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

Instagram || Goodreads

Top 10 Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Discoveries I Made In 2019

Happy Top Ten Tuesday!

I found this topic to be a bit tricky y’all. I started most of my bookish things last year, yet I ran a blank trying to come up with ideas! At last I had a few breakthroughs, and they’re below.

Bookstagram

Y’all. Where has this been all my life? I’ve dabbled in Bookstagram before but had to stop my account when we decided to move states and life got really busy. Now that things have settled I really dove into it this year and have loved getting to know others and adding so many wonderful recommendations to my TBR.


Author: Elise Kova

Uh, guys. FIND THOSE SMALLER AUTHORS AND READ THEIR BOOKS TOO. Because you might stumble upon some amazing books that capture your soul and make you shout for joy. I LOVED this series and it’s now one of my favorite ever. Highly recommend and I can’t wait to read more of her books (she’s on Kindle unlimited if you have that!).


Digital Library

Oh wow, technology is amazing. I LOVE apps like Overdrive, and my personal favorite, Libby. The ease of which have made my life so much easier. While I will also love holding a book more, there’s something that can be said for always having a book in hand (with a phone).


Genre: Contemporary Romance

I never read much (if any) contemporary romances because I thought they all had too much steam for what I personally prefer. I am here to say I was so wrong on this sentiment. I love how broad this category is and that is has a story line (and steam level) for everyone. I read so many last year and am definitely continuing that trend this year.


The Functionality of Audiobooks

I wouldn’t say I was against audio books, but I couldn’t see how I could fit them into my life to make sense. Once again, the power of bookstagram has shown me the error of my ways. I LOVE AUDIO BOOKS. I have an audible account and regularly download them from my library. Seriously wonderful. I read in the car, while doing chores, and many other tasks now.


Kindle

I got a Kindle Fire for Christmas at the end of 2018 without much of an idea as to how I was going to use it: enter Bookstagram, digital libraries, Audible, and more. I now might read on my kindle more than picking up books at the moment. My life is busy and the convenience of this small device has convinced me it was worth the purchase.


Netgalley

I love love love that this source is available to readers/bloggers/bookstagrammers. As someone with a smaller following, but a dedication to reading and reviewing promptly it’s been nice to have an opportunity for e-ARCs. I always thought this was out of the realm of possibility for me.


Product: Book Sleeves

WHAT IS THIS MAGIC. I adored these from afar, but hadn’t thought it was a necessary staple in my life. Then I saw a sale for a Feyre x Rhysand one that I could NOT pass up. And now…I’m hooked. Yes, I still only have the one and have plans to get another one this year. They’re so pretty! And honestly do keep books cleaner and safe in a purse/diaper bag/backpack and more.


Christmas Books

This past year I took December to really dive into Christmas books and I LOVED IT. There are so many out there and I had some great recommendations for all the above and definitely think you should get this on your TBR to get into the Christmas spirit.


Author: K.A. Tucker

Another new author to me that stole my heart, K.A. Tucker. I have really enjoyed these 3 books and I hope to read some more backlist titles of hers. And also the second book after The Simple Wild.

What was a bookish discovery you made last year? Do we have any similar ones? Lets talk in the comments!

Instagram || Goodreads

Monthly Wrap-Up

May Reading Wrap-Up!

INTERNET AT LAST.

I think we can all attest to the fact that moving sucks. We spent an entire weekend moving stuff, and we still have a lot to go before our rental is all cleaned out. I’m without internet until Monday so I literally drove to FOUR different locations to find free wi-fi that was working, and where I could plug in my computer. Holy cow.

FUN FACTS:

Number of books read: 6

Number of pages: 2,177

What I read this month…

A Court of Frost and Starlight (ACOTAR #3.1) by Sarah J. Maas

ACOFAS

Synopsis:

Feyre, Rhys, and their close-knit circle of friends are still busy rebuilding the Night Court and the vastly-changed world beyond. But Winter Solstice is finally near, and with it, a hard-earned reprieve.

Yet even the festive atmosphere can’t keep the shadows of the past from looming. As Feyre navigates her first Winter Solstice as High Lady, she finds that those dearest to her have more wounds than she anticipated–scars that will have far-reaching impact on the future of their Court.

It’s rare I give anything less than 5 stars for Maas related material, so no surprise here, but I was sitting at my door waiting for the mailman to drop this off. My review can be found here.

And I Darken (The Conqueror’s Saga #1) by Kiersten White

And I Darken

Synopsis:

No one expects a princess to be brutal. And Lada Dragwlya likes it that way. Ever since she and her gentle younger brother, Radu, were wrenched from their homeland of Wallachia and abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman courts, Lada has known that being ruthless is the key to survival. She and Radu are doomed to act as pawns in a vicious game, an unseen sword hovering over their every move. For the lineage that makes them special also makes them targets.

Lada despises the Ottomans and bides her time, planning her vengeance for the day when she can return to Wallachia and claim her birthright. Radu longs only for a place where he feels safe. And when they meet Mehmed, the defiant and lonely son of the sultan, Radu feels that he’s made a true friend—and Lada wonders if she’s finally found someone worthy of her passion.

But Mehmed is heir to the very empire that Lada has sworn to fight against—and that Radu now considers home. Together, Lada, Radu, and Mehmed form a toxic triangle that strains the bonds of love and loyalty to the breaking point.

Wasn’t a big fan of And I Darken. Also, wasn’t convinced to read the next one. If you think I should, leave a comment! I love to hear differing opinions. This review is here.

The Last Namsara (Iskari #1) by Kristen Ciccarelli

The Last Namsara

Synopsis:

In the beginning, there was the Namsara: the child of sky and spirit, who carried love and laughter wherever he went. But where there is light, there must be darkness—and so there was also the Iskari. The child of blood and moonlight. The destroyer. The death-bringer.

These are the legends that Asha, daughter of the king of Firgaard, has grown up learning in hushed whispers, drawn to the forbidden figures of the past. But it isn’t until she becomes the fiercest, most feared dragon slayer in the land that she takes on the role of the next Iskari—a lonely destiny that leaves her feeling more like a weapon than a girl.

Asha conquers each dragon and brings its head to the king, but no kill can free her from the shackles that await at home: her betrothal to the cruel commandant, a man who holds the truth about her nature in his palm. When she’s offered the chance to gain her freedom in exchange for the life of the most powerful dragon in Firgaard, she finds that there may be more truth to the ancient stories than she ever could have expected. With the help of a secret friend—a slave boy from her betrothed’s household—Asha must shed the layers of her Iskari bondage and open her heart to love, light, and a truth that has been kept from her.

Oh guys, I was totally smitten with this book. I LOVE DRAGONS. And it’s different than a lot of the YA (that I’ve at least) come across lately. I don’t think you’d be disappointed checking this one out. Review here!

Mirage (Mirage #1) by Somaiya Daud

Mirage

Synopsis:

In a star system dominated by the brutal Vathek empire, eighteen-year-old Amani is a dreamer. She dreams of what life was like before the occupation; she dreams of writing poetry like the old-world poems she adores; she dreams of receiving a sign from Dihya that one day, she, too, will have adventure, and travel beyond her isolated moon.

But when adventure comes for Amani, it is not what she expects: she is kidnapped by the regime and taken in secret to the royal palace, where she discovers that she is nearly identical to the cruel half-Vathek Princess Maram. The princess is so hated by her conquered people that she requires a body double, someone to appear in public as Maram, ready to die in her place.

As Amani is forced into her new role, she can’t help but enjoy the palace’s beauty—and her time with the princess’ fiancé, Idris. But the glitter of the royal court belies a world of violence and fear. If Amani ever wishes to see her family again, she must play the princess to perfection…because one wrong move could lead to her death.

PUT THIS ON YOUR TBR FOLKS. I graciously received this ARC from the publisher through Netgalley and was enamored by this story. It’s in space. That should convince you to check out the review here. Mirage will be out in August!

Glitter (Glitter #1) by Aprilynne Pike

Glitter

Synopsis:

Outside the palace of Versailles, it’s modern day. Inside, the people dress, eat, and act like it’s the eighteenth century—with the added bonus of technology to make court life lavish, privileged, and frivolous. The palace has every indulgence, but for one pretty young thing, it’s about to become a very beautiful prison.

When Danica witnesses an act of murder by the young king, her mother makes a cruel power play . . . blackmailing the king into making Dani his queen. When she turns eighteen, Dani will marry the most ruthless and dangerous man of the court. She has six months to escape her terrifying destiny. Six months to raise enough money to disappear into the real world beyond the palace gates.

Her ticket out? Glitter. A drug so powerful that a tiny pinch mixed into a pot of rouge or lip gloss can make the wearer hopelessly addicted. Addicted to a drug Dani can sell for more money than she ever dreamed.

But in Versailles, secrets are impossible to keep. And the most dangerous secret—falling for a drug dealer outside the palace walls—is one risk she has to take.

While I do think this cover looks cool, this book had me up in arms in disappointment. The plot played towards an interesting take, but I personally found it hysterically full of drama. Read my review because maybe this is up your alley! Just not mine.

To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

To Kill a Kingdom

Synopsis:

Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most lethal of them all. With the hearts of seventeen princes in her collection, she is revered across the sea. Until a twist of fate forces her to kill one of her own. To punish her daughter, the Sea Queen transforms Lira into the one thing they loathe most—a human. Robbed of her song, Lira has until the winter solstice to deliver Prince Elian’s heart to the Sea Queen or remain a human forever.

The ocean is the only place Prince Elian calls home, even though he is heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world. Hunting sirens is more than an unsavory hobby—it’s his calling. When he rescues a drowning woman in the ocean, she’s more than what she appears. She promises to help him find the key to destroying all of sirenkind for good—But can he trust her? And just how many deals will Elian have to barter to eliminate mankind’s greatest enemy?

I was in a book funk for a few days trying to pick out what to read next, then this showed up at my door! (I may have forgot that I ordered it, whoops). This book dragged me right out of that funk. I loved it! It was clever, Little Mermaid-esque and the love story was somehow slow enough for a standalone book. Find out more at my full review.

To end my saga,

My favorite book this month was ACOFAS (Mass, always. Guys why isn’t October after May?!). And my least favorite was And I Darken.

I’m currently reading Alexander Hamilton (yes, willingly). It’s actually pretty good and I am hoping to finish soon and write a full review. It is just SO LONG. SO VERY LONG. And tiny words. My attention span may be waning at this point.

Also I hope to pick back up my Instagram now that we’ve moved. I first have to organize 300 books though. How should I do it this time? Usually I do it by genre/hardbacks, but I’m leaning towards trying by author.

Happy reading!

Book Review

Review: Mirage (Mirage #1) by Somaiya Daud

Mirage

 

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA, no language, a few kiss scenes, some violence
Length: 320 pages
Author: Somaiya Daud
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Release Date: [expected] August 28th, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

THEY WERE ON A MOON.

The first thing that made me excited was this fact. That’s so cool. And so different!! It reminded me to a degree of the Red Rising series with the sci-fi esque pieces of this novel. I love when authors take risks and explore cultures and worlds that aren’t often seen!

I loved the depth of the main characters. Amani maintained who she was during all the uproar. Maram had a lovely character arc, and the author left a solid suspense for the second book. Idris was totally adorable and the story between him and Amani is precious and sweet.

The story flowed well as I discovered the world Daud built. There was the right touch of drama that actually let you feel for the characters rather than wondering why there was too much going on. The action scenes weren’t huge, but were written well. There was a larger focus on the politics of Ziyaana [the palace] and how Amani was able to navigate as a body double. Though, unlike some stories the politics enhanced the story rather than took away. You weren’t stuck reading drawn-out council meetings.

They’re aspects of religion throughout the book. It is a guiding factor for different tribes and I thought it was very well done. Nothing was in your face, but you understood the importance of their God to them. It guided their choices and gave more of a background into what characters actions were occurring and better yet, why they were happening.

True YA, no language [which is awesome]. A few kiss scenes that are sweet and appropriate. Some violence, but nothing gruesome.

Thank you to Netgalley and Flatiron Books for the digital ARC!