Posted in Book Review

A Sky Beyond the Storm by Sabaa Tahir

Read Dates: February 14, 2021 – February 23, 2021
Date Published: December 1, 2020
Source: Owned Hardback

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(Synopsis from Goodreads:)
Picking up just a few months after A Reaper at the Gates left off…

The long-imprisoned jinn are on the attack, wreaking bloody havoc in villages and cities alike. But for the Nightbringer, vengeance on his human foes is just the beginning.
At his side, Commandant Keris Veturia declares herself Empress, and calls for the heads of any and all who defy her rule. At the top of the list? The Blood Shrike and her remaining family.
Laia of Serra, now allied with the Blood Shrike, struggles to recover from the loss of the two people most important to her. Determined to stop the approaching apocalypse, she throws herself into the destruction of the Nightbringer. In the process, she awakens an ancient power that could lead her to victory–or to an unimaginable doom.
And deep in the Waiting Place, the Soul Catcher seeks only to forget the life–and love–he left behind. Yet doing so means ignoring the trail of murder left by the Nightbringer and his jinn. To uphold his oath and protect the human world from the supernatural, the Soul Catcher must look beyond the borders of his own land. He must take on a mission that could save–or destroy–all that he knows.

Wow. Just… I mean… I’ve been waiting YEARS for the conclusion of this story and this was every bit worth the wait. Three years later and I still feel all the same emotions I felt for the characters when I first discovered this series in 2018. I sat here and just cried… and then cried some more… and then cheered. And then bawled like a baby. This was everything I needed. It was everything I was hoping for. I’ve always loved the way I’ve been able to read from different perspectives in each installment of this series. That’s been so enjoyable. I admit, in some books I was bored with certain perspectives but in this final book, I was not. I was eager to read more from every narrator. Even when the narrators ended up coming together, I still loved seeing what was going on through different eyes and I enjoyed feeling what was going on through different temperaments.

It was never one. It was always three. The Blood Shrike is the first. Laia of Serra, the second. And the Soul Catcher is the last. The Mother watches over them all. If one fails, they all fail. If one dies, they all die. Go back to the beginning and there, find the truth. Strive even unto your own end, else all is lost.

More than anything, I enjoyed the chapters where the Nightbringer was the narrator. There were only a few chapters but we were able to see into his past, into his soul just a little and I so enjoyed doing that while Laia tried to figure out his past for herself in hopes to find a weak spot to finally defeat him.

These books have consistently paved the way for what was to come and I think realizing that as I finished reading that final page is what really got the emotions going. I’ve been with these characters for three years. I’ve thought about them as I waited to read the final book for THREE YEARS. It’s been killing me to know what the fate of Elias, Laia, Helene, and the Nightbringer would be.

Would that we knew the cracked terrain of each other’s broken hearts. Perhaps then, we would not be so cruel to those who walk this lonely world with us.

Of course, like most I’m sure, I was eager to get back to Laia and Elias and see what would become of them. I was a tad disappointed when Elias was only cold to her. Especially the moments where he was conversating with others and avoiding Laia. This is another reason I am so thankful for the multiple POVs. I LOVED reading Elias’ point of view and watching his internal struggle. He has always been one of the strongest characters and this book is no exception. He is honest and true to the duty he swore to keep, but he also refuses to lose hold completely on what used to be, on what makes him not just the Soul Catcher, but Elias Veturia. Laia is just as strong and stubborn as she always has been and I LOVED reading her as well. She refuses to give up on Elias. Even though she gets frustrated and he brings her to the edge of insanity multiple times, she never gives up.

For me, Elias, desire is not simple. It is not shelter. It is not warmth. It is a fire that offers no light, only heat, ruinous and consuming. The longer you deny it, the hotter it burns. You forget shelter. You forget warmth. There is only that which you want and cannot have, and the desolation that follows.

In reading the first two books I didn’t really care much for Helene’s story. But, to me, her character experienced the most development and change and I love the way her story played out. I was not bored or exasperated at all when it came to one of her chapters. She has grown so much and taken on so many new relationships with so many of the characters that I never would have expected her to. I enjoyed her banter with Musa and Harper. I loved seeing her open herself up. It was refreshing after watching her be a battle hardened soldier with no emotion. (Even though we got to see her thoughts in the previous books.) In this book, she showed the other characters the softer side of her she had been hiding. It got me a few times, I’ll admit.

You are broken. But it is the broken things that are the sharpest. The deadliest. It is the broken things that are the most unexpected, and the most underestimated.

Just like the companions to this book, there is no lack of brutality and rawness when it comes to war. I love when a young adult novel can be a young adult novel but still hold true to what war truly brings. Especially a war like the ones we saw in this series. Necks were snapped, hearts were stabbed, throats were cut… and sometimes this happened right in front of the victims loved one. While it’s sometimes jarring and leaves me feeling raw, I can appreciate that. If this war is brutal, let me know and convince me it’s brutal.

This book turned out to be everything I had hoped for and more. I couldn’t get enough. I tore through this book just as brutally as it tore through my heart. Tragedy after tragedy. Heartbreak after heartbreak. Victory after victory. This series has been amazing and I am so glad to have been immersed in this cruel, unforgiving, beautiful, ever changing world. These books were so beautifully written and the characters are written so well. This will definitely be a series I revisit in the future. Only now, I get to read them all back to back to back… to back.

“Elias,” he says after a moment, the slightest bit of warmth entering those cold gray eyes. “From you I prefer Elias.”

Posted in Book Review

A Touch of Darkness by Scarlett St. Clair

Read Dates: February 9, 2021 – February 14, 2021
Date Published: May 25, 2020
Source: eBook

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(Synopsis from Goodreads:)
A Modern Hades and Persephone Retelling

Persephone is the Goddess of Spring by title only. The truth is, since she was a little girl, flowers have shriveled at her touch. After moving to New Athens, she hopes to lead an unassuming life disguised as a mortal journalist.
Hades, God of the Dead, has built a gambling empire in the mortal world and his favorite bets are rumored to be impossible.
After a chance encounter with Hades, Persephone finds herself in a contract with the God of the Dead and the terms are impossible: Persephone must create life in the Underworld or lose her freedom forever. The bet does more than expose Persephone’s failure as a goddess, however. As she struggles to sow the seeds of her freedom, love for the God of the Dead grows—and it’s forbidden.

Here’s a little known fact about me: I’m obsessed with Greek mythology. I love to read the fan made graphic stories on Webtoon or fictional stories that retell those of the Greek gods and goddesses. I have read most of the Lords of the Underworld books by Gena Showalter which has a good bit of the Greek mythology intertwined. I’ve even read a couple of the textbooks covering the beliefs of the Greeks and I can tell you who most of the gods and goddesses are and what they represent. Sometimes I can even tell you a little bit of their history. I have a lot to learn but I know quite a bit as well. It can be a blessing and a curse when it comes to reading fantasy fiction based on the Greek characters of myth. I always wonder what new twist the author is going to put on the classic characters. That’s the beauty of retelling Greek mythologies, the possibilities are endless.
Well, this was a good one. Not my favorite! But it was definitely a good one.

The author leaves Persephone’s typical personality untouched. She’s timid and unsure due to a sheltered life with her mother Demeter. She did, however, add a twist. Persephone is the goddess of Spring, but in this book, everything she touches withers. She’s not yet found her powers and doesn’t know if she ever will.

Persephone and Hades’ is one of my favorite stories. No matter where or how I read it, I so enjoy reading about them. Mostly because of Hades. I’m slightly obsessed with the King of the Underworld. Persephone is definitely an agreeable character with me too, but… it’s Hades, y’all.

In every story I read about them, Persephone drives me a little crazy the way she says yes to everything and doesn’t stand up for herself. But this is ok with me because of her past and upbringing. This book is no different when it comes to her character.

I also love a good Hades and Persephone story where the author throws other gods and goddesses into the story. I found myself getting so excited when a new character was mentioned and I would literally stop and tell my husband something like, “OMG. Hecate just showed up! She’s the goddess of witchcraft and magic!” I’ll be honest, I was fangirl squealing at a couple of the featured guests in their story.

Overall this was a really great book. I enjoyed every second. HOWEVER. The author wrote this same story but written from Hades perspective and I SO wish I had known that was an option before I read this one. I would have opted for his book instead. I still plan to read it at some point. If it’s different enough and I like it a good bit more than I did this one, I may do a review but probably not.

Let me add before I go, this is not a young adult book. There’s a bit of smut there in the last third of the book soooo… if that’s not your thing then… perhaps a different retelling by some other author. 😀

Cheers!

Posted in Book Review

Fallen by Lauren Kate

Read Dates: February 2, 2021 – February 5, 2021
Publication Date: December 8, 2009
Source: eBook

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(From Goodreads:)
There’s something achingly familiar about Daniel Grigori.

Mysterious and aloof, he captures Luce Price’s attention from the moment she sees him on her first day at the Sword & Cross boarding school in sultry Savannah, Georgia. He’s the one bright spot in a place where cell phones are forbidden, the other students are all screw-ups, and security cameras watch every move.

Even though Daniel wants nothing to do with Luce–and goes out of his way to make that very clear–she can’t let it go. Drawn to him like a moth to a flame, she has to find out what Daniel is so desperate to keep secret . . . even if it kills her.

They made this into a motion picture. THEY MADE IT INTO A MOTION PICTURE.
I haven’t yet watched that movie and, to be honest, I probably won’t.
But let me set the stage here because I feel like my feelings about this book aren’t necessarily the books fault.
This book came out in 2009. Around that time I was heavy into the Twilight Saga. Laying on my bed, belly down, propped up on my elbows, legs bent at the knees swinging around behind me while I felt all the emotions and raged over the events that happened in that series. SO, had I have found this book, Fallen, back in 2009 or even 2010 when it first came out, I probably would have really liked it. Regardless of the many flaws and plot holes with which it choked me to death.

Ah geez… let’s just get into it.

So my main issue with this book is the love story. While it follows the same sort of pattern that books back in 2009 followed, I unfortunately, didn’t read it back then. So that sort of pattern isn’t my thing anymore. Unless you’re Twilight. Sorry, but that series is my guilty pleasure. Actually, no, not sorry.

The story follows Luce, who is navigating her new school and her new classmates. Of course, because it’s 2009, there’s a love triangle. But not the one you’re thinking. Not the love triangle where two guys like a girl and compete for her. Nope. It’s the kind where one boy likes the girl, one boy loathes the girl and the girl really likes the guy who is rude to her but tends to settle for the one who is overly nice and shows her the most attention. Oh, not to mention the girl constantly using the nice guy to make the rude one potentially jealous. (She can only hope.)
I found myself rolling my eyes A LOT. Luce is so insufferable. Cam, “nice” guy, gets on my last nerve pretty much throughout but then, so does Daniel (the guy Luce is pining over the entire time).

The most enjoyable parts in this book, for me, were the parts where we went a little more fantasy book than romance. The parts where we learned about fallen angels and demons and the “good angels”. The parts where Luce and her friend Penn dug into the school library and learned all these wild new things about students and teachers at the school. The parts where odd things would happen to Luce and she couldn’t make any sense of it, but we knew… weeeeee knew. The parts with fire and war and… ughh… just all the parts without the love story. The love story was a hot mess, if you ask me.

Unfortunately, the ending did nothing to redeem any part of the love story. It seemed all too easy. Not to mention, some of the things they “had to do” for things to be ok ended up being completely unnecessary. Not to mention, all these things that are just lying around this school waiting for Luce to discover them and they have NO BUSINESS being anywhere near a school, much less the same one she ends up at “by chance”. But no… it’s ok! Because this book is about FATE.

Now, if you’re an avid reader, you know that the second book in a series is usually the worst or hardest to read in the series. Knowing this, I had predetermined that I was not going to dabble in any more of this series. But curiosity took hold. I went and saw that the third book apparently starts to get really good. But I have to sit through the second first! Unfortunately, this book wasn’t good enough to warrant me sitting through a second terrible one to arrive at something manageable.

Again, I did enjoy some things and if you’re down for a love triangle that’s incredibly frustrating and makes no sense, if you’re down for a female lead who makes one questionable decision after the other, if you’re down for watching a girl get saved over and over again either from herself or some situation she’s stupidly put herself in, then yea. Go get you some of this book. You’ll love it. But it just wasn’t for me. 🙂

Posted in Book Review

The End of Her by Shari Lapena

Read Dates: November 13, 2020 – November 30, 2020
Publication date: July 23, 2020
Source: Owned Hardback

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A young woman and her husband have recently added twins to their happy family. Though, raising twins as a stay at home mom proves to be difficult when Stephanie’s husband, Patrick, is only able to help from the late hour he gets home from work until his bedtime just a few hours later. His job is demanding… but so is hers. The twins are colicky and barely sleep. Soon, Stephanie begins to suffer from sleep deprivation and begins making a few careless mistakes she never thought possible of herself to make. Until, one day, an old friend of her husband’s comes to town and tells her she should be careful and accuses Patrick of the murder of his first wife. Before long, Stephanie begins to question the truth behind her husband’s first marriage and begins to wonder if maybe her careless mistakes, weren’t mistakes at all… and maybe she didn’t cause them.

Much like Lapena’s other novels, this one was incredibly hard to put down. I had my character list all made up by about a third of the way through and it was smooth sailing from there. I rather enjoy playing with my kid but I found myself getting sad when her naps were over (since I read while she’s napping).

The array of characters and the way they intertwine was incredibly satisfying. I always wonder when I pick up one of Lapena’s books how the characters will end up relating to one another. No single character is ever just some random, meaningless person. I LOVE THAT.

The book had me teetering back and forth on who I thought was truly behind things and where I thought the end of the book was headed. Though, the reason this book was only given 4 and not 5 stars is because… I saw the end coming… And all the little “twists” in the middle. I saw all of it coming. Maybe it’s just because there’s not a single book by Shari Lapena that I haven’t read and I’m incredibly familiar with her writing style, but, I knew.

However, that did not take away from the journey to the end that I knew was inevitably coming. It was still incredibly satisfying to watch the events that transpired with each character up until the very last chapter. This was one of those books, like all of the other Lapena books, that are told from multiple POVs. To me, it’s incredibly hard to pull off a story that way. It’s much easier for the multiple POVs to be the downfall in a book. Thankfully, Shari is a pro.

Stephanie was so relatable for me as I read this book shortly after the newborn stage with my own child. Though, that was ONE kid… not twins. Thank goodness. I loved reading about her friends and the play dates. I loved the way the characters overlapped without even knowing it. Being in the same places at the same time or being right down the way from each other.

There’s not really much I can say that I haven’t said before when reviewing a Lapena mystery. They’re so fun to read, even if you have everything figured out. She makes the story such a fun ride and this one was no exception. I will continue to sing her praises forever and ever.

Posted in Book Review

Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman

Read Dates: March 27, 2020 – September 11, 2020
Publication Date: January 9, 2018
Source: Owned paperback

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“… There’s too much violence afoot. I long for the simple, straightforward days, when we scythes had nothing to fear but the sharp blades of our own conscience. Now there are enemies within enemies.”

Citra, Rowan, Scythe Curie, Grayson, and some other unexpected enemies are back again in the second installment of the Arc of a Scythe series. Rowan runs rampant, killing and destroying the corpses of the corrupt scythe. Citra is settling into life as Scythe Anastasia, gleaning alongside her mentor, Scythe Curie. The scythedom becomes more and more divided with each passing day thanks to the sympathizers of the late Scythe Goddard. Grayson finds himself mixed up with “unsavories” who lead him down a road he never thought he’d travel. Everyone is navigating new lives under new circumstances. So when the unthinkable happens, no one is ready for it… and it may just be the thing to bring the entire scythedom to it’s knees… dragging Citra and Rowan right down with it.

Alright… well… this is going to be a fairly short review for a couple of reasons. 

1: I don’t know if you noticed… but it took me nearly six months to read this one. So I’m a little fuzzy on some of the details from the beginning. (Thank goodness for my notes.)
2. I just didn’t really enjoy this one a whole lot. It had it’s good and interesting parts and then there were the moments when I was a bit bored waiting for the next bomb to go off. 

So let’s begin… 

First off, I think Scythe Anastasia’s character was done excellently by the author. The way she chooses to glean with mercy and fair warning, the treatment she gives the victim and their families… it just fits her and I so enjoy the way it rattles members of the Scythedom. In fact I enjoyed the way she continued to rattle leadership of the Scythedom by challenging some of their teachings and customs. It reminded me a lot of my old job. People can become so set in their ways that they would rather continue taking 10 extra steps to do something that can be done in 2 and be done just as effectively and efficiently. When technology/the world moves, you sort of have to move with it. 

Anyway… back on track. So someone is trying to kill Anastasia and Curie… cue Grayson Tolliver, saving their lives. However, he soon becomes suspected of being the one trying to end their lives. *rolls eyes* Here we go again with the accusations… just like the first book, eh? 
Elsewhere Rowan is just straight up murdering the bad scythes in his forbidden black robe and going by the name Scythe Lucifer. *shivers* It’s grand. Maybe that makes me a little crazy but, hey… I have a thing for Rowan. Go figure, right? 
But the real focus of this second novel in the series… is the Thunderhead. The Thunderhead is beginning to feel. Real emotions. He’s always had his own thoughts and ideas about the happenings around the world both outside and inside the Scythedom. But the Thunderhead finds itself rooting for specific people. He doesn’t even necessarily disagree with what Rowan has been doing. So what happens when an AI who is made to be impartial and experience no emotion becomes aware and starts to feel?

I have to admit, I so enjoyed reading the Thunderhead’s little “journal entries” throughout the story and watching it become conflicted not only with itself but with humanity. The first book was all about how perfectly the Thunderhead ran the world and how impartial it was, always following it’s own rules. Book two gives the Thunderhead a little character… a little resolve… 

If you were looking for a story full of Rowan and Citra secretly meeting up and being all cute, this is not the book you’re looking for. That’s another thing that was refreshing about this story. I expected to be met with all kinds of Citra and Rowan forbidden romance crap. Living dangerously in order to run out and see each other in secret. But, nope! It was a nice change of pace from all the other predictable YA books with a subtle romance story line.

HOWEVER. 
I just… I don’t know. I wasn’t impressed. Mind you, the bombs that were dropped were wonderful. But then I feel like the bombs were so big that I expected the action to continue.. but it just didn’t. It would be another 100 pages before something exciting happened again. Now, everything you read is relevant to the story. There’s no real filler content to go through. But the up and down of the action was a bit of a rollercoaster for me that I was just kind of “eh” about and I couldn’t care less if the ride kept going or just stopped and let me off. Ya know what I mean? 

That being said… the end of the book was a giant cliffhanger. Soooo many possibilities as to where this story could go… so I just went ahead and ordered the third/final book in the series… it will be here Monday. I know I know… but I can’t help it. It’s just ONE MORE book. I can do it. Do I have high hopes? No. But that usually allows for me to be pretty at peace by the end of the book no matter what happens. 

I’ll report back once I’ve finished it. 

I realized earlier that I never wrote a review for the first book. I gave it 4 stars on Goodreads. I probably meant more like 3.5 if I’m being honest. It’s a cool concept for a story and it’s world but it’s just kind of falling flat for me so far. It’s enjoyable in it’s own way but it’s nothing to write home about. At least the books are consistent? 

Until next time! 

 

Posted in Book Review

Unravel the Dusk by Elizabeth Lim

Read Dates: July 27, 2020 – August 8, 2020
Publication Date: July 7, 2020
Source: Owned Hardback

Goodreads — Amazon

Beginning today, things would be different. Beginning today, when fate caught me, I’d meet it head-on and make it my own.

Beginning today, I would have no heart.

When we last saw Maia, she had lied to the man she loved to save his life and sacrificed her own life in order to save her homeland of A’landi. With the enchanter gone from the palace, the emperor grows weak and has been exposed as such to his enemies. The shansen sees this as an opportunity to overthrow the emperor and claim the kingdom for his own. War rages once again in A’landi and Maia Tamarin will stop at nothing to save the people and the lands she loves… even if it means losing her body, mind, and her heart along the way.

FINALLY. Book two! I’ve been waiting for this book for like… I don’t know… an eternity?! Ok fine. A little over a year. It’s been a little over a year.

Rightfully so, though. The first book was one of my all time favorites last year! (Just realizing I didn’t do my usual yearly wrap-up post and I got a little sad…)

Anyway…

So Maia is back and she is so different. For real. If you read book one and just couldn’t get into it because of how weak and sad and clumsy and ridiculous Maia was, well go on ahead and pick up book two and meet the NEW, INDEPENDENT, “DON’T NEED NO MAN”, “I’LL TAKE ON ALL THE ENEMIES BY MYSELF”… Maia. Seriously. I love the way the author has taken this character and changed her as the journey she endured in book one would have done. Maia went from non-confrontational, to a straight BADASS. But I guess that’s what sewing the three magical dresses of an ancient goddess and sacrificing her freedom will do to you. AMIRITE?

We were like the sun and the moon, sharing the same stars and the same sky.
Somehow, that made him feel less far away. And made my heart feel slightly less alone. Less cold. For a moment, the darkness inside me weakened, and my dress came alive –

The relationships in this book were on par with the way they were in book one and they succeeded in twisting my heart in a million different ways throughout the entire book. Maia and Ammi, Maia and Edan, Maia and her baba and her brother. Maia and some others at the end of the book whom I won’t mention so as to not spoil anything… ughh. Things are a little different since Maia is different because of the sacrifice she had to make in book one in order to craft the magical dresses… and it is gut wrenching at times. I’m going to be completely honest here… I cried more than once reading this book. Sad tears and happy. But mostly sad at the things that were happening to Maia and the war that was being waged inside her mind.

“Then let your heart be at peace,” Baba said at last. “No matter what you become, you are always my Maia. Always my strong one.”

The meat of this book was such an adventure. Maia trying to keep everyone she loves safe while also battling her own inner demons (see what I did there?). Maia making decisions for the greater good, not just to benefit her or the ones she loves but ALL of A’landi.

“Your heart is strong, sister,” said my brother hearing my thoughts. “It always has been.”

With the emperor gone, Maia is still acting in her role as the imperial tailor… but the emperor knows she is something more and he uses this to his advantage. There were so many political moves made in this book and so many sacrifices made by so many of the characters. Even the ones who you didn’t really care for surprised you and acted not for their own personal gain but for the gain of the nation. Heartwarming stuff going on…

LORD. What a ride this was.

Now, I offed a half a star (cat, whatever) on this one because the ending… the way the conflict wrapped up… I saw it coming but it seemed too easy and it all happened so fast. Which, thinking back I guess there was no other way to really go about ending the conflict and everything made sense but considering how tense the entire story was, the way in which the conflict is resolved fell a little flat for me. JUST A LITTLE THOUGH. Because once the big finish happened, the after effects and where Maia ended up and the choices she had to make left me in tears. Sad or happy? Well I don’t know, go read it and find out!

“I’ve had enough of the stars for now. Take me to the sea.”

Regardless, this was such a beautifully written story just as the first was and I was so happy to be able to read the conclusion to Maia’s story. Elizabeth Lim is a GEM and I fully intend to explore her Disney re-imaginings next.

Posted in Uncategorized

2020 Update

Hey everyone! I just wanted to give a little update and address the lack of content for the past 7 months. (SEVEN months… holy moly…)

Soooo I got pregnant. That happened in August of 2019. We also started the process of having a house built early last year. I am happy to report that our house was completed and we signed the closing papers on Christmas eve of 2019. We are moved in and loving it! (Besides having a mortgage of course, because who really wants a mortgage payment? Dear lord, I sound like a full fledged adult.) Anywho, I’m also happy to report that our baby was delivered happy and healthy just a little over 9 weeks ago! We have been transitioning into parenting and we’ve realized we will never quite reach normalcy as this kid throws us a brand new curve ball every week. She’s such a joy, though, and I am enjoying motherhood SO much.

I have recently submitted my resignation letter to my place of employment. This pandemic has really thrown us all for a loop but luckily we are able to live on just my husband’s paychecks. It was a terrifying change but I am really glad to get to watch my kid learn and grow and be with her every day. (I really am obsessed with her.)

Anyway, as I don’t have a job now, I hope to be reading and posting on here a lot more in the near future. I’m in the process of reading two books right now. I’m halfway through Thunderhead and am a few chapters deep into Unravel the Dusk.

Just wanted to give you guys a heads up on what was going on! Life with a newborn is wild but I think I’ve figured it out enough to pick this blog back up.

See you all soon! 🖤

Posted in Book Review

Merry Inkmas by Talia Hibbert

Read Dates: December 9, 2019 – December 12, 2019
Publication date: December 1, 2017
Source: ebook

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Merry Inkmas1

3 cats

This was a buddy read with the Dragons & Tea Book Club.

So I don’t typically read contemporary romance. I’m more of a paranormal romance or no romance at all kinda gal. But this was a cute book.

This book follows a plus size barista, Bailey, with a family history and the owner of a tattoo parlor, Cash, with a troubled past. The two are brought together when Bailey quits her job and Cash offers her a position as a receptionist at his shop.

It was so refreshing to have at least one character who wasn’t a size 2 with perfect hair and teeth who has an hourglass figure. Mind you, Bailey had an hourglass figure but the author made a point to mention that she was a size 18 in pants. You don’t find that in a lot of romance books these days.
Cash was a large, muscled, super handsome guy per the usual. But Bailey was a nice change of pace.

As it usually goes with these contemporary romance novels, everything just moved a little too fast for me. I know these are meant to be feel good stories and they’re not usually meant to be realistic at all, whatsoever, but I just can’t help but be put off by the fact that two people are professing their love for each other and giving each other SO much about their pasts and it’s barely been a couple of months of these two even knowing the other even exists.

All that being said, this was a very easy read and I was able to keep interest up to the very end. So it wasn’t NOT enjoyable, it just wasn’t my cup of tea.

I have to say, I did really enjoy the family elements of this book and Cash’s mom almost brought me to tears. She was my favorite for sure.

If you like contemporary romance books that include heavily tatted, super muscled dudes who are secretly the sweetest, most giving guys ever… then I would highly recommend this book to you.
It was cute.

Keri

Posted in Book Review

The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black

Read Dates: November 25, 2019 – December 4, 2019
Publication date: November 19, 2019
Source: Owned Hardback

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Queen of Nothing

5 cats

“Mock me all you like. Whatever I imagined then, now it is I who would beg and grovel for a kind word from your lips.” His eyes are black with desire. “By you, I am forever undone.”

And by THIS BOOK I am forever undone. Omg. Seriously. This book chewed me up and spit me out multiple times. This book tore me apart.

“Prince Cardan will be your last born child,” the Royal Astrologer said. “He will be the destruction of the crown and the ruination of the throne.”

Cardan and Jude are back again.
Jude is still in exile in the mortal world but that changes when her twin sister Taryn comes to the mortal world to ask for her help. Jude is to go back to Faerie and pretend to be her sister. But Cardan is not so easily fooled. It turns out they’ve both fallen to some serious misunderstandings about each other but they’re back to working together against the enemies of the crown and the political games that are being played by folk from other regions. They’ll soon find that the only people they truly trust are each other.

This book had me CRYING. Mind you, I’m pregnant so that’s not such a crazy thing these days, but seriously… some of the words… Ugh. Let’s just get through this review without me crying all over my laptop.

“Unlike Locke, I never thought love was a game,” he says. “You may accuse me of much, but not that.”

Cardan is growing as a person. He’s come SO FAR since The Cruel Prince. It’s amazing how this cold-hearted fey went from a foolish, selfish, and cruel youth to a somehow level-headed and reasonable High King. Like, what? My head is still spinning at how we even got here. But then I realize, it was Jude. And the way that you figure it out and the ways he shows that it was her that changed him is so beautiful. This book was seriously so beautifully written.

Mind you, a lot of this book is not romance in any way. Most of the book is Jude getting herself into hairy situations and making me nervous as hell. Also, the political parts of this book never bored me. I’m still just baffled at ALL the characters really. Every single character in this book has changed so much from the first book.

If you guys remember, I didn’t care for the first book. And the second book definitely had more of my attention. But THIS book was a giant game changer. I LOVED this book. I couldn’t put it down. Every time I was doing anything other than reading this book, I wanted to scream. I just wanted to pick it up and fly through the entirety of it without stopping.

“We have lived in our armor for so long, you and I. And now I am not sure if either of us knows how to remove it.”

I’m not typically one to read an enemies to lovers type story and I honestly wasn’t even sure that’s what this was when I first started this series. That was just what I heard about it. I saw people saying Cardan and Jude was “their favorite book couple”. So I held out. I waited to see what would happen. But let me tell you something… I think the reason this book hit so hard is because of the enemies to lovers aspect. The fact that he was TERRIBLE to her in book one and then hot and cold to her in book two made all the nice things he said in book three, no matter how small, mean that much more. They hit you harder in the feels than they would if he had been nice to her or even neutral with her since the beginning. It’s so hard to explain this relationship and why and how much I love it but it’s soooo so so good.

I might have grown into something else, a High King as monstrous as Dain. And if I did – if I fulfilled that prophecy – I ought to be stopped. And I believe that you would stop me.

So this book finally gave us Cardan’s background and details about his childhood and why he was treated the way he was. It gave us this prophecy about him being the “destruction of the crown and the ruination of the throne.” I wasn’t sure what all this would mean. I rattled my brain trying to decide what would happen and I still didn’t really see it coming.
This book not only had the wonderful characters I keep on about but it also had a fantastic plot. The story never left you wanting. I was on edge, I was hopeful, I was emotional, I was torn, and I was so ridiculously happy.

I have such a new respect for Holly Black and her writing. She murdered me with this book. I mean, c’mon, I’m getting to the point where I’ve got WAY too many fictional boyfriends. It’s getting ridiculous. But she wrote Cardan SO FREAKING WELL and she wrote this story and fulfilled this prophecy SO FREAKING WELL and I think I’m in love with Holly Black now.

Which reminds me, she dedicated this book to Leigh Bardugo, who has recently become one of my all time favorite authors. So in the beginning I was thinking to myself, “If Leigh likes her, then so do I.” But then I read this book and began to like her for my own reasons.

“My sweet nemesis, how glad I am that you returned.”

I just loved this book so much. I love the continuation of the banter between Cardan and Jude but in a new light now. And I love the supporting characters and how this last book brought everyone together and left NO ONE out when bringing everyone’s story to a close. The only issue I’m having now is I WANT MORE CARDAN AND JUDE. I think they’re my new favorite book couple. So there’s that. I just highly recommend this series. I was unsure during the first book but, now, I would reread this entire series in a heartbeat if I didn’t have so many books on my “to-read” list. So good. So so so good.

I start to speak but he stops me with a gesture. “And you.” He looks at me, his lips curving in something that’s not quite a smile; it’s more and less than that. “I knew little else, but I always knew you.”

My heart literally hurts over this book guys. But in a good way. Pick it up. Meet Cardan and Jude. Do yourself a favor.

Keri

Posted in Book Review

The Wicked King by Holly Black

Read Dates: October 22, 2019 – November 19, 2019
Publication date: January 8, 2019
Source: Owned Hardback

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Jude and Cardan are back, and things are much much different now. Jude exercises her newfound power over Cardan, controlling both he and the throne. Her end goal is to get her little brother, Oak, the rightful heir to the throne, crowned king. But she doesn’t want to put him there until he’s ready, and he is still very young. Jude continues to plan and scheme in order to achieve this end goal. But Cardan is just as clever as she is and keeps her on her toes not only with his manipulations, but also with his charm. Why is Jude so drawn to him? And why does it seem like he’s drawn to her too? Can they cooperate with each other long enough to find out? Can they work together to fight off the threats all around them? It’s hard to tell where anyone’s loyalties lie… and this book will make you question everyone.

Power is so much easier to acquire than it is to hold on to.

If you follow my blog, you know that I struggled with The Cruel Prince. I mean I really struggled. It took all the effort I had to pick up The Cruel Prince and trudge on. Don’t get me wrong, once I started up, it was an easy read. But I didn’t feel attached to the story and its characters.
Well The Wicked King was a little different. Maybe it’s because the story and characters have already been established? I’m not sure. But I found myself WANTING to pick this book up. Yes, it took me a while to get through it, but that’s just because my life is crazy right now. I legitimately wanted to continue on. This was one of those books that had me so invested that if anyone came over and interrupted my reading, I immediately wanted to take their head off their shoulders. (Just my inner Jude coming out I guess.)

You are my dearest punishment.

The characters have come so far since book one. Jude has found the power she always wanted (just not quite in the form she thought it would come). Cardan has finally been bested and is getting a healthy dose of his own medicine. Madoc is learning not to underestimate Jude. The characters are evolving and it’s so much fun to watch the way they act and how they treat each other now.

His mouth curls into a smile. His eyes shine with wicked intent. “Look at them all, your subjects. A shame not a one knows who their true ruler is.”

We’re also given this sliver of hope that there may be some sort of romance between Jude and Cardan. And honestly, I’m here for it. I was cheering for it the entire time. I wanted something to happen. There were so many moments in the book where I was thinking, “Ok, this is it. Something is going to happen. Cardan is finally going to fess up.” These moments were few, but I was living for all of them. Besides those moments, I LOVED just reading the scenes between Cardan and Jude. Their dynamic, the way they banter. Ughh. I just loved them.

Our eyes meet, and something dangerous sparks.
He hates you, I remind myself.
“Kiss me again,” he says, drunk and foolish. “Kiss me until I am sick of it.”

Orlagh, the sea queen is stirring up trouble in this book and it makes things even more exciting. Reading this book, I was kept on my toes simply because of the games and intrigue that Jude and Cardan would throw each other’s way. But when a true threat arises and our main characters actually have to put their heads together to come up with a solution, things started to get reallllllly interesting.

Everybody in this damn book doubted Jude Duarte!
Mind you, I doubted a few characters along the way and quickly learned that I was wrong as well. If you’re going into this book thinking you know who’s going to betray who, I’m willing to bet you’re not ready for what this book is about to throw at you. There were quite a few twists and turns that had me defiant to put the book down. I wanted to keep going! But alas, lunches are only an hour in the corporate world. *sigh*

This book just makes you feel all the things. It makes you question all the characters. There was a specific twist towards the end of the book where I was cheering and whooping and wondering what came next. I was so excited at the happenings that I didn’t stop to think what this book might do to my high hopes. (How could you Holly? How could you?)

“For a moment,” he says, “I wondered if it wasn’t you shooting bolts at me.”
I make a face at him. “And what made you decide it wasn’t?”
He grins up at me. “They missed.”

A word of advice: If you’re going to read this one, you better go ahead and just have book 3 on standby so you can continue the story without absolutely losing your mind at this ending. You’ve been warned.

Keri