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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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The Sisters Grimm Book Review

The Sisters Grimm by Manna van Praag Book ReviewThe Sisters Grimm by Menna van Praag

Overall: ***

Romance:**

Reading Rate: *

Pages: 448

Publication date:March 31, 2020

Publisher: Harper Voyager

Purchase on Amazon HERE

I was sooo thrilled when I was approved for an advanced copy of this book and just knew it was going to be a 5 start read for me.

This is a dark and heartbreaking story mixing the struggles of mortal life with a fantasy twist that makes you question the lines of good and evil. The author did a great job of getting you intimately acquainted with all the main characters and the nature of Everwhere. I do wish there was more background on the world and reasoning behind the setup of the Sisters and Soldiers. The lack of information really made it challenging to root for a side as you really did not understand the consequences of their choices.

I struggled with the format of the book, it bounces between multiple timelines and points of view, some of the entries were only a paragraph long before hopping to the next POV so it was very distracting and hard to stay immersed. Normally if I am sucked into a book it only takes me days to read while this book took me several weeks and I really had to push through to finish.  I also struggled with the level of sadness in the book, it seemed that each girl only encountered more loss and there was not a lot of positive outlook, even in the end. The synopsis leads you to think this story is much “fluffier” than it truly is.

Synopsis

Once upon a time, a demon who desired earthly domination fathered an army of dark daughters to help him corrupt humanity . . .

As children, Goldie, Liyana, Scarlet, and Bea dreamed of a strange otherworld: a nightscape of mists and fog, perpetually falling leaves and hungry ivy, lit by an unwavering moon. Here, in this shadowland of Everwhere, the four girls, half-sisters connected by blood and magic, began to nurture their elemental powers together. But at thirteen, the sisters were ripped from Everwhere and separated. Now, five years later, they search for one another and yearn to rediscover their unique and supernatural strengths. Goldie (earth) manipulates plants and gives life. Liyana (water) controls rivers and rain. Scarlet (fire) has electricity at her fingertips. Bea (air) can fly.

To realize their full potential, the blood sisters must return to the land of their childhood dreams. But Everwhere can only be accessed through certain gates at 3:33 A.M. on the night of a new moon. As Goldie, Liyana, Scarlet, and Bea are beset with the challenges of their earthly lives, they must prepare for a battle that lies ahead. On their eighteenth birthday, they will be subjected to a gladiatorial fight with their father’s soldiers. If they survive, they will face their father who will let them live only if they turn dark. Which would be fair, if only the sisters knew what was coming.

So, they have thirty-three days to discover who they truly are and what they can truly do, before they must fight to save themselves and those they love.

Thank you to NetGalley and HarperCollins Publishers for a copy of Sisters Grimm 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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Top 5 Books to Look Out for November 2019

November is an incredible month for new release books. It actually took me some time to settle on the top 5 for this month, in fact I almost just went with a Top 10!

1. The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

The Starless SeaIt is no secret that I have been dying to get my hands on a copy of The Starless Sea. This is my most anticipated read for the entire year!! The Night Circus is one of my all time favorite reads and I have heard Starless Sea is even better!

The Starless Sea Releases on November 5th and I have a signed copy pre ordered (though Barnes & Noble so it will take about a week to get to me) so you can expect a review VERY soon!

Synopsis:

Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a graduate student in Vermont when he discovers a mysterious book hidden in the stacks. As he turns the pages, entranced by tales of lovelorn prisoners, key collectors, and nameless acolytes, he reads something strange: a story from his own childhood. Bewildered by this inexplicable book and desperate to make sense of how his own life came to be recorded, Zachary uncovers a series of clues–a bee, a key, and a sword–that lead him to a masquerade party in New York, to a secret club, and through a doorway to an ancient library, hidden far below the surface of the earth.

What Zachary finds in this curious place is more than just a buried home for books and their guardians–it is a place of lost cities and seas, lovers who pass notes under doors and across time, and of stories whispered by the dead. Zachary learns of those who have sacrificed much to protect this realm, relinquishing their sight and their tongues to preserve this archive, and also those who are intent on its destruction.

Together with Mirabel, a fierce, pink-haired protector of the place, and Dorian, a handsome, barefoot man with shifting alliances, Zachary travels the twisting tunnels, darkened stairwells, crowded ballrooms, and sweetly-soaked shores of this magical world, discovering his purpose–in both the mysterious book and in his own life.

2. Queen of Nothing (The Folk of the Air #3) by Holly Black

The Queen of Nothing by Holly BlackWhile I am not a mega Holly Black or The Cruel Prince fan I thoroughly enjoyed the books and cannot wait to see how Holly ends the series! The synopsis below has spoilers for the first two books if you have not read yet. Queen of Nothing releases November 19th… and again I have my B&N Exclusive Pre-ordered.

Synopsis:

He will be destruction of the crown and the ruination of the throne.

Power is much easier to acquire than it is to hold onto. Jude learned this lesson when she released her control over the wicked king, Cardan, in exchange for immeasurable power.

Now as the exiled mortal Queen of Faerie, Jude is powerless and left reeling from Cardan’s betrayal. She bides her time determined to reclaim everything he took from her. Opportunity arrives in the form of her deceptive twin sister, Taryn, whose mortal life is in peril.

Jude must risk venturing back into the treacherous Faerie Court, and confront her lingering feelings for Cardan, if she wishes to save her sister. But Elfhame is not as she left it. War is brewing. As Jude slips deep within enemy lines she becomes ensnared in the conflict’s bloody politics.

And, when a dormant yet powerful curse is unleashed, panic spreads throughout the land, forcing her to choose between her ambition and her humanity…

3. The Toll (Arc of a Scythe 3) by Neal Shusterman

The Toll Neal ShustermanI have to admit that I have not even read this series yet and am 100% going with the hype. I have heard so many great things about this series and I own the first two books and actually planned on reading in October… that my TBR totally went out the window last month. The Toll releases on November 5th so won’t have the series read before then, but maybe by the end of the month. Again… have my B&N Exclusive Pre-ordered! Owlcrate also have an exclusive singed edition for sale!

Synopsis:

It’s been three years since Rowan and Citra disappeared; since Scythe Goddard came into power; since the Thunderhead closed itself off to everyone but Grayson Tolliver.

In this pulse-pounding conclusion to New York Times bestselling author Neal Shusterman’s Arc of a Scythe trilogy, constitutions are tested and old friends are brought back from the dead.

4. Call Down the Hawk (Dreamer Trilogy #1) by Maggie Stiefvater

Call Down the HawkIf you have seen some of my other review this year you know Maggie is one of my auto buy authors. I loved The Raven Cycle and Shiver and I will 100% be checking out this Raven Cycle spins off. Maggie also recommended reading her Novella Opal as a bridge between TRC and CDTH. I don’t have a physical copy of this book pre-ordered because. have found these books to be much easier to absorb on audiobook, so I will be listening soon!

Synopsis:

The dreamers walk among us . . . and so do the dreamed. Those who dream cannot stop dreaming – they can only try to control it. Those who are dreamed cannot have their own lives – they will sleep forever if their dreamers die.

And then there are those who are drawn to the dreamers. To use them. To trap them. To kill them before their dreams destroy us all.

Ronan Lynch is a dreamer. He can pull both curiosities and catastrophes out of his dreams and into his compromised reality.

Jordan Hennessy is a thief. The closer she comes to the dream object she is after, the more inextricably she becomes tied to it.

Carmen Farooq-Lane is a hunter. Her brother was a dreamer . . . and a killer. She has seen what dreaming can do to a person. And she has seen the damage that dreamers can do. But that is nothing compared to the destruction that is about to be unleashed. . . .

5. Blood Heir by Amelie Wen Zhao

The Blood Heir Amelie Wen ZhaoThis books largely makes the list due to all of the drama around its release this year. I was to hear that it was pulled without me getting a chance to read so was very excited when it was updated the book would be released on November 19th. While a dark Anastasia retelling does sounds super neat in its own right I also want to see what all the fuss is about.

Synopsis:

In the Cyrilian Empire, Affinites are reviled. Their varied gifts to control the world around them are unnatural—dangerous. And Anastacya Mikhailov, the crown princess, has a terrifying secret. Her deadly Affinity to blood is her curse and the reason she has lived her life hidden behind palace walls.

When Ana’s father, the emperor, is murdered, her world is shattered. Framed as his killer, Ana must flee the palace to save her life. And to clear her name, she must find her father’s murderer on her own. But the Cyrilia beyond the palace walls is far different from the one she thought she knew. Corruption rules the land, and a greater conspiracy is at work—one that threatens the very balance of her world. And there is only one person corrupt enough to help Ana get to its core: Ramson Quicktongue.

A cunning crime lord of the Cyrilian underworld, Ramson has sinister plans—though he might have met his match in Ana. Because in this story, the princess might be the most dangerous player of all.

What are your most anticipated books for November 2019?

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Fighting Destiny- Fae Chronicles Book 1 Review

Fighting Destiny by Amelia Hutchins- Book 1 of the Fae Chronicles Series

Fighting Destiny Fae Chronicles Book ReviewOverall: ****

Romance: *****

Reading Rate: *****

Pages: 394

Release Date: June 4th 2013

Purchase on Amazon here 

I recommend if you liked: The Bargainer Series

HOLY STEAM!!!! Not safe for work and not safe for kids/YA. I enjoyed this book so much and immediately had to dive in a binge read the others in the series! This is 100% an adult romance book lots of steam, gore, and Oh Dear, Rhyder! This was a fast paced paranormal romance story with an extra dark twist to it.

What I liked:

  • I enjoyed the darkness of the story you know you are going to lose people and that everyone might not get a happy ending.
  • Lots and lots of steam!
  • Amelia had an interesting take on Fae and other creatures being integrated into the human world.

What I struggled with:

  • This book and the whole series take the steamy scenes to quite a dark place that could also be triggers or just taken to far for a lot of readers.
  • There is always a little cliche in these types or paranormal romances, which I don’t mind at all but if you are looking for something to break the mold this is not it.
  • The Female MC certainly makes some rash choices running headlong into danger and being stubborn.

The author is working on the final book in this series to be released soon. She has also written several standalone spin offs as well as other series that are spin offs but tie into the overall story line of the world. Amelia is also a hilarious social media follow and is very active with her fans, but just like her books she is NSFW 🙂

Synopsis:

Have you ever heard of the old Celtic legends of the Fae—beautiful, magical, and deadly creatures that have a love of messing with humans just for kicks and giggles?

Welcome to my world.

What started out as a strange assignment, lead to one of the most gruesome murder mysteries of our times. My friends and I are set and determined to find out who is killing off Fae and Witches alike.

Couple of problems in the way – I hate the Fae and the Prince of the Dark Fae is bound and determined that I work for him. He’s a rude, overbearing egotistical ass with a compulsive need to possess, dominate and control me. Oh—did I mention that he is absolutely sex-on-a-stick gorgeous and he makes me feel things that I never ever wanted to feel for a Fae… every time he touches me or looks at me with those dangerous golden eyes he seems to pull me further in under his spell, despite my better judgment.

My friends and I can’t trust anyone and nothing is as it seems on the surface—not even me.