Two “Classic” YA Fantasy Books I Read Recently

I’ve been in a fantasy mood lately and I was browsing my library and found two older titles that I knew a couple people I know love or at least loved the authors so I picked them up on a whim and I am soooo happy I did.


Summers at Castle Auburn Sharon Shinn

 Summers at Castle Auburn by Sharon Shinn
Published by Ace Books in 2001


buy it add-it


 Summers At Castle Auburn is about: a girl, who spends her summers with her half-sister at Castle Auburn every summer — a place much different from where she normally lives with her grandmother in their village. Her times at the castle have always been enchanting and wonderful (especially when she gets to see the prince she has fallen in love with) but as she starts to become a young women her summers at Castle Auburn change for her and the layers are peeled back.

My Thoughts

I could die of happiness talking about Summers at Castle Auburn — it was so charming and swoony. It was one of those books that felt like magic. It felt like cozy over-sized sweaters, a good cup of tea, hot coca with big ol’ marshmallows, blanket forts and sitting by the fireplace. I don’t know how else to describe it. I felt like it didn’t matter what happened around me as I was reading it in my blanket fort with my cuppa tea because I was so utterly absorbed in the story and the characters lives. I loved the setting of castle Auburn and watching her come of age each summer (while getting snippets of her life in the village) there was so delightful. She was irreverent and smart and oh I adored her and her various escapades.

[Keep Reading]

Book Talk: The Impostor Queen by Sarah Fine




Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”



Since she was a little girl Elli has always known what her life will be — she will study with the priests and then take over as the Queen when the time comes. When that time comes before Elli expects it doesn’t exactly go down how it is supposed to and the magic doesn’t seem to flow to her. Knowing her life will be in danger she escapes the kingdom and finds herself in the outlands where criminals and banished people reside and she learns that perhaps everything she learned about the magic she was supposed to wield isn’t exactly what she thought.




I am sooooo super excited about this new YA fantasy series! You have no idea! Well, unless you read it and also loved it then I gather you have an idea. Everything about it delivered for me — the plot kept me thoroughly engaged, I really fell in love with Elli and I was so fascinated by the magic system as well as the political elements of this world. I am DYING for book two with all the twists and turns towards the end.

[Keep Reading]

Book Talk: The Strange & Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton




Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”



Ava, a girl born with wings, was also born to a family line who has experienced pain and loss along the way. Ava brings us her story but first tells the stories of her grandmother and mother who paved the path to where she is. Her grandmother is closed off and distant. Her mother is forever heartbroken. And Ava, the girl born with wings, has been isolated in her house away from people until, at 16, she decides she wants to find out where she could fit in with the world as a girl with wings — unprepared how others will regard her and her wings or the motives of an obsessed man who thinks she is an angel.

ALERT: as I type this the book is $1.99 for Kindle!!



*me falling in love with magical realism all over again*

[Keep Reading]

What I’ve Been Reading Lately – Mini Book Talks

I read quite a bit in December and have quite the backlog but wanted to at least let you know what I read!


Panic by Lauren Oliver

Panic by Lauren Oliver

About In A Sentence (ish): The two main characters lives intersect as they play, each having their own strong reasons for participating, in their town’s yearly high stakes game called Panic that is judged by two anonymous people and gives dangerous and potentially deadly challenges to complete.

Thoughts: MAN, I love Lauren Oliver. LOVE HER. But this book was not for me at all. It had such a good premise (high stakes game played by high school students!) but the execution lacked for me in many ways. I was bored despite the fact it was high stakes and had mysterious aspects (that I found so predictable). One romances was great and the other was so weird and forced. The characters never felt real to me. I honestly would have quit it pretty early on had it not been a book club book. To be honest, it could be a really cool movie but I just couldn’t get into it in any way. It was a fairly quick read so there was that and probably the only reason I was still reading was to see how one of our main characters would fare and also what kind of seriously crazy challenges the judges would throw out next.




[Keep Reading]

Book Talk: An Ember In The Ashes by Sabaa Tahir




Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”



Laia and Elias both live in a world controlled by the Martials –a  brutal, sadistic regime who rules by force and will kill for the smallest infraction. Laia has grown up poor with her grandparents and brother and is part of the Scholar class that is persecuted by the Martials. Elias is from a powerful family and goes to one of the best military schools, Briarcliff, where he trains to be a Mask and is at the top of his class but he really plans to desert because he hates this way of life and doesn’t want to be a killer. Laia’s brother is taken away and accused of treason and Laia tries to make a deal with some rebels who promise her that they will help release her brother if she goes undercover as a spy at Briarcliff where she will be the slave to a brutal and powerful woman. It is there at Briarcliff that Laia and Elias meet and come to learn just how intertwined their destinies are.

a2*tries to catch breath and calm down*


Upon finishing the book someone asked me what I thought and my reply was that 1) that I super enjoyed it and 2) it was sosososososo intense and brutal.

High intensity factor: seriously this book had me on the edge of my seat pretty much from the start until the nail-biting and explosive end. If you are looking for a book that has high stakes, espionage, traitors, magic, betrayals and so much action….I can’t recommend this enough. I felt like the action just kept being upped, without sacrificing too much character development, and I could NOT read fast enough to find out how it would end.  There’s a lot at stake for both of the main characters and I loved watching their stories converge in such an intense manner. They both are in seemingly impossible and desperate positions and it sure becomes a page-turner.

[Keep Reading]

Book Talk: Queen of Shadows General Thoughts + Marked Spoiler Discussion




Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”




a2Queen of Shadows837696 bowdown(credit)

a4Queen of Shadows was everything I had hoped for. When I finished it (literally binged it from Friday night, went to bed, then woke up and finished it Saturday which was intense because that book is THICK) I was just like BRAIN. EXPLODING. BRILLIANT. OMG. I LOVE THESE CHARACTERS. I LOVE EVERYTHING. CAN I HAZ BOOK 5?? I’m just so obsessed with this story and world and obviously the characters. I can’t really put into words, non-spoiler words, to explain what this book did to me and why I loved it so much…it was just everything and made my love for it expand all the way to the undiscovered parts of the universe and back. Sarah is just so brilliant in the way she truly makes me feel and understand these characters, why they do what they do, their struggles, what they are fighting for, etc. Everything was epic. I am so, so beyond invested and basically will sign a deal with the devil not to die before this series ends haha.  Sooo I’m just going to talk in spoilers now because that’s the only way I can discuss it.


[spoiler]We are just going to go straight up lists for this because it’s been over a week and my brain still is like HAHAH YEAH COHERENT THOUGHTS WHAT ARE THEY.

1. SHIPS AND THINGS: So it’s no secret that there has been lots of speculation about ships and where those would go in this series. I take my ships seriously. But I’ve realized some people take their ships EVEN MORE SERIOUSLY (ie. death threats to authors and crap). What I’m always more concerned about, especially with a fave series, is the integrity of the story that author is trying to tell rather than an author feeling pressured to give reader wish fulfillment. What I mean by that is I WANT CELAENA TO END UP WITH WHO SHE NEEDS TO BE WITH REGARDLESS OF HOW I FEEL ABOUT IT. If it happens to be the popular ship, cool. If it happens to be my ship, even better. But like…I need to BELIEVE that this is true to the character and their journey and this is what has to happen. Now, I rarely jump ships. I’m truly loyal. But QoS made me jump ships faster than a pirate looking for more booty. I was so team Chaol. And then I wasn’t. We saw his lack of acceptance for certain things about Celaena in HoF and (it should have raised red flags for me but I’m a hopeless romantic) and it struck me pretty early on in QoS that they couldn’t be together in my mind. At least not right now. Or ever. Maybe they will just be good friends. WHO KNOWS. You can’t be with someone who doesn’t get these essential parts of you. Who doesn’t accept them. Things that are you to the core. That are an important part of who you ARE and who you are going to be. Chaol can’t get past some of these things. I think he tried to believe she could be who he wanted but couldn’t altogether. She deserves to be with a person who gets her. Truly. She deserves to be understood to her core. Chaol loves her no doubt…but it might not be in the way she NEEDS or WANTS to be loved romantically. ALSO, we always knew early on that Chaol’s allegiances would always be to Dorian. That was evident from book 1. That was his King in his mind. And now he is the King. And he needs to be there while she is figuring shit out with her kingdom. They have dueling and conflicting journeys right now. I know lots of people are going to be upset about the turn in ships but I actually find it hella refreshing that a young female character doesn’t have to always be with their first or second love etc. That they can learn and grow and appreciate what that person brought to their life. Chaol did so much to help her to realize who she is and what she is fighting for. He is part of her journey to where she is now. I mean, this happens in life. Someone is right for you at a certain chapter in your life and then sometimes you both are still moving…but in different directions. Like hello my whole high school and college until I met Will. I thought I wanted vastly different things as I was coming of age. I don’t know what the rest of the series holds for them but I am SO OKAY WITH WHERE THEY ARE RIGHT NOW. And maybe they will be right for each other again….but they both of things to deal with in the remaining books…you never know where life is going to take you. But Sarah made me feel like THIS IS THE RIGHT THING. This is right for my girl. She is so complicated and still figuring her shit out and she deserves to be able to do that. She was a different person in some ways when she met Chaol. She deserves to keep figuring out who she is and what she wants –and decide who she wants to love. It’s an important decision when it comes to matters of the heart. I will defend this until the end of time. I HAVE SO MUCH PEACE ABOUT IT.

2. Manon continues to be one of my favorites EVER and I think her character is even more fleshed out here. She still feels like who she is but these shifts within her in this book are SO believable to me and I can’t wait to see what she does in next book with all the info/perspective she has now. I have been waiting for an epic showdown between them and IT WAS THE SHOWDOWN THAT DREAMS ARE MADE OF. I burst into tears at the two acts of kindness they showed toward each other. THE MESSAGE ABOUT DORIAN. OMG OMG. BAWLED. I can’t wait to see when they meet again.

3. Aedion: I’m just saying I want Aedion for MYSELF. He is a character who I loved getting to know better in QoS as I already loved him in HoF. “And Aedion grinned at his queen as the entire world went to hell” I DIED I DIED. The first eye contact between them after these years. DIED. And their first real conversation after they got to have after they rescued him….KILL ME NOW. EPIC REUNION IS SO BEYOND EPIC. The plan and execution was flawless.

4. Dorian’s POV: One of the most distressing, and I mean heart in the pit of my stomach distressing, was Dorian’s POV. Oh my heart I wanted to puke. It was breaking my heart to watch him not remember and try so hard to. To be aware and acknowledge the demon in him and trying so hard to fight it. I cried so hard when he remembered his name. I LOST MY SHIT when C says to him, “We get to come back from this loss — this darkness. I came back for you.” LOST IT. LIKE SOBBED. And I totally felt like as much as she was saying it to him…she was reminding herself of this.

5. THE BATTLE IN THE END. Her plan. Slipping the eye in Chaol’s pocket. How she saved Dorian. The banter with the king. THE FUCKING FIRE WALL. I was had to remind myself to breathe during this epicness.


7. HOT SEXY ROWAN. Please make that towel drop next time SARAH!!! “You make me want to live, Rowan. Not survive; not exist. Live.” HEART STOPPED. This is what I want for her. This is why I ship this.

8. HOLLA BADASS LADIES: I’m so all about all the amazing dudes that Sarah writes (no seriously how does she?) but I was soooo in love with the roles that the ladies played in this book. It’s magical what Nesryn and Lysandra brought to this book. SQUAD GOALS ALL THE WAY. Badass, unapologetic ladies in the house! And seriously Kaltain quite literally blowing shit up?? And obviously Manon being Manon and what she did. IT WAS ALL ABOUT THE LADIES SAVING THE DAY IN THIS BOOK. [/spoiler]



factors+ EVERYTHING.
Not a thing I would change. Honestly. I mean, I would change that I have to wait for so long for the next book?? Or that like it’s not a zillion more pages so I can be with them for forever.

Re-readability: UH YEAH. Will probably reread a whole lot of times.
Would I buy a copy for my collection? ALREADY HAVE.

a5EVERYONE. DUH. No seriously, if you were mixed about it in book 1 I think you should give book 2 a try because maybe it really IS for you and you will miss out on so much epic like in this book.

a8Queen of Shadows is all I had hoped for and more. All the love I had for this world/characters/story before x 1000000000000. Sarah continues to deliver the perfect amounts of everything I need: amazing character development, complex romances/relationships, hella interesting plot and flawless writing. It’s just one BIG, and I mean big, book of badassery and perfection. GIRL SQUADS, HOT DUDES, HOLD-YOUR-BREATH MOMENTS. SCENES THAT WILL MAKE YOU LAUGH AND CRY AND HAPPY CRY. It was all glorious and I am basically dead still after reading it.

review-on-post-itQueen of Shadows


a8j* Have you read this one? What did you think? Similar or different from me? I would LOVE to hear regardless!



The Perpetual Page-Turner

Save The Date: Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

To learn more about why I started doing this Save The Date feature back in 2012 and how it differs from my reviews — go here!

 Truthwitch Susan Dennard


* Release date according to Goodreads

Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

Pre-Order It | Add It To Goodreads

What Truthwitch is about:

On a continent ruled by three empires, some are born with a “witchery”, a magical skill that sets them apart from others.

In the Witchlands, there are almost as many types of magic as there are ways to get in trouble—as two desperate young women know all too well.

Safiya is a Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lie. It’s a powerful magic that many would kill to have on their side, especially amongst the nobility to which Safi was born. So Safi must keep her gift hidden, lest she be used as a pawn in the struggle between empires.

Iseult, a Threadwitch, can see the invisible ties that bind and entangle the lives around her—but she cannot see the bonds that touch her own heart. Her unlikely friendship with Safi has taken her from life as an outcast into one of reckless adventure, where she is a cool, wary balance to Safi’s hotheaded impulsiveness.

Safi and Iseult just want to be free to live their own lives, but war is coming to the Witchlands. With the help of the cunning Prince Merik (a Windwitch and ship’s captain) and the hindrance of a Bloodwitch bent on revenge, the friends must fight emperors, princes, and mercenaries alike, who will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.”

Why You Should Be Saving The Date for Truthwitch:

Oh my gosh! I have a feeling this is going to be the next big fantasy series! IT IS SO AMAZING. I started it IMMEDIATELY after I got back from BEA because I was so excited about it and OH MAN IT DELIVERED. I loved that I felt like it would be beloved by serious fantasy readers and newbs alike. I’m trying reaaaaally hard not to hype this up because hype can be so annoying when it comes to expectations but WHAT CAN YOU DO WHEN YOU MEGA LOVE SOMETHING SO MUCH AND THINK IT IS SO AMAZING?? I wanted to reread it immediately! BUT LIKE I ALSO WANT BOOK 2!!!

6 Reasons You Should Save The Date For/Pick Up Truthwitch If You Haven’t Already:


1. Compelling world & magic system: OH my goodness! All the different witcheries and magic! It’s so unique and absorbing. I loved learning more about it and loved how it was based within the elements. Windwitches, Truthwitches, Threadwitches, Bloodwitches and more — I LOVED learning about the various types. It took me a little bit to get my bearings with it all in the first 75 pages but once you do it’s like so absorbing and you will not want to come up for air.

2.  Epic lady friendship & a bromance: Seriously the friendships in this book are legit. Safi & Iseult MAKE ME SO INEXPLICABLY HAPPY. And that bromance. It makes me weak in the knees.

3. Amazing characters you will love with your whole heart and not to mention some badass ladies: This book  is overflowing with characters who will inspire you to be braver, kinder, courageous and to love genuinely and with all your heart. They are all so complicated and so well written and you will BELIEVE in their individual/shared journeys and their stories. And ummm badass ladies abound (badass physically and in a lot of other ways). Our two female protags are badass  but there are some other ladies who are also around and make me want to become a badass in my daily life. So pretty much when I start back up running I’m going to just picture myself as one of these badass ladies running from the baddies.

4. HOLY ACTION, BATMAN: Action right out the gate even!  YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO PUT IT DOWN. There were points while I was reading where I’d shoot straight up from my previous lounging position because sh*t got SERIOUS and my tension was visible. I know this because Will laughed at me a lot while I was reading this. Twists and turns and shocking moments! War and political maneuvering and death and magic! There are so many pieces to this plot and the way they come together is just EXCELLENT. I loved how each character is fighting for something and I love watching some of those things intersect but also clash at times. That tension is just palpable.

5. I’m just saying…Sooz knows how to do sexual tension: Romance was not the focus of this book because YOU KNOW possible wars/baddies chasing you/epic journeys are happening but OH MY STARS…there is some A+ sexual tension that made me consider writing some smutty fanfiction IMMEDIATELY. OH AND BANTER.

6. It made me want to reread immediately: I rarely reread these days so you know it’s some serious business when I wanted to reread immediately and even now, a couple months after, I am yearning to just reread. THAT is something special in my book that I can’t say happens much.



Who Should Save The Date: people who love epic fantasy and are looking for a new series to fall in love with!!! It’s magical!


Be on the lookout for my FULL review closer to the release date where I will flesh out my thoughts a little more with more specifics!


Have you read this one? Are you excited for it?? Putting it on your TBR list?

Series Send Off: The Lumatere Chronicles by Melina Marchetta

Check out past Series Send Off posts in which I finish the last book in a series & chat about it plus introduce new readers to the series with my general & non-spoilery thoughts about the series as a whole!

OH MY GOD. I’m bursting with my love for this series and these characters. I honestly did a lot of joyful crying towards the end.


lumatere-chronicles Goodreads // Amazon


Upon finishing the series I say to all of you who haven’t started the series:


I HAVE NEVER LOVED FICTIONAL CHARACTERS MORE THAN I HAVE LOVED THESE ONES. TRULY.  The main ones. The secondary ones. Even a whole lot of minor characters who sometimes only get a couple pages in the whole series. I AM BURSTING WITH LOVE. WITH JOY. WITH SORROW. WITH PRIDE. I’m also a a bit sad because I can’t fathom not knowing all the details of their lives through alllll the years to come. I just don’t want to let them go. It feels a bit like mourning right now. It’s a bit of a slower fantasy series in some ways when compared to other fantasy I’ve read (it totally is action-packed at times) but the character development and the EMOTIONS and the ferocity in which you will care for these characters and their kingdom is unparalleled. I loved all Melina Marchetta’s contemporaries and I’m happy to say these, like those ones, are 5 star reads for me.



What The Series Is About:

Oh man, how can I even describe this series as a whole?? A kingdom. A horrific attack. A curse. A people group in exile. A people group finding their way home. AND THEN SO MUCH MORE. I don’t even want to spoil a MOMENT of it.



Recommended For People Who Love:

epic high fantasy series, Melina Marchetta’s other books and are open to fantasy, character driven stories, badass females and all so differently badass, amazing world-building, amazing and complicated relationships, unparalleled character development



Thoughts On Book 2 & Book 3
(Skip below to the next section or read my review for book 1 if you haven’t read the series yet!)


Finnikin of the Rock — I already shared my thoughts on this book so I’m not going to but it’s crazy how I thought this was so amazing and then Froi and Quintana blew it out of the water (even though it’s still very awesome).


Froi of the Exiles: OH MAN. Froi. FROI. This book was so freaking awesome. I love that we still are with the characters we love from Lumatere but OH MAN the characters we meet in Froi of the Exiles just captured my heart (even the more prickly ones) and are all just so intriguing and their stories are fascinating. I loved learning more about Charyn and what was going on there and a lot of their history that intersects with the characters from book 1. I felt like that book kept shocking me and revealing things and I couldn’t keep a handle on my emotions. But let’s just talk about Froi himself. I did NOT like Froi in Finnikin of the Rock but oh the character growth that happens…MARCHETTA MAGIC.  Learning his background and having answers to the questions he’s been wondering about his life was just this constant rush of emotions to read. I finished Froi so mad at myself for not having Quintana of Charyn on hand, despite being warned, because holy CRAP the ending of this book is too much too handle. Random aside: maybe it was because I was doing an Orphan Black binge but I kept picturing Quintana as Helena from Orphan Black.

Quintana of Charyn: HOLY ROLLERCOASTER OF EMOTIONS. I thought the first two books were a rollercoaster of a ride but this book felt like a rollercoaster on steroids — one that had my insides all out of place and kept me in free fall through a good part of it. I am serious…I cried for at least half of this book at different points — sad and just bursting with happiness kind of crying. My heart was swelling so much I thought it might just take off out of my chest. All the things that come full circle and Froi’s two worlds colliding and all the things we find out and OMG I AM CRYING RIGHT NOW. I’m serious. I care too much. As I was finishing this book I was just weeping and Will was like, “wow this book must be sad” and I’m like “but I’m not even cry because I’m sad or devastated…I just have so many emotions and pride and love and my body doesn’t know what to do with it so I’m just crying.”  This book broke my heart and restored it. I mean, I’m telling you Marchetta outdoes herself because there are single sentences or words spoken that could just bring me to my knees. “It’s not our time.” “Do you honestly think I’d stay there knowing they were using you as bait” THOSE ARE ONLY A FEW THAT GUTTED ME. Everything did really. It was the book that kept on hitting me hard.  ONE OF THE BEST ENDS TO A TRILOGY/SERIES EVER.




Rating Broken Down By Books

I don’t really need to break it down for each book because honestly each book gets the same rating for different reasons!!


 Rereadability: OH YES.
Will I buy it for my collection?: UM YES. I library-ed all 3 of them and I fully intend on purchasing them.


I normally write my little farewell to the series and right now I’m just crying whilst trying to write it because I just want to go on and on with them. It seems so final to say goodbye. I just want to reread already because….it can’t be over. DEAR CHARACTERS OF THIS SERIES I LOVE YOU SO MUCH. MORE THAN PROBABLY IS HEALTHY. From the main characters to the minor characters who were so integral to this story, you are all SO IMPORTANT AND I FEEL A SURGE OF PRIDE WHEN I THINK OF YOU. This series is one of the best I’ve ever read. Melina Marchetta remains my queen and in my top 5 favorite authors of all time.


What did you think of the conclusion to this series if you’ve read it?? What did you think of the series overall?? If you haven’t read it, have I piqued your interest?

The Start Of A New Favorite Series. I CAN FEEL IT.

YOU GUYS YOU GUYS YOU GUYYSSSS. As you may in fact know, Melina Marchetta is one of my all time favorite authors EVER. EVERRRRR. I’ve read and loved her contemporaries and I had just been putting off her fantasy books because, at the time, I wasn’t super into fantasy and I was a bit intimidated. I finally decided to read Finnikin of the Rock a couple weeks ago and OH MY GOD. I am a woman obsessed. I cannot stop thinking about the characters. The world. EVERYTHING. It’s every bit of magic that her contemporary books had for me — especially her signature character development. A few people assured me of this and they were so right. SO RIGHT.

Finnikin of the RockGoodreads // Amazon

THIS BOOK IS EVERYTHING. (and I’m told it only gets better…and more brutal).

Before I discuss my feels, let me give you the down low on what it’s about if you aren’t familiar: Finnikin of the Rock is from the Lumatere Kingdom. Ten years ago the royal family was MURDERED (he was VERY close with them) and then this awful curse was put on his kingdom that doesn’t let anybody in or out of the kingdom. Some people had already fled but then the other half of the kingdom is still trapped in there and being ruled by an AWFUL new ruler. So, for the past ten years, all the people who had fled the Lumatere Kingdom have been scattered about various kingdoms living in mostly awful conditions. Finnikin and Sir Topher, his guardian, have been wandering around and taking a census of the Lumatere people. Finnikin is called to meet with a young girl who makes a big claim — that the heir to the throne is actually alive. She claims that they need to gather their people and return home with the heir to undo the curse.

WOAH WOAH WOAH. Just thinking about their journey gives me chills. And how complex those characters were.

Here’s just a glimpse of what I loved about it:

The world & history: I was a little nervous that this might be a little slow in the beginning as it set up the history and the world but I was just pretty absorbed from the beginning. I will say I looked at the map so many times, to get my shit straight, that I finally just had to take a picture of it so I didn’t have to keep flipping back. It helped to be able to picture their journey as they went from kingdom to kingdom and truth be told I got so into it that I almost wanted a paper print-out of the map so I could record notes about where things went down. I loved learning about the history of Lumatere and what went down and also their kingdom in relation to the other kingdoms in the land. On the same note, I LOVED finding out about all the kingdoms because they were all kind of known for different things. MAN, some of those kingdoms were brutal though especially to the people in exile. It was a heartbreaking ordeal how some of these exiles were living and being treated.

The “taking back the kingdom” plot and how it played out: I read two books in a row where taking back the kingdom was a thing (the other one is The Orphan Queen) and I love it! I loved as they traveled to the different kingdoms gathering the necessary people and telling the exiles (who have been living 10 years in limbo and crap conditions basically). The excitement just kept building as we got closer and then THE BIG REVEAL as they got closer (did not see that coming truthfully). There was this moment where they are standing outside of the kingdom and I just felt this surge of pride for what they were doing. How it was all orchestrated to get the people back there and all the sacrifice it took to get there. My heart was swelling with joy/sadness/pride/excitement/fear as they approached Lumatere. VERY EMOTIONAL.  I was seriously just doing a whole lot of this by the end.


The characters: It’s one of those situations where my love for them just grew to obscene amounts but I didn’t even realize it until we were closer to the end and things were going down. The reunions that were had amongst the exiled and how they worked so hard to get to where they were…MY HEART WAS BURSTING WITH LOVE AND PRIDE FOR THEM ALL. I LOVED Finnikin and Sir Topher and Evanjalin obviously but there were characters who came into the picture in smaller roles that I just loved so much and they made an impact on the story (and on me). I grew to love Froi (who the next book seems to be about?) even if there are still things about him that I can’t reconcile just right now. It’s classic Melina characters who just come alive and impact you in ways you didn’t see coming. I cannot wait to continue on with these characters.


* Do not read this paragraph if you want to read this book*

Some rambly thoughts and feels.

I sort of did not understand how the whole blood thing works. Like I *think* I got it but I also was confused?? Like the connection with the dead baby and how Isoboe walked the dreams? I had to reread those parts explaining it. I THINK I got it though. And ISOBOE. WHAT A BADASS. THAT REVEAL. How she brought her kingdom back?!??! GAHHH. Her reunion with Yata. OMG. And then when Finnikin’s dad reunites with his dudes. TEARS TEARS. And then the battle when Lucien carries Saro home. WAHHH. And the exchange between Lady Beatriss and Trevanion. MY HEART. Guys. I hear the next two books are even more feelsy and IDK IF I CAN HANDLE IT. ALSO, that ending was perfect and swoony and AHHH.


If you aren’t reading this series. YOU MUST. If you consider yourself a fantasy fan. If you love Melina Marchetta’s books (and aren’t a fantasy reader) you should STILL give them a chance. There’s magic kind of stuff but a lot more of this is political, people in exile and about bringing a kingdom back….AND ALL ABOUT THESE CHARACTERS.


Book Talk: The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows




Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”



As a child Princess Wilhelmina watched as her kingdom got overtaken by the Indigo Kingdom and her parents and the rest of the nobility were killed. The children of the nobility, like Wilhelmina, were taken as orphans to live in the Indigo Kingdom’s capital. They broke out of the orphanage and for years have formed a group called the Ospreys who intend to take back their kingdom and give Wilhelmina her throne. The next phase of the plan becomes more dangerous and includes infiltrating the palace to gain more information which is a task for Wilhelmina and Melanie. With the wraith that has been destroying kingdoms moving closer to the kingdoms, the stakes are even higher.

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(plus a whole lot of F BOMBS in a text to Alexa)

a4OH MAN. Fans of action-packed and exciting YA fantasy with kickass ladies? Check this one out for sure!! I could NOT put it down. I’m usually pretty strict about getting to bed on time but I kept saying “just one more chapter” like 10 times before I finally could pry myself away from it (and that was only because of necessity to be functioning in the morning).

What had me up reading it so late??

1. ESPIONAGE & vigilante justice: I love espionage, you guys. I loved watching Wil and Melanie (who are badasses) infiltrate themselves into the palace posing as refugees of nobility from a kingdom that has been destroyed by the wraith. I loved watching them carefully learn what they needed to know and carry out tasks that would help them take back their kingdom all while in the comfort of their enemies home. There were those hold-your-breath type moments because there is ALWAYS the high risk of being caught. I also liked how she did begin to see some of her enemies as people as she got to know them. I think she understood that not everything was as black and white as she thought before. In addition to the espionage there is a character named Black Knife who is a complete unknown but this person goes around catching people who use magic and turning them in. Wil and her gang have crossed paths with him but she ends up face to face with him again. I love how his character is slowly unraveled and become more complex. Plus their relationship is interesting especially since he catches people who use magic and she USES it! If you haven’t read Orphan Queen yet… MAYBE skip this sentence if you want to go in 100% blind. (I TOTALLY CALLED WHO Black Knife was!!)

2. I love books where characters rise up to take back their kingdom: I’ve read 2 books in a row somehow where this was this case (Finnikin of the Rock was the other) and I LOVE IT. Wil’s family was killed. All the nobility was killed. Her kingdom was taken. She and many other children from the nobility families were spared but orphaned. I love how they broke themselves free and have been plotting FOR YEARS to take back their kingdom and give Wil her rightful place on the throne. I love the dynamics of the Ospreys — especially the one between a character who has become a leader within the group even though, when the kingdom is theirs, that Wil will be queen. At times I wondered how the orphans, being so young and cut off from the people that they are hoping to gather up to rebel with them, were going to pull it off but I think their resourcefulness from surviving all these years made them quite smart and cunning. Though at times I was confused with how many THINGS/missions they were involved in at the same time vs. how many people there were in the Ospreys. It seemed like they bit off more than they could chew and were stretched thin? Or that was my impression as of right now?

3. The magic element: Okay so the other side of this whole situation, besides taking back the kingdom, is that there is this wraith that is DESTROYING kingdoms and causing chaos and havoc. And it’s getting WORSE and closer to them. Some believe using magic is what causes it. This is why Wil’s kingdom was taken over because they wouldn’t sign the treaty that would cease the use of magic in their kingdom. To be honest, the wraith thing is a little confusing — I don’t really understand how it works or what causes it — but neither do the leaders of the kingdoms. Nobody TRULY understands it which makes it SUPER terrifying and detrimental to figure out how to stop it. There is a whole lot of unknown that they have to piece together to even have a chance. Wilhelmina magic is super interesting and I loved how as she used it, she begun to realize even MORE about her own magic and if somehow she can help stop the wraith.

4. THINGS that happen at the ending: I will not say anymore than MASSIVE CLIFFHANGER but basically I did a lot of THIS toward the end:



factors+ plot, page-turning abilities, twists
–  LIKED the characters but didn’t feel that surge of LOVE for them YET

Re-readability: I would maybe revisit as a refresher before book 2.
Would I buy a copy for my collection? Maybe!

a5YA fantasy fans (esp maybe those who are newer to the genre or those who aren’t wanting a more DENSE  fantasy series…this one is a duology plus novellas, I believe), people who like espionage and saving kingdoms, readers who like magic in their fantasy

a8The Orphan Queen was one I could NOT put down. There was so much to catch my interest and keep me reading — espionage, mystery man practicing vigilante justice, orphaned princess wanting to take back her kingdom, a bit of romance, magic, betrayals and shocking moments galore! It was an exciting read and I can’t wait for the second book. Think it’s totally the perfect book for newer fantasy readers because the setup isn’t AS slow or dense as some can be (from my experience thus far).


The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows book review

a8j* Have you read this one? What did you think? Similar or different from me? I would LOVE to hear regardless!
*If you haven’t read it, does it feel like something you’d be into?
On a scale of 1-10 how much did you just lose it at the ending??



The Perpetual Page-Turner

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