It Was the Truth Wrapped in Lies (The Burning Shadow – A Book Review)

The Burning Shadow (Origin #2)
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Published: 2019

On Goodreads

The Burning Shadow

Amazon

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

Rated T for teen angst, lusty turmoil, and truths that only lead to more questions. But, you’re addicted by this point, aren’t you?

 

A girl Luc had loved and lost—a girl he still loved.

A girl who used to be me.

A girl I couldn’t remember no matter how hard I tried. (p. 46)

Evelyn “Evie” Dasher is at a crossroads. After discovering that she’s really Nadia Holliday, Luc’s best friend and more, Luc who is an Origin that owns the nightclub: Fortoken, her head is spinning. Even more, she’s got holes in her memory and knows something happened. Flashes of words in her head leave her more confused than anything Every answer she discovers only leads to more questions.

As she hunts for answers about herself that nobody else is coughing up answers to, she grows closer to Luc. Arrogant, funny, and inhumanly gorgeous, he keeps her grounded, but he’s looking for answers too.

Amid searching for answers, the world is going crazy as people protest Luxen, demanding they leave, and kids are getting sick and dying, which people think is the Luxen’s doing. Evie and Luc know this is only leading to something much worse and dangerous. War. And, it may be one they can’t win.

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Macmillian

The Darkest Star review

I was so pumped to get this book and it wasn’t a letdown! Just as much of an adrenaline rush as The Darkest Star if not more. Non-stop from one moment to the next. Evie’s struggles really pulled at my heart. I can’t imagine what it’s like to deal with losing your identity and then be stricken about who you are and were and whoo you’ll be. I certainly don’t envy her for it. Not to mention dealing with alien problems on top of that and discovering you may be more dangerous than let on. But seriously, being as in the dark as her is rough! You’re killing me here and I have to wait for the next book? Gahhh! The struggle…But I can’t wait, especially after discovering that Evie is pretty special on a level that even Luxen and Origins are nervous. Super excited to see what comes next.

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Luc + Evie F-I-N-A-L-L-Y! The way they play around each other and bounce off one another is intense yet sweet. It got me blushing a few times and not because it was hot and heavy, though there were a few moments. I was just blown away by how adorable Luc was with her. At times, it felt like he was desperate to get the girl he once knew back, but I about melted with the way he reassured Evie just how much he cared about who she is now. It really complimented how he shared about Nadia with her, showing her special moments that he’d shared with her, knowing how important it was for Evie to understand who she once was.

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The danger isn’t even close to over. It’s intensified greatly and now Evie is a part of it. JLA rose up and up and up and even by the end I know she still hasn’t come down. The big peak of action and climax hasn’t even happened yet. April coming out of the woodwork as a serious enemy was nothing, just one drop in a hurricane. The losses were heavy though, putting into perspective that nobody is safe. Not loved ones, friends, past acquaintances, possibly not even Evie and Luc, which makes me shiver.

I was surprised with the political and social justice connections made. Thought-provoking and bold in the way JLA maneuvered today’s issues into the book, just through what’s happening in this book’s world. She took it to a universal scale. Bravo!

 

Overall

I had to jog my own memory for a good second before catching up to where Evie and Luc’s story was at. After that, I was hooked. Old characters made a cameo, making me squeal incessantly. Daemon has not lost his charm.

 

Quotables:

“You were all my good memories.” (Evie, p. 34)

“Oh my, holy llama babies everywhere…” (Evie, p. 129)

“Just be yourself. Or be a unicorn. One of the two.” (Luc to Evie, p.222)

 

More to come soon…                                                                                                

  -K.

 

P.S. Song today? In the Shadows by The Rasmus.

 

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Study By Day, Try to Stay Alive By Night (The Morganville Vampires: Vol. 2 – A Book Review)

Midnight Alley & Feast of Fools (The Morganville Vampires: Vol. 2)
Author: Rachel Caine
Published: 2010

On Goodreads

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My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

Rated B for bigger and badder threats of the fanged variety that might too much for even the most badass. Then again, there’s Claire Danvers.

 

“Mortals simply aren’t what they used to be.” (Midnight Alley, Myrnin, p.62)

 

Midnight Alley

Claire Danvers has experienced a lot since coming to Morganville to attend Texas Prairie University after being admitted at the age of sixteen. But, with the help of her friends, she’s navigating it pretty well. Now under the protection of the founder, the most powerful vampire and owner of the town, she’s dragged even deeper into the town’s secrets. As her life takes a new turn and her studies take her into unknown territory, people begin popping up dead around town, and the protection Claire started to feel dwindles and she begins to wonder if she or her friends may be next. That is if her new professor doesn’t get her first.

Feast of Fools

The Glass House along with all of Morganville is turned on its head when Mr. Bishop and his friends come to town. An ancient vampire that is determined to take over the town, even Amelie is nervous. A formal ball is being held in his honor really shakes everyone. Attended by vampires and their human dates, Claire realizes this ball is more than it seems. This isn’t a welcome party, it’s a trap for the town. One in which Mr. Bishop plans to take over the town.

 

The Morganville Vampires series is 1 of 3 that I am rereading as a part of my New Year’s Resolution. This is 4 of 15 books.

The Morganville Vampires Vol. 1 Review

Scarlet Reader - Morganville Vampires: Glass Houses & The Dead Girls Dance

 

The Glass House is in rocky shape and on the verge of an explosion with Shane and Michael at each other’s throats and Eve’s brother, Jason, is out of jail and on the loose. In particular, he’s looking for payback. Meanwhile, Claire is finally excited about being challenged in new classes arranged for her by Amelie, and for the first time, was on the outside with her housemates for not being an original Morganville resident. It was such an uncomfortable feeling that left me feeling bad for Claire, but she’s no longer just a college student, but officially a Morganville townie and whether she admits it or not, I think she likes it. It gives her something she’s not had very often: purpose.

Changes abound in this volume. Some are emotional, others are physical, surprising ones are strangely normal, but all of them are hard. The Glass House is forever changed and so are the lives of its residents. Hell, I squealed when Claire and Shane finally got together and completely admire the respect he has for her. Sure, they bicker and fight, but they still work out their issues and he doesn’t go too far. I wouldn’t say they’re the Nicholas Sparks Dream, but they give me that feeling.

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Myrnin is the newest character addition to the series and I must say, he is my absolute favorite vampire of all of them. Okay, that’s not true. He’s in my top three. Sam’s actually my favorite followed up by Michael. So, the top three. Still great. One of my favorite things about the vampires in this series is how independent they are. They each carry their own time like a cloak almost. It’s rather beautiful and fearsome at the same time.

Vampire Alzheimer and a true old-world vampire really amped up the intensity levels of Morganville in this volume. Like a delightful topping on a sundae, there’s also family drama and Glass House drama, and of course, Monica drama. More avenues of the town opened up too, which pulled me in even further. Exploring a book’s world even deeper and seeing new places is always so much fun and gets me all kinds of giddy. This volume definitely had me on the edge of my seat.

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Overall

This series just gets better and better. An exhilarating ride with surprises, both delightful and filled with nail-biting cliffhangers. I can’t get enough of this series. One of my favorite addictions. Never dull and filled to the brim with daring heroism in unexpected places, love in friendship, and unbelievable power in the unlikeliest of places and people. If you haven’t read this yet and you love Buffy the Vampire Slayer then what are you waiting for?

 

Quotables:

 “Home. Home is where the heart is. Why don’t you leave yours here? I’ll take very good care of it.” (Midnight Alley, Myrnin to Claire, p. 63)

“Claire, little girls who take candy from strangers in Morganville get hurt. Or worse.” (Midnight Alley, Eve too Claire, p. 99)

“Creative people. They think the world stops when they think.” (Feast of Fools, Eve, p. 283)

“Parents are supposed to protect their children, Claire. We’ve done a bang up job of that, haven’t we?” (Feast of Fools, Claire’s Mom, p. 346)

 

More to come soon…                                                                                                

  -K.

 

P.S. Song today? Ain’t It Fun by Paramore.

 

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The Killer First Love That Got Away (Widow’s Web – A Book Review)

Widow’s Web (Elemental Assassin #7)
Author: Jennifer Estep
Published: 2012

On Goodreads

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Jennifer Estep

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

Rated A for action that both deadly and sexy with a side of deadly assassin mojo that no 007 villain can top.

 

If she’s supposed to be the ruthless killer, why is her name on all the lists?

Known as the assassin that took down Mab, the mobster that basically owned Ashland, Gin Blanco has every lowlife gunning for her, making her deadly skills that once made her money become more useful for survival.

But, once an assassin, always an assassin. When Salina Dubois strolls into Gin’s life, connected to Ashland and to her lover, Owen, she is thrown off balance. Something is off about this Southern belle. When Gin discovers her dark and nasty secrets that lead to her plan to take revenge and capture Ashland, and Owen, for herself Gin steps into the job she knows by heart. The job that gave her the deadly name, the Spider. This job may cost her her love affair though, but in order to protect not only Owen but her friends and family, it’s a sacrifice she is forced to make.

 

I remembered picking this up in the store partially because the cover was mysterious and pretty and partially because this was out of my usual reading zone. When I dived in I realized this was exactly in my reading zone. Magical elements, danger, love, friendship, and sex. All in one with a side of gritty, no-holds-back action? More please, I’m desperate.

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Tenor

There was no introduction, I was just shoved right on into the deep end of the pool. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, but it totally did here. Nothing is trickier than coming up against your lover’s first love. It was no different for Gin. She has the strongest self-confidence I’ve seen yet, but even she gets a little worried and jealous and that really makes her relatable. Salina was one conniving water witch and sneaky too. A woman with the skill to convince anybody of her lies, even the deadly ones. It was freaky! Gin really met her match in this woman. Owen, her lover, which I love how she defines her relationship with him, also faces an old friend-turned-enemy, keeping the tension and intrigue high throughout the book. So much drama!

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Gfycat

 

Gin Blanco is one tough bitch and I love it! Never reckless, but always willing to do whatever it takes to protect those she cares about, even if it means they may hate her for it and there are a lot of bodies. It doesn’t make her the bad guy, but it definitely doesn’t make her a hero. A badass assassin with unbelievable elemental skills in stone and ice, she is a deadly force. It is killer to see a woman that needs no one to come to her defense. It doesn’t make her heartless either.

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The magic is so well melded into the modern world. Ashland reminds me of New Orleans, like a baby sister city. It’s got its own magic stemming from four primary elements: fire, ice, air, and stone. It strays from the original elements but not far.  Not only is there a dose of yummy magic, but the creatures that live in it give so much more, making Ashland even more enticing. Vampires, trolls, dwarves—and I love Sophia, the Goth dwarf—you name it, I’m sure this city has it. Gives me a Sin City vibe. “Walk down any back alley and you can find anything.”

 

Overall

So, I started this series with #7. Not the first time I’ve done that with a series and not the first time a series has snagged me that way either. So much fun and wild. This was not the typical mass-market buzz-through type of book. There are so much substance, development, and entertainment. A splendid blend. Worth a read if you enjoy sass, action, and a woman who’s good in action. Take that how you will, I’m officially hooked on this series and can’t help but indulge in the double edge of magic and hot emotions.

 

Quotables:

“The past could be a powerful thing, especially when it came to love lost.” (Gin, p. 197)

“I could have protested. I could have told him that he was wrong. That I listened to my family and friends, that I didn’t just tune them out, but he was partially right. Because in the end, someone had to make the hard decisions, had to do the dirty work, had to be the bad guy, and, like it or not, it seemed that quite often that someone was me.” (Gin, p. 350)

 

More to come soon…                                                                                                

  -K.

 

P.S. Song today? This is What Makes Us Girls by Lana Del Rey.

 

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Tuck and Roll (Morganville Vampires Vol. 1: Glass Houses & The Dead Girl’s Dance – A Book Review)

Glass Houses & The Dead Girls’ Dance (The Morganville Vampires #1-2)
Author: Rachel Caine
Published: 2009

On Goodreads

Scarlet Reader - Morganville Vampires: Glass Houses & The Dead Girls Dance

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

Rated F for fangs, fighting, and a side of goth-bomb sarcasm.

 

On the day Claire joined the Glass House, somebody stole her laundry. (Glass Houses, p. 1)

 

Glass Houses

Morganville is a small town in the heart of Texas. The college is quaint. The local coffee shop holds all of your caffeine and Wi-Fi needs. The houses are old and the townspeople are skittish. The further you go off the beaten path the more you realize this town has a lot of secrets. At least that’s how it is for Claire Danvers. Accepted to college at sixteen, she quickly discovers what it’s like to get on the bad side of the resident psycho-rich girl, Monica Morrell. What she didn’t expect was to delve into the nightlife and secrets of the town after moving into the Glass House. Though her roommates don’t show any signs of life, she discovers the town’s deepest secrets and they’re out for blood, her blood.

The Dead Girls’ Dance

Claire Danvers is adjusting pretty well to Morganville, an old town, run by vampires. When Shane’s father comes to town to kill as many vampires as possible as revenge for the loss of his daughter and wife because of them. As Claire’s and her friends’ lives threaten to rip apart at the seams, she must think fast to help them before all hell breaks loose with them caught dead in the middle.

 

The Morganville Vampires series is 1 of 3 that I am rereading as a part of my New Year’s Resolution. This is 2 of 15 books.

Where the fecking hell do I begin!? Sorry, turning down the excitement…but not really. Saying that I’m in love with this series is an understatement. A major one! This isn’t some Twilight or The Vampire Diaries. These aren’t vampires that you’ll fall in love with. It’s more like a: “Oh god! Oh god! I’m going to die!” kind of vibe. Utterly sharp and witty, I couldn’t put this book down until I was done, just like the first time. Claire didn’t expect her first time out in the world to involve life-threatening situations with vampires and I didn’t expect to get so obsessed.

Scarlet Reader

Movellas

 

The shocks and twists still get me smirking. People aren’t always as they seem and that is especially the case with the vampires of these books. Will they kill you or save you? Claire does walk that fine line. And, I admire the way she just automatically fit in at the Glass House the moment she walked in and in some cases acted more mature than her housemates. Granted, she filled to the brim with awkward, but aren’t we all? As she snaps into mature mode pretty fast, dealing with things she’s never had to in the past, like mean girls, boys, seances, and vampires, she surprises everyone with how she thrives with her boldness and bravery in the face of terror and danger.

So much originality. Claire is too smart for her own good and I love how each of the other characters from Michael, Eve, and Shane (and hold gods, I love Shane), to the vamps: Oliver, Amelie, and Sam really stand out and I can see them so clearly. And the town of Morganville is truly unlike anything I’ve ever seen. However, I can totally relate to how Claire feels about her college and how it seems rundown, just not the bit where students disappear sometimes due to being vamp-chow. It’s a town that you’d look at and not give a second thought to or think about living in. It’s unmentionable, passable, making it a perfect place for vampires. The developing relationships and bonds start strong right out of the gate. I was just immediately hooked because of the chemistry between the characters, especially Claire and Shane. I love those two together so ridiculously that I forget how necessary it is to breathe. LOL.

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Imaginative and original and witty. There’s nothing like this out there. This series is always a pleasure to read and write about. The paranormal and YA genres are my favorite. If I’m honest though, when I came across this series I was incredibly skeptical because of something crazy. Some of the character’s last names of MV are the same from a favorite movie of mine: The Covenant. It makes me laugh more than anything now. See, Claire shares her last name with the movie’s main character, Caleb, and Shane with the movie’s villain, Chase. In the end, the curious summary and these last names got me to pick up the book. I’m so glad I did.

Norse Mythology
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The more I think about it, the weirder it is, but I guess I can thank Monica for being a real bitch or else Claire would’ve never come to become a part of the Glass House and the dangerous, life-threatening adventures wouldn’t be the same. So, thanks, Monica? Ugh, I can’t say – or write – that with sincerity. She’s a real piece of work and by that, I mean a classic Mean Girls plastic of Morganville with a sprinkle of psycho. LOL.

 

That Bad Habit…

Once again, I have to gush about a book series that should be a TV series.

Am I still saying this should be a TV show? YES! This isn’t some gushy love story…well, there are moments and I still melt into a puddle at them, but this is about living with vampires and realizing that they’re not always cuddly. It’s smart and resourceful and I still crack up at the sarcasm. Do I have a cast list in mind? Yes, but don’t worry. I’ not going to list it out. I do think this could renew the dying fandom for vampires though. Make it fun and entertaining and engaging again.

 

Overall

This is my third time running through these books. I don’t often reread books, but with this series, I will always reread them and for those who love vampires, I will gush and recommend MV to them as well. Action-packed, butterfly-inducing, and fast. This isn’t your typical vampire story or town.

 

Quotables:

“Damnit, she resented being scared in a library! Books weren’t supposed to be scary. They were supposed to…help.” (Glass Houses, Claire, p. 147)

“Run first. Mourn later.” (Glass Houses, Shane, p. 162)

‘Things change. We have to adapt.” (The Dead Girls’ DanceFrank Collins, p. 248)

 

More to come soon…                                                                                                

  -K.

 

P.S. Song today? Ain’t It Fun by Paramore.

 

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A Game Won Is A Debt Owed (Legendary – A Book Review)

Legendary (Caraval #2)
Author: Stephanie Garber
Published: 2018

On Goodreads

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My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

Rated F for dangerous fates, both the real deals and destiny itself.

 

A heart to protect.

A debt to repay.

A game to win.

Caraval swept Scarlett and Tella away from their father. Having won the game, they should be celebrating, but while Scarlett is off with Julian, falling in love with him, Tella isn’t quite free. She has a debt to pay for saving Scarlett. She must retrieve Legend’s true name and. This time, Caraval, being held in the city of Valenda, is more magical and more dangerous than ever and could cost Tella her life, for real.

It’s not just Legend and his players that Tella must be careful of, but the Fates as well. They are returning to the world of Caraval and Scarlett is unsure of what’s real and what’s just an act. Though it appears that Legend is trying to help, Tella will discover whether or not Legend really is the villain he’s made out to be.

 

Caraval

Goodreads

Caraval Review

I was bewitched with Caraval and Legendary has captured me just the same. Utterly imaginative and magical, this book ups the stakes of Caraval. The dangers are bigger and more life-threatening and this time it’s Tella, Scarlett’s sister, that is playing. She plays not only to protect her sister but to pay off a debt and save her mother. She’ll have to win and if she does, she’ll finally meet Legend, the game master himself. However, if the bloody, heart-stopping curse on her by the dastardly Prince of Hearts, a Fate, kills first that’ll never happen.

Everybody has secrets. Tella, Scarlett, Julian, everyone. Good to see that hasn’t changed and that I’m continuously obsessed with figuring them out. Getting even deeper with the characters that I only got a taste of in Caraval, like Dante, was so cool. I love when minor characters get a spotlight or turn out to be the spotlight. It’s such a twist and I live for minor things turning out to be major. Romance twists its vines through this book too and it squeezes tight, wringing my heart a good one.

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The Fates, only briefly mentioned in the first book get a much larger part to play and that was exciting! More so, so was discovering that even though I was following Scarlett during Caraval, the main character of this trilogy is actually Tella. It’s not until this book that I actually figured that out. I can’t complain about the misdirection. It’s brilliant! The plot twists and surprises are mind-bending and breathtaking. I’m totally in love with this trilogy. The magic of the first book became real in this one. And discovering who Legend was…Holy shit! I had many guesses throughout the book, and while it was predictable, it was still incredible.

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The city of Valenda really splits down the middle of gorgeous and mystifying, and treacherous and secretive. Garber really showed many different shades of this vast city and it was enriching to explore it with Tella. The temples were the most terrifying yet beguiling for me as I imagined them in my mind. This places nooks and crannies really shed truths on Tella and the sisters’ mother.

 

Overall

So completely in love and taken by this one just like I was with Caraval. I’m desperate to see how it ends, especially after that ending! Sadly, I’m one of those weird people who really like to have their books in one format and for the Caraval trilogy, it’s paperback. So, I’m waiting a little while for Finale. That gives me time to recover my emotions though. Without a doubt, I recommend this series and though Legend doesn’t recommend getting swept away I do.

 

Quotables:

“Your future can be whatever you wish. We all have the power to choose our own destiny…” (Paloma to Tella, p. 6)

“She’s once bet her life on her sister’s love. She’d kissed the Prince of Hearts and still lived. These Fates would not kill her tonight.” (Tella, p. 273)

“Fate is only an idea, but I think by believing in it we turn it into something more. You just said you’ve avoided love because you’ve believed it wasn’t in your future, and so it hasn’t been.” (Dante to Tella, p. 352)

 

More to come soon…                                                                                                

  -K.

 

P.S. Song today? Black Black Heart by David Usher.

 

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A Dark New World (Wicked Saints – A Book Review)

Wicked Saints (Something Dark and Holy #1)
Author: Emily A. Duncan
Published: 2019

On Goodreads

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My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

Rated X because you won’t trust a single one of these people with your life unless you want to doom the world or yourself.

 

A girl named Nadya, who hears the whispers of the gods inside her head.

A prince surrounded by desperate suitors and deadly assassins.

A monster hidden behind pale, tortured eyes—and a smile that cuts like a knife.

Nadya has grown up in the monastery for most of her life, revering the gods, and she is the only known cleric that is able to communicate with all of them and not just the one she is bound to. After the monastery is attacked, she runs into a band of unexpected allies that seek to end the brutal war between Kalyazin and Tranavia, a god-fearing land and a godless one. With the high prince on their trail, it may seem tricky. But, the high prince is also trying to escape the suitors and assassins around him. A prophecy of dark magic and heresy that has been long known is put in motion and two countries may be in worse danger than this war never-ending.

 

I guess the perfect place to start with any review is stating right off the bat if you enjoyed or disliked a book, or at least that typically how I like to get started. To be honest, I’m not sure which direction I lean. Complex. That’s it. There was a lot of hype (mostly my own) about this book and it was even on the NYT bestsellers list for a while. This is one I’m going to want to reread later on. While the cover is completely mystifying and is really what attracted me—following the mini-blurb on the jacket inside the book—I really find that this story, this journey really stands next to those like LOTR (J. R. R. Tolkien), Mortal Engines (Phillip Reeve), and The Magicians (Lev Grossman). There is so much attention to not only detail but emotions.

War, religion, faith, and love are the strongest themes I came across while reading. The characters were always questioning everything as well as themselves, except for Rashid and Parijahan of course. Those two knew to the very point of their hearts what they wanted without a single drop of doubt. I truly loved those characters. Great for relief in intense moments and were proof that—in this book anyhow—there are people you can trust at face value because they’re upfront with everything with nothing to hide. Can’t guarantee anybody else in this book. LOL. Not even the main characters: Nadya, Serefin, and Malachiasz.

What is happening

This story was pretty dark. It had me questioning every page. I certainly didn’t trust any of the characters. Serefin is obviously an alcoholic which really bothered the heck out of me. Nearly every time his POV came up he was waking up with a nasty hangover. Each of these characters really struggled, and I get that they live in war-torn countries, but damn, they are messed the eff up. It was making me go crazy.

The cult-y touch with the blood magic versus what the gods of this world provide was epic though. That had me impressed. That, and the histories offered at the beginning of each chapter. So much depth!

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Overall

I truly wish I had more excitement. There’s so much to talk about, but I don’t have any enthusiasm in me about it, which is a bummer. I think it’s just because so much was loaded into it that I was having a bit of trouble keeping up and catching on. Duncan really delved into her creation of a world whole-heartedly and it’s amazing. This isn’t a dislike review. Those are much more different. This is definitely a recommend for those who love fantasy and magic. Certainly, worth a shot.

 

Quotables:

“The was magic, it was power, it was mankind stepping out of the shadows and finding out the world had been kept in the dark by these gods.” (p. 50)

“Blood was not to be spilled for the sake of power. Magic was a divine appointment from the gods.” (p. 113)

“A boy made king of monsters for a kingdom of the damned.” (p. 346)

 

More to come soon…                                                                                                

  -K.

 

P.S. Song today? When the Darkness Comes by Grace Fulmer.

 

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There’s Not Dead and Then There’s Not-Dead (The Past and Other Things That Should Stay Buried)

The Past and Other Things That Should Stay Buried
Author: Shaun David Hutchinson
Published: 2019

On Goodreads

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My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

Rated N for not-dead people not dying because of unsettled teen drama.

 

A good friend will bury your body, a best friend will dig you back up.

Dino is used to spending time around dead bodies. His family runs a funeral home, so death is the family business. In all the time he’s helped out though, he’s never had a dead body talk back to him, until now.

Dino’s ex-best friend July died suddenly, but when she awakens screaming, there’s a lot of confusion. She’s not really alive, but not really either. Even stranger, nobody else is dying either. It seems like death has come to a standstill. While Dino and July work together to figure out why this happened, they also confront why their friendship ended in the ugly way it did. As they do, they discover a lot more than they expected, changing what they knew and understood about each other.

 

This book was phenomenal. Spectacularly written. If ever you wondered or wished to get that closure and moment to say goodbye before losing someone then here you go. Just the right amount of wit, humor, honesty, and selfishness. This wasn’t just a paranormal YA with zombies. There were no zombies actually. In fact, it was just a lot of not-dead. The POVS alternated between Dino and July. They’re both so different, but I was hooked on them. I related to Dino the most because I’m not very good at being courageous. For others, yes. For myself, no. Their dynamic is off the wall and I can see how they were best friends, yet it surprises me because of how different they are. My bookworm senses went wild with this story. I laughed, I swooned, I was shocked, and I got my dose of the paranormal.

Scarlet Reader

giphy

The not-dead gave way to some real themes and subjects today. Personally, since I don’t know what to call something like this I’m going with para-realism because it was just that. While Dino struggled to be confident, something I think a lot of people can’t relate to, there was also his struggle to try and figure out who he is. That is so difficult, and the fact that he was feeling that kind of pressure at sixteen…wow. It’s also a reminder that no one’s perfect and no one has it figured out and THAT’S OKAY.

The Scarlet Reader

Tenor

The LGBTQ of this made my stomach swim. Dino and Rafi literally ooze adorableness with the way they care so much for each other. I couldn’t get enough of this couple. This relationship not only showed those cutesy aspects but the other angles as well: the worry, and insecurity. The way they actually talked through their issues and recognized their worth and worried over whether or not they were good enough. That’s it, guys, This. Right here. Major fucking goals!

Thanks for the Trouble

My Art Forest

Overall

A heck of a good time filled with real-talk, unexpected advice that is hella useful and wisdom that seriously blew my mind. Love and Death may be the primary subjects here, but there is so much else in-between all of that. This story resonated with me deeply and I seriously recommend it. However, if you’re looking for some crazy Paranormal with the end of the world vibes, this isn’t for you. This is a book of friendship, trying to handle life, and being not-dead. Some say this is bizarre, but I think this is just what we need.

 

Quotables:

“That’s the family you were born into. We’re the family you chose.” (Rafi to Dino, p. 4)

“Love’s only gross when you’re not in it.” (Delilah to Dino, p. 13)

“We don’t get to control how people feel. The only thing we get to control is how we feel…” (Rafi, p. 127)

“Friendship with someone you love isn’t a consolation prize.” (Rafi, p. 127)

“Funerals are our last opportunity to show the world how much we cared about the person who died.” (Dino, p. 159)

“Humor can shine a light on truths that make us uncomfortable, and we all know how painful facing the truth is, but that humor doesn’t have to come from another person or group’s pain.” (Dino to July, p. 205)

“Some people deal with breakups by watching sappy movies and crying it out; I deal by watching crappy horror movies and rooting for the killers.” (Rafi to Dino, p. 234)

“Don’t ever apologize for being happy, Dino. Not to me. Not to anyone.” (July to Dino, p. 241)

“Love isn’t obvious until you’re in it. It’s not a punch in the face that leaves you reeling, Love is gradual and sneaky. It grows like weeds between the cracks of a hundred average moments.” (July, p. 243)

 

 

More to come soon…                                                                                                

  -K.

 

P.S. Song today? Ironic by Alanis Morissette.

 

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