June 2020 TBR

May was an amazing reading month for me! I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to read that much ever again, especially since I’m moving!

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My reading habits may be on a downward trend from there, but I’m hopeful that I can get through at least five books in June. Here are the eight books that I want to read this month, if all goes well. Two of these are NetGalley books that I need to get through. Two are ARCs I received in a trade that I want to read. And the rest are for fun!

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It feels good to include some books that I want to read for fun rather than an “obligation” although, can you really call it that? It’s still so much fun! I added City of Brass on there because I won the third book so I need to get reading! I don’t currently own the second book so I’m not sure if I’m going to order a physical copy or get an e-copy yet. Either way, I’m finally reading this series.

I’m so nervous to move! By the time this post goes up I’ll be moving TOMORROW!!! One thing I am most worried about is losing my reading/posting motivation, so if anyone has any recommendations for that, I would greatly appreciate them!

I’m also worried that my writing habits will decrease too. I haven’t written a word in the past week and with the stress of moving, it may be a whole month before I can even sit down and write again. But I’ll try to write as much as possible before moving day.

What are some books you’re looking forward to reading in June? Any June releases you’re especially excited for?

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ARC Review: Cinderella is Dead

I received a copy of Cinderella is Dead by Kalynn Bayron from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Let me start off by saying – there are some big themes in this book that the author covers. If you want more POC LGBTQIA+ representation, fierce female main characters, fighting the patriarchy energy, and overall discussion on oppression – Welcome! You’re going to appreciate this book. Cinderella is Dead will release on July 7th, 2020 so be sure to preorder this amazing retelling!

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Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

It’s 200 years after Cinderella found her prince, but the fairy tale is over. Teen girls are now required to appear at the Annual Ball, where the men of the kingdom select wives based on a girl’s display of finery. If a suitable match is not found, the girls not chosen are never heard from again.

Sixteen-year-old Sophia would much rather marry Erin, her childhood best friend, than parade in front of suitors. At the ball, Sophia makes the desperate decision to flee, and finds herself hiding in Cinderella’s mausoleum. There, she meets Constance, the last known descendant of Cinderella and her step sisters. Together they vow to bring down the king once and for all–and in the process, they learn that there’s more to Cinderella’s story than they ever knew . . .

This fresh take on a classic story will make readers question the tales they’ve been told, and root for girls to break down the constructs of the world around them.

First off, I love this feminist anthem. An all encompassing feminism sweeping through the land, in a place where women are seen as property. I thought the plot was not only unique, but exciting, because it’s every woman for herself (kinda). I read this book in a single afternoon – I couldn’t put it down.

The twists and turns of this story just prove how versatile the story of Cinderella can be. And I thought this was a great tale to tell. We have a POC main character who is also LGBTQIA+, because representation (woo!), and she is not a demure girl. She is ready to change the world.

I really enjoyed this new take on a classic fairytale, because sometimes it’s too male dominated. And this book proves that men are trash. Well, most men are trash. In this world, men have all the power. Women have no rights and are property owned by their husbands – if they can manage to be married. The king hosts a ball every year allowing suitors and girls to come together and get engaged. Except it’s mandatory for the women to attend while it’s optional for men. Also, women only get three years to go and find a husband before they are forfeited and forced to work in the castle as a spinster.

Yeah – these men are TRASH.

I thought the writing was great, the message was great, and we have some awesome representation for girls everywhere. I don’t think there was anything I disliked about the story, except maybe Sophia’s obsessed with her crush Erin at the beginning. It was borderline creepy how pushy she was, but it’s as indicative of a man as any might be with a girl, so maybe just proves once again that men are trash. AKA, guys do a similar thing and are called persistent – but it’s not, it’s just creepy. Though I do want to point out that Sophia doesn’t pressure Erin to love her or be with her, she’s pressuring her to leave with her. Which is a different dynamic that still felt not good because Erin is not down with the idea.

Erin tells her multiple times to leave her alone and stop trying to push her to leave. Sophia is not taking no for an answer and for the first quarter of the book is trying to persuade Erin to leave with her because they love each other. While I get her want to be with her, especially since she technically can’t, it was a bit uncomfortable to see Sophia so pushy and not listen to Erin’s wants. Even if it went against Erin’s true feelings.

Besides her pushiness at the beginning, and her quick ability to fall in and out of love, this was an awesome story and I am going to scream about it for a while. The imagery is amazing, there are twists and turns that you won’t see coming, and it’s an overall fantastic book.

Also men are trash lol

So with that being said, my review is a solid starstarstarstarstar // 5 stars! I mean there wasn’t anything huge, too upsetting, or bad about this book. There was no strong reason for me to downgrade it and I loved the story. So it gets a perfect score from me. I mean, I couldn’t put it down physically so it’s a top read for me. This book is filled to the brim with representation, so if you’re looking for gay, POC, feminist, patriarchy smashing characters (and that’s just the main character) – welcome to your next favorite read!

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If you like this book, check out The Court of Miracles (out on June 2nd) by Kester Grant or Foul is Fair by Hannah Capin.

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If you liked this review, please like this post, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!

ARC Review: Thorn

I snagged a copy of Thorn by Intisar Khanani at YallFEST 2019. My friend Grace and I both grabbed a copy and have been buddy reading this book the past couple of days. Reading the premise on the back, I thought it was interesting, but put off reading it and I need to add it to the list of books I regret putting off for so long! This book is so good in my opinion and I need to scream it into the world!

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Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

Between her cruel family and the contempt she faces at court, Princess Alyrra has always longed to escape the confines of her royal life. But when she’s betrothed to the powerful prince Kestrin, Alyrra embarks on a journey to his land with little hope for a better future.

When a mysterious and terrifying sorceress robs Alyrra of both her identity and her role as princess, Alyrra seizes the opportunity to start a new life for herself as a goose girl.

But Alyrra soon finds that Kestrin is not what she expected. The more Alyrra learns of this new kingdom, the pain and suffering its people endure, as well as the danger facing Kestrin from the sorceress herself, the more she knows she can’t remain the goose girl forever.

With the fate of the kingdom at stake, Alyrra is caught between two worlds and ultimately must decide who she is, and what she stands for.

So when I picked up this books I didn’t realize it was a retelling of The Goose Girl, which is a story I am not familiar with. You don’t need to know the original fairytale to understand the plot, but part of me wishes I had read it before starting this book, just to know the original tale and know what has changed.

There were some things I was a little pressed with when reading: 1) There is a lot of filler. Not unnecessary filler, but there are several moments in the book where a scene could have been shortened or cut and it would still make sense. 2) I thought the ending was written in a muted way. If that makes sense. Instead of feeling like a relief from the action, it feels like a sort of continuation of the action of the plot, but slightly less alarming. This could be because it will be continued, or it wants to leave off on an uphill kind of feeling. Not sure, but it was new and different, and I’m not sure how I feel about it.

Besides the filler moments, which some may find unnecessary or annoying, the book is beautifully written. Though the filler is there, it does give us some intimate moments with Thorn and other people who will eventually become her friends. We get a context to their friendship and loyalty, which we wouldn’t get if those scenes were cut. I find myself wanting more interaction between Thorn and Valka though – especially since their lives have been switched. Or even more moments where Thorn sees Valka performing as the princess. We get several scenes as Thorn the Goose Girl, or Thorn the Horse Girl, or even Thorn the Peasant and not enough of Thorn the Princess.

Overall, I love the plot, I love the slow build up to Thorn’s relationships with everyone. It doesn’t feel spontaneous or rushed. Thorn’s personality doesn’t change in a dramatic way which I find is a problem in these personality switch books. She’s also a very genuine, sweet person and I’m loving these kinds of characters! Don’t get me wrong, I’m a sucker for the hardened, badass characters who doesn’t need anyone, but getting a kind, caring main character is a nice change of pace. I also appreciate the idea of a princess who hates being a princess, but hates it for the fake formalities and not because she’s selfish. Thorn as a character proves she wants a real, genuine life with real, genuine people – which is why when she is switched with Valka, she’s happy to hand over the lifestyle. But then she also reflects that she would like to keep her duties to help people, she just wants to do it in a less grandiose fashion.

Can you tell I really love this book?

After finishing the book, I’m still not sure what to rate this book. I liked the ending, though it was a little slow. I thought that everyone got what they deserved and justice, which is often mentioned in the book, was fairly given. Part of me wants to rate this at 5 stars, but there are those slow moments in the books I’m not sure I can let slide. My heart wants to go with 4.5 // 5 stars – it was almost a perfect story.

I think there are several moments when I wish it was sped up. Intisar likes to explain things well, which can slow down the plot. I appreciate the explanation, but the inconsistency with pacing is ultimately what is bringing down my score a little bit.

I’m going to have to go with a starstarstarstar.5 //5 stars for this book. It was almost perfect. This book has been published and is available for purchase if you’re interested in reading this well written, exciting new take on The Goose Girl.

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If you this book sounds interesting, check out The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh. 

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If you liked this review, please like this post, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!

 

ARC Review: The Bone Thief

I received an e-ARC of The Bone Thief by Breeanna Shields from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I loved The Bone Charmer and I was so excited to read the sequel! I will keep this review spoiler free for book 2, but cannot guarantee it will be spoiler free for the first book, The Bone Charmer. If you have not read The Bone Charmer, feel free to check out my spoiler free review!

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Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

Saskia returns to Ivory Hall to train in bone magic, determined to stop Latham from gaining the power of all three Sights—past, present, and future. But danger lurks within the fortress’s marrow. Trials are underway for the apprentices, and the tasks feel specifically engineered to torment Saskia, which is exactly what Latham wants.

As she grows increasingly more suspicious, her thirst for revenge becomes all-consuming. Together with the friends she can trust and the boy she loved in another lifetime, Saskia traces clues from Latham’s past to determine what he’ll do next. Their search leads them across Kastelia and brings them to a workshop housing a vast collection of horrors, including the bones Latham stole from Gran, and the knowledge that the future isn’t all that’s in jeopardy—but the past as well.

So for those that aren’t aware, The Bone Thief releases today! (WOO!) If you have read the read the first book, pick up this book NOW. If you haven’t read The Bone Charmer yet, you should still pick up book 1 and book 2 because I love this duology.

It has taken me a while to write this review because I wanted to get my thoughts in order. I loved the first book and I loved the second book, but there was ONE thing in this book that makes me not want to rate it 5 stars like I did The Bone Charmer.

For those of us that did read The Bone Charmer, we know that Latham is our bad guy, he’s a super bad guy. We don’t know why he’s going after Saskia and the mystery of this is what made me love this series. Obviously we find out why he is doing what he’s doing and let me tell you, I wasn’t impressed with the reasoning. I thought it could have been a stronger motivation. You’ll understand once you read it.

Besides that issue though, everything is great. The ending felt a little too easy in a way, but I’m just here for the drama and the happy endings.

I enjoyed getting to see Saskia learn and grow from Bram a second time, although I just wanted them to just fall in love already! We meet up with some old friends and the story is like watching a movie from your childhood as an adult. There are certain things you remember, things you thought occurred but didn’t, and things that occur you don’t remember at all. It’s kind of a fun mind trick.

Besides my slight disappointment with the ending, I would still rate this book a starstarstarstarstar // 5 stars. Honestly, the creativity of this series and the growth we see in all of the characters outweighs my thoughts on the ending.

If you haven’t ordered a copy of The Bone Thief please go do so! It’s a great series and it’s worth the read.

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If this book sounds interesting, check out Thorn by Intisar Khanani, a Goose Girl retelling about a princess who’s robbed of her identity and her title by a revenge seeking sorceress. 

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If you liked this review, please like this post, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!

Summer Releases I Am Dying to Read!

Here are some of the summer releases that I am DYING to read! This list will not include ARCs that I have already read – these are titles on my TBR that I can’t wait to read! This is not everything, because that would be insane, but these are some of my most anticipated reads for this summer!

 

June GIFs | Tenor

 

  • A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown
  • Burn by Patrick Ness
  • My Calamity Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, & Jodi Meadows
  • Sisters of Sword and Song by Rebecca Ross
  • Seasons of the Storm by Elle Cosimano
  • The Court of Miracles by Kester Grant
  • The Boundless by Anna Bright
  • Forest of Souls by Lori M. Lee
  • Hunted by the Sky by Tanaz Bhathena

July GIFs | Tenor

  • Ghost Wood Song by Erica Waters
  • Burn Our Bodies Down by Rory Power
  • Unravel the Dusk by Elizabeth Lim
  • Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust
  • The Crow Rider by Kalyn Josephson
  • Cinderella is Dead by Kalynn Bayron

August GIF - August - Discover & Share GIFs

  • Set Fire to the Gods by Sara Raasch & Kristen Simmons
  • Star Daughter Shveta Thakrar
  • Harrow the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir
  • Igniting Darkness by Robin LaFevers
  • The Notorious Virtues by Alwyn Hamilton
  • Court of Lions by Somaiya Daud

 

What are some books you’re excited for? Let me know what titles I missed in the comments!

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If you liked this post, please like this post, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!

Books I Regret Buying

I am shamelessly copying my friend Alexa, Writing the Universe, on this post but I have permission, so it’s fine!

We all have those impulse buys – you know the ones – the cover you can’t resist or your friend told you to buy it. I have several of those and while I may not have those copies anymore (because I got rid of them), I’m going to cover what books I regret buying.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children Series

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I did not read this book at all. I bought an entire hardcover series and The Tales of the Peculiar signed copy and never read them. I eventually ended up selling them. I had heard great things about the first book, but I never got around to reading it, so there was no point in holding onto it. If I decide to read them in the future, I have friends who will willingly give me a copy to borrow or the library. I don’t see a point in owning this series anymore.

Illuminae/Gemina

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A friend gifted me Gemina without checking if I had read the first book, which I didn’t. So I purchased Illuminae and tried to read it. I really tried. The constant switch between formats actually made it harder for me to understand what was going on because I am a person who analyzes everything on a page, so on some pages I would take five minutes looking over anything before moving on. And then forget what happened. Maybe in the future I’ll try to read this monster of a series, especially since everyone raves about it and I loved their other series Aurora Rising, but at this moment, I regret having them. They’re taking up a lot of room on my shelf and collecting dust.

The Hunger Games

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I never read The Hunger Games. My friends read it in middle school/high school and always recommended it to me since I was a fellow reader. And it didn’t seem that interesting to me. But with constant persistence, eventually, I caved, and got a cheap/almost free paperback copy to read. I read five chapters and stopped. I hated it. I was bored to tears and honestly didn’t care about the book. So I sold the copy and moved on.

The Gilded Wolves

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I got two copies of this book, one from OwlCrate and the other I had preordered not realizing I was getting it in my OwlCrate. I have since sold the OwlCrate edition because I DNFed this book. I got over 100 pages in and I couldn’t get into it. I want to give this book another try because I love Roshani’s other series, The Star-Touched Queen, but this one was boring. I wanted a Six of Crows heist novel and I wasn’t getting that. It was frustrating. My friend Grace, who has a similar taste in books, loves this novel (and she’s the person I sold my OC copy to), so I feel like I need to give it another chance. But as of right now, I definitely regret buying this book.

Three Dark Crowns/One Dark Throne

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Before anyone comes for me, I loved these books! So it is less of a, “oh my gosh, I’m so mad I bought these, I hated the books or I never read them!” and more of a, “I don’t have the complete series and part of me wants them as e-books”. I read the first book in college in a day. Like I took it to all of my lectures and read them in that day and LOVED it. Now I have the first two books signed and I don’t own the last two books. And I kinda regret buying the first two instead of just getting a box set or getting them on kindle. I don’t know what to do!

The Mortal Gods

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Because I loved Three Dark Crowns so much, when I saw a signed copy of this at BookCon I jumped on it! Only to realize I never purchased the first book and at this point, I probably won’t! Since I’m moving, I need to reduce the number of physical books I have so I most likely will be purchasing more kindle books than physical books for the time being. Except for special editions of course! But that leaves me with a signed copy of book 2 having never read book 1 . . . So that’s a bit frustrating.

Into The Still Blue

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I saw this book on BookOutlet and didn’t even think to check the synopsis. I bought it, it arrived, and it’s the third book in a series . . .

I need to be better about purchasing books out of order, cause clearly I can’t trust myself to do the proper research! Yes, I bought the third book in a series by accident and no, I have not purchased book 1 or 2 at this point. I think I still have this book sitting on my shelf and it needs to go. Maybe I’ll get the e-book of Under the Never Sky, but who knows when that’s going to happen?

All in all, I’m grateful I don’t have too many books sitting on my shelf that I’m not going to read. I have either re-homed them or sold them, so I’m not out too much. But I’m sure this won’t be the last experience I have regretting a book I bought. Maybe I can do a series on this if it continues to happen (let’s hope it doesn’t!)

Thanks to Alexa for the idea! What are some books you regret buying?

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If you liked this post, please like this post, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!

 

ARC Review: The Court of Miracles

I received an eARC of The Court of Miracles by Kester Grant from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This book releases on June 2nd, 2020, so make sure to preorder a copy today!

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Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

In the violent urban jungle of an alternate 1828 Paris, the French Revolution has failed and the city is divided between merciless royalty and nine underworld criminal guilds, known as the Court of Miracles. Eponine (Nina) Thénardier is a talented cat burglar and member of the Thieves Guild. Nina’s life is midnight robberies, avoiding her father’s fists, and watching over her naïve adopted sister, Cosette (Ettie). When Ettie attracts the eye of the Tiger–the ruthless lord of the Guild of Flesh–Nina is caught in a desperate race to keep the younger girl safe. Her vow takes her from the city’s dark underbelly to the glittering court of Louis XVII. And it also forces Nina to make a terrible choice–protect Ettie and set off a brutal war between the guilds, or forever lose her sister to the Tiger.

First off, the tag line for this story is what caused me to request it and it’s pretty accurate! Les Misérables meets Six of Crows in this page-turning adventure as a young thief finds herself going head to head with leaders of Paris’s criminal underground in the wake of the French Revolution. I love the rewrite of Les Mis because I think we can all agree that Eponine deserved better. And she got that new ending in this story and not only did it make me jump for joy, but it made me love this book more.

We enter France after the first revolution has failed Eponine (Nina) must go to the Court of Miracles and pledge her allegiance to the Guild of Thieves in order to survive. Her sister has been taken by the Tiger and gave Nina the chance to get away. She’s one of the best thieves in the Guild and while she is surviving, she also is plotting her revenge. Years later, she adopts a young Cosette and cares for her. When the Tiger realizes Cosette’s beauty though, Nina does everything she can to take him down.

So adopted sisters are something I don’t see often and I loved it. Second, historical fiction of the French Revolution is exactly what I needed. From start to finish Nina not only proves she’s a tough cookie and a survivor, but that she has maintained a somewhat good heart through her trauma. We love morally grey characters. Another thing I really liked about this book was the fact that there wasn’t really a love interest. Ettie jokes with Nina about certain people being in love with her, but there is never confirmation and acceptance of Nina loving anyone in a romantic way.

I not only thought that it fit with the story well, but for once we don’t have a teenage girl falling in love during a revenge plot or a secret agent, thriller style plot. Nina is too busy formulating her revenge, taking care of Ettie, and looking out for herself to fall in love which I thought is pretty badass. We stan an independent queen. Now, I’m not sure if Nina is Ace, because she hints she might like a certain character, but she never fully confirms her feelings or talks about loving anyone romantically, so until the author says otherwise, I’m going with she’s Ace.

Overall, I didn’t have any complaints about this book. I thought it was a great rewrite and having this secret criminal society working in the underground of Paris was so exciting to read. This was a solid star.pngstar.pngstar.pngstar.png.5 // 5 stars and people are going to love this book!

So, if you like historical fiction, books set in Paris/Les Mis, morally grey characters, thrilling adventure, and a top notch revenge story – you’ve found your next favorite read!

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If this book sounds interesting to you, be sure to check out Spectacle by Jodie Lynn Zdrok for your mid-1800’s Paris murder mystery vibes or The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi for your mid-1800’s heist novel!

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If you liked this review, please like this post, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!

 

ARC Review: The Beholder

I am lucky to be a part of the blog tour for The Boundless by Anna Bright, so I thought a great way to prep for that would be to post my review of the first book, The Beholder!

I read the ARC of The Beholder, so I am going to count it as an ARC review, even though the book has been released. This is my first blog tour EVER, so I hope you all join me on June 7th to read my thoughts on The Boundless!

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Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

Selah has waited her whole life for a happily ever after. As the only daughter of the leader of Potomac, she knows her duty is to find the perfect match, a partner who will help secure the future of her people. Now that day has finally come.

But after an excruciatingly public rejection from her closest childhood friend, Selah’s stepmother suggests an unthinkable solution: Selah must set sail across the Atlantic, where a series of potential suitors awaits—and if she doesn’t come home engaged, she shouldn’t come home at all.

From English castle gardens to the fjords of Norge, and under the eye of the dreaded Imperiya Yotne, Selah’s quest will be the journey of a lifetime. But her stepmother’s schemes aren’t the only secrets hiding belowdecks…and the stakes of her voyage may be higher than any happy ending.

Okay, so I had heard a bit about this book and how it was like The Bachelor on the sea (technically The Bachelorette) and it wasn’t wrong, but this book is so much more. Selah’s proposal is rejected at home and her stepmother sends her on a journey across the sea to find a husband claiming no one will marry her after her public rejection. Selah is shipped across the sea and has to make a stop in the Imperiya, which is like awful. She’s terrified of the fabled, but possibly real, Baba Yaga.

Now, I love romance in books, so long as it’s not the main plot point, but I actually really enjoyed this book! The romance was a big portion of the story, but it also shows Selah cultivating friendships and learning about different cultures as she’s shipped across Europe (or what we would deem as Europe).

It’s clear that Anna created her world off of our current world, keeping some names the same, and changing some to fit her world. My favorite part was her inclusion of Finland! While it was funny to base some of the characters off of the vikings, which were more Norway/Sweden than Finland, it was still heartwarming to see my second home mentioned. For those that are not aware, I am Finnish and I actually have dual citizenship for the USA and Finland! Though I don’t speak the language well, so don’t ask!

I like Selah’s personality, more specifically her sense of honor and her trusting nature. She’s a very genuine person with her friends and her love interests – it makes the book much more enjoyable.

There wasn’t much I didn’t like, although I was a little disappointed in one of her reactions. I was rooting for them, but I understood it was to keep the plot going (STILL UPSET THOUGH!) I have heard some pretty divided debates about this book, but it’s a strong starstarstarstar.5 // 5 stars for me!

I’m really excited to read The Boundless and if you are interested in reading my review, it will be posted on June 7th, 2020! Of course, it will be spoiler free. This is my first blog tour ever, so I’m very excited to get to participate!

Have you read The Beholder yet? What are your thoughts and what do you think will happen in The Boundless?

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If you like this book, check out The Selection by Kiera Cass!

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If you liked this review, please like this post, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!

ARC Review: The Bone Charmer

I have had an ARC of The Bone Charmer by Breeana Shields sitting on my shelf for over a year. It was only when a friend of mine, Writing the Universe, moderated an event for Breeana Shields and Brigid Kemmerer, and had to read my book, that I realize I was missing out. This book is amazing and I’m honestly so upset it doesn’t have more hype around it! Nobody is talking about it, or at least I haven’t seen anyone talk about it, and it actually makes me upset. So after this review, go order the book and read it because you will love it!

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Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

In Saskia’s world, bones are the source of all power. They tell the future, reveal the past, and expose secrets in the present. Each village has a designated seer who performs readings for the townsfolk, and in Midwood, the Bone Charmer is Saskia’s mother.

On the day of her kenning—a special bone reading that determines the apprenticeships of all seventeen-year-olds—Saskia’s worst fears come true. She receives an assignment to train as a Bone Charmer, like her mother, and even worse, a match-making reading that pairs her with Bram—a boy who has suspicious tattoos that hint of violence.

Saskia knows her mother saw multiple paths for her, yet chose one she knew Saskia wouldn’t want. Their argument leads to a fracture in one of the bones. Broken bones are always bad luck, but this particular set of bones have been infused with extra magic, and so the break has devastating consequences—Saskia’s future has split as well. Now she will live her two potential paths simultaneously. Only one future can survive. And Saskia’s life is in danger in both.

I find myself not reading the synopsis of books before I pick them up/read them, but I remember reading the synopsis when trading for this, and yet I still forgot it. So when I realized we were getting two alternative timelines for the same person I had to put the book down and scream.

In joy.

I don’t think I’ve read a book that dealt with two different timelines, universes, whatever it may be called. And the way Breeana writes it is so clear and clever. Not only is each story supported by itself, but when put together they are still coherent and easy to distinguish. I have been blessed with an abundance of really good books and I’m so glad I have the ARC of book 2 available, because the ending killed me.

With two different timelines going on at once, I found myself wanting to merge them. Give us the moments in her village with her mother, but be around these people, and have this happen from this timeline, but not that. Of course, that’s not how time works and we end up seeing the two play out until they finally merge into one.

So not only did I really like this book, but I love the growth of the main character. We see how each timelines version deals with their situation and grows differently, but ultimately we leave behind the resentful Saskia as she comes to an understanding with her mother and her power. I love how the relationship between Saskia and her mother changes from the beginning of the story. As Saskia grows, so does her mother, and the relationship that blossoms between them made me so happy.

This book was star.pngstar.pngstar.pngstar.pngstar.png // 5 star read for me. I loved Breeana’s writing style, the plot, the character development, and the ending. Even if I wanted to scream at the end. Thank goodness for book 2! The Bone Thief comes out on May 26th, so if you have read The Bone Charmer, make sure to preorder or pick up a copy on release day! If you haven’t read The Bone Charmer, read it. You’ll thank me later.

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If this book sounds interesting to you, check out Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett or The Waking Forest by Alyssa Wees. 

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If you liked this review, please like this post, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!

May 2020 Mid-Month Update

May has been a very good month so far for my TBR! I’ve currently read 7/10 books I wanted to read this month, which is insane for me. Because I’ve been reading so much I decided to add some extra books to my TBR. We’ll see if I can actually get through all of them this month, but I have hope I’ll get through most!

I also wanted to provide an update – because I have been reading more and have more content, I am going to try posting five times a week, Monday through Friday. This is a change from my normal blogging timeline, but I wanted to give it a try. If it doesn’t work, I’m going to go back to my typical posting schedule, but if I can maintain it, then we’re heading towards five days a week!

What I read

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For the books I’ve read, I blew through some of them it wasn’t even funny. I’ve read two duologies, The Bone Charmer/The Bone Thief  by Breeana Shields and The Storm Crow/The Crow Rider by Kalyn Josephson so far and will have finished another duology by the end of the month! Reviews will be up for all of these books at some point in the coming days. After reading Forest of Souls (the eARC), I realized I probably should have waited to read and review it. I received a physical ARC of the book this past Saturday and I think I’m going to do a reread of the physical book to make sure my thoughts are in order. I find that sometimes I’ll rate a book differently based on format (especially for ARCs) and I really want to give this book a fair chance, especially since it has huge Wicked Saints vibes and there were moments I was freaking out about. So, review for that may be delayed. But for the most part, I adored all of these books and I can’t wait for you to read my thoughts on them!

What I’m reading

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I’m currently almost finished with Thorn by Intisar Khanani and it is so good! I’m buddy reading this book with my friend Grace and I’m really enjoying it. It’s a Goose Girl retelling, which I’ve never read, but I like it! Race the Sands by Sarah Beth Durst is a bit of a struggle. It’s not a bad book, but I am definitely not in the mood to read it right now – maybe I’ll have to stick it back on the TBR pile for a while. I started reading The Boundless and I am almost 50% through. I wanted to make sure I had enough time to read for the blog tour and have my post ready for June. So far, I’m really liking the sequel and can’t wait to see what happens next. I know that this is a duology, so I’m wondering who Selah is going to end up with, if she ends up with anyone, and if she’s going to be able to get home to her father soon. There are so many unanswered questions!

What I plan to read

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I’ve added five books to my TBR (not including the two I added and I am currently reading) since I’m getting through books very quickly. I haven’t read this much since January 2019 when I read almost twenty books in the month. It was awesome! I’m really happy I get to read books that have been on my TBR for forever, as well as new books for review or for fun. I managed to win a copy of Empire of Gold (City of Brass #3) from Goodreads too and now I have to read the other two books. Why did I enter the giveaway when I hadn’t read the other two books? – because I never win giveaways so I didn’t think it would happen.

But here we are! And now I have motivation to read the first book, The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty. I actually have a signed copy that I received for free at BookCon 2018 as part of the VIP package. I got City of Brass and The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang – which I haven’t read either yet, though I’ve heard they are AMAZING!

So here is my mid-month update! I’ve currently read 7 seven books, I am reading 3 books, and I want to read 7 books. I’m sure I won’t get to all of them, but it’s good to have strong goals, right?

How is your TBR reading going? Any books that surprised you?

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If you liked this post, please like this post, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!

ARC Review & Author Interview: Shielded

I received an eARC of Shielded by KayLynn Flanders from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. And stick around for an interview with the author after my review!

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Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

The kingdom of Hálendi is in trouble. It’s losing the war at its borders, and rumors of a new, deadlier threat on the horizon have surfaced. Princess Jennesara knows her skills on the battlefield would make her an asset and wants to help, but her father has other plans.

As the second-born heir to the throne, Jenna lacks the firstborn’s–her brother’s–magical abilities, so the king promises her hand in marriage to the prince of neighboring Turia in exchange for resources Hálendi needs. Jenna must leave behind everything she has ever known if she is to give her people a chance at peace.

Only, on the journey to reach her betrothed and new home, the royal caravan is ambushed, and Jenna realizes the rumors were wrong–the new threat is worse than anyone imagined. Now Jenna must decide if revealing a dangerous secret is worth the cost before it’s too late–for her and for her entire kingdom.

This is such a badass book with a badass main character. Jenna, our main character, is a Princess who lives her life training, studying, and hiding the fact that she has magic she’s not supposed to posses. Her father sends her off to the neighboring kingdom to be wed to the Crown Heir, Prince Enzo, but tragedy strikes when their caravan is attacked on the way there. The princess, in all her glory, takes us on a wild journey through magical forest, epic battles, and love rollercoasters.

I loved this book! It was a fun ride with action, mystery, and love – all the things you could ask for in a great YA fantasy novel. The beginning was a little slow, which makes sense since we are being introduced to this kingdom and their history, but the plot quickly picks up and takes the reader on a wild ride. I loved how the magic system was explained and how it worked. The rules that could and could not be broken upped the antics and made the stakes much higher for Jenna.

Speaking of Jenna, I love this character. She’s fierce, smart, but so kind. It was nice to see a badass female character also not be a jerk. I think all too often we get the rough girls that can’t be loved and never enough of the tough girls who love just as fiercely. It was so refreshing. We meet a lot of snarky, sassy, lovely characters in this series and the villains are top notch. Their motivation is clear, their path is set, and while they lack a bit of one on one interaction, they are still a serious threat.

This book is great for anyone who loves action, adventure, and tough girls. Jenna is not only a tough cookie, but such a sweetheart and I love her interactions with everyone she meets. She’s the kind of MC you want to be friends with. This was a solid star.pngstar.pngstar.pngstar.png.5//5 stars for me.

Now, let’s get into the real serious stuff with the author of Shielded herself – KayLynn Flanders! I was fortunate enough to be able to interview KayLynn about her experience writing Shielded and her life as a writer overall.

1. What inspired you to write Shielded?

Shielded started from a dream. The dream was really different from what the book turned into (there were neon yellow tanks in the dream?), but the emotions for the moment in the dream stayed. I won’t share spoilers, but there were people in danger, and I woke up before they were safe. My heart was pounding so hard at the cliffhanger, and I needed to find a way for them to be okay so I could go back to sleep. So I came up with a solution, but the characters stayed with me. I let that idea grow over a few months, asking questions about who the characters were, why they were in danger, and how they got out of danger, and eventually, it all became Shielded.

2. If you could choose to live in the world of Shielded, would you and where?

Definitely! I’d love to see all of the Plateau, but I’d probably feel most at home in Turia. I love farmland and orchards.

3. Hardest part about writing your book?

Keeping the little subplot pieces tightly weaved throughout every chapter is hard for me—I forget things really fast. But I’m always learning new ways to revise to help me keep track of everything better!

4. Can you tell us about any deleted scenes you wish could have stayed in the book?

Enzo used to have point-of-view chapters. I loved them, but it was the right choice to take them out. If you’re screaming WHY right now, it’s because the story is Jenna’s—Enzo didn’t have the arc that she does. I’m hoping to release some of them after the book comes out, though!

5. Favorite thing about writing/publishing a book?

I love creating the kind of story I want to read. I love seeing my drafts get better and better and closer to the original inspiration (or take a turn for the even better than I’d planned).

6. Any writing advice you can give?

Don’t be afraid to re-write. If something isn’t working, find different ways to see your story and use different mediums (paper and pen, white board, etc.) when brainstorming. Don’t be so locked in to an idea that you get stuck.

7. Any current works or plans for writing in progress?

Yes! I’m working with my editor on a sequel to Shielded, and it’s shaping up to be a lot of fun—high stakes, new lands, two POVs. I’ve also got a retelling I’m working on that I really love (and hope you all get to see someday).

8. If Shielded became a movie/TV show – who would be your dream cast?

So, the ages aren’t quite right on this, and I’ve only got a few I’ve thought about, but I’d go with a younger

Saoirse Ronan (Jennesara)

Ben Barnes (Enzo)

William Moseley (Ren)

But I’m open to suggestions!!

9. What is your favorite book and did it have any affect on your writing? 

I don’t think I can name a single Most Influential Book. Every book I read leaves its mark inside me and helps shape who I am and how I see the world. Growing up, I read several classics with sweeping language that captured emotion, I read sci-fi with mind-blowing twists, and fantasy with epic adventures. I try to bring all my favorite parts about reading into every story I write.

Thank you KayLynn for taking the time to answer my questions! If you’re looking for a great debut novel, check this one out! You won’t regret it.

And be sure to preorder Shielded before it releases on July 21st, 2020! I will provide links to order below and be sure to preorder from your local indie store if possible! 🙂

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Books-A-Million

One More Page Books (my local indie)

Book Depository

Indigo Books

Waterstones

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If this book sounds interesting, I would also check out Of Silver and Shadows by Jennifer Gruenke or The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White.

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If you liked this review, please like this post, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!

ARC Review: The Storm Crow

I signed up for Edelweiss a month ago and was rejected for every single book, except for one: The Crow Rider by Kalyn Josephson. Don’t ask me why I managed to get this book, cause I’m not sure. I haven’t been approved for anything since then either.

I had an ARC of The Storm Crow that I received from Fairyloot in their December 2018 box, but I never got the chance to read it. I even considered trading the ARC since I purchased a finished copy, but I decided to keep it just in case. Let me tell you, I loved this book. Like really loved it.

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Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

In the tropical kingdom of Rhodaire, magical, elemental Crows are part of every aspect of life…until the Illucian empire invades, destroying everything.

That terrible night has thrown Princess Anthia into a deep depression. Her sister Caliza is busy running the kingdom after their mother’s death, but all Thia can do is think of all she has lost.

But when Caliza is forced to agree to a marriage between Thia and the crown prince of Illucia, Thia is finally spurred into action. And after stumbling upon a hidden Crow egg in the rubble of a rookery, she and her sister devise a dangerous plan to hatch the egg in secret and get back what was taken from them.

My friend read the book when we first received it from Fairyloot and she loved it. She kept telling me to read it, but I was pushing it off for other books. Now that I’ve read it, and it’s sequel, I wish I had read it sooner. I may honestly make a post about books I put off and regret not reading sooner.

We meet Thia in a horrible way – her kingdom has been torched, the crows their society loved and relied on all dead, and her mother was murdered. Her older sister Caliza becomes the new Queen of Rhodaire and Thia is not doing well. One of the things I loved about this book was the representation of depression – what people can feel, what it looks like, and how to help those that are suffering from it. We see Thia unable to even get up from her bed, but her friends come together to help her heal.

The premise and the plot were so easy to get through, I read the entire book in the span of 24 hours. I couldn’t seem to put it down. We get action, adventure, romance, and revenge, well, the build up of revenge more like it. I liked Thia’s character a lot and the way she deals with her struggles, politically, physically, and mentally.

I don’t have anything bad to say about this book, like at all. I read it through and found myself on the edge of my seat, excited to see what happens next. Now, it’s book 2 that I had some minor issues with, but book 1 was amazing!

This was a starstarstarstarstar // 5 stars for me.

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If you like this book, check out Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim

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If you liked this review, please like this post, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!

ARC Review: The Vanishing Deep

Today I am reviewing The Vanishing Deep by Astrid Scholte. I read her debut novel, Four Dead Queens and absolutely loved it! The ARC I had received was a BookCon exclusive and it almost killed me to get it. Her second book is just as good, asking the question “What would you do if you could have more time after someone has passed?”

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Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

Seventeen-year-old Tempe was born into a world of water. When the Great Waves destroyed her planet, its people had to learn to survive living on the water, but the ruins of the cities below still called. Tempe dives daily, scavenging the ruins of a bygone era, searching for anything of value to trade for Notes. It isn’t food or clothing that she wants to buy, but her dead sister’s life. For a price, the research facility on the island of Palindromena will revive the dearly departed for twenty-four hours before returning them to death. It isn’t a heartfelt reunion that Tempe is after; she wants answers. Elysea died keeping a terrible secret, one that has ignited an unquenchable fury in Tempe: Her beloved sister was responsible for the death of their parents. Tempe wants to know why.

But once revived, Elysea has other plans. She doesn’t want to spend her last day in a cold room accounting for a crime she insists she didn’t commit. Elysea wants her freedom and one final glimpse at the life that was stolen from her. She persuades Tempe to break her out of the facility, and they embark on a dangerous journey to discover the truth about their parents’ death and mend their broken bond. But they’re pursued every step of the way by two Palindromena employees desperate to find them before Elysea’s time is up–and before the secret behind the revival process and the true cost of restored life is revealed.

This is Astrid’s sophomore novel and just as good as her first! I got an advanced copy of 4DQ at BookCon 2018 and it was so good! Getting an ARC of Vanishing Deep was awesome – I love Astrid’s writing and was so excited to read this book.

The hardest part about this book was the beginning. I recently had three deaths in my family this year and the death of a friend. To read Tempe’s struggle of her parents and sister dying hit me really hard and reminded me of the feelings I had experienced and am still going through. As she talks about the revival and getting to see her sister one more time alive, it almost broke me. I wanted to continue but also had to stop for my own sanity.

I’m glad I kept going though. While the beginning is heavy, the action picks up and pushes towards a different message thankfully. As the plot progresses, we get more details about the characters and find out that everything is not as it seems.

I thought the main characters were well set up and had clear motivations and intentions. The only person who I thought was under developed was the director at Palindromena. We get a character shift from her, or at least a bad perspective of her from other characters. She starts off as a nice characters we meet, but then we find out she’s a horrible person, and then we interact with her again and she’s okay to be around? It was confusing for me. I wish there was more development with that or at least a better explanation for why they somewhat ignored warnings about her.

Overall, I had fun with this story, even though it was heart breaking at first. I give this story a star.pngstar.pngstar.pngstar.png//5 stars for the unique plot, sisterly love, and fun adventure. This was a fun read and it showed a realistic look at loss and what people will do to see their loved ones one last time.

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If this story sounds good for you, check out Seafire by Natalie C. Parker for an all girl, seafaring adventure. 

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If you liked this review, please like this post, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!

ARC Review: Ruthless Gods

Spoiler warning: If you have not read the first book in the series, Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan, then I cannot guarantee this will be a spoiler free review. If you have read Wicked Saints, this review will not spoil Ruthless Gods

I am torn. On the one hand, this took me forever to read because I knew this would probably hurt me, so I didn’t want to finish it. The other part of me is mad I put it off and should have just finished sooner. Not sure which side will win the argument, but the fact is I took months to finish this book and the ending almost killed me, so here we are: writing this review in anger and resentment. Enjoy!

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Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

Nadya doesn’t trust her magic anymore. Serefin is fighting off a voice in his head that doesn’t belong to him. Malachiasz is at war with who–and what–he’s become.

As their group is continually torn apart, the girl, the prince, and the monster find their fates irrevocably intertwined. They’re pieces on a board, being orchestrated by someone… or something. The voices that Serefin hears in the darkness, the ones that Nadya believes are her gods, the ones that Malachiasz is desperate to meet—those voices want a stake in the world, and they refuse to stay quiet any longer.

So to be clear, I read the ARC of this book. Now that the finished copy is out, even though ARCs are basically final drafts, there are some editorial changes that can occur, meaning some things may be different. For the most part though, we should all be on the same page, though I’m not going to go into detail as this is a spoiler free review.

Let’s start off this review with the obvious: Emily wants to murder her readers. The emotional rollercoaster that was Ruthless Gods not only gave me several heart attacks while reading, but almost slew me at the end. Wicked Saints was a journey of its own because of the new characters we meet and grow to like – and then hate to love. Now we have characters undergoing big changes and it’s hard to watch your favorites change before your eyes.

Then theres also the fact that the previous book ended with attempted and actual murder.

My journey with this book was difficult. I often have a conflict with books I like: one part of me feels starved and needs to read it, the other is terrified of rushing through the book. I want to know what comes next without the aspect of finishing the book. Once the book is finished, there’s no more – until the next one comes out.

I have had a long time to reflect on this review because the emotions were high for me when I finished, but I’m going to be honest. It does suffer from middle book syndrome.

Now before anyone raises their pitch forks and torches, let’s remind ourselves what middle book syndrome is. It is essentially the idea that the middle book is a sort of filler between the events of book 1 and book 3 or books whatever, depending on how many books there are. Since this series is a trilogy, it’s books 1 and book 3. Now, I say this because the entire first half of the book I felt like I was going nowhere.

Nothing really happened. Why? Because we had to recoup from the ending of book 1, set up the driving force for book 2, and make sure that the momentum takes us into book 3. Middle book syndrome is not necessarily a bad thing, it can be a good thing, but it does mean that the book can lag. And Ruthless Gods lagged in the beginning.

But once the action started – OH MY GOSH. The last two hundred pages grabbed the collar of my shirt and dragged me along, whether I wanted to go or not.

So besides the apparent middle book syndrome, and character changes, what else is there. Well, nothing bad. I loved the driving force in this book and the chain of events that seemed inevitable, but really weren’t. One thing I did have to pick a fight on is Nadya. Sweet, stupid Nadya. Her actions and her decision making irritated the shit out of me. I wanted to smack her upside the head and scream at her. Now, I get the motivation behind it, but come on! So many bad choices were made and now I’m left to suffer because of it?

Why are you making me suffer?!

To wrap up my convoluted thoughts I really liked this book. Now don’t act all surprised because of what I said earlier. I was mad. Even with the lag at the beginning, once the plot gets going, you won’t be disappointed. I threw the book and was SCREAMING at the end, so that should tell you the mindset I am coming from as I write this. Just like with Wicked Saints, this book is a star.pngstar.pngstar.pngstar.pngstar.png // 5 stars for me. If you haven’t read Wicked Saints yet, get on it. It’s a fantastic series!

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If this book sounds interesting to you, be sure to check out Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo, Cruel Prince by Holly Black, or Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin.

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If you liked this review, please like this post, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!

Review: The Priory of the Orange Tree

I buddy read the BEA ARC of this book with my friend Grace and it took us about a week to read through it. This monster of a book is 800 pages of pure fantasy awesomeness. We have dragons, witches, mages, dragon riders, and so much action. I was a bit nervous to read this, but I read Kingdom of Ash which is almost 1,000 pages in the span of three days, so it can’t really be that intimidating. Spoiler: it wasn’t intimidating at all and I loved it!

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Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

The House of Berethnet has ruled Inys for a thousand years. Still unwed, Queen Sabran the Ninth must conceive a daughter to protect her realm from destruction—but assassins are getting closer to her door.

Ead Duryan is an outsider at court. Though she has risen to the position of lady-in-waiting, she is loyal to a hidden society of mages. Ead keeps a watchful eye on Sabran, secretly protecting her with forbidden magic.

Across the dark sea, Tané has trained all her life to be a dragonrider, but is forced to make a choice that could see her life unravel.

Meanwhile, the divided East and West refuse to parley, and forces of chaos are rising from their sleep.

At first, I was unsure if this book was part of a series or a standalone, but looking at Goodreads it appears it is a standalone. This is a monster of a book, in the fact that not only is it about 850 pages, but there are multiple perspectives and places that this story jumps between. Once you’ve become acquainted though, the jumps become much easier to go with. I really go into it about 150-200 pages in and found myself sucked in until the end.

We read 75 pages at a time, until the last chunk where I read about 200 pages at once. Once you get to the last 300 pages, the action gets really intense and you just want to read right through it. First off, we are introduced into a world where a great dragon was defeated and locked away for a thousand years, and now might be coming back. There is the West where they worship the six saints of Knighthood and they believe the Queen of Inys is what keeps the Nameless One at bay and her future daughters will do the same.

Then there’s the East, who worships dragons, but a different kind than the Nameless One. Fire breathing dragons are feared, but there are others that are worshiped, kind, and even are ridden. These two sides of the world do not cooperate but as the threat of the Nameless One grows higher, they may have to put their differences aside to fight a common threat.

So the multiple characters we get to meet are all awesome, except I hate Dr. Roos. I won’t go into details about why but he is such a little snake and I could do without his POVs. Everybody else was a wild ride to read about. We get love affairs, battles, pirates, and such much stuff going on! Some chapters do drag a little because of background information, but for the most part the book starts and you’re immediately getting into action.

This was an easy read for me and I found myself glued to the edge of my seat unable to put the book down. The last three 300 pages of reading I suggested increasing the amount of pages from 75 to 100 then ended up binging the last 200 pages. The ONLY thing I thought could have been better was the epic battle this book was leading up to! It was intense, it was wild, and it was short. I wanted like the last 200 pages to be this epic battle going on and it just wasn’t that. It really disappointed me and my friend Grace that it couldn’t be longer.

Overall, the fantasy is fantastical, the characters are captivating, the plot is superb, and the battle was okay. This was a star.pngstar.pngstar.pngstar.png.5 // 5 stars for me. And honestly, the only thing that prevented it from being 5 stars was Dr. Roos and the battle scene.

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If this book sounds interesting to you, check out Samantha’s other series The Bone Season or Nevernight by Jay Kristoff. 

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If you liked this review, please like this post, leave a comment, follow, share with your friends – anything is appreciated!

ARC Review: Hunting November

I received an eARC of Hunting November by Adriana Mather from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This is the sequel to Killing November, so if you haven’t read the first book, check out my review!

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Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

Surviving a few weeks at the world’s most lethal boarding school was one thing. But now comes the real test: Can November Adley find her missing father before her enemies find her? Subterfuge is the name of the game in this thrilling sequel to Killing November, from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of How to Hang a Witch.

After surviving a crash course in espionage at the mysterious Academy Absconditi, November has only one purpose: finding her missing father. Along with fellow student (and heartthrob) Ash, November follows the clues that her father left, embarking on the deadliest treasure hunt of her life. The first clue is in her hometown, where old friends beckon and unexpected enemies lurk around every corner. The second clue is in Europe, where revelations about her family’s history will plunge her into an international web of deception, lies, and intrigue. The third clue is deep in enemy territory, surrounded by the most skilled assassins and master strategists, and where everyone wants her and her father dead. Can one girl with limited training infiltrate a centuries-old organization that is powerful enough to topple empires? November only knows that she’ll do whatever it takes to save her father . . . or die trying.

To start off, we pick right up from the action at the end of Killing November, which was a little disorienting since I haven’t read the book in a year. We immediately jump into action as the characters race off into action, getting the party started. Once the action starts it doesn’t stop for November. It was so intense, especially at the end, that I ended up staying up until 3:00am to finish this story.

I thought it was a great end to Killing November. There was action (duh, they’re like spies), drama, and good endearing moments. I loved the moments between November and Ash specifically cause teenage love is cute, but it also broke up the high risk action scenes. There was a lot I liked about the book, but I want to keep this spoiler free, so I won’t say what it is.

The biggest reasons why I didn’t give this a higher rating though is 1) I was immediately thrown into action with no recap, or explanation, just action. I’m not a big fan of that. 2) There were some moments where certain characters experienced a total personality switch between book 1 to 2. And it remains unexplained through the entire book. 3) I thought the ending was sweet, but it was predictable and felt a little lack luster to me.

I was a little disappointed at the ending actually. We get this intense story with a huge climax and then the ending felt flat after that. I wanted the action to keep going but it just suddenly stops. While I’m happy for November, I wanted the spy action to continue “of screen” and keep the momentum going.

Besides those issues I thought this was an awesome sequel! We get a nice, even end to November’s story and I’m fairly satisfied. This was a solid star.pngstar.pngstar.png.75 // 5 stars for me.

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If this series sounds interesting, check out Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo or Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte.

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Writing Update #2

It has been a while since I’ve done a writing update so I thought I would let you know how my manuscript is going!

Writing GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

First off, I managed to get to 90 pages/26,000 words before I realized that the whole thing had to be scraped! It was devastating but also very needed. The story idea I had wasn’t working out on the page and it might be better as a middle grade, but I’m not ready to write that story just yet. I decided to scrap the thing and just rewrite it. So no more mermaids, hello witches!

The actual writing for it is between older YA and adult – I’m not quite sure where it lands yet. I think it’s going to hit upper YA/NA territory, but I’m over 25,000 words into it, so we’ll see!

For this process, I decided to save the original draft (NEVER DELETE ANYTHING!) and copy the draft into a new document. As I’m writing, I’m going chapter by chapters, reading through what I have and salvaging what I can. The beginning has all been deleted. There was nothing there I could keep, but the more middle parts might be saved depending on where this book goes.

hiding Blank Template - Imgflip

So far, my manuscript word count is at 25,021 words or 76 pages. Which I wrote in a week and a half and still writing. I would be at a higher word count, but Friday and Saturday were not good writing days. I wrote a little bit on those days, but I think it was maybe 1200 words total for the two days. I started rewriting this draft two weeks ago and I’m proud of what I’ve done so far!

My writing process is pretty much a pantser – I have a general plot line I want to follow, but my characters are holding the reins on this one and I’m just following their story! I’ve been writing about a chapter a day, with each chapter being at least 5-6 pages long. Some are shorter, some are longer, but that’s the average for this draft. I’m hoping to hit at least 100,000 words for this draft, but we’ll see if it gets there. So far, I have high hopes that this will be a solid, long draft that I can work some magic into!

My goal for next week is to add at least another 15,000 words to the draft and really get this story going. When I opened my draft for the first time in a while, I was at 23,000 words. I added about 3,000 and then realized it all had to go! So fingers crossed I can get to 40,000 by the end of the week!

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May 2020 TBR

April was an amazing reading month for me! I read twelve books last month which is amazing for me cause usually I read two. Yes, you read that correctly – normally I’m lucky if I finish two books in a month and I read twelve in April. Thanks quarantine.

Since I’m on a roll, here’s what I hope to read in May!

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A lot of the books I’m reading are part of series or a duology because I was approved to review the sequel, but haven’t read the first book yet. So for The Bone Charmer/Bone Thief and The Storm Crow/Crow Rider, I was approved for the second book and now obviously need to read the first one.

For The Boundless I am actually part of a blog tour for it! So you will see my review at the beginning of June! I haven’t read The Beholder yet, so I’m going to read that and then I can get working on review The Boundless. This is my first blog tour EVER and I’m really excited to be able to participate, although I have no idea what kind of things they want me to do before I review it. I guess promote it on social media? But when? Lots of questions here!

Currently I am reading The Bone Charmer and The Court of Miracles and I hope to have them finished by the end of the day.

Let me know if you’ve read of these and your thoughts on them! And let me know what you’re planning on reading next!

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