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BOOK REVIEW: Lore by Alexandra Bracken

BOOK REVIEW: Lore by Alexandra BrackenLore by Alexandra Bracken
Purchase on: Amazon
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

From the #1 New York Times best-selling author of The Darkest Minds comes a sweepingly ambitious, high-octane tale of power, destiny, love and redemption.

Every seven years, the Agon begins. As punishment for a past rebellion, nine Greek gods are forced to walk the earth as mortals, hunted by the descendants of ancient bloodlines, all eager to kill a god and seize their divine power and immortality.
Long ago, Lore Perseous fled that brutal world in the wake of her family's sadistic murder by a rival line, turning her back on the hunt's promises of eternal glory. For years she's pushed away any thought of revenge against the man--now a god--responsible for their deaths.

Yet as the next hunt dawns over New York City, two participants seek out her help: Castor, a childhood friend of Lore believed long dead, and a gravely wounded Athena, among the last of the original gods.

The goddess offers an alliance against their mutual enemy and, at last, a way for Lore to leave the Agon behind forever. But Lore's decision to bind her fate to Athena's and rejoin the hunt will come at a deadly cost--and still may not be enough to stop the rise of a new god with the power to bring humanity to its knees.

*Note that these quotes come from an uncorrected eARC and are subject to change upon publication.*

Review
“I know my fate,” she whispered to him.
And I will change yours.


I’ll tell you what, Alexandra Bracken never ceases to amaze me with how well she writes. I may not always entire love the story, but writing wraps me up and has me feeling things throughout the entire span of the novel.

This one in particular was not exactly what I had expected….and that’s to say that I guess I didn’t even entirely know what to expect other than this was going to be pretty heavy on the Greek mythology. While I’m no expert by any means, I have always had an interest and appreciation for it and I am an AVID reader of Lore Olympus on Webtoon (sorry Castor, I have an unapologetic hate for Apollo from that, lol). So, that being said, even though I personally didn’t remember what every god and goddess stood for, or what great deeds each hero had accomplished, I really enjoyed doing my own research as each character arrived on the page. Even if I wouldn’t have, there is enough information and context clues that that wouldn’t have really been necessary, anyway. I’m just a tru librarian to my core and always need to know more, more, more.

“It’s a good thing, then,” Iro said with a small smile, “that neither of us has ever been afraid of a fight.”
She opened the door, only to turn back. “By the way, that sword has a name. Makhomai.”
I make war.

Lore smiled.


The biggest part of this story that I didn’t expect was just how fucking VIOLENT it was going to be. Now, I’ve talked about this a lot with Chelsea, and both of us has said that ever since we’ve had kids, we can’t read the same thing as we used to. This, I think????, was a prime example of this. Since it’s in the summary, I’m not spoiling anything by saying her family dies a brutal death. Now, this may sound bad but if It had just been her mom and dad, I think I could have been okay….but no. It was also her two LITTLE SISTERS. Not going to get into it because it makes me sick to my stomach even thinking about but I will just say that the sheer violence that continually crops up in this book is hard to read.

Bracken does not shy away from details and I could vividly picture each death, each cut, each blow. It just got to be a lot for me and that really took a little bit away from the story for me (honestly though I should have known better and prepared, Ancient Greek was savage and we all know it).

Alone. She was alone…
“Stay with me.” Lore let out a choked cry, sobbing for breath and relief at the crush of it all. Don’t leave me…
They didn’t.
She felt her family around her–the soothing touch of them, brushing her cheeks, wrapping around her center. And beyond them, the presence of unseen eyes.


Other than that though the only thing that tripped me up was the fact that in my head this wasn’t a standalone so I wasn’t picturing everything wrapping up so neatly at the end, lol. Also my bad.

ANYWAY, let’s get on to the good stuff. The characters. It shouldn’t surprise you when I say she wrote an excellent leading lady (Lore), a best friend I wish I had (Miles), and ~the~ love interest (Castor). Also many other great supporting characters, AND villains (hooooo let me tell you that betrayal fucking STUNGGGG), but the mains are my favorite of course. I do wish we could have gotten a little more of Lore and Castor…I don’t know…happy interacting in the present??? but I lived. Still many heart-pounding, butterfly inducing moments.

The story, as I said, wraps up neatly by the end and while I at first was like waittttt, this was too easy??? I’ve been thinking about it more and I’m like nooo, girl. Lore has seen SO MUCH death. She needed an ending like that. I also liked the ongoing mention of the Fates and the talk and dwelling on what people are fated to become and how fate can’t be changed and how Lore at the end finally thinks to herself “There was nothing fated. Lore had not been chosen for this; she had chosen to come here herself. Every step she’d made, every mistake, had led her here.” I just think that was such a HUGE moment for her to realize that her life DIDN’T have to be ruled by these crazy ass gods/goddesses or the Agon. She made her own decisions and could be the person that she chose to be. Ahhh gives me shivers just thinking about it.

So, overall. I did really enjoy this but sadly my tender heart can’t take the violence anymore and I had to take a star off. Totally a personal preference (but it does also make me wonder if this is really being marketing for YA lolll).

“You may be a god,” she told him, relishing the sight of his struggle. “But I’m the Persides.”


Huge thanks to NetGalley and Disney-Hyperion for allowing me to read an eARC of this novel in exchange for my honest feedback.♥

BOOK REVIEW: To Love and to Loathe by Martha Waters

BOOK REVIEW: To Love and to Loathe by Martha WatersTo Love and to Loathe by Martha Waters
Purchase on: Amazon
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

The author of the “hilarious...joyful, elegant” (Publishers Weekly, starred review) To Have and to Hoax returns with an effervescent, charming, and swoon-worthy novel about a man and woman who never agree on anything—until they agree to a no-strings-attached affair in this Regency-era romp.

The widowed Diana, Lady Templeton and Jeremy, Marquess of Willingham are infamous among English high society as much for their sharp-tongued bickering as their flirtation. One evening, an argument at a ball turns into a serious wager: Jeremy will marry within the year or Diana will forfeit one hundred pounds. So shortly after, just before a fortnight-long house party at Elderwild, Jeremy’s country estate, Diana is shocked when Jeremy appears at her home with a very different kind of proposition.

After his latest mistress unfavorably criticized his skills in the bedroom, Jeremy is looking for reassurance, so he has gone to the only woman he trusts to be totally truthful. He suggests that they embark on a brief affair while at the house party—Jeremy can receive an honest critique of his bedroom skills and widowed Diana can use the gossip to signal to other gentlemen that she is interested in taking a lover.

Diana thinks taking him up on his counter-proposal can only help her win her wager. With her in the bedroom and Jeremy’s marriage-minded grandmother, the formidable Dowager Marchioness of Willingham, helping to find suitable matches among the eligible ladies at Elderwild, Diana is confident her victory is assured. But while they’re focused on winning wagers, they stand to lose their own hearts.

With Martha Waters’s signature “cheeky charm and wonderfully wry wit” (Booklist, starred review), To Love and to Loathe is another clever and delightful historical rom-com that is perfect for fans of Christina Lauren and Evie Dunmore.

Review

THIS BOOK WAS SO GOOD I’M OBSESSEDDDDDD.

Okay….As you may remember, I had been sent a link to an e-galley for To Have and To Hoax late last year and almost passed it up because I had never read a historical romance before. Long story short I picked it up on a whim, devoured it in a day and have since went back to read different passages over and over again.

When I found out that this book was being written, I prowled the author’s social media pages and NetGalley/Edelweiss for the day that I would be able to request this baby. BY SOME MAGIC I was approved right away and got down to business.

What I found was that I now completely swear by Martha Waters. I will read literally anything she puts out and you can quote me on that. I mean come on. Not only do I love her writing and characters and stories but she is ALSO a librarian. At this point we’re basically kindred spirits, lol.

But in all honesty, this book was just…..so, so good. I really thought that not much could top her first book but this one truly did. While that one featured a second chance romance where the couple basically played a game with one another to get the other to notice again, and that sort of thing can be really appealing….it can also be kind of frustrating. We as the reader are getting both sides of their stories so we KNOW that they love each other still and we KNOW that what they’re doing is so silly and pointless but until they both come to terms with that, we’re just at the mercy of them getting their heads out of their asses.

THIS ONE THOUGH…..ahhhhh….”enemies” to lovers. This trope will forever hold a special place in my heart. As we saw in To Have and to Hoax, Diana, the young widow who is close friends with Violet, has bet Jeremy, Marquess of Willingham, and James’s good friend 100 pounds that he will get married within a year. The two have forever been “at odds,” always at each others throats with a quick witticism or jab to be thrown into what could easily have been a civil conversation.

One day, Jeremy comes to call on Diana with a most embarrassing issue. After sleeping with a married man’s wife, he had been accused of certain shortcomings within the bedroom and proposes that Diana with her no-bullshit attitude (and the fact that she’s a widow) might help him figure out if there was any truth to the woman’s angry words. She reluctantly agrees seeing as that might open the door for her to future lovers (and maybe partly because she MAY have always thought him to be extremely attractive). It all goes down during a country house party that Jeremy has every year.

Between their STEAMY AS HELL encounters, Diana trying to set him up with one Lady Helen (who seems deplorable but also….maybe not?), us learning more about the “true” Jeremy…there was no lacking in ANYTHING. It was funny, it was emotional, it was hot, it gave me butterflies. I loved every single page, paragraph, and sentence of this book and am now pining for more, more, more. Martha, please tell me that we get an EmilyxBelfry book, a SophiexWest book, and maybe even one for Penvale??? I’ll all eyes and ears, lol. 🙂 100% would recommend.

Huge thanks to NetGalley and Atria Books for a change to read this eARC in exchange for an honest review.

BOOK REVIEW: The Other Side of the Sky (The Other Side of the Sky #1) by Amie Kaufman, Meagan Spooner

BOOK REVIEW: The Other Side of the Sky (The Other Side of the Sky #1) by Amie Kaufman, Meagan SpoonerThe Other Side of the Sky (The Other Side of the Sky #1)
by Amie Kaufman, Meagan Spooner
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

New York Times bestselling author duo Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner have crafted a gripping tale of magic and logic, fate and choice, and a deadly love. Perfect for fans of Laini Taylor and Brandon Sanderson.

Prince North’s home is in the sky, in a gleaming city held aloft by intricate engines, powered by technology. Nimh is the living goddess of her people on the Surface, responsible for providing answers, direction—hope.

North’s and Nimh’s lives are entwined—though their hearts can never be. Linked by a terrifying prophecy and caught between duty and fate, they must choose between saving their people or succumbing to the bond that is forbidden between them.

Review

As soon as I saw that Kaufman and Spooner were coming out with another book/series together, you better believe I marked it as to-read/I NEED immediately and requested it as soon as I saw it pop up on Edelweiss. At this point, I’ve read just about everything by the both of them together and with other people as well. There’s something about the way they balance both memorable, heart-pounding romance AND death and destruction that really just ~gets~ me.

This one, though, was definitely one of the most unique…As the title suggests, our two main characters, North and Nihm, come from literally the opposite ends of the sky from one another. Nihm is a living goddess on earth and North is a prince in a floating land in the sky. Both as equally as important to their own people as they are to hopefully saving the entire human race.

What really got me here was the mix of fantasy and science fiction. You see, while Nihm’s people have gods and goddesses and practice magic, up above in North’s land it’s all about science. When he falls to the Surface and meets Nihm, he is skeptical for any kind of magic she uses and is constantly trying to reconcile it for some kind of advanced chemical reaction. In most books of this nature, it’s either one or the other. The people either have magic or do not or they either live in some kind of advanced futuristic setting and have this crazy gear that we could only hope to see here on earth some day. The mix of the two was so intriguing and it made for some really good points of conflict between the two.

Other than that though, I found the characters (as always with these two writers) to be extremely likable and memorable. I think I liked Nihm more just because she was so BA and cared for her people so much. That’s not to say North didn’t, I just felt like there was *more* to Nihm in this book. I really liked the romance between them too–the connection they felt. Sometimes something like that can feel too rushed or too cheesy but I thought it felt extremely real in this one. ANDDD can we just talk about the deliciousness of them not being able to touch?! I mean I did want them to be able to and for us to get a good kiss scene in this one but I think it’s almost better that they didn’t to draw it out even further?!?!?!

Finally, I am so intrigued by the prophecy and who it was really referring to and who the other cloudlander is….I of course do have a theory. 🙂 Very ready for book 2!

Huge thanks to Edelweiss and HarperTeen for allowing me to have an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest reivew!

BOOK REVIEW: Lies & Lullabies (Hush Note #1) by Sarina Bowen

BOOK REVIEW: Lies & Lullabies (Hush Note #1) by Sarina BowenLies & Lullabies (Hush Note #1)
by Sarina Bowen
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Summer nights and star-crossed lovers! From USA Today bestselling author Sarina Bowen.

Once upon a time, he gave me a summer of friendship, followed by one perfect night. We shared a lot during our short time together. But he skipped a few crucial details.

I didn’t know he was a rock star.

I didn’t know his real name.

Neither of us knew I’d get pregnant.

And I sure never expected to see him again.

Five years later, his tour bus pulls up in Nest Lake, Maine. My little world is about to be shattered by loud music and the pounding of my own foolish heart.

Review

I’m not gonna lie, I tend to avoid the rock star trope because that scene really isn’t my type of thing. I do however, love anything and everything that Bowen writes so I figured why not give this a chance. Just like with all of her other books, the characters are what truly draw you in. Jonas and Kira are no different. Jonas meets Kira when he decides to take a summer away from it all in quiet Nest Lake, Maine. He gives her a different name, John, to keep some anonymity and they bond over her cooking. While the two try their best to keep it to a friendship (he having just gotten out of a toxic relationship and she having gone through a rape) we all know how the story goes….

Five years later he’s back, not even expecting to see Kira again and gets the surprise of a lifetime.
Let me tell you, it is so funny to me the kinds of stories you grow to like and dislike based on what season of life you are in. I used to never like any romances that had an unexpected pregnancy or child involved but here we are now, with two kids of my own, totally being fine with both of those things. This hasn’t been the first book I’ve read where the Hero leaves and comes back years later only to find out they’ve left behind not only their Heroine, but a baby besides. Sometimes it’s a pretty unbelievable situation that pisses me off but honestly that wasn’t really the case with this one. With Jonas being a rock star and with the things Kira had gone through in her past (and him not returning her letter) I don’t find it hard to believe that she had kept things quiet about Vivi. Is it incredibly sad that Jonas missed out on FIVE years of her life? Extremely. But that’s how things went and as we all know, we can’t turn back time.

I liked the flashbacks of Jonas and Kira meeting, getting to know each other, and the making of Vivi (lolllllll). I liked how simply they knit themselves back together and how quickly Jonas took to having a daughter even though he initially was thinking he was not father material. While this isn’t a TOP favorite of Bowen’s, I did thoroughly enjoy and sped through it in a few days. Her writing is just one of those comfortable things at this point that makes me happy and it was exactly what I needed!

P.S….I NEED to know more about Nixon…..
Huge thanks to Tuxbury Publishing LLC for the chance to read this eARC in exchange for my honest opinion! ♥

BOOK REVIEW: The Hunter and the Mage (The Raven and the Dove #2) by Kaitlyn Davis

BOOK REVIEW: The Hunter and the Mage (The Raven and the Dove #2) by Kaitlyn DavisThe Hunter and the Mage (The Raven and the Dove #2)
by Kaitlyn Davis
Purchase on: Amazon
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Return to the world of The Raven and the Dove, where winged people rule the skies, a lost kingdom lives at sea, and two star-crossed lovers hold the fate of each in their palms. Perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas, Sabaa Tahir, and Leigh Bardugo!

A mage written in prophecy…

When Lyana wakes in the Sea of Mist, adventure is the first thing on her mind. But between her unruly new magic and an unyielding young king, the world below comes with more responsibility than she ever dreamed. An entire civilization exists within the fog, and its survival depends entirely on her.

A hunter forged in blood…

Adrift at sea on a ship full of strangers, Rafe fights to cope with his new reality. He'll do anything to return to the sky and the people he left behind. When a surprising offer comes his way, he instantly accepts, sparing no time to consider the consequences.

Loyalties are tested and an ancient war begins anew…

With rebellion in her heart, Cassi defies her king and befriends the prince she's been ordered to kill. Oblivious to the threat, Xander welcomes her into his inner circle, determined to rescue his mate. As one works to help and the other to hinder, an ancient enemy stirs, forcing Cassi to choose between trusting the man who broke her heart and turning her back on everything she's ever known.

Review

Damn. DAMNNNN. I found and devoured book one via NetGalley in March and I was DELIGHTED when Kaitlyn reached out, asking if I would be interested in reading and reviewing the second book. At this point in my life, I feel like I’ve read thousands of books, traversed a thousand skies and lands, and lived through the eyes of thousands of characters. There have been many similarities, how could there not have been? So when I come across a book that feels completely new, I pay very close attention. This story is one of those instances.

There’s an entire world with floating islands, each hosting a different kingdom home to a different race of bird people (I mean that sounds weird when I word it like that but really it’s just the type of wings those people have, lol). They fear magic and when they find any of their people with it, they either kill them out right or rip off their wings and throw them over the ends of their lands (messed up, right???). They think that magic represents and is given by a god that all of them fear and that he lives below their lands in the mist that hides dragons and other terrible things.

In that first book we discover that that is NOT the case. There is an entire world of people down there without wings, where magic is NOT a crime and where the people live in that perpetual mist just trying to survive. Their King, Malek, has been working his entire life to find the queen of a prophecy who is supposed to help him save the world.

This book is broken up below and above the mist in the POVs of Lyana, Rafe, Malek, Xander, Cassi, and a new character, Brighty. Getting to know more about the world below the mist was soooo intriguing and seeing Lyana come into her power was so amazing. She might honestly be one of my favorite heroines of all time. She’s just so fucking bad ass and GOOD. Malek on the other hand got on my shit list for MANY different reasons. Rafe. Oh sweet baby Rafe, you tortured soul. I just love him. I love Cassi’s strength and her budding relationship with ~a certain someone~ and was so glad when she finally was able to tell people her secrets.  Xander is just also such a pure soul and I cannot WAIT to see him as a King some day for his people.  Seeing him react to Cassi treating him like a normal, strong person was everything.  Overall it’s just such a memorable cast of characters and I am dying to find out more about new developments with the prophecy and the lands above the mist and relationships and EVERYTHING.

The writing is so damn good. It had my heart beating wildly on so many different occasions, especially towards the end. I need moreeeeeee!

Huge thanks to the author for letting me get my hands on this early in order to shout out my honest thoughts and opinions to the world

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