Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Review: The Isles of the Gods by Amie Kaufman

This was a book I simply needed to read again before I read the final book. And I am so glad that I did so. I loved it last year, and I loved it again now. I had forgotten several details. And so it was nice to re-read it, so I'm ready for book two. I'm just thrilled that I loved it just as much this second time. And still a five star for me.

There is so much that I loved about this book. I am going to try to write a shorter review this time. As always, I do not actually read my first review again. So I might repeat myself a little. But oh, I'm so glad that I decided to read this book a second time. It was still as magical to me as last year. I adore these characters the most.

The writing is also fantastic, which is always so important to me. And I love the world very much. It is told from the point of views of Selly and Leander and Keegan and Jude and Laskia. Mostly the first two, whom I adore the most. They meet very early in the book. She very much does not like him. He very much likes her, because of this. I adored it so much. They have the best banter, when it isn't rude. I loved how it all started with her not liking him. Then it grew into such a wonderful friendship and more. Though it happened in just a few short days. But I did not mind. Since so much happened in those days. They were so good together. Sigh. The romance is small, but they obviously adores each other and it is so well written. I must have more of it in book two.

What I loved about this book was the magical world it takes place in. Some people have magic and are able to communicate with spirits and ask for help. Like small air or water spirits. Most people can see one spirit. Leander can see all four and control all four. I hope we get to see more of his powers. As I so loved when we got to see it in this book. I liked how the magic was displayed on a person's body as marks on their arms. I liked that this book was magical in a smaller way. And that all of it was a bit old, a bit modern.

Selly starts out with no magic. Though she do have the marks on her arms, just not fully formed. She has never been able to communicate with any spirits before, despite trying so much. Until she meets Leander. And he tries to teach her. I loved how that worked and how they were doing it together. And how she got better at it too. Selly is a sailor. She has spent most of her life on a ship. A little selfish, but fully amazing and kind. I loved how she changed during this book, how she started to see a wider world than her own.

And Leander started as a very spoiled rich boy. Which he was, as a royal prince. No one ever told him no. And so he was a bit spoiled. And so meeting with Selly was a bit difference for him. She didn't care about him being royal at all. And did not treat him as such either. I loved how their relationship started. Sigh. It was so much fun to read about them together. Leander is complicated. He seems like a party boy, only looking to have fun. But he is so much more than that. He was amazing and I loved getting to know him.

There is just so much about this book that I loved. Leander is a year delayed in giving a sacrifice to their goddess, which happens once every twenty-fifth year. Which is how he ends up on the ship that Selly is on. It's complicated, but also so interesting and exciting to read about. They are on a mission to go to The Isles of the Gods for the sacrifice. To prevent a war happening with a different town from theirs. And war is very much about to happen. I truly loved learning more about the world and how things worked there.

We also get to know Keegan, whom is also on their ship. He is getting delayed in going to where he was about to escape to. I loved getting to know this boy. He preferred books over people. Though he had not had a very easy life either. He went to school with Leander. But they were not friends. And so he is not happy to see him. I did not like how rude he was at times. Yes, he was right to be grumpy about things, but I still didn't like reading about it. I liked how he became friends with Leander and Selly after a while.

Then there was Jude and Laskia. They are from the place where war is about to happen. They worship a different god. As this world had a Mother and seven different gods and goddesses. Laskia is the sister of a crime boss in this town. And her life is not at easy one. She just wants her sister to approve of her. And so she is willing to do anything. Which she does. And I hated it so much. She was a villain, I suppose. But I wanted her to be different, haha. Despite her being mostly evil, I did like reading all of her point of views.

And then there was Jude. He works for Laskia and her sister Ruby. To keep his mother safe. He was one complicated boy. I both liked him and was annoyed with him. He is with Laskia when she is doing all her bad things. They are hunting down Leander. Many people gets killed. He does nothing to stop it. And yet I fully got that too, he had to keep his sick mother safe. But yeah. I was a little annoyed with him. Yet I can't wait to read more about him in book two and hope that he ends up changing a whole lot. Fingers crossed.

I have to mention another thing, before I forget about this. This is a book about close relationships. About people slowly becoming like family. Which I hope we see more of in book two, since this book took place over such a short time. But yes. I loved the growing friendships between Selly and Leander and Keegan. I loved how most of the book were just about those three together. I also loved reading about Selly's crew, the little we got to see them. They were adorable. Sigh. Rudest. I just loved all these characters the most.

There is still very much that I could say about this book. But I have already written way more than I was supposed to. Oops. I just loved this book so much. I loved the time spent at sea. It was written so well. I loved the magic. I loved when they arrived at the Isles. And how it all ended. Ah. The ending was all kinds of rude. Makes me so worried for book two. But I'm beyond excited too. The Isles of the Gods was such an incredible book. And I'm so glad that I read it a second time. You all need to read this lovely book too.

 

Waiting on Wednesday #664

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

THE RAGPICKER KING (The Chronicles of Castellane #2)
BY CASSANDRA CLARE

Goodreads Description:

In the epic follow-up to the New York Times bestseller Sword Catcher, praised by George R. R. Martin as “everything I look for in fantasy,” Lin and Kel must chart a perilous course between love and lies.
 
Kel Saren, body double to Conor, crown prince of the dazzling city of Castellane, is caught between two worlds. In order to protect his beloved prince, Kel must find the culprits responsible for a massacre at the royal palace—and the only clues are held by the Ragpicker King, the notorious criminal who rules Castellane’s underworld. The trail Kel follows leads back to the Hill, where among decadent nobles and glittering parties a dark conspiracy to destroy the royal family has taken hold—a conspiracy headed up by the monstrous Artal Gremont, the man engaged to marry the woman Kel adores.
 
Meanwhile, Lin Caster must face the aftermath of the greatest risk she’s ever taken. To save the life of a dying friend, Lin has falsely claimed to be the Goddess Reborn, the legendary heroine destined to save her people. Now the terrifying—but strangely magnetic—leader of her people has arrived to test her powers. The price of failure is exile, and only through her alliance with the Ragpicker King can she continue to access the magic that may save her.
 
Then Prince Conor reappears in her life, demanding that she use her healing powers to cure the madness of his father, the King. Lin soon realizes the King is gripped by an ancient and terrible magic, one whose lure she cannot deny any more than she can deny her growing passion for Conor.
 
As the simmering tensions in Castellane reach a fever pitch, Lin and Kel must decide who to trust when any false move means death—or worse.

Format: 624 pages, Hardcover
Expected Publication: March 4, 2025 by Del Rey
Pre-Order: Blackwells and Amazon US and Amazon UK

I know, I have yet to read Sword Catcher. Ahhh! I'm just nervous about it, haha :) But I think I will love these so much. They sound so epic. But huge, ha. So I need the time to finally read book one. Soon. <3
What are you waiting for on this legendary Wednesday?

Saturday, July 6, 2024

In My Mailbox #661

Another week gone by too fast. Gosh. Been busy this week. And I'm also fully exhausted. How rude. My body is way too painful lately. Hoping it will get better soon. Fingers crossed. I read another book, finally :) But it was so bad and it was so hard to read it, haha. So yeah. That was painful. And so my next read will be a re-read, so I can read book two :) I'm excited. I also re-watched Fear Street with my mom this week, and I just still really love these three movies. Been spending time outside in the sun, which is always nice. Got a bit sunburned today, though, ack. Got some lovely new mail :) This week I'm waiting on A Dark and Drowning Tide :) Shared my review of The Lamplighter, ack. Hope you're all having a wonderful week. <3

Ruthless Vows. German edition :D It is gorgeous. Love the edges. Love the artcard that came with, eee.
Release the Wolves. I could not resist getting this book. It looks awesome and sounds very good too :D
The Girl Who Kept the Castle. This sounds amazing :D Thank you so much MarcyKate for this copy. <3
A Study in Drowning. Waterstones exclusive and regular UK paperback versions :D They are so pretty.
Funko Pop. New Pokemon pop figure. <3 This took ages to arrive, from amazon, ack. But I love it so :)

More Instagram photos here. <3

Thursday, July 4, 2024

Review: The Lamplighter by Crystal J. Bell

How do I even begin with this book. I do not know. I fell prey to a pretty cover. It's not often I buy books by authors unknown to me. But this book was simply too pretty looking for me to resist. And it sounded awesome too. But I was deceived. Sigh. This book was truly painful to read. And I have many thoughts to share about it.

First, it ended it being a two star for me. And that's even positive. And only because of the last pages. The first two hundred pages were awful and so boring. Things finally started happening during the final part. It was still bad, but at least it was also at last a little exciting. Then the ending ruined it. Yeah. It was all truly that bad.

I'm unsure how much I want to share about this book. I am going to try my best not to share that many spoilers. At least not about the plot. I do have several things to say about the writing and this story. And sadly none of them are positive. It would have been a one star for me if not for the magical twist during the last hundred pages. Not good, but better. But oh, how much this book angered me. The writing was truly the very worst. And it wasn't that it was bad. Because I don't think it was all that bad. But the way this was written was the worst. It was all telling, no showing. It was all the thoughts in the head of the main girl. It was so bad. Shudders. All the thoughts were repeating. They were not good. I never liked Tempe because of this. Her mind was the worst. Ugh.

I'm going to somewhat describe the plot in this book. It tells the story of eighteen-year-old Tempe. She is the head of her family, as her father died by suicide four years ago, and her mother then turned insane, in a way. She has a younger sister, age sixteen. Pru is now considered a woman as well. And she is looking for a husband. Pru takes care of their mother and everything in their house. While Tempe has the work of her father that she must do every day. She is a lamplighter, keeping their whaling town safe from the fog.

This book took place in the past, nineteenth century, I suppose. Though it did not really feel like it, most of the time. Considering we are mostly only in the head of Tempe. And her thoughts all felt pretty modern to me. I would have liked to read more about the town and the time it took place in. As this was interesting, which was also why I got this book. But no. We do not get to spend much time around town at all. As we are pretty much always in the head of Tempe. Ugh. And if not, she is lighting the lampposts. Very boring.

But there is a girl going missing. And Tempe is only thinking of herself, how to keep her family safe. And in doing so she lies to the law and ends up being put on notice. She thinks several times about how it is living, how women mean nothing and cannot do anything without a man. Yet we never get to witness this at all. Sure, they aren't all that nice, but we barely see anyone talking to Tempe at all. Or to anyone else. Which is why it also did not feel like a book set in the past. Annoyed me too much, the way it was written.

The person that Pru wants to marry turns out to be Gideon. A man more than twice their age, above forty. And this was considered okay? No one questioned it? And Pru seemed so in love with him? I don't get it. It was disgusting. And I hated it so. Tempe is confused about Gideon. Her father warned her to stay away, which she thinks about all the time. Ugh. Yet she did not. They had a past, two years ago. She also made it sound worse than it was, honestly. And she obviously had a small crush on him, which was disgusting.

Because Tempe is supposed to be in love with a boy her own age, Josiah. And yet still she cheated, back then. And she did not tell him. And she keeps having secrets from him. And he was not very sweet either. We get to see so little of their romance, just the telling that they love each other, but no physical touches, not really. And it was so annoying to me. The romance could have been so sweet. But no. It was so badly written. Especially when it seems like Tempe is lusting after Gideon, while also being afraid of him. Yeah.

There is just so much I could say about this book. It drove me fully insane. And I'm still angry just thinking about it. I would have not read it, had I not paid a lot for it, ha. So I had to finish it. But oh. This book hurt my head. And heart too. Because it was so bad. I cannot stand it. It could have been so good too. As the setting seemed amazing. If only we had gotten to actually witness it more. But no. Instead we were stuck inside the head of Tempe almost the entire book. I have never before read a book written this way. Ugh.

Oh. Time to mention a little about the twist that happens. It all got more exciting, and a little bit dark too. Finally. There were parts that I liked. When we learn what happened to the missing girls. But then nothing was done with this. Tempe suddenly spends weeks doing nothing. Because she had done something so horrible. And that was the worst twist. It was dark, yes, but I hated it. Ruined the book for me. Especially that ending. It was just stupid. Beyond stupid. And then it ended without us knowing anything more. What.

I just cannot deal with this book. I had really hoped to love it. But I very much did not. And I guess others may love it. But I honestly wouldn't recommend that you read it, I'm sorry to say. There were some parts that I did like. But the writing ruined it. Especially the ending. But yeah. I could not stand the writing. I kept hoping it would get better. It did not. And so, sadly, The Lamplighter was not a book for me. But I'm glad I tried a new book. But sad it ended up being so awful. There should have been more at the end, though.

Wednesday, July 3, 2024

Waiting on Wednesday #663

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

A DARK AND DROWNING TIDE BY ALLISON SAFT

Goodreads Description:

A sharp-tongued folklorist must pair up with her academic rival to solve their mentor's murder in this lush and enthralling sapphic fantasy romance from the New York Times bestselling author of A Far Wilder Magic.

Lorelei Kaskel, a folklorist with a quick temper and an even quicker wit, is on an expedition with six eccentric nobles in search of a fabled spring. The magical spring promises untold power, which the king wants to harness to secure his reign of the embattled country of Brunnestaad. Lorelei is determined to use this opportunity to prove herself and make her wildest, most impossible dream come to become a naturalist, able to travel freely to lands she’s only ever read about.

The expedition gets off to a harrowing start when its leader—Lorelei’s beloved mentor—is murdered in her quarters aboard their ship. The suspects are her five remaining expedition mates, each with their own motive. The only person Lorelei knows must be innocent is her longtime academic rival, the insufferably gallant and maddeningly beautiful Sylvia von Wolff. Now in charge of the expedition, Lorelei must find the spring before the murderer strikes again—and a coup begins in earnest.

But there are other dangers lurking in the forests that rearrange themselves at night, rivers with slumbering dragons waiting beneath the water, and shapeshifting beasts out for blood.

As Lorelei and Sylvia grudgingly work together to uncover the truth—and resist their growing feelings for one another—they discover that their professor had secrets of her own. Secrets that make Lorelei question whether justice is worth pursuing, or if this kingdom is worth saving at all.

Format: 400 pages, Hardcover
Expected Publication: September 17, 2024 by Daphne Press
Pre-Order: Blackwells and Amazon US and Amazon UK

I kept seeing everyone going crazy about getting this ARC. So of course I had to order the waterstones special edition, haha :D I think it looks gorgeous. And sounds so exciting. I do not usually read girl and girl romances, as I prefer boy and girl, but I will read this one. It sounds so very good and I am sure the romance will be amazing too :) So yes. I am now very excited about this book; I'm hoping to love it lots :)
What are you waiting for on this dark Wednesday?