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TBalla04

99 problems, and a book ain't one

Hello. My name is Tricia, and I have an addiction, an addiction to fiction. Fellow addicts, I welcome you with open arms. Blogger over @ bookwormcoalition.wordpress.com

SAWKILL GIRLS BY CLAIRE LEGRAND

Sawkill Girls - Claire Legrand

YA Feminist Horror with a wide range of sexual/racial/body type representation...can this please be a new fad because I LOVE IT.

 

This story was beautifully written. Every element of it. It was atmospheric, lyrical, thoughtful, edgy, bloody, and chillingly evocative. I can honestly say I've never read anything quite like it. Sawkill Girls covered so many things but I never once felt stretched thin by it. Legrand weaved this tale seamlessly together, much like a spider weaves a beautiful dew kissed web in the breaking light of day. It ensnares you and you can't help but admire the sheer beauty of it even as you're trapped in its sticky thrall awaiting inevitable doom.

 

I first found Legrand when I read Furyborn (book 1 of the Empirium trilogy) which I also loved. I had high hopes for this book when I picked it up, but I had no idea how vastly different they would ultimately be from one another, in the best possible way. There was an unexpected range to Legrand's storytelling I was not aware of before this. I can't wait to see what she comes up with next! Whatever it may be will be an auto-buy for me right off the jump. I don't even need a description, I'm officially a super fan and can't wait to be wowed again and again.

BAD NIGHT STAND BY: ELISE FABER

Bad Night Stand  - Elise Faber

This was a pretty quick paced engrossing read. There were a few dips at the beginning that had me questioning the characters, but they (mainly Jordan tbh) grew on me as the story continued and more was revealed. Funny enough, one thing I especially appreciated was how *searches for the right word...* unfulfilling/awkward/truly bad that stand was. Sometimes it's fun to be dreamily swept away by a fluff romance where everything is perfection, abs have their own set of abs, and orgasms come in the dozens every time. But sometimes I really enjoy a little more REAL and a little less fluff. I liked that Abby and Jordan took awhile to find their groove. I also found that this story felt less romance formulaic to me. Of course there were ups and downs, but it never truly fit into that pattern of when and where many do, which was nice. I think it added to the initial beginning dips, but I found I liked it more as I continued. I liked being kept on my toes not knowing what was coming next.  I look forward to reading more of this series, I hope to see some of the side characters step into the limelight, cause they were all pretty great.

THE BLACKSMITH QUEEN BY: G.A. AIKEN

The Blacksmith Queen (The Scarred Earth Saga #1) - G.A. Aiken

 

This story snuck up on me. At first I wasn't sure if I was going to love it. I don't want to say it felt simple, because that isn't quite right, but maybe as if it was kind of immature. In a sense some of it is a bit immature, with the constantly bickering sisters especially, but honestly it ended up just being so much fun! The plot was interesting, the action was an ever flowing gift from the gods, and the characters and their banter were wildly entertaining.

 

 

Can we also just talk about how freaking awesome it is to have kickass heroines that aren't stunningly beautiful without knowing it?! A big-burly-hammer-toting-foul-mouthed-warrior-blacksmith-queen....YAAASSSS.

 

 

That alone really sets this one apart from many others in this genre and I'm so here for it. I mean how could you not love Keely extra hard? That girl has a heart of gold and a fierce unrelenting spirit. The whole Smythe clan was a riot, not to mention the myriad of magical/mmythical beings they befriend along the way. Even the animals were captivating! Long live the demon dogs!

 

* "THEY ARE WOLVES" Caid adamantly reminds *

 

 

 

This book was full of little surprises like that. I also wasn't expecting it to be as brutal as it was in the fighting scenes either, but it was, in the best possible way. I love that this author doesn't shy away from things, she goes for it...with gusto. Whether it be bloodshed, swearing, or even just traversing a giant willful family dynamic. It also managed to feel very light to me even though there was so much destruction and danger. The banter and camaraderie kind of helped give it this awesome balance. I really appreciated that.

 

 

This was a bolder book in a lot of little ways like that and it made the journey incredibly entertaining and just so darn fun! I see this author has other books out and I can't wait to read more by her.

 
 
I received an ARC of this book from Kensington Books via Netgalley and this is my honest review.

 

HEXEN'S BINDING BY J. KOWALLIS

Hexen's Binding  - J. Kowallis

 

In Hexen's Cross Taran was impressive in so many ways but she seemed to be lacking in the practice of the Hexen craft and it was clear that she would need to bolster that moving forward. I couldn't imagine just how exactly that would come about in Hexen's Binding and I was truly surprised how it did in the best way. Some say the pen is mightier than the sword and that has maybe never been as true as it is for Taran, especially when that pen is building a magical arsenal of knowledge into her own grimoire.

 

 

I also have to say I really appreciated the strong family dynamic elements in this one. A lot of this story is getting to know ones roots, whether it be on the magical side of things, family, or even feelings. In all of those scenarios one thing rings true, it isn't easy to dig in deep and it is not always pretty what you find along the way, but in the end real strength will be found and built upon piece by piece. The Grims and the Donovans are like any other family in a lot of ways, they have their fractures and their failings but they also have immense strength and in the end a willingness to put differences aside and stand together when it counts.

 

 

While I wouldn't go as far to say that Hexen's Binding was the calm before the storm, because there was enough struggle to keep you glued to the pages, I did feel like it was building to a grand crescendo coming about in the next book. This ending satisfies just enough but will have you on the edge of your seat desperately awaiting the next installment.

 

 

I received an ARC of this book from the author and this is my honest review.

CARAVAL BY: STEPHANIE GARBER

Caraval - Stephanie Garber

I'm torn on my feelings about this book. The world was magical and exciting (for the most part), very vivid and easy to get swept up in. But the characters kinda fell a little flat for me. I still have some hope that Lengend seems rather complex. I am left feeling a bit like in this 3D world Garber created though most of the characters came through 2D. I'm curious to see what happens in the next book. I have a feeling that it could make or break the Trilogy for me.

THE ROGUE KING BY: ABIGAIL OWEN

The Rogue King (Inferno Rising #1) - Abigail Owen

The Rogue King was PNR at its finest. Phenomenal world building and characters. I was instantly sucked into the story and didn't want to put it down till I finished!

 

I can truly only think of two minor things that were confusing to me. One being that the title and cover seem to indicate this being Brand's story and in a way it definitely is, but the description and the story itself seems to highlight Kasia more (which I loved) and it seems to me as if the following one(s) will be centered around her sisters and obviously their potential mates. I just found it an interesting choice. But what do I know, maybe hot male bods call out to their core demographic more at first glance? The other thing is I'm a bit unclear about the humans in this world. It seemed as if they are likely mostly unaware of the supernatural/shifter elements around them. And I get that there was multiple points made about the dragons especially being able to hide in plain sight in a multitude of ways, but something about that still seems so increasingly difficult when recruiting humans for dragon mates and a building dragon war. I'm curious to see if that's something that comes to a head in future books. It seemed hard to contain in this book and I'd imagine it will only be increasingly so as it proceeds. Dragons are kinda hard to miss, especially when engaged in battle and not as adapt at shielding.

 

Other than those two things everything else was masterfully done imo. The Supernatural element was superb, I highly enjoyed the politics within the dragon colonies and the larger story there with the high King oppressor and building rebellion. I was totally engrossed in it all. I also loved the other shifters and mythical beings, especially some that were a complete surprise *cough Hershel cough*. And let's not forget the star of the show, Kasia the Phoenix herself! She was awesome! Why is there not more Phoenix shifter books?! So so good. I really enjoyed seeing her learn and harness her own abilities as we went along too. I can't wait to see more about her sisters and how her story progresses as well!

 

The romance was great. Initially it did feel a bit insta but it honestly ended up being a little more of a slow burn which was awesome. Insta chemistry + some mystery is a wonderful combo.

 

I'm thrilled this is only the beginning of something much larger! I really look forward to more and I'm definitely going to check out more from this author.

 

I received an ARC of this book from Entangled Publishing via Netgalley and this is my honest review.

FORTUNA SWORN BY K.J. SUTTON

Fortuna Sworn (Fortuna Sworn #1) - K.J. Sutton

AHHHH I have so many burning questions! I can definitely say Fortuna Sworn will leave you wanting more in a wonderful (MADDENING) way.

 

I really enjoyed Fortuna and her journey into the world of the Fae. She was a good leading lady, strong, smart, audacious and stubborn as all get out. My kinda gal! It's everyone else I'm so unsure of! Every time I thought I had one of them figured out I was thrown for a loop and the story went in another direction I wasn't expecting. The men in Fortuna's life are quite puzzling. I was hoping to get a little better of an understanding of at least a few of them by the end but alas I will have to wait until the next book.

 

The pace is pretty consistently steady which makes for a quicker read. I thought the Fae politics were brilliant! The trials were very interesting but I did feel like the end of them was rather anticlimactic, which was surprising as they seemed to start of really strong.

You'll find many familiar mythical beings in this one, and even a few unique ones! I liked that the author really made the familiar ones her own though. With some subtle and some larger tweaks.


All in all an enchanting start to a magical tale. I'm looking forward to more...and really figuring out these mysterious men!

 

I received an ARC of this book from the author and this is my honest review.

99 PERCENT MINE BY SALLY THORNE

99 Percent Mine - Sally Thorne

This was a cute quick read. I hate to compare it to The Hating Game, but I loved that book so much I think I went into this one with really high expectations and that maybe made it hard for 99 Percent Mine to live up to all that. It was good but it didn't wow me like The Hating Game did.

HOUSE OF SALT AND SORROWS BY: ERIN A. CRAIG

House of Salt and Sorrows - Erin A Craig

 

I'm so torn on my feelings about this book. On one hand, I really loved that this was a reimagining of The Twelve Dancing Princesses, and I found the haunting more horror novel parts of this book to be brilliant! Unfortunately though there wasn't that many of them really. I thought that this area in particular is where this author shined. I found her darker scenes to be the most vivid. I truly hope she one day decides to write a horror novel, because I'd read the hell out of it.

On the other hand I found this to be a slow read for me. More often than not I was just waiting to get to the next macabre scene because those were the ones I enjoyed the most. I think maybe the issue for me was that this story was being pulled into so many directions, a mystery, a romance, a thriller, etc. that it ultimately didn't fully accomplish any of them. It was as if the foundations were there but none were fully fleshed out and realized. The romance ended up feeling rushed, the mystery seemed to rise and then fall away and then rise again, and the thrilling parts were too few and far between. Sometimes compelling characters can help make up for this type of thing a bit, but I had a hard time connecting with any of them. Annaleigh more often than not thought about doing things rather than actually fully going for it.

Ultimately House of Salt and Sorrows just ended up falling somewhere in the middle for me. I liked the roots individually, but as we went along they kinda grew tangled together, suffocating each from their full potential.

I received an ARC of this book from Delacorte Press via Netgalley and this is my honest review.

THE HATING GAME BY SALLY THORNE

The Hating Game: A Novel - Sally Thorne

This was a light fun read from beginning to end! Nothing like turning 'Don't hate the player hate the game' right on its head lol. I have to admit, enemies to lovers is probably my top loved trope and this was that at its best. I had a few genuine laugh out loud moments while reading this, which makes me look quite the unhinged person to people standing by, but totally worth it. I look forward to reading more from Thorne in the very near future.

RECURSION BY BLAKE CROUCH

Recursion - Blake Crouch

It has now been 4 days since I finished Recursion and I'm still not sure how to put what I feel about it into any kind of coherent review. Please accept my following disjointed ramblings as they are my best attempt at doing so.

 

 

It is quite impressive to me, after reading this and Dark Matter, how expertly Crouch intertwines such extensive high concept science fiction plots so seamlessly alongside really emotionally driven character story lines. Each of these on their own would make for highly enjoyable stories but the combination, and the way neither takes from one another but instead adds to it all as a whole, really hits it out of the park.

 

 

I wasn't prepared for all the feels. There was something incredibly heartbreaking and beautiful in the way these characters loved, and what they were willing to do for it or give up for it. Whether romantic love, familial love, or even the love of knowledge and discovery. Helena and Barry slayed me. So much loss, struggle, and disappointment. You honestly began to feel the unbearable weight that Helena carried, like a living breathing beast of burden on your back dragging down to the bowels of Recursion hell. But then there were painfully beautiful things hidden in between this that were so unexpected and moving.

 

 

I can't begin to do any kind of justice in talking about the more scientific end of things here. Crouch has a real way of taking mind-bending scientific theories and explaining them in a way that makes it fairly easy for anyone to follow along with. Surprisingly, no matter how scientifically in depth the plot, he also manages to keep the flow of the story moving at a steady to breakneck pace. Never to be a dull moment.

 

 

I can safely say that Crouch is quickly becoming an auto-buy author for me. I can't wait to see what glorious thing he comes up with next!

STORM AND FURY BY JENNIFER L ARMENTROUT

Storm and Fury (The Harbinger #1) - Jennifer L. Armentrout

 

  I loved being back in the world of the wardens! I was a fan of the original trilogy and grew to love Layla, Zayne, Roth (Bambi and Cayman too!). I shipped Layla and Roth HARD. But Zayne was such a good guy and I was so thrilled to hear we'd get more from him and maybe he'd find his match along the way too. Trinity was a welcome addition to the bunch. While I absolutely LOVED seeing Roth and Layla again, I was actually glad we started out in a new place getting to know Trinity before they made an appearance. I also thought it was great to see Zayne out of his typical element. It truly helped this story feel like something very new but also just enough comfortable familiarity that it didn't lose any stride from the original books. It works out great for new readers that haven't read the previous books first as well, of course I recommend doing so because they were great, but it wasn't necessary to enjoy this story.

 

 

I really enjoyed all the new friends/frienemies/full blown enemies in this one. Armentrout always writes compelling characters and I can't help but love them all, even the ones I want to kick in the shin repeatedly. Trinity and her makeshift family at the compound were awesome, and let's not forget to mention Peanut! Even the dead are a barrel of laughs! Zayne feels even more real to me in a way now. Like him going through everything he has in the previous books has aged/hardened him in a way I find compelling.

 

 

I also want to say I found learning about Trinity's Retinitis Pigmentosa very interesting. I really didn't know much about this disorder except for the few things the author has shared publicly about it since this is a disorder she herself has. I really admired the way Trinity handled it and the way she worked harder than most to not have it negatively impact her life anymore than it absolutely must already. I think there was a heartbreaking, but also kind of beautiful, balance in the deterioration of her eyesight and the incredible amount of insight that she had, maybe because of it. I'm glad Armentrout shared this with her readers. I think it added something extra special to the story. I very much enjoyed reading this one and I can't wait to see what happens next after that crazy/awesome/devastating ending!

 

I recieved an ARC of this book from Inkyard Press via Netgalley and this is my honest review.

 

Happy Easter :D  Wishing you all an eggcellent holiday! 

Totally unrelated to books, but this new addition to our fam is too cute not to share! This is Baloo, a 9 week old Husky/German Shepherd mix. Our 1yr old pup Levy is totally smitten with him already. It has been a fun mix of playing hard and napping hard the past few days. 

 

 

WICKED SAINTS BY EMILY A. DUNCAN

Wicked Saints (Something Dark and Holy #1) - Emily A. Duncan

Any book that is labeled for fans of Leigh Bardugo has a lot to live up to. I typically try not to get too hype when I see things like that, because as you know all too often they end up falling short. Well, my friends, I'm oh so happy to report that was not the case with Wicked Saints!

 

This book sucked me in from the very beginning, with magic, war, Gods, courtly shenanigans and compelling characters this was an unrelenting page-turner. Not for the faint of heart, there is (SO MUCH) bloodshed and betrayal, zealots and monsters, ZEALOUS MONSTERS...all alongside unlikely friendships, rebellion and romance. I'm officially hooked. I already pre-ordered a signed copy. I don't know how I'll possibly survive the wait for the next book....especially after that EXPLOSIVE ending.

 

Also, let it be said now, I'm team Malachiasz fo life.

 

 

I recieved an ARC of this book from St. Martin's Press via Netgalley and this is my honest review.

TOUCH OF SMOKE BY: KARISSA LAUREL

Touch of Smoke - Karissa Laurel

"A girl doesn't fall in love with the devil and come away unscarred... "

 

Well I'm officially a goner, Karissa Laurel has done it again. I'm over the moon for Owen and Rikki. TEAM OWKI 4 LIFE.

 

Owen definitely brought the heat, but he was actually very sweet too. I appreciated how endlessly patient he was with Rikki. He was a take charge kinda guy but he always let Rikki set the pace and call the shots. It was refreshing. I feel like so often you see that Alpha male type be overbearing and constantly pushing against the emotional walls that the women construct. Not Owen. He was clear about his feelings and desires but totally content to prop a smouldering elbow against the wall with a smirk and let Rikki decide when she was going to let him in. Owen had his secrets though and they were searing.

 

 

 

 

Rikki was pretty awesome too. I respected her drive. She had goals and determination and when she set her sights to something she was going to make it happen. I think Rikki and Owen together is one hell of a force!

 

 

 

 

I absolutely LOVED the preternatural element in this novel. It's something I truly haven't read much about before and it had me totally captivated. That ending was equally awesome and torturous. Laurel turned up the heat to scorching and I need more. SO. MUCH. MORE. I can't wait to see what she comes up with next!