‘’In the beginning, Orisha was a land where the rare and sacred maji thrived. Each of the ten clans was gifted by the gods above and given a different power to land.’’
It is not every day that you encounter a book that lets you dive in a world of magic, with such intensity as Children of Blood and Bone. A story so beautifully written, that you forget this is not the real world and you are in a fantasy story. This is one of the books I wish I could keep reading it for the first time again and again.
When majis are born with white hair, it means that they are touched by the Gods. They are called Diviners, and when they celebrate their thirteenth birthday, they have the ability to use magic.
Zelie still remembers how Orisha used to have magic. Different clans existed, and they could all control different things: air, water, earth… But Zelie also remembers the night when everything went wrong. When the king and the army came and killed hundreds of people. Zelie remembers, like it was yesterday, how on that night they brutally killed her mother. The night when magic disappeared forever.
And when Zelie realises that she is one of the very few people that can still use magic, and return magic in Orisha, she goes on a quest with her brother. With the help of a princess that escapes the castle, she has to learn to control her magic powers, and also her feelings for an enemy she mustn’t trust.
‘’I longed for the day I would feel the magic of the dead in my bones, but right now all I can feel is an unnerving tingle in my veins.’’
Purchase links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
The world is so well created, and the characters are all loveable and adorable. The magic story in this book is unique and I loved getting to know more about all clans, what they can do, and reading about people realising they have magic in themselves.
Zelie, as a character, is the protagonist, as all adventures are revolved around her, but the other characters are as much as important, if not in some cases, more important than her. She is a character that many of us can relate to. A person that has been denied the sole purpose of existing. A person that has suffered, because of other people’s choices. For Zelie, this was the denial of magic to her and her people, but for others it could be just anything. What I loved the most was the bravery that she showed, even though inside her she would be so scared. It felt as if fear itself made her to be brave. And I have felt that many times. Sometimes, you don’t really have a choice, but to be brave, no matter how scared you might be.
Then, we have Zelie’s brother, Tzain, who is always the more cautious one and tries to (unsuccessfully) keep Zelie out of trouble. He has so much love for Zelie in his heart and is always the one throwing himself out there to protect her. If I ever had a brother, I would wish for him to be Tzain. I couldn’t explain the love and connection they have together with Zelie. It’s so beautiful!
Then there is Amari, the princess that doesn’t agree with her father’s choices, and decides to follow her heart. I think I loved Amari the most out of all characters, as she was my true hero. Raised in a world of ruthless cruelty, and forced to do things she doesn’t want, her father, the king, always believes that she is weak, and incapable of defending herself and ruling a kingdom. And out there, with Zelie and Tzain, is where Amari finds her true self, and the moment she does is the best scene in this whole book, the beauty of a woman being so powerful, only because she was being belittled her whole life.
‘’It’s like seeing her for the first time: the human behind the maji. Fear embedded in the pain. Tragedy caused in Father’s name.’’
And in the end, we have Inan, the most controversial character in this book. The son of the king, and brother of Amari, dedicated to follow his father and rule the kingdom, but struggling between what is right and wrong. When he realises he has magic as well, he can’t confess, as his father kills those who have magic, but meeting Zelie, he is not so sure anymore of what really is happening in his kingdom, and has to make a decision on whose side he wants to be.
‘’The truth cuts like the sharpest knife I’ve ever known.’’
I loved how the story is focused on both worlds:
The world of Zelie and Tzain, where they live in small town with their father, they have to pay incredible amount of diviner tax, and the taxes get more and more expensive, and become impossible to be paid, so people have to go and do free labor for the king, never to be free again. They are faced with such unfairness and cruelty, but their families and the people in the village are sticking together to survive through everything.
And then we have the world of Amari and Inan, and the King. A world where magic is forbidden and all people that can use magic are being slaughtered. A world where being fierceless and cruel means that you are strong enough to lead a kingdom, and protect Orisha.
The only remark I have on this book were the acknowledgements. As much as I respect that story being told, and appreciate it with all my heart, I also really wished I haven’t read that part as it changed the story in the end for me, in a negative way. As I truly believe that every single person has the ability of magic in themselves. Every single person is powerful, and we all should be Diviners! And Inan having the ability himself proves my point on this as well.
A story about the battle of magic and friendships, a story about wins and losses, a world where magic lives in every single one of us. A world where we all belong. A masterpiece, this is. And a powerful one as well.
Awaken is book 2 from the Northern Witch Series. Read my review for Winter Trials, book one in the series.
I have enjoyed reading the first book, and I was so eager to get to the second one. This is a story about a young boy Mark and his grandma, who is a witch. This is also a story about Damien, a new guy in town, in which Mark falls in love with.
The second book starts where the first book left off. Mark and Damien have feelings for each other, but Damien is a danger to himself and others, and grandma will try to fix this with her power.
The book is a short and fast read. It is fast-paced, and I kept spinning the pages intensely. It brings you the feelings of home, and winter times, and family moments, and high-school memories. It has all the good vibes put together neatly.
View this post on Instagram
QOTD: Favorite book that features witches? Mark has everything he ever wanted. He is training to be a fully-fledged witch; and he is dating the hottest guy at school. But events from last winter have set things into motion that he is not prepared for. Witches, Demons and danger come together to prove that this… this is only the beginning. I am so excited to read this book. Thank you to @ksmarsden for introducing me to this series and sending me a copy of the book. If you haven't read the first book from the series, go and grab it now. It's so worth it!
The high-school romance was an addition to the book, and it was a pleasure to read. I enjoyed it a lot, even though we didn’t see as much romance in this book as we do in book one.
And then, there is the word ‘’Dunno.’’ A word that I don’t really mind, unless it’s used too often. And it bothered me, I will admit it.
But then, there was Nanna – a character full of light and power that pierces through. A character full of wittiness, giving life to each scene unlike any character can. A woman I so greatly admire, for her love and dedication to the family, and unconditional love and teaching towards her grandchild.
I read about magic, and high-school, more about high-school than magic. I wish there were more romance scenes, and was terrified when the book finished the way it did. I was afraid, and happy, and excited and sad, and not to forget, annoyed, but this book gave me all the right feels at times, and all the wrong ones too.
Purchase links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
It has never been harder to judge a book in-between this space of annoyance and love, and I am struggling. But I love Nanna too much.
I would recommend you to read this (or the first book in the series, if you haven’t yet). If you enjoy LGBT high-school romance and witchcraft adventures, this one will be a pleasurable read for you.
Thank you to the author, K.S. Marsden, for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
If someone offered you $500 to answer a few personal questions and stay anonymous, would you do it?
The makeup artist, Jessica Farris goes into a client’s house to do her job. Just the usual. And then she hears her teenage client mentioning the survey that gives you huge amounts of money for a few anonymous questions. When the teenager says she won’t be able to attend, and she is too lazy to let them know, Jessica decided to use this chance and go instead.
But what happens when after a few simple questions a woman starts telling her deepest secrets? And the money will increase, but so will the difficulty of the tasks she needs to do.
”It’s easy to judge other people’s choices.”
I was hyped about this book before I even started to read it. I read the synopsis, and it intrigued me from the very first moment. Of all the mysteries and thrillers, I have enjoyed the psychological the most. Something about how a twisted mind works triggers my pleasure senses. It’s creepy, but I wish you all get that feeling for a genre.
Right after the first chapter of the book I was satisfied, and happy. This book was all I needed right then, and it just kept getting better and better.
We get to meet Jessica and see how she thinks, follow her as she answers question after question, revealing secret after a secret. With each question, and each task, and each secret being revealed, the book kept becoming darker and darker, better and better.
It reminded me of the Harry Potter series, with the content getting darker after time. If you remember the first Harry Potter book, it is Children’s fiction, but the significantly darker compared to the first. Same happens with the movies as well.
I loved the questions that were asked on the survey – they are really meant to make you think through and try and give your answers.
Could you tell a lie without feeling guilt?
Have you ever deeply hurt someone you care about?
The relationship between the people in this book is twisted. It’s all about playing games. It’s all about the cat and mouse chase. As much as I loved it, it also annoyed me at times, as I wanted it to stop.
The twists, cliff hangers and unexpected moments were brilliant. Pure skill, I tell you that. I haven’t been so surprised, excited, thrilled at the same time by any book I’ve recently read.
And with such twisted moments, and thrills throughout the book, and chapters ending leaving you breathless, you would expect the most thrilling ending.
I did. I expected it.
And I was very disappointed. It ended… rather bland. Like a Sunday Roast without gravy.
”We all have reasons for our actions. Even if we hide the reason from those who think they know us best. Even if the reasons are so deeply buried we can’t recognise them ourselves.”
I have a hard time judging this book now, as it was all hype and thrill, until it stopped dead. Maybe the authors wanted to ensure that we experiences exactly this feeling – I am not sure. Maybe for such a twisted book, calmness is all it needs to end with. I’ll leave this judgement up to you, as you experience the book and its ending on your own.
At this time, I feel like giving it 4 stars, as the ending was the only things that bothered me. This book is still a gem, and deserves to be read by people that enjoy psychological thrillers.
This book comes out on 7th February 2019, so make sure you pre-order your copy.
Purchase links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Barnes & Noble (signed copy)
Thank you to Netgalley and Pan Macmillan for giving me a free copy of this book, in exchange for an honest review.
When I went to the library to pick up the Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank, I also picked up this book. I wanted to learn more about her last months, as Anne didn’t write in her diary after she was found and brought to the camps.
If you, just like me, are looking for books to help you find this info, please skip this one.
The title is completely misleading, as Anne Frank is barely mentioned in the book, and these women that claim to know her seem to not have known her at all. If I see a person on the far end of the fence, or sit together while the guards are counting us, I wouldn’t consider them a friend. Just a fellow unfortunate companion.
Don’t get me wrong – these six women, that went through all this traumatized period, and are brave enough to tell the story are worth mentioning, and are worth of great recognitions. And this book is also a great value to history of what happened in those cruel places.
But when people use a famous person’s name in order to sell a book, on such painful basis, this is beyond me to comment, so I will leave it to you to make a conclusion on your own.
Among this part, the stories of these six women were heartbreaking, and so well-described, it felt as if I was there for a moment. The things they went through and the families they lost is so sad.
I also liked the old images that were in the middle of the book. They added a real image to the words.
If you want to read more about Anne Frank – choose another book. But if you want to find out about other people’s stories from this time period – grab this book.
Purchase links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
I love the idea of time travelling and I love the idea of time travelling books. That is the main reason why I chose to read this ARC copy. The synopsis sounded intriguing, and the cover was gorgeous. I don’t have much experience reading time travelling books. I still believe the synopsis is intriguing and the cover is gorgeous, but I am not satisfied with the feelings this book left me, after I read the last chapter.
The story begins when four ladies in the early 1960s work together and build the first time travel machine. And they are surrounded by curious people and media, and one of them has a breakdown and is expelled from the project, as she is a risk to herself and others. But they don’t just exclude her from their project, but from their whole lives, and time travelling altogether.
”Sometimes we want proximity and a crowd gives us the excuse.”
And many years after, when time travelling is something everyone knows about, secrets start to be revealed, little by little, and a murder happens without explanation. A few young women, completely unrelated and with different missions will try to get their way into the whole time-travel business, and try to figure the answers to their questions.
In The Psychology of Time Travel, one is certain – you will flow through time and places like never before. One chapter it’s 1967, and the next one, it’s 2015. You will meet a lady and her young self, her old self, and her current self, all at one place, talking to each other, or simultaneously performing a dancing act. You will get to see a world very well created, a complex structure of how time travel might work, and details that you wouldn’t thought of checking twice.
I couldn’t connect to any character. Maybe there were too many. The chapters were very short, and they travelled through years so quickly, that I couldn’t catch up. Catching up with the plot of a book, and figuring out what is going on while being presented things so fast is very frustrating. It’s like watching a movie in a foreign language, the subtitles being your only way of gathering information, and they disappear instantly, without you having a chance to understand.
The romance in this book was another thing that bothered me. While we get a lot of romantic relationships going around, one particularly threw me off my feet. A love story where one girl is in love with another. This is the completely realistic part. But the unrealistic one was that one girl lives in the present, and the other is a time-traveller in the past – so even though they are currently (technically) the same age, in reality one is in the mid 20s, and the other in the mid 80s. I couldn’t process this, or agree with it.
”You couldn’t get involved with someone who spent most of their life in a different time period from you.”
I am sure I would have loved the characters, have I had more chances to get to know them. They showed signs of bravery, and goals and hopes for a better tomorrow, with a spark unlike any others. But it all lasted so short, before we switched to another character, and so on.
Even though this one didn’t work for me – I still encourage you to give it a go, if you are a fan of time travel. The idea of time travelling is very well done, and deserves to be discussed.
Purchase links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
A huge thank you to NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books, for providing me an ARC copy of The Psychology of Time Travel in exchange for an honest review.
Here’s to better books, and here’s to a better tomorrow!
I haven’t read much classic reads this year, and a few days before the end of 2018, I decided to go for a classic short story, and I chose The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman.
This classic has been written by a woman in the 19th century. A time when women weren’t treated the same way as today. A difficult time, where women couldn’t express their opinion as they wished, but they were suppressed by the male authority in the family.
When The Yellow Wallpaper came out, it was considered a Gothic Horror Tale. It is hard to believe for me, knowing the world we live in today, and how we, as women can express our opinions openly. But back in the days, this is how it was. It wasn’t easy for the woman, and I am glad we have a lot of brave women from that time, that gathered the courage to tell stories for the next generations.
This is a story about a woman, who seems to suffer of post-partum depression (a type of mood disorder associated with childbirth). She has been forced by her husband and doctor to stay in her room until she is ”mentally capable” again to take care of her baby. I am not a mother, but I can imagine the pain and suffering of not being allowed to see and hold your unborn child. And people thought this was okay?
The woman is constantly staring at the yellow wallpaper and the window, constantly reassuring herself that this is all happening for her own good, and that the husband and doctor know best, until a point where we are not actually sure if she is in her right mind anymore.
She starts to see a woman inside the wallpaper, and believes the woman is struggling to break free. I loved the metaphor used, as her subconscious knows she is trapped, and the end is so painful to read, but oh, so powerful.
Even though such a short read, The Yellow Wallpaper is an impressive view on cultural traditions, and the position of women in the family. A classic and a must-have for every woman!
Purchase links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Do you know any stories similar to this? I would love to explore them?
A beautiful story about families, love, betrayal, the difference between the rich and poor, and a girl that tries to discover what happened to her missing mother, while discovering herself.
Charlie Calloway has a life most people would kill for – a tight-knit family, a loyal set of friends, and top grades a privileged boarding school. But Charlie’s never been interested in what most people want. Like all Calloways, she’s been taught that she’s different, special – better. So when her school’s super-exclusive secret society extends a mysterious invitation, Charlie’s determination to get in is matched only by her conviction that she belongs there.
But their secrets go deeper than she knows.
Charlie finds herself thrust into the centre of a decades-old mystery – one that implicates her family in not one terrible crime, but two. Uncovering their past may destroy everything she knows – or give her the answer she’s always craved: Who or what was behind her mother’s disappearance ten years ago?
I haven’t heard about this book until I received it as a birthday gift from my sister. The cover is just – gorgeous! You can feel the raindrops on the cover, and the sides are painted black, and you can read out ”I KNOW”. They have been thinking of all the little details.
View this post on Instagram
QOTD: Have you ever fallen in love with a book cover so bad, that your body keeps looking at the book at all times, and all you want to do is keep touching the book slowly? That is happening to me with All These Beautiful Strangers by Elizabeth Klehfoth. The cover is so gorgeous, and the bubbles are popping up, so you can feel them when you touch the cover. This is my current read, and it was a Birthday gift by my sister. She knows my book taste better than anyone else. She's so cool as well, by the way! @elizabethklehfoth @penguinrandomhouse @penguinukbooks @penguinteen
The story is a bit slow at the beginning. It took me a while to get into it, as they delay the plot for a while, but once you get past that little hill of boredom, it gets better and better. I could imagine myself climbing a mountain with my bike, struggling while climbing, just so I can enjoy the great fast downhill and wind in my face.
The story is told by many people’s perspective, and it changes after each chapter. The amazing thing was, the stories go back in the past as well, but the story keeps flowing in one direction, event by event, which I really enjoyed. If this was poorly made, the book would’ve been so confusing, but fortunately, it wasn’t.
Even though I didn’t expect, this turned out to be a great mystery-solving novel, with wonderful and unexpected plot-twists, and a cliffhanger until the end. Is the mother dead or alive?
Many of the topics covered are very relatable. The difference between children raised in rich families versus the children raised in not-s-rich families. Their thoughts and mindsets, their beliefs, and the people they hang out with. And when a girl like Charlie, who has a father from a rich family and a mother from a poor family, is on the cross-road, it is amazing to see this character develop and make choices for herself, that reflect on both her backgrounds.
A lovely read, fast-paced novel, with a beautiful cover and even more beautiful reading material, this is one of the stories that I would recommend for you to read on a rainy day, covered in a blanket, with a hot chocolate – despite the summer theme on the cover, this was a winter book for me.
All These Beautiful Strangers by Elizabeth Klehfoth
Amazon | Barnes & Noble
We all are, or have once been wallflowers. The shy creatures of the universe, strangled in a problematic world where everything is so confusing and hard. We have all once swam in those deep waters, where the finish line is the act of growing up, and we all coped with it in different ways.
Charlie is struggling with the same things we were, when in high school. The friendships, or lack of them, the crushes, the secret thoughts, the exams, the pressure, the misunderstandings with our parents, our goals, hopes and dreams, our visions of what we will become.
It is an emotional, but very realistic story, about one kid, and all the things he learns while growing up. By learning things the hard way, by listening, by watching things happen to his friends and family, by just being a wallflower.
The author has written this book in a way where Charlie is writing letters to his secret friend, telling him about his daily adventures. I loved this way, because the letters give a sense of confidentiality, of honesty, or pure thoughts with nothing to hide.
Charlie is a shy guy, who has trouble making friends, socialising, and lacks a lot of common sense. To me, this game me vibes of an autistic kid, or an anxious child suffering from PTSD, which hits all the marks, but I don’t know whether or not this was the author’s purpose. It was written in 1998, so I can assume these subjects might have been taboo, as people weren’t as open minded as today.
To me, Charlie was a relatable character. Even though clearly going through a lot more than just a normal kid, in this book, he copes with problems we have all coped. And the part I loved about Charlie the most is – he is honest, so brutally honest, and doesn’t try to hide things he understands or trying to understand. He sees things we don’t tend to see, and he feels things in a way I would want to feel them.
“So, this is my life. And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I’m still trying to figure out how that could be.”
He suddenly meets a group of friends, that accept him as he is, and he can be as weird and crazy as he wants, no one bothers. These friendships – my dear reader – are something we all wish for, and some of us are so lucky to have them.
I truly believe that this book is definitely something I would give to my kid to read, or to my small siblings. I wish I had read this 10 years ago, when I would relate more, and when all the high-school topics were relevant. But even now, I can still remember the exact way Charlie felt in some situations, and I wish I had read the book and acted differently on some of mine.
”Charlie, we accept the love we think we deserve.”
Charlie will teach us a lot about high school little traumas, high-school crushes and true love, friendships and betrayals, seeing the family in a different way, and acting on things instead of doing nothing. With Charlie, I went back to high-school, and remembered all the good things and the bad, and I ALMOST shed a few tears for all the memories and times I will never have. Now, I raise a glass, and say cheers for all the good memories and friendships made.
“And I thought about how many people have loved those songs. And how many people got through a lot of bad times because of those songs. And how many people enjoyed good times with those songs. And how much those songs really mean. I think it would be great to have written one of those songs. I bet if I wrote one of them, I would be very proud. I hope the people who wrote those songs are happy. I hope they feel it’s enough. I really do because they’ve made me happy. And I’m only one person.”
Spend a little time, and pick up this book. It is a short and sweet read, and it is a book that everyone should have on their shelves.
A fantasy of a virtual world, and a game that brings people together. A story of a girl that struggles to pay her rent, and her ability to hack the most important game of the year – Warcross. And when the creator of Warcross hires her, needing her help – she begins her adventure.
From the first moment that I read the synopsis of Warcross, I knew I wanted to have this book on my shelf and read it immediately. A couple of reasons stand behind this story:
A girl is a main character, and a fierce one. As boring it might seem, I love a book with brave characters, especially if it’s a teen girl. I think when girls are featured as brave and fearless in books, it gives encouragement to a lot of girls reading the book, that are struggling through their teenage years.
I am a vivid video games player. I play a lot of games, and this is something you might not have known about me. Feel free to ask me anything in the comments. I love the gaming community, and I believe that if it weren’t for the video games, I wouldn’t be who I am today.
If you haven’t read it, you have all probably heard about Ready Player One. I absolutely loved it, and watched the movie, and I am still in love with it. And when book reviewers started comparing Warcross to Ready Player One, I had to see if this was true. I just had to check for myself.