Wednesday, May 24, 2017

I Want to Read It (56): Blackhearts



I Want to Read It, a hybrid between WLW (or WOW) and what's on my to-be read pile. Well, instead of focusing just on books I would like to acquire, I will be using it to feature books that I just want to read. From the one's I want to buy to the one's sitting on my TBR at home.




Blackhearts (Blackhearts, 1) by Nicole Castroman, February 9, 2016. Published by Simon Pulse. Source: Want to Read It.
Blackbeard the pirate was known for striking fear in the hearts of the bravest of sailors. But once he was just a young man who dreamed of leaving his rigid life behind to chase adventure in faraway lands. Nothing could stop him—until he met the one girl who would change everything.
Edward "Teach" Drummond, son of one of Bristol's richest merchants, has just returned from a year-long journey on the high seas to find his life in shambles. Betrothed to a girl he doesn’t love and sick of the high society he was born into, Teach dreams only of returning to the vast ocean he’d begun to call home. There's just one problem: convincing his father to let him leave and never come back.
Following her parents' deaths, Anne Barrett is left penniless and soon to be homeless. Though she’s barely worked a day in her life, Anne is forced to take a job as a maid in the home of Master Drummond. Lonely days stretch into weeks, and Anne longs for escape. How will she ever realize her dream of sailing to CuraƧao—where her mother was born—when she's stuck in England? 

Why

Why yes, yes I am terribly behind on "discovering" certain books. I must admit, that my interest in Blackhearts is simply because, well, pirates and seeing how Nicole Castroman  will tell Edward "Teach" Drummond's story. 

Should I hit up my library this weekend to see if they have a copy? What say you???

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Teaser Tuesday: Bull

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by MizB of Books And A Beat. To participate, simply do the following: Grab your current read Open to a random page Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday, May 22, 2017

YA Review: Bull



Bull by David Elliott, March 28, 2017. 200 pages. Published by HMH Books for Young Readers. Source: Borrowed from Library.
Minos thought he could
Pull a fast one
On me,
Poseidon!
God of the Sea!
But I’m the last one
On whom you
Should try such a thing.
The nerve of that guy.
The balls. The audacity.
I AM THE OCEAN!
I got capacity!
Depths! Darkness! Delphic power!
So his sweet little plan
Went big-time sour
And his wife had a son
Born with horns and a muzzle
Who ended up
In an underground puzzle.
What is it with you mortals?
You just can’t seem to learn:
If you play with fire, babies,
You’re gonna get burned.

Much like Lin-Manuel Miranda did in Hamilton, the New York Times best-selling author David Elliott turns a classic on its head in form and approach, updating the timeless story of Theseus and the Minotaur for a new generation. A rough, rowdy, and darkly comedic young adult retelling in verse, Bull will have readers reevaluating one of mythology's most infamous monsters.
First Sentence:
There beneath the palace walls
the monster rages, foams, bawls,
calling out again and again,
Mother!
Mother!


Well, at least this was only a random selection from a recent library visit. Because this book only had one redeeming quality; yeah, it was rather disappointing.

  • I had two reasons for checking Bull out from the library. The first being that the cover caught my attention. It was simple, and yet just interesting enough to catch my attention as I was passing by the new release shelf at the library, so, I decided to give it a chance. My second reason for picking it up was that I'm always interested in retellings of old myths; and I was curious as to how the author would re-spin the tale of Theseus and the Minotaur.
  • Since this was a rather disappointing book, I'll start off with what I did like about it. The only highlight of Bull was seeing Asterion's, you know, the Minotaur, story was was given more depth. I really rather enjoyed seeing his character before he was locked away in the maze where he descended into madness. It definitely gave the story a different turn to see how he was not quite the monster, before the maze, that the myth makes him out to be. But as much  as I enjoyed seeing a different side to his story, that added depth made it all the more sad when he faced his cruel fate.   

  • I don't even know where to begin when it comes to why I did not like this book. But let's start with the language. I really wish the author would have used language that was less crude. The language employed throughout the entire book left me disgusted. To be honest, the foul language made totally took away from the book; it also brought the writing down.
  • Another point a found irritating, Poseidon. Yeah, I don't like him as a character on the best of days, yet this version of him, well, it made me want to knock him up side the head. Why, because he came off as a petulant brat. It was not just Poseidon that annoyed me either as most of the cast made me roll my eyes with the way they were characterized. What really bothered me about the characters was that the majority of them had no redeeming qualities. 

Final Verdict: Bull- Start to finish, I was highly disappointed with this one. SO MUCH WASTED POTENTIAL.

Bull earns
A copy of this book was borrowed from the library. All thoughts are my own.

Friday, May 19, 2017

All About Middle Grade Review [Blog Tour]: Orphan Island


This week, I am very excited to be talking about Laurel Snyder's newest middle grade book Orphan Island!! Continue reading to see my thoughts on her new book!!


Orphan Island by Laurel Snyder, May 30, 2017. 288 pages. Published by Walden Pond Press. Source: Publisher.
From acclaimed author Laurel Snyder comes a deep, compelling, heartbreaking, and completely one-of-a-kind novel about nine children who live on a mysterious island.

On the island, everything is perfect. The sun rises in a sky filled with dancing shapes; the wind, water, and trees shelter and protect those who live there; when the nine children go to sleep in their cabins, it is with full stomachs and joy in their hearts. And only one thing ever changes: on that day, each year, when a boat appears from the mist upon the ocean carrying one young child to join them—and taking the eldest one away, never to be seen again.

Today’s Changing is no different. The boat arrives, taking away Jinny’s best friend, Deen, replacing him with a new little girl named Ess, and leaving Jinny as the new Elder. Jinny knows her responsibility now—to teach Ess everything she needs to know about the island, to keep things as they’ve always been. But will she be ready for the inevitable day when the boat will come back—and take her away forever from the only home she’s known?

First Sentence
Jinny heard the bell.



Lucky me, thanks to Walden Pond Press I was lucky enough to get to read Orphan Island by Laurel Snyder. I was really excited about getting the chance to read it because the last book I read by her was so good.

  • I have been attempting to write down my thoughts on Orphan Island for, well, a couple weeks now. Alas, the words have been playing coy, but I'll endeavor to get them out (without rambling too much, I hope). There were many, many things to like about this book; mainly the writing and character growth. While at times Jinny annoyed me, there was something about how she had to grow up and learn to let go that really resonated with me. Why, because there comes a point when you have to leave your comfort zone; that and I really enjoyed the way Laurel Snyder brought that struggle to life.
  • Even though I quite enjoyed the entire book, I am still left with  a ton of questions. Questions like why were they on the Island, what happened when they left, and just more questions about the island itself as it was kind of unique. Although I still have all these questions, I really enjoyed all the little details that she included with the island; like how the eldest would look after the newest arrival. 
  • Writing, writing, writing! I'll be honest here, it started off kind of slow...YET, yet I really enjoyed Laurel Snyder's writing and how she crafted the characters (characters who were far from perfect...which is a-ok) and their world, that of the island. One of the biggest themes throughout the book is hanging on and letting go. A lesson that everyone learns at one point or another. I said this early, but the way that struggle was written was so well done that my heart ached for Jinny as she fought to change the inevitable. Start to finish, this is a beautifully written book.
Final Verdict: Orphan Island

About the Author:
Laurel Snyder is a poet, essayist, and author of picture books and novels for children, including Orphan Island, Charlie and Mouse, Bigger than a Bread Box, and Swan, the Life and Dance of Anna Pavlova. She is also a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and a faculty member of Hamline University's MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults. She lives in Atlanta with her family and can be found online at www.laurelsnyder.com.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Spinning Pages (11): Shattered Warrior/The Change


Oftentimes, while I'm reading a song will pop into my head because the book makes me think of it; sometimes the reverse happens and a random song will make me think of a book I have readSpinning Pages is a combination of my love for books and music. More often than not, inspiration for these posts strikes while I have music thumping in my ears while exercising (kind of like how this feature came to be). 


Due to time constraints, I was unable to put together posts for Spinning Pages the last two, or is three, weeks. That and sometimes, well, sometimes you just don't find that perfect song to sum up your feelings on a book!!

Well, after a couple weeks hiatus I have finally been able to pair another book and song. This time though, it'll be a little different as the book is, wait for it, a graphic novel. More specifically, Shattered Warrior by Sharon Shinn (and illustrated by Molly Knox Ostertag). As I was writing my review for it, the perfect song popped into my head; The Change by Garth Brooks. Keep reading to see why.


The Change performed by Garth Brooks. Written by R. Wayne Tester, Anthony M. Arata
One hand
Reaches out
And pulls a lost soul from harm
While a thousand more go unspoken for
They say what good have you done
By saving just this one
It's like whispering a prayer
In the fury of a storm

And I hear them saying you'll never change things
And no matter what you do it's still the same thing
But it's not the world that I am changing
I do this so this world will know
That it will not change me

This heart
Still believes
The love and mercy still exist
While all the hatred rage and so many say
That love is all but pointless in madness such as this
It's like trying to stop a fire
With the moisture from a kiss 

Okay, so here we go! The first set of lyrics reminds me of the beginning of the book where Colleen is still just going through the motions of living. Pretty much she's giving up...until two people come into her life and she finds something worth living/fighting for. Seriously though! So many of the lyrics just fit this song so, so well that I could go on-and-on. Chiefly though, it fits Colleen's emotional story arc and how the people were fighting to free their world from the invaders.

You can see my full thoughts on Shattered Warrior, which you definitely want to read, hop on over to see my review!

If you have never heard Garth Brooks' The Change, then you really must listen to it! I wish I could have found the video or audio of the song to share, but no luck. If you get the chance, do listen to it!!!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

I Want to Read It (55): Downward Spiral



I Want to Read It, a hybrid between WLW (or WOW) and what's on my to-be read pile. Well, instead of focusing just on books I would like to acquire, I will be using it to feature books that I just want to read. From the one's I want to buy to the one's sitting on my TBR at home.



The Downward Spiral (Lock and Key, 2) by Ridley Pearson, October 10. 2017. Published by HarperCollins. Source: Wish list.
James Moriarty hasn’t been the same since he enrolled at Baskerville Academy. During his first year, he was forced to room with the insufferable Sherlock Holmes, he grew distant from his younger sister, Moria, and then, horribly, his father died under mysterious circumstances.

Now with school back in session, James has become more isolated than ever. And for the first time in her life, Moria isn’t sure if her brother is on her side. The only person she can trust is Sherlock. Sherlock listens to Moria’s problems and tries to break through James’s wall. He is obsessed, maybe to an extreme, with finding the truth about their father’s death. But at least Sherlock cares, and that’s why Moria joins him on a quest that leads to a secret sect, a rare jewel, and a murder that may change everything. The search for the truth is darker than even they could have anticipated. Rick Riordan, author of the Percy Jackson series, said, “Only a mastermind like Ridley Pearson could put such a fresh spin on Sherlock Holmes.” It’s another edge-of-your-seat mystery-adventure from New York Times bestselling author Ridley Pearson.

Why


Earlier this month I shared my thoughts on The Initiation, the first book in Ridley Pearson's newest series Lock and Key, which was a great re-imaging of Sherlock Holmes (as a young teen). That brings up to my immense need of getting my hands on a copy of Downward Spiral because I just need more Sherlock, Moira, James, and to see what new mysteries and secrets will come about.

Have you start the Lock and Key series? 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Teaser Tuesday: York: The Shadow Cipher

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by MizB of Books And A Beat. To participate, simply do the following: Grab your current read Open to a random page Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Graphic Novel Review [Blog Tour]: Shattered Warrior


I am so excited to be kicking off the blog tour, as well, as talking about  Shattered Warrior with all of you today on the blog! Sharon Shinn and Molly Knox Ostertag created such a great graphic novel... so let's get down to "business" and talk about why I thought it was such a good read!!


Shattered Warrior by Sharon Shinn and illustrated by Molly Knox Ostertag, May 16, 2017. 256 pages. Published by First Second. Source: Publisher.
It is eight years after Colleen Cavanaugh's home world was invaded by the Derichets, a tyrannical alien race bent on exploiting the planet's mineral resources.

Most of her family died in the war, and she now lives alone in the city. Aside from her acquaintances at the factory where she toils for the Derichets, Colleen makes a single friend in Jann, a member of the violent group of rebels known as the Chromatti. One day Colleen receives shocking news: her niece Lucy is alive and in need of her help. Together, Colleen, Jann, and Lucy create their own tenuous family.

But Colleen must decide if it's worth risking all of their survival to join a growing underground revolution against the Derichets ... in Sharon Shinn and Molly Knox Ostertag's Shattered Warrior.




Shattered Warrior pleasantly surprised me with how much I enjoyed it. Not only was the story itself interesting, but the artwork and character growth were all great. Like I said, it turned out to better than I could have hoped for.


  • Graphic novels, they can be somewhat hit-and-miss sometimes. So, as excited as I was to read Shattered Warrior I was also somewhat hesitant to let myself hope for too much... Yet, the story of Colleen, who had lost her entire family after the Derichets arrived, pulled me in from the get-go. 
  • After all she had been through, the loss of her family and home, it was interesting to see how the she slowly changed after being reunited with her missing niece. It was the whole despair to blossoming hope that really got me with the story. It was just so well written the subtle transition as she started to live again. Just seeing how well the story and artwork flowed together to present the slow change, well, that more than made it worth reading the book. I would love nothing more than to talk about this part of the book, but then I'd spoil the entire book for y'all, so...


  • Well, the world that the characters know, that of one ruled by the Derichets, is dark, cold and lonely world. While it does sound like your typical dystopian world, I really enjoyed it because the illustrations went so well with it. I guess you could say that the art and writing were well paired; both worked really well to bring the story to life. Even though certain aspects of the story were predictable, or should I say not new ground, it was still interesting.
  • If I had to say anything negative about the book, well, that would be that the ending, while good, left me somewhat unsatisfied. It was a good ending tinged with happiness, yet was it truly the end or a lead in to more. I DON'T KNOW AND IT'S BOTHERING ME!!! On the one hand, I would be totally cool with the story ending the way it did. But the other side of me wants a more solid conclusion. Still, the entire story is well worth reading!!
Final Verdict: Shattered Warrior- A really interesting look at how the smallest things can rekindle one's hope. There was so much to like about Colleen's story!!


Shattered Warrior earns


Be sure to check out tomorrow's tour stop by visiting Writing My Own Fairytale!!

About the Author:
Sharon Shinn has published more than twenty-five novels, one collection, and assorted pieces of short fiction since her first book came out in 1995. Among her books are the Twelve Houses series (Mystic and Rider and its sequels), the Samaria series (Archangel and its sequels), the Shifting Circle series, and the Elemental Blessings series. She lives in St. Louis, loves the Cardinals, watches as many movies as she possibly can, and still mourns the cancellation of “Firefly.”



About the Illustrator: 
Molly Knox Ostertag grew up in the forests of upstate New York and read far too many fantasy books as a child. She studied cartooning at the School of Visual Arts in New York City and now lives in Los Angeles, where she enjoys the beach year-round but misses good bagels. While at school she started drawing the award-winning webcomic Strong Female Protagonist, which continues to update and be published through Kickstarter and Top Shelf Comics. She draws comics about tough girls, sensitive boys, history, magic, kissing, superpowers, and feelings.


A copy of this book was received from the publisher in consideration for review. All thoughts are my own. 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

All About Middle Grade Review [Blog Tour]: York: The Shadow Cipher


Two reviews in one week, my y'all must be lucky! I am so very excited to one of the stops on the blog tour for Laura Ruby's newest release York: The Shadow Cipher (which was a great read). Be sure to keep reading to see why I found it to be such an interesting read.


The Shadow Cipher (York, 1) by Laura Ruby, May 16, 2017. 448 pages. Published by Walden Pond Press. Source: Publisher.
It was 1798 when the Morningstarr twins arrived in New York with a vision for a magnificent city: towering skyscrapers, dazzling machines, and winding train lines, all running on technology no one had ever seen before. Fifty-seven years later, the enigmatic architects disappeared, leaving behind for the people of New York the Old York Cipher—a puzzle laid into the shining city they constructed, at the end of which was promised a treasure beyond all imagining. By the present day, however, the puzzle has never been solved, and the greatest mystery of the modern world is little more than a tourist attraction.

Tess and Theo Biedermann and their friend Jaime Cruz live in a Morningstarr apartment house—until a real estate developer announces that the city has agreed to sell him the five remaining Morningstarr buildings. Their likely destruction means the end of a dream long-held by the people of New York. And if Tess, Theo and Jaime want to save their home, they have to prove that the Old York Cipher is real. Which means they have to solve it.
First Sentence
The true story of any city in never a single tale; it's a vast collection of stories with many different heroes.



I'll let you in on a little secret...York: The Shadow Cipher was my first Laura Ruby book. I remember hearing about one or two of her other books, I just have never read, till now, any of her work. I only skimmed the synopsis, but just that small glimpse of the premise was enough to pique my interest.

  • York: The Shadow Cipher was definitely intriguing. I really liked the depth to the cipher created and left by the Morningstarr twins as it appeared to grow and change the closer Tess, Theo, and Jaime came to solving each piece of it. Everything was so well laid out and the clues themselves, well, they were interesting as they led the characters all over New York all while showcasing the how the Morningstarrs' left their mark. I guess you could say that I highly enjoyed the re-imaging of New York City that Laura Ruby presented in this book. So much I could talk to y'all about in regards to the setting, but I'll leave that to you to discover when you read it.
  • There was so many things to like about the characters and their portrayal in the book. With the twins, I liked that they were so different and that they were named after the Morningstarrs. I liked Tess; even though she was a doom-and-gloom, jump to worst possible outcome kind of girl, I liked that she kept trying to solve the mystery to save their home from destruction. As to Theo and Jaime, they both were really well formed characters with talents that helped them during their quest.
  • What about the writing? Well, the prologue was definitely intriguing as it set the scene, from the past, and gave more context to what Tess, Theo and Jaime would be facing as the squared off against the cipher. Though it also left me crazy curious to know more about a certain character and why the cipher was set (and what happened to the Morningstarrs). After the prolouge, well, it took a couple chapters for the story to take off again as the catalyst needed to be unleashed, that of their apartment complex being sold, for things to really kick into gear. Yet, on the whole I really enjoyed Laura Ruby's writing and how many layers there were to the story. Her writing paired with the world she created just really pulled me in.  

Final Verdict: York: The Shadow Cipher- A thrilling mystery over a hundred years old, and still unsolved, mixed with a fascinating version of New York and three kids racing the clock to solve the unsolvable....MORE, PLEASE!! Well crafted and immensely entertaining.

York: The Shadow Cipher earns


About the Author:
Laura Ruby is the author of books for adults, teens, and children, including Bone Gap, a National Book Award finalist and Michael L. Printz Award winner, among dozens of other accolades. Her other books include the Edgar-nominated mystery Lily’s Ghosts, the Book Sense Pick Good Girls, and the acclaimed novels Play Me and Bad Apple. She is on the faculty of Hamline University’s MFA in writing for children and young adults program and lives in the Chicago area. You can visit her online at www.lauraruby.com.



An advanced copy of this book was received in consideration for review. All thoughts are my own.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Teaser Tuesday: The Initiation

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by MizB of Books And A Beat. To participate, simply do the following: Grab your current read Open to a random page Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday, May 8, 2017

All About Middle Grade Review: The Initiation



The Initiation (Lock and Key, 1) by Ridley Pearson, September 20, 2016. 384 pages. Published by HarperCollins. Source: Publisher.
In the pantheon of literature’s more impressive villains, Sherlock Holmes’s greatest nemesis, James Moriarty, stands alone. As Sir Arthur Conan Doyle describes him in the classic tale “The Final Solution,” Moriarty is a genius, a philosopher, and a spider in the center of his web. He is the Napolean of crime—and now, for the first-time ever, New York Times bestselling novelist Ridley Pearson explores the origins of his evil ways.

Our story begins when James and his younger sister, Moria, are unceremoniously sent off to boarding school at Baskerville Academy. It is not a fate either want or welcome—but generations of Moriarty men have graduated from Baskerville’s hallowed halls. And now so too must James. It’s at Baskerville where James is first paired with a rather unexpected roommate—Sherlock Holmes. The two don’t get along almost instantly, but when the school’s heirloom Bible goes missing and cryptic notes with disconcerting clues start finding their way into James’s hands, the two boys decide that they must work together to solve a mystery so fraught with peril, it will change both their lives forever!
First Sentence
Terrified for my life, I ran from my brother.




If only I had realized that was a re-imaging centered around Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock and Moriarty, then I would have read it as soon as I received it from the publisher. I say this simply because the Sherlock Holmes books are some of my favorite mysteries (after Agatha Christie's work, of course). While this is not the first retelling of Sherlock, for middle grade or young adult, that I have read, it was one of the more interesting ones.

  • If you have not read The Initiation yet then you are missing out on adolescent Sherlock snark!! I about died of laughter every time Sherlock spoke because everything he said was so, so him. I really truly loved Ridley Pearson's teen version of Sherlock; as well as the conflict between him and James (you know Moriarty). I just feel that he captured those two characters so well, which was one of the reasons I found myself enjoying this one so much.
  • Even though I'm certain she's not canon, Moria Moriarty was a fascinating character and a great choice to narrate the story. Moria was both fierce and loyal, two qualities that she would need to deal with both her brother and Sherlock. Honestly, sometimes it felt like she was the smarter version of Watson...just related to who would deem himself Sherlock's nemesis.
  •  I've seen some complaints on Goodreads about how the characters spoke, like they were still set in the 1800s, personally I liked the way the characters spoke. I thought it gave the book a nice feel with them using proper English and not, you know, using slang that will be irrelevant in a year or so.  So, yeah, the writing and language of the book were definitely a highlight as it fit the characters so well
  • You know what, this book was simply a fun read. I really enjoyed the whole mystery surrounding the school and the Moriarty family and how the two were tied together. Even though the story focused primarily on Sherlock and James, it was more about Moria in the long run as she was connected with both of them. Seriously though, the story, characters, and writing are so enjoyable in this one. 

Final Verdict: The Initiation-  As entertaining as it was hilarious; the mystery surrounding James and Moria, paired with the know-it-all, and super awkward, Sherlock made this an irresistible read. 

The Initiation earns

A copy of this book was received from the publisher in consideration for review. All thoughts are my own.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Teaser Tuesday: Take the Key and Lock Her Up

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by MizB of Books And A Beat. To participate, simply do the following: Grab your current read Open to a random page Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday, May 1, 2017

YA Review: Take the Key and Lock Her Up



Take the Key and Lock Her Up (Embassy Row, 3) by Ally Carter, December 27, 2016. 327 pages. Published by Scholastic. Source: Borrowed from library.
The princess is dead. Long live the princess.
Centuries ago, the royal family of Adria was killed…or so everyone thought.

Now Grace Blakely knows the truth: There was one survivor, and that survivor’s blood runs through her veins. This simple fact could cause a revolution—which is why some people will stop at nothing to keep it from coming to light.

There is only one way for Grace to save herself, save her family, and save the boy she loves. She must outmaneuver her foes, cut through the web of lies that has surrounded her for years, and go back to the source of all her troubles, despite the risk.

If she wins, she will inherit a throne.

And if she loses, she will inherit the fate of all the dead princesses who came before her.

First Sentence:
When the screams come, I can't be sure that I'm not dreaming. 



I know, I totally spaced out on reviewing the second book in the series...but that's what rereads are for!! While I'm not too fond of reviewing books in a series out of order, it must be done this time!! So, let's talk about the end of Embassy Row and whether or not it was a good conclusion to the series!!


  • Take the Key and Lock Her Up begins where book two left off, with Grace on the run from, well, everyone and just trying to survive long enough to find out the truth. As the book starts out, you see that she is still reeling from all that happened in the previous two books; who wouldn't be after all the things she discovered. It was rather nice to see a character who was so emotionally scarred not miraculously healed from their mental trauma. It happens to often, a characters been through a lot, something happens and then *boom* they're all peachy again. Yeah...that's not how it goes in real life. Even though she still has a lot to work through, I liked that she never gave up.
  • Even though there are definitely dark points in this book, and the entire series, I liked that there were till traces of hope. It may not have been obvious, but the fact that she, and her friends, kept moving forward through everything even with the odds stacked against them, showed that even though the world was against them they still maintained hope. I'll be honest, if there's no trace of hope in a book, well, then I tend to lose interest. I don't know about you, but it's those bright spots that really make me enjoy a book.
  • Okay, enough about Grace and her history... I really did like the way the series ended. Mostly because the end was both satisfying and felt true to the characters. The way things played out, which I'm obviously not going to tell you, was 100% in line with Grace's personality (also everything that she did which lead up to that point). You'll definitely have to read the entire series to see why exactly I found the ending to be perfect...and that ending with that one character was creepy and oh so perfect.
  • I'll be honest, I love Ally Carter's writing and have since I read her young adult debut. Each of the books she writes features female characters that are strong, and yet, still battling through things (even if some of those things are not likely to actually happen, you know). Having now read her books about teenage girl spies, thieves, and crazy lost princess, I'm so ready to see what scenario she'll tackle!!

Final Verdict: Take the Key and Lock Her Up- Wraps the series up in "Flame and glory"... Seriously though, the ending was really nice and Grace went out in typical Grace fashion with things going *boom*!! As much as I enjoyed the ending, I am sad that Embassy Row is over.

Take the Key and Lock Her Up earns

A copy of this book was borrowed from the library. All thoughts are my own.
Are you a middle grade author, want your book to be spotlighted this year during the challenge on my blog? Than this post is just for you. All about Middle Grade Challenge

Sign up for the 2014 All about Middle Grade Reading Challenge.

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