Review: Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1) by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman

Illuminae (The Illuminae Files, #1)Illuminae by Amie Kaufman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I.
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AM.
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LOVE.

I would give a million stars to this if I could. Seriously, all the stars!!

I sort of feel like I was the last person in the universe to experience Illuminae. I call it an experience because, oh my stars, was it ever.

I wasn’t sure going in whether or not I would be able to handle the format. Scanning through the book before starting it seemed so chaotic. How would I ever keep track of it all?

In the end, it really worked for me! Something as simple as having a black page with white font makes the reading experience so unique. I was urged by quite a few folks to check out the audiobook but I didn’t want to miss out on any of the visuals.

Moving forward, I may switch back and forth between audio and hard copy for Gemina; see how I like it.

I won’t go into the plot here, as I feel at this point, we all pretty much get what this is about. One thing I will say though, is how impressed I was with the characters; including Aidan. They were so well done.

I felt extremely attached to Kady and Ezra but also, even the side characters, were well-fleshed out. At its heart, this story is an action-packed tale of love and loss. It tugged at my heartstrings, for real.

Even though it is a pretty chunky book, it went by so quickly. I didn’t want it to end. I’m not sure when I will be able to continue on with the series but am I definitely looking forward to it!!!!

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Review: Roar by Cora Carmack

Roar (Stormheart, #1)Roar by Cora Carmack
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars**

This book to me:

Wow, okay. No one warned me how highly addictive this story was!

I picked Roar up as the July book for The Page Turners Book Club over on Facebook hosted by Chelsea Palmer. When the book was announced, I thought, hey, why not? That’s been sitting on my shelf for over two years…

I expected it to be just okay, maybe 3-stars. I’m not sure why I thought that. Maybe because I just have not heard a lot of people ever really talking about it.

I was not expecting the super creative, compellingly readable YA Fantasy that I got. The magic system is incredible and the characters were well written and so much fun!

This story follows, Aurora, who is a Princess of Pavan and from a Stormling family. These Stormlings have powers that can help protect from and conquer storms. Unfortunately for Aurora, her powers never manifested, a fact she needs to keep secret from the rest of world.

In order to keep the secret and save the crown, her mother arranges for her to marry a Stormling Prince from another kingdom. Upon meeting her betrothed, Aurora is underwhelmed at best.

She doesn’t trust him and wants to figure out how to dissolve the marriage arrangement. When she learns from a loyal servant, that her Prince will be visiting a black market one night, Aurora decides to follow him. Once there she loses sight of him and ends up meeting a group of Storm Hunters.

Intrigued by their abilities, she decides to run away with them in the hopes of learning how to conjure her own magic. With the right magic, she can fight to get her kingdom back under her control without some unwanted marriage.

The group of Storm Hunters is comprised of a number of great characters who I loved reading about. When a ragtag group of individuals comes together and travels, trains and fights together, I just can’t get enough of it. It’s actually one of my favorite tropes and this set-up did not disappoint.

There was so much to love about this book and if the gifs are not enough of an indication for you, I did get strong Dany transforming into Khaleesi vibes from Rora. There is so much left with this story to discover. We have so many unanswered leads. That Epilogue!!!

I cannot imagine having read this two years ago and then having to wait forever and a day for the release of the next book. Rage, if you aren’t aware, is releasing at the end of August 2019. I am definitely preordering it because I need answers!

I am so happy that I finally picked this up. I was very impressed with the magic system, the world building, the characters, all of it. The one thing that I wasn’t super crazy about was the beginning of the romance. It was a bit too instalovey but it did end up growing on me.

If you have had this sitting on your shelves for two years as well, I highly recommend picking it up before the second book is released. This is so binge worthy. Now all I want for my life is to become a storm hunter. Is that too much to ask?

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Review: You Must Not Miss by Katrina Leno

You Must Not MissYou Must Not Miss by Katrina Leno
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars rounded up**

I think about this book ALL THE TIME but still am at a loss for how to adaquately review it.

I implore y’all to please read this book. If you are not sold on it simply by the fact that this is written by Katrina Leno, how about that it one of the most solidly unique and hella dark YA stories that I have ever read. This is literally a revenge thriller at its most bizarre.

There’s really no way to easily describe what this book is. I would say the following:

It’s horror like Stephen King’s Carrie is horror.

It’s fantasy like Seanan McGuire’s Down Among the Sticks and Bones is fantasy.

It’s moving like Nina LaCour’s We Are Okay is moving.

It’s like so many other things while simultaneously being like nothing at all.

Katrina Leno’s writing is so great. This story drew me in immediately. Magpie is a high school girl who feels silenced, like her power has been stripped from her by others. This is about her taking that power back.

I was surprised how dark this got but in such a creative and beautifully written way. I love dark stories so this meshed with my tastes perfectly.

I would highly recommend this to people who like dark plots but also to anyone who enjoys a solid contemporary story with a deep magical realism component. I need everyone to give this a shot!!!

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Mid-Month Medieval-A-Thon Status Update

Hi book friends! Just like that mid-month is upon us. What better time to update you all on how I am doing with the Medieval-A-Thon? If you don’t know, Medieval-A-Thon is a month-long readathon hosted by Holly over at Holly Hearts Books on YouTube. I will link her announcement video below, click it for all the details, challenges, etc:

Medieval-A-Thon Announcement

Holly reads a ton of Fantasy and is a great channel to go to for recommendations and other news within that genre. She is my go-to when I am looking for new Adult Fantasy recommendations and just when I want a good laugh because she is so freaking funny. I love her videos. Be sure to check out her channel!

Of the 10 specific challenges listed for the readathon, I have thus far completed two:

  1. Read a shiny book to earn the breastplate of your suite of armor: For this I completed, The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell. I haven’t done a review or decided on a star rating for this book yet. It was a lot. There were a lot of character perspectives to follow and time jumps and things got hecka confusing there for a while. I did enjoy it. I thought the characters were great but I am just a bit at a loss as too how much I enjoyed it. Does this ever happen to anyone else? Regardless, the ouroboros-type graphic on this is super shiny in the light of the hardcover version that I read.
  2. Read a book with assassins in it to earn your fighting daggers: I am not 100% sure this is what this weapon is called but it is what it looks like to me from Holly’s graphic. For this I completed Soul of the Sword by Julie Kagawa, which is the second book in the Shadow of the Fox trilogy. I loved this book, gave it five stars and am on pins-and-needles in anticipation waiting for the final installment. When does book 3 release? 2020!!!!!! No idea how I will wait that long. I did receive an ARC of Soul of the Sword so hoping that I can pull that off for Night of the Dragon. Anyway, back to what we are actually suppose to be talking about, this book has assassins after Yumeko and friends as they try to make their way to the Silent Winds Temple.

Although these are the only things I have completed thus far, I am currently working on five other books that will complete challenges. Quickly, they are: Roar by Cora Carmack, this is to get my crown by reading a book where a character fights for the throne; Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia for the helmet to my suit of armor for reading a book with a dragon on the cover (there is a small image of a totem dragon head on this cover); rereading The Dark Half by Stephen King for the boots of my suit of armor by reading a book that has yellowed over time (this isn’t technically ‘fantasy’ but it is supernatural horror soooooooo, I’m counting it); Lost Boy: The True Story of Captain Hook by Christina Henry for my cape by reading a book that has red on the dust jacket; and finally, The Wicked King by Holly Black to earn my bow & arrow by reading a book with elves in it (don’t fight me on this, this is what Holly is choosing for this very prompt, she is boss, she is Queen, it’s happening).

In addition to these, I am also hoping to get to Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson this month to get my sword by reading a book with something pointy on the cover, as well as Priest of Lies (War for the Rose Throne #2) by Peter McLean to get my battle axes by reading a book with mercenaries in it.

Yeah, so that’s it. No problem at all, right? We won’t even mention the fact that this is my busiest month of the year at work right now. No, we won’t mention that. I’m so in the weeds right now I have to send my parents emails every once in while just so they know I’m still alive. Just me?

I hope you are all having a wonderfully productive reading month. Even though I have only completed two books so far for this readathon, I actually have already completed 8 books this month and I am confident I can pull through with these titles.

Are you participating in Medieval-A-Thon? How is it going for you so far? Have you read any of the books I am reading? I want to know. Leave me a comment here or contact me through any of my social media links.

Cheers & Happy Reading!

Review: Lock Every Door by Riley Sager

Lock Every DoorLock Every Door by Riley Sager
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

After losing her job and her live-in boyfriend in one day, Jules feels like a lost soul. Crashing on her best friend’s couch, she can’t believe she has come so low so quickly.

She is determined to get back on her feet, whatever it takes, and just like that an opportunity falls in her lap. Well, not literally, she actually finds opportunity in the classifieds section. Apartment Sitter Wanted.

The Bartholomew is one of the most prestigious apartment buildings in New York City and Jules cannot believe they actually want to interview her for the appointment. Upon seeing the apartment, she absolutely cannot believe her luck. Pristine living quarters, breathtaking views and a handsome next-door neighbor.

$12,000 to live in the apartment for 3-months. Other requirements? Really none besides the fact that she isn’t allowed any visitors, she cannot spend a night away and she absolutely cannot hassle the other tenants.

Her best friend, Chloe, tries to warn her off. If it seems too good to be true it probably is but as Jules sees it, what option does she have?

So, she moves in.

Guys, I freaking loved this book so much! I cannot even describe to you how much fun this was for me to read. It basically has everything I love. Sager’s writing draws you in and the atmosphere is always intense. The setting of the Bartholomew was absolutely brilliant. The history surrounding the building, the other tenants, the odd rules…

There were scenes, reading late into the night, when I was legit terrified. Ultimately, it went in a direction I never would have predicted and it is bizarre and so flipping good. Let’s just say, Hitchcock would be impressed.

Thank you so much, PENGUIN GROUP Dutton, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I cannot even express my level of gratitude. This was my most anticipated thriller of 2019 and it did not disappoint for a moment. I loved every minute of reading this and will pick up anything Sager ever chooses to have published!

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Review: Soul of the Sword (Shadow of the Fox #2) by Julie Kagawa

Soul of the Sword (Shadow of the Fox, #2)Soul of the Sword by Julie Kagawa
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It’s so good.
This story is soooooooo good!

That’s a lot of ooooooo’s but seriously…

I am absolute trash for this series.
Bring on Book 3!!!

I read Shadow of the Fox at the beginning of the year and it quickly stood out as a new favorite. I was drawn into the Empire of Iwagoto and now I never want to leave!

This second book continues directly after the final events of the first book. We find Yumeko and her crew on the road to the Steel Feather temple in the hopes of protecting the last pieces of the Dragon Scroll. Y’all know a quest is one of my all-time favorite tropes.

The team of characters setting forth on this mission together makes this story for me. Their personalities play off one another so well. It seriously makes me want to be a part of the group. I don’t care how outright scary and dangerous it gets!

While I wasn’t quite as smitten with this installment as I was with the first book, it is still definitely worth all five stars in my eyes. As second books go, this one upped the stakes of the quest and left off in an exceptionally intriguing part of the story.

I’m not really quite sure how I will hold off until March 2020 for Book 3. I need more Yumeko, Okame, Tatsumi and friends NOW!

It’s almost unfair of Kagawa to do this to us. How dare you write such perfection?!

I would love to shout from the rooftops how much I love this series but that could get embarrassing. For now, I will be content with recommending the heck out of it to all my YA Fantasy-reading friends.

Also, legit anime come to life. The atmosphere and tone of this is so dynamic, it leaps off the page and into your minds-eye so clearly. It’s honestly tremendous.

I want to thank the publisher, Inkyard Press, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review. It was one of my most anticipated books of the year and it certainly did not disappoint. If you are sleeping on this series, wake up, pick it up and join me in a fangirling!

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Review: Daisy Jones & the Six

Daisy Jones & The SixDaisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The 1970’s was an amazing decade for music. The rock genre began taking the world by storm, selling out large arenas and gathering unheard of crowds of obsessed fans.

Groups such as The Who, Led Zeppelin, Blue Oyster Cult, Boston, and Queen were living large with lifestyles infused with sex, drugs and rock and roll. This is the profile of one such band, Daisy Jones & the Six.

Told via a highly creative interview format, Daisy Jones & The Six is an exceptional example of that format done wisely. This felt like an episode of VH1’s Behind the Music on steroids!

I started my read of this switching back and forth between my hard copy and the audiobook. Roughly 35% in, it was clear the audiobook is absolutely the best way to inhale this story.

The full cast truly draws you in. I felt like these people were real. I wanted to hear their songs, buy their album and hang their posters on my wall. Billy had me fangirling like I was in Junior High all over again.

This was my first Taylor Jenkins Reid and I was definitely impressed. She writes with such skill. I cannot wait to pick up some of her other books. Obviously, Evelyn Hugo will be next. I just hope the hype for that holds up as well as this one did!

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Review: Those People by Louise Candlish

Those PeopleThose People by Louise Candlish
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Let’s get the main grit out of the way:
I am trash for domestic drama from Louise Candlish.

She has such a knack for examining the dark side of an otherwise mundane domestic landscape. Additionally, I am really into how she formats her stories.

She incorporates the use of mixed media, such as police interviews, newspaper articles, texts and/or emails, and I absolutely love that.

This story is set on Lowland Way, a quiet residential street in a posh-suburban neighborhood. The envy of other neighborhoods, this one seems the perfect place to be and raise a family.

Everyone gets along so smoothly, they have even organized ‘play-out Sunday‘, where the street literally gets blocked off to cars and the kids just play in the street all day while the parents relax and socialize. Everyone cooperates. Everyone participates. It’s perfect.

That is until Darren and Jodie move into #1 after Darren inherits the property. They bring with them loud music, inappropriate language, a dodgy renovation project, not to mention many cars that he actively works on and sells from his driveway.

The icing on the cake being that they refuse to follow the rules of play-out Sunday and continue driving cars on the street!!!

As you can imagine, neighbors are not impressed. In fact, their presence causes so much stress that several people discuss selling and moving on. Long-term owners on the street refuse to be cowed by the newcomers however and the plotting and diabolical scheming begins.

Y’all, these neighbors are savage!
They take their domestic peace VERY SERIOUSLY!!!
I can’t say I blame them but, damn, the stuff they come up with!

I had a really great time reading this. As with Our House, you know from the very beginning that a crime has occurred but you aren’t quite sure who the victim is. Overtime, through interviews and the perspectives of multiple characters the true story gets revealed. This style, for me, makes the plot move along very quickly and I love starting a new chapter in order to see someone else’s POV.

At this point, I am a fangirl for Candlish and will definitely continue to pick up any domestic drama she puts out! Thank you so much to the publisher, Berkley Publishing Group, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review. I truly appreciate it!

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Review: The Regulators by Stephen King writing as Richard Bachman

The RegulatorsThe Regulators by Richard Bachman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars rounded up**

To the residents of Poplar Street, in suburban Wentworth, Ohio, July 15, 1996 seems like any other summer day. The paperboy is dutifully tending to his route, the Reed twins are entertaining young ladies, and the corner convenience store is functioning like a well-oiled machine.

Little do they know, the proverbial shit is about to hit the fan.

The Regulators are coming to Poplar Street and you are damn lucky if you come out of this alive!

It’s hard to imagine a 475-page novel, taking place in one afternoon on one suburban street, making you cringe in anticipation but this one sure does.

We follow this set cast of characters from the minute The Regulators first come onto their street until the bitter end. Some we love, some we hate but in the end, no one escapes their fate.

You may wonder, yeah, but what’s it all about?

Trust me when I say, it’s best to go into this knowing as little as possible, but for those of you who are just going to insist on knowing more, I will give you this one small clue: (view spoiler)

This novel is hella violent and dark so if that isn’t your cup of tea, you may as well just mosey on by. This book is only for those with the intestinal fortitude to handle intense scenes of violence.

This is actually my second read of this and I would definitely recommend reading Desperation and this novel back-to-back. I think the overall experience is enhanced if handled that way. I love them both and for different reasons. A must read combo for King’s Constant Readers!

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Review: Wild and Crooked by Leah Thomas

Wild and CrookedWild and Crooked by Leah Thomas
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars**

This is the story of the friendship of Kalyn Spence and Gus Peake. Two kids whose stories were tragically intertwined before they even knew that the other existed.

You see, Kalyn’s Dad is in prison, accused of murdering Gus’s Dad. When Kalyn moves to Samsboro, into her paternal Grandmother’s home, she is forced to attend school under an alias for fear of repercussions if people knew she was a Spence.

She tries to fly under the radar but finds her new found persona exhausting. She befriends Gus, who definitely stands out in a crowd, and finds his honesty and quiet demeanor refreshing.

Gus has lived in Samsboro his whole life with his Mom, who has never fully recovered from the loss of his father, and her wife, Tamara. Gus, who has cerebral palsy, spends most of his time with his best friend, Phil, but longs for a bigger life outside of Samsboro.

Once Gus and Kalyn begin spending time together, they grow close rather quickly and are both shocked when they discover how their lives are tied together.

Soon the kids are uncovering long-held, small-town secrets and exposing evidence that has never before been brought to light.

I really enjoyed this story. I don’t think Leah Thomas could have fit more hard-hitting topics in here if she tried!

This is a story of identity, perceptions, reality, love, hate, forgiveness, moving on; in short, it’s about life. The characters are great. I loved Kalyn and Gus both so much and even Phil, self-proclaimed antisocial personality disorder and all.

I was pleasantly surprised when the book took a mysterious turn and the kids started their own investigation. I had a lot of fun reading that aspect of the story.

I need more people to read this and be talking about it. I think there is a lot of really great rep in here and the various stories were so honestly told. It was really moving. So, yeah, if you are into Contemporary, pick this one up! It’s so worth it!!!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Bloomsbury, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I appreciate the opportunity and look forward to reading more from this author!

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