Crown of Feathers eARC Review


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GoodReads: 

I had a sister, once…

In a world ruled by fierce warrior queens, a grand empire was built upon the backs of Phoenix Riders—legendary heroes who soared through the sky on wings of fire—until a war between two sisters ripped it all apart.

I promised her the throne would not come between us.

Sixteen years later, Veronyka is a war orphan who dreams of becoming a Phoenix Rider from the stories of old. After a shocking betrayal from her controlling sister, Veronyka strikes out alone to find the Riders—even if that means disguising herself as a boy to join their ranks.

But it is a fact of life that one must kill or be killed. Rule or be ruled.

Just as Veronyka finally feels like she belongs, her sister turns up and reveals a tangled web of lies between them that will change everything. And meanwhile, the new empire has learned of the Riders’ return and intends to destroy them once and for all.

Sometimes the title of queen is given. Sometimes it must be taken.

This book was intoxicating from the first chapter and to be fair I was ready to dive in after reading the blurb, no swaying needed.

I couldn’t believe just how complex and diverse a world Preto built, and I don’t mean just the characters I mean the lush history and even topography and geography. Preto has an amazing eye to detail and one that I really want to harp on while I write this. I love world building. I adore it, so, to me the building of the world and showing things off She used details from the past to enhance the present and interweaving them together flawlessly. We have a history of fierce queens and a past tale of sisters that mirrors a present tale.

I was nothing short of impressed. She made my heart drop to my stomach and soar back up, and it was the best emotional roller coaster I have ever ridden. I would certainly categorize this as one of the best books of 2019 and one of the best reads of the year for myself/ With books like this and Descendant of the Crane coming out this year, my GoodReads favorite shelf is going to be massive by December. 

You want to cheer for the Phoenix Riders and you are sitting on the edge of your seat when danger lurks near -and let me tell you that happens quite often-. You are given multi-faceted views of characters, and no one is left 2D, Preto has given us full characters, they may not always be relatable in what they do but their intentions are; well that’s debatable with Val but I won’t judge you if you uh, find yourself identifying with her…just…remind me not to upset you ever. Not to mention Preto had me nearly crying before I even really hit the 15% mark, I mean, seriously, that’s unheard of. 

Unable to put down the book, I stayed up until dawn, I needed to find out what would happen to ‘Nyk’ or Sev, to know what would happen next in the world,  to wonder what in the world Val was up to. And the ending had my jaw dropping to the floor. I don’t know how I am supposed to wait for book 2.

Seriously, one of the best fantasy reads for 2019 and one to go out and read if you have any inkling too.

U.K. Release Date: April 25, 2019, through B&W Publishing.

Pros:
– Well developed characters
– Amazing and expansive world building
– A perfect person that you love to hate
– Characters that are not always what they seem
– Great character growth as well, seriously, it’s impressive
– Phoenixes
– Baby Phoenix
– TWISTS. SUCH TWISTS.
– Phoenix Riders
– Magic

Cons:
– It’s so hard to not want to scream ‘NO’ or ‘WHY’ while reading
– This will cause you to stay up super late
– You will probably at least get teary-eyed if not full on ugly cry.
– You may not like how much world building there is, so I’ll say beware now
– This is not a relaxing read, please look to points 1 & 3 again.
– WHAT WAIT IS THIS FOR BOOK 2?!

Content Warning: There is the death of animals and people, and violence.

**I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.**

The Fourth Courier Review

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A Fast Paced Espionage Thriller for Alan Furst Fans Sent In Post-Cold War Poland.

It is 1992 in Warsaw, Poland, and the communist era has just ended. A series of grisly murders suddenly becomes an international case when it’s feared that the victims may have been couriers smuggling nuclear material out of the defunct Soviet Union. The FBI sends an agent to help with the investigation. When he learns that a Russian physicist who designed a portable atomic bomb has disappeared, the race is on to find him—and the bomb—before it ends up in the wrong hands.

Smith’s depiction of post-cold war Poland is gloomily atmospheric and murky in a world where nothing is quite as it seems. Suspenseful, thrilling, and smart, The Fourth Courier brings together a straight white FBI agent and gay black CIA officer as they team up to uncover a gruesome plot involving murder, radioactive contraband, narcissistic government leaders, and unconscionable greed.

Thank you Wunderkind PR, Arcade Publishing, and Timothy Jay Smith for the opportunity to read and review a final copy!

This book was published on April 4, 2019.
[So, just this month, if you’re looking for a new release to read in crime thrillers, this could be for you!]

[**I am giving my honest review in exchange, nothing less, nothing more!**]

So now you’ve read the blurb, and well if you like thriller novels and unique settings, this one may be the read for you!

Timothy Jay Smith gives us something unique by setting his story in post-cold war Poland, and it’s great to travel to Warsaw in the 90s through his prose. Not to mention it’s fun to watch how differently our FBI Agent Jay works compared to Kurt, our CIA man.

The plot is interesting and the pacing is really well done. It’s not often we get to see espionage in such an appropriate time in history as far as book settings go! I really enjoyed Smith’s narrative voice and honestly loved the ending.

I think my two issues were the only things holding me back from marking this as 4 Cups of Coffee. Firstly, I really didn’t like the women they way they were written, not so much Basia, she was not meant to be a ‘good’ character (as in morals), and that’s fine, always love someone you can loathe a little in a book but at the same time you get where she’s coming from. She’s a survivor, she doesn’t give a crap about your feelings. And secondly, I just wanted more espionage and less Jay going on dates 😉 I was happy for the man, but I’m always one to rally for more espionage over romance so while this might be a problem for me, it could also be the reason someone else reads it and I hope you all reading the review will give this a chance if this sounds enjoyable to you!

Another thing I found that I enjoyed and it was such a small detail that it surprised me, was the fact that Jay was separated from his children and he missed them, actively thought of them and people just forget that dads are capable of that too and I thought that was just a splendid small detail for Smith to add about Jay.

Once more I am so grateful for the opportunity to have read this, now please let’s all cross fingers that Timothy Jay Smith continues writing and gives us all the espionage too.

So end game rating: Three Solid Cups of Coffee.

[I know it’s not always clear what my ratings mean but 3/5 Cups means that I enjoyed reading the book and would certainly recommend it to others who liked the genre. And in fact tomorrow I’ll be diving more into critiquing and reading for my post!]

Kaerou Time to Go Home Review

Thank you B. Jeanne Shibahara for sending this book to me! I am providing my honest review to you all on my blog in exchange!

GoodReads Blurb:

In Japan…everywhere…red strings tie all people we meet together. Some strings are weak. Some have tangles. Some strong.

Meryl—Vietnam War widow—misses her grown son, feels left out after her father’s recent marriage. A WWII Japanese flag falls into her hands. The gentle push of a love-struck professor starts her adventure—take the flag home. From the neon of Osaka, to the ancient capital Nara, to the forests of Akita, the trail follows a newspaper reporter, factory manager, ikebana teacher, a Matagi hunter and winds through Japanese culture, past and present. A story of shared humanity and love in the simplest things.

This book was hard to define in simple terms, I did really enjoy it, especially at around page 25 I think something just really really clicked for me. There were elements here that I typically enjoy in a book, the history of things, the going back and forward of thinking of the past and progressing in the present, these are always huuuuuge pluses for me.

This story is more than just about Meryl, and in fact, the quote at the top of the blurb is my favorite in the book and is said by my favorite character, Ms. Kawanishi. The landscapes that Shibahara describe are utterly beautiful and it makes you want to go hop on a plane and go explore Japan. There’s an ample cast of characters and they’re all a variety of personalities.

Shibahara not only does a great job describing gorgeous locations, she also has a rather poetic or lyrical style! It actually took me a little while to get into it but it’s something I enjoyed after adapting to it [Note, probably about 25 is when I got used to the rhythm of it.]

The book is about finding love and about letting go of those we love as well. Meryl is delivering a flag to a man’s family who never thought they would get him home again, but she’s bringing them a beautiful chance while also dealing with the fact that despite her love for her husband she couldn’t condone everything he did and it makes her connect with the man she’s bringing home and his family. An unknowing level where thoughts are shared between her and the family as they have to face the brutality of what war cost in a time of peace.

There were some small issues, I wasn’t sure I always appreciated some of the stereotypes of some of the characters, or always completely enjoyed Meryl but as I said my favorite character was Ms. Kawanishi anyway, and I really thought this book was just a very lush one in its details of Japan and elsewhere. I would definitely recommend to those who like Eat, Pray, LoveUnder the Tuscan Sun, or The Sandalwood Tree. Not to mention the covers both front and back are absolutely lovely as you can tell from the featured image, front on the left, back on the right.

I enjoyed this and I foresee myself reading it again in the next couple of years and I am already planning on sending it to my sister who I think will really enjoy it too. [But her own copy damn it cause she doesn’t understand what the word borrow means] This go around I didn’t want to put a rating, I want you all to read the review and decide for yourself if you’d like to give it a read and if you want to discuss it more with me feel free to reach out to me!

The Crying Machine eARC Review

Hey guys, I know, two reviews in a row. I have a good reason though! This book’s publish birthday is tomorrow AND I have BESpring19 posts to do cause the other hosts were on point with their prompts and I wanna do so many.


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GoodReads Blurb: 

A sharp, lyrical thriller of power, religion, and artificial intelligence.

The world has changed, but Jerusalem endures. Overlooked by new superpowers, the Holy City of the future is a haven of spies and smugglers, exiles and extremists.

A refugee with strange technological abilities searches for a place to disappear.

An ambitious young criminal plots the heist that could make or destroy him.

A corrupt minister harnesses the power of the past in a ruthless play for complete control.

And the wheels of another plan – as old and intricate as the city itself – begin to turn…

I’ll be honest, I was hesitant after the first chapter, wondering what I’d gotten myself into but I kept on and the other chapters were still a bit ‘hmm’ for me until about 30 pages in and then it all just clicked, Chivers had me hooked.

The premise was already right up my alley, Sci-Fi/Dystopia and I’m always a sucker for books about AI (or movies or anything else lol).

Clementine is a nugget and I want to protect her with all my heart and hiss at anyone who gets near her.

But, not to go crazy and mention a whole bunch of names that will mean nothing to you all, let’s start small.

The story switches between three characters, each chapter is told in the first person and no two chapters in a row are from the same perspective/character. The characters are Silas, Levi, and Clementine who I’ve already mentioned. It’s fun to have the perspective go from one of the ‘good guys’ to the corrupt minister and I really enjoyed that. The story is set in Jerusalem and I like that the reason it is, is because the Mechanicals/Machines have taken over Europe and the US. This means that the people coming to Jerusalem from those people are mostly refugees and that’s a pretty interesting take. As this is set in the future, Jerusalem’s history is mentioned but nothing is in depth on it, which is pretty good for this particular book, I applaud Chivers on balancing that well enough. He doesn’t try to write about what he doesn’t know as far as setting the book in a different country goes and that’s always a nice and refreshing thing, and his own take remains in our futuristic world he’s built.

I would have enjoyed more of his world building for this dystopia setting and that was probably my biggest let down in this novel. But this is more character driven and not only that but the plot doesn’t need you to know more than what he gives.

Overall this book really touched on humanity, showing an AI hybrid what it means to be human, and along the way perhaps a few others learn the meaning too [such as our ambitious criminal] and though there is talk about religion it’s not to shove it in your face, it’s part of the ties to the past and I really LOVED that there is a religion based off worshipping machines, and not to mention God is referred to with she/her in this so, I’m already like ‘damn straight’ lol.

The minor characters were interesting as well and I can say Yusuf and Amos were my favorites in that regard but I won’t give away too many details.

Really loved this and was so satisfied when I finished, it was an unexpected favorite for me.

Time for the breakdown.

Pros:
– Future with intricate levels of technology incorporated into humans.
– Insightful, makes you think about what humanity means in the world this book is set
– Clementine is a wonderful nugget
– Religion is interesting in this day and age but it doesn’t shove it in your face constantly
– Character depth in small and unexpected ways
– You get to see the point of view of the bad guy, pretty fun
– Jerusalem is the place where people flee, and I love that mechanicals are not fond of it, machines do not love sand, and Europe and the US are paying for the advanced technology that US brought upon the world

Cons:
– First few chapters are a little awkward
– At first, the setting isn’t what it seems, it’s not so sci-fi and dystopia that you can clearly read that the first couple of chapters. [Personally, I liked that after I got over the little hump]
– Sometimes you just didn’t want to switch POVs so much
– Not enough background information which may affect someone’s enjoyment of the book.

[***I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.***]

Nation of the Beasts #1 eARC Review


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Goodreads Blurb: Terrifying creatures, unseen to all around him, have tormented Elisse since he was a little boy. These “night terrors” and the cruel life as a young Westerner in a refugee camp have left him isolated and alone. The only clue to his past is an old, tattered envelope with a picture of his father who mysteriously abandoned him at a monastery as a baby.

When Elisse flees India and journeys to New Orleans in search of his father and the truth of his troubled existence, he finds not only the answers to his extraordinary life, an ancestral secret with a grave responsibility, but also the one thing he most desires. A family—but of beasts.

Now, Elisse’s awakening gifts attract dark forces rooted in Louisiana magic, and he must do the unthinkable to protect everyone he loves. Will Elisse accept the burdens of his gifts and conquer darkness? Or will that same darkness consume him and destroy the love he so desperately longed for?

Mariana Palova’s debut novel, Nation of the Beasts: The Lord of the Sabbath, is an unforgettable journey of magic, heartache, and the unbreakable bonds that span this world and the other.”

Palova gives us a creepy and dark horror novel that submerges you in a world of voodoo, beasts, and deals that never seem to be what they seem. Then again nothing is what it seems in Elisse’s world. Not only that but she’s given us an androgynous character and though there is love and pain and obstacles to cross, this book is no love story and that makes me enjoy it all the more because she promises to extend this world and Elisse so that you’re left with a feeling of wanting to read straight on to book 2 once you reach the end, which is of course impossible. The characters are diverse, some are ‘gruff’ and rough around the edges but many have enough facets to satisfy character driven readers. At some point the character growth does slow but it’s necessary to move forward with the plot once certain actions are needed/put in place. The reason this didn’t get a higher rating from me was, purely, because I feel the translator and the translation itself might have lost some of the absolute magic that Mariana has written for us. I am planning on reading this in its native form next, in Spanish and hopefully, that will be soon.

[Content Warning: This is an exceedingly dark novel, there is violence/blood/gore/death and nightmarish things that go bump in the night.]

–call it loneliness or despair, sometimes the world has to treat you the worst to make you crave the best.” (quotes are subject to change as this was a review copy and not a final copy and therefore may not exist in the final version)

Pros:
– Dark and creepy
– Fusion of different culture folklore traditions which works well for New Orleans
– Androgynous protagonist
– Things that go bump in the night

Cons:
– Hmm a bit of weird pacing again, things seem to happen in just a matter of months but it feels like it should take longer
– Not enough depth for Elisse but there is more to come
– Some things mix together too much as far as like the action that’s happening and it’s hard to discern it at times
– You didn’t get enough to know much about the other characters
– Things were not always clarified…and on that note…
– I think the translation could have been better and rectified some of these small cons.

There we have it, some good, some bad, but enough good to keep me going onto the next and hopefully reread this one in Spanish.

Toodles!

 

March in Review

Hey!

So I was still pretty brand-spankin’ new to the book blogging world when I wrote my February wrap up, so, hopefully, this one is a bit better!

I tried to split the haul from the review so it’s not like ‘death by long post.’

Now, I didn’t read all those books form the haul, I’m not a miracle worker lol. Besides I have the NetGalley list to keep fighting before I can return to my own shelves.

What did I read?


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My favorite March posts from fellow Bloggers:

Susan- An Open Letter of Thanks

Clo- Authenticity in Engagement

Clo- Blogging 101 Blog Hopping & Commenting

Sophia- Book Series I Should Attempt to Finish Because I’m Forgetful

Sam- Books that have Changed Lives

Sam- Genre in Depth: Mystery

Kal- CMA Guidelines (Super Helpful!)

Reading around the Globe: Maria in Bangladesh

Olivia- Shakespeare Themed Unboxing

Isabelle- Review: To Best the Boys (This review makes me want to go out and immediately get this book)

Michelle- A Response to: An Open Letter to Your Sex Scenes

Jayati- Longest Books I’ve Read

What I’ve Posted:

Reviews:

  1. The Dresden Files: Storm Front
  2. Off Planet eARC Review
  3. Anna Undreaming ARC Review
  4. Ready Player One Review
  5. The Bird King eARC Review
  6. Serving the Servant: Remembering Kurt Cobain eARC Review
  7. Descendant of the Crane eARC Review
  8. Stardust Review
  9. [Salty] Mini Review Day
  10. Ghondatha eARC Review
  11. The Fever King eARC Review
  12. Mini Reviews

Regular Posts:

  1. Love and Reading
  2. World Book Day 2019
  3. Book Vs. Book. Vs. Book
  4. Finding love for Reading

Top 5 Posts:

  1. My Top 5 [YA] Fantasy Series
  2. My Top 5 Mystery Picks

[I won’t put every post from the month, but those might be the most useful, the rest are tags and memes!]

And Finally…

What to look forward to for April?

Bookending Spring 2019!

Bookending Spring 2019 Posts with information on hosts and posts and sign-ups:

Sam’s Bookending Spring 2019 Announcement

Ruby’s Bookending Spring 2019 Announcement

Michelle’s Bookending Spring 2019

 

That’s it.

I’m done.

I’m dead, I’m going to go nap. [Also may have bought 4 more books today but you can bet your sweet potato asses I’m not editing my haul post.]

Toodles!