Book Review

Review: A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy #1) by Deborah Harkness

ADOW

Rating: ☆☆☆☆ [truthfully some unknown number between 3 & 4]
Audience: Adult, a tiny bit of language, a few love scenes, lots of kisses & make-outs, some violence
Length: 579 pages
Author: Deborah Harkness
Publisher: Viking Penguin
Release Date: February 2011
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Deep in the stacks of Oxford’s Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell.

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I AM SO AT ODDS WITH THIS BOOK.

Okay y’all. The reason my star rating is “somewhere between 3 & 4” is because goodness gracious, I can’t decide what I feel about this book! Stay with me here. My thoughts may get scattered.

I definitely give points to the concept. I think it’s cool! It’s a different spin on Vampires, Witches and Daemons. Also, it spans such big time periods! I actually like that Matthew is 1500+ years old because there is so much to his background.

My issue stems from the fact that, generally speaking, I hate vampire books. I read (and enjoyed) the Twilight series, but after that I felt done. Since then, if I realize a book is about vampires it usually ends up on my DNF shelf with no remorse.

Matthew being a vampire didn’t ruin this book for me, but his dynamic occasionally bugged me. He felt too possessive, demanding, stubborn, stealthy, etc. Which then made Diana appear way too meek, submissive, and just an overall sense of: STAND UP FOR YOURSELF WOMAN.

While I felt their love story had truly good moments, the action of the book never heightened enough. I kept asking myself, was that all? Maybe that’s why I’m at odds. I kept reading expecting more, but never got it, yet enjoyed it, but also skimmed it, and this run-on sentence could just keep going. It was too long of a book, with a lot of side stuff that got in the way, so I sped-read through those bits to get to the heart of the novel.

I will pick-up the second book and reconvene here for a determination as to whether the third book is worth my time.

Book leans more towards adult, very very little language. Some kiss/make-out scenes. A few love scenes that are semi-descriptive. A bit of violence.

Book Review

Review: Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande

Being Mortal

 

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Adult, one curse word, no love scenes, or violence
Length: 282 pages
Author: Atul Gawande
Publisher: Metropolitan Books
Release Date: October 7th, 2014
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

 

BOOK SUMMARY:

In Being Mortal, bestselling author Atul Gawande tackles the hardest challenge of his profession: how medicine can not only improve life but also the process of its ending

Medicine has triumphed in modern times, transforming birth, injury, and infectious disease from harrowing to manageable. But in the inevitable condition of aging and death, the goals of medicine seem too frequently to run counter to the interest of the human spirit. Nursing homes, preoccupied with safety, pin patients into railed beds and wheelchairs. Hospitals isolate the dying, checking for vital signs long after the goals of cure have become moot. Doctors, committed to extending life, continue to carry out devastating procedures that in the end extends suffering.

Gawande, a practicing surgeon, addresses his profession’s ultimate limitation, arguing that quality of life is the desired goal for patients and families. Gawande offers examples of freer, more socially fulfilling models for assisting the infirm and dependent elderly, and he explores the varieties of hospice care to demonstrate that a person’s last weeks or months may be rich and dignified.

Full of eye-opening research and riveting storytelling, Being Mortal asserts that medicine can comfort and enhance our experience even to the end, providing not only a good life but also a good end.

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

MAKES YOU RECONSIDER.

While personally, death and all qualifying concepts still frighten me to some degree, I enjoyed the truths this book emanated.

Death is a hard conversation, and those right in the line of fire aren’t always getting the best that could be given them. NOT because of horrible doctors or anything to that affect [within regards to this book], just because, all of us are needing to learn how to ask the right questions. There’s so much more in those last few months of life that could be better handled if all of us approached it differently.

This book really opened my eyes to that line of thinking. What trade-offs are you willing to give for maybe a chance at having more time? We all will eventually have someone in our lives (or unfortunately, be this person) that wants to truly understand what’s happening. I feel marginally more prepared to handle these issues in the future. I appreciate Dr. Gawande’s take and how he addressed the topics and his own short-comings.

Hospice, assisted living, and other entities of this sort can be a lot more powerful when programs are appropriately provided and everyone understands the essence of care needed to help patients have the best day, they can at that moment.

A quick, thought-provoking read. One curse word was used. Appropriate for any audience comfortable with confronting the realities of mortality.

 

Book Review

Review: Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

Before We Were Yours

 

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Adult, no language, child violence/abuse/neglect, no love scenes
Length: 342 pages
Author: Lisa Wingate
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Release Date: June 6th, 2017
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

TAKES A LOT OUT OF YOU.

Oh this book. Oh my heart. WHY ARE PEOPLE THE WAY THAT THEY ARE? It’s one thing to completely fictionalize something, but it’s another to know that it’s a historical fiction.

CRAP LIKE THIS ACTUALLY HAPPENED.

Rill and her siblings are swept on the most horrible river of life. I was only moderately appeased by the end, because things yes, do end ‘well’, but then you remember once again all the trauma that they went through and it pulls on your heart strings again.

Be wary that this may be too much for some readers. Thankfully, things aren’t described in depth, but things are insinuated that makes you hug any small child you know tighter.

I enjoyed the perspective of Avery Stafford, but didn’t know if it was totally necessary. I felt it was more added to help give light to the shadows of the past which I do appreciate. There was just some bits that weren’t needed.

Better suited for someone a bit older, no language that I can recall. A lot of child abuse, neglect, and violence. No love scenes, a kiss.

Book Review

Review: When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

When Breath Becomes Air

 

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Teen+, a tiny bit of language, no violence, but does discuss death throughout
Length: 208 pages
Author: Paul Kalanithi
Publisher: Random House
Release Date: January 12th, 2016
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

READ THIS BOOK.

This is one of those books where I truly believe, everyone needs to read it. For what this book translated in 200 pages, I can’t even begin. I definitely shed a few tears upon finishing it.

The way Paul discusses his own life, and his thoughts/opinions on death really make you contemplate how you’re leading your own life. He never got to fully finish his novel, isn’t that how life feels sometimes?

I don’t have a lot to say because my heart is just bursting with how this book made me feel. Sometimes, that’s more important than a lengthy review.

Appropriate for all ages comfortable with the discussion of death and what makes life worth living. A tiny [tiny] bit of language. Touchy subjects, but needed subjects.

Monthly Wrap-Up

May Reading Wrap-Up!

INTERNET AT LAST.

I think we can all attest to the fact that moving sucks. We spent an entire weekend moving stuff, and we still have a lot to go before our rental is all cleaned out. I’m without internet until Monday so I literally drove to FOUR different locations to find free wi-fi that was working, and where I could plug in my computer. Holy cow.

FUN FACTS:

Number of books read: 6

Number of pages: 2,177

What I read this month…

A Court of Frost and Starlight (ACOTAR #3.1) by Sarah J. Maas

ACOFAS

Synopsis:

Feyre, Rhys, and their close-knit circle of friends are still busy rebuilding the Night Court and the vastly-changed world beyond. But Winter Solstice is finally near, and with it, a hard-earned reprieve.

Yet even the festive atmosphere can’t keep the shadows of the past from looming. As Feyre navigates her first Winter Solstice as High Lady, she finds that those dearest to her have more wounds than she anticipated–scars that will have far-reaching impact on the future of their Court.

It’s rare I give anything less than 5 stars for Maas related material, so no surprise here, but I was sitting at my door waiting for the mailman to drop this off. My review can be found here.

And I Darken (The Conqueror’s Saga #1) by Kiersten White

And I Darken

Synopsis:

No one expects a princess to be brutal. And Lada Dragwlya likes it that way. Ever since she and her gentle younger brother, Radu, were wrenched from their homeland of Wallachia and abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman courts, Lada has known that being ruthless is the key to survival. She and Radu are doomed to act as pawns in a vicious game, an unseen sword hovering over their every move. For the lineage that makes them special also makes them targets.

Lada despises the Ottomans and bides her time, planning her vengeance for the day when she can return to Wallachia and claim her birthright. Radu longs only for a place where he feels safe. And when they meet Mehmed, the defiant and lonely son of the sultan, Radu feels that he’s made a true friend—and Lada wonders if she’s finally found someone worthy of her passion.

But Mehmed is heir to the very empire that Lada has sworn to fight against—and that Radu now considers home. Together, Lada, Radu, and Mehmed form a toxic triangle that strains the bonds of love and loyalty to the breaking point.

Wasn’t a big fan of And I Darken. Also, wasn’t convinced to read the next one. If you think I should, leave a comment! I love to hear differing opinions. This review is here.

The Last Namsara (Iskari #1) by Kristen Ciccarelli

The Last Namsara

Synopsis:

In the beginning, there was the Namsara: the child of sky and spirit, who carried love and laughter wherever he went. But where there is light, there must be darkness—and so there was also the Iskari. The child of blood and moonlight. The destroyer. The death-bringer.

These are the legends that Asha, daughter of the king of Firgaard, has grown up learning in hushed whispers, drawn to the forbidden figures of the past. But it isn’t until she becomes the fiercest, most feared dragon slayer in the land that she takes on the role of the next Iskari—a lonely destiny that leaves her feeling more like a weapon than a girl.

Asha conquers each dragon and brings its head to the king, but no kill can free her from the shackles that await at home: her betrothal to the cruel commandant, a man who holds the truth about her nature in his palm. When she’s offered the chance to gain her freedom in exchange for the life of the most powerful dragon in Firgaard, she finds that there may be more truth to the ancient stories than she ever could have expected. With the help of a secret friend—a slave boy from her betrothed’s household—Asha must shed the layers of her Iskari bondage and open her heart to love, light, and a truth that has been kept from her.

Oh guys, I was totally smitten with this book. I LOVE DRAGONS. And it’s different than a lot of the YA (that I’ve at least) come across lately. I don’t think you’d be disappointed checking this one out. Review here!

Mirage (Mirage #1) by Somaiya Daud

Mirage

Synopsis:

In a star system dominated by the brutal Vathek empire, eighteen-year-old Amani is a dreamer. She dreams of what life was like before the occupation; she dreams of writing poetry like the old-world poems she adores; she dreams of receiving a sign from Dihya that one day, she, too, will have adventure, and travel beyond her isolated moon.

But when adventure comes for Amani, it is not what she expects: she is kidnapped by the regime and taken in secret to the royal palace, where she discovers that she is nearly identical to the cruel half-Vathek Princess Maram. The princess is so hated by her conquered people that she requires a body double, someone to appear in public as Maram, ready to die in her place.

As Amani is forced into her new role, she can’t help but enjoy the palace’s beauty—and her time with the princess’ fiancé, Idris. But the glitter of the royal court belies a world of violence and fear. If Amani ever wishes to see her family again, she must play the princess to perfection…because one wrong move could lead to her death.

PUT THIS ON YOUR TBR FOLKS. I graciously received this ARC from the publisher through Netgalley and was enamored by this story. It’s in space. That should convince you to check out the review here. Mirage will be out in August!

Glitter (Glitter #1) by Aprilynne Pike

Glitter

Synopsis:

Outside the palace of Versailles, it’s modern day. Inside, the people dress, eat, and act like it’s the eighteenth century—with the added bonus of technology to make court life lavish, privileged, and frivolous. The palace has every indulgence, but for one pretty young thing, it’s about to become a very beautiful prison.

When Danica witnesses an act of murder by the young king, her mother makes a cruel power play . . . blackmailing the king into making Dani his queen. When she turns eighteen, Dani will marry the most ruthless and dangerous man of the court. She has six months to escape her terrifying destiny. Six months to raise enough money to disappear into the real world beyond the palace gates.

Her ticket out? Glitter. A drug so powerful that a tiny pinch mixed into a pot of rouge or lip gloss can make the wearer hopelessly addicted. Addicted to a drug Dani can sell for more money than she ever dreamed.

But in Versailles, secrets are impossible to keep. And the most dangerous secret—falling for a drug dealer outside the palace walls—is one risk she has to take.

While I do think this cover looks cool, this book had me up in arms in disappointment. The plot played towards an interesting take, but I personally found it hysterically full of drama. Read my review because maybe this is up your alley! Just not mine.

To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

To Kill a Kingdom

Synopsis:

Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most lethal of them all. With the hearts of seventeen princes in her collection, she is revered across the sea. Until a twist of fate forces her to kill one of her own. To punish her daughter, the Sea Queen transforms Lira into the one thing they loathe most—a human. Robbed of her song, Lira has until the winter solstice to deliver Prince Elian’s heart to the Sea Queen or remain a human forever.

The ocean is the only place Prince Elian calls home, even though he is heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world. Hunting sirens is more than an unsavory hobby—it’s his calling. When he rescues a drowning woman in the ocean, she’s more than what she appears. She promises to help him find the key to destroying all of sirenkind for good—But can he trust her? And just how many deals will Elian have to barter to eliminate mankind’s greatest enemy?

I was in a book funk for a few days trying to pick out what to read next, then this showed up at my door! (I may have forgot that I ordered it, whoops). This book dragged me right out of that funk. I loved it! It was clever, Little Mermaid-esque and the love story was somehow slow enough for a standalone book. Find out more at my full review.

To end my saga,

My favorite book this month was ACOFAS (Mass, always. Guys why isn’t October after May?!). And my least favorite was And I Darken.

I’m currently reading Alexander Hamilton (yes, willingly). It’s actually pretty good and I am hoping to finish soon and write a full review. It is just SO LONG. SO VERY LONG. And tiny words. My attention span may be waning at this point.

Also I hope to pick back up my Instagram now that we’ve moved. I first have to organize 300 books though. How should I do it this time? Usually I do it by genre/hardbacks, but I’m leaning towards trying by author.

Happy reading!

Book Review

Review: To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

To Kill a Kingdom

 

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA, some language, a few kiss scenes, violence
Length: 342 pages
Author: Alexandra Christo
Publisher: Fiewel & Friends
Release Date: March 6th, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

SIRENS, AND PIRATES, AND SEA QUEENS OH MY!

I’m in a realllll mood for all things sea related. My book slump was fixed by this gem! It was devious and well written, and I kinda wish it was at least a duology because I wanted more.

I love that Lira kept up all of her sass and held her own among the 2-legged humans. Elian was so swoon-worthy and his band of friends had their own personalities.

While at times I thought it could’ve used a dash more action, for a stand-alone fantasy YA it worked really well. I was intrigued and enthralled. I was also impressed that the romance still felt [enough] like a slow-burn even though it’s only one book!

It was really cool to see the elements of The Little Mermaid as well. From Lira’s red hair, to the Sea Queen having tentacles, there was definitely some memorable parallels. But the darker edges to this novel make it even better.

Solid YA book, with some [not-distracting from the story] language. A few kissing scenes, and violence as the book portrays sirens vs. humans.

Book Review

Review: Glitter (Glitter #1) by Aprilynne Pike

Glitter

 

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: YA, touch of language, some violence/abuse, a love scene, kissing scenes
Length: 384 pages
Author: Aprilynne Pike
Publisher: Random House Books
Release Date: October 25th, 2016
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

DRUG-FUELED ROYALS.

I didn’t finish reading this book satisfied. The concept wasn’t as accomplished as it could’ve been. Or maybe I didn’t find it interesting that Danica was a drug Queen to everyone she knows [without them knowing].

The story played out the same as most. Evil King caught in a bind, a nobody girl who rises in power and a third-party guy who she’s actually in to.

I did find it unique and strange that this group of people live in the palace, Versailles, like it’s the norm. That’s an odd thing to happen, but what if it did happen? This was probably the part I liked best.

The conclusion was seen from a mile away and I found it hard to like most of the characters. Everyone is very self-involved and I was missing the empathy and compassion from a full-fledged personality.

A young adult book, with occasional “adult” phrasing (lots of mentions of breasts and decolletage). One love scene — vaguely detailed — and a few kiss scenes here and there.