Book Review: The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani

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The School for Good and Evil

Author: Soman Chainani

Genre: Children’s Fiction, Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult

Publisher: Harper Collins

Date Published: May 14, 2013

Date Started: Jan. 1

Date Finished: Jan. 2

Rating: 2 stars (⭐⭐)

Synopsis: (Goodreads)

The first kidnappings happened two hundred years before. Some years it was two boys taken, some years two girls, sometimes one of each. But if at first the choices seemed random, soon the pattern became clear. One was always beautiful and good, the child every parent wanted as their own. The other was homely and odd, an outcast from birth. An opposing pair, plucked from youth and spirited away.

This year, best friends Sophie and Agatha are about to discover where all the lost children go: the fabled School for Good & Evil, where ordinary boys and girls are trained to be fairy tale heroes and villains. As the most beautiful girl in Gavaldon, Sophie has dreamed of being kidnapped into an enchanted world her whole life. With her pink dresses, glass slippers, and devotion to good deeds, she knows she’ll earn top marks at the School for Good and graduate a storybook princess. Meanwhile Agatha, with her shapeless black frocks, wicked pet cat, and dislike of nearly everyone, seems a natural fit for the School for Evil.

But when the two girls are swept into the Endless Woods, they find their fortunes reversed—Sophie’s dumped in the School for Evil to take Uglification, Death Curses, and Henchmen Training, while Agatha finds herself in the School For Good, thrust amongst handsome princes and fair maidens for classes in Princess Etiquette and Animal Communication.. But what if the mistake is actually the first clue to discovering who Sophie and Agatha really are…?

The School for Good & Evil is an epic journey into a dazzling new world, where the only way out of a fairy tale is to live through one.


MY REVIEW:

Hi, Lovelies!

I’m back again for another review.

The School for Good and Evil is basically a tale of two girls, Sophie and Agatha, who gets kidnapped like all the other children before them and taken into the fabled school that trains kids to be heroes or villains. Every year, it’s always a pair that gets taken. One good and one evil. However, Sophie gets put into the School of Evil while Agatha is placed into the School of Good. They think it’s a mistake, but what if it wasn’t?

I first learned about this book from a friend of mine who only told me a little about it. The book is 488 pages long, written in multiple POVs. Has a deceptively charming cover, a fast-paced writing style, engaging dialogues and fairytale themes.

While the story is certainly promising, I wasn’t sold on the writing. There had been too many issues for me. One, I cannot keep up with the events in the story. There are times when the scenes change abruptly or too fast, and the author inserts plot twists that really don’t fit in, and you don’t know which character is saying which line anymore. It’s all very confusing. Add to that, the story is super LONG, so I would advise anyone attempting to read this book NOT to read it if you don’t have the patience.

On a positive note, I did like the absurdity and humor of this book. You can’t help but laugh along at Sophie’s notions of being ‘good’, Agatha’s exasperation, the silliness of their classes, and other ridiculous things that should annoy you but would entertain you instead. It was also interesting to see how Agatha and Sophie’s friendship would turn out, seeing as how different they are and the schools they were put in. Their friendship is mainly one of the reasons I continued reading and haven’t DNF’ed the book.

Overall, The School for Good and Evil makes a really entertaining read if not for the writing issues and unreasonable plot twists that I mentioned above. In fact, the whole time I was reading, it felt like I was watching a CARTOON instead of reading an actual book. At least this book IS really meant for children though I highly doubt that it actually sends the right message, since the girls here highly depend on boys and the concept ‘good and evil’ was taken too pettily.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my review! 

(I think I’ll be doing a book tag next time soon ’cause I miss doing ’em. 😉 Anyone care to recommend some?)

Later, lovelies!

The Secret Of A Heart Note by Stacey Lee || What If Love Was Just Right Under Your Nose?

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T H E   S E C R E T   O F   A   H E A R T   N O T E

Author: Stacey Lee

Genre: YA, Contemporary, Fantasy, Romance, Magical Realism

Published:  December 27th 2016 by Katherine Tegen Books

Synopsis:

An evocative novel about a teen aroma expert who uses her extrasensitive sense of smell to mix perfumes that help others fall in love while protecting her own heart at all costs. Continue reading

Bitter Sweet Love by Michael Faudet || Tackling Poetry

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B I T T E R   S W E E T   L O V E

A u t h o r : Michael Faudet

P u b l i s h e d : December 1st 2016 by Andrews McMeel Publishing

G e n r e : Poetry, Romance, Fiction, Adult

F o r m a t : eARC

D e s c r i p t i o n : Bitter Sweet Love is the much-anticipated second collection of internationally best-selling poet Michael Faudet, author of Dirty Pretty Things, a finalist in the 2015 Goodreads Readers Choice Awards.

Michael Faudet’s whimsical and often erotic writing has captured the hearts and minds of literally thousands of readers from around the world. He paints vivid pictures with intricate words and explores the compelling themes of love, loss, relationships, and sex. All beautifully captured in poetry, prose, quotes, and little short stories. Continue reading

Black Moon by Romina Russell || Stunned, Drowned, and Slayed

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B L A C K   M O O N

A u t h o r : Romina Russell

O r d e r : Book #3 in the Zodiac Series

P u b l i c a t i o n : December 6th 2016 by Razorbill

G e n r e : Sci-fi, Fantasy, Romance, YA

S y n o p s i s : Book 3 in the breathtaking sci-fi space saga inspired by astrology that will stun fans of the Illuminae Files and Starbound series.

One final secret stands between Rho and the enemy. But will the devastating truth be enough to destroy her first?

Rho, the courageous visionary from House Cancer, lost nearly everything when she exposed and fought against the Marad, a mysterious terrorist group bent on destroying balance in the Zodiac Galaxy. Now, the Marad has disappeared without a trace, and an uneasy peace has been declared.

But Rho is suspicious. She believes the Master is still out there in some other form. And looming over all are the eerie visions of her mother, who died many years ago, but is now appearing to Rho in the stars.

When news of a stylish new political party supported by her best friend, Nishi, sends Rho on another journey across the galaxy, she uses it as an opportunity to hunt the hidden master and seek out information about her mother. And what she uncovers sheds light on the truth–but casts darkness upon the entire Zodiac world.

Continue reading

A Mortal Song by Megan Crewe || Reversed Special Snowflake

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A   M O R T A L   S O N G

A u t h o r : Megan Crewe

P u b l i c a t i o n :  September 13th 2016 by Another World Press

G e n r e : Fantasy, YA, Fiction, Mythology

S y n o p s i s : Sora’s life was full of magic–until she discovered it was all a lie.

Heir to Mt. Fuji’s spirit kingdom, Sora yearns to finally take on the sacred kami duties. But just as she confronts her parents to make a plea, a ghostly army invades the mountain. Barely escaping with her life, Sora follows her mother’s last instructions to a heart-wrenching discovery: she is a human changeling, raised as a decoy while her parents’ true daughter remained safe but unaware in modern-day Tokyo. Her powers were only borrowed, never her own. Now, with the world’s natural cycles falling into chaos and the ghosts plotting an even more deadly assault, it falls on her to train the unprepared kami princess.

As Sora struggles with her emerging human weaknesses and the draw of an unanticipated ally with secrets of his own, she vows to keep fighting for her loved ones and the world they once protected. But for one mortal girl to make a difference in this desperate war between the spirits, she may have to give up the only home she’s ever known.

(***Special thanks to Netgalley and Another World Press for providing me an ARC of this book.)


M Y   R E V I E W

A Mortal Song was one of my greatest anticipated reads, especially after seeing it for the first time on NetGalley. I was just drawn in by the Mulan-like cover and the discovery of a brand new author. The synopsis promised a heroine with a supernatural upbringing, but the truth is she is just an ordinary human, swapped at birth with the real kami princess in an attempt to delay a prophecy.

It’s really refreshing to see how Crewe took the special snowflake syndrome and twisted it so that instead of getting the usual character who discovers he/she is special, we get instead a protagonist who finds out she’s not really special at all.

As the heroine of the story, I really admire Sora. She’s smart and level-headed and she’s not the type to get vindictive or hold a grudge against others. Even after learning about her true heritage, she remained good all throughout the book though I wish I’d seen a little bit more reaction out of her.

Only, my main issue was the author’s writing. It doesn’t possess the FLAIR I was looking for, nor did it portray the depth and emotion I needed. The characters fell flat and most of their dialogues and interactions fall completely on a basic level. I’ve only seen one side of the coin, so I wasn’t able to sympathize much or connect with the characters.

I should also probably mention the combined insta-love and love triangle in this novel, which I have to say is a horrible combination. It just didn’t work, and I couldn’t find anything redeeming about Sora’s love interests. Fortunately though, she sorted out her feelings earlier than I expected and made a quick choice between the two guys. But still, I would’ve preferred if the story just focused on Sora’s acceptance of her true identity.

The connections and relationships in this book just felt abrupt – it simply didn’t feel like this aspect of the book was given much time to work on.

Another is the history of the kami. I didn’t get a real feel of their culture, their lifestyle and other things you’d expect from a different kind of world. I also can’t fail to notice that the estrangement of the kami from other supernatural beings were left unexplained. And when crisis came, these other supernatural creatures came to help without any hesitation, which is weird, considering the kami never interacted with anyone except among themselves.

Not to mention the battle scenes. I dreaded these scenes every time – not because of fear for the characters’ lives or something like that, but because I couldn’t feel ANYTHING towards them. There’s no thrill or action – what I got was just a bunch of kids throwing paper talismans at their enemies. And the enemies – the ghosts – they just suddenly appear out of the blue and flood into one place, attacking Sora and her group.

All in all, I still feel like there’s so much missing in the story. To me, A Mortal Song is just like a raw diamond still waiting to be polished. There’s so much room for improvement, and I can only hope that the published edition was much more better than the ARC. However, one thing I can assure you is that this novel’s heroine goes beyond the stereotype. And that was enough reason for me to stick with it.


R A T I N G

Poor (★★☆☆☆)

It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover || My 8 Naked Truths

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I T   E N D S   W I T H   U S

A u t h o r : Colleen Hoover

P u b l i c a t i o n : August 2, 2016 by Atria Books

G e n r e : Romance, New Adult, Contemporary

S y n o p s i s : Lily hasn’t always had it easy, but that’s never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She’s come a long way from the small town in Maine where she grew up – she graduated from college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. So when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid, everything in Lily’s life suddenly seems almost too good to be true.

Ryle is assertive, stubborn, and maybe even a little arrogant. He’s also sensitive, brilliant, and has a total soft spot for Lily, but Ryle’s complete aversion to relationships is disturbing.

As questions about her new relationship overwhelm her, so do thoughts of Atlas Corrigan – her first love and a link to the past she left behind. He was her kindred spirit, her protector. When Atlas suddenly reappears, everything Lily has built with Ryle is threatened.

With this bold and deeply personal novel, Colleen Hoover delivers a heart-wrenching story that breaks exciting new ground for her as a writer. It Ends With Us is an unforgettable tale of love that comes at the ultimate price.

This book contains graphic scenes and very sensitive subject matter.


R E V I E W

“It stops here. With me and you. It ends with us.”

Hello again, lovelies! Thanks for stopping by.

Naked truths are a primary feature in this novel written by CoHo. Therefore, I’ll deliver this review as well in naked-truth-style. So, without further ado, here are my naked truths:

1. I think Colleen definitely outdid herself this time. Her latest novel, It Ends With Us, is truly a great masterpiece.

2. You can tell right away that it’s special – unlike any of her other books. You see, of all the novels I’ve read written by her, I think It Ends With Us is the only one that will stay with me forever. It’s hard to forget that kind of story and that alone is what makes it a great book.

3. I was already caught from the moment I read that dedication. It intrigued me, to say the least, and I wondered what she meant by that. Realization dawned on me as I read through Lily’s story, and I was heartbroken and crying even after the story had been concluded.

4. And just when I thought I couldn’t be moved any more than that, I saw the author’s note and wept some more.

5. I was perfectly satisfied by how the conflict was resolved. It made perfect sense and it saved their relationship from total ruin.

6. I should also mention the cleverness behind that cover. I think the crushed petals perfectly symbolize Lily and the abuse she went through. Besides, it doesn’t hurt to look at too. I would definitely want it on my bookshelf.

7. I was initially apprehensive over reading this book, not just because of all the hype surrounding it, but also partly because of the disappointment I felt towards CoHo’s previous books. Turns out I need not have worried at all, because It Ends With Us was absolutely great and more! It restored all my faith in CoHo’s writing skills.

8. Heartfelt, endearing and utterly realistic, It Ends With Us is a book you should definitely read right away!


Favorite Quotes

“There is no such thing as bad people. We’re all just people who sometimes do bad things.”
Colleen Hoover, It Ends with Us

“All humans make mistakes. What determines a person’s character aren’t the mistakes we make. It’s how we take those mistakes and turn them into lessons rather than excuses.”
Colleen Hoover, It Ends with Us

“He pulls back to look down at me and when he sees my tears, he brings his hands up to my cheeks. “In the future… if by some miracle you ever find yourself in the position to fall in love again… fall in love with me.”
Colleen Hoover, It Ends with Us

“Just because someone hurts you doesn’t mean you can simply stop loving them. It’s not a person’s actions that hurt the most. It’s the love. If there was no love attached to the action, the pain would be a little easier to bear.”
Colleen Hoover, It Ends with Us

“Fifteen seconds. That’s all it takes to completely change everything about a person. Fifteen.”
Colleen Hoover, It Ends with Us

“Naked truths aren’t always pretty.”
Colleen Hoover, It Ends with Us

“I feel like everyone fakes who they really are, when deep down we’re all equal amounts of screwed up. Some of us are just better at hiding it than others.”
Colleen Hoover, It Ends with Us

“Just because we didn’t end up on the same wave, doesn’t mean we aren’t still a part of the same ocean.”
Colleen Hoover, It Ends with Us

“And as hard as this choice is, we break the pattern before the pattern breaks us.”
Colleen Hoover, It Ends with Us

“You can stop swimming now, Lily. We finally reached the shore.”
Colleen Hoover, It Ends with Us

“Maybe love isn’t something that comes full circle. It just ebbs and flows, in and out, just like the people in our lives”
Colleen Hoover, It Ends with Us

“I’ll keep pretending to swim, when really all I’m doing is floating. Barely keeping my head above water.”
Colleen Hoover, It Ends with Us

“You are my wife. I’m supposed to be the one who protects you from the monsters. I’m not supposed to be one.”
Colleen Hoover, It Ends with Us

“Sometimes even grown women need their mother’s comfort so we can just take a break from having to be strong all the time.”
Colleen Hoover, It Ends with Us

“Our eyes, locked together, speak more naked truths than our mouths ever have.”
Colleen Hoover, It Ends with Us

“You’re the most important part of my life, Lily. I want to be what brings you happiness. Not what causes you to hurt.”
Colleen Hoover, It Ends with Us

“But then this morning I had to tell him goodbye. And he held me and kissed me so much, I thought I might die if he let go.
But I didn’t die. Because he let go and here I am. Still living. Still breathing.
Just barely.”
Colleen Hoover, It Ends with Us


R A T I N G

Outstanding (★★★★★)

The Best Possible Answer by E. Katherine Kottaras || Life is But A Multiple Choice

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T H E   B E S T   P O S S I B L E   A N S W E R

A u t h o r :  E. Katherine Kottaras

P u b l i c a t i o n : November 1st 2016 by St. Martin’s Griffin

G e n r e : YA, Contemporary, Romance

F o r m a t : eARC

S y n o p s i s : 

AP exams—check
SAT test—check
College application—check
Date the wrong guy and ruin everything you’ve spent your whole life working for—check

Super-achiever Viviana Rabinovich-Lowe has never had room to be anything less than perfect. But her quest for perfection is derailed when her boyfriend leaks a private picture of her to the entire school—a picture only he was supposed to see. Making matters worse, her parents are getting divorced and now her perfect family is falling apart. For the first time, Vivi feels like a complete and utter failure.

Then she gets a job working at the community pool, where she meets a new group of friends who know nothing about her past. That includes Evan, a gorgeous guy who makes her want to do something she never thought she’d do again: trust. For the first time in her life, Vivi realizes she can finally be whoever she wants. But who is that? While she tries to figure it out, she learns something they never covered in her AP courses: that it’s okay to be less than perfect, because it’s our imperfections that make us who we are.

(Special thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me an e-copy of The Best Possible Answer in exchange for an honest review.)


R E V I E W

You pick up a YA contemporary book on a whim, breeze through the pages in a span of three hours, and sit there looking at empty space. What are you thinking? And which of the following statements is true?

a. If you can’t get into the college you want, find a job at the pool.

b. When in doubt, ask your mentally-ill professor/neighbor.

c.  If you got a shitty family, be shitty in turn.

d. Go for the guy your best friend likes.

e.  Never ever trust a guy to keep your nude pics to himself.

f. This book is boring.

g.  All of the above.

***

The Best Possible Answer is the first book I’ve read of Kottaras’s. The cover and synopsis gave me a good feeling, but it turns out, my expectations turned into ashes the deeper I got into the book.

At first, I was lured in by the humor. Vivianna Rabinovich-Lowe struck me as a funny character, but when problems start to unfold, she loses all her sparkling wit and the readers are bombarded instead with her endless drama and pitiful internal monologues. I can’t find it in me to sympathize with her, even though I could relate to her need for perfection and over-achievingness.

She annoyed me so much, especially when the boy Evan came into the picture. I mean, seriously? You would fight with your best friend over some guy you just met? Sure, she kept her feelings from the start to give way to her friend, but I couldn’t accept that either. It just strikes me wrong. She and Sammie were said to be friends since long ago, so doesn’t that mean they have a certain degree of trust towards each other? Why would you keep pretending you’ve no interest in your friend’s crush? To me, that just sounds completely plastic.

Also, why did she have to cover up her father’s secret from her mother and sister too? I just can’t believe it’s for their own sake. Because if Vivi truly cared for her family, she wouldn’t have let her father’s charades go on for too long. Honestly, she is so frustrating. I think the only thing I love about Vivianna is her name.

My point is Vivianna is totally off-character. And she has almost all the problems a teenager could have – leaked nude photos, parents getting divorce, love triangles, failed college plans, etc. I would’ve appreciated it if the author elaborated on each issue more, but *sighs* she only managed to scrape the surface of it. I couldn’t care for the characters, and I certainly didn’t feel anything for the story.

But for all its flaws and complications, I still got the message that the book is trying to deliver us. In every situation, there is no perfect solution – no perfect answer. We just have to take the best possible course of action.

All in all, I can’t highly recommend The Best Possible Answer to everyone. It’s less fun and more on drama. But I could certainly see how it would appeal to our younger readers, hence the YA. It’s a short, quick read too, but I likely won’t read it ever again.


R A T I N G

Poor (☆☆☆)


Have you guys read this book yet? Do you agree with me or not? Let me know your thoughts below! 🙂

Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas || A Heavy Dose of Awesomeness

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E M P I R E   O F   S T O R M S

A u t h o r : Sarah J. Maas

P u b l i c a t i o n : September 6th 2016 by Bloomsbury USA Children

G e n r e : Fantasy, YA, NA, Action, Adventure, Romance

S y n o p s i s : The long path to the throne has only just begun for Aelin Galathynius. Loyalties have been broken and bought, friends have been lost and gained, and those who possess magic find themselves at odds with those don’t.

As the kingdoms of Erilea fracture around her, enemies must become allies if Aelin is to keep those she loves from falling to the dark forces poised to claim her world. With war looming on all horizons, the only chance for salvation lies in a desperate quest that may mark the end of everything Aelin holds dear.

Aelin’s journey from assassin to queen has entranced millions across the globe, and this fifth installment will leave fans breathless. Will Aelin succeed in keeping her world from splintering, or will it all come crashing down?


R E V I E W

“Nameless is my price.”

Remember when I said that the Throne of Glass series put me into my longest reading slump ever? Well… reading the fifth book Empire of Storms was the COMPLETE opposite effect of that.

It took me weeks to get a hold of myself and write a sane review because I was in a daze most of the time, shocked at the events that had transpired in this book. Even when I delved into another book, I still couldn’t get EoS out of my mind. It was just brilliantly crafted, with its epic plot twists and fast-paced narration. There were times I kept biting my lip, chanting “Oh, god. Oh, god. Oh, god.”, whenever the characters plunged themselves into dangerous situations and thought they’d be doomed.

“We’d better eat before we raise hell.”
Sarah J. Maas, Empire of Storms

I also grew to love the characters more in this book – both old and new. But the absence of some totally disappointed me. Even as I reached the last chapter, I expected them to make an appearance but there wasn’t even one sign of them in the book – not one word from them and it’s got me worried and thinking what could’ve gone possibly wrong with their journey. Seriously, I can’t handle it if something happens to my beloved Chaol, much as he annoyed me in the previous book. Maas better prepare an epic comeback for them in the next instalment or else.

As for Aelin’s group, they just keep growing awesome and awesome. With the addition of their crew, things got more exciting, along with the growing tension between some of them. I enjoy their interactions, the bonds they’ve made and the challenges they faced. I might even have a grudging respect for some of the villains, particularly Lorcan. I have mixed thoughts about Maeve even after that scene. I don’t know – I still can’t make up my mind whether I really hate her or not.

And Lysandra – my god, she’s just become my new favorite. I really, really like her. I find shapeshifters super-cool but that’s not just what drew me to her. After joining the crew, she sort of became Aelin’s closest confidante and right-hand, and Aelin trusted Lysandra to do things that the others couldn’t – extremely difficult choices that if presented to anyone else, they would certainly balk or object. But Lysandra isn’t like that. She does what needs to be done with a cool acceptance, but it doesn’t mean that she wants to. She’s extremely loyal, and I love that about her. I also love how Maas had put her on the spotlight in one of the chapters.

“I’m going to call in old debts and promises. To raise an army of assassins and thieves and exiles and commoners.”
Sarah J. Maas, Empire of Storms

And of course, I also love Aelin. She still hasn’t lost that trademark swag we are all very fond of, plus her tendency for theatrics (even if it was her own undoing). And can I just mention how funny her arguments with Rolfe are? The way Rolfe reacts at everything Aelin says entertains me so much, I keep wishing they have another round. But enough about Rolfe, what I’m trying to say is Aelin is still Aelin, but Maas was able to develop her character further in EoS. At the beginning, Darrow emphasized how much he rejected Aelin as his queen… that Aelin didn’t deserve the title Queen of Terrasen. But after everything that happened, I think we can all agree that Aelin has stepped up to her role rather stunningly.

“A court that wouldn’t just change the world. It would start the world over.”
Sarah J. Maas, Empire of Storms

As for the rest – Dorian, Manon, Elide, Aedion, Rowan, Gavriel and Fenrys – I love them all to pieces too. I could describe my feelings for them one by one in detail but that would take PAGES. And even though it should bother me, the fact that their group were made up of nothing but royalties, nobilities and high-ranking warriors never ceases to amaze me. Not to mention the fact they each have their own OTPs. Call me gullible,but  I don’t care.

“I love you. There is no limit to what I can give to you, no time I need. Even when this world is a forgotten whisper of dust between the stars, I will love you.”
Sarah J. Maas, Empire of Storms

Furthermore, I wasn’t bored by Rowan and Aelin’s relationship. I am still very awed by the depth of their relationship and the things they went through together, but I have to say that their sex scenes were a little bit too over the top for my taste.

But most of all, the similarities of EoS to ACOMAF was super noticeable. It didn’t bother me much, but it certainly decreased the level of surprise I felt over some of the plot twists. I wonder if this was intentional, if Maas is planning for the worlds of ACOMAF and EoS to overlap, or if this was just a result of being unable to come up with different and more creative twists. Either way, it doesn’t diminish my need to know what happens next for our beloved characters.

“The world,” Aelin said, “will be saved and remade by the dreamers, Rolfe.”
Sarah J. Maas, Empire of Storms

All in all, EoS is a book that totally blew my mind; it was extremely exciting, fast-paced and very emotional. I wouldn’t mind reading it again and again, despite its sheer size. Mind you, I stayed up ‘til morning to finish it, not wanting to lose my thrill over the story for one second.  That’s how addicted I was to EoS.

How about you? Have you read this book yet? If not, then pick it up soon and prepare to be amazed! 😎😎😎😉😉😉


R A T I N G

Outstanding (★★★★★)