Book Review: What the Raven Brings by John Owen Theobald

Title: What the Raven Brings
Serie: Ravenmaster Trilogy #2
Author: John Owen Theobald
Genre: Young Adult/ Historical Fiction
Published: December 1st 2016
Publisher: Head of Zeus

Page count: 370 pages
Format: Hardcover
Source: From author in exchange of an honest review

Book Summary:
London, 1942: the Blitz is over but the war rages on. With the country still fighting for its existence, a young girl takes to the skies... After her mother was killed in an air raid, Anna Cooper was sent to live with her uncle, the Ravenmaster at the Tower of London. Now, he too is dead. His dying wish was for Anna to be the next Ravenmaster, keeper of the birds who, according to legend, guard the fate of the kingdom. But the Tower authorities won't stand for a female Ravenmaster, let alone one who is not yet sixteen years old. Denied her destiny, Anna is desperate to escape the Tower and join the war effort. She bluffs her way into the glamorous - and dangerous - world of the Women's Auxiliary Air Force. But no matter how high she flies, Anna can't escape her past... nor the secret that it conceals. A secret that could change the course of the war. 
*The Chef's Review*
    Actual rating: 5/5 stars

I love the second book of the Ravenmaster Trilogy. What the Raven Brings was such an entertaining read and I found it inspiring. Anna Cooper is still the main character in this series but in this installment you see her turning into a young woman. A lot of things change in Anna's life and you can feel her world expanding as you read more of her story.

What I Liked:

My favorite part of this book is how empowering women become as the story progresses. Anna still lives inside a world dominated by men, but you can actually see how things are changing for women even though they don't get full recognition yet. Anna grows from the naive girl she used to be in the first book to a smart woman conscious of the hardships of war. Along her journey, she meets great female characters that are brave and inspiring, and I enjoyed reading about them too. 

Also, I really liked the relationship that Anna develops with Timothy Squire. He is introduced as Anna's friend in the first book, but they later become more than friends. However, I liked that their relationship wasn't the main focus of their lives and they still worked hard to achieve their independent goals. I thought Timothy was really sweet and I loved the way he took care of the ravens at the Tower of London just because Anna had asked him to (although he didn't really need to).

I think one of my favorite parts in this book is when Anna goes off to join a pilot school for women, WAAF, which stands for the Women's Auxiliary Air Force. In there she meets Joy Brooks, one of my favorite secondary characters inside this story. She is one of the American women who came to help in the war. She was quite a refreshing and fun to read character!

Final Verdict:

What the Raven Brings is a wonderful book. I personally thought it to be an inspiring read and while it is a historical fiction book, I was pleased to find humor inside the story even a tiny bit of romance. I'm highly looking forward to reading the next book in this trilogy!

Happy reading! -- The Chef 

Wesley James Ruined My Life Blog Tour: Review + Giveaway!

Hey everyone! Today I'm thrilled to participate in the blog tour for Wesley James Ruined My Life by Jennifer Honeybourn, hosted by Xpresso Book Tours! This cute YA Contemporary novel released this week from Swoon Reads and it turned out to be such a fun read, perfect for fans of Anna and the French Kiss! Below you can find my review and a tour-wide giveaway you surely don't want to miss! Thanks for stopping by & enjoy!

Wesley James Ruined My Life by Jennifer Honeybourn
July 18th, 2017 from Swoon Reads
YA Contemporary
Sixteen-year-old Quinn Hardwick’s having a rough summer. Her beloved grandmother has been put into a home, her dad’s gambling addiction has flared back up and now her worst enemy is back in town: Wesley James, former childhood friend—until he ruined her life, that is.

So when Wesley is hired to work with her at Tudor Tymes, a medieval England themed restaurant, the last thing Quinn’s going to do is forgive and forget. She’s determined to remove him from her life and even the score all at once—by getting him fired.

But getting rid of Wesley isn’t as easy as she’d hoped. When Quinn finds herself falling for him, she has to decide what she wants more: to get even, or to just get over it.
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo 

*The Reader's Review*
My rating: 4/5 stars
This was such a cutesy read! Imagine spending your summer working on a Tudor Times themed restaurant with your worst, albeit cute, childhood enemy? Definitely the recipe for swoons & disaster!
What I Liked:

I am such a fan of hate-to-love romance in my books and Wesley James Ruined My Life had me covered! Quinn swore to hate Wesley James after he "caused" her family to fall apart (according to her) when they were kids, and she was perfectly fine hating him across the distance since he moved away to Portland. But Wesley James moves back to Seattle and he dares to get a job at the same place she's working at. THE NERVE.

I loved Wesley James right from the start. This boy is adorable and not at all the guy Quinn paints him out to be. He's charming, charismatic, and has such a sweet heart (especially when it comes to Quinn's Gran!). Quinn gives him such a hard time over something that he let slip when they were much younger, but like the nice guy that he is, it doesn't affect him how he treats Quinn. He is definitely the highlight of this book!

I liked Quinn when she wasn't so set on getting revenge over Wesley. I liked reading about her relationship with her father who has a gambling problem. In contemporary books, when the parents are divorced, we don't usually get to have a main character who tries to keep in touch with both. Her father is not the best role model so I felt for Quinn as she struggled (and failed) to not encourage his vices because she loves him, despite the rest of his family turning their back on him.

Wesley James Ruined My Life also gave me a lot of Anna and the French Kiss vibes as the story progressed and I liked that because I LOVE Anna and was happy to read that the author also loves the book. And while they might not be out exploring a city as marvelous as Paris or studying in a French school, working at a medieval restaurant (and food truck!) and being in a school band that's ready to travel to London, wasn't a bad setting at all. ;)

What Left Me Wanting More:

While the last chapters were my favorites, I would have loved to see more of Gran and Wesley's life. Quinn is too scared to visit her Grandma who was settled into a retirement home after her Alzheimer gets worse and she doesn't really interact with her until the last few chapters. She does spend a lot of time remembering, but her grandma was still alive and constantly asking for her when she had lucid moments, wasn't ignoring her worse? She needed her support and Quinn failed her. Even Wesley went to see her more often!

As for Wesley, I never truly got to know his private life. Wish we could have met his parents and twin sisters!

Final Verdict:

All in all, Wesley James Ruined My Life is a quick, adorable novel that's perfect to read in the summer!



Enter the rafflecopter below to win a print copy of Wesley James Ruined My Life by Jennifer Honeybourn (US/CAN only). Ends July 27th. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Follow the tour!
July 17th
Writing My Own Fairy Tale  >> Excerpt
The Avid Reader >>  Guest post
Fic Central >> Review
Mes Livres >> Review

July 18th
Writing Pearls >> Review

July 19th
Book Briefs >> Review
Girl vs Books >> Excerpt
A Dream Within A Dream >> Excerpt
Never Too Many To Read >> Review

July 20th
blogs and coffee  >> Guest post
Padme’s Library >> Interview

July 21st
Dog-Eared Daydreams >> Review
To Be Read  >> Review
The Bookworm Central >> Review
Wonder Struck >> Review

About Jennifer Honeybourn
Jennifer Honeybourn works in corporate communications in Vancouver, British Columbia. She’s a fan of British accents, Broadway musicals, and epic, happily-ever-after love stories. If she could have dinner with anyone, dead or alive, she’d have high tea with Walt Disney, JK Rowling, and her nana. She lives with her husband, daughter and cat in a house filled with books. Wesley James Ruined My Life is her first novel.
Website | Twitter | Goodreads Facebook

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First We Were IV Blog Tour: Review + Giveaway!

Hey everyone! Today I'm thrilled to participate in the blog tour for First We Were IV by Alexandra Sirowy, hosted by Brittany's Book RamblesFirst We Were IV is a YA Mystery/Thriller novel that will be releasing on July 25th from Simon & Schuster that will surely have you wide-eyed as you read (like me)! Below you can find my review and an AMAZING giveaway that includes a copy of this book, a mini Polaroid camera + other goodies! Thanks for stopping by & enjoy!

First We Were IV by Alexandra Sirowy
July 25th, 2017 from Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers 
YA Mystery/Thriller
A group of friends start a secret society in this out-of-control thriller from the author of The Telling and The Creeping that examines the all-consuming love of lifelong friendship—and what someone is capable of when they’re afraid of losing it.

Izzie loves nothing more than her three best friends, Viv, Graham, and Harry, and the bond the four of them share. And she’s terrified of their friendship falling apart next year when they go off to college. To bind them together, she decides to create that will belong only to them, a special thing that they’ll always share between the four of them. And so they dream up the Order of IV, a secret society devoted to mischief that rights wrongs and pays back debts. At first, it works like a charm—but when the Order of IV’s escapades get recognition beyond their wildest expectations, other people start wanting in. And soon, what started as a game of friendship is spiraling into something dangerous and beyond their control—and before it’s over, they’ll pay the ultimate sacrifice.
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository 

*The Reader's Review*
My rating: 4/5 stars

Remind me again to never read YA Thrillers at night. First We Were IV is a book that has haunted me for the last few days but I do not regret it AT ALL because it's so GOOD. The mystery, the suspense, the secrets, the ending... GAH! You should definitely read it.

What I Liked:

First of all, I loved how this book captivated me. I don't normally read thrillers (weak at heart here) but I couldn't stop reading, even though my chest was feeling heavier and heavier as I flipped through its pages. Everything was weird and creepy, the atmosphere so... charged. What the characters did with the Order of IV, what the adults and authorities did to protect their reputation... gosh, so messed up! I'm still wide-eyed to be honest.

The Order of IV is created by a group of friends--Viv, Izzie, Harry and Graham--as a last attempt to create something that will link them together for when they all part to go to College. This group's main purpose is to right wrongs, starting with the mysterious death of a college girl found in the meteor rock in Viv's apple orchard. However, things start to get out of hand when the kids from their High School think it's a cool trend and start acting on behalf of the Order. Madness ensues right after this.

These four friends have a strong friendship that has lasted for several years (dates back to kindergarten I believe!) and I liked how they put so much effort to keep their friendship from falling apart, even if they create the very thing that has the potential to break them. I don't think I would ever have been able to be a part of their inner circle, but everyone who meets them will surely see how they fit together. They belong together. Reading about them as a whole was great and made me long for my group of High School of friends which did fall apart after we pursued different careers. And that's how it is, life happens (though mine thankfully not as creepy as how theirs go).

However, the thing that left the most impression on me from First We Were IV was the whole idea of a small town trying to cover each others tracks for the sake of keeping up a perfect facade. It keeps running through my head how the officer in charge, when Viv discover the girl's body on top of the meteor rock, tells her (supposedly to appease) that the dead girl was "asking for it", based on her appearance. This was so wrong and it shook Viv's foundation, enough to motivate her to seek some justice for the girl if no authority would bother to look for it.

With that said, I must mention that this book has heavy themes, some that took me by surprise (especially when the characters were revealing secrets as part of an Order of IV activity) and even made me feel nauseous. Now THAT is something I would like to forget about.

What Left Me Wanting More:

There were a few times that I struggled to understand what was going on with the characters, what they were planning and how they would execute said plans. Maybe because there were so many things happening at the same time, especially close to the ending. I often had to go back and reread to try to make a sense of it.

And I was also expecting a bit more from a couple of the main characters. Their reactions to one of the main issues was not what I wanted, what I needed, so it left me a bit unsatisfied. I wanted more anger and justice!

Final Verdict:

Chock-full of secrets, mischief, and an all-consuming need to preserve friendship while righting wrongs, First We Were IV is the book to jolt your summer nights!


1 signed hard cover copy of FIRST WE WERE IV
Fujuifilm instax mini 9 Polaroid camera in smoky white (& film) like the one in the book!
Strand of gold stars
FIRST WE WERE IV swag (temporary tattoos & bookmarks)
Evie Seo Designed Tote Bag 

FTC disclaimer: US entries only. No purchase necessary to enter, giveaway items provided by Alexandra Sirowy.
Follow the tour!

Week 1

July 10: Bookish Lifestyles - Review + Tote Design

July 11: Brittany's Book Rambles - Guest Post
July 12: Emily Reads Everything - Review 
July 13 Biscotto's Books - Moodboard 
July 14: Forever Lost in Literature - Review

Week 2
July 17: My Friends Are Fiction - Guest Post
July 18: Literary Legionnaire - Review
July 19: The Reader and the Chef - Review 
July 20: Novel Novice - Guest Post 
July 21: Dark Faerie Tales - Interview 

Week 3
July 24: YA and Wine - Review + Guest Post
July 25: YA Book Central - Spotlight
July 26: Tales of the Ravenous Reader - Review 
July 27: A Perfection Called Books - Guest Post

About Alexandra
Alexandra Sirowy is the author of the young adult thrillers THE CREEPING, the Bram Stoker Award® Nominated THE TELLING, and the upcoming FIRST WE WERE IV. Alexandra attended a women's college as an undergrad and received her graduate degree in International Studies. When she isn't writing, she loves to travel, read, eat, and get into mischief. She lives with her husband in Northern California.

The Week's Entrée #159

Hi everyone! Welcome to another edition of The Week's Entrée!

Guess what?! We reached 6k followers on our bookstagram!!!!

My sister and I are super thrilled to have reached this milestone and we are super grateful to all our lovely followers. ♥ Now if only Instagram would stop hiding our posts with its awful algorithm and shadowbans... *glares* LOL

Anywhoo, I am up to 33 books read this year from the 120 I had challenged myself on Goodreads. Meaning that I have to read 87 more to complete it.  HOW DID IT COME TO THIS? Little over 5 months left *weeps*. 

How are your reading challenges coming along?
New books!
{For review}
From publishers, authors, Netgalley/Edelweiss, etc.

Thanks to Storygram Tours & Alys Arden for sending these beautiful copies of The Casquette Girls & The Romeo Catchers! We'll be taking part of The Romeo Catchers Instagram tour this week so be on the lookout for our review & bookish photo! So excited!!!


Also huge thanks to Sky Pony Press for the digital review copies of The Bakersville Dozen by Kristina McBride, The Next Together by Lauren James, and Crossing the Line by Bibi Belford!
To Read This Week:

Quickly going through The Casquette Girls & The Romeo Catchers this week and I need all the luck because these books are over 550 pages each!!! Good thing they are turning out to be great reads. ♥ 

And that's it for The Week's Entrée! What are you all reading? :)

Book Review: These Dark Wings by John Owen Theobald

Title: These Dark Wings
Serie: Ravenmaster Trilogy #1
Author: John Owen Theobald
Genre: Middle Grade/ Historical Fiction
Published: February 11th 2016
Publisher: Head of Zeus

Page count: 320 pages
Format: Hardcover
Source: from Giveaway

Book Summary:
After her mother is killed in the Blitz and her father in the North Sea, 12-year-old Anna Cooper is sent to live with an uncle she has never met - the Ravenmaster at the Tower of London.

Amid the Tower's old secrets and hidden ghosts, the ravens begin to disappear and Anna must brave the war-torn city to find them.

With Nazi forces massing on the other side of the Channel, the fate of Britain might be at stake, for an ancient legend foretells that Britain will fall if the ravens ever leave the Tower.
*The Chef's Review*
    Actual rating: 3/5 stars
These Dark Wings was a fast and easy book to read for me. When I first started reading it I had no previous knowledge of the Tower of London so it was a bit of a struggle to imagine the scenery. Luckily, Netflix started adding a few documentaries about London and there was one specifically dedicated to this place. It was amazing! I quickly felt drawn to its history which made me want to read this book faster. 

Anna Cooper is the main character in These Dark Wings. After her mother's death, she was forced to live in the Tower of London with her uncle and the many people that live inside it. It is a very strict place to live in, specially for a twelve year old girl in the middle of WWII. Everything in her live changes-- her house, her friends, her school, the food she eats, even her responsibilities as a kid. Anna has a hard time getting used to her new life and even befriends a boy named Timothy Squire that also has a hard time getting along inside the tower. Even though they are both outcasts, I liked  the relationship they both develop with each other. 

She soon takes up the job to help her uncle take care of the ravens in the tower. There is an old saying written inside those walls that says: 'If the ravens leave the tower, Britain will fall'. That is something that Anna takes to heart. This was such a simple quest for the main character, to spend time with ravens, but I liked reading about her growing fond of them.

Final Verdict: 

All in all, I thought this was a good book. I love the fact that it left me with new information about London that I didn't know about. I also enjoyed the details of the place and the inside scoop of the Tower of London through the eyes of Anna. I've already read the sequel and I can tell you that this series gets better and, if you are a fan of historical fiction, you might want to have this on your TBR!

Waiting on Wednesday #33: Brooding YA Hero: Becoming a Main Character (Almost) as Awesome as Me by Carrie DiRisio

Hi everyone! Welcome to another "Waiting on Wednesday" post (meme hosted by Breaking the Spine!). 

This week I am waiting on:

October 3rd 2017, Skypony Press
YA Contemporary
Have you ever wished you could receive a little guidance from your favorite book boyfriend? Ever dreamed of being the Chosen One in a YA novel? Want to know all the secrets of surviving the dreaded plot twist?

Or maybe you're just really confused about what "opal-tinted, luminous cerulean orbs" actually are?

Well, popular Twitter personality @broodingYAhero is here to help as he tackles the final frontier in his media dominance: writing a book. Join Broody McHottiepants as he attempts to pen Brooding YA Hero: Becoming a Main Character (Almost) as Awesome as Me, a "self-help" guide (with activities--you always need activities) that lovingly pokes fun at the YA tropes that we roll our eyes at, but secretly love. 

As his nefarious ex, Blondie DeMeani, attempts to thwart him at every turn, Broody overcomes to detail, among other topics, how to choose your genre, how to keep your love interest engaged (while maintaining lead character status), his secret formula for guaranteed love triangle success, and how to make sure you secure that sequel, all while keeping his hair perfectly coiffed and never breaking a sweat.
I AM SO EXCITED FOR THIS BOOK. I am a huge fan of Brooding YA Hero's Twitter account (do you follow? If not, you should!!!) and I cannot wait to read everything he has to say about becoming a main character! I've been lucky to read long excerpts of this book already and IT'S SO FUNNY. And informative! I think everyone will be able to relate to it. ♥

What are you waiting on this week? :)

#BroodyBFF Challenge #5: "Spirit Cold" and Crooked Kingdom

Hey everyone! For BroodyBFF Challenge #5 I want to share with you the song that gives me all the Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom feels!

This is a song that I happened to be listening while reading Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo and guys, I just love it so much. Every time that I listen to it my heart weeps because it keeps imagining Kaz Brecker singing about Inej. I swear I've heard this song more than a hundred times, and I've spent days just singing at the top of my voice, wallowing and letting the lyrics play in my mind, going through every Kaz and Inej moment, including a particularly painful Nina and Matthias scene. It just slays me, this song is dark and beautiful and perfect. Just like Crooked Kingdom and my beloved characters.

The Song: 
Spirit Cold by Tall Heights

Listen to it & check out the lyrics below (with added commentaries from me ). *Starts to tear up*

How do I wake my spirit cold?
We always say when our history's told
If only we knew the things we know
There's a question ages old

I imagine Kaz, battling his feelings towards Inej. Wanting to touch her, but not being able to because... you must know why (if you have read these books, won't spoil it!).

Let me down easy, let me down slow
If all good things ever come and go
Let me back down in a place I know
Hold the nail for the hammer stroke

Kaz not believing he is worthy of Inej. Also him drowning in his fears.

Oh this my trash, this my tome
Oh this my blood, this my bone

His need for vengeance. His pain.

How do I learn my dreams to mold,
To lay them bare in the morning cold?
If they're still out there then the chasm grows
For all you know, for all you've known

The bathroom scene.... I don't know why, but I just imagine the bathroom scene right here and my heart weeps. I also imagine the boat scene in Six of Crows where Inej tells Kaz:
"I will have you without armor, Kaz Brekker. Or I will not have you at all."

Let me down easy, let me down slow
If all good things ever come and go
Let me back down in a place I know
Hold that nail for the hammer stroke

Kaz, looking all painfully beautiful and brooding, just staring at Inej at a distance.

Oh this my weapon, this my loam
Oh this my blood, this my bone

Kaz clenching his gloved hands, stopping himself from reaching out to Inej.

How do I wake my spirit cold?
Most people die but others just go
She's still out there and the chasm grows
Steady are the feet in the morning glow

Kaz, just wanting to have Inej back after she gets kidnapped. Him wanting to burn the whole city in order to find her. This is where I also feel for the others:
“No mourners,” said Jesper, surprised by the ache of tears in his throat.
“No funerals,” they all replied softly.” 

Oh this my trash, this my tome
Oh this my weapon, this my loam
Oh this my mountain, this is my home

Kaz, looking up and spotting Inej watching him, right after he takes a beating in the Slat. "He always knew where to find her."

How do I wake my spirit cold?
There's a question ages old

“She could feel the press of Kaz’s fingers against her skin, feel the bird’swing brush of his mouth against her neck, see his dilated eyes. Two of the deadliest people the Barrel had to offer and they could barely touch each other without both of them keeling over.

I CANNOT HANDLE THE FEELS. Thanks a lot, Brooding YA Hero. Now I must go ugly cry and hug Six of Crows & Crooked Kingdom while listening to this song on repeat.


P.S. Don't forget to add Brooding YA Hero: Becoming a Main Character (Almost) as Awesome as Me by Carrie Dirisio on Goodreads