Jul 10, 2020

Review--House of Earth and Blood

Bound by blood.
Tempted by desire.
Unleashed by destiny.


Bryce Quinlan had the perfect life—working hard all day and partying all night—until a demon murdered her closest friends, leaving her bereft, wounded, and alone. When the accused is behind bars but the crimes start up again, Bryce finds herself at the heart of the investigation. She’ll do whatever it takes to avenge their deaths.

Hunt Athalar is a notorious Fallen angel, now enslaved to the Archangels he once attempted to overthrow. His brutal skills and incredible strength have been set to one purpose—to assassinate his boss’s enemies, no questions asked. But with a demon wreaking havoc in the city, he’s offered an irresistible deal: help Bryce find the murderer, and his freedom will be within reach.

As Bryce and Hunt dig deep into Crescent City’s underbelly, they discover a dark power that threatens everything and everyone they hold dear, and they find, in each other, a blazing passion—one that could set them both free, if they’d only let it.

With unforgettable characters, sizzling romance, and page-turning suspense, this richly inventive new fantasy series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas delves into the heartache of loss, the price of freedom—and the power of love.


Well, it took me a very long time, but I finally finished Sarah J. Maas' House of Earth and Blood! Sarah's debut into "adult" writing was interest...but honestly, it didn't feel too different from her YA stuff except for character ages and perhaps a little more attention on sex and drugs, and possibly language. I can't remember how much swearing was done in her YA series. At 799 pages this was a whopper of a read too, was it necessary for it to be this long, well I guess that depends on your mood and reading speed. Had I more days off I could've easily read this in half the time it took me! But all in all,  I did really enjoy this one.

One thing I wish, like really, really wish Sarah had included was a glossary, there were just some terms I was not familiar with. Many creature features, and how she names angels, vampires and the like. Some were obvious, others not so much. I also would've like a bit of a character guide there were names mentioned all over the place and I honestly wasn't sure if it was a "person" or "supernatural type" as the names are all outside the norm, which is the norm for fantasy, so take that as you will! Lol. But yeah, there were just too many "names" in general that made it hard to keep everybody straight and if I was suppose to note who this is or if were talking about a "people" in general. 

There was a lot of world-building to this one, a lot of history to be dealt with over certain matters. A character guide and glossary would've made this a thousand times easier to comprehend.

This is some sort of futuristic type world where supernatural creatures and humans blend together. But humans are in the minority and are so low on the totem pole they might as well not even be on it. Bryce herself is a half-Fae and half-human crossbreed if you will. Her human side makes her weak and not having any magic, so she's treated nearly as poorly as the rest of them, but gets some status because of her stepfather's standing.

Bryce was your average party girl one night when she was living it up only to come home to find her roommate, Danika and friends dead. A terrifying demon had killed them and seemingly vanished. Two years later, she never fully recovered from the ordeal when the attacks start happening again. And to her dismay, the angels--who are at the top of the pyramid--are making her help investigate.

Hunt is an angel and a slave. He was a part of an angel rebellion wanting to bring down the top and powerful angels, but he failed and many suffered for it. He was marked a slave and now must kill over 2000 people to help "right the wrongs" he partook in all those years ago. But the Governor of the city will reduce his sentence to 10 people if he and Bryce find the killer and put an end to his actions before a big Summit meeting of all the leaders of this cityscape.

Yeah, it's a lot to take in. The gist of the matter is, we've got a mystery on our hands! Bryce and Hunt are forced to work together to try to find the demon who is killing the citizens of Crescent City. It's believe that this same demon is the one who killed Danika and her friends.

So we watch as Bryce and Hunt traverse the city, trying to find clues to solve the murder mystery. But it's anything but easy as Bryce and Hunt don't get along at first. It's actually a good loooong while before the looks even begin to linger. This is most definitely what you would call a slow burn romance for the two are barely even friends in the beginning.

My recommendation for you for this book is erase all expectations. This book definitely has a slower pace. I'd liken it to A Court of Mist and Fury, but that was way too many books ago to say that with confidence. But don't expect a fast paced mystery thrill ride because you won't get that. What you will get is a mesmerizing tale woven carefully together with intricate detail. I won't say Sarah focuses on every minute detail, because she doesn't. There's just a lot of extra stuff here. Sometimes, you don't know if this scene or that scene really matters or if it's relevant. You just kind of have to go with it.

I would recommend trying to set days aside where you can just read all day, because I can honestly say within the eight days it took me to read this, I forgot a few things here and there. Like in the ending, there's a conversation with two characters and something BIG happens with one of them and all the while I was like...who were you again? I didn't take note of this character at the first appearance because it didn't feel really important. Well, it apparently was! Lol.

I do want to say that I appreciated the deliciously slow burn between Bryce and Hunt. I love it when the love take time to grow and you can actually see it slowly start to happen. It's like a wayyyy lengthier version of Beauty and the Beast--Disney style. Where the feelings between them take time to grow and show. I love it how it starts with just a linger look and seeing someone differently after realizations are made. Totally like Beauty and the Beast again!

I know this read won't be for everyone. It shocks me that I kept reading since it was so long. Not that I don't love a good long book because I do. But you know sometimes a book can be a tad too long and I was fearing that this one would fall under that. While I do think it could've done just as well at 500 or 600 pages, I still loved this book from cover to cover. The good thing about the length of this book is you can really watch the characters grow. All of them, but particularly Bryce and Hunt.

I know fans of Sarah J Maas have already devoured this one, but if you're the casual reader who was on the fence about this one, I would recommend giving it a try. Be aware of what you're getting into though, this is 800 pages of a long mystery and a heaping of character development. All good things, but I know pacing can be an issue for me sometimes, so while House of Earth and Blood was a totally amazing and spell-binding read, it did have a bit of a pacing issue. It was still fantastic overall and I am excited to see where Sarah will take things next in this world!



Overall Rating 4/5 stars










Book Blogger Hop

This meme is hosted by Billy at Ramblings of a Coffee Addict!
 
 
This week's question is: If you can recommend a book from the following genres, what would they be? A book from Romance, NA, YA, Fantasy.(submitted by Tabatha @ Broken Soul Reviews)
 
 
 
MY ANSWER: Clicking on the book cover will take you to its Goodreads page.
 
 
Romance: 
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1421990.Halfway_to_the_Grave?from_search=true&from_srp=true&qid=IGplboZR0v&rank=1#
A vampire paranormal romance as I don't read straight up romances! This is still one of my all time favorite series!! Halfway to the Grave was just all around awesome!



New Adult:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13570162-flight?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=eBBnrk2NAW&rank=1
I chose the first book in this Paranormal New Adult series, Flight. It's a big wide world series where there are other trilogies that happen all within this world. You don't need to read previous books to follow along, but there will be those minor romance spoilers of who winds up with who kind of thing.



YOUNG ADULT:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13143299-obsidian
Yeah, I had to go with a classic! Obsidian was such a fun read because you have a reader/blogger for a heroine who is a tough as nails girl who doesn't take Daemon's crap. 



Fantasy:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1192365.Poison_Study
Poison Study was probably one of my first Fantasy reads and still remains a favorite! I mean, the idea of being a food taster is scary itself, but add in some magic, nefarious plots, and a dreamy guard then you have the makings of one epic fantasy series!



BONUS Fantasy:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12954620-falling-kingdoms?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=07f4CpeUKh&rank=1
I couldn't resist adding in Falling Kingdoms because omg this series was AMAZING! One of the best fantasy series I've read! It was just all around amazing and I really enjoyed the multiple points of view. The characters were some of the best I've read in the genre and I adored them all!






 

Jul 9, 2020

Random Thursday

We'll be getting back into mountain factoids in this segment of Weird But True by Leslie Gilbert Elman. It's amazing how many weird facts there are to learn about the oddest little things!


(image borrowed from Live Science)
There is a group of mountains known as the Seven Summits that most mountain climbers make a goal to climb. There is one mountain per continent, but there's also an eighth one if you count both Carstensz Pyramid in Paupa New Guinea and Mount Kosciuszko in Australia.

FUN FACT: Erik Weihenmayer lost his eyesight when he was 13, but he's the only person who has climbed all eight of the Seven Summits.


Whoa. I mean, just whoa!! Also note, this picture is just a random mountain picture, not necessarily one of the Seven Summits.


(image borrowed from TripSavvy)
Most mountain ranges are formed by the tectonic plates shifting beneath the Earth's surface. When these shifts happen, earthquakes can occur. It's said that what goes up, must come down. Geologists believe that the tectonic shifts are now causing the Apennines mountain range in Italy to collapse.


This is a mountain range in Peru, I wasn't reading ahead enough to look for specific ranges. I thought this was pretty! Lol. But still scary to think of all those shifting tectonic plates!



(image borrowed from Wikipedia)
Because of GPS technology, geophysicists determined that the entire city of Concepcion, Chile moved ten feet west in February 2010 when an earthquake occurred. The same quake caused Buenos Aires, Argentina to shift one inch to the west...which is 822 miles from Concepcion.


Whoa. An entire city moved ten feet?! That's nuts!



(image borrowed Time and Date)
That same earthquake mentioned above was measured at 8.8 magnitude and it ended up shifting the planet on its axis by three inches and shortened our days about 1.26 milliseconds.


We've lost time!!



(image borrowed from Wikipedia)
Every year the moon moves away from Earth by 1.5 inches.


Dude! That's a little scary.







Jul 8, 2020

Waiting on Wednesday

Can't-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted at Wishful Endings, to spotlight and discuss the books we're excited about that we have yet to read. It's based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by the fabulous Jill at Breaking the Spine



Jennifer Strange is cursed with the ability to give ghosts and demons a corporeal body with just the touch of her hand. All she wants is to learn how to control her new gift. Instead, her father drops her in the care of her older sister Liz, leaving only his journal as an explanation. Jennifer and Liz haven’t spoken to each other since their mother died, but when the supernatural residents of Savannah, Georgia find Jennifer and her powerful gift, the sisters must learn to trust each other again and uncover the truth about their parents. If they can’t sort out their differences, they’ll not only destroy the veil between the living and the dead but fall into the hands of a rival family who wants to claim the Sparrow power for themselves.

JENNIFER STRANGE is an illustrated novel - a campy romp for fans of BUFFY, EVIL DEAD, and SUPERNATURAL. Cat's illustrations unveil the story of Jennifer's family history in the form of a journal with an art style akin to SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK.


I came across this one not too long ago and it sounds pretty freaky, and I'm loving it! Cannot wait for it to release!


AUTHOR: Cat Scully
PUBLISHER: Haverhill House Publishing
GENRE: YA Paranormal
RELEASE DATE: July 21, 2020






Jul 7, 2020

Teaser & Top Ten Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by Purple Princess of The Purple Booker


Here are the rules:

1. Grab your current read
2. Open to a page
3. Pick out 2 lines that are SPOILER FREE
4. Name the title, author, etc.



"Bryce bristled. As if she were some little female in need of a big, strong warrior to guard her.

Even if it was partially true. Mostly true.

Totally and definitely true, if that demon was being summoned again." p. 149










TITLE: House of Earth and Blood
AUTHOR: Sarah J. Maas
PUBLISHER: Bloomsbury Publishing
GENRE: Fantasy
RELEASE DATE: March 3, 2020




Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.



This week's topic is: Top Ten Authors I’ve Read the Most Books By


*in smallest to biggest order


10. MARIA V. SNYDER--I've read 17 books by Maria! She has 18, one was MG and I'm not much of an MG reader, so I skipped that one! She should still have one book release this year, and I am looking forward to that one!
9. DARYNDA JONES--Darynda tied with Maria at 17 books! I mean I know she has some longer novellas out now too, but I was overwhelmed with books so I was kinda skipping those for now!
8. JEANIENE FROST--I've read all 18 books by Jeaniene...at least I don't think there was another one. Unless there's a contemporary I'm missing...but still I've read 18 of her books!


7. JULIE KAGAWA--I've read all 19 of Julie's books! So excited to learn that she returns to the Iron Fey Chronicles next year! I was always sadden with how things turned out for Puck. So here's hoping for some happy!
6. CHLOE NEILL--I've read all 22 of her current books and loved every single one of them! Excited for her debut in the fantasy genre this November!
5. KIM HARRISON--I counted out 24 books for Kim, not counting all the anthologies she was in, but did count her own personal short story collection and Hollows Insider...plus 2 graphic novels! She's one of the first "adult" authors I started reading when I found the YA section lacking in the Paranormal area.


4. VICTORIA LAURIE--I've read 24 of Victoria's books, not counting an MG series. I still have 4 more not included in that number that I still need to read. And she's got at least one release coming out still this year! 
3. RACHEL VINCENT--I've read 25 of her books and still have 3 more on my TBR pile! I fell in love with her books when I was just finding my adult titles to read and in some ways got into blogging because of her! Lol. She also just announced a new release on the calendar for next year and I'm all sorts of excited for that!
2. JENNIFER L. ARMENTROUT--surprisingly not number one, but second is close! Lol. I've read 26 of her books (not including her contemporary ones) and only have 5 sitting on my TBR pile to read. She writes so darn fast that I guarantee it'll be 7 before the year is out! Hopefully I can read TBN when it releases though!


1. KELLEY ARMSTRONG--I've read at least 35 of her books! I was going through her works list on Goodreads and that's the number I came up with. Sadly there's 7 books left of hers on my TBR pile. 3 are short story compilations and 4 are actual books...though two of them make one huge story she wrote on one of those serial series sites. But yeah, she too was one of the first adult authors I gravitated towards when I started reading that age level.








Jul 6, 2020

It's Monday! What are You Reading?

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. It's a fun meme where we gather to share what we've read last week and our reading plans for this week.



Last Week I Read:

Heart of Stone by Kelly Keaton (3.5 stars)



Currently Reading:

House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas



What I Plan to Read Next:

Demon's Vengeance by Jocelynn Drake



Other Posts of Interest:

Teaser & Top Ten Tuesdays
Waiting on Wednesday
Challenges Monthly Wrap-up: June
Random Thursday
Book Blogger Hop 
Mystery Blogger Award 
Let's Discuss: JLA Finale Cover Changes
Stacking the Shelves







Jul 5, 2020

Stacking the Shelves

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks! The meme is now hosted by Tynga's Reviews and Reading Reality.


This week wasn't too bad! I had a FOUR day weekend since it was a holiday! My new company apparently does the day before the Fourth of July as well and since that is observed on Friday, it resulted in 4 days off! For the first two I sat at home and started reading SJM's latest tome and got halfway through before Saturday, but then the weekend itself is busy times with errands and whatnot, so I didn't read as much afterwards. We'll see if today if I read more or take pictures for bookstagram...honestly, leaning towards reading! Lol. Bookstagram might be put on hold for a bit as next weekend is my nephew's first birthday party, so busy times!


Here's what I got this week:


The Last Curtain Call by Juliet Blackwell--still pretty behind in this series, but as I'm finding out, MMPB series are best to buy asap instead of waiting as there might not be a second print run!


Then in May I had won the April Discussion Challenge Contest and picked a book that would make me laugh. I took this in another direction though and chose this book because the subject matter makes me smile and smiling is close to laughing! Lol!


Dreaming Darkly by Caitlin Kittredge--it's supposed to be a vampire book from what I heard and you all know how much I love my vampires!!



Then in a trade through the hashtag I got the May Fairy Loot Tarot cards because I decided to skip that month for some reason or another.


THANK YOU Yara!!
 
 
And then...I bought another t-shirt. I couldn't help it! It was bookish! And it was #1 in its derby with Shirt.Woot! and you all know how much I love their shirts!
 
 
 It says Reading is My Sport--because HOW TRUE?! And then there's a stack of books with a little mouse sitting on top reading a book!
 
 
 
And then I won the 2020 Series Enders Reading Challenge for May! I got an Amazon gift card which will perfectly to bringing one of those FULL PRICED new releases down to manageable levels!
 


THANK YOU Holly @ Words Fuled With Love!
 
 
 
And that was it for me this week! Next week is a big release week day for me, but sadly I only have half of my orders made because you know, high prices and no sales and all that jazz. Hoping that changes in the near future! What did you all get this week?
 
 
 
 
 
 



 
 

 

Jul 4, 2020

Let's Discuss: JLA Finale Cover Changes

Do you know what occurred to me recently? It seems like every time Jennifer L. Armentrout's YA series is about to end whichever publisher she is at CHANGES the cover scheme! WHAT IS UP WITH THAT?!


JLA Finale Cover Changes


I know I talked about this earlier and was using Jennifer's book as one example and what basically fueled my rant about changing the cover scheme at the finale book, but have you realized this has happened with nearly EVERY YA series Jennifer has written, minus the Covenant series?

Here we go:

So the cover scheme of The Lux series changed a few times here, we had the look you see above, then what the next book they went with a different look for whatever reason. Then just as we await that final book this happened:

The publisher reprinted the first four books into two compilations then made the final book match that. It was a few years later that they finally gave us a cover to complete the above cover look. But that wasn't the end of things as the series was once again redone:

And oh yeah, the prequel novella and Daemon collection was also changed but I didn't include for sizing purposes but seriously. Wow. So many changes!


Then you look at her Dark Elements series:

We started the trilogy pretty cool! Nice colors, same theme and then of course the BIG DEBATE would be how would book three look like since Layla had a choice to make...but then the publishers did this:


So this looked worked, I guess. You have each guy that was her focus for that book, then the final book you could say was for her...though she did make a love choice. But as always, that wasn't the end of the cover looks...


I'm usually a fan of covers without people on them, but these felt a little meh. Still gorgeous, but in relating to the series I felt meh. Of course, I still own a set, but that's neither here nor there. Lol.


Then of course we have the most recent series cover change, and this one really devastated me:

Honestly, these covers I LOOOOVED! They were so pretty. I love the confetti and how it appears and the shadow and lighting. It was just gorgeous and fresh! I had hoped that maybe the final book would be a purple color because how pretty would that be with the teal and pink? But as we all know, this happened...


To me, this is probably the worst of all her cover changes. I just don't like it for some reason. For one, they don't even look like the same models on the last cover and that bugs me because continuity! I know some authors have had cover models quit before their series ended, but the publisher did their best to find a similar model and it's honestly worked in most cases. This one is just blah. And you know, the fact that the models on book 3 don't match the models on book 1 and 2. ANNNNND I've see this cover before on book 1 and that honestly feels cheapened that the publisher went this route...

One of my favorite self-published authors had this cover on one of her earlier books, so I figured she got it through whatever routes self published authors go for getting covers, I'm honestly not sure how its done, though I ought to look into that for personal reasons. That Tor Teen decided to borrow this cover art instead of creating a third cover to match the ones they previously did just feels cheap for some reason. Another part of the reason why I don't care for this new cover look.


So that makes me wonder...what will be the fate of The Harbringer trilogy:

Honestly, at this point, I feel like there is absolutely NO way the publisher can leave this cover scheme as is. I mean, I know she's had different publishers for her various YA series, but I mean come on. EVERY YA series she's written has had a cover change on the final book. I think I might go into shock if this one doesn't. The only series that didn't have this finale cover change was her Covenant series. That one sort of ran parallel to The Lux series timing wise and besides one cover revamp once Jennifer got the rights back to it, the series remains to be the ONLY YA series that didn't have a series cover change at the final book.


I guess my question is WHY???! WHY does this happen with her YA books every time?! It's almost impossible to have a series from her be the same cover scheme and format because of when these changes happen. I mean now in order to have a matching set of her Origin trilogy, you have to wait for the final book to be in paperback in order to have same cover style and same format. And honestly, there's NOOOOO way I can wait an extra year to get the finale for that one because CLIFFHANGERS! And plus then I'd have 2/3 hardcovers with there never to be a final hardcover. I wish the publishers could offer an alternative dust-jacket for these instances. I mean, talk about a great preorder incentive there!


How do you feel about all these series finale cover changes? Does it bother you when your covers don't match theme wise? Do you end up buying the new look just to have matching covers...even if it means your formats won't match?