Book Review: Gathering Darkness by Morgan Rhodes

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Title: Gathering Darkness (Book #3 in the Falling Kingdoms series)

Author: Morgan Rhodes

My Rating: 5 stars

Synopsis: (since this book is the third in the series, this will contain spoilers to those who haven’t read the first two books yet). The quest to find the Kindred intensifies as three teams are set out to possess the magic of the crystals. King Gaius seeks the Kindred out to conquer all of Mytica; but he’s not the only one hunting down the powerful crystals. The Kraeshians, Ashur and Amara, are the royal siblings from across the Silver Sea willing to intrigue and manipulate whomever possible in order to get the Kindred for themselves. Jonas and Cleo lead the Rebels with common interests to use the power of the Kindred to win back their fallen kingdoms. The Watchers ally with King Gaius to use Lucia’s powers to direct them to the Kindred. Magnus is stuck in the middle not knowing who to side with; he must choose between his own family, or justice. “The only certainty in the dark times is that whoever finds the magic first will control the fate of Mytica… but fate can be fickle when magic is involved.”

My Thoughts: FINALLY after what seems to be a month or so about finishing this book, I FINALLY HAVE THE REVIEW UP. Anyway, I am all about this series now it’s not even funny. I don’t even know where to begin. I still find it amazing how I started out with favouring Cleo the most. Now,  most of the characters are near and dear to me! We got to see so many relationships strengthen between what I like to call our “core four” (Cleo, Magnus, Jonas, and Lucia). Most of my favourite scenes involved a lot of Cleo and Magnus and their interactions. We were introduced to some new characters such as Princess Amara, Felix, and a few others that I shouldn’t say. I loved seeing the interactions between Nic and Prince Ashur, Cleo and Lucia, and Felix and Jonas. I really liked how we got to hear more about the Kindred, Eva, and Melenia.

This instalment was so action packed and intense I can’t possibly write down all of my thoughts. The amount of character development is so great. We finally have Magnus thinking more ambitiously about what he wants and how he is going to get it. Magnus also starts to care more about Cleo, but I’ll discuss that later in the spoiler section. I just love Magnus a whole lot more now. I have said before that Lucia isn’t my favourite out of the core four, but from this point onwards, I can see her being someone I root for. Her determination to find the Kindred is so strong; my only wish for her is to use the Kindred for herself and not for King Gaius. Lucia is seriously a force to be reckoned with. For Jonas, I feel like he isn’t doing a great job of being a rebel. If anything, he’s just getting a bunch of people killed. Nonetheless, I still believe in him; Jonas needs a nudge in the right direction (preferably by Felix). As for Cleo, my child, there were so many times where I felt nervous for her. Cleo still has her eye on the prize: to reclaim her kingdom from the terrors of King Gaius.

Continue reading

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Book Review: Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

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Title: Since You’ve Been Gone

Author: Morgan Matson

My Rating: 5 Stars!

Synopsis: Sloane has always been the one to make Emily’s life interesting. But right before what would’ve been the best summer ever, Sloane disappears without a trace, only leaving a to-do list behind for Emily to complete. This list had activities like apple picking at night, dancing until dawn, and even skinny dipping! Hoping that completing the list will somehow bring Sloane back, Emily has the unexpected help of Frank Porter to accompany her on this adventure through the summer. Along with the tasks of completing the list and finding Sloane, Emily will also learn how to find herself.

My Thoughts: Without a doubt, I absolutely loved this book. I completely identified with Emily during the first half of the book. She is described as being “shy since birth” and is usually the girl in the background; she is known as “Sloane’s friend”. Emily also depends on Sloane to step into situations whenever Emily gets nervous or flustered while talking to people. I totally understand where Emily is coming from because sometimes I get nervous when I talk to people I don’t know and I get my friends to do it for me instead. Sloane’s absence often leaves Emily thinking of things like “if Sloane were here, she would know what to do.” I do wish that Emily had more confidence in her self whenever she talks to people. But I do understand that everybody has their own starting point in order to grow. Thus, the list was created for this exact purpose; to pull Emily out of her shell and show her new experiences.

Initially, the list was one of the factors that got my attention into reading this particular book. Leaving behind the list with activities like sharing secrets in the dark, asking for Mona on this certain street, and sleeping under the stars truly intrigued me and made me wonder if Emily would actually be down and go through with it. Part of me wishes that I had a summer like this with my friends. There was something so satisfying about completing tasks; I felt whole and content whenever something off of the list was done. It was like everything fell into place perfectly. After each new experience, we got to witness Emily gaining confidence within herself and solidifying more and more relationships. I couldn’t help but cheer her on.

It was great to read about a person I can relate with being able to do some of these crazy things. This book made me feel like I could do some of these things as well. My favourite thing about the list is that everything is completely random but then goes with the flow. For example, Emily would start off her day focused on completing one task but ends up finishing a different task instead. Like this one time she was set about asking for Mona, but then ends up apple picking at night instead. It showed me that although some things don’t go according to plan, everything will work out alright.

Throughout the flashbacks in where we got to see Sloane, I liked seeing what kind of a person she was; I liked seeing that she and Emily had such a close relationship. We also got to know Sloane even thought she presently isn’t in the story. I also liked the new relationships that Emily formed with the people around her. Watching the slow friendship develop between her and Frank made me so happy, but I’ll get into that in the spoiler section. I thought that Emily’s relationship between her brother Beckett was super cute and nice, but I wanted to see more of their interactions especially after this one point in the book. Friendship is a huge focus in the story. I loved seeing Emily form her own friendships without being majorly attached to Sloane; she was learning to be her own person.

**Spoiler Section**

Frank and Emily becoming friends was once of my favourite parts in this novel. Frank is such a nice person who cares for everyone’s well-being. When Emily frequently kept running into Frank, I just knew that things were going to go well. I absolutely loved it whenever Emily and Frank ran together; this was their way of getting closer while listening to each others’ music. Once thing started getting serious, like sharing secrets under the stars and the slow dancing at the wedding with each other. I just knew that this friendship was something more. BUT, I had to keep reminding myself that Frank has a girlfriend and that it wouldn’t be okay if they got too close. Ultimately, I loved their ending together.

Living room theater would be such a fun thing to experience. I wouldn’t mind having a bunch of my friends over acting out a play for fun. I can already see it now, the chaotic mess and hilarity in my house.

I’m glad that we finally got to meet Sloane in the present day. The amount of time felt so short while Emily and Sloane were catching up; it felt so rushed. But it is understandable considering that Emily had to be back at home before her family. I liked how Emily made her own list for Sloane before she left. I am so glad that they have decided to stay in touch even through the distance. My favourite item on Emily’s list for Sloane would have to be the one about “dating someone who waits until you get inside of your house and then drive away”. It was something along the lines of that and I just thought it was so cute and completely relevant.

My favourite activities on the list that were done would ha.e to be the times when Emily shared some secrets in the dark with Frank, the fake Penelope ID, sleep under the stars, and hug a Jamie. I loved seeing Frank and Emily get closer together; I couldn’t help but gush everywhere to everyone. The whole situation with the ID had me laughing so hard when that person accused Emily about being the Penelope who stole her man. When Beckett found out that he couldn’t go camping with his dad, I felt so sad for him; he was looking forward to that day for so long. Emily spending the night under the stars just talking to her brother touched my heart. The talk that they had about wanting to spend more time together touched my heart. The hug a Jamie task got us closer look into Dawn and Emily’s new friendship. Whenever Emily gained a new friend, I felt ecstatic. Ending the night with hugging James from the gas station was such a nice way to end the chapter. I couldn’t ask for a better list.

**Spoiler section over**

All in all, I for sure recommend this book to everyone. Morgan Matson has done it again. I thoroughly enjoyed this adventure and it totally will be on my favourites list. In a well ordered universe, everybody would pick this book up.

Thanks for reading as always!

Top 5 Wednesday: Favourite Required Reading

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Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly feature created by Lainey at Gingerreadslainey. The T5W’s information will be in the goodreads group here if you’re interested in participating next week. This week’s topic is favourite required reading books. Here we go!

5. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

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I forgot when I read this book but I think that it was around the time when I was in the 6th grade. I love how the main character just made a tollbooth and drove through it, transporting him to places called “the Island of Conclusions”, and “Digitopolis”. It was such a fun read about a bored kid with nothing to do and his adventures through the tollbooth.

4. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

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I loved reading The Hunger Games in the 10th grade. It was a re-read for me when I read it with the class. Because of that, I already had the groundwork done and got the gist of the story; I enjoyed the story a whole lot more by looking into the symbols and themes. Reading The Hunger Games is always a fun time for me.

3. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

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Charlotte’s Web has got to be one of my favourite books of all time. I remember reading this story sometime during my elementary years and I completely loved it. Even after  my class finished this book, I would read it over again with my mom and fall in love with it over again. Charlotte’s Web gives me so many great memories.

2. Of Mice and Men by George Steinbeck

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Of Mice and Men was more of a recent read for me; I read it in 12th grade. This book hit me hard in the feelings. Towards the end, it seriously felt like a train ran over my heart and then all of the passengers in that train got out, and stepped directly onto my feelings. Something about George and Lennie’s dreams just tugged my heartstrings. I do hope that I re-read this in the future.

1. Lord of the Flies by William Golding

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I remember reading this during 11th grade and being totally excited to see what happens to everyone. Once I heard that a group of young guys were stranded on an island without any rules or parental figures to guide them, I was all for this book; I wanted to know how they would fend for themselves. I heard that some parts of the story got intense but I had no idea how intense it would really be. Like, a bunch of little boys on an island? How bad could that possibly turn out? I was so wrong. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book.

And that’s all for this week! Thanks, as always.

Quick Update

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I went to the library earlier today to pick up these two lovely books before I went to my orientation meeting. I can’t wait until I pick these up and read them straight through! I forgot where I heard about The Glass Sentence from, but it I know that it deals a whole lot about maps and the world. Books about the world are always cool. Ever since I read Aentee from readatmidnight’s review about Steelheart, I’ve been dying to get my hands on it. (the review will be linked here.) As I said before, anything super hero/super villain related is right up my alley.

I am worried about not being able to finish any of my books because of my soon to be busy schedule.

Anyway, that’s all from me for now!

Top 5 Wednesday: Favourite Maps

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When I read about this week’s topic, I was so ecstatic. I absolutely LOVE it when my books have maps in them. I missed out on last week’s topic about character tropes because I just couldn’t think of any tropes that I enjoyed. But here I am for this week!


Top 5 Wednesday was created by Lainey at Gingerreadslainey. If you’re interested in participating in future T5W’s  information will be in the goodreads group here. Let’s get started!

5. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

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I was not expecting a map in a contemporary novel at all; this gave me a wonderful surprise. I really like how the map shows the Sinclairs’ family island and where each of the family members live. It gives off a great idea about where everything is and how the houses connect.

4. The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkein

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I wish that there were more defining objects in the map like trees, rivers, or maybe something along the lines of castles. I really like the dwarfish written on the map; it makes the map look so much cooler. I think that the little notes on the map give little directions as to where the journey look place. Very, very nice.

3. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

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I adore these maps to death. I love how they are on the end pages of the book; the easy accessible pages are useful when I want to know where the story is taking place. The world map alone is already beautiful, but with the addition of the Blackcliff Academy map on the back of the book, everything gets so much cooler.

2. The Remnant Chronicles series map by Mary E Pearson

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The colour of the map gives off a vintage-y feel to me. I think that it is so cool how the kingdoms not only have their cities on them, but they also have drawings of what the castles look like! The drawings and crests on the side just add to the beauty of this map. Props to the creator of the map because this is seriously so well done.

1. A Song of Ice and Fire series map by George R. R. Martin

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The map of this world is so incredibly detailed. I would be absolutely lost and confused as to where all of the kingdoms lie if it weren’t for these maps. The world is so huge! These two pages divide the north and the south of Westeros. Essos isn’t even in the picture yet! I also love the sigils of the houses on the corners of the map. I think it’s really cute. This map is taken from A Dance with Dragons simply because it had the bigger map to show rather than my small mass market paperback ones. I love everything about this map.

That’s all for this week. I just love maps!

July Wrap Up!

I’d like to say that July was a good reading month for me. I read a total of five books. It doesn’t seem like a lot, but coming from a person who reads about one to two books a month, five is a great amount. Let’s get right into it! (Click the book covers for the synopsis)

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I started the month with The Heir by Kiera Cass and it was exactly as I had expected it. One thing that I loved about this book, was that we got to experience the Selection as the Selector instead of the Selected. Seeing the vast amount of boys trying to hold Eadlyn’s attention was fun; each of the boys have their own quirks and cute things about them. I’m excited to see who becomes Eadlyn’s endgame.

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The Falling Kingdoms series by Morgan Rhodes has quickly grown to become one of my favourite series during this past month. I do have review up for Fallen Kingdoms and Rebel Spring here and here. I have read Gathering Darkness, but I haven’t had the time to review it yet. (It is on the way and will be linked here when it is posted). I seriously recommend it to everyone. The Gathering Darkness review is here.

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The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E Pearson was one of my most anticipated books of the year. I don’t want to go into too many details because this is a sequel to the first book The Kiss of Deception. All in all, it was a solid book that left me wanting more. I must read the final book as soon as possible! I’m thinking about doing a review on this book as well, so I’ll leave a link here as soon as it is up.

Once again, July has been a great reading month for me. I hope that I have enough time this month to read as much as I can.

As always, thanks for reading!