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Jessica (HDB)

I'm a bookworm of the highest caliber! If you see me, I'll probably be reading. There's nothing I love more than finding a good book, and then sharing it with the world!

The Reckless Rescue (The Explorers #2) by Adrienne Kress

The Reckless Rescue - Adrienne Kress

Huzzah! Another excellent installment in The Explorers series! To say that I've been waiting eagerly for this book is an understatement. When last we left Evie and Sebastian, they had both grown so much as characters. They had struggled with their views of the world being thrown in chaos, come out the other side, and found themselves in situations that they never could have expected. If you missed my review of the first book, I'll quickly tell you that I loved it. I've been so ready for more, for so long.

This book did not disappoint! It starts with a bang as we find our characters on separate, but equally harrowing, journeys. I have to say, the amount of character growth that Adrienne Kress manages to fit into this second installment is admirable. Instead of leaving Sebastian and Evie at the level of that they achieved at the end of the last book, she pushes their limits even further. I loved watching Evie, our brave but still nervous heroine, learn to believe in her abilities. Equally so, watching Sebastian overcome his fear of being in the spotlight made me grin from ear to ear. There are so many lessons to be had in this story, but they never overpower the action and adventure on the pages. In fact, this book is beautifully balanced. I loved it for that.

As for the plot, there's a ton of forward movement in this story. We meet a new member of the Filipendulous Five, and find new clues in the mystery surrounding Evie's missing grandfather. We visit strange new lands, and dive further into the imaginative world that Kress has built. I'll admit, since I wasn't sure how many books will be in this series, I was worried that this story might suffer from middle book syndrome. It did not. It was fun, fast-paced, and full of wonder. As an adult reader, I was enhanted. I can only imagine how much fun the age group this book is aimed at will have!

Long story short, this book is wonderful. It's an excellent second installment to this series and, once again, I can't wait to see what happens next! If you haven't started adventuring with Evie and Sebastian yet, please do! There's a pig in a teeny hat waiting for you, and so much more.

Reading progress update: I've read 57%.

The Reckless Rescue - Adrienne Kress

I can't wait to settle in with this book this weekend and finish it up. It's so sweet, and just as exciting as the first in the series was! I'm a little sad I missed out on reading it before it published, because I so meant to give it all the hype. Best laid plans and all that.

Reading progress update: I've read 64%.

The Cleaner of Chartres - Salley Vickers

I'm actually enjoying this more than I expected to, which is fabulous. This book, and many like it on my reading list, are my effort to break out of my YA/Fantasy prison that I've built for myself. I keep taking suggestions from other readers on books that they love, and giving them a shot. So far I'm happy with this one!

 

Does anyone have any other recommendations of good Historical Fiction? I'd like to stay away from anything that deals with war time, or too much drama, since I'm still working my way out of a funk. I'll happily take anything you throw my way though!

Sync Summer is Back!

This week's offerings are live, and ready for snagging!

The Glass Spare by Lauren Destefano

The Glass Spare - Lauren DeStefano

Well, I liked this! A lot, in fact. I don't know if it's because I went in with barely any expectations, or if I'm just in the mood for this kind of book, but I can tell you that I totally enjoyed this whole story. Kudos to Destefano, seriously. I've been in a weird place with YA Fantasy lately and I feel like I'm just always setting myself up to dislike books. Hahaha. This one proved me beautifully wrong.

 

Cliffhanger ending was expected, but I definitely want the next book. 

Reading progress update: I've read 70%.

The Glass Spare - Lauren DeStefano

Well, I have to say that I'm actually surprised at how much I'm enjoying this book. I overlooked it when it first came out, because it looked like another cardboard cutout of the YA books that are popular right now. The library had it on their "available now" section though, and I was between audio books, so here we are.

 

I'm impressed with the character building so far, and with the addition of magic. I'm even impressed with the plot line so far, so that's a plus! Let's see where this takes me.

I need a time turner.

Seriously though, the only way I'll ever have time to do all the things that I want to do is to find a way to make time stretch. Ha. My ability for time management lately has been slowly deteriorating as work gets crazier, garden season has started, and somehow chores seem to multiply. I've got some time off coming up and, quite honestly, all I plan on doing during that time off is reading, eating, gardening and playing video games. Screw chores. Hahaha. I need me time.

 

The good news about work is that we're close to finishing the MASSIVE project that's been looming over our heads. The bad news is that once that project is finished, we'll be working double time to play catch up on all the work we've had to keep scooting aside for this one big thing. Ah well, that's the life of an office worker. Plus it keeps me in a job, which keeps me in money for books and video games. So I shouldn't complain.

 

I'll end this post with a Luna picture and go back to work. Today is so a wine day!

 

 

 

To Kill A Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

To Kill a Kingdom - Alexandra Christo

I actually really, REALLY enjoyed this book. It's written a bit like a fairy tale, and it just kind of flows into this beautiful climax. Even the ending is what I would have wanted to for this book, and that's saying a lot!

 

See how vague I'm being? Well, that's because I won't spoil anything that way. I went into this book with no expectations, and enjoyed it immensely. Happiness!

 

I do feel bad for whatever I read next though.

Isle of Blood and Stone by Makiia Lucier

Isle of Blood and Stone - Makiia Lucier

Isle of Blood and Stone is the first book in a new duology by Makiia Lucifer, and the first Historical Fiction book that I've read this year. As a genre that I don't normally dip into, it should be noted that I'm still getting my bearings in books like this. It makes my reading of them take a little more effort than most other things, but I'm enjoying the ride. Which is why the fact that Isle of Blood and Stone is heavier on the history than on the fiction/fantasy side of things made this a bit of a rough read for me. I'm on the fence on this one, and I'll explain why below.

 

The story drops the reader directly into a day in the life of one Lord Antoni, with little to no explanation of why. It took me a minute to figure out that he was an important mapmaker, and that he was somehow linked to the royal family. Once I'd finally settled in a bit, and the big reveal of the chapter happened, the book suddenly fast forwarded eighteen years. So, to say that I started this book with no footing is pretty accurate. It took me another four or five chapters after that to really settle in, and feel like I had my bearings enough to enjoy the story.

 

What's great about this book though is that the characters are actually really intriguing, once you get to know them. Reyna, who was studying to be a mapmaker herself and unknowingly sets things in motion, made me pay attention. Once the discovery of the maps that may have been made by Lord Antoni, after his supposed death, came to light I was fully on board. By the time that Elias came fully into the picture, and the quest began in earnest, I was more than ready to follow along to the end.

 

Unfortunately, this is a really slow building story. I mentioned above that it's heavy on the historical portion of things, and that's definitely an accurate assessment. Action is scarce, and descriptions abound. The reader is taken back to the times of court politics and intrigue, but not in the way that I'm used to in the fantasy books I generally read. It's very heavily described, rather than shown. While the mystery aspect of this was good, it took so long for things to establish, and then longer still for things to pick up, that I found myself wanting to skim forward. I was invested enough to want to know how things turned out though, so that's a good sign.

 

Did I mention that I was on the fence? On the one hand, the ending ties back into the beginning and brings the characters and the plot full circle. All of my questions were finally answered, and I felt pretty satisfied. On the other hand, it took so long for me to actually settle myself into my surroundings at the beginning that it made things feel really slow. I see the potential here, and I liked the book enough to want to see what happens next. I only hope that the next portion of this story has a bit more action.

The Way of the Shadows (Night Angel #1) by Brent Weeks

The Way of Shadows - Brent Weeks

I'm being generous in giving this a three star rating, mainly because the beginning of the story was actually rather good. Unfortunately, that doesn't last long. This story plays on every Fantasy trope out there. It spends too much time on graphic death scenes, and not nearly enough time on actual world building. It treats women like weak minded pawns, whose sole purpose is to either die violently or be love interests, to advance the plot. Or what little plot there is.

I love Fantasy. Nothing makes me happier than to get lost in a new world, with new rules, and hopefully with some magic. I need guidance though. The author needs to care as much about their world and the characters as I do. Weeks didn't make me feel like he was invested. So I never felt invested. Things moved along quickly enough that I finished this, but just barely.

So three stars for a strong start and an okay finish. I don't think I'll be moving on to the other books in this series.

Willing Victim by Cara McKenna

Willing Victim - Cara McKenna

So I've been busy and haven't pushed any reviews out over here for a while, although I've been trying to remember to type small ones in on GR through my phone.

 

This was a rec from the lovely Whiskey in the Jar because I needed an anxiety distraction, and BOY DID SHE DELIVER.

 

Flynn is pure goodness, y'all. This book is hot. Like, smoking hot. It does appeal to a very specific kink, so if you're not into that you might not like it. However I was so impressed at how well actual CONSENT is worked into this book. Anyone who says consent isn't sexy is a liar. Flynn proves that over and over, and it makes him all the hotter.

 

So yeah, thanks Whiskey! You're the best <3.

The Window by Amelia Brunskill

The Window - Amelia Brunskill

Well now, this was a pleasant surprise! I don't think I've read too many YA mystery novels, or if I have I don't quite remember them, so this was a nice place to settle in. My first thought is that Amelia Brunskill has quite a talent for pacing, which I'll expand on in a bit. The Window drew me in, and I ran through it so quickly that it actually surprised me. I love effortless reads, and this book definitely fits that bill.

Jess and Anna. Anna and Jess. The twin angle was a beautiful addition to this story, because of the even sharper contrast between their two personalities. The same on the outside, but so very different in all other aspects. I loved how Brunskill slowly unveiled Anna's thoughts and feelings, as Jess slowly dove further and further into her sister's life. I think it's such a truth that we never really know someone, even an identical sibling, as much as we think we did. For Jess, Anna's life is this enigma. It takes her death to change to that at all.

I usually hesitate to the use the phrase "compulsively readable", because it's one of those phrases that's tossed casually around the book world and shows up endlessly on covers. However, I can honestly say that this phrase applies to this book. Reading The Window is effortless. Maybe not content wise, since Jess' hurt is palpable and tough to read at times. Plot wise though, this book pulls you along in its wake. I found myself having to forcefully put this book down at bedtime, because I just kept wanting to know what would happen next. Brunskill has this beautiful slow burn going through this story. It gives you just enough to tempt you to the next chapter, and then does it all over again. I didn't mind one bit.

My only complaint, and the reason I gave this book 4 stars rather than 5, is the fact that it felt a bit anti-climactic to me. Now, again, I'm used to reading this genre in the more adult section of things. So I had to step back and remind myself that this book is written for a younger set of readers, and features a much younger protagonist. I had to point out to myself that many of the scenarios in other books I've read wouldn't play out in the life of a high school student. So, just take this as my personal preference more than anything. I enjoyed this book immensely. I powered through it like a madwoman. It just didn't hit that unforgettable mark that I look for in a 5 star book, and that's totally okay.

Long story short, read this. It's excellent.

Reading progress update: I've read 40%.

The Hazel Wood - Melissa Albert

Everyone is supposed to be a combination of nature and nurture, their true selves shaped by years of friends and fights and parents and dreams and things you did too young and things you overheard that you shouldn’t have and secrets you kept or couldn’t and regrets and victories and quiet prides, all the packed-together detritus that becomes what you call your life.

Reading progress update: I've read 20%.

The Hazel Wood - Melissa Albert

So far, this book is much more than I thought it would be. Well, that's not entirely accurate. I actually picked this book up without reading the synopsis because LOOK AT THAT COVER. Yes, it was a case of cover love. No, I'm not sorry. It's actually genuinely good so far.

 

I'm on a Fantasy kick again. I can't shake it. I'm going to assume it's because it's what I need to read right now, and just roll with it. 

Finally, finally finished.

Ink, Iron, and Glass - Gwendolyn Clare, Mike Heath

This book was painful to make it all the way to the end of, but I've already DNF'd so many books this month and this one was a request I actually made. So I powered through. It took me a month, but I finished.

 

It feels like Clare had a general idea of what she wanted to write, even a set of rough character sketches, and then never hammered it into anything solid. There were a lot of fabulous ideas here, but they were all over the place. Worldbooks are a really cool concept. The ability to create an entire world, simply by scribing it into one of these, sounded like something I'd normally fall in love with. The problem was that the descriptions only skimmed the surface. I never saw deeper than the idea itself, and that was the case for most of what is in this story.

 

Add in the fact that the pace feels maddeningly slow for most of the book, and then picks up in a mad rush to the end, and you have a book that drove me nuts. I never felt invested. Every time I thought sometime was starting to peak my interest, the book would meander away on a tangent and my questions weren't answered. Argh.

 

So 2 stars to this one, because I only 1 star books I didn't finish. Sorry book. Your cover was so promising.

FINISHED!

Boy's Life - Robert R. McCammon

I powered through this book, I tell you what. I kept waiting for small snippets of time to sneak in some listening, because I NEEDED to know what happens. Ugh. I need a physical copy of this book to hug. I loved every minute of it.

 

Someone should have told me not to listen to the end while I was getting ready for work this morning though. All the tears.