Audiobook Review: Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian

This one came with one of the recent Shelflove Crates and it looked interesting so I decided to give it a go. My digital audiobook library hold came in so I decided to listen to it instead of reading the physical version. There are a few TW/CWs so I’ll list the ones I know of before we dive into the review. As always, if you let me know of others you noticed while reading Ash Princess, I’ll update the list.

  • Mention of rape
  • Torture
  • Slavery
  • Genocide
  • Acts of war

The characters in the book were… kind of developed? As soon as I felt like I kind of knew one of them, that slipped through my fingers. This was especially true when it came to Theo’s friend, whose name I’ve already forgotten. I do understand she went through hardship but her behavior toward the end made everything else feel fake.

The one character I liked a little was Theo, though mostly because I at least got to see her internal dialogue. I could see her mentally forming the reasoning behind her actions and decisions, though a lot of the time she was two-dimensional and didn’t really come off the page for me at all.

The world this story is set in was the most interesting part for me and also the most well done aspect. I had no trouble understanding the rules for how things are meant to function and the descriptions given of the locations are just enough to make immersion possible. I would like to have seen more of it, but the storyline limited that quite a bit.

The story itself… It had me in the beginning, needing to know what had happened to cause the state of things, needing to know how Theo processes things and what would happen next. As the story continued, that need faded to a soft want and died out altogether. I think if I had been reading a physical copy of Ash Princess, it would likely have been relegated to the DNF pile. It’s often slow and the ending is a bit of a cliffhanger. There was a good bit of potential here and I just don’t feel like it lived up to it.

The audiobook version of Ash Princess is narrated by Saskia Maarleveld, who I think did a good enough job. Her voice is smooth, though her inflection is often a bit strange. It was easy to listen to her read me the novel, though, so I while I won’t seek out her work I certainly won’t avoid listening to another of her narrations.

In general, Ash Princess was okay. It wasn’t as great as the hype made me think it would be, but it also wasn’t terrible. It isn’t one of those novels that will probably stick with me, but I’ll be interested enough to read the next novel in the series if my library acquires the digital audiobook. My feeling toward it, unfortunately, is simply meh.

Overall, I rate Ash Princess 2 out of 5 bookworms. Don’t just take my word for it. Add it on Goodreads and enjoy it for yourself!

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Audiobook Review: Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

So, I know I just posted my review of Lady Midnight last week, but as I said I am devouring the Shadowhunter books. I was torn between wanting to make the series last a bit longer (because the next book isn’t out until December) and needing to know what happens next to all my favourite Shadowhunters and Downworlders. And so here we are.

I really enjoyed that in Lord of Shadows we got to know a bit more about Ty, Livvy, and Kit. They’re three of my favourite characters in the series so seeing more of them up close and personal was really great for me. It was also more painful to see them struggle through the plot points but c’est la vie. I also like that we get a good bit more about Mark in this novel than we did in the last one. I really liked what Cassandra Clare did with his character arc and I look forward to seeing more in the next novel of the series.

The novel is set in the Shadowhunter world, with the addition of the Shadow Market gaining a good deal of depth. I do not think for a second that someone could pick up this series and know all of what is going on in the Shadow world but I still think they might enjoy it. The world building in this novel was heavy because of the addition of the Shadow Markets and the way they have their own sets of rules. I really liked this added bit of depth to the world and I wasn’t expecting it going in. Definitely a nice surprise.

I can’t even think about the story without my mind going to one specific thing that happened at the end and my heart breaks. I refuse to write spoilers into my review so just… be aware that you will likely need all the tissues and chocolate and kittens for snuggling. Your faves, as usual with Cassandra Clare’s work, are far from safe. The story itself flowed very well. Fast paced at the right moments and slower at the right moments, just long enough for the reader to nearly catch their breath before the world comes crashing down and things pick up again. Cassie Clare is basically a plot master at this point and we should all salute her.

While I would usually be unhappy about having to wait until December for the next novel in the series, I’ll probably need the next full six months to recover from what Cassandra Clare just did to me. I’m definitely going to need all the coffee and chocolate and baked goods for this one. For now, I’ll tide myself over with the Shadow Market novellas and chocolate chip pancakes.

Overall, I rate Lord of Shadows 4 out of 5 bookworms. Don’t just take my word for it. Add it on Goodreads and enjoy it for yourself!

Have you read any of Cassandra Clare’s books? Who are your favourite characters in the Shadowhunter world?

Tag: Pride Flag Book Tag

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So, I know it’s not technically pride month anymore but I’m still queer so I’m going to let the flag fly anyway. I saw this great tag over on Small Queer, Big Opinions and knew immediately I had to do it even though I wasn’t actually tagged. I’m just a rebel like that, I guess. The tag was initially created by Common Spence, who I didn’t know existed until I found this tag and realized I’d been missing out. Do yourselves a favor and follow both of these lovely individuals. 💖

I’m not going to tag anyone in particular so if you think you’d enjoy doing this one, consider yourself tagged! Let’s jump into the tag!

 

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Red (Life) – A book with a spirited protagonist totally proud of who they are. Someone who gives you LIFE

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The Six of Crows Duology is one of my favourite series, but my favourite character in the series is most definitely Nina. She’s proud of who and what she is and doesn’t let anyone look down on her for anything from her magic to her love of waffles. Reading her character makes me so happy because here is this teenager who is told so much is wrong about her and she just doesn’t let any of it even touch her. I also absolutely love that Leigh Bardugo won’t verbally confirm that Nina is bi, but instead says she would rather show us. I’m honestly really hoping we get to see this in the upcoming Grishaverse novel!

 

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Orange (Healing) – A book that made you, as the reader, find a deeper meaning or catharsis in your own life

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I remember not expecting much from The Nowhere Girls and then realizing that I should have expected a whole lot. This novel made me realize that I want to work with teens, especially teen girls. I want to make a place where they know it’s safe for them to hang out and not need to worry about what some guy is going to do to them or what the world will say about it. Before I read this book, I was on the fence about whether or not I wanted to transfer from the library branch I was working at to the branch I’m at now, a branch I work with both children and teens at. After reading this book, there was not a doubt in my mind that I needed to work with both. I’m so happy now to be able to help make that safe space for teens because of this book and its themes. Definitely worth a read!

 

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Yellow (Sunshine) – A book that fills you with so much joy it could brighten even your darkest day

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For this one, I have three words for you: Fluffy. Gamer. Romance. It’s so fluffy and happy and I just loved reading every moment of it! There are a couple instances of homomisia on the page from one of the MC’s parents so beware of that if you do read it. There is a bit of angst because it is a romance between a lesbian teen and a questioning teen and honestly if it hadn’t been there I wouldn’t have found it as believable. The romance itself was so fluffy and wonderful though and I can’t say that enough! Reading this one makes me very happy and I hope it does the same for you if you choose to read it.

 

 

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Green (Nature) – A book that is set out of this world – a reality different to our own

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Reign of the Fallen is set in a place called Karthia, where necromancers have been continuously resurrecting the king for an unknown but obviously very large amount of time. The main character is a bisexual necromancer who goes through a really heavy period with grief and addiction, which are both very accurately portrayed throughout the novel. Definitely something to be aware of if you choose to read it. But it’s such a unique novel with such good rep in it that I recommend it to those who can read it without being harmed by it.

 

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Blue (Peace) – A book where one of the characters finds peace with a difficult truth

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First let me go ahead and say that this is one of the most difficult books I’ve read this year. It’s a story about a few different gay boys but that’s not what makes it difficult. It’s told using the voice of a generation of gay men who died of AIDS. I cried so much while reading this book. During this novel, one of the two boys who are kissing to beat the world record for longest consecutive kiss realizes that it’s okay not to be in a relationship with the other one romantically. I honestly can’t remember which one this was, but I do remember them finding peace with this at the end of the novel. I was too emotional about this one to write a full review out, but it’s a quick read and I definitely recommend it.

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Purple (Spirit) – A book that deals with LGBT+ themes and religion

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I only very vaguely remember the story in this one, but I do remember enjoying it quite a bit when I read it. The main character in The Tiger’s Watch is a genderfluid soldier-in-training who is forced to hide in a monastery when their home is attacked. I remember not really feeling right about the romance in this, but the rest of the novel was a fun read. I did a full review of it back then, which you can find here.

 

Audiobook Review: Roar by Cora Carmack

I read this book for challenge 2 of the Shelflove Crate Annual Readathon. I have a lot of feelings about it so I’m hoping that by writing this review out, I’ll somehow manage to decide on a rating. There was one TW/CW that I noticed while reading, so I’ll go ahead and list that here before we dig in!

  • Emotional abuse

The characters were all really interesting, though they didn’t seem to have an excessive amount of depth. I did find myself liking Roar as a character, though. She’s kind of pushed into doing something because of actions and reactions of others, but I think she really deals with that well. I also absolutely loved seeing the storms as characters! I feel like this added something so unique and awesome to the novel and it was probably my favourite part.

The world was a bit confusing at first. Mostly because I jumped into the novel having not read even so much as the synopsis because who needs to know what the book is going to be about when so many trusted reviewers loved it? Not this girl. However, the world building is very well done and I had no trouble picking up the nuance that is the way this world works. I did have some trouble with visualization at some points, but I’ll take that with such a complicated world that’s otherwise built up very well. There were immersive moments throughout, however, and I really enjoyed those.

The story flowed pretty well from beginning to end and I had trouble putting it down to participate in regular real world activities. I loved that there were a plethora of plot twists, some meant for the reader and some meant for the characters. There were a few that I’m pretty sure shocked the reader AND the characters. It has been just long enough since I read this that the details have begun to fade, but I still remember how intricate it felt while reading it and the major plot points. However, the one thing I remember disliking about this novel was the cliffhanger-ish ending because cliffhangers are the devil’s handiwork.

The audiobook of Roar was narrated by Soneela Nankani. It has actually been forever and a half since I listened to this audiobook and I’m so behind on my reviews that I’m just getting around to this one. I can not remember specifically whether I loved the narration, but I did not hate it. So there is that? Maybe? It’ll have to be good enough for this one.

I really did enjoy reading Roar and I’m very excited to read the next novel of the series to see where the story goes. I will probably lean toward the audiobook version simply because it’s how I’m consuming most of my media these days, but the writing style would work well for me if I end up reading the physical or digital version of the novel.

Overall, I rate Roar 3 out of 5 bookworms. Don’t just take my word for it. Add it on Goodreads and enjoy it for yourself!

Have you read Roar? Who was your favourite character?

Bookworm of the Week: 6 July 2018

Bookworm of the Week is a spotlight started here on Vicarious Bookworm where each week a different book blogger or vlogger and their platform(s) are highlighted. It started as a way to help bring more attention to book bloggers and vloggers within the online book community.

This week’s Bookworm of the Week is:

Chelsea is sweet and honest and that comes across in all her content. My favourite thing about her blog is her Diversity Masterpost, which links to other content that gives reading recommendations based on what type of representation you’re looking for. It’s definitely something helpful if you’re looking to see something specific on the page!

Chelsea is also one of the few bloggers I’ve seen write out full reviews of audiobooks. I always like seeing other bloggers do this because not all audiobooks are as good as their eye-reading counterparts. One of her more recent audiobook reviews is of Need To Know, which I hadn’t heard of before but now know I don’t need to read.

She creates monthly Anticipated Book Release posts, which helps my TBR with its glaring at me or at least gives it a few more reasons to. For example, her July 2018 post added a new book to my TBR that I probably wouldn’t have heard of otherwise.

I also follow Chelsea on Instagram, where she posts the most simple yet beautiful pictures! They always catch my eye even though there isn’t much in the pictures. I’m sure it takes a considerable effort to manage it, but she always makes it look easy breezy and I love it.

Obviously, you should do yourself a favor here and follow Chelsea everywhere because she is excellent and puts out excellent content. You can find her on

Blog | Other Blog | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | YouTube

Audiobook Review: Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

As many of you already know, I’ve been practically devouring the Shadowhunter books by Cassamdra Clare, so deciding whether or not to read Lady Midnight was a no brainer for me. The one thing I was wary of going in though is that I know the series is not yet finished. However, I couldn’t stop myself and now I’m invested so here we are at the crossroads of “the next book is staring me in the face” and “but I haven’t reviewed the first book yet.” Let’s dig in and remedy that. 😉

Most of the characters are ah-may-zing. I could easily imagine myself having a conversation with almost any of them. They’re so incredibly realistic and three-dimensional. There were a couple main-ish characters who I felt could use more development. The one that pops to mind most often when I ponder this is Malcolm Fade, which is… unfortunate.

I loved seeing more of the characters that we got a peek of in The Mortal Instruments series, but for the most part Cassandra Clare handles their development as though their earlier appearances did not happen. I like this because it means that someone can pick up Lady Midnight without having to have read the other Shadowhunter novels and still enjoy it.

The Shadow world… As I said, I’m pretty much steeped in it now so I knew what the general rules are to it. There is not a large amount of world building, though. This is the one area of the novel that I felt kept Lady Midnight from being as good as possible for the first novel in a series. It definitely added to what was already there, but as far as creating anything beyond an immersive quality to the locations this one is a bit lacking. Basically, you’ll want to read the other books first to understand the world that the story takes place in.

The story itself flows along really well from beginning to end. It consistently speeds up and slows down as needed without being too slow (i.e. boring) or too fast (i.e. how did we get here? idk). Instead, the plot rises and falls similar to being out to sea. And, much like being out to sea, there are sharks (i.e. plot twists) all over the place waiting to jump up and eat you and your feelings. The ending didn’t feel cliff-hangery but I definitely want more and need to know what happens to the characters. So, basically, the end was perfect.

I… can’t even lie. I listened to this one about four books ago so I have very little memory of what I liked or disliked about Morena Baccarin’s narration of this book. I would definitely remember if I had disliked it a lot or if I had loved it, so I’m going to assume she did a good job.

I really enjoyed this novel as someone who has already read the other available Shadowhunter novels. Like I said before, I do recommend reading the others before this one because of the world building, but the novel can be enjoyable without that. I am going to go start listening to the second novel in this series now, though this review probably won’t actually go up until next week because… editing. Where is the time? (If you know, tell me!)

Overall, I rate Lady Midnight 4 out of 5 bookworms. Don’t just take my word for it. Add it on Goodreads and enjoy it for yourself!

Have you read any of the Shadowhunter novels? Which is your favourite? Let’s talk about it in the comments! 😀

Blog Tour: Kiss of the Royal by Lindsey Duga

Hey there, bookworms and dragons! I’m super excited to be able to participate in the blog tour for Kiss of the Royal by Lindsey Duga. Keep reading for a few of my favourite quotes, my full review, and a giveaway! The premise of this one is what really made me want to read it, so let’s have a look at what this book is about.

In the war against the Forces of Darkness, the Royals are losing. Princess Ivy is determined to end this centuries-long conflict once and for all, so her new battle partner must succeed where the others failed. Prince Zach’s unparalleled skill with a sword, enhanced by Ivy’s magic Kiss, should make them an unstoppable pair—but try convincing Zach of that.

Prince Zach has spent his life preparing for battle, but he would rather be branded a heretic than use his lips as nothing more than a way to transfer magic. A kiss is a symbol of love, and love is the most powerful weapon they have—but try convincing Ivy of that.

With the fate of their world on the line, the battlefield has become a testing ground, and only one of them can be right. Falling for each other wasn’t part of the plan—but try convincing their hearts of that.

 

Yeah how could I not want to read that? Exactly. It was a bit difficult to select my favourite excerpts for this one, but I managed to narrow it down. Keeping in mind, of course, that these are all from the digital galley so they might change in the finished edition.

 

Favourite Excerpts

7%

For I am a powerful weapon in the Royal Arsenal.

 

83%

“I dont know how Love… happens.”

Her shoulders relaxed a little, and she stared off into the distance, as if lost in a memory. “That’s the thing. It just does. No reason at all. Or maybe it’s all the reasons.”

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My Review

While it did take me a couple days to read through this one (*shakes fist at adulting in general*), I was constantly wondering about it even when I wasn’t able to be reading it. I don’t remember any specific TW/CWs so we’ll just dive right in. If you’ve read Kiss of the Royal and noted TW/CWs please let me know in the comments and I’ll update this post. 🙂

The characters were all pretty interesting and unique. I did find myself really disliking Ivy for the first half of the book, but I’m going out on a limb and saying it was probably meant to be that way. Her entire world is practically flipped onto its head so clinging to the core beliefs she’s grown up with is to be expected. I did like Zach right from the beginning, though. He’s sincere and sweet and so sarcastic and I need for him to be protected.

The world took a little getting used to. The locations were described well enough to be visualized, though I did have some trouble fully immersing myself. I could, at least, see the characters in their surroundings. The thing that took the most getting used to was the belief and hierarchy system. At the beginning, it seemed almost like I was expected to already understand the way things work hierarchy-wise. There is a bit of explanation of this a few chapters in, but until then I was a bit confused. After that explanation, though, everything comes a bit more smoothly in terms of world building.

As I said before, the premise of the story is what made me really want to read it. It felt a bit forced in the beginning, but once the flow of the story started going (around chapter 2 or 3) it really flowed well. There were a couple of twists and turns in the story, though I think they were mostly the type of plot twists that are meant for the characters and not the reader. I did have some trouble putting this down in places, leading to one too many “one more chapter” nights with work the next day. Also, some of my favourite words to be able to say together in a review: slow burn romance.

I do feel a bit confused by one very specific aspect of the ending, though it could possibly just be Lindsey Duga leading a possible sequel? I’ll keep an eye out for anyone else with similar questions, but I can’t specify anything here without ruining like 80% of the book. I did really enjoy this novel and I look forward to seeing what Lindsey Duga comes out with next!

Overall, I rate Kiss of the Royal 4 out of 5 bookworms. Don’t just take my word for it! Get your hands on a copy when it’s released on 3 July 2018 and enjoy it for yourself. Don’t forget to add it on Goodreads too! A few places you can preorder your copy from are:

About the Author

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Lindsey Duga is a middle grade and young adult writer with a passion for fantasy, science fiction, and basically any genre that takes you away from the real world. She wrote her first novel in college while she was getting her bachelor’s in Mass Communication from Louisiana State University.

Other than writing and cuddling with her morkie puppy, Delphi, Lindsey loves catching up on the latest superhero TV show and practicing yoga.

 

Giveaway

You made it! The end of the post!! Just kidding. Obviously a blog tour this awesome has to have an equally awesome giveaway attached, right? Right! The winner of this giveaway will win one (1) finished copy of Kiss Of The Royal by Lindsey Duga! 😀 This giveaway is US ONLY. Sorry, international bookworms and dragons!

CLICK HERE TO ENTER

Want more chances to win? Follow the tour! You can find the full tour schedule here.

 

Thank you so much to Lindsey Duga for writing such a creative and unique story. You are a rockstar!

Thank you also to Entangled Teen for allowing me to read a digital galley of this novel before its release date.

Finally, a big thank you to the Fantastic Flying Book Club for allowing me the privilege of participating in this tour!

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