Review: The Blazing Star by Imani Josey

32182684The Blazing Star by Imani Josey

Published December 6th 2016

Sixteen-year-old Portia White is used to being overlooked—after all, her twin sister Alex is a literal genius.

But when Portia holds an Egyptian scarab beetle during history class, she takes center stage in a way she never expected: she faints. Upon waking, she is stronger, faster, and braver than before. And when she accidentally touches the scarab again?

She wakes up in ancient Egypt—her sister and an unwitting freshman in tow.

Great.

Mysterious and beautiful, Egypt is more than they could have ever imagined from their days in the classroom. History comes alive as the three teens realize that getting back to the present will be the most difficult thing they’ve ever done. Stalked by vicious monsters called Scorpions, every step in the right direction means a step closer to danger.

As Portia and the girls discover that they’re linked to the past by more than just chance, they have to decide what it truly means to be yourself, to love your sister, and to find your way home.

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I loved the concept of this book and I liked the main character, Portia, a lot but I did find the story to be slow at times.
I thought time travel and Ancient Egypt sounded amazing and I was super excited. I think I might have had too high expectations.
The plot was a little slow for me. The first half really wasn’t doing it for me but the last half was a lot better. The writing style is pretty descriptive so I think that’s what made the plot so slow. It felt a little over descriptive at times and it dragged the story on.
I really appreciate how diverse the characters are. I think that’s really needed in literature, especially in Young Adult. I really like how Portia is represented on the cover.

Overall, I really loved the concept and diversity but the plot was too slow for me. I’m definitely interested in other books by Imani Josey though.

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ARC Review: Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova

27969081Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova
To Be Published : September 3 2017

Nothing says Happy Birthday like summoning the spirits of your dead relatives.

Alex is a bruja, the most powerful witch in a generation…and she hates magic. At her Deathday celebration, Alex performs a spell to rid herself of her power. But it backfires. Her whole family vanishes into thin air, leaving her alone with Nova, a brujo boy she can’t trust. A boy whose intentions are as dark as the strange marks on his skin.

The only way to get her family back is to travel with Nova to Los Lagos, a land in-between, as dark as Limbo and as strange as Wonderland…

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A big thank you to the lovely people at Sourcebooks for sending me this ARC!

I know it’s cutting it close to the pub date of this book but I was in a bit of a slump (don’t let my reviews fool you, I was super behind on posts) and I finally got around to reading this book and I was pretty surprised at how much I enjoyed it.

I was very entertained while reading this book. I’ve never read anything in terms of buja/bujo magic and it really intrigued me. Of course I’ve heard of it but never have I read a book where this was the way magic was used and it felt really authentic and really well written, and I appreciated that a lot while reading this book.

I absolutely loved the world (Los Lagos), the writing, the story but there were a few things that fell short to me. I felt like I didn’t really get as immersed in this book as I usually do with others which I’m not saying is an overly negative thing but I REALLY wanted to feel like I was completely enveloped in this story this place around all this magic and amazement, but I just didn’t and it sucked when I could easily put the book down and go do something else. Being so excited for this book I was really looking forward into really diving deep into it and having trouble coming out of this book…but it just didn’t happen. And I think it could be because of the characters? But I’m still not quite sure (hmmm maybe  a re-read needs to happen to figure that out…)

I preferred Nova over Alex. I think she kind of just fell under the radar in comparison to other lead ladies I’ve read about and just felt that like overall there could have been a lot more development overall across the board. I feel like I wanted more from them. All the characters, I needed more from Alex, more from Nova…hell I needed more from the villain! And I think that’s where this book started to fall short. Although really entertaining, and a great premise and AMAZING diversity in all fronts (ethnic, romance, just unf I loved all the diversity in this book!) a big part of books that really make or break it for me are the characters.

But I have to say, for one of my most anticipated reads Zoraida gets ALL THE CLAPS! Thank you for this good read! It’s something that’s snaked me out of my slump and got me reading again. Overall great plot, awesome world, good characters, and entertaining.

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Taylor & Steph’s Top 5 Summer Reads!

Happy Summer  and Happy  4th of July (for those of you in the U.S.) everyone! As we all know the nice weather is out and our love for books is ever-blooming! We thought it’d be a great time to give you guys a combo post of our top five summer reads. Books we love to bring along with us on the road, on vacation, or just relaxing by the beach or wherever for the summertime. Hopefully some of you will be inclined to pick up these books on these lists sometime this summer…enjoy!


Taylor’s Picks:
5. Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson 

A super cute road trip book with great writing and lots of heart. I loved the character development and I would definitely recommend this one.

4. Look Both Ways by Alison Cherry
The plot was amazing and so different from any book I’ve read before.
I loved the setting of a summer theater camp and I really liked seeing how all the characters were very different from each other but they all had one thing in common, they loved theater.

3. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
I was so emotionally invested in this story and the characters. I couldn’t put this book down and I finished it in less than two days. I love everything about this book. The characters development is great, the plot is so much fun, and the writing is beautiful. This is definitely one of my all time favorites.

2. The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West
I loved the characters, the plot, the writing, everything about this book.
There was so much character development, especially with Gia. And even though I didn’t really have anything in common with her, she still felt relatable.

1. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
I love this book. It was so surprisingly amazing. The writing is perfect and the characters are wonderful. I read this in one afternoon and I couldn’t put it down.

Book Photos (1 of 4)Stephanie’s Picks:

5. A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray 
This book is one of my all time favorites. A great story with a bunch of adventure , romance, and even time travel. Gives a great twist to a very original idea.

4. The Wrath and The Dawn by Renee Adieh
One of my top books from 2015, I couldn’t put this book down! A retelling of 1001 Nights (Arabian Nights) this book makes you feel as though you’re right smack dab in the Arabian desert on some of the most steamiest nights. A great plot, some of my favorite characters from 2015, I can’t wait to read The Rose & The Dagger this summer.

3.  The Sword of Summer (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard) by Rick Riordan 
Rick Riordan can never do any wrong. A great book with another great background in mythology/lore. I love a good Riordan book, Percy Jackson will forever have a place in my heart but Magnus Chase comes into a close second. LOVE LOVE LOVE this book for a fun summer read.

2. Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes 
A summer in never complete in my book without a good fantasy novel. And I refrained from putting all high/ya fantasy on this list because I felt like most of you would get bored real quick. But fantasy is my all time favorite and I could never survive a summer without a great fantasy novel which is why I chose Falling Kingdoms. I don’t think I’ve loved a fantasy series (other than ToG which is also another one you should read if you haven’t, oh and Harry Potter) as much as I do Falling Kingdoms.

1. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
So, I know most of you have probably already read this heartbreaking masterpiece, but I couldn’t go through a top 5 list without including my girl Sarah J. Maas. This book is an AMAZING book that I flew right through with all the action and steamy romance scenes, it’s most definitely a book to pick up during the summer, I promise you’ll get through it in a few days…it sucks you in and never lets you go.


Please let us know if you guys would like for us to continue doing collaborated posts. We’ll come up with some ideas, you could suggest some as well and we’ll be more than happy to make it a part of our blogging experience if you guys would like!

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Review: City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare

24885524City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare
Published: March 28, 2008

Clary Fray just wishes that her life would go back to normal. But what’s normal when you’re a demon-slaying Shadowhunter, your mother is in a magically induced coma, and you can suddenly see Downworlders like werewolves, vampires, and faeries? If Clary left the world of the Shadowhunters behind, it would mean more time with her best friend, Simon, who’s becoming more than a friend. But the Shadowhunting world isn’t ready to let her go—especially her handsome, infuriating, newfound brother, Jace. And Clary’s only chance to help her mother is to track down rogue Shadowhunter Valentine, who is probably insane, certainly evil—and also her father.

To complicate matters, someone in New York City is murdering Downworlder children. Is Valentine behind the killings—and if he is, what is he trying to do? When the second of the Mortal Instruments, the Soul-Sword, is stolen, the terrifying Inquisitor arrives to investigate and zooms right in on Jace. How can Clary stop Valentine if Jace is willing to betray everything he believes in to help their father?

In this breathtaking sequel to City of Bones, Cassandra Clare lures readers back into the dark grip of New York City’s Downworld, where love is never safe and power becomes the deadliest temptation.


Hello everyone! I am back into the swing of things and I’m so happy that all of you are still reading along with us! Taylor has been doing a GREAT job of keeping things going as I try to keep my life going. Wedding planning is so much harder than I thought it would be and adulting is something I wish I could take a break from but I’ve missed writing about books so I thought I’d back track to as far as I can remember and write through all the books I’ve read since I’ve been MIA and we start with this lovely little thing.

City of Ashes picks up I do believe a couple months after City of Bones. And this book, I didn’t like it as much as City of Bones but it definitely impressed me, more so towards the end of this book. So the book begins with this really mysterious beginning with Valentine doing some sort of ritual in a pentagram with like some sort of sacrifice. And I was just sitting there thinking Okay Cassandra Clare…you’ve got my attention…

After that, the book kind of just was a big bunch of ups and downs for me. So I loved meeting Isabel and Alec’s mother and father, I think they really weren’t what I was expecting but enjoyed them, especially in the end of the book. And I actually enjoyed the unraveling of Imogen’s story. It kind of reminded me of Umbridge but at the end I didn’t hate her as much because her story is …a bit rough and I kind of sympathized with her a bit. But I thought she was a great new character. I also enjoyed Maya in this series and that we got to see more of the werewolves in this book! I’ve been in like a werewolf love fest lately.

But I think the only major part of this book that I didn’t enjoy, and I’m noticing a lot of others didn’t either is the whole Clary and Jace dynamic of them feeling like they like each other but they’re brother and sister which is kind of creepy and I just really hope this series kind of maneuvers around and Jace is magically not really related or something of the sort. I HATED the Simon and Clary dynamic in this as well.

I loved that we got to see Maryse kick ass though! I hope we get to see a lot more of her in the rest of the series I think she’s bad ass and might be my newest favorite…I still ship Magnus and Alec over everything and anything.

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February Read Along Starts Monday!

As most of you have noticed we’re doing a read along every  month the 2016 schedule has been posted both on our facebook page and our goodreads group. So taking January as a time to re-group and figure out everything for a read-along.

Our read along is starting in just 2 days! Although I’ve had trouble finding Maybe Someday, I know a lot of you have physical copies and love love love Colleen Hoover! We’re so excited to read this book together. Especially me since it’s my first Hoover book!

Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover!

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At twenty-two years old, Sydney is enjoying a great life: She’s in college, working a steady job, in love with her wonderful boyfriend, Hunter, and rooming with her best friend, Tori. But everything changes when she discovers that Hunter is cheating on her—and she’s forced to decide what her next move should be.

Soon, Sydney finds herself captivated by her mysterious and attractive neighbor, Ridge. She can’t take her eyes off him or stop listening to the passionate way he plays his guitar every evening out on his balcony. And there’s something about Sydney that Ridge can’t ignore, either. They soon find themselves needing each other in more ways than one.

A passionate tale of friendship, betrayal, and romance, Maybe Someday will immerse readers in Sydney’s tumultuous world from the very first page.


We’ve been working to figure out a hashtag for this lovely read along, as well as re-working our goodreads page. Please join it for the discussion portion of the read along!  But as you know, we’ve been having a few give aways with our read alongs. And I’m more than happy to let you all know, we’ll be giving away a SIGNED copy of To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han!

To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny HanTo All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed. But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister’s ex-boyfriend, Josh. As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all.

We’ll let you know how we will be choosing the winner of the give away, but we’ll announce hashtags, goodreads discussions, and more closer to the begin date of the read along.

Happy Reading!

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Review: This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

24529123This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp
Published: January 5, 2016

10:00 a.m.
The principal of Opportunity, Alabama’s high school finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.

10:02 a.m.
The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.

10:03
The auditorium doors won’t open.

10:05
Someone starts shooting.

Told over the span of 54 harrowing minutes from four different perspectives, terror reigns as one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.


* TRIGGER WARNING SCHOOL SHOOTING* 
Wow. That’s all I can say as I begin this review. I have never read a book like this. Granted yes, I’ve read books in different perspectives but never have I read a book like this one. I was always knew there have been issues with school shootings. They happen all the time and most of the time none of us know the true reasons as to why events like these happen. And I have to say I enjoyed the way you start realizing why the shooter is there, what happened to him and his story.

I think the backstory of Ty and his sister could have made for a possibly stronger book if it were written differently. I think all the perspectives was a way to keep a reader more engaged and enthralled into the book, which is definitely what kept me reading but the fact that all these perspectives were so…not disturbed but they all had some awful backstory and I feel like that’s not really how it always is.

I find it bothersome that there’s always some sort of horrible past or some MAJOR issue that happens to a character, or if something does happen to a character, that it’s huge life event. I guess I just pull from experience where I’ve had bad things happen to me and I’ve lived through a troublesome time in my life and it hasn’t overrun every aspect of my life. And I guess that’s something that bothers me with YA books sometimes.

I think as a book though, and being classified as YA it did the job to keep entertained, bring about awareness of these awful things that have been constantly happening and other items that a lot of people do go through in life. I think it did a good job of portraying the fear that goes through people no matter what situation they’re in, and especially the end I think it was…usually how hostage/shoot outs end. Yes, I did get upset and teary-eyed at a few points, yes I did enjoy this book and had to stop after reading it and think about what I’ve read. It’s a big pill to swallow this whole topic of gun control and school shootings.

But it was a very good book.

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October Read Along with Giveaway!

Book-of-The-Month

Hey guys! So we really want to try and get a good push of people on our read along for October. October is an awesome month for spooky and creepy reads. We’ll be reading The Dead House together week by week and having just open forums at the end of the week/during the week on our Goodreads Group. We know everyone loves a good creepy read along with the tradition of Halloween.
Part-psychological thriller, part-urban legend, this is an unsettling narrative made up of diary entries, interview transcripts, film footage transcripts and medical notes. Twenty-five years ago, Elmbridge High burned down. Three people were killed and one pupil, Carly Johnson, disappeared. Now a diary has been found in the ruins of the school. The diary belongs to Kaitlyn Johnson, Carly’s identical twin sister. But Carly didn’t have a twin . . .

Re-opened police records, psychiatric reports, transcripts of video footage and fragments of diary reveal a web of deceit and intrigue, violence and murder, raising a whole lot more questions than it answers.

Who was Kaitlyn and why did she only appear at night? Did she really exist or was she a figment of a disturbed mind? What were the illicit rituals taking place at the school? And just what did happen at Elmbridge in the events leading up to ‘the Johnson Incident’?

Chilling, creepy and utterly compelling, THE DEAD HOUSE is one of those very special books that finds all the dark places in your imagination, and haunts you long after you’ve finished reading.

Above is the description to The Dead House, according to kindle is 419 pages and a 6 hour read. We’re going to try and just divide the book into fourths, and just read it portion by portion together so no one get super overwhelmed and can be a secondary book to whatever else people are reading at the time.

ALSO, We’re changing our giveaway book to Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman! I’m currently reading this book and falling IN LOVE with it. So if you haven’t picked it up yet, please enter our giveaway all you have to do is join our goodgreads group, follow us on some sort of social media of your choice and post during out discussion weeks and you’re automatically entered for this giveaway.

So, here are some links to social media if you’d like to follow us there as well as on here, and we hope to hear from you during our October Read Along.

Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | Instagram: @bibliophilegathering

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Review: Me and Earl and The Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

12700353Me Earl and The Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

Published : March 1st, 2012

“Greg Gaines is the last master of high school espionage, able to disappear at will into any social environment. He has only one friend, Earl, and together they spend their time making movies, their own incomprehensible versions of Coppola and Herzog cult classics.

Until Greg’s mother forces him to rekindle his childhood friendship with Rachel.

Rachel has been diagnosed with leukemia—-cue extreme adolescent awkwardness—-but a parental mandate has been issued and must be obeyed. When Rachel stops treatment, Greg and Earl decide the thing to do is to make a film for her, which turns into the Worst Film Ever Made and becomes a turning point in each of their lives.

And all at once Greg must abandon invisibility and stand in the spotlight.”

I’ve always wanted to read this book. And I’m kind of annoyed I didn’t read it sooner. I always saw it on the shelf at the store and I thought it was such a beautiful cover buy, but when I heard what it was about I knew I had to get it and I knew that I had to read it.

A good friend of mine from high school passed away from cancer two years after we graduated in 2009. So he passed away the year this book was published, actually, he passed away a month before it was published. So I always try to find books that can embody the feeling of losing someone at that age, in that way.

I never thought I would find a comparison of those feelings in this book. Which surprised me so much. I loved this writing style of seeing everything through Greg’s eyes. How this was his work of “non-fiction” and him really speaking through his feelings. He’d honestly tell the reader how he felt bad about what he said or how it was rude or inconsiderate and I really appreciated that insight into a character.

But I also loved how when it came down to it, it got to the raw feeling of how much it sucks to see your friend just not have any fight left after going through the grueling sickness that is cancer. It made my heart swell with feeling when I read how Greg truly felt about seeing Rachel go through all this. And it just hit a spot within myself where I really appreciate the truth of it. Because when I was 19, that’s how I felt about my friend and his cancer.

So needless to say, I appreciate this work for what it is. I thank Jesse Andrews for the laughter and fun and the swift read that Me and Earl and The Dying Girl is, but I also thank him for making a book that finally grasped what it truly felt like to go through something like that at that age. Probably a top 3 read of 2015 for me so far.

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