Book Reviews

Eight Will Fall by Sarah Harian

Eight Will FallTitle: Eight Will Fall
Author: Sarah Harian
Rating: ★★★★

In a land where magic is outlawed, eight criminals led by seventeen-year-old Larkin are sent on a mission to kill an ancient evil that plagues their kingdom. Descending into an underground realm full of unspeakable horrors, Larkin and her party must use their forbidden magic to survive what lies in wait, teeth sharp and jaws deadly.

As she fights for her life, Larkin finds a light in Amias, a fellow outlaw with a notorious past. Soon Larkin and Amias realize their fates are entwined. The eight of them were chosen for a reason.

But as the dangers multiply and her band of felons are picked off one by one, Larkin must confront a terrible truth: They were never meant to return.

Eight Will Fall is a novel unlike anything else. Eight “criminals” are sent underground to kill an ancient god that has been wrecking havoc on the kingdom.

Being a lover of scary movies, the first thing that came to mind was the scary movie The Descent. Harian has such descriptive world-building that makes the reader feel the creepy, eerie feeling of being underground, in the dark, and on edge for the undead to make a presence. I felt like one of Kyran’s monsters could jump out at me at any moment, and what was so frightening was that some things weren’t even visible.

The magic system was developed and enticing. The disciples all had specific strengths and it was fun to figure out those strengths for each character.

Eight Will Fall is a novel with a unique plot. Readers will be sure to have read nothing like this before. While sometimes predictable, Harian creates a powerful magic system within a eerie, creepy world that readers are sure to enjoy. Lovers of scary movies should definitely add this to their list of novels to read!

Darkness cannot exist where this is Light.

Book Reviews

The Guinevere Deception (Camelot Rising, #1) by Kiersten White

The Guinevere DeceptionTitle: The Guinevere Deception (Camelot Rising, #1)
Author: Kiersten White
Rating: ★★★★

From New York Times bestselling author Kiersten White comes a new fantasy series reimagining the Arthurian legend, set in the magical world of Camelot.

There was nothing in the world as magical and terrifying as a girl.

Princess Guinevere has come to Camelot to wed a stranger: the charismatic King Arthur. With magic clawing at the kingdom’s borders, the great wizard Merlin conjured a solution–send in Guinevere to be Arthur’s wife . . . and his protector from those who want to see the young king’s idyllic city fail. The catch? Guinevere’s real name–and her true identity–is a secret. She is a changeling, a girl who has given up everything to protect Camelot.

To keep Arthur safe, Guinevere must navigate a court in which the old–including Arthur’s own family–demand things continue as they have been, and the new–those drawn by the dream of Camelot–fight for a better way to live. And always, in the green hearts of forests and the black depths of lakes, magic lies in wait to reclaim the land. Arthur’s knights believe they are strong enough to face any threat, but Guinevere knows it will take more than swords to keep Camelot free.

Deadly jousts, duplicitous knights, and forbidden romances are nothing compared to the greatest threat of all: the girl with the long black hair, riding on horseback through the dark woods toward Arthur. Because when your whole existence is a lie, how can you trust even yourself?

*THE FIRST BOOK IN THE CAMELOT RISING TRILOGY*

The Guinevere Deception is a fantasy retelling of King Arthur. In a world where magic is abhored and protection of land means more than love, White gives readers Guinevere, a girl who constantly deceives herself, wields magic, and is married to a King covering for his wife who is the epitomy of what he has been defending against.

White provides readers with lush description of Camelot, a kingdom based on tradition, justice, and a little bit of magic. Who wouldn’t want to live in a land where you get to experience jousts and the grandeur of feasts?! That’s what Medieval Times is for, right?! haha. While at times a little scary, Camelot sounds like a place I wouldn’t be opposed to visiting.

That ending, though! I could kick myself for rooting for a certain someone and Guinevere being together. Although, I do find some potential for her and a different certain someone being together. Anyone else feel the same?

The Guinevere Deception is a story of the power of women, justice, and how even those you trust can deceive you…including yourself. White brings readers Guinevere, a kind-hearted soul who is only looking acceptance of all, the defeat of evil, and reciprocated love.

Book Reviews

2020 Beat the Backlist


This reading challenge, hosted by Austine @ NovelKnight, is all about knocking off those older books from your to-read list. Any genre, any format, any length. My goal is to read 25 books for this challenge.

 

GUIDELINES

The book must have been published in 2019 or earlier to count. It can be in any format (including an ARC/eARC) as long as the release date is earlier than 2020.

You have to start and finish the book in 2020 to count it. Any books started in 2019 and finished in 2020 do not count. Any books started in 2018 and finish in 2019 also do not count.

The challenge runs from January 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020
(your local time)

Please keep in mind that while this reading challenge has several different community elements to it, reading through your TBR comes down to you! I wish you the best of luck!

 

HOW TO JOIN

POST your backlist TBR for the year somewhere online! This can be in the form of a blog post, instagram photo caption, Twitter thread, Goodreads shelf, YouTube video, whatever works for you! You are NOT locked into these books, it’s just something to get you started! Make sure to share a link to this page somewhere in your post so others can find the challenge!

SIGN UP using the form below! Sign-ups will stay open all year long so you can join at any time.

READ backlist books and knock them off your TBR!

SHARE your updates on social media!

 

OFFICIAL CHALLENGE TAGS

#BeatTheBacklist     #BeatTheBacklist2020

Sign Up Here

 

My TBR Backlist
2019 Beat the Backlist TBR List

Book Reviews

Girls of Storm and Shadow (Girls of Paper and Fire, #2) by Natasha Ngan

Girls of Storm and ShadowTitle: Girls of Storm and Shadow (Girls of Paper and Fire, #2)
Author: Natasha Ngan
Rating: ★★★

In this mesmerizing sequel to the New York Times bestselling Girls of Paper and Fire, Lei and Wren have escaped their oppressive lives in the Hidden Palace, but soon learn that freedom comes with a terrible cost.

Lei, the naive country girl who became a royal courtesan, is now known as the Moonchosen, the commoner who managed to do what no one else could. But slaying the cruel Demon King wasn’t the end of the plan—it’s just the beginning. Now Lei and her warrior love Wren must travel the kingdom to gain support from the far-flung rebel clans. The journey is made even more treacherous thanks to a heavy bounty on Lei’s head, as well as insidious doubts that threaten to tear Lei and Wren apart from within.

Meanwhile, an evil plot to eliminate the rebel uprising is taking shape, fueled by dark magic and vengeance. Will Lei succeed in her quest to overthrow the monarchy and protect her love for Wren, or will she fall victim to the sinister magic that seeks to destroy her?

Ever read every trilogy and the second book is the fluffer for the dynamic ending? Well, this won’t disappoint that generalization. I absolutely loved Girls of Paper and Fire, but Ngan left me high and dry on this sequel. I wanted more action, more deception, and what I got was everyone falling in love. Just didn’t seem believable to me.

Nothing is worth losing yourself.

As I said in my Girls of Paper and Fire review, Girls of Storm and Shadow brings to life the same problems still present in today’s culture: We have the Paper Caste (fully human), the Steel Caste (part human, part demon), and the Moon Caste (fully demon). We see the oppression imposed on by the upper castes and the prejudice present. That hasn’t changed. But what we are now seeing is a possibly revolution taking place. But just like with The Hunger Games, sometimes the revolution has some of the same issues that the threat they’re trying to abolish has.

You’re not the same. I see you, the way you fight. The way you are towards others. You’re soft where they are hard. You have love when they only have hate. Hold on to that as tightly as you can, Lei. Because war will do everything it can to take that good from you. I think sometimes people forget there will be a time after all of this — for the lucky ones, at least. And when that time comes, we’ll all have to live with what we have done. And what we have left of ourselves.

There was so much buildup to the climax, but we never got to see any of that, so it was a little frustrating. Lei just got way too soft for me. She used to be this strong woman that I could admire, but she so easily forgives and is losing herself by being blinded by love. Everything just seems so one-sided. Either she is neglecting the demons she is leading by choosing Wren, or she neglects them by welcoming betrayers so easily back. She isn’t reliable and completely did a 180 on me. Maybe it is because most of the characters seem selfish or whatever, but this wasn’t the most enjoyable read and I found myself somewhat sympathetic to the Demon King. I wanted to hear more from him.

I’ve found you.

I’m hoping to get more action in the next novel, maybe some more deception, and maybe a not-so-happy ending.

Girls of Storm and Shadow is a story of love conquering all, overcoming oppression, and keeping true to oneself.

Book Reviews

Blood Heir (Blood Heir, #1) by Amelie Wen Zhao

blood heirTitle: Blood Heir (Blood Heir, #1)
Author: Amelie Wen Zhao
Rating: ★★★★

This hot debut is the first book in an epic new series about a princess hiding a dark secret and the con man she must trust to clear her name for her father’s murder.

In the Cyrilian Empire, Affinites are reviled. Their varied gifts to control the world around them are unnatural—dangerous. And Anastacya Mikhailov, the crown princess, has a terrifying secret. Her deadly Affinity to blood is her curse and the reason she has lived her life hidden behind palace walls.

When Ana’s father, the emperor, is murdered, her world is shattered. Framed as his killer, Ana must flee the palace to save her life. And to clear her name, she must find her father’s murderer on her own. But the Cyrilia beyond the palace walls is far different from the one she thought she knew. Corruption rules the land, and a greater conspiracy is at work—one that threatens the very balance of her world. And there is only one person corrupt enough to help Ana get to its core: Ramson Quicktongue.

A cunning crime lord of the Cyrilian underworld, Ramson has sinister plans—though he might have met his match in Ana. Because in this story, the princess might be the most dangerous player of all.

I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Blood Heir is a compelling story based on oppression, prejudice, and overcoming familial expectations. Ana is known to the world as a blood witch and seen as a monster. Her family even kept her hidden away from the rest of the world until one day she escapes and attempts to prove everyone wrong. Affinites are people who have powers and are condemned to a terrible life or are used as puppets. Seeking revenge for the death of her family, she finds a stranger along the way who is seeking to destroy the same person. But maybe something more evolves out of what they both share.

It is up to us to fight our battles in this world.

As many of you know, there was a lot of controversy surrounding the novel. In my opinion, it was totally uncalled for and I think the author did a great job of depicting the harsh realities of oppressive lives. Did those people even read the book?! If you want to call this “racially insensitive” then please explain to me the mass killing of people in Poland (my mom immigrated from there when it was still under communist rule and it actually wasn’t even a country on a map at one point), or any other example of oppression. It affected every race, not just one. We all know those times were bad for those involved, but the author luckily stayed true to her vision and published the novel. She was unveiling the truth behind oppression, not condoning it. The bullying of people’s free speech needs to stop. This criticism was totally unwarranted. Rant over.

But perhaps all monsters were heroes in their own eyes.

I loved Ramson the world-building, the deception, and the justice that was conducted in the story. The novel was great, but I find myself looking back and not feeling this novel to be super memorable. But I want it to be because I did enjoy reading it.

The Blood Heir was a moving, unpredictable story about the struggles facing people in oppressive countries. Reader who love a slow-burn romance, deception, and a twisted plot will love The Blood Heir.

Book Reviews

The Queen of Nothing (The Folk of the Air, #3) by Holly Black

The Queen of Nothing]Title: The Queen of Nothing (The Folk of the Air, #3)
Author: Holly Black
Rating: ★★★★★

The finale to the New York Times bestselling Folk of Air trilogy, that started with The Cruel Prince and The Wicked King, from award-winning author Holly Black.

After being pronounced Queen of Faerie and then abruptly exiled by the Wicked King Cardan, Jude finds herself unmoored, the queen of nothing. She spends her time with Vivi and Oak, watches her fair share of reality television, and does the odd job or two, including trying to convince a cannibalistic faerie from hunting her own in the mortal world.

When her twin sister Taryn shows up asking of a favor, Jude jumps at the chance to return to the Faerie world, even if it means facing Cardan, who she loves despite his betrayal.

When a dark curse is unveiled, Jude must become the first mortal Queen of Faerie and uncover how to break the curse, or risk upsetting the balance of the whole Faerie world.

So, I’m probably in the minority here. I did enjoy this novel…a lot. While this was predictable, the main reason I liked this novel so much because for once, we see a healthy relationship. There wasn’t as many tricks or deceptions. The brooding and banter is fun, but it is tiresome after a while knowing that they actually do truly love one another. But I guess everyone wants the bad boy, so they’re disappointed. I always prefer the direct, nice ones, but oh well.

Girls, you really want someone like this?!

Image result for joffrey

I mean, give me this kind of guy any day…I know you all love him more…

Image result for jon snow on throne

That boy is your weakness.

I loved the adventure side this time around. Grima Mog was a fearful, fun creature as opposed to the hateful, deceptive Madoc. Nothing came easily for Jude and we experienced her struggles with her. She was adaptive and realistic, and quick to forgive. Those are some great qualities.

By you, I am forever undone.

Guys, I’m a sucker for a happy ending this time around. I think I’m getting soft with old age. I think readers wanted a different ending, but realistically, this was a great ending. It was tied together really well. There was no question of what would happen to each character in the future. I thought it was well put-together in a healthy way that brought out the best (and worst) characteristics of our beloved protagonist.

I spent much of my life guarding my heart. I guarded it so well that I could behave as though I didn’t have one at all. Even now, it is a shabby, worm-eaten, and scabrous thing. But it is yours.

Book Reviews, Bookish Features

[BLOG TOUR & GIVEAWAY] The Weight of a Soul by Elizabeth Tammi

tour banner

Welcome to my stop on the Weight of a Soul book tour! Thank you to Fantastic Flying Book Club for organizing the tour and allowing me to participate as a tour stop!


ABOUT THE BOOK

The Weight of a Soul

Title: WEIGHT OF A SOUL
Author: Elizabeth Tammi
Pub. Date: December 3, 2019
Publisher: Flux
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Historical Fiction
Find it: GoodreadsAmazonB&N, TBD, Google Books

When Lena’s younger sister Fressa is found dead, their whole Viking clan mourns—but it is Lena alone who never recovers. Fressa is the sister that should’ve lived, and Lena cannot rest until she knows exactly what killed Fressa and why—and how to bring her back. She strikes a dark deal with Hela, the Norse goddess of death, and begins a new double life to save her sister.

But as Lena gets closer to bringing Fressa back, she dredges up dangerous discoveries about her own family, and finds herself in the middle of a devastating plan to spur Ragnarök –a deadly chain of events leading to total world destruction.

Still, with her sister’s life in the balance, Lena is willing to risk it all. She’s willing to kill. How far will she go before the darkness consumes her?


REVIEW

The Weight of a Soul is a re-telling of Norse mythologyI always find it fascinating to learn about mythology, so this was right up my alley.

Lena finds her younger sister, Fressa, dead after her father brings the news that Amal, Fressa’s lover and Lena’s best friend, was betrothed to Lena many, many years ago. However, Amal and Fressa were engaged and waiting for Chief Fredrick, Lena and Fressa’s father, to arrive back from looting to gain his approval.

I honestly cannot understand how some people could not enjoy this novel. From the very first moment, Tammi reels you in on a journey about perseverance and the lengths someone will go to for the people s/he loves. The descriptions of the gods, the realistic reactions to tragedies, and family expectations are only a small piece of the skillfully-created novel.

I love you entirely, Lena. Not as I loved your sister, but as I love you.

The ending was absolutely fantastic. While I had an inkling about the result from the very beginning, The Weight of a Soul still left me grasping for more at the end. Anyone else hoping the green-eyed wink is a promise of good things to come? Let’s say…a sequel? I’m hoping Tammi can delve into the consequences of Lena’s actions and highlight the grief seen in the novel a bit more.

I will not be scared off from my destiny.

The Weight of a Soul is a story of sisterly love, the heart-wrenching selflessness of a sister, and perseverance all in exchange for the equal “weight of a soul”.

★★★


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Elizabeth Tammi was born in California and grew up in Florida, but is currently double-majoring in Creative Writing and Journalism as an undergraduate at Mercer University in Georgia. When she’s not writing, you can probably find Elizabeth at work for her university’s newspaper and literary magazine. Her other interests include traveling, caffeinated beverages, and mythology. You can find Elizabeth online on Tumblr at (annabethisterrified), Twitter at (@ElizabethTammi), Instagram at (elizabeth_tammi), and at elizabethtammi.com.

Follow Elizabeth:
Website | GoodreadsInstagram | Twitter | Pinterest


GIVEAWAY

Win (1) of (5) finished copies of THE WEIGHT OF A SOUL by Elizabeth Tammi (INT)

Starts: December 3, 2019
Ends: December 17, 2019

ENTER HERE


December 3rd

December 4th

Bookish Looks – Guest Post
Foals, Fiction & Filigree – Review + Favourite Quotes + Instagram
Gwendalyn’s Books – Review + Favourite Quotes
Books_AndPoetrii – Promotional Post

December 5th

L.M. Durand – Review
womanon – Review + Favourite Quotes
Sometimes Leelynn Reads  – Review + Favourite Quotes

December 6th

Moonlight Rendezvous  – Review + Favourite Quotes
The Reading Corner for All – Review + Playlist + Favourite Quotes
Donnie Darko Girl – Review
The Reading Life – Promotional Post

December 7th

Kait Plus Books – Interview
Place of Wild Strawberries  – Review + Favourite Quotes
YA/NA Book Divas – Review
Sincerely Karen Jo  – Review + Favourite Quotes
Confessions of a YA Reader – Promotional Post

December 8th

Evelynreads – Review
Story-eyed Reviews – Review

December 9th

Wishful Endings – Interview
Port Jericho – Review
Clarissa Reads It All – Review + Favourite Quotes
Synopses by Sarge – Review