Saturday, September 23, 2017

The Crowns of Croswald by D. E. Night book thoughts


Title: The Crowns of Croswald
Series: I think so
Author: D. E. Night
Published Date: July 21st, 2017
Publisher: Stories Untold
Source: Publisher
# of Pages: 310
Format: Physical
Genre: Middle Grade/Fantasy
Days to Read: 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Would I recommend it?: Yes
Would I read more books by this Author?: Yes
My Social Media: Goodreads/My Booktube Channel/Twitter/Instagram

Goodreads Synopsis

In Croswald, the only thing more powerful than dark magic is one secret...

For sixteen years Ivy Lovely has been hidden behind an enchanted boundary that separates the mundane from the magical. When Ivy crosses the border, her powers awaken. Curiosity leads her crashing through a series of adventures at the Halls of Ivy, a school where students learn to master their magical blood and the power of Croswald’s mysterious gems. When Ivy’s magic—and her life—is threatened by the Dark Queen, she scrambles to unearth her history and save Croswald before the truth is swept away forever.

My Thoughts

Thank you to the Author and Publisher for giving me this free book in exchange for an honest review.

A girl, Ivy, lives as a maid in a castle that has beautiful slurry fields where she sometimes meets her friend that is a dwarf while she enjoys sketching. One day she is kicked out for stuff that isn't even her fault, along with a dragon that had gotten sick (a temporary illness like a cold) that ends up being like a pet to her, she is almost 16, and she gets picked up by people that had been looking for her, because of her magical blood, in a flying carriage to go off to the Halls of Ivy to hone her skills as a scrivenist, in a town that as an evil Dark Queen for a ruler.

I ended up reading this entire book with a migraine, which I still have. Not because of the book, I think it's the changing seasons but i'm not sure. If I hadn't had said migraine I could have finished this book in 2-3 days. It's a light middle grade fantasy read, full of magic, adventure, and danger! So that may have clouded my enjoyment a bit.

It started off a bit slow for me. It does have the trope early on of an ugly woman with an ugly personality to match, even saying "Perhaps her horrid personality had seeped out and shaped her appearance." Yes, I really enjoyed this book but I always try to mention stuff I liked and didn't like in reviews. Maybe this is a me thing but i'm getting tired of seeing, especially in middle grade books where it seems to be most common, (from what i've seen), an ugly or disfigured person being evil or an asshole, as if someone's appearance and personality have to match. There was also a bit of talk about bodily emissions that, due to personal medical issues, I didn't quite appreciate. However all this is early in the book and doesn't last long.

It did pick up and I really enjoyed the rest of the book. It reminded me a bit of Harry Potter, in all the right ways, while still being different and standing on it's own! It did have some nice messages through-out the book too that I really did appreciate. The writing was easy to read and flowed well for me. I really enjoyed Ivy once I got to know her. She hasn't had an easy life but she is a nice girl, with a bit of a rebellious and stubborn side to her which I frankly loved! She knows people are keeping stuff about her from her and she is determined to find answers that she deserves to have about herself! I did enjoy the friendships in the book too and hope to see more of them in future books.

I loved the magic system in the book, no wands are needed! I did also enjoy the world-building, though I do still have some questions but the way it leaves off i'm assuming there is going to be more books, and if so hopefully we'll get some answers in them. I can't stop wondering if the hairies, little fairy creatures in lanterns used as lights, enjoy being used in that way, are they happy like that? How did that come about?

There was a twist that I loved and, personally I didn't see coming, but someone more read in fantasy might? I have no idea, but I enjoyed it just the same! Getting to figure out what secrets were being kept. There is still danger for the town, in the form of the Dark Queen that rules the place, and someone that betrayed Ivy and the school that is still unknown who it is. I have my guesses but will just have to wait for the next book to see if any of them are right!

It's truly a tale that gets more magical and exciting as you read with secrets being revealed through-out the story. If you enjoy middle grade fantasy with magic, adventure, secrets, rule-breaking, and an evil Queen in power i'd definitely recommend checking this out!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Savage Woods by Mary SanGiovanni book thoughts


Title: Savage Woods
Series: No
Author: Mary SanGiovanni
Published Date: September 26th, 2017
Publisher: Lyrical Underground
Source: Netgalley
# of Pages: 204
Format: Ebook
Genre: Horror
Days to Read: 3
Rating: ★★★.5
Would I recommend it?: Yes, if it's up your alley
Would I read more books by this Author?: Yes
My Social Media: Goodreads/My Booktube Channel/Twitter/Instagram

Goodreads Synopsis

Bram Stoker award-nominated author Mary SanGiovanni returns with a terrifying tale of madness, murder, and mind-shattering evil . . .

Nilhollow—six-hundred-plus acres of haunted woods in New Jersey’s Pine Barrens—is the stuff of urban legend. Amid tales of tree spirits and all-powerful forest gods are frightening accounts of hikers who went insane right before taking their own lives. It is here that Julia Russo flees when her violent ex-boyfriend runs her off the road . . . here that she vanishes without a trace.

State Trooper Peter Grainger has witnessed unspeakable things that have broken other men. But he has to find Julia and can’t turn back now. Every step takes him closer to an ugliness that won’t be appeased—a centuries-old, devouring hatred rising up to eviscerate humankind. Waiting, feeding, surviving. It’s unstoppable. And its time has come.

My Thoughts

TW: Blood, Gore, Language, Fire, Abuse, Death, Suicide, Self-Harm, Murder, Rape

This was an entertaining horror novel that kept me turning the pages fast. Julia has an abusive ex. One that made me able to relate to her in that way because i've been what she has been through, to a degree. Her ex goes completely off the rails to say the least but before that, the way he made her feel, the thoughts she had, i've been there. It felt real to me. It's told in what I believe is 3rd person and I think that's why I didn't actually get too emotional over it, just the way it's told for me. However I did really like Julia as she develops through-out the novel. She learns she deserves better, she's worth it and is a strong character. I was very much rooting for her! And sadly I know people like her ex exist in real life.

To put is simply without spoiling anything, there is evil in the woods. Julia's ex ends up chasing her into the woods and when it's realized they are missing and their cars are by the woods that have evil stories told about that area, some cops go looking for her. Obviously horror ensues in those woods.

I very much enjoyed the storyline and it kept me entertained, rooting for Julia especially, and wanting to know what was going to happen. I wasn't really scared, not totally sure why but that could just be me, but I was entertained. I wouldn't say it's a perfect novel, some things felt a little off here and there but nothing that made me quit enjoying it. Honestly Julia was my favorite part of the novel and her character development. I did enjoy the creepy woods too and the backstory of it and how it worked.

I was able to picture the woods very well from the descriptions. I also really liked the ending, it was a very satisfying ending!

I would recommend it if a short horror story about evil woods sounds up your alley, and you can handle the TW's.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Fortitude Smashed by Taylor Brooke book thoughts


Title: Fortitude Smashed
Series: Yes (The Camellia Clock Cycle Book 1)
Author: Taylor Brooke
Published Date: September 21st, 2017
Publisher: Interlude Press
Source: Author
# of Pages: 331
Format: Ebook
Genre: NA/Contemporary/LGBT+
Days to Read: 5
Rating: ★★★★★
Would I recommend it?: Yes
Would I read more books by this Author?: Yes
My Social Media: Goodreads/My Booktube Channel/Twitter/Instagram

Goodreads Sysnopsis

After scientists stumbled across an anomalous human hormone present during moments of emotional intimacy, further research created the ability to harness the direction of living energy and pinpoint when two lines will merge. Personalized chips are now implanted beneath the thumbnails of every infant, where glowing numbers count down to the moment they will meet their soul mate. Fate is now a calculation.

But loving someone isn’t.

When Shannon Wurther, the youngest detective in Southern California, finds himself face-to-face with Aiden Maar, the reckless art thief Shannon’s precinct has been chasing for months, they are both stunned. Their Camellia Clocks have timed out, and the men are left with a choice—love one another or defy fate.

My Thoughts

TW: Fire, Sexual Assault

Camellia Clocks are implanted beneath every infants thumbnail, where glowing numbers count down to the moment they will meet their soul mate. It seems to work out about 98% of the time, and even though the clocks will count down until you meet your soul mate, it's still your choice what to do with that information and it still takes work to have a relationship. Honestly with that synopsis I was a bit worried about how the book would go, but i'm so glad I gave it shot as I ended up loving it!

A thief, Aiden, attempting to steal a painting, and a detective, Shannon, end up timing out when Shannon catches Aiden attempting to steal said painting. Needless to say they were both kinda confused at that.

It's own voices for bi/pan characters, and mental illness rep. Aiden suffers from Dissociative Dysthymia, a chronic depression. He gets panic attacks.

I ended up relating to Aiden so much! His depression and his reactions mirror what i've experienced exactly! My reason are different than his, but the feelings are the same and I don't believe i've ever seen these feelings described so well, that fit me like a tee, in a book before. I've seen other great mental illness rep that fit me too in regards to anxiety but as for the Dissociative Dysthymia and panic attacks, not so much. Here, I felt like I was reading my story. It's an amazing feeling to know one isn't alone in such things. To know someone else understands.














All the characters in this book are complex and very well fleshed out. It really shows you how to look beyond what you first see when you see someone. You can't tell someone's story just by looking at them and knowing one facet of who they are, people are so much more than that and I loved how this book captured that! They are flawed, and at times I got angry at some of the other characters, but everything ended up being unpacked. I was angry because I was supposed to be and for good reason. Conversations were had and stuff was called out.

Yes, there is a romance here, but it is so much more than that. And no, mental illness is NOT cured by love. Yes it has a HEA, but Aiden is not cured. (Thank you!!)

There isn't really much action or plot to speak of, this is much more character-driven. If you're looking for an action packed plot-based book, this isn't it. But if you want a story with well-fleshed out, complex characters going through their life, trying to figure stuff out, sometimes making mistakes and being human, that is sweet and will tug at your heart, i'd highly recommend this!

Thank you to the author for giving me a chance to read this.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Nyxia by Scott Reintgen book thoughts


Title: Nyxia
Series: Yes (The Nyxia Triad #1)
Author: Scott Reintgen
Published Date: September 12th, 2017
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
Source: Netgalley
# of Pages: 384
Format: Kindle
Genre: YA/Sci-Fi
Days to Read: 6
Rating: 4.25 out of 5
Would I recommend it?: Yes
Would I read more books by this Author?: Yes
My Social Media: Goodreads/My Booktube Channel/Twitter/Instagram

Goodreads Synopsis

Emmett Atwater isn't just leaving Detroit; he's leaving Earth. Why the Babel Corporation recruited him is a mystery, but the number of zeroes on their contract has him boarding their lightship and hoping to return to Earth with enough money to take care of his family.

Forever.

Before long, Emmett discovers that he is one of ten recruits, all of whom have troubled pasts and are a long way from home. Now each recruit must earn the right to travel down to the planet of Eden--a planet that Babel has kept hidden--where they will mine a substance called Nyxia that has quietly become the most valuable material in the universe.

But Babel's ship is full of secrets. And Emmett will face the ultimate choice: win the fortune at any cost, or find a way to fight that won't forever compromise what it means to be human.

My Thoughts

Emmett is one of 10 teens picked to go to the planet Eden. There they will meet a new species, try and set up a good life, and mine the very interesting substance called Nyxia. They are put through very tough training as they have to be prepared for life on Eden. They will be scored and not everyone gets to go to Eden.

The company they are working for is Babel Communications, and you know they are keeping secrets. Whoever does get to go to Eden gets a lot of money and they and their families will be set for life. Some of the kids form bonds despite competing against each other but sometimes they do need teamwork.

My favorite part of this book has to be the characters! Emmett is our MC and a black male from Detroit who has had a tough life, all the kids have really in their own ways, though Emmett does having a loving family. The other main characters include a smart and book loving Japanese girl, a southern belle from Tennessee, a pure ray of Sunshine from Palestine, a badass female warrior from Kenya, a calculating girl from Brazil, and more. A character also opens up a conversation on perceptions of people that I loved. I was able to see parts of myself in a couple of the characters and fell in love with each of them over the course of the book in their own ways. They are all different, and real. Their background and personalities shine through! I may have my favorite characters but they are all well done.

Bilal












This book took me just a little bit to get into, and part of that may have been because life was being difficult, but it didn't take too long and the pace really picked up. I don't think anything was wasted time. The further into the book I got the more I had to keep reading on! It made me think on more than one occasion. I loved Emmett's POV and the book was very readable and easy to get into for me. The world-building, well they are on a ship through-out the book in space. I could picture it well enough. I'm more interested in Eden to be honest! There were twists that I didn't see coming. I have questions and I need the second book now!




















The relationships between the characters I absolutely loved! There are rivalries, friendships that form and they are beautiful <3. My only issue is the romance at the end of the book felt a bit...off. It didn't feel developed enough for me or really make much sense to me. It just seemed to lack something for me. However there is a second and third book coming so I hope to see that more developed over time.

I had a lot of feels and tears through-out the book and other than the romance thing didn't really have any issues with it. I can't wait for the next book to find out what happens! I have feels and I need answers..

















They are doing a lot of things, that's what they are doing.

Thank you to Netgalley and Crown Books for Young Readers for giving me the chance to read this book. If it sounds up your alley i'd highly recommend giving it a chance as it comes out September 12th, 2017!

Saturday, September 2, 2017

The Martian by Andy Weir book thoughts


Title: The Martian
Series: No
Author: Andy Weir
Published Date: Sept 27th, 2012
Publisher: Broadway Books
Source: I bought it
# of Pages: 435
Format: Paperback
Genre: Sci-Fi
Days to Read: 4
Rating: 3.75 stars
Would I recommend it?: Yes
Would I read more books by this Author?: Yes
My Social Media: Goodreads/My Booktube Channel/Twitter/Instagram



Goodreads Synopsis

Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars.

Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there.

After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive.

Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old "human error" are much more likely to kill him first.

But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?

My Thoughts

I thoroughly enjoyed and ate this book up! I was a little hesitant because I heard how sciency it is, and it is, but I found out understanding said science is not required, thankfully! I was still able to get the story and what was going on. I really liked Mark, he uses a bit of humor at times to help him get through rough times so there were plenty of laugh out loud moments as well as tension and emotional moments. I had to keep turning the pages to find out what was going to happen and how he'd survive being stranded on Mars, would they get to him in time?

His fellow crew mates had every reason to think he was dead when he wasn't hence how he ended up being stranded on Mars.

There were a couple really short moments that bugged me. One comment about wearing diapers seeming to imply that only babies wear diapers (and if you're an EVA suit of course). I have a neurogenic bladder and was born with IA (imperforate anus) aka I lack all control at the back end because I don't have a sphincter, I grew up doing enemas called malones through inserting a catheter into my belly button and hooking it up to saline because nothing would happen otherwise and i'd have accidents. I now have a colostomy. My bladder issues, I should really see a doctor about but right now just always wearing a pad is enough because I leak. I can't help these issues but they are purely physical. I was born with vacterl association, I am a complex medical mess and a lot of adults, even young ones, or teens, may have to wear diapers because of medical issues they can't control but that don't mean they are a baby or anything like that. It's a quick thing that maybe I took too personally but that is just my experience.

There is also one joke about prostitution which i'm sure to some people wouldn't be funny and could be hurtful. There is also one instance of rape mentioned but not in the literal sense. It's about "raping the MAV" aka tearing it apart so he could escape Mars, which while I understood is also...eh and again I mention it for those that might want to be warned of that.

Cons aside I loved Mark! I loved getting his thoughts as it's mostly told in his POV. I laughed, I cried, I was worried about him. I loved the morals of not giving up and that humans, at least most of us, care about trying to help each other in times of crisis. Marks POV was just everything to me. I had no idea that such a science heavy book about a guy stranded on Mars could be so entertaining and readable but it was and I do very much recommend it!