Reading Lately November 2017 Edition

Hi friends! Welcome to Reading Lately! Be sure to join Catherine (Catherine Chicotka) and I for the linkup below and add more books to your to-read list! November was filled with some great books for me, a successful audiobook, and one total dud.

Reading Lately November 2017 Edition: book reviews of A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab; The Tiger's Daughter by K. Arsenault Rivera; Heartless by Marissa Meyer; The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden; Beyond the Empire by K.B. Wagers | Puppies & Pretties

What I’ve been reading lately

A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab: My second attempt at an audiobook (see my review of book 1 here). Thankfully, the narrators changed for this book and it made a world of difference. These narrators were engaging and easy to follow. It amazes me how much difference it made! The story picks up shortly after book one following Lila and Kel in their lives. Lila is living a big life while Kel is feeling boxed in. Their stories intersect again when Kel’s brother sets into motion a big plan around the empire’s magic Olympics. If you want great characters with an interesting plot, try out this series.
4 out of 5 stars

The Tiger’s Daughter by K. Arsenault Rivera: I really struggle to write this review. I didn’t dislike this book, but I also didn’t really like it either. The story surrounds 2 main characters that live in an Asian and Mongolian based setting where they have to fight demons. The story is told as flashbacks when the Asian-esque Empress reads her and the other main character’s life story written by a Mongolian-esque warrior woman. Did I mention that they are lesbian lovers? But of course, their life is not all rainbows and sunshine because of that (and some other drama that we find throughout the book).  I’m not sure what it was for me, but there was just something off with the whole book.
3 out of 5 stars
c/o Netgalley

Heartless by Marissa Meyer: This was the dud of the month for me. It tells the story of the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland before she became the Queen of Hearts. Sounds fun right? Nope. Ridiculous insta-love, whiney main characters that think they are the bees knees and nobody really likes them (everybody loves them, barf) and then a “lets do what the creepy future telling people just told us not to do!” type storyline. Because it obviously doesn’t doesn’t apply to her. I got this book in some sort of book subscription box last year and was really excited to read it. So it is unfortunate that it went right into my donation pile.
2 out of 5 stars

The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden: This book gives me all the heart eyes. I LOVED book 1 (review here) and anxiously awaited The Girl in the Tower. It even made my list of releases to get excited about. Book 2 picks up as Vasya is on the run from her village because they think she is a witch. She decides to travel the country with her magical horse. Set in medieval Russia, a girl can’t really travel on her own, so she travels as a boy. She ends up near Moscow and finds herself as a favorite of the Grand Prince of Moscow. She has to keep up the facade of being a boy because of this and makes life difficult for herself and her siblings that are now important people in Moscow as well. Throughout this storyline, there is also a magical subplot that leads to the big ending. If you like fantastic characters, great writing and worldbuilding all while having an underpinning of magic, this series is for you. Don’t let the magic scare you away. For the most part, the magic is more about how the world works rather than spells and the like.
5 out of 5 stars
c/o Netgalley & Random House

Beyond the Empire by K.B. Wagers: This is the final book in a trilogy (see my reviews of book 1 and 2) and it didn’t disappoint. There is just something about a badass female lead character that I just love. The best part is that there is a good balance between badass-ery and realizing that she does need help/support. It makes her human. An action packed plot, be ready to be sucked in and not realize how late it is!
4 out of 5 stars

What have you been reading lately?

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  • I didn’t dislike Heartless as much as you did, but I agree about all the whining and stupid decision making and insta-love. GAG. I think I gave it a 3?
    I loved The Bear and The Nightingale. LOVED it. I liked the old world limitations and Vasya’s unbreakable spirit and the tiny little love story between her and the frost demon. Seriously, it was a wonderful balance. Which makes me soooo hesitant to read the second one. I REALLY don’t want to hate it… but your review was pretty convincing…

    • I think I was feeling uncharitable when I rated it, otherwise I would normally go with a 3 too. Definitely read Girl in the Tower. SO GOOD. While for me The Bear and the Nightingale is better (so hard to live up to that) but it definitely holds its own. I think it does a great job of that balance you talked about.

  • I’ve gotten into audiobooks this fall because of my long commute. The first two I listened to I did NOT like due to the narrators. Now I’ve found some that I’ve enjoyed. Isn’t it crazy what a difference that makes?!

    • It really does! I was really dreading the other audiobooks that I ended up with but now I actually am looking forward to trying some others.

  • I seriously have not read a thing since September!! I’m looking forward to some time off in December for reading.