*Thank you to the author for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review!*
I am a huge fan of Warwick’s. I am going to try an explain this, her writing makes me feel nostalgia. Below made me feel like watching The Never Ending Story and Labyrinth (It was not in any way based on those, just how it made me feel!). It just felt like my childhood. If that makes any sense.
Apaay has to battle sever weather, wild animals, survive Yuki’s nightmares come to life, survive being a prisoner, and survive Yuki’s punishments. There is a lot Apaay survives. It was very intense at some parts. I loved her never-give-up personality. She fought for those shes loves no matter the cost to herself. And there were high prices for her fight. I actually cried at one point. I NEVER cry reading. It hurt.
One thing I REALLY loved was the healthy and loving friendship she has with Ila! You don’t really see that a lot in books without it turning into a love story or something. I loved them!
Warwick also has an underlying message in her books. In Demon Race, it was forgiveness, and in Below, it was you are enough. Beautiful.
I wish there was a little more explaination of what Yuki and The Face Stealer were and where they came from. It was a bit confusing at times, BUT it left a ton of mystery to be solved for the next book! Which I need and can’t wait for!
*Thank you so much to the publisher for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review!*
I honestly struggled between 3 and 4 stars for this one. I thought 3 because it was kind of easy to put it down. It wasn’t one where I was like, “I need to know what happens or I’ll die!” type of book. BUT when I was reading it, it was really unique and I really enjoyed it so I thought maybe 4 stars. So guess what, it ended up in the middle.
Characters. I really liked the characters. Rakel was a likable mix of wanting to save her family and being really stubborn. She was also kind of goofy which I liked. Ash was our brooding, tortured, love interest with a secret. It was a bit typical BUT I still liked it. They matched well together I think. And it was a slow burn so that was nice too. But then again it didn’t have a lot of tension or fire. It could have just as easily ended up being they were just good friends.
Plot/ World. I actually loved that the plot revolved around scents. This book was a candle makers dream. I loved that the author was so descriptive in what things smelled like. It made the book come more alive because of it. And the fact that your station could be higher because of your finer sense of smell and if you could make scents was so interesting! I also liked Ash’s secret. You could kind of see it coming but it was a bit bigger than I realized it was going to be. And I didn’t see a certain minor plot twist coming. I was looking in another direction, if that makes sense. I really enjoyed the adventure! Ash and Rakel go all up and down their lands looking for ingredients for a cure for the Prince! I liked the different trials they had to face to get each cure. There were also quite a few fantasy creatures in this book that I am all for!! Adventure at it’s finest!
Final Thoughts. Major cliff-hanger ending!! I definitely want to read book two and can’t wait to find out what happens to all of the characters! Also, if you are a cover-buyer, go ahead and add this to your list of must buys!
*Once Upon A Time sign is from Bookish Signs and More! Code: Lauren10 to save! I couldn’t resist putting this in my photo!*
*Amazon link is my affiliate link*
*Usual warning of content: This is something I put on my blog for parents specifically. Just putting the different themes or topics represented in the book.*
CONTENT: Mention of child abuse, abuse of the sick, their religion, drug abuse, mention of a couple characters being LGBTQ, forming strong relationships, sacrificing for what is right, strong mental health representation, death, disease, blood and gore.
*Thank you to the publisher for sending me an ARC copy in exchange for an honest review!*
This was an incredible lush retelling of “The Lady, or the Tiger?” ! It had everything a retelling should, drama, action, and romance! I quite enjoyed my time reading this.
Characters. I actually really liked Kateri, even starting out. She was absolutely ruthless while still yearning for her father’s approval. She had revenge on her mind and she lived like it. Her character growth was not only believable, but it was done REALLY well. Especially for only a 334 page book! And Cion! He was fantastic. I loved his character and how he helped Kateri see truth in a sometimes gentle, sometimes tough love manner. A good mix of both helps! And Rodric is a good classic baddie!
Plot. The plot line was seriously so much fun. With water running extremely low and people having to ration it to half a bucket a day? And the royalty getting to use as much as they want? That’s bound to cause some problems. It was interesting to see how the author solved that problem. I really liked her solution to not only the water but also how people survived and escaped.
World. Minus the water problem and royalty, Achra sounds like somewhere I’d want to visit! It sounds like a blot of color in the desert, an oasis that weary travelers seek. It sounds amazing after a long journey, right? Sullivan did a really good job of making up creatures that would live there too; one’s that are poisonous, ones you can eat, ones that are poisonous and you can eat, and ones that don’t belong.
Final Thoughts. I wish there was more! Also, I am officially a big fan of Sullivan’s work now. I will definitely be buying A Touch of Gold now! I love that she takes lesser known myths and writes re-tellings. I have never read re-tellings like these before!
Thoughts on re-tellings? What is your favorite?
* *Normal disclaimer that content warning isn’t necessarily my personal thoughts. It’s for parents. *
CONTENT WARNING: Kissing, violence, animal cruelty, child abuse, death
OTHER CONTENT: Strong character growth, overcoming your weaknesses, stand up for your values and morals, strong male and female characters, caring for others
I have things I liked and things I didn’t really like,
however the things I liked outweighed the things I didn’t like (How’s that for
a sentence). The things I didn’t like are more plot points than anything else,
so I will talk about it there.
Characters. I actually found all of the characters really enjoyable to read about! Nor was headstrong and loves her sister fiercely. I don’t have sisters, but I know I would do anything for my brothers. Nor also has some awesome healing abilities that I so wish were real! She also stood up to what was wrong in her society and what was wrong in the larger kingdom. Talin was also likable. He has some hard core secrets of his own that shapes how he lives his life. Ceren. Oh boy. It’s very clear that something is wrong in his mind. He honestly doesn’t understand that most of the things he does is extremely creepy. Like baking bats in a pie. Gross. He is a pretty messed up prince/ bad guy.
Writing. Loved the writing. Pretty straight forward. I never got lost or anything.
World Building. Rutherford’s world seems really interesting! I would love to get more details on the other kingdoms! The geography makes sense and of course I love the whole little village world in the ocean.
Plot. Here are the things I loved: The water! I am part Polynesian and my love for water knows no bounds. Where Nor and Zadie live is my dream. In a small house, on stilts, in the ocean. And they swim or take their boat to their neighbors house or the market. I also loved the author’s take on healing properties of water. I don’t personally believe water itself can heal you, but I honestly feel better when I am in water. I also liked the plot line of how their village was being threatened by the kingdom that “owns” them. And Nor sets out to fix things.
Didn’t like: There were no plot twists. What you see is what you get. Also, the romance. While I like those two characters together, it was too insta-lovey for my tastes.
Final Thoughts. Again, the things I liked outweighed the things I didn’t like! My water loving soul loved this take on the ocean! It was a really FUN read. And it looks like there is a sequel so I will definitely be reading that!
* *Normal disclaimer that content warning isn’t necessarily my personal thoughts. It’s for parents. *
CONTENT WARNING: Kissing, sexual situations, violence, self harm (even if the character does it for “a good reason”), some disturbing situations (one character drinks blood and he siphons blood), death
OTHER CONTENT: Strong sibling bond, strong female POV, dealing with a harsh parent, beauty is not all that matters (and doesn’t have to matter)
*Thank you to the publisher and Net Galley for the e-arc in exchange for an honest review!*
I really had fun reading this book! And let’s be honest here, that’s really why I read, to have a good time. I was caught up in this story right away. Literally from the first page I was like the Kool-Aid Man going, “OH YEAH”! However, towards the end it kind of lacked it’s shine. Books are usually the other way around for me. It takes me awhile to get into them and then the ending has me wow’d.
Characters: Theodora was actually pretty funny. She was cleverly sarcastic, believable in her actions, and fun to read about. I LOVED her sense of adventure. She was a “damn the consequences” type of gal. She was a dreamer. Huck, was the opposite. Poor guy was dragged along to her wild adventurous ways (even though he kind of liked it). He was also very practical which was a good balance. He was also very charming. They had good chemistry also, and I liked that they had a deep history before the story started. You don’t see that too often.
Plot. Like I said, the plot pulled me in from the get-go. I was all about that Vlad life, you know? And not Bram Stoker’s Vlad but historical Vlad. I find him extremely interesting. I also liked the creative direction the author took for his story! The historical part was actually pretty rich and deep considering it was a shorter book! BUT I feel like more could have been done. It felt almost too magical realism rather than fantasy. The fantasy element only came into play maybe the last 50 pages or so? I felt as though more could have been done with the magic and the surprise element at the end.
Writing. I can understand why so many people are Jenn Bennett fans! She’s actually quite funny! She is clever and a bit mysterious in her writing. I will definitely be reading her other works!
Final Thoughts. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes just a taste of magical horror. Vlad is a very interested historical figure to read about and books like these might help teens to get interested in history. As an adult, if you are looking for a short, fun read, check it out!
* *Normal disclaimer that content warning isn’t necessarily my personal thoughts. It’s for parents. *
CONTENT WARNING: Kissing, talk of sex, mild swearing, death, gore, blood, the general history of Vlad is extremely violent.
OTHER CONTENT: Family is extremely important, helping those that are in need, strong female lead, following your convictions, towards the end, promoting healthy communication
*Amazon link is my affiliate link!*
Do you like Vlad (pretty sure I’ve said ‘Vlad’ too many times in this review) the Impaler retellings? What are your favorites?
I am so excited to be on the blog tour for The Gossamer Mage! Thank you so much to the publisher, DAW, for sending me an ARC and a finished copy in exchange for a review.
Characters. My favorite point of view was probably Maleonarial. He was the mage that raged against the injustice that the goddess takes part of a mages life in exchange for magic. They die early deaths. Maleonarial goes on a quest to kill her and take back the stolen futures of his kind. He was a kind soul but also knew what needed to be done. He mourned but didn’t hesitate to do what was right. I admired that. Kaitealyon is a Daughter of the goddess. They speak with her authority in different holds. I liked her. She was a mother and protected her son at all costs. She had this sense of almost super-hero like honor when it came to Tananen (the land they live in). There were also side character POV that were fun to read about.
Plot. The plot was my favorite part of the whole book. The fact that there is magic but it comes at a very high price. A twenty-seven year old that has used magic since he was fifteen would look like he was eighty. I really liked the magic system. I loved that writing words with your intention could produce something beautiful (or in Cil’s case, something horrible). They not only have to write the right words but have the right feelings behind them. And the plot twist at the end about the goddess was A+! And the eaters were a pretty scary threat. They ate magic and could take over people’s bodies! That Maleonarial and Kaitealyon had to team up against this threat was epic!
Writing. I had a really hard time being drawn into this book because of the writing. It was written very differently than what I used to. While I can appreciate the uniqueness, it wasn’t exactly my flavor. It seemed choppy and really hard to read. I often had to re-read sentences and paragraphs to understand what was going on.
Final Thoughts. This stand alone was hard to read but I loved the plot so much! Everything about this book was extremely unique!
“For over twenty years, Canadian author/ former biologist Julie E. Czerneda has shared her curiosity about living things through her science fiction, published by DAW Books, NY. Julie’s written fantasy too, the first installments of her Night’s Edge series (DAW) A Turn of Light and A Play of Shadow, winning consecutive Aurora Awards (Canada’s Hugo) for Best English Novel. Having completed her Clan Chronicles series with To Guard Against the Dark, Julie’s latest SF novel is Search Image, Book #1 of her new SF series, The Web Shifter’s Library, bringing back her beloved character Esen the Dear Little Blob. Julie’s edited/co-edited numerous award-winning anthologies of SF/F, including SFWA’s 2017 Nebula Award Showcase, but nothing prepared her for the sheer joy of opening her Clan Chronicles to fans of the series to produce Tales from Plexis, out December 2018. This year, Julie is delighted to a guest of honour at ConStellation, April 26-28th. What’s coming next? Her new fantasy standalone, The Gossamer Mage, out August 2019, and so much more ” Her Website
*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!
*E-ARC provided by the publisher through Edelweiss+ in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!!*
Plot/ Story. Y’all, this book took me all of two days to read, I think. I seriously love this series so much. It’s just a fun, suck you right in, type of read. In this second book, Jude is trying to juggle many things within Faerie. It’s really interesting to see how sneaky and manipulative she has to be to do it. And maybe Cardan isn’t as dumb as he likes to play…
Characters. I actually didn’t like Jude as much in this book. While I understood the choices she made, she just seemed smarter than that. Like, she took the wrong risks. She never once trusted anyone. It annoyed me that she didn’t, even when multiple faeries proved themselves to her. Now, Cardan was the surprising character. Some of his secrets come out and he’s a very deep guy. He’s got a lot of layers to him and some of them get peeled back to reveal the true Cardan. Side note: I still hate Taryn and Locke. They’re suuuuuper mean. In real life I am all about forgiveness, but since this is a fake world I’m like, okay, they need to die now. *Shrugs*
Writing. This is only the second of Black’s books I’ve read and I don’t know why I haven’t picked up more. I am a huge fan. Her writing style is just straight up story telling. She’s not overly poetic/ flowery, but she’s not “here’s the straight facts”. She’s like a perfect in between. That’s my favorite.
Final Thoughts. First, let me say, OMG OMG OMG WHAT IS WITH THAT ENDING?!?!?! This book built me up then knocked me down in tiny pieces and now I’m wallowing in the deep, dark pit of book hangovers. Now, let me say, I will continue to be obsessed with this series and it remains one that I highly recommend to all of my friends and followers.
When the Last Days came, the planet of Laterre promised hope. A new life for a wealthy French family and their descendants. But five hundred years later, it’s now a place where an extravagant elite class reigns supreme; where the clouds hide the stars and the poor starve in the streets; where a rebel group, long thought dead, is resurfacing.
Whispers of revolution have begun—a revolution that hinges on three unlikely heroes…
Chatine is a street-savvy thief who will do anything to escape the brutal Regime, including spy on Marcellus, the grandson of the most powerful man on the planet.
Marcellus is an officer—and the son of a renowned traitor. In training to take command of the military, Marcellus begins to doubt the government he’s vowed to serve when his father dies and leaves behind a cryptic message that only one person can read: a girl named Alouette.
Alouette is living in an underground refuge, where she guards and protects the last surviving library on the planet. But a shocking murder will bring Alouette to the surface for the first time in twelve years…and plunge Laterre into chaos.
All three have a role to play in a dangerous game of revolution—and together they will shape the future of a planet.
Power, romance, and destiny collide in this sweeping reimagining of Victor Hugo’s masterpiece, Les Misérables.”
*Thank you to Edelweiss+ for the review copy!*
Story/Plot. The premise of the story and plot were A+. I mean, a retelling of Les Miserables?! I LOVE that play (I know it’s based off of the book, I’ve just never read it.)! Plus it’s a retelling in space! That’s right up my alley! And that’s about all I liked of the book. Oops.
Writing. Okay, I did like the writing. It wasn’t anything fancy or my favorite writing ever, but it was good. It was easy to follow along and I never got lost in the story.
Characters. Here we go. Here’s the big one. I literally didn’t like anyone. Chantine was the only one that I liked SOMETIMES. Marcellou and Allouette were SO BORING! I didn’t care if they lived or died. Marcellou was all over the place. One minute he wanted to follow his Grandfather, the next he hated him. Even at the end of the book, I was like where are we at here, Marcellou? I also just saw him as a weak character and didn’t understand his charm. Allouette was just kind of a wuss most of the time. I guess she picked up at the end but she was so boring to read about. Chantine whined a lot but she had reason to. She literally had no one. And she was poor and starving. She has a really tough life. Hers was the only story line I was mildly interested in. She was feisty and she did literally whatever she had to to survive. My suggestion to her, forget about Marcellou. You don’t need him. Although, if you know the Les Miserables story, she’s supposed to be Eponine, so it doesn’t really end well for her anyway. I could have done without the romance in this story, and usually I’m all about those ships!
Final Thoughts. A 2 star rating for me means I finished the book but it was hard to get through. I won’t be picking up the second in the series. I will say that this might be someone’s cup of tea, just not mine.
Sybella has always been the darkest of Death’s daughters, trained at the convent of Saint Mortain to serve as his justice. But she has a new mission now. In a desperate bid to keep her two youngest sisters safe from the family that nearly destroyed them all, she agrees to accompany the duchess to France, where they quickly find themselves surrounded by enemies. Their one ray of hope is Sybella’s fellow novitiates, disguised and hidden deep in the French court years ago by the convent—provided Sybella can find them.
Genevieve has been undercover for so many years, she struggles to remember who she is or what she’s supposed to be fighting for. Her only solace is a hidden prisoner who appears all but forgotten by his guards. When tragedy strikes, she has no choice but to take matters into her own hands—even if it means ignoring the long awaited orders from the convent.
As Sybella and Gen’s paths draw ever closer, the fate of everything they hold sacred rests on a knife’s edge. Will they find each other in time, or will their worlds collide, destroying everything they care about?”
*I received an e-arc from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*
Plot. The plot and premise of this book is what really drew me in. This is my first LaFevers book, I have not read His Fair Assassin trilogy. The idea of lady assassins in the 15th century French court sounded so freaking cool!
Characters. This is where my rating really comes into play. I LOVED Sybella. And Beast. And her whole story. She was hands down my favorite character. She protected the ones she loved. She accepted help from the ones she loved. She was a total BA. I did NOT like Genevieve. She was a piece of crap! Seriously. She was selfish, stuck-up, and judgmental. I hated when it was her turn for the story. Except when Maurad came into the story more often. I loved Maurad. She doesn’t deserve Maurad. I honestly couldn’t stand reading about Gen. I think it would have been better if there had been character growth, but no. She was pretty much the same person the whole way through. I really hope the next book makes her better. I like a character driven story, and I’m all about nasty characters that turn a new leaf OR nasty characters that you can understand. Gen was neither.
World. I like that I didn’t have to to read this new one. However, it may have helped because a lot of the politics and world weren’t explained that much. I understood that there were gifts bestowed on you depending on which of the saints you served, but that was all I understood. Like, is this a Percy Jackson thing where if you serve the saint, they are your parent? I don’t know a lot of 15th century history, but this book could have gone into more detail with it. I understand that this is very loosely based on actual history, but it tried too hard to ride the line. In my opinion, it needed to go one way or the other. Again, maybe things were more explained in the previous trilogy. One more thing, I think the author could have done without the whole wailing on Christians thing. I get it, everyone hates us. But just saying, Catholicism and Christian religion are different.
Final Thoughts. So, I feel kind of bad now. It seems as though I’ve only had bad things to say. The confusing world and Genevieve were really the only down sides. I enjoyed reading this story and still want to read the original trilogy. Courting Darkness was a highly entertaining read that kept me coming back for more! I DO recommend if you like YA Historical Fiction! I can’t wait to read the next book and see how Sybella comes into her new powers, and to see if Gen has a change of heart!
Have you read the original series? If so, what did you think?