So, I ACTUALLY DID IT. I ACTUALLY FINISHED EVERYTHING IN MY HOLIDAY READING HAUL. via GIPHY Trust me, no one is more surprised tha...

Holiday Reading Haul: The Reviews

So, I ACTUALLY DID IT. I ACTUALLY FINISHED EVERYTHING IN MY HOLIDAY READING HAUL.


Trust me, no one is more surprised than I am. :p To be fair, I did scan much of A List of Cages and Girls Like Me, and my internet was out for three days during the last week of break, so reading was one of the only things I could do, but STILL. I actually finished all 10 books (including The Girl from Everywhere) in a little less than 3 weeks. I haven’t done that since… probably around 2015, so it really feels like an accomplishment.

Anyways, the part you’ve all been waiting for… THE REVIEWS


Book covers link to Amazon. 😊


It… was… so good. So good that I just want to own my own copy someday, so I can revisit its magic and wonder whenever I want. The plot was delightfully fun, yet simultaneously exciting and with many spices of suspense. The characters were fantastic all the way through, and it was so fascinating how I got to really know every one of them: the prideful prince, the evil aunt, the opposing king, even the poor princess, none of them were what they seemed at the beginning. There was always more to each and the process of getting to dig in and discover who they actually were, it was so eye-opening about the nature of humanity in general. And then there was the writing! Utterly royal but with lovely bits of wit that had me giggling out loud. In the entire story, I found only one thing lacking towards the end, but it is a spoiler and it didn’t ruin my enjoyment of the whole thing. As far as content, there was one curse word and a couple of suggestive references, but there were not in a positive light. The main character was actually appalled at them, which I thought was really good.

Overall, it was a lovely, light read, but with plenty of wonder and wisdom all the same.
Rating: 5 stars out of 5


My favorite parts about this book were the writing (which was splendid!) and the suspense (which was powerful). I did figure out some of the mystery before it was revealed, but there were still so many pieces that had way more questions than answers, and I couldn’t put all of it together until it was spelled out at the end. Much of it surprised me, and, really, that isn’t the most common occurrence when it comes to me and mysteries. I read too much Nancy Drew in my pre-teens. :p

Anyways, as for the rest of it… I get that Piper was going through a lot and that that clouded her judgment, but she spent half the book making bad decisions that could’ve literally gotten her killed. I have a lot of trouble reading that, and the older a character is (Piper was 18), the less slack I’ll cut them for repeatedly making the same poor choice. The book also dealt with a lot more dirt and corruption and tragedy than I expected (though that might’ve been my fault for not paying attention), and though it was written with the utmost taste and tact, if you know what’s suggested, you know what’s suggested. All-in-all, I think it was a gripping and well-written mystery, just not what I expected and not quite my cup of tea.
Rating: 3 stars out of 5.


This was such a charming read, as amusing and clever as it was action-packed and exciting. I loved the descriptions, so colorful, vivid, full of this unique personality that completely encompassed the place and the people. It was absolutely lovely, and I adored every minute.

ALTHOUGH, since I talked about Piper’s choices, I have to talk about theirs: the oldest of these kids is 12 and the youngest is 8 (I think), so I’m cutting them more slack, but they desperately need to wisen up and use their brains, otherwise they are likely to tumble off a cliff or get eaten by a toothy cow long before the Fangs come anywhere near them.
Rating: 5 stars out of 5


The Nest is amazing in every way: intense and scary and raw and resonant and absolutely heart-racing at the climax. The whole time, there’s this impossible line between dream and reality—but you have no idea which side you’re on. Even as it ends, there’s still this blurried feel to it, like it should’ve been a dream, but it’s just a tad too real, too vivid, to be classified with things that don’t exist.

Also, it’s far less about mental illness than I expected; I’d heard so much about how well it represented and what a great portrayal of OCD it was, but it’s really not about OCD at all. Not to say that it doesn’t portray it well or that people who championed it were wrong, only that that’s not what the story is about. It’s about humans and the impossibility of perfection for anyone, those with and without mental illness. It’s about courage and strength and sacrifice and family. It’s about the lie of normalcy and the power of unconditional love. It’s not just about OCD. It’s about all of us.
Rating: 5 stars out of 5


This one is so sweet! It has this perfect storytelling feel to the writing, like you’re curled up by the fire on a snowy winter night, a cozy quilt over you and hot cocoa in your hands, and someone you love is sitting across from you, telling you a chilling and epic bedtime story. The three tales intertwine in such an interesting way, and the whole novel is just darling: creative and exciting and suspenseful, but in a much gentler way. It’s the perfect clean YA read: no craziness, no cursing, just sweet romance with much teenage innocence and… well, a fair amount of teenage idiocy, but there are only two lines I can think of that even breach inappropriateness. It’s the perfect sweet little read if you want to ease back into a world of fairy tales and romances, swords and wizards, heroes, heroines, and happily ever afters.
Rating: 4 ½ stars out of 5


Though it had its exciting moments and the writing was so hauntingly gorgeous, perfect for the ship-and-island setting, the book as a whole wasn’t a favorite for me. I didn’t love many of the characters and since all of Nixie’s stakes were guesswork (no one knew what would happen if her father found the map), her stakes didn’t feel very real to me. I mean, it was understandable that she didn’t want any risk of losing everything she had, but in my opinion, they had more evidence that nothing would go wrong at all than that anything would (especially considering the mythical creatures, and even people, they kept around). So, to me, her biggest issues seemed too questionable to carry the story, especially the conflict between her and her dad.

However, she and Kash have got to be my favorite romantic ship of this haul: sarcastic, witty best friends with a beautiful, meaningful foundation to their relationship. They could be who they were with each other, they did what they could to protect the other, and they cared about each other in all of the sweetest ways.
Rating: 3 stars out of 5.
Content Warning: cursing sprinkled throughout.


I had mixed feelings about this one. It was powerful, riveting, heart-stabbing, all those emotional things I thought it would be, and I loved that Julian and Adam’s friends grew up and stepped up when it counted (they were pretty immature at the beginning). But. The start was hard for me to get through. There was a lot of extra stuff, from R-rated words to various sexual references, so much so that I almost DNFed and eventually started scanning, so I could just find out how it ended.

In the end, it was breathtaking, poignant, all the emotional beauties I thought it would hold—but the other stuff did nearly spoil it for me. If you can get past a bowlful of four-letter words in the first few chapters, some random and kinda gross references, and a dash of teenage immaturity, you probably will love the rest of the story. But for me, as much as I loved the emotions and the power of the journey, the bad parts made the good parts hard to appreciate.
Rating: 3 stars out of 5.


Sadly, this one too I scanned—and eventually DNFed—and for the same reasons as A List of Cages. There was less cursing here and more sensual references, but since those actually bother me more and I wasn’t enjoying the rest of it, I just didn’t see a reason to continue. I’m including it in these reviews because I read enough to understand the gist of the story… and even without the extra stuff, it didn’t feel like my style. It had quite a few tropes (overweight girl with hot guy, supposedly evil step mom, etc) and it was written in poetry that just felt overdramatic to me. So, if you like those tropes and you don’t mind poetry (or the other stuff), this one might be for you. But I’m always looking for something that strikes me as new: the situation, the writing style, a single character, anything really. I just want some dash of something that makes an old story feel fresh. Unfortunately, nothing in Girls Like Me stood out, and the poetry felt like it was trying too hard to resonate. In the end, I wasn’t a fan.
Rating: 2 stars out of 5.


This book… it’s hard to even explain what I felt because I went through the entire gamut of emotions while reading: from euphoria to heartbreak, from excitement to horror, from anger to delight to agony … EVERYTHING is somewhere in this book. It starts out very fantasy dangerous, but still with that glow of lightheartedness over it all—then everything just nosedives into absolute shadow. Crap goes down and things get dark. Fast.

But as the ending unfolds, light starts to creep in, and as the story finished, all I could think was that it was the darkest kind of beautiful and so much more than I thought it was going to be. There was beauty and agony, wounds and recovery, wrongs and redemption; the lovely little adventure took an intense turn for the worse, but themes of salvation and mercy, the responsibility of family and the power of unconditional love, they still reigned over it all. While I would be careful about recommending the series to younger, more sensitive children, in my opinion, the ending (so far, since there's two more books in the series) was worth the experience.

I also understand Faith’s “Florid Sword” username now, so that’s pretty cool. 😉
Rating: 5 stars out of 5


It was epic and heart-rending and achingly human. One of those where, as I neared the end, I felt myself not wanting to take the final step. Not wanting to know what would actually happen, fearing the worse, terrified to wish for the best… it was a tantalizingly torturous feeling that only a few books I’ve read have truly pulled off.

But I did finish. And it was worth it. The ending swept me away so completely, I didn’t even know what to do with my life when I finished. And it wasn’t necessarily that the book was so enjoyable, because some parts were way too hard to be called that, but that it was so deep and thought-provoking and strangely beautiful. There was so much horror and evil and darkness, but then! There was light and goodness and love and right winning out in the end. Honestly, it was one of the sweetest, most incredible things I’d ever read. After all they had been through, such hope came out at the end. In my opinion, it was the perfect happy ending.
Rating: 4 ½ stars out of 5
Content: fair amount of language, a few graphic descriptions of violence.

***
And that… is probably the most mini reviews I have ever done at once. Hope you all enjoyed! Have you guys read any of these? What did you think of them? Agree with my opinions, disagree? I’d love to have a conversation with you, and I will see you in the comment section!




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10 comments:

  1. I’m so glad you loved the Wingfeather Saga! That’s one of my favorite series (you can’t tell, right?) and the Florid Sword is one of my favorite fictional characters of all time. Really. XD

    Sounds like you had a pretty sweet book haul! I really need to read Princess Ben.

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    1. No, I hadn't noticed! lol. He seems pretty cool so far! I haven't gotten to the other books yet, but I hope to eventually!

      It was good overall. :) YES, YES YOU DO!

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  2. Oh, some of these I am definitely adding to my to be read list! Thanks for the post. :D

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    1. No problem! Hope you enjoy reading them, and let me know when you do! :D

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  3. I was so intrigued by Between the Lines that I added it to my TBR.

    You're a pretty fast reader. I honestly even you xD

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    1. Awesome! And haha, thank you! I'm fast when I don't have school, lol. During school, I read like a turtle moving through honey-soaked molasses.

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  4. You've been one busy reader! Thanks for adding to my reading list. I always appreciate help like that.

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    1. Yup! Winter break for the win! And no problem; hope you enjoy them! :D

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  5. THE END OF WAYFARER LIKE THE WHOLE BOOK LIKE <3 <3 <3 <3 It was so so good! I stayed up so late finishing it.
    And Prnicess Ben sounds amazing! *looks up on goodreads* *adds to TBR* . I've heard a lot about list of CCages, but it doesn't interest me somehow? I don't know. We own The Girl From Everywhere, so I really should read it. It sounds like a cool concept at least. I liked reading this, thanks for sharing!

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    1. I KNOWWWWW <3 <3 <3 It was so amazingly good!!!!!

      Princess Ben is the bomb dot com! I loved it so much!!! About ALoC, that's fair; like I said, it has enough issues that I'd be careful about recommending anyway. And lol, I had owned The Girl From Everywhere for a while too before I read it. :p And it is a cool idea! The characters just didn't resonate well with me.

      No problem! Glad you enjoyed, and hope that you'll like the books just as much! :D

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