchen making dinner, and that men can “allow” women to have full careers, Dear Ijeawele goes right to the heart of sexual politics in the twenty-first century. It will start a new and urgently needed conversation about what it really means to be a woman today.                    -Goodreads

First Sentence

“When a couple of years ago a friend of mine from childhood, who’d grown into a brilliant, strong, kind woman, asked me to tell her how to raise her baby girl a feminist, my first thought was that I did not know.”

Review

Feminism is something that is really important to me. I believe that everyone should have equal rights and equal opportunities whether they have a different race, gender, religion. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie also holds these things as valuable and important for recognition. And with that at heart she brings us such amazing and inspiring books such as this one.

Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions, is a letter that Chimamanda wrote to her friend after she’d asked her how to raise her daughter as a feminist. This book is the letter Adichie wrote back, which includes fifteen suggestions as to how to raise your child a feminist.

Once again, this book has made me reflect on how grateful I am to be in a country where women are heard. It is unbelievable that some women still have to voice or opinion and are raised to believe that that’s okay! I love how the author includes her stories from her youth. It helps the reader understand the circumstances some women and girls must go through. All in all, Chimamanda’s books leave a mark. When I read them I felt empowered ans motivated to make a change, to be better! I’m happy that we have an activist as amazing as her spreading the message through these essays! I think this is really inspiring and will totally be super helpful for some of our gals out there!

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Final Review/Recommendation

We Should All Be Feminists

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Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions

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I give We Should All Be Feminists five stars because it is eye-opening and  is sheer brilliance that everyone should read. It really decipher what it truly means to be a feminist and how important it is that you be one! UGH! It’s just such a great book! I don’t know what to say! Chimamanda is such a big role model to me!

For Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions, I rate it four stars because I loved it just as much as We Should All Be Feminists, but it seemed too short! I want more ways! I did really enjoy how it was in a letter format, though it wasn’t addressed to me, it felt very personalized.

I’d recommend these books to anyone and everyone. I think these are very important and informative but entertaining books and I’d much rather read something like this in my English class than Lord of The Flies. :/  Plus they aren’t that long! Only took me an hour or so each! Please please please give these a try! You won’t regret it!

“The problem with gender is that it prescribes how we should be rather than recognizing how we are. Imagine how much happier we would be, how much freer to be our true individual selves, if we didn’t have the weight of gender expectations.”
― Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, We Should All Be Feminists

Let me know what you thought of We Should All be Feminists and Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions or of my review! I’d love to hear your thoughts!!!

Have a good weekend, everyone!

-Emma 🙂

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