Review of A Botanist’s Guide to Parties and Poisons by Kate Khavari

Rating: 4/5

Recommend: Yes

Review:

This was such a fun book! I loved the characters and the plot had enough twists to keep me thinking, but not too many to feel overwhelming.

It took me a chapter to really get into the book. I had a bit of a hard time figuring out exactly what was happening. But once I did, I had such a fun time reading this!

The plot was really interesting, but it was the characters that truly drew me into the story. I loved getting to know all of the different people and their personalities. I especially enjoyed Saffron and Alexander’s characters and their relationship.

If you enjoy historical mysteries, I would highly recommend giving this a read! I’m excited to see what Khavari comes up with next!

Thank you to NetGalley and crooked Lane Books for the chance to read this book in exchange for an honest review!

Review of In a Garden Burning Gold by Rory Powers

Rating: 4/5

Recommend: Probably

Review:

I love mythology, and have always been fascinated by different culture’s myths and legends. So when I read the description for this book, I knew I had to read it. And let me tell you it did not disappoint! The rich history, political intrigue, and magic all blended together so well.

Each character was so unique and well developed. I feel like I understood each so well and felt connected to them all. Which made parts of the story when said characters faced hardships that much more devastating.

One reason this wasn’t a five star read for me was that the plot seemed to drag a little. I loved all of the world building and character development, but at times I feel like there was so much that I couldn’t keep track of the plot. And when I did figure it out, things went a little too slow at times. But I loved the characters enough that I always wanted to keep going!

I’m so glad I had the chance to read this book! If you like high fantasy with lots of world building and a unique magic system, I would highly recommend checking this out!

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

Review of The Stolen Kingdom by Jillian Boehme 

Rating: 4/5

Recommend: Yes

Review:

This was such a wonderful book! It took me a few chapters to get into, but after that I was hooked!

The characters were so endearing and real. They all made their own unique (and sometimes stupid) choices. I feel like by the end, I could understand almost everyone’s motivations and connect to so many characters.

And the way magic is used in this story is so interesting! I love the political and historical elements that are intertwined in with the magic. It made for such a interesting story.

If you like fantasy books with magic, political intrigue, and engaging characters, I’d highly recommend checking out The Stolen Kingdom!

Thank you to NetGalley and Tor Teen for the chance to read this book in exchange for an honest review!

Review of Daughters of a Dead Empire by Carolyn Tara O’Neil

Rating: 4/5

Recommend: Yes

Review:

This was such a powerful, thought-provoking book! I’ve always been interested in Anastasia, and the myths surrounding her. So as soon as I saw this book on NetGalley, I knew I had to read it! And Daughters of a Dead Empire did not disappoint!

The characters felt so real that I instantly connected to them. I loved seeing their development and growth throughout the story. They were all unique in their own way, and I could understand what each was thinking.

Even though this was historical fiction, and I generally knew how things were going to end, I still felt so invested in this book. I loved the integration of history and fiction. It made the story feel that much more real.

My only complaint was that I felt the ending was a bit rushed. I would have liked a little more time spend tying up loose ends. There was some closure, but I was still left needing a bit more.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical fiction. It isn’t a happy book–in fact I nearly cried on a few occasions. But it is so well-written and really made me think.

Thank you to NetGalley and Roaring Brook Press for the chance to read Daughters of a Dead Empire in exchange for an honest review!

Review of Servant Mage By Kate Elliot

Servant Mage

Rating: 3.5/4

Recommend: Probably

Review:

Servant Mage was such an interesting story. I found myself really drawn to the characters and the world Elliot creates. But, I feel like this book just scratched the surface and left me needing a bit more.

This book is short, especially for a fantasy novel. I didn’t mind the length, but I feel like because it was shorter, the story moved a little too fast at times. There wasn’t as much character development or world building. I got glimpses of those and I liked what I saw, but I would have liked more.

The world building that was present made me really intrigued. I’m looking forward to learning more about this world and how magic plays a part. There is so much to learn about and explore! I feel the same about the characters. I got to know them well enough to feel interested in their story, and what I did see really drew me in.

While I wish there had been a little more to this book, I did still enjoy it quite a bit! I wish this wasn’t a standalone, because I’d love so much more!

Review of Traitors of the Black Crown by Cate Pearce

Traitors of the Black Crown by Cate Pearce

Rating: 3/5

Recommend: Probably

Review:

There were so many things I liked about this book: a great cast of characters, rich world-building, witty dialogue, and so much more! But, I felt myself growing a little bored with the story. It seemed to drag in spots.

There was a lot happening in this book – which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I have no problem with sweeping storylines and rich plots. I had a harder time staying investing in this book, however, because the pacing seemed kind of uneven. Sometimes things moved so fast I wasn’t sure I fully understood what was happening, other times the plot seemed to drag.

That being said, I still really enjoyed this book. The characters were all so fascinating and multifaceted. I loved how everyone had such strong backstories and the fact that there was genuine character growth throughout the story. even when the plot seemed to be a bit slow, I still kept reading because I enjoyed the characters so much.

If you like epic fantasy that’s focused more on political intrigue and war than magic, I’d definitely recommend this book. It might take a bit to get through, but I think this book is totally worth reading!

Thank you to NetGalley Hansen House for the chance to read this book in exchange for an honest review!

A Marvellous Light (The Last Binding, #1)

Rating: 5/5

Recommend: Yes!

Review:

This was such a fun, intriguing read! I loved the mix of period drama and fantasy. Not only is the cover stunning, but the book itself is a beautiful piece of work too!

I adored the main characters in this book. They were flawed, but so likeable. I feel like I could relate and understand each of them. I felt a strong connection with them and that made me want to keep reading just to make sure they were ok.

The world is also so interesting and well developed! I loved how seamless magic was mixed into our “normal” world. It made sense and felt very real. I feel like I could step right into this world, and honestly I wish I could actually live there!

I’d highly recommend this book! If you enjoy period dramas with a flair of magic, you should definitely check this out! I’m excited to see what happens next!

Thank you to Tordotcom for the chance to read this book in exchange for an honest review!

Review of Destroyer of Light by Jennifer Marie Brissett

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Rating: 4/5

Recommend: Yes, but with a few reservations

Review:

I’ll say right off the bat, this book is not a light and fun read. The world-building is amazing, the characters are complex and well-developed, but there are also numerous scenes of intense violence and sexual assault (including rape of a minor). While those scenes made me profoundly uncomfortable, I did understand why Brissett included them so I was able to keep reading. But they were still rather disturbing.

But the world-building and history was so incredible. Brissett created worlds that felt real and made sense, while also being so different from our own world currently. I also found the dynamics between humans and krestge so interesting and thought-provoking. It made for such a fascinating and engaging story.

The characters also added to the depth and intrigue in this book. Each character had their own flaws (some much more prevalent than others) and their own unique personalities. Even if I didn’t always agree with the character’s actions, I could usually understand why they acted the way they did.

I would recommend this book to science fiction fans. But, I wouldn’t recommend it to younger audiences or those that might be triggered by rape, sexual assault, and other violent acts.

Thank you to NetGalley and Tor Books for the chance to read this book in exchange for an honest review!

Review of The Last Graduate by Naomi Novik

The Last Graduate (The Scholomance, #2)

Rating: 4/5

Recommend: Yes, if you liked the first one!

Review:

This was such a fun addition to the series! I had such a good time reuniting with the characters and meeting a few new ones. I can’t wait for book three!

I will admit, there are some times when El annoys me. She can get a little whiny sometimes. But, in general, I really enjoyed seeing her journey and development. Plus the rest of the characters were great and entertaining!

The world that Novik has created with these books is so interesting! I really enjoyed being able to dig deeper into the history and aspects of this world. It feels so real and understandable.

If you enjoyed A Deadly Education, I would highly recommend reading The Last Graduate! It was definitely worth reading and just made me really happy.

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

Review of Among Thieves by M.J. Kuhn

Among Thieves by M.J. Kuhn

Rating: 5/5

Recommend: YES

Review:

It’s been a bit since I gave a book five stars. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed a lot of books I’ve read recently, but there has to be something special for me to give a book five stars. And I’m thrilled to say Among Thieves had that special something!

The plot was fast-paced, but didn’t feel rushed. I loved that Kuhn got right into the action, but also did a good job explaining why the action mattered. Sometimes when a book dives straight into action, it can feel a little jarring and lead me to have a hard time figuring out exactly what’s going on. But Kuhn did a great job balancing the excitement and explanations.

I also adored these characters. I have a soft spot for amoral characters, particularly thieves and crooks. But I loved that these criminals in particular all had different motivations and felt like real people. It was easy to feel connected to each of them.

If you enjoy a good heist, fantasy book with entertaining characters and plenty of banter, I would highly recommend picking this book up! Thank you to NetGalley and Saga Press for the chance to read this book in exchange for an honest review.