Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2)

                Hello happy readers!  I’m happy to be back.  My travels were pretty great it was nice to get away from the heat, humidity, and bugs for a bit and even better to see my family.  That said I was also thrilled to sleep in my own bed again and see my fur baby who has been giving extra cuddles since I came home.  I did go with my mom and while I intended to get some serious audiobook time in with two 13 hour car rides I got no audiobook time in as my mom and me chatted most of the time and listened to music.

                However, I did have a chance to finish three books via other formats so yay for reading!  I also did an interview with Hannah Bucchin debut author of Paintbrush (review) which will be posting Friday!  I’m excited about this one so stay tuned.  Now, one of the books I finished during my trip was one I had been both eager to read and nervous as it was the end, Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2) by Leigh Bardugo.  The sequel to one of my favorite books I have read and also the final book in the two part series.  I got it the day it came out eager to start but held off because I was scared to let it end but eventually I had to know and started listening to the audiobooks at a slow pace to savor and enjoy.  Now having finished I am thrilled to share my thoughts.

Rating:  5 Stars

                I previously reviewed Six of Crows and I LOVED it!  I was so devastated by the ending.  Inej was taken and I just couldn’t believe that ending after everything they went through being beat down at the very end.  Now our crew is beat down, separated, and tired but they are not out for the count.  They have to regroup and come up with more plans.  Their lives are more dangerous than ever and old allies could just as easily be enemies these days.  When you go up against the more powerful in Ketterdam you need to have more than luck to save you.

                I didn’t listen to the first book I read it through but having listened to this one I really enjoyed the narration and how each character had a different narrator.  As we see the story from different POVs hearing a different person with a different accent and style was really rather thrilling.  I now picture certain accents with the characters that I didn’t before but now seem so natural.  The multiple POVs is something I loved because it gave us all the information we needed but seeing things from different views you see how everyone can hear/see the same things but take away different things from it.  All of their prospective are important and play off one another.  They each have something to bring to the table, the same thing that made them special in the first book we just know and love them more.  Each of our characters has a special place in my heart.  Kaz and his cold and clinical way of looking at things in terms of what they do for him or how they can be used in the future.  Inej and her ability to blend into any shadow and disappear yet despite her life she still has a kindness and good heart to her.  Nina who is far from her home but will risk her own life for those she loves.  Mathis and his turbulent inner battle between what he was raised to believe and what he has seen and felt to be true.  Jesper in his flawed and self-destructive nature full of charm and good intensions.  And Wylan the son who has always felt less than and flawed for his inability but has found a home and people who see his abilities rather than flaws. 

                “Crows remember human faces.  They remember the people who feed them, who are kind to them.  And the people who wrong them too.  They don’t forget.  They tell each other who to look after and who to watch out for.”

                All of my crows were in my heart and I couldn’t wait for them to save Inej because they had to.  I had no other option in my head.  Well that is the start of the plan, save Inej and get revenge on Van Eck.  He has no only betrayed them and tried to have them killed after they upheld their side of the plan but more he did that and took one of theirs and when you have so many enemies your reputation is important in helping fend off the wolves.  I loved all the different plots and schemes from the first page to get Inej and the revenge they deserve.  To get what is owed and set things right because no monster like Van Eck can be left standing.  There is a difference between being a criminal and being a criminal with no value behind your word.  Some things are sacred.

                Things don’t go as planned.  Oh so many beautifully crafted plans and of course wrenches thrown into the mix.       I am struggling so hard to review this book without spoiling things because there is so much happening.  So many little subplots that take place and all the little details that are just amazing.  Like seeing characters from the original Grisha series come into play and go toe to toe with Kaz and crew.  One of the best moments.  Inej, some of her chapters just broke my heart.  Her captivity, the flashes back to when she was forced to work in the menagerie before Kaz saved her.  So powerful.  Bardugo has really captured so much emotion within the story.  Things are in chaos all around them but still even between the plotting, scheming, running, and fighting they were able to have such deep moments between one another.  They care for one another deeply even if they fight.  Even if they don’t always show it.  A few lines in particular that just hit me in all the feels….

                “I would come for you.  And if I couldn’t walk, I’d crawl to you, and no matter how broken we were we’d fight our way out together—knives drawn, pistols blazing.  Because that’s what we do.  We never stop fighting.”

                I was rooting for my characters and rooting for others to get what was coming to them because they are just so dang vile.  Seriously.  Nina is struggling with her addiction and how it has changed her and her power.  While Mathis sees just how wrong he was and his hope to try and help others see like he did.  Oh but his time with Nina being there for her through it all…I adore him.  Kaz and Inej are both so different but they are so good together and understanding one another in a way that no one else can.  Both damaged.  Both strong and weak.  Both with baggage.  I love this and shipped them so hard! And of course we had a bit of a spark between the wild card Jesper and our shy and quite Wylan which is adorable how they come to count on one another and support one another in times of need.  Each of them have their own journeys to work through and I enjoyed being there as they went through them.  They knew the odds for the life they chose to lead. 

                No mourners, no funerals.  Another way of saying good luck.  But it was something more.  A dark wink to the fact that there would be no expensive burials for people like them, no marble markers to remember their names, no wreaths of myrtle and rose.

                The story and pacing of this book was so well done for me.  With the larger overall story but full of side stories and little inner stories that just made a more developed adventure.  The pacing was on point and it felt like you were there with them rushed and escaping death one moment then having a few moments to regroup.  It never let you fully off the edge of your seat but kept you leaning there ready to go.  My poor heart was a mess keeping up with it. 

                This book was everything.  One of my favorite series by far.  I loved everything.  Even the end that had me sobbing.  Okay several parts of the book had me choking back tears for several different reasons.  My heart raced through it all and even though I took my time reading it fearing the end and while I wish I had more and parts made me sad I love it.  It is such a fitting end (minus one part I don’t think I’ll ever get over) for this story and this crew.  It started with one job and ended with so much more.  I love this book and I would highly recommend this series to anyone and everyone.

                Until next time…

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The Wood

                Hello happy readers!  Internet issues aside, seriously I’m about ready to just cancel my service since I spend more time on hold with customer service and trying to fix it than I do being able to use it, I had a great weekend.  While I didn’t get to post my Friday review as planned or share my one new book I did a pirate themed escape room with some friends and we rocked it and escaped with time to spare!  Plus I can do my review today so it works out.  But before I get to my review I have a small bit of news.  I am going out of town for a family reunion and won’t have my computer since I’ll be spending 36 hours in a vehicle and the rest with family who don’t believe in having wifi. So I will be taking off tomorrow until next Wednesday.  Bright side is car time should be read/listen time!  Now for todays review I received a copy of The Wood by Chelsea Bobulski in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley.

Rating: 4.5 Stars

                The Wood is a suspenseful supernatural debut book.  Winter is a guardian redirecting any travelers back to their portal when they accidentally step from their time and place into the wood.  She is the only one after her father went missing.  He stepped off the path.  That is impossible for a guardian leading Winter to suspect there is something off about his disappearance than she is told.  One day she comes across a boy in the wood who is not there by accident and is determined to pass through.  It’s her job to keep him in his time.  But when he believes his mission may be connected to her father’s disappearance and why the wood has started to change, Winter determines it may be worth the risk to work with him.

                Going into this book I was intrigued by the cover and the summary but I didn’t know fully what to expect.  It had so many elements woven together into this story with the Old Ones, guardians, the wood and all that fill it, time travel, and more.  The wood managed to play both an eerie and dangerous backdrop to the story but also a character itself.  Always changing and evolving almost as if it has its own personality.  I enjoyed the way we learned about the wood and this world.  Everything seems normal on the outside but inside the wood things are very different.  I understood it and it made perfect sense to me.

                Winter is easy to relate with.  She has this huge responsibility on her shoulders.  She didn’t choose this life but was born into it.  She is just trying to make the most of her life as she tries to balance normal things like school and friends with running off to take care of travelers.  She has a complicated relationship with her mother that has ups and downs.  Henry is likable from the start.  He’s cute and sweet trying to find those he loves.  He is a man out of time (and I admit to having some Kate & Leopold flash backs) and has the childlike amazement of seeing the world and things we take for granted as the miracles they are (showers and electricity).  He was determined on his journey but he is also very protective. 

“What is this infernal contraption?”
“It’s an alarm clock,” I say, my voice deep and sleep-scratchy.  “It wakes you up.”
“Evidently not.”

                This is one complete story that manages to bring an entire little world to life and wrap things up in the end.  It was a neat standalone that I could easily see having more books with different parts of the world. While most things did wrap up nicely there was one specific part I had been hoping for a bit more on, though I have since come up with my own little epilogue in my head to resolve that.  Aside from that little thing, that may be in part to my selfishness I loved this book.  I loved all the different layers wrapped inside this one story of the wood. 

                That’s all for me for the next week.  I’m going home after work to pack (yes I waited until less than 12 hours) and have some wine because packing deserves it and get ready to head out.  When I come back I have an author interview with Hannah Bucchin and more.  Wish me luck. 

                Until next time…

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

~Waiting on Wednesday~ The Speaker

                “Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.  Basically books that are not yet out that we are dying to get our hands on.  This week’s pick is:

The Speaker (Sea of Ink & Gold #2) by Traci Chee
Out:  11/7

From Goodreads:
                Having barely escaped the clutches of the Guard, Sefia and Archer are back on the run, slipping into the safety of the forest to tend to their wounds and plan their next move.  Haunted by painful memories, Archer struggles to overcome the trauma of his past with the impressors, whose cruelty plagues him whenever he closes his eyes.  But when Sefia and Archer happen upon a crew of impressors in the wilderness, Archer finally finds a way to combat his nightmares:  by hunting impressors and freeing the boys they hold captive.

                With Sefia’s help, Archer travels across the kingdom of Deliene rescuing boys while she continues to investigate the mysterious Book and secrets it contains.  But the more battles they fight, the more fights Archer craves, until his thirst for violence threatens to transform him from the gentle boy Sefia knows to a grim warrior with a cruel destiny.  As Sefia begins to unravel the threads that connect Archer’s fate to her parents’ betrayal of the Guard so long ago, she and Archer must figure out a way to subvert the Guard’s plans before they are ensnared in a war that will pit kingdom against kingdom, leaving their future and the safety of the entire world hanging in the balance.

Why I’m Waiting:
                I really enjoyed The Reader and look forward to seeing what happens next with this world.  I hope my Archer doesn’t turn evil though. 

                What are you waiting on?  Tell me below what you think of this title and leave a link to your WoW as well so I can check it out.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Traitor to the Throne (Rebel of the Sands #2)

                Hello happy readers!  I hope you all had a great weekend.  I worked but got to get some reading time in while there so cheers.  I was able to finish up an audiobook, Traitor to the Throne (Rebel of the Sands #2) by Alwyn Hamilton the sequel to Rebel of the Sands which I reviewed recently here.  After finishing book one I was so excited to be able to dive right into book two.  While I am thrilled to have read it I am sad I now have to wait until next year for the conclusion.  Sigh.  But in the mean time I can share my thoughts on this book.  Spoilers for book one…duh.

Rating: 4.5 Stars

                We pick up shortly after we left off.  Amani finds herself at the center of the revolution.  She wanted to find freedom for herself and found herself fighting for the freedom of the nation from the sultan.  She has been running missing and working with the crew for a little while and many battles have been fought.  Through a series of events Amani finds herself in the Sultan’s palace.  She is a prisioner but determined to uncover any secrets she can while there.  As she spends more time in the palace she begins to see another side to their war as well as the similarities and differences between the sultan and her two princes.  What is best for Miraji and the Blue-Eyes Bandit from the desert?

                When we left off I was so excited to see what would happen next.  For the rebellion and even more for Amani and Jin since I was seriously shipping them.  But Jin is gone.  He ran away when she was injured unable to be there for it.  I was upset, understandably like Amani was.  Then when he does reappear he leaves much to be desired.  My favorite thing about this is that Amani is upset about this and doesn’t just let it drop instantly. A personal pet peeve of mine is when someone, specifically those I’m supposed to root for or ship, does something to make me upset then never has to apologize/fix things.  So to have it addressed is huge plus for me.  Now for Amani she is pretty amazing.  She has really come into her own since discovering she is a Djinn. 

                We get to find out more about the politics of the world and even more about magic.  New concepts and ideas are shown that really blow you away.  New allies are made and new enemies discovered.  I love how twisty and turny it was.  There are so many people who have different loyalties and reasons to fight on both sides the story keeps you pulled in from the start.  The connections between characters, the different relationships both platonic and romantic are gripping and get you excited for more.  Even as we are hit with emotional loses, this is war.  I was watery at times not just because of the death but because of the reaction of those they loved.  That hit you in the feels hard.  Still there is so much hope in this story and I love it for that.  I can't wait for next year to see the conclusion to the series and what becomes of Amani and all of Miraji.

                Until next time… 

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

~Waiting on Wednesday~ All the Crooked Saints

                “Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.  Basically books that are not yet out that we are dying to get our hands on.  This week’s pick is:

All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater
Out:  10/10

From Goodreads:
                From bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater, a gripping tale of darkness, miracles, and family!

                Saints.  Miracles.  Family.  Romance.  Death.  Redemption.

                The book takes place in the 1960s in Bicho Raro, Colorado and follows the lives of three members of the Soria family—each of whom is searching for their own miracle.  There’s Deatriz, who appears to lack feelings but wants to study her mind; Daniel, the “Saint” of Bicho Raro, a miracle working for everyone but himself; and Joaquin (a.k.a. Diablo Diablo), who runs a pirate radio station at night.

                “The Soria family are saints as well, and the miracle they perform for pilgrims to Bicho Raro is as strange as most miracles are:  They can make the darkness inside you visible.  Once the pilgrims see their inner darkness face to dace, it’s up to them to perform another miracle on themselves:  banishing the darkness for good.  It can be a tricky business to vanquish your inner demons, even once you know what they are, but the Sorias are forbidden to help with this part.  They’ve all been told that if a Soria interferes with the second miracle, it will bring out their own darkness, and a saint’s darkness, so the story goes, is a most potent and dangerous thing.”-Maggie Stiefvater, EW interview

Why I’m Waiting:
                Maggie Stiefvater of course.  She’s an auto-buy author for me!  I have enjoyed all of her other works so I’m ready to get my hands on something new.  This sounds very interesting for sure.  

                What are you waiting on?  Tell me below what you think of this title and leave a link to your WoW as well so I can check it out.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Reading Challenge Wrap-Up: July

                Hello happy readers!  Top Ten Tuesday creators are still on break until next month but as today is the 25th here is where I stand for my monthly challenge update and wrap-up.  Here is my standing but please don't forget to share your progress as well! 

Goodreads Challenge:
Goal: 125
At: 47
I am thinking upping my goal from last year may have been a mistake…

2017 Debut Authors (#2017DebAuthC):
Goal: 12
At: 4
What I've Read:
Paintbrush by Hannah Bucchin (review)

2017 Rock My TBR (#RockMyTBR):
Goal: As many as possible!
At: 21
What I've Read:
Fall of Thrones& Thorns (Threats of Sky and Sea #3) by Jennifer Ellision (review)
Rebel ofthe Sands (Rebel of the Sands #1) by Alwyn Hamilton (review)

2017 Series Ender Challenge:
Goal: 15+
At: 5
What I’ve Read:
Fall of Thrones and Thorns (Threats of Sky and Sea #2) by Jennifer Ellision

2017 New Releases Challenge:
Goal: 31-60
At: 22
What I've Read:
Paintbrush by Hannah Bucchin
The Dragonsof Nova (Loom Saga #2) by Elise Kova (review)

2017 Audiobook Challenge: (my best one)
Goal: 5-10
At: 20
What I've Listened:
Fall of Thrones and Thorns (Threats of Sky and Sea #2) by Jennifer Ellision
Rebel of the Sands (Rebel of the Sands #1) by Alwyn Hamilton
The Dragons of Nova (Loom Saga #2) by Elise Kova

                So I’m starting to get a bit discouraged since I am so far behind in most of my challenges and the year is over half gone but going to try and rally and catch up.  Wish me luck!  I'd love to hear how you're doing so link back to your wrap up!

Friday, July 21, 2017

The Dragons of Loom (Loom Saga #2)

                Hello happy readers!  I hope you all have a wonderful weekend ahead planned.  I have no plans which is glorious.  Yesterday I was able to finish my audiobook for a highly anticipated book for me after finishing the first book only last month.  Thankfully I didn't have to wait long for this one, The Dragons of Nova (Loom Saga #2) by Elise Kova.  I reviewed the first book The Alchemists of Loom here and everything about this book is kind of a spoiler for that one…just saying. 

Rating: 5 Stars

                So when we left off in book one we found out Ari was the only perfect chimera and only one who knows how to make them.  Florence is now a chimera herself and determined to fight in the resistance.  Cvareh (not how I was thinking this was spelled from listening to the audiobooks) is working to make an alliance with the resistance to bring down the dragon king so his sister will take over.  Ari doesn't want any part but decides to go up to Nova and speak with his sister in person and see if she trusts her before making any decision on sharing the knowledge they need.  So Ari, the white wraith, enemy to all dragons is now in Nova home of dragons.  She is ready to feel out his sister and gather some other information while there.  While there she finds herself closer to her goal of vengeance against the one who betrayed her and the rebellion all those years ago.  Still as Cvareh and his sister, all of house Xin really find themselves in a treacherous political battle with the king Ari is pulled into the fray as the Crimson Court exposes her secrets and push things between her and Cvareh.  All while Florence is still back down on Loom trying to find her place in the world but determined to fight for a better and free Loom using all the skills she has learned.


                I could have listened to this in one day.  In one sitting really.  But I was trying to be good and spread it out listening at the beginning of my work shift for a while until my co-worker arrived.  This was both amazing and frustrating.  Having finished it, I need book three stat.  My emotions were all over the place, especially at the end when things are happening.  I had that moment of checking to see how much time was left and trying to figure out how some things could be resolved/fixed in that time and knowing there wasn't enough time but still hopping. 

                I loved it if you can't tell.  I love Ari.  She is so strong and determined.  Still she is very flawed and I think that makes me love her more.  She wars with herself between emotion and fact all the time. Typically such a factual and to the point character watching as emotion works its way into her life more and more is captivating.  All emotion and not just in reference to Cvareh.  Seeing him in his element, at home in his fancy clothing and where people know and respect him.  Ari is now the fish out of water so to speak having to be warned and told of their customs to prevent her from getting herself caught.  I loved the role reversal.  Them together though, I was so anxious.  I had been wanting something to happen since book one and while it looked like it might something always came up.  The tension as this continues was real and thick.

                Also having a good bit of the story taking place on Nova, and not just from the dragon kings, aka the big bad, perspective we got to see the positives of Nova.  I can now say I see both the good and the bad of both place and Florence is still my favorite person in either world.  She is all the best of both.  She understands the flaws in both systems and she is ready and willing to do what she can to fix things.  She has faith in people even when everything says she shouldn't.  I admire that about her. 

                We get to meet many new people both in Nova and Loom some we like others we hate.  I know I went back and forth and I don't know if it’s the world or not but I was suspicious of anyone I liked for a good bit.  We got to see more of how the worlds work and the culture that compels them forward.  More about guilds and the time before dragons.  There is so much happening in the present from battles of wills and teeth and claws it keeps you glued to your seat.  

                This book felt much more adult and powerful.  We had plenty of bad things happening in the first book this one really showed you the evils of the world from the harvesting rooms, the shadow world, and the garden of evil.  There was so much happening in this book that continues to build a much larger story and coming war.  So much has happened that has left me with so many different theories and concerns because well stuff is serious.  The ending….I just can't.  I mean I was concerned one thing was happening and then as soon as hope it would be fixed…BAM hit with multiple other things and I don't know what to think.  This book was amazing on so many levels and I can't wait for The Rebels of Gold to come out. 

                Until next time…