Ship of Magic (Liveship Traders, #1) by Robin Hobb – Spoiler Free Review

Publisher: Voyager

Publication Date: March, 1999

Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy

Adventure Rating: 4.5 Stars

| Amazon

” Wizardwood, a sentient wood.
The most precious commodity in the world.
Like many other legendary wares, it comes only from the Rain River Wilds.

But how can one trade with the Rain Wilders, when only a liveship fashioned from wizardwood can negotiate the perilous waters of the Rain River? Rare and valuable a liveship will quicken only when three members, from successive generations, have died on board. The liveship Vivacia is about to undergo her quickening as Althea Vestrit’s father is carried on deck in his death-throes. Althea waits for the ship that she loves more than anything else in the world to awaken. Only to discover that the Vivacia has been signed away in her father’s will to her brutal brother-in-law, Kyle Haven…

Others plot to win or steal a liveship. The Paragon, known by many as the Pariah, went mad, turned turtle, and drowned his crew. Now he lies blind, lonely, and broken on a deserted beach. But greedy men have designs to restore him, to sail the waters of the Rain Wild River once more. “

So. Freaking. Good. The only reason it’s not five stars is because it took me a hot minute to really get into the book. BUT once I did… OH YES. I’m officially obsessed.

Characters. There are A LOT of characters so bear with me a moment. Althea (who I kind of consider the main character so far) is head strong and knows what she wants. And she wants her ship! She’s so cool! But she’s not perfect. She irritated me with her stubborn, “I can do it all by myself” attitude. It’s actually mature to accept help. BUT I loved her loyalty. Brashen, oh sweet Brashen. I loved him at first but he made some bad decisions that I am anxious to see how they turn out. Wintrow I just feel so bad for. Same as Vivacia. And Paragon. Kennit is super interesting and slightly off his rocker. Amber and Ronica are my favorites so far because of the wisdom they often speak. And I pretty much hate Kyle and Malta. Kefria is likable but to be honest, dumb. I *think I covered all of the characters. Unless you count the POV of the sea serpents. I am not sure how I feel about them yet.

Plot. Magic, pirates, talking ships, high seas adventure, drama, romance, sea serpents, dragons. Do I need to say more?! This book literally has it all! I was really confused the first 100 pages, not going to lie. I had no idea where this story was headed. But man, did it take me places! And there are plots within plots! I can’t even talk about it much because it’s all spoiler-y!

Writing. Really well done. This is my first Hobb book but even before I picked it up I knew she is a well known, likable author. Her writing style is exactly what I like: mysterious, but I can picture the scene well, and it’s easy to follow!

Final Thoughts. As of writing this, I have already started book 2. I couldn’t wait. I am definitely binging this series! I am seriously obsessed. I will recommend to anyone and everyone who loves fantasy! Also, for being written 20 years ago, it’s very modern!

*Sleeve is from Love You More Studio! Code: StoriedAdventures10 to save!

*Amazon link is my affiliate link! I get a percentage if you buy through me at no additional cost to you!*

*No content warning as this is an adult fantasy series.

Have you read Robin Hobb?! If so, what is your favorite?

Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalo – Spoiler Free Review

Publisher: Jimmy Paterson

Publication Date: September 20, 2016

Genre: YA, Mystery, Historical Fiction

Adventure Rating: 4 Stars

| Amazon

” Presented by James Patterson’s new children’s imprint, this deliciously creepy horror novel has a storyline inspired by the Ripper murders and an unexpected, blood-chilling conclusion…

Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord’s daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

Against her stern father’s wishes and society’s expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle’s laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.

The story’s shocking twists and turns, augmented with real, sinister period photos, will make this dazzling, #1 New York Times bestselling debut from author Kerri Maniscalco impossible to forget. “

I am officially on the fandom train that is this series! The characters, the plot, the intrigue, the romance, the writing, all completely well done!

Characters. Audrey is my favorite type of character. She is a super strong woman that also loves pretty things. She likes getting her hands dirty but then after that wear a lovely dress. I relate hard core. She is also whip smart! She knowledge and skill with helping her uncle in dissecting bodies is really interesting to read about. I also love that she has her emotions but she uses them! Thomas was so swoon worthy! He was so kind and helpful. He pushed Audrey when necessary and comforted her when she needed. They make a good team!

Plot. The plot was so good! If you know the real story of Jack the Ripper, it was never solved, so it was interesting to see Masiscalo’s take on the famous case! It was (at least in my opinion) really easy to know who the killer was. I guessed within the first few chapters. But I am not sure if her intent was to have the reader just guess anyone. I mean, the blurb on the back of the book kind of narrows down suspects. So, it wasn’t as mysterious as I wanted it to be. But it still held my attention with Audrey and Thomas running around trying to figure out the killer! And I love the extra steampunk twist!

Final Thoughts. I can’t wait to continue the series! I love historical mysteries and this one did not disappoint. I can’t wait to see how Audrey and Thomas’ relationship develops and the new cases they solve!

Notes: Book Sleeve from Love You More Studio! If you are interested, I have a rep code! StoriedAdventures10 to save!

* *Normal disclaimer that content warning isn’t necessarily my personal thoughts. It’s for parents. *

CONTENT WARNING: Kissing, death, gore, blood, they dissect dead bodies, gruesome details of the Jack the Ripper case

OTHER CONTENT: Controlling your emotions, strong female lead, using your talents for good

Recommend me some other Historical Mysteries!

The Wanderlust Book Tag

I came across this tag while searching for fun book tags to do for some filler in between book reviews! This was created by Reading by Starlight!

The Rules:

  • Mention the creator of the tag and link back to original post [Alexandra @ Reading by Starlight]
  • Thank the blogger who tagged you
  • Answer the 10 questions below using any genre
  • Tag 5+ friends

The Questions:

Secrets and Lies: A book set in a sleepy small town

Gray Wolf Island

This sleepy town is slow going and so cute! Until you realize the shocking secrets Gray Wolf Island hides. I don’t normally like Magical Realism but I really enjoyed this one. And there are most definitely secrets and lies!!

2. Salt and Sand: A book with a beach-side community

A Dangerous Collaboration

I’m stretching this one a little because this book did take place on an island and there are a few beach scenes but the main characters are not from there.

3. Here there be dragons: A book with a voyage on the high seas

Ship of Magic

I am currently obsessed with this series. I am so close to being done with the first book! This entire series basically takes place on magic ships. So yeah, this fits this promt perfectly!

4. Tread lightly: A book set down a murky river or a jungle

The Sandcastle Empire

I LOVE Kayla Olson! She, to me, is a classic storyteller. This whole book takes place in a mysterious jungle on an island in the middle of nowhere!

5. Frozen wastes: A book with a frost bitten atmosphere

White Stag

A really unique take on goblins! And it’s basically winter and cold throughout the whole book. I loved this book!

6. The boonies: A book with ruff or isolated terrain

Spin the Dawn

This one is out July 9! I was lucky enough to read this one through NetGalley! Even thought the first part takes place in the Palace, the last part takes place in very rough terrain! And different types too!

7. Hinterlands and cowboys: a book with a western-esque setting

Gunslinger Girl

I tried to keep this list to books I have read but I drew a complete blank for this one! At least this is on my TBR! It says it’s a cross between Katniss and Annie Oakley! I kind of want to read this right now! There’s not a lot of western retellings! Someone write another!

8. Look lively: a book set across sweeping desert sands

Empire of Sands

Another book I loved! This one is completely in the desert! One of my favorite underrated books!

9. Wild and untamed: a book set the the heart of the woods

Kinslayer

This whole book is set in a forest. One of the best series of all time, just saying. This is the second book!

10. Wildest dreams: a whimsical book shrouded in magic

Caraval

This whole series is whimsical and magical!! Another one of my favorites!

This was such a fun tag! I don’t really have anyone to tag, so if you see this, consider yourself tagged! Also, feel free to tag me in any book tags too!

*Links are my Amazon affiliate links! Clicking on the photos take you to Goodreads!*

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated Releases of the Second Half of 2019

Top ten Tuesday is a bookish meme that That Artsy Reader Girl hosts!

This week’s top ten is: Most Anticipated Releases of the Second Half of 2019! Mine is not necessarily in order!

  1. Queen of Nothing is actually my number one. 😛

2. Or maybe this one is my number one? I can’t decide between these first two! The Burning White

3. The Lady Rogue

4. The Harp of Kings

5. The Memory Thief

6. Rage

7. Fireborne Anything with Dragons. Please let me know of more dragon books that are coming out!!

8. The Beautiful

9. A Kingdom for a Stage Because For a Muse of Fire was one of my favorite reads last year!!

10. The Gossamer Mage

Are any of these on your list? Also, I love sci-fi and somehow don’t know of any new ones coming out! Someone recommend me some!

Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim – Spoiler Free ARC Review

Publisher: Knopf

Publication Date: July 09, 2019

Genre: YA, Fantasy

Adventure Rating: 4 Stars

| Amazon | Pre-Order Swag

Project Runway meets Mulan in this sweeping YA fantasy about a young girl who poses as a boy to compete for the role of imperial tailor and embarks on an impossible journey to sew three magic dresses, from the sun, the moon, and the stars.

Maia Tamarin dreams of becoming the greatest tailor in the land, but as a girl, the best she can hope for is to marry well. When a royal messenger summons her ailing father, once a tailor of renown, to court, Maia poses as a boy and takes his place. She knows her life is forfeit if her secret is discovered, but she’ll take that risk to achieve her dream and save her family from ruin. There’s just one catch: Maia is one of twelve tailors vying for the job.

Backstabbing and lies run rampant as the tailors compete in challenges to prove their artistry and skill. Maia’s task is further complicated when she draws the attention of the court magician, Edan, whose piercing eyes seem to see straight through her disguise.

And nothing could have prepared her for the final challenge: to sew three magic gowns for the emperor’s reluctant bride-to-be, from the laughter of the sun, the tears of the moon, and the blood of stars. With this impossible task before her, she embarks on a journey to the far reaches of the kingdom, seeking the sun, the moon, and the stars, and finding more than she ever could have imagined.

Steeped in Chinese culture, sizzling with forbidden romance, and shimmering with magic, this young adult fantasy is pitch-perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas or Renée Ahdieh.

*Thank you so much to Net Galley and Knopf the the e-arc in exchange for an honest review!*

Project Runway meets Mulan is a perfect tag for this book! Y’all, I was extremely invested in this world. Lim paints a picture of fashion so alluring I wanted to see them in real life more than anything. I loved the competition in the first half and the adventure in the last! Both were very different and very interesting!

Characters. Maia was very likable and relatable. Her character progression was done very well. She was shy at first but then owned her skills. She was just a nice person to read about, without being boring. Edan was intriguing and mysterious. He was a good mix of cocky and sweet. The person I wanted to know more about was Lady Sarnai! She was straight up FIRE! I hope to get more of her in the next book! And the Emperor can go away. He’s so annoying.

World. There’s not really a magic system. It’s extremely rare in people and in enchanted items. It was interesting to learn about how the Enchanters were made though. I really enjoyed the China-like world. Lim did a fantastic job of giving detailed descriptions.

Plot. Very unique. I have not read something like this. Have I said I loved the descriptions of the fashion yet?! Lim writes like a dream! The first half of the book is very different than the last half. The first half was more Project Runway and the last half was Mulan. The journey Maia goes on to collect the magic she needs for her dresses is amazing! It’s the type of adventure I love! Magic, romance, danger, and an ending that leaves you wanting more.

Final Thoughts. The ONLY things I didn’t like were very minor. There was a time where Maia stabbed a creature with her scissors and ran but then they were with her later. Then another time where she left her cane at the Summer Palace but then randomly had it at the Fall Palace. Small details like that happened a few times. I loved this book. I didn’t really get the Sarah J. Maas vibe but I do agree that it’s like Renee Ahdieh! I highly recommend! I cannot wait for the next book! Also, officially obsessed with Lim’s writing!

Is this on your radar for this year?

Top Ten Tuesday: Unpopular Book Opinions

This is a really fun meme created by That Artsy Reader Girl! Check out her blog and check out what the next top ten Tuesday will be!

I don’t know that I have general unpopular opinions but I’m going to list what I have! I am terrified of sharing unpopular opinions! So, please don’t hate me. 😛

  1. The Mortal Instruments series: It just wasn’t that great, in my opinion. I feel like I wasted time reading these books. I LOVE The Infernal Devices though.

2. John Green Books. Not. For. Me. Real life is hard and sad enough without the hopelessness that is in his books.

3. Token Gay Character. Stop trying to prove you are so PC by adding or making characters gay WAY LATER IN THE SERIES. Like, I’m talking there were no signs whatsoever, then people complain, then the author is like, “What? No! I’m PC! This character was actually gay the whole time!”

4. Insta Love. So annoying.

5. The Shack. Probably my most hated book.

6. The Grisha Trilogy. I cringed every moment that wasn’t filled with Nikolai (I love him)

7. On the heals of that, the Darkling. I didn’t like him. He was a jerk.

8. The Hazel Wood. Not sure if this is unpopular but I reeeeaaalllly didn’t like it. It was depressing with no redemption.

9. The Selection Series. I loved this series. And most people seem to dislike it now.

10. Here’s a good one. I have hidden ones I will never tell ANYONE! HA!

Finale (Caraval, #3) by Stephanie Garber – Spoiler Free Review

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Publication Date: May 7, 2019

Genre: Fantasy, YA

Adventure Rating: 4.5 Stars

| Amazon

” A love worth fighting for. A dream worth dying for. An ending worth waiting for.

It’s been two months since the Fates were freed from a deck of cards, two months since Legend claimed the throne for his own, and two months since Tella discovered the boy she fell in love with doesn’t really exist.

With lives, empires, and hearts hanging in the balance, Tella must decide if she’s going to trust Legend or a former enemy. After uncovering a secret that upends her life, Scarlett will need to do the impossible. And Legend has a choice to make that will forever change and define him.

Caraval is over, but perhaps the greatest game of all has begun. There are no spectators this time: only those who will win, and those who will lose everything.

Welcome, welcome to Finale. All games must come to an end… “

Oh, buddy was this a ride! I loved it. It was pure magic, a unique tale, and just all around beautiful. Garber seriously uses all five of her senses when she imagines her world and she articulates it perfectly. At any given point I could almost close my eyes and feel like it was real. This book has some of my favorite descriptions ever. From the dresses made of magic butterflies to the color of different emotions. Magic. I will read and buy anything this woman writes.

Characters. I guess this would be spoiler-ish if you haven’t read any of the books. But I really liked Tella’s chapters a little bit better in terms of adventure. But in terms of a good message, I think Scarlett takes the cake. I’m a sucker for true love, love conquers all, love is magic, type of stories. I actually truly believe that even in our world. Julian, Legend, and yes, even Jacks were very swoon worthy to read about. For awhile at least. They all had their faults (Jacks especially, whoops). Julian loves without abandon. I’ve always liked him. Legend fights it. And Jacks… confuses love with lust and obsession.

World. The world builing… I don’t even know how to explain it. This is one of the few worlds where I want this to be real so, SO badly. This world is right up there for me with Narnia and Middle Earth. (Woah, Lauren, slow your roll, do you even know what you are saying?!) Yes, the world, my fine friend, not necessarily the book.

Final Thoughts. The ONLY thing I didn’t really like was that part of the ending felt rushed somehow. It’s hard to explain without spoilers!

I’m just so obsessed with this series!

I want more! And if you’ve read this you know Garber left a certain story line slightly open ended!

Going to be totally honest, I originally wrote out a very long review and realized that it was going to be a TLDR review. I just had a lot to say.

I want to know if you liked it! And if you didn’t, I want to know that too!

Notes: Playing cards are from Owlcrate, Book Sleeve from Love You More Studio Code: StoriedAdventures10 to save some money!

* *Normal disclaimer that content warning isn’t necessarily my personal thoughts. It’s for parents. *

CONTENT WARNING: Lots of kissing, sexual talk, sexual situations, violence, death, killing, lying, stealing

OTHER CONTENT: Love is the most powerful force of all, forgiveness, friendship, healthy sibling relationship, sacrifice, healthy relationships, persevering.