Book Review

Book Review: East (East #1) by Edith Pattou

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult fantasy + retelling + romance
Length: 507 pages
Author: Edith Pattou
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Release Date: May 1st, 2005
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Rose has always been different.

Since the day she was born, it was clear she had a special fate. Her superstitious mother keeps the unusual circumstances of Rose’s birth a secret, hoping to prevent her adventurous daughter from leaving home… but she can’t suppress Rose’s true nature forever.

So when an enormous white bear shows up one cold autumn evening and asks teenage Rose to come away with it–in exchange for health and prosperity for her ailing family–she readily agrees.

Rose travels on the bear’s broad back to a distant and empty castle, where she is nightly joined by a mysterious stranger. In discovering his identity, she loses her heart– and finds her purpose–and realizes her journey has only just begun.

REALLY WHIMSICAL.

This book screamed a very whimsy fantasy. A simple and sweet retelling of a Nordic fairytale. I’ve seen that a lot of people mention that they read this as a child (where have I been??) and I’m grateful that I’ve had a chance to read this now! I definitely can’t wait to pick up the next book.

I love how fast this was to read. It was written in multi-POV chapters that were usually on the shorter side. It made for fast flipping where you couldn’t even tell that it’s an almost 500 page read. I never felt like things were left about with the constant switching of characters. It really rounded out the three areas of this tale and made it all the more magical.

The romance between the bear [obviously he doesn’t stay that way], and Rose was incredibly sweet. The bonds they grew by having to communicate in unique ways had just the right flair of romanticism. I like that it never came off like it was overtaking the story and rather wove into Rose’s sense of adventure.

Rose was full of wanderlust and a desire to right her accidental wrongs. I loved her spirit and vibrancy. The way she helped her family and the polar bear had me cheering her on. She was an easy character to love.

All of the characters were well developed and multi-layered. I even found myself sympathetic to the villain. I love the way the conclusion wrapped up and gave the ending a happily every after AND a bittersweet moment as well. This book was magical and fantastical. And appropriate for the younger YA audience as well.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy + retelling + romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: a kiss
  • Violence: nothing intensely graphic or gory

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Book Review

Book Review: The Beautiful (The Beautiful #1) by Renée Ahdieh

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult historical fiction + romance + paranormal
Length: 448 pages
Author: Renée Ahdieh
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Release Date: October 8th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

In 1872, New Orleans is a city ruled by the dead. But to seventeen-year-old Celine Rousseau, New Orleans provides her a refuge after she’s forced to flee her life as a dressmaker in Paris. Taken in by the sisters of the Ursuline convent along with six other girls, Celine quickly becomes enamored with the vibrant city from the music to the food to the soirées and—especially—to the danger. She soon becomes embroiled in the city’s glitzy underworld, known as La Cour des Lions, after catching the eye of the group’s leader, the enigmatic Sébastien Saint Germain. When the body of one of the girls from the convent is found in the lair of La Cour des Lions, Celine battles her attraction to him and suspicions about Sébastien’s guilt along with the shame of her own horrible secret.

When more bodies are discovered, each crime more gruesome than the last, Celine and New Orleans become gripped by the terror of a serial killer on the loose—one Celine is sure has set her in his sights . . . and who may even be the young man who has stolen her heart. As the murders continue to go unsolved, Celine takes matters into her own hands and soon uncovers something even more shocking: an age-old feud from the darkest creatures of the underworld reveals a truth about Celine she always suspected simmered just beneath the surface.

At once a sultry romance and a thrilling murder mystery, master storyteller Renée Ahdieh embarks on her most potent fantasy series yet: The Beautiful.

VAMPIRES?

I hesitantly picked this book up because I love Ahdieh’s books, but I heard the hypeness over the apparent vampires in this book [note: not a fan of vampire books, never really have been]. My cautionary read turned out a lot better than I thought. And I know I liked this much better than others BECAUSE there were barely any vampires in the entire book.

Ahdieh’s writing is always wonderful. I was easily invested in the story and enjoyed reading it. I love the setting, especially having traveled there, it really added to the atmosphere and vibe of old world New Orleans. The mystery and mythical combination is a tune I can love.

The romance was good, when the love triangle wasn’t in play. UGH. It didn’t need that at all to add to it (though now apparently it’ll play a big part in book two). Jury is still out and how the rest of this will unfold, but I was definitely shipping Celene and Bastien. I love the sultry banter and romantic moments they had. The ending left me all up in arms and I need a resolution.

I liked Celene for the most part. Her lack of communication skills were obvious and annoying. Celene could have had a better friendship with Pippa if she would trust her for one minute. The amount of inner dialogue she had about not telling anyone anything was running me ragged. An inability to communicate anything can really sour a character. Otherwise, I enjoyed her braveness and her courage against her situation.

Oh yes, those vampires? Well throughout the book I really couldn’t figure out who the mystery chapters were (in the vampires POV). I honestly didn’t know until they showed up on the page. That was satisfying to be on edge the entire time with who was attacking Celene and her cohorts. I definitely think they underworld of New Orleans will play a much bigger role in the second book since all of the reveals didn’t come out until the second half.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult paranormal, historical fiction romance
  • Language: a little strong
  • Romance: some kisses, an almost love scene with a little detail
  • Violence: gory murder description
  • Trigger Warning: attempted rape (never in full detail, discussed as part of Celene’s past with a few paragraphs dedicated to how he attacked her)

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Top 10 Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: My Spring TBR!

Happy Top Ten Tuesday!

Oh man, I’ve got new releases, great backlist and all the in-between for my Spring TBR. It’s going to be a good season!

Imagine Me (Shatter Me #6) by Tahereh Mafi

AHHHHH WE ARE AT LAST AT THE LAST BOOK. I still don’t know if this series should have been continued, but these books are also addicting so it’s fine. I am excited to know how this will all wrap up!


A Voice in the Wind (Mark of the Lion #1) by Francine Rivers

My library hold for this is FINALLY coming through in the next two weeks. I’m going to try listening to it first. I’ve been interested in this because the rave reviews have me convinced I’ll love it.


Lucky Caller by Emma Mills

I saw this on Instagram, thought it sounded like a cute YA contemporary debut. And here we are! My library hold will come through soon and I think I’ll find it as the perfect spring book.


Voyager (Outlander #3) by Diana Gabaldon

I’m almost finished with Dragonfly in Amber, so I KNOW I will read this one in the next month. I’m trying to read one a month (because whoa every single one of these books is massive).


Aurora Burning (The Aurora Cycle #2) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

UH OF COURSE I’M READING THIS THE MOMENT IT IS IN MY HANDS. That’s all the information you need about how much I loved Aurora Rising.


Dark Shores (Dark Skies #2) by Danielle L Jensen

I was very fortunate to receive an ARC of this book, and I am thrilled. I really enjoyed Dark Shores and I’m obsessed with her other duology, The Bridge Kingdom. This is sure to be a great read!


A Murderous Relation (Veronica Speedwell #5) by Deanna Raybourn

At last, I get the ending to this series. AND AT LAST I BETTER GET A HAPPY ENDING.


Of Curses and Kisses (St. Rosetta’s Academy #1) by Sandhya Menon

A denial from Netgalley didn’t deter me from still wanting to read this. My library got it so it’s not waiting in my holds! I loooove a Beauty and the Beast retelling.


The Wall of Winnipeg and Me by Mariana Zapata

It’s time. It’s time for me to read a book from the Queen of the slow-burn romance. This is a mega contemporary and I am mega ready for it.


King of the South (Belgrave Dynasty #1) by Calia Reed

I saw a favorite author of mine recommend this, and after I looked it up I knew I wanted to read it. A historical romance that sounds oh so good.

What books are on your Spring TBR? Do we have any of the same ones? Lets talk in the comments!

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: The Raven and the Dove (The Raven and the Dove #1) by Kaitlyn Davis

Rating: ☆☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: YA Fantasy retelling + romance
Length: 506 pages
Author: Kaitlyn Davis
Publisher: Self-published
Expected Release Date: March 9th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Four fates collide in this avian-inspired, epic fantasy retelling of Tristan and Isolde perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas, Sabaa Tahir, and Leigh Bardugo!

A princess longing to be free…

On the dawn of her courtship trials, Princess Lyana Aethionus knows she should be focused on winning her perfect mate, yet her thoughts wander to the open sky waiting at the edge of her floating kingdom. One final adventure calls. Upon fleeing the palace, the last thing she expects to find is a raven prince locked in a death match with a dragon.

A bastard aching to belong…

Reviled son of a dead king, Rafe would do anything for his beloved half-brother, Prince Lysander Taetanus, including posing as him in the upcoming courtship trials. When a dragon interrupts their secret exchange, he orders his studious sibling to run. After suffering a fatal blow, Rafe is saved by a beautiful dove who possesses forbidden magic, just like him.

Fate brought them together, now destiny will tear them apart…

Unknown to the world above, on the foggy sea ten thousand feet below, a young king fights a forgotten war. He believes Lyana is the queen prophesied to save the world, and with the help of his favored spy, hidden deep in the highest ranks of the dove royal house, he will stop at nothing to have her.

Three shocking betrayals. Two star-crossed lovers. One unforgettable journey. If you like fierce heroines, brooding heroes, forbidden romance, and action-packed magical adventures with twists you’ll never see coming, don’t miss The Raven and the Dove!

Thank you to the author Kaitlyn Davis for providing an e-ARC through Netgalley. All opinions are my own!

IF YOU’RE A BIRD, I’M A BIRD.

Wait a minute, hold on, come support an indie author and get this book on your TBR! It has everything I’m looking for in a YA fantasy and the 500 pages really felt like nothing. Let’s get into this review.

It’s a Tristan and Isolde retelling, and if you’re not sure who those people are, please Google the story like I did after reading Sweet Black Waves and getting my heart ripped out. I love the way this version was written and like the twists Davis put on it. I could definitely see some of the similarities, but it swayed far enough away that this is it’s own novel, on a whole new fantasy level.

I am in love with my cinnamon rolls Rafe and Xander. These brothers are so tender, and kind. They’re loyal to one another and I appreciated the strong family bond they have. Lyana and Cassi were great friends too. I love that everyone had a support system with them. They brought the soft moments, and the hard ones together.

Ships were flying all over the place. This is a rare example of a sort of love triangle actually not bothering me. I know, I can’t believe I said it either. But really! This was so well done. You can see where [I think] the ships will eventually end, but I like how it flowed back and forth just enough to add intrigue and another layer to the story.

THE ENDING WAS WILD. Oh my goodness so much happened. It luckily didn’t end in a dramatic cliff-hanger. Enough happened though that the next book is definitely on my radar. I love how much action and characters came onto the scene. Betrayals were flying all around, people getting tossed off of worlds, INSANE. Oh, and did I mention, THIS WORLD HAS DRAGONS?

I liked the world-building as well. I still have a few questions, but I feel like those will be answered over other books so I’m not concerned. The way the world is set up with one group on land and one group in the air is CRAZY COOL. And the way the people become birds? I need someone to tell me more about that! I love the way the Houses are all split to different types of birds and their strengths. Everything was well thought out and I am so happy I picked this up!

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy
  • Language: VERY little
  • Romance: some kisses, a no detail fade-to-black scene
  • Violence: dragons, fire, swords, earthquakes, magic, physical

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Monthly Wrap-Up

Monthly Reading Wrap-Up!: February 2020

FEBRUARY.

What a month. I read so much romance. Not even sorry. I love reading romance. It’s so good.

I also re-read FOUR books. This is a whole new world for me. I maybe re-read one book in a month and I got sucked in by some of my favorites and it was fantastic.

It was a solid mix of 3 stars and higher. Got through some big books, and really enjoyed February as a whole. I’m excited for March where I’ll be reading some BIG books!

I linked the reviews that have been posted. The other reviews will be out in May/June!

  • Eleanor & Grey by Brittainy C. Cherry – (☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • A Temporary Marriage (The Fake Love Series #1) by Summer Dowell – (☆☆☆☆)
  • [Re-read] A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3) by Sarah J. Maas – (☆☆☆☆☆)
  • Outlander (Outlander #1) by Diana Gabaldon – (☆☆☆☆)
  • [Re-read] The Winner’s Crime (The Winner’s Trilogy #2) by Marie Rutkoski – (☆☆☆☆☆)
  • A Heart so Fierce and Broken (Cursebreakers #2) by Brigid Kemmerer – (☆☆☆)
  • [ARC] Wild at Heart (Wild #2) by K.A. Tucker – (☆☆☆☆☆)
  • [Re-read] The Winner’s Kiss (The Winner’s Trilogy #3) by Marie Rutkoski – (☆☆☆☆☆)
  • P.S. I Like You by Kasie West – (☆☆☆☆☆)
  • [ARC] Where the Lost Wander by Amy Harmon – (☆☆☆☆☆)
  • The Fallen Kingdom (The Falconer #3) by Elizabeth May – (☆☆☆)
  • [Re-read] The Bridge Kingdom (The Bridge Kingdom #1) by Danielle L. Jensen) – (☆☆☆☆☆)
  • Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi – (☆☆☆)
  • All the Stars and Teeth (All the Stars and Teeth #1) by Adalyn Grace – (☆☆☆☆)
  • The Fine Art of Falling in Love by Ashley Shepherd – (☆☆☆☆)
  • Truthwitch (The Witchlands #1) by Susan Dennard – (☆☆☆☆)
  • [Graphic Novel] Wires and Nerves (Wires and Nerves #1) by Marissa Meyer – (☆☆☆☆)
  • The Dragons of Nova (Loom Saga #2) by Elise Kova – (☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • [Graphic Novel] Gone Rogue (Wires and Nerves #2) by Marissa Meyer – (☆☆☆☆☆)
  • Love, Life, and the List by Kasie West – (☆☆☆☆)
  • The Defiant (The Valiant #2) by Lesley Livingston – (☆☆☆☆)
  • The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller – (☆☆☆☆☆)
  • The Traitor Queen (The Bridge Kingdom #2) by Danielle L. Jensen – (☆☆☆☆☆)
  • [ARC] Chasing Lucky by Jenn Bennett – undecided, will finish this on the 29th

Favorites this month: ACOWAR, Outlander, The Winner’s Crime and Kiss, Wild at Heart, The Bridge Kingdom and The Traitor Queen

Least favorites: A Heart so Fierce and Broken, The Fallen Kingdom and Emergency Contact

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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

Book Review: There Will Come a Darkness (The Age of Darkness #1) by Katy Rose Pool

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Young adult fantasy
Length: 496 pages
Author: Katy Rose Pool
Publisher: Henry Holt
Release Date: September 3rd, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

The Age of Darkness approaches.
Five lives stand in its way.
Who will stop it… or unleash it?

For generations, the Seven Prophets guided humanity. Using their visions of the future, they ended wars and united nations―until the day, one hundred years ago, when the Prophets disappeared.

All they left behind was one final, secret prophecy, foretelling an Age of Darkness and the birth of a new Prophet who could be the world’s salvation . . . or the cause of its destruction. As chaos takes hold, five souls are set on a collision course:

A prince exiled from his kingdom.
A ruthless killer known as the Pale Hand.
A once-faithful leader torn between his duty and his heart.
A reckless gambler with the power to find anything or anyone.
And a dying girl on the verge of giving up.

One of them―or all of them―could break the world. Will they be savior or destroyer?

A WEE BIT TYPICAL.

I have had this on my 2019 list for awhile. Really excited about it. I love multiple POV group books (like The Gilded Wolves, Six of Crows, Aurora Rising, etc.). There’s something magical about having so many thoughts and characters come together that make for a fun read. This was good overall I’d say.

My glaring issues was the amount of typical YA fantasy book related things. It didn’t feel new. I can’t put my finger on the exact time or place in the book other than a general feeling of eh, haven’t I read this before? Don’t get me wrong, I was still entertained and found it an easy read.

I appreciated that the world-building was simple to follow. I understood the politics and dynamics of everything surrounding these characters. I knew what the villain’s goals were, how everyone wanted to accomplish their own goals, how the magic system worked. It was nice not to feel like I was staring at a wall of chaos trying to understand the premise.

Weird tidbit, I’m not sure I liked any of the point-of-view characters? They were all kind of hard to love. A few of them were consistently making poor choices and running away from problems that only caused more issues which had me entirely frustrated. If I had to choose anyone I was enjoying it would probably be Jude. Bless his heart, he’s going to have a rough second book though. I wish I could connect to everyone on a deeper level. This goes for their relationships too. Lots of budding pairings, yet nothing felt REAL. It was all happening too fast in a series. We have time, let’s develop these bonds first.

I have the second book on my TBR and have plans to read it. Whether or not I found this book OUTSTANDING, I am curious what twists will come my way next. There were plenty of side characters that kept me on my toes (much obliged for that). I liked constantly thinking to myself, are they good? are they bad? what’s the truth?!. It made for fast page flipping to get to the bottom of it all.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy, multi-POV
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: a few kisses
  • Violence: skirmishes, fire, torture (by water/drowning, fire), physical

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