BookTube: May – June Wrap Up

Today’s video is a combined wrap up covering all the books I read in May and June! I didn’t get to make a separate May video since I was deep in the throes of the final wedding countdown.  I decided to just cover the novels I read in this video and I’m planning on making a separate video about all the manga and graphic novels I binged during May because there were a lot of them!  What have you been reading lately?

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Tea & Book Chat: Vicious by V.E. Schwab (Vicious #1)

Vicious by V.E. Schwab is a book I had always planned on reading but I kept pushing it back because I love Schwab’s writing and I didn’t want to not have a book of hers to look forward to reading.  Since the release of This Savage Song has been drawing nearer, I decided to pick it up on a whim and I couldn’t be more happy that my July reading started off with such a bang!  Vicious explores a complicated relationship between an anti-hero and villain and I love that it’s up to the reader to determine which of the main characters falls into which role.  The story begins ten years prior when Victor Vale and Eli Ever are working on their thesis involving EO’s or ExtraOrdinary humans.  They make several groundbreaking discoveries which leads to experiments and chaos.

Vicious

I love that Schwab chose to acknowledge and go with the Marvel route of naming superheroes, that is to say, each character is named alliteratively.  Victor Vale has spent the past ten years in prison planning exactly how he would try to kill Eli Ever when they were finally reunited again.  He meets a chocolate milk loving friend Mitch and an intriguing twelve year old girl named Sydney along the way and it is a pleasure to see the story unfold along with them.  I love how it’s constantly jumping perspectives and periods in time.  Between the flashbacks told as if they were currently occurring and the present situations everyone finds themselves in in real time, I felt even more connected to the story than I would have if the stories had simply been relayed from a character who experienced it to a current fixture in either of Victor or Eli’s lives.  Even more fascinating than the present, is watching each character’s descent into madness and attempting to determine who is the hero and who is the villain (or if there even is one or the other).   For those wondering, I’m team Victor.

Final Thoughts:  Vicious by V.E. Schwab is a quick paced adventure story which delves into the psyches of Victor Vale and Eli Ever.  It’ll have you questioning what it means to be a villain vs. a hero and the constant switching between past and present timelines will allow you to see the hero vs. villain origin stories developing as soon as those initial seeds are planted.  Vicious reads like a really engaging contemporary psychology novel with a sci-fi twist as the main characters begin experimenting with ExtraOrdinary humans.  Vicious is technically an adult novel but everything about it is very accessible for anyone who typically reads and enjoys YA.  I definitely recommend this one wholeheartedly!

Rating 6

Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong. Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end? (via Goodreads)

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Tea & Book Chat: The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

I really super love Morgan Matson so I was eager to read her new book, The Unexpected Everything as soon as it debuted.  The Unexpected Everything is about Type A girl named Andie who is a serious planner (which really speaks to my heart).  Andie has gotten used to a certain way of life but as her summer is beginning, her father gets caught up in a big political scandal which results in him spending much more time at home than he ever had before and Andie’s impressive summer internship getting cancelled.  She’s forced to spend the summer at home but things seem to be going much better than she anticipated, especially when Clark comes into the picture. She has a very close group of girlfriends, gets a job as a dog walker and begins seeing the joy in the unexpected, despite it being a huge adjustment.

The Unexpected Everything

The Unexpected Everything is longer than Matson’s previous novels and while the beginning was a tiny bit slow for my liking, I still ended up loving it overall.  In The Unexpected Everything Matson covers romantic relationships, parental relationships and friendships so it’s no wonder the book is 519 pages.  I appreciated that she managed to cover and get the reader to care about all three.  It’s obvious that a huge amount of planning and development went into each unique relationship and it all works so harmoniously.  I love that she is able to cover everything since it’s rare that an individual would only be dealing with one at a time.  The romance in this book is my favorite of any of Matson’s previous books (although I haven’t read Second Chance Summer and I’m not sure if there’s romance in that one).  Clark is a fantasy writer and he’s such a swoony character.  I love how nervous and insecure he can be at points and I love how interested he is in other people.  He’s a keeper!  I also really liked Andie’s dad and I was rooting for him to be able to mend their relationship after a distance grew between them.  And as for Andie’s friends, they are such a fun and tight knit group.  There was one predictable thing that I saw coming but I thought it was handled really well.  The Unexpected Everything really encapsulates everything that I love about Matson’s books from the adventurous summer vibes to the delicious eateries (Captain Pizza and Paradise Ice Cream which you may recognize from Since You’ve Been Gone) and of course, the heartwarming characters that capture your heart.

Final Thoughts:  The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson is a wonderfully in depth summer contemporary about a girl learning to let go of her plans and go with the flow of life.  Andie, Clark, her friend group and her father will leave you wondering about their futures long after you finish reading.  They’re the kind of characters that stay with you.  Also there are cute puppies.  If you want a quick paced beach read that’s a bit on the heavier side and you enjoy witty banter and texting with emojis, you should check out The Unexpected Everything.

Rating 5

Andie had it all planned out. 

When you are a politician’s daughter who’s pretty much raised yourself, you learn everything can be planned or spun, or both. Especially your future.

Important internship? Check.

Amazing friends? Check.

Guys? Check (as long as we’re talking no more than three weeks).

But that was before the scandal. Before having to be in the same house with her dad. Before walking an insane number of dogs. That was before Clark and those few months that might change her whole life.

Because here’s the thing—if everything’s planned out, you can never find the unexpected. 

And where’s the fun in that? (via Goodreads)

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Tea & Book Chat: Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley

Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley is the kind of book that makes me want to get on a rooftop and scream about how much I love it (but since that sounds dangerous, I’ll just gush about it here in my review).  Highly Illogical Behavior is told in dual perspectives and it follows a 16 year old boy named Solomon who suffers from panic induced agoraphobia and 17 year old Lisa who is determined to cure him and write a brilliant essay about her experience so she can get into college and move far away from Upland, California.  Lisa remembers Solomon from middle school when he had the final incident that led to him living inside his parents house without being able to go outside (not even his backyard, driveway or open garage) for the past three years.  She reaches out to him “by chance” and soon become a fixture in his life.

Highly Illogical Behavior

I instantly fell in love with Solomon.  He’s a Star Trek obsessed sarcastic teenager who enjoys playing Munchkin, so yeah, his character immediately filled up some of my heart space.  I love that while Solomon struggles with mental illness, a reader would never be able to use that as his main identifying characteristic.  He is so much more than a kid who’s afraid to go outside.  He’s a friendly and thoughtful person and his sense of humor, including the ability to make fun of himself, just adds to his charm.  I actually found Lisa to be less sane than Solomon but I still had a soft spot for her.  I don’t think her decision making is at its peak in this novel but her passion and determination are qualities I always admire in people.  Then there’s Clark, who’s the quintessential good / nice guy.  He seems a little lost about his own future and apathetic toward his fellow Water Polo teammates since all they care about is hooking up with girls while he’s respectful of his relationship with Lisa.  Lisa inevitably introduces Clark to Solomon and we all know the saying “three’s a crowd.”  Their relationship becomes complex in the most interesting ways but the tone of the novel remains the same.  Dinners with Solomon’s equally funny parents and his firecracker of a grandmother help lighten the mood when things get heavy but they never take away from the issues present.

Final Thoughts:  Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley is a must read for everyone.  It’s impossible to judge how mental illness is portrayed because it effects everyone afflicted with it differently so while I cannot say whether it is accurate or not, I can say that to someone like me who has low level anxiety, it felt real.  I’m just so utterly charmed by these characters and I’m amazed at how Whaley is able to tell such a full and satisfying story in such a short number of pages.  Normally I am bothered by open endings but in this case I think it’s the right choice.  Solomon, Lisa and Clark have so much life ahead of them to evolve and change and grow into who they’ll ultimately be.  This book gets all the thumbs up and I sincerely hope you’ll consider checking it out.

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Sixteen-year-old Solomon is agoraphobic. He hasn’t left the house in three years, which is fine by him.

Ambitious Lisa desperately wants to get into the second-best psychology program for college (she’s being realistic). But is ambition alone enough to get her in?

Enter Lisa.

Determined to “fix” Sol, Lisa steps into his world, along with her charming boyfriend, Clark, and soon the three form an unexpected bond. But, as Lisa learns more about Sol and he and Clark grow closer and closer, the walls they’ve built around themselves start to collapse and their friendships threaten to do the same. (via Goodreads)

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Tea & Book Chat: The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love by Sarvenaz Tash

The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love is a must read for any fan who’s ever attended a convention.  This story really hit home for me because it takes place at my home con, New York Comic Con, over the period of Friday – Sunday.  I thought because the story takes place at a convention I have been attending for years that I wouldn’t be able to put nitpicky things aside and enjoy the plot but Tash’s convention depiction is pure perfection.  She got all of the little details right between methodically planning cosplay and your daily schedule, to avoiding people in larger than life costumes and even to the seating arrangements on the Long Island Rail Road.  I even love how the cover photo is taken outside the Javits Center on 11th Ave because it makes it that much more authentic.  One thing to note is that the diner Tash talks about outside the convention center on 11th Ave was recently closed and is being turned into a high rise building (but that happened after she would’ve already gone through the publishing process) and having eaten there myself I was so happy to see it included.  (Side story: Funnily enough, the last time Andrew (who works for a structural engineering firm) and I walked past it, he said mark my words, that one story diner will never last to the end of this year.  There’s so much wasted sky space and lo and behold, he was absolutely correct.) Also, I could not possibly have empathized more re: line drama UGH.

the geek's guide to unrequited love

Even more important than the setting, Tash also captures the spirit of fandom and young love as told by our narrator Graham.  Graham is the most endearing type of nerd and he’s been harboring a crush on his best friend in the whole world, Roxana.  He decides that NYCC is the perfect place to tell her and he spends a huge chunk of his time daydreaming and planning about how he’ll make a grand enough gesture without potentially frightening her.  I also have to note that Tash mentions the epic upside-down-in-the-rain Spider-Man kiss on page one so you can bet that I was hooked.  Despite the geeky references and the goings on of NYCC, The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love tells a much bigger coming of age story that is not even the slightest bit overshadowed by the amount of pop culture it contains.  I genuinely wish that John Hughes were still around so he could adapt this novel because I think many pop culture nerds would love to see this on screen.  The supporting characters, Casey and Felicia were among my favorites in the story and if I have one complaint, it’s that I would’ve liked to have gotten to know Roxana a bit better because what I did learn about her, I really admired. (Although, I would also love to read a book from college Graham’s perspective.  He really weaved his way into my heart!)

Final Thoughts:  If The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love by Sarvenez Tash is not yet on your radar and you’ve ever been to and enjoyed a comic convention, you need to pick up this book immediately.  It’s such a fun look at how pop culture brings people together and the entire time I was reading, I felt like I time traveled back to high school to hang out with my group of friends.  The book is entirely accurate and you’ll feel the nerd rage that I’m sure you’ve experienced IRL when you join Graham, Roxana, Casey and Felicia throughout certain moments in their adventure.  The story is engaging, the characters will warm your heart and the setting is everything – especially when we’re smack dab in the middle of con season!

Rating 6

John Hughes meets Comic Con in this hilarious, unabashedly romantic, coming-of-age novel about a teenager who is trying to get his best friend to fall in love with him from the author ofThree Day Summer.

Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy…
Archie and Veronica…
Althena and Noth…
…Graham and Roxy?

Graham met his best friend, Roxana, when he moved into her neighborhood eight years ago, and she asked him which Hogwarts house he’d be sorted into. Graham has been in love with her ever since.

But now they’re sixteen, still neighbors, still best friends. And Graham and Roxy share more than ever—moving on from their Harry Potter obsession to a serious love of comic books.

When Graham learns that the creator of their favorite comic, The Chronicles of Althena, is making a rare appearance at this year’s New York Comic Con, he knows he must score tickets. And the event inspires Graham to come up with the perfect plan to tell Roxy how he really feels about her. He’s got three days to woo his best friend at the coolest, kookiest con full of superheroes and supervillains. But no one at a comic book convention is who they appear to be…even Roxy. And Graham is starting to realize fictional love stories are way less complicated than real-life ones. (via goodreads)

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Tea & Book Chat: Summer in the Invisible City by Juliana Romano

*This book was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  This is no way swayed my opinions.*

Summer in the Invisible City by Juliana Romano is a coming of age YA novel that takes place in New York City.  I always love reading about my city through the eyes of other people so I’ve been eager to check this one out since I first heard about it.  I also feel like the cover is an excellent representation of people who live in NYC (their clothes choices are spot on) and I love the outline of the skyline behind them.  The novel follows Sadie, a teen taking a summer photography class, during the summer between her sophomore and junior years of high school.  Sadie is at that pivotal point in her life when she over analyzes every situation and the circumstances that she’s faced with does not make it any easier for her to handle.

Summer in the Invisible City

Sadie is a really interesting character to read from the perspective of.  She’s not your typical strong female character but her summer experiences transform her.  Sadie is vulnerable and desperate at times, especially when it comes to handling her less than perfect father.  Allan is an “important” artist who Sadie has been looking up to her entire life.  He’s the reason she became interested in photography and the reason she wants to attend art school for her college education.  She’s spent years of her life trying to impress him but no matter what she does, he remains uninterested.  It’s heartbreaking to read about their relationship because he is just such a disappointing person and it’s for reasons completely independent of Sadie.  As if her father visiting NYC for the month weren’t enough, Sadie is also struggling with her social life.  One of the “popular” girls is in her summer class and they begin to form a friendship but it seems to be coming at a cost to her relationship with her long time best friend Willa.  Willa is probably my favorite character in the book. She’s so certain of herself at such a young age and you can tell how much she cares about Sadie.  I only wish we had gotten more of an ending for her character.  The there’s Sam and Noah but I won’t go into them because it’ll be more interesting to discover as you read (but I promise it’s not a love triangle!).  It’s a combination of the relationships between people and the time period in Sadie’s life that this book takes place that make it special.

Final Thoughts:  Summer in the Invisible City by Juliana Romano is an enjoyable coming of age story taking place is the greatest city in the world, New York (not that I’m biased or anything).  It blurs the lines between fluffy beach read and raw contemporary, exploring the positive and negative relationships in Sadie’s life and how they’re altered throughout her summer as she figures out who she is.  I would recommend this book to anyone who’s ever felt a little bit lost in their life and is looking for a character that displays a different type of strength in her own time.

Rating 5

A sparkling coming-of-age story about self-discovery, first love, and the true meaning of family, perfect for fans of Jenny Han and Sarah Dessen.

Seventeen-year-old Sadie Bell has this summer all figured out: She’s going to befriend the cool girls at her school. She’s going to bond with her absentee father, a famous artist, and impress him with her photography skills. And she’s finally going to get over Noah, the swoony older guy who was her very first mistake.

Sadie wasn’t counting on meeting Sam, a funny and free-thinking boy who makes her question all of her goals. But even after a summer of talking, touching, and sharing secrets, Sam says he just wants to be friends. And when those Sadie cares about most hurt her, Sam’s friendship may not be enough. Sadie can see the world through her camera, but can she see the people who have loved and supported her all along?

Set against a glamorous New York City backdrop, this coming-of-age romance is a gorgeous summer read—one whose characters will stay with you long into the fall. (via Goodreads)

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Tea & Movie Chat: Finding Dory

Andrew and I had the pleasure of seeing an early screening of Pixar’s newest film, Finding Dory, last night and I have to say that I loved every minute of it.  Often sequels are nowhere near as good as their predecessors and one of the most challenging obstacles is to turn a side character into a main character, and harder yet is to do it well.  Finding Dory excels on all of these points.  As we all know from Finding Nemo, Dory is an optimistic fish that suffers from short term memory loss.  She’s endearing and her constant confusion leads to plenty of laughs for the audience but in Finding Dory, her songs and rhymes adapt a deeper meaning.  Dory begins having memories of her parents and story takes off from there.  She, Marlin and Nemo set off on another cross ocean adventure as Dory tries to piece together the few memories that begin to resurface.

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My favorite character is hands down Hank the octopus who is voiced by Ed O’Neill.  Hank is desperate to avoid being released into the ocean and he begrudgingly assists Dory in her search.  He perpetuates a tough guy exterior but it’s clear he has a lot more heart than he lets on.  And his constant camouflaging to evade humans is extremely comical.  I also loved Destiny, the mostly blind whale voiced by Kaitlin Olson who is super friendly and positive despite always bumping into walls.  Oh and I have to say that Dory is the cutest fish baby.  Her flashbacks of her parents teaching her about her memory loss are heartwarming to the max.  I wanted to reach into the screen to hug her and tell her that everything would be okay.

Overall, the message that Finding Dory tackles is so important.  Just because Dory is different, it doesn’t mean that she’s incapable of solving problems in her own way.  Sometimes, thinking outside the box is necessary!  Dory proves that different is good and she will no doubt be a role model for anyone living with any type of ailment that’s made them feel inadequate at some point.  There were quite a few moments where I found myself tearing up whether it be out of sadness or joy for the lovable marine life.  To get personal for a moment,I always found Dory to be hilarious in Finding Nemo but in the past year my grandmother has been suffering with Alzheimer’s so Dory’s memory loss as portrayed in this new installment really hit home for me.  I can’t even imagine how frustrating it must be to know something or someone important but be unable to recall what / who it is.  I felt a deep emotional connection to Dory and I was rooting for her all the way.

Rating 5

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Tea & Book Chat: A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2)

**Warning! If you haven’t read A Court of Thorns and Roses which is the first book in the trilogy by Sarah J. Maas, there will be spoilers ahead.  You can read my review of the first book instead if you haven’t started the series yet!**

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas is the second book in the A Court of Thorns and Roses trilogy and it was my most anticipated read of 2016.  I can also confidently state that it will be my favorite book of the year (despite the fact that it’s only May and we still have 7 more months of reading to go – The Raven King is a very close second).  I know that most people seem to either love or hate SJM and these books but I fall on the former side.  I didn’t think I could possibly love one of her books more than I loved ACOTAR but alas, A Court of Mist and Fury proved me very wrong.  The number of emotions I felt so intensely while reading this book left me one of the biggest book hangovers I’ve ever experienced (to the point where it’s been a week and I am still not finished with the book I picked up next which should’ve taken 2-3 days to complete).  Everything in A Court of Mist and Fury shifts and the love interest I was rooting for becomes the main character I felt he was destined to be so to simply say I loved it is something of an understatement.

A Court of Mist and Fury picks up after the events that occurred Under the Mountain with a very broken Feyre existing alongside Tamlin in his Spring Court.  It’s clear that the traumatic experience effected everyone in a different way and I loved that Feyre did not just completely revert back to normal.  As a result of her time being tortured by Aramantha, Feyre evolves into a much stronger character than we see in the first book.  She is no longer willing to be controlled and caged by Tamiln despite his promise of protection.  I had picked up on hints of this behavior while reading ACOTAR and I have been solidly on Team Rhys since the ending so this book was pretty much everything to me.  (please note, ACOMAF includes some of the steamiest scenes I’ve ever read and they are so so perfect)  I have to say that I was not expecting to fall in love with all of the members in Rhysand’s court but I could not imagine a better band of characters.  Their group dynamic is something I live for in books and I wish I could sign up to be part of their team.  One character disappointment is the path the Lucien ended up on.  He saw everything that was happening to Feyre and all of the signs that she was unwell and unhappy and chose to ignore them.  He has a lot to make up for in book three.  We also get to see more of Feyre’s human sisters which was a pleasant surprise.

A Court of Mist and Fury

Now for the worldbuilding! We spend the majority of A Court of Mist and Fury in the Night Court and it sounds incredibly breathtaking.  You may remember that Amarantha had modeled Under the Mountain after Rhysand’s Court of Nightmares but it turns out that there is much more than meets the eye.  I wish I could go for a stroll through the  streets of the court during the night when it is intended to be viewed.  The descriptions were breathtaking and I can’t wait to revisit them in the future.  We also get to see the Summer Court which I enjoyed as well.  I’m glad that we’re getting to branch out and explore much more of the Fey world than we were given the opportunity to see in ACOTAR.  I also love seeing the different types of powers each High Lord wields and how it relates to their domain.  At 640 pages, I felt like ACOMAF could have double in size and I wouldn’t have wanted a single detail cut.  I can only hope that the final book will be well over 1,000 pages!

Final Thoughts:  A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas is the outstanding second book in the A Court of Thorns and Roses trilogy.  I’m sure you’re familiar with second book slump when reading a series and I am thrilled to say that ACOMAF is the complete opposite.  It’s like, a second book spectacular.  Feyre and Rhysand’s character development hits new heights in this book and readers are delighted with the opportunity to explore more of the Fey world.  The stakes are still high despite Amarantha’s demise in ACOTAR and all of the events that occur will play with your emotions until you feel like you have nothing left to give.  Some breaks may even be needed while reading because woah.  My verdict: Read it. Then re-read it. Then repeat.

Rating 6

Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.

With more than a million copies sold of her beloved Throne of Glass series, Sarah J. Maas’s masterful storytelling brings this second book in her seductive and action-packed series to new heights. (via Goodreads)

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Tea & Book Chat: Map of Fates by Maggie Hall (The Conspiracy of Us #2)

**Warning! If you haven’t read The Conspiracy of Us which is the first book in the trilogy by Maggie Hall,will be spoilers ahead.  You can read my review of the first book instead if you haven’t started the series yet!**

Map of Fates by Maggie Hall is the second book in The Conspiracy of Us trilogy and while I hadn’t been as invested in the first book as I had hoped, the cliffhanger ending left my interest piqued enough to continue reading.  Plus, the cover of Map of Fates is one of the prettiest of the year in my opinion!  I’m pleased to report that I enjoyed Map of Fates much more thanThe Conspiracy of Us and while it still wasn’t a 5 star read, I am genuinely looking forward to the conclusion because the story has really upped its game.

One of the elements I took the most issue with in the first book is the love triangle between the main character Avery and two of the guards from the twelve ruling families, Jack and Stellan.  I’m not a huge fan of love triangles in general but if they’re done well I’m able to get behind them.  In The Conspiracy of Us I didn’t quite understand or ever get the feeling that Avery and Stellan could potentially be interested in one another but Hall did a much better job of making it believable in Map of Fates.  In fact, I ended up liking Stellan a whole lot more than I ever expected to.  I suffered a bit through the beginning of the book, having read The Conspiracy of Us within the week it debuted last year because I couldn’t quite remember which character was which and it took me some time to acclimate to each’s demeanor once again.  If you’re in the same boat I would suggest a book one re-read or to read your past review / Goodreads so you’re able to jump right in and avoid any confusion.

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My favorite part of The Conspiracy of Us is the amount of travel the characters undergo because it allows the reader to experience new places without ever having to leave their couch.  The travel aspect remained one of the driving forces of my interest in Map of Fates and I cannot wait to see where they’ll be exploring in book three.  The revelation at the end and the new pieces of information the characters were able to ascertain from the clues have left me craving the conclusion.  The stakes are high, the structure of the twelve ruling families is inevitably going to be evolving and Avery West is at odds with many leaders in the Circle.  I couldn’t have asked for a more exciting installment!

Final Thoughts:  Map of Fates by Maggie Hall is a much better installment in The Conspiracy of Us trilogy than book one.  I had very minimal complaints this time around (although I’m still not very invested in Avery’s character) and I found myself flying through this quick paced YA thriller.  If you enjoy media involving espionage and have a case of wanderlust, Map of Fates will leave you feeling satisfied.  If you had mediocre feelings about book one, I can promise that Map of Fates will draw you in further.

Rating 3

Two weeks. 



That’s how long it took for Avery West’s ordinary life to change forever: In two weeks, she discovered she was heiress to a powerful secret society known as the Circle, learned her mother was taken hostage by the Circle’s enemies, and fell for a boy she’s not allowed to love, just as she found out another was her unwelcome destiny. 



Now, Avery crosses oceans in private jets to hunt for clues that will uncover the truth about the Circle, setting her mom and herself free before it’s too late. By her side are both the boys: Jack—steady, loyal, and determined to help her even at the expense of his own duty—and Stellan, whose connection to Avery grows stronger by the day despite her best intentions, making her question what she believes at every turn.
 


But at the end of a desperate hunt from the islands of Greece to the red carpet at Cannes comes a discovery that not only changes everything, but could bring the whole world to its knees. And now Avery is forced to face the truth: in the world of the Circle, no one is what they seem. (via Goodreads)

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Tea & Book Chat: The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater (The Raven Cycle #4)

**Warning! If you haven’t read the first three books in The Raven Cycle quartet by Maggie Stiefvater, there will be spoilers ahead.  You can read my review of The Raven Boys (book one), The Dream Thieves (book two) and Blue Lily, Lily Blue (book three) if you haven’t started the series yet!**

The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater is the fourth and final book in The Raven Cycle series and it is one that I could not get my hands on quick enough (seriously, I preordered the hardback AND the kindle versions).  Having fallen madly and deeply in love with Blue, Gansey, Ronan, Adam and Noah, I couldn’t wait to spend more of my time in Henrietta and Cabeswater while the gang tries to navigate the mystery of Glendower.  It’s long and sometimes slow moving journey but I have truly savored every moment.  The Raven King is now my favorite book in the quartet and I can absolutely foresee myself re-reading this series for years to come.  I also have to note that I was so nervous going into this book because it’s the end of an era but after reading the prologue I was confident this couldn’t warrant anything less than 5 stars.

One of the top three reasons I keep returning to this series(as I’ve stated in my reviews of the past three books) is the characters.  I cannot let go of them.  Stiefvater created such an intricate group of friends who’s bond with one another is stronger than anything else.  They love each other deeply in the way that only real friends can and in typical high school fashion, theirs is the most important relationship in their lives.  The lengths that they’ll go for each other and the way they feel each others pain is truly inspiring and griping.  Gansey remains my favorite Raven Boy with Ronan as a close second.  I also must note how swoonworthy all of the romance in The Raven King is.  It’s the sweet kind of slow burn that’ll have you begging for more.

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The stakes are at their highest in The Raven King as the search for Glendower draws to a close.  It’s so heartbreaking to see Gansey wonder what he’ll have to live for after the search that consumed the majority of his life ceases to continue.  Plus there’s that whole event that’s been foreshadowed since The Raven Cycle that my poor heart would never be ready to contend with.  All of the characters see a balanced amount of story time in The Raven King although we see more Henry Cheng and the jury is still out on him for me.  I think I may enjoy him more during a re-read but I didn’t want him to take any page time away from my precious Raven Boys and I can honestly say that is my only complaint for this book.

Final Thoughts:  The way I felt while reading The Raven King is something that I cannot accurately describe.  I feel so attached to this series, to these characters, and to the world of Henrietta and Cabeswater that I know this is a series that will be lurking around in my heart forever.  The Raven King is a book that I hugged multiple times while reading it and after finishing it.  If you can’t decide whether this series is for you or you’ve tried to read the first book but had trouble with the slow pace, I would urge you to give it another try.  I cannot sing the praises of The Raven Cycle high enough and I want everyone to share in this bookish treasure with me!

Rating 6

Nothing living is safe. Nothing dead is to be trusted.

For years, Gansey has been on a quest to find a lost king. One by one, he’s drawn others into this quest: Ronan, who steals from dreams; Adam, whose life is no longer his own; Noah, whose life is no longer a lie; and Blue, who loves Gansey…and is certain she is destined to kill him.

Now the endgame has begun. Dreams and nightmares are converging. Love and loss are inseparable. And the quest refuses to be pinned to a path. (via Goodreads)

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