Saturday, June 30, 2018

Book Review: The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

Title: The Kiss of Deception (The Remnant Chronicles #1)
Author: Mary E. Pearson
Publication Date: July 8, 2014
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Pages: 486
Add to Goodreads

Review for book 2
Tracy's Review

A princess must find her place in a reborn world.

She flees on her wedding day.

She steals ancient documents from the Chancellor's secret collection.

She is pursued by bounty hunters sent by her own father.

She is Princess Lia, seventeen, First Daughter of the House of Morrighan.

The Kingdom of Morrighan is steeped in tradition and the stories of a bygone world, but some traditions Lia can't abide. Like having to marry someone she's never met to secure a political alliance.

Fed up and ready for a new life, Lia flees to a distant village on the morning of her wedding. She settles in among the common folk, intrigued when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deceptions swirl and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—secrets that may unravel her world—even as she feels herself falling in love.

 I absolutely loved this book!  I have been meaning to read it for such a long time now, but I think I was a bit intimidated by the size of all the books in the series.  You could kill somebody with the last book!  I ended up having an extra credit to spend on my audible account so I went and purchased this book to listen to on my commutes to and from work.

First off, I really liked the world building.  We get to see a tiny bit of the kingdom that she lives in, and then a little sleepy fishing town.  I'm not sure if the book itself has a map as I haven't looked at my copy, but the world in this book seems very expansive.  I can't wait to read more about it in the rest of the series!

I really loved how you had no idea who the assassin or the prince were.  It's even a while before we get to know their names.  I was searching so hard for defining details to see if I could even put a name to which boy was which, but I couldn't find one until of course you find out later in the book.  I don't think I've ever read a book like that at all.  I really was on edge trying to figure it out.

I liked the romance in this book a lot.  At first both boys sound like great love interests.  Of course you know one is a prince and the other an assassin, but even with that in mind, she could have been with either of them depending on who was who.  I really give the author props for doing this because I was almost fighting for both boys until that fateful moment.

One thing I hope gets more explained in the next few books is the magic system.  We find out a little bit about it, but what are her powers exactly?  It left me with a lot of unanswered questions.

All in all this book was a very fun read for me and I'm very excited to get to the next book!

Friday, June 29, 2018

Book Review: A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir

Title: A Reaper at the Gates (An Ember in the Ashes #3)
Author: Sabaa Tahir
Publication Date: June 12, 2018
Publisher: Razorbill
Pages: 464
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Reviews for book 1 and book 2

Beyond the Empire and within it, the threat of war looms ever larger.

The Blood Shrike, Helene Aquilla, is assailed on all sides. Emperor Marcus, haunted by his past, grows increasingly unstable, while the Commandant capitalizes on his madness to bolster her own power. As Helene searches for a way to hold back the approaching darkness, her sister's life and the lives of all those in the Empire hang in the balance.

Far to the east, Laia of Serra knows the fate of the world lies not in the machinations of the Martial court, but in stopping the Nightbringer. But while hunting for a way to bring him down, Laia faces unexpected threats from those she hoped would aid her, and is drawn into a battle she never thought she'd have to fight.

And in the land between the living and the dead, Elias Veturius has given up his freedom to serve as Soul Catcher. But in doing so, he has vowed himself to an ancient power that will stop at nothing to ensure Elias's devotion–even at the cost of his humanity.

An Ember in the Ashes has long been one of my favorite series and, like everyone else, I have (im)patiently waited two years for A Reaper at the Gates. This book had a lot to live up to - there was a LONG wait and a ton of hype, definitely made worse by the tiny number of ARCs released into the world. When I finally got my hands on it, I dug in immediately, but somehow this still took me over a week to read...

Reaper picks up right after the end of Torch, with Laia and Elias still together, while living in separate worlds. I have loved their relationship since book one, and it's no different here, although there were moments when I wanted to cry over decisions made. Sadly, outside of this romance, I found myself not caring much about Laia and her journey. As Sabaa Tahir has said elsewhere, Laia visits new locations in this book and I'm honestly not what the point was.

Thankfully, Elias' point of view was fascinating! I hated the way Torch ended with Elias in his Forest, but I really enjoyed the way everything was set up during his chapters. His personal journey was hard to read, but I loved the character growth. Elias, Shaeva, and Mauth were an interesting dynamic and I felt like I got to know the true meaning of the Soul Catcher so much better, where it was much more cryptic in A Torch Against the Night. Although I would have preferred Elias and Laia to stay together through A Reaper at the Gates, I did at least enjoy his chapters.

Which brings me to Helene. I will freely admit that I completely hated her in the first two books in this series. Like, I would have cheered if Marcus had had her offed awhile back... However, I finally feel like I'm warming up to her. A little. I was nervous about reading her POV, but it was actually really informative to get her perspective on her duties as Blood Shrike and to understand the reasoning behind her actions. Still, there were SO MANY TIMES I wanted to reach into the pages and shake this woman! She's infuriating. And I get it. I understand loyalty and risks and all of that, but my god. Just kill Keris two books ago! (Keris remains Keris, by the way. I know a lot of people love to hate her, but I still just hate her.)

A Reaper at the Gates has also brought our second villain, The Nightbringer, a lot more screen time. While he was a constant looming presence earlier in the series, here he finally has a backstory and can be seen as a direct threat. This does bring me to an observation, since I can't really call it a problem. An Ember in the Ashes had a fantastic story with a setting that seemed pieced together from Roman and Middle Eastern cultures with a couple mentions of magic. By Reaper, we are in full on magic territory. This book is hugely focused on jinn and ghosts and other various fae, which is absolutely NOT where I thought this series was going after book one. I don't hate it, it just seems like a strange, gradual shift.

While I didn't dislike this book, a huge chunk of the middle of it feels like filler. To be honest, it seems that most of Laia's part of Reaper could have been left out. Her actions don't really feel like they accomplish much at all. She does a lot of running and escaping, only to see no real payoff. There is a lot of talking to random people who, like I said, I'm sure will be important in book four, but seems pointless here. And, while there are plenty of new characters, old ones are completely wasted - Darin is barely mentioned. There is one big twist, though, that was perfect in every way and caught me completely by surprise!

Overall, I did enjoy A Reaper at the Gates and am happy with the way it ended up. I do feel like there's a quite a bit of filler that could have been left out and I did hope to see more of certain characters, but these aren't big enough problems to affect my love for this amazing series! If you loved the first two books, you will also enjoy this one. Here's hoping book four isn't two years away!

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

ALAAC 2018 Recap

Hi everyone! I'm back from the 2018 ALA Annual Conference and here to share a recap with you! This year my husband accompanied me for the first time. We don't always get to spend a ton of time together, so he wanted to join me in New Orleans! (Don't worry, I'm not one of THOSE bloggers - he grabbed a grand total of four books, and one was for someone who was working the convention and couldn't be there for a signing!)

We drove from Central Florida to New Orleans on Friday, arriving around 6pm and checking into our hotel. Since we had exhibit only passes and couldn't attend on Friday evening, we promptly headed out to meet up with Christina from Books & Prejudice for dinner in the French Quarter. We came across a wedding parade, which was definitely something I'd never seen before! We would see a couple more before our weekend in New Orleans ended. (I'm sorry for the vertical video!)

On Saturday, we were up bright and early at 6am. Our hotel was a mile from the convention center, which wasn't a terrible walk, especially before the heat of the day. We ran into Amber from Du Livre on the way and she pointed us in the right direction to get our badges. About 45 minutes later the exhibits were opened and we made our way inside. Saturday was the day I'd hoped to get most of what I'd set out to find and, thankfully, I did! I was able to get most of the ARCs on my Fall and Spring TBR lists. Unfortunately, Priory of the Orange Tree and Wicked Saints were not available at ALA at all. I was able to go to signings for Julie Kagawa and Neal Schusterman (after lunch with Christina and Amber), which was amazing! We don't get many authors in Central Florida for some reason.

Saturday night we were able to do a walking tour of the French Quarter - Killers and Thrillers East Ghost Tour! (It's alternative title is Bad Bitches of New Orleans.) It's advertised as the only adults-only tour of New Orleans, but honestly the only "adult" part of it was when the guide tried to hype up the gore of the first house we stopped at, the LaLaurie Mansion. Still, it was an informative and fun tour! After, we stopped for dinner and then returned to the hotel to prepare for the next day!

View from the room.

Unfortunately, this is where our trip started to take a turn for the worst. While I was brushing my teeth Saturday night, I got a text from my dog sitter letting me know that my youngest puppy had thrown up his dinner. This isn't entirely outside of normal behavior, so I told her to keep me updated. While we were getting ready Sunday morning, we got another message telling us he had been more sick overnight and in the morning. After talking to the Emergency Vet, we had the dog sitter take him over. Since we weren't sure what the word would be, we packed everything before walking to the convention center, just in case.

Sunday's convention fun began with an hour-long wait for Ransom Riggs. He was signing ALA exclusive manuscripts of A Map of Days. After, we were able to form a line for the Wicked King drop, which would be two hours later. While in that two hour line, we were in contact with the vet, who told us our dog (Kovu) was not in any immediate danger, and that he had been given a shot for nausea and pills for diarrhea. We still didn't feel good about not being home though, so we left immediately after getting Wicked King and made the 10 hour drive back home.

ALA Haul (Not pictured: Dry - I was reading it)

All in all, we missed out on most of Sunday and all of Monday at ALA, along with a couple books that were being signed those days, but I'm very happy with my decision to rush home, because my puppy was much more ill than we'd realized. He's since been back to the ER and has spent two days under the observation of his regular vet receiving IV fluids and antibiotics. He does seem to be on the mend, thankfully. Books can be read later! Puppies are much more important.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday #193: Series I gave up on

Today's Topic: 
Top Ten Series I’ve Given Up On

This is something I'm really guilty of, but honestly I can't feel too bad about it! I can't force myself to continue a series I'm not enjoying. Here are ten that I gave up on before they ended (or maybe before they really got going)!

The Becoming of Noah Shaw by Michelle Hodkin (The Shaw Confessions)
The Crown's Game by Evelyn Skye (The Crown's Game Series)
Flame in the Mist by Renee Adhieh (The Flame in the Mist Series)
Gilded Cage by Vic James (Dark Gifts Series)
The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert (The Hazel Wood Series)

Kingdom of Ash and Briars by Hannah West (The Nissera Chronicles)
Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard (Red Queen Series)
Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch (Snow Like Ashes Series)
Truthwitch by Susan Dennard (The Witchlands Series)
The Valiant by Lesley Livingston (The Valiant Series)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Weekly Recap: 6/17 - 6/23


Hi everyone! I don't have much to report this week because I'M AT ALA! I've spent the day with Christina from Books & Prejudice and Amber from Du Livre (both are in my sidebar), wandering the exhibit halls, eating lots of food, and doing a Killers & Thrillers Ghost Tour of the French Quarter. I do have lots of new books, but I'm saving them for my ALA haul later this week!


Stay tuned!




Hello everyone!  I hope y’all had a great week!  Mine was okay. I worked a ton, but didn’t have too much time to do much else. I so cannot wait for my family vacation in a week!  Then I can just sit back and relax a bit lol. Either way, I’ve got one more hard week of work left and then I’m off to the Adirondacks!





The topic was my Summer TBR for Top Ten Tuesday
Wednesday audiobook review of Paranormalcy
On Thursday Chelcie talked about bookish things that make her mad
Friday book review of The Glittering Court
On Saturday I wondered how often I read my TBR list



We're linking up to Stacking the Shelves & The Sunday Post!
Saturday, June 23, 2018

How often do I actually read the books on my TBR list?

Multiple times a year, usually at the start of each season, I make a TBR list. In fact, I posted one just this Tuesday! That post got me thinking: how often do I actually follow through and read the books I add to these lists? I went back through old posts and randomly selected one from each of the years I've been blogging. The covers with an X are the ones I did NOT get around to reading!

2014 TBR BOOKS READ: 7/10

Not to shabby! I actually have read most of the books on this list! To be fair, my reading world was much smaller back in my first year of blogging, so there weren't a ton to choose from (as far as I knew). Still, I'm impressed with myself!

2015 TBR BOOKS READ: 9/10

Definitely way better than I'd expected! I really felt like I never read any of the books on my TBR, but I'm actually impressing myself. Of course, one of these was also on the 2014 list and I don't remember which year I read it.

2016 TBR BOOKS READ: 6/10

Still not terrible, but not great either. Still, it's more than 50%! I guess it's not surprising that the ones I didn't read were contemporary YA, or at least not fantasy books.

2017 TBR BOOKS READ: 5/10

And here we are, at 50% read, which is honestly still a bit better than I was expecting, but it's pretty embarrassing! This is the problem with being in the know about so many amazing books being published! There's just too much to read!

2018 TBR BOOKS READ: 5/10

Only 50% again, but I'm cutting myself some slack on this one since it has only been three months since I made this TBR list. I'm also halfway through three of these since I've had a bit of a problem getting sucked into a some of them. 

Overall, I actually did way better on this than I thought I had! Every time I put together a TBR I feel like there's no way I'm actually going to read most of them. I definitely see the difference between the first two years and the third being that I just found SO MUCH more to read! And I'm thinking that the reason I've done better in the past two years than the one before is that I've gotten a bit better at knowing what I'll enjoy. Maybe. Or maybe it's just luck! 

How good are you about reading what you put on your TBR? Do you tend to skip over things you thought you wanted to read, but have changed your mind about? Do you get overwhelmed with choices? And very importantly, are there any I've skipped over that you think I'd love? Let me know in the comments!

Friday, June 22, 2018

Book Review: The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead

Title: The Glittering Court (The Glittering Court #1)
Author: Richelle Mead
Publication Date: April 5, 2016
Publisher: Razorbill
Pages: 400
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Big and sweeping, spanning from the refined palaces of Osfrid to the gold dust and untamed forests of Adoria, The Glittering Court tells the story of Adelaide, an Osfridian countess who poses as her servant to escape an arranged marriage and start a new life in Adoria, the New World. But to do that, she must join the Glittering Court.

Both a school and a business venture, the Glittering Court is designed to transform impoverished girls into upper-class ladies who appear destined for powerful and wealthy marriages in the New World. Adelaide naturally excels in her training, and even makes a few friends: the fiery former laundress Tamsin and the beautiful Sirminican refugee Mira. She manages to keep her true identity hidden from all but one: the intriguing Cedric Thorn, son of the wealthy proprietor of the Glittering Court.

When Adelaide discovers that Cedric is hiding a dangerous secret of his own, together they hatch a scheme to make the best of Adelaide’s deception. Complications soon arise—first as they cross the treacherous seas from Osfrid to Adoria, and then when Adelaide catches the attention of a powerful governor.

But no complication will prove quite as daunting as the potent attraction simmering between Adelaide and Cedric. An attraction that, if acted on, would scandalize the Glittering Court and make them both outcasts in wild, vastly uncharted lands…

To be upfront and honest, I’m not sure how I feel about this book. It had its good moments and bad moments, but I did like reading it. It read very generically. We get a high society girl wanting a new life and a boy who helps her get that.

This book started out with so much promise. I was excited to see what new life was awaiting for the main character as she ran. I got nervous when she was almost caught, but then the events started to get blander and blander as the book went on. This book went from The Selection to Gold Rush and confused the crud out of me.

There were so many plot holes and loose ends left in this book it almost reminded me of a block of Swiss cheese. Most of the time I had no idea what was going on and why it happened and why the characters didn’t even reflect on the event that happened. I’m not sure if the next book will fill in these weird holes, but I’m almost not sure if I want to read it for fear of more plot holes everywhere.

I was kinda bummed with the romance in this book. It was lackluster and boring. I can’t even remember the love interest’s name he was that forgettable of a character. You think there would be something special that sets him apart from all of the other male attention the main character gets. Plus his “big secret” really was a flop and almost non existent once they were in the new world.

And one thing I realized after I finished this book is a lot of people consider this a fantasy, but there is no magic, mythology, or anything remotely supernatural. This book is more of an alternate history or dystopian novel.

I honestly wished this book was better. I really enjoyed the Vampire Academy and Soundless. Yet this book fell quite short of them. And like I said earlier, I’m not sure if I will even continue this series at all.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Bookish things that make me mad

Because I’m in a little bit of a grumpy mood I figured I would discuss some of the things about books that make me mad! Without further ado...


I absolutely hate when publishers do this!  I don’t care if the series has taken years to come out or if they want to do a cover change after the last book, it is never a good idea. I love when all of my books match and look pretty on my shelf, and they can’t be that way if publishers keep changing the covers on us.


Now don’t get me wrong, I love having a couple editions of my favorite book on my shelves, but when they make 4+ different editions with different special content then it’s a bit excessive (Lord of Shadows I’m looking at you.).  It really just gets to be a money grab at that point. I’ve had a few books that I wanted to get all of them for the special content, but there was no way I could with my budget.


I know this really can’t be helped, but I want my series right away. I’m a binge reader so I like to have the complete series before I even start it so that way I don’t have to wait. But with being a blogger I’ve gotten a ton of ARCs to read and I have to wait even longer for the next book to come out after I read the ARC. I wish it took a lot less time, but I’m glad I don’t have to wait too long for the next book.


I have lost so many favorite characters to the author’s pen. I’m still bitter over a bunch of their horrible deaths. I get that there are some needed deaths to make other characters grow, but, dang, does it hurt. There have been many tears shed and will be more as long as I keep reading books.


I can’t stand when you get to the end of a book and then flip back through pages because you think some may be missing. I’ve read a great number of books that just ended so abruptly-and not even with a good cliffhanger-that I had to check to see if I missed something. I love it when a story wraps up nice and neat, but I can’t stand loose ends especially if it is the last book in a series.

What bookish things make you mad?
Let me know in the comments!

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Audiobook Review: Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

Title: Paranormalcy (Paranormalcy #1)
Author: Kiersten White

Narrator: Emily Eiden
Publication Date: August 31, 2010
Publisher: HarperTeen

Length: 8 hours 40 minutes
Add to Goodreads

Discover the first book in a sparkling paranormal romance trilogy from Kiersten White, #1 New York Times bestselling author of And I Darken.

Evie’s always thought of herself as a normal teenager, even though she works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she’s falling for a shape-shifter, and she’s the only person who can see through supernatural glamours.

She’s also about to find out that she may be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures.

So much for normal.

For fans of Teen Wolf, Buffy, and Supernatural, this New York Times bestseller is a witty, fresh, and downright fun read that will capture your heart.

Kiersten White's And I Darken series is one of my absolute favorite series of all time, but I hadn't read any of her earlier work until now. I picked up Paranormalcy because it was available at my library and I loved the comparisons to Buffy and Supernatural. I dived in hoping that it would be as addictive a series as And I Darken, but alas.

Evie is the heroine of this story, and it becomes apparent immediately upon meeting her that she is very heavily based on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She is equal parts badass, girly, and rebellious, and I didn't hate her, but I couldn't bring myself to love her either. Like Buffy, she is one of a kind with powers that are expected to help bring peace on earth, but also just wants to be a normal teenager. When Evie meets Lend, she thinks he might be her chance at some normal teen interaction. She immediately starts falling for him and... eh.

The romance between Lend and Evie, while cute, was just kind of off to me. This is possibly because Evie seems so concerned with how hot he is and whether he's holding her hand because he likes her or not, all while the world is crumbling around her. Although she seems to have great reasons for questioning the authority around her, I had a really tough time accepting her attitude. I couldn't deal with her whining about prom while people were literally dying. Lend was a fascinating character, but my favorite character was Reth, by far.

I guess you could say Lend and Reth are the Angel and Spike of this series. Both are supernatural creatures, although one is good and one is kind of maybe bad. I thought that Reth was an infinitely more exciting character, although I was frustrated with how he constantly spoke in riddles, then got angry with Evie for not deciphering them. Overall, I didn't love any of the characters in this book, but Reth is the best of them.

Unlike a lot of my favorite YA series from the 2000s, I feel like Paranormalcy is definitely dated. It fits right in with a lot of other paranormal romance books, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but isn't really my thing. I do love a few books about faeries, but the mashup of faeries, shapeshifters, vampires, and other mythical creatures really took me back to the last decade. If that's something you enjoy, maybe you'd like this book more than I did.

The story itself was definitely unique and I did like the mystery surrounding the Initiative Agency and Buffy's Evie's place within it. I love the idea of a secret organization saving the world from the baddies! But nothing about it really stood out as super unique. Again, maybe if I'd read this when it was published, I would have felt differently. It's entirely possible that I've just read too many books to appreciate this for what it was when it was published.

Overall, I didn't hate Paranormalcy, but I certainly didn't love it. It's fair to say that Kiersten White has grown drastically in every possible way as an author between the time this book was published and when And I Darken came out. I sadly will not be continuing this series, but I will be giving her one more try with Chaos of Stars, and I will definitely read anything she writes in the future!

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday #192: Summer TBR

Today's Topic: 
Top Ten Books I Hope To
Read This Summer

Since I'm super lame and never, ever go swimming at the beach or at a pool, I decided to make this week's post my Summer TBR! These are the top ten summer publications I'm hoping to read soon!

A Blade So Black by L.L. McKinney
Dance of Thieves by Mary E. Pearson
The Glass Butterfly by A.G. Howards
Grace and Fury by Tracy Banghart
My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows

Not Even Bones by Rebecca Schaeffer
Scream All Night by Derek Milman
Seafire by Natalie C. Parker
Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik
Star-Touched Stories by Roshani Chokshi

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Weekly Recap: 6/10 - 6/16


ALA IS COMING!! You guys, I am so excited to be heading back to ALA for the 2018 annual conference! I know I'll be meeting some of you there and I can't wait! I'm already dreading the traveling part of the trip, but I know it'll all be worth it. Outside of preparing for ALA, I've spent this week doing a whole lot of nothing, to be honest. I've become obsessed with a couple new podcasts, specifically S Town and Serial. I've started reading my first Nordic Noir, which is taking forever because it's an audiobook and I'm dividing my time between that and the aforementioned podcasts... Whoops! My puppy went to the vet this week for his 1 year shots and his vet was super impressed with his progress on Prozac, although he did try to eat my husband's ear while his nails were being cut. Baby steps!




Hi everyone!  I’m so happy my horse is finally home!  She definitely missed both me and her buddies, and was super excited to get to eat all the grass she wants. I worked a ton this week which is good for my wallet, but very tiring. Other than that, I had a pretty relaxed week. Nothing too special happened lol.





The topic was fantasy worlds I'd like to visit for Top Ten Tuesday
Wednesday ARC review of Sweet Black Waves
On Thursday Chelcie did the Book Blogger Confessions Tag
Friday book review of Restore Me
I was underwhelmed for Saturday Screen Time



We're linking up to Stacking the Shelves & The Sunday Post!