REVIEW: Isle of Blood and Stone – Makiia Lucier

30339493Title: Isle of Blood and Stone (Tower of Wind #1)
Author: Makiia Lucier
Rating: ★★★★

Isle of Blood and Bone was one of the most underhyped releases last year, and now that I’ve finally got around to reading it, I can say with the utmost certainty that it deserves way more recognition than it gets. Want to read an excellent (standalone) YA fantasy done right? Read this book. 

While this book isn’t super action-packed, Isle of Blood and Bone delivers such an interesting premise with that it was very easy to find myself lost in the pages. It contained the perfect blend of adventure, mystery, hints of romance, and steady pacing to captivate me as a reader. The backstory and character histories were written in a way that it felt completely natural: I knew exactly what was going on without having piles of information dumped on me. The little plot twists were cleverly placed to create suspense, yet remain believable. I also thought the ending wrapped up really nicely and the epilogue was definitely a perfect fit for the story. 

I cannot get over how severely underrated this book is. I really enjoyed Isle of Blood and Bone and I’m really looking forward to reading the companion novel later this year! 

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Underrated Books

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s theme is similar to a post I did not too long ago about last year’s underhyped releases, but I was excited for another chance to showcase some books that I think really need for exposure and love from the bookish community. All of the following books have less than 2,000 ratings on Goodreads – which is huge shame!

400460301. ECHO NORTH
Okay, so this was just released last month but I’m still including it because doesn’t even have five hundred ratings and it’s so freaking good. There was also hardly any hype over this book and it took me so long to find an ARC, that I really thought there were none out there. I highly recommend this if you’re looking for an amazing fairytale retelling.

311790062. SWEET BLACK WAVES
This is a YA retelling of Tristan & Iseult that needs more readers. It features a wonderful Irish setting, a lovely heroine, angst, betrayal, friendship, magic, love, and an ending that’s sure to make you feel like you were stabbed repeatedly in the heart.

 

303394933. ISLE OF BLOOD AND STONE
I hadn’t read this yet when I wrote my post on the least hyped books that released last year, but I’m glad I included it because I can now say after reading this, that it deserves so much more recognition than what it gets. This was an excellently executed fantasy: the perfect blend of adventure, mystery, a hint of romance, great writing, and dynamic characters. I’m so excited to read the companion novel set to release later this year!

346405724. STATE OF SORROW
I hadn’t even heard of this book until it arrived in my March FairyLoot box. It’s an absolutely spectacular book; the storytelling and the worldbuilding were stunning, and it’s full of political intrigue, breathtaking descriptions, and dynamic characters. The protagonists doesn’t fall under the typical “strong, female heroine” expected of YA fantasy books, but instead is clever, passionate, and possesses a quieter kind of strength.

320729245. GODBLIND
This book was nothing short of amazing, and I have no idea why it is not more popular. I have to confess that this was my first grimdark fantasy book but I absolutely devoured this: it was utterly fantastic and completely engrossing to read. From the compelling characters, to the excellent worldbuilding, I cannot wait to read more in this series.

349649216. THIS HEART OF MINE
A very touching story focused on family, friendship, grief, love, and life. It’s easy to see that this book means a lot to the author by the love and care infused into the writing. The book has a compelling story with an inspiring message. It left me feeling glad I choose to be an organ donor, and can possibly one day in the (hopefully far) future give life back to someone. If you’re looking for a light, fun, uplifting read, I would recommend this one!

369525967. BLANCA & ROJA
Anna-Marie McLemore’s books are something special. She’s so talented at writing magical realism and I love getting lost in her stories. Her books are all extremely well-liked and highly rated, but I still feel like they have hardly any hype? None of her books have over 5,000 ratings which was actually very surprising to me. Why are people sleeping on her?!

250600628. THE WEDDING SHROUD
This is really a fantastic historical fiction series. It’s incredibly well-written and researched, including great characters, complex relationships, and the political and religious intricacies of two very different cultures at a time before Rome was the Roman Empire as we know it. I loved reading about the different political and religious aspects of the Etruscan and Roman cultures during that time period and the conflict between the two civilizations.

204864959. LADY OF THE ETERNAL CITY
This is the last book in the Empress of Rome historical fiction series – one of my favorites ever – and it’s such a shame that it has the least amount of ratings. In my opinion, this is the best book in the whole series and one of my absolute favorites. I always recommend these books to fans of historical fiction so if you enjoy that genre and haven’t checked these out yet, please do!

3270248710. THE BIRD AND THE BLADE
After I had finished reading this, I did two things: I ran to the bathroom for tissues since I was a hot mess and then immediately marked this as a favorite book. I really wish more people would read this book because it was truly phenomenal.

REVIEW: The Waking Forest – Alyssa Wees (ARC)

Waking Forest Leo Comps6APPROVED.inddTitle: The Waking Forest
Author: Alyssa Wees
Rating: ★★★½

ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley. 

“And so she cast a glamour over herself and snuck out of the castle at night, fleeing to the forest where the monsters lived. Where she could be a monster too.”

First of all, that cover is extremely alluring and fits the book perfectly. The Waking Forest has such an interesting premise and a really well constructed novel. It’s atmospheric, eerie, and spellbinding.

The writing is something that readers are either going to love or hate. For myself, I found the beautiful prose and lush descriptions the perfect compliment to the two enchanting stories already being told. I can totally see how some people might find it to be too convoluted at times and leading to confusion, but I had no problem following along.

The way the author has crafted the book is very impressive. She weaves two different stories together seamlessly, and the way they converge by the end was extremely creative and made for a unique story. It was very easy to find myself tugged along the as the story went on, but still able to pick up on the little hints that everything was not quite as it seemed. I found the book to be pretty fast-faced and easy to get through, and I was invested in the characters the entire time. I really enjoyed this one and I hope others do as well!

REVIEW: Roomies – Christina Lauren

34466910Title: Roomies
Author: Christina Lauren
Rating: ★★★★★

I always worry that one of these days I’ll read a CLo book that doesn’t live up to my expectations. This is not that day. I wanted a fun, contemporary romance with a smidge of sexiness and and once again these authors delivered on all aspects.

“Crushes are the worst, but in hindsight a crush from afar seems so much easier than this. I should stick to making up stories in my head and watching from a distance like a reasonable creeper.”

I don’t know how they do it, but it seems like in every CLo book I read, there’s a heroine with whom I can relate to. And the fact that I can always connect with the main character on some level makes their books so much more enjoyable. Roomies was a witty, heartwarming, delightful book that I didn’t want to put down. The “fake marriage” trope was executed perfectly and it was so lovely to watch the relationship between Holland and Calvin slowly develop over time. And speaking of Calvin, from the first few chapters he had me turning into a puddle of goo. Holland Bakker is one lucky gal: she gets a handsome, wholesome, adorable Irish man as her husband – that’s the dream (or at least it’s mine).

Roomies had the whole package when it comes to what I look for in a contemporary romance: relatable heroine, witty writing, great dialogue between characters, steamy scenes, and a love interest I wish I could pull forth from the pages. This was such a fun and charming book and I always highly recommend Christina Lauren’s books!