Book Review

Book Review: Dark Age (Red Rising #5) by Pierce Brown

Rating: ☆☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Sci-fi + Fantasy
Length: 757 pages
Author: Pierce Brown
Publisher: Del Rey
Release Date: July 30th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

For a decade Darrow led a revolution against the corrupt color-coded Society. Now, outlawed by the very Republic he founded, he wages a rogue war on Mercury in hopes that he can still salvage the dream of Eo. But as he leaves death and destruction in his wake, is he still the hero who broke the chains? Or will another legend rise to take his place?

Lysander au Lune, the heir in exile, has returned to the Core. Determined to bring peace back to mankind at the edge of his sword, he must overcome or unite the treacherous Gold families of the Core and face down Darrow over the skies of war-torn Mercury. 

But theirs are not the only fates hanging in the balance.

On Luna, Mustang, Sovereign of the Republic, campaigns to unite the Republic behind her husband. Beset by political and criminal enemies, can she outwit her opponents in time to save him? 

Once a Red refugee, young Lyria now stands accused of treason, and her only hope is a desperate escape with unlikely new allies.

Abducted by a new threat to the Republic, Pax and Electra, the children of Darrow and Sevro, must trust in Ephraim, a thief, for their salvation—and Ephraim must look to them for his chance at redemption.

As alliances shift, break, and re-form—and power is seized, lost, and reclaimed—every player is at risk in a game of conquest that could turn the Rising into a new Dark Age.

LIVED UP TO ITS NAME.

It’s not often that I read a book where I can clearly see that it was named appropriately. HOLY COW Y’ALL. I can’t even begin to cover the darkness, and amazingness of this book.

My notes for this book were allllll over the place. I have so many caps sections of me shouting WHAT IS HAPPENING. All of my characters were [okay, still are] strewn across planets and in various disarrays of maybe dead, definitely captured, hope they’re alive, scenarios. WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO WITH THAT? I need a dose of happiness before this is all over or I’ll cry. I want my babes to be happy. They gosh dang DESERVE IT.

This without a doubt, kept me on my toes. It took me about 100ish pages to really get into it because I was having a hard time remembering who everyone was, and some specifics of what happened in previous books. It is insane how much work clearly goes into making these sci-fi masterpieces. I am astounded at the writing (though I do wish it wasn’t so vulgar at times – you win some you lose some), and how easily captivating it is to keep flipping pages. I am deeply invested in everyone’s lives at this point. There’s barely a moment to catch your breath as the bombardment of action hits you over and over.

I want to rattle off a hundred reasons I love MY main characters (those being: Virginia, Darrow, Victra & Sevro). These original four are so flawed and so full of strength that I cheer for them at every turn. I love that they make mistakes, love deeply and care a great deal about what happens in their world. Everyone has occasions of boldness, passionate monologues and lethal how are they that good at killing moments. Even better, characters like Lysander had me questioning who’s side I was on (only for a little bit y’all, he’s a great villain).

All of this sounds great right? Well, the reason I gave it 4 1/2 stars vs. 5 is because of one scene. It was way too dark for me personally and I haven’t seen the purpose of it other than to be realllll cruel. I actually put the book down for a few when it happened. I will mention it with a spoiler warning prior in my Overall audience notes section!

Can’t get enough of this series regardless. I am in awe at the behemoth of a book this was. Absolutely amazing and I highly recommend catching up with this series! I’m not a huge sci-fi lover, but these have really become a winner.

Overall audience notes:

  • Adult sci-fi
  • Language: a lot of strong language and often crude/vulgar in nature
  • Romance: a few kisses, towards the end a few little detailed fade to black love scenes
  • Violence: okay, I have no way of conveying all of the violence that happened literally every page so a small breakdown would be: explosions, war, battle scenes, swords, poison, storms, mobs, torture [all scenes are very bloody, gory & very detailed]
  • Trigger warnings: a lot of mentions of off screen rape, now: SPOILER ALERT (from what I mentioned in my review): the scene that I thought was too much was that of Victra’s murdered NEW-BORN nailed to a tree; NAILED.

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Book Review

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I’m Avoiding On My TBR and WHY

This is such a fun week! I’m excited about this topic and dove right into my TBR to find some books.

I found a list of books that I’m definitely hiding from for a myriad of reasons. Check them out below!

Happy Top Ten Tuesday!

Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger

WHY – I have heard great things about this middle grade series, but it’s also a LONG series and LONG books. And I just haven’t hit the mood of wanting to read them yet. I can get them all digitally from my library though which is a huge plus.


Eidolon (Wraith Kings #2) by Grace Draven

WHY – I really loved the first book, Radiance, and thought I’d dive right into the next one but never got the chance. Now I’m afraid I’ve waited too long and won’t love it like I want to. So there it sits on my TBR.


The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez

WHY – I have seen SO MANY CONFLICTING REVIEWS Y’ALL. Everything from 1 star I hated this, to 5 star this was amazing. Which is why I stare at it on my shelf and have yet to pick it up.


Princes at War by Deborah Cadbury

WHY – I am a mood reader. And I haven’t really been in the mood for a non-fiction. I picked this up for super cheap on Book Outlet and I really hope to get to this soon. It sounds interesting!


Hunting Prince Dracula & Escaping From Houdini by Kerri Maniscalco

WHY – I’m including these together since they’re by the same author. I have wanted to continue this series and binge the last two before Capturing the Devil came out. My library hasn’t gotten EFH yet though. And I’ve requested a few times without getting anywhere. They have the first two so I thought they would be cool with getting the third? UGH.


The Fallen Kingdom (The Falconer #3) by Elizabeth May

WHY – I’m not loving this series as much as I’ve seen other people. And since I’ve been reading it through the library it’s turned into an out of sight, out of mind book. I might eventually get to it, we’ll see.


Vortex Visions (Air Awakens: Vortex Chronicles #1) by Elise Kova

WHY – Okay, it’s no secret around here. I LOVE THE AIR AWAKENS SERIES WITH MY WHOLE BOOKISH HEART. This is the next series and is a spin-off. Oh how I want to read it. Oh how I’m frightened to meet new characters and know I will compare it to Air Awakens.


The Devil’s Thief (The Last Magician #2) by Lisa Maxwell

WHY – After super enjoying The Last Magician, I was excited to get to The Devil’s Thief. Then I saw some reviews and people seem to hate the second book?! WHY. This makes me want to pick it up, and also hide from it.


Us Against You (Beartown #2) by Fredrik Backman

WHY – I LOVED BEARTOWN. And thought I would pick up book two immediately. I spoke to a Bookstagram friend about why she DNF this one. She mentioned that it was a bit repetitive if you read it right after Beartown (they go over everything that happens in book one). So for now I’m putting this away until I can’t remember Beartown quite enough to really love this one.

What books are you hiding from on your TBR? Are any of these on your list? Lets talk in the comments! Happy Top Ten Tuesday!

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Book Review

Book Review: Sleeping Giants (Themis Files #1) by Sylvain Neuvel

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Sci-fi + Fantasy
Length: 320 pages
Author: Sylvain Neuvel
Publisher: Del Rey
Release Date: April 26th, 2016
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A girl named Rose is riding her new bike near home in Deadwood, South Dakota, when she falls through the earth. She wakes up at the bottom of a square-shaped hole, its walls glowing with intricate carvings. But the firemen who come to save her peer down upon something even stranger: a little girl in the palm of a giant metal hand.

Seventeen years later, the mystery of the bizarre artifact remains unsolved – the object’s origins, architects, and purpose unknown.

But some can never stop searching for answers.

Rose Franklin is now a highly trained physicist leading a top-secret team to crack the hand’s code. And along with her colleagues, she is being interviewed by a nameless interrogator whose power and purview are as enigmatic as the relic they seek. What’s clear is that Rose and her compatriots are on the edge of unravelling history’s most perplexing discovery-and finally figuring out what it portends for humanity. But once the pieces of the puzzle are in place, will the result be an instrument of lasting peace or a weapon of mass destruction?

DEFINITELY INTERESTING.

This was great as an audiobook! There’s a whole cast that really brings the book to life. I honestly think it influenced how much I like it. The book itself is also short, so it was quick and easy to get through in no time.

I started out wondering why in the world nobody was questioning this random interviewer who seems to be making some sort of record about the giant being assembled. Then, as the book went along he turned from what I thinking was a bad guy to a good guy? I honestly don’t know where he stands, but this transition alone has me really intrigued about his true role in the story.

The formatting was dynamite for this type of novel. Written in interviews, journal logs, etc. I really felt connected and invested in the characters. They all went through so much in the time span I got to see them. What happens next?!

It was really trippy putting this in a now day and age concept. Thinking that there’s some crazy massive pieces to a metal god underneath us? Whaaaaat. The politics of it all was well put in and didn’t overtake the story. A lot of worlds colliding and unknown allies and enemies.

Definitely ended on a cliff-hanger that had me questioning everything and quickly putting a hold on the next audiobook ASAP.

Overall audience notes:

  • Sci-fi + Fantasy
  • Language: some light language
  • Romance: some kisses, light description of a love scene; discussion of sleeping with others
  • Violence: explosions, car accident (with malicious intent), medical procedures done without consent, medical experimentation

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Book Review

Book Review: Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Historical fiction + Mythology + Fantasy
Length: 352 pages
Author: Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Publisher: Del Ray
Release Date: July 23rd, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

The Mayan god of death sends a young woman on a harrowing, life-changing journey in this dark, one-of-a-kind fairy tale inspired by Mexican folklore.

The Jazz Age is in full swing, but Casiopea Tun is too busy cleaning the floors of her wealthy grandfather’s house to listen to any fast tunes. Nevertheless, she dreams of a life far from her dusty small town in southern Mexico. A life she can call her own. 

Yet this new life seems as distant as the stars, until the day she finds a curious wooden box in her grandfather’s room. She opens it—and accidentally frees the spirit of the Mayan god of death, who requests her help in recovering his throne from his treacherous brother. Failure will mean Casiopea’s demise, but success could make her dreams come true.

In the company of the strangely alluring god and armed with her wits, Casiopea begins an adventure that will take her on a cross-country odyssey from the jungles of Yucatán to the bright lights of Mexico City—and deep into the darkness of the Mayan underworld.

WHIMSICAL.

This had some strengths and weaknesses. I went through it pretty fast and thought it was a clever story overall.

I loved the folklore and fairytale vibes it gave off. It was whimsical and easy to follow. The culture and heritage came alive in Mexico and it was great following Casiopea and Hun-Kame around. It was a true adventure and had a light quality to it even when Casiopea was running around with a death god.

The love story was soft and simple. It came on slowly and sweetly. I definitely shipped them and was conflicted with how the ending came out. Though, with the whole fairlytale aspects it made sense. Casiopea was on a personally journey that took getting out of her situation to be able to grasp and hold on to. I was happy that she really grew into herself and had a chance at freedom.

I HATED Martin. So much so that it was a big reason that I lowered my rating. I did not like his point-of-view chapters. I did not like the way he treated anyone and how highly he thought of himself. UGH. And he never got better. Martin was this untethered end that I wanted to cut and throw away. I even wrote in my notes: Martin is the literal worst.

It was a pleasant read and I did enjoy it, but I also felt it was easy to put it down. Nothing grabbed me and kept me going. A positive 3 stars overall, only a couple things that were iffy.

Overall audience notes:

  • Historical fiction + fantasy
  • Langauge: a little strong language (f-words are used)
  • Romance: a few kisses
  • Violence: off screen mentions of decapitation, some scuffle scenes

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Book Review

Book Review: Water’s Wrath (Air Awakens #4) by Elise Kova

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆  
Audience: Young adult fantasy romance
Length: 362 pages
Author: Elise Kova
Publisher: Silver Wing Press
Expected Release Date: April 24th, 2016
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Librarian turned sorcerer. Sorcerer turned hero. Hero turned puppet.

The Solaris Empire found victory in the North and, at the cost of her heart and her innocence, Vhalla Yarl has earned her freedom. But the true fight is only beginning as the secret forces that have been lurking in the shadows, tugging at the strings of Vhalla’s fate, finally come to light. Nowhere is safe, and Vhalla must tread carefully or else she’ll fall into the waiting arms of her greatest foe. Or former lover.

DEAD.

I feel that is the only sentiment I can give this book. BECAUSE I’M DEAD. Kova? Not afraid to kill off characters. This isn’t the first one she killed in this series, and it probably won’t be the last. BUT STILL. My heart is broken. That entire section of the book was a moment. A gosh dang beautifully tragic moment.

Yet again, completely obsessed with Aldrik. This man is going on his own character turn around and I am HERE FOR IT. I also love that Vhalla doesn’t cut him any slack. They both pick up and encourage each other. And they hold each other to a higher standard. It’s amazing what this relationship has been turned into and I am so happy with the current outcomes. They are precious. I can literally not handle a single moment Vhalla and Aldrik spend together. I gush every dang time.

Vhalla. She is really becoming a top fav character of mine. She is resilient, and owns who she is. I love watching her learn to love herself. Vhalla has a lot of crap she deals with too and I’m curious where that will take us in book five. She treats those around her as best as she can and is passionate about bringing peace to her home.

I can’t keep up with the dangerous situations that are constantly being thrown out. Can no one catch a break?! I hurt for my team y’all. All of these characters have become so very precious to me and I can only cross my fingers that I get a happy ending. There’s been enough sadness! Though really, I feel a cementing of a top 5 favorite series every happening soon. Stay tuned.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy romance
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: some kisses
  • Violence: quite a bit and somewhat detailed; knives, elemental magic, descriptions of deaths off screen, torture, murder, loss of loved ones

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Book Review

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

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆  
Audience: Epic fantasy
Length: 1007 pages
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Publisher: Tor Books
Release Date: August 31st, 2010
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Roshar is a world of stone and storms. Uncanny tempests of incredible power sweep across the rocky terrain so frequently that they have shaped ecology and civilization alike. Animals hide in shells, trees pull in branches, and grass retracts into the soilless ground. Cities are built only where the topography offers shelter.

It has been centuries since the fall of the ten consecrated orders known as the Knights Radiant, but their Shardblades and Shardplate remain: mystical swords and suits of armor that transform ordinary men into near-invincible warriors. Men trade kingdoms for Shardblades. Wars were fought for them, and won by them.

One such war rages on a ruined landscape called the Shattered Plains. There, Kaladin, who traded his medical apprenticeship for a spear to protect his little brother, has been reduced to slavery. In a war that makes no sense, where ten armies fight separately against a single foe, he struggles to save his men and to fathom the leaders who consider them expendable.

Brightlord Dalinar Kholin commands one of those other armies. Like his brother, the late king, he is fascinated by an ancient text called The Way of Kings. Troubled by over-powering visions of ancient times and the Knights Radiant, he has begun to doubt his own sanity.

Across the ocean, an untried young woman named Shallan seeks to train under an eminent scholar and notorious heretic, Dalinar’s niece, Jasnah. Though she genuinely loves learning, Shallan’s motives are less than pure. As she plans a daring theft, her research for Jasnah hints at secrets of the Knights Radiant and the true cause of the war.

The result of over ten years of planning, writing, and world-building, The Way of Kings is but the opening movement of the Stormlight Archive, a bold masterpiece in the making.

Speak again the ancient oaths:

Life before death.
Strength before weakness.
Journey before Destination.

and return to men the Shards they once bore.

The Knights Radiant must stand again. 

EPIC FANTASY IS RIGHT.

I am once again kicking myself for not picking up Brandon Sanderson’s novels sooner. I HAVE LOVED THEM ALL (Current total: 5). I also listened to this as a FORTY FIVE AND A HALF HOUR audio book. It admittedly took me months to get through. But, now I want them as actual books because hot dang. I love his fantasy writing.

So much world building. And it’s clever to boot. The more intricacies that are woven into the daily life of everyone astounds me. I can’t even begin to imagine how he comes up with all of this to make anything coherent. I find it fascinating and entrancing to listen to how Sanderson’s world comes together for his characters.

Speaking of characters, Kaladin. KALADIN. I am here for the greatest that this man will command. He was fearless, lovable, and I would be in his bridge crew too (but not really because that sounds awful). Dalinar was amazing too. In audio books, I know it always takes me longer to get into them because I’m trying to remember who’s who and where people are. And after that point I was heavily invested in these lives colliding. They’re so many other characters I can point out and talk about, but trust me. Everyone is well thought out, serves a purpose and makes this book what it is.

I love how I can never quite figure out where Sanderson is taking us. It’s not until the last chapters of the book where you realize where everything has been building towards. I love being on my toes and being hooked by this kind of format. There’s enough teasers along the way that keep you flipping pages (or in my case listening, but either way you have to love it to do this for 1000+ pages).

Overall audience notes:

  • Epic fantasy
  • Language: bastard used a few times
  • Romance: a kiss, some hugs
  • Violence: war and battle scenes, swords, creature battles; all fairly detailed, a bit gory & bloody

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Publishing Day

Happy Publishing Day: The Girl the Sea Gave Back, The Lady Rogue AND Sword and Pen (It’s a great release day!)

Post contains affiliate links. I may receive compensation if you choose to purchase something.

WHOA. I like to make publishing day posts to help hype up books I have been fortunate to receive as ARCs (thank you to the publishers and Netgalley). I somehow ended up with three ARCs that all happen to come out, TODAY.

Get your TBR ready folks, here are some good reads for you.

The Girl the Sea Gave Back

Find my review here!

The new gut-wrenching epic from the New York Times bestselling author of Sky in the Deep.

For as long as she can remember, Tova has lived among the Svell, the people who found her washed ashore as a child and use her for her gift as a Truthtongue. Her own home and clan are long-faded memories, but the sacred symbols and staves inked over every inch of her skin mark her as one who can cast the rune stones and see into the future. She has found a fragile place among those who fear her, but when two clans to the east bury their age-old blood feud and join together as one, her world is dangerously close to collapse.

For the first time in generations, the leaders of the Svell are divided. Should they maintain peace or go to war with the allied clans to protect their newfound power? And when their chieftain looks to Tova to cast the stones, she sets into motion a series of events that will not only change the landscape of the mainland forever but will give her something she believed she could never have again—a home.


Now, while I may not have given this a super high rating (three stars) that doesn’t mean you won’t love it. It has a lot of great qualities and seriously, this cover is BEAUTIFUL. It’s also an option for BOTM YA this month if you’re interested in purchasing it that way!

Book of the Month YA

Thank you to Wednesday Books and Netgalley for the eARC.

The Lady Rogue

Find my review here!

Some legends never die…

Traveling with her treasure-hunting father has always been a dream for Theodora. She’s read every book in his library, has an impressive knowledge of the world’s most sought-after relics, and has all the ambition in the world. What she doesn’t have is her father’s permission. That honor goes to her father’s nineteen-year-old protégé—and once-upon-a-time love of Theodora’s life—Huck Gallagher, while Theodora is left to sit alone in her hotel in Istanbul.

Until Huck arrives from an expedition without her father and enlists Theodora’s help in rescuing him. Armed with her father’s travel journal, the reluctant duo learns that her father had been digging up information on a legendary and magical ring that once belonged to Vlad the Impaler—more widely known as Dracula—and that it just might be the key to finding him.

Journeying into Romania, Theodora and Huck embark on a captivating adventure through Gothic villages and dark castles in the misty Carpathian Mountains to recover the notorious ring. But they aren’t the only ones who are searching for it. A secretive and dangerous occult society with a powerful link to Vlad the Impaler himself is hunting for it, too. And they will go to any lengths—including murder—to possess it. 


This one is filled with a second chance love, folklore about Vlad the Impaler (i.e. Dracula) and adventures over the Romania countryside. Jenn Bennett tries her hand at a more fantasy based book and it was good! Definitely enjoyable.

Thank you to Simon & Schuster and Netgalley for the eARC.

Sword and Pen (The Great Library #5)

Find my review here!

With the future of the Great Library in doubt, the unforgettable characters from Ink and Bone must decide if it’s worth saving in this thrilling adventure in the New York Times bestselling series.

The corrupt leadership of the Great Library has fallen. But with the Archivist plotting his return to power, and the Library under siege from outside empires and kingdoms, its future is uncertain. Jess Brightwell and his friends must come together as never before, to forge a new future for the Great Library . . . or see everything it stood for crumble.


Oh this was a great finale to a wonderful series! A very quick read that gave me everything I needed to close this book with satisfaction. Now that the entire series is out, it’s definitely time to get this on your TBR. You can binge all of the books at once!

Thank you to Berkley Books and Netgalley for the eARC.

It’s a great day for releases! I hope you’ve had a chance to look these up. I would love to discuss more about them in the comments if you have questions or thoughts! Happy release day Tuesday!

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