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Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini TaylorDAYS OF BLOOD AND STARLIGHT by Laini Taylor Book Review
Series: Daughter of Smoke and Bone, #2
Publication Date: November 6th 2012 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Rating: – Exceeds Expectations |

Book Summary: In this stunning sequel to the highly acclaimed Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Karou must come to terms with who and what she is, and how far she’ll go to avenge her people. Filled with heartbreak and beauty, mysteries and secrets, new characters and old favorites, Days of Blood and Starlight brings the richness, color and intensity of the first book to a brand new canvas.

Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor Book Review Overview:

  • Immense character growth for Karou
  • Fleshed out secondary characters that you can’t help but love
  • Wished for more romance but the amount of lovey dovey was appropriate in terms of the plot

Like with any other sequel, I had doubts coming into DAYS OF BLOOD AND STARLIGHT by Laini Taylor. The first novel of the series, DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE, had been a stunner. A wonderful blend of fantasy and romance, DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE had easily been one of my favorite reads of last year. Was the sequel going to be able to live up to my high standards? It seems that I had nothing to worry about. DAYS OF BLOOD AND STARLIGHT by Laini Taylor is everything that readers have been anticipating. It will not disappoint.

Karou grows so much in the span of DAYS OF BLOOD AND STARLIGHT. She is such a different character from DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE, hardened by her recent experiences. She struggles between following through her obligations and following her heart. It is so easy to empathize for Karou because you grew to love her in the first book. You understand why she has difficulty in deciding what to do.

I think that the secondary characters are such a delight in DAYS OF BLOOD AND STARLIGHT by Laini Taylor. Taylor takes this time to flesh out the characters, and we see a side of them that we did not get to see in Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Furthermore, I loved the interpersonal relationships between all the different characters. Karou’s friendship with Zusana is one of my favorite elements of the book. The relationships in DAYS OF BLOOD AND STARLIGHT continue to be true and genuine.

I yearned for a little more romance, but that’s mostly just me fangirly-ing over Karou and Akiva. They are a match-made in heaven (no pun intended) and it hurts me as a reader to see them apart. The amount of romance is adequate in terms of what is going on in the story. There’s not a lot of girly squealing in DAYS OF BLOOD AND STARLIGHT by Laini Taylor, but I know it will just make things a lot sweeter in the later books. No matter what happens, you just know that Akiva and Karou are meant to be together.

Laini Taylor is such a talented author. The world-building continues to be richly detailed and beautifully written. She artfully weaves themes of war, loss, and betrayal in DAYS OF BLOOD AND STARLIGHT. Fans of Daughter of Smoke and Bone will not be disappointed with this enchanting sequel.

Other Book Reviews:
365 Days of Reading
The Overflowing Library
The Paper Planes

About the Author

Laini TaylorLaini Taylor is a writer of fantasy books for young people, but her books can be enjoyed by adults as well. Her ‘Dreamdark’ books, Blackbringer (2007) and Silksinger (2009) are about faeries — not dainty little flowery things, but warrior-faeries who battle devils. Her first young adult book, Lips Touch, is a finalist for the 2009 National Book Award! It’s creepy, sensual supernatural romance. . . about kissing. Taylor is also an artist with a licensed gift product line called “Laini’s Ladies.”

Find the Author

Website | Twitter | GoodReads

Comments 4 comments

Permalink Permalink Category Book Review, Four Stars - , , , , , , , , | Words 1045 words

You are here: Home » Masterful World-Building

Crewel by Gennifer AlbinCREWEL by Gennifer Albin Book Review
Series: Crewel World, #1
Publication Date: October 16th 2012 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Rating: – Acceptable |

Book Summary: Incapable. Awkward. Artless.

That’s what the other girls whisper behind her back. But sixteen year-old Adelice Lewys has a secret: she wants to fail.

Gifted with the ability to weave time with matter, she’s exactly what the Guild is looking for, and in the world of Arras, being chosen as a Spinster is everything a girl could want. It means privilege, eternal beauty, and being something other than a secretary. It also means the power to embroider the very fabric of life. But if controlling what people eat, where they live and how many children they have is the price of having it all, Adelice isn’t interested.

Not that her feelings matter, because she slipped and wove a moment at testing, and they’re coming for her—tonight.

Now she has one hour to eat her mom’s overcooked pot roast. One hour to listen to her sister’s academy gossip and laugh at her Dad’s stupid jokes. One hour to pretend everything’s okay. And one hour to escape.

Because once you become a Spinster, there’s no turning back.

Crewel by Gennifer Albin Book Review Overview:

  • Unlikeable protagonist
  • The world-building was enough to win me over
  • Of course there’s a romance, but it’s not heart-melting.

The main problem that I had with CREWEL by Gennifer Albin is the fact that the protagonist, Adelice, is not very likeable. She has a tendency of not knowing when to stop talking, and after a while, it gets really tiresome. How many times must secondary characters tell her to watch her mouth? Her tendency to speak out only gets her in trouble when everyone else is mercilessly trying to keep her safe and alive. She’s not afraid to voice out her opinion, but her rebellious attitude does not get her anywhere.

Usually, an unlikeable protagonist is such a deal-breaker for me, but the world that Albin creates is so intriguing that I let it slide this time. The world of Arras is fascinating: Spinsters have the ability to weave time and matter, which lets them control just about everything from the weather to people’s lives. I love Albin’s description of the weave and the threads of life that keep Arras together. This fantasy element is what sets CREWEL by Gennifer Albinapart from other young adult dystopians.

But of course, a young adult dystopian is in need of some romance. CREWEL by Gennifer Albin is not lacking in this department. There is the inevitable forbidden romance for Adelice. It really didn’t give me any tingly feelings as a reader, but I wouldn’t say that the romance was unnecessary. It was just nothing special. There is a hint of a love triangle brewing, but I guess readers will have to wait until the sequel to see if Adelice will take interest in more than one suitor.

Albin does save a huge shocking secret that she reveals at the end of CREWEL but lets readers squirm in anticipation for the next book by failing to spill the juicy details about the secret. Of course, I figured it out way in advance, but instead of feeling disappointed by the author’s inability to surprise me, I just feel impressed that I was able to figure it out in advance.

I haven’t decided if I want to read the rest of the Crewel World series. My unlove for Adelice might be problematic later on. As much as I love the world that Albin has created, it might not be enough to win me over as a devoted fan of the series. CREWELby Gennifer Albin has a little more than the standard dystopians out in the market, but I’m not one hundred percent convinced that I will be following up on this one.

Other Book Reviews:
The Book Rat
Popcorn Reads
The Reading Date

About the Author

Gennifer Albin holds a Masters degree in English Literature from the University of Missouri. During her student years she served as an editor for Pleaides and The Missouri Review, and since then she’s founded the tremendously popular blog theconnectedmom.com.  She lives in Kansas with her ridiculously supportive husband, two small children, and a Tuesday cat.

Find the Author

Website | Twitter | GoodReads

Comments 3 comments

Permalink Permalink Category Book Review, Three Stars - , , , , , , , | Words 1075 words

You are here: Home » Masterful World-Building

The Diviners by Libba BrayTHE DIVINERS by Libba Bray Book Review
Series: Diviners, #1
Publication Date: September 18th 2012 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Rating: – Acceptable |

Book Summary: Evie O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City–and she is pos-i-toot-ly thrilled. New York is the city of speakeasies, shopping, and movie palaces! Soon enough, Evie is running with glamorous Ziegfield girls and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is Evie has to live with her Uncle Will, curator of The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult–also known as “The Museum of the Creepy Crawlies.”

When a rash of occult-based murders comes to light, Evie and her uncle are right in the thick of the investigation. And through it all, Evie has a secret: a mysterious power that could help catch the killer–if he doesn’t catch her first.

Book Review Overview:

  • Colorful and diverse cast of characters
  • Transports you to the 1930’s New York City
  • Just too long that the story started to drag

As engrossed as I was into the mystery, The Diviners by Libba Bray just isn’t a book that you can read in one sitting. At 600 whopping pages, The Diviners has a lot of heavy material in it. Bray does justice in exploring the world of 1930’s New York – it’s just a lot to handle in one book.

When it comes to reading a great book, length shouldn’t matter at all. But unfortunately, I was hit with Restless Reader Syndrome about 2/3 of the way into THE DIVINERS by Libba Bray. I was just itching for the mystery’s resolution at that point, even if I had a long way to go. I would have liked the pacing to be a little more fast-paced, but I can understand why Bray would want to take her time to develop the characters and the setting as this is the first book in a new series.

I love the way Bray effortlessly transports readers back in time during the 1930’s and New York City. The city was such a fascinating period throughout the Prohibition Era. I loved the fact that Bray did not focus on just one neighborhood. I loved the similarities and contrasts between the different neighborhoods such as Harlem, the Upper East Side, and the Theatre District in Midtown. I could easily picture 1930’s New York in my head. Bray is probably one of my favorite historical authors because of this reason.

Other than the masterful crafting of the 1930’s, the strongest point of THE DIVINERS by Libba Bray is the vast array of colorful characters. Each character was well-developed and interesting. I wanted to know more about every single one of them and it’s hard to pinpoint a favorite. I think that most of the fun was uncovering each character’s backstory and learning more as to what made them a Diviner. I enjoyed the fact that Bray included a diverse set of characters that further showcased what it was like to live as a teen in the 1930’s.

I think that part of the reason that I started to get restless was the fact that THE DIVINERS by Libba Bray started to reflect what I was learning in school. The Book of Revelation plays a big role in the murder mystery. There have been lots of interpretations of the Book of Revelation in pop culture, but I really enjoyed the way that Bray took this idea and incorporated it into a murder.

THE DIVINERS by Libba Bray is a start to a promising series, but I do hope that Bray caps off her books at around 600 pages. I don’t know if I can take any longer than that. However, THE DIVINERS by Libba Bray is still a highly enjoyable read. Crossing multiple genres, THE DIVINERS by Libba Bray has a bit of everything to please a wide audience.

About the Author

Libba BrayLibba Bray is the New York Times bestselling author of The Gemma Doyle trilogy (A Great and Terrible Beauty, Rebel Angels, The Sweet Far Thing); the Michael L. Printz Award-winning Going Bovine; Beauty Queens, an L.A. Times Book Prize finalist; and The Diviners series. She is originally from Texas but makes her home in Brooklyn, NY, with her husband, son, and two sociopathic cats.

Find the Author

Website | Twitter | GoodReads

Comments 4 comments

Permalink Permalink Category Book Review, Three Stars - , , , , , , , , | Words 1078 words

'I don’t belong to anyone. I make my own choices'.
'And you’re with Adrian.'
'But I was meant for you.'
- Richelle Mead, Last Sacrifice

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