Book Review: Tempests and Slaughter by Tamora Pierce

Tempests and Slaughter

Tempests and Slaughter

4.5 stars

Arram Draper is a boy on the path to becoming one of the realm’s most powerful mages. The youngest student in his class at the Imperial University of Carthak, he has a Gift with unlimited potential for greatness–and for attracting danger. At his side are his two best friends: Varice, a clever girl with an often-overlooked talent, and Ozorne, the “leftover prince” with secret ambitions. Together, these three friends forge a bond that will one day shape kingdoms. And as Ozorne gets closer to the throne and Varice gets closer to Arram’s heart, Arram begins to realize that one day soon he will have to decide where his loyalties truly lie. In the Numair Chronicles, readers will be rewarded with the never-before-told story of how Numair Salmalín came to Tortall. Newcomers will discover an unforgettable fantasy adventure where a kingdom’s future rests on the shoulders of a talented young man with a knack for making vicious enemies.

I loved the Tortall universe when I first read it so I was very excited when I found out Tamora Pierce was going back to it, and giving us insight on Numair’s childhood. As Arram, long before he became Numair, he was a boy with powerful magic at a school where not many understood him. This book brought me right back to a world I love and I was so happy to be re-visiting. And so happy there’s more books coming.

Arram was just as interesting a character as he was as Numair. There were enough similarities so I could see they were two versions of the same character, while still making Arram feel like he was new. I really liked seeing his development and I love knowing there’s so much more to come. His relationships with his masters as they taught him non-standard magic was fascinating as we learned alongside him. I loved his friendships with Orzone and Varice, though it was a little strange knowing the future since this is a prequel.

The supporting cast was great. I loved learning about the school, the magic, and the other characters who shaped Arram into who he is in the future. Tamora Pierce always creates such interesting characters with amazing relationships and this was certainly no exception. I also thought it was great that were was still world building being done after so many books and so many years. Tortall has so much to offer and it’s obviously not finished yet.

As a Tamora Pierce fan, and a Tortall fan, this book was everything I would have expected and more. It delivered. It made me happy to be back in the Tortall world and it made me want to start reading the entire series all over again.

*I received a copy of this book from Indigo Books & Music in exchange for an honest review.


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Book Review: Batman – Nightwalker by Marie Lu


Batman Nightwalker

Release date: January 2nd 2018

4 stars

Before he was Batman, he was Bruce Wayne. A reckless boy willing to break the rules for a girl who may be his worst enemy.
The Nightwalkers are terrorizing Gotham City, and Bruce Wayne is next on their list.
One by one, the city’s elites are being executed as their mansions’ security systems turn against them, trapping them like prey. Meanwhile, Bruce is turning eighteen and about to inherit his family’s fortune, not to mention the keys to Wayne Enterprises and all the tech gadgetry his heart could ever desire. But after a run-in with the police, he’s forced to do community service at Arkham Asylum, the infamous prison that holds the city’s most brutal criminals.
Madeleine Wallace is a brilliant killer . . . and Bruce’s only hope.
In Arkham, Bruce meets Madeleine, a brilliant girl with ties to the Nightwalkers. What is she hiding? And why will she speak only to Bruce? Madeleine is the mystery Bruce must unravel. But is he getting her to divulge her secrets, or is he feeding her the information she needs to bring Gotham City to its knees? Bruce will walk the dark line between trust and betrayal as the Nightwalkers circle closer.

I will admit, Batman is not my favourite hero but I love Marie Lu so I was excited to see how she would write a teenage Batman to be. She’s a fantastic writer and the mythology was well handled. I liked the idea of a reckless teenage Bruce having to work at Arkham as community service and also seeing Bruce getting more invested in Wayne Enterprises as he was graduating. My favourite thing was the friendship between Bruce, Dianne, and Harvey.

This Bruce was a lot less broody than I was used to from the movies I’ve seen. He was more open, still secretive, but he seemed more playful with his friends and Alfred. He could be frustrating when he thought he knew better than the adults and wouldn’t listen that Madeleine was dangerous. Even as a teenager, the protectiveness of Batman was ingrained into him as he worried about Madeleine, a girl his age in the asylum, and Harvey, his friend with an abusive father.

The dynamics between characters were so amazing in this book, which was to be expected since it was Marie Lu. She writes absolutely amazing character dynamics. The trio of Bruce, Dianne, and Harvey in their last summer before college were an interesting combo and I really loved their friendship. Bruce and Alfred were great, as always in any Batman medium I’ve seen or read. The dynamic between Bruce and Madeleine was as interesting as it was frustrating. She was playing him and he was letting her but their conversations were intriguing.

The plot focused on the Nightwalkers, a gang, and Bruce trying to get information from Madeleine to help the police put an end to the murders happening in Gotham. It fit it well with a superhero plot and was entertaining. With two DC Icons books in the series down, both have made me excited for the next two to come.

*I received a copy of this book from Indigo Books & Music in exchange for an honest review.

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November Wrap-Up/December TBR


November Wrap-Up:

Everless Everless – Sara Holland. 4/5 stars. Review. I really enjoyed the concept of this book and I would love to see a prequel based on the mythology.

Cruel Prince The Cruel Prince – Holly Black. 3.5/5 stars. Review. There were interesting parts but I did find the twists predictable.

Artemis Artemis – Andy Weir. 3.5/5 stars. This was a lot of fun to read. It did get very technical at some points but it was still good.

The Taking big The Taking – Kimberly Derting. 3/5 stars. This one was predictable but I think I was definitely in the mood for some aliens because it was enjoyable.

Runebinder Runebinder – Alex R Kahler. 3/5 stars. This was another one where I really liked the concept, the action was good, but there wasn’t a whole lot of development.

Siege of Shadows Siege of Shadows – Sarah Raughley. 3.5/5 stars. Review. I thought this one was even better than the first. More action, more world-building, and I’m definitely excited for the next one.

Zenith Zenith – Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings. 3.5/5 stars. Review. There were some tropes but it was still a solid first book in what could be a great series.

The Replaced The Replaced – Kimberly Derting. 3/5 stars. See The Taking.

Together at Midnight Together at Midnight – Jennifer Castle. 4/5 stars. I loved the dynamic between Max and Kendall and the concept was so good.

Love, Hate, and Other Filters Love, Hate, and Other Filters – Samira Ahmed. 4/5 stars. Review. Definitely a read that makes an impact.

Dangerous Art of Blending in The Dangerous Art of Blending In – Angelo Surmelis. 4/5 stars. Review. This book was so good. Like the one above, it leaves an impact.

countdown The Countdown – Kimberly Derting. 3/5 stars. See The Taking.

Tempests and Slaughter Tempests and Slaughter – Tamora Pierce. 4.5/5 stars. Such a throwback. I loved the Tortall series when it first came out and I loved seeing the childhood of one of my favourite characters.

Nightwalker Batman: Nightwalker – Marie Lu. 4/5 stars. I’m not the biggest Batman fan so I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this. Bruce made some stupid decisions but I enjoyed his friendship with Harvey and Dianne.

Hazel Wood The Hazel Wood – Melissa Albert. 3.5/5 stars. This one was pretty slow to get into but once I did, it was very good. Creepy and perfect for curling up with.

Sylo big Sylo – DJ MacHale. 3/5 stars. This was a little slow, predictable, but this seems like a series I could really get into.

Heart of Iron Heart of Iron – Ashley Poston. 4.5/5 stars. I absolutely loved this. The characters were great, the plot was great, and this author is definitely making her way up my auto-buy list.

December TBR:

Queen's RisingReign the Earth3484820735098416

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Series Spotlight: The Sweet Trilogy by Wendy Higgins

Today’s pick is a series by one of my favourite authors.

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The Sweet Trilogy(plus 1) by Wendy Higgins

Review status: 1 of 4. Sweet Reckoning

All books released, own in paperback.

I absolutely fell in love with this series right away. I loved the concept, the characters, and just everything about it. I love that the series was released from the male POV in Sweet Temptation as well because it gave a whole new perspective on some of the big scenes.

Favourite character: Anna and Jason. This best friend pair seems like they have to be included together. I loved their dynamic.

Favourite book: Sweet Reckoning. The final battle. The end of everything. So intense!

Reading status: All finished! And re-read multiple times.

Author status: Auto-buy for life.

Next up for Wendy Higgins: The third book in the Unknown series, Undone, comes out on December 5th!


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Waiting on Wednesday

New WoW

This is a feature started on Breaking the Spine that puts the spotlight on upcoming books.

This week’s pick is:


The Midnights

Release date: March 6 2018

Goodreads: Susannah Hayes has never been in the spotlight, but she dreams of following her father, a former rock star, onto the stage. As senior year begins, she’s more interested in composing impressive chord progressions than college essays, certain that if she writes the perfect song, her father might finally look up from the past long enough to see her. But when he dies unexpectedly, her dreams—and her reality—shatter.
While Susannah struggles with grief, her mother uproots them to a new city. There, Susannah realizes she can reinvent herself however she wants: a confident singer-songwriter, member of a hip band, embraced by an effortlessly cool best friend. But Susannah is not the only one keeping secrets, and soon, harsh revelations threaten to unravel her life once again.
Set against the scintillating landscape of Southern California, The Midnights is an evocative coming-of-age debut about loss, creativity, and finding your voice while you’re still finding yourself.

Why I’m Excited: Besides sounding very good, this seems to be the type of book I gravitate toward in the Spring.

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Weekly Reading Recap

Saw the movie Wonder this weekend. So good.

Currently reading: Heart of Iron

Finished reading: Sylo bigHazel WoodNightwalkerTempests and Slaughter

Reviewed: Love, Hate, and Other FiltersDangerous Art of Blending in

What I’m hoping to get to next week: Queen's RisingTraitor's Game to read

NightwalkerTempests and Slaughter to review

Books read it 2017: 190

Debut authors read in 2017: 40

Debut authors read for 2018: 5

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Top Ten Tuesday


Top Ten Tuesday was started by The Broke and the Bookish. Every Tuesday there’s a different topic. This week is Top Ten books on my winter TBR.

10. Heart of Iron Heart of Iron – Ashley Poston

9. Queen's Rising The Queen’s Rising – Rebecca Ross.

8. 35396838 The Final Six – Alexandra Monir

7. Honor Among Thieves Honor Among Thieves – Rachel Caine and Ann Aguire

6. 35068453 Purple Hearts – Michael Grant.

5.  35098416 When My Heart Joins the Thousand – AJ Steiger.

4. 35068610 Winterfolk – Janel Kolby

3. 34848207 A Conspiracy of Stars – Olivia A. Cole

2. 35230722 The Tombs – Deborah Schaumberg

  1. 31180248 Leah on the Offbeat – Becky Albertalli

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Book Review: The Dangerous Art of Blending In by Angelo Surmelis

Dangerous Art of Blending in

The Dangerous Art of Blending In

Release date: January 30 2018

4 stars

Seventeen-year-old Evan Panos doesn’t know where he fits in. His strict Greek mother refuses to see him as anything but a disappointment. His quiet, workaholic father is a staunch believer in avoiding any kind of conflict. And his best friend Henry has somehow become distractingly attractive over the summer.
Tired, isolated, scared—Evan’s only escape is drawing in an abandoned church that feels as lonely as he is. And, yes, he kissed one guy over the summer. But it’s his best friend Henry who’s now proving to be irresistible. It’s Henry who suddenly seems interested in being more than friends. And it’s Henry who makes him believe that he’s more than his mother’s harsh words and terrifying abuse. But as things with Henry heat up, and his mother’s abuse escalates, Evan has to decide how to find his voice in a world where he has survived so long by avoiding attention at all costs.

This was a hard, emotional book to read but one that, when I was done, felt like I had just read something very important. It wasn’t just a coming out story about a boy finding his sexuality but also about telling the truth about an abusive parent. I believe this was the first book I’ve read with an abusive mother toward a son and it was chilling(as it would be no matter what) to read how much this mother hated her son.

Evan was the type of character who liked to keep everything in neat little boxes. He didn’t like his worlds to mingle. With it becoming harder to hide the abuse and his growing crush on his best friend, Henry, his worlds were starting to mix and it was obviously affecting him. He really just wanted to live his life but he couldn’t, not safely in his own home because of his mother. His father worked so much so he was rarely around and, when he was, he would try to step in but he only ever stopped her for the moment. It was not a healthy situation for Evan.

The book also had a lot of great, positive dynamics. The friendship to more of Evan and Henry was great, not sudden but a slow struggle. Henry’s family was great, funny, and I wish we’d gotten to see more of them. Every person in Evan’s life had some kind of impact of his, even if it was just by staying silent, and all of it was causing Evan’s perfectly separated lines to blend into each other.

What made the book so hard to read was that every time it seemed like something was going right for Evan, there would be something bad right around the corner. The kid couldn’t catch a break. I liked that he was able to have some escape with his art and how connected he was to it. This is a book where I highly recommend reading the author’s notes after because they add a lot to the book as well.

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


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Book Review: Love, Hate, and Other Filters by Samira Ahmed

Love, Hate, and Other Filters

Love, Hate, and Other Filters

Release date: January 16 2018

4 stars

A searing #OwnVoices coming-of-age debut in which an Indian-American Muslim teen confronts Islamophobia and a reality she can neither explain nor escape–perfect for fans of Angie Thomas, Jacqueline Woodson, and Adam Silvera.
Maya Aziz is torn between futures: the one her parents expect for their good Indian daughter (i.e.; staying nearby in Chicago and being matched with a “suitable” Muslim boy), and the one where she goes to film school in New York City–and maybe, just maybe, kisses a guy she’s only known from afar. There’s the also the fun stuff, like laughing with her best friend Violet, making on-the-spot documentaries, sneaking away for private swimming lessons at a secret pond in the woods. But her world is shattered when a suicide bomber strikes in the American heartland; by chance, he shares Maya’s last name. What happens to the one Muslim family in town when their community is suddenly consumed with hatred and fear?

The second I started reading this book, it felt like it was very personal and important story for the author. It was a little different than I first thought it would be, with the focus being more on the main character, her family, and the conflict within them than the aftermath of the incident mentioned in the synopsis. It held important messages so relevant to today about not judging someone based on their looks, race, religion.

Maya was caught in between pleasing her parents and doing what would make her happy. They had one view for her future and she wanted another. She loved film-making, loved seeing the world through her camera, and all she wanted was to go to NYU and study film. It created a clash between two generations with different values that was so relatable. I loved her relationship with Hina, her aunt that was more free-spirited than her parents and someone she could turn to for help or for some insight on her parents.

The romance was really sweet, but also another source of conflict between Maya and her parents. They wanted her to be with a nice, Muslim boy but she had feelings for a white boy. Both boys were sweet and she probably could have been happy with either of them if she’d felt a connection with both. Kareem was very sweet and respectful toward Maya, showing her the world outside of her small town, but Maya already had feelings for someone else. Phil was also very sweet and I liked that it was friendship that developed into something more, and that it wasn’t easy for her to go against what she knew she parents expected.

The plot centered mostly on Maya’s struggles to please her parents while also following her dreams, but it also showed how hate and fear can make people leap to conclusions or use it to justify their actions. Maya and her parents were the victims of Islamophobia on multiple occasions and it was a reminder that no matter how long they’ve been a part of the community, no matter how much good they’ve good, or how respected they’ve become, some people will always only see them as their race or their religion.

As mentioned, it was a very important and relevant book. It’s one that deserves a lot of attention leading up to its release and after.

*I received a copy of this book from Indigo Books & Music in exchange for an honest review.


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Series Spotlight: Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

This week’s spotlight features vampires and school and love triangles.

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Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead

Review status: 1 of 6. Vampire Academy

All books released, own in paperback which makes me sad because I love hardcovers.

I kept hearing how amazing this series was so I finally convinced myself to try it, even though I was pretty overwhelmed by vampire books at the time. But this series was amazing, sucked me right in, and definitely rekindled my love of vampires books.

Favourite character: Christian Ozera. The broody outcast was the love interest of the main character’s best friend so he was sometimes very in the background in the books but he was definitely a scene stealer.

Favourite book: Shadow Kiss. We get to see the after-effects of the event of Frostblood and it’s really where we start seeing the magic being used in the series. Plus there’s so much Christian.

Reading status: All finished!

Author status: Semi auto-buy. I love her YA books but her adult series didn’t grab me the same way.

Next up for Richelle Mead: Book 3 of The Glittering Court series, coming out in 2018!

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