Book Review

Monthly Reading Wrap-Up: December 2021

Hellooooo the end of the year. Wow did I end the year with a lot of reads. All of those short Christmas novellas added up! Even if only a few were okay.

Favorite Reads: All My Rage, The Mistletoe Motive, Project Hail Mary, ACOTAR [reread], Faking Under the Mistletoe [reread], Tokyo Ever After, The Bird and the Sword [reread], Our Violent Ends, Lore Olympus [reread]

Least Favorite: Falling Under the Mistletoe, Kiss the Girl

  • Falling Under the Mistletoe by Evelyn Mae
  • [ARC] Hunt the Stars (Starlight’s Shadow) by Jessie Mihalik
  • [Novella] (Not so) Alone for Christmas by Jenny Proctor
  • [Novella] The Mistletoe Motive by Chloe Liese
  • Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone (Outlander #9) by Diana Gabaldon
  • A Shadow in the Ember (Flesh and Fire #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout
  • A Loyal Heart (An Uncertain Choice #4) by Jody Hedlund
  • Christmas As We Know It by Sarah Sutton
  • Atlas of the Heart by Brene Brown
  • [ARC] Finlay Donovan Knocks ‘Em Dead (Finlay Donovan #2) by Elle Cosimano
  • Year of the Reaper by Makiia Lucier
  • Lake Mistletoe by Amber Kelly
  • [ARC] Mr. Wrong Number by Lynn Painter
  • Dreams Lie Beneath by Rebecca Ross
  • [ARC] All My Rage by Sabaa Tahir
  • Kiss the Girl (Creekville Kisses #2) by Melanie Jacobson
  • Hail Mary by Andy Weir
  • Charting Stars (The Nine Realms Tales #1) by Micheline Ryckman
  • Eight Perfect Hours by Lia Louis
  • Today Tonight Tomorrow by Rachel Lynn Solomon
  • [Reread] A Court of Thorns and Roses (ACOTAR #1) by Sarah J. Maas
  • Come Back to Me (Come Back to Me #1) by Mila Gray
  • [Reread] Faking Under the Mistletoe by Ashley Shepherd
  • Tokyo Ever After (Tokyo Ever After #1) by Emiko Jean
  • [ARC] Always Jane by Jenn Bennett
  • If the Shoe Fits (Meant to Be #1) by Julie Murphy
  • On These Black Sands (Aisling Sea #1) by Vanessa Rasanen
  • [Reread] The Bird and the Sword (The Bird and the Sword Chronicles #1) by Amy Harmon
  • The Twelve Dogs of Christmas (Pine Hollow #1) by Lizzie Shane
  • The Holiday Switch by Tif Marcelo
  • You’ll Be the Death of Me by Karen M. McManus
  • Our Violent Ends (These Violent Delights #2) by Chloe Gong
  • [Novella] Silver Bells and Secrets (Twelfth Night Novellas #1) by Laura Rollins
  • [Novella] Stranded Ranch by Cindy Steel
  • [Novella] Believe Me (Shatter Me #6.5) by Tahereh Mafi
  • [Graphic Novel] Lore Olympus: Volume One by Rachel Smythe
  • This Shattered World (Starbound #2) by Amie Kaufman
  • A Trial of Sorcerers (A Trial of Sorcerers #1) by Elise Kova

How did reading go for you in December?

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Book Review

Book Review: Lore by Alexandra Bracken

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Urban Fantasy / Mythology
Length: 480 pages
Author: Alexandra Bracken
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Release Date: January 5th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

From the #1 New York Times best-selling author of The Darkest Minds comes a sweepingly ambitious, high-octane tale of power, destiny, love and redemption.

Every seven years, the Agon begins. As punishment for a past rebellion, nine Greek gods are forced to walk the earth as mortals, hunted by the descendants of ancient bloodlines, all eager to kill a god and seize their divine power and immortality.
Long ago, Lore Perseous fled that brutal world in the wake of her family’s sadistic murder by a rival line, turning her back on the hunt’s promises of eternal glory. For years she’s pushed away any thought of revenge against the man–now a god–responsible for their deaths.

Yet as the next hunt dawns over New York City, two participants seek out her help: Castor, a childhood friend of Lore believed long dead, and a gravely wounded Athena, among the last of the original gods.

The goddess offers an alliance against their mutual enemy and, at last, a way for Lore to leave the Agon behind forever. But Lore’s decision to bind her fate to Athena’s and rejoin the hunt will come at a deadly cost–and still may not be enough to stop the rise of a new god with the power to bring humanity to its knees.

WICKED.

WOW. I was pleasantly surprised by this one. I had kept away because I honeslty wasn’t super interested until a trusted friend raved about it and thought I’d enjoy it. She was right!!

This was a twisted version of the Greek gods. It was full of violence (really, a lot of violence) and a never-ending struggle to become a new god. At first, the whole concept was confusing, but I felt by about 100 pages in, I grasped everything that was happening and why. I loved all of the gods and how vibrant every character was.

Lore did start to feel loooong towards the end. I remember having to push through the last 150 pages or so because everything just kept going. If it was a little shorter I think it would have packed a harder punch for me. I also mentally couldn’t get past the fact that the city of New York just let all of this happen every 7 years *shrug*. That’s my own issue with urban fantasies. I can’t get past the unrealistic aspects in a realistic world sometimes.

“Sometimes the braver thing is to accept help when you’ve been made to believe you shouldn’t need it.”

I really liked Lore as the main character. She was incredibly strong and indepdent. Yet (as above quote mentions) she found the ability to lean on others. Lore took nothing lying down and fought over the seven days to ensure her surival and those of her friends. The romance was perfectly accomplished too! It was sublte, on the side, and with the build-up of history made absolute sense. I was definitely shipping them and loved the nuances of their dynamic.

This was truly a great standalone fantasy. It gave a story that was action-packed and full of the strength of survival.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Urban Fantasy / Mythology
  • Language: a little
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: very bloody/gory
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: loss of family members (including parents and young siblings), murder of young children, sexual assault, proposition for marrying a child, mass murder, gun violence

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Book Review

Book Review: Rule of Wolves (King of Scars #2) by Leigh Bardugo

Rating: ☆☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: YA Fantasy
Length: 592 pages
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Publisher: Orion
Release Date: March 30th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

The wolves are circling and a young king will face his greatest challenge in the explosive finale of the instant #1 New York Times-bestselling King of Scars Duology.

The Demon King. As Fjerda’s massive army prepares to invade, Nikolai Lantsov will summon every bit of his ingenuity and charm—and even the monster within—to win this fight. But a dark threat looms that cannot be defeated by a young king’s gift for the impossible.

The Stormwitch. Zoya Nazyalensky has lost too much to war. She saw her mentor die and her worst enemy resurrected, and she refuses to bury another friend. Now duty demands she embrace her powers to become the weapon her country needs. No matter the cost.

The Queen of Mourning. Deep undercover, Nina Zenik risks discovery and death as she wages war on Fjerda from inside its capital. But her desire for revenge may cost her country its chance at freedom and Nina the chance to heal her grieving heart.

King. General. Spy. Together they must find a way to forge a future in the darkness. Or watch a nation fall.

AMAZING CONCLUSION.

WOW. This book was fantastic!! I didn’t know how things were going to shake out and I felt like everything wrapped up beautifully (and left the perfect opening for SIX OF CROWS 3).

“Because I am greedy for the sight of you. Because the prospect of facing this war, this loss, without you fills me with fear. Because I find I don’t want to fight for a future if I can’t find a way to make a future with you.”

I LOVE Nikolai and Zoya. LOVE THEM. The only thing I could have asked for in this book was more romance. I wanted it allllll. I love Nikolai and his banter (it only got better, I couldn’t help but laugh). His strength and ability to see himself and the things he wants and needs for his country. I love Zoya and her resilient nature. Coming to terms with all before her and making the ulitmate decision in the end. WHAT A QUEEN. I don’t think any of this could have gone any better.

I also liked Nina’s story line much more in RoW compared to KoS. I got to see some real development between her and Hanne. I love the roles both of them played and how they took Fjerda into their own hands. It was STELLAR.

“His life had been stolen from him, and Matthias had never had the chance to find his own purpose. I served it, my love. I protected you. To the very end.”

The twists towards the end how things worked out with the Darkling was nothing I imagined, and yet exactly what this duology needed. I loooooved this ending and wrap-up. I had my answers, my sweet moments, plenty of hopefulness and this gorgeous writing accomplished it all.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Fantasy
  • Language: a little
  • Romance: kisses & make-outs
  • Violence: battles, skirmishes, physical altercations, magical weaponry, magical creatures

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Book Review

Book Review: The Son of Neptune (The Heroes of Olympus #2) by Rick Riordan

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Urban Fantasy / Mythology
Length: 513 pages
Author: Rick Riordan
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion Books
Release Date: October 4th, 2011
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

PERCY IS CONFUSED. When he awoke from his long sleep, he didn’t know much more than his name. His brain fuzz is lingering, even after the wolf Lupa told him he is a demigod and trained him to fight with the pen/sword in his pocket. Somehow Percy manages to make it to a camp for half-bloods, despite the fact that he has to keep killing monsters along the way. But the camp doesn’t ring any bells with him. The only thing he can recall from his past is another name: Annabeth.

HAZEL IS SUPPOSED TO BE DEAD. When she lived before, she didn’t do a very good job of it. Sure, she was an obedient daughter, even when her mother was possessed by greed. But that was the problem—when the Voice took over her mother and commanded Hazel to use her “gift” for an evil purpose, Hazel couldn’t say no. Now because of her mistake, the future of the world is at risk. Hazel wishes she could ride away from it all on the stallion that appears in her dreams.

FRANK IS A KLUTZ. His grandmother says he is descended from heroes and can be anything he wants to be, but he doesn’t see it. He doesn’t even know who his father is. He keeps hoping Apollo will claim him, because the only thing he is good at is archery—although not good enough to win camp war games. His bulky physique makes him feel like an ox, especially in front of Hazel, his closest friend at camp. He trusts her completely—enough to share the secret he holds close to his heart.

Beginning at the “other” camp for half-bloods and extending as far as the land beyond the gods, this breathtaking second installment of the Heroes of Olympus series introduces new demigods, revives fearsome monsters, and features other remarkable creatures, all destined to play a part in the Prophesy of Seven.

GLAD TO SEE PERCY.

A good read! That’s how I feel about these books. I don’t want to shout at everyone that they need to read them now, but I also enjoy the ease of the writing and story. I love the characters and am excited that this one still includes some of my favorites from the original series.

It’s a bit of a slow start because it felt like a rehashing of what essentially happened to Jason in book one. After that point things picked up and I loved the additions of Frank and Hazel!

I remember chuckling a few times whenever new gods, muses and other mythological characters arrived. I love the antics and banter that come about. It’s definitely humorous and fits the younger crowd these books initally are set for. I feel like I don’t have a lot to say (like I mentioned at the beginning). This was a good one, needed more, but still would like to continue the series.

Overall audience notes:

  • MG/YA Urban Fantasy / Mythology
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: skirmishes, battles, attempted murder
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: loss of loved ones (including parents), amnesia

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