This Cruel Design by Emily Suvada

GoodReads Summary:
The nightmare of the outbreak is finally over, but Cat’s fight has only just begun.
Exhausted, wounded, and reeling from revelations that have shaken her to her core, Cat is at a breaking point. Camped in the woods with Cole and Leoben, she’s working day and night, desperate to find a way to stop Lachlan’s plan to reprogram humanity. But she’s failing—Cat can’t even control her newly regrown panel, and try as she might to ignore them, she keeps seeing glitching visions from her past everywhere she turns.
When news arrives that the Hydra virus might not be as dead as they’d thought, the group is pushed into an uneasy alliance with Cartaxus to hunt down Lachlan and fix the vaccine. Their search takes them to Entropia, a city of genehackers hidden deep in the desert that could also hold the answers about Cat’s past that she’s been searching for.
But when confronted with lies and betrayals, Cat is forced to question everything she knows and everyone she trusts. And while Lachlan is always two steps ahead, the biggest threat to Cat may be the secrets buried in her own mind.
This Cruel Design (This Mortal Coil, #2)Review:
I’m going to keep this review on the shorter side because I still have a lot of the same thoughts as I did for my review of the first book, This Mortal Coil (reviewed here).
In that review, I essentially said that I really liked the science parts of this book because they were in-depth, but also not so much so that I didn’t understand what the characters were talking about. It was explained really well in relation to the story and the world within that story.
I think Cat was even more interesting in This Cruel Design than she was in the first book. We’ve learned some secrets about her past and those secrets have rocked the foundation of Cat’s world. Most of what she thought she knew about herself and her life was a lie. But we learn even more about her and her parentage in this book. I think the complexity of Cat’s character and the issues she was facing made this book fascinating beyond the greater plotlines.
I sort of liked that the romance took place on the backburner. I really liked Cat and Cole together in the first book, but Cole’s actions have become a bit suspect and I’m not loving him like I did previously. Because of all of this, I’m really glad that the romance wasn’t the main focus of the book. Though, there was another love triangle in this one. In the first book there was a sort of love triangle between Cat, Dax, and Cole. And in this second book, a new character is introduced and he is a part of Cat’s missing memories. I didn’t love this until more twists were revealed and we learned certain things.
I’m extremely interested to see how book three is going to conclude all the happenings in this world. There is so much to cover and I’m dying to know how it’s all going to come to an end.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Kingdom of Copper by S.A. Chakraborty

GoodReads Summary:
S. A. Chakraborty continues the sweeping adventure begun in The City of Brass conjuring a world where djinn summon flames with the snap of a finger and waters run deep with old magic; where blood can be dangerous as any spell, and a clever con artist from Cairo will alter the fate of a kingdom.
Nahri’s life changed forever the moment she accidentally summoned Dara, a formidable, mysterious djinn, during one of her schemes. Whisked from her home in Cairo, she was thrust into the dazzling royal court of Daevabad—and quickly discovered she would need all her grifter instincts to survive there.
Now, with Daevabad entrenched in the dark aftermath of a devastating battle, Nahri must forge a new path for herself. But even as she embraces her heritage and the power it holds, she knows she’s been trapped in a gilded cage, watched by a king who rules from the throne that once belonged to her family—and one misstep will doom her tribe..
Meanwhile, Ali has been exiled for daring to defy his father. Hunted by assassins, adrift on the unforgiving copper sands of his ancestral land, he is forced to rely on the frightening abilities the marid—the unpredictable water spirits—have gifted him. But in doing so, he threatens to unearth a terrible secret his family has long kept buried.
And as a new century approaches and the djinn gather within Daevabad’s towering brass walls for celebrations, a threat brews unseen in the desolate north. It’s a force that would bring a storm of fire straight to the city’s gates . . . and one that seeks the aid of a warrior trapped between worlds, torn between a violent duty he can never escape and a peace he fears he will never deserve.
The Kingdom of Copper (The Daevabad Trilogy, #2)Review:
Friends, where do I start with this one? I am writing this review at six o’clock in the morning, running on about four hours of sleep because my child is boycotting sleep lately. So, please bear with me as we talk about this book together. I’m not really sure any of my thoughts will even make sense, but we’re going to try anyway.
This one was very different from the first book. Gone is the fierce girl who can find her way out of any situation and in her place is a defeated girl that is trying to learn her craft and not risk the lives of others. Nahri has tried to stand up for what she felt was right and others lost their lives for it. So, she fell in line. She did her job. She kept her head down. I didn’t love this version of Nahri, so I was happy when she found something to be passionate about again outside of her abilities. She discovers an old hospital and plans to return it to its former glory, to make it a place of healing for all of those that live in Daevabad. I loved this. I loved seeing Nahri stand up for something she wanted to do. I loved seeing that old fierceness come back to her.
While The City of Brass was a fairly political story, The Kingdom of Copper was almost entirely political. I didn’t mind this, but some parts were slow going trying to remember who was who and which people hated which and why. I still really enjoyed it. The dynamics were complex, interesting, and infuriating. I just wanted to shake all of the different characters and yell at them to get along. There was so much hatred and violence in this story because of different races and I just hated it, much like I do in everyday life. I just want everyone to get along. But at the same time, I couldn’t help but hate the King and the heir. I just really hated them. Though the heir sort of redeemed himself in the end.
Ali really grew into himself. He spent five years in a small village helping those that lived in it before he’s called back to Daevabad and dragged right back into the drama and politics of the city. He, like Nahri, has been beaten down and broken by the king, his father. I really didn’t like Ali at the end of the first book, but I loved him in this one. He’s trying, unsuccessfully, to keep his head down, but can’t help but get involved. Usually, at the expense of others. I liked him because he always had the best of intentions. He had a good heart, even if his plans usually went awry. I am dying to know how his part of this story will play out in the final book.
Now, I’m going to keep this part vague because spoilers, but you’ll know what I’m talking about if you’ve read this already. The mystery players that have their own part in this book were infuriating. I was so excited at first, but the more I read of their story and their plan, the more that excitement turned into disdain. I do not approve of the actions of these mystery players.
Overall, this was a different book from the first, but I didn’t find that to be a bad thing. The characters grew and learned and developed. They face challenges that broke them down but found their way back to fighting for their beliefs. I loved the ups and downs, the action and adventure, the drama. I am dying to finish the series.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Rise of Magicks by Nora Roberts

GoodReads Summary:
After the sickness known as the Doom destroyed civilization, magick has become commonplace, and Fallon Swift has spent her young years learning its ways. Fallon cannot live in peace until she frees those who have been preyed upon by the government or the fanatical Purity Warriors, endlessly hunted or locked up in laboratories, brutalized for years on end. She is determined to save even those who have been complicit with this evil out of fear or weakness—if, indeed, they can be saved.
Strengthened by the bond she shares with her fellow warrior, Duncan, Fallon has already succeeded in rescuing countless shifters and elves and ordinary humans. Now she must help them heal—and rediscover the light and faith within themselves. For although from the time of her birth, she has been The One, she is still only one. And as she faces down an old nemesis, sets her sights on the enemy’s stronghold, and pursues her destiny—to finally restore the mystical shield that once protected them all—she will need an army behind her…
The Rise of Magicks (Chronicles of The One, #3)Review:
The final book in the Chronicles of The One series is one that I was eagerly anticipating to be released and then to be delivered to me. I was so excited when it came. I wanted to start it right away, but school work had to be done first. When I did finally start it, I flew through it.
In the first book, we follow a cast of characters escaping the end of the world. We still get to see these characters in the second and third books but the story is more focus on their children in book three. Specifically, ‘The One’ also named Fallon. I didn’t love this in book two, but in this finale, I came to really enjoy it. I really adored the planning and then the action that this book had. It was full of good overcoming the evil that was plaguing the world.
These characters that we met as fetuses and then follow as they grow into the adults the are in The Rise of Magicks. I thought this was really great considering that I felt the first book lacked a bit of character development. It was certainly made up for in this aspect.
But the best part of this book was the action. There were several battle scenes as those on the side of the light fought to regain control of Washington, D.C., New York City, and then the Shield where all of this madness started. There were significant losses on both sides and Nora really tore my heart out a few times.
I also really loved the magical ideas behind the end of the world as we know it today. I thought this was compelling, the idea that the Doom that killed most of the population also somehow brought out magical abilities or attributes.
All in all, Nora did an incredible job with this series. It’s different from most of the other things she’s written and I just genuinely enjoyed it. I can’t wait to see what other kinds of fantastical stories Nora might come up with next.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand

GoodReads Summary:
On Christmas Eve five years ago, seventeen-year-old Holly Chase was visited by three Ghosts who showed her how selfish and spoiled she’d become. They tried to convince her to mend her ways. She didn’t. And then she died.
Now she’s stuck working for the top-secret company Project Scrooge—as their latest Ghost of Christmas Past. So far, Holly’s afterlife has been miserable. But this year’s Scrooge is different. This year’s Scrooge might change everything…
The Afterlife of Holly Chase is a witty, poignant, and insightful novel about life, love, and seizing second (or third) chances, perfect for readers who loved Before I Fall or Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares.
The Afterlife of Holly ChaseReview:
I picked this one up before Christmas because I was in the mood for a holiday book. This was only sort of that. I really enjoyed this even though it was a bit ‘Bah Humbug.’
We follow Holly Chase who has died and is now working to help others so that they don’t follow the same path that she did. I really enjoyed the twists on the original story.
I didn’t like Holly at all, but I think that was the point. I was also really not very happy about the romance aspect of this story, but the way the story ended made me a little more okay with it. I liked that there was a happy ending and Holly learned something from her experiences.
I’m going to keep this review short. Overall, I liked this but didn’t love it. It wasn’t the holiday read I wanted, but it was still a good book. I really enjoyed the retelling aspect of it. I thought the writing was well done to make Holly unlikable but somehow still make the reader care about her and her story.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Call Down the Hawk by Maggie Stiefvater

GoodReads Summary:
The dreamers walk among us . . . and so do the dreamed. Those who dream cannot stop dreaming – they can only try to control it. Those who are dreamed cannot have their own lives – they will sleep forever if their dreamers die.
And then there are those who are drawn to the dreamers. To use them. To trap them. To kill them before their dreams destroy us all.
Ronan Lynch is a dreamer. He can pull both curiosities and catastrophes out of his dreams and into his compromised reality.
Jordan Hennessy is a thief. The closer she comes to the dream object she is after, the more inextricably she becomes tied to it.
Carmen Farooq-Lane is a hunter. Her brother was a dreamer . . . and a killer. She has seen what dreaming can do to a person. And she has seen the damage that dreamers can do. But that is nothing compared to the destruction that is about to be unleashed. . . .
Call Down the Hawk (Dreamer, #1)Review:
I liked The Raven Circle well enough. Call Down the Hawk was definitely better. It was darker. We follow Ronan and two others. I really liked Jordan Hennessy.
I was disappointed not to see more of Adam and the rest of the gang. We heard about them, but never really saw them. We got a bit of Adam, but not enough.
It was really interesting to see more of the process of dreaming as well as other dreamers and what they go through. I’m definitely intrigued to see how things go with the Lynch boys and the Hennessy girls. These four were definitely the best part of the book.
Then there’s Farooq-Lane. She was a very compelling character because she wasn’t totally sure she believed in the cause she was working for. She slowly starts to doubt because of the boy she is looking after.
Overall, this story was a bit confusing at times but still good. I listened to the audiobook and the narrator does such a great job of telling the story and giving unique voices to each of the characters. I’ll probably continue the series via audiobook as they come out.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty

GoodReads Summary:
Nahri has never believed in magic. Certainly, she has power; on the streets of 18th century Cairo, she’s a con woman of unsurpassed talent. But she knows better than anyone that the trade she uses to get by—palm readings, zars, healings—are all tricks, sleights of hand, learned skills; a means to the delightful end of swindling Ottoman nobles.
But when Nahri accidentally summons an equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior to her side during one of her cons, she’s forced to accept that the magical world she thought only existed in childhood stories is real. For the warrior tells her a new tale: across hot, windswept sands teeming with creatures of fire, and rivers where the mythical marid sleep; past ruins of once-magnificent human metropolises, and mountains where the circling hawks are not what they seem, lies Daevabad, the legendary city of brass, a city to which Nahri is irrevocably bound.
In that city, behind gilded brass walls laced with enchantments, behind the six gates of the six djinn tribes, old resentments are simmering. And when Nahri decides to enter this world, she learns that true power is fierce and brutal. That magic cannot shield her from the dangerous web of court politics. That even the cleverest of schemes can have deadly consequences.
After all, there is a reason they say be careful what you wish for…
The City of Brass (The Daevabad Trilogy, #1)Review:
As I’ve mentioned (mostly on Twitter) I’ve been having some trouble with the fantasy genre lately. I haven’t been able to get into any of the ones I’ve tried to pick up. But for Tome Topple I went in trying to force myself to read some of my backlist books and love them. I’m happy to say that it worked.
The City of Brass was amazing. I immediately was interested in the world. I liked Nahri as soon as I started. She was funny and clever and in over her head. I loved that she was strong and stubborn even if she was taking a stand against something she knew was good for her. I loved it. It was a great step up for hilarity. Little did she know what she was in for. I liked seeing her learn about who she really was. I am dying to know how things will play out in the next book.
Dara was my favorite. I just wanted him to spill all his secrets. I loved his relationship with Nahri and how protective he was. He did what was best for her even if it wasn’t the best thing for him. He was always scheming and I just wanted a better ending for him. I hope we learn more about him in the next book.
Ali, I could never tell with him whether we were supposed to like him or not? I liked that he tried to fight for his beliefs. His storyline was the most compelling in the sense of his inner conflict between fighting for what he believed in and supporting his family loyalties. I loved his relationships with his siblings. They didn’t always (or ever) get along but their love for one another still shown through.
Overall, I loved this book. I loved the world, the magic, the setting. I adored the characters and conflicts. I enjoyed the relationships and the drama between them. I cannot wait to get into the next book.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Of Blood and Bone by Nora Roberts

GoodReads Summary:
They look like an everyday family living an ordinary life. But beyond the edges of this peaceful farm, unimaginable forces of light and dark have been unleashed.
Fallon Swift, approaching her thirteenth birthday, barely knows the world that existed before—the city where her parents lived, now in ruins and reclaimed by nature since the Doom sickened and killed billions. Traveling anywhere is a danger, as vicious gangs of Raiders and fanatics called Purity Warriors search for their next victim. Those like Fallon, in possession of gifts, are hunted—and the time is coming when her true nature, her identity as The One, can no longer be hidden.
In a mysterious shelter in the forest, her training is about to begin under the guidance of Mallick, whose skills have been honed over centuries. She will learn the old ways of healing; study and spar; encounter faeries and elves and shifters; and find powers within herself she never imagined. And when the time is right, she will take up the sword, and fight. For until she grows into the woman she was born to be, the world outside will never be whole again.
Of Blood and Bone (Chronicles of The One, #2)Review:
Part of me is honestly glad that I waited to read this so close to when the third book is being released. I only have to wait a few weeks for the series to conclude rather than a whole year. I found myself liking this book better than the first. While I always enjoy seeing the world end, I much preferred seeing the aftermath and years after the end of the world as we knew it.
Of Blood and Bone follows Fallon mostly, who is foretold to be The One. The descendant of someone important that I really feel like I should know where I’ve heard it before and I think it might even be from another of Nora’s series. I really liked Fallon. She starts off as a young girl and we get to see her grow and train and come to accept the responsibility that fate has bestowed upon her. She grew into this responsibility gracefully. Obviously, this wasn’t without its teenage moments and I thought that just made it all the better. Fallon was smart and determined, caring and honorable, fierce and strong. I really love her. And even more, I love the love interest that is alluded to.
We get to see the many characters we got to know in the first book and I was glad about that. I think this book gave us a bit more of the character development that was missing from Year One, but also the whole book is pretty fast-paced. It follows a time period of several years, slowing here and there. So, it felt like we didn’t get to know everyone as well as we could have. But I think this book filled in a bit that I thought was missing from the first. We also added a handful of characters, which didn’t really help this. Despite that, I still really liked getting to see the friends and found family that Lana had left behind.
I love the magic. Magical dystopias are not something I’ve read too many of. So, this one was a fun twist on the end of the world. Most I’ve read use magic to prevent the end of the world, and in this one magic came from the end of the world.
Nora leaves us in suspense, giving us only crumbs to try to piece together. I’m dying to know how this story will end. I will be waiting as patiently as I am able to for the final installment of this trilogy.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.