Reading

Fireborne – Rosaria Munda | A Book Review

Title: Fireborne

Author: Rosaria Munda

Genre: Fantasy (Young Adult)

About the book: It’s the first in a series following Lee and Anne, two teens rising in the ranks as dragonriders, despite different backgrounds. Fireborne explores ties to the family you were born into and the family you choose.

I received an advanced review copy from Penguin Random House in exchange for an honest review.

First impressions: I adore both the title and the cover. I was also super intrigued by the novel’s themes.

Characters: The two protagonists grew on me so much. I especially enjoyed seeing Anne’s development into a more confident young woman. Even the secondary characters are unique and likeable.

Quote:

“It is difficult, knowing that your choices are ones whose consequences others suffer.”

Writing: The book alternates between Lee’s and Anne’s point of view with flashbacks to their childhood at the beginning of some chapters. Munda is descriptive, building the world in detail. Overall, I liked the platonic relationships as well as the romantic ones.

Final thoughts: The ending provides some closure while leaving questions to be answered in the second novel. I’m curious to know what happens next. My favourite fantasy novels balance fantastical elements with human issues; this book falls into that category.

I highly recommend Fireborne if you like stories about rivalries and romance.


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Reading

Crier’s War – Nina Varela | A Book Review

Title: Crier’s War

Author: Nina Varela

Genre: Fantasy (Young Adult)

About the book: It’s the first in a series with a female-female, enemies to lovers story. Ayla, a human girl, wants revenge by killing the sovereign’s daughter, Crier, an Automae. But after Alya becomes Crier’s handmaiden, both realize they aren’t that different from each other.

I received an advanced review copy from HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review.

First impressions: I love a good fantasy read, so I was looking forward to this novel. The cover is beautiful.

Characters: I liked Ayla and Crier equally. They have their flaws, but I found them easy to root for. I enjoyed seeing their development alone as well as together. I will never not be a fan of diversity and representation, especially when it’s done well.

Quote:

“But if I give up, then what have I even been living for?”

Writing: The narrative alternates between the two main characters’ points of view. There’s a little romance near the end of the story. Varela is descriptive but not overly so.

Final thoughts: The ending doesn’t wrap up all the loose ends. Instead, it leaves many questions unanswered, setting the stage for the next book.

I highly recommend Crier’s War to fans of fantasy with LGBTQ+ representation.


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Reading

A Treason Of Thorns – Laura E. Weymouth | A Book Review

Title: A Treason of Thorns

Author: Laura E. Weymouth

Genre: Fantasy (Young Adult)

About the book: It’s a stand-alone novel following Violet Sterling who has been in exile for seven years after her father committed treason. When she returns to her childhood home, Burleigh House, it’s in bad shape. Vi needs to decide what she’s willing to sacrifice in order to save her house.

I received an advanced review copy from HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review.

First impressions: I haven’t read Weymouth’s debut, so I wasn’t too sure what to expect. That said, I love the cover and title. The beginning sets the stage for the rest of the story.

Characters: Violet is an interesting protagonist I could relate to, and she develops a good deal throughout the novel. Wyn is another main character who grew on me.

Quote:

“What if we don’t have to be who we were told to become?”

Writing: Weymouth is descriptive, describing many aspects of the world. The pacing is slower at the beginning and middle but picks up at the end. There’s not too much romance, just a little bit.

Final thoughts: The ending’s my favourite part of the book. Since it’s a standalone, loose ends are tied up.

A Treason of Thorns might not be for everybody, but if you enjoy fantasy with an unusual premise, consider checking it out. The novel is set in England with historical and magical realism elements.


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Reading

Saints And Curses – Alexis Langten | A Book Review

Title: Saints and Curses

Author: Alexis Langten

Genre: Fantasy (Anthology)

About the book: It’s a collection of fantastical short stories.

I received a free copy of the book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

First impressions: I don’t know of many fantasy short story collections, but I do tend to enjoy fantasy novels, so I was looking forward to reading this anthology.

Characters: There are a lot of different characters, and even though the stories aren’t long, I still found myself liking or relating to many of them. The stories mainly follow a protagonist with a few secondary individuals.

Quote:

“None of the things I loved could ever make me any money.”

Writing: For the most part, the stories are short. Some run longer than others, and at the end, the author includes a few very short ones that fit the length of a tweet.

I appreciated how most of the stories started off realistic with fantastical or magical elements appearing a little later. It was nice to feel grounded in a real-world setting first, which in my opinion, made the magic more believable.

Final thoughts: It’s a short book at under 200 pages filled with a number of stories about fantasy. If that sounds like your cup of tea, consider checking out Saints and Curses.


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Reading

Teeth In The Mist – Dawn Kurtagich | A Book Review

Title: Teeth In The Mist

Author: Dawn Kurtagich

Genre: Fantasy-Horror (Young Adult)

About the book: The book is inspired by the legend of Faust. In 1583, Hermione is a young bride whose husband wants to build a water mill. In 1851, Roan arrives at Medywn Mill House as a ward after her father dies. In present day, Zoey goes to explore the ruins of the house with her friend, Poulton.

I received an advanced review copy from Hachette Book Group in exchange for an honest review.

First impressions: I don’t read much horror, but I heard of the novel and decided to check it out.

There are a lot of working parts, so it took some time for me to get into the story.

Characters: Roan and Zoey are the main protagonists. They grew on me. At first, I enjoyed reading Zoey’s sections more, but by the end, I also liked Roan’s perspective. Hermione’s diary entries were short but strange in a good way.

Quote:

“We think we’re so special, convinced of our own uniqueness, our own destiny.”

Writing: Some parts are written in first person and others are in third person. I found the formatting of certain words interesting. It made for a unique reading experience.

Since I read an ARC, the art and design haven’t been finalized, so I’d be interested to see how the final images complement the text.

Final thoughts: I didn’t see the ending coming, specifically the reveal of the villian. Overall, it’s such a complex novel with many layers.

I’m not spooked easily, but I didn’t find it too scary. A lot of events take place in the past, so there’s also a historical feel to the novel.

Teeth In The Mist is a good read for fans looking for a horror and fantasy hybrid.


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Reading

Nocturna By Maya Montayne | A Book Review

Title: Nocturna

Author: Maya Montayne

Genre: Fantasy

About the book: It’s the first in a trilogy called A Forgery of Magic written by a debut author from the alternating perspectives of a prince and a thief.

I received an advanced review copy from HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review.

First impressions: I love the cover because it’s gorgeous. The premise sounded promising. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the world-building at the beginning.

Characters: The two main protagonists, Alfie and Finn, are flawed but likeable. I adore when two characters don’t get along right away, but later become allies. As a result, I liked their development throughout the novel. The villain is so evil. Even the secondary characters are interesting and dynamic. Kudos to the author for not only including great backstory but also diversity.

Quote:

“Who you are when you’re angry is still you.”

Writing: The fantastical aspects are fantastic. I was fond of the magic system, especially because of the Spanish words. I’m also here for the Latino-inspired elements. I enjoyed the banter and comic relief, specifically between the two protagonists. There’s not really any romance, which I’m more than happy about. Then again, I do adore Alfie and Finn separately, so I wouldn’t mind seeing them together by the end of the series. Also, Alfie loses his brother, Dez, and I think writing about grief is a very difficult thing to do, but Montayne does such a good job. Some scenes were a bit more violent than I expected. The author does not hold back in that regard.

Final thoughts: The ending left me wanting more in the best way possible. I need the next book right now since I crave closure. I highly recommend Nocturna, especially if you’re a fan of fantasy and not big on romance.


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Reading

This Or That: Book Genre Edition

Prose or poetry?

I’ve read more poetry this year because I took a contemporary poetry course in university. I’ve also written a lot of poems this year as well. But I love reading prose more than anything.

Young adult or adult?

This is tough. Some of my favourite books are young adult. Now that I’m older, I enjoy more mature stories as well. That said, it’s easier for me to relate to young characters.

Romance or paranormal?

I’m not the biggest fan of either. Please don’t come for me. Depending on my mood, I’ll probably reach for a romantic story instead of a paranormal one.

Fantasy or mystery?

These may be my two favourite genres in general. I’m a huge sucker for mystery stories. I can’t write one to save my life though.

Reading

Rise Of The Mystics By Ted Dekker | A Book Review

Title: Rise of the Mystics

Author: Ted Dekker

Genre: Fantasy/Christian Fiction

About the book: It’s the second novel in a duology called Beyond the Circle.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

First impressions: I read The 49th Mystic earlier this year, so I wanted to know how the story would end. The beginning didn’t start off as thrilling as expected, which is why it took me a while to get into the book. But things got more interesting as the plot developed further.

Characters: The protagonist is a young girl named Rachelle Matthews. She’s easy to root for. There are more characters to keep track of this time around. Some of them aren’t as likeable to say the least.

Quote:

“Forgive everyone because they’re only doing what life taught them to do.”

Writing: I enjoyed the storyline with Rachelle on Earth more than when she’s on Other Earth because it was more realistic and relatable.

The middle was okay, although some scenes felt a little flat in my opinion. I wanted more action and less explanation at times.

I preferred the pace of the first novel more than the second. Personally, the book strikes me as very philosophical.

There’s a healthy dose of dialogue and description. I tend to prefer the former over the latter, and this time around was no exception.

I think some things went over my head, especially the more religious allusions. I’m not that well-versed in theology. Nevertheless, the references taught me stuff I didn’t know.

Final thoughts: I liked the ending the most.

I’d recommend reading the first novel before starting the second one. That way, it’s easier to understand what already happened and what’s going on.

Overall, Rise of the Mystics wrapped up the series nicely.


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