Unspoken by Celia McMahon: Give Me All the Wolves

Title: Unspoken Author: Celia McMahon

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance

Rating: 4/5 Paws


Goodreads Synopsis: Princess Isabelle of The New Kingdom has lived her entire life in the confines of her palace. She spends her time hunting for the poverty-stricken Voiceless-people of the Old Kingdom who warred with her kingdom and ultimately lost-and dreaming of a world beyond the walls of her home. As the only remaining child of the king and queen, she is to be married off by her eighteenth birthday.
When Izzy witnesses the use of forbidden magic in the woods outside the palace, she is attacked, and saved by an unknown man. Soon after she discovers her rescuer is a Voiceless servant in the castle named Fray, she befriends him to seek out the magic users who tried to kill her. Fray agrees to help, but not before Isabelle discovers the servant boy harbors a secret the king has tried to bury-that he is a Gwylis, people of the old Kingdom who made a pact with the demons of the underworld for the power to transform into giant ferocious wolves. But to shift into a beast, Fray must be able to speak the words to do so. If he is to thwart the attackers from killing her entire family, Izzy needs to cure the ailment that took away his voice.
But curing Fray holds more danger than she ever thought possible. The lies of her parents and the risk of putting her own life on the line deems as destructive as falling for the servant boy. If Isabelle is to save herself and Fray, she’ll need to face enemy Gwylis, cross paths with usurper kings and princes, and decide what side she is on-human or wolf-or lose her kingdom forever.

“I couldn’t tear myself away from watching the darkness gobble up the light without remorse. Many people feared it. Not me. There was beauty in its consumption. I had a home in the stars.” 

This was a very enjoyable read for me! Unspoken gives you a little bit of everything you need from a book. There’s action, politics, romance, drama and moments that pull at your heartstrings. It also includes a few of my personal book niches like royalty, magic and WOLVES. Want to know the number one way to get me to read a book? Make sure there are wolves in it.

The main characters were a real strong point of the book for me. Isabelle, or Izzy as she usually goes by, is a strong female lead with attitude, independence and courage; she may be a princess but she’s no damsel in distress. She’s spunky, rebellious and finds peace in hunting in the woods (total Katniss vibes!!). She has strong ties to her deceased brother, Henry, and many of her decisions throughout the book are dictated by her wish to continue on with the mission he started.

“’Where are you off to?’ I asked. ‘Dark deeds under a dark sky,’ he signed.”

Fray, a Voiceless servant in the castle, and his exquisite blue eyes may have just become one of my new favorite fictional boyfriends. He’s a bit rough around the edges when the reader is first introduced to him, but his fierce loyalty is extremely admirable and he won be over SO quickly.

Our other contender for Izzy’s heart and a future spot on the throne of Stormwall is Prince Ashe. Of the many suitors that have visited Stormwall in the hopes of winning Izzy’s love, Prince Ashe seems like a highly likely candidate. He’s confident and charming, yet steady and kind. Celia is an absolute genius for the dichotomy she produced between Ashe and Fray. Where Ashe seems familiar and safe, Fray is wild, blunt and dangerous. Ashe is always wearing a smirk while Fray scowls. Ashe comes from a place surrounded by water and conveys the gentleness and predictability of the tide while Fray is of the forest and has the attitude and grit to match. Both of these guys would be so easy to fall for; Izzy’s got a difficult decision to make all while her mother is pushing her for a future she’s not sure she wants.

While I found the descriptions of the main characters to be thorough and very well done, I wish that some of the side characters had been developed a bit more. Izzy’s mother, the queen, came across very flat and one-dimensional to me. Her whole demeanor was meant to come across as indifferent and impenetrable but I thought she was just boring and rude. Izzy’s cousin, Lulu, also fell short as a character to me. She came across as very naive. She’s made out to be very loyal to her cousin but other than that, her only personality trait is boy-crazy.

“’You do what you heart tells you do to.’ ‘The heart isn’t so reliable.’ ‘Even though that is true, it is more reliable than the words of some people.’”

One side character that I did absolutely love was Pedoma, Izzy’s maid. Of course, á la Dorota from Gossip Girl, Pedoma is one of my favorite underrated characters in the novel. She comes through with insightful advice and comfort whenever Izzy needs her and it was really nice that Izzy had someone on inside the castle she could fully trust.

 “Revenge was a wave, and I sank beneath it.”

The content and plot lines of this book were incredible. The plot was so captivating and I enjoyed the fact that it was fast-paced and ever-changing. The reader discovers a lot throughout the book that changes the course of action of many characters so drastically that this book went in an entirely different direction than I originally thought.

I loved the concept of the Voiceless and including sign language was really cool! This isn’t a common topic in books so it was nice to have that represented in a whole group of people. I really enjoyed the romance in the novel as well! It wasn’t always a main focus but there was just enough to have it be a good balance where it neither was lost or took over the story.

I do think that the fighting scenes could have been written a bit better; the sequencing and flow was a little off for me and I found it a little difficult to follow at times. I’d normally like to be able to picture battles as they’re happening and I couldn’t get there with this book. However, this didn’t impact my understanding of the book so it wasn’t a point of major chagrin for me.

“In a path of fire, she will walk. And out of the flames, a beast will rule.”

Unspoken was a fast, action-packed read that got me hooked early on. After reading this book by a debut author, I will definitely be following Celia McMahon and the rest of this series into the future!

Also, bonus points for a great dedication! “To the girls with fierce hearts, and stars in their eyes.”

Check out Celia on her blog HERE and add the book on Goodreads HERE!

Let me know in the comments below if you’re planning on reading this book!

5 Paw (Star) Predictions of Fall 2019

Into the Crooked Kingdom by Alexandra Christo Release Date: 10/8/19

Goodreads Synopsis: The streets of Creije are for the deadly and the dreamers, and four crooks in particular know just how much magic they need up their sleeve to survive.
Tavia, a busker ready to pack up her dark-magic wares and turn her back on Creije for good. She’ll do anything to put her crimes behind her. Wesley, the closest thing Creije has to a gangster. After growing up on streets hungry enough to swallow the weak whole, he won’t stop until he has brought the entire realm to kneel before him. Karam, a warrior who spends her days watching over the city’s worst criminals and her nights in the fighting rings, making a deadly name for herself. And Saxony, a resistance fighter hiding from the very people who destroyed her family, and willing to do whatever it takes to get her revenge.
Everything in their lives is going to plan, until Tavia makes a crucial mistake: she delivers a vial of dark magic—a weapon she didn’t know she had—to someone she cares about, sparking the greatest conflict in decades. Now these four magical outsiders must come together to save their home and the world, before it’s too late. But with enemies at all sides, they can trust nobody. Least of all each other.

My Reasoning: I ADORED Alexandra Christo’s first book, To Kill and Kingdom, and fell in love with her writing immediately. I have high expectations for this new duology and the description of the story of this band of misfits has me hooked.

Rebel (Legend #4) by Marie Lu Release Date: 10/1/19

Goodreads Synopsis: Eden Wing has been living in his brother’s shadow for years. Even though he’s a top student at his academy in Ross City, Antarctica, and a brilliant inventor, most people know him only as Daniel Wing’s little brother.
A decade ago, Daniel was known as Day, the boy from the streets who led a revolution that saved the Republic of America. But Day is no longer the same young man who was once a national hero. These days he’d rather hide out from the world and leave his past behind. All that matters to him now is keeping Eden safe―even if that also means giving up June, the great love of Daniel’s life.
As the two brothers struggle to accept who they’ve each become since their time in the Republic, a new danger creeps into the distance that’s grown between them. Eden soon finds himself drawn so far into Ross City’s dark side, even his legendary brother can’t save him. At least not on his own…

My Reasoning: The Legend Series has been one of my favorites since I first read it back in 2013. I’m so excited to get back into this world and get more of Day and June in my life!

Lifestyles of Gods and Monsters by Emily Roberson Release Date: 10/20/19

Goodreads Synopsis: Sixteen-year-old Ariadne’s whole life is curated and shared with the world. Her royal family’s entertainment empire is beloved by the tabloids, all over social media, and the hottest thing on television. The biggest moneymaker? The Labyrinth Contest, a TV extravaganza in which Ariadne leads fourteen teens into a maze to kill a monster. To win means endless glory; to lose means death. In ten seasons, no one has ever won.
When the gorgeous, mysterious Theseus arrives at the competition and asks Ariadne to help him to victory, she doesn’t expect to fall for him. He might be acting interested in her just to boost ratings. Their chemistry is undeniable, though, and she can help him survive. If he wins, the contest would end for good. But if she helps him, she doesn’t just endanger her family’s empire―the monster would have to die. And for Ariadne, his life might be the only one worth saving.
Ariadne’s every move is watched by the public and predestined by the gods, so how can she find a way to forge her own destiny and save the people she loves?

My Reasoning: Mythology combined with a contest reality TV show. Need I say more?

Call Down the Hawk by Maggie Stiefvater Release Date: 11/5/19

Goodreads Synopsis: Ronan Lynch is a dreamer. He can pull both curiosities and catastrophes out of his dreams and into his compromised reality. Jordan Hennessy is a thief. The closer she comes to the dream object she is after, the more inextricably she becomes tied to it. Carmen Farooq-Lane is a hunter. Her brother was a dreamer…and a killer. She has seen what dreaming can do to a person. And she has seen the damage that dreamers can do. But that is nothing compared to the destruction that is about to be unleashed…

My Reasoning: I love absolutely everything that Maggie Stiefvater writes, so I highly doubt that this will be an exception considering that we get to follow one of my favorite characters from The Raven Boys in Ronan Lynch.

Winterwood by Shea Ernshaw Release Date: 11/5/19

Goodreads Synopsis: Be careful of the dark, dark wood…Especially the woods surrounding the town of Fir Haven. Some say these woods are magical. Haunted, even.
Rumored to be a witch, only Nora Walker knows the truth. She and the Walker women before her have always shared a special connection with the woods. And it’s this special connection that leads Nora to Oliver Huntsman—the same boy who disappeared from the Camp for Wayward Boys weeks ago—and in the middle of the worst snowstorm in years. He should be dead, but here he is alive, and left in the woods with no memory of the time he’d been missing. But Nora can feel an uneasy shift in the woods at Oliver’s presence. And it’s not too long after that Nora realizes she has no choice but to unearth the truth behind how the boy she has come to care so deeply about survived his time in the forest, and what led him there in the first place. What Nora doesn’t know, though, is that Oliver has secrets of his own—secrets he’ll do anything to keep buried, because as it turns out, he wasn’t the only one to have gone missing on that fateful night all those weeks ago.

My Reasoning: Woods, Witches and Disappearances, oh my! This sounds like the perfect spooky fall read and the cover is gorgeous!!

Favorite Tropes!

Let’s talk tropes: the things you can’t live with but you really can’t live without. Tropes in literature are some of the most polarizing topics. People love the ones that others hate, and hate the ones that other people love. And that’s completely fine! We all have our own opinions; we all have things we like and don’t like. Here, I’m going to talk about some of the tropes I actually like and I fully understand that this is all completely subjective so please don’t feel offended if I leave one of your favorite tropes off this list! Ultimately, I think it comes down to the execution, this is not completely black and white.

Without further ado, here are some of my favorite tropes! (in no particular order)

Favorite Trope #1: Fake Dating

I’m a sucker for this trope! I’ll read basically anything that involves a couple fake dating. I just think it’s so cute when we all know that the two characters are going to end up together but they keep trying to deny their feelings after what starts out as a deal turns out to be so much more.

Some of my favorites:

Favorite Trope #2: Lost Royal

My sister and I have a huge obsession with royals. She’s more interested in the history of royalty and aristocracy is in the real world, while I get my fix from fiction. I think it might have something to do with living in the United States, royalty and monarchies are such an intriguing concept to us here. Because of this, I’m so much more inclined to pick up a book about royals. And if it’s about a royal who doesn’t know they’re royalty and they find out during the book? Even better. I mean, don’t we all kind of dream that we’d have our own Queen Clarisse Renaldi come into our lives and whisk us away to a castle in a magical land?

Some of my favorites:

Favorite Trope #3: Chosen One

Oh, the chosen one. This may be the most controversial trope on this list, but I had to include it anyway. I love prophecies and when a character is destined to be something they didn’t know they were supposed to be. I kind of love the chaos at the beginning when the chosen one is thrust into a situation they were never prepared for and we get to see them grow and adapt so they can save the world!! Some of you might be over this trope, but I’m fully here for it.

Some of my favorites:

Favorite Trope #4: Forbidden Love/Star-Crossed Lovers

Shout out Shakespeare for this one! I should be forbidden to read any more books with this trope because I love them so much. HAHA I got the jokes today! But in all seriousness, forbidden love and star-crossed lovers pull at my heartstrings in a way that other romance just doesn’t. I love the tension and the yearning and the longing. It hurts so good!!

Some of my favorites:

Do we have any of the same favorite tropes? What are some of your favorites that aren’t on my list? Let me know in the comments!

Queen of Air and Darkness: The Longest Book I’ve Ever Read

Title: Queen of Air and Darkness (The Dark Artifices #3)

Author: Cassandra Clare

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance

Rating: 4.5/5 paws

**spoiler free**

Synopsis: Queen of Air and Darknes is the third and final book in The Dark Artifices trilogy. The battle between the Shadowhunters, Cohort and Faeries comes to a head in this action-packed conclusion. While one group of the Blackthorn family set out to find a cure for the ailing warlocks, Julian and Emma are sent on a mission to faerie in an attempt to hide the law they’ve broken. There, they stumble into a dark and hidden Shadowhunter world. What they find here will change the course of history in their own world; for better and for worse.

“Faith isn’t never having any doubts; it’s having what you need to overcome them.” 

So, okay, WOW. If there has ever been a series to contend with my absolute love and adoration for The Infernal Devices, it was this one. Cassandra Clare has done it again, folks. You can check out my reviews for the previous books in this trilogy, Lady Midnight and Lord of Shadows!

The thoughtful and beautifully deep characters continued to suck me in in this third book! They’re each morally gray in their own way (except perfect little Tavvy) and we see so many of our main character maturing and growing to learn more about their world and those they share it with. One of my favorite things about this series is being able to now look back at the first book and see how much each character has changed since the very beginning and, holy cow, my babies have grown up so much.

Me caring for the Blackthorns as if they were my own family

I’ve become so connected to the Blackthorns, I just want to wrap them all up in fuzzy blankets and keep them safe forever. I’ll miss them until The Wicked Powers trilogy books start to come out in 2022/2023 (YIKES that’s far away).

Emma had a serious run for her money as Queen of the Sarcasm. We had Magnus making more appearances in this book, Jace with his Herondale charm and wit, and Kieran with his faerie sass. However, Emma is keeping her crown thanks to the following lines:

“Suddenly there was the explosive thunder of hooves, and two horses, one gray and one brown, bursting into the clearing. A faerie rider sat astride each. “Is this Faerie Grand Central?” said Emma, leaning her forehead against the tree.”

“The pier is one of the first places that the hellbeasts staked out,” Cameron said, glancing into the backseat. “Who knew that demons liked amusement parks?” Emma cleared her throat. “Mad for funnel cakes?”

Honorable mention to Kit for this line that I actually laughed out loud at!

“That’s right,” said Kit. He waved from the next booth. “I forgot my weapons. But I do have this fork.” He wiggled it. “You are so forked,” he said to Barnabas.”

This book was long. SO long, 912 pages to be exact. I think this is the longest book I’ve ever read. The length and the plot are what kept this from being a 5 paw read for me. It was just. so. slow. at the beginning of the book! It took me until about halfway to actually get invested in what was going on and this just made the book feel even longer. But once things got going, boy did they really take off. The second half almost made up for the limited action and drama in the beginning. The different paths of each character converged in a huge battle, where Cassie’s writing really shines the best.

I honestly cannot believe that this is only a trilogy. At the end of this book, the world of Shadowhunters and Downworlders is at a time of major changes and shifts in power. And there it will stay for the next 3-4 years until we get to revisit it again. The fifth Shadowhunters series, The Wicked Powers, will be focusing on Kit and Ty. However, we still have Cassie’s upcoming Shadowhunters trilogy, The Last Hours, to read before TWP. I’m super excited for TLH because, well, Will Herondale, but I’m eagerly anticipating the time when I can rejoin the Blackthorns, Emma, Jace, Clary, Magnus and Alec again.

Another great book, another piece of my heart stolen by a Shadowhunter family.

Let me know in the comments below whether you’ve read any books in this series and which one was your favorite!

September TBR!

1. 10 Blind Dates by Ashley Elston (ARC)

I won this ARC through a Goodreads Giveaway a while back! The release date is coming up (October 1st) and this sounds like a super cute read so I wanted to get to it before its release.

2. The Fate of Ten by Pittacus Lore –Lorien Legacies #6 (Audiobook)

I’ve been working on this series on audiobook for a few months now and I’m so excited to be getting towards the end; I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen!

3. United as One by Pittacus Lore –Lorien Legacies #7 (Audiobook)

This is the last book of the series, see above!

4. Unspoken by Celia McMahon (ARC)

Celia and Parliament Press were kind enough to send me an e-ARC of this book and I’m so excited to read it! It comes out this month, on the 17th, so be sure to look out for it!

5. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

I’m going to admit something that may be pretty shocking…I’ve never read a Leigh Bardugo book. I know, I know, I’m a failure as a YA reader. I feel like I’ve missed out on so much by not reading her books so I can’t wait to take my first step into the Grishaverse!

That’s my list for September! Have you read any of these books? What’s your TBR for September?

ARC Mini Reviews

First I want to say thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for these ARC reads!

Here are three mini *spoiler free* reviews on ARCs that I received in the last few weeks hope you enjoy!

Title: Mooncakes

Author: Suzanne Walker

Genre: Graphic Novel, Young Adult, Fantasy, LGBT

Release Date: October 15th, 2019

Rating: 5/5 paws

“A story of love and demons, family and witchcraft.” -Goodreads description

Mooncakes is a beautiful graphic novel about magic, love, family and friendships. We follow our Chinese-American main characters, Nova and Tam, as they set out to save their town. This was such a fun and cute read! I loved the characters and the artwork is gorgeous. The scenery reminded me so much of home and my falls spent growing up in New England! This book covers so many diverse topics from queer, hard-of-hearing witches to non-binary werewolves.

This was so heartwarming and sweet; I have ALL the feels! Mooncakes is the perfect read to get you into the fall mood!

Title: Michigan vs. The Boys

Author: Carrie S. Allen

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Sports

Release Date: October 1st, 2019

Rating: 4/5 paws

When a determined girl is confronted with the culture of toxic masculinity, it’s time to even the score. -Goodreads description

Trigger Warning: Abuse, Drinking, Drugs

Michigan vs. The Boys follows the story of Michigan Manning as she tries to make it on the boys’ hockey team after budget cuts lead to the end of her own girls’ team. She quickly learns that the boys are not all that inviting as she endures pranks and hazing from her new teammates. She now must decide if speaking up is worth risking her dream.

This book was so much different than the typical YA, sports contemporaries that I read. This wasn’t a feel-good, romance-powered book. Instead, it covered real-life issues and centered around female empowerment. Michigan is a strong female character and there are many instances included in the novel where we see females supporting other females. I felt really connected to Michigan, and found myself rooting for her from the very beginning of the story. While this book isn’t a light-hearted read, it addresses real, societal problems that women are currently battling. Michigan vs. The Boys opens up the important discussion of sexism in our world today and I hope that anyone who has felt the way Michigan did can read this book and feel understood.

Title: Cupid’s Match

Author: Lauren Palphreyman

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance

Release Date: October 1st, 2019

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

He’s mythologically hot, a little bit wicked, and almost 100% immortal. And he’ll hit you right in the heart . . . ” -Goodreads description

What would happen if Cupid ran his own matchmaking business that accidentally matched himself with a normal, teenaged girl? Well, Lila Black is about to find out.

I found that this book was a quick, fun and entertaining read! I really enjoyed the descriptions of the scenery; I always love it when I feel like I can vividly picture the setting the author is trying to create. However, the pace was a bit fast and it took a while for me to connect with the characters. I love mythology so I wish that we got to see some more of that! It was included towards the end, but I would have liked to see it mixed in more from the beginning.

That’s it for now! Which of these books are you most looking forward to? What other upcoming books are you looking forward to this year?

Have a Paw-some Day!

Book Review: Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

**spoiler free**

Title: Lord of Shadows (The Dark Artifices #2)

Author: Cassandra Clare Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance

Rating: 5/5 paws

Synopsis: Lord of Shadows picks up where Lady Midnight left off. The Blackthorns and Emma Carstairs continue to attempt to navigate the Cold War between the Nephilim and the Faerie as they fight to keep their family together. Meanwhile, an extremist group of Shadowhunters, deemed the Cohort, are rising in power with their agenda to force all Downworlders to be registered so that they be more easily tracked. Tensions are high, and the price of power is even higher in this sequel novel in The Dark Artifices trilogy.

“Do you know why I’m sure? Because when this universe was born, when it blasted into existence in fire and glory, everything that would ever exist was created. Our souls are mad of that fire and glory, of the atoms of it, the fragments of stars. Everyone’s are, but I believe ours, yours and mine, are made from the dust of the same star. That’s why we’ve always been drawn to each other like magnets, all our lives. All the pieces of us belong together.” 

Another Cassandra Clare book that I loved! Will you ever get tired of reading reviews where all I do is praise her? Will I ever get tired of writing them? Let’s hope not because that’s all that we’re going to get when it comes to her books. If she ever writes a book that I don’t like, that will be the first sign of a true apocalypse.

This book was amazing; it made me happy, sad, frustrated, devastated, amused and everything else in between.

I’ll be the first to admit that I can be pretty stone-cold sometimes. I’m not one to be super emotional; I think I can count on one hand the number of books that have made me cry. And this book was one of them.

I’m in need of a hedgehug.

My emotions were ALL over the place with this book and I think that’s really because of how Cassandra Clare writes her characters. She makes you want to root for her protagonists, and hate her villains. They feel something, and that creates an immediate and genuine reaction in you. I think this is definitely emphasized by the fact that this is the second book in The Dark Artifices trilogy and I have now spent over 1300 pages with these characters but I still want more of them.

I cannot possibly go into detail about every character that I love without making this a book itself so I’m going to stick with the little segment I did in my Lady Midnight review and give you some of my favorite quotes from my sarcastic queen, Emma Carstairs.

“You’re my mother’s sister?” he said incredulously. “I think they call that your aunt,” said Emma.

“Why are you on the floor?” “I’ve heard rolling out of bed in the morning helps you build up resistance to surprise attacks,” Emma said, lying sprawled on the hardwood.

“We seek,” said Fal. “And we find. We are the searchers…In all our lives there has only been one thing we have sought and not found.” “A sense of humor?” Emma suggested.

I love how there are so many different storylines included that all converged at the end. The formatting of the plot kind of reminded me of season three of Stranger Things, with each separate group having their own missions throughout the season but then all coming together at the end to fight the big battle. There are so many different dynamics created by Cassandra Clare and the characters she decides to group together in different situation but my favorite had to be Kit, Livvy and Ty. The younger siblings were begging to contribute in the first novel and in this one we finally see everything they have to offer as they earn responsibility and trust from their older counterparts. The pacing of the plot is literally to die for. It’s all action, adventure and fighting and then there are these short periods where you feel content and like you can just breathe for a minute and not worry too much and then BAM! you get hit with more drama and I was just constantly on my toes which I love in a book.

The only thing I didn’t love about the plot was that we got left with a cliff hanger at the end of the first book that took sooooo long to be addressed in this book. We didn’t hear it anything about it mentioned until page 276. Talk about a tease.

After Lady Midnight I was ready to jump right into Lord of Shadows, but after this one…I think I need a little more time to wrap my head around everything that just went down. So I’ll probably pick it up in about 20 minutes lol.

Have a paw-some day!

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