Book Reviews

Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

My edition: Library hardback
Pages: 417
Series: The Grisha Trilogy #3 final book
Genre: Fantasy, YA, Romance
Published: June 17, 2014, by Henry Holt and Company
Rating: 3.5 star


The capital has fallen.

The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.

Now the nation’s fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.

Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives.

Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova’s amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling’s secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction—and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for.


To be honest, I wasn’t the biggest fan of the ending. I didn’t like the “twist”. There was something about this book that was going so good, then the end with the third amplifier and how they face the Darkling that I found was anticlimactic. Quite frankly, I thought more people were going to die in this book. Kind of like the other books.

Also, this one pointed out a fact that I don’t remember it being in the second book. The scar on Alina’s hand. In the first book, it was important. I don’t remember ever reading about it in the second book, which looking back on it, in the second book it should have been brought up more. In my opinion, of course. When it was brought up in this book, I thought was it in the second book? If it was drop a comment.

Now looking at the whole series, I’m not a fan of the Darkling. He wanted to control Alina. He didn’t like that she went against him. Also, the hint of a certain connection between Alina and the Darkling was kind of gross. I understand it for the plot but at the same time I can’t help to think, could that have been written differently.

I liked the pace of this book. I got through it faster than the first two books. But that ending is what brought it down a half-star. I really don’t know what I was expecting but it was not the twist with the third amplifier.

I’m going to start Six of Crows on Saturday. I need a quick break from the Grishaverse.

Book Reviews

Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

My edition: Library paperback
Pages: 432
Series: The Grisha Trilogy #2
Genre: Fantasy, YA, Romance
Published: June 4, 2013, by Henry Holt and Company
Rating: 3 stars


Darkness never dies.

Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land, all while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. But she can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.

The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her—or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.


Spoilers if you haven’t read the first book.

“You know the problem with heroes and saints, Nikolai?… They always end up dead”

Mal is the reason why this has a three-star rating. He was insufferable to me after Nikolai was formally introduced. I wanted to scream at him. He has a strong female in his life and is seriously insecure. I even think someone points it out in this book. I think that someone is Nikolai. Don’t quote me on that.

I like Alina more than I thought I would. I obviously like Nikolai. I loved his introduction. By the way, I really don’t think Alina should be with Mal. Not the whole fact of he’s annoying and insufferable. But based on Alina has the power for light. The Darkling has the power for the dark. I don’t know about you but that sounds almost like fated love.

To be honest, I didn’t like the fact that the Darkling did the betrayal trope. I really was hoping that the Black Heretic was someone else and he had somehow been raised from the dead. Alina and the Darkling have to fight him. They win, and Alina and the Darkling live happily ever after. To me, that would have been an awesome story.

BUT NOOOO!!! We have to have Mal! What is so likable about Mal?

This book suffered also from the second book syndrome.

Friday Recap

Friday Recap: 3/20-3/26/23

This week has been a little more active with reading than weeks past.

Currently reading:

Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo- This is the second book in the Grisha trilogy. I’m 37% through the book. I want to try and finish it this weekend. Then start the third book.

The Sinking City- Christine Cohen- This is a standalone fantasy. It’s by the same author that wrote The Winter King. This is the only other book she has out.

Books I finished:

In Feast or Famine by Mesu Andrews- I absolutely loved this book.

Bread of Angels by Tessa Afshar- I loved this book but not as much as I loved the first book I read by Afshar.

Twilight by Stephanie Meyer- I’m not going to start the second book right away. I really want to try to finish the library books before I jump into New Moon.

The Winter King by Christine Cohen- I loved this standalone fantasy.

Other news:

I don’t have to work this weekend so I am going to try and get my reading done. I might have to go to the big city to have a scheduled fun time. Don’t know yet. But other than that I don’t have much to put in other news.

Book Reviews

The Winter King by Christine Cohen

My edition: Kindle Unlimited
Pages: 352
Genre: Fantasy, YA, Middle Grade
Published: Nov. 19, 2019, by Cannonball Books
Rating: 5 stars


A village trapped in winter, a tyrannical god, and a girl who will do anything to keep her family alive…

Ever since Cora’s father disappeared through the ice, whispers about her family’s “curse” have grown increasingly louder. Desperate to help her mother and siblings survive another bleak season in the Winter King’s frozen grasp, Cora begins to bend (and even break) the rules she has kept since she was a little girl. But when she discovers a secret that’s much bigger than herself, she realizes too late that she has put herself—and those she loves—in even greater peril.


Cora’s father passed away when ice fishing. The town thinks her family is cursed. When it’s time for winter and the Winter King’s return, Cora becomes desperate to help her family make it through the winter.

I rarely read standalone fantasies. When I came across this one, I decided I would give it a go. I want to add more standalone to my collection. This book I will most definitely be buying a physical copy.

I didn’t think I would get sucked into the story as I did. I almost read this in one sitting. If I didn’t have a few things to do yesterday, I would have finished it. I think it has been a while since a book thoroughly sucked me in the way this one did. I loved it.

It didn’t turn out the way I thought. I loved the pacing. I loved the world-building. The hardship that the MC goes through. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I do have another book by this author. I can’t wait to dive into more of her writing.

With it being middle grade, I can’t wait for my son to be old enough to read this. I may even read it to him.

Book Reviews

Twilight by Stephanie Meyer

My edition: Owned Hardback
Pages: 498
Series: Twilight #1
Genre: Vampire, High School, YA
Published: Sept. 6, 2006, Little, Brown and Company
Rating: 3 stars


About three things I was absolutely positive.

First, Edward was a vampire.

Second, there was a part of him—and I didn’t know how dominant that part might be—that thirsted for my blood.

And third, I was unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him.

Deeply seductive and extraordinarily suspenseful, Twilight is a love story with bite.


Funny enough, I liked Twilight the third time around. When I was a freshman in high school the movie came out. I wanted to read the books before said seeing the movie, so my mom obliged and got me all the books. I have had these books since then. It has been almost fifteen years since I read the series in completion.

I wanted to do an unhaul because there are so many books I have that I don’t want anymore and they are taking up room for books that I do want. When I came across the Twilight Saga, I could not help the immense desire to pick up the series for one final time. Now I did DNF the book for the second time rereading it in my early twenties. This time I am committed.

As I said earlier, I liked Twilight more than I did the second time around. I am not Team Edward or Team Jacob. I never was. I will always be Team Jasper. Though I will say for Bella, I’m Team Therapy. She needs it.

Bella I feel was done dirty by her mom. Why do I say that? Since rereading this from an almost thirty-year-old perspective, her mom is kind of a bad mom. Bella has been having to take care of her mom since who knows. She even says that she isn’t that worried about bills being paid since her mom has Phil (I think that’s his name). With that being said, I can see why she doesn’t fit in with her peers. She is a bit mentally ahead while also dealing with teenage hormones. I can kind of see why she goes for Edward more than Jacob.

Also, might I point out the main reason I am not team Jacob… he is FIFTEEN!!!! Sorry but that is young. Even when I myself was seventeen (the age Bella is) I didn’t go for a fifteen-year-old boy. Going into the other books it is going to seriously skeeve me out during Bella and Jacob scenes.

Bella really does need a therapist because she fell in love with Edward before she barely had a real conversation with him. As thick as this book was I thought I remembered the relationship developed more, but on this read, I realized my memory sucks. Edward and Bella are instalove which I absolutely hate but at the same time, I can see Bella doing this because she is a teenager, and this is her first love. I remember my first love and I was very much like Bella, except for the fact I was fourteen not seventeen. My first kiss was a terrible experience with said guy. Fortunately, the relationship didn’t last long, unfortunately, my infatuation lasted through until I was seventeen. So, on one hand, I can see the instalove, but on the other, I don’t want instalove. I want a connection. If I am going to read 498 pages, I want a developed relationship. I probably would have liked this more if there were no confessions of love.

I was initially going to rate this two stars, but the more I thought about it, I really only hate the instalove and Edward being a major jerk at times. I do like the book versions of Bella and Edward more than the movie. The books actually make me hate the movies which I will gladly say now, are my guilty pleasure. I forgot how dirty they did Jasper and Emmett. Bella has a relationship with Jasper and Emmett that is not portrayed in the movies and that makes me angry.

Anyway, I don’t hate the series as much as I used to. Now did at one point I super love the books? Yes. Did I at one point absolutely despise and wanted to burn both books and movies? Yes. Do I like it but not love it now? Yes.

Though I am still questioning how no one in the past hundred years didn’t catch Edward’s attention. What made Bella so special that she was his first love? And don’t give me it’s her smell thing because that’s just the reason he wants to rip her throat out, not the reason he loves her.

Book Reviews

Bread of Angels by Tessa Afshar

My edition: Kindle Unlimited
Pages: 398
Genre: Biblical Fiction, Historical, Christian
Published: June 6, 2017, Tyndale House Publishing
Rating: 4 stars


Purple. The foundation of an influential trade in a Roman world dominated by men. One woman rises up to take the reins of success in an incredible journey of courage, grit, and friendship. And along the way, she changes the world.

But before she was Lydia, the seller of purple, she was simply a merchant’s daughter who loved three things: her father, her ancestral home, and making dye. Then unbearable betrayal robs her of nearly everything.

With only her father’s secret formulas left, Lydia flees to Philippi and struggles to establish her business on her own. Determination and serendipitous acquaintances–along with her father’s precious dye–help her become one of the city’s preeminent merchants. But fear lingers in every shadow, until Lydia meets the apostle Paul and hears his message of hope, becoming his first European convert. Still, Lydia can’t outrun her secrets forever, and when past and present collide, she must either stand firm and trust in her fledgling faith or succumb to the fear that has ruled her life.


I am once again in love with Tessa’s writing. I absolutely loved Lydia and her journey as well as Rebekah.

At first, this started slow, but once it hit the halfway mark I was hooked. I loved it even more when Paul showed up. I may or may not have fangirled. I also love how empowering it was for Lydia to make her way as an unmarried woman in historical times. This story is beautiful. There is a little romance but it isn’t until the end and it doesn’t even shift the focus. It still remains on Lydia and her growth with God.

I have more of Tessa’s books on my kindle and a wishlist for physical copies. I can’t wait to read more of her stories.


This Week: 3/20-3/26/23

Sorry, this is a day late. I was busy yesterday and totally forgot that it was Monday.

Currently reading:

Twilight by Stephanie Meyer- I am really hoping to finish this by the end of the week.

Bread of Angels by Tessa Afshar- I am halfway through and may have it finished by hopefully the end of today or tomorrow.

Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo- I just started this. I am going to try and get to the halfway point by Sunday.

Books I may start:

The Winter King by Christine Cohen- I am in the mood for fantasy. This is a standalone fantasy so I thought since I have two series going right now it would be best to move into a standalone.

New Moon by Stephanie Meyer- Once I finish Twilight, I will move into the second book.

Bible reading:

I am still in Luke and Isaiah. I am almost finished with both books. I would say I’m 70% through Isaiah and 65% through Luke.

What are you reading this week?

Book Reviews

In Feast or Famine by Mesu Andrews

My edition: ARC provided by Netgalley
Pages: 448
Series: The Egyptian Chronicles #2
Genre: Retelling, Biblical Fiction, Historical fiction
Published: Expected May 9, 2023
Rating: 5 star


Thrust into an arranged marriage, the daughter of ancient Egypt’s high priest plays a pivotal role in Joseph’s biblical narrative in this powerful novel from the award-winning author of Potiphar’s Wife.

After four-year-old Asenath’s mother is murdered by Egypt’s foreign rulers, the child is raised to be a priestess by her overprotective father–high priest of Egypt’s sun god. For fifteen years, Asenath is sequestered in the upper levels of Ra’s temple, convinced it is her destiny to heal the land by becoming the queen to the next Egyptian pharaoh. But when Egypt’s foreign king instead gives her as a bride to the newly appointed vizier–a Hebrew named Joseph–her entire world is shaken.

Beyond the walls of her tower, Asenath discovers treachery, deceit, and conspiracy that forces her to redefine her destiny and weigh where her true loyalties lie. Can she still trust the gods of Egypt? Or is Elohim, the foreign God of her husband, the one who will heal her nation during the feast and famine to come?


Thank you Netgalley and WaterBrook Multnomah for this ARC.

“Elohim is perfect,” he said with a faraway stare. “His covenant bearers aren’t.”

Joseph is one of my all-time favorites to read about in the OT. Mesu made me fall in love with him even more. Especially, when he told Asenath that no one would take her away from him. He is a book husband.

Mesu’s research always impresses me. The depth she goes into respecting history and telling Elohim’s story is straight beauty. An art many authors don’t have. I love that Asenath has inner battles. It wasn’t just oh my husband believes so must I. No, at first she was like “I am Isis Incarnate” but then she starts to realize she is so much more. She is a beautiful daughter of Elohim who has a bigger plan for her than she realized.

This book was beautiful. I loved the writing. I loved the story. The only thing that I wasn’t the biggest fan of was alternating persons. Anenath’s POV is in the first person, while the other two POVs are in the third.

I love Joseph telling Asenath stories of his family. At times, I forget that Abraham is Joseph’s great-grandfather. Mesu does a fantastic job of telling Joseph’s story to us. I loved being able to experience Joseph and Asenath falling in love and being true to each other even when the odds were stacked against them. I love Asenath’s journey into believing in Elohim as I stated before.

At times, I did not like Potiphera, but then I was like he was just a father wanting what he believes is best for his daughter. He’s not the classic villain. He is human and we get to realize that he is human and it’s not black and white.

I highly recommend this book.

Friday Recap

Friday Recap: 3/13-3/19/2023

This week has been an off week. I don’t know if it’s the time change or if it’s just this week, but I have felt sluggish. I am getting reading done but not the amount I was hoping for at the beginning of the week.

Currently Reading:

Twilight by Stephine Meyer- I have not been able to sit down with this book as much as I thought I was this week. I am about halfway through. I forgot how long the chapters are and Bella’s thoughts drag sometimes.

Bread of Angels by Tessa Afshar- I am I want to say 40% through this book. It is an easy read and I am enjoying it. As I said, I have been feeling sluggish so I have not been reading a lot. I could have this one finished easily if I get some motivation going to even just pick up a book.

In Feast or Famine by Mesu Andrews- I am absolutely in love with this book. I have a feeling it will be a five-star. Might even through me into a rut. I am a little over halfway through. I am trying to finish this by Sunday night.

Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo- I started this yesterday. Read the Before part which you could probably call a prologue. Today I’ve read chapter 1.

Books I finished:

I finished Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo. To be honest, I didn’t think I was going to like this series. It took me I want to say six to eight years to finally pick this book up. I watched it gain popularity on Goodreads as well as the spin-off series Six of Crows. I dragged my feet.

Other news:

I plan on getting a challenge up. I plan on using one of my book club challenges. It will be a quarterly challenge. I don’t have to work this weekend so I’m pretty excited about that. I, unfortunately, have to go to a funeral tomorrow. It is someone my husband knows, so I am going to support him. This man was a LEO in our county for 26 years.

For the most part, tomorrow and Sunday will consist of hanging out with my son and going to church. In between times I will try and get reading done.


Thursday Romance: Top 10

This is general romance. No fantasy, just chick lit/contemporary. No YA because I did that yesterday. This is just romance at its finest. I have read some romances over the last eight years so I complied my list and to be honest, I forgot most of the books on that list. But I have a ton of three-star romances. But that is a list for another day.

*Note* While I have put aside spicy books due to my addiction and the effect it had on my marriage, some of my top romances will be spicy books because I loved the authors’ stories of the growth and development of the characters. Not because of the spice.

Top 10:

  1. The Wall of Winnipeg and Me by Mariana Zapata (too many times to count)
    I love slow burns. I love building relationships. Mariana is one of the best at this. I do understand some authors having the characters get together early on and start dating and being a couple, but there is just something about drawing out the friendship part before the dating.
  2. The Hashtag series by Cambria Hebert (read too many times to count)
    Romeo and Rimmel will forever be home. I love their story. Romeo is a book husband, not a book boyfriend. Their growth in each other is amazing. Not the biggest fan of how they started out but I do love where they ended up.
  3. Kulti by Mariana Zapata (March 2017)
    Almost the same feeling as the Wall but not as much love as the Hashtag series.
  4. From Lukov with Love by Mariana Zapata ( Read April 2018)
    She knows how to write romances. What can I say? I would put almost all of her books here but I have a few others that I love as well.
  5. In the Field of Grace by Tessa Afshar (Feb 2023)
    I love the book of Ruth in the bible. One of the few romances we get. Tessa’s book made that romance come to life. Boaz is an ultimate Book Husband.
  6. War Room by Christ Fabry (Dec 2022)
    I love the growth between a wife willing to fight to keep her marriage alive. Her husband was lost at first but he finally opened his eyes to see his wife and what he had in front of him the whole time.
  7. Knox by Susan May Warren (August 2022)
    Know is another book husband. He knew boundaries. He knew how to take care of a woman.
  8. Journey Duology by CA Williams (Jan 2017)
    I loved the couple in this. They had amazing growth. Chase and Leah had the typical NA ups and downs but I loved how they leaned on each other.
  9. Cranberry Inn Duology by Beth Ehemann (Read August 2016)
    I loved Kacie and Brody’s relationship. I love the building of trust between Kacie and Brody. Also, the twins are super adorable.
  10. Dear Life by Megan Quinn (Read Sept. 2019)
    I love the two couples in this book. I love growing together and falling in love when the world seems to be burning down. Also, Colorado, which is where I am originally from.

I wish I could put Jane Austen on the list, but sadly, I have not read Jane Austen. I know, prepare the mob. I do plan on getting to her books this year. I own all of them. I just have them on my shelf staring at me.