ARC Review: The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White

I was given an arc of The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by a friend of mine at work because she thought it might be something I’d like. I hadn’t read anything else by Kiersten White before, but I’ve heard really good things about her The Conqueror’s Saga so I’ve been meaning to pick up something of hers for a while anyway. Also, the cover is pretty. And so here we are.

The characters are so incredibly well developed. Especially Elizabeth. Oh my goodness. I could easily have a conversation with any of the characters, though for obvious reasons I would avoid a few as much as possible. It’s been a while since I read an unlikable character as the main protagonist, so reading Elizabeth was almost like an entirely new experience. I still don’t like her, but given the nature of the story she’s obviously the lesser of many evils. I really like that the “good guy” isn’t who you think it would be.

The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein is set in the same time and place as Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. I will say here that I have not read Frankenstein, so I don’t know anything about the source material aside from the basic “Dr. Frankenstein was the doctor who used electricity from a thunderstorm to bring a monster to life from the pieces of more than one person/thing.” I have also not been to that area of Europe. That being said, the world building was immersive enough that I could easily put myself into most of the locations simply based on the descriptions given. A lot of details were given passively, which I really feel added to the novel very nicely.

I love that the novel is written in first person because we get to see how honest Elizabeth is with herself about the choices she makes and why she makes them. This is especially important to the story itself because it’s about her and the choices she makes in relation to everyone else’s choices. This Frankenstein retelling is done in an intriguing way that pulls the story along at a fast pace and is nearly impossible to put down.

I loved this novel from beginning to end. It’s fast pace and plot twists had me on the edge of my seat. I was expecting a little more sci-fi since I know that Mary Shelley basically invented the genre, but it came out as more of a historical fiction with a little sci-fi on the side. Either way, it was incredibly well written and perfectly timed to release in the 200th year since Frankenstein‘s original publication. It’s also a perfect Halloween-time read so the release date couldn’t have been chosen better!

Overall, I rate The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein 4 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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Tag: Finally Fall Book Tag

Hey there, bookworms and dragons! I’m so far behind on my book tags and things, but mistysbookspace tagged me for the Finally Fall Book Tag and, having just gotten back from where autumn is actually autumn-like, I feel like it’s the perfect opportunity to relish my favourite season. It’s also the perfect way for me to procrastinate on writing this review that I need to post tomorrow. Why wait? Procrastinate now!

Misty wasn’t sure who created this tag and I’ve not got the energy for digging so, if you know who created it let me know and I’ll be sure to update the post. Let’s dig in and have a little fun, shall we? 😀

 

In Autumn, the air is crisp and clear: Name a book with a vivid setting!

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The world building in the Witchlands series by Susan Dennard is incredibly vivid and lush! It’s one of the most immersive experiences I’ve had with a novel. I also heard recently that the series might be getting made into a TV show! *screams*

The first novel in the series is Truthwitch, followed by Windwitch, and the third novel in the series, Bloodwitch (are you seeing the theme here?), is due to be released in February 2019. There’s also a novella associated with the series that has already been released, titled SightwitchAnd, though it’s a prequel novella, I would read that one after the second novel because it might be easier to understand the world that way.

 

 

Nature is beautiful… but also dying: Name a book that is beautifully written, but also deals with a heavy topic like loss or grief

16115612.jpgThis one could be pretty much any book written by Khaled Hosseini. He’s one of my favourite authors and everything he puts out is heart wrenchingly beautiful. My favourite novel of his is And The Mountains Echoed, which is a novel that deals with loss and family and shows how much of an effect we really have on the lives around us.

Khaled Hosseini is an incredible storyteller and I always look forward to reading anything he writes. I recently picked up his new release, Sea Prayer, though it’s a picture book so I won’t be writing out a full review of it. I love how it was written and why. It’s utterly heartbreaking and I recommend it to anyone who’s able to read it. (TW/CW: death of a child)

 

Autumn is back to school season: Share a non-fiction book that taught you something new

35297455.jpgFor Every One by Jason Reynolds is the book I didn’t know I needed until after I read it. I needed a short digital book to read while I was on the reference desk on one of my Sunday shifts back in May and this popped up as something that was available to read right away. I’ve heard many good things about Jason Reynolds and his writing, so I figured I would give it a go.

Little did I know I was picking up a book that would change my outlook on so many things. It’s more of a poem or open letter than a novel, which is why I never wrote a full review of it, but I definitely recommend everyone read it. It helped me learn that while everyone is struggling with one thing or another, it’s okay to fail. It’s okay to pick myself back up after I fail. And it’s okay to be okay with who I am now instead of forcing myself to only think about how much better I could be if I was different. It’s definitely the kick in the arse and self-esteem boost I needed.

 

In order to keep warm, it’s good to spend some time with the people we love: Name a fictional family/household/friend-group that you’d like to be part of

30312855.jpgI would LOVE to be a member of The Devil’s Own from The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell! I was hoping to visit a few of the spots in the book when I passed through New York City at the beginning of this month, but between traffic (people in Connecticut CAN NOT DRIVE) and getting lost (where do people in NYC even park?) it just didn’t work out that way.

I did, however, get to drive past the Brooklyn Bridge, where quite a few of the scenes in The Last Magician and take place! I’m hoping that when I’m near the city next, I’ll be able to stop by a few of the places in the Bowery that have been immortalized in my mind by The Devil’s Own.

 

 

The colourful leaves are piling up on the ground: Show us a pile of autumn-coloured spines!

I do have a few books I could probably use to take a photo for this prompt between my personal library and the public library. Unfortunately, it’s quite rainy here just now and I’m not sure I’ll be able to get any decent photos taken until after this Hurricane passes by. 😦 I will try to at least do it later on and post it to bookstagram. Unless I forget, which, let’s face it, is a distinct possibility these days.

 

Autumn is the perfect time for storytelling by the fireside: Share a book wherein somebody is telling a story

36396341.jpgThere are three novellas in Star-Touched Stories by Roshani Chokshi. My favourite of the three is Poison and Gold but my second favourite was Rose and Sword, in which Gauri tells her granddaughter a story about a wife-to-be stealing her husband back from death himself. It’s a beautifully told story set in the lush Star-Touched world and I loved every moment of it! It’s definitely a collection worth picking up if you enjoyed either or both of Roshani’s novels set in the same universe, though I would read those novels first if you plan to read this collection because it’s pretty spoilery.

 

 

 

The nights are getting darker: Share a dark, creepy read

38255342.jpgThe Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein is two parts dark, one part creepy, and one part historical fiction. It’s the first and only (so far) novel I’ve read by Kiersten White, though if this is the kind of thing I have to look forward to in her work I’ll be eagerly picking up anything and everything.

The fact that this is a Frankenstein retelling should clue you in to the story’s dark and creeptastic nature, but it’s also slightly more historical fiction and slightly less sci-fi, making for a dark yet interesting read. Good plot twists and better world building, this novel should be near the top of your TBR!

 

 

 

The days are getting colder: Name a short, heartwarming read that could warm up somebody’s cold and rainy day

28458598.jpgWhen Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon is obviously a summer novel. It also tackles some pretty tough topics, like being a first generation American. I love that this book didn’t shy away from those topics but still managed to be incredibly heartwarming.

The thing I like the most about When Dimple Met Rishi is what gives me the most heartwarming feels, so I figure I should take two seconds to talk about that: the fact that the characters are all incredibly flawed. I LOVE the fact that Dimple and Rishi both make mistakes. Sometimes they learn from them and sometimes they don’t. They’re allowed to be human and, to me, it makes them feel so much more real. I just love when characters are allowed to be human and show their humanity while still being able to have something like a happy ending. 🙂

 

Autumn (luckily, it’s my favourite season) returns every year: Name an old favourite that you’d like to return to soon

23437156.jpgI was actually talking about this series a couple weeks ago at work with a friend of mine. I’m SUPER excited for the release of King of Scars in February, but I’d like to reread Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo before it’s released. This series has some of my all-time favourite characters in it and I’d really like to see them again.

I’ve also been told that the audiobook versions of Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom are both incredibly well done AND with a full cast, so I’m probably going to go with audiobook format when I reread. Also, I might not have the time for many more physical books for a while beginning next summer if things go the way I’m hoping. But, yes. Six of Crows. Nina. Inej. Jesper. Wylan. Matthias. Kaz. I need all my Ketterdam friends back and soon! Also, dark stories with magic and heists seem to pretty much be my theme these days.

 

Autumn is the perfect time for cozy reading nights: Share your favourite cozy reading “accessories”!

It’s still quite warm here in Florida even though it’s rainy, so I don’t really have a cozy reading accessory right now? When it starts to cool off a bit, I’ll probably “borrow” 7’s orange blanket though. It’s SO FLUFFY AND SOFT! When it’s cooler, I’ll be able to sit under it for hours and just enjoy a good book! 🙂

 

Spread the Autumn appreciation and tag some people!

I’m not going to tag anyone specific, but if it looks interesting or you’d like to do the Finally Fall Book Tag, please consider yourself tagged by me! Happy reading!

Review: This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada

Where to even begin with my review of This Mortal Coil… I have no clue. I didn’t note any TW/CWs while I was reading this one, which is part because I read it at rest stops while driving back from Maine and part because I was pretty much just powering through it. If you’ve read This Mortal Coil and you know of a TW/CW that needs to be added, please let me know in the comments and I’ll update the post. Let’s dive right in!

I had a bit of a hard time with the characters, specifically because so many of the plot twists in the story revolve around the character development aspect. I felt like I kinda knew a couple of them, but then there would be a plot twist and the metaphorical rug would be pulled out from under me. At the end of the story, I really only feel like I know one of the characters… maybe two… with enough certainty to tell you that I could have a conversation with them.

The world the characters live in, however, was pretty well developed. Post-apocalyptic United States with a pretty interesting and unique form of plague still actively attacking the populace? Yes, please! There were a couple different factions in this one and the rules on how they work in relation to the world itself seemed pretty steady throughout the novel. While the world building wasn’t quite as immersive as I was hoping for with a post-apocalyptic novel, I really enjoyed it.

The story itself… was kinda shaky for me. There were loads of plot twists and most of them were really good. I love a good plot twist! Though, I also kinda feel like there were too many plot twists in a way because the story wasn’t allowed to progress very well before another twist came along. It left parts of the novel feeling a little disjointed and confusing. There were honestly a couple of points where I wasn’t sure if I wanted to finish reading the novel, but in the end I’m glad I did. Confusing as it was, I really enjoyed the story and I’m curious about what happens next.

I’m torn between having enjoyed the novel and still being confused by some of it. I will definitely read the next novel in the series though because, unfortunately, the end is a HUGE cliffhanger and now I’m curious and have to know what comes next. Especially now that I’ve seen the synopsis for it.

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

What are some of your favourite post-apocalyptic novels? Let’s talk about them in the comments!

ARC Review: Age of Magic by Elise Kova and Lynn Larsh

I’ve basically been devouring the Wish Quartet one book at a time, so when the opportunity to read Age of Magic early presented itself, I jumped at it! The author sent me a digital galley of the novel in exchange for this honest review. I don’t remember any specific TW/CWs so let’s dive right on in!

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I really liked getting back to the characters, especially Jo. I feel like her character has grown so much since the beginning of the series. She is still, however, white-coded though there were several points at which the authors made it a point to vocalize her Mexican heritage. I just don’t feel like it showed in any way other than talking about her abuelita or random Mexican foods she misses. I do really like the arc of Takako and Sam’s characters took, though I feel like Wayne’s character went a bit flat.

The world of Age of Magic is so different from the world the other three novels were set in. It’s literally been completely rebuilt from the ground up and if it wasn’t for the storyline and character development aspects, this one could function as a standalone. The world building isn’t perfect, but it is immersive and the descriptions are enough that I could understand the basic rules and functionality of things while reading. The main thing I really look for is the immersive quality and that yes, this makes sense to me feeling, which Elise Kova and Lynn Larsh managed to capture.

Even while writing this, I’m not sure how I feel about the way the story ended? I do like the speed the story flowed at for most of it, though there were a couple parts that felt a bit clunky and unnecessary to me. They might have added to the character development aspect? But I just wasn’t feeling all of it. The base plot was interesting and I like the pace we took along that general path. I would have liked for there to have been a few more of the plot twists we saw in previous novels of the series because tbh the one “plot twist” I fully recall isn’t…really a plot twist. However, I did enjoy reading the story.

This is most definitely the finale I needed for this series, even if it didn’t go quite how I was hoping it would. I enjoyed the series and I feel like this final novel in it does the rest of the story justice. I definitely look forward to reading the associated novella and then I’ll probably make myself find the time to finally pick up the Air Awakens series because of course I haven’t read it yet.

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

The Next Chapter: October 2018 TBR & To-Do

September has been busy and amazing and October is shaping up to be incredibly stressful busy so let’s go ahead and get this TBR and To-Do list out of the way.

 

Books I Hope To Read In October

I’m going to keep this list modest because I’m also deciding whether or not I’d like to participate in NaNoWriMo next month, which will mean some plotting and lots of prep work this month in addition to EVERYTHING ELSE. Here’s the books I’m hoping to read this month.

 

Other Things I Hope To Do In October

I’ve mostly got work things going on this month, but I’m hoping to make some progress on getting more programs up on my librarian blog. I have quite a few program presentations coming up, and it would be nice to be able to get them posted while I can still remember what notes I’d like to add.

I keep going back and forth on whether or not I’d like to open up an etsy shop, so I’ll likely test the waters on that at some point this month. I figure this is a good time for that with the holidays and chilly weather coming here in the northern hemisphere since what I’m planning to make/sell are basically scarves.

I had an idea for expanding on an existing story come to me today so I might be outlining a bit and working on a timeline this month. If that doesn’t work out, I’m going to try to work on the outlining/timeline of the story I started with Camp NaNo in July 2017. I’d like to at least do something with NaNoWriMo this year and I’d like to be ready for it so I’m going to use October to prep for whichever project I’m going to work on for it. I don’t anticipate finishing writing the project during NaNoWriMo, but I’d like to have a good starting chance. SO prep work. It’s a thing.

I’m doing my hair blue, teal, and purple because of course I am. I figure it’ll help that halloween is around the corner. I’m still deciding though: faerie or mermaid? We’ll see. I just know it has to be work appropriate because that’s probably the only place I’ll be dressing up.

I’m going to try to at least catch up on my reviews this month. I don’t foresee many non-review posts coming out of this blog this month, but it’s still possible. I’m mostly just trying to focus on getting everything else sorted out.

 

That’s really all I can think of for this month. What are some fun plans you have for October?

Turning the Page: September 2018 Wrap Up

I demand to know where the rest of September is because it surely can not be over already. *dramatic sigh* Honestly though, what happened? I have no idea. Let’s wrap it up anyway, shall we?

Books I Read in September

September has been a decent reading month for me. In fact, as you read this I’m actually on that long drive we’ve been talking about and listening to all the audiobooks, which will hopefully be reviewed soon. Hopefully. Anywho, here’s the list of books I managed to read this month with asterisks (*) beside the ones I specifically had on my TBR for the month. The ones with links are the ones I’ve managed to review.

  • Bright Ruin by Vic James 🐛🐛🐛🐛
  • A Conjuring of Light by V. E. Schwab* 🐛🐛🐛🐛
  • The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell* 🐛🐛🐛🐛 (this was a reread along with the official Read Along, which goes through October 8th)
  • Leah On The Offbeat by Becky Albertalli 🐛🐛🐛🐛🐛
  • Age of Magic by Elise Kova and Lynn Larsh 🐛🐛🐛
  • Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett 🐛🐛🐛🐛
  • Visions by Kelley Armstrong 🐛🐛🐛
  • The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White 🐛🐛🐛🐛
  • George by Alex Gino* 🐛🐛🐛🐛🐛

Other Things I Did In September

I watched my best friend get married! She was gorgeous and the wedding was this awesome steampunk thing and it was the best. I’m really happy for her and how well everything turned out. It was loads of fun and I love seeing her so happy. It also reminded me of how much I miss both her and the area? So I’m kind of digging into finding out how I might be possible to move back up there eventually.

I got to be a rep for my favourite candle witch, Canterbury Road Co. Her candles make me so happy and she is such an amazing person. Obviously, I recommend all of her candles because they’re magical, but my current fave is September in Fairyland, which is a September exclusive. It’s basically autumn in a jar with a wick in it. She has just released her October line though and 😍😍😍😍

I participated (am participating?) in the Devil’s Own contest to get ready for the release of The Devil’s Own by Lisa Maxwell. It’s been SO MUCH FUN so far and I’ve met so many bookworms who like the same kind of books I do and *dreamy sigh* it’s been wonderful! Less than a week left until I have it in my hands!!

I took on more things at work because of course I did. I’ve learned that if I have an idea, my boss will let me run with it. The problem with that is having SO MANY IDEAS. Someone please stop me.

I’m still working on my kid librarian blog thing, though not with any regularity. I’m still working out the kinks in how I can get things there efficiently. Honestly, since it’s mostly for program storage as I keep running out of space, I don’t know how well it’ll go long term, but I also know it can serve as a portfolio later on so… 🤷🏽‍♀️ I’m working on it.

I drove to Maine. It was a LONG DRIVE. I’m tired but it’s so pretty there and I had such an amazing time that I can’t regret it. I miss the north east so much. 😭😭

I dropped out of a blog tour that I really wanted to be part of. The book looks amazing and I was super excited to participate. Unfortunately, the publisher waited until a week before my review post was supposed to be up to email me the Edelweiss link to the book so I didn’t have time to read it and write a cohesive post, much less a good one. Has this ever happened to you before? I’m pretty frustrated with it.

 

Anyway, that’s all I can think of at the moment. What are some of your favourite reads this month? What’s something cool you did? Come talk to me! 🤓

ARC Review: Bright Ruin by Vic James

I recently finished listening to the audiobook of the second book in this series, Tarnished City, (you can find my full review of it here) and I NEEDED to continue the series. So, when I saw Bright Ruin on Netgalley, I knew I had to request it! I was so excited to be approved for a digital galley of this one in exchange for an honest review, but I made myself be patient and finish the book I was reading at the time. And then I devoured Bright Ruin, because there is no other word for it. I know there are TW/CWs needed for this one, but I didn’t note them so I’ll have to add them as I remember them. If you’ve read Bright Ruin and you noticed any TW/CWs that I don’t have listed, please let me know and I’ll update the list.

  • War crimes
  • False imprisonment
  • Gore
  • Slavery

I liked getting back to the Hadley siblings, especially since we finally get to see how Daisy is doing in this one. We don’t get her point of view, but I did really like seeing how the arcs for Abi and Luke went from the beginning of the series to the end of this novel. The character who took the spotlight in Bright Ruin for me, however, was Silyen Jardine. I absolutely LOVE that we get his point of view in this novel. We get to learn quite a bit about what is behind his often strange actions. Also, his character arc. The ending he got. I cry.

The world doesn’t receive much development at all aside from the building up of new locations. It’s definitely assumed that you’ll have read the first two novels before picking up Bright Ruin. It still feels fairly immersive though, dropping you right into the world of Equal-ruled UK. I really like how at one point, one of the characters seriously considers escaping to Ireland. It kind of solidified for me that while the UK and other countries may be Equal-ruled, there are countries that aren’t and some are right next door.

The story itself flowed relatively well, though there were a couple spots where it felt like the pace faltered a little. I like how Vic James really focuses on how human nature can be, both the good and bad. I also really like that there is no clear cut “right” to be done and no right way to do it. Everything is grayscale, as it is in real life, and the characters have to make some really tough decisions to keep themselves alive and keep the story moving.

I’m good with how the story ended, though with half my faves dead I can’t really say I’m happy. 😂😭 I really like the direction the story took and I’m ok with the way everything ended up. I feel like any loose ends are just those that are left at the end of any good story, allowing the reader to believe the story goes on for those who survived Vic James’ vicious sword of a pen.

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