eARC Review – The Weaver

Title: The Weaver (The Weaver Trilogy #1)

Author: Heather Kindt

Publisher: The Parliament House

Publication date: August 7th, 2019

238 pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Most writers choose the endings to their stories . . . most writers are not Weavers.

Laney Holden is a freshman at Madison College whose life goes from normal to paranormal in a matter of seconds. When the antagonist in the book she’s writing shoves her down the stairs at the subway station, she learns she is a Weaver. Weavers bridge the narrow gap between fantasy and reality, bringing their words to life.

Laney soon meets William whom she also suspects is a character from her book—one she’s had a mad crush on since her pen hit the paper. But he’s in danger as her antagonist reveals a whole different ending planned for Laney’s book that involves killing William. Laney must use her writing to save the people closest to her by weaving the most difficult words she will ever write.

THE WEAVER is the first installment of The Weaver trilogy. It is an NA paranormal romance set in a small town on the north shore of Boston. It will leave you wanting more.

Review

**Thank you to The Parliament House, Netgalley, and Heather Kindt for providing me an ebook copy of this book in exchange for an honest review**

The Weaver starts a new trilogy that will be similar to the Inkheart series, but for a bit of an older crowd. The MC Laney is in college writing her novel about a couple in eighteenth century America. When the villain from her book attempts to rob and murder her, she starts to think there is more to her story than meets the eye. In comes the love interest of the main character in her book as a fellow student – and she can’t help but fall for him. She falls into the world of Weaving, the gift few people have to bring their stories to life. However, this is very dangerous as the characters who come to life look to change their endings, by any means necessary.

I think The Weaver was a decent book that managed to be different enough from Inkheart to keep it interesting. Laney as the main character and storyteller was good, but some of the other characters leave much to be desired. Her middle school crush, Jason, who can’t decide if he loves her or not comes off as very flaky and rude – he also doesn’t seem to have enough impact on the story (outside of one major event). It’s almost like his character was superfluous. There were other plot points I felt like could have been rounded out, like the group of Weavers she meets to try and figure out what is happening. They just pop into the story and are never talked about again until the end.

Outside of these issues, I really enjoyed reading The Weaver and would like to see how the story continues to unfold. The ending was surprising, with a twist that I did not see coming – which always adds into any book’s appeal for me. I want to know what Laney does after that ending and how her story will continue.

If you were a fan of the Inkheart series, go check out The Weaver, a new fantasy novel where your imagination quite literally comes to life, and tries to kill you!

Happy reading, bookish friends! 🙂

eARC Review – The Throne of the Five Winds

Title: The Throne of the Five Winds (Hostage of Empire #1)

Author: S.C. Emmett

Publisher: Orbit

Publication date: October 15th, 2019

704 pages

3.5/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Two queens, two concubines, six princes. Innumerable hidden agendas. Yala, lady-in-waiting to the princess of a vanquished kingdom, must navigate their captors’ treacherous imperial court.

The Emperor’s palace — full of ambitious royals, sly gossip, and unforeseen perils — is perhaps the most dangerous place in Zhaon. A hostage for her conquered people’s good behavior, the lady Komor Yala has only her wits and her hidden maiden’s blade to protect herself — and her childhood friend Princess Mahara, sacrificed in marriage to the enemy to secure a tenuous peace.

But the Emperor is aging, and the Khir princess and her lady-in-waiting soon find themselves pawns in the six princes’ deadly schemes for the throne — and a single spark could ignite fresh rebellion in Khir.

And then, the Emperor falls ill, and a far bloodier game begins…

The Throne of the Five Winds is the first installment of the Hostage of Empire series, an intricate and ruthless East Asia-inspired epic fantasy trilogy perfect for fans of George R. R. Martin, Ken Liu, Kate Elliott, and K. Arsenault Rivera.

Review

**Thank you to Orbit, S.C. Emmett, and Netgalley for providing me a copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review**

The Throne of Five Winds is a new Asian inspired Adult Epic Fantasy series that seems to gain inspiration from George R. R. Martin in political intrigue and battles for thrones. You have several nations, however the Empire of Zhaon dominates the novel, with it’s recent acquisition of neighboring land, Khir. In payment to their new overlords, Khir “Great Rider” sends his daughter, Mahara, to marry the Crown Prince of Zhaon. Yala, her best friend, is sent to serve as lady-in-waiting to Mahara. Both girls are very honorable and take their fate in silence.

The Throne of Five Winds has many characters, so it is hard to pin down a “main” character. There is 1 Emperor, 2 Queens, 2 Concubines, 6 Princes, 2 Princesses, Mahara, Yala, etc. It is very difficult, especially in the beginning to keep everyone straight. This is also due to them having traditional and similar Asian names. The chapters are told by different points of view, but aren’t denoted as such like usual, which makes it difficult to follow along as well.

I have many thoughts about this book. For one, the writing if very beautiful and flowery, but overdone for my taste. However, this is on brand for Asian inspired novels as well as Adult Epic Fantasy. There was very little that happened except pointed conversations and some general court intrigue for the first 70% of this book. I like to think of it like chess, where most of it was used to set up the events of the final quarter of the book, which then sets up the next book in the series. However, this got old at points and it was a struggle to keep interest in this book for that reason.

This being said, the last quarter of the book was fairly interesting. I think the second book will be more exciting because of how this one ended (no spoilers!). I did become invested in the characters, even the ones that were meant to create tension and turmoil by being bad. The ending brought this book up in rating for me, which I was happy to have happen.

I suggest The Throne of the Five Winds for fans of Epic Fantasy, Asian inspired stories, and George R. R. Martin. Readers should have good patience and interest in chess game style novels. Whereas this book was not always my cup of tea, I would suggest it for those who enjoy the above.

Happy reading, bookish friends! 🙂

Book Review – Demon in the Whitelands

Title: Demon in the Whitelands

Author: Nikki Z. Richard

Publisher: Month9 Books

Publication date: September 24th, 2019

300 pages

3.5/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

DEMON IN THE WHITELANDS is LET THE RIGHT ONE IN meets INTO THE FOREST, a debut YA novel from Nikki Richard. 

Sometimes no matter how hard you try, some things cannot be explained.

Sixteen-year-old Samuel, son of devout cleric, has endured shame and prejudice his entire life. Although he is destined to become clergy too, he longs for an ordinary life in the whitelands away from demons and holy roots. 

When the mayor claims to have captured a mute demon girl, Samuel is forced to become her caretaker. But as Samuel gets to know the prisoner, he finds her not to be very demonlike. Instead, she is intelligent, meek, and an exceptional artist. Despite her seeming goodness, some more concerning things cannot be explained. Samuel is hard-pressed to reconcile her uncanny strength and speed, missing arm, ambiguous gender, and the mysterious scars covering most of her body.

Samuel forms a deep attachment to the girl with predator eyes and violent outbursts, against his father’s advice. Their friendship could turn into something more. But when Samuel discovers the mayor’s dark intentions, he must decide whether to risk his own execution by setting her free or watch as the girl is used as a pawn in a dangerous game of oppression, fear, and murder. 

Review

**Thank you to Month9 Books and Nikki Z. Richard for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review**

Demon in the Whitelands takes place in a post apocalyptic world. Samuel is the 16 year bastard of a cleric (and clerics are not allowed to touch anyone physically let alone have a child). Samuel has been training to take after his father a cleric when the mayor of the town captures what he believes to be a demon. The girl doesn’t speak but has unexplainable powers and is very violent when provoked. Samuel is offered the opportunity to become a patrolman instead of be a cleric, which he gladly accepts. Demons in the Whitelands follows his story in watching over the girl and deciding what to do with his life.

I like this book because none of the characters are redeemable. They ALL have their issues and pretty much accept that. There is no perfect character. The religion aspect is interesting, and seems pretty reasonable for a post apocalyptic world. There is some minor political intrigue that drives the plot of the book, but is not the focus of the book.

Overall, I thought this was a decent read. I felt the ending could have done more but I also understand why the author chose to end the story that way. The writing is on the darker side and there is a decent level of violence in this book. There really isn’t much romance, it’s touched on briefly but is not the primary focus of the book.

Demon in the Whitelands is Nikki Z Richard’s debut novel for Month9 Books. Check it out!

Happy reading, bookish friends! 🙂

Book Review – Sky in the Deep

Title: Sky in the Deep

Author: Adrienne Young

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Publication date: April 24th, 2018

340 pages

5/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Raised to be a warrior, seventeen-year-old Eelyn fights alongside her Aska clansmen in an ancient rivalry against the Riki clan. Her life is brutal but simple: fight and survive. Until the day she sees the impossible on the battlefield—her brother, fighting with the enemy—the brother she watched die five years ago.

Faced with her brother’s betrayal, she must survive the winter in the mountains with the Riki, in a village where every neighbor is an enemy, every battle scar possibly one she delivered. But when the Riki village is raided by a ruthless clan thought to be a legend, Eelyn is even more desperate to get back to her beloved family.

She is given no choice but to trust Fiske, her brother’s friend, who sees her as a threat. They must do the impossible: unite the clans to fight together, or risk being slaughtered one by one. Driven by a love for her clan and her growing love for Fiske, Eelyn must confront her own definition of loyalty and family while daring to put her faith in the people she’s spent her life hating.

Part Wonder Woman, part Vikings—and all heart.

Review

We find things, just as we lose things. If you’ve lost your honor, you’ll find it again.

Adrienne young, sky in the deep

Okay, friends. I ordered Sky in the Deep from Amazon because it was on a super sale and I’d heard great things about it on Bookstagram. What I didn’t know, was that it was going to jump up to one of my favorite reads of this years! I’ve never thought I would be into Viking style books, but I’ve read several this year and they were all amazing!

Two tribes, the Aska and the Riki have been at war for decades in order to curry favor with their gods. Eelyn is of the Aska tribe, and she recently became of age to participate as a warrior. During a battle with the Riki, she sees her brother, who was thought dead for several years – fighting for the Riki. When trying to find out how this happened, she was captured by the Riki and turned into a slave for them. Sky in the Deep explores love, friendship, and to what lengths those will go to for their family.

I think Sky in the Deep is a great example of how different factions of people are from each other, but more importantly how similar they are. When a common enemy forces the Aska and Riki to join forces, everything that was once concerned fact is thrown into question.

Eelyn goes through a real journey during this book. It was absolutely fascinating to read and see exactly how her worldview changes based on the events she is living through. Adrienne Young did an amazing job with the characters arcs in Sky in the Deep. It’s normally hard to do as much as she did in a standalone novel, because you just don’t have as much time to take your characters on their journey.

I am now a huge Adrienne Young fan, and she is a new auto-buy author. Definitely go check out Sky in the Deep. There is another book in this world (not sequel though) that just came out a few weeks ago, so I’m going to go get that book and read it too!

Happy reading, bookish friends! 🙂

Book Review – Sorcery of Thorns

Title: Sorcery of Thorns

Author: Margaret Rogerson

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Publication date: June 4th, 2019

456 pages

5/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

All sorcerers are evil. Elisabeth has known that as long as she has known anything. Raised as a foundling in one of Austermeer’s Great Libraries, Elisabeth has grown up among the tools of sorcery—magical grimoires that whisper on shelves and rattle beneath iron chains. If provoked, they transform into grotesque monsters of ink and leather. She hopes to become a warden, charged with protecting the kingdom from their power.

Then an act of sabotage releases the library’s most dangerous grimoire. Elisabeth’s desperate intervention implicates her in the crime, and she is torn from her home to face justice in the capital. With no one to turn to but her sworn enemy, the sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn, and his mysterious demonic servant, she finds herself entangled in a centuries-old conspiracy. Not only could the Great Libraries go up in flames, but the world along with them.

As her alliance with Nathaniel grows stronger, Elisabeth starts to question everything she’s been taught—about sorcerers, about the libraries she loves, even about herself. For Elisabeth has a power she has never guessed, and a future she could never have imagined.

Review

Knowledge always has the potential to be dangerous. It is a more powerful weapon than any sword or spell.

Margaret rogerson, sorcery of thorns

Good evening, friends! I’m here bringing you my thoughts on the June OwlCrate book of the month! Sorcery of Thorns was spectacular, and I was lucky enough to read it during a buddy read with Treat Yo Shelf Book Club on Instagram. I absolutely adored this book and would recommend it to any YA Fantasy lovers out there.

We start off with Elisabeth, an orphan who has grown up in a Great Library, the home of dangerous grimoires. She has learned that sorcerers are evil, but she’s an inquisitive young woman and isn’t afraid to question those in charge. When her favorite warden is killed in a suspicious grimoire attack, she falls under suspicion as the saboteur – so she must work to clear her name. She meets Nathaniel Thorn, a powerful sorcerer who makes her question the library’s teachings. Elisabeth must determine who the real saboteur is, clear her name, and stop a plot that threatens to tear the very fabric of the kingdom apart.

My absolute favorite part of Sorcery of Thorns is any scene where Silas is in attendance. Silas is Nathaniel’s demon, very powerful and old from the Otherworld. Much of the book brings into question the morality of demons, and whether they can experience human emotions and feelings. No spoilers here in my reviews, but Silas is my favorite non human character of the year.

Elisabeth and Nathaniel share a slow burn love connection, but it’s all very tame and fitting for YA readers. This is a standalone novel, but I would love to read more about Elisabeth, Nathaniel, and Silas. Especially after THAT ENDING. Y’ALL. The ending slayed me, and I was not okay. But it was amazing. I need more.

Outside of the fact that I love any book that is literally set in a LIBRARY, this book was amazing and please go check it out. This is my first book by Margaret Rogerson, but I definitely feel the need to pick up her backlist titles after reading Sorcery of Thorns. Her world-building and writing is just beautiful and so elegant.

Happy reading, bookish friends! 🙂

eARC Review – The Murder List

Title: The Murder List

Author: Hank Phillippi Ryan

Publisher: Forge Books (Macmillian – Tor/Forge)

Publication Date: August 20, 2019

352 pages

5/5

Goodreads Synopsis

Law student Rachel North will tell you, without hesitation, what she knows to be true. She’s smart, she’s a hard worker, she does the right thing, she’s successfully married to a faithful and devoted husband, a lion of Boston’s defense bar, and her internship with the Boston DA’s office is her ticket to a successful future.

Problem is–she’s wrong.

And in this cat and mouse game–the battle for justice becomes a battle for survival.

The Murder List is a new standalone suspense novel in the tradition of Lisa Scottoline and B. A. Paris from award-winning author and reporter Hank Phillippi Ryan.

Review

Hello friends! Back again with an eARC review for you from Netgalley! Special thanks to Netgalley and Forge Books for this review copy in exchange for an honest review.

OH. MY. GOD. Ya’ll I stayed up half the night finishing this book. I loved every moment of this book and I had to give it ALL the stars. If I had more than 5 to give I would. The characters, the writing, the plot, the twists and turns – all of it was so suspenseful and gripping.

Rachel North is a law student at Harvard who has been assigned to her summer internship in her husband’s (also a lawyer) arch nemesis’ office. He is a defense attorney, she works for the DA’s office – it’s not the recipe for friendship. Now Rachel is working for the enemy, and Jack is not a happy camper.

This book follows Rachel’s journey in her internship, along with how it affects her marriage. Also, it dives in to the past to set up the events of how she met her husband and first became acquainted with her new supervisor, Martha. Through the deep dive into the past, you have this mystery evolve related to jury duty, murders, trials, etc. The book will keep you guessing up until the very end, where any of the character’s could be the culprit. Ryan gives you just enough information at each interval to keep you coming back for more.

This book is my definition of a good thriller/suspense novel. I related to all the characters, became invested in their story, and was totally shocked at the end how it all played out. It is the perfect murder mystery novel and if you are a fan of Lisa Scottoline, you should definitely pick this one up. Props to Ryan for putting together a book that flows through the past and present SO well. I’ve got no critiques, zero.

This is the best book I’ve read in a long time. Do yourself a favor, and go pick it up.

Happy reading, bookish friends!

Book Review – A Curse So Dark and Lonely

Title: A Curse So Dark and Lonely (Cursebreakers #1)

Author: Brigid Kemmerer

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

Publication Date: January 29, 2019

484 pages

5/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Fall in love, break the curse.

Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year, Prince Rhen, the heir of Emberfall, thought he could be saved easily if a girl fell for him. But that was before he turned into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. Before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope.

Nothing has ever been easy for Harper. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, Harper learned to be tough enough to survive. When she tries to save a stranger on the streets of Washington, DC, she’s pulled into a magical world.

Break the curse, save the kingdom.

Harper doesn’t know where she is or what to believe. A prince? A curse? A monster? As she spends time with Rhen in this enchanted land, she begins to understand what’s at stake. And as Rhen realizes Harper is not just another girl to charm, his hope comes flooding back. But powerful forces are standing against Emberfall . . . and it will take more than a broken curse to save Harper, Rhen, and his people from utter ruin.

Review

The choices we face may not be the choices we want, but they are choices nonetheless.

A Curse so dark and loney, brigid Kemmerer

It’s finally Friday! The end of the week always makes me so happy, even when I took two days off work in the beginning of the week! I started ACSDAL while away in Lewes, DE over the weekend and finished it all in one day. Vacation reading really is the best. I’ve had ACSDAL since Memorial Day and I’ve been super stoked to read it. After reading her most recent YA Contemporary, Call It What You Want, I knew I needed to read more of her work.

In a new Beauty and the Beast retelling, Kemmerer creates a kingdom that resides in a universe adjacent to ours. Emberfall was cursed when Prince Rhen messed around with an enchantress who went on to curse the kingdom. Rhen needs to make a woman fall in love with him, otherwise the curse will continue on forever while Emberfall is left defenseless. Oh, and at the end of every season Rhen turns into a scary monster, so there’s that.

Harper is the latest woman taken from Washington, DC for Rhen to charm. His Army Commander travels to DC to find women, though Harper wasn’t his first choice – just a concerned citizen who noticed a hulking man carrying and unconscious woman down an alleyway in a city. Totally normal. Harper is stolen from her very ill mother and brother who is doing unspeakable things to make up for their dad’s drug debts.

ACSDAL is a good retelling novel that follows the fairy tale pretty closely with the added benefit of some seriously snarky characters. Harper also has cerebral palsy, which adds a layer of disability rep. She is portrayed as not letting her CP stand in her way, but accepting her limitations and learning to work around then – without letting anyone believe she is lacking. To Rhen’s credit, he only underestimated her once in the beginning.

Kemmerer wove a tale that will captivate you and feel all the feels for Rhen, Harper, and Grey. The ending is a small level cliffhanger, but will lead into the next book seamlessly. This was also announced to be a trilogy, so I’m really excited to keep going in Harper and Rhen’s story for another two books – praying for a happy ending for my two love birds.

Happy reading, bookish friends 🙂