Feb 17, 2019

Review--Bloodwitch by Susan Dennard

Fans of Susan Dennard's New York Times bestselling Witchlands series have fallen in love with the Bloodwitch Aeduan. And now, finally, comes his story.

High in a snowy mountain range, a monastery that holds more than just faith clings to the side of a cliff. Below, thwarted by a lake, a bloodthirsty horde of raiders await the coming of winter and the frozen path to destroy the sanctuary and its secrets.

The Bloodwitch Aeduan has teamed up with the Threadwitch Iseult and the magical girl Owl to stop the destruction. But to do so, he must confront his own father, and his past.

I've finally read Susan Dennard's Bloodwitch! Took me most of the week due to crazy hectic work life and then just other crazy life things. This is Aeduan's book, i.e. the book I've been waiting for ever since Truthwitch ended! Lol! Though my memory is fuzzy on all things Truthwitch and Windwitch, naturally, I do remember having a fierce fascination with Aeduan ever since he started hunting Iseult and Safi. That this was "his" book had me immensely excited, though I was quick to remember that even though the book has his "title" and he's on the cover, this story isn't just Aeduan's, sadly, as I definitely could happily read a book that was more focused on him!

So as I said, there was no recap that I could find about Truthwitch or any of the books in the series. I had taken notes for Windwitch, but they were kind of lacking, and I was soon to remember that it was because SOOOO much happens in these books and I must not have taken too many details down and was just focusing on the big events, well, I tried to take more nonsensical notes this time! Anywho, we soon find ourselves back with Iseult, Aeduan, and Owl. Aeduan had been hit with many arrows and was weakened severely and for whatever reason his Bloodwitch powers were not healing him the way they should be.

We do get to have a little more insight to Aeduan and his past. I know we had some point of view chapters from him the last few go arounds, but I can't recall if there were many or not. This time, I'd say that there was a nice even dose of chapter time for each of the characters. Moving on, we get to see more of Aeduan's past in brief flashes and omg, some of them had me tearing up. I was a wreck.

Meanwhile Safi is still a "guest" of sorts with Vaness, Vivia is trying to keep her place as Queen-in-waiting, but it seems her father has other ideas. Then there's Merik who is trying to help Ryber out and possibly find a way to cure Kullen, but then finds himself a prisoner to Esme who's a Nomatsi. I so wish I had a better memory for the history on who's who for this world! That's the trouble with fantasys, there is SO much history to remember and all the different groups of people and which ones are evil, which ones are good, and which ones you can never really tell anything about! Lol.

While my mind is really scatter-brained at the moment regarding this book, I can say that it was still an amazing read! I loooooved having Iseult and Aeduan spend time together, even if Aeduan was always leaving Iseult it seemed. They definitely don't have a relationship like Merik and Safi did...from what I can vaguely recall.

What bothered me most about this book was how everyone was separated! It was driving me nuts! Best friends are apart, lovers are apart, no one knows if so-and-so is alive, though we all know the whereabouts and life statuses of everyone, the characters don't and it was bonkers! For me at least! And then of course there were the characters that were somewhat secondary that I knew I was supposed to know who they were and their importance, but naturally, I couldn't figure it out. I was basically taking social cues from whichever character we were "following" at the time.

The pacing to this one was still pretty good though! It amazes me that in the three years that this series has been running, it's only been like two weeks for the characters! Granted by the end, it might be more like three if that, but it's just wow! So much time has gone by for us and yet, no time at all has gone by for them. It's almost like each book is a just a day or two total, but then we hop around to each of the characters for the duration that it hardly feels like time has moved at all. But yet it has! Because SOOOO much goes on for these characters in that short amount of time!

This book pretty much had it all, action, adventure, romance, betrayals, shocking surprise after shocking surprise! It's a little mind-boggling sometimes, but as I tend to do with magical fantasy reads, I just roll with it! I guess the only thing I would've liked to seen more of was a little kissing! True, there were still some spine-tingling moments in the area of romance, but I wish there was just a teeny tiny bit more! Lol! The me from the start of this blog never would've imagined myself saying that! Lol!!!

So while my memory might have made this one a tad hard to get back into after so much time away, I still found that I enjoyed Bloodwitch! I mean, it centered around my favorite character of the series! And it ended on some high notes, yet in true Susan Dennard fashion, there were some cliffhangers. More mind-numbingly agonizing ones, but hopefully book four of the series won't be too far behind this time around! Bloodwitch was totally worth the wait and it fulfilled all my reader's heart's desires! Now I just need to have book 4 asap!

Overall Rating 4/5 stars

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.

Well this was a meh kind of week. Which I guess is better than one that's terrible! Today though I'm going to a Susan Dennard signing so I'm pretty excited about that!! Going to get my remaining books for her signed AND get that copy of Bloodwitch for my Blogoversary giveaway signed!! Other than that things were just meh this week.

Here's what I got this week:

Bloodwitch by Susan Dennard--been reading this one all week! Liking it for the most part, just wish there was MORE Aeduan!
Polaris Rising by Jessie Mihalik--initially didn't even have this one on my radar but then I KEPT SEEING it! After reading two reviews I was convinced I would enjoy it even with the space setting!

Then I received my contest win from Alexandra's blogoversary contest at Milky Way of Books:

We Told Six Lies by Victoria Scott

THANK YOU Alexandra!

I also received some trades from two lovely traders from the BooksForTrade hashtag:

The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman (ARC)
Last of Her Name by Jessica Khoury (ARC)

THANK YOU Alexa (@pageoflovealexa) & Amber (@thebookbratz)!!

Then for review I received:

Wild Country by Anne Bishop
House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig (ARC)
Wolfhunter River by Rachel Caine (ARC)
THANK YOU Ace, Delacorte, and Thomas & Mercer!
And that was it for me! So while the week was pretty mild, the books that were trickling in were spot on!!! What did you get this week?

Feb 15, 2019

Book Blogger Hop

This meme is hosted by Billy at Ramblings of a Coffee Addict!
This week's question is: Have you ever thought about taking a break from blogging/Booktubing (if you're a Booktuber)? If you have, how long was the break and what did you learn from it? (submitted by Danielle @ PoetryBooksYA)
MY ANSWER: Honestly, it never really occurred to me do so. I enjoy reading and blogging. Blogging is my outlet to gush about what books I loved or if a book really annoyed me or whatever. I have no real life friends who enjoy reading as much as I do, so this is where I get to hash out all my feels regarding books!
The only "break" I suppose you can I say I take from blogging is when I take a rare vacation! Granted, I write up posts ahead of time and I still check out blog posts at least once a day and note which reviews to go back and read later and I always check my email because otherwise, good lord, that will be a LOT of emails to go through. 
So even when I'm on vacation, I'm doing a form of light blogging it would seem! Lol. 

Feb 14, 2019

Review--I'd Rather Be Reading by Guinevere de la Mare

For anyone who'd rather be reading than doing just about anything else, this book is the ultimate must-have. In this visual ode to all things bookish, readers will get lost in page after page of beautiful contemporary art, photography, and illustrations depicting the pleasures of books. Artwork from the likes of Jane Mount, Lisa Congdon, Julia Rothman, and Sophie Blackall is interwoven with text from essayist Maura Kelly, bestselling author Gretchen Rubin, and award-winning author and independent bookstore owner Ann Patchett. Rounded out with poems, quotations, and aphorisms celebrating the joys of reading, this lovingly curated compendium is a love letter to all things literary, and the perfect gift for bookworms everywhere.

The next short book I read is another I’ve had for a while, I’d Rather Be Reading by Guinevere de la Mare, it’s a tiny little book filled with various artwork and a few essays regarding books and the love of reading.

I’ll admit, this one wasn’t as lovable as I had hoped for. The artwork was nice, but I guess I was expecting for more colorful art or something that just spoke to me. The art was still very nice, just not the kind I’d happily frame in my room somewhere. There were some pieces that I did like though; colorful shelves, bookstore fronts, real books…there was quite the variety, yet perhaps what I wanted was just something more! I guess I spend too much time on bookstagram! Lol.

The essays were nice ones too, though some felt like they were just a little too long and I wasn’t sure where things were going. I did really enjoy the last one, 13 Tips for Getting More Reading Done by Gretchen Rubin. The tips were surprisingly helpful and I found that I already do a few of them myself, so I’m on the right track! Lol.

There were a few bookish quotes too, I would have loved to see more of these than the small handful that were in the pages. A bookish quote goes a long way to making me feel all giddy inside.

All in all, this was a nice little read to flip through, but I can honestly say it wasn’t an absolute favorite. I appreciate the love of reading and books so this was still a nice little read, but not one I’d say you have to rush out and buy. I guess I didn’t look at the book’s size when I bought this for I was initially thinking it was a “coffee table book,” but it’s definitely too small for that!

One could easily flip through this book at the store should you come across it, but the essays would take a bit more of reading time to get through, plus tiny font makes it hard to read as well.

Overall Rating 3.5/5 stars 


Random Thursday

Now I am really happy and excited to write up this post each week! With Holidays as our chapter for the month I am thrilled to learn new little tidbits about things I actually know about! Lol! So let's dive back into The Little Book of Answers by Doug Lennox!

(image borrowed from Wikipedia)
The shamrock became a symbol of St. Patrick back in the 5th century when he was transitioning the country to be Christian and leave behind their Pagan roots. When trying to explain the Holy Trinity and how the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost grew from a single stem and symbolized that one God sustained the trinity, he spotted a clover that worked as a perfect visual aid.

That's interesting! I always felt like that's what the clover represented. I guess it was a good thing he didn't pick up a flour leaf clover that day! Lol!

(image borrowed from The Children's Clinic)
New Year's was initially celebrated in France between March 25 and April 1 up until 1564, after the introduction of the Gregorian calendar. The festival was then moved to January 1. Those who resisted the change became the victims of pranks, including invitations to New Year's parties on April 1 that didn't exist. It wasn't long before the pranks played on April 1 took on a life and holiday of their own.

(image borrowed from Peterpilt)
The legend of the Easter bunny bringing eggs to children comes from German folklore. The story goes that during the famine, a poor woman dyed some eggs and then hid them in a chicken nest as a surprise for the children on Easter morning. When the children discovered the eggs, a big rabbit leaped away from it. Soon the story of the rabbit bringing the eggs came to life.

That's interesting! I honestly never knew where we got the Easter bunny legend!

(image borrowed from Eastern Floral)
We came to celebrate Mother's Day in a most tragic way, according to the book! In 1907 Miss Anna Jarvis asked guests to wear a white carnation to church service on the anniversary of her mother's death. Soon Mother's Day became commercialized and Miss Jarvis would spend the rest of her life trying to bring it back to its simplistic roots. The strain of her efforts to stop Mother's Day and what it turned into led her to be put into an insane asylum where she would die alone in 1948.

Most tragic history of a holiday indeed!

(image borrowed from The Indian Express)
In the year 1910, in Spokane, Washington during a Mother's Day service, Mrs. Sonora Dodd thought it would be nice to have a day to honor fathers as well. She and her five brothers had been raised by their father alone. The idea for a Father's Day celebration went well locally, but became a political hot potato and wouldn't receive permanent recognition until President Richard Nixon in 1972. Father's Day is now the fifth-largest card-sending holiday in North America.

Wow. For whatever reason I would've thought Father's Day came to be a holiday first! Very interesting!

Feb 13, 2019

Review--Cookie Monster's Guide to Life: The Joy of Cookies by Cookie Monster

In life, there is one thing we can all agree on: cookies.

And there is no greater expert on this endless source of joy, warmth, and crumbs than Cookie Monster. In The Joy of Cookies, Cookie Monster offers deep thoughts on life, friendship, baking, and the love of cookies. He serves as our guide to all things cookie and shares how best to fully experience the joy cookies bring us.

This is a book to get us through the dark times and celebrate the good times, and to help us more fully understand who we truly are as both cookie lovers and as people.

It’s the perfect gift for friends, family, and fellow monsters—the gift of cookies.

On the in between reads kick, I turn to one that I’ve been wanting to read for a while and oddly, struggled to find time for! Cookie Monster’s Guide to Life: The Joy of Cookies was a splendid read! Written by Cookie Monster himself, this delightful little book will inspire you in many ways.

This was a cute little read! I love those cute little books that prove to be motivating and make you laugh or smile all the same! I used to have a collection of Zelda Wisdom books that provided the same feelings! In this little book we get to have little nuggets of wisdom from Cookie Monster himself! He will help you to find the joy in the little things in life. But mostly cookies!

As a kid, Cookie Monster was my favorite character on Sesame Street. Us cookielovers have to stick together, just like us booklovers. To be truthful, some of Cookie’s advice was very sound, if still a little funny. He made some great points that I wasn’t really expecting to be so thought-provoking.

As a bonus, there are THREE cookie recipes in here that Cookie highly recommends! I especially enjoyed his comments on not eating the cookie dough…though I can’t say I will take that advice, though health reasons says I should! But as Cookie would say, “you only live once. But if you eat cookies, once enough.” I think he’d respect my decision!

The book itself is rather adorable as well! A huge bite was taken out of it, because it’s a book about cookies of course! And I discovered there’s a rather colorful copyright warning, a delightful dedication page, a humorous author’s note, and a warming acknowledgements page as well! Seriously, this book was all kinds of fun and had me smiling throughout! Definitely one I will return to when I’m having a bad day!

Overall Rating 5/5 stars


Waiting on Wednesday

Can't-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted here, at Wishful Endings, to spotlight and discuss the books we're excited about that we have yet to read. Generally they're books that have yet to be released. It's based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by the fabulous Jill at Breaking the Spine. If you're continuing with WOW, feel free to link those up as well! Find out more here.

Amber Sand has spent half her life solidifying other people's happily-ever-afters. As a matchmaker, she has the ability to look into anyone's eyes and see their perfect match. But lately, her powers have been on the fritz, and not only is she totally unsure whether her matches are true, she can't see anyone in the eyes of her boyfriend Charlie Blitzman. With Amber and her friends graduating high school and about to take off for various colleges, Amber is hoping to have one last carefree summer-but she's also dying to find a way to fix her powers, and learn, for better or worse, if she and Charlie are truly meant to be.

So when an online matchmaker named Madame Lamour comes to Chicago, Amber sets out to talk to her and find out who her match is once and for all. Of course, when it comes to the magical community, nothing's ever that easy, and Amber soon finds herself caught up in a breathless showdown that involves a fairy family feud and a magical-creature auction--and requires teaming up with a certain siren nemesis. Can Amber and her friends save the day one more time before setting off for their new lives? And will Amber ever learn whether Charlie is her one true love?

With tons of laugh-out-loud moments, appearances by all your favorite characters, and one totally tearful reveal, you won't want to miss a single swoony moment of this romantic conclusion to the Windy City Magic trilogy.

I love this series! It's so cute and charming! I never thought I'd find that in a magical/paranormaly kind of read! I can't wait to see how it will all end!!

PUBLISHER: Disney-Hyperion
GENRE: YA Magical Realism
RELEASE DATE: March 5, 2019 


Feb 12, 2019

Graphic Novel Review--Wires and Nerve: Volume 2: Gone Rogue by Marissa Meyer

Iko – an audacious android and best friend to the Lunar Queen Cinder – has been tasked with hunting down Alpha Lysander Steele, the leader of a rogue band of bioengineered wolf-soldiers who threaten to undo the tenuous peace agreement between Earth and Luna. Unless Cinder can reverse the mutations that were forced on them years before, Steele and his soldiers plan to satisfy their monstrous appetites with a massacre of the innocent people of Earth.

And to show he’s serious, Steele is taking hostages.

Cinder and Kai, Scarlet and Wolf, Cress and Thorne, and Winter and Jacin all feature in this epic new battle. But it is Iko who must face her deepest fears when she uncovers the truth about her own unusual programming.

While wanting to start on a book that is being delivered today, I thought I’d spend my time reading a few shorter reads that I’ve been neglecting! First up is Wires and Nerve: Volume 2: Gone Rogue by Marissa Meyer and illustrated by Stephen Gilpin. The Lunar Chronicles was such a fun series! It was truly the characters that got me to keep coming back again and again! Iko, of course, was one the best ones and as you might know, Wires and Nerve is her story!

Gone Rogue starts our story by showing us Steele and his band of “merry men” ready to take down Cinder once and for all. Their first stop is to recruit Wolf to their cause, with promises that he can regain his humanity back. Meanwhile, Iko has learned some pretty shocking news regarding her identity chip that has always made her stand out from the rest of the androids and Cinder is making big changes to the way the Lunar palace and world will be run.

The main goal for this one of course was to put a stop to Steele before he can cause too much damage and hurt people. Though there is a kidnapping, and fighting, lots of fighting, and that led to other shocking reveals.

It’s always hard to review a graphic novel or comic book! The story is so short as it is, that you don’t want to give too much away but you also don’t want to leave others in the dark about what goes on! And let’s also add in this one that I really liked how Kinney’s character continued to grow! I can’t remember if he was growing or not towards the end of the first installment of this graphic novel series or not.

The artwork in this book is truly amazing! I love the drawings and designs, I’ll admit, I wish it was more full colored than shades of blue, but it does start to grow on you as you read further along. And I do believe that this series of events took place before that final story we got in Stars Above! So it kind of lets you know how we got to that point in that final story there!

This is definitely a fun, quick read that all Lunar Chronicles fans will enjoy! Or likely enjoyed as I feel like I am way behind on this particular series! Lol. But I am officially caught up and done…until the next surprise that is! You never truly know! If you were a fan of the series and enjoyed Iko’s character—because who didn’t love her?—then you will fall in love with this amazing and wonderful story that lets Iko have a chance in the spotlight!

Overall Rating 5/5 stars

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.

Despite how it may look, I'm only breaking the rules by 3 lines! ;)

"Determined not to be cowed by him or my own newfound curiosity in him, I forced myself to look him full-on in the face. He reached toward my cheek but paused a mere fraction before touching my skin.

'You're not going to kick me again, are you?' he asked.

'I'm still deciding,' I answered.

Accepting the possible consequences, he tucked my hair back before crooking a finger beneath my chin, moving my face gently to the side so he could survey the bruises along my cheekbone and my swollen lip." p 131*

*This quote comes from the ARC, therefore it and its page number are not final. 

TITLE: Bloodleaf
AUTHOR: Crystal Smith
PUBLISHER: HMH Books for Young Readers
GENRE: YA Fantasy
RELEASE DATE: March 12, 2019

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: Favorite Couples In Books

*in no particular order 

Adult Books:
10. CAT & BONES (NIGHT HUNTRESS SERIES)--I tend to fall for those romances where the couple doesn't fall in love at first sight! In fact, Cat tried to kill Bones when she first met him! ;)
9. YELENA & VALEK (STUDY SERIES)--while they didn't fall instantly in love either, they had a working relationship that was soon to develop into something more! Usually vast age differences skeeve me out, but it never did with this series! Though it helps that it's fantasy and in "those times" vast age differences were the norm!
8. MAC & JERICHO (FEVER SERIES)--another of those couples that had a rough start! Lol. Yeah...I'm sure there's a better adjective to use, but let's just say it was always complicated with these two and I wouldn't have it any other way!
7. ELENA & CLAY (WOMEN OF THE OTHERWORLD SERIES)--the first couple we met and definitely my favorite from the series! I loved that they had a history before we started the story and that helped to set up the foundation of the love that was soon to come back!
6. CHARLEY & REYES (CHARLEY DAVIDSON SERIES)--another one of those stories where the characters had a relationship of sorts before the story started! I mean granted, it ended up being a lot deeper than we initially thought, but once again it's another complicated story. Plus I just love Charley! Her attitude towards life is one I admire and adore!

YA Books:

5. AUDREY ROSE & THOMAS (STALKING JACK THE RIPPER SERIES)--how can one not love these two? I'm a book behind but I still ship this pair sooo much!
4. MARY ANN & RILEY (INTERTWINED SERIES)--with two shippable couples in this series, my favorite is DEFINITELY these two! Mostly because Mary Ann was the bookish type and Riley was the quiet moody type and I loved that these two were basically polar opposites and came together! Still wish I knew how they got to have their HEA ending!! 😭😭😭😭
3. KATY & DAEMON (LUX SERIES)--I mean duh! Lol! Another favorite because Katy is a bookworm and blogger too! Gotta love it when the bookworm gets the guy! And plus I still ADORE her for dumping her lunch on Daemon's head!
2. TELLA & DANTE (CARAVAL TRILOGY)--Tella is my girl! I love how bold and sassy she is and isn't afraid to speak her mind! Dante is her perfect match too because he's pretty much the same!
1. CLEO & MAGNUS (FALLING KINGDOMS SERIES)--I'll be honest, I never thought I would like Magnus when I first started the series. I probably stopped hating him by the second book and likely fell for him or nearly there by the third! Their romance made me swoon and made me cry! It was just perfect!!

Feb 11, 2019

Sleeping Beauty Book Tag

I saw this tag over at JennReneeRead awhile back and thought it looked like fun! Before Beauty and the Beast came out, Sleeping Beauty was one of my favorite movies. Mostly because I loved when the fairies tried to make Briar Rose's birthday party without any magic! Lol!

SLEEPING BEAUTY--A main character who is overshadowed by others

I wouldn't say that Ember is overshadowed by other characters, I just wasn't expecting to become so absorbed in Garret, Riley, and Dante's comings and goings as well!

PRINCE PHILLIP--A character you'd slay a dragon for

Charley is definitely one of a kind! I love this girl! I swear she'd be one of my bestest friends if this were real life! I'd definitely want to protect my besties, but like most Urban Fantasy heroines, Charley wouldn't really need saving. But I'd definitely help her slay the dragon...but most likely she'd kick its ass more than I could contribute! Lol!!

FLORA, FAUNA, AND MERRYWEATHER--Your favorite dysfunctional family

While Kaz and his crew aren't necessarily family, they were quite the group of people! I think by the end they were something of a family. A very dysfunctional family you can't help but love!!

MALEFCIENT--A villain you can relate to

The Darkling was very relatable in a sense. True he went about his ambitions in a destructive way, but in the long run, I felt like he just wanted to be loved and who doesn't want that?

ONCE UPON A DREAM--A book that gave you deja vu

This one gave me the feels and memories I had of L.J. Smith's The Forbidden Game! While Stephanie's story is entirely different in the long run, it was just that whole "dangerous game" that was being played that reminded me of Smith's book! Ironically, they both had a Julian too! :D

BLUE VS PINK--A character who can't make up his/her mind

Like many a YA heroine, Layla couldn't seem to make up her mind about who she wanted to be with! The ever present love triangle. Though I admit, Jennifer does good love triangles as I found myself unable to pick a "team" right away, but my heart was always set on Roth despite how awesome Zayne could be!

SLEEPING SPINDLE (FULFILLMENT OF THE CURSE)--A book that turned out exactly how you thought it would

It's probably cheating to pick the final Harry Potter book but in the long run it ended in the way I had hoped for, although there were a few too many deaths that I didn't want to happen but what can you do? Lol.

If anyone else wants to get in on this fun little tag, consider yourself tagged!