Monthly Wrap-Up

January 2019 Monthly Reading Wrap-up!

Is it really the end of January already?

Sometimes I look at my day and think it’ll never end, then I realize I need to write my monthly wrap-up and am amazed that it’s already here! Oh how times flies, and oh how I always wish I read more!

I finished a series this month and got around to knocking off some old ones on my TBR. Yay for a good month of choices.

Favorite book: Skyward / King of Scars
Least favorite book: Evermore

How was your month of reading? Were any of these on your list? Lets talk in the comments!

Book Review

ARC Book Review: Wicked Saints (Something Dark and Holy #1) by Emily A. Duncan

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult fantasy
Length: 400 pages
Author: Emily A. Duncan
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Expected Release Date: April 2nd, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A girl who can speak to gods must save her people without destroying herself.

A prince in danger must decide who to trust.

A boy with a monstrous secret waits in the wings. 

Together, they must assassinate the king and stop the war.

In a centuries-long war where beauty and brutality meet, their three paths entwine in a shadowy world of spilled blood and mysterious saints, where a forbidden romance threatens to tip the scales between dark and light. Wicked Saints is the thrilling start to Emily A. Duncan’s devastatingly Gothic Something Dark and Holy trilogy.

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

OOO, I LIKED THIS.

I have so many questions, in the best way possible. This was a great opening book and I think this will be a fantastic series.

I was immediately thrown into an action scene where I didn’t know anything, but was totally captivated. I think that scene on its own will have further implications in the following books.

I had the hardest time pronouncing all of these names though, especially the gods. They’re a lot of characters. And often they are thrown together quickly. It took me longer to accept meetings/relationships than it did in the book because I wasn’t sure how everyone was so quickly trusting in the middle of a war.

The only issue I had was that the book could honestly, be a little longer. Now hear me out, whenever I read a scene that seemed very important to the series I felt it wasn’t long enough to grasp the whole picture. There were so many things happening in this book that it’s occasionally hard to keep up. More time could’ve been spent on getting to know others, fully forming plans, action scenes, etc.

Nadya is still growing on me. I liked her and think her character is going to have some great refinement over the next two installments. She’s a little naive and so rigorously faithful that it becomes her downfall. Nadya could stand to be a little more wicked. Especially since I feel this was the entire point of the book. She hasn’t actually done anything just yet.

Malachiasz on the other hand, totally baffled me. I went from: eh → you’re okay → I kinda like you → wait a second → oh no he didn’t → NOW WHAT HAPPENS? all in the course of this book. He took me on a ride and his broken, damaged soul is one to watch for. He’s the actual Wicked one and his buddies need to catch up.

Lastly, are dear Prince Serefin is an interesting character who I think will have a bigger role come book two. He’s here and he does a lot, but his story really picked up right at the end. I enjoyed his wit and charisma and am ever so curious how he will fare.

There’s plenty of world-building and a lot of religious discussions. I liked how Duncan wove the various religions with society and politics and with how religion and magic work [or not] together. I kept debating with myself which side I felt was the more trust worthy/best choice for Nadya because there’s a strong emphasis on listening, learning and not assuming you already know everything about someone’s beliefs. I’m even sitting here now trying to plot the entire series. I love when there isn’t a major cliffhanger, but enough open-endedness that you can hardly wait for the next one.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy
  • Very little language
  • Violence: arrows, death, murder, torture, abuse, knives, etc.
  • Romance: light kisses, to intense make-outs
  • Trigger warnings: child abuse, self-harm, excessive use of alcohol
Publishing Day

Happy Publishing Day: A Curse So Dark and Lonely (ACSDAL #1) by Brigid Kemmerer

Happy publishing day to an inventive and dark Beauty and the Beast retelling! I was immersed in the story and am excited for the second book. Plenty of monsters, romance, strong heroines, and overcoming barriers that will keep you on your toes.

Thank you again to Bloosmbury and Netgalley for the e-ARC.

Book Summary:

In a lush, contemporary fantasy retelling of Beauty and the Beast, Brigid Kemmerer gives readers another compulsively readable romance perfect for fans of Marissa Meyer.

Fall in love, break the curse. 

It once seemed so easy to Prince Rhen, the heir to Emberfall. Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year over and over, he knew he could be saved if a girl fell for him. But that was before he learned that at the end of each autumn, he would turn into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. That was before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope.

Nothing has ever been easy for Harper Lacy. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother barely holding their family together while constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, she learned to be tough enough to survive. But when she tries to save someone else on the streets of Washington, DC, she’s instead somehow sucked into Rhen’s cursed world.

Break the curse, save the kingdom. 

A prince? A monster? A curse? Harper doesn’t know where she is or what to believe. But as she spends time with Rhen in this enchanted land, she begins to understand what’s at stake. And as Rhen realizes Harper is not just another girl to charm, his hope comes flooding back. But powerful forces are standing against Emberfall . . . and it will take more than a broken curse to save Harper, Rhen, and his people from utter ruin.

Find my original review here and make sure to add this to your TBR!

Top 10 Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: The Ten Most Recent Additions to My To-Read List

Howdy! Another week into January, and another Top 10 Tuesday before us!

This week is a beautiful topic because of it’s simplicity. Find my most recent additions below:


Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Starsight (Skyward #2) by Brandon Sanderson

We Hunt the Flame (Sands of Arawiya #1) by Hafsah Faizal

Emergence (Shadowfire #2) by Gaja J. Kos & Boris Kos

One Day in December by Josie Silver

Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance by Ruth Emmie Lang

Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus

Court of Lions (Mirage #2) by Somaiya Daud

What the Wind Knows by Amy Harmon

The Beautiful (The Beautiful #1) by Renee Ahdieh

There you have it! Are you excited about any of these? Have you read some of these? Lets talk in the comments!

Book Review

Review: Skyward (Skyward #1) by Brandon Sanderson

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA sci-fi, dystopian
Length: 510 pages
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Publisher: Delacorte
Release Date: November 6th, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Spensa’s world has been under attack for decades. Now pilots are the heroes of what’s left of the human race, and becoming one has always been Spensa’s dream. Since she was a little girl, she has imagined soaring skyward and proving her bravery. But her fate is intertwined with that of her father’s—a pilot himself who was killed years ago when he abruptly deserted his team, leaving Spensa the daughter of a coward, her chances of attending Flight School slim to none.

No one will let Spensa forget what her father did, yet fate works in mysterious ways. Flight school might be a long shot, but she is determined to fly. And an accidental discovery in a long-forgotten cavern might just provide her with a way to claim the stars.

SANDERSON DOES IT AGAIN!

I STAYED UP WAY TOO LATE TO FINISH THIS AND I REGRET NOTHING. Sanderson should keep writing YA sci-fi novels, because this was fantastic.

“The answer is not to fear the spark, but to learn to control it. “

The world of Detritus is intricate and well thought out. The underground civilization, the above-ground command centers, the ring of debris around the planet!? So stinkin’ cool.

I know I only have the Mistborn series to go off of, but Sanderson puts together amazing female heroines. I absolutely love Spensa and her personality. She’s stubborn, blunt, and full of witty and odd old school remarks. I love how she handles and approaches her own issues and flaws, but in the same breath, stands for her crew and friends.

“You’re insubordinate, mouthy, and…well, you’re scudding frustrating. But when you fly, Spin, you fly as part of a team—and you keep my people safe.”

Also, the minor love interest that is screaming hate-to-love is making me beyond excited for the next installment. I love Jorgen and I am here for their romance y’all.

The banter and camaraderie in the Skyward crew is my absolute fav. I love a group of characters who balance each other so well. Even with the few people that you don’t get to know that well, I still felt attached to them. As I’ve noticed, Sanderson isn’t afraid of death. Spensa and the surviving crew mates have to deal with grief and guilt and it was making me feel too.

I can’t even handle M-Bot and Doomslug. I laughed so much listening to M-Bot attempt human emotions. Then the fact she has a random pet/creature that she named Doomslug who makes little noises? Dead. It was great and I loved these two.

“Brave to the end.”

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult sci-fi
  • No language
  • Violence: space ship blasts, war
  • Romance: a hug
  • Trigger warnings: grief, loss of loved ones
Book Review

Review: A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi

Rating: ☆☆☆☆ .5
Audience: YA contemporary
Length: 320 pages
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: October 16th, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

It’s 2002, a year after 9/11. It’s an extremely turbulent time politically, but especially so for someone like Shirin, a sixteen-year-old Muslim girl who’s tired of being stereotyped.

Shirin is never surprised by how horrible people can be. She’s tired of the rude stares, the degrading comments—even the physical violence—she endures as a result of her race, her religion, and the hijab she wears every day. So she’s built up protective walls and refuses to let anyone close enough to hurt her. Instead, she drowns her frustrations in music and spends her afternoons break-dancing with her brother.

But then she meets Ocean James. He’s the first person in forever who really seems to want to get to know Shirin. It terrifies her—they seem to come from two irreconcilable worlds—and Shirin has had her guard up for so long that she’s not sure she’ll ever be able to let it down. 

SO MANY EMOTIONS.

This is a book that is hard to put down. I finished it within hours and was utterly involved in every aspect of this book. I love Mafi’s work and this was fantastic.

I will never understand or be able to comprehend the things Shirin goes through. I could truly feel her anger coming off the page within the first few chapters. This was only the beginning of how well placed the emotions were throughout this book. It’s been awhile since I have felt everything an author was trying to convey through her characters.

Ocean was this precious, sweet soul who I seriously had flutters reading about. All of his interactions with Shirin were immensely heartfelt and was a strong reminder that, yes they’re bad people, but there are a lot more good people in the world. It’s something I personally strive to remember and connected on a deeper level with. I didn’t always love how he was treated by Shirin, but I sought to understand the base reasoning that drove her decisions.

Her big brother, Navid, was the best protector. I loved seeing him throughout the book constantly ensuring that Shirin knew someone had her back (along with his group of break dancing friends). The break dancing did take a back-seat to the overall love story. I personally didn’t mind because Ocean brought out a lot of self-realization for Shirin.

I appreciated that Shirin acknowledged her right to feel angry, but also her right to let it go [within reason]. Her ability to work on giving the world a chance made me love her character even more.

The writing may seem juvenile at times, but upon further thinking it over, it’s highly accurate. There’s a lot of uses of: wow, like, and just and I kept thinking, oh my goodness this is driving me insane — then, wait, I know I used to talk that way as a teenager myself.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult contemporary
  • A lot of language
  • Romance: some intense kisses
  • Violence: physical, verbal
  • Trigger warnings: islamophobia, xenophobia, racism, mentions of past assault
Book Review

Review: Evermore (Everless #2) by Sara Holland

Rating: ☆☆
Audience: YA fantasy
Length: 368 pages
Author: Sara Holland
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: December 31st, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

The New York Times bestselling series!

Jules Ember confronts the girl who is both her oldest friend and greatest enemy in the highly anticipated sequel to Everless, praised by New York Times bestelling author Stephanie Garber as “an intoxicating blend of blood, secrets, and haunting mythology.” 

Jules Ember was raised hearing legends of the ancient magic of the wicked Alchemist and the good Sorceress. But she has just learned the truth: She is the Alchemist, and Caro—a woman who single-handedly murdered the Queen and Jules’s first love, Roan, in cold blood—is the Sorceress.

The whole kingdom believes that Jules is responsible for the murders, and a hefty bounty has been placed on her head. And Caro is intent on destroying Jules, who stole her heart twelve lifetimes ago. Now Jules must piece together the stories of her past lives to save the person who has captured her heart in this one.

Perfect for fans of Victoria Aveyard, Kiera Cass, and Kendare Blake, Evermore is the high-stakes, star-crossed follow up to the New York Times bestselling Everless that fans have been waiting for.

MUCH TO BE DESIRED.

It almost pains me to give this book such a low rating because I loved the first book so much. This one however, left too much to be desired.

Jules Ember is not the sharpest tool in the shed. For a heroine who is trying to avoid the Sorceress and the law in general I don’t think it’s wise to let everyone know who you are. She was constantly going to places and events and letting everyone know her plans. Of course she was found!? Jules also kept sending mixed messages to everyone. She’d spit angry things at them, then turn around and basically shout her feelings at her friends/lover.

Liam is the only reason I hung onto this book. I loved his character from Everless. This was a total annihilation of his persona. “His face reddened” more times than I could count. Love struck fool was not a good look on him. It was rushed in comparison to how he treated Jules previously. Though, he was almost the real hero because he repeatedly saved Jules from her own mistakes. It was an odd, off-balanced pairing.

The original book captured my attention because of the blood as time and currency concept. I’ve seen other reviews that mentioned this isn’t totally new (in my case, I haven’t read others like this yet) so I was intrigued! It made things a bit twisted and confusing [in a good way]. Evermore never brought this into play. There was only mentions on the side about others doing using this alchemy.

All of Jules visions were throwing me off big time. They would come at random moments (That’s So Raven anyone?) and not make total sense. It was interrupting the flow of the plot itself. At least the last vision answered a lot of the questions I was stumped on about the actual relationship between The Alchemist and The Sorceress.

Lastly, I profoundly loathe obvious, cliche moments. Pure love conquers pure evil y’all. *sigh*

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy
  • No language
  • Romance: a few kisses, one loosely implied love scene
  • Violence: knives, a bit of blood, murder