Dreams of Gods & Monsters

Gods and monsters
“Once upon a time, an angel and a devil pressed their hands to their hearts
And started the apocalypse.”
-Laini Taylor, Dreams of Gods & Monsters

Title: Dreams of Gods & Monsters
Author: Laini Taylor
Series: Daughter of smoke & Bone #3
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 613
Publisher: Little Brown & Company
Published: April 8, 2014
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Synopsis From Goodreads:

Two worlds are poised on the brink of a vicious war. By way of a staggering deception, Karou has taken control of the chimaera’s rebellion and is intent on steering its course away from dead-end vengeance. The future rests on her.

When the brutal angel emperor brings his army to the human world, Karou and Akiva are finally reunited – not in love, but in a tentative alliance against their common enemy. It is a twisted version of their long-ago dream, and they begin to hope that it might forge a way forward for their people. And, perhaps, for themselves.

But with even bigger threats on the horizon, are Karou and Akiva strong enough to stand among the gods and monsters?

The New York Times bestselling Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy comes to a stunning conclusion as – from the streets of Rome to the caves of the Kirin and beyond – humans, chimaera, and seraphim strive, love, and die in an epic theater that transcends good and evil, right and wrong, friend and enemy.

My Rating: ☆☆☆☆

Dreams of Gods & Monsters opens by introducing a new character to the series. I would normally consider it a “writerly no-no” to add a main character so late in a series, but in this case, it works! Without the addition of a new key player, the plot couldn’t have ended as it did. The new character is also very well developed to have entered the story so late, and she undergoes a complete character arck by the end.
The plot of Dreams of Gods & Monsters is tight and well paced. While Days of Blood & Starlight seemed slow in places, Dreams of Gods & Monsters flows quickly and holds your attention until the very last page.
The writing style is very smooth and almost captivating in some places, but as with the first two books, the narrator switches were not handled as well as they could’ve been. There were several instances where a narrator swap occurred in the middle of a chapter, and it got super hard to follow! The fact that there were so many characters didn’t help matters either… Honestly, the whole problem could’ve been remedied if the narrator changes had happened at chapter breaks, but because they didn’t, it became “borderline head-hopping.”
The ending of the series was carried out beautifully! I did NOT see the plot twist coming, but I love how everything was wrapped up! The worlds were saved, everyone who mattered got their happy ever after, and the only thing I could find fault with was the head-hopping problem!

Days of Blood & Starlight

Days of blood and starlight
“Once upon a time, an angel and a devil held a wishbone between them.
And its snap split the world in two.”
― Laini Taylor, Days of Blood & Starlight

Title: Days of Blood & Starlight
Author: Laini Taylor
Series: Daughter of Smoke and Bone #2, (click here for my review of book 1)
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 517
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Published: November 6th, 2012
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Synopsis From Goodreads:

Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a world free of bloodshed and war.

This is not that world.

Art student and monster’s apprentice Karou finally has the answers she has always sought. She knows who she is—and what she is. But with this knowledge comes another truth she would give anything to undo: She loved the enemy and he betrayed her, and a world suffered for it.

In this stunning sequel to the highly acclaimed Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Karou must decide how far she’ll go to avenge her people. Filled with heartbreak and beauty, secrets and impossible choices, Days of Blood & Starlight finds Karou and Akiva on opposing sides as an age-old war stirs back to life.

While Karou and her allies build a monstrous army in a land of dust and starlight, Akiva wages a different sort of battle: a battle for redemption. For hope.

But can any hope be salvaged from the ashes of their broken dream?

My Rating: ☆☆☆☆

Days of Blood & Starlight is a pretty good follow-up to Daughter of Smoke & Bone. The plot picks up basically where the first book ended, but introduces an entirely new setting and conflict. The overall plot was excellent, but the pacing did seem a little slow to me. It wasn’t the torturous kind of slow progression that makes you want to skip ahead, but it definitely could’ve gotten off to a faster start!
The character development was amazing! The book was definitely more plot driven than character driven, but all of the main characters began some kind of transformation that was obvious through their actions and the ways in which they interacted with each other. Each of the character arcs unfolded alongside plot events, and the changes they experienced were caused by the plot, which created a nice balance. By the end of the story, all of the key players were placed at a point where they had to make a decision for better or worse. At that point in the story, they had all progressed enough to understand the right choice, and therefore the story reached a form of closure while still leaving room for the next book.
The writing style of Days of Blood & Starlight is very unique. It has a melodic flow that is beautiful and interesting, yet hard to follow sometimes. Part of the confusion also came from the fact that there were multiple narrators. I think I counted three main narrators and a couple chapters from others. I normally don’t have a problem with multiple narrators, but this got super hard to keep up with! I definitely understand why there were so many narrators, and they were all necessary for the story to unfold, but I think it could’ve been written a little more distinctly. Thankfully it was written in third person, otherwise I don’t think I could’ve gotten through all the head-hopping!
This most definitely is not the kind of book you read for mindless entertainment! Coming from someone who can usually listen to audio books while doing a multitude of other tasks simultaneously without missing a thing in the book, this was not an easy read! I mean… I actually had to dedicate time to curl into a small ball on my bed with only a blanket and coffee to read this thing instead of just throwing on my headphones while being a responsible student! That being said, it told a very unique and amazing story, and I have already started the next book because I am totally hooked on this plot!

Snippet Sunday

Snippet Sunday is a writing meme created by Samantha @ Reed’s Reads & Reviews in which you share a snippet from your current writing project. This snippet is from my Shaman Novel.


Vivian Deverow was drowning. It was kind of ironic if you thought about it. “Strike a match and let it burn,” she muttered to herself through a choked laugh. That’d been her motto for years, but her matches couldn’t burn under water.

Top Ten Tuesday | Things That Make Me Instantly Want to Read a Book

Top Ten Tuesday is a bookish meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. This week it’s about things that make you instantly want to read a book!


  1. If there’s magic involved, I’ll probably read it without question. I especially love books with super unique magic system like the one in Daughter of Smoke and Bone.
  2. Myths/legends from other cultures like those found in Fear the Drowning Deep.
  3. Royal people fighting to take over the throne, (preferably with magic!) 😉
  4. Assassins because they’re sneaky, and sometimes they throw daggers, and I just love them! I mean I love them in books, NOT real life! I would NOT want to meet an assassin in real life!
  5. Any kind of psychological illness!
  6. Bad boys with deep, dark secrets who actually turn out to be good. So what if it’s a giant trope?!
  7. Diverse characters like those in Tiny Pretty things.
  8. I’ll read pretty much anything about angels.
  9. Awkward, preferably writerly characters because they’re just so relatable! Fangirl, anybody?
  10. I will read literally anything by Rick Riordan or Maggie Stiefvater because they have never failed to tell an amazing story. In other words, go read The Raven Cycle right now because you are missing out on great literature if you haven’t!

Snippet Sunday

Snippet Sunday is a writing meme created by Samantha @ Reed’s Reads & Reviews in which you share a snippet of your current writing project. It’s been forever since I’ve done one of these, but today I bring you the “unofficial official” synopsis for my Shaman Novel. This is the blurb that I’ve posted to my Camp NaNoWriMo profile, but it’s subject to change as I continue to edit the story. I hope to have the book ready for beta readers by June, but in reality it’s probably going to be more like August or September…
Since you guys are following my book/writing blog, I’m assuming you’re all readers, writers, or both. That means you probably know a thing or two about books and their blurbs, so please let me know what you think of mine in the comments! Does this synopsis make you want to read my book? Is there anything you don’t like about it? Any and all feedback is appreciated! 😉


Nico Deverow’s entire life is built on secrets, lies, and blood. His family built their fortune in blood money and poisoned their way to a seat on the Royal Mist Council, but Nico doesn’t belong in that life. Ancient murders, restless spirits, and the uncensored truth in everyone’s auras are all revealed to him through residual layers of energy, and no one can ever know about it. The second sight is a shaman power, and a Deverow with a shaman gift would kill his bloodline’s reputation completely. His mask is flawless as his family name decrees, but underneath he’s shattering. With no one to help him contain his powers, the magical drug called Bliss and the raiser sharp blade of a dagger become his only salvation. But when natural born healer Adam Rachadon discovers his abilities, Nico is given a choice: trust a shaman with a secret his family would kill him for, or refuse his offer of help and continue to live a lie.

Fear the Drowning Deep

Fear the Drowning Deep
“And with the melody came the unmistakable sound of water slapping against the rocks far below us, slowly eroding the foundation of Port Coire and everything I loved.”
-Sarah Glenn Marsh, Fear the Drowning Deep

Title: Fear the Drowning Deep
Author: Sarah Glenn Marsh
Pages: 304
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adutly, Historical Fiction, Romance, Mythology
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Published: October 11, 2016
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Synopsis From Goodreads:

Witch’s apprentice Bridey Corkill has hated the ocean ever since she watched her granddad dive in and drown with a smile on his face. So when a dead girl rolls in with the tide in the summer of 1913, sixteen-year-old Bridey suspects that whatever compelled her granddad to leap into the sea has made its return to the Isle of Man.
Soon, villagers are vanishing in the night, but no one shares Bridey’s suspicions about the sea. No one but the island’s witch, who isn’t as frightening as she first appears, and the handsome dark-haired lad Bridey rescues from a grim and watery fate. The cause of the deep gashes in Fynn’s stomach and his lost memories are, like the recent disappearances, a mystery well-guarded by the sea. In exchange for saving his life, Fynn teaches Bridey to master her fear of the water — stealing her heart in the process.
Now, Bridey must work with the Isle’s eccentric witch and the boy she isn’t sure she can trust — because if she can’t uncover the truth about the ancient evil in the water, everyone she loves will walk into the sea, never to return.

My Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆

Fear the Drowning Deep is told through the eyes of the main character, Bridey, who embarks on a quest to figure out what is making her friends and family willingly walk into the ocean to drown. At the beginning of the book, Bridey is terrified of the ocean that surrounds her island home, and haunted by memories of the night her grandfather jumped from the cliffs with a smile on his face. She saw a ghostly creature riding the waves that night, and now that others in her village are vanishing, she believes that it might’ve returned to claim more victims. However, she is ridiculed because of her fear and belief in the supernatural and apprenticeship to the island’s only witch.
Bridey’s character arc is one of the most complex and well developed transformations that I have seen in a while. It is very interesting to see how the first and last scene mirror each other to demonstrate her transformation. The first scene shows her watching as a drowned girl is pulled from the water. She’s afraid to be so close to the water, but at the same time she can’t quite make herself walk away. The girl reminds her of her grandfather and the creatures that ride the waves at night. The last scene is a mirror image of the first. Bridey has made peace with the sea and its inhabitants, and she sits proudly beside her father on his fishing boat, far out in the water that she was once terrified to go near.
Bridey’s character is strengthened further by the setting of the story and the cultural beliefs that she has grown up with. The book is filled with words in Manx, (Bridey’s native language), and mentions of her village’s superstitions and traditions pop up throughout the story. These cultural influences provide backstory in little bits and pieces, rather than large chunks, and make Bridey seem more realistic. It’s easy to dismiss all of the bits of language and beliefs as a fantasy world out of Sarah Glenn Marsh’s imagination, but in reality, they are parts of history! Manx and the culture surrounding it were very well researched, and as far as I can tell, everything mentioned in Fear the Drowning Deep is historically true to the setting and time period.
The plot of Fear the Drowning Deep is very fast-paced, but that doesn’t detract from any other aspects of the story. The plot, character arcs, and world building blend together almost seamlessly, playing off one another so they form an almost perfect balance. Every plot point causes Bridey to grow as a person, and the world building creates a perfect backdrop for the events to unfold. It’s usually easy to say whether a book is plot driven or character driven, but Fear the Drowning Deep weaves the two together so that they are inseparable!
With its smooth writing style, strong character arcs, and fast-paced plot, Fear the Drowning Deep is a very quick and easy read! Just don’t start it when you need to be productive because it will catch your attention and hold it until you’ve read the very last page!

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor | Spoiler Free Review

Daughter of Smoke and Bone Cover
“Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love.
It did not end well.”
-Laini Taylor, Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Title: Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Author: Laini Taylor
Series: daughter of Smoke and Bone #1
Genre: young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 422
Publisher: Little Brown Books
Published: September 27th, 2011
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Goodreads

Synopsis From Goodreads:

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”, she speaks many languages – not all of them human – and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

My Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆

Coming from someone who is sick and tired of romance over-riding fantasy plots in books, this five star review is high praise! I literally cannot find fault with this book!
The quote at the top pretty much sums up the basic plot. An angel and a devil fall in love, and things end badly, but there is so much more depth to this story!
Karou makes an awesome main character! She knows nothing about where she came from at the beginning of the story. All she knows is that she’s caught between two worlds. One is made of magic, teeth, and monsters; the other is made of humans who can never know the truth. Karou keeps her secrets by telling the truth in such a way that people think she’s lying, which is a nice change. It seems that most fantasy characters simply weave a web of lies, but Karou hides behind a mask of sarcastically spoken truth.
The world building in Daughter of Smoke and Bone is super complex but blends almost seamlessly! In the beginning, Karou is part of two worlds: “Elsewhere,” where she spent her childhood, and the human world. However, her two worlds end up colliding with a third world: Akiva’s angelic realm. I can’t really continue with this train of thought because spoilers abound, but the way in which the three worlds meet is written very well. I don’t think I’ve ever known a book to juggle three worlds as well as Daughter of Smoke and Bone.
Something interesting is the way in which the “big reveal” was written. For the majority of the first half of the book, Karou has no idea where she came from, and that question is eventually answered through what is basically a giant flashback to her past. This kind of seemed like a writerly copout to me, but it also worked well in the situation. It was a little confusing to jump into another time and setting for a few chapters, but I honestly don’t know how it could’ve been done differently without altering the plot in a big way. I would typically knock off a star for something like this, but the writing was good enough that I decided to let it slide.
As you can probably tell, this is one of those books that you can’t really talk about without spoiling everything, so I’ll go on and end my review here. Overall, Daughter of Smoke and Bone is an excellent read, and I definitely recommend that you have the second book ready to go as soon as you finish it because… talk about a cliffhanger!

These Broken Stars (minor spoiler with warning)

These broken stars book cover art
“For a moment the image before us is frozen: our world, our lives, reduced to a handful broken stars half lost in uncharted space. Then it’s gone, the view swallowed by the hyperspace winds streaming past, blue-green auroras wiping the after-images away.

Until all that’s left is us”
― Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner, These Broken Stars

Title: These Broken stars
Author: Amie Kaufman & Meagan spooner
Series: Starbound #1
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 374
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Published: December 10th, 2013
Find It On:
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Synopsis From Goodreads:

Luxury spaceliner Icarus suddenly plummets from hyperspace into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive – alone. Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a cynical war hero. Both journey across the eerie deserted terrain for help. Everything changes when they uncover the truth.

The Starbound Trilogy: Three worlds. Three love stories. One enemy.

My Rating: ☆☆☆

Please allow me a moment to fangirl… I love this story and these characters even though they both have their flaws, but I promise I’ll try to be coherent!

The Writing:
To have a dual point of view, this book flows amazingly well! The writing is very elaborate as is typical for the genre, but it’s elaborate in a way that seems simple if that makes any sense at all… It pulls us as the readers into a new world and makes sure we know all the important details, but it also isn’t overly descriptive.

The Characters:
Lilac and Tarver are awesome characters! They are both very distinct, and even if the chapters weren’t clearly marked with who does the narrating, I would be able to tell them apart with no problem!

The Plot:
Uhh yeah… The plot does get a lil weird closer to the end, but let’s just… look over that and focus on the cool characters and setting! Just kidding!

What lost this book two stars?

I knocked off two stars for the plot because there are a few things that really bugged me, but these things could very easily be subject to opinion:
•Scenario: A boy and a girl have been flirting. Girl pretends to hate boy because father orders her to do so. Boy and girl get thrown onto a deserted planet. Boy and girl fall in love. Shocker…
•Minor spoiler alert pertaining to plot tropes! Skip to the next bullet point if your concerned: You know how sometimes characters die, and then they come back to life when the love interest is heartbroken and can’t seem to move on without the “dead character? I’m not saying that happened exactly, but yeah…
•The ending was a little sudden. One minute things were happening, and the next minute Lilac and Tarver were headed back to wherever their home planner was! Huh what???

What won this book three stars?

•Very distinct characters.
•Strong internal and external conflict.
•Really cool alien beings!
•Interesting use of character backstory.
•Easy to read writing style.
•Other general awesomeness!

Conclusion:

If you like SciFi at all, I think you’ll like this book! I will definitely be reading the rest of the series!

Share your thoughts?

Have you read These Broken Stars? Do you wanna read it now? Any thoughts on my rather scattered review? Let’s chat in comments!

The Islands at the End of the World (spoiler free review)

The Islands at the End of the World cover

Title: The Islands at the End of the World Author: Austin Aslan Series: Islands at the End of the World #1 Genre: Young Adult, SciFi Pages: 384 Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books Published: August 5th, 2014 Format Read: Audio Find It On:

iBooksamazonGoodreads

Synopsis From Goodreads

Right before my eyes, my beautiful islands are changing forever. And so am I …

Sixteen-year-old Leilani loves surfing and her home in Hilo, on the Big Island of Hawaii. But she’s an outsider – half white, half Hawaiian, and an epileptic.

While Lei and her father are on a visit to Oahu, a global disaster strikes. Technology and power fail, Hawaii is cut off from the world, and the islands revert to traditional ways of survival. As Lei and her dad embark on a nightmarish journey across islands to reach home and family, she learns that her epilepsy and her deep connection to Hawaii could be keys to ending the crisis before it becomes worse than anyone can imagine.

A powerful story enriched by fascinating elements of Hawaiian ecology, culture, and warfare, this captivating and dramatic debut from Austin Aslan is the first of two novels. The author has a master’s degree in tropical conservation biology from the University of Hawaii at Hilo.

My Rating: ☆☆☆

Before I get into this, I have to say that I would probably give this a two star rating had I read it and not listened to the audio book. There are a lot of long passages of Hawaiian language, and I think it would have detracted from the story had I been trying to read the text. When I see a word I don’t know in a book, I usually end up googling how to say it because it bugs me until I know. That being said, the audio book made all the Hawaiian words sound Beautiful! It pulled me into the story rather than bringing me out of it because I wasn’t struggling to read words I’d never heard before.

The Plot:

The plot was very original! We’ve seen stuff like this before: worldwide power outage, people panic, economy shuts down, government is obviously keeping a massive secret, there’s lots of fighting, and alien attacks and biblical prophecies come into play. However, The Islands at the End of the World does a really good job of putting a new spin on things. Because it’s set in Hawaii, we become amerced in a new culture that adds to the mystery. Austin Aslan does a fantastic job of pulling you into the Hawaiian world and making you believe in the culture, and then he throws a massive plot twist into the mix that creates an ending you’ll never expect.

The Characters:

Ok… Several of the characters seemed a little flat to me, (Leilani’s dad for instance), but Leilani kind of makes up for it. First of all, she has epilepsy, and it’s not one of those things where the character has a medical disorder just for the sake of having a medical disorder. It does cause a couple problems, and it is relevant to the plot. The only problem I have with it is that Leilani’s dad tends to have a… somewhat downplayed reaction when Lei has an epileptic seizure. There’s one point where she wakes up, and he’s just like, “Hi,” and I was left going “Shouldn’t you be a little more concerned that the world is in chaos and your daughter just had a horrible seizure?!” I personally have a disorder where my adrenals don’t work, and I’ve had some pretty bad seizures before, and my parents are not exactly cool, calm, and collected when I come out of it… I also question some of the language used when Lei has a seizure. It’s referred to as “fits” a few times, and I think I remember reading somewhere that that’s not accurate. Epileptics can feel free to correct me in the comments if I’m wrong!

Why is this not a five star book?

•Several flat characters. •The thing with the Hawaiian language mentioned above. •Downplayed reaction to epileptic seizures. •Some awkward dialogue. •Possible incorrect medical language concerning epilepsy.

Why is this rated three stars?

•Hawaii makes for an interesting setting. •Cool new culture. •Epileptic character that isn’t just epileptic for the sake of being epileptic! •Original spin on an old plot. •Cool Hawaiian shaman people. •Hawaiian language sounds beautiful in the audio book. •An ending you’ll never expect!

Conclusion:

I will be reading the second book as soon as I find it! I did point out a lot of flaws, but quite honestly I didn’t notice those until I started taking notes for this review. The writing pulled me in, and held my attention until the end.

Share your thoughts?

Have you read The Islands at the End of the World? Do you want to read it? What are your thoughts on the use of foreign language in books and characters with medical disorders? Let’s chat in comments!