“Defy the Night” by Brigid Kemmerer Book Review (Spoiler Free!)

Hello! Happy weekend! Today, I’m here with a book review for a book I read recently: Defy the Night! I’ve been hearing about this book a lot, and I know that it gets quite a bit of hype. My sister read it, too, and she really loved it.

But, when a book gets a lot of hype like this, I’m always a little nervous to read, and sometimes it takes me quite a while to pick the book up, because I don’t know if it is really be as good as I imagined it being! (Still haven’t read These Violent Delights because of that!!!)

But, I ended up absolutely loving this novel, despite my misgivings. Well, here is the review! 💜

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How pretty is this cover, though! 😍

Title: “Defy the Night”

Author: Brigid Kemmerer

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Fiction

My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

A fantasy series about a kingdom divided by corruption, the prince desperately holding it together, and the girl who will risk everything to bring it crashing down.

The kingdom of Kandala is on the brink of disaster. Rifts between sectors have only worsened since a sickness began ravaging the land, and within the Royal Palace, the king holds a tenuous peace with a ruthless hand.

King Harristan was thrust into power after his parents’ shocking assassination, leaving the younger Prince Corrick to take on the brutal role of the King’s Justice. The brothers have learned to react mercilessly to any sign of rebellion–it’s the only way to maintain order when the sickness can strike anywhere, and the only known cure, an elixir made from delicate Moonflower petals, is severely limited.

Out in the Wilds, apothecary apprentice Tessa Cade is tired of seeing her neighbors die, their suffering ignored by the unyielding royals. Every night, she and her best friend Wes risk their lives to steal Moonflower petals and distribute the elixir to those who need it most–but it’s still not enough.

As rumors spread that the cure no longer works and sparks of rebellion begin to flare, a particularly cruel act from the King’s Justice makes Tessa desperate enough to try the impossible: sneaking into the palace. But what she finds upon her arrival makes her wonder if it’s even possible to fix Kandala without destroying it first.

My thoughts

This was such a great book!! I loved almost everything about it: the story, the writing, the romance, the plot twist (😬), and the characters ! The first fifty pages or so were a bit slow for me, but after that, I could not put the book down!!

“A spark of rebellion is all it takes to defy the night.”

— Brigid Kemmerer, Defy the Night

The characters

Brigid Kemmerer writes amazing characters! Just like in A Curse So Dark and Lonely, the characters in this book have flaws and tragic backgrounds, but they are also very brave.

At first, I didn’t know if I liked Corrick. But, after reading a bit of the novel, I could just see that he was really struggling. He was in a really difficult position, and he had to try to make the right decision, but it’s never really that simple. By the end of the book, I really liked Corrick!

“There are too many layers here. I thought it was as simple as right or wrong . . . ​but it’s not.”

— Brigid Kemmerer, Defy the Night

Tessa is one of my favorites. She was trying to do the right thing, and she really wanted to make a difference. I also love how Kemmerer gave us two different views of the kingdom of Kandala: a view from the cruel-seeming King’s Justice, who has to punish the criminals mercilessly, and Tessa’s perspective: a apothecary apprentice from the Wilds, so that the reader can see the situation from different perspectives.

“I’m not a killer. I heal people; I don’t harm them.”

— Brigid Kemmerer, Defy the Night

Plot, story, and writing

I thought that the plot of this book sounded interesting. It’s set in a kingdom called Kandala, where sickness has begun to get more and more serious, because the normal cure for it, the Moonflower petals, are very limited. Like I said earlier, I thought that it was interesting how it was narrated by the King’s Justice, Corrick, and then Tessa.

“I think that very few people truly deserve what they get, Tessa.” He pauses, and for the briefest moment, sadness flickers through his eyes. “For good or for bad.”

— Brigid Kemmerer, Defy the Night

I definitely didn’t see the plot twist coming. It was a pretty big surprise to me, and…yeah! It just gave the characters more depth. That’s all I can really say without spoiling it, though!!

I loved the writing in this book, just like everything else. It was so good! The only thing was that, and I find this often in books with multiple POVs, both perspectives sounded very similar, writing-wise. But I do realize that it is very hard to change your writing style for separate characters. I’m writing a dystopian novel with two different points of view, and I’m pretty sure they sound about the same.

“Kindness leaves you vulnerable, Tessa. I learned that lesson years ago.”

— Brigid Kemmerer, Defy the Night

Another problem I found with this book, is that in one of Corrick’s first chapters, it introduces a lot of new characters, and I found that kind of overwhelming! I had to keep going back when I was reading further chapters, to see who everyone was.

“Mind your mettle, Tessa.”

— Brigid Kemmerer, Defy the Night

Overall, though, I loved this book!! Again, the characters were amazing, the writing was good, and I just loved it!! I guess this is going to be a series, so I really can not wait for the next book to come out! (I’m glad that this one didn’t end on a cliffhanger, though!) It was definitely a five star read!!!

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Thank you for reading! Have you read this book yet? Did you like it? Or, do you want to read it soon? I’d love to chat in the comments!! Okay, have an awesome day!! Bye!

~ Rebekah

“The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak Book Review (Spoiler Free)

Hey guys! I hope your weekend is going good so far! Anyways, on Thursday, I finished re-reading “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak, and let me tell you: it was just as great (if not better) than I remember it being.

Anyways, here’s the review:

This is a young adult historical fiction book set during WW2 with 550 pages. Like I said earlier, I already read this book last February, so I thought I would re-read it and do a review! Also, this will be a spoiler free review, so even if you haven’t read the book you can read this. I’ll just give my thoughts on the characters, plot, writing, and stuff.

The synopsys from Goodreads:

It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will be busier still.

By her brother’s graveside, Liesel’s life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Gravedigger’s Handbook, left behind there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery. So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordian-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor’s wife’s library, wherever there are books to be found.

But these are dangerous times. When Liesel’s foster family hides a Jew in their basement, Liesel’s world is both opened up, and closed down.

In superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award-winning author Markus Zusak has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time.

MY THOUGHTS ON THE BOOK

“A snowball in the face is surely the perfect beginning to a lasting friendship.”

— Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

I think that the characters in this book were really well developed. I love how you get to see Liesel through all five years, and you witness how much she changes through that time. I love Rudy’s character too, as well as Max, Hans Huberman, and Rosa Huberman, and basically just all the characters. This book had such a great cast of characters that felt alive and real.

“The only thing worse than a boy who hates you: a boy that loves you.”

— Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

One of my favorite things about this book is the intriguing narration. This novel is narrated by death, and it’s very interesting how Zusak portrayed it. I absolutely loved it, because it was really different than a lot of other books, and it really makes you think

“Like most misery, it started with apparent happiness.”

— Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

The plot of this book is also really good. I enjoyed how the book is set through five years, so there’s a lot that happens. It’s a story about how books can be a light even in the darkest of times, like during WW2.

Overall, I would totally recommend reading this. It’s a very thought-provoking, heartbreaking, and inspiring piece of literature. It’s one of my favorite books, and there’s also a movie of it, so if you’re not really a reader, you could do that. I didn’t like it as much as the book, but it was still really well done.

“I have hated words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right.”

— Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

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Okay, so thanks for reading! Also, thank you so much for all of the comments and questions on my last post! I am so excited to answer them! I’ll probably do the Q&A post on Wednesday, or next Saturday! Thanks again, and have an awesome day!!

~ Rebekah

Love, Life, and the List by Kasie West Book Review (Spoilers!!)

“Nobody else’s opinion about..[you]…is going to matter to you until yours does.”

–Kasie West

Hello everyone! I hope you are having a great day and weekend so far!! Today’s post is a book review for a book I recently read, called Love, Life, and the List. It’s by Kasie West (one of my favorite contemporary authors!) and is a YA contemporary novel.

I told you guys that I got it in my Library and Bookstore Haul post, and I finished it in less than a day! I finished it last Saturday, and I loved it! I rated it 5/5 stars, and I think it was one of my favorites of Kasie West’s books! Okay, now for the review!!

Beware! This review will have SPOILERS!! If you haven’t read this book, don’t read any further or you’ll be spoiled for the whole book and the ending! Okay, I warned you. Also, I’m not going to give a full synopsis on the book, because I’m assuming you’ve read the book if you are reading this!!

This is a book about Abby Turner, who’s a sixteen year old girl who loves art! She wants to get into this art show, and she was expecting to get in, but she doesn’t, because her paintings have no “heart”. Now, she has to re-think her whole summer.

She makes this list to do this month to make her art better! They are things like face a fear, fall in love, or have her heart broken. Besides her art, there is another point in this book. And that’s: she is in love with her friend, Cooper.

She has loved Cooper for a while, but he didn’t feel the same when she confessed her love for him a few years ago.

“Art is subjective, that’s what makes it great,” I said. “We each get to love or hate something on our own terms.”

–Kasie West

I loved this book!!! It was so sweet, but also had some drama. I loved the story, the characters, and the writing was very well too! I also think that there were a lot of great quotes in this book!! I’m going to try to get my sister to read it too, but it might take her a long time because she has a lot of other books she’s wanting to read.

“That we can only control ourselves. No matter how much we wish we could twist and bend someone’s will to ours, they have to want it too.”

–Kasie West

I like this story. How it’s not just about the romance between Cooper and Abby, but it’s also about her art and how she realizes that–to change her art–she has to first be willing to change herself!!

The characters are really defined. I can definitely tell who’s talking and I just know what decision one of the characters would make because it feels like I know them. But one thing I didn’t like about it is I feel like Kasie West didn’t add much description. I feel like it didn’t really say what each of the characters looked like.

Something you should know about me is that I don’t forgive book characters easily. If one of them does something mean to the other, I don’t like that character for a long time–if ever! So, I was really mad (I mean REALLY mad) when Cooper “forgot” about her art show. She did all this stuff and he didn’t even show up!!!!

I mean, I guess it wasn’t really his fault because he thought it was Saturday or something, but I felt soooo bad for Abby at that point that I didn’t even care! I may or may have not cried at that point…anyways, I have probably forgiven him by the end, but I can never forget how much I felt bad for Abby at the part where he forgot about the art show.

Okay, so I hope you liked this book review/rant!! It was a really fun post to write! Have an awesome rest of your weekend!! Bye!!!! (I don’t know why I like using exclamation points so much. 🤷) Okay, actually bye this time!!!

Lucky in Love by Kasie West Book Review (Spoiler Free)

Hello everybody! I’m sorry for not posting yesterday. I was pretty busy with school and everything. But I have a book review I’m posting today, as you probably saw from the title. If you’ve read the page I have about all the books I’ve read in 2021 (if you haven’t, here it is) or my monthly wrap ups you probably know that I’ve read a lot of Kasie West books. They are sweet, short, contemporary books.

This one, like all of the others by this author, I listened to because they don’t have the books at the library. It is 329 pages, and I loved it! I always like to listen to books while I crochet, so that’s what I was doing while listening to this!

Synopsis:

Maddie’s not impulsive. She’s all about hard work and planning ahead. But one night, on a whim, she buys a lottery ticket. And then, to her astonishment —

She wins!

In a flash, Maddie’s life is unrecognizable. No more stressing about college scholarships. Suddenly, she’s talking about renting a yacht. And being in the spotlight at school is fun… until rumors start flying, and random people ask her for loans. Now, Maddie isn’t sure who she can trust.

Except for Seth Nguyen, her funny, charming coworker at the local zoo. Seth doesn’t seem aware of Maddie’s big news. And, for some reason, she doesn’t want to tell him. But what will happen if he learns her secret?

With tons of humor and heart, Kasie West delivers a million-dollar tale of winning, losing, and falling in love.

My thoughts on the book

Characters

I liked Maddie’s character, because I think that I can kind of relate to her a bit. She believes in hard work and planning ahead instead of luck. She tried to work hard at school to get into college. I think that, overall, the characters were well crafted.

We make our own luck. I believed that, too. We chose our own fate. We controlled our own future. I knew what I wanted. I needed to go get it.

Kasie West, Lucky in Love

Seth is Maddie’s friend from the zoo. He has a great personality and I really liked their friendship in the book!

“You need to empty your mind, and relax each other muscle group until you feel like you are going to melt into the floor. Then you just let it all go. All the expectations, all the unneeded worry, all the things other people want for you but you don’t want for yourself.”

Kasie West, Lucky in Love

I think that the characters in this book were really good, and they definitely had personalities. Sometimes, I read a book and it feels like the characters don’t really have a personality. I call this the character having a “bland personality.” But it wasn’t like this for this book.

I like how Kasie West made the characters flawed. Maddie is too trusting. She did make some decisions that I wouldn’t have made with her money, but it made me more invested in the story. What will she do next? Why did she do that?! Oh, no. Don’t spend all your money on that!!!!

Plot, writing, and other things

I think that this book was really believable. It definitely seems like this would happen if someone won the lottery. I think that the story is a really sweet and fun read. I liked the story and about how Maddie and how she would spend fifty million dollars (well, just over thirty million after taxes). It made me think about what I would do with the money if I had that much.

I liked that this book was about Maddie finding out her relationships and herself. I was beginning to get very annoyed at some of the ways Maddie was spending the money, but I liked to see how the choices changed her.

Something I didn’t like in the book was that it kind of ended abruptly. I just feel like…well I can’t really say that much with out spoiling anything. Anyways, it ended kind of quickly and I just felt like she could have had more of a tied up ending.

“Sometimes regardless of what we want, reality takes over.”

Kasie West, Lucky in Love

Conclusion

I rated this book a five out of five stars. I loved how it was a sweet, light romance with believable and not bland characters. I do feel like the ending was kind of abrupt, but overall the book was great!

I hope you have a great day! I’ll probably be posting an aesthetic for my book, a library book haul (if we end up going to the library), or a “If you liked this book, read this one” kind of thing. Comment which one would you like to see!

Love and Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch Book Review (Spoiler Free)

“Sonia met my eyes in the mirror. ‘You know, people come to Italy for all sorts of reasons, but when they stay its for the same two things.’ ‘What?’ ‘Love and gelato.’ ‘Amen,’ Howard said.”

Jenna Evans Welch, Love and Gelato

Hey guys! I’m here with another book review! I hope you enjoyed my last one about A Curse so Dark and Lonely. Love and Gelato is a contemporary novel that was published in 2016 and it has 389 pages. Like many other books, my sister read this first, and she was saying that it was really good. My favorite genre of books is probably contemporary, so I really enjoyed reading this book.

Synopsis:

“I made the wrong choice.”

Lina is spending the summer in Tuscany, but she isn’t in the mood for Italy’s famous sunshine and fairy-tale landscape. She’s only there because it was her mother’s dying wish that she get to know her father. But what kind of father isn’t around for sixteen years? All Lina wants to do is go back home.

But then she is given a journal that her mom had kept when she lived in Italy. Suddenly Lina’s uncovering a magical world of secret romances, art, and hidden bakeries. A world that inspires her, along with the ever-so-charming Ren, to follow in her mother’s footsteps and unearth a secret that has been kept for far too long. It’s a secret that will change everything she knew about her mother, her father—and even herself.

People come to Italy for love and gelato, someone tells her, but sometimes they discover much more.

My thoughts on the book

Characters

Carolina, Lina for short, is the main character. Some people might think that she seems ungrateful in the beginning, because she’s in this beautiful place, and all she’s thinking about is how she doesn’t want to be there. But I get it. Her mom just died, and she doesn’t want to go live with her father, who she doesn’t even know.

“Turns out there’s a reason they call it falling in love, because when it happens – really happens – that’s exactly how it feels. There’s no doing or trying, you just let go and hope that someone’s going to be there to catch you.”

Jenna Evans Welch, Love and Gelato

While Lina is in Italy, she meets Lorenzo, Ren for short, and they get to know each other. He is a very sweet, helpful, and kind boy. He helps Lina find out more about the secrets her mother kept and also explore the city.

Plot, writing, and other things

“A life without love is like a year without summer.”

Jenna Evans Welch, Love and Gelato

First of all, this book made me hungry! There were so much descriptions of food. So, if you are hungry (or don’t have any good food to eat) then you might not want to read this. It also made me want to go to Italy. It sounds like a very magical place to visit.

“So… Italian gelato. Take the deliciousness of a regular ice-cream cone, times it by a million, then sprinkle it with crushed-up unicorn horns.”

Jenna Evans Welch, Love and Gelato

I liked how this book is kind of a mystery. You get to find out all of these things as Lina and Ren are too about her mother’s life there and everything.

However, there is something that I didn’t like about the book. I think that it was not logical for Lina to not read the journal later in the book. If she wants to find all of these things out, then why doesn’t she just finish reading the journal first?

I also found some of the parts where she was reading the journal boring, but I get that they had to have that in it for the reader to understand the story.

I had to keep using the translator app on google to see what they were saying so I could follow along with some of the dialogue. I personally don’t really mind this, but some people might not be able to translate it because they don’t have any translating device. It’s fine if you don’t because there are just a few parts where they talk in Italian, but it is a helpful tool.

“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”

Jenna Evans Welch, Love and Gelato

Conclusion

I rated this book five out of five stars, and I think that it was a sweet, light, romance, with just the right amount of mystery. I loved the ending, and am thinking about reading the next book, Love and Luck, which is about Lina’s friend, Addie.

I hope you have a good day! 🙂

A Curse So Dark And Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer Book Review (Spoiler free)

Hey everyone! Today’s post will be a book review. A Curse So Dark And Lonely is the first book in the Cursebreaker series by Brigid Kemmerer, a YA fantasy romance based on the fairy tale “Beauty and the Beast.” It was published in 2019 with 496 pages. I was a bit hesitant to read this book, just because of all the hype it was getting and because my sister read it before me and was saying that it was so good. But she finally got me to read it, and I don’t regret it!

“I am always surprised to discover that when the world seems darkest, there exists the greatest opportunity for light.”

Brigid Kemmerer

Synopsis on the book:

Fall in love, break the curse.

It once seemed so easy to Prince Rhen, the heir to Emberfall. Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year over and over, he knew he could be saved if a girl fell for him. But that was before he learned that at the end of each autumn, he would turn into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. That was before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope.

Nothing has ever been easy for Harper. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother barely holding their family together while constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, she learned to be tough enough to survive. But when she tries to save someone else on the streets of Washington, DC, she’s instead somehow sucked into Rhen’s cursed world.

Break the curse, save the kingdom.

A prince? A monster? A curse? Harper doesn’t know where she is or what to believe. But as she spends time with Rhen in this enchanted land, she begins to understand what’s at stake. And as Rhen realizes Harper is not just another girl to charm, his hope comes flooding back. But powerful forces are standing against Emberfall . . . and it will take more than a broken curse to save Harper, Rhen, and his people from utter ruin.

My Thoughts on the Book

Characters

Harper is our main character, and I loved her! She comes from the regular world, so it’s relatable to see how she would react when she is in the magical world. She was strong and determined, as well as stubborn, but she’s also caring. I love how the characters in this book are so relatable and deep.

“This early in the season, the other girls would sit by the hearth and gaze at me over crystal goblets, while I’d pour wine and tell stories with just enough devilishness to make them blush. If I put a crystal goblet in this one’s hand, she’d likely smash it and use the shards to cut me.”

Rhen, about Harper

I like how Brigid Kemmerer included a main character with cerebral palsy too. Harper’s cerebral palsy doesn’t hold her back, nor does it define her character. When she first is in the magical kingdom of Emberfall, she doesn’t hesitate to fight back.

Rhen is also a great character. He is flawed, seemingly a bit cruel or evil by Harper in the beginning, but then you get to know his past more, and all of the challenges he has had to face. He is usually trying to do the right thing, though that thing isn’t always so clear.

“My father once said we are all dealt a hand at birth. A good hand can ultimately lose – just as a poor hand can win – but we must all play the cards fate deals. The choices we face may not be the choices we want, but they are choices nonetheless.”

Rhen

Although Grey doesn’t get his own chapter until the end, I feel like I know his very well. He’s loyal and also reserved. He doesn’t usually let himself slip, but when he does, and the reader gets to see some of him, you get to know him even better.

Lilith is also such a creepy villain. I was always just worried she’d show up and ruin everything. Every time she came, I got so worried that something bad would happen.

Plot, writing, and other things

I like how this book was a very original retelling, but it was still very imaginative and creative. I liked the story very well. Kemmerer’s story was really good, evenly paced, and the ending! I liked how it was a romance book, but it also focused on the people of Emberfall, and the fantasy element as well.

One thing in this novel that I found unbelievable, was their plans to save Emberfall. I don’t think that that many people would believe them. But I won’t give away too much.

The writing style is easy to read. It’s a good paced book, there weren’t really any scenes where I was bored. There also weren’t really any parts that I thought were going really fast.

In a lot of books that are written in two POVs, you can’t tell which chapter is whose, and the characters are very similar in the way they talk. But in this book, I think that Brigid Kemmerer did the character voice really well.

Conclusion

I loved this book so much that I rated it five out of five stars. It is a very original, yet creative, retelling of “Beauty and the Beast” that has great, believable, characters, vivid writing, and an amazing story. It is evenly paced, and then, the ending, wraps everything up together well, but still holds some secrets.

I found this book very similar to “An Ember in the Ashes” by Sabaa Tahir, and also “The Wrath and the Dawn” by Renée Ahdieh. They are both fantasy books which I would recommend. I can’t wait to read the next books!

Have a great weekend. 🙂