Shorefall (Founders: Book 2) by Robert Jackson Bennett

5 Stars

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Del Ray

Date of publication: April 21st, 2020

Genre: Fantasy

Series: Founders

Foundryside—Book 1 (Review Here)

Shorefall—Book 2

Where you can find Shorefall: Barnes and Noble | Amazon | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

The upstart firm Foundryside is struggling to make it. Orso Igancio and his star employee, former thief Sancia Grado, are accomplishing brilliant things with scriving, the magical art of encoding sentience into everyday objects, but it’s not enough. The massive merchant houses of Tevanne won’t tolerate competition, and they’re willing to do anything to crush Foundryside.

But even the merchant houses of Tevanne might have met their match. An immensely powerful and deadly entity has been resurrected in the shadows of Tevanne, one that’s not interested in wealth or trade routes: a hierophant, one of the ancient practitioners of scriving. And he has a great fascination for Foundryside, and its employees – especially Sancia.

Now Sancia and the rest of Foundryside must race to combat this new menace, which means understanding the origins of scriving itself – before the hierophant burns Tevanne to the ground.


First Line:

“The gates are just ahead,” said Gregor.

Shorefall by Robert Jackson Bennett

My Review:

I was pretty pumped when I got the email from Del Ray/Random House asking if I wanted to review Shorefall. I had loved Foundryside and was wondering when the next book was going to be published. So, it was a no brainer what my answer was going to be.

Shorefall is the 2nd book in the Founders trilogy. I would highly recommend reading Foundryside first. You would better understand the world, the houses, Sanica, and everything else in the book.

Shorefall takes place three years after the events of Foundryside, and Orso, Sanica, Berenice, and Gregor have founded their scriving business. They have become a sort of Robin Hood to the poor but they give out scrives instead of money. After an excursion to steal one of the remaining Houses lexicons, Sanica is contacted by Valeria. Valeria has a warning. Her Maker is coming, and he is getting ready to destroy Tevanne. Sanica and her crew must prepare to fight Valeria’s Maker. But are they prepared for the toll it will take upon the group? And with the lines between good and evil blurred, will Sanica make the right choice?

Shorefall’s plotline was fast-paced. Seeing that this book takes place within a week or so of Valeria’s Maker arriving in Tevanne, there were no dropped plotlines or characters. The writing flowed beautifully when the book had to change from Sanica. There was no awkwardness either. That alone made me love the book.

It did take me some time to read Shorefall. But, and I want to stress this, it wasn’t because the book was awful and I was putting it off. Nope, it was the complete opposite. I slowed down my reading pace so I could savor this book. The writing, the language, the characters were beautifully written.

I can’t get much into the storyline or characters of Shorefall without giving away spoilers. I will say this; the characters blossomed in this book. And the storyline was fantastic. The details that the author thought to include was terrific.

I will touch upon Clef, Valeria, and Valeria’s Maker. There is a massive twist in the plot that I didn’t see coming that involves them. Looking back, it makes total sense. But when I was reading it, I was shocked. I ended up putting my Kindle down and saying, “No freaking way.

The end of Shorefall made me cry. Again, I can’t say why, but it does involve Orso and Gregor. My heart broke into smithereens during those scenes. With the way the book ended, I am not sure what is going to happen and now will be impatiently waiting for the final book!!


I would give Shorefall an Older Teen rating. There are mentions of sexual situations (no details). There is language. There is violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 16 read this book.

I would reread Shorefall. I would recommend it to family and friends.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

The Last Human by Zack Jordan

The Last Human by [Jordan, Zack]

4 Stars

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Del Ray

Date of publication: March 24th, 2020

Genre: Science Fiction

Where you can find The Last Human: Barnes and Noble | Amazon | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

The last human in the universe is on the run from a godlike intelligence in this rip-roaring debut space opera.

Sarya is the civilized galaxy’s worst nightmare: a Human.

Most days, Sarya doesn’t feel like the most terrifying creature in the galaxy.

Most days, she’s got other things on her mind. Like hiding her identity among the hundreds of alien species roaming the corridors of Watertower Station. Or making sure her adoptive mother doesn’t casually eviscerate one of their neighbors. Again.

And most days, she can almost accept that she’ll never know the truth–that she’ll never know why humanity was deemed too dangerous to exist. Or whether she really is–impossibly–the lone survivor of a species destroyed a millennium ago.

That is, until an encounter with a bounty hunter and a miles-long kinetic projectile leaves her life and her perspective shattered.

Thrown into the universe at the helm of a stolen ship–with the dubious assistance of a rebellious spacesuit, an android death enthusiast on his sixtieth lifetime, and a ball of fluff with an IQ in the thousands–Sarya begins to uncover an impossible truth.

What if humanity’s death and her own existence are simply two moves in a demented cosmic game, one played out by vast alien intellects? Stranger still, what if these mad gods are offering Sarya a seat at their table–and a second chance for humanity?

The Last Human is a sneakily brilliant, gleefully oddball space-opera debut–a masterful play on perspective, intelligence, and free will, wrapped in a rollicking journey through a strange and crowded galaxy.


First Line:

Not so many years ago, Shenya the Widow was a void-cold killer.

The Last Human by Zack Jordan

My Review:

I usually do not read science fiction for review. That doesn’t mean I don’t read that genre. I wouldn’t say I like do not like reviewing that genre. So how did I end up with The Last Human for review? Easy, I wished for it on NetGalley and the publisher granted my wish.

The Last Human is the story of Sarya. Sarya is the adopted daughter of Shenya the Widow and she lives on a space station. But, Sarya is also the last of her species, a Human. Sarya’s mother and herself have worked carefully to hide what Sarya is. Everything was okay until a bounty hunter showed up and everything went sideways. The result was Sarya on the run with a spacesuit who can think for itself, an android who is obsessed with death and a super-smart fluffball (think a Tribble) and her protector. When two gods approach Sarya with a chance to make right past wrongs, she has to make a choice. Does she accept what they individually offer? Or does she go her own way?

The plotline for The Last Human was well written and kept my attention. There was a little bit of lag (when Sarya was inside the Observer’s brain), but the author was able to pull past it. There was also no dropped storylines or characters, which was a massive plus for me.

Sarya was an awesome character. She knew that she was Human, and she knew that she needed to keep her Humanity secret. If she didn’t, she would have been killed on sight. She loved her mother, Shenya the Widow, and was devastated when Shenya gave her life to let Sarya escape. She did make some rash decisions, but that only highlighted her Humanity. Her actions at the end of the book were exciting and thought-provoking.

The science fiction angle of the book was wonderfully written. It has been a long while since I read a space opera that I enjoyed. The worlds, the technology, the other life forms were fantastically written. I loved that the author broke the book up into the tiers of intelligence. I also loved that he gave excerpts of the rules and a glimpse into why Humanity was wiped out.

The end of The Last Human was satisfying. It raised a lot of questions for me. Those questions weren’t to do with the book but with the question “Is there life out there.


I would give The Last Human an Adult rating. There is no sex. There is mild language. There is violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread The Last Human. I would recommend it to family and friends.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

The Vanished Birds by Simon Jimenez

The Vanished Birds: A Novel by [Jimenez, Simon]

3 Stars

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Del Ray

Date of publication: January 14th 2020

Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy

Where you can find The Vanished Birds: Barnes and Noble | Amazon | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

A mysterious child lands in the care of a solitary woman, changing both of their lives forever in this captivating debut of connection across space and time.

“This is when your life begins.”

Nia Imani is a woman out of place and outside of time. Decades of travel through the stars are condensed into mere months for her, though the years continue to march steadily onward for everyone she has ever known. Her friends and lovers have aged past her; all she has left is work. Alone and adrift, she lives only for the next paycheck, until the day she meets a mysterious boy, fallen from the sky.

A boy, broken by his past.

The scarred child does not speak, his only form of communication the beautiful and haunting music he plays on an old wooden flute. Captured by his songs and their strange, immediate connection, Nia decides to take the boy in. And over years of starlit travel, these two outsiders discover in each other the things they lack. For him, a home, a place of love and safety. For her, an anchor to the world outside of herself.

For both of them, a family.

But Nia is not the only one who wants the boy. The past hungers for him, and when it catches up, it threatens to tear this makeshift family apart.


First Line:

He was born with an eleventh finger.

The Vanished Birds by Simon Jimenez

My Review:

I was on the fence about reviewing The Vanished Birds. To make up my mind, I read the first four reviews on Goodreads. That is something I never do, but I was conflicted. The reviews were evenly conflicted about the book. So, I decided to take a chance on it. For the most part, it was a good book. But some parts made me wonder why they were written, even after finishing the book.

The Vanished Birds had a slow to a medium-paced plotline. When the book focused on Nia and her relationship with Ahro/their travels until he was 16, the book moved at a medium-paced. But, when the book focused on Fumiko Nakajima (past and present) and her travels, it slowed to a crawl. I will be honest; I skimmed over a large part of her story. I started paying attention when she was on the secret base and the events afterward.

I enjoyed reading about the type of space travel that Nia used to go between planets. It fascinated me. I couldn’t imagine being in space for what I would have thought would be a few months and to find out that 15 years have passed.

Nia was a tough cookie to like during the book. She made some questionable decisions that affected the people around her. Nia kept people are arm’s length. She did unbend, slightly, when she met Ahro. She unbent, even more, when Fumiko asked her to keep him safe for 15 years. But, I couldn’t quite bring myself to like her.

When Fumiko was introduced in The Vanished Birds, I didn’t understand what her role was. I mean, it was explained relatively early on that she was the founder of the colonies in space, and she invented the engine that allowed space travel. But I didn’t know why her backstory was being told. It didn’t go with the flow of Nia’s story. Even when her story was brought to the present, I still wondered: “Why?” I also wondered why she was so invested in Ahro. It was explained, and it didn’t show her in a good light.

I loved Ahro. I loved seeing his character growth throughout the book. I wasn’t prepared for what his secret was, though. I honestly thought that it had something to do with music and his affinity for it. So, when it was revealed, I was shocked. I loved watching his relationship with Nia and her crew grow, which made what happened and who caused it such a shock.

I do wish that more time had been spent on the times they visited the planets. There were so many locations!!! All exotic and all made me want more. But that didn’t happen.

I wasn’t a fan of the last half of the book. I had questions about what was going to happen to Nia and Ahro once the dust settles. I also had questions about Fumiko. I can only assume what happened to her. And then there is the question about where Ahro originally came from and who The Kind One was.


I would give The Vanished Birds an Adult rating. There is sex. There is language. There is violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I am on the fence if I would reread The Vanished Birds. I am also on the fence if I would recommend it to family and friends.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

Steel Crow Saga (Steel Crow Saga: Book 1) by Paul Krueger

Steel Crow Saga by [Krueger, Paul]

4 Stars

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Del Ray

Date of publication: September 24th, 2019

Genre: Fantasy, LGBTQIA

Where you can find Steel Crow Saga: Barnes and Noble | Amazon | BookBub

Series: Steel Crow Saga

Steel Crow Saga—Book 1

Book Synopsis:

Four destinies collide in a unique fantasy world of war and wonders, where empire is won with enchanted steel and magical animal companions fight alongside their masters in battle.

A soldier with a curse
Tala lost her family to the empress’s army and has spent her life avenging them in battle. But the empress’s crimes don’t haunt her half as much as the crimes Tala has committed against the laws of magic… and her own flesh and blood.

A prince with a debt
Jimuro has inherited the ashes of an empire. Now that the revolution has brought down his kingdom, he must depend on Tala to bring him home safe. But it was his army who murdered her family. Now Tala will be his redemption—or his downfall.

A detective with a grudge
Xiulan is an eccentric, pipe-smoking detective who can solve any mystery—but the biggest mystery of all is her true identity. She’s a princess in disguise, and she plans to secure her throne by presenting her father with the ultimate prize: the world’s most wanted prince.

A thief with a broken heart
Lee is a small-time criminal who lives by only one law: Leave them before they leave you. But when Princess Xiulan asks her to be her partner in crime—and offers her a magical animal companion as a reward—she can’t say no, and soon finds she doesn’t want to leave the princess behind.

This band of rogues and royals should all be enemies, but they unite for a common purpose: to defeat an unstoppable killer who defies the laws of magic. In this battle, they will forge unexpected bonds of friendship and love that will change their lives—and begin to change the world.


First Line:

Dimangan heard his name and came when he was called.

Steel Crow Saga by Paul Krueger

My Review:

I have noticed a couple of themes in the books that I have been reading lately. The first one is that I saw is the plenty of strong female characters. The second is that Japanese/Chinese based fantasy is becoming more popular. Both caught my attention when I read the blurb for Steel Crow Saga. I am happy to say that I loved Steel Crow Saga!! It was a fantastic read.

Steel Crow Saga has four separate plotlines. Usually, that would be an issue for me. I lose focus on many plotlines. But, in this book, it wasn’t an issue. The author was able to keep all four plotlines separated. I had no problem keeping them straight. I also loved that while the plotlines did get merged towards the end of the book, they were still separate.

The characters in Steel Crow Saga were well written and well fleshed out. That made the book so much more enjoyable for me to read. I did have my favorite characters in the book. I loved Lee and Xiulan, separately and together. I also did like Tala and Jimuro, but Lee and Xiulan captured my heart.

The fantasy angle of the book was amazing!! I loved how shadepacting worked. To have an animal bond that close to you must be amazing. But I also could see why it was done with only animals and not humans. I thought having the bad guy having hundreds of shades was great. I also liked that the characters could steal the shades from other people. I liked it.

Another part of the book that I loved was the LGBT representation in the book. Xiulan and Lee had feelings for each other. Jimuro’s oldest friend was a transgender man. Mang, Tala’s brother, was gay. Lee, and I believe Jimuro, were bisexual. I loved it!!

I have read reviews where this book was compared to The Last Airbender and Pokemon. I did get the Pokemon vibe while reading it but I didn’t get The Last Airbender vibe. Shrugs.

I also liked that each race was a different Asian country. China, Japan, Korea, the Philippines, and India were represented. Doing that added more depth to the book. There also could be more countries that I didn’t pick up on.

There was a lot of violence and death in Steel Crow Saga. It didn’t bother me (violence in books usually don’t). But some people are bothered by violence. Unfortunately, this book couldn’t be told without the violence.

Tala and Mang’s relationship was one of the saddest ones that I have read to date. My heart broke several times whenever their relationship came up. The author also explains how he became a shade. Again, talk about my poor heartbreaking. I was in tears. What Mang asked Tala to do was awful, and it shaped her for the rest of her life.

The end of Steel Crow Saga was interesting. It was interesting because while the main storylines ended, the author left room for another book. I am curious to see what will happen with Tala and Jimuro, especially after what was revealed. I am also interested to see where Lee and Xiulan’s relationship will go. Also, I want to know what will happen with the different countries now that the war is over. I can’t wait for book 2 to come out!!


I would give Steel Crow Saga an Adult rating. There is sex. There is language. There is violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread Steel Crow Saga. I would recommend it to family and friends.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

The Soul of Power (The Waking Land: Book 3) by Callie Bates

The Soul of Power (The Waking Land Book 3) by [Bates, Callie]

4 Stars

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Del Ray

Date of publication: June 4th, 2019

Genre: Fantasy

Series: The Waking Land

The Waking Land—Book 1 (review here)

The Memory of Fire—Book 2 (review here)

The Soul of Power—Book 3

Where you can find The Soul of Power: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | BookBub

Book synopsis:

One young woman learns the true nature of power–both her own and others’–in the riveting conclusion to The Waking Land Trilogy.

Sophy Dunbarron–the illegitimate daughter of a king who never was–has always felt like an impostor. Separated from her birth mother, raised by parents mourning the loss of their true daughter, and unacknowledged by her father, Sophy desires only a place and a family to call her own. But fate has other ideas. Caught up in Elanna Valtai’s revolution, Sophy has become the reigning monarch of a once-divided country–a role she has been groomed her whole life to fill.

But as she quickly discovers, wearing a crown is quite a different thing from keeping a crown. With an influx of magic-bearing refugees pouring across the border, resources already thinned by war are stretched to the breaking point. Half the nobility in her court want her deposed, and the other half question her every decision. And every third person seems to be spontaneously manifesting magical powers.

When Elanna is captured and taken to Paladis, Sophy’s last ally seems to have vanished. Now it is up to her alone to navigate a political maze that becomes more complex and thorny by the day. And worse, Sophy is hiding a huge secret–one that could destroy her tenuous hold on the crown forever.


My review:

I was excited when I saw that the final installment in The Waking Land series was available for review. I had reviewed the first two books and enjoyed them. I had high expectations for The Soul of Power. And guess what? It didn’t let me down.

I do want to give everyone a heads up about the timeline of the book. The Soul of Power starts after Jahan is sent to Paladis. Elanna’s capture and torture by the witch hunters are going on during the events of The Soul of Power. So keep that in mind while reading this book.


The Soul of Power is Sophy’s story. Crowned queen at the end of The Waking Land, Sophy desperately wants a united country. But, with a court that hates and questions her and a country that is at the point of imploding, it looks like that isn’t going to happen. On top of all that, Sophy has a secret. A secret that could cost her the throne.


I can’t even begin to express how excited I was when I got the ARC for The Soul of Power. I had been hoping that this book was going to be Sophy’s story. When I read the blurb and saw that it was Sophy’s story, I did a happy dance. I couldn’t wait to read this book.

The amount of stress that Sophy was under was insane. I know that I wouldn’t have been able to function under that amount of stress. Plus, not knowing who to trust. I would have said, “Here’s the throne, see ya” and left. But, she stayed and I admired her for that.

I enjoyed watching Sophy grow as a character in this book. She started unsure and resentful of Elanna’s popularity. She wanted to do the right thing but kept getting lousy advice from her council. But, as the book went on, she blossomed. She found her backbone. She overcame her insecurities about Elanna. By the end of the book, she became the queen she needed to be. I loved it.

The plotline regarding Sophy’s father was interesting. I was curious to see how it was going to play out. I wasn’t expecting it to go the way it did. I was shocked. I was also shocked at what Sophy did at the end of the book. I think she was too lenient. After what her father did to her and Rhia, I expected something more. But, thinking about it, what she did was a more fitting punishment.

The author didn’t hide Sophy’s secret. During the first chapter, it was mentioned a few times. How Teofila didn’t notice it when they were together was beyond me. But she did have other things on her mind.

The Soul of Power was also violent. I lost count of how many times Sophy was attacked. Along with the violence, there was also death. Some people deserved it. But there were some deaths that surprised me. And there was one death that broke my heart. I wasn’t expecting it.

The magic angle of the book was well written. I liked that people were starting to experience magic. I loved that the magic didn’t pick and choose who it wanted. I did feel that Sophy’s magical awakening was drawn out. It got to a point where I felt like saying “Just get it over with!!“.

Rape was brought up in the book. I thought that the author explained what happened to Sophy’s mother in a tactful way. She left just enough unsaid that I understood exactly what Mag went through.

The end of The Soul of Power kept me enthralled with the book. So much happened that I almost couldn’t keep it straight. But, it was the last chapter that closed the book for me. Loved it!!


I would give The Soul of Power an Adult rating. There is mention of sexual situations. There is violence. There is no language. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread The Soul of Power. I would also recommend this book to family and friends.


I would like to thank the author, the publisher, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review The Soul of Power.

All opinions stated in this review of The Soul of Power are mine.


Have you read The Soul of Power?

What are your thoughts?

Have you ever hidden something from someone?

Let me know!!

Inspection by Josh Malerman

Inspection: A Novel by [Malerman, Josh]

3 Stars

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Del Ray

Date of publication: March 19th, 2019

Genre: Horror, Mystery, Thriller

Where you can find Inspection: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | BookBub

Synopsis:

J is a student at a school deep in a forest far away from the rest of the world.

J is one of only twenty-six students, all of whom think of the school’s enigmatic founder as their father. J’s peers are the only family he has ever had. The students are being trained to be prodigies of art, science, and athletics, and their life at the school is all they know—and all they are allowed to know.

But J suspects that there is something out there, beyond the pines, that the founder does not want him to see, and he’s beginning to ask questions. What is the real purpose of this place? Why can the students never leave? And what secrets is their father hiding from them?

Meanwhile, on the other side of the forest, in a school very much like J’s, a girl named K is asking the same questions. J has never seen a girl, and K has never seen a boy. As K and J work to investigate the secrets of their two strange schools, they come to discover something even more mysterious: each other.


My review:

I was super excited to read Inspection. I had read the blurb and thought to myself “This seems like it is going to be a good book.” Then I started reading it. All I can say is that the book was a huge disappointment.

The plot of Inspection was interesting at first. I thought that the whole premise of the book was interesting. Then it became stale. It faltered about halfway through the book, when K’s storyline was introduced. K’s storyline was the same as J’s. The only difference was the timeline. K’s storyline started off earlier than J’s. Which meant she knew things before J. It was meh to me. Not bad, not good. Just meh.

I did like the kids. J’s confusion over what he read in the book was realistic. As was his anger and disappointment when he realized that D.A.D. wasn’t who he thought he was. K’s determination to find the other tower was great to read also. What she did once she was there set the stage for the rest of the book. The other kids (the rest of the Alphabet Boys and Letter Girls) were well written also.

D.A.D. was an egotistical maniac. His mood swings dominated J’s storyline. The deeper into the book I got, the more the experiment unravel, the more unhinged he became. I didn’t like it. It didn’t sit well with. As for M.O.M., I wasn’t impressed with her either. The main reason was her before scenes. When she met D.A.D. and hatched the plan for the school. She was condescending and it drove me nuts. The other adults made me angry. They saw what was going on. They knew what being sent to the Corner meant. And they still did nothing. Oh, they were sad. There were several passages where people looked at the kids with sadness in their eyes. But they didn’t act. Drove me nuts reading that.

I didn’t get the need for the inspections at first. I couldn’t understand why the boys and girls had to be inspected every morning. But, as the book went on, I started to understand. I won’t say why because it would be a major spoiler.

I thought that the way kept the kids in line was awful. They told the kids that the outside world had diseases. Made up diseases. Diseases that sounded like Harry Potter spells. They also threatened to put them in the Corner. The kids were terrified of the Corner. Why? Because the 2 boys and 1 girl put in the Corner never came back. And they were reminded of that daily.

The end of Inspection underwhelmed me. What ended up happening, I expected. I was interested in the letter that was at the very end of the book. But other than that, I was meh about it. There were certain things that were left up in the air. Things that should have been explained.


I would give Inspection an Older Teen rating. There is no sex. There is swearing. There is language. I would suggest that no one under the age of 16 read this book.

I am on the fence if I would reread Inspection. I am also on the fence if I would recommend this book to family and friends.


I would like to thank the author, the publisher and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review Inspection.

All opinions stated in this review of Inspection are mine.


Have you read Inspection?

What were your thoughts on it?

Social experiments? What are your thoughts?

Let me know!!

Winter of the Witch (Winternight Trilogy: Book 3) by Katherine Arden

The Winter of the Witch: A Novel (Winternight Trilogy Book 3) by [Arden, Katherine]

4.5 Stars

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Del Ray

Date of publication: January 8th, 2019

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult

Series: Winternight Trilogy

The Bear and the Nightingale—Book 1 (review here)

The Girl in the Tower—Book 2 (review here)

The Winter of the Witch—Book 3

Where you can find The Winter of the Witch: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Bookbub

Synopsis:

Following their adventures in The Bear and the Nightingale and The Girl in the Tower, Vasya and Morozko return in this stunning conclusion to the bestselling Winternight Trilogy, battling enemies mortal and magical to save both Russias, the seen and the unseen.

Now Moscow has been struck by disaster. Its people are searching for answers—and for someone to blame. Vasya finds herself alone, beset on all sides. The Grand Prince is in a rage, choosing allies that will lead him on a path to war and ruin. A wicked demon returns, stronger than ever and determined to spread chaos. Caught at the center of the conflict is Vasya, who finds the fate of two worlds resting on her shoulders. Her destiny uncertain, Vasya will uncover surprising truths about herself and her history as she desperately tries to save Russia, Morozko, and the magical world she treasures. But she may not be able to save them all.


My review:

I had a mix of emotion when I started reading The Winter of the Witch. I was happy because this book was out. I was apprehensive because of the blurb. I was sad because the trilogy was ending. My feelings were validated for The Winter of the Witch. I never get emotional reading a book. But I did for this one.

Vasya was one of my favorite people in The Winter of the Witch. Even when pushed to her limits, she was one of the strongest people in the book. What she endured in this book would have killed lesser people. Instead, it made her a stronger person. It fueled her desire to bind Bear. I was worried about what was going to happen to her after Bear was bound. I was worried that the story was going to flounder.

Morozko is one of my favorite characters to date. He stole every single scene that he was in. The fight scene with Bear, his twin, was one of the best supernatural fight scenes that I have read to date. His scenes with Vasya after that were touching. I mean, he did follow her to summer. If that doesn’t tell anyone how he felt, that I don’t know what would. My only complaint is that he refused to get involved in the war. But I understood why.

Vasya’s rise to power in this book was amazing to read. I knew that something was going to happen when she was thrust into Midnight. I was thrown for a surprise when it was revealed who her grandmother was. I remember shaking my head and saying “Well, that explains a lot”. I liked how Vasya was able to keep her promise to the chyerti. There were points in the book, after her journey to Midnight, where I thought that she was failed. I have never been more happy to be proved wrong!!

There were several deaths in The Winter of the Witch. The death of Solovey, at the beginning of the book, broke my heart. Vasya never recovered from it. There was one death where I cheered. The other notable death was at the end of the book. I was crushed at that person’s death. Freaking crushed. I did cry. No shame here in admitting that.

The end of The Winter of the Witch was an emotional read for me. I am not going to give away spoilers but I was thrilled with how it ended. I was also thrilled with the other thing that happened. That came out of left field for me. I was happy. I might have done a fist pump and say “Yes!!“.

I want to add that the Author’s Note was a welcome surprise. I liked that the author used an actual battle as the backdrop of the one that took place at the end of the book. The Grand Prince and Sasha were actual people. She admitted to tweaking parts of the battle (which I expected). She pointed out something interesting about Russia that ended with the Revolution. Made me go “Hmmmm“. As was her fitting reference about the guardians of Russia.

What I loved was that she included a glossary. She also included a note on Russian names. Both were helpful!!


I would give The Winter of the Witch an Older Teen rating. There are mentions of sex (not graphic). There is no language. There is violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 16 read this book.

I would reread The Winter of the Witch. I would also recommend this book to family and friends.


I would like to thank the author, the publisher, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review The Winter of the Witch.

All opinions stated in this review of The Winter of the Witch are mine.

Sisters of the Fire (Blood and Gold: Book 2) by Kim Wilkins

Sisters of the Fire (Blood and Gold, #2)

4 Stars

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Del Ray

Date of publication: February 5th, 2019

Genre: Fantasy

Series: Blood and Gold

The Crown of Rowan—Book 0.5

Daughters of the Storm—Book 1 (review here)

Sisters of the Fire—Book 2

Queens of the Sea—-Book 3 (expected publication date: 2019)

Where you can find Sisters of the Fire: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Goodreads synopsis:

An action-packed, compelling historical fantasy, from the pen of an award-winning author

The battle-scarred warrior princess Bluebell, heir to her father’s throne, is rumoured to be unkillable. So when she learns of a sword wrought specifically to slay her by the fearsome raven king, Hakon, she sets out on a journey to find it before it finds her. The sword is rumoured to be in the possession of one of her four younger sisters. But which one? Scattered as they are across the kingdoms, she sets out on a journey to find them.

Her four sisters all have their own paths to tread, the gifted magician Ash is on a journey to find a dragon that could determine her destiny. The beautiful, unhappy Rose has left her undermagician Aunt and is speeding to the aid of her daughter, Rowan, who has been lost to her. Ivy, sold into marriage for the sake of an alliance, is now set to become the ruling Duchess of Seacaster with the imminent death of her older and sick husband, and the power-hungry Willow is raising her infant child as a potential trimartyr king and training to be a warrior for the fanatical religious order Maava.

From wild rocky coastline to granite-topped tors, from bustling harbours to echoing ghost towns, from halls of kings to ancient primal woodlands, this story follows five sisters upon whose actions kingdoms will rise and fall.


My review:

Sisters of the Fire takes place 4 years after the ending of Daughters of the Storm. Each of the princesses has gone to different lives. Bluebell hasn’t changed much from the last book. She is charged with protecting the kingdom and she takes that seriously. After a battle that ends with a randerman raider held captive, Bluebell learns something interesting. She learns that one of her sisters has possession of a sword that can kill her. But which one hates her that much that they want her dead? Is it Rose? Who’s actions caused her to be separated from her daughter Rowan and live in isolation with her undermagician aunt. Or is it Ash? Ash has kept herself isolated from her sisters. She fears that the prophecy she saw in a vision will not only kill her but her sisters. Plus, she has a dragon to kill and a vision that she is determined not to come true. How about Ivy? Ivy who was the reason Rose was sent away from her daughter. Ivy, who’s scheming will end up costing her more than she thought it would. And then Willow. Meek, mousey Willow whose outer appearance doesn’t hint at the fanatic inside. Willow, who is willing to do anything to bring Maava to her father’s kingdom. Which sister will betray her?

I enjoyed reading Sisters of the Fire but it did take me a while to get into the book. The book got off to a slow start. The author had to give the background on 6 separate storylines before the book could get off the ground. She had to explain what happened to the sisters and Rowan in those 4 years. I would say that the first 30% of the book crept by for me. But, when Bluebell met with Rose, then I saw the book pick up steam. After that, the book flew. I couldn’t put it down.

If I had to have a sister that I disliked the most, it would have to be Willow. I knew that her mind wasn’t well during the first book. I mean, she heard flipping angels for crying out loud. What she morphed into in this book frightened me. She was what I call an uber fantastic. I felt so bad for her child. Look at what she put the poor thing through. She cut off eyelashes, gave the kid a bath and used a wire brush and refused to let the kid act like a child. But, what shocked me the most, was what Willow did. Even though she was bat poop crazy, I wasn’t expecting her to do what she did. I was saddened and surprised by it.

If I had to have a favorite character, it would have to be Rowan. For a small child, she was very wise. She saw what people were like. She also suffered from Rose not being there. Snowy was a good father figure but it wasn’t enough. She needed her mother. I thought her hearing the singing tree was interesting. Even more interesting was her connection to the First Folk. I wish more time had been spent explaining her time with the First Folk.

I can’t even get into all the storylines. If I did, this review would be way too long. Let me say that I thought they were amazing. I also thought that the author did a fantastic job at merging all them.

There was even a bit of romance in the book. I wasn’t expecting who the characters were (took me by surprise) but I thought it was sweet. I can’t wait to see if that romance will survive the next book.

The end of the book was good. I liked how the author took each sister and left their storyline open. The epilogue fascinated me. It left more questions than anything.


I gave Sisters of the Fire a 4-star rating. This was a good read. It did get off to a slow start but once the book got rolling, it took off. It was well written. I liked (or hated) the characters. The plotlines were intriguing. I did wish that there was more of an explanation of Rowan’s time with the First People. Other than that, I enjoyed the book.

I would give Sisters of the Fire an Adult rating. There is sex (not graphic). There is graphic violence. There is language. There are triggers. They would be the talk of child abuse. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread Sisters of the Fire. I would also recommend this book to family and friends.


I would like to thank Random House Publishing Group-Ballantine, Del Ray, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review Sisters of Fire.

All opinions stated in this review of Sisters of Fire are mine.

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**


Have you read Sisters of Fire?

Love it? 

Hate it?

Meh about it?

Let me know!!!

Bright Ruin (Dark Gifts: Book 3) by Vic James

Bright Ruin (Dark Gifts #3)

4 Stars

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group-Ballantine, Del Ray

Date of publication: October 9th, 2018

Genre: young adult, science fiction, dystopia

Series: Dark Gifts

Gilded Cage – Book 1 (review here)

Tarnished City – Book 2 (review here)

Bright Ruin – Book 3

Where you can find Bright Ruin: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Goodreads synopsis:

Magically gifted aristocrats rule–and commoners are doomed to serve. But a rebellion threatens the old order. The dystopian trilogy that began with Gilded Cage and Tarnished City concludes.

In a world where the lower classes must endure ten years of forced service to unfairly advantaged, magically powered rulers, a teenage boy dreams of rebellion, his older sister yearns for love and knowledge, and a dangerous young aristocrat seeks to remake the world with his dark gifts. In Bright Ruin, the final book in the trilogy set in modern-day England, our heroes will lead a revolution that will transform–or destroy–the world.


My review:

This book. Has left me. Wordless. Talk about having everything turned upside down and inside out. I can’t even get my thoughts together to write a review that makes sense…lol. But I will try.

I was excited to read Bright Ruin. I had loved the previous two books in the Dark Gifts trilogy and I was expecting to feel the same about Bright Ruin. Which I did. But this book also left me with a what the heck feeling. Why? Because of the ending. But I will get to that later in the review.

Out of all the characters in the book, I thought Gavar shined in this book. His character development from Gilded Cage was amazing. He went from being a pawn of his father to someone who decided to shake off the yoke of oppression that he lived under. I did have my doubts about him while reading Bright Ruin. I had doubts about his allegiances. But, I came to realize that the only one he was loyal too was Libby and through association, Daisy. That everything he did in Bright Ruin was to safeguard them. Of course, he was doing it under duress but still.

Speaking about Gavar brings me to Silyen. I didn’t know what to make of him for most of the book. The author did a great job at keeping his true intentions under wraps until the end of the book. Even when Luke and he met the King, I still had doubts about his true intentions. I should have known after the King’s death scene that Silyen had something up his sleeve. I also should have known when he made that deal with DogA life and an escape“. Grrrr. I also should have known his true intentions towards Luke. Thinking back, there were enough hints, I didn’t add them up. I will say that the kiss was electric and I am glad it was left at that.

I didn’t like Abi as much as I did in the first two books. I don’t know why I didn’t. I do think that she saw something in Gavar that surprised her. She saw goodness and the potential to help instead of harm. Which is why she trusted him with the plans to help break her parents out of where they were being held. Which is why she didn’t blame him for what happened when she found out the truth. I did like the change in her from the first book. She went from someone who accepted what life was thrusting at her to someone who dared to change things. That change was electric. A big part of that change was Jenner’s betrayal at the Blood Festival. But the other half of that change happened when things went sideways when her parents were rescued. Those events shaped her into who she became at the end of the book.

I thought Luke was useless in this book. Until Silyen took him to Crovan’s island. Then I realized, hey he is useful. I thought his relationship with Silyen was one of master and slave. But, as I read Luke’s part of the book, I realized that Luke was providing Silyen with something. I didn’t know what. Like I mentioned above, I was shocked at the kiss between them. But, I was also shocked by what Luke did at Silyen’s request. That took more bravery than anyone in the entire book. But, like I said above, I should have known it was coming. That whole death scene with the King was a huge indicator of what was going to happen. I failed to see it.

I want to mention how much I liked Dog in this book. I loved that the author gave him a voice and a purpose in this book. I also liked that his humanity was showing more and more. It counteracted nicely with what I knew about him.

It was the last chapter that bothered me. Luke’s storyline was not resolved. As was Coira’s, the King’s and Silyen’s. To end the book the way it did make me go “WHHHHHYYYYYY????” I can only hope that the author is going to do some sort of sequel to Bright Ruin. Something that explained what happened.

What I liked about Bright Ruin:

A) Gavar.

B) The kiss between Luke and Silyen

C) Dog

What I disliked about Bright Ruin:

A) What Silyen asked Luke to do

B) The end of the book

C) Abi. Just didn’t like her

I gave Bright Ruin a 4-star rating. This is a fantastic dystopian book. The characters were well fleshed out and the world building was amazing. I did have an issue with the ending. Other than that, loved the book.

I would give Bright Ruin an Older Teen rating. There is no sex (other than that amazing kiss between Silyen and Luke). There is violence. There is mild language. I would recommend that no one under the age of 16 read this book.

I would reread Bright Ruin. I would also recommend this book to family and friends.

I would like to thank Random House Publishing Book-Ballantine, Del Ray, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review Bright Ruin.

All opinions stated in this review of Bright Ruin are mine.

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**

The Memory of Fire (The Waking Land: Book 2) by Callie Bates

The Memory of Fire: The Waking Land Book II (The Waking Land Series) by [Bates, Callie]

4 Stars

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Del Rey

Date of publication: June 5th. 2018

Genre: Fantasy

Trigger Warning: Child Abuse

Series: The Waking Land

The Waking Land – Book 1 (review here)

The Memory of Fire – Book 2

Where you can find The Memory of Fire: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

With The Memory of Fire, Bates expertly deepens her tale, spinning glittering threads of magic and intrigue into a vibrant tapestry of adventure, betrayal, and romance.
 
Thanks to the magic of Elanna Valtai and the Paladisan noble Jahan Korakides, the lands once controlled by the empire of Paladis have won their independence. But as Elanna exhausts her powers restoring the ravaged land, news that the emperor is readying an invasion spurs Jahan on a desperate mission to establish peace.

Going back to Paladis proves to be anything but peaceful. As magic is a crime in the empire, punishable by death, Jahan must hide his abilities. Nonetheless, the grand inquisitor’s hunters suspect him of sorcery and mysterious, urgent messages from the witch who secretly trained Jahan only increase his danger of being exposed. Worst of all, the crown prince has turned his back on Jahan, robbing him of the royal protection he once enjoyed.

As word of Jahan’s return spreads, long-sheathed knives, sharp and deadly, are drawn again. And when Elanna, stripped of her magic, is brought to the capital in chains, Jahan must face down the traumas of his past to defeat the shadowy enemies threatening his true love’s life, and the future of the revolution itself.

Continue reading “The Memory of Fire (The Waking Land: Book 2) by Callie Bates”