Hey guys! January 2022 is already over! School started back for me this month, but I was able to get a ton of reading done in what was left of my break, so I’m pretty happy about that! But that does mean that this post is a lot longer. I’m going to try and keep my reviews brief, so if you would like to see more on a specific book, you’ll have to let me know. Let’s get into it!
Majesty by Katharine McGee
Genre: Alternative History
Synopsis: Power is intoxicating. Like first love, it can leave you breathless. Princess Beatrice was born with it. Princess Samantha was born with less. Some, like Nina Gonzalez, are pulled into it. And a few will claw their way in. Ahem, we’re looking at you Daphne Deighton.
As America adjusts to the idea of a queen on the throne, Beatrice grapples with everything she lost when she gained the ultimate crown. Samantha is busy living up to her “party princess” persona…and maybe adding a party prince by her side. Nina is trying to avoid the palace–and Prince Jefferson–at all costs. And a dangerous secret threatens to undo all of Daphne’s carefully laid “marry Prince Jefferson” plans.
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In past blog posts, I was singing the praises of Katharine McGee’s American Royals. NOT ANYMORE. I hated this book so much it made me wonder if I really liked the first one that much. Ok, yes, I do still like the first book, but this sequel was still a traumatic experience, and funny enough, many people on Goodreads seemed to be thinking the same thing.
So what was the issue? I mean, what WASN’T the issue??? I’m like, sad that this was the very first book I finished in 2022. So I actually did start reading this back in August or September of 2021, but I found it very hard to get into, and now I know why. The characters were like completely different people. The plot went South. There was no stakes or anything. Basically, it felt like two different people write the first and second book, and I was VERY disappointed.
Let me try and get my thoughts organized here, because this is starting to feel like a rant. Let’s not go down that path, shall we?
*Deep breaths* Ok, let’s get the elephant in the room out of the way first. In the first book, we have our established relationships: Beatrice likes Conner, but is being forced to marry Theodore; Samantha likes Theodore, but obv she can have him; Jefferson likes Nina; Ethan likes Daphne; Daphne wants (yes, “wants”, not “likes”) Jefferson. It was not easy keeping up with this sometimes, but I was totally there for this. It was chaotic, there were high stakes, there was actually some EMOTION in this book! Stuff happened!
HOWEVER, welcome to the second book, where everyone very abruptly and suddenly have a complete change of heart! Now Beatrice doesn’t care about Conner and loves Theodore; Samantha realizes she NEVER LOVED THEODORE after having been fighting for him the entire first book, and she loves a completely new character; Jefferson broke up with Nina and gets with Daphne; Ethan decides he loves Nina instead (and Nina loves him back), which was a sick move considering that he’s dating his bff’s girl now. I mean, are they MORONS? I am here to tell you, this book really took love being just a feeling to a whole other level. It was so utterly stupid to watch.
Which brings me to my next point:
WHERE WAS PRINCE JEFFERSON???
Like, for real??? The whole book is a freaking fight for the prince, and he barely even shows up! He was my favorite in the first book, and I was looking forward to reading more of him, but then he was there for like, two seconds! Not to mention when he was there, he acted like a completely different person!
Beatice, for being a queen, acted like a complete idiot, which is totally unlike her. In fact, they all acted like idiots, and I’m tired of thinking about them.
The plot was basically non-existant. NOTHING happened. Whenever I thought something exciting was going to happen, it turned out to be something else stupid. Like at the wedding when the alarms started going off? False alarm! I mean, bring me some action or something! It’s not that hard!
You know what, read the first book. But do yourself a favor and just pretend it ends with everyone getting together at the end, and everyone’s happy, because it will not be worth your time to read the sequel. Why, WHY did my first 2022 book have to be THIS one???
Ok, I’ll stop being mean to the book now. *More deep breaths*
Rating: 1/5 Stars
Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson
Synopsis: Three hundred years after the events of the Mistborn trilogy, Scadrial is now on the verge of modernity, with railroads to supplement the canals, electric lighting in the streets and the homes of the wealthy, and the first steel-framed skyscrapers racing for the clouds.
Kelsier, Vin, Elend, Sazed, Spook, and the rest are now part of history—or religion. Yet even as science and technology are reaching new heights, the old magics of Allomancy and Feruchemy continue to play a role in this reborn world. Out in the frontier lands known as the Roughs, they are crucial tools for the brave men and women attempting to establish order and justice.
One such is Waxillium Ladrian, a rare Twinborn who can Push on metals with his Allomancy and use Feruchemy to become lighter or heavier at will.
After twenty years in the Roughs, Wax has been forced by family tragedy to return to the metropolis of Elendel. Now he must reluctantly put away his guns and assume the duties and dignity incumbent upon the head of a noble house. Or so he thinks, until he learns the hard way that the mansions and elegant tree-lined streets of the city can be even more dangerous than the dusty plains of the Roughs.
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And the first five star book of the year goes to Brandon Sanderson’s Alloy of Law!
After reading through the trauma that was Majesty, I knew I could count on Brandon Sanderson to make me happy again. And as I thought, Alloy of Law is another one of his masterpieces. I have never read a book like this before, but I loved it so much! I was impressed that Sanderson could take the setting of Mistborn and make it not only 300 years into the future, but with a completely different genre.
The characters definitely had me here. The pairing of Wax and Wayne is expertly done, and they are the perfect balance of seriousness and humor! I was really not expecting this book to make me laugh out loud, but it did! It was exactly what I needed after reading a bad book. In fact, I was so eager to get to this one, I started it soon after midnight on New Year’s.
Though this is a book from my favorite author, I was a little worried that I wouldn’t like it because of the western setting. However, that didn’t hurt the book at all for me! I loved the setting a lot, and I’d even say it made it better! This book had everything I love in it – There was even a train fight, and I am a SUCKER for those!
On that note, I was also very pleasantly surprised by the cameo at the end, and I MAY or may not have had tears in my eyes… If you read this book (and Mistborn) you know exactly who I’m talking about.
I can’t wait to read the next book in the series to see where the characters go!
The Hawthorne Legacy by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Synopsis: The Inheritance Games ended with a bombshell, and now heiress Avery Grambs has to pick up the pieces and find the man who might hold the answers to all of her questions – including why Tobias Hawthorne left his entire fortune to Avery, a virtual stranger, rather than to his own daughters or grandsons.
Thanks to a DNA test, Avery knows that she’s not a Hawthorne by blood, but clues pile up hinting at a deeper connection to the family than she had ever imagined. As the mystery grows and the plot thickens, Grayson and Jameson, the enigmatic and magnetic Hawthorne grandsons, continue to pull Avery in different directions. And there are threats lurking around every corner, as adversaries emerge who will stop at nothing to see Avery out of the picture – by any means necessary.
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Ok, so if you read my last “What I Read” post, you know that I had mixed feelings about The Inheritance Games. I felt like it was in the very middle of like and dislike, and I imagined that this book would be the tipping point. And, well, it wasn’t. I’m still a bit mixed up on how to feel about this series. Every time I start to like it, things go south and then I start to dislike it, and then something will happen to make me like it again, and so on and so on. Unfortunately, I felt like this one just ended badly, but maybe I’m just bitter. If you read this book, you know what I’m talking about!
The mystery of this one was interesting to follow, but it definitely wasn’t as, well, mysterious as the book before it. I kinda saw what was going to happen at times, but I guess that’s entirely a bad thing. What really drove me nuts was how rushed everything felt, and worse, how most of the book felt entirely pointless. I really would have liked for this book to take it easy a little bit and breathe, then make things more interesting. While a lot of stuff happened in this book, it almost feels like nothing happened at all.
Again, the characters are really what keeps me reading more than the mysteries. I love the Hawthorne boys and I always look forward to seeing what they do next (especially Grayson). Honestly though, I was a little sad that Jameson began to annoy me in this book, but again, maybe I’m just being bitter?
There were some stuff in this book that just didn’t make any sense, like stuff that never got explained or whatever. Yeah, there’s a third book, but I’m not exactly sure what to expect from it considering that the majority of the mysteries are solved. I’m really hoping there’ll be something bigger happening in the third book.
Speaking of the third book, The Last Gambit will not be released until August 30th of this year, so it’s be a while until I see the conclusion of this series. What’s funny is that I believe this series was supposed to be a duology at first. I’m not sure what changed that, but this was also the case for the American Royals trilogy. While I will not be reading the third American Royals book, I can’t wait to get my hands on The Last Gambit! Besides what mysteries it might have, we’ll also be able to see who Avery finally gets together with… *cough* #TeamGrayson *cough*
My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadows, and Brodi Ashton
Genre: Historical Fiction/Alternative History/Satire/Fantasy
Synopsis: Edward (long live the king) is the King of England. He’s also dying, which is inconvenient, as he’s only sixteen and he’d much rather be planning for his first kiss than considering who will inherit his crown…
Jane (reads too many books) is Edward’s cousin, and far more interested in books than romance. Unfortunately for Jane, Edward has arranged to marry her off to secure the line of succession. And there’s something a little odd about her intended…
Gifford (call him G) is a horse. That is, he’s an Eðian (eth-y-un, for the uninitiated). Every day at dawn he becomes a noble chestnut steed—but then he wakes at dusk with a mouthful of hay. It’s all very undignified.
The plot thickens as Edward, Jane, and G are drawn into a dangerous conspiracy. With the fate of the kingdom at stake, our heroes will have to engage in some conspiring of their own. But can they pull off their plan before it’s off with their heads?
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Y’all, I don’t even know what to say. When I picked up this book…no, even before I picked it up, I just had it in my head that I was going to hate it. It sounded too weird, and I just didn’t have high hopes for it even though I had seen nothing but good things being said about it.
Well, I’m happy to say that I was utterly wrong about this book.
It was actually incredibly entertaining. It was definitely weird, but not so weird that I didn’t like it. This book had me laughing out loud and, while it was exactly what I thought it would be, I didn’t hate it in the least!
When I first started reading it, I still had my doubts. I didn’t really know what to think of the characters, but they eventually grew on me. It’s a good thing, too, because this was nearly 500 pages long. I loved the story, even though it could be rushed at times, and the thing with people who can turn into animals really did it for me (I like that kind of stuff). I also liked that this was a time period that I don’t know a lot about, and it seems that their other books are the same (except for My Plain Jane, which is actually a Jane Eyre retelling)
I’m looking forward to reading their other books and I highly recommend this one!
The Prisoner of Zenda by Anthony Hope
Synopsis: Anthony Hope’s swashbuckling romance transports his English gentleman hero, Rudolf Rassendyll, from a comfortable life in London to fast-moving adventures in Ruritania, a mythical land steeped in political intrigue.
Rassendyll bears a striking resemblance to Rudolf Elphberg who is about to be crowned King of Ruritania. When the rival to the throne, Black Michael of Strelsau, attempts to seize power by imprisoning Elphberg in the Castle of Zenda, Rassendyll is obliged to impersonate the King to uphold the rightful sovereignty and ensure political stability.
Rassendyll endures a trial of strength in his encounters with the notorious Rupert of Hentzau, and a test of a different sort as he grows to love the Princess Flavia.
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I was excited to read this after Christian Girl Writes sent it to me for Christmas (thank you so much!), and I was not disappointed! It took me a while to read since the font was so tiny and my eyes don’t do well with that (it gives me headaches), but I am very glad to have read it!
I enjoyed the characters a lot, and I think that if I didn’t, the book would have bored me. The plot was interesting, but I still loved the characters more. They were humorous, and I loved the relationships between them.
I was not aware that this is actually the second book in a series, so I think I’ll be getting the first and third books in the series so I could read those as well!
I highly recommend this book, especially if you enjoy classics!
Teddy’s Button by Amy Le Feuvre
Synopsis: Here is a story that will open a child’s understanding of the spiritual battle within as Teddy learns that he is his own worst enemy. As a stubborn boy and girl refuse to back down from their selfish pride, one of the many lessons they learn is that they cannot win battles by force and hate, but by carrying the banner of love. Through this charming story, Amy Le Feuvre helps children to understand the spiritual battle that rages in their soul, and that parents and children are on the same side.
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I just don’t have a lot to say about this, y’all. I just didn’t like it. I saw a lot of people calling this Feuvre’s best, but I just can’t see it. The characters annoyed the crap out of me, and while I got the message loud and clear, I got a second message that I didn’t like.
Basically, the message is fighting against your sinful nature and whatnot. That was the part of the story I did like, because I’m all for stories that discuss the battle between good and evil. However, I also felt like it was pushing that you can only come to Jesus if you meet such and such criteria, and you can’t come as you are. Yes, once you are following Jesus, you have to follow Him and fight against sin, but He’s not going to turn you away if you don’t meet a certain criteria.
Maybe I just read too deeply into certain things and that’s not what was going on there, but that’s just the way I saw it. If you’ve read this book, maybe you know what I’m talking about. Let me know in the comments if that’s the case!
How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories by Holly Black
Synopsis: Once upon a time, there was a boy with a wicked tongue.
Before he was a cruel prince or a wicked king, he was a faerie child with a heart of stone . Revealing a deeper look into the dramatic life of Elfhame’s enigmatic high king, Cardan, his tale includes delicious details of life before The Cruel Prince, an adventure beyond The Queen of Nothing, and familiar moments from The Folk of the Air trilogy, told wholly from Cardan’s perspective.
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This is a reread, and I was kind of worried that I wouldn’t like it as much as I did the first time I read it (which was January 2021). But that was not the case, because this book is still pure gold! Again, I read this in one sitting. Even though it’s nearly 200 pages, the font is large and most of the pages are artwork. And speaking of that artwork, it is brilliant! I love the style of it, and I sometimes got lost staring at the pictures and forgot what I was doing, haha!
I kind of have a love-hate relationship with The Folk of the Air trilogy. It’s weird, and I just wasn’t sure what to think of it at first. I did like Cardan though, and when I found out there was a book told from his perspective, I read it ASAP. I don’t know about you, but I love this book much more than I liked the other three. I love this book because it feels like I’ve opened a book of old-time fairy tales, and paired with art, it’s exactly what I want out of a book like this!
Reading it again made me wish that Holly Black would return to the world of the Faerie, but we’ll see!
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
Synopsis: 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.
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When I read Six of Crows, I had gone into it with such high expectations that I ended up having mixed feelings about it when I wrote my review for it. However, in the days following, I decided that I really loved the book, and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the next one. I bought it as soon as I could.
First of all, Crooked Kingdom is 100 pages or so than the first, so it took some doing to get it read. I really wanted to finish it before January was over, I literally finished it a few hours ago. Needless to say, I’m a bit bummed. Not because the book was bad, though.
This book was incredible. It had it’s flaws, yes, but every book does. After I spent time thinking on the first book, I decided I loved the story and I loved these crazy characters. The atmosphere of the world, Ketterdam, pulls you right in and it’s like you’re really there with the characters, which is exactly what I want to feel like when I’m reading. The plot twists kept you guessing, too, and I never knew what to expect!
The characters are excellent in this book, and Bardugo really has a knack for writing the banter between them. I had heard that the character interactions in the duology are great, but I wasn’t expecting it to make me laugh out loud! The characters are completely fleshed out and have their own voices. Their backgrounds were laid out in masterfully executed flashbacks. Need I mention the plot twists again?
This book is like a crazy train ride, and every time I thought Kaz and his crew were done for, Kaz had another crazy scheme up up his sleeve. I mentioned in my Six of Crows review that Kaz reminded me of Grand Admiral Thrawn from Star Wars, or Sherlock Holmes. You just know that he’s going to find a way out of any situation. He’s brilliant, but I also love how unique he is. I’ve never read a book with a character who has such an interesting phobia before. If you’ve read this book, Kaz basically has Haphephobia (fear of being touched or touching others), and it was interesting to see how it affected his life. He is normally is a cold, calculating guy who doesn’t like to show his weaknesses, so the times that he was showing his fears, it was like seeing a completely different character. The chapters from his perspective were my favorite because he was such a deep character. Besides Kaz, the other characters were unique in their own ways, and it was cool to see how their interactions and how they responded to certain situations.
But now it’s time to talk about the elephant in the room, the reason why I’m bummed… If you’ve read this book, you know what I’m talking about!
So I really hate crying when I read. I mean, the words blur, and I have to stop to get a hold of myself. Well, there was no getting a hold of myself while reading this. I literally sobbed reading this book, and I really wasn’t sure why I was crying half of the time. All I can say is that Nina and Matthias’ relationship was so beautiful. With Nina addicted to the drug parem, and Matthias trying to help her overcome the addiction, I was just a mess! And then of course the elephant in the room…CHAPTER 40! It was like a punch in the gut, and I laugh reading other people’s reviews for this book because they’re all just as shocked. Near the end of the book, Matthias ends up taking a bullet to the stomach and dying, and Leigh Bardugo can just smash my heart for all I care, I guess. And what’s worse is that I had been spoiled about his death before I read the book by seeing a beautiful piece of fan art, but at the time I didn’t really understand what it meant so I was more confused that spoiled, haha! I figured out pretty quick what it meant though…
Anyway, this is getting long. To conclude things, the only stuff I didn’t like about this book is that I felt everything just wasn’t explained in the end, like those metal angel guys. Where did they even come from, and what happened to them? This might sound petty, but the other thing I didn’t like was that I feel like Kaz should have gotten more book time from his perspective. Yep, petty, right? I’m biased, okay??
Anyway, now I’m going to have to watch the TV series that came out last year, because I NEED MORE.
Rating: 4.75/5 Stars
That’s all of them! Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to read the manga I wanted to read because today was a literal train ride of chaos with the amount of stuff I had to do. But I am happy with what I was able to get read, and I’m hoping I can get some books read in February!
What did you read this month? Let me know in the comments below! As always, God bless y’all and have a wonderful week!