Paper Girls Vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughan

Hey guys!
Last year at comic con I stoked up on some comics and graphic novels. It took me a while to go through all of them, but I finally had time to pick up Paper Girls. So let’s get talking about this one!

The Plot (according to Goodreads):

In the early hours after Halloween of 1988, four 12-year-old newspaper delivery girls uncover the most important story of all time. Suburban drama and otherworldly mysteries collide in this critically acclaimed story about nostalgia, first jobs, and the last days of childhood.

The Rating:

Oh, I love this one!
The artwork is stunning and I could keep staring at these comics for hours. Its colorful images paired with a vibrant drawing style makes for great comics!

Then there’s the story. Well, no spoilers here so let me just say it’s really exciting and I can’t wait to find out more of it.

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The Sisters Grimm by Menna van Praag

Hey guys!
In this year’s very first Illumicrate box, I received The Sisters Grimm by Menna van Praag. The cover art is absolutely stunning and I was immediately excited to read this book. Let’s see how that turned out!

The Plot (as found on Goodreads):

Once upon a time, a demon who desired earthly domination fathered an army of dark daughters to help him corrupt humanity . . .

As children, Goldie, Liyana, Scarlet, and Bea dreamed of a strange otherworld: a nightscape of mists and fog, perpetually falling leaves and hungry ivy, lit by an unwavering moon. Here, in this shadowland of Everwhere, the four girls, half-sisters connected by blood and magic, began to nurture their elemental powers together. But at thirteen, the sisters were ripped from Everwhere and separated. Now, five years later, they search for one another and yearn to rediscover their unique and supernatural strengths. Goldie (earth) manipulates plants and gives life. Liyana (water) controls rivers and rain. Scarlet (fire) has electricity at her fingertips. Bea (air) can fly.

To realize their full potential, the blood sisters must return to the land of their childhood dreams. But Everwhere can only be accessed through certain gates at 3:33 A.M. on the night of a new moon. As Goldie, Liyana, Scarlet, and Bea are beset with the challenges of their earthly lives, they must prepare for a battle that lies ahead. On their eighteenth birthday, they will be subjected to a gladiatorial fight with their father’s soldiers. If they survive, they will face their father who will let them live only if they turn dark. Which would be fair, if only the sisters knew what was coming.

So, they have thirty-three days to discover who they truly are and what they can truly do, before they must fight to save themselves and those they love.

The Rating:

This book was promising from the very first page onward. We get magic, we get fairy tales, we get amazing female characters that are not stereotypicl. What else could I want?

The worldbuilding is amazing and you immediately get the gist even though some of the ideas might be a little more complex. I would have loved to get a little more background and information on Wilhelm Grimm, though. Where is he from, why is he like this, and what is his actual goal? I have quite a lot of questions here that didn’t get answered throughout the book and I’m a bit sad about it. I think, this would haven give the novel even more depth, drawn me into the story and I would have cared more about the outcome.

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The Merciful Crow by Margaret Owen

Hello, my darling readers!
Today I bring you another novel I got via book subscription book. I am usually a rather fast reader but for some reason, it took me forever and a day to finish this one. Anyway, I am done now, so let’s talk about it!

The Plot (as found on Goodreads):

A future chieftain.

Fie abides by one rule: look after your own. Her Crow caste of undertakers and mercy-killers takes more abuse than coin, but when they’re called to collect royal dead, she’s hoping they’ll find the payout of a lifetime.

A fugitive prince.

When Crown Prince Jasimir turns out to have faked his death, Fie’s ready to cut her losses—and perhaps his throat. But he offers a wager that she can’t refuse: protect him from a ruthless queen, and he’ll protect the Crows when he reigns.

A too-cunning bodyguard.

Hawk warrior Tavin has always put Jas’s life before his, magically assuming the prince’s appearance and shadowing his every step. But what happens when Tavin begins to want something to call his own?

The Rating:

Although I quite enjoyed the novel and the idea behind it, I have a few things to criticise. So, let’s start with those.

First of all, the language. I get that Owen used a certain choice of words to support the world-building and the vibe of the book but she ended up repeating the same words and phrases so often I got more and more annoyed by the page. I kept thinking if she writes “betwixt” or “you ken me” one more time, I will scream.

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The Midnight Lie by Marie Rutkoski

Hello, my darling readers!
Let’s talk about a fascinating book I got in an Illumicrate box: The Midnight Lie by Marie Rutkoski. Want to find out why it was so hard to put this down?

The Plot (according to Goodreads):

Where Nirrim lives, crime abounds, a harsh tribunal rules, and society’s pleasures are reserved for the High Kith. Life in the Ward is grim and punishing. People of her low status are forbidden from sampling sweets or wearing colors. You either follow the rules, or pay a tithe and suffer the consequences.

Nirrim keeps her head down and a dangerous secret close to her chest.

But then she encounters Sid, a rakish traveler from far away who whispers rumors that the High Caste possesses magic. Sid tempts Nirrim to seek that magic for herself. But to do that, Nirrim must surrender her old life. She must place her trust in this sly stranger who asks, above all, not to be trusted.

Set in the world of the New York Times–bestselling Winner’s Trilogy, beloved author Marie Rutkoski returns with an epic LGBTQ romantic fantasy about learning to free ourselves from the lies others tell us—and the lies we tell ourselves.

The Rating:

The worldbuilding here. Wow.
I was immediately entranced by what Rutkoski has created here. It’s something new yet drawing from ancient mythology in ways. We get some lovely references to poetry but always with a twist.

The book comes with many interesting aspects that provide some food for thought. Furthermore, the character development was on point and I was more than excited to follow along with Nirrim.

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Nocturna by Maya Motayne (A Forgery of Magic #1)

Hey guys!
Today I bring you a book I got via a subscription box. Or via two, to be precise. Both Fairyloot and Magic Chest featured the book at some time, so I’ve got the special blue edition you see below and the regular red version. It took me a while to actually get started with this one, but here we are!

The Plot (according to Goodreads):

To Finn Voy, magic is two things. The first: a knife to hold under the chin of anyone who crosses her. The second: a disguise she shrugs on as easily as others pull on cloaks. A talented shapeshifter, it’s been years since Finn has seen her own face, and that’s exactly how she likes it. But when Finn gets caught by a powerful mobster she’s indebted to, she’s forced into an impossible mission—steal a legendary treasure from the palace or lose her shapeshifting magic forever.

After the murder of his older brother, Prince Alfehr is first in line for the Castallan throne. But Alfie can’t help but feel that he will never live up to his brother’s legacy. Riddled with grief, Alfie is obsessed with finding a way to bring his brother back, even if it means dabbling in forbidden magic.

In a cruel twist of fate, Alfie’s best friend is nearly killed in the crossfire of Finn’s heist, and Alfie accidentally unlocks a terrible, ancient magic to save him—a magic, which, if not contained, will devour the world. Alfie and Finn race to vanquish what they have unleashed. But to do so, they each must contend with the darkness hiding in their pasts.

Set in a Latin-inspired kingdom based in part on the author’s own Dominican heritage.

The Rating:

Oh, this was delightful!
First of all, the setting was really cool and the world-building spot on. It’s nice to have a Latin-inspired kingdom for a change. Motayne also peppers in some Spanish words, which was super beneficial for me as I started learning Spanish last year.

The magic-concept introduced in Nocturna is also pretty interesting and different enough from other books that I was super intrigued. I’d like to know more about it, so I hope there’ll be another book!

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The Tyrant's Tomb by Rick Riordan (Trials of Apollo #4)

Hey guys!
I finally had time to read the fourth part of Rick Riordan’s Trials of Apollo series! Did I like it? Did I love it? Time to find out!

The Plot (according to Goodreads):

It’s not easy being Apollo, especially when you’ve been turned into a human and banished from Olympus. On his path to restoring five ancient oracles and reclaiming his godly powers, Apollo (aka Lester Papadopoulos) has faced both triumphs and tragedies. Now his journey takes him to Camp Jupiter in the San Francisco Bay Area, where the Roman demigods are preparing for a desperate last stand against the evil Triumvirate of Roman emperors. Hazel, Reyna, Frank, Tyson, Ella, and many other old friends will need Apollo’s aid to survive the onslaught. Unfortunately, the answer to their salvation lies in the forgotten tomb of a Roman ruler . . . someone even worse than the emperors Apollo has already faced. 

The Rating:

It’s been so long since I read the last books in this series it took me a moment to get back into the groove and remember what was going on. Anyways, after a few chapters, I was back on track and fully immersed in the story.

Rick Riordan managed to nail it once more. The fourth installment of The Trials of Apollo is gripping, thrilling, heartbreaking and funny. It’s an amazing continuation of the series and, to be honest, I wouldn’t have expected any less from Riordan.

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