Lion Heart by A. C. Gaughen

Details: 348pp, Bloomsbury USA Children’s hardcover
Release date:  19 May 2015
Series: Scarlet, book 3
Rating: 3.5/5
Buy: BN.comPowell’sPolitics & Prose — The Book Depository

Summary (from Goodreads): Scarlet has captured the hearts of readers as well as the heart of Robin Hood, and after ceaseless obstacles and countless threats, readers will finally find out the fate of the Lady Thief.

Imprisoned by Prince John for months, Scarlet finds herself a long way from Nottinghamshire. After a daring escape from the Prince’s clutches, she learns that King Richard’s life is in jeopardy, and Eleanor of Aquitaine demands a service Scarlet can’t refuse: spy for her and help bring Richard home safe. But fate—and her heart—won’t allow her to stay away from Nottinghamshire for long, and together, Scarlet and Rob must stop Prince John from going through with his dark plans for England. They can not rest until he’s stopped, but will their love be enough to save them once and for all?

My thoughts: I am so conflicted with this final book in the Scarlet trilogy that I’m not even sure I can give it a rating that matches all my feelings. For one, I am still in love with the trilogy’s idea with gender-bending the classic Robin Hood tale to make a woman into the mastermind behind it all. In this book in particular, however, there seems to be one overly tragic flaw that’s making me question this whole book’s plot.

Who here loves a good B plot? You know. Like in many YA SFF books there’s the A plot, the characters on a classic SFF journey, and the B plot, that two of the characters were slowly falling in love. I generally like a B plot because it amps up the tension. BUT WHEN IT GOES COMPLETELY UNRESOLVED?? How would you like to get in a taxi on the way to your next big adventure only to find out that you’re never going to get out of said taxi? NO THANK YOU. No matter what kind of taxi ride it is (they can be pretty eventful if you’ve got an experienced taxi driver) you want to get out at some point. [[SPOILER AHEAD]] So YES, after all the lead up I wanted Scarlet to officially save her father KING RICHARD so that estranged father and daughter could be reunited. I mean HELLO Eleanor has already more than accepted her so why not have more of a family reunion? That was more than hinted at even in book 2 that when it didn’t come I felt sure my book had been mis-assembled and I was missing pages.[[END SPOILER]]

On the other hand, the romance was more pronounced. Normally I’m not a fan of romance in YA books, but it worked well for Lion Heart since it was the last in the trilogy: I wanted to see my favorite characters happy in the end! And even though Scarlet doesn’t end up meeting her birth father, she still continued to form a close bond with Eleanor, which was excellent to see. She and Eleanor also had a very similar mind set, a similar way of doing things, and it was great to see that it runs in the family!

Overall, it was a good end to the series, though it could have been more well-planned. I would’ve liked to see Scarlet meet her dad…. 3.5/5

The struggle of days without internet

Access to the internet is something I don’t appreciate as often as I should because I don’t realize how much I use it until it’s gone. Especially now in a house where “television” is dependent on Hulu and Netflix and other streaming services, internet really does run pretty much everything. We lost it on Saturday. And only just got it back today.

On the upside, I made some progress (-ish) on my TBR piles! And then added to the problem again with some good deals from Barnes & Noble and Kindle deals. Of course. Of course that’s how it happened. In the end, it turns out I really needed that break from the internet to tell me how much I really love reading. There have been quite a few “duds” for me lately, but after having picked up The Martian at long last, I am well and truly excited. And I now have Illuminae and Career of Evil waiting for me too! All of the books. ALL OF THE BOOKS.

A belated list of books I read in October, accompanied by my Goodreads ratings:

  • Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3) by Sarah J. Maas [re-read] ★★★★★
  • Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4) by Sarah J. Maas ★★★★★
  • Unspoken (The Lynburn Legacy #1) by Sarah Rees Brennan ★★★
  • The Name of the Star (Shades of London #1) by Maureen Johnson ★★
  • Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn ★★★★

And these books I’ve read since Saturday:

  • The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman ★★★★
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling, illustrations by Jim Kay ★★★★★
  • Need by Joelle Charbonneau ★★★

Clearly not having internet helps speed along my reading! There’s that plus side.

Top Ten Tuesday (7)

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Top Ten Wishes I’d Ask the Book Genie to Grant Me

It feels like forever and a day since I read Victoria Schwab’s The Archived and The Unbound and (1) I still really wish I could read the third book RIGHT NOW. Obviously after a re-read of the first two, but still. I think Ms. Schwab comes up with some of the best stories and I just really want to see the end of the series that got me hooked on her! Also, (2) I really want to have coffee and/or tea with her. Maybe it would be took much awkward for one table, but maybe not. I think our awkwards could jive pretty well.

(3) I wish I could get a stroke of genius and figure out how to end the story I started writing when I was 16. I still think about it, and the fact that I wrote it into a hole has never ceased to bother me. So basically I’d like some new ideas to come to me that revolve around the same characters!

(4) I wish I could meet J.K. Rowling. Good ol’ JK. It’s been more than 15 years (HOLY CRAP) since I read the first Harry Potter book, and I still re-read the series about once every year…? Maybe more like once every 15 months. I know I re-read HP back at the beginning of this year, right around my birthday in February, and I’m already itching to start another re-read….

(5) I wish the bookish genie could grant me some more patience with reading all the books on the list I found, “1001 books to read before you die”. I really would like to read all the books on that list, but some authors really scare me. I have such a strong dislike for The Scarlet Letter (it has persisted since high school) that I want nothing to do with Nathaniel Hawthorne. And I’ve had Les Mis sitting on my shelf for a little while now, but it just looks so dense, even for a classic. (Here’s a question: if I could read Anna Karenina with fair ease, will I be able to do the same with Les Mis?)

(6) I wish I could win a contest that awarded me with a gift certificate worth a few hundred dollars to Barnes and Noble, or a good-sized and well-stocked local bookstore. There are so many recent releases I have yet to buy and I also want to know what it feels like to buy like 20 books at once. I’ve never done it, and I really want the funds to do it!

(7) I wish I could happen across some good space-centered, living on a spaceship science-fiction that makes sense to me. I have had such a craving for this lately but I have no idea what author writes these kinds of stories that get some decent ratings on Goodreads (higher than 3.5). Some good examples of books that satisfy this craving would be the Starbound Universe series by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner and the Across the Universe series by Beth Revis.

(8) I wish I could get a well-paying job working with books, either bookstore-related or publishing-related.

(9) I wish that J.K. Rowling would decide that she misses Hogwarts and decides to write about the Marauders. How could I not want that? Every Potterhead wants it, yeah?

(10) I wish to get my book-buying under control! I’ve been doing alright with an undeclared book-buying ban, but lately with all the new releases I’ve really wanted to go binge shop the books. Hi, my name is Devon and I’m a bookaholic.

A personal update….

I wish I had a better explanation for my absence other than “I’ve lost the drive to blog” recently, but I don’t have another excuse. I’ve still been reading, but with working and looking for a real job, and my great love for sleep, blogging hasn’t been a priority. It started to feel like just one more thing I had to worry about either at the beginning of my day or after a long day on the sales floor.

With my absence, however, has come some progress in my reading (and an almost unnoticeable dent or scratch in my TBR list). Since my very last post, my book review of Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray, I’ve only read three more books on my TBR list and one of those I just finished today. But in the midst of that, I re-read Sarah J. Maas’ Throne of Glass series before finally cracking into Queen of Shadows. I can say with pretty strong confidence that series is my favorite that is still being published. I love The Lunar Chronicles with a fiery passion, but even with some of those I wasn’t 100% in love with each book. Throne of Glass I am. Each and every book. I couldn’t find a large enough critique that would bring any books even down to 4-stars on Goodreads. They’re all 5-star reads for me, including Queen of Shadows!

What am I looking for in my next book? And now, it’s October, which means a relentless craving for spook-tacular reads. Good thing I’m a hoarder of books because I have a good amount of those that I have yet to read! Also, I have the illustrated edition of Harry Potter coming to me today; I am a notorious tracker of shipments and I see that package is out for delivery! I’ve flipped through the edition in stores before, but I can’t wait to really sit down and absorb all the visual magic.

What television has been distracting me lately? Guys, Doctor Who is back in a big way. I haven’t made it a secret that I thought series 8 fell a little flat after the magnificent adventures of Amy and Rory and Eleven and Clara in the second half of 7. And that fiftieth anniversary special? Come on. That was FANTASTIC. So where was that explosive entry for Capaldi in series 8. ANYWAY, I digress. Series 9 is a bomb of awesome and I am so so happy. And I can’t help but add that a re-watch of Sherlock has grabbed my attention lately. Especially “A Scandal in Belgravia”. I just watched that episode (again) a week ago and already I am craving a revisit. Irene Adler as a dominatrix is genius and Sherlock’s reactions are priceless. How about some gifs of some small but splendid moments?

Lair of Dreams by Libby Bray

Details: 624pp, Little Brown Books for Young Readers hardcover. (I was provided with a Netgalley e-ARC free for review — thank you, Little Brown!)
Release date: August 25, 2015
Series: The Diviners, book 2
Rating: 4/5
Buy: BN.comBooks-a-MillionBook Depository

Summary (from Goodreads): After a supernatural showdown with a serial killer, Evie O’Neill has outed herself as a Diviner. With her uncanny ability to read people’s secrets, she’s become a media darling, earning the title “America’s Sweetheart Seer.” Everyone’s in love with the city’s newest It Girl…everyone except the other Diviners.

Piano-playing Henry DuBois and Chinatown resident Ling Chan are two Diviners struggling to keep their powers a secret—for they can walk in dreams. And while Evie is living the high life, victims of a mysterious sleeping sickness are turning up across New York City.

As Henry searches for a lost love and Ling strives to succeed in a world that shuns her, a malevolent force infects their dreams. And at the edges of it all lurks a man in a stovepipe hat who has plans that extend farther than anyone can guess…As the sickness spreads, can the Diviners descend into the dreamworld to save the city?

My thoughts: Ms Libba Bray knows how to craft her series. The Diviners (book one) pulled me in just enough, but this second installment really kept me enthralled! Lair of Dreams goes one step further in that this time, we get more character diversity.

     The Good

More characters, first of all. I really like how Ling Chen and Henry get on together and play off of each other’s energy. And how they share an ability was another plus, that way we see their growth in tandem and they can be buddies through their evolution! (The worst is when there’s a character or two you really like as people and you have to watch them suffer.)

In The Diviners it took more time than I liked to get used to the flapper speech and colloquialisms, which is partly my fault for not exposing myself to enough literature of the flapper age. But there were also several uses that felt entirely too jarring and over-the-top. In this second book, every use appeared fluid and well-fitting with the motion of events. Something that tied in well with this was one or two uses of historical events that were woven into the fiction. That’s right, there actually was a sleeping sickness pandemic in the 1920s! I had to google it to be sure, but it sounded vaguely similar to historical events.

The mystery! Almost above all else, I love it when series string us along a theme thoughout all the books. So far, Libba Bray is doing just that with The Diviners what with the history of Evie and James and then Sam’s mom’s disappearance. We learn just a tad bit more in both instances to keep us drooling for more!

     The Meh

This could be just me, but I couldn’t remember the finer details of the first book! It’s been so long since I’ve read it, and I wasn’t even among the first people who bought the book in hardcover — I waited till paperback! I think that’s a huge drawback with having to wait so long between books — you forget things….

Please please please, if you felt at least lukewarm (but hopefully better than lukewarm) about The Diviners, stay tuned for Lair of Dreams! I think you’ll love it. 4/5

A note on #NatBookFest15!


This past Saturday, the 5th of September, was Washington D.C.’s National Book Festival hosted at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. After my experience at the Texas Teen Book Festival last year, I was hopeful but still kept my expectations low. And what do you know, IT WAS A BLAST.

The authors. Michael Buckley and Libba Bray. They were, I believe, the only two authors in attendance who’d written books I’ve read. Maybe you remember my review of Undertow in which I swooned and raved over subject matter that really sounded like it was meant for more than just teens to read. (Read: political undertones.) Mr. Buckley actually touched on this in his presentation which I LOVED. I’ve been (somewhat overly) analytical of books ever since AP English (or maybe it’s just in my nature?) and it’s so great to have my theories affirmed. Also, I just really like Buckley’s personality.

And then Ms. Bray??? I really want to be her best friend. She has a super-vibrant personality, even on stage, and her presentation felt more like an intimate “getting to know you” session. Listening to her speak today has made me want to purchase her Gemma Doyle trilogy so I can reread it over and over and reread what exists so far of The Diviners. And look into everything else she’s written, but I already know I liked those series before knowing Libba so I’m bound to LOVE them after knowing her, yes??? My logic is sound. As a side note, did you know that she was in a major car accident after graduating high school?? I didn’t.

The book sales. Separate tables with big signs denoting what each table was. Twenty cashiers, maybe more, to move through a twisty-turny line in under eight minutes. Politics and Prose knows how it’s done and needs to share their wisdom with The Book People. I really just love P&P. I probably shouldn’t have spent the money buying two books I’ve already read, but see the paragraphs above? I love these authors, especially after today, that I will revisit them enough to make the full-priced (now SIGNED) hardcovers worth it!!! Also, did I mention they’re SIGNED?? I love signed books.

The book signing. This is the only area on which I think the book festival could improve. As a reader of fiction, and mostly YA, I don’t understand the logic of having the YA author signings overlap by half an hour, when each author only gets a slot of an hour. Maybe it’s just my logic, but it seems like fans of one YA author are more likely to be fans of another YA author, so why have them overlap so much? Am I missing something?  Thank goodness I made a friend who happily got my Buckley book signed for me while I did the same with her Bray book, otherwise I would NOT have had the time to get both signed! Also, Libba Bray is a goddess because she stayed even after her allotted time just to finish her line.


I was, of course, at the very back of Ms. Bray’s line.

One of my newly-found friends took this photo, since I didn't get to personally meet Mr. Buckley!

One of my newly-found friends took this photo, since I didn’t get to personally meet Mr. Buckley!

The other attendees. The bookish community is filled with some of the nicest, most beautiful people, and today proved that! It’s entirely possible that I was just overly happy and therefore overly talkative (there’s a trend between the two, I’ve noticed) but I met some lovely, fascinating people! Hopefully we’ll meet up again soon.





Sunday Update Again

Hey y’all!

Dropping a line to say that I’m still here, still trying to think up some reviews and posts — I’m not dead! I’ve been swamped with lots of things lately: flew home for a few days, then back to the daily grind, and that little devil called JOB SEARCHING. I’m starting to get stressed about that which is leading to more headaches.

I’m still here! Just very infrequently here, for now. National Book Festival is next Saturday and I will be going! Hopefully I’ll have something to say about that.

Happy reading!