Book Review

Monthly Reading Wrap-Up: July 2020

REVIVAL.

I have come back from the depths of morning sickness + reading slump to read EIGHTEEN books for July! And I even had some five stars and some really great four stars and this sentence is running on because I’m so relieved to have some “normalcy” right now.

Below are my reads! I read lots of ARCs this month that will have reviews soon and I recommend all of them for your TBR!

Favorites: Clap When You Land, The Empire of Gold, and Far From Normal
Least Favorites: Once More Upon a Time, What I Like About You, and Unravel the Dusk

  • [ARC] Where Dreams Descend (Kingdom of Cards #1) by Janella Angeles – (☆☆☆☆)
  • Clap When You Land by Elizaveth Acevedo – (☆☆☆☆☆)
  • [ARC] Miracle Creek Christmas by Krista Jensen – (☆☆☆☆)
  • The Happy Ever After Playlist (The Friend Zone #2) by Abby Jimenez – (☆☆☆☆)
  • [ARC] Fable (Fable #1) by Adrienne Young – (☆☆☆☆)
  • Once More Upon a Time by Roshani Chokshi – (☆☆☆)
  • [ARC] Well Played (Well Met #2) by Jen DeLuca – (☆☆☆☆)
  • The Wall of Winnipeg and Me by Mariana Zapata – (☆☆☆☆)
  • The Empire of Gold (The Daevabad Trilogy #3) by S.A. Chakraborty – (☆☆☆☆☆)
  • Not Like the Movies (Waiting for Tom Hanks #2) by Kerry Winfrey – (☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • What I Like About You by Marisa Kanter – (☆☆☆)
  • [ARC] The Hunter and the Mage (The Raven and the Dove #2) by Kaitlyn Davis – (☆☆☆☆)
  • Unravel the Dusk (The Blood of the Stars #2) by Elizabeth Lim – (☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • [ARC] Far From Normal by Becky Wallace – (☆☆☆☆☆)
  • Party of Two (The Wedding Date #5) by Jasmine Guillory – (☆☆☆☆)
  • The Distance Between Us by Kasie West – (☆☆☆☆)
  • The Match (It Happened in Charleston #1) by Sarah Adams – (☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • A Song of Wraiths and Ruin (A Song of Wraiths and Ruin #1) by Roseanna A. Brown – (☆☆☆☆)

Instagram || Goodreads

Book Review

Book Review: Chain of Gold (The Last Hours #1) by Cassandra Clare

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Urban Fantasy
Length: 624 pages
Author: Cassandra Clare
Publisher: McElderberry Books
Release Date: March 3rd, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Chain of Gold is the first novel in a new trilogy that stars the Shadowhunters of Edwardian London.

Welcome to Edwardian London, a time of electric lights and long shadows, the celebration of artistic beauty and the wild pursuit of pleasure, with demons waiting in the dark. For years there has been peace in the Shadowhunter world. James and Lucie Herondale, children of the famous Will and Tessa, have grown up in an idyll with their loving friends and family, listening to stories of good defeating evil and love conquering all. But everything changes when the Blackthorn and Carstairs families come to London…and so does a remorseless and inescapable plague.

James Herondale longs for a great love, and thinks he has found it in the beautiful, mysterious Grace Blackthorn. Cordelia Carstairs is desperate to become a hero, save her family from ruin, and keep her secret love for James hidden. When disaster strikes the Shadowhunters, James, Cordelia and their friends are plunged into a wild adventure which will reveal dark and incredible powers, and the true cruel price of being a hero…and falling in love.

OH THE TRAGEDY.

Let’s be honest, Cassandra Clare is fantastic at weaving high drama, high tragedy filled love stories. AND I CAN’T HELP BUT BE INVOLVED. So involved. That’s how this book snuck a four star rating out of me. I love how hopeless everything gets, and then how Clare gives me that happy ending I crave by the time the series wraps up. It’s addicting, so here I am again, reading another Shadowhunter series.

James and Cordelia. OH MY GOODNESS YES. I knew Will’s offspring would give me another guy to swoon over. I love the burgeoning sparks and the fact that a new plot/trope was added in that I haven’t seen before in these books? It really brought this up for me. I wanted to see some fresh things and got them.

I liked the plot and how everything flowed. Once again, I felt that things were luckily a bit different than others. This has peaked my interest. The combination of warlock blood, princes of hell, necromancy and ghosts have set up a series that I’m glad I decided to read.

Good news first: I looooove all the main characters: Cordelia, James, Matthew, Lucy, Jesse, Alastair, Thomas, Christopher, Anna…and I know I probably forgot someone because I’m going from memory. Which leads me to my other issue, the vast amount of characters. I had to resort to pulling up a family tree just to keep things kind of straight in my head. I appreciate a story with a great cast, but this is pushing my limits for keeping track of everyone. I can’t wait to learn more back stories and see more ships form!

And I feel inclined to say that there was plenty of Will and Tessa (and Jem) sightings that made my heart so happy. That was my initial inclination to pick up this book because I missed them so much. They were in the background more, of course, but were added in enough to make me smile.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult urban fantasy
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: kisses, intense make-outs; one no detail fade to black scene (between Will and Tessa)
  • Violence: demon battles, physical, fires, magic, near drownings

Instagram || Goodreads

Book Review

Book Review: Bloodwitch (The Witchlands #3) by Susan Dennard

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult fantasy
Length: 464 pages
Author: Susan Dennard
Publisher: Tor Teen
Release Date: February 12th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Fans of Susan Dennard’s Witchlands series have fallen in love with the Bloodwitch Aeduan. And now, finally, comes his story.

High in a snowy mountain range, a monastery that holds more than just faith clings to the side of a cliff. Below, thwarted by a lake, a bloodthirsty horde of raiders await the coming of winter and the frozen path to destroy the sanctuary and its secrets.

The Bloodwitch Aeduan has teamed up with the Threadwitch Iseult and the magical girl Owl to stop the destruction. But to do so, he must confront his own father, and his past.

I LOVE AEDUAN.

Oh man. I’m so happy to get a book that had him more at the forefront. Gosh, I am smitten with this broody sassy man with a huge heart. And him and Iseult? Just stop. TOO CUTE.

But I mean, this whole book hurts. This is not some happy-go-lucky fantasy novel. The amount of backstabbing and political maneuvering that happens throughout this series blows my mind. I honestly can’t tell you where I think everyone *exactly* lies. All of these characters have their own motives and it definitely influences that intense action of Bloodwitch.

Addressing what I mentioned last time [not loving Vivia], she did grow on me over this book! She is truly having to claw her way to what she deserves and I feel that. I am enjoying her character arc. Also, real obsessed with pretty much everyone else. I love these characters. Everyone is unique and vastly opinionated and I here for it. This is a cast to enjoy and hug tightly because I’m convinced someone won’t make it to the end.

THE SHIPS. How can you not love them ALL? Seriously. I have intense emotions for everyone of them. I JUST WANT EVERYONE TO BE HAPPY. I will go down in flames with Aeduan and Iseult because they have one of the best developments I’ve read. The sparks between them will set the world in flames.

There were a lot of emotions throughout. I was up, down, and all around. So many things happened and I was convinced one too many times for my heart that someone was actually dead. WHY. Such strong and steady writing. Maybe a little slow at times, but this definitely [overall] held my attention.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy
  • Language: a little mild
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: plenty; skirmishes, physical, magic, arrows, swords

Instagram || Goodreads

Book Review

Book Review: Five Dark Fates (Three Dark Crowns #4) by Kendare Blake

Rating: ☆☆ 1/2
Audience: YA Fantasy
Length: 452 pages
Author: Kendare Blake
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: September 3rd, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

After the battle with Katharine, the rebellion lies in tatters. Jules’s legion curse has been unbound, leaving her out of her mind and unfit to rule. Arsinoe must find a cure, even as the responsibility of stopping the ravaging mist rests heavy on her shoulders, and her shoulders alone. Mirabella has disappeared.

Queen Katharine’s rule over Fennbirn remains intact—for now. But her attack on the rebellion exacted a high price: her beloved Pietyr. Without him, who can she rely upon when Mirabella arrives, seemingly under a banner of truce? As oldest and youngest circle each other, and Katharine begins to yearn for the closeness that Mirabella and Arsinoe share, the dead queens hiss caution—Mirabella is not to be trusted.

In this conclusion to the Three Dark Crowns series, three dark sisters will rise to fight as the secrets of Fennbirn’s history are laid bare. Allegiances will shift. Bonds will be tested, and some broken forever.

The fate of the island lies in the hands of its queens. 

DISAPPOINTED.

I expected so much more from this series. The marketing and taglines for it all made it seem like I was going to get something darker and more sinister than what I got. Some sinister things actually happened at the very end of this book, but it took too long getting there.

This really would have functioned better as a duology. The only book I can remember enjoying was book two. So by the time I got here, thinking I would at least get a good ending, I was wrong. That’s my biggest complaint overall. These books dragged. Added sub-plots that had no bearing on the story at hand. No big names actually getting taken down. All of these together made me listen as fast as I could to get through this.

I’ve always at least enjoyed the lore and story behind the island. I thought it was an interesting world set-up with a unique premise.

As a mostly plot driven story it left the characters lacking. I wanted more history and depth of personality and interactions with everyone. Things only felt surface deep and I’m not sure by the end if I even liked any of the characters? They all fell flat. The one character I did enjoy is one of the few who actually didn’t make it.

The potential to finish this off well was there, and I did not see it at all.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Fantasy
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses; a no detailed [but you know what they just did] love scene
  • Violence: battles, poison, swords, physical, animal attacks, elemental magic

Instagram || Goodreads