Book Review

Monthly Reading Wrap-Up: September 2019

Okay okay.

Apparently I got real crazy this month. My life was a bit out of whack so I retreated to my books. That means I ended up reading twenty-five books. Hopefully October will chill out a bit and I’m planning on picking up some spooky reads (which is out of character so we’ll see what happens!).

And I would like to apologize ahead of time that none of the reviews are posted. They’ll be out in October though so please come read them then! Or ask in the comments if you have questions, I’m more than happy to discuss the books.

On a kind of sad note, I only gave TWO books a full five stars this month. Wish there had a been a few more!

  • Sword and Pen (The Great Library #5) by Rachel Caine – (RTC – ☆☆☆☆)
  • Crown of Feathers (Crown of Feathers #1) by Nicki Pau-Preto – (RTC – ☆☆☆☆)
  • When the World Didn’t End: Poems by Caroline Kaufman – (RTC – ☆☆☆☆)
  • The Dire King (Jackaby #4) by William Ritter – (RTC – ☆☆☆☆)
  • Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center – (RTC – ☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • One Day in December by Josie Silver – (RTC – ☆☆☆☆)
  • Twice in a Blue Moon by Christina Lauren – (RTC – ☆☆☆☆)
  • Lock Every Door by Riley Sager – (RTC – ☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • Waking Gods (Themis Files #2) by Sylvain Neuvel – (RTC – ☆☆☆☆)
  • The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow – (RTC – ☆☆☆)
  • Serpent & Dove (Serpent & Dove #1) by Shelby Mahurin – (RTC – ☆☆☆☆☆)
  • A Kingdom of Exiles (Outcast #1) by S.B. Nova – (RTC – ☆☆☆☆)
  • Wild Savage Stars (Sweet Black Waves #2) by Kristina Perez – (RTC – ☆☆☆☆)
  • Waiting for Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey – (RTC – ☆☆☆☆)
  • The Need by Helen Phillips – (RTC – ☆☆☆)
  • [ARC] Tweet Cute by Emma Lord – (RTC – ☆☆☆☆)
  • Only Human (Themis Files #3) by Sylvain Neuvel – (RTC – ☆☆☆)
  • American Royals (American Royals #1) by Katharine McGee – (RTC – ☆☆☆☆)
  • Onyx and Ivory (Rime Chronicles #1) by Mindee Arnett – (RTC – ☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • Shadows of Self (Mistborn #6: The Alloy Era #2) by Brandon Sanderon – (RTC – ☆☆☆☆☆)
  • Well Met by Jen DeLuca – (RTC – ☆☆☆☆)
  • [ARC] The Silvered Serpents (The Gilded Wolves #2) by Roshani Chokshi – (RTC – ☆☆☆☆)
  • A Curious Beginning (Veronica Speedwell #1) by Deanna Raybourn – (RTC – ☆☆☆☆)
  • Lifel1k3 (Lifelike #1) by Jay Kristoff – (I haven’t finished, but will today; probably ☆☆☆☆)
  • The Vine Witch (Vine Witch #1) by Luanne G. Smith – (I haven’t finished, but will today; probably ☆☆☆ 1/2 or ☆☆☆☆)

Favorite of the month: Serpent & Dove

Least favorite of the month: The Need

How did your month for reading go? What was your favorite book? Least favorite? Curious about any of these? Lets talk in the comments!

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Monthly Wrap-Up

Monthly Reading Wrap-Up: June 2019

It was another month with 16 books! I couldn’t believe it when I counted at the end. I don’t count during the month at all. That’s not the point. It’s nice to get through so many of the summer books I’ve been interested in though.

Would anyone be interested in a post about how I read so fast? I know some of it is purely some people are faster readers than others (which isn’t a bad thing at all — some people read 20+ books a month and that blows my mind). But, I do have some tips for choosing reading and how it helps you get further during the day.

Anywho, here is what I read this month:

  • The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson –
  • The Black Witch (The Black Witch Chronicles #1) by Laurie Forest
  • Normal People by Sally Rooney
  • Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren
  • Dark Shores (Dark Shores #1) by Danielle L. Jensen (RTC – ☆☆☆☆)
  • Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreryrou (RTC – ☆☆☆☆)
  • Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly (RTC – ☆☆☆☆☆)
  • Stalking Jack the Ripper (Stalking Jack the Ripper #1) by Kerri Maniscalco (RTC – ☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • The Vanishing Throne (The Falconer #2) by Elizabeth May (RTC – ☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • The Bridge Kingdom (The Bridge Kingdom #1) by Danielle L. Jensen (RTC – ☆☆☆☆☆)
  • The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson & The Olympians #1) by Rick Riordan (RTC – ☆☆☆☆☆)
  • Age of Swords (The Legends of the First Empire #2) by Michael J. Sullivan (RTC – ☆☆☆☆☆)
  • Beartown (Beartown #1) by Fredrik Backman (RTC – ☆☆☆☆☆)
  • Beastly Bones (Jackaby #2) by William Ritter (RTC – ☆☆☆☆)
  • Air Awakens (Air Awakens #1) by Elise Kova (RTC – ☆☆☆☆)
  • The Sea of Monsters (Percy Jackson & The Olympians #2) by Rick Riordan (RTC – ☆☆☆☆)

Number of 5 stars: Five

Number of 4 stars: Seven

I would call that a good reading month having that many highly rated books! My favorite this month was WITHOUT A DOUBT AND EVERYONE SHOULD READ IT: THE BRIDGE KINGDOM.

My not so favorite this month would be Normal People.

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: The Dysasters (The Dysasters #1) by P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast

Rating: ☆☆
Audience: YA Fantasy
Length: 320 pages
Author: P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Release Date: February 26th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Foster Stewart knows she’s different. Her life has never been “normal.” Talking to plants and controlling cloud formations aren’t things most seventeen year olds are into. Tate “Nighthawk” Taylor is perfect. Star quarterback and all around dreamy boy next door he never thought about his “extra” abilities. What quarterback wouldn’t want night vision? That’s not weird, right? It’s cool! 

But on the night of their first meeting a deadly tornado brings them together and awakens their true abilities – the power to control the element air. Unbeknown to Tate and Foster, they are the first in a group of teens that were genetically manipulated before birth to bond with the elements. Which truly sucks for Foster, as she has to face the fact that Dr. Rick Stewart, her beloved scientist father, betrayed her and now wants to use her and the others for his own nefarious world domination plot. 

Foster and Tate must stop Dr. Stewart and his minions before he destroys their lives and the world.

Note: Thank you to the publisher, Wednesday Books, for sending a physical ARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

NOT MY CUP OF TEA.

I was really excited about this book, mainly because of the summary. It sounded Michael Vey-ish (and I loved that series!) and was hoping for more of the same. It’s completely crazy that some mad scientist messed with embryos for his own gain! How evil right? While the concept and premise is there, the story itself never came together for me.

I also did like that they repped my alma mater, Texas A&M, a handful of times. That was cool. And jumping all over the U.S. was interesting. I liked that it wasn’t a stagnant story in one location. There was a lot of change in POV as well. I personally like that because I get to see the story from multiple sides and understand the characters on a deeper level.

I felt this book could be much more appropriate and fun for a younger audience, if it wasn’t trying so hard to be more adult. I’m fine with language, unless it crosses a line that leads into unnecessary. Calling the bad guys the “F**ktastic Four” and having Tate continually calling Foster a “witch” really rubs me the wrong way. I couldn’t get behind the relationship because heaven knows I would never allow someone to call me that than kiss me a few days later. I even physically cringed during some conversations that were added to no benefit of the plot.

I didn’t much care for any of these characters. With typical teenagers, I get it, they are still figuring life out. But in this case I felt everyone was contradicting themselves. Saying/doing one thing, then within the same chapter completely flipping on that narrative. Personalities were way too stereotypical and flat. The villains basically do nothing other than sit around and complain. Dr. Stewart, the supposed evil scientist, is hardly in this book. His minions aren’t even that nefarious. They were all bark and no bite, making them awfully dull.

I wasn’t a big fan of the comics in this book either. I generally enjoy coming up with an image in my head of what a character looks like, and not being forced into it by pictures that make you pause in the middle of reading (truly interrupting you). They took away from the story rather than added to it.

The writing wasn’t my favorite and felt forced at times. There was a lot to happen, but yet, didn’t happen. And side characters all of a sudden best friends, and love interests with very little connection other than teenage “oh look how hot they are” angst. I was confused by the addition of more high caliber words (like fuliginous) next to simple phrases. It really felt like two separate people wrote this book rather than a meeting of the minds.

I have more, but don’t feel it’s worth the time to continue. *sighs*

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy (in contemporary world)
  • Language: a word in just about every paragraph
  • Romance: some kisses, thoughts of how hot everyone is
  • Violence: natural disasters (tornadoes)
  • Trigger warnings: verbal sexual harassment, a near plane crash

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Top 10 Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I LOVED with Fewer than 2,000 Ratings on Goodreads

Howdy to everyone! Hope your day is going splendid and that your week has started off well.

This weeks theme is all about finding those diamonds in the rough. Though upon looking through my Read list I realized, most books I have read have way more than 2,000 ratings. It honestly makes me want to find more books where fewer people have heard of them.

With so few to choose from, these weren’t all books I LOVED, but at least 4 stars and enjoyed overall. Here’s to Top Ten Tuesday!

Evenfall (Shadowfire #1)

By Gaja J. Kos & Boris Kos

Number of ratings: 161

I called this book, a tale of two stories. It was almost a DNF til about half-way, then I felt like I was reading a whole new tale and it ended really well! I was lucky enough to receive this from Netgalley and I am looking forward to book two.

The Cenote

by: Chelsea Dyreng

Number of ratings: 177

Unfortunately, I read this four years ago and hadn’t gotten into review writing quite yet. From what I remember it was a romance filled with a lot of allegories. A big theme of redemption that will tug at your heart strings. I even hosted this as a book club book at my house!

The Wren Hunt

by: Mary Watson

Number of ratings: 675

I read this through Netgalley and thought this was so stinkin’ good! (Review here). I’m actually really surprised it has such a small amount of ratings. It was loosely based on Romeo & Juliet. I found it a unpredictable and stayed up way too late flying through this book. Did I mention the romance is my favorite trope? Hate to lovers!!

What the Wind Knows

by: Amy Harmon

Number of ratings: 1,327

I finished this a few weeks ago, this was one on the list that I LOVED. Oh so good. Swoon-worthy romance, beautiful writing and a heartfelt story. Makes me want to discover my own history.

Sweet Black Waves (SWB #1)

by: Kristina Pérez

Number of ratings: 777

I happened to go into this without knowing the legend behind it, and honestly, I think that made me love it even more. I had no expectations. And wow, holy twists Batman! I saw none of that coming, and can’t believe I still have to wait til the fall for the next book.

Where the Watermelons Grow

by: Cindy Baldwin

Number of ratings: 821

This book is all about mental health. This sweet daughter struggles to deal with her Mom having schizophrenia. A lot of poignant moments and tough conversations. Books like these are important, and as this is a children’s book (recommended for 8-12) , I thought it was all approached in a thoughtful way.

A Thousand Perfect Notes

by: C.G. Drews

Number of ratings: 1,774

Ooo, this book will make you want to throw things. It is a heart-breaking, growing-up story that was fabulous. It was her debut novel and I am stoked to order her next one!

The Lost Queen (The LQ Trilogy #1)

by: Signe Pike

Number of ratings: 1,830

A little known historical fiction/fantasy based off of the wizard Merlin, but focusing on his sister, Languoreth. If you take this as a fantasy only, I think you’ll really enjoy it. There’s romance, war, and making hard decisions.

Wicked Saints (Something Dark and Holy #1)

By: Emily A. Duncan

Number of ratings: 521

While I figure this will actually eventually have more than 2,000 ratings since it isn’t out yet, BUT that means I can currently use it for this TTT. Y’all, this book is good. I’m excited to see where the series goes. A solid foundation has been built.

Pride & Prejudice: Baby Counter

by: Jennifer Adams & Alison Oliver

Number of ratings: 1,239

Okay, adding this because it is totally adorable. If you have kids and love P&P I would definitely look into this board book! My babe loves it and I found it really clever. [I was also basically out of few ratings books too *shrugs*]

Have you read any of these? What’s one of your few rating favorites? Let’s talk in the comments!

Book Review

Review: Emerald Green (Precious Stones Trilogy #3) by Kerstin Gier

Emerald Green

 

Rating: 3/5
Audience: Juvenile/YA, very very little language, some kissing, some violence
Length: 451 pages
Author: Kerstin Gier
Publisher: Henry Holt
Release Date: December 8th, 2010
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Gwen has a destiny to fulfill, but no one will tell her what it is. She’s only recently learned that she is the Ruby, the final member of the time-traveling Circle of Twelve, and since then nothing has been going right. She suspects the founder of the Circle, Count Saint-German, is up to something nefarious, but nobody will believe her. And she’s just learned that her charming time-traveling partner, Gideon, has probably been using her all along. Emerald Green is the stunning conclusion to Kerstin Gier’s Ruby Red Trilogy, picking up where Sapphire Blue left off, reaching new heights of intrigue and romance as Gwen finally uncovers the secrets of the time-traveling society and learns her fate.

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

LACKING.

That’s what I finally realized upon finishing this series. It was altogether…lacking.

I never got a big enough back story on any character so my feelings for them remained superficial. There was also SO MANY characters. And any plot twists really only occurred in the epilogues. While things like, high school romances are “relatable,” the writing was so naive that it felt silly most of the time.

The story was there. Brimming under the surface but never breaching. I enjoyed at times where things were going. Yet, I’m sitting here writing this review only hours after finishing and I can’t even remember some pieces. It’s that forgettable.

While these are solely my opinions…you may enjoy this book! It’s all about time traveling and stopping the evil by circumventing history. Can be confusing to follow where each person is when. It is at least unique in this regard.

I think it may be more suitable for younger (than myself) audiences. With only maybe a curse word or two its a clean book. There’s some kissing, some I love you proclamations, and only an instance of innuendo. Some minor violence as well.

Book Review

Review: Tower of Dawn (Throne of Glass #6) by Sarah J. Maas

Tower of Dawn

 

Rating: 5/5
Audience: New adult, some language, a romance scene, kissing/make-outs, violence
Length: 664 pages
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Release Date: September 5th, 2017
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

In the next installment of the New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass series, follow Chaol on his sweeping journey to a distant empire.

Chaol Westfall has always defined himself by his unwavering loyalty, his strength, and his position as the Captain of the Guard. But all of that has changed since the glass castle shattered, since his men were slaughtered, since the King of Adarlan spared him from a killing blow, but left his body broken.

His only shot at recovery lies with the legendary healers of the Torre Cesme in Antica—the stronghold of the southern continent’s mighty empire. And with war looming over Dorian and Aelin back home, their survival might lie with Chaol and Nesryn convincing its rulers to ally with them.

But what they discover in Antica will change them both—and be more vital to saving Erilea than they could have imagined.
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

CAN I HAVE A BOOK ALL ABOUT SARTAQ?

I decided he’s one of my top favorite side characters. I LOVE him and Nesryn. And now that he’s Heir it’ll give them an even bigger opportunity in the final battle! I need a ruk too. I’ll think of a name while I climb a mountain to find one.

I don’t love Chaol. Never really have. So I wasn’t originally excited to read this book. The first have is a bit slower because SJM word builds the Southern Continent. After that the action flows well and a lot, a lothappens.

Chaol does get his story though. That boy was HURTING. I thought it was a unique play on what was causing his disability. And you really felt the emotional turmoil he had to endure and come to terms with to be able to find happiness.

If you’re like me and weren’t too excited, I would still say YOU HAVE TO READ THIS STORY. The critical Maeve information in here will shake you. And send you down a horrid spiral trying to figure out what’s happening to our girl in the coffin with the news.

Yrene will also play a mega role in KoA if you ask me. I’m not quite sure where her healing power sits in the pawns of war, but if we spent an entire book on it then it means something, right?

This book became so large it isn’t considered a novella. It rivals with the later books in ToG.

I FEEL SO PUMPED FOR KOA NOW. READY FOR SJM TO SHATTER MY SOUL.

This installment still leans towards new adult. There is some language. A romance scene that is much less in your face as ACOMAF/EOS. Only lightly descriptive as are the other scenes that are glossed over. Minor violence.

 

Book Review

The Queen and the Cure (The Bird and the Sword Chronicles #2) by Amy Harmon

Queen and Cure

 

Rating: 5/5
Audience: YA, no language, a love scene, kisses, violence
Length: 342 pages
Author: Amy Harmon
Publisher: Independently published
Release Date: May 1st, 2017
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Kjell of Jeru had always known who he was. He’d never envied his brother or wanted to be king. He was the bastard son of the late King Zoltev and a servant girl, and the ignominy of his birth had never bothered him.

But there is more to a man than his parentage. More to a man than his blade, his size, or his skills, and all that Kjell once knew has shifted and changed. He is no longer simply Kjell of Jeru, a warrior defending the crown. Now he is a healer, one of the Gifted, and a man completely at odds with his power.

Called upon to rid the country of the last vestiges of the Volgar, Kjell stumbles upon a woman who has troubling glimpses of the future and no memory of the past. Armed with his unwanted gift and haunted by regret, Kjell becomes a reluctant savior, beset by old enemies and new expectations. With the woman by his side, Kjell embarks upon a journey where the greatest test may be finding the man she believes him to be. 

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

ALL GOOD THINGS.

I forgot how much I LOVE AMY HARMON BOOKS. She’s not super well known, so hopefully this review will convince you to read her books. Emotional torture is her strong suit and she does great fantasies and contemporaries.

This particular book is a fantasy romance. YAAAAAS. Sometimes that’s what kind of book you need in your life. There was angst, tears, love, guilt, and courage.

I couldn’t put it down and it had me from the first chapter, especially since this was book two. I already knew and loved these characters.

Kjell is a cinnamon roll who melts my soul every time he talks. A fierce warrior who is more tender than he knows what to do with. Watching him with Sasha will make you swoon.

While you can see the twist coming, you don’t see the fullness of it. Even I was stunned for a second trying to figure out where we were going. The ending was blissfully what you need.

A YA+ book with no language. Light descriptions of naked people (when Changers shift they have no clothes). A soft, tastefully scripted love scene. Some kissing and make-out scenes. Occasional violence.