Goodreads Monday: The Color of Dragons by R.A. Salvatore & Erika Lewis

Hello Readers!

Goodreads Monday is hosted by Lauren’s Page Turners. To participate, choose a random book from your TBR and show it off.

Title: The Color of Dragons
Authors: R.A. Salvatore & Erika Lewis
Genre: YA Fantasy / Retelling
Publication Date: October 19th, 2021
Publisher: Harper Teen

“A sweeping, action-packed, romantic pre-Arthurian tale of the origins of magic (and Merlin) by powerhouse adult fantasy author R. A. Salvatore and Erika Lewis, perfect for fans of The Falling Kingdoms and Seraphina

Magic needs a spark.

And Maggie’s powers are especially fickle. With no one to help her learn to control her magic, the life debt that she owes stretches eternally over her head, with no way to repay it.

Until she meets Griffin, the king’s champion infamous for hunting down the draignochs that plague their kingdom.

Neither has any idea of the destiny that they both carry, or that their meeting will set off a chain of events that will alter every aspect of the life they know—and all of history thereafter.

Perfect for fans of Goldenhand and The Girl of Fire and Thorns, this epic, romantic tale from New York Times bestselling author R. A. Salvatore and debut author Erika Lewis will enchant readers and draw them into a thrilling world of star-crossed lovers, magic, destiny, and the paths we choose. (Goodreads)

I found this one on Goodreads the other day. I have been wanting to read a book by R.A. Salvatore and have one on my shelf but haven’t got to it yet. This one looks really good though!

Does this one sound like something you would read?

Find me on Instagram / Goodreads

-Joanna TheGeekishBrunette (1)

Weekly Update (5/8/21)

Hello Lovely Bookworms!

Happy Mother’s Day!

This weekend I have been away to visit the in-laws once again. It’s been nice to see them once again and my daughter always loves to go. This also means I haven’t read much over the weekend but I am happy with my progress for The Burning God. I try to read 10% but sometimes end up reading a bit more because it’s just so good! I think it’s my favorite of the trilogy.

Other than that, still playing videogames and helping my daughter with learning so she is ready for Kindergarten. I don’t want to believe she is that age yet.

This coming week should be a smooth week. I need to get more housework done when I get back but that is just an everyday thing, haha.

I hope you all have been having a fantastic weekend! ❤

  • Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones (audiobook) ⭐⭐⭐
  • The Tragedy of Dane Riley by Kat Spears (arc) ⭐⭐
  • Sunny Song Will Never Be Famous by Suzanne Park (arc) ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Tell Me When You Feel Something by Vicki Grant (arc) ⭐⭐⭐
  • Fae Captive (Tangled Fae #2) by Sarah K.L. Wilson ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Fae Nightmare (Tangled Fae #3) by Sarah K.L. Wilson ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • The Burning God (The Poppy War #3) by R.F. Kuang
  • Castle in the Air (Howl’s Moving Castle #2) by Diana Wynne Jones (audiobook)
  • Red Wolf by Rachel Vincent (arc)
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How was your week? Did you do anything fun over the weekend? Read anything good this week? Let me know in the comments!

Find me on Instagram / Goodreads

-Joanna TheGeekishBrunette (1)

Book Review: The Poppy Way by R.F. Kuang

Title: The Poppy War
Author: R.F. Kuang
Genre: Adult Fantasy / Historical Fiction
Publication Date: May 1st, 2018
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

“A brilliantly imaginative talent makes her exciting debut with this epic historical military fantasy, inspired by the bloody history of China’s twentieth century and filled with treachery and magic, in the tradition of Ken Liu’s Grace of Kings and N.K. Jemisin’s Inheritance Trilogy.

When Rin aced the Keju—the Empire-wide test to find the most talented youth to learn at the Academies—it was a shock to everyone: to the test officials, who couldn’t believe a war orphan from Rooster Province could pass without cheating; to Rin’s guardians, who believed they’d finally be able to marry her off and further their criminal enterprise; and to Rin herself, who realized she was finally free of the servitude and despair that had made up her daily existence. That she got into Sinegard—the most elite military school in Nikan—was even more surprising.

But surprises aren’t always good.

Because being a dark-skinned peasant girl from the south is not an easy thing at Sinegard. Targeted from the outset by rival classmates for her color, poverty, and gender, Rin discovers she possesses a lethal, unearthly power—an aptitude for the nearly-mythical art of shamanism. Exploring the depths of her gift with the help of a seemingly insane teacher and psychoactive substances, Rin learns that gods long thought dead are very much alive—and that mastering control over those powers could mean more than just surviving school.

For while the Nikara Empire is at peace, the Federation of Mugen still lurks across a narrow sea. The militarily advanced Federation occupied Nikan for decades after the First Poppy War, and only barely lost the continent in the Second. And while most of the people are complacent to go about their lives, a few are aware that a Third Poppy War is just a spark away . . .

Rin’s shamanic powers may be the only way to save her people. But as she finds out more about the god that has chosen her, the vengeful Phoenix, she fears that winning the war may cost her humanity . . . and that it may already be too late.” (Goodreads)

Edit: I have finished my reread and still enjoyed it just as much! Even though I knew there would be some harsh things to read about (CW: Rape/Gore/Violence) I didn’t realize how much it would still cause me to cringe.

I don’t usually read much adult fantasy because its hard for me to find ones that I actually enjoy. I have heard mixed reviews for this book but I went with my gut and went for it! It was the best decision because it blew my expectations out of the water and left me needing more.

Rin comes from a troubled past. She is an orphan of war, helps her foster family with their drug business, and now they want to marry her off. She is determined to not make that her fate and starts studying for a test that if she passes will lead her to a military academy. There, she meets some really interesting characters and gets swept away into war, hatred, and power not from this world.

Rin doesn’t want to be like the other girls in her village. She doesn’t want to marry and instead forges her own path. As she becomes a woman, there is talk of her menstruating and a lot of books are doing this which is great because it is a natural function of the body and makes the characters more relatable. Because of her menstruation she also makes a decision which has some consequences later down the road.

One of my favorite characters from this book was Jiang the master of lore at the military academy. He was a bit on the weird/crazy side and did drugs which at times made him hilarious. Although he added comedic relief at times, he was a very important character and tried to ground Rin when her emotions would get the best of her.

The plot was nothing I had imagined and at times I wondered why it was fantasy. There wasn’t much talk of the gods they used to worship or magic in general but as I kept reading it finally appeared and we are introduced to shamans. It was refreshing to see them as there aren’t many books with shamans that I have personally read. There is also political issues and even the social hierarchy were poor is deemed as bad. This book is filled with war and it doesn’t shy from the gruesome reality of it. A times it was hard to read about what the soldiers did to villages and cities but it is supposed to make you uncomfortable and realize that although this is fiction, things that can happen in the real world.

Overall, I loved this book. It is gripping and full of humor, loss, and the tragedies of war. Rin is a strong and emotional character and I can’t wait to see where her story leads in the next book.

Arc Review: Lucky Girl by Jamie Pacton

Title: Lucky Girl
Author: Jamie Pacton
Genre: YA Contemporary
Publication Date: May 11th, 2021
Publisher: Page Street Kids
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for an arc to read in exchange for a review!

“A hilarious and poignant reflection on what money can and cannot fix

58,643,129. That’s how many dollars seventeen-year-old Fortuna Jane Belleweather just won in the lotto jackpot. It’s also about how many reasons she has for not coming forward to claim her prize.

Problem #1: Jane is still a minor, and if anyone discovers she bought the ticket underage, she’ll either have to forfeit the ticket, or worse…

Problem #2: Let her hoarder mother cash it. The last thing Jane’s mom needs is millions of dollars to buy more junk. Then…

Problem #3: Jane’s best friend, aspiring journalist Brandon Kim, declares on the news that he’s going to find the lucky winner. It’s one thing to keep her secret from the town, it’s another thing entirely to lie to her best friend. Especially when…

Problem #4: Jane’s ex-boyfriend, Holden, is suddenly back in her life, and he has big ideas about what he’d do with the prize money.

As suspicion and jealousy turn neighbor against neighbor, and no good options for cashing the ticket come forward, Jane begins to wonder: Could this much money actually be a bad thing?” (Goodreads)

I’ve never read a book about a character winning the lottery but I really enjoyed this unique plot!

Fortuna Jane, but goes by Jane, has won big money from a lottery ticket she bought spur of the moment. This causes her to go into panic mode as she decides what to do with it but more importantly, how she will even get the money if she isn’t eighteen.

I enjoyed getting to know Jane and the life that hasn’t been easy for her. Even though it’s been five years since the death of father, it can still be a hard thing to process. I have never lost a parent but I do know grief from losing my grandmother. Death sucks. I think Jane handles it well but her mother is another story since she decides hoarding is the best medicine. This not only impacts her mother but it also affects Jane as she has to live in a house filled with everything that her mother collects.

Jane is also going through the emotions of a past break-up as her ex comes back into the picture suddenly. This type of situation can definitely take a toll. Been there multiple times! It was easy to relate to her as she maneuvered through it all. Besides her friend being in a relationship and talking to his girlfriend, who is also friends with Jane, there isn’t much when it comes to romantic relationships and honestly, I love books like this where a character doesn’t have to fall in love to find themselves. I also liked seeing a great relationship between a boy and girl who are friends and good ones at that! Bran is such a good guy.

Besides hoarding, this book also deals with the outcome of winning a lottery and what money/greed can do to people. It talked about “the lottery curse” but it also talked about how money can be used for good. I liked seeing both sides of the coin and it all gave Jane a better perspective to make her decision on what to do. It also doesn’t help that she has a close group of people to help her along the way.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. It was a unique plot with important topics that was easy to read as I finished it in one sitting, haha.

E-Arc Review: The Life and Deaths of Frankie D. by Colleen Nelson

Title: The Life and Deaths of Frankie D.
Author: Colleen Nelson
Genre: YA Fantasy / Magical Realism / Contemporary
Publication Date: May 11th, 2021
Publisher: Dundurn

Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for an earc to read in exchange for a review!




Could a hundred-year-old circus sideshow be the key to Frankie’s mysterious past?

Seventeen-year old Frankie doesn’t trust easily. Not others, and not even herself. Found in an alley when she was a child, she has no memory of who she is, or why she was left there. Recurring dreams about a hundred-year-old carnival sideshow, a performer known as Alligator Girl, and a man named Monsieur Duval have an eerie familiarity to them.

Frankie gets drawn deeper into Alligator Girl’s world, and the secrets that kept the performers bound together. But a startling encounter with Monsieur Duval when she’s awake makes Frankie wonder what’s real and what’s in her head.

As Frankie’s and Alligator Girl’s stories unfold, Frankie’s life takes a sharp twist. Are the dreams her way of working through her trauma, or is there a more sinister plan at work? And if there is, does she have the strength to fight it?” (Goodreads)

I was intrigued by this one because of the title and the cover. Both are just really enticing. I did like certain aspects of this book but there were also a lot that I didn’t like or they just felt rushed which is why this book ended up not being one that was for me.

The first thing that didn’t work for me was the labeling of this book. It is labeled as YA but I think that the target genre is more Middle Grade. This is just how the writing style is and I don’t think there is anything wrong with it. I do think that someone in the Middle grade would really enjoy this over a teen.

The book is split into past memories and present time. I always like double timelines so this was fun to see.

I did enjoy seeing where Frankie’s story took her. There was a lot of mystery surrounding her and this circus she kept dreaming about. That part easily pulls in a reader. The thing is, I just think there were too many topics put into the plot and some of them just didn’t get fleshed out enough because of the length of the book. The ending also was rushed and I just hate when that happens.

Overall, it was okay but it just wasn’t for me.

WWW Wednesday (5/5/21)

Hello, My Lovely Bookworms!

This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and is now hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

It consists of answering these three questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

I’ve barely started the audiobook for Castle in the Air (Howl’s Moving Castle #2) by Diana Wynne Jones. I am going to try to make a dent in it today.

I started The Burning God (The Poppy War #3) by R.F. Kuang. I’m only 20% into it and only reading about 10% a day since it’s a long book and although I’m enjoying it I’m trying not to get burned out from long books, haha.

I’ll be starting Fae Captive (Tangled Fae #2) by Sarah K.L. Wilson. I finished the first as a reread a couple months ago and this will be a reread as well before I get to the last three books that will be new to me.

  • The Tragedy of Dane Riley by Kat Spears (arc) ⭐⭐
  • Sunny Song Will Never Be Famous by Suzanne Park (arc) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

If I like my current audiobook I will continue on with House of Many Ways (Howl’s Moving Castle #3) by Diana Wynne Jones.

My next book will either be Fae Nightmare (Tangled Fae #3) by Sarah K.L. Wilson or Tell Me When You Feel Something by Vicki Grant (arc).

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What is your current read? Are you loving it? Have you read or want to read any that I have listed? Let me know in the comments!

Find me on Instagram / Goodreads

-Joanna TheGeekishBrunette (1)

Arc Review: Sky Breaker (Night Spinner #2) by Addie Thorley

Title: Sky Breaker (Night Spinner #2)
Author: Addie Thorley
Genre: YA Fantasy / Retelling
Publication Date: May 4th, 2021
Publisher: Page Street Kids

Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for an earc to read in exchange for a review!




Wicked Saints meets the Grishaverse in this stunning and relentless conclusion to the Night Spinner duology

Enebish has been deceived by everyone she once considered a friend. On the run across the tundra, her only allies are her best friend Serik and a band of ill-tempered shepherds. Her only hope of bringing peace to Ashkar is to unite the people of the Protected Territories and make a stand against the tyrannical Sky King and the hostile nation of Zemya. But that’s easier said than done. As supplies dwindle, the shepherds become far more desperate for food than freedom.

Meanwhile, Zemyan forces have stormed the Ashkarian capital. Imperial Army Commander Ghoa throws all of her power into a last-ditch effort to save her king, only to be abandoned by her fellow warriors. Held captive in a prison forged of magic and tortured by the zealous sorcerer Kartok, Ghoa learns his true ambitions lie far beyond the warring countries—he wants vengeance on the gods themselves.

The war between Ashkar and Zemya began centuries ago as a feud amongst the gods. Now it’s up to the two most hated people on the continent—the monstrous outcast, Enebish, and the notorious war criminal, Ghoa—to heal that spiritual divide before Kartok brings the skies crashing down on all of them.” (Goodreads)

After reading the first book last year, I knew I needed to get my hands on the second book! I loved the characters, especially Enebish and Serik.

Enebish is struggling a lot more in this one than the last book. A lot of damage was done to her trust from those who were close to her and in any situation like that, it’s easy to distance yourself from others. You don’t want to be hurt again and that is understandable. Been there, done that! It is easy to feel for her and connect with her again just like in book one. Enebish’s flaws are definitely on full display and cause rifts among those she is trying to help as well as with Serik.

Even though there is a lot of inner strife that she is dealing with, she still remains a strong character that will do anything to make things right again. Although, she can be quite stubborn about it.

As in the previous book, there is a bit of love interest between her and Serik. I thought the relationship would have more buildup but it remains a smaller plot point much like in the first book. There are a few scenes between them but most of their interaction is Serik being the voice of reason.

A few minor characters from book one are back but there are also many new faces. It was enjoyable to get to know the new cast and see how they would fit into the plot.

There is a bit of a difference between this book and the first and that is the dual point-of-view this time around. Ghoa was introduced in book one and had a lot to do with Enebish. I wasn’t sure at first how I would like this point-of-view since she wasn’t very nice before. Just like Enebish, she is fighting her own battles. She does get a redemption arc which I am not always a fan of, but it was done well and I didn’t dislike it. I am still not a huge fan of her but it was good to see her side of things and it does show that people can change.

Although the beginning of the book was a bit on the slower side, there are still many plot twists and action in the rest of the book to keep you going back for more. The plot wasn’t like anything I expected. There is a lot more about the magic system and religion as well as tying in important topics from our own world such as freedom and justice for everyone.

Overall, this was a really good conclusion for the duology. I will be sad to see these characters go but will be looking forward to any books this author writes in the future.

Top Ten Tuesday: My Ten Most Recent Reads (5/4/21)

Hello Bookworms!

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018.

Today’s prompt is My Ten Most Recent Reads. This will be an easy one since I usually write down what I recently read in my WWW Wednesday and Weekly Update posts. I don’t always get my reviews out right away so I will give a short paragraph of what I thought of it.

1.) Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

⭐⭐⭐

This one I didn’t have any expectations going in because I didn’t know much about it beforehand but now I’m kind of disappointed because the hype just wasn’t there for me. It was good just not great. I did like Sophie though.

2.) Luck of the Titanic by Stacey Lee

⭐⭐⭐

You can find my review here!

3.) The Secret Bridesmaid by Katy Birchall

⭐⭐⭐⭐✨

You can find my review here!

4.) The Ex Talk by Rachel Lynn Solomon

⭐⭐⭐

You can find my review here!

5.) Faking Reality by Sara Fujimura

⭐⭐⭐

I was excited for this one after reading another of her books but this one just fell short when it came to the romance and I just wasn’t able to connect with the characters. I did like that it centers around a HGTV show.

6.) The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

⭐⭐

This author just isn’t for me. I didn’t connect with the characters and didn’t like the romance.

7.) Witches Steeped in Gold by Ciannon Smart

⭐⭐⭐

This was good when it came to the world but I just never connected well with the characters. It wasn’t for me but I can see the good in it.

8.) The Wolf and the Woodsman by Ava Reid

⭐⭐⭐

There was good things about this but as the story went on I lost interest and didn’t believe the romance.

9.) Plot Twist by Bethany Turner

⭐⭐

Each chapter is the same day for 10 years. I didn’t connect with it and wasn’t a fan of the format.

10.) Bone Crier’s Dawn by Kathryn Purdie

⭐⭐⭐

This was a good ending to the duology but I was expecting a bit more. It was slower during certain parts and some romance moved too quickly for me.

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What was the last book you read? How did you rate it?

Let me know in the comments below!

Find me on Instagram / Goodreads

-Joanna TheGeekishBrunette (1)

Book Review: The Ex Talk by Rachel Lynn Solomon

Title: The Ex Talk
Author: Rachel Lynn Solomon
Genre: Adult Contemporary / Romance
Publication Date: January 26th, 2021
Publisher: Berkley
Rating: 3 stars

“Shay Goldstein has been a producer at her Seattle public radio station for nearly a decade, and she can’t imagine working anywhere else. But lately it’s been a constant clash between her and her newest colleague, Dominic Yun, who’s fresh off a journalism master’s program and convinced he knows everything about public radio.

When the struggling station needs a new concept, Shay proposes a show that her boss green-lights with excitement. On The Ex Talk, two exes will deliver relationship advice live, on air. Their boss decides Shay and Dominic are the perfect co-hosts, given how much they already despise each other. Neither loves the idea of lying to listeners, but it’s this or unemployment. Their audience gets invested fast, and it’s not long before The Ex Talk becomes a must-listen in Seattle and climbs podcast charts.

As the show gets bigger, so does their deception, especially when Shay and Dominic start to fall for each other. In an industry that values truth, getting caught could mean the end of more than just their careers.” (Goodreads)

I read this book with a friend from bookstagram. So far we have agreed on both of the other books although I did dnf the second book. She went on to finish it and liked it a bit more than her initial thoughts. As for this one, I will say we did agree but I think she would have rated it a bit higher than me.

After seeing a lot of talk about this book from the blog and Instagram world, I decided I wanted to give it a try. The premise was a seller as it seemed like an enemies-to-lovers and the idea of it being on public radio was intriguing. My initial thoughts from the first few chapters was good but I did hope it would get a bit better. I liked certain aspects more than others and had questions that were left unanswered but maybe that’s just me overanalyzing, haha.

The book has one point-of-view which comes from Shay Goldstein. Her mother is pretty present and some of the plot does talk about the loss of a parent (her father) and meeting someone after loss as her mother’s fiancée and his family also have scenes as well. It’s always nice to see families. Of course, the plot deals with Shay’s job as well at the radio station.

Dominic is someone I am still iffy about. I didn’t hate him but I also didn’t love him. I did like the interaction with his family and also wish I still had my Beanie Baby collection like he did, ha.

When it came to their relationship, I didn’t feel it. It felt like it moved quickly but also at the same time nothing physical happened until around the 60% mark. Before that physical connection there just wasn’t enough interaction between them to convince me. I also feel like the big moment that breaks every couple in every book was very dramatic on Shay’s part and I understand the frustration she must have been feeling but let the man talk before storming away. Communication is always key.

There is a bit of enemies-to-lovers but I would say that when they start working together the banter becomes more scripted and it ended that trope for me.

I did like the parts about grief as I can relate although instead of my dad it is because of my grandmother I was really close to. It felt like Shay used relationships as an emotional crutch to help cope with the loss and intern she would say “I love you” to all of her boyfriends sooner than they wanted which obviously made them all end. Her mom was on the show to talk about loss and finding love but I wish that there also would have been more focus on Shay’s issues with grief because instead of working on it Dominic just becomes the first to say it and mean it.

My only other complaint is that I wish there would have been more focus on the actual show than what was included. I was really expecting more.

Overall, it was good but I just expected more from it.

Goodreads Monday: A Knight for a Queen by Hannah B. Olsen (5/3/21)

Hello Readers!

Goodreads Monday is hosted by Lauren’s Page Turners. To participate, choose a random book from your TBR and show it off.

Title: A Knight for a Queen
Author: Hannah B. Olsen
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication Date: May 7th, 2021
Publisher: Wise Valley Press

Chara is Mittelan’s princess and last living heir.

Her war-ravaged country is just weeks away from surrendering control to Norrfalt through Chara’s arranged marriage to the enemy prince—unless she can somehow get to the borderlands and expose the treacherous plot forcing her down the aisle…

Elliot is a peasant boy and a formidable fighter.

His abusive stepfather has taken everything from him, but he’s got a plan to use his skills with a blade to earn back what is rightfully his…

Seeking a capable champion to guide her to the border, Chara disguises herself and enters the Woodland Games, a clandestine tournament where peasants fight for honor and glory—and hefty payouts. There, she discovers Elliot and persuades him to join her.

But as Chara’s deception spirals out of control, she and Elliot both must decide how far they are willing to go—and who they are willing to betray—in their intertwined quests for freedom.” (Goodreads)

I found this one on Bookstagram and it sounds so good! I am a sucker for a retelling so I can’t wait to read this eventually.

Does this one sound like something you would read?

Find me on Instagram / Goodreads

-Joanna TheGeekishBrunette (1)