Book Review: The Crowns of Croswald by D.E. Night

The Crowns of Croswald

Paperback, 314 pages
Published July 21st 2017 by Stories Untold

Choosing books based on fun, fancy covers is something you’re not supposed to do, but I do it all the time.  This was one such choice.  The pleasing hairies in lanterns and warm pinks, reds, and yellow are very eye-catching.  But I wasn’t convinced until I read the summary.  The comparison to Harry Potter got my attention.

If you miss the wondrous feeling you had from reading Harry Potter for the first time, this book will definitely fill that hole!

The main character is a young female, thrust into the world of her own magic by being invited to a school for magic users.  Along the way she learns of a prophecy and mystical secrets, makes friends among the other “outcasts”.  And yet, it feels like a brand new story.  One with amazing characters and plot twists.  The ending both wraps up some mysteries and introduces new ones for a sequel.

And I’m so excited for the sequel! The Girl with the Whispering Shadow, I believe.

Summary:

In Croswald, the only thing more powerful than dark magic is one secret…

For sixteen years Ivy Lovely has been hidden behind an enchanted boundary that separates the mundane from the magical. When Ivy crosses the border, her powers awaken. Curiosity leads her crashing through a series of adventures at the Halls of Ivy, a school where students learn to master their magical blood and the power of Croswald’s mysterious gems. When Ivy’s magic––and her life––is threatened by the Dark Queen, she scrambles to unearth her history and save Croswald before the truth is swept away forever.

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Book Review: Red Sister by Mark Lawrence

Red Sister (Book of the Ancestor #1)

Hardcover, 469 pages
Published April 4th 2017 by Ace

After reading and loving Nevernight by Jay Kristoff, I decided it was time to take a stab at the other assassin book release that was garnering lots of attention.  I had been putting this one off because I didn’t care for one of the author’s other books, but I finally took the plunge.

And I’m glad that I did!

A great audiobook investment, I devoured this story and couldn’t wait for moments when I was able to listen to the story, so I found myself grabbing my physical copy to read ahead several times.

Not so much an assassin novel as a coming of age story.  I loved reading about Nona’s physical, mental, and spiritual growth as she developed.  The relationships and personalities presented here were refreshing and pulled on my heartstrings.  There were plenty of twists and reveals to keep the story interesting and compelling as well as plenty of internal points of reflection.

I can’t really remember any major negatives, but I was expecting something slightly different based off the description.  That’s probably about it.

Can’t wait to dig into the sequel soon!

Summary:

I was born for killing – the gods made me to ruin.

At the Convent of Sweet Mercy young girls are raised to be killers. In a few the old bloods show, gifting talents rarely seen since the tribes beached their ships on Abeth. Sweet Mercy hones its novices’ skills to deadly effect: it takes ten years to educate a Red Sister in the ways of blade and fist.

But even the mistresses of sword and shadow don’t truly understand what they have purchased when Nona Grey is brought to their halls as a bloodstained child of eight, falsely accused of murder: guilty of worse.

Stolen from the shadow of the noose, Nona is sought by powerful enemies, and for good reason. Despite the security and isolation of the convent her secret and violent past will find her out. Beneath a dying sun that shines upon a crumbling empire, Nona Grey must come to terms with her demons and learn to become a deadly assassin if she is to survive…

Book Review: The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell

The Last Magician (The Last Magician, #1)

Hardcover, 500 pages
Published July 18th 2017 by Simon Pulse
I participated on the Devil’s Own street team last year and had a blast doing all the promotional challenges.  The only thing I wasn’t able to do was fit in reading the book!!  Luckily, I’m back on Audible and used a credit to purchase this lovely book to listen to at work 🙂

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Book Review: Terminal Alliance by Jim C. Hines

Terminal Alliance

Hardcover, 358 pages
Published November 7th 2017 by Daw Books

Jim C. Hines is one of the best authors in SFF right now as evidenced in this latest series that published late last year.  I’m more of a fantasy reader usually, but sometimes science fiction titles really grab my attention and won’t let go.  That’s what happened with this fun, cynical read!  Just look at the series title: Janitors of the Post-Apocalypse.  I love it!  And the author did a great job balancing science, janitor jargon, intrigue, and action.  There were looks of interesting aliens.  And a fun look at how Earth’s human population fell into a feral state.

A fascinating aspect of this book was the use of pronouns.  Various alien species were treated differently according to their preferences.  One of the main characters uses they/them/their always.  There was another race that doesn’t recognize gender, so a conversation alternates female and male pronouns.  A third race uses zie in place of gender.  And except for giving a brief reasoning for each use, the text doesn’t call attention to it.  It’s just accepted.

I did occasionally get lost in the science jargon but never for very long.  I think there’s enough to give meaning to the crew’s actions and the universe overall, but not so much that readers will dnf because they can’t follow along.

I loved this snarky crew and can’t wait to see what other mysteries they uncover in book 2!!

Terminal Uprising  (Janitors of the Post-Apocalypse #2)

Summary:

In his hilarious new sci-fi series, Jim C. Hines introduces the unlikely heroes that may just save the galaxy: a crew of space janitors.

The Krakau came to Earth to invite humanity into a growing alliance of sentient species. However, they happened to arrive after a mutated plague wiped out half the planet, turned the rest into shambling, near-unstoppable animals, and basically destroyed human civilization. You know–your standard apocalypse.

The Krakau’s first impulse was to turn around and go home. (After all, it’s hard to have diplomatic relations with mindless savages who eat your diplomats.) Their second impulse was to try to fix us. Now, a century later, human beings might not be what they once were, but at least they’re no longer trying to eat everyone. Mostly.

Marion “Mops” Adamopoulos is surprisingly bright (for a human). As a Lieutenant on the Earth Mercenary Corps Ship Pufferfish, she’s in charge of the Shipboard Hygiene and Sanitation team. When a bioweapon attack wipes out the Krakau command crew and reverts the rest of the humans to their feral state, only Mops and her team are left with their minds intact.

Escaping the attacking aliens–not to mention her shambling crewmates–is only the beginning. Sure, Mops and her team of space janitors and plumbers can clean the ship as well as anyone, but flying the damn thing is another matter.

As they struggle to keep the Pufferfish functioning and find a cure for their crew, they stumble onto a conspiracy that could threaten the entire alliance… a conspiracy born from the truth of what happened on Earth all those years ago.

Jim C. Hines has proven himself a master of humorous fantasy with his Jig the Goblin novels, and has turned the usual fantasy tropes sideways and upside down with his Princess and his Magic Ex Libris series. With Terminal Alliance, the debut novel in his humorous military science fiction series, Jim takes us into a brand-new universe of entertainment certain to appeal to fans of both Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett.

Book Review: An Alchemy of Masques and Mirrors

An Alchemy of Masques and Mirrors (The Risen Kingdoms, #1)

Hardcover, 416 pages
Published August 29th 2017 by Tor Books
One of the cleverest books I have ever read!  I’m really sad that I waited so long to read this one.  It had all the feels and the cleverness rating was through the roof.  There were some areas that felt a bit confusing, so I’m not sure if that was on my end of not catching the clues.  Or if that was the writing style.  Either way, it wasn’t enough to ruin any part of the book.
If you’re looking for a fun steampunk read, this book is for you.
If you’re looking for a main character with a physical impairment, this book is for you.
If you love reading about musketeers, here you go.
If you aren’t looking for a grand romance, check this one out.
If you want a clever female mc, whose male companion complements her mental acuity and independence, and a deranged immortal antagonist, why haven’t you read this book yet?
There is a touch of body horror in this one, but the language uses Victorian style entendre and contains no graphic sex.  Older teens would probably love this adult fantasy.
Needless to say, I am greatly anticipating more in this series.  I want to know more about the pantheon of gods.  And to see where the court intrigue takes the story.  And maybe to check on the romance that was introduced.  I wouldn’t mind seeing if that goes somewhere or not 🙂

Summary:

In a world of soaring continents and bottomless skies, where a burgeoning new science lifts skyships into the cloud-strewn heights and ancient blood-borne sorceries cling to a fading glory, Princess Isabelle des Zephyrs is about to be married to a man she has barely heard of, the second son of a dying king in an empire collapsing into civil war.

Born without the sorcery that is her birthright but with a perspicacious intellect, Isabelle believes her marriage will stave off disastrous conflict and bring her opportunity and influence. But the last two women betrothed to this prince were murdered, and a sorcerer-assassin is bent on making Isabelle the third. Aided and defended by her loyal musketeer, Jean-Claude, Isabelle plunges into a great maze of prophecy, intrigue, and betrayal, where everyone wears masks of glamour and lies. Step by dangerous step, she unravels the lies of her enemies and discovers a truth more perilous than any deception.

Book Review: An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

An Enchantment of Ravens

Hardcover, 300 pages
Published September 26th 2017 by Margaret K. McElderry Books

I was so ready to love this book.  The cover is gorgeous, the reviews were fantastic, and I love so many other fairy-based stories.  Unfortunately, this was just felt meh.  I didn’t hate it, but I also didn’t feel compelled either.  Honestly, I couldn’t stop comparing it to some of my absolute favorite fae books and authors (i.e. Holly Black, Sarah Maas, and others).

 

I finished it and liked it.  The character connection just wasn’t there for me, and that’s usually what grabs me in a story.  I think this was a debut novel, maybe.  So I’m hoping to read more of her books in the future.

Summary:

A skilled painter must stand up to the ancient power of the faerie courts—even as she falls in love with a faerie prince—in this gorgeous debut novel.

Isobel is a prodigy portrait artist with a dangerous set of clients: the sinister fair folk, immortal creatures who cannot bake bread, weave cloth, or put a pen to paper without crumbling to dust. They crave human Craft with a terrible thirst, and Isobel’s paintings are highly prized. But when she receives her first royal patron—Rook, the autumn prince—she makes a terrible mistake. She paints mortal sorrow in his eyes—a weakness that could cost him his life.

Furious and devastated, Rook spirits her away to the autumnlands to stand trial for her crime. Waylaid by the Wild Hunt’s ghostly hounds, the tainted influence of the Alder King, and hideous monsters risen from barrow mounds, Isobel and Rook depend on one another for survival. Their alliance blossoms into trust, then love—and that love violates the fair folks’ ruthless laws. Now both of their lives are forfeit, unless Isobel can use her skill as an artist to fight the fairy courts. Because secretly, her Craft represents a threat the fair folk have never faced in all the millennia of their unchanging lives: for the first time, her portraits have the power to make them feel.

Series Sunday: Review & Fanart!: Nevernight Chronicles by Jay Kristoff

Since learning I could listen to audiobooks at work, my two favorites, so far, have been Jay Kristoff’s Nevernight and Godsgrave!  There was even a scene in Godsgrave that I really wanted to recreate.  I let it percolate in my mind for a little bit before sketching it out and stippling the entire thing.  Although this piece was on 9×12 paper and relatively small, the tiny dots made my hand cramp up and it took a bit longer to finish.  But I can officially say that I have completed it 🙂  I’m so proud of my little picture.

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October, November, December Books to Read 2017

These last few months have been crazy, and I haven’t been doing much posting on here.  I do want to share some books that released over the last 3 months that I haven’t had a chance to read or review.  I don’t think I’ll do it this way next year due to a change in my reading plans, but I’ll have dedicated post to explain that very soon!

 

October:

A Plague of Giants (Seven Kennings, #1)Akata Warrior (Akata Witch, #2)The Adventurers Guild (The Adventurers Guild #1)The Last Namsara (Iskari, #1)A Shiver of Snow and SkyLast Star Burning (Last Star Burning #1)Forest of a Thousand Lanterns (Rise of the Empress, #1)The Tethered Mage (Swords and Fire #1)Academy of Assassins (Academy of Assassins #1)Beasts Made of NightWolves and Roses (Fairy Tales of the Magicorum, #1)Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow

November:

Seventh Decimate (The Great God's War #1)The City of Brass (The Daevabad Trilogy, #1)The Nine (Thieves of Fate, #1)Into the Drowning DeepWinter of Ice and Iron

December:

The Fall of the Readers (The Forbidden Library, #4)The Rebels of Gold (Loom Saga, #3)The Young Queens (Three Dark Crowns, #0.5)

 

That’s it for this year!  I know I missed some of your favorite books, so let me know your favorites in the comments.

Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo

Wonder Woman: Warbringer (DC Icons, #1)

Hardcover, 376 pages
Published August 28th 2017 by Random House Children’s Books
Recently, I finished listening to the audiobook of Leigh Bardugo’s latest book, the first in the DC Icons series.  While Wonder Woman is not my favorite superhero, I have found her Greek mythology storyline fascinating, so I was expecting good things.
I was a little disappointment.  And I’m not sure if it was the writing or maybe the narrator.  There were parts that I really liked, such as the oracle, the bracelets, Diana’s realizations about humans and her place in the world.  But the overall story felt a bit contrived?  I wanted to finish the story but I had to force myself to get started every time.  I just wasn’t motivated to keep going.
I guess I got caught up in the hype and expected too much.  My plan still definitely includes reading the rest of Leigh’s backlist as I enjoyed the first Grisha book very much and am excited to read Six of Crows.  If I had to guess, WW didn’t surprise me because WW doesn’t lose.  UGH, I feel like I’m rambling now, so I’ll leave it here.
Let me know what you thought about this book.  Did I miss something epic?

Summary:

Daughter of immortals.

Princess Diana longs to prove herself to her legendary warrior sisters. But when the opportunity finally comes, she throws away her chance at glory and breaks Amazon law—risking exile—to save a mortal. Diana will soon learn that she has rescued no ordinary girl, and that with this single brave act, she may have doomed the world.

Daughter of death.

Alia Keralis just wanted to escape her overprotective brother with a semester at sea. She doesn’t know she is being hunted by people who think her very existence could spark a world war. When a bomb detonates aboard her ship, Alia is rescued by a mysterious girl of extraordinary strength and forced to confront a horrible truth: Alia is a Warbringer—a direct descendant of the infamous Helen of Troy, fated to bring about an age of bloodshed and misery.

Together.

Two girls will face an army of enemies—mortal and divine—determined to either destroy or possess the Warbringer. Tested beyond the bounds of their abilities, Diana and Alia must find a way to unleash hidden strengths and forge an unlikely alliance. Because if they have any hope of saving both their worlds, they will have to stand side by side against the tide of war.