Book Review

ARC Book Review: Kingdom of Exiles (The Beast Charmer #1) by Maxym M. Martineau

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: Adult fantasy romance
Length: 448 pages
Author: Maxym M. Martineau
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Expected Release Date: June 25th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Fantastic Beasts meets Assassin’s Creed in this epic, gripping fantasy romance from debut author Maxym M. Martineau.

Exiled beast charmer Leena Edenfrell is in deep trouble. Empty pockets forced her to sell her beloved magical beasts on the black market—an offense punishable by death—and now there’s a price on her head. With the realm’s most talented murderer-for-hire nipping at her heels, Leena makes him an offer he can’t refuse: powerful mythical creatures in exchange for her life.

If only it were that simple. Unbeknownst to Leena, the undying ones are bound by magic to complete their contracts, and Noc cannot risk his brotherhood of assassins…not even to save the woman he can no longer live without. 

Thank you to the publisher, Sourcebooks Casablanca and Netgalley for the e-ARC and opportunity to review Kingdom of Exiles. All opinions are my own.

IT’S NOT YOU, IT’S ME.

I dearly wanted to love this, the synopsis was interesting. I had read some good reviews, I was SET to love this…and then I didn’t. But I also didn’t hate it. So please take this review in that light.

First off, HIGH STAKES POKEMON. That is what thought popped in my head and I could not get it out. Leena (and other Charmers) charm these creatures into being their friend and staying with them. They use them for a handful of reasons and care for each other, so yes, if you are even a tiny bit of a Pokemon fan, you can’t miss the similarities. I actually really loved this. It was fun getting to see all of the creatures and I wish we could have learned more about them!

My biggest turn-off was the instant attraction. Noc is supposed to be an assassin after her, and literally after their first run in he’s forgotten that was his job. Immediately they both (dual POV) talk about how attractive, brave, etc. each other is and I didn’t have long enough to get behind their relationship so I felt like I was continually playing catch-up.

I liked the world-building. Maybe could have been more intricate though it was an enjoyable time as Leena, Noc + crew moved throughout the country to achieve plot goals. I really got a sense for the towns and the way most things worked. It’s an easy read overall and easy to keep going. I really loved the side characters that were with Noc (his other assassin friends). They were fun, had different personalities and forged great friendships with Leena.

As far as the plot goes, things were way too easy. For instance, this beast that Leena needed to catch to prove her innocence happened in a few paragraphs, and nothing even went wrong. There was so much build-up to how dangerous and deadly this could be…but it wasn’t. The same thing happened with Noc. His own personal issue was taken away from him so simply!? I actually doubted that it had happened because I thought there was no way it was that effortless.

I know it’s only book one, so I understand some things get left out for later installments. I was missing more backstory (and story in general), from everyone. Based off of how the story played out I believe this information is coming in book two. So while I was bummed, I get it. I also missed general explanations of some things that jumped out of nowhere.

Overall audience notes:

  • Adult fantasy romance
  • Language: a bit of strong language
  • Romance: kisses make-outs, and [personally the only other thing I had trouble with and skipped over] a few way too explicitly detailed love scenes
  • Violence: physical, animals, poison, magic, knives, torture

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Uncategorized

Top Ten Tuesday: Characters That Remind Me of Myself

Hello Top Ten Tuesday!

I can’t say I know any character that exactly reminds me of myself. I can think of a few who may present an aspect that would remind me of how I am.

So this list may be scatter-brained. Lets see what happens. Might be a few spins on things because I am only so clever.

And yes, I know I could do a backlist version, but I personally have made it a goal to push myself outside my comfort zone. In this way, I’m trying to do the post regardless because it causes me to think a bit more about my choices.

Lara Jean from To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

She’s a baker, I’m a baker. Though granted she can bake cookies and THAT IS SERIOUSLY WHAT I’M WORST AT BAKING. I’m trying though.

Feyre from A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

Feyre goes through some really crappy things, but I’m focusing on the fact she got away from a male who never saw her true worth and who she thought she loved. I went through the same kind of thing before I met my husband (and y’all, I’m so glad I went through that storm to get to him).

Hazel from Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren

Hazel reminds me of myself because she’s often been described as having a flair for the absurd, but also owning who she is. Do I dance in the middle of an aisle when my jam comes on? YES. Does my husband think I’m silly? YUP. But I never want to lose doing this simple silly things in my life.

Lira from To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

I believe I was a mermaid in another life. My obsession is strong, so Lira reminds me of all the things I love about the ocean and its mysteries.

Max from Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

I live in fantasy books and often I find myself wishing they were real. Max reminds me of myself because he’s able to dive into his imagination like I often enjoy every time I pick up a book.

Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall

This isn’t a character (it’s non-fiction), but this book reminds me of myself. I am passionate about the benefits of being a runner and this book re-kindled that for me when I read it.

Laila from The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

Laila reminded me of a “team mom” type of persona. She actively makes sure all of her family are taken care of and have what they need. I have always acted like this with my family. They come first.

Elizabeth from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

“I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than a book! — When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.”

Yup, that sums that up.

Rasmira from Warrior of the Wild by Tricia Levenseller

As Rasmira faces her battles in the wild, the phrase warrior of the wild is used. Like the title it reminds me of how determined she is to face the problems before her. We all have our own wild and I often find myself remembering this quote to persevere.

Love you Forever by Robert Munsch

This book reminds me of the kind of mother I hope my children remember. Because oh how I love my babe (and any future children we’re fortunate to have).

Y’all, I did it! Have you read any of these books? What’s a book that reminds you of yourself? Lets talk in the comments!

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Book Review

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

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Historical fiction fantasy
Length: 533 pages
Author: S.A. Chakraborty
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Release Date: November 14th, 2017
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Nahri has never believed in magic. Certainly, she has power; on the streets of 18th century Cairo, she’s a con woman of unsurpassed talent. But she knows better than anyone that the trade she uses to get by—palm readings, zars, healings—are all tricks, sleights of hand, learned skills; a means to the delightful end of swindling Ottoman nobles. 

But when Nahri accidentally summons an equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior to her side during one of her cons, she’s forced to accept that the magical world she thought only existed in childhood stories is real. For the warrior tells her a new tale: across hot, windswept sands teeming with creatures of fire, and rivers where the mythical marid sleep; past ruins of once-magnificent human metropolises, and mountains where the circling hawks are not what they seem, lies Daevabad, the legendary city of brass, a city to which Nahri is irrevocably bound. 

In that city, behind gilded brass walls laced with enchantments, behind the six gates of the six djinn tribes, old resentments are simmering. And when Nahri decides to enter this world, she learns that true power is fierce and brutal. That magic cannot shield her from the dangerous web of court politics. That even the cleverest of schemes can have deadly consequences. 

After all, there is a reason they say be careful what you wish for…

THIS IS HOW TO START A SERIES.

Whoa, hot dang, THIS IS MY JAM. Magical fantasy historical fiction-ness? Y’all I CAN’T EVEN. I am an emotional wreck after consuming this and am so glad Fiction No Chaser’s review convinced me to read it.

YOU’VE READ THIS RIGHT? If not, I recommend with my entire bookish soul. I feel that should be the end of this review, but also, let me throw out some more pieces to love.

This world-building was *in sing-song voice* faaaaabulous. I was there. I also love books with djinn in them, so I should have expected this to be a winner from the synopsis. This book kept a beautiful pace of slow, to action, and round again that kept me wanting to flip pages even during the “slower” sections.

Nahri is the heroine I didn’t know I had been missing in my fantasy reads lately. Girl is stubborn, feisty, full of self-preservation (that will leave her enemies, IN RUINS, mark my words) and crazy intuitive. She is brilliant and kept me on my toes because she actually made good choices in bad situations. I also love that Nahri wasn’t a damsel in distress. Even better, she actually sucked at what she was supposed to be great doing. Why is this better? Because I personally can’t stand it when a character is all of a sudden great at every little thing. That’s not realistic. You gotta work for it.

I don’t even know where I stand on the romance aspect. I will say, I LOVE Dara. What a great character. A 1400+ year-old Daeva (djinn) who has fears (like water), and is so hardened by his past that he’s become a biiiit jaded. He’s also on occasion, not the nicest, and has some things to work through (let me help you Dara…). I could not get enough of him. He is so dynamic. Dara is swiping weapons and destroying people in one breath, and following around Nahri like a love-lorn creature AND I AM HERE FOR IT. I have no idea where this lands me for book two. Stay tuned.

Ali. I don’t know where I stand on this guy. He’s conniving, yet caring. And for the life of me WHAT SIDE ARE YOU ON? I need to know. Prince Ali will ruin me, I can almost guarantee it. At least, if Dara doesn’t first. All of his sly moves are driving me batty and I love it. I love it.

Shout-out appreciation moment for some side characters. These were well built in their own right. Especially King Ghassan. I flippin’ thought he was fantastic. He has so many plans and I want to know them all. The King wasn’t one-sided and gave a lot more to the story as a whole. And really helped build the political back-drop for The City of Brass. Also, Jamshid. He needs a bigger spotlight, because I will do anything to make sure he’s happy. I want to tell you more, but because I’m a spoiler-free review type, I digress. But trust me, you’ll love him too.

The twists and turns and the intense history lesson I got from this book has me waiting at my door for The Kingdom of Copper to arrive. If you even *like* fantasy I would highly consider picking this up. It was amazing.

Overall audience notes:

  • Historical fantasy
  • Language: a little strong language
  • Romance: a kiss
  • Violence: knives, magic, poison, animal mauling, very descriptive in the amount of blood/gore

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Book Tag

Book Tag Saturday: Night and Day Tag

I wasn’t formally tagged in this, but I found it on Kristin’s Site (Kristin Kraves Books) and thought it would be fun to do for this week! I love her page, definitely make sure you’re following her!

Hope you enjoy the answers. Have a great weekend!

Do you read more in the morning or at night?

Lately it’s been at night. After the babe (+my husband) have gone to bed I snuggle in for a few hours and read whatever book I’m currently reading.

Are there any books that changed the way you thought about things?

Oh, I feel like every other book I read does that to me. For instance, I finished The Simple Wild last night (or a few nights ago at the posting of this tag) and it made me consider a lot about my relationships with my loved ones. It doesn’t have to be non-fiction to cause a change in thought. But I’ve ready plenty of non-fiction (i.e. When Breath Becomes Air) that also has changed my thoughts about life.

YA or not?

ALL DAY. That’s what I mostly read. I don’t think anyone is too old to enjoy a good story, regardless of it’s “target audience.” I love reading YA and I will do so for the foreseeable future.

Are there characters that you honestly believe are real?

Not really. Are there characters I wish that were real? DEFINITELY. Especially in fantasy. But I’m also very aware that we don’t have *that* kind of magic happening in the real world.

In contemporaries and such, I don’t necessarily believe the characters are real. Though, since it is real life I can better believe that something like that could happen.

Nobody touches my books or I don’t mind loaning my books out?

Loan them to everyone (mostly). I actually have a few right now that are out with friends. it makes my heart unbelievably happy when a friend asks if they can borrow a book. OF COURSE YOU CAN. It’s like letting them take a tiny piece of my bookish soul.

Do you ever smell your books?

Eh, no. If I open a box and the scent wafts out, sure. But I don’t go up to my books and sniff them.

Not everyone loves books…is this a positive or negative?

Positive! I do secretly believe that there is a book for everyone, buuuut I know not everyone likes reading. AND THAT’S OKAY. Different interests and passions are what keeps ideas flowing in the universe.

Gosh, I have too many books! True or False?

False. I know I have around 300 books, but honestly it hasn’t grown much since 2016. I really dialed back how much I buy and y’all. Have you seen bookstgram? Some of those shelves have close to 1,000 books and I’m sitting here stunned by that fact. I think I would be overwhelmed if I had *that many*.

Have you ever spilled or stained books before with something, if so how?

With water, usually a few drops. I can’t remember the last time I full-on damaged a book though. *crosses fingers* I SHOULDN’T HAVE SAID THAT.

Toned or untoned? In other words, do you read and workout at the same time?

I do! If I’m on a cardio machine I will bring my book (in whatever format) and read while I’m running, biking, etc. I love how quickly it passes the time. I’ll listen to an audiobook occasionally as well, but when I lift I usually need a song to power through.

Since I wasn’t formally tagged, I’m not tagging anyone. So feel free to do this (and tag me in your answers if you’d like too!). What are some of your answers to these questions? Lets talk in the comments!

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Monthly Wrap-Up

Monthly Wrap-Up: April 2019

I can’t believe it’s May.

My sister graduates COLLEGE (yeah, I feel old) this month. My husband’s work-load lightens a bit for the summer. Our babe is growing like a weed. I see promise for an amazing summer ahead!

I had a really great month of reading. THREE 5 stars and FIVE fours stars. That’s a pretty dang stellar time if you ask me.

  • Again, but Better by Christine Riccio
  • Defy Me (Shatter Me #5) by Tahereh Mafi
  • In the Neighborhood of True by Susan Kaplan Carlton
  • Age of Myth (The Legends of the First Empire #1) by Michael J. Sullivan
  • The Falconer (The Falconer #1) by Elizabeth May
  • The Traitor’s Kiss (The Traitor’s Circle #1) by Erin Beaty
  • Storm Siren (Storm Siren #1) by Mary Weber
  • The City of Brass (The Daevabad Trilogy #1) by S.A. Chakraborty (RTC – ☆☆☆☆☆)
  • Kingdom of Exiles (The Beast Charmer #1) by Maxym M. Martineau (RTC – ☆☆☆)
  • The Simple Wild by K.A. Tucker (RTC – ☆☆☆☆☆)

Favorite this month: The Traitor’s Kiss, The City of Brass & The Simple Wild (DON’T MAKE ME CHOOSE)

Least Favorite: Storm Siren

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

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Book Review

Book Review: Storm Siren (Storm Siren #1) by Mary Weber

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: YA Fantasy
Length: 333 pages
Author: Mary Weber
Publisher: Thomas Nelson/HarperCollins
Release Date: August 19th, 2014
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

“I raise my chin as the buyers stare. Yes. Look. You don’t want me. Because, eventually, accidentally, I will destroy you.”

In a world at war, a slave girl’s lethal curse could become one kingdom’s weapon of salvation. If the curse—and the girl—can be controlled.

As a slave in the war-weary kingdom of Faelen, seventeen-year-old Nym isn’t merely devoid of rights, her Elemental kind are only born male and always killed at birth — meaning, she shouldn’t even exist.

Standing on the auction block beneath smoke-drenched mountains, Nym faces her fifteenth sell. But when her hood is removed and her storm-summoning killing curse revealed, Nym is snatched up by a court advisor and given a choice: be trained as the weapon Faelen needs to win the war, or be killed.

Choosing the former, Nym is unleashed into a world of politics, bizarre parties, and rumors of an evil more sinister than she’s being prepared to fight . . . not to mention the handsome trainer whose dark secrets lie behind a mysterious ability to calm every lightning strike she summons.

But what if she doesn’t want to be the weapon they’ve all been waiting for?

Set in a beautifully eclectic world of suspicion, super abilities, and monsters, Storm Siren is a story of power. And whoever controls that power will win.

CONFUSED BY MY THOUGHTS.

I have left this review sitting around for about a week now because I couldn’t decide if it worse or better than I thought. I will say this book got better the further I got into it, but also, why does someone want to wait 200 pages to enjoy a book?

I appreciated the way Nym and Eogan’s (Wow, I don’t like that name) relationship built. There was a bit of an enemies to lovers piece. I was freaked out there was a love triangle flying in, but NEVER FEAR, it was nothing. The bugger from Nym though was that she could not stop talking about how attractive he was. I hate when this is repetitively added to books. They’re more things to think about Nym!

Speaking of no love triangle, Nym’s’ friendship with Colin was stellar. I was practically more invested in that at times. They were a fun pair to watch and had great banter and chemistry (friendistry).

One thing I could not wrap my head around was how the girl with all the powers (and she really could destroy a place) was the one not destroying all those who sought to control her!? I guess I was looking for a bada** type, but got a lackluster I don’t want to be used as a weapon character. You don’t have to be a weapon Nym, OWN THE ELEMENTAL POWER.

There were rotating villains in here, but Adora was the worst of all (not in a good way). I found her silly outfits laughable and her whole demeanor a farce. The real wickedness didn’t show up til the last few chapters and that’s the leg this series needs to stand on.

I missed all of the world-building and politicking I’m used to reading in fantasy. For instance, there were multiple animals in here and I couldn’t tell you what they actually looked like. Nothing was ever described enough to paint a picture. And all of the politics were behind closed doors where Nym never bothered to listen to. This made a lot of decisions by other characters seem empty.

I will say, there was a solid plot twist or two at the end. Where I even wrote in my notes: HOLY PLOT TWIST BATMAN. Reading like every other YA fantasy book left me begging for from the story. That ending has me debating picking up book two though. I’ll keep you posted.

Overall audience notes:

  • Language: none
  • Romance: a kiss
  • Violence: knives, physical, magical
  • Trigger warnings: slavery

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Top 10 Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Inspirational/Thought-Provoking Book Quotes

Howdy y’all! Happy Top Ten Tuesday to all.

Okay, I’m not a reader that writes out a lot of quotes or remembers them for that matter. The way I came up with these quotes today was in all honesty, remembering books I enjoyed. The only book quote I religiously remember is the first one from, A Court of Mist and Fury. The following are quotes I looked up from Goodreads that stood out to me from some of my favorite books.

“There are good days and bad days for me — even now. Don’t let the hard days win.”

– A Court of Mist and Fury (ACOTAR #2) by Sarah J. Maas

“If you give up what you want most for what you think you should want more, you’ll end up miserable.”

– The Hero of Ages (Mistborn #3) by Brandon Sanderson

“Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.”

– Daring Greatly by Brené Brown

“The dark does not destroy the light; it defines it. It’s our fear of the dark that casts our joy into the shadows.”

– The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown (I’m clearly a big fan of hers)

“Don’t think of introversion as something that needs to be cured.”

– Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

“Each scar marks me as a survivor. A warrior of the wild.”

– Warrior of the Wild by Tricia Levenseller

“Unknowing ignorance is preferable to informed stupidity.”

– Warbreaker (Warbreaker #1) by Brandon Sanderson

“You don’t have to be fast. But you’d better be fearless.”

– Born to Run by Christopher McDougall

“We turn memories into stories, and if we don’t, we lose them. If the stories are gone, then the people are gone too.”

– What the Wind Knows by Amy Harmon

“But maybe it’s better to go after something, and not get it, than to not even try.”

– The Crimson Crown (Seven Realms #4) by Cinda Williams Chima

And this is only a small portion of the quotes I could have chosen. Isn’t it amazing how words from all of these books we read affect us? Going back and doing this was actually really enlightening. Like remembering dear friends who hold wise words.

Do you like any of these quotes? What is one of your favorite though-provoking quotes?

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