Top Ten Tuesday

I haven’t done this in a while but I LOVE quotes so here are my favorite book quotes in no particular order:

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish


“People really are like house with vast rooms and tiny windows. And maybe it’s a good thing, the way we never stop surprising each other.”


“The thing about falling is you don’t have any control on your way down.”




“We all make mistakes… but it’s also a step in the right direction. If nothing else it’s a step away from the wrong one.”


“Macho Nachos be damned!”

harry potter 1

“It does not due to dwell on dreams and forget to live.”

six of crows

“I will have you without armor, Kaz Brekker. Or I will not have you at all.”

nick and norah

Technically it’s from the movie and not the book but I’m using it anyway-LOL

“I refuse to be the goody bag at your pity party.”


“They love their hair because they’re not smart enough to love something more interesting.”

winner's curse

It’s more contextual than profound

“I don’t care.”


February Reads-Any Bangs?


February was a slow month which caused me to lower my Goodreads goal from 70 to 50-YIKES. But I don’t want to stress myself out when October approaches and I’m 30 books behind.

I read some shitty books and one fantastic book.  As usual, click the picture or the title for a full review.

last beginning

The Last Beginning by Lauren James

I read this for SLJ (School Library Journal) so I can’t review it until after it is published.

losing leah

Losing Leah by Tiffany King

DAMN this book was disappointing.  Leah’s development was poor and there were no answers to her issues.  The pacing was bananas and some things were unrealistic.

Bang Bang Rating: bomb

elena mendoza

The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza by Shaun David Hutchinson

Great premise but the execution…Too many people giving Elena too much advice-it dragged down the plot.

Bang Bang Rating: bombbomb 3/4

immortal reign

Immortal Reign by Morgan Rhodes

I stopped caring. I’m just glad it’s over.

Bang Bang Rating: bombbombbomb


Furyborn by Claire LeGrand

So this book is pretty great. There’s strong female friendships and complicated villains and uncertainty of identity and cliffhangers and a fascinating world and secrets and you just need to read it.

I want all the SWAG and I want to meet Claire.


February TBR

  • Finally reading Lord of the Rings.  I haven’t seen any of the movies so I know nothing about it.
  • Kiss of Deception is in the top five favorite fantasy series of all time and I’m really excited to read Pearson’s new series. If you haven’t read Kiss of Deception, I highly recommend it but it is not a fluffy read-be prepared to take notes.
  • I highly recommend The Case For Jamie if you love Sherlock Holmes-great character development.

The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza

elena mendoza

The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza

By Shaun David Hutchinson

Genre: Contemporary/Paranormal/LGBTQ

Publication Date: February 6, 2018

Bang Bang Review

Elena Mendoza was born from a virgin birth and since she was a child, objects have been speaking to her. At first it was small things like make friends with Fadil but then the voices began to tell her to heal people to save the world.  Sound interesting? I thought so too until I read it.

I thoroughly enjoyed We Are the Ants and I also like genre blending stories so I was excited about Hutchinson’s new book.  I personally think he got gipped in the award department with Ants and I think he thought so too and tried to write an award winner in Elena but I think he tried too hard.

The paranormal premise of Ants was the idea of pushing the button to save the world or not pushing the button to doom mankind and Elena was faced with the same decision except it wasn’t a button it was listening to inanimate objects.  With that being said, Hutchinson needs some fresh ideas.  Elena started off quickly with the shooting of her crush in the first couple of chapters which was good.  I also liked the voices; I thought they were bitchy and funny but after the first quarter of this somewhat different book, it went downhill.  The main characters talk about finding the shooter who vanished into the sky ad nauseam but they don’t do too much to find anything about him.  A good chunk of this book and when I say chunk I mean about 75% is basically different people giving Elena advice about making choices.  It’s all a bunch of introspection and that’s fine but her mother gives advice, then her shitty step father, then her best friend, then her crush, the a rando cop, then her mom again, then best friend, then her crush, then her crush, then her neighbor, and on and on and on. And they are all kind of telling her the same thing but using different words.  Actually Dumbledore gave us this advice-“It’s our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” This book is 430 pages too long.

While all of this advice is happening, Elena is developing relationships with her crush, Freddie, and her ex-Javi.  Freddie began as an interesting character but because of all ass dragging plot I didn’t care about their budding romance I just wanted Hutchinson to tell me the connection between her life saving abilities and the choice theme.  Usually this is the type of book where I don’t want to author to tell me the point but because the middle was just people giving advice, I just wanted to be told everything and not have to think.

Her best friend Fadil was okay but their friendship was nothing new.  He got a new girlfriend and he felt Elena was too dependent on him and blah blah blah. Then there was Javi who only wanted sex and then slut shamed her after she broke up with him. There was a moment when he asks her out and Elena has to tell him why he was a total dick and then she constantly had to tell him she wasn’t going to get back with him like several times over different events.  I don’t understand why that was in the book.  I don’t understand what Hutchinson was trying to say? Guys need to be told ten times that you don’t want to fuck them? I don’t know the point.

I think the ending was supposed to be this huge epiphany for Elena about choices and free will but I feel like teens kind of know this.  He seemed to try to make this point through a supernatural story and I applaud the concept but final message was not new info especially since Elena was getting advice about choice and free will for 200 FUCKING PAGES!  In Ants, he left it up to the reader to decide if the MC was being abducted by aliens or if it was imaginary but in Elena, he bashed us over the head with the theme.

Hutchinson is a good writer and I think he has a lot to say but this just was not it for me.

Bang Bang Rating: bombbomb 3/4

Losing Leah

losing leah

Losing Leah

By Tiffany King

Genre: Thriller/Child Abuse

Publication Date: March 20, 2018

Bang Bang Review

Losing Leah is told in two POVs, Leah and her twin Mia.  Mia was abducted when the twins were six years old by a woman who has held her captive in a basement for ten years.  Mia has been told that she has a sun sensitivity disease and her parents abandoned her because of it and this nurse adopted her.  During Mia’s chapters, we witness physical and emotional abuse which are tough to read and realistic but to readers who have never suffered abuse, we don’t learn anything new.  I’ve never been abused but I have a very basic idea of the affects of abuse by watching TV and reading books.  This book doesn’t add anything new to the narrative and that’s a shame because it’s a missed opportunity to dig deep into the mind and lives of the abused.

During Leah’s chapters, we are told that her parents have been affected by the loss of their child but we never see the parents.  There’s actually a reason why we don’t see the parents but it’s weak.  Leah has a boyfriend and a best friend but their presence does not impact the plot.  Leah suffers from debilitating headaches and seeing shadows but once again, I didn’t understand the significance.   Leah’s chapters could have been a discussion on how abduction affects a family but once again-missed opportunity.

Mia is rescued and reunited with her family but while she’s in the hospital, she meets a boy-of course she does.  I don’t understand why authors feel the need to write a romance.  Mia had a very strong relationship with her brother and I would have much rather the focus been on that or even a female patient living the same nightmare but no.  At one point, Mia is release from the hospital but she has to return for therapy but she never goes to see the love interest even though she claims he helped her.  I won’t say why but her psychologist SUX.

After a month or so in the hospital, Mia goes home and immediately returns to school-WHAT!!! This book is 320 pages so as you can surmise, the pacing is BANANAS!!!  Of course people are staring at her and calling her names but that’s the extent of her experience.  I won’t say more because it’s a spoiler but I’ll say that Mia’s brother who goes to the same school also SUX because he never checks up on her and meets her new friends.  It’s not her brother’s fault, it’s the authors fault for writing big plot holes.

This book was trying to do too many things.  First of all it’s pegged as a thriller/mystery but it lacked intensity.  The main characters are abused and suffering loss and have absent parents.  The main character is rescued and there’s a romance and she goes back to school.  The author should have chosen a couple of event of focus and develop them or WRITE A LONGER BOOK TO SUPPORT ALL OF THE EVENTS.  This book was too big for this author.  She had a good idea to write a thriller about an abused/abducted girl but she didn’t know how to execute it.

I haven’t read a lot of books about abuse but if you are looking for a slightly better book about physical and emotional abuse, read List of Cages by Robin Roe. If you are looking for a good thriller, read Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas, Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro or The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes.

Bang Bang Review: bomb




Furyborn (The Empirium Trilogy #1)

By Claire Legrand

Genre: Fantasy

Publication Date: May 22, 2018

Bang Bang Review

If you plan on reading this book, I highly suggest you take notes because you ARE NOT going to remember anything when book 2 comes out.  You’ve been warned.

Furyborn is told in duo POVs. Rielle, the daughter of the king’s commander and Eliana a hired killer living 1000 years after Rielle.  (OMG, there’s so much story I don’t know where to begin).  Okay, let’s go back. The book begins with Rielle giving birth and in the room is her new husband Garver and his seven year old son Simon.  At one point, an angel named Corien comes and that’s all I’ll say.  Rielle’s story is then told two years prior to the birth of her child.  Legrand slowly reveals how Rielle came to be pregnant and married to this Garver guy, what Simon is, and the significance of Corien.

This world is in a constant war with angels and humans and a very important angel named Aryava foretold a prophesy that there will be two queens-Blood Queen and a Sun Queen.  One is bad, Blood Queen, and she will unleash the angels and destroy the world.  One is good, the Sun Queen, she will save all of mankind.  Both queens posses all the power but there are problems- some think Aryava was crazy, some think the prophesy can be interpreted a bunch of different ways, and lastly you won’t know if the queen is good or bad until it’s too late. Rielle possesses all the magic and the king needs to test if she’s good or bad. (Please see the spoiler edition for my theory).  Rielle’s portion of the story is about her going thru trials to see if she does indeed possess all the magic and if she is good or bad.

Eliana’s story is the journey of a girl who prides herself on her great killing skills all the while trying to ignore the fact that she captures innocent rebels to be hanged by her Lord. Meanwhile someone is snatching girls and women and Eliana wants to know who is doing this and why.  She’s strong but incredibly flawed and she makes some pretty shitty mistakes.

Can’t say too much because it’s all spoilery but Legrand creates a vast, interesting world of magic and rebels.  The pacing might be tough for some because the story starts the middle of the trilogy and you have to work your way backwards and forwards.  There are a lot of lands and people and angels and names and EVERYTHING is important to the plot-no fluff here.  There are no points where you can skip around. There are some wonderful complex characters.  There’s diversity and some beautiful female friendships. I’m always a little skeptical of overhyped books but Furyborn is worth the hype.  I didn’t rate it higher because there were a couple of questions that weren’t answered.

Full spoiler edition

Bang Bang Rating:bombbombbombbomb 1/2

I changed my mind…


Furyborn Spoilers

Goodreads Plot Synopsis

When assassins ambush her best friend, the crown prince, Rielle Dardenne risks everything to save him, exposing her ability to perform all seven kinds of elemental magic. The only people who should possess this extraordinary power are a pair of prophesied queens: a queen of light and salvation and a queen of blood and destruction. To prove she is the Sun Queen, Rielle must endure seven trials to test her magic. If she fails, she will be executed…unless the trials kill her first.

My Personal Theory

I think Rielle is the Sun Queen and that Corien or some other angel made her kill Audric making her look evil-the Blood Queen.  So that would mean that Elaina is the Blood Queen.

Now onto the Spoilers

Rielle is giving birth with her husband Garver in the room.  Eight year old Simon is hiding and comes out when the baby is born.  He hates Rielle because  he believes she partnered with angels and killed thousands including Audric the Lightbringer, her husband and king. Simon says the well known Sun Queen prayer and Garver says “He knows,” and jumps off the balcony.  We learn that Garver and Simon are marques, babies born of humans and angels, and they are hated.  Marques also have scars where wings would be on their backs.  Rielle gives Simon the baby that’s in a blanket and a necklace that has a winged horse with a woman with streaming dark hair and a sword raised victoriously-it is of Rielle.  Simon is on the balcony with the baby when Corien, the angel, comes in and Rielle creates a shield of light around herself.  Simon can hear screams of anguish from both Rielle and Corien and as he’s about the teleport to Borsvall, the baby is ripped from his arms.

Rielle’s story is now told two years prior to the prequel.  We learn that Princess Runa of Borsvall has been killed.   Rielle is with her tutor Tal and she reveals that she accidentally burned her mother and her home when she was four.  Since then, her father has been distant and during lightning storms, he locks her in a cage.  He and Tal are frightened she’ll lose control again.  There’s a scream downstairs and we learn that it is Ludivine causing a distraction so Rielle can join the big race.  Her and Audric are sponsored by Odo Laroche. We learn that Rielle is in love with Audric and that Audric is betrothed to his cousin Ludivine to combine their families. While they are racing, Borvallians surround and attack Audric. Rielle accidentally causes some real destruction showing her magical abilities.

1020 years later Elaina, the Dread of Orline, and Harkan are out hunting for rebels.  Elaina has a secret skill where her body can heal itself. Elaina has a necklace of Audric the Lightbringer on a winged horse. Elaina’s mother taught her how to hunt and kill and she does so for Lord Arkelion.  We discover that Elaina and Harkan are lovers.  Elaina has an eleven year old brother named Remy who likes to tell stories.  There are girls being abducted in Orline and while on a mission Elaina sees an abduction and tries to stop it but is knocked out. Elaina is given orders by Lord Arkelion to capture the Wolf, an elusive rebel with the Red Crown, and on her return home from a party, the Wolf finds her.  Her mother has been taken but it wasn’t the Wolf.  He tells her that if she helps him, he will help her find her mother.  She agrees. Their mission is to infiltrate Arkelion’s party and while on their mission, they are stopped by the adatrox-an army with black eyes and no emotion. Their leader is Rahzavel.  Simon and El go to the pleasure houses to retrieve a girl killing lots of adatrox on the way out.  El and Simon fight Rahzavel and push him over the balcony.  We learn that the rescued girl is Navi, the princess of Astavar.  El stops to get Remy and Harkan but they are being chased by adatrox trying to escape.  Harkan risks his life to stall the adatrox while Wolf, El, Remy, and Navi escape.  We don’t know if he’s dead.

The King finds out about Rielle’s abilities and wonders if she’s the Blood Queen or the Sun Queen.  Hundreds of years prior, Saint Katell fell in love with an angel named Arvaya who prophesied…The Gate will fall. The angels will return and bring ruin to the world. You will know this time by the rise of two human Queens-one of blood and one of light. One with the power to save the world. One with the power to destroy it. Two queens will rise. They will carry the power of the Seven. They will cary your fate in their hands. Two queens will rise.” Saint Katell with the other six saints locked the angels behind the gate. Saint Katell became Queen Katell and although she loved Arvaya the angel, she resisted or so they say.  I personally think they had a kid who is a marque.

We learn that after Rielle dies, magic disappeared but many believe magic never existed. We also learn that that El’s father never returned home from the war.  El is knocked out and taken to an underground safe house of the Red Crown. She meets a lot of refugees including Hob, a documenter of refugees stories and a young girl who lost her family to the Emperor’s men. Seeing these refugees makes El feel bad about her “job” and she takes Remy and runs away. She goes to an Empire outpost to tell Lord Morbrae where the Wolf and and the refugees of the Red Crown were hiding.  When she tied to seduce Morbrae, she has a vision of Celderia where she saw the Emperor of the Undying. When she woke, Simon came and she stabbed Morbrae but he didn’t die.  They get out alive but they go back to Red Crown where the adatrox set it on fire. El saves Remy and Navi and gets injured by a blast.

They get to Rinthos where Navi tries to change El’s bandages and El comes clean about her abilities to heal. El tells Navi about her visions when she looked at Morbrae and Remy speculates that the Empires soldiers are angels and not men.  One evening El and Navi are talking and El talks about her mother and her necklace.  El says her mother says, “This is a relic that’s been in YOUR family for a long time.” (Why would her mother say YOUR family and not OUR family? I think she knows who El is). El also reveals that the horse is a godsbeast called a chavaile. While in Rinthos, their caretaker Camille tells El that women have been abducted by Fidelia.  They are rumored to be angel lovers who believe the Emperor and his generals are not men but angels. They hunt to serve them, that they may be raised to glory once the world is conquered and the angels run all.  El sneaks out for some answers when she gets dizzy. She notices that women have disappeared. She runs into Rahzavel and Simon and Navi comes to save her. Simon and Rahzavel fight and Navi and El get abducted.  El wakes up in a cage and she sees an angel named Zahra who is a wraith.  She tells El that El is the last of House Courverie, daughter of the Lightbringer, heir to the throne of Saint Katell, the true queen of Celdaria and the sun queen.  Zahra shields El as she rescues Navi and they escape. No one can see Zahra except El but Zahra tells El that she exchanges messages with Simon and she serves the Prophet.  When El doesn’t believe her, she lets El see visions.  El sees a a birth of a baby and a small boy in the birthing room; a vastness of black full of screams; she watches a woman kneel beside a dismembered, blood-soaked corpse. She wore a suit of black armor and a crimson cloak. The woman moved a pale hand over the corpse knitting it back together. The corpse rises and shouts to the sky. A different man beside her tells her she’s working faster now.  The woman had dark hair and a hungry smile and El recognized the woman as herself. She kissed the pale blue eyed man as if their kiss was the only reason she remained standing.  The man is the Emperor. Zahra tells El that before he called himself the Emperor he was known as an angel named Corien.  Zahra says that Corien failed to accomplish resurrection with Rielle before her fall ruined all their work and he hopes to finish with you-resurrect the angels and seek revenge. 

As Rielle does her trials, she hears a voice speak to her.  We later find out it’s Corien. Sometimes he helps and encourages her during the trials and sometimes he bates her to do evil.  There have been attacks in three lands with dead Celdarian soldiers.  Audric thinks this is a sign that Aryava’s prophecy is coming true but the king doesn’t. Rielle and Auric have a sexy moment outside and they are caught by Ludivine’s father. Ludivine confides in Rielle that she knows Rielle loves Audric and encourages a relationship.  She takes Rielle to Audric’s healer who turns out to be Garver to get Rielle some contraception.  Rile has a dream that she’s sitting on a throne of bones and then has a sexy dream about Corien and is woken up by people poisoning her and abducting her.  She wakes up on the top of a mountain where a voice she recognizes pushes her off the cliff.  She is rescued by a godsbeast/chavaile. It turns out to be Ludivine’s father and Rielle tries to strangle him but they stop her.  After the attempted murder, the king banished Ludivine’s father to his home and told Rielle she did not need to continue the trials. Rielle and her father share a nice father daughter moment.  Rielle insists on continuing the trials because the last is fire and she wants to prove that she can control it even tho she burned her mother to death.  Rielle and Audric have sex and she tells him she used contraception. 

Simon takes El back to a cabin to find Hob, Navi, and Remy. Navi’s head is shaved and she has strange markings on her body. Zahra tells El that the Emperor has done lots of experiments and manipulation of what he calls genetics.  He’s trying to resurrect.  He can’t use empirium which I believe only the sun and blood queen can use. Corien is taking girls and experimenting on them to turn them into monsters called Crawlers and an army of them is on their way to Astavar. Zahra cannot read Simon’s thoughts. Simon tells El that the Prophet told him at El is the sun queen and daughter of Rielle and Audric and was ordered to find her. When he observed her healing powers he vowed to protect her. As they are talking, Rahzavel returns. El gets Hob, Remy, and Navi and leaves Simon to fight Rahzavel. While in the forest, Navi’s brother Malik rescues them to take them to Astavar.  El tells him to take Hob, Remy, and Hob while she rescues Simon.

Rielle is in her fire trial and it’s a maze and she must rescue Tal before he burns. As she is rescuing him, she hears screams and spectators dead bodies by the hands of Ludivine’s land.  Corien is controlling the soldiers and telling Rielle that if she doesn’t go with him, he will kill more. (Voldemort, anyone?) Reille tries to save Audric and Ludivine but Ludivine falls to her death. Rielle finds her father, the king, and Ludivine’s father in a cave and her father is happy to see her but Rielle realizes Corien is controlling him.  Ludivine’s father says, “I didn’t mean for this to happen.” (Ooh, what did he do? Open the gate?) Rielle’s father jumps to attack Corien but he magically stops him and kills him.  Rielle gets angry and uses all her power to stop Corien which she does but kills Ludivine’s father and the king. She does not tell Audric that she accidentally killed his father.  As she was being canonized, Ludivine steps out of the crowd.  She tells the crowd that the Sun Queen can resurrect the dead and she resurrected Ludivine. Ludivine tells Rielle and Audric that Ludivine died a couple of years ago when she got sick and was inhabited by an angel.  Faux Ludivine has followed Rielle since she was a child and was sent to protect her. She says that the gate is falling and some angels have escaped.  She says the more it weakens you will see terrible disasters.  Corien is the strongest and the first to escape and has also been watching Rielle for 13 years.  Faux Ludivine tells Rielle not to tell Audric about his father with her mind. She also tell them that since she’s been in Ludivine’s body, she will stop growing (I’m theorizing that Ludivine is the Prophet). The trio then go to the gate to access the damage.

El finds Simon in a boat and kills Rahzavel.  When they try to escape, they are attacked by the Crawlers in particular her mother, Rozen. Rozen pleaded with El to kill her and she does.  Her anger awakened her power and a voice, presumably Corien, spoke to her saying that she can’t hide from him now.  As she went limp, lightening strikes and blasts the crawlers and turned the icebergs into flames. The sea turned into a whirlpool that sucked the Empires ships underwater and snapped them in two. She doesn’t know how to stop it. When she awakens, Simon gives her the necklace and a piece of her baby blanket and he tells her the necklace was a gift from King Ilmaire of Borsvall and it was meant to be a message for him but he doesn’t elaborate. She asks Simon if he’s a marque but she says that he isn’t anymore because the force of Rielle’s death threw the entire world out of alignment. Many things to not look as they once did. And whatever proof that was left on his flesh, the Prophet made sure to eradicate it. Simon and El are about to make out when they are interrupted. Remy theorizes that since El’s power was stifled, it got out by healing her. It ends with El ready to gather the kings to fight the emperor.

January Reads

Any bangs in January?  Nope, NOT EVEN CLOSE!

I read 24 books in November & December to meet my GR goal of 90 so as a reward, I did not read anything for two weeks.  And I don’t regret it.  So because of my reading moratorium, I only read three books in January-that’s a new low. Click the book cover for full reviews.

the queen's rising

Bang Bang Ratingbomb1/2

Same old story us fantasy fans have read a hundred times.

dark of the west

I read this for School Library Journal and cannot comment until my review appears in the journal.

list of cages

Bang Bang Ratingbombbombbomb

This is a basic story; it’s not a real thinker but a decent discussion starter.

I’m back on the book horse and will try to read at least six books in February.


I’m currently about 45% in and it’s REALLY GOOD so far.  It is a lot of story so I hope the author can control it.  It’s on par for five stars if she can pull it out.  The world is somewhat unique; the heroines are pretty awesome and well developed; and the pacing is great.  If you have the ARC sitting on your shelf, I say start reading it now.

true queen

Pretty good series.  Book 1: The Impostor Queen was one of my favorite fantasy books of 2016.  Book 2 wasn’t as good but I’ve heard great things about the series finale so I’m excited.  I highly recommend this series.

immortal reign

OMG…finally the last book.  This was supposed to be a trilogy but then the author got to extend it to six and FINALLY after SIX YEARS I will be able to finish this series.  And I didn’t binge them; I read book one in 2012 and book two 2013 and so on and so forth.  If you are looking for a fluffier Throne of Glass type of a series that has a great heroine and hero, I highly recommend it.  It will get a little bananas in book five tho.

orphan monster spy

Don’t know much about it but it sounds good.

smoke thieves

I wasn’t a big fan of her first series, Half Bad, but it was because of the execution.  I think Green is a good storyteller so I’m excited to read her new series.

last beginning

I have to review this for School Library Journal.