August Wrap-Up

ALERT THE MEDIA: my reading mojo is BACK. I’m in the double digits again this month, and I couldn’t be happier. I took August as a huge mood read month, and I loved every minute of it. So much so that I’m considering doing the same in September. Here are the books I tackled in August:

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  1. The Dragon Republic by R.F. Kuang (ARC): 
  2. Soul of the Sword by Julie Kagawa (ARC): ★★★.5
  3. The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary: ★★★★★
  4. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens: ★★★.5
  5. Runaway Girl by Tessa Bailey: ★★★★
  6. Caraval by Stephanie Garber: ★★★★
  7. The Beast by JR Ward: ★★★.5
  8.  All The Missing Girls by Megan Miranda: ★★★★★
  9. The Invasion by K.A. Applegate (reread): ★★★
  10. The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai (Dragons and Tea Bookclub): ★★★.5
  11. Legendary by Stephanie Garber (audio): ★★★★

How many books did you read this month? Which was your favorite?

xoxo

Jen

August Haul

I feel like I say this every month, but I just can’t believe how fast the time is going. Is it really almost SEPTEMBER? but wait…that means…  it’s time for ALL. THINGS. FALL. Yes!

But before we get there, we have to talk about the last month of summer. I’m doing a pretty decent job at buying less books, but let’s just cross our fingers that that continues, shall we?

Here are the books I hauled this month:

BOOK BOXES

My Book of the Month membership is going so strong, y’all. (FUN FACT: I’m now an affiliate for the new branch for YA books! If you’re interested, use my link to subscribe to support my page!). This month I went with three books, in ADDITION to my YA BOTM package that I received (oops):

  1. The Whisper Man by Alex North
  2. Well Met by Jen DeLuca
  3. The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
  4. House of Salt and Sorrow by Erin A. Craig (YA BOTM)

Man, look at all those spooky books piling up… we are definitely getting close to October, folks.

MISCELLANEOUS

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Again, I think this was an impromptu fall-is-approaching buy, but I picked up Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco. I know, I can hardly believe I haven’t read this series yet either, but I’m thinking I’ll be giving it a go soon!

How many books did you haul in August? Are you ready to jump into fall like me?

xoxo

Jen

Review: The Right Swipe

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Title: The Right Swipe

Author: Alisha Rai

Pages: 386

Rating: ★★★.5

Goodreads Synopsis:

Rhiannon Hunter may have revolutionized romance in the digital world, but in real life she only swipes right on her career—and the occasional hookup. The cynical dating app creator controls her love life with a few key rules:

– Nude pics are by invitation only

– If someone stands you up, block them with extreme prejudice

– Protect your heart

Only there aren’t any rules to govern her attraction to her newest match, former pro-football player Samson Lima. The sexy and seemingly sweet hunk woos her one magical night… and disappears.

Rhi thought she’d buried her hurt over Samson ghosting her, until he suddenly surfaces months later, still big, still beautiful—and in league with a business rival. He says he won’t fumble their second chance, but she’s wary. A temporary physical partnership is one thing, but a merger of hearts? Surely that’s too high a risk…

Review:

“You have to protect your heart. No one else will do it for you.”

That’s pretty much Rhiannon’s motto – that, or “Success is the best revenge.” And she’s done both in spades. Despite being the creator and owner of a matchmaking app called Crush, Rhi’s own outlook on love is pretty cynical. After a bad breakup at a former company, Rhi had to claw her way back up to the top, and she brought some valuable lessons with her. The most important of those lessons being the only person you can trust is yourself. Now, she only uses her own app for nothing deeper than the occasional hookup.

Enter Samson Lima: the last person Rhi swiped right on. The former professional football player manages to capture her attention more than her typical hookup, so when he asks to see her again, she decides to take a chance. And then he disappears.

When Rhi begins courting the owner of a rival company to try and buy it, imagine her surprise when Samson resurfaces, and working for her rival no less. When he’s able to provide an extremely valid reason for ghosting her, Rhi’s resolve to move on starts to crumble. Will Rhi put her money where her company is and take a chance on her right swipe? Or is giving someone a second chance with her heart just too great a risk?

 “It was easy to see danger when someone flung knives at you. Harder when they quietly, subtly poked you full of holes.”

You guys, I loved this book. It was just the right amount of cute, flirty, and fun with some seriously heavy and important topics mixed in. And how fun are these characters? I love a strong tough girl who can claw her way through the competition, and Samson honestly sounds like a big teddy bear waiting for a snuggle. I’ll be honest, Rhiannon might be my favorite modern romance MC I’ve read in a long time.

The Right Swipe did a lot of things right. There was SO much rep in these pages, which was wonderful to see. And the focus the author brought to the struggles women in positions of power in business (or any industry, really) face every single day that a man would never have to even consider? I LOVE IT. Really. This book had so much girl power dripping off of it’s pages, but it also showed the other side: the extra work, the extra consideration women have to make regarding their personal lives. The fear of being seen as weak if they so much as show any emotion. THIS. IS. SO. IMPORTANT. This book also brought an abusive relationship to the table, and the strength it takes to speak up. There are so many kinds of abuse, and seeing so many books starting to portray that, and the portray the survivors in such a positive light, brings me so much hope.

“’Victim’ implied weakness; if she claimed to be hurt, she was a victim; ergo, if she was a victim, she was weak.

Bullshit.”

 

I did end up giving this book 3.5 stars for a couple of reasons. First, one of my biggest pet peeve plot devices is misunderstanding. JUST TALK IT OUT, PEOPLE. This book was essential based around an initial misunderstanding, and then later used that same plot device again. I will say, it was less annoying than it normally is for me, so they did a good job with it. Secondly, there were definitely some eye-roll worthy moments throughout the story, but they didn’t stop me from reading.

This book was a total page-turner. I hated getting to the end of a section and knowing I had to wait until tomorrow to pick it back up again. And I absolutely loved the chemistry between the two main characters. If you love a good modern romance with girl power vibes, pick this book up. You won’t regret it!

xoxo

Jen

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Tropes

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. Check out her blog for more info!

Alright y’all, I haven’t done a TTT in almost a month, so I guess it’s about that time. I’ll take my pick of the August promps since I’ve ignored ALL of them. Whoops. I think I’ll go with last week’s: my favorite tropes. BUT at the end I’m going to throw in my least favorite, just for funnies. Here we go!

FAVORITE TROPES

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ENEMIES TO LOVERS

I feel like everybody loves this trope, and I am no exception. It doesn’t matter how many times I read an enemies-to-lovers story, I am a sucker for it every. single. time.

Examples: The Wedding PartyThe Unhoneymooners, Red White and Royal Blue

 

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BOARDING SCHOOLS/SUMMER CAMP

Decreased parental supervision and teenagers running wild? Sign me up. Ever since I got to return to Hogwarts every summer when a new Harry Potter book was released when I was young, I have been obsessed with these stories.

Examples: Say You Still Love Me, The Last Time I Lied, If We Were Villains

 

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GIRL ASSASSINS

Who doesn’t fall for this one? This is girl power to the extreme. I secretly wish I had every single one of these skills.

Examples: Throne of Glass series and a bunch of others that I can’t currently remember.

 

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FUNKY MEET-CUTES

I will never ever tire of these, and I have been lucky enough to read a LOT of them this year. The biggest question: do these ever even happen in real life? We’ll never know…

Examples: The FlatshareThe Kiss QuotientThe Wedding Date

LEAST FAVORITE

LOVE TRIANGLES

Ok, I know this is a tricky one, because some people really love it. But to me, nine times out of ten, this is not done well. And I really just end up hating the experience.

UNRELIABLE NARRATOR

BIGGEST PET PEEVE. Also because most of the time the unreliable narrator is a woman. This is so tired, and I’m so sick of reading it.

That’s it, everybody! What are some of your favorite tropes? Do you have any suggestions for me??

xoxo

Jen

Review: All The Missing Girls

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Title: All The Missing Girls

Author: Megan Miranda

Pages: 371

Rating: ★★★★★

Goodreads Synopsis:

It’s been ten years since Nicolette Farrell left her rural hometown after her best friend, Corinne, disappeared from Cooley Ridge without a trace. Back again to tie up loose ends and care for her ailing father, Nic is soon plunged into a shocking drama that reawakens Corinne’s case and breaks open old wounds long since stitched.

The decade-old investigation focused on Nic, her brother Daniel, boyfriend Tyler, and Corinne’s boyfriend Jackson. Since then, only Nic has left Cooley Ridge. Daniel and his wife, Laura, are expecting a baby; Jackson works at the town bar; and Tyler is dating Annaleise Carter, Nic’s younger neighbor and the group’s alibi the night Corinne disappeared. Then, within days of Nic’s return, Annaleise goes missing.

Told backwards—Day 15 to Day 1—from the time Annaleise goes missing, Nic works to unravel the truth about her younger neighbor’s disappearance, revealing shocking truths about her friends, her family, and what really happened to Corinne that night ten years ago.

Review:

“He pulled the screen door open, and the familiar creak cut straight to my gut. It always did. Welcome back, Nic.”

When Nic moves away – or escapes – from her hometown, she never looks back. For ten years, she doesn’t visit, she cuts off all ties, she’s moved on. But when her ailing father sends her a cryptic message, Nic moves back to help out. And just like that, she’s thrown back into life at Cooley Ridge. Life where she abandoned her high school sweetheart Tyler without a word. Life where her relationship with her disapproving older brother Daniel is strained to the breaking point. And life where her best friend Corinne disappeared ten years ago – and has never been found.

When another young girl goes missing after Nic returns home, she feels like she’s being thrown head-first into her past. As the new investigation drags more memories to the surface, old truths come to light from years past. And you have to wonder: who else is hiding secrets about what happened 10 years ago?

“We were a town full of fear, searching for answers. But we were also a town full of liars.”

You guys, I really enjoyed this book. It’s told in such a unique perspective. Starting from day 15 and working back to day one, the reader gets tidbits of information in reverse order. This structure is probably what made me give the book such a high rating – I’ve never read anything like it before. Beyond that, I loved the plot. There were so many twists and turns, and each puzzle piece that fell into place was so satisfying. My favorite type of ending for a thriller is when I can’t see it coming, but it’s not super far out of the realm of possibility, and Megan Miranda really delivered here.

I also really enjoyed the characters. They all had their flaws, and everyone has something to hide. It’s such a perfect small town feel; rumors and gossip flying, but nothing capturing the whole truth. And despite everyone having obvious flaws, as well as the time and distance separating them, the loyalty ran deep. They protected themselves and each other, even when secrets threatened to rip them apart.

“The woods have eyes and monsters and stories. We are them as much as they are us.”

I don’t want to say too much more, because I don’t want to give anything away! I will say I did have one complaint: The first 50% or so was a little slow pace-wise, but the last half definitely made up for it in my opinion. This book probably isn’t for everyone, as the format could potentially be confusing. But I absolutely loved it, and it may have even been my favorite thriller of the year so far. I hope you love it as much as I did!

Buddy read with Amy @ A Court of Crowns and Quills 🙂

xoxo

Jen

Down the TBR #36

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Down the TBR Hole was created by Lost in a Story. Its purpose is to help narrow down your TBR list on Goodreads by selecting 5 titles each week and deciding if you want to keep it on your TBR or get rid of it! I was inspired by Melanie @ Meltotheany and Amy @ A Court of Crowns and Quills to start this series. If you haven’t checked out any of these lovely blogs, do it NOW!

How it works:

  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

Here’s what’s on the chopping block this week:

ONE: Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor

I am going to get to this by the end of the year if it’s the last thing I do. Strange the Dreamer was one of my favorite reads of 2018, it’s hard to believe I haven’t made it to it’s sequel yet. BUT I WILL.

VERDICT: KEEP

TWO: Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young

I’m a little on the edge for this one because it was so polarizing, but i haven’t read anything with vikings in it before so I’ll probably keep it just because of that.

VERDICT: KEEP

THREE: The Queens of Innis Lear by Tessa Gratton

So I actually started this…and DNF’d it. Since I loved Strange Grace so much, I’d love to give this one another chance… but I’m not sure when that’ll be. I think I’m going to say goodbye to it for now.

VERDICT: DELETE

FOUR: Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

I already own this book – it’s sitting on my shelf. I’ll get to it eventually, I swear…

VERDICT: KEEP

FIVE: Air Awakens by Elise Kova

Ugggh I can’t start one more fantasy series right now.

VERDICT: DELETE

One of these days I’m actually going to delete all of them…

 

August Pick: Book of the Month

This is a little late in the month, I’ll admit. But I can’t believe how fast August went! It feels like it’s still July to me. But then again, I guess this entire year has felt like that.

YA BOTM

August was a little wild for me as far as BOTM goes, for a couple of reasons. Along with almost everyone else in the book world, I was selected to be a YA BOTM affiliate! I’ve been using Book of the Month for over a year, and I love it so much. It’s such a great subscription program! I was so excited to hear they were doing a YA branch off, and knew I had to support them if I could.

If you’ve been on the fence about joining, TRY IT! It’s such a good bargain. Brand new hardcover books every month – and no penalty if you skip a month! Use THIS LINK to support me and my page when you sign up, and use the code “FLEX” to get your first month for just $9.99!

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House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

Goodreads Synopsis:

In a manor by the sea, twelve sisters are cursed.

Annaleigh lives a sheltered life at Highmoor, a manor by the sea, with her sisters, their father, and stepmother. Once they were twelve, but loneliness fills the grand halls now that four of the girls’ lives have been cut short. Each death was more tragic than the last—the plague, a plummeting fall, a drowning, a slippery plunge—and there are whispers throughout the surrounding villages that the family is cursed by the gods.

Disturbed by a series of ghostly visions, Annaleigh becomes increasingly suspicious that the deaths were no accidents. Her sisters have been sneaking out every night to attend glittering balls, dancing until dawn in silk gowns and shimmering slippers, and Annaleigh isn’t sure whether to try to stop them or to join their forbidden trysts. Because who—or what—are they really dancing with?

When Annaleigh’s involvement with a mysterious stranger who has secrets of his own intensifies, it’s a race to unravel the darkness that has fallen over her family—before it claims her next.

Why I Picked It:

I’ll be honest, I was really torn between this and Hello Girls but the synopsis truly won me over on this one. I mean, just READ that thing! Sometimes, it’s as simple as that. I have a feeling I’ll be getting to this one soon, because it really hooked me.

BOTM

I went a little wild on book of the month books this month. I picked three (YES THREE) books for August. These are the ones I picked:

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Well Met by Jen DeLuca

Goodreads Synopsis:

Emily knew there would be strings attached when she relocated to the small town of Willow Creek, Maryland, for the summer to help her sister recover from an accident, but who could anticipate getting roped into volunteering for the local Renaissance Faire alongside her teenaged niece? Or that the irritating and inscrutable schoolteacher in charge of the volunteers would be so annoying that she finds it impossible to stop thinking about him?

The faire is Simon’s family legacy and from the start he makes clear he doesn’t have time for Emily’s lighthearted approach to life, her oddball Shakespeare conspiracy theories, or her endless suggestions for new acts to shake things up. Yet on the faire grounds he becomes a different person, flirting freely with Emily when she’s in her revealing wench’s costume. But is this attraction real, or just part of the characters they’re portraying?

This summer was only ever supposed to be a pit stop on the way to somewhere else for Emily, but soon she can’t seem to shake the fantasy of establishing something more with Simon, or a permanent home of her own in Willow Creek.

The Whisper Man by Alex North

Goodreads Synopsis:

After the sudden death of his wife, Tom Kennedy believes a fresh start will help him and his young son Jake heal. A new beginning, a new house, a new town. Featherbank.

But the town has a dark past. Twenty years ago, a serial killer abducted and murdered five residents. Until Frank Carter was finally caught, he was nicknamed “The Whisper Man,” for he would lure his victims out by whispering at their windows at night.

Just as Tom and Jake settle into their new home, a young boy vanishes. His disappearance bears an unnerving resemblance to Frank Carter’s crimes, reigniting old rumors that he preyed with an accomplice. Now, detectives Amanda Beck and Pete Willis must find the boy before it is too late, even if that means Pete has to revisit his great foe in prison: The Whisper Man.

And then Jake begins acting strangely. He hears a whispering at his window…

The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

Goodreads Synopsis:

Two men, each handsome and unusually adept at his chosen work, embodied an element of the great dynamic that characterized America’s rush toward the twentieth century. The architect was Daniel Hudson Burnham, the fair’s brilliant director of works and the builder of many of the country’s most important structures, including the Flatiron Building in New York and Union Station in Washington, D.C. The murderer was Henry H. Holmes, a young doctor who, in a malign parody of the White City, built his “World’s Fair Hotel” just west of the fairgrounds—a torture palace complete with dissection table, gas chamber, and 3,000-degree crematorium. Burnham overcame tremendous obstacles and tragedies as he organized the talents of Frederick Law Olmsted, Charles McKim, Louis Sullivan, and others to transform swampy Jackson Park into the White City, while Holmes used the attraction of the great fair and his own satanic charms to lure scores of young women to their deaths. What makes the story all the more chilling is that Holmes really lived, walking the grounds of that dream city by the lake.

Why I Picked Them

As summer is drawing to a close, those two thrillers/true crime captured my eye to get ready for FALL! Fall is the time for all things spooky, and I love stock-piling good reads well before October hits. Pretty much all they had to say in the synopsis was ‘serial killer’ and I was hooked. As for Well Met, I’ve heard such good things about this debut book – I can’t wait to read it ASAP.

If you haven’t tried out BOTM, I cannot recommend it enough. You can use this link and I think you get a free book!

What’d you guys pick from BOTM for August?

xoxo

Jen

Review: The Flatshare

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TitleThe Flatshare

Author: Beth O’Leary

Pages: 400

Rating: ★★★★★

Goodreads Synopsis:

Tiffy and Leon share a flat
Tiffy and Leon share a bed
Tiffy and Leon have never met…

Tiffy Moore needs a cheap flat, and fast. Leon Twomey works nights and needs cash. Their friends think they’re crazy, but it’s the perfect solution: Leon occupies the one-bed flat while Tiffy’s at work in the day, and she has the run of the place the rest of the time.

But with obsessive ex-boyfriends, demanding clients at work, wrongly imprisoned brothers and, of course, the fact that they still haven’t met yet, they’re about to discover that if you want the perfect home you need to throw the rulebook out the window…

Review:

“Everyone knows the first rule of flatsharing is don’t sleep with your flatmate.”

I had heard so many good things about this book that it was almost to the point where I was thinking to myself, this can’t possibly be as good as all the hype says. But guys. I was so, so wrong. This book was everything I was promised and more. I absolutely adored it, and it was the easiest 5 stars I’ve given all year. Beth O’Leary has sold me, and now anything this author writes will be on my auto-buy list, now and forever.

This book bounces back and forth between two POV’s: Tiffy and Leon. After a bad breakup with her on-again off-again boyfriend, Tiffy needs a cheap place to live, and fast. Luckily, she stumbles across Leon’s ad – to share his flat. As a night-shift nurse, Leon will take the flat during the day, while Tiffy can have it at night and on the weekends. Living parallel but never together. And so Tiffy finds herself living in a flat with someone she’s never even seen.

But sometimes, whether you’ve seen the person or not, living together means you have to fill each other in on some details. So Tiffy and Leon develop a system – sticky notes. Soon, their flat is covered in little notes to each other. As time passes, those notes start to become less informative and more chatty in nature- kind of like living with your very own pen pal. As Tiffy and Leon get closer (but still can’t say what the other person looks like), they start to open up more and more and learn things about both themselves and each other. An the deeper they get, the more they wonder: what’s going to happen when they finally meet?

“I rest my forehead against the fridge door for a moment, then run my fingers across the layers of paper scraps and Post-its. There’s so much here. Jokes, secrets, stories, the slow unfolding of two people whose lives have been changing in parallel – or, I don’t know, in sync. Different time, same place.”

I know I already said this, but I absolutely loved everything about this book. The premise is so unique, and sticky notes?? How adorable is that? But the huge win for me was the characters. Leon is a man of little words, but when he does speak, you should listen. He doesn’t get close to a lot of people, but the ones who do get to know him love him. Tiffy is his total opposite. Loud and eccentric, colors and words flying everywhere she goes – but no less lovable. This book is the epitome of “opposites attract”.

I do want to touch on one thing: this book dealt with emotional abuse within a romantic relationship. If that is a trigger for you, take care. But as someone who has been through that wringer, I was so impressed with how it was handled in this book. I realize not every relationship is the same, but to me, O’Leary hit the nail on the head here. I feel like emotional abuse is a topic that doesn’t get a lot of air time, and it is so so important – I loved seeing it front and center in this book. And if you have ever been made to feel small, insignificant, or crazy by a significant other, know that I see you and that everything that makes you YOU is beautiful.

“I can’t believe how not-OK my relationship with Juistin was, but even more than that, I can’t believe I hadn’t noticed.”

I don’t want to go too much into the plot line, because I don’t want to give anything away, but trust me on this – pick up this book. This is the story you didn’t even know you needed. It’s about taking chances on yourself, and taking chances on others. It’s about learning to love and trust. But mostly, it’s about being yourself, and not apologizing for a single bit of it. I hope you love it as much as I did.

xoxo

Jen

ARC Review: The Dragon Republic

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Title: The Dragon Republic

Author: R.F. Kuang

Pages: 560

Publisher: Harper Voyager

Release Date: August 6, 2019

Rating: ★★★★

The Poppy War: ★★★★.5 [See review here]

Goodreads Synopsis:

In the aftermath of the Third Poppy War, shaman and warrior Rin is on the run: haunted by the atrocity she committed to end the war, addicted to opium, and hiding from the murderous commands of her vengeful god, the fiery Phoenix. Her only reason for living is to get revenge on the traitorous Empress who sold out Nikan to their enemies.

With no other options, Rin joins forces with the powerful Dragon Warlord, who has a plan to conquer Nikan, unseat the Empress, and create a new Republic. Rin throws herself into his war. After all, making war is all she knows how to do.

But the Empress is a more powerful foe than she appears, and the Dragon Warlord’s motivations are not as democratic as they seem. The more Rin learns, the more she fears her love for Nikan will drive her away from every ally and lead her to rely more and more on the Phoenix’s deadly power. Because there is nothing she won’t sacrifice for her country and her vengeance.

Review:

ARC provided by the publisher, Harper Voyager, via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

“People will seek to use you or destroy you. If you want to live, you must pick a side. So do not shrink from war, child. Do not flinch from suffering. When you hear screaming, run towards it.”

Yikes, y’all. I thought The Poppy War destroyed me, but I was in no way prepared for the sequel. I’ll be honest, I dragged my feet a little on this one – I just wasn’t in the mood for such dense fantasy. But I am so glad I pushed through and read it. I don’t say this lightly: no author has every made me feel such a strong, vast array of emotions in a fantasy novel better than Kuang. This woman is the queen of feels, and once again she doesn’t pull any punches.

We pick up after the end of the Third Poppy War, following Rin and her gang of misfits who have frankly seen better days. Rin’s sole purpose is now to assassinate the Empress her sold her – and Altan – out to the Federation. Addicted to opium and a sham of a commander, the task is a daunting one, and even the Cike is beginning to lose hope. When the Dragon Warlord snatches them up and proposes a new Republic, Rin isn’t left with much of a choice but to join forces. Besides, at least another war will give her purpose again – and an outlet for her vengeance.

“The only thing permanent about this Empire is war.”

The Dragon Republic is broken down much like The Poppy War was – it seems like it could actually be divided into three separate books, with each section becoming darker than the last. And it brings to the table all of the things I loved about the first book. All of our favorite (and complex) characters are back, and the world building and magic system is still head and shoulders anything I’ve ever read before. But more than anything, the FEELINGS were back. I became so invested in these characters and this war. When bad decisions were made, I felt so much anxiety. When Rin was in a downward spiral, I felt anger and helplessness. When there was death (and oh man, is there death), true grief made an appearance. Betrayal, loss, love – everything was felt as if the book was happening to me instead of Rin.

Speaking of Rin, I want to touch on her for a minute. This character is so well written. I’ve never read anything like her before. It’s not that she’s a likable character – she isn’t. In fact, sometimes I wanted to shake her so hard her teeth rattled to knock some sense into her. And she is completely unredeemable. All she has to fuel herself is her vengeance, and it’s easy to see why. But I also loved watching her struggle with that, and struggle to hold on to pieces of her humanity, despite all of the atrocities she’s seen and committed – her love for her country, her friendship with Kitay. Those are the things that keep her grounded, and make her human. Rin fought her way back from the brink of opium addiction, found a way around a block on her magic, and managed to escape from so many people so many times that I lost count. She may not be likable, but she’s determined and stubborn and fierce – just don’t get on her bad side.

“You are the most powerful creature in this world right now. You have an ability that can begin or end wars. You could launch this Empire into a glorious new and united age, and you could also destroy us. What you don’t get to do is remain neutral. When you have the power that you do, your life is not your own.”

Kitay, on the other hand, was my bright burning spot in this entire book. He is hands down my favorite and I will do anything to protect him. He is good and pure and honest, and watching him struggle with war, and knowing people he loves have committed such heinous acts, was such a hard thing. But like everyone else around him, he’s in a constant war zone, and had to grow up very quickly. Because if one thing’s for sure, he and Rin aren’t at Sinegard anymore, and no one will ever be the same. The only question is if they can come out of this alive, and without losing everything good about themselves in the process.

“Kitay was pure. He was the best person she had ever known. Kitay shouldn’t know how it felt to call a god of vengeance. Kitay was the last thing in the world that was still fundamentally kind and good, and she’d die before she corrupted that.”

I ended up giving this book 4 stars. The beginning was a little slow pace-wise for me, although that may have just been where my headspace was at. I did struggle to get into it, but by the 50% mark I was hanging on to every word. And I feel like I did mention this about The Poppy War in my review, but some of the war schemes are so technical that I found myself skimming a bit through those parts – this is not a bad thing, it’s just not for me. And BE WARNED, readers. This book has JUST as many triggers as The Poppy War. I honestly stopped writing them down, because there were so many. Basically if you can think of a trigger, it is in this book. This series is DARK – make sure you are in the right frame of mind to read it.

This book completely destroyed me. I feel like I read the last third with my mouth hanging completely open. I laughed, and cried, and almost threw the book against the wall. I had to get up and walk around and take breaks because I felt like I just couldn’t take it anymore. If you loved the Poppy War, do not wait to read the sequel. Or maybe do wait – the ending is vicious, and the third book does not come out anytime soon.

The Dragon Republic released on August 6, 2019.

*All quotations taken from an ARC and are subject to change prior to publication.

August TBR

HOW is it August already? I cannot believe it. But the best part about August is this: I am MOOD READING for a large majority of the month. And it is going to be fantastic. Here are the books I have on my radar so far:

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  • The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary: I am buddy reading this with a fantastic group of girls, and cannot WAIT to dive in. I’ve heard such good things!
  • All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda: I’m buddy reading this one with Amy @ A Court of Crowns and Quills. I picked it up on my vacation last month, and we’ve heard fantastic things. Plus, I’m in a huge thriller mood lately.
  • The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai: This is the Dragons and Tea Bookclub pick for August, and I’ll be participating as usual!
  • Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir (ARC, releases September 10): This is the ONLY ARC I’ll be tackling in August, but I’ve heard such phenomenal things and there’s so much hype – I hope it lives up to it!

Other than these four, my slate is CLEAN – I am completely mood reading this month. I’m going to try and hit a BOTM and backlist read, but we’ll see how I’m feeling. I am so excited for August!

What’s on the top of your reading list for August?

xoxo

Jen