Cast in Wisdom by Michelle Sagara

Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher on Netgalley. Thanks! All opinions are my own!

Book: Cast In Wisdom

Author: Michelle Sagara

Book Series: The Chronicles of Elantra Book 15

Rating: 4/5

Publication Date: January 28, 2020

Genre: Fantasy

Recommended Age: 16+ (violence, some gore, some adult moments)

Publisher: MIRA

Pages: 544

Amazon Link

Synopsis: SOMETHING IS WAKING

The fiefs that exist at the heart of the city of Elantra are home to sentient Towers that guard the world against the incursion of Shadow. But between the fiefs exists the gray world of the border zone. In it, geography changes between one passage across a border and the next. The rules of magic are different there—and yet somehow familiar to Kaylin Neya.

When a Shadow escapes, Kaylin must find out how…and why. If Shadows can breach the barrier erected by the Towers, the whole of Elantra will be devoured. It’s happened on other worlds. Bellusdeo, Kaylin’s Dragon companion, absolutely believes it can happen on theirs.

The border zone holds secrets and ancient histories, and people are gathering there in search of its power. Without even understanding what that power is, or why it exists, Kaylin is in a desperate race against time to find those secrets first. She doesn’t know who her enemies are. She doesn’t know how many she’ll face. But she won’t face them alone.

Review: So… I didn’t know this was part of a series. It’s number 15 in the series. But fortunately, this was easy to get into. The world is complex and amazingly well built. The characters are also well developed. The book is also well written.

However, I felt like the pacing was a bit too fast for me and jumping into the middle of the series left me confused with some plot points, but it was fairly easy to catch on. I also felt that the book was a bit longer than it needed to be, but that’s personal preference.

Verdict: I wish I had started the series at the beginning, but pretty great book!

A Heart So Fierce and Broken by Brigid Kemmerer

Disclaimer: I bought this book! Support your authors!

 

Book: A Heart So Fierce and Broken

 

Author: Brigid Kemmerer

 

Book Series: Cursebreakers Book 2

 

Rating: 5/5

 

Diversity: openly gay m/m couple

 

Publication Date: January 7, 2020

 

Genre: YA Fantasy

 

Recommended Age: 15+ (some slight sexual references, violence, gore, love, and heartache)

 

Publisher: Bloomsbury YA

 

Pages: 464

 

Amazon Link

 

Synopsis: Find the heir, win the crown.

The curse is finally broken, but Prince Rhen of Emberfall faces darker troubles still. Rumors circulate that he is not the true heir and that forbidden magic has been unleashed in Emberfall. Although Rhen has Harper by his side, his guardsman Grey is missing, leaving more questions than answers.

Win the crown, save the kingdom.

Rumored to be the heir, Grey has been on the run since he destroyed Lilith. He has no desire to challenge Rhen–until Karis Luran once again threatens to take Emberfall by force. Her own daughter Lia Mara sees the flaws in her mother’s violent plan, but can she convince Grey to stand against Rhen, even for the good of Emberfall?

The heart-pounding, compulsively readable saga continues as loyalties are tested and new love blooms in a kingdom on the brink of war.

 

Review: Oh. My. God. This book was absolutely wonderful! I loved the world building in this book, the well developed and complex characters, and how well this book blends and mirrors the first book. The book centers on two characters: Grey and Lia Mara, both of which are powerful and strong characters in their own right. They both hold their own and seeing them throughout the book satisfied every need I had since I was mad at Rhen throughout most of the novel. But even Rhen was redeemed and omg I need the last book!

 

The only thing that would have made me love this more is if I had more Harper POV. I missed her voice… but she wasn’t entirely absent throughout the book and this book is important for setting the stage for book 3. The audience needs to know Grey and Lia Mara as they’ll prove pivotal in the final book.

 

Verdict: I highly recommend this!

Given by Nandi Taylor

Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher and Netgalley. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Book: Given

Author: Nandi Taylor

Book Series: Standalone

Rating: 3/5

Diversity: West-African and Caribbean

Publication Date: January 21, 2020

Genre: YA Romance

Recommended Age: 15+ (romance, some violence, and… lots of romance)

Publisher: Wattpad Books

Pages: 352

Amazon Link

Synopsis: Yenni has never been this far from home. With only her wits, her strength and her sacred runelore, the fierce Yirba warrior princess is alone in the Empire of Cresh. It’s a land filled with strange magics and even stranger people—many of whom mistrust anyone who’s different. But Yenni will prove herself, and find a cure for her father’s wasting illness. She will not fail.

No one warned her about the dragons. Especially not about him.

Yes, there is something powerful and compelling about the violet-black dragon known as Weysh. In human form he’s muscular, beautiful—and completely infuriating. What kind of arrogant creature claims a stranger as his Given; as his destined mate? Yenni is no man’s—or dragon’s—plaything. But other magics must be at work here, because Weysh might just be her best hope at finding the answers she seeks.

Only now Yenni can’t tell if she’s fighting her attraction to a dragon…or fighting fate itself.

Review: Overall, I thought this was an interesting tale with very interesting characters. For the most part, they’re developed and the book had a lot of interesting lore that I’d love to know more about.

However, the book is completely different than what the synopsis leads me to believe. It’s basically a romance. The book also didn’t do well in the writing department. The book didn’t fully incorporate racism and it didn’t really develop the plot well in my opinion.

Verdict: It’s worth the read, but it could use some work in my opinion. But it’s got a really interesting concept and I’d love to see it further developed!

Home: A Dystopian Journey by David Krummer

home

Tour Schedule:

January 27 – Paige @popthebutterfly
January 28 – JP @mr.pink.ink
January 29 – Stacie @borenbooks
January 30 – David Krummer
January 31 – Jasmine @thefreckledmind
February 1 – CE @chelscey
This book is about a group of people who are escaping from their past and trying to survive. While journeying through a tall valley, similar to the Grand Canyon, they have to fight off hunters, confront a deadly illness that grips one of their own, and fight to reach Home. Here is the official Amazon blurb:

The wilderness shows no mercy.

On a journey to nowhere, an escape from the past, four travelers must confront the harsh realities of their chosen path. The terrain is treacherous; the supplies are low. But turning back isn’t an option. Only death is behind.

Someone is following.

Others have tried this route. Many have gone; none have returned. Their only salvation, their only hope, lies at the end. But the end of the journey is not what it seems. Nothing is.

Home

The Girls With No Names by Serena Burdick

Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher on Netgalley. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Book: The Girls With No Names

Author: Serena Burdick

Book Series: Standalone

Rating: 3/5

Publication Date: January 7, 2020

Genre: Historical Fiction

Recommended Age: 15+ (unwanted feelings, TW abuse, gore, and violence)

Publisher: Park Row

Pages: 336

Amazon Link

Synopsis: The Girls with No Names pulls readers into the gilded age of New York City in the 1910s, when suffragettes marched in the street, unions fought for better work conditions—and girls were confined to the House of Mercy for daring to break the rules.

Not far from Luella and Effie Tildon’s large family mansion in Inwood looms the House of Mercy, a work house for wayward girls. The sisters grow up under its shadow with the understanding that even as wealthy young women, their freedoms come with limits. But when the sisters accidentally discover a shocking secret about their father, Luella, the brazen older sister, becomes emboldened to do as she pleases.

But her rebellion comes with consequences, and one morning Luella is mysteriously gone. Effie suspects her father has made good on his threat to send Luella to the House of Mercy and hatches a plan to get herself committed to save her sister. But she made a miscalculation, and with no one to believe her story, Effie’s escape from the House of Mercy seems impossible—unless she can trust an enigmatic girl named Mable. As their fates entwine, Mable and Effie must rely on each other and their tenuous friendship to survive.

Review: I thought this book was set up well. The world building was amazing, the history behind it great, and well-researched from what I could tell. I really liked the POV switches in the books and the character development was very well done.

However, I thought the book could do more and show the reader more. I also thought it was very slow paced. It was a great read, but I was just left with this feeling that more could have been done in this novel, within the time period and within the House of Mercy. Also, the amount of details in this book was way too much. It really bogs down the read in my opinion.

Verdict: Overall, a good read.

Mirage by Somaiya Daud

Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher on Netgalley. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Book: Mirage

Author: Somaiya Daud

Book Series: Mirage Book 1

Rating: 3.5/5

Publication Date: August 28, 2018

Genre: YA Fantasy Retelling

Recommended Age: 14+ (kidnapping, some violence, swapping places, trading names)

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Pages: 320

Amazon Link

Synopsis: In a star system dominated by the brutal Vathek empire, eighteen-year-old Amani is a dreamer. She dreams of what life was like before the occupation; she dreams of writing poetry like the old-world poems she adores; she dreams of receiving a sign from Dihya that one day, she, too, will have adventure, and travel beyond her isolated moon.

But when adventure comes for Amani, it is not what she expects: she is kidnapped by the regime and taken in secret to the royal palace, where she discovers that she is nearly identical to the cruel half-Vathek Princess Maram. The princess is so hated by her conquered people that she requires a body double, someone to appear in public as Maram, ready to die in her place.

As Amani is forced into her new role, she can’t help but enjoy the palace’s beauty—and her time with the princess’ fiancé, Idris. But the glitter of the royal court belies a world of violence and fear. If Amani ever wishes to see her family again, she must play the princess to perfection…because one wrong move could lead to her death.

Review: This book was a decent read. The book had a very intriguing premise and storyline. The world building was amazingly well done and the writing was gorgeous. I loved the space opera esque book and I could devour more of these in the future.

However, I do think that the book has bad character development. It’s really lacking and it could be better for a lot of the characters, the mains especially. I couldn’t really connect with them and that made this a hard read.

Verdict: Overall, a good read!

Diamond City by Francesca Flores

Disclaimer: I received this book from the publishers on Netgalley. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Book: Diamond City

Author: Francesca Flores

Book Series: Diamond City Book 1

Rating: 3/5

Publication Date: January 28, 2020

Genre: YA Fantasy

Recommended Age: 16+ (violence, gore, some language, abuse TW)

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Pages: 400

Amazon Link

Synopsis: Good things don’t happen to girls who come from nothing…unless they risk everything.

Fierce and ambitious, Aina Solís as sharp as her blade and as mysterious as the blood magic she protects. After the murder of her parents, Aina takes a job as an assassin to survive and finds a new family in those like her: the unwanted and forgotten.

Her boss is brutal and cold, with a questionable sense of morality, but he provides a place for people with nowhere else to go. And makes sure they stay there.

DIAMOND CITY: built by magic, ruled by tyrants, and in desperate need of saving. It is a world full of dark forces and hidden agendas, old rivalries and lethal new enemies.

To claim a future for herself in a world that doesn’t want her to survive, Aina will have to win a game of murder and conspiracy—and risk losing everything.

Full of action, romance and dark magic, book one of Francesca Flores’ breathtaking fantasy duology will leave readers eager for more!

Review: For the most part, this was a great book. The world building was great, the writing was well done, and the characters were very well developed. The pacing was also on point throughout most of the novel.

However, I had a couple of issues. The book had a LOT of info dumps. Like, sometimes pages of info dumps after info dumps. I felt really bogged down while reading it, almost like I was reading two different books at once. The other issue I have is the issue of abuse. I don’t mind abuse portrayed in novels and I don’t mind when main characters suffer through it. I do mind when the characters are hit by someone and then proceed to state how much they love them. Like… NO! That’s not the message you want to send to younger kids. Love does not beat! And I just didn’t feel like that message came through strong enough. Lastly, I didn’t think this book was heist-y enough for my tastes. Just my personal preferences. Other than those things, this was a great book!

Verdict: A pretty good heist!

Wildfire by Carrie Mac for Penguin Random House

Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Book: Wildfire

Author: Carrie Mac

Book Series: Standalone

Rating: 4/5

Diversity: Broken families and one Indian side character

Publication Date: January 28, 2020

Genre: YA Contemporary

Recommended Age: 16+ (gore, language, drugs, alcohol, death, grief, and sex mentions)

Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers

Pages: 272

Amazon Link

Synopsis: Into the Wild meets The Serpent King in this story about Annie and Pete, two best friends on a dangerous and emotional trek through the woods.

Annie and Pete have been best friends since they were little. They know each other better than anyone, and they’ve been on more adventures than they can count–they even have a notebook filled with all the times they’ve almost died. But they always survive, because together, they’re invincible.

And they’ve always been just friends. But lately, Annie has been thinking that maybe friendship is just the beginning, and she’s been mentally replaying all the times they were almost something more.

Now they’re heading out on their next great quest: a ten-day backpacking trip through the mountains of Washington State, ending at Fire Camp, where they’ll learn to fight the area’s growing wildfire problem. The woods spark with the promise of adventure, but a freak climbing accident interrupts their progress, and as the wildfires close in and smoke envelops them, Annie and Pete wander farther from the trail. Carrie Mac’s gripping story of the power of unrequited love and the danger of the elements is harrowing, beautiful, and unforgettable.

Review: This book was a roller coaster of emotions. The book is a back and forth of Annie and Pete’s life together as the bestest friends of all who love to hike. The writing was amazing and the plot was very intriguing. I also love how the book wasn’t a normal contemporary tale.

However, I didn’t really like how the book began, it kinda began in an odd place and it took a bit to get into the rhythm of this book. The book also showed the two making really dumb/bad decisions, which is realistic and infuriating. I understand that every hiker makes mistakes, you can never full prepare for what will happen in the wild, but the mistakes they made were completely within their control and should have been accounted for. The most infuriating is that they didn’t tell their fathers where exactly they would be going. I understand that’s a teenager thing and it’s infuriating, but I did appreciate how the book showed how horrible it can be when your parents don’t know where exactly you are. My main concern is that, at one part of the book, Annie gets drunk and drives into a pole. Pete tells her to say she swerved to miss a dog so she wouldn’t get in trouble. I don’t think the book did a proper explanation of how dangerous and stupid that was of her to do… and honestly, because I work in the CJ field, the doctors would have run tests for the police to see if she was drunk or not. While you are transported to the ER first and formost when in an accident, you are detained and they can arrest you formally once released. The excuse of swerving for a dog will not work and you can kill someone when you drink and drive, if not yourself. It’s stupid to drive a two ton weight around like it’s a toy for any reason.

Verdict: Overall, I really loved this novel and it will stick with me for awhile.

Enchanted Fandom January 2020 Box!

Disclaimer: I bought this box! Support small businesses!

Rating: 5/5

Price: $39.99

Products: Full of wonderful indie/handmade items made by crafter’s who love the places where magic lies.

We believe that NO Fandom Should be Left Behind. So each month we pack our boxes filled with multiple Fandoms just for you.

Each Box features a different Fandom Theme from Pop-culture, Books, TV & Movies! We work with small shops to bring your favorite Fandom worlds to life!

Ships To: USA and international!

Contents and Estimated Prices: I got the January “The Art of Doing Nothing” box! Inside was:

Spoiler Card art by @kimcarlika

Estimated Price: $2.00

Bridget Jone’s Diary candle by @littlemousebookshelf

Estimated Price: $3.00

Anna and the French Kiss ricebag by @bookishstardesigns

Estimated Price: $6.99

Jane Austen Book Club cookies by @greyghostbakery

Estimated Price: $4.00

Practical Magic Bath Bomb by @loveandshea

Estimated Price: $2.00

Cinderella Hot Chocolate by Best Day Ever

Estimated Price: $5.00

Eat, Pray, Love face mask by @fictionbathco

Estimated Price: $1.00

Pride and Prejudice Notebook by @enchanted_fandom_

Estimated Price: $3.00

Alice in Wonderland sticker by @enchanted_fandom_

Estimated Price: $1.00

Mulan Water Bottle by @enchanted_fandom_

Estimated Price: $10.00

Recipe Card by @enchanted_fandom_

Estimated Price: $2.00

Estimated Total of Box: $39.99

Verdict: I loved this relaxing box! I thought the box was well crafted and had a lot of items I would use to relax. My face is the hot chocolate and the water bottle! It’s so gorgeous! Definitely check out this company!

Fairest of All: A Tale of the Wicked Queen by Serena Valentino

Disclaimer: My hubby bought this book for me! Encourage more book buying!

Book: Fairest of All: A Tale of the Wicked Queen

Author: Serena Valentino

Book Series: Villains Book 1

Rating: 5/5

Publication Date: August 18, 2009

Genre: YA Fantasy Retelling

Recommended Age: 15+ (addiction TW, inner beauty, murder)

Publisher: Disney Press

Pages: 250

Amazon Link

Synopsis: The tale of the young princess and her evil stepmother, the Wicked Queen, is widely known. Despite a few variations from telling to telling, the story remains the same—the Queen was jealous of the girl’s beauty, and this jealousy culminated in the Queen’s attempt on the sweet, naive girl’s life.

Another tale far less often spoken of is the one that explains what caused the Queen to become so contemptuously vile. Still, some have attempted to guess at the reason. Perhaps the Queen’s true nature was that of a wicked hag and her beautiful, regal appearance a disguise used to fool the King. Others claim that the Queen might have hated the girl for her resemblance to the King’s first wife. Mostly, the Queen is painted as a morally abhorrent woman who never loved another being during the course of her miserable life.

In fact, the theories about exactly what cause the Queen’s obsessive vanity and jealous rage are too numerous to catalog. This book recounts a version of the story that has remained untold until now. It is a tragic tale of love and loss, and it contains a bit of magic. It is a tale of the Wicked Queen…

Review: Okay, so this book was the best Villains book I’ve read so far. I think reading them out of order was bad on my end but whatever I’ll fix it when I reread them. The backstory of The Evil Queen was very interesting and heartwarming and I loved that the story touched heavily on addiction. The book also talks about vanity and inner beauty. The writing was amazing and the character development was superb as well.

The only thing I didn’t really like about this book is that the pacing was really quick. I would have devoured a 500 page dissertation of The Evil Queen and she’s always been my least favorite character. But yea expect to feel all the feels within 2 hours of your time.

Verdict: I stan The Evil Queen.