A Dark New World (Wicked Saints – A Book Review)

Wicked Saints (Something Dark and Holy #1)
Author: Emily A. Duncan
Published: 2019

On Goodreads

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Goodreads

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

Rated X because you won’t trust a single one of these people with your life unless you want to doom the world or yourself.

 

A girl named Nadya, who hears the whispers of the gods inside her head.

A prince surrounded by desperate suitors and deadly assassins.

A monster hidden behind pale, tortured eyes—and a smile that cuts like a knife.

Nadya has grown up in the monastery for most of her life, revering the gods, and she is the only known cleric that is able to communicate with all of them and not just the one she is bound to. After the monastery is attacked, she runs into a band of unexpected allies that seek to end the brutal war between Kalyazin and Tranavia, a god-fearing land and a godless one. With the high prince on their trail, it may seem tricky. But, the high prince is also trying to escape the suitors and assassins around him. A prophecy of dark magic and heresy that has been long known is put in motion and two countries may be in worse danger than this war never-ending.

 

I guess the perfect place to start with any review is stating right off the bat if you enjoyed or disliked a book, or at least that typically how I like to get started. To be honest, I’m not sure which direction I lean. Complex. That’s it. There was a lot of hype (mostly my own) about this book and it was even on the NYT bestsellers list for a while. This is one I’m going to want to reread later on. While the cover is completely mystifying and is really what attracted me—following the mini-blurb on the jacket inside the book—I really find that this story, this journey really stands next to those like LOTR (J. R. R. Tolkien), Mortal Engines (Phillip Reeve), and The Magicians (Lev Grossman). There is so much attention to not only detail but emotions.

War, religion, faith, and love are the strongest themes I came across while reading. The characters were always questioning everything as well as themselves, except for Rashid and Parijahan of course. Those two knew to the very point of their hearts what they wanted without a single drop of doubt. I truly loved those characters. Great for relief in intense moments and were proof that—in this book anyhow—there are people you can trust at face value because they’re upfront with everything with nothing to hide. Can’t guarantee anybody else in this book. LOL. Not even the main characters: Nadya, Serefin, and Malachiasz.

What is happening

This story was pretty dark. It had me questioning every page. I certainly didn’t trust any of the characters. Serefin is obviously an alcoholic which really bothered the heck out of me. Nearly every time his POV came up he was waking up with a nasty hangover. Each of these characters really struggled, and I get that they live in war-torn countries, but damn, they are messed the eff up. It was making me go crazy.

The cult-y touch with the blood magic versus what the gods of this world provide was epic though. That had me impressed. That, and the histories offered at the beginning of each chapter. So much depth!

Scarlet Reader

Giphy

 

Overall

I truly wish I had more excitement. There’s so much to talk about, but I don’t have any enthusiasm in me about it, which is a bummer. I think it’s just because so much was loaded into it that I was having a bit of trouble keeping up and catching on. Duncan really delved into her creation of a world whole-heartedly and it’s amazing. This isn’t a dislike review. Those are much more different. This is definitely a recommend for those who love fantasy and magic. Certainly, worth a shot.

 

Quotables:

“The was magic, it was power, it was mankind stepping out of the shadows and finding out the world had been kept in the dark by these gods.” (p. 50)

“Blood was not to be spilled for the sake of power. Magic was a divine appointment from the gods.” (p. 113)

“A boy made king of monsters for a kingdom of the damned.” (p. 346)

 

More to come soon…                                                                                                

  -K.

 

P.S. Song today? When the Darkness Comes by Grace Fulmer.

 

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A Busy Demigod is a Stressed Demigod (The Mark of Athena – A Book Review)

The Mark of Athena (The Heroes of Olympus #3)
Author: Rick Riordan
Published: 2012

On Goodreads

Scarlet Reader

Goodreads

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

Rated S for stressful situations that teens should ultimately be reserved for college finals not battles against giants that may kill them.

 

Annabeth is terrified.

In the midst of a great battle to become and the life of a dear friend on the line, Annabeth is given a mission that all Athena children are given by the goddess of wisdom: find the mark of Athena. Meanwhile, the meeting with Camp Jupiter was a failure and after not seeing Percy for months—thanks to Hera—she hoped it would go better. But now, The Romans march on Camp Half-Blood after an attack on their camp was made. With so much pressure on top of the prophecy of seven, she also worries that Percy might have changed and grown attached to the Roman ways. Does he even need her anymore? Of course, that’s crazy, but with so much riding on their shoulders, will they even make it to their destination on the flying ship, the Argo II and complete their quest? Each demigod is feeling the pressure and they won’t make it without teamwork and faith in each other.

 

This addition to Riordan’s Heroes of Olympus series was jam-packed. So much was going on and emotions were high. Filled with both hope and doubt and so many overlapping emotions, this adventure was over the top and I loved it! From saving a dear friend to trying to stop the outbreak of war to keep an earth goddess from rising and taking over the world, these demigods have their hands full. But, I can definitely say that it isn’t a bad thing. It’s not overwhelming nor all over the place. Each chapter is something new in this quest and always exciting.

Thumbs Up

The seven of the prophecy that states the rise and fall of Gaea are finally together. I’ve been excited about this since book 1. Coming from different places with different points of view, of course, this new alliance is going to be shaky at first, but I could tell all of them were going to find their footing. Getting every high and low of that journey was beautiful and real. Just magnificent development all the way around. I couldn’t stop rooting for these heroes.

I’m still in love with how Riordan brings Greek and Roman mythology and the real world, from its landscape to pop culture, together. I’m continually impressed and in an utter state of awe. What a way to get people interested in mythos and storytelling. The roman coliseum comes to life like nothing else in this book! So lush and adventurous and fun.

A Habit…

I get this habit sometimes, and I know I’m not the only one. When reading a series that I can’t put down, get sucked into, emotionally invested in, all of those gooey bits that really grab me and don’t let go, I’m always hoping for a TV show. And it’s happened again. With so many great books that people love to turn into moving pictures, why not this one? Why are we stuck in the land of reboots right now when amazing authors bring forth such prospective pieces of work that would be utterly gorgeous on TV?

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Giphy

Actually, something I’ve been thinking about a lot as I’m getting sucked into the PJ universe more and more is, though the movies weren’t successful, (even though the graphics and representation of the mythos to real-world were epic,) why hasn’t a TV show been thought about? There is so much material that I can already envision at least 5-6 seasons. The PJ universe has three separate storylines and who knows if there’ll be more. So much happens and the development and growth are incredibly phenomenal. This would be an amazing show for The CW or Netflix.

 

Overall

This book, while it faces the same pacing as previous installments, feels like it moves faster. I felt like a sponge, absorbing everything and also being the one immersed, almost as if implanted into the story itself. I have to be dissuaded from this series. It’s truly ageless and I definitely recommend it.

 

Quotables:

“Many of the best traps are simple.” (Annabeth to Frank, p. 224)

 

More to come soon…                                                                                                

  -K.

 

P.S. Song today? Idle Worship by Paramore.

 

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The Seasonal Booklist

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Giphy

Hello, fellow book hoarders,

I don’t know about you, but where I am, we moved into autumn pretty fast and then into winter even faster. It’s snowed already. And yes, I’m one of those people that doesn’t enjoy snow or the cold. Just as much as there are people who are done with summer as soon as it begins there are also people out there who are done with winter before it even begins, even if the population of that group is just me. LOL.

The fast changes in the seasons here made me think of this booklist. Below are four books, each representing a season, from my opinion of course, and a bonus to represent change. Now, I do consider this a list, not a tag because I have a Thanksgiving feast tag planned this month, but if you want to use this as a tag go for it.

 

Spring:

Dumplin’
Author: Julie Murphy
Scarlet Reader

Goodreads

Goodreads       Barnes & Noble          Amazon

 

Summer:

The Summer I Turned Pretty
Author: Jenny Han

The Summer I Turned Pretty

Goodreads       Barnes & Noble          Amazon

 

Autumn:

Gone With the Wind
Author: Margaret Mitchell
Gone With the Wind

Goodreads

Goodreads       Barnes & Noble          Amazon

 

Winter:

Lovely, Dark and Deep
Author: Amy McNamara
Scarlet Reader

Goodreads

 

Goodreads       Barnes & Noble          Amazon

 

Bonus:

And here’s a book that brings I believe expresses and shows great change much like the seasons do or are, in their own right, life-changing.

We All Looked Up
Author: Tommy Wallach
We All Looked Up

Simon and Schuster

Goodreads       Barnes & Noble          Amazon

Which book has changed your life? I know, there are so many! It was hard for me to choose one. No choice is ever wrong. It can be whatever one has inspired in any way.

 

More to come soon…

  -K.

 

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Thoughts? A book recommendation? Let’s chat in the comments below!

Scarlet Playlist – Nov. 11, 2019

Scarlet Reader

Hey, booknerds!

Happy Monday! Or if it’s not then I hope this brightens your day! Here’s the playlist of the week. Dance to it, sing to it, create an interpretive dance to it (which if you do please record it and send me a link because I will watch the crap out of it). Whatever you want.

Here you go!

1. Sweetness – Jimmy Eat World

2. Carry On My Wayward Son – Kansas

3. Miracle – The Score

4. That’s What You Get – Paramore

5. Here Is Gone – The Goo Goo Dolls

6. It’s Time – Imagine Dragons

7. Are You Happy Now? – Michelle Branch

8. In My Blood – Shawn Mendez

9. A Place Called Home – Kim Richey

10. All I Ever Wanted – Kelly Clarkson

11. Counting Blue Cars – Dishwalla

12. Don’t Walk Away – Sick Puppies

 

More to come soon…

  -K.

P. S. Happy Veteran’s and thank you to all who have served honorably in the military as well as those who still do. Truly.

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A favorite song not on the list? Let’s chat in the comments below!

 

Forgive Me, Father, For I Have a Battle to Prepare For… (Wolves of Calla – A Book Review)

Wolves of Calla (The Dark Tower #5)
Author: Stephen King
Published: 2003

On Goodreads

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Barnes and Noble

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

Rated D for the overwhelming darkness that finds a way to swallow a Gunslinger whole AKA a demonic baby.

 

Ka had come to Calla Bryn Sturgis. Ka like a wind.

Roland of Gilead and his ka-tet come to the town of Calla Bryn Sturgis while on their journey to the tower. Not only do they meet a man who’s crossed over into Roland’s world years ago, but also discover the Thunderclap; a darkness that is killing the town. The wolves of Thunderclap come and take the town’s children only to return them later on as only shadows of themselves, their innocence and childhood stripped away. While it wasn’t their plan, Roland and his friends stay to help the town prepare to protect and fight as the wolves get ready to come again. However, they discover there is more than just the wolves that they have to worry about. A dark evil is growing within one of their own, Susannah Dean, and they must figure out how to help her before it’s too late.

 

The Dark Tower series is one of the series on my New Year’s resolution and this is book 5 of 7 (technically 8, but I’m not including The Wind Through the Keyhole, though I will be reading it.)

 

Loaded with every nail-biting detail of a great fight, King truly delivers in each book of this series. I was blown away. I’ve yet to be disappointed. Roland comes to another stop in his journey toward the Tower. In a small, dusty town, children are taken every couple of decades. Honestly, it reminds me of a familiar horrifying clown. *shudder* I do NOT do clowns, guys. But, it seems the situation is close, except that when the kids are returned they are mere shells. While Roland would’ve kept going on his way a pull draws him in and he and his crew: Jake, Oy the billy-bumbler, Eddie and Susannah do what they can to help this town in despair.

Throughout the entire book, with vivid imagery, energy, and powerful emotion, was a journey that you got to experience the beginning, middle, and end. There were no shortcuts to be had. A complete journey within a journey. An inception if there ever was one. Of course, there have been a few of those during this series. LOL.

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Giphy

One of the most interesting parts of the whole series is the way Roland contemplates if this part of his journey brings him closer to the Tower or pushes him farther away from it. His mental state is dark and depressed. In each book so far, he’s been sure that he’s only getting farther away. Yet, as he and his ka-tet journey it’s unclear where they are in regards to it. It seems like they could follow the beam that leads them to it and never reach the place. It’s just the way this universe is built. It’s endless and many different worlds could be traveled and the Tower would never be reached. Then again, getting to the Tower can be achieved much like solving a puzzle. Find the right pieces. Put them in the right places in the right order, and poof, you’re there. So complex and fantastically brain-blasting.

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Giphy

As always, his world-building is stunning and dusty. I keep envisioning a dystopian wild west where the world had come and long gone. LOL. Like an apocalypse has swept through and been long over, leaving just this in its wake. And the characters of this small town gave way to that very enclosed, no outsiders allowed feel. They couldn’t help but reach out to Roland, giving Gunslingers and even stronger meaning of legendary. The addition of Father Callahan was very interesting. I must be honest, I haven’t read Salem’s Lot but it’s definitely been pushed up my list. I get super excited when crossovers happen and this was no different. Such a great addition and created a balance among the group.

 

Overall

The intensity around this battle and the darkness growing within Susannah really created a sense of anxiety. The kind you get when something dreadful grows closer and closer. Yet, the bonds created between Roland and crew between the townspeople and the emotions derived from the relationships really dug into me deep in this addition to the Dark Tower series. This brought back to the tragedy and loss of Wizard and Glass, but rather in a past sense, this was the present for the crew. The emotions felt heavier as the circumstances felt higher. So much left me hanging at the end and I can’t imagine what’s coming next. Then again, it’s been like that since book one. King is a master at storytelling, being of great complex thought that can spin you in a circle, and leaving you hanging in a dark chasm of wonder and curiosity about what may come next. And per usual, I’m left wanting to talk theories, possibilities, and the magic of this world.

 

Quotables:

“There’s a saying in Gilead: Let evil wait for the day on which it must fall.” (Roland to Eddie, p. 210)

“If we can help, we’ll help. But we won’t do it alone, folks. Hear me, I beg. Hear rem very well. You better be ready to stand up for what you want. You better be ready to fight for the things you’d keep.” (Eddie, p. 283)

“Wandering’s the most addictive drug there is, I think, and every hidden road leads on to a dozen more.” (Roland, p. 402)

“May your first day in hell last ten thousand years.” (Roland, p. 425)

“My quest—the quest of my ka-tet—is the Dark Tower, Pere. It’s not saving this world we’re about, or even the universe but all universes. All of existence.” (Roland to Callahan, p. 625)

 

More to come soon…                                                                                                

  -K.

 

P.S. Song today? Sky is Falling by Lifehouse.

 

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Thoughts? Let’s chat in the comments below!

Midnight Tease

Midnight Tease - Giphy

Hey there, book nerds!

It’s the witching hour and if you’re up, like me, then you’re a night owl too! Since you’re up, I give you the Midnight Tease. Every month I like to showcase what I’ll be reading and reviewing during its duration. There’s a little bit of everything, but my main focus this month is to get some heavy-duty work done on my New Year’s Resolution. I know with working so much and other personal projects on top of major changes that I won’t be able to complete it, but I want to get as close as possible. I mostly take up a New Year’s Resolution to challenge myself and get into some new reads. Soon enough it’ll be time for the 2020 New Year’s Resolution.

Back on the point! Let’s see what’s going on in the land of books this month, eh? (Don’t worry, I promise to make it quick. LOL.) Maybe you’ve read a couple of these or they’re on your TBR too.

 

Coming Soon…

Ghost_atniquity - LiveJournal

 

Stargazing at Noon
Author: Amanda Torroni
Scarlet Reader

Amazon

 

Zom-B: Baby & Zom-B: Gladiator
Author: Darren Shan
The Blood of Olympus
Author: Rick Riordan

Blood of Olympus - Goodreads

 

The Song of Susannah
Author: Stephen King
Scarlet Reader

Goodreads

 

Currently…

HQ

 

Wicked Saints
Author: Emily A. Duncan
Scarlet Reader

Goodreads

 

The House of Hades
Author: Rick Riordan

House of Hades - Goodreads

 

Abandon
Author: Meg Cabot
Scarlet Reader

Amazon

 

Up For Review…

Up for Review

 

The Wolves of Calla
Author: Stephen King

Wolves of Calla - Barnes and Noble

 

The Mark of Athena
Author: Rick Riordan
Scarlet Reader

Goodreads

 

Lots to read, just the way I like it. A little bit of supernatural, some poetry, and all of them I’ve excited to get to. What books are you tackling this month? I love recommendations!

More to come soon…

  -K.

 

Find Me:

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Thoughts? Let’s chat in the comments below!

 

 

There’s Not Dead and Then There’s Not-Dead (The Past and Other Things That Should Stay Buried)

The Past and Other Things That Should Stay Buried
Author: Shaun David Hutchinson
Published: 2019

On Goodreads

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Goodreads

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

Rated N for not-dead people not dying because of unsettled teen drama.

 

A good friend will bury your body, a best friend will dig you back up.

Dino is used to spending time around dead bodies. His family runs a funeral home, so death is the family business. In all the time he’s helped out though, he’s never had a dead body talk back to him, until now.

Dino’s ex-best friend July died suddenly, but when she awakens screaming, there’s a lot of confusion. She’s not really alive, but not really either. Even stranger, nobody else is dying either. It seems like death has come to a standstill. While Dino and July work together to figure out why this happened, they also confront why their friendship ended in the ugly way it did. As they do, they discover a lot more than they expected, changing what they knew and understood about each other.

 

This book was phenomenal. Spectacularly written. If ever you wondered or wished to get that closure and moment to say goodbye before losing someone then here you go. Just the right amount of wit, humor, honesty, and selfishness. This wasn’t just a paranormal YA with zombies. There were no zombies actually. In fact, it was just a lot of not-dead. The POVS alternated between Dino and July. They’re both so different, but I was hooked on them. I related to Dino the most because I’m not very good at being courageous. For others, yes. For myself, no. Their dynamic is off the wall and I can see how they were best friends, yet it surprises me because of how different they are. My bookworm senses went wild with this story. I laughed, I swooned, I was shocked, and I got my dose of the paranormal.

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giphy

The not-dead gave way to some real themes and subjects today. Personally, since I don’t know what to call something like this I’m going with para-realism because it was just that. While Dino struggled to be confident, something I think a lot of people can’t relate to, there was also his struggle to try and figure out who he is. That is so difficult, and the fact that he was feeling that kind of pressure at sixteen…wow. It’s also a reminder that no one’s perfect and no one has it figured out and THAT’S OKAY.

The Scarlet Reader

Tenor

The LGBTQ of this made my stomach swim. Dino and Rafi literally ooze adorableness with the way they care so much for each other. I couldn’t get enough of this couple. This relationship not only showed those cutesy aspects but the other angles as well: the worry, and insecurity. The way they actually talked through their issues and recognized their worth and worried over whether or not they were good enough. That’s it, guys, This. Right here. Major fucking goals!

Thanks for the Trouble

My Art Forest

Overall

A heck of a good time filled with real-talk, unexpected advice that is hella useful and wisdom that seriously blew my mind. Love and Death may be the primary subjects here, but there is so much else in-between all of that. This story resonated with me deeply and I seriously recommend it. However, if you’re looking for some crazy Paranormal with the end of the world vibes, this isn’t for you. This is a book of friendship, trying to handle life, and being not-dead. Some say this is bizarre, but I think this is just what we need.

 

Quotables:

“That’s the family you were born into. We’re the family you chose.” (Rafi to Dino, p. 4)

“Love’s only gross when you’re not in it.” (Delilah to Dino, p. 13)

“We don’t get to control how people feel. The only thing we get to control is how we feel…” (Rafi, p. 127)

“Friendship with someone you love isn’t a consolation prize.” (Rafi, p. 127)

“Funerals are our last opportunity to show the world how much we cared about the person who died.” (Dino, p. 159)

“Humor can shine a light on truths that make us uncomfortable, and we all know how painful facing the truth is, but that humor doesn’t have to come from another person or group’s pain.” (Dino to July, p. 205)

“Some people deal with breakups by watching sappy movies and crying it out; I deal by watching crappy horror movies and rooting for the killers.” (Rafi to Dino, p. 234)

“Don’t ever apologize for being happy, Dino. Not to me. Not to anyone.” (July to Dino, p. 241)

“Love isn’t obvious until you’re in it. It’s not a punch in the face that leaves you reeling, Love is gradual and sneaky. It grows like weeds between the cracks of a hundred average moments.” (July, p. 243)

 

 

More to come soon…                                                                                                

  -K.

 

P.S. Song today? Ironic by Alanis Morissette.

 

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Thoughts? Let’s chat in the comments below!