Top Ten Tuesday – First Ten Books I Reviewed

This is my current favorite blog meme! It is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, so check it out! I love her blog!

Today’s top ten is: First Ten Books I Reviewed! Which are all on Goodreads. BUT I am going to do the first 5 books I ever reviewed on Goodreads then the first 5 books I ever reviewed on my blog!

Goodreads book reviews (ones I actually said something and not just rated):

  1. Stuff Christians Like – I remember this being funny. But other than that I don’t remember this book at all. I reviewed it in 2014
  2. The Help – I read this for my book club and I loved this book! Hmm I might need to reread this.
  3. Gone Girl – I remember liking it okay!
  4. The Shack – Ah. One of the few books I have ever one starred. I hated this book.
  5. Belle: A Retelling of Beauty and the Beast – I love Cameron Dokey!

Blog book reviews:

  1. The Gone World – I liked this one but it was kind of a creepy Sci-fi! It was weird for sure! But cool!
  2. A Curious Beginning – I LOVE this series!
  3. A Perilous Undertaking – The second book to A Curious Beginning! I read the first three right in a row!
  4. Meldoy’s Key – An indie contemporary that I liked!
  5. Blood and Sand – I really like this book! I really want the second book to hurry and come out!

Whew! Have y’all read any of these?

Simply Tuesday by Emily P. Freeman – Review

Publisher: Fleming H. Revell Company 

Publication Date: August 18, 20015

Genre: Non- Fiction, Christian

Adventure Rating: 5 Stars

| Amazon


“Our obsession with bigger and faster is spinning us out of control. We move through the week breathless and bustling, just trying to keep up while longing to slow down. But real life happens in the small moments, the kind we find on Tuesday, the most ordinary day of the week. Tuesday carries moments we want to hold onto–as well as ones we’d rather leave behind. It hold secrets we can’t see in a hurry–secrets not just for our schedules but for our souls. It offers us a simple bench on which to sit, observe, and share our stories.
For those being pulled under by the strong current of expectation, comparison, and hurry, relief is found more in our small moments than in our fast movements. In “Simply Tuesday,” Emily P. Freeman helps readers 
– stop dreading small beginnings and embrace today’s work
– find contentment in the now–even when the now is frustrating or discouraging
– replace competition with compassion
– learn to breathe in a breathless world 
Jesus lived small moments well, slow moments fully, and all moments free. He lives with us still, on all our ordinary days, creating and redeeming the world both in us and through us, one small moment at a time. It’s time to take back Tuesday, to release our obsession with building a life, and believe in the life Christ is building in us–every day.”

What’s Christian Non-Fiction doing here? Well, I decided to really review every book I read. Non-Fiction takes me the longest to read, over 3-4 months, so I don’t read very many books like this. I am always glad I do though! Especially because I went through a traumatic experience while I was reading this book and it absolutely helped me with the anxiety that I have because of my experience. I used so, SO many page markers for this book. I want to make sure I remember the things that really stuck with me while reading.

This book helped me to just live today. Not tomorrow, not yesterday. Today. This hour. This minute. This second. This breath. I truly cling to that. I love that in today’s culture, which is fast moving and you always have to do more, more, MORE, someone wrote a book that just says, stop and breath. God has you where you are for a reason. Stop and listen, there you will find contentment. You CAN be happy where you are. You can find joy in every life circumstance. I have/ am learning to love this small moment. This in- between waiting time.

I loved her ideas of just finding a bench somewhere and sitting and talking with God, or your neighbors, or just breathing. I love that she says that it’s more than okay to dream and ask God for those dreams, but to just know He has something better for you than you could ever imagine. I’m not just talking about Heaven, I’m talking about right now in this lifetime. I have tried to apply some of the ways Freeman walks out her life. From her journaling suggestions to how she sees a situation. I really loved this book y’all! I plan on reading all of her books now!

Yeah, yeah, I know, what a mushy gushy post. Don’t worry, I will be back to posting regular nerdy reviews on my next one. This book was just really important to me not to share!

A Dangerous Collaboration (Veronica Speedwell, #4) by Deanna Raybourn – Spoiler Free Review

Publisher: Berkley

Publication Date: March 12, 2019

Genre: Historical Mystery

Adventure Rating: 4.5 Stars

| Amazon

“Victorian adventuress Veronica Speedwell is whisked off to a remote island off the tip of Cornwall when her natural historian colleague Stoker’s brother calls in a favor. On the pretext of wanting a companion to accompany him to Lord Malcolm Romilly’s house party, Tiberius persuades Veronica to pose as his fiancée–much to Stoker’s chagrin. But upon arriving, it becomes clear that the party is not as innocent as it had seemed. Every invited guest has a connection to Romilly’s wife, Rosamund, who disappeared on her wedding day three years ago, and a dramatic dinner proves she is very much on her husband’s mind.

As spectral figures, ghostly music, and mysterious threats begin to plague the partygoers, Veronica enlists Stoker’s help to discover the host’s true motivations. And as they investigate, it becomes clear that there are numerous mysteries surrounding the Romilly estate, and every person present has a motive to kill Rosamund…”

First of all, thank you so much to Berkley for giving me a finished copy of this book!

This is the series that made me fall in love with Historical Mysteries so I pretty much will never rate it below a 4 star. Fair warning. Even though this is the fourth book, you can actually read them out of order! There are a few minor mentions of the previous books but nothing too spoiler-y!

Let’s dig in! It started out a bit slow with Veronica in a bit of a funk. She takes off for 6 months to get her head clear of Stoker. Did it work? Haha, nope! Their relationship is really rocky in the beginning of this book and it made me miss their usual repertoire. However, the added drama of Stoker’s brother, Tiberius, was a delight to read. Plus it fueled many things that, um, needed fuel. If ya know what I mean.

I really enjoyed Veronica’s character growth in this one. She grew bit by bit in the previous novels, but in A Dangerous Collaboration, she grew A LOT! So did Stoker though. They have a lot of pride. AND I loved that you got to know Tiberius quite a bit. I hope to see him in the future books more too! His and Stoker’s relationship unfolds and it is interesting to see they are indeed two peas in a pod, as Veronica points out.

Now, on to the dangers! I really enjoyed the murder mystery! Although it was the saddest in my opinion. I loved the fact that they traveled to a castle on a small island off the coast of England! It was almost magical! The side characters held their own as well, each with their own stories. It made the mystery even more intense because they all had a motive!

And the ending was everything I wanted it to be! That’s all I’ll say about that! Excelsior!

*Just adding here that these covers are my absolute favorite of any books ever.*

King of Scars (Nikolai Duology, #1) by Leigh Bardugo – Spoiler Free Review

Author: Leigh Bardugo

Publisher: Imprint

Publication Date: January 29, 2019

Genre: Fantasy, YA, Magic

Adventure Rating: 3.5 Stars

| Amazon


“Nikolai Lantsov has always had a gift for the impossible. No one knows what he endured in his country’s bloody civil war—and he intends to keep it that way. Now, as enemies gather at his weakened borders, the young king must find a way to refill Ravka’s coffers, forge new alliances, and stop a rising threat to the once-great Grisha Army.

Yet with every day a dark magic within him grows stronger, threatening to destroy all he has built. With the help of a young monk and a legendary Grisha Squaller, Nikolai will journey to the places in Ravka where the deepest magic survives to vanquish the terrible legacy inside him. He will risk everything to save his country and himself. But some secrets aren’t meant to stay buried—and some wounds aren’t meant to heal.”

3.5 Stars. I know. Unpopular opinion alert. This was one of my, if not THE most anticipated release of 2019, and I felt let down. It didn’t get my heart racing, or make me feel like if I don’t know what happens I might die. It was just pretty good. So I guess I’ll start with my dislikes. It was boring. It only picked up about HALF WAY through the book. Yikes. Nina was my favorite character from the Six of Crows Duology, so I was very disappointed in her story line. Her’s never picked up. I was boring all the way through. In fact, I gave up hope that it would ever pick up, so after a while, whenever her chapters came up I just wanted to skip them. I honestly think the book would have been better if these chapters weren’t in it. That was my main complaint, but I have a small irritant as well. About 2/3 through the book, there is another random POV. And while, I like that character, I couldn’t help but feel his POV was pointless as well.

Man, that first paragraph was harsh, so let’s talk about the good stuff, because there was A LOT of good stuff! Zoya. I LOVE her. She was refreshing. She used anger and her beauty as a shield to protect herself from the world around her. She has a rough childhood. Her character growth was probably the greatest out of all of them. Nikolai. Loved him. Always will. His was the most interesting story line. Which is good, since the book IS about him… He goes through battles internally and physically. His relationship with Zoya is SO interesting to watch unfold. Their witty, sarcastic, back and forth banter was actually pretty funny at times. All of my stars go to their story. My favorite part of the whole book (don’t worry, no spoilers) is when they leave and go on a bit of an adventure and train.

I really liked the inventions mentioned in this book. I hope there will be more talk of those. It could become a pretty cool magic/ steampunk world.

As usual, the writing style is A+! Descriptive without losing you in the story.

The ending though… WOW! SO GOOD!

So I’m going to try out a new thing in my YA reviews. I am going to add a content section. I have had a few people throughout my years of reviewing book DM me (Instagram) about if a book would be appropriate for such and such age. BUT I want to put a disclaimer, I LIKE YA BOOKS. I read them no matter what the content is, BUT I am a 27 year old adult. I am asking people right now to not get in a hubbub if I put something in the content that they think doesn’t matter. This is just so the parents can decide themselves. So, I will be putting a content warning AND other content. The things in my content warning may also be things that are necessary for certain situations. So I am not saying that they are necessarily bad. That’s why I am saying I am leaving it up to the parents to decide. I am probably over explaining myself but better that than have misunderstandings. So let’s give this a try.

CONTENT WARNING FOR KING OF SCARS: Swearing, sexual innuendos, violence, blood, depression, death, a couple scenes where dead people come out of the ground, drinking, talk of worshiping saints and gods.

OTHER CONTENT: Strong female POV, strong male POV, healthy relationships, friendship, camaraderie, overcoming your fears, using your mind to think through situations, protecting others.

** Beautiful sign is from Bookish Signs and More shop! Rep Code to save on two or more items: Lauren20

Hating to Love You (Houston’s Finest, #1) by Erin Rylie – Spoiler Free Review

Author: Erin Rylie

Publisher: Independently Published

Publication Date: January 4, 2019

Genre: Romance, Contemporary

Adventure Rating: 5 Stars

| Amazon

” Rafe Pierce just wants to keep his head down and earn his next promotion. Becoming Houston’s “Hot Cop” is his worst nightmare, and things only get worse when the sexiest reporter he’s ever met starts digging through his past. Sophie Klein has the power to expose a childhood he’d rather keep hidden, so why can’t he stay away from her? 

He’s everything Sophie Klein hates: brash, arrogant, and hot as hell. When a chance encounter with a bachelorette party makes Rafe a social-media sensation, Sophie is the lucky reporter chosen to tell his story. She can’t deny the chemistry between them, but is determined to keep her distance. Unfortunately for her, a drunken hookup in a bar supply closet ensures she will be spending at least the next nine months with him…”

Fan-freaking-tastic. I know, I never review romance books because it’s not a genre a usually reach for. But in the last 6-ish months or so I needed a break from Fantasy. *gasp*. I know. So when recently, my friend Erin released her first book, I picked it up! It did not dissapoint! I was in a reading slump and this was the perfect gooey, funny, read I needed.

Erin’s writing is really, really good. And I am not just saying that because I know her. She is actually really talented. It doesn’t even seem like this is her first book! Everything flowed really nicely, I was never left hanging.

Let’s talk characters. I really liked Sophie. I thought her friendships were solid. She was believable in her relationship issues. Meaning, it didn’t seem like it was written to make her seem relatable. It was believable. I LOVED her sense of fashion, her love of pie, her shoe closet, and she just seemed like a fun person! I also loved Rafe! He was so sweet and caring, and when he made mistakes, he owned up to them. BUT so did Sophie! They BOTH owned up to their mistakes! I loved their sacrifice, and I loved their ending. Which, speaking of the ending, excuse me, right in the feels.

Bring on Carlos and Kelsey’s story!!!!

Shadow of the Fox (Shadow of the Fox, #1) Spoiler Free Review

Author: Julie Kagawa

Publisher: Inkyard Press (Harlequin Teen)

Publication Date: October 2, 2018

Genre: YA, Asian, Fantasy

My Rating: 4 Stars

| AMAZON


“One thousand years ago, the great Kami Dragon was summoned to grant a single terrible wish—and the land of Iwagoto was plunged into an age of darkness and chaos.

Now, for whoever holds the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers, a new wish will be granted. A new age is about to dawn.

Raised by monks in the isolated Silent Winds temple, Yumeko has trained all her life to hide her yokai nature. Half kitsune, half human, her skill with illusion is matched only by her penchant for mischief. Until the day her home is burned to the ground, her adoptive family is brutally slain and she is forced to flee for her life with the temple’s greatest treasure—one part of the ancient scroll.

There are many who would claim the dragon’s wish for their own. Kage Tatsumi, a mysterious samurai of the Shadow Clan, is one such hunter, under orders to retrieve the scroll…at any cost. Fate brings Kage and Yumeko together. With a promise to lead him to the scroll, an uneasy alliance is formed, offering Yumeko her best hope for survival. But he seeks what she has hidden away, and her deception could ultimately tear them both apart.

With an army of demons at her heels and the unlikeliest of allies at her side, Yumeko’s secrets are more than a matter of life or death. They are the key to the fate of the world itself.”

I almost rated this 5 stars but the beginning didn’t suck me in like I wanted it to. However, this ended up being freaking awesome. It was surprisingly funny, cute, and bloody. It had adventure, fighting yokai, demons, rescues, and literally everything I want in a book. Romance is a slow burn which is my favorite!

Okame was probably my favorite character. He added some hilarious sarcastic remarks. I want him to live and be happy and maybe end up with Reika? I mean, I know I’m reaching here but they would balance each other so perfectly!

Yumeko is probably my favorite heroine I’ve read about in a long time! She was wonderfully naive in the fact that she didn’t know she was pretty. And not in the annoying, “well I’m ugly, blah blah blah, but really I’m so pretty” way. She just didn’t think about her looks. I loved that. She didn’t understand sarcasm which resulted in some funny moments. And I really liked that she played pranks. She seems like someone I would want to be friends with!

Tatsumi, and I’ve never used this term before, is a cinnamon roll. Yep I said it. I love this character so much. He is brooding but not in a refreshing way. Let me explain, instead of being like, “poor me poor me” he was just like, this is how I was raised, I don’t know any different.

I loved the adventures they all have. There are multiple fights and escapes and I was excited about all of them. I also enjoyed that Yumeko kept picking up “strays” (a little pun there) to add to their party. And Tatsumi was always annoyed when she did this.

I loved this book so much. You should go read it.

The Broken Eye (Lightbringer, #3) Spoiler Free Review

Author: Brent Weeks

Publisher: Orbit

Publication Date: August 26, 2014

Genre: Fantasy

My Rating: 4 Stars

| Amazon

“As the old gods awaken, the Chromeria is in a race to find its lost Prism, the only man who may be able to stop catastrophe, Gavin Guile. But Gavin’s enslaved on a galley, and when he finally escapes, he finds himself in less than friendly hands. Without the ability to draft which has defined him . . .

Meanwhile, the Color Prince’s army continues its inexorable advance, having swallowed two of the seven satrapies, they now invade the Blood Forest. Andross Guile, thinking his son Gavin lost, tasks his two grandsons with stopping the advance. Kip and his psychopathic half-brother Zymun will compete for the ultimate prize: who will become the next Prism.”

Alright y’all. This one is going to be short because we start verging on the territory of spoilers. A lot of plot twists. A lot of changes. And I freaking loved every moment. Brent Weeks is the king of plot twists. Just information bombs that make your jaw drop. I know I say this every book but this one was my favorite. They just keep getting better and better!

Oh wait, Weeks is also the king of character progression. He does an amazing job of slowly, through character experience, molding the character and having them grow up. Like Kip and Teia. Let me tell you, they go through some serious stuff! Kip is becoming such a strong character. Teia too! Gavin… hmm. He needs to learn a thing or two. Ha!

I think the character I relate to the most is Karris. She sees in black and white. Something is either good or bad or someone who did bad things can become good. I’m like that. However, my favorite character, and get ready for this, is Andross! Yep. I said it. He is one of the most fascinating characters I have ever read about.

I hate Zymun and Sharp. They need to die. Sorry, not sorry. I hope Teia gets to kill Sharp and I hope Kip gets to kill Zymun. Liv’s chapters are boring. But I’m thinking Weeks is setting her up for something major.

Learning more about the magic and the world is sooo cool! Some of the interactions, Kip especially has, is some of the coolest stuff I’ve ever read!

That is about all I can say without any spoilers! This series has it all. Character progression, action, magic, intrigue, mystery, and a bit of romance. I’m completely obsessed.