WWW Wednesday #24

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!🎄 WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words in which the three W’s stand for:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

25614492WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

 

 


48341787._SY475_WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

To Have and to Hoax by Martha Waters

 

 


42867745._SY475_WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

Husband Material by Emily Belden

Top Ten Tuesday: Books with a Wintry Setting

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. I was originally going to post this a couple of weeks ago for the freebie topic, but, well…time just got away from me 😆 There’s something so atmospheric and whimsical when reading stories with snowy, wintery descriptions and scenes.

25489134._SX318_1. THE BEAR AND THE NIGHTINGALE
This entire series is an enchanting, magical story full of wintry landscapes and Russian history and folklore. From the vivid descriptions to the lush writing to the compelling characters, Katherine Arden writes a mesmerizing story that is perfect for curling up next to the fire during a snowstorm. And because this is a trilogy, it means more cozy nights spent reading this winter.

368968982. SPINNING SILVER
This is one of the most atmospheric, captivating stories full of European folklore and magical elements. It’s a very loose retelling of Rumpelstiltskin that follows the point of views of three very different girls. Naomi Novik did an amazing job writing this compelling story with its dark wintry setting. From the character growth of the heroines to the two hate-to-love romances, this book is a wonderful choice for a wintry read.

400460303. ECHO NORTH
Joanna Ruth Meyers does a fantastic job of retelling the fairytale East of the Sun, West of the Moon while blending in elements of Tam Lin to create a unique, whimsical story. I was completely enamored by the magic within the pages. I loved following the heroine’s journey as she attempted to care for and save the enchanted house after making a deal with a mysterious white wolf.

386407294. EAST
East of the Sun, West of the Moon is one of my favorite fairytales and this is one of my favorite retellings. The cold, snowy setting is the perfect backdrop and the spellbinding writing does an excellent job of drawing readers into the story. Everything about this book is so well-crafted and wonderful, and I definitely recommend it for anyone looking to spend a winter night in reading.

378540495. THE SISTERS OF THE WINTER WOOD
This is another wonderfully written story based on Eastern European folklore. This book was a story rich with fairytale elements and yet historical aspects were seamlessly blended in. It’s a reimagining of Goblin Market and the setting is so atmospheric and magical. I really adored this story and the complex, loving relationship between the two sisters.

40148425._SY475_6. WINTERWOOD
Shea Ernshaw really excels at writing deliciously atmospheric stories. She does a great job of tying in mystery with magic, and writing it with such beautiful words and descriptions. It’s no surprise, given the title of the book, that this book is set in mysterious, magical forest in the dead of winter snow storm. If you’re looking for some more creepiness in your winter read, then this is the book for you!

398635177. WHITE STAG
This is a much darker book and deals with some tougher subjects, but I really enjoyed this story about goblins and the Wild Hunt. The setting of this novel is placed in colder, harsher climate, but the added element of malicious goblins and the fantastical writing had a certain whimsical feeling to the story. This book would be great for someone looking for a more thrilling, darker fantasy to match a brewing snowstorm outside.

247636218. WINTERSONG
Another really well written story featuring goblins and loosely based on Goblin Market. This book was completely atmospheric and beautifully written. There was such a soft, lyrical quality to the story, and the wintry setting is absolutely perfect for the kind of tale the author was trying to tell. It would be easy to get lost within the pages of this emotional, compelling story.

347264699. SKY IN THE DEEP
Even though the focus of this story is more on the fantasy and fighting aspects, the majority of the book takes place during winter. There are many descriptions of the story’s frigid environment, snowy landscapes, and icy waters, and it’s very easy to imagine yourself fighting amongst the Riki or Aska clans in the dead of winter. This is one of my absolute favorite books ever so I am always recommending this stunning debut!

2695822610. EVEN THE DARKEST STARS
This book is less atmospheric than the others listed, however it’s set in a magical, Himalayan-inspired world that boasts of mountain climbs, blistering snowstorms, and avalanches. If anyone wants a fun, mountainous adventure without actually climbing any mountains this winter, then this is the book for you.

REVIEW: Diamond City – Francesca Flores (ARC)

Title: Diamond City (Diamond City #1)
Author: Francesca Flores
Rating: ★★★½

ARC received through #booksfortrade on Twitter. 

What is this book about? Diamond City follows Aina, an assassin working for one of the worst crime bosses in Koshima. When presented with an opportunity to break away from the Blood King and start her own establishment, she takes on a high-profile assassination job. Unfortunately, things don’t go as planned and she gets caught up in a game of politics, conspiracy, and murder.

What did I like? This is a case where the book started out so amazingly but slowly lost steam as the story went on. I thought the world-building was clever: a world caught between industrialization and religion. The struggles between the two sides felt very believable and added depth to the story.

I also really loved Aina! It was refreshing to have an assassin that actually commits murders without qualms. Orphaned at a young age, she struggled to overcome poverty and homelessness, and is eventually “saved” by the Blood King, the leader of a ruthless gang. Speaking of the Blood King, Francesca Flores did an excellent job exploring the kind of power and emotional control people like Kohl have over impressionable younger girls such as Aina. Aina transitions from romanticizing him and their relationship to finally opening her eyes to the kind of person he truly is.

What didn’t I like? Towards the end of the book, the story started to lose a bit of steam. The action really picked up, but the conflicts were resolved quickly and without much fanfare. There were also a few aspects and “plot twists” that felt a little forced and a bit too clean for the kind of story this started out as.

Overall thoughts: I highly enjoyed this debut book from Francesca Flores! The world-building was unique and different from what I was expecting for a novel about a young assassin, and the heroine was truly the heart of this book. I look forward to reading the rest of the series!

Young Adult Fantasy Standalones of 2019

December is almost over, which means I survived an entire year of nursing school! 🎉 Sorry I haven’t been active the last couple of months, but now that I have a two week break from school/work I plan to spend that time reading, relaxing, and catching up on blogging! This year, I’ve noticed a lot more standalone novels being released in the YA genre and I am loving it. I’m a big fan of a series as much as the next reader, but there’s so something so satisfying about a really well-written standalone novel. 


ECHO NORTH

40046030The was such a breathtaking, brilliant retelling of one of my favorite fairytales, East of the Sun, West of the Moon. The book completely blew my expectations out of the water. Joanna Ruth Meyer did such an excellent job in taking the original elements of the fairytales in which the book was inspired by, and adding little twists to create a whimsical story that was both true to its roots, and yet totally unique. The vivid descriptions and writing had me completely enamored by the book. The ending was a little bittersweet, but it was entirely satisfying and wrapped the book up perfectly. 


STAIN

34842208This book blew me away. It was a hauntingly beautiful fairytale unlike any other. The dark, gothic elements and vivid descriptions made this such an atmospheric read. There were so many clever intricacies to the plot and the small details were woven together so carefully and in a way that made this a really well-constructed book. I also loved the theme of a rose gaining thorns in regards to Lyra’s character growth throughout the story.


WARRIOR OF THE WILD

43446574This book was so much fun to read. It was action-packed, fast-paced adventure with a loveable, fierce warrior girl as the star of the novel. The action starts from the first page, and doesn’t let up until the last. Rasmira was such a wonderful heroine and I enjoyed reading through her point of view so very much. In addition to our protagonist, we also are introduced to two side characters, Iric and Soren, and I loved the interactions between those two boys and Rasmira. The book has an important and inspiring message of overcoming adversity and growing into the person you want to be, regardless of what others believe of you.


DESCENDANT OF THE CRANE

36430989This book might be low on the action, but it’s high on the suspense and political intrigue. I actually really enjoyed the slower paced story and how the focus was instead on the intricacies of the murder mystery and the inner court machinations. Hesina was a character that I greatly enjoyed following as she attempted to navigate her struggles between her personal wants/beliefs and what she needed to portray in order to gain the support and find justice for her father’s murder.


THE CANDLE AND THE FLAME

39821312This was an excellent, beautifully written debut. The writing was absolutely gorgeous. I loved how diversely rich in culture and history the book was; the author’s descriptions paint a vivid picture for the reader. And of course any story featuring djinn is a story for me! I really loved all the different characters, relationships, romances, and the political intrigue featured in the story. I wish the book had been a bit longer because I would love to have seen what happens next!


SORCERY OF THORNS

42201395This was one of my most anticipated releases of the year and I had a lot of fun reading it! This book contains sentient books; a fierce, sword-wielding librarian; and a handsome, broody sorcerer with a tragic past. What more could any bibliophile ask for in a book? Margaret Rogerson did an amazing job with the world-building and the magical aspects of this story and I cannot wait for whatever she writes next!


THE BONE HOUSES

36524503The story follows a gravedigger and a mapmaker on an epic adventure full of family, magic, and the undead. The book heavily features elements of Welsh mythology, meanwhile other parts were reminiscent of The Black Cauldron. The eerie, atmospheric settings gives a haunting feel to this mesmerizing story that reads as if it’s a dark fairytale.

 


Do you enjoy standalones? What was your favorite one you’ve read this year? Let’s chat in the comments!

 

Monthly Wrap-Up: November 2019

Hello everyone! So I as I was writing this post, I realized I totally forgot to write my monthly wrap-up for October. Whoops! I haven’t been as active with writing posts or reviews the past few months because of school which is kind of a bummer. It’s hard watching your blog really grow and make huge strides for the first half of the year and then watching those numbers dwindle away simply because you don’t have enough time for reading and blogging 😔. I’m hoping to catch up on a lot of reading over winter break. I’ll have two weeks off from school and work and I plan to spend most of it relaxing!


42292077._SX318_THESE DIVIDED SHORES: I was one of the few people who enjoyed These Rebel Waves, so I was really looking forward to the sequel. Unfortunately, it didn’t seem to thrill me as much as I had been hoping. The plot and characters continued to be well written, but there was just some compelling aspect missing that was present when I was reading These Rebel Waves. But overall it was still a great sequel and conclusion to the series.  ★★★

44046860THE BROMANCE BOOK CLUB: I loved this book so much! When I first read the synopsis, I knew I had to read this book as soon as it was released. The entire concept of the plot was amazing: in order to fix his marriage, the protagonist enlists the help of his buddies and historical romance novels. Um, YES. From the steamy romance to the adorable twin girls, this was such a cute, heartwarming story and I can’t wait for more from this author.  ★★★★

42771754SUPERNOVA: There was no better finish to this amazing trilogy. A lot happened throughout the pages and the action never stopped! There were definitely a few clever twists placed and the book went in a few directions that I had not been expecting. Also, THAT EPILOGUE. Like, how is no one else talking about that HUGE reveal?! I really hope it means a spin-off or a novella is in the works! This was such a fun, exciting series and I loved reading every minute of it.  ★★★★

43220998._SY475_THE FOUNTAINS OF SILENCE: This is a beautiful story about a period of history that I was wholly unfamiliar with prior to reading this. This is my first book by Ruta Sepetys and I can see where all of her high praise comes from. Set in Spain 1957 following the end of the Spanish Civil War, this was not something I had learned about before and so it was very eye-opening. It blew me away with it’s gorgeous writing, compelling characters, and thought-provoking story.  [review]  ★★★★

26032912._SY475_QUEEN OF NOTHING: The wait for this book was agonizing, but it was totally worth it! It was so great to be back in Faerie with Jude and Cardan and all of the other characters I’ve enjoyed reading about. However, there were a couple of things that left me a tad disappointed. First of all, this book felt really short? Not just page-wise (which was much shorter in length) but also plot-wise it felt kind of rushed. I also missed the angst and tension between Jude and Cardan. Obviously, we needed to get to the love part of a hate-to-love relationship, but it just felt really quick and I would have appreciated a bit more build with the feelings.  ★★★★

40148425._SY475_WINTERWOOD: Shea Ernshaw really excels at writing deliciously atmospheric stories. She does a great job of tying in mystery with magic, and writing it with such beautiful words and descriptions. Because of how The Wicked Deep ended, I spent a majority of the book trying to solve the mystery surrounding Oliver, and I was pleased that I was correct! However, the little plot twist involving Nora and her nightshade took me totally by surprise and I thought it was very well done. The ending to this book was much more satisfying than The Wicked Deep, and therefore I enjoyed the story better!  ★★★

43263331THE BEAST OF BESWICK:  This was a fun story by a new-to-me author! I actually won this book from Bookish First and after I read the excerpt and became totally intrigued by the story! The plot is basically Tessa Dare’s The Duchess Deal meets The Taming of the Shrew. I found Astrid to be a remarkable heroine whose POV I enjoyed reading and I really loved the interactions between her and Thane! I was not disappointed in the slightest by the romance and I will be reading more from this author in the future!  ★★★★ 


OTHER

The ABC Book Challenge – S | WWW Wednesday #23 | Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Fanart, Part II | #ARCstravaganza: Diamond City | The ABC Book Challenge – R | WWW Wednesday #22 | #ARCstravangza: The Nameless Queen | The ABC Book Challenge – Q