Reviews

Heir to the Sky by Amanda Sun: a Review

Happy Thursday, guys! (One more day until the weekend, yay!). This week has been pretty crazy, but next week is Spring break, which I’m very excited about.

Heir to the Sky by Amanda Sun book review cover image

Summary Info

As heir to a kingdom of floating continents, Kali has spent her life bound by limits—by her duties as a member of the royal family, by a forced betrothal to the son of a nobleman, and by the edge of the only world she’s ever known—a small island hovering above a monster-ridden earth, long since uninhabited by humans. She is the Eternal Flame of Hope for what’s left of mankind, the wick and the wax burning in service for her people, and for their revered Phoenix, whose magic keeps them aloft.

When Kali falls off the edge of her kingdom and miraculously survives, she is shocked to discover there are still humans on the earth. Determined to get home, Kali entrusts a rugged monster-hunter named Griffin to guide her across a world overrun by chimera, storm dragons, basilisks, and other terrifying beasts. But the more time she spends on earth, the more dark truths she begins to uncover about her home in the sky, and the more resolute she is to start burning for herself. (from Goodreads)

Review

Okay, I haven’t really heard about anyone talking about Heir to the Sky. I borrowed it from the library because I had seen it at my bookstore. I’m wary of buying books I haven’t heard much about, so I thought, I’ll read it, and if it’s good I’ll buy it. Well. I haven’t bought it. Which is too bad, because I think it is a pretty book.

The Pros: The main pro for me was the love story. Which is sweet. Underdeveloped, yes. But sweet nonetheless. Griffin is not a stereotypical brooding hero, which is what I was expecting. He’s selfless and smart and kind, and I enjoyed him as a love interest for Kali a lot.
Secondly, I did think that the fantasy development was neat, and fairly appropriate for a standalone. There are all these interesting creatures, and we get to meet a lot of them. The fantasy was definitely the most original and enjoyable part of Heir to the Sky.

Sadly, that’s about it for the pros.

The Cons: Heir to the Sky is a pretty short book (less than 300 pages, I believe). And it’s a standalone. So you’d expect a lot of action, right? Well, you’d be partly right. There is a lot of action…which does very little for the actual plot. There are all these battle scenes with Griffin and Kali and the monsters, and I honestly don’t know what they did for the story. Introduce more fantasy? Build Griffin and Kali’s relationship? I don’t know! It felt pretty dang pointless to me. So although there is always something happening, nothing is actually HAPPENING (in the broader sense of the plot, I mean). All the actual plot progress was squeezed into the beginning and the end, and it was mainly very predictable.
It was so predictable, in fact, that I kept expecting the heroine to finally clue in to what was happening. Sadly, she was a bit of a dunce (at least when it came to that) so I almost inevitably figured out things before she did and got irritated that she was so slow.

Following Good

Heir to the Sky was extremely clean. No language, very minimal sexual content, no LGBT content, minor (and fictional) religious content.

Rating

Obviously, this wasn’t a favorite of mine, and although I didn’t hate it, I feel so meh about it that I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. So, I’ll give it 2 stars. Points for cool fantasy and a good original idea, though.

Ugh, Thursdays. I’m glad I save all my negativity for near the weekend. 😂
Hope your week is going well and happy reading!
Hayden💚

Book Lists · WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday 3/3/21

Whew, almost forgot to right this today. It’s been a crazy week, and I have a crazy couple days ahead of me. But I got a fair amount of reading done this past weekend, so I certainly couldn’t skip this week. 😂 Hope your week is going well! As you probably know, WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On a World of Words.

What I Just Finished

I was near the end of several books last Wednesday, and I did manage to finish most of them. Firstly, I finished The City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare. Holy cow, so intense. I honestly was a little dazed after that book. That whole series was so long and intense that I felt like I had a bit of a hangover for a couple days.

Thankfully, I got over it and finished Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson. I liked this one okay, but it was a bit underwhelming, to be honest.

I also finished True to You by Becky Wade. I’ve read this one before, but I thoroughly enjoyed my re-read. It is such a relatable Christian romance. The heroine reminds me so much of my dorky self. 😂

What I Am Currently Reading

The one left over book from February is Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa. I am extremely close to finishing this one (less than an hour left in the audiobook), and I have really been enjoying it! It has not been super intense (there has been a very gradual build), but by this time, I am really invested in the characters and I can’t wait for book two! Will probably finish this one and start book two tomorrow, honestly.

I started The Infinity Courts by Akemi Dawn Bowman, which I am finding intriguing so far (about a third into it).

I also started The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge, which I am enjoying much more than I thought I would. It has such an entrancing setting and delightful, quirky characters.

Lastly, I also started Wings of Ebony by J. Elle. I’m only a hundred pages in (I think there are around 350?), and it has been okay so far. I’m not hooked, but I’m hoping it will pick up soon.

What I Want to Read Next

I have spring break next week (Whoop, whoop!), so I plan to get a lot of reading done soon, but the book I will probably start next is Soul of the Sword Julie Kagawa. It will likely be my audiobook for the rest of this week. And can I just point out that I love that cover a lot. I’m REALLY tempted to buy these, but I’m resisting because I already have plans for my book budget this month. 😂

I just want to point out that I caved and bought Covet by Tracy Wolff today, so I will most likely start it over the weekend as well.


Well, I had a lot to say this week, lol. Are you guys reading anything exciting lately? Got any plans for your next read?
Happy reading!
Hayden 💚

Book Lists · Off-My-Shelf

4 Trilogies on My Shelf I Want to Re-Read

Happy Tuesday, guys! This is super random, but I’ve been thinking about all the books I own that I want to re-read, and for some reason, trilogies just seem much more manageable than longer series. So here, we are:

1. The Lynburn Legacy

Summary: Kami Glass loves someone she’s never met… a boy she’s talked to in her head ever since she was born. She wasn’t silent about her imaginary friend during her childhood, and is thus a bit of an outsider in her sleepy English town of Sorry-in-the-Vale. Still, Kami hasn’t suffered too much from not fitting in. She has a best friend, runs the school newspaper, and is only occasionally caught talking to herself. Her life is in order, just the way she likes it, despite the voice in her head.

But all that changes when the Lynburns return.

The Lynburn family has owned the spectacular and sinister manor that overlooks Sorry-in-the-Vale for centuries. The mysterious twin sisters who abandoned their ancestral home a generation ago are back, along with their teenage sons, Jared and Ash, one of whom is eerily familiar to Kami. Kami is not one to shy away from the unknown—in fact, she’s determined to find answers for all the questions Sorry-in-the-Vale is suddenly posing. Who is responsible for the bloody deeds in the depths of the woods? What is her own mother hiding? And now that her imaginary friend has become a real boy, does she still love him? Does she hate him? Can she trust him? 
(from Goodreads)

I read this series (well, I kind of skimmed it), but it has been a couple of years, and I know that I’ve forgotten a lot of details. It has a lot of humor and a really sweet romance, and I really want to re-read it!

2. Inkworld

Summary: One cruel night, Meggie’s father reads aloud from a book called INKHEART– and an evil ruler escapes the boundaries of fiction and lands in their living room. Suddenly, Meggie is smack in the middle of the kind of adventure she has only read about in books. Meggie must learn to harness the magic that has conjured this nightmare. For only she can change the course of the story that has changed her life forever. (from Goodreads)

I love this series so much! And it’s been quite a while since I made it through all three books. I’m definitely due for a re-read.

3. Ruby Red

Summary:

Although I had never seen him before, I recognized him immediately. I’d have known his voice anywhere. This was the guy I’d seen on my last journey back in time.

Or more precisely, the one who’d kissed my doppelganger while I was hiding behind the curtain in disbelief.

Sixteen-year-old Gwen lives with her extended – and rather eccentric – family in an exclusive London neighborhood. In spite of her ancestors’ peculiar history, she’s had a relatively normal life so far. The time-traveling gene that runs like a secret thread through the female half of the family is supposed to have skipped over Gwen, so she hasn’t been introduced to “the mysteries,” and can spend her time hanging out with her best friend, Lesly. It comes as an unwelcome surprise when she starts taking sudden, uncontrolled leaps into the past.

She’s totally unprepared for time travel, not to mention all that comes with it: fancy clothes, archaic manners, a mysterious secret society, and Gideon, her time-traveling counterpart. He’s obnoxious, a know-it-all, and possibly the best-looking guy she’s seen in any century . . . . (from Goodreads)

I’ve re-read this one several times, but it somehow never gets old. I love the British humor and the time travel and the sweet teen romance. It’s just a very cute trilogy.

4. Splintered

Summary: Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers—precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. For now.

When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on. There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests, including draining an ocean of Alice’s tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice’s mistakes and save her family. She must also decide whom to trust: Jeb, her gorgeous best friend and secret crush, or the sexy but suspicious Morpheus, her guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own. (from Goodreads)

Another previous re-read of mine, lol. These are a little weird, but the romance is so intense. 🥰 And the fantasy is so unique.

Ah, I wish I had time to read all of these! Have you read any of these? Any series high on your to be re-read list?
Happy reading!
Hayden 💚

New-To-Me · Reviews

City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare: a New-to-Me Review

Happy Monday, everyone! I mean, Mondays aren’t really happy, but I get slightly happier by talking about books I enjoyed, so. There’s that. Can you believe it’s March? Craziness. I’m halfway through my last semester (whoop, whoop) already. Did you do anything fun this weekend? I was pretty boring. 😂

City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare book review cover image

Summary Info

The Mortal War is over, and sixteen-year-old Clary Fray is back home in New York, excited about all the possibilities before her. She’s training to become a Shadowhunter and to use her unique power. Her mother is getting married to the love of her life. Downworlders and Shadowhunters are at peace at last. And—most importantly of all—she can finally call Jace her boyfriend.

But nothing comes without a price.

Someone is murdering Shadowhunters, provoking tensions between Downworlders and Shadowhunters that could lead to a second, bloody war. Clary’s best friend, Simon, can’t help her—his mother just found out that he’s a vampire, and now he’s homeless. When Jace begins to pull away from her without explaining why, Clary is forced to delve into the heart of a mystery whose solution reveals her worst nightmare: she herself has set in motion a terrible chain of events that could lead to her losing everything she loves. Even Jace. (from Goodreads)

Review

I have been postponing reading this one, because I knew all heck was going to break loose. And…yes. That is basically what happened. We only got six weeks of happiness after the craziness of City of Glass? Bummer. Anyway, on to my actual thoughts.

The Pros: Oh, the delicious romantic tension between Jace and Clary. I mean, yes, we definitely had some of that in the first three books, but for two of them Jace and Clary thought they were siblings. This was the first book where they were actually and officially a couple, and although there was (ALREADY, dang you Lilith) trouble in paradise, there were also some sizzling scenes that I thoroughly enjoyed. 😊
I also loved the supporting characters. I know I say this every book, but I think that I love Simon and Izzy and Alec and Maia a little more every book. Simon and Izzy, especially. I love them. And they crack me up, which really lightens this series. I love how the humor balances some of the darker aspects.

The Cons: This is more of an observation than a real con. The plot is a bit bare bones in this one. It is pretty obvious that City of Fallen Angels is more of a filler novel that sets up City of Lost Souls and City of Heavenly Fire. This didn’t bother me a lot (because of the great emotional tension), but City of Fallen Angels was not quite as compelling as City of Glass.

Following Good

All the same issues I’ve mentioned about TMI hold true for City of Fallen Angels. There is fairly heavy LGBT content and the fantasy is based on religious content that has been pulled out of context, etc. The sexual content was a little more intense here than in previous books. Sporadic langauge was present. If you want my full thoughts on the issues with how Clare uses religious material, see my review for City of Ashes here.

Rating

I did really enjoy this one, more than I thought I would, to be honest. Four stars! I’m enjoying this entire series more than I thought I would, really. I have a lot of content issues, but the plots and characters are really good.

Have you guys read this series? What was your favorite??
Happy reading!
Hayden💚

Monthly Recaps

February 2021 Wrap-Up

Wow, February flew by. It was really busy for me with school and family stuff, as it always is. Hopefully March will be a little more peaceful. Although, I increased my work hours this week, so…doubtful, lol. But hey, spring break. Aka, a week to do as little as possible that doesn’t involve reading. How was your month? Got any exciting plans for March?

Books Read vs. My TBR

So, I had an actual TBR for the first time last month, and I thought I’d do something different and compare what I read to what I was planning on reading in February. I had nine books on my TBR for this month, and I did end up reading nine books, but they weren’t the same nine, lol. I got a tad distracted by the last three books of TMI. Still, I consider 5/9 a win.

Spinning Starlight by R. C. Lewis (4.5/5 stars; see review here)
The Stolen Kingdom by Jillian Boehme (2.5/5 stars; see review here)
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling (not reviewing yet)
The Left-Handed Booksellers of London by Garth Nix (4/5; review coming soon)
City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare (4/5; review coming soon)
City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare (4/5; review coming soon)
City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare (4.5/5; review coming soon)
Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson (3/5; review coming soon)
True to You by Becky Wade (not reviewing)

Chime by Franny Billingsley ❌
Uprooted by Naomi Novik ❌
Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson ✅
Spinning Starlight by R.C. Lewis ✅
The Stolen Kingdom by Jillian Boehme ✅
True to You by Becky Wade ✅
Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken ❌
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling ✅
Wings of Ebony by J. Elle ❌

Best and Worst of February

City of Heavenly Fire was probably my best read of this month, although it is a very close call. I loved City of Lost Souls and City of Fallen Angels as well. I also loved Spinning Starlight by R.C. Lewis and True to You by Becky Wade is an old favorite. But there is something so satisfying about finishing a good book that is also very LONG and is also the conclusion of a very long SERIES. So, City of Heavenly Fire was probably my best read of the month. My review is not yet up.

The Stolen Kingdom by Jillian Boehme was my worst read of the month, although, in its defense, I liked the vast majority of the books I read this month. I gave The Stolen Kingdom 2.5 stars, so I didn’t hate it, it was just meh. You can see my review here.

March 2021 TBR

Ok, obviously I’m not a strict follower of TBRs. I’m a bit of a mood reader. So this is more of a rough list.

Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa (I’m actually in the middle of this one, so I should definitely be able to finish it in March, lol)
Covet by Tracy Wolff (it’s coming out the 2nd! Very exciting. 😊)
The Infinity Courts by Akemi Dawn Bowman (got an eARC, which I just started)
Wings of Ebony by J. Elle (I got this in Fantasy Monthly last month)
The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge (just started this one as well)
Soul of the Sword by Julie Kagawa (sequel to Shadow of the Fox)
An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson (I’ve read this before, but I’d like to re-read it while Sorcery of Thorns is fresh in my mind)
Empress of All Seasons by Emiko Jean
Night of the Dragon by Julie Kagawa

Ok, guys, I guess this is it for February! What was your favorite book this month? Got any exciting reads coming up in March?
Happy reading!
Hayden💚

Book Lists · Flashback Friday

Flashback Friday: Paranormal Romance Novels

Happy Friday, everyone! Whoop, whoop, it’s practically the weekend. Very exciting. Also exciting is Flashback Friday, which is a fun weekly meme hosted by Maya @ HerBookishDesires, where we get to talk about oldie but goodie books! (yay) This week the topic is paranormal romances. I talked about Twilight the other week, so I think I’m going to focus on werewolf romances this week.

Rules:
1. Link your post to my (Maya’s) blog!
2. Comment the link to your post so I (and others) can see it!
3. There are no set number of answers! You can include 1 or 2 or 5 (or more) oldie but goodie novels in your post! They can be a minimum of 5 years old to be considered old; there is no max age. 
4. Feel free to use my (Maya’s) picture above!

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

I love this one! Seriously, every time I do these posts I am reminded of books I want to re-read. This is definitely one of them. 😂

Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

I love this one too! Seriously, I love almost every werewolf story, and I love how Barnes writes Sci-fi/fantasy.

Well, I could only think of two this week. Does anyone have any werewolf recommendations for me? Because seriously, I cannot resist them. 😂
Anyway, I hope you guys have an awesome weekend!
Happy reading,
Hayden 💚

ARCs · Reviews

The Stolen Kingdom by Jillian Boehme: an ARC Review

Happy Thursday, guys! Have I mentioned that I have been posting my less-than-awesome reviews on Thursdays? I just feel like disappointing books are easier to handle nearer the weekend. 😂

The Stolen Kingdom by Jillian Boehme book review cover image

Summary Info

For a hundred years, the once-prosperous kingdom of Perin Faye has suffered under the rule of the greedy and power-hungry Thungrave kings. Maralyth Graylaern, a vintner’s daughter, has no idea her hidden magical power is proof of a secret bloodline and claim to the throne. Alac Thungrave, the king’s second son, has always been uncomfortable with his position as the spare heir—and the dark, stolen magic that comes with ruling.

When Maralyth becomes embroiled in a plot to murder the royal family and seize the throne, a cat-and-mouse chase ensues in an adventure of dark magic, court intrigue, and forbidden love. (from Goodreads)

Review

Ah, some mixed feelings about this one. Let’s talk about what I liked first.

The Pros: I think the magic system was really neat. In The Stolen Kingdom, genuine magic gives life, and was given to the true royal line by The Holy God. Magic that is stolen and used by those outside the royal line brings death and destruction. This was so cool! I’ve never read magic with this kind of historical significance, and it was very consistent throughout the book.
I thought the fantasy world-building was also really well developed. The history, the various royal lines, all of that was well-developed and detailed.

The Cons: A lot of these cons are more meh points for me than things I hated, so keep that in mind. First, the characters and romance. It wasn’t so much that I couldn’t see Alac and Maralyth together as I felt their relationship wasn’t fully developed. After a handful of conversations and only a week in each other’s presence, they were supposed to be halfway in love. I just couldn’t buy into their feelings, and it made their actions a little unbelievable in the last part of the book. The characters themselves were so-so for me. They felt a little flat, although not unlikable.
Secondly, the plot. It wasn’t bad, it just felt a little bare-bones. I kept expecting more than there was. I think this was partly because the pace was pretty slow in the first half of the book.

Note: I received an e-arc from NetGalley.

Following Good

The Stolen Kingdom was extremely clean. No LGBT content, sexual content, or language. Only fictional religious content.

Rating

I felt very meh about this one, sadly. The fantasy elements were really neat, but the plot and characters were just so-so for me. The romance was a let down. So, 2.5 stars.

I’m bummed I didn’t like this one! I thought I’d like it more. Anyway, one more day until the weekend! Got any exciting plans?
Happy reading!
Hayden 💚

Book Lists · WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday 2/24/21

Happy hump day, people! Gosh, how is it only Wednesday? For some reason it feels like it should be the weekend already. 😂 I have no legitimate reason to feel this way, some weeks are just like that, you know? Anyway, I hope you guys are having a great week, and I am happy to be back to another WWW Wednesday. Just in case you didn’t know, WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World of Words.

What I Just Finished

So, as you can see, my main accomplishment was in some serious progress in TMI. I finished City of Fallen Angels and read City of Lost Souls. Which feels more impressive to me than it probably is. I feel like I read a lot this week, lol.

What I Am Currently Reading

So, I guess this is the logical progression. I am over 450 pages in to City of Heavenly Fire, and I still have over 250 to go…this book is long. 😂 But I am definitely going to finish it this week, which will feel like quite the accomplishment.

I am also (STILL) reading Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson and True to You by Becky Wade, which I’d like to finish this week, but they may take me one week more.

Lastly, I am about a third (?) into the Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa audiobook, and it is definitely starting to ramp up. 😊 We shall see how the rest of it goes!

What I Want to Read Next

I’m kind of at the point (again) where I want to really focus on finishing everything I’m in the middle of. However, Covet by Tracy Wolff is coming out sometime next week, and that may end up being my next read. We shall see. 😊


Well, I love these weekly check-ins. They always make me feel like something productive is happening in my life. 😂 I hope the rest of you guys’ week goes well!
Happy reading,
Hayden 💚

Book Lists · Can't Wait Wednesday

3 March 2021 Releases I’m Excited About

Happy Wednesday guys! Half…way…there. 😂 Isn’t it crazy that February is already almost over? Granted, it is a short month. I’ll comfort myself with that thought. Anyway, Can’t Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Tressa @ Wishful Endings. And here are three books coming out next month that I can’t wait for:

Covet by Tracy Wolff

Release date: March 2, 2021

Aaagh, I can’t wait for this one. If you’ve read Crush, you know what I’m talking about.

The Bright and the Pale by Jessica Rubinkowski

Release date: March 2, 2021

This one is just super intriguing. I find Russian fantasy so interesting…

Sing Me Forgotten by Jessica Olson

Release date: March 9, 2021

I read Phantom of the Opera last year, and I have read one kind of disappointing retelling. So I am very ready for this one, and I hope it will be awesome!

Alright, some exciting books coming out next month. What is your next anticipated release??
Happy reading,
Hayden 💚

Tag Posts

The Re-Read Book Tag

Happy Tuesday, everyone! The Top Ten Tuesday topic wasn’t speaking to me today, so instead I decided to do this fun tag! The Re-Read Book Tag was created by Brianna @Briann’sBooksandRandomness and I was tagged by Maya @ HerBookishDesires. Thanks so much to Maya for tagging me! I am excited about it. 😁

Rules:

I love this one so much! I’ve re-read it several times already, and honestly, it’s been a few years. I think I’m due for another re-read…

I know, how could I have DNF’d this one? I know a lot of people loved this one, but it was just meh for me. If the sequels come out and I hear they are amazing, I may give this one another go. The cover makes me want to love it. 😂

This is really one I could have picked a bunch for; if I loved it, I will always want to re-read. I LOVE re-reading. But I just read Spinning Silver a couple of weeks ago, and I know I will re-read it, because it was so dang awesome.

Ugh, this one was the worst. Seriously, looking back, I totally should have DNF’d it. I hated almost every moment. 😂 Never re-reading.

I read this one in 11th or 12th grade, and I really enjoyed it. I’ve been meaning to re-read it ever since.

I guess I’m going to go with Jane Austen for this one. She is just incredibly re-readable. Such complex characters and beautiful language. Something is always new for me.

Again, I could have picked almost anything (I just love to re-read things, lol), but if it’s just for fun, The Lynburn Legacy may be a good one. I picked up used copies this past weekend, and now I want to re-read them. But my TBR…I have goals…😂😭

Ok, this is kind of cheating, but not really, because both series are by Jenny Han. I’ve watched all the To All the Boys movies, but it’s been a few years since I thoroughly read the books, so I’d like to re-read them. And I heard Amazon is adapting The Summer I Turned Pretty (yay!) so I think those are due for a re-read too.

I’ve been meaning to re-read this series for years, and I feel like listening to it might be fun! It all depends on the narrator. 😂

This was so much fun! Thanks again, Maya. 😊

I think I am not going to nominate anyone in particular, simply because I’m not sure who all has done this one. But if you want to do this tag, please consider yourself nominated! It is really fun!

What is a book you’re dying to re-read?
Happy reading,
Hayden 💚