Categories
General Posts, Non Reviews

A Good Month of Reading.. June Wrap Up

Hello and welcome to the handful of new followers that came off of my Bookstagram giveaway! This is a post about reading in general, one of my first that isn’t explicitly a book review.

What causes a good or bad reading month for you?

I managed to read 14 books this past month, when my average has been 11 so far this year. When thinking about the factors., usually bad weather and time off causes me to read more, but I hit an interesting point in my life this June where I was in between work contracts for three weeks, uncomfortable in a new place, and my horse is injured so she is hanging out in a pasture, not requiring much as much time as usual. Normally I would travel during my time off but I think my anxiety kicked in just enough to keep me productive, but local. One other factor was that I read through two very good trilogies which kept me going through the books a little faster.

This month in books: (Also, yes, don’t get used to this – I don’t normally give out this many stars but the books were mostly amazing this month!

1) Finale by Stephanie Garber – 1*- I read about two chapters a day so I could tolerate it, and finished mid June

2)Siege and Sacrifice (Numina, #3) by Charlie N. Holmberg – 5* – Everything an ending should be. My favorite read this month ❤

3)The Queen’s Poisoner (Kingfountain #1) by Jeff Wheeler – 4*- Oh gosh, Owen and Evie

4)The Thief’s Daughter (Kingfountain #2) by Jeff Wheeler – 5* – Tied for favorite book this month

5) Evelyn, After by Victoria Helen Stone – 2.5*- a “thriller” with a lot of potential but did not deliver anything remotely thrilling

6)The King’s Traitor (Kingfountain #3) by Jeff Wheeler – 5* – Love, love, love love love this series

7) Where the Forest Meets the Stars by Glendy Vanderah – 4*, not my jam but a great book. Bonus points for absolutely NAILING how nurses act in the hospital some times 😀

8) And I Darken (The Conqueror’s Saga #1) by Kiersten White – 4* – A great choice for a buddy read this month. Give me book 2 now please!

9) One Little Secret – Cate Holahan – No spoilers at all, come back for my blog tour spot on July 26th!!

10)A Nearly Normal Family by MT Edvardsson – 3* – a Swedish procedural mystery, was supposed to be a thriller but I was not too surprised or thrilled, but did enjoy the way the book was presented

11) The Phoenix Grail by Helen Savore – I will admit to mixed feelings. I am doing an author interview with Helen here on the blog, on JULY 9TH, so definitely come back for that because Helen is a character!

12) Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young – 4* – beautiful overarching theme of enemies to allies and overcoming your (not so) differences. I liked the Viking esque time period!

13)The Sound of Rain by Gregg Olsen – 3.5* – great start to a thriller series and a thoughtful look at addiction as well

14) A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab – 3.5* -mixed feelings but by no means disliked it.

I would love to talk about any of these books if anyone wants! Some may appear in reviews once I get caught up! Thank youuu and happy July reading!

Categories
Fantasy

Smoke and Summons by Charlie N Holmberg

Hi everyone, and welcome to the few new subscribers! It had been hard to keep up on the blog recently, but I have been invited to two blog tours and am doing an author interview as well in July, so I feel like there is some validation coming from this.

Also it is kind of nice to have my own little space where I can be a little more honest about things than on, let’s say, Instagram

One book that I read recently and absolutely loved (I Actually really loved the entire series, and just read the ARC for the third book) is Smoke and Summons by Charlie N Holmberg.

The description reads:

A captivating world of monsters and magic from the Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Paper Magician Series.

As a human vessel for an ancient spirit, Sandis lives no ordinary life. At the command of her master, she can be transformed against her will into his weapon—a raging monster summoned to do his bidding. Unlike other vessels, Sandis can host extremely powerful spirits, but hosting such creatures can be fatal. To stay alive, she must run. And in a city fueled by smoke and corruption she finds a surprising ally.

A cunning thief for hire, Rone owns a rare device that grants him immortality for one minute every day—a unique advantage that will come in handy in Sandis’s fight for freedom. But Sandis’s master knows how powerful she is. He’s determined to get her back, and he has the manpower to find her, wherever she runs.

Now to outwit her pursuers, Sandis must put all her trust in Rone and his immortal device. For her master has summoned more than mere men to hunt her down…

At the end of the book I was absolutely screaming (figuratively), and I don’t usually scream at books. I was screaming at the audiobook then had to ditch it with 20% left to read faster. I had never heard of Charlie N. Holmberg but was looking for something to listen to on a long drive, and I was SO SHOCKED, so shocked at how amazing the book is.

Rone gets himself into a shitload of trouble when he meets Sandis, who is on the run from quite literally her own personal hell. The book opens with the lifestyle of Sandis and the vessels in Kazen’s lair, and it is not a happy opening. The whole book maintains a darker tone. I love the characters, they are flawed but pretty deep in their own way. There is a lot of room for development throughout the series. The Rone Sandis friendship seemed special, with hints of more being a possibility in the future, and it was in such a real way that she interacted with him and ended up appealing to Rone’s good side. Unless someone summons fire-horses into you and murders your friends, you probably won’t relate to the characters, but they are very likeable and have some great banter.

The world is a dreadfully dirty city, crammed full of factories and people, horses and carriages, and what seems like early firearm production. The magic is occult, highly illegal, and dark and cruel to those involved. There is not a lot of actual lore and background in this book though, it sets the stage for the rest of the series and is more action packed with nonstop events than background-y.

The craziest part was that towards the end I just couldn’t put it down, despite that the book is nonstop filled with action. The last 50 pages or so were INSANE. For a 47North published book as well, this was extremely well edited and well written. Holmberg is a storyteller for sure, and I finished the book and immediately started looking for the second in the series.

The two narrators were great as well in the audiobook, they were very consistent and Scott Merriman really had the Rone drawl down to perfection.

If I had to come up with one bad thing to say, it is probably that I don’t love cliffhangers. I would have had book 2 on speed dial anyway, but there is definitely a huge cliffhanger.

The book really is truly unique though, I haven’t read anything with a premise even close to this before. I 100% definitely recommend to any fans of fantasy, the occult, snarky thieves, and fiery demon horses😍

Categories
Fantasy Young Adult

The Exalted by Kaitlyn Sage Patterson

Thank you so much to Inkyard press and NetGalley for the eARC in exchange for an honest review! All opinions are my own.

Here is the summary from Goodreads;

Alskad has been ruled by the singleborn…but the new heir to the throne carries a secret that will change everything

When an assassin’s bullet takes the life of Queen Runa and allows an impostor to steal the throne, Bo Trousillion is forced to flee the empire that is his birthright. With few choices left and burdened with a secret that could disinherit him, Bo pursues an alliance with Noriava, the Queen of Denor, but the devious royal ensnares him in a trap and demands a huge price for her aid.

To the south, Vi Abernathy—Bo’s secret twin—joins a ragtag army of resistance fighters, determined to free Alskad and the colony of Ilor from the control of the corrupt temple and its leaders. But as Vi discovers a strength she never knew she had and prepares to rejoin her brother in Alskad, news of the coup and Bo’s narrow escape arrive in Ilor.

Determined to rescue Bo, Vi sails to Denor with the rebels at her side and a plan to outwit Queen Noriava, knowing there’s only one way she and Bo will be able to save the Alskad Empire—together

When I first requested The Exalted I didn’t realize that it was a sequel, so I had the pleasure of binge reading the duology. One thing I really appreciate is how The Diminished ended in a very. satisfying and non cliffhanger ish way, so I was more than ready to read this but did feel pressured to. I was glad to have it lined up!

This book put me through the entire spectrum of emotions, I was laughing, clapped a few times, spilled a few tears for various fallen warriors, and ended with a book hangover that resulted in a grossly delayed review (I’m sorry, my bad). There was a LOT going on in this book though -the Suzerain (religious sect/temple) took down the queen and plotted a coup, Bo had to go deal with Noriava, all the rebel fighting, then the maneuvering to take back the throne… Very busy but very well fleshed out and surprisingly linear novel – I had to force myself to put it down.

The Exalted moved a lot faster than the previous book and every part of it mattered. I was reading as much as I could each day! I loved Bo and Vi’s family and the little girls were hilarious. All of the new characters were great, Noriava as cunning as anyone, the general, and the camp warriors who we met. There were some surprising characters too but I will leave it at “holy cow, the Shriven”! (They are the Suzerain’s warriors.)

I do believe that some books read better with a rough ending, and I appreciate that in a war important people are going to die…but really? I wasn’t sure if I should be impressed at how many main characters died or if it was overdone. One particular hero I do feel like should have gotten some last words, or something, he was so important and if you were reading quickly you would have missed where he died. Bye bye new and shortlived book boyfriend 😦 😦 😦

Why did H die and not M? the twin thing didn’t seem entirely consistent but I am so glad there were also some platonic relationships in this book. I also think Vi’s depressive bout was real and important, this whole book just felt very,,,real…at times.

Anyway – Found families, gay characters, I don’t understand nonbinary but that was mentioned, strong female leaders, and nail biting nonstop action with a twist of court intrigue and betrayal out the wazoo…if these are your tropes and you’re not afraid to cry, go grab this duology and get to it! An easy 5 stars for this book!