Monthly Wrap-Up: September 2019

Hello fellow book lovers! September was a hard reading/blogging month for me. I have been feeling very overwhelmed with the amount of work I have to do for my classes and so unfortunately I just didn’t feel up to reading or writing blog posts 😦 And then I felt guilty and anxious because I felt like I should be. Hopefully October will be a better month and I will get out of this reading rut!


INTO_THE_CROOKED_PLACE6INTO THE CROOKED PLACE: I definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves Six of Crows or Ace of Shades! This book has a lot of similar elements that made it enjoyable, and yet it also had a plot that was entirely unique. The story is told through the POV of four characters and while I loved all of the characters, I think it could have lost a POV or two without losing the essence of the story.  ARC provided by the publisher.  ★★★½

44291755GRAVEMAIDENS: This was really not what I had been expecting. It was necessarily bad, it just didn’t impress me all to much, especially since I think I had really high expectations going into this from all the praise I had seen/heard over it. I tried really hard to like the protagonist, but she treated some of the other characters in the book really poorly and it made it hard to enjoy reading things from her perspective.  ARC received through #booksfortrade on Twitter.  ★★★

40972652THE WALLFLOWER WAGER: You know I’m in a reading rut when I rate a Tessa Dare book anything less than four stars. I was really looking forward to Penelope’s story, but there was just ~something~ missing from this one that usually makes me fall head over heels over Dare’s books. I think there was just not as much of a build-up of tension that I usually look forward to in these books.  ★★★½


36199084._SY475_THE KISS QUOTIENT:
I really wish I had read this so much sooner. This is a book that I had been constantly hearing about, yet it kept getting putting off reading. Let me just say that this book was worth every bit of hype it has gotten. I loved that this is an #ownvoices novel featuring a high-functioning autistic woman and diverse characters. Stella was a fantastic protagonist and I resonated so much with her! It was very easy to root for her and her happy ending.  [review]  ★★★★★

37539001CAPTURING THE DEVIL: Audrey Rose and Thomas have such a special place in my heart and this was a fantastic end to a wonderful series! First of all, this book had so much damn angst and romantic tension throughout the pages it’s like Kerri Maniscalco wrote it specifically for me. I absolutely adore this series and I can’t wait for whatever the author has next up her sleeve!  ★★★★


36321739THE NEVER-TILTING WORLD:
Don’t feel fooled by this rating. I almost DNF’d this literally like five times. It took me almost T E N days to finish this. I was planning to only rate this 2 stars, but I have to give the book credit: things really picked up during the last quarter of the story. I wish the whole book could have been as exciting as that last bit. I went from not wanting to finish this book to looking forward to what will happen in the sequel.  ARC received through #booksfortrade on Twitter.  ★★★

43189874._SY475_WELL MET: This book so so much fun to read. I absolutely cruised through it. This is a contemporary romance that was perfect way to end the summer. From the hate-to-love romance to the RenFaire shenanigans, there was really nothing to dislike about this story. I wasn’t aware that this was the author’s debut novel because it’s so well written and constructed.  ★★★★


42613944._SY475_THE MEMORY THIEF:
This is another book that was taking me forever to get through, except I was so bored that I had to stop. When I dread the thought of reading a book, that’s usually a pretty good sign that I should just quit while I’m ahead. The story itself is okay, although there are so many memory flashbacks that it was becoming extremely annoying and I started to skip over them to get on with the story.  ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley.  DNF @ 51%

44131124._SY475_THE PRENUP: This was a cute story! This was a new to me author and I had only happened upon this title from another blogger’s post about new contemporary romances this summer, but I’m glad I did because I enjoyed this! Fake marriage is one of my favorite tropes and I loved how it was handled in this book. My only complaint? Not enough (or any) steamy scenes  🔥 #sorrynotsorry. There was soo much build up in the tension between them and no resolution for us a reader!  ★★★½

OTHER

Contemporary Romances That Had Me Swooning This Summer | The ABC Book Challenge – O

REVIEW: The Bridge Kingdom – Danielle L. Jensen

46356471Title: The Bridge Kingdom (The Bridge Kingdom #1)
Author: Danielle L. Jensen
Rating: ★★★★★

This book was 100% worth the wait. Danielle L. Jensen promised a badass heroine, a lushly unique world, and a compelling hate-to-love romance and boy, did she delivered. The Bridge Kingdom is a book I’ve been waiting for ever since it was first announce and it definitely did not disappoint!

The action begins right off the back and it does not hold back! I was hooked from the first chapter, which instantly had me loving the heroine, Lara. The book first portrays her in a certain intriguing light, however, as the chapters go on, readers begin to realize Danielle L. Jensen has purposely deceived them. Lara is strong, intelligent, and manipulative, but clearly has a soft heart under her tough exterior. I really enjoyed reading from her POV and following along with her sneaky plotting.

The setting was so incredibly unique and interesting to read about! I will admit to feeling a bit confused by the geography at some parts, but it wasn’t enough to keep me from enjoying the story. I’m a very visual person so I’m hoping for a map in the future 🙏🏼 The pacing of the book was absolutely perfect. Danielle L. Jensen is an incredible writer and it really shines in The Bridge Kingdom.

This book had everything I was looking for: excellent writing, a compelling story, and a fantastic enemies-to-lovers romance. The Bridge Kingdom is exactly what I wish more NA stories would be. I really loved this and I cannot wait for the sequel!

REVIEW: Relic – Bronwyn Eley (ARC)

46218744._SY475_.jpgTitle: Relic (The Relic Trilogy: Book 1)
Author: Bronwyn Eley
Rating: ★★★½

ARC provided by the publisher.

Relic is the first book in a new fantasy trilogy that is sure to impress many readers, myself included. With a strong heroine, excellent worldbuilding, and a very interesting premise, this was one heck of an entertaining story!

The premise of Relic felt really unique and fascinating, which is what originally drew me to the story. The book follows our protagonist, Kaylan, who has been chosen to be the next shadow: a personal servant to the Lord whom basically absorbs all the negative energy and pain given off by their magical relic. The worldbuilding present in the Relic was truly excellent. It was so easy to understand how the world worked without feeling confused or overwhelmed. Bronwyn Eley did a great job with placing the necessary pieces into the story and avoiding any information dumping.

I found Kaylan to be an excellent heroine! She was smart, caring, and resilient. Family and friendships mean a lot to her and are a central part of the story. She showed a lot of grit and determination in trying to solve her predicament, unwilling to simply roll over and accept her fate. I also thought she was very astute and made good decisions. For instance, when learning about a rebellion brewing, rather than joining forces with them straight away, she makes note of the negative consequences that rebelling could have on citizens. I loved that aspect! In many YA books, the hero/heroine jump ship to the rebels without even stopping to think if they were truly any better, or to at least weigh the pros/cons first. Bronwyn Eley excelled with that part of the book.

Overall, I thought Relic was a great debut fantasy book! I really enjoyed the main character and the premise of the story. This is the first book in a trilogy and I look forward to seeing what happens next!

REVIEW: The Girl the Sea Gave Back – Adrienne Young (ARC)

42867937Title: The Girl the Sea Gave Back
Author: Adrienne Young
Rating: ★★★½

ARC received by the publisher through a giveaway.

Sky in the Deep quickly became one of my favorite books after I finished reading it, and so The Girl the Sea Gave Back was something I was highly anticipating. Adrienne Young continues to be a wonderful storyteller and has crafter another novel full of strong characters and powerful writing, however it’s quite capture my attention the same way Sky in the Deep did.

The Girl the Sea Gave Back is a companion novel rather than a sequel to Sky in the Deep, so it is entirely possible to read this alone. I absolutely loved the Viking-inspired world Adrienne Young created in her previous work and she does an amazing job expanding on that world even more in this one with the introduction of new clans and traditions.

As for the rest of the book, it fell kind of flat. And trust me, no one is more disappointed that I didn’t enjoy this that much as I am. The majority of the book had very little action and didn’t seem to be going anywhere. It was missing a lot of the tension and angst that made Sky in the Deep so compelling.

I also didn’t connect as much to the characters. I really enjoyed Halvard and his point of view, but for some reason I couldn’t seem to connect with Tova. I will say that I really enjoyed how Adrienne Young handled the romance aspect (if you can even call it that?). There were many times when she could have pushed those characters together romantically, however, I’m glad she avoided that because it would have come off as forced and inorganic. Although, she does give a teaser at the end of the story that hints towards a possibility of something!

The Girl the Sea Gave Back was missing many of the captivating elements found in Sky in the Deep, and I was supremely disappointed that I couldn’t love this more. This was a very slow moving story without a lot of action or payoff that didn’t keep my attention. Adrienne Young is an amazing writer and I look forward to more stories from her in the future!

REVIEW: Eight Will Fall – Sarah Harian (ARC)

35827843._SY475_Title: Eight Will Fall
Author: Sarah Harian
Rating: ★★★★

ARC received through #booksfortrade on Twitter.

Eight Will Fall was a totally fun adventure. The premise follows eight criminals sent into an underground labyrinth with a mission to defeat a magical ancient god that has been destroying their kingdom. Sarah Harian compared it The Descent meets The Goonies and that is such a clever and accurate description of this book!

The worldbuilding was so good. It was pretty simple and easy to follow without being underdeveloped. The majority of the focus was on the plot, which was really appreciated. The magic system that was developed was also really unique and added another layer of intrigue to the story. The descriptions of the caves and underground tunnels were written in a way that I could vividly picture myself underground. The author also did an amazing job setting the creepy, gorey vibe of the story. Some parts are definitely going to be giving readers goosebumps!

The execution of this book was perfect for what the author was trying to achieve. I don’t think I’ve read another book like it where a sense of dread seems to linger over the reader. Eight Will Fall is definitely one of a kind and I hope this makes it on to a lot of TBR lists!