Book Review: The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

Darkest Part of the ForestTitle: The Darkest Part of the Forest

Author: Holly Black

Series: None, Standalone

Genre: YA, Fantasy

Release Date: January 13, 2015

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Source: Borrowed from the library

Okay, I love Holly Black. She is the QUEEN of awesome standalones that will make you obsessed with her. Her stories are always crazy good and oftentimes crazy creepy. I love this about her. She is not afraid to creep out her readers! Here’s your synopsis from Amazon:

Children can have a cruel, absolute sense of justice. Children can kill a monster and feel quite proud of themselves. A girl can look at her brother and believe they’re destined to be a knight and a bard who battle evil. She can believe she’s found the thing she’s been made for.

Hazel lives with her brother, Ben, in the strange town of Fairfold where humans and fae exist side by side. The faeries’ seemingly harmless magic attracts tourists, but Hazel knows how dangerous they can be, and she knows how to stop them. Or she did, once.
At the center of it all, there is a glass coffin in the woods. It rests right on the ground and in it sleeps a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointy as knives. Hazel and Ben were both in love with him as children. The boy has slept there for generations, never waking.
Until one day, he does…
As the world turns upside down and a hero is needed to save them all, Hazel tries to remember her years spent pretending to be a knight. But swept up in new love, shifting loyalties, and the fresh sting of betrayal, will it be enough?
1. This world is so amazing. The first chapter will have you hooked from the start.
Seriously, this book is the owner of one of the coolest first chapters I have ever read. You find out that their town, Fairfold, is home to faeries and the locals know it. Tourists, however, aren’t so lucky. There is a horned boy in a glass coffin in the forest. The forest is always a dangerous place, but the faeries usually don’t harm locals. Why? Because locals know how to keep the faeries away and all of the rules about them. It is so strange to see a faerie story with the fae out in the open! Coolest thing ever!!!
2. Holly Black has this seamless way of weaving flashbacks and the present.
I know you’ve been there. You’ve been reading a book and BAM! you’re in a flashback and you’re like…what is going on? Black never does this to you – it’s incredible. The first flashback is that of Hazel’s friend (Hazel is our wonderful MC) Jack. Jack is a changeling. I’ll let the book tell you his story, but it is so cool. Seriously I cannot even gush more about how awesome this story was!!!
3. The 3rd person point of view and the brother/sister team will make you fall in love with this, I swear.
It super rare that I read a book with 3rd person POV anymore. Black definitely chose the right voice for this book. 3rd person makes for dramatic irony, of which I am a HUGE fan. This leads me to the brother/sister duo of Hazel and Ben. They’ve always had to take care of one another because of their parents. Their parents are artists, and they’re extremely flighty. They almost seem to forget they have kids. Since Ben and Hazel suffered through this no parents childhood thing, they are extremely close. However, they have SO MANY secrets they keep from each other. The whole book you want to scream JUST TELL HIM/HER ALREADY!!! I loved them as a team. They’re both fantastic.
4. Recently I read A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas – also about faeries – and I thought it was interesting to see how different authors and worlds have different faerie rules.
So, in Maas’s world, faeries can lie. In Black’s world, they cannot. It’s so interesting to see the differing rules, and variations on those rules. These faeries definitely stick to their rules, and the humans have to as well. For example, Hazel knows all of the rules when dealing with faeries, and one is to never thank them. I found this interesting since they demand so much respect from the mortals. As a reader, the rules can get confusing, but Black being the genius that she is, helps you remember everything Hazel does wrong! Holly Black, I love you. I seriously want to live in your brain.
5. There is an awesome monster in this!
The main villain (through most of the story) is a giant lady made of trees. Her name is Sorrow. When she visits, and if she touches you, you fall into a deep sleep and your start spewing tree stuff like moss and leaves. She makes a few appearances in this book, and really you can’t help but feel horrible for her, especially when you get to the end. I won’t spoil this for you, because it made me smile so huge!
OVERALL: 5 STARS!!! Can I give Holly Black infinity stars? Because I want to. This book was phenomenal. This was a fantastically new take on faeries living among humans and faeries themselves. This was a super twisted fairy tale full of realistic fight scenes, gore, and magic. Holly Black impresses me YET AGAIN with this book. Click the link below to order because seriously, wow. That’s all I can say.

Do Not Adjust Your Monitors…

Hello, wonderful followers of mine!

So, I changed my blog address. I’m not trying to lie to you, so here’s what happened: I accidentally plagiarized. Now, as a severe hater of plagiarism (I recently had 4 of my students get themselves caught plagiarizing) I am supremely embarrassed by this. I started this blog in June of last year and it is SO. HARD. to come up with a fun blog name. So, I combined two words that are me, in a nutshell: broke and bookish. However, shortly after making my blog, I discovered the lovely ladies over at The Broke and the Bookish and imagine my embarrassment. However, since I’m just starting out and that blog is insanely popular, I figured that it would be okay. Today, one of the wonderful ladies from TBTB messaged me on Twitter saying when people were trying to find their blog, they accidentally went to mine. Now, I’m all for new visitors, but not when that takes away from another, more established blog that I happen to love. They didn’t even ask me to change it, and they were so wonderfully understanding and great. So, after asking the public forum on WordPress, I finally figured out how to change my URL, so here it is! Now, I am andithebookworm (which also happens to be my Twitter and Instagram handles, if you want to follow me there, too). I’ll still be Just a Broke Bookworm, though! But yes, different address, same weirdness! Thanks for following and I promise I’ll have some reviews coming up soon! Life has been so crazy. Being a new teacher is so stressful and wonderful. Stay tuned for my blog tour for Jodi Meadows’ The Orphan Queen. I’m doing a character reveal for one of my FAVORITE characters with a review publishing on the same day: March 9. I love you all, and thanks for not judging me for my accidental plagiarism!

Book Review: The Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters

The Cure for DreamingPublisher: Harry N. Abrams

Release Date: October 14, 2014

Genre: YA, FEMINISM, Historical

Source: borrowed from the library

GIRD YOUR DAMN LOINS, READERS. I usually loathe feminist literature. I feel it is uninformed drivel and is too obsessed with man hating to be of any use. This book surprised me immensely at every turn, and I really, really loved it so much. This one might be a tad long, but I promise, it’ll be worth it. Here’s your synopsis from Amazon:

Olivia Mead is a headstrong, independent girl—a suffragist—in an age that prefers its girls to be docile. It’s 1900 in Oregon, and Olivia’s father, concerned that she’s headed for trouble, convinces a stage mesmerist to try to hypnotize the rebellion out of her. But the hypnotist, an intriguing young man named Henri Reverie, gives her a terrible gift instead: she’s able to see people’s true natures, manifesting as visions of darkness and goodness, while also unable to speak her true thoughts out loud. These supernatural challenges only make Olivia more determined to speak her mind, and so she’s drawn into a dangerous relationship with the hypnotist and his mysterious motives, all while secretly fighting for the rights of women. Winters breathes new life into history once again with an atmospheric, vividly real story, including archival photos and art from the period throughout.

1. So, I picked this book out for my wishlist because of the cover. I will not tell you a lie. I honestly thought this book was about hypnotism and the hypnotist. Nope!

Olivia is such an amazing character. This book is set during the suffragist movement. Olivia unwittingly finds herself a supporter of the movement, much against her father’s wishes. We’ll talk about the men later. Anyway, this book starts out with Olivia’s Halloween birthday when she gets hypnotized by the mysterious Henri Reverie. Sweet name. Anyway, after she is hypnotized, she catches the attention of Percy. And, in my personal opinion, anyone named Percy is bound to be a twat. Hello, Percy Weasley? After that, her father hires Henri to hypnotize Olivia into some horrible shit. More horrible than you can imagine, because her father loves her…RIGHT?! Well, you can decide that for yourself.

2. THE MEN. Oh sweet lawd, the men…

These men will piss you off whether your are male or female. I know the treatment of all of the women in this book is true to the time period, and therefore, I must accept it; all of these instances are historically accurate. Even though you think Olivia’s father is really just trying to get her ahead in the world, you’re totally wrong. He’s trying to get himself ahead. He worries that if Olivia is seen at a suffragist rally, he will lose clients at his dental office (Olivia has some gruesome dentist dreams *shudder*). Percy only likes Olivia because she was easily hypnotized and he believes she will be “docile.” Henri is really the only man in this book who believes in Olivia as a person and does not believe her gender hinders her ability to be an intelligent individual. Percy at one point even tells Olivia that he is better than her. ARE YOU SERIOUS?! Different time, different time…breathe.

3. Olivia uses these men to her advantage and she is so good at it.

Olivia lets the men believe that she is just an innocent little girl, clueless of the ways of the world. Her father believes this so be so because she’s female. So, when she gets the best of all of these assholes with Henri’s help, everyone is surprised. They all feel stupid for underestimating her and they ABSOLUTELY should. Go Olivia!

4. Speaking of Olivia, I love her.

It is so rare that in a YA book, the main character doesn’t do at least one thing that annoys me. Here? The only thing that annoyed me was that she didn’t listen to Henri. But, I can understand that because he was hired by her father to hypnotize her hopes and dreams out of her head (get the title now? The Cure for Dreaming? I knew you’d get there). Who could really blame her? Definitely not me. Though, once they do become a team, Henri and Olivia are an unstoppable force when it comes to womens’ suffrage and Olivia’s safety from her own father.

5. Olivia’s father is an evil, evil man. I haven’t wished death on a character so much in a long, long time.

We all have those characters. I know we do. We all want them to die because they’re just…ugh. Olivia’s father is a horrible human being and I can’t believe that he is even human. He has no feelings other than his advancement in society – not even for his own daughter who has her own hopes and dreams. He believes women should be in the home and shouldn’t “bother” with mens’ things like politics and college. Dick.

6. I hate feminist literature. I hate it so much. This changed my mind.

As an English major in college, I had to choke down my fair share of feminist literature – which is where I gained my immense hatred. However, this book made me see that not all feminist literature is a man hating bash fest. This book calls for equality for ALL people regardless of race, sex, religion, etc. It was beautiful and poetic and timeless, because we all know that we’ll be dealing with equality for years to come.

OVERALL: FIVE STARS!!!! I loved this book so, so much. I can’t even explain to you how much this impressed me. Yay for feminist literature who calls for equality for EVERYONE!!! You need this like yesterday, so click the link below to order!

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Book Review: Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein

Rose Under FirePublisher: Disney Hyperion

Release Date: September 2, 2014

Genre: YA, Historical Fiction

Source: borrowed from the library

This is touted as the sequel to Code Name Verity. If you haven’t read that, you’re missing out. However, if you haven’t and you pick this up (which you should) you won’t be lost. This is more a companion than anything. I’ve been on this huge WWII kick lately, and I adored this book so, so much. Here is your synopsis from Amazon:

While flying an Allied fighter plane from Paris to England, American ATA pilot and amateur poet, Rose Justice, is captured by the Nazis and sent to Ravensbr ck, the notorious women’s concentration camp. Trapped in horrific circumstances, Rose finds hope in the impossible through the loyalty, bravery and friendship of her fellow prisoners. But will that be enough to endure the fate that’s in store for her?

Elizabeth Wein, author of the critically-acclaimed and best-selling Code Name Verity, delivers another stunning WWII thriller. The unforgettable story of Rose Justice is forged from heart-wrenching courage, resolve, and the slim, bright chance of survival.

1. This one breaks your heart early, unlike Code Name Verity, which breaks your heart at the end.

I will not spoil CNV for you. But just know, the end breaks your heart into a million pieces. In this one, your heart gets broken pretty early on, like at least within the first 70 pages. I cursed Elizabeth Wein with a mighty fist to the sky. Rose gets captured and put into a German concentration camp. That is no secret, so I’m not spoiling anything for you. Anyway, you go through a few pages of thinking Rose is dead. She gets captured, she disappears, we see some letters from Maddie, and that’s it. I was shattered and put right back together again multiple times. I don’t say this to scare you away, I say this to persuade you to read it because it’s amazing.

2. Our main character’s name is Rose Justice. She might as well be called Captain America.

What kind of name is Rose Justice?! AN AWESOME ONE. She is such a bad ass and a total survivor and I adore that about her. Most girls her age put into that situation would have just given up. Obviously, she doesn’t, but she is forever changed by what is done to her on behalf of the Germans. Through it all, though, she makes a point of never forgetting who she is. In the camp, people are classified by their numbers, or the transport they came in on, or their position in the camp (for example, Rose is protected by a group who calls themselves the Rabbits, since they are experimented on). I absolutely adore Rose because she is never annoying, as some YA heroines are wont to do. She does fall in love with a boy before she is captured, and he does play into their rescue fantasies a bit, but other than that there is just Rose surviving. She is one of the greatest survivors in literature that I have ever seen. Rose always makes sure she remembers who she is and where she came from.

3. Rose goes to the war because of a poet named Millay. She constantly curses her for romanticizing war, and I love this so much.

Even today, we see so many young people going to war because they want to. Rose is no different. She goes to war because she thinks she will be remembered that way – that she will make her family and country proud. Never in her most insane nightmares does she believe that she could ever be captured by the Germans since she’s just a transport pilot. But it happens. The whole book is our journey with her while she is in the concentration camp and it is so realistic that it hurts to read sometimes. I had to put the book down at some points so I could look at pictures of puppies. Everything that happened in the first book is absolutely horrific, yes, and this is no different.

4. I’m sure we all know about the Second World War and the Holocaust, but this is such a glaring look into the lives of prisoners, concentration camps, and everyone else involved in Hitler’s nightmare.

In the author’s note, Wein explains that what she shares are experiences that are real. These were heard at a conference she attended and decided to tell this story. In the book, Rose constantly mentions that her telling this story does it no justice, since there are so many more who are either dead (in violent, horrible ways) or suffered much worse than she did. Wein’s note says the same. No one can really tell these stories, or tell the world for that matter, because it just isn’t enough. Words are not enough. I don’t even have the words to describe to you how incredibly powerful this book is. I just don’t.

5. Last point, I swear. There is a particularly heartbreaking part that I’ll explain (don’t worry, no spoilers) because people actually believe this, even in 2015.

Most of the book is spent with Rose in a fancy hotel room as she’s writing down her story. There is one instance where Rose’s mother finally gets to talk to her. While they’re chatting, they gloss over the subject of concentration camps and death camps under Hitler’s orders. Her mother doesn’t believe that the camps exist and that no one could be that cruel to their fellow humans. Keep in mind, Rose has just escaped such a camp. She is too ashamed to tell her prim and proper mother what has happened to her and it was one of the hardest parts to read. I really can’t explain to you enough how incredibly important this is to not only Holocaust history, but human history.

OVERALL: FIVE STARS!!! I loved this book so much. The character of these women we meet are absolutely astounding. Even when they’re starving, weak, and on the brink of death, they’re fighting each other over who gets to save whom. They become each other’s families and they never forget that bond – no matter how awful things were for them in the camp. Read this if you love historical fiction, if you love perseverance when there is nothing but darkness, if you love strong characters who are never annoying, and if you love seeing the tenacity of the human spirit. I’m sorry if I sounded repetitive, so just go get this right now, okay? Click the link below to order!

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Book Review: Lady Thief by A.C. Gaughen

Lady ThiefRelease Date: February 11, 2014

Publisher: Walker Childrens

Genre: YA, Retelling

Source: Purchased from B&N as part of my Scarlet series binge


This book stomped on my soul. This book ground my feels to make A.C. Gaughen’s bread. This book had me so sweaty and had me so obsessed, that I ate, slept, and breathed Lady Thief when I was not reading it. This was the worst I’ve been damaged by characters or a book itself since Dumbledore and Snape. When I’m mad at a book, it goes in the freezer so it can calm the hell down until I’m no longer mad. This book went into the freezer four times. FOUR. TIMES. Although, this didn’t stay in for long because I could not be separated from it for longer than like 10 minutes. Here we go, and here is your synopsis from Amazon:

Scarlet’s true identity has been revealed, but her future is uncertain. Her forced marriage to Lord Gisbourne threatens Robin and Scarlet’s love, and as the royal court descends upon Nottingham for the appointment of a new Sheriff, the people of Nottingham hope that Prince John will appoint their beloved Robin Hood. But Prince John has different plans for Nottingham that revolve around a fateful secret from Scarlet’s past even she isn’t yet aware of. Forced to participate at court alongside her ruthless husband, Scarlet must bide her time and act the part of a noblewoman—a worthy sacrifice if it means helping Robin’s cause and a chance at a future with the man she loves. With a fresh line of intrigue and as much passion as ever, the next chapter in Scarlet’s tale will have readers talking once again.

1. I am still surprised about my love for some of these royals.

Surprisingly, Queen Eleanor and Winchester are my favorite royals. If you read Scarlet, which I hope you did, you know that in this series, trusting someone is a gigantic mistake. I feel the same way about trusting these royals – well, really any character other than Robin Hood’s band. Eleanor is a fantastic character compared to her evil son, Prince John. She is strong, supportive, and hilarious. She disciplines her son like he’s still 10 years old. It’s great. Winchester knew Rob from his days when he was an heir to an earldom and does nothing but help Scarlet. He recognizes her plight and pledges himself to her safety. I thought that would end, badly, too. These two were bright spots in this otherwise insanely bleak and depressing book.

2. I am impressed about how the language and slang is actually a huge part of the series.

So, since you’ve read the first book by now, you know there is a lot of slang in this book. For example, saying “were” instead of “was.” I found myself reading sentences like that after delving into Lady Thief. Anyway, some people complain about the slang and the dialect, but it ends up being a viciously important part of the book. We know that Scarlet is really Marian of Leaford and that she was, in fact, raised a noble. She acquired her way of speech from vagrants so she could effectively disappear. Say what you will about Scarlet, but she is insanely clever for this. She knew she would have to blend in to disappear, and disappear she does. We even see her parents in this book, and let me just tell you how soul crushing that scene was. Oh, wait, I won’t because you deserve to experience that for yourself.

3. Scarlet goes through some horrible, horrible shit in this book.

Here is why Scarlet is one of my all time favorite literary heroines: she suffers real consequences. She does not float through her punishments and she does not easily move on. She experiences so much pain and so much heartache that if it were anyone else trying to handle this, they would have broken tenfold. This series is so fantastic because every single action has a consequence, just like real life. I hate those books where main characters do things that are, for example, against the law and someone or something magically saves them. Not here. Oh boy, not here. There were times I wished that someone would magically swoop in and save Scarlet. Some of the things that happen to her are so difficult to read. I rarely cry because of a book, but this one had me weeping for Scarlet and everything she had to experience.


Oh god, you see so much of Scarlet and Rob in this book and it is just….all I can say is *SWOON* Here is a quote from page 170: “‘These schemes may benefit the people, Scarlet, but I fight for you. I will always fight for you.'” WHO SAYS THAT?! Rob does, that’s who. I’ve never really had a book boyfriend before, but I am claiming Rob as my own. As I said, there are some VERY real consequences for the characters in this book, and any other man would have run far, far away from Scarlet after some of these things. Rob, however, loves Scarlet so much that he will suffer anything to be with her. I haven’t seen a romance that I actually enjoyed in a long, long time. This romance was gorgeous. I loved it so much. Rob is such a strong man – just the man that Scarlet needs. They’re your bright spot in this book.

5. There is some very poignant and modern issues with PTSD.

So, as we know from book one, Rob was in the Crusades. And, as we know, Rob was tortured by Gisbourne before Scarlet married him. Here, we find Rob going through intense bouts of PTSD from his torture and from the Crusades. Rob wakes up, not knowing where he is or who he is sleeping next to (he sleeps next to Scarlet) and he is ANGRY and SCARED. He beats the shit out of Scarlet a couple of times because he doesn’t come to soon enough to save himself from trying to kill her. It is hard to read, and it is even harder to hear him talk about it. But, being Scarlet, she stays by his side and sleeps next to him regardless of what may happen to her when she wakes. That Scarlet. I love the characters in this book so much.

6. Speaking of characters, we see a lot more of Much in this, which I love.

Much may only have one hand, but he is such a bad ass. Armed with the kattana Scarlet procured for him, he tends to pop up in desperate times of need. Not in time to save Scarlet, of course, but there when she needs someone. He is like the older brother both Scarlet and I never had. He’s an incredibly caring man who doesn’t have a chip on his shoulder. Which is impressive since he has been so wronged in his life, and that is only counting his missing hand. I love Much and you see a lot of him here, which was another bright spot for me.

OVERALL: EVERY SINGLE STAR I COULD EVER AWARD A BOOK EVER!!! This book crushed my soul. This made my heart crack open and leak. This was incredible. A.C. Gaughen has made a fan out of me for life. I told her on Twitter that she is like a female, YA version of George R.R. Martin because really, no one is safe. No one. This will make you nervous and excited and scared and happy and depressed all at the same time. It is rare that I am this in love with a book, so holy wow. You need this in your life. Click the link to order, you won’t regret it!

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