Posted in Reviews

Review: The Cruelest Mercy by Natalie Mae

The Cruelest Mercy by Natalie Mae (sequel to The Kinder Poison)

Recommended: sure
For continuing the series, for a lot of character development

Summary

SPOILERS FOR THE KINDER POISON!

After surviving the Crossing, Zahru has sworn off adventures. While crown prince Jet navigates the looming threat of war, she’s content to simply figure out what the future holds for them. But they’re dealt a devastating blow when prince Kasta returns with a shocking claim: he’s the true winner of the Crossing and the rightful heir, and he bears the gods’ mark as proof. Even more surprising–he’s not the only one.

Somehow, Zahru possesses the very same mark, giving her equal right to the throne. The last thing she wants is to rule beside her would-be executioner, but she can’t let Orkena fall into his merciless hands. So Zahru, Jet, and their allies must race against the clock to find a way to stop Kasta, because once he’s crowned, there’s no telling what horrors he’ll unleash to win the war.

Zahru will do whatever it takes to keep Kasta from taking the throne…but to stop a villain, is she willing to become one herself?

Thoughts

This got points for being a really interesting character line, which I couldn’t predict at all (in a really good way!). This lost points for having objectively very little actually happen for most of the book. I didn’t really notice while reading it, but looking back I’m realizing how the plot was pretty sparse. Especially in comparison to the first which was obviously pretty packed with action, the sequel is a lot more focused on the characters and the way they’re growing and changing.

Continue reading “Review: The Cruelest Mercy by Natalie Mae”
Posted in Book Talk

The laziest TBR ever (June 2021)

It’s 20 days late and barely done at all because I already wrote it but this is what that post now looks like:

😭😭😭

So forgive me for giving up a little bit on it this time. 😅

The List

  1. Half Sick of Shadows by Laura Sebastian: got it from BOTM, apparently it’s an ARC, and it’s actually holding my attention pretty well so far (when I can put the time towards reading)
  2. The Complete List of Jericho by Chris Jericho: this publishes tomorrow, and hopefully I’ll have my pre-ordered copy then!!! It’s a list of every match for all of Jericho’s 30 year career with his notes on who & where he was fighting, a rating for the match, and how much he got paid. Absolutely fascinating. ♥
  3. Replenishing the Sea of Galilee by Wagih Abu-Rish: won this from Goodreads (also an ARC) and planning to at least start it this month, but I’m reading pretty slowly right now so we shall see!
  4. Descendants of the Crane by Joan He: in reality I probably won’t start this in June because it’s late and I’m slow right now, but it’s on the list for sure. I had never heard of it, but I’m hoping it’ll be fab.
Continue reading “The laziest TBR ever (June 2021)”
Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Rising Like A Storm, 6/22/21

Hey y’all! In contrast to Throwback Thursday, I like to use Fridays to look forward to an upcoming release that I’m excited about! Today’s is Rising Like A Storm by Tanaz Bhathena!
Expected Release: June 22, 2021

Why wait on this one?

  • Sequel to the first one! Now admittedly, the first one didn’t really blow me away. It was a decent read, but not on my favorites shelf or anything. But I think the second one has been set up to be really action packed and exciting, with some intense drama coming up. We have so many big players in place and about to collide, so I think it’s going to be easy to see sparks fly!
  • Ahhh, the magic. The magic of this world was really creative and exciting to read about. I just want to see more of that creativity and imagine what life would be like, if…. 🙂

Summary

With King Lohar dead and a usurper queen in power, Gul and Cavas face a new tyrannical government that is bent on killing them both. Their roles in King Lohar’s death have not gone unnoticed, and the new queen is out for blood. What she doesn’t know is that Gul and Cavas have a connection that runs deeper than romance, and together, they just might have the strength and magic to end her for good.

Then a grave mistake ends with Cavas taken prisoner by the government. Gul must train an army of warriors alone. With alliances shifting and the thirst for vengeance growing, the fate of Ambar seems ever more uncertain. It will take every ounce of strength, love, and sacrifice for Gul and Cavas to reach their final goal―and build a more just world than they’ve ever known.

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: The Cruelest Mercy, 6/15

Hey y’all! In contrast to Throwback Thursday, I like to use Fridays to look forward to an upcoming release that I’m excited about! Today’s is The Cruelest Mercy by Natalie Mae! The sequel to The Kinder Poison, I’ve been waiting to continue this story since I turned the last page of the first book a year ago!
Expected Release: June 15, 2021

Why wait on this one?

  • Well, it’s a sequel, so of course I’m excited to see what happens next and dive back into the world! If you haven’t read the first already, you should, or at least you should stop reading this post and check out the review for that instead, so you don’t spoil anything for yourself! 😀
  • Alright, now we’re looking at Zahru potentially being the chosen one for the throne due to the absolute chaos that ended the first book? Jesus this poor girl, could her life get any more complicated? (Since there’s a whole book to read, I imagine the answer is a delightful and savage Oh, yes.)
  • Kasta’s secret is purely mind-bending. I absolutely LOVED his whole backstory in the first book, and he’s a wonderful villain / hero / who knows kind of combo at times. I’m so intrigued to see how he manipulates and schemes in this book. Even if I’m rooting for “the good guys” you’ve GOT to have a great villain for it to really matter. And he absolutely delivers!

Summary

After surviving the Crossing, Zahru has sworn off adventures. While crown prince Jet navigates the looming threat of war, she’s content to simply figure out what the future holds for them. But they’re dealt a devastating blow when prince Kasta returns with a shocking claim: he’s the true winner of the Crossing and the rightful heir, and he bears the gods’ mark as proof. Even more surprising–he’s not the only one.

Somehow, Zahru possesses the very same mark, giving her equal right to the throne. The last thing she wants is to rule beside her would-be executioner, but she can’t let Orkena fall into his merciless hands. So Zahru, Jet, and their allies must race against the clock to find a way to stop Kasta, because once he’s crowned, there’s no telling what horrors he’ll unleash to win the war.

Zahru will do whatever it takes to keep Kasta from taking the throne…but to stop a villain, is she willing to become one herself?

Posted in Release Day!

Just published: Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé!

Hey y’all! Just a reminder that Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé published today! Check out the full review here or grab a copy for yourself!

Recommended: YUP
For a high school drama that turns into a mystery that turns into an actual oh-sh*t situation, for a story of friendship and identity and isolation and trust and race, for a story where you get halfway through and wonder how it could get any more intense

Summary

When two Niveus Private Academy students, Devon Richards and Chiamaka Adebayo, are selected to be part of the elite school’s senior class prefects, it looks like their year is off to an amazing start. After all, not only does it look great on college applications, but it officially puts each of them in the running for valedictorian, too.

Shortly after the announcement is made, though, someone who goes by Aces begins using anonymous text messages to reveal secrets about the two of them that turn their lives upside down and threaten every aspect of their carefully planned futures.

As Aces shows no sign of stopping, what seemed like a sick prank quickly turns into a dangerous game, with all the cards stacked against them. Can Devon and Chiamaka stop Aces before things become incredibly deadly?

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: For the Wolf, 6/1/21

Hey y’all! In contrast to Throwback Thursday, I like to use Fridays to look forward to an upcoming release that I’m excited about! Today’s is For the Wolf by Hannah Whitten!
Expected Release: June 1, 2021

Why wait on this one?

  • A dark twist on an already dark tale, this is definitely inspired by Little Red Riding Hood. Since that story is so weird and messed up as it is, there is so much potential to play with it and bring even more depth and interest to it!
  • Whitten has done just that by adding magic and prophecy to it. Red is the determined sacrifice for the wolf, and she’s grateful her death will mean not having to deal with her growing powers. But when the wolf shows her that her powers may be a path to salvation instead of a curse, she starts to change her tune.
  • And when the villain is none other than GOD THEMSELVES? Oh singing praises, this is going to be good!

Summary

As the only Second Daughter born in centuries, Red has one purpose-to be sacrificed to the Wolf in the Wood in the hope he’ll return the world’s captured gods.

Red is almost relieved to go. Plagued by a dangerous power she can’t control, at least she knows that in the Wilderwood, she can’t hurt those she loves. Again.

But the legends lie. The Wolf is a man, not a monster. Her magic is a calling, not a curse. And if she doesn’t learn how to use it, the monsters the gods have become will swallow the Wilderwood-and her world-whole.

Posted in Book Talk

Barnes & Noble’s beach read recos are spot on!

Hey y’all!

I was just perusing Barnes and Noble’s website for my friends’ registry when I saw their recommended beach reads list. I had to laugh, because several of them are ones I have read (though not necessarily at the beach) and definitely agreed with!

The list

Meet Cute Diary by Emery Lee

One of the few on this list that I haven’t already heard of! Judging 100% by the title and cover this might be a little too saccharine sweet for me right now, but does have a quick read beach book feel to it. ^.^

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

Well, I definitely read this one! I think I was actually a little late to the party when it came out, but daaaang did I love it! This is a slightly chunky read but it goes by super fast because of how much you love the characters. Just be aware that it does get, ah, somewhat steamy at points, so if you do read it on the beach be warned! xD

That Summer by Jennifer Weiner

I haven’t read this but it’s on my list. After reading Big Summer by her last year, I knew to go for it when I saw her name!

People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry

I just read this from BOTM and it was WAY better than I expected. It had a lot more character depth than I anticipated, and the main conflict is one that’s a true problem and says a lot about the insight and aspects of the characters as they navigate it.

Beach Read by Emily Henry

It should be no surprise to avid chick-lit or beach-book readers to see Emily Henry on here twice! And it should be no surprise to ANYONE to see that a book titled “Beach Read” is on a list about books to read at the beach. No brainer. This one definitely fits the mold though, and I quite enjoyed it when I read it. I preferred People We Meet on Vacation, but maybe just because I’ve read it more recently. 😅

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

My only qualm with calling this a beach read is that it starts out with a bang. A literal one. Of the bedroom variety. You can probably guess that it doesn’t lighten up from there, so be prepared for some steam if you’re reading this on a hot beach!

The Layover by Lacie Waldon

The only other title on this list I haven’t already heard of! Judging this one as well by it’s title and cover, I’m probably going to be adding it to my tbr. If it’s anything to do with locations far from home, I’ll all about it!

Are any of these books in your bag to pack for the beach this summer? ⛱

Posted in Reviews

Review: Anna K Away by Jenny Lee

Anna K: Away by Jenny Lee

Recommended: sure
For a followup to the first one, for an easier read than the first one, for a short story following each character

Summary

How the mighty have fallen. Anna K, once the golden girl of Greenwich, CT, and New York City, has been brought low by a scandalous sex tape and the tragic death of her first love, Alexia Vronsky. At the beginning of the summer, her father takes her to the other side of the world, to connect with his family in South Korea and hide her away. Is Anna in exile? Or could this be her chance to figure out who she really is?

Back in the U.S., Lolly has forgiven Steven for cheating on her, and their relationship feels stronger than ever. But when Lolly meets a boy at her beloved theater camp, she has to ask herself how well Steven will ever really know her. Meanwhile, in Manhattan, everything between Kimmie and her new boyfriend, Dustin, is easy–except when it comes to finally having sex. And Bea escapes to LA, running away from her grief at her beloved cousin’s death, until a beautiful stranger steals her heart. Is Bea ready to finally forgive Anna, and let herself truly fall in love for the very first time?

Thoughts:

I was excited to see the characters again, and particularly interested in seeing what Jenny Lee invented as a followup story since this one is not based on other material, as the first one was. The plot moves much more steadily in this than the first book, and generally each character we follow is interesting. I think people who were a bit bored in the first book but liked the characters may enjoy this one more.

Continue reading “Review: Anna K Away by Jenny Lee”
Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Fire with Fire, 6/8/21

Hey y’all! In contrast to Throwback Thursday, I like to use Fridays to look forward to an upcoming release that I’m excited about! Today’s is Fire with Fire by Destiny Soria! (Oi, it’s also not Friday, because apparently I’m back to my spotty schedule. 😅)
Expected Release: June 8, 2021

Why wait on this one?

  • Dragons and magic will always be an easy sell for me. Here we’ve got the added tension of dragon hunting v. saving them. I want to hear this author’s interpretation and invented lore for them and the world.
  • Dani goes from a dragon-hunter-in-training plus regular high school student, weird mix) to being bonded with a dragon and totally changing sides to being desperate to help stop the fighting. (Is this How To Train Your Dragon? Because I LOVE that movie.)
  • Dani’s sister Eden is WAY more into the dragon hunting thing, and once Dani goes to the other side, Eden seeks out sorcerer’s to try to save her sister from what she sees as certain doom (and probably some shades of madness too). I love that even though they’re now on opposite sides, their connection and love remains. Isn’t that what’s always needed? People with opposing views who are still trying to understand the other.

Summary

Dani and Eden Rivera were both born to kill dragons, but the sisters couldn’t be more different. For Dani, dragon slaying takes a back seat to normal high school life, while Eden prioritizes training above everything else. Yet they both agree on one thing: it’s kill or be killed where dragons are concerned.

Until Dani comes face-to-face with one and forges a rare and magical bond with him. As she gets to know Nox, she realizes that everything she thought she knew about dragons is wrong. With Dani lost to the dragons, Eden turns to the mysterious and alluring sorcerers to help save her sister. Now on opposite sides of the conflict, the sisters will do whatever it takes to save the other. But the two are playing with magic that is more dangerous than they know, and there is another, more powerful enemy waiting for them both in the shadows.

Posted in Book Talk

6 Books with Weddings

Hey y’all! I saw people besides my significant other and family for the first time this weekend and my friend’s wedding! If you happened to notice that I didn’t post anything on Saturday it’s because I was too busy celebrating!

It was so fun and so lovely and beautiful and I’m so happy for them! And I also wanted to use this as some inspiration for a post because I started thinking about all the books with weddings in them, and how they’re not always the way you might expect a book with a wedding in it to be.

By that I mean, sometimes the wedding goes wrong. Sometimes it’s in a horror and someone’s being forced to get married. Sometimes it totally is just an excuse for a bunch of romantic novel tropes and you know it, but you love it anyway. Weddings come in all kinds of ways in books! So here are a few that I immediately thought of when making this list that showcase the variety that you can get with weddings in books.

Ahh, the fake date

A juicy fake-date trope, Lucie decides to take a vacation to Scotland with a total stranger as his date to a wedding. The wedding, the hotel, the exotic locale, two hetero people… you can guess where this is heading.

Lure him in

Although Poppy and Alex are not the ones getting married, she DOES use the wedding as an excuse to lure him into a vacation together, after years of their broken tradition. Ends with a wedding, but the good stuff is all before!

Continue reading “6 Books with Weddings”