Monday, October 4, 2021

September Wrap-Up & October TBR

I can't believe we're into October now. Wow. I feel like I spent the entire month of September so stressed out that it just flew by. I think October will be pretty much the same. I have big work projects and a possible mini family vacation happening as well. *sigh* I really just want to stay home and read, but it's probably not going to happen soon.

In this wrap-up, I’ll list the books I read, the books I reviewed, the books I bought/received, and my TBR for next month. Now, let’s get this bookish party started!

Books Read in September


Oaths of Legacy: 4 stars (my review)
Storm & Fury: re-read
Bitter Sweet Love: re-read

I only read three books in September. Technically, it was only 2.5, since Bitter Sweet Love is just a novella. But I'm counting it as three since I'm disappointed I couldn't get through the entire Harbinger trilogy this month. Stupid life, being all stressful and causing me to not want to read. Other than the two Dark Elements/Harbinger books, I read Oaths of Legacy by Emily Skrutskie, a NetGalley review copy. It's the second book in the Bloodright series, and I very much enjoyed this installment. I'm excited for book three. So, overall I read one ebook, re-read an ebook, and re-read a physical book.

Books Bought/Received in September

I spent a lot of money on books in September. Some of it was planned, some of it was not.

In total, I bought 15 books this month; 14 were physical copies and only one was an ebook, Rhapsodic by Laura Thalassa. It was $0.99 on Kindle. Thankfully, I only pre-ordered one FairyLoot book, which was their edition of Vespertine by Maragaret Rogerson. It won't arrive until later this year. I also had two B&N pre-orders that shipped this month, which mean I was charged in September, though one didn't technically arrive until October, so it's not pictured here. Under the Whispering Door is the one that did make it. My major book  expense was when I went to my local used bookstore, Hooked on Books, and ended up grabbing way too much. I'm not going to list everything here, but it was 11 books total. Oops. At least they weren't full price. All in all, I paid for 15 books this month, including the one ebook and one FairyLoot pre-order; however, I actually only received 13 of these within September.

As for books I received in September but didn't pay for in September, my pre-order of both FairyLoot's and Bookish Box's FBAA books finally arrived, bringing my total FBAA book count to eight physical copies, in addition to the ebooks. I also received my September FairyLoot with Defy the Night and Beasts of Prey, both of which I'm trying to sell, but I don't think anyone will buy them. Ugh. I paid for September's FairyLoot in August with my six-month subscription plan. My pre-order of the FairyLoot edition of Iron Raven by Julie Kagawa came in, along with my UK EOTV copy. I think I paid for EOTV back in July, since Book Depository charges when you check out. I also "bought" a free ebook of Fortune Favors the Cruel by Kel Carpenter on Kindle. And lastly, my friend got me a copy of Deal With an Elf King by Elise Kova as a late birthday gift. In total, that's 25 books I received: two ebooks and 23 physical copies, only eight of which I've read. Yikes. My TBR is going to fall over and kill me one of these days.

Currently Obsessed With

Not a ton of obsessions in the month of September. But I am getting prepared for spooky season with the TV show I'm currently watching. Oooooo...

The show I've been somewhat binging over the course of September is What We Do in the Shadows, a mockumentary style vampire show. My sister wanted me to watch it, and it's fun. Not super funny, but it has its moments. The third season isn't quite as good as the first two, though. I can't remember if I've been watching anything else besides weekly episodes of Animal Kingdom on TNT. That show will end this month, sadly. But after I catch up on these two, I'll probably dip into some Halloween movies as well as some paranormal shows like Lucifer.

October TBR


Once again, more TBR repeats for the month of October, unfortunately. I only have to re-read one Harbinger book before I get to read Grace & Glory for the first time and I may actually be finished with it by the time this post goes up. Maybe. Other than those two, I'm still working my way through A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin. Sadly, I've fallen behind on this one. I'm going to have to step up my reading to get this one done by the end of the year. Or I could just read more than one chapter at a time. Ha! My other major TBR books are EOTV and Jennifer L. Armentrout's A Shadow in the Ember. Both are book club reads. Everything else I read will just be for fun. No plans needed. :)

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Okay, well, that's the month of September, plus some October sneak peeks, all wrapped up into one post. Do you have a wrap-up post for last month? If so, share in the comments!

Saturday, October 2, 2021

Stacking the Shelves: The Double Special Edition

"Stacking the Shelves" is a weekly haul meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews and Reading Reality. It allows book buyers to share their accumulation of books with the online book-loving community.

This week has, like last week, been stressful. Not solely because of work, though that has played a small part. I've been feeling icky over the past week (it's not the C-19 word, I know that for sure). But, the sickness is over, and I have energy once again. Oh, and now it's mysteriously October?! Where did September go?


First up in this haul is the September FairyLoot, which was a total dud. The box was just awful. The edition of the book was subpar compared to normal FairyLoot quality, and I totally prefer the US hardcover design. I'm actually trying to sell my box, minus the tarot cards and monthly theme art items, but seems like everyone else is trying to sell their boxes too. If I end up being unable to sell the box, I'm thinking I'll read the book, and if I like it, I'll buy a US copy to take to Apollycon and get signed by the author.


Another FairyLoot order came in. My FBAA pre-order! YAY!!!! While I don't really love the covers of these editions, the inside designs are to die for! I plan on displaying the naked books and framing the reverse dustjacket art. However, I'm waiting to hear back from FairyLoot before I frame anything because my TCOGB copy had some damage to the front cover that has indented both sides of the jacket. My FBAA jacket also had some damage to the corner flaps but it isn't as terrible. Still sad, though. I hope I can get new dustjackets.

More FBAA items? Are we surprised at this point? So I ordered some magnetic bookmarks (and one sticker) from Etsy. This is part one of two orders. Though technically, it's three orders and I just had two shipped together. I honestly spent waaaay too much money on these chibbi bookmarks. It's insane.


This is the last of my 2021 pre-orders. Of physical books, that is. I still have one ebook waiting to be downloaded in October. EOTV I ordered from Book Depository, and it arrived super banged up. It honestly looked like a used book, not a brand new hardcover. BD decided to ship the ginormous book in a bubble mailer. WTH!?! Why would a book company send an international order in a bubble mailer? It makes no sense. I contacted BD, though, and they gave me a tiny refund. I didn't even know they gave partial refunds. I just wanted to encourage them not to use bubble mailers for international orders. Also, my pre-order of Dark Rise by C.S. Pacat arrived. It was the final book in my B&N fall 2021 pre-order purchase. I'm excited for this one, and I really hope it's good

Lastly, we have the FBAA Bookish Box special edition set, with associated trinkets. Honestly, I was pleasantly surprised by this box. The books are super nice and better quality than they appeared in sneak peeks, the T-shirt and blanket are uber soft, and the Dominique artwork is fantastic! The candle and bookmarks are good too. I'm a little meh on the necklace and the keychain though. The keychain just because it's a little too sharp to put in my bag. I don't want it to cut holes in my bag if I do put it on my keys. I will say, though, BB's editions are my least favorite of the three versions we've gotten. But that map! It's very pretty! I'd show it, but I'm too lazy. ;)

Well, that's all for this post. I can't believe I received all of this in just a single week. It's crazy how all of my pre-orders are coming in at the same time. Next time, I should have another FairyLoot edition and my August FairyLoot box (which was hanging out at my parents' house), so it'll be another good book week.

What books have you bought/received lately?

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Review: Oaths of Legacy by Emily Skrutskie

Oaths of Legacy
(The Bloodright Trilogy #2)
Publication Date: September 14, 2021
Hardcover, 288 pages, Del Rey Books
Genres: YA, Sci-Fi, LGBT+

Torn between loyalty and love, a young prince will learn how much he's willing to sacrifice as he tries to destroy the rebellion that threatens his throne in this exhilarating sequel to Bonds of Brass.

Gal’s destiny has always been clear: complete his training at the military academy, prove his worth as a royal successor, and ascend to the galactic throne. When a failed assassination plot against Gal sends him and Ettian—his infuriatingly enticing roommate—on a mad dash through the stars, Gal’s plans are momentarily disrupted. But he was born to rule the Umber Empire, and with Ettian by his side, nothing will stop him from returning home and crushing the growing insurgency threatening his family’s power.

But nothing is ever that simple in war—or in love. Gal is captured by the rebellion during a skirmish and faces public execution, his grand fate cut short. To save Gal’s life, Ettian does the unthinkable: he reveals himself as the secret heir to the fallen Archon Empire and rightful leader of the rebellion . . . and, therefore, Gal’s sworn enemy. Now a political hostage in this newly-reignited conflict, Gal must use his limited resources to sabotage the rebellion from within, concoct an escape plan, and return to the empire he’s destined to lead. And if that means taking down the man he thought he loved?

All the better.

My Review

Gal and Ettian are back in the second installment of Emily Skrutskie's Bloodright Trilogy, and boy, are things just a wee bit complicated now. But I have to admit it was fun seeing all the relationship drama play out. What can I say? I love reading enemies-to-lovers romance. It's my thing. Add in a sci-fi element, and I'm all in.

So Oaths of Legacy picks up pretty close to where Bonds of Brass left off. I won't spoil the first book, but let's just say Gal wasn't in a good place and Ettian was in a slightly better one. Unlike the first book, however, Gal is the point-of-view character for book two, which was a little odd, but not unwelcome. It's a different strategy when it comes to writing YA sci-fi, and I'm intrigued to see who narrates book three now. 

While I was initially skeptical about the plot development Ettian had towards the end of the first book, I was 100% on board for it in this one. Ettian's new role made for some great romantic tension between two boys who just have no idea what the heck they're feeling and what the heck they're doing.

It had been a while since I read Bonds of Brass, so I had a little bit of trouble remembering some of the names and overall worldbuilding, but nothing was hard to pick up on once the book got going. However, I actually enjoyed Oaths of Legacy a lot more, simply because of the tension and Gal's internal and external dilemma in deciding where he stands in the war. I will say, though, that sometimes Gal got a little wishy-washy in his politicking and not a whole lot happened in terms of plot for him until the very end. There just wasn't a lot of action in general when compared to the first book. Did that stop me from wanting to know what was going to happen next? Nope. Those darn boys just kept pulling me back in.

All in all, Oaths of Legacy was a great second installment to a series that combines typical sci-fi elements like spaceship battles and robotic suits with the fantasy royalty tropes that are being devoured by readers right now. I'd highly suggest this story for anyone who likes Red Rising, Throne of Glass, The Kiss of Deception, The Winner's Curse, and the Star Wars franchise.
It's just a fun time overall.

*Note: I received a NetGalley ARC of this book to review from the publisher. This in no way affected my opinion/review.

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Stacking the Shelves: The Spending Problem Edition

"Stacking the Shelves" is a weekly haul meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews and Reading Reality. It allows book buyers to share their accumulation of books with the online book-loving community.

Man, the past couple of weeks have been uber stressful. I applied to another job, didn't get it (which I'm fine with), and a lot of big things have been happening both in my work life and personal life. One of which, I'll talk about below. Despite my busy-ness, I managed to have book mail. Lots of book mail. I have a bunch of pre-orders coming in soon, and I already have way too many books to share, so here's this week's/month's/whatever's StS. It's a lot, so sorry in advance.


I got a suprise birthday gift from my book club/high school friend. It came a few weeks late, but better late than never! (I honestly didn't expect anything from her, so this was a fun gift to receive.) She sent me an art print of Bryce and Hunt from Crescent City and Deal With an Elf King by Elise Kova. Also, sorry for the terrible lighting in this pic. DWAEK is not a photogenic book.


I bought an ebook copy of Rhapsodic, as it was only $0.99 on Kindle. I've heard very mixed things about this series, but I am interested in trying it. I don't think it'll be groundbreaking or anything. The series does have some hauntingly beautiful covers, however.

I got one free ebook this month. It was a Kindle copy, of course. I need to use my Nook app more, but I just forget that it's even a thing. (Sorry, Barnes & Noble.) I had never heard of Fortune Favors the Cruel by Kel Carpenter before I saw the free listing, so this will be an interesting read, if I ever get around to it. It does have a very pretty cover, though.

Up next we have two pre-orders. One is the FairyLoot edition of The Iron Raven. I pre-ordered it back in June/July. The bad thing, though, is that my other Iron Fey FairyLoot editions are at my parents' house, so I can't admire the set as a whole. *sigh* I also just got TJ Klune's Under the Whispering Door, which I pre-ordered via B&N during their fall pre-order sale. I have one more book still to come from that sale. But look at that dumb sticker on the cover! Why, B&N?! Why?!

These next two pics are where things get expensive. Horribly, awfully expensive. Well, technically this one wasn't that bad. I went to my local used bookstore, and they had way more than I thought they would. They initially called me about a request I'd placed on Stray by Rachel Vincent, and I was super excited that a copy had come in. I went to the bookstore thinking I'd get one or two other titles, but I came out with eleven. Yikes. Five of them are Jennifer L. Armentrout contemporary romance books, of which I've already read two. The others are A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet, The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern, An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson, The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh, and Sweet Temptation by Wendy Higgins (the only book in the Sweet series I didn't have). I haven't read any of these, so in total, I added nine more books to my TBR with that trip.


And last, but certainly not least, I have my Titan tickets to 2022's Apollycon. The most expensive purchase of the month. Somehow I managed to get two tickets for me and my friend. I originally wasn't quick enough to purchase them. The major ticket tiers sold out in like one minute. So me and my friend were uber bummed, but through a glitch, more tickets that had been held back showed up in the app and I snagged two! Now, I'm just looking for two brunch tickets!

Well, that's all for this haul. It was insane, but I have more to come. So much more. My Bookish Box and FairyLoot FBAA editions, September FairyLoot, B&N pre-order, FairyLoot Gods & Monsters, UK EOTV, and some fan art items are all possibly arriving within the next week. It's gonna be another long post...

What books have you bought/received lately?

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Review: Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao

Iron Widow
(Iron Widow #1)
Publication Date: September 21, 2021
Hardcover, 400 pages, Penguin Teen
Genres: YA, Sci-Fi, LGBTQ+

The boys of Huaxia dream of pairing up with girls to pilot Chrysalises, giant transforming robots that can battle the mecha aliens that lurk beyond the Great Wall. It doesn't matter that the girls often die from the mental strain.

When 18-year-old Zetian offers herself up as a concubine-pilot, it's to assassinate the ace male pilot responsible for her sister's death. But she gets her vengeance in a way nobody expected—she kills him through the psychic link between pilots and emerges from the cockpit unscathed. She is labeled an Iron Widow, a much-feared and much-silenced kind of female pilot who can sacrifice boys to power up Chrysalises instead.​

To tame her unnerving yet invaluable mental strength, she is paired up with Li Shimin, the strongest and most controversial male pilot in Huaxia​. But now that Zetian has had a taste of power, she will not cower so easily. She will miss no opportunity to leverage their combined might and infamy to survive attempt after attempt on her life, until she can figure out exactly why the pilot system works in its misogynist way—and stop more girls from being sacrificed.

My Review

Wow! Xiran Jay Zhao is out to pack a punch with Iron Widow. I've never read a single YA book like it, but if this is the direction the sci-fi/fantasy storylines are going to take in the future, I am all for it.

Okay, so Iron Widow was a lot crazier than I anticipated it to be, which lead to some mixed feelings while I was reading
. What I really enjoyed was how different it was from all other sci-fi on bookshelves right now. There's a polyamorous romance, a female character who has a very strained relationship with her family, and a mysterious world that leads to a crazy cliffhanger twist at the end.

To really get into my review, I have to note how fast-paced this story is. It's almost too quick-paced once we get into the first third of the story. While the battles go on a bit too long, everything else, like relationships and character interactions, seem to snap by a lot faster. I felt like there could have been more pauses and slow moments to really feel the tension. Everything was kind of Wham! Bam! One revelation after another. I'd also say the worldbuilding is a little confusing at first. It's like Pacific Rim, Voltron, and Transformers with some more complex rules thrown in. Pilots driving giant magic-esque robots to fight monsters. You get used to all the techy explanation stuff once the series goes on, though. (Iron Widow definitely has some major Transformers movie sequel vibes with the battles going on just a bit too long. But, if you like longer action scenes, you may seriously enjoy those chapters of the book.)

Now, back to the characters. This is where the book lost me at times. Because while I enjoyed Zetian, our female protagonist, her emotions did kind of hop from one feeling to the next pretty quickly. I personally wanted more angst, especially with three teen love interests trying to figure their lives out during monster attacks and sabotages. I'm a character-reader though, so if you're more plot-based, you might appreciate the fast-paced emotional changes. I will say that Zetian never backed down from a challenge, and I was continually impressed by every decision she made.
I was rooting for her to go all Daenerys Targaryen on everyone and everything multiple times throughout the book.

One of the male love interests, Li Shimin, is a shady figure at first. He's a pilot who killed his entire family. Yikes. But the author, Zhao, goes a long way in really delving into Li's backstory and making him a sympathetic character. Poor guy. He's just a gentle giant who doesn't deserve all the hate.

My major love interest issue comes from Yihzi, who kind of just shows up. He doesn't get as much time or care as the other two characters, and when he is involved with one or both of them, I didn't feel a connection to him. Perhaps because his past isn't really shared? I think Zhao has potential to delve into his background a little more and not just make him the childhood best friend with a rich daddy, and I have my fingers crossed that this is the case. His storyline could turn out to be great if he gets more page time.

While I will say that the premise of Iron Widow really drew me in, the execution didn't make this story one of my all-time favorites. However, I can totally appreciate what Zhao is doing with this book. Zhao is writing a female character who is taking charge of her life after she's been put through hell, and this female character is getting to finally experience power with two male love interests as her arm candy. It's great! But with all of these thoughts in mind, I'm not sure if I'll pick up the sequel; though, I do think YA SFF lovers should pick this one up and give it a try. It's worth the read, especially for fans of Pacific Rim, Voltron, Transformers, Power Rangers, The Hunger Games, or Avatar: The Last Airbender.

*Note: I received an ARC of this book to review from the publisher via NetGalley. This in no way affected my opinion/review.

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

August Wrap-Up & September TBR

I feel like August has gone by in a flash. I also don't feel like I accomplished a whole lot, but when I list it out, it actually seems quite productive. Basically, I completed some major, stressful work projects, got my couch delivered, celebrated my birthday by being as lazy as possible and taking a personal day to just relax after said stressful work, and watched some TV. But that list isn't what you're here for, you're here for books.

In this wrap-up, I’ll list the books I read, the books I reviewed, the books I bought/received, and my TBR for next month. Now, let’s get this bookish party started!

Books Read in August


The Exiled Fleet: 4 stars (my review)
Every Last Breath: re-read
The Endless Skies: 3 stars (my review; ebook; not pictured)
The Princess Will Save You: 4 stars
Artificial Condition: 3.5 stars (ebook; not pictured)

I read five books in August. Not bad, but I was hoping to read at least one or two more. Of the five, two were NetGalley ebook review copies: The Exiled Fleet by J.S. Dewes and The Endless Skies by Shannon Price. I adore J.S. Dewes's Divide world, and I seriously hope there are at least two or three more books in the series. As you can tell from this month's photos, I bought physical copies of the series because I love it so much. It's such a fun time. Artificial Condition by Martha Wells was another ebook I read, but this was for my book club. I also skimmed All Systems Red to refresh myself for the sequel. For the two physical books I read in August, one was a re-read, Every Last Breath by Jennifer L. Armentrout, and the other was a whim read, The Princess Will Save You by Sarah Henning. The Princess Will Save You is the only book I read that I'd bought/received prior to 2021.

Books Bought/Received in August

 

August was a bad month for my wallet. Not only did I spend a lot on books, but I, once again, bought a lot of fan art. Oh, and my couch was finally delivered, which meant $500 was taken out of my account this month. Yay.

In total, I bought eight books in the month of August, and six of those were FairyLoot books. I decided to do a six-month subscription to FairyLoot, which meant I paid for all six boxes up front for a little bit extra off the costs. Of course I did this right before they announced an adult fantasy book subscription, which I'm way more interested in than the YA boxes. *sigh* I guess I'll just have to skip boxes for both subs whenever the book doesn't sound good. I hate doing that though. I feel like I'm going to miss something. Other than those six FairyLoot books, I bought The Exiled Fleet using Barnes & Noble's 25% off pre-order coupon, and I got an ebook of Artificial Condition.


As for books I received in August, my pre-order of Chest of Fandom's German Blood & Ash book box was delivered to my parents' address, same for the July FairyLoot book, Six Crimson Cranes. So my parents were able to deliver these to me during their previous visit. They also bought me The Last Watch by J.S. Dewes for my birthday.

Currently Obsessed With

Unlike earlier months of this year, August has been an insane time for me in terms of consuming movies and TV shows. That's probably why I only got five books read. Oops.

The show that took up most of my extracurricular hours was TNT's Animal Kingdom. The fourth season was available on Amazon Prime and the fifth season is currently airing, so I binged both and am watching new episodes every Sunday night. I actually stayed up until five a.m. to watch season four and part of five. Yikes. It was a weekend, so at least I wasn't working after. In addition to Animal Kingdom, I've been watching some of my favorite movies, like Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, The Mummy, and The Labyrinth. Oh, and I watched Loki on Disney+. I wasn't super impressed, but it was fun, I guess... The MCU just hasn't been able to impress me since Infinity War, sadly.

September TBR


More TBR repeats for the month of September, unfortunately. I'm truly hoping to get through my re-read of the Dark Elements/Harbinger series by the end of the month. I only have two books to go, and I've already started Storm & Fury. Then, I get to read Grace & Glory for the first time. The anticipation is killing me, but I have to do the re-read. I just don't remember enough to go into the last book blind. Other than these, I'm still working my way through A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin. I'm on track to finish it before the end of this year. Woohoo! My other major TBR book is Oaths of Legacy by Emily Skrutskie. It's a NetGalley ARC, so it needs to be read. Oh, and I have my September book club read and These Hollow Vows by Lexi Ryan that I'll be getting to this month.

***

Okay, well, those are the month of August, plus some September sneak peeks, all wrapped up into one post. Do you have a wrap-up post for last month? If so, share in the comments!

Monday, August 30, 2021

Review: The Endless Skies by Shannon Price

The Endless Skies
Publication Date: August 17, 2021
Hardcover, 354 pages, Tor Teen
Genres: YA, Fantasy

High above the sea, floats the pristine city of the Heliana. Home to winged-lion shapeshifters―the Leonodai―and protected from the world of humans by an elite group of warriors, the Heliana has only known peace.

After years of brutal training, seventeen-year-old Rowan is ready to prove her loyalty to the city and her people to become one of the Leonodai warriors. But before Rowan can take the oath, a deadly disease strikes the city’s children. Soon the warriors―including two of Rowan’s closest friends―are sent on a dangerous mission to find a fabled panacea deep within enemy lands.

Left behind, Rowan learns a devastating truth that could compromise the mission and the fate of the Heliana itself. She must make a decision: stay with the city and become a warrior like she always dreamed, or risk her future in an attempt to save everyone she loves. Whatever Rowan decides, she has to do it fast, because time is running out, and peace can only last so long...

My Review

Shape-shifting flying lions in YA fantasy books. Sounds intriguing, right? And to me it was. I was curious as to how something like this could be done well in a YA storyline. Was I completely impressed with how this book was executed? Not really, sadly.

So we have three main characters in The Endless Skies, all with their own point-of-view chapters. First is Rowan, a headstrong Leonodai warrior-in-training; Callen, the boy who loves her; and Shirene, Rowan's older sister who works for the King. Because there were three POV characters, and none of their voices were particularly unique, it was very easy to get them mixed up and forget who we were following in each chapter. At least one POV should've been cut, maybe two. We got way too much information out of Shirene's chapters, due to her political role, that would have been better off coming as surprises to the primary character, Rowan. Then, plot elements could've been surprising to the reader as well. As for Callen, having a POV from a boy who has been rejected romantically by the main character is quite interesting, but since Rowan and Callen are in the same locations a lot of the time, theirs were the easier chapters to mix up.

Rowan herself isn't all that interesting or unique from other YA female fantasy characters, either. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but if you've read a lot of fantasy, this may not be the book for you. Because of the lack of difference in characters' inner voices and the lack of individuality of characters, this book read really young. I would recommend it for 12-14 year-olds, not upper YA readers.

The world building, while completely unique in the shapeshifting abilities, is just okay. There's not enough description to really connect readers with the locations, other magical shapeshifting creatures, or even the catastrophic things that are happening to the children of the land. Oh, and a major warning here for a disease that kills off kids. If you're at all tired of diseases or even triggered by diseases because of the world's current circumstances, do not read this book. I know that's one reason I just couldn't get into it, in combination with the stuff I mentioned earlier.

Despite the disease, the book is fast-paced, so readers can devour it pretty quickly if they're so inclined. And because it's not a complex magic system, and the characters have a rather modern dialect for a fantasy world, it's an easy book to give to new readers and not bog them down in complexity. Oh, but speaking of world-building, I was super confused as to why an entire magic system rests on the shoulders of a small child when the father is still alive and should have had magic as well. Maybe I missed something about this in the story, but I found it extremely odd that rescuing a baby was key to the entire Leonodai existence.

All in all, The Endless Skies is simply an okay read for those who have devoured fantasy books for many years. While, to a newbie, it may be something super enjoyable. I think if I handed this book to a sixth grader, they'd have a pretty good time.


*Note: I received a NetGalley ARC of this book to review from the publisher. This in no way affected my opinion/review.

Saturday, August 28, 2021

Stacking the Shelves: The Birthday Edition

"Stacking the Shelves" is a weekly haul meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews and Reading Reality. It allows book buyers to share their accumulation of books with the online book-loving community.

Last weekend was my birthday, and while I didn't get a whole lot for myself, some pre-orders did come in. I didn't do anything special for my big day, mostly just relaxed and ate pizza. The day before, my parents visited and we got cupcakes and shopped a little, but it was a pretty tame birthday for the most part.


I, naturally, went to Barnes & Noble to celebrate. Unfortunately, they didn't have two of the books I was looking for. They were out of stock, which was really sucky. It was the first time I'd been to Barnes & Noble since January/February and I wanted to treat myself to two specific titles. Needless to say, I was disappointed. Not a great way to spend one's birthday. But I did get a finished copy of The Last Watch by J.S. Dewes, my favorite book of 2021. I had an ARC, but I wanted a finished version. Then, my sister sent me Have You Seen Me? by Kate White. Pretty sure it was just something she had on her shelves and didn't want anymore and she passed it off as a gift. She's a dork.


My parents brought the mail to me that I'd had delivered to their house, including July's FairyLoot. The box for July was a mixed bag. The book, Six Crimson Cranes, is beautiful, though it isn't a story I'm super excited for, and a few of the items are useful, like the umbrella and socks. Everything else I could live without.


My parents also delivered my From Blood & Ash Dreamybox pre-order. Sadly, I was disappointed in this one. I'm getting rid of everything except the Poppy art print and the Kieran bookmark/print. I'm just not a big fan of floral designs like the ones on the pillowcase, woodmarks, etc. Oh, and the pin is an overly used quote.

Unlike Dreamybox, I LOVED the Chest of Fandoms German From Blood & Ash box I got. It came with some great character prints of Poppy and Cas. There's also an awesome secret box. The woodmark is pretty, and the character artwork on the candle is cute enough to keep. Oh, and the pin is shaped like Poppy's dagger, which is really cool. The only item I'm meh about is the playing card set. It's the same character art on each one. I'd have liked different art.

But the major feature of this box is the book. It's a German edition, so I'll never be able to read it. However, look at those edges! There's a dagger on the long edge and arrows on the short edges. It's amazing! I won't be able to afford the sequels in the series from CoF due to international shipping costs, but I can display this one nicely once I get my FBAA shelves set up.

Well, that's the last of my haul. I have some pre-orders coming in hopefully next week, including the August FairyLoot and Bookish Box's FBAA editions. I'm crossing my fingers they get here before I go visit my parents over Labor Day weekend. We shall see...

What books have you bought/received lately?

Saturday, August 21, 2021

Stacking the Shelves: The Fan Art Addiction Edition

"Stacking the Shelves" is a weekly haul meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews and Reading Reality. It allows book buyers to share their accumulation of books with the online book-loving community.

Well, tomorrow I turn 28. Wow. I don't feel like I've been on planet Earth for that long. Seems like just yesterday I was in college, being a mini adult. Now, I'm a full-fledged adult. Kind of.

I don't have a lot to share this weekend in terms of book haulage. It's mostly just art prints. A Touch of Magic Designs was having a sale, so I got an Emilia print from Kingdom of the Wicked, Rowan from the Throne of Glass series, and Hawke and Poppy from From Blood and Ash. Technically I already owned two of these prints, but they were odd sizes, so I got new versions that are a more consistent size with some of my other prints. I also got another print and bookmark of Cas and Poppy from Timeless Prints. I need to stop ordering so many of these things. I don't have a place to put them. I'm just addicted to the stupid things for some reason, though I will be doing a fairly large FBAA swag sale pretty soon, extra prints included, once my Bookish Box and FairyLoot special editions get to me. That way, if there's any extra swag in those boxes I don't want, I can get rid of it all at the same time.



An order came in earlier than I expected. I pre-ordered a physical copy of J.S. Dewes's The Exiled Fleet earlier this month. Barnes & Noble was having their 25% fall pre-order sale, so I nabbed this one and a couple of others you'll see later. I wanted to pre-order more and really take advantage of the sale, but I realized there aren't a lot of fall releases I'm particularly excited for. Everything is either coming in a FairyLoot box so there's no point in me buying it twice or I just wasn't super interested in pre-ordering it at the moment. That's been happening to me a lot lately. I don't like it. I want there to be more, better books releasing all the time.

And guess what else just recently arrived? Another print. *sigh* One day I won't buy so much fan art. One day. This one is by RosieThorn, and it's of course Poppy and Hawke from FBAA. While I love me some Poppy and Hawke, I really want more fan art of Kieran from that series as well as just other JLA books in general. There is totally not enough good Roth and Daemon art out there.

What books have you bought/received lately?

Monday, August 9, 2021

Review: The Exiled Fleet by J.S. Dewes

The Exiled Fleet
(The Divide #2)
Publication Date: August 17, 2021
Paperback, 432 pages, Tor
Genres: Adult, Sci-Fi

J. S. Dewes continues her fast paced, science fiction action adventure with The Exiled Fleet, where The Expanse meets The Black Company--the survivors of The Last Watch refuse to die.

The Sentinels narrowly escaped the collapsing edge of the Divide. They have mustered a few other surviving Sentinels, but with no engines they have no way to leave the edge of the universe before they starve.

Adequin Rake has gathered a team to find the materials they'll need to get everyone out.

To do that they're going to need new allies and evade a ruthless enemy. Some of them will not survive.

My Review

We're back with Adequin Rake, Cavalon Mercer, and the Sentinel crew in this witty and epic sci-fi series that I just can't get enough of! Seriously, book three better be on its way, or I will have some words with Tor. I must have the next installment!

Okay, I'm going to stop (jokingly) threatening publishing companies and instead focus on my review. The Exiled Fleet picks up close to where The Last Watch left off. Some time has passed, though more time has passed for Cav than for Rake. That darned Divide messing with time again. I will straight up say that Cav is still a giant mess in this book, and for some very strange reason, I really enjoy that. He has so much going on in that brain of his, that sometimes he just forgets how to take care of himself. He's a disaster cinnamon roll, and I love him.

As for Adequin Rake, surprisingly, she was a bit of a mess in this book as well. Which totally makes sense given the events of book one. Lots of PTSD and trauma to sort through, as well as survivor's guilt for both Rake and Cav.
However, Rake still had her badass moments, and Cav had his scientific HA-HA moments for his major brain blasts.

The plot for this installment started off a little slow at first, but it picks up fairly early on, and even when the book is slow, you can tell a new, faster development is coming in the next few pages. There are some major revelations going on in The Exiled Fleet, and things go topsy-turvy. (Poor Cav....)

While I did very much enjoy myself with this sequel, I will say that there were a couple of events that I found myself a little iffy about. One was a small time jump in the middle of the book that really confused me. I actually thought it was a dream sequence or a hallucination at first. Then, later, a very convenient "save the day" moment happened that kind of took me out of the story a bit. However, these were pretty minor interruptions to my overall reading experience.

So, was book two better than book one? Yes and no. Yes because major plot points happen, and no because it wasn't as funny as book two, in my opinion. Definitely still fun, but that opening line for The Last Watch still kills me every time I think about it. Now for the important question: do I still want to be a member of Adequin Rake's crew? Also yes and no. Yes because they're awesome. No because bad things happen to them. Often. That being said, I'm still 100% recommending this series for fans of Game of Thrones and The Expanse, as well as Star Trek and even YA sci-fi fans. It's just a good time all around.

*Note: I received a NetGalley ARC of this book to review from the publisher. This in no way affected my opinion/review.

Monday, August 2, 2021

June and July Wrap-Up & August TBR

Oh my! July is finally over, and I am super excited! I'm in my new permanent place, my major furniture is ordered, my stuff is mostly put away, my freelance work is complete, and now I can just focus on reading books and doing a little bit of decorating with the small space I have in my studio apartment. Life is looking up after a hectic and emotional month. But enough of that, let's get on to the books for June and July, because last month was too chaotic to get a post in. (It was pretty insane.)

In this wrap-up, I’ll list the books I read, the books I reviewed, the books I bought/received, and my TBR for next month. Now, let’s get this bookish party started!

Books Read in June & July


The Covenant: 1 star
King of Scars: 3 stars
This Adventure Ends: 3.5 stars
The Cruel Prince: 4 stars
The Wicked King:
4 stars
The Queen of Nothing: 3.5 stars
Iron Widow
: 3.5 stars (ebook, review to come)
White Hot Kiss: re-read
Rule of Wolves: 3 stars

Stone Cold Touch: re-read

June was a great reading month! I read quite a few books I owned prior to 2021, and I completed my goal for reading 15 books I owned prior to April 2021. In total, I read seven books: one graphic novel, one NetGalley ebook, and six physical books overall. The physical books were The Covenant by Aron E. Coleite, King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo, This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills, and The Folk of the Air trilogy by Holly Black. These six books were all ones I owned prior to 2021. Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao was the ebook/review copy.

For July, I only read three books, all of which were physical and two were re-reads. I finished re-reading White Hot Kiss and Stone Cold Touch, so I'm two steps closer to re-reading all of Jennifer L. Armentrout's Dark Elements and Harbinger series in order to remember what's going down in the final book, Grace & Glory. I also finished Rule of Wolves by Leigh Bardugo for my book club's July meeting. It was...not great.

Books Bought/Received in June & July

 

Oh lord. I have no idea if I'll remember all of the books I accumulated and purchased over the past two months. Life was so insane that I didn't keep very good track. However, I'm going to give it a try. All in all, I received four books in June, all of which were physical books. Those include Witches Steeped in Gold, Realm Breaker version one and two, and Grace & Glory. Despite the giant haul, I actually only purchased three books in June: June's FairyLoot book that didn't arrive until July, the FairyLoot edition of Julie Kagawa's The Iron Raven I preordered, and Grace & Glory. The rest were preordered and only just arrived in June, like the May FairyLoot book, Witches Steeped in Gold; FairyLoot's edition of Realm Breaker by Victoria Aveyard; and The Bookish Box's edition of Realm Breaker that was in their June subscription box.

In July, I received 11 books, eight of which I purchased in the actual month of July.
The June FairyLoot book, Fire with Fire (not pictured), arrived in July, despite me paying for it in June, and the Fairy Trove Restock edition of Blood & Honey I bought in May arrived too. My From Blood and Ash Illumicrate box that I'd preordered in March arrived in July as well. And it's stunning! I can't wait to see what the sequels look like when they release it! I purchased 12 total books, which included a Kindle copy of Unchained by Jennifer L. Armentrout; a preorder of FairyLoot's edition of The Gilded Cage by Lynette Noni; Rule of Wolves by Leigh Bardugo (Amazon); four books in Nalini Sing's Guild Hunter series (used bookstore); two books from Rachel Vincent's Shifter series (used bookstore); July's FairyLoot box; and FairyLoot's preorder edition of Kingdom of the Cursed by Kerri Maniscalco. I also received an ebook review copy of The Exiled Fleet by J.S. Dewes from NetGalley, and I'm super excited to get to it. It's one of my most anticipated books for the last half of 2021.

Currently Obsessed With

I have shows that I'm watching! It feels like it's been years since I've actually watched a TV show! Technically, I've only watched one new show, started watching a couple but haven't gotten very far, and re-watched one other, but the re-watch isn't The Office, so that makes it 10x better! XD

So the only new show I watched in its entirety (or a significant portion of) was Love, Victor season two. It was fun. I binged all of it in a single weekend, and it was the first show I officially watched in my new apartment. Other than Love, Victor, I've been re-watching Schitt's Creek, which I finished in July. Now, I have to find another background show to watch. Also, I did see Black Widow and I started an episode of Monsters at Work both via Disney+. I'm also slowly making my way through the last season of Kim's Convenience on Netflix.

August TBR


Lots of repeats on August's TBR, unfortunately, and I don't think I'll get to all of them. Mostly, I want to continue re-reading the Dark Elements and Harbinger series, but I probably will only get to Every Last Breath and Storm & Fury. I also have to read The Exiled Fleet and The Endless Skies by Shannon Price (not pictured), since they're NetGalley review copies that release in August. I'm also continuing my year-long read of A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin, which I briefly put on hold during my move. And finally, I need to re-read All Systems Red by Martha Wells for this month's book club with the possibility of reading the second book, Artificial Condition, if the other two members want to read it as well. We chose something short this month in anticipation of September and October's book choices being longer picks.

***

Okay, well, those are the months of June and July, plus some August sneak peeks, all wrapped up into one post. Do you have a wrap-up post for last month? If so, share in the comments!