Monthly Wrap-Up

Monthly Reading Wrap-Up: March 2020

Does March feel like it’s been going on forever? Even more than January? While practicing social distancing for the last 2+ weeks, I honestly haven’t seen the inside of anything but my house. Hence, a lot of reading happened.

A lot.

I broke my monthly record and it 26 books in never-ending March. Unfortunately, I also dolled out more 2 stars than I ever have too. But you win some, you lose some! Still plenty of good reads.

My favorites this month: House of Earth and Blood (NO SURPRISE), Undercover Bromance, Dragonfly in Amber, Until it Fades, The Giver of Stars, A Voice in the Wind, and Aurora Rising.

My least favorites this month: Five Dark Fates, Lucky Caller, Of Curses and Kisses and The Stars We Steal

Reviews will be out in the coming months!

  • [ARC] A Temporary Boyfriend (The Fake Love Series #2) by Summer Dowell – (☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • Windwitch (The Witchlands #2) by Susan Dennard – (☆☆☆☆)
  • Heart of Flames (Crown of Feathers #2) by Nicki Pau Preto – (☆☆☆☆)
  • The Harvest (Call of the Sirens #1) by K.B. Benson – (☆☆☆)
  • House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City #1) by Sarah J. Maas – (☆☆☆☆☆)
  • [ARC] Undercover Bromance (Bromance Book Club #2) by Lyssa Kay Adams – (☆☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • Five Dark Fates (Three Dark Crowns #4) by Kendare Blake – (☆☆ 1/2)
  • On the Fence by Kasie West – (☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • [ARC] More Than Maybe by Erin Hahn – (☆☆☆☆)
  • Dragonfly in Amber (Outlander #2) by Diana Gabaldon – (☆☆☆☆☆)
  • Bloodwitch (The Witchlands #3) by Susan Dennard – (☆☆☆☆)
  • Until it Fades by K.A. Tucker – (☆☆☆☆☆)
  • Maybe This Time by Kasie West – (☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes – (☆☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • A Voice in the Wind (Mark of the Lion #1) by Francine Rivers – (☆☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • Lucky Caller by Emma Mills – (☆☆)
  • Chain of Gold (The Last Hours #1) by Cassandra Clare – (☆☆☆☆)
  • Of Curses and Kisses (St. Rosetta’s Academy #1) by Sandhya Menon – (☆☆)
  • More Than We Can Tell (Letters to the Lost #2) by Brigid Kemmerer – (☆☆☆☆)
  • [ARC] Don’t Go Stealing My Heart by Kelly Siskind – (☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • [Re-read] Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle #1) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff – (☆☆☆☆☆)
  • Neighbors Like That (A Love Like This #1) by Carina Taylor – (☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • When You Ask Me Where I’m Going by Jasmin Kaur – (☆☆☆)
  • The Creeping Shadow (Lockwood & Co. #4) by Jonathan Stroud – (☆☆☆☆)
  • Dreamland by Sarah Dessen – (☆☆☆☆)

How did your month of reading go? Did we read any of the same books? Lets talk in the comments!

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: Ruthless Gods (Something Dark and Holy #2) by Emily A. Duncan

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Young adult fantasy
Length: 544 pages
Author: Emily A. Duncan
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Expected Release Date: April 7th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Darkness never works alone…

Nadya doesn’t trust her magic anymore. Serefin is fighting off a voice in his head that doesn’t belong to him. Malachiasz is at war with who–and what–he’s become.

As their group is continually torn apart, the girl, the prince, and the monster find their fates irrevocably intertwined. They’re pieces on a board, being orchestrated by someone… or something. The voices that Serefin hears in the darkness, the ones that Nadya believes are her gods, the ones that Malachiasz is desperate to meet—those voices want a stake in the world, and they refuse to stay quiet any longer.

In her dramatic follow-up to Wicked Saints, the first book in her Something Dark and Holy trilogy, Emily A. Duncan paints a Gothic, icy world where shadows whisper, and no one is who they seem, with a shocking ending that will leave you breathless.

Thank you to the publisher, Wednesday Books, and Netgalley for the e-ARC. All opinions are my own.

TRUE TO ITS NATURE.

I should first acknowledge, will I read this third book? YES. While Ruthless Gods let me down a bit (and was way too long), there is still enough in here for me to need a conclusion to this wicked tale.

The desperation and darkness that leaked from these pages was astounding. This isn’t some cute fairytale y’all. This will hurt your soul most of the time and leave you questioning if a happy ending is ever possible. And honestly, I’M NOT SURE THAT IT IS. The scope of what someone is willing to do for love of country, and person pushed boundaries that left me reeling by the end. I was pulled in from the beginning, the middle definitely dragged on way too long, and then the ending gave me a interesting enough conclusion that I know I want more. This was a big case of book two syndrome.

This was reallllll creepy and realllll bloody. Every time Malachiasz showed his truly monstrous self I cringed because the mental picture is WEIRD Y’ALL. My boy Malachiasz was *almost* everything I needed him to be. I felt we were missing a chunk of his personality that didn’t come out until the very end. I wanted more heavily wicked banter and more intriguing moments with Nadya. I love this wicked cinnamon roll though and wonder what he’s planning next, because I know it’ll destroy my soul.

Serefin and Kacper. Saw it coming. LOVE IT. And that is about the only tiny moment of happiness Serefin saw this entire book (I told y’all, nothing good happens in Ruthless Gods). His continual battle with a god was intriguing, but here is my real gripe from the whole book; There were way too many visions and flashbacks. They often confused me because the segue into them was abrupt to the story.

My complaint from Wicked Saints was that Nadya wasn’t nefarious enough. She did up her ante in this installment!! YAY. I loved seeing her wield some dark magic and fight her demons. What I didn’t love was how wishy-washy she was about her relationship with Malachiasz. I get that it’s supposed to be this push and pull because he’s wicked, cool. BUT FOR REAL. I had a hard time getting on board with how often Nadya was flip-flopping and using pages to be a bit melodramatic about it all. I think some COMMUNICATION would solve most of these issues, it’s not even a matter of who’s wicked enough, it’s a matter of flat out talking to someone.

While I did enjoy the writing, some scene changes and chapter turnover was not in any sort of flow. It felt like small scenes were being jumped over and I was being tossed into the *next big thing* when I would have liked a bit more movement between scenes. I really loved the last 100 pages and am very curious about the last book. How the gods will play a role, what will happen between the countries, who is going to betray who last, SO MANY QUESTIONS. It’ll be a showstopper I’m sure.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy
  • Language: very little, in the second half of the book
  • Romance: a few kisses/make-outs, one almost scene that has a little heat
  • Violence: everything is bloody and gory y’all; murder, knives, magic, monsters, it’s all here
  • Trigger warnings: alcoholism, self-mutilation through cutting (for use of blood magic), self-mutilation through removing an eye

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Book Review

Book Review: Bid My Soul Farewell (Give the Dark My Love #2) by Beth Revis

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Young adult fantasy
Length: 336 pages
Author: Beth Revis
Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date: September 24th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

The stunning finale of the epic fantasy duology from New York Times bestselling author Beth Revis.

Alchemy student turned necromancer Nedra Brysstain has made a life-changing decision to embrace the darkness–but can the boy who loves her bring her back to the light before she pays the ultimate price?

Lunar Island is trying to heal. The necromantic plague that ravaged the land has been eradicated, and Emperor Auguste, the young and charming leader of the Allyrian Empire, has a plan: rid the island of necromancy once and for all. Though Greggori “Grey” Astor wants what’s best for his people, he knows that allying himself with Auguste threatens the one person he loves most: necromancer Nedra Brysstain. Feeling like he already failed to save Nedra once, Grey becomes determined to help the Emperor rebuild Lunar Island while still keeping Nedra safe from harm.

Back at the quarantine hospital, Nedra’s army of revenants are growing increasingly inhuman by the day. Wracked with guilt for imprisoning their souls, Nedra vows to discover a way to free the dead while still keeping her sister by her side.

But, still reeling from the trauma of the plague, the people of Lunar Island are looking for someone to blame, and Grey can only protect Nedra for so long. And when Nedra and Grey are thrust into a battle with an even more terrifying adversary, Nedra will be pushed to the darkest depths of her necromantic powers. But can Grey let her go that far? 

A GOOD DUOLOGY.

A good conclusion! I liked that this duology was darker and heavier than most. It was a change a pace from the normal young adult fantasy books I happen to read. The beginning and ending were solid, it was the middle that dragged this book down.

I’m not even sure what the point of the middle was? Gray was doing his own thing trying to help his land. Then we have Nedra totally focused on helping her sister. Yet, in all of that, it didn’t strengthen the plot like I think it was supposed to. Instead I felt it dragged. So much so that I had a hard time keeping focused on the audio book waiting for something more interesting to happen.

The relationship between Nedra and Gray had me happy sometimes, and flustered at others. I enjoyed seeing them actually talk their problems out and discuss deeper intentions and fears. It was nice to see that in a YA relationship (frankly any for that matter). This was good. What was bad was that I felt Nedra didn’t treat Gray all that well. She was SO DANG FOCUSED ON ONE TASK that it became too much. We saw a side of someone being wholly consumed by grief and it was hard to watch. Gray’s focus was Nedra. Nedra’s focus was death.

I was never sure the romantic aspect was necessary. The second book helped highlight why it was there. I think Nedra had to figure out on her own that there was hope and love in letting go of the past.

There were still some twists in this book that I should have seen coming but am content that I was surprised. The ending wrapped up well and things actually had a conclusion. Even better there was a bit of an epilogue to let the story ride off into the sunset.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses, a little detailed fade to black love scene
  • Violence: lots of death, bringing people back to life, very bloody and gory

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: The Maiden Ship (The Maiden Ship #1) by Micheline Ryckman

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Fantasy
Length: 348 pages
Author: Micheline Ryckman
Publisher: Self-published/Whimsical Publishing
Release Date: February 7th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Dain Alloway was only nine years old when he began a new life with his father, sailing aboard The Maiden. Eight years later, the aristocratic city-boy turned merchant-sailor feels like he lives with one foot on land, and one foot in the sea. Life floats smoothly by until the night he wakes to find a mysterious woman in his cabin.

The events that unfold after her appearance transform Dain’s world. Now, hunted by empty-faced demons, he finds himself thrown into a dangerous web of intrigue and magic. As the crisis grows, the young sailor discovers powerful gifts buried deep within, talents that might shift the tide of a centuries-old war. Whether or not he’s ready, Dain will have to risk it all for the salvation and freedom of those he loves.

Thank you to the author for a copy of the book in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own!

I WANT TO BE ON THE MAIDEN SHIP.

I really enjoyed this fantasy tale. It has whimsy, mystery, romance, and so much more. For a first book in a series it definitely kept me intrigued and interested in where this story goes next.

These characters were all amazing and so well thought out. I felt that by the end I had a good grasp of everyone and love them all. I liked the unique personalities and quirks that each one came with. One of my favorites was definitely Dain, the main POV. He was adorable, yet strong and had to go through some growing pains that really added to his arc. I think the next book will only add to his demeanor as he truly steps into the Captain position.

I’m also entirely obsessed with Mo. And Toff. And Sable. And Lydia. And Tars. And Casper. And Ileana. SEE. I JUST CAN’T CHOOSE. But really, Ileana’s background and story line have me totally enthralled. I love that her story is truly just beginning and that with the the help of The Maiden Ship, I’ll hopefully get to see a happily ever after.

The romance between Dain and Sable was sweet. I looooved the banter between them and how Dain blushed a thousand times over every time he saw Sable. They radiated passion and a true connection. They better be endgame because I am here for it.

There’s a great world set-up that combines memories of the past with the present to leave an unknown future that I NEED answers for. I felt the premise was unique and I looooove books that involve the sea. I find it only enhances everything as the ship travels from one location to the next. The expansion of this world and its politics and magic system (through the series) are only going to make it even better.

Overall audience notes:

  • Fantasy
  • Language: none
  • Romance: flirting, kisses
  • Violence: creature attacks, magic, physical, swords

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Monthly Wrap-Up

Monthly Reading Wrap-Up: January 2020

What a month!

I may have gone a bit crazy this month and didn’t even know it until I started counting them. Granted, January lasts FOR FOREVER so you can’t really blame me. I had a great re-read, conquered a 1,200+ page beast, and threw in some cute rom-coms to boot.

This was a great start to 2020 and I am stoked for what my reading year has in store!

My reviews will be posted in the next few months! I only post Monday – Friday so my reviews get extended into other months over time.

  • [Re-read] A Court of Mist and Fury (ACOTAR #2) by Sarah J. Maas – (☆☆☆☆☆)
  • Talon the Black (the Dragonwall Saga #1) by Melissa Mitchell – (☆☆☆)
  • Regretting You by Colleen Hoover – (☆☆☆☆☆)
  • My Very Own Hitman by Izi Miller – (☆☆☆☆)
  • A Dangerous Collaboration (Veronica Speedwell #4) by Deanna Raybourn – (☆☆☆☆)
  • Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers – (☆☆☆☆)
  • Oathbringer (The Stormlight Archive #3) by Brandon Sanderson – (☆☆☆☆☆)
  • The Grace Year by Kim Liggett – (☆☆☆☆)
  • The Tea Dragon Society (Tea Dragon #1) by Katie O’Neill – (☆☆☆☆☆)
  • [ARC] Lakeshire Park by Megan Walker – (☆☆☆☆)
  • One of Us Is Next (One of Us Is Lying #2) by Karen M. McManus – (☆☆☆☆)
  • Blood Heir (Blood Heir Trilogy #1) by Amelie Wen Zhao – (☆☆☆☆)
  • Vortex Visions (Air Awakens: Vortex Chronicles #1) by Elise Kova – (☆☆☆☆)
  • [ARC] The Maiden Ship (The Maiden Ship #1) by Micheline Ryckman – (☆☆☆☆)
  • Love Is An Art by Summer Dowell – (☆☆☆)
  • 180 Seconds by Jessica Park – (☆☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • Chosen Champion (Air Awakens: Vortex Chronicles #2) by Elise Kova – (☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • Sick Kids in Love by Hannah Moskowitz – (☆☆☆☆)
  • Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys – (☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • Two Dark Reigns (Three Dark Crowns #3) by Kendare Blake – (☆☆☆)
  • The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez – (☆☆☆)
  • Akarnae (The Medoran Chronicles #1) by Lynette Noni – (☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • 10 Blind Dates by Ashley Elston – (☆☆☆☆)
  • The Iron King (The Iron Fey #1) by Julie Kagawa – (☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner – (☆☆☆☆☆)

Favorite this month: ACOMAF, Regretting you and Oathbringer

Least favorite this month: Two Dark Reigns

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Book Review

Book Review: The Alchemists of Loom (Loom Saga #1) by Elise Kova

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Fantasy + Sci-fi
Length: 395 pages
Author: Elise Kova
Publisher: Keymaster Press
Release Date: January 10th, 2017
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Her vengeance. His vision.

Ari lost everything she once loved when the Five Guilds’ resistance fell to the Dragon King. Now, she uses her unparalleled gift for clockwork machinery in tandem with notoriously unscrupulous morals to contribute to a thriving underground organ market. There isn’t a place on Loom that is secure from the engineer turned thief, and her magical talents are sold to the highest bidder as long as the job defies their Dragon oppressors.

Cvareh would do anything to see his sister usurp the Dragon King and sit on the throne. His family’s house has endured the shame of being the lowest rung in the Dragons’ society for far too long. The Alchemist Guild, down on Loom, may just hold the key to putting his kin in power, if Cvareh can get to them before the Dragon King’s assassins.

When Ari stumbles upon a wounded Cvareh, she sees an opportunity to slaughter an enemy and make a profit off his corpse. But the Dragon sees an opportunity to navigate Loom with the best person to get him where he wants to go.

He offers her the one thing Ari can’t refuse: A wish of her greatest desire, if she brings him to the Alchemists of Loom.

PRETTY GOOD.

This book took me for a loop. I think part of the problem was that I did choose to listen to it as an audio book. This can be kind of hard sometimes with fantasies because establishing the world and people and everything else takes time and when you’re thrown into while listening, some things can get missed.

The further that this book went on though, the more I really caught on to everything and started to enjoy it.

This is a crazy different world than I’ve read in fantasies for awhile. People who are part dragon, human, a mix of both, many different colors with many different powers, it was awesome! I love how unique it was and that there’s so much to learn from their world.

Cvareh and Ari are a sight to behold. Enemies to lovers in some of the best ways. Maybe a little rushed into actually wanting each other’s company, but nothing has truly happened yet so I’m on board. I loved their banter and interactions. It took so much from each of them to realize the story from the other’s perspective. Once some communication and secrets were told, things started really clicking with them.

I love having Florence as another POV too. I’m not sure of her true purpose yet but her young voice added a softer side to the story. I adored watching her and Cvareh form a relationship. He really took to her and in taking care of her saved Florence’s life.

Intense and enigmatic, this fantasy kept me busy. I think the differences in cultures, opinions and ideals will factor in even further as the drama unfolds.

Overall audience notes:

  • Fantasy romance
  • Language: a little light (witch is used a few times)
  • Romance: some kisses
  • Violence: clawing out of hearts, knives, guns, physical

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Book Review

Book Review: Imber (Thanatos Trilogy #1) by Tyffany Hackett

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult fantasy + romance
Length: 422 pages
Author: Tyffany Hackett
Publisher: Archangel Publishing
Release Date: June 12th, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

The locks are failing.

The keys are calling.

The Titans are waking.

Crowned before her time, nineteen-year-old Natylia is thrust into an unpleasant reality—her people don’t want her, her family doesn’t need her and, despite her best efforts, she can’t seem to shake an incorrigible suitor. But when rumors begin to swirl throughout her kingdom the young queen shifts her focus and realizes that the world she loves could be destroyed in an instant.

An ancient enemy, long thought gone, is trying to return.

Forgotten legends have resurfaced, stories that tell of three scepters: the keys to unleashing these foul beings. Across Araenna the hunt rages for this trio of formidable power—to command the keys is to hold the power of mortal gods.

Aided by her snarky elven bodyguard, an unassuming blacksmith, and a clever nature witch, Natylia races to correct the mistakes of the past… before they can destroy her people’s future.

KEPT ME ENTERTAINED.

Which is saying something. I constantly felt like picking this book up and continuing the story. It had the right kind of magic for me to really enjoy. The pacing was good throughout and the flow was steady with waves of action and lighter moments.

Nataylia was a great main character. I love that she was strong and brave, but had her faults. She felt more real and like an actual human. Not a pretty much perfect Princess turned Queen who’s hard to love. Her motives are for the betterment of her people and Nataylia is fueled by her love for her friends and family.

The romance was a bit of a miss for me. Namely because I had my eyes on a different character for Nataylia. And it wasn’t even a love triangle, I apparently saw a lot of chemistry between her and Jyn and am still accepting that she’s with Camion. I do love Camion though. He’s a sweet, caring cinnamon roll who needs a hug. One of my favorite kinds of book boyfriends. Their relationship is adorable and pure so I’m slowly building a ship for them and I’ll decide if I want it to sail during book two.

The magic system is broad, yet well explained. I understood the information and loved the adventure Nataylia and her cohorts had to go on to find one of these magic scepters. There’s a lot of action as they traverse through catacombs and dungeons, with a heavy dose of magical creatures standing in their way. It kept me on edge because I was wholly convinced someone was not walking out of there alive.

A great fantasy that needs a bigger audience. I’m grateful that I saw a friend recommend this because she has never steered me wrong in book choices! I’m excited for the next book.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy + romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: a kiss
  • Violence: magic, murder, swords, animal/creature attacks

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