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Book Reviews, Products I love!!

Top 5 Tuesday- Standalone Books I want to read in 2020

I am not usually a fan on Standalone books. I really like to get attached to my characters and world and have them stick around for a little while. There are several standalone books that have gotten my interest either from rave reviews or auto buy authors that I want to give a chance to this year.

1. Stain by A.G. Howard

I bought this Princess and the Pea retelling as soon as it came out  last January and has been on my TBR since then. This book is just gorgeous (as are all of AG Howard’s books) and I have heard just amazing things about it!

Synopsis: After Lyra—a princess incapable of speech or sound—is cast out of her kingdom of daylight by her wicked aunt, a witch saves her life, steals her memories, and raises her in an enchanted forest . . . disguised as a boy known only as Stain. Meanwhile, in Lyra’s rival kingdom, the prince of thorns and night is dying, and the only way for him to break his curse is to wed the princess of daylight—for she is his true equal. As Lyra finds her way back to her identity, an imposter princess prepares to steal her betrothed prince and her crown. To win back her kingdom, save the prince, and make peace with the land of the night, Lyra must be loud enough to be heard without a voice, and strong enough to pass a series of tests—ultimately proving she’s everything a traditional princess is not.

Purchase on Amazon here

2. The Girl the Sea Gave Back by Adrienne Young

I have not actually read a book by Adrienne yet but I absolutely love her messages and positivity on social media so much I have bought both of her books…. and also have heard great things about them

Synopsis: For as long as she can remember, Tova has lived among the Svell, the people who found her washed ashore as a child and use her for her gift as a Truthtongue. Her own home and clan are long-faded memories, but the sacred symbols and staves inked over every inch of her skin mark her as one who can cast the rune stones and see into the future. She has found a fragile place among those who fear her, but when two clans to the east bury their age-old blood feud and join together as one, her world is dangerously close to collapse.

For the first time in generations, the leaders of the Svell are divided. Should they maintain peace or go to war with the allied clans to protect their newfound power? And when their chieftain looks to Tova to cast the stones, she sets into motion a series of events that will not only change the landscape of the mainland forever but will give her something she believed she could never have again―a home.

Purchase on Amazon here

3. Winterwood by Shea Ernshaw

Synopsis: Be careful of the dark, dark wood…

Especially the woods surrounding the town of Fir Haven. Some say these woods are magical. Haunted, even.

Rumored to be a witch, only Nora Walker knows the truth. She and the Walker women before her have always shared a special connection with the woods. And it’s this special connection that leads Nora to Oliver Huntsman—the same boy who disappeared from the Camp for Wayward Boys weeks ago—and in the middle of the worst snowstorm in years. He should be dead, but here he is alive, and left in the woods with no memory of the time he’d been missing.

But Nora can feel an uneasy shift in the woods at Oliver’s presence. And it’s not too long after that Nora realizes she has no choice but to unearth the truth behind how the boy she has come to care so deeply about survived his time in the forest, and what led him there in the first place. What Nora doesn’t know, though, is that Oliver has secrets of his own—secrets he’ll do anything to keep buried, because as it turns out, he wasn’t the only one to have gone missing on that fateful night all those weeks ago.

For as long as there have been fairy tales, we have been warned to fear what lies within the dark, dark woods and in Winterwood, New York Times bestselling author Shea Ernshaw, shows us why.

Purchase on Amazon here

4. Uprooted by Naomi Novik Uprooted by [Novik, Naomi]

Synopsis: “Our Dragon doesn’t eat the girls he takes, no matter what stories they tell outside our valley. We hear them sometimes, from travelers passing through. They talk as though we were doing human sacrifice, and he were a real dragon. Of course that’s not true: he may be a wizard and immortal, but he’s still a man, and our fathers would band together and kill him if he wanted to eat one of us every ten years. He protects us against the Wood, and we’re grateful, but not that grateful.”

Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.

Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood.

The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows—everyone knows—that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia, all the things Agnieszka isn’t, and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her.

But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose.

Purchase on Amazon here

5. The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

I read and enjoyed the Folk of Air series so really want to take a crack at this stand alone story. I have heard it is in the same world but not all all related.

Synopsis: In the woods is a glass coffin. It rests on the ground, and in it sleeps a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives….

Hazel and her brother, Ben, live in Fairfold, where humans and the Folk exist side by side. Since they were children, Hazel and Ben have been telling each other stories about the boy in the glass coffin, that he is a prince and they are valiant knights, pretending their prince would be different from the other faeries, the ones who made cruel bargains, lurked in the shadows of trees, and doomed tourists. But as Hazel grows up, she puts aside those stories. Hazel knows the horned boy will never wake.
Until one day, he does…
As the world turns upside down, Hazel has to become the knight she once pretended to be.

Purchase on Amazon here

Do you have any Standalone books that you recommend? Feel free to drop recs below in the comments. 

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

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

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

  • Overall: ****/5
  • Romance: ****
  • Reading Rate: ***
  • Pages: 803
  • Recommend if you liked: Other Maas works, Fever Series
  • Release Date: March 3, 2020
  • Publisher:Bloomsbury
  • Purchase on Amazon here

This book was arguably the most anticipated Fantasy release of the year and I myself could not wait to get my hands on one. I was so happy I took advantage of the virtual signing Sarah did to get a signed and personalized book, even if it didn’t arrive until a week after publication date.

If you are a Maas fan this book will be right up your alley, if you are not… even with it making the change to the “adult” space I still don’t think you will be a fan. There was not much more “mature” about this book than anything Maas has written before, the language used was really the only difference I noticed. She also went for more of a slow burn style vs hopping into love like her other works (we will just have to wait and see if this means a guy might make it through the series).

While I ended up enjoying the story and will 100% be picking up the next book in the series as soon as it comes out, I could not give the book 5 stars.

What I liked:

  • True to SJM form we had lots of snarky, smart characters that you cant help but love.
  • A really interesting world (that almost gave me Daughter of Smoke and Bone vibes). The whole story really took place in one large city so I cannot wait to experience more if the world.
  • I really enjoy when an immediate storyline is wrapped up but still open for the future. I was happy with the ending and ready for more without it being a cliff hanger that left me dreading the wait between books.

What I struggled with:

  • While I enjoyed the characters there were a lot that gave me feels of characters she had already written, and basically took and put into a new setting. I think this is also just a casualty of reading an author with a specific style over and over.
  • There was a lot of slow build to this story so it did not have that “suck me in” factor her other works have done. I was able to read the book in small spurts without feeling the draw to know what is going to happen next. That is until the last 200 pages…. be prepared to sit down and finish the book out when you get there.
  • I think every character in every conversation throughout the entire book said “Hel” at least once… just a few chapters I was done hearing the word (and it usually takes A LOT for me to be annoyed with an element like that in writing).

Synopsis: I think its better to go into this book not reading it though*

Bound by blood.
Tempted by desire.
Unleashed by destiny.

Bryce Quinlan had the perfect life—working hard all day and partying all night—until a demon murdered her closest friends, leaving her bereft, wounded, and alone. When the accused is behind bars but the crimes start up again, Bryce finds herself at the heart of the investigation. She’ll do whatever it takes to avenge their deaths.

Hunt Athalar is a notorious Fallen angel, now enslaved to the Archangels he once attempted to overthrow. His brutal skills and incredible strength have been set to one purpose—to assassinate his boss’s enemies, no questions asked. But with a demon wreaking havoc in the city, he’s offered an irresistible deal: help Bryce find the murderer, and his freedom will be within reach.

As Bryce and Hunt dig deep into Crescent City’s underbelly, they discover a dark power that threatens everything and everyone they hold dear, and they find, in each other, a blazing passion—one that could set them both free, if they’d only let it.

Have you read House of Earth and Blood yet? What did you think if it?

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Top 5 Tuesday- Top Series I want to start this year

Hey guys!!! If you are anything like me you have TBR that is just out of control!!! SO I am kicking off some Top Tuesday posts to hopefully help you target some reads…. or you know… keep growing that TBR.

There are several finished (or about to be finished) series that I have heard so so so many great things about but I just have not found the time to start!!! With all that is going on in the world right now there is no better time to get in a little extra reading so I am sharing the Top 5 series I hope to at least start this year. *Shocker, they all also have gorgeous covers!

1. Shatter Me Series by Tahereh Mafi

The gripping first installment in New York Times bestselling author Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me series.

One touch is all it takes. One touch, and Juliette Ferrars can leave a fully grown man gasping for air. One touch, and she can kill.

No one knows why Juliette has such incredible power. It feels like a curse, a burden that one person alone could never bear. But The Reestablishment sees it as a gift, sees her as an opportunity. An opportunity for a deadly weapon.

Juliette has never fought for herself before. But when she’s reunited with the one person who ever cared about her, she finds a strength she never knew she had.

While there are still books being made in this world the original Trilogy is a complete series. Purchase the fist book in the series on Amazon here

2. Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

Fans of acclaimed author Kendare Blake’s Anna Dressed in Blood will devour Three Dark Crowns, the first book in a dark and inventive fantasy series about three sisters who must fight to the death to become queen.

In every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born: three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.

But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose…it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins. The last queen standing gets the crown.

Purchase the first book on Amazon here

3. Bloodlines  by Richelle Mead

Bloodlines is the spin off of the Vampire Academy series. I loved Vampire Academy when I read it several years ago and have purchased all of the Bloodlines books but just have not managed to get to reading it!

The first book in Richelle Mead’s New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series

When alchemist Sydney is ordered into hiding to protect the life of Moroi princess Jill Dragomir, the last place she expects to be sent is a human private school in Palm Springs, California.

Populated with new faces as well as familiar ones, Bloodlines explores all the friendship, romance, battles, and betrayals that made the #1 New York Times bestselling Vampire Academy series so addictive–this time in a part-vampire, part-human setting where the stakes are even higher and everyone’s out for blood.

Purchase the first Bloodlines book on Amazon here, and if you have not already I highly recommend checking out Vampire Academy first!

4. The Iron Fey by  Julie Kagawa

ANOTHER series that I have purchased all of the books for but have not managed to read!

From the limitless imagination of New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Julie Kagawa, enter the world of The Iron Fey.

Meghan Chase has a secret destiny—one she could never have imagined…

Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan’s life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school…or at home.

When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she’s known is about to change. But she could never have guessed the truth.

For Meghan is the daughter of a mythical faery king…and a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she’ll go to save someone she cares about, stop a mysterious evil no faery creature dare face…and find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.

Purchase the first book on Amazon here, they also have great boxed sets for both parts of this series!

5. The Daevabad Trilogy by S. A Chakraborty

The first book in the series is City of Brass and the final books releases this year!

On the streets of eighteenth-century Cairo, Nahri is a con woman of unsurpassed skill. She makes her living swindling Ottoman nobles, hoping to one day earn enough to change her fortunes. But when Nahri accidentally summons Dara, an equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior, during one of her cons, she learns that even the cleverest of schemes can have deadly consequences.

Forced to flee Cairo, Dara and Nahri journey together across hot, windswept sands teeming with creatures of fire and rivers where the mythical marid sleep, past ruins of once-magnificent human metropolises and mountains where the circling birds of prey are more than what they seem, to Daevabad, the legendary city of brass.

It’s a city steeped in magic and fire, where blood can be as dangerous as any spell; a city where old resentments run deep and the royal court rules with a tenuous grip; a city to which Nahri is irrevocably bound—and where her very presence threatens to ignite a war that has been simmering for centuries.

Purchase the first book on Amazon here, and the final book Empire of Gold is up for Pre order!

Thanks for checking it out guys! Have you read any of these series? What do you think?

Also feel free to drop me more recommendations below!

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The Unspoken Name by A.K. Larkwood Book Review

The Unspoken Name (The Serpent Gates #1) by A.K. Larkwood

  • Overall: *****
  • Romance:***
  • Reading Rate: ****
  • Pages: 464
  • Release Date: February 11, 2020
  • Publisher: Tor Books
  • Recommend if you liked: An Ember in the Ashes, Nevernight
  • Purchase on Amazon here

GUYS! This book was so so good, I have not had a 5-star book in a very long time. I requested this book from NetGalley based on the synopsis but had not heard any hype about it at all. At first I was totally intimidated by the large character list and pronunciation guide in the front of the book, but a few minutes later I was totally sucked in. Don’t let it intimidate you, its not that complicated and you don’t need to know it all at once. I do wish there was character art available so I could put some of the visions of the characters description in my head since they are all different human like creatures.

The main POV is Csorwe but you on occasion pop into the perspective of other character. Normally I find this distracting in a book but it is very well done, and really felt it added to the overall world and story build.

What I liked:

  • The world is just amazing! It’s almost a mix of fantasy and sci-fi, historical and future. Its not based in earth or with humans so the sky is really the limit with what the author can continue to do.
  • There was so much action packed in this one book! I felt like I read three books or 1000 pages and it was less than 500… I even checked several times!
  • Tons of great snarky humor! While the book deals with a lot of serious topics there always seems to be a funny side to things that keeps it from being a saddening.
  • I also loved that the book left open lines for future books without leaving me with a cliffhanger. I was super satisfied at the end and looking forward to more in the future.

What I struggled with:

  • I really can’t say that I “struggled” but if I could add one more thing to the book it would be for a little more romance/steam. I don’t think the book was lacking at all for not having it, just something that is a personal preference.

Even without steam I would not consider a YA book and put it more on the NA side, there is still a good bit of adult content and death (I have seen it listed as YA or Adult on different sites).

Synopsis:

What if you knew how and when you will die?

Csorwe does — she will climb the mountain, enter the Shrine of the Unspoken, and gain the most honored title: sacrifice.

But on the day of her foretold death, a powerful mage offers her a new fate. Leave with him, and live. Turn away from her destiny and her god to become a thief, a spy, an assassin—the wizard’s loyal sword. Topple an empire, and help him reclaim his seat of power.

But Csorwe will soon learn – gods remember, and if you live long enough, all debts come due.

Thank you to NetGalley and Tor Books for a copy of The Unspoken Name in exchange for my honest opinion.

Have you read The Unspoken Name? Did you love it as much as I did?

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Ruthless Gods Book Review

Ruthless Gods Emily DuncanRuthless Gods by Emily Duncan, Book 2 of the Something Dark and Holy trilogy

Overall: ****

Romance: ***

Reading Rate: ***

Release Date: April 7, 2020

Pages: 432

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Purchase on Amazon here

I recommend if you liked: The Bear and the Nightingale, Shadow & Bone Trilogy, Throne of Glass

*Spoilers for Wicked Saints- click here to check out my spoiler free review of book 1.

This book hurt so good! As soon as I put down Wicked Saints I needed the sequel right away…. And now I need the final book soooo bad!!! Ruthless Gods picks up shortly after Wicked Saints left off with the Nadya dealing with the silence of her Gods, Malachiasz missing after his betrayal, and Serefin trying to deal with his new status as king as well as being God touched.  If you enjoyed Wicked Saints you will love this journey as our main characters and also some new faces try to fix the cracks they made in the world… but will their quest to right their wrongs for each of their countries right the wrongs, or break the world entirely.

In the beginning this book was little more difficult to get through and did a lot more world building and filling in some of the knowledge gaps on the gods from books 1. I honestly feel I need to read the book again to really get everything, and I certainly will when the physical copies release! Several times a character’s section had me saying what on earth was happening and rereading entries several times. But all of that building (and Malachaisz/Nadya teasers) was well worth it in the last quarter of the book, and OMG what and ending and set up for what is sure to be an AMAZING final installment. Duncan did such a great job of stringing me along needing answers and holding out hope for my favorite characters redemption, I love it when an author keeps me guessing! I have no idea how I am going to handle to wait for  book 3 to find out how everything ends!

While book one seemed heavily inspired by the Grishaverse the author really changed things up and left that path for book 2. It almost had Bear and the Nightingale vibes with the mythology and creatures added in.

I am usually great at predicting how books are going to flow and Duncan steps up to say challenge accepted. I may get part of the idea but then she jumps right on over it an rips my heart out… and I love it so much!

Synopsis:

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

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

In her dramatic follow-up to Wicked Saints, the first book in her Something Dark and Holy trilogy, Emily A. Duncan paints a Gothic, icy world where shadows whisper, and no one is who they seem, with a shocking ending that will leave you breathless.

 

Thank you to NetGalley and Wednesday Books for a copy of Ruthless Gods in exchange for my honest opinion.

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The Shrike & The Shadows Sneak Peak

What’s up, Witches! In honor of Mabon and the first official day of Autumn we are celebrating with a Sneak Peak at the new dark Hansel and Gretel Retelling by A.M. Wright and Chantal Gadoury!

The Shrike and the Shadows

The Shrike & The Shadows is the first book in The Witches of Krume series and is being released in March 2020 by The Parliament House Press. I am so excited to read this book, it has all those creepy fall vibes I have been hunting for!

Click the here for exclusive access to read the first chapter of the book!

Synopsis:

Men have gone missing before.

The village of Krume is plagued by a haunted wood and a hungry witch. It’s been that way for as long as Hans and Greta can remember, though they have never seen the witch themselves; no one has. 

When men start to disappear once again in the cover of night – their bloody hearts turning up on doorsteps – the village falls into frenzied madness.

Hans and Greta, two outcast orphans, find themselves facing accusations of witchcraft and are met with an ultimatum: burn at the stake, or leave the village forever. 

With nowhere else to go, they abandon their only home. 

As they venture into the strange forest, their path is fraught with horrific creatures, wild and vivid hallucinations, and a mysterious man tied to the witch’s past.

The Shrike is watching, just beyond the deep darkness of the woods. 

Don’t forget to add to your Goodreads TBR 📚

 

 

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Stalking Jack the Ripper Book Review

Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco – Book 1 of the Stalking Jack the Ripper Series

Overall: ***

Romance: **

Reading Rate: ***

Publisher: Jimmy Patterson 

Pages: 352

Purchase on Amazon here

These series has such an intense following, it always makes me nervous to dive in due to the hype. With the final book in the series releasing in September I wanted to get started reading. We are introduced to Audrey Rose as she assists her Uncle with an autopsy. This book is historically based so not only does Audrey Rose struggle to put together the mystery of Jack the Ripper but she also has to fight s society that does not support women’s activities outside of the home. The dynamic between Audrey Rose and Thomas is very Sherlock Holmes and makes for a fun cute read. It did take me a little bit to get into the book due to the world building at the beginning but it picked up as the story went.  

The story wrapped up nicely so I am in not rush to finished the rest of the series but I will continue it eventually. 

What I struggled with:

  • The historical element and Audrey’s limitations as a woman were hard for me to get past.
  • There was a lot of setup at the beginning of the story so it took me a little while to get into the book
  • I was able to predict a lot of the story line, although I admit there were still a few surprises left.

Synopsis:

Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord’s daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

Against her stern father’s wishes and society’s expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle’s laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.

The story’s shocking twists and turns, augmented with real, sinister period photos, will make this dazzling, #1 New York Times bestselling debut from author Kerri Maniscalco impossible to forget.