November 2018 TBR

TBR

I would like to actually read 5  books this month. We’ll see how it goes! And once again, they are pretty much all ARCs!

1. White Stag (Permafrost, #1) by Kara Barbieri

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2. Sky Without Stars (System Divine, #1) by Jessica Brody and Joanne Rendell

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3. The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air, #2) by Holly Black

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4. Kingdom of Ashes (Nightfall, #1) by Elena May

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5. Crooked Raven (Otherworld, #1) by Talis Jones

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What are you reading this month?

Happy Adventuring

Empire of Sand (The Books of Ambha, #1) – Spoiler Free Review

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Author: Tasha Suri

Publisher: Orbit

Publication Date: November 13, 2018

Genre: Fantasy

My Rating: 4 Stars

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Synopsis 2

A nobleman’s daughter with magic in her blood. An empire built on the dreams of enslaved gods. Empire of Sand is Tasha Suri’s captivating, Mughal India-inspired debut fantasy.

The Amrithi are outcasts; nomads descended of desert spirits, they are coveted and persecuted throughout the Empire for the power in their blood. Mehr is the illegitimate daughter of an imperial governor and an exiled Amrithi mother she can barely remember, but whose face and magic she has inherited.

When Mehr’s power comes to the attention of the Emperor’s most feared mystics, she must use every ounce of will, subtlety, and power she possesses to resist their cruel agenda.

Should she fail, the gods themselves may awaken seeking vengeance…

Empire of Sand is a lush, dazzling fantasy novel perfect for readers of City of Brass and The Wrath & the Dawn.”

My Review 2

*I received an e-arc from Edelweiss+ and Orbit in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!*

Plot/ Story. This actually turned out to be a really sweet love story. Mehr’s personality kind of matches my own. She’s really sweet and will do her job unless she’s pushed and pushed then she will bring wrath down. She’s got this awesome ability to “control” (it’s more like persuade) the desert spirits. And she’s powerful too. I am super interested in learning more about the Amrithi people and their magic.

Magic. There wasn’t really much to the magic system per se, only that the Amrithi people have the ability to talk to / persuade the desert spirits. It was beautifully written about though. The magic was strongest when there were storms and it was a dance between the Amrithi and the spirits. Depending on what symbol you traced or made with your hands, it would mean something different. Think sign language.

Characters. The more I review, the more I realize that I am a character driven person. If I don’t like the characters OR if I don’t understand their reasoning, then the book won’t get as high of a review from me. I LOVED the characters in this book. Mehr was relatable in the sense that I feel as though I would make the same decisions as her and feel the same way. She got down and depressed at one point and had to make the decision to take a lickin’ and keep on kickin’. We’ve all been there. I know I have. And the sweet, sweet love between Mehr and Amun!!! SWOON! They were forced together but when fighting side by side and knowing the other was all they had, they fell in love. For me, it enhanced the beauty of the story.

Final Thoughts. I definitely want to read the next book! Suri’s writing is alluring; it brings you into the story itself. I’m officially a big fan! This is a diverse book based on Indian culture! So cool!

Happy Adventuring

October Wrap-Up

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I did pretty darn well with reading. I didn’t finish all of the ARCs I wanted to but I read a total of SEVEN (!!!!) books. That’s actually a monthly record for me. Thank you audio books. 😛

35430Path of Destruction (Star Wars: Darth Bane #1) by Drew Karpyshyn

My first Star Wars extended universe read and I could’t be happier! It’s about Darth Bane (1000 years before Luke Skywalker) and his descent into the dark side and becoming one of the most powerful Dark Lords who ever lived.

My Rating: 4 Stars

My Review HERE

Amazon

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For a Muse of Fire (For a Muse of Fire #1) by Heidi Heilig

I absolutely loved this book. Jetta is bi-polar, can control spirits, and she kicks butt. I loved the mash up between French and Asian cultures. Plus the book was put together in a unique way; Acts (as in Plays), first person narrative, music, and short stories.

My Rating: 5 Stars

My Review HERE

Amazon

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Voyager (Outlander #3) by Diana Gabaldon

This one was my favorite! It was so sweet and full of adventure! My only complaint is that I don’t understand why there has to be a rape in every single book so far. Stahp.

My Rating: 4 Stars

Amazon

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Madilla: The Spirit of U’Katang by Ian B. Boyd

This was a cute, sweet story. Written by a self-published author, this book is about a little girl in a remote village that can “see” through sparrows. She uses her piano playing as a guide. This was different than what I usually read but I liked it.

My Rating: 3 Stars

My Review HERE

Amazon

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Courting Darkness (Courting Darkness Duology #1) by Robin LaFevers

This was my first book in LaFevers Assassin world. I loved reading about Sybella and Beast. I did not like Genevieve. I really liked the world and how depending on what “god” you served, you got different powers. I liked it enough to want to read the first trilogy. This comes out in February of 2019!

My Rating: 3 Stars

My Review HERE

Amazon

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24909347Obsidio (The Illuminae Files #3) by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman

An amazing finish to and amazing series! I’m very happy with how everything ended. I’m sad to let this world go! I’m obsessed with this series and obsessed with Jay Kristoff. He’s been one of my favorite authors since Stormdancer came out!

My Rating: 5 Stars

My Review HERE (Contains Spoilers!)

Amazon

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39714124Empire of Sand (The Books of Ambha #1) by Tasha Suri

I loved this book. I thought the story was beautiful, the world was gorgeous, and the writing lovely. The love story really hit the right spot, and is the kind I like. Full review coming soon!

My Rating: 4 Stars

Amazon

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What did y’all read in October?! What was your favorite?

Happy Adventuring

Manon Blackbeak Cosplay [Horror October]

Back in August, a couple of friends and I did a bookish character cosplay photo shoot. Now, I was not in any of the photos, I wanted them for my Bookstagram. So far I have only released one photo, and that is of Feyre, which you can find HERE. This next one I want to release is of Manon Blackbeak! I thought it is appropriate since it is Halloween, it’s bookish, it’s for Novel Hearbeat Horror October, Kingdom of Ash just came out, AND she’s a witch.

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This is one of my friends, Sabrina. She’s like, extremely fit and I knew she’d make the perfect Manon! Also, the background is Photoshop-ed. I really want to get good at Photoshop so I can make epic photo manipulations! I will link down below where you can find the elements to this costume. The swords are my friends which she got a ren fair, so I just linked some that I think would be super cool for Manon. Also, I went ahead and linked her Iron Nails, even though you can’t see them in this photo.

Here’s the details (unashamedly linking the products to my Amazon Influencer store):

Red Cloak

Twin short swords / daggers

Wig (I styled the wig in the photo.)

“Iron” Nails

Pair with black jeans, a black shirt, and black boots!

I have more photos I want to release. More of Manon (and with Abraxos!), more Feyre, and I’ve got a few Nina Zenik and Nina with Matthias!

What do y’all think of my cosplay?

Happy Adventuring

 

Obsidio (The Illuminae Files, #3) Review (NOT Spoiler Free)

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Author: Jay Kristoff, Amie Kaufmann

Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: March 13, 2018

Genre: Sci-Fi, YA

My Rating: 5 Stars

Synopsis 2

“Kady, Ezra, Hanna, and Nik narrowly escaped with their lives from the attacks on Heimdall station and now find themselves crammed with 2,000 refugees on the container ship, Mao. With the jump station destroyed and their resources scarce, the only option is to return to Kerenza—but who knows what they’ll find seven months after the invasion?

Meanwhile, Kady’s cousin, Asha, survived the initial BeiTech assault and has joined Kerenza’s ragtag underground resistance. When Rhys—an old flame from Asha’s past—reappears on Kerenza, the two find themselves on opposite sides of the conflict.

With time running out, a final battle will be waged on land and in space, heroes will fall, and hearts will be broken.”

My Review 2

I am doing something a little different today. Since this book came out like, 6 months ago, AND it’s the last in the series, I decided I’m going to do an ALL the SPOILERS review. I’ve never done one before so bear with me. Another disclaimer, I AM TRASH FOR THIS SERIES AND FOR JAY KRISTOFF. I have loved Kristoff since Stormdancer. I’ve read all of his books (except 2!) and met him. I’m pretty sure I’ve rated all of his books 5 stars. Okay, enough of my gushing, let’s get on with it.

Likes. Everything.

Dislikes. Nothing.

Just kidding. I’ll go into more detail. Nik Malikov is one of my book boyfriends. I also just adore him with Hannah. They are like the dream movie couple, the bad boy (who is not so bad) and the good girl (who is not THAT good). It’s one of my favorite tropes that I will never get sick of. I loved watching their relationship grow, and totally squealed at the end when they were engaged. And THAT KISS! Right before the battle!!! SWOON!! And his relationship with Ella is the cutest ever. AND his bro-mance with Ezra is hilarious.

Going to try and move on from Nik. Hannah is my favorite girl character. She’s everything I want to be. She knows kung fu (I mean, basically) and she’s a battle tactician.  Boo yeah, baby. Plus she has the best guy. Whoops started talking about him again. Sorry, not sorry.

Kady is also BA! I hurt so much for her when she thought Ezra was dead. She was going to sacrifice herself. I was like noooooo!!!! And then when Aidan sacrificed himself instead?! OMG. I freaked out. But sneaky Ella saved him. I actually didn’t see that one coming. It was weird / sweet that Aidan loved Kady. I think. I’m still not sure how I feel about him since he was a murderous AI but did it to save more people. But I don’t blame him for trying to do something, because Kady couldn’t think of a way to keep everyone alive on the journey to the Mining Colony. Everyone was going to die until Aidan stepped in. The character I actually hated was Ben. I’m still a little salty he lived.

Asha and Rhys were the new characters and I loved them just as much. Rhys was so sweet in trying to protect Asha! He was naive, don’t get me wrong, but super sweet. I almost cried when the little girl Asha was trying to protect, got shot!

I thought the side characters were done really well. We got some back story on them as well, and it made the Baytech soldiers more human.

Literally everything about this book is amazing. The unique writing style, the story, the characters, the ending, all of it. It was a super satisfying ending. I was afraid Kristoff was going to kill a few characters. Because he usually does in his books. But I’m super happy he didn’t kill any of the main ones! And that battle scene at the end was EPIC!! I had so much anxiety over it. I’m glad Ezra’s stupid mom got taken down. Highly satisfying.

So, in the series, Gemina was my favorite book. But obviously, I loved all of them! Also, while I own the books in HC, I listened to the audio books. THEY ARE AMAZING! Full cast and sound effects.

Okay, sorry for the jumbled mess of a review! This is the first I’ve done like this! I think I’ve covered everything!

What did you think of the book/ series?

Happy Adventuring

Madilla : Spirit of U’Katang Review (Spoiler Free)

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Author: Ian B. Boyd

Publisher: Ian B. Boyd

Publication Date: March 14, 2018

Genre: Fantasy, Magical Realism (Maybe?)

My Rating: 3 Stars

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Synopsis 2

From her very first touch of the piano keys, Madilla feels a strange tingle of energy running through her fingers. In defiance of the customs of her people, she connects through the spirit of her music with a wild mountain sparrow that shows her the freedom of wings and an endless blue sky.

Her piano becomes Madilla’s only escape from the violent atrocities of an isolated and forgotten mountain village, poisoned by centuries of military occupation. But her family has no escape. Tormented by lust and hatred, her uncle succumbs to the ways of the soldiers, igniting an even greater evil lurking within his spirit.

Recognising the confusion of her Mama’s unshakable beliefs, Madilla searches for her own truth. What she learns is that the magic she feels through her piano is only the beginning.”

My Review 2

*Thank you to Mel over at Everyday_Reader for sending this one to me! Click on her link to read her review!*

The Story. I honestly thought this was a very unique book. I’ve never read anything like this before. I loved the musical elements that were infused in the story telling. I myself play the piano (that’s mine in the photo above), so I really related to Madilla when she felt something every time she played. It really is it’s own kind of magic. I am not sure if her village was real or not, but it was most definitely stuck in time. I actually had no idea what time period we were in until Madilla found out. It was a mixture of music, war, fear, and magic.

The Characters. I really enjoyed Madilla. She started off as a strong young girl, and grew into an even stronger young woman. She just wanted to escape and play music, but outside forces kept stopping her. She can’t be found out that she can see through her sparrow, or she will be branded as a witch. She was very brave in figuring out and learning why she has this ability.

The World. I’m going to be honest, I didn’t understand the magic system at all. I kind of knew where it came from, just not how it got passed down. BUT some people might like that because it keeps an air of mystery surrounding the book.

Final Thoughts. While I enjoyed this book and the writing was really good, I found myself putting it down way too much, even though it’s a shorter book. It didn’t captivate me. I don’t have anything bad to say, it just didn’t have that oomph. I liked the message behind the book, that Madilla, as a young woman, was the strong one to save her tribe. Plus, I thought there might be a bit of a forgiveness message in there as well. 3 stars is a “I liked it” for me.

Happy Adventuring

Courting Darkness Review [Spoiler Free]

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Author: Robin LaFevers

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: February 5, 2019

Genre: Fantasy, Historical Fiction, YA

My Rating: 3 Stars

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Synopsis 2

Death wasn’t the end, it was only the beginning…

Sybella has always been the darkest of Death’s daughters, trained at the convent of Saint Mortain to serve as his justice. But she has a new mission now. In a desperate bid to keep her two youngest sisters safe from the family that nearly destroyed them all, she agrees to accompany the duchess to France, where they quickly find themselves surrounded by enemies. Their one ray of hope is Sybella’s fellow novitiates, disguised and hidden deep in the French court years ago by the convent—provided Sybella can find them.

Genevieve has been undercover for so many years, she struggles to remember who she is or what she’s supposed to be fighting for. Her only solace is a hidden prisoner who appears all but forgotten by his guards. When tragedy strikes, she has no choice but to take matters into her own hands—even if it means ignoring the long awaited orders from the convent.

As Sybella and Gen’s paths draw ever closer, the fate of everything they hold sacred rests on a knife’s edge. Will they find each other in time, or will their worlds collide, destroying everything they care about?”

My Review 2

*I received an e-arc from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

Plot. The plot and premise of this book is what really drew me in. This is my first LaFevers book, I have not read His Fair Assassin trilogy. The idea of lady assassins in the 15th century French court sounded so freaking cool!

Characters. This is where my rating really comes into play. I LOVED Sybella. And Beast. And her whole story. She was hands down my favorite character. She protected the ones she loved. She accepted help from the ones she loved. She was a total BA. I did NOT like Genevieve. She was a piece of crap! Seriously. She was selfish, stuck-up, and judgmental. I hated when it was her turn for the story. Except when Maurad came into the story more often. I loved Maurad. She doesn’t deserve Maurad. I honestly couldn’t stand reading about Gen. I think it would have been better if there had been character growth, but no. She was pretty much the same person the whole way through. I really hope the next book makes her better. I like a character driven story, and I’m all about nasty characters that turn a new leaf OR nasty characters that you can understand. Gen was neither.

World. I like that I didn’t have to to read this new one. However, it may have helped because a lot of the politics and world weren’t explained that much. I understood that there were gifts bestowed on you depending on which of the saints you served, but that was all I understood. Like, is this a Percy Jackson thing where if you serve the saint, they are your parent? I don’t know a lot of 15th century history, but this book could have gone into more detail with it. I understand that this is very loosely based on actual history, but it tried too hard to ride the line. In my opinion, it needed to go one way or the other. Again, maybe things were more explained in the previous trilogy. One more thing, I think the author could have done without the whole wailing on Christians thing. I get it, everyone hates us. But just saying, Catholicism and Christian religion are different.

Final Thoughts. So, I feel kind of bad now. It seems as though I’ve only had bad things to say. The confusing world and Genevieve were really the only down sides. I enjoyed reading this story and still want to read the original trilogy. Courting Darkness was a highly entertaining read that kept me coming back for more! I DO recommend if you like YA Historical Fiction! I can’t wait to read the next book and see how Sybella comes into her new powers, and to see if Gen has a change of heart!

Have you read the original series? If so, what did you think?

Happy Adventuring

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