Monthly Wrap-Up: May 2018

May 2

This month I read 20 books. GR links for the books that I didn’t review. There will be a note attached to the books that I did mini and full reviews for. GR and WordPress links included. Please note that links are only provided for the book title. Let me know in the comments what you read!

Book(s) that I DNFed (0-2 stars):

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  1. First Test by: Tamora Pierce-Mini review
  2. The Astonishing Color of After by: Emily X. R. Pan-Mini review
  3. The Good Citizen by: Joel Henning Doty-Mini review (Image from Amazon)
  4. Tempests and Slaughter by: Tamora Pierce
  5.  Starry Eyes by: Jenn Bennett-Mini review
  6. Babe in Boyland by: Jody Gehrman 
  7. The Way to Game the Walk of Shame by: Jenn P. Nguyen
  8. Lost Stars by: Lisa Selin Davis
  9. Going Geek by: Charlotte Huang
  10. The Season by: Jonah Lisa Dyer and Stephen Dyer    

 

Book(s) that I Didn’t Really Like (2-3 stars):

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  1. Twelve Steps to Normal by: Farrah Penn-Mini review
  2. Hero at the Fall by: Alwyn Hamilton-Wordpress review 

 

Book(s) that I Enjoyed (3-4 stars):

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  1. The Stone Girl’s Story by: Sarah Beth Durst-Wordpress review
  2. Clean Sweep by: Ilona Andrews-Wordpress review
  3. Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku Vol. 1 by: Fujita
  4. Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku Vol. 2 by: Fujita
  5. The Case Study of Vanitas Chapter 25 by: Jun Mochizuki
  6. Piecing Me Together by: Renée Watson-Wordpress review
  7. Defy the Stars by: Claudia Gray-Wordpress review 

 

Favourite Book(s) of the Month (4-5 stars)

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  1. Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun Vol. 3 by: Izumi Tsubaki 
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Book Haul: May 2018

May 1

Book Haul is when you share books that you bought from the bookstore, ebooks/kindle, borrowed from the library or a friend, books you won through giveaways, and books for review purposes. GR links for (only) the book titles. Let me know in the comments what books you hauled!

Library:

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  1. Twelve Steps to Normal by: Farrah Penn
  2. First Test by: Tamora Pierce
  3. Piecing Me Together by: Renee Watson 
  4. Tempests and Slaughter by: Tamora Pierce
  5. Ms. Marvel Vol. 1: No Normal by: G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona (Illustrator)

 

Ebook/Kubo/Kindle/Audible:

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  1. The Case Study of Vanitas Chapter 25 by: Jun Mochizuki
  2. Welcome to the Ballroom Vol. 9 by: Tomo Takeuchi 
  3. Tsuredure Children Vol. 8 by: Toshiya Wakabayashi 
  4. Chihayafuru Vol. 10 by: Yuki Suetsugu
  5. Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku Vol. 1 by: Fujita

 

Netgalley:

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  1. The Storm Runner by: J. C. Cervantes 

 

Bookstore:

May books

  1. The Queen of Sorrow by: Sarah Beth Durst
  2. Always Never Yours by: Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka
  3. My Hero Academia Vol. 1-12 by: Kohei Horikoshi-Vol. 6 Arriving later 
  4. Re: ZERO-Starting Life in Another World-Vol. 6 by: Tappei Nagatsuki and Shinichirou Otsuka (Illustrator)
  5. Baccano! Vol. 7 by: Ryohgo Narita and Katsumi Enami (Illustrator)

Review: Defy the Stars

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Defy the Stars by: Claudia Gray

 Nate Begle (Narrator) and Kasey Lee Huizinga (Narrator)

My Rating: 4 Stars

Noemi Vidal is a teen soldier from the planet Genesis, once a colony of Earth that’s now at war for its independence. The humans of Genesis have fought Earth’s robotic “mech” armies for decades with no end in sight.

After a surprise attack, Noemi finds herself stranded in space on an abandoned ship where she meets Abel, the most sophisticated mech prototype ever made. One who should be her enemy. But Abel’s programming forces him to obey Noemi as his commander, which means he has to help her save Genesis–even though her plan to win the war will kill him.

Together they embark on a daring voyage through the galaxy. Before long, Noemi begins to realize Abel may be more than a machine, and, for his part, Abel’s devotion to Noemi is no longer just a matter of programming.

Beware spoilers ahead!

Trigger warning: War and death. Dystopian society.

Part of Defy the Stars was read during #rimpysreadsathon. 

Defy the Stars was recommended to me by my dear GR friend Elise! Click on her name to read her review. When I heard that Claudia Gray was releasing a new book I didn’t particularly care. I’ve never read any of her books nor did I care too. Then I came across Elise’s review and was instantly captivated! Listening to the audiobook sample sealed the deal. I am happy to say that I enjoyed this!

Noemi along with the rest of the pilots is about to go on a suicide mission. She isn’t necessarily comfortable with this, but is still ready to die. However Noemi is considered with her adoptive sister and best friend Esther. Plunged early on into the an attack from Earth Noemi sees Ether’s ship in the far distance. Steering herself to it, Noemi comes across an abandoned looking ship.

The two land on the ship, while Noemi quickly tries to save Esther’s life. In the process she runs into Abel. A mech that has been abandoned for the past 30 years. Abel swears himself to Noemi and proclaims that he will follow her every order. Thus shenanigans ensue.

Defy the Stars is a unique Sci-Fi! I had a lot of fun reading. It is narrated in third person omniscient following Noemi and Abel. There are some flashbacks. The narrators did an excellent job bringing the characters to life! Nate Begle was especially impressive as he did a monotone robot like voice for Abel.

Let me start off with saying that Defy the Stars is a journey book. I mean this in a literal sense. Abel and Noemi travel to many different planets. This took up a good 20 percent. So if you don’t like that then I would suggest that you read another book. Or you could finish this, as each planet had it’s own culture and religious views. Which was written beautifully!

My other point is that there is a large focus on religion. Noemi identifies as a Christian and throughout the book she is questioning God’s existence. And how she fits into this world. I personally thought that the author did an excellent job! It was relatable and I do think that others would relate. There are also several other religions and races. Yay for well done diversity!

And lastly Defy the Stars deals with refugee’s, assimilation, and the messy war. Each planet has a different culture and in order to fit in to said planet you have to assimilate to said culture. Also when Earth was in terrible condition they migrated to the other planets and assimilated. The refugee’s actually had a name but because I was listening to the audio I have no idea how to spell it. The refugee’s travel the galaxy and try to find a home. The Liberty War and all the different sides was handled excellently! It was messy and really great to read about all the different sides and opinions.

Defy the Stars is very similar to most YA dystopian books. I personally think that this book is much better than a lot of dystopian books. Earth is the villain, which is a surprise because most books have another planet as the main villain. There is a man made disease, a rebellion, and a war. Regardless all these points are handled really well where as some books aren’t.

Noemi and Abel’s relationship was fantastic! They don’t agree with each other at first. And all Abel is to Noemi is a tool and a means to a mission. As they spend more time together Abel grows to genuinely care about Noemi. From her health to her mental well being. Noemi too grows to really care for Abel. They develop a really great friendship! The romantic aspect doesn’t come until the end of the book. I appreciated that the author develops Noemi and Abel through their friendship. 

Noemi’s relationship with Esther and Esther’s family is a huge part of her character. She thinks that she’s always angry and not compassionate. Abel is the one to point out that isn’t true. Noemi overcomes a lot of her misgivings with the Gatson’s and tries to move on with her life. Her parents and baby brother died in a car accident. Noemi is a Lationa! Her culture isn’t mentioned but her religion is.

Abel’s fatherly relationship with his creator Mansfield is a huge part of his character arc. Abel truly loves Mansfield and wants to see him one day. Throughout the book Abel comes to terms with the fact that he has feelings. And even begins to question Mansfield and his motivations. This is partly due to Noemi. Also Abel’s sarcasm was really funny! And it was surprisingly sweet to read about his love for Casablanca. 

While on their journey Abel and Noemi come across various people. They come across the Razors. A group of hackers who aid Noemi and Abel. The leader of the Razors is Virginia and she was awesome! Her and Noemi’s friendship was really sweet to read about. Also Virginia is implied to be LGBTQ. Virginia’s lines were some of the best. Like so on point and hilarious. 

Harriet and Zayan are a biracial couple. Harriet a black and Zayan an Indian. They were so nice! Riko and Ephraim are a part of Remedy which is a rebellion. Both were very interesting as was their relationship to one-another. All the side characters are useful to the plot and have their own back stories. Which is quite rare in YA.

There are multiple hints throughout Defy the Stars about Mansfield’s questionable motives and the reason behind creating Abel. I still have to admit that I did not see that plot twist coming! I look forward to reading about more of his motivations in the sequel. 

The book does end on a sort of cliffhangers. Noemi and Abel are separated. With Noemi being back on Genesis and Abel seemingly starting up a business of sorts. Considering how high the stakes are I am excited for the sequel!  

I only had a few problems with Defy the Stars. I wasn’t invested in the first 20%. This is a character driven book, so in the beginning I wasn’t that into Abel and Noemi’s story. However the more I read the more I grew to love Abel and Noemi! Seriously those feelings kind of snuck up on me!

With the amount of POC and religions I was really surprised that there wasn’t any racism. This isn’t a bad thing. It’s just kind of odd. And logically speaking it doesn’t make sense. To be honest I didn’t really mind while I was reading. But now that I’m typing this review I’ve come to realize this. Maybe this will come up in the sequel. We’ll have to see.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed Defy the Stars! I am looking forward to the sequels. I highly recommend it! 

 

Review: Piecing Me Together

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Piecing Me Together by: Renée Watson

My Rating: 4 Stars

A timely and powerful story about a teen girl from a poor neighborhood striving for success, from acclaimed author Renée Watson.

Jade believes she must get out of her neighborhood if she’s ever going to succeed. Her mother says she has to take every opportunity. She has. She accepted a scholarship to a mostly-white private school and even Saturday morning test prep opportunities. But some opportunities feel more demeaning than helpful. Like an invitation to join Women to Women, a mentorship program for “at-risk” girls. Except really, it’s for black girls. From “bad” neighborhoods.

But Jade doesn’t need support. And just because her mentor is black doesn’t mean she understands Jade. And maybe there are some things Jade could show these successful women about the real world and finding ways to make a real difference.

Friendships, race, privilege, identity—this compelling and thoughtful story explores the issues young women face.

Beware spoilers ahead!

Trigger warning: Racism and police violence.

Piecing Me Together was completed during #rimpysreadsathon. Piecing Me Together was a book talked about last year through booktube. Surprisingly I hadn’t heard about it through GR or Twitter. After reading some reviews and seeing that it was in my library, I requested a copy. I’m very glad I did!

Through her mother’s encouragement Jade has taken every opportunity her school has offered. The latest opportunity is Woman to Woman. A mentorship program. Jade is initially reluctant to accept. Jade feels that she won’t gain anything from it, and it’s not really for her. Until her guidance counselor mentions that if Jade completes the program then she’ll receive a scholarship for any university in her area. Naturally Jade accepts. Throughout the book Jade learns more about speaking up, and gains some vital experiences.

I was happily surprised about how much I enjoyed Piecing Me Together! I didn’t have high expectations. It is narrated in first person following Jade’s point of view. Each chapter has title, wherein there is a word in English and translated to Spanish. Some chapters were shorter than others.

Jade was such a great character! I found her to be relatable. I too have some trouble speaking my mind from time to time. I loved reading about her growth and how she gained the courage to speak up! Jade actually read mature for her age, which I appreciated.

Throughout the story Jade struggles balancing her two worlds. At school she has to act and dress a specific way. At home she reverts to normal but her friends are still a bit apprehensive with her attending a mostly white school. Spanish and art is a huge part of Jade’s character. Jade makes collages about her surroundings and the people in her life. Her biggest dream is go to Spain and experience the culture first hand. I enjoyed reading about her passions and how much work she put into achieving her goals!

I loved Jade’s family! Her mother worked as a caretaker and was such a strong woman. She had a lot of good advice to give Jade and Maxine! And for once a parent in YA actually gave meaningful and relevant advice. Jade’s relationship with her uncle E. J. was so sweet!

Jade’s best friend Lee Lee was also fantastic! These two supported each other and were for each other there in times of need. Jade’s relationship with her mentor Maxine was also well done! They had lots of rough patches but in the end they became close. Maxine was a good mentor to Jade and two helped each other grow. Maxine frustrated me in the beginning. But once she told her side of the story, realized her mistakes, and started to grow I grew to admire her. 

Jade’s relationship with Sam was complicated. Sam is a white poor girl, whereas Jade is a black poor girl. The author effortlessly shows the reader the difference between their situations and how it is linked to their skin tone. Sam does and says some pretty hurtful things to Jade. She realizes this comes back and apologizes. Jade also owns up to her own mistakes. Together they start their friendship anew with no more secrets from each other.

Woman to Woman was an amazing edition! I honestly wish there are books with this type of mentorship which I can read about. All the women had different experiences and supported each other! The trips that Sabrina assigned were fun to read about! I truly believe that all women should have access to this type of mentorship. Regardless of color and background. It’s necessary and you can gain so much knowledge.

Several different issues are brought up! From police violence, social class/status, racism, to catcalling. The author handles this all effortlessly without sounding preachy. I loved how Jade teams up with her fellow classmates and friends to do something to raise money for Natasha Ramsey, a black girl who was brutally attacked at a party. All the conflicts were realistic and I rooting for Jade.

I’m just going to mention two things that really surprised me. Towards the end of Piecing Me Together Jade confronts her teacher about not being nominated for the school trip to Costa Rica. He explains that he has to give other students a chance, and that Jade already has so many opportunities. Jade calls him out on his prejudice and leaves.

The teacher comes back around to Jade to apologize. He also mentions that she has been nominated for the trip next year. I found this to be truly beautiful! Rarely do you ever experience let alone read about a teacher realizing his/her mistakes. And actually acting upon that realization!

There is no romance! That’s right you heard me, a contemporary without romance. While it isn’t impossible it’s quite rare. Jade does make mention off maybe dating and getting married. Right now Jade remains focused on her life and school. I really appreciated this!

The only problem I had was that I wasn’t invested. I was enjoying reading but I just wasn’t invested. Then out of nowhere Piecing Me Together grabbed hold off me and never let go. I was invested in Jade’s life and all the characters. While this is a minor complaint it still prevented me from giving a 5 star rating. 

Overall I really enjoyed this! I recommend this book for everyone. You’ll all find something to relate too.           

Review: Hero at the Fall

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Hero at the Fall by: Alwyn Hamilton

My Rating: 3 Stars

Once, in the desert country of Miraji, there was a Sultan without an heir.

The heir had been killed by his own brother, the treacherous Rebel Prince, who was consumed by jealousy and sought the throne for himself.

Or so it was said by some. There were others who said that the Rebel Prince was not a traitor but a hero…

In the final battle for the throne, Amani must fight for everything she believes in, but with the rebellion in pieces, and the Sultan’s armies advancing across the desert plains, who will lead, who will triumph, who will live and who will die?

Beware spoilers ahead!

Trigger warning: War and death. The LGTBQ characters have been killed off.

Buddy read with Tova! Click on her name to keep an eye out for her review. Part of this book was read during Kimi’s (GR friend) 24 hour read-a-thon. Tova and I also buddy read Traitor to the Throne. Considering how much I enjoyed that one, naturally I finished the sequel. I am happy to say that I enjoyed it!

Amani is woken up from her nightmares and told to follow Sara. The two make their way up to the roof and notice a sort of glow. Amani realizes that it’s fire and likely has something to do with Leyla’s latest invention. The rebels are a mess. Amani has taken leadership and is struggling. Amani and the rebellion need to come up with a plan to defeat the Sultan.

I’m really happy that Hero at the Fall was a solid conclusion to the series! Like the previous installments, Hero at the Fall is narrated in first person following Amani’s point of view, and third person omniscient. There are chapter numbers and some chapters have titles. And lastly there is a character list and a map.

I may as well mention this first: some of the characters from the previous installments do die. I’m not going to mention which one’s die. That’s way too spoilerly even for me. Looking back on it now I probably should have predicated those deaths. Although I am still sad. I genuinely like all the characters in this series.

More information is revealed about the Dijinn’s. Some of the tales come into question, when Amani meets another dijinn. There was a huge focus on stories, choices, and the truth vs. what you’re told. Morally grey characters as well. As Amani herself is a questionable character. I really liked how well the author handled all these points!

I loved Amani’s character development! In the beginning Amani is in charge of the rebellion. She’s trying to make do but realizing that she isn’t fit to run a rebellion. Amani constantly berates herself, as she feels that she’s not well versed enough to be making such decisions. Amani also meets her aunt Farrah as well as Noorsham. Throughout her interactions with them, Amani comes to realize that she does matter. It was really beautiful to read about!

As per usual Amani’s relationship with Shazad, and the twins was fantastic! Her relationship with Hala even improved. Though I was anxiously waiting for some interactions with Ahmed. After everything that happened in the Harem I was wondering what would happen between the two of them. Ahmed actually took Amani seriously when she gave him suggestions. Their interactions were sweet and very important for the events in the last chapter.

When Amani meets her aunt again she is very nervous. To top it off Amani had to tell her aunt that Shira is dead. Through some rough patches, they sort of come to an understanding. In a sense the two move. This is largely due to Amani telling her aunt about Shira’s son. Something is better than nothing though. Amani and Tamid also make up. While they aren’t really friends anymore, they still care for each other and continue to do so.

Noorsham now rules over Dustwalk almost like a God. The people see him as their savior. Amani and the rebellion are taken to Noorsham first. Noorsham uses this magical object to see into their intentions, in order to deem them worthy or not. I’d say as I character Noosham definitely improved. His and Amani’s interactions really did read like a sibling relationship. I’m glad that he was introduced again and that the author did a good job with Noorsham’s character!

The rebellion getting an army was so much fun to read about! Amani tries to make some alliances in Ahmed’s place. Shazad’s father spread the word of Ahmed’s return and several people decide to join.

Jin’s backstory is expanded upon more. There is a chapter in his point of view. Wherein it starts with a flashback and ends with the present. I enjoyed having some insight into his thoughts. Really made some things clearer about his behaviour. Blissfully Jin and Ahmed do make up.

Amani’s relationship with Jin was strong throughout. Jin was the one person she actually got advice from. I also appreciated that Amani and Jin would call each other out on their faults and still be okay. I truly felt that their relationship grew stronger. It was lovely to read about!

I did have some issues with Hero at the Fall. I was very uncomfortable with Noorsham’s God-like rule. He treated himself like a God as did the rest of the people. Amani was still stupid and reckless in the beginning. Unfortunately this affected how she ran the rebellion. While I understand this was intended, it really wasn’t the that great to read about. Hero at the Fall wasn’t as engaging as Traitor to the Throne. It took me awhile to get invested into the story. The ending was rushed and anti-climactic. All of these points prevented me from giving Hero at the Fall a higher rating.

Overall I enjoyed this book! I highly recommend this series. 

Review: Clean Sweep

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Clean Sweep by: Ilona Andrews

My Rating: 4 Stars

On the outside, Dina Demille is the epitome of normal. She runs a quaint Victorian Bed and Breakfast in a small Texas town, owns a Shih Tzu named Beast, and is a perfect neighbor, whose biggest problem should be what to serve her guests for breakfast. But Dina is…different: Her broom is a deadly weapon; her Inn is magic and thinks for itself. Meant to be a lodging for otherworldly visitors, the only permanent guest is a retired Galactic aristocrat who can’t leave the grounds because she’s responsible for the deaths of millions and someone might shoot her on sight. Under the circumstances, “normal” is a bit of a stretch for Dina.

And now, something with wicked claws and deepwater teeth has begun to hunt at night….Feeling responsible for her neighbors, Dina decides to get involved. Before long, she has to juggle dealing with the annoyingly attractive, ex-military, new neighbor, Sean Evans—an alpha-strain werewolf—and the equally arresting cosmic vampire soldier, Arland, while trying to keep her inn and its guests safe. But the enemy she’s facing is unlike anything she’s ever encountered before. It’s smart, vicious, and lethal, and putting herself between this creature and her neighbors might just cost her everything.

Beware spoilers ahead! 

Trigger warning: Gruesome animal murders, descriptions of murders (fantasy creatures), and abusive behaviour.

Ilona Andrews is an author pair that I have been hearing about for years now. The duo are well received within the paranormal and adult community. I was in the mood for a strong female character book, so I found Clean Sweep. I am happy to say that I enjoyed it!

One of Dina’s neighbors dogs has been murdered yet again. Although this time the body is nearby her Bed and Breakfast. The neighbors leave Dina to talk to said neighbor. In the process Dina confronts new neighbor Sean Evans about the murders. The conversation doesn’t go well with Sean calling her crazy. That night Dina sees an unknown monster. Presuming this is the monster attacking the dogs, she attacks and kills it. Dina then finds herself facing something that she may not be prepared for. And she can’t do it alone. 

I had so much fun reading Clean Sweep! The book is written in first person whilst in Dina’s point of view. There are chapter numbers as well as pictures. The pictures are in color. I really liked how the authors added that. You don’t really see many adult books with pictures in color.

The world building was incredible! It was a perfect blend of paranormal romance, fantasy, and sci-fi. There are actual planets that Dina has traveled through. The vampires and werewolves have their own residing planet.  I have never read a book as such. The magic system was unique! I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Dina’s role as an innkeeper and the rules behind the world. I even enjoyed reading about the broom, the house, and Dina’s dog Beast.

Dina was such a breath of fresh air! She had a no-nonsense attitude, was highly intelligent, hilarious, and very relatable! And she read like a 24 year old. There is a bit of mystery surrounding the disappearance of her parents. It’s only barely touched upon in this book. While Dina wasn’t aware of everything that was happening, she knew enough about her the magic system. Breaks the stereotypical females in fantasy.

Sean was previously in the army and has recently retired. He moved to Dina’s neighborhood for a peaceful life. Of course this gets disturbed when the attacks start happening. Sean really grated on my nerves in the beginning. A majority of his behaviour was abusive. He did get significantly better as the story went on and apologized for his behaviour.

Sean’s interactions with Dina do cause him to grow. Dina is the one to explain the world his people comes from and the magic system. I have to admit that he did grow on me. Also his military knowledge was useful whenever they needed to plan anything. 

There isn’t much to say about Arland (the vampire). He has a very esteemed position in the army. The plot actually does revolve on him and some of his connections. He was smart and a charmer. That’s all I can think off. Arland is introduced towards the end of the book. Not much was revealed about him.

Caldenia is the only guest at Dina’s Bed and Breakfast. Holding a high position of sorts, she is a wanted murderer. Caldenia has killed thousands and for her own safety she is sent to Dina’s inn with the orders off never leaving. She actually paid Dina a lifetime worth of stay. In her own right she is also mysterious. Not that much is known about her. Caldenia knows quite a bit and was able to piece everything together before anyone else. Some of the best lines come from her. She was seriously funny.

The highlight off Clean Sweep is how well Dina managed to handle everything. She never resorts to anger. While she does get angry here and there, she is able to maintain a level head. She handled both Arland and Sean excellently. I just really love and appreciate Dina!

I had two problems with this book. I felt that the love triangle bogged everything down. Arland and Sean actually have fights over her. Usually which way is best to protect her. Although I appreciated that it was because of her lack of combat skills. Not her good looks. I also felt that Sean’s feelings for Dina were rushed. I felt no chemistry between them. While I would prefer for Sean to be end game, I mostly felt mutual respect and friendship between them. Not a crush. Had it not been for these points I probably would’ve rated it 5 stars otherwise.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed Clean Sweep! I am looking forward to the next book. I highly recommend this series.         

Review: The Stone Girl’s Story

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The Stone Girl’s Story by: Sarah Beth Durst

My Rating: 3 Stars

Exploring the power of stories and storytelling, Sarah Beth Durst presents the mesmerizing adventure of a girl made of living stone who braves unforeseen dangers and magical consequences on a crucial quest to save her family.

Mayka and her stone family were brought to life by the stories etched into their bodies. Now time is eroding these vital marks, and Mayka must find a stonemason to recarve them. But the search is more complex than she had imagined, and Mayka uncovers a scheme endangering all stone creatures. Only someone who casts stories into stone can help—but whom can Mayka trust? Where is the stonemason who will save them?

Action and insight combine in this magical coming-of-age novel as the young heroine realizes the savior she’s been searching for is herself.

Beware spoilers ahead!

Trigger warning: Abuse towards stone creatures, mention of war, and an abusive society.

I have read The Queen of Blood by this author and thoroughly enjoyed it! When I heard that Sarah Beth Durst was releasing a middle grade I didn’t hesitate to add this. I am happy to say that I enjoyed it!

The Stone Girl’s Story begins with Mayka saying good-bye to Turtle. Turtle is a stone creature whose marks have completely faded. Mayka and the rest of her family is upset but seeing no other option choose to move on. Risa and Jacklo see Mayka by Turtle.

Upon Jacklo’s request Mayka gathers the other stone creatures around and tells them a story. Feeling courageous Mayka announces that she will go out into the city and find them a stonemason. Essentially saving all the stone creatures. Some stone creatures protest, but in the end Mayka, Risa and Jacklo go. 

The Stone Girl’s Story was such a cute book! Narrated in third person all in Mayka’s point of view. There are also chapter numbers. There is a large emphasis in finding yourself, free will, and friendship throughout the story. The stone creatures were such a delight to read about! Created using different types of stone with such vibrant personalities.

The world building was incredible! Durst clearly did her research regarding the different types of stone and aerodynamics. Even the history regarding Mayka’s Father and the Stone War. The marks and the stonemasons job was explained in vivid detail without info-dumping.

The characters were extremely well written! Mayka was so sweet and a surprisingly mature main character for a middle grade book. Jacklo and Risa were such great siblings! They got along so well despite being total opposites. Risa being the older and more wise sibling. With Jacklo being bighearted and dedicated to his friends and family. Sisi is a dragon stone creature that the three meet on their journey. Sisi was fun-loving but also insecure. I felt that her insecurities is something we can all relate to. Kisonan was loyal and just. Garit and Ilery are two humans. Ilery was very brave and Garit was a bit awkward but stood by his friends.

Each of the characters begin to develop through their relationships with one-another. I personally felt that Garit, Sisi, and Mayka went through the most character development. Mayka had to navigate her world after finding out some information about her Father she didn’t previously know. Garit had to learn and understand that stone creatures deserved choice and had emotions. Sisi needed to overcome her insecurities and learn that she mattered. 

The Stone Girl’s Story had quite a bit of traveling in the beginning. As Mayka, Sisi (whom they meet on the way) Jacklo, and Risa traveled to Skye. I’d say that 20 percent of the story was spent traveling. Once they reached Skye the story picked up and it got more interesting.

The villain of the book was Master Siorn whom Garit was apprenticed too. During a stonemason’s festival Master Siorn planned on revealing an ‘Obedience’ mark. He was successfully able to create one and used it on all his stone creatures. I personally found this to be abusive hence the trigger warning. Skye’s society was also abusive towards stonemasons and stone creatures. There was a curfew for the stone creatures and the stonemasons were only allowed to live in a specific area.

The highlight off The Stone Girl’s Story (aside from the characters and world-building) was Mayka’s observations on basic human behaviour. Like how odd she found shoes and how she realized that while Master Siorn was a villain he believed his reasons were good. It was fun to read about how she grew based on her interactions with humans. Seriously though what she said about sweat was on point.

Unlike most books The Stone Girl’s Story actually has an epilogue. The ending took place a few years after Mayka’s adventure in Skye. All the characters come in. And you got to see how all the characters grew (not just literally). It wrapped up the story and I liked it.

I didn’t have any problems while reading. The Stone Girl’s Story just felt like a 3 star.

Overall I thought this book was really cute and well done! I recommend everyone to read this as there is something for everyone.