Series: The Conquerors Saga #2
Published by Delacorte Press on June 27th, 2017
Genres: historical fantasy
She has no allies. No throne. All she has is what she’s always had: herself.
After failing to secure the Wallachian throne, Lada Dracul is out to punish anyone who dares to cross her blood-strewn path. Filled with a white-hot rage, she storms the countryside with her men, accompanied by her childhood friend Bogdan, terrorizing the land. But brute force isn’t getting Lada what she wants. And thinking of Mehmed brings little comfort to her thorny heart. There’s no time to wonder whether he still thinks about her, even loves her. She left him before he could leave her.
What Lada needs is her younger brother Radu’s subtlety and skill. But Mehmed has sent him to Constantinople—and it’s no diplomatic mission. Mehmed wants control of the city, and Radu has earned an unwanted place as a double-crossing spy behind enemy lines. Radu longs for his sister’s fierce confidence—but for the first time in his life, he rejects her unexpected plea for help. Torn between loyalties to faith, to the Ottomans, and to Mehmed, he knows he owes Lada nothing. If she dies, he could never forgive himself—but if he fails in Constantinople, will Mehmed ever forgive him?
As nations fall around them, the Dracul siblings must decide: what will they sacrifice to fulfill their destinies? Empires will topple, thrones will be won…and souls will be lost.
Now I Rise was absolutely incredible. As far as sequels go, this is one of the best I’ve ever read. The story line delivers in every way I wanted it to, giving us crucial scenes I was just aching for. Of course, I do know a bit of the history surrounding this story so I was prepared for some of the major plot points. That being said, Kiersten White was still able to put me on the edge of my seat for the entire 500 page tome. I loved every second spent reading this.
Lada is once again a bad ass. She is the embodiment of fierce and powerful. I love her spark and her determination, her drive. She stops at nothing to get what she wants; no manner of ruthlessness is out of her reach. In this book we are seeing her put to action lessons she learned in the first book. We also get to see her realize herself and how all of the events in her life have come together to shape who she is. I think she’s finally starting to love herself and it makes me love her even more.
Radu is still my precious child. I love him so. He also goes through quite the transformation though the same terrible fate seems to follow him wherever he goes. Radu is the embodiment of kindheartedness and faith. I still love how White brings Islam into Radu’s personal life and his inner, inward conflicts. Radu’s respect, admiration, and love for his God and his religion bleeds from the pages with so much light.
Nazira is my queen. I’ve loved her since the moment she stepped on the pages in book 1 and we get to see so much more of her in this installment of the saga. She is just so full of life! Even in the darkest of circumstances, Nazira persists, absolutely insisting upon being happy and bringing joy to the world. She is giving, courageous, kind. I need at least a novella about Nazira and Fatima.
I was so scared to read this because for whatever reason I thought And I Darken and Now I Rise were going to be a duology. Now I’m both happy and sad that another is coming – I want a third book full of these beautiful characters, but also I don’t want to wait a year to get it!
If My Dogs Were a Pair of Middle Aged Men Published by Andrews McMeel Publishing on September 26th, 2017
Genres: graphic novel
From the Eisner Award-winning creator of The Oatmeal and #1 New York Times bestselling author of How to Tell If Your Cat Is Plotting to Kill You comes this charmingly absurd gift book about man’s best friend.
In If My Dogs Were a Pair of Middle-Aged Men, Matthew Inman imagines, to hilarious effect, what life would be like if his dogs were a couple of old men running around his house. The result is a pitch-perfect gift for any dog owner.
It’s been so long since I read this and obviously I read it very quickly, so not much has stuck with me. I do know that if you like the Oatmeal, you know what to expect from this tiny short-panel volume. If My Dogs Were a Pair of Middle Aged Men imagines the author’s two pets as, you guessed it, middle aged men.
Even if you don’t own dogs and happen to have some other type of pet, I think you’ll find this funny. There are just some universal truths to pet ownership and I found myself laughing hysterically because I could relate with at least one of my three cats.
This isn’t anything special, but it makes for a quick, cute read, especially for those already familiar with Inman’s work.
Darkness Before Dawn Series: Darkness Before Dawn Trilogy #1
Published by Harper Teen on May 29th, 2012
Genres: paranormal, science fiction
Only sunlight can save us.
We built the wall to keep them out, to keep us safe. But it also makes us prisoners, trapped in what's left of our ravaged city, fearing nightfall.
After the death of my parents, it's up to me—as the newest delegate for humanity—to bargain with our vampire overlord. I thought I was ready. I thought I knew everything there was to know about the monsters. Then again, nothing could have prepared me for Lord Valentine . . . or his son. Maybe not all vampires are killers. Maybe it's safe to let one in.
Only one thing is certain: Even the wall is not enough. A war is coming and we cannot hide forever.
This one was a reread for me and I’m so happy I took the time to do this. Darkness Before Dawn is this little campy hidden gem of a vampire book that was released right at the end of the paranormal craze and right around the peak of the dystopia trend. As such, it falls in the middle, about a USA that’s been overrun by vampires, with humans living in walled city at the mercy of their blood-drinking overlords.
Like I said, this is campy fun. It falls into the moody, mysterious stranger trope, there is a love triangle. It’s great. One thing I love about this is that it often plays into the typical vampire romance, but it never devolves into the violent, controlling boyfriend trope. Michael, her actual boyfriend, is probably the least jealous YA boyfriend I’ve ever seen. Dawn is similarly easy going, even though there is a mean girl nemesis. Victor does try some of the “we have to stay apart” stuff late in the book, but never in what I felt was a manipulative sort of way.
Some of the world-building is shoddy, and the Victorian era clothing and manners that the vampire overlord demands is pretty eye-roll inducing. It’s like the authors just wanted to get their heroine in a corset for the imagery and quickly threw it off when it became inconvenient. Which is always, if you’ve never worn a corset, by the way. But none of that ever takes from my enjoyment of this book. I’m so happy I reread it so I can finally move onto its sequels.
Queens of Geek on March 14th, 2017
When BFFs Charlie, Taylor and Jamie go to SupaCon, they know it’s going to be a blast. What they don’t expect is for it to change their lives forever.
Charlie likes to stand out. SupaCon is her chance to show fans she’s over her public breakup with co-star, Reese Ryan. When Alyssa Huntington arrives as a surprise guest, it seems Charlie’s long-time crush on her isn’t as one-sided as she thought.
While Charlie dodges questions about her personal life, Taylor starts asking questions about her own.
Taylor likes to blend in. Her brain is wired differently, making her fear change. And there’s one thing in her life she knows will never change: her friendship with Jamie—no matter how much she may secretly want it to. But when she hears about the Queen Firestone SupaFan Contest, she starts to rethink her rules on playing it safe.
Big shout out to Jenefer who I buddy read this with. Who knows if I ever would have had the motivation to read it alone. I had no idea I was going to love this so much. Swoon Reads and I just never get along. But when I found out there was an f/f main character romance and an autistic main character, I knew I had to give it a chance, and wow if this wasn’t one of the best books I’ve read this year. I have my rating at a 4.5, but I might just bump it up because it was that good.
If you’re at all involved with fandom, I think you’re going to love this. It takes place over the course of three days while three friends attend their first con. The closest thing I’ve ever been to that’s con-like is BEA, but there are some things I could still relate to, like the anxiety of huge crowds, the feeling of finally finding your people, and of course, wondering at the end of the day how many times you made a fool of yourself. You see, I could relate to Taylor on so many levels. She has generalized anxiety (or maybe social anxiety? I can’t exactly remember which) and this is absolutely the most accurate representation of the condition I’ve ever seen. I’ve never seen an author quite grasp what it means to have anxiety, how it’s always there, how good you become at hiding it, how at the end of a long, people-filled day, you need to recharge. Taylor’s fear of embarrassing herself was so palpable and exactly how I feel all of the time.
The other main character, Charlie, is Taylor’s best friend. They bonded over fandom and their personalities compliment each other so well. Charlie is a YouTube star turned movie actress who is celebrating her big screen debut and promoting the sequel. She has a whirlwind romance with another YouTuber named Alyssa and it’s fucking perfect. I loved that the author included how difficult it can sometimes be to tell if a girl is flirting with you if you are also a girl. Sometimes navigating that kind of interaction seems treacherous! Charlie is a new fave for the way she stood up for herself to her studio and her shitty exboyfriend.
If you love fandom, friendships, and friends-to-lovers romances, this is the book for you. I shipped both ships, fell in love with the representation (including body positivity!!) and this book is definitely going to be a future go-to if I ever need a pick-me-up sort of read.