5 stars · Book Reviews · Books · gina marinello-sweeney · Reviews · Uncategorized · YA Literature

The Rose and the Sword {Book Review}


Anna’s rating: 5 stars

Rebecca Veritas is excited to be beginning her psychology internship. She’s made a few new friends and found a delightful bookstore. However, not all is butterflies and sunshine – an old dear friend seems to be drifting away and Dr. Yin, the psychologist Rebecca is studying under, uses many methods that make Rebecca uneasy. As time passes, a growing sense of unease quickly transitions into more disturbing events that make her question if all is as it seems. When circumstances take an eerie turn, Rebecca will find herself a player on a larger scale than she had ever anticipated, a scale that could cause one to pay the ultimate price.

I was so excited to hear that my friend Gina had published her second book of the Veritas Chronicles!  And while I thought I Thirst was amazing, I was absolutely blown away by The Rose and the Sword. (Those who follow me on tumblr will attest to this – I was live blogging about this book all night.) I finished the entire 373 pages in a few hours – I didn’t even know I could read that fast?? I guess it’s just because I was just so captivated and had to find out what happened next. Some of my thoughts that I sent out last night…

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1 warning flag · 4 stars · Authors · Book Reviews · Books · Flagged media · Maggie Stiefvater · Reviews · Uncategorized · YA Literature

The Raven Cycle ~ Book Series Review


“The king sleeps still, under a mountain , and around him is assembled
his warriors and his herds and his riches. By his right hand is his cup,
filled with possibility. On his breast nestles his sword, waiting, too, to wake.
Fortunate is the soul who finds the king and is brave enough to call him to wakefulness, for the king will grant him a favour, as wondrous as can be imagined by a mortal man.” (The Raven Boys)

Anna’s rating: 4 stars (1 flag)

I haven’t read many YA books due to the fact that there tends to be the same storyline to most of these books. I recently got re-introduced to the genre with The Foxhole Court, and because I really enjoyed that series, I decided to try another of Tumblr’s favourites – The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater.

Books in order: The Raven Boys || The Dream Thieves || Blue Lily, Lily Blue || The Raven King

It’s definitely got a different storyline from the usual girl-meets-boy in a story with x plot but-really-the-whole-reason-for-the-story-is-that-she-learns-something-about-herself-and-falls-in-love (bonus points if contains love triangle) – you know, the type of story that makes me roll my eyes and sigh from desperation.



Blue Sargent lives with her mother and several other women (some are cousins?) at 300 Fox Way. Blue is different because she isn’t a psychic like all the other women are. In fact, she would just be ordinary if it weren’t for the fact that she is an aid to the other psychics because she ‘increases the energy’ – which doesn’t change the fact that Blue still feels basically useless. But all of this is about to change when Blue meets Richard Gansey III and his friends from Aglionby Academy.

Gansey is searching for a Welsh king named Glendower. This king is sleeping, not dead, and he will grant a wish to whoever will wake him. Gansey’s friends Ronan Lynch, Adam Parrish, and Noah Czerny – as well as Blue – come along on the quest with him. Blue meets the boys when Adam asks her on a date, but falls in love with Gansey. However, there’s a catch – before she met Gansey, Blue learned that he was on a list of people to die. And Blue is fated to kill her true love when she kisses him (i.e. Gansey). Adam wants to use the wish to make sure Gansey doesn’t die. Ronan wants to use the wish to make sure his little brother Matthew doesn’t die. But other, more extreme, situations arise…

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Books · TV Shows · Uncategorized · YA Literature

Update: The Raven Cycle and The Mortal Instruments

Wow – it’s certainly been a while since I last made a post. It’s been a whirlwind of the past weeks – papers are almost complete, but there’s still exams to follow in the two and a half weeks. But I’m almost there, and my first draft of my paper on Alice in Wonderland, using the theories of Freud and Michel Foucault, is almost complete. I’m listening to Mumford & Sons, have my Western Religions textbook at my feet, and I thought I’d do a quick update before I get back to it all.

The Readathon challenge was a miserable failure, but papers came on a little faster than I had expected they would. I finished with three out of five books – The Book ThiefAlice in Wonderland, and My Anastasia. I definitely enjoyed all three of those books more than I thought I would – reading a childhood book when you’re an adult certainly changes the way you read it, and, thankfully, it was in a good way with these three. I had never realized the relationship between Anastasia and Dunia in Stewart’s was so close and I teared up at least once or twice. There was so many good quotes in The Book Thief – that entire book is such a masterpiece. And Alice, well, I was smiling the entire time I read it.

Besides those three books, I’ve read six others since my last post. Six! I haven’t read so much since I was a little girl, but I guess it helps when you get books from the library and have a clear deadline, otherwise you won’t get to finish the book until the four or five people behind you have finished with it.

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Challenges · YA Literature

Re-Readathon: Goals & Beginnings

When I heard about thebookishdragon’s Re-Readathon, I thought it sounded like a really great idea. I’m joining in late (because I changed my tumblr url and didn’t get a notification when the re-readathon started), but I thought I’d still give it a shot. With the amount of school I’ve got, there isn’t much time to read at all, but I thought it would be fun to at least read a few old favourites.

My goal is to read 5 books from this list of old favourites:

  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (which I just started rereading this morning)19063
  • Alice in Wonderland (not so much of an old favourite, but I had a slight obsession with the idea of Wonderland a few months ago, started reading it for a school project, and never got around to reading much)
  • To Kill A Mockingbird (and that way, I can read Go Set A Watchman which my boyfriend bought me!!)
  • The Silver Chair AND/OR The Horse and His Boy (my two favourite Narnia books)
  • My Anastasia (one of my very favourite books when I was a little girl, which I haven’t read since probably near a decade ago)
  • Matilda (because it’s Matilda)
  • The Long Winter (my favourite Little House on the Prairie book when I was young)
  • The Postman
  • any book by Kit Pearson or Madeline L’Engle

I’d love to start reading The Lord of the Rings again because it’s been a couple of years (where has the time gone when I used to read it every year?!), but I know that would be a little too much to ask with my schedule.

So far, I’m rereading The Book Thief, and I got through 29% on my hour ride to school this morning, so I think it’s going well so far!
11250317As a side note, I finished three books that I had been reading at the same time (all from the library, just in time for another ebook to come in) – The Song of AchillesMockingjay, and JackabyTSOA is basically a retelling and expansion of the story of Achilles and Patroclus from Homer’s Ilyiad. I thought it had a really good plot and some great one-liners, especially towards the end – but the writing style drove me nuts. It was very rushed and I think the writing was less than stellar. I almost didn’t finish it, but I didn’t want to let the book defeat me. Jackaby was better. I picked it up at the library after seeing the Doctor Who meets Sherlock advertisement. However, I believe it was more Sherlock meets Supernatural, since the adventure included creatures of lo7260188re (like banshees), not aliens. It was a delightful read, but I’m not sure if I’m interested in reading any of the other books in the series. Mockingjay was the best of the lot. I enjoyed it more than the first two books in the series since it didn’t focus on the Games, but rather, the unfair treatment of the people by the Capitol and the people’s response to it. The book reminded me a little bit of a dystopian uprising, like The Postman, but the kindness shown within times of suffering really reminded me of my favourite Les Misérables. I thought Collins did a very good job writing mental illness and PTSD, as well. The ending was a little rushed, but as a whole, I felt like this one deserved a 5 star rating on my Goodreads.

Hope in Darkness · Themes in Literature · YA Literature

The Hope & Humanity in Stories

I’ve been reading Suzanne Collin’s Hunger Games trilogy slowly, on and off, for a little while. I remember how the decadence of the Capitol in the first movie struck me. But now, reading Mockingjay, it has been instead the little glimmers of humanity even during times of great hardship.

As I love my books to be dark and my characters to be greatly flawed and/or tortured before the hope appears, I thought I might write a post examining some of my favourite works and what is in them that makes them appeal so much to me.

I only just started Mockingjay, but I already love the book.  It starts on a very grim note. The Capitol has destroyed Katniss’ home district and her love interest, Peeta Mellark, has been captured. I found this quote quite chilling:

“My name is Katniss Everdeen. I am seventeen years old. My home is District 12. I was in the Hunger Games. I escaped. The Capitol hates me. Peeta was taken prisoner. He is thought to be dead. Most likely he is dead. It is probably best if he is dead…”

Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) learns that Peeta is still alive.

Katniss agrees to be the symbol of the rebellion against the Capitol (the Mockingjay) in order to save Peeta from the evil President Snow. I haven’t gotten much further in the book than that, but I wanted to mention the scenes in which Katniss finds her old stylists imprisoned in the rebel base. Katniss is shocked by the treatment of the three and immediately orders their release. Even though Katniss does not like associating with other people, she shows them how to get to the dining hall and sits down to eat with them. One of the stylists, Octavia, has green skin (a fashion statement from the Capitol). Posy, a five-year-old girl, sister to Katniss’ best friend Gale, comes over to the table and is curious about Octavia’s green skin. Octavia becomes upset – she has just been rescued from prison, is finally allowed to eat again, and now this little girl questions her looks. But the little girl becomes a source of comfort for the poor woman:

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