Thoughts On…| 80 Thoughts I Had While Reading Kingsbane

Friends, I just finished reading Kingsbane, the second book in the Empirium Trilogy, and

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OH.MY.GOSH. I HAVE ALL THE FEELS. I’m continuing my “Thoughts On” series that I started with Furyborn because I physically cannot write an actual review. All you need to know is this book will hurt you BADLY and that you will want it all because it is UH-MAZ-ING.

*THERE WILL BE SPOILERS* because I’m using this as a hardcore, much needed therapy sesh (it was that traumatizing). SO, continue on at your own risk. If you haven’t read this series, please come back when you’re caught up so you can join the support group with me Kal – @Reader Voracious and Jess – @Fiction No Chaser. We need more brains to collaborate with on theories!

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1. SIMON. Seeing 8 year old baby Simon is breaking my heart 😭

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2. I’m only on page 6 and I have questions. Who is the prophet? Do I know them? Probably…but who is it?!

3. Rielle laid out because she’s on her period is like the most relatable thing I’ve ever read.

4. “Nothing is more suitable than cake when you’ve been traveling for a month and your body feels like bruised mush.” Lololol yes.

5. “My light and my life.” OMG AUDRIC.

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6. The sun guard – 7 women strong…YES. So much yes.

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7. THANK GOD Eliana isn’t healing anymore. I was worried for a hot minute. (Cause like, that woulda been a half-angel baby and I would NOT have been okay with that.)

8. Not Navi 😭

9. If I were Rielle, I’d be pissed that Lu is always right and I’m always wrong. But that’s none of my business.

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10. Rielle, you are making it SO hard to like you right now.

11. Eliana saying her dress is too fine and fussy is me whenever I need to dress up and/or be profesh.

13. Eliana threatening to not save Commander what’s-his-name’s sorry ass the next time danger comes is a MOOD.

14. “Coming from you, a paragon of manners and etiquette, that means almost nothing.” LOL Zahra I am living for this SASS.

15. OMG Rielle is like ELSA.

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16. Rielle’s moods are honestly so relatable and now I know I could never be trusted to be a diplomat.

17. RIELLE, your Slytherin is getting too much into Draco territory and I DO NOT APPRECIATE IT.

18. WTF IS THIS PLOT TWIST. They were LYING to the angels THIS WHOLE TIME? Vengeance seems like the only option at this point.

19. So many Supernatural vibes! Zahra = Castiel, Angels hate humans for being “better”.

20. Also, why does it make me so happy that there are different worlds “beyond the fold” THE ANGELS NEED TO FIND THE HOME THEY DESERVE.

21. Rielle throwing a temper tantrum and throwing herself at the gate caused my eyes to roll so hard they almost got stuck.

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22. ALSO HOW DARE YOU TRAP ATHERIA. YOU WILL NOT BE FORGIVEN.

23. If this gate isn’t like Ganon being trapped in the void by the mages idk what is.

24. I’m literally starting a Zelda Game. A mix between Ocarina of Time and Twilight Princess. I’m here for this. ZOMG.

25. Jodoc is out here spitting truth bombs about Rielle instead of coddling her and I RESPECT THIS.

26. Eliana lives without magic her whole life and automatically knows how to fix her issues. Rielle lives in a world with magic her whole life and NO ONE THINKS OF THIS SIMPLE IDEA?

27. Corien chapters!? Yaaas.

28. Corien in a random frozen land drinking and talking to himself is Jack sparrow in Davy Jones locker

29. “Now that I’ve known a life with you by my side, I’m not sure I could bear that kind of loneliness again.” UGH, I LOVE YOU SIMON.

30. Simon: Yes my queen. Anything to please you. ME:

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31. “I need your passion, and you need something steady to come home to. An anchor, warm and sunlit.” THESE ARE THE DECLARATIONS OF LOVE I NEED IN MY LIFE.

32. “Every day I love her more deeply than I did the day before.” Omg Audric. You are giving Simon a run for his money.

33. Harkan chooses NOW to be a little b*tch?

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34. I NEED MORE SIMON CHAPTERS

35. “We will be there, with our army if strays, and we will be at her side, and we will not let her fall.” #Navi2020

36. “We are the light against the darkness, and we must continue to burn brightly, so others may find their way out.”

37. I’m so pissed at Harkan. I knew I didn’t like him.

38. Eliana talking about leading her life the way she sees fit and not having a man chose for her is a MOOD.

39. 👏🏼Corien👏🏼 Is👏🏼Using👏🏼You👏🏼 🙄🙄🙄

40. Rielle’s so conceited and I cannot with her stupidity right now.

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41. Oh, all of SLUDDEN Harkan wants Eliana to use her castings even though it’s HIS fault Corien found them.

42. Simon came for her! 😭

43. Corien is BURNING people and Rielle still helps him?!

44. OMFG NOT. REMY. HOW DARE YOU.

45. SH*T IS GETTING REAL. SIMON CAN TRAVEL AGAIN 😭

46. Rielle DOESN’T DESERVE ATHERIA!

47. Simon and Eliana sleeping underneath a tree is too precious.

48. “I’m tired of bearing the burden of you alone.” YOU GO TAL.

49. SIMON AND ELIANA FINALLY HAPPENED AND OMG I LOVE THEM.

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50. Corien and Lu really need some therapy sessions.

51. WHAT IS EVEN REAL AT THIS POINT?

52. OMFG AUDRIC KNOOOOWWWS. Amen to Rielle GOING DOWN.

53. Okay, so Audric and Rielle DEF need therapy too.

54. “I don’t love you…I refuse to love you.” “I know. I don’t love you either.” OMFG CUTEST AND SADDEST THING I’VE EVER READ IN MY LIFE.

55. RIELLE WHY ARE YOU SO DUMB?!

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56. Rielle is the Spongebob meme. Everyone: “Rielle, Corien is trying to break you.” Rielle: “CoRiEn Is TrYiNg To BrEaK mE.”

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57. WHY DOESN’T ANYONE TELL RIELLE THAT SHE IS F*CKING UP.

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58. Detective Devon ON THE JOB.

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60. JESSAMYN IS THAT YOU? WHERE DID YOU GO? *We are so inappropriate sometimes, but at least we’re funny.

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61. How is so much supposed to happen with 100ish pages left? I’M NOT PREPARED.

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62. RIELLE AND ELIANA JUST MET AND I AM LIVING BACK TO THE FUTURE. OMG.

63. Eliana just f*ucked up the timeline and I’m so confused with life. WHAT IS GOING ON?

64. Corien is such a tantrum-throwing man child. I love it.

65. Why does no one care about someone coming from THE FUTURE? Why isn’t this a bigger deal? I’m concerned.

66. The wedding just happened and I want to die happy even though I know I’m not.

67. Corien just broke Audric and why does this hurt so much?

68. This masquerade is GOING TO HELL. I should have seen it coming.

69. NO. No, no, no, no, no, no.

70. SIMON?! Are you seriously doing this to me right now?!

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71. WHAT IS EVEN GOING ON RIGHT NOW?

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72. THE DAD?! WTF? It’s always the offing parents. No f*cking way.
73. I just finished and I’m raging. I’VE NEVER FELT SO BETRAYED.

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74. You can’t just DO THAT, Claire. I refuse to believe this is happening right now.
75. Good day. Please send your favorite books to my funeral.

76. Honestly, this is worse than if Audric would have died at the end.

77. Days later…I’m still in denial. I don’t believe this is happening right now.

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78. I need to just start this series again to collect all the clues.

79. Seriously…if you want to join the mind map club PLEASE TELL ME.

80. I will never be over this. I can’t believe I was duped. #Deceased

Talk To Me

Have you read Furyborn or Kingsbane? Did you love it? Hate it? Will you be adding it to your TBR pile?

Top 5 Tuesday | Main Males

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Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the amazing Bionic Book Worm!

Today’s Top 5 is probably my favorite topic so far. I get to talk about my Book Boyfriends in ALL their glory and you are not prepared for how hard I’m about to fangirl. Please be warned that you will see a lot of all caps and text screaming as I share my love for these fictional men.

Jace Herondale from The Shadowhunter Chronicles

In case you didn’t already know, the #1 LOML is Jace Herondale. He first shows up in The Mortal Instruments and makes appearances in all of Cassandra Clare’s later books. He’s a sarcastic, half-angel warrior and I’m obsessed. If I have a book boyfriend type it’s the self-sacrificing hero with maximum-level wit & humor. He is also a fellow Gryffindor and I approve. See below for more evidence that Jace is an amazing, magical warrior-angel.

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Simon Randell from The Empirium Trilogy

Simon is a new addition to my favorite male leads list. He’s also my favorite Slytherin love. If you’re into moody, bossy heartbreakers who do whatever it takes to get their end game, you will love Simon. *Side note: I DIE for baby Simon. This series has some time travel involved and seeing Baby Simon transition to adult Simon GIVES ME LIFE.

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Nik Malikov from The Illuminae Files

Introducing my Hufflepuff boyfriend, Nik Malikov. He’s meant to be the comedic relief in Gemina & Obsidio (those books get INTENSE) and his humor DOES SOMETHING TO ME. He is also part of a Russian Mob family and has tattoos galore and I’m here for that sort of thing. Everyone needs a Nik Malikov in their life.

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Rhysand from A Court of Thorns and Roses

Rhysand, High Lord of the Night Court. That is all. He is the definition of a feminist and will do anything to protect his family. He might need way more time to primp than I do, but I love him. He’s a great male lead.

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Finian de Seel from Aurora Rising

I’m SO obsessed with Squad 312. It was hard for me not to cheat and do a 2-for-1 combo here with Tyler and Fin, and my heart told me that Fin was my main man. He’s an alien tech whiz with white-blonde hair and dashing wit. Yeah, he can be kinda annoying sometimes, but he is the Ravenclaw I want around!

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Talk To Me

What did you think of my picks? Do we have any main males in common? Any boys you think I’d love?

Thoughts On…| 50-Something Thoughts I Had While Reading Furyborn

Hello, from the new Devon who survived Furyborn and is currently dying while reading Kingsbane. This series is one of my new fantasy favorites, and to be honest I didn’t think I would be able to write an actual review without fangirling for four full pages, raging for another ten, and then incoherently rambling for fifteen more about the crazy plots, writing style, and characters.

So, I decided to share my live reactions instead.  This way you can all experience the emotional rollercoaster ride that was my first experience with Furyborn. Check out the below for Trello notes, some live tweets, Goodreads updates and a handful of Discord posts between me and the squad (Kal – @Reader Voracious, Jess – @Fiction No Chaser, and Loretta – @Laughing Listener)! And special shoutout for Jess for getting me to drop everything I was reading for Furyborn. It was a good decision.

* Before you start, I want to call out that there are a FEW spoiler-ish things you might see, but as long as you’re past literally page 1 of Furyborn you should be good to go. If you want to go into this story blind, come back to this at a later time! THEN, we can fangirl and rage together. For everyone else…

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1. Okay so 0 to 100 in less than 1 page and I’m here for it.

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2. The Wolf is hot AF and he hasn’t even taken his mask off yet or said more than, like, one full sentence. All he’s doing is fighting…

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3. What’s with the sketch poem about Lu’s family?? I don’t like her. She is too perfect? I will find her evil ways!

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4. Remy is the sassiest 12 year old and I love him.

5. This timeline is going to KILL. ME.

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6. “I’m just going to keep rolling my eyes until you stop talking.” – BEST. LINE.

7. Simon saying little dread does something to me.

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8. This Linnet story…I can’t.

9. OMG THESE TRIALS. Am I watching the Hunger Games remix of Aang (or more like Zuko) from Avatar competing in the Tri-Wizard Tournament? 🤔

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10. How is this book making me feel so many things!?!?

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11. Omg Rielle is going Magneto status and I love it.

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12. #DetectiveDevon on duty.

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13. I FREAKING KNEW IT.

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14. What does it say about me that I know this is the villain but he is super hot and I love him?

15. ‘This war has claimed the lives and bodies of too many women.” FEMINISM FOR THE MASSES.

16. Everyone in this book is hardcore slytherin and I’m here for it.

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17. Have I mentioned Simon? Adding him to my book boyfriend list ASAP.

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18. Of course the 12 year old is the smartest person so far.

19. OMFG shit just got REAL up in here.

20. Yup, I ship Simon and Eliana. Move along everyone else.

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21. Alright, Lu. You’ve proven yourself. I don’t hate you like I thought I should. You are a true homie.

22. “Kissing involves not just one person, but two. If there is blame to be placed, it isn’t only for you to bear.” YAS QUEEN CLAIRE

23. Omg baby Simon. I can’t. So cute. #Dead

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24. I want to hate Corien but I also love him. *Starts Singing*: “…I wanna hate you, ’cause I still love you…”

25. Middle of the night woke up thinking: Rielle is like the Dark Phoenix rising. And if she’s Dark Phoenix, then Eliana is low key Wolverine in the making. I’m ready.

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26. ARE YOU SERIOUS? Rule #1 NEVER SEPARATE.

27. I TOTALLY FREAKING CALLED THAT.

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28. Baby Simon with Audric and magical beasts warms my heart. Omg. #Dead.

29. Alright, Audric I see you. Daddy vibes going on.

30. Zahra throwing shade at Simon and saying he can’t be trusted makes me question my feelings…but only a little.

31. 100% into Zahra and her ghostly angel vibes.

32. Ludivine out her becoming the next Cinna with her trial outfits.

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33. THE FIRE TRIAL. NO. TAL. WHY??

34. Did Rielle really just unknowingly DO THAT? I’m pretty sure she did and I’m pissed at her.

35. NO. NO. NO. NO.

36.  Remy is the smartest of the crew and they need to listen to him more often. HE IS THE ONLY RAVENCLAW. LET HIM TELL YOU THINGS.

37. You’ve been lying to me this whole time, Lu?!?!

38. Simon cannot catch a break. Guy needs a drink.

39. “Be still, my wicked black heart.” – ERMAHGERD SIMON.

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40. There are so many words and names in this story that I know I am 100% pronouncing incorrectly. I NEED HALP. (Luckily, Loretta is listening to the audiobook. YAY, teamwork.)

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41. Reading Rielle’s plot line is like watching two cars driving towards each other knowing they are going to crash…but not being able to do anything about it.

42. NAVI PLEASE BE OKAY.

43. I really need to know Simon’s story. STAT.

44. Okay, so that’s how we’re ending things…Got it.

45. I immediately started to plan a trip to the bookstore to buy Kingsbane because WTF. You can’t just end it that way.

46-50something:

CAUTION SPOILERS AHEAD READ AT YOUR OWN RISK. 

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Talk To Me

Have you read Furyborn? Did you love it? Hate it? Will you be adding it to your TBR pile?

TL; DR | May Speed Reviews

Check out Read By Dev’s mini reviews of her May 2019 reads!

Hey, look – I actually remembered to post my monthly wrap up! 10 points for Gryffindor! I spent a lot of May reading NetGalley Arcs to bump up my review score and then the rest of the month binging my highly anticipated releases. It was definitely a good few weeks of books. (Yet, how I’m still 2 books behind on my 2019 reading goal, I cannot figure out.)

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By: Margaret Rogerson

Overall Rating: ★★★★

The Verdict

If you enjoyed Margaret Rogerson’s first novel, An Enchantment of Ravens, you will LOVE Sorcery of Thorns. There are magical books, evil (and not-so-evil) demons, sassy sorcerers, and a strong-willed heroine. The feminist themes, slow burn romances, and unlikely friendships will leave you bewitched and wanting more.

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By: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Overall Rating: ★★★★★ (ALL THE GOLD STARS)

The Verdict

When it comes to modern sci-fi stories, I didn’t think I would find anything that I loved as much as The Illuminae Files, but guess what? Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman knocked my socks off with Aurora Rising, and it’s my favorite read of the year so far. It’s sassy, humorous, fast-paced, full of amazing characters, and just 100% SPACE-TASTIC. If you love any of the following, you’re sure to love Aurora: The Breakfast Club, The Guardians of the Galaxy, Dramas/Soap Operas (BUT IN SPACE). Do yourself a favor and read this book as soon as humanly possible. And then recommend it to everyone you know!

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By: Amy Harmon

Overall Rating: ★★★★

The Verdict

If you enjoy epics, Norse mythology, magic, and rich world building, you’ll definitely want to pick up The First Girl Child! Spanning 30ish years, the novel is centered around Dagmar & his nephew Bayr. Bayr’s mother is a woman scorned, and places a curse upon the land of Saylok. There won’t be any baby girls born to the men of Saylok and Bayr will be the land’s savior. There’s an evil king, a precious princess, and strong supporting characters you’ll love.

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By: Stephanie Garber

Overall Rating: ★★★★

The Verdict

Ooookay, so Finale wasn’t the best series ending that I’ve ever read, but it was definitely a solid book. There were twists, turns, high-stakes gambles, love, hate, magic, gods, and even a Legend POV! While I’m still salty about that Legend reveal, I can say that I 110% love Jacks and he needs his own story ASAP. The world of Caraval is mystical, fun and you won’t ever want to leave. If you decide to start the series be sure you have all the book in hand, because you won’t want to stop reading!

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By: Victoria Aveyar

Overall Rating: ★★★

The Verdict

In all honesty, I pretty much only read this for the Cal/Mare and Maven stories. The Barnes & Noble special edition has a family tree in the back and information on Cal and Maven, too, which I love. Did I find out that Cal’s favorite song is come on Eileen by Dexys Midnight Runners? Yes. Does that make me love him even more and realize he is the f*ckboy of my dreams? 100% YES. Was this entire book worth the read? No, which is why I skipped through and read the bits and pieces I wanted. If you’re looking for some Red Queen in your life after finishing up War Storm, definitely pick this up. It’s fun, light, and you don’t have to read in order!

Furyborn Furyborn

By: Claire Legrand

Overall Rating: ★★★★★

The Verdict

Excuse me while I go cry in a corner over this book. This feminist fantasy is filled with magic, time travel, multiple POVs, and some of the most intriguing characters I’ve ever met. It starts of with a bang and only gets more intense as it progresses. If you aren’t a fan of switching between character chapters or having multiple storylines happening at once, you may want to put this aside. But, I promise you if you give it a try you will fall in love. The main characters are broken, vulnerable and you won’t be able to stop yourself from rooting for their redemption. The second book in the series, Kingsbane, is out now. So, if you do decide to pick this up, know that you can keep continue the story as soon as you want!

Talk To Me

What did you think of my reads this month? Will you be adding any to your TBR? Have you read any of these already?

Review | The Phantom Forest

Read By Dev’s book review of Liz Kerin’s debut novel, The Phantom Forest.

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By: Liz Kerin

Overall Rating: ★★★★

*Thank you Liz Kerin and Inkshares for providing an e-book for my honest opinion!

From Goodreads

Seycia’s father told her this story as a child — a story of the most holy place in the Underworld, The Forest of Laida, where all souls go to rest before embarking on a new life. But Seycia’s father is dead now, and his killer has put a target on her back.

After being chosen for her village’s human sacrifice ritual, Seycia is transported to the Underworld and must join forces with Haben, the demon to whom she was sacrificed, to protect the family she left behind from beyond the grave. In this story of love, survival, and what it means to be human, Seycia and Haben discover that the Underworld is riddled with secrets that can only be unlocked through complete trust and devotion, not only to their mission, but also to one another.

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TL;DR:

The Phantom Forest has a bit of every good fantasy story weaved into it – Gods/Goddesses, a post-apocalyptic setting, evil overlords, premonitions of the future, and a brave heroine to tie everything together. The dark & haunting mood sets this story about the nature of humanity and what we’d do for love apart. I can’t wait for the sequel!

The Good

The Plot

Seycia believes that all souls are either good or evil, and that they all come from the Forest of Laida. Simeon believes Dohv, the ruler of the underworld, wants him to rule over his land with an iron fist, and sacrifices innocent youths to keep his power. Haben is a demon, cursed by and bound to Dohv. Miko is a 12 year old boy, destined for greatness. They all come together in a battle between good and evil, living and dead, and it does not disappoint.  If you love mythical lore, magical beings, and epic journeys, you’ll love this book!

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The Characters

I found myself forgetting that half the characters in this book are children. So many brutal, soul-crushing things happen and yet Miko, Minari, and Seycia all manage to pull through and revolt against their captors and torturers. They are stead-fast in their beliefs and still manage to make the mistakes you would expect of younger characters. I also love that there are multiple villainous characters to contend with. It keeps action coming from every angle. My only wish is that character growth and the relationships between them would have had more time to evolve and blossom. The relationship between Haben and Seycia seemed a bit rushed into, and it has so much potential!

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The Writing

Liz Kerin’s writing is solid. Also, shoutout to the editor. I’m so glad I didn’t have to read through a mess of typos and grammatical errors! If you like dark, eerie moods and questions about humanity and what come after death, you’ll enjoy The Phantom Forest.

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The Bad

I Need More (And I Have to Wait For Book 2)

I read an advanced e-copy of Phantom and I just want to know what happens! I needed the conclusion like yesterday.

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The Ugly Truth

If you love stories of survival, haunting moods, and are in need of a new fantasy world to get hook on, grab The Phantom Forest when it debuts on July 16th!

Talk To Me

Will you be adding The Phantom Forest to your TBR list? How do you feel about the concept?

 

Review | Sorcery of Thorns Is Every Bookworm’s Fantasy

Read By Dev’s book review of Margaret Rogerson’s sophomore nover, Sorcery of Thorns!

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By: Margaret Rogerson

Overall Rating: ★★★★

*Thank You Simon and Schuster

Thanks to NetGalley, Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing, and Margaret Rogerson for providing an e-book for my honest opinion.

From Goodreads: All sorcerers are evil. Elisabeth has known that as long as she has known anything. Raised as a foundling in one of Austermeer’s Great Libraries, Elisabeth has grown up among the tools of sorcery—magical grimoires that whisper on shelves and rattle beneath iron chains. If provoked, they transform into grotesque monsters of ink and leather. She hopes to become a warden, charged with protecting the kingdom from their power.

Then an act of sabotage releases the library’s most dangerous grimoire. Elisabeth’s desperate intervention implicates her in the crime, and she is torn from her home to face justice in the capital. With no one to turn to but her sworn enemy, the sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn, and his mysterious demonic servant, she finds herself entangled in a centuries-old conspiracy. Not only could the Great Libraries go up in flames, but the world along with them.

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TL;DR:

If you enjoyed Margaret Rogerson’s first novel, An Enchantment of Ravens, you will LOVE Sorcery of Thorns. There are magical books, evil (and not-so-evil) demons, sassy sorcerers, and a strong-willed heroine. The feminist themes, slow burn romances, and unlikely friendships will leave you bewitched and wanting more.

The Good

The Plot

Let me repeat, there are. MAGICAL. LIVING. BOOKS. Readers, you should binge this book based on this alone. Who doesn’t want to read about a brave librarian facing off against an evil sorcerer? And who doesn’t dream of living in a magical library full of living, breathing books? There’s a dash of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Hogwarts Library vibes (think the restricted section times 100), hints of The Pagemaster, and a unique flare to piece it all together.

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The World Building

For being a standalone novel, I was definitely impressed with how well the world of Austermeer was thought out. There’s so much magical knowledge to devour in this story and it left me wanting more. Fantasy lovers will be highly impressed with callouts to the Enochian language, the use of salt & iron, the creation of grimoires & maleficts, and even the summoning of demons.

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The Characters

Every character in this story is amazing in their own way – yes, even all the grimoires! Elisabeth is a fearless, strong-willed bookworm who meets her enemies head on. Nathaniel Thorn is my new favorite sorcerer. He’s the perfect combination of salty and sweet and I lived for all his sarcasm. Silas is your favorite grumpy cat and will melt your heart. And Katrien will be the best friend you want in your life.

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The Bad

It’s A Standalone

I didn’t want this story to end! The world was so well developed, the characters were amazing, and I didn’t want it to end. This isn’t technically “bad”, but if you know me then you know I’m a sucker for long-lived stories. I just want more of Nathaniel and Elisabeth!

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The Ugly Truth

If you love magic and mystery, add Sorcery of Thorns to your June wishlist!

Talk To Me

How do you feel about sorcery and books about magic? Will you be adding this to your TBR list?

 

Top 5 Tuesday | I Could NOT Put These Books Down

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Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the amazing Bionic Book Worm!

Today we’re talking the top books I could not put down. You are probably going to see a lot of familiar titles on this list, because I definitely rave about my favorites whenever I can (so they probably made some of the my other top 5 lists).

Gemina by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

The Illuminae Files is one of my favorite series is ALL TIME. It has crazy artificial intelligence, aliens, evil space corporations, and ALL the sassy characters. My favorite is the second in the series, Gemina. The stakes are high, Nik Malikov is the best, and did I mention the aliens?!

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A Court of Mist & Fury by Sarah J Maas

A Court of Thorns and Roses is a solid 3-star book in my opinion, BUT the sequel is such an amazing book. There are unexpected twists & turns, hot faerie boys, and so much emotion. And did I mention the hot faerie boys?

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The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Another series that I’m obsessed with. I couldn’t put down any of these books, but the first book is my favorite. Rich boarding school boys, feminist badass heroines, and tons of magic.

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Roar by Cora Carmack

This series is about magical storms, a princess with epic powers, and a kingdom that needs saving. I’m SO excited for Rage and all I can think about is Prince Cassius, Aurora, and probably the most creepy villain I’ve ever encountered.

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Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

This series involves X-Men like storm powers, one of the WORST betrayals I’ve ever felt, and a monarchy that is just dying to be taken down. While the series has its ups & downs, the first book is amazing. I could not stop reading.

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BONUS: Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

If you know me, you know I cannot go one post without talking about something Shadowhunters-related. So, I’m adding a bonus section to talk about my love for all things Cassie Clare. There were so many to choose from, but I went with Lord of Shadows because it’s an EPIC sequel. I lie awake at night thinking about how my heart was ripped out of my chest at the end…

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Talk To Me

What did you think of my picks? Do we have any of the same unputdownable books? Any I should consider?

Review | Aurora Rising Is The Breakfast Club In Space

Check out Read By Dev’s review of Aurora Rising, the first book of the Aurora Cycle, by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff.

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By: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Overall Rating: ★★★★★

“They’re not the heroes we deserve. They’re just the ones we could find. Nobody panic.”

It’s the year 2380, Tyler Jones finds a derelict space craft and manages to rescue one Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley from the wreckage. Auri is 200+ years old, has some freaky mind powers, and apparently, her only hope of survival is to hitch a ride with Ty and his crew. Ty’s crew isn’t the optimal squad. So, naturally, there’s in-fighting, tons of drama, sabotage, teen feels, and all the sarcasm one can possibly want in 400 pages.

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TL;DR:

When it comes to modern sci-fi stories, I didn’t think I would find anything that I loved as much as The Illuminae Files, but guess what? Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman knocked my socks off with Aurora Rising, and it’s my favorite read of the year so far. It’s sassy, humorous, fast-paced, full of amazing characters, and just 100% SPACE-TASTIC. If you love any of the following, you’re sure to love Aurora: The Breakfast Club, The Guardians of the Galaxy, Dramas/Soap Operas (BUT IN SPACE). Do yourself a favor and read this book as soon as humanly possible. And then recommend it to everyone you know!

The Good

Squad 312 – The Delinquents You Didn’t Know You Needed

THIS BAND OF MISFITS IS LITERALLY EVERYTHING YOU NEED IN LIFE. Okay, enough of the caps, but I needed to get my point across. Squad 312 is a mix of the Breakfast Club gang, the Guardians of the Galaxy, and every Star Trek crew out there. Which means one thing: they are the most sarcastic, lovable weirdos to fly across the galaxy. There is a character for everyone to root for (and mine are Tyler and Finian just so we’re clear.)

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Was I Actually Watching A Space Soap Opera?

This book starts off with a bang – literally – and does not slow down. It’s so action packed, I felt like I was watching a space drama. There are space battles, human vs. alien fist fights, squad drama, heists, and some glitzy intergalactic paaartaaayys. It had me on the edge of my seat from page one and I fell off said metaphorical chair multiple times.  Then I died at the end and was revived by thinking of book 2. If you’re looking for something to keep you reading into the early hours of the morning – you’ve got it!

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The Intergalactic World

The Milky Way is a big place and Kaufman & Kristoff make it their own. There’s a new first contact, new alien species (hallelujah for hot space Legolas), crazy space languages, and a fresh take on Warp Speed and space travel! To my fellow space nerds, be sure to keep an eye open for other Easter eggs I’m sure I missed.

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The Ending

Jay is notorious for not believing in happy endings and some of that shines through at the end of book 1 (Amie must be the ray of sunshine in this duo). The bittersweet cliffhanger gave me a heart attack and who knew it was possible to have ALL THE FEELS  in less than two pages.

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The Bad

Angsty Teen Romance

*Le sigh*. Am I getting too old for the angst?! I found myself not digging the romance elements of this story. I’m going to blame this one on me, though because everything else is just SO. GOOD. But, still. This would have been a 5-star read even without the bizarre love stuff.

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The Ugly Truth

I have one thing to say: READ AURORA RISING. It’s an amazing beginning to a sci-fi series and I need book 2 like yesterday!

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Have you read this book? If so, what did you think of it? If not, will you be adding it to your TBR?

Review | There Are So Many Game of Thrones Vibes In A Torch Against The Night

Check out Read By Dev’s book review of Torch Against The Night, Sabaa Tahir’s best-selling sequel to An Ember In The Ashes.

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By: Sabaa Tahir

Overall Rating: ★★★★

The book is narrated by Elias, Laia and now Helene. They are dealing with the aftermath of the Trials – where Elias gave up being Emperor, Laia saved Elias’s life, and Helene swore fealty to evil Emperor Marcus. Elias’s mom, the Commandant, is still evil and crazy AF. Laia’s brother is still in prison (who knows if he’s dead or alive), and the world is still going to hell. There are dead spirits roaming around, an evil god-like creature roaming around trying to get revenge, and of course the scheming for power. So, naturally, everyone splits up to do their own thing.

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TL;DR:

If I’m being honest, Helene’s chapters were boring AF but for some reason I can’t resist her character arc – she’s amazing in her own way. 75% of this book also felt like I was watching season six of Game of Thrones. Everyone gets separated, they are all traveling/trying to make it the epic battle, and I had to wait most of the book for the crazy sh*t to go down. BUT, the wait was worth it. If you’re looking for a milder version of Game of Thrones, please read this series!

The Good

The Lore

There’s enough faerie, magic, and mythology to go around in this series. Tahir takes well-known folklore and spins a unique, refreshing world that I didn’t know I needed.

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The Villains

I love when there is evil lurking in every corner of a story. Every main character is dealing with their own personal hell brought on by a different bad guy. Evil king? You got it. Evil mother? Yup, it’s there. Evil mystical/god-like creature. For sure! If there’s a way to keep me interested, it’s when I can’t figure out who the biggest threat is.

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The Cliffhangers

That last page will have you like…that’s all I’m saying. The ending is the best part of book 2. You’ll want to start book 3 immediately!

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The Bad

Helene, You Bore Me

I could have done without Helene as a narrator. Her loyalty is so engrained into her – mind, body and soul – and I CAN. NOT. HANDLE. IT. At one point I thought about skimming through her chapters just to get back to Elias. She’s not a bad character, she’s just…different. I love her, but I also hate her. She’s the frenemy you hope gets better (spoiler: she does…finally).

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The Number One Rule IS DO NOT SPLIT UP

Why does everyone insist on splitting up to save the world? Everyone knows you STICK TOGETHER. Once Elias, Laia, and Helene are on their own, the story gets a lot slower. I wish there were more instances where the MCs were a group and there was more action, but I totally understand why it was necessary…I just wish it wasn’t.

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The Ugly Truth

I loved A Torch Against The Night, but it wasn’t as good as An Ember In The Ashes. With that being said, it still holds its own and the set up is necessary for that crazy ending. It’s a solid sequel, and I wanted to start book 3 as soon as I could!

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Have you read this book? If so, what did you think of it?

ARC Review | The Thirteenth Guardian Has an Amazing Premise

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By: K.M. Lewis

*Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for sharing the e-book with me for my honest opinion!*

As the modern-day world suffers the cataclysmic effects of the “Plagues of Egypt”, Avery Fitzgerald, a statuesque Astrophysics major at Stanford, discovers that she is mysteriously bound to five strangers by an extremely rare condition that foremost medical experts cannot explain. Thrust into extraordinary circumstances, they race against time to stay alive as they are pursued by an age-old adversary and the world around them collapses into annihilation.

 Under sacred oath, The Guardians—a far more archaic and enigmatic secret society than the Freemasons, Templars, and the Priory—protect Avery as she embarks on a daring quest that only legends of old have been on before. Avery must come to terms with the shocking realization that the blood of an ancient queen flows through her veins and that the fate of the world now rests on her shoulders.

Overall Rating: ★★★

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TL;DR:

This book has such an interesting plot! There are secret societies, an entirely different POV on religious texts and lore, and some – well seemingly not entirely scientifically accurate – cool speculations on Dooms Day. While the premise of this story is amazing, I wish the execution of and writing had been better.

The Good

The Plot

Let me just say I live for end of days stories. Especially ones that involve history, science, and mythology. If you love movies and books like The Day After Tomorrow, National Treasure, or The Di Vinci Code, you may enjoy Book 1 in this trilogy. HOWEVER, I could have done without the *time travel* – it opens up way too many plot holes, and it didn’t seem necessary to an already interesting take on Adam & Eve, the plagues of Egypt, and even Atlantis. There’s a lot going on, and in this case focusing on one thing would make it a lot better.

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Girl Power

I loved that one of the main secret societies is run solely by women, and that the big reveal at the end of the book has a lot to do with women and their strengths and abilities as humans. It’s a subtle nod to all the amazing work ladies do and the author got it right.

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The Bad

The Characters

PREFACE: The characters aren’t horrible, but they could have been better. The story focuses on six MCs, all which have diverse and unique backgrounds, so it’s a great start. BUT, there isn’t much to their personalities, growth or evolution. I didn’t connect with any of them, and I wish that I could have been rooting for at least one of them in some way, shape ,or form.

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The Writing

This book would have been so much better if the writing style was just a bit different. Most of the conversations are like this: “Oh no. The World is ending. Something is wrong. We must hurry.”, and I really felt like there could have been so much more emotion in every aspect of this book. The world is ending! People don’t speak properly in conversation when there’s panic and terror. Use more contractions, add a bit more personality to these characters, maybe throw in a curse word here and there. I wanted my heart to race each time a new plague was hitting, but that extra “umph” was missing.

The Ugly Truth

The premise of The Thirteenth Guardian has promise, but the writing and characters fall short. I was so interested in the plot, that I was willing to overlook the bland storytelling just so I could get to the big reveal, and I’m still intrigued enough to want to learn more in the sequel!

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Will you be adding this book to your TBR when it’s released?