Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: Song of Silver, Flame Like Night – Amélie Wen Zhao (Song of the Last Kingdom #1)

Rating: 4/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Historical

Review:

This book was an absolute cover love for me! Look how gorgeous it is! I love dragons and I’ve always been interested in Chinese folklore so I was super excited to read it. I can attest upfront that this story did not disappoint.

Lan and Zen were compelling characters, each with their own traumas and their secrets—secrets that the author dribbled throughout the story with a clever hand, keeping you wanting for more. The plotline was intriguing with twists that some I saw coming and others I so did not and enjoyed the surprise of those revelations.

The side characters were excellent additions and knit the threads of this story tight. I did expect more from the main characters by the ending chapters, especially Zen but I understand that this is only the first in a duology.

I read this book in one sitting because I just couldn’t stop and I was dying to know what happened next! What I loved best about this story, was the author’s fascinating descriptions of the magic, the abilities, and the vivid scenes that I could see in my mind. Amélie Wen Zhao is a new author for me but I am already impressed by her writing style and can’t wait to try her other books.

Thanks to Penguin Teen Canada for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Stay tuned.

∼Lyn

Synopsis: In a fallen kingdom, one girl carries the key to discovering the secrets of her nation’s past—and unleashing the demons that sleep at its heart. An epic fantasy series inspired by the mythology and folklore of ancient China. Once, Lan had a different name. Now she goes by the one the Elantian colonizers gave her when they invaded her kingdom, killed her mother, and outlawed her people’s magic. She spends her nights as a songgirl in Haak’gong, a city transformed by the conquerors, and her days scavenging for what she can find of the past. Anything to understand the strange mark burned into her arm by her mother in her last act before she died. The mark is mysterious—an untranslatable Hin character—and no one but Lan can see it. Until the night a boy appears at her teahouse and saves her life. Zen is a practitioner—one of the fabled magicians of the Last Kingdom. Their magic was rumored to have been drawn from the demons they communed with. Magic believed to be long lost. Now it must be hidden from the Elantians at all costs. When Zen comes across Lan, he recognizes what she is: a practitioner with a powerful ability hidden in the mark on her arm. He’s never seen anything like it—but he knows that if there are answers, they lie deep in the pine forests and misty mountains of the Last Kingdom, with an order of practitioning masters planning to overthrow the Elantian regime. Both Lan and Zen have secrets buried deep within—secrets they must hide from others, and secrets that they themselves have yet to discover. Fate has connected them, but their destiny remains unwritten. Both hold the power to liberate their land. And both hold the power to destroy the world. Now the battle for the Last Kingdom begins.

 

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: Rust In The Root – Justina Ireland

Rating: 5/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Historical Fiction, LGBT, LGBTQ

Review:

When I first saw the cover of Rust In The Root, I knew I had to have this book. How gorgeous is that cover! Plus I’ve read a couple of books by Justina Ireland and I like her writing style. I actually finished this book at 1 a.m. coz it was that good.

The story is set in 1937 in an alternate history, with the same prejudices but with magic thrown in. From the first moment Laura Ann was introduced, I was charmed by her point of view and the dry wit that left me chuckling. Life is hard when you’re colored but you can either throw in the towel or keep fighting. Laura Ann chose to keep fighting.

With a delightful cast of diverse characters, the plotline was smooth and seamless, with dynamic writing that was a pleasure to read. The author sprinkled tasty morsels of the story like a breadcrumb trail, which was an excellent ploy to make it more compelling and keep you guessing, not to mention the dry humor cropping up when you least expected it and making it fun.

I enjoyed this book far more than I’d expected and the characters left a lasting impression on me long after I finished it.

Thanks to HarperCollins Canada for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Stay tuned.

∼Lyn

Synopsis
The author of the visionary New York Times bestseller Dread Nation returns with another spellbinding historical fantasy set at the crossroads of race and power in America.
It is 1937, and Laura Ann Langston lives in an America divided—between those who work the mystical arts and those who do not. Ever since the Great Rust, a catastrophic event that blighted the arcane force called the Dynamism and threw America into disarray, the country has been rebuilding for a better future. And everyone knows the future is industry and technology—otherwise known as Mechomancy—not the traditional mystical arts.
Laura disagrees. A talented young mage from Pennsylvania, Laura hopped a portal to New York City on her seventeenth birthday with hopes of earning her mage’s license and becoming something more than a rootworker
But six months later, she’s got little to show for it other than an empty pocket and broken dreams. With nowhere else to turn, Laura applies for a job with the Bureau of the Arcane’s Conservation Corps, a branch of the US government dedicated to repairing the Dynamism so that Mechomancy can thrive. There she meets the Skylark, a powerful mage with a mysterious past, who reluctantly takes Laura on as an apprentice.
As they’re sent off on their first mission together into the heart of the country’s oldest and most mysterious Blight, they discover the work of mages not encountered since the darkest period in America’s past, when Black mages were killed for their power—work that could threaten Laura’s and the Skylark’s lives, and everything they’ve worked for.

 

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: Gallant – V.E. Schwab

Rating: 4/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Gothic, Horror

Review:

Gallant wasn’t what I was expecting but that is not to say it was a disappointment. Far from it. In fact, from the first page, I was so invested in Olivia I needed to know what was going to happen next, and how her life would unfold.

I enjoyed the side characters a lot and I empathized so much with Matthew. I understood him, his frustration, his feeling of imprisonment caused by duty and obligation, the burden of responsibility, the grief of loss, the pain and guilt. I liked Olivia but Matthew was my favorite.

And is it weird that I found the Master of the House enigmatic? Creepy as he was, I was also fascinated by him. The ending wasn’t what I wanted but I can say that it was apt.

The measure of a good book, for me, will always be the author’s writing – masterful, interlocking words that bring to life the story so vividly in my mind that it allows me to live vicariously through the character. That is the best compliment I can give for Gallant.

Stay tuned.

∼Lyn 

Synopsis:
Everything casts a shadow. Even the world we live in. And as with every shadow, there is a place where it must touch. A seam, where the shadow meets its source.
Olivia Prior has grown up in Merilance School for girls, and all she has of her past is her mother’s journal—which seems to unravel into madness. Then, a letter invites Olivia to come home—to Gallant. Yet when Olivia arrives, no one is expecting her. But Olivia is not about to leave the first place that feels like home, it doesn’t matter if her cousin Matthew is hostile or if she sees half-formed ghouls haunting the hallways.
Olivia knows that Gallant is hiding secrets, and she is determined to uncover them. When she crosses a ruined wall at just the right moment, Olivia finds herself in a place that is Gallant—but not. The manor is crumbling, the ghouls are solid, and a mysterious figure rules over all. Now Olivia sees what has unraveled generations of her family, and where her father may have come from.
Olivia has always wanted to belong somewhere, but will she take her place as a Prior, protecting our world against the Master of the House? Or will she take her place beside him?
Posted in Book Reviews, Netgalley

Book Review: Namesake (Fable #2) – Adrienne Young

Rating: 4/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Review:

I remember when I finished the book, Fable and I was in pins and needles after that cliffhanger. I needed Namesake. I was dying to know what happened next. However, when I did get my hands on Namesake, I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to read it. I’m glad I waited to read it, otherwise, I might not have enjoyed it as much as I did now. In fact, I almost missed my stop one afternoon because I was so engrossed in reading, lol.

I started Namesake on Tuesday and every day I anticipated when I’d be able to continue reading it. The first few chapters were a bit slow but as the story progressed and I got in deeper and deeper, I enjoyed the intrigue and plot twists.

I saw a softer side of Fable that I found at odds with her character in the first book – I mean, I wanted her to be stronger, fiercer. Alternatively, I liked the darker side to West though I didn’t agree with some of his decisions. I enjoyed the emergence of the new characters who added value to the story as a whole.

Overall, in this duology I loved the originality of the concept of gems found in the seas, gem sages, and the dredgers. The plot twists were excellent and I loved that climactic conclusion to the story. Bloody fantastic! The ending was another satisfactory conclusion. The one thing I admired the most was how the author’s writing drew you in with a vividity that left you breathless.

Stay tuned.

∼Lyn

Synopsis:
Welcome to a world made dangerous by the sea and by those who wish to profit from it. Where a young girl must find her place and her family while trying to survive in a world built for men.
With the Marigold ship free of her father, Fable and the rest of the crew were set to start over. That freedom is short-lived when Fable becomes a pawn in a notorious thug’s scheme. In order to get to her intended destination, she must help him to secure a partnership with Holland, a powerful gem trader who is more than she seems.
As Fable descends deeper into a world of betrayal and deception, she learns that the secrets her mother took to her grave are now putting the people Fable cares about in danger. If Fable is going to save them, then she must risk everything—including the boy she loves and the home she has finally found.

 

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: Vespertine – Margaret Rogerson

Rating: 3/5 🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy, Paranormal, Magic, Ghosts

Review:

I’ve been a big fan of Margaret Rogerson since I read A Sorcery of Thorns and An Enchantment of Ravens. So I was super excited for Vespertine. I buddy-read it with my bestie and the first three-quarters of the book were pretty terrific.

I have to admit I didn’t connect with Artemisia at first – she seemed insignificant, almost like a minor character. But I found myself invested in her and ended up loving her. The thing is. the author did a fantastic job of eking out little bits of her that kept you wanting to know more. I also loved the way the author disclosed vital revelations at significant times that made a huge impact on the main characters and the story as a whole.

The revenant was fascinating and I loved the snarky interactions between it and Artemisia. I definitely want to know more about it. Another character I loved a lot – the white raven – he was such a funny little tyke. The plot-line was pretty great with surprising friendships though the character that I think is supposed to be the main love interest was kind of disappointing.

The ending unfortunately tanked for me. It felt unfinished. I get that Vespertine is the first in a new series but the ending didn’t have the impact of a cliffhanger which would have been epic. I hope the second book won’t disappoint.

Stay tuned.

∼Lyn

Synopsis:
The dead of Loraille do not rest.
Artemisia is training to be a Gray Sister, a nun who cleanses the bodies of the deceased so that their souls can pass on; otherwise, they will rise as spirits with a ravenous hunger for the living. She would rather deal with the dead than the living, who trade whispers about her scarred hands and troubled past.
When her convent is attacked by possessed soldiers, Artemisia defends it by awakening an ancient spirit bound to a saint’s relic. It is a revenant, a malevolent being that threatens to possess her the moment she drops her guard. Wielding its extraordinary power almost consumes her—but death has come to Loraille, and only a vespertine, a priestess trained to wield a high relic, has any chance of stopping it. With all knowledge of vespertines lost to time, Artemisia turns to the last remaining expert for help: the revenant itself.
As she unravels a sinister mystery of saints, secrets, and dark magic, her bond with the revenant grows. And when a hidden evil begins to surface, she discovers that facing this enemy might require her to betray everything she has been taught to believe—if the revenant doesn’t betray her first.

 

Posted in ARC Reviews, Book Reviews, Netgalley

ARC Review: Fable (Fable #1) by Adrienne Young

Rating: 5/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Pub Date: 01 Sep 2020

Review:

One fateful night leaves Fable without a mother and abandoned on an island where she has to fend for herself until the day she finds passage off it with the help of a young trader, West. And so begins the start of unlikely alliances as they strive to navigate peril and keep their head above water.

Fable’s story, how she had to strive to live, to survive, broke my heart. I felt so much pain for this young girl, left to fend alone, having to stay on guard all the time. I wanted to hug her and make her life better. Give her food, shelter, protect her. The author wove such a heartbreaking character with a core of steel that you couldn’t help but feel for her.

As for West? He was an enigma, layers and layers of complications and secrets. I wanted to know everything about him, and finding those answers, getting to know him better – drew me in deeper. The ending chapters? Oh, I tipped over the edge and fell for him.

The side-characters, the crew of the Marigold—each one with their unique voices, charmed and endeared me to their plights. As secrets are revealed and pacts made, this story grabs you and hooks you in to the last page.

The world-building and descriptions were excellent. The author’s writing was a pleasure to read and the cliffhanger left me in high anticipation for more. This was my first book by Adrienne Young, and I have to say she completely won me over. I cannot wait to read the next book.

*Thanks to the publisher, St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.⁣

Synopsis: As the daughter of the most powerful trader in the Narrows, the sea is the only home seventeen-year-old Fable has ever known. It’s been four years since the night she watched her mother drown during an unforgiving storm. The next day her father abandoned her on a legendary island filled with thieves and little food. To survive she must keep to herself, learn to trust no one and rely on the unique skills her mother taught her. The only thing that keeps her going is the goal of getting off the island, finding her father and demanding her rightful place beside him and his crew. To do so Fable enlists the help of a young trader named West to get her off the island and across the Narrows to her father. But her father’s rivalries and the dangers of his trading enterprise have only multiplied since she last saw him and Fable soon finds that West isn’t who he seems. Together, they will have to survive more than the treacherous storms that haunt the Narrows if they’re going to stay alive. Welcome to a world made dangerous by the sea and by those who wish to profit from it. Where a young girl must find her place and her family while trying to survive in a world built for men.
Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: Dark Skies (Dark Shores #2) – Danielle L. Jensen

Rating: 2/5 🌟🌟

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Review:

Dark Skies is Lydia’s story. We learn what happened to her after her ordeal in the first book and we also learn more about the world and politics concerning the countries of the Dark Shores. I have to say, both books have amazing covers. Even without reading the synopsis, you will be tempted to grab the book just for the remarkable covers.

The plot-line was intriguing, knotted with curve balls that you would not see coming. Surprising secrets embedded deep were revealed at the optimum time, adding value to the story. I found the plot-line well-crafted and with enough complications to keep you reading.

The main characters in Dark Skies were Lydia and Killian and the story was shared between their viewpoints. I loved Killian. He wasn’t perfect, he had his flaws, but he accepted them and he tried his best to do the right thing. He was honorable. The author wrote his character so well, I totally fell for him. Continue reading “Book Review: Dark Skies (Dark Shores #2) – Danielle L. Jensen”

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: Dark Shores (Dark Shores, #1) – Danielle L. Jensen

Rating: 2/5 🌟🌟

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Review:

The first thing that caught my attention and made me want to read this book was the amazing cover. It’s fabulous and eye-catching. Even without reading the synopsis, I would have grabbed this book from the shelf just for that incredible cover alone.

The plot-line was captivating with a good mix of intrigue and secrets. The world-building was impressive with good descriptions of the crafted world and its countless vagaries and politics. Continue reading “Book Review: Dark Shores (Dark Shores, #1) – Danielle L. Jensen”

Posted in New Releases

New Book Releases – 28 April 2020

Hola, Book Dragons! I got this book on Netgalley and it looks really good. Is the cover amazing or what? I’m still reading the ARC and let me tell you, it’s an intriguing story.

Happy Book Birthday to:

Incendiary (Hollow Crown #1) – Zoraida Córdova

Incendiary

Synopsis:

I am Renata Convida.
I have lived a hundred stolen lives.
Now I live my own.

Renata Convida was only a child when she was kidnapped by the King’s Justice and brought to the luxurious palace of Andalucia. As a Robari, the rarest and most feared of the magical Moria, Renata’s ability to steal memories from royal enemies enabled the King’s Wrath, a siege that resulted in the deaths of thousands of her own people.

Now Renata is one of the Whispers, rebel spies working against the crown and helping the remaining Moria escape the kingdom bent on their destruction. The Whispers may have rescued Renata from the palace years ago, but she cannot escape their mistrust and hatred–or the overpowering memories of the hundreds of souls she turned “hollow” during her time in the palace.

When Dez, the commander of her unit, is taken captive by the notorious Sangrado Prince, Renata will do anything to save the boy whose love makes her place among the Whispers bearable. But a disastrous rescue attempt means Renata must return to the palace under cover and complete Dez’s top secret mission. Can Renata convince her former captors that she remains loyal, even as she burns for vengeance against the brutal, enigmatic prince? Her life and the fate of the Moria depend on it.

But returning to the palace stirs childhood memories long locked away. As Renata grows more deeply embedded in the politics of the royal court, she uncovers a secret in her past that could change the entire fate of the kingdom–and end the war that has cost her everything.

What about you guys? Is this book on your TBR?

∼Lyn

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: The Starless Sea – Erin Morgenstern

Rating: 4/5 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Review:

Once upon a time, a young boy found a painted door, which led to a hidden world called The Starless Sea, with rooms and rooms of stories. (Of course, the boy was not aware of this then.) To open it or not? Years later, that boy, grown-up, finds a book telling his story and so, embarks on a journey of endless wonder.

The Starless Sea was like a shrewdly crafted quilt with each piece adding something to the whole picture or like puzzle pieces thrown here and there and you had no idea where they fit in until you brought all of them together. This story with its countless smaller ones, interlocked together, dazzled me. Continue reading “Book Review: The Starless Sea – Erin Morgenstern”