The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Title: The Cruel Prince
Author: Holly Black
Series: The Folk of the Air, #1
Pages: 384
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: January 2nd 2017

      “Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.
      To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.
      In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.

swirl (2)

“I thought I was supposed to be good and follow the rules…But I am done with being weak. I am done with being good. I think I am going to be something else.”

Holly Black’s The Cruel Prince features a complex heroine who is forced to become more ruthless than the monsters who surround her in order to survive. Jude was taken from the human world along with her sisters when she was a child and has grown up under the watchful eye of Madoc, the High King of Elfhame’s powerful general. As a mortal, Jude will never truly belong in the Faerie realm, but she has been so altered by its cruelty and majesty, that returning to the human world is unthinkable. Jude must find a way to earn her place in the High Court, to ensure her own safety and protection for those she cares about. But sparring with a foe who is stronger and more powerful than she will ever be will push Jude to her limits and could turn her into something even more terrible than than the Fae themselves.

Jude was such an interesting character in that she never wanted to embrace her humanity, but instead understood that she had to rid herself of her very human weaknesses in order to gain any kind of footing in the Faerie world. Her relationship with this world is rooted in opposing emotions. She hates these immortal beings for taking away her parents, for their cruelty, and the alienation she feels being a part of their world but not of it. But on the other hand, she has found a home in this strange and inhuman world. She admires their strength, ruthlessness, and power. Jude longs for the kind of power that no mortal has ever been granted. For the Faeries, mortal are playthings. There to amuse or serve them one minute and then to be discarded the next. It is for this reason that Jude is able to move undetected among them, it’s why her defiance is so provoking to those with more power, and why, though improbably, Jude finds a way to shape not just her own story but those around her.

I loved all the different relationships Jude has with each member of her family. Her twin sister Taryn very much wants to embrace the Faerie world, but in a very human way. She ultimate believes love will be her protection. She is everything that Jude might have been if she hadn’t been consumed by her own ambition. Jude’s older sister Vivi is half-Faerie and half-human. She longs to return to the human world where she has fallen in love with a human girl. Vivi hates her father Madoc for shattering her world and perhaps blames him for her sisters’ love for the Faerie realm. As far as side characters go, I thought Vivi was the most interesting and deserved more page time. For Jude, Madoc has always represented the best and worst part of the Faerie world. He murdered her parents, but has also shown her and her sisters a great deal of affection. He pushes her, but in many ways, also hold her back.

Making these vicious creatures romantic characters is always tricky. Faeries are inherently cruel and selfish. After finishing this first installment, I wonder if there is any goodness to be found in these creatures that you could call redeeming or if their nature is such that the morality we apply to human characters cannot be applied to them. It is for this reason that I found it hard to root for certain characters. Though it is revealed later that the motives of some may not be solely rooted in hatred, I still found it hard to forget the malice shown to the protagonist. I understood more what a Faerie might see in Jude in that she finds a way to overcome her own weaknesses despite her fragility as a mortal, but couldn’t quite see what Jude would see in someone who has been a thorn in her side. Still, I’m curious to see where the author decides to take a certain relationship.

Overall, Holly Black’s The Cruel Prince was a fascinating read that had me racing to the end with its startling conclusion.




Top Ten Tuesday: Give Me These 2018 Spring Releases Now

Top Ten Tuesday is an original blog meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. and is currently being hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic is “Books On My Spring TBR.” I am simultaneously excited as well as panicking about this week’s list. I have this awful feeling that I will not be able to get to all these books this spring and yet I want, no, I need all of these in my life. I’m trying to be really patient and not preorder the heck out of all these novels, but it’s so hard. Here are my top ten spring releases I’m dying to read. Covers are linked to Goodreads.


1. Tyler Johnson Was Here by Jay Coles – Publication Date: March 20, 2018 – I didn’t know I needed soft boys on book covers until I saw this one.

2. The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan – Publication Date: March 20, 2018 – I’ve read several excerpts from this one and it is so beautifully written. Why can’t I have it?

3. Dread Nation by Justina Ireland – Publication Date: April 3,2018 – This might be my most anticipated book of all of 2018. I preordered way back in December. I’m just really excited.

4. The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo – Publication Date: May 8,2018 – I loved I Believe in a Thing Called Love and I am ready to fall in love again with Goo’s characters.

5. Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson – Publication Date: May 8, 2018 – My birthday is on May 7th and this comes out on May 8th. I’m not saying Lily Anderson wrote this book for me, but it kind of feels like Lily Anderson wrote this book for me.

6. From Twinkle, with Love by Sandhya Menon – Publication Date: May 22, 1018 – I finally read When Dimple Met Rishi and loved it. So stoked for this newest novel.

7. Listen to Your Heart by Kasie West – Publication Date: May 29, 2018 – Kasie West has become an autobuy for me. Still, I’m guilty of not reading her latest novel. Must rectify this before preordering this one.

8. Monday’s Not Waiting by Tiffany D. Jackson – Publication Date: May 22, 2018 – The publication date for this one was pushed up two weeks and I cannot be more excited. I am ready for Tiffany D. Jackson’s sophomore novel to undo me like the first.

9. Bruja Born by Zoraida Córdova – Publication Date: June 5, 2018 – I’m kind of really in love with this cover redesign even though the cover for Labyrinth Lost is one of my favorites. I have an eARC of this one and am so excited to read it.

10. Sweet Black Waves by Kristina Pérez  – Publication Date: June 5, 2018 – This slot originally belonged to Angie Thomas’s On the Come Up, but since it’s been pushed back to early 2019, I’m adding this debut which is inspired by Tristan and Iseult.

Have you preordered any of these titles? Which spring release are excited for? Leave me a link to your own TTT post in the comments, so I can visit.

The Friday 56: History Is All You Left Me

The Friday 56The Friday 56 is a weekly blog meme hosted by Freda’s Voice. Join us every Friday and share an excerpt from a book you’ve been reading.


*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader.
*Find any sentence (or a few, just don’t spoil it) that grab you.
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post here in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url. It’s that simple.

**Be sure to leave a link to your Friday 56 post in the comments!**

My mom does this weird shoulder bounce I’ve never seen her do before, and it might be the happiness of a mom seeing her son dating, but I’m not a fan. “I’m coming in for a hug.” She hugs both Theo and I at once. “I didn’t think this day would come for years. I’m so excited.”

Did you know that picking up an Adam Silvera book will result in heartache and yet you will keep coming back for more? History Is All You Left Me You is a torrent of emotion, but not one you will regret picking up. You can read my review here. Cover is linked to Goodreads.

From the Goodreads Synopsis:

      “When Griffin’s first love and ex-boyfriend, Theo, dies in a drowning accident, his universe implodes. Even though Theo had moved to California for college and started seeing Jackson, Griffin never doubted Theo would come back to him when the time was right. But now, the future he’s been imagining for himself has gone far off course.
      To make things worse, the only person who truly understands his heartache is Jackson. But no matter how much they open up to each other, Griffin’s downward spiral continues. He’s losing himself in his obsessive compulsions and destructive choices, and the secrets he’s been keeping are tearing him apart.
      If Griffin is ever to rebuild his future, he must first confront his history, every last heartbreaking piece in the puzzle of his life.

Can’t-Wait Wednesday: Dread Nation by Justina Ireland

Can’t-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Tressa @ Wishful Endings where bloggers share their most anticipated reads that haven’t been released yet. Join us every Wednesday and watch your TBR list multiply. Cover is linked to Goodreads.

This week my Can’t-Wait Wednesday pick is Justina Ireland’s Dread Nation. I can’t think of a single book that has a similar premise. I am anxiously waiting for this one to arrive at my doorstep. I just burnt my lunch while putting this post together because I was thinking about this book and forgot about my food. That should tell you all you need to know about my excitement over this one. This one also comes with a preorder incentive (postcards and stickers pictured below). It doesn’t come out until April 3rd, so there’s still time to preorder!

 width=Title: Dread Nation
Author: Justina Ireland
Series: Dread Nation, #1
Pages: 464
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: April 3, 2018

      “Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to walk the battlefields of Gettysburg and Chancellorsville—derailing the War Between the States and changing America forever. In this new nation, safety for all depends on the work of a few, and laws like the Native and Negro Reeducation Act require certain children attend combat schools to learn to put down the dead. But there are also opportunities—and Jane is studying to become an Attendant, trained in both weaponry and etiquette to protect the well-to-do. It’s a chance for a better life for Negro girls like Jane. After all, not even being the daughter of a wealthy white Southern woman could save her from society’s expectations.
      But that’s not a life Jane wants. Almost finished with her education at Miss Preston’s School of Combat in Baltimore, Jane is set on returning to her Kentucky home and doesn’t pay much mind to the politics of the eastern cities, with their talk of returning America to the glory of its days before the dead rose. But when families around Baltimore County begin to go missing, Jane is caught in the middle of a conspiracy, one that finds her in a desperate fight for her life against some powerful enemies. And the restless dead, it would seem, are the least of her problems.


Are you participating in Can’t-Wait Wednesday or Waiting on Wednesday? Is this book on your TBR? Be sure to leave a link to your post in the comments and I’ll visit!

Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Surprised Me

Top Ten Tuesday is an original blog meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. and is currently being hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic is “Books That Surprised Me (in a good or bad way).” I love when an author manages to surprise their readers. Sometimes it’s with a twist, other times it’s with a cliffhanger, and sometimes you’re just shocked by how fast you fall in love with a book. Here are ten books that surprised me for various reasons. I promise this won’t include spoilers. Covers are linked to Goodreads.


1. More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera – This book was a gut-punch and I am still recovering. On a related note, if getting gut-punched is kind of your thing, you need to pick up some Adam Silvera.

2. The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You by Lily Anderson – I feel like reading this book was like finding a diamond in the rough. Nobody told me how fantastically witty Lily Anderson’s writing was!

3. The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia – I knew Silvia Moreno-Garcia was a talented author, but I didn’t realize how gifted she was at writing different genres until I picked up this one.

4. The Merciless II: The Exorcism of  Sofia Flores – I don’t know if I’m more surprised by the gruesomeness of this sequel or that I could not pull myself from it.

5. Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson – So many things surprised me with this one and it really made me think we need more YA thrillers in general because that was a wild ride.

6. The Long Game by Jennifer Lynn Barnes – I will never been over that twist at the end and honestly, I try to block it out most days because it hurts too much.

7. When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon – I remember last year when this book sparked a debate about unlikable characters and after finally reading this one, I do not understand why so many people disliked Dimple.

8. My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows  – I’m continuously surprised by how much I enjoyed this very silly yet witty book.

9. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart – After finishing this one, I had the urge to go back and reread it because I saw everything in an entirely different light.

10. Dust & Decay by Jonathan Maberry – Another surprise ending that I may never recover from. Seriously, it’s been years and yet the pain is still so fresh.

What’s the last book that surprised you? Any of these surprise you too? Let me know in the comments and be sure to leave a link to your own TTT post, so I can visit.

Special Note: Have you entered my bookmark giveaway yet? Click the image to the left for all the info. Less than one week to enter! Ends on the 18th. U.S. only.

ARC Review: The Price Guide to the Occult by Leslye Walton

Title: The Price Guide to the Occult
Author: Leslye Walton
Series: N/A
Pages: 288
Publisher: Candlewick
Release Date: March 13th 2018
*I received a free copy of this novel through NetGalley which does not influence my review*

      “The Blackburn women are cursed. Ever since the extraordinary witch Rona Blackburn landed on Anathema Island centuries ago and was shunned by the eight ‘original’ settlers, Blackburn witches have been doomed to carry out a brief whirlwind affair with a descendant of the Original Eight. The vengeful curse, however, had unintended side effects: it diluted the Blackburns’ supernatural powers. That’s perfectly all right with seventeen-year-old Nor Blackburn. All she wants is a quiet, unremarkable life—her powers are blissfully unexceptional, her love life pretty much nonexistent. Nor hopes the curse has played itself out through enough generations that she’ll finally be spared the drama. But when a mysterious book comes out promising to cast any spell for the right price, Nor senses a dark storm headed straight for Anathema—and straight for her.
      In her second novel, Leslye Walton spins a dark, mesmerizing tale of a girl stumbling along the path toward self-acceptance and first love, even as the Price Guide’s malevolent author—Nor’s own mother—looms and threatens to strangle any hope for happiness.”

swirl (2)

Leslye Waltons’s The Price Guide to the Occult is a captivating fantasy that pits its heroine against her own mother in a novel full of magic and pain. Nor is part of a long line of Blackburn women whose magical abilities have both beguiled folk on Anathema Island and caused them to regard these women with suspicion. Nor would like nothing more than to have everyone forget the notoriety of her family name even as the magic that courses through her veins grows harder and harder to ignore. When the book, The Price Guide to the Occult, makes its way to the island, Nor can’t help but notice its contents bare a striking resemblance to spells cast long ago by her ancestor Rona Blackburn. Something grows amiss with the people on the island who once pledged their allegiance to Nor’s mother and she can’t shake the feeling that something is coming. As much as Nor would like to fade into the background, the danger heading her way will force her to confront her past and embrace the magic inside her she has tried so hard to deny.

When one loves a book like I have loved Walton’s first novel, The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender, it’s inevitable that I will compare this second to the first. While Ava Lavender was steeped in magical realism, The Price Guide to the Occult reads more like a fantasy novel. Curses, witches, and spells fill this new world. While I found lots of charm in the idea of people like Nor’s grandmother using her Blackburn gift to heal ailments that may not be treated with modern medicine, I really wanted the author to delve more into this world. But the novel is limited to Nor’s perspective and she would rather distance herself from any kind of magic and so we as readers miss out on exploring this kind of magic more in depth. The island felt like a distinct character itself. Being isolated from the mainland, it felt like a place where magic could be whispered about, but go largely unnoticed to the rest of the world. Nor’s world is small, but also full of people who have taken part in her upbringing, who have occupied that space once reserved for her mother who abandoned her long ago.

Nor’s avoidance of magic is tied specifically to her relationship with her mother. Next to Nor, Fern Blackburn is the most clearly defined of the characters. Fern was never a nurturing mother. Her obsession with Nor’s father overrode any love she may have once felt for her daughter. Willing to do anything to get what she wanted, Fern didn’t bat an eyelash when it came to harming her own daughter in order to do so. Able to manipulate others, Fern has made a living off of other people’s pain. Nor lives in fear of becoming her mother, of being the kind of person that uses others without a second thought. But the people in Nor’s life, from her best friend Savvy to her grandmother Judd, are evidence that Nor is not like her mother at all. I do want to mention that the novel does deal with self-harm. Nor has hurt herself in the past and struggles with overcoming the urge to do so again throughout the story.

The Price Guide to the Occult is a short novel and in many places this shows. The development of certain relationships suffer from lack of page time. While there’s a budding romance between Nor and a boy she thought she would never see again, I found myself more invested in her relationship with the prickly Gage Coldwater. He and his family play a vital role in the island’s history and while this explains the animosity he feels toward Nor, I really wanted to see more about how this relationship shifts. There is a time-jump later on in the novel where this development takes place and so wish I could have witnessed more of their interactions. The novel also comes to a close rather quickly. There is a lot of build-up where Nor’s mother is concerned and I expected the battle to be a bit longer.

Overall, The Price Guide to the Occult is a wonderful example of Walton’s storytelling ability. Nor is a memorable character and the world Walton has built is filled with both beauty and horror.