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

Instagram || Goodreads

Top 10 Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: My Auto-Buy Authors

Happy Top Ten Tuesday!

Lots of authors to choose from today! I love seeing everyone’s answers because they’re SO MANY AUTHORS out there. It’s great to look into new authors and support as many as possible. I’m also counting authors I read from the library because I know that sometimes that is a version of “auto-buy” and it’s how I can read more too. Requesting a purchase from your library is a great option!

These are a handful of some of my favorite authors (with a book or two I love by them):

Sarah J. Maas


Amy Harmon


Brandon Sanderson


Leigh Bardugo


Danielle L. Jensen


Colleen Hoover


Tahereh Mafi


Tricia Levenseller


Mary E. Pearson


Brené Brown   

Are any of these authors on your auto-buy list? What’s an author not on mine that’s on yours? Lets talk in the comments!

Instagram || Goodreads

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

Instagram || Goodreads

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

Instagram || Goodreads

Book Review

Book Review: Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance by Ruth Emmie Lang

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆ 
Audience: Fantasy, magical realism
Length: 368 pages
Author: Ruth Emmie Lang
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Release Date: December 4th, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Through the story of Weylyn Grey, an orphaned boy who grew up with wolves, Lang weaves a mystical tale about life, love, and the ability each of us has to change our own story. 

Finding magic in the ordinary…

The day that Weylyn is born is the largest snowstorm the South has ever seen. As he grows older, so does the legends of Weylyn Grey, his horned-pig Merlin and their magical abilities. But the true magic is in the way that he transforms the lives of those around him. As anyone who’s met Weylyn will tell you, once he wanders into your life, you’ll wish he’d never leave.

Told from the perspectives of the people who knew him, loved him, and even a few who thought he was just plain weird. Although he doesn’t stay in any of their lives for long, he leaves each of them with a story to tell. Stories about a boy who lives with wolves, great storms that evaporate into thin air, fireflies that make phosphorescent honey, and a house filled with spider webs and the strange man who inhabits it.

There is one story, however, that Weylyn wishes he could change: his own. But first he has to muster enough courage to knock on Mary’s front door.

Ruth Emmie Lang’s Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance teaches us about adventure and love in a beautifully written story full of nature and wonder. 

SUCH AN ADVENTURE OF WONDER.

I picked this up on a Target run when I wasn’t supposed to be buying books…whoops!

But y’all, seriously, this was amazing and I’m so glad I grabbed it. It gave me all the feels and brought out such a sense of adventure and longing for a place in the world.

Weylen Grey has MY HEART. Oh, but he also made me so mad. This poor lost boy had me saying, bless your heart, more than once. I thought he was so fascinating and captivating. I thought it was even more imaginative that the author wrote the book from everyone else’s perspective. THIS WAS SO COOL. I felt thoroughly connected to him even in this format. Weylen had to go through a lot to realize what he had already. He truly went on a journey that captivated me.

Miss Mary quite contrary was precious too. I loved watching their story develop from kids in the woods to adults who had made some tough choices. Their reunion scene at the end had me melting. Frustrated that it took so dang long, but melting at the pure love they shared.

I thought the flow was fantastic and jumped back and forth at the right times. The pace was steady and seriously kept me flipping pages. I needed to know what happened next.

All of the other perspectives were unique too. These people had a profound effect on Weylen’s life; whether it was obvious or not. I liked getting to know them through their perspectives as well. Each had a unique voice that only further added to the wonder of Weylen Grey.

Overall audience notes:

  • Urban fantasy, magical realism (there were in real life places, but there was a dose of magic)
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: a kiss, some hugs
  • Violence: animal attacks, guns

Instagram || Goodreads

Book Tag

Book Tag Saturday: 20 Questions

Good morning. Hope you have a great weekend planned!

I’m hopelessly falling apart and do not remember where I got this from, but hey! That’s okay. If you know I’ll gladly tag them in and credit the original author!

How many books are too many in a series?

Hmm, even when I LOVE a series, I still want it to end before the wait time gets crazy. So I’d say, AT MOST, 6 or 7 books. And it better be a stunner, like Throne of Glass or Falling Kingdoms.

I’m afraid the longer the series goes on that I may fall out of love with it and nobody wants that!!? Better to end things before the situation gets dicey.

How do you feel about cliff-hangers? 

I’m not a huge fan of them. But there’s also levels of cliff-hangers. There’s the ones that are at the end of chapters that don’t quite leave you hanging since it’s really easy to keep going.

The ones where the book leaves you hanging and wanting more, but also that things are fine.

Then the ones where your JAW DROPS and you SHOUT at your book. Those are actually the ones that drive me batty. It often feels like a ploy to get the next book (and sometimes, months later after thinking about it I don’t want it anymore anyways). I’m given time to consider the entire book as a whole.

Hardback or paperback?

Hardback. But mostly for aesthetic bookshelf purposes. Paperbacks are really nice to carry around out and about, but there’s something about a hardback. I love the feeling of finishing it and sliding it onto the picked out place on my shelf. Bookdragon much? Hoarding my bobbles.

Favorite book?

If you’ve even seen one of my posts, you would know this fact. I love this book. It makes me happy.

Least favourite book?

Ooo, to be put on the spot like that. I’m not sure how often I hate books, because I try to find at least one redeeming quality. The most recent one I didn’t like was…

Surprised? Not really. because my rant-y review is here.

Love Triangle… Yes or No?

HARD PASS.

The moment I get a whiff of one I start to get skeptical. It better be the best dang arrangement and plot to make me be okay with it. I am unbelievably picky in this department.

A few that worked out would be ACOTAR, The Kiss of Deception series, The Infernal Devices.

The most recent book you couldn’t finish? 

This is one of those books where I saw everyone reading it, and everyone loving it, yet I COULD NOT get behind the romance. I’m kinda sad about it because I love a good romance. I’m 34% of the way in, is it worth it y’all?

A book you’re currently reading?

Josh & Hazel: absolutely LOVING this and need to finish this post so I can get back to it.

Warbreaker: Listening through Audible and thinks it’s wonderful! I’ve been enjoying listening whenever I get a chance.

The last book you recommended to someone? 

Uhm, that’s a good question. Oh wait!

I told a friend about this series yesterday and she’s excited for it! We both love when historical fiction plays into fantasy books.

Oldest book you’ve read (based on publication date)? 

It appears to be The Odyssey, written in 8th century B.C. That or Beowulf was written in 1000 AD.

So yeah, that’s a long time ago.

Newest book you’ve read (based on publication date)? 

So new it’s not even officially released yet! (review)

Favourite author? 

Quick list of some of my auto-buy authors:

  • Sarah J. Maas
  • Leigh Bardugo
  • Marissa Meyer
  • Laini Taylor
  • Amy Harmon
  • Colleen Hoover
  • Brene Brown
  • Cassandra Clare
  • Stephanie Garber
  • Tricia Levenseller
  • Tahereh Mafi
  • Brandon Sanderson

Whoa that list got out of hand. But as you can see, there’s a lot.

Buying books or borrowing them?

BUY BUY BUY BUY BUY.

I am a book hoarder. I know it, I’ve accepted it, my husband has accepted it, so I’m in the clear. Now, I do borrow from the library a ton too. But I’m a sucker for a new book. Especially when said book is on sale.

A book you dislike that everyone else loves? 

Oh you wanna hear my biggest unpopular opinion? HARRY POTTER. I’ve tried. I did not succeed. My husband plans to read them to our babe when she’s older. So maybe I’ll get the magic then, but until, I will keep on keepin’ on not being a Potterhead.

Bookmarks or dog-ears? 

I let my friends/family borrow books from my “library.” You want to know the first and only two rules?

  1. Do NOT break the spine.
  2. Do NOT bend the pages.

And that’s it. So I’d say I’m a bookmark person. I also have been using the same bookmark for 5 years from that long lost land of Hastings. Oh how I miss it!

A book you can reread over and over?

ACOMAF.

I’ve already mentioned my favorite book. I do read it often and will continue to do so.

Can you read while listening to music? 

If it has no words, or is the real quiet, simple “coffeehouse” music.

One of my favorite playlist (that I’m even listening to right now) is “Your Favorite Coffeehouse” by Spotify.

Multiple POVs or one POV? 

ALLLLL the POVs.

My favorite versions are when there’s a romance involved and getting it from the other’s perspective. SO PRECIOUS.

I love hearing things from all sides. It really rounds out the story for me.

Do you read a book in one sitting or over multiple days on average?

It depends on the book, but now that I’m a Mom it’s usually over multiple days. That being said, I generally finished with 2-3 night reads. So I go through a lot during the week.

During nap-time I take my own nap (no shame here) and read before she wakes in the AM and after she goes to bed.

I also tend to read books 400+ pages and that’s really hard to read in one sitting and I don’t want to rush too much through it.

Who do I want to tag?

Nobody! If you want to do this feel free too. Let me know, I’d love to see your answers if I’m not already following you!

How do you feel about these answers? Do you agree? Lets talk in the comments!

Book Review

Book Review: The Hero of Ages (Mistborn #3) by Brandon Sanderson

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆ 
Audience: Epic fantasy
Length: 572 pages
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Publisher: Tor Books
Release Date: October 14th, 2008
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Tricked into releasing the evil spirit Ruin while attempting to close the Well of Ascension, new emperor Elend Venture and his wife, the assassin Vin, are now hard-pressed to save the world.

UPDATE: THIS IS THE LAST BOOK TO MAKE ME CRY.

Note: I listened to this through Audible (not an ad, just a FYI). The narrator was Michael Kramer — as all 3 books have been — and it was fabulous. He’s a great narrator and did the books a lot of justice in this format.

I’m really disappointed in myself for taking so long to get around to reading these. The Mistborn series is everything a fantasy should be.

Emperor Elend becoming a firm ruler was amazing. I loved it. I love how he grew over the books and became the King his people needed. Vin was absolutely stunning herself. Sanderson’s ability to create these flawed, strong, unique souls is utterly captivating. The only thing that would have floored me is a little more romance between them (No, not sex or anything like that! Maybe some deeper acknowledgment of feelings). Though, y’all, that ball scene with them dancing together, YES YES YES!! I had all the heart eyes for that. So presh.

Dark Sazed had his own amazing story-line. To think he went from being a servant, to falling in love, to greater things was mind-blowing! I never thought that is where his story would lead, but I thought it worked out best.

There were so many times that I’d be listening where information would come forth and I’d be like “Oooooh, I see I see,” then shout WHAT!? right after because how did I not see that coming!? Sanderson weaves this tale where all of the little details actually mean something and create a completely thought out ending. I felt like no stone was left unturned.

Hero of Ages is a bleak book. I felt like things were only ever getting worse and since this is the first series I’ve read of this author’s, I wasn’t sure that it was going to end well. While it wasn’t the happy ending I usually go for (tears were definitely in my eyes as I got to the end) it was still the best situation put forth. The epilogue made my heart understand and be at peace with how the world is now.

Overall audience notes:

  • High/epic fantasy
  • No language
  • Romance: a cute ball scene
  • Violence: a lot (it was a war); physical, swords, allomancy (magic system), fire, blood & gore
  • Trigger warnings: contemplation of suicide, depression