A Mirror Mended by Alix E. Harrow

Summary:
Zinnia Gray, professional fairy-tale fixer and lapsed Sleeping Beauty, is over rescuing snoring princesses. Once you’ve rescued a dozen damsels and burned fifty spindles, once you’ve gotten drunk with twenty good fairies and made out with one too many members of the royal family, you start to wish some of these girls would just get a grip and try solving their own narrative issues.
Just when Zinnia’s beginning to think she can’t handle one more princess, she glances into a mirror and sees another face looking back at her: the shockingly gorgeous face of evil, asking for her help. Because there’s more than one person trapped in a story they didn’t choose. Snow White’s Evil Queen has found out how her story ends, and she’s desperate for a better ending. She wants Zinnia to help her before it’s too late for everyone. Will Zinnia accept the Queen’s poisonous request and save them both from the hot-iron shoes that wait for them, or will she try another path? 

Review:
Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for this advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
A Mirror Mended follows Zinnia, who we know and love from the first book. The story starts off with her telling us about some of the adventures she’s been on since we last heard from her and how she’s burnt out on happy endings. But then, she’s pulled out of her story and into the story of Snow White. The evil queen is asking for her help. What ensues is funny and heartwarming.
I loved with my whole heart that we got to see Zinnia get a happy ending. Even though it wasn’t a traditional happily ever after, I really loved the way it felt right for her after all the growth and learning her character had done.
I absolutely loved the romance. That shriek you heard? That what me squealing when I realized this book was sapphic. The banter had me smiling to myself and laughing. I really loved the two of them together.
The only complaint I have is just that I wanted more! I wanted to see Zinnia on all of the adventures she talks about at the beginning of the book. I wanted more banter and wild antics from Zinnia and the queen.
Overall, I loved this. I will definitely be recommending both this and the first novella. I think Harrow’s writing was beautiful and lyrical as always. I just love the way that she writes. I loved the main character and I was happy to see Charm again. You don’t want to miss out on this one.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Skyward Flight: The Collection by Brandon Sanderson & Janci Patterson

Sunreach (Skyward 2.1)

Sunreach by Brandon Sanderson, Janci Patterson

Summary:
Read FM’s story between Starsight and Cytonic.
When a planet-destroying Delver suddenly appears in the sky of Detritus and vanishes just as suddenly, FM knows that the last free human society got lucky. Her Skyward Flight companion, Spensa, figured out how to draw this Delver away, but it won’t be so easy next time.
The forces of the Galactic Superiority will be back—and if the Defiant Defense Force can’t figure out a way to escape the planet, humanity’s destruction is only a matter of time. Spensa’s mission to infiltrate the Superiority unveiled the secret to their hyperdrives—a cytonic slug species called the Taynix. Now FM’s flightleader, Jorgen, has found a large group of Taynix hiding in the caverns far below Detritus’s surface.
FM and Jorgen must work together with the engineer Rig to awaken the mysterious alien Alanik and unlock the powers of the Taynix, or humanity will be trapped. With Spensa’s friend Minister Cuna of the Superiority stranded at the outpost of Sunreach, they need to figure out how to rescue her—or the Superiority government will be in the sole clutches of those who want to wipe out Detritus once and for all.
Review:
Sunreach follows FM alongside the ending of Starsight. I really liked this insight to another character in the Skyward world. FM was always an interesting supporting character, but I really enjoyed being in her head. I really felt like we got to know her better. I also especially liked that we got a bit of romance in this novella. There are little bits and pieces taken from the first two books that push the plot forward in this story and I really enjoyed seeing those pieces finally come together.

ReDawn (Skyward 2.5)

ReDawn by Brandon Sanderson, Janci Patterson

Summary:
Read Alanik’s story between Starsight and Cytonic.
“Don’t trust their lies. Don’t trust their false peace.” That is the warning that Alanik of the planet ReDawn gave the human pilot Spensa after Alanik’s ship crash-landed on Detritus. While accepting an invitation to meet with her people’s enemy, the Galactic Superiority, Alanik heard Spensa’s cry for help across the vastness of space, and she used her cytonic powers to hyperjump her ship to the source of that cry. What she found there was a shock—a whole planet of free humans fighting against the Superiority. Were they the allies her people desperately needed?
When she recovered from her injuries and met the friendly humans Jorgen and FM of Skyward Flight, she found that her warning to Spensa had gone unheeded by the government of Detritus, and they were considering a peace overture from the Superiority. Now having returned to ReDawn, Alanik is dismayed to learn that her own people are falling into the exact same trap.
The faction in ReDawn’s government that wants to appease the Superiority has gained the upper hand. With Alanik’s mentor, Renakin captured, she has no one to turn to but Jorgen, FM, and their friend Rig. An ancient technology may have the power to save both of their planets from disaster, but can they discover its secrets before it’s too late?
Review:
This one was a little bit harder to get into because we’re following the alien, Alanik, that we met in Starsight. So, we’re mostly unfamiliar with her world. I thought the world building was well done. I could only sort of picture her world considering she’s from a gas planet and some of it just didn’t make any sense to my brain. I did really appreciate this new perspective though. We’re seeing another species and how they’ve been treated by the Superiority and the things that are happening politically because of that treatment. I liked, much like the first novella, how the plot tied together with the wider series. I thought it was interesting and engaging.

Evershore (Skyward 3.5)

Evershore by Brandon Sanderson, Janci Patterson

Summary:
Read Jorgen’s story along with Cytonic.
With the government of Detritus in disarray because of Superiority treachery, and with Spensa still away on her mission in the Nowhere, Jorgen must work together with the alien Alanik to pick up the pieces. They intercept a strange transmission from the planet Evershore and its Kitsen inhabitants, who say they have some of Jorgen’s people and want to return them—but can the Kitsen be trusted? And can Jorgen learn to master his increasingly erratic cytonic powers before they spiral out of control and destroy all hope of forming an alliance against the Superiority?
Review:
Jorgen’s story was probably my favorite of the three novellas. I love Jorgen and I really liked being in his head. It was interesting to see inside his head after seeing him through Spensa’s eyes for two full books. I think he’s an excellent leader and this novella only showed that further. Like the first two novellas, I especially enjoyed how the plot tied to the rest of the series. I liked being on another new planet and seeing Jorgen learn about things I won’t specify because of spoilers. I am absolutely excited to see how these three novellas will be tied into the events of books three and four in the Skyward series.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogmas Book Review: Once More Upon a Time by Roshani Chokshi

Summary:
Once upon a dream, there was a prince named Ambrose
and a princess named Imelda who loved each other…
But alas, no more.
“What a witch takes, a witch does not give back!”
their friends and family warn.
They resign themselves to this loveless fate…
A year and a day pass.
And then their story truly begins…

Embark on a perilous journey with Imelda and Ambrose as they brave magical landscapes and enchanted creatures on their quest to reclaim their heart’s desire… But first they must remember what that is…

Book Cover

Review:
Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for an advanced copy of Once More Upon a Time in exchange for an honest review. This is a fun and quick fairytale romance novella. I think the novella aspect is what made me not completely love this story. I firmly believe that if this had been a full-length novel, I would have given it five stars. But it was just too short for my liking. I wanted more of everything.
This follows one of the sisters from the Twelve Dancing Princesses and a prince that is the middle child of three brothers. They fall in love, but they are cursed before they really even get to be together. Their love is taken from them and because of that, they cannot rule the kingdom they’ve been given by the bride’s father. A year later is when this story takes place. Just as they are about to go their separate ways, the witch that stole their love makes them a deal. They must go on a quest to get a potion and in return, she will give them both what they want.
Because this story was so short, I really had a hard time connecting with the characters emotionally. I wanted to know more about them and their relationship. I wished we had gotten to see the two of them falling in love previous to everything that happened in this book.
I especially loved the witch acting as the narrator. She was funny and added some humor to the story. She was interesting and a little bit mysterious and I wanted to see more of her. I liked both the main characters too. They both had really distinct personalities and well-developed backstories that explained why they behaved in the ways that they did.
Overall, my biggest issue with this book was that I wanted more of it. I felt like it wasn’t long enough for me to really connect and get attached to the characters.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone

GoodReads Summary:
Two time-traveling agents from warring futures, working their way through the past, begin to exchange letters—and fall in love in this thrilling and romantic book from award-winning authors Amal-El Mohtar and Max Gladstone.
Among the ashes of a dying world, an agent of the Commandant finds a letter. It reads: Burn before reading.
Thus begins an unlikely correspondence between two rival agents hellbent on securing the best possible future for their warring factions. Now, what began as a taunt, a battlefield boast, grows into something more. Something epic. Something romantic. Something that could change the past and the future.
Except the discovery of their bond would mean death for each of them. There’s still a war going on, after all. And someone has to win that war. That’s how war works. Right?
Cowritten by two beloved and award-winning sci-fi writers, This Is How You Lose the Time War is an epic love story spanning time and space.
This Is How You Lose the Time WarReview:
I have heard rave reviews about This is How You Lose a Time War. But I found that I wasn’t sold on it at first. I wasn’t really invested in the story until a little under halfway through. But once I was invested, I couldn’t get through it fast enough.
This story was told in alternating perspectives. It follows two characters, Red and Blue. And in between their chapters were the letters they wrote to one another. I loved this method of telling the story. It was beautifully set up. It told us about each character and their actions while the letters really allowed the reader to see who they were.
Following these two, who are from a warring species, as they travel through time battling was so much fun. It was suspenseful and full of action. But there was also so much love and curiosity.
This was a beautifully written story about two people that were as different as different can be, falling in love and doing anything to be together despite the things that made them different.
The writing was really what blew me away. It was beautiful and poetic and I absolutely adored every page. I loved the time travel and the characters and their love. I adored this book and I see why everyone is raving about it.

Quotes:

“Books are letters in bottles, cast into the waves of time, from one person trying to save the world to another.”

“Adventure works in any strand—it calls to those who care more for living than for their lives.”

“It’s amazing how much blue there is in the world if you look. You’re different colors of flame. Bismuth burns blue, and cerium, germanium, and arsenic. See? I pour you into things.”

“Hunger, Red—to sate a hunger or to stoke it, to feel hunger as a furnace, to trace its edges like teeth—is this a thing you, singly, know? Have you ever had a hunger that whetted itself on what you fed it, sharpened so keen and bright that it might split you open, break a new thing out? Sometimes I think that’s what I have instead of friends.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Fork, the Witch, and the Worm by Christopher Paolini

GoodReads Summary:
Welcome back to the world of Alagaësia. It’s been a year since Eragon departed Alagaësia in search of the perfect home to train a new generation of Dragon Riders. Now he is struggling with an endless sea of tasks: constructing a vast dragonhold, wrangling with suppliers, guarding dragon eggs, and dealing with belligerent Urgals and haughty elves. Then a vision from the Eldunarí, unexpected visitors, and an exciting Urgal legend offer a much-needed distraction and a new perspective. This volume features three original stories set in Alagaësia, interspersed with scenes from Eragon’s own unfolding adventure. Included is an excerpt from the memoir of the unforgettable witch and fortune-teller Angela the herbalist . . . penned by Angela Paolini, the inspiration for the character, herself! Relish the incomparable imagination of Christopher Paolini in this thrilling new collection of stories based in the world of the Inheritance Cycle.
The Fork, the Witch, and the Worm: Eragon (Tales from Alagaësia #1; The Inheritance Cycle World)Review:
The wonderful Antonia bought me the Inheritance Cycle for this past Christmas and we have spent most of this year attempting to buddy read them. I finally finished the final book last month. I requested the new novella, The Fork, the Witch, and the Worm from my library so that I could finally say that I’ve completed all of the books in this world.
I think this novella was fun but a little too short. I enjoyed all three parts. In the first, we get to see Eragon struggling with the menial duties of being in charge. But he gets help from the Eldunari and I thought that story was fun. Next, we see Angela collects the girl that Eragon tried to bless, but didn’t use the right words. We finally get to learn a little bit more about Angela, but it wasn’t enough. I wanted more from her chapters. I wish it was a little bit longer. I just want Angela’s whole book. The final part of this novella was Eragon listening to a story told by one of the Urgal. I thought the story was beyond interesting. It was a great story that really gave us a piece of the Urgal’s history that we didn’t previously know.
Overall, this was a fun story. I enjoyed being back in the world that I’ve come to love (though later than most people). It was over too quickly. I enjoyed each of the stories but was left wanting just a little bit more. If you read and loved the Inheritance Cycle, you’ll love this short trip back into Alagaësia.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy by Cassandra Clare

Summary:
Simon Lewis has been a human and a vampire, and now he is becoming a Shadowhunter. But the events of City of Heavenly Fire left him stripped of his memories, and Simon isn’t sure who he is anymore. So, when the Shadowhunter Academy reopens, Simon throws himself into this new world of demon-hunting, determined to find himself again. Whoever this new Simon might be.
Join Simon on his journey to become a Shadowhunter, and learn about the Academy’s illustrious history along the way, through guest lecturers such as Jace Herondale, Tessa Gray, and Magnus Bane. These ten moving and hilarious short stories, each with an accompanying illustration, give a satisfying epilogue to the Mortal Instruments series and provide tantalizing glimpses into the Dark Artifices.
Tales from the Shadowhunter AcademyReview:
I absolutely adored these novellas. I think they are so well done and add so much to the overall Shadowhunter world. I don’t understand how people can skip reading these novella bind ups because there are so many HUGE details they will be missing out on. I prefer Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy over The Bane Chronicles but only because Simon is my all-time favorite character in this universe. He’s overcome so much as at first just a regular mundane and then dealt with becoming a vampire, then the daylighter, saving the world, and losing his memories. Simon really doesn’t get the appreciation he deserves until this book. I loved every page. I laughed. I cried. I was surprised. I had my ice-cold heart warmed. We really got new insight into Simon. Seeing the challenges he faced at Shadowhunter Academy was great, but even more, we see his personal challenges while dealing with his memory loss and trying to figure out who he is after everything. There were so many familiar faces we got to see that I was happy about. Clary and Isabelle obviously, but we also got to see Caterina in more depth and I enjoyed her parts. We also saw more of Tessa which I liked. The characters that came to visit shared stories we didn’t know about characters we knew in the past. I thought these stories were just as interesting as Simon’s experiences. I loved the story about the Lightwood’s dad (I can’t remember his name) and him sharing about his time in the circle. Then there were the secrets we learned. I think it was so interesting and creatively done that the events in TMI were connected to too various things in TDA. I think this was exactly as the synopsis says, “A satisfying epilogue to the Mortal Instruments and a tantalizing glimpse into the Dark Artifices.” But there are also connections made to the Infernal Devices and it somehow warmed and broke my heart at the same time.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.