Category: book one

Title: Call Down the Hawk

Author: Maggie Stiefvater

Age Group: Teen/Young Adult

Genre: Fantasy

Series: The Dreamer Trilogy, book one

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

               I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.

               Okay, so I just finished this book last night and I’m still so emotional. This is going to sound crazy fangirly, but whatever, here we go. There aren’t enough words in the English language to describe just how much I love and have missed Maggie Stiefvater’s writing. The Raven Cycle is one of my all-time favorite series, and once I found out that one of my favorite Raven Boys, Ronan Lynch and his family, got the spotlight in Call Down the Hawk, I was so excited! I was lucky enough to receive my library’s first copy, and as soon as I was finished with Supernova, I dove in. This book is dark, weird, lyrical and surprising; I loved it so much. It might be one of my favorites of Stiefvater’s entire body of work. I loved this weird, strange book, but most of all, this book made me realize just how much I love the brothers Lynch. This is the second book of 2020 for me, and I loved every crazy, insane moment of it. One of my favorites of the year, and I can’t wait for the next two books!

               Ronan Lynch has always known that he and his family have been different. Left alone at the Barns after his boyfriend, Adam Parrish, goes to start college at Harvard, Ronan soon discovers that the world his late, also dreaming father inhabited hides dark, dangerous secrets, some of them about Ronan himself and his brothers. But when he meets another dreamer, the mysterious Hennessey, Ronan begins to realize that there is a war raging, dreams and destiny are crashing together, and unknown forces are working behind the scenes to make sure that the Dreamers stay hidden. But Ronan must decide if he will become the hero everyone wants him to be, or turn his back on his loved ones…

               I loved, loved, loved this book. The Raven Cycle is one of my die-hard, deserted island series; I wish I had it in my own collection, and reading this book felt like nothing less than coming home. It made me so emotional that there were several times where I had to put the book down to cry. I’ve missed these characters so much; it felt like I was being welcomed back into an old group of dear, loving friends. The pacing was breakneck, and I immediately felt at home with Ronan and his brothers. The prose was dark, lyrical, and per Maggie’s signature, confusing; there were times when I had to go back and reread to make sure I really understood it. But she puts her signature magic into this new trilogy, and one of my favorite parts of the novel was the way that the Lynches’ dreaming was explained. I also adored the characters, old and new, but especially Hennessey and the girls, Bryde, and the Visionaries and Zeds. I don’t want to say too much about the plot; it’s confusing, tangled, but best experienced blind; the better to keep the surprises under wraps! The bottom line: Weird, dark, surprising and funny, I loved Call Down the Hawk! I can’t wait for more from this new trilogy! Next on deck: Cursed by Frank Miller and Thomas Wheeler!

https://literatureobsessed.blogspot.com/2020/01/call-down-hawk-by-maggie-stiefvater.html

Title: The Never Tilting World

Author: Rin Chupeco

Age Group: Teen/Young Adult

Genre: Fantasy

Series: The Never Tilting World, book one

Star Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

               I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.

               Rin Chupeco is one of my favorite authors, so when I found out she had a new book coming out in October, I put it on hold immediately. Ever since, it’s been sitting at the top of my library stack, begging to be read. I couldn’t renew it anymore, so as soon as I was finished with Good Omens, I dove in. In this rich, fully realized fantasy world, two goddesses are at war. After a catastrophic event called The Breaking, the planet has stopped turning, literally. Resulting in one side of the planet stuck in endless night, and the other in constantly scorching sunlight, four young people are forced to try and fix their world, even if it means unearthing secrets that could change everything. Full of monsters, magic, deadly secrets and political intrigue, I loved this series opener and can’t wait for the next book in this duo!

               Lady Tianlan is a Catseye, a bodyguard for the goddess she serves. Still reeling from being the only survivor of a deadly mission in the Abyss, she is drawn to her goddess’s sickly daughter, Odessa. When she ordered to go back to search for answers, she wonders if her demons and ghosts will conquer her. Odessa, for her part, knows that she can do more than what her mother allows. Frustrated from being stifled and looked after all the time, she steals away on the ship Lan is commanding. On the other side of the world, the other goddess’s daughter, Haidee, comes across a fire worker, and together they leave The Golden City. Forced to work with her people’s worst enemy, she discovers that her mysterious companion has secrets of his own. Two sister goddesses broke the world, and now two sisters must save it. But it turns out there are forces bigger even than the goddesses, and they are working to bring about a darkness more dangerous than anyone could ever know…

               I adored this book! It wasn’t perfect, but it was damn near close. With this series opener, she has penned a fantastic debut with multiple voices. The worldbuilding was fantastic, and the pacing was breakneck. As soon as I was done with Good Omens, I started this book and devoured it in less than three days. I loved the magic system, as well as the broken world that the characters lived in. This book had everything I love: war, magic, romance, monsters, political intrigue and secrets. There were times when the narration was a bit stilted, and at times it was difficult to keep track of who was speaking. Nonetheless, this series debut was absolutely wonderful; it might be one of my favorite books of 2019, and I can’t wait for the next one! The bottom line: Richly detailed, romantic, dark and mesmerizing, I loved The Never Tilting World!

https://literatureobsessed.blogspot.com/2019/12/the-never-tilting-world-by-rin-chupeco.html

Title: Come November

Author: Katrin van Dam

Age Group: Teen/Young Adult

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Series: Come November, book one

Star Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

               I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.

               Come November was the book club book for one of the clubs I go to, Young Adult for Adults. I finished it last week and I still can’t get it out of my head. This book is van Dam’s first, and I was so happy when we realized that she was writing a book about November’s younger brother, Daniel. This story was so unique, I will never forget it. It was emotional and more than a little stressful, but I’m so glad that I was able to accompany November on her journey through life. It wasn’t perfect, but I liked that a lot as well; it felt like it was truer to life that way. This debut novel was strong and beautifully written, and even with the flaws, it is one of my favorite books that I’ve read this year. I won’t forget November and her family! Props to the head of the book club for picking this book. (You know who you are!)

               Rooney Harris knows that the end of the world isn’t truly coming, but trying to say that to her passionate and flighty mother is next to impossible. She knows that she’s the only responsible one for herself and her brother, Daniel, since their mom joined a cult called The Next World Society. On November 17th, her mother and countless others are going to be taken away to live on a new planet and live with otherworldly beings who will save anyone brave enough to part with all of their worldly possessions. But the day finally arrives, only to cause massive disappointment and confusion when it doesn’t actually happen. Rooney’s already complicated existence gets even scarier when she finally reaches out to her father, who left their mother behind years ago to start over with someone else. Rooney begins to learn to let people in, and that nothing about her life is quite what it seems.

               I loved this book. It was a hell of a kick, right to the feels, but I just adored it. It made me so stressed and emotional, at times. There were times I got so emotional that I had to walk away, set it down. But I finished it in a day, and I still haven’t been able to get November’s poignant, sad voice out of my head. The pacing of this book was breakneck; it enthralled me, right out of the gate. I also adored the other characters in the novel: Rooney’s parents, Daniel, Anjelica, Mercer, and the Fishers. Rooney, though, was the star: I loved her defiance, her rage, her sweet but broken writer’s heart. I loved the ending, too, even though it left me feeling a bit cheated at first. Upon further thought and discussion, I liked that there were some loose ends, because in all honesty, that’s usually how life goes. Nothing is ever cut and dried, and I liked that. Katrin van Dam has outdone herself with Come November, and I’m so excited for the sequel! The bottom line: A lyrical, darkly funny and thoughtful debut, I loved Come November! Next on deck: Her Body and Other Parties: Stories by Carmen Maria Machado!

https://literatureobsessed.blogspot.com/2019/11/come-november-by-katrin-van-dam-review.html

Title: Frankly in Love

Author: David Yoon

Age Group: Teen/Young Adult

Genre: Contemporary Fiction/Romance

Series: Frankly in Love, book one

Star Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

               I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.

               I’ve been curious about this book since before it came out, so, as soon as I was able, I reserved it at my library. Since then, it’s been sitting at the top of my library stack, begging me to read it. I picked it up, expecting a love story, but to call this book a love story would be to do it a major disservice. This book is about family, identity, self-acceptance, racism, and true love, and everything in between. Frankly in Love is that rare book that perfectly embodies the young adult genre, in the best kind of way. David Yoon has penned a fantastic and unforgettable debut, and I can’t wait to see what he delivers next! Frankly in Love just might be one of my favorite novels of 2019; I just finished it on Saturday night, and my heart is still aching from following Frank on his journey through life!

               Frank Li is a boy who is stuck between two worlds: his all-American upbringing and the expectation of his Korean parents and culture. He longs to be himself in a world that is always trying to press him into a mold. When he meets a white girl named Brit, he knows that his traditional, straitlaced and racist parents will not approve. He concocts a plan to stay under the radar: pretend to date a childhood friend, also Korean-American, named Joy Song, while dating Brit. But things get complicated when he begins having feelings for his fake girlfriend. What could possibly go wrong?

               I loved this book! It was hilarious, heartbreaking, honest and tender; it might just be one of my favorites of 2019. I was laughing, crying, and screaming throughout the whole book. Frank’s voice was honest, funny, and poignant; my heart ached for him as the book went on. The pacing was breakneck, and I was immediately spellbound by his narration. I adored Frank’s friends also, especially Joy, Q, and the Limbos. His family, too, was a fantastic foil to him; I loved the way it portrayed his parents and the immigrant parents-half-American dynamic. One of my favorite things about this book was the way that it highlighted racism! Unfortunately, that is a horrible and outdated practice that still persists in the lifeblood of America today. I loved the way that it went deep into Korean culture; it was as informative as it was funny and entertaining. I also adored the romance in this book; it reminded me of when I first fell in love with my husband. I was swooning as the book went on. I loved the ending; it was so heartbreaking and bittersweet. The only thing I didn’t like was that I wish there had been more said of Hanna, and her situation with Frankie and their parents. I wish she’d been more involved than she actually was. Nevertheless, I very much enjoyed Frankly in Love! One of my favorite books of the year! The bottom line: Hilarious, honest, heartbreaking and wonderful, I loved Frankly in Love! One of my favorite books of 2019! Next on deck: Come November by Katrin van Dam!

https://literatureobsessed.blogspot.com/2019/11/frankly-in-love-by-david-yoon-review.html

Title: Season of the Witch

Author: Sarah Rees Brennan

Age Group: Teen/Young Adult

Genre: Horror

Series: The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, book one

Star Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

               I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.

               Sarah Rees Brennan has been one of my favorite authors for years now; she won my heart with her Demon’s Lexicon trilogy, and I loved it. Ever since, I’ve kept an eye out for her new work. When I found out she was writing a brand-new prequel series for one of my favorite Netflix Original shows, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, I was so stoked! It’s been sitting at the top of my library stack for a few weeks now, and as soon as I was finished with Kingdom of Exiles, I dove in. I devoured this prequel novel, the first in a series, in less than a day. The book takes place the week before Sabrina’s sixteenth birthday, and the night of her Dark Baptism. Torn between what her family expects of her, what she wants, and the love and care of her mortal friends, Roz and Susie, and most important of all, her boyfriend and first love, Harvey Kinkle. Sabrina is at a crossroads, contemplating what she wants. But darker forces than she knows lurk in the forests of Greendale, and they have plans for her…

               This book was awesome; of course, I’m probably biased because I’m obsessed with Sarah Rees Brennan and this new rendition of Sabrina, gone darker and closer to the actual source material. I also liked the way that it took what was already established in the show and expanded upon it. The pacing was breakneck, and I was immediately spellbound by Sabrina’s frank, wry voice. I also loved the way Greendale itself, and its secrets, were a beloved character in and of themselves. I loved the way that the book took all of the side characters and made sure that they had the spotlight. But I think my favorite part of this novel was the spotlight on Sabrina’s wayward, carefree cousin, Ambrose, as well as the villain. I wish there had been more said, overall, about Sabrina’s other family members, but overall, this book was really enjoyable, and I’m really looking forward to the next book, which comes out in December. Sarah Rees Brennan has outdone herself again! The bottom line: Dark, more than a little spooky and chilling, and wonderful, I loved Season of the Witch! Next on deck: Two Dark Reigns by Kendare Blake!

https://literatureobsessed.blogspot.com/2019/11/season-of-witch-by-sarah-rees-brennan.html

Title: Kingdom of Exiles

Author: Maxym M. Martineau

Age Group: Adult

Genre: Fantasy/Romance

Series: The Beast Charmer, book one

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

               I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.

               I’ve been wanting to read this book since before it came out, and unfortunately, I had to return it to the library twice before I was finally able to read it. I pushed it to the top of my stack, as soon as I was finished with His Hideous Heart. Normally, romance as a genre makes me leery, but it has got me through some tough times, so I’ve been trying to expand my literary horizons somewhat. But I was really excited for this dark, magical and romantic series opener, and I’m happy to say that it didn’t disappoint. The best way to sum this book was like something of a mashup of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Assassin’s Creed, with a lot of romantic tension and humor thrown in. Kingdom of Exiles is one of my favorite books of 2019, and I can’t wait for the next book in the series!

               Leena Edenfrell is an exiled beast charmer, forced to sell her beloved creatures in order to make a living after she is falsely accused of an unforgivable crime. Now in hiding and trying to avoid getting caught for the hefty bounty on her head, things get even more complicated when one of the magical underworld’s most dangerous assassins comes for her. She strikes a deal with him: her own magical creatures in exchange for her life. Unknown to her, though, the undying are bound by magic to fulfill their contracts, and Noc cannot risk his brotherhood—his family—of assassins, not even to save the woman that he can’t live without…

               I loved, loved, loved this book! The pacing was breakneck, and I loved the worldbuilding; I was immediately spellbound by Leena’s voice. I adored the creatures that Leena tamed and used as teammates, but my favorite part of this book was the romance between Leena and Noc; it was so white-hot that I was practically fanning myself as the book went on. I gobbled this book up in a day and a half, and I cannot wait for The Frozen Prince next year! Unique, magical, romantic and sexy, I loved every moment of it, and I really enjoyed the mystery behind Leena’s sudden and unexpected exile. And that ending! It was nothing less than perfect! I’m so, so excited for the sequel! Maxym M. Martineau has gained a diehard, lifelong fan in me with Kingdom of Exiles! The bottom line: Magical, full of humor, wit, and romance, as well as political intrigue, I loved Kingdom of Exiles! One of my favorite books of 2019, absolutely unforgettable! Next on deck: Season of the Witch by Sarah Rees Brennan!

https://literatureobsessed.blogspot.com/2019/11/kingdom-of-exiles-by-maxym-m-martineau.html

Title: Gideon the Ninth

Author: Tamsyn Muir

Age Group: Adult

Genre: Horror/Science Fiction

Series: The Locked Tomb, book one

Star Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

               I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.

               This book came to my attention when some of my favorite bloggers on Book Riot and other websites began talking about it, and I just couldn’t resist ordering it from my local library. I mean: lesbian necromancers! In space! That’s honestly all I needed to hear. This book is Tamsyn Muir’s first, and I’m so excited for the next book in The Locked Tomb series! Strange, bloody, darkly hilarious and unique, I loved this scary, creepy series debut; I will never forget Gideon of the Ninth House, nor her necromancer partner/enemy/best friend. I just finished this book two days ago, and I’m still stunned; I needed some time to sit with my thoughts to get them in order. This book is unlike anything I’ve ever read; I’m still not quite sure how to define it. Nonetheless, despite an extensive cast of characters, I loved it; I was alternately laughing, crying, screaming, and tearing my hair out! I can’t wait for the next book!

               Gideon Nav is an orphan, a foundling taken in by the Ninth House of the Undead Lord and God King. She’s stuck with a prickly, dour necromancer for whom she has nourished a secret hatred her whole life. When she is thrust into the spotlight after the untimely departure of her house’s cavalier, Gideon and her charge are pushed into a deadly contest, and she must use all of her wits and strength to make it through the deadly court of the Undead alive. But when fellow competitors begin turning up dead, she begins to dig, and realizes that some secrets are better left buried…

               This book was unlike any other I’ve ever read before; I didn’t really know what to make of it at first. I mean, lesbian necromancers in space?! Honestly, that was all I needed to hear. The pacing was great, and I was immediately sucked in. Unfortunately, at times it was hard to picture the setting, just because it was so extensive, and the list of characters was so vast that it got confusing, really quickly; I was constantly referring back to the dramatis personae at the beginning of the book. Nonetheless, this book had all the things I loved: enemies to lovers romance, wonderful worldbuilding, dark magic, political intrigue, heart and humor and twists and turns galore! Despite the little flaws of this book, I’m fully invested in this series, and I cannot wait for the sequel! Gideon is a fantastic antihero, full of bite, spite, and spunk, and I loved her relationship with the other characters, especially her necromancer, who she’s known since childhood. And that ending! Oh, my goodness, I need the next book, right now! The bottom line: A rich, creepy science fiction horror mashup, I loved Gideon the Ninth, and I can’t wait for the next book in this wonderful series! Next on deck: Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell!

https://literatureobsessed.blogspot.com/2019/10/gideon-ninth-by-tamsyn-muir-review.html

Title: The Babysitters Coven

Author: Kate Williams

Age Group: Teen/Young Adult

Genre: Fantasy

Series: The Babysitters Coven, book one

Star Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

               I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.

               When I first heard of this book, I put it on hold at my local library immediately, and when it came in, I pushed it to the top of my stack. As soon as I was finished with Annihilation, I dove in, not sure what to expect, as I’ve never read any of Williams previous work. But what I got was a dark, frothy and supernatural comedy of errors. This book was like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The Babysitters Club had a baby, and I absolutely loved it; I’m so happy that it has a sequel coming out next fall! Babysitting, for Esme Pearl, has been something of a hidden talent. She loves kids, it’s a relatively easy way to make spending money, and it provides a distraction from her mother and the distance it’s created in her father. When she meets newcomer Cassandra Heaven, her life changes forever: She discovers that she has magical powers, like that of a witch. But things get even more complicated when the kids she watches reports strange sightings: the villain from Harry Potter, and David Bowie, dressed up as The Goblin King from the movie Labyrinth. Esme must decide whether to accept her powers, or if she wants to continue to be ‘normal’, whatever that means. A hilarious, rip-roaring and dark adventure perfect for fans of Buffy and Angel, I loved The Babysitters Coven, and it is definitely one of the best books of 2019 for me!

               This book was wonderful. There were times when the pacing dragged, and sometimes Esme’s voice got on my nerves, but it wasn’t so bad that I was put off the book entirely. I loved her narration, sharp and witty and hilarious. I was laughing throughout the novel, snorting and giggling as it went on. The pacing, for the most part, was really good, especially when it came to the action/fight scenes. I loved all of the characters: Esme, her parents, Cassandra and Dion, and Janis, in particular. I loved the overall tone of the book too; irreverent, tongue in cheek, and wry; that kind of humor is one of my favorites. And of course, one of the best parts of this was the magic! And I liked the way it referred to the old-school witchy ways of doing things; it reminded me of all the times as children that my siblings and I would create ‘witches brew’ in an old laundry basket. And that ending! Arrrgh, how am I supposed to wait until next fall for the sequel to this?! The bottom line: Kate Williams has penned a hilarious, dark, and magical girl-power series debut that I can’t wait for the sequel to! Next on deck: Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction by Jeff Vandermeer!

https://literatureobsessed.blogspot.com/2019/10/the-babysitters-coven-by-kate-williams.html

Title: Annihilation

Author: Jeff Vandermeer

Age Group: Adult

Genre: Science Fiction

Series: The Southern Reach, book one

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

               I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.

               Jeff Vandermeer is an absolute titan in the science fiction genre, but before the Natalie Portman film inspired by this book, I hadn’t read any of his work. And honestly, I wish I’d discovered it long before now. Annihilation, the first book in a trilogy, tells the story of the nameless narrator: a biologist whose curiosity about Area X leads her to discover that literally, nothing is as it seems, and her companions: a surveyor, anthropologist, and psychologist, respectively, all have something to hide, perhaps something deadly. But the island itself holds terrible secrets, and the biologist must decide whether they should stay buried, or if she should force them out into the light. But her need for answers may be too great for her to survive.

               This book was, in a word, unique. I haven’t encountered anything like it, to be honest, and it was great! The narrator was nameless, but not dull or bland, and the way that she describes Area X (and what drove her to it in the first place) was like sparks on the page. At times, it was hard to picture what was going on, because so much of the narrative relied on inference and implication, and it took some time for me to get used to it. Nonetheless, I loved this book; it was giving me distinct Princess Mononoke and Alien vibes. Strange, to be certain, but not in a bad way! Also, confession: I haven’t actually seen the Natalie Portman film, and I don’t want to; the book was enough of a crazy experience that I don’t want it to get muddled in any way. I also enjoyed the general feel of the novel: claustrophobic, forbidding, mysterious and frightening. I’m so happy that this is the first in a trilogy; I really want to know what happens next! With twists and secrets galore, I adored Annihilation, especially when I think about all of the different characters, their motives, and what is really wrong with Area X. And that ending! Authority cannot come soon enough! I can’t even put the exact plot into terms; it would be too hard. I’m just excited; I feel like I’ve found a brand-new, inspiring and stimulating author whose impact I will never forget! The bottom line: Strange, thought-provoking, and scary, I loved Annihilation, and I can’t wait to read the next two books in The Southern Reach series! Next on deck: The Babysitters Coven by Kate Williams!

https://literatureobsessed.blogspot.com/2019/10/annihilation-by-jeff-vandermeer-review.html

Title: Vicious

Author: V.E. Schwab

Age Group: Adult

Genre: Science Fiction

Series: Villians, book one

Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

               I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.

               V.E. Schwab is one of my favorite authors, and is an absolute titan in the writing industry. I’ve had my eye on one of her early novels, Vicious, for a long time now. Unfortunately, I had to return it to the library several times before I could actually read it. I couldn’t renew it anymore, so as soon as I was finished with Ghosts of the Shadow Market, I dove in, not wanting to return it without reading it yet again. Vicious is a tale about one of America’s classic tropes: superheroes! A dark, twisty science fiction tale full of revenge, gore, and old rivalries gone bitter, Vicious was captivating, thoughtful, and surprising—this book might be my favorite in Schwab’s extensive body of work. I cannot wait for the sequel, Vengeful!

               Victor Vale and Eli Cardale are college roommates and reluctant best friends. Both are ambitious, intelligent, and eager to show the world their abilities. They are both fascinated by EOS, short for Extra Ordinary. Both young men manipulate nature in order to control godly powers: Victor can manipulate pain levels: he can take away pain and give it in spades. Eli, on the other hand, has the ability to regenerate, rendering him practically invincible. Two former friends turned enemies, Victor and Eli are fixed on a collision course for one another, hellbent on getting revenge for their wrongs against each other. But other people, humans and other Extra Ordinaries, are going to get hurt. But what’s a little bit of collateral damage in exchange for retribution?

               I loved, loved, loved this book! Superheroes is an often-overused trope, but it’s one of my favorites and V.E. Schwab breathed fresh life into it. The pacing was breakneck, and I was immediately captivated. I also loved the way that Schwab jumped from one character to the next: Victor, Eli, Sydney and Serena. I loved this new twist on science fiction; Schwab’s gorgeous prose kept me glued to the pages, and I was thinking about the book even while doing other things. This book was thoughtful, too, and touched on things such as God, a higher power, fate, free will, and power, and what it means to have all of those things. I loved watching Victor and Eli face off, both in the past and the present. But I think my favorite part of the novel was Sydney. And that ending! Oh, my goodness, talk about a doozy! I’m so excited for Vengeful it’s difficult to put it into words! The bottom line: Thoughtful, violent, and suspenseful, I loved Vicious, and I can’t wait for Vengeful! Next on deck: The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee!

https://literatureobsessed.blogspot.com/2019/09/vicious-by-ve-schwab-review.html