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!

Broken Throne (Red Queen #4.5) FullSizeR-4

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 | 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!

Talk To Me

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

Review | Sawkill Girls Is A Classic Monster Story With a Feminist Twist

Sawkill GirlsSawkill

By: Claire Legrand

Overall Rating: ★★★★

Who are the Sawkill Girls?

Marion: the new girl. Zoey: the pariah. Val: the queen bee.

Their stories come together on the island of Sawkill Rock, where gleaming horses graze in rolling pastures and cold waves crash against black cliffs. Where kids whisper the legend of an insidious monster at parties and around campfires. Where girls have been disappearing for decades, stolen away by a ravenous evil no one has dared to fight… until now.

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TL;DR:

Sawkill Girls is a refreshing take on the classic monster story. If you’re into books with darker vibes and don’t mind things that go bump in the night, check this one out! It’s full of diverse characters and hits on some bigger societal issues.

The Good

A Classic Monster Tale

This has all the elements of a great monster story – eerie children’s nursery rhymes, isolated islands, dark forests, and disappearing teens. If you love being scared, especially by things that go bump in the night, you’ll enjoy this.

Beware of the woods and the dark, dank deep. He’ll follow you home, and he won’t let you sleep…

Down With The Patriarchy

Legrand isn’t subtle with the digs at things like mansplaining and the patriarchy. She uses her villains, her heroines, and her writing to bring down the patriarchy just a little bit more. I hope young girls (and boys) who read this look at sexism just a bit differently afterward.

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Girl Power To The Max

love that all the heroines in this story walk to their own tunes. They are strong, independent and learn to work through their differences against a common enemy. It’s refreshing to see girls banding together instead of ripping each other down because of insecurities.

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The Bad

The World Building

This is more due to my personal preferences as a reader. I need to know all about every person, place, thing, or idea that’s mentioned in story (which is why I tend to read longer series). Soooo, I would have loved a deeper looking into the cult, the monster, and the island. If you don’t mind a quick story with minimal details, then forget I even mentioned this!

The Ugly Truth

I loved Sawkill Girls! I gave it 4-stars because I prefer my fantasy stories to be longer and more in-depth, but I loved everything else about it. Pick this one up when you’re in the need for a feminist rage fest or quick monster tale.

Talk To Me

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