These Hollow Vows: Review

Let me start this review by saying that yes, I am a garbage human being and love triangle whore. I love them more than enemies to lovers, the “stuck in a room with only bed,” bit and also forced marriages. I will hold up a sign stating as such on a white posterboard next to the guy with the poster saying, “STOP SAYING PIN NUMBER. IT’S REDUNDANT.”

When I first heard about this book, I raced to my emails, gathered my stats, and promptly sent a message to the publisher. My grabby hands were shaking, trembling with anticpation. I could not wait for my NetGalley request to go through. I needed the book NOW otherwise I’d proably die. Lucky for me, I got a reply almost right away with the READ NOW widget and I nearly collapsed. It’s a good thing my office has carpeting.

So, we have a both with comp titles such as CRUEL PRINCE and ACOTAR and be still my YA heart, those are comp titles you want to sell a book. I will buy anything when I read those two titles in a synopsis. That being said, after I recovered from getting my immediate READ NOW widget, I dropped (literally dropped) my current read (Crave, I will come back to you before the month ends!), gathered my hot cheetos and dove right in.

We open the story with Brie, who is a thief trying to keep her small family afloat. When her debts become too large, her little sis is sold to the fae. Pushing aside her hatred of the fae, Brie gets herself in the faerie court where she discovers: a secret about a long-time friend (and herself), that she suddenly has magic, and that the fae are manipulative creatures, as well as a little bit hot and charming.

Did I say hot and charming? fans self

Yea, so Brie finds herself torn between two princes, each with their own agendas. Who can she trust?

You know a story is good when it overrides your prescription sleeping medication. I was up far too late reading this book. But its one of my preferred ways of falling asleep; right in the arms of my fae lovers.

What we have here is a glowing newcomer into the YA world, rivaling Maas and Black themselves. I seriously cannot get over how fantastic this book was. I mean, I kinda knew, but I still wasn’t prepared. I want more!

Ok enough ramblings.

THE WORLD-BUILDING: Amazing. I loved the courts and the human world. I got a clear sense of how drastically different they were. The world of the fae is wicked and scary, and Ryan’s writing made them leap off the page. The complex, political intrigue and the magic surrounding almost everything was beautiful and deadly.

There’s a 100% chance I’m going to buy every special edition of this book. JS

THE STORY:

There are plenty of twists and turns that keep you guessing.
There’s also princes with pretty eyes and tattoos.

I love princes with pretty eyes and tattoos.

FAMILY TIES:
I loved the emphasis on family. Brie will do anything to get her sister back and I mean ANYTHING. And although her focus may wane at times, she always goes back to her and what she needs to do to get her family back together, safe and sound.

THE ROMANCE:
I feel lots of warm things for Finn.
I mean, come on. He’s broody, and frowns a lot and I love that in a man. I care so much about him. I didn’t want to because my book boyfriend cart is full. I may just have to throw out Kaz. He wasn’t the real interest, if you catch my drift, but I have a feeling he’s going to come in strong in book two. That one scene though where she was…and he was…and he had to….OMG

THE PROTAG:
Brie is determined, fearful but courageous. She’s everything I love in a heroine. She may be a human in a fae court, but she holds her own.

Ok, let’s talk about the ending. HOLY COW COW.
I’ve read this book way too early and now I’m going to have to wait for book two even longer. It’s not fair. Life isn’t fair.

Final thoughts:
READ THIS BOOK
if you like fae books and need a change from the usual, this is the one for you. If you like sexy princes, and dark magic and scheming heroines, this is also for you.

Blade of Secrets: Review

Thanks so much to Edelweiss and the publisher for the early copy. You’d think I’d be happy about this, but now I have to wait a million years for book two, and I not okay about this, especially with an ending like that!!

I would like to be like other reviewers and exclaim, “I was so surprised by this book!” or “I was not expecting to like it,” but I’m not those people because Tricia Levenseller is an auto-buy author for me, and I knew from the moment she posted the cover reveal on Instagram that I was going to absolutely fall in love with it. In short, I was not surprised that BLADE OF SECRETS blew my gourd. But all of that is a given. What we have here, folks is something completely different.

We have a social anxiety rep in YA fantasy.

I knooooow the release is so far off and I shouldn’t post quotes from the book just yet, but I have to do just ONE I need to get out there:

“I’ve always been a poor sleeper. it often takes me hours to find oblivion, my mind unable to stop thinking about all the things that are troubling me.”

Ziva has anxiety. She forges magical weapons and likes to keep to herself. She obsessed over the simplest things; her mind often going into overdrive. She needs time to recharge, to be alone. She has trouble sleeping, and can’t look people in the eyes when talking. She hates when people stare at her; it makes her feel like she’s on display and that she needs to hide to get away from it.

Ziva is me.

I cannot tell you how refreshing it is to have an anxiety rep. Ziva is a heroine all young girls can cheer for. She envies her sister’s easy, outgoing attitude and often wonders why she can’t be that way too. But she doesn’t need to be, because we’re all built differently. After she forges a powerful sword for a warlord, she realizes the blade takes secrets from it’s bearer. She learns of the warlord’s intentions and, with her sister, a scholar, and a hired mercenary, she leaves her home to outrun the warlord and keep the blade from enemy hands.

This book had plenty of raw moments. Ziva is not the best fighter, in fact, she seems reluctant to even brandish a weapon. Her anxiety keeps her in a bubble, but knowing the magical sword could hurt others, she comes out of her comfort zone, and that is something to applaud. People with anxiety don’t often like change. We’ll drive the same road to somewhere, even if it’s longer, just because it’s something familiar. We like our quiet, and we hate confrontations. For Ziva to do what she did took great bravery on her part.

The world is safe in terms of fantasy books. There’s magic, but only for a choice few. The cities and towns and landscapes all feel familiar.

I loved the whole ragtag band of runaways, although I do hope to see more of Temra in the second installement.

The romace was slow burn-ish and sweet. Kellyn is arrogant, but he’s also sweet and cares more than he lets on.

The story moves at breakneck speed. At no point was I ever grazing over paragraphs.

Reading this book felt like stepping into a world where people are just like you and me and must fight for what’s just and right. But there’s also the safety of love and family. I believe Ziva is a great role model for young adults who are wondering why they’re not like everyone else, and hopefully realize that they are heroes regardless of their mental illness, disability, etc. I am beyond excited for Tricia and for readers to get their hands on this book. It’s a special one, and I hope you all love it.

Lon Chaney Speaks: Review

Lon Chaney once said,  “My whole career has been devoted to keeping people from knowing me.” On account of that, many people did not know the man behind the thousand faces. In the silent film era, Hollywood entrusted the screen to charming, handsome men to dominate theaters. Chaney, a big star in his own right, took a different direction from heartthrob Hollywood. He gravitated toward roles that portrayed him as something other than normal. Much like Johnny Depp of my generation, he sought out to change his appearance in roles that ranged from pirates to gangstas to vampires. He was dubbed, “The Man of a Thousand Faces.”

Much of his success could be because of his upbringing. As a child of deaf parents, he learned sign language and facial expressions to communicate. This graphic novel briefly touches upon his upbringing and how even his first wife cringed when she discovered his parents were deaf-thinking their unborn child could inherit it and that it equaled to being dumb. A weakness. He went on to prove that wrong.

I also learned about the pain he went through for his roles. In his move THE PENALTY, he played a man with amputated legs. He had to basically bend his legs back and stuff his knees into buckets during filming. In THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME, he wore a 70-pound pack on his back. It was amazing to read how much he loved his work and what he was willing to sacrifice for it.

LON CHANEY SPEAKS also touches upon Lon’s aversion to fame, and how he hated interviews and publicity. He would much rather stay behind the scenes or behind his masks. I could relate to that. He was such a private man that nobody knew his life, his history, or even how many movies he’d actually starred in. I loved getting to know the man behind the mask. I remember watching HUNCHBACK in high school, and although I did not know his name, I knew the actor who played Quasimodo was pure genius. If he hadn’t died of lung cancer, how far would his career have gone? He was just getting started, and with Hollywood jumping into a new era, I’m sure he would have thrived.

What I loved about this novel were the scenes that cut into the story that portrayed Lon acting in his movies. it was a superb way to honor his career. Pat Dorian does an excellent job of sprinkling on both sides of his lives, his heartache, and also his joy. It was a pleasure to be able to read and review this book and I look forward to whatever Pat does in the future.

Thank you, Pantheon, for entrusting my review on this wonderful book.

The Seeking: Review

Have any of you ever read a truly amazing book and when you go to close it, release that satisfied woosh of air-a sigh of contenement- and immediately begin to think about what you read? Well, that doesn’t happen to me very often because I’m a book goblin. I love all books, but then there are those I want to squish against my chest and beg for them to become part of me. SINK INTO MY SKIN. BE ONE WITH THE CELIA.

With her take on an alien invasion scenario, Frank propels readers into a world where The Gray People are the protectors from giant monsters in the forest that surrounds the town of Carra. Every year, the Exalted, or leaders of the town, have their children participate in a sort of Purge scenario where they must hide from the town for an entire day. If they are caught, they lose their standing and the winners become the town’s Exalted and The Gray People renew their vow to protect the town.

Our heroine, Dahlia, is a strong-minded daughter of Carra’s Exalted. She’s got the brains and the brawn and the fierceness to protect those she loves, not unlike famous book protagonists like Katness and Tris. When something goes wrong, she must protect her younger brother and girlfriend before they fall victim to the monsters surrounding their town. I loved her honesty and her willingness to become a leader when all falls apart around her. Despite her grief, she looks at what can be done, to ensure a future for her family and friends. But she is not without flaws. Her anger does get the best of her, and her sadness sometimes gets in the way of her decision making. She is a realistic portrayal of someone faced with hard choices and the determination to set things right.

I wanted to touch upon one character that really interested me and that was Broskow. At first, I saw him as the book’s villain, but he redeemed himself in ways I did not expect. Not unlike Dahlia, he does have his flaws, and his character is very human, led by fear and grief. But never have I read such a superb character arc like the character of the butcher, Broskow.

This is a horror book and there are scenes of violence that had me with a gaping mouth catching flies. So, there’s your trigger warning. But, boy, did I love it. I’m such a sucker for movies like Battle Royale, The Purge, or anything that has people running for their lives. Oh, and Marlena was all like, yeah, let’s do that but also let’s add aliens and monstrous insects. A COCKTAIL OF AWESOMENESS, let me tell you, folks.

This book releases October 27th and if you liked the premise and/or my review, do me a favor and preorder it. It helps authors a ton when you preorder and it makes them happy 😀

Marlena Frank delivers a dystopian science fiction masterpiece, not to be missed under any circumstances.

Bravo, Marlena, for another fantastic book.

The Invisible Life of Addie Larue: Review

I’ve been given the task of reviewing this book and I hate it. I hate it not because the book was a doozy. No. I hate it because I am at a loss for words and the words I do come up with will hold no candle to the perfection of this book.

Alas, Edelweiss, and Tor Books gifted me an advance copy and I owe them BIGLY.

Deep breath.

Exhale.

Here we go.

I’ve been following V.E Schwab on social media and I remember her talking about this book. I recall her in the process of writing and editing and I almost felt like I was there with her, drafting and completing THE INVISIBLE LIFE OF ADDIE LARUE. She’d been working on this book for so long and she’s poured her heart and soul into it. This very well may be her best book to date. Maybe ever.

But who am I kidding? V.E will never peak. She just keeps climbing higher and higher. She is author goals.

The thing that drew me in first was the story. It’s unlike anything I’d ever read. Addie makes a deal with a demon to get out of marrying, but the deal comes with loopholes that she hadn’t considered in her haste. Now fated to become immortal, she also lives a life where people forget her the second she’s out of their field of vision. It’s a lonely life. I difficult life. One that Addie feels duped into, but despite her turmoil, refuses to yield to the demon and instead, continues her life of invisibility. That is, until she meets someone who remembers.

WHO REMEMBERS.

OMG.

This such a heart-wrenching book. I saw myself standing in the rain without an umbrella, staring longingly at poor Addie and the choices she’s had to make, ignoring my soaked hair, wishing nothing but happiness for her.

But we all know life isn’t so simple and happiness, although attainable, sometimes does not last.

I cannot recommend this book enough and I cannot wait for my book box to come to hold this book in my hands.