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Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday: The Most Precious Books on My Shelf

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. It was created by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week there is a different question for book bloggers to ponder over. 

This week's topic is Books That I Refuse to Let Anyone Touch so I've translated that to:

I have a rather smallish physical bookshelf but there are a few books on my shelf that I cherish. Some of them are special editions, some are signed by the authors, and some are just special to me because of the story.
The Cruel Prince
(The Folk of the Air #1)
by Holly Black

I admit to being rather obsessed with this series. I actually didn't get a chance to order an OwlCrate for this book so my husband purchased this book for me on eBay. The price was outlandish at $125, but I suppose it was worth it since I adore it so much. 

The Wicked King
(The Folk of the Air #2)
by Holly Black

Pretty much copy and paste my thoughts about The Cruel Prince OwlCrate Edition. My husband purchased this one for me as a gift from eBay. He paid $120 for this one. Apart from being a special edition and being from a book series that I am besotted with, I cherish these two books because I've honestly never spent this much money on a single book before. 💰

Throne of Glass
(Throne of Glass #1)
by Sarah J. Maas

This special edition really is beautiful. The purple and gold colors are so striking and the cover designs are gorgeous. 

My Leigh Bardugo Collection


I am trash for this woman's books. Complete trash. I will devour anything Leigh Bardugo writes. I have all of the Grishaverse books in hardcover and I truly do cherish these books. I hope to own a copy of each book with every different cover variation one of these days. Right now I only have the new cover edition of Ruin and Rising but I will get the others eventually. 

(The Lunar Chronicles #4)
by Marissa Meyer

I was lucky enough to win a copy of this book and a copy of Stars Above right after Stars Above was released. The person that hosted the giveaway went to a book signing and had both copies signed and personalized for me. 

Stars Above
(The Lunar Chronicles #0.5, 0.6, 3.1, 4.5)
by Nicholas Sparks

See my thoughts on Winter above.

The Night Realm
(Spell Weaver #1)
by Annette Marie

Right after this book was released the author changed the cover. I was lucky enough to get a paperback copy with the original cover. I don't yet have paperback copies of the series with the new covers, but when I do get them they will look awesome with this one beside them. 

And I Darken
(The Conqueror's Saga #1)
by Kiersten White

This is a signed hardcover that I purchased from Target. It may not be personalized, but it is signed and the cover art is breathtaking.

Now I Rise
(The Conqueror's Saga #2)
by Kiersten White

Another signed hardback that I purchased at Target.

(The Illuminae Files #2)
by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

And another signed hardback that I purchased at Target. Gods, I love that place!

What are some of the books on your shelf that are most precious to you? Feel free to leave the link to your Top Ten Tuesday post!

Review: The Sacred Knights (Secret Knights #3) by Mary Ting

Title: The Sacred Knights
Series: Secret Knights #3
Author: Mary Ting
Publisher: Mary Ting
Published: October 12, 2017
Pages: 265
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal
Source: Ebook
The Chosen Knights think they’ve found all the clues, but the last one leads them to yet another destination. They astral travel back to the massive destruction of the Knights Templar and find a missing element. As they decipher the final puzzle piece, Cyrus continues to grow his army. 

A powerful volcano in Hawaii erupts, and inhabitants are forced to stay and fight the demons or flee. Many people once believed to be dead rise to help defeat Cyrus, and Venators arrive from Crossroads to help. Time is running out, and the Chosen Knights must decide to finish what they started or leave the battle to find the Snow Queen, who some believe is the only one who can defeat Cyrus.

DISCLAIMER: This review MAY contain spoilers. 
Well, this was a splendid little series and I very much enjoyed it! This really was a solid ending to an exciting series.

What I love most about this book and the series as a whole is the interesting premise. A lot of authors tackle the angels and demons trope, but most of them do not really add anything new or interesting. Mary Ting has created an imaginative world surrounding this trope with new angles and creative ideas. I genuinely liked her take on angels and demons, and I am eager to read her other series in this world, Crossroads. The Secret Knights series is actually a spin-off series from Crossroads that is set in the future. It is not necessary to read the Crossroads series prior to this one, which I liked. 

The characters really take center stage with this series. There are quite a few characters and in the end, they all become like a little family. The chemistry between these characters is awesome. Some of the dialogue can be cheesy, but the interactions are overall enjoyable. There is a strong theme of friendship in this series, which I loved seeing. 

The plot of this story is really great. It kept me interested and trying to guess the endgame the entire time. I felt fully invested in the story. I loved the historical aspect when we get to see things from the past. 

I enjoyed the romance in the series. In the first book, I felt that the love interests come together a little too quickly, but it was never an instalove situation. I just prefer a more slow burn romance usually, but this is a fast-paced series. That said, I still rooted for the romantic couple through the whole series. I loved their interactions. 

The world-building was okay. Most of the book takes place in a modern-day setting so not as much detail is needed. In general, I would have liked more details. At times I didn't feel like I even knew what the characters actually looked like. There weren't adequate descriptions of physical characteristics. As a whole, I felt that the details were lacking in the descriptions of the world around the characters and the characters themselves.

I was expecting a little more from the ending. Everything is concluded, but in a more vague way than I care for. I like more details about what happens to the characters that I have come to care for. We get a general idea here, but I felt like I needed more closure. 

Overall, this is a great series! It is fun, fast-paced, and full of action. This series has an interesting premise, a believable romance, likable characters, and an exciting plot. I would definitely recommend this series. Especially if you are a fan of books concerning angels and demons.

This is one of those stories that ends in a good way but also a vague way. The conflict was taken care of but you don't really know how things truly stand with the main characters. Do you prefer these kinds of endings or do you like extended epilogues? What have you been reading lately?

Monday, May 20, 2019

Bout of Books 25: Sunday Wrap Up



Sunday’s goals were: Finish Unleash the Storm (Steel & Stone #5) by Annette Marie (Reread)
Currently reading: Unleash the Storm (Steel & Stone #5) by Annette Marie (Reread) & Steel & Stone Companion Collection (Steel & Stone #6) by Annette Marie (Reread)

Pages read today: 22
Time spent reading today: 44 minutes
Books completed today: 0

Sunday’s notes: I had another lazy day on Sunday just napping so I didn't meet my goal. I still did rather well overall this week. 


Pages read this week: 1,461
Time spent reading this week: 48 hours 42 minutes
Books completed this week: 6

Weekly notes: So overall I had a pretty successful Bout of Books Read-a-thon. I mean, over two whole days of nothing but reading? That's a win for sure, amiright? I was able to finish five novels and one short story. I got through 20% of the fifth book in the Steel & Stone series and I am 73% through the Steel & Stone Companion Collection. Luckily I didn't have to work this past week or I probably would have epically failed. I do start back to work today though so back to the coal mines, eh? I should finish Unleash the Storm and the Steel & Stone Companion Collection within the next few days now that I don't have all day long to read anymore. I'd like to give my thanks to the organizers of this Read-a-thon and I can't wait until August for the next one!

How was your last day of the Bout of Books read-a-thon? How much did you read this week? Any new favorites?

Reread Review: The Blessed Knights (Secret Knights #2) by Mary Ting

Title: The Blessed Knights
Series: Secret Knights #2
Author: Mary Ting
Publisher: Mary Ting
Published: October 28, 2016
Pages: 249
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal
Source: Ebook
Above a small hill lay a home.
And green men peer out under the dome.
Thirteen crisscrossing arches behold,
with angels singing must be told.
Cubes like teeth thus showed,
pierce one and the door shall glow. 
Part the sea like Moses, 
to see the bundle of red roses.
Only then you shall see,
what is destined to be free.
But beware, if you are not the heir,
for damnation you shall declare, 
for the false burden you shall bare.

Eli, Lucia’s half-demon love interest, has been stabbed with a true-cross dagger and captured by Cyrus, master of the possessor demons. The Chosen Knights must work together once again not only to save Eli, but also to decipher a clue to find the second missing page of Jacques de Molay’s journal. Meanwhile, Uncle Davin informs Crossroads’ Divine Elders of the danger ahead and learns there is much to fear. Countless children are being taken from all over the world to be turned into demons. Michael has no choice but to intervene. The Chosen Knights track down Mortem, the demon who is the key to finding Cyrus, and learn they must travel deep into the pit of a Hawaiian volcano. When they astral travel to the past in search of a clue and follow Jacques de Molay to Rosselyn Chapel in medieval Scotland, what they find will rewrite history.

DISCLAIMER: This review MAY contain spoilers. 

I am so glad that I decided to reread this book and the previous two books in the series prior to finishing the last book. I am afraid that I would have been totally lost if I hadn't. I had forgotten just how many details went into the story, and many more are revealed in this book. I have to say, Mary Ting can definitely create a compelling plot. I was just as immersed in the story this time around. The characters grow on you more and more as the story progresses. I love the chemistry between all of the characters. The Knights all have a camaraderie that melts my heart. I love that they are comprised of angels, lamias, elementas, and humans. There is a mix of everything and it keeps things interesting. I am eager to see how their bonds will affect them in the next book. I enjoyed the bits of history in the book. I enjoy the creativity of the Knights Templar and how they are a part of the story. I enjoyed the romance in the story. It is a forbidden romance so there is a lot of tension and emotion. If you haven't read this series I would certainly recommend it. It has a creative premise and likable characters will have you glued to the pages!

My original review is here.

I always love books with angels and/or demons. There are so many creative avenues that can be taken with them. I did enjoy Ting's take on them including the Knights Templar. It's unique. What are some books with angels or demons that have a creative spin that you enjoyed? Let me know what books have caught your eye lately.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Bout of Books 25: Saturday Wrap Up



Saturday’s goals were: Finish Unleash the Storm (Steel & Stone #5) by Annette Marie (Reread)
Currently reading: Unleash the Storm (Steel & Stone #5) by Annette Marie (Reread) & Steel & Stone Companion Collection (Steel & Stone #6) by Annette Marie (Reread)

Pages read today: 25
Time spent reading today: 50 minutes
Books completed today: 0

Saturday’s notes: Well, I didn't read much at all today. I actually napped most of the day away because of my fibromyalgia pain. Oh well. It is what it is. I have still done great this week and I've almost finished the series that I started at the beginning of the week. 

How was your sixth day of the Bout of Books read-a-thon? What are your reading goals for the last day of the Read-a-thon? How much have you accomplished so far?

Reread Review: The Chosen Knights (Secret Knights #1) by Mary Ting

Title: The Chosen Knights
Series: Secret Knights #1
Author: Mary Ting
Publisher: Mary Ting
Published: March 22, 2016
Pages: 328
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal
Source: Ebook
When teens go missing in Hawaii, a group of demon-hunters—half human and half angel—disguised as high school students, must leave Crossroads, the place where they reside. In a race against time, they uncover the mystery connecting the missing teens, which dates back to the era of the Knights Templar. However, when they discover one of the Templars passed down a book containing all the secrets and codes to finding a particular treasure, they soon realize this forbidden treasure needs to be found before Cyrus, the lord of the possessor demons, acquires it—a treasure which been safeguarded and hidden from him. 

There is only one problem: the pages containing the clues leading to the treasure is missing. When the first page is found, Cyrus threatens to kill more descendants of the Knights Templar if it is not given to him by Friday the thirteenth. In the midst of threats and discovery, the demon-hunting angels find they are not alone when supernatural beings begin to reveal themselves. Can they put their differences aside and work together to solve the Knights Templars’ cipher? As they astral travel to the past, they witness a lot more than they have bargained for. And some things are better left unseen.

DISCLAIMER: This review MAY contain spoilers. 

I really loved catching up on this series. I remember that I liked the romance, and that still stands true. While this is not necessarily instalove, I feel that the relationship formed a little too quickly. Though I think this is because this book is a fast-paced read. I did enjoy the characters for the most part. Sometimes the dialogue felt forced and cheesy, but there were some hidden gems sprinkled throughout as well. Some of the characters had some great character development, and others not so much. I didn't feel fully connected to the main character, Lucia. I liked her well enough to read the story, but she wasn't memorable. If anything, I liked her love interest in the story more. He was quite interesting, snarky, and had some good backstory. I very much like the premise of the book series. I always love when authors take existing ideas, like this series does with angels and demons, and and make them their own with unique ideas. Ting does this well in this series. I really love the flashbacks to events that have taken place in the past. Those characters' journeys are just as much a part of the story as the main characters. The world-building in this is not out of this world. Though there are supernatural and paranormal fantasy elements infused, this series takes place in present day Hawaii and so the world is that of a contemporary with paranormal creatures that live there. Overall, I enjoyed rereading this book and I am continuing on with the series. I would recommend this series. It is a fun, engaging, and quick read and the unique take on angels and demons is enough to warrant a read. 

My original review is here.

I find that a lot of my rereads of books that I first read a year or more ago tend to get less stars the second time around. Perhaps my standards were too low back then? Does this ever happen to you when you reread a book? Let me know what you have been adding to your TBR lately.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Bout of Books 25: Friday Wrap Up



Friday’s goals were: Finish Unleash the Storm (Steel & Stone #5) by Annette Marie (Reread)
Currently reading: Unleash the Storm (Steel & Stone #5) by Annette Marie (Reread) & Steel & Stone Companion Collection (Steel & Stone #6) by Annette Marie (Reread)

Pages read today: 46
Time spent reading today: 1 hour 32 minutes
Books completed today: 1

Friday’s notes: Today is the first day of the Read-a-thon that I have not met my daily goal but it's all good. I actually had a fairly busy day outside of the bookverse. Two of my children were in their elementary school talent show where they did a singing and dancing performance which I attended. Yesterday was my son's 8th birthday and Sunday is my oldest son's 14th birthday. So we had some shopping and things to do. I didn't finish Unleash the Storm but I did read the first three chapters. I also read a short story from the Legend series by Marie Lu, Life After Legend II. 

How was your sixth day of the Bout of Books read-a-thon? What are your reading goals this week? How much have you accomplished so far?

Reread Review: The Angel Knights (Secret Knights #0.5) by Mary Ting

Title: The Angel Knights
Series: Secret Knights #0.5
Author: Mary Ting
Publisher: Mary Ting
Published: March 08, 2016
Pages: 44
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal
Source: ARC
Michael and Claudia’s decision to move back to Crossroads was to keep their children safe, but they can’t escape who they are. Their children, Zachary and Lucia, were destined to be demon hunters—Venators. From the age they were able to hold a sword, they were trained to become the best and to ensure they would become leaders one day. 

All is peaceful throughout the land until the Fallen and demons’ presences were felt in the between and on Earth. As the Venators investigate these locations, they will quickly learn how dangerous their lives are. Hearts will be broken. Teammates will lose their lives. And they will face obstacles which will test their faith. 

As danger grows, the fear of fallen angels and demons regrouping has the Divine Elders on pins and needles. Now, Zachary and Lucia, along with Uncle Davin, must prepare themselves—mentally and physically—to live on Earth to investigate where the focal point of evil resides before it’s too late.

DISCLAIMER: This review MAY contain spoilers. 

I decided to reread this prequel and the first two books of this series to catch up and refresh my memory of events so that I can read the last book. I remember that I really enjoyed this series. Especially the characters. Rereading this did rekindle my love for the characters. I love the sense of family that the main characters have. They have good chemistry, though I have to admit that sometimes the dialogue seemed unpolished and forced. That aside, I still enjoyed rereading this and I do feel excited to start the next book in the series. This series is a spin-off of the Crossroads series by the same author. There were many references to events in that series, but I was still able to follow along without having read the Crossroads series. I think that I would have preferred to read Crossroads first though. It would have made the characters more special. Another thing that I like about this series is the premise behind it. I do enjoy paranormal stories and I like this take on the angels and demons trope. Overall, my reread did result in a lower rating than the first time I read it going from 5 stars to 4 stars. I think that I am just a little more picky with my books these days. I am looking forward to rereading the next two books and finishing the last book!

My original review is here.

Do you ever reread books? To catch up on a series you want to finish but you can't remember all the good details? Because you just loved the story? I've done many rereads this year. Let me know what you've been reading lately.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Bout of Books 25: Thursday Wrap Up



Thursday’s goals were: Finish Reap the Shadows (Steel & Stone #4) by Annette Marie (Reread)
Currently reading: Unleash the Storm (Steel & Stone #5) by Annette Marie (Reread) & Steel & Stone Companion Collection (Steel & Stone #6) by Annette Marie (Reread)

Pages read today: 335
Time spent reading today: 11 hours 10 minutes
Books completed today: 1

Thursday’s notes: I was able to finish Reap the Shadows and read the companion chapters in the Steel & Stone Companion Collection. Yay! Now I am on to the last book in the series, Unleash the Storm. 

How was your fifth day of the Bout of Books read-a-thon? What are your reading goals this week? How much have you accomplished so far?

Review: Windwitch (The Witchlands #2) by Susan Dennard

Title: Windwitch
Series: The Witchlands #2
Author: Susan Dennard
Publisher: Tor Teen
Published: January 10, 2017
Pages: 384
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Source: Audiobook, Ebook
Sometimes our enemies are also our only allies…

After an explosion destroys his ship, the world believes Prince Merik, Windwitch, is dead. Scarred yet alive, Merik is determined to prove his sister’s treachery. Upon reaching the royal capital, crowded with refugees, he haunts the streets, fighting for the weak—which leads to whispers of a disfigured demigod, the Fury, who brings justice to the oppressed.

When the Bloodwitch Aeduan discovers a bounty on Iseult, he makes sure to be the first to find her—yet in a surprise twist, Iseult offers him a deal. She will return money stolen from him, if he locates Safi. Now they must work together to cross the Witchlands, while constantly wondering, who will betray whom first?

After a surprise attack and shipwreck, Safi and the Empress of Marstok barely escape with their lives. Alone in a land of pirates, every moment balances on a knife’s edge—especially when the pirates’ next move could unleash war upon the Witchlands.

DISCLAIMER: This review MAY contain spoilers. 

My brain is whirling right now! I don't even know what to do with myself. Susan Dennard is brilliant! I don't know how I am going to wait for book three, Bloodwitch, to come out in January. 

The world that Dennard has dreamed up is perfection! Truly, it is. It is utterly vivid, detailed, and breathtaking. I felt myself living in this world right along with the characters. This world is complex and intricately crafted. The magic system in this series is by itself quite astounding. Add in the different empires and peoples, the political intrigue, and the lush environments and you have quite the sensory overload in all the best ways. 

The plot definitely gears up in this sequel to Truthwitch. I did feel that the story started off a bit slowly, but once it got going it wouldn't let up. I was constantly trying to guess the end game and I was constantly being surprised. The foreshadowing is placed really well. This book had me guessing the entire time. It was never predictable, which I loved! The sequence of events in the book and the plot as a whole are bloody brilliant. If I had to sum up the plot in one word it would be WOW.

I really loved the character development in this book. We get to know so many of the characters infinitely better in Windwitch. I also loved the addition of new characters and the way that their personalities added to the story. A theme in the book that came up more than once which I enjoyed is the gray area surrounding what a villain is or isn't. There were several characters that start out as a villain and end up as an ally and vice versa. It is all relative. I think that what I like best about this is that is made me think and question things like morals and what circumstance can make a person do or become. Many significant character journeys in Windwitch. I am eager to see how much farther they go in Bloodwitch. I am also eager to see more of the bonds between characters and what effect it will have on the story. 

Oddly, there wasn't really any romance in this book. Though there were plenty of bonds formed between characters and one or more may lead to romance down the line. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

Overall, this book is fantastic! This book is full of action, intrigue, and emotion. If you love fantasy books with rich world-building, fascinating characters, and a plot that is to die for then you will love Windwitch! Once you enter The Witchlands you won't want to leave. 

This series had such a huge world with incredible world building. Which books can you think of that have great worlds? What are some new additions to your TBR?

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