Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller

29960675Title: Mask of Shadows

Author: Linsey Miller

Publish Date: August 29th, 2017

PublisherSourcebooks Fire

Rating: 4 Stars

GOODREADS | AMAZON | B&N 

Summary: Sal Leon is a thief and a good one at that. But gender fluid Sal wants nothing more than to escape the drudgery of life as a highway robbery and get closer to the upper-class and the nobles who destroyed their home.

When Sal Leon steals a poster announcing open auditions for the Left Hand, a powerful collection of the Queen’s personal assassins named for the rings she wears — Ruby, Emerald, Amethyst, and Opal — their world changes. They know it’s a chance for a new life.

Except the audition is a fight to the death with clever circus acrobats, lethal apothecaries, and a vicious ex-soldiers. A childhood as a common criminal hardly prepared Sal for the trials. But Sal must survive to put their real reason for auditioning into play: revenge. 

I got this ARC from Miss Print’s ARC Adoption in exchange for an honest review.

My thoughts:

Honestly, books about Assassins will get me every time. Mask of Shadows follows Sal a thief who wants to enact revenge on those who abandoned their home and let it fall to the shadows. After losing their entire family and their people, Sal knows the only thing that will make it better is to get revenge on those who turned their backs on them. When Sal robs a upper-class coach and stumbles upon a poster for auditions for the Left Hand, they know this is their chance to get everything they want. What Sal doesn’t prepare for is the people they meet while auditioning. 

There was a lot I really loved about this book. The first being that Sal is gender fluid. In the book, it’s something that is a part of the character and I really liked seeing a gender fluid character in a fantasy novel. I myself am not gender fluid but to me, it felt like Linsey put in a lot of time and research to make Sal as authentic as possible. And that definitely comes across, with the way Sal explains it to the Left Hand and to the other competitors. The way it was handled was amazingly well done. 

The second thing I really loved was how fast this book moved. Within about 4 chapters Sal has their proof of entry and is on their way to the auditions. I read quite a bit of fantasy and I always find that the first book is a bit tedious because of how much world building goes on (which isn’t a bad thing) but I loved how quickly it moved. It was what kept me so intrigued and made me not want to put it down. That being said with how fast this book moves I felt we lost a bit of the world building and getting to know the character, which is made up for later in the book and overall it doesn’t take away from how much I enjoyed this book. Sal was a great character and I would have loved to know more about their thinking process. I felt like we weren’t given a lot of insight into Sal’s mind even though the story was told from their POV. 

I did love Sal though. I thought they were a brilliant character. They start off trusting no one and with time they let a few people in. I loved Sal’s relationship with Maude his maid for the competition. I loved that they became friends and Maude worked to help Sal win this competition and that in turn, Sal began to care for Maude. Another thing that I loved was how Sal was not good at a lot of things. They could run and steal and sneak, but shooting an arrow and fighting with a sword was not their strong suit. It made me like Sal a lot that they struggle with things and it didn’t come naturally to them. This book I will say is pretty violent. The competition is them killing each other off, so you get a few the details after a kill. It’s not horrible but if you don’t like violence and senseless killing, you most likely won’t like this one.

A couple things that bothered me a bit was some chapters did some weird jumps. Something big would happen and they would jump to a few days later. It didn’t happen a lot but when it did it was jarring. I would have to flip back to see if I missed something. It would get explained a couple paragraphs in but I thought those jumps were a bit weird. Then there was the fact that some of the names and people were a bit confusing to follow. Sal or other characters would use someone’s full name and then a couple sentences later use just their first. Which for me had me confused, again I figured it out but it took me a second. And a lot of characters had long names! And the last thing is that I wish we got to see more of Sal’s process. I’m not sure how to explain this but I felt like Sal thought differently than everyone else, especially with how to handle certain situations, I felt like we were told but not shown. I would have loved to have Sal’s thought process or their moves explained later. 

Overall though I thought this book was amazing and really well done. This is the first book in the series and I’m excited to see where this story goes. I would also love to get a more in depth look at Sal. I think they were such an interesting character but I would like to have them fleshed out a bit more. Mask of Shadows was awesome and it was everything I look for in a fantasy novel. If you get the chance definitely read this one, it’s quick and it’s a fun read. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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We Are Okay Review

31520111Title: We Are Okay

Author: Nina LaCour

Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers

Date Published: February 14th, 2017

Rating: 4 Stars

Summary: “You go through life thinking there’s so much you need… Until you leave with only your phone, your wallet, and a picture of your mother.” 

Marin hasn’t spoken to anyone from her old life since the day she left everything behind. No one knows the truth about those final weeks. Not even her best friend Mabel. But even thousands of miles away from California coast, at college in New York, Marin still feels the pull of the life and tragedy she’s tried to outrun. Now, months later, alone in an emptied dorm for winter break, Marin waits. Mabel is coming to visit and Marin will be forced to face everything that’s been left unsaid and finally confront the loneliness that has made a home in her heart. 

My Review:

Nina LaCour has been on my auto-buy list ever since I read Everything Leads to You. The worlds and characters she brings to life make me fall in love every single time. That’s why when I heard about her new book, I knew I had to get my hands on it somehow. So when Emma over at Miss Print offered it on her ARC Adoption I was so excited! We Are Okay is a beautiful story about love, loss, and family. Told in past and present this story delves deep into relationships and how bonds may be stronger than we think.

I don’t even know how to put into words what I felt about this book. Because I am in this weird state of knowing I loved it, and not being able to put into words what I loved about it exactly. I mean I’m gonna try but there’s no guarantee I’ll even be coherent.

First off, it’s Nina Lacour. Not only are her books beautiful, seriously Everything Leads to You is one of my favorite covers. But her writing is so flawless. She brings these characters to life. You’ve been these characters or you know these characters. I’ve been Marin. I’ve been lost and afraid and I’ve questioned the bonds I have with family and friends. Marin was real to me, it’s why this book was so hard to read but so hard to put down. After finishing it I wasn’t able to get it out of my mind.

Second, the relationships that Marin had, and the fact that the focus was not on romantic love but the love of family. Whether it’s the ones we’re born into or the ones we choose for ourselves. It’s something I wish to see more of in YA. I love the types of stories that show that families aren’t always what we think they will be. They’re unconventional but they work. And sometimes the best families come from the people who know us better than the ones we were born into.

Third, the feelings this book will give you. The setting, the characters they are done so well that the loneliness and pain just come off the pages and hit you hard. This book has a great ending but it’s still wrapped in this sadness that is so encompassing that you have to go watch some happy tv show right after to get out of the mood it puts you in. It honestly just shows the range that Nina has as an author. The fact that this book makes you feel so much and so intensely is just what makes Nina such a great author.

Overall, I recommend this to anyone, young and old. Great characters and an epically beautiful story full of love and hope, it’s one you will seriously need to pick up. I loved this book with all my heart and I know you will too!

 

 

October Wrap-Up & November TBR

Seriously these months have been just flying by! It’s almost the next year and I can’t believe how fast this year has flown, but with everything that’s been happening this entire year I for one can’t wait until it’s over! Anyways on to my wrap-up!!! You guys I completely KILLED this month! I read 13 books this month! That’s crazy I just was on a reading roll! So without further ado here are the books I read this month!

  1. Dragon Marked: Jaymin Eve
  2. Symptoms of Being Human: Jeff Garvin
  3. Sabriel: Garth Nix
  4. Goldenhand: Garth Nix
  5. Moon Chosen: P.C. Cast
  6. A Sliver of Stardust: Marissa Burt
  7. A Legend of Starfire: Marissa Burt
  8. The Best Possible Answer: E. Katherine Kottaras
  9. Rip: Rachel Van Dyken
  10. The Sun is Also a Star: Nicola Yoon
  11. Dead Girls Society: Michelle Krys
  12. Heartless: Marissa Meyer
  13. Illuminae: Jay Kristoff & Amie Kaufman

This month was so badass reading and tv wise! I read 13 books and binge watched every season of Brooklyn Nine Nine! I was so surprised when I checked my Goodreads account to see how many books I read because I definitely was not keeping track! But heres hoping this month is just as good a reading wise as last month! That being said here is my TBR list for this month! A lot of these are ones I started awhile ago and put down and haven’t yet finished!

  1. The Adventure’s guide to Successful Escapes: Wade Albert White
  2. The Emerald Tablet: Dan Jolley 
  3. The Iron Trial: Holly Black & Cassandra Clare
  4. The Copper Gauntlet: Holly Black & Cassandra Clare
  5. The Bronze Key: Holly Black & Cassandra Clare
  6. Love Me Never: Sara Wolf
  7. Forget Me Always: Sara Wolf
  8. The Girl in the Picture: Alexandra Monir
  9. Gris Grimly’s Tales from the Brothers Grimm: Illustrated by Gris Grimly
  10. Carry On: Rainbow Rowell
  11. Passenger: Alexandra Bracken
  12. Three Dark Crowns: Kendare Blake
  13. In A World Just Right: Jen Brooks
  14. The Graces: Laure Eve
  15. A Shadow Bright and Burning: Jessica Cluess
  16. These Broken Stars: Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
  17. And I darken: Kiersten White
  18. Seeker: Arwen Elys Dayton

I kind of went overboard with my choices, but I like have a stack I can choose from because sometimes I tend to not stick to my list at all! Can you guys believe that I still have not finished Passenger! It’s crazy… To be honest I haven’t finished any of Alex’s books. Don’t yell at me! I know I need to. Maybe this month I’ll binge read every book I have of hers. Anyways… That is my October Wrap-up and my November TBR. Hope you guys enjoyed! If you’ve read any of these let me know, because I would love to know your thoughts!

 

Stranger Things Book Tag

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This book tag was created by youtube user Sarah Sunbeemz. I saw this on Pretty Deadly Blog and I knew I had to do it because Stranger Things is so freaking good!

1. Epic intro. The opening sequence of stranger things is amazing and really grabs your attention. Name a book that grabbed your attention from the first page.

female of the species

This is how I kill someone.”

I mean seriously! This book talks about some really tough topics, but it is very much worth the read!

2. Dungeons & Dragons. Name a fantasy world you would like to experience yourself.

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I would just really like to know Nina and Inej, and be friends with them!

3. Squad goals. When eleven met Mike, Dustin and Lucas it was a “mostly” perfect team. Name your favorite bookish group of friends.

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For me there really is no better team than Blue and her boys! I just love them all so much.

4. ABC’s & Christmas lights. Joyce Byers goes mad with grief after Will goes missing. Name your favorite mentally unhinged character.

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Honestly Mara is an awesome character buttttt she’s a little bit wacko.

5. The upside down. Name a book that was the opposite of what you expected.

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My sister kept telling me how good this book was, but it honestly sounded so boring and like the same thing I’ve read so many times before. So I was so happy when it turned out to be such a GREAT read.

6. Mad scientists. Dr. Brenner likes to get freaky with humanity. Name the freakiest dystopian government you can think of.

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After Hunger Games and Divergent took off and everyone seemed to be writing dystopian, I kind of stepped away from it. But I did read Pawn and anything that has hunting humans in it goes to the top of my list for creepiest world EVER.

7. Demogorgon. Name a scary bookish creature that you would not want to come through your walls.

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Please don’t ever let Naughty Johnny through my walls! He was so freaking creepy!

8. Cliffhanger ending. Name a book that left you wanting more.

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This book was so good, but that ending has me dying for more and I hate that I have to wait another year for the next one! Plus that cover is freaking beautiful.

I love book tags so much! If you guys participate, link me back to your lists! And tell me how you felt about Stranger Things?

 

Ten characters I’d name my child after

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week is top ten characters you would name your child or pet after. Love this idea because there are several character names that I would name my kids! I’m going to list these in the order from most liked to least!

  1. Remy: This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen is one of my favorite books and ever since reading it I have loved the name Remy. It’s definitely tied with number 2 for favorite name.
  2. Millie: Technicallyyyyyy I first heard this name in the movie ‘Because I Said So’. But then I read it in The Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly. And while I didn’t like the character I have always loved the name.
  3. Tinsley: I first read this name in The It-Girl by Cecily von Ziegsar. I don’t know why I always pick mean characters name, but I loved the name Tinsley when I first read it so I thought why not!
  4.  Hallie: How to Deal by Sarah Dessen This name was always so cute to me. I don’t know why I have a thing for ie names. But Sarah Dessen is the queen of cute names.
  5. Luna: When I first read Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling I didn’t even notice Luna at first, but then the movie came out and I fell in love with this character because she was so weird and strange and I loved that.
  6. Blue: Yes this is from The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. This is one of my favorite characters, from one of my favorite series. I would totally name my kid Blue!
  7. Evie: I loved this name from The Diviners by Libba Bray. It was so cute and I fell in love with both the name and character!

Okay the two names are Bridget and Georgia butttt I can’t remember where I read these from so they will get mentioned, cause I loved them. Honestly I don’t know why but I only have girl names on my list. It’s the only ones I pay attention to. But there is my list! I hope you guys enjoy! Let me know what’s on your list!

 

 

 

 

September Wrap-Up and October TBR

I can not believe it’s October already! It just started to turn cold and I am so excited for wearing warm comfy clothes. Lots of sweaters and pants! Plus the change in weather and the hot drinks. SOOOO READY! Anyways on to the reason we’re here, I am doing my September Wrap-Up and my October TBR. Why not combine the two!

Without further ado here is what I read in September.

  1. Ninja Bunny: Sister vs. Brother by Jennifer Gray Olson
  2. Kids of Appetite by David Arnold
  3. The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis
  4. Frost Like Night by Sara Raasch
  5. Like a River Glorious by Rae Carson
  6. Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

Six books ain’t bad! I truly enjoyed all of these books! They were amazing and oh so good! Now on to my October TBR! This one I have a lot of books lined up. So let’s hope I can get more read this month!

  1. Goldenhand by Garth Nix
  2. A Legend of Starfire by Marissa Burt
  3. Moon Chosen by P.C. Cast
  4. The Best Possible Answer by E. Katherine Kottaras
  5. In a World Just Right by Jen Brooks
  6. Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff
  7. Kinslayer by Jay Kristoff
  8. Endsinger by Jay Kristoff
  9. Nevernight by Jay Kristoff
  10. Illuminae by Jay Kristoff & Amie Kaufman
  11. These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
  12. This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
  13. Their Fractured Light by Amie Kafman & Megan Spooner
  14. The Beauty of Darkness by Mary E. Pearson

So that is my October TBR. I usually read about 7 books, but I am going to Jay and Amie’s event for Gemina at the end of the month and I have never read any Jay or Amie books. So hopefully I’ll be able to get through them all!

Tackle your TBR read-a-thon

Tackle Your TBR Readathon 2016

I am so excited to participate in this years Tackle Your TBR Read-a-thon hosted by Wishful Endings! This event takes place from September 12th to the 26th. That is 15 days to read as many books off your TBR list as you can. And I know for me I have so many books on my TBR. Especially for these next few months and I need as much help as I can get. So this will definitely give me the motivation to get through my stack.

My Goals:
I plan on reading at least 8 books, maybe more. Maybe I’ll read one per day lol. I will also be posting reviews for each of the books I read. And I will try to participate in the each of the challenges!

If you guys want to sign up click the link up above to get more information! It’s going to be fun and hopefully I kick my TBR’s ass! Plus there will be fun challenges and prizes. And you get to read! Nothing better than that. I hope you guys join.