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Book Review: Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle #1) by Jay Kristoff & Amie Kaufman

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆  
Audience: YA Dystopia Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Length: 473 pages
Author: Jay Kristoff & Amie Kaufman
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Release Date: May 7th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

From the internationally bestselling authors of THE ILLUMINAE FILES comes an epic new science fiction adventure.

The year is 2380, and the graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Star pupil Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but his own boneheaded heroism sees him stuck with the dregs nobody else in the Academy would touch…

A cocky diplomat with a black belt in sarcasm
A sociopath scientist with a fondness for shooting her bunkmates
A smart-ass techwiz with the galaxy’s biggest chip on his shoulder
An alien warrior with anger management issues
A tomboy pilot who’s totally not into him, in case you were wondering

And Ty’s squad isn’t even his biggest problem—that’d be Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley, the girl he’s just rescued from interdimensional space. Trapped in cryo-sleep for two centuries, Auri is a girl out of time and out of her depth. But she could be the catalyst that starts a war millions of years in the making, and Tyler’s squad of losers, discipline-cases and misfits might just be the last hope for the entire galaxy.

They’re not the heroes we deserve. They’re just the ones we could find. Nobody panic. 

HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO WAIT FOR THIS SEQUEL?!

Y’AAAAAALLLLLLLL.

WHAT JUST HAPPENED. Like Illuminae Files this duo has destroyed me. I buddy-read this with a Bookstagram friend and it was so much fun to go over things together with her!

This book is so good. I have no words.

I love this group of characters. Squad 312 is full of unique, emotional, interesting, creative souls. Everyone stands out in their own way and I love them all for different things. My favorite currently is probably Kal. I could go into a bunch of reasons for each character, but trust me, everyone has a reason to shine. The chapters rotated in a perfect way where the main POV was the right character to be observing from. This made the entire book soar.

There were so many twists and turns. Some you can pick out, others left me like WHAT. I’m still reeling from the last few scenes. Though, what’s really nice is that it doesn’t leave off on some major cliff-hanger. While absolutely crazy things happen, it also closes out the book. Leaving you begging for a time machine to get to book two.

The main antagonist is so complex. We only scratched the surface on what’s happening in the universe and I have so many theories. I love having theories about what’s going to happen.

A lot of relationships were thrown around and happened a little here, a little there, a maybe here, a maybe there. I think this nuanced banter and love was entrancing. Within all the action we got to the nitty-gritty of each characters flaws and dreams. Each one immensely different, but also intertwined.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult dystopian sci-fi + fantasy
  • Language: a little (mostly phrases like son of a biscuit)
  • Romance: a no-details remembrance of a night together
  • Violence: physical, guns, magic

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Book Review

Book Review: The Screaming Staircase (Lockwood & Co. #1) by Jonathan Stroud

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆ 
Audience: Middle Grade/YA Mystery + Fantasy (paranormal)
Length: 381 pages
Author: Jonathan Stroud
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Release Date: August 29th, 2013
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A sinister Problem has occurred in London: all nature of ghosts, haunts, spirits, and specters are appearing throughout the city, and they aren’t exactly friendly. Only young people have the psychic abilities required to see-and eradicate-these supernatural foes. Many different Psychic Detection Agencies have cropped up to handle the dangerous work, and they are in fierce competition for business. 

In The Screaming Staircase, the plucky and talented Lucy Carlyle teams up with Anthony Lockwood, the charismatic leader of Lockwood & Co, a small agency that runs independent of any adult supervision. After an assignment leads to both a grisly discovery and a disastrous end, Lucy, Anthony, and their sarcastic colleague, George, are forced to take part in the perilous investigation of Combe Carey Hall, one of the most haunted houses in England. Will Lockwood & Co. survive the Hall’s legendary Screaming Staircase and Red Room to see another day? 

Readers who enjoyed the action, suspense, and humor in Jonathan Stroud’s internationally best-selling Bartimaeus books will be delighted to find the same ingredients, combined with deliciously creepy scares, in his thrilling and chilling Lockwood & Co. series.

VERY SPOOKY INDEED.

I read this book based off of a recommendation from Bookstagram, and it did not disappoint.

I generally don’t read much middle-school books unless they come highly recommended, I had seen this enough from her to know I must have it (even better, if you’re a Prime member, the first book is free on Kindle!). While they’re some YA aspects, it generally leaned towards a younger audience, yet I can see how it captivates older groups. It’s a really underrated book.

This group: Lucy, Lockwood and George are a hoot to watch interact. They have funny banter, quiet moments and are a great team. Lucy and Lockwood especially made this book. It was narrated by Lucy (which I wasn’t expecting given it’s called Lockwood & Co.). I loved the world-building and how *just* enough was left out to keep me interested for further installments.

The Screaming Staircase is CREEPY. This is honestly the closest I’ll ever come to a horror book. They’re ghosts that can do all of these crazy things (including kill you). Blood coming off of ceilings, things jumping out, it was definitely intense at times.

I liked the addition of a mystery within the paranormal activity. It made me more invested as I am weary of reading paranormal books. It was another level of intrigue and wonderment as I flew through this.

Overall audience notes:

  • Middle school/YA Paranormal Fantasy
  • Language: none
  • Romance: none
  • Violence: descriptions of murders, detailed hauntings, physical, swords, guns, explosions

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Book Review

Book Review: The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆   
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 432 pages
Author: Christina Lauren
Publisher: Gallery Books
Release Date: May 14th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Olive is always unlucky: in her career, in love, in…well, everything. Her identical twin sister Ami, on the other hand, is probably the luckiest person in the world. Her meet-cute with her fiancé is something out of a romantic comedy (gag) and she’s managed to finance her entire wedding by winning a series of Internet contests (double gag). Worst of all, she’s forcing Olive to spend the day with her sworn enemy, Ethan, who just happens to be the best man.

Olive braces herself to get through 24 hours of wedding hell before she can return to her comfortable, unlucky life. But when the entire wedding party gets food poisoning from eating bad shellfish, the only people who aren’t affected are Olive and Ethan. And now there’s an all-expenses-paid honeymoon in Hawaii up for grabs.

Putting their mutual hatred aside for the sake of a free vacation, Olive and Ethan head for paradise, determined to avoid each other at all costs. But when Olive runs into her future boss, the little white lie she tells him is suddenly at risk to become a whole lot bigger. She and Ethan now have to pretend to be loving newlyweds, and her luck seems worse than ever. But the weird thing is that she doesn’t mind playing pretend. In fact, she feels kind of… lucky.

THIS DUO DOES IT AGAIN.

I finished this book IN HOURS. That’s how much I loved it. Oh it was so cute y’all.

There were moments where I actually found myself laughing out loud at the antics that Olive would find herself in. The poor girl is always the unlucky twin and her stories show. But, over the course of this book she had a lot of growth as she realized she also possessed the power to change her course and not always assume she would draw the short straw.

Ethan was precious. I loved all of his interactions (and that massage scene you guys!! – the angst was real throughout this entire book) He and Olive made this amazing pair. This book could have been even longer and I wouldn’t have complained one bit. This is less enemies-to-lovers than it appears though. The whole reason she has an issue with him is a misunderstanding. Goes to show, communication is key.

I had heard that this one was less steamy than their other novels. I found it to be a perfect amount. I personally don’t love when the books feels like only sex, so by dialing this down I got a lot of great banter, sweet-heart moments and more plot.

I struggled with Ami because I felt she should have trusted her twin more (and Dane is seriously, the worst). Their plot line only really added to the conflict between Olive & Ethan.

Overall audience notes:

  • New adult contemporary romance
  • Language: some
  • Romance: kisses, a little-detailed love scene, a few more that are mostly fade to black
  • Trigger warning: cheating spouses

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Top 10 Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Books From My Favorite Genre (Fantasy, of course)

Okay, I DROPPED THE BALL LAST WEEK AND I AM SO SORRY.

I realized Tuesday afternoon that I never finished my Top Ten Tuesday post, so I am trying my best to get back in it here. I am really ahead of writing reviews (like I have the entire month of June already booked) so remembering to come and write other posts has fallen back a bit.

I’m really excited for this week because FANTASY IS THE BEST GENRE EVERRRR. And in order to try to get some different books added on here I wanted to say:

My top two choices are the A Court of Thorns and Roses and Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas. I will forever love them, rave about my love for them, and try to convince everyone I know to at least give them a chance. I didn’t want to add them to the list today because I wanted to show off some other books I love.

If you want to see something funny and have read ACOTAR check out my Instagram where I have a highlight of my sister’s text conversations as she read them for the first time.

I’m also including the entire series if applicable, because YOU SHOULD READ THEM ALL.

Also, if you’ve read this far, know this is so hard because they’re too many good choices here.


Seven Realms Series by Cinda Williams Chima


The Remnant Chronicles by Mary E. Pearson


Winternight Trilogy by Katherine Adren


The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare


Caraval Series by Stephanie Garber


Six of Crows Duology by Leigh Bardugo


The Winner’s Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski


The Bird and the Sword Chronicles by Amy Harmon


The Bone Season Series by Samantha Shannon (still in progress)


Arc of a Scythe Trilogy by Neal Shusterman
(a bit dystopian but enough fantasy to count)


BONUS BECAUSE I’M ON A ROLL:

Falling Kingdom Series by Morgan Rhodes


Have you read any of these series? Any on your TBR? If you’re a fantasy fan what’s a favorite series of yours? I felt like I could go on for days!

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Book Review

Book Review: The Thousandth Floor (The Thousandth Floor #1) by Katharine McGee

Rating: ☆☆☆☆ 
Audience: Young adult dystopian
Length: 448 pages
Author: Katharine McGee
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: August 30th, 2016
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

NEW YORK CITY AS YOU’VE NEVER SEEN IT BEFORE.

A thousand-story tower stretching into the sky. A glittering vision of the future where anything is possible—if you want it enough.

WELCOME TO MANHATTAN, 2118.

A hundred years in the future, New York is a city of innovation and dreams. Everyone there wants something…and everyone has something to lose.

LEDA COLE’s flawless exterior belies a secret addiction—to a drug she never should have tried and a boy she never should have touched.

ERIS DODD-RADSON’s beautiful, carefree life falls to pieces when a heartbreaking betrayal tears her family apart.

RYLIN MYERS’s job on one of the highest floors sweeps her into a world—and a romance—she never imagined…but will this new life cost Rylin her old one?

WATT BAKRADI is a tech genius with a secret: he knows everything about everyone. But when he’s hired to spy for an upper-floor girl, he finds himself caught up in a complicated web of lies.

And living above everyone else on the thousandth floor is AVERY FULLER, the girl genetically designed to be perfect. The girl who seems to have it all—yet is tormented by the one thing she can never have.

Amid breathtaking advancement and high-tech luxury, five teenagers struggle to find their place at the top of the world. But when you’re this high up, there’s nowhere to go but down….

GOSSIP GIRL CIRCA 2118.

I had a bookstagram friend mention that she heard this book was like Gossip Girl in the future. OH MY GOODNESS IF THAT ISN’T ACCURATE. Even if I haven’t scene GG, it toootally had those vibes.

And maybe that’s why I couldn’t stop turning pages? The drama was absolutely ridiculous, but I NEEDED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENED. I even ordered the second book, that is how invested I feel at this point.

This has multiple POVs, four main ones: Avery, Leda, Watt & Rylin. Everyone’s stories intertwined and bounced off one another. I liked the flow of the story and with its short chapters it made it a quick read.

It is definitely a lot more dark than I was suspecting. Drug abuse, cheating, some interesting emotions and wicked characters, I was like WHOA GUYS. Back up here. I like when a book sticks to it’s theme though. It felt almost like a tale of warning (and can be completely applicable to today).

My favorite piece was probably that this is a dystopian book that doesn’t a have oh no, the world is ending component. I got so tired of seeing that repeated that I stopped reading dystopians all together. I gave this one a chance for its unique premise and pleasantly enjoyed having a change of pace to this genre. And y’all some of the products they have? AMAZING. A spray that puts your make-up on? A PARK IN A TOWER? It was so cool. Even with all of the drama I still wanted to live there, it took fantastical and imaginative to a new level.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult dystopia
  • Language: a bit (ranging from weak-strong)
  • Romance: a lot of kisses, some brief (and essentially non-descriptive) re-tellings of nights together, a handful of fade to black love scenes (minor details prior)
  • Violence: murder
  • Trigger warnings: bullying, cheating (on boyfriends/girlfriends, and spouses), intense drug abuse, selling of drugs

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Monthly Wrap-Up

Monthly Reading Wrap-Up: May 2019

Y’ALL.

WHAT A MONTH.

I didn’t even realize I had read 16 books. I am still stunned. And everything got such a great ratings I couldn’t believe it. I promise I’m not a easy reviewer. I have been trying to choose books that I think will bring me joy rather than wasting my time on reading a book for the sake of it.

Read what makes you happy, my TED Talk for the summer.


  • The Gilded Wolves (The GIlded Wolves #1) by Roshani Chockshi
  • The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicles #1) by Patrick Rothfuss
  • The Traitor’s Ruin (The Traitor’s Circle #2) by Erin Beaty
  • Two Can Keep A Secret by Karen M. McManus
  • Finale (Caraval #3) by Stephanie Garber
  • The Kingdom of Copper (The Daevabad Trilogy #2) by S.A. Chakraborty
  • The Thousandth Floor (The Thousandth Floor #1) by Katharine McGee – (RTC – ☆☆☆☆)
  • The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren – (RTC – ☆☆☆☆☆)
  • The Screaming Staircase (Lockwood & Co. #1) by Jonathan Stroud – (RTC – ☆☆☆☆☆)
  • Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle #1) by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff – (RTC – ☆☆☆☆☆)
  • Mortal Heart (His Fair Assassin #3) by Robin LaFevers – (RTC – ☆☆☆)
  • The First Girl Child by Amy Harmon – (RTC – ☆☆☆☆☆)
  • Descendant of the Crane by Joan He – (RTC – ☆☆ 1/2)
  • Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid – (RTC – ☆☆☆☆)
  • Jackaby (Jackaby #1) by William Ritter – (RTC – ☆☆☆☆)
  • Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton – (RTC – ☆☆☆☆)

Favorites of the month: Finale, The Unhoneymooners, and Aurora Rising

Least favorite: Descendant of the Crane


Have you read any of these? What do you have on your TBR? Lets talk in the comments!

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Book Review

Book Review: The Kingdom of Copper (The Daevabad Trilogy #2) by S.A. Chakraborty

Rating: ☆☆☆☆ 
Audience: Historical fiction + fantasy
Length: 619 pages
Author: S.A. Chakraborty
Publisher: HarperVoyager
Release Date: January 8th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Return to Daevabad in the spellbinding sequel to THE CITY OF BRASS.

Nahri’s life changed forever the moment she accidentally summoned Dara, a formidable, mysterious djinn, during one of her schemes. Whisked from her home in Cairo, she was thrust into the dazzling royal court of Daevabadand quickly discovered she would need all her grifter instincts to survive there.

Now, with Daevabad entrenched in the dark aftermath of the battle that saw Dara slain at Prince Ali’s hand, Nahri must forge a new path for herself, without the protection of the guardian who stole her heart or the counsel of the prince she considered a friend. But even as she embraces her heritage and the power it holds, she knows she’s been trapped in a gilded cage, watched by a king who rules from the throne that once belonged to her familyand one misstep will doom her tribe.

Meanwhile, Ali has been exiled for daring to defy his father. Hunted by assassins, adrift on the unforgiving copper sands of his ancestral land, he is forced to rely on the frightening abilities the maridthe unpredictable water spiritshave gifted him. But in doing so, he threatens to unearth a terrible secret his family has long kept buried.

And as a new century approaches and the djinn gather within Daevabad’s towering brass walls for celebrations, a threat brews unseen in the desolate north. It’s a force that would bring a storm of fire straight to the city’s gates . . . and one that seeks the aid of a warrior trapped between worlds, torn between a violent duty he can never escape and a peace he fears he will never deserve.

I LOVE THESE CHARACTERS.

First off, WE JUMPED 5 YEARS? After I got over that shock I was immediately drawn back in to this amazing and addictive world. This series needs more traction, IT’S SO GOOD.

Now now, I know I said all of that and gave it four stars. Four stars is still fantastic! And I have reasoning. This book was much more heavily focused on the politics and schemes of the kingdom. So much so that I missed a lot of action. I was definitely invested, but about 200 pages left and I was surprised at how long it was taking me to get through it. Especially because I was loving it! I think having to pay a lot more attention to make sure I didn’t miss anything caused me to be a little dulled by it all.

BUT. The last 150 pages? ARE YOU KIDDING ME. There was no way to put the book down. A lot of the politicking and scheming all made sense at once when all heck broke loose. We had some plot twists (that I’m proud of myself for figuring out beforehand), extra wicked parents and a city crumbling. YES TO ALL THE DRAMATICS.

Am I behind the maaaaaybe something between Ali and Nahri? I DON’T KNOW. I’m still stuck on Dara. The romance is truly a tiny piece of these books, yet anytime these *little* things happen I’m curious what part it will play in the finale.

Nahri is still brave, brash and bold. I love her so. She’s one of my favorite heroines. Stands up for herself, works hard, passionate about so many things. I think it’s amazing how much she does for herself which is why I think the romance is so low in this, GIRL AIN’T GOT TIME FOR THAT (it’s no lie I love books with a love aspect, but in some books it’s really amazing when I don’t even mind that there isn’t some).

Ali and Dara are these two souls that will run me ragged by the end of this. So complicated, tortured and unwilling to compromise. BOTH OF THEM. Ugh. I have hope and love for them though so I *believe* things will work out.

I just love how expertly crafted these three main characters are. Nahri, Ali and Dara all have a dramatically different perspective on their home and the issues within. It makes it feel like there isn’t a “weaker” POV because they are all so captivating.

I’m also not sure where I stand on about a handful of other characters either. A lot of people made a lot of mistakes in this book. Which I feel is total book two territory (another reason for my lower rating). Gotta build up for the last book.

Overall audience notes:

  • Historical fiction + fantasy
  • Language: a little (a handful of the f-word)
  • Romance: a kiss
  • Violence: poison, knives, physical, magic, torture, murder, war
  • Trigger warnings: slavery, human trafficking, talk of past threats of rape

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