ARC Review: A Golden Fury

I received a copy of A Golden Fury by Samantha Cohoe from NetGalley and Wednesday Books in exchange for an honest review.

I found myself unable to put this book down while I was reading it. It’s an intense read that asks a lot of philosophical questions. A lush realistic fantasy that warns the readers – what will you give up for power?

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ARC Review: The Silvered Serpents

I saw that The Silvered Serpents by Roshani Chokshi was Read Now on NetGalley and without thinking, I downloaded it to my kindle. I hadn’t read The Gilded Wolves, in fact, I had DNFed it originally. But I downloaded it anyways because *cue the theme song* I’m an idiot!

But I ended up loving The Gilded Wolves and, not surprisingly, I loved The Silvered Serpents even more!

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Audiobook Review: Haunting the Deep

Today, I am reviewing the audiobook for Haunting the Deep by Adriana Mather. This was the first audiobook I’ve ever listened to (at least fully) and it was pretty good! Finding the right speed for me was tough and I’m pretty sure I missed like half the book just zoning out listening, but I really liked the experience! Especially since I can get them through my library through Libby.

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ARC Review: Meme

I received an e-ARC of Meme by Aaron Starmer through NetGalley from Penguin Teen in exchange for an honest review.

I’ve been on such a thriller kick recently I couldn’t resist requesting this book. This is one of the titles from Penguin’s Influencer group and it was a really good pick. I honestly think I’ll re-read it for the spooky season and if you’re hunting for spooky books to read this year, you’ll want to check this one out!

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ARC Review: Fable

Today I am reviewing Fable by Adrienne Young. This was a Read Now option on NetGalley and I absolutely dove for it! Thank you Wednesday Books for letting me snag a copy of this book for review!

Before I start this review, can we just admire how beautiful this cover is! And Namesake is so cool too for being the other side of her face. I just love it!

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Review: A Touch of Gold

I’ve been in this awful habit of requesting sequels I have the first book for and just haven’t read. It’s such a bad habit that it’s caused me to have more than 20 eARCs I had to read and simply not enough time. Which is why I’m basically bingeing off all the upcoming September and October reads right now. I’m overwhelmed!

I received an eARC of A Curse of Gold by Annie Sullivan through NetGalley from one of these requests. I owned the ebook of A Touch of Gold, so thankfully it wasn’t too much of a panic to receive book 2, but I was still panicking a little.


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DNF Review: Sanctuary

I received an ARC of Sanctuary by Paola Mendoza and Abby Sher from Penguin Teen through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I don’t think I’ve ever written a DNF (did not finish) review before, so this is a first. Usually when I DNF a book, it’s not an ARC I’ve been given by the publisher for review, it’s one that I decided to read on my own. After the whole debacle on Sunday regarding an author calling out a reviewer for DNF-ing and posting a “bad” review on Goodreads, I am a little nervous to post my thoughts.

But, the whole point of reviewing books are to review them, good or bad. So I’m gonna talk about why I DNFed this book and what my thoughts are. Surprisingly, they’re not bad at all!

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August 2020 Mid-Month Update

I love doing mid-month updates because it allows me to not only see my progress, but think back on the books I read that month. I still can’t believe I’ve read as much as I have and I think I might actually finish my TBR this month! I keep surprising myself every time I set a high TBR, thinking I couldn’t possibly finish all those books.

August and September are my crazy months due to all of the ARCs I received from publishers, giveaways, and what I just currently had. I’m hoping things calm down quickly so I can read books that I have been dying to read (like Kingdom of Copper!) but just don’t have the time right now. Anyways, here’s what I’ve read, what I’m currently reading, and what I plan to read next!

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New Blog Tour!

Hey guys! Some exciting news! We have a new blog tour coming out! Sign ups went out today, so if you’re interested, be sure to follow the link to sign up!

We are so excited about this book. This is an INTERNATIONAL tour and it is open to bloggers and Instagrammers alike! Instagrammers will have to be US only because you will receive a physical ARC of the book but all bloggers (US + International) are welcome! Bloggers will receive an electronic ARC for review.

This is an Own Voices book so we are prioritizing Asian reviewers, specifically Chinese reviewers, but all are welcome to apply!

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ARC Review: The Whitsun Daughters

I received a copy of The Whitsun Daughters by Carrie Mesrobian from Penguin Teen in exchange for an honest review.

So my initial read of the description got me really excited! Until I got to the ending. There were so many good things in this book and then it ultimately flopped for me. There will be some spoilers in this review, but I have marked them in case you want to remain spoiler free.

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ARC Review: A Wicked Magic

This book was given to me for review by the publisher and Fantastic Flying Book Club. After hearing all the awful things that FFBC was doing, I formally left the tour. I was supposed to post my review for their blog tour, but instead, I will simply be posting my review for the author and the publisher.

Today, I am reviewing A Wicked Magic by Sasha Laurens, a debut YA paranormal novel about two teenage witches who unwillingly band together to fix the magical mess they’ve made. This title releases on July 28th, so be sure to preorder a copy today!

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Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina meets The Craft when modern witches must save teens stolen by an ancient demon in this YA fantasy-thriller debut.

Dan and Liss are witches. The Black Book granted them that power. Harnessing that power feels good, especially when everything in their lives makes them feel powerless.

During a spell gone wrong, Liss’s boyfriend is snatched away by an evil entity and presumed dead. Dan and Liss’s friendship dies that night, too. How can they practice magic after the darkness that they conjured?

Months later, Liss discovers that her boyfriend is alive, trapped underground in the grips of an ancient force. She must save him, and she needs Dan and the power of The Black Book to do so. Dan is quickly sucked back into Liss’s orbit and pushes away her best friend, Alexa. But Alexa has some big secrets she’s hiding and her own unique magical disaster to deal with.

When another teenager disappears, the girls know it’s no coincidence. What greedy magic have they awakened? And what does it want with these teens it has stolen?

Set in the atmospheric wilds of California’s northern coast, Sasha Laurens’s thrilling debut novel is about the complications of friendship, how to take back power, and how to embrace the darkness that lives within us all.

I really enjoyed this book. It was magical and fun with some very interesting characters. The beginning pulled me in quickly, but I found that the middle was pretty slow. I felt like the beginning and end were well thought and executed, but the middle was lagging in terms of action. It began to feel repetitive as the same issues rose up for Dan and Liss that they had to work through.

Alexa’s story on the other hand got my attention. I wanted to read more about her and what was going on with Lorelai’s investigation. The whole first half of the book was focused on Dan and Liss’ situation with occasional sections on Alexa – but in the second half we get to see her a lot more and that’s when things get interesting.

Focusing on the plot, this book was so good. The actual events that go on and what these girls have to face was insane and super creepy. I wish I had read this book for Halloween with the amount of creepy, eerie things that happen. I also was a bit upset about who Alexa ended up with, because I was kind of rooting for someone else. On the other hand, she ends up with a really sweet girl and seems really happy.

For the characters, we see a lot of growth between the three, especially for Liss in my opinion. Honestly, I didn’t like Liss’ character at all in the beginning, but after finding out more about her home situation and her motivation for things, I just feel sorry for her. The changes she goes through made her into a much healthier person and I loved seeing her growth. Dan also goes through a much needed change and comes out a healthier, hopefully happier, person.

One thing that I think the author was trying to make cannon was Dan’s sexuality. We know Liss is straight (or at least very interested in her boyfriend Johnny) and Alexa is gay, but we never learn about Dan. Not that it’s important, but I can’t help but wonder where the author was going for her. See, in the book, Dan comes across as ace (asexual) or somewhere along the ace spectrum. But it’s never confirmed, denied, or really discussed. Part of me wants an answer, but it doesn’t really affect the story much whether or not she is. I’m just curious, I guess.

Overall, this book was written beautifully and it dives into things like self harm, depression, abusive home life, and other important conversations like that. These issues are discussed and handled carefully and I appreciate the work the author put in to represent these topics well. Though the middle was really slow for my taste, I think this book was still awesome. I loved learning about how magic worked in this world and pairing it with real teenage problems.

I think a lot of people will not only enjoy this book, but learn that things aren’t always what they seem. So, I’m giving this a starstarstarstar // 5 stars!

 

 

Review + Blog Tour: Mayhem

I am so excited to be a part of the Mayhem blog tour through Wednesday Books! I was lucky enough to win a copy of Mayhem by Estelle Laure through the Wednesday Books giveaway, Nostalgia Hour, a couple months ago and when I saw the opportunity to jump on this blog tour, I had to take it!

Book Information:

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Here is the synopsis through Goodreads:

A YA feminist mash up inspired by The Lost Boys and The Craft.

It’s 1987 and unfortunately it’s not all Madonna and cherry lip balm. Mayhem Brayburn has always known there was something off about her and her mother, Roxy. Maybe it has to do with Roxy’s constant physical pain, or maybe with Mayhem’s own irresistible pull to water. Either way, she knows they aren’t like everyone else. But when May’s stepfather finally goes too far, Roxy and Mayhem flee to Santa Maria, California, the coastal beach town that holds the answers to all of Mayhem’s questions about who her mother is, her estranged family, and the mysteries of her own self. There she meets the kids who live with her aunt, and it opens the door to the magic that runs through the female lineage in her family, the very magic Mayhem is next in line to inherit and which will change her life for good. But when she gets wrapped up in the search for the man who has been kidnapping girls from the beach, her life takes another dangerous turn and she is forced to face the price of vigilante justice and to ask herself whether revenge is worth the cost.

From the acclaimed author of This Raging Light and But Then I Came Back, Estelle Laure offers a riveting and complex story with magical elements about a a family of women contending with what appears to be an irreversible destiny, taking control and saying when enough is enough.

Review:

When I read the synopsis I knew I had to read this book. Feminist mash up? Inspired by The Craft? Sign me up! I was so excited to read this book, until I start reading it. This was a really intense book that I honestly didn’t expect and I have a lot of thoughts on it. 

One thing I wish I knew going into this book was that the beginning (and some of the tones in general) are pretty heavy. In the final draft there will be a note from the author discussing some of the more serious topics in this novel, but I didn’t get a letter or a warning for the ARC. There is a lot of heaviness to this book, including rape, suicide, assault, murder, and drug abuse. I didn’t realize how intense this book was until I started reading, but Laure does a great job in discussing these issues and not just using them as a shock factor or background. While I would have liked to know those topics would be discussed, I think the author did a good job in discussing them.

I will include Laure’s note, which will be printed in final copies, below in the Author Information section.

The beginning was a bit “slow” in a way as we’re introduced to Mayhem and Roxy, as well as their past. We learn about why Roxy left Santa Maria and why they’re returning home after all these years. I like how Laure mixes in the past with the present to give one cohesive story. Though, I found that the plot of the book didn’t start until more than halfway through.

I wanted more of The Craft, feeling wise, and I didn’t get it. The majority of the book felt like a contemporary novel as Mayhem deals with her and her mother’s past once they return to Santa Maria. The fear of Mayhem’s step-father coming after them, relearning how to feel safe, dealing with her mother’s addiction – it’s a lot for a teen. And honestly, if that was the whole book, I would have been satisfied. The focus on Mayhem and her mother’s relationship, and working through their trauma, would have been a beautiful book.

But once the magic is added in, about 50% through, it changes the feel of the story. I liked the magic, though I didn’t understand it fully. My only complaint is that since the magic and this new storyline comes in late, I wish we had more time with it.

The main climatic event is fast and it left me unsatisfied. I wanted more to solving the mystery, more to the magic, and more in general.

Overall, I like the story and I loved watching Mayhem and Roxy reconnect. I thought the murder mystery was a cool aspect, though it wasn’t really touched on much. And the magic had so much potential, but it just felt underdeveloped unfortunately. Though I do love Laure’s writing and the Mayhem’s overall journey.

In the end, I would give this book a starstarstar.5 // 5 stars.

Author Information:

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Author Bio:

Estelle Laure is a Vonnegut worshipper who believes in love and magic and the power of facing hard truths. She has a BA in Theater Arts from New Mexico State University and an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and thinks everyone should have to wait tables or work in a kitchen at least once in their lives. She lives in Taos, New Mexico with her children.

Author Note:

Dear Reader,

Like Mayhem, I experienced a period of time when my life was extremely unstable. I can still remember what it was like to be shaken so hard I thought my head would come off, to watch the room vibrate, to feel unsafe in my own home, to never know what was coming around the next corner. I wanted to run. I always wanted to run.

I ran to friends, but also movies and books, and although girls were more passively portrayed in movies like The Lost Boys back then, that feeling of teenagers prowling the night, taking out bad people, being unbeatable . . . that got me through it.

I guess that’s what I tried to do here. I wanted girls who feel powerless to be able to imagine themselves invincible. And yes, I used a rape as the seed for that fierce lineage, not without thought. For me, there is nothing worse, and I like to think great power can rise up as a result of a devastating trespass.

Please know I took none of this lightly. Writing this now, my heart is beating hard and my throat is dry. This is the first time I not only really looked at my own past, the pain of loss, the pain of the loss of trust that comes when someone puts hands on you without permission, the pain of people dying, the shock of suicide, and put all of it to paper in a way that made me feel victorious, strong, and warrior-like. It is also terrifying. I know I’m not the only one who had a scary childhood, and

I know I’m not the only one who clings to stories as salve to smooth over burnt skin. I am so sick of girls and women being hurt. This was my way of taking my own vengeance and trying to access forgiveness.

Thank you for reading and for those of you who can relate, I see you and you are not alone.

Estelle Laure

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Pre-Order the book here!

 

Review: Crave

I have wanted to read Crave by Tracy Wolff since way before it came out. Alexa (Writing the Universe) won an ARC box for this book and absolutely loved this book! She talked so highly about it I wanted to read it ASAP.

Well, you know, life happens! I didn’t get a chance to read it when it came out, but finally, FINALLY, I read this book and OMG I LOVED IT.

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Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

My whole world changed when I stepped inside the academy. Nothing is right about this place or the other students in it. Here I am, a mere mortal among gods…or monsters. I still can’t decide which of these warring factions I belong to, if I belong at all. I only know the one thing that unites them is their hatred of me.

Then there’s Jaxon Vega. A vampire with deadly secrets who hasn’t felt anything for a hundred years. But there’s something about him that calls to me, something broken in him that somehow fits with what’s broken in me.

Which could spell death for us all.

Because Jaxon walled himself off for a reason. And now someone wants to wake a sleeping monster, and I’m wondering if I was brought here intentionally—as the bait.

I will admit, I was a die hard Twilight fan back in middle school. It was the book that kicked off my obsession with vampires. After Twilight I read Vampire Academy, Cirque du Freak series, Marked series, Vampire Kisses series, Chronicles of Vladimir Tod series, Night World series, Vampire Diaries series – literally anything vampire related, I read it.

So when I picked up this book my inner middle schooler was SCREAMING. I mean I was thrown back in time and feeling all the same feelings as a kid. Especially the way Grace describes Jaxon and her surroundings. It’s very reminiscent of the Twihard era. Then we have Jaxon Vega. Our main love interest who’s mysterious, sassy, and all together swoony who can’t help himself when he’s around Grace. UGH, the teenage hormones in this book were WILD.

I loved the addition of other magical creatures though. This world doesn’t just have vampires – we have dragons, witches, and werewolves together bringing us a magical story that I could not put down. And those are just the creatures we know about. I can only imagine there might be more magic just around the corner and honestly, I need to read Crush like NOW.

Wolff does make fun of the vampire tropes, like instant love and insatiable attraction, and it’s hilarious. I loved the humor throughout this book and I think that’s what made it so much fun to read. I wanted more with every page and those chapter titles: gold.

The beginning is a bit slow and the revelation Grace has comes in pretty far into the book. While I like how it was revealed, part of me wanted it sooner so we could jump into all the magic!

I wasn’t sure what I was going to rate this book, but after the ending, it’s a definite starstarstarstarstar // 5 stars from me! I can’t wait to get sucked into Crush when it releases on September 29th, 2020!!!

Plus, check out this gorgeous cover!

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If this book sounds interesting, check out the books I read/recommend up above! They’ll satiate all your vampire needs!

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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: Aurora Burning

Aurora Burning by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff is the second book in the Aurora Cycle series. If you have not read the first book, Aurora Rising, feel free to check out my spoiler free review here! While this post will be spoiler free, I cannot guarantee that it will not spoil the first book, so if you have not read it yet, thanks for checking out this post and hopefully I’ll see you again once you’ve finished Aurora Rising!

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Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

Our heroes are back… kind of. From the bestselling co-authors of the Illuminae Files comes the second book in the epic series about a squad of misfits, losers, and discipline cases who just might be the galaxy’s best hope for survival.

First, the bad news: an ancient evil—you know, your standard consume-all-life-in-the-galaxy deal—is about to be unleashed. The good news? Squad 312 is standing by to save the day. They’ve just got to take care of a few small distractions first.

Like the clan of gremps who’d like to rearrange their favorite faces.

And the cadre of illegit GIA agents with creepy flowers where their eyes used to be, who’ll stop at nothing to get their hands on Auri.

Then there’s Kal’s long-lost sister, who’s not exactly happy to see her baby brother, and has a Syldrathi army at her back. With half the known galaxy on their tails, Squad 312 has never felt so wanted.

When they learn the Hadfield has been found, it’s time to come out of hiding. Two centuries ago, the colony ship vanished, leaving Auri as its sole survivor. Now, its black box might be what saves them. But time is short, and if Auri can’t learn to master her powers as a Trigger, the squad and all their admirers are going to be deader than the Great Ultrasaur of Abraaxis IV.

Shocking revelations, bank heists, mysterious gifts, inappropriately tight bodysuits, and an epic firefight will determine the fate of the Aurora Legion’s most unforgettable heroes—and maybe the rest of the galaxy as well.

So I had seen some … adverse reactions to this book. And I’ll be honest, I was nervous. After finishing Aurora Rising, and crying for hours afterwards, I knew Jay and Amie were out to get us.

The beginning of this book was sad. Everyone was still sad and sore about Cat’s death (honestly, me too) and we’ve now unlocked a piece of the puzzle. Seeing everyone go through their mourning for Cat, as well as continuing to fight to help Auri save the world, is hard. Especially for Tyler.

While the beginning started off slow (for like a few pages lol), we quickly jump back into action and into galaxy saving mode. This whole book was an action filled revelation waiting to happen and the last 150 pages had me locked in.

And the ending. Well, I think I summarized my feelings on the ending with this tweet. Also Jay’s reaction was pretty funny!

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Yeah, I was pretty upset. Not sure why Amie and Jay decided to end the book this way, but it ripped my heart out and I’m mad! If you know their writing style, you’ll know what kind of ending I’m talking about.

One of the things I loved the most about this book were the characters. Tyler, while always the golden boy, breaks out of his strict mold. Zila speaks up more and I love it. We see a change in every character throughout this book and I’m here for it. And after that ending, I’m really curious to know what happens to them now.

One thing that annoyed me though was a certain moment in the book. I won’t go into detail, but this revelation came about and I don’t know how I felt about the reaction to it. Like, it didn’t seem fully fair and I think some biases came into play here. It made me really upset and this character did not deserve it one bit.

Besides that, I love this series. I’m really upset I don’t have the next book in my hands ready to go. I really want to know what happens next!

If you’re surprised that I’m giving this book starstarstarstarstar // 5 stars – why? I loved Aurora Rising and I loved Aurora Burning – each for their own unique reasons. I can’t wait for the next book to come out and hopefully we don’t have to wait too long!

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If this book sounds interesting to you, check out Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles Series) by Marissa Meyer or Zodiac by Romina Russell. 

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

Villains I love and love to hate

The best stories have a good plot, diverse characters, and a villain you can’t help but love. The more interesting a villain, the more I enjoy a book, and sometimes it’s hard to get that perfect balance of evil and likable. So, here’s a list of some of my favorite villains!

A Villain I LOVE

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The Darkling is such a charming, charismatic person you can’t help but love him. Every interaction Alina had with him had me anxiously waiting to see what happened next. He believed in his mission, he loved Alina, and he wanted to change the world. Those conditions and attributes combined created a villain I loved. I didn’t want to hate him, and I sort of understood his intentions, but we all knew they were skewed.

 

A Villain I love to HATE

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Maeve as a villain is someone I love to hate. She’s evil, vindictive, and had a lot of motivation for her actions. I still hated her though. By the end, I could see how she wasn’t the true villain of the story, but her actions in the series allowed for our true villain to appear. Man I hated that guy lol

 

 

A Villain I hate to LOVE

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Corien, who we get to learn more about in Kingsbane, is such an evil guy. And when I mean evil, I mean evil. But also such a good antagonist. I mean everything he does makes me want to smack him on the head and then we get to the kissy kissy scenes and I’m swooning. Damn him!

 

 

A (kinda) Villain I LOVE

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The premise of this book is that there are no heroes or villains. We just have anti-heroes really and that means I can love all my boys the same! Victor, our protagonist (I guess you could call him) doesn’t want to be a hero – he wants revenge. And Eli? Well, he wants to be seen as a hero, but I guess murder isn’t a good way of going about that as he eradicates everyone with a super ability. This pair of equally grey characters is such a fun read.

 

And a Villain I just HATE

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OOOOHHH LET ME TELL YOU. I hate Marcus, I hate the Commandant, and I HATE the Nightbringer. Oh my gosh I hate these characters with a passion. And it’s not even because they’re bad characters/villains, it’s because they’re so EVIL that I just want them out of the way so my cinnamon roll Elias and my baby Laia can FINALLY BE HAPPY. GOSH I GET SO UPSET.

 

I find myself loving books with morally grey villains, or at least charming villains, because they make things so much more interesting. Like how can I even be mad when your messed up plan actually makes sense? How can I hate you when you’re so lovable and charming?! It can be so frustrating.

What are some villains you love and love to hate? Let me know 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!

ARC Review: Gravemaidens

I finally read Gravemaidens by Kelly Coon and I am so excited to read the next book, Warmaidens!

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Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

The start of a fierce fantasy duology about three maidens who are chosen for their land’s greatest honor…and one girl determined to save her sister from the grave.

In the walled city-state of Alu, Kammani wants nothing more than to become the accomplished healer her father used to be before her family was cast out of their privileged life in shame.

When Alu’s ruler falls deathly ill, Kammani’s beautiful little sister, Nanaea, is chosen as one of three sacred maidens to join him in the afterlife. It’s an honor. A tradition. And Nanaea believes it is her chance to live an even grander life than the one that was stolen from her.

But Kammani sees the selection for what it really is—a death sentence.

Desperate to save her sister, Kammani schemes her way into the palace to heal the ruler. There she discovers more danger lurking in the sand-stone corridors than she could have ever imagined and that her own life—and heart—are at stake. But Kammani will stop at nothing to dig up the palace’s buried secrets even if it means sacrificing everything…including herself.

I managed to grab an ARC of Gravemaidens by Kelly Coon during ALA 2019. It was one of those books that I put off reading because another, newer title was grabbing my attention. I managed to get an eARC of Warmaidens, so I thought now was probably the best time to start reading!

I thought this was an interesting book. Not sure how this is a fantasy as it doesn’t delve past basic herbology, but I’m hoping the fantasy elements come into play in the next book. I enjoyed Kammani’s passion for healing and her desire to save her sister. I felt so bad for her family with everything that they went through – anyone would be bitter after all of that.

I liked the plot, but I wanted more fantasy. This book didn’t feel like a fantasy novel to me, though I still like it, I just don’t understand where the fantasy element comes into play?

Besides that, it was a fun ride. The last 150 pages had my head spinning. I didn’t want to put the book down and miss anything that was going to happen next.

This was a really interesting book and I liked Kammani’s story a lot. This was a starstarstarstar // 5 stars. I’m really excited to see where this story is heading in book two, and thanks to NetGalley, I will get to read the sequel shortly!

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If this book sounds interesting, be sure to check out Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron.

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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: Blood Moon

I don’t remember requesting this book on Edelweiss, but I guess I did since I got an email saying I was approved for this title. I received an eARC of Blood Moon by Lucy Cuthew from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This book releases on September 1st, 2020, so be sure to preorder a copy!

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Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

A timely feminist YA novel in verse about periods, sex, shame and going viral for all the wrong reasons.

BLOOD MOON is a YA novel about the viral shaming of a teenage girl. During her seminal sexual experience with the quiet and lovely Benjamin, physics-lover and astronomy fan Frankie gets her period – but the next day a gruesome meme goes viral, turning an innocent, intimate afternoon into something sordid, mortifying and damaging.

This was a book I didn’t know I needed. I related to Frankie, our main character, so much that I found myself crying when she cried, laughing when she laughed, and overall understanding her journey. The thing that was hardest to read was her fall out with her best friend Harriet (Harry). We’ve all been in that situation before, when we need our best friend most but they’re not there, either because of a fight or you’re simply no longer friends anymore. It made the emotional impact of this book much greater and I found myself getting into the story.

This book is written in prose, similar to an epic, but no rhyming. I usually am not a fan of prose because it can be distracting, but this suited the story so well I can’t imagine reading it any other way. The creativity and emotional impact of the writing hit home in a way that I didn’t think was possible. It was so empowering too. I loved getting to read a story in this way and it made it easier to get through, honestly.

I didn’t expect to like this book, but after the first few pages, I was hooked. I couldn’t put it down and ended up reading the book basically in one sitting. I think any menstruating person and anyone who was a teen will relate to this story, especially if they have been a teen within the last ten years. Nowadays, going viral, especially over something embarrassing, is a common occurrence. Teens will definitely relate to this story because I know I did.

And I loved the message it rings out.

So even though I didn’t think I would enjoy this book, this is, without a doubt, starstarstarstarstar // 5 stars. I wish I had this book when I was in high school.

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If this book sounds interesting to you, check out 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: Blood & Honey (100th Post!!!)

I received an electronic manuscript of Blood & Honey by Shelby Mahurin and I am so happy, and lucky, that I did. Blood & Honey is the second book in a series, the first being Serpent & Dove. If you have not read the first book yet, feel free to check out my spoiler free review! I will try to keep this review as spoiler free as possible, though I do talk about some ideas of the book. No dialogue, plot points, or overall journey is talked about – but I do reflect on my feelings about them. While this review is spoiler free, it may spoil the first book if you have not read it yet.

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Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

After narrowly escaping death at the hands of the Dames Blanches, Lou, Reid, Coco, and Ansel are on the run from coven, kingdom, and church—fugitives with nowhere to hide.

To elude the scores of witches and throngs of chasseurs at their heels, Lou and Reid need allies. Strong ones. But protection comes at a price, and the group is forced to embark on separate quests to build their forces. As Lou and Reid try to close the widening rift between them, the dastardly Morgane baits them in a lethal game of cat and mouse that threatens to destroy something worth more than any coven.

Let me preface this review by saying that I am angry. I am so mad at how Shelby has played with my emotions in this book. If you thought Serpent & Dove was emotional, a rollercoaster ride, or any concoction of those types of feelings, Blood & Honey blows them out of the water. I found myself laughing, crying, and screaming so you know this book is going to be good. And it is confirmed that it is no longer a duology, but a trilogy, and I’m conflicted. On one hand, THANK GOD, because I love this series so much. On the other hand, WHY! Because so much happens in book 2 and I just want everyone to be happy.

I loved Serpent & Dove, and after reading Blood & Honey, I can say that this is one of my favorite series. It has become one of my most recommended series and I am so thankful I got to read Blood & Honey early. The book took me on a rollercoaster ride that I was not expecting. Like I actually was yelling and screaming as I read it and evidently threw my kindle I was so upset. I cried actual tears. Shelby has a way of writing things so emotionally and realistically that it pulls my heart strings too well. Her writing makes me feel things the characters are feeling, and those feelings aren’t always good. When they’re high – they’re high. When they’re low – they’re low.

I thought this book was not only more emotional than the first book, but the emotions are also really intense. We see the characters going through some serious changes and those changes effect their friends and loved ones. I’m not kidding when I say I cried multiple times from how emotional this book is. We deal with trauma, grief, mental illness, and so many other aspects of life. Well done Shelby. It is hard to make the reader feel things for starters and a whole other thing to make them feel it as strongly as the characters themselves. It was an experience.

As part of these changing emotions, we also see the change in relationships too. The fluidity of feelings and how they can appear or disappear for people is highlighted and it was refreshing seeing that change. We get a good look at relationships and how they are not easy – they take hard work and commitment. I like the more realistic approach because sometimes YA romanticizes relationship so much, it can become unattainable. Shelby is definitely one of my favorite authors due to her ability to write relationships, and emotions, so well.

It took me so long to read this book, I didn’t want to finish it. And it took me extra long to write this review because I didn’t know how to wrap my thoughts and feeling around it. My first attempt writing this was a jumbled emotional rant that I’m pretty sure would have spoiled anybody reading this – so thank goodness I edited this review when I did.  This book made me laugh, cry, scream, jump for joy – any and all emotions you can think of, I felt them. My poor kindle is probably dented from throwing it too. If you loved Serpent & Dove, you will adore Blood & Honey.

If you expected anything less than a star.pngstar.pngstar.pngstar.pngstar.png // 5 star review, I don’t know where you got that idea. I adored Serpent & Dove – I have raved about it since it’s release last year – and I think Blood & Honey is an amazing sequel, though I do ask myself “why does she want to hurt us so bad?” If you’re ready to be hurt emotionally, Blood & Honey releases on September 1st, 2020!

If you have not already read Serpent & Dove, pick it up. We have witches, witch hunters, enemies to lovers, and all the magical mayhem you can enjoy!

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If this book sounds good to you, make sure to check out Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas or The Court of Miracles by Kester Grant (releases on June 2nd, 2020). 

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

ARC Review: Goddess in the Machine

Before I get into this review, just a reminder that the giveaway my friend Writing the Universe and I are holding ends on Monday! Here is the link to enter – please make sure you enter through Rafflecopter (link in the giveaway post) and are doing all FIVE of the mandatory tasks to be entered properly! Good luck!

My friend Grace and I were lucky enough to snag a YallFEST exclusive of Goddess in the Machine by Lora Beth Johnson this past November and decided to buddy read it while in quarantine. It was a rocky start, but a solid finish and now I’m so excited to read book 2!

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Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

When Andra wakes up, she’s drowning.

Not only that, but she’s in a hot, dirty cave, it’s the year 3102, and everyone keeps calling her Goddess. When Andra went into a cryonic sleep for a trip across the galaxy, she expected to wake up in a hundred years, not a thousand. Worst of all, the rest of the colonists–including her family and friends–are dead. They died centuries ago, and for some reason, their descendants think Andra’s a deity. She knows she’s nothing special, but she’ll play along if it means she can figure out why she was left in stasis and how to get back to Earth.

Zhade, the exiled bastard prince of Eerensed, has other plans. Four years ago, the sleeping Goddess’s glass coffin disappeared from the palace, and Zhade devoted himself to finding it. Now he’s hoping the Goddess will be the key to taking his rightful place on the throne–if he can get her to play her part, that is. Because if his people realize she doesn’t actually have the power to save their dying planet, they’ll kill her.

With a vicious monarch on the throne and a city tearing apart at the seams, Zhade and Andra might never be able to unlock the mystery of her fate, let alone find a way to unseat the king, especially since Zhade hasn’t exactly been forthcoming with Andra. And a thousand years from home, is there any way of knowing that Earth is better than the planet she’s woken to?

So the biggest issue we both had at the beginning was the language. Lora Beth shows how the language has changed within those thousand years with different spelling and their own slang. At first it’s very daunting trying to understand what these people are trying to say but as we continued to read, we found it easier to understand the characters and her writing. This was a huge relief for us. Both of us were considering DNFing the book due to the inability to fully grasp what was going on, but I’m glad we stuck it out.

The other thing I had an issue with was the main love interest. Because of the language change and confusion, Zhade came off as a child to me. It was so hard to think of him as a teenager, or an adult, or however old he was. I could only see him as this 11/12 year old kid helping Andra with the way that he talked. Which is not what you want for a love interest. Over time, it got better, but the beginning was rough especially when trying to picture him flirting, which he does a lot.

Now, I didn’t get fully invested into the story until 200 or so pages in. That’s a lot of pages to read before I’m excited to see what’s next. I had been mildly interested in what was going on before the 200 page mark, but the events that happen after page 200 is what really brought me in and got me excited to read what happens next. Not everyone has that patience though.

Once we got into the thrill of the book, it was really good. Good enough that we both want to read the sequel when it is released. Yay! This book isn’t supposed to release until June 30th, 2020 so the early draft we got could have changed a lot in that time between when we got the ARC in November and release date. So take my criticism with a grain of salt on this one.

Again, besides the language, and a slow beginning, I really enjoyed this story and thought it was a great sci-fi mystery! This was a solid star.pngstar.pngstar.png.5 // 5 stars for me and I think anyone who likes science fiction will love this story!

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If this book sounds interesting to you, check out Aurora Rising by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman or Skyward by Brandon Sanderson!

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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: Sensational

I received an e-ARC of Sensational by Jodie Lynn Zdrok from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review:

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Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

The 1889 Exposition Universelle in Paris is full of innovations, cultural displays, and inventions. Millions of visitors attend over the course of several months…so no one would notice if a few were missing, right? Maybe—but someone is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the guillotine with a display of their own: beheaded victims in some of the Exposition’s most popular exhibits.

Nathalie Baudin’s ability to see murder scenes should help, but she’s suffering the effects of her magic more than ever before. Fortunately she has other Insightfuls to team up with—if they can be trusted.

 

I genuinely enjoyed this book and thought it was a great conclusion for this duology. We follow Nathalie as she continues her work helping the morgue and police with murder investigations. She has a suitor, is still working with Le Petite Journal, and while everything is going well, is still recovering from the Dark Artist murders two years earlier. It was sad to read that even two years later Nathalie is still suffering from the murder of her best friend. While I’m aware that grief does not have a timeline, I would have hoped she was feeling more comfortable and secure than we see her at the start of the book.

I also enjoyed getting to see more of her friends in this book. In Spectacle, we see a lot of the morgue, Le Petite Journal, and Aunt Bridgette. In Sensational, we see Nathalie with her friends more, going out and about. It was a nice change of pace from the first book and I liked the social interaction as well.

I thought the plot was great and even when I thought I knew the killer, I was still shocked to find myself wrong. It was interesting having the events coincide with the 1889 Exposition Universelle in Paris and to see what the exposition would have looked like through Nathalie’s eyes. It’s always fun to include a big historical event in a murder novel!

My only complaint was that there was sometimes too much of nothing in between scenes. The filler slowed down the book a lot in certain areas and it was preventing me from devouring the story like I did with Spectacle. Regardless, I like the plot, I like the ending, and I thought it was a great way to wrap up Nathalie’s story.

This book was a solid star.pngstar.pngstar.pngstar.png//5 stars for me. I loved book 1 and book 2 was just as great.

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If this book sounds interesting, check out My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows

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