Review: The Tombs by Deborah Schaumberg

The Tombs by Deborah Schaumberg
Release Date: February 20, 2018 
Publisher: HarperTeen   
Genre: YA, Historical, Fantasy 
SourceARC was provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
New York, 1882. A dark, forbidding city, and no place for a girl with unexplainable powers.

Deborah Schaumberg’s gripping debut takes readers on a breathless trip across a teeming turn-of-the-century New York and asks the question: Where can you hide in a city that wants you buried?

Sixteen-year-old Avery Kohl pines for the life she had before her mother was taken. She fears the mysterious men in crow masks who locked her mother in the Tombs asylum for being able to see what others couldn’t.

Avery denies the signs in herself, focusing instead on her shifts at the ironworks factory and keeping her inventor father out of trouble. Other than listening to secondhand tales of adventure from her best friend, Khan, an ex-slave, and caring for her falcon, Seraphine, Avery spends her days struggling to survive.

Like her mother’s, Avery’s powers refuse to be contained. When she causes a bizarre explosion at the factory, she has no choice but to run from her lies, straight into the darkest corners of the city.

Avery must embrace her abilities and learn to wield their power—or join her mother in the cavernous horrors of the Tombs. And the Tombs has secrets of its own: strange experiments are being performed on “patients”...and no one knows why.

Deborah Schaumberg's The Tombs first landed on my radar because of its stunning cover. Then I read the synopsis and a decision was made: I needed it and pronto! As it turns out, The Tombs is a magical and rich debut. It's hard not to become completely enthralled by Avery's journey as well as rooting for her every step of the way. 

There's many things Deborah does well here; however, one of the best is the descriptions. It was so incredibly easy to be transported to New York City, 1882. I could picture Avery's world perfectly - the factory, her apartment, the tombs, etc. The tombs actually offered one of my favorite settings: a greenhouse where Avery discovers more answers to her problems! The greenhouse was so cool. I wish it was real so I could go and visit it. 

Additionally, Deborah did a fantastic job of fleshing out the story lines. I'll admit this isn't the most fast paced book ever. Deborah takes her time building up the world as well as Avery's past and current struggles; however, I was never once bothered by the speed. I eagerly ate up the descriptions, and I loved getting to know Avery better. More importantly, when things did speed up, I felt prepared. I knew what was going on - and had some very big questions!-and I couldn't wait to see Avery kick butt! 

Avery, the main character here, was likable and easy to root for. When the book first begins, Avery has grown use to blending into the background. It's easier for both her father and her that way; however, while Avery may be quiet, she's no pushover by any means. She's strong and powerful, more so than she even thinks. The scenes were she helped her fellow factory workers pulled at my heartstrings. Avery would risk anything for their safety, and that made her even more lovable in my opinion. Additionally, over the course of the book Avery's experiences a coming-of-age. She wants to get to the bottom of her mother's illness, Avery wants to know if she's like her. This brings about many struggles: between Avery and her father, between Avery and her best friend/trusted companion, and even between Avery and herself. It was interesting to see her face this struggle - should she leave it all alone or challenge everything - and I was very happy with the end result. 

Now for the one thing that dropped The Tombs down a star: the romance. There's two potential love interests - Avery's best friend & the boy Avery shared a kiss with years ago. Normally, love triangles don't bother me, but I just didn't like it here. I thought Avery's best friend was the better choice; however, she constantly felt drawn to this boy she knew almost nothing about (cue insta-love). It just didn't work for me - I wanted more for Avery, I wanted more for her best friend.

Regardless, The Tombs is a wonderful debut, perfect for YA readers who love their historical fiction with a touch of fantasy and magic. I can't wait to see where Deborah goes next. I'm personally hoping for a sequel! 

4 stars!! 


Review: Haven by Mary Lindsey

Synopsis/Cover Image from Publisher's Website:
Rain Ryland has never belonged anywhere. He’s used to people judging him for his rough background, his intimidating size, and now, his orphan status. He’s always been on the outside, looking in, and he’s fine with that. Until he moves to New Wurzburg and meets Friederike Burkhart.

Freddie isn’t like normal teen girls, though. And someone wants her dead for it. Freddie warns he’d better stay far away if he wants to stay alive, but Rain’s never been good at running from trouble. For the first time, Rain has something worth fighting for, worth living for. Worth dying for.

For the past few months I've been hearing non-stop good things about Mary Lindsey's Haven, and even though I had a copy I was hesitant to start it. I was worried that I wouldn't like it as much as everyone else.

As it turns out, I shouldn't have had a worry in the world, because Haven is AMAZING! Seriously, I should've listened to the everyone and read it sooner! 

Haven is told through Rain's POV. I tend to have a love-hate relationship with male POVs; however, in this situation I really enjoyed it. I thought Mary did a fantastic job of capturing the voice of a teenage boy. It seemed realistic as well as authentic. 

It also didn't hurt that I loved Rain from the moment he was introduced. Rain is confident as well as tough and maybe just a tad bit arrogant. He's never had the easiest life; however, with Aunt Ruby he's been given a second chance, one he hopes he won't screw up. His relationship with Aunt Ruby warmed my heart. They had such a natural, easy-going aunt-nephew relationship, and I loved seeing them form their own makeshift family. Additionally, I loved Rain but I think I loved Freddie even more. Freddie is 100% her own person - she does want she wants, says what she wants, and doesn't worry about the consequences. Her sarcastic tone won me over. I especially loved how FINALLY we have the girl calling the boy a ridiculous nickname. In this case, she called Rain "sprinkles" and it made me laugh every single time. I liked the variety of other side characters introduced as well. Also just throwing this out there: I would do almost anything for a book about Petra. I feel like she has a lot of good stories to tell. 

Haven contains one of my favorite things: a mysterious small town. Mary did such a great job of setting the scene. I found it easy to picture New Wurzburg. I also liked how it was a town with a lot of secrets. Everyone seemed like they had something to hide. Additionally, the town itself gave a creepy feel. I was constantly on the edge of my seat, dying to know what was lurking in the shadows. 

The plot in Haven is fast-paced and twisty. I especially enjoyed the supernatural edge to it. I won't say what supernatural beings are involved; however, I will say that their world is incredibly well developed. Additionally, I liked how nicely everything came together. There were so many times at which I chalked up a weird event to be nothing, but later on I realized it was essential to what was happening. It blew my mind time and time again and kept me coming back for more. There were so many times at which Mary completely threw me for a loop. 

Last but not least: the romance. Freddie and Rain had such great chemistry. I loved how they pushed and pulled at each other's buttons, especially at the beginning. Rain was determined to win Freddie over. There was also no insta-love feel to it, which is always a major win in my opinion. 

Reminiscent of Beautiful Creatures, Mary Lindsay's Haven weaves together an enthralling supernatural mystery. I can't wait to see what Havoc (book #2) brings! 

4.5 stars!!
Haven is now out!

Source: Hardcover provided by publisher for review - thanks EntangledTeen!

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Sunday Post/Stacking the Shelves (32)

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews and focuses on new books that were received/bought/borrowed this week while the Sunday Post is hosted by the Caffeinated Book Reviewer and focuses on recapping your week. 

New Books: 

For Review: 

Now a Major Motion Picture by Cori McCarthy 
The Secrets We Bury by Stacie Ramey 
Lady Gone Wicked by Elizabeth Bright 
The Subway Girls by Susie Orman Schnall
As She Fades by Abbi Glines 
The Art of French Kissing by Brianna R. Shrum 

Much thanks goes to Entangled, Sourcebooks Fire, Fierce Reads, SkyPony books, and Simon and Schuster! 

From Giveaway: 

Seeking Mansfield (Seeking Mansfield #1) by Kate Watson
Shoot the Moon (Seeking Mansfield #2)by Kate Watson

Thanks Kate & SMADA's Book Smack


Prince in Disguise by Stephanie Kate Strohm 
eBook deals are my weakness, especially when said deal is only 99 CENTS!! 

Books Read this Week: 

Finding Felicity by Stacey Kade: It's been a long time since I've read a book by Kade (back in her debut year, which was 2010!!) but now that I've read this one I want to go back and read all of her backlist! Finding Felicity was sweet, heartwarming, and hopeful. It had a college setting, which I LOVED, and it focused more on growing up/moving on than romance, which I also liked. Look out for this one in March!

Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennet: I was planning to read this one in March, but I couldn't hold off any longer. Just like Alex, Approximately, Starry Eyes was laugh-out-loud funny, swoony, and angsty! I could've read about Lennon and Zorie's adventures for days. Plus this book has ME (someone who has SWORN off camping in any style) craving a camping trip. That's when you know Jenn's descriptions are on point!

As She Fades by Abbi Glines: After my wish was granted on Tuesday, I dove right in to this, because when it comes to new Abbi Glines books there is no such thing as waiting. I liked As She Fades. It was an easy, quick read, but it wasn't any Sea Breeze or Rosemary Beach book by a long shot. While I'm okay with that, I wish it had that kind of magic :( 

The Penthouse Pact by Cathryn Fox: After reading some long books this week, a book under 200 pages was a treat. Billionaire books are my guilty pleasure, and this one was definitely enjoyable. But there's definitely been some others I've liked better! 

Your Destination Is on the Left by Lauren Spieller: So up until this point You'll Miss Me When I'm Gone was my favorite 2018 debut, but this one is truly giving it a run for its money! I LOOOVED this book! It's about growing up, letting go, being brave, and standing up for yourself. I loved the art world. I loved the setting. And I especially loved the characters! What I liked the most, however, was the ending. It was bittersweet - not a complete HEA by any means - but it was beyond the perfect fit. Add this one to your TBRs - you don't want to miss it, especially if you love books by Sarah Dessen. 

Life Update: 

I feel like I've been a bad blogger lately. I'm so behind on commenting back, and I haven't been tweeting nearly as much as I would like :( I'm hoping this week to finally get my butt in gear, but sorry to all those who have been commenting! I promise I'll be visiting/commenting back soon. 

Other than that it was a relatively good/quick week! A friend from undergrad visited on Monday and brought Dunkin' with her, which was nice. Their blueberry muffins are my weakness. I got my nails done yesterday, and that was a nice treat too. I went with a darkish purplish color - something different from my normal red - and I'm really liking it.  

How was your week? Read any good books? Let me know in the comments! :) 

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