Posted in Reviews

Sydney Reads and Reviews: Days of Blood and Starlight

12812550Title: Days of Blood and Starlight

Series: Daughter of Smoke & Bone #2

Publication Date: November 6th, 2012

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Author: Laini Taylor

Rating: 4/5 Stars

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Summary: Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a world free of bloodshed and war.

This is not that world.

Art student and monster’s apprentice Karou finally has the answers she has always sought. She knows who she is—and what she is. But with this knowledge comes another truth she would give anything to undo: She loved the enemy and he betrayed her, and a world suffered for it.

In this stunning sequel to the highly acclaimed Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Karou must decide how far she’ll go to avenge her people. Filled with heartbreak and beauty, secrets and impossible choices, Days of Blood & Starlight finds Karou and Akiva on opposing sides as an age-old war stirs back to life.

While Karou and her allies build a monstrous army in a land of dust and starlight, Akiva wages a different sort of battle: a battle for redemption. For hope.

But can any hope be salvaged from the ashes of their broken dream?

My Thoughts:
Ship: 
Mik & Zuzanna
Fave Cinnamon Rolls: Karou, Liraz, Ziri
Needed BROTP: Karou & Ziri
Fave Quote: “I am one of billions. I am stardust gathered fleetingly into form. I will be ungathered. The stardust will go on to be other things someday and I will be free.”

Actual Review: *cracks knuckles* OKay let’s do this.

The sequel to Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke & Bone was just as beautiful if not more beautiful than the first. Days of Blood and Starlight are filled with exactly that, lots of blood and lots of words as if they were pulled from the stars themselves.

The story finds Akiva & Karou a few months after the end of DOSAB and things have changed quite drastically. With the loss of Brimstone, the Seraphim were able to basically crush the Chimera and essentially , in their eyes, win the war. But Karou has something to say about that.

I absolutely love where this story is taking us because it gives us so much more depth to Karou and the war and the two species that Taylor has brought forward to us. We get so many awesome side characters and really get to delve deep into side characters we met in book 1 but now really learn to love in book 2.

The descriptions are just out of this world, i want to tab and highlight whole pages practically. The plot is to die for with all sorts of twists and turns you’d think it was a maze. So many twists that practically make you go WTF?! But i loved every minute of it.

If you liked DOSAB in any way shape or form, definitely continue on to the rest of the series.

Posted in 2017 Releases, Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday

30312891Title: Lord of Shadows

Series:  The Dark Artifices #2

Author: Cassandra Clare

Publication Date: May 23rd, 2017

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

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Summary: Emma Carstairs has finally avenged her parents. She thought she’d be at peace. But she is anything but calm. Torn between her desire for her parabatai Julian and her desire to protect him from the brutal consequences of parabatai relationships, she has begun dating his brother, Mark. But Mark has spent the past five years trapped in Faerie; can he ever truly be a Shadowhunter again?

And the faerie courts are not silent. The Unseelie King is tired of the Cold Peace, and will no longer concede to the Shadowhunters’ demands. Caught between the demands of faerie and the laws of the Clave, Emma, Julian, and Mark must find a way to come together to defend everything they hold dear—before it’s too late.

Why I’m Desperately Waiting: As this is the second of the latest series of Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunters novels, it is expected to be great. We have met this amazing host of characters in LM and now we get to delve into them even more! While book 1 had it’s drawbacks, i have faith that book 2 and the rest of the series can pick up from where book 1 ended. And please god let Jem and Tessa show up again.

Posted in 2016 Releases, Reviews

Sydney Reads and Reviews: Sleeping Giants

25733990Title: Sleeping Giants

Series: Themis Files #1

Publication Date: April 6th, 2016

Publisher: Del Rey

Author: Sylvain Neuvel

Rating: 4/5 Stars

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Summary: A girl named Rose is riding her new bike near her home in Deadwood, South Dakota, when she falls through the earth. She wakes up at the bottom of a square hole, its walls glowing with intricate carvings. But the firemen who come to save her peer down upon something even stranger: a little girl in the palm of a giant metal hand.

Seventeen years later, the mystery of the bizarre artifact remains unsolved—its origins, architects, and purpose unknown. Its carbon dating defies belief; military reports are redacted; theories are floated, then rejected.

But some can never stop searching for answers.

Rose Franklin is now a highly trained physicist leading a top secret team to crack the hand’s code. And along with her colleagues, she is being interviewed by a nameless interrogator whose power and purview are as enigmatic as the provenance of the relic. What’s clear is that Rose and her compatriots are on the edge of unraveling history’s most perplexing discovery—and figuring out what it portends for humanity. But once the pieces of the puzzle are in place, will the result prove to be an instrument of lasting peace or a weapon of mass destruction?

An inventive debut in the tradition of World War Z and The Martian, told in interviews, journal entries, transcripts, and news articles, Sleeping Giants is a thriller fueled by a quest for truth—and a fight for control of earthshaking power.

My Thoughts:
Ship: 
None
Fave Cinnamon Rolls: Rose, Kara
Needed BROTP: Rose & Kara

Actual Review: Well this book is just one twist after another and it all starts in the first chapter/prologue when Rose falls down a hole and lands in a giant metal hand.

Fast-forward a bunch of years and Rose is now a Physicist with a PhD and is about to start heading a project that involves the giant hand and potential other body pieces that could appear all over the world. Soon Rose is joined by Military Pilots, a French-Canadian Linguist and a Geneticist as they all push forward to figure out just what exactly it is they found and what it means for their world. Of course the first conclusion is

And of course the US Government wants to keep it all hush hush, so the team is off in no man’s land in a bunker with this random body part robot pieces and each other. And this is just the first 20% of it. The book goes in so many different directions that you just don’t see coming but aren’t like punch in gut twists but more of a brain-bending twist that really is a head scratcher. I think it really adds to the story.

Reasons i really liked this book:

1) SCIENCE. Like so much science. There’s weird alien math and big metal things and just SO MUCH FOR SCIENCE NERDS LIKE I AM VERY HAPPY NERD OKAY!
2) Mythology. They bring in mythology into this in a very cool and unique way that’s just AWESOME. I won’t say more because it is spoilerish.
3) Quotes. This book is amazingly descriptive and has some great quotes that really just add to the book.
4) Format. The format is slightly reminiscent of Illuminae except on a toned down scales. It’s lots of interview logs all taken but an anonymous , potentially unreliable, narrator. This does help the story to read quickly plus it’s a fresh way to structure a story.

I am pleasantly intrigued for the rest of the series and grateful that Instagram caused me to pick this up. But it is the case of buying without seeing the cover BECAUSE BUY THE HARDBACK BECAUSE IT HAS A GORGEOUS NAKED COVER I DIN’T KNOW ABOUT.

Posted in Reviews

Sydney Reads and Reviews: St. John Paul the Great: His Five Loves

21793112Title: Saint John Paul the Great: His Five Loves

Publication Date: 2014

Publisher: Totus Tuus Press

Author: Jason Evert

Rating: 5/5 Stars

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Summary: A brand new biography, featuring never-before published stories.

A French novelist once wrote, “Tell me what you love, and I will tell you who you are.” Although there are countless ways to study Saint John Paul the Great, the most direct route is by entering the man’s heart.

Discover the five greatest loves of Saint John Paul II, through remarkable unpublished stories about him from bishops, priests who organized his papal pilgrimages, his students in Poland, Swiss Guards, and others. Mining through a mountain of papal resources, Jason Evert has uncovered the gems and now presents the Church a treasure chest brimming with the jewels of the saint’s life. Rekindle your own faith by learning what (and who) captivated the heart of this great saint.

Actual Review: Where to even begin? It’s not a story, but yet it reads somewhat like a story. A story about one of the greatest Popes & Saints of our time. Pope Saint John Paul The Great (JP2). JP2 was so beloved and so holy during his life that just weeks after his death, the masses were already calling for his canonization to sainthood. Now typically, for those of you who don’t know, the canonization process normally does not begin until at least 5 years after the person in question has passed on. But his successor, Pope Benedict XVI, decided to waive this waiting period and the process had begun.

This book, His Five Loves, shows exactly why this 5 year waiting period was waived. This memoir/biography about JP2 is split in to two main sections while just being divided into chapters. The first section is a biography of sorts about his life growing up, his priesthood all the way leading up to his election as Pope after JP1 passed away (and predicted that the next one would be JP2, like this guy told the cardinals they would choose again very soon).

Karol Józef Wojtyła was born in Poland in 1920. Which means he was raised during World War 2 and to read about all the trials and tribulations it is clear that this man was blessed from the beginning. To read about his priesthood and just how much he gives to his parish is awe inspiring.And to read about his wit is an absolute delight. For many of us, JP2 died when we were too young to truly understand who this great man was. And this book makes me truly wish he had lived so much longer and that i could have encountered and truly felt his blessings on my life. He is the Pope that did so much for the world and for the Catholic faith.

The second part of the book is about his 5 great loves of his papacy. Each chapter dives deep into his experiences surounding each of these 5 loves during his papacy while still cataloging his timeline and his life in general. These 5 loves give so much insight and inspiration through this great man and makes it extremely clear just how much of a living saint this man was.

He truly is Pope Saint John Paul the Great.

Posted in 2017 Releases, Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday

Title: Flame in the Mist

Series:  Flame in the Mist #1

Author: Renee Ahdieh

Publication Date: May 16th, 2017

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

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Summary: The daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has long known her place—she may be an accomplished alchemist, whose cunning rivals that of her brother Kenshin, but because she is not a boy, her future has always been out of her hands. At just seventeen years old, Mariko is promised to Minamoto Raiden, the son of the emperor’s favorite consort—a political marriage that will elevate her family’s standing. But en route to the imperial city of Inako, Mariko narrowly escapes a bloody ambush by a dangerous gang of bandits known as the Black Clan, who she learns has been hired to kill her before she reaches the palace.

Dressed as a peasant boy, Mariko sets out to infiltrate the ranks of the Black Clan, determined to track down the person responsible for the target on her back. But she’s quickly captured and taken to the Black Clan’s secret hideout, where she meets their leader, the rebel ronin Takeda Ranmaru, and his second-in-command, his best friend Okami. Still believing her to be a boy, Ranmaru and Okami eventually warm to Mariko, impressed by her intellect and ingenuity. As Mariko gets closer to the Black Clan, she uncovers a dark history of secrets, of betrayal and murder, which will force her to question everything she’s ever known.

Why I’m Desperately Waiting:  I mean come on. Like you aren’t looking forward to it too. A Mulan Retelling from the author who brought us The Wrath & The Dawn, an amazing retelling of 1001 nights. You KNOW this book is going to be just as awesome. I mean look at that cover, it screams mythology AND NINJAS! NINJAS GUYS! Plus it’s not a standalone which means MORE BOOKS ABOUT NINJAS. So yes, i am very very excited about this book. Sign me up!

Posted in 2016 Releases, Reviews

Sydney Reads and Reviews: Immortal Writers

30423330Title: Immortal Writers

Publication Date: November 5th, 2016

Publisher: Blue Moon Publishers

Author: Jill Bowers

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

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Summary: Young up-and-coming author Liz McKinnen has no idea that her life is about to change forever when she comes home from her first book tour. When she’s kidnapped and told by her captors that she has to kill her fantasy book’s antagonist, she thinks that she’s fallen into the hands of crazy, dangerous fans… until her antagonist sends a real, fire-breathing dragon after her. Liz is quickly initiated into the Immortal Writers, a group of authors from throughout time whose words have given them eternal life, and whose prose is so powerful that it’s brought stories over from the Imagination Field into the Reality Field. As Liz meets authors such as William Shakespeare, JRR Tolkien, Edgar Allan Poe, and Jane Austen, she has to learn how to control magic, fight dragons, and face her own troubled past before her power-hungry villain takes over the world. Will she survive the ultimate battle against the dragon lord whom she created?

My Thoughts:
Ship: 
 Liz x Curtis
Fave Cinnamon Rolls: Healer
Needed BROTP: Liz & Healer

Actual Review: 3.5 Stars at best.

You ever read a book and want to know more about other characters than the main character? That’s this book for me. The premise of Immortal Writers is that if an author creates a story that is so great and awe-inspiring and will probably go down for along time, the story somehow truly comes to life and the author is then immortal(literally).

The story focuses on Liz McKinnen, who is probably in her mid 20’s and is a fantasy writer( like created types of dragons fantasy). She is just home from a book tour when suddenly she is abducted by some men and is thrown into this new world where Shakespeare is still alive and has read her books, and some of her characters have come to life. Part of Immortal Writer’s induction is defeating the villain of their story that has come to life. Which Liz must now prepare to do.

While the romance is cliche and kinda dumb, it’s very obvious that it’s giong to happen. I just didn’t find myself truly connecting with Liz and her characters. Maybe it’s because my life and upbringing is so vastly different from Liz but i just kind felt like story wasn’t as great as it could have been.

Personally i’d rather read about these other authors that i already know about. Give me Tolkein’s story about defeating Smaug, let me read what Jane Austen had to do. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD LET ME KNOW IF ROWLING IS PART OF THIS GROUP!!!

While i thought the different dragons were cool, and the fact that Shakespeare & Tolkein want in on the action, the story itself just left me with a feeling of meh at the end.

The ebook has a sneak peek at a sequel(spinoff?) but I will probably not be picking it up.

Posted in 2017 Releases, Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday

Title: The Edge of the Abyss

Series:  Abyss Surrounds Us #2

Author: Emily Skrutskie

Publication Date: April 18th, 2017

Publisher: Flux

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Summary: Three weeks have passed since Cassandra Leung pledged her allegiance to the ruthless pirate-queen Santa Elena and set free Bao, the sea monster Reckoner she’d been forced to train. The days as a pirate trainee are long and grueling, but it’s not the physical pain that Cas dreads most. It’s being forced to work with Swift, the pirate girl who broke her heart.

But Cas has even bigger problems when she discovers that Bao is not the only monster swimming free. Other Reckoners illegally sold to pirates have escaped their captors and are taking the NeoPacific by storm, attacking ships at random and ruining the ocean ecosystem. As a Reckoner trainer, Cas might be the only one who can stop them. But how can she take up arms against creatures she used to care for and protect?

Will Cas embrace the murky morals that life as a pirate brings or perish in the dark waters of the NeoPacific?

Why I’m Desperately Waiting:  Where do i start?!?! I am so ready for this book that i needed as soon as I finished TASU  A YEAR AGO! And at that point I didn’t even know if the sequel was going to be a thing. Look, this book has practically everythign, a POC MC, LGBT MC AND SEA MONSTERS and PIRATES. What is cooler than that? When i read TASU, I inhaled it. It immediately pushed itself to the group of books i think of as my all time favorite books.   Sign me up for book 2!