Bone Gap Review – Magic, Mystery, and Morals

Hi all!

Today I’m reviewing Bone Gap by Laura Ruby. I’ve been seeing lots of praise for this book, and for the most part I think it lived up to the hype. Ruby created an atmosphere as vivid and mystical as the cover – which honestly is so beautiful, this was a bit of a cover buy! – in the small town of Bone Gap, and some of the messages she conveyed were very powerful.

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

Everyone knows Bone Gap is full of gaps—gaps to trip you up, gaps to slide through so you can disappear forever. So when young, beautiful Roza went missing, the people of Bone Gap weren’t surprised. After all, it wasn’t the first time that someone had slipped away and left Finn and Sean O’Sullivan on their own. Just a few years before, their mother had high-tailed it to Oregon for a brand new guy, a brand new life. That’s just how things go, the people said. Who are you going to blame?

Finn knows that’s not what happened with Roza. He knows she was kidnapped, ripped from the cornfields by a dangerous man whose face he cannot remember. But the searches turned up nothing, and no one believes him anymore. Not even Sean, who has more reason to find Roza than anyone, and every reason to blame Finn for letting her go.

As we follow the stories of Finn, Roza, and the people of Bone Gap—their melancholy pasts, their terrifying presents, their uncertain futures—acclaimed author Laura Ruby weaves a heartbreaking tale of love and loss, magic and mystery, regret and forgiveness—a story about how the face the world sees is never the sum of who we are.

My rating: 4 stars.

The Characters:

The characters are often what makes or breaks a novel for me, but I absolutely adored the main protagonist, Finn! He was kind, tried his best (even if it didn’t always work), and he STOPPED TRAFFIC FOR DUCKLINGS. Is that not the cutest thing you’ve ever heard? The only problem was, I didn’t warm to Sean much at all. I know we’re meant to feel sorry for him, and I did, but he was a little unlikable. 

Roza, on the other hand, was fantastic. There were so many important messages in each of her chapters which just made my heart sing. ‘ “She’s her own girl.” ‘ It was also really interesting to learn about her family and life in Poland (and all the food, which sounded delicious!), and I just loved her strength. It took me a while to warm to Petey, and I did think without the chapters from her perspective I wouldn’t have liked her. However, over time I did see how her character was important, and that appearances and reputations are never the same as reality.

The Plot:

The plot of Bone Gap  was really engaging! Throughout the novel there is the mystery of where and why Roza disappeared, but as the story progresses there’s also a romance developing (which was so cute!!), a family rift, the puzzling Charlie Valentine…Ruby manages to tie everything together wonderfully, and I was satisfied with the ending. My only problem is that it felt like there were a few things that could have been explained or wrapped up more solidly; however I think this was just because of the genre, as magical realism is more open-ended than a contemporary.

The Setting:

This was something that Ruby excelled at. Coming from a small town myself (seriously, I could walk the length of it in five minutes!), I loved the gossip of the people of Bone Gap, and it was a refreshing change for a Young Adult novel to be set in the countryside! Also I don’t know if this is a setting or character point, but there are loads of animals in this novel and I loved it so much, can someone please get me a Calamity Jane? (I mean, I technically can’t have a pet at university but I’ll work around it).

Final Thoughts:

If you’re looking for a town that teeters on the edge of the magic and normality in the world, strong women that don’t let other people bring them down, and a darling of a protagonist, then Bone Gap is for you! There were some downsides and I didn’t adore it as much as I thought I would, but this was still an enjoyable book unlike anything I’ve read before.

Have you read Bone Gap? What did you think of it? Do you have any other magical realism books I should read? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for reading 🙂

#AmCurrently – Welcome Back to Me!

Once upon a time there was a little blog called Bowlerhatgirl Books. Unfortunately, the owner of said blog got caught up in life and exams.

And the little blog disappeared. For four months.

So it is definitely been a long time since I’ve updated this blog – or any of my bookish social media to be honest. In the UK May and June are the big exam months of the year, so instead of reading, writing, and blogging, I had to revise, cry about revision, and revise which was infinitely less fun.

But now I’m back! And I figured an #AmCurrently tag would tell you guys what I’ve been up to these past few months, which I’m sure you’re all dying to know! (Or, you know, mildly interested).

#AmCurrently – Reading:

I just finished The Gentleman’s Processed with VSCO with f2 presetGuide to Vice and Virtue and it was THE BEST THING. I could babble about it all day (and I soon will, as a book review is coming your way!) but basically everyone should read it right now. I’m considering rereading it when it comes out in hardcover next month!

Aside from that, I’m a quarter of the way through rereading The Diviners by Libba Bray – if you’d like to know why this is my one of my favourite series ever you can check out my post here (also the third book is coming out in October!!!! I’m not excited you are). I’ve also started The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons, and although it’s very light and innocent now, I know that it’s going to be devastatingly emotional once I properly get into it.

#AmCurrently – Listening to:

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

My playlist for June has been amazing because two of my favourite artists released new music! I’ve been alternating between From the Outside by Hey Violet (Current favourites are Where Have You Been (All My Night) and Like Lovers Do) and hopeless fountain kingdom by Halsey (Alone and Walls Could Talk are so good!). It’s such a relief now that I can listen to these songs and actually enjoy them, whereas before I was listening to them whilst trying to absorb 3 textbooks, 5 novels and another language (A Levels are the actual best, guys. The. Best.) I’ve also been loving Papercut by Zedd and Troye Sivan, it’s long but gold.

#AmCurrently – Watching:

In between making my way through all of RuPaul’s Drag Race, I finally finished watching Girlboss! I actually loved it, there was something almost empowering to see Sophia being unapologetically aggressive and confident.

As well as that, I’ve just finished watching the third season of Skam and am img_0335procrastinating the fourth because I CANNOT ACCEPT IT IS OVER. NOPE NOPE NOPE. I’ve even started learning Norwegian on Duolingo because I’m desperate to visit Scandinavia after watching the show, that’s how much I love it!

Anyway, I hope that filled you guys in on what I’ve been up to in these past few months. I’m sorry for being gone for so long, but I have a lot more blog ideas now.

What have you been reading recently? Are there any books or albums I’ve missed in my hiatus? What’s your favourite song at the moment?

Thanks for reading 🙂

5 Reasons Why You Should Absolutely Bookstagram!

Hi all!

I started off on bookstagram before I created my blog, and it has a special place in my heart. If you didn’t know what bookstagram is, it’s the book community on instagram that all post under the hashtag #bookstagram, and I thought I would try and convince you why you should definitely start a bookstagram account!

1. The community is one of the nicest you’ll find on the internet (in my experiences anyway). Everyone is supportive and nice, and there are people who have made lifelong friendships through bookstagram! And if you ever lack inspiration, there are amazing photo challenges you can take a part in that bookstagrammers create every month! (Because they’re incredibly creative and nice like that).

2. You can discover new hobbies! There are so many talented people on bookstagram that make me want to try drawing, calligraphy, and so many other new things.

3. You can connect with authors and publishers. I can’t tell you how rewarding it is when an author likes or comments on your photos. The other day I posted a photo saying how much I liked Radio Girls, and the author saw it and commented, and I was really happy; not only are my photos gaining recognition, but the author has received a compliment too!

4. You can discover your new favourite book! I have lost count of the amount of times I’ve read a book because I’ve seen it on bookstagram, and while there are a few that were flops most of them have been great. Some popular series on bookstagram include the Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare, the Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer (my review for Cinder, the first book in the series, can be found here) and the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas (my review for the fourth book, Queen of Shadows, can be found here!).

5. You get to talk about books! No one minds if you ramble about your favourite series, no one minds if you squeal about a plot twist, and no one minds if you yell at them to beg them to read your favourite book EVER (and no one minds that actually you have ninety favourite books because they’re in the same boat!). My friends read, but not as much as me, so bookstagram has given me an outlet to discuss my love of books with people who understand.

My bookstagram account is @Bowlerhatgirl1 if you want to follow me (shameless self-promotion there!).

Have I convinced you to join bookstagram? Or if you already have a bookstagram account, what’s you’re favourite thing about it?
Thanks for reading (:

Queen of Shadows – Review!

Hi all!

I finished Queen of Shadows a few days ago, and it was EPIC. I know now why everyone loves this series! I’ve heard that this is the book that divides people; you either love it or you hate it. Personally this and Crown of Midnight (the first half anyway) are my favourites in the series, and I would say that if you weren’t too keen on Heir of Fire you might like Queen of Shadows more. I don’t know what it was with this book. I don’t know why I loved this book so much more than the others – but I did. My review will have minor spoilers in it but I don’t reveal any major plot points or characters.
So in case you didn’t know, Queen of Shadows is the fourth book in the Throne of Glass series, which means I can’t really say anything about the plot without spoilers, except that Aelin kicks ass as usual and the plot is pretty explosive!

The characters: I will admit that the Rowan in this book felt completely different to the Rowan in
Heir of Fire, but his character changed for the better so I actually finally liked him! The same goes to Aelin – I FINALLY LIKE HER GUYS. (It’s only taken me four books but shhh). Manon continues to be a badass witch, and I loved how we got to see more of Asterin, Sorrel and the Thirteen. The new characters like Nesryn and Elide were really great too, and Dorian broke my heart in Queen of Shadows!

And then there’s Chaol. For those of you who don’t know, he is basically my favourite character in this series. As in I love him a lot and worry about his safety. He’s complicated, tries to do what he thinks is right, and cares so much about Dorian. They’re friendship is one of my favourite things in the books. Before reading Queen of Shadows I read a few reviews, and they were negative about what happened towards him, so I was worried. I have to admit that the chapters in the start were a bit rough on my still recovering Chaoleana heart, but by the end of the book I was happy with how the plot played out (although the ending broke my heart!).

The Plot: I couldn’t not read this book, that was how riveting the plot was. Sarah J Maas linked everything together and foreshadowed events beautifully, and I loved what happened. I liked how Manon’s story finally linked in with the rest of the crew (or Aelin’s Squad as my friend calls them!) and Elide’s subplot was really interesting. The results of the events in Queen of Shadows are definitely going to have repercussions in Empire of Storms, and I’m both nervous and looking forward to seeing what happens next.

The Writing: As usual, Sarah J Maas’s writing style draws you in and doesn’t let you go! There was only two really minor things that bugged me – that everything Aelin does is with ‘feline grace’ and that there was a lot of ‘incarnates’  in there. But these were minor issues that didn’t stop me from enjoying the story.

Overall, I am really excited to see what happens in Empire of Storms and I am so pleased that I loved this book!

2016 is Nearly Over…And I Still Haven’t Read These Books!

Hi all!

So somehow it is already nearly September, and I am woefully behind on my Goodreads challenge.

Ok, that’s a bit of an exaggeration; I’ve read 33 books this year, and my goal is to read 50. But the reason why I’m on track is because I read the Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy novellas which count as separate books, and there are so many books I want to read but haven’t done yet!

My Mid-Year Book Freak Out tag is coming out soon, but I thought I would tell you the 8 books I am desperate to read before the year is out!

1. Queen of Shadows by Sarah J Maas – I have been determined to catch up on this series this year,
and so far I’m doing well! I finished Heir of Fire a few weeks ago, and while I’m not loving the direction the series is going in I do love the world and want to carry on with the story. I also want to read it before Empire of Storms comes out and be up to date for once!

2. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo – Everyone adores this book. It’s all over Instagram and booktube, and I love love love the sound of it – thieves stealing something dangerous? Yes please! – but for some reason I’ve never picked it up. I have read Shadow and Bone and didn’t mind it, but I think I was worried that I had to finish that trilogy to read Six of Crows. Now that I know I don’t, I badly want to pick it up and find out why everyone loves Kaz so much!

3. The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye – Fantasy Russia? Two players in a game where one will die? What’s not to love about the premise of this book? I’ve heard people compare it to The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern which is my FAVOURITE books (review can be found here) so obviously I need to read The Crown’s Game.

4. Nevernight by Jay Kristoff – This was in my Illumicrate box (unboxing can be found here) and it looks STUNNING. The cover is so detailed, and there are two maps in it. As well as that, the story sounds amazing and various Instagrammers have raved about it! I feel like it’s going to be a good winter fantasy read too, so I’m very excited to read it.

5. A Gathering of Shadows by VE Schwab – How have I not read this yet?! I loved A Darker Shade of Magic, it was one of my favourite books of 2015 and I loved every part of it (mostly Kell ❤ My thoughts on ADSOM can be found here!). I want to find out what happens to Kell and Lila and Rhys, and I’ve heard that there’s a new character that people love introduced in this book, too.

6. This Savage Song by VE Schwab – Another probably marvellous VE Schwab book that I have yet to read! This Savage Song sounds incredible, and I think it has something to do with music and monsters which should be a great combination.

7. Unrivalled by Alyson Noel – Unrivalled is blurbed as being similar to Pretty Little Liars and
Gossip Girl, two of my favourite TV shows. I love scandal-filled contemporary books, they’re my guilty pleasure, so I am super excited to see how Unrivalled plays out.

8. Summer Days & Summer Nights, an anthology – Summer is nearly over, so I need to get my skates on if I want to read this soon! I read my True Love Gave to Me at Christmastime and I love how the season plays such an important part in the stories. Also some of my favourite authors – Cassandra Clare, Libba Bray, Stephanie Perkins – have contributed to the collection.

These are the eight books I’ll hopefully read before 2016 ends, but this next school year is going to be absolutely manic, so I don’t know how successful I’ll be! As well as this I would like to reread The Infernal Devices as I read them in winter last year and think it would be a nice tradition.

Do you see a book on this list that I need to read tomorrow? What book are you hoping to read before the year is over?
Thanks for reading (:

The Secret Fire – Spoiler Free Review!

Title: The Secret Fire
Authors: CJ Daugherty & Carina Rozenfeld
Part of a series? Yes, The Alchemist Chronicles
Synopsis: Sacha Winters lives in Paris. He can’t die until he’s supposed to, and that isn’t for eight weeks. But after those eight weeks, something terrible is meant to happen.Taylor Montclair lives in England. She is ordinary, until it becomes clear that she isn’t, and her whole life is thrown into chaos. Taylor and Sacha’s lives are connected. Together they can stop the destruction Sacha’s death will cause, but with only eight weeks left, the clock is against them.
Rating: 4.5 stars.
*Will be published on the 10th September. I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review.*

The Secret Fire was fast-paced, unpredictable, and amazing! There was never a moment when you could tell that it was written by two authors, as every chapter ran into the others well. I liked how in the beginning Taylor’s parts were relatively calm, while Sacha’s were action-packed. I also liked how Taylor’s and Sacha’s families still remained an important part of their lives even though other events were happening, as sometimes it feels like families disappear in YA books when the protagonist discovers something magical about themselves!

Taylor was a great main character; she really felt like a real teenager, and she reacted to things how a real teenager would react. I thought it was good how she was ambitious and wanted to know as much about The Secret Fire as possible. I liked how much Sacha cared about his family, but it took me a while to actually like him as in the beginning, when we don’t know certain things, it feels weird that he’s given up on everything. I started to care about him about halfway through, though. Also, the two dogs in The Secret Fire have the coolest names!

The plot was interesting, and the powers/alchemy in The Secret Fire was different to the powers in other books. The world-building was excellent, and I liked how Taylor lived in a small town instead of London, as it felt more relatable to someone like me, who doesn’t live in a city. Taylor’s world definitely felt like the Britain I know, and the descriptions of the parts set in France were amazing; I especially loved the description of the vineyard at night.

The only criticisms I have were that the ending was a strange place to introduce new characters that seem like they’ll be important in the next book, and that for a time Taylor and Sacha’s relationship felt a little odd once they had met in person. Having said that, I really enjoyed The Secret Fire! I think it will appeal to fans of the Ruby Red trilogy, and perhaps people who really liked the Circle aspect of The Mortal Instruments. I feel like we still have lots to discover, and I can’t wait for the second book! 4.5 stars out of five.

Scarlet – Review

Title: Scarlet
Author: Marissa Meyer
Part of a Series? The second book in the Lunar Chronicles
Synopsis: Scarlet Benoit is certain that something bad has happened to her grandmother when she goes missing from their farm in France. But when the police close her case, she has to turn to Wolf, a street fighter, in order to save her grandmother. And along the way, she finds out that her grandma has been keeping some huge secrets from her…
Meanwhile, Cinder is trying to break out of prison after the disastrous events of the ball. Having to trust the cocky Captain Thorne and still coming to terms with what Dr. Erland told her, Cinder’s journey takes her to a certain French farm…
Rating: 4.5 – 5 stars (I can’t decide!).

Just like Cinder, Scarlet had me hooked until the very last page. There’s something about the Lunar Chronicles that makes you want to read on and on and on until you’ve finished, and then makes you want to read the next book straightaway. Maybe it’s the fact that the characters are so realistic, or that the world is so futuristic, or that the plot is so fast-paced. Whatever it is, it works on me!

*SPOILERS FROM THIS POINT ON*

Scarlet picks up right where Cinder ended, and introduces our new protagonist, Scarlet Benoit. From the start, I knew I was going to like her; just by reading the first chapter you find out that she’s caring and loyal to her grandmother, but has a temper (the tomatoes bit was what made me like her!). Wolf was a great love interest, and I did not guess that he was Lunar at all, although I did think that his wolfish behaviour was because of someone altering his genes.

And can we just talk about Mr Carswell Thorne? I loved Thorne so very much! Without him, I think that Scarlet could have been very serious and grim, but Thorne injected humour into the story. I especially liked how he kept teasing Cinder by saying, “Are we having a moment?” and he has become one of my favourite characters out of any book. It also made me laugh when Thorne decided they should search for Princess Selene, as for once we as readers know more than a character in a book!

I was so happy that Iko came back into the story! If you’ve read my review for Cinder (which you can find here), you’ll know that I was devastated when Iko was pulled apart. She was one of my favourite characters in Cinder, and I loved how insecure she was about being a massive ship. She’s an android, but her character is just as real as any of the humans (or Lunars, or Cyborgs).

The plot of Scarlet was fast-paced, which was why it shocked me when we were reminded that Scarlet and Wolf had only known each other for like a week. I liked that Marissa Meyer acknowledged that they wouldn’t be in love with each other in that small amount of time, and how Scarlet was quite practical about it. I have no idea what could happen next in Cress, but I hope that they help Kai and overthrow Levana (who is EVIL!). In Scarlet we find out more about what Levana is planning, and the powers of the Lunars feel a lot more frightening in this book, perhaps because we see Cinder use her powers even when she doesn’t know what she’s doing. That unpredictability of Cinder’s powers makes her seem dangerous, and now I can see that she might win against Levana, whereas in Cinder it looked very doubtful.

I can’t decide whether to give this 5 stars or 4.5 stars. I gave Cinder five stars, but I’m not sure I enjoyed Scarlet as much. BUT I did still really enjoy it, and I can’t wait to read Cress!

What did you think of Scarlet? Did you like it more or less than Cinder?
Thanks for reading(: