Monthly Wrap-Up: June 2019

Hey everyone! I’m on a two week summer break from classes and I could not be happier. I can’t wait to spend this time getting ahead on homework and getting a lot of reading in! This month was fantastic for reading for me: I read two books that are currently my favorite of the year! What are you all planning to read in July? While making a TBR I realized I have a lot of ARCs that need to be read for August so I think I’ll be spending most of my July reading doing that!


35561260NOCTURNA: There was nothing wrong this book, but upon finishing it I felt pretty apathetic towards it. I did enjoy the magic and the world-building and the characters, but besides that, nothing about the plot captured my full attention or pulled me into the story. By the end of the book, I was reading just to finish it. All in all, the book was pretty unmemorable to me, which is a shame because it sounded so good and I was really interested in the premise.  ★★½

38330596THE STORM CROW: The action starts out right from the start, which was a great way to get me invested in this book. I absolutely loved the elemental crows aspect and I really liked the protagonist, Anthia. She struggles with her depression and grief and the author did a fantastic job representing this throughout the book. My only issue was the romance: the synopsis of the book makes it seem like we should be expecting one thing, but when given another option, it fell pretty flat.  ARC provided by the publisher.  [review]  ★★★★

42785825THE FRIEND ZONE: When I started this, I honestly just expected a light-hearted, fluffy contemporary romance perfect for summer. And while the book delivered with the romance, angst, and humor, it also brought out emotions that were unexpected in the best way. Besides a few issues I had – such as the light, gray-area cheating that occurs early on and the constant putting down of other women – I did really enjoy this book and would totally recommend it as a fun summer romance!  ARC provided by the publisher.  [review]  ★★★★

42201395SORCERY OF THORNS: This 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!  ★★★★

36578543FIREBORNE: THIS BOOK WAS FLIPPING AMAZING. It’s going to take everything I can not to go rambling on and on, but please do yourself a favor and add this to your TBR. It’s been a few weeks and I’m still amazed over how awesome this book was. I’ve seen the premised being described as Pluto’s Republic + Aegon Targaryen + Hermione Granger and I’m here to tell you that yes, it’s exactly that in the best way possible.  ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley.  [review]  ★★★★★

36558159THE BEHOLDER: Okay, so there were parts of this that I definitely did enjoy. Huge kudos to Anna Bright for writing a love triangle in which I rooted for both characters equally. But the rest of the story fell pretty flat for me. My biggest issue was the world-building. It felt really disorganized and confusing. There was a lot of anachronistic elements to the settings and it pulled me out of the story multiple times.  [review]  ★★½

40523458KINGSBANE:  I was not expecting this to be as action-packed as it was! There was definitely no Second Book Syndrome here. It was very easy to fall back into this story and become just as invested in the characters as I was in the first book. I really loved Rielle in Furborn, but it was hard to watch her make the choices she made in this book, especially when it was hurting other people I really care about. And that ending….I did not see that twist coming! I cannot wait for the finale and expect it to be as awesome as the first two.  ★★★★

39854434FIX HER UP:  Tessa Bailey has earned herself a new fan. Holy shit, this book was HOT. I was expecting a fun, contemporary romance but I was not expecting those steamy scenes! And listen, I am not complaining one bit. From the romance to the fake-dating trope (a favorite), there was so much to love about this story. This was my first Tessa Bailey, but you can bet it won’t be my last. Excellent all around.  [review]  ★★★★★

40653162CALL IT WHAT YOU WANT: Although the premise was not anything new, this book handled it in such a fantastic way. Maegan and Rob are each dealing with their own family issues, and I loved how they eventually find solace and comfort in each other. There were a lot of heavy topics involved in this story, and I thought Brigid Kemmerer wrote about them in a very compelling and realistic way.  ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley.  [review]  ★★★★

42815556SPIN THE DAWN: The book is being pitched at Mulan meets Project Runaway, and that’s the perfect description for this marvelous book. Maia was an amazing heroine: she was devoted to her family, resourceful, intelligent, and caring. With a protagonist to cheer for, a love interest that will steal your heart, and writing that draws you in from the first chapter, I’m positive readers will love this book as much as I did!  ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley.  [review]  ★★★★

40177770DEV1AT3: Another action-packed book from Jay Kristoff, full of fun characters and set in such a cool world. This book focuses a lot more on Lemon Fresh and her story and I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about this, but once I started it was a total non-issue. She makes some important discoveries for herself and finally starts to develop of sense of self-identity. ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley.  [review]   ★★★★

41118857THE DRAGON REPUBLIC: I AM NOT OKAY. I really need this book to be released because I need someone to talk to about that ending. I absolutely devoured this. The Poppy War was one of my favorite books from last year, so I was a little nervous going into this, but I ended up enjoying this even more so. All I will say is: you are not prepared for this book. Absolutely stunning.  ARC provided by the publisher through Edelweiss.  [review]  ★★★★★

39679076HOUSE OF SALT AND SORROWS: The premise of this sounded amazing, and so I was pretty bummed up that it didn’t live up to my expectations. I really liked the atmospheric setting and the spooky/eerie vibe the story gave off. The romance kind of ruined it for me: I wasn’t a fan of the love triangle or how insta-lovey it was, and I thought the way it wrapped up was a bit too convenient.  ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley.  [review]  ★★

OTHER

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REVIEW: The Beholder – Anna Bright

36558159Title: The Beholder (The Beholder #1)
Author: Anna Bright
Rating: ★★½

I struggled with a rating, because while there were parts of the story I enjoyed, for the most part I felt pretty meh about the book. But before I get into my review, let’s talk about that cover because wow is it gorgeous. And I’m blessed to have the FairyLoot edition which has pastel pink sprayed edges and rose gold foil lettering – two colors that I absolutely love. It’s such a pretty book!

I’m not sure why The Beholder has been described as The Odyssey meets The Bachelorette, because the only thing resembling The Odyssey is a member of Selah’s crew named Homer. So if you’re going into this expecting a retelling of that particular tale, you are going to be disappointed.

My biggest issue is the world building. I’ve seen other reviewers mention their concerns and I totally agree that the setting felt extremely disorganized, confusing, and anachronistic. There are so many contrasting aspects present and it pulled me out of the story multiple times. The book begins like it’s planning to be an alternative historical fiction set not too long after Potomac’s separation from England, however, later in the book there’s the presence of radios; and yet no other mention of technology exists, such as electricity. Different parts of the book read like they took place in different time periods, and the dialogues featured a lot of present day words and phrases. There was just way too much going on to make any sense of anything.

And now the romances. Here’s where I need to give Anna Bright a lot kudos for getting me to successful root for multiple love interests in the same book. We meet one of suitors early on, and I grew to really enjoy his character and the blossoming romance between him and Selah as the pages went on. Upon meeting the next suitor, I was very surprised to find myself also loving this particular love interest and becoming totally invested in Selah’s relationship with him to the point that I literally forgot about the previous suitor.

While I didn’t mind the multiple love interests (it’s obviously a huge part of the plot and unsurprising to the reader because of the synopsis), I took issue with the way the romances were written. Developing attraction, affection, and feelings in a short period of time is understandable and relatable. Falling completely in love in a two week period (with back to back guys) is not love: it’s infatuation. There’s also a third hinted love interest (and the direction I’m pretty sure the author is ultimately going to take it…unfortunately), as well as another potential suitor we’re destined to meet in the sequel, who I’m actually really interested in learning more about. If I decided to read the next book, it’ll be because I’m really excited about him!

It wasn’t my intention to rant, because honestly I did not hate the book and I truly don’t believe it’s a bad story. The Beholder has a very intriguing and unique premise, and I think with some extra polishing and structure it could have been a great story. In the end, I felt too confused by all the different elements of the plot and world-building to enjoy it as much as I had hoped.

Monthly Wrap-Up: May 2019

Hello everyone! Right now I’m in New York for BookCon and I’m so excited!! Who else will be at BookExpo/BookCon? What are you most looking forward to doing or seeing? Let me know in the comments!


41147279AGAIN, BUT BETTER: This was not the book for me. The writing was disjointed and the story felt so autobiographical that it was really uncomfortable reading. My biggest issue, however, was the fact that the plot basically revolves around the main character falling for someone who is already in a relationship and that love interest engaging in some cheating. I can’t root for characters that I don’t like.  [reviewARC provided by the publisher.  DNF @ 63%

35424766NYXIA UPRISING: Such a great wrap-up to a really underrated sci-fi series! I’ve been a fan of these books since I was approved for an early review copy of the first one and I’ve enjoyed each book in the series tremendously! Scott Reintgen does an excellent job not only with his pacing and writing, but also by keeping the reader engaged throughout the story. These books are awesome and if you haven’t checked them out yet I highly recommend them! ★★★½

12813630THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN: My goal for this year was to read a couple of Holly Black’s previous books, and I was not disappointed! I thought this was a super unique take on vampires and I almost wish it was a series instead of a standalone. I also was digging the fact that the book takes place in Springfield, Massachusetts – which is where my mom and her entire family is from!  ★★★½

40381392FINALE: These books are so damn good. I’m thankful Stephanie Garber decided to do a dual POV for this conclusion; I think it helped a lot with wrapping up the series. I love both Tella and Scarlett so it was nice seeing the climax and ending from both of their perspectives.  ★★★★★

 

34236194MORE THAN WE CAN TELL: After reading and loving Brigid Kemmerer’s newest fantasy book, I wanted to check out some of her contemporary works. I think I had expectations that were too high as I was a bit let down by this book. I didn’t feel connected to either Rev or Emma, and therefore I didn’t connect to the story. I liked the plotline and the characters’ journeys, but didn’t feel as moved as everyone seems to have been by the story.  ★★★

23688792THESE VICIOUS MASKS: This is a book that I had been wanting to reread for awhile now. The first time I read this, I enjoyed it, but felt like I would have liked it more had I not just finished Lady Helen. I put off reading the sequel until the whole series was finally punished and I’m so glad I did! As I had anticipated, I liked this much better the second time and appreciated it so much more. This is such a fun YA historical/paranormal book! ★★★½

30199421THESE RUTHLESS DEEDS: Reading all the books in series back to back is so underappreciated. I started this immediately after finishing the first and it made all the difference; there was no time spent trying to figure out what was going out and what had happened in the previous book. I didn’t like this quite as much as These Vicious Masks, but I still really liked the story and the characters. This was a great sequel to a fun series!  ★★★

34612713THESE VENGEFUL SOULS: There was a lot more going on in this book and I flew through the pages. This was a great conclusion to the series. I thought these books were unique and the concept intriguing: who doesn’t love an X-Men meets Victorian-era England plot? I definintely recommend this series to anyone who enjoys historical fiction or paranormal books with a good blend of mystery, action, and romance!  ★★★

40291564STORM AND FURY: I never really got into The Dark Elements series – I was firmly Team Zayne and totally over the bad boy trope at that point – and so I was really excited when I learned Zayne would be getting his own story! I haven’t read a JLA book in awhile and I got nervous at first because I was having trouble getting into it in the beginning. Eventually, the story began to pick up and improve and I remembered why I love her paranormal stories so much!  ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley.  ★★★½

39821312THE CANDLE AND THE FLAME: This 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!  [review]  ★★★★

OTHER

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REVIEW: Enchantée – Gita Trelease

39863494Title: Enchantée
Author: Gita Trelease
Rating: ★★★★

I probably sound like a broken record by now, but I definitely enjoyed this way more than I had anticipated. Since I had just finished An Affair of Poisons fairly recently, it worried me that because I read two books with similar settings so close together, one would end up overshadowing the other. Luckily, other than the historical Paris settings, these are two completely different books. Enchantée lived up to its name: this YA debut seriously enchanted me!

I found Enchantée to have the perfect mix of historical fiction and magic. The protagonist, Camille, was an absolutely wonderful heroine. After struggling in poverty to provide for herself and her sister, she begins to take matters into her own hands. And although I found her to be strong and caring, she did possess some character faults, which only endeared her to me more. There are a few side characters that are also really likeable, and added to my enjoyment of the book. 

What really won me over in this book was the setting. Gita Trelease is obviously a talented writer, as it was so easy for me to picture myself in the story, whether it was inside the glamorous French court of Versailles, walking amongst the crowded streets of Paris, or soaring above the ground in a hot air balloon. I was completely transported into the story and I easily found myself lost within the pages. 

There are so many elements that make this such a fascinating book. The story is full of high stakes and action, subtle romance, magic, and intrigue. The author did a fantastic job weaving all those elements together to tell a really compelling story. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this and I look forward to more from Gita Trelease in the future! 

BLOG TOUR: An Affair of Poisons – ARC Review

Welcome to my stop on the An Affair of Poisons 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

GJFuiczsTitle: An Affair of Poisons
Author: Addie Thorley
Release: February 26, 2019
Publisher: Page Street Kids
Genre: YA Fantasy, Historical Fiction

After unwittingly helping her mother poison King Louis XIV, seventeen-year-old alchemist Mirabelle Monvoisin is forced to see her mother’s Shadow Society in a horrifying new light: they’re not heroes of the people, as they’ve always claimed to be, but murderers. Herself included. Mira tries to ease her guilt by brewing helpful curatives, but her hunger tonics and headache remedies cannot right past wrongs or save the dissenters her mother vows to purge.

Royal bastard Josse de Bourbon is more kitchen boy than fils de France. But when the Shadow Society assassinates the Sun King and half the royal court, he must become the prince he was never meant to be in order to save his injured sisters and the petulant Dauphin. Forced to hide in the derelict sewers beneath the city, any hope of reclaiming Paris seems impossible—until Josse’s path collides with Mirabelle’s, and he finds a surprising ally in his sworn enemy.

She’s a deadly poisoner. He’s a bastard prince. Together, they form a tenuous pact to unite the commoners and former nobility against the Shadow Society. But can a rebellion built on mistrust ever hope to succeed?

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REVIEW

ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

When I first read the synopsis for this book, I was extremely intrigued. I wasn’t sure what I should expect going into this, and honestly those expectations were not high. An Affair of Poisons proved me wrong in the most wonderful way: I absolutely adored this book so much more than I thought I would.

The first word that comes to mind when in describing An Affair of Poisons is fun. There are a lot of things to love about this book. Female alchemists? Yep. A broody, bastard prince? Check. Enemies to lovers romance? You got it. The writing is completely compelling and the fast-paced, interesting plot easily keeps the reader entertained. The plot is full of magic, murder scandals, and mayhem; all set in a historical French setting and based on real historical events (see: L’affaire des poisons). The story Addie Thorley has created is so imaginative and well-crafted. A lot of time, effort, and research went into creating this book and it easily shows.

An Affair of Poisons was the alternate YA historical fiction story that I didn’t know I needed. I really enjoyed this unique and fascinating twist on historical events and the characters that were written to perfection. I’m looking forward to whatever Addie Thorley has up her sleeve next!

★ ★ ★ ★  


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

UjK2WlPwAddie Thorley spent her childhood playing soccer, riding horses, and scribbling stories. After graduating from the University of Utah with a degree in journalism, she decided “hard news” didn’t contain enough magic and kissing, so she flung herself into the land of fiction and never looked back. 

She now lives in Princeton, New Jersey with her husband, daughter, and wolf dog, and when she’s not writing she can be found gallivanting in the woods or galloping around the barn where she works as a horse trainer and exercise rider. AN AFFAIR OF POISONS is her debut novel. 

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FOLLOW THE TOUR

March 5 | The Unofficial Addiction Book Fan Club

 March 6 | Paws and Paperbacks
March 6 | Tale Out Loud
March 6 | Moonlight Rendezvous

March 7 | GingerSnapHattie
March 7 | Nicole’s Novel Reads
March 7 | Wishful Endings

March 8 | Dazzled by Books
March 8 | A Book Addict’s Bookshelves
March 8 | Bibliobibuli YA

March 9 | Magical Reads
February 9 | String of Pages
March 9 | Confessions of a YA Reader

March 10 | Book Princess Reviews
March 10 | The Clever Reader
March 10 | A Dream Within A Dream

March 11 | Camillea Reads
March 11 | Girl in the Pages
March 11 | Adventures Thru Wonderland