Air Awakens: The Complete Series by Elise Kova

GoodReads Summary:
Air Awakens
A library apprentice, a sorcerer prince, and an unbreakable magic bond…
The Solaris Empire is one conquest away from uniting the continent, and the rare elemental magic sleeping in seventeen-year-old library apprentice Vhalla Yarl could shift the tides of war.
Vhalla has always been taught to fear the Tower of Sorcerers, a mysterious magic society, and has been happy in her quiet world of books. But after she unknowingly saves the life of one of the most powerful sorcerers of them all–the Crown Prince Aldrik–she finds herself enticed into his world. Now she must decide her future: Embrace her sorcery and leave the life she’s known, or eradicate her magic and remain as she’s always been. And with powerful forces lurking in the shadows, Vhalla’s indecision could cost her more than she ever imagined.
Fire Falling
Soldier… Sorcerer… Savior… Who is Vhalla Yarl?
Vhalla Yarl marches to war as property of the Solaris Empire. The Emperor counts on her to bring victory, the Senate counts on her death, and the only thing Vhalla can count on is the fight of her life. As she grapples with the ghosts of her past, new challenges in the present threaten to shatter the remnants of her fragile sanity. Will she maintain her humanity? Or will she truly become the Empire’s monster?
Earth’s End
A woman awoken in air, a soldier forged by fire, a weapon risen from blood.
Vhalla Yarl has made it to the warfront in the North. Forged by blood and fire, she has steeled her heart for the final battle of the Solaris Empire’s conquest. The choices before Vhalla are no longer servitude or freedom, they are servitude or death. The stakes have never been higher as the Emperor maintains his iron grip on her fate, holding everything Vhalla still has left to lose in the balance.
Water’s Wrath
Librarian turned sorcerer. Sorcerer turned hero. Hero turned puppet.
The Solaris Empire found victory in the North and, at the cost of her heart and her innocence, Vhalla Yarl has earned her freedom. But the true fight is only beginning as the secret forces that have been lurking in the shadows, tugging at the strings of Vhalla’s fate, finally come to light. Nowhere is safe, and Vhalla must tread carefully or else she’ll fall into the waiting arms of her greatest foe. Or former lover.
Crystal Crowned
Long live Solaris.
One bloodthirsty ruler has been overthrown by another, casting the shadow of death over the Solaris Empire. Vhalla Yarl stands upon the stage of fate, prepared to do battle one final time. Fragile alliances will be tested and new bonds will be formed as the world is reshaped. She fights as the champion of peace, but when the night is darkest will she be able to pay the price of a new dawn?
Air Awakens Complete Digital Boxed Set (Books 1-5):

Review:
I’m going to do this as a series review because I’m reading it on my Kindle as a ‘boxed set’ so it’s basically like one GIANT ebook. So I’m going to just write some brief thoughts I had during each book and then do an overall how I felt about the series kind of idea. Also! This is a reread for me. I read this series about a year ago and LOVED it. So I’m rereading it because when Antonia finally started it, I really wanted to revisit this world

Air Awakens

Some thoughts while reading:

I literally wrote on GoodReads, “UGH, what a way to end the first book.” Because it’s so so true. The ending is killer. I also wrote, “I LOVE Vhalla. She’s a timid turned fierce girl who just wanted to work in the library. I’m usually kind of over the whole ‘woah I’m magical’ trope, but Kova does it well. I love the magic system in this series. It’s unique and interesting.”

Some quotes:

“I’m simply learning where I’m meant to be.” It was the only response because it was the truth.”

“‘Fire needs air to live. Air fuels fire, stokes it, and makes it burn brighter and hotter than it ever could alone. But too much air will snuff it completely, just as too many flames will consume all the air. They are far greater than the sum of their parts together, but are equally as dangerous to each other’s existence.’”

“He’s a much better a person than I’ve heard people give him credit for. He’s worth a lot more than many of the people in this room, and it’s not just because of the crown on his head.” She looked back at the Emperor. “He wanted to help. If I am guilty of anything, it was putting him in a position where he felt compelled to do so.”

“She would cut it away. She would cut away the anger, the pain, and the frustration. She’d cut and cut until she was sculpted into something better, something stronger. They wanted to kill her, so this Vhalla would die, she resolved, and a new Vhalla would be born from her ashes.”

Fire Falling

Some thoughts while reading:

I LOVE Fritz, Larel, and Vhalla’s friendship. They make me laugh and keep me entertained. They’re likable and Kova really makes me care about them. They’re great friends to Vhalla even when she thinks she doesn’t deserve it. I love watching them each develop but also develop together as a group of friends.
Slow burn romance is always good. Though the hot and cold, back and forth because he has to put on a show for the world was slightly annoying. I love their romance anyway. It’s slow and satisfying following them as they get to know all the deep dark things about each other.
The Golden Guard, Prince Baldair’s guards, were funny and kind to Vhalla. I loved their scenes.
Less about the plot. More about story progression and character development. We’re following the characters as they travel with the army. But the characters are training to fight with fists and magic, learning more about each other and themselves.
WHY DID YOU DO THAT. HOW COULD HAVE LET THIS HAPPEN ELISE KOVA.
I’m not sure how but Kova has broken my heart and then in the last pages of Fire Falling, broken it AGAIN.

Some quotes:

“There was something severed and rough about her, something tainted and, yet, at the same time those jagged pieces were the makings of something fearsome. She’d wanted to become someone the Senate would fear. Why not shatter the sky?”

“Magic, she was discovering, was like poetry. Once you understood the logic, the meter, the rhyme behind it, you could embellish upon it and make it your own.”

“Even something very small can cast a large shadow when it is close to the sun.”
“Unfortunately for them, one couldn’t break what was already broken.”

“You’re not someone to live in darkness or sorrow.” Larel reclined on the bed, inviting Vhalla to do the same. “You’re a light that can shine brighter than even the sun.”

Earth’s End

Some thoughts while reading:

Already so much more action. We’re finally getting into the thick of it. Vhalla is so fierce and really coming into her powers. In the fighting scenes, it’s so clear how much she’s grown from the timid girl in the library until now.
A slight love triangle in a yicky kind of way.
The emperor is TRASH.
HOW ARE YOU GOING TO DO ME LIKE THIS ELISE KOVA TWO BOOKS IN A ROW.

Some quotes:

“I told you this would never be easy, I warned you. I begged you to spare my heart if you weren’t ready for this fight.”

“Truthfully, I think we both wanted the same thing: forgetfulness of the holes in our hearts left by other people.”

““I was raised in a world where I had thousands of friends, each one waiting for me on a shelf every day. While you practiced with the bow or sword, I read. The Imperial Library houses my confidants, and I spent nearly a decade hanging onto their every word. I know them well, and if you will stop questioning me, I will be so kind to impart their secrets to you.”

Water’s Wrath

Some thoughts while reading:

Vhalla what is you doing girllll?
Yaaas, Jax. He’s vulgar and entertaining but secretly a soft boy.
I’ll forever love Mohned for being a mentor to Vhalla. He did his best for her and I just love him.
I really love that Larel still plays her own special part in the story.
Vhalla’s “magic sight” is a little corny.
HOW DOES KOVA MAKE ME CRY IN EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THESE BOOKS SO FAR?! MY FRAGILE HEART CANT HANDLE THIS.
I like the northern princess, Sehra, she knows so much more than she’s letting on. I’m interested to see her role in the final book.

Some quotes:

“The fire burned too hot, and we didn’t notice until it consumed everything.”

“But never lose faith, never lose your beautiful heart. Don’t let them win, those wicked men and women who would do anything to cage you or kill you.”

“Love was bravery and-perhaps most importantly-forgiveness.”

“You can’t buy peace with war.”

Crystal Crowned

Some thoughts while reading:

How could you do this to Daniel? He got the short end of the stick again and again.
Even though the circumstances are pretty awful. I love the friend group (despite those that are missing). Jax is as vulgar as ever, Fritz is a cinnamon roll and I love him, Elecia is sassy and all sharp edges and Vhalla and Aldrik are perfect as usual. But all of them together is funny and sassy and full of love.
Vhalla seeing her childhood home and her father was so sweet and heartwarming. It was wonderful to see this sweet innocent moment amidst the chaos.
I really appreciate that Vhalla isn’t just suddenly good at leading. She’s learning from Aldrik. And while she does have people skills and good ideas, she still takes the time to watch him and learn from his example. She also doesn’t hesitate to ask questions when she’s unsure.
AGAIN WITH THE CRYING.

Some quotes:

“I crave peace, and I fear that I am a creature whose fate is written in bloodshed.”

“I suppose it’s a good thing I like books more than most people,” Vhalla muttered.

“You are trapped in a vortex. Time and again, you will repeat your fate dutifully. If we cannot change fate itself and save our world.”

“You have hopes that no one else would allow themselves to even dream of.”

“Every chance worth taking will make you a little scared. That means you’re taking a risk. And where there is risk, there is reward.”

“To kill a monster, you must become one yourself.”

Overall thoughts

I still adored this series. I still cried my eyes out at each of the heart-wrenching moments Kova wrote.
I really really enjoyed the seeds that Kova planted to lay the foundation for the next series (starting with Vortex Visions which I will be starting ASAP.)
I think the ending was perfect especially with what I said above. The fact that there’s another series and we’re going to see more of this world I think the way Crystal Crowned ended was excellent. It left me wanting more where I want to neglect all the other books I need to read and just go right to Vortex Visions.
Finally, I loved this series. I love these characters. The relationships are amazing. There is diversity and elemental magic and war and all of the things that make an incredible story. If you haven’t read these books please go do so now.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

Summary:
Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year, Prince Rhen, the heir to 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, 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
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.
A Curse So Dark and Lonely (A Curse So Dark and Lonely, #1)Review:
I loved this book. Brigid Kemmerer has done it again. She is certainly an auto buy author for me and the thought of waiting a year for A Heart so Fierce and Broken has me slowly withering away on the inside. There were so many things I loved about this book and really not a single thing that I didn’t like. The inside is just as beautiful as the cover of this baby.

“Not all scars can be seen, my lady.”

First, the story. I thought the time twist was interesting. The characters keep repeating the same season over and over in an attempt to break the curse. Next, the twist on the beast was also interesting. I liked that it wasn’t the traditional beast and was more of an actual terrifying monster. Beauty and the Beast has never been my favorite fairytale, but this was definitely one of my favorite twists on the classic story.

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

I really enjoyed the characters. We will start with Harper. She’s just trying to look out for her brother and help take care of her sick mother. She’s a fighter from the second that she’s introduced on the page. After being whisked away to Emberfall she basically does whatever she wants (and the complete opposite of what she’s told to do). She does her best to try to escape because she needs to get back to her brother. She proves again and again that her disability isn’t going to hold her back from anything. I thought she was sassy and funny. She also cared even when she didn’t need to and tried to stick up for people that couldn’t or wouldn’t fight for themselves, which is the whole reason she ended up in Emberfall in the first place. She didn’t let this stop her. She saved some villagers, proceeded to bring them food despite being told not to. She stole Rhen’s horse like five times (and I loved it more and more each time.) She sticks up for those that are vulnerable. (Enter Rhen.)

“This was  never a curse to be broken. This is a death sentence. The true curse has been the though that we might find escape.”

Rhen is standoffish, sassy, and almost even rude when he sees how headstrong Harper is. He tries to be nice to her, but quickly realizes his usual tricks aren’t going to work on her. I really enjoyed the hopelessness that Rhen felt in this book. His inner dialogue was one of my favorite parts of the story. He talks so lightly of all the different ways he’s tried to end the curse, some more extreme than others. My next favorite part was his character in general. He’s already done his growing. He’s learned from the countless previous seasons and the things that have happened in them. His character growth isn’t dependent upon Harper and I really enjoyed that. The story was only sort of about breaking Rhen’s curse, it more focuses on being a better person and Harper encouraging/inspiring him to do better for the people he’s supposed to be ruling over. She shows him that even if he’s not meant to break the curse, he can still be trying to take care of the people in his kingdom.

“It is not the moment of passing that is most important. It is all the moments that come before.”

Then there’s all the supporting characters I loved. Grey, the ever-loyal commander. I love the friendship that Harper formed with him. I like that they became fast friends despite Grey being the one to take her to Emberfall, because he tried to be her friend. He taught her things and played cards with her and they talked about everything. I enjoyed their friendship even though there were hints of a love triangle. Then there’s Freya, who was sweet and motherly and always there when Harper needed her. I thought she was so sweet. The final character I want to mention was Zo, Harper’s female guard. They become fast friends and Harper wants to share where she’s really from with her, but doesn’t. They make me laugh with the silly things Harper teaches Zo and I wish she had come into the story sooner. I can’t wait to see these girls interact more (hopefully) in the next book.

“Failure isn’t absolute.  Just because you couldn’t save everyone doesn’t mean you didn’t save anyone.”

Finally, I adored the combination of Emberfall, this fantasy world, meeting the real world of Washington, DC. I thought this was such an interesting idea, fantasy meshing with the real world. I would have liked to see a little bit more (maybe in the next book?) We really were just teased with it and then the ideas and knowledge that Harper brings into Emberfall. It definitely added something extra to the story and I adored this aspect of the story.

“I do not understand how she can fill me with such hope and fear simultaneously.”

Overall, this is a new favorite of mine. I loved every page. I loved the story, the characters, the world, even the cliffhanger. I read this almost five-hundred-page book in one sitting, which says a lot. I literally could not put it down. If you haven’t read this, I recommend it without a doubt.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Us Against You by Fredrik Backman

GoodReads Summary:
After everything that the citizens of Beartown have gone through, they are struck yet another blow when they hear that their beloved local hockey team will soon be disbanded. What makes it worse is the obvious satisfaction that all the former Beartown players, who now play for a rival team in Hed, take in that fact. Amidst the mounting tension between the two rivals, a surprising newcomer is handpicked to be Beartown’s new hockey coach.
Soon a new team starts to take shape around Amat, the fastest player you’ll ever see; Benji, the intense lone wolf; and Vidar, a born-to-be-bad troublemaker. But bringing this team together proves to be a challenge as old bonds are broken, new ones are formed, and the enmity with Hed grows more and more acute.
As the big match approaches, the not-so-innocent pranks and incidents between the communities pile up and their mutual contempt grows deeper. By the time the last game is finally played, a resident of Beartown will be dead, and the people of both towns will be forced to wonder if, after all they’ve been through, the game they love can ever return to something simple and innocent.
Us Against You (Beartown, #2)Review:
This book is the sequel to Beartown, read my review for the first book here. I absolutely adored Beartown so when I saw there was a second one I knew I had to read it. It wasn’t as good as the first, but it was still very good. I only cried once as opposed to the several times I cried during the first book. Us Against You is just as important of a read as the first one, if not more. This book talks about many important and hard-hitting topics that are often talked around instead of about.

“Because sometimes hating one another is so easy it seems incomprehensible that we ever do anything else.”

There are many characters featured in these pages. Many from the first book and a few new ones. Theres no way for me to mention them all. Each character plays an important part in the story, whether they have positive or negative effects on the others. I think the mass number of players in Us Against You are a vital part of the messages that Backman is trying to get across.

“The truth about most people is as simple as it is unbearable: we rarely want what is best for everyone; we mostly want what’s best for ourselves.”

The book talks about so many things, but the most prevalent theme is violence. Violence is present in any society, in every person, but it takes action and hatred for violence to come to pass. I think it did an incredible job talking about all the different ways that people can become violent, that they can become full of hatred, that they can overcome these feelings. Another important topic discussed is family. There are several families we come to know and learn about. They’re all different, all going through their own problems. But in the face of real trauma and loss, they put aside their differences and feelings toward one another and help in whatever ways they can. I thought this story told of a really strong community brought together because of a shared love of hockey. With this shared love, they fight and cheer alongside one another despite personal issues. I really think Backman wrote an incredible story filled with so many important issues from surviving rape, sexuality, alcoholism, loss of a loved one, bullying, and surviving.

“Grief is a wild animal that drags us so far out into the darkness that we can’t imagine ever getting home again.”

The only complaint I have about Us Against You is that it’s kind of a long book to get through. It’s almost 500 pages filled with descriptions and explanations. There is a fair bit of telling, alongside the showing the story does have. It’s also filled with so many tough topics that it was harder to sit and binge read. The writing style is part of this, though I found myself enjoying the writing style. The author foreshadows, telling of things to come before they happen, while giving us hints of things that may happen in between and then actually telling us what happened. I thought this was a really creative way to tell the story and I think it added just that much more to the story. I definitely think Us Against You wouldn’t have been the same book had it been written differently.

“When guys are scared of the dark, they’re scared of ghosts and monsters, but when girls are scared of the dark, they’re scared of guys.”

Overall, I loved this book. There were a few parts that dragged, but I loved it anyway. It’s full of characters we love and characters we love to hate. We talk about hard hitting topics instead of shying away from them. It’ll make you laugh right before it breaks your heart. I definitely recommend these books to anyone that enjoyed reading about hard-hitting topics.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

Summary:
Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and badly weakened, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz’s cunning and test the team’s fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the cities dark and twisting streets—a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of the Grisha world.
Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2)Review:
I honestly don’t know how I’m supposed to express my love for this book with real words. Aside from writing ‘I loved this’ over and over again I’m not sure what you people want from me. I’m just kidding friends. First off, I still love the setting here. In Ketterdam it’s a whole different world from the familiar Ravka from the Shadow and Bone trilogy. I love the dirty and grittiness of the Barrel. I love the gang aspect with these characters. They’re supposed to be criminals, low lives, and good for nothing. But they show us that they’re so much more over and over again. These friends prove that they’re more than their assumptions time and time again. This friend group is probably the most appealing thing in the story. While the plot is interesting, the characters are really what I’m here for. From the irreparably damaged Kaz to the ever-noble Matthias. They all are just the perfect combination of sass and anger and unresolved issues. They each bring something unique but essential to the friend squad and I loved every second of it.

“What you want and what the world needs are not always in accord, Kaz. Praying and wishing are not the same thing.”

Nina is probably my favorite and I’m excited/nervous for her story to continue in King of Scars because people have said they just didn’t care about Nina’s chapters. I feel like Nina really got the worst out of everyone. Leigh Bardugo really did her dirty and she didn’t deserve it. Despite this, she made me laugh. Her love of cake and waffles and sweets was so relatable and just put a smile on my face.

“She was the Queen of Mourning, and in its depths, she would never drown.”

Matthias made laugh with his attempts at restraint and Nina always messing with him. I really admired his strength for trying to fight everything he’s been taught his whole life and everything he’s ever known. Trying to come to terms with the fact that he and his home country are wrong, he really shows growth and I loved it.

“You aren’t a flower, you’re every blossom in the wood blooming at once. You are a tidal wave. You’re a stampede. You are overwhelming.”

Jesper also had some great growth in this book and I’d love to see where he is now. I think he really comes to terms with who he is and the abilities and flaws that he has. I think he developed wonderfully after making some mistakes in the first book, he does anything and everything he can to make amends for the things he did. Despite him trying to make amends, he was full of jokes and sarcasm and sass and I loved it.

Mati en sheva yelu. This action will have no echo. It means we won’t repeat the same mistakes, that we won’t continue to do harm.”

Then there’s little Wylan. He’s probably not little, but the way that everyone talks to him I picture him as a small boy. He starts off as our designated soft boy but develops into so much more. I think Wylan is really just trying to prove himself and where his loyalties are. I think Wylan’s ending was the best. He really is the only one that got everything he wanted but I think he deserved it.

“You’re weak because you’re afraid of people seeing your weakness. You’re letting shame decide who you are.”

Our Wraith is next, the beloved Inej. She has a lot of inner conflict in these books and I really get it. It makes her relatable. She does what she needs to survive, even if those things don’t always sit well with her, even if those things don’t always align with her morals. I think she is the most interesting character because of this.

We learn to hold our heads as if we wear crowns. We learn to wring magic from the ordinary. That was how you survived when you weren’t chosen, when there was no royal blood in your veins. When the world owed you nothing, you demanded something of it anyway.”

Finally, our fearless leader, Kaz Brekker. The criminal mastermind bent on revenge. He’s incredibly smart and clever. He always seems to have a solution for everything and sometimes those solutions are so crazy they just might work. I found myself reading and thinking to myself, ‘Holy shit that was lucky’ and then ten pages later finding out that it was Kaz that planned it all along. There were parts that I thought there was no way Kaz has planned these things that everything is falling apart, but then it all works out exactly how Kaz wanted it to and it blows me away.

“I would come for you. And if I couldn’t walk, I’d crawl to you, and no matter how broken we were, we’d fight our way out together-knives drawn, pistols blazing. Because that’s what we do. We never stop fighting.”

Overall this book was incredible. It made me laugh. It made me cry. I loved seeing these characters working together and growing together. They have the most fun and craziest adventures. They just have an incredible dynamic and I loved it. I loved seeing the characters we met in the Shadow and Bone books. I loved seeing the world just come together. The only thing I didn’t like was the ending. It seemed a little lacking. There just wasn’t anything solid for any of the characters. It was so open-ended and I get that the books in this world aren’t over, so it makes sense. But it was just not a satisfying ending. Other than that, I loved everything about this book, even the heartbreak. I have to go read King of Scars now, bye.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Summary:
Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…
A convict with a thirst for revenge.
A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.
A runaway with a privileged past.
A spy known as the Wraith.
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.
A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.
Kaz’s crew are the only ones who might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.
Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1)Review:
I’ve been rereading so many of the books I’ve read and loved over the years, but don’t remember every detail about. Six of Crows is one of those. I haven’t read this duology since the second book came out in 2016. I thought now would be the perfect time to reread these books before I got my hands on King of Scars at the end of January.

“When everyone knows you’re a monster, you needn’t waste time doing every  monstrous thing.”

Rereading this book was exciting and wonderful. I loved being back inside this world with these characters. Ketterdam is one of my favorite fictional worlds. It’s. complex and dark, filled with corners you really should stay out of and all the scheming you could imagine. I love the world of Grisha. It has the ability to suck me in, chew me up, and spit me out at the final page. I was so engrossed in this story that I didn’t want to put it down. I spent several nights staying up later than I should to read more pages.

“The water hears and understands. The ice does not forgive.”

The characters were equally as good as the setting. They were complex and dark, each with their own story to tell. Kaz Brekker, our fearless leader, has such an interesting backstory. Dark and gritty, he does whatever he needs in order to reach his goals. Getting to learn his backstory definitely humanized him as the story went on. He wants everyone to think he’s the big bad, but he cares more than he’s willing to admit.

“Better terrible truths than kind lies.”

Inej, the Wraith, is another character that will do what she needs to as long as it brings her closer to her goals. Sold into slavery, then into the Dregs, she does what she must to survive while trying to keep her conscious clear, not always successfully. She sees the best in her friends even when they don’t deserve it. Nina is probably my favorite though. She’s sassy and fierce, loyal and caring. She doesn’t take anyone’s shit and she stands up for what she believes in. I’m so excited to see where Nina’s story goes in King of Scars.
Jesper was the comedic relief of the group. He turns everything into a joke because he can’t stop and take time to think about what his life has become. He is impulsive and it’s not always a good thing. Then there’s Wylan, sweet and soft Wylan. A merchant’s son, he joins the Dregs to escape a life that seems better than it is. He’s constantly trying to prove himself and that he is worthy to be a part of the team. I think he’s my favorite. I love a good soft boy. Then there’s Matthias, the opposite of a soft boy. He’s full of nothing but conflict and a need for revenge. I think Matthias has the best character arc and development. He’s fighting to decide between the girl he’s grown to care for and the things he’s always known and believed in.

“Greed may do your bidding, but death serves no man.”

These characters all together create the most interesting and conflicted squad, which makes for interesting times as they sail to another country to kidnap someone, a mission that is very likely to fail. All of the different personalities combining in the adventures they go on is guaranteed to be a good time full of laughs, danger, and maybe even a little death. This is still one of my favorite books. It’s just so good. Leigh Bardugo will forever be my Queen. If you haven’t read this book yet, what are you waiting for?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

More Than We Can Tell by Brigid Kemmerer

Summary:
Rev has managed. to keep the demons of his past at bay…until he. gets a letter from the abusive father he hasn’t seen in years, and the trauma of his childhood comes hurtling back.
Emma. has only one escape from her parents’ fighting: the computer game she built from scratch…until an online troll’s harassment causes her to fear for her safety.
When Rev and Emma cross paths one night, they’re both longing to confide in someone-to share the weight of their worries. They connect instantly and deeply, vowing to help each other no matter what. But soon Rev’s and Emma’s secrets threaten to crush them, and they’ll need more than a promise to find their way out. In an achingly beautiful story from the author of Letters to the Lost, two teens find the courage to lift the burden of their scars-old and new.
Review:
Brigid Kemmerer has done it again. I adored this story. Rev and Emma pulled me, chewed me up, and spit me out. Their wonderfully developed characters with interesting and complex stories.
Rev has a complicated past, and not in a good way. I knew I wanted to know more about him when I met him in Letters to the Lost. I’m so happy that he got his own book. We really learn about what goes on in Rev’s mind. We learn his fears and doubts and the things he does to try to combat them. I loved the relationships with his family. I thought it was really interesting to learn about Kristin and Geoff adopting Rev and all the other kids that they’ve fostered over the years. The love they have for Rev was so heartwarming and wonderful to read about. I also really enjoyed seeing more of Declan. I thought it was interesting to see the other side of their relationship. I thought Rev was a strong, courageous character that faced his demons down and stayed true to himself.
Emma was stubborn. Sometimes to the point of annoyance. She gets herself into trouble because of the typical ‘not sharing information’ trope where she could have solved all her problems by telling someone the truth. She was shitty to her friends and didn’t appreciate the things she had in her life. Despite all of this, I couldn’t help but like her. By the end of the book, she knew she’s been an ass and start making amends with those she’s treated poorly. She had great growth and I really appreciated that. I also liked that she’s a gamer. It’s not that common of a hobby for girls and the fact that she created her own game is just fascinating.
Overall, I loved this book. It was heartwarming and heart wrenching at the. same time. I’m so invested in these characters I’d die for another book. I have information from a little birdie that there is potential for Matthew (Rev’s foster brother) to get his own book and I would flip. Kemmerer is officially an auto-buy author for me and I cannot wait to read her newest book A Curse So Dark and Lonely.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

*Want to buy this book? Click on the book cover! It’s an affiliate link so we will make a small percentage from your purchase, feel free to support us!

Sadie by Courtney Summers

Summary:
When popular radio personality West McCray receives a desperate phone call from a stranger imploring him to find nineteen-year-old runaway Sadie Hunter, he’s not convinced there’s a story there; girls go missing all the time. But as soon as West’s boss discovers Sadie fled home after the brutal murder of her little sister, Mattie, he sees the makings of something big and orders West to the small town of Cold Creek, Colorado, to uncover what happened.
Sadie has no idea that her story will soon become the subject of a blockbuster podcast. She just wants revenge. Armed with a switchblade, Sadie follows a meager set of clues hoping they’ll lead to the man who took Mattie’s life because she’s determined to make him pay for it with his own. But as West traces her journey to the darkest, most dangerous corners of big cities and small towns, a deeply unsettling mystery begins to unfold-one that’s bigger than them both. Can he find Sadie before it’s too late?
Alternating between Sadie’s unflinching voice as she hunts the killer and the podcast transcripts tracking the clues she’s left behind, Sadie, is a breathless thriller about the lengths we go to protect the ones we love and the high price we pay when we can’t. It will haunt you long after you reach the final page.
Review:
After hearing the endless hype for Sadie, I finally bought the book when it was on sale for black Friday. Shortly after buying it, my library informed me that they went ahead and bought the audiobook at my request. So, this led me to wait for the audiobook to be available instead of reading the physical book because I have heard nothing but good things about the audiobook. None of those things I heard were wrong. The audiobook and the story were so so much more than I ever expected.
This story follows two alternating perspectives. The first we follow is Sadie. We follow Sadie as she’s trying to deal with losing her sister, the one person she lived for. Sadie spent her life doing everything for Mattie. Taking care of her sister was her life’s purpose. I think I really related to Sadie because my own mother is one that struggles with addiction and wasn’t around for much of my life. So I know how Sadie feels toward her mother and I could understand those feelings. I cannot imagine what it wo0uld be like to lose a sibling like she did, in such a gruesome manner. I would be inconsolable and would likely attempt revenge, just like Sadie. Following Sadie on this mission was hard because it took Sadie to some dark places both physically and mentally. She had some dark thoughts, including but not limited to murder. I think that was one of the things I liked about this book. It was a mystery/thriller but the darker themes within it really made it just that much more exciting.
The second perspective we follow is West McCray who is a reporter, I think. I thought this was a very interesting way to tell this story. His chapters were so perfectly placed. Every time we switched away from Sadie it was always at the perfect place to just add that much more suspense. I really liked that we get to see into the process of West making the podcast instead of just the podcast episodes. I thought it was cool that we got to see how Sadie’s story was affecting West and the impact this project was having on him. I also really enjoyed the interview parts of the story that were included in the podcast. I feel like they really allowed the reader more insight into all the different pieces of the story.
I think my favorite part was the parallels in the storytelling. What I mean by this is that one chapter will be following Sadie going to a specific place or telling us about something and the next chapter will be the podcast where West is learning about the same things. I thought it was really interesting to see how Sadie saw or thought things and then seeing those same things from the perspective of another.
Finally, I have to mention the audiobook. It was freaking amazing. I absolutely adore audiobooks that are read by a cast of narrators. I think they make the story experience so much better and they’re my favorite kind of audiobooks. I actually waited to read this book despite owning the physical copy so that I could experience the audiobook because I’ve heard such good things. I was not disappointed in the least. I think this is even more important because the one thing I never see mentioned in the reviews I’ve seen is that Sadie has a serious stutter. I don’t know how that is portrayed in the book, but the audiobook you heard the stutter and felt the anxiety and anger that Sadie felt about it. I think the narrators for this story were absolutely incredible. They drew me into this book and spit me out in the last pages all used up and emotionally ruined.
If you haven’t read this book, you need to. If you’re not reading this book because of all the hype, don’t be silly.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

*Want to buy this book? Click on the book cover! It’s an affiliate link so we will make a small percentage from your purchase, feel free to support us!