Book Review

Review: Ink and Bone (The Great Library #1) by Rachel Caine

Ink and Bone

 

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult fantasy/dystopia, no language, violence, a few kisses
Length: 355 pages
Author: Rachel Caine
Publisher: NAL
Release Date: July 7th, 2015
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

In an exhilarating new series, New York Times bestselling author Rachel Caine rewrites history, creating a dangerous world where the Great Library of Alexandria has survived the test of time…

Ruthless and supremely powerful, the Great Library is now a presence in every major city, governing the flow of knowledge to the masses. Alchemy allows the Library to deliver the content of the greatest works of history instantly—but the personal ownership of books is expressly forbidden.

Jess Brightwell believes in the value of the Library, but the majority of his knowledge comes from illegal books obtained by his family, who are involved in the thriving black market. Jess has been sent to be his family’s spy, but his loyalties are tested in the final months of his training to enter the Library’s service.

When his friend inadvertently commits heresy by creating a device that could change the world, Jess discovers that those who control the Great Library believe that knowledge is more valuable than any human life—and soon both heretics and books will burn… 

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

BURNERS, UNITE.

First…unpopular book opinion alert: I have only read the first 4 books of HP, seen all the movies, and have no current plans to finish reading the books.

That being said, I still felt HP vibes and I wasn’t mad. Essentially a group of students are in a class designed to determine if they are fit to be a Librarian (in many capacities). They’re multiple side characters, a teacher, etc. So you see, a little HP adjacent.

I thoroughly enjoyed all of the characters. They were fun, each was unique in background, and personality. Caine took time to let you get a better understanding of each character along with Jess. My favs by far were Wolfe and Santi. Love them. Love their dynamic. Want more of their story.

This is one of the those books where the friendship dynamics mean everything. They are a group that slowly knits together through experiences. The love angle isn’t heavily present (and this book is totally cool without it).

I am also currently trying to hold back some tears, BECAUSE WHY. WHY. WHY. WHY. My great faith in the goddess of books would have me believe the ending is false, and I shall hold onto that glimmer.

The story continually takes twists and turns, no holy mackerel PLOT TWIST moments, but you’re spurned on none-the-less. It’s a shorter book, perfect for a quick read that I devoured during nap time.

A lot of open ending lines have been cast as this is the first book in the series. I’m super excited to follow along and delve into all of the secrets of the Great Library. I think this is such a fun plot and I haven’t read anything directly like it. It really follows its own story.

Overall audience notes:
— No language
— Violence, somewhat detailed
— Kiss scenes that are definitely safe for work
— A fantasy / dystopian YA
— Friendships > Romance

Friday Features

Friday Favorites

Hall

Howdy!

Today I’m creating my first post of Friday Favorites. The point of this is to weekly post some of your favorite things, including:

  • Book
    • Any book that you consider a favorite whether that’s right now or a book you will forever love
  • Song
    • Whatever song is currently on repeat any time you hop in the car
  • TV Show
    • We all know you’re currently binge watching a show right now

While we all love blogging about books, my hopes is to add some other things as well to get to know each other even better! Make this your own, if you’re a movie watcher instead of TV, great! Is your audio only filled with audio books? Well that counts too.

You’re more than welcome to do your own, let me know in the comments if you do because I would love to read your posts!

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

Favorite Book: A Court of Mist and Fury

ACOMAF

 

This is my all-time fav right now. Has been since I first read it. I am SJM trash and I have no shame. This is a book I read a few times a year or whenever I’m in a book slump.

 

 

 

Favorite Song: Head Above Water

Avril

Guys, AVRIL IS BACK!!!! She has been one of my artists and I had all of her CDs (wow, I feel old) growing up. She had a health scare a while back, and hopefully this means she’s doing okay and will give me all the music.

 

 

Favorite TV Show: Survivor

better survivorMy hubs and I are currently watching Season 7: Pearl Islands. We are loving going through all of these. They’re hilarious, cringe-worthy, drama filled and fun to watch. The game only gets more complicated as the seasons go on (we’ve seen new seasons already too).

 

 

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

Let’s chat!

Let me know what you guys think and remember, send me a link or tag me back so I can read your favorites too. Or simple, right what you’re up to in the comments!

CROPPED

 

 

Book Review

Review: Muse of Nightmares (Strange the Dreamer #2) by Laini Taylor

Muse of Nightmares

 

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult fantasy, no language, violence, innuendo and some sexual content
Length: 528 pages
Author: Laini Taylor
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: October 2nd, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

In the wake of tragedy, neither Lazlo nor Sarai are who they were before. One a god, the other a ghost, they struggle to grasp the new boundaries of their selves as dark-minded Minya holds them hostage, intent on vengeance against Weep.

Lazlo faces an unthinkable choice—save the woman he loves, or everyone else?—while Sarai feels more helpless than ever. But is she? Sometimes, only the direst need can teach us our own depths, and Sarai, the muse of nightmares, has not yet discovered what she’s capable of.

As humans and godspawn reel in the aftermath of the citadel’s near fall, a new foe shatters their fragile hopes, and the mysteries of the Mesarthim are resurrected: Where did the gods come from, and why? What was done with thousands of children born in the citadel nursery? And most important of all, as forgotten doors are opened and new worlds revealed: Must heroes always slay monsters, or is it possible to save them instead?

Love and hate, revenge and redemption, destruction and salvation all clash in this gorgeous sequel to the New York Times bestseller, Strange the Dreamer.

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

GODDESS OF DREAMS.

Yes, yes, yes. This is how you end a duology (series, etc.). All the necessary pieces were there. Action, romance, friendship, family, heroes and villains (and plenty of others). YES.

The addition of Nova and Kora’s story was intense and heartbreaking. My initial inklings (of thinking Kora was Lazlo’s mom) were very wrong indeed. This story line really enhanced what was happening in the citadel and made the ending feel like it really did come full circle. It was placed in the book at just the right times that kept everything moving.

There was plenty of action, violence, and romance. Though, some of the love scenes were full of cheesy lines. While that made me laugh…and cringe…they were still sweet. The fact that Sarai was a ghost the entire time still blows my mind. I personally haven’t read any other books that are like that so it’s nice to come across a new flavor every now and then!

I didn’t love so much that Minya wasn’t in the middle of the story. That girl needs some love. She needs a hug, a nap, and a friend. Her arc did come around, but I felt she could have been utilized more.

The chapter pieces with Thyon, Ruza, Calixte and Tzara were nice, but seemingly random. They unfortunately didn’t play as big a part as I thought (til like seriously the end, and only kinda). It caused me to forget they were there and then not even get to enjoy them. I really like their relationships and sassy convos and thought they needed more spotlight.

What angered me so is that Skathis never had a villianous backstory. Why is he this horrid? It only made me hate him more (probably the author’s intention), but also not be able to understand the villiany. He was an awful (doesn’t even begin to cover it) “god” and should have died long ago.

Nova at least, had this back-story. I got her. My heart bled with her and I was worried for her. The connection with her made the whole group aspect hit home.

The ending is everything you want and expect. I felt satisfied closing the book and am excited to see what comes next for Taylor.

Overall audiences notes:
— No language (WHOOP!)
— Love scenes range from glossed over to lightly detailed, including innuendo
— Detailed violence that is bloody
— Trigger potential: depression and suicide

Book Review

ARC Review: The Wren Hunt by Mary Watson

The Wren Hunt

 

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult fantasy, language, some violence, a few kissing scenes
Length: 432 pages
Author: Mary Watson
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Expected Release Date: November 6th, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Every Christmas, Wren is chased through the woods near her isolated village by her family’s enemies—the Judges—and there’s nothing that she can do to stop it. Once her people, the Augurs, controlled a powerful magic. But now that power lies with the Judges, who are set on destroying her kind for good.

In a desperate bid to save her family, Wren takes a dangerous undercover assignment—as an intern to an influential Judge named Cassa Harkness. Cassa has spent her life researching a transformative spell, which could bring the war between the factions to its absolute end. Caught in a web of deceit, Wren must decide whether or not to gamble on the spell and seal the Augurs’ fate.

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

*Note: I was given this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher, Bloomsbury USA Childrens, for the opportunity to read The Wren Hunt. Publication date, length of book, etc. are subject to change. 

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

ADD THIS TO YOUR TBR, Y’ALL.

I stayed up way to late trying to finish this book because I could not. put. it. down.

It initially starts out a bit slow and confusing. There is a lot of discussion of judges vs. augurs, when you haven’t quite been told what those are. The most confusing bit was understanding the Nemeta. I finished this book and still not quite sure what those are, but alas, this book still gets a lot of praise from me.

Once some more lines are established the book increasingly becomes a page turner. The action fluctuates well and it keeps the flow of the novel going steady.

The romance though. It’s always hard in a standalone to play a good romance (in my opinion). Watson does such a great job at this! Tarc and Wren gave me all the feels. There’s a strong push and pull between them that without even realizing it has it’s own consequences.

If like me, you had to read Romeo & Juliet in high school then you can definitely see the parallels. Yet, the approach itself felt new. It is a fantasy book, but with a contemporary edge. I loved that. Threw me off at first, but the longer I went, the more I grasped onto that concept. Pay attention to all of the lines weaving through this book! It was fun to see where they all connected and formed the final web.

The side characters are a little mixed. I personally liked a few, and didn’t like others. There wasn’t an over-abundance of names though. So you aren’t sitting there trying to figure out who’s who. It’s also set in IRELAND! Nifty and different. I love the branching out in story sets I’ve been seeing from a lot of authors I’ve read recently.

Wren is a sound character overall. Her arc allows some depth and growth as she fights to stay loyal in a losing battle only to realize the betrayal around her. She is young and naive about some things, but it was never annoying to me. It played out well and you understand her choices. Wren finally decides to stand up for what she wants and makes the ultimate decision.

Overall Audience Notes:
— Young adult fantasy, set in a contemporary world
— Language
— Kiss scenes are very mild
— Violence in the forms of fists, knives, and guns

Book Review

Review: The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown

Boys in the Boat

 

Rating: ☆☆☆.5
Audience: YA+, no language, no violence
Length: 416 pages
Author: Daniel James Brown
Publisher: Viking
Release Date: June 4th, 2013
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

For readers of Laura Hillenbrand’s Seabiscuit and Unbroken, the dramatic story of the American rowing team that stunned the world at Hitler’s 1936 Berlin Olympics.

Daniel James Brown’s robust book tells the story of the University of Washington’s 1936 eight-oar crew and their epic quest for an Olympic gold medal, a team that transformed the sport and grabbed the attention of millions of Americans. The sons of loggers, shipyard workers, and farmers, the boys defeated elite rivals first from eastern and British universities and finally the German crew rowing for Adolf Hitler in the Olympic games in Berlin, 1936.

The emotional heart of the story lies with one rower, Joe Rantz, a teenager without family or prospects, who rows not for glory, but to regain his shattered self-regard and to find a place he can call home. The crew is assembled by an enigmatic coach and mentored by a visionary, eccentric British boat builder, but it is their trust in each other that makes them a victorious team. They remind the country of what can be done when everyone quite literally pulls together—a perfect melding of commitment, determination, and optimism.

Drawing on the boys’ own diaries and journals, their photos and memories of a once-in-a-lifetime shared dream, The Boys in the Boat is an irresistible story about beating the odds and finding hope in the most desperate of times—the improbable, intimate story of nine working-class boys from the American west who, in the depths of the Great Depression, showed the world what true grit really meant. It will appeal to readers of Erik Larson, Timothy Egan, James Bradley, and David Halberstam’s The Amateurs.

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

A HEARTWARMING BOOK.

My star rating may not reflect the fact that I truly did enjoy this book. There was some fundamental things for me personally that caused me to lower the rating.

The not so good juju first. The author writes really beautiful prose. I truly could picture exactly what it was like in the 30’s. This was also an issue for me. There was so so so much description and side-winding that I found myself skimming quickly to get to the actual story.

This caused me to get frustrated occasionally wanting to continue the story, but having to fly through things and I think a lot of the extra fluff could have been removed. I didn’t need such exact descriptions of a town, or a boat to get the whole picture. I would’ve liked more history on the boys (rather than just Joe) though I do realize that may be because he was the longest living of the group. There could be limitations I am not aware of.

What I did love was the story itself. It was heartfelt and Brown did a lot of research to make this book what it is. They’re multiple sides to the tale as he mostly writes from Joe’s angle, but also describes what is happening in Germany and with other team members / coaches, etc. He builds a unique sphere of realizing so many other things are happening in the world, while the world is also heading towards a war, all without each other acknowledging the moves.

Joe’s story is one of heartbreak, and ultimately finding himself whole again through rowing. I was just as angry as Joyce (his love) hearing what he had to go through at such a young age and the unfairness of his world.

I was riveted reading the paragraphs of the races. On the edge of my seat (even when you know who wins) because the author scripts it, that well. Those boys rowing together were the best portions, and the epilogue referring to the fact they met every 10 years to do it again? Oh, my heart. The bond this team had to accomplish what they did is powerful.

Overall audience notes:
— A clean book that younger to older audiences would enjoy
— No language
— Descriptions of war-time Germany

Uncategorized

September Reading Wrap-up!

A good month for books was had.

September was such a fun month for reading! I finished the last book in ToG, prepping for Kingdom of Ash in October. I was able to read a few off of my TBR and actually narrow it down a bit (okay, maybe I also added more books than read, but I tried!).

I changed my blog name and am almost to 50 followers! This has been such a fun passion project for me and I’m loving getting to know you through comments, so keep ’em coming.

Fall started and it’s my absolute favorite season. So here’s to curling up with a good book, a glass of hot chocolate, and listening to the rain fall.

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

What I read this month…

My favorite book this month: The Girl in the Tower

My least favorite book this month: Sapphire Blue

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

Have you read any of these? Which ones did you like best? Let me know in the comments!

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

CROPPED

Book Review

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

Evenfall

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult fantasy, language, some violence, kissing scenes
Author: Gaja J. Kos & Boris Kos
Publisher: Boris Kos
Expected Release Date: October 30th, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A monster does not deserve the intimacy of a name

As if waking up in an unfamiliar world isn’t enough of a surprise, Ember gains a new title to her name. Savior.

Hunted by the Crescent Prince and his lethal shadows, she accepts a young Mage’s help to navigate the land of blood magic and its many illusions. But where Ada sees the good in her power, Ember discovers something else.

An icy darkness, designed to take lives, not save them.

The only thing worse than not being able to rely on her senses—or the reality she had once believed to be true—is knowing that she cannot trust her heart. Especially as it seems to draw her to the one person in whose hands she can never fall…

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

*Note: I was given this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher, Boris Kos, for the opportunity to read Evenfall. Publication date, etc. subject to change.

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

A TALE OF TWO BOOKS.

I was truly contemplating putting this book down through the first half. I felt like I was reading about Ada’s story rather than Ember’s and Ember was some kind of narrator for the entire saga.

Ember wasn’t doing anything for herself and was following Ada around agreeing to everything she said and not forming her own opinions about the plans to defeat the Crescent Prince. I was annoyed to no end about how everyone kept calling Ember a savior, the One, etc., but she herself had NO IDEA what anyone was talking about!!?

It was missing dialogue as well. I was tired of being in Ember’s head (since aforementioned, she wasn’t doing anything worthy of my time) and wished there was more time spent on conversation with others.

Then, I got to the half way point.

Then, I met Mordecai.

Then, things got SOOO much better. I mean really, I thought I was reading a different book altogether.

Ember grew a backbone (for the most part) and Mordecai gave me the answers I was craving. I finally had a world mostly built and understood the plot more deeply. At this point, my connection with Ember and Mordecai started to form.

The relationship borders on instant, but thankfully, some time is taken for true emotion to form. The push and pull is fun and gives more edge to Ember and humanity to Mordecai.

The story became increasingly darker. I enjoyed every second of nefarious characters showing some twisted benevolence.

Left on a cliffhanger at the end I’m not sure what to think. I really want more. I want the next story and to continue in this world. Truth be told, there needs to be more world AND character building. It took til literally the closing chapters to know how Ember showed up in a different world in the first place. That’s why I struggled to like her as a character. I wanted to understand her decisions more and hope to get more of her history (parentage, friendships, etc.) so I can really get behind her as a heroine. Same goes for all characters. The book is on the shorter side so not as much time was put into character back-stories. I have hope that the second book will deliver and fill in the hand-full of plot holes.

I had originally intended giving this book a two star rating, then three, but chose to go with four because the second half drew me in too well not to be acknowledged. I’ve been entranced enough by the Crescent Prince to need more of him.

Last note, this book was a total cover request. Merwild does AMAZING artwork and I’ve been a fan for awhile. This cover is absolutely gorgeous.

Overall audience notes:

— Young adult fantasy
— Language, often not necessary and sometimes jarring (to me personally)
— Deep kisses / make-outs, no love scenes, everything on the tasteful spectrum
— Language involving a sexual assault (Ember has a flashback)
— Minor violence; use of blood is spoken of a lot because that’s how the world’s magic is used

CROPPED