eARC Review – The Memory of Souls

Title: The Memory of Souls (A Chorus of Dragons #3)

Author: Jenn Lyons

Publisher: Tor Books

Publication date: August 25th, 2020

608 pages

4.5/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

THE LONGER HE LIVES
THE MORE DANGEROUS HE BECOMES

Now that Relos Var’s plans have been revealed and demons are free to rampage across the empire, the fulfillment of the ancient prophecies—and the end of the world—is closer than ever.

To buy time for humanity, Kihrin needs to convince the king of the Manol vané to perform an ancient ritual which will strip the entire race of their immortality, but it’s a ritual which certain vané will do anything to prevent. Including assassinating the messengers.

Worse, Kihrin must come to terms with the horrifying possibility that his connection to the king of demons, Vol Karoth, is growing steadily in strength.

How can he hope to save anyone when he might turn out to be the greatest threat of them all?

Review

The Memory of Souls is book three in the A Chorus of Dragons series by Jenn Lyons. This series is so intricate and detailed it makes Game of Thrones look like child’s play. I spent the first two books somewhat struggling to keep everything straight, as there is SO MUCH world-building. But Jenn Lyons really hit her stride with The Memory of Souls and it was enjoyable in so many more ways than the preceding books. I enjoyed the first two don’t get me wrong – but it was complicated and complex and a lot for my brain to handle. Now that I have a much more clear understanding of the world, I got to fully enjoy the characters and the intricacy of the plotting and intrigue that goes on.

This series is serious epic fantasy, very much for adults. Whereas there isn’t a lot of steam, there are references to sex and the world is very LGBTQ diverse which is amazing. Normally in epic fantasy it’s written in the perspective of the Middle Ages, where it’s not accepted and women are still considered property. In this universe, any sort of sexual experience is possible, accepted, and flaunted. There are also several races that are transgender by nature, and a country where it is very normal to use different pronouns. I think it’s a very cool touch.

The plot in this book really gets going. In such an intricate world, the first two books really were setting up this book. I normally feel like middle books get slow, but the opposite happened here. Everything was much faster paced and there were too many twists and turns to keep track of. I almost want to take a peek inside Jenn Lyon’s mind to try and figure out how she keeps all of it straight! Also, the ending is absolutely killer. I leave you to figure out in which way I mean that.

Seriously, if you love Game of Thrones or the Belgariad books, you should definitely pick up this series. I’m very much looking forward to the fourth book next year!

Thank you to Tor Book and Netgalley for an early copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – Mistletoe and Mr. Right

Title: Mistletoe and Mr. Right (Moose Springs, Alaska #2)

Author: Sarah Morgenthaler

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

Publication date: October 6th, 2020

352 pages

3.5/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

How the moose (almost) stole Christmas.

Lana Montgomery is everything the quirky small town of Moose Springs, Alaska can’t stand: a rich socialite with dreams of changing things for the better. But Lana’s determined to prove that she belongs…even if it means trading her stilettos for snow boots and tracking one of the town’s hairiest Christmas mysteries: the Santa Moose, an antlered Grinch hell-bent on destroying every bit of holiday cheer (and tinsel) it can sink its teeth into.

And really…how hard could it be?

The last few years have been tough on Rick Harding, and it’s not getting any easier now that his dream girl’s back in town. When Lana accidentally tranquilizes him instead of the Santa Moose, it’s clear she needs help, fast…and this could be his chance to finally catch her eye. It’s an all-out Christmas war, but if they can nab that darn moose before it destroys the town, Rick and Lana might finally find a place where they both belong…together.

Review

After recently reading The Tourist Attraction, I was very excited to be approved for Mistletoe and Mr. Right. If you’ve read the first book (which you don’t really NEED to do, it just helps & gives background), this book covers Lana and her adventures into trying to save Moose Springs by doing exactly what the locals don’t want to have happen – increasing tourists in the area. While she does this, she begins to fall in love with the very quiet but very handsome Rick, who runs a bar in Moose Springs and who blushes whenever Lana looks at him. Rick is a local, living a small town life.

I enjoyed this book, but not as much as the first book. I enjoyed the consistency within the dramatic points where the female does something fairly illegal to the male & hijinks ensue. I thought the Santa Moose plot line was hysterical, and I truly enjoyed the depth that Lana’s character was given. She wasn’t the typical rich, party girl in the first book, but she also wasn’t given much attention or personality. In this book you really get to see how she feels about her family, the business, and the town.

I wish the Santa Moose has a more distinct ending. That plot line truly fell flat. I wish Rick had more of a personality. Outside of being a genuinely nice guy, there wasn’t much given to him at all. Even from his POV the thoughts you’re privy to are just so surface level. Lastly, the ending was way too forced and rushed. The pacing of this book was all off for me. For these reasons, I enjoyed this first more, but I will be reading the third when it comes out!

Overall, a cute, Christmassy story coming out in the Fall. Go check it out!

Thank you to Sourcebooks Casablanca and Netgalley for an early copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – I Hope You’re Listening

Title: I Hope You’re Listening

Author: Tom Ryan

Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company

Publication date: October 6th, 2020

368 pages

5/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

EVERY MISSING PERSON HAS A STORY.

In her small town, seventeen-year-old Delia “Dee” Skinner is known as the girl who wasn’t taken. Ten years ago she witnessed the abduction of her best friend, Sibby. And though she told the police everything she remembered, it wasn’t enough. Sibby was never seen again.

At night, Dee deals with her guilt by becoming someone else: the Seeker, the voice behind the popular true crime podcast Radio Silent, which features missing persons cases and works with online sleuths to solve them. Nobody knows Dee’s the Seeker, and she plans to keep it that way.

When another little girl in town goes missing, and the case is linked to Sibby’s disappearance, Dee has a chance to get answers with the help of her virtual detectives and the intriguing new girl at school. But how much of her own story is she willing to reveal in order to uncover the truth?

Review

I Hope You’re Listening is a YA thriller that is coming out at the perfect time! It has enough spookiness and mystery to make it perfect for October. When Dee Skinner was 6, she was playing in the woods with her BFF Sibby, when Sibby is captured by strange men and never seen again. Fast forward 10 years, Dee is still dealing with the guilt of being left behind. She started a podcast called Radio Silent, bent on solving some missing persons cases – when her case can’t be. She’s had major success with it. When another young girl goes missing from the same house Dee lived in when Sibby went missing – it brings the original case back up. A Radio Silent listener sends Dee a clue to Sibby’s whereabouts, and Dee is thrust back into the past. Can Dee figure out the two cases?

I LOVED THIS BOOK. I stayed up until 1am reading it (which only upped the thriller ante), and gobbled it up whole. Were there some problems, sure, but overall this book was so well written and interesting that it’s easy to overlook them. Starting with the plot, I loved the podcast element. The fact that a young woman an create such a successful enterprise & actually help find missing people (with the help of the Laptop Detectives) is so cool to read. I also just love missing person mysteries, they are the hardest for me to predict! And I could NOT predict where this book was going at all. Every revelation was a shock.

In terms of characters, Dee had some issues. She wasn’t exactly the nicest, and she was pretty self-absorbed at times. I think she made decent growth over the span of the book, but she also wasn’t held responsible for any of her mistakes or actions. And a lot of what she does is somewhat unrealistic for a 16 year old. BUT, in her own way, she made for the perfect character in this story. Also, there was a touch of LGBTQ romance, which is always a plus!

Thank you to Albert Whitman & Company and Netgalley for an early copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Happy reading, folks!

October TBR!

I fully planned on having this post together and posted on the first day of the month… but here we are. I took several days off (outside of already scheduled posts) for my birthday and a wedding that we went to – and I have no regrets. BUT I’m back and ready to talk about the books I plan on reading in October. I have a very spooky TBR planned and I’m excited to really lean into the mystery/thriller/witchy books!

So I went through my physical TBR and picked out just about every mystery or thriller that I’ve collected recently to read this month. I also put in a lot of spooky fantasy options from Netgalley/Edelweiss ARCs as well. Of course I have other genres sprinkled in to keep it fresh but there is definitely a theme to this month’s TBR. So, without further ado – see below for my TBR!

PHYSICAL BOOKS

  1. Sisters of Shadow and Light (Sisters of Shadow and Light #1), Sara B. Larson
  2. Song of the Dead (Reign of the Fallen #2), Sarah Glenn Marsh
  3. The Last Flight, Julie Clark
  4. Cemetery Boys, Aiden Thomas
  5. The Other Mrs., Mary Kubica
  6. Furyborn (Empirium #1), Claire Legrand
  7. Kingsbane (Empirium #2), Claire Legrand
  8. Lightbringer (Empirium #3), Claire Legrand
  9. The Last Time I Lied, Riley Sager
  10. Home Before Dark, Riley Sager
  11. Winterwood, Shae Ernshaw
  12. Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass #5), Sarah J. Maas
  13. The Storm Crow (The Storm Crow #1), Kalyn Josephson
  14. The Crow Rider (The Storm Crow #2), Kalyn Josephson
  15. The Demon King (Seven Realms #1), Cinda Williams Chima

ARCS

  1. Warriors of Wing and Flame (Sisters of Shadow and Light #2), Sara B. Larson
  2. A Curse of Ash and Embers (Tales of the Blackbone Witches #1), Jo Spurrier
  3. The Seventh Raven, David Elliott
  4. These Violent Delights, Chloe Gong
  5. The Vow, Debbie Howells
  6. Lies Like Poison, Chelsea Pitcher
  7. Shipped, Angie Hockman
  8. She’s Too Pretty to Burn, Wendy Heard
  9. Truth, Lies, and Second Dates, MaryJanice Davidson
  10. The Tower of Fools (Hussite Trilogy #1), Andrzej Sapkowski

EBOOKS

  1. The Love Scam, MaryJanice Davidson
  2. 99 Percent Mine, Sally Thorne

AUDIOBOOKS

  1. Mortal Heart (His Fair Assassin #3), Robin LaFevers

Will I read all of these? Probably not! And that will be okay. But this feels like a great list to start with for this month!

Are you reading spooky books this month? Tell me which!

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – In a Holidaze

Title: In a Holidaze

Author: Christina Lauren

Publisher: Gallery Books

Publication date: October 6, 2020

320 pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…but not for Maelyn Jones. She’s living with her parents, hates her going-nowhere job, and has just made a romantic error of epic proportions.

But perhaps worst of all, this is the last Christmas Mae will be at her favorite place in the world—the snowy Utah cabin where she and her family have spent every holiday since she was born, along with two other beloved families. Mentally melting down as she drives away from the cabin for the final time, Mae throws out what she thinks is a simple plea to the universe: Please. Show me what will make me happy.

The next thing she knows, tires screech and metal collides, everything goes black. But when Mae gasps awake…she’s on an airplane bound for Utah, where she begins the same holiday all over again. With one hilarious disaster after another sending her back to the plane, Mae must figure out how to break free of the strange time loop—and finally get her true love under the mistletoe.

Review

Christmas books are great no matter what time of year. Christina Lauren does it again with a cute and romantic story and a woman who gets stuck in a time loop, living the Christmas holiday over and over again until she gets it right. Mae’s large group of family and friends get together every year at a cabin for Christmas, and she’s always been in love with Andrew – one of the members of the group. They’ve known each other all their lives but she’s never been able to say anything. In a near death experience, Mae asks the universe to show her what would make her happy – and the time loop begins.

Mae’s antics in this book had me cracking up at times. She starts off so careful and focused on keeping the traditions of the holiday that doesn’t really allow her to be herself. The time loop gives her the opportunity to freak out and just be real with everyone, and not take everything so seriously, which allows Andrew to see a different side of her. Andrew is an interesting character and seems very nice and normal – but I don’t feel like he was developed very well. There’s little back story of him or personality building. There were also so many side characters that it was hard to keep everything straight.

I loved the time loop concept. It was so fun and I haven’t read a romance novel with this concept. The plot was obviously not science fiction so the time loop isn’t explained or explored, just something that you accept as happening. Each time loop sequence was so cool because Mae just came off as crazy before she figured out what was happening and had to convince people what was happening. It was a really zany situation that ws just hilarious at times. I wish that she had been reset in time just one more time than she was, because I feel like it would’ve added depth and more conflict to make it more interesting.

If you like Christina Lauren books, you’ll like this one. And just in time for the holidays!

Thank you to Netgalley and Gallery Books for an advance copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review.

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – The Code for Love and Heartbreak

Title: The Code for Love and Heartbreak

Author: Jillian Cantor

Publisher: Inkyard Press

Publication date: October 6th, 2020

304 pages

3.5/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Emma Woodhouse is a genius at math, but clueless about people. After all, people are unreliable. They let you down—just like Emma’s sister, Izzy, did this year, when she moved to California for college. But numbers…those you can count on. (No pun intended.)

Emma’s senior year is going to be all about numbers, and seeing how far they can take her. When she and George, her Coding Club co-president, are tasked with brainstorming a new project, The Code for Love is born—a matchmaking app that goes far beyond swiping, using algorithms to calculate compatibility. George disapproves of Emma’s idea, accusing her of meddling in people’s lives. But all the happy new couples at school are proof that the app works. At least at first.

Emma’s code is flawless. So why is it that perfectly matched couples start breaking up, the wrong people keep falling for each other and her own feelings defy any algorithm? Emma thought math could solve everything. But there’s nothing more complex—or unpredictable—than love.

Review

A retelling of Jane Austen’s Emma, The Code for Love and Heartbreak follows math nerd Emma as she is beginning her senior year. She is co-president of the coding club, along with George, her sister’s boyfriend’s little brother and her prime rival for valedictorian. Emma doesn’t understand people, but she does understand numbers, and she needs a great idea for her coding club project so she can win in her senior year and get into Harvard. So, she comes up with the idea to create a system to match couples up in her school for dances. It starts off so well, but when couples start breaking up, Emma must rethink her approach to the math, and maybe even love.

This book was super cute, and reminded me of high school when we did matching services. I love reading about coding, I have no idea why but it really interests me in books. I liked the competition aspect of the plot line, and how the lessons in this book aren’t just about life and love, but also about friendship and what it means to be a friend. Emma really grows and changes during the book, which is always a great plot line.

One thing that I didn’t like is that Emma was unnecessarily mean at points in this book. Like, in most stories there is a conflict, where the MC loses friends, alienates people, etc. But I felt like it went too far in this book, and bordered on actual bullying. The same effect could’ve been manufactured without turning Emma into someone who says horribly mean and rude things to her friends.

Overall, the story was adorable and the way the love story progressed was super cute. It was a solid friends to lovers, and the big romantic gesture was super nerdy yet adorable. The main themes of this book were good, I just couldn’t give it a full 4 stars due to the issues I had with Emma.

Thank you to Inkyard Press and Netgalley for an early copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – Kingdom of Sea and Stone

Title: Kingdom of Sea and Stone (Crowl of Coral and Pearl #2)

Author: Mara Rutherford

Publisher: Inkyard Press

Publication date: October 6th, 2020

pages

3.5/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Ever since Nor was forced to go to a nearby kingdom in her sister’s place, she’s wanted nothing more than to return to the place and people she loves. But when her wish comes true, she soon finds herself cast out from both worlds, with a war on the horizon.

As an old enemy resurfaces more powerful than ever, Nor will have to keep the kingdom from falling apart with the help of Prince Talin and Nor’s twin sister, Zadie. There are forces within the world more mysterious than any of them ever guessed—and they’ll need to stay alive long enough to conquer them…

Review

Sequel to Crown of Coral and Pearl, Kingdom of Sea and Stone is a direct follow up to the events of the first book. I do like when sequels start up right at the end of the first, without having to wonder really what happened in the midst of the two books. The story is still told from Nor’s POV exclusively.

I love the concept of the duology so much. The villain is the perfect, no redeemable but you still feel kinda bad for him, character. Nor is a super capable and intelligent main character. Tallin is the hero you live for as a YA reader. The setting is rich and beautifully told, and the magic system that was only slightly touched on in book one is expanded in this one in amazing ways. It is truly unique and I would love to have more information and stories about it, even in companion novels!

I found myself less invested in the romance in this book. I actually felt like a background character would be a better love interest for Nor than Tallin. I knew it wouldn’t happen, but Tallin was not great in this book. I also felt like the ending left much to be desired. It is fairly open ended, so I could see the author returning to the world in the future – which would be open to and would read. Some of the scenes and writing in this book just felt disjointed and off pace compared to the first book.

Thank you to Inkyard Press and Netgalley for an early copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Happy reading, folks!

September Wrap Up!

Happy last day of September! Tomorrow is my BIRTHDAY and I am so excited! I took off from work, but we won’t be doing much to celebrate because of COVID and the fact that we’re going to a wedding Friday night. I’m looking forward to just having a chill day celebrating my 27th (while also meeting with a nutritionist for the first time, yay!).

So, in terms of reading, I had a pretty decent month. I definitely did not read all the books I planned (which is okay) so I’ve just backed them up to later months. I read some books meant for comfort rather than what my TBR post from a month ago required – and that is okay. I just want to remind y’all that whatever you’re reading is like, it is all okay 🙂

Below is a list of the books I read in September! I really enjoyed a lot of them, and I’m not *technically* done The Memory of Souls yet but I will be finishing it today!

PHYSICAL BOOKS

  1. Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4), Sarah J. Maas – 4.5/5 stars
  2. Fable (Fable #1), Adrienne Young – 4.5/5 stars
  3. Wild at Heart (Wild #2), K.A. Tucker – 5/5 stars
  4. A Rogue of One’s Own (A League of Extraordinary Women #2), Evie Dunmore – 4/5 stars
  5. Bid My Soul Farewell (Give The Dark My Love #2), Beth Revis – 3/5 stars
  6. The Name of All Things (A Chorus of Dragon #2), Jenn Lyons – 4/5 stars
  7. Well Played (Well Met #2), Jen DeLuca – 3.5/5 stars
  8. A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3), Sarah J. Maas – 5/5 stars (reread)
  9. Tools of Engagement (Hot & Hammered #3), Tessa Bailey – 4/5 stars

EBOOKS

  1. Of Sun and Sandstorms (A Swift Shadows #2.5), M.L. Greye – 4/5 stars
  2. The Hating Game, Sally Thorne – 5/5 stars

ARCS

  1. Mistletoe and Mr. Right (Moose Springs, Alaska #2), Sarah Morgenthaler – 3.5/5 stars
  2. Kingdom of Sea and Stone (Crown of Coral and Pearl #2), Mara Rutherford – 3.5/5 stars
  3. This Golden Flame, Emily Victoria – 4/5 stars
  4. Phoenix Flame (Havenfall #2), Sara Holland – 4.5/5 stars
  5. You Have a Match, Emma Lord – 4/5 stars
  6. The Cul-de-Sac War, Melissa Ferguson – 4/5 stars
  7. The Memory of Souls (A Chorus of Dragons #3), Jenn Lyons – 4.5/5 stars

Check back tomorrow for an October TBR post! I’m planning a lot of ~spooky~ reads for October (while also reading a bunch of ARCs because I can’t quit hitting that request button on Edelweiss or Netgalley) so I’m excited!

Did we read any of the same books?

Happy reading, folks!

September Haul!

Where the hell did September go? How am I already writing another haul post? I am frankly so confused, flabbergasted, and bamboozled by this. I swear September has been the fastest month so far this year, and at the end of every month I hope the world is calmer and closer to reopening, but alas that is not the case again. But, my birthday month is next up so I’m very excited for that!

Below are the books I received in September from a variety of different places!

AMAZON

  1. Fable (Fable #1), Adrienne Young
  2. Blood & Honey (Serpent & Dove #2), Shelby Mahurin
  3. Cemetery Boys, Aiden Thomas
  4. Well Played (Well Met #2), Jen DeLuca
  5. Tools of Engagement (Hot & Hammered #3)

SUBSCRIPTION BOXES

  1. The Last Time I Lied, Riley Sager – BOTM
  2. A Rogue of One’s Own (A League of Extraordinary Women #2), Evie Dunmore – BOTM
  3. Horrid, Katrina Leno – Owlcrate Special Edition

GIFTED

A wonderful bookstagram friend gifted me this book from my Amazon wish list and I am so grateful 🙂

  1. Don’t You Forget About Me, Mhairi McFarlane

Did we get any of the same books? In a shocking turn of events, I’ve actually read 4 of these books this month so check back tomorrow for my wrap up!

Happy reading, folks!

Book Review – The Tourist Attraction

Title: The Tourist Attraction (Moose Springs, Alaska #1)

Author: Sarah Morgenthaler

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca

Publication date: May 5th, 2020

352 pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

When Graham Barnett named his diner The Tourist Trap, he meant it as a joke. Now he’s stuck slinging reindeer dogs to an endless string of resort visitors who couldn’t interest him less. Not even the sweet, enthusiastic tourist in the corner who blushes every time he looks her way…

Two weeks in Alaska isn’t just the top item on Zoey Caldwell’s bucket list. It’s the whole bucket. One look at the mountain town of Moose Springs and she’s smitten. But when an act of kindness brings Zoey into Graham’s world, she may just find there’s more to the man than meets the eye…and more to love in Moose Springs than just the Alaskan wilderness.

Review

Ever since I read, and loved, The Simple Wild by K.A. Tucker I’ve been obsessed with books set in Alaska – so I knew I wanted to check this one out. As a resident of the Lower 48, Alaska has this almost mythical quality to it because it’s so different than the rest of the US, I end up having serious FOMO after reading books set in Alaska.

I had a hard time reviewing this one, because I loved parts of it and didn’t like others. Overall I settled on 4 stars because I loved Graham and Zoey’s relationship, banter, and overall communication with each other (outside of the obvious issue that always occurs during the end of the book). Graham is super grumpy (love it). There’s something about grumpy characters that just speak to me… nope no idea what it could be… certainly not seeing myself in the character *whistles innocently*. It’s definitely also NOT the reason Nick Miller from New Girl is my favorite TV character… But I digress.

There were so many pieces that got under my skin. There is a scene with the police where Zoey is targeted for being an outsider & put through a very unfair situation. Then I felt her string of bad luck was too much. And I never felt like Graham every stood up for her to his local friends. His mindset was always “I hate tourists… except Zoey… but Zoey still kinda counts so I’m not going to do anything about the bias and stereotyping running rampant in this little town”. It rubbed me the wrong way because it seemed like instead of learning the point that not all tourists are bad, he just continued the negative behavior and thinking and giving himself an out when it came to the woman he loved.

I will definitely be continuing on this series, as there are two more releasing over the next several months. Next week, my review of Mistletoe and Mr. Right will post.

Happy reading, folks!