Book Reviews, Products I love!!

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
  • Recommend if you liked: Serpent & Dove

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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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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Nevernight Book Review

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff, Book 1 of the Nevernight Chronicle.

Overall: ****

Romance: ****

Reading Rate: ***

Pages: 464

Purchase on Amazon: Here

Holy cow I was not prepared!!!! Nevernight has been allllll over the book community as a much read since I joined last year. Due to that hype I was a bit nervous to read, but after reading Illuminae and loving Kristoff’s work so much I decided to give it a try.

I actually had a hard time getting into the very beginning of the book and picked it up and put it down a few times over the last few months. Once I made it past the first few chapters I was hooked and blew through the rest of the book.

What I liked:

  • As Jay warns this is NOT a YA book and has quite a bit of wonderful violence and smut, that while is a personal preference is certainly not for everyone.
  • While I was able to predict some of the overall plot points you really never know 100% who is “good/bad” or if anyone is ever safe.
  • Mr Kindley!!! If you have read any of Jay or Jay/Amie works you know first hand how lovable and  they can make there characters and Nevernight brought it 100%.

What I struggled with:

  • The story does tend to jump from past to present a bit. This was necessary for the story line and building out the history but it can make it a little challenging to read.
  • The footnotes can be challenging, I started out trying to read them and then just started skipping. Most of them are really interesting information about the world and funny snips from Jay, but I didn’t feel like I missed out on the story line by skipping them.

Synopsis:

Nevernight is the first in an epic new fantasy series from the New York Times bestselling author, Jay Kristoff.

In a land where three suns almost never set, a fledgling killer joins a school of assassins, seeking vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family.

Daughter of an executed traitor, Mia Corvere is barely able to escape her father’s failed rebellion with her life. Alone and friendless, she hides in a city built from the bones of a dead god, hunted by the Senate and her father’s former comrades. But her gift for speaking with the shadows leads her to the door of a retired killer, and a future she never imagined.

Now, a sixteen year old Mia is apprenticed to the deadliest flock of assassins in the entire Republic ― the Red Church. Treachery and trials await her with the Church’s halls, and to fail is to die. But if she survives to initiation, Mia will be inducted among the chosen of the Lady of Blessed Murder, and one step closer to the only thing she desires.

Revenge.

After the ending of Nevernight I dove right into the second book Godsgrave and pre-ordered the final book in the trilogy Darkdawn (that releases in September).

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Lord of the Fading Lands Book Review

Lord of the Fading Lands by C.L. Wilson

Overall: ***

Romance: ****

Reading Rate: ****

Pages: 416

Purchase on Amazon: Here

This is a series that has been on my TBR for quite some time. I recently went on a Kindle Unlimited binge of paranormal romance and was having a hard time getting out of it to return to my normal TBR. I decided to go ahead and give this series a try as I know it is very beloved by many. This book gives me a bit of grown up Thrown of Glass vibes… but seeing as this book was published WAY before TOG, it would technically be in the inspired story. A young girl with a mysterious power is declared the truemate of Rain the last Tairen Soul and king of the Fey.

What I liked:

  • You all know I am a OTP kind of girl and this book did not hesitate to get my couple going right from the start.
  • There are a lot of elements going on in the story mages, family drama, courtship drama, the fading Tairen and fay, and not to mention the schemers at court.

What I did not like:

  • The first book was over 400 pages (mass market paperback) but it only covered the span of a few weeks, and the MC didn’t make it very fat into their courtship.
  • I was honestly thinking there was going to be a bit more… romance. Things were heating up in several ways towards the end of the book so possibly more to come further in the series.

This is only the first book of 5 in the Tairen Soul series and I have heard things get better in book 2… which makes a lot of sense due to the amount of world building that needed to occur.

Synopsis:

Once he drove back the darkness. Once he loved with such passion his name was legend.

Once, driven wild with grief over the murder of his beloved, the majestic Fey King Rain Tairen Soul had laid waste to the world before vanishing into the Fading Lands. Now, a thousand years later, a new threat draws him back into the world—and a new love reawakens the heart he thought long-dead.

Ellysetta, a woodcarver’s daughter, calls to Rain in a way no other ever had. Mysterious and magical, her soul beckons him with a compelling, seductive song—and no matter the cost, the wildness in his blood will not be denied. as an ancient, familiar evil regains its strength, causing centuries-old alliances to crumble and threatening doom for Rain and his people . . .he must claim his truemate to embrace the destiny woven for them both in the mists of time.

Bookish Merch, For the home, Products I love!!

Top Bookstagram Props

Kiss of Deception The Remnant Chronicles ReviewShopping for props and putting together photos for Instagram (Bookstagram) is so much fun. But sometimes finding just the right prop can be a challenge so I have created a list of some of my favorites! Almost all of the items below I have personally ordered and used and I will continue to add more as I find new and wonderful products.

Crowns:

I use the crowns ALL the time in my Bookstagram photos! I love the sparkle that they add to pictures, but can still be used in darker themes.

Click on the below photos to shop for these crowns and more!

Backgrounds:

I change out my background every few months. I have tried several different options but have found its worth spending a few extra dollars for a nice matte backdrop. I tried a few stick on options or cheaper plastic options and they either did not last of caused terrible lighting glares that made editing a nightmare.

This is the current background that I am using in my photos, I highly recommend it and will be purchasing in a darker color for fall/winter here soon!

Swords/Daggers:

Swords and daggers make such a fun throw in for photos, especially for someone like me who reads a ton of fantasy where main characters are often warriors or assassins. They can also be used to add an extra edge to creepy photo styles.

Flowers:

Wicked Saints by Emily Duncan Book ReviewFlowers are a wonderful way to fill up blank place in photo set ups and they tend to add such a great touch! I usually pick up flowers from my local hobby store for a few dollars a stem.

You can use flowers or foliage to enhance any theme set up, it does not have to be a “fluffy” set up to include them. I like to use muted or darker colored flowers to accent my darker aesthetic photos and then use bright white flowers for my lighter themes. I have also seen some folks do amazing rainbow themes with their flowers.

Scarves:

I use scarves in the background of TONS of my photos to break up the wood color and add another layer to the photo. I personally have a ton of scarves that I wear throughout the year so I really enjoy being able to leverage my collection for photos as well.

Fun Accessories:

I am always on the hunt for unique accessories to fill spaces in my photos, I personally can not stand having a lot of open space. I have included links to a few of my favorite items that I have picked up (just click on the pics below).

You can also add layers to your photos using folded old books, book pages, or rolled pages. I have picked up a couple of old dingy books from the dollar or resale shops to re-purpose.

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Dance of Thieves Book Review

Dance of Thieves by Mary E. Pearson

Overall: ****

Romance: ***

Reading Rate: *****

Pages: 505

Purchase on Amazon here

These last two months I joined my very first read along. It started with The Remnant Chronicles and end with the Dance of Thieves Duology.

I was actually a little hesitant when starting this series as I was a little meh about the ending of The Remnant Chronicles which this is a spin off of.  I was pleasantly surprised to be immediately sucked into the action with this book. It occurs several years after the end of the original trilogy but since there was already so much back story on the world there was not a lot of building needed.

I also really enjoyed seeing more of the side characters from the first series and learning more about new people and places in the world. I also liked that this story was less “royal” and you got to learn about the Rahtan and smaller regions of the continent.

The story is based on Kazi who is a member of the new and improved Rahtan of Queen Lia from the original trilogy. She ventures to one of the smaller kingdoms to investigate “treaty violations” and hunt for long lost traitors.

  • I felt the main characters were actually quite unlikable, but grew on me over time. As with the first series as well I really enjoyed the side characters and the world/culture building the Pearson does.
  • I would recommend this story over The Remnant Chronicles but I fear you would not understand a large portion of the story line and character arcs without having read the original trilogy first. It is classified as a spin off but is really more a continuation of the story.
  • Because the point of views switch from Jase and Kazi you know so much of each side of the story. Which for me causes frustration in knowing that a lot of the problems and barriers are from each side keeping secrets instead of being honest. I am hoping to see some of this resolved in the second book now that a lot of new character and relationship building has occurred in the first.

AND THAT ENDING! All I have to say is make sure you have Vow of Thieves ready to start reading right after you finish! I devoured the first book in 3 “work” days so that shows you how sucked in I was and I will be diving right into the second book asap.

Also guys let’s not ignore how completely gorgeous this book is! The naked hardback is also gorgeous and has beautiful maps as the end pages.

Synopsis:

A formidable outlaw family that claims to be the first among nations.

A son destined to lead, thrust suddenly into power.

Three fierce young women of the Rahtan, the queen’s premier guard.

A legendary street thief leading a mission, determined to prove herself.

A dark secret that is a threat to the entire continent.

When outlaw leader meets reformed thief, a cat-and-mouse game of false moves ensues, bringing them intimately together in a battle that may cost them their lives―and their hearts.

Have you read this duology? If so, tell me what you think below in the comments!

Publisher: Henry Holt

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The Memory Thief Book Review

The Memory Thief by Lauren Mansy

Overall rating :***

Reading rate: *****

Romance: ***

Pages: 368

Release date: October 1, 2019

Order on Amazon here

Etta is a former Memory Thief hiding in plain sight as an ungifted to try and protect her mother and escape her past. When she is double crossed by the corrupt ruler Madame she is forced to return to the Shadows she betrayed to try and save her family and possibly so much more…

The author had some great and unique ideas in this story and even threw a few greats twist and shockers at me. I love the idea of the memory trade and how it can be used for good or bad. I really think this book could have been taken from Ok, to good or really good by being broken out into more books or even just a duology. There was so much action packed into this one book that it made scenes and relationships feel rushed. There were several points where the book could have paused nicely (or left a cliff hanger) and went into a second book.

I was also really enjoying the characters and world, as well as the unique settings that were trekked through. Again I just wish more time had been taken to build out the characters and places, it left me with less attachment to the main characters than I would typically have. There was also some great opportunity for side characters that just got a little lost in the hustle.

Overall the story was still worth the read, the story was action packed and never slowed down. I finished the book in about 2 days…and let’s not forget to mention the absolutely gorgeous cover! I would recommend to someone who enjoys YA Fantasy and prefers a quick standalone to a long detailed series.

Synopsis:

In the city of Craewick, memories reign. The power-obsessed ruler of the city, Madame, has cultivated a society in which memories are currency, citizens are divided by ability, and Gifted individuals can take memories from others through touch as they please.

Seventeen-year-old Etta Lark is desperate to live outside of the corrupt culture, but grapples with the guilt of an accident that has left her mother bedridden in the city’s asylum. When Madame threatens to put her mother up for auction, a Craewick practice in which a “criminal’s” memories are sold to the highest bidder before being killed, Etta will do whatever it takes to save her. Even if it means rejoining the Shadows, the rebel group she swore off in the wake of the accident years earlier.

To prove her allegiance to the Shadows and rescue her mother, Etta must steal a memorized map of the Maze, a formidable prison created by the bloodthirsty ruler of a neighboring Realm. So she sets out on a journey in which she faces startling attacks, unexpected romance, and, above all, her own past in order to set things right in her world.

Thank you to Blink YA books and NetGalley for allowing me to read this book in exchange for my honest review.

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Air Awakens Series Book Review

Air Awakens by Elise Kova Book ReviewAir Awakens series by Elise Kova

Overall: ****

Reading rate:*****

Romance:****

Pages: Over 1700 across 5 books

I binged this entire series on eBook in 5 days! and its a 5 book series. I seriously could not get enough of Prince Aldrik and HAD to know what happened next.

I actually skipped over this book on Kindle several times because of the cover art…. do not mean to be cliche but was totally hit by the “Don’t just a book by its cover”.

What I liked:

  • Romance all the way through & Prince Aldrik
  • The books suck you into Vhalla’s world and do not let go. You just keep adventuring from the library, to the Tower of Sorcerers, to a cross continent trek to fight a war and being on the run on the way back!
  • I loved the side characters!! There were so many funny and wonderful additions to the story along the way that really built it out.
  • I enjoyed the differences in the regions that were built out as well as the magic in those regions. The author really built out openings for spin off after spin off.

What I didn’t like:

  • All the “love triangles” that were thrown in throughout the books, I do not like my one true pairing to be questioned lol
  • While I loved Prince Aldrik and the other side characters I never 100% warmed up to Vhalla the female MC. She was a bit all over the place with her feelings and actions.
  • I also feel like there were problems that arose that I saw coming a mile away but the characters were just oblivious too.
  • I felt like the magic system and the crystal still needed a bit more explaining in the end. The author is also writing a spin off series based after Air Awakens that maybe fills in more of those gaps.

If you liked Throne of Glass I feel you will like this series (although no Fae and less smut) the overall story line was still quite similar.

There are 5 books in this series:

  1. Air Awakens
  2. Fire Falling
  3. Earth’s End
  4. Water’s Wrath
  5. Crystal Crowned

Air Awakens Synopsis:

A library apprentice, a sorcerer prince, and an unbreakable magic bond…

The Solaris Empire is one conquest away from uniting the continent, and the rare elemental magic sleeping in seventeen-year-old library apprentice Vhalla Yarl could shift the tides of war.

Vhalla has always been taught to fear the Tower of Sorcerers, a mysterious magic society, and has been happy in her quiet world of books. But after she unknowingly saves the life of one of the most powerful sorcerers of them all–the Crown Prince Aldrik–she finds herself enticed into his world. Now she must decide her future: Embrace her sorcery and leave the life she’s known, or eradicate her magic and remain as she’s always been. And with powerful forces lurking in the shadows, Vhalla’s indecision could cost her more than she ever imagined.

Have you read Air Awakens? Tell me what you think about it below in the comments?