Arc Review: One Dark Window by Rachel Gillig

Title: One Dark Window
Author: Rachel Gillig
Genre: Adult Fantasy
Publication Date: September 27th, 2022
Publisher: Orbit Books
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

“Elspeth Spindle needs more than luck to stay safe in the eerie, mist-locked kingdom of Blunder—she needs a monster. She calls him the Nightmare, an ancient, mercurial spirit trapped in her head. He protects her. He keeps her secrets.
But nothing comes for free, especially magic.
When Elspeth meets a mysterious highwayman on the forest road, her life takes a drastic turn. Thrust into a world of shadow and deception, she joins a dangerous quest to cure Blunder from the dark magic infecting it. And the highwayman? He just so happens to be the King’s nephew, Captain of the most dangerous men in Blunder…and guilty of high treason.
Together they must gather twelve Providence Cards—the keys to the cure. But as the stakes heighten and their undeniable attraction intensifies, Elspeth is forced to face her darkest secret yet: the Nightmare is slowly taking over her mind. And she might not be able to stop him.” (Goodreads)

What a wild book this was!

This book is told from one point-of-view and it comes from Elspeth but there are flashbacks here and there to explain more about the shepherd king and rhymes that correlate with the magic system which is done by providence cards. Basically, they are like tarot cards. I loved all of the tales surrounding the cards as they were fun to read and gave me a bit more on what to expect from them. Elspeth has grown up with keeping a lot of secrets for her own safety as well as those she is close with, like her family. It must have been tough because the ruling king seems kind of ruthless and as you get to know one of the princes you realize he is to.

Elspeth is strong-willed and wants to do what is right, but she can also be impulsive which can cause a lot of chaos. I would say that in ways she can be morally grey and the thing living inside her head definitely is. The nightmare is something else and I loved the conversations they had!

The other characters in the book were just as interesting, even if some had smaller parts. I never once thought, “ugh, it’s this person again”. Even though the ruthless prince has personality, not always in a good way but he sure knows how to liven up a party! A lot of the characters have the same goal in common but it’s getting there that is different.

My least favorite part was the romance. It’s not bad per say and I did enjoy it a lot, but the build-up kind of sped up and then they were definitely in love. I do like the guy that Elspeth is interested in and their banter was cute so I’m not really going to complain that much, haha.

There were so many plot twists when it came to the plot and I was hear for every single one! They had my jaw dropping and the author killed me with that ending. I knew something was going to happen but let me down easy. It came full force!

I loved the magic system and thought that it was very unique. Nothing I have ever read before and I think it was done well. I understood it from the beginning and that’s something that doesn’t always happen when reading fantasy.

Overall, this was a fantastic book and I can’t wait for the sequel!

Audiobook Review: The Liar’s Crown by Abigail Owen

Title: The Liar’s Crown
Author: Abigail Owen
Genre: YA Fantasy / Romance
Publication Date: August 30th, 2022
Publisher: Entangled: Teen
Rating: ⭐⭐

Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for a complimentary earc to review! All opinions are my own.

“One born to rule. One to forfeit…
Everything about my life is a lie. As a hidden twin princess, born second, I have only one purpose—to sacrifice my life for my sister if death comes for her. I’ve been living under the guise of a poor, obscure girl of no standing, slipping into the palace and into the role of the true princess when danger is present.
Now the queen is dead and the ageless King Eidolon has sent my sister a gift—an eerily familiar gift—and a proposal to wed. I don’t trust him, so I do what I was born to do and secretly take her place on the eve of the coronation. Which is why, when a figure made of shadow kidnaps the new queen, he gets me by mistake.
As I try to escape, all the lies start to unravel. And not just my lies. The Shadowraith who took me has secrets of his own. He struggles to contain the shadows he wields—other faces, identities that threaten my very life.
Winter is at the walls. Darkness is looming. And the only way to save my sister and our dominion is to kill Eidolon…and the Shadowraith who has stolen my heart.” (Goodreads)

The blurb made me really interested but talk all over bookstagram is what got me to request the audiobook for this one from Netgalley. The audiobook is very well done and I like the narration. It was easy to tell the characters apart. The downside is that this book just didn’t do it for me.

The book is told from one point-of-view and it comes from Meren. She is a twin and is used as a body double for her sister who is the true queen-to-be. Body doubles always intrigue me and so I was happy to see this done again. I thought this part of the plot was well done. Although Meren has a sister, I didn’t fully believe in their bond. They were hardly ever together and even though she talked about protecting her it felt that she was more concerned about the love interest.

The love interest was a no go for me. Meren was simping hard right from the get-go. “Oh, he kidnapped me! But, he does so much good! He is a hunk. Oh darn, I shouldn’t feel that way about him.” Nope. Nope. Nope. I do not like. Don’t get me started with him only calling her princess for the first half of the book. 🤦‍♀️ It felt more like insta-love than enemies-to-lovers.

Some of the characters have magic and I thought that they were cool powers. I liked the shadow magic the best and was intrigued by that.

I can’t say that I ever connected with any of the characters and that really dwindled the ability to ever connect to the story overall.

Unfortunately, this one wasn’t for me but it may be for you!

Book Review: Crimson Reign (Blood Heir #3) by Amélie Wen Zhao

Title: Crimson Reign (Blood Heir #3)
Author: Amélie Wen Zhao
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication Date: March 1st, 2022
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

“The Red Tigress, Ana Mikhailov, has returned to Cyrilia, but the country she once called home has fallen under a dark rule. Across the land, the Empress Morganya is tightening her grip on Affinites and non-Affinites alike. Ana dealt a blow to the Empress when she and her allies turned back Morganya’s troops in Bregon, but she couldn’t stop Morganya from gaining possession of the last remaining Bregonian siphon: a dangerous new weapon with the power to steal Affinities.

Ana’s forces are scattered, and her tenuous alliance with the Cyrilian rebel group, the Red Cloaks, is becoming more frayed by the day. What’s worse, she’s lost her Affinity to blood and without it, Ana barely knows who she is anymore–or if she has the strength to defeat Morganya.

Morganya’s reign of terror is close to crushing the nation Ana was born to rule. And now Ana will finally face the sinister empress, but will she survive? Will anyone? And will her Empire welcome her back to the throne, or turn her out to survive on her own.

The Affinites and Non-Affinites of Cyrilia will determine Ana’s future, if Morganya doesn’t kill her first.” (Goodreads)

Since book two was a mixed bag for me I was very wary when starting this one. Although there were things that I definitely liked more in the last book than book two, it still didn’t give me the love I felt for the first book in the trilogy.

The book is told through multiple point-of-views just like book two. I understand continuing this into the final book as there are a lot of times where the main characters are not together. I get the distance but it is also one of my biggest gripes. Since there is supposed to be a relationship between Ramson and Ana it just felt very meh to keep them a part for long and then to have some big plot twists that involved them when they finally made it back together was just not the right choice for me. It’s fine to up the ante but it just was my least favorite thing. There are also times that the characters dialogue felt too similar to others and it was hard to differentiate the two.

There is a lot of action because of the war going on which made the book easy to get into. I liked the action but, and this is a big but, some of the fights against powerful people felt so lackluster! I just really hates when that happens.

I know that I have said a lot of complaints and you are probably wondering why I still liked it, lol. Well, it does wrap up the trilogy nicely. There are no loose ends and I thought it ended well.

Overall, it was good and at least I can write off one more series to finish from my list!

Top Ten Tuesday: Books to Read If You Love YA Fantasy (11/16/21)

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 Books to Read If You Love/Loved and then pick whatever. I am doing YA Fantasy because it’s what I read a lot of! Here are my top recommendations for the genre.

1.) The Traitor’s Circle by Erin Beaty

2.) The Winner’s Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski

3.) The Caraval Trilogy by Stephanie Garber

4.) The Bone Charmer Duology by Breeana Shields

5.) Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

6.) The Glass Alliance Trilogy by Joanna Hathaway

7.) The Kinder Poison by Natalie Mae

8.) An Ember in the Ashes Quartet by Sabaa Tahir

9.) Dark Shores series by Danielle L. Jensen

10.) Beneath the Haunting Sea by Joanna Ruth Meyer

What’s a book/series off this list you would try based on the cover? Have you read any of these?

Let me know in the comments below!

Find me on Instagram / Goodreads

-Joanna TheGeekishBrunette (1)

August 2020 TBR: Update!

 

Hello Lovely Bookworms!

I figured I would update on how my tbr is going. So far, it’s going, haha. I did read and listen to other things that weren’t on this list but they will be in my monthly wrap-up!

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New Releases:

  • Set Fire to the Gods by Sara Raasch and Kristen Simmons
  • Star Daughter by Shveta Thakrar
  • Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer

I finished them all! The only one I really liked was Midnight Sun. The others were okay and did have good moments but I wasn’t immersed in them.

Audiobooks:

  • The Queen’s Rising by Rebecca Ross
  • The Queen’s Resistance by Rebecca Ross
  • For a Muse of Fire by Heidi Heilig
  • A Kingdom for a Stage by Heidi Heilig
  • Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody
  • King of Fools by Amanda Foody

I ended up DNFing The Queen’s Rising at 25%. It was really slow and I just wasn’t interested. So, I obviously won’t be continuing on to the second one.

The other audiobooks on this were ones I had on my shelf and have been on my tbr for even longer than this list. After rereading the blurbs and looking at some reviews, I decided to not read them. Maybe I’ll look into them at some other time but I have also become too much of a mood reader. 😂 Plus side, there is less books on my shelves. 🤷‍♀️

Arcs:

  • The Quantum Weirdness of the Almost-Kiss by Amy Noelle Parks
  • Ten Rules for Faking It by Sophie Sullivan
  • Mistletoe and Mr.Right by Sarah Morgenthaler
  • A Golden Fury by Samanatha Cohoe
  • Cast in Firelight by Dana Swift
  • Spoiler Alert by Olivia Dade
  • Fractured by Shay Siegel
  • Tempest Cursed: A Wuthering Heights Retelling by K.C. Lannon
  • From Fire and Shadows by J.F. Baptista
  • Road Out of Winter by Alison Stine
  • Slingshot by Mercedes Helnwein
  • Thomas Wildus and the Wizards of Sumeria by J.M. Bergen

  • Simmer Down by Sarah Smith
  • Sing Me Forgotten by Jessica S. Olson
  • The Flipside of Perfect by Liz Reinhardt
  • Amelia Unabridged by Ashley Schumacher
  • The Lost Love Song by Minnie Drake
  • What’s Worth Keeping by Kaya McLaren
  • A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow by Laura Taylor Namey
  • Happy Single’s Day by Ann Marie Walker
  • Blazewrath Games by Amparo Ortiz
  • The Puppetmaster’s Apprentice by Lisa DeSelm
  • Crazy Stupid Bromance by Lyssa Kay Adams
  • Well Played by Jen DeLuca
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Find me on Instagram / Goodreads

-Joanna TheGeekishBrunette (1)

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Enjoyed but Rarely Talk About

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Hello, Lovely 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 Books I Enjoyed but Rarely Talk About. Before writing this out I am literally trying to think, ha. Let’s see what I come up with!

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1.) Tiger Queen by Annie Sullivan

I really enjoyed this one when I read it as an arc last year! It had the perfect enemies-to-lovers relationship. Plus, it’s a standalone.

2.) The Deceivers by Kristen Simmons

This is seriously such a dramatic book but honestly, I’m here for it. The second book is just as good. Can’t wait for book three!

3.) LifeL1k3 by Jay Kristoff

This series has been great! It’s different than most books I have read and enjoy the friendship and plot twists that any Jay Kristoff has.

4.) Beneath the Haunting Sea by Joanna Ruth Meyer

Anything by this author is pure gold! This is probably my favorite one. I love the brothers and one of them is so broody!

5.) Sanctuary by Caryn Lix

This sci-fi really surprised me! I wasn’t feeling at the beginning but when it took off I was hooked. I need to finish this series.

6.) Uprooted by Naomi Novik

I know that this one is usually a hit or miss for people but I really liked it. I enjoyed that the relationship didn’t take over the whole book and the main character is so strong.

7.) The Morganville Vampires by Rachel Caine

A series from my teen years! I never finished it back then so I am slowly making my way through this year. It’s got tons of drama and can be cheesy by oh well.

8.) Vampire Kisses by Ellen Schreiber

Another one from my teen years. This one has been dear to me since back then. I really related to the main character and I still enjoy this one as an adult.

9.) City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

This series! Spooky but oh so good! If you haven’t picked this series up, go do it!

10.) The Kingdom by Jess Rothenberg

This is a miss for some but I enjoyed this story and the thrill that came with the plot. The ending was so surprisng.

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And there you have it! I liked/loved all of these and would definitely recommend them!

What’s a book you love that you rarely talk about?

Find me on Instagram / Goodreads

-Joanna TheGeekishBrunette (1)

First Lines Friday (1/17/20)

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Hello Lovely Readers!

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!

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“War is not the story of generals, or even kings.
The sniper learned this long ago, that it is the smallest and most forgotten–by the ink headlines, by the march of history–who comprise its greatest ranks.”

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The book is….

 

 

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I had the opportunity to read the first book in this series as an arc last year and now again with the sequel. These first two lines are super gripping! I can’t wait to start it this month.

Have you read this book or any by this author?

Find me on Instagram / Goodreads

-Joanna TheGeekishBrunette (1)

A Pack of Blood and Lies: NetGalley Review

37531542Title: A Pack of Blood and Lies
Author: Olivia Wildenstein
Publication Date: April 30th, 2019
Rating: 4 stars

eARC provided by publisher through NetGalley

->Click for Synopsis<-

A Pack of Blood and Lies follows Ness as she returns to her hometown after her mother dies. One Secret Boulder keeps is that there are werewolves. Ness is one and since being absent her pack is all but inclusive especially because of her gender. As she vies for the alpha role, she must confront her past head on and the secrets that could change everything.

Ness is a girl who is strong and independent and her background has molded her into that. She is loyal and stands up for what she believes and doesn’t back down when times get tough. Even though she is cocky at times, her actions are always normal human responses and I appreciate her being so real. The banter between the younger pack members was wonderful and made me want to be a part of their bunch. The relationship in this book is your typical hate/love and it had its cheesy moments but I was all for it!

Going into this book I wasn’t sure what to expect and frankly I was pleasantly surprised. I love a good werewolf plot and this one did not disappoint. There were a lot of twists and even though a few were obvious, a couple of them took me by surprise. There is romance, murder, and unique family dynamics like the wolf packs.

Overall, it was a very enjoyable read and even when I took a break from reading I still kept thinking about the book and what could happen next. It drew me in and I literally can’t wait for the next book to see what the pack is doing. If you are a fan of Twilight or just enjoy a good werewolf romance then this is the book for you!

The Devouring Gray: NetGalley Review

36535913Title: The Devouring Gray
Author: Christine Lynn Herman
Publication Date: April 2nd, 2019
Rating: 4 stars

eARC provided by publisher through NetGalley

->Click for Synopsis<-

The Devouring Gray is about a small town called Four Paths which is surrounded by woodlands. The founders of this town have been keeping secrets and their children aim to figure out what is really happening in those woods and stop the deaths that keep happening in their town.

This book was not what I was expecting but in a good way. It is filled with a lot of secrets surrounding the founding family’s and their abilities along with what is creeping in the woods. The plot for this book leaves you wanting more and honestly I am always up for a good founding family’s story especially when there is supernatural abilities at work.

When it came to the characters, a few of them were a little flat but it didn’t keep me from taking a interest in them and they kept me engaged throughout each page. It was interesting, and sometimes surprising, to see how far certain characters would go when it came to the power struggle of the town and the drama surrounding the families. I am hoping there will be a second book because it left off on a cliffhanger and there are so many questions I have left unanswered when it comes to Isaac.

The supernatural abilities are different for each person and even family members have a different one which I thought was cool. A few of those abilities were used but I think we will see more done with them in the second book (crossing my fingers).

This book is filled with suspense, super-human abilities, and a gang of young teens trying to keep their town safe from an evil that dates back farther than their ancestors. If you are a fan of Stranger Things or like a bit of supernatural than this book is definitely for you.

 

Arc Review: The Girl King by Mimi Yu

Title: The Girl King
Author: Mimi Yu
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication Date: January 8th, 2019
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for a complimentary earc to review! All opinions are my own.

“Sisters Lu and Min have always understood their places as princesses of the Empire. Lu knows she is destined to become the dynasty’s first female ruler, while Min is resigned to a life in her shadow. Then their father declares their male cousin Set the heir instead—a betrayal that sends the sisters down two very different paths.

Determined to reclaim her birthright, Lu goes on the run. She needs an ally—and an army—if she is to succeed. Her quest leads her to Nokhai, the last surviving wolf shapeshifter. Nok wants to keep his identity secret, but finds himself forced into an uneasy alliance with the girl whose family killed everyone he ever loved…

Alone in the volatile court, Min’s hidden power awakens—a forbidden, deadly magic that could secure Set’s reign…or allow Min to claim the throne herself. But there can only be one Emperor, and the sisters’ greatest enemy could turn out to be each other.” (Goodreads)

The Girl King is about an empire thrown into mayhem when the oldest of two siblings decides that she will create her own fate no matter the cost, leaving the younger sister with the consequences of her older sister’s decisions.

The sibling rivalry was something I enjoyed because they didn’t really start off as rivals per say. Over the course of the book it builds and we get to see another side of the characters when everything begins to fall apart. The writing is wonderfully detailed as it adds depth to the world she surrounds us in. The one small thing I didn’t care for was the relationship building between two of the characters. It felt a little pushed but it’s such a minor thing that it didn’t make me love the book any less.

Filled with mystical beings, sibling rivalry, and secrets this book is nothing short of incredible. If you are a fan of Three Dark Crowns, Shadow of the Fox or just love fantasy, I would recommend this book. I have already ordered the UK version and a US signed copy because I love this book so much! I will anxiously be waiting for the second book. Seriously, if it isn’t on your TBR, add it!