A Gathering of Shadows Review

20764879A Gathering of Shadows by V. E. Schwab

Series A Darker Shade of Magic #2

Published February 23, 2016 by Tor Books

Rating 5/5

It has been four months since a mysterious obsidian stone fell into Kell’s possession. Four months since his path crossed with Delilah Bard. Four months since Prince Rhy was wounded, and since the nefarious Dane twins of White London fell, and four months since the stone was cast with Holland’s dying body through the rift–back into Black London.

Now, restless after having given up his smuggling habit, Kell is visited by dreams of ominous magical events, waking only to think of Lila, who disappeared from the docks as she always meant to do. As Red London finalizes preparations for the Element Games–an extravagant international competition of magic meant to entertain and keep healthy the ties between neighboring countries–a certain pirate ship draws closer, carrying old friends back into port.

And while Red London is caught up in the pageantry and thrills of the Games, another London is coming back to life. After all, a shadow that was gone in the night will reappear in the morning. But the balance of magic is ever perilous, and for one city to flourish, another London must fall.

If you’re interested in my thoughts on the first book in this series, check out my review for A Darker Shade of Magic HERE.

The second book in the Darker Shade of Magic series did not disappoint! I am a mega-fan of any and all tournament scenes and this book provided one of the biggest championships of them all. 

Out of all the new characters introduced, Alucard Emery quickly became one of my favorites in the entire series.  Everyone loves a swash buckling pirate, and Emery embodies all of the best parts of the character. With an adventurous pirate, comes a wider world to explore.

Not only do the adventures of Alucard contribute to this massive expansion of knowledge of the Arnesian world, the tournament brings people from all walks of life (and countries) to the magical city of London. The explanation of the different people and the world in which they come from was very intriguing–it’s always one of my favorite parts of fantasy worlds.

Of course, the romance between Kell and Lila develops a little more (although it took sooo long to get to this part!). My favorite blossoming romance, however, is Rhy’s and someone who shall not be named (because it’s a spoiler and you need to go read this series immediately).

This is shaping up to be one of my top 10 favorites series EVER, and I totally recommend it. I’ve even put this beautiful bracelet in the shop, for an other Shade of Magic super fans out there! You can check out my Etsy by clicking HERE or going to the bar above!

Thanks for reading!

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Coming Soon!

I haven’t really been finishing any reviews for books lately (there’s been a lot of romance/pool reads for me the last month), so in an attempt to break the posting dry spell I’ve compiled this list of books soon to be released that I’m excited about!

NEW BOOKS

Tower of Dawn (Throne of Glass #6) by Sarah J Maas    B&N     Target (not up yet)

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One of my favorite series, I’m super excited for this release! I can’t wait to see Chaol’s adventures in the Southern Kingdoms. The Target exclusive edition is going to have fan art on the end papers whereas the Barnes and Noble edition will have a pages from Maas’ writing journal. I personally will probably end up with both but the fan art for these books is always super awesome.

 

Godsgrave (Nevernight Chronicles #2) by Jay Kristoff      B&N

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I’m currently reading Nevernight right now and it’s an action packed with assassins. I’m already excited or the next book to release, and can’t wait for the Barnes and Noble exclusive edition which will have fan art on the endpapers, and will be signed! I just love seeing characters brought to life in illustrations.

Wonder Woman by Leigh Bardugo      B&N

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I was originally leery about the DC Ya Novel Series, but then I saw the list of killer author’s representing the best superheroes! I can’t wait to see how Bardugo represents Diana. Right now they have a signed edition of the book available for preorder at Barnes and Noble.

 

 

EXCLUSIVE EDITIONS

City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments #1) by Cassandra Clare   Amazon

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The 10th anniversary edition of this book looks awesome! There will be illustrations and fan art throughout the book and it’ll be beautiful with gilded edges and cloth bound. There will be four stories previously available only in limited distribution (and a brand new one!). Even though I already have this book in paperback (signed no less!) I’ll definitely be picking up this edition of one of my favorite series.

A Darker Shade of Magic (A Darker Shade of Magic #1) by V. E. Schwab   Amazon

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I just finished this book recently and can already tell it will be one of my favorites (see my review HERE). I don’t own it physically yet, so this edition is perfect for my collector (and bookstagram) needs! It’s the negative of the original cover (and foiled!) with a glossary of terms, an interview with the author, and best of all it will be SIGNED! Though there aren’t any plans for the rest of the series to have collectors, if this one sells well they will likely do it. So go support my crazy collector needs and preorder it today!

Thanks for reading! I’ll hopefully have more reviews to post soon!

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Angel’s Flight

Angel’s Flight by Nalini Singh9738582

Series Guild Hunter (Short Story Collection)

Published 2012 (full collection)

Rating 4/5

Goodreads

I really enjoyed this collection because it fills in a few of the relationship gaps left in the first three books of the Guild Hunter series. In this mini anthology, there are stories about Ashwini and Janvier, Sara and Deacon, Noel and Nimra, and Jessamy and Galen. All of these characters made brief appearances or were at least mentioned in the three books preceding this collection.

Out of the four mini romances, Ashwini and Janiver intrigued me the most. Luckily, there is a whole book dedicated to this romance later on in the series, (Archangel’s Shadow (Guild Hunter #7), so I look forward to seeing this romance blossom further.

The stories of Sara and Deacon as well as Jessamy and Galen were nice to read because they already are couples at the beginning of the series. These cute novellas provide background as to how they became the couples they are throughout the first few books (and how Sara and Deacon came to have a dog named Slayer).

Noel may be better known as the vampire that got beat up to satisfy someone else’s agenda in Archangel’s Kiss (Book 2). Seeing a character I previously pitied recover from a horrific incident (and find love along the way) was an unexpected pleasure. While this still wasn’t my favorite story in the collection, I enjoyed it more than I thought I would.

Overall a nice little addendum to a romance series that is shaping up to be one of my favorite! If you enjoy romance and fantasy, definitely check out the Guild Hunter series by Nalini Singh!

Thanks for reading!

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A Darker Shade of Magic

22055262A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

Series A Darker Shade of Magic #1

Published February 24, 2015

Rating 5/5

Goodreads       Amazon

Kell is one of the last Antarimagicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black.

Kell was raised in ArnesRed Londonand officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see.

Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.

After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive.

I can’t believe it took me so long to read this book! I actually recommended this series to two people I knew would enjoy it, and they ended up reading all three books before I picked the first one up myself! The world of the four Londons is enrapturing. Schwab’s exploration of the differences between the planes of existence is seamless and leaves the reader feeling as if they’ve lived in the world for years.

Kell is the perfect morally ambiguous hero, with his straight-laced job and dangerous compulsion to break the rules, which makes him the perfect partner for Lila (or is the partnership supposed to be the other way around?). Lila’s desire for adventures is a lure that pulls at the soul of the reader, urging them to embark on adventures with her. While Kell is my magical ginger baby, Lila is the knife’s edge that draws the attention. I probably love her so much because she reminds me of another one of my favorite characters, Aelin from the Throne of Glass series, with her sassy remarks and take-no-prisoners attitude.

The magic system is unlike any I’ve read about before. The way the different cultures perceive magic was very interesting, and left me with many questions I hope to find answers to in the later books. And I will definitely be reading those soon! I already own the next two thanks to luck at a used bookstore and Bookcon sale 😉 and they’ve rocketed to the top of my TBR pile. Definitely check these books out if you haven’t already! I can’t wait to read all of Schwab’s other books.

Thank you for reading!

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The Bone Season Review

17199504The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

Series: The Bone Season #1

Published: August 20, 2013

Genre: Dystopian/Fantasy

Rating: 5/5

GOODREADS             AMAZON

Enter the world of Paige Mahoney, a gifted clairvoyant, a “dreamwalker,” in the year 2059. Her natural talents are considered treasonous under the current regime. Snatched away to a secret prison, she encounters another race, the Rephaim, creatures who wish to control the powers of Paige and those like her. One in particular will be assigned as her keeper, her trainer. But his motives are mysterious. To regain her freedom, Paige must learn to trust, in the prison where she is meant to die.

I really enjoyed this book and can’t believe it took me so long to pick up! I originally purchased it in 2015 when Samantha Shannon and Sarah J. Maas did a joint signing less than an hour away from me. I’m really glad I have a signed copy now, because this series easily falls within my favorites of all time (FoaT)!

The world of the Scion was enrapturing–sort of a mix of Dystopian fiction, and X-Men, which are two things I love. While the world building did take a while, it was needed because Shannon has so many layers to the world. At times, the jargon of Scion London could become very confusing because a word was used pages before it was defined. There were a few parts where I had to stop and flip around in confusion because I wasn’t really sure what was being described. It was for this reason The Bone Season was put down on my first attempt at a read-through. This book definitely requires full attention (for all my fellow read-six-books-at-a-time-rs).

The tension between Paige and Warren is absolutely mouthwatering. I found myself drawn to Warren (as I am with most tortured “I can’t love you” types). This book wasn’t marketed for romance, and Paige is mainly focused on getting out of the colony throughout the story (as she well should be). This of course did not at all deter me from savagely shipping this couple from the first time they meet. While I’d like this ship to sail off into the sunset, it’s a good thing smooth waters aren’t present  because this book is the first in a SEPTET! As of right now, only three are out, so there is still plenty of time for my romantic pairing of choice to develop!

 

A unique thing that Shannon has decided to do for this series is make each book a slightly different “genre”. In the author’s own words:

The Bone Season was a prison break; The Mime Order was a murder mystery; The Song Rising is, at its heart, a heist, while Book 4 is a touch more political, laced with subterfuge. Books 5-7 are going to be so different tonally, with such a different focus, that I’ve mentally classified them as a second ‘arc’ to the series, even though they follow the same core cast of characters. I wanted it to be this way so the reader never knows what to expect when they pick up a Bone Season book, and finds it nigh-on impossible to guess the outcome of the series as a whole.” (see the original post by Samantha Shannon HERE)

While this is certainly an amazing and novel idea that will keep readers on their toes, I dread finishing the books that are out because then I’ll have to WAIT for the next one.

I HIGHLY recommend this book to anyone who loves dystopian/fantasies. The world is so immersive, that once I got sucked in I couldn’t get out! I can’t wait to finish The Mime Order and find out what else this world has in store. If you’re interested in reading, keep scrolling down for a How To Read section!

emily

HOW TO READ: THE BONE SEASON

  • There is music interspersed throughout the book, and if you’re interested in reading, definitely have this playlist handy. Listening to the “soundtrack” really creates the mood and serves to further engross you in the story.

Gloomy Sunday – Billie Holiday

Danse Macabre (Jaxon’s Theme) – Camille Saint-Saëns

Did You Ever See a Dream Walking? – Bing Crosby

Mr. Sandman – The Chordettes

Molly Malone – Unknown

I Don’t Stand a Ghost of a Chance (With You) – Frank Sinatra

It’s a Sin to Tell a Lie – The Ink Spots

Komm, süßer Tod (Come, Sweet Death) – J. S. Bach

I’ll Be Home – The Flamingos

Fantaisie-Impromptu – Frédéric Chopin

Daisy Bell (A Bicycle Built for Two) – Harry Dacre

  • Make sure you’re ready to sit down and READ. I know I’ve said it above, but the world building requires full attention. Skimming a page can lead to not knowing what’s happening a few pages later!
  • Grab a hot cup of tea, curl up, and enjoy!

Archangel Review

97961Archangel by Sharon Shinn

Series: Angels of Samaria #1

Published: May 1, 1996

Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy

Rating: 5/5

Goodreads                     Amazon

And so it came to pass…

Through science, faith and force of will, the Harmonics carved out for themselves a society that they conceived of as perfect. Diverse peoples held together by respect for each other and the prospect of swift punishment if they disobeyed their laws. Fertile land that embraced a variety of climates and seasons. Angels to guard the mortals and mystics to guard the forbidden knowledge. Jehovah to watch over them all…

But an age of corruption has come to the land, threatening their peace and placing the Samarians in grave danger. Their only hope lies in the crowning of a new Archangel. The oracles have chosen for this honor the angel named Gabriel, and further decreed that he must first wed a mortal woman named Rachel.

It is his destiny and hers. And Gabriel is certain that she will greet the news of her betrothal with enthusiasm, and a devotion to duty equal to his own.

Rachel, however, has other ideas…

I absolutely fell in love with this book! Archangel mixes two of my favorite genres–science fiction and fantasy–in a seamless blend that immerses the reader in the world of Samaria. Many of the names found in Samaria are based off of names recognizable from the Bible and other such religious scripture.

The vague references to religion throughout was intriguing and brought to mind my own  faith. In fact, few science fiction or fantasy books that I have read have ever made me connect so strongly to my own life through immersion into a fantastical world. The characters exploration of faith throughout the novel combines theology with an analysis of what life would be like without a religious order, especially in simpler times. The division of beliefs causes tension that I saw as a mirror of tensions that are present in the world today.

The romance present throughout the book between Gabriel and Rachel follows a somewhat predictable Slave/Freer relationship. However common this may be, it is a storyline that I always enjoy thoroughly, and only added to my enjoyment. The romance in this book, while central, almost seems secondary to the exploration of tension throughout the world of Samaria. The development of the relationship between the two was endearing to witness as they worked to learn more of each other and their changing world and responsibilities.

This book provided the strong base for an introspective analysis of world views as well as a heart-touching romance. Archangel falls solely in a class of it’s own in the world of science fiction and fantasy, invoking a level introspection I have never experienced in my years reading the genre. Don’t be afraid by this though, I may have just been feeling super analytical when I was reading! Also, any of the themes in the book can be interpreted multiple ways. I will definitely be continuing the series, and can’t wait to see where it goes!

Thanks for reading!

emily

A Court of Wings and Ruin Review

31451174A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

Published: May 2, 2017

Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #3

Rating: 5/5

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s maneuverings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit—and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well. As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords—and hunt for allies in unexpected places.

Sarah J. Maas’  does it again with A Court of Wings and Ruin. I was wary going into this book, because this is the first Maas “ending” that readers have experienced. Ending is in quotation marks because, without giving anything away, it doesn’t wrap up all the storylines. Yes, the major plot that has been building for the past three books has been completed, but so many other characters have stories that are left hanging.

Don’t get me wrong, this story was an absolutely wonderful conclusion to an amazing trilogy about Feyre Archeron. I absolutely loved this book and all the action, adventure, and friendships that are jam-packed into it. But…all the other characters we have grown to love throughout the series are kind of left out to dry. I can’t wait for the already announced spin-off series (which will hopefully wrap up those loose ends about all those other characters I have become emotionally invested in).

In short, READ THIS SERIES. IT IS LIFE CHANGING, AND I LOVE IT. But don’t expect to be satisfied by this book if you care about any character other than Feyre. Can I ever be satisfied at the end of a Maas book though? I always want more!

 

*****SPOILERS FOR THE BOOK AHEAD*****

 

I was so excited to see more of Elain Archeron, who is one of the characters I find most intriguing. As a hardcore shipper of Elucien, the lack of coupling of the two throughout the book was disappointing, especially because they seem to misunderstand each other so much. I feel like there was a lot of hinting at Lucien getting his own book in the spin-offs however, which I hope and pray for. In my eyes, Lucien is one of the most misunderstood characters in the series, and I’m excited to see more of his journey. The new human queen, Vassa, is also very intriguing and seems like she will play a big role in the stories to come.

My next favorite pairing, Nesta Archeron and Cassian did not get any sort of conclusion either.From watching previous interviews, I know that this couple is also one of Maas’ favorites, so likely a book or two (or three?) will be dedicated to their story. HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO WAIT FOR ALL THESE DIFFERENT BOOKS?

I was excited to learn more about Mor, but again I feel like another book needs to be written about her story; both a backstory and a some kind of resolution for her future. Going into ACOWAR, I really thought that Moren was going to happen, it seems Amren and Varian are going to get a happy ending. Amren and Varian were cute together throughout, and they both deserve their happy endings.

And while this may sound a little strange, because I didn’t want ANYONE to die, the fact that no major character did really surprised me. *SPOILER FOR CROOKED KINGDOM* Maybe Leigh Bardugo crushed all my hopes and dreams of everyone making it out alive.

While Feyre and Rhys’ stories did wrap up well, Sarah still has a LOT of writing to do for me to be satisfied with the characters in this series. I’m looking forward to seeing Feyrhys as cameos in future stories (and their children?), but EVERYONE ELSE needs their own endings!

Still a 5/5 stars, as I believe all Maas books are. I can’t wait to reread to analyze all the characters more!

In other news…

I will be seeing Sarah J. Maas in Baltimore on Thursday and will hopefully be posting a summary of her Q&A session for this interested, so stay tuned.

Thanks for reading,

emily

Vampire Academy Series Review

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Vampire Academy Series

Author: Richelle Mead

Books in Series: Six

Genre: Fantasy/Paranormal

Published: 2007-2010

Rating: 4/5

Finally finished the vampire academy series, which I received as a Christmas present from my wonderful mother. I really enjoyed this series and can’t believe that I waited this long to read it! Admittedly, I did go through a vampire phase in middle school, but for some reason this series never made it on my TBR pile until recently! A friend and I did a series trade off: she agreed to read Throne of Glass if I would read Vampire Academy, and I’m very happy I agreed (not only for the great series, but for another Maas convert).

Let’s start on the romance. I absolutely love forbidden romance, especially those that are somewhat tragic (what some of my friends would call a little trashy). The romance between Dimitri and Rose fits both of these perfectly, and I really enjoyed the sparks that flew between them. Throughout the series, I did believe that Rose could get a little melodramatic at times, not just about the romance but also about her situation in general.

One of the major things I enjoyed was watching the character development, which I believed was quite apparent as the series progressed. Although Rose repeatedly claims to be “impulsive” (which admittedly gets a little tiring after hearing the same trait described through six books), by the end of the series she does seem to be better about her decision making.

I really enjoy strong female friendships that influence the character throughout the series, and Rose definitely has that friendship with Lissa, although sometimes her actions border on stalker behavior. It was wonderful seeing the supporting characters develop throughout the story as well as the main character.

Overall, I would recommend this book to a friend. I also do intend to read the spin-off series, however I think I need a bit of a break from vampires after reading about them for three weeks straight. What did you guys think of the series?

Next on my TBR Is Revelation by Randi Wilson and Windwitch by Susan Dennard.

Thanks for reading!

emily

Crooked Kingdom Review

22299763Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

Published: September 27, 2016

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 5/5

Goodreads

Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and left crippled by the kidnapping of a valuable team member, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz’s cunning and test the team’s fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city’s dark and twisting streets―a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of magic in the Grisha world.

My heart has just been taking a beating this fall season, first with Empire of Storms and now this.

Having just completed Six of Crows a few weeks ago, I was anxiously awaiting the release of this book and I was not at all disappointed. The story takes up where it left off, with the gang reeling and working to get what is rightfully theirs. The characters are all still awesome, the sexual tension between some couples high, and the danger is ever present.

During this book, Kaz Brekker really had his work cut out for him and it was again amazing to see how his plans had to shape and reform. Even when you think an entire plan has been ruined, he comes back with something even more longstanding than you expected. Scheming anti-heroes are the best!

Nina and Matthias remained my favorites through this book, with all the analogies to their love for each other (most of which had to do with food the ultimate love). I just get so emotional thinking about them. But really, who can choose favorites out of this crew? All the characters are so awesome and lovable in their own horrendous ways. Jesper is as sarcastic as ever and I love some of his quips back and forth with Kaz.

“Has anyone noticed this whole city is looking for us, mad at us, or wants to kill us?”

“So?” said Kaz.

“Well, usually it’s just half the city.”

The ending of this book ripped my soul out starting around 91%. I cannot believe that it ended that way. Don’t get me wrong, many storylines are wrapped up with a little bow, however it seems that so many other great stories are just beginning. I hope that there are some spin-offs in our future!

Definitely recommend this book, and in general this Duology. If you wanna know more about Six of Crows, the first book in this series, you can read my review HERE.

If you have already read this series, and just like to read another opinion (I do this all the time lol) then you might enjoy some of my BookishBracelets. You can find these and more on my Etsy Shop.

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Thanks for reading!

Emily

Six of Crows Review

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Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Series: Six of Crows Duology #1

Published: September 29, 2015

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 5/5

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…

I read the first book in the Grisha Trilogy a while ago, and while I did enjoy it I never felt the pressing need to finish this series. Because of this, while Six of Crows sounded interesting and has been n my to be read list since it came out, I did not feel a pressing need to read it. Boy was I wrong.

Six of Crows is one of my new favorite books. Kaz Brekker is the perfect, vicious, anti-hero who you root for and love more than some of your favorite heroes. He is perfectly vicious and ruthless in his quest for riches. He always keeps you guessing with his plans, and I found myself thinking everything had gone awry multiple times, just to find out it was all going the way he wanted it to.

I love the story between Nina and Matthias, especially because it connects in many ways to the more specific world of the original Grisha trilogy. Perhaps I’m a bit sadistic, but I love couples who start out hating each other and grow into love (aka Rhys and Feyre).

I really like Wylan and Jesper’s interactions as well. It’s always refreshing for metal illness and disabilities to be shown in books, with the people being portrayed as ACTUAL HUMANS. There mini-romance is also adorable and I really hope that it continues to develop in the sequel Crooked Kingdom (which comes out on Tuesday!).

Inej is an awesome acrobatic “wraith” who was able to scrape her way up from forced slavery. Everything about her is awesome, from her clinging to her beliefs, to her ability to kill four men in under two minutes.

Now I can’t really tell about the plot without spoiling some major points, but it leaves you on the edge of your seat, never sure what will happen next.

The ending absolutely killed me, and is another reason that I’m glad that I put reading this book off because now I only have to wait 4 days instead of the year that other people had to wait! Definitely strongly recommend this book, for the engaging and perfectly horrible characters you will fall in love with.

P.S If you love this book as much as I do (or books in general), check out my Etsy shop where I have tons of awesome bookish bracelets for your literary soul.

Thanks for reading!

Emily