The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater – Book Review


If you could steal things from dreams, what would you take?

Ronan Lynch has secrets. Some he keeps from others. Some he keeps from himself.

One secret: Ronan can bring things out of his dreams.

And sometimes he’s not the only one who wants those things.

Ronan is one of the raven boys—a group of friends, practically brothers, searching for a dead king named Glendower, who they think is hidden somewhere in the hills by their elite private school, Aglionby Academy. The path to Glendower has long lived as an undercurrent beneath town. But now, like Ronan’s secrets, it is beginning to rise to the surface—changing everything in its wake.

Of The Raven Boys, Entertainment Weekly wrote, “Maggie Stiefvater’s can’t-put-it-down paranormal adventure will leave you clamouring for book two.” Now the second book is here, with the same wild imagination, dark romance, and heart-stopping twists that only Maggie Stiefvater can conjure.

The second book in The Raven Boys series still had Blue as the central character but it also focused quite a bit on Ronan. Ronan’s backstory was quite mysterious in the first book, so I was excited when I realized we were going to find out about his past.

In Ronan’s storyline you get to meet his second brother and we find out more about his absent mother. There is also the enigmatic Mr. Gray in town, who is looking for someone matching Ronan’s description of talents. Ronan’s abilities grow a lot in this book and you discover how they are connected to the search for Glendower. Ronan is violent, aggressive, quick-witted, and sad; fittingly, his storyline matches him to a tee.

Adam’s character is also explored further in The Dream Thieves. Adam goes through a dramatic change at the end of the first book and The Dream Thieves explores the consequences of that change on his friendships, relationship with Blue, and his future. Unfortunately, the event that Adam experiences in The Raven Boys changes him in ways I did not particularly enjoy.


Gansey still isn’t developed too much. The book does show more of his motivations and how he seems to require his friends to need him all the time. Gansey is portrayed in a way that makes him seem almost desperate to be the centre of his friends’ lives. This doesn’t come off in a way that is irritating, just more human insofar as he wants to feel needed.

One thing that I wanted from the first book and received in the second book was more focus on Blue’s family. You discover more about the history of Blue’s family members living in the house with her. Blue’s father is brought into the picture, not in actuality but more so in stories told by Blue’s family. The family reveals that he disappeared as soon as Blue was born and that they are now searching for him again.

Blue’s mom, Maura, has a romantic interest who happens to be an assassin stalking Blue and The Raven Boys. This was the only plot line in the book that I didn’t particularly enjoy. I found it odd that everyone knows that Maura’s love interest, Mr. Gray, is an assassin and they’re all totally cool with her dating someone who kills people for a living. The whole thing was just a bit too far-fetched for me, despite it being in a book about magic.

Rating: 4.5/5



Independent Study by Joelle Charbonneau – Book Review


In the series debut The Testing, sixteen-year-old Cia Vale was chosen by the United Commonwealth government as one of the best and brightest graduates of all the colonies . . . a promising leader in the effort to revitalize postwar civilization. InIndependent Study, Cia is a freshman at the University in Tosu City with her hometown sweetheart, Tomas—and though the government has tried to erase her memory of the brutal horrors of The Testing, Cia remembers. Her attempts to expose the ugly truth behind the government’s murderous programs put her—and her loved ones—in a world of danger. But the future of the Commonwealth depends on her.

It  was quite a long gap of time between when I read The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau and when I started reading the sequel, Independent Study. Getting back into it was a little tough, at first, because I couldn’t really remember which character had done what or even which characters were trustworthy or not. Despite this, I got back into the flow of the story pretty quickly.

The plot could be compared to the central ideas in The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins, so it does sometimes seem a tad bit like a rip off, but is great if you’re craving something with a similar society and almost identical conflicts. The part that I really enjoyed was a deadly scavenger hunt that the university freshmen had to play in order to be accepted by their peers. Anytime there’s any sort of scavenger hunt or treasure hunt I get really into it. National Treasure, anyone? I know Nicolas Cage gets some serious hate, but how can you not like that movie?!

The scavenger hunt section ended up taking up about two thirds of the book, so there wasn’t a big focus on developing the political conflict going on in their society. Because of this it was a really fast-paced read and highly enjoyable, although it is quite predictable.

Cia is highly intelligent and extremely compassionate. She is easy to root for because she is such a good person, but this also seems unrealistic. Her character can be at times flat and one-sided and seems to be written entire in black and white with no ambiguity. She’s also somehow able to see things everyone else misses, carry a harder course load in school than anyone before, and have one of the top internships at the same time all without showing any sort of emotional distress. It just all comes too easy to her.

Overall, it was an enjoyable and entertaining but not amazing read.

Rating: 3.5/5

Similar Books: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Divergent by Veronica Roth, and Matched by Ally Condie

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon – Book Review


My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

I recently began reading Everything, everything by Nicola Yoon because I had received an ARC of it. I had read a lot of good things about it on bookstagram posts and the blogosphere.

Unfortunately, the book did not live up to the hype (at least, in my opinion). It’s categorized as a YA novel, but it read more as a 9-12 book with YA subject matter. The book is made up of a lot of illustrations, instant message chats, and uses large font with many blank spaces. The book already looks quite small, but when you add in how little text there actually is it is quite a fast read. Despite how short of a read it was, I still wasn’t able to force myself through the book. It was an interesting concept that was executed poorly.


I understand that a girl who has been trapped inside her house for her whole life would obsess over the attractive and intriguing boy next door. I did not, however, understand why the boy next door began an interaction with her so quickly and became so insanely interested in her that he made his life revolve around a girl in a bubble. He comes into the story and then all of a sudden is magically infatuated with her. It all happened too quickly and seemed very juvenile to me. The love story is really one of the only things going on in the book and because I was so disinterested in it the book just didn’t do it for me.

I never finished reading the book so I cannot truly judge how the book was as a whole but the fact that I couldn’t power through it is not a great sign.

Rating: Could Not Finish


The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin – Book Review


Mara Dyer wants to believe there’s more to the lies she’s been told.
There is.

She doesn’t stop to think about where her quest for the truth might lead.
She should.

She never had to imagine how far she would go for vengeance.
She will now.

Loyalties are betrayed, guilt and innocence tangle, and fate and chance collide in this shocking conclusion to Mara Dyer’s story.

Retribution has arrived.

This post is extremely late. I finished this book a couple of months ago, but I think after completing the Mara Dyer trilogy I just needed a little break from it. Because man oh man was it ever intense!

(MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD – I don’t say exactly how the book ends, I just talk about my feelings towards the ending and the general vibe of the ending)

I’ve read a decent amount of reviews where people really hated the ending to the series, but I have to say that I enjoyed it. I was most definitely expecting it to go somewhere completely different, maybe something more depressing and on par with the way that the story was heading. I liked that it didn’t go the way that I thought and that it kind of surprised me. I also liked that at the end of a very emotionally draining series there was a happy ending. To me this made all of my reading seem worth it. Nothing frustrates me more than when you read through a whole series, get attached to all the character, and root for their lives only to have that character die or have it end in a depressing and unsatisfying way.


The third and final book in the Mara Dyer trilogy developed Mara’s character well, exploring her dark side and the psychological toll that the journey has taken on her mental well being. I enjoyed that it brought other characters in that could understand her messed up situation and provide support for her. This allowed both Mara and myself (the reader) to feel less isolated and frustrated by the challenges faced in the book.

Bringing Jamie back in to the book allowed for some brevity and humour in the story, because man is her ever sarcastic and hilarious. I think this was key to my enjoyment of the third book, because by that point Mara’s perspective was very draining and depressing to read. By having Jamie in there it gave me some reprieve from the intensity. This leads me to another thing that I loved about this book… it feature Noah’s point of view! This was extremely well done, and completely necessary for the final scenes of the book.


My one big drawback is that, although I liked the ending, it just seemed too happy for me. They just went through something ridiculously messed up and traumatic, but they’re fine and just going about their daily lives. Also, it never talked about what happened to the girl (who’s name I now can’t remember because it’s been so long since I finished it) who was stuck in the asylum with them and escaped and went through all the same messed up stuff they did as well. She just peaced it in the last half of the book and wasn’t really talked about again. But, mostly it’s all aces with this series.

I would give it 4.25/5



The Spiritglass Charade by Colleen Gleason – Book Review


After the Affair of the Clockwork Scarab, Evaline Stoker and Mina Holmes are eager to help Princess Alix with a new case. Seventeen-year-old Willa Aston is obsessed with spiritual mediums, convinced she is speaking with her mother from beyond the grave. What seems like a case of spiritualist fraud quickly devolves into something far more menacing: someone is trying to make Willa appear lunatic,”using an innocent-looking spiritglass to control her. The list of clues piles up: an unexpected murder, a gang of pickpockets, and the return of vampires to London. But are these events connected? As Uncle Sherlock would say, ‘there are no coincidences.’ It will take all of Mina’s wit and Evaline’s muscle to keep London’s sinister underground at bay.

This book is the sequel to The Clockwork Scarab by Colleen Gleason, which I really enjoyed. This book still encompassed a lot of the things that I liked about the first one and furthered the girls’ romantic interests as well. One thing that I dislike a little is that the books are moving quite slowly, and I’m now guessing that this means that the author is trying to turn these into a long series. I love the fact that it’s not quite the England of our past in these books, but instead it’s more of a Steampunk version of it. This is interesting because there is a character from our present time who has somehow travelled back in time, but the history books he learned from about England taught the same version of history that we know now. So the whole series, so far, you’re trying to figure out why the London that he has travelled back to is different from the one that we know of.


I definitely think I am going to be searching out more steampunk books because I loved the Leviathan series by Scott Westerfeld and I love the very cool settings in this book. The drawback in this series is that the settings are most of the time not fleshed out enough. Most people don’t know what to picture in a steampunk world, and even if you read steampunk books a lot each world will be different in different series. I sometimes had to stop and take a minute to try and figure out what Gleason was describing, or had to fill in details myself, which detracted from the flow of the book. I’m also just extremely intrigued by the world itself and would have loved more vivid and detailed scene setting to dive into their lives better. I do have to say though that I think the settings in this book were more flushed out than in the first book.

I like the girls’ love interests and enjoy that it’s nicely added in but definitely doesn’t revolve around romance. The cases are most definitely the central focus, but the flirtations add a good amount of excitement to the book. Again my one complaint here is that it took me two whole books to really put together all the descriptions of the male love interests to actually be able to picture them. Maybe the vague description is a stylistic choice, letting the reader imagine most of it themselves, but I’m personally not a huge fan.

I still really enjoy the characters, and the flipping narrative between Mina and Evalines’ perspectives. I love the idea of the world they live in and I like that each book is a super fast paced read revolving around one case, like an episode of Sherlock in book format and aimed at teen girls.

I would give this book 3.5/5 

P.S. I’m going to start adding in links at the bottom of my posts for where you can buy the books online that I review. I do, however, highly recommend buying books at physical bookstores as this better supports authors and publishers a lot of the time.


Suggestions for the Sherlock Holmes Obsessed


My friends and I all seem to be quite obsessed with everything Sherlock Holmes, and rightly so. I mean a brooding, and usually handsome, genius who has a sly and sarcastic wit. I wanted to create a post to give a few movie, book, and television suggestions for people like me who love anything related to Sherlock Holmes.

Most of you probably already watch Sherlock, but I do still have to put it in here because it is the best of the best if you’re Sherlock Holmes obsessed.



Then of course there are the Sherlock Holmes movies starring Robert Downey Jr., who was basically made for the role of Sherlock Holmes. His version of Sherlock Holmes is eerily similar to Iron Man in portrayal, which makes sense. They are both weird, slightly mad geniuses with huge egos. Plus Rachel McAdams is in it! I do so love her. Although I don’t think she fits the role of Irene Adler very well. Noomi Rapace, of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and Prometheus fame, plays a sort of gypsy in Sherlock Holmes: A Games of Shadows.



There is also the new American TV version of Sherlock Holmes called Elementary. It stars Lucy Liu as a female version of Dr. Watson and Johnny Lee Miller as a recovering drug addict version of Sherlock Holmes. It’s honestly not fantastic, it just doesn’t have the same kind of intelligence to it as the previously mentioned movie and TV show. You can usually tell where the plot is going and who did the crime. It’s more of a stereotypical procedural crime drama with the Sherlock name attached. All that said, it’s still an entertaining show if you go into thinking of it more as an American detective show and not as much as Sherlock Holmes.


Now, onto wonderfully Young Adult book suggestions for Sherlock lovers. I recently started reading The Stoker and Holmes series by Colleen Gleason. A wonderful and addictive series that revolves around Bram Stoker’s sister and Sherlock Holmes’ niece working with Irene Adler to solve crimes in a steampunk version of 19th century London. It is a quick and easy read, entertaining, with an interesting plot. The characters are not incredibly well developed, and the scenery could be more descriptive since the hints of it that I read just left me wanting to get a better visual of this interesting world. I still found the series very interesting and am whipping through the second book right now.


Evaline Stoker and Mina Holmes never meant to get into the family business. But when you’re the sister of Bram and the niece of Sherlock, vampire hunting and mystery solving are in your blood. And when two society girls go missing, there’s no one more qualified to investigate.

Now fierce Evaline and logical Mina must resolve their rivalry, navigate the advances of not just one but three mysterious gentlemen, and solve murder with only one clue: a strange Egyptian scarab. The stakes are high. If Stoker and Holmes don’t unravel why the belles of London society are in such danger, they’ll become the next victims.

Another book that I have not read yet, but am very excited for, is Every Breath by Ellie Marney. I can’t say much on this one, because I have not started it yet, except that it seems like a cheesy but enjoyable young adult novel about a modern day teenage Sherlock Holmes and female Watson.



Rachel Watts is an unwilling new arrival to Melbourne from the country. James Mycroft is her neighbour, an intriguingly troubled seventeen-year-old genius with a passion for forensics. Despite her misgivings, Rachel finds herself unable to resist Mycroft when he wants her help investigating a murder. And when Watts and Mycroft follow a trail to the cold-blooded killer, they find themselves in the lion’s den – literally.


P.S. Not so much Sherlock Holmes related, but if you like books about crime solving teenagers with crazy abilities of deduction then you will love The Naturals series by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. The first two books are out and I’ve read them both and loved them. Both would get 4.5/5



Seventeen-year-old Cassie is a natural at reading people. Piecing together the tiniest details, she can tell you who you are and what you want. But it’s not a skill that she’s ever taken seriously. That is, until the FBI come knocking: they’ve begun a classified program that uses exceptional teenagers to crack infamous cold cases, and they need Cassie.

What Cassie doesn’t realize is that there’s more at risk than a few unsolved homicides—especially when she’s sent to live with a group of teens whose gifts are as unusual as her own. Sarcastic, privileged Michael has a knack for reading emotions, which he uses to get inside Cassie’s head—and under her skin. Brooding Dean shares Cassie’s gift for profiling, but keeps her at arm’s length.

Soon, it becomes clear that no one in the Naturals program is what they seem. And when a new killer strikes, danger looms closer than Cassie could ever have imagined. Caught in a lethal game of cat and mouse with a killer, the Naturals are going to have to use all of their gifts just to survive.

Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern – Book Review


Amy and Matthew didn’t know each other, really. They weren’t friends. Matthew remembered her, sure, but he remembered a lot of people from elementary school that he wasn’t friends with now.

Matthew never planned to tell Amy what he thought of her cheerful facade, but after he does, Amy realizes she needs someone like him in her life.

As they begin to spend more time with each other, Amy learns that Matthew has his own secrets and she decides to try to help him in the same way he’s helped her. And when what started out as a friendship turns into something neither of them expected, they realize that they tell each other everything—except the one thing that matters most.


This book was funny, and hopeful, and heartbreaking, and eye-opening. I had never read a book before that put me in the shoes of someone who literally couldn’t speak (verbally, because she does use a computer to communicate) for themselves. Both Amy and Matthew have struggles that they are attempting to overcome for the majority of the book. Having the book from both of their mindsets truly allowed for me to experience two lives completely unlike my own and yet so similar in their dreams and goals, despite dealing with things much harder than anything I’ve ever dealt with.

I feel like this book helped me see different sides to OCD and Cerebral Palsy that I never would have, had I not read this. I think one of the greatest things a book can do is to make people more open and empathetic to the different struggles that everyone faces. I highly recommend this book to anyone looking to gain a new perspective on life, and who enjoys a good love story. Matthew and Amy’s characters are both extremely interesting, and are developed well throughout the storyline. I would give this book 4/5



My only qualm is that it ended almost too perfectly, with them getting together in the end. I honestly just really enjoyed that Matthew was able to finally connect with other people and deal more successfully with his OCD. I loved that Amy took charge of her own life and went back to university to do what she wanted, standing up to her mom in the process, and worked incredibly hard to become successful. They both found their paths and were happy in their lives, so adding them getting back together and being in love seemed slightly over the top for me. But, it was still a cute ending.

Books Offering New Perspectives:

I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson

Zac & Mia by A.J. Betts

Blind by Rachel Dewoskin