The Ever Cruel Kingdom by Rin Chupeco

Summary:
After a treacherous journey and a life-shattering meeting with a twin neither knew they had, Haidee and Odessa expected to emerge from the Great Abyss to a world set right. But though the planet is turning once again, the creatures of the abyss will not rest until they have tasted another goddess’s sacrifice.
To break the cycle, Haidee and Odessa need answers that lie beyond the seven gates of the underworld, within the Cruel Kingdom itself. The shadows of the underworld may hunger to tear them apart, but these two sisters are determined to heal their world—together.
The Ever Cruel Kingdom  (The Never Tilting World, #2)Review:
I love this series. I’m going to keep this review short because this is a sequel and I don’t want to spoil much. This book is the conclusion to The Never Tilting World, which follows a set of twins, except neither knows that the other exists. They found one another and tried to undo the Breaking that their mothers caused. The Ever Cruel Kingdom is the events after Haidee and Odessa thought they fixed the Breaking. The world has started turning again, so there are days and nights, rain, and other things that many have never experienced. This book was basically chaos and I loved it.
The Ever Cruel Kingdom was very fast-paced. There were many fighting scenes, as well as hastily planned searches to find what is needed to actually fix the Breaking. But there wasn’t a slow moment, aside from a few romantic and sisterly moments that the girls took for themselves. I think the action scenes were so well done. The magical abilities were always well explained when they were using their magic. They were so clearly explained that I could picture Odessa and Haidee using their gates (I’m usually terrible at picturing things from books). I also really appreciated how the characters worked together. There wasn’t anyone that tried to be the hero and take on the more in the fights. The twins worked their magic together and the love interests, Lan and Arjun, work together to fight alongside them.
The romances were excellent. Odessa and Lan were so sweet. I loved the female/female romance between them. Lan was the one that could bring Odessa down when she was struggling with her magic. I loved how this was shown by Lan using things she knew about Odessa (like her love for romance novels) to help Odessa come back to herself. To me, this showed how well Lan and Odessa knew each other. Haidee and Arjun were fierier. I loved the passion between them. I think they were a great bit of levity to the story. While there were serious moments between the two, they brought humor and happiness to a tense story.
Now, the world. We learn so much more about the Breaking and how it happened. Latona and Asteria play a part in this story too. Haidee and Odessa’s mothers make an appearance and I was riveted by their anger toward one another. Their history was so compelling and opened up the reader’s knowledge to why the world is the way it is now. We also learn a bit more about the original Goddess that was unknown to most of those that lived in this world. I think Chupeco did a really great job of sharing this information in small bites as it was relevant to the story.
Overall, I loved this book and I love this series. I adored the characters. The world-building was fascinating. The romances were swoon-worthy. I also really enjoyed that the side characters got their own page time too. There were great new friendships, old relationships that were renewed, and relationships we knew from the first book that were further developed and they were all wonderful. I cannot say enough good things about this book. So, stop what you’re doing and go read it.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Wicked as You Wish by Rin Chupeco

GoodReads Review:
When a hidden prince, a girl with secrets, a ragtag group of unlikely heroes, and a legendary firebird come together…something wicked is going down.
Many years ago, the magical Kingdom of Avalon was left encased in ice when the Snow Queen waged war. Its former citizens are now refugees in a world mostly devoid of magic. Which is why the crown prince and his protectors are stuck in…Arizona.
Prince Alexei, the sole survivor of the Avalon royal family, is hiding in a town so boring, magic doesn’t even work there. Few know his secret identity, but his friend Tala is one of them.
A new hope for their abandoned homeland reignites when a famous creature of legend, the Firebird, appears for the first time in decades. Alex and Tala must unite with a ragtag group of new friends to journey back to Avalon for a showdown that will change the world as they know it.
Wicked As You Wish (A Hundred Names for Magic, #1)Review:
Rin Chupeco became an auto-buy author for me after I read the first two books of the Bone Witch series. I didn’t love the first book in that series, but I’ve loved everything of hers I’ve read since. So, when I didn’t love this, I was a bit disappointed. I want to say that I did enjoy this book, but I felt similarly about this that I did with The Bone Witch.
For the first 50-100 pages, the story pretty much dumps history and world-building into the story. I understood little because we’re coming into this story many years after the Kingdom of Avalon was encased in ice. So, there’s so much the reader needs to know before we can actually get to the part of the book where the characters try to get their kingdom back. But it was a bit too much for me. The backstory was just dumped in there and left me a little confused rather than over informing me. The confusing part of this story was that while it’s sort of set in modern times, it’s not set in the world as we know it. In this world, all the fairytales exist in the world in their own kingdoms. Every story from Snow White to Alice in Wonderland. I thought this was really creative and interesting, but it was a bit confusing at first.
Despite my trouble with the start of the book, I pushed through and was really here for the characters. Our main character Tala was the best. She has the ability to negate magic and I thought that was so freaking cool. I liked watching her develop and test her ability, including the times she accidentally negated magic and it had negative effects.
Then there’s the crown prince, Alex. I didn’t like him very much. I did at first, but after they leave Arizona, he’s kind of a dick to everyone around him and I really didn’t appreciate that. I guess we will wait and see if he’s better in the second book.
Then there are the bandersnatches. I’m not going to name them all but they were the friend group/guards of this story. I loved them. They added diversity and excellence to the story. They have unique abilities and personalities. Their histories are different, but some of them went to the same school. I really loved them as a group.
Overall, this wasn’t my favorite book by Chupeco (that honor goes to The Never Tilting World) but I still enjoyed it enough that I’ll be continuing the series.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Never Tilting World by Rin Chupeco

GoodReads Summary:
Frozen meets Mad Max in this epic teen fantasy duology bursting with star-crossed romance, immortal heroines, and elemental magic, perfect for fans of Furyborn.
Generations of twin goddesses have long ruled Aeon. But seventeen years ago, one sister’s betrayal defied an ancient prophecy and split their world in two. The planet ceased to spin, and a Great Abyss now divides two realms: one cloaked in perpetual night, the other scorched by an unrelenting sun.
While one sister rules Aranth—a frozen city surrounded by a storm-wracked sea —her twin inhabits the sand-locked Golden City. Each goddess has raised a daughter, and each keeps her own secrets about her sister’s betrayal.
But when shadowy forces begin to call their daughters, Odessa and Haidee, back to the site of the Breaking, the two young goddesses —along with a powerful healer from Aranth, and a mouthy desert scavenger —set out on separate journeys across treacherous wastelands, desperate to heal their broken world. No matter the sacrifice it demands.
The Never Tilting World (The Never Tilting World, #1)Review:
Hi, I loved this. That’s it. That’s the review.
Just kidding, but I do for some reason I find it harder to review books that I liked over books I didn’t.
I’ll start with the world. I was fascinated with this world. The concept of the Breaking and how it happened was a mystery that pulled me through the story. The need to know more about how this world came to be how it is was and how it might be fixed. I thought the world-building was so well done. This is a fantasy world, but I could still picture the places so vividly in my mind (which is something I’m usually pretty bad at). Chupeco has done such a great job describing this broken world.
The characters were certainly an interesting bunch. Let’s start with the twins, Haidee and Odessa. I really liked Haidee. She’s on the sun side of the world and wants to make positive changes, but her controlling mother doesn’t really make that easy. She meets Arjun and they go off on a dangerous mission together to learn more about how they might fix the world. I liked that they started off bickering and we got to see them learn to admire one another and then have that turn into more. I thought their relationship progressed naturally and not too fast. Odessa is a character I have mixed feelings about. I liked her at first, the sheltered goddess who loves someone she shouldn’t. But as they travel toward The Abyss she kind of loses her shit. She is influenced by gifts she’s given and changes dramatically. I really didn’t like her as she became more ruthless and paranoid. I did like that she pulled it together and did the right thing. But I didn’t like her for most of the book. Odessa is one half of a female/female romance. The other half is Lan. I liked Lan a lot. She’s damaged, but still very strong. I enjoyed seeing her overcome her past and working through it via talk therapy with a friend of hers. I liked the romance between Odessa and Lan at the start but stopped shipping them when Odessa started losing it.
The last thing I want to mention is the magic. The magic in this world was bizarre but also really well explained, which I always appreciate. It had limits and purposes. There were different kinds of Magic’s and I completely understood the gates and that part, I didn’t totally know everything about the abilities of The Devoted. It seemed like they all have different extents of abilities, but I don’t know if I missed it or if it just wasn’t talked about.
Overall, I really enjoyed this. I thought it was beautifully written. The mysteries were suspenseful and very intriguing. The characters were ones I cared about and felt strongly about (whether good or bad). The world was so well built and described. I will forever scream about Chupeco’s work because she is an incredible author and this book is just another great example of that.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Shadowglass by Rin Chupeco

Summary:
In the Eight Kingdoms, none have greater strength or influence than the asha, who hold elemental magic. But only a bone witch has the power to raise the dead. Tea has used this dark magic to breathe life into those she has loved and lost…and those who would join her army against the deceitful royals. But Tea’s quest to conjure a shadowglass, to achieve immortality for the one person she loves most in the world, threatens to consume her.
In this dramatic conclusion to Tea’s journey, her heartglass only grows darker with each new betrayal. She is haunted by blackouts and strange visions, and when she wakes with blood on her hands, Tea must answer to a power greater than she’s ever known. Tea’s life-and the fate of the kingdoms-hangs in the balance.
The Shadowglass (The Bone Witch, #3)Review:
The relationship I have with this series is complex and resembles a roller coaster. I didn’t really care for the first book. The Bone Witch (reviewed here) was a confusing introduction to this world. The Heart Forger (reviewed here) was the book that pulled me in. It helped me understand what was actually going on. Then I had to wait almost a year for this finale to be released. I remembered enough that I didn’t think I needed to reread the first two again before getting to The Shadowglass.
I started off a fair bit confused. I didn’t remember all the important details and I was a little disoriented. There wasn’t really any recap of the previous books and the large cast of characters had me a bit lost.
Despite all of this, I still really enjoyed this conclusion. I was immediately drawn into the world and the story. I was so excited to finally get all the answers to the pile of questions I had from the first two books. I adored the world. The magic and the world itself were so complex and interesting. This world was so different from most of the other fantasy stories I’ve read.
The characters were still interesting, though I think I didn’t care about them as much as I would have had I reread the first two books. I think when I do reread this series it will be SUCH an experience. I really liked the diversity of the characters. There were so many characters and so many different relationships. This was kind of where I struggled with not remembering things from the first two books.
It was really nice to be able to see how this story comes to a close. This conclusion was good. I thought that everything was pretty nicely wrapped up. Though I finished this book about a week ago, so I’m already a little fuzzy on some of the ending details. I don’t do that well with the flashback storytelling method. I get confused between the characters and the past and present. Regardless, Rin Chupeco is an incredible author and I cannot wait to read the other books she’s coming out with this year.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday – Halloween

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. Each week we talk about our top ten with a different topic provided by Jana. This week’s topic is top ten – Halloween/Creepy Freebie. I’m going to make a list that I think is fitting for the spooky season.

top ten tuesday picture.jpg

1. The Diviners by Libba Bray – All the spooky feels. Listening to this on audiobook gave me some serious chills.
2. Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer – Weird, creepy and spooky all in one. I made the mistake of reading this at night and had some weiiiird dreams that night.
3. The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert – This definitely wasn’t one of my favorites I’ve read lately but it’s definitely got the creepy Halloween vibes.
4. The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw – Accused witches coming back from the dead and drowning boys every summer, spooky season approved.
5. Uprooted by Naomi Novik – Magic isn’t always spooky but The Wood definitely adds a creep factor to this surprisingly dark story.
6. American Gods by Neil Gaiman – The not knowing makes this story a little spooky. Mr. Wednesday only lets us (and Shadow) know what he wants us to know when he wants us to know it.
7. The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco – The mystery factor is what makes this book spooky. That and the crazy ass monsters that Tea has under her control.
8. The Devouring by Simon Holt – This series is seriously spooky. An excellent read for the Halloween season.
9. Secret of McKinley Mansion by K.F. Breene – I actually had to watch a Disney movie after I finished this book. I made the mistake of reading it before bed and I was seriously creeped out.
10. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater – I’m not finished with this series, but the first book is pretty spooky. Especially after learning what we did about Noah.

What books are you going to be reading this Halloween?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

ABC Book Challenge |H|

Hello, Bookworms! This week we will be talking about books with the letter H.

For those of you that are new here – here’s the deal, each week we post about books beginning with a specific letter of the alphabet starting with A and ending once we’ve gone all the way to Z. We’re going to mention one or sometimes a few books that were super memorable with the letter of the week and also books that are still living on our TBR lists. So without further ado.

Read last week’s post here.

This week’s letter is – H

Most Memorable Books 

Amanda

Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas – As one of my favorite authors and one of my favorite series this book is an obvious choice for this weeks letter.

(The) Heart Forger by Rin Chupeco – This one was memorable for me because the first book in the series was not one of my favorites and I was really hoping this book would redeem the series a bit and it certainly did. Check out my review here.

Antonia

Happy Ever After by Nora Roberts – The fourth book in The Bride Quartet. It was such a nice ending to this series about these four women and their amazing friendship

(The) House of Hades by Rick Riordan – This one was probably my favorite of the series. All the Percabeth feels.

 

 

Books Still on our TBR List

Amanda

Heartless by Marissa Meyer – I read this book shortly after it was published, but I don’t remember a single thing about it. I’ve been hearing about how good it was recently, so I’ve had the urge to reread it.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone by J.K. Rowling – This book is on my August TBR list. I’m planning to read these books to my daughter after she’s born. Start on making her a bookworm and potterhead as early as I can.

Antonia

Here, There be Dragons by James A. Owen – I’ve had my eye on this series for a long time but recently saw a few reviews that convinced me to finally get it. It seems like the ultimate bookworm book and I’m so excited to read it.

Half-Blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout – This is the first in her The Covenant series and I’ve actually read it before but for some reason just never got farther into the books. I’d like to finally read them all the way through.

 

 

 

Book Tag – Book Blogger Confessions

Yes bookworms, another book tag. We found this one posted by Sionna at Books in her Eyes, so go check out her answers to these fun questions.

The Rules – 

Answer the questions truthfully.

Tag five book bloggers to answer these questions next.

Which book did you most recently DNF?

Amanda- I make a point to not DNF books. So the closest I’ve come would be I Have Lost My Way by Gayle Forman which you can see my review here.

Antonia- Tequila and Tea Bags by Laura Barnard. I was really excited for this one but absolutely could not connect with the protagonist and couldn’t manage to get past about 30% because of it.

What book is your guilty pleasure?

Amanda- This has to be any of the Argeneau series by Lynsay Sands. They’re creative but filthy and I love it when the new ones come out. Who doesn’t love a sexy vampire romance?

Antonia- I probably would have chosen the same as Amanda but in an effort to be different I’ll pick The Dark-Hunters series by Sherrilyn Kenyon. Sexy immortals and greek mythology? Yes please.

Which book do you love to hate?

Amanda- This is a tough one because I don’t have one that comes immediately to mind. After looking at my GoodReads list of books that I’ve read, The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco (review here) is definitely a book that I dislike (I don’t really hate any books) but I liked the second one a bunch, so love to hate I guess?

Antonia- I always think this questions a little weird. Usually I just love it or hate it, there’s not much in between for me.

Which book would you throw into the sea? 

Amanda- What bookworm in their right mind would throw a perfectly good book (or even a perfectly terrible book) into the ocean?

Antonia- Yeah, I agree entirely with Amanda.

Which book have you read the most? 

Amanda- Looking for Alaska by John Green. My favorite book in the world. I’ve reread it so many times it’s ridiculous. Check out my review here.

Antonia- A lot. If I had to guess though, I’d say The Obsidian Trilogy by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory. I read it at least once a year and it’s been over ten years since I first picked it up.

Which book would you hate to receive as a present?

Amanda- Well, I wouldn’t hate to receive any books for free. But I much prefer when gift givers ask me specifically what books I need or want.

Antonia- Nothing specifically. I mostly agree with Amanda; I’d rather be able to pick out my own books with the exception of a few people who know my tastes well enough.

Which book could you not live without?

Amanda- All of them? Seriously, I’m supposed to pick just one book?

Harry Potter (all of them) by J.K. Rowling

Looking for Alaska by John Green

A Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J. Maas

Antonia- The Obsidian Trilogy by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory

Beastly by Alex Flinn

The Witness by Nora Roberts

The Riftwar Saga by Raymond E. Feist

And like 5,000 others.

Which book made you the angriest?

Amanda- The Young Elites series by Marie Lu (reviewed here.) The main character of this series is absolutely infuriating, but like I also totally loved her. She just made me mad like 90% of the time.

Antonia- I’ve talked about this one before but I have to choose Flamecaster by Cinda Williams Chima. She killed off one of my favorite characters from the previous series and I couldn’t handle it. To the point where I refused to finish it for the longest time.

Which book made you cry the most?

Amanda- I feel like I’ve mentioned this a million times at this point but, The Air Awakens series by Elise Kova made me cry for like an hour. My husband just hugged me and asked me if I was okay like a hundred times. He definitely thought I was never going to stop crying.

Antonia- All of them. Not literally of course but there’s a lot and almost always, if a book made me cry once, it’ll make me cry every time. The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman has always been one of the worst. Most recently is probably Year One by Nora Roberts. A character dies suddenly which would be tragic enough but he has the same name as my husband so I found it harder to read than I might otherwise.

Which book cover do you hate the most?

Amanda- I just talked about this with someone the other day. I don’t have any specific book covers that I hate, but I don’t particularly love book covers with faces on them. The faces that their making are always so awkward and I just think they could have done better with something other than a random face.

Antonia- I also hate the awkward face covers. Especially when half the face is cut off. It just doesn’t look appealing to me in any way.

Tags – 

Danielle at YAAllegience 

Sara at Bookish Traveling Wife

Jess & Teagan at Fiction No Chaser

Ashley at Thrifty Bibliophile

Alana at The Bookish Chick

Feel free to complete this tag even if we didn’t tag you specifically and link back to our page! Thanks for reading bookworms.

Book Tag – Reader’s Problems

We’ve become obsessed with book tags and we’re not sorry about it. We found the Reader’s Problems Book Tag posted by Linda at Linda’s Little Library! She has some great posts over there, so go check out her page. We saw this tag and thought it looked like fun.

You have 20,000 books on your TBR list. How in the world do you decide which book to read next? 

Amanda- This is actually a real life, everyday problem. One that I’m currently facing. I have at least twenty books on my TBR and I almost dread finishing a book because I don’t want to have to think about what I’m going to read next. But when I do finally decide, it’s usually based off whatever mood I’m in. I may want something quick and fun to read or I may be ready to get invested and lose a piece of my soul in some new series.

Antonia- Like Amanda, it mostly depends on my mood. I think more often than not it’s the book I’ve been thinking about longest or the new book I’ve been waiting for. Usually when I can’t decide between a bunch I’ll read the synopsis of each (even if I’ve read it a million times) and that’s how I figure out what I’m in the mood for.

You’re halfway through a book and you’re just not loving it, do you quit or are you committed? 

Amanda- I’m committed. I’m not someone that is capable of not finishing a book unless I’m less than fifty pages into the book. This recently happened to me with The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco (check out my review here) I finished the entire book and still really just didn’t love it. But the person that I am, I still read the second book, The Heart Forger (review here), and I ended up really enjoying it. I’m excited for the third to come out. So, yeah, I have to finish a book once I’m halfway because I’m pretty invested, even if I finish it and don’t like it, that’s okay.

Antonia- I’m not afraid to DNF but I try not to. Like Amanda, I’ve definitely read books I didn’t like but loved the rest of the series so I always try to keep that in mind when I don’t like something. I really only DNF when I either REALLY hate the main character or dislike the writing style so much that I have to keep rereading sentences because I can’t stay focused.

The end of the year is coming and you’re so close, yet still so far away from your reading goal on GoodReads. Do you try to catch up and how? 

Amanda- Wow, I love this book tag. This literally happened to me New Years Eve ’17. I spent half the night reading (even though I was at a friends house with a big group of my friends) because I needed to try to make it to 300 books for the year. I finished a book that night but only made it to 299 books for the year. Better luck next year I guess.

Antonia- It’s been awhile since I’ve been able to reach my yearly goals so I don’t worry about it too much anymore. I usually have so much going on in December that it’s unfortunately not very high on my list.

The covers of a series you love do. not. match. How do you cope? 

Amanda- Depending on the series I will not care or I will buy more copies of said books to make sure I have a matching set. For example, I own every book in the Stephanie Plum Series by Janet Evanovich but I’ve bought them slowly over the years from yard sales and library sales and a few new hardcovers here and there – so not one book in this series matches. But my favorite series A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas all have to be the same or I will lose my mind. It would bother me so much that I didn’t have a matching series (I do though, so it’s fine.)

Antonia- It’s definitely an unpopular opinion but I really don’t care. Sure it’s nice when they look all pretty stacked together but that frequently means having to buy hardcover copies and that means less money for other books.

Everyone and their mother really loves a book that you really didn’t like. Who do you bond with over shared feelings? 

Amanda- Antonia, duh. Mostly because she doesn’t read half of the books that I do. We both read our own kinds of books, so generally if I’m reading something popular that everyone loves (in certain genres) she hasn’t read it and I can complain to her. But I mean, I can complain to her even if she read it and liked it. So, Antonia is my answer regardless of what book it is.

Antonia- Amanda, duh. For literally the same reasons.

You’re reading a book in public and it’s going to make you cry. How do you deal? 

Amanda- I’m okay with that. I’m one of those crazy bookworms that you may see in public hysterically laughing at whatever is in my book. The same goes for crying. If the book’s going to make me cry, it doesn’t matter where I am.

Antonia- Unlike Amanda I really don’t like crying in public so I’ll usually just take a few deep breaths and hold back the tears or if that’s not possible, I’ll put the book away.

A sequel of a book you love just came out, but you’ve forgotten a lot from the prior novel. Will you reread the book? Skip the sequel? Try to find a synopsis on GoodReads? Just cry in frustration?!

Amanda- I will reread the book. This is another real-life situation for me. I’m actually doing this now. I’m reading Flamecaster by Cinda Williams Chima (which I reviewed here when it came out a few years ago.) So even though I read and reviewed it, I know I’ve forgotten important details. So I’m going to reread it along with the second book, Shadowcaster, now that the third has recently been released.

Antonia- Definitely reread. I love rereading books. If it’s been recently enough that I remember a lot of it then I might find a summary and that’ll help me remember the rest.

You do not want anyone, ANYONE, borrowing your books. How do you politely tell people no when they ask? 

Amanda- This is actually really easy when you don’t have any friends (HAH, it’s true though.) And the friends I do have live hundreds of miles away from me. Also any friends that live close don’t read or aren’t comfortable asking to borrow my books (because I’m smart enough to not offer for them to borrow, which is something I used to stupidly do all the time.)

Antonia- I also don’t have friends so there’s no one to ask me. The few people I’m close to who read (like Amanda, husband, mom, sister) I know are trustworthy with books and will give them back. Anyone else I usually just make up some excuse not to.

Reading ADD, you’ve picked up and put down five books in the last month. How do you get out of your reading slump? 

Amanda- When this happens to me I tend to pick one of my go-to authors that write easy, fun, lighthearted books. This happened to me a few weeks ago and I got out of the slump by reading Come Sundown by Nora Roberts (reviewed here) and it was a quick read that got me out of my slump. Janet Evanovich, Linsay Sands, and Susan Elizabeth Phillips are other authors that I can read their books any time, but especially when I find myself in a slump.

Antonia- Again, my answer is very similar to Amanda’s. (Are we the same person?) Nora Roberts is always my go to when I can’t get into any books because I’ve literally never had that problem with any of her books (and I’ve read at least a hundred of them).

There are so many new books coming out that you’re dying to read! How many do you actually buy?

Amanda- All of them. What kind of question is this?

Antonia- I wish I could say all of them. Unfortunately money’s often an issue for me. I’ll buy the 2 or 3 that I can’t live without then either wait for the others or try to find them at the library.

After you’ve bought all of the new books that you can’t wait to get to, how long do they sit on your shelf before you read them? 

Amanda- Um…About this. A long time. But only because I have to reread some books before I can get to the new ones. And because more new books keep coming out and I have to get to those too and read some of them first.

Antonia- I’ve gotten better about this since I don’t often buy a ton at one time but occasionally one still waits for too long.

 

Okay, so we had a ton of fun with this Reader’s Problems Book Tag, mostly because many of these are real struggles we face as bookworms. So if you’re reading this and think it sounds fun, consider yourself tagged!

The Heart Forger – Rin Chupeco

Summary:
No one knows death like Tea. A bone witch who can resurrect the dead, she has the power to take life…and return it. And she is done with her self-imposed exile. Her heart is set on vengeance, and she now possesses all she needs to command the mighty daeva. With the help of these terrifying beasts, she can finally enact revenge on the royals who wronged her-and took the life of her one true love.
But there are those who plot against her, those who would use Tea’s dark power for their own nefarious ends. Because you can’t kill someone who can never die…
War is brewing among the kingdoms, and when dark magic is at play, no one is safe.
Review:
I am super happy to say that I enjoyed this book WAY more than I did the first one, The Bone Witch (reviewed here.) I was hesitant to even read The Heart Forger because I was so disappointed with the first book, but I am happy to say that I liked it way better. Now that’s not to say that I didn’t think there was anything wrong, because I do have some negative opinions.
This book is told from two points of view, just like the last one. I liked the way that this story was told except that it leaves so much room for unanswered questions. A large amount of unanswered questions is honestly my biggest problem with this series so far. I totally understand the need for suspense and leading up to the big unveiling, but this is just a little ridiculous.
Let’s talk about our main character, Tea. She’s pretty much just a badass chick that’s out to burn the world down, at least, that’s how she wants us to see her. She spends so much time making herself out to be this big bad villain that the rest of the world is out to defeat. Yes, most of her ‘friends’ are trying to get her to come back to her city because of killing someone (we still don’t know who she supposedly did or didn’t kill, but it seems to be a huge deal in these books and I kind of can’t believe that we don’t get that little tidbit of information until the third book.) And yes, she’s raised and is controlling the daeva (big, scary, gross monsters that the whole world is afraid of, except Tea’s discovered that they’re just misunderstood.) So, Tea for sure makes a convincing villain, but only in the present. In the bits of the book that is her telling us her past, her being a villain just doesn’t make sense most of the time. It’s finally starting to make a bit more sense now that I’ve read two out of the three books in the series (the third doesn’t come out until March 2019, sadly.) Tea is someone that I genuinely like. She really cares about her friends, to the point where she does reckless stuff to try to protect them. She’s hard-headed, but not so much that she doesn’t listen to her loved ones when they’re trying to tell her she needs to chill out before she loses it completely. She’s just a girl that I can support. She’s flawed and isn’t ashamed to admit or talk about it. She makes mistakes and owns up to those mistakes trying to make amends when she does something dumb. She’s a realistic girl that I enjoyed reading.
Tea’s not the only character I liked. In this second book, we got to see some relationships develop further and some weird relationships develop that I didn’t even realize were happening. There were a few supporting characters that were developing relationships of their own (which I’m totally for) but it was weird because we didn’t really get to see how the characters got there. So it was kind of like all of a sudden these two characters actually love each other, surprise! We did get to see Tea and her brother, Fox, interact more and see what their relationship was like. This is something I complained about for the last book, so I’m glad we got to see them poking fun and messing with one another. We also got to see them worrying and trying to protect each other. They’re just a nice brother/sister pair and I liked them.
Now, prince charming, Kalen. This relationship kind of bugged me. Mostly because Kalen acted like a five-year-old for the entire first book and a good chunk of the second playing the ‘I’m going to be mean to her because I secretly like her’ game and I just didn’t like that at all. I get the whole ‘I have feelings for her but I’m scared to admit them to myself or anyone’ but c’mon, man up and at the very least stop being such a jerk to Tea all the time. Then, when he does stop, he goes from jerk to admitting that he’s in love with her in no time at all. I just feel like the progression of this relationship was a little off and wasn’t all that realistic. Though, once they both pulled their heads out of their butts and admitted that they cared about each other, I was all for it. They’re a way better match than Tea and the prince jerk-face who I’m not even going to talk about because I’ll just get mad all over again.
I do want to briefly mention the heart forger (apprentice) Khalad. I just really liked everything about this character and I can’t wait to read more about him in the next book. He’s just all around a good dude.
There were a few things I didn’t like about this story. The first being the time progression, this story is supposed to be two years after the start of the first book, The Bone Witch. That just doesn’t make sense to me unless we missed a big piece of time in between The Bone Witch and The Heart Forger, but there’s nothing that indicates that. So this was just a little confusing. The next thing was that there were some things in the first book that weren’t in the second. In the first book, after Tea has become a full blown approved and all that asha, she’s required to attend all kinds of parties and events and things like that. There’s none of this in the second book, which after a certain point it just wouldn’t make sense to have her doing this stuff, but at least at the start of this book, shouldn’t she be doing all of these things that are required of asha? It just didn’t make sense to me and left me a little confused.
I did really like the way this story was written, by that I mean that Rin Chupeco really has a way with words. Some of the pages I had to sit back and reread a few times and just take it all in. This was a beautifully written story. I’m not referring to the story here, but the actual words, the language used. It paints a very pretty picture in what is likely to be a pretty scary book world.
By the end of this book, I was fully invested. Invested in the characters and finally invested in the story. So, if you’ve read the first book and liked it, you will for sure love the second one. If you read the first one and didn’t like it, you should give the second one a chance because it was great. If you haven’t read either, you should.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

*Please be aware that the book cover on this post is a link to purchase this book through Amazon. Feel free to purchase with our affiliate link (just click on the book cover) to support us!

WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme formerly hosted by Should Be Reading and was revived by Taking on a World of Words. To play along, answer the following three questions and share a link to your post in the comments on her page. Enjoy!

www wednesday picture new

What are you currently reading? 

Amanda – So I haven’t actually started it yet, but I’m going to count this as currently reading anyway. The Heart Forger by Rin Chupeco is sitting on my coffee table waiting for me to be finished with this post and my homework and the laundry and the many other things I should (but probably won’t) get done before I can let myself read.

Antonia – I’m currently reading Soldier by Julie Kagawa. Technically I’m only a few pages in but this is the first one of the series that I’m not rereading so I’m really excited to see where the story takes me.

What did you recently finish reading? 

Amanda – I just finished reading The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco, (check out my review here.) I wasn’t crazy about it and I’m really hoping the second book is better and answers some of the questions The Bone Witch left me with.

Antonia – I just finished Rogue by Julie Kagawa. (See my review here.) This one was a really fun, action-packed read.

What do you think you will read next?

Amanda – This question has not gotten any easier for me the last few weeks. I just have so many options and have gotten so many new books in the last few weeks. I might reread the Red Queen series by Victoria Aveyard. I might reread the Snow Like Ashes series by Sara Raasch. I might reread the Talon series by Julia Kagawa. I might reread the Shattered Realms series by Cinda Williams Chima. But I really just am undecided, (but look at all the fun and awesome books you guys get to look forward to me reviewing!) Ask me again next week and maybe I’ll have decided.

Antonia – I’m pretty sure I’m going to stick with my Talon marathon and read Legion by Julie Kagawa the fourth book in the series.

What are your W’s this week?

The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

Summary:
Tea is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy makes her a bone witch, who are feared and ostracized in the kingdom. For theirs is a powerful, elemental magic that can reach beyond the boundaries of the living-and of the human.
Great power comes at a price, forcing Tea to leave her homeland to train under the guidance of an older, wiser bone witch. There, Tea puts all of her energy into becoming an asha, learning to control her elemental magic and those beasts who will submit by no other force. And Tea must be strong-stronger than even she believes possible. Because war is brewing in the eight kingdoms, war that will threaten the sovereignty of her homeland…and threaten the very survival of those she loves.
Lyrical and action packed, this new fantasy series by acclaimed author Rin Chupeco will leave you breathless.
Review:
This book is going to be hard for me to review. I’m a girl that loves books. It really doesn’t matter what they’re about, as long as it’s interesting and makes sense (mostly) and there is a point to the story. This book, I honestly don’t even know that it got to the point that was trying to be made by the last page. I closed this book after finishing still just as confused as I was for most of the story.
Okay, let’s back up a bit. From the very first pages of The Bone Witch, I could tell it was meant to have a dark or spooky tone to it. In between each chapter we got to see a bit into the present day. At first, we didn’t know who was narrating in the present day, I thought it was the main character, Tea, but didn’t get confirmation for too many pages. So Tea is telling her own story to this mysterious Bard that’s from another land (kingdom?) I liked the back and forth at first. I liked getting to see how Tea got to wherever it was that she was telling the story. I liked it until I realized that she never told the full story. I’m assuming because I haven’t started it yet, that we will get the rest (or hopefully more of at the very least) of her story in the second book that I will probably be starting tomorrow. I did very much like how the story is told. It’s told in first person point of view, but it’s told by Tea to someone else. Tea is telling her own story. Because of this, I feel like we really got to know who Tea is according to Tea rather than anyone else.
There were more than a few things I didn’t like about this story sadly. It was actually a little hard to read at times. I had to keep putting it down and coming back to it the next day. I feel like the author was trying to create suspense with her use of present-day Tea telling the story of how she got to where she is and giving hints about what she was up to/ going to do next, except that we never got there. The book ended with Tea leaving her little beach (or wherever it is that she was) and we still didn’t get the rest of the story as to why she was doing the things she’s doing and what she was hoping to accomplish. There’s just quite a few parts of this story that I feel are unclear and shouldn’t be. Maybe the author was trying to create suspense, but for me, it was just confusing. Along with this, parts of the story were boring. Present day Tea is telling us about Tea in the past, starting with her bringing her recently killed brother back from the dead, which is how she discovers that she is an infamous bone witch.
From here, she is brought across the land to the Willows by her teacher Mykaela, where she is promptly dumped at her new home. Instead of being a student like you’d think when she was told that she would be trained, she’s trained in how to clean the compound. The head asha treats her like she’s trash (but only until she proves herself and starts making money for the compound.) I don’t understand why she wasn’t taught right from the start of arriving. If Tea is so important because there are so few bone witches, why wouldn’t it be important for her to be trained? I really admired Tea with all of this because she was determined to take all of the crap and stupidity she was given and run with it. If she was going to be a glorified maid, then she was going to be the best maid you ever saw. And once she showed how powerful she was and actually started to train she put her all into her training, even the areas she (and everyone else) knew she was bad at. I also liked that there were areas that she didn’t excel; I like a character with flaws. It makes them more real to me. What was a little unreal was that she went from essentially being a made to be a full-blown asha in the period of just a few months when the process usually takes years. This is something that I always notice with stories, is the timeline realistic? And it’s not. It would have been easy to make it a longer more realistic timeline too. She went through all of the stages, but instead of saying, “over the next few months all I did was train and blah blah blah” it all happened in days or weeks which is just unreasonable to me.
Narrator Tea seemed interesting and seemed to be where the story was headed, even though we didn’t really get there before the book ended. She made herself out to be the villain of the story and I will be giving the second book a try so that I can see why or how she became this villain. (I love a good villain.) There were a few subtle hints throughout the story that she was planning to do something crazy to change the responsibilities of the bone witches, but her thoughts as the story was being told and her plans as narrator Tea didn’t connect very well. The one thing that I think is probably why I’m going to read the next book is something “the oracle” said to Tea at her last visit. She said, “You are dangerous. Left unchecked, you can spell the downfall of the Willows. Of Kion.” But then the Oracle lets her continue on with whatever she’s thinking, so I’m not sure if it’s that she’s powerful or that her ideas can change the world.
The relationships in this story seemed a bit forced to me. Aside from Tea and her brother Fox, which I think seemed better because we got to see so much of them. But Tea seemed to idolize and look up to Mykaela even though Mykaela wasn’t even in the Willows for half the series and when she was she was confined to bed because the bone witch responsibilities were essentially killing her. We got a bit more with Tea’s relationships to her other “sisters” but even then, one was a rivalry that seemed silly until the last twenty pages when we found out the reasoning behind it. I just didn’t love this book and half the time I was so bored that I had to put it down and try reading again later.
Overall, this story was definitely not one of my favorites. I hate to say that I didn’t like a book. So I’m hoping that the second book clears up all of these questions that I’m left with because the ending of The Bone Witch will for sure leave you saying, “What the heck just happened?”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

*Please be aware that the book cover on this post is a link to purchase this book through Amazon. Feel free to purchase with our affiliate link (just click on the book cover) to support us!