eARC Review – The Weight of a Soul

Title: The Weight of a Soul

Author: Elizabeth Tammi

Publisher: Flux Publishing

Publication Date: December 3, 2019

320 pages

4/5

Goodreads Synopsis

When Lena’s younger sister Fressa is found dead, their whole Viking clan mourns—but it is Lena alone who never recovers. Fressa is the sister that should’ve lived, and Lena cannot rest until she knows exactly what killed Fressa and why—and how to bring her back. She strikes a dark deal with Hela, the Norse goddess of death, and begins a new double life to save her sister.

But as Lena gets closer to bringing Fressa back, she dredges up dangerous discoveries about her own family, and finds herself in the middle of a devastating plan to spur Ragnarök –a deadly chain of events leading to total world destruction. 

Still, with her sister’s life in the balance, Lena is willing to risk it all. She’s willing to kill. How far will she go before the darkness consumes her?

Review

Hi friends! Back at you with a regularly scheduled eARC review that I received from Netgalley! I’ve been plowing through my Netgalley TBR this month and I’ve read some super awesome books! Thank you to Netgalley and Flux for providing me this ebook in exchange for an honest review!

I found this book super interesting for a super weird reason, but I loved it because of the tie in’s with Marvel movies! I know this wasn’t the case or the inspiration for Tammi, but it is immediately what I thought when they introduced Loki, Hela, and Ragnarok. It was super awesome to read a book that involved these legends. Only was missing Thor!

Outside of this connection, The Weight of a Soul followed the daughter of the clan chieftain, Lena. Her sister Fressa died early in the book and Lena is trying to get her back, refusing to believe that she is gone. She strikes up a deal with Hela that will make Lena compromise everything she believes in.

I found this book to be interesting, with good characters and a solid plot. I believe the timing and pace was a little off for my taste, but it wasn’t a huge point of contention for me. The ending caught me by total surprise and was very sad – but made a lot of sense after I thought about it for awhile.

For fans of Sky In The Deep and Warrior in the Wild, Elizabeth Tammi brings The Weight of a Soul, which makes you question a person’s worth and value in relation to the weight of their soul compared to others. A tale about love, family, and how far one will go to protect their sister.

Happy reading book friends!

eARC Review – The Wickerlight

Title: The Wickerlight (The Wren Hunt #2)

Author: Mary Watson

Publisher: Bloomsbury YA

Publication date: November 26th, 2019

416 pages

3/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

In this lush, magical thriller for fans of the Raven Cycle and The Hazel Wood, one girl’s murder investigation leads her into an ancient magical war.

It’s been two months since Zara’s sister Laila was found lifeless on the village green of the small Irish town Kilshamble, not a mark on her. Vicious rumors circle that she died of an overdose or committed suicide–but an autopsy finds no evidence.

Zara believes somebody must know what happened, and she throws herself headfirst into an investigation. But retracing her sister’s footsteps takes her to David, a member of an ancient magical faction called the judges. The judges are in the midst of an ancient feud with another faction called the augurs, and Zara quickly finds herself embroiled in a dangerous, twisted game. And if she isn’t careful on the path she’s treading, she could end up with the same fate as Laila.

Riveting, atmospheric, and full of dangerous magic, this lyrical novel set in the world of The Wren Hunt is perfect for readers of Maggie Stiefvater and Melissa Albert.

Review

**Thank you to Bloomsbury YA, Netgalley, and Mary Watson for providing me this ebook in exchange for an honest review**

The Wickerlight picks up where The Wren Hunt picks up, just not focused on Wren and Tarc. This book focuses on Zara, who’s sister was found dead during Wren’s ritual to turn into the flower woman in the first book, and David, Wren’s tormentor. You get a peek behind the curtains into David’s motivations and desires, and it helps turn him a bit into a redeemable character (but only barely). The Wickerlight continues the theme of being confusing and having a host of irredeemable characters. Zara works to learn more about her sister’s death, while dealing with her family life crumbling around her. David is trying to become the most respected warrior judge, and get away from his Dad’s influence.

I was surprised to see that this was not a continuation of Wren’s story, because I really did not feel like the first book wrapped everything up in Wren’s story. It was disorienting and took me some time to catch up to Zara’s story. Zara and David are still both irredeemable characters, if you thought that theme would change with book two, you were mistaken. The judges and augurs all make terrible decisions and hate each other for a reason that is fairly superfluous. They also have no regard for non-gifted people, as Zara’s life and state of mind is constantly tampered with and threatened during this book.

This duology was not for me. Mary Watson’s writing is gorgeous and flowing, but I could not get past the character’s flaws. It’s hard for me to connect with a book if I can’t find common ground with at least one character. I don’t expect every character to be a saint, but I need one who is redeemable. If you love books that are beautifully written with a bunch of irredeemable characters running around rural Ireland, check out this duology!

Keep in mind, this review and release is for the US edition. The UK edition has already been released.

Happy reading, bookish friends! 🙂

eARC Review – The Wolf and the Sparrow

Title: The Wolf and the Sparrow

Author: Isabelle Adler

Publisher: Nine Star Press

Publication date: November 25th, 2019

300 pages

3/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Derek never wished to inherit his title as a result of a bloody battle. With the old count dead and the truce dependent on his marriage to the rival duke’s son, Derek has no choice but to agree to the victor’s terms in order to bring peace to his homeland. When he learns of the sinister rumors surrounding his intended groom, Derek begins to have doubts—but there can be no turning back from saying I do.

After the death of his wife, Callan of Mulberny never expected to be forced into another political marriage—especially not to someone like the new Count of Camria. Seemingly soft and meek, it’s only fitting that Derek’s family crest is a flighty sparrow, worthy of nothing but contempt.

Another war with the seafaring people of the Outer Isles looms on the horizon, and the reluctant newlyweds must team together to protect those caught in the circle of violence. Derek and Callan slowly learn to let go of their prejudices, but as they find themselves enmeshed in intrigue fueled by dark secrets and revenge, their tentative bond is all that keeps their world—and their lives—from plunging into chaos.

Review

**Thank you to Nine Star Press, Netgalley, and Isabelle Adler for a copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review**

Derek barely has time to get accustomed to taking over his father’s title of Count before he is basically ordered to marry a Duke’s son. The Duke had just won a battle with the old count, and is sending a message by giving Derek no choice but to marry Callan. Callan is less than pleased with this, as his first wife is freshly dead from an accident. Chaos ensues when Derek and Callan are captured by the dead girl’s father and they must get out of the situation alive by trusting each other.

I think this book had a lot of potential, but fell flat in some areas. I loved the male/male relationship and how there wasn’t even a question in regards to sexuality and why a marriage is being arranged between two males. It’s not often you see a m/m relationship without more attention being brought to “coming out” or the inherit sexuality of it. It seemed like the culture in this world is such that gender isn’t so much important in relationships. However, the romance was very stilted and happened far more quickly than made sense. Like, they hated each other once day and in love the next – it didn’t work for me.

I also was not a fan of the magic system. It was not well explained and ended up being a pretty integral part of the ending – but I still don’t feel like I understand how the magic works. I think this part could have been done a lot better but it seemed like it was thrown in as an afterthought and was used more as a tool to increase sexual tension (weirdly enough).

The LGBTQIA aspect was my favorite part, along with the main conflict that brought Derek and Callan together. I think pieces of this book were very well done, but I wish some aspects were done differently, or explained better. Would recommend for those who enjoy LGBTQIA where the queerness of the characters isn’t a plot device.

Happy reading, bookish friends! 🙂

Book Review – The Girl The Sea Gave Back

Title: The Girl The Sea Gave Back

Author: Adrienne Young

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Publication date: September 3rd, 2019

327 pages

4/5 stars

Goodread Synopsis

The new gut-wrenching epic from the New York Times bestselling author of Sky in the Deep.

For as long as she can remember, Tova has lived among the Svell, the people who found her washed ashore as a child and use her for her gift as a Truthtongue. Her own home and clan are long-faded memories, but the sacred symbols and staves inked over every inch of her skin mark her as one who can cast the rune stones and see into the future. She has found a fragile place among those who fear her, but when two clans to the east bury their age-old blood feud and join together as one, her world is dangerously close to collapse.

For the first time in generations, the leaders of the Svell are divided. Should they maintain peace or go to war with the allied clans to protect their newfound power? And when their chieftain looks to Tova to cast the stones, she sets into motion a series of events that will not only change the landscape of the mainland forever but will give her something she believed she could never have again—a home.

Review

A companion novel to Sky in the Deep, The Girl the Sea Gave Back follows Halvard and Tova. Tova is a Truthtongue living among a hostile clan who believe she is bad luck. They would kill her given the opportunity, but she was found barely alive after her clan put her on a ship and set it on fire to sail out into the sea. The Svell took her in and she owes her life to them. Halvard is working to continue stabilizing the Riki and Aska clans, now combined to form one clan. The Svell are considering invading their land to try and take advantage of their precarious position. After Tova rolls the stones and foretells despair for the Svell tribe, they take it to mean they will be destroyed if they don’t take action. Tova and Halvard’s stories quickly collide and their fates are revealed.

I loved Sky in the Deep. Adrienne Young’s writing is so beautiful and lyrical, so I was fully expecting to love this one as well. I didn’t rate it as highly as SITD but it was still a great read for me. I liked getting to follow up with Halvard about 10 years after SITD ended, and other main characters from SITD were brought back as well – just not as main characters. I miss Eelyn though and her POV so it was hard to have her just in the background. I’m not sure she even had a line in the book, which was a shame.

My main issue with this book was the ending. It was left up to the imagination what happened and no clear explanation was given (not going to go into detail, because spoilers). I have a pretty good assumption as to what happened, but I prefer for it to be spelled out pretty clearly. I also just wasn’t as invested in Tova’s story as I was in the MC’s in SITD.

Overall, I really liked this book and the cover is absolutely GORGEOUS. Also, the first editions have this beautiful embossing on the naked book and it looks amazing. I took my time through this book as it was a gift from my boyfriend for my birthday and I didn’t want to finish it too quickly. This continues to show that I wasn’t as invested in it because I was able to easily put it down.

If you loved Sky in the Deep, check out The Girl the Sea Gave back for more Viking vibes.

Happy reading, bookish friends! 🙂

eARC Review – Safe Harbour

Title: Safe Harbour

Author: Christina Kilbourne

Publisher: Dundurn

Publication date: November 16th, 2019

264 pages

3/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

As crazy as her father’s plan sounds, sticking to it is easy for Harbour — until it isn’t.

Fourteen-year-old Harbour is living in a tent in a Toronto ravine with her dog, a two-month supply of canned tuna, and an eccentric reading list. She’s not homeless, she tells herself. She’s merely waiting for her home — a thirty-six-foot sailboat — to arrive with her father at the helm. Why should she worry when the clouds give her signs that assure her that she’s safe and protected?

When her credit card gets declined, phone contact from her father stops, and summer slips into a frosty fall, Harbour is forced to face reality and accept the help of a homeless girl named Lise to survive on the streets. Lise shows Harbour how to panhandle and navigate the shelter system while trying to unravel Harbour’s mysterious past. But if Harbour tells her anything, the consequences could be catastrophic.

Review

**Thank you to Dundurn Press, Christina Kilbourne, and Netgalley for providing me an ebook copy of this book in exchange for an honest review**

Harbour is 14 years old and used to living on a boat with her father, ever since her mom died. This time, her dad has her take the bus to Toronto while he sails there, he says it will be a great adventure. When weeks pass and Harbour is living by herself in a tent in a ravine with her dog, Tuff Stuff, she starts to worry about him. Thankfully, she meets Lise, a young, homeless girl who starts to look out for her. They share food and spend all their time together, until winter starts to set in and it starts to look like something happened to Harbour’s dad. When Harbour’s credit card is declined, she starts to panic, especially because she is keeping a secret that could affect everyone.

This book was fairly solid. It was shorter than I’m used to, but it was nice to be able to get through a book quickly. It was interesting reading about a girl who is basically homeless, trying to convince everyone around her that she is not homeless. Lise is a great asset to her, and she was frankly my favorite part of the book. I respect people who are able to make the most out of tough situations, and sometimes Harbour comes off as very whiny and ungrateful for the help Lise was providing. Also, I really have concerns about a dad that has his young daughter living on a boat, at one point stranding her on islands overnight, and then sending her to travel from Miami to Toronto by bus with only a dog to keep her company.

I felt the ending of this went to quickly and the big reveal wasn’t given enough emphasis. Harbour was SO convinced of this one thing, and then very quickly got over it with no issue. It didn’t follow with her personality and demeanor throughout the book. Definitely a missed plot point there and one thing I would change.

This was overall a solid choice. It was well written and kept my attention throughout the book.

Happy reading, bookish friends! 🙂

eARC Review – Coral

Title: Coral

Author: Sara Ella

Publisher: Thomas Nelson Publishing

Publication date: November 12th, 2019

384 pages

3.75/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

There is more than one way to drown.

Coral has always been different, standing out from her mermaid sisters in a society where blending in is key. Worse yet, she fears she has been afflicted with the dreaded Disease, said to be carried by humans—emotions. Can she face the darkness long enough to surface in the light?

Above the sea, Brooke has nothing left to give. Depression and anxiety have left her feeling isolated. Forgotten. The only thing she can rely on is the numbness she finds within the cool and comforting ocean waves. If only she weren’t stuck at Fathoms—a new group therapy home that promises a second chance at life. But what’s the point of living if her soul is destined to bleed?

Merrick may be San Francisco’s golden boy, but he wants nothing more than to escape his controlling father. When his younger sister’s suicide attempt sends Merrick to his breaking point, escape becomes the only option. If he can find their mom, everything will be made right again—right?

When their worlds collide, all three will do whatever it takes to survive, and Coral might even catch a prince in the process. But what—and who—must they leave behind for life to finally begin?

Taking a new twist on Hans Christian Andersen’s beloved—yet tragic—fairy tale, Coral explores mental health from multiple perspectives, questioning what it means to be human in a world where humanity often seems lost.

Review

**Thank you to Thomas Nelson Publishing, Sara Ella, and Netgalley for providing me this ebook in exchange for an honest review**

First off, I want to give a GIANT trigger warning for this book. Depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, and suicidality are all major themes in this book and can be hard for some to read. Please be mindful of your mental health while reading this book, and please seek help if you are in need. A great part of this book is that Sara Ella begins the book with a long trigger warning, which is so helpful.

Coral loosely follows the original The Little Mermaid fairy tale. There are three points of view in this book: Coral, a mermaid princess who feels out of place within her family. Human emotion is considered a “Disease” in the mer-world and her eldest sister falls to the Disease after falling in love with a human prince. Merrick is a troubled young man who’s world falls to pieces when his 10 year old sister attempts suicide. He sets of on a journey to help her in the only way he can think of. Lastly, we have Brooke, a young woman who has entered treatment for depression and suicidal ideation. Her story is that of redemption and regaining mental health stability in a world she doesn’t feel she belongs. All three separate stories become forever entwined after mutual loss and love.

There is a lot to unpack in this novel. As someone who’s professional background (outside of reviewing books!) is in Clinical Psychology, I feel qualified to say that Sara Ella provided a realistic and haunting explanation of the affect of depression and suicidal ideation on the self and the family unit. There are a lot of bad examples of mental health and those who suffer from the disease in the media in society, but I see Sara Ella working to dispel the presumptions and biases and applaud her.

One thing I will say is that the timing and pacing of this book seem off. There was a point where I was very confused about the timeline, and I recognize this is due to trying to keep the big reveal from being realized too soon, but this makes the book more confusing than necessary. It’s a good twist, but not worth the initial confusion. Also, the ending didn’t seem to wrap up the story as much as I wanted. I felt disappointed in the lack of clear ending and I feel some ends are still loose.

Overall, Sara Ella has woven a story of life, love, and struggling with internal demons – something we can all relate to whether we want to admit it or not. It starts a conversation about healing and recovery from illness, but also continues the conversation about those who succumb to the disease and move on from this life. Again, please be aware of your own mental health when reading this book.

Happy reading, bookish friends! 🙂

eBook Review – Into the Hourglass

Title: Into the Hourglass (The Evermore Chronicles #2)

Author: Emily R. King

Publisher: Skyscape

Publication date: August 20th, 2019

286 pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

In the second book in The Evermore Chronicles by Emily R. King, Everley Donovan plunges into the roiling waves of a strange new world to hunt a wicked prince who cheated time.

Everley Donovan’s mission: retrieve the hallowed sword of Avelyn stolen by the wicked Prince Killian, who slayed her family and left her for dead. Should she fail, the seven worlds will come to an end, as could time itself. And no one treasures time more than Everley, whose lifesaving clock heart cannot beat forever. She has set sail with a rogue crew for the otherworlds, where the key to dethroning the prince lies deep within the Land Under the Wave.

But passage through these unknown seas—where horrors lurk and pirates rove—proves a treacherous gamble. The Land Under the Wave was not made for humans, particularly one with a fragile clock heart. Here, Everley’s tragic past resurfaces unsolved questions. Here, too, the prince has hidden secrets more precious than pearls, secrets that could fracture the future forevermore. Everley must take back her sword and break free from this watery world before her time runs out…or so will everyone else’s. 

Review

In the second installment of The Evermore Chronicles, Everley finds herself chasing after Killiam Markham to get her sword back. This quest brings her to the land of pirates, sirens, and fin people – along with some not so fun elves. Everley’s clock heart is beating slower and she’s struggling more to live with it. Each page is full of adventure.

Some things that didn’t change from book one – I still hate Markham and Harlow. They still suck as people and they can leave for all I need. I get why the story needs them but COME ON. On the better side, Jamison Callahan is still swoon worthy as he quite obviously falls in love with Everley, even though she believes she’s incapable of love without a physical heart. Lastly, the amount of interesting creatures and worlds that they get to explore. It ALMOST reminds me of the Pendragon series – but only because of the world jumping to catch the bad guys, and they never quite know what to expect from each world.

Some interesting new developments – the side characters are developed more and start to have their own plot lines and independent thoughts and actions. We learn more things about Markham’s motivations (don’t care – still hate him) but it adds to his backstory.

Overall, I generally dislike middle books more than the first and third books. I actually think this book was better than Before the Broken Star, because they were really able to get into the plot and get the story going. It was a pleasant surprise for me because middle books are often just vehicles to set up for an ending – whereas King is able to keep the momentum going through this book, in my opinion.

Happy reading, bookish friends! 🙂