Monthly Wrap-Up

Monthly Reading Wrap-Up: May 2019

Y’ALL.

WHAT A MONTH.

I didn’t even realize I had read 16 books. I am still stunned. And everything got such a great ratings I couldn’t believe it. I promise I’m not a easy reviewer. I have been trying to choose books that I think will bring me joy rather than wasting my time on reading a book for the sake of it.

Read what makes you happy, my TED Talk for the summer.


  • The Gilded Wolves (The GIlded Wolves #1) by Roshani Chockshi
  • The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicles #1) by Patrick Rothfuss
  • The Traitor’s Ruin (The Traitor’s Circle #2) by Erin Beaty
  • Two Can Keep A Secret by Karen M. McManus
  • Finale (Caraval #3) by Stephanie Garber
  • The Kingdom of Copper (The Daevabad Trilogy #2) by S.A. Chakraborty
  • The Thousandth Floor (The Thousandth Floor #1) by Katharine McGee – (RTC – ☆☆☆☆)
  • The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren – (RTC – ☆☆☆☆☆)
  • The Screaming Staircase (Lockwood & Co. #1) by Jonathan Stroud – (RTC – ☆☆☆☆☆)
  • Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle #1) by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff – (RTC – ☆☆☆☆☆)
  • Mortal Heart (His Fair Assassin #3) by Robin LaFevers – (RTC – ☆☆☆)
  • The First Girl Child by Amy Harmon – (RTC – ☆☆☆☆☆)
  • Descendant of the Crane by Joan He – (RTC – ☆☆ 1/2)
  • Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid – (RTC – ☆☆☆☆)
  • Jackaby (Jackaby #1) by William Ritter – (RTC – ☆☆☆☆)
  • Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton – (RTC – ☆☆☆☆)

Favorites of the month: Finale, The Unhoneymooners, and Aurora Rising

Least favorite: Descendant of the Crane


Have you read any of these? What do you have on your TBR? Lets talk in the comments!

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Book Review

Book Review: The Kingdom of Copper (The Daevabad Trilogy #2) by S.A. Chakraborty

Rating: ☆☆☆☆ 
Audience: Historical fiction + fantasy
Length: 619 pages
Author: S.A. Chakraborty
Publisher: HarperVoyager
Release Date: January 8th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Return to Daevabad in the spellbinding sequel to THE CITY OF BRASS.

Nahri’s life changed forever the moment she accidentally summoned Dara, a formidable, mysterious djinn, during one of her schemes. Whisked from her home in Cairo, she was thrust into the dazzling royal court of Daevabadand quickly discovered she would need all her grifter instincts to survive there.

Now, with Daevabad entrenched in the dark aftermath of the battle that saw Dara slain at Prince Ali’s hand, Nahri must forge a new path for herself, without the protection of the guardian who stole her heart or the counsel of the prince she considered a friend. But even as she embraces her heritage and the power it holds, she knows she’s been trapped in a gilded cage, watched by a king who rules from the throne that once belonged to her familyand one misstep will doom her tribe.

Meanwhile, Ali has been exiled for daring to defy his father. Hunted by assassins, adrift on the unforgiving copper sands of his ancestral land, he is forced to rely on the frightening abilities the maridthe unpredictable water spiritshave gifted him. But in doing so, he threatens to unearth a terrible secret his family has long kept buried.

And as a new century approaches and the djinn gather within Daevabad’s towering brass walls for celebrations, a threat brews unseen in the desolate north. It’s a force that would bring a storm of fire straight to the city’s gates . . . and one that seeks the aid of a warrior trapped between worlds, torn between a violent duty he can never escape and a peace he fears he will never deserve.

I LOVE THESE CHARACTERS.

First off, WE JUMPED 5 YEARS? After I got over that shock I was immediately drawn back in to this amazing and addictive world. This series needs more traction, IT’S SO GOOD.

Now now, I know I said all of that and gave it four stars. Four stars is still fantastic! And I have reasoning. This book was much more heavily focused on the politics and schemes of the kingdom. So much so that I missed a lot of action. I was definitely invested, but about 200 pages left and I was surprised at how long it was taking me to get through it. Especially because I was loving it! I think having to pay a lot more attention to make sure I didn’t miss anything caused me to be a little dulled by it all.

BUT. The last 150 pages? ARE YOU KIDDING ME. There was no way to put the book down. A lot of the politicking and scheming all made sense at once when all heck broke loose. We had some plot twists (that I’m proud of myself for figuring out beforehand), extra wicked parents and a city crumbling. YES TO ALL THE DRAMATICS.

Am I behind the maaaaaybe something between Ali and Nahri? I DON’T KNOW. I’m still stuck on Dara. The romance is truly a tiny piece of these books, yet anytime these *little* things happen I’m curious what part it will play in the finale.

Nahri is still brave, brash and bold. I love her so. She’s one of my favorite heroines. Stands up for herself, works hard, passionate about so many things. I think it’s amazing how much she does for herself which is why I think the romance is so low in this, GIRL AIN’T GOT TIME FOR THAT (it’s no lie I love books with a love aspect, but in some books it’s really amazing when I don’t even mind that there isn’t some).

Ali and Dara are these two souls that will run me ragged by the end of this. So complicated, tortured and unwilling to compromise. BOTH OF THEM. Ugh. I have hope and love for them though so I *believe* things will work out.

I just love how expertly crafted these three main characters are. Nahri, Ali and Dara all have a dramatically different perspective on their home and the issues within. It makes it feel like there isn’t a “weaker” POV because they are all so captivating.

I’m also not sure where I stand on about a handful of other characters either. A lot of people made a lot of mistakes in this book. Which I feel is total book two territory (another reason for my lower rating). Gotta build up for the last book.

Overall audience notes:

  • Historical fiction + fantasy
  • Language: a little (a handful of the f-word)
  • Romance: a kiss
  • Violence: poison, knives, physical, magic, torture, murder, war
  • Trigger warnings: slavery, human trafficking, talk of past threats of rape

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Book Review

Book Review: The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle #1) by Patrick Rothfuss

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Fantasy
Length: 662 pages
Author: Patrick Rothfuss
Publisher: DAW
Release Date: March 27th, 2007
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

This is the riveting first-person narrative of Kvothe, a young man who grows to be one of the most notorious magicians his world has ever seen. From his childhood in a troupe of traveling players, to years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime-riddled city, to his daringly brazen yet successful bid to enter a legendary school of magic, The Name of the Wind is a novel that transports readers into the body and mind of a wizard. 

WHAT AM I GOING TO DO WITH THIS BOOK.

Okay, first I’m going to start out by mentioning that I started this book on Audible. This was my mistake. I still gave it four stars (when I was truly contemplating three) because I really enjoyed The Name of the Wind much more reading it. My library happened to have a digital copy so I downloaded that because it took me almost two months to listen to it. There was something about the way it was done that never clicked. I didn’t love the voices and couldn’t appreciate the characters.

Now that I chugged along twice as fast with reading it I appreciated the story as a whole so much more.

Kvothe is an interesting child. I’m actually annoyed that he’s so good at everything, but maybe that’s the point? I did find it amusing how poor he was with women. I mean, the book ends and he’s barely 15/16. IT TOOK 600+ PAGES TO GO THROUGH THIS MUCH OF HIS LIFE? Talk about a slow burn build of a fantasy.

Everything was definitely explained well. The world-building was fantastic. I loved the differing characters and the romanticism of the story. He’s the amazing, warrior, kingkiller and everyone wants to know the tale. Since Kvothe takes his dang sweet time, nothing is left out. I haven’t read a book where I truly felt nothing was left out.

The book picked up once Kvothe made it to the University. More and more continued to happen and a lot more webs were being weaved. Kvothe is pushed by one thing, and one thing alone (spoiler if I say more!). His sheer determined mindset had me hoping he would get his answers.

The only thing I stand wondering now is, do I want to read book two?

Overall audience notes:

  • Adult epic fantasy
  • Language: A little
  • Romance: a kiss or two
  • Violence: knives, killing creatures, poison, physical, whipping

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Book Review

Book Review: The Gilded Wolves (The Gilded Wolves #1) by Roshani Chokshi

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Historical Fantasy
Length: 388 pages
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Release Date: January 15th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

No one believes in them. But soon no one will forget them.

It’s 1889. The city is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. Here, no one keeps tabs on dark truths better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. When the elite, ever-powerful Order of Babel coerces him to help them on a mission, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance.

To hunt down the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin calls upon a band of unlikely experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian banished from his home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in arms if not blood.

Together, they will join Séverin as he explores the dark, glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the course of history–but only if they can stay alive.

WENT IN NERVOUS, WALKED OUT HAPPY.

I feel like the hype for this book was ALL OVER THE PLACE. I couldn’t scroll down my Instagram feed without seeing a photo and hearing about the hype. And because of that I instead let myself sit on it for a few months. Then, my library got a digital copy, nobody had it checked out so I gave it a chance. This turned out sooo much better than I thought and I found myself really loving it overall.

I was enraptured from the beginning with the historical aspects of everything. I LOVE HISTORICAL FANTASIES. It combines my two favorite genres into spell-binding stories. The setting was (Paris – 1889) unique from most books I’ve read. A lot of research went into this. So much research that at times I felt it was a bit dense. I couldn’t wrap my head around all of the mathematics problems throughout. The historical pieces were easy to follow, but hard to grasp all together. There was an intense amount of information thrown at you about how the world worked. It was substantially more than I bargained for which is why I settled on four stars. I didn’t think it needed everything it presented to still be stellar. Even more so, I still have no idea how the magic system fully works.

With all of those complications the way it was woven it was really cool. I was amazed at how the characters, organizations, and the world itself were put together. So while a bit of an enigma, also super fascinating and impressive. This was my first Chokshi book and I’m glad this was the one I picked up!

The characters though, what an amazing, diverse, witty group. I was nervous going in having heard that it’s similar to Leigh Bardugo’s, Six of Crows. Yes, the similarities are there, but each member of this family is vastly different. The representation in this book was incredible! It made the book stand out [in the best way]. I intensely loved watching all of their interactions with each other. This book was focused more on the heist and these friendships rather than relationships (but don’t you worry, some of that is in there too!). Fantastic banter that would make me smile and moments where I wanted to hug everyone brought this home for me.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult historical fiction fantasy
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: some kisses, some tension, & remembering some dalliances
  • Violence: poison, physical, mental (through magic)
  • Trigger warnings: bullying, racism, child abuse

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Top 10 Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Fantasy Book Series That NEED to Be a Movie (Page to Screen Freebie)

We live in an amazing day and age where CGI is actually worth our time. The technology advances towards movies has jumped leaps and bounds.

That’s why I declare that these ten series (or standalone) NEED TO BE A MOVIE. As someone who doesn’t watch movies (no really, my husband is amazed at how often I will watch a movie — which is to say, once every 6 months, at least) I put a lot of stock in choosing ones worth my time.

THESE WOULD BE WORTH MY TIME. If they were exactly. like. the. book.

Okay, let’s get started. Happy Top Ten Tuesday y’all!

A Court of Thorns and Roses Series by Sarah J. Maas


Throne of Glass Series by Sarah J. Maas


Caraval Series by Stephanie Garber


Mistborn Series by Brandon Sanderson


Arc of a Scythe Series by Neal Shusterman

Final book, The Toll, coming soon.


The Daevabad Trilogy by S.A. Chakraborty

Final book, The Empire of Gold, coming 2020.


Winternight Trilogy by Katherine Arden


Strange the Dreamer Duology by Laini Taylor


The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer


The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Have you read any of these? Which do you think should be a movie too? Lets talk in the comments. Happy Tuesday!

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Book Review

Book Review: Storm Siren (Storm Siren #1) by Mary Weber

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: YA Fantasy
Length: 333 pages
Author: Mary Weber
Publisher: Thomas Nelson/HarperCollins
Release Date: August 19th, 2014
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

“I raise my chin as the buyers stare. Yes. Look. You don’t want me. Because, eventually, accidentally, I will destroy you.”

In a world at war, a slave girl’s lethal curse could become one kingdom’s weapon of salvation. If the curse—and the girl—can be controlled.

As a slave in the war-weary kingdom of Faelen, seventeen-year-old Nym isn’t merely devoid of rights, her Elemental kind are only born male and always killed at birth — meaning, she shouldn’t even exist.

Standing on the auction block beneath smoke-drenched mountains, Nym faces her fifteenth sell. But when her hood is removed and her storm-summoning killing curse revealed, Nym is snatched up by a court advisor and given a choice: be trained as the weapon Faelen needs to win the war, or be killed.

Choosing the former, Nym is unleashed into a world of politics, bizarre parties, and rumors of an evil more sinister than she’s being prepared to fight . . . not to mention the handsome trainer whose dark secrets lie behind a mysterious ability to calm every lightning strike she summons.

But what if she doesn’t want to be the weapon they’ve all been waiting for?

Set in a beautifully eclectic world of suspicion, super abilities, and monsters, Storm Siren is a story of power. And whoever controls that power will win.

CONFUSED BY MY THOUGHTS.

I have left this review sitting around for about a week now because I couldn’t decide if it worse or better than I thought. I will say this book got better the further I got into it, but also, why does someone want to wait 200 pages to enjoy a book?

I appreciated the way Nym and Eogan’s (Wow, I don’t like that name) relationship built. There was a bit of an enemies to lovers piece. I was freaked out there was a love triangle flying in, but NEVER FEAR, it was nothing. The bugger from Nym though was that she could not stop talking about how attractive he was. I hate when this is repetitively added to books. They’re more things to think about Nym!

Speaking of no love triangle, Nym’s’ friendship with Colin was stellar. I was practically more invested in that at times. They were a fun pair to watch and had great banter and chemistry (friendistry).

One thing I could not wrap my head around was how the girl with all the powers (and she really could destroy a place) was the one not destroying all those who sought to control her!? I guess I was looking for a bada** type, but got a lackluster I don’t want to be used as a weapon character. You don’t have to be a weapon Nym, OWN THE ELEMENTAL POWER.

There were rotating villains in here, but Adora was the worst of all (not in a good way). I found her silly outfits laughable and her whole demeanor a farce. The real wickedness didn’t show up til the last few chapters and that’s the leg this series needs to stand on.

I missed all of the world-building and politicking I’m used to reading in fantasy. For instance, there were multiple animals in here and I couldn’t tell you what they actually looked like. Nothing was ever described enough to paint a picture. And all of the politics were behind closed doors where Nym never bothered to listen to. This made a lot of decisions by other characters seem empty.

I will say, there was a solid plot twist or two at the end. Where I even wrote in my notes: HOLY PLOT TWIST BATMAN. Reading like every other YA fantasy book left me begging for from the story. That ending has me debating picking up book two though. I’ll keep you posted.

Overall audience notes:

  • Language: none
  • Romance: a kiss
  • Violence: knives, physical, magical
  • Trigger warnings: slavery

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Book Review

Book Review: The Traitor’s Kiss (The Traitor’s Circle #1) by Erin Beaty

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Fantasy/Romance
Length: 344 pages
Author: Erin Beaty
Publisher: Imprint
Release Date: May 9th, 2017
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

An obstinate girl who will not be married. A soldier desperate to prove himself. A kingdom on the brink of war.

With a sharp tongue and an unruly temper, Sage Fowler is not what they’d call a lady―which is perfectly fine with her. Deemed unfit for marriage, Sage is apprenticed to a matchmaker and tasked with wrangling other young ladies to be married off for political alliances. She spies on the girls―and on the soldiers escorting them.

As the girls’ military escort senses a political uprising, Sage is recruited by a handsome soldier to infiltrate the enemy ranks. The more she discovers as a spy, the less certain she becomes about whom to trust―and Sage becomes caught in a dangerous balancing act that will determine the fate of her kingdom.

OKAY. THIS BOOK WAS MADE FOR ME.

Yes, I firmly believe this book was written for me, so if by the end of this review you aren’t feeling it. THAT’S COOL. I’LL BE FINE (but seriously if it’s up your alley you should read it and gush with me).

This is a love story with other components surrounding it. Definitely reminded me of The Remnant Chronicles by Mary Pearson (which I absolutely adore). The plot flowed from action, to new locations, to one heck of an epic battle scene at the end. EPIC.

My angst filled romance between the two main characters WAS EVERYTHING. This didn’t start out as enemies to lovers. It was more who are you to lovers. BUT NEVER FEAR. There was banter, some hate vibes (which created the angst I previously mentioned) and plenty of sweet, precious moments.

My dearest Sage. Girl is stubborn, rash, strong-willed, and independent. I love that she hung with the men and wanted to DO something rather than sit on the sidelines. Even better, our lovely military escort allowed her too. NO HOLDING HER BACK. What I appreciated most was when she found out some information (that of course, as a reader, I already knew) that she responded in a matter that made sense. Sage was angry, yes, but also was able to listen and understand why things were done in such a way. It made me love her character even more.

Don’t even get me started on our male POV — yes keeping his name out. It’s more fun this way, TRUST ME. Y’all he was so swoon-worthy. He’s a new addition to my ever growing book boyfriend list. His final battle scene had me cheering. YOU TAKE DOWN THE DUKE. I loved getting to know him on many levels and watching this love story grow.

There was even one part that brought tears to my eyes. I wasn’t prepared and didn’t think it would happen. I appreciate this in authors though because sometimes, crap has to happen. And that’s okay, even if it pulls at all my heart strings.

Funny tidbit: the opening scenes are straight out of Mulan (the matchmaker scene). Not sure if it was actually inspired by that, but it brought Mulan to mind and I thought it was humorous.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy + romance
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: a few kisses, and make-outs
  • Violence: Knives, poison, physical, arrows, battle scenes (+gore), mentions of torture
  • Trigger warnings: suicide (a random soldier in front of male POV), domestic abuse + miscarriage (mentioned that it occurred to a character not in book), sexual assault (unwanted grab of backside & kiss to female POV)

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