Posted in blog, Books

August Book Wrap-Up

Starfish by Akemi Dawn

Rating: 4/5

I got lucky with most of the books I read this month and I was happy that I picked this one to start out August with. We follow Kiko, an artist who is hoping to escape her emotionally and mentally abusive mother by going away to an art college. Kiko has a hard time with her anxiety and self-confidence because her mom is constantly telling Kiko she isn’t as beautiful as her because of her Japanese heritage on Kiko’s dad side, while her mom is white. At a high school party, Kiko runs into her childhood best friend, they reconnect, and after some trauma from Kiko’s past comes back to haunt her, she goes with her friend to his home in California. I absolutely loved how the author depicted anxiety, trauma, and struggling with one’s identity. I completely related to Kiko about her anxiety and struggling with identity.

Credence by Penelope Douglas

Rating: 4/5

This is probably the most “scandalous” Penelope Douglas book I have read so far. The main character, Tiernan, lost both of her parents suddenly and ended up going to live with her father’s stepbrother Jake and 2 step cousins, Noah and Kaleb, in the middle of nowhere, Colorado. I just want to say this now, but this book is probably not for everyone. There was taboo content and some abuse. But even though there were some tougher subjects in this book, I still enjoyed it and I liked how Douglas handle these topics and troubled main character. 

Devolution by Max Brooks

Rating: 3/5

I feel like this book got a lot of hype, so I had decent expectations for Devolution. The subject matter that great and interesting but I felt like there was so much exposition. I thought most of the characters were cheesy and I just didn’t believe the relationships at all. I just didn’t care much about this book at all honestly.

Corrupt by Penelope Douglas

Rating: 4/5

So, I am a part of a Penelope Douglas fan page on Facebook since I started reading her books a few months ago. Everyone on that page is absolutely in love with the Devil’s Night series, Corrupt being the first book in that series. This book is a multiple timeline book following Erika or Rika, who is in love with Michael Crist, her boyfriend’s older brother who seems to have no interest in her at all. We also follow Michael’s point of view. Michael and his closest friends are stars of their high school basketball team and they are infamous in their town for causing trouble. They want revenge against Rika for past events that landed Michael’s friends in prison. This is a dark romance. It could be read as a standalone book since there is no cliffhanger but there are 3 other books that follow Michael and his friends, known as the four horsemen.  

Incendiary by Zoraida Cordova

Rating: 4/5

Another brilliant book by Zoraida Cordova! Absolutely loved it! Renata is the main character who was kidnapped as a child by royal officials who want to use her powers of stealing memories to benefit the king. As an adult she is now part of the resistance group trying to protect those in the kingdom with powers. In order to save someone, she cares about, she must play double agent. The magic system is unique, and the world building is beautiful. Highly recommend 

The Glass Hotel by Emily St John Mandel

Rating: 3/5

This was probably my biggest disappointment of the month. I had read from several people that Mandel’s storytelling and this book specifically would be perfect for me, but it just fell short. There are some ghosts, white-collar crimes, and a bunch of characters that make decisions that just don’t make sense to me at all. I still want to try another book by Mandel because I have heard good things about her books. This one just wasn’t for me. 

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas

Rating: 5/5

Sarah J Maas has done it again! I am very impressed and satisfied with every book I have read by her so far. This book is a Beauty and the Beast retelling, and I am just a sucker for these kinds of books everyone! If you love faes, romance, magic, danger, and strong passionate characters, check this book out!

Obsidio by Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff

Rating: 3/5

Third book in the Illuminae Files and guys sadly, I ended still not liking this series. I had such high hopes for this series because it seems like everyone loves it but it just wasn’t for me. All the main characters from the first two books are back and trying to survive. It was just okay. 

Today Tonight Tomorrow by Rachel Lynn Solomon

Rating: 3/5

I was a part of a book club in the month of August where they ended up picking this book to read. Even though I enjoy YA books, in general, YA romance is sometimes too predictable and that was the main problem with this book. It was cute and sweet like most YA romance books are, but I guessed exactly what was going to happen from the cover and the first page. It was a quick and easy read. If you like YA romance and are okay with predictable story lines, you would enjoy this book. It was just okay for me.  

Rebel Mages (Wand Fasted/Light Mage) by Laurie Forest

Rating: 4/5

This book contains two novellas from the Black Witch Chronicle series, Light Mage and Wandfasted. If you are going to read this series, I would recommend reading this book after the third book, The Shadow Wand. Rebel Mages will not spoil anything if you did read it before the main books, but it just adds more to this incredible world and explains a bit more the history that led to the events in the trilogy.

Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

Rating: 3/5

I feel like everyone probably knows the story of Dr Jekyll and My Hyde so I am not going to go into a description of it but I will just say, I enjoyed it. Not my favorite classic but definitely not the worst I’ve read. 

Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All by Laird Barron

Rating: 4/5

This collection of short stories was filed with supernatural and cosmic horror and each story was unique. There were several stories that were disturbing but in a good way?! I am usually not a fan of short stories, but these were definitely a great read.

Bookish and the Beast by Ashley Poston

Rating: 5/5

This is the third book in the Once Upon A Con series and man, I really like this whole series. Filled with nerds and book talk, great friendships, supportive parents, and a super cute romance; this book just had everything I wanted.

Serpent and Dove by Shelby Mahurin

Rating: 5/5

Now that I have read this book, I can safely say that I am mad at myself for how long it took me to finally read it! It was so great! Probably one of the best hate to love stories I had read in a while. We follow Lou, a witch, and Reid, a witch hunter, who end up married and of course, Reid has no idea Lou is a witch. There is an ongoing war between the Church and the witches, Lou being in the center of it. I can’t wait to read the sequel that just came out on the 1st of September. 

My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix

Rating: 4/5

Another great book by Hendrix. After reading The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Killing Vampires by him, I was excited to continue reading his books. Abby and Gretchen became best friends when they were in fifth grade but now that they are in high school Gretchen has become very strange. This leads Abby to believe her best friend is possessed. It was a fun supernatural horror story. 

Romanov by Nadine Brandes

Rating: 4/5

I really liked this book that follows a fantastical story loosely based on Anastasia Romanov and the entire Romanov family. Anastasia “Nastya” is learning to dabble with magic in order to help her younger brother and hopefully protect her family. A young handsome soldier and Nastya slowly become friends but can she fully trust anyone outside of her family. I have always been interested in Romanov history and legends. Romanov was a new and fun approach to this story. 

The Shadows by Alex North 

Rating: 5/5

I loved this book! It was a perfect horror thriller that definitely got me into the fall mood. We follow Paul who is coming back to his childhood town because his mother is dying. Paul hadn’t been back to that town in 25 years because it holds too many bad memories. The book follows two timelines, the present and the Paul’s past leading up to a gruesome murder by a couple of his friends. Strange events are starting up again, more murders, and an urban legend that haunted Paul and those close to him. Highly recommend 

The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson

Rating: 5/5

When everyone kept telling me how Stormlight Archive is Sanderson’s true epic high fantasy series, even more than Mistborn, I wasn’t sure I believe them just because I didn’t think it would have a different writing style than what I am used to from Sanderson. Boy was I wrong. This is definitely a different style and formula than any other Brandon Sanderson book I have read before. It reminded me a lot of Jordan’s writing style in The Wheel of Time. I can’t wait to find out more about this world, these characters, and especially the magic system. Kaladin was incredible, almost reaching Vin from Mistborn level. 

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Rating: 5/5

This was probably one of the best books I read in the month of August. I haven’t read a Gothic horror this great in a long time. A “haunted” house in the middle of the woods in Mexico, creepy hallucinations, strong and determined main character; I just loved it all. 

Ninth House by Leigh Barbugo

Rating: 4/5

Ninth House was the first book by Leigh Barbugo that I have ever read, and I was not disappointed. I will say it wasn’t my favorite book of the month, but it was still good. I enjoyed Barbugo’s writing style a lot. In this book, we follow Alex who is a student at Yale and is a member of a secret society that is in charge on mentoring the activity of the other secret societies at Yale. There is magic, demons, and murder mysteries. The main character has a lot of pain and issues to deal with and I really liked how Barbugo wrote this character. I am excited to continue reading more from Barbugo and continue this series when more books come out.

Posted in blog, Books, fandom, Fantasy, geek, nerd

July Book Wrap Up!

What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Arthur is in New York for the summer because of his mom’s job and he is a hopeless romantic. Ben lives in New York and he thinks the universe hates him. These two meet at the post office but they don’t exchange numbers so Arthur and Ben start hunting for each other because they felt like the universe had brought them together. Once together again, their relationship develops. This was a very cute book that makes you root for these two guys so much. It was a great way to finish my month. 

The Ship of the Dead by Rick Riordan

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

The finale to the Magnus Chase series and wow, Rick Riordan never disappoints me! All of our favorite characters from the series are back and we even got to see Percy Jackson within this series for a bit as well! Loki is trying to destroy the world yet again and our incredible characters are on a mission to stop him. My favorite part of this series and this book specifically is how Riordan introduced a gender fluid character and the developing love interest that happens with this character! Highly recommend pretty much anything by Riordan.

The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I went back to the Mistborn/Cosmere world by Sanderson and like always, it was an incredible journey. I had read The Alloy of Law almost two years ago (I think?) and for whatever reason, I didn’t finish Mistborn era 2 at that time but I think it is time to finish it! I love how this book shows us the world 300 years after the events of Mistborn era 1. We follow new amazing characters that are filled with humor, depth, and intensity. Some people say Sanderson does not write female characters very well but I completely disagree. This book had another main female character that I just loved especially because like me, she is obsessed with criminology. 

Calamity by Brandon Sanderson

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Next up was the final book in the Reckoners series again by Sanderson and man do I just love this man’s works. The third book opens up as the Reckoners are trying to survive as Limelight is hunting them down. They all have to decide if they can survive their friend or if they will have to kill them. The romance was just enough to keep me happy but luckily it didn’t take over the entire story. I like that Sanderson is not afraid to cripple or kill his characters. The story came full circle by the end and was completely satisfying to me. 

Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

I am someone that is studying to become a forensic psychologist so true crime, serial killers, and cult leaders are subjects that have always interested me. Charles Mason is one of those individuals whose story I know but I just can’t fully understand his control over his “family.” I liked this book because it dove deep into the events leading up to the Mason murders and explained more of the mindset that several of the family members had before, during, and after the murders. 

Once More Upon a Time by Roshani Chokshi

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

This was your typical fantasy romance story. A prince and a princess are in love, something separates them, a quest begins, and then they are together again. It was cute and a fun read but it was completely predictable. 

House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J Maas

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This was the first Maas book I have ever read and wow, it will not be the last! My best friend Lauren bought me a copy and has been bugging me to start this book for so long and I will say, I was nervous! Maas is one of her favorite authors so I felt like I needed to love it or else she would have been disappointed! Luckily for her and me, I LOVED this book. Wow, I was surprised by how much I fell in love with this world and these characters. The main MC Bryce was constantly dealing with survivor’s guilt, PTSD, mistrust and anxiety and I absolutely love when an author isn’t scared to torment their MC. Her growth and strength throughout the entire book was so satisfying to read. The hate to love romance in this book was PERFECTION! The twist at the end was so clever and actually SURPRISING! If all of Maas’s books are like this, I will be a happy reader. 

Punk 57 by Penelope Douglas

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

After last month when I read Birthday Girl by Douglas, I knew I wanted to read more of her books. In Punk 57, we follow Micah and Ryan, both 18 years old, who have never met but have been pen pals since they were kids. Micah is a singer in a metal band and Ryan is a cheerleader at a different school. A death happens in Micah’s family which leads him to pretend to be someone else and enroll in Ryan’s school, in order to achieve a few goals before leaving town. This is 100% a hate to love romance and the sexual tension is amazing. Another gratifying book by Douglas. 

White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

With everything going on in the United States, this is a book that was recommended to me and that now I am recommending to all of you. I am not going to review this book. Just read it. Books like this are important to be able to understand even a little bit about what is happening in our world and what has been happening this entire time! 

Elantris by Brandon Sanderson

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Another Sanderson book, another astounding read. This story is part of Sanderson’s cosmere world and I knew a lot of people who loved this book so I was excited to finally get to it. We follow three different main characters, a prince who is cast out, and princess from a foreign land, and a religious official trying to convert everyone in this city. This is one of the most political books by Sanderson that I have ever read and I loved that. There was a magic system but it was not the main focus. Again just like in Alloy of Law, the princess in this story was writing extraordinarily well, in my opinion, full of humor, strength, charisma, and intelligence. Yet again Sanderson wrote a phenomenal book and to know that this was his first book is just insane to me. He is so talented. 

Before They Are Hanged by Joe Abercrombie

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Before They Are Hanged is the second book in the First Law trilogy following the same twisted and grim characters that we met in the first book. This world continues to surprise me with its brutality and scheming. What I love about this world is how the characters we follow are so dark and gray, yet you can’t help rooting for them to succeed, to survive. I am excited to see what the third book in this series brings. 

Gemina by Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Second book in the Illuminae Files, we follow different characters in the same world but different spaceships. Hannah is the spoiled party girl daughter of the ship’s captain and Nik is a member of a drug crime family. While getting ready for a party, the ship is invaded by a strike team and it’s up to Nik and Hannah to survive their loved ones, their home, and possibly the universe. Overall it was okay. I think I enjoyed the first one more and it just didn’t fully grab my attention.  

The Golden Dynasty by Kristen Ashley

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

The story starts with Circe waking up in a weird corral filled with women who are about to be “hunted” by warriors to be claimed as their wives. She hopes its all a bad dream but soon realizes this is all actually happening. Circe ends up grabbing the attention of the clan’s chief and becomes his wife. She has to quickly learn the culture, the language, and try to survive in this brutal world. The entire time all I could think of was Khal Drogo and Daenerys from Game of Thrones. Trigger warning for sexual abuse 

The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

If Peace Talks by Jim Butcher hadn’t come out this month, this book would have easily been my favorite of the month! This was the first book I have ever read by Hendrix and it will not be the last. The book is set in the suburbs in the 1990s and we follow a group of wives that love reading thrillers and mysteries in their book club. When a stranger moves into town, kids start disappearing, and weird events keep happening, the book club tries to figure out what is happening in their small community. This story was creepy, intense, and so well written! The social and women issues that were addressed  

Peace Talks by Jim Butcher

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Guys! Guys! It is FINALLY here! After 6 years, the wait is over! I was so happy when I got my signed copy in the mail. I took my sweet time over a weekend to read this book and man, was it worth it. I can’t say much about it because it would lead to spoilers for some of the other books in the series. But pretty much, we follow our favorite wizard, Harry Dresden, as he is stuck yet again between a rock and a hard place. Honestly, the end was emotional, stressful, and so entertaining. I don’t know how they will survive the attacks that are happening in Chicago right now. Can’t wait for Battle Grounds! 

Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

On to book 2 in the Mistborn Era 2 series and man did the twist in this book slap me in the face honestly. I had a slight feeling about the twist but I didn’t think it was going to actually happen. I felt really bad for Wax in this book. Wax follows the advice and direction from the Gods in this world. Eventually Wax is a great character, Wayne steals the show for me a lot of the time with his humor and troubled past. 

Too Much and Never Enough by Mary L Trump

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I liked this book for what it was, a simple overview of Mary Trump’s family through her eyes growing up and how she saw her Uncle Donald Trump’s rise to power. There was no “tea” that the world hadn’t heard of before but the book explained how Trump’s family played a big role in making him the person that he is today. I do recommend this book to readers interested in the mind of Trump and why he is the way he is but don’t go in expecting some great revelations. 

The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I was a little sad to read this book because I didn’t want to be caught up with the Mistborn world, I just love it so much! There were so many twists and turns in The Bands of Mourning that I didn’t see coming! I liked the development we have seen with Steris, who I found boring in the first book but she has become so charming with her seriousness and list making. I loved that Sanderson had the readers venture out of the capital to explore more of this world and introduced us to some new characters from a distant land. Major cliffhanger at the end so I can’t wait for the next book. 

Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This book has become one of my favorite books by Sanderson which is always hard to say because I love all his books. I didn’t know what to expect going into it because I like to avoid any spoilers when I read books. The magic system in Warbreaker was so interesting and unique and the political story line was amazing! There were several twists throughout the story that I didn’t see coming and that just makes me love the book even more. 

Bully by Penelope Douglas

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Penelope Douglas has easily become my favorite romance author and Bully was another incredible book by her. We follow Tatum and her neighbor Jared. Growing up, they were best friends and very close but after a summer away visiting his dad, Jared changed. After that summer, Jared became Tatum’s bully, constantly spreading rumors and harassing her. Now as seniors about to graduate, Tatum is finally standing up to Jared and that causes their relationship to change. Very fun and fast read. 

Posted in blog, Books

March Book Wrap-Up!

The Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan 

  • Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Genre: Juvie/Middle grade fantasy
  • This is the fourth book in the Percy Jackson series and it was the perfect way to start the month. When I was younger, I never got this far into the series but I am so glad I finally am getting around to it. The idea of a labyrinth always stresses me out because I don’t like enclosed spaces but this book handled it in such a way that I could definitely handle it. Yet again, I am impressed by Riordan’s world building. 

The Merciless IV: Last Rites by Danielle Vega

  • Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Genre: Young adult fantasy
  • I finally finished the Merciless series! When the description of a book is literally “Mean Girls meets the Exorcist”, I just knew I was going to love this series. It had the right amount of horror and bitchy teenage behavior.  

There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins

  • Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Genre: Young adult fiction/Thriller
  • For some reason, I have been loving mystery type books so the synopsis for this book just sounded perfect. Mystery girl moves to the middle of nowhere, Nebraska and she starts dating the strange, loner boy. Then a bunch of murders start happening to the students at the high school. Who is doing this and why. It was a quick and fun mystery story.

The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan 

  • Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Genre: Juvie/Middle grade fantasy
  • Okay guys! I did it, I made it to the last Percy Jackson book and wow, did it not disappoint me at all. Everything was wrapped up beautifully and we see a great redemption arc, which I always enjoy reading. I highly recommend reading this series and I can’t wait to get more Rick Riordian books in the future. 

As Old As Time by Liz Braswell

  • Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Genre: Young adult fantasy
  • Now, this is my FAVORITE book that I read in the month of March. I absolutely love Beauty and the Beast and this book is literally a retelling where Belle’s mom was actually the enchantress that cursed the young prince. You get to learn so much about Belle’s parents before Belle was born and the world surrounding Belle’s little village and the Beast’s kingdom. Absolutely incredible book and if you love the original Beauty and the Beast, I think you will fall in love with this story. 

War Storm by Victoria Aveyard

  • Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Genre: Young adult fantasy
  • This is the final book in the Red Queen series and just like every other book in the series, it was good but not incredible. I gave the whole series a 4 star because it was a good concept, interesting world, but the main character was just not my favorite. A Lot of her chances, even at the end, just made me frustrated with her. Would still recommend it but it is just not one of my favorite young adult series. 

Eight Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson 

  • Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Genre: Thriller/Mystery
  • I ended up really enjoying Eight Perfect Murders and before I started it, I knew I would either really hate it or really love it. The reason I knew that is because when I read mysteries, there have been several times when I guessed the twist and the stories start to bore me. But when I read a mystery like this one, where I didn’t guess the twist and there are multiple surprises throughout the whole thing, that is when I am truly happy with a mystery book. 

A Memory of Light by Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson 

  • Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • A Memory of Light was tied with my favorite book of the month. This book was the conclusion to the Wheel of Time series and it was everything I wanted it to. I was completely satisfied with this ending and I don’t always say that about other series I have read. The last 400 pages were insane and full of action. Everyone that likes fantasy at all should read this series. 

Music to My Years: A Mixtape-Memoir of Growing Up and Standing Up by Cristela Alonzo 

  • Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Genre: Autobiography 
  • I have been wanting to read this book for a long time and I was not disappointed. I have been a fan of Cristela Alonzo since I watched her show, Cristela. It was the first time I had watched a show and felt connected and represented as a Hispanic woman who loves nerd stuff. Cristela is a brilliant woman whose story is just inspiring and super encouraging.  

The Haunting of Ashburn by Darcy Coates 

  • Rating: ⭐⭐⭐
  • Genre: Horror/Thriller 
  • This was an enjoyable horror book but it was not as scary as I wanted it to be. After all the other horror stories I have read and movies I have watched, this book was a little predictable. I would still recommend this book, especially to those that get easily scared. 

Reflection by Elizabeth Lim 

  • Rating: ⭐⭐⭐
  • Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
  • Reflection is a retelling of Disney’s Mulan and unfortunately, it did not live up to my expectations. I had high hopes after reading the retelling of Beauty and the Beast from the same series and that book was SO good. It made my expectations grow very high. Luckily for this story the last 50 pages were pretty good, otherwise it would have received only two stars instead of the three I gave it. 

Only Mostly Devastated by Sophie Gonzales 

  • Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Genre: Young Adult Fiction/Contemporary/Romance/LGBT
  • Now this book was a perfect way to end the month of March! I picked it up on a whim while working through Barnes and Noble and wow, am I happy I grabbed it! The main tagline for this book compares it to Grease, Clueless, and Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda so I just knew I was going to love it. All the characters but especially Ollie (main character) were so lovable and real that you could not help but wish them the best! I highly recommend it!