Monday, April 12, 2021

Review: The Last Watch by J.S. Dewes

The Last Watch (The Divide, #1)

The Last Watch by J.S. Dewes
Tor Books
Publication Date: April 20th, 2021
Paperback. 480 pages.
About The Last Watch:

"The Divide.
It’s the edge of the universe.
Now it’s collapsing—and taking everyone and everything with it.
The only ones who can stop it are the Sentinels—the recruits, exiles, and court-martialed dregs of the military.
At the Divide, Adequin Rake, commanding the Argus, has no resources, no comms—nothing, except for the soldiers that no one wanted.
They're humanity's only chance."

The Last Watch is a fast-paced and thrilling space adventure that is full of heart and excitement at every corner. This was a hugely enjoyable 

The story kicks off when Cavalon Mercer is sent to the Argus, a spaceship commanded by Adequin Rake, set essentially at the edge of the galaxy near what's known as the Divide. The Divide, however, has started to collapse, which would quite literally mean the end of humanity as we know it, and this is where all of the problems seem to begin. As the story continues on with Cav and Rake, we begin to slowly unravel more and more about the world-building--which was executed brilliantly and in an incredibly captivating manner--and some secrets that are infested within the governmental structure of the world itself and that Cav and Rake are intricately woven into.

The entire premise of The Last Watch is fascinating, but I think what really set this book apart and made it such an exceptionally enjoyable read for me were the characters. Cav and Rake are the two perspectives we switch between and I found myself so connected to them and involved in their roles. Cavalon appears to be a bit of a troublemaker (and smartass), but in reality he's sort of a sweet, pure of heart person just trying to find their way in the world. He hasn't had a great time of late, which is how he ended up on the Argus with the rest of the unwanted and troublemaking soldiers, but it's where he finally begins to discover his worth and contribute to something he never could have expected. His humor and personality really helped make this book such an enjoyable read, and it also made it feel relatable and comforting in a way--I think we could all relate to Cav for one reason or another.

Rake appears as the opposite of Cav--strict where he's more seemingly nonchalant, obedient where he is often always looking for bends in the rules. At heart, however, Rake is just trying to do her best to be the best commander she can be while protecting her soldiers and taking care of her duties on the Argus, all while trying to keep her heart in check. Cav and Rake make an extremely unlikely friendship, but it's also the best dynamic and slow build of trust and affection that I've seen in a while. 

There are many other characters accompanying Cav and Rake on this journey and all of them are equally well-developed and bring some special to the story. I really found myself caring about all of the characters, no matter how big or small their role was. I liked seeing how all the different roles worked together under stress, how everyone handled things and knew when it was time to do whatever it would take to survive, even if the option at hand wasn't exactly going to be popular. 

There are times when the sci-fi aspects got a bit confusing when explained, or when some of the background and world-building was a bit too much, but for some reason it really didn't bother me. I loved reading about everything, even if I didn't fully understand it, if that makes any sense.

Overall, I've given The Last Watch five stars because I really can't think of anything I didn't enjoy. I enjoyed the heck out of this book and am already impatient for the sequel. This was an adventure full of fear, hope, humor, heart, and a bunch of great personalities that made everything go down easier.

 *I received a copy of The Last Watch courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*  

Buy the book: Amazon | IndieBound

Friday, April 9, 2021

The Friday Face-Off: Cartoonish/Graphic



Friday Face Off New
Welcome to The Friday Face-Off, a weekly meme at Books by Proxy. Join us every Friday as we pit cover against cover, and publisher against publisher, to find the best artwork in our literary universe. You can find a list of upcoming topics at Lynn's Books.

This week's topic is:

 This week ended up being a bit trickier than I expected! I decided to collect a variety of covers from different books that I thought looked like they could immediately start moving and become a cartoon. I'm not sure which would actually be considered "cartoonish/graphic," but this is just how I am interpreting it, I guess. :) There's a bit of a mix of middle grade, YA, and adult, so that was fun to find. Let's take a look at some of them!
The Magnolia Sword: A Ballad of MulanMaster Assassins (The Fire Sacraments, #1)The Entirely True Story of the Unbelievable FIB
2019 US Hardcover | 2018 US Hardcover | 2015 US Hardcover

Over the Underworld (The Unbelievable FIB, #2)The Wishing Spell (The Land of Stories, #1)Gods of Jade and Shadow
2016 US Hardcover | 2012 US Hardcover | 2019 US Hardcover

To the Bright Edge of the WorldThe Secret KeepersThe Adventurer's Guide to Successful Escapes
2017 US Paperback | 2016 US Hardcover | 2016 US Hardcover

My choice(s):
Gods of Jade and ShadowThe Secret KeepersTo the Bright Edge of the World
I actually really like a lot of these, especially since they are so colorful! These three just tend to jump out at me the most and I am particularly fond of them, so I suppose I'll pick these three as my favorites. :) 

What cover(s) do you like the most!?

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Review: The Light of the Midnight Stars by Rena Rossner

The Light of the Midnight Stars
 by Rena Rossner

Publication Date: April 13th, 2021
Hardcover. 432 pages.
About The Light of the Midnight Stars:

"An evocative combination of fantasy, history, and Jewish folklore, The Light of the Midnight Stars is fairytale-inspired novel from the author of The Sisters of the Winter Wood. 

Deep in the Hungarian woods, the sacred magic of King Solomon lives on in his descendants. Gathering under the midnight stars, they pray, sing and perform small miracles - and none are more gifted than the great Rabbi Isaac and his three daughters. Each one is blessed with a unique talent - whether it be coaxing plants to grow, or predicting the future by reading the path of the stars. 

When a fateful decision to help an outsider ends in an accusation of witchcraft, fire blazes through their village. Rabbi Isaac and his family are forced to flee, to abandon their magic and settle into a new way of life. But a dark fog is making its way across Europe and will, in the end, reach even those who thought they could run from it. Each of the sisters will have to make a choice - and change the future of their family forever."

The Light of the Midnight Stars is a beautiful and  meaningful story that I didn't expect to love as much as I did. It's a difficult story that is full of loss, displacement, sorrow, but it's also filled with hope, family, beauty, magic, and love. 

This story follows the three sisters Hannah, Sarah, and Levana and we get perspectives from all three of them. Hannah is the eldest and has a closeness with nature that comes out in a magic that helps things grow; Sarah is the middle daughter and is probably the most outspoken of all the daughters; Levana is of course the youngest and is the most devout of the three who also finds herself most captivated by the stars up above, which plays strongly into her own story later on. I really enjoyed all three of these POVs and found each story equally compelling--and equally devastating at times. This story hurt my heart a lot because everything these three sisters went through was so difficult and heartbreaking, but their courage throughout was also really inspiring and hopeful. 

The entire family is forced to flee their home at one point, and this is also when a large plot point occurs involving displacement and major identity struggles. I can't really say more about that because of spoilers, but I found this entire plot development a really interesting choice that sort of took me a little while to fully understand (no joke, I definitely felt entirely confused for a couple minutes after a certain plot shift and had no idea what was happening). This might be completely obvious to most people, but I was pretty jarred by the shift--but it wasn't a bad jarring, if that makes any sense. I really enjoyed how Rossner chose to play with the story and its narrative to fully convey just how impacting and poignant their need to flee because of who they were was. 

Rossner has a very poetic prose and is able to convey plot points and character developments through even just the style of her prose, which is hard to describe without simply showing it in the books. Her writing is very flowing and there's a weird level of detachment at times that I think could throw some people off, but that I found worked really well with the flow of the story and the narrative itself. 

The thing that most stood out to me about this book was the timeless feel it had. You know how when you read old classics or books of folktales and they just that special ability to fit into any time period? They don't feel exceptionally old, but they are full of wisdom and mature writing; but they also don't feel exceptionally modern? That's how this book felt to me, and I mean that as the highest compliment (in case my poor attempts to convey my meaning don't make sense). This messages are so important and fitting for all  times, and the characters also felt as though anyone could connect with them for at least one reason. 

Rossner's books always feel as though they have so much heart and that they really come from a personal place. Her bio states that "her grandparents and great grandparents immigrated to the USA from Hungary, Romania, Russia, Ukraine, and Moldova - their stories, together with her love of Jewish mythology and fantasy, inspire her work," and I feel as though that really comes through in her work. This is more than Rossner just telling a story, this is her sharing something personal and meaningful with her readers, and I really appreciate that. 

Overall, it was an easy five stars from me for The Light of the Midnight Stars! I was captivated by this enchanting story and highly recommend it. If you read The Sisters of the Winter Wood and are now hesitant to try this one, I'd encourage you to give this one a shot still--I think you might enjoy it more!

 *I received a copy of The Light of the Midnight Stars courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.* 

Buy the book: Amazon | IndieBound

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Can't-Wait Wednesday: The Shadow of the Gods by John Gwynne, Black Water Sister by Zen Cho, & The Blacktongue Thief by Christopher Buehlman

Can't-Wait is a weekly meme hosted by Wishful Endings that spotlights exciting upcoming releases that we can't wait to be released! This meme is based off of Jill @ Breaking the Spine's Waiting on Wednesday meme.
May is packed with releases, which means we are once again going to be featuring three books each week for Can't-Wait Wednesday because one or two are simply not enough. :)

This week's upcoming book spotlights are: 
The Shadow of the Gods (The Bloodsworn Saga, #1)
The Shadow of the Gods by John Gwynne
Publication: May 6th, 2021
Paperback. 505 pages.
Pre-order: AmazonIndieBound

"Set in a brand-new, Norse-inspired world, and packed with myth, magic and bloody vengeance, The Shadow of the Gods begins an epic new fantasy saga from bestselling author John Gwynne.
After the gods warred and drove themselves to extinction, the cataclysm of their fall shattered the land of Vigrið.
Now a new world is rising, where power-hungry jarls feud and monsters stalk the woods and mountains. A world where the bones of the dead gods still hold great power for those brave - or desperate - enough to seek them out.
Now, as whispers of war echo across the mountains and fjords, fate follows in the footsteps of three people: a huntress on a dangerous quest, a noblewoman who has rejected privilege in pursuit of battle fame, and a thrall who seeks vengeance among the famed mercenaries known as the Bloodsworn.
All three will shape the fate of the world as it once more falls under the shadow of the gods . . . "
I actually just finished an ARC of this one a couple days and oh man, guys, if the setting/premise at all captures your attention then you must pick it up! It was so riveting and well-written, I plan to have a review up closer to release, but quick spoiler.. it was a five star read for me! Can't wait to see the finalized copy--isn't that cover amazing?

Black Water Sister
Black Water Sister by Zen Cho
Publication: May 11th, 2021
Ace Books
Hardcover. 384 pages.
Pre-order: AmazonIndieBound

"A reluctant medium discovers the ties that bind can unleash a dangerous power in this compelling Malaysian-set contemporary fantasy.
Jessamyn Teoh is closeted, broke and moving back to Malaysia, a country she left when she was a toddler. So when Jess starts hearing voices, she chalks it up to stress. But there's only one voice in her head, and it claims to be the ghost of her estranged grandmother, Ah Ma. In life Ah Ma was a spirit medium, the avatar of a mysterious deity called the Black Water Sister. Now she's determined to settle a score against a gang boss who has offended the god--and she's decided Jess is going to help her do it.
Drawn into a world of gods, ghosts, and family secrets, Jess finds that making deals with capricious spirits is a dangerous business. As Jess fights for retribution for Ah Ma, she'll also need to regain control of her body and destiny. If she fails, the Black Water Sister may finish her off for good. "
This has such an interesting premise, and something about the phrase "drawn into a world of gods, ghosts, and family secrets" just makes me really excited. Can't wait to check this one out!

The Blacktongue Thief (Blacktongue, #1)
The Blacktongue Thief by Christopher Buehlman
Publication: May 25th, 2021
Tor Books
Hardcover. 416 pages.
Pre-order: AmazonIndieBound

"Kinch Na Shannack owes the Takers Guild a small fortune for his education as a thief, which includes (but is not limited to) lock-picking, knife-fighting, wall-scaling, fall-breaking, lie-weaving, trap-making, plus a few small magics. His debt has driven him to lie in wait by the old forest road, planning to rob the next traveler that crosses his path.
But today, Kinch Na Shannack has picked the wrong mark.
Galva is a knight, a survivor of the brutal goblin wars, and handmaiden of the goddess of death. She is searching for her queen, missing since a distant northern city fell to giants.
Unsuccessful in his robbery and lucky to escape with his life, Kinch now finds his fate entangled with Galva's. Common enemies and uncommon dangers force thief and knight on an epic journey where goblins hunger for human flesh, krakens hunt in dark waters, and honor is a luxury few can afford. "
I've been intrigued by The Blacktongue Thief ever since I saw it a while back, but lately I have just been seeing so many positive reviews and raves for it that I am now really hoping to have a chance to pick it up!

What do you think about these upcoming releases? What are your anticipated upcoming releases?

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Top Ten Tuesday: Books You Might Find Near the Ocean (?)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly book blog meme now hosted by Jana over at The Artsy Reader Girl!

This week's topic is:  Books I'd Love to Throw in the Ocean Books You Might Find NEar the Ocean (?)

 The original topic is 'books I'd love to throw in the ocean,' but frankly I don't really want to throw any books in the ocean, so how about we feature some books that you might "find" in the ocean? And by this, I mean books that have a lot of underwater themes or settings that make you think of the ocean and being underwater!

Deeplight by Frances Hardinge

About"Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea meets Frankenstein in Frances Hardinge’s latest fantasy adventure   

The gods are dead. Decades ago, they turned on one another and tore each other apart. Nobody knows why. But are they really gone forever? When 15-year-old Hark finds the still-beating heart of a terrifying deity, he risks everything to keep it out of the hands of smugglers, military scientists, and a secret fanatical cult so that he can use it to save the life of his best friend, Jelt. But with the heart, Jelt gradually and eerily transforms. How long should Hark stay loyal to his friend when he’s becoming a monster—and what is Hark willing to sacrifice to save him?" Goodreads

House of Salt and SorrowsHouse of Salt and Sorrow by Erin A. Craig

About: "In a manor by the sea, twelve sisters are cursed.  

Annaleigh lives a sheltered life at Highmoor, a manor by the sea, with her sisters, their father, and stepmother. Once they were twelve, but loneliness fills the grand halls now that four of the girls' lives have been cut short. Each death was more tragic than the last—the plague, a plummeting fall, a drowning, a slippery plunge—and there are whispers throughout the surrounding villages that the family is cursed by the gods..." Goodreads 

The Surface Breaks
The Surface Breaks by Louise O'Neill

About"Deep beneath the sea, off the cold Irish coast, Gaia is a young mermaid who dreams of freedom from her controlling father. On her first swim to the surface, she is drawn towards a human boy. She longs to join his carefree world, but how much will she have to sacrifice? What will it take for the little mermaid to find her voice? Hans Christian Andersen's original fairy tale is reimagined through a searing feminist lens, with the stunning, scalpel-sharp writing and world building that has won Louise her legions of devoted fans. A book with the darkest of undercurrents, full of rage and rallying cries: storytelling at its most spellbinding.Goodreads

The Mermaid
The Mermaid by Christina Henry

About"Once there was a mermaid who longed to know of more than her ocean home and her people. One day a fisherman trapped her in his net but couldn't bear to keep her. But his eyes were lonely and caught her more surely than the net, and so she evoked a magic that allowed her to walk upon the shore. The mermaid, Amelia, became his wife, and they lived on a cliff above the ocean for ever so many years, until one day the fisherman rowed out to sea and did not return." Goodreads

To Kill a Kingdom
To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

About: "Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most lethal of them all. With the hearts of seventeen princes in her collection, she is revered across the sea. Until a twist of fate forces her to kill one of her own. To punish her daughter, the Sea Queen transforms Lira into the one thing they loathe most—a human. Robbed of her song, Lira has until the winter solstice to deliver Prince Elian’s heart to the Sea Queen or remain a human forever.  

The ocean is the only place Prince Elian calls home, even though he is heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world. Hunting sirens is more than an unsavory hobby—it’s his calling. When he rescues a drowning woman in the ocean, she’s more than what she appears. She promises to help him find the key to destroying all of sirenkind for good—But can he trust her? And just how many deals will Elian have to barter to eliminate mankind’s greatest enemy?" Goodreads

Into the Planet: My Life as a Cave Diver
Into the Planet: My Life as a Cave Diver by Jill Heinerth

About"Jill Heinerth—the first person in history to dive deep into an Antarctic iceberg and leader of a team that discovered the ancient watery remains of Mayan civilizations—has descended farther into the inner depths of our planet than any other woman. She takes us into the harrowing split-second decisions that determine whether a diver makes it back to safety, the prejudices that prevent women from pursuing careers underwater, and her endeavor to recover a fallen friend’s body from the confines of a cave. But there’s beauty beyond the danger of diving, and while Heinerth swims beneath our feet in the lifeblood of our planet, she works with biologists discovering new species, physicists tracking climate change, and hydrogeologists examining our finite freshwater reserves." Goodreads

Into the Drowning Deep (Rolling in the Deep, #1)
Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant

About"Seven years ago, the Atargatis set off on a voyage to the Mariana Trench to film a “mockumentary” bringing to life ancient sea creatures of legend. It was lost at sea with all hands. Some have called it a hoax; others have called it a maritime tragedy.  

Now, a new crew has been assembled. But this time they’re not out to entertain. Some seek to validate their life’s work. Some seek the greatest hunt of all. Some seek the truth. But for the ambitious young scientist Victoria Stewart this is a voyage to uncover the fate of the sister she lost.  

Whatever the truth may be, it will only be found below the waves. But the secrets of the deep come with a price." Goodreads

The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea
The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea by Maggie Tokuda-Hall

About"A desperate orphan turned pirate and a rebellious imperial daughter find a connection on the high seas in a world divided by colonialism and threaded with magic.  

Aboard the pirate ship Dove, Flora the girl takes on the identity of Florian the man to earn the respect and protection of the crew. For Flora, former starving urchin, the brutal life of a pirate is about survival: don’t trust, don’t stick out, and don’t feel. But on this voyage, as the pirates prepare to sell their unsuspecting passengers into slavery, Flora is drawn to the Lady Evelyn Hasegawa, who is en route to a dreaded arranged marriage with her own casket in tow. Flora doesn’t expect to be taken under Evelyn’s wing, and Evelyn doesn’t expect to find such a deep bond with the pirate Florian. " Goodreads

In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex
In the Heart of the Sea by Nathaniel Philbrick

About"In the Heart of the Sea brings to new life the incredible story of the wreck of the whaleship Essex - an event as mythic in its own century as the Titanic disaster in ours, and the inspiration for the climax of Moby-Dick. In a harrowing page-turner, Nathaniel Philbrick restores this epic story to its rightful place in American history.  

In 1820, the 240-ton Essex set sail from Nantucket on a routine voyage for whales. Fifteen months later, in the farthest reaches of the South Pacific, it was repeatedly rammed and sunk by an eighty-ton bull sperm whale. Its twenty-man crew, fearing cannibals on the islands to the west, made for the 3,000-mile-distant coast of South America in three tiny boats. During ninety days at sea under horrendous conditions, the survivors clung to life as one by one, they succumbed to hunger, thirst, disease, and fear..." Goodreads

After the FloodAfter the Flood by Kassandra Montag

About"A little more than a century from now, our world has been utterly transformed. After years of slowly overtaking the continent, rising floodwaters have obliterated America’s great coastal cities and then its heartland, leaving nothing but an archipelago of mountaintop colonies surrounded by a deep expanse of open water.  

Stubbornly independent Myra and her precocious seven-year-old daughter, Pearl, fish from their small boat, the Bird, visiting dry land only to trade for supplies and information in the few remaining outposts of civilization. For seven years, Myra has grieved the loss of her oldest daughter, Row, who was stolen by her father after a monstrous deluge overtook their home in Nebraska. Then, in a violent confrontation with a stranger, Myra suddenly discovers that Row was last seen in a far-off encampment near the Arctic Circle. Throwing aside her usual caution, Myra and Pearl embark on a perilous voyage into the icy northern seas, hoping against hope that Row will still be there.Goodreads

Have you read any of these books? What are some books with ocean themes/settings that you love?

Monday, April 5, 2021

Review: The Widow Queen by Elżbieta Cherezińska

The Widow Queen (The Bold, #1)

The Widow Queen (The Bold #1) by by Elżbieta Cherezińska, trans. Maya Zakrzewska-Pim
Publication Date: April 6th, 2021
Hardcover. 640 pages.
About The Widow Queen:

"Elzbieta Cherezinska's The Widow Queen is the epic story of a Polish queen whose life and name were all but forgotten until now.
The bold one, they call her—too bold for most.
To her father, the great duke of Poland, Swietoslawa and her two sisters represent three chances for an alliance. Three marriages on which to build his empire.
But Swietoslawa refuses to be simply a pawn in her father's schemes; she seeks a throne of her own, with no husband by her side.
The gods may grant her wish, but crowns sit heavy, and power is a sword that cuts both ways."

The Widow Queen is an ambitious start to the story of Świętosława, as well as a variety of other players set during the time period of 984 CE - 997 CE in and around Poland. This is a fictional story based off of true historical events, which includes Vikings, Polish history, and more of the area, which I thought made things even more engaging and exciting when reading this book.

This book took me a long time to read, not only because it's fairly long (~600 pages or so) but also because it's fairly dense in content and there are a lot of characters and plot details to follow. All that being said, however, I never really felt that lost while following. There's definitely some necessary info-dumping at times in order to help set the stage and background for understanding events that are both occurring and will occur, but it didn't necessarily feel overwhelming for some reason. I love history, so I have appreciate how much this book has told me about the time period and the wars and politics of the period, as well as how much it has inspired me to look up more about the characters and places mentioned on my own. I always think the mark of an especially good book is when it inspires readers to look into more information about something on their own.

The Widow Queen is told across a variety of perspectives including Świętosława, members of Świętosława's family, and other prominent players in her family's life, but Świętosława remains the central protagonist of the story. Świętosława is a character that I personally found myself really enjoying getting to know, and her journey was compelling and full of so many new people, places, and intrigue. Świętosława is often referred to as 'the bold one,' and I honestly can't think of a better way to describe her or her personality. I particularly liked how well she always stood her ground in any situation, and even if she did find that she said something wrong or made a wrong move, she always acknowledged it while maintaining her position and not allowing herself to be forced to back down by anyone. Świętosława may not be the most warm or welcoming person, but she knows how to survive and how to stay in power by playing all of her cards in the ways she knows best. Świętosława  is the main reason that I am most excited to continue on with this series, because I am immensely curious to find out what will happen next in her life (and, quite frankly, I'm very interested in what will happen in her lynxes' lives as well--because yes, she has two lynxes!).

The rest of the cast of characters are full of varied and colorful characters that added a lot of depth and excitement to the story. All of these characters are based on real historical figures, and although I don't really know much about this time period or these people, I could tell that Cherezińska took time and effort to create them in an as authentic manner as possible, and I really felt like these were real people. I liked how she managed to convey how intertwined so many of these characters and their relationships were with others, both political and personally, as well as how the different countries interacted in varying ways.

Since this is a translated story, I'm not sure how much the translation plays into the pacing and writing style, but I will still discuss my thoughts on the writing as its presented in this book. This is one of those books that has both fast and slow pacing at the same time, and I both enjoyed it while I also found it a little dragging at times. Events themselves can happen unexpectedly quickly and unpredictably, but some scenes and/or situations seemed to drag on a bit too long. The writing itself also feels rather sparse in ways--for instance, the dialogue is short and a bit clipped in ways, but in a way that felt enjoyable and authentic. The plot itself felt slightly meandering at times as well, but if you are interested in the characters and the time period then it never really feels like it's a bad thing; conversely, if you're not enjoying the characters--for instance, there were a couple POVs I didn't care for--then some areas might be a bit harder to get through. Świętosława's POVs were always enjoyable for me, though.

Overall, I've given The Widow Queen four stars! This book is a perfect read for someone who loves historical fiction, strong characters, and a compelling narrative.

 *I received a copy of The Widow Queen courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.* 

Buy the book: Amazon | IndieBound

Friday, April 2, 2021

Month in Review: March 2021

I really have no idea how I feel about March. I think it felt pretty slow? I remember thinking it was mid-late March when it was only the first week or so, so I think things went pretty slowly... and I feel like a lot happened in March!

In personal news, I took my Masters programs' comprehensive exam, which was the last step (other than completing my classes this semester) before graduating! It feels great to not have that hanging over my head anymore, and I finally got confirmation a couple days ago that I passed! I'm almost more relieved than I am excited about being done with everything, haha. Also, in California, where I live, I believe vaccines are opening up to 16+ on April 15th, so that's something to look forward to. Otherwise, nothing of note has happened this past month. Which I guess is good? It's just been another month, has that been the same for all of you? Let me know how things are going! 

In reading news, it was a pretty good month overall, I think! I read some incredible books (The Tiger's Daughter and Piranesi are easily new favorites!) I also really enjoyed Fools Crow, Plain Bad Heroines, and The Last Watch! Reviews for some of these April releases will be up soon, as well. Also, the least fun-looking book on this last called Mediterranean Anarchy, Interstate War, and the Rise of Rome was something I've been reading over the past two months for a grad seminar, but since I read it and spent ages on it I felt I should include it, haha. I'm honestly surprised by how much I ended up reading in March because it felt like an off month, but it also felt weirdly long, so I guess at the end of the day I have no idea what I'm saying and we should probably just jump into the wrap-up!

How was your reading month!? Read any new favorites? Anything not so great? Let me know in the comments, I love chatting!

# books read: 14

Plain Bad HeroinesThe Tiger's Daughter (Their Bright Ascendency, #1)The Last Watch (The Divide, #1)Fools Crow
Plain Bad Heroines by Emily M. Danforth 
Source: Library | Format: Hardcover

The Tiger's Daughter by K. Arsenault Rivera 
Source: Library | Format: Paperback

The Last Watch by J.S. Dewes 
Source: Publisher | Format: Physical ARC

Fools Crow by James Welch 
Source: Owned | Format: Paperback

Master Assassins (The Fire Sacraments, #1)First, Become AshesThe Unbroken (Magic of the Lost, #1)The Trials of Koli (Rampart Trilogy, #2)
Master Assassins by Robert V.S. Redick ★ (re-read)
Source: Owned | Format: Hardcover

First, Become Ashes by K.M. Szpara 
Source: NetGalley | Format: eARC

The Unbroken by C.L. Clark 
Source: Publisher (Orbit) | Format: Paperback

The Trials of Koli by M.R. Carey 
Source: Publisher (Orbit) | Format: Paperback/Audiobook

Blood and Treasure: Daniel Boone and the Fight for America's First FrontierThe Lost VillageThe Puppetmaster’s ApprenticePiranesi
Blood and Treasure: Daniel Boone and the Fight for America's First Frontier by Bob Drury & Tom Clavin 
Source: Publisher | Format: Physical ARC
The Lost Village by Camilla Sten 
Source: NetGalley | Format: eARC
The Puppetmaster's Apprentice by Lisa DeSelm 
Source: Library | Format: Hardcover
Piranesi by Susanna Clarke 
Source: Lirary | Format: Hardcover

The CousinsMediterranean Anarchy, Interstate War, and the Rise of Rome
The Cousins by Karen McManus 
Source: Giveaway | Format: Paperback

Mediterranean Anarchy, Interstate War, and the Rise of Rome by Arthur Eckstein
Source: University Library | Format: Hardcover

A Brief History of Seven KillingsFoxheart (Foxheart, #1)
A Brief History of Seven Killings by James Marlon
Format: Audio
I'll be picking this up again sometime, but I was listening to it on audio and it just wasn't working for me. I couldn't keep up with everything and I definitely feel like I'd prefer reading this one physically. 

Foxheart by Claire Legrand
Format: Paperback
I almost didn't even put this one on here because I absolutely plan to pick this up again in the next month or two! But for now, something about it just isn't clicking with me--it has all the elements that I love in middle grade fantasy and I can't quite put my finger on what's not working, so I just decided to put it down for now.


We Begin at the EndAll the Murmuring BonesThe Phone Booth at the Edge of the WorldThe Ikessar Falcon (Chronicles of the Bitch Queen, #2)The Lost VillageThe Trials of Koli (Rampart Trilogy, #2)The Unbroken (Magic of the Lost, #1)RhapsodyFirst, Become Ashes

(other than reviews)

Top Five/Ten Tuesday:

Can't-Wait Wednesday:

The Friday Face-Off:

Have you read any of these? What books did you read this month? I hope you all had a great month-- comment below and let me know!