The One Where I Sorta Liked Reading “Set Fire to the Gods” by Sara Raasch, Kristen Simmons

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Ash is descended from a long line of gladiators, and she knows the brutal nature of war firsthand. But after her mother dies in an arena, she vows to avenge her by overthrowing her fire god, whose temper has stripped her country of its resources.

Madoc grew up fighting on the streets to pay his family’s taxes. But he hides a dangerous secret: he doesn’t have the earth god’s powers like his opponents. His elemental gift is something else—something that hasn’t been seen in centuries.

When an attempted revenge plot goes dangerously wrong, Ash inadvertently throws the fire and earth gods into a conflict that can only be settled by deadly, lavish gladiator games. The fights put Madoc in Ash’s path, and she realizes that his powers are the weapon her rebellion needs—but Madoc won’t jeopardize his family, regardless of how intrigued he is by the beautiful warrior.

But when the gods force Madoc’s hand, he and Ash uncover an ancient war that will threaten more than one immortal—it will unravel the world.


。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。

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SO–I really enjoyed the beginning of Set Fire to the Gods. I was into Madoc, in a number of ways, he seemed the right amount of cocky and sweet, with iron fists (figuratively) and a grin to boot. He is undivine–an ordinary among the extraordinary. His brother is an earth bender earth mover thing, and together they scam the SOB “leader” who is trying to take away the money from the poor. Until that same guy comes a knocking and just because he can takes his sister as a servant and tells the boys “come up with x amount of money if you WANT TO BUY HER BACK FROM ME”. I mean, the nerve of this guy. So because Madoc is so good at fighting he got approached by a sort of coach who was like “hey you divine and you fight well, come be trained as a gladiator!” Madoc has no choice but to say “fiiiine” so he can get paid.

Why do they need gladiators? Cause the gods are pricks who keep fighting among themselves and gambling away resources, but instead of fighting in full blown wars (and killing a TON of soldiers) they pick their gladiators and basically have them fight each other. It is a whole event thing, people love it (cause, you know, give them bread and circuses to keep them “happy” and contained).

THEN our girl, ASH, gets in all sorts of trouble cause she interrupts another gladiator’s fight and that’s like a big NO NO–so she is forced to go from being a dancer to being a gladiator (but she was trained by her mom -a gladiator legend- to fight so no biggie, she got this right?) Side note: she hates all the gods and everything they represent. I mean, I can’t blame her.

And so ensues gladiator fights, a conspiracy, and a heavy flirtation between our two MCs. My main complaint about Set Fire to the Gods is that the two MCs don’t really talk truthfully to each other, thus ensuing a ton of misunderstanding and unnecessary conflict. I just, wish they had more scenes together to build the trust. My other unfortunate dislike concerned the bad guys, their evil monologue, and just how obvious it all was? I think if we would have focused a bit more on the gladiator fights and building an actual relationship between the two MCs in which they could work as a team I would have enjoyed this more. As it is, I really liked the bending of the elements, that was awesome. Unlike in ATLAB the fire benders here actually have to have fire nearby in order to bend it, but they can also “store” it in their heart for later use. I loved Madoc–he was just so genuine. I also liked Ash! She was the only one willing to think outside the box and look at the big picture, trying to by pass her prejudices.

So really at the end this book is for me a 2.5 star, I liked it but it has several issues. I may read the next book, but the bad guys need to seriously get some refinement to their character (stop the evil monologue, let our characters figure stuff out for themselves). There are other things that bothered me but they are a bit too spoilery to talk about here. I did really enjoy reading about Madoc and Ash as individuals, so hoping they get a bit more time together to become the team they need to be.

If you are at all interested, the spoilers can be found in my GOODREADS review.

The One Where I loved Shielded by Kaylynn Flanders #BookReview #YA #Fantasy

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The kingdom of Hálendi is in trouble. It’s losing the war at its borders, and rumors of a new, deadlier threat on the horizon have surfaced. Princess Jennesara knows her skills on the battlefield would make her an asset and wants to help, but her father has other plans.

As the second-born heir to the throne, Jenna lacks the firstborn’s–her brother’s–magical abilities, so the king promises her hand in marriage to the prince of neighboring Turia in exchange for resources Hálendi needs. Jenna must leave behind everything she has ever known if she is to give her people a chance at peace.

Only, on the journey to reach her betrothed and new home, the royal caravan is ambushed, and Jenna realizes the rumors were wrong–the new threat is worse than anyone imagined. Now Jenna must decide if revealing a dangerous secret is worth the cost before it’s too late–for her and for her entire kingdom.


。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。

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Shielded is YA fantasy done right. I am so happy that the beautiful cover (which I definitely need in my bookshelf) matches the FANTASTIC story inside the pages. I love the characters, their relationships and development, the dialogue, the steady pace, the plot, the romance, and the world building. That’s is 5 stars right there!

The heroine, Jenna, is both strong yet vulnerable. She is an eccentric princess who uses her brain in tough situations and doesn’t take the easy way out. After a lot of bad things happen to her, one right after the other, she still manages to find her strenght within to keep her going. She is also a bookworm, in fact a lot of these characters are and I AM DOWN WITH THIS. We spend the entirerity of the first half of the book with basically only Jenna for company so she needs to be a pretty good character in order to shoulder the novel. We don’t even get to meet the love interest until about 43% into the novel, and then when we do it is full steam ahead! I loved not only Jenna, but the side characters too like the prince of Turia and his entire family.

Some things were a bit convenient and made things a little more painless–the author could have made us suffer a lot more than she did (and she did make us suffer) but I am just grateful she made the decisions she did cause I don’t think my heart could have taken much more hardship.

The romance is…JUST UGH SO GREAT. The characters work well as a team and support each other’s endevours–a team that works well together is bound to make me happy. There is also a case of mistaken identity (well, a couple of cases of that) and it just makes the tension even better cause…

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I love those. They just have this connection that is undeniable, but does not feel forced in the least. Feels completely organic and meant to be ❤

The magic system is interesting. We have magical weapons and artifacts, a lost/hidden library full of treasures and knowledge, the race to uncover magical secrets…It is all very thrilling. The heroine is not well versed in the magic, and this is not a case in which she is totally OP (over powered). She has a decent magic source that she slowly learns how to use to her advantage. The “rules” aren’t many yet, for example I don’t know the limits to the heroine’s ability (what can she do, what can’t she do) but I think, and hope, this is something that will be further explored in the sequel.

WHICH I CAN’T WAIT FOR if you haven’t noticed.

The One Where I loved “I Kissed Alice by Anna Birch, Victoria Ying (Illustrator)” an F/F Enemies to Lovers Story

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Rhodes and Iliana couldn’t be more different, but that’s not why they hate each other.

Hyper-gifted artist Rhodes has always excelled at Alabama’s Conservatory of the Arts despite a secret bout of creator’s block, while transfer student Iliana tries to outshine everyone with her intense, competitive work ethic. Since only one of them can get the coveted Capstone scholarship, the competition between them is fierce.

They both escape the pressure on a fanfic site where they are unknowingly collaborating on a graphic novel. And despite being the worst enemies in real life, their anonymous online identities I-Kissed-Alice and Curious-in-Cheshire are starting to like each other… a lot. When the truth comes out, will they destroy each other’s future?


。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。・:*:・゚☆。・:*:・゚★,。

Oh I loved this so much 😍

Make way for an F/F REAL enemies to lovers story!

I got some SERIOUS Pride and Prejudice vibes from the story–So if that is your jam definitely pick this book up. Privilege,

Iliana hates Rhodes guts for a very real situation that happened between the characters in which Iliana manages to be the hurt party. Ever since then, Iliana hates Rhodes, Rhodes seemingly hates Iliana, but they are stuck in close proximity because of their friend “glue” in the form of Sarah. Sarah has been Iliana’s BFF since they were children, and is Rhodes’ roommate at this fancy conservatory arts school in which they seem to be the only poor scholarship kids.

Iliana fights tooth and nail for everything she has ever had, but she also will trample over people to get there. Rhodes is quiet and reserved which comes off as snobbish and cold–Rhodes inner monologue really hit close to home, as she is anxious and suffering from depression (which is something she shares with Iliana as her online self, Alice). Iliana however believes Rhodes to be full of privilege, which Iliana is too but because of Rhodes economic advantages she is a step up in the privilege department (both characters will come to address this).

“If there were a time on Slash/Spot before I-Kissed-Alice–Alice as I call her, and she calls me Cheshire after my own username–I don’t remember it. There was no life before Slash/Spot, and the rest of it barely mattered before I met Alice.”

In the online world, Alice (Rhodes) and Cheshire (Iliana) have been a team for many months and are in a sort of online relationship. They work on an online comic book together as co creators and basically are as honest with each other as only two strangers on the internet can be. Since they seem to be taking internet security seriously though, they do not divulge specific information that will lead either person to pinpoint who the other one is. Convenient, but safe and only helps to build the tension. I cannot wait for the finished copy to hit the bookstores so I can buy my copy and look at the comic book sections which are ILLUSTRATED and look AMAZING ❤

There are a lot of complicated relationships in this book, not only between Iliana and Rhodes, but also the one between Iliana, Rhodes and Sarah. The girl on girl hate that occurs on this book is not motivated by romantic relationships (kind of), overall I think it is portrayed in a realistic way. Not only is the “hate” necessary for the trope, but it really helps to shine a light on unhealthy relationships and what they can do to your self esteem and mental health. We all have had those relationships that are bad for us that we just don’t see how to quit. There is this other character that then comes along and “works to sabotage the girls” but really I can see where the character is coming from because she was working from a very specific mind set and because of the main characters bad behavior (which gets addressed). In the end, it all has a purpose.

I just love how the story was written, how issues were addressed, and how complicated the relationship issues were. I will definitely be recommending this one to friends and anybody who manages to understand my babbling about how great this story was. 

Book Review: The Magnolia Sword

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CHINA, 484 A.D.

A Warrior in Disguise
All her life, Mulan has trained for one purpose: to win the duel that every generation in her family must fight. If she prevails, she can reunite a pair of priceless heirloom swords separated decades earlier, and avenge her father, who was paralyzed in his own duel.

Then a messenger from the Emperor arrives, demanding that all families send one soldier to fight the Rouran invaders in the north. Mulan’s father cannot go. Her brother is just a child. So she ties up her hair, takes up her sword, and joins the army as a man.

A War for a Dynasty
Thanks to her martial arts skills, Mulan is chosen for an elite team under the command of the princeling–the royal duke’s son, who is also the handsomest man she’s ever seen. But the princeling has secrets of his own, which explode into Mulan’s life and shake up everything she knows. As they cross the Great Wall to face the enemy beyond, Mulan and the princeling must find a way to unwind their past, unmask a traitor, and uncover the plans for the Rouran invasion . . . before it’s too late.

Continue reading “Book Review: The Magnolia Sword”

Book Expo America 2019-The 10 Year Anniversary #BookExpo19 (Day 1)

Book Expo America will always and forever hold a dear place in my heart. When I first went to BEA I was 16; my mom went with me to NYC (for the first time ever for me), we stayed at this small dirty hotel, and basically navigating NY was terrifying for a girl from Florida (that says a lot). I probably heard about BEA from another blogger, though I can’t for the life of me remember which blog. I don’t remember what books I got, I don’t remember which authors I met, but I do remember whom I met at that BEA and that is my best friend and co-blogger Lexie.

So all in all, I WON AT BEA FOREVER AND ALWAYS because I fell asleep on a total stranger who turned out to be my bestest friend (we will not talk about my issue with boundaries at this point in my life).

That was 10 YEARS AGO. I haven’t gone to BEA in a couple of years because of life (aka James, my one year old) and also ever since BEA joined with BookCon it had gotten a lot more hectic than I can deal with, so I opted to go to other book conventions instead. But this year I decided to brave BEA once more…

…and it was actually quite a blast!

Though BEA did throw a wrench into my most carefully laid out plans by opening the floor on Wednesday for half a day, which was supposed to be our “tour NY, walk around, go to Bloomsbury HQ and Blog Bound!” day, now turned into our “WE HAVE TO SCRAMBLE IF WE WANT TO MAKE EVERYTHING HAPPEN/SACRIFICES MUST BE MADE!”

My Friday schedule looked like this:

BEA Day 1

I made it to ONE signing. I had to make the MOST DIFFICULT DECISION of either going to BlogBound (which was held in the Harper Offices) or get Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo. LEIGH FREAKING BARDUGO.

I decided to go to Blog bound–I was very excited to attend! We got to see the Harper Offices! Which I had never seen before, so that was an experience I was not willing to give up. Not even for Leigh Freaking Bardugo.

At 9am we made a pit stop at the Javits Center to pick up our badges, and then it was off we go to Bloomsbury HQ.

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The place was amazing, and the ladies at Bloomsbury sure were SUPER excited to talk about their new upcoming books! We got an ARC of The Gravity of Us (which was on my list of books to pick up at BEA! ) and a fantastic tour inside their offices.

Some of their AWESOME upcoming titles include:

Some Places More Than Others The Dragon Warrior The Gravity of Us A Heart So Fierce and Broken (A Curse So Dark and Lonely, #2)

After Bloomsbury we walked back to the Javits–While we had Blogbound still that afternoon we did have a window to go to the BEA floor and walk around, hopefully pick up some ARCs and hit a few signings before we had to go. I did make it to the Meg Cabot signing for Black Canary: Ignite!

20190601_185150.jpg Black Canary: Ignite

After wandering about the BEA show we headed out to the Harper HQ where we got to meet up with other bloggers and attend panels! The panels I attended were: Jobs in Publishing, and Building a Community.

I got a couple of things from these panels, which were:

  • Getting into publishing and leaving the “intern” phase is HARD and you need to network/meet the right people in order to make it.
  • The author of The Princess and the Fangirl, Ashley Poston, is HILARIOUS and I could listen to her moderate a panel all day long.
  • Having a community of like minded people, like you all amazing book bloggers who will maybe manage to get through this post, is really what helps keep us going in this little sliver of the internet. Without Lexie I would have given up blogging long ago, and I really want to try and build up that community for myself once more and get back into the swing of things.

And that concludes our first day of Bookish AMAZINGNESS–thank you to anybody who got through this long post! And now, a few pics for the FIRST DAY HAUL!

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List of ARCS:

Season of the Witch (The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, #1) American Royals Black Canary: Ignite

Tarnished Are the Stars The Dark Lord Clementine Winterwood

Batman: Nightwalker (Graphic Novel) There Will Come a Darkness (There Will Come a Darkness, #1) Serpent & Dove (Serpent & Dove, #1)

The Tenth Girl Tell Me How You Really Feel The Gravity of Us

The Grace Year Cursed Moonstruck, Vol. 1: Magic to Brew (Moonstruck #1)

Deadly Class Volume 1: Reagan Youth Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Vol. 1 Angel #0

The Magicians: Alice's Story Just Beyond: The Scare School Original Graphic Novel Super Fun Sexy Times

Midas (The Midas Flesh) The Black Mage The Tea Dragon Festival

Rebel (Legend, #4) Call Down the Hawk (Dreamer #1) Pumpkinheads

More days to come,

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Book Review: Descendant of the Crane

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Princess Hesina of Yan has always been eager to shirk the responsibilities of the crown, dreaming of an unremarkable life. But when her beloved father is found dead, she’s thrust into power, suddenly the queen of a surprisingly unstable kingdom. What’s more, Hesina believes that her father was murdered—and that the killer is someone close to her.

Hesina’s court is packed full of dissemblers and deceivers eager to use the king’s death for political gain, each as plausibly guilty as the next. Her advisers would like her to blame the neighboring kingdom of Kendi’a, whose ruler has been mustering for war. Determined to find her father’s actual killer, Hesina does something desperate: she enlists the aid of a soothsayer—a treasonous act, punishable by
death, since magic was outlawed centuries ago.

Using the information provided by the sooth, and uncertain if she can trust her family, Hesina turns to Akira—a brilliant investigator who’s also a convicted criminal with secrets of his own. With the future of Yan at stake, can Hesina find justice for her father? Or will the cost be too high?

Note: Mild spoilers that are actually fairly big spoilers once you get the reference.

Continue reading “Book Review: Descendant of the Crane”

You Don’t Want to Miss This: Descendant of the Crane

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Tyrants cut out hearts. Rulers sacrifice their own.

Princess Hesina of Yan has always been eager to shirk the responsibilities of the crown, dreaming of an unremarkable life. But when her beloved father is found dead, she’s thrust into power, suddenly the queen of a surprisingly unstable kingdom. What’s more, Hesina believes that her father was murdered—and that the killer is someone close to her.

Hesina’s court is packed full of dissemblers and deceivers eager to use the king’s death for political gain, each as plausibly guilty as the next. Her advisers would like her to blame the neighboring kingdom of Kendi’a, whose ruler has been mustering for war. Determined to find her father’s actual killer, Hesina does something desperate: she enlists the aid of a soothsayer—a treasonous act, punishable by
death, since magic was outlawed centuries ago.

Using the information provided by the sooth, and uncertain if she can trust her family, Hesina turns to Akira—a brilliant investigator who’s also a convicted criminal with secrets of his own. With the future of Yan at stake, can Hesina find justice for her father? Or will the cost be too high?

If I had to compare DotC to other books I’d find myself hardpressed. Joan created a world that while familiar feeling on the surface doesn’t sit back and let you assume. I made assumptions going through the book; assumptions about character motivations, assumptions about world lore, assumptions about relationships because like Hesina I thought I understood what drove people.

I’ll have a full review closer to the publish date – this is more of a ‘get ready for the cool!’ As a disclaimer I am part of Joan’s Street Team (Minister of Personnel reporting for duty), so I was given the chance to read the Advanced Reader’s Copy as well as have Joan answer questions and reveal tidbits before the public. This didn’t affect how I viewed the book or make me feel more inclined towards giving it a better rating then it deserved.

Continue reading “You Don’t Want to Miss This: Descendant of the Crane”

YA Review: I Am Still Alive by Kate Alice Marshall #SURVIVAL #EdgeofYourSeatGood

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STAND ALONE  336 Pages  Young Adult

TASCHIMA’s Verdict:
4 Stars
Publish Date *New Release*: July 24th, 2018

After
Jess is alone. Her cabin has burned to the ground. She knows if she doesn’t act fast, the cold will kill her before she has time to worry about food. But she is still alive—for now.
Before
Jess hadn’t seen her survivalist, off-the-grid dad in over a decade. But after a car crash killed her mother and left her injured, she was forced to move to his cabin in the remote Canadian wilderness. Just as Jess was beginning to get to know him, a secret from his past paid them a visit, leaving her father dead and Jess stranded.
After
With only her father’s dog for company, Jess must forage and hunt for food, build shelter, and keep herself warm. Some days it feels like the wild is out to destroy her, but she’s stronger than she ever imagined.

Jess will survive. She has to. She knows who killed her father… and she wants revenge.

Holy shit this book was good.

It kind of reminded me of The Martian (I mean, duh, it is a survival book) though instead of space Jess is stuck in the middle of nowhere in Canada.

Continue reading “YA Review: I Am Still Alive by Kate Alice Marshall #SURVIVAL #EdgeofYourSeatGood”

New Cover Lurve! or more like Mary E Pearson decides to be a drain on my Finances #TheRemnantChronicles

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Facts:

  • These are Paperbacks
  • B&N Exclusives
  • Available on 8/7/18, according to author’s INSTAGRAM.
  • My favorite is The Heart of Betrayal, that orange color is spectacular.
  • Close second is The Kiss of Deception (raise that sword high Lia!)
  • Don’t see that much or any of a difference between “The Beauty of Darkness” covers ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  • You need them in your life 🖤

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Six of Crows Collector’s Edition Being Released in UK, Aus & NZ…But there is Hope Yet!

If you are in the US, and wish to collect this BEAUTIFUL edition of Six of Crows (whether or not you have read it yet, or own it already, is irrelevant)…

Go to THE BOOK DEPOSITORY and PRE ORDER, like now!

FREE SHIPPING WORLD WIDE!

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No, I am not going to get absolutely any money from giving you this tip, I was just so excited to find out about it myself I figure I’d spread the joy!

Six of Crows is the continuation to Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha Trilogy. It can be read as a stand alone, or as part of the bigger picture. You choose!

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