Book Review: Ruthless Gods (Something Dark and Holy #2)

ruthless godsTitle: Ruthless Gods (Something Dark and Holy #2)

Author: Emily A. Duncan

Pub. Date: April 7, 2020

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5


Darkness never works alone…

Nadya doesn’t trust her magic anymore. Serefin is fighting off a voice in his head that doesn’t belong to him. Malachiasz is at war with who–and what–he’s become.

As their group is continually torn apart, the girl, the prince, and the monster find their fates irrevocably intertwined. They’re pieces on a board, being orchestrated by someone… or something. The voices that Serefin hears in the darkness, the ones that Nadya believes are her gods, the ones that Malachiasz is desperate to meet—those voices want a stake in the world, and they refuse to stay quiet any longer.


This will be a spoiler free review.

I’m currently kicking myself for waiting so long to finally read this book. Not going to lie, I was a little hesitant to start it, and for a few reasons.

  1. It’s been a long time since I read Wicked Saints – like 2018 long time. So, I don’t remember everything that happened in that book, but I remembered the ending.
  2. I was terrified wondering what Emily was going to do to me with this book. I’m now distressed.
  3. It’s thick and a little daunting.
  4. I wasn’t ready to have to wait for book 3. Now I’m waiting and it sucks.

I am glad I’ve finally read the book, because y’all, it’s good. Really good.

I love the way Emily tells a story, and her writing style – I could read it her work all day, every day. I love her characters and her fantastic use of snark, sass and sarcasm. I like how this book focuses on the whole group and we learn more about each of the core characters. I loved that I had no idea what was going to happen next and I don’t think I could have guessed the ending even if I had tried.

I don’t think the ending was as omfg as the ending in Wicked Saints, but it does leave you with this feeling of dread and uncertainty. After reading and knowing how book 1 ends, I kind of expected Emily to do something drastic, but I couldn’t have guessed what. She definitely succeeded.

Jumping back to the characters, I loved that this book was very much a character driven book, versus plot driven. Lots does happen in this book plot wise, but more time is spent focused on character relationships and internal conflict. Because I consider this more of a character driven novel, over plot driven, I think it read a little slow. Now, I don’t think it’s truly a negative since I was thoroughly invested the entire book, but it took me forever to read it. Like, hours. I don’t think the book is too long, and mainly I think it’s due to her writing style. Like I said, I love it, I think it’s wonderful and I wish I could write like her, but it’s also a bit flowery. It’s also full of A+ dialogue that seriously personalizes the characters and it’s so much fun to read. SO much fun. I do think character driven books tend to read slower anyways, since it’s not necessarily about the plot, so just expect to take your time with this book, and enjoy every minute of it.

Since it’s character driven, I think this kind of saves it from suffering from middle book syndrome. I want to know the characters and love the characters. I really enjoyed them in Wicked Saints, but I thoroughly love them because of this book. I want to protect them all and give them hugs and maybe mugs of hot coco, a blanket and a puppy. They go through a lot in this book and are really worse for wear by the end of it.

Now, I love a good creepy atmosphere in books, but some of the inspo pics Emily had been sharing had me a little wary and uneasy. I’ll just put it out there, I’m not a horror fan, and creepy, eldritch monsters are Not My Thing. At all. I steer clear. I don’t like being spooked.

With that being said, Emily is amazing at painting a very vivid picture in your mind and she had me caring for a creepy, eldritch monster boy.

Any other book or media, I would have Nope-d right on out of there.

Instead I was fully invested and now I need book 3.

I think my favorite part of this book is this scene with Serefin, where something comes to light, and it’s like a little light bulb moment, and it was just so damn cute. You’ll know it when you read it, I promise. I loved that moment. For a series that is so dark and gritty and full of snarky sarcasm, it was such a soft moment, and I need more.

If you liked Wicked Saints, then you’re definitely not going to want to miss the next installment, out April 7, 2020! Make sure you pick it up wherever you can!

Book Review: Crave

craveTitle: Crave

Author: Tracy Wolff

Pub. Date: April 7, 2020

Rating:⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5


My whole world changed when I stepped inside the academy. Nothing is right about this place or the other students in it. Here I am, a mere mortal among gods…or monsters. I still can’t decide which of these warring factions I belong to, if I belong at all. I only know the one thing that unites them is their hatred of me.

Then there’s Jaxon Vega. A vampire with deadly secrets who hasn’t felt anything for a hundred years. But there’s something about him that calls to me, something broken in him that somehow fits with what’s broken in me.

Which could spell death for us all.

Because Jaxon walled himself off for a reason. And now someone wants to wake a sleeping monster, and I’m wondering if I was brought here intentionally—as the bait.


This will be a spoiler free review, and thank you Entangled Publishing for sending an ARC my way!

Buy this book when it comes out. Buy this book when it comes out. Buy this book when it comes out. Do it. 

This book surprised me in the best way possible.

I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect when I went into this book.

Vampire, yes, but beyond that, I wasn’t sure.

On the outside, it’s very clear what this book looks like…I have no problem with that.

But I’ve also been kind of burned before when it comes to the reemergence of vampires in YA. So, while I was incredibly excited to read this book, there was a little bit of wariness as well.

This book wasn’t what I expected, in the best ways possible. I’d love nothing more than to talk about all the little things that made this book completely wonderful and addicting, but this is a spoiler free review, so I can’t…or I should say, I won’t.

Don’t go into this book thinking you know how it’s going to play out. Trust me, you don’t. Don’t go into this book thinking you’re getting Twilight remastered, because you aren’t. And don’t go into this book thinking you’re going to get only dark moody, attractive af vampires in a gothic castle, because this book has so much more than just that.

What I loved most about this book was the almost fourth wall break, meta feel it had. I don’t think it every truly breaks the fourth wall, but it if feels like the book pokes a little bit of fun at those who were obsessed with Twilight. And those who wished that they could be Bella and find an Edward.

Grace is very aware that her connection with Jaxon – who is swoon worthy – is almost too fictional, too much like the relationships she sees in books, or on shows. There really is almost this lightheartedness about it, even when dealing with some heavier themes and emotional weights.

I really liked Grace as the main character. She’s been through a lot, and honestly has every right to just crawl into bed, pull the covers over her head and just cry. In my opinion, Tracy has done such a good job at showing how someone may deal with grief, and how you can still go a live your life, only to have something seemingly innocuous set you off.

While I haven’t lost what Grace has, I’m dealing with loss, and most days I’m perfectly fine, looking at me, you’d never know. I’m smiling, happy, having a good time, but then something triggers the need to cry, the ache in my chest…

I felt like I could relate to Grace and how she goes about life after everything she goes through. It’s really about finding out how to keep living life, even when the moments get so incredibly hard. It’s about finding the little things that make you want to crawl out from under the blankets, to stop crying. It’s about placing one foot in front of the other, until maybe there’s a little more brightness up ahead.

Grace is such a great character, and I really like how she seems to know and is aware of everything…even when she might not have all the information. She sees people for who they are and how they’re impacted by their actions, and just who they are based on their actions. She stands up for herself, and fights for her own agency.

Jaxon is everything teenage, high schooler me wanted in a vampire boyfriend. Don’t lie, during the craze that was Twilight every teen girl who was interested in guys, wanted a vampire boyfriend. If I had to choose Jaxon over Edward…easy, Jaxon. Edward wasn’t quite tortured enough.

What can I say, apparently I have a type of guy I like to read about.

I also really liked Jaxon as a character. I’m all for this growing trend to have emotionally vulnerable guys in YA. Don’t get me wrong, give me a damsel in distress, knight in shining armor plot and I’ll eat it up. But emotionally soft and vulnerable guys…especially when they have to present to the public as tough, aloof, moody, but really are really just suffering and need someone to get them to talk about their feelings. Give me the guys, who at the mere thought of the person they love in trouble, become terrified and panicky. There’s just something about having a guy character be emotional that’s so endearing and makes me want to hug them.

I really liked the whole cast of characters as well. They all serve a purpose – mainly the handful of side characters who have page time, and they all feel different, and fleshed out. Like they could each easily have their own story.

I think my only complaint with is book is that I did feel a little rushed. For such a long book, a lot happened in a very short amount of time. I kind of wish it had taken a little more time for the plot to progress. This might just stem from the fact, that I need more. Like, I’m thrilled that this book is the first of three, because after that ending, I’m dying to know what’s going to happen next. Though, when I was reading the book, I had zero idea that this was the first in a trilogy, and I couldn’t, for the life of me, figure out how this story was going to close with like forty pages left of the book.

Oh, I should add, that there’s kind of insta love in this book, but I can forgive it for two reasons. The first reason, I can’t really go into without spoilers, but it has to deal with the “why” they’re so connected. The second reason is because of Grace – she gets how kind of absurd it is that she has such strong emotions for a guy she barely knows. Her awareness, caution and critique of their first few initial encounters kind of endeared their connect with one another, to me. Did that make sense?

In the case of girl meets vampire and boom instant connection, I’ll take the insta love. Hell, give me more.

Overall, I loved this book. I love that vampires are coming back. I love that this book is the first of a trilogy, and I’ll get more vampires and mythical/fantastical beasties, all in a gothic castle, school setting. Hell, it’s my jam and I so want more. I can’t wait for book 2, and y’all should definitely pre-order this book, it’s out April 7, 2020. If you’re reading for vampires to take over YA again, this is the book.

Weird Phenomena

Years ago, I jokingly told a friend that my grandparent’s house was haunted. I can’t remember the exact story I concocted, but I do remember her fully believing it. I think I said that the ghost that haunted the house was usually pretty nice, but we had to appease her. I really wish I could remember the entire story, because I remember it being kind of spooky and something I would absolutely hate if it were true. I also have no idea why my friend believed me and the story as strongly as she did.

I had her going for years, and she wanted to go up to the house to meet the ghost. A little backstory, my grandparent’s house is located up in Western Maryland – like if you look at a map of Maryland, that tiny little narrow bit, that’s where they live. The house is in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. The house itself is located on a hill, which is brutal to walk up. Another little tidbit, my grandpa built the house and there was some contention there, with the land or something and all of this just lent credibility to the whole story.

I eventually told this friend that it was all a stupid elaborate joke, and it didn’t wreck our friendship.

Maybe a year or so later, after telling my friend – I happened to tell my mom this story. She asked why I would create such a story to spook my friend, and honestly, I don’t remember my reasoning. Then my mom told me some instances, and then I started thinking that maybe my story wasn’t so far off. She told me about some unexplainable instances that happened to her and to other people in her family…the more unexplainable ones taking place in the house.

So…maybe a ghost haunting that house, isn’t so far off, you decide.

I don’t have verbatim accounts, and I can’t ask my grandma anymore about what she actually experienced, so here are a few weird phenomena that I don’t ever want to experience.


My grandma would always hear glass breaking somewhere in the house whenever there was a death in the family, or family friend. She could never find the glass that she heard breaking, but if she heard breaking glass, she knew that someone had died.


When my mom still lived in my grandparents when she was younger, she would hear a music box in her bedroom closet. She tore the closet apart, her brothers tore it apart, but no one could ever find the music box. She only ever heard it once, but the source of the music was never discovered. She’s adamant that it came from inside her closet.


My mom also dreams about when people are pregnant. She won’t know prior if the couple is trying or expecting. She told me about a coworker, and she went in and jokingly said, ‘I had a dream your wife was pregnant, weird, huh?’ She’d never met his wife, and the guy was shocked. Turns out, his wife had just found out, and hadn’t told anyone yet. My mom has had a few of these dreams over the years, and she can’t explain it. She insists that she doesn’t know before she dreams about it, and when she casually brings it up to the couple, they’re always shocked.


These next two might be a little less unexplainable and a little more founded in grief, but I still find them weird.

It’s been quite a few years now, but my Uncle had to put his dog down. He had a fantastic life and it was unfortunately time. My Uncle said that the box his dog was in, sat on his dog bed in front of the window for months before he could bring himself to move him. My Uncle said, during the time the box sat in front of the window, he would occasionally hear his dog’s toenails on the hardwood floor. He would also hear the occasional bark. Once he moved the box, he stopped hearing his dog.


In my dog’s old age, like the last nine – twelve months of his life, he would bark at night. We think it’s because he would spend more and more time sleeping during the day, so he was up at night. My Dad think that he was barking at all the other dogs we have, and family members have lost up in heaven.

Shit, I just started crying. 

Anyways, he would bark, usually just once or twice, but he would often wake up my parents. I was always up later than them, so I would quiet him. Usually though, I would already be upstairs and listening to Netflix or music while I got ready for bed. So, I trained myself to hear his barks over my noise canceling headphones. It’s been four months…

Oh wow, that just hit me. It’s been four months since we lost him.

It’s been four months, and almost every night as I’m getting ready for bed, I hear him bark. Just one bark and only when I’m upstairs in my bathroom. I never hear him any other time.


I think these last two examples are probably more about grief and missing our dogs, but the fact that my Uncle doesn’t hear his dog anymore and I only hear mine when I’m in the bathroom with headphones on, it makes me wonder.

As for the other examples, I have no explanation and if they happened to me, I’d be getting the hell out of dodge. I’m not a fan of hauntings or ghosts, or anything tied to that kind of creepy. It feels too real and there are enough unexplainable instances where people swear about hauntings and ghosts.

There’s also a lot of history and information about my ancestry that isn’t known and isn’t talked about. A lot of hush, hush, leaving in the middle of the night, never speak of it again kind of stuff. Unfortunately, there really isn’t anyone to ask anymore, not that they would have said anything anyways. So, really, it’s not surprising that there are some spooky unexplainable phenomena that happened in the house.

Have you ever experienced something you legitimately can’t explain?

Book Collection: Sarah J. Maas

img_8387Hi Sarah!

It’s been four days since I finished House of Earth and Blood and since I do not have the time at this very moment to reread it, I thought I’d do something else instead. Still tied to my love of SJM and her books, in the hopes that it would satisfy me for now.

I’ve been a SJM fan ever since 2012, when I first saw Throne of Glass on shelves in Borders…well, I think it was Borders. I don’t remember when they closed and became Books-A-Million. Neither of those stores are in the location they used to be, but I can still remember that the YA section was straight back, at the back of the store, and Throne of Glass was sitting on the top right side of the shelf. I picked it up because of the title, probably because of the cover, and then left that day with it after reading the synopsis.

Then I read it and fell in love.

img_8399Then the tedious waits began.

Waiting for each new book was always torture.

2013 gave me Crown of Midnight and a chance to meet Sarah for the first time. I think I’ve briefly talked about this signing in a NaNoWriMo post, or a Writing Journey Post, which one, I don’t remember. But in 2013 my friend and I heard about a writing workshop/signing that Sarah, Susan Dennard, Erin Bowman, Kat Zhang and Jodi Meadows were doing. By 2013 my friend and I had graduated High School and while this workshop/signing was primarily meant for high schoolers, we met the age requirement so of course we went. It was such a fun event, we’re we basically got to hang out with the authors. I even came up with my 2013 NaNoWriMo idea at that event!

img_8408It ended up running long, and we were kicked out of the library. Most of the teens had left at this point, parents needing to drive them home. We ended up taking photos outside of the library, and overall the event was a blast.

Then in 2014 I was able to meet Sarah again, and get more of my books signed! Now I had The Assassin’s Blade, Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight and Heir of Fire signed. I even have a picture of when SJM’s books only took up a small space on my shelves…those days are long over, and I can’t be more excited about it.

I’ve tried over the years to document each new release – I’ve not always been successful, and I blame my excitement. I get too excited for the new book, so the moment I get it, I sit and read it, photos be damned.

img_8400While I’m sad that the TOG series is now over – though, I could and would totally read any book that was just them living their lives happily in the aftermath of Kingdom of Ash. It doesn’t even need to have a plot. Just give me a book full of random scenes. But as I was saying, while I’m sad that the TOG series is over, SJM is continuing to put out freaking stellar content. The A Court of Thorns and Roses series is another favorite. I love Rhys and Feyre and the Inner Circle. Legit the moment after I finished A Court of Wings and Ruin for the first time, I started the series over. img_8401She just makes you fall in love with these characters, and you care so much and so deeply. Sarah is amazing at portraying emotions and tough situations, and she does it so well that they feel like they’re your emotions. At least, that’s how I feel when I read her books.

Most recently we have House of Earth and Blood, which is fucking fantastic. Like, I cannot express it enough that you need to go pick this book up. It’s instantly a favorite and definitely on my list of favorite books of 2020.

I’ve had the chance to meet Sarah a few other times over the years, mainly at various Apollycon’s, so I have a few of her books signed. My collection of SJM doesn’t rival Brigid or Jen, I wish it did. Trading for arcs of Sarah’s books is nearly impossible, and I would img_8406need more shelf space to have every copy of her books…one day. One day I’ll have all the copies.

I’ve told you all about my history with Sarah and her books, and you’ve seen bits and pieces of that history, so now I’m going to show you my little collection. I almost hesitated to post this, because comparably to my Brigid and JLA collections, this one appears…lacking. But then I thought about it, 1) I didn’t really start collection multiple copies of books until early 2019, and 2) I guess quantity isn’t what’s the most important thing img_8407about collecting. It’s about loving a series so much you do posts like this, or you just own one set.

I will obviously continue to buy Sarah’s books and I will always be a fan. I’m currently contemplating buying another copy of House of Earth and Blood…because I totally need another one? Right?

I sound a bit like a hypocrite, oh well!

So, let’s jump into this, shall we?


Quick rundown of Sarah’s Titles (even though we all know them):

Throne of Glass Series:

The Assassins Blade

Throne of Glass

Crown of Midnight

Heir of Fire

Queen of Shadows

Empire of Storms

Tower of Dawn

Kingdom of Ash

 A Court of Thorns and Roses Series:

A Court of Thorns and Roses

A Court of Mist and Fury

A Court of Wings and Ruin

A Court of Frost and Starlight

DC Icons:

Catwoman: Soul Stealer

Crescent City Series:

House of Earth and Blood


img_8389

Here’s my entire collection of SJM books. They take up quite a bit of room on my shelf, and due to space constraints, i can’t really display them as I would really like to. After all, they’re all pretty large books. Kingdom of Ash x3 takes up a lot of shelf space…and yes, I need all of them. I obviously don’t have every copy, ever created of these books, but I love my little collection. They’re all well loved.

On top of US standard editions, and various exclusive editions (Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million/Target) I also have a few UK copies, as well as all of the Special Collector Editions that were printed.

Here are some links you can check out!

TOG / ACOTAR / Catwoman / CC


Let’s start with the Throne of Glass series:

img_8370I have the standard US Hardcover illustrated cover editions, minus Throne of Glass which has the original cover. I have a two copies of Tower of Dawn – one’s a standard hardcover, and one is a B&N Signed Edition. I have three copies of Kingdom of Ash – one’s a B&N edition, one is the BAM edition, one is the Target edition.

I know I’m missing a few exclusive editions here and there, and maybe one day I’ll get them, but I’m happy with this little collection.

There are quite a few books here. Tell me I don’t need more. They take up enough room as it is (lol).

Links:

TAB/TOG/COM/HOF/QOS/EOS/TOD/KOA

Pictured (top to bottom): US HC The Assassins Blade / US OG Cover Throne of Glass / US HC Crown of Midnight / US HC Heir of Fire / US HC Queen of Shadows / B&N HC Empire of Storms / US HC Tower of Dawn / B&N HC Tower of Dawn / B&N HC Kingdom of Ash / BAM HC Kingdom of Ash / Target HC Kingdom of Ash 


To stay in theme, let’s look at the UK Covers:

img_8369Now, I don’t have all of them…yet. I need to place a Book Depository order. Or, I just need to go back to the UK. I *might* be going back to Scotland next year, so…we’ll see. I only have the UK paperbacks of the first three books. I actually love the fact that they’re white. It’s such a contrast to the US covers. Since I don’t currently have the US paperbacks, it was really nice being able to not have to carry around massive books during my reread.

img_8373I can’t wait until I have the whole set…though I will need another shelf for them.

Here are some links:

TOG/COM/HOF 

Pictured (top to bottom): UK PB Throne of Glass / UK PB Crown of Midnight / UK PB Heir of Fire


Next, we have the Special Collector Editions.

img_8371I heard the words “Special Collector Editions” and I knew I’d need them. I hope that one day they do all the books in the series to match. These are gorgeous dust jacket-less, hardcovers with embossed gold foiling. The US Editions come with protective sleeves.

The UK Edition didn’t come in a sleeve, and I’m kind of bummed there wasn’t a UK edition of A Court of Thorns and Roses. These books are stunning, and I really need enough shelf space to truly show them off. Also I’m kind of bummed that my US Throne of Glass edition came slightly banged up in the corner. I unfortunately and annoyingly didn’t notice until I’d opened it up and pulled it out of the sleeve. img_8374It was a Christmas gift from my brother (I told him to buy it for me) and by the time I received it, I couldn’t return or exchange it. I still love it, flaw and all.

Here are some links:

UK TOG / US TOG / ACOTAR 

Pictured (top to bottom): UK SE Throne of Glass / US SE Throne of Glass / US SE A Court of Thorns and Roses


And then, the A Court of Thorns and Roses Series:

img_8372I love these books. For a long while I thought I loved them more than TOG…but then I binge re-read that whole series in two month (I highly recommend reading all those books right after one another, but be prepared to be in a massive slump, and now I question everything I once thought.

Like most people, my favorite book is A Court of Mist and Fury. It’s so good and the character arcs…*chef’s kiss*. There are perfect moments in all of these books, and I’m excited for the next one set to come out…I guess next year. I am kind of bummed that the covers won’t match (tbh, not the biggest fan of the cover changes, but will undoubtedly end up buying them).

img_8375I only have the standard US hardcover editions for this series. I have a standard ACOWAR plus the BAM Edition. For ACOFAS, I have a signed copy I got through a Virtual Signing, and the BAM Edition.

Here are some links:

ACOTAR / ACOMAF / ACOWAR / ACOFAS 

Pictured (top to bottom): US HC A Court of Thorns and Roses / US HC A Court of Mist and Fury / US HC A Court of Wings and Ruin / BAM HC A Court of Wings and Ruin / BAM HC A Court of Frost and Starlight / US HC A Court of Frost and Starlight. 


And finally, Sarah’s latest release, the first book in the Crescent City series:

img_8385I do have a full review for this book, as I just recently read it. If you’re interested, you can check it out – here – I loved it. There were scenes that were purely cinematic. There were moments that made me cry; made me laugh; made me feel everything. I loved Bryce, Hunt, Lehabah and Syrinx. I just loved this book, and I’m dying for book 2.

It felt like SJM, but it also felt completely different. I mean that as a compliment. Like, if I didn’t already know it was written by her, and I just started reading it, I would know immediately who wrote it. Maybe it’s because it’s an urban fantasy, and not jut fantasy, or maybe it’s because there’s a crime they’re trying to solve, something about this book just felt fresh and new and wholly amazing. It deserves all the praise. This book is fantastic, and I can’t wait to add editions to my collection. I’m already contemplating getting another copy.

Here’s a link:

HOEAB

Pictured: US HC House of Earth and Blood 


To close this very long post off – who knew that this Book Collection post would rival my other ones – I thought I’d just share some up close pictures of my signed copies. I don’t have every book in my collection signed, though I wish I did. I try to get at least one signed by Sarah every time I see her.

img_8378

Above: US Hardcover The Assassin’s Blade 

img_8379

Above: US Original Hardcover Throne of Glass 

img_8380

Above: US Hardcover Crown of Midnight 

img_8381Above: US Hardcover Heir of Fire 

(I have no idea why this is signed twice – honestly. It’s not a second hand copy, it was brand new when I bought it, but I guess I must’ve taken it to an event not realizing it was signed. I guess Sarah quickly signed it again. I have no recollection of this. It’s not double signed in the picture at the top of this post, which was taken in 2014, so sometime between then and now, it got signed again.)

img_8383

Above: US Hardcover Tower of Dawn 

img_8384Above: US Hardcover Kingdom of Ash

img_8377Above: US Hardcover A Court of Thorns and Roses 

img_8376Above: US Hardcover A Court of Frost and Starlight 

And that’s it! This post is much long than I anticipated, and took a lot long to format that I thought it would! I figured it would be 1500 words tops. I guess I underestimated just how much I had to say…though to be fair, I didn’t plan on doing that whole long intro before jumping into the actual collection.

I was scrolling back through my Instagram feed (as one occasionally does, or I do) and kind of forgot that I had some of these pictures from throughout the last decade. Oh wow, it’s been almost a decade since I discovered Sarah’s books…granted I need to wait like 2 more years, give or take, but damn.

Anyways, I digress as always. I hope you enjoyed this very long post (I’m sorry!) and let me know which author you collect!

Book Review: Fury (The Will of Yggdrasil #3)

furyTitle: Fury (The Will of Yggdrasil #3)

Author: Sara C. Roethle

Pub. Date: February 5, 2020

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️


When you play with gods, you get burned.

Previously the Bitter Ashes Series.

Madeline can’t run forever. Estus still wants the key, and now thanks to Mikael, she’s a bigger target than ever. The only choice left is to summon the old gods for aid, risking the chance they might sooner destroy them all, than help them harness the key’s power to defeat their enemies.

Madeline is willing to take the risk, though gods can be finicky, and if there’s one thing she’s learned, it’s that no one does anything for free.


This will be a spoiler free review.

This book suffered from middle book syndrome. Basically, nothing happens during the first 45% of this book. At least nothing of major consequence. War is looming, and Maddie and Co. have been on the run and hiding out.

Hiding is the main focus of the first half of the novel.

It gets a little boring after a while.

Even when things pick up during the second half of the novel, I felt like the world building was being altered to fit a new narrative. I just felt a disconnect with the characters and the plot, and suddenly people were seemingly acting out of character.

Again, I think the biggest issue with this book is just suffers from middle book syndrome. It’s just a filler book to get us to the next one. There was also no real progression with any of the character relationships, despite the new information that gets revealed about certain characters. And aspects of Maddie’s power are revealed or hinted at that just seemed strange?

Maybe I’m just woefully ignorant on Irish folklore and mythology (the series pulls inspiration from it) – I’m not discounting that. I don’t know really anything about it, so this could all be quite common knowledge. But as for a reading experience, this book just left me feeling a little bored and a little skeptical.

Did I already buy book 4, because I’m too invested at this point?

Yes. I did.

It’s already loaded onto my Kindle. I’m too deep into this story to give up now.

I talked in the last review for this series about an element that I’m not a fan of, and I’m still not a fan. I think it’s going to cause problems. Also, there is a death in this book that felt incredibly cheap and so unnecessary. Like, I’m actually kind of annoyed that this character dies. It served no purpose, at all. Just thinking about it is actually making me angry. I didn’t have such a strong reaction when I read it, but now, thinking about it…what the fuck. I’m angry.

The uselessness of the death reminds me of Beth’s death seasons ago in The Walking Dead. It served absolutely no purpose.

Anyways, I digress.

I’m also starting to root for a different love interest other than Alaric. I don’t know, I’m just not sold on him. I don’t find him irresistible or even really interesting. Which is crazy, because I didn’t feel this way for book 1&2. Sure, he’s your typic fantastical alpha male, who’s super-hot and willing to do whatever it takes to protect those he cares about. While the latter is still true, it’s like his character has been watered down.

It’s hard to explain without spoilers, but maybe the author was trying to make him more sentimental and occupy the “traditional woman role” of pining, of needing to be protected. But to me, it felt more like his character had been watered down. Like the spark or something was gone.

But yeah, there’s another guy that I’d totally be on board with Maddie being with…if not for that stupid freaking plot element I hate.

I don’t think this book is the strongest in the series. Granted, that could change, I have 2 more books to read. But based on what I read, this was my least favorite. When I finished book 1, I couldn’t wait to read book 2, and same when I finished book 2, I couldn’t wait for book 3. Right now, my feelings are ‘I’m too invested now to not finish this series’, but I don’t feel this pressing need to start it right away.

Overall, I’m still a fan of this series, the world, the characters, and I’m interested in finding out what’s coming next. Once again, the stakes are higher, new powers have been unleashed and it’s up to Maddie and Co. to basically save the world. If you’re interested, you can check out my reviews for Fated and Fallen.

Book Review: House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City #1)

crescent cityTitle: House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City #1)

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Pub. Date: March 4, 2020

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


Bryce Quinlan had the perfect life—working hard all day and partying all night—until a demon murdered her closest friends, leaving her bereft, wounded, and alone. When the accused is behind bars but the crimes start up again, Bryce finds herself at the heart of the investigation. She’ll do whatever it takes to avenge their deaths.

Hunt Athalar is a notorious Fallen angel, now enslaved to the Archangels he once attempted to overthrow. His brutal skills and incredible strength have been set to one purpose—to assassinate his boss’s enemies, no questions asked. But with a demon wreaking havoc in the city, he’s offered an irresistible deal: help Bryce find the murderer, and his freedom will be within reach.

As Bryce and Hunt dig deep into Crescent City’s underbelly, they discover a dark power that threatens everything and everyone they hold dear, and they find, in each other, a blazing passion—one that could set them both free, if they’d only let it.

With unforgettable characters, sizzling romance, and page-turning suspense, this richly inventive new fantasy series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas delves into the heartache of loss, the price of freedom—and the power of love.

#1 New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas launches her brand-new CRESCENT CITY series with House of Earth and Blood: the story of half-Fae and half-human Bryce Quinlan as she seeks revenge in a contemporary fantasy world of magic, danger, and searing romance.


This will be a spoiler free review.

Let me just cut to the chase.

I fucking loved this book.

So much.

I went in, knowing and expecting to enjoy this book. I’ve been a SJM fan since Throne of Glass was first on shelves in bookstores. I’ve done the painful, anxious waiting for her books, and I’m doing it again. I blew through this book. Once I started it, I legit couldn’t put it down. So now I must wait for book 2 and it already sucks. It’s been 3 days.

Fuck.

I thought giving myself a few days to gather my thoughts would be enough, but I still don’t know what to say. Like I just want to scream about how much I loved this book, the world, the characters, the plots, but anything in depth – I have no words. My brain goes blank. Why does it have to be the really good books that give me this problem? I should be able to formulate thoughts and feelings and tell you definitive reasons about why I loved the book, but all I want to do is this:

Image result for read the book gif

Which would hurt, because this book is a whopping 803 pages and heavy as hell.

Ugh, I keep typing sentences and deleting them because they sound like crap.

I loved this book.

I cried during practically the entire end of this book.

Like, not just teary eyed, but like actually tears dripping down cheeks.

I didn’t think after one book, I’d get that invested in the story, the characters.

Honestly, this might be my favorite SJM book.

Now I feel guilty and like I’m betraying TOG and ACOTAR, but honestly? It’s taking like all of my willpower to not pick it back up again and read it.

Y’all I really don’t know what to say. This might be the most boring book review ever. I just want to gush about how much I loved it.

I loved Bryce and Hunt. I loved their chemistry and relationship. I loved that they helped one another and that their relationship grew relatively organically. I say relatively, since the actions that lead them to becoming friends is unconventional. I also loved how they were both so incredibly flawed and in different ways, broken. It made them relatable and it made their sweet moments, that much more rewarding.

I loved the world building, and how basically all manner of fantastical creature existed in it. I did find it a bit confusing, trying to keep the different groups and the hierarchy straight, but eventually I kind of just gave up and kept reading. I grew less confused the more I read, but I couldn’t tell you off the top of my head the various Houses and who’s in them.

I really liked how Bryce was ultimately a pretty normal girl – I’m sure people won’t agree with that statement, but oh well. I actually kind of loved that most of the book, she was working at her job, and not just running around saving the world.

I also loved Lehabah and Syrinx. Lehabah is such a delightful character. She reminded me a lot of Tink from Jennifer L. Armentrout’s Wicked Trilogy. And Syrinx is just adorable, and I want him.

I said it before, but I loved this world. I loved the mix of fantasy with modern day technology. Honestly the whole book kind of gave me Lucifer vibes. I loved it and I was engaged the whole time.

But the ending…the ending to this book was tense, action packed and full of oh shit moments, and teary moments, and just visually epic moments. I can still picture them in my mind and fuck, this book would make a fantastic show.

Netflix get on it.

The murder mystery aspect and crime aspect lends so well to visuals and seriously, so well to a Netflix series.

Image result for loved the book gif

My brain just went blank again thinking about how much I loved this book and how good it was. Like, there are no words, just emotions and some screaming.

If you’re a SJM fan, read this book. If you want to become a SJM fan, read this book. If you’re not a SJM fan, why are you hate reading this book? House of Earth and Blood is such a good read that emotionally connects you to the characters and the world. Sarah demonstrated her talents in this book and had me guessing and shocked at who was behind everything. That reveal is forever ingrained in my brain, and what comes after is truly epic. I really cannot wait to see what Bryce and Hunt do next, and what’s in store for this series. I’m already anxiously awaiting Book 2 and honestly it can’t come soon enough.

 

Book Review: Crystal Caged (Air Awakens: Vortex Chronicles #5)

Crystal Caged3Title: Crystal Caged (Air Awakens: Vortex Chronicles #5)

Author: Elise Kova

Pub. Date: March 14

Rating:⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


The highly anticipated and breathtaking finale of Air Awakens: Vortex Chronicles by USA Today bestselling author Elise Kova.

One way or another… she will be the end of the world.

With powers that weren’t supposed to be touched by mortal hands, Vi Solaris is determined to free herself and the world from the deadly vortex it’s trapped in. This mission has taken her to forbidden lands and has transformed her from a sheltered princess to a fearsome warrior.

But the ultimate triumph requires the ultimate sacrifice, forcing Vi to choose between the last tethers to her humanity and the very people she’s sworn to protect.

Vi’s story of magic, sacrifice, triumph, and love reaches its epic conclusion in Crystal Caged. 


This will be a spoiler free review and thank you to Elise for providing a copy for review! I’m super grateful to have had the chance to read it early. If you’re interested, you can read my reviews for the first 4 books – Vortex Visions / Chosen Champion / Failed Future / Sovereign Sacrifice.

It’ll probably come as no surprise to any of you, but once again, Elise has blown it out of the park.

While it’s incredibly bittersweet that this is the final book in the Air Awakens Series, I really couldn’t have asked for a better conclusion. The initial Air Awakens series is one of my all-time favorite fantasy series. I love it so much, the world, the characters, basically everything about it. So, when Elise announced the Vortex Chronicles, I was super excited to see what happened next.

So much happened next.

I had no idea what I would experience with this series. I had no idea what to expect. I had no idea exactly what Elise was planning, and with her twist/reveal at the end of Failed Future I was so excited and unsure and ultimately blown away. What Elise did with this series, especially the latter half, and more importantly the final book, can be so hard to pull off, and pull off correctly.

This should also come as no surprise to you, Elise pulled it off spectacularly.

Crystal Caged was, overall, a very good book. I really enjoyed how it closed out the series, the world, the characters…it made me want to go back and reread all the books prior to it. I loved the alternate viewpoint, and the lens we got to view the Air Awakens world through. I loved the change in Vi, the maturity, the way she toes the line of what needs to happen, and what can just happen. It’s hard to talk about exactly what goes down in this book, if you haven’t read the ones prior. This book is a giant freaking spoiler on so many fronts.

While you can read the Vortex Chronicles without having read Air Awakens, or the Golden Guard Trilogy, I highly, highly recommend that you do, before you pick this book up. Like, I can’t emphasize it enough. If you don’t care about spoilers, you do you. If you’re someone who cares, read the initial series, and the trilogy first. Or at least The Crown’s Dog.

I want to talk about this book – so badly.

I want to blab all about it in this review, all the things I loved.

I won’t, I said no spoilers.

But there were so many interactions and moments that I loved, and moments that made me emotional. I loved the ending of this book, how it all concludes, and the journey Vi goes on.

I wholly loved this book, but I did find it a * little * bit slow at the beginning. I don’t think it’s a negative, and it doesn’t last for long. Vi very much plays a waiting game – that’s all I’ll say – so obviously the plot isn’t rushing past at a breakneck speed. Once the ball starts rolling, it very quickly picks up and I couldn’t put the book down. Pretty sure I read the whole thing in like 5 hours, with only bathroom breaks.

I’m sad that this series, with these characters is over. It will forever be one of my favorite series, and I recommend it to everyone. Seriously, if you haven’t read the Air Awakens and/or Air Awakens: Vortex Chronicles, you’re missing out, and doing yourself a disservice. Elise is a master at creating intricate worlds, diverse casts of characters, and plots that keep you engaged and anticipating what might come next…even if it hurts. While this might be the end of this group of characters, Elise has announced a new project! It’s set in the Air Awakens World and it’s called A Trial of Sorcerers. I know nothing about this book except what Elise included in her Tower Guard Newsletter.

img_8333img_8334

Like I said, I know next to nothing about this book, but I’m already so damn excited for it. While I’ll miss Aldrik, Vhalla, Vi and Taavin, I’m looking forward to meeting this new cast of characters, and undoubtedly falling in love with them.

Check out Crystal Caged when it’s released on March 14, 2020 and go with Vi as she finishes her journey to stop the vortex from spinning! You won’t want to miss it!

 

 

Characters Who Need Hugs Pt. 2

And I’m back with a Part 2!

When my first blog post – 5 Characters Who Could Really Use A Hug – with this content went live, I got a handful of Tweets and a few comments, of other characters who would benefit from hugs. Honestly, there are so many, and my first list alone, could have been solely Brigid Kemmerer characters.

After responding to the Tweets and comments, an idea struck – what if I asked for your input?

So, I did.

I asked for your help in curating a list of character you felt needed a hug. I asked for you to give a sentence or two, or even just a reason as to why you felt the way you did.

You all delivered.

I have quite the list of characters, and some of them I honestly never would have thought of! It’s quite a list and I’m really excited to share it with you all!

13 more characters who have it so rough at times, readers feel they need a comforting hug.

Since there are so many more than the first time, I did this, we’re just going to jump right in!


Tilly (@KissesTilly) over on Twitter suggested:

song of the currentWho: Caro

Book: Song of the Current

Author: Sarah Tolcser

That girl is in need of a long hug. Like one of those ‘it’s okay to not always be okay’ hugs, you know? She’s put through so much in this book!!


beautiful creaturesWho: Link

Book: Beautiful Creatures

Author: Kami Garcia.

This boy really does go through some stuff he didn’t sign up for, huh? But he’s just a good person and so he deserves a hug!


things we know by heartWho: Quinn

Book: Things We Know By Heart

Author: Jessi Kirby.

That girl needs a best friend hug. She needs a weekend away, tissues so she can cry it all out and a long hug!


Sammy (@SuchABadBASS) over on Twitter suggested:

shadow and boneWho: The Darkling

Book: The Shadow and Bone Trilogy

Author: Leigh Bardugo

He needs a big hug. He’s such a hard worker and needs a good minute to rest and relax from everything he does. Also, being all powerful is exhausting and being that AND attractive? I can’t.


the forbidden gameLexi (@LexiStankewitz) over on Twitter suggested:

Who: Julian aka “The Shadow Man”

Book: The Forbidden Game

Author: L.J.Smith

He either need hugs or therapy. Or both.


img_8305Who: Lucien

Book: A Court of Thorns and Rose Series

Author: Sara J. Maas

He suffered Tamlin much longer than Feyre did and did so without support from the inner circle. I empathize with him, so he could use a hug.

Art by Charlie Bowater 


img_8306Who: Azriel

Book: A Court of Thorns and Roses Series

Auhtor:” Sarah J. Maas

My poor baby bat.

Art by Charlie Bowater


twlight@MeegsReads over on Twitter suggested:

Who: Leah Clearwater

Book: The Twilight Saga

Author: Stephenie Meyer

She always seems to draw the short straw in life.

 


I want to thank those of you who participated in this list – so, thank you! This post wouldn’t exist without your support and comments! Reading all of your great responses got me thinking, and I have a few more characters I think could really use a hug.

greythorne


Who: Aurelia

Book: Bloodleaf & Greythorne

Author: Crystal Smith

She has so much on her plate with everything that is going on and that she goes through in these books. She might not have time for a hug, but I think she could benefit from one.


Air AwakensWho: Daniel

Books: Air Awakens Series

Author: Elise Kova

Not to be spoilery, but poor Daniel kind of draws the really short end of the stick and is dealt a pretty crap hand at life. If anyone is ever in need of a hug, it’s him.


img_8137Who: Jesse Blackthorne

Book: Chain of Gold

Author: Cassandra Clare

He seems so soft and sweet, and also dealt a crappy hand. I want more of him.

Art by Charlie Bowater


img_8136Who: Alastair Carstairs

Book: Chain of Gold

Author: Cassandra Clare

This poor boy. I never thought I’d say that when I first started Chain of Gold, but by the end…He’s trying and that’s all that matters, and if he got a hug from the right person…

Art by Charlie Bowater


only a breath apartWho: Jesse

Book: Only a Breath Apart

Author: Katie McGarry

I just wanted to hug him throughout the whole book. His life hadn’t been easy, still wasn’t easy and after a huge loss he has to figure out who he is. He has to prove that he can take care of himself. He had to grow up so quickly, and even has a child he had to deal with things no child should have to deal with. His mother is constantly telling him that their family is cursed, that they can never find love or happiness because it will end in disaster.


IMG_6130.JPG 2Who: Rev

Book: More Than We Can Tell

Author: Brigid Kemmerer

This boy. He goes through so much and I love him. Yes, another Brigid Character, are you really surprised? I can’t help that she makes her characters suffer so much I feel the need to comfort them.


Phew, this list is a lot longer than I thought it would be, and I’m sure there are plenty of characters still missing from it. So, if you have any more, leave them in the comments below!

I’m thinking of maybe doing another post along the same lines, thought with characters that legit made you rage. Like, the moment they stepped onto the page, you just couldn’t. I can think of quite a few antagonists that either made me stop reading the book entirely, or made me so angry with their actions, I wanted to chuck the book across the room.

So, here’s my question to you, what characters make you so irrationally mad, that you want to chuck the book across the room. If you want to participate in that post, make sure you leave your name and/or link (or Twitter handle) I can tag you with!

Book Review: Fallen (The Will of Yggdrasil #2)

fallenTitle: Fallen (The Will of Yggdrasil #2)

Author: Sara C. Roethle

Pub. Date: February 5, 2020

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


As it turns out, finding the charm was the least of Madeline’s worries.

Previously the Bitter Ashes Series.

Enter the mischievous Viking. Mikael seems to know more about Madeline’s quest than she does. His ancient vendetta will take her back to the time of his birth. Unfortunately for her, Mikael was born about a thousand years ago, in a place far different from anything Madeline has ever known.

In order to return home, she will face Vikings, bandits, and the spinners of fate themselves. The stakes may be high, but at least Madeline finally knows just what, and who, she’s fighting for.


This will be a spoiler free review.

I’m just going to dive right into this review, so if you want to know more about my general thoughts and feelings, you can check out my review for Fated the first book in The Will of Yggdrasil series here.

I bought this eBook legit the moment after I finished reading Fated. Then I started reading it that same night but didn’t actually finish it until the next night. Once I start these books, I tend to not move or get up until I’m done. They’re pretty quick, engrossing reads so it usually doesn’t take long. I definitely enjoyed this book more than Fated. I was already familiar with the world, the characters and the stakes, and this book picks up right where book 1 left off. I was just ready to find out what happens next. A few new characters were introduced in this book, and I kind of love them.

Why are big, tortured, moody Vikings with soft, tormented centers so damn attractive? Mikael was introduced and while I have no idea what his ultimate goal is, I thoroughly enjoy his character and the chemistry he has with Maddie.

I also kind of really like James, which I didn’t expect.

He’s a grade A asshole and probably a sociopath, but something happens to him and this new version feels more like a lost, hurting puppy, and I feel for him. Between James and Mikael, I think they could both probably use hugs.

I think the thing I liked least in this book is the little plot twist that is revealed. The only reason I don’t like it is because it’s my least favorite thing to happen in books. Like, it doesn’t matter how realistic it is, I just don’t really care for it in books. It’s kind of a turn off, but I find that I’m pretty forgiving when it comes to fantasy, especially these kinds of books. they’re already full of tropes and clichés, so it’s kind of to be expected. But when it was revealed, I audibly groaned and then rolled my eyes.

I can’t really go into too much detail, since this is book 2 and I don’t want to spoil anything, but I did enjoy this book, and I really can’t wait to start reading book 3, Fury. The stakes are higher than ever, characters are being tested and Maddie has some incredibly tough choices ahead of her. The question of who will rule once the war has been fought and won has yet to be decided and I cannot wait to see what happens next. Book 3 is already loaded on my Kindle and I’m diving into it soon.

Book Review: Fated (The Will of Yggdrasil #1)

fatedTitle: Fated (The Will of Yggdrasil #1)

Author: Sara C. Roethle

Pub Date: February 5, 2020

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5


The monster at the door can be ignored. The monster in the mirror however…

Previously the Bitter Ashes Series.

Madeline knew her life was strange, and not just because she could sense the emotions of others. Having people die by your hand on two separate occasions can make a girl question her very existence. Still, she never thought she’d wake up in a world straight out of Norse myth. A world where corpses reanimate all on their own . . . and she’s supposed to be their executioner.

A normal person would run screaming into the night, but there’s something about dark and alluring Alaric that’s giving Madeline pause, and it’s not the fact that he turns a little feline from time to time. Together they must search for an elusive magical charm, a remnant of the gods themselves. Madeline’s life depends on finding it first . . . and so does the entire fate of humanity.


This will be a spoiler free review.

I don’t think this would have been on my radar if Elise Kova hadn’t posted about it in her Facebook group. I’m part of the group, so I saw the post with the book asking if any of her readers would be willing to read and post a review of the book. It sounded interesting and like something I could quickly get through.

I’m a huge fan of Elise’s, so I trust her opinion when it comes to books. So, if she’s promoting one, or an author in general, I’m likely to check the book or the author out.

I downloaded the book and practically inhaled it in one sitting. I enjoyed this book, the world, the characters. I will say that as I was getting into it, I was a little confused. But not for the reasons you may think.

You’d think as an avid reader, my reading comprehension would be stellar. Well, in this instance, not so much. For whatever reason, I struggled with this line in the synopsis:

Previously the Bitter Ashes Series.

 Except, I didn’t read it that way. There was a disconnect or something in my brain and I read this:

Previously ON the Bitter Ashes Series.

I have nothing. I don’t know why I read it that way, but because I did, I spent a good 40 minutes trying to figure out why this series sounded exactly like the author’ Bitter Ashes Series, and how many damn times could this girl be stolen from her bed and not remember it.

40 minutes later and I felt like a damn fool and dove into the book with no more concerns or confusion. I promptly read it in one sitting and then promptly bought book 2 and started it.

Fated is a pretty quick and easy read that allows you to turn your mind off and just get lost in it. It’s cliché and full of tropes, and therefore you kind of know what’s going to happen. It has a bit of insta attraction and insta love, but I found myself not minding. It’s a paranormal? fantasy, and I’m always more forgiving of the insta love in those kinds of stories.

Also, sometimes I get tired of reading about the proper progression of healthy relationships, and I just want the unrealistic automatic attraction and love that really makes no sense. It just means I don’t have to wait for the buildup between the two love interests.

This is definitely Upper YA or New Adult – I’m not really sure what it’s classified under. The characters are older, so I’m assuming YA, but if a teen were to read this, there’s nothing too graphic. There is sex on the page, and if you know, you know, and if you don’t, then you probably shouldn’t be reading the book. Again, nothing graphic, and a lot of fade to black.

I would have liked a little more world description and character description. I struggled just a little bit to picture some of the places and some of the characters. Character wise, it’s like I can picture their overall physique, but I can’t quite picture their faces. As for the world, I get general images, with a few specific details, and then I’m kind of lost. I don’t think either of these things break this book, just a personal preference. I love the cast of characters, and their personalities and I love the feel of the world.

I’m glad I went into this book with not very high expectations. I received a free copy to review, and I’ve bought the next two in the series, so I think that speaks to how much I enjoyed this book. I can’t wait to finish the series. I’m definitely looking forward to reading other books by Sara, Tree of Ages has been on my TBR for probably forever, so maybe that will be next.

If you’re looking for a quick read with some magic, romance, hot guys, and high stakes, maybe check this series out.