Rage by Cora Carmack

GoodReads Summary:
Princess or adventurer.
Duty or freedom.
Her Kingdom or the Stormhunter she loves.
If Aurora knows anything, it’s that choices have consequences. To set things right, she joins a growing revolution on the streets of Pavan.
In disguise as the rebel Roar, she puts her knowledge of the palace to use to aid the rebellion. But the Rage season is at its peak and not a day passes without the skies raining down destruction. Yet these storms are different—they churn with darkness, and attack with a will that’s desperate and violent.
This feels like more than rage.
It feels like war.
Rage (Stormheart, #2)Review:
Rage is the second book in the Stormheart series. I buddy read the first book (find my review here!) with my favorite group of lovelies, Alana, Rae, & Books in the Skye, and so we just had to buddy read this one together as well. But I was a bad buddy reader and didn’t manage to finish this book until almost a month later. I’ve been having a really tough time wanting to read fantasy. But I still really enjoyed this one.
The magic system is beyond interesting. It’s such a unique and creative idea that it’s really refreshing. Fantasy can get a bit monotonous with similar magics and whatnot, but this definitely was an idea that I hadn’t seen before. I am very interested to continue learning more about Aurora’s powers.
Aurora is fierce and loyal and learning more about herself. She’s run from a marriage she didn’t want in the first book, but in this one, she’s returning to her city to fix her mistake. She still doesn’t want to marry Cassius, but that’s a minor problem considering his family has taken over her city. She’s grown and realized her flaws and how she might have done things differently, but there’s no going back. In going forward, she’s doing her best to do right by those she cares for.
Enter Kieran. I love him. I think his reaction to Aurora’s secret was reasonable. And their relationship goes a step further. I really love that they bring out the best in one another. A part of me can’t help but think there’s more to Kieran’s history that we just don’t know yet, so I’m eager for the release of the next book to see what else he hasn’t shared yet.
Cassius is my favorite. I know he’s supposed to be a villain of sorts, but there’s something about him that just draws me in. He’s not after power, like his father. He just wants Aurora. With his role in the final pages of Rage, I’m beyond interested to see where the next book will pick up.
Overall, I think the characters are well developed and complex. Especially our actual villain. I enjoyed getting to see a bit of the Stormlord’s history. Seeing where he came from made him a bit more human. I love the world and the magic that is in it. I just really enjoyed this book as a whole. I’m very excited to see what will happen next in this series.

Quotes:

“I want to help you do the wild, improbable things you dream of doing. I want to stand beside you as you turn this place upside down and build it anew.”

“Sometimes the most important things a person could do was to simply show up.”

“Life happens how it happens, and you either move with the maelstrom or die wallowing about the change in the winds.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Roar by Cora Carmack

Summary:
Aurora Pavan comes from one of the oldest Stormling families in existence. Long ago, the ungifted pledged fealty and service to her family in exchange for safe haven, and a kingdom was carved out from the wildlands and sustained by magic capable of repelling the world’s deadliest foes. As the sole heir of Pavan, Aurora’s been groomed to be the perfect queen. She’s intelligent and brave and honorable. But she’s yet to show any trace of the magic she’ll need to protect her people.
To keep her secret and save her crown, Aurora’s mother arranges for her to marry a dark and brooding Stormling prince from another kingdom. At first, the prince seems like the perfect solution to all her problems. He’ll guarantee her spot as the next queen and be the champion her people need to remain safe. But the more secrets Aurora uncovers about him, the more a future with him frightens her. When she dons a disguise and sneaks out of the palace one night to spy on him, she stumbles upon a black market dealing in the very thing she lacks—storm magic. And the people selling it? They’re not Stormlings. They’re storm hunters.
Legend says that her ancestors first gained their magic by facing a storm and stealing part of its essence. And when a handsome young storm hunter reveals he was born without magic, but possesses it now, Aurora realizes there’s a third option for her future besides ruin or marriage.
She might not have magic now, but she can steal it if she’s brave enough.
Roar (Stormheart, #1)Review:
Roar was the book that was chosen for a buddy read with my favorites, The Bookish Chick, Thrifty Bibliophile, and Books in the Skye. I love reading with these ladies because I’ve loved almost all the books we’ve read together and I love being able to talk about my thoughts on the book as we read.
Roar was so fun to read. Cora Carmack is the queen of suspense. There are so many little mysteries that are all linked together that we’re just waiting to find out what’s really going on. The suspense and mystery in this novel is what kept me going. It left me wanting more right up until the last page.
The characters were interesting and compelling. I love the friend squad that Rora found for herself. I loved their adventures and the things that they taught her. I love a good found family but I’m wondering how things are going to go once they all get back to the city. I’m really interested to see how things will play out and if there will be love triangle. I think there’s potential for a certain someone to redeem himself and I’m kind of rooting for it.
The ending was the only thing I didn’t like about the book and the reason I gave it four stars on GoodReads instead of five. The ending was left so opened and I didn’t like that. I don’t mind a cliff hanger but this wasn’t that to me. There were too many questions that were left unanswered for my liking.
Overall, I’m so happy we read this book together because I really enjoyed it. The magic system was unique and fascinating and I can’t wait to learn more about Rora’s abilities and the mysterious big bad. I loved the world and its history. I just cannot wait for the sequel so I can jump back into this world.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli

Summary:
In the beginning, there was the Namsara: the child of sky and spirit, who carried love and laughter wherever he went. But where there is light, there must be darkness—and so there was also the Iskari. The child of blood and moonlight. The destroyer. The death-bringer.
These are the legends that Asha, daughter of the king of Firgaard, has grown up learning in hushed whispers, drawn to the forbidden figures of the past. But it isn’t until she becomes the fiercest, most feared dragon slayer in the land that she takes on the role of the next Iskari—a lonely destiny that leaves her feeling more like a weapon than a girl.
Asha conquers each dragon and brings its head to the king, but no kill can free her from the shackles that await at home: her betrothal to the cruel commandant, a man who holds the truth about her nature in his palm. When she’s offered the chance to gain her freedom in exchange for the life of the most powerful dragon in Firgaard, she finds that there may be more truth to the ancient stories than she ever could have expected. With the help of a secret friend—a slave boy from her betrothed’s household—Asha must shed the layers of her Iskari bondage and open her heart to love, light, and a truth that has been kept from her.
The Last Namsara (Iskari, #1)Review:
I read The Last Namsara as a buddy read with my favorite Buddy Reading Squad, Rae @ Thrifty Bibliophile, Alana @ The Bookish Chick, and Books in the Skye. I love when we find time to read something together and discuss as we read it. It’s always so much fun even if we don’t agree with the book (like this one).
Sadly, I didn’t love The Last Namsara like I thought I was going to. I really thought this was going to be a five-star read for me. It has all of the things I love. Dragons, the hate to love trope, lady power, but for some reason this book fell flat for me.
I liked Asha but I didn’t love her. She was supposed to be this powerful big bad but we don’t really get to see that. I feel like there was too much telling and not enough showing. She’s supposed to be the Iskari but we just see everyone afraid of her, we don’t see why she’s supposed to be scary. We get a lot of her being afraid of the villain, and that really didn’t help me believe that she was big and bad. Then there’s the villain. We’re supposed to immediately dislike him, but he saved her life in the beginning. I didn’t really get why we were supposed to dislike him until halfway through the story. I did actually adore the love interest. He brought out the good in Asha and helped her see that something in her life wasn’t right and someone was lying to her. I liked their relationship. He was everything she wasn’t supposed to have and I loved it. I also loved her brother, Dax, and her cousin, Safire, they were so good and kind and loyal and clever.
There were a lot of politics which I enjoyed, but there weren’t enough of the parts that I liked the most. I didn’t get enough dragons. I wanted more. There also wasn’t enough of the Old One and Elmora. I really was interested in this aspect of the story but didn’t get enough of it.
Overall, I liked this story but sadly didn’t love it. Something about it just fell flat for me. There was more telling rather than showing and parts of it just weren’t believable. I didn’t really care about the characters. I wanted to love this story but I just didn’t.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Eldest by Christopher Paolini

Summary:
Eragon and his dragon, Saphira, have just saved the rebel state from destruction by the mighty forces of Galbatorix, cruel ruler of the Empire. Now Eragon must travel to Ellesmera, land of the elves, for further training in magic and swordsmanship, vital skills of the Dragon Rider. It is the journey of a lifetime, filled with awe-inspiring new places and people, each day a fresh adventure. But chaos and betrayal plague him at every turn, and Eragon isn’t sure who he can trust.
Meanwhile, his cousin, Roran, must fight a new battle back home in Carvahall—one that puts Eragon in even graver danger.
Will the kind’s dark hand strangle all resistance? Eragon may not escape with even his life…
Eldest (The Inheritance Cycle, #2)Review:
Eldest is the second book in the Inheritance Cycle. I’m buddy reading this series with Antonia because she’s wonderful and bought the whole series for me as a Christmas gift. Check out my review for the first book, Eragon, here.
I enjoyed this book, not quite as much as the first, but I enjoyed it. There was a lot of traveling and learning in this book that tends to come with fantasy books but I don’t mind that. I really enjoyed following Eragon as he learned all about the history of the Dragon Riders and elf culture. I thought the world in this book is incredible. It’s so complex, intricate, and well built. The writing is also intricate and well done. The story flows smoothly and is filled with creative and interesting language.
I believe that the most impressive part about this book is Eragon’s character growth. He learns so much about himself and about the world around him in these pages. By the final page he is not the same boy that he was on page one. He really takes the things he learns and adapts his world view and opinions. He’s not afraid of learning new things and letting those things change him. He becomes a man in this book.
I was blown away again and again by the plot twists Paolini threw at us. I’m not sure how many texts I sent to Antonia saying, “WHAT DID HE JUST DO” because the author had me dropping my jaw a fair few times at the end of the story.
We were introduced to a few new characters in this second book. the one that I’m most interested to learn more about is the elf that trained Eragon in the Dragon Rider ways. I just have a feeling that there’s more to his story that we haven’t learned yet.
The only aspect of this story that I didn’t enjoy was the changing perspectives. I’m usually all for different perspectives, but one of the points of view was from Roran (Eragon’s cousin)and I just couldn’t bring myself to care about those chapters at all.
Overall, this was pretty much what I was expecting from this sequel. We traveled. We learned. We grew. I loved it and I’m very excited to see where the story goes from here.

“How terrible,” said Eragon,”to die alone, seperate even from the one who is closest to you.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Eragon by Christopher Paolini

Summary:
When Eragon finds a polished blue stone in the forest, he thinks it is the lucky discovery of a poor farm boy; perhaps it will buy his family meat for the winter. But when the stone brings a dragon hatchling, Eragon soon realizes he has stumbled upon a legacy nearly as old as the Empire itself.
Overnight his simple life is shattered, and he is thrust into a perilous new world of destiny, magic, and power. With only an ancient sword and the advice of an old storyteller for guidance, Eragon and the fledgling dragon must navigate the dangerous terrain and dark enemies of the Empire ruled by a king whose evil knows no bounds.
Can Eragon take up the mantle of the legendary Dragon Riders? The fate of the Empire may rest in his hands.
Review:
Antonia is the best and bought me this entire series for Christmas this year. I was planning to read it because it is the Booksplosion book of the month and I’ve never read the series before, so I thought this was the perfect opportunity. Antonia was excited because she totally loves this series. We decided to buddy read the whole series together! I am reading Eragon for the first time, but it’s a reread for Antonia. We obviously started with Eragon.
I went into this book expecting to like it, but not sure how much I would like it. There was no doubt in my mind that I would like it, I wasn’t worried about disliking it in the least. My prediction was not wrong. I totally loved this book and I think I’m only going to love them more the further into the series we get. Let’s talk about what I liked and didn’t like and all the good stuff.
I liked Eragon. Even though it was a typical 2000s chosen one trope, I still liked him. He wasn’t a know it all. He wasn’t suddenly super powerful. He learned how to fight. He learned how to do magic. And he’s still learning. I think he was likable and entertaining. I enjoyed following him as he traveled and figured out what to do with all of the changes that were happening to him. The only thing I didn’t like was that Eragon was complimented like ten times in the latter half of the book about how skilled of a swordsman and a fighter he had become, but despite this, he manages to get knocked unconscious and even kidnapped so. many. times. It was annoying, not enough to really put me off, just something I noticed and didn’t like.
I also loved Brom. He was funny and sassy. I liked his relationship with Eragon. I also wanted him to answer all of Eragon’s questions, but I liked the air of mystery he gave. I love the relationship that developed between him and Eragon while the traveled. I can’t wait to see what else we learn about him.
Murtaugh, another traveling buddy that I like. He’s loyal(ish) and interesting and mysterious. There’s so much that we don’t know about him and I really enjoyed learning about him. I also loved his dedication to getting Eragon to his destination. I’m interested to see what happens with him in the next books.
There is so much traveling done by these characters. Many readers don’t like that, but I’m not one of those. I ate up these pages telling me about this world. This world that Eragon lives in is huge and beautiful and creative. Paolini does some seriously incredible world building and I can’t wait to see more of it in the next books. I feel like there’s some serious build up that will be rewarded in the later books and I can’t wait for it. There were some action scenes that were very well done. Paolini’s writing was everything I wanted and more.
Overall, I really enjoyed this story and I’m sad I slept on it for so long. There was absolutely incredible worldbuilding and I loved it. The characters were interesting and quickly brought me into the story and had me invested in their futures. I was surprised several times in the direction the story took which I appreciated. I can’t wait to see where this story is going to take the characters in Eldest.

“Keep in mind that many people have died for their beliefs; it’s actually quite common. The real courage is in living and suffering for what you believe.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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Skyward by Brandon Sanderson

Summary:
Spensa’s world has been under attack for decades. Now pilots are the heroes of what’s left of the human race, and becoming one has always been Spensa’s dream. Since she was a little girl, she has imagined soaring skyward and proving her bravery. But her fate is intertwined with her father’s-a pilot himself who was killed years ago when he abruptly deserted his team, leaving Spensa the daughter of a coward, her chances of attending Flight School slim to none.
No one will let Spensa forget what her father did, yet fate works in mysterious ways. Flight school might be a long shot, but she is determined to fly. And an accidental discovery in a long-forgotten cavern might just provide her with a way to claim the stars.
Review:
It feels like I finished this book forever ago, but it was only last week. I haven’t been able to sit down and write this review until now. It’s a busy time of year, but also, I just haven’t known what to say about this masterpiece that is a YA science fiction novel. Brandon Sanderson is a very widely known and well-loved author. It’s a name I’ve heard time and time again the longer I’ve been involved in the bookish community. So, when I? saw this book at Barnes and Nobel, I thought I’d give it a try. I found a beautiful signed copy and the synopsis sounded interesting enough. I put off reading it for almost two entire months. Until I saw that one of my friends on Twitter had bought it and several other friends replied that they owned the book too but hadn’t read it yet. This is when I popped in and said, “Buddy read anyone?” So, a huge thank you to Alana @ The Bookish Chick, Rae @ Thrifty Bibliophile, & Steph @ Books in the Skye for choosing to buddy read this book with me. It was my first ever buddy read and I had so much fun reading together and discussing this story as we made our way through the pages. I’m so happy to have found you guys as friends and I’m excited for more buddy reads in the future.

“Claim the stars, Spensa.”

Now to talk about the book. I loved it. I really just absolutely loved it. I feel like this is a case of having nothing to say about a story other than, “I loved it, it was so good. Please read it now.” Because I’m really not sure what else to add. So I’ll be basic and talk about basic story concepts.

“Is anything fair?” He smiled. “Death is. He treats us all the same.”

The characters were great. Spensa was entertaining, slightly annoying, relatable, and an interesting perspective. I think she was a great voice for this story. She had something to prove and though she doubted herself at times, she wasn’t going to give up.
I loved all the other kids in her flight school class. They all just added unique and distinct personalities to the story. I grew to love the characters I hated at first and I think that says so much about an author’s storytelling skill. Jerkface is the one I grew to love. He’s so complex and interesting. I’m happy to say that Spensa quickly learns that there’s more to him than she thought.

“So willing to seize the stars with one hand and shove them in your pocket.”

I think my favorite character is tied between Kimmalyn and M-Bot. Kimmalyn is funny and sassy and I found myself laughing out loud at her parts of the story. The same goes for M-Bot though. I’m a totally sucker for anything related to artificial intelligence, so the minute M-Bot popped into the story, I knew he was going to be one of my favorite parts. There’s just something about technology trying to understand the complexity of human emotion that I really enjoy. M-Bot ended up really hitting me in the feels which pleasantly surprised me.

“I’d let you read the seven thousand pages I wrote, but I am programmed to avoid making humans feel inferior for their incredible weirdness.”

The setting was also incredible. I love space, so it’s not really a surprise that I liked the world this takes place in. Though I’m dying to get the second book that won’t be released until November of 2019 so that I can learn more about the world. I’m wondering how much we’re going to learn about the world that Spensa lives on. There are other communities that are lightly talked about, but I want to know more. I also can’t wait to learn more about outer space around the planet they live on.

“It’s not your fault you’re a bloodthirsty ball of aggression and destruction.”

The story progresses nicely. I love books that take place in school settings. I genuinely enjoy getting to see characters learn their skill rather than just seeing them know everything already. I think it makes the characters more well-rounded. Getting to see them before they think they know everything is always fun. I think Skyward was full of excellent world building. It created so much suspense and anticipation for the next book. I’m interested to see how these characters are going to behave and grow now that they are no longer students and with all of the new information they’ve learned about their enemies.

“It can appreciate things at a million times per second. So you could say your comment is likely the single most appreciated thing you’ve ever done.”

Overall, this is one of my favorite reads of 2018. I think you should all give this book a try. Brandon Sanderson wrote an incredible story that was entertaining and full of characters that I’m now fully invested in. I actually already ordered some of his other books so I can see if I enjoy his adult novels as much as this one. So, if you’re the opposite of me and you’ve read his other series, give this one a try for sure!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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