ARC

ARC Review- Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Overall enjoyment: 4/5

Characterization: 5/5

World building: 4/5

Diversity: 3/5

Note: A free copy of this book was given to me through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This book will be officially released on July 23, 2019.

When I first requested to read this book through Netgalley I thought it was a present-day retelling. Not the case, this novel is set in the 1920s. It’s not a bad thing, but just something I thought might be of interest for others to know. I really enjoyed this story. I love most mythology themed novels, but this one dug deep and asked us to really consider what it means to be human and what it might mean to be a god.

The characters, as always for me, were a huge selling point. I think the author did a fantastic job of making her characters dynamic. There was no all good or all bad. I really vibed a lot with what Casiopea was feeling as a young woman and I think that really endeared her to me. She’s got a temper, but in this case, it was to her benefit. Then, Hun-KamÉ, honestly, he was probably my favorite. I loved the exploration between godhood and humanity that Moreno-Garcia did with him. While I love stories wrapped in myth I’m also very picky how gods are portrayed. This was a representation I really enjoyed.

World building was minor in that it was 1920s Earth, but the mythology and how it would interact with the world today was beautifully done. It was seamlessly woven. I feel like I learned a lot about certain parts of Mayan mythology.

Diversity. This was based purely on Hispanic/Mayan characters. Casiopea was also our main character. So, double points for having a woman of color as the protagonist!

Overall, if you enjoy the modernization of old gods I’d say you will definitely enjoy this book. Also, if that isn’t your cup of tea, but you enjoy a book that gives you some little bits to think over then you could still very much enjoy this book. It’s deeper than what you first might expect. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for its release this July!

ARC

ARC Review- Spin the Dawn by Eliabeth Lim

Overall enjoyment: 4/5

Characterization: 3/5

World building: 5/5

Diversity: 3/5

Note: A free copy of this book was given to me through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Review

This book really surprised me. From reading the summary I thought it was going to basically be Mulan, but instead of being a solider she’d be a tailor. Spinning the Dawn is so much more than that! It does start out with a very Mulan feel in the beginning, but I love Mulan so that wasn’t a big deal to me. But, then the story expanded and we got into some nice lore of the world. I was completely sucked in for all, but a small portion of this book.

Now, lets talk about the characters. Mainly Maia and Edan. Maia is our Mulan, a strong, skilled woman who has big dreams that are limited by her gender. I really enjoyed reading her she’s strong and willing to work very hard for what she wants. The only thing that really was a downside of her was that she really didn’t seem to have a flaw. She had moments of weakness and being a woman in this story made things difficult for her, but otherwise I didn’t really pick up on a flaw. Edan, is charming. I was a bit suspicious of him and I don’t want to give any spoilers away, but I really enjoyed his character. He’s where there’s a lot of cool backstory. He also doesn’t have to seem to really have a flaw. Other than the lack of even a small character flaw in my opinion I really enjoy these characters.

World building. I loved the bits of lore that this book gave us. There are obviously a variety of beliefs and stories. They’re so well written that I really enjoyed how they twined into the story. There’s some other little things with world building like different currency and whatnot, but I’m in it for the lore.

This book has diversity in that it is based around a woman of color based in a world that seems to be based to my understanding on China.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and got more out of it that I originally anticipated. If you enjoyed Mulan or just a good fantasy read I would encourage you to purchase this book when it is released on July 9th.

ARC, Reviews

ARC Review – Wild Country by Anne Bishop

Overview

Overall Enjoyment: 4/5

Characterization: 3.5/5

World building 4/5

Diversity 2.5/5

Personal Summary: The 7th book is The Other series.

Bennett was a town wiped out the Namid’s Teeth and Claws, but it won’t stay that way for long. Humans are returning and with it the terra indigene are taking notice.

Jana wants to be a cop, Virgil has a grudge, and they’re going to have to learn to work together if they want to keep Bennett safe from humans that may have less than friendly intentions.

Note: This book can technically be read alone, but makes a lot more sense if you’ve read books 1-5.

Review

Note: I received Wild Country by Anne Bishop for free from NetGalley in exchange for a honest review.

First, let me say that I’m in love with the world of the others. It’s an urban fantasy like I haven’t read before and I just love it. There are many different types of werecreatures in this book and there’s so much going on. I must admit that while I did enjoy this book I will say that books 1-5, the original story line, are still very much my favorites.

Let’s start with the characters. There are so many. I loved those that I would consider the main characters. You have Jana whose always wanted to be a cop and has enough spunk to handle Virgil. I wasn’t sure at first if I’d like Virgil, but he definitely grew on me and he’s a big softy at heart. He bark is worse than his bite (usually). I particularly like his voice within the book. It gives a unique perspective that I really enjoy. Tolya, he’s basically the equivalent of a vampire, and he was kinda bland at first. He has a lot of dealings with Jesse though and it really brings out his character when he’s with her. Jesse is really great too. I loved all these characters, but there were also so many more characters. Honestly, too many characters for me. We were introduced to A LOT of characters and I don’t feel like some of them were really necessary unless there’s another book in this particular town (which I don’t believe is the case) and it left me with some questions that I never felt answered.

World building was good for an urban fantasy based novel. It’s based loosely on the world we have now only instead of humans being the dominant species the terre indigene (mostly what I would call werecreatures) are. The terre indigene are what really draws me into the story. Bishop gives them all a unique voice that I find really enjoyable.

The plot was a bit scattered to me. There was a lot going on in this book and again it was almost too much. I won’t say much on that because I don’t want to spoil things, but be ready. This book also has some western book-inspiration that I didn’t think I’d like, but actually enjoyed.

The diversity in this book. I’m unimpressed. Now, there was a gay couple and there was a neurodivergent child so let me explain why I was unimpressed. They felt forced and that they were only there to say the book had diversity. I doubt that was the author’s intent, but the diverse characters are introduced and then just kinda fade away or are in the background and never really given much attention. They had no really point in the book and I found that disappointing.

If you’d like to purchase Wild Country by Anne Bishop it’ll be released on March 5th and you can buy it here.

Reviews

Sizzling- A Review of Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

Overall Enjoyment: 5/5

World building: 4/5

Characterization: 5/5

Diversity: 4/5

Personal Summary: Lei is of the paper caste, completely human in a whole full of hybrids and demons. Life may not be easy, but it is the only life Lei has known. That all changes when a group of demons abducts her to take her to the palace as one of the king’s paper girls. At the palace Lei is faced with new challenges, but also finds a love that strengthens her is ways she didn’t realize were possible. Together they may just be able to defeat the king and gain their freedom.

Review

I fell completely in love with this story about five pages in. This is the first book I’ve read with an f/f pairing that I’ve really enjoyed. It was a sizzling romance my readers and it was glorious.

The world is set in a Malaysian-inspired fantasy world full of humans, hybrids, and demon. I really enjoyed this world. There were smatterings of history throughout the book that really pulled everything together, but never got to the point of overwhelming. What I think I really enjoyed were the cultural nuances of this book. This book is full of its own cultural practices and beliefs and while I can see how some of it is based on real world cultural practices it didn’t take away any of my enjoyment. If you want a non-European fantasy world this book is a really great choice.

Characterization. I had mixed feelings about this rating. Lei and Wren had great characterization. I would say most of the characters that are more than just passing characters do, but sometimes I wanted a little bit more history from some of them. Many of them have a rough back story that’s alluded to, but never fully explained that I was hoping for.

Diversity. Full of women of color and are main characters are lesbians in an Asian-inspired world. It was beautifully done.

So, if you want a fantasy book featuring a diverse setting featuring two strong and brave lesbian lovers I couldn’t recommend this book enough for you. You can purchase it here.


Have you read this book yet? What did you think of it? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Friday Feature

Friday Feature- Marlon James

Marlon James, photo taken from Wall Street Journal

Marlon James is a Jamacian-born author who works in both Minnesota and New York as a professor. In New York, he works as an adjunct lecturer at St. Francis College. In Minnesota, James is associate professor in the English department. He has published four novels so far. Two novels have received multiple awards.

What’s so great about him?

He is taking a different perspective to writing a book series than I’ve seen before. Marlon’s most recently published novel Black Leopard, Red Wolf is the beginning of a series. This series is going to be telling the same story, but with each book being from a different perspective. He says it is then up to you to decide which character you choose to believe. There may be other book series that do this, but I haven’t heard of them and I’m very excited to see where this story and this changing of perspective goes.


His Published Books

John Crow’s Devil

The Book of Night Women

A Brief History of Seven Killings

Black Leopard, Red Wolf


Most information came largely from this wikipedia post. All source information on this post was checked and proven accurate, but in order to not write a large list I direct you to a single post.

Authors, Friday Feature

Friday Feature: N. K. Jemisin

photo taken by Laura Hanifin, 2015. Permission given under creative commons license

N.K. Jemisin is a multiple award-winning fantasy author. She was born in Iowa, but currently lives in New York working as a full-time writer.

What’s So Great About Her?

She is the first person to win the Hugo Award three years in a row. What an accomplishment! If that isn’t a phenomenal statement of the quality of her work I’m not sure what is.

Jemisin also creates stories with diverse, complex characters that challenge the epic fantasy status quo:


“As a black woman,” Jemisin tells me, “I have no particular interest in maintaining the status quo. Why would I? The status quo is harmful, the status quo is significantly racist and sexist and a whole bunch of other things that I think need to change. With epic fantasy there is a tendency for it to be quintessentially conservative, in that its job is to restore what is perceived to be out of whack.”

Quote taken from: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/jul/27/nk-jemisin-interview-fantasy-science-fiction-writing-racism-sexism

She also discusses writing about characters of color. As writer this is personally a big deal to me. I know a lot of authors are willing to give advice, but she’s very honest and blunt. If you want to write characters of different racial backgrounds she’s providing plenty of examples for you. You can find the beginning of those posts here.

Her Novels:

The Broken Earth Trilogy: The Fifth Season, The Obelisk Gate, and The Stone Kingdom

The Inheritance Trilogy: The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, The Broken Kingdom, and The Kingdom of the Gods.

Dreamblood Duology: The Killing Moon and The Shadowed Sun

How Long ’til Black Future Month (short story collection)

Geek Wisdom: The Sacred Teachings of Nerd Culture (collaboration with other authors)

And numerous other short stories that I’m not adding, but if you’re interested you can see the full list here.


Want more from N.K. Jemisin? Check out her patreon!

Sources: Information came from http://nkjemisin.com/ unless otherwise stated.

Book Haul

My January Book Haul

So, I’ve seen many blog posts floating around about people’s book hauls. I’m always super curious about what other people are buying and reading so I’ve decided to share my own. I’ve gone a little crazy this month so I’ve got a lot to share!

Here are most of my books, but this is mainly just to show off my bearded dragon, Smaug.

My Physical books

Below are the books that I mostly purchased this much, with one exception that I borrowed from the library.

The Wicked King by Holly Black. I’ve been a huge Holly Black fan since high school and I continue to really enjoy her work. This is the sequel to The Cruel Prince and wow. Strong female characters and court intrigue. I love it!

Evermore by Sara Holland. So, I purchased this book not realizing that it was a sequel. Oops, but the plot just sounds so intriguing. I’ve read mixed reviews though so we’ll see how it turns out. Maybe I’ll read the first book first.

Girls Write Now by a whole lots of ladies. As someone who works in education I’m forever looking for way to empower young girls and women. This book is an anthology written by young women about the personal experiences. Very excited about this!

The Kingdom of Copper by S. A. Chakraborty. This is the sequel to The City of Brass. I loved the first book and I was very excited to read the second one. I’ve heard some rumors about the content though and while it sounds just as brilliant as the first it also seems to end on a sad note which makes me a bit hesitant to read it.

Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman. Dragons? Count me in!

Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan. I’ve only read the first couple pages so far, but I’m already in love with it.

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi. Read this book! It’s wonderfully done. It’s a long read, but well worth your time.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. I’ve been meaning to read this books since it’s come out. I finally have in my hands.

The complete Broken Earth Trilogy by N.K. Jemisin. This book series has won so many awards that I can’t wait to see what it’s all about.

NetGalley eARCs

Fury by Will O’Shire. I requested this book, because of the cover and it looked interesting. It was short fic. It had potential, but I wasn’t very impressed.

Prince of Air and Darkness by M.A. Grant. An lgbt novel that has fantasy elements. It’s a nice entertainment read, but I would have liked more world building.

No Man of Woman Born by Ana Mardoll. I requested this book because of the title and the description. It’s a series of short stories. The author was very heartfelt.

Wild Country by Anne Bishop. I was so excited to see this coming out. I love this series.


Those are the books I received/ bought this month! Have you purchased any of these books too? What other books have you purchased this past month?