Monthly Wrap-Up: August Reading 2023

August Reading 2023

Wow, this is kind of late. I’m pretty sure I’ve never posted a monthly wrap-up five days into a new month. Yet. Well, until now, lol.

August was so much better than July, in terms of reading books. Not as productive on the blog post front, but that’s mostly because I took a much needed break. Regardless, I’m pretty satisfied with everything I got done last month.

But yeah, without further ado, let’s get into my states for The StoryGraph for my August Reading 2023!

August 2023 Reading

I read 5 books and 1431 pages

😐 MOODS: Adventurous was the biggest slice of pie, as it always is. There are so many more Moods than in July, so it’s a very colorful pie graph this time around. The second biggest slice here is Emotional, which isn’t a surprise, as it usually tends to be. There are several other Moods though: Mysterious, Hopeful, Funny, and Dark.

👢 PACE: Unlike last month, I read two different kinds of paced books: fast and medium.

🔢 PAGE NUMBER: Everything I read was either between 300 and 499 pages (the majority), or it sad under 300 pages.

📖 FICTION/NONFICTION: It was once again all fiction this month.

🎭 GENRES: Fantasy, as usual, was the biggest part of the graph this time. There were several more Genres on the bar graph compared to July, though. Historical was surprisingly second place, followed by LGBTQIA+ and Romance.

📄 FORMAT: This little StoryGraph pie chart is incorrect. For the first time in like three months! Only one of the books I read was a physical print copy.

⭐ RATING: My median star rating for last month was 3.9. It was cuz I rated five different books five different star increments.

📉 PAGES READ DAILY: I read a lot during the first couple of weeks, but dipped down in the middle until near the end of August. I read a bunch the last couple of days, however.

The Books I Read in August

Yumi and the Nightmare Painter by Brandon Sanderson

★★★★★ • my review

Ghost Reaper Girl by Akissa Saike

★★★★☆

Masters of Death by Olivie Blake

★★★✫☆ • my review

My Happy Marriage: Volume #1 by Akumi Agitogi

★★★✬☆ • my review

Thornhedge by T. Kingfisher

★★★☆☆ • my review

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

★★★★✯

Wrapping Up the Wrap-Up

So, August was a huge improvement from July, concerning books and reviews. I think I’m finally out of my reading slump – this time for sure. And I don’t know why, but for whatever reason it feels like some sort of weight (stress?) has been lifted off my shoulders because of it.

I’m hoping to post better/more often than I did in August, just cuz I’m not planning on taking any impromptu vacations again in the near future. I’m also hoping I’ll keep up this reading and reviewing streak. But we’ll just have to see what happens together.

And so, the August 2023 Reading Wrap-Up comes to a close. As per usual, thank you all so much for reading and have a wonderful day/night! What books did you guys read in August? What did you think of them? What genres did you read?

See ya ~Mar

Book Review: “My Happy Marriage” by Akumi Agitogi

“Don’t apologize. Do it too often, and it loses its meaning.”

My Happy Marriage (Volume #1) by Akumi Agitogi

My Happy Marriage: Volume #1 by Akumi Agitogi

LENGTH: 160 pages

GENRES: Fantasy, Historical, Romance, Fiction

PUBLISHER: Yen On

RELEASE DATE: 18 January 2022 (English Version)

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

IS THIS MARRIAGE A BLESSING? OR A CURSE?

Born talentless to a noble family famous for their supernatural abilities, Miyo Saimori is forced into an existence of servitude by her abusive stepmother. When Miyo finally comes of marriageable age, though, her hopes of being whisked away to a better life crumble after she discovers her fiancé’s identity: Kiyoka Kudou, a commander apparently so cold and cruel that his previous would-be brides all fled within three days of their engagements.

With no home to return to, Miyo resigns herself to her fate-and soon finds that her pale and beautiful husband-to-be is anything but the monster she expected. As they slowly open their hearts to each other, both realize the other may be their chance at finding true love and happiness.

My Review

He wanted someone who would genuinely enjoy living in his forest cottage as his wife, not simply relish his status or wealth. And Miyo would do that. He had no intention of letting go of her.

My Happy Marriage was a sweet little Cinderella-esque romance. I discovered it via the anime version that began airing this past summer. After it made me cry nearly once an episode, I decided that I had to read the original material.

This was the first time I was reviewing a book on my blog that was originally in another language as well, so I was pretty excited about that, too. (Though it’s not the first I’ve mentioned reading, as I read a few mangas a year, and I talked about Another on my list of books with spooky vibes from last fall.)

And… I didn’t like it nearly as much as I’d hoped to. The story is nearly the same, and the anime followed it almost to a T, but I didn’t like it nearly as much. I suspect it was the translation, but I’ll get into that in a bit. First, I’m gonna discuss some of the things I liked about it.

Pros

“It’s a pleasure to meet you. My name is Miyo Saimori.”

Miyo Saimori is our protagonist here, and she’s very unconventional when compared to many western female MCs. She’s quiet and nervous, and she keeps to herself, but this is all mostly a result of her abusive upbringing. We see small pieces of her true personality, but on very few occasions. Her true self is still reserved, but she’s also determined and stubborn and brave. (But she’s not a sassy teenager that’s inexplicably good at everything, and that everyone likes, so she’s still different.)

Kiyoka Kudou is Miyo’s new fiancee, as well as her love interest. He appears cold on the surface, but this is merely a facade that he puts up. He’s actually quite similar to Miyo in several ways, but he’s far more confident, as he had a completely different upbringing. He’s still shy when it comes to interacting with Miyo at several points in the first half, but after it’s revealed that she’s his first real romantic relationship, it all makes sense.

“I don’t think I deserve you… but I want to stay with you forever and help you somehow.”

“You can.”

“I need to… do better, so that I can support you for as long as possible.”

“I would appreciate anything you do.”

Their romance was also very sweet, and was one of my two favorite things about this book. They’re both very tentative and gentle with one another, and it’s extremely wholesome. They also have real, actual relationship goals, like communication and working in tandem as a team, and working to keep each other happy. It’s also a bit of a slow-burn, so fans of that will probably enjoy it.

The other thing I really liked was the supernatural stuff that was going on in the background. It was very interesting, and was what drew me into the anime to begin with. I wish the world building and supernatural aspects had been as prevalent as they were in said anime, but that’s just my preference.

Cons

The translation. As I’m not sure how good the original text is, as I cannot read Japanese, I have no choice but to blame my issues with the writing with the translation.

The prose just doesn’t flow naturally for the majority of the light novel. It’s kind of clunky and awkward at several points. The dialogue is also a little weird at times, and it doesn’t always come across as normal human interactions.

There also wasn’t a lot of plot going on. Most of it is just characters and description, until the last quarter of the novella. Which isn’t too bad, as it isn’t that long a book, but I have to say: the anime is definitely superior as an adaptation. For me, at least.

Final Thoughts

“Everything you did for me was necessary.”

“Miyo…”

“And I’m delighted you went to such lengths on my behalf.” Having someone who cared about her, who was willing to do something – anything – for her, was a blessing. She’d forgotten that joyous feeling until recently. It was Kiyoka, Yurie, and everything that happened since she’d met him that had allowed her to experience that feeling again.

All in all, I thought that My Happy Marriage was fine. I neither adored it nor did I hate it – I just found it to be okay. I really, really liked the anime adaptation for it, though.

Those who like shorter, bite-sized novels and novellas, as well as supernatural romances will probably find some enjoyment from it. People who like middle grade and YA will probably be okay with the slightly jenky writing, as well.

And as always, thank you so much for reading, and I hope you have a great day/night!

See ya ~Mar


My Links:

First Line Friday: 9/1

Back again for this post for a second week in a row. One more and it’s a streak!

First Line Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers (formerly) hosted by Wandering Words, but I saw it over at One Book More.

What if instead of judging a book by the cover, author or most everything else, we judged it by its content? Its first lines?

If you want to join in, all you gotta do is:

📚 Take a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open it to the first page
📝 Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
📙 Finally… reveal the book!

Here are the first lines:

Kalak rounded a rocky stone ridge and stumbled to a stop before the body of a dying thunderclast. The enormous stone beast lay on its side, riblike protrusions from its chest broken and cracked. The monstrosity was vaguely skeletal in shape, with unnaturally long limbs that sprouted from granite shoulders. The eyes were deep red spots on the arrowhead face, as if created by a fire burning deep within the stone. They faded.

Even after all these centuries, seeing a thun- derclast up close made Kalak shiver. The beast’s hand was as long as a man was tall. He’d been killed by hands like those before, and it hadn’t been pleasant.

Of course, dying rarely was.

Know the book? Here’s another little hint just in case…

Know what it is now? (And yeah, I guess that’s technically two clues, but whatever.)

If you don’t, here are some pretty pictures of books to admire while you consider it…

Annnd the book is 🥁🥁… The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson!!

(Did you get it?)


The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson

The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson

SERIES: The Stormlight Archive #1

LENGTH: 1007 pages

GENRES: Fantasy, Fiction

PUBLISHER: Tor Books

RELEASE DATE: 31 August 2010

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Brandon Sanderson, The Way of Kings, Book One of the Stormlight Archive begins an incredib new saga of epic proportion.

Roshar is a world of stone and storms. Uncanny tempests of incredible power sweep across the rocky terrain so frequently that they have shaped ecology and civilization alike. Animals hide in shells, trees pull in branches, and grass retracts into the soilless ground. Cities are built only where the topography offers shelter. 

It has been centuries since the fall of the ten consecrated orders known as the Knights Radiant, but their Shardblades and Shardplate remain: mystical swords and suits of armor that transform ordinary men into near-invincible warriors. Men trade kingdoms for Shardblades. Wars were fought for them, and won by them. 

One such war rages on a ruined landscape called the Shattered Plains. There, Kaladin, who traded his medical apprenticeship for a spear to protect his little brother, has been reduced to slavery. In a war that makes no sense, where ten armies fight separately against a single foe, he struggles to save his men and to fathom the leaders who consider them expendable. 

Brightlord Dalinar Kholin commands one of those other armies. Like his brother, the late king, he is fascinated by an ancient text called The Way of Kings. Troubled by over-powering visions of ancient times and the Knights Radiant, he has begun to doubt his own sanity. 

Across the ocean, an untried young woman named Shallan seeks to train under an eminent scholar and notorious heretic, Dalinar’s niece, Jasnah. Though she genuinely loves learning, Shallan’s motives are less than pure. As she plans a daring theft, her research for Jasnah hints at secrets of the Knights Radiant and the true cause of the war. 

The result of over ten years of planning, writing, and world-building, The Way of Kings is but the opening movement of the Stormlight Archive, a bold masterpiece in the making. 

Speak again the ancient oaths: 

Life before death.
Strength before weakness.
Journey before Destination. 

and return to men the Shards they once bore. 

The Knights Radiant must stand again. 


As always, thank you so much to everyone for reading. I hope you all have an excellent day/night!

See ya ~Mar

WWW Wednesday: 8/30

I know it’s been like three weeks since I’ve done this post, but I had stuff going on last week, and the week before I took a bit of a blogging break. But I’m back now, here to update y’all with what I’ve been reading.

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme that used to be hosted at A Daily Rhythm, but has been taken over by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words. Now, without further ado, let’s get into the 3 Ws!

The 3 Ws of WWW Wednesday:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?


The Thing I’m Currently Reading

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

CURRENT STATUS: 50%

CURRENT FEELS: 😊🥹🤔 (it’s kinda slow but I quite like it, even though it’s made me cry)

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

In the vein of The Time Traveler’s Wife and Life After LifeThe Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is New York Times bestselling author V. E. Schwab’s genre-defying tour de force.

France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever – and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.

Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world.

But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore and he remembers her name.


The Thing I Most Recently Finished Reading

Thornhedge by T. Kingfisher

Thornhedge by T. Kingfisher

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

From USA Today bestselling author T. Kingfisher, Thornhedge is an original, subversive fairytale about a kind-hearted, toad-shaped heroine, a gentle knight, and a mission gone completely sideways.

There’s a princess trapped in a tower. This isn’t her story.

Meet Toadling. On the day of her birth, she was stolen from her family by the fairies, but she grew up safe and loved in the warm waters of faerieland. Once an adult though, the fae ask a favor of Toadling: return to the human world and offer a blessing of protection to a newborn child. Simple, right?

If only.

Centuries later, a knight approaches a towering wall of brambles, where the thorns are as thick as your arm and as sharp as swords. He’s heard there’s a curse here that needs breaking, but it’s a curse Toadling will do anything to uphold…


The Thing I Might Read Next

Blood Stain: Volume #1 by Linda Sejic

Blood Stain (Volume #1) by Linda Sejic

(I’ve been getting more into graphic novels and webcomics lately… It feels nice to branch out and read a bunch of different things!)

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Mad science at its finest. Chemistry major, Elliot Torres has been unable to keep a steady job and eventually accepts a job by a rumored mad scientist Dr. Vlad Stein. Humorous hijinks ensue as their collaboration becomes epic.


What books are you guys currently reading? Have you read any of the ones on my list this week? What did you think of them, if you had? How do you feel about the book(s) you’re reading now?

Anyway, thank you to everyone for reading, and I hope that you have a fantastic day/night!

See ya ~Mar

Book Review: “Thornhedge” by T. Kingfisher

The love of monsters was uncomplicated.

Thornhedge by T. Kingfisher

Thornhedge by T. Kingfisher

LENGTH: 116 pages

GENRES: Fantasy, Fiction

PUBLISHER: Tor Books

RELEASE DATE: 15 August 2023

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

From USA Today bestselling author T. Kingfisher, Thornhedge is an original, subversive fairytale about a kind-hearted, toad-shaped heroine, a gentle knight, and a mission gone completely sideways.

There’s a princess trapped in a tower. This isn’t her story.

Meet Toadling. On the day of her birth, she was stolen from her family by the fairies, but she grew up safe and loved in the warm waters of faerieland. Once an adult though, the fae ask a favor of Toadling: return to the human world and offer a blessing of protection to a newborn child. Simple, right?

If only.

Centuries later, a knight approaches a towering wall of brambles, where the thorns are as thick as your arm and as sharp as swords. He’s heard there’s a curse here that needs breaking, but it’s a curse Toadling will do anything to uphold…

My Review

“There is a story,” Halim said, watching her closely, “of a beautiful maiden in a tower, enchanted by some terrible magic.”

“There cannot be a story,” said Toadling, almost inaudibly. “Everyone has been dead for so long. There cannot be a story. Who told you such a story?”

Thornhedge was a book I was looking forward to, ever since I first heard about it a few months back. I fairytale retelling? By the author of What Moves the Dead? Oh, heck yeah!

But I didn’t really like this book as much as I hoped that I would. Which has been a bit of a trend lately, unfortunately. (I’m looking at you Witch King. And you, the rerelease of Masters of Death.)

But I did like a few things about it. So I’m gonna talk about it. Uh, yeah.

(I’m just so eloquent, huh?)

Pros

I really liked the characters. Toadling was a very different take on the fairy who cursed the princess, and one I’ve never seen before. She’s nervous and insecure, but she has a phenomenal sense of duty that keeps her tied to the tower surrounded by thorns. She’s also curious, and longs to get a taste of the world(s) beyond her exile. Which is where our other major character comes in.

Halim was a great take on the knight in shining armor. Particularly because he’s not much of a knight – in his own words. He’s even more curious than Toadling, as that’s what led him to the tower to begin with, but he’s even more kindhearted. Even when he and Toadling meet face-to-face, he’s far more curious to her predicament than he is hostile, and spends the majority of the tale doing everything in his power to help her.

Beyond the characters, the other two things that I liked were the way T. Kingfisher built her world, and the lack of romance. Concerning the first of the two – I love the way that she weaves her stories (so far). The world building itself is just so intricately tied into the narrative in a way that I can’t imagine any other way to tell the story. I found it beautiful.

Regarding the lack of romance – I love gen relationships! There aren’t enough books completely free of romance out there, especially in the fantasy I’ve read, and it hurts me. I love a good friendship, and there aren’t enough novels where the main characters are just really close friends that exist. Particularly in a fairytale retelling.

Cons

As much as I loved the way the world building was, and how the story of Thornhedge was told… I don’t know how to explain it, honestly. I guess the novel itself just wasn’t quite for me.

This is nothing against the writing – I already said I liked it. I think the problem was there was too much background, and yet not enough. Maybe. Like I said, I think I just didn’t end up liking it as much as I’d wanted. I don’t know. So I’m not really sure what to put in my little con section here, lol.

Final Thoughts

She had so many choices and she had never had choices, never been given a chance to choose anything more important than what fish to snatch or what herb to pick.

Thornhedge by T. Kingfisher was a very interesting and different take on Sleeping Beauty. Despite the fact that I didn’t quite enjoy it as much as I’d have liked to, it was still a very refreshing take on a fairytale retelling.

I think that people who’ve read and enjoyed more of the author’s work will probably like this one, at least a little bit. I also think that those who just enjoy fairytale retellings and retellings in general, will find something to like about it, too. (As well as my fellow gen lovers!)

So yeah, as always, thank you so much for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful day/night!

See ya ~Mar


My Links:


Majestic Monday #15

Ugh, it’s been waaayy too long since I’ve last done this post. I’m sorry – things have just been kind of nuts over the past few weeks.

Anyway, for anyone who is not aware, Majestic Mondays are a (supposedly) weekly meme I created, wherein I highlight an awesome looking book cover and talk about what I like about it. And that’s pretty much it.

This week the novel art I’ll be gushing over is The Ballad of Never After by Stephanie Garber. It’s the sequel to Once Upon a Broken Heart, another cover that I’ve admired in a prior Majestic Monday post.

The Ballad of Never After by Stephanie Garber

The Ballad of Never After by Stephanie Garber

LENGTH: 416 pages

GENRES: Fantasy, Romance, YA, Fiction

PUBLISHER: Flatiron Books

RELEASE DATE: 13 September 2022

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Now that she’s discovered her own magic, Evangeline believes she can use it to restore the chance at happily ever after that Jacks stole away.

But when a new terrifying curse is revealed, Evangeline finds herself entering into a tenuous partnership with the Prince of Hearts again. Only this time, the rules have changed. Jacks isn’t the only force Evangeline needs to be wary of. In fact, he might be the only one she can trust, despite her desire to despise him.

Instead of a love spell wreaking havoc on Evangeline’s life, a murderous spell has been cast. To break it, Evangeline and Jacks will have to do battle with old friends, new foes, and a magic that plays with heads and hearts. Evangeline has always trusted her heart, but this time she’s not sure she can…

Book Cover Rating: 💔💔💔💔 • 4 broken hearts

Much like the first book in this series, I really love the cover here. However, I honestly think I prefer the lavender to the rose gold used on OUABH’s. It’s for no reason in particular, though – I simply like purple covers, as people who’ve seen this post before may be aware.

I love how the black background appears to be a starry night sky. It makes me think of constellations – even more so with the beautiful purple arrow that takes center stage on the cover. It makes me think of Sagittarius a little, especially when a mythical figure known as the Archer exists in this series’ universe, and has a significant part to play in this book especially.

But yeah, Stephanie Garber’s publisher has a knack for choosing some very gorgeous cover art. And I mean all the cover art. The bindings are also lovely pastel colors, and the back covers are both pretty starry skies, similar to their fronts.


So yeah, sorry again for not doing this post for over a month. I promise that it’s never intended – stuff always seems to happen, and weekly wrap-ups were beginning to take a toll on me, so (double) posting on Mondays was hard. I’ve missed doing this post, though, so since Weekly Wrap-Ups are currently on a hiatus of sorts, you’ll probably see more of these.

And as always, thank you all so much for reading, and I hope you have a stupendous day/night!

See ya ~Mar

First Line Friday: 8/25

It’s been forever since I last participated in this meme, and I’m raring to go! Especially after my little spontaneous vacation from the blog.

First Line Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers (formerly) hosted by Wandering Words, but I saw it over at One Book More.

What if instead of judging a book by the cover, author or most everything else, we judged it by its content? Its first lines?

If you want to join in, all you gotta do is:

📚 Take a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open it to the first page
📝 Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
📙 Finally… reveal the book!

Here are the first lines:

A girl is running for her life.

The summer air burns at her back, but there are no torches, no angry mobs, only the distant lanterns of the wedding party, the reddish glow of the sun as it breaks against the horizon, cracks and spills across the hills, and the girl runs, skirts tangling in the grass as she surges toward the woods, trying to beat the dying light.

Voices carry on the wind, calling her name.

Any guesses? I’ll give you a little hint…

Know what it is now? (And there’s a secret, second clue here too, BTW. I couldn’t resist…)

If you don’t, here are some lovely photographs of books to scroll through while you think about it…

Annnd the book is 🥁🥁… The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab!

(Were you able to guess it?)

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

Before I end this post, I have a bit of a confession to make. I’ve never really been interested in reading this book. That’s why it was on my first Popular Books That I’ve Read Never post. I knew it was popular and well-loved, but I’ve never had any interest in it. But my mom really wants to buddy read it, so I’ve decided to give it a shot. Who knows, maybe I’ll love it!

As always, thank you to everyone so much for reading. I hope you all have an excellent day/night!

See ya ~Mar

“Masters of Death” by Olivie Blake | Book Review

Even after centuries of practice, it never grew less unsettling when it happened this way – sloppily. Gorily. Murder had never been his favorite method of disposal.

Masters of Death by Olivie Blake

Masters of Death by Olivie Blake

My Review

This is the story mortals tell about a man who was the godson of Death, who they say eventually learned my secrets and came to control me, and who still walks the earth today, eternally youthful, as he keeps Death close at his side, a golden lasso tied around my neck with which to prevent me, cunningly and valiantly, from taking ownership of his soul.

Before I get into the review proper, I can explain! My previously unexplained absence, that is. I just… needed a little break. A vacation, as it were. (Especially cuz I hadn’t really had one in the almost-year that I’ve been blogging.) But I’m back now, and with another book review at that!

Masters of Death was something that I was pretty excited for – it was even on my list of anticipated books coming out during the third part of 2023. So yeah, I was pretty excited for it.

But it kind of fell flat for me. Just a bit. I know the reason – it was a couple of different things, actually. As much as I enjoyed many things about this book, there were almost as many things that I didn’t much care for.

The Characters

I really, really liked a lot of the characters. Fox D’Mora was a fun protagonist to follow, and his relationship with his adoptive father made him easy to root for. I liked his dialogue with the other characters, and how, throughout the novel, the mask that he displays to the world is slowly pulled off.

Death was probably my favorite character, however. Even though he didn’t get as much pagetime as I thought he should, whenever he was in a scene, he absolutely stole the show. His relationship and dialogue with Fox was extremely endearing (and entertaining), and I wish that there was more of it.

“Let me guess. This is her husband?”

“Fiancé,” Fox corrected in a blandly guiltless tone. “He passed just before they could be wed.”

“How fucking convenient,” Death remarked with a sensation he often experienced but had not felt prior to Fox’s guardianship. It was a mix of things. Not anger, exactly. More like disappointment.

“Papa,” Fox warned, arching a brow in expectation. “What did we say about the cursing?”

Death lifted a hand, dutifully snapping the rubber band he wore on his wrist for the reward (if such a thing could be said) of Fox’s indulgent smirk. “I still don’t see why this is necessary,”

Our leading lady was Viola Marek. I actually rather enjoyed her character, even though she was technically not like other vampires. Her arc was one I found incredibly relatable to follow, despite the fact that she was an ordinary woman with extraordinary circumstances. Or perhaps that was the reason.

I also really, really, really liked almost all of the other characters. There are too many to discuss here, though, so I’ll just talk about the two that will pertain to my review later on. I really enjoyed Tom, and his and Viola’s begrudging friendship with each other was fun. Brandt kind of sucked as a character, though. I didn’t really like him that much.

The Plot

There is a game that the immortals play.

It is played around tables that open at dusk, and close at dawn.

The stakes are impossibly high, and yet laughably low.

There is only one secret: The more you have to lose, the harder it is to win.

There is only one rule: Don’t lose.

The plot was pretty interesting, but it was also one of the slowest that I’ve ever read. The summary is also written a certain way that implies the story to be a little different than it actually is. I get that they were trying to attract readers without giving too much of the plot away, but I feel slightly lied too.

I enjoyed the plot that we did get to see, to a degree. The buildup during the first half was great, and really pumped me up for the second part of the book. Only, the second half of the book fell somewhat flat. I didn’t find the immortals’ game to be all that interesting, until the very, very end of the novel, and it took up so much pagetime.

The Romance

For me, the romance in Masters of Death was its weakest aspect. I just wasn’t really interested in any of the couples. Not to mention that there was at least one romantic relationship too many.

Scratch one thing, actually. There was one couple that I was pretty invested in – Viola and Tom. They were just super cute together, and they had the most natural romantic chemistry out of everyone. But I didn’t like any of the other couples.

I found Brandt, Fox’s love interest, to be annoying as a character, so I found them hard to root for as a couple. (I hated Brandt, actually.) And as for Cal and Mayra – they were just one couple too many, at that point. Yeah, they were really sweet together, but this book just wasn’t long enough to develop all of these relationships to the way they should’ve been.

The Writing

I found Blake to have a rather dry wit (that I enjoyed), and her prose was very strong. She tells a story very well. And the humor is on point (did I mention that?).

A few parts of the book were too much for me. I thought the book was overly written at certain times, which is something that I never appreciate. It forced the story to move a bit slowly for my liking, which is one of the biggest reasons for my rating.

Final Thoughts

“Everything’s a game if you play it right,” the second figure said.

“But strictly speaking, this is no longer a game,” said the first figure. “Now it’s a war.”

And then everything went dark.

Masters of Death is a rather intricately woven urban fantasy by Olivie Blake. I personally found it to be a kind of mid, slow moving book, but it’s something that I think a lot of other people would like.

As always, thank you to everyone for reading. I hope that you all have a fabulous day/night!

See ya ~Mar


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Weekly Wrap-Up: 8/7 – 8/13

Here we are again. Another weekly wrap-up. Can you tell that I’m disappointed in myself about last week? Lol.

Ugh, I don’t know what happened during the second half of the last week. Actually, no, I do – food poisoning and the like sucks. It wasn’t exactly good poisoning (maybe), but my stomach definitely didn’t agree with a couple of things I ate. At all.

(Also, I’m not sure if I can have coffee anymore. 😭😭)

Anyway, I’m not gonna waste anymore time. Let’s wrap up the past week.

Tuesday 8/8: Yumi and the Nightmare Painter Review

Yumi and the Nightmare Painter by Brandon Sanderson

Last Tuesday, I finally posted my review of Yumi and the Nightmare Painter by Brandon Sanderson. It’s a Japanese manga and Final Fantasy inspired fantasy. I really enjoyed it. I gave it ★★★★★.

Yumi and the Nightmare Painter Review

Wednesday 8/9: WWW Wednesday / Can’t-Wait Wednesday

On Wednesday, I double posted for the first time in a long time. First, I participated in one of my staples: WWW Wednesday. WWW Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words.

Then, I posted for another thing I’ve been participating in every once in a while – Can’t-Wait Wednesday. Can’t-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Tressa @ Wishful Endings.

WWW Wednesday 8/9

Can’t-Wait Wednesday: “Thornhedge”

Books I Read Last Week

Goals for 7/14 – 7/20

My goals for this week are to just be better than I was last week. My blogging output was just so bad! Ugh! But yeah, I just want to be better.

For this week, I want to post reviews for the books I finished last week. I also want to participate in my favorite weekly features/memes, as per usual. Also, it’s getting to the halfway point of the month, which is around the time I participate in my other monthly post, so I’d like to do that too.

But that’s kind of all I’ve got planned. Wish me luck!🤞🍀

And of course, as always, I hope you have a wonderful day/night. Thank you so much for reading.

See ya ~Mar

Can’t-Wait Wednesday: “Thornhedge”

Here I am! With the moderately rare double post! What can I say? There’s a few books releasing in the near future that I’m excited for!

Can’t-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Tressa @ Wishful Endings (and was previously hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine where it was known as Waiting on Wednesday) to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about that we have yet to read. They’re usually books that have not yet been released.

This week’s book is:

Thornhedge by T. Kingfisher!

I absolutely love a good fairytale retelling or what-if story. There’s so much potential with them! And this one seems pretty interesting. Plus, I really liked What Moves the Dead, and I want to read more T. Kingfisher stuff.

Thornhedge by T. Kingfisher

Thornhedge by T. Kingfisher

Are you looking forward to Thornhedge? Have you read other T. Kingfisher books? What books are you looking forward to coming out in the near future?

As always, thank you all so much for reading, and I really hope that you have a wonderful day/night!

See ya ~Mar