Posted in Reviews

Review: A Vow So Bold and Deadly by Brigid Kemmerer (Curse So Dark and Lonely #3)

A Vow So Bold and Deadly by Brigid Kemmerer
Book 1 Review: A Curse so Dark and Lonely
Book 2 Review: A Heart so Fierce and Broken

Recommended: if you made it this far…
Look, if you’ve already read book 1 and book 2, just finish it here. All characters get a perspective, so no matter who you’re most interested in, you’ll get something from them

Summary

Face your fears, fight the battle.

Emberfall is crumbling fast, torn between those who believe Rhen is the rightful prince and those who are eager to begin a new era under Grey, the true heir. Grey has agreed to wait two months before attacking Emberfall, and in that time, Rhen has turned away from everyone—even Harper, as she desperately tries to help him find a path to peace.

Fight the battle, save the kingdom.

Meanwhile, Lia Mara struggles to rule Syhl Shallow with a gentler hand than her mother. But after enjoying decades of peace once magic was driven out of their lands, some of her subjects are angry Lia Mara has an enchanted prince and a magical scraver by her side. As Grey’s deadline draws nearer, Lia Mara questions if she can be the queen her country needs.

Thoughts

This is the last book in a series, and I think it did fine in that position. Unfortunately, “fine” is kind of a let down for a series that was on FIRE for so long. There were things I liked and disliked in each book, but it seems like book 2 was so epic to me and this one was just so… not.

Continue reading “Review: A Vow So Bold and Deadly by Brigid Kemmerer (Curse So Dark and Lonely #3)”
Posted in Reviews

Review: A March of Kings by Morgan Rice

A March of Kings by Morgan Rice

Recommended: sure
For people who liked the first one, for an adventurous escalation of the story now that the world and premise are set

Summary

After he escapes from the dungeon, Thor is horrified to learn of another assassination attempt on King MacGil. When MacGil dies, the kingdom is set into turmoil. As everyone vies for the throne, King’s Court is more rife than ever with its family dramas, power struggles, ambitions, jealousy, violence and betrayal. An heir must be chosen from among the children, and the ancient Dynasty Sword, the source of all their power, will have a chance to be wielded by someone new. But all this might be upended: the murder weapon is recovered, and the noose tightens on finding the assassin. Simultaneously, the MacGils face a new threat by the McClouds, who are set to attack again from within the Ring.

Thor fights to win back Gwendolyn’s love, but there may not be time: he is told to pack up, to prepare with his brothers in arms for The Hundred, a hundred grueling days of hell that all Legion members must survive. The Legion will have to cross the Canyon, beyond the protection of the Ring, into the Wilds, and set sail across the Tartuvian Sea for the Isle of Mist, said to be patrolled by a dragon, for their initiation into manhood.

Will they make it back? Will the Ring survive in their absence? And will Thor finally learn the secret of his destiny?

Thoughts

I liked the first book, but this one was maybe more exciting! Now that all the characters and various dangers of the world are in place, it was easier to move forward into the depths of the story and really get into the drama.

The classic style is still in effect, where things have a bit of a trope-y path they follow, but still in a surprisingly wonderful way. It’s like reading a modern classic, if that makes sense? Even though the vibe is very traditional knight’s adventure, I can’t predict what’s going to happen and I’m SO excited for it. The ending of this one by the way? Be sure to have book 3 ready to go when you finish. xD

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Posted in Reviews

2 Second Review: A Quest of Heroes by Morgan Rice

Considering I had totally forgotten what this book was about, I really enjoyed it! I feel like it was a pretty simple formula of a story but I didn’t care because it was so well done that I just really enjoyed it. It felt immediately familiar and like one I couldn’t wait to keep reading more of. I’m definitely continuing the series, and I’m glad I’ve randomly bought several of the books already over the years 🤣

This story is all the classic fantasy elements. There’s a dangerous foe (or two), brave and dashing knights, and our unassuming lad who’s fated to legend. Plus magic! And a lady love! And visions of the future and enemies turned to loyal followers! And jousting! It’s all fabulous.

It just works. It fits like a comfortably worn in give, and it’s not hard to follow the story of sink into the world. I was immediately following along like one of his sheep, and yes, I’ll be reading more.

Summary

A Quest for Heroes revolves around the epic coming of age story of one special boy, a 14 year old from a small village on the outskirts of the Kingdom of the Ring. The youngest of four, the least favorite of his father, hated by his brothers, Thorgrin senses he is different from the others. He dreams of becoming a great warrior, of joining the King’s men and protecting the Ring from the hordes of creatures on the other side of the Canyon. When he comes of age and is forbidden by his father to try out for the King’s Legion, he refuses to take no for an answer: he journeys out on his own, determined to force his way into King’s Court and be taken seriously.

But King’s Court is rife with its own family dramas, power struggles, ambitions, jealousy, violence and betrayal. King MacGil must choose an heir from amongst his children, and the ancient Dynasty Sword, the source of all their power, still sits untouched, waiting for the chosen one to arrive. Thorgrin arrives as an outsider and battles to be accepted, and to join the King’s Legion.

Thorgrin comes to learn he has mysterious powers he does not understand, that he has a special gift, and a special destiny. Against all odds he falls in love with the king’s daughter, and as their forbidden relationship blossoms, he discovers he has powerful rivals. As he struggles to make sense of his powers, the king’s sorcerer takes him under his wing and tells him of a mother he never knew, in a land far away, beyond the Canyon, beyond even the land of the Dragons.

Before Thorgrin can venture out and become the warrior he yearns to be, he must complete his training. But this may be cut short, as he finds himself propelled into the center of royal plots and counterplots, ones that may threaten his love and bring him down—and the entire kingdom with him.

Posted in Reviews

Review: A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas (ACOTAR #2)

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2)
Verdict: Meh. Better than the first but I still won’t be continuing

Recommended: if you’re on the fence about continuing the series, this book will probably decide it for you.

Summary

Feyre has undergone more trials than one human woman can carry in her heart. Though she’s now been granted the powers and lifespan of the High Fae, she is haunted by her time Under the Mountain and the terrible deeds she performed to save the lives of Tamlin and his people.

As her marriage to Tamlin approaches, Feyre’s hollowness and nightmares consume her. She finds herself split into two different people: one who upholds her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court, and one who lives out her life in the Spring Court with Tamlin. While Feyre navigates a dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms. She might just be the key to stopping it, but only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future-and the future of a world in turmoil.

Thoughts

I was absolutely done with this series after how freakin’ boring the first book was. Quite disappointingly so. Tamlin was 100% unlikable for me, nothing really seemed to HAPPEN for about 75% of the book, and the ending “mystery” was so annoyingly obvious that imagining the character struggling with it made them unlikably stupid. (Maybe unlikably isn’t a word but I’m using it anyway.) So I was not going to read this book until a friend who loved the series said that book two goes in a different direction entirely and might make me like it more.

They were correct that I like it more, but I still don’t care enough to finish the series. The overall story and character style is just not working for me this time. The all-powerful chosen one theme is boring the heck out of me in this story and taking away some of my investment. If they’re so all powerful and can wipe out the world with a thought, how are they struggling with so many things? Anyway.

Continue reading “Review: A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas (ACOTAR #2)”
Posted in Reviews

Review: The Bone Orchard by Sara A. Mueller

The Bone Orchard by Sara A. Mueller

Recommended: sure
For a very strange atmosphere, for people okay with embracing a bit of confusion, for people okay with doing a little bit of work to figure out what’s going on, for people who adore a fascinating and gothic world. FYI that there’s not a lot of focus on the bone orchard itself, weirdly. More the results of it, the symbol of it.

Summary

Charm is a witch, and she is alone. The last of a line of conquered necromantic workers, now confined within the yard of regrown bone trees at Orchard House, and the secrets of their marrow. Charm is a prisoner, and a survivor. Charm tends the trees and their clattering fruit for the sake of her children, painstakingly grown and regrown with its fruit: Shame, Justice, Desire, Pride, and Pain. Charm is a whore, and a madam. The wealthy and powerful of Borenguard come to her house to buy time with the girls who aren’t real.

Except on Tuesdays, which is when the Emperor himself lays claim to his mistress, Charm herself. Now—Charm is also the only person who can keep an empire together, as the Emperor summons her to his deathbed, and charges her with choosing which of his awful, faithless sons will carry on the empire—by discovering which one is responsible for his own murder.

If she does this last thing, she will finally have what has been denied her since the fall of Inshil—her freedom. But she will also be betraying the ghosts past and present that live on within her heart. Charm must choose. Her dead Emperor’s will or the whispers of her own ghosts. Justice for the empire or her own revenge.

Thoughts

Well, it was weird and absolutely not what I expected. Not bad, but definitely strange. I felt like an outsider the whole time. Sometimes I missed the subtleties of exchanges that were carefully worded between characters to carry secrets. I only understood when someone laid it out plainly later on, or when an action happened that I was confused by and thought about until I connected it to their previous plotting that I had missed. That feeling lasted, and while it should have been more alienating, it was intriguing in a way as well.

I rather liked that this book was not straightforward to me. I rather liked that I felt a bit offkilter, because it put me on more even footing with Charm and the boneghosts. The scheming and intrigue was at times a secret even from me: that’s how clever our characters are.

Continue reading “Review: The Bone Orchard by Sara A. Mueller”
Posted in Chatty

Do… do I now dislike Sarah J Maas??

Hey y’all! I’m about 84% of the way through A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas (note that I actually got the title wrong there and had to correct it — which will make sense at the end of this…). It’s the second book in a series that I started a long time ago and was incredibly underwhelmed by and figured I wouldn’t bother continuing it. I adore Maas’ Throne of Glass series, but this one was an absolute flop for me.

Obviously I ended up giving this second book a go, at the encouragement of a friend who had loved this series and said the second one got some new characters who I would probably like a lot more. I encouraged her to read Throne of Glass since she hadn’t, and we essentially traded Maas series’. Ahh, reading buddies. ^.^

Unfortunately… I’m nearly done with the second book and I still don’t care for it. But worse is the other revelations that have come with my disinterest in this book:

  1. I think if I re-read the Throne of Glass series, I wouldn’t like it very much
  2. I think… I might just not like Maas’ usual form of story anymore
  3. I think I might be worn out on the supremely-powerful-character line

Let’s investigate.

Would I now dislike the Throne of Glass series?

This all kind of conglomerated in my head when I read a discussion recently where people listed some of the “strong female characters” in books that they actually really disliked (I couldn’t find where I read that though, apologies). One that came up was Caelena from ToG. I was surprised to see that, but their description of her as a character and the story itself overall was a new perspective to me since I devoured that whole series.

Continue reading “Do… do I now dislike Sarah J Maas??”
Posted in Reviews

Review: An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

Recommended:
For a quick and easy start to a series, for a fairly familiar read that keeps you engaged enough

Summary

Laia is a slave. Elias is a soldier. Neither is free.
Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.
It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.
But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.
There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.

Thoughts

This was good enough that I read it without issue and will probably continue the series, but it wasn’t good enough to make me need to continue the series immediately.

I think the cover is pretty generic looking, and something about it just feels lackluster to me. Maybe the white background? Maybe the unnatural smoothness of the faces? Maybe the simple coloring? I don’t know why — but that was also the vibe I got with the story. As I was going through, the characters and plot all felt like things I’d read before. That’s not necessarily bad, since a good story told well is one I’ll read over and over again. And like I said, I read this book consistently, and it never felt like it dragged, and I enjoyed it.

But I wasn’t blown away.

Continue reading “Review: An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir”
Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: The Bone Orchard, 3/22/22

Hey y’all! In contrast to Throwback Thursday, I like to use Fridays to look forward to an upcoming release that I’m excited about! Today’s is The Bone Orchard by Sara A Mueller!
Expected Release: March 22, 2022

Why wait on this one?

  • Witches. And what witch doesn’t want revenge for something? I feel like it just comes with the territory. Maybe it’s the fact that where there are witches, there are usually witch-hunters and witch-haters. Although I guess it’s more like “witch” since Charm (WHAT A NAME FOR A WITCH) is the last witch. Quite a burden to carry, eh?
  • Magic. And not just any magic, but necromancy. Ooooooh boy am I fan of that dark magic that can lead to moral grays and broken people. I have no idea what a bone orchard is — maybe it will take necromancy to an unexpected life theme instead of it’s usualy heavy focus on death. But wowwww am I excited to find out. 😁
  • Court. I’m a sucker for royalty-themed stories. I guess it’s like the grown-up version of when kids really love princess stories and such. The fancy gowns, the politeness rules, the lavish events… it’s a really lush world to imagine and there’s so much to work with when royal court life is part of the story. Plus, magic + court stories are pretty dang common, but magic + court + WITCHES is not a combo I can think of another title for!

Summary

Charm is a witch, and she is alone. The last of a line of conquered necromantic workers, now confined within the yard of regrown bone trees at Orchard House, and the secrets of their marrow.

Charm is a prisoner, and a survivor. Charm tends the trees and their clattering fruit for the sake of her children, painstakingly grown and regrown with its fruit: Shame, Justice, Desire, Pride, and Pain.

Charm is a whore, and a madam. The wealthy and powerful of Borenguard come to her house to buy time with the girls who aren’t real.

Except on Tuesdays, which is when the Emperor himself lays claim to his mistress, Charm herself. Now—Charm is also the only person who can keep an empire together, as the Emperor summons her to his deathbed, and charges her with choosing which of his awful, faithless sons will carry on the empire—by discovering which one is responsible for his own murder. If she does this last thing, she will finally have what has been denied her since the fall of Inshil—her freedom. But she will also be betraying the ghosts past and present that live on within her heart. Charm must choose. Her dead Emperor’s will or the whispers of her own ghosts. Justice for the empire or her own revenge.

Posted in Reviews

Review: The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty

The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty
Verdict: 🔥🚒🧯
I’ve never read a +500 page book so quickly. This book made me less frustrated to wake up before 3am, because I knew I could read it in peace for a while.

Recommended: absolutely!!!
for lovers of magical fantasy, for a lively world of mystical creatures, for court intrigue and royal politicking, for allies and enemies and a lot of places in between

Summary

Nahri has never believed in magic. Certainly, she has power; on the streets of 18th century Cairo, she’s a con woman of unsurpassed talent. But she knows better than anyone that the trade she uses to get by—palm readings, zars, healings—are all tricks, sleights of hand, learned skills; a means to the delightful end of swindling Ottoman nobles.

But when Nahri accidentally summons an equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior to her side during one of her cons, she’s forced to accept that the magical world she thought only existed in childhood stories is real. For the warrior tells her a new tale: across hot, windswept sands teeming with creatures of fire, and rivers where the mythical marid sleep; past ruins of once-magnificent human metropolises, and mountains where the circling hawks are not what they seem, lies Daevabad, the legendary city of brass, a city to which Nahri is irrevocably bound.

In that city, behind gilded brass walls laced with enchantments, behind the six gates of the six djinn tribes, old resentments are simmering. And when Nahri decides to enter this world, she learns that true power is fierce and brutal. That magic cannot shield her from the dangerous web of court politics. That even the cleverest of schemes can have deadly consequences.

After all, there is a reason they say be careful what you wish for…

Thoughts

First of all, WOW. I’m a fool for not reading this sooner, especially when I had a copy on my shelf for a while thinking I would enjoy it but just not getting around to it. Big thanks to the stranger on The Storygraph who invited me to a buddy read to get me into it, finally!! This book blew my socks off, and since it’s currently winter, that’s saying a lot, because I’m ALWAYS wearing socks in winter.

The world in this is of course the biggest strength. There’s the right balance between the little details that flesh it out, and not sinking so deeply into the details that I’m bored and lost in pages and pages of miscellaneous descriptions. The conjurations in the bazaars of Daveabad, for example, were enough to make the city and world feel magical and entrancing, but not so deep that I got sick of it (if ever I could…).

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Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: This Woven Kingdom by Tahereh Mafi, 2/1/22

Hey y’all! In contrast to Throwback Thursday, I like to use Fridays to look forward to an upcoming release that I’m excited about! Today’s is This Woven Kingdom by Tahereh Mafi! Now, admittedly, this release isn’t one I have to look forward to for much longer because it’s actually out today!!! 🥰 Here’s why I’ve been counting down the days.
Expected Release: February 1, 2022 (er…today!!!)

Why wait on this one?

  • This one might sound odd, but: the blurb is so short. That always feels like a bit of a risk to me, but at the same time, when a blurb about a book is short, it often means that there is just SO MUCH TO DISCOVER by reading it that there isn’t much to say without taking away some of that fun!
  • 2And what we do get from the blurb is my catnip: prophecy; fate; royalty; kingdoms; hierarchy; secrets; and JINN?! FRICKIN GENIES AND MAGIC?? ABSOLUTELY YES I WILL READ THIS!!
  • “Inspired by Persian mythology.” A thing I know little about and desperately want to know more about. Sounds like a perfect fit!!!

Summary

To all the world, Alizeh is a disposable servant, not the long-lost heir to an ancient Jinn kingdom forced to hide in plain sight.

The crown prince, Kamran, has heard the prophecies foretelling the death of his king. But he could never have imagined that the servant girl with the strange eyes, the girl he can’t put out of his mind, would one day soon uproot his kingdom—and the world.

Clashing empires, forbidden romance, and a long-forgotten queen destined to save her people—bestselling author Tahereh Mafi’s first in an epic, romantic trilogy inspired by Persian mythology.