WWW Wednesday (4/14/21)

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 am reading The Roommate by Rosie Danan as a buddy read with a friend from bookstagram. I am only 24% into it but it’s definitely that I can tell isn’t for me. I’ll have a review for this one within the week when I finish it.

I am still listening to The Dragon Republic (The Poppy War #2) by R.F. Kuang. I am 73% of the way through it and should finish it today while I clean my house.

I am also working on Gilded Serpent (Dark Shores #3) by Danielle L. Jensen. I haven’t got very far since Sunday as the last two days have been quite busy.

None since my Weekly Update

My next read will be Bone Crier’s Dawn by Kathryn Purdie which I have in from the library. Since this is just a duology I will be able to write another series off my list!

The audiobook I will listen to next is My Epic Spring Break (Up) by Kristin Rockaway.

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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)

Top Ten Tuesday: Book Titles That Sound Like They Could Be Crayola Crayon Colors (4/13/21)

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 Book Titles That Sound Like They Could Be Crayola Crayon Colors. This is a very interesting topic and one that I have never thought of before! There are so pretty wild names for colors so this should be fun! Hopefully, haha.

1.) Tin

2.) Red Tigress

3.) Nightshade

4.) Black Dawn

5.) Midnight Sun

6.) Frozen Tides

7.) Splinters of Scarlet

8.) The Silver Chair

9.) Royal Blood

10.) A Touch of Gold

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What book do you think would make a great color for a crayon?

Let me know in the comments below!

Find me on Instagram / Goodreads

-Joanna TheGeekishBrunette (1)

Audiobook Review: Nyxia Unleashed (The Nyxia Triad #2) by Scott Reintgen

Title: Nyxia Unleashed (The Nyxia Triad #2)
Author: Scott Reintgen
Genre: YA Sci-fi
Publication Date: July 17th, 2018
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
Rating: 3.5 stars

Getting to Eden brought Emmett and his crewmates one step closer to their promised fortune. But surviving Eden may be the biggest reward of all.

Emmett Atwater thought Babel’s game sounded easy. Get points. Get paid. Go home. But it didn’t take long for him to learn that Babel’s competition was full of broken promises, none darker or more damaging than the last one.

Now Emmett and the rest of the Genesis survivors must rally and forge their own path through a new world. Their mission from Babel is simple: extract nyxia, the most valuable material in the universe, and play nice with the indigenous Adamite population.

But Emmett and the others quickly realize they are caught between two powerful forces—Babel and the Adamites—with clashing desires. Will the Genesis team make it out alive before it’s too late?” (Goodreads)

After liking the first book (although not a lot), I decided to continue on to the second as the cliffhanger of the last chapter had me intrigued about the continuation of the plot. As I mentioned previously in my review for the first, there isn’t anything groundbreaking about the plot when it comes to YA Sci-fi. I feel like its very surface level and even though the plot twists can be a bit shocking, everything else still remains quite average.

The sequel begins where the first book leaves off. Emmett is caught between a rock and a hard place due to the last situation he found himself in but he is still holding on to the promises of Babel.

I still haven’t fully connected to any of the characters but do understand the struggles of their family life or even what is to come. There is a lot of danger and they are risking a lot. There is a couple relationships that have formed but honestly, there isn’t much development to them so it’s hard to feel anything for it.

The setting is different as they are no longer on a ship but now they are on the planet. It was interesting to see the interactions between the teens and those born on the planet. There is information shared about the Adamite population here and there but I feel like there could have been more. Since it is also the planet where Babel mines the Nyxia I wish there would have been more information about it too. There has been talk about it’s abilities but not enough to ever fully grasp what it is exactly. It can be dangerous though and does cause an issue for the teen group.

There is always a lot of talk surrounding Babel and what their motives are. It’s not that I don’t care about their hidden agenda but the company just feels like so many others in sci-fi writing. It’s hard to be intrigued by it. I do like that they include a different point-of-view other than Emmett to help explain things a bit more.

Overall, it was good and a tad bit better than the first. It may sound like it’s not my thing but it isn’t bad, haha.

Goodreads Monday: Stalking Shadows by Cyla Panin (4/12/21)

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: Stalking Shadows
Author: Cyla Panin
Genre: YA Fantasy / Retellings / Gothic
Publication Date: September 14th, 2021
Publisher: Amulet Books

A gothic YA fantasy debut about a young woman striving to break her sister’s curse and stop the killing in her small French town

Seventeen-year-old Marie mixes perfumes to sell on market day in her small eighteenth-century French town. She wants to make enough to save a dowry for her sister, Ama, in hopes of Ama marrying well and Marie living in the level of freedom afforded only to spinster aunts. But her perfumes are more than sweet scents in cheap, cut-glass bottles: A certain few are laced with death. Marie laces the perfume delicately—not with poison but with a hint of honeysuckle she’s trained her sister to respond to. Marie marks her victim, and Ama attacks. But she doesn’t attack as a girl. She kills as a beast.

Marking Ama’s victims controls the damage to keep suspicion at bay. But when a young boy turns up dead one morning, Marie is forced to acknowledge she might be losing control of Ama. And if she can’t control her, she’ll have to cure her. Marie knows the only place she’ll find the cure is in the mansion where Ama was cursed in the first place, home of Lord Sebastien LeClaire. But once she gets into the mansion, she discovers dark secrets hidden away—secrets of the curse, of Lord Sebastien . . . and of herself.” (Goodreads)

I am really looking forward to this one and am happy I was approved on Netgalley. It’s not my favorite cover but I do like the sound of it and I am hear for gothic retellings.

Does this one sound like something you would read?

Find me on Instagram / Goodreads

-Joanna TheGeekishBrunette (1)

Book Review: Tiger Unbound by Evangeline Rain

Title: Tiger Unbound
Author: Evangeline Rain
Genre: Adult Historical Fiction / Romance
Publication Date: June 13th, 2020
Publisher: Indie Published
Rating: 2 stars

(Found on Kindle Unlimited)

“An action-packed romance set in ancient China.

The Zhao Kingdom was about to be invaded by the approaching army of the Wei Kingdom.

Rather than suffer the insult of a defeat, the King of Zhao chose to hang himself. Princess Zhao Xuan woke up to find that she was the only one left out of her family’s suicide plans. Refusing to abandon her people, the headstrong princess decided to pick up the mantle and meet Prince Wei Xing in the battlefield.

A duel for the fate of her kingdom.

An unexpected proposal.

A strained marriage to the prince of the enemy kingdom.

Could love help the unconventional princess survive the oppressive social structures which she had rebelled against her whole life?

Warning: This book depicts scenes of suicide and violence.” (Goodreads)

I saw the cover on Kindle Unlimited and immediately added it to my tbr. The blurb also had my attention too.

When I started reading it, it reminded me of Mulan and how she became a soldier. Xuan does it for different reasons but still resembles Mulan in the way she carries herself and what she likes to do.

Even though this had the makings for a great story, it fell short for a couple reasons.

The first reason it fell short was that the romance and start of the relationship happens very quickly. There is not enough time to get to know Xuan or the prince. He also seems too good to be true and I just didn’t like him that much.

The second reason is that the plot moves so quickly because it is a short book. I wish the author would have made the book longer so that there would have been more from the characters, romance, and world-building.

Overall, it was okay. I just needed more from it.

Weekly Update (4/11/21)

Hello Lovely Bookworms!

This week has been a week.

Every day felt like a Monday and the weekend has been the only thing that has gone right. Well, minus the rain when we were supposed to do yard work, haha.

I haven’t been listening to my audiobook much but I did get some reading done. I have enjoyed a couple YA Contemporary / Romance arcs! They did make me teary-eyed though, ha! But for good reasons.

Other than that, playing some videogames here and there as well as cleaning my house. It’s been pretty average when things are going right.

  • The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang (audiobook) 5 stars
  • Tarnished Empire (Dark Shores #0.5) by Danielle L. Jensen 5 stars
  • Bridge of Souls (Cassidy Blake #3) by Victoria Schwab 4 stars
  • The Return of the Sorceress by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (arc) 4 stars
  • XOXO by Axie Oh (arc) 5 stars
  • Kind of Sort of Fine by Spencer Hall (arc) 4 stars
  • The Dragon Republic (The Poppy War #2) by R.F. Kuang (audiobook)
  • Gilded Serpent (Dark Shores #3) by Danielle L. Jensen (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)

Audiobook Review: Nyxia (The Nyxia Triad #1) by Scott Reintgen

Title: Nyxia (The Nyxia Triad #2)
Author: Scott Reintgen
Genre: YA Sci-fi
Publication Date: September 12th, 2017
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
Rating: 3 stars

“What would you be willing to risk for a lifetime of fortune?

Emmett Atwater isn’t just leaving Detroit; he’s leaving Earth. Why the Babel Corporation recruited him is a mystery, but the number of zeroes on their contract has him boarding their lightship and hoping to return to Earth with enough money to take care of his family.

Forever.

Before long, Emmett discovers that he is one of ten recruits, all of whom have troubled pasts and are a long way from home. Now each recruit must earn the right to travel down to the planet of Eden—a planet that Babel has kept hidden—where they will mine a substance called Nyxia that has quietly become the most valuable material in the universe.

But Babel’s ship is full of secrets. And Emmett will face the ultimate choice: win the fortune at any cost, or find a way to fight that won’t forever compromise what it means to be human.” (Goodreads)

I haven’t read a sci-fi book in awhile and since this trilogy has been on my shelf for quite some time and the library had the audiobook readily available, I figured why not!

I have only read one other book by this author and it was a middle grade so I can’t really say much other than I do like his writing regardless of age catergory.

This isn’t a groundbreaking sci-fi that brings new elements to the table but it did have its good moments that kept me from being bored as I listened, Although, it did take a bit to actually get through the audiobook, haha. Not really the fault of the book but just me not wanting to listen to anything.

The book starts off with us being introduced to Emmett. There is a bit of backstory for him and as the plot continues more comes up about it as well as Babel who is in charge of the venture into space. Emmett comes from a poor family and his mother has cancer. It is one reason he is doing this competition so that she can have the best healthcare as well as money for their needs. It’s very admiring to want to do something so risky for others.

Not only does Emmett come from a tragic background, so does the other contestants. Each one either has a family member with cancer or come from a family with nothing. It sets up the stage for them all wanting to win no matter what the cost is. Some will really do anything to stay in.

My favorite character has to be Bilal. He is so nice and genuine about his actions. I love that he doesn’t let the competition go to his head and even forgives when I know I wouldn’t have.

Some similarities I have notices is the use of Babel or Eden in different sci-fi/dystopian books. I did see a question answered in why the author chose to use them and it brought more clarity and it also made me think a bit more as he said there is also the topic of mercy found within the book. Which there is a lot of examples for that, especially from Emmett.

The competition between the characters can be cutthroat and dangerous. There are instances were some of them get hurt quite badly and at times it does go into detail about the injuries they suffered. It’s not too graphic but it is there.

I can’t say I was blown away by the action in the book as it felt few and far between but does pick up more by the end. The ending is pretty intense and has me left with a lot of questions and wanting answers about Babel and even some of the other contestants. It’s hard to really know who to trust.

Overall, I did like this one even if it felt like other ya sci-fi books. The mystery of Babel and the planet they are leaving to still have me curious enough to continue on with book two. Hopefully things will pick up a bit.

Arc Review: The Prison Healer by Lynette Noni

Title: The Prison Healer
Author: Lynette Noni
Genre: YA Fantasy / Dark
Publication Date: April 13th, 2021
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

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

“Seventeen-year-old Kiva Meridan has spent the last ten years fighting for survival in the notorious death prison, Zalindov, working as the prison healer.

When the Rebel Queen is captured, Kiva is charged with keeping the terminally ill woman alive long enough for her to undergo the Trial by Ordeal: a series of elemental challenges against the torments of air, fire, water, and earth, assigned to only the most dangerous of criminals.

Then a coded message from Kiva’s family arrives, containing a single order: “Don’t let her die. We are coming.” Aware that the Trials will kill the sickly queen, Kiva risks her own life to volunteer in her place. If she succeeds, both she and the queen will be granted their freedom.

But no one has ever survived.

With an incurable plague sweeping Zalindov, a mysterious new inmate fighting for Kiva’s heart, and a prison rebellion brewing, Kiva can’t escape the terrible feeling that her trials have only just begun.” (Goodreads)

I had to sit on my feelings for awhile before writing this review.

There were a few things I liked about this book, but there were also many things that didn’t sit well with me. I have read dark fantasy before but this had so many triggers that honestly it left me not wanting to read it which made the book take longer to get through. Triggers contained in this book are Self-Harm, Child Abuse, Rape/Sexual Assault, Drug Abuse, and a good dose of violence.

Some of the triggers listed above are either quickly mentioned (self-harm/child abuse) or are continuous (rape/sexual assault being one). I feel like there was just too much going on with most of the triggers being there for shock value as some are just glossed over. I just don’t see the point in adding such topics if they aren’t going to be used in a meaningful way. If that makes sense.

Now, I have read fantasy before with hard topics but there was always light moments of laughter or cute romantic scenes to help break up the bad. If you are looking for that in here, keep looking.

Some may find the romance to be to their liking but there really isn’t much going on with it until way later into the book. There also isn’t too many scenes between them besides him being concerned for her. I still felt nothing. I liked the guy in the beginning but from other comments about this book, I just expected more from it.

As for the characters, it’s easy to feel bad for them. This setting is harsh. Kiva has lived in the prison for ten years. It’s definitely not a place I would want to be. Besides feeling bad, it was hard to connect with her in any other way or any of the other characters. I just felt the development for them lacked because there is a lot of hidden identities. Because of that, you don’t get to know the real them.

When it comes to the setting, you can see parallels from our own prison system. You can also see parallels to Auschwitz. I had seen a couple comments about it and went in trying to see if there were similarities. I then went to my husband and gave him phrases from the book (without telling him they were in a book) and he automatically thought if Nazis. I’m still thinking about how I feel about this so do with the information as you will.

The plot is filled with a lot of tropes and it can make the book very average. If I didn’t figure out the plot twist, I wasn’t surprised by it. The magic system is hardly talked about or even used. I didn’t learn much about the rebels until later on.At times the book is predictable and the pacing can be slow, especially the beginning.

I did like the writing style. I liked the past tense scenes to help tie everything in. There were times I did like the characters, especially Naari. The ending was pretty interesting and kind of makes me want to pick up the next book but honestly who knows if I will. I’m still deciding. The overall problem is that there was just too much bogging all of these things down.

Overall, it was okay. Maybe I am not the right reader for this book. I can’t say I would recommend this book due to all the triggers.

Audiobook Review: Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard

Title: Something Strange and Deadly
Author: Susan Dennard
Genre: YA Fantasy / Historical Fiction / Zombies
Publication Date: July 24th, 2012
Publisher: HarperTeen
Rating: 2 stars





New York Times bestselling author Susan Dennard adds a “never before in print” e-novella and a gorgeous new cover to the first book in the Something Strange and Deadly trilogy. Perfect for fans of Cassandra Clare’s Infernal Devices series.

Sixteen-year-old Eleanor Fitt’s brother is missing. After discovering the Dead are rising and wreaking havoc in Philadelphia, she knows that her brother is involved.

So Eleanor enlists the help of the Spirit-Hunters. This motley crew, hired to protect the city from supernatural forces, is after the necromancer who has been reanimating corpses. Their skills can save her brother. Yet as Eleanor spends time with the Spirit-Hunters and their handsome inventor, Daniel, the situation becomes dire. Now not only is her reputation at risk, but her very life hangs in the balance.

In Something Strange and Deadly, Susan Dennard weaves together beautifully imagined scenes of action, adventure, and vivid Victorian life to create an entertaining steampunk tapestry of humor, horror, and romance. Readers will be intrigued from the start.” (Goodreads)

After enjoying The Witchland series by this author, I decided to check out this one.

This wouldn’t be my usual read as anything that mentions zombies is a no-go for me. I am traumatized by them from my childhood and will have nightmares about them every few months. It’s not a fun life to live, haha. I also am not a huge fan of historical fiction but every once and while something like this piques my interest because it isn’t strictly historical fiction.

The sad thing is that I didn’t like this book. I found it to be okay and just left me feeling lackluster. I finished it only hoping something amazing would happen but it never did and plot twists felt predictable. 🤷‍♀️ I also never connected with Eleanor and kind of felt like the characters were very flat.

There was some romance thrown in, if you can call it that. I knew from the beginning it would be him but they didn’t interact a lot and if they did they would never see eye-to-eye. He would do a few nice things but it just never made me feel anything.

When it came to the undead and talk of the necromancer, I really wish there was more to it. Everyone just seemed so chill that where they lived was being overran by the undead. They had an alarm bell but still went on with their daily lives and even through parties. If that was happening today, you wouldn’t see me until the mystery was solved. I’ll have someone who doesn’t care do all my shopping for me. I also expected the zombies to be more menacing and actually doing what zombies do but they were very mild. I mean, as someone who doesn’t like zombies that’s fine but also if I am going to read something with my worst fear then make me scared to sleep! (I know I have problems. 😂)

Overall, it was okay but nothing stood out to me. It’s one of those books I will forget about it and I won’t be continuing on as I have no interest in doing so.

WWW Wednesday (4/7/21)

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 am listening to The Dragon Republic (The Poppy War #2) by R.F. Kuang. I am trying to listen to at least 18% a day so I can finish in the next 5 days since it is so long!

My current ebook is an arc called The Return of the Sorceress by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. I haven’t started it yet but it shouldn’t take long to get through because I believe it is a novella.

The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang (audiobook) 5 stars

Tarnished Empire (Dark Shores #0.5) by Danielle L. Jensen 5 stars

Bridge of Souls (Cassidy Blake #3) by Victoria Schwab 4 stars

I haven’t decided if I want to read or listen to The Burning God (The Poppy War #3) by R.F. Kuang. I may read it just to be able to jot down things since I haven’t read it before.

My next read will be Gilded Serpent (Dark Shores #3) by Danielle L. Jensen. I am really excited to start it after the cliffhanger of the prequel!

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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)