Caro decides to take her future into her own hands when her father is arrested for refusing to transport a mysterious crate. By agreeing to deliver it in exchange for his release, Caro finds herself caught in a web of politics and lies, with dangerous pirates after the cargo—an arrogant courier with a secret—and without the river god to help her. With so much at stake, Caro must choose between the life she always wanted and the one she never could have imagined for herself.
My rating: 73%
I received Song of the Current in the June Uppercase Box and was really excited to delve into it. It sounded like something that I had never read in the young adult genre. When I got into it, I realized it wasn't really my cup of tea, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.
The book started off with a bunch of exciting events all right in a row. (Okay, watching your father get thrown in prison and a beloved dock burn isn't exactly "exciting", but you get what I mean.) These first 50 pages or so really got me excited for a fast-paced action novel. But after the beginning, the story slowed down quite a bit, which I wasn't expecting at all. Sure, there were a few major events here and there, but the action-y bits scattered throughout the book were very short and sweet. The story didn't really pick back up until the very end. (And all I can say about the end of the book without spoiling anything is that it is fantastic. Totally worth sticking out the slow bits.)
Even though parts of the book were slow, I fell in love with the characters. Every single character that was introduced had a purpose and a story all their own. I love that Sarah Toclser didn't throw around characters and put in unnecessary extras just for the sake of it. The best part, however, is how deep Caro gets throughout the story. At first, she just starts out as an unassuming wherryman who hopes to become a captain. Throughout the story, her layers start to peel back, and just when you think you know everything, something unexpected is revealed, and as the reader, you are forced to start thinking something completely different.
I also just want to touch on the fact that the world that Caro lives in is so interesting and unique. The mythology that surrounds the rivers and the details that go into describing it are creative. I also have to bow down to Sarah Toclser for a minute because of the way she describes the boating aspects. They are amazing. It is so clear that she knows and loves what she's talking about, and it comes across so well through Caro.
Overall, this book was just an okay read for me, but I've heard countless people swoon over it. Hopefully you will like this book more than me, and let me know your thoughts in the comments!
From her vacation,
'Magic doesn't make a man evil,' he said. 'It's just a skill. It isn't inherently good or bad. It's what's in his heart that makes him evil, the same as anyone else.
― Sarah Tolcser, Song of the Current
having a girlfriend will make him inherently dependent on someone sighted, the two of them grow closer and closer. Then an unprecedented opportunity arises: an experimental surgery that could give Will eyesight for the first time in his life. But learning to see is more difficult than Will ever imagined, and he soon discovers that the sighted world has been keeping secrets. It turns out Cecily doesn’t meet traditional definitions of beauty—in fact, everything he’d heard about her appearance was a lie engineered by their so-called friends to get the two of them together. Does it matter what Cecily looks like? No, not really. But then why does Will feel so betrayed?
My Rating: 92%
I absolutely adored this book. Everything from the characters to the writing style really made this book an entertaining read. It was light, big-hearted, but it also made me stop and think. The way that Will and other blind people live their lives is so foreign to most of our society, and the idea that someone would have to learn how to see is something I would've never imagined. Josh Sundquist put together a beautiful and hilarious story that really captivated me.
First off, I have to give props to the amazing Josh Sundquist for another spectacular read. If you didn't already know, this is his second book, his first being a nonfiction novel about his life as someone who has had their leg amputated from the hip. It is hilarious and sweet, just an all around awesome read. I was so excited to hear that he was coming out with another book, and couldn't wait to get my hands on it. (Seriously though, if you haven't read either of his books, you should get on that. Anyway, back to the review!)
Overall, the characters and the way in which they interacted was wonderful. Will was a fantastic main character, and I will touch on that in a second. What I was really fond of was that every single one of the minor characters had their own vivid personality and every one of them played a part in the story. I feel like that is super important, especially for a shorter novel like this one. There weren't a lot of side characters that were there for the sake of it. I thought it helped simplify the story and move it along.
I loved the descriptions and writing style. There were so many moments that were very thoughtful and helped me understand more of what kind of life Will lives. One of the best moments (spoiler free, by the way) in the entire book was when will and Cecily go to the art showcase and she attempts to describe to him what the paintings look like and what emotion they are trying to convey. Little moments like that throughout the book were what really made me fall in love with it.
Of course, I have to mention the fact that Will is now one of my all-time favorite narrators. His humor and hope really drive the plot for me. Even though we are very different, I felt like I knew him and his situation, and related to it quite a bit. I loved how he didn't let a whole lot of things bother him when they could have. Being a 16-year-old kid in high school isn't easy, and I can't imagine what hardships blindness brings to the table. But Will made it easy for me to understand where he is coming from, and nothing wins me over in a book like a relatable narrator.
This is a great book if you're looking for a quick, hilarious read this summer. Have you read it? Let me know what you thought of it in the comments!
As she looks at life with a new perspective,
People who stop laughing are always the ones who get hurt.
― Josh Sundquist, Just Don't Fall: How I Grew Up, Conquered Illness, and Made It Down the Mountain
I absolutely LOVE the book community on Instagram. There are great books, great people, and most of all, great photos! If you are looking to start a bookstagram, or just wanting to post a picture of the book you're #currentlyreading, here are some tips on how to edit your pictures.
Part 1: Taking Your Photos
Now, before we start going to town, we need to prep for our bookstagram photo shoot. Make sure if you are taking your photos inside, you take them where there is a lot of natural light. I am fortunate enough to have a sun porch in my house that provides the perfect place to take my pictures, but you can take your pictures any place with lots of light. Windows, doors, and the hole in your roof are all perfect for natural light.
You also want to make sure the background of your photo is in order. If you're taking your picture in your bedroom or in front of a bookshelf, make sure that everything behind the focus of the picture is pleasing as well. Nobody and I mean nobody wants to see your dirty laundry on the floor behind your current read.
Tips for taking great photos:
Part 2: Consider the Photo you are editing
I'm going to show you the steps I use when I edit my pictures, but keep in mind that all photos are not equal. Your photos may start out a little darker or brighter than mine, or they might already be as sharp as possible, and that's okay! Just remember to use these steps as basic guidelines, not hard rules. It's all about playing around to find the perfect combination for your photos.
Part 3: Editing Your Photos
I use an app on my phone called Color Story, but just about any editing app that allows you to adjust the settings will work. I've also used PicMonkey and the Apple Photos app in the past.
1) Take your photo and open it up in your editing app.
2) Go to the tab where you can adjust the settings of the picture.
3) Next, turn up 'Clarity', 'Contrast', and 'Brightness'. Remember, a little goes a long way. Clarity will make your photo a little crisper, while contrast and brightness will brighten up the pictures.
4) I will then scroll over and turn up 'Saturation', 'Exposure', and 'Sharpen'. Saturation and vibrancy both help the colors in your pictures to pop. I only used saturation on this particular photo because vibrancy makes reds and pinks super bright and it didn't look good with my journal. Exposure brightens up your photo, and sharpen makes it extra crunchy.
*Bonus Tip: If you go to the 'Saved' tab and save the steps you just did as a filter, you won't have to the all the steps leading up to here ever again. This works great if you take your photos in the same location and the lighting stays about the same. Then, in the future, you will only have to crop your photos. #timesaver
5) Now, go back to the 'Tools' tab and tap on 'Crop & Frame'. Here we're going to work with 'Tilt' to angle the photo just right and 'Crop' to get rid of unnecessary edges. I also like to work with 'Perspective' when I'm dealing with flat lays if I find that my phone wasn't level with the floor when I took the photo.
Part 4: Admire Your Masterpiece
CONGRATULATIONS! You have received your (unofficial) Book Insider Certificate in Bookstagram Editing! Go out there and start taking pictures of all the books!
How do you edit your bookstagram photos? Let me know in the comments and also mention what types of blog posts you would like to see me do next!
From behind her camera,
You don't make a photograph just with a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved.
— Ansel Adams
Shadowhunters is deeply personal. He blames them for a long-ago tragedy that shattered his life. To unravel the secrets of the past, the trio journeys from mist-shrouded Yorkshire to a manor house that holds untold horrors, from the slums of London to an enchanted ballroom where Tessa discovers that the truth of her parentage is more sinister than she had imagined. When they encounter a clockwork demon bearing a warning for Will, they realize that the Magister himself knows their every move—and that one of their own has betrayed them.
Tessa finds her heart drawn more and more to Jem, but her longing for Will, despite his dark moods, continues to unsettle her. But something is changing in Will—the wall he has built around himself is crumbling. Could finding the Magister free Will from his secrets and give Tessa the answers about who she is and what she was born to do?
As their dangerous search for the Magister and the truth leads the friends into peril, Tessa learns that when love and lies are mixed, they can corrupt even the purest heart.
My Rating: 73%
As second books in trilogies go, this book ranks fairly high. As a book in general, it is just average. It had some interesting events here and there, but overall, this book didn't have anything that wowed me. I also think that part of the blame may go to the fact that I have been reading some of the Shadowhunter books in a row, with this one being number three on the list.
First of all, I felt like there were a few subplots throughout the story that felt really unnecessary. There were some that really added to the story (shoutout to my boy Will for his amazing subplot), and then there were some that I felt could've been left out and I wouldn't have missed out on anything. I am not one for plots being over-dramatic, and I caught myself reading and thinking, "It's not that big of a deal. Get over it."
One of my big issues with this book was the fact that I kept waiting for something big and climactic to happen, and I didn't really feel like that ever happened. I know this is because it is setting up readers for the last book in the trilogy, but I was really hoping for a grander ending.
With that being said, there were a lot of things added to the story that I didn't see coming. I won't mention them for spoiler reasons, but there were things revealed about the characters and their situations that I couldn't believe. These twists and turns were what kept me on the edge of my seat and what made me not want to put the book down.
I also appreciated how Tessa grew up throughout these books. At the beginning, she was terrified of every new person she met and wasn't really very trusting. Throughout the books, she has gotten chances to prove herself and really make herself known as a strong and independent woman. She is very respected in the Institute, and those little moments of courage really add to the story.
Overall, I liked this book but didn't see anything super special in it. Let me know if you have read it already, or are planning to read it sometime soon in the comments!
From her Shadowhunter break,
It was books that made me feel that perhaps I was not completely alone. They could be honest with me, and I with them.
― Cassandra Clare, Clockwork Prince
Happy Fourth of July, my fellow Americans. If you're reading this from any other country, Happy Tuesday! The Fourth of July is, for me, one of the days that feels the most like summer. There are barbecues, pool parties, and just time to spend with the people you care about. So, I've come up with a list of four different books set in summer so we can keep those summer vibes flowing!
A Book to Read With Your Best Friend:
things off Sloane's list. Who knows what she’ll find?
Go skinny-dipping? Wait...what?
I'm so glad I've gotten a chance to recommend this book because it's one of my all-time favorites! It's cute, fun, daring, and everything else you could want in a summer book. Morgan Matson does a wonderful job making you feel like you really know and relate to the characters that she creates.
This book is also perfect if you're looking for one to read with your best friend or book club. I actually read it with a few of my friends a couple of years ago, and we had so much fun with it! So if you're looking for a light summer read, this is the book for you!
A Book To Satisfy Your Romance Needs:
unthinkable happens, and the bottom drops out of Samantha's world. She's suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?
This book is another favorite of mine because it's cute, funny, but also tackles some real life issues, which really grounds the book in reality. But, even though it tackles some pretty real issues, there is still a ton of fun and lighthearted moments that really makes the book stand out to me. The characters are all so different, especially in Jase's family, they really keep you on your toes in both an action and dialogue aspect. Overall, check this book out for a great summer romance novel.
A Throwback Summer Read:
form a sisterhood and take the vow of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants . . . the next morning, they say good-bye. And then the journey of the pants — and the most memorable summer of their lives — begins.
I read this book last year (because of a recommendation from my mom) and really enjoyed it. I know this book carries a lot of nostalgia with it for some people, and I could totally feel it in the story. However you are spending your summer, you will be able to relate to this book, probably in more than one way. If you want to read a little more in-depth on my thoughts about this book, be sure to read my full review.
A Mysterious Summer Read:
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.
This book is an AMAZING summer mystery read. The only problem is that you have to go into this book knowing nothing about it. This book is so much better when you go into it completely blind. What I can tell you is that it kept me on the edge of my seat, and I just couldn't put it down. Otherwise, you have to just read it to know more.
Those are my four summer books for July Fourth. If you have read any of them, or are planning to, be sure to let me know in the comments along with any summer recommendations for me!
Every summer since I was little, I’ve gone to garage sales and bought all the books that looked interesting. So I always have something to read.
— John Green, Looking for Alaska
My Rating: 98%
I picked this book up on a whim after only hearing about it a couple of times. I had just read Wires and Nerve, the graphic novel companion to the Lunar Chronicles, and really enjoyed it. So, I decided to try out a standalone graphic novel, and what a great decision it was! I am actually really into art, especially art that tells a story. This one, in particular, was so well done, I couldn't have asked for anything better. It was a quick, fun summer read, and it has also become one of my favorite books.
First of all, as I was flipping through this book in the bookstore, I loved the style of all the drawings in the book. It really helps convey the emotions of the characters and the world in which they live. I also really liked how each chapter of the book had its own color scheme. This was one of my favorite elements in the book because it gave each chapter its own mood and helped to differentiate between settings and which characters were involved.
Also, this book was hilarious. I laughed so many times reading this book, it's not even funny. (See what I did there?) There are so many little moments of dialogue that are the kind of funny that take you by surprise. The relationship between Nimona and Blackheart is perfect, and every scene they're in together was a great one. I also loved the unique relationship between Blackheart and Goldenloin. Both relationships are not what you would expect, which I think really adds to the quirkiness and comedy of the novel.
I'm not sure if it was because this book was such a quick read, but I really took notice of all the little foreshadowing moments throughout the story. There were a lot of small things that happened where I thought, "She referenced that earlier," or "Someone mentioned something like that." Little things like that are what make a book go from good to great for me.
Overall, this book was a great story about heroics, and what it truly means to be a hero. If you have read it or plan on reading it in the future, please let me know in the comments!
As she tries to turn into a shark,
You can't just go round murdering people. There are rules, Nimona.
― Noelle Stevenson, Nimona
I can't believe that I am officially over halfway done with this volume of Precommendations! This series has been so much fun to do, and I am so glad I started it back in January. If you have any ideas for new series, please let me know in the comments on what types of posts you would like to see from me.
There really aren't very many YA books coming out in July, so this issue of Precommendations is kind of short. If I missed any of your most anticipated reads, let me know in the comments as well!
surprised, most of all Kit and David. Kit appreciates David’s blunt honesty—in fact, she finds it bizarrely refreshing. David welcomes Kit’s attention and her inquisitive nature. When she asks for his help figuring out the how and why of her dad’s tragic car accident, David is all in. But neither of them can predict what they’ll find. Can their friendship survive the truth?
Compare to: All the Bright Places, by: jennifer Niven
This book sounds like it has some All the Bright Places vibes going on with it, which is another book I really enjoyed. Two kids with nothing in common one day become great friends. I really like that this book takes that idea and applies this new friendship to something very personal to one side of the relationship. I think something very thought-provoking and meaningful will come out of this book, and I can't wait to see what it is!
navigate secret romances, thorny relationships, and the London Tube. As Sydney zigzags through Amsterdam, Switzerland, Italy, and France, she must learn when to hold on, when to keep moving, and when to jump into the Riviera… wearing only her polka dot underpants.
Compare to: Anna and the French Kiss, by: Stephanie Perkins
This book sounds like the perfect one to accompany you on your vacation this summer. Whether you are just going down the road or across the world, a book about travel is perfect for this time of year. I love to read books that are set in new places, especially in Europe. It's on my bucket list to do exactly what Sydney plans on doing, and this book seems to me like it's one step closer to accomplishing that. With that being said, I also think it will be interesting to see how Sydney handles all of the hurdles that come with traveling and being away from her mother.
Compare to: Windfall, by: Jennifer E. Smith
It just so happens that I finished Windfall not too long ago, and this book follows the same kind of plot line. I love Kasie West's writing, and I've been meaning to read another book by her, so seeing how her characters handle winning the lottery will be neat to follow. I have a feeling this version of teenage lottery winning will be a little more romantic than Windfall, so I am very excited to see how this story unfolds.
There you have it, folks, my most anticipated reads for July! If you are looking forward to a book I didn't include in this list, please let me know in the comments so I can check it out as well!
As her TBR continues to grow,
It doesn't matter. I have books, new books, and I can bear anything as long as there are books.
— Jo Walton (Among Others)
Club, a secret organization of vampires, demons, warlocks, and humans. Equipped with a magical army of unstoppable clockwork creatures, the Club is out to rule the British Empire, and only Tessa and her allies can stop them...
My Rating: 90%
This is a book that's been on my TBR for quite some time. I'd been putting off reading both the last three books of The Mortal Instruments and the Infernal Devices just because I wasn't sure in which order to read them, and quite frankly, it was just easier to read something else. But now that I've read it, I don't know why I put it off. It was such a well-represented book, having elements of fantasy, comedy, romance, historical fiction, and action. There is definitely something for everyone in this book.
First of all, I love the Shadowhunter world that Cassandra Clare builds in the late 1800's. It is the perfect mix of Victorian Era London and the sophistication of the Nephilim society. Since I read this book after reading the first three Mortal Instruments books, I could see the parallels in the books and the different ways the Shadowhunters lived in the 19th century vs. the present world. The time period also has an effect on the way the narrator, Tessa Grey, views both the mundane and Shadowhunter societies. I really noticed how Tessa thought it was strange that the women of the Nephilim were thought of as equal, and fought alongside the men. It goes to show how far we have come in today's society.
Speaking of Tessa, I'm pretty sure we could be best friends. She is a strong and independent woman who don't need no man, and also loves books! I'm not going to lie, we're basically the same person. She will also do whatever is necessary to find her brother, who goes missing at the beginning of the story. Tessa is so courageous and intelligent, I wish I was her. She doesn't back down to anyone, and I really admire that.
My favorite aspects of this book are the small tie-ins to the original series, and it kept me on my toes. I won't go into too many details because of spoilers, but there were a lot of little moments where I thought to myself, "Oh, that's a nod to so-and-so!" or, "That's important later!" It was really neat to have all those little moments. I also loved the fact that every time I thought I had everything figured out, there was something unexpected thrown into the mix. Cassandra Clare constantly shakes things up and makes me second guess things.
So, if you're new to the Shadowhunter Universe or you've read a few Mortal Instrument books, you should definitely get your hands on this amazing read for all types of people.
A re-instated Shadowhunter,
'One must always be careful of books,' said Tessa, 'and what is inside them, for words have the power to change us.'
- Cassandra Clare, Clockwork Angel
Soon, Jack learns the startling truth about himself: he is Weirlind, part of an underground society of magical people who live among us. At their helm sits the feuding houses of the Red Rose and the White Rose, whose power is determined by playing The Game - a magical tournament in which each house sponsors a warrior to fight to the death. The winning house rules the Weir.
As if his bizarre heritage isn't enough, Jack finds out that he's not just another member of Weirlind - he's one of the last of the warriors - at a time when both houses are scouting for a player.
My Rating: 86%
Alright, let's get straight to it. This book has been on my TBR shelf for about three years. I know what you're thinking. "Oh my gosh, Ashton, what is your problem? Why would you neglect a book for so long?" Well, dear reader of mine, I have a very unsatisfactory answer for you. This book is freaking dense. Now, if you are a book collector like I am, you will understand the terror of dense books. The problem with these books is that they look like quick, 300-page reads. Then when you pick them up, they weigh 20 pounds and scare the crap out of you. When will publishers understand that if I buy a 500-page book, I want it to look like a 500-page book?
After I failed to read this book for 3 years, I decided in the past month or so to read all the books that I had sitting on my shelf for over a year. But, as my stack of neglected books dwindled, I picked up this book not expecting much. As I got into it, though, I slowly fell in love with the world and its characters. Cinda Williams Chima created the book that I feel like I Am Number Four should've been. It was fast-paced, magical, and still very grounded. I liked how the book seamlessly combined the everyday world with its magical counterpart.
I also have to mention the fact that I adore Jack. He is so sweet and funny and also a badass and it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I also related to him a lot in the middle of the story, when he starts training. He has to balance school, sports, and magic and does a decent job of it, given all the time it takes out of his life. I am really involved in my school, and I thought it was awesome to see a character who has many of my same struggles on a daily basis. (Balancing school and magic is hard, people. I'm speaking from experience when I say this. Don't try it at home, kids.)
Overall, I really enjoyed this book, and hope you decide to check it out. I highly recommend it as a summer fantasy read, or if you are looking for a higher quality version of I Am Number Four.
What did you think of The Warrior Heir? Let me know in the comments!
As she finishes a blog makeover,
P.S. Did you notice the new blog look? (I hope you did. It is very different.) I will be making lots of changes in the next coming weeks, so if you have any suggestions or ideas, let me know in either the comments or shoot me a message in the "About Me" tab. :)
Just remember who you are... The world will try to change you into someone else. Don't let them. That's the best advice anyone can give you.
― Cinda Williams Chima, The Warrior Heir
Where do you buy books? Let me know in the comments below!
While she shops for new books,
If I read a book that cost me $20 and I get one good idea, I've gotten one of the greatest bargains of all time."
Ashton is a high school girl with a passion for books. She also participates in other activities such as sports and musical groups.
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