Book Reviews, Products I love!!

Book Review: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Shatter Me (Shatter Me #1) by Tahereh Mafi Book Review

  • Overall: ****
  • Romance: ****
  • Reading Rate: *****
  • Pages: 338
  • Publication Date: November 15, 2011
  • Publisher: Harper Voyager 
  • Recommend if you like: Divergent, The Remnant Chronicles
  • Purchase on Amazon here

Shatter Me is one of those series I keep hearing about over and over and with the final book in the series releasing this month I decided I needed to finally dive in…. and of course to try and avoid some spoilers if possible.

For the record I LOVE Dystopian worlds in print and in movies…though this genre may not be your cup of tea I think there is enough of a romance element that it could still draw in some readers who normally would not take the plunge.

What I liked:

  • Really great mix of dystopian and YA romance. Adam and Juliette give me Tris and Four vibes from Divergent but with a little more steam.
  • I really liked the overall concept of the book. I normally don’t do well not having a lot of information but the book is set up to keep you guessing on whats real and who you can trust and I just ate it up. I feel like it was a great set up for a series with endless possibilities.
  • Fast paced. I listened to the audio book  through Scribd and blew through it I 2 days (admittedly during “social distancing”).

What I struggled with:

  • The writing style and the repeating of words a lot was a bit challenging to listen to so I imagine would have been much harder to read. The way things were written do give you good insight into Juliette’s mental state which overall was valuable to the story.

Overall I really enjoyed the story and dove right into listening to the sequel to find out what happens next… and if my ship can sail!

Synopsis:

I have a curse
I have a gift

I am a monster
I’m more than human

My touch is lethal
My touch is power

I am their weapon
I will fight back

Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days.
The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.
The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war – and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

 

 

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Book Review: Dark Skies by Danielle L. Jensen

Dark Skies (Book #2 Dark Shores) by Danielle Jensen Book Review

  • Dark Skies (Dark Shores, #2)Overall rating: *****
  • Reading rate: *****
  • Romance: **
  • Pages: 464
  • Release date: May 5th 2020
  • Publisher: Tor Teen
  • Recommended if you liked: Dark Shores, Throne of Glass,  The Remnant Chronicles

Jensen does it again!! I read Dark Shores last year and loved it but was nervous about the sequel due to the change in Main Characters but it 100% delivered.

What I liked:

  • This book was action packed from start to finish. While being very different from the first book it still tied into the world perfectly.
  • We got to learn more about the Gods of the Dark shores and the Corrupted, less Pirates of the Caribbean and more Mythology meets The Walking Dead!
  • I thoroughly enjoyed the main characters Lydia and Killian… and oh my goodness the “bad guys”!

What I “struggled” with:

  • While the events of this book run concurrent with the events of Dark Shores I do recommend reading Dark Shores first. It houses more world building and background information that I thing was valuable for me to enjoy Dark Skies as much as I did. Dark Skies also has a few spoilers for Dark Shores towards the end whereas I do not feel Dark Shores spoiled anything in this book.

I actually thought this story was going to be a trilogy since the remaining characters from both first two books are supposed to regroup in the third but it turns out there will be more!!! I seriously cannot wait to see what Jensen does next with all of these moving pieces.

Synopsis:

A RUNAWAY WITH A HIDDEN PAST
Lydia is a scholar, but books are her downfall when she meddles in the plots of the most powerful man in the Celendor Empire. Her life in danger, she flees west to the far side of the Endless Seas and finds herself entangled in a foreign war where her burgeoning powers are sought by both sides.

A COMMANDER IN DISGRACE
Killian is Marked by the God of War, but his gifts fail him when the realm under the dominion of the Corrupter invades Mudamora. Disgraced, he swears his sword to the kingdom’s only hope: the crown princess. But the choice sees him caught up in a web of political intrigue that will put his oath – and his heart – to the test.

A KINGDOM UNDER SIEGE
With Mudamora falling beneath the armies of the Corrupter, Lydia and Killian strike a bargain to save those they love most—but it is a bargain with unintended and disastrous consequences. Truths are revealed, birthrights claimed, and loyalties questioned—all while a menace deadlier and more far-reaching than they realize sweeps across the world.

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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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Blinding Night by Chantal Gadoury Book Review

Blinding Night (Blinding Night #1) by Chantal Gadoury Book ReviewBlinding Night (Blinding Night #1) by Chantal Gadoury

  • Overall: ***
  • Romance: ***
  • Reading Rate: *****
  • Pages: 330 for the paperback, however I read on Kindle
  • Release Date: October 2, 2018
  • Publisher: The Parliament House Press
  • Purchase on Amazon here
  • Recommend if you liked: ACOTAR, Shade of Vampire

This is a really cute Hades and Persephone retelling and the first book in a duology. The main character is a 20 year old art student from Rhode Island whose entire life changes when Hades swoops in the retrieve her from the hospital after her parents are killed in a car accident while traveling to Greece.

While this story does have a lot of ACOTAR similarities it is heavily tied to the romance story line between Persephone and Hades with the events of the broader world being more a sub plot. But she is an artist, rough relations with her family, the inner circle, etc.

What I liked:

  • This was a cute fast paced read, I love a good quick romance story.
  • The romance line was carried throughout with a little steam here and there, nothing that would not fall within what you commonly see in other YA books today.
  • I enjoyed the mythology aspect and the takes on traditional stories of the Gods.

What I struggled with:

  • While the MC is 20 years old but she acted much younger in my opinion. She was very resentful towards her parents and thought their affections were “icky” basically. She did seem sheltered and spoiled with an overprotective mom so this may be really where they were trying to get at but I had a hard time with it. I think she also took the death of her parents and change in her world a bit too well, but maybe just not time in the story to capture that recovery timeline.
  • The story never made it clear why Persephone had no choice of her own in staying with Hades vs returning to her mother. We also never received any insight into the mother’s side of the story. Hoping this gets cleared up in the second book in the duology.
  • There were also a handful or spelling/grammar errors as well as a few small contradictions in the story, nothing to the larger plot line.

Synopsis:

What if you were the missing piece in one of the world’s most epic legends?

Despite being an art history student, Summer isn’t thrilled to be stuck with her archeologist family all summer in Greece. While the rest of her college friends are posting a million selfies by the pool together, Summer is stuck alone, trying to entertain herself alone in a place where she doesn’t even speak the language.

Upon her arrival to Greece, strange dreams and even stranger shadows seem to haunt Summer, leaving her to ponder the meaning of pomegranate seeds and twisted, darkened faces.

Suddenly, her stay abroad leads to tragic twists, leaving Summer in the arms of a dark stranger, who claims to be the god, Hades, whom she feels like she knows from another life. In a whirlwind through the busy streets of Athens, Summer is seduced to the lowest point of Greece where Hades’ lair awaits…the Underworld. Determined to find out who she is and where she belongs in an age-old myth, Summer joins Hades to discover that the secrets about her past life are beyond anything she could have ever imagined.

Thank you to Chantal Gadoury and the Parliament House Press for a copy of Blinding Night in exchange for my honest review.

 

 

 

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Blood & Ash (The Jezebel Files #1) Book Review

Blood & Ash (The Jezebel Files #1) by Deborah Wilde

Blood & Ash Book ReviewOverall: ***

Romance: ***

Reading Rate: **

Pages: 316

Publisher: Te Da Media

Release date: 1/14/2020

Recommend if you liked: Wicked Trilogy by Jennifer L. Armentrout

I am a sucker for a fast paced PNR read and had high hopes for this book, but it fell a bit short for me. It is listed as an adult book and while there was adult content the MC acted more like someone in her teens vs a 30 something. While the story suggested she was very educated and cultured her rash decisions and language suggested otherwise.

I really liked where the author was going with the Sherlock Holmes theme and while the world dynamic of Nefesh (those with magic) and regular humans without was not a new concept I liked the spin that the author put on it. It seemed like I came in on an existing storyline and was missing a lot of background on the world, but hopefully more will continue to be filled in throughout this series.

Overall I enjoyed the story but the lack of background information and the MC’s internal monologue kept me from getting sucked in and really enjoying the book. I think if there was less focus on the MC’s internal feelings and more focus on the mystery/case it would go a long way in making this a very interesting binge worthy series in future books.

Synopsis:

Cold-blooded kidnappers. Long-lost magic. When things get serious, she goes full Sherlock.

Ashira Cohen takes pride in being the only female private investigator in Vancouver. With her skills, her missing persons case should be a piece of cake.

She wasn’t counting on getting bashed in the skull, revealing a hidden tattoo and supernatural powers she shouldn’t possess.

Or the bitter icing on top: a spree of abductions and terrifying ghostly creatures on a deadly bender.

And don’t even get her started on the golems.

Reluctantly partnered with her long-time nemesis Levi, the infuriating leader of the magic community, Ash resolves to keep her focus on the clue trail and off their sexual tension because WTF is up with that?

But with a mastermind organization pulling strings from the shadows and Levi’s arrogance driving her to pick out his body bag, can Ash rescue the captives and uncover the truth or will the next blood spilled be her own?

Blood & Ash will be available though Amazon Kindle Unlimited. Try your first month of Kindle Unlimited free here!

Thank you to NetGally and Te Da Media for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

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Queen of Nothing by Holly Black Book Review

The Queen of Nothing (The Folk of the Air #3) *There are potential spoilers in this review*

Overall: ***

Romance: ***

Reading Rate: ***

Publisher: Little Brown

Pages: 308

Release Date: November 19, 2019

Purchase on Amazon here

I hate to be super negative on here, but guys I was so so disappointed. I thought the first two books in the series were good (not blown away) and the way the ended was left at Wicked King had me so ready to read this final installment. As soon as I got my hands on the book I was nervous about how thin it was… but it started out on a high note with a dual and then the arrival of Taryn needing help due to Locke being dead.

I was all ramped up to see Jude back in Fairy so soon in the story, but it all went downhill from there. I expected to binge read the book like I did the first two, but I found myself losing interest and it took me over a week to get through, which is unusual for a book so short.  I felt like the closing of the story was completely rushed and then ending of the last book was totally written off by it being a joke from Cardan, and that as Queen Jude could have pardoned herself at any time and come back. By the time the last quarter of the book came around it was almost predictable, which throwing me for a loop was something I admired about this series.

I did appreciate the ending being wrapped up nicely with really no questions left hanging… I would like for there to have been a bit more betrayal and less happiness at the end for the “wicked” characters though.

Maybe it was just the final book curse, what did you think? Tell me below in the comments.

 

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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 Wickerlight (The Wren Hunt 2) Book Review

The Wickerlight by Mary Watson ReviewThe Wickerlight – The Wren Hunt #2 by Mary Watson

Overall: ****

Reading Rate: ****

Romance: **

Pages: 416

Release date: November 26, 2019 by Bloomsbury YA

Purchase on Amazon here

Recommend if you liked: Serpent & Dove or The Raven Cycle

The story is dark, intriguing and you never know who to trust or consider “good”. This is a true sequel to the story started in the Wren Hunt and you must read it first to understand the happenings in the second book. Even thought the characters POV are all new in The Wickerlight it continues to build on the story and is tied into events set in motion in book 1. I tried started with this book first thinking it was just based in the same world and was totally lost about a chapter in.

While this book as a little slower than the first I enjoyed it even more due to all the set up that was in place from the first book. I was also eager to learn more about David as a MC instead of antagonist. Watson did a great job of creating such an old world feel with the mythology and culture of the Draoithe, but also mixing modern touches into the society to keep it relatable. Some of the phrasing and spelling threw me off a little when reading but overall it did not take away from the quality of the story. These books definitely kept me guessing between the characters hidden secrets to the plot twists! I still have so many questions and can already not wait until the next installment to find out what happens next!

Synopsis:

Zara’s family moved to Kilshamble for a new beginning. But everything changed the night her sister was found dead on the village green.

Two months later, Laila’s death is a riddle that nobody wants solved. Where were her injuries? Why was she so obsessed with local folklore? And what does all this have to do with David, the boy who lives at the big house?

As Zara delves deeper into her sister’s secret life, she becomes entangled in an ancient magical feud. All too unwittingly she is treading the same dangerous path that led Laila to the village green.

Thank you to NetGalley and Bloomsbury Publishing for the opportunity to read The Wickerlight in exchange for my honest opinion.

 

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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.
 

 

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The Ten Thousand Doors of January Book Review

The Ten Thousand Doors of January Book ReviewThe Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

Overall Rating: ***

Romance: **

Reading Rate: *

Purchase on Amazon here

The story is written like a mix of a family and a scientific documentary surrounding Doors to other worlds. As a young girl January finds a door to another world in a field while traveling with her caretaker Mr. Locke. Over the years January begins to shape up into a “proper young woman” and leave the fantasies behind, until her father goes missing and she discovers a book all about the Doors and the journey of a woman names Ade.

What I liked:

  • I really enjoyed the premise of this book and the ideas presented could really go a long way.
  • The story is based in late 1800s to early 1900s but does work in a fantasy element with the Doors and some unique characters. I think someone who enjoys historical fiction with a little fantasy would enjoy this story.
  • There were a few love story lines in this book, but just be aware its more telling you a past story than getting to watch a romance form.
  • While not related to the story the cover for this book is absolutely gorgeous!!!

What I struggled with:

  • I had a very hard time getting into this book. I picked it up and put it down several times over a month or so and then finally forced myself to push through and finish. Had I not received an ARC for review I would have DNF’d. While I struggled I do think this was mostly due to personal preferences in the amount of action in my reading.
  • The first two thirds of the book were largely building backstory, and then January started to take action in her own life around the final third of the book. .

Synopsis:

In the early 1900s, a young woman searches for her place in the world after finding a mysterious book in this captivating and lyrical debut. 

In a sprawling mansion filled with peculiar treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artifacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored, and utterly out of place.

Then she finds a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds, and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure and danger. Each page turn reveals impossible truths about the world and January discovers a story increasingly entwined with her own.

Thank you to NetGalley and Red Hook books for the opportunity to read The Ten thousand Doors of January in exchange my honest review.