Elantris by Brandon Sanderson

Elantris by Brandon Sanderson
Publication Date: April 21, 2005
Publisher: Tor Books
Genre:
Adult Epic Fantasy
Rating:
5 Stars
Audio Rating: 5 Stars (though I did miss Michael Kramer lol!)

Elantris cover.jpg

Synopsis:

Elantris was the capital of Arelon: gigantic, beautiful, literally radiant, filled with benevolent beings who used their powerful magical abilities for the benefit of all. Yet each of these demigods was once an ordinary person until touched by the mysterious transforming power of the Shaod. Ten years ago, without warning, the magic failed. Elantrians became wizened, leper-like, powerless creatures, and Elantris itself dark, filthy, and crumbling.

Arelon’s new capital, Kae, crouches in the shadow of Elantris. Princess Sarene of Teod arrives for a marriage of state with Crown Prince Raoden, hoping — based on their correspondence — to also find love. She finds instead that Raoden has died and she is considered his widow. Both Teod and Arelon are under threat as the last remaining holdouts against the imperial ambitions of the ruthless religious fanatics of Fjordell. So Sarene decides to use her new status to counter the machinations of Hrathen, a Fjordell high priest who has come to Kae to convert Arelon and claim it for his emperor and his god.

But neither Sarene nor Hrathen suspect the truth about Prince Raoden. Stricken by the same curse that ruined Elantris, Raoden was secretly exiled by his father to the dark city. His struggle to help the wretches trapped there begins a series of events that will bring hope to Arelon, and perhaps reveal the secret of Elantris itself.


DISCLAIMER:
This book was bought by me and reviewed by choice.


NON SPOILERY REVIEW

Elantris is such a great way to dip your toes into Brandon Sanderson’s “Magic with Rules” magic system that resise within the Cosmere. If you haven’t read any of his works and are intiminated by the massive size of later novels, this or Warbreaker is a good place to start!

I absolutely love this book. This is Sanderson’s first published novel and it does not disappoint. This book focuses on more political intrigue rather than the magic system (which I found so interesting and would love to learn more!) I enjoyed the re-imagined idea of zombies as well! When my friend Jess (@wildbookbabe) said this was a book about zombies, I was totally intrigued.

This story follows three narratives in third person (see the synopsis for Raoden, Sarene, and Hrathen motives). While there is a lot of world building, the character driven plot is what really brings this story together. Roaden is a huge cinnamon roll, Sarene is a strong, fierce, intelligent woman, and Hrathen is… well.. you’ll find out! The mystery surrounding the Shaod in Elantris will keep you turning page after page! Much like most of Sanderson’s books, this book does not have a ton of romance, but it does have a star-crossed lovers trope (which is my favorite!)

If you read this book, let me know!! It’s such a fun and exciting book!

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#TEAM CINDER!

#TEAMCINDER

Calling all of my fellow Lunartics and Marissa Meyers fans, check out the stepback art for the new paperback edition of CINDER! I am so proud to be a part of this series and having the opportunity to reveal this art, as well as the new cover to you all!

These paperbacks are gorgeous and I can’t wait for you to see the rest of the series! They are available for pre-order now and will be available February 4th, 2020! Keep your eyes open for the stepback art of Scarlet, Cress, and Winter in the next few days on Instagram! Follow the hashtag #LunarEverAfter! Go #TeamCinder!

 

Cinder Stepback Art Reveal

 

 


[SYNOPSIS]

A forbidden romance. A deadly plague. Earth’s fate hinges on one girl . . .

CINDER, a gifted mechanic in New Beijing, is also a cyborg. She’s reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s sudden illness. But when her life becomes entwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she finds herself at the centre of a violent struggle between the desires of an evil queen – and a dangerous temptation.

Cinder is caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal. Now she must uncover secrets about her mysterious past in order to protect Earth’s future. This is not the fairytale you remember. But it’s one you won’t forget. 


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Mood Monday – Happy New Year!

I took a little hiatus for posting and slowed my social media down a lot over the holiday so I could focus on being with family. Chase goes back to school tomorrow and I am so excited to get my house back in order and get my routine together. I haven’t been reading much either, which honestly feels kind of good. I don’t plan on speeding through as many books as I did last year, I want to go back to enjoying what I read.

What I’ve Been Reading Lately: Elantris by Brandon Sanderson
Thoughts So Far: It’s a Sanderson… so I’m loving it… LOL but seriously, I am enjoying the world so far. It’s far more political than I thought, but the characters are really moving this story forward. Raoden is a straight up cinnamon roll, I totally love him and his sense of responsibility. I think what he is doing for the people of Elantris is just so heartwarming and selfless. I definitely recommend this book for people wanting to dip their toes into epic fantasy.

What’s Up Next:
I have quite a few book reviews coming up, some book tours, and some cover releases! I plan on cross posting my Instagram to my blog for these. I was asked to be on the Lunar Chronicles #TeamCinder crew, host a giveaway from MacMillan for All the Stars and Teeth, and do a blog tour for Foul is Fair! I feel like all of my hard work is finally paying off and it’s both exhausting and exhilarating!

I hope you all have an amazing Monday! My new planner gets in today and I am excited to organize my life. I have a book planner that I LOVE but I need one for all of my daily activities for my family. Life is good!

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Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte

Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte
Publication Date: February 26, 2019
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Genre: YA Fantasy
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Audio Narration: 4 Stars
Steam Level: 🔥🔥

Synopsis:

Seventeen-year-old Keralie Corrington may seem harmless, but in fact, she’s one of Quadara’s most skilled thieves and a liar. Varin, on the other hand, is an honest, upstanding citizen of Quadara’s most enlightened region, Eonia. Varin runs afoul of Keralie when she steals a package from him, putting his life in danger. When Varin attempts to retrieve the package, he and Keralie find themselves entangled in a conspiracy that leaves all four of Quadara’s queens dead.

With no other choices and on the run from Keralie’s former employer, the two decide to join forces, endeavoring to discover who has killed the queens and save their own lives in the process. When their reluctant partnership blooms into a tenuous romance, they must overcome their own dark secrets in hopes of a future together that seemed impossible just days before. But first they have to stay alive and untangle the secrets behind the nation’s four dead queens.


DISCLAIMER:
This book was gifted from PenguinTeen as a gift due to Four Dead Queens being nominated for a GoodChoice GoodReads Award! This in no way impacts my review; all opinions are my own.


NON SPOILERY REVIEW

Wow! This standalone book totally swept me away! I haven’t read a royal fantasy in a while and it really took me by surprise!

I was intrigued by the mystery surrounding the murder of the four Queens and the story of Keralie, the thief entangled in the murders front the get go! This book was fast paced and kept my attention chapter after chapter. Some of the twists I never even saw coming! I listened via audio and I absolutely loved the narrators; they did a phenomenal job and brought the characters to life! I really enjoyed the romance as well. I think the story could have functioned well without it, so what we did get was cute and exciting!

I think it’s important as an adult reader to meet books where they are. I am rating this book as if I were 16 years old, and my teenage self would have LOVED this book (my adult self does too!) There are some moments of more mature content but nothing I wouldn’t let a young teen read!

This book is available now at most book retailers, in store or online! Astrid Scholte’s new book THE VANISHING DEEP arrives March 3rd, 2020 and is available for preorder!

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Wild Wednesday – WWW

 

This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and brought back by Taking on a World of Words.

Rules are to just answer three questions:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently reading: Well Met by Jen DeLuca
This book is CUTE. I am only a few chapters in and I am such a sucker for those steamy, adult romcoms! I’ve already found myself laughing. It’s giving me Fix Her Up vibes with it’s character driven, spicy romance that I am a sucker for!

Recently finished: The Christmas Pact by Vi Keeland
This book was on my radar because again.. sucker for fast, cute romance! It was a free audible membership listen for December!  This was an enjoyable fast paced Christmas novella and is definitely an adult read in language and content! I really enjoyed the characters and I already miss them! This was perfect for my desire to read a little holiday book!

Overall Story : ⭐️⭐️⭐️✨
Characters: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Steam Level: 🔥🔥
Audio Narrators: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Reading Next: The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams
This book was sent to me by my friend Erin (IG: @story_hoarder). Her and I send each other books and ARCs to read and she said this one would be perfect for me! I am so excited to finish up Well Met to start on this one! Here is the synopsis from GoodReads!

The first rule of book club:
You don’t talk about book club.

Nashville Legends second baseman Gavin Scott’s marriage is in major league trouble. He’s recently discovered a humiliating secret: his wife Thea has always faked the Big O. When he loses his cool at the revelation, it’s the final straw on their already strained relationship. Thea asks for a divorce, and Gavin realizes he’s let his pride and fear get the better of him.

Welcome to the Bromance Book Club.

Distraught and desperate, Gavin finds help from an unlikely source: a secret romance book club made up of Nashville’s top alpha men. With the help of their current read, a steamy Regency titled Courting the Countess, the guys coach Gavin on saving his marriage. But it’ll take a lot more than flowery words and grand gestures for this hapless Romeo to find his inner hero and win back the trust of his wife.”




I hope you all have a wonderful Wednesday and get a lot of reading done!

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Soulwalkers by Cassidy Thomas

Soulwalkers by Cassidy Thomas
Publisher: Little Big Books
Publication Date: December 3rd, 2019
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Rating: 4 Stars

Synopsis:

Kia LaStrauss can see into your soul with the touch of her hand. She can see your fears, desires, wants. She can see your past. Your present. Your future. She is a Soulwalker. 

New Orleans is the city Kia calls home: a city of revelry, jazz, wonder, and magic. She grew up listening to stories of magic and mysticism, but they were just stories… or so she thought. After experiencing two visions of the future, Kia learns of the existence of Soulwalkers, and that she is one of them. With the help of her mentor Ian, she begins to learn what she is capable of, and the consequences of her newfound power. But even Ian cannot prepare her for what she will discover. 

Kia is thrown into a world once unimaginable, where the touch of a hand could kill her and every new discovery can change the course of her life forever. 


DISCLAIMER:
Thank you Cassidy Thomas for this free finished copy to read and review. This is no way shapes my opinions, all thoughts expressed are my own.


REVIEW

I really enjoyed this YA urban fantasy! I love stories that center in New Orleans because the world-building is always so rich. Within this world, we have Soulwalkers, people who can see your soul with a touch… however, there is a balance to this magic system. This adds a level of stress to this ability, throwing me for a loop when you learn about Kia’s first walk. This book explores more magic than soul walking but I don’t want to say too much and spoil the surprises! This book has many twists and turns, some totally unexpected! This is a super quick, exciting read and I would recommend this to anyone who likes books you can devour in a sitting!

I liked the multiple points of view as I’m always wondering what everyone is thinking other than the MC. It just gives a book more depth to me.

***could be considered spoilery***

I enjoyed the romance aspect as I’m a total romance sucker. The only thing I think can be worked upon is the term of endearment. Ian would call Kia kid when they had a “mentor/student,” relationship but once it was more it seemed a bit demeaning. Calling the person you’re interested in as “kid,” isn’t for me, but honestly I think it could just be my own opinion! Other than that, I was totally rooting for the characters!

This book is available for preorder on Amazon and will be available 12/3!

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Topic Tuesday – Problematic Themes in Literature

Hellllllo everyone! I hope everyone is having an amazing Tuesday! I had to wait until nap time before I could jump on! Below is a triggering topic, so if you are triggered and upset easily, please do not continue reading. I want my blog to be a safe space for everyone! It’s going to be a doozy!


After reading The Wicked Deep, I wanted to talk about problematic themes in literature. Now, I’m not one to get offended easily. I have gone through a fair amount of trauma in my past, which I am very open out; thankfully for me not a lot triggers me into panic. However, there are some topics that make people upset. There are many problematic themes like violence against women, rape, abusive partners that make it into our books.

I for one do not like reading Bully Romance, which is a huge reason as to why I did not like the After series. The reason why I don’t like it is not because of the topic itself, but it’s because sometimes those themes do not serve as a vehicle for the plot. Sometimes these characters are just shitty to be shitty and I can’t stand behind that. With books like The Cruel Prince, Jude and Cardan are SO MEAN to each other and there really isn’t much reason for it other than to be a dick (in my opinion, don’t @ me LOL). In After, Harden and what’s her face (I forgot already), were abusive to each other and then they would make up and then everyone would just gloss over it. They would have intense sex and then all is forgiven until they are screaming at each other in public and emotionally manipulating each other. That is NOT okay for me.

What I mean for a problematic theme to be a vehicle for the plot, is that it has to be addressed in some way and have a meaningful impact on those characters. There are many books out there that talk about race and prejudice and we see those characters go through some tough stuff, but it gets resolved. Someone learns something from it. The aggressor realizes that it’s NOT okay to behave this way. Most of the time, especially in YA literature, we don’t see it addressed – everyone just sweeps it under the rug.

Now to The Wicked Deep. If you haven’t read it, don’t read this paragraph as I will be discussing spoilers. The Wicked Deep is about the spirit of 3 dead sister witches who inhabit the body of girls and lure boys to their death out of revenge from their drowning. Penny, the main character, has what I believe is sex with the main love interest, Bo. Later on it is revealed that it is a sister witch, Hazel, inhabiting her body and she used Penny’s body to get close to Bo. The author literally swept this under the rug. No one even talked about how fucked up that was, not even Bo! Hazel says, please don’t tell Penny what happened, I will leave the good memories for her. Like ? Then we are not told if Bo reveals the truth, which I’m sure he doesn’t since the ending he’s still obsessed with Hazel even though he’s with the real Penny.

That is rape you guys. Penny did not consent to this. It doesn’t matter that she was unaware and that a witch possessed her. It doesn’t matter that Hazel left the “good memories.” Penny could not consent. I am not pointing all of the blame on Bo as he did not know at the time, but I do think it was his responsibility to tell her the truth once he knew and she was Penny again. I had a long conversation with Kibby (www.somethingofthebook.com IG: @somethingofthebook) about how wrong this, in fact she’s the one who initially brought it up and I was like wait no, wtf, I didn’t even think of this!

If the author were to have made Bo reveal what happened and discussed how wrong that was even for a freaking paragraph, I would be singing a different tune. This is how we perpetuate rape culture. It is NOT cute that Bo and Penny are now together and Hazel is a ghost in the wind still whispering she loves him. NO! It’s like Bo got to have his cake and eat it too (thank you Kat IG: @kathardistywrites for this phrasing because it’s PERFECT).

Don’t get me wrong, I still think this is an enjoyable book, but those things need to be fixed. We cannot keep sweeping these problematic themes under the rug. They have to be there for a reason, it has to drive the plot forward. I heard people are boycotting Ninth House because of a problematic theme but then from others I hear it’s addressed in the story. It’s okay to have traumatic events in book! What’s not okay is acting like it’s normal and not discussing the issue for those characters and for the readers.


Well,  thank you all for reading my rant if you’ve made it this far! How do you view problematic themes in literature?

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Mood Monday – New Week/New TBR!

How can it be the second week of October already? This week will be a whirlwind for me as I’ll be headed off to LA with my mom on Saturday morning for a quick trip to KoreaTown! Words cannot express how excited I am! It’s also the last week of the #housecupreadathon19 for October over on Instagram! I’m excited to see who is in the lead!

I am starting off this week with a brand new TBR! I am going to be reading The Wicked Deep and Blackbirds! Kelli (@starlightfaerytale) is going to the Morristown Book Festival soon so we are trying to read books from authors going to that event (Chuck Wendig). I’m also trying to fit in a few short books (Soulwalkers) and write some reviews! Lord only knows where I’ll find the time!

This weekend I read Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu (gothic novella) which was Narrated by David Tennant, Rose Leslie, and Phoebe Fox! This audio drama was SO STINKING GOOD y’all! I mean it was legit like listening to a movie. The voice acting was just phenomenal! It’s a super short audible original, the book is about 100ish pages. This was written in 1872, 26 years before Dracula! The female vampire is in love with another woman! Yay LGBT in the 1800s!! I totally recommend this novella via audio!

I hope everyone has an amazing week!

TGIF – Who Else is Busy AF?

WOW! This week just flew by! I totally forgot to post my Thirsty Thursday new and upcoming release post! I might post that this weekend. Chuck and I have spent a lot of time redoing our nook’s flooring! The old owners put laminate over the hardwood so we tore out the old and installed stuff that looks like wood!

Don’t mind my crazy mess 😂 we are going to paint the walls and of course clean up my shelves when everything is done! We still have some to go along the edges but hopefully that’ll be complete by Sunday!

I finished reading A Thousand Pieces of You last night and needless to say I’m not that impressed. I’m going to go ahead and finish the series and I will write a review for the series as a whole. Today I’m going to finish up To Kill a Kingdom, which I am reading for research purposes with my friend to help her with her book! Then I will get to The Wicked Deep!

I’ve heard some mixed reviews about this book, especially about the last page so I’m curious if I will feel the same way. I’m typically an easy raider because I rate critically rather than personally which I think is important. I can’t stand when people write books that are for younger audiences or forgenres they know they don’t like and rate the books poorly!

I hope everyone has an amazing weekend!

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Wild Wednesday – Readathons

Do you participate in readathons? Right now I am hosting a House Cup Readathon (#housecupreadathon19) over on Instagram! Thankfully I have my head girls in charge of their houses! I could not do this without their help! It’s so amazing to  have a group of people I can rely on to help make things fun and exciting (and not so overwhelming)! Go over and follow these wonderful humans listed below on IG! I have a little something something coming in the mail for each of them! It’s not much but it’s what I could do (and afford) to show them my appreciation!

  1. Kelli – Gryffindor
  2. Ashleigh Kay – Slytherin
  3. Amanda – Ravenclaw
  4. Chelci – Hufflepuff

People are really catching onto these types of groups! We have 18 members per house and every 100 pages you read is 10 points! If you finish your book, it’s like catching the snitch and you get 150 points for your house! The houses are closed but we will open back up on the 15th for new members up to 25! I finished Savage Appetites yesterday so that earned my house 170 points! I also read a little of A Thousand Pieces of You! I’m going to start The Wicked Deep today once I get back from the pet store!

Yesterday I posted about my TBR and I already want to change it! LOL Anyone else like me? I swear I am the moodiest reader there is! I don’t get overwhelmed though because I have a fairly strict rule of only buying books I’ve already read and loved (making every book I see on my shelf something I adore). It helps me justify spending extra on limited edition copies. Speaking of special editions, I want that Illumicrate edition of The Starless Sea so bad that I might cry if I don’t get it.

Any special editions you’re waiting for? I will have to get the special edition of Clockwork Angel, I already know that! I’m also debating on the editions of SoC and CK! We shall see what my budget allows as we are redoing the hardwood in the nook/library!

Well, I think that’s enough rambling for me today, I hope y’all have a fantastic rest of your week!

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