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Saturday, May 23, 2015
First off, this post is a short one. I make no qualms about that. It's also a non-traditional post, and one I hope I never have the need to type again.

I'm not disappearing again! The reason there weren't any posts these past two days was I didn't schedule them ahead of time (they were saved as drafts only) and, if you follow me on twitter you might have heard this next part, that my wifi was down. Yes, it was horrible, and without it I was unable to schedule any posts for those two days. It'll be a bit hectic while I get everything back in order, so there may not be any posts for a few days, or there may be. It really depends.

Thank you, as always, for being so understanding.


Thursday, May 21, 2015
Awaken (Abandon, #3)
Meg Cabot
Publisher: Point
Release Date: July 2, 2013
Source: Publisher
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository
From #1 New York Times bestselling author Meg Cabot, the dark reimagining of the Persephone myth comes to a thrilling conclusion.
Death has her in his clutches. She doesn't want him to let her go. Seventeen-year-old Pierce Oliviera knew by accepting the love of John Hayden, she'd be forced to live forever in the one place she's always dreaded most: the Underworld. The sacrifice seemed worth it, though, because it meant she could be with the boy she loves.
But now her happiness—and safety—are threatened, all because of the Furies have discovered that John has broken one of their strictest rules: Never revive a human soul.
If the balance between life and death isn't fixed, both the Underworld and Pierce's home back on earth will be wiped away. But there's only one way to restore order. Someone has to die.

Awaken is without a doubt my favorite Meg Cabot book thus far, and a true jewel. I absolutely devoured it. From start to finish, it was a ride I was happy to be on. I simply couldn’t get enough of it. When I read the last page, I flipped back to the first. It was that amazing.

Pierce is my girl. I adore her. She’s strong and smart, and though she doesn’t always make the smartest decisions she does what she does for a reason and isn’t stupid about it. She’s a real person, and she makes real mistakes and has to fix them. But she also has a good heart, and though it’s gotten her in trouble, it’s also gotten her out of it, too.

John is one of the sexiest characters I’ve ever read about. and I have very much appreciation for that. But he’s more than a gorgeous face. He wants to do the right thing, but sometimes he needs help figuring out what that is. Moreover, he genuinely care about Pierce and he’s so, so sweet to her. I think I actually melted at some points in the book.

I love the way Meg handles the retelling of the Persephone myth. It’s not so much a retelling as a reimagining, and it’s done with absolutely beauty and a bit of humor. I love the way the story unfolds, and though there’s not a much retelling in this last book, what is there is gorgeous.

Pierce is a string heroine, and though she doesn’t always make the right decisions, she tries her best to. This book strongly deals with the consequences of her actions, and she’s strong enough to face up to them. She doesn’t shrink away, and in fact often tries to take more blame upon herself than is strictly necessary.

There’s also the secondary plot in this book, which is a really interesting one. Almost as interesting as the main plot. I liked watching Pierce and her friends fight for what was right.

The romance is tastefully written, and it’s sweet and intoxicating at the same time. Pierce and John are good together, and in some ways balance each other out. They really complement each other. Where Pierce is impulsive, John thinks things through more, and so forth. They’re so good together, and I loved watching them grow as a couple. The secondary romance was also so, so cute.

Meg’s writing has improved a lot since her earlier series, and that growth is apparent in this book. The descriptions could use some work, but the world-building is awesome. It’s set partially in a fantasy place in our world and partially in the Underworld, and Meg does an awesome job of differentiating the two.

This book ended on a perfect note. It’s absolutely beautiful. I love the way everything pulled together, neatly but not too neatly, if you catch my drift. It’s like everything happened for a reason so that everything could lead up to this perfect ending, and I loved every minute of it.

Awaken is one of my favorite ever books, and the absolute best Meg Cabot I’ve ever read. I seriously only have good things to say about it. Pierce and John are unforgettable characters, and I’ll probably think of them often. I definitely recommend this series to fans of romance, and fans of mythology. It’s a gorgeous retelling.


*****FINAL RATING: 4.65 RED ROSES*****
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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Hello and welcome to my edition of Waiting on Wednesdays hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine!

Winter (The Lunar Chronicles, #4)
Marissa Meyer
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Release Date: November 10, 2015

Princess Winter is admired by the Lunar people for her grace and kindness, and despite the scars that mar her face, her beauty is said to be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana.
Winter despises her stepmother, and knows Levana won’t approve of her feelings for her childhood friend–the handsome palace guard, Jacin. But Winter isn’t as weak as Levana believes her to be and she’s been undermining her stepmother’s wishes for years. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that’s been raging for far too long.
Can Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter defeat Levana and find their happily ever afters?

To be honest, I like this cover, but it isn't my favorite in the series (that would be Cress). It is pretty, though, if a bit different looking than the other covers. Now that I've got that out of the way, do I even have to say why I'm waiting on this one? It seems almost everyone is, and for good reason! I can't wait to see the surely spectacular conclusion this series draws to.


What are you waiting on this Wednesday?
Link me up! :)
Tuesday, May 19, 2015
Hi, everyone!

I thought every once in a while I should ask about you all. This blog is obviously very me, and I think in its rebirth I want to reflect that more. So, every once in a while I'll these posts for discussion, where I reflect on my reading, things that have been going on in my life, that kind of thing, and ask you to do the same.

For the first post, I haven't really thought about what to say, since this is a very new idea of mine. With school over, my life is relatively uneventful these days. I've definitely been reading. Currently, it's A Court of Thorns and Roses, and tis is probably blasphemy, but I can't seem to get into it. I wish that could, because everyone seems to adore it, but it's just not doing it for me, much as I like Tamlin.

That's all for today, I think. Just a short little post, to say hi.


Postscript: This post is also a secret giveaway (meaning I won't tell you what you can win, it's a surprise!). Just comment telling me what's going on in your life with your email to enter. You can also gain a bonus +3 entries by tweeting! It's honor system in regards to telling me you tweeted, but please don't abuse it.
Monday, May 18, 2015

Hello hello~ how are you today? Welcome to Magic Monday here on Sparkles and Lightning!

The Cage (The Cage, #1)
Megan Shepherd
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: May 26, 2015
Love wasn't just a combination of matching physical and personal criteria. It was something you couldn't put into words, just a certainty, a twist of fate, a spark.

So, as usual please read my giveaway rules before ending. And don't cheat. Seriously, if people keep cheating, I will discontinue Magic Mondays.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Sunday, May 17, 2015

Firewalker (The Worldwalker Trilogy, #2)
Josephine Angelini
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Release Date: September 1, 2015
Worlds divide, magic slays, and love lies in the second book of Josephine Angelini’s The Worldwalker Trilogy.
"You think I’m a monster, but my choices, as ruthless as they seem, are justified."
Lily is back in her own universe, and she's ready to start a new life with Rowan by her side. True, she almost died in the Pyre that fueled their escape from New Salem, and must hide her magic for the safety of everyone she cares about, but compared to fighting the Woven, the monstrous creatures inhabiting the alternate Salem, life is looking pretty good.
Unfortunately, Lillian, ruthless ruler of the 13 Cities, is not willing to let Lily go that easily. If she can’t persuade Lily to return to her world, she will force her to come back by doing away with the ones she loves.
Picking up right where Trial By Fire left off, Firewalker is another sexy, fast-paced, heartbreaking thrill ride from internationally bestselling author Josephine Angelini!

PREORDER FIREWALKER: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository

Ungodly (Goddess War, #3)
Kendare Blake
Publisher: Tor Teen
Release Date: September 22, 2015
As ancient immortals are left reeling, a modern Athena and Hermes search the world for answers in the final Goddess War novel by the acclaimed author of Anna Dressed in Blood
For the Goddess of Wisdom, what Athena didn’t know could fill a book. That’s what Ares said.
So she was wrong about some things. So the assault on Olympus left them beaten and scattered and possibly dead. So they have to fight the Fates themselves, who, it turns out, are the source of the gods’ illness. And sure, Athena is stuck in the underworld, holding the body of the only hero she has ever loved.
But Hermes is still topside, trying to power up Andie and Henry before he runs out of time and dies, or the Fates arrive to eat their faces.
And Cassandra is up there somewhere too. On a quest for death. With the god of death.
Just because things haven’t gone exactly according to plan, it doesn't mean they’ve lost. They’ve only mostly lost. And there’s a big difference.

A History of Glitter and Blood
Hannah Moscowitz
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Release Date: August 4, 2015
Sixteen-year-old Beckan and her friends are the only fairies brave enough to stay in Ferrum when war breaks out. Now there is tension between the immortal fairies, the subterranean gnomes, and the mysterious tightropers who arrived to liberate the fairies.
But when Beckan's clan is forced to venture into the gnome underworld to survive, they find themselves tentatively forming unlikely friendships and making sacrifices they couldn't have imagined. As danger mounts, Beckan finds herself caught between her loyalty to her friends, her desire for peace, and a love she never expected.

This stunning, lyrical fantasy is a powerful exploration of what makes a family, what justifies a war, and what it means to truly love.

PREORDER A HISTORY OF GLITTER AND BLOOD: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository

Saturday, May 16, 2015
Goddess (Starcrossed, #3)
Josephine Angelini
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: May 28, 2013
Source: Publisher
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository
After accidentally unleashing the gods from their captivity on Olympus, Helen must find a way to re-imprison them without starting a devastating war. But the gods are angry, and their thirst for blood already has a body count.
To make matters worse, the Oracle reveals that a diabolical Tyrant is lurking among them, which drives a wedge between the once-solid group of friends. As the gods use the Scions against one another, Lucas’s life hangs in the balance. Still unsure whether she loves him or Orion, Helen is forced to make a terrifying decision, for war is coming to her shores.
In Josephine Angelini’s compelling conclusion to the masterfully woven Starcrossed trilogy, a goddess must rise above it all to change a destiny that’s been written in the stars. With worlds built just as fast as they crumble, love and war collide in an all-out battle that will leave no question unanswered and no heart untouched.

Goddess was a stunning and beautiful conclusion to the Star-crossed series. With plenty of romance and action, it balanced everything perfectly. This book breaks your heart and puts it back together again, and I mean that in the best way I can. This book was absolutely stunning, with a brilliant cast of characters who complete the novel.

Sometimes I wanted to jump into the book and slap Helen for the decisions she made, but in if she messed up sometimes, she was a strong, sure of herself heroine who knew what she had to do. She often made mistakes and regretted her decisions, but she didn’t let that stand in the way of her moving forward. Helen handled her power with ease and though she wasn’t always sure of her heart, it was in the right place.

Lucas is a strong character who genuinely cares about Helen but isn’t defined by that. He has a strong mind and really was the most vital piece of the operation. He really saved the day. Lucas is a genius who is just learning to find confidence in himself. He really comes into himself in this book and is a hero in his own right, no longer standing in Helen’s shadow.
Orion’s story broke my heart for him, but I still didn’t like him as a choice for Helen. He’s sweet and everything, he just didn’t really seem like the best choice for her. Even so, he’s a really interesting character and coming back from what he did was really difficult for him and yet still he did it.

This book was fast-paced and impossible to put down. I constantly felt the need to know what happened next and I couldn’t stop until I was done.

I loved watching Helen and her friends prepare to fight the final battle together. For once, everyone was working together, sharing a common goal, and it made them stronger.

Everything happens for a reason, or so they say, and in the book that was certainly true. Betrayals, heartbreak, everything happened for a reason. When one door closed, somewhere, a window opened. I’m spewing clichés, but that really is how it happened. Sometimes I thought something so awful happened they would never be able to come back from it and yet they did, stronger than ever.

I didn’t like everything about the final battle. For one thing, I thought it was a little too pretty. Everything seemed to fall exactly into place, and it didn’t feel very realistic. Still, despite this, I felt that it was absolutely worth reading. Just because it wrapped up a little too nicely I didn’t think any less of the book.

I’m not a big fan of this particular love triangle, but honestly, it seemed obvious from its first conception who Helen was really going to end up with. That aside, the romance was written tastefully. Helen’s heart is torn, and so is Orion’s—the only person who knows his own heart is Lucas. I really like Helen and Lucas together—they make each other stronger, which is everything a romance should be. Orion feels like a cheap replacement for Lucas.

Josephine has the most beautiful writing. It just flows off the page. It’s gorgeous and heartrending, and I wanted to lose myself in it and the flow of it. The world-building is excellent as always. We can really visualize the monsters and gods she’s created, and for someone who has never been to Helen’s home, I can picture it perfectly. The descriptive imagery is peerless.

The end was perfect. Everything about it was just perfect. There was a good dose of heartbreak and tragedy, and not everything turned out the ideal way, but that only makes it more heartachingly real. The book truly draws everything to magnificent crescendo, and yet it’s not disappointing at all when it drops to something more bittersweet and softer.

Goddess was a brilliant conclusion to a stellar series, and I’ll definitely be reading everything Josephine puts out in the future. I’d definitely recommend this series to fans of mythology and paranormal alike, and to anyone who loves a lot of romance that doesn’t interfere with the story, but is a part of it.


*****FINAL RATING: 4.75 RED ROSES*****
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Friday, May 15, 2015
Chantress Alchemy (Chantress Trilogy, #2)
Amy Butler Greenfield
Publisher: Margaret K McElderry Books
Release Date: May 6, 2014
Source: Purchased
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository
Lucy is the last Chantress, the only remaining girl who can sing magic into the world. Since she defeated the evil Lord Scargrave, England has changed - and not for the better. With crops failing and the people rebelling, Lucy is called urgently back to King Henry's court. His Inner Council is convinced that making gold through alchemy will save England. But a critical element to the alchemical process has been stolen. Lucy is tasked with finding it with her magic... or else. And until she succeeds, the castle is on lockdown.
Court too has changed. Scargrave's brutal Chantress-hunter has become King Henry's closest advisor. Lucy's beloved Nat has fallen out of favor and is shunned by his colleagues. Their romance means trouble for both of them. Worst of all, something goes wrong with Lucy's magic. The palace is a labyrinth, and there’s a monster at its heart - a monster who may have the power to defeat Lucy once and for all.

Amy Butler Greenfield returns to the beguiling world of Chantress for a suspenseful tale of courtly intrigue, music, and magic in Chantress Alchemy.

I loved this book. It was absolutely dazzling. Lucy is a strong heroine, and it’s written so beautifully that it’s hard not to love. The world it’s set in is fantastic, and everything about it screams to be loved. Though not without its flaws, it’s such a beautiful book that it was impossible for me to walk away from it with anything but an overwhelmingly positive attitude.

Lucy is a strong heroine who is extremely relatable. She’s needed in England, but she doesn’t want to go. She wants to stay isolated and live in peace, but she eventually realizes that she can’t hide forever. She has magic, strong magic, and that makes her responsible for helping others. Lucy has a really good heart, and she’s smart, but not so clairvoyant that she comes across as too powerful.

I didn’t love Nat as much as I remember loving him in the first book. He’s a bit foolish, and seems to question everything everyone else is doing. Even if he’s right, it’s not the smartest thing to do all the time. He’s stubborn, and doesn’t always make the right choices. It’s incredibly frustrating sometimes, to see him try to do everything on his own.

The moment I saw Gabriel, hearts came into my eyes, because he’s exactly my type, though he’s not right for Lucy, I don’t think. He can laugh at himself, he’s kind, and he’s a good friend to Lucy when she needs it.
I wasn’t sure what to think of Sybil at first. She’s a mysterious character, and it’s difficult to tell exactly whose side she’s on. But she’s a good friend to Lucy nonetheless, and she really helps her when she’s in a tough spot.

This book rings true because alchemy is something that was once a real, true obsession. In this book, it’s augmented by the fact that Lucy is a chantress. Instead of wanting to make gold, though, they want to make a special stone. It’s interesting to watch because it could be a similar plot to another historical fiction book, one that contains no magic at all.

Lucy must race to find the missing crucible, but she also must figure out what is going on at court and how to stop it. She may be forced to accept a marriage she does not want, and her beloved is not appearing a good option. Lucy has to get to the botton of what is happening before she can stop it, but as she searches for the missing crucible, things appear more complex than they first appeared.

The plot is considerably more intense than that of the first book, and for good reason. There’s no real chanters hunters on the loose anymore, but as the last remaining chanters, Lucy is under a different kind of pressure.

It’s a fast-paced type of book, and I kept turning the pages, dying to know what was going to happen next. It’s a wonderful, easy read type of book, and I didn’t put it down until I was done.

This book is light on romance, and there’s an awkward love triangle that never really goes anywhere, but aside from that, the romance is sweet. Lucy and Nat are an adorable couple, and it’s plain to see how much they care about each other. They’re both willing to take risks for the other, and they’re stronger together than apart.

Amy’s writing is gorgeous, and the world-building is truly spectacular. It’s historical fiction, but my favorite kind of historical fiction—the kind with a magical twist. She writes it in such a way that I can almost believe England really was that way once—it has the twist of truth, even though logically I know it’s not truth. The descriptive language could use work, but it’s still beautiful.

Chanters Alchemy wrapped up neatly and prettily, almost too much so, which is why this book didn’t get a higher rating. The ending seemed really rushed near the end and too easily to take entirely seriously. Everything worked out perfectly and it just seemed overly contrived to me. I like the ending, don’t get me wrong, but I think it would have had more impact if not everything had been wrapped up so prettily.

I adored this book, and at the time I’m writing this review I’ve already read the last book in the series, but you can be sure I’ll read anything Amy chooses to release in the future. Chantress Alchemy was a gorgeous, beguiling book and I’m sure I’d want more even if I didn’t already know what happens next. It was a pleasure to read something so beautiful and I highly recommend the series.


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Thursday, May 14, 2015
Wild Magic (The Immortals, #1)
Tamora Pierce
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Release Date: September 29, 2015
Source: Publisher
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository
Young Daine's knack with horses gets her a job helping the royal horsemistress drive a herd of ponies to Tortall. Soon it becomes clear that Daine's talent, as much as she struggles to hide it, is downright magical. Horses and other animals not only obey, but listen to her words. Daine, though, will have to learn to trust humans before she can come to terms with her powers, her past, and herself.

It must first be said that my review of this book and the following three books of the series are not in any way first impressions. I have read these books several times over the years, and only write a review now as I was asked to review these books to celebrate the newest release of the novels. I must admit that I still found this book every bit as magical as I did the very first time I read it.

Daine is an incredibly likable heroine. she’s brave, she’s strong, but she can also be scared and weak, just like anyone else. She’s human, and though there may be more to her than meets the eye, she’s always willing to fight for her friends, yet she struggles with letting others do the same. Daine also has a strong sense of responsibility and knowing the difference between right and wrong, and she’s no coward.

Number is a silly, funny man who always brings a smile to my face. He’s a very powerful mage, and he’s maybe a little vain, but overall it doesn’t go to his head. He’s a unique character—I’ve yet to come across his like in anything I’ve read. He’s a caring teacher to Daine, and proves himself to be someone she can trust with the dark secrets she’s hidden away.

There’s an extremely colorful cast of characters in this book. There’s many old favorites, such as Alanna and her husband, the queen, Thayet, even Jonathan. There’s also new faces such as Numair and Onua, and the children. It’s a joy to read about them, these new and old faces in the Tortall series.

The plot seems straightforward at first, but it’s not. There’s Daine and her inner struggles, but then there’s also something wicked looming on the horizon. It’s not as simple as it seems, and though we can tell something bad is going to happen, we’re never quite sure what.

Daine’s inner turmoil is interesting because we know something about it (she repeatedly claims to have been mad) but we don’t know all the details, so we have to keep reading to figure out what it is that could have been so awful. And when we finally learn what it is, it’s not simple to grasp what happened.

Tamora’s writing is like honey. Smooth, sweet, and tasteful. It’s a pleasure to read something so incredible. There’s always humor in her writing, and it’s simple but descriptive. I can visualize the monsters she creates so clearly I shudder while reading them. And, as always, her world building is fantastic. It’s easy to picture to cliffs and the ocean as she writes them because she uses such vivid descriptive words.

I love the way this book ends. There’s Tamora’s signature touch of humor, but it’s also a very sweet ending. The conflict is resolved in a very believable way, and Daine has learned more about herself along the way. It’s the perfect place to end this book, and I wouldn’t change it if I could. She’s surrounded by the friends she’s made, and she’s finally comfortable in her own skin.

Wild Magic is an incredible, gorgeous book, and I enjoyed it immensely. It’s timeless in the way that some books are, enough so that I keep going back to it when I need something dependable to read. There’s nothing I like more than curling up with this series, and this first installment really sets the scene for the series.

*****FINAL RATING:  4.55 RED ROSES*****
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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Welcome to my edition of Waiting on Wednesdays by Jill at Breaking the Spine! Let's get right to it!

Frozen Tides (Falling Kingdoms, #4)
Morgan Rhodes
Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date: December 15, 2015

Rebels, royals, and monsters wage war over the Mytican throne in the shocking fourth book of the Falling Kingdoms series, from New York Times bestselling author Morgan Rhodes.
CLEO: Reeling after a bloody showdown in Limeros ending with Amara’s abduction of the water crystal, and a vacancy in the Mytican throne, Princess Cleo must cast aside her feelings and look toward her kingdom with the eyes of a Queen.
MAGNUS: With the kingdom in chaos, Princess Lucia still missing and quite possibly in danger, and a shocking realization about Cleo, the steely prince is once again torn between love and duty, leaving him wondering whether he’s strong enough to rule his people.
LUCIA: The young sorcercess has had her vengeance after the cruel death of her first and only love. Heartbroken and unable to trust anyone, she allies with the awoken Fire god, who also seeks revenge.
JONAS: After escaping death by the skin of his teeth, the defeated rebel—along with a mysterious stranger–leader reunites with Princess Cleo, only to find himself a mere pawn in a dangerous hunt for the elusive Kindred.
KING GAIUS: Abandoned by Melenia and betrayed by his own children, Gaius flees Mytica and sails to Kraeshia, where he attempts to ally with the famously brutal emperor across the Silver Sea.

So, the cover. It looks amazing, right? I love it. And I need this book, like, yesterday. I'm dying to know what happens next amid all the love and war. Book three left me desperate to know what is next, and I'm definitely on the edge of my seat.


What are you waiting on this Wednesday?
Link me up! :)
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Welcome to my young adult reading blog! Sparkles and Lightning has young adult book reviews with the occasional children's or adult's book review sprinkled in. It will also be totally and completely fun :) Have a look around, have some laughs, and most of all, have a perfectly sparkly, electric time!

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