Ranger’s Apprentice: A New Beginning by John Flanagan – Blogger Reread Campaign – Spoiler Free Review

I am so excited to be a part of the blogger reread campaign by Penguin Random House! Thank you for the free books in exchange for a review!

This week is book one of The Royal Ranger’s series by John Flanagan!

Publisher: Puffin Books

Publication Date: November 5, 2013

Genre: Middle Grade, Adventure, Fantasy

| Amazon


“Will Treaty has come a long way from the small boy with dreams of knighthood. Life had other plans for him, and as an apprentice Ranger under Halt, he grew into a legend—the finest Ranger the kingdom has ever known. Yet Will is facing a tragic battle that has left him grim and alone. To add to his problems, the time has come to take on an apprentice of his own, and it’s the last person he ever would have expected: Princess Madelyn, the daughter of Princess Cassandra. Will has to win the trust and respect of his difficult new companion—a task that at times seems almost impossible.

John Flanagan returns to conclude the series that has conquered millions of readers worldwide with this pulse-pounding adventure that brings one era to a close,  ushers in the next, starting the series anew starring Maddie, the Royal Ranger.

For fans of Tolkien, Redwall, Game of Thrones, and T.H. White, Ranger’s Apprentice delivers fantasy-adventure thrills with real-world historical details

A New Beginning is a very fun middle grade read that I highly recommend for new fans or old! I would have absolutely loved to have read this when I was younger! My middle school heart would have soared to have this story. That being said, adult me had a great time too! The writing is quite good, you can easily follow along. The plot about the Rangers letting a girl join for the first time ever was really well done. It seemed like an easy transition. I had a good time reading about the training that goes into being a Ranger and the cool moves they have skills for! One of my favorite tropes is when a princess becomes a warrior. And Maddie does not disappoint. I love the fact that the author wrote about a regular moody teenager, and giving them something to fight for. To make them feel/ do something important. Maddie’s character development was spot on. As was Will’s, even though he is a seasoned Ranger. There are still things left to learn for him as well. Their easy going banter makes this readers heart happy. They have such a sweet Uncle/ Niece relationship!

I can’t wait to see what adventures and mischief Maddie gets up to next! This was a grand adventure!

John Flanagan grew up in Sydney, Australia, hoping to be a writer. John began writing Ranger’s Apprentice for his son, Michael, ten years ago, and is still hard at work on the series and its spinoff, Brotherband Chronicles. He currently lives in the suburb of Manly, Australia, with his wife. In addition to their son, they have two grown daughters and four grandsons.

Echo North by Joanna Ruth Meyer – Spoiler Free Review

Publisher: Page Street Publishing Co.

Publication Date: January 15, 2019

Genre: Fantasy, Retellings, YA, Romance

Adventure Rating: 5 Stars

| Amazon

” Echo Alkaev’s safe and carefully structured world falls apart when her father leaves for the city and mysteriously disappears. Believing he is lost forever, Echo is shocked to find him half-frozen in the winter forest six months later, guarded by a strange talking wolf—the same creature who attacked her as a child. The wolf presents Echo with an ultimatum: If she lives with him for one year, he will ensure her father makes it home safely. But there is more to the wolf than Echo realizes.

In his enchanted house beneath a mountain, each room must be sewn together to keep the home from unraveling, and something new and dark and strange lies behind every door. When centuries-old secrets unfold, Echo discovers a magical library full of books-turned-mirrors, and a young man named Hal who is trapped inside of them. As the year ticks by, the rooms begin to disappear, and Echo must solve the mystery of the wolf’s enchantment before her time is up, otherwise Echo, the wolf, and Hal will be lost forever.”

As you can see, I rated it 5 stars, so I obviously loved it. I literally have nothing bad to say.

Writing. Absolutely beautiful. Meyer paints a richly colorful story that I very desperately want to be in. I never once got lost or confused, and let me tell you there were some things in this book you really had to imagine. She writes like how you dream. The rooms in the house were so fantastical that I loved how different it was from anything I’ve read! One of the rooms had glass bobbles that had different things in them, like lightening, but when you touched them they cut you like knives. Not to mention the wonderful library! Who wouldn’t want to hop inside of a book?!

Plot. I LOVED how she did a retelling of the original East of the Sun and West of the Moon. That’s the story that beauty and the beast was based off of so naturally it’s one of my favorites. Also, I saw a movie as a kid that was based off of this and I loved it! So this read was actually kind of nostalgic for me! (Side note: I need to find that movie. :P) I really enjoyed the super sweet romance. It was perhaps a bit slow burn? Or maybe somewhere in between slow burn and insta love. The message of the book was love, but with a strong dose of forgiveness. I love when authors write about forgiveness. Not a lot of people forgive these days. It made the characters relationship quite relatable actually.

Characters. Another element that was done really well. Echo was strong and brave, but also sweet and nice. She had a nice balance. She has severe scarring on her face and even though she fights low self-esteem because of it, she knows it’s not a measure of what she’s worth. The Wolf was so sweet as well! He always tried to protect her. Hal was very interesting. He was always so mysterious and his story is extremely compelling, and how it ties in with the other characters. Mokosh… sigh. I feel so bad for her! That’s all I will say!

Final Thoughts. Um, read this. Everyone. Well, if you like fairytales and retellings. It’s such a beautiful book!

*Normal disclaimer that content warning isn’t necessarily my personal thoughts. It’s for parents. *

CONTENT WARNING: Kissing, violence, the characters share a bed but it’s more for safety reasons.

OTHER CONTENT: Learning how to be in a relationship, making friendships, forgiveness, love is the most powerful thing in the world.

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

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.

The Boneless Mercies by April Genevieve Tucholke – Spoiler Free Review

Author: April Genevieve Tucholke

Publisher:
Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Publication Date: October 02, 2018

Genre: Fantasy, YA, Retellings

My Rating: 3 Stars

| AMAZON


“A dark standalone YA fantasy about a band of mercenary girls in search of female glory.

Frey, Ovie, Juniper, and Runa are the Boneless Mercies—girls hired to kill quickly, quietly, and mercifully. But Frey is weary of the death trade and, having been raised on the heroic sagas of her people, dreams of a bigger life. 

When she hears of an unstoppable monster ravaging a nearby town, Frey decides this is the Mercies’ one chance out. The fame and fortune of bringing down such a beast would ensure a new future for all the Mercies. In fact, her actions may change the story arc of women everywhere.”

So, the hook that got me the most was the fact that it is a retelling of Beowulf. Let me tell you, even being a reader my whole life, I did NOT like reading the original (translated) version. Hated it. But I liked the movie. And the fact that this book was a female retelling. But it didn’t wow me. It didn’t follow Beowulf that closely either. In fact, if no one had said it was a retelling, I would never know. So, I just liked it. That’s it.

I can’t even do likes and dislikes because I feel like each thing I liked, there was something I disliked. Here’s what I mean, I loved that there were fantastic representations of female friendship. They were close but not in love with each other. However, it was kind of weird how much they would touch each other. I know they had to sleep tightly together for warmth, but aside from that they would just randomly start running their hands through each others hair or lay down in their laps. Even if my best friend did that to me, I’d be extremely uncomfortable (unless she was crying and I was comforting her maybe). Another thing I liked was Frey and Trigve but again, the no romance but very touchy thing was weird. Maybe it’s my age (27) but I just don’t do that with guy or girl friends.

The thing I liked most was the battle scenes! They were pretty awesome! Four women and a guy ripping into things and fighting monsters was so fun to read! I also really enjoyed the parts about the Sea Witches. I wanted more from their parts!

FINAL THOUGHTS

I liked it. Enough to read a second book if one comes out! It was a really chill read. One of those books you just read casually. They are always good for fillers in between the tear-out-your-soul reads.

Let’s chat! Have you read this? What did you think?

December 2018 Wrap-up and January 2019 TBR

I read some awesome books in December! I also got to check off something on my bucket list! And January is going to be an EPIC month for reading!

I finished my last ARC at the beginning of December and then essentially threw out my TBR. I pretty much only read YA last year and while I love YA I needed a break and read some adult stuff. I read adult romance. I have always been afraid to read romance because I hate smut. It’s not my thing. But a friend of mine on bookstagram recommended and bought me (love you Mika!) two of her favorite historical romance books! And they hit the spot perfectly! I also read a second in an adult fantasy series that I am obsessed with! *I also read the Boneless Mercies but I haven’t put up a review for it yet. Because of the holidays!

4 Stars. Adorable. I want to read the rest of the series!
Goodreads
Amazon
3 Stars. Cute. Interested in the rest of the series!
Goodreads
Amazon
4 Stars. LOVED it. Like, why aren’t more people talking about this sereis?!
My Review
Goodreads
Amazon
3 Stars. I love supporting Indie Authors!
My Review
Goodreads
Amazon

Books I bought:

Yep. That’s it. One book bought in December. That’s sad. 😛

Merch/ Rep Packages:

These gorgeous ribbon bookmarks are from Every Which Way shop. The Hogwarts house ones are only on Zibbet. My code only works on Etsy. My code is Storied10 to save! Zibbet | Etsy

*Note: I do not own King of Scars. This is photoshopped.*

These bookish signs are some of my favorite decorations for my bookshelves! And you can customize your own! Bookish Signs and More

I have been working as a rep for The Bookish Box for almost 8 months now! I LOVE them! My code: Storiedadventures10 works for new customers! It will also work on The Bookish Shop for boxes!

This beautiful box is from Dust and Pages! Ruthie’s designs are some of my absolute favorite!! She’s the bomb diggity!

Personal:

My whole family went on vacation over Christmas! We went to Breckenridge, Colorado to ski and snowboard! My son saw snow for the first time which made it that much more magical. There really is nothing like a child’s wonder! Breckenridge is the most picturesque Christmas town ever!! And I got to check Snowboarding in the Rocky Mountains, off of my bucket list! Woohoo!

I am going for 5 books this month because I am almost done with my audio book of The Broken Eye!

I actually finished this book as of writing this post!
I have about 13 of 29 hours left!
I will finally take the plunge into this dark despair that I’m sure will rip my heart open.
Wait, isn’t everyone reading this this month? 😛
It was my turn to pick a book for my book club and I chose this one!

Like I said before, this is going to be an EPIC reading month. I might hurt after this…

Let’s talk! What are y’all reading?!

2019 Books I Can’t Wait For

These are all of the book I can’t wait for in 2019! At least, all of the ones I know of! This list is subject to change at anytime. 😛 Also, some of my most anticipated releases I have already read, but I am going to put them on here anyway!

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

| Amazon

I have already had the immense pleasure of reading this one but I want a physical copy in my library now!

2. King of Scars (Nikolai Duology, #1) by Leigh Bardugo

Amazon

Pretty sure this is on everyone’s TBR.

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

| Amazon

I have also had the pleasure of reading this one and I gave it 5 stars. I need the physical copy like, yesterday.

4. The Remarkable Inventions of Walter Mortinson by Quinn Sosna-Spear

| Amazon

5. Bloodwitch (The Witchlands, #3) by Susan Dennard

| Amazon

6. Finale (Caraval, #3) by Stephanie Garber

| Amazon

7. The Gilded Wolves (The Gilded Wolves, #1) by Roshani Chokshi

| Amazon

So I am actually currently reading this one! And it’s fantastic!

8. Darkdawn (The Nevernight Chronicle, #3) by Jay Kristoff

| Amazon

9. Rage (Stormheart, #2) by Cora Carmack

| Amazon

10. A Dangerous Collaboration (Veronica Speedwell, #4) by Deanna Raybourn

| Amazon

11. The Burning White (Lightbringer, #5) by Brent Weeks

| Amazon

These next few are some honorable mentions that I am not sure of the date and they don’t have a cover, or a synopsis.

Reigntime series book #3 by S. K. Levy

The Fire Keeper (The Storm Runner, #2) by J. C. Cervantes

Ignite the Stars book #2 by Maura Milan

What are some books you are looking forward to this year?