Darkdawn

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

dark dawn by jay kristoff
Darkdawn by Jay Kristoff

Author: Jay Kristoff

Published: September 3, 2019

Publisher: Thomas Dune Books

Series: The Nevernight Chronicles, #3

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

A ruthless young assassin’s journey for revenge comes to a stunning end in the conclusion of this acclaimed epic fantasy trilogy.

The Republic of Itreya is in chaos. Mia Corvere has assassinated Cardinal Duomo and rumors of Consul Scaeva’s death ripple through the street of Godsgrave like wildfire. But buried beneath those same streets, deep in the ancient city’s bones, lies a secret that will change the Republic forever.

Mia and her brother Jonnen must journey through the depths of the ancient metropolis. Their quest will take them through the Godsgrave underdark, across the Sea of Swords, back to the library of the Quiet Mountain and the poisoned blades of Mia’s old mentors, and at last the fabled Crown of the Moon. There, Mia will at last discover the origins of the darkin, and learn the destiny that lies in store for her and her world. But with the three suns now in descent, and Truedark on the horizon, will she survive?

Fear was Can’t. Fear was Won’t. But fear wasn’t ever a choice. To never fear was to never hope. Never love. Never live…Part of having is the fear of losing. Part of creating is the fear of it breaking. Part of beginning is the fear of your ending. Fear is never a choice… But letting it rule you is.”

Darkdawn

My Mini Book Review:

I’m doing a mini book review on this because there is no way I can put ALL my thoughts about this series into coherent sentences. How do I review a series like this one? These books made me cry tears of happiness, of sadness, frustration, and despair. In short, they made me feel everything a good series should.

I did pick Darkdawn up a couple of times to read it in September, but I ended up putting it down twice. First, I did not expect the religious aspect of the books to take center stage in the story, and that is always a turn-off for me. Second, I read so many dark books in September that I felt like I needed some happiness in my life. I finally got my hands on the audio version (the narrator Holter Graham does an amazing job), and this helped me get through it. Once I got through most of the setting up part, I could not stop listening.

I loved all the characters in these books. I fell in love with all their stories and I was proud of their growth throughout. I came to respect Mia and her strength and perseverance, and how she was set on revenge, but not willing to cross certain moral lines. I liked the side stories, the humor, the colorful cursing, and yes even the footnotes. I’m sad that this series has come to an end, and I cannot wait to see what Kristoff comes up with next. If you are a fan of dark Fantasy, read these!

The Monsters of Music

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

The Monsters of Music by Rebecca F. Kenney
The Monsters of Music

Author: Rebecca F. Kenney

Publishes: October 30, 2019

Publisher: Kindle Direct Publishing

ISBN: 1693557754

**If you want to buy this book, please consider clicking on the link above and supporting a fellow blogger at no additional cost to you**

Synopsis from Goodreads:

A darkly romantic gender-swapped modern retelling of The Phantom of the Opera, with a scarred Muse girl, a rock-star boy, and a singing competition. For fans of The Wicked Deep (Ernshaw), Wintersong (S. Jae-Jones), American Idol, or The Voice.

Mel must share her creative magic or be driven mad by it. But finding her first protégé isn’t as easy for her as it is for most Lianhan Sídhe (muses of Celtic myth). Though the women of her race are naturally beautiful, she carries horrifying scars across one side of her face, inflicted by her mother’s obsessive boyfriend. And Mel isn’t only interested in pouring her creative energy into a man; she wants to use her musical genius herself, too. But the laws of the Lianhan Sídhe, and her own savage appearance, stand in the way of her ever singing onstage.

To relieve the painful pressure of her magic, Mel latches onto Kiyoji, a boy with a beautiful voice, and coaches him through a televised singing competition. But neither of them are prepared for the power of their connection, or for the new kind of magic that happens when the two of them sing together.

Fans of Holly Black’s contemporary fantasy books (Tithe, Valiant) or Brigid Kemmerer’s A Curse So Dark and Lonely will enjoy this dark, offbeat retelling with a hint of cyberpunk and a dose of Celtic mythology. The novel celebrates a broad range of music from various decades.

Disclaimer: I received a free e-ARC of this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion.

My Review:

I was a bit hesitant to read this book, because in the past I hadn’t enjoyed other books where the author attempted to mix music into the story (Example: “Wintersong” by S. Jae-Jones, which this book kept getting compared to). I should also say that I’ve never read or seen Phantom of the Opera. But I should not have worried, because the musical aspect in this book blended seamlessly into the story. Maybe it was the more modern setting, the simple precise wording, or the well-known songs that are mentioned, but I really enjoyed the blend of magic and music and I found the story very unique and alluring.

I liked reading the book through all the different points of views. It’s mainly told through Mel’s POV, but it switches to Kiyo, and many of the others as well. Each character had their own unique voice and perspective, and I could always tell when a new point of view was introduced. I liked that Mel was a flawed main character, and that we get to see her change and evolve throughout. Her dark side was a good contrast to Kiyo’s naivete and innocence. Also, the love aspect between Mel and Kiyo did not feel rushed. There was no “insta-love,” and they took their time getting to know each other. My favorite character was Prince, the cat.

I found the miscommunication between the characters in the middle of the story a bit annoying. It was at a point in the story where I felt there was already enough conflict going on, and I kept thinking “Just talk to each other!” Also, there were some unanswered questions and small plot holes when it came to the magic system. I don’t do spoilers, but there is something that happens as a result of Mel using her magic, and I was waiting for a good explanation but never got one.

The world building was well done. I could definitely picture this old school and its many rooms and passages in my mind’s eye as I was reading. The characters were well described, and I felt like I had a good grasp on what they all looked like. Overall, this was a great fast paced read, and I would recommend it to all Fantasy/ YA fans looking for a great story full of enthralling magic, music, and a new modern take on Phantom of the Opera.

Lifelike

Lifelike by Jay Kristoff
Lifelike by Jay Kristoff

Author: Jay Kristoff

Published: May 29, 2018

Publisher: Knopf Books by Young Readers

ISBN: 1524713929

**If you want to buy this book, please consider clicking on my link above or all the way at the bottom of the post to support a fellow blogger at no additional cost to you**

Synopsis from Goodreads:

On a floating junkyard beneath a radiation sky, a deadly secret lies buried in the scrap.

Eve isn’t looking for secrets—she’s too busy looking over her shoulder. The robot gladiator she’s just spent six months building has been reduced to a smoking wreck, and the only thing keeping her Grandpa from the grave was the fistful of credits she just lost to the bookies. To top it off, she’s discovered she can destroy electronics with the power of her mind, and the puritanical Brotherhood are building a coffin her size. If she’s ever had a worse day, Eve can’t remember it.

But when Eve discovers the ruins of an android boy named Ezekiel in the scrap pile she calls home, her entire world comes crashing down. With her best friend Lemon Fresh and her robotic conscience, Cricket, in tow, she and Ezekiel will trek across deserts of irradiated glass, infiltrate towering megacities and scour the graveyard of humanity’s greatest folly to save the ones Eve loves, and learn the dark secrets of her past.

Even if those secrets were better off staying buried.

My Review:

I really enjoyed the bonds between the characters in this book. The relationship and playful banter between Eve and Cricket reminded me a lot of that between Cinder and Iko in The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. I also loved Lemon, and liked the bestie dynamic between her and Eve, always sticking by each other. I like how Kristoff always makes up his own language and slang words in his stories, and I find myself almost letting these words slip in real life, but I fear the weird concerned looks I would get from those not familiar with Kristoff’s work.

As always Mr. Kristoff made me ponder all sorts of ethical and moral dilemmas throughout this book. Should man-made AI’s be treated with the same rights as humans? What if they can feel and have all the emotions humans do? Is having machines do most of our manual labor considered slavery? I still don’t know where I stand on ALL of these, and I need a lot more time to digest all of it.

The ending of this book left me in shock, so I’m glad the next book “Deviate” has already been released. I could have used a bit more world building. I would’ve liked more detail on how this future post apocalyptic world looks on a grander scale. I highly recommend this series to all YA/ Fantasy fans and fans of Jay Kristoff. I will certainly be moving on to the next book soon and will let you guys know how it goes!

TBR Organization…Again!

TBR Organization To be read
My Instagram

Once again I had to re-organize my TBR List on Goodreads. I felt like the list was out of control and it was putting me into a reading slump. Now that I’ve organized it, I’ve been getting a lot more reading done. As you can probably tell I’m a bit OCD when it comes to organization, I hate clutter and everything has to have a place. Here are the categories I put my books into.

ARC- To Read

This category is for any ARC (Advance reader copy) that I need to read. I haven’t been doing a lot of those lately, but when I do I try to get them done as soon as possible so that it can be ready when the book gets released.

Next- Read

goodreads next reads

This category is reserved for any books that have been checked out of the Library and I need to read before my 14 days are over. I put them there to remind me to read those next instead of picking up something new from my TBR and then having these Library loans expire. I also put any books here that I’ve started reading but had to put aside before for one reason or another. Lastly, I put any books here that are about to release within the next few weeks and I already pre-ordered, or any ARC’s that are also about to release and I need to review before they do.

Own

This one is pretty self-explanatory. Is where I list all the books I own so that I don’t make the mistake of buying them again.

Old books to read

goodreads old books to read

By “old” I mean released before 2019. As a reviewer I feel like I must read books that have been recently released in order to stay relevant, but I also want to read older books that have been recommended to me. This is where I put those.

Owned e-books TBR

owned ebooks to be read goodreads

These are e-books that I own, but still need to read. I usually pick the kindle free book of the month and put it here. Also, any e-books I buy on sale for less than a dollar. I don’t tend to spend too much on e-books unless it’s an anticipated read by an author I love.

Series to Catch-Up On

This is where I shelve new series that have recently released new books and I haven’t read yet. I try to read at least one from this list every month to catch up.

Re-Read

re read on goodreads

I like to put books here which belong to a series and the next book in the series is about to release. Sometimes I need a good re-read to refresh my mind on the details of the story so I can thoroughly enjoy a new release.

To Be Released

It’s almost the end of the year so I barely have any books in this list. This is where I put all my anticipated releases for this year.

2020 Releases

2020 releases on goodreads

Another one that’s self-explanatory. I also think it will be handy to change the name of the list to “To be released” once 2020 starts, and I’ll delete the old one.

To Buy

Last but not least is the list of books I’ve loved so much that I must buy. I also put here any books my favorite authors are releasing in the near future, because honestly if I love an author I will buy anything they write. This list definitely comes in handy when I walk into Barnes and Noble, or when there is a sale at an online Book Store, it helps to keep my mind focused on the books that I actually need and want to buy. This helps me not spend my money on random books.

Hope you enjoyed this post and maybe got some ideas to organize your own TBR and become more productive. If you want to be my friend on Goodreads, please add me!

The Odds of Loving Grover Cleveland

⭐️⭐️/5

the odds of loving grover Cleveland by Rebekah crane

Author: Rebekah Crane

Published: December 1, 2016

Publisher: Skyscape

ISBN: 1503939820/ ISBN13: 9781503939820

Synopsis from Goodreads:

According to sixteen-year-old Zander Osborne, nowhere is an actual place—and she’s just fine there. But her parents insist that she get out of her head—and her home state—and attend Camp Padua, a summer camp for at-risk teens.

Zander does not fit in—or so she thinks. She has only one word for her fellow campers: crazy. In fact, the whole camp population exists somewhere between disaster and diagnosis. There’s her cabinmate Cassie, a self-described manic-depressive-bipolar-anorexic. Grover Cleveland (yes, like the president), a cute but confrontational boy who expects to be schizophrenic someday, odds being what they are. And Bek, a charmingly confounding pathological liar.

But amid group “share-apy” sessions and forbidden late-night outings, unlikely friendships form, and as the Michigan summer heats up, the four teens begin to reveal their tragic secrets. Zander finds herself inextricably drawn to Grover’s earnest charms, and she begins to wonder if she could be happy. But first she must come completely unraveled to have any hope of putting herself back together again.

My Review:

I did not mean to read this book. But it was available for a discount on my kindle app, and somehow I could not stop reading it once I started. The fact that I did not know what the main character Zander’s background was, and why she ended up at Camp Padua kept me glued to the pages, and tuned into the audio book while in the car.

These kinds of stories also always make me feel better about myself. I would catch myself thinking maybe my life is not so hectic after all. These kids definitely had it worse. I also enjoyed all the statistics and odds provided by Grover throughout the book, as well as the copies of the letters that the kids sent home while they were at camp.

I had several issues with this book. I thought Zander’s attachment to Grover, to Cassie, and to Camp Padua overall felt a little rushed. Maybe the main issue was the time line was very rushed itself. There were things that happened to draw Zander closer to Grover and to Cassie, but I felt like they were not enough to warrant all her feelings towards them. It was all very insta-lovey. I personally hated Cassie, and thought that she was really mean to Zander and to EVERYONE in the book. I applaud Zander for sticking with her, I would’ve given up on her like everyone else in her life has, but we all need someone that will stick by our side no matter what.

This story just did not have any likeable characters, except maybe Grover. It dealt with tough issues such as self harm, domestic abuse, mental illness, and suicide, amongst others. Other YA/Contemporary fans might enjoy this book more than I did, it was a quick read but in my opinion it was way too quick and could’ve gone more in depth into a lot of these issues. Overall, this is not a book I would enthusiastically recommend to others.

Reveal Me

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

reveal me by tahereh mafi

Author: Tahereh Mafi

Series: Shatter Me, #5.5, Novella

Publisher: HarperCollins

Published: October 8, 2019

Brief Goodreads Synopsis:

The explosive revelations in Defy Me have left readers reeling and desperate for answers. This fourth and final novella in the series will bring readers back to the world of the Shatter Me before the final novel installment hits shelves in winter 2020.

My Mini Review:

Let me start off by saying that I love Kenji, and I will always love anything written from his point of view. He is real and down to earth, and I like reading his crazy thought processes, random thoughts, and raw emotions. No one can write emotions like Tahereh Mafi. She gives simple words different and elegant meanings, and her writing is poetic in nature.

All that aside, I just really wish this book was longer. I understand it’s a novella but I cannot stand how short this was, and how instead of satiating my “Shatter Me” thirst until the next installment, it left me feeling empty and wanting. Now, I realize I sound like an addict, but I really needed more! Needless to say, this novella got me super hyped up for the next book releasing in 2020. I absolutely cannot wait!

The Unhoneymooners

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

the unhoneymooners by Christina lauren

Author: Christina Lauren

Publisher: Gallery Books

Published: May 14, 2019

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Olive is always unlucky: in her career, in love, in…well, everything. Her identical twin sister Ami, on the other hand, is probably the luckiest person in the world. Her meet-cute with her fiancé is something out of a romantic comedy (gag) and she’s managed to finance her entire wedding by winning a series of Internet contests (double gag). Worst of all, she’s forcing Olive to spend the day with her sworn enemy, Ethan, who just happens to be the best man.

Olive braces herself to get through 24 hours of wedding hell before she can return to her comfortable, unlucky life. But when the entire wedding party gets food poisoning from eating bad shellfish, the only people who aren’t affected are Olive and Ethan. And now there’s an all-expenses-paid honeymoon in Hawaii up for grabs.

Putting their mutual hatred aside for the sake of a free vacation, Olive and Ethan head for paradise, determined to avoid each other at all costs. But when Olive runs into her future boss, the little white lie she tells him is suddenly at risk to become a whole lot bigger. She and Ethan now have to pretend to be loving newlyweds, and her luck seems worse than ever. But the weird thing is that she doesn’t mind playing pretend. In fact, she feels kind of… lucky.

My Review:

This book was just as hilarious as everyone made it out to be. I’m glad I listened to the hype and finally read it. There were many funny moments as well as real cringy ones. When a book gets a physical reaction from me, like a cringe, then I think it has done its job. Also, I really enjoyed all the Harry Potter references.

I loved Olive’s crazy Hispanic family, but I’m still undecided on whether I want a family like hers. On the one hand, I loved how supportive they were, but on the other I would hate it if my family showed up at my house unannounced at all hours of the day. I did enjoy reading all their texts and back and forth banter. I liked how this book integrated texting into the narrative, since it has become such an integral part of how we interact with each other.

Olive was a strong female character, and I liked seeing her work through different ethical and moral dilemmas and witness the repercussions of her decisions. I also enjoyed Ethan’s personality and how he was able to deal with Olive’s inability to lie, or her propensity to talk to much when she was put on the spot. Their romance was slow building and realistic, even though in theory the author could’ve gotten away with some “insta-love” since they actually had known each other for a very long time.

The only negative for me was the ending was a bit dragged out, and I felt that many parts of it were unnecessary. But overall, I would recommend this book to all Romance readers. The sex scenes were not too explicit, and it was a very funny light-hearted read.

The Whisper Man

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

the whisper man by alex north

Author: Alex North

Publisher: Celadon Books

Published: August 20, 2019

Synopsis from Goodreads:

In this dark, suspenseful thriller, Alex North weaves a multi-generational tale of a father and son caught in the crosshairs of an investigation to catch a serial killer preying on a small town.

After the sudden death of his wife, Tom Kennedy believes a fresh start will help him and his young son Jake heal. A new beginning, a new house, a new town. Featherbank.

But the town has a dark past. Twenty years ago, a serial killer abducted and murdered five residents. Until Frank Carter was finally caught, he was nicknamed “The Whisper Man,” for he would lure his victims out by whispering at their windows at night.

Just as Tom and Jake settle into their new home, a young boy vanishes. His disappearance bears an unnerving resemblance to Frank Carter’s crimes, reigniting old rumors that he preyed with an accomplice. Now, detectives Amanda Beck and Pete Willis must find the boy before it is too late, even if that means Pete has to revisit his great foe in prison: The Whisper Man.

And then Jake begins acting strangely. He hears a whispering at his window…

Sometimes writing can help heal you.”

The Whisper Man

My Review:

This was the perfect spooky October read. The creepy factor wasn’t helped by the fact that I listened to the audio book on my way home from work every night at three in the morning. My road home is sparsely lit and full of ominous trees casting shadows on the road. By the time I finally parked on my driveway and pressed pause there were usually goosebumps up my arms, and I was reluctant to walk into my dark home. I admit the raspy voice the narrator makes for the “whispers” he hears really freaked me out.

I really enjoyed the suspense in this book. I listened to it on my way to work as well, and it was hard to stop listening once I arrived. I wouldn’t call it an action-packed book, but it definitely had its thrilling moments, and it had other moments when I found myself wanting to scream at the characters. It was like I was watching a scary movie, I kept saying things like “Don’t do that!” like the characters could somehow hear me.

I liked the different points of views in the story. It worked really well to be able to see the investigation and action develop from the minds of all the characters involved. I especially enjoyed getting into the mind of the killer, it’s always interesting to see what motivates people to commit these kinds of heinous acts.

My favorite character was Jake, the little kid. I felt like his thought process and narrative was so genuine and realistic for a child his age. I also liked how smart and bright he was, he reminded me of my own kid. I recommend this book to all Suspense/ Thriller fans. It was the perfect read to get into the October mood.

Ash Princess

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

Author: Laura Sebastian

Published: April 24, 2018

Series: Ash Princess Trilogy, #1

Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers

ISBN: 1524767069

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Theodosia was six when her country was invaded and her mother, the Fire Queen, was murdered before her eyes. On that day, the Kaiser took Theodosia’s family, her land, and her name. Theo was crowned Ash Princess–a title of shame to bear in her new life as a prisoner.

For ten years Theo has been a captive in her own palace. She’s endured the relentless abuse and ridicule of the Kaiser and his court. She is powerless, surviving in her new world only by burying the girl she was deep inside.

Then, one night, the Kaiser forces her to do the unthinkable. With blood on her hands and all hope of reclaiming her throne lost, she realizes that surviving is no longer enough. But she does have a weapon: her mind is sharper than any sword. And power isn’t always won on the battlefield.

For ten years, the Ash Princess has seen her land pillaged and her people enslaved. That all ends here.

Captive animals grow to love their captors all the time, even when they beat them. It’s not surprising that you love one of yours.”

Ash Princess

My review:

Sebastian’s writing is succinct and poetic in nature. I enjoyed how fast paced the story was, and how it dropped you in the middle of the action, not stopping until the bitter cliffhanger ending. Theo was such a strong main character. The whole time she had me questioning whether I would’ve made the same decisions she did if I was in her place, and whether I could ever be strong enough to withstand the things she did. There were a lot of ethical and moral dilemmas presented in this book, and as similar as I found this story to Throne of Glass, I felt like it went a lot deeper into issues of morality and duty than the first Throne of Glass book ever did.

As traitorous as it makes me, I can imagine it. A life where a crown—gold or ash—doesn’t weigh heavy on my head. A life where I’m not responsible for thousands of people who are hungry and weak and beaten every day. A life where I can just be a girl, kissing a boy because she wants to”

Ash Princess

At some point I feared this was going to turn into a Religion heavy story. It’s okay when stories include Gods and Goddesses and different made up religions and religious entities, but I don’t enjoy it when religion takes the main stage. I found it a bit boring and frustrating that many of these characters, including Theo, had powers but they did not use them for fear of not being allowed into the “After” and rejoin their friends and families. In my opinion, Fantasy books which include magic should have people that can USE their powers. I’m hoping this changes in the future books. There was also some “insta-love” which is always annoying.

Why would the gods allow us to suffer like we have for the last decade? Why wouldn’t they have struck the Kalovaxians down as soon as they set foot on Astrean soil? Why didn’t they protect us?”

Ash Princess

Now, I know it seems like I have a lot more dislikes than I do likes, so how can I give this book four stars? The negative aspects were mildly inconvenient, but they did not make the whole story for me. Also, this has been one of the only Fantasy books that has made me tear up since the ending of Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas. I really liked Theo, and I connected with her and her struggle. I’ve now moved on to the second book in this series, Lady Smoke, and I’m enjoying that as well. I have been trying to catch up with this series for a while, and I’m glad I’m finally reading it. I recommend this series to all Fantasy fans.