Darkdawn

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

dark dawn by jay kristoff
Darkdawn by Jay Kristoff

Author: Jay Kristoff

Published: September 3, 2019

Publisher: Thomas Dune Books

Series: The Nevernight Chronicles, #3

**If you are considering buying this book, please click on my link to support a fellow blogger**

Synopsis from Goodreads:

A ruthless young assassin’s journey for revenge comes to a stunning end in the conclusion of this acclaimed epic fantasy trilogy.

The Republic of Itreya is in chaos. Mia Corvere has assassinated Cardinal Duomo and rumors of Consul Scaeva’s death ripple through the street of Godsgrave like wildfire. But buried beneath those same streets, deep in the ancient city’s bones, lies a secret that will change the Republic forever.

Mia and her brother Jonnen must journey through the depths of the ancient metropolis. Their quest will take them through the Godsgrave underdark, across the Sea of Swords, back to the library of the Quiet Mountain and the poisoned blades of Mia’s old mentors, and at last the fabled Crown of the Moon. There, Mia will at last discover the origins of the darkin, and learn the destiny that lies in store for her and her world. But with the three suns now in descent, and Truedark on the horizon, will she survive?

Fear was Can’t. Fear was Won’t. But fear wasn’t ever a choice. To never fear was to never hope. Never love. Never live…Part of having is the fear of losing. Part of creating is the fear of it breaking. Part of beginning is the fear of your ending. Fear is never a choice… But letting it rule you is.”

Darkdawn

My Mini Book Review:

I’m doing a mini book review on this because there is no way I can put ALL my thoughts about this series into coherent sentences. How do I review a series like this one? These books made me cry tears of happiness, of sadness, frustration, and despair. In short, they made me feel everything a good series should.

I did pick Darkdawn up a couple of times to read it in September, but I ended up putting it down twice. First, I did not expect the religious aspect of the books to take center stage in the story, and that is always a turn-off for me. Second, I read so many dark books in September that I felt like I needed some happiness in my life. I finally got my hands on the audio version (the narrator Holter Graham does an amazing job), and this helped me get through it. Once I got through most of the setting up part, I could not stop listening.

I loved all the characters in these books. I fell in love with all their stories and I was proud of their growth throughout. I came to respect Mia and her strength and perseverance, and how she was set on revenge, but not willing to cross certain moral lines. I liked the side stories, the humor, the colorful cursing, and yes even the footnotes. I’m sad that this series has come to an end, and I cannot wait to see what Kristoff comes up with next. If you are a fan of dark Fantasy, read these!

The Monsters of Music

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

The Monsters of Music by Rebecca F. Kenney
The Monsters of Music

Author: Rebecca F. Kenney

Publishes: October 30, 2019

Publisher: Kindle Direct Publishing

ISBN: 1693557754

**If you want to buy this book, please consider clicking on the link above and supporting a fellow blogger at no additional cost to you**

Synopsis from Goodreads:

A darkly romantic gender-swapped modern retelling of The Phantom of the Opera, with a scarred Muse girl, a rock-star boy, and a singing competition. For fans of The Wicked Deep (Ernshaw), Wintersong (S. Jae-Jones), American Idol, or The Voice.

Mel must share her creative magic or be driven mad by it. But finding her first protégé isn’t as easy for her as it is for most Lianhan Sídhe (muses of Celtic myth). Though the women of her race are naturally beautiful, she carries horrifying scars across one side of her face, inflicted by her mother’s obsessive boyfriend. And Mel isn’t only interested in pouring her creative energy into a man; she wants to use her musical genius herself, too. But the laws of the Lianhan Sídhe, and her own savage appearance, stand in the way of her ever singing onstage.

To relieve the painful pressure of her magic, Mel latches onto Kiyoji, a boy with a beautiful voice, and coaches him through a televised singing competition. But neither of them are prepared for the power of their connection, or for the new kind of magic that happens when the two of them sing together.

Fans of Holly Black’s contemporary fantasy books (Tithe, Valiant) or Brigid Kemmerer’s A Curse So Dark and Lonely will enjoy this dark, offbeat retelling with a hint of cyberpunk and a dose of Celtic mythology. The novel celebrates a broad range of music from various decades.

Disclaimer: I received a free e-ARC of this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion.

My Review:

I was a bit hesitant to read this book, because in the past I hadn’t enjoyed other books where the author attempted to mix music into the story (Example: “Wintersong” by S. Jae-Jones, which this book kept getting compared to). I should also say that I’ve never read or seen Phantom of the Opera. But I should not have worried, because the musical aspect in this book blended seamlessly into the story. Maybe it was the more modern setting, the simple precise wording, or the well-known songs that are mentioned, but I really enjoyed the blend of magic and music and I found the story very unique and alluring.

I liked reading the book through all the different points of views. It’s mainly told through Mel’s POV, but it switches to Kiyo, and many of the others as well. Each character had their own unique voice and perspective, and I could always tell when a new point of view was introduced. I liked that Mel was a flawed main character, and that we get to see her change and evolve throughout. Her dark side was a good contrast to Kiyo’s naivete and innocence. Also, the love aspect between Mel and Kiyo did not feel rushed. There was no “insta-love,” and they took their time getting to know each other. My favorite character was Prince, the cat.

I found the miscommunication between the characters in the middle of the story a bit annoying. It was at a point in the story where I felt there was already enough conflict going on, and I kept thinking “Just talk to each other!” Also, there were some unanswered questions and small plot holes when it came to the magic system. I don’t do spoilers, but there is something that happens as a result of Mel using her magic, and I was waiting for a good explanation but never got one.

The world building was well done. I could definitely picture this old school and its many rooms and passages in my mind’s eye as I was reading. The characters were well described, and I felt like I had a good grasp on what they all looked like. Overall, this was a great fast paced read, and I would recommend it to all Fantasy/ YA fans looking for a great story full of enthralling magic, music, and a new modern take on Phantom of the Opera.

Red, White and Royal Blue

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

Author: Casey McQuiston 

Published: May 14, 2019

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin

ISBN: 1250316774/9781250316776

Synopsis from Goodreads:

What happens when America’s First Son falls in love with the Prince of Wales?

When his mother became President, Alex Claremont-Diaz was promptly cast as the American equivalent of a young royal. Handsome, charismatic, genius—his image is pure millennial-marketing gold for the White House. There’s only one problem: Alex has a beef with the actual prince, Henry, across the pond. And when the tabloids get hold of a photo involving an Alex-Henry altercation, U.S./British relations take a turn for the worse.

Heads of family, state, and other handlers devise a plan for damage control: staging a truce between the two rivals. What at first begins as a fake, Instragramablefriendship grows deeper, and more dangerous, than either Alex or Henry could have imagined. Soon Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret romance with a surprisingly unstuffy Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations and begs the question: Can love save the world after all? Where do we find the courage, and the power, to be the people we are meant to be? And how can we learn to let our true colors shine through?

Casey McQuiston’s Red, White & Royal Blue proves: true love isn’t always diplomatic.

Maybe there’s more than one dream for you, or more than one way to get there.

June

My Review:

This book was absolutely hilarious. The puns, the analogies and the wit had me laughing out loud the whole time. I kept see this book everywhere on social media alongside raving reviews. I’m happy I finally decided to read it. I also liked the historical background of the story, as well as all the letters from previous gay men and women in history that were provided. I enjoyed the idea that this type of political change could ever be possible in the United States as well as England. Mostly, I would love to live to see the day when there is a sitting female President of the United States.

I kind of fell in love with Prince Henry. I believe this was inevitable because his character is so likeable, and Alex’s descriptions of Henry were so full of affection…eventually. At first, they’re mortal enemies, and this enemies to lovers trope is also one of my favorites. I liked Alex as well, although his personality was a bit too much at times, which I think he was also aware of which helped a bit. I could also have done with a bit less angst, pining, and introspective musings from both of them. I did love all of Alex’s Harry Potter references, he took “The Prisoner of Azkaban” with him on one of the flights and I was in love with him too then 🙂

Not only did I love Henry and Alex’s relationship, I also really enjoyed how they interacted with June, Nora, Pez, and Bea. My favorite minor character was June, I liked how down to earth and supportive she was. Another minor negative for me was I thought the ending was a bit dragged out and I could’ve done without a lot of that. This book had me wishing we actually lived in a world where political changes like this could be possible, it had me thinking maybe they are within our reach. Love is love. 

A bit of a warning, the sex scenes were not SUPER explicit but there were some details mentioned as well as a lot of language used. It’s not as much detail as I’ve encountered in other books, but it’s there, so be warned. I apologize for how many times I wrote the word “love” in this review I just really really enjoyed this book. If you’re looking for a feel-good Contemporary Romance, I highly recommend this one.

The Institute

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

My bookstagram

Author: Stephen King

Publication date: September 10, 2019

Publisher: Scribner

ISBN: 1982110562

Synopsis from Goodreads:

In the middle of the night, in a house on a quiet street in suburban Minneapolis, intruders silently murder Luke Ellis’s parents and load him into a black SUV. The operation takes less than two minutes. Luke will wake up at The Institute, in a room that looks just like his own, except there’s no window. And outside his door are other doors, behind which are other kids with special talents—telekinesis and telepathy—who got to this place the same way Luke did: Kalisha, Nick, George, Iris, and ten-year-old Avery Dixon. They are all in Front Half. Others, Luke learns, graduated to Back Half, “like the roach motel,” Kalisha says. “You check in, but you don’t check out.”

In this most sinister of institutions, the director, Mrs. Sigsby, and her staff are ruthlessly dedicated to extracting from these children the force of their extranormal gifts. There are no scruples here. If you go along, you get tokens for the vending machines. If you don’t, punishment is brutal. As each new victim disappears to Back Half, Luke becomes more and more desperate to get out and get help. But no one has ever escaped from the Institute.

As psychically terrifying as Firestarter, and with the spectacular kid power of It, The Institute is Stephen King’s gut-wrenchingly dramatic story of good vs. evil in a world where the good guys don’t always win.

My Review:

No one writes like Stephen King. The characters in this book all had great character arches, even the minor ones. King can weave a whole backstory, and establish a unique personality for each one of his characters with only a few carefully worded sentences. Each character had a purpose and they were all somehow interconnected.

Luke was a great kid, he reminded me a lot of my own kid, so bright and kind and full of life. My favorite side characters were Kalisha and Nicky, but I did love all the kids. I felt for them. Now that I’m a mother of two I find that this happens to me more and more with stories involving children and I have been avoiding them, but I will endure anything for a good Stephen King story.

This story had me in the literal edge of my seat. It got my foot tapping, my breath catching, and my heart racing, like only a good thriller can. My only negative was that I felt like all this action and suspense was building up to something monumental, but the actual ending felt a bit anticlimactic. But to me it’s about the journey, not the ending, and the journey was amazing. I recommend this book to all Stephen King fans, old and new, and anyone that wants to read a good thriller/suspense.

WWW Wednesday

This is a meme hosted by Taking on a World of Words where you answer three questions: What are you reading now? What did you just read? What will you be reading next? I love these posts, they help me organize myself for the rest of the week.

Illuminae book by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Picture taken by me

What I’m reading now:

I’m currently still reading a hardback of Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. It’s an awesome read for now, and I can’t believe I had never read it. I’m also reading the e-ARC of The Girl the Sea Gave Back by Adrienne Young. i I was super excited for this one, because I really loved Sky in the Deep, also by her. Lastly, I recently started the King of Scars audio book written by Leigh Bardugo and narrated by Lauren Fortgang. I haven’t gotten too far into that one, but I love the Grishaverse and I hope this won’t disappoint.

daughter of the siren queen by tricia levenseller
My bookstagram

What I just read:

I just read Daughter of the Siren Queen by Tricia Levenseller. It was a nice fast paced romantic adventure. You can read my mini review here.

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
Picture taken by me

What I plan to read next:

Once I’m done with the Illuminae hardback, I’m planning to pick up Children of Blood and Bone next…yes finally!!

What are you guys currently reading?

Monday Cleaning Day

Birthday by Meredith Russo
Picture from Goodreads

Birthday by Meredith Russo

I received a copy of this book inside my Illumini crate this month. It sounds like a very intriguing read, and it has great reviews on Goodreads. I have been getting more and more into Contemporary/ YA. I hope this won’t disappoint.

Keep 🙂

this time will be different by misa
Picture from Goodreads

This time will be different by Misa Sugiura

This is the second book I found inside my Illumini crate this month. There are mixed reviews on this one, but since I now own the book I will definitely be giving it a try.

Keep 🙂

the paper and hearts society by lucy powrie
Picture from Goodreads

The Paper and Hearts Society by Lucy Powrie

I got a sample of this inside my Illumini crate and I loved it, so I will definitely be reading the actual book.

Keep 🙂

False Step by Victoria Helen Stone
Picture from Goodreads

False Step by Victoria Helen Stone

This was one of the Kindle first reads picks for June. I thought the synopsis seemed interesting. It published on July 1st. If you read it let me know how it goes, I could not find a lot of reviews on it.

Keep 🙂

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
Picture from Goodreads

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

Once again I got fooled by a pretty cover and did not think much before I added it to my TBR. I’m not the least bit interested in Norse Mythology, but I will definitely recommend it to my husband. He’s the one that dragged me to all the Thor movies 🙂

Delete 😦

a man called ove by Fredrick backman
Picture from Goodreads

A Man called Ove by Fredrik Backman

I don’t know why I added this. I know everyone has been talking about it and it has great reviews, but I just don’t feel like reading about a grumpy old man.

Delete 😦

patron saints of nothing by randy ribay
Picture from Goodreads

Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay

I really want to learn more about the Philippines and their culture, and I ‘ve heard this is a good book for that. The cover is not the best, but it has great reviews on Goodreads and as I mentioned on this post, I’m trying not to judge books by their covers.

Keep 🙂

secondborn by amy a bartol
Picture from Goodreads

Secondborn by Amy A. Bartol

Amazon recently gave me a three dollar credit to pick a book from a list of their choosing. I was dumb and I didn’t check the reviews before picking this one, I picked it because the synopsis sounded good. Now that I own it I definitely have to give it a try. But if I don’t like it I can always put it back down, I wont be forcing myself to read books I don’t enjoy.

Keep 🙂

Can you guys believe I just got to the end of my TBR list?! *audible gasp* I have been so good not adding random books, I will go ahead and pat myself on the back now 🙂

Good Books with Bad Covers

the space between time by Charlie laidlaw
Picture from Goodreads

The Space Between Time by Charlie Laidlaw

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

This book was amazing. I was contacted by the author with the opportunity to read an e-ARC of his book, and I accepted expecting a light quick read. This was not a light read at all, it was full of depth and it dealt with really hard but relevant topics. You can read my full review here.

I thought this cover should’ve had a starry night in the background with some planets on there and maybe a few mathematical equations floating in between. This cover definitely would not have attracted me to the book in the first place.

This savage song by v.e schwab
Picture from Goodreads

This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

This book I experienced as an audio book. It was voiced by a male and female voice for the two main characters, and I thought they did a great job. This was a very unique world that I’m very interested to read more of. You can read my full review here.

I like the violin on the cover, but for a very long time I could not even tell it WAS a violin. I get what they were trying to do, but the violin definitely needs to be brighter so we can see what they’re trying to depict inside of it.

A very large expanse of the sea by tahereh mafi

A Very Large Expanse of the Sea by Tahereh Mafi

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I mentioned in my review that I thought the whole point of this cover was “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” which is one of the main messages I feel like this story tries to get across. But more could’ve been done to get this point across and to attract more people to buy the book. For me it was enough that Mafi wrote it, because I will forever read anything she writes, but for other people that might not be the case.

the eternity cure by Julie kagawa book
Picture from Goodreads

The Eternity Cure by Julie Kagawa

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I’ve mentioned before that Julie Kagawa is one of my favorite authors, and this is one of my favorite series by her. I already love Dystopian novels, but her descriptions, dialogue, and overall way of making this world seem so real is what sold me on this story. This cover definitely does not do it justice.

the time traveler's wife by Audrey niggenegger
Picture from Goodreads

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

This might be an unpopular opinion, but I absolutely loved this book and I thought it was so unique in the way it portrayed time travel; not as something cool but as a burden to be bared. But it definitely needed to have something better on the cover, the child is kind of creepy. I will definitely be doing a re-read of this soon.

Which books do you think could have gone unnoticed because of the cover? Any recommendations?

WWW Wednesday

This is a meme hosted by Taking on a World of Words where you answer three questions: What are you reading now? What did you just read? What will you be reading next? I find this a great way to touch base every week, and to get on the right reading track.

The girl the sea gave back by Adrienne young
Picture from Goodreads

What I’m reading now:

I couldn’t believe it when I got an e-ARC of The Girl the Sea Gave Back by Adrienne Young from Netgalley. I will forever read anything she writes. I’m also finally reading Illuminae by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman, which I’ve only been looking forward to forever.

My bookstagram

What I just read:

I just read Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo, which wasn’t as action packed as Six of Crows or Crooked Kingdom, but I do understand a lot of world building was necessary. I also listened to an audio of Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, which also reminded me a lot of Six of Crows, a band of misfits full of special and unique talents. You can read my mini reviews for those here. Finally, I read an e-ARC of Call it What you Want by Brigid Kemmerer, she has also quickly become one of my auto-read authors.

My Bookstagram

What I will be reading next:

I hope to finally get to Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi, and hopefully start making a good dent on my physical TBR. The e-books and audio books I pick up next will depend on what’s available to be checked out on Libby, and if I get approved for any e-ARCs from Netgalley. I don’t usually buy e-books or audio books, unless I have free credits on the Audible app, or a good book is available for free on kindle first reads. If you have the kindle app and have not signed up for kindle first reads I highly recommend it -it’s free and they let you choose a free book every month from a list.

What are you guys’ WWW’s?

Mini Reviews

shadow and bone by leigh bardugo
Picture taken by me

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo – Mini Review

The problem with wanting…is that it makes us weak”

The Darkling

Since this book is part of a trilogy there was a lot of world building that I really appreciated. This was the difference between this book and the Six of Crows books. There was a lot more explaining in this one about the different Grisha and what their powers entailed. We as the readers got to learn it all right along with Alina. By the way, I loved Alina. She was a very strong likeable female character who said whatever was on her mind most of the time which was great. She reminds me of a prickly easily riled cat.

I also had a thing for the Darkling, he reminds me a lot of Kaz Brekker from the Six of Crows books. One of my favorite side characters was Botkin, the combat trainer, he was hilarious: “Should not hit girl in the face when she is going to party…Botkin will be fairer tomorrow.”

This was one of those books where I did not understand what the cover meant until I read it, I don’t come across those very often. Sometimes I had trouble believing this world wasn’t real, especially during the scary parts in the Fold. I’m pretty sure Bardugo travels to alternate universes and then comes back to write about them.

Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff -Audio Mini Review

The whole place seems like it’s being held together by spit and good luck.”

aurora rising

This was such a great audio book. The full cast really made the difference for me, and I always wonder why more audio books don’t do this. This book had seven different points of views, and each one is voiced by a different person. There are sound effects in the audio book which really makes the whole story come alive, and it becomes almost like listening to a really good descriptive movie.

I loved the humor throughout this book and the play on words. I did roll my eyes sometimes at some of the dialogue and internal dialogue, which is why I took off one star. A few of the characters were full of themselves, but I thought that it made them very entertaining if maybe a bit annoying at times. Tyler reminded me of Captain Thorne from Cinder, except with killer dimples.

The plot is action packed as the characters are thrown from one predicament into another. I really loved this unique group of characters, they reminded me of the gang from Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, a bunch of misfits who have really special talents.

Have you read these? What did you think?

June Wrap-up

a curse so dark and lonely by brigid kemmerer
My bookstagram

Books I read this month

📖A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer (hardback) review here

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

📖The Raven Boys (audio) review here

⭐️⭐️⭐️

📖Call it What you want by Brigid Kemmerer (e-Arc) review here

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

📖Shadow and Bone (paperback) -mini review coming soon

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

📖Aurora Rising by Jay Kristoff (audio) -mini review coming soon

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

📖Soul of the Sword by Julie Kagawa (e-Arc) review here

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

📖This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab (audio) review here

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

the book of dust by phillip pullman
My Bookstagram

June Bookhaul

For my shelves

📖Cinder by Marissa Meyer

📖An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

📖Rest of Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi (excluding last book released)

📖Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

From book subscription boxes (TBR)

📖 Birthday by Meredith Russo

📖This time will be different by Misa Sugiura

Bought

📖The book of dust by Phillip Pullman

E-books (from kindle first reads)

📖False step by Victoria Helen Stone

Wrap-up

I don’t feel like I made good progress on my TBR this month, maybe because I barely read any physical books; they were mostly audio and e-books. But I do feel like a read good quality books, so maybe quality over quantity is a good thing. I definitely want to get to more of my real books in July. Especially Illuminae by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman. After having read Aurora Rising by them I’m really excited to read the Illuminae series.