Book Review

Book Review: Akarnae (The Medoran Chronicles #1) by Lynette Noni

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Young adult fantasy
Length: 436 pages
Author: Lynette Noni
Publisher: Pantera Press
Release Date: February 1st, 2015
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

With just one step, sixteen-year-old Alexandra Jennings’s world changes—literally.

Dreading her first day at a new school, Alex is stunned when she walks through a doorway and finds herself stranded in Medora, a fantasy world full of impossibilities. Desperate to return home, she learns that only a man named Professor Marselle can help her… but he’s missing.

While waiting for him to reappear, Alex attends Akarnae Academy, Medora’s boarding school for teenagers with extraordinary gifts. She soon starts to enjoy her bizarre new world and the friends who embrace her as one of their own, but strange things are happening at Akarnae, and Alex can’t ignore her fear that something unexpected… something sinister… is looming.

An unwilling pawn in a deadly game, Alex’s shoulders bear the crushing weight of an entire race’s survival. Only she can save the Medorans, but what if doing so prevents her from ever returning home?

Will Alex risk her entire world—and maybe even her life—to save Medora?

DIFFERENT THAN I THOUGHT.

I went into this book mostly blind because it had been a few months since I added it to my TBR because of someone’s review I had seen. I kind of like when this happens because it makes everything more of a mystery.

The biggest reason this was different than I thought was that it leaned more towards the younger YA side than the older. The main character, Alex, is 16 (turning 17 during the book), but her group of friends and interactions in general throughout the whole book just led me to think that this was for a younger audience.

I’ve decided that I did enjoy this overall. We all know that I don’t love HP, so I’m usually hesitant of fantasy/magic school based books. I didn’t mind this one. I thought the classes were interesting and I liked the teachers too. I really loved Alex’s friends Jordan and Bear. I liked that she had a friend group that were just her friends. It added an amazing version of a found family trope that I was so here for.

For the plot, I found this to give me enough information without over loading it. There was a nice build up of the villain and his background, the larger world surrounding Medora and about how the magic system worked. I liked the way the way the plot moved through classes, friend moments, action, and more. I actually got to see Alex’s entire school year which was fun too.

I’m curious how this series will continue to expand and hope to read the next book soon.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy
  • Language: none
  • Romance: none
  • Violence: swords, magic, physical; not overly bloody/gory

Instagram || Goodreads

Book Review

Book Review: A Heart So Fierce and Broken (Cursebreakers #2) by Brigid Kemmerer

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: YA Fantasy
Length: 450 pages
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Release Date: January 7th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Find the heir, win the crown.

The curse is finally broken, but Prince Rhen of Emberfall faces darker troubles still. Rumors circulate that he is not the true heir and that forbidden magic has been unleashed in Emberfall. Although Rhen has Harper by his side, his guardsman Grey is missing, leaving more questions than answers.

Win the crown, save the kingdom.

Rumored to be the heir, Grey has been on the run since he destroyed Lilith. He has no desire to challenge Rhen–until Karis Luran once again threatens to take Emberfall by force. Her own daughter Lia Mara sees the flaws in her mother’s violent plan, but can she convince Grey to stand against Rhen, even for the good of Emberfall?

The heart-pounding, compulsively readable saga continues as loyalties are tested and new love blooms in a kingdom on the brink of war.

In the sequel to New York Times bestselling A Curse So Dark and Lonely, Brigid Kemmerer returns to the world of Emberfall in a lush fantasy where friends become foes and love blooms in the darkest of places.

LEFT WANTING.

Well, I made it through this one. And about the only time I really started to feel invested was at about 85% of the way through. Barely anything of note happened up until that point. There was a lot of traveling, a lot of ho-humming, and A LOT of running away from guards.

This book felt like such a middle book that I could easily put it down. It’s way too long for what happened. I think if things were a bit more condensed then everything wouldn’t feel so drawn out. I didn’t need Grey and Lia Mara running around the countryside to get to the heart of the book.

What this book did confirm for me is how much I still don’t like Rhen. I wasn’t into him the first book, and this one didn’t help either. I can’t find anything to connect to him. He’s afraid, rude, rash in decision making and all around awful. I’m even more upset that Harper is being walked all over in this situation. I wish they had been in the book more so that I could further see how that story was progressing behind the scenes.

I’m pretty into Grey and Lia Mara. If I’m being honest, I am a shipper of Grey and Harper. SORRY NOT SORRY. But, Lia Mara is a good heroine too. And at least there was a smooth progression in their relationship and that it never jumped to anything that made me roll my eyes.

I still love Grey. He just has me smitten. I am here for him being King and ruling Emberfall. I am hoping that book three gives me the conclusion I’m craving because the ending of this left me shrugging. The orb of resurrection was alive and well for this book so now I’m wondering what that’s going to do to further the story.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Fantasy (+romance)
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: some kisses
  • Violence: whipping, swords, animal attacks, physical, knives; not very bloody/gory

Instagram || Goodreads

Book Review

Book Review: The Winner's Crime (The Winner's Curse #2) by Marie Rutkoski

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Fantasy Romance
Length: 402 pages
Author: Marie Rutkoski
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Release Date: March 3rd, 2015
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Following your heart can be a crime.

A royal wedding means one celebration after another: balls, fireworks, and revelry until dawn. But to Kestrel it means living in a cage of her own making. As the wedding approaches, she aches to tell Arin the truth about her engagement: that she agreed to marry the crown prince in exchange for Arin’s freedom. But can Kestrel trust Arin? Can she even trust herself?

Kestrel is becoming very good at deception. she’s working as a spy in the court. If caught, she’ll be exposed as a traitor to her country. Yet she can’t help searching for a way to change her ruthless world…and she is close to uncovering a shocking secret.

This dazzling follow-up to The Winner’s Curse reveals the high price of dangerous lies and untrustworthy alliances. The truth will come out, and when it does, Kestrel and Arin will learn just how much their crimes will cost them.

THAT ENDING.

This is my second time reading this series. The first time I read them, I read all three in two days. You want to know why? Because by the time I finished this book I couldn’t handle not waiting another moment to read the last installment. That’s how much I love this series.

One of my favorite romances is in this fantasy. Arin and Kestrel and THE TENSION. I can’t handle the tension. I flip pages at speed waiting and hoping and hurting for them to have a moment alone where Kestrel can explain everything to Arin. This is one of the few times that lack of communication actually benefits the book (for me). Kestrel is doing everything to protect Arin and trying to play both sides of her loyalties to do so.

Kestrel is a fantastic heroine. I want to be her friend. She’s brave, bold, and utterly intelligent. I am again amazed at her ability to politcally maneuver one way, and saving those she loves the other way. Kestrel is constantly using her knowledge to help be the best spy she can be. I love her so much.

Arin is my sweet soul that I just want to hug and explain everything too. He’s so wrapped up in helping his country and making sure Kestrel is okay that it’s swoon-worthy. I love seeing his character grow up too. Arin and Kestrel both have to start being adults way sooner than planned. They make some mistakes and grow over the course of this book especially.

Those last few scenes hurt me to my core. AH. I am so wrapped up in the story at this point that there’s no way to put it down. The betrayal, the misunderstanding, the anger, the love. IT’S ALL THERE. This is the reason I keep coming back to this series.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Fantasy Romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: some kisses
  • Violence: poison, knives, swords, animal attacks, physical

Instagram || Goodreads

Book Review

Book Review: The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: YA Fantasy / Horror
Length: 352 pages
Author: Emily Lloyd-Jones
Publisher: Little, Brown Books
Release Date: September 24th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Seventeen-year-old Aderyn (“Ryn”) only cares about two things: her family, and her family’s graveyard. And right now, both are in dire straits. Since the death of their parents, Ryn and her siblings have been scraping together a meager existence as gravediggers in the remote village of Colbren, which sits at the foot of a harsh and deadly mountain range that was once home to the fae. The problem with being a gravedigger in Colbren, though, is that the dead don’t always stay dead.

The risen corpses are known as “bone houses,” and legend says that they’re the result of a decades-old curse. When Ellis, an apprentice mapmaker with a mysterious past, arrives in town, the bone houses attack with new ferocity. What is it that draws them near? And more importantly, how can they be stopped for good?

Together, Ellis and Ryn embark on a journey that will take them deep into the heart of the mountains, where they will have to face both the curse and the long-hidden truths about themselves. 

A BIT SCATTERED.

That’s what I remember about the plot. I was 3 hours into a 9 hour book and wasn’t sure where I was supposed to even look. I’m glad that by halfway I was finally pointed in a direction that made sense and I could actually follow along.

Audio info: I didn’t have any issues with the audio. Was able to listen to it at x1.75 speed and the narrator did a great job.

Alright, here we go. I had a very close bookish friend give this 2 stars and I was wondering why because this had been so high on my releases this year! Lo and behold I get it. I did like it better than her, but I see the issues. Namely, the first one I mentioned, the plot. I didn’t know if the focus was about Ellis, or Ryn, or the Bone Houses, getting rid of them, saving Ryn’s house, finding Ellis’ family. So many things trying to happen at once in a standalone book. I will say these things all did come together and made sense by the end, but it took a folklore tale side story to connect all of the dots.

The romance between Ellis and Ryn was cute. I liked that it didn’t go past what it should have for a small time together. It made it a thousand times more believable. The slow to warm up to each other style is usually a winner and it worked out here too. It added an extra touch to the happy ending.

I thought the bone houses were definitely creepy. I liked this play on what a zombie is. They were a sinister bunch with ulterior motives and yet weren’t all at the same time. They were probably the most complex beings in this story.

Aside from the goat, who honestly felt like a Disney movie animal sidekick (Pascal, Pua, Mushu, etc.). Goat brought a lighter touch to the story, but at the same time, wasn’t necessary to much of anything.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy / horror
  • Language: maybe a word
  • Romance: a kiss
  • Violence: zombie attacks/reanimated corpses, murdered animals, physical

Instagram || Goodreads

Book Review

Book Review: The Iron King (The Iron Fey #1) by Julie Kagawa

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: YA Fantasy
Length: 363 pages
Author: Julie Kagawa
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: January 19th, 2010
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Meghan Chase has a secret destiny; one she could never have imagined.

Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan’s life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school or at home.

When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she’s known is about to change.

But she could never have guessed the truth – that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she’ll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil, no faery creature dare face; and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.

DISAPPOINTED.

I was really excited to start this book because I’ve heard great things about it. It seemed liked a great fae book with a swoony romance.

And maybe the later books are like that, but this was not the case here. The best portion was the fact that there were lots of faeries. I love all things fae and loved being in that fantasy world again. The addition of Meghan going back and forth between the fae lands and human lands was no good. I like being immersed in one world or the other. Moving between the two takes me out of the world building and story itself.

I think I would have also appreciated the romance more if I was enjoying the book more. It didn’t come about til after the second half when I was already waning on my cares for the plot. Then things between Megan and Ash ramped up quickly without enough moments for me to ship them.

Even more so, the ending happened so fast!! All of a sudden this evil guy was gone, Megan was home, brother rescued. I’m not even sure where the story is going from here frankly. Or if I will be finding out.

I really wanted to love Megan as a character. And I did for a time. I understood her being confused, messing things up and trying to figure the new world out. But then, she spent the rest of the book being rescued…over and over and over again. Not to mention, they traveled the entire book too. Which I always find kind of dry on its own.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy
  • Language: some throughout
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: swords, magic, beast attacks, guns

Instagram || Goodreads

Book Review

Book Review: Two Dark Reigns (One Dark Throne #3) by Kendare Blake

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult fantasy
Length: 464 pages
Author: Kendare Blake
Publisher: Quill Tree Books
Release Date: September 4th, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Queen Katharine has waited her entire life to wear the crown. But now that she finally has it, the murmurs of dissent grow louder by the day. There’s also the alarming issue of whether or not her sisters are actually dead—or if they’re waiting in the wings to usurp the throne.

Mirabella and Arsinoe are alive, but in hiding on the mainland and dealing with a nightmare of their own: being visited repeatedly by a specter they think might be the fabled Blue Queen. Though she says nothing, her rotting, bony finger pointing out to sea is clear enough: return to Fennbirn.

Jules, too, is in a strange place—in disguise. And her only confidants, a war-gifted girl named Emilia and her oracle friend Mathilde, are urging her to take on a role she can’t imagine filling: a legion-cursed queen who will lead a rebel army to Katharine’s doorstep.

This is an uprising that the mysterious Blue Queen may have more to do with than anyone could have guessed—or expected.

OKAY.

That’s how I felt the entire time I was reading this book. I was hoping after really enjoying book two that this was going to keep going on an uphill trajectory. Instead I’m left a little confused and a little like, should I even bother with the finale?

One of my main issues was the addition of more characters. I thought it was unnecessary in the way it was done (through dreams/visions) and took up a lot of page time. It did have a point at least and made sense to understand part of the island. But since these characters haven’t really been discussed and the flashback method not really used until now it was bothersome.

Somehow I still found myself listening [most of the time]. There’s something about the writing style that has been really good as an audio book. While enjoyable to listen to, the middle book syndrome of nothing really happening was clearly present until the last 50 pages of the book. There was a lot of ho-humming, running around and nonsense political meetings until FINALLY I got some sort of battle scene/skirmish ensued. I was actually hoping for more drama.

The queens did grow and I can actually see some character changes from them going through these trials and having to deal with the magic of the island. It has made them easier to cheer for and curious as to where their fate lies. Everything is dark and even kinda creepy. The mystery of the island is AT LAST unwinding.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy
  • Language: none
  • Romance: some kisses and not even there love scenes
  • Violence: swords, poison, physical, magic, ship wrecks, deadly mist
  • Trigger warning: brief sexual assault (unwanted touching)

Instagram || Goodreads

Monthly Wrap-Up

Monthly Reading Wrap-Up: April 2020

Y’all. This month started out so great, then I got really sick for a few weeks (NOT COVID, don’t worry y’all) and the last half just plummeted. I’m not in an awful book slump where I can’t even get myself to read a few pages a day.

I know its not a huge ordeal to stop reading for a bit, and this too shall pass, but it’s still weird not reading so many books. I’m focusing solely on the ARCs I’ve already received and titles that I’ve already pre-ordered so I can try to at least keep up with those.

I dd manage 17 books in the first chunk of April, and some good titles at that!

My favorites this month were: King of the South, Dark Skies, Voyager, Elantris and a A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder.

My least favorites were: The Kingdom of Back, The Two Lives of Lydia Bird and The Honey-Don’t List.

  • King of the South (Belgrave Dynasty #1) by Calia Reed – (☆☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • [ARC] Dark Skies (Dark Shores #2) by Danielle L. Jensen – (☆☆☆☆☆)
  • A Murderous Relation (Veronica Speedwell #5) by Deanna Raybourn – (☆☆☆)
  • Elantris (Elantris #1) by Brandon Sanderson – (☆☆☆☆☆)
  • The Kingdom of Back by Marie Lu – (☆☆☆)
  • Imagine Me (Shatter Me #6) by Tahereh Mafi – (☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • My Favorite Half-Night Stand by Christina Lauren – (☆☆☆☆)
  • The Empty Grave (Lockwood & Co. #5) by Jonathan Stroud – (☆☆☆☆)
  • Voyager (Outlander #3) by Diana Gabaldon – (☆☆☆☆☆)
  • [ARC] Breath Like Water by Anna Jarzab – (☆☆☆☆)
  • A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder (A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder #1) by Holly Jackson – (☆☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver – (☆☆☆)
  • Moment of Truth by Kasie West – (☆☆☆☆)
  • The Best Laid Plans by Cameron Lund – (☆☆☆☆)
  • The Honey-Don’t List by Christina Lauren – (☆☆ 1/2)
  • [ARC] The Tourist Attraction (Moose Springs, Alaska #1) by Sarah Morgenthaler – (☆☆☆☆)
  • You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle – (☆☆☆)

There we have it! My reads for April. Were any of these books you read too? See some favorites? Lets talk in the comments!

Instagram || Goodreads