Reread and Review: Wintersong

wintersong

Title: Wintersong
Author:
 S. Jae-Jones
Genre: Young Adult, New Adult, Fantasy
Version: Paperback
Page Count: 511
Publisher: Titan Books Ltd
Synopsis: GoodReads
Notable Notables: Feminism, LGBT characters
Recommended Readers: Y’all like Labyrinth, Fae, and villain love interests?
Rating: ★★★★★

What can I say about Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones that others haven’t already said before? It’s haunting, dark, mesmerizing, lush, spellbinding, and full of such melancholic longing that the feelings stay with you well after you’ve turned the final page. It’s hands-down one of my favorite novels ever written, in any genre, and I’m stunned by Jae-Jones’ craftsmanship. Every line within is such a treasure and a joy to read, and I’m in love with the beauty of her style.

Plus, I don’t often reread books anymore. I just don’t have time and my TBR pile is out of control. But exceptions were made for Wintersong because it just made me fall in love in a way no other book has done for me lately.

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Book Review: Claimed by Gods

claimed by gods

Title: Claimed by Gods
Author:
 Eva Chase
Genre: Romance/Urban Fantasy
Version: ARC – ebook
Page Count: 258
Publisher: Ink Spark Press
Synopsis: GoodReads
Notable Notables: It’s reverse harem time!
Recommended Readers: Fans of Norse mythology and multiple pairings (not a slow-burn read)
Rating: ★★★☆☆

I wish I could give Claimed by Gods by Eva Chase a higher rating than this. It’s a reverse harem story (something much needed in book publishing period) featuring Norse gods Thor, Loki, Baldur, and Hod and a once-human girl, Aria Watson, who is resurrected to be the gods’ valkyrie, charged with the task of finding the Allfather, Odin. While I didn’t hate it, I didn’t particularly like it much either.

The book has its good qualities. I liked that Ari wasn’t a squeaky-clean heroine and wasn’t painfully edgy to read, either. All her POV chapters had a good cadence to them, and I liked her outlook on things; she behaved and reacted to her situations believably.

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Book Review: The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms

jemisin_hundred-thousand-kingdoms-tpTitle: The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms
Author:
 N.K. Jemisin
Genre: Fantasy, Romance
Version: Paperback
Page Count: 427
Publisher: Hachette Book Group Orbit
Synopsis: GoodReads
Notable Notables: POC protagonist, LGBTQ+ relationships
Recommended Readers: People looking for a challenging fantasy read and those who are into their female MCs getting entangled with monster gods
Rating: ★★★★★

This is the first book I’ve read from N.K. Jemisin, who I’ve heard is a much-respected author and a legend, and now I understand why. Jemisin displays absolutely no fear in her writing, already seeming to be a master of sprezzatura when she penned the ambitious The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms.

Even having just finished it, I’m struggling to put all my feelings about it into words. I’ll start by saying that I initially chose it to read because I was expecting a certain Hellsing element, aka mortal woman gets involved with a half-crazed immortal being, whose hair and darkness float around him constantly.

the hundred thousand kingdoms

Happy to say, I got exactly that and still so much more! What I did not expect, however, was how much this book was going to challenge me, both as a reader and as a demonstration of how fantasy and storytelling can be told.

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Book Review: Tower of Dawn

TowerOfDawn_12June_front-3
Title: 
Tower of Dawn
Author:
 Sarah J. Maas
Genre: Young Adult, (actually New Adult), Fantasy, Romance
Version: Hardcover
Page Count: 660
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children’s
Synopsis: GoodReads
Notable Notables: Disabled protagonist (though representation is not great)
Recommended Readers: Only die-hard fans
Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

This series keeps getting worse and worse.

Truthfully, all of Sarah J. Maas’ books take a sharp decline in quality whenever she’s allowed to write whatever and however much she wants. Tower of Dawn is not the exception, a book that was originally supposed to be a novella but somehow became a 660-page monstrosity.

It should’ve stayed a novella. There was so much filler description that my eyes constantly glazed over, and it seemed like any time characters finally stopped internal monologuing about everything to have a conversation with someone else, their dialogue would then get interrupted with paragraphs if not pages of exposition.

Because this country, Antica, and all the characters therein were never supposed to be introduced or become the focus of this series–they haven’t been this entire time–but now here we are, so we all have to play catch-up before the last book comes out, and then never return here again.

Spoilers and sneering abound under the cut, so read at your own risk.

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Book Review: Amid Stars and Darkness

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Title: Amid Stars and Darkness
Author:
 Chani Lynn Feener
Genre: Sci-Fi, Young Adult
Version: Hardcover
Page Count: 368
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Synopsis: GoodReads
Notable Notables: A fresher take on the love-triangle trope
Recommended Readers: Do you like aliens? Alien bodyguards?? Evil alien princes??? Pretend relationships????
Rating: ★★★★★

Okay, I did not expect to love Amid Stars and Darkness as much as I did. Not because it sounded like a bad book or anything (it absolutely did not), but you know when you read what something’s going to be about and you get your hopes up for it, and then it fails to deliver? I was worried that’s what this book was going to do, especially since I hadn’t heard any major buzz about it.

Never have I been happier to be wrong because this book was a delight from start to finish. Also, fanfic writers, get your notebooks ready because the plot here is prime AU material for all your multi-ship needs!

Earth knows about aliens, but Delaney’s never had much interest in learning more about them; she has her own life to live. All that changes when she runs into alien princess Lissa Olena, who unknowingly to Delaney changes Delaney to look exactly like her. Turns out, after spending five years on Earth learning its customs, Olena is running from her responsibilities to return to her planet, take over the throne, and marry Zane Trystan, the terrifying heir apparent of another alien race. Now it’s Delaney’s problem.

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Book Review: Never Dare a Wicked Earl

never-dare-a-wicked-earl
Title: 
Never Dare a Wicked Earl
Author:
 Renee Ann Miller
Genre: Romance, Historical Fiction
Version: ARC – ebook
Page Count: 336
Publisher: Zebra Shout
Synopsis: GoodReads
Notable Notables: The sexual language isn’t cringe-worthy
Recommended Readers: Anyone wanting a basic, predictable romance story
Rating: ★★☆☆☆

So, look… Have you ever done something because a favorite character (or, y’know, a fictional boyfriend) would do it, and you want to experience what that hilarity would be like? This is what this review is. This is why I went for an ARC of Never Dare a Wicked Earl by Renee Ann Miller. (And thank you, NetGalley, for providing it in exchange for an honest review.)

When the scandalous Earl of Westfield, Hayden Milton, is shot by a vengeful ex-lover, he’s unexpectedly sent an intriguing, female medical attendant rather than a male physician. Sophia Camden is training to be a physician, a role of which is unheard of for women, and won’t let anything derail her from her dream, least of all the Earl of Westfield, no matter how surly or philandering he may be. Stubborn and professional against Hayden’s antics, Sophia offers him a dare: if she can prove her competency in ten days, he owes her a favor to help change the law barring women from the medical field, but if she gives up before the ten days are through, then she will be beholden to him. Thus, a battle of wills and a game of seduction ensues… Kinda…

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Book Review: A Treacherous Curse

A-Treacherous-Curse-Veronica-Speedwell-3-Deanna-Raybourn

Title: A Treacherous Curse
Author:
 Deanna Raybourn
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery
Version: ARC (Uncorrected Proof)
Publisher: Berkley
Synopsis: GoodReads
Notable Notables: Victorian setting, Sex-positive protagonist
Recommended Readers: Anyone who wants to start reading mystery
Rating: ★★★★★

 

Thank you, NetGalley and Berkley, for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

I think, in terms of mystery, A Treacherous Curse is now my favorite of the series.

Immediately, Veronica and Stoker meet up with a sick Inspector Montgomerie, who warns them about a storm about to break, one that will dredge up Stoker’s past and destroy beyond repair what reputation he’s built back up for himself. John de Morgan, a former expedition partner of Stoker’s, has gone missing along with a priceless diadem belonging to an Egyptian princess, leaving behind a wife too distraught to answer any further questions.

Signs point to foul play with Stoker as the likeliest culprit since de Morgan had no known enemies save for Stoker. Worse, that wife he left behind? Meet Caroline de Morgan, formerly Caroline Templeton-Vane, Stoker’s ex-wife and the woman responsible for leaving Stoker for dead and destroying his reputation in the first place.

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Book Review: A Perilous Undertaking

a perilous undertaking

Title: A Perilous Undertaking
Author:
 Deanna Raybourn
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery
Version: eBook
Page Count: 352
Publisher: Berkley
Synopsis: GoodReads
Notable Notables: Victorian setting, Sex-positive protagonist
Recommended Readers: Anyone who wants to start reading mystery
Rating: ★★★★★

I had an unexpected snow day today, so this review gets to go out earlier (mostly because I was able to write it earlier). Yay!

When we meet Veronica Speedwell and Stoker again in this sequel to A Curious Beginning, they are eagerly preparing for an expedition to Fiji—only for their plans to be tragically foiled when their benefactor trips over his prized tortoise and injures himself. With the expedition cancelled, the two take consolation in cataloguing their benefactor’s collection, but adventure still manages to find them, and not a moment too soon.

Lady Sundridge summons Veronica and implores her to solve a seemingly impossible case, one the police have already put to rest. She must save Miles Ramsforth from hanging after he was accused of murdering his mistress, Artemisia, but she must do so discreetly. The information that could prove Miles’ innocence could also ruin lives in the process, not to mention throw unwelcome light onto Veronica’s own family history.

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Book Review: A Curious Beginning

A-Curious-Beginning-Deanna-Raybourn-Book-Cover

Title: A Curious Beginning
Author:
 Deanna Raybourn
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery
Version: eBook
Page Count: 352
Publisher: Penguin / NAL
Synopsis: GoodReads
Notable Notables: Victorian setting, Sex-positive protagonist
Recommended Readers: Anyone who wants to start reading mystery
Rating: ★★★★★

 

I wound up getting into this series a little backwards. After winning an ARC off NetGalley, I was excited to begin my foray into mystery, led by a lady detective.

Until I realized that the ARC was actually book 3, and you can’t just jump in anywhere and be all caught up. This is a character-led mystery series more than a circumstance-led one. I read the first lines of book 3, featuring Veronica Speedwell and her companion Stoker, when I realized that these two characters have a world of history behind them, and I wanted to know every little detail.

So here I am, frantically attempting to get through all three books and post reviews before A Treacherous Curse comes out on January 16th. Whoops! Wish me luck.

Fortunately, reading A Curious Beginning was not at all a chore, proving instead to be a quick, fun read. Read More »

Book Review: The Fever Series, 1-5

fever-seriesTitle: The Fever Series (Darkfever, Bloodfever, Faefever, Dreamfever, Shadowfever)
Author:
 Karen Marie Moning
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Version: Hardback
Page Count: 309, 303, 327, 386, 608
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Synopsis: GoodReads
Notable Notables: In-depth world building in a modern setting, morally gray characters
Recommended Readers: Ages 16+, fans of urban, fae-heavy fantasy with a dash of mystery and romance
Rating: ★★★★☆ (Average of all five books)

So, I was going to review all of these books individually, but I ended up devouring them before I could even think about penning a review. As a result, I’m going to try something a little different, reviewing them somewhat individually but mostly as a series all at once. Haaaaaa, let’s see how this goes.

Anyone who knows me well knows that I’ve been pining for an engaging, Fae-centered fantasy series after how disappointing Sarah J. Maas’ A Court of Thorns and Roses series ended up being. I took a risk on Karen Marie Moning’s Fever series, and I’m glad I did because it healed me in ways I didn’t know I needed and provided me with content I’d been dying for.

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