Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Review: Together We Rot by Skyla Arndt

I knew I had to read this book the moment I saw that gorgeous cover. It is the best. I was lucky enough to get approved to read this book early as an eARC. I could not resist it. And may have read it too fast this evening. Impossible to stop once I started. I had to know how it would all end. It was a pretty exciting story.

But I am having mixed feelings about it too. There were parts of this book that I loved. But there were also many parts that I were not happy about. Was unsure how to rate it. Ended up at a three star. I wanted to love it more, but that was not possible. But yes. There were parts of this book that I did love. Especially Elwood.

He was the very best boy. Sigh. This book is his story, but also the story of Wil. And that was where my issues began. I did not like her. At all. I wanted to, but I could not. She was always mean and cruel. Sure, her mother had been missing for year. But that is no excuse to act in the way she did. Elwood and Wil had been best friends for years. Until her mother went missing a year ago. And Wil said that his family did something to her. And made him choose between her and his family. He chose his family. I did not blame him. She would have chosen her family too, if it had been reverse. Because where was the proof? I did not get it. She blamed his family right away. But why? It was never said. Sure, there were reasons to be suspicious after a while. But she blamed them right away, for no reason explained. I truly did not get it.

And so Elwood and Wil spent a year not being friends. With her hating him and blaming him. I get that she was hurt. Truly. She wanted her mom and wanted to know where she was. But oh, I did not like Wil. Did not like how she treated Elwood. He was the sweetest and kindest and gentlest soul there was. And she hurt him badly. And to me, she did not make up for it. I kept waiting for that during the whole book. It never happened. Instead he was the one being sorry and trying to make it up to her. That did bother me.

Okay. Enough about that. There was some romance too. After they started getting over their hurts of each other. But I was not very forgiving of it. I did like them together. Elwood had loved her since they were little. And I loved that. Sigh. But after this past year, I did not think she was deserving of this love. Okay, I didn't actually hate her. She did have some good sides too. But mostly she was mean towards everyone and I disliked that very much. Though she did have one other friend, Ronnie. And I liked her.

And now I have talked too much about the characters before I even started talking about the book. Oops. I just had to get it off my chest, haha. First. That cover truly is stunning. I love it so. But it is also a lie. And that hurts me. Because this book takes place during Christmas, in full winter at all times. Yeah. The forest is a huge part, but it is winter and snow. Always snowing. I'm surprised they did not die of cold, honestly. But still. It was about the forest and I loved that. Parts of this book felt a bit magical, which was wonderful.

I very much liked the plot of this book. It is somewhat the story of a cult. A story of a boy breaking free from his family and what they had planned for him. Him learning what his life was supposed to be. And wanting something different. Just. Oh. I very much loved Elwood. He had been abused his whole life by his parents. All for their religion. Ugh. Religion is so not my thing, especially with all of this that do go on. He had few bright spots in his life. Wil being one, until she was gone. Butterflies another. I so loved that.

I just cannot get over how gentle and loving Elwood was. He just wanted to please everyone. And that just makes me more mad at Wil for hurting him. Sigh. I'm guessing it might just be a problem for me, ha. But yeah. It was a problem. I did like her. But I did not like how she treated him for so long. Another thing I disliked was how this book was such a teenage school type of story at times. With drinking and partying, okay, only once, but I did not like it. Fighting with their friends over silly things. Sigh. Just felt a little stupid.

This review of mine may be a little messy. I just have to get all my thoughts down, even though they are not in the right order. The story is about Elwood and Wil. Him trying to escape his fate from his parents. Her trying to figure out where her mom went. We do learn that, but it felt a little weird. I wanted more from it. The cult was kind of creepy and I liked reading about how it came to be. But I felt like his dad was just weird and not scary like he was supposed to be. And her dad was such a drunk then suddenly not. Hmm.

Anyway. I have written too much. Yet not enough. Three stars for me. I wanted it to be better. But there were parts of it that I loved. Elwood especially. Loved the somewhat creepy parts of what was growing inside of it. It was so interesting to read about. Together We Rot was not as perfect as I wanted it to be, but it was still a pretty magical story that I very much enjoyed reading. Thank you the most to Penguin Teen for letting me read this book early via Netgalley. Will still get my hardcover too. You should read it.

Goodreads - Blackwells - Amazon US - Amazon UK

Waiting on Wednesday #606

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


Goodreads Description:

A dramatic story of duplicity and resistance, betrayal and loyalty, set against the backdrop of World War II, by the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Light in Hidden Places.

Isa de Smit was raised in the vibrant, glittering world of her parents’ small art gallery in Amsterdam, a hub of beauty, creativity, and expression, until the Nazi occupation wiped the color from her city’s palette. The “degenerate” art of the Gallery de Smit is confiscated, the artists in hiding or deported, her best friend, Truus, fled to join the shadowy Dutch resistance. And masterpiece by masterpiece, the Nazis are buying and stealing her country’s heritage, feeding the Third Reich’s ravenous appetite for culture and art.

So when the unpaid taxes threaten her beloved but empty gallery, Isa decides to make the Nazis pay. She sells them a fake―a Rembrandt copy drawn by her talented father―a sale that sets Isa perilously close to the second most hated class of people in Amsterdam: the collaborators. Isa sells her beautiful forgery to none other than Hitler himself, and on the way to the auction, discovers that Truus is part of a resistance ring to smuggle Jewish babies out of Amsterdam.

But Truus cannot save more children without money. A lot of money. And Isa thinks she knows how to get it. One more forgery, a copy of an exquisite Vermeer, and the Nazis will pay for the rescue of the very children they are trying annihilate. To make the sale, though, Isa will need to learn the art of a master forger, before the children can be deported, and before she can be outed as a collaborator. And she finds an unlikely source to help her do it: the young Nazi soldier, a blackmailer and thief of Dutch art, who now says he wants to desert the German army.

Yet, worth is not always seen from the surface, and a fake can be difficult to spot. Both in art, and in people. Based on the true stories of Han Van Meegeren, a master art forger who sold fakes to Hermann Goering, and Johann van Hulst, credited with saving 600 Jewish children from death in Amsterdam, Sharon Cameron weaves a gorgeously evocative thriller, simmering with twists, that looks for the forgotten color of beauty, even in an ugly world.

Format: 416 pages, Hardcover
Expected Publication: November 7, 2023 by Scholastic Press
Pre-Order: Blackwells and Amazon US and Amazon UK

Ohh. I am pretty excited about this book :D I so adore this author. Have not read all her books yet, but a bunch of them. And her historical stories are the very best. This one sounds amazing. I know I'll love it :)
What are you waiting for on this dramatic Wednesday?

Sunday, May 28, 2023

Review: The Isles of the Gods by Amie Kaufman

This book was just as incredible as I knew it would be. Such a fun and exciting story. Of course, all kinds of heartbreaking and evil too. But mostly just fun and such a great read. It makes me so happy that I loved this book. Five stars. But now I must wait long for book two, which is so not okay, haha. I must know more.

The writing was stunning, as always with books by Amie. I truly loved to get to know the different characters. Some good, some all kinds of bad. But all of them fully exciting to read about. And so very different from each other. Yet they were coming together to survive and getting to know each other better. I so loved that.

I do not know how to write this review of mine. It is always harder with books that I love. Oops. But going to do my best. This book is for the most part the story of Selly. But it is from other point of views too. We get to know Leander and Keegan and Jude and Laskia. But yes, it's mostly about Selly and Leander and so we hear more from them. And I very much adored these characters. Eee. Selly has spent pretty much her whole life on the sea with her father. But he has been gone for the past year and she is growing restless. She bumps into Leander on the night she was trying to leave her crew and find her father, ending up staying with them instead to escort him. As he was no regular boy, but the prince of their home. He has a mission that must be done.

Selly pretty much hates him from the beginning, ha. I loved their banter. How it turned into more. It was an enemies to lovers type of story. Though they were not actually enemies. It was also just how I like it. They were not cruel to each other. Just a little rudeness from Selly and I did not mind that. Their banter was mostly just fun, as it was easy to see that they actually liked each other. I do wish the romance had been more, though. Especially with how it ends, as I worry there will be less. Hmm. It was still beautiful.

I honestly just truly loved getting to know Selly and Leander. They were so different. He was such a rich and spoiled royal boy. All kinds of handsome and knowing it. Full of magic, more than usual people with magic in this world. A little selfish, not fully caring about the world around him until now. But even with his faults, I loved him to pieces. Because he was honest and real. Kind of just a rude boy, at first. But full of heart and so sweet beneath it all. And he did care. He was just slow to show it. I just loved him the most.

Selly was also such a great girl. Pretty stubborn and a little rude too, ha. But full of heart and all kinds of brave. We get to know her crew a little too, though only half of them were on the ship when they had to leave with Leander. They all seemed awesome. And their end was the worst. Shudders. But written so very well that I just could not help but love the scenes. Oops. It fit with the story. Selly was such a great person and I simply adored her. Her growing friendship with Leander was truly the very best thing. Sigh.

Of course, this book had a whole bunch of other characters too. But it did focus most on those two, and I loved that so much. They had another boy with them on this journey across the sea, Keegan. And he was so very different from both of them. I loved that. A little rude, he too, haha. But he was such a lovely and kind person. I loved to slowly get to know him and his history with Leander at school years ago. They did not have the best of a relationship back then. I loved how they both grew and slowly ending up friends.

Then there were the villains, I would call them. They are from a different town or place in this world. And were trying their very best to make a war, to wake up their sleeping god. There was Laskia, the younger sister of Ruby, whom was the biggest crime boss around. Both of them pretty horrible, honestly. Laskia was willing to do anything to get her sister to approve of her and make her an equal to her. And oh, how many people she killed in this book. Shudders. I did not like this girl. I am not ever going to either. Hmph.

And then there was Jude. Who works for Laskia, having to help her do all the dirty work. They are hunting down Leander to kill him. Jude went to school with him too, until he left their town a couple of years ago. Thinking that Leander did not care and did not help when he needed him most. Jude just want to keep his mother safe, who is sick. And so he does whatever Laskia tells him to. I'm not sure what I felt about him. I kind of liked him, I kind of did not. Ugh. He needs to redeem himself more, for me to actually like him, ha.

Oh. I guess I should mention a little more about the world now, ha. It is one big place, filled with different towns or islands or something. They needed to travel by boat to get to the other places to visit. It was a place of gods and worshiping them, though not all did that, as they had been gone for so long. It was a book with a little bit of magic over the four elements and that some people had control over one of those. Leander had all four. I loved how the magic was spirits that helped if you ask nicely and with an offering.

This book is about Leander being delayed in making a sacrifice to their goddess to help strengthen her. He is one year delayed, as he was busy living his life. Not actually a good idea, but I did understand him too. But because of this, war is on the horizon. Not getting into all that. But it was so interesting. Leander travels with Selly and her crew. But they are being hunted and it does not go well. So much happens. All fully exciting and thrilling to read about. I loved everything being at sea and all the sailing. Written so well.

I have already written way too much about this book. Oops. Hopefully my thoughts make some type of sense. I just really loved this book. And the plot was all kinds of exciting. There was not a single boring moment in this story. I did have a few small issues with the writing at times, but nothing big. I still loved this one so very much. I just need more of Selly and Leander. Hmph. And oh, how good that ending was. The next book will be the most exciting, I'm certain of it. What I loved most was all the great friendships.

The Isles of the Gods was such an incredible adventure story at sea. Full of amazing characters and full of heart. A bit of magic and gods. A bit of madness from some. Every kind of perfect. This book did not disappoint me. I just cannot wait for the sequel. Hmph. I must know how it all ends, haha. As I am a little bit too worried. Oops. As that ending was the rudest. Okay, mostly a good ending, but such a cliffhanger even so. I'm worried about everything, ha. I am certain everyone else will love this one too. So go read it.


Saturday, May 27, 2023

In My Mailbox #603

I finally started reading yesterday, whoo :D Haha. I'm proud of myself, lol. Been so slow to get myself to read. Finally managed it. And I have read a lot, and will finish the book tomorrow. Also loving it, so yay for that. This week have been pretty exhausting, as always. Doing better, health-wise. But still so exhausted. How rude. And I may have gotten way, way too much mail this week. Oh. Help. I really truly need to stop buying things. Sigh. I shall get better. Hopefully. This week I'm waiting on The Forest Grimm :D OH! And I saw The Little Mermaid at the cinema :D It was so very good. I loved it. I hope you are all doing well. <3

The Only Survivors. I'm so excited about this book. Had some bad luck with her latest; hope to love this :)
Team Chu and the Epic Hero Quest. Book two, oops :D Haha. I must read them both one day. So pretty.
Sinister Summer: Menacing Manor. Oh. Book four. And I haven't read book one yet. Oops. One day soon.
Fall of the School for Good and Evil. Got my UK and International paperback editions :D Looks stunning.
The Isles of the Gods. Got my international paperback. <3 It is so gorgeous. Reading my hb now. Love it.
The Ones We're Meant to Find. Sigh. This most gorgeous book. So in love with this new paperbk cover :)
A Crown of Ivy and Glass. Ohh! The international paperback was not delayed :D And it's perfect. Sigh. <3
Beth Revis Swag. Eee! More special swag from Beth. <3 And it is fully gorgeous. So love that bookmark.

Funko Europe. Oops. Had to get those Jurassic moments :D SO perfect. Free purse. Love it. And some other pop figures I just had to get, ha. Finally got the final mickey and friends mystery mini I needed :D
Poki-Heaven. Tried a new Norwegian site :) I'm happy with it. Finally have Scar and Espeon :D Love it.

Funko Europe. Ha. Yeah. This order was huge and expensive. Sobs. But so worth it too, eee :D I love the new The Witcher pop figures, eee. Still four to be released. At last got my Ursula chase soda, haha. Love Remy. Love Bambi. Sigh. And new halloween pop figures, finally :) Supposed to come last year. Hmph. Very much delayed. And.. more mystery minis. Sigh. All doubles. Goddamn it. Makes me sad, haha :)
Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. Oops. I could not stop myself from buying this collector edition. But gosh. I did not know it was going to be this huge. Oops. And heavy too. How rude. But it is stunning, love the art.

More Instagram photos here. <3

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Waiting on Wednesday #605

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


Goodreads Description:

A spellbinding YA fantasy from #1 New York Times bestselling author Kathryn Purdie, where fairy tales come to life with dark, deadly twists.

" Tell me again, Grandmère , the story of how I die. "

The Midnight Forest. The Fanged Creature. Two fortune-telling cards that spell an untimely death for 17-year-old Clara. Despite the ever-present warning from her fortune-teller grandmother, Clara embarks on a dangerous journey into the deadly Forest Grimm to procure a magical book― Sortes Fortunae , the Book of Fortunes―with the power to reverse the curse on her village and save her mother.

Years ago, when the villagers whispered their deepest desires to the book, its pages revealed how to obtain them. All was well until someone used the book for an evil purpose―to kill another person. Afterward, the branches of the Forest Grimm snatched the book away, the well water in Grimm’s Hollow turned rancid, and the crops died from disease. The villagers tried to make amends with the forest, but every time someone crossed its border, they never returned.

Now, left with no alternative, Clara and her close friend, Axel―who is fated never to be with her―have set their minds to defying fate and daring to accomplish what no one else has been able to before. But the forest―alive with dark, deadly twists on some of our most well-known fairy tales―has a mind of its own.

Format: 352 pages, Hardcover
Expected Publication: September 19, 2023 by Wednesday Books
Pre-Order: Blackwells and Amazon

I had to check out this book when I saw the cover, haha :) I think it looks great. It is a new to me author, but I am pretty excited about this book :D It sounds exciting and I'm hoping to end up loving it a whole lot.
What are you waiting for on this fated Wednesday?