Audiobook Review: Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey

Upright Women Wanted

Hardcover, 176 pages
Published February 4th 2020 by Tor.com

I wanted to like this one so much more than I did.  I loved the concept of queer librarians.  The story was well told and the characters were fun.  But I was reminded of a very important fact.  I don’t like Westerns.  Like at all.  I can count on one hand the number of Westerns (mostly movies with other genres mixed in) that I have enjoyed.

My bad.

This is no fault of the author, who did make this particular Western enjoyable.  And I will be highly recommending this book to friends who either like Westerns or don’t have a genre preference.  So you should definitely pick up this book!  Most especially if you like plucky girls trying to embrace themselves when outside voices try to drown their inner self in their narrow-minded views.

Another quick note.  I received an audio version of this book through Libro.fm’s ALC program.  (Thank you very much!)  The narrator did a great job with various voices and making sure to add gravitas to essential parts of the story.  So if you’d prefer to go the audio route, it’s a good choice and a quick read 🙂

Summary:

In Upright Women Wanted, award-winning author Sarah Gailey reinvents the pulp Western with an explicitly antifascist, near-future story of queer identity.

“That girl’s got more wrong notions than a barn owl’s got mean looks.”

Esther is a stowaway. She’s hidden herself away in the Librarian’s book wagon in an attempt to escape the marriage her father has arranged for her–a marriage to the man who was previously engaged to her best friend. Her best friend who she was in love with. Her best friend who was just executed for possession of resistance propaganda.

The future American Southwest is full of bandits, fascists, and queer librarian spies on horseback trying to do the right thing.

Book Review: Belle Revolte by Linsey Miller

Belle Révolte

Hardcover, 384 pages
Published February 4th 2020 by Sourcebooks Fire

When a publicist from Sourcebooks Fire approached me to read and review Linsey Miller’s newest book (on account of my working with them for her debut blog tour), I was hesitant at first to accept.  I am wary of books that focus on or feature heavily wars and revolutions as that is not the type of reading I enjoy.  However, I was intrigued by the Prince and the Pauper twist and the magic system described in the synopsis, so I agreed.

Continue reading

Partial Book Review: Nils: The Tree of Life by Jerome Hamon

Nils: The Tree of Life

Hardcover, 184 pages
Expected publication: February 11th 2020 by Magnetic Press

I enjoyed this graphic novel but think I need to read it again with a physical copy. I gave up about half way through this digital download due to being unable to read the small text while also enjoying the two-page spreads that are included and occasionally very important to the visual storytelling. I am looking forward to reading this one in its entirety as I liked the art and color choices. It seems to be based on Norse mythology, and I have just enough knowledge to follow those references.

I like the introduction of technology and how that affects the land. The author put a lot of thought into carefully crafting characters who care and who make me care about them. This should already be on your list to read! What are you waiting for?  I’m also interested in seeing what other titles this publisher has.

Summary:

A dystopic Nordic fantasy world, where spirits of light are the key to life, but seemingly have abandoned the world. Young Nils and his father set out to discover why the ground has grown infertile, heading north where the drought seems worse to find the cause. Far along the way, they find signs of fresh and vibrant life, caretaken by these little light spirits. But before they know it, a large metal creature arrives and attacks the creatures, apparently hunting and gathering them. From out of the woods, a woman attacks the creature, bringing it to its knees… apparently the plant was bait for the spirits, which in turn were bait for the metal creature, which serves the high-tech Cyan Nation.

This huntress, named Alba, takes Nils and his father into their tribe, where the battle between the shamanistic people and the Cyan Nation is paramount, a battle over the protection vs exploitation of the light spirits power… Meanwhile, three goddesses watch these events, lamenting the fact that man had abandoned all belief in their power long ago. They watch but do not intervene, despite the fact that the spirits are being harvested en masse by the Cyan Nation, wreaking ruin on the world outside their city. Realizing that this conflict will in one way or another change the very fabric of this world, they slowly begin to intervene…

As they continue their travels, Nils has a dream (seeded by one of the goddesses) about the World Tree, Yggdrasil, which is being consumed by a metal plague. He knows he must now find and save the tree, and in the process, save the world. But the high council of the Cyan Nation would have otherwise… Having been separated in their quest, Nils’s father finds himself a guest of the Cyan Prince, where he learns that they do indeed understand the power of the spirits, which they call Ethernum, serving as the power source for their technological advancement.

High fantasy adventure combining science-fiction with pseudo-spiritual magic, posing dramatic examinations of man vs nature, life vs death, fact vs faith, and man’s desire to play god.

Throwback Thursday: Our Bloody Pearl by D.N. Bryn

Our Bloody Pearl (These Treacherous Tides #1)

Kindle Edition, 229 pages
Published July 26th 2018 by Avos Publishing

 

I received a physical book from the author in exchange for an honest review.  Thanks, Danny!

The author first approached me back in August of 2019, I think. And, after reading the synopsis, I agreed to review this book with no specific time in mind as I was pretty booked on other reviews for the rest of the year.  Honestly, I’m a bit behind with new release reviews, but decided I had waited long enough to read this one.  Turns out I really liked it!  And I’m mad I waited so long to pick it up.

This book is LGBT+ friendly.  At first the they/them pronouns threw me off, but once I got into the mindset, I almost didn’t notice. This book tackles a lot of heavy subjects like gender, sign language/language barriers, and physical handicaps. Survival versus Living is also a big theme for such a small book. The best part was that none of these took center stage, but there were discussions and plenty of well-written communication between characters that flowed with the story in a very positive way. This was a great book about sirens and pirates! I look forward to seeing if a volume 2 can be acquired 🙂

Summary:

The ocean is uncontrollable and dangerous. But to the sirens who swim the warm island waters, it’s a home more than worth protecting from the humans and their steam-propelled ships. Between their hypnotic voices and the strength of their powerful tails, sirens have little to fear.

That is, until the ruthless pirate captain, Kian, creates a device to cancel out their songs.

Perle was the first siren captured, and while all since have either been sold or killed, Kian still keeps them prisoner. Though their song is muted and their tail paralyzed, Perle’s hope for escape rekindles as another pirating vessel seizes Kian’s ship. This new captain seems different, with his brilliant smile and his promises that Kian will never again be Perle’s master. But he’s still a human, and a captor in his own way. The compassion he and his rag-tag human family show can’t be sincere… or can it?

Soon it becomes clear that Kian will hunt Perle relentlessly, taking down any siren in her path. As the tides turn, Perle must decide whether to run from Kian forever, or ride the forming wave into battle, hoping their newfound human companions will fight with them.

Audiobook Review: Chosen Champion by Elise Kova

Chosen Champion (Air Awakens: Vortex Chronicles, #2)

Audible Audio, Unabridged
Published July 8th 2019 by Silver Wing Press

I received an audio copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. Thanks, Elise!

I finally finished it!  And I think I know why it took so long.  The narrator.  I liked the story and couldn’t find much fault there (although I suspected who the betrayer was in book 1!), but I wasn’t looking forward to listening to the audiobook as much as I usually do.  I even sped up the reading, which helped a little bit.  The narrator’s voice was lovely, but I think she was giving a lot of care to pronunciation of each individual word.  Which is good for understanding, but not so great for my enjoyment.  I think to finish the series, which I definitely want to do, I will buy the paperback books to read.

Now that I’ve tackled why it took me so long to finish this one, I want to talk a little bit about the story itself.  I liked the character growth in our protagonist, Vi.  And the family reunion was a treat with all the posturing and learning how to interact with people who are your family but you really haven’t seen in person.  Elise does a great job with characterization and emotions.  I also thought the pacing was done well.  Like I stated above, the betrayal hinted at in the synopsis was something I had seen in coming all the way back in book one, but I definitely felt all the emotions poured into that scene.

There are a few things that jumped out at me as possible call backs to the original Air Awakens series, but I can’t confirm that until I read that series all the way.  And I think I might wait until I’m done with Vi’s story before starting that project.  What I’m trying to say is, you should definitely read this series even if you haven’t read Air Awakens yet!  Totally worth your time 🙂

Summary:

A princess on the run, with enemies on all sides…

Vi Solaris is on the eve of getting everything she’s ever wanted—her family, her home, her throne—and to save the world she’s going to have to give it all up.

The Empire sees her as their Crown Princess, returning at long last. But Vi only sees visions of fate guiding her to the world’s gruesome end. Across the sea is a man who holds the keys to deciphering her premonitions and thwarting the ancient evil ravaging their world. But to get to him, Vi will have to contend with enemies of the crown, romance she didn’t expect, sorcerer pirates, and a betrayal she never saw coming.

She will learn the hard way that some evils never die… They only bide their time…

Return to Solaris in the second book of Air Awakens: Vortex Chronicles, a young adult epic fantasy filled with even more magic, adventure, and romance. Get ready for twists you never saw coming that will keep you up all night reading!

Book Review: Fae Hunter by Sarah K.L. Wilson

Fae Hunter

Ebook, 222 pages
Published January 7th 2020 by Sarah K. L. Wilson

I was sent a free earc of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review.  I want to take a moment to state that this type of fae is very appealing to me.  It’s not your Disney, sugary sweet kind of fairy.  It’s more like the Irish faerie tales from history that show how proud, crafty, and non-human they are.  It really works for my love of dark, dangerous men that normally become a love interest at some point.

This story does a great job using that archetype for fae and asking what makes a monster.  And why does being different make you the enemy.  I liked this subtle undertone that carried throughout.  It wasn’t overly in-your-face with the commentary, just flowed naturally based on the characters and the situation.  And I liked the characterizations.  The author did a great job with a large secondary cast without bogging down the story.

My small complaint would be that there were some dialogues that seemed to go a little too long.  Those instances felt like the characters were looping around their point too long.  And it killed the build up for the next reveal.  However, I haven’t read the final copy of the book, so the author could have done some cleanup before publication.  And it really didn’t detract from my enjoyment that much.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes the darker side of fae.  Or if you enjoyed Peadar O’Guilin’s The Call.  This book shared many similar traits to the things I liked about it.  Definitely check it out!

Summary:

Think you know fae? Think again.

From USA Today bestselling author Sarah K. L. Wilson comes a deliciously trope-filled young adult romantic fantasy about a viciously humorous mortal girl and her quest to hunt, trap, and conquer powerful fae.
Our lives are nursery rhymes and faerie stories now, Allie.
When Allie Hunter’s twin sister steps through a magic circle into the Faerie realm, she opens the door to deadly fae, bent on causing havoc and harm to Allie’s village.
Rendered blind to all but the spirit world, Allie is frustrated and angry but determined to bring the fae down. No matter what that might cost her.
But in a world where lies are truth, power is sustenance, and every action ripples into violence, how can one mortal stop all of Faerieland?
For lovers of The Cruel Prince and An Enchantment of Ravens comes a world of violent fae royals, trickery, and magic. Grab the first book of this hot new series today!

Book Review: Fae Curse by Eve A. Hunt

Fae Curse: Yew Queen Book One

Kindle Edition
Expected publication: January 3rd 2020

Recently, I picked a whole bunch of independently published author newsletters from a couple of large contests that required it. You might be thinking, “Ew, junk mail. No thanks.” But it is a great way to find new authors and pick up free and discounted books without having to search the internet 🙂 So save yourself some time and money and take the plunge next time you have the opportunity.  Anyway, that’s how I found myself offering the author my review and typo hunting services when it was mentioned in a newsletter.

This book is the first in a new series, and the summary really grabbed my attention. A young baker and her friends are trying to live their dream and survive the hardships of adulthood (making this firmly a new adult book) when one stormy night, a flash of lavender lightning reveals an ancient, mysterious castle on a nonexistent hill to our main lady. Then, we are introduced to some fae and a vampire that “live” under a terrible curse. The author does a fantastic job working the older fae into our contemporary world without alienating the readers or taking them out of the story with out-of-date dialogue.

My favorite part of this story was the relationship between Coren and Lucus. The phrase “It’s complicated” assuredly applies here as they try to bridge the gap of centuries, knowledge, and magical bonds. And it all boils down to their story being lustery 🙂

Which perfectly describes this book. Lustery! And I can’t wait for the next book as that ending raised so many questions that I NEED to know the answers to.

Summary:

What do sexy fae lords, a vampire assassin, and a mysterious castle have in common?

Yours truly.

Yeah no, I did not plan this.

When my bestie and I opened a fabulous bakery, I planned to live a long life shoving pumpkin muffins into my face hole and working them off during my self-defense class.

But when a castle full of ridiculously gorgeous immortals showed up on the ley line running through my small town outside Nashville, my life changed.

A lot. Like a lot, a lot.

Because of an ancient curse, the immortals can’t leave the castle without turning to ash. But when the most powerful fae lord uses his seductive power to lure me close, to psychically feed on my aura, he successfully steps out of the castle for the first time.

Now the fae want all of my supposedly special blood to break the curse. Until I can somehow shove the immortals back into whatever magical hole they crawled out of, my life is forfeit.

I have a plan. But said plan didn’t account for the insane feelings I’m starting to have for the alpha of the group…

FAE CURSE is the steamy first book in the Yew Queen Trilogy, and it’s perfect for KF Breene, Laura Thalassa, Annette Marie, Linsey Hall, and CN Crawford fans!

If you like fated mates, enemies-to-lovers, snarky heroines, hot vampires, and seductive fae, then click to buy and begin this fantastical new series today!