The Wicked King by Holly Black – The Folk of the Air #2

I have been sooooo excited to read this book, considering how much I adored The Cruel Prince!

This book has also been highly anticipated by many Holly Black fans and others in the book community, so the hype was definitely there. I waited quite a while to read this book (even though the anticipation was KILLING me) because I didn’t want to be swayed by anyone else’s opinion …. so here are my thoughts:

26032887Summary (Goodreads): You must be strong enough to strike and strike and strike again without tiring.

The first lesson is to make yourself strong.

After the jaw-dropping revelation that Oak is the heir to Faerie, Jude must keep her younger brother safe. To do so, she has bound the wicked king, Cardan, to her, and made herself the power behind the throne. Navigating the constantly shifting political alliances of Faerie would be difficult enough if Cardan were easy to control. But he does everything in his power to humiliate and undermine her even as his fascination with her remains undiminished.

When it becomes all too clear that someone close to Jude means to betray her, threatening her own life and the lives of everyone she loves, Jude must uncover the traitor and fight her own complicated feelings for Cardan to maintain control as a mortal in a Faerie world.

 


Review:  I would highly recommend if you don’t remember what happened in The Cruel Prince that you read it right before reading this book because the story takes off right where the previous one ended.

Once again, the author did a great job with pacing and characterization. There was never a dull moment in the story, which means the reader is always kept hooked to the story. The characters also stay true to their nature, which is something I always appreciate because there are many cases where the things you loved about a character tend to disappear as the series progresses. If anything, some of the characters seemed to reveal their treacherous nature even more, which just made this novel even more enjoyable for me. The one thing I will mention is that I wasn’t as enchanted with Jude as I used to be; for a character that is constantly mentioning how deceptive this world is and how careful she must be with her trust, she really does a bad job of avoiding traps. Nevertheless, her misadventures and attempts to get out of sticky situations got my heart pumping and she had my support throughout the story.

The one thing I couldn’t help noticing – and maybe this is just a small pet peeve of mine – is that the language being used in the story was not always consistent with the setting. For instance, Jude and some of the other characters in faerie would use common modern slang at times, which was incongruent with their position in the faerie court and the world that they were in. Now, I know Jude is human and would visit the human world, so I can excuse her use of slang but why characters like Cardan or other fae would do so just made no sense to me.

All in all, I really enjoyed reading this book. It had great pacing, plenty of twists and turns to keep readers interested, and the same awesome characters I fell for in The Cruel Prince. I cannot wait to see what the author will come up with in the next book in this series: Queen of Nothing! I’m giving this a solid 4/5 stars!

4 star

Happy reading ~

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Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand

Thank you to Edelweiss and the publisher for this eARC in exchange for my honest review.

My first encounter with Claire Legrand was when I read the book Furyborn. I absolutely loved it and I’m still eagerly anticipating the sequel. In the meantime, I found out that Legrand was releasing another novel and I knew I had to get my hands on it ASAP! So here I am, having read it and I’m finally ready to share my thoughts:

38139409Summary (Goodreads): Beware of the woods and the dark, dank deep. He’ll follow you home, and he won’t let you sleep.

Who are the Sawkill Girls?

Marion: the new girl. Awkward and plain, steady and dependable. Weighed down by tragedy and hungry for love she’s sure she’ll never find.

Zoey: the pariah. Luckless and lonely, hurting but hiding it. Aching with grief and dreaming of vanished girls. Maybe she’s broken—or maybe everyone else is.

Val: the queen bee. Gorgeous and privileged, ruthless and regal. Words like silk and eyes like knives, a heart made of secrets and a mouth full of lies.

Their stories come together on the island of Sawkill Rock, where gleaming horses graze in rolling pastures and cold waves crash against black cliffs. Where kids whisper the legend of an insidious monster at parties and around campfires.

Where girls have been disappearing for decades, stolen away by a ravenous evil no one has dared to fight… until now.

 


Review: While I thought this story was interesting, it didn’t quite hold the spark for me that Furyborn did.

I really liked that it featured 3 strong female characters who were all very different. Marion was a girl who was consumed by grief and while she could be annoying at times, her behaviour and personality made sense with what was happening in her life. Zoey was spunky and asexual and the kind of character you always want to root for. My personal favourite character was Val. She may seem like the typical popular “bitchy” girl, but there is so much more to her and the story really allows you to connect with her.

But apart from the character development and their interactions with each other, I didn’t really enjoy the story. I think my two biggest problems with this book was that it felt childish at times and that there were too many themes that the author was trying to address all at one go.

In terms of maturity, this novel was a bit too childish even for a teen read. I think my comments regarding this stem from my experience with Furyborn: while that was also a teen read, it had some maturity to it that made me take the story seriously. My feelings about this book might be a bit unfair in that I’m comparing these 2 novels together but it did affect my ability to enjoy this novel.

There were quite a few themes that the author tried to explore in this story …. but I felt that it was detrimental to the story in the sense that none of the themes were really explored as fully as they could be and it detracted from the story itself, leaving many vague plot points that the reader just had to deal with. Throughout the story, I was left with tons of questions that were just never answered. For instance, where did the monster that terrorized these girls come from? Why was the rock (is it a rock, is it the earth, is it the island?!) talking to these girls? And where did this random organization come from?! There were so many things that the reader was just supposed to accept and that really didn’t work for me. I want proper world-building and explanations for things or else I just can’t enjoy the story! Perhaps if the author had focused her attention on this rather than trying to shove in a bunch of feminist themes, it would have been better.

Now, before you take offense, I do think the themes that the author brought in were important. They should be addressed and we need more books that talk about sexuality and the struggles of women to be recognized as independent, to be more than just sacrificial lambs. But this just happened in bursts here and there and wasn’t fully developed. While the intent was great, the execution didn’t really work, making it a moot point.

Overall, this story had a lot of potential and it had an interesting plot. However, the execution was just not where I wanted it to be. I’m still looking forward to reading more by this author because Furyborn was absolutely fantastic. But this book gets a 2/5 stars from me.

2 star

Happy reading ~

Children of Daedala by Caighlan Smith – Children of Icarus #2

Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for this eARC in exchange for my honest review.

When I was approved for this title, I had not realized that it was part of a series. I went through a lot of trouble to order the first book Children of Icarus and read it prior to this one. You can find my review of the first book here. Suffice to say, I did not enjoy the first book. However, I was determined to not let my previous experience cloud my judgement with this next installment. Here are my thoughts:

36049722Summary (Goodreads): Six months alone in the labyrinth has made her strong. But the search for the exit means gambling on an old ‘friend’ and going against everything she’s been taught to survive. You know the labyrinth will have yet more horrors lurking in its depths. You’ve learned few people can be trusted. But freedom is tantalizingly close. Are you ready to take the risk?


This book is an improvement from the first novel. But not by much. I still didn’t love this story as much as I had hoped. NB: you will definitely not understand this book if you haven’t read the first novel in the series!

The main character – who was still Nameless – wasn’t as irritating in this book as she was in the last. She came into her abilities a lot more in this novel so I wasn’t as mad when reading. But there were so many new characters that were involved and they all were just so flat and one-dimensional that it was hard to tell them apart. I had a tough time telling who was an ally and who was an enemy because they all sounded the same.

There was less violence in this story but it was still unnecessarily violent and graphic at times. Now, I love gore but even I had to say that there was too much of it in this series – and that’s saying something! I also thought that the book was unnecessarily long. It could easily have been a good 100 pages shorter, without losing any plot. Maybe that’s because not much happens in the story. I kept wondering when things would get going but it never really did. I definitely felt that this novel suffered from second-book-syndrome in that it was just filler until the next book came out.

I also felt that there just weren’t enough questions answered. The first novel left me with a lot of questions and I was hoping this one would provide some answers. Instead, it presented more questions. The story also lacked a solid backstory. I wanted to know more about how things got to be the way they were but that didn’t really happen, which was disappointing. I wanted more mythology and more explanations about mythology for those people who perhaps weren’t as familiar with mythology. This was definitely lacking in both books in this series.

Overall, this novel, while an improvement from the first in the series, was still not what I wanted or expected. Since it has gotten better, I’m going to give it a 2/5 stars. But I don’t think I’m going to be sticking to this series.

2 star

Happy reading ~

Strange Grace by Tessa Gratton

Thank you to Edelweiss and the publishers for this eARC in exchange for my honest review.

I love dark fantasy stories. And this one? Well, it sounded pretty dark to me. I was very excited to get the chance to read this ARC, especially when it has such a pretty cover. And the best part? This is a standalone so I knew I didn’t have to worry about waiting forever for the next book in the series. So let’s get on with the review:

32824058Summary (Goodreads): Once, a witch made a pact with a devil. The legend says they loved each other, but can the story be trusted at all?

Long ago, a village made a bargain with the devil: to ensure their prosperity, when the Slaughter Moon rises, the village must sacrifice a young man into the depths of the Devil’s Forest.

Only this year, the Slaughter Moon has risen early.

Bound by duty, secrets, and the love they share for one another, Mairwen, a spirited witch; Rhun, the expected saint; and Arthur, a restless outcast, will each have a role to play as the devil demands a body to fill the bargain. But the devil these friends find is not the one they expect, and the lies they uncover will turn their town—and their hearts—inside out.

 


Review: Initially, this novel started off quite slow, which worried me because I wanted something with a ton of action. But after a few chapters, the story started to shine and I was hooked.

I actually really liked the plot of this story. The entire premise of a place where people could live a peaceful life in exchange for a sacrifice once every 7 years was very interesting, and the mentality of the people about this was both bizarre and understandable at the same time. I think the author set up the story very well and there was a lot of depth and darkness to the plot; this is in no way a light and happy read. The author took a unique approach in that she did not make the events in the forest the main part of the story; instead, the story could be divided into before entering the forest, and after entering the forest. Most authors would have tried to capitalize on the experience in the forest itself, making it the entire plot of the story. I actually enjoyed this new approach because it added more intrigue to the story. What happened in the forest? How did it change the various characters? What is the big secret?

I did think that the two major reveals in this story weren’t that hard to guess. Well, okay, let me be more fair. I think the first reveal that occurs right after the forest wasn’t really explained well enough to give me that shock factor. When that truth came out, I thought … wait, isn’t that how it was supposed to be? There was a question raised from that secret (sorry for being so cryptic in my explanation but I really don’t want to spoil anything!) that I don’t think was ever properly addressed, so that was a bit of a bummer. Nevertheless, I did like the way things came to a climax and the final conclusion of the story. It was well-rounded and tied up all loose ends.

My one issue with this novel was with the main characters, specifically Mairwen and Arthur. I just couldn’t get my head around their personalities. Arthur has a very abrasive personality, and while the author tried to justify it, I felt it was a bit too abrasive for me to connect with him. I couldn’t really empathize with a character that was constantly attacking people and sneering at those who cared for him. And that brings me to Mairwen’s character. She supposedly cared for Arthur but I never really felt that? Perhaps the author was trying to portray a love-hate relationship that was complex, but it felt quite forced for me, with no real tenderness to it. I also didn’t really get a sense of Mairwen’s personality. All I knew was that she kept getting “called” or drawn to the forest. Apart from that (and her confusing feelings for the other characters), there really didn’t seem much to her. She kept being called weird but I didn’t really see what was so weird about her? It was all a bit strange and I think this aspect of the novel could have been strengthened.

This novel started off slow, but as the darker elements of the story began to unfold, I was drawn into it and could not wait to see how things would end. However, the characters were not developed as well as I would have liked, which affected my ability to fully connect with this story. For those reasons, I’m giving it a 3/5 stars!

3 star

Happy reading ~

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

As I wait for the sequel to The Cruel Prince to be released, I decided to check out other books by this author. I was really happy to find that the author has written many standalone books, because I’m not sure if I’m up for the commitment of a series right now – I have far too many series to complete as it is! I decided to read this one in audiobook format, because I’ve been doing a lot of commuting and haven’t had a lot of time to crack open a physical book. Here is my review:

20958632Summary (Goodreads): Children can have a cruel, absolute sense of justice. Children can kill a monster and feel quite proud of themselves. A girl can look at her brother and believe they’re destined to be a knight and a bard who battle evil. She can believe she’s found the thing she’s been made for.

Hazel lives with her brother, Ben, in the strange town of Fairfold where humans and fae exist side by side. The faeries’ seemingly harmless magic attracts tourists, but Hazel knows how dangerous they can be, and she knows how to stop them. Or she did, once.

At the center of it all, there is a glass coffin in the woods. It rests right on the ground and in it sleeps a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives. Hazel and Ben were both in love with him as children. The boy has slept there for generations, never waking.

Until one day, he does…

As the world turns upside down, Hazel tries to remember her years pretending to be a knight. But swept up in new love, shifting loyalties, and the fresh sting of betrayal, will it be enough?

 


Review:

So the premise of this novel was very interesting. I loved the idea of putting a story about the fae in a modern setting. Usually, you only read about characters being transported to the world of the fae or vice versa, so it was refreshing to have this element of magical realism/urban fantasy in the story.

But while the story started off well, it didn’t stay that way. Something about the way the story was presented just didn’t hold my attention. I wasn’t really able to pinpoint if it was the writing style itself or the plot, but it just felt a bit bland compared to the description I was given at the beginning. I was missing that building tension, that darkness that this novel was promising to deliver.

Some of my unhappiness with the story can also be attributed to the portrayal of the characters: it just wasn’t done very well. They just lacked personality and I couldn’t feel a connection to them – or between them. There were quite a few instances of romance in the story but it just felt so unnatural and forced; it was more of an insta-love situation than a gradual buildup of emotion. Even the fact that there was an LGBTQ+ presence couldn’t save it.

Maybe it was the poor characterization. Or maybe it was my expectations for a dark and creepy tale. Either way, this novel let me down. Now, this doesn’t mean I won’t try other books by Holly Black. I clearly LOVED The Cruel Prince. However, this is one of her earlier books and it may just not have been my cup of tea. I’m giving this story a 2/5 stars, but I am definitely not giving up on this author!

2 star

Happy reading ~

A Touch of Gold by Annie Sullivan

I read this book back in March but I wanted to time my review to be closer to the release date so that it could be more relevant for readers! Thank you to Edelweiss for the review copy in exchange for my honest review.

I love mythology and seeing that this book is inspired by the story of King Midas was one of its biggest selling points. I was excited to see how the author would take the original story and put some life into it!

36575823Summary (Goodreads): King Midas once had the ability to turn all he touched into gold. But after his gift—or curse—almost killed his daughter, Midas relinquished The Touch forever. Ten years later, Princess Kora still bears the consequences of her father’s wish: her skin shines golden, rumors follow her everywhere she goes, and she harbors secret powers that are getting harder to hide.
Kora spends her days locked in the palace, concealed behind gloves and veils, trying to ignore the stares and gossip of courtiers. It isn’t until a charming young duke arrives that Kora realizes there may be someone out there who doesn’t fear her or her curse. But their courtship is disrupted when a thief steals precious items from the kingdom, leaving the treasury depleted and King Midas vulnerable. Thanks to her unique ability to sense gold, Kora is the only one who can track the thief down. As she sails off on her quest, Kora learns that not everything is what it seems—not thieves, not pirates, and not even curses. She quickly discovers that gold—and the power it brings—is more dangerous than she’d ever believed.

Midas learned his lesson at a price. What will Kora’s journey cost?


Review: I wish I could say this book earned high praise from me. But I can’t. This book, with its amazing premise, fell short of my expectations and ended up being just like every other generic teen fantasy novel out there.

Let me start by saying that the writing was very nice. There was consistency in flow and voice, so that it was easy for the reader to stay immersed within the story. I wouldn’t say that the world-building was terribly unique; there was a little bit of name-dropping but other than that, the details of the world were quite sparse. However, I wasn’t too bothered with it.

Unfortunately, the writing is the only positive thing I can say about this book. Everything else was just too cookie-cutter for me to enjoy.

First of all, we are shown our main character who is naive to a fault, and is scared of everything. She is your typical plain heroine who needs someone to save her and make her feel better about, well, everything. I really dislike main characters who are dependent on others and don’t do anything on their own. So this novel automatically got one strike from me.

The next problem I had with this novel was that it was predictable. SO predictable. By the time I finished a quarter of the book, I had already figured out how everything would work. And I was right about almost everything. I pegged the villains perfectly as well as the love interest. I was also able to figure out the direction of the story. I hate that I was able to guess everything right away because I immediately lost interest in the story; there was nothing new to it so I just couldn’t care. I liked the pirate aspect of the novel, which I thought was very unique. But there wasn’t enough of it and it wasn’t developed very well. If I had to describe this novel, I would say that this is more about Kora’s insecurities than about her quest to save her father. Everywhere you turn, you have to brace yourself against Kora’s need for others to help her and her inability to figure anything out for herself. All of the action was mired by this intense focus, and that is such a shame because this novel had so much potential.

I think that this novel is for a very juvenile audience, and for those who love romance and insecure protagonists. I was expecting a story rich in mythology and with plenty of adventure. Instead, I was saddled with Kora and a plot that was too simplistic to hold my attention. For those reasons, I’m giving this a 1.5/5 stars, rounded to 2.

Happy reading ~

Song of Blood and Stone by L. Penelope [BLOG TOUR]

I’m so stoked to be a part of the blog tour organized by St. Martin’s Press and the author!

Song of Blood & Stone_cover image.jpgSummary: Orphaned and alone, Jasminda lives in a land where cold whispers of invasion and war linger on the wind. Jasminda herself is an outcast in her homeland of Elsira, where her gift of Earthsong is feared. When ruthless soldiers seek refuge in her isolated cabin, they bring with them a captive–an injured spy who threatens to steal her heart.
Jack’s mission behind enemy lines to prove that the Mantle between Elsira and Lagamiri is about to fall nearly cost him his life, but he is saved by the healing Song of a mysterious young woman. Now he must do whatever it takes to save Elsira and it’s people from the True Father and he needs Jasminda’s Earthsong to do it. They escape their ruthless captors and together they embark on a perilous journey to save Elsira and to uncover the secrets of The Queen Who Sleeps.
Thrust into a hostile society, Jasminda and Jack must rely on one another even as secrets jeopardize their bond. As an ancient evil gains power, Jasminda races to unlock a mystery that promises salvation. The fates of two nations hang in the balance as Jasminda and Jack must choose between love and duty to fulfill their destinies and end the war.

Here is an excerpt from this book:

Jack had found himself in a great many hopeless situations in his life, but this one was the grand champion—a twenty­two­year rec­ord for dire occurrences. He only hoped this wouldn’t be the last occurrence and sent up yet another prayer that he might live to see his twenty­third year. The temperature had dropped precipitously. His spine was as­saulted by the rocky ground on which he lay, but really that was the least of his discomforts. His vision had begun to swim about an hour ago, and so at first he thought the girl looming above him was a mirage. She peered down at his hiding spot behind a cluster of coarse shrubbery, her
head cocked at an angle. Jack went to stand, years of breeding kick­ing in, his muscle memory offended at the idea of not standing in the presence of a lady, but apparently his muscles had forgotten the bullet currently lodged within them. And the girl was Lagrimari— not strictly a lady, but a woman nonetheless—and a beautiful one, he noticed as he squinted into the dying light. Wild, midnight curls floated carelessly around her head, and piercing dark eyes regarded him. Her dress was drab and tattered, but her smooth skin was a
confectioner’s delight. His stomach growled. When was the last time he’d eaten?
Her presence meant he was still on the Lagrimari side of the mountain range bordering the two lands and had yet to cross the other, more powerful barrier keeping him from his home of Elsira: the Mantle. The girl frowned down at him, taking in his bedraggled appear­ance. From his position lying on the ground, he tried his best to smooth his ripped uniform, the green fatigues of the Lagrimari
army. Her confusion was apparent. Jack was obviously Elsiran; aside from his skin tone, the ginger hair and golden honey­colored eyes were a dead giveaway. And yet he wore the uniform of his enemy.
“Please don’t be scared,” he said in Lagrimari. Her brows rose toward her hairline as she scanned his supine and bloodied body. Well, that was rather a ridiculous thing to say. “I only meant that I mean you no harm. I . . .” He struggled with how to explain him­self. There were two possibilities. She could be a nationalist who would turn him in to the squad of soldiers currently combing the mountain for him, perhaps to gain favor with the government, or she could be like so many Lagrimari citizens, beaten down by the war with no real loyalty to their dictator or his thugs. If she was the former, he was already dead, so he took a chance with the truth. “You see, I was undercover, spying from within the Lagrimari army. But now there are men looking for me, they’re not far, but . . .” He paused to take a breath; the effort of speaking was draining. He suspected he had several cracked or broken ribs in addition to the
gunshot wound. His vision swirled again, and the girl turned into two. Two beautiful girls. If these were his last moments before traveling to the World After, then at least he had something pleas­ant to look at. He blinked rapidly and took another strained breath. His mis­sion was not complete; he could not die yet. “Can you help me? Please. I’ve got to get back to Elsira.” She stole an anxious glance skyward before kneeling next to him. Her cool hand moved to his forehead. The simple touch was soothing, and a wave of tension rolled of him. “You must be delirious.” Her voice was rich, deeper than he’d expected. It eased the harsh consonants of the Lagrimari language, for the first time making it sound like something he could imagine being pleasant to listen to. She worked at the remaining buttons of his shirt, pulling the fabric apart to reveal his ruined chest. Her expression was appraising as she viewed the damage, then sat back on her haunches, pensive.
“It probably looks worse than it is,” he said.
“I doubt that.”
Jack’s chuckle sounded deranged to his own ears, so it was no surprise that the girl looked at him askance. He winced—laughing was a bad idea at this point—and struggled for breath again.“The soldiers . . . they’re after me. I have to get back through the Mantle.”
“Shh,” she said, peering closely at him. “Hush all that foolish­ness; you’re not in your right mind. Though I’ll admit, you speak Lagrimari surprisingly well. I’m not sure what happened to you, but you should save your strength.” She closed her eyes, and suddenly his whole body grew warmer, lighter. The odd sensation of Earthsong pulsated through him. He had only experienced it once before, and it hadn’t been quite like this. The touch of her magic stroked him intimately, like a brush of fingers across his skin. The soft vibration cascaded over his entire body, leaving him feeling weightless. He gasped, pulling in a breath, and it was very nearly an easy thing to accomplish. Tears pricked his eyes. “Sovereign bless you.” Her expression was grave as she dug around in her bag. “It’s just a patch. You must have ticked someone of real good. It’d take quite a while to fix you up properly, and the storm’s coming. You need to
find shelter.” She retrieved a jar filled with a sweet­smelling substance and
began spreading it over his wounds. The Earthsong had turned down the volume of his pain, and the cream soothed him even more.
“What is that?”
“Just a balm. Helps with burns, cuts.” Her hand paused for a moment. “Never gunshot wounds, but it’s worth a try.” He laid his head back on the ground, closing his eyes to savor the ability to breathe deeply again. “A quick rest and I’ll be back on my way. Need to keep moving, though. Need to get back.”
“Back through the Mantle?” Her tone vibrated with skepticism. “And away from the Lagrimari soldiers chasing you?”
“Yes.” Her palm met his forehead again. She thought he was delusional. He wished he was. Wished the last few weeks had been nothing but the imaginings of an impaired mind.

Be sure to check out this book – it is out today! If you like fantasy and clashing kingdoms, then this is a novel worth checking out!

Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody – The Shadow Game #1

This book has been making the rounds EVERYWHERE and I seriously cannot avoid it any longer. It is just far too intriguing and too many people have been raving about it for me to ignore it. So here I go!

30238163.jpgSummary (Goodreads): Welcome to the City of Sin, where casino families reign, gangs infest the streets…
and secrets hide in every shadow.

Enne Salta was raised as a proper young lady, and no lady would willingly visit New Reynes, the so-called City of Sin. But when her mother goes missing, Enne must leave her finishing school—and her reputation—behind to follow her mother’s trail to the city where no one survives uncorrupted.

Frightened and alone, her only lead is a name: Levi Glaisyer. Unfortunately, Levi is not the gentleman she expected—he’s a street lord and a con man. Levi is also only one payment away from cleaning up a rapidly unraveling investment scam, so he doesn’t have time to investigate a woman leading a dangerous double life. Enne’s offer of compensation, however, could be the solution to all his problems.

Their search for clues leads them through glamorous casinos, illicit cabarets and into the clutches of a ruthless mafia donna. As Enne unearths an impossible secret about her past, Levi’s enemies catch up to them, ensnaring him in a vicious execution game where the players always lose. To save him, Enne will need to surrender herself to the city…

And she’ll need to play.


My Rating:     2 star

Review: So I really wanted to love this book but I didn’t. While there were some elements that I really liked, there were others that I found less than appealing.

I found the idea behind this book to be really unique and interesting. Granted, I have never read Six of Crows and everyone is saying that this book shares many similarities to it, but this had a very noir vibe to it and I loved having a very different fantasy setting than the usual kingdoms.

I only wish there had been better worldbuilding! I wanted to know more about the Mizers and the way society came to be, but I either found that the author was too vague or just dumped all the information at one go. There was no smooth delivery of information and the story suffered for it; when I wanted more information, I didn’t get it and when I didn’t need the information, I got it. It also meant that the amount of information was too much to process, so I would forget details and wonder why certain things worked in a certain way in the book.

Initially, I really liked Enne and Levi. I thought they were both very unique characters. However, that opinion didn’t really stick for too long. As the story progressed, I didn’t really see how these two characters were supposed to connect when they kept doing their own thing. Each of them was handling their own separate crises that were connected through only the thinnest of plot lines. Enne was handling her issues quite well on her own, which is something I really liked because most novels make the heroine incapable of doing anything on her own. But then this meant that Levi was really not too necessary. There were all of these mentions of what Enne and Levi are supposed to be but I never actually saw any behaviour that matched it.

I also really didn’t like the romance. At first, I enjoyed the way Enne and Levi interacted with each other. However, the feelings of romance and attraction between them were too far-fetched for me. I just couldn’t understand how their emotions for each other were so deep so soon.

Overall, I thought this novel had a really unique premise but I didn’t think the execution was up to the mark. For those reasons, I’m giving this a 2/5 stars.

Happy reading ~

To Kill A Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

I was super excited for this novel because it sounded like such an amazingly dark retelling of The Little Mermaid. I’ve always loved this classic tale and I have been hearing raving reviews so I knew I had to give it a go! Here is my review:

34499221Summary (Goodreads): Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most lethal of them all. With the hearts of seventeen princes in her collection, she is revered across the sea. Until a twist of fate forces her to kill one of her own. To punish her daughter, the Sea Queen transforms Lira into the one thing they loathe most—a human. Robbed of her song, Lira has until the winter solstice to deliver Prince Elian’s heart to the Sea Queen or remain a human forever.

The ocean is the only place Prince Elian calls home, even though he is heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world. Hunting sirens is more than an unsavory hobby—it’s his calling. When he rescues a drowning woman in the ocean, she’s more than what she appears. She promises to help him find the key to destroying all of sirenkind for good—But can he trust her? And just how many deals will Elian have to barter to eliminate mankind’s greatest enemy?


My Rating:  5 star

Review: I cannot praise this novel enough: this was definitely a book worth reading! Everything in this novel was absolutely perfect and I don’t have a single complaint.

The tale is told in alternating voices, one being Lira’s and the other being Elian’s. They are both wonderfully drawn-up characters with so much complexity that it becomes very easy for the reader to connect with them. I love that they both grow and change as the novel continues and their interactions with each other were spectacular. Clearly, they are going to be each other’s love interest so I knew I was going to get romance. But let me tell you, the romance angle is done so very well here! There are no pesky love triangles, no unnecessary drama. Their feelings develop in such a natural and unique way, and I absolutely loved it. I was rooting for them from the beginning!

The writing was just beautiful. The author had some amazing worldbuilding and there was so much attention to detail! Every kingdom had its unique feature and the author made it all memorable with her beautiful descriptions. As I was reading, I could picture everything in my head and it just came alive.

This really was the Little Mermaid reimagined. It started off dark and stayed that way throughout. I could definitely make out the elements that were similar to the classic tale I love but so much of it was made unique that it felt like I was reading a completely different story. Balancing the classic element with the infusion of new components is a tough feat – but the author nailed it.

Clearly, I loved this novel. It is an amazing story with wonderful worldbuilding and memorable characters. If you like retellings or if you like fantasy or stories with pirates and mermaids and sirens and dark elements, then you have GOT to check this book out! I’m giving it a 5/5 stars!

Happy reading ~

Secondhand Origin Stories by Lee Blauersouth [BLOG TOUR + REVIEW]

Welcome to my stop on this awesome blog tour for Secondhand Origin Stories by Lee Blauersouth!

Secondhand Origin Stories coverBOOK INFORMATION

Title: Secondhand Origin Stories
Author: Lee Blauersouth
Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing
Publication date: 15 March 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction

Synopsis:

Opal has been planning to go to Chicago and join the Midwest’s superhero team, the Sentinels, since she was a little kid. That dream took on a more urgent tone when her superpowered dad was unjustly arrested for protecting a neighbor from an abusive situation. Now, she wants to be a superhero not only to protect people, but to get a platform to tell the world about the injustices of the Altered Persons Bureau, the government agency for everything relating to superpowers.

But just after Opal’s high school graduation, a supervillain with a jet and unclear motives attacks the downtown home of the Sentinels, and when Opal arrives, she finds a family on the brink of breaking apart. She meets a boy who’s been developing secret (and illegal) brain-altering nanites right under the Sentinel’s noses, another teenage superhero-hopeful who looks suspiciously like a long-dead supervillain, and the completely un-superpowered daughter of the Sentinels’ leader. Can four teens on the fringes of the superhero world handle the corruption, danger, and family secrets they’ve unearthed?

Book links:
Goodreads — https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33834837-secondhand-origin-stories
Amazon — https://www.amazon.com/dp/197839781X/


Review: This was quite an enjoyable superhero novel! If you like anything to do with superheroes, then this is worth checking out!

I really liked how much diversity is in this story. I usually don’t point this out when I’m reading a book but I thought the author did a spectacular job incorporating it into the story. It added so many more dimensions to the characters.

I also really liked how character-driven this novel was. I’m a sucker for good character development, and this book definitely delivered on that front! All of the characters changed as the story progressed, and I loved that they were able to self-reflect and grow as individuals. Also…. SUPERHEROES! I loved that this novel featured them in such a unique way. It was great to view them as more than just saviours, but as humans, too.

As I had mentioned, this is a character-driven story. This means that the plot moves quite slowly. This was the only drawback to the novel; I wanted it to be a bit more fast-paced. However, I was willing to forgo that since the story had such amazing themes and characters in it.

I had so much fun reading this novel and exploring the multitude of issues it brings to the surface with the diverse cast of characters! For those reasons, I’m giving it a solid 3/5 stars!


Be sure to check out all of the other amazing blogs on this tour!

BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE

23 April (Monday)

24 April (Tuesday)

25 April (Wednesday)

26 April (Thursday)

27 April (Friday)