Four Brandon Sanderson Books to Add to Your TBR

Hello dear readers! After I read Skyward by Brandon Sanderson a while back, I’ve been reading quite a lot of his other works. There are still a ton that I haven’t gotten to yet, but here’s four of the ones I think you should check out!

1. Skyward – YA

Skyward is book one of a science fiction trilogy (book three hasn’t been released yet) that takes place on a different planet. Main character Spensa longs to become a fighter pilot in the planet’s defense force, but her late father’s status as a coward and military deserter make her job pretty difficult.

The Characters. I can not convey to you in this post how much I love the characters in this book. There’s not a single one I didn’t at least like, and I was attached to all of them in different ways for different reasons. They’re all so unique from the other characters in YA stories. Spensa with her small stature, somewhat abrasive personality, extreme threats and believable motivation. Rodge, who learns to find his own passion and voice throughout the book. Jorgen with his strict rules and regulations, who is just trying to be the best flightleader he can be. M-Bot was hilarious. Doomslug was adorable. I could go on and on.

The Plot. The plot was exactly what it needed to be. It was well paced, and flowed nicely. But above all, it put the characters in the exact positions they needed to be in. It let them shine in certain situations, revealing their capabilities and passions. It beat them down at other times. This story didn’t pull it’s punches, and it left the characters questioning their beliefs, but also rising up to accept the challenges set before them. I do not cry easily when it comes to reading, and if I do it’s usually on rereads of series. However, on my first time through this book, I teared up several times.

The Setting. I admittedly don’t usually care a ton about world building. If its interesting, great. If its lacking it wont make or break a book for me. This world building was interesting, and I loved learning about being a pilot right alongside Spensa, as well as the unique challenges the planet presented to the characters.

2. The Rithmatist – Middle Grade/YA

This steampunk-esque mystery takes place in an alternate version of our world and features one of the most unique and intriguing magic systems I have ever read. Main character Joel as always been intrigued by the Rithmatists that share his school campus, as the duels they have by bringing chalk drawings to life. He wishes more than anything that he could be one of them, but he missed his chance. This book will eventually have a sequel, but for now is a satisfying standalone.

The Characters. Though I didn’t get as attached to the characters in this book as I did to the ones in Skyward, they were still interesting and fun. I really felt for Joel, and his interactions with Melody were hilarious. The two of them had a rocky start, but managed to become friends over the course of the book.

The Plot. As far as mysteries go, it did it’s job. I legitimately thought I had discovered who the villain was when I was about half way through the book. I was so very wrong. The twist was excellent and well earned. As far as endings go, the last scenes is one of my favorite conclusions to any book ever. It was so satisfying and adorable, despite not being romantic.

The Setting. This setting managed to combine the accessibility of a contemporary with the wonder of a fantasy story. It was truly masterful and very intriguing.

Elantris -Adult

Elantris, though geared towards adults, is appropriate for teens as well. It is a little less accessible than the previous two books on this list, as the extensive world building and more complex magic system make it a more complicated read. Set in a fantasy world, it is told from the rotating perspectives of three characters. Raodin, a prince who “dies” in the first few pages and is sent into the city of Elantris. Sarene, the woman who was about to marry Raodin before he was sent to Elantris. And Hrathen, a priest who was sent to convert an entire country to his religion, before they are destroyed. This is a standalone with no planned sequel.

The Characters. Raodin was such a refreshing main character. A man who is truly a good person who attempts to make the best of a truly horrible situation. Sarene was also a great character, smart and stubborn and very capable. Hrathen was a little less interesting to me. I understood his motivations, but didn’t relate to him.

The Plot. The plot was unique and interesting, allowing the characters to shine and grow, much like Skyward. The mystery elements, though not the focal point, were very well handled, they kept me wondering and were resolved very satisfyingly.

The Setting. I wont say much about the setting, since learning about Elantris alongside Raodin was one of my favorite parts of the book, but it was interesting and really highlighted the story as a whole.

The Way of Kings – Adult

Disclamer: this book is huge. Its probably one of the biggest books I’ve ever read, and its definitely the most complex and intricate. Because of it’s size, I was worried it would be a slow book that didn’t keep me invested. I was very wrong. This book is an epic fantasy. Like Elantris, it’s adult category is not because of mature content, but rather it’s complexity. It is the first book in a series, in which three books have been released, with the fourth due to come out this year.

The plot is difficult to summarize, so here’s the official blurb:

According to mythology mankind used to live in The Tranquiline Halls. Heaven. But then the Voidbringers assaulted and captured heaven, casting out God and men. Men took root on Roshar, the world of storms. And the Voidbringers followed…

They came against man ten thousand times. To help them cope, the Almighty gave men powerful suits of armor and mystical weapons, known as Shardblades. Led by ten angelic Heralds and ten orders of knights known as Radiants, mankind finally won.

Or so the legends say. Today, the only remnants of those supposed battles are the Shardblades, the possession of which makes a man nearly invincible on the battlefield. The entire world is at war with itself – and has been for centuries since the Radiants turned against mankind. Kings strive to win more Shardblades, each secretly wishing to be the one who will finally unite all of mankind under a single throne.

On a world scoured down to the rock by terrifying hurricanes that blow through every few day a young spearman forced into the army of a Shardbearer, led to war against an enemy he doesn’t understand and doesn’t really want to fight.

What happened deep in mankind’s past?

Why did the Radiants turn against mankind, and what happened to the magic they used to wield?

The Characters. There is a lot of characters, far too many to mention here, so we’ll just focus on the main character, Kaladin. His struggle is so real and raw. His past haunts him, pushing him to try his best to protect those around him, and to blame himself when he can’t. Remember how I said I don’t cry much while reading? Well Kaladin’s arc and struggle hit me hard several times, and he has become one of my favorite characters. Ever.

The Plot. Masterful. Intricate. So vast it’s hard to explain here, yet still remarkably easy to follow and to be invested in. It’s worth the time you’ll have to invest to read this book.

The Setting. This setting brings the “epic” to “epic fantasy”. Everything I said about the plot applies here as well. It’s intricate and vast, and I can’t wait to explore more of it as I continue the series.


I’ve really enjoyed reading these books, and I’m sure I’ll continue to love diving into Sanderson’s novels as I continue to check them off my TBR.

Have you read any of these books? Would you like to in the future? Let me know in the comments!

Until next time,

A Plethora of Quarantine Reviews

Hello dear readers! I have been reading a lot lately. I have a stack of library books that comes up to my knee on the floor of my bedroom, with more to come. So I figured I would review a bunch of books today. Five to be exact. This is going to be a pretty long post, so let’s get right into it.

Moonscript by H.S.J Williams

3.5/5 stars

Blurb: “It is said that Darkness is empty and whatever vanishes into its depths is lost forever. I know this better than anyone. For I have suffered here in the shadows, and there are none who might find me.”

Seventy years. Seventy years the elven prince has been lost to the darkness, assumed dead by his people and endlessly broken for a book that connects to the hidden realm of his ancestors, a land untouched by evil.

And now a light in the shadows. A chance for freedom. But those willing to help him come from the unlikeliest of worlds.

The orphan girl, yearning for a loving family, and the boy who won’t leave her side. A healer maiden given an unexpected chance for a life beyond narrowed expectations. A grieving creature flown far from home.

They all search for something and now their fates are tied to his. If their quest for life can pull him from the dark mire in which his soul drowns, then perhaps he can be saved.

Or else he will drag them all down to a fate worse than death.

The beginning of an epic saga, MOONSCRIPT is a journey of innocence, despair, and redemption.

Overall:

I have friends who loved this book with every fiber of their being (Looking at you, Hannah) but I didn’t love it. I didn’t dislike it, I didn’t dread picking it up every time I read it. I did finish it. I just didn’t get super into it. 

There are a lot of people out there who do and would love this book. If you love large scale adventure stories, elves, and great themes, be sure to check it out. Fans of Lord of The Rings, this book is right up your alley. 

What I loved:

Themes: The themes in this book were presented very well. You’re are never too far gone to be forgiven, there is a family out there for everyone, the loyalty of friends. Overall, the themes were great. 

Descriptions: There was a lot of setting description, some of it beautifully poetic. I could imagine every place the characters went. 

What I didn’t love:

Characters: The characters are where I really struggled with this book. I felt that the only character who truly had an arc was Errance. And, other than small paragraphs at the beginning of each chapter, we never really got to see the world from his point of view. My favorite character, Kelm, was a sweet and honest young man. While he was a rather flat character, I did enjoy it when he was on the page. All in all, I never really got invested in the characters, which made the rest of the reading experience less immersive and less suspenseful. 

Plot: I didn’t dislike the plot of this book, per se. I just I never really got into it. The reason for that, however, is because I didn’t really get into the characters. 

I was given an ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. These were my honest thoughts. 

The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud

5/5 stars

Blurb: A sinister Problem has occurred in London: all nature of ghosts, haunts, spirits, and specters are appearing throughout the city, and they aren’t exactly friendly. Only young people have the psychic abilities required to see-and eradicate-these supernatural foes. Many different Psychic Detection Agencies have cropped up to handle the dangerous work, and they are in fierce competition for business.

In The Screaming Staircase, the plucky and talented Lucy Carlyle teams up with Anthony Lockwood, the charismatic leader of Lockwood & Co, a small agency that runs independent of any adult supervision. After an assignment leads to both a grisly discovery and a disastrous end, Lucy, Anthony, and their sarcastic colleague, George, are forced to take part in the perilous investigation of Combe Carey Hall, one of the most haunted houses in England. Will Lockwood & Co. survive the Hall’s legendary Screaming Staircase and Red Room to see another day?

Readers who enjoyed the action, suspense, and humor in Jonathan Stroud’s internationally best-selling Bartimaeus books will be delighted to find the same ingredients, combined with deliciously creepy scares, in his thrilling and chilling Lockwood & Co. series.

Overall:

This book had been sitting on my TBR for ages, due to a friend of mine with obvious great taste (Thanks, Evie) and when Mya got the first book for me for Christmas (Thanks, Mya) I finally got around to reading it.

I was skeptical at first since paranormal fiction had never even been on my radar as something I would read. Ghost hunting teenagers? Not my cup of tea (British pun very much intended). Or so I thought. 

I was very wrong. This book had me hooked in seconds. 

Fans of Sherlock, immersive world-building, engaging character development, and a touch of horror (I don’t generally like horror, and I liked it) would love this read.

What I loved:

Characters: I. LOVE. THESE. CHARACTERS. The Screaming Staircase is told in first person from the perspective of the fiery Lucy Carlyle. The other two main characters are the fearless Anthony J. Lockwood and sarcastic George Cubbins. All three of them stole my heart, especially when they were all together, arguing about cookies or ghosts. Lucy’s narration and perspective on the other characters made this book so immersive, and her sass and stubbornness are amazingly portrayed. Anthony Lockwood is a secretive character whose past is elaborated on as the series continues. Despite the mystery surrounding his childhood, his personality is clear and very entertaining. And then there’s George Cubbins. Though he first comes off as abrasive, he quickly grows on you and his humor makes potentially dark scenes a lot lighter. 

Plot: Despite the fact that I would read about these characters doing literally anything, the plot is super unique and engaging. It showcases all of the character’s flaws and quirks so wonderfully and had me invested and intrigued right up until the end. 

Description: Atmospheric is the only word. All the settings in this book were so vivid, from the streets of London to the clutter of 35 Portland Row to the eerie haunted houses the characters visit throughout the book. I could also imagine each character with extreme clarity. 

Flashbacks: I rarely see a more excellent use of flashbacks than is utilized in this series. They reveal so much about the characters and add so much depth, without wrecking the flow of the overall story.

Suspense: Not gonna lie, parts of this book (and the whole series) legitimately scared me. I’m a total wimp when it comes to horror of any kind, so it’s not much of a surprise. However, the humor in this book balanced the suspense out beautifully. It succeeded in having me on the edge of my seat without giving me nightmares. 

Themes: The characters certainly grew over the course of the book, and much more so over the course of the series. Themes like learning to trust yourself and others, dealing with grief and fear, and many others were showcased. It added another layer of excellency to the books. Although they didn’t change my life or inspire me greatly, they contributed very well to the story.

What I didn’t love:

Ending: I didn’t have a problem with the ending, just the fact that it ended. 

Winterborne Home for Vengeance and Valor by Ally Carter

5/5 stars. All the stars.

Blurb: April didn’t mean to start the fire. She wasn’t the one who broke the vase. April didn’t ask to go live in a big, creepy mansion with a bunch of orphans who just don’t understand that April isn’t like them. After all, April’s mother is coming back for her someday very soon.

All April has to do is find the clues her mother left inside the massive mansion. But Winterborne House is hiding more than one secret, so April and her friends are going to have to work together to unravel the riddle of a missing heir, a creepy legend, and a mysterious key before the only home they’ve ever known is lost to them forever.

Overall:

Ally Carter is one of my favorite authors, so when I heard she was writing a middle-grade book I was thrilled. I had high expectations for this book, and they were blown out of the water. It’s like everything Ally Carter had ever written was building up to this glorious novel. 

I smiled throughout this whole book. 

What I loved:

Characters: These characters stole my heart and didn’t give it back. They will have it for all eternity. April is the perfect main character for this story, and she was the perfect balance between clever and a kid. Violet is a shy girl who is amazing at art and really grows over the course of the book. And you can’t mention Violet without mentioning Tim, her “guard dog” during her time in the foster care system. Each little glimpse into is past casts him in a new light and I can’t wait to learn more about him as the story continues. Next is the adorable Sadie, inventor extraordinaire, even if her inventions often… malfunction. And finally, Colin. Up and coming con-man, British, and probably my favorite character in the book. They all have their pasts and quirks, but my favorite thing about these characters is that they’re kids.

Plot: This book had a mystery element to it that propelled the story along in a series of questions, answers, and more questions. The characters drove the plot, which made it much more engaging. Saying much more would give away some of the excellent plot twists, so I’ll leave it there. 

Themes: I’m a sucker for found-family stories, and this is the epitome of that trope. It leaves you with that warm and fuzzy feeling and is one of my favorite themes ever. Your family isn’t just who you’re related to. That’s just the best. 

Description: Although the descriptions aren’t as atmospheric as books like The Screaming Staircase or Caraval, Ally Carter used them as a way to expand on April as a character, and how she sees the world, which I just loved. 

What I didn’t love:

I have no complaints. Ally Carter is a genius.

In 27 Days (Blink) by Alison Gervais

4.5/5 stars

Blurb: Hadley Jamison is shocked when she hears that her classmate, Archer Morales, has committed suicide. She didn’t know the quiet, reserved guy very well, but that doesn’t stop her from feeling there was something she could have done to help him.

Hoping to find some sense of closure, Hadley attends Archer’s funeral. There, she is approached by a man who calls himself Death and offers her a deal. If Hadley accepts, she will be sent back twenty-seven days in time to prevent Archer from killing himself. But when Hadley agrees to Death’s terms and goes back to right the past, she quickly learns her mission is harder than she ever could have known.

Time ticks away as Hadley looks for ways to not only talk to Archer but to know him on a deeper level. But just as she and Archer connect, a series of dangerous accidents starts pushing them apart. Hadley must decide whether she is ready to risk everything—including her life—to keep Archer alive.

Overall:

Carlye and Mya recommended this one to me, so I grabbed the kindle copy from the library. It’s safe to say that those two know what they’re talking about. I read it all at once, almost walked into a few walls too, I couldn’t put it down.

What I loved:

Characters: I found the characters in this book interesting. Main character Hadley could have had some more internal conflict, in my opinion, since most of her conflict was linked with Archer. Archer was developed very well, and his huge Italian family was absolutely amazing.

Plot: I knew from the blurb that this book was going to be very unique and deal with some heavy topics, such as suicide. I thought it was done very well, and was presented in a very considerate and realistic way. It focused on the real effects and consequences of suicide and was very impactful.

Themes: The themes in this book were tied so closely with the plot, so I feel like I already touched on them, but again it was a very impactful read.

What I didn’t love:

Pacing: The pacing was a little off for me during certain parts of the book. The climax especially felt a bit rushed.

Dear Ally, How Do You Write a Book? By Ally Carter

5/5 stars

Blurb: Have you always wanted to write a book, but don’t know where to start? Or maybe you’re really great at writing the first few chapters . . . but you never quite make it to the end? Or do you finally have a finished manuscript, but you’re not sure what to do next? Fear not — if you have writing-related questions, this book has answers!

Whether you’re writing for fun or to build a career, bestselling author Ally Carter is ready to help you make your work shine. With honesty, encouragement, and humor, Ally’s ready here to answer the questions that writers struggle with the most.

Filled with practical tips and helpful advice, Dear Ally is a treasure for aspiring writers at any stage of their careers. It offers a behind-the-scenes look at how books get made, from idea to publication, and gives you insight into the writing processes of some of the biggest and most talented YA authors writing today.

Overall:

This is the only non-fiction book I’m reviewing today, so I wont be going over characters and plot and stuff like that.

This book was super helpful, and I recommend it to writers everywhere. It had really great perspective on plotting vs panting, editing, outlining and a bunch of other stuff. It had solutions to so many writing problems that I was having. I also loved that it wasn’t just Ally’s answers, she got input from a ton of other authors to, which showed a lot of different methods. 10/10 recommend.


Woo, that was a long post, but I hope at least one of these books interested you. I can vouch for the fact that they’re wonderful time-passers during quarantine.

Until next time,

Book Review: The Blood Spell by CJ Redwine

Blue de la Cour has her life planned: hide the magic in her blood and continue trying to turn metal into gold so she can help her city’s homeless. But when her father is murdered and a cruel but powerful woman claims custody of Blue and her property, one wrong move could expose her—and doom her once and for all. The only one who can help? The boy she’s loathed since childhood: Prince Kellan.
Kellan Renard, crown prince of Balavata, is walking a thin line between political success and devastating violence. Newly returned from boarding school, he must find a bride among the kingdom’s head families and announce his betrothal—but escalating violence among the families makes the search nearly impossible. He’s surprised to discover that the one person who makes him feel like he can breathe is Blue, the girl who once ruined all his best adventures. When mysterious forces lead to disappearances throughout Balavata, Blue and Kellan must work together to find the truth. What they discover will lead them to the darkest reaches of the kingdom, and to the most painful moments of their pasts.
When romance is forbidden and evil is rising, can Blue save those she loves, even if it costs her everything?


Hello dear readers! I haven’t done a book review in a while, but I recently read The Blood Spell by CJ Redwine. I fell in love with the characters, the plot, the world-building, and the uniqueness of it. It’s unlike any Cinderella retelling I’ve read.

The Blood Spell is the fourth book in The Ravenspire Series, a series of standalone fairytale retellings, which means they aren’t necessary to read in order. Each book takes place in a different kingdom in the same world. Even though each book has a new set of characters, there are fun cameos throughout the series, so the past main characters are not forgotten. This does mean that if you read them out of order, you may not recognize the cameos when they happen. The books are still understandable on their own, but it can be fun to read them in order just to smile when the old characters show up again.

The first book, The Shadow Queen, is a Snow White retelling. The second, The Wish Granter, Is a Rumpelstiltskin retelling. The third, The Traitor Prince, is a retelling of The Prince and the Pauper. Finally, as I mentioned above, The Blood Spell is a Cinderella retelling.

Looking back on the series, it is my opinion that The Blood Spell is by far the best book. The Shadow Queen is good, but does have cliche elements. The Wish Granter is better, probably my second favorite of the series, I love the characters in it. The Traitor Prince is also good, the world-building was really interesting. They are all worth reading, but when the first three books are compared to The Blood Spell… there isn’t much competition for me.

The Blood Spell is a truly beautiful novel. Main characters Blue and Kellan are both unique and have a lot of depth. Blue is passionate, yet compassionate, which is a welcome change from some popular YA protagonists. She is also really relatable, both because of her personality and the fact that she loves food and hates mornings. Prince Kellan seems like a charming prince that doesn’t let anything get to him, because that’s a necessary facade to keep up in the nobility. However, he has really sweet and caring personality and will do anything for those he loves. He’s reckless at the beginning of the story, but seeing him develop as a character and a person was one of my favorite parts of reading this book.

The romance between Blue and Kellan is wonderfully done, and CJ Redwine, as a Christian, keeps it clean and enjoyable. Its one of the best romances I’ve read in a long time, and it incorporated so wonderfully into their character arcs and the plot. Blue and Kellan have known each other since they were kids, but do not get along at the beginning of the book. Their teasing banter had me laughing out loud on several occasions. I loved watching them get rid of the assumptions they made about each other and then falling in love. It was so, so fun and left me with a warm and fuzzy feeling inside. Honestly, the whole book left me with a warm and fuzzy feeling inside.

The side characters were interesting as well, the most prominent two being Nessa (Kellan’s little sister) and Blue’s Grandmother. I loved both of these characters and what they added to the story. Especially Nessa, who is fierce in her own way, has an adorable relationship with her older brother, and made up her own sign language? Yes, that’s right, she’s that cool.

Another thing I loved about this book is how the plot was so developed and intriguing that the Cinderella aspects felt like they added a new layer to the plot. Rather than making up the entire plot, and therefore making it predictable, they felt necessary and unique. From the “evil stepmother” to the “fairy godmother” to the slippers Blue wears to the ball, everything has a true purpose and brings new aspects to the story.

The world-building was also intriguing, and I loved how we got to see two vastly different sides of the kingdom from Blue and Kellan’s different point of views. Blue is a commoner that is aware of the problem that Balavata (the kingdom) is having with the people, often orphans, that are living on the street. Her heart for the homeless not only reveals her character but also details of daily life in Balavata. Kellan, on the other hand, is the crown prince. He is aware of the problems the country has at large, especially with the nine “head families”, who make Kellan’s life pretty difficult. The best part of having both of these point of veiws, is that Blue and Kellan share these views with each other, which makes each of them more understanding of the kingdom as a whole, and more understanding of each other.

I could honestly go on forever about all the amazing qualities of this book. In fact, the other day Merie asked me if I had anything negative to say about it, and I was surprised to say that I didn’t. I rate it 5 out of 5 stars, and I recommend it to absolutely everyone.


Quick reminder that if you are participating in the short story contest, stories are due by March 12. Its coming up quickly! I can’t wait to read everyone’s entries as they come in!


AMAZON | GOODREADS

Until next time,