Posted in book review

Book Review: Legendary by Stephanie Garber

Legendary (Caraval, #2)

Legendary (Caraval book 2) by Stephanie Garber

Genres/Descriptors: fantasy; young adult

Publication: 2018

Pages: 451


Since this is a sequel, I’m not putting in a long description. Basically, it picks up right where Caraval left off, but this one is from Tella’s point of view.

Review:

This is probably going to be pretty short (I lied, but here’s a brief overview of my thoughts) because I’ve honestly already almost completely forgotten everything about this book, and I just finished it two weeks ago :/

If you saw my review of Caraval, you might be wondering why the hell I even bothered picking up the sequel. Well, first of all, I apparently enjoy suffering. Second, I’d grabbed the ebook on sale months ago (before I read Caraval), hoping I wouldn’t regret it. Besides all that, I’ve also heard way more mixed feelings about this one. People either thought it was better than the first book, or a disaster. I couldn’t imagine it being much worse than the first one, so I gave it a shot.

Honestly? It wasn’t terrible. I didn’t love it or anything, but I did give this one 3 out of 5 stars (I think I gave the first book like 1.5 stars). Tella was slightly less annoying than Scarlett, but I didn’t really like her. Thankfully, I thought “too stupid to live” less during my reading of this one, at least, so that’s something. (I did think it a lot, just not every 2 minutes like I did with Scarlett in book one.)

I think what I liked most about this one was that we got to see a bit more of the world. Not as much as I would have liked, but it was definitely better on that front than the first one. I particularly enjoyed the stuff with the Fates, but I still wish there had been more of that. It was like every time it started to get interesting, the story shifted away from that stuff 😦

I feel like the weird writing was also not as prevalent in this one, so I didn’t try to make a drinking game out of taking a shot every time the word “butter” was used to describe something yellow, or anything like that. (I can’t remember specific quotes from the first one, but it was like a poorly executed attempt to use all the senses in describing things, and it all came across weird and unpleasant sounding.) But, I do remember something about candied butterfly wings or something like that, so it was still a thing in this book, there was just a little less of it.

That said, the plot of this one is almost as convoluted as the first one, but I felt less rage-y about it. I think maybe because the writing was better, but I’m not sure. Still, it was a little annoying, and I’m not excited to read the third book. (But I’m going to, because I’ve made it this far. Why am I like this?)

While the first book was all about reuniting the sisters, they’re separated for most of this book, too. The difference is that in this one, they’re apart by choice, off doing their own things. Tella’s mission in this one is tracking down her mother, and (like the first book with Scarlett trying to get to Tella), I just didn’t buy it fully. It wasn’t as bad as the first book, but I just had a hard time believing that Tella was really invested in her goal. We’re told it’s something that’s important to Tella, but it felt more like she was doing it because she thought she should than because she really wanted to.

I wanted to talk about the romance, but I barely remember anything about all that except the end. It was a thing, but not a memorable thing, I guess? (I remember bits of it, but it really did not stick in my brain.) The only thing that stuck out was the double love triangle, because I hate love triangles. Tells is involved in one, but so is Scarlett (kind of), and I’m not into it.

Oh my gosh, okay. On that subject, I honestly just wish Scarlett didn’t exist at this point. Even though she wasn’t a major character in this book, she still irritated me so bad. If you were wondering, yes, she IS still a whiny idiot. She did some stuff in this book that made me want to shove her off a balcony or something to get rid of her.As much as I don’t love Julian, I’m gonna say it anyway: he deserves better.

My favorite character in this one was probably Dante. Dante is, I think, an interesting character, and I would like to know more about him. He’s probably the biggest reason I’m planning to read the last book, honestly. I’m not all swoon-y over him or anything (and wouldn’t have been as a teenager), but I like him, even though he’s not always a good guy.

There’s another character I won’t name or go into too much detail about, but he was interesting as well, and I’m hoping he’s a major player in the third book.

Ugh, this is all over the place, so here’s a quick wrap up of my thoughts:

  • This was an ok-ish book, and I liked it better than Caraval.
  • The writing was a bit better.
  • The characters are still morons.
  • The plot was slightly better, but still convoluted and a bit frustrating.
  • The romance was either so boring I’ve forgotten it, or so bad I blocked it out.
  • The world was more interesting and described in greater detail (as far as I remember) than it was in the first book.
  • I didn’t hate it, so I’ll be checking out the last book from the library when it’s available.
  • I still don’t get the hype around this series :/

I ended up giving this one 3 out of 5 stars.

★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

Posted in book tags/memes

T5W: Series I Want to Start

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme created by Lainey from gingerreadslainey, now hosted by Sam from ThoughtsOnTomes. (Sam is taking a break from T5W for the summer, but we have tons of old topics to use/revisit during that time, so I’m planning to do a combination of that and making up my own topics this summer.) You can check out the goodreads group to learn more.


My original plan for T5W this summer was to kick things off with some “Series I…” posts. Then I got the idea to do some queer topics instead, so now that I’ve run out of steam on those (thanks, June-stress, for frying my brain and draining me of creative inspiration and energy) I’m falling back on my original plan.

I’m not sure if I’ll do these “Series I…” posts all in a row until I run out of topics, or if I’ll alternate with other things. We’ll see.

**Note: I’m defining a series as three or more books out/planned, just to narrow things down because I know there are several duologies on my TBR.

In no particular order, as usual…


The Empirium trilogy by Claire Legrand

Furyborn (Empirium, #1)
Kingsbane (Empirium, #2)

I read Sawkill Girls and fell in love/became obsessed with Claire Legrand’s writing, and I am so freaking excited about these. It took every ounce of self control I possessed to not blow my entire book budget on buying that one, plus both of these, when I was at a bookstore a couple of months ago. (Spoiler alert for an upcoming post: I now own both, but I only got Furyborn that day 😛 )

Book of the Ancestor series by Mark Lawrence

Red Sister (Book of the Ancestor, #1)

Grey Sister (Book of the Ancestor, #2)
Holy Sister (Book of the Ancestor, #3)

I think this series landed on my radar because of Sam (Thoughts on Tomes), but I’m not 100% sure anymore. However I discovered it, I’m seriously into the concept, and I’m trying really hard to get my hands on Red Sister. I mean, assassin nuns. Do I need to say more?

Their Bright Ascendency by K. Arsenault Rivera

The Tiger's Daughter (Their Bright Ascendency, #1)
The Phoenix Empress (Their Bright Ascendency, #2)

I think this was on my radar before I heard Sam talk about it, but listening to her gush bumped it waaaay up my TBR because I’ve found that our ratings and thoughts about books are pretty similar. I have this on my mental autumn TBR, but…I keep staring at The Tiger’s Daughter and forcing myself to not pick it up (because I have so many things I really need to read ASAP), so I might start reading later this summer.

The Broken Earth trilogy by N.K. Jemisin

The Fifth Season (The Broken Earth, #1)
The Obelisk Gate (The Broken Earth, #2)
The Stone Sky (The Broken Earth, #3)

I have no clue how I heard aboaut these books, because it seems like almost everyone who reads SFF has read and raved about them. I own the first one, so I’m hoping to get to it this year, but before I start, I’m going to make sure I can get my hands on the next two, because I’m pretty sure I’m going to love these.

The Expanse by James S.A. Corey

Leviathan Wakes (The Expanse, #1)
Caliban's War (The Expanse, #2)

I’m only popping in the covers for the first two, because there are like 8 books in this series so far (plus novellas between each book, I think), and they’re huge. I don’t see myself binge reading this series, but two feels manageable for the foreseeable future 😛 This series has been on my TBR for ages, and I think Leviathan Wakes was on my tentative Tome Topple TBR at some point, but I didn’t get to it. I might pick it up for the next round, but I’m not sure yet.


Are there any series you haven’t started yet, but really want to?

Have you read any of these? Which one do you think I should start first?

Posted in book review

Silver in the Wood: ARC Review

Silver in the Wood

Silver in the Wood by Emily Tesh

Genres/Descriptors: fantasy>folklore; LGBTQ+; novella

Publication: June 18th, 2019

Pages: 112

Check it out on Goodreads

Preorder it from: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | Indie Bound | Book Depository



What’s it about?

There is a Wild Man who lives in the deep quiet of Greenhollow, and he listens to the wood. Tobias, tethered to the forest, does not dwell on his past life, but he lives a perfectly unremarkable existence with his cottage, his cat, and his dryads.

When Greenhollow Hall acquires a handsome, intensely curious new owner in Henry Silver, everything changes. Old secrets better left buried are dug up, and Tobias is forced to reckon with his troubled past—both the green magic of the woods, and the dark things that rest in its heart.


Review:

YOU GUYS. I am in folkloric fiction heaven, and I’ve been internally squealing about this book since before I was even approved for an eARC on NetGalley. I think Tor.com is probably my favorite publishing company, and I honestly can’t remember the last time I heard about one of their upcoming books and didn’t immediately add it to my TBR. So, I was really excited (like literally dancing and screaming through the house in celebration kind of excited) when I got the e-mail saying I’d been approved for this one. Anyway…

If I had to sum up my thoughts about this book in one sentence, I would say: I was already pulling it up on Amazon to see about preordering around page 20.

I think this story is very loosely based around the Green Man, but I’m not completely sure about that. There’s definitely a smattering of the Wild Hunt and some faerie stuff, too. It’s not all light and fluffy, sanitized for children kinds of stuff, though. There’s something dark waking up again in Greenhollow.

Tobias isn’t an ordinary man, and he’s kind of part of Greenhollow forest. (If you liked Cabeswater and Adam from The Raven Cycle, you might be into this.) He’s friends with, or at least acquainted with, dryads, and he helps keep the village safe when necessary, but no one from the village really knows him. That is, until Henry Silver moves into Greenhollow Hall, finds Tobias’s cottage, and returns multiple times throughout the story.

This book is so freaking beautiful and magical, without being too heavy on the fantasy. It’s a quiet, slow kind of magic, like a really old forest. Even when you don’t see the magic happening, you know it’s there. It’s very much like a classic story from folklore, or even a fairy tale, and I savored every enchanting second of it. It was just so good, oh my gods.

The story is more character driven, which I really enjoyed, but it was done in a way that didn’t shove all the cool magical bits off to the side. They’re there, always, so you don’t forget them, like a heart quietly beating life into the story.

Speaking of the characters, while this is a novella, and I almost wish the story was longer, I think we got a good idea of what each of the characters are like, even the ones with less page time. I loved Tobias and Henry (and the cat, and Bramble), but Henry’s mother was also a great character and I liked her a lot.

The romance was adorable and slow in developing, and I loved seeing the two together. There were a few lines exchanged between them that made me kind of chuckle, and I just wanted there to be a happy ending for them.

I did anticipate the ending, but there was a moment when I wasn’t sure it was going to go the way I suspected. It did, and I thought it was fantastic.

Honestly, I finished this and immediately wanted a physical copy in my hands so I could go back and re-read certain parts (or the whole thing). I am absolutely in love with this book, it’s a strong contender for my favorite 2019 release.

I gave it 5 out of 5 stars, and I highly recommend it!

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Posted in book tags/memes

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Fantasy Books

This is a weekly meme that was created by The Broke and the Bookish, and is now being hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Every week, there’s a theme and you choose ten books that fit it. Check out upcoming topics here.


This week, the topic is 10 books from our favorite genre, and I went with fantasy (in general, instead of choosing a sub-genre because I don’t think I have a favorite). I was 8 books into this list when I started considering splitting it and doing 10 series and 10 stand-alone books, but then I realized I’d need at least 15 for series :/ So, I just used the first 10 books that came to mind when thinking of fantasy books I loved and think of as favorites, because a comprehensive favorites list would probably be like 30+ books long :/ I’m still probably cheating a little by lumping series and such together, but I had to. Otherwise, this post never would have happened because I would still be agonizing over choices years from now 😛

In the order they popped into my head…


All the books from Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse! Yep, I’m even including King of Scars, despite my disappointment with it.

Shadow and Bone (The Shadow and Bone Trilogy, #1)
Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1)
The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic (Grishaverse, #0.5 & 2.5 & 2.6)
King of Scars (Nikolai Duology, #1)

A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic, #1)

Of course I also have to include V.E. Schwab’s Shades of Magic series ❤

Every Heart a Doorway (Wayward Children, #1)

And Seanan McGuire’s Wayward Children novellas, even though I’ve still only read the first two.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children, #1)

Ransom Riggs’s Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children series is a bit of a throwback for me, because I first picked up this series before I got into the online bookish community. (Is it just me, or is our fandom ridiculously small? Or are we just very quiet about our love? I need merch, damn it.)

A Great and Terrible Beauty (Gemma Doyle #1)

Speaking of underrated/under-represented fandoms, another throwback is the Gemma Doyle trilogy by Libba Bray, which I started back in high school and re-read almost as much as I re-read Harry Potter (which I left off this list because it’s just too obvious and gets enough attention).

Storm Front (The Dresden Files, #1)

Shoutout to husband for finally getting me to start Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files several years ago. (I swear I’ll read the newest two books as soon as we get an official release date for Peace Talks.)

The Night Circus

I obviously can not make a favorites list (as long as it doesn’t exclude fantasy, that is) without having Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus on it ❤ This one was also from before my online bookish community days. (Ooh hey! At least for US Kindle, this is $2.99 right now!)

Soulless (Parasol Protectorate, #1)

Skipping over into steampunk for a second to show some love for Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series, which is endearing, witty, and addictive.

Can I really make a favorites of fantasy list without including Tolkien’s Middle Earth books? I’ve still only read The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, but I really want to devour everything from this universe.

The Hobbit or There and Back Again
The Lord of the Rings (The Lord of the Rings, #1-3)
Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse, #1)

My final pick was super hard because my brain threw up like 5 books/series I love pretty equally. I decided to go with Charlaine Harris’s Southern Vampire Mysteries because… I guess it’s almost a comfort series or something. It was fun, easy to read, and I liked most of the books about the same until I think the last one? (P.S. Don’t judge the books by True Blood omg. They are so different, and the books are way better. I love True Blood, but huge changes were made, and I think the only one I enjoyed involved Lafayette.)

Posted in book tags/memes

T5W: SFF Besties

T5W is a weekly meme created by Lainey from gingerreadslainey, now hosted by Sam from ThoughtsOnTomes. You can check out the goodreads group to learn more.


May 15th: SFF BFFs -BooktubeSFF Awards Crossover Topic-
— Discuss your favorite friends in Scifi and Fantasy, or characters you’d be BFFs with.


For some reason, this topic was so hard for me :/ It was one of those situations like when someone asks for a book recommendation, or your fave book, and suddenly you forget every book you’ve ever read, only in this case, it was me forgetting every friendship I’ve read about in SFF *sigh*

These might not all be my absolute favorites of all time, all the time, but they were all memorable and I enjoyed reading about their friendships. (And, at least for most of them, I wouldn’t mind being best friends with them.)

In no particular order, as usual…


Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #1)

Karou and Zuzana from the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series by Laini Taylor– Zuze is probably my favorite character from this trilogy, and I think she’s an amazing friend. I loved the relationship between these two a lot ❤

The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle, #1)

The Gangsey from the Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater– I love these losers, and I (mostly) love their friendships.

His Majesty's Dragon (Temeraire, #1)

Temeraire and Lawrence from His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik– These two, oh my gods ❤ They are too precious, and I love them. I can’t wait to read more of the series.

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers, #1)

Sissix and Ashby from The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers– I’m not sure my closest friends and I could manage to live together on ship for so long (maybe?), but these two did their best.

Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1)

Nina and Inej from the Six of Crows Duology by Leigh Bardugo– I loved these two so much, and while I’ve forgotten a lot of specifics about their relationship (time for a re-read!), I do remember loving it.


Tell me about some of your favorite SFF friendships (or characters you’d want to be BFFs with)!