Summer TBR

Welcome! to my latest list of unrealistic expectations – AKA my summer TBR! It’s been a while since I’ve done a legit one of these (TBH I think the last one was in video form. Awks.) and, frankly, I’ve been a terrible reader these past months. But today is a new day! July is here! The sun is out! The birds are singing! My bibliophilic hopes are soaring! And I am gonna kick some serious TBR ass.

To be fun for once, instead of repeating the same books I STILL have on my shelf that you’ve probably heard about a dozen times and I apparently think about reading more often than actually reading, I’m making this more about what I want to add to my ever-growing shelf of unread-tragedy. Three cheers for shiny new reads! Continue reading

My Totally-Didn’t-Happen “TBR”

HELLO STRANGERS! Yes, strangers, because I’ve been gone so shamefully long I may as well be new here. Sigh. Aaaaanyway, I’ll be doing something new today: a totally-didn’t-happen TBR. Yeah, I made it up, so bear with me!

Backstory: I intended back in THE BEGINNING OF SEPTEMBER to do a Fall TBR. I was all excited, had all the books picked out, and…just never got the chance to write it. So then I thought ‘oh, I’ll just do that now!’ but, uh, no, because a) it’s DECEMBER and b) just as I’ve had no time to blog I’ve also had no time to read. Seriously. I’ve been on page 137 of Queen of Shadows since my vacation in AUGUST.

*Cries*

So instead, here is where I compile all those books that my optimistic reader self thought I’d read (until my academics-are-important self took a blow torch to that dream and watched it burn, baby, burn) with the thoughts that I like to imagine I would have reviewed for them and a hefty dose of self-deprecation. It’s a guessing game of hypotheses and sarcasm that I hope you will enjoy.

(PS. goodreads links are in the titles if you want to check anything out!) Continue reading

The Clockwork Scarab

17084242The Clockwork Scarab by Colleen Gleason

What happens when a genius, a vampire hunter, and a time traveler walk into a museum?

I don’t even know where to begin with The Clockwork Scarab. This book is probably the craziest mismatched hodgepodge of different elements I have ever read…and yet I enjoyed it immensely!

The novel introduces Alvermina Holmes and Evaline Stoker, niece of Sherlock and sister of Bram, a detective and vampire hunter tag-team duo called to investigate missing persons and a murder. It really is such a shame that they hate each other and refuse to work as a unit–or maybe not, since their antics are hilarious! Enter a time-traveling teen and the cult of an Egyptian goddess in a steampunk Victorian London, et voilà! A masterpiece of strangeness. Continue reading

Norse Mythology Book Tag

Góðan daginn (good day), everyone!

I haven’t yet been able to do any reading this month or really August either (thank you, school, for sucking) and I’m a wee bit behind on my reviews, which makes this the perfect time to avoid all my responsibilities and do a tag!

Fellow book bloggers, for those of you who find tags nice because they’re quick and easy…YOU ARE MAGIC. I put soooo much thought into these things, they end up taking longer than my–usually also long–reviews!

But will I stop? Probably never.

The Norse Mythology Tag was created over at Kyera’s Library–which is fabulous by the way, especially her series recs, so you should all go check it out if you haven’t already! I first saw it pop up on Book Princess Reviews and a ton of other wonderful people started doing it, then Birdie Bookworm did it not too long ago too and every time I see it I swear to do it, then I don’t. SO I’M FINALLY DOING IT!

I would like to thank myself over on my own blog, obsessionsofabookaholic, for thinking about my love of mythology and Nordic history and tagging me to do this! Really, her blog is just so great it’s, like, my favourite 😉

Shall we?


ODIN – Favourite Standalone

Odin is the All-Father, the leader of the Norse Gods. He is the god of wisdom, poetry, battle, death, wine, and war, among other things

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In case you haven’t heard by now, I’m SUCH a romance lover. Taste Test follows BBQ-er Nora in a cooking show contest where contestants are being mysteriously sabotaged and chemistry is flying with a certain fierce competitor. Bonus? They can’t stand each other.

The plot is fun and the mystery is surprisingly difficult to determine, but most of all the back and forth weirdness of Nora and Christian’s relationship gives me so much life, which is obviously my priority.

Hey, I did warn you that I loved romance. What did you expect? 😉

THOR – A Book That Hits You Right in the Feels

Thor is the god of thunder, weather, warriors, strength, and storms, so his might packs a punch. He is married to the beautiful Lady Sif.

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LITERALLY. EVERYTHING. ABOUT THIS BOOK. HURTS ME.

LOKI – Biggest Plot Twist or Character Betrayal

Loki is the god of mischief and thieves, and thrives on chaos.

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As y’all will hear when I finally get off me arse and finish this review, Red Queen didn’t exactly live up to my expectations. Also unfortunate is that the plot twist everyone freaks about was sort of hinted to me before I read it, so I can’t actually figure out if I just wasn’t surprised or if I was spoiled. GAHHH! Despite all of that, though, THIS WINS SO HARD FOR BETRAYAL. I mean, holy hells it’s evil!

FRIGG – OTP

Frigg is Odin’s wife, the goddess of love, marriage, fertility, and fate.

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DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW LONG IT HAS TAKEN ME TO ANSWER THIS QUESTION?????

OTP? OTP?! ONE true pairing? Nuh-uh, I don’t think so.

I went through a good six of my beloved couplings trying to sort through this one (Feysand? Will and Tessa? Percabeth? Hex Hall‘s Archer and Sophie?). Clace (my loves! My true loves!) is usually my go-to answer here but I’m trying reeeeeeaaaal hard to only use a book once in this tag and I use City of Bones later. So what I’ve decided on is my first hardcore literary ship, which is Zach and Cammie from Ally Carter’s Gallagher Girls series. I love these books so much–who doesn’t want to read about crazy missions and a secret spy school?!–but they carry an extra special weight for me because this is the series that turned me into the full-on obsessive reader I am today. Zammie’s pretty damn amazing–their banter is on point and, even when they’re separated or hiding things from each other, it’s always clear how much they genuinely care for each other. We get a lot of sexy romances now, but this is a more romantic romance which, much as I love the new stuff, is kind of something I miss.

BTW, if you’re interested in reading, Zach doesn’t show up ’til book two (pictured above!) but book one is totally worth reading to get to him 🙂

HEIMDALL – Favourite Second in a Series

Heimdall is the god of loyalty, faithfulness and he is who protects the bi-frost, the bridge that connects all nine worlds.

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No explanation needed. My love is just too strong.

BALDUR – Favourite Male Character

Baldur is the beloved son of Odin and Frigg, twin brother of Hodor.

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JAAAAAAAAAAAACE. Jace, my dearly beloved, how are you so incredible? I love his sarcasm, and his confidence, and his devotion to Clary, and his bravery, and his determination, and literally every single thing about him. Jace is my hero and, if it weren’t for Clary, also my husband. They’re too perfect though, so I can’t steal him away.

SIF – Most Beautiful Book Cover

Lady Sif is known for her beautiful golden tresses, although she is also the goddess of the harvest and is married to Thor.

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Shatter Me defines the term ‘glow up.’ The original cover? Enh. This one? BEAUTIFUL. SO BEAUTIFUL. SUCH BEAUTY. Apparently I have a thing for eyes on covers, as also evidenced by my enthusiasm for Lisa McMann’s Crash all those ages ago, but the Shatter Me books take gorgeous eyes to a whole ‘nother existential plane of prettiness. I mean, just look at it! *unashamedly swoons over cover art*

FREY – A Book or Series That Made You Happy

Frey is the Lord of weather, god of light, summer, master of agriculture, fertility, and brother of Freya.

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Basically anything by Kasie West makes me happy, but this is my favourite thus far! Camden and Xander have their ups and downs but their relationship is so cute and the story is so cute and everything is just so happy and lovely even when it’s not happy that I left the book with such a big grin on my face.

FREYA – Favourite Book Setting

Freya is the goddess of love and beauty, fertility, war, wealth and growth, and sister of Frey.

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I find Middle Eastern culture fascinating so the very fact that The Wrath and the Dawn is set there already puts the book pretty high on my favourite setting list. Ahdieh’s writing is what takes that one step further. I love how rich and real everything is! I could taste the food, I could smell the incense, I could feel the fabrics, I could see everything as if I were experiencing it there.

TYR – Favourite Book With a Huge Upheaval or Epic Fight Scene

Tyr is the god of war.

SO MANY BOOKS TO USE HERE! ACOWAR was my first instinct because REASONS butttttt I also wanted to throw in Eternally Yours, the finale to Cate Tiernan’s Immortal Beloved trilogy (which is great and has both a hilarious narrator and a sexy Scandinavian lover boy), because, yes, there is a huge fight, but mostly because of her instructions on decapitating someone, which I enjoyed probably a lot more than I should have…

ULLER – Character Death That Affected You the Most

Uller is the god of death, winter, archery and hunting.

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Sobbing, gasping, ugly cries.

NJORD – Favourite Book With an Epic Journey in a Water/Sea Setting

Njord is the god of the wind and sea.

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To be fair, I haven’t read a ton of books with watery settings (I should probably get on that…) but Of Posiedon is the first that came to mind! Galen, the lurrrrve interest, is the Syrena (essentially mermaids, but don’t tell him that) prince and human ambassador of an underwater kingdom. Only a direct descendant of Triton (Galen) and of Posiedon can have the special abilities that make them fitting for Syrena royalty, so when human Emma starts talking to fish Galen’s understandably confused and heads up to check it out.

The characters are loveable and hilarious, the plot is different and interesting, and the romance is swoon-worthy and utterly adorable. Plus, the whole book is about figuring out Emma’s fish-talking powers and stopping a desperate dolphin-wielding Syrena gal from becoming Queen so, ya know, I think it fits pretty well here .

VALKYRIE – Strong Female Character

The Valkyries, much like the Amazons, are strong female warriors.

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Celaena/Aelin is such a freaking badass (especially in the later books) that I will give her every possible award imaginable. I think she works especially well for ‘Valkyrie’ because she’s not only a strong female character, but a fierce female fighter/warrior as well.

Also, I just love her. End of.

AESIR/VANIR – Favourite Book Crew

The Aesir and the Vanir are the two groups of Norse gods, believed to be the old and new gods.

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So everyone and their uncle’s been using the Gregs gang for this one but, errr, I haven’t actually read Six of Crows yet… (cue Game of Thrones shame bells). But you know who else is awesome? BLUE AND GANSEY AND RONAN AND ADAM AND NOAH. Their relationship dynamic is perfect as they all individually are in my heart.

SEIPYRTS – Favourite Non-Human Sidekick

Seipyrts is Odin’s trusty eight legged steed; yes, you heard that correctly – eight legs.  I promise that he is the god’s horse companion and not a giant spider that he rides around on… although that would probably strike more fear in the hearts of his enemies than a pretty horse does.

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Oh Derrick, you honey-loving pixie, you. He’s definitely not as freaky as an eight-legged horse (yeah, I know you say it’s not a spider, but it feels like a spider *shudders*) but he’s just so freaking cute! Also loyal, and caring, and sweet, and protective.

Anyone know where can I get an adorable pixie companion? Asking for a friend.


And on to the tagging! Since I’ve seen this going around already and I don’t want to tag people who’ve already done it, I’m only going to tag a few of you. That said…

Rhea @ bookchanted

Em @ Keystroke Blog

Casey @ adoptabookaus

…consider yourselves tagged!

Their blogs are wonderful and you should go read them if you haven’t!

I also challenge anyone else who likes mythology, likes Norsemen, likes shirtless Chris Hemsworth as Thor, likes tags, or just likes books to do this tag too! No matter how long it may have taken me, I swear it’s a lot of fun.

At last, I shall leave you with a strange Norwegian proverb I found on a random website while I was busy having no life:

Dei galne har mange morosame stunder som den vettige ikkje har.
(The maniacs have many funny hours that the sane guy does not have)

Three cheers for Vikings promoting insanity. Hurrah!

Sjáumst! (See you!)

xoxo, Brittney

Summer Recap

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Hello hello, bookworms! Can you believe summer is finally coming to a close? I can’t quite decide whether to be angry about having to go back to university, or glad because it’ll finally give me something to do again. What can I say? I’m a nerd, and life is weird without homework.

Aaaaaaaanyway, I just realized that I’VE NEVER DONE A MONTHLY WRAP-UP! Whaaaaaaaaaaat. Yeah apparently I’ve been doing them in video form, but not writing them up over on here, which is just all kinds of I’m-sorry and so-wrong. So to rectify the situation I’m doing a recap of July and August in one. The original plan was to do June in here too but that was getting to 20-something books and things were getting long. Like, even longer than usual long.

I might actually continue doing these seasonal wrap-ups instead of monthly ones because I like seeing everything all together, and school does have its dark sides–like ALMOST ENTIRELY PREVENTING ME FROM READING FOR FUN AND THEREFORE RUINING MY LIFE–but, uh, I should probably get one done first. So here we go! Continue reading

The Kiss of Deception

16429619The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

You know that feeling you get when a book takes you completely by surprise? The Kiss of Deception takes that feeling and multiplies it to a million, then throws in a little extra for good measure.

THIS BOOK BLEW ME AWAY!

I don’t even know how to put into words how much I loved this! I love Lia, I love the assassin/prince stuff, I love the world, I love the plot, I love EVERYTHING. And yet all over goodreads people are dishing out one-stars like candy?????????

Does.

Not.

Compute. Continue reading

Deception’s Princess

17866944Deception’s Princess by Esther Friesner

Pack your suitcases, friends, because today we’re jetting off in a time machine back to Iron Age Ireland! Deception’s Princess is inspired by old Celtic stories of the legendary Maeve of Connacht who from my research after reading seems a lot more evil than our Maeve. The book follows the feisty favourite young daughter of the High King of Connacht as she navigates the treacherous field of over-eager suitors to carve a path for herself in her hostile expectation-laden world.

Sound familiar yet? Because I’m channeling a certain other fiery red-head here, though her name isn’t Maeve. It’s Merida. Continue reading

Sphinx’s Princess

6135633.jpgSphinx’s Princess by Esther M. Friesner

Guess what, guys? We’re delving back into Ancient Egypt once again!

By this point that probably doesn’t come as a surprise…

Sphinx’s Princess is a retelling/origin story of the Egyptian queen Nefertiti, one of the most famous–and mysterious–female figures in Ancient Egyptian history. She is most known for her part in religious heresy with her second husband Akhenaten, but Sphinx’s Princess follows Nefertiti (meaning ‘the beautiful woman has come’) in her life before even her first husband. Nefertiti’s family is conned by her beyotch of an aunt into marrying her to the crown prince Thutmose but make a deal to delay the wedding so the novel focuses on Nefertiti’s trials and tribulations in the palace with the royal family. Continue reading

Tangled Webs

18368525Tangled Webs by Lee Bross

Before we begin, I have something very important to show you all. Now, if you’ll please direct your attention slightly to the right of this screen…

LOOK AT THAT COVER!

I should know better by now than to go judging things by covers–but really, I think we’d all be lying if we tried to deny it–but this was just impossible to resist! Couple that with promises of blackmail and merchant ships and and eighteenth-century secrets and ohhhhhhhhh man. Come to mama!

(PS. I already regret that last sentence).

It really is a crying shame that appearences are so deceiving. Like a good politician, Tangled Webs left me so many empty promises. Exhibit A: the cover may be amazing but the book inside is mediocre.

I felt a little jilted actually because of just how much the implication of the synopsis led me astray. It doesn’t lie–Lady A is the most notorious blackmailer, she DOES sneak around as a boy, she DOES want out of her secret life, she IS emboldened by Grae–but where the synopsis promises all this with excitement and intrigue, the book delivers it in the most subpar, lukewarm, dull way possible. For one, there’s hardly any blackmail at all. Apart from two scenes of secret-trading, only one of which being particularly eventful, the rest is pretty much just Arista trying to escape. Where’s the intrigue? The spying? The manipulation? THE VERY THING THAT MADE ME WANT TO READ IT?!?!

Oh wait–it’s nonexistent.

Don’t get me wrong: Ariana gives it her best shot. But the book starts too late for us to get much of that. First scene is blackmail for Bones and I right away thought I’d enjoy it but that’s moments before she meets Grae, the day before she meets Wild, and the night before the fire that sets everything in motion. All of a sudden the blackmail is missing and she’s collecting payment for passage out of London. Oh and remember how she apparently dresses up as a boy to get around at night? Yeah. Once. And that’s before the fire too.

There are some instances where you can see the sneak of Lady A in dear Arista, mostly when she’s looking out for someone she cares about. Those are the best parts of the book so it’s unfortunate they’re so few and far between.

Arista herself isn’t particularly cunning or impressive. She’s more insecure and naive than anything else; this is fine, but not for a notorious blackmailer no matter how much of an alternate persona it is. She does have her moments though and she’s brave for sure, so that’s redeeming. IDK. I didn’t hate her, she’s just unimpressive.

Oh, and lustful.

HOLY INSTA-LOVE! Tangled Webs is probably the most at-first-sight devastating case I’ve read in ages. By the end of the first chapter, Arista and Grae have already met into a heady, lustful infatuation, followed by Grae hunting her down at every opportunity and she losing herself at even the merest glimpse of him. It’s also super horomone-charged–they’re clutching at each other every chance they get from the very second that they meet. Arista spends more time preoccupied by thinking about his touch and kiss and caress and fantasizing about the feel of him than she does figuring out her blackmail stuff, and even that is all done in relation to Grae! There’s chemistry there, that’s for sure, but physical chemistry. It’s more like they decided they liked each other and grabbed at the other than developed actual deep-rooted feelings for each other. Key word being ‘develop’ because 5 seconds doesn’t quite cut it.

A good point of Tangled Webs is the setting which is both unique and well done. Not many books are done in the eighteenth century–mostly we get the 1600s or 1800s –ad the Enlightenment is a cool period to be in. It’s one of the things that drew me to the book in the first place! Bross creates an authentic picture of 1725 London without spending too much time explaining or building it: it just is. This allowed the book to skip over a lot of that pesky set-up and feel, in a way, more real because it didn’t need to justify anything. It would have been nice though to dig a wee bit deeper into some facets of life in that period or weave them further into the story. For instance, there is one scene where Arista is taken to a secret feminist philosophy session which is fascinating! but hen nothing came of it. It would have been great if the scene was incorporated more into the main story, even just by using the people Arista met there, so that it became a more cohesive part of the book. There were a number of avenues introduced but left unexplored.

A general note on the story is that it’s not especially surprising. Now, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t try to surprise you–it gives it a good shot!–but any twists fall flat. It’s like that obnoxious kid who cracks a stupid joke but ends up the only one laughing: you get excited for the joke and then…you’re not. It’s like that, but minus the sad self-laughter (which I am all too familiar with…). I don’t know if it’s just me but I saw pretty much every ‘surprise’ Arista got coming from a mile away.

Overall Tangled Webs is alright. Not especially good, but it’s not especially bad either and even with everything I wasn’t fond of there were things that I did enjoy, even more when all thrown together. It definitely helps too that it’s a standalone novel (well, now–it was meant to be a duology but the second book got cancelled) because a) I don’t know how much motivation I could drum up for the second one and b) the ending wraps up nicely and anything more would seem forced. I’m content with what there is and more or less moderately content with the novel itself.


Click here for the book synopsis on goodreads!

Doon

17745703Doon by Carey Corp & Lorie Langdon

So good so good so so so good!

Doon‘s synopsis promised pretty much everything I’d like. Scotland? Magic? Medieval castles? Princes? Romance? Best friends? Basically all of my favourite things to read wrapped up in one paperback package? And it came to me with a lot of hype, but for some reason despite all this I just…never read it.

BUT NOW I HAVE AND IT WAS GRAND.

The story follows Vee and Kenna, two best friends who are spending summer at Kenna’s late aunt’s home in Alloway, Scotland. Vee’s been seeing an apparition of sorts of a hot blonde Scotsman everywhere and it’s her ‘hallucinations’, a mysterious letter, and a magical set of rings that send she and Kenna over the Brig O’ Doon and into the magical hidden kingdom of Doon. But of course, as with any good magic kingdom, evil is awakening and the girls must find a way to stop it or risk destroying Doon and being trapped in its ruins forever. Dun dun dunnnnn. Continue reading