Book Review: Master of the Phantom Isle by Brandon Mull

Master of the Phantom Isle (Dragonwatch, #3)

Hardcover, 496 pages
Published October 1st 2019 by Shadow Mountain

Brandon Mull has a delightfully wicked way of wrapping up a story by introducing what the next story arc is going to be or where it will happen.  Then follows it up with a book that picks up right where the previous one left off.  This is great!  For anyone who has all the books and binge them one after the other.  But incredibly frustrating for those of us who read them before the next book releases!!

That being said, this third installment is marvelous!  We learn more about what happened to Seth at the end of book two as well as Bracken’s whereabouts.  Kendra does a fantastic job of coping with the loss of her brother while trying to maintain her responsibilities.  We get to see Warren and Vanessa again.  And my favorite, the Fairy Queen, makes an appearance 🙂

If I say too much more, I’ll give away spoilers for either this book or the previous ones.  Hopefully you’ve already read them, but here are links to my reviews if you want to check those out.

Dragonwatch

Wrath of the Dragon King

Summary:

Cursed by the Key of Forgetting, Seth has lost all memory of his past—his relationships, his experiences, and who he really is. For now he will align with his new mentor, Ronodin, the dark unicorn, who takes him to the Phantom Isle, the secret gateway to the Under Realm. Though Seth is not formally a prisoner, Ronodin wants to use him and his shadow charmer powers for his own dark ends.

Kendra is frantic to find her missing brother, but the quest will take her and her companions, including Warren, Tanu, and Vanessa, far from Wyrmroost to Crescent Lagoon—a recently fallen dragon sanctuary made up of many islands and underwater domains. Its caretaker has regained a foothold on one of the islands. If Kendra and her friends can save that sanctuary, they might uncover the answers they need to rescue Seth.

With each sanctuary the dragons overthrow, Celebrant, the Dragon King, comes closer to the dawn of a new Age of Dragons. With the forces of darkness on the march, can Kendra and her allies gather enough power to win the epic dragon war?

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Book Review: Smarter Than a Monster by Brandon Mull and illustrated by Mike Walton

Smarter Monster Blog Tour Image

Hardcover, 32 pages
Expected publication: October 1st 2019 by Shadow Mountain

Summary:

No monster wants you to read this book. The more you know about monsters, the more you will know how to defeat them.

Little kids have big fears, which they often imagine to be scary creatures, like monsters. But this book helps explain how knowing “Monster Facts” can help kids outwit them.

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Waiting on Wednesday: Steel Crow Saga by Paul Krueger

Steel Crow Saga (Steel Crow Saga, #1)

Hardcover, 528 pages
Expected publication: September 24th 2019 by Del Rey Books

Advanced uncorrected proof provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review.  This in no way affected my final review 🙂

First off, let me give you a bit of information about the structure of this book.  There are four main POVs with three being ladies of various stations.  Each section or chapter identifies the POV you are entering.  Fantastically, they each have there own voice and thoughts colored by their cultural background, which lends to building both world and story.

I fully loved this story!  The world building, tension building, character development.  All of these were integrated almost seamlessly.  This author fully understands how to capture his readers attention and keep it.  Another thing that was done well was the inclusiveness of the world and characters.  We are presented with a trans character, bisexuality, and other questions of gender or sex within a world that accepts these as normal.  I loved that it was included but wasn’t a huge plot point.

I also enjoyed that the author presented a full story with many of the plot threads coming to a conclusion at the end of this lengthy book.  That being said, GoodReads has indicated that this is the beginning of a series, and I would definitely read more!  There’s a lot to explore in this world, and I’d love to dive back in!

Summary:

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.

Book Review: Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

Gideon the Ninth (The Ninth House, #1)

Hardcover, 448 pages
Expected publication: September 10th 2019 by Tor.com

This one was so WEIRD!!  But I loved it!

I would give this one a 4.5 out of 5 stars but only because I was confused by a few bits.  I had a really hard time picturing this story happening in outer space.  All the language and the use of swords and necromancy felt solidly fantasy, so when we had a descriptive section about the space ships, I was a bit jolted.  I also had a small issue trying to keep track of all the characters.  There were some that I just didn’t care about, so when those came up, I kind of glossed over their descriptions. *shrug*  My bad.

So, now I’m free to talk about all the good stuff!

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Nerd Girl Books Blog Tour: Book Review of Stronger Than a Bronze Dragon by Mary Fan + Giveaway!

NGB_4

Hello again!  As promised, here is my review of Mary Fan’s Stronger Than a Bronze Dragon.  And our tour is almost at an end!  Check out the graphic at the very bottom of this post to see what other posts you may have missed earlier this month.  And if you didn’t check my interview about inspiration with Mary Fan and Deborah Schaumberg, click here to go read it!  Also, also, don’t forget to enter the giveaway if you haven’t already (link in my previous post)!

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Book Review: Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

Sorcery of Thorns

Hardcover, 456 pages
Published June 4th 2019 by Margaret K. McElderry Books

Although the synopsis sounded like my dream book, I was hesitant to start this one as I’d thought I’d love this author’s debut and then didn’t.  I can happily say that whatever issues I’d had with An Enchantment of Ravens had no bearing on my enjoyment of this book.  AT ALL!  This book had great pacing, intriguing but mysterious characters, solid world building, everything that a five star book needs to get starred reviews.  If you are on the fence at all, then fall on the side of READ IT RIGHT NOW!  I cannot stress enough how thoroughly I loved this one.

I especially loved that the character, who grew up in a library (like I always wanted to do), loves all things books (just like me), has an attachment to a cat (cat-lover here!), and a fascination with learning everything (I have way too many hobbies), is named Elisabeth, which isn’t quite my name since I spell it with a ‘z’, but I’ll take it!  I can definitely understand why everyone wants to see themselves in their favorite books/genres.  It’s rather addictive!

Anyway, are you still reading this review?  Why?  Go read the book!  Like, right now!  Go!

Sorcery of Thorns

Owlcrate exclusive cover variant

Summary:

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

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

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

Waiting on Wednesday: The Tea Dragon Festival by Katie O’Neill (Review)

The Tea Dragon Festival

Hardcover, 136 pages
Expected publication: September 17th 2019 by Oni Press

You may remember my gushing from the original The Tea Dragon Society and if not please go check it out!  I fell in love with the art style and concept immediately, was overjoyed when a card game was released, and hollered when I found out that there are 2 sets of enamel pins of these adorable critters (on Oni Press’ website)!  *Here’s hoping I get some for Christmas!*

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