October 2018 Reads | First Lines

I decided that it would be fun to start a new feature to add the the wrap up of books I read every month. For me most of the time I pick up and look at books in the store it is the first lines that capture my attention and draw me in. It has always been intriguing to me the amount of thought that must go into those first words the author decides to but as the introduction to their work. The first lines are your first impression of the books.

Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
“When a couple of years ago a friend of mine from childhood, who had grown into a brilliant, strong, kind woman, asked me to tell her how to raise her baby girl a feminist, my first thought was that I did not know.”

Anchor by Kandi Steiner
“Happy Twenty-First Birthday, Bear!”

Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan
“There is a tradition in our kingdom, one all castes of demon and human follow.”

The Bone Artist by Madeleine Roux
“His friend’s voice was frantic on the other end of the line.”

Catacomb by Madeleine Roux
” These were the words as they were first put down: First, that the Artist should choose and Object dear to the deceased.”

The Warden by Madeleine Roux
“This exasperating girl still exhibits a strong tendency towards selflessness.”

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Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan | ARC Review

GIRLS OF PAPER AND FIRE BY NATASHA NGAN

Genre: YA, Fantasy

Publication Date: November 6th 2018

Source:  James Patterson Books in return for an honest review

“I don’t want an easy life. I want a meaningful one.”

Synopsis:
Each year, eight beautiful girls are chosen as Paper Girls to serve the king. It’s the highest honor they could hope for…and the most cruel.

But this year, there’s a ninth girl. And instead of paper, she’s made of fire.

In this lush fantasy, Lei is a member of the Paper caste, the lowest and most oppressed class in Ikhara. She lives in a remote village with her father, where the decade-old trauma of watching her mother snatched by royal guards still haunts her. Now, the guards are back, and this time it’s Lei they’re after–the girl whose golden eyes have piqued the king’s interest.

Over weeks of training in the opulent but stifling palace, Lei and eight other girls learn the skills and charm that befit being a king’s consort. But Lei isn’t content to watch her fate consume her. Instead, she does the unthinkable–she falls in love. Her forbidden romance becomes enmeshed with an explosive plot that threatens the very foundation of Ikhara, and Lei, still the wide-eyed country girl at heart, must decide just how far she’s willing to go for justice and revenge.

TW: violence and sexual abuse.

Goodreads | Amazon

*I would like to thank James Patterson Books and the author for the copy of this book in return for an honest review*

This Asian inspired fantasy explores a unique caste system, a forbidden romance and some darker topics while showcasing a complex beautifully developed world with a cast of characters that have you feeling all types of emotions.

I am not even sure where to really start with this review, this book was packed full of everything that makes an amazing fantasy novel. I found the world interesting and unique and although it shared slight similarities with the more common European fantasy, it opened my eyes to a culture that I am not familiar with and loved being immersed into. The attention to detail and the dedication to developing the world and setting for the world in which Lei and the other Paper Girls were thrown into was done gorgeously. I found myself needing to google different foods, and clothing styles that I was not familiar with, but felt like I could visualize it before I search it.

I loved the wide variety of characters and personalities present in this story. All of the paper girls really grew on my by the end even though I was not a fan of some at the beginning. I loved that we got to learn about their backstory and some of the reasons they  were participating as a paper girl. Lei showed a strength that isn’t seen in many fantasy novels, so many times the focus is on physical strength, but Lei’s strength was an inner one, filled with courage and bravery. Sometimes the inner battles and emotional trauma can destroy you faster than the physical pain. The romance, I called from the beginning and I was so for it and rooting for it the entire time. It is the first time I have read a f/f that did it so well! Not only was it a f/f but it was forbidden which had me wanting it even more! Also let me just say this real quick, I was loving Zelle! There is so much I could say about the rest of the girls and other characters, but that would make this such a long post.

The concept of the caste system was such a nice touch to the book and felt like real life issues played a role in creating/developing this aspect of the story. The hatred and a certain caste being seen as lesser is a mirror to our own society. With that also the views of woman in the story I feel like has a large reflection on what is happening in the world today. It is always nice when a book can take a novel and in a roundabout way relate back to real life,  I think it is important for younger kids to read books like this to not only get immersed into a different culture but be able to see the monstrosity of society told in a different way so they can make the connection.

Overall I thought this book was amazing and exactly the fantasy book that I needed. It was unique, emotional and beautifully descriptive and well written. I did have a had time with some of the trigger warnings and the fact that these young girls were used as concubines and all the cruelty that was present in the book, but sometimes I feel like that is needed in stories to open the eyes to what goes on in the world, human trafficking is becoming such an issue and makes me so sad. This is a must read this fall! It had some beautiful quotes and some strong words about not giving up. I cannot wait for the next book after the way this one ended and holding out for more of Lei and the other paper girls story!

The Bone Artist by Madeleine Roux | Novella Review

THE BONE ARTIST BY MADELEINE ROUX

Genre: YA, Horror, Mystery

Series:
Asylum
The Scarlets #1.5
Sanctum

Synopsis:
In this bone-chilling digital original story set in the world of Madeleine Roux’s New York Times bestselling novel Asylum, a Louisiana teen tries to make tuition money working for a sinister organization but finds that leaving comes at a terrible cost.

When Dan, Abby, and Jordan meet Oliver in Catacomb―the third book in the Asylum series―he is a mysterious young antiques dealer with a dark past. But before he was stuck in America’s most haunted city, he was a teenager with a bright future ahead of him. In this story, we find Oliver saving up to attend his dream college in the fall and leave behind his family’s New Orleans antique shop for good. And if his job just happens to involve robbing graves for a group calling themselves the Bone Artists, well—money is money, and it’s only for now. But Oliver soon learns that the Bone Artists don’t take kindly to deserters. And there are some debts that can never be repaid.

With a mounting sense of dread that builds to a terrible end, The Bone Artists is a thrilling installment in the Asylum series that can stand on its own for new readers or provide a missing piece of the puzzle for series fans.

Epic Reads Impulse is a digital imprint focused on young adult short stories and novellas, with new releases the first Tuesday of each month.

Goodreads | Amazon

This definitely left me wanting more. I think that is the worst part about novellas. It was nice to get a backstory on Micah as he was in Sanctum. It is situations like this in the story that freak me out because they involve real people and things that can happen in real life. I for sure have to pick up Catacomb right away because I need more of Oliver’s story.
I thought Roux did a good job developing the characters and their relationships in the short amount of time. I felt like I understood Oliver and had a connection with him regarding wanting to get out and go to college.

There were definitely the creepy vibes that are present in Roux’s stories and that tension/ dread that as you read you know something is going to happen. She did such a great job of giving little details and snapshots of the bone artists that left you with tons of questions, convincing you that you need to pick up the next book!

Overall I found this novella to be a dark and creepy read perfect for reading late at night. It has the chill factor and it’s focused on New Orleans which is known for its creepy atmosphere. Although short it introduced some dynamic characters that you want to know more about!

Friday Reads | Last October Weekend

downthebookholeWith it being the last official weekend of October, I need to fit in all of the spooky, creepy reads! Earlier this week I read The Bone Artist by Madeleine Roux and it was exactly what I needed to get back in the Asylum series world and to make it really feel like it is Halloween time. I jumped right into the 3rd book in the Asylum series, Catacomb by Madeleine Roux and I am about 100 pages into it! It is the goal to finish it this weekend! I also went to the library this week and picked up I’ll Be Gone In the Dark by Michelle McNamara. I was told by a coworker about this book and I am really looking forward to starting this one. I have a weird obsession with True Crime and don’t read enough in this category. I also haven’t really been listening to audiobooks lately, but started one the other night when I was struggling to fall asleep. I am like 3 chapters into Wink, Poppy, Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke. It is interesting so far and I am intrigued to see how it goes. 

 

What are you reading this weekend?

 

2018 Creatures of the Night | Book Tag

I originally did this tag a couple of years ago and first saw it as a booktube video by Katytastic. I also have a few other halloween/paranormal recommendations that you can check out as well! There is a Vampire book Rec , Top Ten Spooky Reads   , 2018 Halloween Season Reads Recs, Halloween Season Reading Guide. Some of these are going to be repeats because I havent read enough books that fit in those categories so I would love some recs for books that fall into some of those categories.

Vampires 

 

Halfway to the Grave very much reminded me of Buffy the Vampire Slayer at times. It takes the spin on bad and good vampires and has Cat who is half-vampire. It is an interesting take on the vampire genre and layered with tons of humor that make bloodsucking vampires even better!

 

 

 

Werewolves 

I read Bitten this year and I am in love with this world of Werewoves! The “family” of werewolves and they way it moves down the line is interesting. I like this type of werewolves that are more of shapeshifters that those that only turn at the full moon.

 

 

 

 

 

Zombies

World_War_Z_book_coverI haven’t read that many zombie books and would so love some recs on some good zombie books! This is a repeat from the last time I did this tag.  I am going to have to go with my favorite book that I have read so far that is about zombies and that is World War Z by Max Brooks. I really want to read a book that focuses more on zombies and not like Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion, which I have already read. I thought World War Z was really interesting since it was all stories about different people and from people about their accounts with fight the zombies!

 

 

Ghosts


Within this past year I have read quite a few books that have featured or have the idea of ghost in them. The one that I have to say is one of my favorites so far is Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake! It was so good and I loved Anna as a character. I thought Blake did such a good job with her and made the story of Anna as a ghost really come to life and a little spooky.

 

 

 

Witch/Warlock/Spellcaster

I am so happy I read this book this year! I very much enjoyed it and it had vibes of Harry Potter with witches at a boarding school. In this world there is a group of witches that are seen as lesser and the main character is one of those. It was also a story full of mystery and a little bit of suspense.

 

 

 

Fairy/Fae


I havent read many Fairy/Fae books and one that I really enjoyed was A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas, but one I read recently that I really enjoyed and had tons of humor and romance as well is Wicked by Jennifer L Armentrout.  With a group of going after and killing the fae loose in New Orleans, Ivy finds out secrets that change her life. I loved that there were so many different types of fae both good and bad!

 

 

Demons

18006096This should come as no surprise to anyone who has been following my blog or stopping by recently. My favorite demon(s) come from The Dark Elements Series by Jennifer L. Armentrout. I am so in love with Roth, the crown prince of hell! He has some awesome familiar demon tattoos. He is sassy and badass! The demon world and how it is all set up is also interesting and has many different types of demons.

 

 

 

 

Angels

18324459-1So many of these tags I have seen done have picked Angelfall by Susan Ee for this and although I did love Raffe and that the angels are kind of evil/bad. I wasnt a huge fan of this book. For this I am choosing Lailah by Nikki Kelly. I loved the story and background to angels in this world. I thought it was so interesting that it isn’t considered Heaven but a different world and dimension. What the angels have to do to survive and how they are paired is also very unique!

 

 

Aliens 


I haven’t read many alien books and it is something I should work on more! This one I read a couple years ago and think it is a very underrated book. I really enjoyed it and thought it did such a fantastic job building this world in which Kricket is taken to. I do not know if they really fit the category of aliens but they are from another world so I am saying it works!

 

 

 

Superpowered Humans 

UnknownThe only books that I have read that I think fit into this category is the Shatter Me Trilogy by Tarereh Mafi. It has a very x-men feel and I loved learning about all the different powers and how they all worked!

 

 

 

 

 

♠ Other Mythical Creatures

  • Phoenix

This is the first book I have ever read about Phoenix and absolutely loved it! The whole incarnation aspect is so intriguing and I thought Grimm did a fantastic job developing a creating a world/story revolving around this magnificent creatures!

 

 

 

 

 

I was thinking of adding Dragons to this list, but than I realized I haven’t yet to really read a book focused on Dragons.

I am not tagging anyone, but if you decide to do this link you post in the comments I would love to see everyone elses answers and see some different books I should pick up and read! 

2018 Reading Guide to the Halloween Season | Book Recommendations

The fall and Halloween are my absolute favorite! When it comes to reading, there is a right way and a wrong way to do it in the month of October. (In my opinion) The fall season has a certain atmosphere and I believe the month of October does as well. The month of October needs to be filled with spooky, creepy, thrillers with paranormal and the unusual. As I was developing my reading list for October I thought I would give some recommendations to others with those books I think are perfect for the month of October.

Ó  Bitten by Kelley Armstrong

Although not spooky or creepy, Bitten is filled with Werewolves!

Ó  Little Monsters by Kara Thomas

Definitely some Pretty Little Liar vibes filled with lies and deceit.

Ó  Seventh Born by Monica SanzFor me it was pulling inspirations from Harry Potter and Vampire Academy, taking place at a boarding school, magic, mystery, a dab of romance & forbidden love .

Ó  Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake 

 A dark, gory but ultimate a phenomenal original story. The atmosphere was perfect and definitely had that spooky, cabin in the middle of the woods vibe.

Ó  Night Film by Marisha Pessl

This book. It was dark and creepy, had me guessing and on the edge of my seat the whole time. It was told in such an interesting way.

Ó  Final Girls by Riley Sager

A gripping thriller that keeps you on edge the whole read.

Ó  The Girl in 6E by A.R. Torre

A cam girl with the lust for killing!

What are some of your spooky/creepy reads?

Friday Reads | Readathon Weekend!

downthebookhole

This weekend is the Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon and I am very much looking forward to participating! I havent been reading as much lately and havent even gotten the chance to read any spooky, creepy or fall type reads! With Autumn upon us and the weather here in Nebraska finally starting to feel like it I want to spend some time outside with some apple cider and do some reading while I still can! I also have a bunch of errands that I need to run this weekend, like laundry and oil change for my car, all things I can take my book with me to and still be productive. I have not yet selected my tbr for the readathon and will most likely do it later tonight and will do all of my readathon posting on either instagram and twitter- @downthebookhole. I would love to know if you will be participating and what you plan on reading! I am currently reading Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan with about 100 pages left. I am really enjoying it so far, the world is so interesting (although I wish we got a little more about it) and the whole concept of the story is something new I havent read before with the inspiration from Asian culture. I also and very excited about the love interest and was rooting for it from the beginning!

What are you reading this weekend?

 

September 2018 Reads | First Lines

I decided that it would be fun to start a new feature to add the the wrap up of books I read every month. For me most of the time I pick up and look at books in the store it is the first lines that capture my attention and draw me in. It has always been intriguing to me the amount of thought that must go into those first words the author decides to but as the introduction to their work. The first lines are your first impression of the books.

Seventh Born by Monica Sanz
“Relegated to a small, dark alcove in a corner of the Aetherium’s Witchling Academy library, Seraphina Dovetail shifter on her small wooden stool, plucking a fingernail against the frayed edge of the black book on her lap – the only book she was allowed to read for leisure: The Unmitigated Truths of Seventhborns.”

Wait For You by J. Lynn
“There were two things in life that scared the ever-loving crap out of me.”

Home and Away by Candice Montgomery
“I take a major hit.”

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
“The early summer sky was the color of cat vomit”

Light Years by Kass Morgan
“The airlock opened with a hiss, and Cormak shot off through the blisteringly hot, pink-tinged air.”

Light Years by Kass Morgan | ARC Review

LIGHT YEARS BY KASS MORGAN

Genre: YA, Sci-fi

Publication Date: October 9th 2018

Source: NOVL

Synopsis:
Reeling from the latest attack by a mysterious enemy, the Quatra Fleet Academy is finally admitting students from every planet in the solar system after centuries of exclusivity.

Hotshot pilot Vesper, an ambitious Tridian citizen, dreams of becoming a captain – but when she loses her spot to a brilliant, wisecracking boy from the wrong side of the asteroid belt, it makes her question everything she thought she knew. Growing up on the toxic planet Deva, Cormak will take any chance he can get to escape his dead-end life and join the Academy – even if he has to steal someone’s identity to do it. Arran was always considered an outsider on icy Chetire, always dreaming of something more than a life working in the mines. Now an incoming cadet, Arran is looking for a place to belong – he just never thought that place would be in the arms of a Tridian boy. And Orelia is hiding a dark secret – she’s infiltrated the Academy to complete a mission, one that threatens the security of everyone there. But if anyone finds out who she really is, it’ll be her life on the line.

These cadets will have to put their differences aside and become a team to defend their world from a cunning enemy – but the danger might be lurking closer to home than they think…

Goodreads | Amazon 

I am obsessed with the tv show The 100. I own the ebooks by Kass Morgan, but never got around to reading them yet. When I saw this book coming out I knew I had to pick it up. A diverse set of characters with drama, secrets and competition all taking place in space, how could I say no.

From the very first page Morgan pulls you into the life of the characters with the interesting story of who they are and where they come from. In a world very different from ours it was intriguing to learn more about these planets and what life is like in space. I have to say I do wish at times that there was more description and time spent on the world building, but I can say one thing, Morgan does real well with the character storylines and telling more than one at a time.

I loved how the book was told from 4 POVs and each one was so different and had such a different background and voice. Their storylines intertwine with each other, but each of the 4 are so diverse and have secrets and opinions they are keeping from everyone else. I love that you get to see it all play out with the rotating POVs. It is hard to pick just one to be my favorite, but I really liked the character development and storyline of Orelia.

I flew through the book with the suspenseful, drama filled plot that keep you wanting to know what was going to happen. The short chapters with alternate POVs also helped to drive the plot and story along. I had a hard time setting the book down and got really invested in the characters. It also had an ending I didn’t expect and definitely has me needing the next installment.

Overall this is such an indulgent space drama, based in a boarding school, that is perfect for a fast fall read! I think this is going to be a really great series that has all the elements you would want in a book series. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoyed the book/tv show The 100 by Kass Morgan or The Thousandth Floor by Katherine Mcgee!

War of the Wilted by Amber Mitchell| Release Day

Don’t miss this addictive fantasy series that readers are calling fast-paced, a must read and one of the best fantasy books they have read!

On sale now!

Like flowers denied water, people are wilting under the emperor’s tyranny.

Rose will not rest until the Gardener is dead. But there are bigger battles to fight, and Rayce—leader of the rebellion and the only man Rose has ever loved—believes their best chance at winning the war is to join forces with her sworn enemy.

Saving innocent people is more important than her quest for revenge. But their new ally can’t be trusted—and he knows her darkest secret. One betrayal could leave the war and Rayce’s life hanging in the balance, and Rose will need to make the ultimate sacrifice to save them all. 

Get Your Copy Today!

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About Amber Mitchell
Amber Mitchell was born and raised in a small town in Florida. After briefly escaping small town life by attending the University of South Florida where she earned her degree in Creative Writing, she decided to ditch traffic jams and move back to her hometown. There she writes Young Adult novels, usually with a bit of magic in them, rolls D20s with her friends on Thursday nights and enjoys hanging out with her husband and four cats. Her other job involves crafting cardstock into 3D art and has allowed her to travel all over the US vending at comic conventions which has only increased her love for fantasy and fandoms. She is represented by Nikki Terpilowski of Holloway Literature.