Friday, August 18, 2017

Review - Iron Kissed by Patricia Briggs

Iron Kissed (Mercy Thompson, #3)
Series: Mercy Thompson #3
Genre: Paranormal 
Age Group: 
Mass Market: 287 pgs.
Ace - 2008 
Add it // Buy it 

Rating: 4/5

Mechanic Mercy Thompson can shift her shape - but not her loyalty. When her former boss and mentor is arrested for murder and left to rot behind bars by his own kind, it's up to Mercy to clear his name, whether he wants her to or not.

Mercy's loyalty is under pressure from other directions, too. Werewolves are not known for their patience, and if Mercy can't decide between the two she cares for, Sam and Adam may make the choice for her...

Trigger Warning: Rape, Date Rape, Drugging.

Does every paranormal series hit its stride with book three? If so, I'll go back to a couple I haven't continued. Paranormal series can be a bit formulaic, but so far Briggs has kept things interesting and surprised me many times. I really enjoy the way she sets up her stories. She continues to build up the rules of this world by expanding Mercy's circle from werewolves and vampires to the very dangerous fae.

I'm absolutely addicted to the fast pace of these books and I love how trim they are. Even though they are just 300-400 pages, nothing is missing. There is a fantastic amount of action and I've become very attached to all the characters. One thing I like, especially compared to the Kate Daniels Series, is the relatively small cast of characters.

Briggs expanded her characters and her world once again in this installment and I've been completely hooked. Though many of the elements have been used before, this series is fresh interesting and original. I can't wait for more.

My Last Review---> Captive Prince by C.S. Pacat

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Bookshelf Tour (Part 1)

For ages I've wanted to publish a bookshelf tour like I did for my TBR shelf. It took a lot more work to capture all these books! I'm excited to bring you part one today and you will see the next installment soon!

Friday, August 11, 2017

Review - Captive Prince by C.S. Pacat

Captive Prince (Captive Prince, #1)
Series: Captive Prince #1
Genre: Fantasy
Age Group: Adult (Mature) 
Paperback - 314 pgs
Berkley - January 2014
Source - Library 

Rating - 3/5 

Trigger Warnings: Rape, physical abuse, torture, pedophilia.

Damen is a warrior hero to his people, and the rightful heir to the throne of Akielos, but when his half brother seizes power, Damen is captured, stripped of his identity, and sent to serve the prince of an enemy nation as a pleasure slave.

Beautiful, manipulative and deadly, his new master Prince Laurent epitomizes the worst of the court at Vere. But in the lethal political web of the Veretian court, nothing is as it seems, and when Damen finds himself caught up in a play for the throne, he must work together with Laurent to survive and save his country.

For Damen, there is just one rule: never, ever reveal his true identity. Because the one man Damen needs is the one man who has more reason to hate him than anyone else

There a lot of mixed reviews about this book. I come down somewhere in the middle of it all. I see why this story is highly criticized but it did keep me engaged and interested to see where else this story will go. I kept turning the pages because the characters are so well developed and have a lot of layers to them. Laurent seems irredeemable at this point, but I want to know what happens to Damen and the hype around this series has me interested enough to continue reading.

The trigger warnings I mentioned are not given lightly. This story is intense to read. I don't think I quite knew what I was getting when I started it. Slavery permeates across this world and every culture has slaves. It took me about half the book to really wrap my mind around the world and customs Pacat created. I wasn't looking for romance in this first installment, but I wasn't expecting the brutality either.

I've spent a lot of time thinking about this book and how complicated my feelings are about it. On one hand I found the characters fascinating and the complex political situation that played out in this story made me read this story in a day. Several months later I'm still disgusted by parts of this and enthralled by others. 

Thursday, August 3, 2017

If We Were Having Coffee

Since I've hit a blogging slump again, I thought I would try out this post I've had on my list for ages. Jamie from The Perpetual Pageturner has a series called If We Were Having Coffee. I love this series and I've always meant to write one of these for my own blog. So here is my first crack at it!

If we were having coffee...I'd tell you I'm thirteen books ahead on my Goodreads Challenge and right on track to read 40,000 pages in 2017. This summer has been amazing stretch of reading for me and I've plowed through quite a number of books. Right now I'm listening to Norse Gods by Neil Gaiman and finding the audiobook quite addictive.

If we were having coffee...I'd tell you my vacation in Cape May was gorgeous and I've had trouble staring at a computer since. The beach house we rented had finicky WIFI and my cell service was terrible. Hence, I was cut off from most of the world's news and social media for a whole week. Since I returned to Pennsylvania, I've had a hard time doing technology things. My brain is still in vacation and disconnected mode.

If we were having coffee...I'd mention I'm having trouble keeping up with everything. On top of adding a new, larger library selection to my Overdrive (I joined the Free Library of Philadelphia recently and so should you if you live in PA), I also discovered Hoopla thanks to a friend. Right now I am overwhelmed with choices and I've borrowed a lot in the past few weeks. Hopefully I actually finish most of this, but right now I'm feeling stretched thin.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Tome Topple/Beach Weekend TBR

It seems like I just returned from vacation, but my friends and I have an annual tradition of doing a girl's beach weekend. This year it falls right at the beginning of the Tome Topple Readathon. So my plan is to kick off this readathon in a serious way by hitting the beach and reading ALL day. However, I have a few more things on my TBR than just Tome Topple books. Check it out to see what I'll be reading!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Top Ten Things I've Been Doing to Avoid Writing Blog Posts

I'll be honest. Over the past few months I've been really lazy here on the blog. Summer has been passing so quickly and I've been doing just about everything except working on blog posts. Mostly, I've gotten out of the habit of writing reviews and brainstorming posts.

What have I been doing you might ask? Well, let me tell you!

1) Reading (Glad this one made it to the list) 

2) Vacationing

3) Starting a Free Trial of Hulu

4) Staring at my books

5) Comparing Netflix and Hulu

6) Watching baseball games (Go Yankees!)

7) Making lists of reviews I need to write 
(then being scared stiff by the sheer number)

8) Giving my dog belly rubs

9)  Getting enough sleep

10) Anything and everything

So hopefully I'll be back working on my posts and get back in the habit of writing reviews too! Here's hoping that will work out!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Review - Blood Bound by Patricia Briggs

Blood Bound (Mercy Thompson, #2)
Series: Mercy Thompson #2
Genre: Paranormal
Age Group: Adult
Kindle Edition  - 335 pgs
Ace Books - 2007

Rating: 4.5/5

Mechanic Mercy Thompson has friends in low places - and in dark ones. And now she owes one of them a favor. Since she can shapeshift at will, she agrees to act as some extra muscle when her vampire friend Stefan goes to deliver a message to another of his kind. 
But this new vampire is hardly ordinary - and neither is the demon inside of him.

After the first book, I thought I had a good handle on how these books were going to go. As we all know, paranormal series tend to be a touch predictable and formulaic. And I like that! Blood Bound still had some of those elements, but its dark turn at the beginning took me by surprise. Mercy is a stronger character in this book and the cast of characters is more developed. I liked how we mainly focused on Mercy in this book with some asides about some romantic interests.

Briggs has a tendency to info dump on her readers, but I hope this will fade as the series goes along. Overall I like the world and how it has a twist on the traditional humans knowing/not knowing about magic. It makes the story interesting in other ways and forces Briggs to be creative about how things get done.

Mercy is relatable and believable. I like how she doesn't want to be treated like a weakling but knows her limits. I hope we continue to learn about her powers (I'm sure we will) and find some answers to that mystery. Really hoping Briggs doesn't stretch that bit out for ages. Will continue very soon! 

Monday, July 10, 2017

Review - Magic Stars by Ilona Andrews

 Magic Stars (Kate Daniels, #8.5, Grey Wolf, #1)
Series: Kate Daniels #8.5/Grey Wolf #1
Genre: Paranormal/Urban Fantasy
Age Group: Adult
NYLA - December 2015
Ebook -64 pgs

Rating- 5/5

Scarred, solitary Derek Gaunt has separated from his Pack, and is truly a lone wolf. With no family he answers to no one; but is fiercely loyal to a chosen few. So, when several of those close to him are murdered, he’ll stop at nothing to hunt their killer through the magic-drenched streets of Atlanta.

Never one to be left on the sidelines, equally determined—some might say stubborn—Julie Lennart-Olsen soon joins in his pursuit; and what began as revenge turns into a race to save the city. Their search pits them against powers they never imagined and magic so old, it predates history. It may cost Derek his life, but there are things for which even he would risk everything.

Honestly, I could read a million of these Derek and Julie adventures. Julie, like Kate, is smart, witty and knowledgeable. She can kick butt and outsmart her opponents. Derek complements her well and has a lot of experience and brute strength to balance their teamwork out. I like how this story follows the same basic format we see in the Kate Daniels Series and I am holding out hope we will see the two of them again after the Daniels Series finishes. There have been vague mentions of it on the authors' social media. Please please please give me the Julie and Derek adult romance right now!

The pacing and story structure are familiar like I mentioned, but it is on a condensed scale.  I enjoyed the plot line a lot and sincerely hope there are more to come. The novellas in this series are just as much fun as the full-length novels!

My Last Review---> Moon Called by Patricia Briggs

Sunday, July 9, 2017

June Book Haul (2017)

Happy Sunday Book Haul! This month has been a book buying craze for me! Check out all the awesome books I picked up in June.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Review - Moon Called by Patricia Briggs

Moon Called (Mercy Thompson, #1)

Series: Mercy Thompson Series #1
Genre: Urban Paranormal Fantasy
Age Group: Adult
Mass Market - 288 pgs 
Ace - January 2006

Rating: 3.5/5

Mercedes "Mercy" Thompson is a talented Volkswagen mechanic living in the Tri-Cities area of Washington. She also happens to be a walker, a magical being with the power to shift into a coyote at will. Mercy's next-door neighbor is a werewolf. Her former boss is a gremlin. And she's fixing a bus for a vampire. This is the world of Mercy Thompson, one that looks a lot like ours but is populated by those things that go bump in the night. And Mercy's connection to those things is about to get her into some serious hot water...

Since I caught up on the Kate Daniels Series by Ilona Andrews, I have been anxious to read Moon Called. I've been looking to replace the paranormal/urban fantasy kick ass heroine sized hole in my heart. This did a good job of filling that hole.

This first book was a good set up for the series and the world. The plot was a little slow to start, there was a lot of set up, but I enjoyed the results. Mercy and her friends went on a fast paced adventure that had me glued to the page!

Mercy was a middle-of-the-road badass character. She had good instincts and her knowledge of the paranormal world provided a great foundation. At times I was frustrated she let other people take charge of the situation and she was written to be weaker than a lot of the other characters. However, I'm hopeful she will hold her own in the rest of the series.

My only big issue so far was I could not gauge the relationships between characters very well. The explanation of Mercy and Adam's antagonistic relationship at the beginning of of the novel  didn't seem to justify the lengths she went to to help Adam and his daughter. Personally, I needed more background on them to believe that part of the story.

I already have my hands on book two and I'm going to keep rolling through this series I think!

My Last Review ---> The Winner's Crime 

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Top Books I Want to Read Before the End of 2017

There are a lot of books on my TBR and all the book buying I've done in June has wiped out my progress to reduce it! So here are a bunch of books I want to read before the end of the year. Look out world I'm a girl on a mission!

Monday, July 3, 2017

Review - The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski

The Winner's Crime (The Winner's Trilogy, #2)
Series: The Winner's Trilogy
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Hardcover - 402 pgs
Published- Farrar, Straus and Giroux (2015)
Add it // Buy it 

Rating: 4/5

A royal wedding means one celebration after another: balls, fireworks, and revelry until dawn. But to Kestrel it means living in a cage of her own making. As the wedding approaches, she aches to tell Arin the truth about her engagement: that she agreed to marry the crown prince in exchange for Arin's freedom. But can Kestrel trust Arin? Can she even trust herself?

Kestrel is becoming very good at deception. she's working as a spy in the court. If caught, she'll be exposed as a traitor to her country. Yet she can't help searching for a way to change her ruthless world...and she is close to uncovering a shocking secret.

It took me so long to get through this book. After the first one hundred pages, I hit a wall. The story was slow to start so I put it off for months. After a couple of months of ignoring it, I read the rest of it in about two days. So I have mixed feelings about this second installment.

I mean this in the best way possible. This entire book was SO frustrating and STRESSFUL! Even though it hurts me, I enjoy how much tension is in this story and how even now after two books, there isn't much resolution. Unlike many young adult novels where I think the resolution for the problems and the characters to be quick and easy, the relationship between Kestral and Arin is so complicated. My expectations for the finale book are very high now so I hope Rutkowski follows through.

Throughout the novel I knew Kestrel's indecision and her scrambling would cost her in the end. While she tried desperately to play both sides of the game, it never seemed like she had enough information to do it effectively especially knowing what Arin was doing on the other side. I thought it was realistic how different the two characters were and how each of them had to deal with their all of the decisions they made in book one. The friendships, relationships and political alliances in this story were built so well and I loved the political elements of the story.

I'm dying for book three. (Good thing I have it)

Friday, June 30, 2017

Review - The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan

The Red Pyramid (Kane Chronicles, #1)
Series: The Kane Chronicles
Genre: Urban Fantasy 
Age Group: Middle Grade
Hardcover - 516 pgs
Published - 2010 (Disney Hyperion) 
Add it // Buy it 

Rating: 4/5

Since their mother's death, Carter and Sadie have become near strangers. While Sadie has lived with her grandparents in London, her brother has traveled the world with their father, the brilliant Egyptologist, Dr. Julius Kane. 

One night, Dr. Kane brings the siblings together for a "research experiment" at the British Museum, where he hopes to set things right for his family. Instead, he unleashes the Egyptian god Set, who banishes him to oblivion and forces the children to flee for their lives. 

Soon, Sadie and Carter discover that the gods of Egypt are waking, and the worst of them —Set— has his sights on the Kanes. To stop him, the siblings embark on a dangerous journey across the globe - a quest that brings them ever closer to the truth about their family and their links to a secret order that has existed since the time of the pharaohs. 

It has been a hot minute since I read a Rick Riordan book and I had a lot of fun reading this book. I listened to the audiobook and the narrators were absolutely fabulous. Overall this was exactly what I was looking for. It was filled with fun, adventure, and interesting mythology. Riordan writes young people and creates mythical gods like no other. He has a knack for writing compelling characters and plot lines that drag me into a story.

While the characters and the adventure style was much like Riordan's other books, there was a level of maturity I don't remember in Riordan's other series. Throughout the book there was more explanation of the Egyptian mythology which I appreciated since I am less familiar with it. The story is a straight up adventure that includes sibling rivalry that was hilarious.

My only issue with this story was it was a little predictable and had heavy foreshadowing that gave away a few plot points. Even so, since this is aimed at middle graders, I couldn't hold it against the book. The story is an emotional roller coaster and I'm anxious to get to the second audiobook.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

T5W - Hate to Love Ships

Happy Wednesday! Today's topic for Top Five Wednesday is relationships in books where the characters hated each other when they met and eventually end up together. At least I think that is what the topic meant. There wasn't a lot of description for this one! Let me know what you think are the best ships for this topic especially if they are different from mine. This is a favorite trope and I'd love to check more out!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Review - A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #3 (Finale) 
Genre: Fantasy
Age Group: New Adult
Bloomsbury USA - May 2016
Hardcover -  706 pgs

Rating - 3/5

A nightmare, I’d told Tamlin. I was the nightmare.

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s maneuverings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit—and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well. As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords—and hunt for allies in unexpected places.

I devoured the first 2/3 of this book. I like the interactions between the characters and thought the planning was complex and interesting. Even in this third book we learned a little bit more about the world. I enjoyed learning even more about Prythian and absorbing these details while the action continued. It wasn't always front and center but I liked that it was added.

However, the end felt like Maas tried to wrap up every loose end, redeem every character, and make it end perfectly. This kind of ending never feels realistic or satistfying to me so I was disappointed with where we left off. I wanted more answers about certain characters and clarification of some of the events. Everything was rushed from the half-way point and in the end most plot points were only addressed in overview.

Book two was very character focused, which I loved, and this book shifted the focus back to plot and action. While the overall arc of the story is important, I didn't care very much about this war. I was much more interested in the histories of the characters and their interactions with each other. (and if everyone survived what would happen next)The action parts of the book just didn't hold my attention as well. To put it simply: I wanted more banter, more friendship moments, and just more about everyone especially Rhy's Court of Dreams. They were the ones I wanted this book to be about. I was so devoted and attached to them after ACOMAF.

Overall Maas's writing doesn't impress me anymore. I've read much better writing since I started reading her books with more diversity, better character arcs and more interesting worlds. I do think this is the better series of the two she has going right now. ACOMAF remains my favorite book in the series and I will be interested to see what the "next" books in this series will be about.

Friday, June 23, 2017

A Death at Rosings: A Pride & Prejudice Variation by Renata McMann & Summer Hanford

A Death at Rosings: A Pride & Prejudice Variation

Series: Standalone
Genre: Historical Fiction
Age Group: Adult
Published: November 2015
Ebook - 183 pgs

The world of Rosings is turned on its head with the sudden death of Lady Catherine de Bourgh. Not yet up to the challenge of managing the estate on her own, Anne de Bourgh enlists the aid of Elizabeth Bennet, who is staying with her cousin Mr. Collins at the time. Elizabeth is capable, intelligent and quick thinking enough to help Anne manage Rosings, but is she ready for the challenge of Mr. Darcy’s return to Kent? With his rebuked proposal, his letter and her knowledge that she misjudged him between them, can Elizabeth set her own feelings aside to help save Anne de Bourgh’s estate? 

This would be the definition of inhale reading. Coming in just under 200 pages I sat down to read this story and didn't get up until I was done a couple of hours later. The story is fast paced and an easy engaging read. I really enjoyed it.

The concept may seem odd, but many of the characters balk at Anne's request just like I did. Through the story Anne's character blooms a little more, but many of the other characters remain the same. Darcy is still awkward and Elizabeth still witty. I really enjoyed seeing them in this different situation. The romance was cute and fun to read from both sides.

At times I did think Anne was actually enlisting Elizabeth's help to play matchmaker for her and Darcy. She seemed to enjoy that role for other characters and her character seemed very strong even without Elizabeth's guidance. Maybe I was reading between the lines too much, but I felt like that was an undercurrent to the story?? 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Top Ten Series I've Been Meaning To Start But Haven't

This topic is perfect for me right now! I have so many series I've been thinking about starting (and finishing for that matter) but I just haven't done it! So thank you to the Broke and the Bookish. I need to think about this more often! And if you are so inclined, please let me know which one of these is ESSENTIAL for me to start next.

A Thousand Pieces of You (Firebird, #1) The Girl at Midnight (The Girl at Midnight, #1) The Girl from Everywhere (The Girl from Everywhere, #1)

The Crown's Game (The Crown's Game, #1) The Lost Sun (The United States of Asgard, #1) Legacy of Kings (Blood of Gods and Royals, #1)

Clean Sweep (Innkeeper Chronicles, #1) A Natural History of Dragons (The Memoirs of Lady Trent #1) Half-Blood (Covenant, #1)
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers, #1) 

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

The Invasion of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling, #2)
Series: The Queen of the Tearling
Genre: Fantasy
Age Group: Adult
Published: June 2016 (Harper)
Hardcover - 515 pages

Rating: 4/5 

Trigger Warnings: Abusive relationships (physical & sexual)

Kelsea Glynn is the Queen of the Tearling. Despite her youth, she has quickly asserted herself as a fair, just and powerful ruler.

However, power is a double-edged sword, and small actions can have grave consequences. In trying to do what is right - stopping a vile trade in humankind - Kelsea has crossed the Red Queen, a ruthless monarch whose rule is bound with dark magic and the spilling of blood. The Red Queen's armies are poised to invade the Tearling, and it seems nothing can stop them.

Though I've knocked a star off of my rating, I don't want it to appear as if I didn't enjoy this book. I still love this series. I adore the characters and I'm anxious to read the final book. However, I didn't wholeheartedly love this book the way I did book one. There were just a few issues I want to point out.

In the first book I thought Kelsea made some rash decisions, but none of them were outrageous and I believed them. In this second book a few of her decisions seemed wild even after Kelsea was established as a risk taker. It pulled me out of the story to question her actions and how daring (and sometimes stupid) I believed her to be.

Johansen took a really interesting approach to the history of this world and I really appreciated how we learned about the past. I was skeptical at first, but the new perspective that was introduced really grew on me. When I was reading Kelsea's chapters I was just as, if not more, anxious to get back to the other perspective because Johansen left on a lot of cliff-hangers in those chapters.  Also I found these sections especially chilling because of the recent political climate.

Overall I really enjoyed this installment. It was a strong second book and, though the plot moved forward slowly, it didn't suffer from second book syndrome. These was a lot of world building and essential plot points I had questioned in the first book. I am anxious to see how this will wrap up because I still feel like we have a long way to go.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Reading Everyday in May - Vlog

Throughout May I made an effort to read every day. I was really frustrated with my lack of reading and my inability to focus on books in April so I decided to challenge myself in May. Throughout the month I read at least a little bit all but two days. I did not quite meet the challenge, but overall it helped me a lot. I finished more books rather than abandoning them and I accomplished my goal of rereading a series so I could start the last book in that series.

After I finished the challenge, I realized how many of these books were still rereads, which I had hoped to avoid, but the books I've picked up since the beginning of June have all been new reads. In the end I think this challenge helped me conquer part of my reading funk and put me on the path to a better reading attitude. 

In June I'll be continuing this challenge by joining Misty's #30dayBookBinge

I've accidentally deleted this post twice now so I think I will sign off here and let you know about my progress again at the end of the month! 

Monday, June 5, 2017

Review: Stray by Rachel Vincent

Stray (Shifters, #1)
Series: Shifters #1
Genre: Paranormal
Age Group: Adult
Published: January 2007
Mass Market: 618 pgs

Rating: 2/5

Trigger Warnings: Sexual assault

There are only eight breeding female werecats left...And I'm one of them.

I look like an all-American grad student. But I am a werecat, a shape-shifter, and I live in two worlds.Despite reservations from my family and my Pride, I escaped the pressure to continue my species and carved out a normal life for myself. Until the night a Stray attacked.

I'd been warned about Strays — werecats without a Pride, constantly on the lookout for someone like me: attractive, female, and fertile. I fought him off, but then learned two of my fellow tabbies had disappeared.

This brush with danger was all my Pride needed to summon me back... for my own protection. Yeah, right. But I'm no meek kitty. I'll take on whatever — and whoever — I have to in order to find my friends. Watch out, Strays — 'cause I got claws, and I'm not afraid to use them...

The longer I think about this book the more issues I have with it. While reading I was interested and engaged in the story if still a bit skeptical and frustrated with the length of the novel. Now though, I have a whole host of issues with it.

The first issue I had with this book was about the female lead. Faythe is not as strong a character as she is made out to be. She is immature and selfish. I have very little patience for her after 600+ pages of her antics. While we constantly hear about her struggle for freedom, it feels surface level. Faythe walks the line of cliché the entire book and I was never taken by surprise by her actions or the story.

Another issue was the extreme length of this novel. It took 300 pages for this story to become interesting. It was too long! It dragged on forever. Trimming the beginning of the story down (excluding some of the weird sexual posturing) would have really helped keep me interested at the end. When the main plot of the story finally came into view I wasn't as invested as I could have been because I had already suffered 300 pages of nonsense. Also did every villain in this story need to be from Mexico or South America? 

Finally I was disappointed in the romance. Again the story fits a trope and we see Faythe involved in a love triangle. There isn't anything interesting about this triangle either. The witty banter I expect in paranormal romance was extremely lacking. Instead Faythe plays with both boys emotions and acts like a pouty teen rather than the twenty-four year old she is.

I'll continue on with this series since I already own them, but I sincerely hope there are some improvements in book two.

My Recommendation: Read this Instead

Friday, June 2, 2017

The Rose and the Dagger by Renée Ahdieh

The Rose & the Dagger (The Wrath & the Dawn, #2)

Series: The Wrath and the Dawn 
Genre: Fantasy
Age Group: Young Adult
Published: April 2016
Hardcover - 416 pgs

In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad is forced from the arms of her beloved husband, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once thought Khalid a monster—a merciless killer of wives, responsible for immeasurable heartache and pain—but as she unraveled his secrets, she found instead an extraordinary man and a love she could not deny. Still, a curse threatens to keep Shazi and Khalid apart forever.

Now she’s reunited with her family, who have found refuge in the desert, where a deadly force is gathering against Khalid—a force set on destroying his empire and commanded by Shazi’s spurned childhood sweetheart. Trapped between loyalties to those she loves, the only thing Shazi can do is act. Using the burgeoning magic within her as a guide, she strikes out on her own to end both this terrible curse and the brewing war once and for all. But to do it, she must evade enemies of her own to stay alive.

Honestly I've made it my goal to reread a series before I finish it all because of this series. I didn't reread the first book before I picked up book two and I think my grasp of the plot suffered quite a bit because of that. Even so, I enjoyed this second installment and thought it was stronger than the first. 

In the first book we learned a lot about Shazi and Khalid, but we developed their individual personalities more in this book which I appreciated. There were more characters and more descriptions of the world, but many aspects still felt like they were only developed on a surface level. The magic especially felt like it was a background part of the story rather than a driving force. 

Overall I enjoyed the story and I'm happy with the wrap up to this duology, but I wanted more from it. More character development. More tension at the climax of the story. Less pouting from the boys and more action from Shaz. I liked just about everything about this book, but nothing in the series stood out as spectacular and I wanted to wholeheartedly love it.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Top Ten Most Anticipated Books For The Second Half of 2017

These Top Ten Tuesday topics are always hard for me to narrow down.

Here are the top five books I already have preordered and am anticipating their release on an almost daily basis. All the Cooked Saints is Maggie Stiefvater's newest book and I cannot wait. All I know about this is it is set in Colorado in the 1960's and involves coyotes and miracles. The Tiger's Daughter is a fantasy novels that I've heard amazing things about. I'll be honest though the real draw so far is the cover. One Dark Throne!!! This one is the sequel (and possibly final book) to Three Dark Crowns. The first book ended on such a crazy note that I can't wait to get my hands on this one. That Inevitable Victorian Thing by E.K. Johnston has a beautiful cover and a really interesting premise. I'm anxious to get my hands on it just so I can devour it with my eyes. Last, but definitely not least at all, is The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee which sounds delightful and I've heard nothing but good things thus far.

All the Crooked Saints The Tiger’s Daughter (Their Bright Ascendency #1) One Dark Throne (Three Dark Crowns, #2)

That Inevitable Victorian Thing The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue

Then there is the group of books I am also very very intrigued about but I haven't preordered these as of now. All very interesting but I am waiting for more reviews to trickle in before I decide which ones I want. 

Mask of Shadows (Untitled, #1) Royal Bastards The Library of Fates 

Friday, May 26, 2017

Review - Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon

Dragonfly in Amber (Outlander, #2)
Series: Outlander #2
Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance
Age Group: Adult
Published- August 2001 
Trade Paperback

Rating 4/5

For nearly twenty years Claire Randall has kept her secrets. But now she is returning with her grown daughter to Scotland’s majestic mist-shrouded hills. Here Claire plans to reveal a truth as stunning as the events that gave it birth: about the mystery of an ancient circle of standing stones... about a love that transcends the boundaries of time... and about Jamie Fraser, a Scottish warrior whose gallantry once drew a young Claire from the security of her century to the dangers of his.

Now a legacy of blood and desire will test her beautiful copper-haired daughter, Brianna, as Claire’s spellbinding journey of self-discovery continues in the intrigue-ridden Paris court of Charles Stuart... in a race to thwart a doomed Highlands uprising... and in a desperate fight to save both the child and the man she loves. 

Finishing one of these is like finishing a Song of Ice and Fire book. This has been a marathon and a lot happened during this installment that I will try to keep straight when I read Voyager. Though I'm left with more questions than answers at the end of this one.

Unlike Outlander that started off with a bang, this book takes forever to get going. We spend an annoying amount of time following a new character who ogles Claire and her daughter in the "present" while Claire tries to find answers about the past. When we finally flash back to pick up where we left off at the end of Outlander, the story had my attention. I did find it hard to keep track of all the characters at times because everyone has at least two names and they show up in so many different places.

I wish I was invested in the plot and what was happening as I was in the character. I care a lot about Jamie and Claire, but sometimes we lose sight of them in the tumult of things happening around them. 

Overall I have a lot of mixed feelings, and generally a lot of FEELINGS, about this book. Jamie and Claire's story is very raw at times and I felt their pain, sadness, and fear throughout this book. Gabaldon is great at getting emotions to come through strongly, but I do feel like this could have been trimmed down. We go on a lot of tangents and the forward progression of the story is slowed down so much.

At the end of the book I am left with a lot more questions than answers. I have no idea where we will go from here and I am burning with curiosity even though the story ended on a strange note. I'll be checking out Voyager soon. 

My Last Review---> Magic Binds by Ilona Andrews

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Top Ten Books I'm Putting in My Beach Bag this Summer

This week I do not have summer recommendations. Instead, I have books I really want to read this summer. These are ten different books I want to try to read before August. However, I've limited myself to one per series and I'm anxious to marathon many of these series. 

Curtsies & Conspiracies (Finishing School, #2) Spies and Prejudice  

 The Girl from Everywhere (The Girl from Everywhere, #1) Blackhearts (Blackhearts, #1) Moon Called (Mercy Thompson, #1)

 The Abyss Surrounds Us (The Abyss Surrounds Us, #1) The Throne of Fire (Kane Chronicles, #2)  

 Code (Virals, #3)

Friday, May 19, 2017

April/May Book Haul (2017)

Two posts in one day? I am coming back in force today! I hope it lasts. It is time for a haul because I havnen't filmed one for quite a while and, of course, I've picked up some new books!

Books Mentioned:

Life Update and My Currently

Should I say oops? Hello? Welcome back? I've missed you? It has been a while since I posted anything here. Its been even longer since I wrote anything to post because I had so many posts scheduled in advance. I don't know if it was laziness or my reading blues that brought me down, but I've been away for a while. I'm writing this exactly a month after my last post went live and I think I'm finally ready to jump back into this.

So what have I been up to for the past few weeks? To give you an idea I'm using an idea from Jamie at Perpetual Pageturner who made a "Currently" post of her own recently. This seemed like a nice easy post to update you all on what I'm up to and an easy post to write after being completely unfocused for so long.

Currently Reading: Just started A Court of Wings and Ruin and I'm working on Traitor's Blade as well.

Currently Listening to on audiobook: Emma by Jane Austen. I failed to finish this for my book club so now I want to finish it before I start our next read. 

Currently Listening to: Panic! at the Disco. I've rediscovered this old favorite for running and it is working out really well. (Get it? Working out.) 

Currently Eating: Chocolate ice cream. Mmmmm

Currently Drinking: Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy - My favorite beer is finally back in season!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

TBR Bookshelf Tour #3 ( Bottom Shelf)

We are at the end of the TBR Bookshelf Tours. Hopefully I will find time in the future to film a tour of my other bookshelf. That one is harder since the lighting is bad. I hope I can figure out a way to film it at some point. Let me know if that is something you are interested in seeing.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

TBR Bookshelf Tour #2 (Middle Shelf)

Last week I posted the first of these shelf tours I'm doing and started, of course, on the top shelf. Today I have the next installment for you all! If you are wondering why I'm doing these in short segments rather than one long video, it is simply because my computer can't handle exporting such a long video. Once videos get over ten minutes, the computer gives up. So anyway today we have shelf number two! This has some of my most anticipated reads involved so let me know which ones I should pick up first.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Review - Magic Binds by Ilona Andrews

Series: Kate Daniels #9 
Genre: Urban Fantasy 
Age Group: Adult
Hardcover - 328 pgs
Ace - September 2016
Source: Christmas Gift

Rating - 4.5/5

Kate and the former Beast Lord Curran Lennart are finally making their relationship official. But there are some steep obstacles standing in the way of their walk to the altar…

Kate’s father, Roland, has kidnapped the demigod Saiman and is slowly bleeding him dry in his never-ending bid for power. A Witch Oracle has predicted that if Kate marries the man she loves, Atlanta will burn and she will lose him forever. And the only person Kate can ask for help is long dead.

The odds are impossible. The future is grim. But Kate Daniels has never been one to play by the rules… 

In this novel we address many issues that have arisen since Kate claimed Atlanta, namely that Kate now has a ton of power and has to deal with how it is changing her. Also her father's continuous attempts to challenge or provoke her. Kate has a lot on her plate even before the Witch Oracle gives her dire news that puts her upcoming nuptials on the back burner. We have been working up to many of these problems for several books and I feel that drive towards the finish line. It is time clear up lingering problems and questions before the big finale which I think is coming (maybe) in book ten. 

We get a lot of answers in this book which I really appreciated. A lot of my favorite characters were back in the picture. (It would be nice to see even more of them.) Kate and Curran's relationship is still a sticky point for me. I find it frustrating that they constantly take action and ask for forgiveness after the fact. It seems to work for them, but the whole trust issue has been there since Magic Rises so I won't keep griping about it. (Well I will but in my own head) 

There is a lot going on in this book and I do want to read it again before the next book is released. Kate does what she does best in this installment. She uses her mental database of knowledge on myths and legends to come up with a plan to save her own skin. It is epic and just what I want from these novels. Kate kicks ass and is smart about the choices in front of her. I love it. I love her and I'm very very curious about where we go from here.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

#TomeTopple TBR (Round 3)

It is time, once again, for Tome Topple! This readathon doesn't always work out for me, but I still enjoy the community and the amazing books I hear about during it. This time I've picked just two books and we shall see how the reading goes!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Review - Letters from the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer


Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Age Group: Young Adult
Published: April 4th, 2016 (Bloomsbury)
Source: Won from Author 
Hardcover - 400pgs

Rating 5/5

Juliet Young always writes letters to her mother, a world-traveling photojournalist. Even after her mother's death, she leaves letters at her grave. It's the only way Juliet can cope.

Declan Murphy isn't the sort of guy you want to cross. In the midst of his court-ordered community service at the local cemetery, he's trying to escape the demons of his past.

When Declan reads a haunting letter left beside a grave, he can't resist writing back. Soon, he's opening up to a perfect stranger, and their connection is immediate. But neither Declan nor Juliet knows that they're not actually strangers. When life at school interferes with their secret life of letters, sparks will fly as Juliet and Declan discover truths that might tear them apart. 

This book walked into my life at just the right time. I was lucky enough to win a giveaway on Brigid Kemmerer's Facebook and this title arrived on my doorstep in the middle of a reading rut. I've loved Kemmerer's books in the past, and opened this book when it arrived to sneak a peak at the first few chapters. I read a lot more than a few chapters that first day and, in general, had a hard time putting this book down.

The letters at the beginning of most chapters take up a lot of space so you move through the chapters quickly and get a lot of insight into each character from them. Kemmerer didn't shy away from tough topics like loss, abuse, and guilt. I enjoyed how she tackled all these topics and her writing tugged at my heartstrings. I was deeply invested in these two characters.

Throughout the book I enjoyed how Declan and Juliet played into some stereotypes but defied others.  This kept my interest piqued for the whole book and made the characters much more interesting. The two of them grew and changed throughout this book and their growth felt very organic. I liked how romance wasn't the cure-all for these characters problems. They had to continue to battle their demons while romance was blossoming in the background. I also really liked how the physical side of the relationship took a back seat to their problems both in the writing and their minds.

I highly recommend this contemporary and bet this will be on my list of top books for 2017. It was excellent.

Final Thoughts: This story is for fans of You've Got Mail and The Shop Around the Corner.