eBook Review – Into the Hourglass

Title: Into the Hourglass (The Evermore Chronicles #2)

Author: Emily R. King

Publisher: Skyscape

Publication date: August 20th, 2019

286 pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

In the second book in The Evermore Chronicles by Emily R. King, Everley Donovan plunges into the roiling waves of a strange new world to hunt a wicked prince who cheated time.

Everley Donovan’s mission: retrieve the hallowed sword of Avelyn stolen by the wicked Prince Killian, who slayed her family and left her for dead. Should she fail, the seven worlds will come to an end, as could time itself. And no one treasures time more than Everley, whose lifesaving clock heart cannot beat forever. She has set sail with a rogue crew for the otherworlds, where the key to dethroning the prince lies deep within the Land Under the Wave.

But passage through these unknown seas—where horrors lurk and pirates rove—proves a treacherous gamble. The Land Under the Wave was not made for humans, particularly one with a fragile clock heart. Here, Everley’s tragic past resurfaces unsolved questions. Here, too, the prince has hidden secrets more precious than pearls, secrets that could fracture the future forevermore. Everley must take back her sword and break free from this watery world before her time runs out…or so will everyone else’s. 

Review

In the second installment of The Evermore Chronicles, Everley finds herself chasing after Killiam Markham to get her sword back. This quest brings her to the land of pirates, sirens, and fin people – along with some not so fun elves. Everley’s clock heart is beating slower and she’s struggling more to live with it. Each page is full of adventure.

Some things that didn’t change from book one – I still hate Markham and Harlow. They still suck as people and they can leave for all I need. I get why the story needs them but COME ON. On the better side, Jamison Callahan is still swoon worthy as he quite obviously falls in love with Everley, even though she believes she’s incapable of love without a physical heart. Lastly, the amount of interesting creatures and worlds that they get to explore. It ALMOST reminds me of the Pendragon series – but only because of the world jumping to catch the bad guys, and they never quite know what to expect from each world.

Some interesting new developments – the side characters are developed more and start to have their own plot lines and independent thoughts and actions. We learn more things about Markham’s motivations (don’t care – still hate him) but it adds to his backstory.

Overall, I generally dislike middle books more than the first and third books. I actually think this book was better than Before the Broken Star, because they were really able to get into the plot and get the story going. It was a pleasant surprise for me because middle books are often just vehicles to set up for an ending – whereas King is able to keep the momentum going through this book, in my opinion.

Happy reading, bookish friends! 🙂

eBook Review – Before the Broken Star

Title: Before the Broken Star (The Evermore Chronicles #1)

Author: Emily R. King

Publisher: Skyscape

Publication date: May 1st, 2019

294 pages

3.5/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

A fierce young female adventurer battles time itself to claim her destiny in a sweeping new fantasy saga from the author of the Hundredth Queen series.

Everley Donovan is living on borrowed time. The lone survivor of her family’s unexplained assassination, she was saved by an ingeniously crafted clockwork heart. But the time she was given won’t last forever. Now, every tick-tock reminds her how fragile her existence is and hastens her quest to expose Killian Markham, the navy admiral who shattered her world and left her for dead. But Everley’s hunt for justice will be a long and hard-won voyage.

Her journey takes her to a penal colony on a cursed isle, where she will be married off and charged to build the new world. It is here, and beyond, that hidden realms hide, treasures are unearthed, her family secrets are buried, and young love will test the strength of her makeshift heart. When Everley discovers Markham may not be who he seems, her pursuit for truth is bound to his redemption, her tragic history, and her astonishing destiny.

Review

Could you become a monster to destroy one?

Emily r. king, before the broken star

Everley is an apprentice to a clockmaker, who also happens to be her uncle. She seems like an ordinary girl from the outside, but in fact she has a clock heart that keeps her alive after her entire family was brutally murdered and she was run through the heart with a sword. She lives her life focused on revenge, revenge against Killian Markham, the Governor who killed her family and tried to kill her. When Markham walks into her uncle’s clock shop, the perfect opportunity presents itself.

Everley ends up getting arrested and sentenced to live on a new colony on an island far away in order to help populate it. The important part to this is the Markham is the governor of the island, so she hopes to be able to kill him quickly and get on with her life. She has no idea the whirlwind her life will turn into when she gets to Dagger Island. Especially when she is forcibly married to a sweet lieutenant on the ship ride to the island. Before the Broken Star follows Everley’s attempts to understand her past, while living with the reality of her future. She must keep her clock heart hidden otherwise she would be sentenced to death immediately for sorcery.

Before the Broken Star held my attention. I love when books grab me and don’t let go. I prefer to have to wrench myself away to go about the charade of life and adulthood. I followed Everley’s story with excitement, but I can’t say I love where the story ended up. I’m really a Happily Ever After lover, and this is not a trope adhered to in this book. Also, Killian Markham and his associate Harlow are terrible people and it bothers me. They are the definition of irredeemable. Everley continues to help Harlow even when she is completely awful to her! Bothered me for Everley’s sake. BUT Lieutenant Callahan makes up for it *swoon*.

In a universe of magical worlds filled with pixies, grindylow’s, Father Time’s influence, and portals to the other worlds, Before the Broken Star has great world building, writing, and characters. Evie is a bad-a woman and I am with her all the way.

Happy reading, bookish friends! 🙂

Book Review – The Wren Hunt

Title: The Wren Hunt (The Wren Hunt #1)

Author: Mary Watson

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Publication date: February 8th, 2018

432 pages

3/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Every Christmas, Wren is chased through the woods near her isolated village by her family’s enemies—the Judges—and there’s nothing that she can do to stop it. Once her people, the Augurs, controlled a powerful magic. But now that power lies with the Judges, who are set on destroying her kind for good.

In a desperate bid to save her family, Wren takes a dangerous undercover assignment—as an intern to an influential Judge named Cassa Harkness. Cassa has spent her life researching a transformative spell, which could bring the war between the factions to its absolute end. Caught in a web of deceit, Wren must decide whether or not to gamble on the spell and seal the Augurs’ fate.

Review

There would be consequences, I knew that. There were always consequences, usually teeny tiny consequences that you hardly noticed. But the small things added up over time, until eventually they formed one big thing that could crush you beneath its weight.

Mary watson, the wren hunt

The Wren Hunt is the start of a duology following Wren, a young augur about to take an internship wit a house of judges, in order to try and steal a map from them. Set in Ireland, The Wren Hunt posits two gifted groups; judges and augurs. Judges are able to commune with nature and augurs have different abilities centered around understanding patterns and being able to manipulate the world around them. The two sides are constantly at war, and the judges are winning. Wren must tip the scales back into the augurs favor before it is too late, or does the universe have a different plan in store for her?

Whew, this book was A LOT. I spent most of it very confused, and am actually still pretty confused. The book starts of with Wren being chased through the woods by a group of young judges, which apparently happens every year. Apparently the only reason this occurs is because her name is Wren and they must hunt the Wren. Seriously, already it started off weird. Also, I feel like I never got a good explanation for why this happened EVERY YEAR on the same day. But I digress. The events of the book are confusing.

If you like a book where the characters are likable and have redeeming qualities, this book will not fulfill that desire. Even the seemingly great characters end up being terrible, and the MC is no better. I spent most of the book internally yelling at Wren for her actions, and frankly I did the same for most of the supporting characters as well. In a war between augurs and judges, no one plays fair.

I will say, this book had a magnificent plot twist towards the end that I DID NOT see coming in the slightest. I felt more convinced after that that The Wren Hunt was worth my time reading. I picked it up because I was approved for the sequel, The Wickerlight, on Netgalley and I really do NOT like to DNF books. The twist was able to move this book into a solid 3 star book for me.

Lastly, the cover is gorgeous. Simple. Classic. Fitting. The Wickerlight cover matches in style, if not color. I am a fan of a good, simple cover sometimes. YA books lately have been KILLING it with these amazing, colorful, detailed covers – but sometimes I appreciate sleek and simple. The romance is okay – I’d classify it as a slow burn, lovers to enemies romance trope which is not even in my top five of romance tropes. But hey, if you like those, check this book out!

Overall, a mid range book for me. The writing is beautiful and mysterious (which leads it to be confusing), and I enjoyed that it was set in Ireland.

Happy reading, bookish friends! 🙂

Book Review – A Curse So Dark and Lonely

Title: A Curse So Dark and Lonely (Cursebreakers #1)

Author: Brigid Kemmerer

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

Publication Date: January 29, 2019

484 pages

5/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Fall in love, break the curse.

Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year, Prince Rhen, the heir of Emberfall, thought he could be saved easily if a girl fell for him. But that was before he turned into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. Before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope.

Nothing has ever been easy for Harper. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, Harper learned to be tough enough to survive. When she tries to save a stranger on the streets of Washington, DC, she’s pulled into a magical world.

Break the curse, save the kingdom.

Harper doesn’t know where she is or what to believe. A prince? A curse? A monster? As she spends time with Rhen in this enchanted land, she begins to understand what’s at stake. And as Rhen realizes Harper is not just another girl to charm, his hope comes flooding back. But powerful forces are standing against Emberfall . . . and it will take more than a broken curse to save Harper, Rhen, and his people from utter ruin.

Review

The choices we face may not be the choices we want, but they are choices nonetheless.

A Curse so dark and loney, brigid Kemmerer

It’s finally Friday! The end of the week always makes me so happy, even when I took two days off work in the beginning of the week! I started ACSDAL while away in Lewes, DE over the weekend and finished it all in one day. Vacation reading really is the best. I’ve had ACSDAL since Memorial Day and I’ve been super stoked to read it. After reading her most recent YA Contemporary, Call It What You Want, I knew I needed to read more of her work.

In a new Beauty and the Beast retelling, Kemmerer creates a kingdom that resides in a universe adjacent to ours. Emberfall was cursed when Prince Rhen messed around with an enchantress who went on to curse the kingdom. Rhen needs to make a woman fall in love with him, otherwise the curse will continue on forever while Emberfall is left defenseless. Oh, and at the end of every season Rhen turns into a scary monster, so there’s that.

Harper is the latest woman taken from Washington, DC for Rhen to charm. His Army Commander travels to DC to find women, though Harper wasn’t his first choice – just a concerned citizen who noticed a hulking man carrying and unconscious woman down an alleyway in a city. Totally normal. Harper is stolen from her very ill mother and brother who is doing unspeakable things to make up for their dad’s drug debts.

ACSDAL is a good retelling novel that follows the fairy tale pretty closely with the added benefit of some seriously snarky characters. Harper also has cerebral palsy, which adds a layer of disability rep. She is portrayed as not letting her CP stand in her way, but accepting her limitations and learning to work around then – without letting anyone believe she is lacking. To Rhen’s credit, he only underestimated her once in the beginning.

Kemmerer wove a tale that will captivate you and feel all the feels for Rhen, Harper, and Grey. The ending is a small level cliffhanger, but will lead into the next book seamlessly. This was also announced to be a trilogy, so I’m really excited to keep going in Harper and Rhen’s story for another two books – praying for a happy ending for my two love birds.

Happy reading, bookish friends 🙂

Book Review – Strange the Dreamer

Title: Strange the Dreamer

Author: Laini Taylor

Publisher: Little, Brown Books For Young Readers

Publication Date: March 28, 2017

536 pages

5/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around—and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries—including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?

Welcome to Weep.

Review

It was impossible, of course. But when did that ever stop any dreamer from dreaming.

Strange the dreamer, laini taylor

Hello, friends 🙂 Back with an actual physical book review instead of a Netgalley review! I finished this book up while on the beach in Lewes, DE and I have to say, it was the best possible setting to fall in love with Lazlo and Sarai.

Y’all I think this book broke me. It was beautiful and amazing and heart wrenching and I’m not sure how to feel. I want to give it all the stars but no stars because of that ending!!

Let me back up. Strange the Dreamer is a beautifully written, evocative book that has some of the best world building I’ve ever read. Laini Taylor has such a way with words. I know you’re thinking, “Girl, of course she does, she’s and aUtHoR”, but I’m talking LEAPS and BOUNDS better than other books I’ve read. The setting really comes alive without feeling TOO bogged down in descriptive language.

In this book Lazlo is Strange the Dreamer. His last name is Strange as he is an orphan and it is the given last name of all orphans in his kingdom. Very GoT vibes. He is a dreamer because he has been obsessed with the city of “Weep” for his whole life, and he lives with his nose stuffed in a book (don’t we all, amirite??). Weep is this huge mystery after it went off the grid 200 years before, and Weep isn’t the real name. One day, the real name of the city was wiped from everyone’s memory, with no explanation. Lazlo’s dream is to find the explanation, and he is given the opportunity when the Godslayer comes knocking on the door…

Sarai is Godspawn, a resident of Weep and part of the reason why Weep went off the grid. Her existence is unknown, along with her 4 Godspawn companions. They all have powers, to be used for good and evil. Sarai is able to go into everyone’s dreams and manipulate them. She fears for her life as if anyone in Weep knew she existed, she and her siblings would be hunted to extinction…

The ending to this book broke my heart wholly. I was so mad reading it, because it was the worst possible conclusion while also forcing me to read the next one! I strongly suggest everyone pick up this book as it was so captivating and well written. The plot twist at the end will hurt, but I’m hoping for a happy ending at the end of the sequel!

Happy reading, bookish friends 🙂

eARC Review – Midnight Beauties (spoilers!)

Title: Midnight Beauties

Author: Megan Shepherd

Publisher: HMH Teen

Publication Date: August 13, 2019

448 pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

The witches, beasties, goblins, and Royals return in this spellbinding conclusion to New York Times best-selling author Megan Shepherd’s Grim Lovelies duology. 

Ever since she discovered her affinity for magic, seventeen-year-old Anouk has been desperate to become a witch. It’s the only way to save her friends who, like Anouk, are beasties: animals enchanted into humans. But unlike Anouk, the other beasties didn’t make it out of the battle at Montélimar in one piece.

With her friends now trapped in their animal forms, Anouk is forced into a sinister deal involving a political marriage with her sworn enemy, a wicked plot to overthrow London’s fiercest coven of witches, and a deadly trial of fire to become a witch. The price for power has always been steep in the world of the Haute. Now, it will cost Anouk everything.

Wicked and delightful, this spellbinding sequel and conclusion to Grim Lovelies is perfect for fans of The Cruel Prince and The Hazelwood Wood.

Review

Bookish darlings! I’m back with another eARC review from my friends at Netgalley! Special thanks to Netgalley and HMH Teen for this eARC of Midnight Beauties! I got Grim Lovelies in a Shelflove Crate box one month in 2018 and I really enjoyed it, so I knew I had to read the sequel.

Midnight Beauties picks up about 6 weeks after Grim Lovelies ends. The beasties we know and love are still in their original animal form, and Anouk must find a way to save them, the Goblins, and eventually the world. Prince Rennar shows up at the townhouse’s door step with a proposition for her. Marry him, and he will restore the beasties to their human form. But there’s a catch. Terrible things are happening in London, and Anouk has to help. To help though, she needs more magic than the tricks and whispers she can do now. She must travel to The Black Forest to cross the Coals with her crux to be granted a witch’s powers. On average, only one girl will successfully become a witch every year through this process. But in order to save her friends, and the world, Anouk is willing to do anything.

Wow. What a good sequel to Grim Lovelies. Our girl Anouk is out here living her best life, going places and accomplishing more than anyone would expect from a simple beastie. Gotta hand it to her because she reached for the stars and got to the moon. I enjoyed returning to this magical world full of Pretties, Goblins, Witches, and Royals. Sometimes it can be confusing with just how many types of people there are, but it flows well. I like Megan Shepherd’s writing style and I would continue to read her work.

Downfalls to this book include an ending I didn’t like. The last decision Anouk makes breaks my heart because I wanted her to pick differently in her love triangle. This love triangle reminded me strongly of the Caraval trilogy where Tella has to decide between Jacks and Legend. I also docked it down a point because I di find it hard to keep up with the book at times. But again, I read it all in one day so I definitely enjoyed it immensely.

If you read Grim Lovelies, you have to read the sequel. Megan left it open to return to the world and write a follow up book(s), which I think would be very cool.

Happy reading, folks!

eARC Review – Swipe Right For Murder

Title: Swipe Right For Murder

Author: Derek Milman

Publisher: jimmy patterson

Publication Date: August 6, 2019

336 pages

4/5

Goodreads Review

On the run from the FBI.
Targeted by a murderous cult.
Labeled a cyber-terrorist by the media.
Irritated texts from his best friend.
Eye contact with a nice-looking guy on the train.
Aidan has a lot to deal with, and he’s not quite sure which takes top priority.

Finding himself alone in a posh New York City hotel room for the night, Aidan does what any red-blooded seventeen-year-old would do—he tries to hook up with someone new. But that lapse in judgement leads to him waking up next to a dead guy, which sparks an epic case of mistaken identity that puts Aidan on the run from everyone—faceless federal agents, his eccentric family, and, naturally, a cyber-terrorist group who will stop at nothing to find him.

He soon realizes the only way to stop the chase is to deliver the object everyone wants, before he gets caught or killed. But for Aidan, the hardest part is knowing who he can trust not to betray him—including himself.

Review

Howdy, friends! August is the month I will really be cracking down on my Netgalley ARC’s so my ratio will improve. I have been denied a lot lately so I feel like that is impairing my approval. Special thanks to Netgalley and jimmy patterson for sending me this eARC in exchange for an honest review.

This book starts off FAST. First 20 pages and you’re blasted off onto an epic adventure of a lifetime. Seventeen year old Aidan makes the GIANT mistake (we all make) of making some late night social media connections (wink wink) while in New York City for the night. Aidan is unapologetically gay (which is amazing). After having the most awkward encounter with a guy from his school (who doesn’t seem sure of his orientation) Aidan is left wanting more so he returns to the app. This is the problem, as a SERIOUS case of mistaken identity puts him in the middle of a murder, a hacker, a terrorist group, and he has NO IDEA what to do or better yet, who to trust.

Swipe Right grabs your attention immediately. There is no denying the action and thrilling drama that this kid is going through. You start to wonder how he is keeping his cool as well as he is. He also has secrets, which are divulged piecemeal throughout the book. They provide a new level of dimension to his character, so his arc is really cool to see.

Side characters are good, if not kind of generic. I wasn’t really connected to any of the characters who make up his friend group. But, this may be on purpose as Aidan really is the star of this show.

The last third of the book is a web that you have to try to untangle, because you have no idea who is telling the truth and who is lying. Aidan really struggles with this himself as these events that he should not have been a part of keep happening to him.

For the most part, I enjoyed this book. I read it all in one day (which is generally my baseline for telling definitively whether I’ve liked a book) so it definitely grabbed my attention and held it. The writing was a bit hard to understand and follow at times, but as this is the unedited edition I give it the benefit of the doubt that this will be improved before publication. The ending however, left much to be desired. After the BIG EVENT ending, there were still several chapters of wrap up. After each chapter concluded I thought to myself, “Okay, that’s a good stopping point”, but there would be a whole other chapter after that! This happened a few times. I definitely didn’t need that level of follow up. For these reasons, I knocked it down a star.

Swipe Right For Murder will be great for fans of action and thrillers. There is no slow build up, the book basically punches you in the face with plot. Buckle your seat belts and get ready for a wild ride!