Review: House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

This is definitely not the Barbie version of the 12 Dancing Princesses. 🙂

Annaleigh’s sisters tragically dying. She’s been in a constant state of mourning for years. But the worst part is that the deaths getting more traumatic. She knows there’s something wrong happening and takes it upon herself to try and solve the mysteries surrounding them.

I had no idea what was happening! I never wanted to stop reading. Annaleigh’s character was so impressive. She may have been scared but she loved her sisters fiercely and would do anything for them. Things are not what they seemed in her world. Something sinister was brewing and she needed to discover what it was. Annaleigh risked her life on more than one occasion just to figure out what was going on.

There is a bit of a romance sprinkled in this tale. I was very happy with it. I mean let’s be honest, with all those girls, someone needs to be finding love! I don’t wanna say anything else, but I loved how everything transpired.

If you like fairy tell retellings then you will definitely like this one. It was twisted and creepy and very intriguing. I couldn’t put it down. This will be added to my daughter’s reading list this year. She’s all about the creepy books and I know she will love it.

~Melpomene

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Review: The Girl the Sea Gave Back by Adrienne Young

Another amazing book set in the same world as Sky in the Deep. It was fabulous to see some familiar faces and see what direction their lives went in. While this is a standalone, and reading Sky in the Deep is not necessary, I would still recommend it. You understand the characters a little bit more, since you’ll have a bit more of their backstories from reading it.

From the first page I was immediately sucked in and didn’t wanna stop reading. Every time I was forced to put this book down my heart squeezed. The story was calling to me and begging me not to stop.

Adrienne has this way about her writing that makes you feel like you’re standing in the middle of everything, a character in the story. So vivid and magical.

Halvard and Tova are two amazing characters. Halvard bares the weight of his clan and must do everything he can to protect them from losing the war that’s headed straight for them.

Tova is a girl without a family. She was pulled from the sea, not knowing how she got there, and raised in a world where people fear her, but yet they need her. But when her circumstances change and she’s forced to set a course she knows is wrong, she will do whatever it takes to forge a new path.

Without spoilers I will say that I loved watching these two. They connected, even from afar. They worked together, even though they shouldn’t. This was not a romance but the undertones were there. This was a fantasy that will grab you and not let you go.

~Melpomene

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Review: The Merciful Crow by Margaret Owen

As a mom of a very strong girl, who doesn’t like to read, I try to find books that I think she would like. It’s my job, ya know? When I requested this book I wasn’t sure what it was even about. I’ve a cover snob, so that’s what caught my eye. And let me tell you, I am so glad it did.

The moment I finished reading I sat back and smiled. Huge. I’ve been very picky with my YA selections this year. But let me tell you, they’ve been very good selections. This one has just been added to my Teen Rec list. The concept of this story was so unique, and from the very first sentence I was sucked in.

Fie is a part of the Crow caste, which are undertakers and mercy killers. Like I said, unique. When she unknowingly helped the prince and his body double fake their own deaths, she must help them complete their mission or else face an almost certain death. Crows are treated so badly, even though they’re so important. Fie isn’t happy about this new mission because as the saying goes, “No good deed goes unpunished,” nothing turns out the way she hoped. This isn’t your typical fantasy where the girl is the strongest and most powerful and the boys are along for the ride. While she is strong, it’s not overly so. Everyone has their place in this book and it was perfect.

The dynamic between Prince Jasimir, Hawk Tavin and Fie was just wonderful. Snarky attitudes lead to friendships which leads to so much more. They hope for a change in their world and will do anything for it. I loved watching them work together for the greater good. They had to look beyond just themselves and things of the generations to come. I couldn’t stop reading. Margaret Owen has created this wonderful story that keeps you flipping pages till you forget the world around you.

I am now dying for the next book. This leaves you happy but wanting more. They haven’t quite finished their true mission. If you have a teen in your life, or you’re a huge fan of YA books, then I highly recommend you grab this book.

~Melpomene

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Review: Aurora Rising by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman

If you’ve read The Illuminae Files you’ll know that when Jay and Amie get together the reaction is explosive and exciting. And Aurora Rising was no exception. From the very first page I was completely sucked in. I’m chuckling right now cuz I just read the synopsis and it describes these characters to a T.

Star pupil Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but his own boneheaded heroism sees him stuck with the dregs nobody else in the Academy would touch…

A cocky diplomat with a black belt in sarcasm
A sociopath scientist with a fondness for shooting her bunkmates
A smart-ass techwiz with the galaxy’s biggest chip on his shoulder
An alien warrior with anger management issues
A tomboy pilot who’s totally not into him, in case you were wondering

I mean, who wouldn’t want to read a book with characters like that?! They were all so different but they learned to work together. Misfits finding a family with each other. You will love them.

Even the dedication started it off the right way.

If your squad was hard to find, or you’re still looking, then this one is for you.

You just knew this book would be amazing. And while it has to do with space, it has nothing to do with The Illuminae Files. Jay and Amie just have this space thing down and this is why we love them.

If I was watching this on the big screen, I would’ve been at the edge of my seat, but since I was in bed reading, the best I could do was sit up straighter. 🙂 This book was so much fun! Excitement, antics and emotion. The trifecta if ever I heard of one. Amie and Jay knocked this one out of the park! Can I just say that this book will be SO MUCH FUN in audio‽‽ Seriously. I’m glad I have it preordered. The kiddos loved listening to The Illuminae Files and I know they’ll love this as well. Be sure you have this preordered so you can start reading or listening right away. You don’t wanna hear spoilers!

I cannot wait till the next one!!

~Melpomene

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Review: The Reckless Club by Beth Vrabel

First, apologies for not writing this the first week of October when The Reckless Club was first released. You or your kiddos have waited too long already to read this book. Perfect for middle schoolers, The Reckless Club is a tweenage-appropriate glance at The Breakfast Club, with the extra twists and turns you’d expect from kids this age.

Beth Vrabel did a great job writing varied characters who have personal quirks that showed me a little bit of their souls. And better yet, the kids got a glimpse of each other’s souls, what made them tick, what made them hurt, and what made them better people.

In this world of divisiveness, where people say things on social media that they would never say to someone’s face, we need commentary on the benefits of seeing each other as human beings. The Reckless Club takes that stand, shining a light on the real people underneath what other people see as a drama queen, a nerd, an athlete…

This book reminded me not to judge until I’ve walked a mile in the other person’s shoes. It would make a great Christmas gift for any middle schooler you know, or their teacher.

-Calliope

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Review: Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas

Once upon a time, in a land long since burned to ash, there lived a young princess who loved her kingdom…

Epic, awesome, emotional roller coaster of a book. The end has come and it’s not without heartache and hope.

My emotions were all over the place. I got chills so many times. I could see these scenes playing out like a movie, the battle soundtrack playing in my ear, the characters going through heartache after heartache, it felt real to me. So many times I had step away and collect myself so I could keep going. This book was an experience like none other. In fact, when I finished, I told my family that I haven’t felt this, “What am I supposed to now?” kinda feeling since I first read Hunger Games. I’m at a loss on what to do.

“You do not yield.”

I still have all kinds of feelings flowing through my veins. Sadness is probably at the top, but not the for the reasons you may think. You see, I was late to this series. I discovered it at Heir of Fire and introduced it to my kids at Queen of Shadows. So for the past few years we’ve talked and experienced these books together. Even my son, who’s an anti reader, enjoyed these. But it’s my daughter who I really had fun with. I had to buy an extra copy for her so we could buddy read. In fact, I gave her the day off of school so we could read it on release day. #HomeschoolPerk We laughed and cried and raged together. This is a memory I’ll always have. So the reason I’m sad is that now we don’t have anything else to look forward to. This was her favorite series and now it’s done.

I bet this is how the Harry Potter parents felt when the last book released. The end of an era. Time to move on and grow up. I don’t think I like this.

Because of all the above, this review is a little bit different. A thank you of sorts. Not to spoilery, but I’d wait to continue on until after you finish the book. Just in case.

Aelin, thank you for rising up and taking the world on your shoulders and doing the best you can to make it better. Should this happen again, don’t keep all your ideas to yourself! Let others help you!

Rowan, thank you for loving Aelin and showing her how to the best person she can be. I’m so happy she found you right at the moment she needed you most.

Chaol, thank you for realizing your mistakes and doing everything in your power to fix them. You’re going to be an amazing helpmate with that kind of heart.

Dorian, thank you for reaching down in your soul and discovering the great king we all knew you could be. I hope you have an epic HEA.

Manon, thank you for being so strong when you kept getting knocked down and showing us how to move on from such overwhelming heartbreak. I grew to love so much more than I did when we first met.

Aedion, thank you for being so steadfast in your love for your queen and cousin. Every family needs a member like you. But when your angry, take a deep breath before you say hurtful words. It’ll save you a lot of groveling later. 😉

Lysandra, thank you for being the best friend Aelin could ever ask for. You are strong and have the biggest heart. I am so happy you found them and they found you. I wish for you a very long and happy life.

I wanna say thank you, Sarah, for giving us this most epic of series. Thank you for this roller coaster ride that has lasted for these eight books. Thank you for giving me memories with my children that some parents don’t get. Thank you sharing this world with us. And I look forward to your next series and I’m anxious to read it.

~Melpomene

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Review: Bring Me Their Hearts by Sara Wolf


Boy, I wish I knew this was gonna be a trilogy before I started. Towards the end I was getting nervous and then BAM. So now I sit here waiting……

I went in blind so I really didn’t have any idea what it was about. To be honest, in the beginning I wasn’t sure if I was going to finish. Her inner voice kept reminding us about the same thing over and over and over again. It was getting rather annoying. But I stuck with it and ended up hooked.

Zera was torn between doing what she needed to do and what she wanted to do. She’s on a mission that, if it was just about her, her decisions would’ve been easier to make. But since it’s not only about her, she has to come to terms with what she really is and why she’s really here.

Personally I liked the prince’s bodyguard more than anyone. He was quick witted and duty bound to the prince. He was always there to say what others were thinking, even if he should keep it to himself. Without him, I probably would’ve quit the book early on.

I liked the premise of the story. I really did, even though I pretty much knew what was going to happen. The ending, while exciting, wasn’t a surprise to me. I knew it. I know this all sounds negative, but I think teens will like it. It was a sweet romance with very exciting undertones. I look forward the next one.

~Melpomene

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