Fantasy, Reviews, Romance

Crystal Storm (Falling Kingdoms #5) by Morgan Rhodes

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∴ Crystal Storm (Falling Kingdoms #5) by Morgan Rhodes


Synopsis:

The ruthless Empress Amara of Kraeshia has taken the Mytican throne, and now uncertainty looms over the three kingdoms. Since Lucia unleashed the fire Kindred, wreaking havoc throughout the land, Myticans have been looking for someone—anyone—they can trust. They believe in Amara, not knowing her grand promises are built on lies.

In Paelsia, Magnus and Cleo reluctantly follow King Gaius to the home of his exiled mother, Selia. Selia is a powerful witch and claims she can help unlock the magic of the Kindred—if the visitors agree to her terms. When Jonas arrives from Kraeshia, he is shocked to find that his rebel army now includes his sworn enemies. Along with Nic, Felix, and the mysteriously resurrected Ashur, the contentious group agrees to cast aside old grudges—for now—and united against their common enemy: Amara.

Meanwhile, bearing the child of a Watcher and feared by all, Princess Lucia travels across Mytica to find her family. But time is running out. The impending storm signals the dark prophecy Timotheus warned her about. Her fate is written, and it includes none other than the rebel Jonas. When their paths collied, Jonas and Lucia must decide between blindly following their destiny or fighting for their own free will.

The battle for power culminates at the Paelsian palace, where Amara resides. Rain pours. Blood spills. And soon all will discover that the darkest magic comes at an even darker price.


🍁🍁🍁🍁

“When on the very edge of death, matters such as fortune and legacy are meaningless in the face of knowing that someone who cares for you will hold your hand as you slip away.”

I really liked this installment in the Falling Kingdoms series. It was fast paced and constantly had my attention. There was plenty of action, plot twists, character development, and drama.
You know when you are watching a movie and about 85% through, everything goes to shit? At this point, characters are captured or killed, the two main characters break up, or just something bad in general happens. This WHOLE book felt like that. Everything that happened in this book was exactly what I did not want to happen. A lot of horrible things happened to the characters I care about in this installment and, frankly, I am scared what will happen next. I don’t think I have ever actually been this scared for my favorite characters before. Even though I hate it, that is what makes this series so unique and makes me want to keep reading it.
Overall, I did enjoy this book. There were things that happened in it that I am not happy about but I will keep reading the series. This book ended on a massive cliffhanger and I couldn’t imagine not continuing on with Immortal Reign.


Other Books in the Series:

3.5 🍁s ~ Falling Kingdoms (Falling Kingdoms #1) by Morgan Rhodes

4 🍁s ~ Rebel Spring (Falling Kingdoms #2) by Morgan Rhodes

4.75 🍁 ~ Gathering Darkness (Falling Kingdoms #3) by Morgan Rhodes

5 🍁s ~ Frozen Tides (Falling Kingdoms #4) by Morgan Rhodes

5 🍁s ~ Immortal Reign (Falling Kingdoms #6) by Morgan Rhodes

Fantasy, Reviews, Romance

Frozen Tides (Falling Kingdoms #4) by Morgan Rhodes

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∴ Frozen Tides (Falling Kingdoms #4) by Morgan Rhodes


Synopsis:

Rebels, royals, and monsters wage war over the Mytican throne in the shocking fourth book of the Falling Kingdoms series, from New York Times bestselling author Morgan Rhodes.

CLEO: Reeling after a bloody showdown in Limeros ending with Amara’s abduction of the water crystal, and a vacancy in the Mytican throne, Princess Cleo must cast aside her feelings and look toward her kingdom with the eyes of a Queen.

MAGNUS: With the kingdom in chaos, Princess Lucia still missing and quite possibly in danger, and a shocking realization about Cleo, the steely prince is once again torn between love and duty, leaving him wondering whether he’s strong enough to rule his people.

LUCIA: The young sorcercess has had her vengeance after the cruel death of her first and only love. Heartbroken and unable to trust anyone, she allies with the awoken Fire god, who also seeks revenge.

JONAS: After escaping death by the skin of his teeth, the defeated rebel—along with a mysterious stranger–leader reunites with Princess Cleo, only to find himself a mere pawn in a dangerous hunt for the elusive Kindred.

KING GAIUS: Abandoned by Melenia and betrayed by his own children, Gaius flees Mytica and sails to Kraeshia, where he attempts to ally with the famously brutal emperor across the Silver Sea.


🍁🍁🍁🍁🍁

“Because if you don’t choose to fight against the wrong in the world, then you are the wrong in the world.”

I loved this book. It was fast paced and constantly had my attention. There was plenty of action, intrigue, politics, political maneuvering, betrayals, backstabbing, drama, and plot twists. I tend to be very good at guessing plot twists and some of them in this series I never see coming and I am so happy about that. There are plenty of characters deaths that I never see coming and I am actually scared that some of my favorite characters won’t survive.
My main problem with this series in the past was that there was very little character relationship building. I felt like a lot of the romantic relationships felt forced and not built up enough. Morgan Rhodes has definitely fixed that and I am enjoying this series so much more because of it.
My main complaint with this series is my lack of connection with some of the characters. For example, I don’t really care about Jonas and his plot line. I find him extremely naive and impulsive. While he has been getting better as the books go on, I still can’t bring myself to really care about him. I wish I could but the connection is lacking when it comes to his character. Another character I have a big problem with is Lucia. I really dislike her. Most of her decisions I don’t agree with and I just want to slap some sense into her. I always struggle to read the chapters in her point of view. I keep hoping that she will wise up and change, but I am losing my patience.
Overall, I really enjoyed this installment in the Falling Kingdoms series. It ended on a cliffhanger and I am very interested in finding out what is going to happen next. While I wouldn’t say this is my all time favorite series, it is easily becoming one of my favorite reads of this year. It is a great high fantasy series and I highly recommend it. I will be continuing on the series with Crystal Storm.


Other Books in the Series:

3.5 🍁s ~ Falling Kingdoms (Falling Kingdoms #1) by Morgan Rhodes

4 🍁s ~ Rebel Spring (Falling Kingdoms #2) by Morgan Rhodes

4.75 🍁 ~ Gathering Darkness (Falling Kingdoms #3) by Morgan Rhodes

4 🍁s ~ Crystal Storm (Falling Kingdoms #5) by Morgan Rhodes

5 🍁s ~ Immortal Reign (Falling Kingdoms #6) by Morgan Rhodes

Fantasy, Reviews, Romance

Gathering Darkness (Falling Kingdoms #3) by Morgan Rhodes

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∴ Gathering Darkness (Falling Kingdoms #3) by Morgan Rhodes


Synopsis:

In GATHERING DARKNESS, book three of the New York Times bestselling Falling Kingdoms series, the stakes have never been higher as three teams push forward on a race to find the Kindred, the four elemental crystals possessing ancient all-powerful magic, first:

Prince Magnus has just witnessed torture, death, and miracles during the bloody confrontation that decimated the rebel forces. Now he must choose between family and justice as his father, the cruel King Gaius, sets out to conquer all of Mytica. All Gaius needs now are the Kindred – the four elemental crystals that give godlike powers to their owner. But the King of Blood is not the only one hunting for this ancient, storied magic…

• THE KRAESHIANS join the hunt. Ashur and Amara, the royal siblings from the wealthy kingdom across the Silver Sea, charm and manipulate their way to the Kindred, proving to be more ruthless than perhaps even the King of Blood himself.

• THE REBELS forge ahead. Princess Cleo and vengeful Jonas lead them, slaying with sweetness, skill, and a secret that can control Lucia’s overpowering magic – all so they can use the Kindred to win back their fallen kingdoms.

• THE WATCHERS follow Melenia out of the Sanctuary. They ally in the flesh with King Gaius, who vows to use Lucia’s powers to unveil the Kindred.

The only certainty in the dark times is that whoever finds the magic first will control the fate of Mytica… but fate can be fickle when magic is involved.


4.75 🍁s

“In the shadow my father has cast over my entire life, you are the only light I can see anymore. And, whatever the cost, I refuse to let that light be extinguished.”

I really liked this installment in the Falling Kingdoms series. It was fast paced and constantly had my attention. I did not want to put this book down! There was plenty of action, intrigue, betrayals, backstabbing, and PLOT TWISTS! I am traditionally good at guessing plot twists and while some were predictable, there was a shocking amount in this book that surprised me.
I have complained in my last two reviews about the character development and I talked about how I haven’t really connected with any of the characters. That was certainly rectified in this installment. I started really emotionally connecting with the characters and I felt something more than shock when certain ones died. There were characters that I was really rooting for (such as Magnus and Cleo) and there were characters that I really hated (such as Amara or Melenia). Though, I am still on the fence about Lucia. I really don’t like where her character is going and I feel like she is going to cause a lot more harm than good by the end of this series. Jonas I don’t really care about. Sometimes, I like here his journey is going and I root for him. Other times, I just want to punch him for his naivete and rash decisions.
In my previous reviews, I also complained about the romance plots of this series. I felt like they were extremely underdeveloped and they felt forced to me. The romance aspect was much better in this book but not quite what I want. Morgan Rhodes is getting better at her character relationship development but I just need a tiny bit more.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I was really worried about not liking this series at the end of the last book but I have a lot more confidence and hope now. Is this series perfect and do I absolutely love it? No. But it does have a lot of potential and I have a lot more investment in it now than I did after the last installment. Maybe this will be the type of series that gets better with each installment and I will love the next three books. I hope that is the case. All of this being said, I will be reading the next installment, Frozen Tides.


Other Books in the Series:

3.5 🍁s ~ Falling Kingdoms (Falling Kingdoms #1) by Morgan Rhodes

4 🍁s ~ Rebel Spring (Falling Kingdoms #2) by Morgan Rhodes

5 🍁s ~ Frozen Tides (Falling Kingdoms #4) by Morgan Rhodes

4 🍁s ~ Crystal Storm (Falling Kingdoms #5) by Morgan Rhodes

5 🍁s ~ Immortal Reign (Falling Kingdoms #6) by Morgan Rhodes

Fantasy, Reviews, Romance

Rebel Spring (Falling Kingdoms #2) by Morgan Rhodes

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∴ Rebel Spring (Falling Kingdoms #2) by Morgan Rhodes


Synopsis:

The road to power… is paved with blood and magic.

Cleo is now a prisoner in her own palace, forced to be an ambassador for Mytica as the evil King Gaius lies to her people.
Magnus stands to eventually inherit the new kingdom but is still obsessed with his feelings for his adopted sister, Lucia.
Lucia is haunted by the outcome of the breathtaking display of magic that allowed her father to capture the kingdoms.
Jonas watched at the palace gates a troop of rebels behind him, waiting for him to tell them how he plans to overtake King Gaius.

After a bloody siege, Auranos has been defeated, its young queen orphaned and dethroned. The three kingdoms—Auranos, Limeros, and Paelsia—are now unwillingly united as one country called Mytica. But the allure of ancient, dangerous magic beckons still, and with it the chance to rule not just Mytica, but the whole world over…

At the heart of the fray are four brave young people grappling for that magic and the power it promises. For Cleo, the magic would enable her to reclaim her royal seat. In Jonas’s hands, it frees his nation, and in Lucia’s, it fulfills the ancient prophecy of her destiny. And if the magic were Magnus’s, he would finally prove his worth in the eyes of his cruel and scheming father, King Gaius, who rules Mytica with a punishing hand.

When Gaius begins to build a road into the Forbidden Mountains to physically link all of Mytica, he sparks a long-smoking fire in the hearts of the people that will forever change the face of this land. For Gaius’s road is paved with blood, and its construction will have cosmic consequences.


🍁🍁🍁🍁

“Sometimes, to regain sanity, one had to acknowledge and embrace the madness.”

I really liked this installment in the Falling Kingdoms series. The plot was fast paced and constantly had my attention. There was plenty of action, intrigue, politics, backstabbing, and plot twists. It astounds me how many characters are killed off in this series. I never know who is going to be next and part of me is scared to connect with the characters for fear that they will die.
In my last review, my only negative was that I did not connect with any of the characters. In this installment, I did connect with some characters, particularly Magnus and Cleo. I am very interested in seeing where both of their stories are going to go. I originally thought that they would constantly be at war with each other, but I am starting to think that their paths are going be more intertwined that that. Time will tell.
One thing that still concerns me with this this series is the romance. I am a person that loves the love plot in her books. In this series so far, any love relationships between characters has felt forced. I feel like Morgan Rhodes is telling me that the characters love each other instead of showing me that they do. I doesn’t feel real. Part of me thinks that Rhodes is only putting love plots into her stories to satisfy some readers and as plot devices. There really isn’t any groundwork laid for said relationships at all. If Rhodes didn’t want to have romance in this series that’s fine, but don’t halfway add it in there. We see some characters together for two chapters and suddenly they’re in love? That makes no sense. If Rhodes did want romance and this is how she is going to display it, I am scared for future books.
Overall, I did enjoy this book. I am still hoping to connect with more characters than I am though. I want so badly to be invested in these characters but I am just not there yet. Hopefully, as the series goes on, I will become more invested. I also hope that Rhodes works better at the romance aspect of the book. Either it is in there or it’s not; this halfway with no groundwork to support it is just not working. It comes off cheap and feels forced. Despite these things, I will be reading the next installment, Gathering Darkness because I have to know what happens next.


Other Books in the Series:

3.5 🍁s ~ Falling Kingdoms (Falling Kingdoms #1) by Morgan Rhodes

4.75 🍁 ~ Gathering Darkness (Falling Kingdoms #3) by Morgan Rhodes

5 🍁s ~ Frozen Tides (Falling Kingdoms #4) by Morgan Rhodes

4 🍁s ~ Crystal Storm (Falling Kingdoms #5) by Morgan Rhodes

5 🍁s ~ Immortal Reign (Falling Kingdoms #6) by Morgan Rhodes

Fantasy, Reviews, Romance

Falling Kingdoms (Falling Kingdoms #1) by Morgan Rhodes

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∴ Falling Kingdoms (Falling Kingdoms #1) by Morgan Rhodes


Synopsis:

In the three kingdoms of Mytica, magic has long been forgotten. And while hard-won peace has reigned for centuries, a deadly unrest now simmers below the surface.

As the rulers of each kingdom grapple for power, the lives of their subjects are brutally transformed… and four key players, royals and rebels alike, find their fates forever intertwined. Cleo, Jonas, Lucia, and Magnus are caught in a dizzying world of treacherous betrayals, shocking murders, secret alliances, and even unforeseen love.

The only outcome that’s certain is that kingdoms will fall. Who will emerge triumphant when all they know has collapsed?

It’s the eve of war…. Choose your side.

Princess: Raised in pampered luxury, Cleo must now embark on a rough and treacherous journey into enemy territory in search of magic long thought extinct.

Rebel: Jonas, enraged at injustice, lashes out against the forces of oppression that have kept his country cruelly impoverished. To his shock, he finds himself the leader of a people’s revolution centuries in the making.

Sorceress: Lucia, adopted at birth into the royal family, discovers the truth about her past—and the supernatural legacy she is destined to wield.

Heir: Bred for aggression and trained to conquer, firstborn son Magnus begins to realize that the heart can be more lethal than the sword….


3.5 🍁s

“Even paradise could become a prison if one had enough time to take notice of the walls.”

MAJOR SPOILERS THROUGHOUT:
I liked this book. The plot was fast paced and constantly had my attention. There was plenty of action, intrigue, politics, backstabbing, and plot twists. I actually ended up reading this book in one sitting because I did not want to put it down. There was so much that happened in this one book and I find it interesting that there are five more. For all of this to happen in only one book, I can’t imagine what will happen in six of them.
That being said, my main problem with this book was the characters. I didn’t really connect with any of them which concerns me. For me to enjoy a series, I have to like the characters and that tends to be very easy for me to do. For me to read this whole book and still not really emotionally connect with any of them, scares me.
Cleo was okay. I liked her and thought that she was a strong female character. For so much to happen to her in one book astounds me. Even though I liked Cleo, I still didn’t really connect to her and her love story with Theon was mediocre. It felt very insta-lovey and I honestly don’t think they spent enough time together to actually fall in love. I actually thought that something was wrong with me because I didn’t connect with them until Theon died. Then, I thought, maybe Morgan Rhodes did it on purpose. Maybe, I was supposed to feel that way about their relationship. If that was the case, Rhodes is a genius.
Jonas was the same for me. While I felt for him concerning the loss of his brother and his living conditions, I still didn’t connect with him. I found him extremely naive and spent most of the chapters in his point of view confused how he couldn’t see what was obviously happening right in front of him. But, by the end of the book, he did wise up a little bit and I finally thought that he had a chance of living.
Lucia wasn’t really much of a character at all. There were very few chapters in her head and most of what we see of her is from Magnus’s perspective. I am intrigued by her character and her blossoming powers though. I just need more chapters in her point of view before I am going to be able to connect with her.
Out of all of the characters, I connected with Magnus the most. I felt really bad for him and as the book went on, I felt worse and worse. While I am not fully invested in his character, he is my favorite point of view so far. I think that Magnus has a tough road ahead of him and I have a feeling that he is going to be the antihero for a while. Time will tell.
Overall, I did enjoy this book. I look forward to reading the next installment Rebel Spring. I just hope that Rhodes will focus more on her character development and character relationship building in the next book. While I really like the plot of the story, I need more than that to fully enjoy this series.


Other Books in the Series:

4 🍁s ~ Rebel Spring (Falling Kingdoms #2) by Morgan Rhodes

4.75 🍁 ~ Gathering Darkness (Falling Kingdoms #3) by Morgan Rhodes

5 🍁s ~ Frozen Tides (Falling Kingdoms #4) by Morgan Rhodes

4 🍁s ~ Crystal Storm (Falling Kingdoms #5) by Morgan Rhodes

5 🍁s ~ Immortal Reign (Falling Kingdoms #6) by Morgan Rhodes

Fantasy, Reviews

Three Dark Crowns (Three Dark Crowns #1) by Kendare Blake

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∴ Three Dark Crowns (Three Dark Crowns #1) by Kendare Blake


Synopsis:

When kingdom come, there will be one.

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

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

The last queen standing gets the crown.


4.5 🍁s

“Three dark queens
Are born in a glen,
Sweet little triplets
Will never be friends

Three dark sisters
All fair to be seen,
Two to devour
And one to be Queen”

MAJOR SPOILERS THROUGHOUT:
I really liked this book. I read the first 100 pages or so a year ago, sat it down, and never picked it up again. There was nothing wrong with the book, it just wasn’t the right time for me to read it. Let me tell you… I am SO glad that I waited to read it until I was ready. Everything in this book was just so much better, I connected more emotionally with the characters, and I was drawn into the story a lot faster.
I was a little hesitant to start this book because of my failure in my previous attempt to read it, but after the first few chapters, I found myself really enjoying the story. I was pulled in to the plot and I didn’t want to stop reading. I actually ended up reading Three Dark Crowns in one sitting because of it.
I went into this book expecting to only like one of the two sisters and I am shocked to say that I actually like all of them. They were each different in their own ways and I really liked each of their point of views. I am really sad that they are each in their situation and I wish that they would have been raised differently. Under other circumstances, I think that they would have been very close as sisters.
I felt bad for Katharine. I think she lets the Arrons walk all over her. It appears like the Arrons are so drunk on power that they have forgotten who their queen is. After the Gave Noir where Katharine threw up, they purposely infect her with a bunch of poisons and tell her that it “isn’t a punishment”, but they then tell her to never disappoint an Arron again. That sounds an awful lot like punishment to me. Even though I think that Natalia cares for her, I don’t like that situation at all.
I liked Mirabella and I sympathized with her the most. Though, I think she is blinded by Luca and the temple. I loved it when she rebelled against them and I was proud of her when she said she wouldn’t kill her sisters. Until the end, when that giant misunderstanding happened and set her on the path she is on now. I hope that her in Arsinoe talk eventually and Mirabella finds out what really happened.
If I had to pick a favorite, I would pick Arsinoe. I love how she bucks the system and how even though she might not be the strongest of the siblings, she doesn’t give up. She wants to live and she is willing to do almost anything to survive. I thought that it was odd that Arsinoe’s people treat her the way they do. Throughout the book, multiple things have been throw at her and the people of Wolf Spring don’t treat her with any respect. I was floored that Arsinoe not only puts up with it, but accepts it. I think the people have always looked at her as weak and they haven’t given her the respect she deserves. Power wise, Arsinoe is not the strongest sister, but in internal strength, I think she beats her sisters hands down. I hope that she rises up in the next book and becomes the powerhouse I know she can be.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I took half of a star away because there were certain points during the book that I was bored and some things were really predictable. Besides that, I didn’t have any major problems with it. I will be continuing the series and I look forward to reading One Dark Throne.


Other Books in the Series:

Fantasy, Reviews

The Girl of Fire and Thorns (Fire and Thorns #1) by Rae Carson

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∴ The Girl of Fire and Thorns (Fire and Thorns #1) by Rae Carson


Synopsis:

Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness.
Elisa is the chosen one.

But she is also the younger of two princesses, the one who has never done anything remarkable. She can’t see how she ever will.

Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king—a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs the chosen one, not a failure of a princess.

And he’s not the only one who seeks her. Savage enemies seething with dark magic are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people’s savior. And he looks at her in a way that no man has ever looked at her before. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake.

Elisa could be everything to those who need her most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesn’t die young.

Most of the chosen do.


🍁🍁🍁🍁

“Honor from death,” I snap, “is a myth. Invented by the war torn to make sense of the horrific. If we die, it will be so that others may live. Truly honorable death, the only honorable death, is one that enables life.”

MAJOR SPOILERS THROUGHOUT:
I struggled with what to rate this book. While the writing was phenomenal and the story was incredibly put together, I had an extreme disconnect with the characters. This made it really hard to decide what to rate the book.
I already mentioned how I really enjoyed the writing and the story itself but what really made this book great was the world building and the story progression. I was hooked from the very first chapter and this book flowed so well that before I knew, I was finished. The pacing was spot on and there weren’t many slow moments.
I liked Eliza. I thought that her character being overweight was extremely interesting because you don’t see that in YA fantasy a lot if at all. Eliza had an extremely low opinion of herself and her insecurities made her character realistic and relatable. People were constantly underestimating Eliza because of her weight and it only made me wan to see her succeed more.
As far as Eliza’s romantic interests go, this is where I had the disconnect. Her “relationship” with Humberto was extremely insta-lovey and I did not connect with them as a couple at all. Their relationship felt like a high school romance that you know will end soon and with heart break. There was no possible way that it could have ended well and I was proven right when Humberto died. Though, I must admit, I was shocked that Rae Carson killed off his character so quickly. I will say that I thought his death was done really poorly. By the time that I knew what was happening, Humberto was already dead and being carried off. Rae Carson gave absolutely no time for the reader to digest Humberto’s death or Eliza’s reaction to it. I found it extremely underwhelming and it cheapened his death.
I have to say that I did ship Eliza and Alejandro together in the beginning and even when Eliza returned to Brisadulce. I started to wane a little because of Alejandro’s behavior when she returned though. He came off almost childish in a teenage boy type of way. I was severely turned off by his behavior and I was becoming extremely worried at this point. It seemed like Eliza would never get a man she deserved. Later, when Alejandro died, I was completely shocked. I did not expect that to happen and it made me really worried for any other important characters in the future installments. It also made me wonder who Eliza will end up with now that BOTH of her love interests are dead. Maybe Hector?
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I don’t know if I will be reading the next installment because I am having some doubts. The fact that I didn’t connect with any of the characters in this installment scares me and makes me hesitant to continue the series. Time will tell I guess…

Top 5 Wednesday

Top 5 Wednesday | Most Anticipated 2019 Releases

Image result for most anticipated book releases

Today’s Top 5 Wednesday topic is:

December 19: Most Anticipated 2019 Releases
— Pretty explanatory. If you can’t narrow it down, give your selections for only the first half of the year or even just for winter 2019.


 

Screenshot_2018-12-12 (2) CHAIN OF GOLD COVER REVEAL WITH CASSANDRA CLARE - YouTube

∴ Chain in Gold (The Last Hours #1) by Cassandra Clare

Expected Release Date: November 19th, 2019


Screenshot_2018-12-12 Crescent City (Crescent City, #1)

∴ Crescent City (Crescent City #1) by Sarah J. Maas

Expected Release Date: TBD


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∴ The World of Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Expected Release Date: September 3rd, 2019??


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∴ The Burning Shadow (Origin #2) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Expected Release Date: October 8th, 2019


Screenshot_2018-12-12 Tempest (The Scarab Beetle, #6)

∴ Tempest (The Scarab Beetle #6) by C.L. Stone

Expected Release Date: TBD


Thank you for joining me on Top 5 Wednesday! What are some of your Most Anticipated 2019 Releases?

~Autumn

TBR, Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday | Winter 2018 TBR

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Today’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is Winter 2018 TBR. I am going to warn you now… I am a mood reader and I don’t traditionally make a TBR so I don’t know how many of these books are going to get read. I might check back at the end of Winter and let you guys know how many I got to; I just can’t guarantee you will see my reviews of these books in the near future. What I want to read changes day by day.


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∴ Trinity (The TriAlpha Chronicles #1) by Serena Akeroyd


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∴ The Way I Used to Be by Amber Smith

This is the one on my list that I am most hesitant about. While I have heard nothing but good things about this book and want to read it, I know that I am going to have to be in a certain head space in order to do so.


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∴ Lord of the Fading Lands (Tairen Soul #1) by C.L. Wilson


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∴ House of Darken (Secret Keepers #1) by Jaymin Eve


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∴ Malice (The Faithful and the Fallen #1) by John Gwynne


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∴ Elusion (Facets of Feyrie #1) by Zoe Parker


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∴ Lover Mine (Black Dagger Brotherhood #8) by J.R. Ward


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∴ Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young


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∴ Fated (Dark Protectors #1) by Rebecca Zanetti


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∴ Pandora’s Pain (The Harem of Misery #1) by A.K. Koonce


Thank you for joining me on Top Ten Tuesday. What are some books you are planning to read this Winter?

~Autumn

Fantasy, Reviews

Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer #1) by Laini Taylor

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∴ Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer #1) by Laini Taylor


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.


2.5 🍁s

That was his dream, daring and magnificent: to go there, half across the world, and solve the mysteries for himself.
It was impossible of course.
But when did that ever stop any dreamer from dreaming?

MAJOR SPOILERS THROUGHOUT:
Let me start off by saying that by no means is this a bad book. While my rating and this review may make it seem that way, I don’t mean it like that. For me personally, this book was just not as enjoyable as it was for so many other people. I struggled through most of this. Not because the story was bad, but because of the author’s writing style.

In almost every positive review you see of this book or this author, you will probably see some remark or another referring to the “lyrical or poetic writing” or Laini Taylor’s “beautiful way with words”. To me, if you took out the “poetic or lyrical writing” or the overuse of figurative language, this book would be half the size it is and make two times more sense. Or, I wouldn’t have to spend so much time trying to figure out what a sentence means when it could have been simplified. I don’t personally want to have to look up words or a phrase every few minutes to understand what I am reading. Plus, some of the analogies Laini Taylor uses just flat out don’t make sense. She also tends to use really complicated metaphors, that take a whole page, to explain a simple concept that could be explained in one sentence.

The Plot- The plot is one of the really interesting things about this book. While you know from the beginning the general idea of the plot, the real problem and scenarios surrounding it don’t really appear until later in the book. Instead of the plot being revealed at the beginning and watching it progress, this book has it slowly reveal itself and has a distinct mystery surrounding the plot. It came across, at least to me, like a bunch of puzzle pieces that were slowly brought together to from a solid idea at the very end.
While some people might enjoy this type of plot, I do not. I like quite the opposite. I like to know what it happening and why it is happening. Clearly, this book was not for me in that aspect either.
Plus, the “plot twist” at the end did not shock me at all. I suspected pretty early, but it was confirmed to me on page 193.

The World Building I found this world, while interesting, to not make a lot of sense.
Firstly, there is no map at the beginning of the book. An author doesn’t have to include one, but traditionally, a fantasy book should have one so to prevent some confusion.
Secondly, there are entirely too many terms and phrases that aren’t completely explained (or only explained once) and the term keeps getting brought up like I am supposed to fully understand what it means.
Thirdly, the landscape of any of the places that I saw in this book weren’t fully explained. I couldn’t tell you where Weep is in relation to Zosma. I also couldn’t tell you what the surrounding area looks like. Fourthly, countries that are at war with Zosma are brought up, but the names are never said and where the countries are geographically is never explained either.
These things might not bother some people, but for me, it made the world really hard to visualize geographically.

Weep- While we are on the subject of Weep, let’s talk about it. I found it to be… lackluster. From the very beginning of the novel, Weep is built up so much by Lazlo and by the mystery surrounding the city. When the city is finally shown, I found it to be rather dull. It wasn’t magical or mysterious at all. This made the whole plot surrounding it and the arrival of the characters to be a little anti-climactic for me.

My biggest problem however, was not any of that. It was the dread and the emotional stuff that I feel Laini Taylor put me through at the end. I don’t know about you, but I do not like to be drug through the emotional wringer if I feel it is unnecessary. I am an emotional reader and I tend to connect with the story/characters very easily. I did that with this book. I was fully invested in the characters and, as soon as I was deep enough in the story, I was able to comprehend that one of the girl Godspawns was going to die. I didn’t know exactly which one, but I knew.
I personally feel like Laini Taylor knew that 99% of her readers would be able to guess this and would spend the rest of the book speculating when it was going to happen. She constantly built tension and she dropped little things to convey that one of the girl Godspawns would die soon.
On page 408, it is announced that it is the second Sabbat of Twelfthmoon. From the Prologue, I knew that this was the day one of the girl Godspawns would die. Naturally, dread filled me when I read that line. I did not want one of the girls to die and I did not want to see it happen. Also, when I read this line, I expected the death to happen really soon, like within 30 pages. It didn’t.
It, along with that feeling of dread, was dragged out until page 497. For almost 90 pages, I was put through a lot of emotional turmoil, afraid to turn the page for fear of one of the Godspawn girls dying. I feel like Laini Taylor did this on purpose. I know, the author has to build tension and suspense, but I feel like this was a little overkill.
I hate that feeling of dread and it ruined those 90 pages for me, as well as ruined my emotional attachment to the story. How am I possibly supposed to get all warm and fuzzy over Lazlo and Sarai kissing when I’m scared she is going to die in the next chapter?! I just did not appreciate the emotional stuff that I was put through during those pages when I feel like it was completely unnecessary.

The Characters- I must admit, the characters were the bright light of this book. Without them and my connection to them, I can honestly say that I would have DNF’d this book pretty quickly. I finished it only because I wanted to find out what would happen to them.
One thing I really liked about this book was that there was no clear villain. I could not simply say, “That character is evil. They deserve to die” which made things difficult for me at times. Every character had many layers to them and even the characters that did things I would consider “evil” did them in a way and for reasons that made me not help but sympathize.

Lazlo- I loved his character so much and all I wanted to do was hug him and give him the world. Lazlo is one of those unique characters that is wholly good. I would be shocked to find a person (or a reader especially) who could not connect with him in some way or another.

Sarai- I really connected with Sarai as well. I felt bad for her and all of the Godspawn. They deserved SO much better than the hands they had been dealt. It hurts my heart that they weren’t given a chance to be good and different from the ones that came before them. Sarai, in particular, really stood out to me because she is so good and, in some ways, she is Lazlo’s foil. While he is “Strange the Dreamer”, she is the “Muse of Nightmares”. He dreams so much, while she is haunted by nightmares and only wishes she could dream like other people. This made her character incredibly sad to me; that one of the only things she wanted was something I take for granted every day.

Ruby, Sparrow, and Feral I liked them all. I felt bad for them and I sympathized with them. I just feel like they weren’t as much of a focus in this book as I would have liked. Feral in particular felt a little flat. I couldn’t tell you any personality traits of his except for his gift.

Minya- Minya is one of the characters that I struggled with. On one hand, she is trying to protect her family and is dealing with a lot of guilt because she couldn’t save more Godspawn babies. On the other hand, she wants to right this wrong by doing bad things to good people. I couldn’t help but empathize with Minya and her situation and it makes her character really hard to like or dislike.

Eril-Fane/Godslayer- Eril-Fane is also one of the characters that I struggled with. On one hand, he was abducted, mind raped, and put through things that I can only begin to imagine. On the other, he killed the Godspawn babies. While I think he is a good person and was trying to do what he felt was right, I cannot condone what he did or allowed to happen. That hate and fear that could drive someone to do something so horrible as to kill babies is abhorrent to me. This makes it incredibly hard to form an opinion on him and it makes his character really hard to like or dislike. I honestly don’t know how to feel about him or Minya.

Thyon- I still haven’t made up my mind where Thyon is concerned. I just don’t know if he is a bad person, or if his situation simply pushes him to do bad things.

Azareen- I want to see more of her. She didn’t really speak much throughout this book and I have only seen glimpses of her through other people’s perspectives.

Calixte- I loved Calixte. I really wish she would have been more present throughout the book because I highly enjoyed her character and the scenes she was in.

Overall, I would say that this book just wasn’t for me. I can certainly see why other people would enjoy it. I just struggle with the writing style and the format this book was written in. Ultimately, I could take or leave this story which is not the feeling I want to come out of a book with. I don’t think I will be reading the next book, but later on down the road, I could. I think it would just take the right circumstances to pick Muse of Nightmares up.