Book Review

Book Review: Starsight (Skyward #2) by Brandon Sanderson

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Sci-fi
Length: 461 pages
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: November 26th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Reckoners series, Words of Radiance, the Mistborn trilogy, and the Stormlight Archive comes the second book in an epic series about a girl with a secret in a dangerous world at war for humanity’s future.

All her life, Spensa has dreamed of becoming a pilot. Of proving she’s a hero like her father. She made it to the sky, but the truths she learned about her father were crushing. The rumors of his cowardice are true–he deserted his flight during battle against the Krell. Worse, though, he turned against his team and attacked them.

Spensa is sure there’s more to the story. And she’s sure that whatever happened to her father in his starship could happen to her. When she made it outside the protective shell of her planet, she heard the stars–and it was terrifying. Everything Spensa has been taught about her world is a lie.

But Spensa also discovered a few other things about herself–and she’ll travel to the end of the galaxy to save humankind if she needs to.

ANYONE ELSE FREAKED OUT BY SPACE YET?

But really. The whole concept of not really knowing what’s out there makes my head hurt. And reading an authors rendition of a world he’s built along the same concept is mind shattering too.

I am making my way through all things Sanderson and was anxiously awaiting for this book to make it do my doorstop. It did not disappoint! Okay, well to be honest, a tiny bit, but I’ll explain.

This was clearly, a middle book. This series is now four books and we have a two year til the next one. Spensa spent most of her time on another planet without her comrades AND I MISSED THEM SO MUCH. That was my biggest issue. I had to learn to love other characters and follow a espionage type story and I wanted my whole crew together.

Though, it looks like my ship is going to set sail by the end of this series. AND I AM SO HERE FOR IT. I love Jorgen and Spensa so much. And it also drove me crazy I didn’t get enough of them. I like where Jorgen’s story line is going so I’m curious how that will tie back into Spensa.

I love learning even more about this world. It goes to show how large of worlds Sanderson creates. There were so many different types of aliens with unique cultures and it was inventive to have them all in one local place for Spensa to mix and mingle with. It gave her a chance to see outside her own world and gave her another layer to her character arc.

Finally learning how a hyperdrive works about blew my mind. Talk about a, WAIT WHAT moment. I have so many more questions about how all of this works (in a good way). I can’t wait to see how this all works together too. They’re many building blocks that I can see that are standard in Sanderson’s work. He’s only going to take us on an even wilder ride.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult sci-fi / fantasy
  • Language: none
  • Romance: a kiss
  • Violence: space battles, guns, explosions

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Book Review

Book Review: Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: YA Fiction
Length: 277 pages
Author: Gabrielle Zevin
Publisher: Square Fish
Expected Release Date: September 9th, 2005
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Welcome to Elsewhere. It is warm, with a breeze, and the beaches are marvelous. It’s quiet and peaceful. You can’t get sick or any older. Curious to see new paintings by Picasso? Swing by one of Elsewhere’s museums. Need to talk to someone about your problems? Stop by Marilyn Monroe’s psychiatric practice.

Elsewhere is where fifteen-year-old Liz Hall ends up, after she has died. It is a place so like Earth, yet completely different. Here Liz will age backward from the day of her death until she becomes a baby again and returns to Earth. But Liz wants to turn sixteen, not fourteen again. She wants to get her driver’s license. She wants to graduate from high school and go to college. And now that she’s dead, Liz is being forced to live a life she doesn’t want with a grandmother she has only just met. And it is not going well. How can Liz let go of the only life she has ever known and embrace a new one? Is it possible that a life lived in reverse is no different from a life lived forward?

This moving, often funny book about grief, death, and loss will stay with the reader long after the last page is turned.

AN INTERESTING CONCEPT.

This was a SUPER quick read. And a very interesting take on heaven.

The whole idea of someone aging backwards until their a baby again in the land of Elsewhere was a bit odd and troublesome to me, but I thought it was unique to think about. While this didn’t change any personal concepts on what I believe the afterlife is like I still found it thoughtful.

It’s a very moving and bittersweet story for Liz, who’s life is cut way too short by an accident. She had to cope with grief and depression to find the hope that she could in her new world. Liz definitely pulled at my heart strings. I love the characters that were in her world and how they each brought something to the story. Betty, Owen, Thandi, and more surrounded Liz when she needed it to help her move on.

It’s even more well-imagined when I got to the dog portion. OHEMGEE talking dogs? SERIOUSLY ALL I WANT. I love the perspective and life and love that came from having a dog in the afterlife. They were cute and spunky and I wanted to hug them all.They also brought a different layer to the story because they were constantly just as thoughtful as the humans.

I like that there was a tiny touch of romance and overwhelming friendships. I think Liz needed something like that to understand her story of life and death. While wildly different they can also be wildly similar.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fiction
  • Language: little
  • Romance: a few kisses
  • Violence: discussion of death and how people died (some included were: cancer, overdose, hit and run, gunshot wound, plane crash, flu and more)

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Book Review

Book Review: Give the Dark My Love (Give the Dark My Love #1) by Beth Revis

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Fantasy
Length: 368 pages
Author: Beth Revis
Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date: September 25th, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

When seventeen-year-old Nedra Brysstain leaves her home in the rural, northern territories of Lunar Island to attend the prestigious Yugen Academy, she has only one goal in mind: learn the trade of medicinal alchemy. A scholarship student matriculating with the children of Lunar Island’s wealthiest and most powerful families, Nedra doesn’t quite fit in with the other kids at Yugen, who all look down on her.

All, except for Greggori “Grey” Astor. Grey is immediately taken by the brilliant and stubborn Nedra, who he notices is especially invested in her studies. And that’s for a good reason: a deadly plague has been sweeping through the North, and it’s making its way toward the cities. With her family’s life–and the lives of all of Lunar Island’s citizens–on the line, Nedra is determined to find a cure for the plague.

Grey and Nedra continue to grow closer, but as the sickness spreads and the body count rises, Nedra becomes desperate to find a cure. Soon, she finds herself diving into alchemy’s most dangerous corners–and when she turns to the most forbidden practice of all, necromancy, even Grey might not be able to pull her from the darkness. 

DARK AND CREEPY.

This isn’t a thriller, but the subject matter is definitely in that category. A wasting death that seems to be attacking everyone, making limbs turn black and amputations be the only possible solution. WHAT. Lock me in a tower and throw away the key. I don’t want anything to do with that.

I listened to this on audio so I like to mention the narration. The female voice was fine, she did it in an accent (because the character is said to have one). It was easily understood and I thought brought Nedra more to life. The male voice I did not love the way it was done. He was hard to understand and I struggled to get through Grey’s chapters because of it.

The magic system is a bit twisted y’all. I actually didn’t like it. NOT because it wasn’t thought out and put together well, but because it involved harming animals. Mice were only every actively used in this book. The concept was drawing out someone else’s pain and giving it to the mouse/rat. It made me sad for the tiny creatures.

Nedra was an MC that had to grow on me. At first I was realllll annoyed and tired of her being utterly convinced it was ONLY her who could save EVERYONE. She pushed people away so much and I kept thinking, girl chill. I did love her character change by the end because who doesn’t love when an MC turns into more-or-less a villain? It was wicked good and I can’t wait for the next book to see what she does next.

There were some plot twists at the end that I was like WAIT WHAT? [even said that out loud]. I had imagined a different character being the instigator of the plague, and was totally surprised by who it was. Love it. I love when a book can trick me and keep me on my toes.

I feel like I need to mention the romance part. There’s a little in here. Grey and Nedra form a relationship over time and it’s cute. They get to know one another and hang out, have a few sweet kisses. I did like it, but it seems like it’ll play a bigger role in book two.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: a few kisses, a make out
  • Violence: wasting illness, amputations, animals being used for magic system, guns; pretty violent and gory

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Book Review

Book Review: The Queen of Nothing (The Folk of the Air #3) by Holly Black

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: YA Fantasy
Length: 305 pages
Author: Holly Black
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Expected Release Date: November 19th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

After being pronounced Queen of Faerie and then abruptly exiled by the Wicked King Cardan, Jude finds herself unmoored, the queen of nothing. She spends her time with Vivi and Oak, watches her fair share of reality television, and does the odd job or two, including trying to convince a cannibalistic faerie from hunting her own in the mortal world.

When her twin sister Taryn shows up asking of a favor, Jude jumps at the chance to return to the Faerie world, even if it means facing Cardan, who she loves despite his betrayal.

When a dark curse is unveiled, Jude must become the first mortal Queen of Faerie and uncover how to break the curse, or risk upsetting the balance of the whole Faerie world.

NEEDED TO BE LONGER. NEEDED MORE CARDAN.

How do you start a review for a book you’ve been waiting for all year? Especially when you feel a bit let down by it? I’m not sure myself so be forewarned, this review might be interesting.

What I missed most was my sweet baby Cardan being snarky as all get out. I LOVE that I got to see a side of him that has been forthcoming throughout the previous books. He’s been changed by love and it’s an amazing character arc. Cardan lost some of his personality though and I missed his sass. You can be sassy and still in love! WHERE WAS HIS PAGE TIME TOO? Ugh. Halfway through and I had only seen him twice. I needed way more of him.

I also have thoughts about his story line that I wish I could convey, but I am not ruining it for anybody. So if you’ve read it and want to discuss please find me on Instagram! I will discuss his transformation all day.

Speaking of way more, this book was 300 pages barely. It was the shortest book in the series and it was a finale. Odd doesn’t even begin to describe my thoughts when I brought this out of the package. Everything wrapped up so fast. The action did keep moving and there was a good flow. There were no deep connections to anything happening. I wanted to dive to another level and expand upon the world and scenes.

I did love seeing how love changed Jude too. Her thoughts and actions remained more like herself at least, but she also was way into Cardan. And I was way into them. Jude made me frustrated when she kept making obvious mistakes that I knew were only leading to the next plot move.

Overall series thoughts pretty much maintain themselves for me. I’ve never been a fanatic for these books, but they’ve been a good read. A solid YA fantasy that has enemies to lovers (the ultimate trope) and fae (the ultimate character).

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: a few kisses, a love scene with minimal detail
  • Violence: sword fights, poison, arrows, animal attacks, physical

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Book Review

Top Ten Tuesday: Books on My TBR That I Predict Will Be 5 Star Reads

Happy Top Ten Tuesday!

Oh this is a good topic this week y’all. Though now I’m all up in arms that I don’t have any of these books yet. I CAN’T WAIT TO READ THESE BOOKS.

House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City #1) by Sarah J. Maas

IS IT ANY SURPRISE I HAVE HIGH EXPECTATIONS FOR THIS BOOK? Probably not. But the few lucky souls I’ve seen with an ARC have been singing its praises and I am here for MARCH.


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

My babe is on the cover, SO OF COURSE I WILL LOVE THIS.


The Empire of Gold (The Daevabad Trilogy #3) by S.A. Chakraborty

I have been anxiously waiting for this finale since I finished The Kingdom of Copper last year. This finale is sure to be epic.


Wild at Heart (Wild #2) by K.A. Tucker

The moment I heard there was a sequel I squealed. I LOVED The Simple Wild and I have high hopes this sequel lives up to it.


The Stormlight Archive #4 by Brandon Sanderson

*anxiously awaiting a title and to know who Kaladin’s love interest will be*

AND IT COMES OUT ON MY BIRTHDAY.


The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller

I have given everything Levenseller writes a 5*. I love her books. I am so excited this comes out SOOOOOOOON.


The Traitor Queen (The Bridge Kingdom #2) by Danielle L. Jensen

I’ve already read The Bridge Kingdom twice and will read it a third time before reading this book. It is my top read of 2019. Clearly I’m anxious about book two.


Where the Lost Wander by Amy Harmon

Since Amy Harmon can do no wrong, this historical fiction romance is sure to bring the tears and the stars.


Outlander (Outlander #1) by Diana Gabaldon

My friend got this for me for my birthday and I actually just picked it up a few nights ago. I have high hopes since this a favorite book of hers. I’m really curious how this story will play out!


Reign (Stormheart #3) by Cora Carmack

Admittedly, I didn’t love book two, buuuuuut I think the finale will have all of my attention. I have some really high hopes for a ship that I’m hoping will sail off into the sunset. And I mean, LOOK AT THAT COVER.

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Monthly Wrap-Up

Monthly Reading Wrap-Up: January 2020

What a month!

I may have gone a bit crazy this month and didn’t even know it until I started counting them. Granted, January lasts FOR FOREVER so you can’t really blame me. I had a great re-read, conquered a 1,200+ page beast, and threw in some cute rom-coms to boot.

This was a great start to 2020 and I am stoked for what my reading year has in store!

My reviews will be posted in the next few months! I only post Monday – Friday so my reviews get extended into other months over time.

  • [Re-read] A Court of Mist and Fury (ACOTAR #2) by Sarah J. Maas – (☆☆☆☆☆)
  • Talon the Black (the Dragonwall Saga #1) by Melissa Mitchell – (☆☆☆)
  • Regretting You by Colleen Hoover – (☆☆☆☆☆)
  • My Very Own Hitman by Izi Miller – (☆☆☆☆)
  • A Dangerous Collaboration (Veronica Speedwell #4) by Deanna Raybourn – (☆☆☆☆)
  • Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers – (☆☆☆☆)
  • Oathbringer (The Stormlight Archive #3) by Brandon Sanderson – (☆☆☆☆☆)
  • The Grace Year by Kim Liggett – (☆☆☆☆)
  • The Tea Dragon Society (Tea Dragon #1) by Katie O’Neill – (☆☆☆☆☆)
  • [ARC] Lakeshire Park by Megan Walker – (☆☆☆☆)
  • One of Us Is Next (One of Us Is Lying #2) by Karen M. McManus – (☆☆☆☆)
  • Blood Heir (Blood Heir Trilogy #1) by Amelie Wen Zhao – (☆☆☆☆)
  • Vortex Visions (Air Awakens: Vortex Chronicles #1) by Elise Kova – (☆☆☆☆)
  • [ARC] The Maiden Ship (The Maiden Ship #1) by Micheline Ryckman – (☆☆☆☆)
  • Love Is An Art by Summer Dowell – (☆☆☆)
  • 180 Seconds by Jessica Park – (☆☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • Chosen Champion (Air Awakens: Vortex Chronicles #2) by Elise Kova – (☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • Sick Kids in Love by Hannah Moskowitz – (☆☆☆☆)
  • Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys – (☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • Two Dark Reigns (Three Dark Crowns #3) by Kendare Blake – (☆☆☆)
  • The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez – (☆☆☆)
  • Akarnae (The Medoran Chronicles #1) by Lynette Noni – (☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • 10 Blind Dates by Ashley Elston – (☆☆☆☆)
  • The Iron King (The Iron Fey #1) by Julie Kagawa – (☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner – (☆☆☆☆☆)

Favorite this month: ACOMAF, Regretting you and Oathbringer

Least favorite this month: Two Dark Reigns

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Book Review

Book Review: The Valiant (The Valiant #1) by Lesley Livingston

Rating: ☆☆☆☆  
Audience: Young adult historical fiction / fantasy
Length: 372 pages
Author: Lesley Livingston
Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date: February 14th, 2017
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Princess. Captive. Gladiator.

Fallon is the daughter of a proud Celtic king, the sister of the legendary warrior Sorcha, and the sworn enemy of Julius Caesar.

When Fallon was a child, Caesar’s armies invaded her homeland, and her beloved sister was killed in battle.

Now, on the eve of her seventeenth birthday, Fallon is eager to follow in her sister’s footsteps and earn her place in the fearsome Cantii war band. She never gets the chance.

Fallon is captured and sold to an elite training school for female gladiators—owned by none other than Julius Caesar. In a cruel twist of fate, the man who destroyed Fallon’s family might be her only hope of survival.

Now Fallon must overcome vicious rivalries and deadly fights—in and out of the arena. And perhaps the most dangerous threat of all: her forbidden yet irresistible feelings for Cai, a young Roman soldier.

HERE FOR FEMALE GLADIATORS.

I read this based off of a recommendation an old friend gave me. She reads a lot of the books I recommend and I wanted to do the same for her (since we have very similar tastes). Y’all, this was a great book! I’m so happy I picked this up and definitely want to read the next one.

The setting was off the charts. I am fascinated by the Roman Empire and its history. I haven’t come across many (if all, because I can only thing of Blood and Sand right now), that use Rome has a historical fiction setting. LOVE IT LOVE IT. I found the interweaving of real life people like Julius Caesar and Cleopatra to be thrilling. I personally didn’t know that there were even female gladiators to begin with! I enjoyed reading the little note at the end about some of the history Livingston found to add some background to these fierce ladies.

Romance was fine. That was probably the only downside to The Valiant. I thought it was starting off slow (which I’m totally cool with) because Cai wasn’t in the story that much. Then I realized…he’s really not in the story that much. Until the later second half of this book do we see him more consistently. Any interactions between Cai and Fallon are full speed ahead while I’m trying to catch up with if I even ship them or not. It left a bit to be desired, but I’m hopeful in the next book I’ll get a larger flourish of them together.

There was a twist or two I did see coming that didn’t ruin the plot for me. I actually liked where it went and how all of the information played into Fallon’s life. Fallon was an amazing heroine. Brave, a bit stubborn, loyal and real. I cheered for her in her battles and on and off the fields of battle.

I’m curious how everything will further unfold in the next book. Caesar and Cleopatra are definitely playing a part in it and I think that is so cool. I didn’t even know that they actually had a relationship until this book (and a bunch of Googling afterwards).

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult historical fiction / fantasy
  • Language: none
  • Romance: a few kisses
  • Violence: gladiator battles, sword fighting, arrows; fairly bloody and gory
  • Trigger warnings: witnessing the loss of a loved one, slavery (Fallon is taken by a Roman slave trader and sold to a house for female gladiators)

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