Review | Queen of Nothing (The Folk of the Air #3) by Holly Black

“Mock me all you like. Whatever I imagined then, now it is I who would beg and grovel for a kind word from your lips.” His eyes are black with desire. “By you, I am forever undone.” 4.25/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: exiled queens, serpents, dry blood, identical twins, buried feelings, tilted crowns, black eyes, bargains, politics, war, curses and word games.

I can’t believe this series is over, I had such a great time reading this!

One of my favorite things about this series is how words are so important in all instances. Since fairies can’t lie, they have to word what they say very carefully if they want to be deceptive. You can’t just assume what the characters are saying, because they can be misleading and you’ll only find out later, which was something I really loved. It definitely made me think of the power of words and how they can be used to manipulate and/or avoid the truth.

The word games were pretty cool, but there was so much I liked about this series. Jude was an amazing, strong female character, and one of my favorite heroines of all time. I also really liked the darkness of the series and the dark romance. I have to admit I was very shocked with how the last book ended because of the huge betrayal, but when I discovered what really happened, it made me love Cardan even more. The story was always very interesting, it had a great pace and I was always looking forward to what would happen next.

The conclusion for the series was really good in my opinion. I know a novella will be out in November, and I’m here for it! If all of Holly Black’s books have the same quality as this series, I really need to pick all of them up.

xoxo, Neide

Review | Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

“Alice asked the Cheshire Cat, who was sitting in a tree,
“What road do I take?”
The cat asked, “Where do you want to go?”
“I don’t know,” Alice answered.
“Then,” said the cat, “it really doesn’t matter, does it?”
5/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: lizards with ladders, rabbit holes, flamingos, soldier cards, painted roses, caterpillars smoking, teacups, pigs dressed as babies, mushrooms, poems and songs, smiling cats, mock turtles, croquet, size changes, crazy hats and a lot of nonsense.

Alice in Wonderland is one of those books I’ve always wanted to read. And now that I’m trying to read more classics, I thought this would be the perfect time to pick it up. I was lucky enough to buy a copy that had the original illustrations from John Tenniel – the illustrator that worked with the author – and a small biography of Lewis Carroll. This way I was able to understand a small part of what his life was like and what was his source of inspiration, which was a little girl named Alice Liddell who he liked to tell stories.

But let’s talk about the book itself. How to describe Alice in Wonderland? In a nutshell: this book is the definition of childhood, nonsense and craziness. I can confidently say that I’ve never read a book like this, and I completely understand why it became so popular between people of all ages, and a classic. I thought it would be somewhat difficult to read because it was first published in 1865, but I was wrong. It’s an easy book to read and I finished it quickly, while having fun.

The only Alice in Wonderland story I knew before was the Disney adaptation from 1951, which is one of my favorite Disney movies of all time and it holds a very special place in my heart. So of course, it’s normal I made some comparisons while I was reading this. The stories are very similar, but I think the book is even crazier. I loved to read about all the characters I knew – and some that I had never heard about – and to learn the poems and songs that are dear to so many people. I was only sad that there was no mention of Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum because they are two of my favorite characters, but apparently they are mentioned in the sequel, Through the Looking-Glass.

I highly encourage you to read this book, no matter how old you are. It is a beautiful story that reminds you of what was like to be a child. When you are a kid, nothing really matters and nothing is taken seriously, as it should be. I’m very happy to finally read this, it’s a remarkable piece of art.

xoxo, Neide

Review | The Betrothed (The Betrothed #1) by Kiera Cass

“In the end, we made enemies with our heads, but we unmade them with our hearts.” 3.25/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: forged swords, beautiful jewelry, visitors, flower crowns, golden dresses, fires, bad friendships, deep blue eyes, citrines, miscarriages, traditions and cryptic letters.

I really, really wanted to love this, but I was somewhat disappointed. I’m having trouble writing this review because I have mixed feelings about this book.

On the one side, this is a very typical Kiera Cass book in the sense that you have monarchs and beautiful gowns, and all these feminine elements that I will always love.

But for the other side, the pacing in the book is really weird. Nothing happens in the first half of the book, and then everything – and I mean EVERYTHING – happens in the last third of the book. So fortunately the story becomes more interesting with time, but when it reaches that one point, it all happens very fast.

The main character is very sweet and a good person, but she’s not necessarily a strong heroine in my opinion. I also found her relationship with her best friend very weird. Delia Grace is supposably her best friend, but she only cares about herself and she wants to climb up the social ladder, even if it means she has to step on Hollis to get what she wants. Unfortunately, Hollis is too much of a good person to understand that, but I’m hoping she’ll understand who her true friends are in the sequels.How to describe the romance in this book? Well, the romance was… short. And I knew something would happen because I spotted three possible love interests right away. I didn’t think something would happen in this book to eliminate one of the love interests, but I was wrong. I can’t say too much about this, you should pick it up and see it for yourself! I know a lot of people are comparing this new series to The Selection, but I didn’t think the stories were similar whatsoever… but like I said, you should read it for yourself to take your own conclusions and have your own opinions. I don’t think this is her best work, but it’s not that bad either. At this point I’m interested to know what will happen next and I’ll definitely continue the series.

xoxo, Neide

Review | The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air #2) by Holly Black

He looks up at me with his night-colored eyes, beautiful and terrible all at once. ‘For a moment,’ he says, ‘I wondered if it wasn’t you shooting bolts at me.’
I make a face at him. “And what made you decide it wasn’t?”
He grins up at me. ‘They missed.’”
4.5/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: betrayals, fake queens, missed arrows, raw fish, arranged weddings, maskerades, hambushes, drop shaped earrings, bargains, poisons and good word choices.

Wow, I’m really loving this series! In the first book, there was a major plot twist at the end and I immediately knew I had to pick the next book ASAP. I wasn’t disappointed when I finished the second book, because it was even better than the first book. I’m really enjoying this series because there is always something happening and is always difficult to put the books down. I’m loving the dark romance, the book’s fae theme, the strong female character, the twists and turns… It’s just amazing.

In this book we discover who “already betrayed” Jude, and I have to say… I was shocked. I didn’t expect the traitor to be who it was, but it definitely made the story more interesting. Still, I think the best part of the book for me was definitely the ending! My jaw dropped when I read those paragraphs, I just couldn’t believe what was happening! I would never see that coming in a million years. I wasn’t even angry… I was just shocked.

I’ve already started the third and last book of this series – because, you know, I had to know what happened after that ending – and I’m loving it. I honestly don’t want this series to be over!

xoxo, Neide

Review | Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

“I’d done the right thing. I always did. It just would have been nice if someone had noticed.” 4.25/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: lollipops, pizza slices, wheelchairs, newspapers, studio time, altered clocks, thrift stores, carousels, creepy “friends” and saints for every possible situation.

Another great Sarah Dessen book. What took me by surprise though was the fact that this was not as sumery as her other books. Surprisingly there were no beaches, lakes or rivers involved. The setting was in Lakeview, but there were no aquatic activities and the kids were in school, so I guess it wasn’t exactly summer. It didn’t bother me because what I like about her books – and you can see it in this book too – is that she writes stories that make you forget about the real world. Her books are so atmospheric that you get immersed in the story and forget all the rest. In this book in particular, I swear at some points I smelled the pizza they were eating – and yes, I got hungry a few times, but can you blame me?

Not only that, but she is really good at triggering her readers’ emotions. The entire book is an emotional rollercoaster! I laughed, I cried, I got scared, I got frustrated, I got angry, and the list goes on. I felt so bad for the main character Sydney and how her parents kept neglecting her and how they treated her near the end. I swear I could feel her pain and frustration for the way she was being treated, all because of her brother’s past actions.

Sarah also writes really good friendships and interesting friends, which I also appreciate. I loved the family that Sydney got close to, who was like a second family to her and was there for her when her parents weren’t. Speaking of characters, Ames really annoyed me. I felt so scared for Sydney when her parents invited him to stay in their house alone with her TWICE. That’s crazy! I would also be scared if I was in her position… he was a creep!

I liked this book because it felt like a complete story. You get a dose of romance, hard hitting moments, a very real and deep backstory and a great setting/atmosphere. Not my favorite book from her, but it’s still a very solid book in my opinion.

xoxo, Neide

Review | The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen

“There is always the rest of the story, right? Even if you don’t know right now what it is.” 5/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: sailing, docks, teeth gaps, birth classes, obituaries, club proms, honeymoons, motel rooms, kangaroos, driving lessons, old photographs, home renovation shows, five sentences, ladder buddies, butter and toast, sparklers, storms and walkie talkies.

I didn’t know how much I needed to read a complex, complete novel like this. This was so good! I read a lot of summer books, but it’s difficult to find an amazing one between the thousandths on the market… and to me, this is a great example of a perfect summer book.

It may look like your average summer read, but don’t be fooled! The story is full of details and the characters have depth, and there is an actual meaning and lesson. This is a coming of age story about a girl finding out who she really is by knowing the story of her mother who died when she was little. She lived with her dad her entire life, but she never knew much about her mother’s life and family. Well, at least until she spent a few weeks with her mother’s family during the summer while her father was away. And then she started to understand where she came from and her mother’s story.

The setting was one of my favorite things about this book. The entire book screamed summer and I loved how atmospheric the book was. I was immersed in the story the entire time and I felt like I was there with the family too. There were so many moments where my emotions were triggered because I felt like laughing, crying and sometimes I even got scared. Looking back to other summer books I’ve read before, I see that they can have summery and cutesy elements… but this book is not even in the same league. 

What I also liked so much about this book is that you know it’s a book that took some time to write. You can see the details and effort put in this book through the pages, and that is what makes it so awesome to me. 

I loved everything about this book. I loved the characters – especially Trinity, who may not be very likeable for some people but I loved her -, the details of the story, the writing is perfect, there’s a cute romance in there, there’s a lake… I mean, it’s a perfect summer book.

I think the cherry on top of the cake would be if the book ended with Trinity giving birth and the sergeant coming back, but I’m not mad with the way it ended. 

Take some notes writers, this is how you write an amazing summer book! I need to get my hands on all Sarah Dessen books, ASAP.

xoxo, Neide

Review | Carrie by Stephen King

Carrie, Stephen King - 11x17

“High school isn’t a very important place. When you’re going you think it’s a big deal, but when it’s over nobody really thinks it was great unless they’re beered up.” 4/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: telekinesis, pigs, prom dresses, closets, crucifixes, fires, explosions, sewing machines, sharp knives, bibles, rain of rocks and a lot of blood.

I haven’t read a lot of Stephen King’s books, but from what I saw I think he is one of those authors that either makes really good books or terrible books. I read Elevation and gave it one star – and trust me, it takes a lot for me to rate a book with one star -, and now I read Carrie and I actually thought it was really good. I was curious to read the book because I saw the most recent movie adaptation with Chloë Moretz and I thought the concept was interesting. Also, I want to read more classics and cult favorites so I thought this would be a great starting point.

I thought the book and movie versions had some noticeable differences, even though the main scenes were very similar. I’m not sure, but I think in the movie version her mother died in a different way… but I can’t remember for sure, to be honest. One thing I really liked about the book was how the author incorporated news and interviews that occurred after what happened, while he told Carrie’s story. The story is so heartbreaking and I felt so bad for Carrie, I just wanted to give the poor girl a hug and be her friend. The bullying was terrible and too much for anyone to handle, especially in that shower scene.

I also love that the book has a deeper meaning. You can sense the strong feeling of wanting to belong and to fit in with peers. And that comes not only from our main character Carrie, but also from her colleagues.

If you don’t like blood or if it makes you uncomfortable, this is not the book for you! This is more of a gore-horror kind of book, so be aware that there is a lot of blood in a lot of scenes. 

Oh, and did I mention I read it in one sitting? I have to give another opportunity to Stephen King.

xoxo, Neide

Review | The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1) by Holly Black

“If I cannot be better than them, I will become so much worse.” 5/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: pointy ears, fake human money, swordplay, salt, leather sandals, enchantments, fairy fruit, poisons, fox eyes, twin sisters, secret passages, golden acorns, masks, royalty rings and a lot of spilled blood.

What a rollercoaster of emotions… I’m very impressed. I’m just glad the entire trilogy is already available, because I don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t continue this series right away. I knew this was a fairy book and I never read anything like this before, so I admit I was a little skeptical to pick this up. Well, surprise surprise… I actually enjoyed it a lot.

The cool thing about this book is that even though it’s a literal “fairy tale”, it has a darker approach. Sure, you have fairies here, but don’t expect fairies like Tinkerbell. Oh no. These fairies are not delicate little creatures. They are human-like creatures – well, for the most part -, and they have kingdoms and power, and they REALLY like violence.

The story is about a girl that lived with her parents, her twin sister and her big sister. But one day, a weird looking man comes to their door, kills their parents and takes the girls to where he lives: the fairy world. So the story follows one of the twins ten years later and her daily life. She goes to school like the other magical kids, but her and her twin sister are constantly bullied for being human. All she wants is to be accepted and to feel like she belongs there too, just like the others. Until one day she had enough and she defies the prince, who also believes she does not belong there. Of course that brings a lot of bad consequences for her and her twin sister, but she tries her best to retaliate and prove to the others that she deserves to live there just like them.

I honestly think if you decide to go into this book, you shouldn’t know more than this because of how much the story progresses and changes. 

When the story began, I thought it would be about the older sister because she’s the magical one of the trio and the only reason for why they left the human world. So I was surprised to see that the story actually followed one of the twins instead of the big sister, but it was a good surprise. I really liked Jude and how strong she was. I liked how she always kept her dignity and fought back, and how she stood up to her bullies. I can’t say the same thing about her twin sister Taryn, though. The twins were very different from each other, and even though I know it’s normal that twins have different personalities, I thought they would have a stronger bond with each other. There was a lot of miscommunication between them and unfortunately that brought them a lot of problems to their relationship.

Sometimes I can understand easily why some books have very mixed reviews, but I honestly don’t understand the dispersed review in this one. I think the main reason is because of how the fairies are represented, since it’s not a traditional view. And to top that, it’s not a “rainbows and butterflies” kind of story but more of a dark, violent one. Other than that, I don’t understand the mixed reviews.I’m a sucker for dark stories, and this is a great one. I usually stick to dark contemporaries and I never tried something like this before, but I’m glad I gave it a shot. My first fae book has a five star rating… who would have thought? I know a novella is coming out this Fall – which I believe is the last published work in this series – and I’m very excited for it. Until then, I’m definitely continuing the series!

xoxo, Neide

Review | Educated by Tara Westover

“My life was narrated for me by others. Their voices were forceful, emphatic, absolute. It had never occurred to me that my voice might be as strong as theirs.” 4/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: Mormonism, rolled up sleeves, birth certificates, roommates, ballet slippers, heads in toilets, car accidents, mountains, newborn babies, exams, herbs, baby deliveries, a good education and a lot of physical abuse.

Where do I even start with this book? This was a very hard book to rate. To be honest I’m still not sure about how I feel after reading it, but I’m still going to share some of my thoughts anyways.

First of all, I think she is clearly a very strong, inspiring person. I honestly can’t even imagine what it was like to be on her shoes not only growing up, but also knowing that her family situation didn’t change even after she left the house. I’m very impressed that she was able to go to college and get really good grades in most subjects! The fact that she got so far with her education knowing that she never went to school, didn’t have her family’s support and didn’t know a lot of simple things that for most of us is common knowledge, sounds so crazy to me! The sad part is that I think she probably still doesn’t know a lot of simple/common things to this day, but my hope is that she is keeping her efforts to learn new things and improve herself. I’m very glad she decided to write a book about her life.

At some points in the book I got really frustrated. I honestly felt her pain and I felt tired for her. I can’t even imagine what it’s like to have to deal with such a dysfunctional, irrational family that controls your life and brainwashes you by using religion as an excuse. My family is not perfect by far, but this was another level of crazy. I hated her brother. Like, true hatred. Well, to be fair I also didn’t like her dad, but at least he didn’t abuse her and her siblings physically like her brother did. But what bothered me the most was how she kept giving excuses for her brother’s behaviour and she tried to laugh it off in public so that people wouldn’t understand what was really going on. Not only that, but she kept on “accepting” the abuse and being controlled by her dad and brother. I just hated how in one second they were good to her and then the next second treated her like garbage and called her names. Well, don’t even get me started on name calling… what her brother called her really disgusted me. Especially when she found out that one of the words had a very powerful meaning. And I know they probably have mental issues and I know she didn’t know/couldn’t do any better at that time, but it still broke my heart and I wish I was there to defend her when nobody else did. Which is a great segway to introduce the other amazing family member: the mom. I have to admit, the mother was one of the family members that confused me the most. You would think that a mother would defend her child no matter what… but she just watched and did nothing. Sometimes she was on Tara’s side and the next minute she was on her husband’s side, agreeing with whatever he said about Tara. I just… ugh, I was so frustrated that everyone around her was such a bad influence. Fortunately for her, she had a great brother that helped her and encouraged her to study and tell her that there was a world outside of the mountains. Tyler was the ultimate MVP – and probably the only other sane person in that family…. just saying.

I also wonder how her family reacted when she told them she decided to write a book about her life. Because she basically put her family members – especially her dad and brother – on blast, and I would love to know what happened next and what were their thoughts since the book became so popular.

One thing I like to add is that I wish she narrated her own book. Don’t get me wrong, the narrator did a great job telling her story, but since this is such a personal book I think she should have narrated her herself. I know it would be even more powerful, without a doubt.

I completely understand why this book won a Goodreads award and I highly recommend it too. Damn… there really are some effed up families out there. Trigger warning for physical and mental abuse!

xoxo, Neide

Review | Say Yes Summer by Lindsey Roth Culli

“I’ve got a hot date tonight – I see the excitement flash across Nona’s face – with a book.” 3.5/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: crosswords, ice cream carts, self-help books, empty passports, borrowed hoodies, boat rides, difficult hikes, bungee jump rides and a lot of deflecting.

I have to admit, the cover did it again. A cover made me buy a book. I know, I know… I shouldn’t buy a book only by it’s cover. But I did it and I’m not ashamed of that. The cover is gorgeous, colorful and screams summer read! Fortunately for me, that’s exactly what I got: a cutesy YA summer read! 

And even though I liked the book, there were some things that I wasn’t a fan of. I think overall the pacing was great, but for me the ending felt rushed. I just wish there was a better way to wrap up the story, because it felt very unrealistic the way things turned out. But I think my main problem with this book was the main character, Rachel, and her behaviour dealing with the boys. In case you don’t know, there is a pretty solid love triangle in this book – that for a second made me wonder who she would end up with, and I liked that – and what really bothered me was how she decided to date both guys AT THE SAME TIME. I mean… come on girl. She was very childish and immature at some points, and her behaviour made her a not likeable character for me. The thing that makes me kind of conflicted is that other than those characteristics, I also saw myself in her in other ways. For example, I loved the Marie Kondo references throughout the book! “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” is one of my all time favorite self-development books and it was fun to see it being referenced in some chapters. She is an organizational freak like me, and I loved how she said that when she took tests she didn’t even think about possibly failing. She always did her best and that was her daily routine. Period.

But those weren’t the only things that made me relate to Rachel. What I really liked about this book is that even though it’s a summery, light read, it actually sends a powerful message. I was a “no” person for most of my life, and the last few years I’ve been trying to push my boundaries and trying new things because I felt like I wasn’t actually living. So, just like her, I started to say “yes” to opportunities and things that scared me. And to be completely honest, saying “yes” allowed me to have amazing experiences and memories that I will never forget nor regret. And well, this all sounds amazing and inspiring and all that, but the truth is that in reality there are some situations when you have to say “no”. And that was what really spoke to me in this book. I also tried to be a “yes” person just like Rachel, but I had to learn by myself that always saying “yes” is not always a good idea. You need to use your common sense and discover by yourself a healthy balance between what could be a “yes” and what is definitely a “no”. So yeah, I really appreciate the message of this book.

Like I said a million times by now: it’s a cute summer read with a good message. So if you’re looking for something to read at the beach – or indoors, because COVID-19 is still a thing -, this is a good option.

xoxo, Neide