Book Review

ARC Book Review: The Keeper of the Night (The Keeper of the Night #1) by Kylie Lee Baker

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Fantasy + Romance
Length: 400 pages
Author: Kylie Lee Baker
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Release Date: October 12th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Death is her destiny.

Half British Reaper, half Japanese Shinigami, Ren Scarborough has been collecting souls in the London streets for centuries. Expected to obey the harsh hierarchy of the Reapers who despise her, Ren conceals her emotions and avoids her tormentors as best she can.

When her failure to control her Shinigami abilities drives Ren out of London, she flees to Japan to seek the acceptance she’s never gotten from her fellow Reapers. Accompanied by her younger brother, the only being on earth to care for her, Ren enters the Japanese underworld to serve the Goddess of Death… only to learn that here, too, she must prove herself worthy. Determined to earn respect, Ren accepts an impossible task—find and eliminate three dangerous Yokai demons—and learns how far she’ll go to claim her place at Death’s side.

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an eARC.

MURDEROUS.

That’s pretty much the whole vibe of this one. Dark, twisted, and oh so murderous. And while that’s not generally my jam, this grim YA fantasy was pretty good. I cringed a lot and the mental pictures painted are a bit horror movie style, and that’s its charm!

I really enjoyed the main character Ren. Struggling with her identity as biracial and not feeling like she fits in anywhere, she goes to Japan in hopes of finding a new home there. Upon arriving with her brother are when things start to turn, ahem, deadly. She’s very much morally grey and you’ll want to follow her down to the dark side.

The lore behind all of the terrifying monsters had me keeping the lights on. The writing was vivid, and I felt myself on the journey with Ren. I adored her brother Neven and the opposite views he created. He was the necessary dichotomy to a wicked story.

Plot wise, it did drag sometimes and it took me awhile to understand all of the different things Ren was trying to accomplish and why. But I loved her journey and her ability to express and acknowledge her emotions and standing in her feelings while she worked through what life had handed her.

The ending was wild. Did not see the majority of it coming and am so dang curious how the second book rectifies it all. There is a dash of something akin to a romance, but I don’t want to say more because it would definitely be spoiler-y. It was rich in explorations of family, identity and place to be who Ren wanted to be and I can’t wait to follow her journey further.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Fantasy
  • Language: a little
  • Romance: intense kisses/make-outs
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: ableism, racism, many blood & gore depictions, mutilation of bodies (dismemberment, etc.), death of a parent, multiple murders, exile, bullying

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Kylie Lee Baker grew up in Boston and has since lived in Atlanta, Salamanca, and Seoul. Her writing is informed by her heritage (Japanese, Chinese, and Irish), as well as her experiences living abroad as both a student and teacher. She has a B.A. in Creative Writing and Spanish from Emory University and is currently pursuing a Master of Library and Information Science degree at Simmons University. In her free time, she watches horror movies, plays the cello, and bakes too many cookies. The Keeper of Night is her debut novel.

Instagram || Goodreads

Book Review

Book Review: Temple of Sand (The Gods of Men #2) by Barbara Kloss

Rating: ☆☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: NA Fantasy + Romance
Length: 523 pages
Author: Barbara Kloss
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: December 7th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Sable has been exposed for who she is: Imari, the illegitimate daughter of Istraa’s king, and a Liagé—someone born with forbidden Shah power. After ten years of hiding and surviving in the bitter cold Wilds, she is finally returning home.

But it’s not the homecoming Imari envisioned. After all, her father proclaimed her dead ten years ago, and with an anonymous Liagé leader operating in Istraa’s shadows, attacking villages and burning down temples, her father fears the people will blame Imari.

It could mean his throne, and her life.

Worse yet, the night Imari played her flute in Skyhold’s court, something unlocked inside of her, and now her power will not quiet. Neither will the growing fury she feels on behalf of Istraa’s Sol Velorian labor— people who share her blood.

As that fury becomes too loud to ignore, Imari chooses to use her position to liberate the Sol Velor. But can she free them without angering enemies hungry for the power she wields—a power that could rip the Five Provinces apart?

INTO THIS.

Oh how I’m loving all of these Kindle Unlimited finds. This is another great fantasy (with a large romance plot) series that I am without a doubt enjoying.

I love the way that religion was used in this story. The details were woven into the characters lives and it played a large part in decisions and actions. Combining the religious aspects with music was another great style choice. It was enchanting reading the way the musical tones were being conveyed. I like to think music can be soothing to us all (whatever genre/style we prefer!) and thought this was a great addition to the overall plot and story.

Ohhh how I wish Jeric and Imari found each other again sooner! I hate waiting until half the book is over for my love interests to be back on the same page. Once together, sparks started flying all over again. I LOVE these two. They have banter, and beautifully touching sentiments. Some heated moments (with a little steam) and I want them to end up together. Better get my happy ending in the next book!!

This story is very interesting and the plot feels like it’s always thickening. The villains are flat-out vile and appreciatively not one-dimensional. Temple of Sand combines dark aspects with hope and light to achieve a gorgeous book. I can’t wait to read the next one and definitely think you should take a chance on this!

Overall audience notes:

  • New adult fantasy + romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: heated make-outs; one mild open door scene
  • Violence: gory/bloody; murder, demon possession, physical, creature attacks, magical attacks
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: loss of loved ones, hints at past sexual assault

Instagram || Goodreads

Book Review

Book Review: Jade War (The Green Bone Saga #2) by Fonda Lee

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Fantasy
Length: 590 pages
Author: Fonda Lee
Publisher: Orbit
Release Date: July 23rd, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

In Jade War, the sequel to the World Fantasy Award-winning novel Jade City, the Kaul siblings battle rival clans for honor and control over an Asia-inspired fantasy metropolis.

On the island of Kekon, the Kaul family is locked in a violent feud for control of the capital city and the supply of magical jade that endows trained Green Bone warriors with supernatural powers they alone have possessed for hundreds of years.

Beyond Kekon’s borders, war is brewing. Powerful foreign governments and mercenary criminal kingpins alike turn their eyes on the island nation. Jade, Kekon’s most prized resource, could make them rich – or give them the edge they’d need to topple their rivals.

Faced with threats on all sides, the Kaul family is forced to form new and dangerous alliances, confront enemies in the darkest streets and the tallest office towers, and put honor aside in order to do whatever it takes to ensure their own survival – and that of all the Green Bones of Kekon.

Jade War is the second book of the Green Bone Saga, an epic trilogy about family, honor, and those who live and die by the ancient laws of blood and jade.

OOHHHHHHMYGOOOOOODNESS.

Wow. I’ve been saying it all week since I finished this one, don’t sleep on this series!!! It’s absolutely incredible. An Asian dark urban fantasy that will have you desperately wanting to be part of the No Peak clan, and begging to the universe they actually don’t know who you are.

I love all of these characters. I am attached and will harm others if they are harmed. Too bad the author is a kill whatever character I want type. Cue extreme anxiety and Pikachu face the entire time I’m reading hoping my loves aren’t taken out. THE STRESS Y’ALL. I almost lost it at the end because I LOOOVE that the writing keeps me wondering who’s going to make it out alive.

All of the political intrigue and family drama are on point. It doesn’t feel over run to the story and works for everyone involved. I liked getting location changes to other areas of the world and seeing how those are affecting Kekan. There’s just so much here!!! Too much to say. I am wrapped up in this series and anxious for the last one.

As a romance lover, I like the addition of the small passion filled storylines throughout. While some are heartbreaking (and I do mean my soul shattered) and others are a bit more healing, they only add to the larger plot. I love when all of the strings weave well within each chapter.

Overall audience notes:

  • Dark Urban Adult Fantasy
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: kisses to brief open door scenes
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: abortion, loss of loved ones, explosions, brutal torture, gruesome violence and gore, homophobia, ableism

Instagram || Goodreads

Book Review

Book Review: The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Fantasy / Fiction
Length: 393 pages
Author: T.J. Klune
Publisher: Tor Books
Release Date: March 17th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A magical island. A dangerous task. A burning secret.

Linus Baker leads a quiet, solitary life. At forty, he lives in a tiny house with a devious cat and his old records. As a Case Worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth, he spends his days overseeing the well-being of children in government-sanctioned orphanages.

When Linus is unexpectedly summoned by Extremely Upper Management he’s given a curious and highly classified assignment: travel to Marsyas Island Orphanage, where six dangerous children reside: a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. Linus must set aside his fears and determine whether or not they’re likely to bring about the end of days.

But the children aren’t the only secret the island keeps. Their caretaker is the charming and enigmatic Arthur Parnassus, who will do anything to keep his wards safe. As Arthur and Linus grow closer, long-held secrets are exposed, and Linus must make a choice: destroy a home or watch the world burn.

An enchanting story, masterfully told, The House in the Cerulean Sea is about the profound experience of discovering an unlikely family in an unexpected place—and realizing that family is yours.

SO SWEET.

I’ve seen this book compared to a warm hug, and I truly see that analogy. This book is such a feel good read.

This cast is absolutely precious. Linus has some really relatable life sentiments and I thought it was really unique to a lot of books I’ve read that this was an older narrator. Throw him in with a group of children with unique abilities and I was smitten. I adored all of the children. Each was unique, made me smile and laugh, want to fiercely hug and protect, and cheer on that they would get the better future they deserved.

Cerulean Sea is a naturally slow read. It’s not fast paced and full of action. Instead it moves through the lives of all involved and leaves you with a vast amount of quotable moments. You could easily highlight half this book.

I loved the progression of the novel and how the story progressed with Linus. Getting to see him find happiness and love. Seeing the children get to branch out from their home. It was all so sweet!!

Overall audience notes:

  • Fiction / Fantasy
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: kisses

Instagram || Goodreads