Posted in Book Review

King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo

Read dates: September 9, 2019 – September 25, 2019
Publication date: January 29, 2019
Source: Owned hardback

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King of Scars1

5 cats

The war is over.
The Darkling is dead.
Alina is gone.
Nikolai is King of Ravka.

Though Nikolai’s family were all casualties of the Darkling’s hunger for power and the decimation of Os Alta, Nikolai is not alone at the palace. He has his commander, Zoya, and nearly the entire gang of Alina’s followers, the Triumvirate, at his side. But none of them are able to vanquish the darkness within him, left there by the Darkling’s evil soul before he died. Nikolai just wants to rule Ravka in a way that would give his people peace and freedom, but how can he do that when he lives with the beast inside who enjoys showing up unannounced and wreaking havoc on everything around him? How long will his companions stand by his side and risk their lives to rein the beast? Can Nikolai be a good king while this darkness looms within him?

Meanwhile, Nina is on a secret mission to gain intelligence for Ravka. But what she finds when she arrives to Fjerda is much worse than she could have ever imagined. Can she put her grieving aside to do what is necessary? Can she show the Fjerdans mercy as Matthias has always wished of her? Will she ever be able to forgive the entire race of Fjerdans for the shortcomings and loss in her life?

“Call me Grisha. Call me zowa. Call me death, if you like.”

First of all, let me start by saying, “WHAT THE WHAT?!”
Does Bardugo have a voodoo doll of me that she’s using as a pin cushion? Because that’s what it feels like.

What a ride that was. I’m still reeling. So many unanswered questions and new revelations to chew on until the second book comes out WHENEVER THAT MAY BE.
Dear lord… how am I going to make it? I’ll tell ya how… I’m NOT. I can’t wait that long! I need to know the answers to my questions! I need to know what’s going to happen now that… those… things… have happened! Ughh…

So, the book starts off strong with the story of a boy named Dima. He is the youngest of his brothers and is sent out one night to close the barn doors as it seems the wind has blown them open. The boy is terrified but he wishes to earn the respect of his older brothers so he braves the storm and sets out. When he gets to the barn, he is met with a winged beast and narrowly escapes disaster when a beautiful grisha steps in to capture the beast. I loved reading this beginning piece. It sort of set the eerie mood of the book and amped you up for what was to come so I thought it was definitely worth mentioning.

“We are all connected, King Nikolai. The Grisha, the Fold, the power inside you. The Fold is a wound that may never heal. But perhaps it was not meant to.”

The rest of the story is told primarily through three perspectives. Nikolai, Zoya, and Nina. That’s right. Nina is BACK. We learn a lot about the origins of Nikolai and Zoya in this story and Nina’s tale continues and nearly brought me to tears a few times. Nikolai is battling the beast within him. Zoya is battling her past. Nina is battling the future and moving on with her life after the end of Crooked Kingdom.

Though the Darkling is dead, he’s left his mark on the world. Strange things begin to happen and a monk appears claiming to be one of the people in charge of the Cult of the Starless. A group who ultimately worship the Darkling and wish him to be seen as a saint. He wishes to officially make the Darkling a saint with the help of the Apparat (gag me with a spoon) and King Nikolai. Now Nikolai and Zoya must figure out if the monk’s ramblings are just that or if there is some truth to the Darkling’s soul living on in the fold after his death. But there’s only one way to find out! That’s right! Go to the fold!! We’re on an adventure!! Honestly, this entire book is an adventure. Nikolai and Zoya are on an adventure, Nina is on an adventure with Leoni and Adrik. It’s just chock-full of adventure and I LOVE IT.

I will never be ready for the Grishaverse to come to an end. I’ve so enjoyed the world building and the character building and the constant changes and revelations the characters go through. I don’t think I will ever tire of reading about the Grisha. I even love the characters who aren’t Grisha. I wish I could say I had favorites but I really pretty much love them all!

I will say I really hope the next book doesn’t turn into a love triangle. I don’t know if my heart can take it and it would honestly just be a little weird but they sort of alluded to a future love triangle at the end of this book.

Also, JUST LOOK AT THAT COVER!

Bottom line: this book was everything a book should be. It kept my attention, it kept me guessing, it had me attached to the characters, and it had me hating life while I was too busy to pick it up and continue on to find out what happened next.

I was eager to read this book even before I got into the Grishaverse. When I read the synopsis on Goodreads, I was thinking to myself, “Oh this is going to be gooooood.” But then I did a little more research and found that there were quite a few books ahead of this one so I decided to do the right thing and start at the beginning.
I can tell you, my anticipation for this book did not go to waste. This book scratched the YA/fantasy itch I’ve been dealing with for some time now. Once again, Bardugo gives us multiple POVs and delivers them seamlessly. I’m still in awe of how she’s able to pace a book with multiple POVs and it not be a jumbled mess. She’s become one of my all-time favorite authors and I can’t wait to read Ninth House while I wait to read the fate of King Nikolai and his ruthless and powerful commander, Zoya, and the girl who became one of my favorite characters during Crooked Kingdom, Nina.

A few honorable mentions that I can’t leave out:

The story about Dominik and young Nikolai. Ughhh

“This country gets you in the end, brother. Don’t forget it.”
“Not us,” he said. But Dominik was already gone. “I’ll do better,” Nikolai promised, just as he had so many years ago in Mitkin’s classroom. “I’ll find a way.”

The story about Zoya’s past and the way the dragon (that’s right, there’s a dragon) cares for her. UGHHHHHH

“Stop punishing yourself for being someone with a heart. You cannot protect yourself from suffering. To live is to grieve. You are not protecting yourself by shutting yourself off from the world. You are limiting yourself…”
“Zoya of the lost city. Zoya of the garden. Zoya bleeding in the snow. You are strong enough to survive the fall.”

The part where Nina breaks down in front of Hanne talking about her “husband” and how he loved her and she loved him. WAHHHHHH

“Have you always been this sure of yourself?”
Nina shrugged. “Yes.”
“And your husband didn’t complain?”
“He complained,” Nina said – and suddenly she had to look away, because it was not some fictional merchant who had come to mind but Matthias with his strict propriety and his disapproving glower and his loving, generous heart. “He complained all the time.”
“Was he quick to anger?” Hanne asked.
Nina shook her head and pressed her palms to her eyes, unable to stop the tears that came, not wanting to… “No. We didn’t always agree.” She smiled. “In fact, we almost never agreed. But he loved me. And I loved him.”

Keri

Posted in Monthly Wrap-Ups

August Wrap-Up

August Stats
Number of Books Read: 2
Pages Read: 817
Average Rating: 4.5
Favorite Book of the Month: The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic by Leigh Bardugo
Current Progress Made Towards Yearly Reading Challenge: 40 of 50

Only two books this month! Ouch!

Between moving and getting our lives back in order (and sleeping a lot), I haven’t had much time to sit and really read. Hoping that will be changing now that we’re settled!

I turned 28 this month, so I’m that much closer to 30… I can feel that in my elbows, knees, hips, and back…

I’ve got one more book in the Grishaverse to read and then I’ll be all caught up! It’s the one I’ve been waiting all this time for! Nikolai’s book. *swoons*

I’m also going to try and fit in Shadow and Ice by Gena Showalter since my best friend read it already and has been waiting to talk about it!

I’m anxiously awaiting the Grishaverse’s screen debut on Netflix! They can drop a premiere date annnnyyyy day now.

Not a very eventful month where books are concerned for me. Hoping to change that in September!

♥♥♥

Keri

Posted in Book Review

You Have to Believe Me by Sunday Tomassetti

Read Dates: August 27, 2019 – September 4, 2019
Expected Publication Date: September 19, 2019
Source: eARC via Ardent Prose PR

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You Have To Believe Me2

5 cats

Dove is lost. She’s recently lost her husband, Ian, whom she believed to be her one and only, her true love. She didn’t just lose him, she lost him to her best friend Kirsten Best. But soon, they both lose him when he’s murdered and left with no DNA leads for the police to go on. Kirsten suspects Dove, Dove suspects everyone… but both women are determined to get to the bottom of what really happened to Ian.

WHAT A ROLLER COASTER!

So I was invited to read this eARC in exchange for an honest review, and upon going to the Goodreads page to read the synopsis, I was 100% in. Not to mention, the publisher mentioned the book would have a “Minka Kent” feel to it. I discovered Minka last year and was IN LOVE. So, naturally, I was more than willing to give this book a go.
Soon after receiving the eARC, I found that this book was written BY MINKA KENT under the pseudonym Sunday Tomassetti. And that could explain why I was so absolutely taken by this book.

Kent\Tomassetti has a way of fashioning a story around multiple characters and then smoothly delivering the meat of a story in a way that keeps you going and guessing until she reaches the end and she gathers up all those characters you read about throughout the novel and brings them together to show you how their stories intertwine. I LOVE the way she tells a story.

So naturally, I was drawn in from page one of this book. I was never bored. I felt like an armchair detective right along with Dove. Over analyzing everything and writing things down that I thought may be important later on. Little did I know, nothing I was over examining would matter when it came down to who the actual killer was. Because in true Kent fashion, I was given all of these different characters stories to explore and break down that caused me to look in all the wrong places. I LOVED IT.

At first I was thinking Dove was going to be similar to Rachel from The Girl on the Train. A woman gone mad when her husband and her “perfect life” leave her for some other “better” woman. But Dove was so much more than that. I came to really enjoy Dove’s character a lot. The way she didn’t single any one person out… she was always weary of everyone. No matter how long she’d known them or what reasons they lacked to kill her ex husband, she suspected EVERYONE. So looking at the story from her perspective was always enjoyable as she would puzzle out all these possibilities and ridiculous theories behind why a certain person would have been involved.

Kirsten was fun to read as well. I didn’t enjoy her in the beginning. I was kind of in Dove’s corner from the start. Especially since Kirsten was Dove’s best friend before Kirsten began dating her ex husband. I had no sympathy for Kirsten as she sat alone at Ian’s funeral and watched Dove with Ian’s family. But I did come to enjoy Kirsten’s chapters as most of the twists in this book were revealed in her chapters. Not to mention, the things that were happening in Kirsten’s life seemed significant to me… and it turned out they were.

There were multiple supporting characters in the story which was a lot of fun to examine. When I read a mystery with so many characters, I always find myself questioning every last one of them as Dove does in the story. We have Noah, Dove’s boss and friend. Ari, Dove’s co-worker and friend. Michael and Lori, Ian’s parents. David Hobbs, Kirsten’s neighbor who becomes her only friend. There are also some other characters who show up in the story for the sake of finding new information in relation to Ian’s murder. I broke them all down. Every last one of them. But I did NOT see the end coming. I thought I had the killer figured out and also the motive behind the killing, and while I was close, I was wrong.

This book was so amazing and really goes to show that you can “know” a person for most of your life… but do you ever truly KNOW them and know everything they’re capable of?

I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good mystery/who dun’it type novel. Minka Kent, Sunday Tomassetti, it doesn’t matter what name she writes under, I’m going to be reading everything this woman pens.

Keri

Posted in Book Review

The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic

Read Dates: August 20, 2019 – August 26, 2019
Publication date: September 26, 2017
Source: Owned hardback

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The Language of Thorns2.png

5 cats

Leigh Bardugo has bamboozled me again!
This time it’s with a collection of short stories passed down through generations in different villages spread across the lands of the Grishaverse. Novya Zem, Ravka, Kerch, and Fjerdan stories that absolutely set my soul alight. They were clever and they were beautiful and they were shocking and I LOVED THEM.

Let’s get into it.

Ayama and the Thorn Wood
A queen gives birth to a terrible wolf child and the king banishes it to a maze. However, one day the wolf escapes and chaos ensues over the Zemeni lands. Herds of cattle are attacked and human bones are piled up for the townspeople to see… So the king calls for someone to bargain with the beast in exchange for riches. Ayama, urged by her grandmother, volunteers and sets out to find the beast in the thorn wood. The beast requires a story. One that will not bore him and should Ayama succeed in holding his attention, he will agree to leave the village be.

This story was so magical and enchanting. I loved Ayama from the beginning and I loved where the story took her character. There’s a lesson to be learned from this story and also just the pure beauty of the ending this story gives us.

The Too-Clever Fox
A story of a fox born as the runt of his litter who is able to outwit any other creature, freeing himself from life threatening situations. Until one day the fox befriends a famous hunter’s sister in order to find out how the hunter is able to hunt so quietly and fiercely.

I saw the ending coming but it didn’t take away from the story at all. I still felt the shock that the author intended and was on the edge of my seat as the fox had to, once again, wiggle his way from a dire situation. Another lesson, and another entrancing story.

The Witch of Duva
Girls are going missing in the village.
Nadya and Havel live with their grieving father who has just lost his wife, their mother. When a woman named Karina comes into their lives and seems to only want the children to leave she and their father be. Havel goes off the the war but Nadya remains and wanders off one day into the woods to escape her overbearing and hateful stepmother. She becomes lost and finds the shack of a witch who she stays with for a time learning to make potions and meals. But Nadya could’ve never prepared herself for the truths the witch comes to reveal to her.

At the end of this story, in my notes, I wrote the word “WOW”. And that’s honestly the best explanation I can give you for how I felt about this story. This one actually DID have me fooled and then when all was revealed, I was in SHOCK. This story was so wonderful, and yet so chilling… Two of my favorite things.

Little Knife
This is the story of Yeva, a duke’s daughter who is so beautiful that no one can look upon her without going mad. Every man wishes to win her favor and wed her. But the greedy duke sets a task for all the men who wish to have her hand in marriage. The duke creates challenges that he believes only the prince has the resources to win, as the duke wishes his daughter to be married to the prince so that they can be rich and live a wealthy life. Semyon is a poor, penniless man who wishes to marry the beautiful Yeva and, as luck would have it, has the favor of the river who he named “Little Knife”. The river helps him win every challenge to win the beautiful Yeva, but at what price?

This story was my least favorite of all the stories in this book but I still liked it! It seemed, thus far, that all of these stories were here to teach you a moral. Stories grandmothers and mothers told their children before bed at night to keep them honest and well-behaved. This story was fun and I loved the ending but it just wasn’t my favorite… (We’ll get to that one.)

The Soldier Prince
The Clocksmith is a creepy, isolated man who decides it would be in his best interest to marry into money so he can live a comfortable life. So the Clocksmith sets his sights on Clara, the daughter of a wealthy couple whom he befriends. He attends parties at their home, bringing his magical trinkets to woo the other party goers. To win the favor of Clara, he crafts her a nutcracker doll. He enchants the doll so that he can learn all of Clara’s secrets, wishes and dreams. Clara becomes so attached to the nutcracker that her family worries for her and wishes for her to become more social with real people. Only Clara, the nutcracker, and the Clocksmith know the true nature of the doll and just what Clara can have the doll become with just a few simple words spoken to it.

This one was FASCINATING. The spin the author put on this story was amazing! Toy Story meets Peter Pan? Something like that. Anyway, it was wonderful. But… still not my favorite.

When Water Sang Fire
Ulla and Signy are mermaids who, when their voices combine, can create magic unlike anything anyone has ever seen. The two are invited to accompany the princes to the surface where they will use magic to grow legs and live among the King and Queen for three months until they can find a suitable gift to bring their King. Each prince must present their King with a gift from the mortal world. The King will decide which price will become King based on the gifts he receives. Ulla and Signy are swept into court life by the youngest price, Roffe, who takes an interest in the two and their magic. But Roffe is willing to go to great lengths to present his father with the best gift and become King… and he may end up pulling Ulla and Signy into something sinister that they could never hope to recover from.

Welcome to my favorite story in the book!! THIS STORY WAS EVERYTHING. I admit, I do have a soft spot for the mermaid stories. Once I read the REAL “Little Mermaid” story, I was obsessed. I loved the dark side of it and this story gave me just that. BUT BETTER. That ending! I was breathless. Speechless. I wanted MORE. Dear lord, Leigh, please give me a book about Ulla? Please?

Honestly, guys, Leigh Bardugo is holding my heart in her hands. I’ve been making my way through the Grishaverse one book at a time and all I have left now is King of Scars. (And then the one that comes after that which I would LOVE to have a release date for…) I don’t ever want her books to end. I absolutely adore Bardugo and everything she’s done up to this point. If you aren’t interested in reading any of the Grishaverse books, at least pick up The Language of Thorns. It has nothing to do with any of the characters or stories from the Grishaverse but the stories within it are so beautifully constructed and I HIGHLY recommend them to ANYONE who just enjoys a good fairy tale. I LOVED this book and I’m quite sure I’ll be reading it again and again.

Keri

Posted in Book Review

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

Read Dates: July 23, 2019 – August 19, 2019
Publication date: September 27, 2016
Source: Owned paperback

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4 cats

Welcome to the world of the Grisha.

Kaz Brekker and his crew of deadly outcasts have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives.

Double-crossed and badly weakened, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz’s cunning and test the team’s fragile loyalties.

A war will be waged on the city’s dark and twisting streets – a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of the Grisha world.

“Why do you guys say that?, anyway? No mourners, no funerals? Why not just say good luck or be safe?
“We like to keep our expectations low.”

Once again, I am left in a tizzy over one of Bardugo’s books to the point where I can’t write my own dang synopsis. She keeps doing this to me.

I have to say, this book was nothing like what I expected. This book wasn’t about ONE plot… there were so many different things going on and the gang had to pull off MULTIPLE different jobs to reach the endgame.

It was suspenseful, it was daring, it was unexpected…
I was a mess reading this book.

Dear lord, how do I talk about this book without spoiling anything!?

That’s the problem with Ketterdam, Jesper thought as they stumbled uncertainly through the dark. Trusting the wrong person can get you killed.

The gang is back but nothing is resolved. They pulled off an impossible heist in Six of Crows, but the book left us with more issues for the gang to deal with. A member of the gang is kidnapped and held hostage, tortured for information. Someone they thought they could trust has betrayed them. They learn that you can’t trust just anyone… maybe not even each other. But they all have a common goal in this book. So they all band back together to achieve another job that leads to another job that leads to each individual character’s end goal.

It’s not often you find a book with more than two main characters where you can connect with them all and develop feelings for them all. But this book did it. Of course, there were some characters that I worried about or wanted to read more than others but I never found myself not wanting to read one of the character’s chapters. The story flowed so well in how it was told through multiple characters. I think it’s so beautiful when an author can achieve such a thing and not get story lines or plots all mixed up and out of order. Bardugo KILLED IT. Seriously.

No mourners, no funerals. Another way of saying good luck. But it was something more. A dark wink to the fact that there would be no expensive burials for people like them, no marble markers to remember their names, no wreaths of myrtle and rose.

This book hit so hard. It left no room for perfectly happy endings. In the back of your mind, you know a story like this has to have a little heartache. They’re thieves and smugglers for heaven’s sake. No band of thieves can go this long without losing someone or facing some sort of tragedy.

But the tragedy I got with this book was THE WORST POSSIBLE THING THAT EVER COULD HAVE HAPPENED. I was SHOOK. I was in TEARS. Ughh. I don’t even want to talk about it. Unless you’ve read the book. Throw me a message and lets talk about how TERRIBLE that part near the end was. I’m still not okay.

I have to talk about the relationships in this book as well. I can’t not talk about them… because they were beautiful. The friendship between Inej and Nina was just as wonderful as it was in Six of Crows. The relationship between Nina and Matthias is still changing and growing from the last book and I was thoroughly obsessed with it all the way to the end. I connected with Jesper a little more this time since we got to learn a little more about his backstory. His relationship with Wylan is so much fun. The banter they throw back and forth was a blast. I also enjoyed Kaz and Jesper, though Kaz was a jerk for most of the book, I saw right through him and understood how much he thought of Jesper even though he wouldn’t come right out and say it. Then there was the Kaz and Inej relationship… ugh… just ugh. I felt all the emotions with all the characters. They all went through their own issues and they had someone from the group to help them through it. Then there was the fact that they all had each other. Every single one of them. They became a family.

I loved the plug of characters from the Shadow and Bone series. I felt like I was in on a secret the entire time as to who these characters were. I loved knowing something that the other characters didn’t know. So that was fun. I also loved the references to the Saint Alina, who is also from the Shadow and Bone series. It was super cool and incredibly satisfying to get to see how the rest of the world is faring after what happened in Alina’s story.

At this point, there won’t be a single Bardugo book that I don’t go after. She’s made her case and I’m here for it. Whatever she writes, I’ll read. I’m her ride or die at this point. She’s created such a cool universe and I’ve enjoyed every angle she’s taken in it. Next up will be Nikolai’s story. I’ve been so excited for his book since I read the very first Grishaverse book. I can’t wait to see where she takes his character and his story line.

At last, Sturmhond straightened the lapels of his teal frock coat and said, “Well Brekker, it’s obvious you only deal in half-truths and outright lies, so you’re clearly the man for the job.”

Keri

Posted in Let's Talk About

Let’s Talk About: Artists

Let’s take a moment to appreciate artists, ladies and gentlemen…

We look at books all the time and think to ourselves how beautiful the cover looks, and that cover makes us want to read that book. There are people behind that cover. There are artists who create those covers. They envision something and then it becomes a reality one brush/pencil/pen/crayon/chalk stroke at a time. They take an author’s imagination, mesh it with their own, and a beautiful cover is born.

But we’re not just talking about the artists behind the cover porn we all love to oogle at, we’re talking about the artists who create the meat of the book. The people who take a moment to read the book and choose a font that fits the contents and feelings of the book. We’re talking about the people who edit the words to fit just so on the page so that it’s aesthetically pleasing to the eye. The margins, the spaces, the attention to breaks in words and how a paragraph flows from one page to another. There are people behind those little things that make a book so easy to read.

I have a friend who is a graphic designer and she recently told me about “rivers”. I had no idea this was a thing but when she began explaining it to me, I knew exactly what she was talking about. “Rivers” are those ridiculous spaces between words. It’s when it looks like the author has typed three spaces between certain words and it’s so distracting! It was at this point that I realized, there are so many elements of a book that begin and end with an artist. An artist who can tell you the technical terms for all of these types of layouts and styles.

Birthday Photo
Here’s a picture that same friend drew me for my birthday. It’s my favorite birthday card EVER.

I’m mentioning these things because these are all things most book readers take for granted. These are things most people don’t know by name. These are things we EXPECT from a book. We expect the book to have the proper grammar, a great cover, and for the lines of the book to be even and to flow well. What we don’t realize, is there are people who work to make that happen. There are people who sit for hours going through a 600-page book to ensure that each page is properly aligned. If not for these people, books would be a mess. Think of all the books that came out before the technology to make these alignings and layouts possible. I think this is why so many people shy away from old books and claim they’re too hard to read. It’s because these wonderful designers weren’t running around in abundance to make our books look and FEEL better to read.

So, this is for you artists and designers out there. Maybe you’re getting the appreciation you deserve and that’s wonderful. But I fear that a lot of you may not be getting the praise you’ve earned. This is for all of you. Some of us see you. We always have. We’ve always felt our eyes drawn to the margins of your perfect pages. We’ve always noticed how the font seems to fit the genre of the book we’re reading and how it adds to the feelings we have for the words on those pages. We see you. I see you. You are the very spine of the books we read. You are appreciated, and I hope you never stop designing because you are wonderful at it and you are making such a huge difference in the lives of readers whether they realize it or not.

SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL ARTISTS. Remind them how wonderful they are. Something as simple as going on to their social media page and giving their work a like. Tell them why you love it. When you see a picture that moves you, take a moment to realize that there’s an artist behind that picture who felt the same as you about it as they were creating it.

Let’s give a round of applause to the designers and artists of the world. The world is theirs, we just live in it. And what a beautiful world they’ve created for us.
🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤

Keri

Posted in Monthly Wrap-Ups

July Wrap-Up

July Stats
Number of Books Read: 4
Pages Read: 1,680
Average Rating: 3.5
Favorite Book of the Month: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Least Favorite Book of the Month: Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
Current Progress Made Towards Yearly Reading Challenge: 37 of 50

Good lord guys, I am soooo late.
Better late than never, right?

So July was hectic. We started packing up our apartment, so every moment that I wasn’t at work or packing, I was being completely worthless and sitting on the couch watching Regular Show.

When I did read, it was a Leigh Bardugo novel. I’ve been on a journey with her books and I realllllly wanted to finish her Grishaverse by the end of July but that didn’t happen. In my defense, I got really close! I’m about halfway through Crooked Kingdom and after that will come King of Scars! I can’t wait to read Nikolai’s book.

So far these books have been really good. They’ve kept me thoroughly entertained and I’ve enjoyed reading Crooked Kingdom in August and seeing all the references to the characters from the Shadow and Bone trilogy.

The only reason I listed Siege and Storm as my least favorite book of the month is because it’s the second book of the series and those are always the worst. It’s when characters hit the lowest of their lows and it usually contains a frustrating strained relationship between main characters. I’ve always hated second books in trilogies.

I absolutely panicked when I realized I started with the wrong Bardugo novel… I started with Six of Crows because I saw so much hype surrounding it and totally missed the fact that there was trilogy that came before. But I think the way I read them was kind of perfect. Six of Crows set up the world for me just enough to where I knew what was going on when I started Shadow and Bone. I feel like I may have followed it a little easier because of that. There aren’t many references to the characters from the Shadow and Bone series in Six of Crows so it wasn’t too detrimental to the reading experience.

I’m excited to get into the last bit of Crooked Kingdom and also to finally get to read Nikolai’s book. I’m writing to you now from the love seat in my parents living room! We are finishing up moving tomorrow so things will be a lot more settled after that.

I only have one honorable mention for the month and that is…
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This movie hits theaters October 18, 2019 and I am BESIDE MYSELF. I can’t wait to go see this. It looks like it may be a bit cheesy but I’m willing to bet I’m going to absolutely love it.

Hoping to read a lot more books in August! (I always say this… let’s see if I actually do it this time…)

Shout out to my parents, aunt and uncle, and my in-laws for helping us move and get settled. The process has been a lot easier with so many people helping us and cheering us on.

Keri