Review: ‘Nevernight’

I put off reading Nevernight until close to the release date of Godsgrave because I just had a feeling this would be a series I would want (need) to read back to back.

And.

I was right.

Title: Nevernight
Author: Jay Kristoff
Series: The Nevernight Chronicle
Rating: 5/5 stars

First, please let me get my fangirling out. ALDSJLFJASLDFKAJDAFJLDASD ALL THINGS HOLY OMG CAPSLOCK TO INFINITY AND BEYOND THIS BOOK IS FREAKING A-MAZ-ING WITH A CAPITAL A.

I honestly don’t know if my review will be able to do this book justice, but I will try my damn best! This is a spoiler free review, so I will not be going into too many details.

You’ll either absolutely love and devour this book, or it’ll confuse the f out of you and you’ll hate it. There really is no in between. I LOVED THIS BOOK. I CAN’T BELIEVE I WAITED SO LONG TO READ IT but oh yes I can because now I can jump right into Godsgrave (and then sob as I have to wait for the final book).

I should also warn you, if books came with ratings, this book would be rated R. And I mean this in the best possible way. The main character(s) are technically teens – 16, 17 or so but this is not a young adult book. There is murder and blood and violence and sex and language and #stabstabstab and death. This is not for the faint of heart. This will not have a happy ending. (I hope I’m wrong on that…but I don’t think I am.)

This story is told by a mysterious narrator – by “someone who knew her true.” (I have theories on who this narrator could be, but we’ll save that for the Godsgrave review.)

The “her” the narrator speaks of is Mia Corvere – a strong, fearless, badass girl who wants revenge for her fallen family – she has people she needs dead, and becoming a member of the Red Church will hone her skills for her to achieve her goals of murder and revenge.

I will admit, the first 100-or so pages of this book, I was confused af. I listened to the majority of this as an audiobook. Part 1 of this book has a lot of back and forth from past to present was very confusing as audio (but its less confusing as text, as the past is denoted with italics where the present is regular text). I was really iffy about this book until Mia arrived at the Red Church, where she would learn to be a Blade (assassin) and then things started to click into place. I had to go back and reread some passages and then everything made sense. But its worth it! Push past the confusion! It’ll all make sense and BE WORTH IT I PROMISE!!!!!! 
The audiobook narration is EXCELLENT. I LOVE IT. I’m very hesitant about male narrators (especially when the main character is female?!) but Holter Graham did incredible with all the voices!!!!! I do recommend this audiobook but be prepared to be confused for the first half of the story, as I mentioned. And the audiobook is 20 hours. Good luck. (I started at 1.5x speed because CONFUSED about names/places/things/people/our friendly narrator giving footnotes, but I was able to do the second half of the book at 2x speed so its not too bad in terms of length.)

The writing is complex, especially with all the foreign names/places/things, but you will get used to it as you read and I’m finding myself thinking in the way they speak in this story now, o gentlefriends. Once I got into it, it felt natural for the world and natural to hear and read.

Please bury me with this book I haven’t been so in love with a story in a long time.

“Never flinch. Never fear. And never, ever forget.”

I’m so glad to be able to jump right into Godsgrave after Nevernight and if you were thinking about reading this series, now would be the perfect time! (But then you would have to wait for the final book of this trilogy…but that’s a minor detail. Come suffer with me.)

~Missy

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Review: ‘No Love Allowed’

This is the third of 7 reads that I won from a giveaway on Twitter that I decided to review this week!
Title: No Love Allowed

Author: Kate Evangelista

Series: Standalone

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

This is basically a young adult version of the movie Pretty Woman. Didi is a girl who works at a country club and meets Caleb, who makes the biggest mistake of his life by breaking up with one of his father’s client’s daughters. He finds out that he must perform well at his summer internship in order to get the gap year he wants to explore Europe with his cousin Nathan. Somehow, this includes getting a fake girlfriend, who Didi becomes. But the one rule is: they cannot fall in love with one another.

I have to admit that I thought this story was silly at first. I have seen Pretty Woman and absolutely loved it so I figured that this book version couldn’t be that bad. I was right, it wasn’t that bad, I actually liked it! I imagined Didi as a young Julia Roberts and she really carried the character for me. Didi is an artist and she and her mom aren’t the wealthiest around, but they are happy because they have the minimum and each other. Her world is turned upside down when Caleb wants to start buying her things including a brand new phone, and shows her resilience by refusing these gifts because she doesn’t want to be given handouts. I thought that that was so admirable and shows what a genuine person Didi is. Caleb, on the other hand, is kind of an asshole at first and I feel like he flaunts his money a lot. It isn’t his fault that he is wealthy but he tries to make Didi into something that she isn’t, which Didi doesn’t let happen. I couldn’t see them having a love story until halfway through the book but it grew on me and I ended up really liking it.

There is also a mental health aspect in this book. It comes at the end but it makes a lot more sense once I found out about a ton of events in the book. I have to say that this book is very short, coming in at just over 200 pages, but the story is well developed and doesn’t feel rushed at all. There are parts that are very trope-y and I kind of rolled my eyes at them but it ended up being a truly heartwarming read at the end. Caleb’s character growth is really fantastic and I feel like he came full circle by the end of the book. That is something that should be admired in the character because when he starts, I had high doubts that he was going to change. But, again very trope-y, Didi changes him in ways that he didn’t even want to change at first, but when he does it is very cute and their moments are adorable.

I would recommend this for a quick summer read that is both humorous and heartwarming at the same time!

Happy reading! ~ Taylor

Review: ‘The One Memory of Flora Banks’

This is the second of 7 reads that I won from a giveaway on Twitter that I decided to review this week!
Title: The One Memory of Flora Banks

Author: Emily Barr

Series: Standalone

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

This book is about a girl who has anterograde amnesia, which doesn’t allow her to make new memories. She can remember things that happened before her injury, including her mother, father, and best friend Paige. The story follows Flora’s quest to take back the boy she loves in the most adventurous of ways, by traveling to the Arctic.

I have to say I was pleasantly surprised with this book. I think it was one of those that I was most looking forward to and it ended up being a great read. I was surprised at many turns and I was also confused at many turns, but more on that later. Flora’s character comes off so sweet and innocent that you can’t help but smile. She writes recent memories on her hand/arm so she doesn’t forget them and somehow that was cute to me and an ingenious way of helping her remember. I also felt bad for her in some ways, where she forgot simple things that we take for granted in remembering, such as eating and taking pills. Flora meets many people throughout her adventure that she does forget but they help her as best they can on her quest to find her one true love. But, things aren’t as they seem and she gets mixed up along the way in some situations that are plenty dangerous. I thought the travel aspect was pretty cool and it made me want to get on a plane right then and jet off to somewhere new! I also liked the mention of Paris, which is my favorite city on this Earth, in case you didn’t know.

I was confused by the end because a lot had changed in her journey and I began to see characters completely opposite than how I saw them in the beginning. I thought that was actually pretty neat but it also made me say ‘wait, what was true and what wasn’t?’ At the end of the book. I absolutely hated her parents by the end of the book. It made me realize that what parents might think is best for a child really isn’t in some situations and they actually can do more harm than good. I also didn’t like her friend Paige at first but she grew on me, ending up my favorite character at the end of the book (other than Flora, of course!). She cares so much for her friend and sacrifices so much to make sure than she is okay and well cared for. That warmed my heart for sure and I would cherish a friend like Paige if I was Flora! Flora’s brother also becomes a major part of the book as well and his character is great. I didn’t give this book 5 stars because it was confusing at times and that made it hard to follow. I was going back and forth a lot to make sure what had happened really happened and it was a bit frustrating.

I would recommend this book to those who are fans of contemporaries and enjoy a story about self-discovery and fighting all odds.

Happy reading! ~ Taylor

ARC Review: ‘Dear Martin’

Wow. Just wow. What a powerful and eye opening read! Add this to your TBR and read this book when it is released. Trust me.

Author: Nic Stone
Rating: 4/5 stars
Release Date: October 17, 2017

Dear Martin is set in Atlanta and follows 17-year-old Justyce McAllister, top of his class at a private boarding school and set for an Ivy League college following his graduation. Even when he wasn’t doing anything wrong, a (white) police officer assumed he was doing something criminal and arrested him. And that’s just the beginning.

Justyce has a journal he keeps throughout this book, a personal project he decided to start which involves writing letter to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. – hence the title, Dear Martin. In these journal entries we hear Justyce’s point of view and how he feels.

This is a fast-paced 200-odd paged book that I finished in about 2 hours. (I’m usually a slow reader.) This isn’t normally something I would pick up, being a fan of fantasy most of all. But I am glad I received a copy of this book at Book Con 2017. I picked it up on a whim. And you know what? This was the first book from my pile that I read.

Justice is not served in America. You can watch the news or read a newspaper and see that. Things are by no means equal for whites and POC, no matter what anyone says. There is an eye opening argument/debate in this book where a white male character says it is unfair that he was not accepted into an Ivy League university meanwhile our protagonist Justyce was, only because schools have quotas they need to meet for African Americans and races besides Caucasian. This is literally what he argues. It has nothing to do with Justyce having the top grades to justify this acceptance, its goes straight to race.

Another point brought up is that if a white male and a black male committed the same crime, the black male would undoubtedly be tried harsher then the white male. Let’s just take a look at the evening news on any given day of the week and that is what we will see.

This book made me mad. It made me angry in that it is all 100% true. Justyce feels this too, that things aren’t fair and how he has to fight harder then his white counterparts. Despite receiving the same education, he will always be seen as less and need to work harder. In real life, as a white female, I don’t have these same struggles. While yes, women do have their own struggles in a world of men, I will admit simply being white affords me more opportunities and less judgment then a person of color would receive. So please please please seek out and read other reviews besides this one. Don’t take my word for it – but do read this book.

It was a short read and it could have gone into more depth, but I think this is a great conversation starter and a powerful read I would very much recommend to anyone who thinks justice is not justice at all. Or simply if you’re looking for a new perspective. Do yourself a favor and pick this book up when it’s released on October 17th, 2017.

~Missy

 

Waiting on Wednesday: ‘Forest of a Thousand Lanterns’

This has been a read I have been waiting for and I was lucky to get it through trade! I also participated in a chat on Twitter about this book and Julie is such a sweet person!

 

Title: Forest of a Thousand Lanterns

Author: Julie C. Dao

Series: Rise of an Empress

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Publication date: October 10, 2017

 

Another anticipated read vanquished! I devoured this book, in all honesty, because I had been wanting to read it for so long. This book follows Xifeng, who is a country girl in China destined to become Empress. How, exactly, it is not mentioned but she leaves her village with her one true love and sets course for the Imperial City. Along the way, they meet diplomats who are able to escort them into the city. Through a series of good fortunes, Xifeng enters court at the palace and is thrown into a whirlwind of deceit, drama, and truth.

Xifeng has to be one of my favorite female characters of the year. She comes from poverty and not being very sure of herself because of the oppression she has felt from her aunt. There are some scenes of abuse in this book so I will definitely give a trigger warning for that. But, she overcomes it and grows into her role at court very easily, even gaining the favor of the current Empress. She is torn between liking the Empress and what she does to protect her, to the reality that the Empress will have to die in order for her to take her rightful place on the throne. It has been foretold through cards that she would become Empress and it seems like everything works out just as planned for Xifeng. I would have to say that while she does go through some struggles, she becomes stronger because of these struggles and she is able to develop into the character she is destined to be. By the end of the book, the first chapter Xifeng is unrecognizable, as she has changed so much and gained power. I love the character development of her and it is one of the most pleasingly drastic I have seen. I also have to say that I enjoyed the Chinese traditions that were mentioned in this book and I can’t wait to hear more in book 2!

I will say that the main plot brought the book together with the side plots that were developed. I was surprised when all was revealed towards the end of the book and that kept me guessing for the rest, because I didn’t know what was going to happen! The larger backstory is something that was so interesting and only added to the interest of the story.

I would suggest this book to those who are fans of retellings (as this is one) as well as those who enjoy diverse reads and want to be astounded!

Happy reading! ~ Taylor

Review: ‘Select’

Hi! I am on to my last few ARCs that I got at BookCon *sad face*. This was one that I randomly picked up at a booth I was stopping by and had heard about it on the BookCon app!
Title: Select

Author: Marit Wiesenberg

Series: Untitled

Rating: 1/5 stars

Pub date: October 3, 2017

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

As you can see above… I didn’t like this book. Like, at all. I find it hard to give honest reviews sometimes when I really don’t like the book. But, I think that’s the point of being a book blogger: I won’t sugarcoat what I actually thought and I will let you guys know what I liked and didn’t like! This story focuses around Julia, who is part of an elite group of humans that have abilities normal humans do not. They have to keep themselves hidden and avoid revealing themselves to other normal humans.

I honestly can only think of one thing I liked about this book and it was the idea. I thought it was cool to have humans that have adapted via something like natural selection to become ‘better’ humans. It was interesting in that science aspect. But the execution of that was… Not good. It came off as some sort of Twilight spinoff: I honestly thought of the movie the entire time. There was a group of these ‘extra’ humans (like the Cullens) who always only hung out together because they were ‘family’. They were discouraged from hanging out with normal teenagers because they might reveal themselves. Enter John, who is basically our version of Bella. He notices that there are many unusual things about Julia, especially after an incident with Julia & her sister at a public pool. He finally confronts her and asks if she is one of ‘them’, almost akin to the scene in the movie where Edward and Bella are in the forest. It was just super similar and I found myself definitely dragging to get through this book. But, I wanted to review it, because it is an ARC and I did make a commitment to myself that I would read all of the ARCs and review them.

That brings me to my next point: the romance. Which, really isn’t a romance in my opinion. I didn’t feel like there was any buildup and it kind of just came out of nowhere. I didn’t feel connected to John or Julia at all and I didn’t feel butterflies and fuzzies from it. It was kind of just… Weird. It was this sort of forbidden love thing–again, like in Twilight–that didn’t do anything to advance the story. It was kind of like an afterthought, in my opinion, and I wish I had gotten less attempt at love story and more about the group of elite humans. How were they created? Why? Why do they have to keep it a secret? How many are there? Questions that I didn’t get an answer to.

Sorry to say, but I wouldn’t recommend this book at all. I didn’t feel there was much redeeming qualities about it enough to honestly want to tell people to read it. It was disappointing and I hate to say that because it has a gorgeous cover and a great idea of a story…. Just not written in a way that worked for me.

Happy reading! ~ Taylor

Review: ‘Everything All At Once’

Hi! I actually won this book through a contest on Twitter by the author. She is so sweet and I am so happy that I was able to grab a copy of this book. I received it before the release date but I wasn’t able to read & review before release because of vacation!

 

Title: Everything All At Once

Author: Katrina Leno

Series: Standalone

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

 

I loved this book. It is a fantastic contemporary about a girl named Lottie, who’s aunt dies and leaves her letters. The letters give her things to do that test her limits, make her realize her humanity, and give her heartwarming memories. Lottie also has elements of anxiety and so I classify this as a mental health book. Along the way, she meets Sam and discovers truths about him that she never thought were possible.

This story really helped to put into perspective what it means that we only have limited time and we need to cherish every moment. The letters written by her aunt, who died at the early age of 40, help Lottie to think about mortality and how she is so afraid to die. A lot of people are afraid to die but I feel like this made me appreciate the little things in life. Lottie gets to meet many people that influenced her aunt’s life and that leads me to my discussion of Sam. Sam is an interesting character all around. Lottie meets him after the first letter that leads her and her family to a party organized by her aunt before her passing. He is an intriguing character and begins to get very close to Lottie, which both scares her and excites her at the same time. That is until the big twist in the book, which gives it an air of fantasy and wonder that I wasn’t expecting but really loved. It adds an extra layer to the already magical story and pushes it over the edge, in my opinion!

I don’t see anything to fault in the book. It caught my attention from the first page and I was always excited to see what happened next. Also, the book is set in Connecticut, which is where I live. It was cool to read about places that I haven’t been to before (I have been told by Katrina that one of the bookshops is actually real, so I will be paying a visit!) in my own state. The use of seaside towns made the book feel very home-y and down-to-earth, which is weird to say about a book but that is how I feel about it!

I would recommend this book to those who are fans of contemporaries and also don’t mind a little extra mystery mixed in.

Happy reading! ~ Taylor