Wednesday, October 2, 2019

September 2019 Wrap Up

September marks my first month in my new home state. It's been a busy month of moving, organizing, cleaning, job hunting, and adjusting to living with my boyfriend. It's been hard to find a routine so far, but I know it will come with time. And I did manage to find a position in a laboratory here and it is a very exciting opportunity!

I hadn't been working out, though I finally got back into Insanity once we had enough space for me to do a video. Until I got a nasty cold and then started working, so I stopped again more or less. And I have still been working on my bullet journal. It has been something that I actually enjoy and look forward to working on/filling out. I was originally afraid that it would end up feeling more like a chore.

I tried to low-key participate in Victoria Schwab's Schwabtember challenge to read a book (or more) that you've never read by her. I already love some of her books though, so that wasn't a chore for me! Here are the books I read this month. (Luckily more than I read last month...)

Title: Muse of Nightmares
Author: Laini Taylor
Narrator: Steve West

Synopsis: Sarai has been the Muse of Nightmares ever since her power made itself known and she used that to sow fear in the people of Weep. Now that she is a ghost and the man she loves is a "God," everything changes and their fates are held in Minya's bitter, angry hands. As the story unfolds, so does the history of the Mesarthim and how the gods traveled between distant worlds.

Thoughts: I enjoyed the development of the story and the characters, but at times things felt a little chaotic and disjointed. I'm sure some of that was intentional, given the subject, but it made some parts feel oddly drawn out and others seem resolved too quickly. But in general, I was satisfied with the ending.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5 stars

Title: Spin the Dawn
Author: Elizabeth Lim

Synopsis: Maia is the only daughter of a talented tailor. She learns the craft and is very gifted, herself, but women are not meant to be tailors. When her aged, broken father is summoned to court to compete for the position of Imperial Tailor, she disguises herself as his and goes in his place. The competition will challenge all of her abilities and it becomes more complicated once she attracts the attention of the Imperial Enchanter. But it is the final challenge to create three impossible gowns that could prove her downfall.

Thoughts: This was a recent Owlcrate book that immediately caught my attention. Plus, Tamora Pierce gave it a favorable review. I really enjoyed it. In the beginning it struck me as being very Mulan-like, but the story changed after a while. I didn't always love the love story, but I did like the characters and the magic.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Title: Vicious
Author: V. E. Schwab

Synopsis: This is the story of Victor and Eli. College roommates and friends turned arch nemeses. During the end of college, they found a shared interest in rumored people with special abilities and eventually figured out how to create the proper circumstances to give people these abilities. A series of horrible events lands each of them with extraordinary abilities and lands Victor in jail. Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison with the single-minded goal of stopping Eli. And Eli's goal has been to remove all extraordinary people from earth. Both sides have terrible powers and formidable teams, but only one can survive.

Thoughts: I picked this book up forever ago when I was still getting into Schwab's books. I had read the Monsters of Verity duology and loved it too much to get into her other stuff right away. I finally read her Shades of Magic trilogy which I also enjoyed, so I'm not sure why I waited so long to pick this one up. But Schwab hosted a Schwabtember challenge this month and it was the perfect opportunity to read this. And I loved it. It was intense and crazy. I couldn't stop thinking about it and wanting to know what happened next. As usual, V. E. Schwab has not failed to impress. I can't wait to get my hands on Vengeful.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5 stars (The only reason I didn't rate it 5 stars was because I loved the Monsters of Verity duology just a tiny bit better.)

Title: Two Dark Reigns
Author: Kendare Blake

Synopsis: The stories of the queens continues in the third book of the Three Dark Crowns series. Mirabella and Arsinoe have escaped the island, but something is trying to lure them back and they are not sure why. Jules is training her partially bound war gift and joins a rebellion against the old queens as the new Legion Queen. And Kat deals with the dead queens as well as the mist that is rising against her people.

Thoughts: I always wait a long time between these books because they are dark and intense so I always need a break before I continue. But this means that I forget things between reads. Some things did come back to me, but I probably should have brushed up a bit on the last book. That aside, this book felt different than the first two, to me. I think the shifting plotline is what did it. And maybe that is why I liked this one just a bit less than the other two. Despite that feeling, I still liked the book overall. There were parts that were dark and hard, which was expected, and parts that made me very worried for what happens next. And my main thought at the end was, "Everything is going wrong!" So that's where I left it. I do have the last book that I ordered specially from the Bookish Box. It is a signed first edition and came with lots of cool stuff inspired by the trilogy. I loved it. And the first book was received in an Owlcrate box years ago, so it is a little special, too. Anyway, I am looking forward to reading the last one and finding out how it all ends, but I am going to need to take a little break first!

Rating: 3 1/2 stars out of 5

Title: Soul of the Sword
Author: Julie Kagawa
Narrators: Brian Nishii, Joy Osmanski, and Emily Woo Zeller

Synopsis: Hakaimono has broken free and taken over Tatsumi's body. Historically, the Shadow clan would kill the former demon slayer in order to return Hakaimono's soul to the sword. But the leader of the Shadow clan recruits Yumeko to save the demon slayer, which she and her companions were already planning to do. They also need to find the secret temple and give them the piece of the scroll that Yumeko carries.

Thoughts: I enjoyed the first book, Shadow of the Fox, so I knew that I wanted to continue. I was pleased with the way Yumeko (sort of) saves Tatsumi and I liked some of the small side stories of some of the characters. I plan to keep reading so I can find out what happens to everyone now that I have become attached to the characters!

Rating: 3 1/2 stars out of 5

Title: Soul of Stars
Author: Ashley Poston

Synopsis: This is the sequel to Heart of Iron. Di has been HIVE'd, the Great Darkness is coming, and Ana is presumed dead, but feels compelled to save the universe. And Di. Meanwhile Jax has to face the destiny he has dreaded and return to his home planet which he hoped to never see again. And Robb finally finds out who Jax really is. Will Ana and her crew full of misfits be able to stop the Great Dark before it consumes their worlds?

Thoughts: It has been too long since I read Heart of Iron, but I LOVED it. But didn't quite remember how everything ended... which is sad and I probably should have brushed up. I cried a few times while reading this one because I love these characters. I enjoyed Jax's arc and I felt like Robb really came into his own in this book. And I absolutely adore Siege. There were a couple things I found odd. One was Ana's search for Starbright to obtain their help saving Di which was never actually utilized, though I like the other characters that were added because of it. Also, Ana and Di's ending seemed a bit odd, but I'm just going to ignore it. Overall, I enjoyed it very much (though maybe not quite as much as the first one).

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Title: The Fire Keeper
Author: J.C. Cervantes

Synopsis: This is the second book in the Storm Runner series. Zane put out a call to other god-borns and that has started to bear fruit. Except that most of the gods want the god-borns dead and Zane just put them on the gods' radars. Plus his dad, Hurakan, is in trouble. He's not sure they will have time to save his dad and the god-born. And some powers are working against him and he doesn't know who he can trust.

Thoughts: This was another one that I should have refreshed my memory of the first book before reading this one. Luckily the author hits the key points from the last book very well. I enjoyed the overall story and the characters that were in this one, especially Ah Puch. I have some questions that I want answers to Ixtab's story and motives. I really enjoy learning the Mayan mythology. That's a huge draw for me. While I didn't love this book, I still really liked it and I am looking forward to the next one.

Rating: 3-31/2 stars out of 5

Favorite book read this month: Vicious
Least favorite book read this month: Maybe Muse of Nightmares? I read a lot of good books this month, so I don't feel that I had an obvious least favorite.

And next month is October! My favorite month and that means spooky reads! I will post a bit about what I plan to read on my Instagram, so please check that out.

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