The Iron Will of Genie Lo by F.C. Yee

GoodReads Summary:
Genie Lo thought she was busy last year, juggling her academic career with protecting the Bay Area from demons. But now, as the Heaven-appointed Guardian of California, she’s responsible for the well-being of all yaoguai and spirits on Earth. Even the ones who interrupt her long-weekend visit to a prestigious college, bearing terrible news about a cosmos-threatening force of destruction in a nearby alternate dimension.
The goddess Guanyin and Genie’s boyfriend, Quentin Sun Wukong, do their best to help, but it’s really the Jade Emperor who’s supposed to handle crises of this magnitude. Unfortunately for Genie and the rest of existence, he’s gone AWOL. Fed up with the Jade Emperor’s negligence, Genie spots an opportunity to change the system for the better by undertaking a quest that spans multiple planes of reality along with an adventuring party of quarrelsome Chinese gods. But when faced with true danger, Genie and her friends realize that what will save the universe this time isn’t strength, but sacrifice.
The Iron Will of Genie Lo (The Epic Crush of Genie Lo, #2)Review:
Wow, this book was an adventure. I adored this series so much. I chose to listen to this book via audiobook and I’m so glad I did. I waited for my library to order it. The narrator did such an incredible job with all the different voices for all the characters and she really made it such a fun story to listen to.
We’re following Genie after the events of the first book. She’s gained a position of power on Earth as the person in charge of the demons leftover from the last book. I thought these parts of her being the guardian were really interesting. I thought she made a good leader, if not a bit impulsive. I really loved her growth in this story. She’s grown so much from the driven and obsessively focused girl she was in the last book. She also continues to grow in this story.
My favorite parts of this book were definitely her relationship with Quentin. They have a big fight and say hurtful things to one another, but the parts where they work through that and get back to a good place were just so fantastic. My next favorite part of this book was Genie’s relationship with Guanyin. They went from a sort of awkward intimidating relationship in the first book to more equals (as much as a human and a god can be). I really enjoyed their almost sister-like relationship.
Overall, this story was action-packed and chock full of mythology. I loved the mythological parts of the story. They were so beyond interesting. I loved Genie and everything else about this series. I really don’t know why more people don’t read and talk about this series. It was diverse and so much fun.

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 Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

GoodReads Summary:
It’s 1889. The city is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. Here, no one keeps tabs on dark truths better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. When the elite, ever-powerful Order of Babel coerces him to help them on a mission, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance.
To hunt down the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin calls upon a band of unlikely experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian banished from his home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in arms if not blood.
Together, they will join Séverin as he explores the dark, glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the course of history–but only if they can stay alive.
The Gilded Wolves (The Gilded Wolves, #1)Review:
How am I supposed to explain how much I loved this book? I wasn’t going to read this because of all of the negative or average reviews. All I have to say is, what is wrong with you people?? This book has been (wrongly) compared to Six of Crows. I slightly understand the comparison, but this story was so different.
We follow several different characters who all have different goals, but they’ve become a family of sorts and I loved every single one of them. I’ll start with Severin. He’s our damaged boy. I adored him. He’s supposed to have inherited his parent’s ring and become the patriarch of his family, but that right was stolen from him. His goal is to change that and reinstate his family, to become the patriarch that he was always supposed to be. After his parents died and his birthright was stolen from him, he was moved from home to home until he came into his monetary inheritance. I really liked the bits and pieces we got about each of his foster fathers. He also has a brother, Tristan.
Tristan is an awkward nerdy kid and I freaking loved him. He has this horrifying pet spider that he loves dearly. I don’t like spiders, but I loved Tristan. He’s like the little brother of everyone in the group. I adored how much everyone loves him. He’s a sweet little bean and I would die for him.
Laila is from India. She’s a dancer and loves to bake. That’s my kind of lady. She has an interesting history that I won’t specify because I thought learning about her was a part of the journey that is this book. She has a really interesting ability that is to be able to see the history of any object. I thought this was really cool, but also, I’m still curious about whether or not she can do the same with living things. Laila’s goal is to find a book that helped create her. I’m very intrigued by this book and I think it has something to do with the events of the next book.
Enrique is biracial (Filipino and Spanish). He’s a historian that loves to learn about the past. I thought his internal struggle with appearing more Spanish than Filipino was really interesting. I really thought he brought an interesting point of view to the story. He’s also bisexual, though the word is never used he says that he’s interested in both men and women. I really liked Enrique. He was the comedic relief of this friend group and I’m always a sucker for the funny guy. I also totally ship him with Zofia.
Zofia was a little science nerd and I love her. She’s Jewish which I thought was nice because I don’t see all that much representation for Jewish people out there. She’s also Polish and moved away from her sister to go to school. I believe that Zofia is somewhere on the Autism spectrum but I don’t know whether that’s been confirmed anywhere. She has issues with certain social cues, clothing materials, and I loved her so much. She’s incredibly smart and is the mad scientist and mathematician of the bunch. She loves to create but was not treated well when she tried to go to traditional schools.
Then there’s Hypnos, who isn’t a part of this found family at the beginning of the story. He manages to worm his way in though. I didn’t know whether or not we could trust him, but I grew to love him. He’s the patriarch of one of the last two recognized Houses. He hires the group to steal something from the other House. Obviously shit hits the fan and nothing goes as planned. I liked Hypnos. He was flirty and fun, but never quite trustworthy for most of the story. I’m definitely interested to see where his story goes in the next book.
Overall, I adored this book. I love Roshani’s writing. It’s just absolutely beautiful. She built a fascinating world with characters I would die for. Please read this book right now.

Quotes:

“Nothing but a symbol? People die for symbols. People have hope because of symbols. They’re not just lines. They’re histories, cultures, traditions, given shape.”

“Make yourself a myth and live within it, so that you belong to no one but yourself.”

“Her mother’s voice rang in her ears: ‘Don’t capture their hearts. Steal their imagination. It’s far more useful.”

“I don’t want to be their equal. I don’t want them to look us in the eye. I want them to look away, to blink harshly, as if they’d stared at the sun itself. I don’t want them standing across from us. I want them kneeling.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

 

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

GoodReads Summary:
Children can have a cruel, absolute sense of justice. Children can kill a monster and feel quite proud of themselves. A girl can look at her brother and believe they’re destined to be a knight and a bard who battle evil. She can believe she’s found the thing she’s been made for.
Hazel lives with her brother, Ben, in the strange town of Fairfold where humans and fae exist side by side. The faeries’ seemingly harmless magic attracts tourists, but Hazel knows how dangerous they can be, and she knows how to stop them. Or she did, once.
At the center of it all, there is a glass coffin in the woods. It rests right on the ground and in it sleeps a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives. Hazel and Ben were both in love with him as children. The boy has slept there for generations, never waking.
Until one day, he does…
As the world turns upside down, Hazel tries to remember her years pretending to be a knight. But swept up in new love, shifting loyalties, and the fresh sting of betrayal, will it be enough?
The Darkest Part of the ForestReview:
The Darkest Part of the Forest takes place in the same world as the Folk of the Air trilogy. Many were disappointed by the finale of that series and to those people I say, READ THIS BOOK RIGHT NOW. The Darkest Part of the Forest was everything I wanted from the Folk of the Air series. There were interesting and complex sibling relationships. There were romantic relationships that I was quickly invested in. Plus, there was all the fae drama that I loved from her other series, but more interesting.
The fae aspect of this story was so fascinating. This story takes place in the town of Fairfold where the fae come out to play with tourists. I loved this aspect of the story. The concept of magic in the world as I know it is so interesting to me. The fae in town don’t mess with the locals, only the tourists that come to see the horned boy in the glass coffin. The horned boy’s coffin is also the local’s party spot. This hit me in the high school feels because I totally partied in the woods during my high school years, so, I could totally see my friends in the party scenes with the horned boy.
When the coffin is found shattered and the horned boy awakes, life in Fairfold changes. I loved the relationship between Hazel and Ben. I really enjoyed getting to see their history. When they were children, they hunted fae with Ben using his musical ability and Hazel fighting them. There were some hard to read parts with these parts, but it just made the story that much better. Their relationship was so complicated and tangled, there were a lot of issues between them but I loved seeing them work through these issues and develop their relationships.
The romances were wonderful. I’m not going to specify who is with who because the wondering (for me) was a great part of the book. Both siblings find romance in these pages. Ben is gay and his romance was everything I wanted and more. The way his path led in this story was everything I wanted from Jude and Cardan. Hazel’s romance was also right up my alley. It was my favorite romance trope and I love how things turned out for them.
Overall, this book was so freaking good. I don’t know why more people haven’t read this. To all of the people that read and loved The Cruel Prince, please read this book because you will love this even more. The supporting characters were amazing. The mix of real-world and fae was great. I just loved everything about this book.

 

Quotes:

“Once, there was a girl who vowed she would save everyone in the world, but forgot herself.”

“Every child needs a tragedy to become truly interesting.”

“Down a path worn into the woods, past a stream and a hollowed-out log full of pill bugs and termites, was a glass coffin. It rested right on the ground, and in it slept a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives.”

“There don’t have to be first dates and second dates. We’re not normal. We can do this anyway you want. A relationship can be whatever you want it to be. We get to make this part up. We get to tell our own story.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

GoodReads Summary:
A skilled painter must stand up to the ancient power of the faerie courts— even as she falls in love with a faerie prince—in this gorgeous debut novel.
Isobel is a prodigy portrait artist with a dangerous set of clients: the sinister fair folk, immortal creatures who cannot bake bread, weave cloth, or put a pen to paper without crumbling to dust. They crave human Craft with a terrible thirst, and Isobel’s paintings are highly prized. But when she receives her first royal patron—Rook, the autumn prince—she makes a terrible mistake. She paints mortal sorrow in his eyes—a weakness that could cost him his life.
Furious and devastated, Rook spirits her away to the autumnlands to stand trial for her crime. Waylaid by the Wild Hunt’s ghostly hounds, the tainted influence of the Alder King, and hideous monsters risen from barrow mounds, Isobel and Rook depend on one another for survival. Their alliance blossoms into trust, then love—and that love violates the fair folks’ ruthless laws. Now both of their lives are forfeit, unless Isobel can use her skill as an artist to fight the fairy courts. Because secretly, her Craft represents a threat the fair folk have never faced in all the millennia of their unchanging lives: for the first time, her portraits have the power to make them feel.
An Enchantment of RavensReview:
Absolutely everyone in the book community raves about this book. So, after reading her other novel (Sorcery of Thorns) and really enjoying it, I thought I’d finally give this book a try. I liked this book well enough.
I thought the characters were interesting. I liked that Isobel absolutely did not want to become a faerie. I think so many books are out there where the main character is human but wants to be anything but. So, Isobel is one of the few that doesn’t want that for herself, even after she fell in love with the autumn prince. I really thought it was interesting.
Sadly, I didn’t feel like I really connected with the characters as much as I could have. I liked them all well enough and I liked the romance well enough, but I wasn’t overly invested. I was happy with the overall outcome and things were exciting and action-filled, but I just wasn’t super attached to the story or the characters.
Overall, this book was fun. I enjoyed it even though I didn’t love it. I can completely understand why so many people love it, but I just wasn’t as invested in the story or characters as much as I wanted to be. I do also have to mention that the writing in this book was absolutely stunning. It was beautiful without being overly flowery. That was definitely one of my favorite things.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

There Will Come a Darkness by Katy Rose Pool

GoodReads Summary:
For generations, the Seven Prophets guided humanity. Using their visions of the future, they ended wars and united nations―until the day, one hundred years ago, when the Prophets disappeared.
All they left behind was one final, secret prophecy, foretelling an Age of Darkness and the birth of a new Prophet who could be the world’s salvation . . . or the cause of its destruction. As chaos takes hold, five souls are set on a collision course:
A prince exiled from his kingdom.
A ruthless killer known as the Pale Hand.
A once-faithful leader torn between his duty and his heart.
A reckless gambler with the power to find anything or anyone.
And a dying girl on the verge of giving up.
One of them―or all of them―could break the world. Will they be savior or destroyer?
There Will Come a Darkness (The Age of Darkness, #1)Review:
There Will Come a Darkness became a new favorite book of mine immediately after I finished it. I am blown away by all of the different aspects of this story.
Let’s start with the world, which leads to the plot. A hundred years ago, the Prophets disappeared. This is something I still want to know more about. Why did they disappear? Where did they go? Will they be coming back? They left behind one final (secret) prophecy that tells of the Age of Darkness. This prophecy is what brings our five characters together. I loved the magic system and the concept of the Graces. I thought it was unique and interesting. I have to say, I am in awe of Katy Rose Pool’s ability to tell this story in five different perspectives and still give each of them a very distinct voice and personality.
The Pale Hand or Ephyra is a mysterious killer that leaves behind the mark of a pale hand on her victims. We learn why she is killing people and it makes me feel for her. She has a younger sister, Beru, that is sick. So Ephyra kills terrible people for their esha and gives it to Beru to heal her. This moral gray aspect of her story made her that much more interesting. I went back and forth between hating her and feeling bad for her and the struggles she’s faced.
Beru is horrified by her sister’s actions to keep her alive. She’s at the point where she’s just ready to die. I was blown away by the secret that these sisters are keeping and what that secret means for the world. I loved the inclusion of the sibling relationship, especially since it was a complex and morally grey one.
Hassan was probably the character I cared about the least, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t like him. I just loved all the others so much that he takes the bottom spot. Hassan is the heir to a kingdom taken over by a terrible, terrible person. He wants to take action to save his kingdom from the Hierophant (who is trying to rid the world of the Graced.) When he is convinced that he is the last Prophet that was named in the secret prophecy, things start to speed up. He gathers an army to take back their country and this is when things go wrong. I won’t go into detail about what exactly goes wrong, but it was exciting and full of action. The stakes were high and I loved every page of the climax of this story.
Now, for my favorite character, Anton. Anton is my little bean. He is running from his older brother, who was horribly cruel to him in their childhood. He lives life on the run, never getting close to anyone. He also can’t seem to use his Grace without being taken back to the moment when his brother tried to drown him (which is when he left home and has been running ever since.) I loved the mystery that surrounded Anton. We’re not sure why he’s running or what the problem is with using his Grace for quite a while. He teams up with the Pale Hand because she thinks Anton can find an object that will save Beru. His involvement with these two is how he gets dragged into everything else going on with Jude and Hassan. When Ephyra and Anton get arrested, Jude comes to save the day, sort of.
Jude was my second favorite. Jude is the Keeper of the Word, meaning it is his duty to protect the Last Prophet and help them prevent the Age of Darkness. Jude struggles with the duty he knows he has to fulfill and his doubting his ability to do this duty. I loved Jude. I was a little mad at him a few times when he did things that I really didn’t want him to do. But he came back around in the end and saved the Last Prophet. I loved Jude and his journey to figuring out what really mattered.
The characters were really what made this story. But the plot was exciting and surprising. There were several different times where I said out loud to myself, “WHAT” because Katy Rose Pool made me care and believe in all of these characters (even the bad ones) so I was floored by the betrayals and screaming with happiness for the characters that I so easily fell in love with. The development of each of these characters was so well done. The world was creative and so interesting. I’m left with questions, a fierce desire to want more, but not so many questions that I’m upset with a lack of answers. We were given enough to be satisfying but also left craving more of the world, more answers, more character interactions. I’m so invested in the romantic relationships and the friendships. I loved this interesting world and the diverse cast of characters.
Overall, this is a new favorite and I cannot wait for the second book in September. I will be picking it up immediately and devouring it because I need more of this world and the characters that live in it.

Quotes:

“Those who cannot own their choices will always be mastered by fate.”

“There was nothing to be frightened of when you were the most dangerous thing that stalked the streets”

“Those who abused their power would only continue the cycle, rewarding the ones who enabled them.”

“I don’t know anything about that. I don’t know about duty and purpose. But I know what people want. You may think you’re different, that you live by some special code that sets you apart, but everyone wants something Jude. Even you.”

“You can spend your entire life looking over your shoulder, waiting for your past to catch up to you. Or you can stop running and finally face it.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Night of the Dragon by Julie Kagawa

GoodReads Summary:
Kitsune shapeshifter Yumeko has given up the final piece of the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers in order to save everyone she loves from imminent death. Now she and her ragtag band of companions must journey to the wild sea cliffs of Iwagoto in a desperate last-chance effort to stop the Master of Demons from calling upon the Great Kami dragon and making the wish that will plunge the empire into destruction and darkness.
Shadow clan assassin Kage Tatsumi has regained control of his body and agreed to a true deal with the devil—the demon inside him, Hakaimono. They will share his body and work with Yumeko and their companions to stop a madman and separate Hakaimono from Tatsumi and the cursed sword that had trapped the demon for nearly a millennium.
But even with their combined skills and powers, this most unlikely team of heroes knows the forces of evil may be impossible to overcome. And there is another player in the battle for the scroll, a player who has been watching, waiting for the right moment to pull strings that no one even realized existed…until now.
Night of the Dragon (Shadow of the Fox, #3)Review:
I was beyond excited when I approved for an ARC of this book, so to start, big thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for providing me this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
This was a wonderful finale for this trilogy. I had a hard time getting into it at first, but that was my own issue with fantasy at the moment. I pushed through and once the gang made it about halfway through the book (to the location where the big battle was going down) I was hooked. Julie Kagawa has created such lovable and well-developed characters. I just adored them all. Their relationship as a whole group was so heartwarming. They’ve been through so much together and it was absolutely devastating to see the end result for these characters. (Julie Kagawa takes “kill your babies” VERY seriously.) There is a wonderfully done male/male romance. And I would die for both of them. I’m purposefully not naming any names because I cannot spell any of them to save my life and I’m writing this on my phone because this review will never get written otherwise.
Overall, I really thought this was an excellent ending to a great series. I really loved the ending even though parts totally broke my little heart. I love this world and there were so many little details that just made the story that much better. Sorry if this review is a bit vague, but it’s the third and final book and I don’t want to spoil anything. But please read this series. It’s diverse and wonderful and everyone needs to love it.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir

GoodReads Summary:
Elias and Laia are running for their lives. After the events of the Fourth Trial, Martial soldiers hunt the two fugitives as they flee the city of Serra and undertake a perilous journey through the heart of the Empire.
Laia is determined to break into Kauf—the Empire’s most secure and dangerous prison—to save her brother, who is the key to the Scholars’ survival. And Elias is determined to help Laia succeed, even if it means giving up his last chance at freedom.
But dark forces, human and otherworldly, work against Laia and Elias. The pair must fight every step of the way to outsmart their enemies: the bloodthirsty Emperor Marcus, the merciless Commandant, the sadistic Warden of Kauf, and, most heartbreaking of all, Helene—Elias’s former friend and the Empire’s newest Blood Shrike.
Bound to Marcus’s will, Helene faces a torturous mission of her own—one that might destroy her: find the traitor Elias Veturius and the Scholar slave who helped him escape…and kill them both.
A Torch Against the Night (An Ember in the Ashes, #2)Review:
Okay, I just honestly am not sure where to begin or what to say. Also, I’m a fair bit into book three while writing this, so I’m going to do my best to keep them separate.
I’m honestly a bit over it. I think that’s because half the book Elias and Laia weren’t even together. If Elias had just stayed none of the bad shit would have happened with Laia and those who have read this know who. I’m so mad that he left. I am just mad at him in general. He’s a huge idiot. I liked the forest that he finds that I can’t remember the name of right this minute. I thought it was a very interesting place and the girl he meets there challenged him. I really enjoyed the interactions between them.
Now, Laia. I honestly liked her with Keenan until I found out the truth. Despite that, I find myself annoyed with Laia. She’s on the way to rescue her brother and manages to find herself in a stupid love triangle, like why Laia, why. I did enjoy the relationships she created with the Tribes people and I’m interested to see what direction that will go in the next book. I also am very intrigued by her mysterious ability and am wondering where it came from and why that was not explained. Maybe we’re left to assume it’s the same as where Helene’s came from?
Helene’s parts of this book were so sad. I felt so bad for her. She does not deserve any of the things she has to do or see in this book. I really hope there is some good for her somewhere in the rest of this series because it’s clear that she wants to be a good person, but she’s being controlled by a monster and has to play the games of those around her, no matter how horrible.
Overall, I didn’t love this, but I still plan to continue the series. I liked the characters. The story was interesting. Things were slow here and there, but that’s with most fantasy books.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Dark Skies by Danielle L. Jensen

GoodReads Summary:
A RUNAWAY WITH A HIDDEN PAST
Lydia is a scholar, but books are her downfall when she meddles in the plots of the most powerful man in the Celendor Empire. Her life in danger, she flees west to the far side of the Endless Seas and finds herself entangled in a foreign war where her burgeoning powers are sought by both sides.
A COMMANDER IN DISGRACE
Killian is Marked by the God of War, but his gifts fail him when the realm under the dominion of the Corrupter invades Mudamora. Disgraced, he swears his sword to the kingdom’s only hope: the crown princess. But the choice sees him caught up in a web of political intrigue that will put his oath – and his heart – to the test.
A KINGDOM UNDER SIEGE
With Mudamora falling beneath the armies of the Corrupter, Lydia and Killian strike a bargain to save those they love most—but it is a bargain with unintended and disastrous consequences. Truths are revealed, birthrights claimed, and loyalties questioned—all while a menace deadlier and more far-reaching than they realize sweeps across the world.
Dark Skies (Dark Shores, #2)Review:
Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review. I was a little worried when I got approved for this one. I don’t remember all that much from the first book, (Dark Shores) aside from the fact that I totally loved it. So, I was worried I wouldn’t be able to jump right into this one, but I saw on GoodReads that the author made a statement that Dark Shores and Dark Skies can be read interchangeably. I thought that was super interesting, so I just jumped right into this one.
We follow Lydia and Killian. They each have their own perspectives, which I loved. Lydia is a bookish girl who loves to learn. But when her future husband attempts to murder her, she finds herself on the other side of the world, a world that she thought was a myth. I loved Lydia because she was determined and strong, even when she didn’t feel like those things. She made a plan and did her best to see it through or make the best of any situation. She was clever and loyal to her loved ones. She did her best to learn as much as she could, about the world she was in and about herself.
Killian is a Marked One. This means he was chosen by a specific god, the God of War, and given abilities. He’s disgraced after losing an important battle, so he becomes the personal guard of the princess. Which means he’s dragged into her plot to overthrow her father. Killian is a good man, though his reputation may not say so. I really liked him.
Overall, I loved this book. It made me want to immediately reread Dark Shores. I loved the world and the characters. There was action and romance and drama. I loved it all. The stakes were high and only got higher. I loved the way the story was concluded. The ending was satisfying enough that I was eager for more of the story, but not annoyed that everything wasn’t solved. I am beyond excited about the characters from this book and the first book to meet. This is a must-read.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare

GoodReads Summary:
Welcome to Edwardian London, a time of electric lights and long shadows, the celebration of artistic beauty and the wild pursuit of pleasure, with demons waiting in the dark. For years there has been peace in the Shadowhunter world. James and Lucie Herondale, children of the famous Will and Tessa, have grown up in an idyll with their loving friends and family, listening to stories of good defeating evil and love conquering all. But everything changes when the Blackthorn and Carstairs families come to London…and so does a remorseless and inescapable plague.
James Herondale longs for a great love, and thinks he has found it in the beautiful, mysterious Grace Blackthorn. Cordelia Carstairs is desperate to become a hero, save her family from ruin, and keep her secret love for James hidden. When disaster strikes the Shadowhunters, James, Cordelia and their friends are plunged into a wild adventure which will reveal dark and incredible powers and the true cruel price of being a hero…and falling in love.
Chain of Gold (The Last Hours, #1)Review:
I’ve read all of the Shadowhunter books so did anyone really expect that to not include this one? I went into it not expecting much because I didn’t really love The Infernal Devices. Something about the time period just isn’t my favorite. But I’m happy to say that I really loved this book and I’m very excited for the series to continue.
I love that we get to see will, Jem, Tessa, and a few others from TID. I love it when books connect with other series. There are such great friendships and relationships in this book. I loved being back in a (mostly) familiar world with a whole new cast of characters.
Obviously, Cordelia was the mysterious one. Our lady on the cover. I adored her. She’s fierce and passionate. She’s full of love for her family and the new friends that she’s making. I loved her friendship with Lucy. I’m also super invested in her relationship with someone I won’t mention. Her brother Alistair was a character that I went back and forth so many times sometimes hating and sometimes loving. I think by the end of the book I really love him. He grows and that matters.
Lucy Herondale is the sister of James and I love both of these Herondales. Lucy is a writer. She’s a good sister and a loyal friend. I love seeing her with Cordelia and the gang. I’m excited to see where her story is going to go. Because she is a child of Tessa, she has some warlock blood in her, so I think that’s where her extra ability to see ghosts comes from. I’m interested to see where this aspect of the story will go. Then there’s her brother, James. Our messy, messy James. I really adored him except when he was thinking or talking about Grace. We know about their relationship from one of the novellas. I vaguely remember liking her in the short story, but I almost immediately did not like her in this book. I wish she would go away and that’s all I’m going to say about her. James was messy because of Grace. But other than that, he was an extremely loyal brother and friend. His relationship with his parabatai, Matthew, was my favorite. James will do anything for the people that he cares about and it’s very clear. I adored seeing the friends together after getting to know them a bit in Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy. Christopher, Matthew, James, and Thomas. These four are best friends and though they each face their own issues, none of them ever has to do it alone. I really liked Matthew, personally. But that’s because of my own issues. I could go on and on about all the different characters that were involved in this story, but I won’t. I just don’t have the time or attention span for that.
So, I’m just going to say that I really really loved this book. I loved the friendships. I loved the characters. I loved the mystery and drama. I loved every single minute and I am already dying for book two.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Frost Like Night by Sara Raasch

GoodReads Review:
Angra is alive, his Decay is spreading—and no one is safe.
Meira will do anything to save her world. With Angra trying to break through her mental defenses, she desperately needs to learn to control her own magic—so when the leader of a mysterious Order from Paisly offers to teach her, she jumps at the chance. But the true solution to stopping the Decay lies in a labyrinth deep beneath the Season Kingdoms. To defeat Angra, Meira will have to enter the labyrinth, destroy the very magic she’s learning to control—and make the biggest sacrifice of all.
Mather will do anything to save his queen. He needs to rally the Children of the Thaw, find Meira—and finally tell her how he really feels. But with a plan of attack that leaves no kingdom unscathed and a major betrayal within their ranks, winning the war—and protecting Meira—slips farther and farther out of reach.
Ceridwen will do anything to save her people. Angra had her brother killed, stole her kingdom, and made her a prisoner. But when she’s freed by an unexpected ally who reveals a shocking truth behind Summer’s slave trade, Ceridwen must take action to save her true love and her kingdom, even if it costs her what little she has left.
As Angra unleashes the Decay on the world, Meira, Mather, and Ceridwen must bring the kingdoms of Primoria together…or lose everything.
Frost Like Night (Snow Like Ashes, #3)Review:
This finale was incredible. It was for sure my favorite book in the series. Meira has lost and gained much. She trains and learns about herself. But loses many that she loves. Raasch really took “kill your babies” to a whole new level. There are not many fantasy books that can make me cry but this one did. This series was so well done all around. We get to see a bit of autumn and paisley. The two final places we haven’t seen much of. I liked the world-building. Each of the seasons and rhythms had their own customs and things that they valued. I thought that made each new place really interesting.
We also learn more about magic, though the end goal is to rid the world of magic. I thought the magic was really well explained and limits made clear.
I don’t want to say too much about the romance because spoilers. But like if you haven’t read this series or the first two books, maybe don’t read any further. I was so happy about the two characters that I shipped finally coming together. I’m always a sucker for childhood friends to lovers and this gave me everything I wanted.
Overall, I loved this series. And you will too. If you want angsty romance, a bit of a love triangle (but like a good one), interesting magic, and great world-building this series is one you need to read.
Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

 

Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch

GoodReads Review:
It’s been three months since the Winterians were freed and Spring’s king, Angra, disappeared—thanks largely to the help of Cordell.
Meira just wants her people to be safe. When Cordellan debt forces the Winterians to dig their mines for payment, they unearth something powerful and possibly dangerous: Primoria’s lost chasm of magic. Theron sees this find as an opportunity—with this much magic, the world can finally stand against threats like Angra. But Meira fears the danger the chasm poses—the last time the world had access to so much magic, it spawned the Decay. So when the king of Cordell orders the two on a mission across the kingdoms of Primoria to discover the chasm’s secrets, Meira plans to use the trip to garner support to keep the chasm shut and Winter safe—even if it means clashing with Theron. But can she do so without endangering the people she loves?
Mather just wants to be free. The horrors inflicted on the Winterians hang fresh and raw in Januari—leaving Winter vulnerable to Cordell’s growing oppression. When Meira leaves to search for allies, he decides to take Winter’s security into his own hands. Can he rebuild his broken kingdom and protect them from new threats?
As the web of power and deception weaves tighter, Theron fights for magic, Mather fights for freedom—and Meira starts to wonder if she should be fighting not just for Winter, but for the world.
Ice Like Fire (Snow Like Ashes, #2)Review:
Meira is really coming into her own in this book. I really appreciated the development she went through. She starts off thinking she needs to act one way now that she knows she is winters queen. But as the book progresses, she realizes that she needs to be true to herself and her instincts too. I liked seeing her work on merging her behavior of how she thought she was supposed to act with what she felt was the right thing to do. Also, she is 100% a savage when it comes to starting shit. I love her.
Theron was my favorite in book one and now I hate him. But Raasch writes him in a way that most of his behaviors aren’t really his fault. Which I think is a cop-out. I just straight up don’t like him anymore.
I was sad in the last book when Mather sort of faded into the background so I loved that he got some of his own chapters in this book and I hope that continues in the third. I really like and respect him. There were some really touching moments where he’s trying to come to terms with most of his life being a lie, usually followed by some really terrible heartbreaking scenes. I definitely ship Meira and Mather.
I also have to mention Ceridwen, the summer princess. She’s fierce and always stands up for what she believes in. I really liked her relationship with Meira. The two brought good things out in one another. She suffers much in this book and I’m hopeful that things will get better for her in the final book.
Overall, I really enjoyed this sequel. I’m eager to start on the third and final book. Ice Like Fire is full of complex (but mostly well explained) magic. We get to see more of the world outside of winter and I thought the world-building was really well done. I loved visiting the other kingdoms and seeing how different they all were. There was also some great mystery left for us toward the end, which is what makes me so excited to finish my reread of this series. I also have to mention that the narrators for this book did such a great job telling the story. They really put emotion into the voices and scenes.
Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. Yee

GoodReads Summary:
Genie Lo is one among droves of Ivy-hopeful overachievers in her sleepy Bay Area suburb. You know, the type who wins. When she’s not crushing it at volleyball or hitting the books, Genie is typically working on how to crack the elusive Harvard entry code. But when her hometown comes under siege from hellspawn straight out of Chinese folklore, her priorities are dramatically rearranged. Enter Quentin Sun, a mysterious new kid in class who becomes Genie’s self-appointed guide to battling demons. While Genie knows Quentin only as an attractive transfer student with an oddly formal command of the English language, in another reality he is Sun Wukong, the mythological Monkey King incarnate—right down to the furry tale and penchant for peaches. Suddenly, acing the SATs is the least of Genie’s worries. The fates of her friends, family, and the entire Bay Area all depend on her summoning an inner power that Quentin assures her is strong enough to level the very gates of Heaven. But every second Genie spends tapping into the secret of her true nature is a second in which the lives of her loved ones hang in the balance.
The Epic Crush of Genie Lo (The Epic Crush of Genie Lo #1)Review:
Can I just call this Percy Jackson but with Asian mythology? Because that’s what it was except definitely for a bit older age range. They definitely swear and I loved it. This story was so much fun. I absolutely adored the mythology and learning more about Asian myths that I’m not familiar with. I also loved the modern setting and how these mythological figures were integrated into today’s world. The story was fast-paced and exciting. It was full of action, but not overtaken by it. There were scenes about college coaching and things like that which I thought was a nice contrast from the action and adventure.
I really liked Genie. She was honestly just really funny. She struggled to balance her regular life with her new godly (I’m not sure that’s the right word, but that’s what we’re going with) abilities and responsibilities. She steps up and helps when she thinks she should and stands up for her beliefs (even against actual gods and goddesses) when she thinks they’re wrong. I completely loved her.
Overall, I think this is a book that people should be talking about. I’d never heard of it until the author was announced to be at a book event I’m going to this year. I’m so glad I found it because it was just genuinely fun to listen to.
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.

These Divided Shores by Sara Raasch

GoodReads Summary:
As a child, she committed unforgivable acts to free Grace Loray from King Elazar of Argrid. Now Elazar’s plan to retake the island has surpassed Lu’s darkest fears: he’s holding her and his son, Ben, captive in an endlessly shifting prison, forcing them to make a weapon that will guarantee Elazar’s success. Escape is impossible—unless Lu becomes the ruthless soldier she hoped never to be again.
Vex failed to save Lu and Ben—and that torments him as much as his Shaking Sickness. With the disease worsening, Vex throws himself into the rebellion against Argrid. The remaining free armies are allied with the stream raider syndicates—and getting them to cooperate will take a strength Vex thought burned on a pyre six years ago.
Imprisoned, betrayed, and heartbroken, Ben is determined to end his father’s rampage. Watching Elazar sway the minds of Grace Loray as he did those of Argrid, Ben knows he has to play his father’s game of devotion to win this war. But how can a heretic prince defeat the Pious God?
As armies clash and magic rises, Lu, Vex, and Ben will confront their pasts . . . or lose their futures forever.
These Divided Shores (Stream Raiders, #2)Review:
Okay honestly, I’m not even sure where to start with this review. This book was large. And overall, I really enjoyed it. There were a few little things that I didn’t like. The main one being Lu’s attitude. She had a few revelations about her past and they’ve really hit her hard. I can understand being thrown and upset by this for a little while, but she was made miserable the whole book, whiney and lost in herself. I honestly wouldn’t have cared if it had been for like the first half of the book at most. But it wasn’t really resolved.
I loved Ben and Gunnar. Their relationship and its development were 100% the best part of this book. They were two people from such different backgrounds and despite that, wanted to be together. I loved every word of their flirtation and ultimate coupling.
I’m going to keep this short because I took forever to write this review so I don’t have that much to say. I thought the political issues were wrapped up really well and I was very satisfied with how everything ended. I will definitely continue reading the work of this author.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.