Book Review

Book Review: Imber (Thanatos Trilogy #1) by Tyffany Hackett

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult fantasy + romance
Length: 422 pages
Author: Tyffany Hackett
Publisher: Archangel Publishing
Release Date: June 12th, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

The locks are failing.

The keys are calling.

The Titans are waking.

Crowned before her time, nineteen-year-old Natylia is thrust into an unpleasant reality—her people don’t want her, her family doesn’t need her and, despite her best efforts, she can’t seem to shake an incorrigible suitor. But when rumors begin to swirl throughout her kingdom the young queen shifts her focus and realizes that the world she loves could be destroyed in an instant.

An ancient enemy, long thought gone, is trying to return.

Forgotten legends have resurfaced, stories that tell of three scepters: the keys to unleashing these foul beings. Across Araenna the hunt rages for this trio of formidable power—to command the keys is to hold the power of mortal gods.

Aided by her snarky elven bodyguard, an unassuming blacksmith, and a clever nature witch, Natylia races to correct the mistakes of the past… before they can destroy her people’s future.

KEPT ME ENTERTAINED.

Which is saying something. I constantly felt like picking this book up and continuing the story. It had the right kind of magic for me to really enjoy. The pacing was good throughout and the flow was steady with waves of action and lighter moments.

Nataylia was a great main character. I love that she was strong and brave, but had her faults. She felt more real and like an actual human. Not a pretty much perfect Princess turned Queen who’s hard to love. Her motives are for the betterment of her people and Nataylia is fueled by her love for her friends and family.

The romance was a bit of a miss for me. Namely because I had my eyes on a different character for Nataylia. And it wasn’t even a love triangle, I apparently saw a lot of chemistry between her and Jyn and am still accepting that she’s with Camion. I do love Camion though. He’s a sweet, caring cinnamon roll who needs a hug. One of my favorite kinds of book boyfriends. Their relationship is adorable and pure so I’m slowly building a ship for them and I’ll decide if I want it to sail during book two.

The magic system is broad, yet well explained. I understood the information and loved the adventure Nataylia and her cohorts had to go on to find one of these magic scepters. There’s a lot of action as they traverse through catacombs and dungeons, with a heavy dose of magical creatures standing in their way. It kept me on edge because I was wholly convinced someone was not walking out of there alive.

A great fantasy that needs a bigger audience. I’m grateful that I saw a friend recommend this because she has never steered me wrong in book choices! I’m excited for the next book.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy + romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: a kiss
  • Violence: magic, murder, swords, animal/creature attacks

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: Ashlords (#1) by Scott Reintgen

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Fantasy
Length: 368 pages
Author: Scott Reintgen
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: January 21st, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Red Rising meets The Scorpio Races in this epic fantasy following three phoenix horse riders–skilled at alchemy–who must compete at The Races–the modern spectacle that has replaced warfare within their empire.

Every year since the Ashlords were gifted phoenix horses by their gods, they’ve raced them. First into battle, then on great hunts, and finally for the pure sport of seeing who rode the fastest. Centuries of blood and fire carved their competition into a more modern spectacle: The Races.

Over the course of a multi-day event, elite riders from clashing cultures vie to be crowned champion. But the modern version of the sport requires more than good riding. Competitors must be skilled at creating and controlling phoenix horses made of ash and alchemy, which are summoned back to life each sunrise with uniquely crafted powers to cover impossible distances and challenges before bursting into flames at sunset. But good alchemy only matters if a rider knows how to defend their phoenix horse at night. Murder is outlawed, but breaking bones and poisoning ashes? That’s all legal and encouraged.

In this year’s Races, eleven riders will compete, but three of them have more to lose than the rest–a champion’s daughter, a scholarship entrant, and a revolutionary’s son. Who will attain their own dream of glory? Or will they all flame out in defeat?

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an eARC. All opinions are my own!

ACTION-PACKED.

When you read a tagline that has “Red Rising meets The Scorpio Races…”, both of which are books you LOVE, it makes you think you have to know what this book is all about. I can’t say I see the Red Rising resemblance, BUT I do see The Scorpio Races with a bit more fire.

This book easily keeps you reading. I love how action driven this one was (a difference in my usual choices). The three POVs are all unique voices and really drive the desperation each one has to win The Races. What I found odd at first, yet really vibed with as the story went one was the difference in narration from the others. I think it would be more fun to not go into more detail, but it really adds to the personalities in how it was written.

World-building was totally awesome. The phoenix [horses] are killed each night, and rise each day under new conditions. There’s thousands of combinations to give your horse more speed, armor, better heart and lungs, the possibilities are endless. I love how the alchemy and magic system worked for these. I was a bit confused by the addition of gods into the story? They definitely played a part, but felt a bit disjointed. I kept feeling like they were added only to move the plot along because it needed a boost from somewhere.

I loved all of the characters for a variety of reasons. Imelda is the true underdog with a thorn in her side and something to prove. The choices she makes ultimately lead to larger consequences that will be a big deal in book two. Adrian is the saucy son of the rebellion who’s trying to win for his people. Lastly, Pippa, the daughter of two former winners who’s meant to win, supposed to win, and destined to win. Because of the intricacies of styles it was very easy to know which chapter you were in and who was speaking. I appreciated that it wasn’t muddled whatsoever.

Full of action and seriously not sure who was going to win. The race was exciting, with a touch of mystery and plenty of magic. The bigger politics of the society made the phoenix races that much more important and the story that much more enchanting.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy
  • Language: none
  • Romance: none
  • Violence: fire, physical, whips, guns, swords, battle/skirmishes

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Top 10 Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Discoveries I Made In 2019

Happy Top Ten Tuesday!

I found this topic to be a bit tricky y’all. I started most of my bookish things last year, yet I ran a blank trying to come up with ideas! At last I had a few breakthroughs, and they’re below.

Bookstagram

Y’all. Where has this been all my life? I’ve dabbled in Bookstagram before but had to stop my account when we decided to move states and life got really busy. Now that things have settled I really dove into it this year and have loved getting to know others and adding so many wonderful recommendations to my TBR.


Author: Elise Kova

Uh, guys. FIND THOSE SMALLER AUTHORS AND READ THEIR BOOKS TOO. Because you might stumble upon some amazing books that capture your soul and make you shout for joy. I LOVED this series and it’s now one of my favorite ever. Highly recommend and I can’t wait to read more of her books (she’s on Kindle unlimited if you have that!).


Digital Library

Oh wow, technology is amazing. I LOVE apps like Overdrive, and my personal favorite, Libby. The ease of which have made my life so much easier. While I will also love holding a book more, there’s something that can be said for always having a book in hand (with a phone).


Genre: Contemporary Romance

I never read much (if any) contemporary romances because I thought they all had too much steam for what I personally prefer. I am here to say I was so wrong on this sentiment. I love how broad this category is and that is has a story line (and steam level) for everyone. I read so many last year and am definitely continuing that trend this year.


The Functionality of Audiobooks

I wouldn’t say I was against audio books, but I couldn’t see how I could fit them into my life to make sense. Once again, the power of bookstagram has shown me the error of my ways. I LOVE AUDIO BOOKS. I have an audible account and regularly download them from my library. Seriously wonderful. I read in the car, while doing chores, and many other tasks now.


Kindle

I got a Kindle Fire for Christmas at the end of 2018 without much of an idea as to how I was going to use it: enter Bookstagram, digital libraries, Audible, and more. I now might read on my kindle more than picking up books at the moment. My life is busy and the convenience of this small device has convinced me it was worth the purchase.


Netgalley

I love love love that this source is available to readers/bloggers/bookstagrammers. As someone with a smaller following, but a dedication to reading and reviewing promptly it’s been nice to have an opportunity for e-ARCs. I always thought this was out of the realm of possibility for me.


Product: Book Sleeves

WHAT IS THIS MAGIC. I adored these from afar, but hadn’t thought it was a necessary staple in my life. Then I saw a sale for a Feyre x Rhysand one that I could NOT pass up. And now…I’m hooked. Yes, I still only have the one and have plans to get another one this year. They’re so pretty! And honestly do keep books cleaner and safe in a purse/diaper bag/backpack and more.


Christmas Books

This past year I took December to really dive into Christmas books and I LOVED IT. There are so many out there and I had some great recommendations for all the above and definitely think you should get this on your TBR to get into the Christmas spirit.


Author: K.A. Tucker

Another new author to me that stole my heart, K.A. Tucker. I have really enjoyed these 3 books and I hope to read some more backlist titles of hers. And also the second book after The Simple Wild.

What was a bookish discovery you made last year? Do we have any similar ones? Lets talk in the comments!

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Book Review

Book Review: Supernova (Renegades #3) by Marissa Meyer

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult fantasy + sci-fi
Length: 560 pages
Author: Marissa Meyer
Publisher: Fiewel & Friends
Release Date: November 5th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

All’s fair in love and anarchy…

The epic conclusion to Marissa Meyer’s thrilling Renegades Trilogy finds Nova and Adrian struggling to keep their secret identities concealed while the battle rages on between their alter egos, their allies, and their greatest fears come to life. Secrets, lies, and betrayals are revealed as anarchy once again threatens to reclaim Gatlon City. 

THIS WAS A SOLID FINALE.

I was nervous walking into this read. Excited, but nervous. Archenemies let me down and I have all the love for Renegades. Combine these two polar thoughts and I had no idea what I was walking into for Supernova.

I ended up really loving this. I wouldn’t call it a FIVE STAR YOU NEED TO READ THIS NOW. More of as I closed the book I realized how much I enjoyed it and my favorite pieces. I thought about how everything came together in the end and how I was cool with everything as it wrapped up (not to mention that EPILOGUE Y’ALL).

My favorite thing about this was the character arcs for Nova and Adrian. They both were coming at the story from opposing sides. As they battled each other and all the secrets started spilling out I got a glimpse into new sides of them. Nova learned that her Uncle’s ideals weren’t all they were cracked up to be, just like she learned that the Renegades weren’t the enemy. Adrian finally found the truth of his Mom’s murder and to let go of some of his own ideals to see the story from another angle. It gave me all the chills watching them. This wasn’t purely superheroes vs. villains, because who can truly define those anyways?

I love that there was actual wickedness. I love a solid evil character who can’t see past their own desires. It makes everything feel that much more dire and puts me on the edge of my seat. I said multiple times, and even wrote it in my notes, that I had no idea how I was going to get a happy ending by the time this was over. There were even a few twists that I did not see coming and loved how they tied into the final plot.

The love story never took over, but did encourage Nova and Adrian through a few of their decisions. I like that is was held back, but that I got to see it flourish. They both deserved some happiness, and if it’s with each other, that’s great [a nod to Ruby & Oscar who were TOTALLY STINKIN’ PRECIOUS in the background over there].

The ending was fascinating and heartfelt. I really like what became of the characters and their super powers. I thought it could have gone one of two ways, and I would have been fine with either [depending on how it was done]. Meyer’s writing is amazing though and it’s so quick to read. Yes, it’s 550 pages, but you would never know it. I can’t wait to see what project she is working on next.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy + sci-fi
  • Language: none
  • Romance: a few light kisses
  • Violence: murder, battles, skirmishes, building collapses
  • Trigger warnings: Chapter 30 – a character talks about being previously molested as a child

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Book Review

Book Review: Storm and Fury (The Harbinger #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult fantasy + romance
Length: 512 pages
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Release Date: June 11th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Eighteen-year-old Trinity Marrow may be going blind, but she can see and communicate with ghosts and spirits. Her unique gift is part of a secret so dangerous that she’s been in hiding for years in an isolated compound fiercely guarded by Wardens—gargoyle shape-shifters who protect humankind from demons. If the demons discover the truth about Trinity, they’ll devour her, flesh and bone, to enhance their own powers.

When Wardens from another clan arrive with disturbing reports that something out there is killing both demons and Wardens, Trinity’s safe world implodes. Not the least because one of the outsiders is the most annoying and fascinating person she’s ever met. Zayne has secrets of his own that will upend her world yet again—but working together becomes imperative once demons breach the compound and Trinity’s secret comes to light. To save her family and maybe the world, she’ll have to put her trust in Zayne. But all bets are off as a supernatural war is unleashed…

WHERE AM I?

That’s how I felt most of this book.

My biggest issue was the total lack of world building. I know this is a spin-off from a previous series of hers. I was told by multiple people that you don’t have to read it to be able to understand and enjoy this one. I agree up until the point that if the previous series has better world-building that would have been a major help here.

I finally gathered that it is some type of dystopia / fantasy universe. There were normal US cities, but we had magical powers and people who could transform into gargoyles, so somewhere between all of that is your world. Do I know why it is that way? NOPE, this book’s focus is the romance (not necessarily a bad thing), but since the everything else was sorely lacking, I couldn’t be as involved with the romance.

Though the romance is the part I did like best. I thought the flow between Zane and Trinity was great. It’s sort of slow, with a touch of animosity at first, that gives way to some tender moments. The love scene was kind of odd, but other than that, I ship them.

My other problem with this book was the immaturity of conversation. Using phrases like *douche nozzle* takes me out of the story and I’m clearly still not over that this word was used. The lingo annoyed me as well. Just the whole combination of conversations bothered me the entire time. I didn’t love Trinity as an MC. Never got on board with her.

The plot was focused around finding a lost friend…that was it. There were hints and nods towards some bigger focus, and I wish we had more of that. It made the story somewhat boring because of how intensely focused they were on this one thing. Whoever is really pulling the strings needs to come out of the word work so this book can liven up some more.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy + romance
  • Language: some throughout
  • Romance: kisses, make-outs, once love scene (with some description)
  • Violence: battles, physical, knives, swords, magical

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Book Review

Book Review: A Treacherous Curse (Veronica Speedwell #3) by Deanna Raybourn

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Mystery / Historical fiction
Length: 308 pages
Author: Deanna Raybourn
Publisher: Berkley Penguin Random House
Release Date: January 16th, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

London, 1888. As colorful and unfettered as the butterflies she collects, Victorian adventuress Veronica Speedwell can’t resist the allure of an exotic mystery—particularly one involving her enigmatic colleague, Stoker.

His former expedition partner has vanished from an archaeological dig with a priceless diadem unearthed from the newly discovered tomb of an Egyptian princess. This disappearance is just the latest in a string of unfortunate events that have plagued the controversial expedition, and rumors abound that the curse of the vengeful princess has been unleashed as the shadowy figure of Anubis himself stalks the streets of London.

But the perils of an ancient curse are not the only challenges Veronica must face as sordid details and malevolent enemies emerge from Stoker’s past.

Caught in a tangle of conspiracies and threats—and thrust into the public eye by an enterprising new foe—Veronica must separate facts from fantasy to unravel a web of duplicity that threatens to cost Stoker everything. 

LONGEST SLOW-BURN EVER.

STILL NOTHING.

EVEN LESS NOTHING THAN THE FIRST TWO BOOKS. Ugh. It’s entirely annoying at this point. Only because you know where it’s going, and I don’t like that it’s been carried out this long. Veronica and Stoker are destined to be together and heaven help me if that doesn’t happen in book four.

Otherwise, this book was a bit meh. Definitely one of those middle of the series books that isn’t packing a lot of punch. I didn’t love the mystery because it was a stretch compared to the previous two books. And I really didn’t love the trigger warning (see notes at the bottom) for how the mystery ended. I think that could have been handled in a better way.

I did like that the mystery gave us allllllll the history for Stoker. I finally got all of the answers I was craving and the tidbits of information that formed a solid background for him. I met his terrible former wife and in-laws, and saw a whole new side to the mystery of what happened in South America. This only made my love for Stoker grow. I love that brash cinnamon roll.

Veronica was still her fabulous self. I love her heroism and strength in making her own decisions. I don’t love all of her philosophies, but I appreciate her determination to do things as she wants to.

Forever hoping to have that *realization moment* between Veronica and Stoker.

Overall audience notes:

  • Mystery / Historical fiction
  • Language: none
  • Romance: none, just a lot of innuendo
  • Violence: murder, physical
  • Trigger warnings: cheating spouse, Chapter 19: murder-suicide by a gun

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Book Review

Book Review: Field Notes on Love on Jennifer E. Smith

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Young adult contemporary romance
Length: 271 pages
Author: Jennifer E. Smith
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: March 5th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Having just been dumped by his girlfriend, British-born Hugo is still determined to take his last-hurrah-before-college train trip across the United States. One snag: the companion ticket is already booked under the name of his ex, Margaret Campbell. Nontransferable, no exceptions.

Enter the new Margaret C. (Mae for short), an aspiring filmmaker with big dreams. After finding Hugo’s spare ticket offer online, she’s convinced it’s the perfect opportunity to expand her horizons.

When the two meet, the attraction is undeniable, and both find more than they bargained for. As Mae pushes Hugo to explore his dreams for his future, he’ll encourage her to channel a new, vulnerable side of her art. But when life off the train threatens the bubble they’ve created for themselves, will they manage to keep their love on track?

PURCHASING A TRAIN TICKET ASAP.

This was really cute! It was a surprisingly very short book too. It was clever and fun, and I was sad the ending was so abrupt. Though I do feel like I need to take my husband up on his offer to take me on a train ride (he’s only been asking me the entire time we’ve been together…)

I adore Hugo. He was sweet, tender-hearted, and a truly well meaning person. Hugo had a wonderful character arc over this fast paced book as he got to seek out what would make him happy. I think it’s a bit coming of age because we are all seeking to find what path we want to take after high school and Hugo was able to do that with the help of a stranger, Mae.

Mae had to grow on me. I didn’t love her personality at first, but I think Hugo truly brought out the best in her. And her Nana. I love her Nana! Such a spunky and loving character. Her support for Mae provided her the opportunity to figure out that it’s okay to open your heart up. I loved watching Mae work on her new movie and thought it was a unique concept that gave a different perspective to everyone who participated.

I love the train traveling concept and wish the time could have been spread out more. I think that’s why it was a short book though, a train ride is only so long. It was a growing up kind of experience for both Hugo and Mae. The ending stopped way before I thought it would and would have loved a bit of an epilogue to know how this couple is doing.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult contemporary romance
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: some kisses
  • Violence: none

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