Top 10 Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: The First Ten Books I Reviewed

Once upon a time, before I started a blog and an Instagram, I began writing tiny reviews for books I had read.

And thus, my obsession began.

I scrolled back through my Goodreads to find these baby reviews and thought it’d be funny to show them along with the Top Ten Tuesday’s theme.

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

My review: ☆☆☆☆

I liked this book! Definitely one of those “finish in a day” types. I thought the story was inventive and it took me awhile to grasp what exactly was going on. Not something I would normally choose, but glad I did for a change of pace. Would definitely recommend to a friend.

Little Women (Little Women #1) by Lousia May Alcott

My review: ☆☆☆

** spoiler alert ** I can’t get over the fact that I felt it should have been Jo and Laurie who ultimately ended up together. I didn’t think this book was anything spectacular. I enjoyed some of the funny quirks from the author through different characters, but I grew tired of the randomness of the stories and chapter and chapter of how they’ll do better next time!

A Different Blue by Amy Harmon

My review: ☆☆☆

While I LOVE all of the other Amy Harmon books I’ve read, I felt this one was almost too much drama. It was one thing after another and I could see each one coming. I’ll still read her books, but for this one I definitely wasn’t as big of a fan as I have been of her others!

Our Dark Duet (Monsters of Verity #2) by Victoria Schwab

My review: ☆☆☆☆

If there’s one thing you can count on from Schwab, it’s that she has no problem killing off characters. Which I actually like because it’s different from how most authors write. Now, I wouldn’t want it this way ALL the time, but it’s nice when there’s a dark side. 😉

I enjoyed this book and thought it was a good ending to the duology. I will definitely continue to read Schwab’s books! It was evil, and filled with internal struggles that gave the characters more depth from the first book.

Rules of Civility by Amor Towles

My review: ☆☆☆☆

I really enjoyed this book! It as a good historical fiction novel. Kinda Great Gatsby-esque. I loved the way it was narrated (after I got use to it, haha). The characters were intriguing and unique.

Outliers: The Story of Success

My review: ☆☆☆☆☆

Phenomenal book! My husband and I both enjoyed reading this over the weekend and discussing all of the topics. It really makes you think.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

My review: ☆☆☆☆☆

I had originally shelved this book as ‘eh, I’ll read that eventually, but I’m not really feeling it right now…”. I’m so glad I finally picked it up because it was SO GOOD. It was heartbreaking, yes, but also told beautifully. I actually enjoyed the way it was narrated, it added an additional layer to the story. All should read!

Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brenè Brown

My review:☆☆☆☆☆

I love reading Brene Brown’s books! I always think they’re insightful and current. She keeps me interested by adding stories to the data that helps drive the point home. I often think ‘oh goodness, that IS me!’ over and over when I’m reading. Definitely recommend!

The Marsh King’s Daughter by Karen Dionne

My review:☆☆☆

I really just couldn’t get into this book. I did finish it still because I was intrigued enough to know what happens at the end, but I felt there were a lot of flaws. It drove me batty that she kept going back and forth incessantly about whether or not she loved her father. I get the author was trying to convey the struggle, but it just came off annoying to me. There’s more reasons I could list, but I definitely think I should have just borrowed this book rather than bought it. Oh well, on to the next!

Flame in the Mist (Flame in the Mist #1) by Renèe Ahdieh

My review:☆☆☆☆☆

SUCH A GOOD BOOK. I love a good plot twist. Why do I have to wait for the sequel!?!?

There ya have it! The first 10 books I reviewed. Wow, how time (and practice) can make things better! Have you read any of these? Lets talk in the comments!

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Book Review

Book Review: Age of Myth (The Legends of the First Empire #1) by Michael J. Sullivan

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Fantasy
Length: 432 pages
Author: Michael J. Sullivan
Publisher: Del Ray
Release Date: June 28th, 2016
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Age of Myth inaugurates another six-book series set in Elan.

Since time immemorial, humans have worshipped the gods they call Fhrey, truly a race apart: invincible in battle, masters of magic, and seemingly immortal. But when a god falls to a human blade, the balance of power between humans and those they thought were gods changes forever.

Now only a few stand between humankind and annihilation: Raithe, reluctant to embrace his destiny as the God Killer; Suri, a young seer burdened by signs of impending doom; and Persephone, who must overcome personal tragedy to lead her people. The Age of Myth is over. The time of rebellion has begun.

I’M INVESTED NOW.

I picked this up because of a recommendation from a friend on Bookstagram. She had mentioned if after seeing how much I loved the Mistborn Series by Brandon Sanderson. Y’all, she was right. This is definitely another great fantasy.

I wouldn’t say [at this time] that it’s on par with Sanderson, but I am not disappointed in what I read. I feel invested in this story now.

What was interesting is that these are all older characters. And I loved that! It was different from the my usual (since I’m a big reader of YA). The characters already came in with experiences and I amazed at how much I enjoyed each one. Persephone is a stunning, brave woman who holds her own among the men who claim she can’t handle her position. UGH, MEN.

Honestly though, that was only a handful. Raithe and Malcom? YES PLEASE. I love their bro-ship. They are so different and are great budding friends. I am obsessed with Raithe. He’s the brooding warrior type I’m always attracted to in books. I’m so pumped to see what happens in book two. Malcom is that witty side character you want to be friends with. He’s there at the right time, saying the right thing, and I loved his comical breaks in a somewhat heavy plot line.

“The worst that can happen is you’ll die.”

In a weird way, a lot happened, but didn’t happen. It’s definitely a first book. A lot more set-up, world-building and politicking happens then actual action scenes. While I minded a little, it was still such an enticing read. I constantly wanted to pick it up and see where the story was going next. The larger plot line was left open while a few ones this book focused on were wrapped up well.

Arion’s POV was the only one that took time to grow on me. At first I was wondering why she was even present. Luckily her story-line wove into the main plot and she definitely has a bigger role to play as these two worlds collide.

I absolutely adored Suri. As the only young main character in this book she was fantastic. Witty, intelligent, a little odd. It was a great mix. Her and Minna (her wolf) made me smile and cheer for them often.

Overall audience notes:

  • Fantasy
  • Language: I think b*tch was used twice, that was it
  • Violence: knives, falling off cliffs, swords, animal attacks, magic, mauling by bears, all things are a bit gory
Book Talk

Bookish Discussion: The Lowest Rated Books On My Goodreads

Scrolling through the pages I follow I saw that Ally Writes Things had posted about the lowest rated books (on Goodreads) and what she rated them.

Y’all. THIS WAS A BRILLIANT IDEA.

So here I am, definitely doing this. Let’s go. This will be a handful of the lowest rated books based off of Goodreads and then what I ended up rating them. I hope to do one with the highest rated books from my GR as well, future post alert!

Things I’d Rather Do Than Die by Christine Hurley Deriso

Goodreads Rating: 3.25 || My Rating: 2.50

You can actually find my review for this here. Though please pardon the baby blog formatting as it was one of the first Netgalley reviews I ever did. I could not believe this book at all. It tried way too hard to create drama and purpose, but not. Just no.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith (original story from Jane Austen)

Goodreads Rating: 3.29 || My Rating: 4.00

I can’t help it, I thought this book was fun. I even loved the movie (and that never happens!). It’s quirky, ridiculous, but that’s the whole point if you ask me.

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Goodreads Rating: 3.39 || My Rating: 2.00

Granted, I read this in high school so it probably deserves a re-read to get a new rating, but I have NO DESIRE to do this.

The Dysasters (The Dysasters #1) by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast

Goodreads Rating: 3.41 || My Rating: 2.00

If you want to see a rant filled review: click here! My first physical ARC was unfortunately…an absolute dud. Really, a dud. *sigh*

Beowulf by Unknown (Seamus Heaney — Translator)

Goodreads Rating: 3.43 || My Rating: 3.00

This was another read in high school. I remember thinking it was fine overall. Interesting enough.

The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman

Goodreads Rating: 3.45 || My Rating: 3.00

Tried my best to enjoy this because I thought the story was amazing, but unfortunately the way this was portrayed I couldn’t get into the story. I hardly remember it now because I scanned so much of it.

Evenfall (Shadowfire #1) by Gaja J. Kos & Boris Kos

Goodreads Rating: 3.51 || My Rating: 4.00

This was my version of a tale of two books. The first half almost had me DNF but then somehow the second half was astounding enough for me to think highly of it. I’m actually excited for the second book! (AND ALSO SHOUT-OUT TO THIS GORGEOUS COVER Y’ALL)

Have you read any of these? Did you love them more than their average rating? Lets talk in the comments!

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Book Review

Book Review: The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: Fiction/Sci-fi
Length: 303 pages
Author: Karen Thompson Walker
Publisher: Random House
Release Date: January 15th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

In an isolated college town in the hills of Southern California, a freshman girl stumbles into her dorm room, falls asleep—and doesn’t wake up. She sleeps through the morning, into the evening. Her roommate, Mei, cannot rouse her. Neither can the paramedics who carry her away, nor the perplexed doctors at the hospital. Then a second girl falls asleep, and then another, and panic takes hold of the college and spreads to the town. As the number of cases multiplies, classes are canceled, and stores begin to run out of supplies. A quarantine is established. The National Guard is summoned. 

Mei, an outsider in the cliquish hierarchy of dorm life, finds herself thrust together with an eccentric, idealistic classmate. Two visiting professors try to protect their newborn baby as the once-quiet streets descend into chaos. A father succumbs to the illness, leaving his daughters to fend for themselves. And at the hospital, a new life grows within a college girl, unbeknownst to her—even as she sleeps. A psychiatrist, summoned from Los Angeles, attempts to make sense of the illness as it spreads through the town. Those infected are displaying unusual levels of brain activity, more than has ever been recorded. They are dreaming heightened dreams—but of what?

TOO THOUGHT-PROVOKING.

I never thought I’d say this about a book, but my head hurt after reading this. I’ve sat on this review for a bit because I was gathering my thoughts.

This book actually spooked me out a bit (note: easily spooked). I started thinking about what would it be like if this actually happened and started spiraling. Seriously, how scary?! Especially when they kept going back to the family with the baby. My intense Momma Bear voice was raging in my head trying to protect them.

I also felt sad reading this. A feeling I generally don’t like to find when reading (unless purposely chosen or previously known beforehand). A lot of this was making my heart hurt. Watching one character drop after another. Having to deal with being quarantined. Some never waking, really hard-hitting stuff.

Everything was too philosophical. One of the characters even offered up those philosophical puzzles that make you run around in circles. It was a battle of who to save, who was worth it, and I didn’t want to make those decisions! This isn’t as light as it may seem, even when it’s only 300 pages.

I was bummed with the resolution. It wasn’t anything spectacular. Things were all of sudden solved. I think that was supposed to be the mystery of the entire illness itself, but it left me wanting more. I personally like endings where I feel all loose ends are tied up and I’m not asking too many questions.

Overall audience notes:

  • Fiction/Sci-fi
  • Language: a little
  • Romance: a kiss, a vaguely implied night together
  • Trigger warning: suicide

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Book Review

Book Review: Defy Me (Shatter Me #5) by Tahereh Mafi

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Dystopia
Length: 352 pages
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: April 2nd, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

The gripping fifth installment in the New York Times, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly bestselling Shatter Me series. Will Juliette’s broken heart make her vulnerable to the strengthening darkness within her?

Juliette’s short tenure as the supreme commander of North America has been an utter disaster. When the children of the other world leaders show up on her doorstep, she wants nothing more than to turn to Warner for support and guidance. But he shatters her heart when he reveals that he’s been keeping secrets about her family and her identity from her—secrets that change everything.

Juliette is devastated, and the darkness that’s always dwelled within her threatens to consume her. An explosive encounter with unexpected visitors might be enough to push her over the edge.

I LOVED THIS.

Note: May be very mild spoilers (mostly who ends up with who) if you haven’t read any of the Shatter Me series. No spoilers about anything else except for some name changes.

I have been waiting for this book for a year. And it was not a let down. YAYAY. I will admit that it read more like a novella (not that I’m complaining – just an observation).

The entire book is essentially a rescue mission. Our three POVs consist of Juliette (further known as Ella) remembering things, escaping, getting to Warner (further known as Aaron). Then, Aaron: remembering, escaping, and finding Ella. Lastly, Kenji discovering all the information E&A are remembering, trying to find them, and then getting them to the next location. So you see, a lot of overlap and lack of big plot movement. This was more dedicated to character development and a lot of information dumping. I know this will divide the camp on who likes this book, but personally, I was into it.

But what DID happen, were these precious little moments of life. Those small and inconsequential things that make my heart smile most. There were empowering moments of Ella realizing her strength and courage. Moments of Aaron harnessing his darkness to find what really matters most. Watching the loving moments between the two and getting to soak up a bit of light before darkness descends.

Characters

Ella. I didn’t see as much of her as I would like, but I loved watching her character evolve. She learned a lot from those around her and being able to really know who she is. I think she’ll really be back at the forefront come book six.

“Aaron Warner Anderson is the only emotional through line in my life that ever made sense. He’s the only constant. The only steady, reliable heartbeat I’ve ever had.”

Aaron. Y’ALL. I LOVE HIM. I FORGOT HOW MUCH I LOVE HIM. I seriously could not handle his sweet, battered soul. Getting a lot more of his back story destroyed me. Because I’m an absolute sucker for love, these were my favorite parts. Watching him with Ella, calling her love and sweetheart. I could go on and on. I love darkened, cinnamon roll characters. He took the parts he was always afraid to show and gave them to Ella and I melted.

“And up until just this moment, I don’t think I was ever truly convinced anyone would see me as human enough to forgive my sins. To give me a second chance.”

Side-ish thing: I love when couples are together before the series is over. Sometimes the entire series focuses on a pair, just getting together. While I think it’s even better when they are together and take on what comes their way. You can be with someone and still be independent and a force on your own. So I hope this remains the theme for the last book.

Kenji. Totally obsessed with him. He is sassy, loyal, witty, and has the best dialogue. I love that we got more POV with him. His vibe with Nazeera is something I am here for. She really grew on me in this book and I liked her presence.

“Thank you for appreciating my face. I’ve always thought I had an underappreciated face.”

There are a lot of loose ends by the last page. I’m totally fine with it because we still have one more book to go. We met some new characters that will be back. Some characters got what they deserved (and others ARE STILL WAITING THEIR IMMINENT DEMISE). Luckily, this book didn’t end on a dramatic cliff-hanger. It was a lovely, quiet moment where I can peacefully wait for the fate of Ella, Aaron, Kenji and their friends.

“Today is not forever. Happiness does not happen. Happiness must be uncovered, separated from skin of pain. It must be claimed. Kept close. Protected.”

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult dystopia
  • Language: a bit (mostly Kenji, haha)
  • Romance: some kisses, a lightly detailed love scene
  • Violence: guns, physical, torture (and memories of torture)
  • Trigger warnings: child abuse (in the severest forms)

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Top 10 Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Rainy Day Reads

Alright, after the week break we are right back at it with another Top Ten Tuesday!

I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not even sure what qualifies for a rainy day read. Whenever it rains I want to read in general. Doesn’t really matter, whatever book I’m currently reading is the one I want.

So in light of that struggle, I instead have decided to twirl this as Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Want to Read Soon, If it’s Raining That Day, AWESOME (which, because of where I live it rains a few times a week).

All weather is good weather to read. My only rule is that these books have to be out already so I could theoretically pick them up immediately.

The Traitor’s Ruin (The Traitor’s Circle #1) by Erin Beaty

Y’all, I LOVED the first book. Can’t help it. So I need book two, STAT. It had some elements that I absolutely adore in YA romance/fantasy books. I have high hopes for the series.

The Boy Who Steals Houses by C.G. Drews

I’ve been impatiently waiting for this book to make it to me from Australia. COME ON BOOK DEPOSITORY. YOU CAN DO THIS.

The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive #1) by Brandon Sanderson

This is going to be my next audible pick! I’m really into everything Sanderson does this year. My goal is to finish most of them by the end of 2019.

The Name of the Wind (Kingkiller Chronicles #1) by Patrick Rothfuss

I’m listening to this actually as I type. Y’all, this book is taking a bit to get into, but I’ve heard such good things so I’m going to keep going. I need to catch up with my husband who’s a couple hours ahead of me.

The Simple Wild by K.A. Tucker

Adventurous, wild romance in Alaska? YOU BETCHA I BOUGHT THIS. It was also on sale for 6 bucks. I can’t pass that up.

Kingdom of Exiles (The Beast Charmer #1) by Maxym M. Martineau

My next Netgalley read! I really want to read this. I might have to make it my very next read. It sounds so interesting.

More Than We Can Tell (Letters to the Lost #2) by Brigid Kemmerer

DID YOU KNOW THERE’S A SECOND BOOK? BECAUSE I DIDN’T KNOW. Now I do, now I need to remedy this situation. I absolutely loved Letters to the Lost.

Beartown (Beartown #1) by Fredrik Backman

I have only read A Man Called Ove by Backman but I have heard so many good things about this series that I really want to pick it up soon.

Age of Swords (The Legends of the First Empire #2) by Michael J. Sullivan

Mmmm. High fantasy. ALWAYS GOOD TO READ.

The City of Brass (The Daevabad Trilogy #1) by S.A. Chakraborty

I had to order the UK hardcover because I couldn’t find a US one I was willing to purchase (price + out of stock + wanting hardcover = hard time). So now it’s in my possession and now I need to read this. Getting on that hype train.

Are any of these on your TBR or that you’ve already read? What do you consider a rainy day read?

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Book Review

Book Review: Stolen Songbird (The Malediction Trilogy #1) by Danielle L. Jensen

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Fantasy
Length: 469 pages
Author: Danielle L. Jensen
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Release Date: April 1st, 2014
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

For five centuries, a witch’s curse has bound the trolls to their city beneath the mountain. When Cécile de Troyes is kidnapped and taken beneath the mountain, she realises that the trolls are relying on her to break the curse.

Cécile has only one thing on her mind: escape. But the trolls are clever, fast, and inhumanly strong. She will have to bide her time…

But the more time she spends with the trolls, the more she understands their plight. There is a rebellion brewing. And she just might be the one the trolls were looking for…

I SHOULD’VE READ THIS YEARS AGO.

This book floated on and off my TBR for years (no really, it was at least 2 years). WHY did I wait this long? I have no idea. Honestly, I think it was the whole troll concept. I wasn’t super into that. Wow though, I was wrong and am so glad I gave this a chance.

I was immediately drawn in. This is the type of book I read most often and the ones I enjoy easily. Having Cécile thrown into an enemies to lovers situation with Tristan was EVERYTHING. Y’all, I never get tired of this scenario.

I was impressed with Cécile for the most part. I feel there was some communication issues between her and others that frustrated me, but I appreciated she didn’t take her situation lying down. I loved watching her have a change of heart and growing and listening to those around her. I hope she is the liberator these people need by the end.

I could have used a bit more action overall. While things did keep happening, I was missing that extra uhmph from some of the scenes. The flow of the story was smooth though. The romance moved at a pace that made sense (which is always appreciative).

There were a handful of heart in my throat moments where I didn’t know what would happen next. I was impressed at the emotion I felt for these characters. I really had a connection with them and learning about the Troll society was heart breaking and interesting. The magical components made sense in the world and never felt out of place.

A lot was unveiled towards the end that I’m excited to get my hands on book two!

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Fantasy with a love story
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: some kisses and a lightly intense make-outs
  • Violence: physical, poison, spears, magic
  • Trigger warning: mention of a past miscarriage

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