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Book Review: The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli

The Last Namsara

The Last Namsara

Release date: October 1st 2017

4.5 stars

In the beginning, there was the Namsara: the child of sky and spirit, who carried love and laughter wherever he went. But where there is light, there must be dark—and so there was also the Iskari. The child of blood and moonlight. The destroyer. The death bringer.
These are the legends that Asha, daughter of the king of Firgaard, has grown up hearing in hushed whispers, drawn to the forbidden figures of the past. But it isn’t until she becomes the fiercest, most feared dragon slayer in the land that she takes on the role of the next Iskari—a lonely destiny that leaves her feeling more like a weapon than a girl.
Asha conquers each dragon and brings its head to the king, but no kill can free her from the shackles that await at home: her betrothal to the cruel commandant, a man who holds the truth about her nature in his palm. When she’s offered the chance to gain her freedom in exchange for the life of the most powerful dragon in Firgaard, she finds that there may be more truth to the ancient stories than she ever could have expected. With the help of a secret friend—a slave boy from her betrothed’s household—Asha must shed the layers of her Iskari bondage and open her heart to love, light, and a truth that has been kept from her.

I was really excited to get my hands on this book. It was one of my most anticipated to come out and I will definitely be buying a hardcover when it hits shelves. This book had an interesting world, plenty of interesting characters, and dragons. At first, I wasn’t quite sure what to think after the first chapter with Asha being a dragon slayer but the plot turned into directions I enjoyed.

Asha was the only daughter of the king, the youngest child, and had been declared the Iskari, a title that made people fear her and a way for her to atone for the destruction she caused as a child. She was the kingdom’s dragon slayer and each dragon she killed was one step closer to making up for breaking the law she had when she was younger. The Asha at the beginning of the book was so different from the Asha by the end. There was so much character development that it will be interesting to see where the character goes in the sequel. She was very protective of the people she cared about, though she counted few among that group, and I loved seeing her open up to knowing more people and questioning the laws and her beliefs as the story went on.

There were a few main dynamics in the book. The most prominent was the one between Asha and Torwin, a slave belonging to Asha’s betrothed. Torwin challenged her to think for herself and was a great partner through the book. Secondary was the dynamic between Asha and Jarek, the jerk she was supposed to marry and I loved seeing Asha finding ways to show her independence even as Jarek tried to control her. There was also great dynamics between Asha and her cousin Safire, and Asha and her older brother. They both showed glimpses that they were not exactly who Asha thought they were so I’m excited to see more of that developing.

I loved all the old stories that broke up a lot of the chapters. It was a great way to show some backstory and historical content without feeling like an info dump. It was reading folk lore for this kingdom and learning why the people had their beliefs. The book started off a little slow but not in a bad way. The pace picked up the more Asha found herself outside the walls of the kingdom, hunting, and by the end, I had to finish the book even though I should have been asleep hours before. It really was a book I just couldn’t put down.

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

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Weekly Reading Recap

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Summer’s almost over. Where did it go? It flew by while I was busy reading I guess.

Currently reading: Stolen

Finished reading: FrozenThe Last NamsaraUnlikeliesThis is where it ends

Reviewed: Mask of ShadowsThe Color Project

What I’m hoping to get to next week: All the Crooked SaintsGirls Made of Snow and Glass to read

UnlikeliesThe Last Namsara to review

Books read it 2017: 130

Debut authors read in 2017: 32

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Top Ten Tuesday

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday was started by The Broke and the Bookish. Every Tuesday there’s a different topic. This week is Top Ten recommendations for X. I did Top Ten Recommendations for paranormal fans. I tried to keep it focused on books where the paranormal was the main plot instead of being mixed in with fantasy.

10. nightmare affair The Nightmare Affair – Mindee Arnett. I love Mindee Arnett and this book with a main character as a Nightmare at a boarding school for paranormal creatures introduces us to a lot of creatures who don’t often get mentioned.

9. Antigoddess big Antigoddess – Kendare Blake. I love mythology so the idea of the Gods dying and warring while trying to save themselves really caught my attention.

8. unspoken Unspoken  Sarah Rees Brennan. Sarah Rees Brennan writes some of the best characters who can be badass while still having a great sense of humour and dropping amazing one-liners.

7. unearthly big Unearthly – Cynthia Hand. One of the first series I read featuring Angels and I loved it.

6. sweet evil Sweet Evil – Wendy Higgins. This was another Angels-features series but it focused a lot more on the fallen Angels and sins and the children forced to do their parents bidding.

5. obsidian Obsidian – Jennifer L Armentrout. I didn’t think aliens were my thing until this series. And I love a character who’s a bookworm.

4. vampire academy big Vampire Academy – Richelle Mead. This series brought me back into the vampire-love I thought I was out of.

3. some girls bite big Some Girls Bite – Chloe Neill. This series is more adult-ish  than the others on this list since the main character is in her 20s but it’s still very addicting.

2. darkest minds The Darkest Minds – Alexandra Bracken. I loved this series and everything Alexandra Bracken has written. I can’t wait to see the movie. Please do it right.

  1. Raven boys big The Raven Boys – Maggie Stiefvater. Same as above. Please make this adaptation right. I loved how intricate this whole series was. It was a slow read but so worth it.

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July Wrap-Up/August TBR

Summer is half over. Where did it go?

July Wrap-Up:

Tainted Blood Tainted Blood – Joann I Martin Sowles. 3/5 stars.

Before She Ignites Before She Ignites – Jodi Meadows. 4/5 stars. Review. I love Jodi Meadows and I thought this was a very good first book that made me excited for more.

Zane Zane – Joann I Martin Sowles. 3/5 stars.

One Dark Throne One Dark Throne – Kendra Blake. 4/5 stars. Review. So dark! And I so need the need book now!

Art of Feeling The Art of Feeling – Laura Tims. 3.5/5 stars. Review. The title is definitely true. There are many feels in this book.

Cursed Brookehaven Cursed – Joann I Martin Sowles. 3/5 stars. I figured I’d wait until the last book in this series instead of writing the same thing over and over. Enjoyable series but I did find it a little slow and predictable.

Even the Darkest Stars Even the Darkest Stars – Heather Fawcett. 4/5 stars. There were some slow parts of this book but I liked the adventure aspect of it.

Dreadful Tale The Dreadful Tale of Propser Redding – Alexander Bracken. 3.5/5 stars. A fast-paced middle grade that was full of magic and had me laughing out loud many times.

Click'd Click’d – Tamara Ireland Stone. 3.5/5 stars. Review. I loved seeing a middle grade book focusing on a girl interested in coding.

Dramatically Ever After Dramatically Ever After – Isabel Bandeira. 4/5 stars. Review. I loved this companion to Bookishly Ever After, focusing on the world of theatre and speech writing.

dead beautiful big Dead Beautiful – Yvonne Woon. 3/5 stars. I was feeling a zombie withdrawal and was hoping this would satisfy it. It was a good book but I did find it predictable.

Like Water Like Water – Rebecca Podos. 4/5 stars. Review. This book took me by surprise but it was a very touching self-discovery arc.

Poison Dark and Drowning A Poison Dark and Drowning – Jessica Cluess. 4/5 stars. Review. A great follow up to A Shadow Bright and Burning. It had tons of action, new characters, and pushed the plot forward. I’m very excited for the next one.

Rise of the isle of the lost Rise of the Isle of the Lost – Melissa de la Cruz. 4/5 stars. This book series and tv-movie series is so cute. I loved the new characters added to the universe and really hope we see more of Uma, Harry, and Gil.

Ringer Ringer – Lauren Oliver. 3/5 stars. I think my enjoyment of this book would have been higher if I’d read a physical copy and could have switched between the POVs instead of reading one then the other. It feels a little repetitive that way. Still a good story though.

15797848 There’s Someone Inside Your House – Stephanie Perkins. 4/5 stars. Holy creepy! I really liked how the creepiest moments were the little things over the big attack and murder scenes. It really helped set a creepy mood.

wintersong Wintersong – S Jae-Jones. 4/5 stars. This book is slow paced but worth it. It’s very magical and very easy to be completely sucked in.

because-you-love-to-hate-me Because You Love To Hate Me – Ameriie. I love anthologies because I know I’ll find at least a few stories that I love. Especially loved the ones by Marissa Meyer and Adam Silvera.

August TBR:

Mask of ShadowsDaugher of the burning cityUnlikeliesThis is where it ends

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Weekly Reading Recap

14836299-stack-of-books-books-stacked

I am loving all the campfires this Summer so far. Going to miss them once it gets too cold.

Currently reading: The Color Project

Finished reading: Codabecause-you-love-to-hate-mewintersong15797848

Reviewed: Like WaterPoison Dark and Drowning

What I’m hoping to get to next week: Mask of ShadowsDaugher of the burning city to read

15797848wintersong to review

Books read it 2017: 122

Debut authors read in 2017: 28

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Top Ten Tuesday

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday was started by The Broke and the Bookish. Every Tuesday there’s a different topic. This week is the official Top Ten Tuesday is taking a break for a few weeks so I’m making one up. This week I’m doing Top Ten Tuesday fireside reads. Any genre, these are the books that make me feel warm inside, that go perfectly with a blanket and mug of hot chocolate. AKA Tris pairs books with drinks and makes herself crave them all.

10. boys i've loved To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before – Jenny Han. This is super cute, just a little angsty, and goes perfectly with chocolate chip cookies dunked in white hot chocolate.

9. rites of passage Rites of Passage – Joy N Hensley. For the days when your hot chocolate needs a little bit of a kick with some Bailey’s, this book featuring a badass female lead is perfect.

8. anna big Anna and the French Kiss – Stephanie Perkins. This book is perfect for snuggling in with your fluffiest blanket and adding some whipped topping and chocolate shavings to your hot chocolate.

7. throne of glass big Throne of Glass – Sarah J Maas. For those nights when a heavier, more fantastical plot seems in order, this one is perfect for staying up all night as the fire dies and it’s time to switch from hot chocolate to cappuccino.

6. secret-of-a-heart-note The Secret of a Heart Note – Stacey Lee. A great option for snuggling up with a blanket, teddy, and either a flowery tea or cinnamon hot chocolate during a snowstorm.

5. snow like ashes Snow Like Ashes – Sarah Raasch. This would be a pick I would read by the campfire as the sun is setting, drinking something with a little kick to it. Maybe some hot cocoa with a little fireball in it.

4. summer mermaids The Summer of Chasing Mermaids – Sarah Ockler. This is another campfire read, for those early ones where it’s still light out and still warm enough to be drinking iced lattes.

3. proof of forever Proof of Forever – Lexa Hillyer. Sometimes I just want to reminisce about an amazing summer and this book is perfect for that, paired with a bonfire on the beach or a campfire at the cottage while sipping on a milkshake.

2. on the fence big On the Fence – Kasie West. Any Kasie West book is perfect for those nights when your skin is still on fire because you forgot sunscreen and you need a distraction. And read while drinking plenty of water(though mine is always fruit flavoured).

  1. harry potter Harry Potter – JK Rowling. Because Harry Potter is the perfect book for any occasion. Always.

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Weekly Reading Recap

14836299-stack-of-books-books-stacked

Watched Descendants 2 this weekend. So cute!

Currently reading: 15797848

Finished reading: RingerRise of the isle of the lostPoison Dark and DrowningLike Water

Reviewed: Click'dDramatically Ever After

What I’m hoping to get to next week: wintersongbecause-you-love-to-hate-me to read

Like WaterPoison Dark and Drowning to review

Books read it 2017: 118

Debut authors read in 2017: 27

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Top Ten Tuesday

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday was started by The Broke and the Bookish. Every Tuesday there’s a different topic. This week is the official Top Ten Tuesday is taking a break for a few weeks so I’m making one up. This week I’m doing a Top Ten Tuesday look back, where I go back and find all the Top Tens where I said I wanted to read certain books and see how I’ve done.

Top Ten books in the 2nd half of 2017: read: RoarBefore She IgnitesOne Dark ThroneWarcrosslucky-in-love. Haven’t read: reneagdesInto the Bright UnknownThe Color ProjectA Map for Wrecked Girls18336972. Results: 5/10 read

Top Ten Spring TBR: Read: Defy the StarsdreamfallLetters to the Lostflame-in-the-mistgentlemans-guideBad Romance. Haven’t read: alex-and-elizaAlways and Forever Lara Jeanthe-love-interestShadow Run. Results: 6/10 read

Top Ten 2017 debuts: Read: Caravalfrost bloodthe-hate-u-giveblood-rose-rebellionhidden-memory-of-objectsyoure-welcome-universea-list-of-cages. Haven’t read: wintersongempress-of-a-thousand-skiescold-summer. Results: 7/10 read

Top Ten in the 1st half of 2017: Read: Caravalthe-hate-u-givecarve-the-markstarfallblood-rose-rebellionupside-of-unrequitedflame-in-the-mist. Haven’t read: traitor-to-the-thronegiven to the seacourt. Results: 7/10 read.

Top Ten additions to TBR: Read: the-hate-u-givesmall-great-thingsinconceivable-life-of-quinnone-of-us-is-lyinga-list-of-cages. Haven’t read: alex-and-elizaa-million-junesdefinitions-of-indefinable-thingsbrave-new-girlcold-summer. Results: 5/10 read

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June Wrap-Up/July TBR

How did it get to be halfway through the year already?

June Wrap-Up:

Words in Deep Blue Words in Deep Blue – Cath Crowley. 3/5 stars. This was a really cute story with some angst. A good option for a summer read. I did find it a little predictable though.

Internet Famous Internet Famous – Danika Stone. 3.5/5 stars. Review. I loved how this one had some elements of All the Feels but showed the darker side of fandom.

lucky-in-love Lucky in Love – Kasie West. 4/5 stars. Review. Super cute but it is Kasie West so I expected that:)

Furthermore Furthermore – Tahereh Mafi. 3.5/5 stars. It was enjoyable but I did find I had a hard time getting into it. I think it was more me and the timing than the book. Will probably try re-reading to see if I can get more into it during the Fall.

Warcross Warcoss – Marie Lu. 4/5 stars. Review. I love Marie Lu and this book shows why. It’s addicting and has some amazing characters.

Our Broken Pieces Our Broken Pieces – Sarah White. 3/5 stars. It was a good read but the characters weren’t my favourite. I had a hard time relating to them

Dress Codes for Small Towns Dress Codes for Small Towns – Courtney C Stevens. 4/5 stars. Review. I love Courtney C Stevens. Saying this book was my least favourite of her three doesn’t mean it’s a bad book, just that I really loved the first two I read. This was more character driven and just friends hanging out and discovering who they were.

The Beautiful and the cursed The Beautiful and the Cursed – Page Morgan. 3.5/5 stars. I was really hoping to be blown away but I wasn’t. I had a hard time getting into this one as well.

Roar Roar – Cora Carmack. 4/5 stars. I enjoyed this one. The main girl was sassy, I liked the world that was created, and the supporting cast was great.

Dazzling Heights The Dazzling Heights – Katharine McGee. 4/5 stars. Review. This sucked me in just as much as the first one did. I can’t wait to see where this is going.

The Glass Spare The Glass Spare – Lauren DeStefano. 3.5/5 stars. Review. This one went to places I wasn’t expecting and I liked that. And amazing sibling bonds!

Frigid Frigid – Jennifer L Armentrout. 4/5 stars. Might not be my favourite by her but it was still great.

Genuine Fraud Genuine Fraud – E Lockhart. 3/5 stars. I had high hopes after We Were Liars but this one was very predictable.

This Darkness Mine This Darkness Mine – Mindy McGinnis. 4/5 stars. This seemed to be the month for reading books by favourite authors and being a little disappointed. This one was still great, loved the darkness and the characters, but not as great as The Female of the Species.

If there's no tomorrow If There’s No Tomorrow – Jennifer L Armentrout. 4/5 stars. Really enjoyed this one, especially the main character.

Laney big Laney – Joann I Martin Sowles. 3.5/5 stars. I was in the mood for some vampire and hadn’t read this series yet. It’s interesting so far.

Darkness Darkness – Joann I Martin Sowles. 3.5/5 stars. I was in the mood for some vampire and hadn’t read this series yet. It’s interesting so far.

July TBR:

One Dark ThroneBefore She IgnitesArt of FeelingEven the Darkest Stars

 

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Book Review: Warcross by Marie Lu

Warcross

Warcross

Release date: September 12th 2017

4 stars

For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. Needing to make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.
Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.

I have never played the kinds of games mentioned in this book, or even anything similar, so I was a little worried going in that it might be hard to lose myself in the story. But it’s Marie Lu and I’m pretty sure she could write any plot and have me get lost in her words and her story. The plot focused a lot on gaming and technology but it didn’t stray off into an area I, as a non-gamer, couldn’t understand. I enjoyed all the action of the game, the saboteur plot, and the dynamics between the team Emika was chosen to be on as a part of her cover in the Warcross Championships.

Emika was an amazing character. I loved how hard she fought even when it seemed like there was no hope. She refused to give up. She was protective, determined, and smart. She was a brilliant hacker, which helped her a lot of the time but also got her into trouble. Turned out glitching her way into the Warcross Championship was a good thing for her since it led to a job offer and we got to see her at her best, tracking down information on a threat to the Games. With the plot being very heavy on the Warcross game and the set-up to the Championships, Emika was really the only character to get a lot of development. We saw her go from someone who barely trusted anyone to opening up to her team and relying on people other than herself.

I’m excited to see how the supporting characters development in this series. I really liked Emika’s teammates in the Warcross Championships and hope we get to see a lot more of them. They didn’t have a whole lot of screentime(pagetime) but still made an impression. I also liked the flirty banter between Emika and Hideo. It should be interesting to see how all the relationships between these characters progress in the series.

The plot had a lot of action, fast-paced, but still detailed enough so that a non-gamer like me could understand the happenings of the game as they were playing it. It sounded like a cool game. The whole book felt like it would look fantastic on the big screen(if they didn’t ruin it). I ended up finishing this in under two days because I just didn’t want to put it down. I had so many theories and I needed to know if they were right. Plus with Marie Lu, I never want to stop reading until the book is finished.

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

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