Review of The Wrath and the Dawn

One Life to One Dawn.

In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad's dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph's reign of terror once and for all.

Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she'd imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It's an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid's life as retribution for the many lives he's stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?

Inspired by A Thousand and One Nights, The Wrath and the Dawn is a sumptuous and enthralling read from beginning to end.
I received The Wrath and the Dawn in my first Uppercase box. The cover is so beautiful, I was so excited to add it to my bookshelf. I am glad that I enjoyed it as well - like the saying goes, you can't always judge a book by its cover.

Likes:
  • The story is a re-telling of an old fable. I didn't even realize it until they started quoting the story on an episode of Criminal Minds. I love that I was introduced to the story the way I was.
  • The writing in the book was poetic. I really enjoyed Renee's style and thought it brought a unique life to the book.
  • Shahrzad was an awesome main character. I cannot imagine how hard it would have to be to walk into a situation where you are fairly certain you will die. She did it for her family, her country, but it is a crazy patriotism that would have been a hard first step to take. She was so strong and skilled. She was smart and I really enjoyed how badass she is. I am excited to see her character growth in the series.
  • The location of the story and the descriptions of the living arrangements and the culture were so vivid. My step-grandparents were from Syria and I have been immersed in the culture a little bit. I love the colors, the foods, the smells. The book really brought the culture to life.
  • Khalid was one of those characters you hate at first, but want to love. I always fall for those strong boys with a teddy bear hearts. I am most excited to see how his character arcs in the next book.
Gripes:
  • I just felt a little let down when the story ends. I am almost wishing that I waiting to start this one until at least the second book was out. I read the ending a couple times because I was surprised how abruptly it ended. I am not one who loves cliffhangers.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18798983-the-wrath-and-the-dawn






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Review of Wash Me Away

Monsters have a way of following you.

Immersed in a new world at boarding school, Addy Buckley learns she’s not the only one with secrets. While trying to navigate the minefield of painful lies that seem to be rattling around her family’s past, she meets soft on the eyes and heavy on the heart, Napoleon Blake.

When faced with the darkness, Addy must decide to cling to her new life and friends or let the monster carry her away. The choice is hers, sink or swim.







I was given a ebook of Wash Me Away to review and I really had no idea what I was getting into when I started it. There was some deep, tough issues in the book, but I felt the author did a really good job with them.

Likes:
  • Addy was a great MC. I felt like I could relate in a lot of ways. I was pretty naïve when I was younger and a little more sheltered. When she moved, she was forced into the “real world” and there was a lot she had to learn. She was smart, tough but had such a huge heart, even with all that she went through. I am not sure I would have turned out as good as she did with a past like that.
  • There was BIG topic issues in the book, molestation and suicide being two of them. An author needs to be tentative when adding deep issues to the story and having it be well done. I like Wendy Owens did a great job. The situations felt realistic from the young adult point of view and were not made-light-of or made-fun-of.
  • The side characters were well done. Julia, you totally love or hate her. But you still hang out with her. She has a good heart, I think she just had to try to keep it tough. And Leo. Oh dreamy Leo. I had an angsty little crush on him. He was a little tortured and I am always attracted to that.
  • The suicide in the book hit home. I was glad that it really showed the angry feelings that suicide causes for the survivors. My brother-in-law committed suicide a couple years ago and there is a still a huge hole in our hearts and family because of it. His pain may have been taken away, but it was transferred to us. I still sometimes get so angry thinking about it, wishing he would have reached out, thinking we didn’t try hard enough, that there was something someone could have done. Whenever I read books that have the topic of suicide, it is always important to me that the real issues of grief, loss and anger are portrayed, because that is real.
  • Other than a few horrible fathers in the book, there was some great parental influences. I love Leo’s parents and Addy’s aunt and uncle. It always makes me smile seeing those supportive roles in the book because I know how important my parents were to me as an young adult.

Gripes:
  • No real gripes. There were maybe a few times I felt it was a bit dramatic, but I can understand the drama, because I was a dramatic teen. I think that is just something I notice being a 30-something reading YA. I love it, but there is a different POV with the age different. Oh the joys of growing older and wiser ;) (Let’s hope so at least!)

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25202708-wash-me-away


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Waiting on Wednesday with Da Vinci's Tiger

Young, beautiful, and witty, Ginevra de’ Benci longs to take part in the artistic ferment of Renaissance Florence. But as the daughter of a wealthy family in a society dictated by men, she is trapped in an arranged marriage, expected to limit her creativity to domestic duties. Her poetry reveals her deepest feelings, and she aches to share her work, to meet painters and sculptors mentored by the famed Lorenzo de Medici, and to find love.

When the charismatic Venetian ambassador, Bernardo Bembo, arrives in Florence, he introduces Ginevra to a dazzling circle of patrons, artists, and philosophers—a world of thought and conversation she has yearned for. She is instantly attracted to the handsome newcomer, who admires her mind as well as her beauty. Yet Ginevra remains conflicted about his attentions. Choosing her as his Platonic muse, Bembo commissions a portrait by a young Leonardo da Vinci. Posing for the brilliant painter inspires an intimate connection between them—one Ginevra can only begin to understand. In a rich and enthralling world of exquisite art, elaborate feasts, and exhilarating jousts, she faces many temptations to discover her voice, artistic companionship, and a love that defies categorization. In the end, she and Leonardo are caught up in a dangerous and deadly battle between powerful families.


 Doesn't think sound so interesting? I love the time period! Cannot wait to get my hands on it!

 
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Review of Witches of BlackBrook

Through space and time, sisters entwined. Lost then found, souls remain bound.

Three sisters escape the Salem witch trials when the eldest casts a spell that hurtles their souls forward through time. After centuries separated, fate has finally reunited them in the present day.

One the healer, one the teacher, and one the deceiver.

Will their reunion return their full powers, or end their souls journey forever?

A Witches of BlackBrook novel.
 



I received a copy of The Witches of BlackBrook to review and really chose it because of its awesome cover I want that dress so bad! I am glad that I choose to review it, I ended up liking it a lot more than I thought I would.

Likes:
  • I loved the whole span of time in the books. The sisters were crushed to be separated and have to find each other through series of lives. They grew up in Salem during the heat of the witch trials. Even though they tried to help people, they still are seen as harmful.
  • Magic is always fun in books. It is fun to imagine what it would be like if you had powers.
  • I really liked the location on the book, that upper northeast corner of the country is somewhere I have not been able to visit much and I would love to travel there more.
  • I loved the family relationships in the book. No matter what the era, the sisters desperately search for each other. I love that. Good, strong family values in books always make me smile.
  • There was a little bit of romance in the book, and it was good. It wasn’t too much but it was timeless. I thought it fell well within the rest of the story.
  • I am excited to see where the rest of the series goes! I enjoyed the writing, it was a fast, easy read.

Gripes:
  • Nothing major.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25192567-the-witches-of-blackbrook

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Week Recap - Re-reading and Allergies



Allergies struck this week, seems like everyone in the state has been affected. I am hoping that the pollen counts decrease soon. On a happier note, my husband I are remodeling the upstairs a bit, so I am making my own little book nook in one of the small rooms! I started getting my bookshelves upstairs today, just have to work up the gumption to haul all the books from the basement back upstairs! Books are a heavy hobby!

This Week I Read:




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Review of Hush

For small-town girl Blakely Henry, any hope of finding her biological parents died when she stopped believing in fairy tales and Disney princesses. That is, until she spots her boarding school’s new British exchange student, Max Ryder, staring at her. Why would a boy who looks like he stepped out of the pages of a magazine be looking at her? Because Max knows something Blakely doesn’t.

Following the tragic demise of one of Europe’s most beloved royal families, Max has stumbled upon information he thinks may lead to a lost royal heir, and now he is on a quest halfway around the world to see if he’s right.

Sworn to secrecy by his university professor and the headmaster of Lakeview Academy, Max is admitted into an exchange program with the sole purpose of finding out the truth. But will his personal feelings for Blakely get in the way?

When a stolen email surfaces, Blakely and her friends’ lives are threatened, and Max starts to question what he is really after.

From the exclusive rolling lawns of Canada’s most prestigious boarding school to the University of Saint Andrews’ hallowed grounds, Blakely’s quiet, unassuming life is turned upside down. Is she really who she thinks she is? Can she survive long enough to help Max unearth the truth?
 

I received Hush quite a while ago, but did not get around to reading it until I was in a book tour. I was actually quite thrown off, I thought it would be more of a summer camp mystery kind-of-thing, but that was not at all what the story was about. I think the whole “Lakeview” part through me off.

Likes:
  • I like when I have no real idea what is going to happen (because I rarely read the synopsis), I love when I am pleasantly surprised. The book had reminiscent parts to The Princess Diaries, but it did well to stand on its own.
  • Blakely (what a cool name) was a fun MC. I loved her upbeat attitude and how she was nice to everyone. She reacted about the same I would finding out the secrets about her past.
  • I loved the romance with Max. The slow burn with baggage is always my favorite to read. I love when love is slow and wins overall!
Gripes:
  • I am not sure how I felt about this being a series. I have the rest of the series, so I will probably read them, but I felt like it would have been a nicely wrapped up stand-alone with a few more chapters.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16488672-hush



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Review of Bone Gap

Everyone knows Bone Gap is full of gaps—gaps to trip you up, gaps to slide through so you can disappear forever. So when young, beautiful Roza went missing, the people of Bone Gap weren’t surprised. After all, it wasn’t the first time that someone had slipped away and left Finn and Sean O’Sullivan on their own. Just a few years before, their mother had high-tailed it to Oregon for a brand new guy, a brand new life. That’s just how things go, the people said. Who are you going to blame?

Finn knows that’s not what happened with Roza. He knows she was kidnapped, ripped from the cornfields by a dangerous man whose face he cannot remember. But the searches turned up nothing, and no one believes him anymore. Not even Sean, who has more reason to find Roza than anyone, and every reason to blame Finn for letting her go.

As we follow the stories of Finn, Roza, and the people of Bone Gap—their melancholy pasts, their terrifying presents, their uncertain futures—acclaimed author Laura Ruby weaves a heartbreaking tale of love and loss, magic and mystery, regret and forgiveness—a story about how the face the world sees is never the sum of who we are.

I had no idea what to think when I started this book. I had read a couple reviews raving over the book and loved the cover, so I really didn't know what was coming at me.

Likes:

  • Finn was so freaking interesting. I loved how the town both loved him and yet held him at arms length because they thought he was a bit crazy. I also thought it was so interesting how this amazingly handsome boy was weird. It is not really a trait you have for main characters. Normally if you are weird, your looks go right along with that weirdness. It made his character even more unique.
  • The book was realistic but yet magical at the same time. It is odd how those who things work so well together, but they did. The small town vibe, but then the horse rides at night and the talking cornfield. Such a cool way to write a story.
  • I adored Petey and Roza, Both were strong women, but still vulnerable and figuring how who they were. They were completely opposite in looks, but loved each other for reasons beyond looks. I think that is a great part of the book, that perception is so much more important that self-image.
  • Ruby's writing was so poetic, there were numerous times where I was impressed by her imagery. She can write amazing fiction and it feels like she didn't even have to try too hard. I really enjoyed that. I am definitely going to have to read more of her work.

Gripes:

  • Bone Gap is definitely one of those books that people are going to either love or hate. It is a book you need to read when you are open to a little magic in everyday life, and a little weirdness. I think if you enjoyed You Give Me the Sun or Fangirl, you would enjoy the weirdness of this book.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18806240-bone-gap?from_search=true&search_version=service


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Waiting on Wednesday with Soundless

From Richelle Mead, the #1 internationally bestselling author of Vampire Academy and Bloodlines, comes a breathtaking new fantasy steeped in Chinese folklore.

For as long as Fei can remember, there has been no sound in her village, where rocky terrain and frequent avalanches prevent residents from self-sustaining. Fei and her people are at the mercy of a zipline that carries food up the treacherous cliffs from Beiguo, a mysterious faraway kingdom.

When villagers begin to lose their sight, deliveries from the zipline shrink and many go hungry. Fei’s home, the people she loves, and her entire existence is plunged into crisis, under threat of darkness and starvation.

But soon Fei is awoken in the night by a searing noise, and sound becomes her weapon.

Richelle Mead takes readers on a triumphant journey from the peak of Fei’s jagged mountain village to the valley of Beiugo, where a startling truth and an unlikely romance will change her life forever...


https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24751478-soundless

I really enjoyed The Vampire Academy series and am excited to see what Richelle has come up with next!
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Review of More Happy Than Not

In his twisty, gritty, profoundly moving debut—called “mandatory reading” by the New York Times—Adam Silvera brings to life a charged, dangerous near-future summer in the Bronx.

In the months after his father's suicide, it's been tough for 16-year-old Aaron Soto to find happiness again--but he's still gunning for it. With the support of his girlfriend Genevieve and his overworked mom, he's slowly remembering what that might feel like. But grief and the smile-shaped scar on his wrist prevent him from forgetting completely.

When Genevieve leaves for a couple of weeks, Aaron spends all his time hanging out with this new guy, Thomas. Aaron's crew notices, and they're not exactly thrilled. But Aaron can't deny the happiness Thomas brings or how Thomas makes him feel safe from himself, despite the tensions their friendship is stirring with his girlfriend and friends. Since Aaron can't stay away from Thomas or turn off his newfound feelings for him, he considers turning to the Leteo Institute's revolutionary memory-alteration procedure to straighten himself out, even if it means forgetting who he truly is.

Why does happiness have to be so hard?

Once again, the cover really caught me, and I had to read More Happy Than Not. I was really thrown off by the plot, it was once again not really what I expected from the cover.

Likes:
  • There was this crazy mix of science fiction and contemporary in the book. I really liked how it flowed together. It was like normally daily life, but then there was this medical procedure that can remove memories so that you completely forget them.
  • Aaron seems like a fairly typical teen. He lives in the Bronx with his mother and his brother. His father recently committed suicide and the family is still reeling from the loss.
  • Aaron meets Thomas and his life starts to unravel. Even though he has a girlfriend, Genevieve, he starts to think that he might have feelings for Thomas. He knows that being homosexual in his neighborhood is not good, plus it is always hard to love someone who doesn’t love you back.
  • I don’t really want to spoil things, but stuff happens that jerk Aaron’s life in a direction he did not see coming. He has to figure out how to deal with life, his sexuality and his friends / family.
  • It is always great to read diversity, especially YA written by a male with a male MC!

Gripes:
  • I just had trouble connecting with the book a bit. I am not sure if it was the writing style or just me not being in the right mood for the book. It was good, I just didn’t love it as much as I thought I would.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/19542841-more-happy-than-not

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Crafty Ponderings with Bible Journaling



Sorry that I have been so absent lately, I just seem to have gotten a little burned out on blogging. I think I put so much pressure on myself to post every day that I completely gave up instead of just backing up and slowing down a bit.

Plus, I have found another hobby that I LOVE and am currently obsessed with. I have always been a Christian, believing that God wants a relationship with us, but just like my blog, I had put so much pressure on myself, believing that that relationship was only valid if I was perfect. And let's face it, I am FAR from perfect. I slowly drifted away, stopped reading my bible, going to church and praying. A few weeks ago, I discovered a new movement through Instagram. It is called Bible Journaling. It has transformed my walk with the Lord. I have LOVED art worship in my bible and the community of believers that I have met through the process. It has transformed my relationship with the Lord and my life, bringing me back to the real focus. Here are some of my recent works!



If you are interesting in learning more - and seeing some way more amazing art worship, check out these bloggers and make sure you follow their Instagram accounts!

Illustrated Faith

Life Lived Beautifully

Superkdubs

Fisch Tale Designs

Taz and Belly

Arden Ratcliff-Mann

Soul Scripts

Bumble & Bristle

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