Weekly TBR: July 31-August 6

Wow! I just want to take a moment to thank each and every one of you for following us and reading our reviews. We reached 50 follows this weekend and that’s a huge milestone for us that we are so happy about!

To celebrate, I’m writing my first ‘non-review’ post for you. I read quite quickly and I have a regimented reading schedule that I like to stick to. I schedule at least 1 book a day to read but that really helps me wind down after I get home from work so it isn’t bad! Posting 3 reviews per week is something that keeps me reading and helps me get through my schedule.

I figured I would try something new and make a weekly post of books that I am going to read! Reviews will be coming and we already have a TON queued up for you each week. (I’d also like to add that I won the books below through a giveaway on Twitter from Angie (disquietus))

 

Continue reading Weekly TBR: July 31-August 6

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Review: ‘An Enchantment of Ravens’

This book has had so much hype on Twitter. I actually hadn’t heard of it, but my co-blogger Missy had been searching for it for ages! We randomly walked by the Simon and Shuster booth at BookCon and I saw it on a table as a giveaway. Needlesstosay, we ran to that table really quick!
Title: An Enchantment of Ravens

Author: Margaret Rogerson

Series: Standalone

Rating: 4/5 stars

Pub date: September 26, 2017

I received this as an ARC from BookCon. This is an honest review.

Summary

I have mentioned before that I don’t tend to like books about the fae and faerie realm. Because of the buzz, I figured that I would try it out! I was pleasantly surprised. This story follows Isobel, who is a Craft worker. She does paintings and many fae come to have their portrait done by her. Fae are somewhat bloodthirsty for Craft pieces and Isobel’s are no exception. One day, a faerie Prince comes to have his portrait done and, unhappy with the results, kidnaps Isobel.

Likes

I felt that the story was pretty unique in itself. Humans doing Craft work for fae is something I hadn’t read about before and the relations between humans/fae aren’t always the best in books I have read previously. Fae give humans enchantments in exchange for their Craft work and Isobel is famous for hers, so she is visited by many fae. I liked Isobel as a character, but I think I liked Rook (the prince) a little bit more. I thought he was… Well, enchanting, for lack of a better word and his power was pretty cool. He was able to shape shift into a raven, hence the title of the book. The story brings the two to a faerie court and I thought the tale they had of the Green Well was interesting and magical on its own. It fit into the story and did not feel rushed at all.

(Dis)likes

There are a few things I didn’t like about the story. There was a romance and I just… Didn’t feel connected to it. It felt out of place and I didn’t really see the development as much as I would have hoped. There was a lot of banter, etc. but it wasn’t like banter that I would normally associate with a budding relationship. I also found that the names of the courts were pretty similar to Sarah J Maas’ ACOTAR. There was a summer, winter, spring, and autumn. I don’t know if that is something that is typical in books about the fae, but I have only read a couple so I can’t comment on that. I just found it a little odd. Finally, I didn’t feel a true connection to the characters very much. I enjoyed the book and the story, but I didn’t have many emotional reactions when there could have been one.

Recommendation

I would compare this book to a mixture of the courts of ACOTAR and the Seelie Court from TMI. The story itself is entirely different, but the backstory seems familiar to these two books. I would suggest this book to anyone who is a fan of magical fae books, possibly ones by Holly Black. I would also recommend to anyone looking for a unique story.

Happy reading! ~ Taylor

Review: ‘Warcross’

The story of how I got this book is insane. I was at BookCon with my co-blogger Missy and there was a huge commotion about getting this book. Seriously. We literally had to fight for a copy (okay, not really, but there was a lot of people trying to get a ticket) and I am so glad we did.

 
Title: Warcross

Author: Marie Lu

Series: Warcross

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Pub date: September 12, 2017

I received this book as an ARC from BookCon. This is an honest review.

Summary

This book surprised me. I had a vague idea of what it was about but the cover is absolutely gorgeous so I was intrigued already. They had a Warcross game at BookCon that we played a little bit–Missy won a t-shirt and a sampler!–and it is a book on many people’s highly coveted TBR. Warcross follows the story of Emika Chen, a bounty hunter in a (presumably) futuristic Manhattan. There is a game called Warcross that many people access through a pair of ultra high-tech glasses and Emika hacks the game, much to the surprise of the creator. Emika is summoned to Tokyo, where a majority of the book takes place, for a job that Hideo (the creator) asks her to do.

Likes

I have to say I was shocked at how much I loved this book. Okay, I know what you’re thinking: it’s Marie Lu! How couldn’t it be good!? That’s very true. But what Lu does with this story is extraordinary and I loved the complexity of the world she created. I am usually not a fan of sci-fi books but this one had so many different elements to it: technology, competition, a romance, and a sort of mystery case. Emika is truly such a strong main character to this story: she is cunning and intelligent and also very good at hacking. I mean, she’s super good, like on the level of Wade from Kim Possible. I love when books include characters that have talents which are not “typical” of their gender (screw gender roles!) and this book is no exception. I admired her willpower and determination to solve the case that she was assigned, all while working with a team of people she has never met in the Warcross game. I would also like to point out that while there is a romance in this book, it does not overwhelm the story too much in that it makes it all about the romance. I was actually a little surprised by the romance in all honesty but it did fit in with the story.

(Dis)likes

I can’t really discount this book for much. I didn’t give it 5 stars because it didn’t blow me away but I did enjoy every aspect of the book. I think it explored the Warcross game well and went into enough detail that I wasn’t left wondering about loose ends or things that weren’t explained fully. I don’t personally like when a ton of unnecessary details are thrown in but there were a few Japanese culture traditions in here which I found very cool!

Recommendation

I would recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of sci-if or of Marie Lu. The writing is very similar to Legend/The Young Elites. I think this book is a cross between an episode of Black Mirror (I won’t spoil which) and Sucker Punch. There is a game and an alternate reality brought on by the use of highly advanced technology and everyone loves it. But is it really the best choice? Read to find out!

Happy reading! ~ Taylor

Review: ‘Hunting Prince Dracula’

OH. MY GOD. I have been looking forward to this book since I finished Stalking Jack the Ripper. I was so obsessed with Jack the Ripper after I read that book, and I told Kerri the same when I met her at BookCon and received this sequel!

 
Title: Hunting Prince Dracula

Author: Kerri Maniscalco

Series: Stalking Jack the Ripper

Rating: 5/5 stars

Pub date: September 19, 2017

I received this book as an ARC from BookCon. This is an honest review.

Summary

Holy wow. This book KNOCKED MY DARN SOCKS OFF. Seriously, it was so good, I just ate it up. Not literally, but figuratively, I was having a five course meal. This book follows Audrey and Thomas (fondly Wadsworth and Creswell) to a forensic school in Romania, where Audrey’s uncle has arranged for them to attend classes and learn more about the subject. Of course, this book wouldn’t be complete without a murder mystery, and the plot thickens as Audrey and Thomas conduct their own investigation.

Likes

Let me first say that Audrey and Thomas’ banter is the best thing I have ever read. I would 10/10 recommend them for a darn comedy show. Thomas knows just how to antagonize Audrey and I literally love them together so much as partners. Audrey is calulating and intelligent, while Thomas is witty and deductive. Yes, I said deductive, just like Sherlock Holmes. He very much reminds me of that character, with a little bit of Moriarty thrown in. Audrey is plagued by men still thinking less of her because of the time (the year is 1888) and that she isn’t capable of doing forensic work. She surprises everyone once again in this book by figuring out clues that nobody even thought of looking at or considering. I love Audrey’s strong willed nature and her thirst for adventure and sleuthing. She is someone that I wouldn’t mind being best friends with! Thomas compliments her perfectly and provides comic relief as well as honest-to-goodness panty-dropping lines.  He also appreciates Audrey’s knowledge,unlike  some other characters in the book who don’t believe in her. I would very much like my own Thomas Creswell, but alas, he does not exist. Audrey especially struggles during this book to decide if her feelings for Thomas are simply platonic or something ‘more’. I think the best part of this series is that a relationship isn’t forced and it very much focuses on the development of a friendship/partnership rather than an instant love story. I also find the writing in this book to be very fluid and it grips you at every turn. I was completely enveloped the entire time and I read this entire book in one night because I couldn’t pull myself away. I also like the fact that Kerri focuses on a different famous murderer and formulates an entire fictional story around the history that already exists. I love learning about the history as well and I am so anxious to see the title of Book 3!

(Dis)likes

There isn’t much I don’t like about this book, other than that I wish it never ended. I would also like to point out that we are introduced to an LGBT character in this book and I am LIVING for it. It wasn’t a main plot point but it was bold and made me squeal a bit. This book weaves in Romanian culture as well as many different personalities and that’s something that I think the author does very well. I did not know much about Romania before reading this book and the only other book that had that culture in it was And I Darken (which I did not like). I liked reading about urban legends that are told in the country and how it related to the fictional story she was telling. I have also been intrigued by the real Vlad Dracul and have watched many documentaries on who he really was, which is fascinating, and makes me want to watch more after reading this book. It also makes me want to make a quick trip to Romania because it sounds gorgeous and I really need to visit a castle like the one Audrey & Thomas studied in ASAP.

Recommendation

I would recommend this book to those who have read Stalking Jack the Ripper (obviously), but so those who love a good murder mystery. That is the main premise of this book and it is so enthralling. You won’t be disappointed if you give this book/series a try!

Happy reading! ~ Taylor


Review: ‘Legacy of Kings’

This was a very different read for me! I had it on my TBR for a loooooong time and while at the library, it was in the same area as other historical fiction so I decided to pick it up and finally get to reading.

 
Title: Legacy of Kings

Author: Eleanor Herman

Series: Blood of Gods and Royals

Rating: 3/5 stars

Summary

If you’ve read my blogs in the past, you know how much I enjoy historical fiction. I love the mixture of actual history and then the altering that the author does to make the story their own. I feel that it’s super unique based on the author and this story was no different. This book is about a young Alexander the Great and chronicles about 4 different characters’ experiences throughout the book.

Likes

This book automatically made me think of Game of Thrones. The cover gave me that vibe and then I felt like the writing was quite similar too. Now, the book wasn’t quite as long and detailed as those books but I did get a similar feeling while I was reading it. I confess I do not know much about Alexander the Great but this book focuses on his teenage years just before he is about to take the throne. Fictional characters such as Kat and Jacob are woven into the story to give it more depth and expand upon history. I found myself really liking the main female character, Kat, and how her story was woven into the bigger picture. Her friend from home, Jacob, competes in a tournament called the Blood Tournament. Kat follows and is quickly wrapped up in court life due to an interesting occurrence during the competition. It is soon revealed that while the occurrence might have been chance, she has a far more sinister plot for being at the palace. I have to say that I definitely didn’t see the end of the book coming. I was shocked when I read the last page and it definitely made me want to read the second book.

Dislikes

But, I don’t know if that plot twist will convince me to read the second book. While I didn’t hate this book, the writing was a little dated for me and there wasn’t enough action in it. I expected much more action in the story but it didn’t deliver very well. One thing I have to note is that there is a romance aspect in this book but it didn’t seem to play a large part. And I really liked that. I am kind of tired of YA books always having a romance and I thought this book did a great job of not primarily focusing on that and actually advancing the plot without the need of romance. Nevertheless, there were parts of the book that droned on for me and I didn’t feel as enveloped in the story as I was expecting. I also expected a little more in relation to the ‘gods’ aspect and some mythology, because of the series’ title. That was barely in the book.

Recommendation

I would recommend this book to those who are fans of Game of Thrones, or other historical fantasies. I wouldn’t discount the uniqueness of writing about Alexander the Great, as I haven’t seen it done before. I also feel like this book will prompt me to do a bit of research into that time period.

Happy reading! ~ Taylor

Review: ‘Defy the Stars’

Hey! I picked this book up randomly because the cover was pretty. Honestly, when you don’t know what to read next, pretty covers help me choose. I read the blurb on the front cover and was pretty intrigued.

 
Title: Defy the Stars

Author: Claudia Gray

Series: Constellation

Rating: 4/5 stars

Summary

Have you ever wanted to read a book that is in the genre of sci-fi that isn’t a typical read? Well then this one is for you. I would describe it as a mixture of Star Wars and iRobot. The main character, Noemi, finds herself teamed up with an unlikely companion: Abel, who is a robot with artificial intelligence. They race through space in order to help save Noemi’s people on the planet of Genesis.

Likes

I was surprised how much I liked this book. It was SO GOOD. I normally don’t like sci-fi books but this one sounded so interesting that I decided on reading it. Man, am I glad I did. This story is so action-packed, and it kept me hooked the entire time I read it. It was a page-turner and I found the characters surprisingly very likable. My favorite character had to be Abel. I didn’t know what to expect when I found out that he was a mech–this world’s term for robot–because in the first meeting of him, he isn’t someone you thought you would end up liking. He ended up being fiercely loyal to Noemi and the both of them saved each other’s lives countless times throughout the book.

(Dis)likes

I felt like I didn’t really get much of the intergalactic vibe as I wished I had. That is, the story really focused on the two main characters, and did not really explain much that was happening in the galaxy other than that. There were a few things mentioned in the book that I would have love expansion on and I think they should have been made a “bigger deal” in the main plot of the book. I think there could have been many more important details from experiences the characters have which could have related to the main plot a lot more. I feel like they will definitely be expanded on more in book 2 because the ending left much open-ended. I like when books are left open-ended in this way if there’s going to be a second one and I was pleased with the ending.

Recommendation

I would recommend this book to those who are fans of books such as Empress of a Thousand Skies. This definitely gave me the same vibe but with an entirely different storyline. I also could compare it to something like Guardians of the Galaxy in a way, though the whole suicide squad/fugitive trope doesn’t come into play here: a lot of the names of places seemed similar though!

Happy reading! ~ Taylor

Review: ‘A Gathering of Shadows’ 

I read the first book in this series a year ago and I don’t remember really being gripped by it. One of my friends’ friends that I met up with at BookCon really loved this series so I decided I would pick it up again and try it out.
WARNING: There are spoilers if you haven’t read the first book in this series, A Darker Shade of Magic.

 

 

Title: A Gathering of Shadows

Author: V.E. Schwab

Series: A Darker Shade of Magic

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Summary

I was surprised how much I loved this book. After not enjoying the first one that much, I was skeptical about this second book. It’s a monster, coming in at 500 pages, but I usually give a book 50 pages before I decide to DNF it. I did not do that with this: I was enveloped in the story from page 1 and I was so happy I picked it up. This follows the stories of Lila, Kell & Rhy (and Holland) as they prepare for a magical tournament. Lila decides to enter said tournament, much to the surprise of Kell & Rhy. We left Lila as she sailed away on a ship at the end of book 1 and her return was delightful.

Likes

That being said, my favorite character was Lila. She is the perfect definition of badass and I am in love with her confidence. She has the skill to be on the same level as men in this book in fighting and, yes, in magic. Her character brightened the book for me and I am glad that she was brought back into the story. The tournament reminded me a little bit of The Crown’s Games’ Imperial Enchanter tournament, where those with magic fight one another in order to win. But, this is far less deadly than Crown’s competition and it is had between 3 different areas of the kingdom. I found the different ‘shades’ of London to be one of my favorite things about this story. I thought it was cool that there were co-existing Londons: Red, Gray, White and Black. It is kind of like from the Flash where they have Earth 2, etc., and Kell is one of the only ones who can travel between these different Londons.

(Dis)likes

I didn’t give this book 5 stars because it didn’t totally blow me away. I definitely liked it better than the first and plan n reading the third very soon. I felt that it gripped my attention a lot better and I felt like I was there at the competition. I don’t know what could have been done differently in order to blow me away but I will say that there is a lot of description in this book. I personally don’t care for a ton of description, but it made it a little bit of a slower read because of it. Though, it was 500 pages, so it was a bit of a slow read anyway. The ending was a perfect cliffhanger.

Recommendation

I would recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of magic and fantasy. V.E. Schwab’s books tend to be very magical and they are entirely enjoyable reads. I could compare it to The Crown’s Game, as I said before. It felt like a perfect Sunday read and I hope you enjoy it, too!

Happy reading! ~ Taylor