My Mailbox (56)

My Mailbox (56)

My Mailbox is where I show all the books I’ve gotten by various means throughout the month.

I will be linking up with Mailbox Monday and Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga’s Reviews.

Since I LOVE book cover art on my kindle, I took my own pictures of the covers of my ebooks.

This post contains affiliate links and I receive a small percentage of sales made through these links. 

Hollow City by Ransom Riggs

Hollow City by Ransom Riggs from Quirk Books. Thank you!

What did you get in your mailbox this week?  Leave a link and I’ll come look!

Book Review: Infinite by Jodi Meadows

Book Review: Infinite by Jodi MeadowsInfinite by Jodi Meadows
Series: Newsoul #3
Published: January 28, 2014
418 pages
Genres: Dystopian, Fantasy, Young Adult
Source: Library

The Short, Sweet, and Spoiler-Free Blurb:

The Year of Souls begins with an earthquake—an alarming rumble from deep within the earth—and it’s only the first of greater dangers to come. The Range caldera is preparing to erupt. Ana knows that as Soul Night approaches, everything near Heart will be at risk.

With gorgeous romance and thrilling action, the final book in the Incarnate trilogy offers a brilliant conclusion to the compelling questions of this fascinating world, where one new girl is the key to the lives of millions.
4 Stars

Spoiler free even if you haven’t read the first book in this series. 

Infinite was the best book in the Newsoul series.  I thought it had a great, quick pace which the other two books before this lacked. My favorite thing was getting to see more of the creatures that were just mentioned in the other books.  I was hoping that would happen after I finished the book before this one, Asunder.  I also loved learning even more about the sylph and the dragons.

Sam has been one of the most boring love interests that I’ve read in young adult.  It makes me sad to say that because I felt like I should be able to relate to him since he’s a musician like I am.  Sadly, no.  Sam and Ana’s relationship is perfect and cheesy and therefore boring to me.  Until Ana decides to be independent and do something on her own that she thinks is right.  Then they (finally!) get in a fight.  That at least was interesting.  The thing with Sam and the dragons kind of gets explained but kind of doesn’t.  I didn’t understand it all the way but at least it was brought up.

Ana developed into a fascinating hero.  The resolution was perfect.  The ending was twisty, bittersweet, and satisfying like a nice maple bacon donut.  There was only one tiny thing at the end that I wondered about.  View Spoiler »

Overall, this was my favorite book out of the series with new creatures and a great resolution though sadly I could just never like Sam.

Content Rating: Medium, for some violence.  There might have been a few make out scenes but I don’t remember for sure.  They weren’t very long if there were any!

This post contains affiliate links and I receive a small percentage of sales made through these links. 

About Jodi Meadows

Jodi Meadows

Jodi Meadows lives and writes in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, with her husband, a Kippy (her cat), and an alarming number of ferrets. She is a confessed book addict, and has wanted to be a writer ever since she decided against becoming an astronaut.


Book Review: The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson

Book Review: The Crown of Embers by Rae CarsonThe Crown of Embers by Rae Carson
Series: Fire and Thorns #2
Published: September 18, 2012
410 pages
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Source: Purchased

The Short, Sweet, and Spoiler-Free Blurb:

Elisa is a hero.

Her enemies come at her like ghosts in a dream, from foreign realms and even from within her own court. And her destiny as the chosen one has not yet been fulfilled.

To conquer the power she bears, once and for all, Elisa must follow a trial of long-forgotten—and forbidden—clues, from the deep, hidden catacombs of her own city to the treacherous seas. With her go a one-eyed spy, a traitor, and the man whom—despite everything—she is falling in love with.

If she's lucky, she will return from this journey. But there will be a cost.
5 Stars

Spoiler free even if you haven’t read the first book in this series. 

The Crown of Embers reminded me a lot of Indiana Jones.  There was a religious quest, skeletons turning to dust, and hidden artifacts. We get to journey through the ocean this time instead of the desert and it was a lot of fun.  This was a great second novel in a series.

In the last book, we saw Elisa grow as a person who gained confidence in herself.  Elisa continues to grow as a character but this time it’s about finding the power from within herself.  I liked watching her learn that just because she is young, she shouldn’t let people walk all over her or dismiss her.  She has to learn one of the biggest lessons we all learn when we grow up – that we have to decide what is best for our own future instead of letting people decide for us.

She has not always wanted what is best for me. She has always wanted what she thinks is best for me. And she has never hesitated to work around me or anyone else to accomplish it.

- Rae Carson, The Crown of Embers  (Kindle Locations 4037-4039).

Religion continues as a theme in this book.  Elisa is slightly irked when she constantly meets people telling her what “God’s will” is which I found amusing but also very truthful.  Religion is part of the clash of the different cultures in the story.  How do you end a war that’s been going on forever between cultures that don’t understand each other? I thought that was such a relevant question and I enjoyed the exploration of the answer to that and what part ignorance can play.

I have a theory.  I don’t think it’s a spoiler since it’s never answered and it’s left up to your imagination.  Elisa’s people were supposedly brought from a dying world into the world where Crown of Embers is set.  I couldn’t help but think that maybe the dying world referred to was actually our world.  I have one quote to support this theory.  The quote sounds very similar to the bible which is what spawned this theory in the first place.

“I swear my life and service unto you. I swear to protect you and to honor you. I am yours to command in all things. For as long as I live, your people shall be my people, your ways my ways, your God my God.”

-Rae Carson, The Crown of Embers (Kindle Locations 3653-3655)

What do you think? Did you have any theories about this book?

Overall, it was a great adventure novel about a girl who learns to find power within herself that I couldn’t put down.

Content Rating: Medium, for a mildly detailed scene of a girl observing herself naked.

This post contains affiliate links and I receive a small percentage of sales made through these links. 

About Rae Carson

Rae Carson

I write books about teens who must do brave things. I'm originally from California, but I moved to Ohio to marry my husband, who is the smartest and therefore sexiest man I know. We live in Columbus with my teenaged stepsons, who are awesome. My books tend to contain lots of adventure, a little magic and romance, and smart girls who make (mostly) smart choices. I especially love to write about questions I don't know the answers to.

My Google Diary for Dreams of Gods & Monsters

My Google Diary for Dreams of Gods & Monsters

My Google Diary for Dreams of Gods & MonstersDreams of Gods & Monsters by Laini Taylor


When I read, I ask a LOT of questions. Here’s some stuff I searched or wondered about while reading Dreams of Gods & Monsters by Laini Taylor.

From my Review:

Dreams of Gods & Monsters was an epic and beautiful finale to one of my new favorite fantasy series.  The romance made my heart melt.  There was a Star Wars joke about using a Tauntaun to keep warm which I loved.  There was more of the blunt, honest humor that I laugh out loud at. Read more…


The Plaza of St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome (pg 66)

They were over the plaza, Michelangelo’s colonnades curving beneath them like outstretched arms.

- Laini Taylor,  Dreams of Gods & Monsters (pg 475)

Image Credit: "Vatican StPeter Square" by François Malan - Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons -

Image Credit: “Vatican StPeter Square” by François Malan – Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons



By the time the plane’s wheels touched down on a desolate stretch of desert runway, the sun had cleared a ridge of mountains and revealed a land the color of dust. The single building that served as a terminal was squat and fashioned seemingly of the same dust.

The Middle East? Eliza wondered. Tattooine? A sign, hand-painted, was illegible in exotic, curling letters. Arabic, at a guess. That probably eliminated Tattooine.

-Laini Taylor, Dreams of Gods & Monsters  (p. 238).


Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not on Tattooine any more.

Is it Gollum??

Razgut crooning over his pain like a baby just makes this image of Gollum pop in my head.  And once it did, it never went away every time he showed up in the book.

He could kick him, oh yes, and Razgut would croon to the pain all night long and comfort it like an armful of babies, and in the morning he would count his bruises, and number his spites and miseries, and go on smiling, and go on knowing all the things that no one remembered, the things that should never have been forgotten, and the reason— oh godstars, the most excellent and terrible reason— that Jael should leave the Stelians alone.

-Laini Taylor,  Dreams of Gods & Monsters  (pg 259).



World Religions

A big theme in this book was religion.  I really liked this quote because even though it is fiction I think it highlights really well the dynamic of world religions.

“Are you beginning to understand what this means?” Dr. Amhali asked, very intense. “Do you see how the world will interpret it? The angels flew to Rome; it’s all very nice for Christians, yes? Angels in Rome, warning of beasts and wars, while here, in a Muslim country, we unearth… demons. What do you think the response will be?”

- Laini Taylor, Dreams of Gods & Monsters (pg 248).


Even though I wasn’t a fan of all the back story, I did like the references to the Nephilim. And since Hieronymus Bosch was mentioned in Daughter of Smoke & Bone, I had to include one of his painting here that was based on one of the biblical references to Nephilim (Genesis 6:1-4).

Hieronymus Bosch - The Fall of the Rebel Angels

Hieronymus Bosch – The Fall of the Rebel Angels

It was the term, in ancient texts, for the offspring of the better-known “Nephilim,” who were the first fruit of angels’ congress with humans.

- Laini Taylor, Dreams of Gods & Monsters (Daughter of Smoke and Bone) (pg 352).

Nephilim scripture, both biblical and apocryphal, all the angels were male. The Book of Enoch— a text that was canon to no group except the Ethiopian Jews— tells of the leader of the fallen angels, Samyaza, ordering his hundred and ninety-nine fallen brethren to, essentially, get busy.

- Laini Taylor, Dreams of Gods & Monsters  (pg 352).



About Laini Taylor

Laini Taylor

Hi there! I'm a writer of fantasy books for young people, but my books can be enjoyed by adults as well. My 'Dreamdark' books, Blackbringer (2007) and Silksinger (2009) are about faeries -- not dainty little flowery things, but warrior-faeries who battle devils. My first young adult book, Lips Touch, is a finalist for the 2009 National Book Award! It's creepy, sensual supernatural romance. . . about kissing. I am also an artist with a licensed gift product line called "Laini's Ladies."

Book Review: Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson

Book Review: Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson

Book Review: Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett JohnsonHarold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
Series: Harold #1
Published: 1955
64 pages
Genres: Childrens
Source: Library

The Short, Sweet, and Spoiler-Free Blurb:

"One night, after thinking it over for some time, Harold decided to go for a walk in the moonlight." So begins this gentle story that shows just how far your imagination can take you. Armed only with an oversized purple crayon, young Harold draws himself a landscape full of beauty and excitement. But this is no hare-brained, impulsive flight of fantasy. Cherubic, round-headed Harold conducts his adventure with the utmost prudence, letting his imagination run free, but keeping his wits about him all the while.
5 Stars

I’m trying to read more books from my to-read list and I happened to see Harold and the Purple Crayon at the library.  It was on my to-read list only because it was mentioned on Gilmore Girls.  But my 4 year-old son saw it and wanted to read it with me.  So we read it together and he enjoyed it a lot.  Which of course means we read it about 5 more times.  It is an adorable, creative book with a cute message about imagination and finding home.  My review is probably longer than the book itself, but I really wanted to feature it on my blog because the day after I read this book to my son, I found a huge stack of drawings, all in purple, and they are clearly inspired by the book.  It was touching to me that a book would stick with him that much.  So I decided to share all the drawings he did that I could find.  You’ll notice in a lot of the drawings that there are two people.  The other person is his older brother who he considers his best friend.

Click images to view them larger.


Content Rating: None. Clean read.

This post contains affiliate links and I receive a small percentage of sales made through these links.  

About Crockett Johnson

Crockett Johnson

Crockett Johnson (1906-1975) was the writer and/or illustrator of over 20 books for children, including his beloved classic HAROLD AND THE PURPLE CRAYON (Harper, 1955), as well as seven subsequent adventures starring Harold, and THE CARROT SEED, written by his wife, Ruth Krauss (Harper, 1945). He was also the creator of "Barnaby," one of the most popular comic-strips of the Twentieth Century. (A Barnaby selection appears in LITTLE LIT: STRANGE STORIES FOR STRANGE KIDS, Harper, 2001.)

Mr. Johnson received his art training at New York University and Cooper Union, and in his later years exhibited a series of geometric paintings, which were well-received by both the mathematical and artistic communities.