The Boneless Mercies by April Genevieve Tucholke – Spoiler Free Review

Author: April Genevieve Tucholke

Publisher:
Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Publication Date: October 02, 2018

Genre: Fantasy, YA, Retellings

My Rating: 3 Stars

| AMAZON


“A dark standalone YA fantasy about a band of mercenary girls in search of female glory.

Frey, Ovie, Juniper, and Runa are the Boneless Mercies—girls hired to kill quickly, quietly, and mercifully. But Frey is weary of the death trade and, having been raised on the heroic sagas of her people, dreams of a bigger life. 

When she hears of an unstoppable monster ravaging a nearby town, Frey decides this is the Mercies’ one chance out. The fame and fortune of bringing down such a beast would ensure a new future for all the Mercies. In fact, her actions may change the story arc of women everywhere.”

So, the hook that got me the most was the fact that it is a retelling of Beowulf. Let me tell you, even being a reader my whole life, I did NOT like reading the original (translated) version. Hated it. But I liked the movie. And the fact that this book was a female retelling. But it didn’t wow me. It didn’t follow Beowulf that closely either. In fact, if no one had said it was a retelling, I would never know. So, I just liked it. That’s it.

I can’t even do likes and dislikes because I feel like each thing I liked, there was something I disliked. Here’s what I mean, I loved that there were fantastic representations of female friendship. They were close but not in love with each other. However, it was kind of weird how much they would touch each other. I know they had to sleep tightly together for warmth, but aside from that they would just randomly start running their hands through each others hair or lay down in their laps. Even if my best friend did that to me, I’d be extremely uncomfortable (unless she was crying and I was comforting her maybe). Another thing I liked was Frey and Trigve but again, the no romance but very touchy thing was weird. Maybe it’s my age (27) but I just don’t do that with guy or girl friends.

The thing I liked most was the battle scenes! They were pretty awesome! Four women and a guy ripping into things and fighting monsters was so fun to read! I also really enjoyed the parts about the Sea Witches. I wanted more from their parts!

FINAL THOUGHTS

I liked it. Enough to read a second book if one comes out! It was a really chill read. One of those books you just read casually. They are always good for fillers in between the tear-out-your-soul reads.

Let’s chat! Have you read this? What did you think?

The Gilded Wolves (The Gilded Wolves, #1) by Roshani Chokshi: Blog Tour + Giveaway

I am SO excited to be participating in the blog tour for The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi, out January 15 from Wednesday Books!

| AMAZON


“Set in a darkly glamorous world, The Gilded Wolves is full of mystery, decadence, and dangerous but thrilling adventure.

Paris, 1889: The world is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. In this city, no one keeps tabs on secrets better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier, Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. But when the all-powerful society, the Order of Babel, seeks him out for help, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance.

To find the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin will need help from a band of experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian who can’t yet go home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in all but blood, who might care too much.

Together, they’ll have to use their wits and knowledge to hunt the artifact through the dark and glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the world, but only if they can stay alive. “

I read somewhere that Chokshi said (and I’m paraphrasing) when you think of 19th century Paris, it’s full of glitz and glamour. However, they had some disgusting practices and all of that beauty covered up that vileness. Chokshi captured that perfectly. It was almost as if she went to 1880’s Paris, took notes, then came back and told us about them. With a fantasy twist of course! Her writing is beautifully descriptive without the reader getting lost. I loved reading about the extravagant parties and the people. Her six characters were very well rounded each with personalities of their own. My favorite was Laila! She is a dancer but that’s not who she really is. She seems happiest baking and feeding people. She was the most relatable in the sense that I feel as though her actions and decisions were something I would make in her shoes. She also has a super rad, dark secret that I’m dying to dig deeper into! Severin’s relationship with each of his crew is really fascinating to read about. He’s got a unique bond with each of them. The magic system is really nifty! It is a little bit more based on science than pure magic, and I loved every moment of the steampunkness (totally a word). Lastly, I’ve just got to say…. THAT ENDING HURT MY HEART!

Roshani Chokshi proved herself an author to watch with her young adult
fantasy debut, The Star-Touched Queen and companion novel A Crown of
Wishes. Debuting at #4 on the New York Times bestseller list, her novels
received rave reviews from fans and critics alike and appeared on the
most buzzed about lists for young adult novels. Beginning her most
ambitious series yet, THE GILDED WOLVES (Wednesday Books;
January 15, 2019) is a decadent tale of heist and adventure set in Belle
Époque Paris, filled with opulent balls, succulent sights, and a brazen
group of teens.

ROSHANI CHOKSHI is the New York Times bestselling author of The Star-Touched Queen, A Crown of Wishes, and Aru Shah and the End of Time. Her work has appeared in Strange Horizons, Shimmer, and Book Smugglers. Her short story, “The Star Maiden,” was longlisted for the British Fantasy Science Award.

A Rafflecopter Giveaway!

The Blinding Knife (Lightbringer, #2) Review [Spoiler Free]

Author: Brent Weeks

Publisher: Orbit

Publication Date: September 11, 2012

Genre: Adult Fantasy

My Rating: 4 Stars

“Gavin Guile is dying.

He’d thought he had five years left—now he has less than one. With fifty thousand refugees, a bastard son, and an ex-fiancée who may have learned his darkest secret, Gavin has problems on every side. All magic in the world is running wild and threatens to destroy the Seven Satrapies.

Worst of all, the old gods are being reborn, and their army of color wights is unstoppable. The only salvation may be the brother whose freedom and life Gavin stole sixteen years ago.”

I’m going to skip my usual break down of writing, magic, world, ect… and just jump right into my thoughts. Since the build up of the world and magic were in the first book, and the writing has stayed the same.

I liked this one better than the first. You get to see a lot of the inner workings and politics of the Chromeria while Kip goes to school! Yep, there’s magic school in this book. I am a sucker for any book that has a type of magical school. What a nerd. Plus it’s hilarious to watch Kip go head to head with Andross (his grandfather). But then less hilarious later on…

Gavin and Karris’ chemistry is off the charts. That’s all I’ll say about that! Ha!

I love that we are starting to dig deeper into each character and watching this crazy world unfold. I half like and half don’t like Liv’s POV. She’s lawful evil. But I find it interesting her reasoning she uses for being bad (Although she thinks she’s the good guy).

Honeslty, Kip is my favorite POV. He’s really funny and smart. I found myself hoping the next chapter would always be his. I’m loving watching the characters get stronger (or weaker) in their magic and in their ways.

Oh yeah, Iron Fist is still my favorite!!! Listen here, Weeks, I will revolt and throw tomatoes at you if you kill him ever! Also, that cliff hanger!!!!

Has anyone read this series?! Please someone talk with me about it if you have! I have so many theories!!

Crooked Ravens (Otherworld, #1) [Spoiler Free]

Author: Talis Jones

Publisher: Self- Published

Publication Date: June 26, 2018

Genre: Fantasy, YA

Adventure Rating: 3 Stars

Amazon

“Sometimes you must let go of who you were to 
embrace what you could become.”
“And if that damns me to Hell?” she asked.
He smiled. “Then we shall meet again.”

There is an island that protects the young not because they are lost, but because they were taken. The Island of Oneiroi is not a mere destination for children and dreamers – it’s a sanctuary for the murdered and vengeance has come.

Adrianna Verdandi holds the cooling corpse of her foster brother, Geoffrey Martinez, when a curious stranger turns up with an invitation of passage to an impossible realm. Little did she know that accepting a second chance would bind their fates to the very darkness they flee from.

Time is of the essence, the rebels are rising up, ancient forces stir in the northern woods, and through it all a strange sailor named Titus watches bemused, shrewd, and knowing far more than he is willing to divulge about this ruthless game for power.

The darkness isn’t coming. It’s already there, walking in your shadow.


*Thank you to the author for sending me an e-book in exchange for an honest review!*

Story/ Plot. Peter Pan + Queen of Hearts = Crooked Raven. At least, that’s the vibe I got! It was a really cool, unique take. I liked the adventure aspect, Adrianna travels across Oneroi to help the rightful queen take her throne away from the tyrant. She was tricked into helping but ended up joining the cause anyways. Geoffrey’s story is a little more slow going. I felt as though his point of view could have had more meat to it. 

Characters. I really liked Adrianna. She was relatable in the sense that I felt as though I would make the same choices she did. I liked hers and Sarai’s friendship. Well, most of the time. Sarai was a really fickle person. One minute she was so excited that she was friends with Adrianna, then the next she was calling her dead weight. 

Writing. Okay, here is where I knocked off a couple stars. There were a couple inconsistencies that confused me thoroughout the book.  One of the first ones I noticed was when the group Adrianna was with, was making camp and the said they “should really start training her.” Then someone else was like, “yes! Let’s do that.” And then five minutes later they just went on their merry way. I was like, wait, what? Another thing that was a bit hard to read was that the scenes didn’t flow together smoothly. Like, the group does one thing, then they’re done. Then another. Then done. Ect.. I also felt as though it would have been easier to follow along if it had have been first person POV alternating. However, I just want to end with that Jones’ writing itself was beautiful, it was just the execution that was hard to follow. Here’s an example: “Night winked cheekily with bright stars scattered across the sky.” I love that sentence! 

Final Thoughts. I am definitely still interested in continuing this series! The characters and story were really interesting! I also love supporting small time authors and am very happy I was approached for this! 

The Black Prism (Lightbringer, #1) Review [Spoiler Free]

Author: Brent Weeks

Publisher: Orbit

Publication Date: August 25, 2010

Genre: Adult Fantasy

Adventure Rating: 4 Stars

| Amazon

“Gavin Guile is the Prism, the most powerful man in the world. He is high priest and emperor, a man whose power, wit, and charm are all that preserves a tenuous peace. Yet Prisms never last, and Gavin Guile knows exactly how long he has left to live.

When Gavin Guile discovers he has a son, born in a far kingdom after the war that put him in power, he must decide how much he’s willing to pay to protect a secret that could tear his world apart.”

First Thoughts. Pretty awesome actually. So this book came HIGHLY recommended by my husband who went 27 years without reading. This is his first year where he actually wanted to read books. I was shocked! But I dutifully started this fantasy series that he so loves. And y’all, I am so glad I did! It’s been since 2014, I think, that I have read an adult fantasy. Horrible since it’s my favorite genre. IT WAS SO GOOD! What a breath of fresh air! I had so much readers anxiety during this adventure. I had so many burning questions and theories! Some were answered and some have still not been and it’s driving me nuts.

Plot/ Story. A pretty fast paced story for a first book. There was a lot of traveling, a lot of action, and a lot of intrigue! Plus learning about the Color System of magic was SO COOL!! What a neat concept! Depending on what color you can draft, you can make different things and the color can change your mood. The downside is, the more you draft, the quicker you die. Most only live to be 36-40. Only the Prism can draft all of the colors and has to keep a balance in the world. 

Characters. To start, I ship Gavin and Karris so hard!!! Please just be happy together! Anyways, Kip is adorable and witty and charming. He is Gavin’s overweight son that may or not be more powerful? I don’t know yet! I really like the different POV the book takes you through. Karris is one of my favorites because she’s super feisty and great fun to read about.  My favorite character though is hands down Iron Fist!!!! He’s one of the coolest characters I’ve ever read about! He’s go secrets, he’s powerful, and he’s got that upstanding honor thing going without being boring. 

Final Thoughts. I highly recommend. It’s SO much fun to read and the writing is phenomenal. I don’t understand how I’ve never heard of this book before my husband told me about it. I feel like this series has a following, just no one I know! I’ve already wasted no time to start book 2!

The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air, #2) Review [Spoiler Free]

Author: Holly Black

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: January 8, 2019

Genre: YA Fantasy

My Rating: 4 Stars

The Wicked King (Amazon)

The Cruel Prince (Amazon)


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.”

 

*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. 

Sky Without Stars (System Divine #1) Review [Spoiler Free]

Author: Jessica Brody & Joanne Rendell

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Publication Date: May 26, 2019

Genre: YA, Sci-Fi, Retellings

My Rating: 2 Stars



Amazon

“A thief. An officer. A guardian. 

Three strangers, one shared destiny . . .

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.