Review: Of Metal and Wishes

OF METAL AND WISHES by Sarah Fine

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Synopsis: There are rumors that there is a ghost who haunts the slaughterhouse where Wen’s father works. Not superstitious, Wen challenges the ghost to show his power. Oh, and he does, brutally. Guilt-ridden, Wen befriends the Noor (cheap factory labor) boy who embarrassed her and is lured into the mystery of the Noor men–one in particular. Deadly disturbances are occurring all around Wen and she must determine whom she can trust; the ghost who promised to protect her? Or the Noor men who have always been seen as nothing more than barbarians?


First line:

If I believed in the devil, I’d give him credit for the shift whistle at the Gochan One factory.


Favorite Lines: (There will be a lot. This book was beautifully heartbreaking.)

Instead of embroidering silk, I embroider skin.
I actually don’t mind that part. – page 2

We probably all have metal shavings embedded in our lungs. If you cut us open, we’ll sparkle in the light. – page 6

“I…I’m sorry, but wouldn’t you like to be somewhere else? This is not a good place, and I would think there might be some other, nicer place for you.” I recall someone at the funeral saying my mother was in a better place. I certainly hope this isn’t as good as it gets. – page 43

She doesn’t charge much, just a single tin coin per prayer, but it is a cost to those who can barely make ends meet. Even hope costs something, I suppose. – page 60

I could get addicted to the way this strange Noor boy is looking at me. It is curious and wondering and warm, like spring. – page 70

“Wen always has medicine.” – page 90

It’s like he’s taken off a mask, or maybe put one on, I don’t know. This Melik is a man, a warrior, a soul that could never be crushed. Now I see what could be possible if the Noor were pushed too far. They are not weak, not passive. It’s only a hint, a glimpse, but there’s fire here. – page 110

His voice is less hoarse now, like our conversation has been the oil it needed to run smoothly. – page 142

“Sleep well, Wen,” the Ghost says. I like how he says my name, low and heavy, like it carries weight. – page 143

Melik is too beautiful to be ruined, too strong to be torn apart, and I need him to go on and on, because that’s just what seems right. – page 158

He catches my hand as soon as my thumb brushes his skin. He gives it the lightest of tugs, but I move like I’m water, like I’m light as air. – page 182

Soft, desperate words are whispered against my skin, and even though I don’t understand them, I think I can translate. You are alive. You are here. You are mine. – page 222

I see him, the parts that are whole and the parts that are shattered. He is human, he is a boy, he is evil and good fused together. My Ghost. My rescuer. My enemy, my friend. – page 298

The only one I look at is Bo. I focus on his deep brown eye, the one full of secrets I will never learn, the one that belongs to a boy who built an entire world where we could play together, where neither of us could ever be lonely. – page 307


Review (My thoughts):  

First of all, let me just say I’d read Sarah Fine’s grocery lists. #superfan. Also, the cover of this book is magnificent and the title…. ugh. I just love books. Anyway, I loved this story. Wen is a quiet girl, mousy and knows her place. She just suffered the loss of her mother to cancer, and had to move with her father to a Gochan One–a factory where the workers slaughter animals. Her father is a doctor and she helps at the clinic with him. In the factory there is a supposed ghost. Factory workers and people from Gochan One write prayers to him on little slips of paper and pray to him for their wishes to be answered. It is a busy season, where Gochan One needs to hire outside workers to complete their jobs, and the Noor are hired. The Noor are the less fortunate. Most of the people who live in Gochan One and the surrounding areas regard them as barbaric and rude. Basically, everyone thinks they aren’t nice people. Naturally, they are judged harshly  and forced to live in unsanitary dorms while working. One of the Noor lifts Wen’s dress at lunch time as a joke and then all hell breaks loose. Wen is embarrassed and prays to the ghost to reveal himself to her. She challenges the ghost to show his power. If everyone was so afraid of this ghost, what could he really do?

Well, Wen certainly finds out.

OF METAL AND WISHES is a breathtakingly heartbreaking and beautiful all at the same time. Wen started out as quiet and unassuming. She was so mousy and afraid that it pissed me off at moments. But when she started to assert herself I literally found myself going, “That’s right, Wen!” at times LOL. The character development is spectacular and the way everything weaves together is spot on.

I am in love with this book and I can’t wait for the sequel later on in the year. I have never been a fan of romances, but this was so beautifully done it was hard for me to walk away from it.

Read it. Read it right now. (I’m not kidding.)


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5 glasses – I’m totally obsessed! 


*Buy Links*

 Amazon | B&N

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Review: The Boy in the Black Suit

THE BOY IN THE BLACK SUIT by Jason Reynolds

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Synopsis:
Matt’s mom just died. And he’s coping. Or trying to, at least. He knows he needs to get a job to help his father out around the house now that his mother is gone. So, he works at the funeral home and wears a black suit every day.  The Boy in the Black Suit is a tale of how one can find life, even when you’re surrounded by death.


First line:
It was the first day of school. Actually, it was the nineteenth day of school, but it was my first day and all I could think about was how happy I was that I had already missed three weeks, and that this would be the last first day in this place I would ever have.


Favorite Lines:

The other thing everyone knows him for is well, cancer. Mr. Ray beat it twice, and the only reason everybody knows that is because after he beat it the second time, he basically became like, a Jehovah’s Witness for cancer, knocking on doors and passing out pamphlets. – page 10

My hands were slick with sweat, and all I could do was pray that I didn’t drop this dead lady’s casket. I imagined some old woman telling my mother on me up in heaven, shaking her head and wagging her finger. – page 68

But even though she could run, she couldn’t run fast enough to beat death. – page 69

In front of my house I asked Chris what he thought of Renee.
“Who?”
“Renee, man. The girl who took our order.”
“You know her?”
“No, not yet. But I want to get to know her.”
“So you stalking her.” – page 81

“See in chess you plan everything. You strategize and all that. And even though we like to believe life goes that way, let me tell you, son, it don’t….Sometimes I win…and sometimes I lose…And sometimes I can lose and lose and I don’t know why. But there’s nothing I can do but just keep flipping the cards. Eventually, I’ll win again. As long as you got cards to keep turning, you’re find. Now, that’s life.” – page 109

It’s weird to know when people have guns in church. Makes it hard to close your eyes when it’s time to pray. – page 114

Great. I had finally gotten people to stop staring at me for being the kid whose mom died, and then for being the boy in the black suit, and now I was the boy in the black suit whose mom died and who rides around in a hearse. Perfect. I was officially weirder than the goth kids. Even better, I was the kid the goth kids wanted to be. – page 122

I wondered what made her so strong. What made her so different…And maybe that’s why I stayed after. Maybe I wanted to know what she knew that I didn’t–that thing that was keeping her so cool…I had to know what the secret was. – page 131

The lady in front of me said, “You look so pretty.”
She stole my line.
I was totally going to say that. – page 132

I was so much smoother on text message. – page 150

“Well then enjoy your dinner. And if for some reason you feel like having dessert, think twice, son. One slice of her pie could equal of lifetime of your cake, if you know what I mean.”
“What?!” – page 166

“But answer my question…What if she doesn’t like chocolate chip cookies?”
“Then run.”

And then, that moment happened. You know the moment when everything fades to black and the soft music comes out of nowhere–violins and romantic instruments, and everything starts moving in slow motion, except for your hearts, which pound faster than ever, and each of you can hear how them thumping in your brain, and all you have to do is take one step and meet each other for that first awkward, electric kiss? That moment. – page 236


Review (My thoughts):  

I get too obsessed with characters. Let’s just start there. I know I say that a lot, but I am literally head over heels for Matthew Miller. I wish he was my boyfriend LOL.

I absolutely loved The Boy in the Black Suit. It’s very, very hard to lose a parent. I’m not speaking from experience, thank God, but I could only imagine how it feels to lose someone you’re so close to. One day they’re just…gone. How does that happen? What do you do? How are you supposed to cope? And that’s what Matthew Miller had been trying to figure out since his mother died.

Only three weeks had passed and he was back in school. His father took to drinking again to cope. So, what was Matt supposed to do? Work. He was going to take a job at a fast food place with the cute girl at the counter, but he took the funeral home job instead. (where he wouldn’t have to touch the dead people, by the way). What helped Matthew to cope? Attending random strangers’ funerals. Seeing other people mourn. It let him know that there were people that were just like him out there, struggling to cope with the death of a loved one. He relished in it. He was happy, even.

Until he met Love, the cute girl from the fast food place, who was strong. Who didn’t cry when her grandmother died. Why? Why wasn’t she mourning? Matt had to know and what he found out turned his world on its ear.

Not only is her name strange, but how she copes is strange, too. Matt finds peace in the death of his mother in the most odd place–in Love.

Get this book. Get this book. Read it.

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Awesome job, Jason! You’ve done it again!

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5 glasses – I’m totally obsessed! 


*Buy Links*

 Amazon | B&N

Review: Legend

LEGEND by Marie Lu

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Synopsis:
June is a military prodigy, bred and born for success in the Republic. Day is the Republic’s most wanted criminal. The two were never supposed to cross paths until June’s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the number one suspect. While Day races to save his family and June wants to avenge her brother’s death, the two uncover the sinister truth about the Republic and about each other.


First line:

My mother thinks I’m dead. Obviously I’m not dead, but it’s safer for her to think so.


Review (My thoughts):  

I hate this cover.

I had to get it out. Now that that’s over…

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I liked this book a lot. I kept seeing it around. I follow a lot of book nerds on Instagram and other social media outlets and this book has been featured several times in my feed. So, I decided to check it out. And honestly, I’m glad I did. Here’s why:

1. It’s an original/same-old-same-old story. Here’s what I mean. I’ve read dozens of books where the main characters contrast in their social status and fall in love. You could probably name at least 3 books you’ve read where this has occurred. I’ve also read a million dystopian novels where the government is covering up some catastrophic injustice they are imposing on a group of individuals. BUT! I haven’t read anything quite like Legend because June is a military prodigy while Day is “most wanted”. She is sent to capture him, and at the very least avenge her brother’s death, but the two fall in love.

2. Romance is slow. June and Day come from different worlds. So it wasn’t until about a quarter of the way through when their lives crossed paths. Now, I have read a million and one YA books so I knew what would happen since all these books lack so much “depth”.

Anyway, June was convinced Day was nothing but a common criminal until she lived a few days in his shoes on the streets and she started to change her attitude toward him. They developed more of a friendship first rather than a relationship. They were, of course, physically attracted to one another, but I could see how someone like June who had lived such a strict lifestyle could be attracted to Day’s outgoing/rebel nature.

Here’s what I don’t like:

The end. WTF was that?!?

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It came out of nowhere. It was pretty obvious (at least to me) who killed June’s brother. But the way she discovered what the government was really up to was slightly unbelievable to me. Metias seemed meticulous, yes. But I’m not convinced that by reading his diaries and picking out a few misspelled words could unravel the mystery she’d been trying to solve for this entire time. It seemed…rushed. It didn’t match up with the rest of the book. Everything was so well planned and then the ending just sort of exploded, literally. I’m not a fan of the ending and after reading it I wasn’t invested to see whether June or Day survived. I don’t care anymore. I probably won’t read book 2, but I did enjoy book 1.

My advice? Read until page 200 and then make your own ending. It’s better that way.


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4 glasses- Loved it! Would recommend.


*Buy Links*

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Review: Killer Instinct

KILLER INSTINCT byJennifer L. Barnes

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Synopsis: Sequel to THE NATURALS. Cassie is a profiler and she is recruited into the FBI’s “Naturals” program along with other kids who are “naturally” gifted; an emotion’s reader, a stats freak and a human lie detector. Together, they solve the FBI’s cold cases. But when a murder hits close to home again, the Naturals crew must come together to protect one of their own.


First line:

The majority of children who are kidnapped are dead within three hours of the abduction.


Favorite Lines: 

I tried to catch Sloane’s eye, telegraphing that she should not, under any circumstances, tell her what Dean had told us about his father. Sloane met my eyes and nodded. I relaxed slightly, then Sloane turned back to Agent Sterling. “Dean told us this case looks a lot like his father’s.” – page 80

“We snuck out of the house to go to a frat party,” I said. “And I’m pretty sure this isn’t a dress.” – page 104

Sterling turned to Michael. I expected her to ask him something but instead she just held out her hand. “Keys.”
“Spatula,” Michael replied. She narrowed her eyes at him. “We aren’t just saying random nouns?” he asked. – page 256

Maybe this was a mistake. Maybe when the smoke cleared, things would look different. But I couldn’t stop it, couldn’t keep living my life on maybes if I wanted to live. – page 358


Review (My thoughts):  

So first of all if you don’t like Criminal Minds or any kind of crime novels then do not pick this book up. Mystery/thrillers are like food and water to me. I need it. With that being said, this book makes me want to eat it. There were plenty of times I had to put it down because I was reading too fast and didn’t want it to end. I literally closed the book and just hugged it because it’s YA crime writing done right. Done beautifully.

All of the characters from THE NATURALS float seamlessly into KILLER INSTINCT. My favorite being Sloane. I have a soft spot for people who are fact-based and emotionless. They want to understand people with emotions, but they just can’t. Anyway, the relationship between all of the “Naturals” are complicated to say the least. Everyone has one goal in mind: to solve the case. They love each other, but there is this sibling rivalry that happens at the same time.

Barnes is an amazing writer. I really thought I had the killer pegged. (I was half right) As more things in the plot got revealed it definitely kept me guessing, which I love, because I can usually figure out a book in the first couple of chapters. I appreciate the time Barnes put into writing KILLER INSTINCT. It was better than the first, most definitely. No sophomore slump to you, Jen Barnes! Bravo!

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5 glasses – I’m totally obsessed! 


*Buy Links*

 Amazon | B&N

Review: Anna Dressed In Blood

ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD by Kendare Blake

 (This review may suck because I read this like……a month ago and forgot to review it. Sue me)


Synopsis: Cas Lowood is a ghost killer, just like his father before him, until he was gruesomely murdered. Cas and his mother move around from place to place hunting ghosts and he is usually successful until he meets Anna. Anna isn’t just any ghost hell-bent on revenge. She’s complicated, having also died a gruesome death. While Cas gets to know Anna, to find a way to kill her, he discovers the more ‘human’ side of her. How can the ghost killer slay the girl he’s fallen in love with…?


First line:

The grease-slicked hair is a dead giveaway.

No pun intended.


Review (My thoughts): 

First things first.

I didn’t even realize the main character was a male until about Chapter 2 or 3 when he explained the origin of his name. So. There’s that.

Other than that, though, I did love this book. It was really scary, let me just start there. I’m not really into “horror”. I will read a thriller or a suspense/mystery book in a second but a horror novel is something I tend to stay away from. Not that I’m a scaredy cat or anything…..

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But because it’s just…weird. Ghosts and demons etc. I just don’t mess around with. Not in real life or in a fictional one. (Although I do love Meg Cabot’s Mediator series. That was more of a romance than horror anyway). ADIB was beautifully written and the plot and story line were well put together, it just isn’t a genre I tend to delve in.

Another point to mention is the slow and realistic development of a romantic relationship between Cas and Anna. It was done very well. Just because Cas is a ghost killer doesn’t mean he feels human emotions for them. The way the author made Anna feel human while falling for Cas was beautifully done. The emotions were palpable.

I read this book based on a recommendation from a co-worker. I did enjoy the book a lot but I don’t think I would read the next book in sequence because it deals with Hell and demons, etc. andddddddddd I just don’t mess around with that kind of stuff. But, if you don’t mind reading horror fiction then I would highly recommend it.


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4 glasses – Loved it! Would recommend! 


*Buy Links*

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Review: Jackaby

JACKABY by William Ritter

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Synopsis:
Abagail Rook, a curious girl, is in need of a job. When she arrived in New Fiddleham, New England, one of her first interactions was with R. F. Jackaby. A detective who specializes in the supernatural. Whatever that means. Abagail’s need for work and shelter come at the time when Jackaby is in need of an assistant because a murder has just occurred. The police are convinced it is an ordinary killer and Jackaby, well… let’s just say he’s not so convinced that the killer is even human.


First line:

It was late January, and New England wore a fresh coat of snow as I stepped along the gangplank to the shore.


Favorite Lines: 

“What’s that you’re drawing?” I asked.
Jackaby scowled. “Recording the dates. Keep going.”
“Is that an elven language or something?
He stood back from the chalkboard and stared at it blankly. “No.”
“Are those pictograms? What is that bit you just finished? The one that looks like a goose tugging at a bit of string?”
“That’s a seven.” – page 88

“That the battles are usually in her head does not lessen the bravery of it. The hardest battles always are.” – page 104

“Does this smell like paprika or gunpowder to you?” – page 149

“She had the dull expression of one who has been scooped out entirely, and does not know what to do with the emptiness.” – page 213


Review (My thoughts):  

What can I really say? When I ended Jackaby I was sad. I was sad it was over. Jackaby is one of those characters that get under your skin. He crawls inside your head and stays there. And you’ll welcome the company because as crazy as Jackaby is, he is also brilliant and wildly entertaining. He is logical to a fault, witty and sometimes lacks finesse. At the same time, he is giving and kind-hearted. I did care about Abagail, but I was much more interested in Jackaby. (I mean, the book is named after him after all).

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Jackaby is sort of like the Sherlock Holmes for the supernatural world. He sees things we can’t in crime scenes. For example, a man was murdered in an apartment building. His chest was tore open with bite marks. Most people think, “this person is sick.” Not Jackaby. The most logical explanation we could come up with would be the most illogical explanation for Jackaby.

I won’t give much away in this review because I really, really want you to get to know him for yourself. If you haven’t read Jackaby you’re doing yourself a disservice because this guy is awesome. He’s Sherlock Holmes’ teenage son.

Jackaby is a ride! Full of adventure and laughs! It’s heartbreaking and heartwarming all at the same time. If you love a good whodunnit, read Jackaby. You’ll never be able to guess! (Well, kinda. The suspect was kind of easy to spot. But, Jackaby was so entertaining, I didn’t even care that I’d figured mid-way through).


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5 glasses – I’m totally obsessed! 


*Buy Links*

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Best Books of 2014

I know I fell off a lot with my book blog (December was a crazy month, judge your mother).

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But, I read a ton of books that aren’t shown on the review section. Some listed below I have reviewed. The link to the review is below the book cover.

Here are 10 books I read in 2014 that have touched my heart, inspired me, changed the way I write/think/dream, and are all around awesome-sauce. (All of the books are YA (young adult fiction) unless stated otherwise).

Sanctum – Sarah Fine

Lela’s best friend, Nadia, commits suicide and Lela doesn’t know why. In a freak accident Lela finds herself standing at The Suicide Gates (where people go who commit suicide) to find Nadia. Malachi, TSG guard, knows Nadia doesn’t belong. Their mission? Find Nadia. Get her out.

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The Selection Series – Kiera Cass

35 girls. 1 winner. The prize? Prince Maxon’s heart. Lower-middle class America Singer doesn’t want anything to do with The Selection. But when she is picked, she is forced to leave behind a life she knew all too well and thrust into a world where she wants for nothing.  America must decide between the life she thought she wanted and the one presented to her.

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The Great Greene Heist – Varian Johnson

Jackson Greene has been rehabilitated. He doesn’t “heist” anymore. But when his sorta-kinda ex-girlfriend runs against his arch-nemesis for class president…Well, let’s just say, it’s a little hard to walk away from unfinished business. Especially when you’re so good at it.

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The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking Series)
– Patrick Ness

In Prentisstown, everyone can hear everyone else’s thoughts. It’s chaos and noise non-stop. But when Todd stumbles into an area of complete silence. Why? How? The secrets that Todd discovers about Prentisstown aren’t the only thing the men in the town can keep quiet about…

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Killing Floor (Jack Reacher Series) – Lee Child (Adult Fiction)

(Okay, seriously? Get this book.) Jack Reacher is the man. An ex-military cop who is a drifter. He wanders into the wrong town at the wrong time and winds up in jail for a murder he didn’t even commit. As the town’s police department maneuvers through the gory details, Reacher does some detective work on his own, and what he discovers about this mysterious town hit closer to home than this drifter could imagine…

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Rot and Ruin – Jonathan Maberry

Benny Imura must find a job. So, he enlists in the family business, zombie killing. He loathes following in the footsteps of his older brother, the King Zombie Slayer himself, Tom. But what he discovers about killing dead people could teach him what it means to be human.

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My review here

The Vicious Deep – Zoraida Cordova

Lifegaurd Tristan Hart was hit by a record wave. He disappeard under the sea for three days. When he recovers he has an insane sense of smell, scaly skin and…a tail! Secrets about his past are uncovered and the ties his family has to the ocean are old as the sea itself…

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My review here

Variant – Robison Wells

Benson Fisher thought getting a scholarship to prestigious Maxfield Academy was a score. But when he arrives and sees the barbed-wire fence and camera monitors he soon discovers that he got more than what he bargained for. And escaping is not an option.

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The Naturals – Jennifer L. Barnes

Cassie is a natural at reading people. So when the FBI arrive at her door she is quickly added to a team of other “Naturals”. But when she discovers that The Naturals Program isn’t at all what it seems, Cassie is thrown into a game of cat and mouse. Can The Naturals find the killer before he finds them…?

(Criminal Minds in a YA novel. Awesome-sauce.)

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Dorothy Must Die – Danielle Page

Think of everything you know about the Wizard of Oz. Okay, now toss that out of your mind. And then read this book.

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So, that’s it. My favorite YA books of 2014! Can’t wait to devour some new ones in 2015!

Happy reading book nerds!