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 Books, Fantasy

April Book Wrap-up and Review!

Damsel by Elana K Arnold 

  • Rating: ⭐⭐⭐
  • Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
  • Overall, this book was decent. I was expecting a fairy tale retelling story but I got the opposite of that. The author used this book to write about male domination of women and the ugliness that can happen when a woman fights that domination. This book is a dark allegory and I think it achieved its goal of making the reader angry and disgusted by the male characters within the story. Be advised if you pick up this book, there is some explicit sexual content and abusive relationships. 

Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick

  • Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Genre: Autobiography 
  • Anna Kendrick is one of my favorite actresses and when I found out that she had a memoir out, I knew I had to read it. This memoir was clever and hilarious. I loved learning about her life before she became famous. 

The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie 

  • Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • This was a surprising favorite in the month of April. This book is considered grimdark fantasy and even though I am a fantasy fan, there are some grimdark books that just were not for me. The Blade Itself was definitely a book for me! I loved all the characters and I loved seeing how flawed they are and I can’t wait to see how the rest of the First Law trilogy goes! 

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell

  • Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Genre: Fiction, Thriller
  • I don’t know even what to say about My Dark Vanessa. Really quickly, a brief summary: This book follows two timelines; first: where Vanessa, 15-year old girl, goes to a board school and ends up in a relationship with her English teacher, the second: Years later, Vanessa is an adult and allegations about this teacher are coming out about how he has been abusing several girls over the years. Vanessa as an adult has a hard time accepting that these allegations are true because she remembers her relationship with him being mutual, consensual, and about love, not abuse. This book is so powerful with an important subject matter that needs to be talked about. Warning: There are several difficult scenes to read in this book. A lot of sexual abuse and gaslighting. Take your time reading this novel, it is worth the read. 

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

  • Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Genre: Romance, Contemporary
  • This month was apparently the Rainbow Rowell month because I ended up reading 3 of her books. Her stories have always been enjoyable and this one was just as great as I was hoping. After reading My Dark Vanessa, I needed a light, sweet love story and this book was perfect for that. 

Winterwood by Shea Ernshaw 

  • Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
  • This was an easy and simple read that I enjoyed quite a bit. Definitely wasn’t my favorite of the month but for a basic YA story, it was good. The reader follows this girl, who comes from a line of witches connected to the woods next to her house. When walking through the woods one day, she finds a boy that had been missing for a couple of weeks and he should have been dead by now. It was a decent fantasy mystery with a cute love story. 

A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

  • Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
  • Retellings of Beauty and Beast are very popular in TV, movies, and books so I was nervous about reading another one but wow! This book is PHENOMENAL! I absolutely loved the world, the characters, the pacing. Probably the best Beauty and the Beast retelling I have ever read. I plan on reading the sequel in May and I am so excited! 

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris 

  • Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Genre: Historical Fiction
  • I had been considering reading this book for so long and I am so glad I finally did! This story is set in Auschwitz and we follow a man who “volunteered” to go with the Nazis so that his family didn’t have to. Once he arrived at the concentration camp, he got sick and since he survived that sickness, the tattooist took him under his wing to help protect him. Eventually the main character becomes the main tattooist and the story follows him for years as he meets the love of his life, tries to survive, and save as many people as he can. Highly recommend if you enjoy reading historical fiction and stories about survival, specifically from the Holocaust.  

Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi

  • Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Genre: Young Adult Romance, Contemporary
  • I am usually not a fan of contemporary books but this one was really fun and an adorable read. These characters felt real to me and the world was believable. Sometimes the main characters were a bit judgy and prickly but overall, I understood why they were acting like that. Not to mention, I did like how anxiety was described within this book. Quick and fun read.

Blood of Elves by Andrzej Sapakowski 

  • Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • This is the first book in the Witcher series after the two short story books. I watched the Witcher series on netflix before reading this book and played a bit of the Witcher games. I really enjoyed this world where we follow a witcher called Geralt of Rivia and a special girl named Ciri. There are sorcerers, magic, elves, dwarfs, and monsters everywhere in this series and I think it’s amazing. I’m excited to continue on with the Witcher books. 

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

  • Rating: ⭐⭐⭐
  • Genre: Psychology
  • I connected with most of the ideas in this book about introverts and I found myself nodding awhile with several points. If someone asked me if this is worth a read, I would say yes but I would need to add that there weren’t many eye-opening revelations so don’t go in expecting that. 

Permanent Record by Mary H.K. Choi 

  • Rating: ⭐⭐
  • Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Romance, Contemporary
  • Permanent Record was probably the most disappointing reading from this month. I was expecting to like this book because I enjoyed Emergency Contact  by the same author but wow, was I wrong. I just could not connect with the main character at all or his love interest. I didn’t like the slang and dialogue within this story either. If you want to read Mary H.K. Choi’s book, read Emergency Contact,  not this one. 

Star Wars: Thrawn by Timothy Zahn

  • Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy
  • I read the original Thrawn trilogy years ago and it became my favorite Star Wars trilogy of all time. When I heard that it was no longer canon and the author was rewriting the Thrawn storyline, I was upset at first. But this book exceeded my expectations! Thrawn’s political rise within the Empire was insane because of how brilliant he is. I can’t wait to read the next two books in the series! 

Landline by Rainbow Rowell

  • Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Genre: Romance
  • This was another good book by Rainbow Rowell but I will say, it was probably my least favorite book by her. This story follows a married couple from meeting in college, to starting a relationship, marriage, having children, to where they are in the present day. They are having some problems because the wife, at first, is very focused on her career. We follow her journey during a week without her family, where she discovers her mistakes and realizes what she needs to be happy. It was a sweet story overall. 

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

  • Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
  • Where do I begin with this book?! I LOVED IT SO MUCH. Not only is it my favorite Rainbow Rowell book ever, but it was a fan fiction type story besides on the world from the Harry Potter books. I haven’t really talked about my love and obsession with Harry Potter on my blog yet but when I heard what this book was about, I knew it was for. I read it almost all in one sitting because I just couldn’t put it down. Best way to finish the month of April.