Starsight (Skyward #2) by Brandon Sanderson

Six months after saving her people from destruction, Spensa is a pilot in the Defiant Defense Force. She is trying to fight back even harder at the Krell, humankind’s alien jailers, when she finds a way to gain an enormous amount of technology and knowledge from their enemy.

Six months after saving her people from destruction, Spensa is a pilot in the Defiant Defense Force. She is trying to fight back even harder at the Krell, humankind’s alien jailers, when she finds a way to gain an enormous amount of technology and knowledge from their enemy.

Spoiler Free Review:

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Skyward was the book the originally got me interested in Brandon Sanderson and I really enjoyed it when I read it in January and again in December of last year. While I enjoyed this book, I didn’t contain all of the things I loved from the first one.

Initially, I was annoyed because I feel like Brandon went a little heavy on recapping the information from the first book. If I hadn’t just read the first book though, I would have appreciated it more.

I loved the characters and budding friendships in the first book, but in this one, Spensa goes somewhere alone, so we got to see almost no interaction with her friends from the DDF. Instead, she goes on to make new friends, but I couldn’t really get attached to them because I was already attached to her original friends.

There was a lot more worldbuilding in this book. The first book is contained to one planet, which I liked, but we get to learn more about the universe in this book. On one hand, I liked it because learning about different alien species was cool, but on the other, I missed the contained setting of Spensa’s planet. The transition from a contained world to an entire universe was a little abrupt for me.

The aliens were probably my favorite part of this book. We get to know quite a few different species of alien, not all of them humanoid! There was so much care put into creating alien species. They were all really different from one another and they were all very different from humans. There was an extra effort to address gender pronouns in this, which I really appreciated. A lot of aliens go by ‘they’ because the idea of male and female is a very human thing.

So, there is a little bit of romance in this book. I had picked up on some romantic hints in the first book and I was into it, even if these characters remained friends. However, I needed more development from their relationship. If it continues in subsequent books, I’m going to see more from them. Otherwise, I really like their relationship and their dynamic! I just need to see more from them.

I enjoyed this book, but I am hoping that the next book in the series will get back to the stuff I loved about the first one.

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One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Emma marries her high school sweetheart Jeese, but on their first wedding anniversary, he goes missing in a helicopter crash. He is presumed dead, so Emma must move on. A few years in the future, she has reconnected with her high school acquaintance Sam, and has made a new life for herself. Just months away from her and Sam’s wedding, she gets a call that Jesse is still alive and is coming back to her.

Contemporary, 352 pages, published in 2016

Emma marries her high school sweetheart Jeese, but on their first wedding anniversary, he goes missing in a helicopter crash. He is presumed dead, so Emma must move on. A few years in the future, she has reconnected with her high school acquaintance Sam, and has made a new life for herself. Just months away from her and Sam’s wedding, she gets a call that Jesse is still alive and is coming back to her.

Spoiler Free Review:

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This is my fifth book by Taylor Jenkins Reid, so I was somewhat prepared for the emotions this book would put me through, but it still made me really emotional.

At the beginning of the book, Emma is sure her husband is dead. Seeing her go through that pain was absolutely heartbreaking. It was even harder knowing that her husband was actually alive because you get to see her become stronger and build a life for herself, all based on the fact that her husband is dead.

Once Emma meets Jesse again, things get really awkward. All Jesse wanted was to pick up where he left off with Emma. He made her feel really terrible about moving on with Sam, even though the whole world assumed he was dead. He actually annoyed me a lot because he kept trying to invalidate how Emma was feeling and who she had become in his absence. The reasoning he had made sense, but there was no excuse for the way he made her feel so guilty.

I had no idea how this book was going to end. I really couldn’t predict if Emma was going to end up with Jesse, Sam, or neither of them. I was happy with how it ended though! I liked how the main conflict was resolved.

I really did love this book, even if it made me cry! For the record, I think all of her books have made me cry. I think one of the things that draws me to Taylor Jenkins Reid’s books are the raw emotions that are so prevalent in her stories.

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The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary

After a breakup, Tiffy needs a place to live, so she agrees to share a flat with Leon, a hospice nurse. The thing is, the flat only has one bed, but Leon works at night so they agree that Tiffy gets the flat at night and Leon gets it during the day. They have never met.

Romance/Contemporary, 336 pages, published in 2019

After a breakup, Tiffy needs a place to live, so she agrees to share a flat with Leon, a hospice nurse. The thing is, the flat only has one bed, but Leon works at night so they agree that Tiffy gets the flat at night and Leon gets it during the day. They have never met.

Spoiler Free Review:

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I was a little hesitant about this book, but then two of my friends loved it, so I gave it a shot and I ADORED this book! It is so soft and charming and I loved every second of it.

There are alternating chapters from Tiffy and Leon’s points of view. At first, I found Leon’s a little hard to get used to because he has a unique voice, but once I got used to it, I was charmed. I love dual perspective books like this!

What I love a lot about this book is that both Tiffy and Leon are going through big life troubles in this book. Tiffy has just gotten out of a relationship with a man who emotionally abused her, and she has to deal with her trauma from that, as well as the fact that this man keeps showing up in her life. Leon’s brother unjustly got sent to jail for armed robbery, so Leon is doing whatever he can, including working the night shift and having a stranger live in his flat, to make enough money to hire a lawyer for an appeal. Not only did this give such a good look into who Tiffy and Leon are when faced with adversity, but it also showed how they helped each other through these difficult times.

Another aspect I loved about this was that Tiffy and Leon get to know each other by leaving notes around the flat. The notes were absolutely adorable! Leon had such a cool exterior, but he really was a big softie and I love him!

I also loved all the small things in their lives, like the neighbor with mysterious banana boxes and the bricklayer guy that Leon said he wanted to marry. There were just so many details that made this book even better.

I can’t wait to reread this book, I loved it that much. There is nothing I didn’t like about this book! I highly recommend it!

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December Wrap Up & Haul

Everything I read and bought in December!

Books I Read

Other Posts

Book Haul

  • One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  • The Overdue Life of Amy Byler by Kelly Harms
  • One Day in December by Joise Silver
  • Reverie by Ryan La Sala
  • Rebel of the Sands (Rebel of the Sands #1) by Alwyn Hamilton
  • The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary
  • Goldenhand (The Abhorsen Series #5) by Garth Nix
  • Coral by Sara Ella
  • Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  • Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah
  • Girls of Storm and Shadow (Girls of Paper and Fire #2) by Natasha Ngan
  • A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses #1) by Sarah J. Maas (collector’s edition)
  • The Assassin’s Blade (Throne of Glass #0.5) by Sarah J. Maas (mini)
  • Kingdom of Ash (Throne of Glass #7) by Sarah J. Maas (mini)

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Spindle’s End by Robin McKinley

In a magical country, the baby princess is cursed to prick her finger on a spindle and die on her 21st birthday. She gets taken away by a fairy and is hidden as peasant in plain sight as she grows up in this Sleeping Beauty retelling.

Fantasy, 432 pages, published in 2000

In a magical country, the baby princess is cursed to prick her finger on a spindle and die on her 21st birthday. She gets taken away by a fairy and is hidden as peasant in plain sight as she grows up in this Sleeping Beauty retelling.

Spoiler Free Review:

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It feels like it took absolute eons for me to read this book. I started reading it September, but couldn’t get into the writing style, so I decided to start listening to it in November. The audiobook is only around 12 hours, but it was just so hard for me to pick it up.

This is a very whimsical story, and it definitely didn’t follow the structure I thought it would. There is a ton of information about the world, and I do think it does a great job of portraying the setting, but it was just too much for me personally. It just felt like I was learning so much about the world, but most of it didn’t matter to the plot or the characters.

The plot was very slow going. There was a bit at the beginning and more at the end, but in between, it just felt like nothing happened. The reader gets to spend time with Rosie, the princess, as she is growing up, but it just felt like wasted time to me. I actually liked Rosie quite a bit, but the middle bit still felt like way too much to me.

There are also quite a few parts in the middle that are not in a linear order. I found this super confusing because in one part, Rosie is a teenager, but then you’ll be flashed back to when she was a kid and it was hard to follow when it went back to being about her as a teen. It felt a little like a series of random vignettes about her time growing up.

There is quite a bit of description and a lack of dialogue in this book. Dialogue is almost always my favorite part of books, so it was hard for me to get through a book with so little of it.

Overall, I think this book just was not for me. I can definitely see the appeal and I know the style will work for others. The whimsical feeling was really nice, but that wasn’t enough to compensate for all the other things I didn’t like about it.

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One Day in December by Josie Silver

Laurie is on the bus home from a long day at work when she meets eyes with a man on the street. It is only for a few seconds, but it makes an impression on her. She spends the whole next year trying to find her mysterious bus boy, only to finally meet him when her best friend Sarah introduces him as her new boyfriend. From there, Laurie, Sarah, and Jack are woven into each other’s lives.

Contemporary, 390 pages, published in 2018

Laurie is on the bus home from a long day at work when she meets eyes with a man on the street. It is only for a few seconds, but it makes an impression on her. She spends the whole next year trying to find her mysterious bus boy, only to finally meet him when her best friend Sarah introduces him as her new boyfriend. From there, Laurie, Sarah, and Jack are woven into each other’s lives.

Spoiler Free Review:

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I kind of bought this book on a whim because it was on sale for Black Friday and I had seen some people recommend it. It also has that illustrated cover that I love. Unfortunately, I didn’t love this book.

I knew the setup was a little ridiculous going in, but I had hoped that the book would compensate for that. Laurie and Jack base 10 years of feelings on that single moment that they met eyes. It didn’t feel like they ever developed more than a surface level relationship or had any sort of connection, even though they were insisting they did. I just wasn’t really rooting for them because I didn’t feel a connection between them.

I also didn’t really like Laurie or Jack as people. Jack honestly turned into a bigger and bigger asshole as the book went on. He did so many things that weren’t just bad for himself, but bad towards other people in his life.

I liked Sarah for the most part, but I do think she overreacted to things sometimes. She was the only character that I could really stand. In general, I don’t want my life to turn out like any of these characters.

There was a fair amount of focus on friendship and family in this book. I did enjoy those parts and they certainly made me the most emotional out of the whole book. I was left a little frustrated because I wish that time had been devoted to developing Jack and Laurie’s relationship.

Overall, this was just not the book for me. I kept reading because I was interested in what would happen next and how it would end, but now that I’m done, I feel like I can flush all memories of it out of my mind.

I was expecting a little more of a rom-com, not a sprawling story that had little in the way of romance. I thought it would be a fun winter book, but it just wasn’t.

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Faker by Sarah Smith

Since the second Emmie met her coworker Tate, she believes he hates her. In turn, she has kept up her walls around him, but after being forced to work on a project together, will they see that it was a misunderstanding all along?

Romance, 336 pages, published in 2019

Since the second Emmie met her coworker Tate, she believes he hates her. In turn, she has kept up her walls around him, but after being forced to work on a project together, will they see that it was a misunderstanding all along?

Spoiler Free Review:

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I love hate-to-love relationships, so I was really excited when a friend recommended this book to me! I was a little hesitant going in because I had seen some bad ratings, but this book was overall pretty good!

I don’t think that Emmie and Tate were super unique characters, but they were fun to follow. Emmie has to pretend to be confident and unwavering at work because she works with mostly men. Tate is so quiet that he sometimes has a hard time communicating his feelings.

Hate-to-love romances are among my favorites to read because I love the tension. This one didn’t have the most tension in terms of the actual relationship, but there was a fair amount of sexual tension that I did enjoy.

One trope I adore is the one where one person takes care of the other while they are sick. There was an abundance of that in this book and I loved it! I love soft, tender moments like that. One trope that was in this book that I hate is toothbrush sharing. Truly, it’s so gross to me and I know it is supposed to be romantic, but I totally don’t see it that way.

Some of the dialogue was a little cheesy, but for the most part, I didn’t have a problem with it. I did think it would focus a little bit more on the workplace, since Tate and Emmie are coworkers and they really begin connecting during a work project.

Overall, this was a fun and cute romance! It wasn’t an all-time fave, but I definitely enjoyed it while I was reading it.

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The Toll (Arc of a Scythe #3) by Neal Shusterman

Citra and Rowan have sunk to the bottom of the ocean, along with the rest of Endura. Now, Goddard is in control of a better part of the world and is changing scythes rules on gleaning so they are more relaxed. The Thunderhead has deemed all of humanity unsavory, except for Greyson, who has become an icon for the Tonists.

Sci-fi, 627 pages, published in 2019

Citra and Rowan have sunk to the bottom of the ocean, along with the rest of Endura. Now, Goddard is in control of a better part of the world and is changing scythes rules on gleaning so they are more relaxed. The Thunderhead has deemed all of humanity unsavory, except for Greyson, who has become an icon for the Tonists.

Spoiler Free Review:

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Where do I even start with this book? I recently fell in love with Scythe and Thunderhead while rereading them, so I was so ready to read this last book! I was a little intimidated by the size, but it ended up being such a good conclusion to this trilogy!

My biggest/only issue with this book was the timeline in the beginning. The book follows a few different characters, and their timelines all start off at different points. Eventually, they all do converge and stay at the same time, but I definitely got confused, especially because the description of the book says that it starts three years after the events of Thunderhead. Some story lines do start that late, but some start immediately following those events.

This series grew so much in scope throughout. I was not expecting this book to heavily feature some of things that seemed like background worldbuilding from the first book. This was definitely not a bad thing! It made the world seem so much more fleshed-out, in my opinion. In the first book, we only really see the scythedom in depth, but through the rest of the series, we get to see the actual world as well.

For you, Honorable Scythe Anastasia, I would die a thousand deaths at my own hand.

pg. 404

There was a character in this book who was genderfluid! They are from whole region where children are raised without a gender until they are a certain age. This was handled so well in the book. All of the characters reacted to it like it was normal (because it is) and I really appreciated that there were multiple conversations about it.

The ending of this book messed me up a little bit, I think. It was just so emotional for me, because I really couldn’t predict what was going to happen. I know that no one is safe in this series, so I was seriously worrying about the survival of my favorite characters. I was overall really happy with how everything wrapped up!

This series has just become such a favorite of mine. It is shocking and kind of fun, but it still makes me think about morality and death. I normally don’t love plot-driven books like these, but Neal Shusterman is so good at writing interesting and engaging plots. I can’t wait to read more from him in the future!

If it isn’t clear already, I highly recommend this series!

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The Queen of Nothing (The Folk of Air #3) by Holly Black

After becoming the High Queen of Faerie, Jude is exiled to the human realm. When her twin asks her a favor that would have her return to Faerie, where she could face her death if discovered, she agrees.

Fantasy, 308 pages, published in 2019

After becoming the High Queen of Faerie, Jude is exiled to the human realm. When her twin asks her a favor that would have her return to Faerie, where she could face her death if discovered, she agrees.

Spoiler Free Review:

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After reading The Wicked King, I was ready to jump into this book as soon as it was released. I think this series works overall, even if I don’t think that this is the strongest book.

I felt like this one had a slow start, similar to The Wicked King. It was bad, but it just took me a little while to really get into it.

My absolute favorite parts from this book were any private moments between Jude and Cardan. They were just so good and I couldn’t wait until the next time they had another scene together.

I didn’t think the main enemy in this book was going to be who it ended up being. I didn’t necessarily have someone in mind, but I was still a little surprised.

I was also surprised that there was so much involvement from characters from other Holly Black fae books, Tithe and The Darkest Part of the Forest. There had been a few little mentions of them here and there, but they were way more present in this book than in previous books.

I felt like the big problem that came about by the end was something so out of the blue. There were hints pointing toward it, but I don’t feel like there were enough because I felt like it was just a little bit random.

The ending also felt a little off to me. I enjoyed it and I’m happy overall with it, but for a book with so much angst and murder, it ended in quite a soft way.

I think this is my least favorite book in the series, but I enjoyed it because I already have come to love the series. This is definitely one of my favorite series and I can’t wait to see what Holly Black writes next!

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Reread Review: The Wicked King (The Folk of Air #2) by Holly Black

After raising Prince Cardan to the position of High King, Jude has control of him for a year and a day. In this time, she must figure out a way for him to keep the throne until her brother is old enough to ascend.

Fantasy, 326 pages, published in 2019

After raising Prince Cardan to the position of High King, Jude has control of him for a year and a day. In this time, she must figure out a way for him to keep the throne until her brother is old enough to ascend.

Spoiler Free Review:

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Like with so many books lately, I reread this because the finale to the series was just released. I read this back in January, but the books in this series are such quick reads that I had forgotten what happened.

This series combines so many things that I love: faeries, a hate-to-love will-they-won’t-they romance, and shocking turns of events. The faeries in this series are just so interesting and dark and tricksy.

The first part of this book is a little slow to me. It just feels like it takes a little too long to build up the momentum for the second half. The second half is really good, so it makes up for the first half.

Jude is such a questionable person, but I found myself really liking her. This whole series is basically about things just getting way too big and out of hand for her to handle.

…I like him better than I’ve ever liked anyone and that of all the things he’s ever done to me, making me like him so much is by far the worst.

– pg. 146

Jude and Cardan’s relationship is probably the thing that keeps me so into this series. Sometimes they are so vulnerable with each other, but others, they are completely armored. I love the tension between them!

The ending of this book is such a shock! There is so much intrigue and scheming in the series overall, but the ending still came as a surprise for me.

I was really glad I reread this book before jumping into The Queen of Nothing, because it helped me reorient myself in the world and become acquainted with forgettable side characters again.

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