Review : Into the Bright Unknown by Rae Carson

 Into the Bright Unknown by Rae Carson
Published : October 10, 2017

Leah Westfall, her fiancé Jefferson, and her friends have become rich in the California Territory, thanks to Lee’s magical ability to sense precious gold. But their fortune has made them a target, and when a dangerous billionaire sets out to destroy them, Lee and her friends decide they’ve had enough—they will fight back with all their power and talents. Lee’s magic is continuing to strengthen and grow, but someone is on to her—someone who might have a bit of magic herself. The stakes are higher than ever as Lee and her friends hatch a daring scheme that could alter the California landscape forever. With a distinctive young heroine and a unique interpretation of American history, Into the Bright Unknown strikes a rich vein of romance, magic, and adventure, bringing the Gold Seer Trilogy to its epic conclusion. Includes a map and an author’s note.


OH MY GOODNESS. This was such an entertaining and captivating read. I don’t know how I got sucked into the series because it’s not really in my wheelhouse, but I’m so glad I took a chance on it. This last book was AH.MAZE.ING. This book was like a western Ocean’s Eleven. It was so awesome and kept me so engaged and so invested in the story.

There were so many twists and turns and the end conclusion to all of it was just so satisfactory it was so great. I don’t think I’ve read a book by Rae Carson that I didn’t enjoy.  I think this might be my favorite series by her. She closed everything up SO NICELY and in such an entertaining way. I also love the use of another person with abilities, although I was hoping the series would continue so we could see the possibilities and origin of how people get their abilities etc. But it’s all good, I still got three really great books from this series.

Review: Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray

Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray
Published : August, 15 2015

The longing of dreams draws the dead, and this city holds many dreams.

After a supernatural showdown with a serial killer, Evie O’Neill has outed herself as a Diviner. With her uncanny ability to read people’s secrets, she’s become a media darling, earning the title “America’s Sweetheart Seer.” Everyone’s in love with the city’s newest It Girl…everyone except the other Diviners.

Piano-playing Henry DuBois and Chinatown resident Ling Chan are two Diviners struggling to keep their powers a secret—for they can walk in dreams. And while Evie is living the high life, victims of a mysterious sleeping sickness are turning up across New York City.

As Henry searches for a lost love and Ling strives to succeed in a world that shuns her, a malevolent force infects their dreams. And at the edges of it all lurks a man in a stovepipe hat who has plans that extend farther than anyone can guess…As the sickness spreads, can the Diviners descend into the dreamworld to save the city?


I absolutely love this series. Like above and beyond. This is SO GOOD. All of the work with the plot and the intertwining everything it’s so great. I literally could not stop reading this because I kept wanting to continue reading it.  There’s something so amazing about the way this is written and how EVERY character has something to connect with and just makes reading these books so enjoyable. I’ve also read Before The Devil Breaks You, and I’ll be writing a review on that as well, and it’s just as good as this book, even better.

I cannot recommend this book enough, pick up The Diviners if you haven’t and if you have let me know how you enjoy this series.

One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake

 One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake
Published : September 19, 2017

The battle for the Crown has begun, but which of the three sisters will prevail?

With the unforgettable events of the Quickening behind them and the Ascension Year underway, all bets are off. Katharine, once the weak and feeble sister, is stronger than ever before. Arsinoe, after discovering the truth about her powers, must figure out how to make her secret talent work in her favor without anyone finding out. And Mirabella, once thought to be the strongest sister of all and the certain Queen Crowned, faces attacks like never before—ones that put those around her in danger she can’t seem to prevent.

In this enthralling sequel to Kendare Blake’s New York Times bestselling Three Dark Crowns, Fennbirn’s deadliest queens must face the one thing standing in their way of the crown: each other.


Ugh I loved this. More than I thought I would. I literally just flipped through this like there was no tomorrow. It literally took me two days to read this. I LOVE Blake’s writing and the characters in this book. Except for Katharine but I think that was obviously purposeful.

If you haven’t picked this up yet, please do. The writing is great. The flow is absolutely wonderful, there’s no gap or awkward portions of these two books. And the characters all work so well together, the relationships are great and I found myself wanting more and more as I kept going.

I think this is becoming one of my “go to” for recommendations and re-reads

 

What did Steph read while she was M.I.A.?!

Ok so, this is going to be QUITE the hefty post. Because I’ve neglected you all in the past months, and have finally got the chance to come back to this wonderful community and all you lovely people. I want to make sure I let you all know what I’ve been reading while I was planning my wedding and such. I love talking to you all so this is going to be a brief write-up on everything I read but it still counts, does it not?

Here’s the list of everything I’ve read while I’ve been M.I.A. and Star Values, as well as a small write up also, please excuse me if I mix up plot points etc. :

The Winners Curse by Marie Rotkoski2.5 Stars – Really wished for some more action and HATED the love triangle.
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley — 5 Stars – Absolutely loved the main character, and the plot kept me hooked. Pick it up if you get the chance
Calamity (The Reckoners #3) by Brandon Sanderson — 5 Stars – I will always love the Reckoner’s series, and this was a good conclusion, I wish it never ended.
Not A Drop To Drink by Mindy McGinnis 4 Stars – SUCH GOOD WRITING. I just couldn’t get any sort of connection with any of the characters, so I didn’t really get emotionally dragged into it.
Walk on Earth A Stranger by Rae Carson 5 Stars – This was such a good book, constant action and running plot that it kept me intrigued and I loved the main character
A Court of Wings and Ruins ( A Court of Thorns and Roses #3) by Sarah J. Maas  5 Stars – Did I really need to put down 5 stars? Uh duh, this was SO DAMN GOOD. Oh man, I can’t even…
The Weed That Strings The Hangman’s Bag (Flavia De Luce #2) by Alan Bradley 5 Stars – Flavia is great, the story line was great as well just like the first book!
The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas 5 Stars – Well….rip my heart out why don’t you SJ.
Yes Please by Amy Poehler 5 Stars – LOVED LOVED LOVED this book, it was so wonderful and hilarious. I highly suggest listening to it on Audiobook because Amy narrates it and it’s 20x better that way.
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah 4.75 Stars – This book was hard to get into but once the plot started moving it was PHENOMENAL. Not my standard YA read but great all the same.
Gemina ( The Illuminae Chronicles #2) by Amie Kaufmann and Jay Kristoff  — 4 Stars – Loved this book just like I loved Gemina, I think I liked Gemina better tough
The Star Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi — 5 Stars – Oh man, what a beautiful book, I absolutely loved the characters, the plot, the writing. Everything!
Death Masks ( The Dresden Files #5) by Jim Butcher — 4 Stars – Gotta love a good Dresden book, pick up this series if you haven’t yet.
Caraval by Stephanie Garber  — 5 Stars – Didn’t really love the characters, but the setting OMG. The atmosphere was great and so was the plot. Loved guessing and thinking what I thought was right and being wrong
Crystal Storm (Falling Kingdoms #5) by Morgan Rhodes  — 5 stars – My second time around reading this, still love it as much as before.  I seriously CANNOT wait for the next book. I need it ASAP.
Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson — 3.75 Stars – I guess I really like Rae Carson. This book was great. Strong female lead, and good plot.
You by Caroline Kepnes — 3.25 – I thought the perspective writing was cool, and I thought it was really creepy. It’s not for everyone, I didn’t really feel like I liked the graphic scenes in this book, but it was hella creepy and I was super hooked while reading it.

WELL FOLKS. That’s everything I read while I was MIA. I’m still 8 books behind for me goodreads goal so hopefully I get that fixed soon (probably while I’m in Iceland August 13-23) Let me know if you’ve read any of these and what you thought.

Also any recommendations based on these reads would be AWESOME since I liked the bulk of them.

Stranger Things Book Tag

Welcome to the weekly Friday Tag! This week I got to stay at home all week (not read because I was in a slump as well as on the hunt for a new job) and basically try and get my life together and this wedding planned as much as I could. As well as catching up on some blog posts (shameless mention for you to look into previous posts). But anyway, I noticed tons of you loved the Netflix book tag so I figured this week I’ll post something similar. Stranger Things is one of Netflix’s original series that is absolutely FABULOUS. Go binge it if you haven’t yet, but it’s so great and I found this tag on youtube (here’s a link to the original video) and thought I’d bring it into the blog!

1. EPIC INTRO. The opening sequence of Stranger Things is amazing and really grabs your attention. Name a book that grabbed your attention from the first page.

Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson.
Steelheart has to be one of my favorite books , and it absolutely had me hooked from the first page. Brandon Sanderson is an absolute genius and I couldn’t have asked for a better opening. I’m still fending off finishing the series because it’s such a bittersweet moment.

2. DUNGEONS & DRAGONS. Name a fantasy world you would like to experience yourself.

The Spring and The Night Court
A Court of Thorns and Roses & A Court of Mist and Fury  by Sarah J. Maas is probably one of the most immersive fantasy worlds I’ve ever been in. I absolutely adore the Spring and Night court and would LOVE to see then and what they’re like. My imagination goes wild when I read this series and to be honest, the anticipation for A Court of Wings and Ruin is absolutely killing me.

3. SQUAD GOALS. When Eleven met Mike, Dustin and Lucas it was a *mostly* perfect team. Name your favourite bookish group of friends.

Cinder, Iko, Kai , Scarlet, Wolf, Cress, Thorne, Winter and Jacin.
The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer has by far one of the best crews ever. It was hard for me not to choose the crew from Six of Crows because they’re near and dear to me, but I think Marissa Meyer did a wonderful job of building this whole team through a series of books, where as Six of Crows you were given them all at the same time.

4. ABC’s & CHRISTMAS LIGHTS. Joyce Byers goes mad with grief after Will goes missing. Name your favourite mentally unhinged character.

Winter by Marissa Meyer
So unfortunately I’m going to use The Lunar Chronicles again because I love Winter and how out of her mind she is, and how she had all this whimsey, and no one understands her except herself and Jacin.

5. THE UPSIDE DOWN. Name a book that was the opposite of what you expected.

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon was most definitely something I didn’t expect. I’m not one for contemporaries but I read Everything, Everything in one sitting. I couldn’t stop reading and completely devoured the whole book. There was just something entrancing about it, And I can’t wait to pick up The Sun is Also A Star.

6. MAD SCIENTISTS. Dr. Brenner likes to get freaky with humanity. Name the freakiest dystopian government you can think of.

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
This book/series has the FREAKIEST dystopian government. There’s two governments actually. Scion, which is the government for humans and then there’s a second government for clairvoyants where our main character Paige gets kidnapped and taken to due to her rarity of voyant type. And the society down in Oxford (which mind you is a underground ruin due to the fact that this book takes place in 2059) is ten times worse than Scion London. Voyants are paired with basically keepers who they live with until they become red jackets. Anyway, I’m getting way to into this, but voyants and keepers are almost like a slave to a master so violence isn’t uncommon. So yeah, probably one of the most dystopian governments I’ve ever read of.

7. DEMOGORGON. Name a scary bookish creature that you would not want to come through your walls.

Wraiths
Brandon Sanderson in The Final Empire (or Mistborn as most people call it) writes about these wraiths that take the skin of dead people and are basically these scarecrow-esque zombie thing. And honestly, if I came across that thing, I’d soil myself and just cry because I think that’s probably one of the scariest thing I’ve ever read.

8. CLIFFHANGER ENDING. name a book that left you wanting more.

Oh dear god there are so many.

Frozen Tides by Morgan Rhodes had me in a tizzy
Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo wasn’t really a cliff hanger but I was upset that it was over
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab had me desperately seeking for more
and I was cursing the gods…or the author because Empire of Storms and A Court of Mist and Fury were agonizing endings.

And that’s all I’ve got! Come back next Friday for another tag!

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Review : Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

28374007Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
Published: September 20, 2016

When kingdom come, there will be one.

In every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born—three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.

But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose…it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins.

The last queen standing gets the crown.
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This book is hands down one of my favorites of 2016 (I know, I’m a bit behind of writing posts but I’m sorry!) . I never read a Kendare Blake book but I’ve only heard good things (mostly Taylor raving about Anna Dressed in Blood).  I kind of wish I read her books before this because holy crap this was fabulous.

The writing was great and the three sisters were all so different and I was so enthralled with all of them I loved each of them for a different reason.  They’re such different three main characters but they’re all so great in their own way, I can’t wait to see who they become now that they’re all crossing paths.  I think Arsinoe is my favorite though. There’s a will and strength about her that I love.  But all of them have a different type of strength.

I loved the darkness of this book and the ruthlessness of it all. I loved that these girls were all so cut throat and all the women in the book were strong ones. It was something I wasn’t expecting from this and it was a great surprise. I loved the settings and the vast differences of where these women were brought up and the differences in how the societies were run.

I also loved the relationships everyone had. I love Katerina’s relationship with Piertyr (did I spell that right? probs not) and how he hopes to help her show that she is a strong contender since her sisters are stronger and more likable than she.  But I also love Mirabella and how she falls in love with THAT ONE PERSON she probably shouldn’t be in love with even though she can have men just fall at her feet.

The spin at the end was fabulous, as the pieces were coming together I was literally getting more and more in shock, it was just such a well thought out and such a great transition into a second book. I cannot wait to see where this series goes.

All in all lessons learned from reading this book: Kendare Blake has awesome writing skills, she writes bad ass women, and I should’ve read a lot more Blake books prior to this one.

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Review : Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

17378508 Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater
Published: October 21, 2014

The third installment in the all-new series from the #1 NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater!

Blue Sargent has found things. For the first time in her life, she has friends she can trust, a group to which she can belong. The Raven Boys have taken her in as one of their own. Their problems have become hers, and her problems have become theirs. The trick with found things, though, is how easily they can be lost.

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So Blue Lily, Lily Blue picks up not so long after The Dream Thieves. Maura is still searching for Artemus underground and Blue is trying to be the best she can be without her mother. The boys are still very much themselves and Blue and Gansey begin to get much closer and I need more of the two of them in my life.

I always feel a bit bitter sweet in regards to The Raven Cycle books. I more than appreciate Maggie Stiefvater’s writing and even more so appreciate her being so spot on with everything in regards to lay lines, supernatural powers, Glendower etc. (I was talking to my sister-in-law about this series and she was super surprised to hear about how in depth it was and that Maggie Stiefvater knew a lot about the topics within the book). But anyway, I always feel a bit bittersweet reading these books because I LOVE LOVE LOVE the writing, but I always feel so let down when there’s such a build up and no true action climax. I feel like I keep getting let on.

But quite honestly, the writing does make up for it. I don’t think I’ve read something quite like this ever before, and I really do appreciate the beauty of her writing. I most definitely will be reading The Raven King because I need to know what happens with Blue and Gansey. I demand to know about Artemus. I’m more than happy that Maura is back,I think she’s one of my favorite characters.

Other than that, I DEMAND I see more Ronan and Adam. I’m kind of mad I didn’t get more of them! I sound like a child having a tantrum but I there’s so much that I want out of this series and I hope to get it in The Raven King.

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Netflix Book Tag

Ah, it’s Friday again! My designated tag day … I guess. And Tuesday I was laid off from my job and so I’ve been spending a lot of time watching the good ‘ole Netflix…while applying to jobs of course and I thought why not search the internet for those lovely bookish people who created a booktag based on Netflix. And by golly I found it! So if you want to see the original Netflix Tag, you can find it here.

1. Recently Watched:The last book you finished reading.
The last book I finished reading was a lovely re-read of a 800+ book named Harry Potter and The Order of The Phoenix by J.K. Rowling

2. Top Picks: A book/books that have been recommended to you based on book you have previously read.
I guess I’ll give a Top 3 for these. Taylor always recommends CoHo books to me especially I feel like she’s told me to read November 9 multiple times. The Female of The Species by Mindy McGinnis, and The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima

3. Recently Added: The last book you bought
Moon Chosen by P.C. Cast

4. Popular on Netflix: Books that everyone knows about. (2 you’ve read and 2 you have read or have no interest in reading)
Read : Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

No Interest : The Selection Series by Kiera Cass
Anna and The French Kiss by Anna Perkins

5. Comedies: A funny book
Bossy Pants by Tina Fey is absolutely great. It’s hilarious and nothing short of what you’d think a book written by Tina Fey would be like.

6. Dramas: A character who is a drama queen/king.
Chaol WestfallThrone of Glass Series  I feel like he is one of the biggest drama kings. There’s just something about Chaol that I love but honestly, he is quite dramatic.

7. Animated: A book with cartoons on the cover
So I’m going to list a few because I’m in love with these comics and obviously they have cartoons on the cover! 
Saga by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples
Ms. Marvel  by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona
Rat Queens by Kurtis J. Wiebe and Roc Upchurch
Lumberjanes by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Shannon Watters, Brooke A. Allen

8. Watch it again: A book/book series that you want to re-read
Falling Kingdoms Series  by Morgan Rhodes. This book series is one I’ll lovingly read over and over and over again. Although not finished, when it is, I plan to marathon these until the day I die.

9. Documentaries: A non-fiction book you’d recommend to everyone
Furiously Happy : A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson.  This book focuses on Jenny’s anxiety, depression and all sorts of other emotional issues. If you suffer from any of these, I highly recommend it. She literally writes about aspects of things I understand and twists it to the point where you’re laughing about it.

10. Action and Adventure: An action packed book
Winter by Marissa Meyer is such an action packed book I love it. It felt like every other chapter there was something going on such suspense throughout the whole book, it was indeed action packed through and through.

11. New Releases: A book that just came out or will be coming out soon that you can’t wait to read.
Caraval by Stephanie Garber comes out this month and I’m so excited for it! The hype around it is fantastic and amazing and I can’t wait to read it.

 

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Top 5 Wednesday : Characters You’d Invite to Your NYE Party

Top5Wednesday
Top 5 Wednesday was created by Lainey at gingerreadslainey on YouTube. And this week’s topic is Characters You’d Invite to Your New Year’s Eve Party. This is a super fun topic and one I had quite the bit of trouble narrowing down to five. But all in all I think I really do enjoy the people I’d want to spend New Year’s Eve with me. 

1. Fred & George Weasley from Harry Potter
Known for all their mischief and constantly looking for fun, I think this dynamic duo would be a great way to end the year off with a bang.

2. Kenzie from Shatter Me
Oh my goodness, I think Kenzie would be such a snarky and awesome person to ring in the new year with.

3. Scarlet from The Lunar Chronicles 
I feel like my whole party is just going to be a bunch of snarky, trouble seeking miscreants but…I kind of don’t care. I love Scarlet and she’s someone I’d love to hang out with if I got the chance.

4. Nina and Jesper from Six of Crows 
Do I even need to explain this? They seem to be the only two characters in that duology who actually wanted to and enjoyed having fun.

5. Aelin Galathynius from Throne of Glass series
She seems like a bad ass bitch who knows when and how to have a good time.

And that’s all I got for this week! Let me know who you’d like to ring in the new year with and if you think my list is sufficient enough.

Review : Yellow Brick War by Danielle Paige

18602406Yellow Brick War by Daniel Paige
Published : March 15, 2016

Once upon a time, there was a girl from Kansas named Dorothy.

You might know her as the Girl Who Rode the Cyclone. She ended up in Oz, where she became friends with the Tin Woodman, the Scarecrow, and the Cowardly Lion. But the temptation of magic was too much for her. She let it change her. Her friends became twisted versions of their former selves.

The magical land of Oz is now a dark and menacing place.

My name is Amy Gumm. Tornadoes must have a thing about girls from Kansas, because I got swept away on one too. I also landed in Oz, where Good is Wicked, Wicked is Good, and the Wicked Witches clued me in to my true calling:

Assassin.

The only way to stop Dorothy from destroying Oz—and Kansas—is to kill her. And I’m the only one who can do it.

But I failed. Others died for my mistakes. Because of me, the portal between the worlds has been opened and Kansas and Oz are both in danger. And if I don’t find a way to close it?

Dorothy will make sure I never get to go home again.

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I really don’t know how to feel about this book.

I enjoyed how it began where the last book left off but going back to Kansas kind of annoyed me. I didn’t really like this portion of the book. Although Kansas was portrayed accurately as boring and what not, I really felt bored as I read that portion of the book.

I feel like this book could’ve been compacted to a duology. But, it wasn’t  and this book felt like a very big filler book. I liked the fight with Glinda and Glamora. Because that HAD to happen. But honestly I was so underwhelmed with this book.

I really loved the cliff hanger from Dorothy Must Die, it set up this series for such success and I’m really disappointed that this book fell so short. Like honestly, how hard could it be at all to kill Dorothy? I feel like the character development has fallen so flat. It was really upsetting to see all this work setting up a lot of the character developments and plots and just letting them all fizzle and die.

There is one more book coming out next year. And I’m really hoping it’s something epic to really  make up for this book.

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