Mini Review: Ruthless Gods by Emily A. Duncan

40126121. sy475 Ruthless Gods by Emily A. Duncan

Something Dark and Holy #2

Published April 7th 2020 by Macmillan

544 Pages

Goodreads Summary: Darkness never works alone…

Nadya doesn’t trust her magic anymore. Serefin is fighting off a voice in his head that doesn’t belong to him. Malachiasz is at war with who–and what–he’s become.

As their group is continually torn apart, the girl, the prince, and the monster find their fates irrevocably intertwined. They’re pieces on a board, being orchestrated by someone… or something. The voices that Serefin hears in the darkness, the ones that Nadya believes are her gods, the ones that Malachiasz is desperate to meet—those voices want a stake in the world, and they refuse to stay quiet any longer.

Review: I’m going to leave this one as a mini review for several reasons. It is a sequel so I don’t want to give away any spoilers and and I also don’t have a whole lot to say about this book even after sitting with my thoughts for over a day. I had such high hopes for this series but the first book fell flat for me I didn’t not like it but I didn’t fully like it either. But I wanted to give the series another chance with the second book. Once again it just didn’t click for me. I love the world of this book and the lore with the old gods, magic, etc. I feel like all of those things that I do love about this series took a back seat during this book. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out exactly what was going on with all the bouncing around from Nadya to Serefin to Malachiasz. I’m still not entirely sure how they all feel about each other. Overall I think I’m pretty much done with this series. By the time the next book comes out, I will have forgotten everything about the first two books and won’t want to start over from the beginning. Some people love this series, others not so much. I really like it’s just one of those series where it’s not going to work for everyone.

2.5 Stars

I received an eARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Blood Countess by Lana Popović

43908877Blood Countess by Lana Popović

Lady Slayers #1

Published January 28th 2020 by Harry N. Abrams

293 Pages

Goodreads Summary: A historical YA horror novel based on the infamous real-life inspiration for Countess Dracula

In 16th century Hungary, Anna Darvulia has just begun working as a scullery maid for the young and glamorous Countess Elizabeth Báthory. When Elizabeth takes a liking to Anna, she’s vaulted to the dream role of chambermaid, a far cry from the filthy servants’ quarters below. She receives wages generous enough to provide for her family, and the Countess begins to groom Anna as her friend and confidante. It’s not long before Anna falls completely under the Countess’s spell—and the Countess takes full advantage. Isolated from her former friends, family, and fiancé, Anna realizes she’s not a friend but a prisoner of the increasingly cruel Elizabeth. Then come the murders, and Anna knows it’s only a matter of time before the Blood Countess turns on her, too.

Review: I was so excited to see a historical YA horror novel based on Countess Elizabeth Bathory! I’ve read a few other books and have watched a couple of those ghost hunter shows investigate her castle. There is just something strangely compelling about her. The main character, Anna Darvulia, is actually based on the real life Anna Darvolya. Three of the other servants in the book also seem to be based on real life servants of the countess. I really liked that the author actually used characters based on real people that were connected to the countess. That all makes it so much more real. I’ve read that Anna Darvolya was actually considered to be the one who honed the Countess’s torture skills and instructed the other servants. However, in this novel, the author does a little reimagining. Anna is an innocently naive village girl, trained as a midwife under her mother. She has a chance meeting with Elizabeth and her entire life changes from there.

There were things about this book that I liked but also lots of things that didn’t really click with me. Right off the bat the book seemed to be a little overwritten for my taste. Every noun seemed to have a descriptive word, some words I even had to look up and when I did they didn’t quite seem to fit the context. I also didn’t like how naive Anna was portrayed. She overlooked every single terrible thing Elizabeth had done or that Anna’s fellow scullery maids told her they had heard. It also seemed strange to me how high up Elizabeth ended up putting Anna. A countess throwing a ball for a commoner… maybe it happened, but seems a little far fetched. I know a lot of people were excited about the F/F romance aspect in this book but this one was honestly too much for the story I think. I mean, I guess I could see how a young village girl who had never been anywhere or seen anything could fall hard for a Countess who is lifting her up so high but what I really didn’t like was Anna making excuses for Elizabeth when she started to see what she was truly like. No spoilers so I won’t talk about how the book ended but it felt too easy. In the end I don’t think this even works as a horror story. It felt more like a historical romance gone wrong. Overall this book was just okay for me.

2 Stars

I received an eARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

20 Books of Summer: 2020

20 books

Hello! I’m here for another attempt at the 20 Books of Summer challenge! I don’t know that I’ve ever read all of the books I’ve picked for my challenge TBR but it’s fun to put them together anyways. I am a mood reader so I put together a different variety of genres to keep me interested all summer long. I will also be focusing on ARCs as I mentioned in my last post but I decided not to include those in this list. So here we have my book choices for the next three months. I don’t have them in any particular order so I will just pick and choose throughout the list as I go. The two books marked with an * are books I need to read before two of the ARCs on my list for June.

(All links are to each book’s Goodreads page)

Picture_20200531_004232886

  1. Recursion by Blake Crouch
  2. The Midnight Lie by Marie Rutkoski
  3. Winterwood by Shea Ernshaw
  4. Regretting You by Colleen Hoover
  5. The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern
  6. Warrior of the Altaii by Robert Jordan
  7. The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh
  8. The Near Witch by V.E. Schwab
  9. Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
  10. Misery by Stephen King
  11. The Lost Queen by Signe Pike*
  12. Escaping From Houdini by Kerri Maniscalco
  13. Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
  14. Call Down the Hawk by Maggie Stiefvater
  15. House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas
  16. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
  17. Postscript by Cecelia Ahern
  18. DEV1AT3 by Jay Kristoff*
  19. Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor
  20. The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

The following are the ARCs that I will be focusing on for the month of June. As I mentioned above, two of these ARCs I need to read a preceding book for and I included those books in my challenge TBR, marked with an *. I also marked the corresponding ARCs with an *. I put these in order of publication date and my plan is to read them in this exact order.

43908877 40126121. sy475 A Bad Day for Sunshine (Sunshine Vicram, #1)  52755548

  1. Blood Countess by Lana Popovic
  2. Ruthless Gods by Emily A. Duncan
  3. A Bad Day for Sunshine by Darynda Jones
  4. Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner
  5. The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner
  6. The Dilemma by B.A. Paris
  7. TRUEL1F3 by Jay Kristoff*
  8. The Forgotten Kingdom by Signe Pike*

43557477 41150465 42871642. sy475 49249855


Have you read any of the books on my list?

 

 

Big Update: January-May 2020

Hey everyone! It’s been quite awhile since my last post. I’ve been taking a break away from blogging while all of this coronavirus stuff has been going on. My anxiety has been pretty high the last few months so I haven’t been able to concentrate on reading books outside of listening to audiobooks while I work. I started working from home towards the end of March and I am so grateful that I am able to do so. But even though that somewhat lessened the anxiety I was feeling about the whole situation, I still didn’t feel like reading books until the last week or so. First world problems, I know. Huge thanks go out to all of the people who have been working on the frontlines while this has been happening worldwide. You guys are heroes.

Something else that has had my attention since April is Animal Crossing: New Horizon. Ashley @ Socially Awkward Bookworm got my hooked on it and I’ve played every day since then. I have a cool outdoor library, created my own Craigh Na Dun and dressed my character up as Claire Fraser, and reached 5 star island status!

It’s also been super fun to visit her island and have her visit mine.

One good thing to come out of this year is that I’ve been really good about limiting book purchases. So far this year I have only purchased 9 books and I’ve already read 5 of those books since buying them. My goal was to limit purchases and read the books I do buy as soon as possible.

Picture_20200530_220916039

2020 Book Purchases So Far:

  • House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas
  • The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White (read)
  • Postscript by Cecelia Ahern
  • A Heart So Fierce and Broken by Brigid Kemmerer (read)
  • The Midnight Lie by Marie Rutkoski
  • The Rural Diaries by Hilarie Burton Morgan (read)
  • The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
  • The Simple Wild by K.A. Tucker (read)
  • Wild At Heart by K.A. Tucker (read)

As far as books read this year, the majority have been audiobooks that I’ve borrowed from the library. Some have been really awesome like Daisy Jones & the Six and some a little disappointing like The Pioneers by David McCullough. Here is everything I’ve read the last few months broken down by month.


JANUARY

  • January 2020 Books Read: 27
  • 2020 Total Books Read: 27
  • January 2020 Pages Read: 9,951
  • 2020 Total Pages Read: 9,951
  1. The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black
  2. Everless by Sara Holland (audiobook)
  3. The White Darkness by David Grann (audiobook)
  4. The Glittering Hour by Iona Grey (eARC)
  5. Wonder Woman: Warbringer graphic novel (eARC)
  6. Hunted by Meagan Spooner
  7. Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson
  8. My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier (audiobook)
  9. A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer
  10. Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys
  11. Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie (audiobook)
  12. A Heart So Fierce and Broken by Brigid Kemmerer
  13. Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff (audiobook)
  14. The Simple Wild by K.A. Tucker
  15. House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig (audiobook)
  16. The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas (audiobook)
  17. Well Met by Jen DeLuca
  18. Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore
  19. The Outsider by Stephen King
  20. The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan (audiobook)
  21. 1776 by David McCullough (audiobook)
  22. The Reckless Oath We Made by Bryn Greenwood (audiobook)
  23. Girl With A Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier (audio re-read)
  24. Bring Me Back by B.A. Paris (audiobook)
  25. Fallen by Lauren Kate (audiobook)
  26. The Violets of March by Sarah Jio (audiobook)
  27. American War by Omar El Akkad (audiobook)

January Favorite

26032912. sy475


FEBRUARY

  • February 2020 Books Read: 4
  • 2020 Total Books Read: 31
  • February 2020 Pages Read: 2,268
  • 2020 Total Pages Read: 12,219
  1. Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld (audiobook)
  2. The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski (audiobook)
  3. Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell (re-read)
  4. Wild At Heart by K.A. Tucker

February Favorite

53024322. sx318 sy475


MARCH

  • March 2020 Books Read: 12
  • 2020 Total Books Read: 43
  • March 2020 Pages Read: 4,327
  • 2020 Total Pages Read: 16,546
  1. Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns (audiobook)
  2. The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom (audiobook)
  3. Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan
  4. The Curse of Tenth Grave by Darynda Jones (audiobook)
  5. Eleventh Grave in Moonlight by Darynda Jones (audiobook)
  6. The Grace Year by Kim Liggett (audiobook)
  7. Serenity Harbor by RaeAnne Thayne (audiobook)
  8. The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones (audiobook)
  9. Wyoming Legend by Diana Palmer (audiobook)
  10. Sword of Destiny by Andrzej Sapkowski (audiobook)
  11. The Trouble With Twelfth Grave by Darynda Jones (audiobook)
  12. Summoned to Thirteenth Grave by Darynda Jones (audiobook)

March Favorite

35391370. sy475


APRIL

  • April 2020 Books Read: 5
  • 2020 Total Books Read: 48
  • April 2020 Pages Read: 1,919
  • 2020 Total Pages Read: 18,465
  1. Under Currents by Nora Roberts (audiobook)
  2. The Widow of Pale Harbor by Hester Fox (audiobook)
  3. The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams (audiobook)
  4. Blood of Elves by Andrzej Sapkowski (audiobook)
  5. The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James (audiobook)

April Favorite

45885644


MAY

  • May 2020 Books Read: 11
  • 2020 Total Books Read: 59
  • May 2020 Pages Read: 4.387
  • 2020 Total Pages Read: 22,852
  1. Iron Lake by William Kent Krueger (audiobook)
  2. P.S. I Love You by Cecelia Ahern (re-read)
  3. Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid (audiobook)
  4. The Dutch House by Ann Patchett (audiobook)
  5. Rose Madder by Stephen King (audiobook)
  6. The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Dare (audiobook)
  7. The Pioneers by David McCullough (audiobook)
  8. Big Stone Gap by Adriana Trigiani (audiobook)
  9. The Rural Diaries by Hilarie Burton Morgan
  10. Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater
  11. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer (re-read)

May Favorite

40597810. sy475


And that’s about it. Those are all of the books I’ve read this year so far. According to Goodreads I am 2 books behind schedule to meet my goal of reading 150 books this year which hasn’t happened in a very long time. I’m hoping that now I am back in the mood to read that I can get caught up. My plan for June is to focus on all of the ARCs that I am behind on. I am also going to attempt the 20 Books of Summer challenge again so stay tuned for my TBR post tomorrow.

How has everything been with you? Any good book recommendations?

 

 

 

My Top Ten Romance Tropes

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by That Artsy Girl. Each week there is a different topic. This week’s topic is a Love Freebie so I decided to do a post about my favorite romance tropes with two book recommendations for each one. I’m the kind of person that loves having some kind of romance in just about every book I read… I’m a hopeless romantic, what can I say lol. A lot of romance tropes drive people crazy and I’ll admit there are quite a few that do not float my boat at all. But the ten on this list are ones that I usually end up enjoying. Click on the book cover image to go to the Goodreads page for each book.

10964. sy475   17210873

TIME TRAVEL

Anything with a person traveling back in time and finding true love, I am there for it. Might be a bit obvious with my first choice of Outlander but hey, that’s one of my all time-favorites so it had to make the list. In addition to Mariana I would also recommend The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley that would fall under this category. I really enjoyed both.


43189874. sy475   Dating You / Hating You

ENEMIES TO LOVERS

In this category you’ll find books like the classic Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen but I decided to recommend two that I have recently read and enjoyed. Well Met was super cute and I loved seeing Emily and Simon’s relationship shift and change throughout the book. Dating You/Hating You was also a fun read.


8667848. sy475   8490112

FORBIDDEN LOVE

There are so many great books with a forbidden love story but I decided to go with two of my favorite fantasy forbidden love stories. In A Discovery of Witches, Diana, a witch, and Matthew, a vampire, are forbidden to be together and yet their love will change the world of the supernatural forever. In Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Karou and Akiva are beings from two different worlds… or are they? They are two different beings but who Karou really is makes their relationship forbidden.


15749186  36199084. sy475

FAKE RELATIONSHIP

I put off reading To All The Boys for the longest time because I thought it would be too cutesy but I adored it. I devoured the entire trilogy in a few days and I’ve watched the Netflix adaptation probably at least 3 times. I’m really looking forward to the sequel which premieres on Netflix on the Feb. 12th! Lara Jean and Peter K forever! Another fake relationship story I really enjoyed was The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang.


42201435  31693

SECOND CHANCE AT LOVE

I really love when characters are able to take a second shot at love with someone it didn’t work out with the first time around. I love second chances in general so adding the romance to it has me sold. Say You Still Love Me was a book I really got into. A cute first love story that didn’t work out and years later they get another chance to rekindle the flame.  And of course, I couldn’t get through this list without adding one from Jane Austen. Persuasion is one of my favorites.


43521785  36373564. sy475

OPPOSITES ATTRACT

I love reading about two people who seemingly wouldn’t fit together but something sparks between them. These are two recent favorites that fit into that category. Bringing Down the Duke has Annabelle, a recent female entrant into Oxford from a poor family and Sebastian, the Queen of England’s favorite duke. In The Simple Wild, Calla and Jonah are on completely opposite ends of the spectrum… She’s a city girl, he’s a wilderness man.


22875451  30333938

SECRET ROMANCE

For one reason or another, some romances need to be kept a secret. In the case of The Royal We, a prince falls in love with an American and they try their hardest to keep their romance out of the tabloids. In Slammed, the new girl and the boy next door hit it off, and then find out that he is her teacher so their relationship has to be kept a secret.


45855484. sy475   24445517

FRIENDS TO LOVERS

I loved both of these books. F*ck Marriage had a little bit of a difference where the guy had been carrying a torch for the girl for a decade while she was with his best friend. Maybe Someday had two strangers connecting over music, becoming friends and then more.


9732753  6304335

SOULMATES/FATE

Last year I ended up binge reading the first 9 books in the Charley Davidson series. If you’re looking for a great paranormal series with a soulmate/fate angle, then look no further than First Grave on the Right. Another great fantasy series in this category is the Caster Chronicles series starting with Beautiful Creatures.


17846015  1656001

LOVE TRIANGLE

Lastly there is the love triangle. I don’t typically read a lot of this trope but these are a couple that I really enjoyed. The Opportunist by Tarryn Fisher and The Host by Stephenie Meyer.


What are some of your favorite romance tropes?