Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor
Series: Daughter of Smoke & Bone #1
Published by Brown for Young Readers on September 27th 2011
Genres: Fantasy & Magic
Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.
In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.
And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.
Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands", she speaks many languages - not all of them human - and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.
When beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?
I started reading Daughter of Smoke and Bones in the car on my way to Sweden. And I HATE myself for not reading this book sooner, because this book is absolutely phenomenal. Flawless writing, beautiful storytelling, and so incredibly original. I am in love.
The prose was beyond a doubt one of the strongest features of this book. Beautiful imagery and descriptions, absolutely gorgeous! The words were just strung together, seemingly effortless. I was immediately hooked. I have been in Prague, a long time ago, but this story has me wishing I could go back, and maybe (hopefully) soon I will.
Incredible world building. Beautiful descriptions of the city and the political tension just seeps through the pages. The idea of the wishes and how everything revolved around teeth had something magical, albeit a bit horrific, to it. I love how we learn more about Karou’s ‘other world’ through her artwork. It was just beautiful. There’s really no other word to describe the world Laini Taylor has created in this book. Absolutely beautiful.
The characters were fantastic. They are flawed and full of depth, which makes it so easy to connect with them. I love how complex, but relatable, Karou is. She has so much wit and a great sense of humour. And the romance. Ah, the romance. So damn addictive.
Great plot. Great heroine. Great love interest. Great and addictive romance. Great EVERYTHING. The originality of this story about knocked my socks off. An absolute new favorite fantasy read! I can hardly wait to read the other books!
My True Love Gave To Me by Ally Carter, David Levithan, Gayle Forman, Holly Black, Jenny Han, Kelly Link, Kiersten White, Laini Taylor, Matt de la Pena, Myra McEntire, Rainbow Rowell, Stephanie Perkins
Published by Macmillan Children's Books on October 9th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Fantasy & Magic
On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me ...This beautiful collection features twelve gorgeously romantic stories set during the festive period, by some of the most talented and exciting YA authors writing today. The stories are filled with the magic of first love and the magic of the holidays.
*singsong voice* I am so incredibly late to the party, again. Around Christmas my twitter feed was exploding with people reading My True Love Gave To Me, and I wanted to read it as well. But a snowboarding trip was coming up, and I put it off, and then I didn’t read it. Insert sad face. And when I got back after a week in the French Alps, Christmas had passed and I decided not to purchase the book. Then a week later I was exchanging ‘late’ Christmas presents with a friends, and guess what my present was. A good amount of squealing and hugging was involved, because my friend just knows me SO well. And the past week I’ve been reading one short story every night.
Now first things first: The UK cover? So stunning! Every time I see it I feel the need to stroke the cover and whisper ‘my precious’. It’s just that beautiful and cute. I always worry that short stories don’t carry enough depth, which mostly has to do with their shortness since there’s not much time to go into details when you’re dealing with a story of about 30 pages long. But I’ve read a few short stories in 2014, all for my study, and I’ve found that I quite like them. My True Love Gave To Me was great. I enjoyed every single story, some more than others, but that’s to be expected.
So what I’m going to do in this review is talk a bit about my favourite stories. These are: Midnights by Rainbow Rowell, Angels in the Snow by Matt De La Pena, It’s a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown by Stephanie Perkins, and The Girl Who Woke the Dreamer by Laini Taylor.
Midnights by Rainbow Rowell: Absolutely adorable! It’s about New Year’s kisses and it was cute and fluffy and just so incredibly ADORABLE. It flashes through a couple of years: how Mags and Noel met, how they grow closer as friends, and how Mags never gets that New Year’s kiss. I love how you see their friendship grow, and how realistic this cute tale is. It was perfection!
Angels in the Snow by Matt De La Pena: A story about family, knowing where your roots lie, and living in a strange city while being completely and utterly broke. It was a cute romance story packed with a little emotional punch. A cute story, a little sad, that warmed my heart.
It’s a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown by Stephanie Perkins: Gosh this story! All the feels! North and Marigold are perfect characters, and even within 30 pages they managed to steal my heart. I haven’t read any of Stephanie’s work before, but if this is anything to go by then I am sold. It was adorable. My heart melted, I connected with the characters instantly, and I smiled my way through these 30 pages. I wish it would’ve gone on forever!
The Girl Who Woke the Dreamer by Laini Taylor: I was a bit surprised when I figured out that there was fantasy thrown in the mix as well, somehow I’d only expected contemporaries. But this story was so enchanting and otherworldly. Beautiful writing and so creative! This story didn’t really bring on the Holiday spirit like the other stories, but it was written like a fairy-tale. Loved it!
From now on, My True Love Gave To Me will be my holiday read every year. The cuteness, the fluff, the holiday spirit, ALL the feels. I loved it. The different personalities, cultures, and sexualities. It’s a great collection of varying stories carrying the little bit of romance that add so perfectly to the Christmas feeling.