Review of Age of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan

Rating: 4.5/5

Recommend: YES!

Review:

Ugh, why do I have to wait another year for book three? It’s just not fair!!!! I need it NOWWW!!!! After reading the first book, Age of Myth, I knew this was going to be a series I’d become enthralled with. And this second book certainly doesn’t disappoint! I’m a huge emotional mess right now, and my poor heart might have just melted right out of my body. BUT IT WAS SO GOOD!!!

If you’ve read anything else by Sullivan, you know that his plots are hugely character-driven, which I am a big fan of. And this one is no different. Each character was so strong and powerful in their own way. I loved that we got a few different perspectives and so could really get to know so many fascinating characters. And Suri. Good lord, that girl. I adore her so much. Everyone needs a Suri in their life. And a Minna. Definitely a Minna.

The only reason I didn’t give this a full 5 stars is because I had a few little issues with the plot. And it took me a little bit longer to get into the book than I was expected. But the rest of it made up for any problems I had, so I still absolutely loved this book.

Needless to say, I’d 100% recommend this book. If you love fantasy, you would be doing yourself a huge favor by picking this series up. You’ll be missing out if you don’t!

A huge thank you to NetGalley and Del Rey for providing this book in exchange for an honest review!

Review of Ghost Line by Andrew Neil Gray and J.S. Herbison

Rating: 3.5/5

Recommend: Most likely

Review:

This was not at all what I expected. I picked The Ghost Line up because I was in the mood for a fun scifi read. And it was definitely fun to read. But it was also much stranger and more emotional than I expected. For such a short book, it packed quite the punch.

As I said, this was a short book (less than a hundred pages, I believe). So there wasn’t a whole lot of time for world building . But, that being said, I was really impressed with how much  building was done in such a short period of time. I felt like I had a surprisingly good grasp of this universe.

The same could be said for the characters. Even though we only got a short glimpse into their lives, I feel like I got to know them all really well. I would have loved even more character development and exploration, but of course in a shorter book like this that’s not really possible.

This book is short, but so interesting. I loved the interplay of the characters and it was so much fun to get to know this universe. I’d definitely check out more books by these authors. And to anyone who likes scifi, I’d recommend giving this a read!

Thank you to NetGalley and Tor.com for providing this book in exchange for an honest review!

Review of The Waking Land by Callie Bates

Rating: 3.5/5

Recommend: Probably

Review:

The Waking Land tells the story of Elanna, a young woman who is taken from her family at a young age and held hostage in an enemy country. There are so many great things about this book: an interesting magic, plenty of strong and developed characters, a rich history…the list goes on and on. And for the most part, I really enjoyed all of it. But there were a few parts that didn’t quite mesh with me, so I felt like I couldn’t give it a full 4 or 5 star rating. As much as I liked parts of it, I just didn’t love it.

That beginning was fantastic. Right from the prologue I was completely drawn in. I couldn’t wait to learn more. Then the story got going and I started to lose a bit of interest. Things just began to seem a little too cliché and stereotypical of young adult fantasy. I love many of the young adult tropes, but sometimes they just don’t work well. Towards the end I warmed back up though and began to really enjoy myself. In the end, even though I felt like the last few chapters were kind of rushed, I was left feeling pretty good about what I’d read. I definitely needed more closure and explanation at the end though.

As you all know, characters are the biggest thing for me. No matter how interesting a world is, if there aren’t equally interesting characters, it’s really hard to stay engaged. And I think that for the most part, the characters in this book were pretty solid. I would have liked a little more back story for a few of them, but overall I was satisfied. Elanna was especially good in my opinion. So despite some of my misgivings about the plot, I feel like the characters often saved the book for me.

So basically, this was a good book. Not great, but good. There were a fair amount of common tropes, which kind of worked, although sometimes got on my nerves. And sometimes I feel like the plot didn’t quite work. But, overall, I’m glad I read this book. There were some truly good parts that made me smile and tugged on my heartstrings. So would I recommend it? Probably, if you know you like young adult fantasy and are okay with a relatively stereotypical plot. It’s worth checking out for yourself.

Thank you to NetGalley and Del Rey for the chance to read this in exchange for an honest review!

Review of Coetir by Rani Devine

Rating: 4/5

Recommend: Definitely

Review:

This was such a pleasant surprise! I mean, based off the description I figured this would be a book right up my alley. But I didn’t expect to love is as much as I did. And I really did love it a lot. More people should be talking about Coetir because it’s seriously fantastic.

First there’s the characters. I loved so many of the characters in this book. Ellya was such a strong, complex character. And I really enjoyed most of the others too. Everyone had such a deep and fascinating back story. I’d love a few more books with these guys!

I really enjoyed the plot for the most part too. It was simple in many ways, but at the same time so incredibly beautiful. This story drew me in completely and made my heart melt with joy sometimes and sadness other times. It was so gorgeous.

There were a couple plot holes and a few instances where I wasn’t quite sure about why some things had to happen. And the ending felt a little rushed. But, my issues were pretty minor compared to all of the things I loved about Coetir.

Needless to say, I’d 100% recommend this book. I want to give a big thank you to Indie Book Connect for introducing me to this great writer. I’m so excited to read more from Devine!

Review of Haven by Katherine Bogle

Rating: 2.5/5

Recommend: Maybe, but probably not

Review:

Well, this was a rather disappointing read. I actually had kind of high hopes for this book. The description sounded like something that would be 100% my jam: a strong, but reluctant queen, epic wars, magic, and all in a medieval setting? That’s exactly my kind of book. But the characters and lack of sufficient explanations, not to mention an uneven pace, kind of killed it for me.

So let’s start off with characters. To be fair, I didn’t mind most of the characters. I feel like they could have been fleshed out a bit more, but overall I think they were decent. Nothing too exciting, and a bit generic, but not terrible by any means. Haven got on my nerves a bit because she was so darn naive, but even that didn’t bother me a whole lot. I think if I hadn’t had some of my other issues, the characters would have shone through much more.

My biggest problem was the plot and world building. There were so many times when I just couldn’t believe what was being said or done. I know in fiction, especially fantasy, readers have to suspend disbelief. But this was just too much. So many things didn’t make sense, or were so unrealistic (even given what I knew of that particular world). I had a hard time believing in this story. Of course, part of that might have been because I still feel like there are quite a few explanations missing.

That being said, I do think the writing is well done. Bogle writes in a clear, understandable way that is easy to read and flows pretty smoothly. I know there are other books in this series, so it’s possible that many of my questions and issues could be resolved in subsequent books. Although I wish she would have addressed more of them in this first book. I’m not sure if I’m invested enough at this point to read the rest of the series.

Thank you to NetGalley and Friesen Press for providing this book in exchange for an honest review!

Review of Teeth of Gods by Sarah K.L. Wilson

Rating: 2.5/5

Recommend: Possibly

Review:

I was really torn about what to rate this book. On the one hand, I think the concept is interesting, and the world definitely had potential. But, I had a really had time getting into this book and part of that was because of how annoyed I got with Tylira. So, there were some really good aspects, but overall I wasn’t as fond of this book as I was hoping.

So let’s start off with talking about the characters. Like I said, Tylira was just not my cup of tea. Normally I love a strong, fearless character who might be a little impulsive but ultimately has a good heart. So in theory, Tylira should have been exactly my kind of character. But, sometimes I just couldn’t handle her stupidity and complete lack of awareness of anyone else but herself. I get she was socially isolated, but it all just seemed a bit much to me.

And honestly, the way she describes Rusk really got on my nerves. If I had a dollar for every time she mentioned how gorgeous or chiseled he was, I’d probably have enough money to quit my day job and just read all day. Okay, that might be a tad bit of an exaggeration, but she definitely mentions it a lot.

But, in spite of all those complaints, I did like some parts of the book. Like Alsoon. He was so precious and wonderful and I just wanted to give him a huge hug. And the concept was different from what I’ve normally come to except from fantasy novels, so that was also a plus.

So, would I recommend this book to others? I’m honestly not sure. I mean, I’m glad I read this and I enjoyed parts of it, but overall it left me kind of feeling…eh. It’s well written, but some of the characters kind of drag the story down a bit.

Review oF Wicked Wonders by Ellen Klages

Rating: 3/5

Recommend: Probably

Review:

I don’t read a whole lot of short stories, but the stories in this book seemed so promising that I figured I’d give it a go. And there were some wonderful little stories in here. I didn’t love them all, in fact there were some I had to push through. But overall, I had a really good time reading these magical stories.

Ellen Klages certainly has a gift with words. Her writing is descriptive, but not overly so, and full of rich language. One of the things I really appreciated about this book was that it didn’t feel like Klages was trying too hard to sound intelligent and eloquent, which is a common issue among writers. But this was so well written!

I enjoyed most of the stories, although I think one of my favorites was Sounds the Suet Girl and the French Pearl. It was so delightful and entertaining. I loved the fairytale feel.

This was a quick, enjoyable read. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interés in reading short stories and enjoys fantasy/sci-fi. I’m glad I took a chance on this.

Thank you to NetGalley and Tachyon Publishing for providing a copy of this in excufor an honest review!