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

Book Review: Flamecaster (Shattered Realms #1) by Cinda Williams Chima

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult fantasy
Length: 535 pages
Author: Cinda Williams Chima
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: April 5th, 2016
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A burning vengeance.

Adrian sul’Han, known as Ash, is a trained healer with a powerful gift of magic—and a thirst for revenge. The son of the queen of the Fells, Ash is forced into hiding after a series of murders throws the queendom into chaos. Now Ash is closer than he’s ever been to killing the man responsible, the cruel king of Arden. As a healer, can Ash use his powers not to save a life but to take it?

A blood-based curse.

Abandoned at birth, Jenna Bandelow was told the mysterious magemark on the back of her neck would make her a target. But when the King’s Guard launches a relentless search for a girl with a mark like hers, Jenna assumes that it has more to do with her role as a saboteur than any birth-based curse. Though Jenna doesn’t know why she’s being hunted, she knows that she can’t get caught.

Destiny’s fiery hand.

Eventually, Ash’s and Jenna’s paths will collide in Arden. Thrown together by chance and joined by their hatred of the king, they will come to rescue each other in ways they cannot yet imagine.

Set in the world of the acclaimed Seven Realms series a generation later, this is a thrilling story of dark magic, chilling threats, and two unforgettable characters walking a knife-sharp line between life and death.

DRAGONS Y’ALL.

If that word doesn’t drag you in, the fact that Chima is an amazing author should convince you. I love her writing and her books. This series is setting up to be added to my favorites.

This book is filled with so much evil. I mean whoa, within the first few chapters I already felt like sobbing. I mean HOW, JUST…how. But this, in a weird way, is one of the better things about Flamecaster. I hate the antagonists. I mean, with a passion. I love that I feel that deeply because it goes to show just how enchanting the writing is.

The only real big reason I went with 4 stars is the insta-love. It’s not terrible, I wasn’t overly frustrated with it, only perplexed. There could have been a lot more build-up to it. A scene where magic is used to “see” each other (as vague as I can be without spoiling) tries to make-up for the attraction. I’m still boarding the ship, but I imagine I’ll get there.

My favorite was the handful of minor twists that tie in from the previous series. I kept thinking to myself, how did I miss that? The book is a little slow, but all of these enlightening moments will definitely be involved in further installments. The dynamic conglomeration of different cultures and people throughout this world is amazing.

All of these characters are strong and realistic. They’re young, they make mistakes, and have a lot of feelings. You’re on their side from the get-go. I love, once again, how strong and independent the female leads are. I’m excited to see how these heroines grow and adapt.

Shout out to my tagline, there’s dragons you guys!! An actual dragon, who could even speak some. Oh I hope we see it even more! There’s a big story-line here that is waiting to burst.

“Oh, I see. This situation isn’t bad enough, so you’re going to try and make it worse.”

This quote is a direct picture of how this book went. A lot of diving into sketchy situations without thinking them through. Plenty of action and political maneuverings. I am so excited to read Shadowcaster.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy
  • Important to read Seven Realms series first
  • Violence: physical, swords, knives, poison, attempted suicide
  • Romance: some kisses, an intense make-out
  • Language: some
Book Tag

Book Tag: Wonderstruck (Taylor Swift)

It’s Saturday: Book Tag day!

I was tagged by Arini from Her Ineffable Reads! I’ve recently started following her blog and have been really enjoying her content. If you’re following me, you should definitely be following her!

She originally found the tag from Olivia at Purely Olivia. And she is the creator of this tag.

I’m a closet Taylor Swift fan, but that won’t stop be from doing this tag. I love her work. I can’t deny it.

1.

You’re Not Sorry

A book that unapologetically broke your heart

I apparently don’t read many books that try to break me. Tender-hearted much? (It’s being a mom, it makes you soft). The Great Alone really tore me up. Leni deals with SO MUCH CRAP and all I wanted for her was to be happy. And when she had it, it was ripped away and given back in this bittersweet, my heart is breaking, kinda way. Happy ending used loosely.

2.

Back to December

A book you still think about even after you finished

I mention in my review that I truly believe everyone needs to read this book. A doctor, dying from cancer, writes a memoir that will make you cry. I contemplated how I was handling my life and it still comes to mind on rough days. What is a bad day, or a bad five minutes?

3.

If This Was a Movie

A book you really want to become a movie

I think a million+ books I’ve read should be movies, but this is the most recent one in my mind. Imagining some time-traveling and old-timey 1920’s Ireland makes me want to swoon. This was a magical read.

4.

Gorgeous

A book with the most beautiful cover

I am so bad with pretty covers. I tend to not even notice the cover and buy it for the summary or hype. In this case I remember picking To Kill a Kingdom specifically for the gorgeous, dark cover. It promised sea battles and plenty of stabbing. And it did not disappoint.

5.

Shake It Off

A book that gets hate but that you still love

It’s actually recently come to my attention that the Shatter Me series gets some hate. For me, it’s one of the few dystopian-based book that I’m invested in. The jaw dropping plot-twists, the swoon worthy romance, and the loyal friendships have made this a great series. Jury is still out with the “addition” of the next three books, but I loved Restore Me so there’s hope!

6.

Never Grow Up

A book that gives you childhood nostalgia

Oh yes, yes. The A Series of Unfortunate Events brings on all the nostalgia. It was one of my first series that I read all the way through. I only vaguely remember the details now, but I can’t wait to read them with my children in the future!

7.

Sparks Fly

A book that you instantly clicked with

This book was so stinkin’ cute. I immediately was captivated and it’s one of the few contemporaries I adore. The setting (Tuscany, Italy) and precious high school love was all I needed. It was a perfect summer read.

8.

Style

A classic that will never get old

I may not have time to re-read this all the time. But this book (more the movie) never gets old to me. I love the story and it’s classic style will always captivate.

9.

End Game

A book with a romance you love

My dear sweet pair: Kestrel and Arin. They were so frustrating and I couldn’t believe half the actions that went down, but boy I was on their side from day one. There’s SO MUCH LOVE HERE. It’s one of my favorite series. Now I think I need to go do a re-read.

10.

I Knew You Were Trouble

A book you couldn’t help but become obsessesd with

I may not talk about this series a lot, but I like doing tags to really branch out on my choices. So in this case, I was IMMEDIATELY obsessed with this series. Shusterman is a wizard with this story. It’s such a thinker. I continually panic over WHAT IF THIS ACTUALLY HAPPENED? And you know what, I obsess over this anytime I remember the books.

11.

Bad Blood

A book where you loved the first one and hated the sequel

I’m totally using Arini’s answer because oh how I agree. I got through RQ (honestly wouldn’t say loved, but I liked it), decided to keep going. Made it through GS and thought, eh I’m not having fun, but I also want to know what happens. Then KC came out I skimmed read this and never bothered with WS. These progressively got worse with the cliches, the awful twists and more. I still haven’t read WS, but from a spoiler review I’ve seen, I’m okay with my decision.

I’m tagging:

Xandra @ Starry Sky Books || Jess & Teagan @ Fiction No Chaser || Sara @ The Bibliophagist || Purple Manatees

Even if you weren’t tagged, totally feel free to do this! And if you don’t like TS, that doesn’t matter either! It’s a clever tag that was fun to do. Tag me in the comments if you happen to do this, would love to see answers.

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.

 

Book Review

Review: Sapphire Blue (Precious Stones Trilogy #2) by Kerstin Gier

Sapphire Blue

Rating: 3.5/5
Audience: YA, very little language, a kiss scene or two, a little violence
Length: 357 pages
Author: Kerstin Gier
Publisher: Henry Holt
Release Date: January 5th, 2010
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Gwen’s life has been a rollercoaster since she discovered she was the Ruby, the final member of the secret time-traveling Circle of Twelve. In between searching through history for the other time-travelers and asking fora bit of their blood (gross!), she’s been trying to figure out what all the mysteries and prophecies surrounding the Circle really mean.

At least Gwen has plenty of help. Her best friend Lesley follows every lead diligently on the Internet. James the ghost teaches Gwen how to fit in at an eighteenth century party. And Xemerius, the gargoyle demon who has been following Gwen since he caught her kissing Gideon in a church, the Diamond. One minute he’s very warm indeed; the next he’s freezing cold. Gwen’s not sure what’s going on there, but she’s pretty much destined to find out.

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

BETTER THAN THE FIRST.

I have figured out some issues I have with this book, which the book comments on itself. Go figure. INSTA-LOVE. How are you this madly in love with someone in a day? You even think you’re crazy?! So while that’s silly, there was more intrigue between the two.

In my heart of hearts, I know Gideon cares, even if he didn’t mean to originally. This helps, because boy, he is MEAN. Gwen needs to put him in his place if you ask me. Maybe that’ll be rectified in the next installment.

We all know the Count is evil, but can SOMEONE TELL ME WHAT THE SECRET IS? I figured I’d find out in this book, but I didn’t. So now I’m waiting for the third book so I can understand. You only get the basest idea about where it’s all going.

Xemerius is arguably the best part of the book. While Lesley is annoying and seems to know-it-all, Xemerius makes you love his sassy self.

My other big issue is you really don’t get a feel for any characters. There’s not enough back story that helps you love or hate them. Everyone is rather neutral, and rather vague, about everything.

True YA, with very very little language. No romantic scenes, just some kissing here and there. Minor violence.

Book Review

Review: Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass #5) by Sarah J. Maas

EoS

 

Rating: 5/5
Audience: New Adult, language, some kisses, descriptive love scenes, violence/torture
Length: 693 pages
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Release Date: September 6th, 2016
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

The long path to the throne has only just begun for Aelin Galathynius as war looms on the horizon. Loyalties have been broken and bought, friends have been lost and gained, and those who possess magic find themselves at odds with those who don’t.

With her heart sworn to the warrior-prince by her side, and her fealty pledged to the people she is determined to save, Aelin will delve into the depths of her power to protect those she loves. But as monsters emerge from the horrors of the past, and dark forces become poised to claim her world, the only chance for salvation will lie in a desperate quest that may mark the end of everything Aelin holds dear.

In this breathtaking fifth installment of the New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass series, Aelin will have to choose what—and who—to sacrifice if she’s to keep the world of Erilea from breaking apart.

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

Note: Review totally contains spoilers. I have read this series 3 or 4 times. I have no chill over this series. This is a re-read I’m doing specifically before KoA comes out in October.

Second note: I firmly believe while yes they’re similarities between her two series, they are SO DIFFERENT. Needed to throw this out there after seeing a lot of reviews claiming they were too alike. I think some phrasing, character type, etc. is similar, but overall the stories are unique.

I HAVE TOO MANY FEELINGS OVER THIS.

So you should join me in the comments to rattle the stars over this.

I stormed down the stairs after finishing this book *again* to exclaim my horror that AELIN IS IN AN IRON COFFIN. I mean, Maeve, come on now hunny, WHY WHY WHY. Imma come take you down my self when I figure out a way to literally go into a book world.

And my heart just BREAKS FOR ROWAN. His mate y’all. And she leaves, never expecting to return to Terrasen!??? Someone has to agree with me that there is no way Aelin, or Rowan dies right? The *dies* but *lives* stunt was pulled in her other series already so I’m thinking there must be a loophole to Elena’s problems. Seriously a case of “sounds like a personal problem”. *sighs*

Speaking of loopholes, HOLLIN. Did you forget Hollin? Because I did. Now I’m thinking he has to play a role somehow. At least I hope so.

I am thinking that Dorian might be the real sacrifice. I haven’t decided how I feel about this fact, but that’s where my inkling is leading me. He’s been darker since the Valg invasion, so I think this plays a part. Thoughts? The Gods are hell-bent on ruining someone’s life, why can’t we ruin there’s instead?

I’m also alllll over side characters in this book. Fenrys, he needs a hug. And someone to break him from that stupid blood-oath. His snarky, sassy self should get the freedom he deserves. I am seeing a Garvriel-saves-son-through-sacrifice as well. Someone’s gotta die. I’m just hoping it’s a sideish characters that won’t make me through a book across the room (thanks, Divergent series).

Also, totally in love with where Aedion and Lysandra are going. And Dorian and Manon. Okay, I secretly always hope that everyone gets a happy ending. Can’t help it. I need everyone to be happy so I’m happy. I hope they aren’t mates though. *side story*: I hope that NOBODY else has a mate. Perfectly content with others getting together/being in love/blah blah blah, but the mate thing is supposed to be rare. Rowan and Aelin have that, let’s let them have that.

Though now that I’m saying it, Lorcan should be Elide’s mate, IF ANYONE is going to have one. Lorcan’s character arc is still framing itself and I think needs a touch of Annieth, to bring him fully around. He’s already agreed to help in the end after BREAKING DOWN IN TEARS. He’s my favorite evil, broken soul. Elide is so strong and capable of doing more than she’s been allowed, and I appreciate so much she gets the opportunity to con, lie, and stand up for herself.

I do miss Dorian a bit in this book. I felt his part wasn’t really in here. This is making me thing he’s going to play a much bigger role in KoA. He’s on his own adventure with Manon now, so anything can happen at this point.

SJM ups the ante in her love scenes with this book. Definitely along ACOMAF lines. While I’m always pushing for a couple to finally come together, these scenes can definitely be a bit much. I prefer gloss-over/only slightly detailed scenes. Don’t let this deter you! You can easily skip them and not miss the story itself at all.

Language, and violence of course. VIOLENCE THAT WILL BREAK YOUR SOUL.