Recent Reads

Well, hi there! I know, I know… it got quiet on here for a little while. But I’m back! And never fear, books have still been devoured and enjoyed in the mean time. Here’s a few noteworthies I’ve read lately:

The Space Between the StarsThe Space Between the Stars by Anne Corlett.
Humanity has spread through the stars, but that doesn’t stop a virus from wiping out most of humanity. What happens when you’re maybe the only person left on your planet? The premise of this was promising, right at that crossroads for big ideas and human experience. And the human part played out well. I thought the characters were, for the most part, well-developed and real. There were some poignant moments and some achingly true inner thoughts and feelings. The plot is where this story lost ground. It started off strong, but eventually devolved into preaching about a person’s right to choose their own life. I don’t even disagree with that notion, but the repeated hammering of that got old quick. I thought the big ending of the plot was contrived and a bit obvious, but that the epilogue-like afterwards was nice. The writing style throughout, at least, was really well done and beautiful.
3.5/5 stars.

Akata WitchAkata Witch (#1) by Nnedi Okorafor.
This is a YA fantasy steeped in the culture and mythology of Nigeria. I’ll admit upfront I’m not too familiar with either of those, so it’s likely I missed some nuances or references along the way. That didn’t stop me from really enjoying this book. It’s the story of Sunny, a young girl who feels like she doesn’t fit in anywhere. Of Nigerian lineage, but born and raised in America, and an albino to boot, Sunny’s transition to living in her parents’ native land isn’t smooth. Especially when she sees something in a candle flame and learns exactly what she is. This leads her to a new group of friends, and a new world hidden behind the familiar one. It’s thrilling, but dangerous, and there’s more at stake than her and her friends know. The story is well-paced, and has the feeling of magical realism. There’s a lot of unexplained feelings and bits, so if you’re looking for everything to be spelled out for you, this isn’t your read. But if you’d like to step into a different kind of fantasy adventure, give this a try.
4/5 stars.

Mask of ShadowsMask of Shadows (#1) by Linsey Miller.
Sallot is the last living person from a destroyed homeland. Revenge is the name of the game, and the path to that is to win a position as one of the queen’s assassins. That means coming out on top in a literal battle to the death between the contenders. This book was ok. It was entertaining enough to keep me going, despite some drawbacks. I didn’t buy that Sallot – a thief with no training or previous inclination towards murder – would last a day in a competition of assassins. So right from the start, I’m not fully on board. Throw in some insta-love, positions named after gemstones, and knowing (of course!) how this book #1 will end, and it all felt a bit juvenile. Still, Sallot was an interesting character and the hints of world-building we get in book #1 could be built upon. The way the author handled gender fluidity was well-done, too. I’d be interested to see if this series and Sallot mature with book #2.
3/5 stars.

The Remnant ChroniclesThe Remnant Chronicles trilogy by Mary Pearson.
Three kingdoms hover on the brink of war. An arranged marriage between two of them would bring some much needed stability to the land. Except the princess wants no part of it. Nor does the 3rd kingdom. When Lia runs away on her wedding day, her intended prince and an unknown assassin are set to track her down. Add in magic, destiny, and the ever complicated workings of the human heart, and the stage is set for a YA fantasy adventure. The gimmick of book 1 annoyed me some. We have 3 narrators: the princess Lia, the prince, and the assassin. Lia is the only one whose name we know. When the other two show up in Lia’s narration, there’s the whole ‘which one is which?’ between the two young men. I call it a gimmick because it’s OBVIOUS. Happily, books 2 and 3 do not follow that pattern, and I was able to enjoy them much more. Overall, I quite liked this series. The characters are well done. With one glaring exception, they are complex and believable, and we see a good mix of humor, strength and mistakes from them. The plot is nicely segmented between each book and there’s a good build. I did feel the final battle/climax of the story happened a bit too easily and quickly, but aside from that these were a good read.
3.5/5 stars.

Apparently I was on a strong female lead kick. 😀 No apologies for that. Up next I’m digging into my pile of ARCs, and maybe finally bringing myself to read the final Fitz book (which I’ve been putting off because I don’t want that series to end).

What have you been reading lately?

Continue Reading

Book Review: Salt & Storm

Salt & Storm by Kendall Kulper. Salt & Storm is the story of Avery Roe, latest in a long line of witches inhabiting Prince Island. They have helped keep the island’s sailors safe for generations, and are both feared and respected. While Avery has the ability to interpret dreams, she has yet to come into her full power as a witch. Her grandmother is waiting for her to take over and willing to teach her, but her mother has left that life behind and forbids Avery from communicating with her. When Avery has a dream that foretells her own murder, […]

Continue Reading

Book Review: Archon


Archon (The Books of Raziel #1) by Sabrina Benulis. Archon is book one in a series about Angela Mathers, a troubled young woman who dreams of angels and is apparently unkillable (she knows, she’s tried). The book starts as she’s released from a mental institution and starting out at a new university, West Wood Academy, a priest-run school for blood heads like her (red-headed children with powers). Society sends all such children to one place, because one of them is going to be the prophesied Archon, who will unlock the lost book of the archangel Raziel and have the power […]

Continue Reading

Book Review: The Witch’s Daughter

The Witch's Daughter

The Witch’s Daughter by Paula Brackston In Wessex, England in 1628, Bess Hawksmith’s mother is tried and hung as a witch. Poor and alone in the world, the only hope Bess has of surviving the lynch mob that will focus on her next is to become a witch herself. That means making a bargain with the mysterious and dangerous warlock, Gideon Masters. The price of that bargain and the choice to accept a witch’s powers come to haunt Bess through the decades, all the way to modern times where Bess finds an unexpected apprentice. The story alternates between first-person journal […]

Continue Reading