Review: Now I Rise

Can you believe that it’s already July?! Not only is this year going by super fast, but summer’s going by even faster! I’ve only had 1 pool day so far and there haven’t even been ANY beach days yet! Curse you work and adult responsibilities


One thing that I have been able to do this summer is read the sequel to And I Darken, Now I Rise. I was on the fence about reading it, because And I Darken was not my favorite, but since it was available without a hold as an e-book from the library, I figured why not.

Now I Rise  4/5 Stars

Summary from GoodreadsLada Dracul has no allies. No throne. All she has is what she’s always had: herself. After failing to secure the Wallachian throne, Lada is out to punish anyone who dares to cross her blood-strewn path. Filled with a white-hot rage, she storms the countryside with her men, accompanied by her childhood friend Bogdan, terrorizing the land. But brute force isn’t getting Lada what she wants. And thinking of Mehmed brings little comfort to her thorny heart. There’s no time to wonder whether he still thinks about her, even loves her. She left him before he could leave her.

What Lada needs is her younger brother Radu’s subtlety and skill. But Mehmed has sent him to Constantinople—and it’s no diplomatic mission. Mehmed wants control of the city, and Radu has earned an unwanted place as a double-crossing spy behind enemy lines. Radu longs for his sister’s fierce confidence—but for the first time in his life, he rejects her unexpected plea for help. Torn between loyalties to faith, to the Ottomans, and to Mehmed, he knows he owes Lada nothing. If she dies, he could never forgive himself—but if he fails in Constantinople, will Mehmed ever forgive him?

As nations fall around them, the Dracul siblings must decide: what will they sacrifice to fulfill their destinies? Empires will topple, thrones will be won . . . and souls will be lost.

What I liked most about Now I Rise is how much Lada and Radu grew as characters. I also learned that Mehmed is a terrible person and both Lada and Radu would 100% be better off without him. The fact that this book covered a shorter time period than And I Darken and the fact that Mehmed didn’t show up as much definitely made me enjoy this book a lot more. Even though this book was definitely very character driven, I feel like it is more plot driven than the first book. I cannot wait for Bright we Burn to come out- I was on the fence about reading it before I read Now I Rise, but now, man it cannot come out soon enough.

Have you read any of these books? Did you like them?

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June Wrap Up

Man, can you believe that it’s already almost July?! This year is going by crazy fast! Soon it’ll be Fall and then Winter, and then 2018 will be in the past. June has been a super crazy month for me. My boss (who has been my boss since November of 2016) left the company, my grandparents were staying with us for half of May and the entirety of June (and that’s definitely been a challenge sometimes because my grandmother has dementia and my grandfather is very set in his traditional Indian ways), and I’ve caught a stomach bug at work and some kind of virus, all within the same month. June hasn’t been all bad though. We got three amazing summer interns added onto our team, I got the meet Renee Ahdieh, Roshani Chokshi, S. Jae Jones (JJ), and Sabaa Tahir this month, I read 9 books (none of which was rated less than 4 stars), and I was able to watch two great movies in theaters- the Incredibles 2 and Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom.

Speaking of the 9 books I read this month, here they are:

Furyborn 4.5 stars 4.5/5 stars

Royals 4.5 stars 4.5/5 stars

One Dark Throne 5 star 5/5 stars

Legendary 5 star 5/5 stars

Ace of Shades 4 star 4/5 stars

The Wicked Deep5 star 5/5 stars

Days of Blood and Starlight4 star 4/5 stars

The Smoke Thieves4 star 4/5 stars

Now I Rise 4 star 4/5 stars

I also ended up getting a LOT of books (17!) this month (wooo book outlet sale and new books coming out!)

I got:

Smoke in the Sun (HC)

Flame in the Mist (PB)

Aaru (PB, review copy sent to me by the author, David Meredith (my first one since high school!!))

A Reaper at the Gates (HC)

An Ember in the Ashes (PB, with the new cover)

A Torch Against the Night (PB, with the new cover)

Retribution Rails (HC)

Fate of the Flames (PB)

Gilded Cage (PB)

Red Queen (PB)

Scythe (PB)

Siege of Shadows (HC)

The Thousandth Floor (PB)

The Valiant (HC)

Thug Kitchen 101 (HC)

Thug Kitchen Party Grub (HC)

I’m a big fan of cookbooks and recently, due to health issues, I’ve had to pretty much go completely dairy free, so I decided to try out some vegan cookbooks. I already had the first Thug Kitchen cookbook (I’m borrowing it from my brother and siste-in-law) and I made like 4 or 5 recipes out of it, so I figured getting the two new ones in that series wouldn’t be a bad idea. I also LOVE the Chrissy Teigen cookbook (Cravings) and I saw that she announced that her new one is coming out soon, so I know what I’m going to ask my brother and sister-in-law to get me for Christmas this year!

Of the books I got, I’ve already read Flame in the Mist, An Ember in the Ashes, A Torch Against the Night, Fate of the Flames, Gilded Cage, Red Queen, and the Valiant. I borrowed most of these books from the library the first time I read them, and I knew I really wanted to own them, so I made sure to buy them when the opportunity came up (and I got my copies of Ember and Torch signed, which was great!).

How was your June? Did you read a lot of books? Watch a lot of movies? Let me know your favorite thing that you did in June in the comments below!

Review: Ace of Shades

Ugh I miss real summers. I miss long days of field hockey training and pre-studying for fall classes. I miss late nights with friends and days spent by the pool. I miss unlimited reading time. If you can, put off being a read adult for as long as possible. These days, my summers are filled with meetings and workshops and entirely too much work! I feel like I end up reading LESS during the summer, because somehow work is always so crazy during the summer! I’ve been reading the Smoke Thieves (which is great, by the way) for over a week now, and I’m still less than half way through it because of work and working out and commitments. I need a vacation where all I’m doing is reading!

Ace of Shades 4 star 4/5 Stars

Earlier this month, I finished Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody and it was so good! I think the whole rival gangs and ousted monarchy things are great and I love the whole Vegas feel that the city of New Reynes was giving off. This was one of those books that I hadn’t read or seen too many actual reviews of, but I had seen the cover almost everywhere, so I pretty much just picked it up because of that. I think the premise of you last names being your dominant and non-dominant abilities is super cool. I also really loved the interplay between Levi and Enne. And the plot twist in the middle? Man, even though I was expecting it, I still really, really liked it! I cannot wait to read the next one!

 

Have you read Ace of Shades yet? What did you think about it?

All of the Vikings, All the Time (Repost)

Apparently, there’s something weird going on with WordPress, and my scheduled blogs don’t seem to actually, you know, go out when they’re scheduled to go out… so just in case y’all missed it, here’s my blog from Saturday about Sky in the Deep!

 

Thank you so much to  nicolinesimone at copenhagencolours.wordpress.com for commenting on my post about Royals and voting for my next book review to be on Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young! Since I had already written a post about Legendary, I posted that one first, but I got started on my review for Sky in the Deep as soon as I saw the comment!

Sky in the Deep is one of those books that I’ve been looking forward to for a really long time. I first heard about it before yallfest last year, so probably late October or Early November of 2017. It was one of those arc drops that I couldn’t miss at yallfest, so I made sure that my friend Bee and I had built it into our schedules. I started reading it in December, but then I had like a rolling group of like 4 library books that always ended up having to take precedence over my arc for Sky in the Deep because, you know, due dates etc. Once it came out, I was able to actually read it by listening to an audiobook while driving to and from work. My total commute is only about an hour, so it’s not too bad, and listening to an audiobook while driving is one of my favorite things about having to commute to and from the office everyday!

As an aside, one thing I’ve learned about myself in the past few weeks of writing reviews is that I am REALLY bad at writing book summaries! I feel like I know exactly what’s going on it the book, so I get to writing, and then I get too distracted by little details and my summaries end up sounding pretty terrible… so if that happens here, definitely go check out the real summary for Sky in the Deep on Goodreads.

Sky in the Deep 4 star 4/5 Stars

This book deals with two rival Viking clans- the Aska (the clan from which our main character Eelyn is from) and the Riki. Eelyn seems to be your normal Viking, doing normal Viking things like fighting her clan’s mortal enemies alongside her best friend. During the Aska and Riki’s normal fighting season, Eelyn sees something she can’t believe- her brother who has been dead for the past 5 years! Eelyn follows her brother (you know, just to make sure he’s not a ghost or something), and ends up being captured by the Riki. Now, Eelyn is a prisoner/servant in the house and tribe that her brother (who is- spoiler alert- actually alive!) is now a part of. Eelyn needs to escape, as soon as possible, so she can get back to her village, but somewhere along the way, she starts seeing the similarities between the Aska and the Riki. And then, she starts seeing the Riki as real people and not just as “the enemy.” Then, tragedy strikes both the Riki and the Aska and they have to see whether they can work together or have both of their clans wiped out.

When I started this book, like right at the beginning, I was a little worried that it was going to be one of those super hyped books that I ended up not liking, but like maybe 30 minutes into the audiobook, I changed my mind. I started actually connecting with the characters and I couldn’t stop listening! This was my first ever book about Vikings and now, let’s be real, I want all of the Viking books! The one thing I had a little bit of an issue with is the romance in this book. At some points, the only thing I could think of is Stockholm Syndrome…

Have y’all read Sky in the Deep? Did y’all like it?

All the Vikings, All the Time

Thank you so much to  nicolinesimone at copenhagencolours.wordpress.com for commenting on my post about Royals and voting for my next book review to be on Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young! Since I had already written a post about Legendary, I posted that one first, but I got started on my review for Sky in the Deep as soon as I saw the comment!

Sky in the Deep is one of those books that I’ve been looking forward to for a really long time. I first heard about it before yallfest last year, so probably late October or Early November of 2017. It was one of those arc drops that I couldn’t miss at yallfest, so I made sure that my friend Bee and I had built it into our schedules. I started reading it in December, but then I had like a rolling group of like 4 library books that always ended up having to take precedence over my arc for Sky in the Deep because, you know, due dates etc. Once it came out, I was able to actually read it by listening to an audiobook while driving to and from work. My total commute is only about an hour, so it’s not too bad, and listening to an audiobook while driving is one of my favorite things about having to commute to and from the office everyday!

As an aside, one thing I’ve learned about myself in the past few weeks of writing reviews is that I am REALLY bad at writing book summaries! I feel like I know exactly what’s going on it the book, so I get to writing, and then I get too distracted by little details and my summaries end up sounding pretty terrible… so if that happens here, definitely go check out the real summary for Sky in the Deep on Goodreads.

Sky in the Deep 4 star 4/5 Stars

This book deals with two rival Viking clans- the Aska (the clan from which our main character Eelyn is from) and the Riki. Eelyn seems to be your normal Viking, doing normal Viking things like fighting her clan’s mortal enemies alongside her best friend. During the Aska and Riki’s normal fighting season, Eelyn sees something she can’t believe- her brother who has been dead for the past 5 years! Eelyn follows her brother (you know, just to make sure he’s not a ghost or something), and ends up being captured by the Riki. Now, Eelyn is a prisoner/servant in the house and tribe that her brother (who is- spoiler alert- actually alive!) is now a part of. Eelyn needs to escape, as soon as possible, so she can get back to her village, but somewhere along the way, she starts seeing the similarities between the Aska and the Riki. And then, she starts seeing the Riki as real people and not just as “the enemy.” Then, tragedy strikes both the Riki and the Aska and they have to see whether they can work together or have both of their clans wiped out.

When I started this book, like right at the beginning, I was a little worried that it was going to be one of those super hyped books that I ended up not liking, but like maybe 30 minutes into the audiobook, I changed my mind. I started actually connecting with the characters and I couldn’t stop listening! This was my first ever book about Vikings and now, let’s be real, I want all of the Viking books! The one thing I had a little bit of an issue with is the romance in this book. At some points, the only thing I could think of is Stockholm Syndrome…

Have y’all read Sky in the Deep? Did y’all like it?

4 Reasons Why Legendary by Stephanie Garber NEEDS to be Your Next Read

OMG Legendary is one of my top favorite books this year and I just can’t get over it! I really liked Caraval, but Legendary is next level.

Legendary 5 star 5/5 Stars

Here are the top 4 reasons why you absolutely HAVE TO read Legendary ASAP!

1) The Fates– I’ve read lots of books where the fates/fate plays a pretty integral part of the story, but this is the first one that I’ve read where the Fates are tied in with Tarot Cards. I’m a sucker for Tarot Cards- I think card reading and fortune telling is really cool and so much fun (even if it isn’t real at all). Seeing them tied together the way they were was a fun new twist.

2) Dante– Ah Dante, my love. Even though he didn’t really come off as an amazing character in the first book (and he definitely had his faults in the second book), I still really loved Dante in this book. He was funny at points, sweet at other points, and a giant douchebag at times. The interplay between him and Tella was really well written. It was always fun to have a wild Dante appear (Pokémon reference, anyone?) at any given point in time.

3) All the secrets– Do you like books with secrets? Where no one is telling everyone else everything? Well, let me tell you, EVERYONE in Legendary is keeping all the secrets. Everyone is keeping so many secrets, and having them come together at the end was great. And speaking of the end…

4) THAT ENDING– Holy crap that ending. Did I kind of see part of it coming? Yeah, but I definitely didn’t imagine that ending to really end up being what it was. Now, I really want Finale to be in my greedy little fingers ASAP (rather than, you know, May 28th of 2019).

Have you read Legendary yet? Were you as excited about it as I was???

We’ll Never Be Royals

Man, for some reason, weekends always kill me. I always have so many things to do, and I tell myself that I’m going to be super productive, but then I never actually get anything done! And then, of course, on weekdays after work and working out (you know, trying to be healthy and all that jazz…), I never have any motivation to get any of the things on my to do list done (like taking bookstagram pictures or writing up book blogs, or heck, even getting more reading done!).

I think one of the reasons that it’s so hard for me to get things done on weekends is that I always write my blog posts on my work computer, and I HATE opening my work computer up on weekends (or even after work on weekdays). I think that’s a sign I need to go ahead and buy myself a new personal laptop. The one I have right now is from back in 2011 when I started college and it won’t even turn on unless it’s connected to the charger and even then it’s so slow! I don’t really want to spend like $2k on a new laptop though (I only want a new macbook pro, so that’s why it’s going to be so expensive)- I’m trying to buy a house in the next year/ year and a half (#adulting) and spending $2k that I could be saving up for a down payment or for furniture is definitely not something I really want to do.

But enough about life/adult issues- time to talk about books! I’m super behind on writing reviews. I still need to write one for War Storm, One Dark Throne, Furyborn, Legendary, and Sky in the Deep, but today, I’m going to write about Royals by Rachel Hawkins. I’m a huge sucker for cute romances (but mainly only in the summer- I like more serious/heavy books in the fall/winter) and Royals was no different.

Royals 4 star 4/5 Stars

Daisy Winters is a normal 16 year old, well as normal as one can be with bright red hair (like Ariel from the Little Mermaid) and, you know, a sister who is about to marry the prince of Scotland. After the engagement, and some terrible publicity for the royal family because Daisy’s jerk of an ex-boyfriend, Daisy gets shipped off to spend the summer in Scotland where the royal family’s image consultant can keep an eye on her and… minimize the damage.

While in Scotland, not only is Daisy supposed to attend all sorts of upper class functions, she’s pretty much supposed to become an all together new person to do that. She’s supposed to become… normal and refined! That becomes even harder when Prince Alex’s (Daisy’s future brother in law) little brother Prince Sebastian and his crew of mischief makers come onto the scene. Prince Sebastian is not at all what Daisy expected. He’s rude, and honestly, kinda gross. His friend Miles on the other hand is definitely swoon-worthy. It’s time for Daisy to make the most of her royal summer in Scotland (and hopefully not destroy her sister’s relationship in the process)!

Overall, I really liked Royals! Was it realistic? Absolutely not, but that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t a super fun read! I understand why some people on Goodreads really didn’t enjoy it- none of the Scottish elements really 100% made sense and the names were very Americanized, but the story itself was super cute. I definitely recommend it if you’re looking for a fun, quick, and easy read!

Have you read Royals yet? What did you think about it?

What review should I write next? War Storm, One Dark Throne, Furyborn, Legendary, or Sky in the Deep?