Reviews

Enthralling Indigenous Fantasy- Trail of Lightning Review

Overall Enjoyment: 4/5

Characterization: 5/5

World building: 4/5

Diversity: 4/5

Goodreads Summary:

“While most of the world has drowned beneath the sudden rising waters of a climate apocalypse, Dinétah (formerly the Navajo reservation) has been reborn. The gods and heroes of legend walk the land, but so do monsters.

Maggie Hoskie is a Dinétah monster hunter, a supernaturally gifted killer. When a small town needs help finding a missing girl, Maggie is their last—and best—hope. But what Maggie uncovers about the monster is much larger and more terrifying than anything she could imagine.

Maggie reluctantly enlists the aid of Kai Arviso, an unconventional medicine man, and together they travel to the rez to unravel clues from ancient legends, trade favors with tricksters, and battle dark witchcraft in a patchwork world of deteriorating technology.

As Maggie discovers the truth behind the disappearances, she will have to confront her past—if she wants to survive.

Welcome to the Sixth World.”

Review

So, I found this book at a Barnes & Noble months ago. I was interested in it though the vague mention of zombies made me skeptical. I don’t like zombie story lines generally. However, I read this during the Indigathon reading challenge and I fell in love with it. If you’re looking for diverse, adult fantasy then this is for you!

Let’s start with the world building simply because I was so taken with it. It’s set in a post Apocalyptic United States after some major environmental catastrophes. The whole book is set on Navajo land that was spared most of the natural disasters. Now, Roanhorse does an excellent job describing what life might be like if such events occur, but she also weaves in idea of clan powers as well as Navajo gods and spirits. They weave together so seamlessly I just feel in love with how it all fit together.

The characters are also great. Maggie, our main character and monster slayer, has had a rough go. She’s definitely experienced some trauma that she is still working through. Actually, all of the characters you encounter have had a rough go. Maggie is tough with a no nonsense attitude, but isn’t as heartless as other would assume. Then, Kai. Oh my goodness this boy. He’s the perfect counterpoint to Maggie. Charming and a healer. He’s experienced so trauma of his own, but where it has made Maggie standoffish it has made Kai pull people close.There are of course other characters, but the main story focuses on these two. I would say that this book is truly Maggie’s story though. We get parts of Kai and they’re glorious, but this is a book about a badass indigenous woman and Roanhorse doesn’t let you forget that.

This book is fairly diverse. You have Maggie and Kai who are both indigenous. You have Clive and Rissa who are biracial. I believe Clive is gay or bi. It’s a good mixture.

Overall, I fell in love with these characters. Everyone has a story and is struggling to make it through what they’ve seen and had to do. If you would like to read about complex, diverse characters who are set in a world full of Navajo deities and spirits I think you’ll be hooked. There’s already a sequel out! I’ve already read that too so look for the review soon!


Have you read Trail of Lightning? Is it on your TBR? Let me know what you think!

Fun Stuff

November’s Indigathon Wrap-up

So, November is over and so is Indigathon. This posting is way later than I wanted it to be and I didn’t participate much on twitter due to trying to also complete nanowrimo. I loved these books and I think I am better for having read them. Below is my board as well as the books I read to complete each one. I have checked off more boxes than the categories I have below my board. Many of these books check multiple boxes and so I have decided to be kind to myself by checking all the boxes that are elements in the stories I’ve read. I have placed a Goodreads link on the title if there was one available so that you can look into the books if they’re of interest to you.

The group read: The Break by Katherena Vermette. This was a hard book for to me read. These women have obviously been through a lot. The whole book was based around the investigation of a raped young girl, but also the stories of the women of the family. This is not what I would call a happy book, but a real book that discusses the hardships of life and how a family can help you find the strength to get through it all.

Poetry Collection: How to be an Indian in the 21st Century by Louis V. Clark 111 (Two Shoes). I truly enjoyed this poetry collection. It had a rhythm to it that I really enjoyed. I also felt it was an open and honest poetry collection about his experiences in life good and bad. It was easy to read and understand. Would highly recommend.

SF/F: Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse. I loved this book. I love when you take bits of beliefs and put them into a story. It was so beautifully done. I love Maggie and Kai. You should definitely read this book! There’s even a sequel already!

Other than 5 CT: The Beadworkers stories by Beth Piatote. I struggled reading this book. I enjoyed reading the different types of writing in this book. I think it’s an interesting and unique way to put a book together, but I was just kinda bored the whole time and parts of it were hard for me to fully understand.

Books that were on my TBR

I truly wanted to get to these books and I am definitely still going to read them, but I just could get to them in November.

Jonny Appleseed by Joshua Whitehead. This is a story is about a two-spirited queer character who is living and struggling through life and what it all means

Hearts Unbroken by Cynthia Leitich Smith. A high school girl who is growing up and learning what it means to be true to yourself while finding love

Son of a Trickster by Eden Robinson. The summary kinda of gives me an indigenous percy jackson vibe only cooler. I’m excited to read it, but I couldn’t get my hands on a copy of it

Pemmican Wars (A girl called Echo #1) by Katherena Vermette and Scott B. Henderson. This is a comic book where a girl is transported into the past. I’m generally a sucker for time travel stories and the drawing looks beautiful.


I’m not sure if anyone has participated in the IndigAThon, but if so I’d love to hear your thoughts. Even if you didn’t participate did any of these books sound appealing to you?

Fun Stuff

Blog Tour- Seduced by a Soldier by Melia Alexander

Hello, welcome to my stop on the Novel Take PR Blog tour for Seduced by a Soldier. A recently published RomCom novel. Check below for book blurbs, author info, a book teaser, and review.

Publisher: Entangled Publishing, LLC

Release Date (Print & Ebook/Audio): November 18, 2019

Length: Approximately 57,000 words

Subgenre: Romantic Comedy

Order:https://entangledpublishing.com/seduced-by-the-solider.html

Book blurb: Zandra York just got her big break, photographing a major project for a travel magazine. So what if she’s never traveled out of the country before? Or that she’s more adept at deciphering fraudulent financial statements than reading German train schedules? Her brother Jackson is on his way to act as her guide, and she can’t wait to experience Europe with him.

But when Jackson’s overprotective best friend gets off the plane instead, Zandra knows this will not end well.

There isn’t a damned thing Special Forces instructor Blake Monroe wouldn’t do for his best friend, but babysit Zandra when Jackson is unexpectedly called away on a mission? Nope. Not on the list. Especially not when she proves to be more trouble than he can handle—and far too tempting.

Between accidentally hiring a hearse as their rideshare, an unprovoked goat attack, and photographing erotic-shaped chocolates, Blake and Zandra can’t keep their hands off each other. But Zandra’s new career is about to send her all over the world and Blake is finally ready to settle down after his next deployment.

He’ll never ask her to give up her dreams. And she’ll never ask him to give up his.

Author

Melia Alexander is the author of sassy, sexy, fun contemporary romances, but is also fortunate to spend her week days at The Male Observation Lab (a.k.a. her job at a construction company) where she gets to observe guys in their natural habitat. Though they often behave like typical alpha males, she’s often seen through their personas to the heart of who they really are – the heroes of their own stories. A native of Guam, Melia traded in warm, tropical breezes for the rainy Pacific Northwest. She’s an avid reader who also loves romantic comedies – preferably with a glass of Cab Sauv and a box of dark chocolates nearby. In her free time, she’s busy conquering her CrossFit fears: ring dips, power cleans, and the dreaded 800 meter run.

Connect with Melia: WebsiteNewsletter | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest

Book Teaser

“What’s happening here?”

          Zandra hadn’t meant to ask the question. Really, she’d figured that if she played her cards right, she’d skate through the next week with Blake and then head for home. Hell, they weren’t even on the same flight, so there’d be no awkward airplane good-byes, but maybe a friendly hug at the airport.

          At least, that had been the plan, only now…

          There was an undercurrent of tension between them, and not the bad kind, either. No, this tension electrified, practically crackled the air around them. Judging by the quiet intensity in Blake’s gaze, he wasn’t immune to it, either.

          “I’m not sure I know,” he said. He blew out an audible breath. “This wasn’t exactly something I’d counted on.”

Review

This book was not for me. I’m generally not a huge romance person, but I can sometimes get behind a good RomCom and the idea of a soldier and a photographer together was interesting. Honestly though it just didn’t sell me. Zandra and Blake are characters with their own goals and dreams which I can respect and enjoy. However, the situations these two managed to get themselves in seemed a bit far fetched or Zandra was so clueless it made me embarrassed for her. All Blake could think about was his attraction to her usually based on her physical characters rather than her personality. If you like cooky romances that are a bit more on the smutty, sexual tension side of things you could very well enjoy this book. Which I think is the intended audience, but if you want something deeper with real developed feelings and a strong female lead this wouldn’t be your cup of tea.

Reviews

Marvelous Storytelling- The Name of the Wind

Overall Enjoyment: 4.5/5

Characterization: 5/5

Worldbuilding: 5/5

Diversity: 1/5

Goodreads summary:

MY NAME IS KVOTHE
You may have heard of me. 
I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep. 

So begins a tale unequaled in fantasy literature–the story of a hero told in his own voice. It is a tale of sorrow, a tale of survival, a tale of one man’s search for meaning in his universe, and how that search, and the indomitable will that drove it, gave birth to a legend.”

Review

I read this book because one of my friends has been bugging me to read it for a long time now. He even let me borrow his copy. The summary sounded interesting, but I was pretty ambivalent. It’s the usual European-inspired fantasy world that has been classically done. But, I gave it a shot and while there is really no diversity to speak of in my opinion the worldbuilding; especially, the magic system was so good that I thought I’d share this book with you all anyway.

Characters are relatively few in this book when it comes to the ones we hear about more than once and I really appreciated it. Kvothe is fully developed with his whole back story playing out for us to read so that we really get to know who this man is and why. The other characters while not anywhere near as closely explored still manage to seem unique with their own personalities and habits. Truly enjoyed them!

The worldbuilding while maybe nothing new in the sense that it is Euro-centric is very detailed. There is a magic system that is created and describe that I’ve never read something similar to before. The lore of this world is truly beautifully done. I’m a sucker for well-written lore and world history.

Diversity is basically nonexistent in this book which is pretty disappointing. There may have been some brief mentions/alluding to gay men and perhaps some characters of color, but you’re following around a white, red haired man for the book.

Overall, if you’re looking for some diverse fantasy this is not the book for you. It’s Euro-centric and follows a white man. If you don’t mind that on occasion though I would say this is definitely a fantasy book you would enjoy!


Have you read this book? Have you heard of it? What do you think?

Reviews

Everything I Hoped It’d Be- Once and Future by Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy

Overall Enjoyment: 5/5

Characterization: 4/5

World building: 4/5

Diversity: 5/5

Goodreads Summary:

“I’ve been chased my whole life. As a fugitive refugee in the territory controlled by the tyrannical Mercer corporation, I’ve always had to hide who I am. Until I found Excalibur.

Now I’m done hiding.

My name is Ari Helix. I have a magic sword, a cranky wizard, and a revolution to start.

When Ari crash-lands on Old Earth and pulls a magic sword from its ancient resting place, she is revealed to be the newest reincarnation of King Arthur. Then she meets Merlin, who has aged backward over the centuries into a teenager, and together they must break the curse that keeps Arthur coming back. Their quest? Defeat the cruel, oppressive government and bring peace and equality to all humankind.

No pressure. “

Review

First off, I’ve been waiting for this book since I first heard about it. I’m not really a SyFy fan, but this was a retelling that I just couldn’t ignore. I haven’t read a ton of King Arthur stories recently, but I remember a bit about them from when I had to read them in school. This book has so many elements that I enjoyed.

First, let talk about the characters. There’s Ari who is an action first, think later kind of girl. She’s an orphan refugee that was taken in my two women and has grown up under the radar. She’s a fighter with the quest of returning to her planet and freeing her people. She’s skeptical and brash and I really enjoyed it. Now, there can of course be no Arthur without a Merlin. I’m going to be honest and say that Merlin is probably my favorite character. He’s just as much as a main character as Ari in this story. What really drew me in was his past though and his memory and relationship with all the past Arthur-s. It hurts to read sometimes, but I think it just added such a great, new element to the typical Arthurian legend that I was completely taken with him. Honestly, I’m taken with all of the characters. They’re so diverse and each of them has at least a little bit of backstory and history all that are new, but also tied to past King Arthur stories. Loved it.

The world of this story is set far in the future and it takes an interesting look on what could happen to not only our world, but our whole universe if we let our love of capitalism go too far. Corporations especially Mercer are out of control in this novel and it shows through how the planets are designed, built, and controlled. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it dystopian, but if you’re worried about the power of consumerism it could maybe feel that way.

The diversity in this book flourishes all over its pages and it didn’t feel like fan service! These characters got enough love and attention that they all seemed well entrenched and important to the story. Most of our characters are characters of color as well as lgbtq+. We even have a character that I really enjoy that is nonbinary. I love these characters.

Overall, I loved this book. As I mentioned, I was really pulled in by the summary and I wasn’t disappointed.


Have you read this book? What did you think? Is it on your TBR?

Let's Talk Bookish

Let’s Talk Bookish: Should readers read books that aren’t for their target age?

Welcome to my Let’s Talk Bookish post. Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, created and hosted by Rukky @eternitybooks, where we discuss chosen topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts. Normally, this is posted on Friday, but nanowrimo is kinda kicking my butt so I’m a bit late.

This week’s post topic is: should readers read books that aren’t for their target age?

Well, considering a lot of my books reviews are on YA fantasy and I’m an adult so I’m going to say absolutely. We are all drawn to the books that appeal and speak to us. Harry Potter is still so popular because readers of all ages reader the books. I don’t think it’s fair to say that only one age group can read any book. Some young people are more mature and can read adult books, some adults prefer YA books. Reading is suppose to generally be an enjoyable experience. I think the only time it isn’t is when you are forced to read something you don’t want to.

Being mindful of your voice when reading outside the target community

I think the real problem with reading outside your target age is when you try to take too much ownership of that space. Everyone has a right to an opinion and can review how they’d like, but as an adult reviewing YA books my voice should not try and speak of the voices of young adults who are reading these books. The books were written with them in mind. It is not my job to try and police them or try to argue with what they’re saying. I can disagree, but it shouldn’t be my voice that is the loudest. This is really true for when reading any book that belongs to a community that isn’t yours. You have your right to your review and your feelings, but your voice should not be speaking over those from within that community. You could love a book and it’s harmful to that community, you could hate a book and that community could be in love with it. Let that community speak for it. Your job is to be in the supporting role of raising those voices if that’s what you’d like. Please stay in your lane.


What do you think? Should you read outside of your target age range? What are your thoughts on reviewing books outside of your community? I’d love to hear what you think!

Fun Stuff

November IndigAThon- Celebrate Native Heritage Month with a read-a-thon focused on Indigenous Voices.

Readers, I’m so excited! I was browsing twitter and I can across this awesome read-a-thon for November. It is hosted by Brody and Michelle, both indigenous people who have booktube channels. I’ve been meaning to look into more stories by indigenous voices and this is great motivation to really get started! Please support indigenous voices! Below is the bingo sheet as well as the books I’ve chosen for this read-a-thon.

You can find Brody’s explaination of IndigAThon here.

You can find Michelle’s explaination of IndigAThon here.

There is also an IndigAThon twitter page that you can follow so that you can find some cool recommendations and chat with some people. You can find that here.

MY TBR for this read-a-thon

SF/F: Trail Of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse . I own this book, but haven’t gotten around to reading it yet. Guess I will now! 🙂

The group read: THE BREAK by Katherena Vermette

Nonfiction: Me Sexy by Drew Hayden Taylor

South American: Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia . I’m already read it, but it counts right? It’s SOOO good!

Intersectionality: Johny Appleseed by Joshua Whitehead

Romance: Hearts Unbroken by Cynthia Leitich Smith

On Rez: Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko. I read this in high school in my honors English class years ago. It was really interesting read and one of the first books I read by an indigenous author

Historical fiction: Code Talker by Joseph Bruchac

Movie Night: Empire of Dirt starring Cara Gee

Paranormal: Son of a Trickster by Eden Robinson. Every time I read the summary of this book I get excited to read it. Right up my alley.


So, those are my choices for this read-a-thon. You might notice that if you look at the bingo sheet currently with how I’m looking at in I can’t get a bingo (though I get close), but that’s okay with me. I really just want to expand my reading and introduce myself to #ownvoices indigenous stories. As I said, I am so ridiculously excited about this and I hope you join everyone and myself in this great idea!