Behind Her Eyes REVIEW

I struggled with most of this book, but I kept pushing through it because everyone was always talking about how crazy and unexpected the ending is. Let me just say that everyone is correct when they say that you will NEVER guess this ending!

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Kingdom of Ash | GUSH

I had a completely different post planned today, but I just finished reading Kingdom of Ash yesterday and I just want to talk about it so badly that I decided to get my review thoughts up today so I can chat with people about what has happened! I will be discussing things that happened in the book, so if you haven’t read KOA yet you may not want to read the rest of this post. But just know that I don’t think I will ever recover from this book.

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Bloody Rose REVIEW

TITLE: Bloody Rose35052265 (1)
AUTHOR: Nicholas Eames
SERIES: The Band #2
RELEASED: August 28th by Orbit
GENRE: Fantasy
AGE RANGE: Adult
RATING: unnamed (1)

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Not Even Bones Review

TITLE: Not Even Bones34324484._UY2475_SS2475_
AUTHOR: Rebecca Schaeffer
SERIES: Market of Monsters #1
RELEASES: September 4th by HMH
GENRE: Fantasy
AGE RANGE: Young Adult
RATING: unnamed

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Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant

For this review I’m doing something a little bit different that what I normally do. Most of the time, I write my review after I’ve finished reading the book, which is what most people do as well. This is all well and fine, but sometimes I feel like I’m missing something in my reviews. So for this review, I am going to be writing bits and pieces as I read the book to give a better sense of how I was really feeling about the book as I read it, kind of like a thoughts while reading kind of thing, but a little bit different. Let’s see how this works!

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Before reading

70e9b30b4605985262cf8772b1ca492c1ccfd45dr1-1024-685v2_hqInto the Drowning Deep falls into an interesting genre: Horror and Fantasy. Or at least that is what it is considered on Goodreads. I can’t say that I have ever read a book that could be fully considered both genres before, so reading this is going to be a fun ride! From what I gathered from the synopsis, this follows a young marine biologist Tory whose sister Anne went on a voyage to capture the existence of mermaids. That ship was lost, and there were never any survivors found. Now Tory wants to go back to learn about what really happened to her sister.

While Reading

Some of you may (or may not) know this, but I have a degree in Conservation Biology. My undergraduate thesis was actually centered around ocean acidification and how it affects marine organisms. In layman’s terms, that means I studied climate change. Being apart of that marine lab makes reading this book that much more enjoyable and interesting to me. At the start of this book, Tory is working on a whale watching ship as their marine biologist giving tourists information about the sea life around them, and I am so happy to say that for the most part it is pretty accurate! I love the amount of science that is weaved through this book, and the research that had to have been done to make it accurate and still enjoyable to people who have no background in the sciences.

I’m not sure if sending out a new boat after the disappearance of the original voyage is such a good idea and from what I know about horror novels, this is not going to end well. Are the mermaids real? If they are, chances are they are NOT friendly. I’m still really loving how detailed everything is with all of the different fields of science on this boat! Plus, the diversity is incredible! I can’t say that I’ve read a book that contained this much diversity, not only ethnic diversity, but diverse disabilities as well.

At this point I feel like the genres that Goodreads puts this book into isn’t quite correct. The horror genre definitely fits, but the only thing that really fits with Fantasy is the mermaid aspect of this, and the way that it is done makes it feel more like it could actually be true than a fantasy. That aside, I love the characters and the complex relationships they have with each other.

After Reading

Man, that last 40 pages kept me on the edge of my seat! This may have become one of my favorite books of the year! As far as the plot goes, I absolutely loved it! The science aspects were woven in so seamlessly that even if you are someone who doesn’t understand a lot of science-y things, you’ll get what they are saying. Or maybe that’s just the science nerd in me talking. The characters were great as well! I love how Tory wants to figure out what really happened to her sister and then it becomes so much more than that. Every single one of the characters we are introduced to are each so unique and have their own personalities, and for the most part almost every single character has something that makes them different from everyone else. When I say that, I mean that not everyone is straight and white. There is an incredible amount of diversity in this book, so much so that I noticed it right away. I have a tendency to read books that don’t have a ton of diversity- not because I don’t want to, but fantasy in general is lacking in that category. If you were unaware, Mira Grant is actually a pen name for Seanan Mcguire. I’ve heard fantastic things about the diversity in her more popular Wayward Children series, and that diversity seems to carry over into all her work which is fantastic!

I don’t want to give away too much of what happens, as with horror the less you know the better the book becomes. But just trust me when I say that you will love every single character and you will really feel for them and the situations they are put in. The plot keeps you on the tip of your toes and keeps you wanting more! I HIGHLY recommend this book to, well, pretty much everyone. YOU NEED TO READ THIS BOOK.

Long May She Reign ~ REVIEW

This is a standalone fantasy, which I feel like is increasingly more rare these days. That was one of the reasons I was so drawn to this book. I wanted something that would be a fun, easy read that I didn’t have to devote too much time to. And that is exactly what I got with this!

This follows Freya, who at the beginning of the book is 23rd in line for the throne, or some other ridiculously high number. I could be wrong in remembering exactly what place she was in, but that doesn’t really matter. Basically, she is so far down the line of succession that there is no possible way that she will ever become queen. Unless something really bad happens. Which of course it does, which should be no surprise as it is mentioned in the synopsis. Now Freya, who had plans of leaving court to fulfill her dream of being a scientist, is suddenly thrust into the unwanted role as queen.

I have to say that my favorite part of this book was Freya. Not only do I think that she has a really great name for a character in a fantasy novel, but she was so quirky and loved science! She’s a very nervous person, and yes, it is a little cliche because she is so socially awkward, but combine that with her knowledge and passion for the sciences and it just makes for a really unique and lovable main character!

I do have to say that she is pretty much the entire reason for my love of this book, because without her, it really just feels like another YA fantasy. I personally am okay with that as I love the more generic fantasies like this. And let me just tell you that when we figure out who the poisoner was, it was so bittersweet because you kinda think it may be them, but at the same time you are REALLY hoping that it won’t be them.

I think if you are looking for something 100% unique and never seen before, this is probably not the book for you. BUT if you are looking for a fun, quick read with a relatable main character, then this may be the perfect book for you!

Wolf of the North REVIEW

To be completely honest, this was originally a cover buy. While I was waiting for this to arrive, I looked at the synopsis and it sounded like something I would love! Then, when it finally arrived, I was a little disappointed because it was only around 300 pages or so, which for me is a pretty small book. But let me tell you, I am so happy that I gave this a chance because I enjoyed it immensely!

This sounds like your stereotypical fantasy novel – the coming of age of a famous and great warrior. And that is definitely the case, but there was just something about this book that really drew me in and kept me interested! There isn’t really too much that happens throughout this book as it is the first in a series, but the character growth was enjoyable and the narrator was fantastic!

Wulfric is our main character, and he is the timid and overweight son of the First Warrior of their village. He is constantly bullied by the apprentice warriors in the village and Wulfric just lets it happen until his main bully says some very inappropriate things to Adalhaid, who is Wulfric’s friend/crush, and Wulfric pretty much beats his bully to a pulp. From that day on, he decides he doesn’t want to be pushed around and starts training in secret in order to become an apprentice warrior. From there, we follow Wulfric’s journey to become a warrior and all of his struggles and triumphs. I should also mention that we know from pretty much page one that Wulfric no longer goes by his birth name and is now a legendary warrior.

I loved Wulfric’s character so much! His character development was pretty great and when he became this big bad warrior, he was still a kindhearted person underneath it all. Throughout the book I was constantly feeling bad for him because he just couldn’t catch a break! Everything that could go wrong for him did go wrong.

This felt like it really pulled a lot of inspiration from Vikings, which I am a huge fan of so that was a huge plus for me. It also was a little reminiscent of Game of Thrones, in the sense that none of the characters are safe and anything can happen.

This is definitely setting us up for the next books in the series and I think it did a pretty good job of setting up Wulfric’s journey. I do wish we would’ve gotten a little more on the other countries, but based on the ending of this book, I think that they will probably get more description throughout the next books.

I do wish that there was a little bit more of an indication that the POV was changing, as for pretty much the first half was almost exclusively in Wulfric’s POV then we started adding in a ton other POV’s to further the plot. The writing was pretty basic, but in this case I think that it worked for this book because of how short it was.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and I’m fairly interested in continuing to see what happens to Wulfric as he is probably my favorite part of this entire book. If you like fantasy and are looking for something easier, or if you are new to fantasy, this may be a good book for you!

The Queen of Blood ~ REVIEW

There are a ton of books out there (especially YA) that have this same theme of a kingdom on the brink of war/destruction, with multiple POV’s where there is to be an eventual fight for the throne, but this was just so unique that it blows all the other books like this out of the water.

One of my absolute favorite parts of this book is the magic system. Again, it has a pretty standard YA fantasy base in elemental magic, which I am a sucker for no matter what. But then it adds in the fact that it isn’t the people working elemental magic. There are elemental spirits whose main purpose is basically to destroy humanity and create life. For example, there are wood spirits that create trees and bushes, water spirits that create lakes and rivers, and so on and so forth. These spirits don’t harm humans (well, not usually) because the queen is the one person who can control them and impose a rule called “do no harm” so that the people are safe from the spirits.

Going along with the magic system, their monarchy is interesting as well. The longer the queen rules, the more she loses her grip on the spirits. She has many different heirs who could possibly be queen after her, but they are all unrelated to her. In this world, only women have the power to control the spirits and the spirits are the ones who choose the next queen from the heirs.

The other major plus that this book had going for it was the setting. It is so completely different than your typical fantasy (Medieval/European). In this world, all of the houses, villages and cities are built in the trees, which is basically where I would love to live if I was in a fantasy world!

And then there is Daleina. I think she is honestly one of my favorite characters that I’ve read in a very long time! The book starts off with her entire village being destroyed by spirits, and Daleina discovers that she is one of the few women who has the ability to control the spirits when she defends her family from the attack. With her entire village slaughtered, she vows that she will not let something like that happen again and therefore, needs to become stronger and better at controlling the spirits.

That is pretty much where the similarities to any other YA fantasy stops. In many books, Daleina would become the chosen one to stop the spirits and would instantly (or at least, very quickly) master her abilities and save the day. I’m here to tell you that that is NOT the case. She’s one of the worst heirs that have been named and she pretty much gets by through strength of will, smarts, and strategy instead of others who use their power and strength. Instead of controlling the spirits, she learns to redirect them to build instead of destroy. What I loved the most about her is her determination and dedication to making the world a better place. She’s not special in anyway, but she works hard and it shows.

The two perspectives we get are actually Daleina and her mentor, Vin who is more of a father figure to her throughout her training. There is a romance, but it was more for Daleina’s character development than a true romance, and it never distracts her from her goals. There is also an INSANE amount of female friendships in this book! All of the girls are competing to become heirs, and then to be named Queen and not once do they see each other as the enemy. They help each other out and encourage each other.

If you know my reading tastes, you know I tend to lean towards the more brutal high fantasies (Game of Thrones, anyone?). Make no mistake. This book is brutal and bloody and fantastic! The ending was just so intense I was literally freaking out for the last 50 pages or so. None of the characters are safe from this author and that is the way I like it!

So, if you like unique, brutal high fantasies, YOU NEED TO PICK THIS UP IMMEDIATELY!!!

King of Ashes ~ REVIEW

This was the first Raymond E Feist book that I have read, and I don’t know why I haven’t heard about him or read any of his books sooner!

There once were five kingdoms in this world, each with their own King and culture. There was peace between all five, and where this book picks up is right after four of the kingdoms betrays the fifth. That kingdom was Ithrace, and its King was Steveren Langene, known as the Firemane for his bright red hair. Even his allies turned against him when they saw that Ithrace would be destroyed. The victors then put Steverens entire family to death, women and children included.

Before (and after) the betrayal, there is a legend that a “rampant chaos would be unleashed upon the world should the Firemane line end”. So because there was no end of the world, many start to assume that there is a missing Firemane child.

This is a (mainly) dual perspective book, following two young men. One is Declan, a young master blacksmith who lives in the Covenant lands, which is a place where the five kingdoms declared to be a safe area free from any wars or political maneuverings. Then we also follow Hatushaly, or Hatu for short. He is a very angry and confused youth who is training at a school for assassins. It is shown pretty early on that Hatu isn’t a native of the island nation where his school is located, and he has to hide his bright red hair. It’s not a spoiler, but it is implied upon meeting Hatu that he is very likely the missing Firemane child mentioned in the prologue. We also get a few chapters from the perspective of Hava, who is Hatu’s best female friend who is the best fighter at their academy.

The world building was phenomenal, there were so many different races, religions, and histories mentioned and I love it when books have a fully fleshed out world where everything is explained! I know some people don’t enjoy it when books are too detailed, but for me, I would prefer more detail, especially when it comes to the world.

Another great thing this book had going for it were the characters. Hatu and Declan were both so different and they were fully realized and fleshed out. They both go through some major character development as they figure out who they are and their place in the world. Baron Daylon Dumarch also plays a huge role in the book, as he is the one who spirited away the missing child in the prologue and has been pulling strings to finally rise up against the people who betrayed his best friend, Steveren. It’s never really discussed what his motives are or why he wants to keep an eye on Hatu and Declan, but since this is the first book in a series I don’t expect it to give away all the secrets and plot twists!

There is a lot of set up for the series in the first book, but that is the case with many first books in series. The main issue that I found myself having was that every time we would go back to a perspective, we would basically get a recap on everything that happened previously. I didn’t really notice it at first, but once I hit about 200 pages then I really started to notice it and it bugged me a little. It was almost like coming back to a TV show after a commercial break. I also didn’t really think that Hatu’s anger issues needed to be pointed out as much as they were, I would have preferred it to be shown, instead of always telling us that he is angry, if that makes any sense.

Another thing that I didn’t like was that the synopsis led me to believe that Hatu and Declan would meet and go on adventures together, but that isn’t the case. They don’t even meet until the last, like 100 pages or so. I also wished that there was more assassin stuff going on, because Hatu is being trained by assassins but we didn’t really get anything out of that. But if course that could just be my love of assassins in fantasy rearing its ugly head. If a book mentions assassins even remotely, I want more of them!

Overall, this was a really enjoyable fantasy with great characters and great world building. As the first in a new series, the plot didn’t really go anywhere, just a lot of set up for the rest of the series. I do plan on continuing on with the series as soon as the next book comes out! I also really want to read some of his other works, so if anyone has read anything by Raymond E Feist before give me some recommendations as to where to start!

Happy reading everyone!

The Surface Breaks – Rant Review

The Surface BreaksThe Surface Breaks by Louise O’Neill

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I ended up DNFing this book at about 82%, so I feel like I know what it was that I did not like about this book and I feel confident in my rating.

The synopsis of this book says that it is “reimagined through a searing feminist lens” and I do not agree with that at all. To me when a book says that it is a feminist retelling, I think that it is going to have female characters that stand up for themselves and fight for equality, but in the 254 pages that I read of this book, not once did our main character stand up for anything. Sure, the inequality that women in this society is mentioned and observed, but for me that was just not enough.

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Photo credit

Some things that I absolutely hated about this book:

-Wow your so pretty I can’t stand it, let me just constantly talk about and mention how beautiful the MC is
-MC knows another character wants to sexually assault another character, and lets it happen. That is NOT feminist to me.
-MC’s father says she is so pretty he should’ve taken her as his own. HER FATHER WANTS HER.
-MC was super judgemental (the first time she sees a fat woman, she says “I did not know such a body was even allowed to exist”
-She thinks it is completely out of the question/impossible that one of her sisters is not straight
-Lots of girl hate, especially between the sisters.
-Did I mention how pretty she is?
-All men are sexual predators and misogynistic, felt like it was just trying to push the feminist agenda. Not all men are sexual predators or stupid.
-Sea Witch was far more interesting than the MC, actually stood up for herself
-One dimensional characters, very little character development
-MC is abused every night by her betrothed and then it is never fully addressed
-And seriously, the MC is sooooo pretty no one can believe that she is real!

 

I have no idea if the ending gets any better, but from what I read I really didn’t like how the book just pointed out issues instead of actually addressing them or anyone trying to make a difference. The world building is also really lacking, when we get to land it mentions a civil war on the islands, but we have no clue what country we are in and what the islands are. It wasn’t until I went and read the Goodreads synopsis that I realized it’s supposed to be set in Ireland, which definitely does NOT come through in any of the settings or characters.

The writing in this was also a really big problem for me, it felt like the publisher didn’t realize that the author was only submitting a first draft and decided to publish it right away. There were paragraphs where there would be a scene with the Sea King, and then the very next paragraph would be something completely different with nothing to tell you what is going on and how you got from there to here.

I get that this was trying to be a feminist commentary on the world, but it didn’t quite accomplish that. It never tried to offer solutions or even give any sort of analysis on why this world is the way it is. It almost read like the main message was that men are all evil, misogynistic, abusive monsters and women need to stay away from them.

I could honestly go on and on about the things that I disliked about this book, but since I don’t want to write a book length review, I’m going to stop it here. This book was really disappointing for me and I honestly do not recommend this book.