Fantasy, Young Adult

Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan

Wicked Saints (Something Dark and Holy, #1)Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Out April 2nd! Preorder from Amazon here.

Game of Thrones meets Children of Blood and Bone in this action-packed YA fantasy novel. Nadya is a girl of the gods. Her country is at war with Tranavia, a land that loathes the gods and relies on blood magic for power. The two countries will come crashing together when the prince of Tranavia infiltrates Nadya’s home, setting in motion a chain of events that neither country saw coming.

I always love a good fantasy novel, and this was no exception. The originality here by Emily A. Duncan shone through, going so far as to create new languages and concepts specific to this world. I really liked Nadya as a main character and related to the internal struggles she grappled with throughout the book, not knowing whether she should have faith in her gods or realign her actions with what she felt was right regardless of the gods’ will.

I struggled slightly in the beginning of the book to grasp what was going on, just because this is an entirely new world that the author creates, so it took some time to gain enough understanding of the two countries and their motivations. But once I got 20 – 30% of the way through, I was fully on board. The names of some of the characters were a tad difficult to pronounce as they were long and foreign, with many consonants together that we wouldn’t typically see in English. I would be very interested to listen to this one on audio just to hear how the narrator pronounces some of the names and words that were new to me.

Overall, would recommend this to most people that enjoy the fantasy genre. Like I said, it was reminiscent of Game of Thrones in that there are multiple kingdoms fighting for ultimate power, with lots of magical elements thrown in the mix. It was a fun read, and I’m excited to see what the next book in the series holds.

P.S. The author does leave you on quite a bit of a cliffhanger in the end, so don’t be disappointed when everything isn’t wrapped up nicely with a bow on top by the last page.

-I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley, Emily A. Duncan, and St. Martin’s Press for the opportunity to review.-

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Fantasy, Historical Fiction

The Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo

The Night TigerThe Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Expected publication Tuesday! Pre-order from Amazon here!

Book #2 “in the books” for the Booksparks Winter Reading Challenge! #WRC2019

The Night Tiger was…. interesting. I can’t sit here and say that it worked for me because in all honesty, it didn’t. This book had all the makings of a wonderful story. Rooted in magical realism, there was a mystical quality to the writing. There was a murder mystery. There was a love story. All the things that I would expect from a fantastic novel. But unfortunately, they didn’t all mesh that well together for me. There was a lot of fuss over a severed finger that I just didn’t understand or connect with. And the love story was a tad “icky.”

That being said, there were some qualities that I could appreciate that are worth mentioning. I did like the overall writing style of Yangsze Choo, and although I didn’t connect personally with the mystical elements, I could appreciate that the story was deeply rooted in folklore. In addition, I really enjoyed getting to know Ji Lin, the main character, and really connected to her as a character.

While this one didn’t blow me away, I’ve seen plenty of reviews from others who absolutely LOVED this book, so it’s definitely worth checking out if you like folk stories with a touch of fantasy.

-I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley, Yangsze Choo, and Flatiron Books for the opportunity to review.-

On to Book #3 of the Winter Reading Challenge, Me For You by Lolly Winston!

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Fantasy, Horror, Mystery, Thriller

Someone Like Me by M.R. Carey

Someone Like MeSomeone Like Me by M.R. Carey

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Won this book in a Goodreads giveaway! Thank you to Orbit Books for the giveaway copy. If you don’t read and review books you win in giveaways, you should. Do the right thing. End rant.

I’m going to give this book 3.5 stars which I’ll round up to 4 stars on Goodreads because… well… no half stars allowed. Come on Goodreads… give a girl some options please!

Any who.. back to Someone Like Me. I really enjoyed the first half of this book. It sucked me in instantly with a concept that was really interesting. Action packed from the start, the book begins with Liz being attacked by her ex-husband when an unexplained force comes over her that allows her to fight back with a strength and anger unlike anything she’s ever experienced. Can you say split personality? Meanwhile, Liz’s son has befriended a girl from school named Fran who has a dark and disturbed past. Liz and Fran’s stories come colliding together in a suspenseful novel by M.R. Carey.

What did I like about this book? One of my favorite things about the book was how the chapters were “numbered” with illustrations that coincided with the character whose story was being told. I thought it was a very clever way to identify the character whose story line was being told via pictures rather than words. I also really enjoyed the characters and felt like they were well developed. And the relationships between the characters were fun to see unfold.

What didn’t I like?

1. It was a tad too long and could have benefited from some editing.
2. The dialogue at times felt a tad juvenile and unrealistic. I had a hard time imagining real life people actually saying the sentences that were presented as dialogue between characters.
3. It took a little bit of a paranormal turn that I didn’t expect. And while it was an interesting turn, I felt there were a lot of questions left unanswered. I think I would have enjoyed the book more if it stuck with a mental health angle rather than a paranormal angle.

Overall, a good book with some intriguing content. Definitely has some unexpected turns that are exciting but at the end of the day, not my favorite book in the world. I’ll put this in the “just okay” camp.

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Audiobook Review, Fantasy, Young Adult

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of Orïsha, #1)Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Children of Blood and Bone has been on my list for a while. Tomi Adeyemi won the award for Goodreads Choice Debut Author this year for her work on this book, so I’ve been very excited to get my hands on it.

Children of Blood and Bone is very much a young adult fantasy. I would place it in the same genre as The Hunger Games, Divergent, and any other young adult series with heavy fantasy elements. It is the story of a young girl named Zélie, the daughter of a magi. Magi once populated the land, harnessing various magical powers. But, the magi were murdered by a ruthless king, thirsty for power and desperate for magic to disappear. Zélie has one chance to bring magic back, but her journey will be filled with obstacles and barriers.

————————————–

From the publisher:

They killed my mother.
They took our magic.
They tried to bury us.

Now we rise.

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I really loved the creativity and thought that Tomi Adeyemi poured into this novel. It was so unique and different, with some extremely creative elements. The concept of the book was superb and I loved the fact that it was kept as a young adult book with a “coming of age” theme.

From an audiobook perspective, the narrator’s accent lended an element of believability and authenticity. I really enjoyed her portrayal of the various characters. I did feel at times that the voices of each character weren’t very distinct and there were a couple of times that I had to reorient myself to which character was talking. And as the book has a lot of action and excitement, the narration is at times loud and intense. Let’s just say it’s not a book you would want to listen to if you had a headache.

I was extremely surprised to find out that this book was written in response to incidences of police brutality and the author’s feeling of helplessness. While I didn’t feel like there were overt references to that accord, looking back I can see the connection and applicability.

I will definitely be checking out the second in this series when it comes out. It’s worth the read if you haven’t checked it out already.

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Audiobook Review, Fantasy, General Fiction (Adult), Historical Fiction

The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

The ImmortalistsThe Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

First, can we talk about the cover? This book kept popping up on social media everywhere, and every time, it stuck in my head because of that gorgeous cover. It is so simple, but beautiful and eye catching.

So what is The Immortalists about? In the 1960’s the Gold children hear about a woman who can tell fortunes. She’s said to be able to tell you the date you will die. So when all four of them pay the woman a visit, they get the answers they came looking for, but will they like what they hear? The story that unfolds is about each of the children’s journeys through life, leading up to their deaths. At times perhaps a bit depressing, it explores the line between our decisions and our fate. And challenges the way we live our lives. Would we live differently if we knew when we were going to die? Would we play it safe or make the most of our days?

I thought the idea behind this book was extraordinary. I enjoyed the philosophical elements and the overall message Chloe Benjamin was trying to portray. I loved the character development as well and really connected with several of the characters as the book went on.

I did struggle slightly with the format. It is really four separate stories that end up tying together. But, they are told in succession. So I would get really invested in one character or story, it would end, and I would have to get my brain back in gear to connect with the next character in line. It ended up working for me, but that is my one slightly gripe.

All in all, this was a fantastic novel and explored a lot of really interesting content. I found it thought provoking, but not at the expense of entertainment.

I would recommend it one to anybody looking for something with deeper and perhaps a little darker subject matter. It’s a quick read but you may find it somewhat emotionally draining.

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