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: To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

To Kill a Kingdom

 

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA, some language, a few kiss scenes, violence
Length: 342 pages
Author: Alexandra Christo
Publisher: Fiewel & Friends
Release Date: March 6th, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

SIRENS, AND PIRATES, AND SEA QUEENS OH MY!

I’m in a realllll mood for all things sea related. My book slump was fixed by this gem! It was devious and well written, and I kinda wish it was at least a duology because I wanted more.

I love that Lira kept up all of her sass and held her own among the 2-legged humans. Elian was so swoon-worthy and his band of friends had their own personalities.

While at times I thought it could’ve used a dash more action, for a stand-alone fantasy YA it worked really well. I was intrigued and enthralled. I was also impressed that the romance still felt [enough] like a slow-burn even though it’s only one book!

It was really cool to see the elements of The Little Mermaid as well. From Lira’s red hair, to the Sea Queen having tentacles, there was definitely some memorable parallels. But the darker edges to this novel make it even better.

Solid YA book, with some [not-distracting from the story] language. A few kissing scenes, and violence as the book portrays sirens vs. humans.

Book Review

Review: Glitter (Glitter #1) by Aprilynne Pike

Glitter

 

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: YA, touch of language, some violence/abuse, a love scene, kissing scenes
Length: 384 pages
Author: Aprilynne Pike
Publisher: Random House Books
Release Date: October 25th, 2016
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

DRUG-FUELED ROYALS.

I didn’t finish reading this book satisfied. The concept wasn’t as accomplished as it could’ve been. Or maybe I didn’t find it interesting that Danica was a drug Queen to everyone she knows [without them knowing].

The story played out the same as most. Evil King caught in a bind, a nobody girl who rises in power and a third-party guy who she’s actually in to.

I did find it unique and strange that this group of people live in the palace, Versailles, like it’s the norm. That’s an odd thing to happen, but what if it did happen? This was probably the part I liked best.

The conclusion was seen from a mile away and I found it hard to like most of the characters. Everyone is very self-involved and I was missing the empathy and compassion from a full-fledged personality.

A young adult book, with occasional “adult” phrasing (lots of mentions of breasts and decolletage). One love scene — vaguely detailed — and a few kiss scenes here and there.

 

 

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!

 

 

Book Review

Review: The Last Namsara (Iskari #1) by Kristen Ciccarelli

The Last Namsara

Rating: ☆☆☆☆.5
Audience: YA, one curse word, violence, minor kiss scenes
Length: 432 pages
Author: Kristen Ciccarelli
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release Date: October 3rd, 2017
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

DRAGONS.

I already love the movie How to Train Your Dragon. And I imagine every one of those dragons like Toothless haha (though okay, they were described as a lot more ‘intense/scary’).

Toothless

All the dragons aside, this book had me hooked. It had all the components that make a solid series starter.

I appreciated that Asha could hold her own, slaying dragons, and watching out for her family. Her love story wasn’t a true given, and not insta-love. This made the conversation stand out more as I kept trying to figure out how it would all end.

Plenty of betrayal and horrid Gaston-like characters. I was plenty enraged by the twists and turns, most things worked out at least.

Gaston
Accurate image of Jarek.

There could be some more backstory for a few characters, but I think that’s going to open up in the second book based on the ending.

Having to hold in a spoiler that would mess with your soul, so if you’ve read it, DM me on Instagram!

One curse word, and some violence [non-gory]. A few minor kiss scenes that stay in the appropriate realm for younger audiences. Very clean book in my mind!

 

Book Review

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

And I Darken

 

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: YA, no language, some detail-y kissing scenes, violence
Length: 475pages
Author: Kiersten White
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: June 28th, 2016
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

 

WAY TOO LONG.

My thoughts and feelings are all over the place for this book. The main issue stands with the fact that this book did not need to be almost 500 pages. It took away from the action and conversations (which if you smashed together, make it more interesting).

I was intrigued from the beginning and thought these characters are dark. Cruel, conniving, and brutal, they set themselves apart from most YA books.

The focus was then dragged away for way too many pages. Pumped with politics, and who was fighting who (seriously, couldn’t keep up sometimes). I wanted more action. More Lada actually in battle, because she’s insane, and I LOVED that. The pulls from history were great, and made me curious as to the real history (the author notes she took some liberties with the historical figures, etc.).

I also got lost with sooooo many side characters. I mean, whoa. I had to flip back occasionally to remind myself who was speaking.

Overall, one dark and brooding book. I have sat on it for awhile (saw mixed reviews), and I understand why. It’s a book you’ll love or hate. And there’s nothing wrong with that!

No language, some of the detail-y-ish kissing scenes read more adult, but truly isn’t crazy detailed. Definitely some violence, but nothing gruesome.

Book Review

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

ACOFAS

 

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: New Adult, descriptive love scenes, language, some violence
Length: 224 pages
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Release Date: May 1st, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

IS IT REALLY OVER?

I am SJM trash y’all. I can’t even. Ah, I love her writing. I love this world. I love it all.

Getting to be with these characters all over again, and after the war, tore my heart to pieces. Everyone struggling with their own PTSD was high-lighted poignantly and beautifully by the multiple POVs. I loved getting to read from just about every member of The Court of Dreams. Knowing their struggles and triumphs made even the highest Fae, human.

Emotions ran raw, and had me feeling so much. Feyre showed the power of creativity and allowing ourselves to create in whatever form to help cope with loss and tragedy.

I am consistently in awe at the end of her books at the way the stories wash over my soul. I will probably re-read this before I can even pick up another book because I am always in a book slump after reading one of these.

Also, pumped for the next books coming in this series. I really enjoyed the bonus sneak peak. While some of my previous assumptions were right, I definitely don’t know quite where this next story will lead. They’re are some good cornerstones that will supply another endless love for these new POVs.

Language (including f-words), and some good ol’ love between Rhys & Feyre (because, of course, so this shouldn’t be a spoiler). Remembrance of the violence that had taken place in previous books.