Monthly Wrap-Up: March 2020 + Blog Hiatus

Hello everyone! I hope you all are staying safe and well during these times ✨ March has been an extremely stressful month for me. I can’t even remember the last time I read less than five books in a month.

Due to COVID-19, campus was closed for the rest of the semester and our clinicals were cancelled almost immediately following that decision. As classes moved to all online, it’s been really tough keeping up with the increased amount of work. On top of that, I broke my foot and have to be on crutches for the next 6 weeks, which means obviously I cannot be working during this time either. So between having my last semester of nursing school basically cancelled, having twice as much work to do, dealing with a broken bone, feeling down from being isolated from my friends and guilty that I can’t be at work during this time, and not having a pinning ceremony/graduation or BookExpo/BookCon to look forward to, I haven’t been reading or blogging at all. And I honestly don’t anticipate anything changing during April. Reading has always been my escape and it completely sucks that I don’t have time for it anymore, but I really want to finish my last semester as strong as I can and focus school and taking the NCLEX. I don’t want to be on hiatus, but it’s what’s best for me right now. ❤️


17699853CHAIN OF GOLD: I don’t often give books from The Shadowhunters Chronicles five stars, but when I do it’s THIS ONE RIGHT HERE. We get to meet James and Lucie Herondale, Christopher and Thomas Lightwood, and Matthew Fairchild, as well as some other important characters such as Cordelia Carstairs and Grace Blackthorn. Cassandra Clare has crafted the perfect recipe: the nostalgia of the Shadowhunter world, the return of favorite characters from past books, historical romance elements such as ballroom dancing and the marriage of convenience trope.  ★★★★★  [review]

35702241THE SHADOWS BETWEEN US: For some reason, this took be a long time to get into. I think at the beginning I really struggled with Alessandra’s character. I found her to be to be really immature and it was hard to read the chapters from her POV. As the story went on, she began to grew on me and it was easier to appreciate her brash, manipulative character. I also loved the romance between her and the Shadow King!  ★★★½

52776262._SX318_SY475_TIGERS, NOT DAUGHTERS: This was a really interesting thriller! I wasn’t sure what to expect when I was approached with an opportunity to read an early copy, but I’m so glad I did. The story follows three sisters dealing with the aftermath of their sister’s death. The book definitely kept my attention and there was a creepy, spooky, haunting vibe to the story that really captivated me. I was under the impression that this was a standalone but Goodreads has it marked as part of a series? If so, I would definitely be interested in reading the follow up!  ★★★½

51086670THE HONEY-DON’T LIST: Such a heart-warming story! I’m a huge fan of Christina Lauren books so of course I had to read this as soon as it was released. This wasn’t my favorite of their books, but it was still really cute and fun to read! I feel like last couple of CL books I’ve read have been lighter on the romance than I’m used to. Carey and James were a great couple but I definitely would have liked to have explored their relationship more.  ★★★½


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Blog Tour + Giveaway: Ember Queen | Top Ten Tuesday: Single Word Titles

BLOG TOUR + GIVEAWAY: Ember Queen

Welcome to my stop on the Ember Queen book tour! Thank you to Fantastic Flying Book Club for organizing the tour and allowing me to participate as a tour host!


ABOUT THE BOOK

39216077._SX318_Title: Ember Queen (Ash Princess Trilogy #3)
Author: 
Laura Sebastian
Release: February 4, 2020
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Genre: YA Fantasy

Princess Theodosia was a prisoner in her own country for a decade. Renamed the Ash Princess, she endured relentless abuse and ridicule from the Kaiser and his court. But though she wore a crown of ashes, there is fire in Theo’s blood. As the rightful heir to the Astrean crown, it runs in her veins. And if she learned nothing else from her mother, she learned that a Queen never cowers.

Now free, with a misfit army of rebels to back her, Theo must liberate her enslaved people and face a terrifying new enemy: the new Kaiserin. Imbued with a magic no one understands, the Kaiserin is determined to burn down anyone and everything in her way.

The Kaiserin’s strange power is growing stronger, and with Prinz Søren as her hostage, there is more at stake than ever. Theo must learn to embrace her own power if she has any hope of standing against the girl she once called her heart’s sister.

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REVIEW

What is this book about? Theo has survived the Fire mine, and now she’s ready to reclaim her throne and birthright. In Ember Queen, Theo continues to amass an army to help her defeat the Kaiserin, Crescentia, and the Kalovaxians.

What did I like? This series stayed strong throughout the trilogy. Ember Queen never slows down: the action begins early on and doesn’t let up. The book is over 500 pages long but it felt like half that length because it completely compelled me. I also really loved Theo’s continued growth. You can see her trying to adjust to her new role as a leader of her people and she has to make some tough decisions in Ember Queen. The book also introduces readers to a new and interesting effect of Theo’s trip into the Fire mine that really added some intrigue into the plot.

What didn’t I like? My only complaint was that I would have like a little bit more of an epilogue. The book ends with all of the action and plot wrapped up nicely, but I usually enjoy more of a “what happened next” in epilogues of series to give a glimpse to readers of what our beloved characters are up to and whether things really improved and are as hopefully as we are led to believe.

Overall thoughts: Ember Queen was the perfectly conclusion to an excellent and exciting fantasy series! I’ve loved these books since I first read Ash Princess and I’m really glad that the trilogy remained strong throughout, never losing steam or my attention.

★ ★ ★ ★ 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

author-photo-300x200Laura Sebastian was born and raised in South Florida (the Redlands and Key Largo)and has always loved telling stories–many apologies to her little brother who often got in trouble because of them. No copies of her first book, a Cinderella retelling about angels circa 2nd grade, remain. Thankfully.

After getting her BFA from Savannah College of Art and Design, she moved to New York City thinking that she would stay for a couple of years before going somewhere better suited for a small-town, sun-loving girl. Five years later, she’s still here and madly in love with it.

When Laura isn’t writing, she’s probably reading, baking cookies or cupcakes,buying more clothes than her overstuffed closet can fit, or forcing her lazy dogNeville to take a walk.

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram


GIVEAWAY

Win one (1) finished copy of Ember Queen (US only).

✨ ENTER HERE ✨

 

BOOK REVIEW: Chain of Gold – Cassandra Clare

17699853Title: Chain of Gold (The Last Hours #1)
Author: Cassandra Clare
Rating: ★★★★★

I’ve always enjoyed books from The Shadowhunters Chronicles. But I don’t think I’ve every loved any of them as much as I loved Chain of Gold, and that’s really saying something in my opinion. This is my absolutely favorite Shadowhunters book and my excitement for this series has returned tenfold.

What is this book about? The Last Hours centers around the children of the characters from The Infernal Devices. We get to meet James and Lucie Herondale, Christopher and Thomas Lightwood, and Matthew Fairchild, as well as some other important characters such as Cordelia Carstairs and Grace Blackthorn. And if you thought you would be getting more Will and Tessa in this series, well…..YOU WERE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT. *cue screaming*

What did I like? Cassandra Clare has crafted the perfect recipe: the nostalgia of the Shadowhunter world, the return of favorite characters from past books, historical romance elements such as ballroom dancing and afternoon tea and a marriage of convenience trope. Plus, she throws in all of the good stuff from her previous books that I love best: loveable yet sometimes idiotic characters, angst, possibly unrequited love, unbreakable friendships, and demon fighting. The plot was so engaging and I couldn’t stop reading!

Sorry Emma Carstairs, but your ancestor Cordelia has upended you has my favorite Shadowhunter heroine. Cordelia Carstairs was the light of this book. She is caring and passionate and self-sacrificing and has so much love for her family and friends. Also, why am I trash for every couple Cassandra Clare decides to put on paper?

What didn’t I like? This is always my complaint with her books, but sometimes it’s so difficult to differentiate between whose POV the chapter is supposed to be told through. There were even parts were it seemed like it was going back and forth between character voices and it was just super confusing.

Overall thoughts: Chain of Gold absolutely blew away any and every expectation I had for this book. If you have enjoyed The Shadowhunter Chronicles in the past, do not miss this amazing start to a new series.

Monthly Wrap-Up: February 2020

February was a pretty good reading month! Because of the holiday and my participation in the Bookish First’s Valentine’s Day Bingo, I read a lot of contemporary romance and I believe that’s why I had such a great time with books this month.


44280868ALL THE STARS AND TEETH: This a fun, adventurous story about the heir to a kingdom joining a cast of vastly different characters in order to prevent an evil force from destroying their world and regaining what they’ve all lost. This book was not short on action, that’s for sure. And the pacing was executed perfectly. It never felt like the plot was stalling or that unnecessary pages were spent on passages of time.  ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley.  [review]  ★★★½

49366204._SX318_SY475_THE BEST LAID PLANS: Ladies and gentleman, I don’t believe it’s too early to say that I have found one of my favorite reads of the year. The Best Laid Plans was everything I had hoped it would be and so much more. Basically, all you need to know is that it contains best friends-to-lovers, unrequited pining, delicious drama and lots of angst!  ARC provided by the publisher through BookishFirst.  [review]  ★★★★★

AlwaysNever_BOM_4p.inddALWAYS NEVER YOURS: Wherefore art thou, Romeo? I loved that Megan was unapologetically flirtatious and “boy-crazy”. Every relationship she’s been in ends with her boyfriend finding the love of his life while they’re dating, and instead of being bitter and feeling sorry for herself, Megan is carefree and just has fun with her dating life. Which makes it even more special to see the bond that develops between her and Owen.  [review★★★★

39216077._SX318_EMBER QUEEN: This was such a great finale to a series that I have absolutely loved. The hard part about trilogies is that many times one of the books either lags or weakens, but that never happened with the Ash Princess trilogy. The third book finished strong and wrapped up the plot in a way that felt complete yet realistic. For a book that is 500 pages long, I was actually surprised as to how fast the plot moves. If you haven’t read this series yet, I highly recommend it.  ★★★★

49538360UNDERCOVER BROMANCE: As with The Bromance Book Club, the idea of a book club for men who unashamedly enjoy romance novels and use the “knowledge” they learn from said romance novels to better their love lives is amazing and Lyssa Kay Adams knocks it out of the park. This story totally changed my opinion about Braden Mack: there’s definitely more to him under the surface of easy-going charm and we need more men like him in the world!  ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley.  [review]  ★★★★

44646004._SY475_THE WILL AND THE WILDS: This was such a unique fairytale fantasy story! After enlisting his help, a young woman works together with a demon to break the magical pact they had created to save both their lives. I flew through the pages. I loved the built up romance between Maekallus and Enna and how it stemmed from the trust and understanding they had to slowly develop first. I think this is my favorite Charlie H. Holmberg book!  ★★★★

40950392THE STARS WE STEAL:  My favorite thing about this book is the sci-fi retelling of Jane Austen’s novels. I have to admit that I’ve never read Persuasion, but that didn’t stop me from understanding the plot of this story or the nods to the original. I think that Alexa Donne did a fantastic job writing a unique and clever twist on the classic novel and making the story her own. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who enjoys subtle Jane Austen retellings.  ★★★

46404345CHASING LUCKY: Usually I really enjoy Jenn Bennett’s books, but this one was very disappointing. I didn’t like any of the characters, the plot failed to keep my attention, and I found parts of the story a little ridiculous. Some parts were still really cute and I enjoyed, which is why I didn’t completely hate it, but it was definitely not my favorite and fell short to the other stories I’ve read by this author.  ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley.  ★★½

45891343THE UPSIDE OF FALLING: This book is about two teenagers who decide to fake being in a relationship for their mutual benefit. I mean, is there anything better than a fake-dating that turns into real feelings kind of book? Unfortunately, although I loved the premise of the story, the rest of the book didn’t do it for me. The first major issue was that the pacing was extremely fast, especially for such a short book. My other issue was there wasn’t enough to convince the reads as to why they need to be in a fake relationship. It happened just for the sake of the book.  [review]  ★★½


OTHER

Blog Tour: Foul is Fair | Favorite Young Adult Contemporary Romances | WWW Wednesday #26 | Blog Tour + Giveaway: All the Stars and Teeth | The ABC Book Challenge W