Book Review

Book Review: This Woven Kingdom (This Woven Kingdom #1) by Tahereh Mafi

Rating: ★★★★
Audience: YA Fantasy + Romance
Length: 512 pages
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: February 1st, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

To all the world, Alizeh is a disposable servant, not the long-lost heir to an ancient Jinn kingdom forced to hide in plain sight.

The crown prince, Kamran, has heard the prophecies foretelling the death of his king. But he could never have imagined that the servant girl with the strange eyes, the girl he can’t put out of his mind, would one day soon uproot his kingdom—and the world.

Clashing empires, forbidden romance, and a long-forgotten queen destined to save her people—bestselling author Tahereh Mafi’s first in an epic, romantic trilogy inspired by Persian mythology.

NOT A BAD START.

Ah, this book felt like a YA fantasy hug. All of the tropes and themes I love. The enjoyable predictable nature of it all. This was a great opening to a new series and I can’t wait to get my hands on the rest of the books.

I listened to the audio and loved it if you’re looking for a new book to read!

Back to the story here, I adored Alizeh and Kamran. Alizeh is just trying to survive and keep hidden in the shadows not telling anyone where she comes from. Enter Kamran, a bold prince who is captivated by Alizeh. I did think the pacing for this romance was a bit quick for me, so we’ll see how the other books shake out (especially after that ending!!).

The writing was wonderful as always. Engaging and kept a steady pace. I don’t remember any major lulls or dull moments. Consistent development and world-building were another great feature and something I love in my fantasy reads. The mythology was interesting and I loved all of those editions as too.

I always love a lost queen, a duty-bound prince and a forbidden romance.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Fantasy romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: make-outs
  • Violence: physical and magical altercations
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: abuse, injury, death of a parent, light blood/gore

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Book Review

Book Review: A History of Wild Places by Shea Ernshaw

Rating: ★★★★
Audience: Mystery
Length: 368 pages
Author: Shea Ernshaw
Publisher: Atria Books
Release Date: December 7th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Travis Wren has an unusual talent for locating missing people. Hired by families as a last resort, he requires only a single object to find the person who has vanished. When he takes on the case of Maggie St. James—a well-known author of dark, macabre children’s books—he’s led to a place many believed to be only a legend.

Called “Pastoral,” this reclusive community was founded in the 1970s by like-minded people searching for a simpler way of life. By all accounts, the commune shouldn’t exist anymore and soon after Travis stumbles upon it… he disappears. Just like Maggie St. James.

Years later, Theo, a lifelong member of Pastoral, discovers Travis’s abandoned truck beyond the border of the community. No one is allowed in or out, not when there’s a risk of bringing a disease—rot—into Pastoral. Unraveling the mystery of what happened reveals secrets that Theo, his wife, Calla, and her sister, Bee, keep from one another. Secrets that prove their perfect, isolated world isn’t as safe as they believed—and that darkness takes many forms.

Hauntingly beautiful, hypnotic, and bewitching, A History of Wild Places is a story about fairy tales, our fear of the dark, and losing yourself within the wilderness of your mind.

WELL THAT WAS TWISTED.

If you have the option, definitely go with the full cast audio book. I’ve read Ershaw’s young adult books and liked the atmosphere, but often felt they were slow. Reading with the audio book helped speed things up and I think this was an awesome adult debut.

This story was wiiiiild. And so trippy. Started off really creepy and dove into things I didn’t see coming. I was actually blindsided by the twist at the end. An interesting choice, but I thought worked well in the case for the plot. Which is fine, I’m good with that. I thought there were plenty of likable characters. All of the main characters were easy to read their stories, I wanted to cheer for them and help them get out.

Very much bewitching, I liked the tidbits of magical realism too. It made sense and completed the story better than without those extra pieces. I liked this one soooo much better than her young adult books. This hooked me enough that I’m back to wanting to read whatever Ernshaw writes next. Always great writing, spooky atmosphere, and a small dash of romance and whimsy.

Overall audience notes:

  • Mystery / Magical Realism
  • Language: little
  • Romance: multiple vague open-ish door
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: suicide by overdose, grief/loss depiction, loss of a loved one, execution by hanging, physical altercations, manipulation and gaslighting

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Book Review

Book Review: Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley

Rating: ★★★★
Audience: YA Contemporary Mystery
Length: 496 pages
Author: Angeline Boulley
Publisher: Henry, Holt, and Co.
Release Date: March 16th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

As a biracial, unenrolled tribal member and the product of a scandal, eighteen-year-old Daunis Fontaine has never quite fit in, both in her hometown and on the nearby Ojibwe reservation. Daunis dreams of studying medicine, but when her family is struck by tragedy, she puts her future on hold to care for her fragile mother.

The only bright spot is meeting Jamie, the charming new recruit on her brother Levi’s hockey team. Yet even as Daunis falls for Jamie, certain details don’t add up and she senses the dashing hockey star is hiding something. Everything comes to light when Daunis witnesses a shocking murder, thrusting her into the heart of a criminal investigation.

Reluctantly, Daunis agrees to go undercover, but secretly pursues her own investigation, tracking down the criminals with her knowledge of chemistry and traditional medicine. But the deceptions—and deaths—keep piling up and soon the threat strikes too close to home.

Now, Daunis must learn what it means to be a strong Anishinaabe kwe (Ojibwe woman) and how far she’ll go to protect her community, even if it tears apart the only world she’s ever known.

Debut author Angeline Boulley crafts a groundbreaking YA thriller about a Native teen who must root out the corruption in her community, for readers of Angie Thomas and Tommy Orange.

FIERCE DEBUT.

This was absolutely worth the hype and awards. I had no idea this was a mystery book until the first few chapters and the unwinding of the plot was intricate, twisted, and kept me on my toes.

I loved the main character, Daunis. She was strong and brave. I loved the way she loved her community, friends and family. It was a coming-of-age tale interspersed in a tense landscape.

Highly recommend this one on audio!! The narrator did a wonderful job. The book slowed down a bit in the middle for me. But the last half definitely picked up. I couldn’t stop listening. I had to know what was going to happen next. Who was going to survive and how everyone learned to move on from difficult situations.

The romance disappointed me a bit. I loved the small role it played throughout the book. A bit of a forbidden, first-love kind of devotion. Yet, I realized with the ending I didn’t get that closure I was hoping for with them.

All in all, I’d say this is a must read. I loved learning about the traditions, the multiple layers to drug abuse and it’s resounding effects it has on those around to pick up the pieces. How traditions and complex family dynamics hold a place in your soul. A haunting tale, a beautiful landscape, fantastic writing, and I hope this author has more books out in the future!

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Mystery
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: one closed door
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: ableism, racism/racial slurs, sexual harassment (on page), rape (on page), cheating, child abuse/neglect, substance abuse, murder-suicide (on page), overdose mentioned, grief/loss depiction, loss of loved ones, car accident (resulting in hospitalization, near death moments, bullying

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Book Review

Book Review: Jade Legacy (The Green Bone Saga #3) by Fonda Lee

Rating: ★★★★★
Audience: Fantasy
Length: 713 pages
Author: Fonda Lee
Publisher: Orbit Books
Release Date: November 30th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Jade, the mysterious and magical substance once exclusive to the Green Bone warriors of Kekon, is now known and coveted throughout the world. Everyone wants access to the supernatural abilities it provides, from traditional forces such as governments, mercenaries, and criminal kingpins, to modern players, including doctors, athletes, and movie studios. As the struggle over the control of jade grows ever larger and more deadly, the Kaul family, and the ancient ways of the Kekonese Green Bones, will never be the same.

The Kauls have been battered by war and tragedy. They are plagued by resentments and old wounds as their adversaries are on the ascent and their country is riven by dangerous factions and foreign interference that could destroy the Green Bone way of life altogether. As a new generation arises, the clan’s growing empire is in danger of coming apart.

The clan must discern allies from enemies, set aside aside bloody rivalries, and make terrible sacrifices… but even the unbreakable bonds of blood and loyalty may not be enough to ensure the survival of the Green Bone clans and the nation they are sworn to protect. 

WHAT A BOOK.

I honestly was a bit nervous to dive into this one. I LOVE this series and knowing that this book somehow covered 30 years had me wondering how this was all going to go down. I did cry multiple times so IT HURT. BUT IT WAS AMAZING.

This review will not be able to contain everything I want to say because words are hard. So first off I’ll say, YOU NEED TO READ IT. At least that refrain is here.

I am obsessed with this entire cast. I love every single one of them. I love that I got to see their entire lives, see the kids grow up and more. There’s still plenty of action, many twists and turns and betrayals to make you fall apart. The quiet moments with deep conversations, the soft times built on reconnection. And the last moments with good-byes and a request to do better. How can you not be emotionally attached?! *cue more tears* I could write a paragraph for each of the characters, that’s how much I loved allllll of them.

Many things I didn’t see coming and left me shattered. Though I felt by the end I understood Lee’s choice in writing this book over such a large amount of time. There was only one way this could end and I get it. My heart might not recover for awhile, but I get it. And actually, I really loved the ending. I love endings that click and work for all parties.

The Green Bone Saga is built with intricate world-building, an awesome magic system and a tight knit clan. I have been utterly captivated by this entire series and would recommend it to anyone interested in adult fantasy. This is NOT one to miss y’all.

Overall audience notes:

  • Fantasy
  • Language: strong
  • Romance: multiple brief open door
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: suicide, bullying, murder, gun violence, cheating, kidnapping, torture, heavy gore/blood depiction, grief, explosion

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