The Disappearance of Winter’s Daughter by Michael J. Sullivan – Review

Cover- The Disappearance of Winters Daughter

Published: December 5, 2017

Publisher: Riyria Enterprises, LLC

Genre: Fantasy

Series: The Riyria Chronicles #4

Pages: 453 (Paperback)

My Rating: 4.5/5.0


A daughter vanishes. Two rogues are paid a fortune to find her. It isn’t enough.

When Gabriel Winter’s daughter mysteriously disappears and is presumed dead, the wealthy whiskey baron seeks revenge. Having lived in Colnora during the infamous Year of Fear, he hires the one man he knows can deliver a bloody retribution – the notorious Duster.

Ride with Royce and Hadrian as the cynical ex-assassin and idealistic ex-mercenary travel to a mysterious old-world city filled with nobles claiming descent from imperial aristocracy. Riyria’s job appears easy: discover what happened to the missing duchess and, if she lives, bring her home . . . if not, punish those responsible. But nothing is simple in the crowded, narrow, mist-filled streets of Rochelle, where more than one ancient legend lurks.

The Disappearance of Winter’s Daughter both was and was not what I expected. As with all MJS books, I was thoroughly entertained from beginning to end and laughed out loud on many occasions and held back laughter on many more. The storytelling style and the character chemistry is superb once again, further justifying my love for all things Riyria. I’ve found the audiobook experience for each of these books, including this one, utterly engaging and Tim Gerard Reynolds is one of my very favorite narrators.

I think I’ve covered what I expected (and got), but what I didn’t expect is more related to the actual story. From the outset, I expected the titular Winter’s daughter to be a young, fair, newlywed noble lady… what I got was a lady in early middle years, who can throw a cask of whiskey, cut a sharp trade deal, who is also still a damsel in distress. Ginny Winter certainly didn’t sit idle while she was kidnapped (for that’s how she disappeared, obviously) but rather learned of her captors, and worked on her escape plan. As the synopsis so wonderfully covers, Royce and Hadrian are hired by her father, Gabriel Winter, to either find her or make the city of Rochelle know fear like to that felt by Colnorans during the Year of Fear.

I also didn’t quite expect this book to be the historical info-dump that it was. There was a great deal of additional information on the history of Elan, the city of Rochelle, the fall of the Novronian empire, dwarves, Myr, local myths. SO MUCH STUFF. It was inserted into the story in a way that didn’t feel like tripping over a rock and falling into a bottomless pit of infodump, but there was so much that it was still obvious. That’s really my only negative opinion about the book overall, and why I knocked off half a star but it didn’t take away from the enjoyment of the story because it was a wild ride from beginning to end!

One of the central plot points in this book (other than the kidnapping) was the social and economic oppression of the dwarves, myr, and Calaians particularly in the city of Rochelle. These make up the destitute, downtrodden of the city and they’re tired of being forbidden to live, so the three groups form a loose coalition to push for change. This is quite understandable, but every revolutionary group has at least one bad egg that ruins everything. In this case, one person doesn’t want reform, but rather war and usurpation of the current ruling class. Throw in a bit of ancient tech/magic and a gathering of nobles and you’ve got a recipe for a classic fantasy disaster.

The Disappearance of Winter’s Daughter was a fantastically entertaining read and I would absolutely recommend it to anyone who will listen! You’re bound to love Royce and Hadrian just as I and so many other readers do. This book is currently not available from a traditional publisher, but is available on Audible and as a physical copy on the author’s website. I like these so much that I have both the audiobook and print copies!!


Currently Reading: 3/19/18

Cover- Knight's Shadow

Knight’s Shadow by Sebastien de Castell

Whilst browsing Audible I came across the RECENTLY RELEASED AUDIOBOOKS!!!! I have the hard copies of this series but I don’t have a ton of time to go back and read books I’ve missed out on, so this made me so happy! I decided to make Knight’s Shadow my audio listen for the week.


I’ll also keep reading A Veil of Spears by Bradley P. Beaulieu, which I totallllly didn’t finish last week!

Torn by Rowenna Miller – Review

Cover- Torn

Published: March 20, 2018

Publisher: Orbit

Genre: Fantasy

Series: The Unraveled Kingdom #1

Pages: 480 (Paperback)

My Rating: 5.0/5.0

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


TORN is the first book in an enchanting debut fantasy series featuring a seamstress who stitches magic into clothing, and the mounting political uprising that forces her to choose between her family and her ambitions, for fans of The Queen of the Tearling.

Sophie is a dressmaker who has managed to open her own shop and lift herself and her brother, Kristos, out of poverty. Her reputation for beautiful ball gowns and discreetly-embroidered charms for luck, love, and protection secures her a commission from the royal family itself — and the commission earns her the attentions of a dashing but entirely unattainable duke.

Meanwhile, Kristos rises to prominence in the growing anti-monarchist movement. Their worlds collide when the revolution’s shadow leader takes him hostage and demands that Sophie place a curse on the queen’s Midwinter costume — or Kristos will die at their hand.

As the proletariat uprising comes to a violent climax, Sophie is torn: between her brother and the community of her birth, and her lover and the life she’s striven to build.

Who knew that a book about a seamstress could be positively enchanting! Well, when you add a little bit of magic, a brewing revolution, and a handsome, noble love interest you’ve got yourself a blueprint for success. We’ve all read books featuring magical cloaks, shoes, and other vestments, but so rarely do we actually read about the person who creates these delightful (or possibly nefarious) pieces. Torn gives us exactly that and I loved every page!

Sophie Balstrade is a charming seamstress who produces ball gowns, day dresses, and other feminine apparel for the ladies of Galitha. For an additional cost, she’ll even weave in charms for protection, luck, love and other beneficent things and this is what attracts the attentions of Lady Viola Snowmont. Viola is a rather progressive noble, holding gatherings for those whose minds or talents interest her whether they be noble, common, foreign, or native. Of course, Sophie’s unique talent catches her attention and Sophie begins attending events and eventually meets the handsome Theodore, eldest son of the Duke of Westland. You can imagine where things go from here – commoner and noble meet, instant (but frowned upon) attraction ensues, there is a crisis, etc. etc. I honestly really enjoyed their relationship and seeing it bloom throughout the book, though this may be off-putting for some readers who steer clear of romantic intentions in their books.

On the flip side of Sophie’s popularity with some of the nobility is the fact that her brother is the leader of what is essentially a group of political revolutionaries who are speaking out against the nobility. Cue the crisis. Sophie is torn between her love and new friends and her brother, who she’s always supported. Torn definitely has a crisis external to Sophie and that is the growing tensions between the nobility and the common folk, with a hefty dose of revolutionary rhetoric, inaction by the nobles, and collusion with foreign countries thrown in. Mostly, though Sophie’s involved in the crisis and mostly it’s internal. She struggles with her loyalties to so many people, and then she gets blackmailed into cursing a garment on behalf of one of the most infuriating villains I can remember reading about. Pyord is a professor who hooked up Kristos Balstrade with funding from his countrymen, helped organize the Red Cap protests/meetings, and then decided to blackmail Sophie so she would curse a lovely shawl for a member of the royal family. Pyord really disgusted me – first of all, he forced poor Sophie into a corner, then he started harming those close to her, had her followed EVERYWHERE, and generally acted loathsome. Others who have read this – what were your thoughts on Pyord?

I feel like there were so many other things I wanted to say in this review, but I can’t spoil the whole book, you know! I liked Sophie – I thought she was a very believable character. She wasn’t strong in the bold, brash, sword-wielding way so many female characters are, but rather brave, resilient, and loving in the way of real people. Her internal crises of who she was, what she believed, and how she should act were things that people actually deal with! As I mentioned, I loved the romantic aspect of this book – Sophie and Theodor were fantastic and it wasn’t instalove, but rather a growing attraction and a continual struggle to keep a distance between them. I do wish the city and cultures had a chance to be shown in more detail, but this book was so driven by our characters that the lack of fine details wasn’t missed overly much. Also, this book made me want to drop everything and design dresses, as I’ve always secretly longed to do. Alas, my talents are not for the creation of art, but rather the appreciation of it. Torn was an exciting book with tons of great plot elements and I am LONGING to have the sequel in my hands, if only to follow Sophie and Theo.

Waiting on Wednesday: The Wicked King by Holly Black

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme originally hosted on Breaking the Spine but has since linked up with “Can’t Wait Wednesday” at Wishful Endings now that the original creator is unable to host it anymore. This is a great way to share upcoming released you’re excited about!

Cover- Wicked King

I can’t believe there’s already a cover and synopsis for The Wicked King because I only finished The Cruel Prince a few weeks ago! As I checked out Goodreads I saw the absurd number of ratings and reviews already up… I understand a select few authors and readers have gotten ARCs, but seriously people. Am I the only one who finds it somewhat annoying that people review things that won’t be out for a year? I mostly just ignore it but the sheer number for this one boggled my mind! Anyway, mini-rant aside, I am really looking forward to reading this after the shocking ending of The Cruel Prince.

Blood of Assassins by R.J. Barker – Review

Cover- Blood of Assassins

Published: February 13, 2018

Publisher: Orbit Books

Genre: Fantasy

Series: The Wounded Kingdom #2

Pages: 480 (Paperback)

My Rating: 4.5/5.0

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.



The assassin Girton Club-foot and his master have returned to Maniyadoc in hope of finding sanctuary, but death, as always, dogs Girton’s heels. The place he knew no longer exists.

War rages across Maniyadoc, with three kings claiming the same crown – and one of them is Girton’s old friend Rufra. Girton finds himself hurrying to uncover a plot to murder Rufra on what should be the day of the king’s greatest victory. But while Girton deals with threats inside and outside Rufra’s war encampment, he can’t help wondering if his greatest enemy hides beneath his own skin.

Blood of Assassins is one of those rare books that impresses me more than itss predecessor. I tend to judge sequels more harshly because I always want them to exceed my imaginings, but so often they fall flat, or just a little short of the previous book’s impact. Not so with this book. I am now totally enamored with this series!

I’m not sure why, but Age of Assassins was just good – not awesome, and the characters felt like schoolyard bullies most of the time. The book improved as it went along and I liked it well enough to want to continue with the series, so here we are. This sequel was, to put it simply, awesome. Sure, I’ve got a few things that I thought were kind of annoying, but overall my impression of this book was much more positive than the first, ensuring that I will most definitely read the final book.

This time around, Girton is returning to Maniyadoc after a five-year hiatus. He and Merela decided to skip town because the assassin’s guild was after them and even though they themselves are skilled assassins, they wouldn’t have stood a chance. It would have been like John Wick 2, though perhaps with fewer deaths and certainly none by pencil. There is a war of kings – Rufra, Aydor, and Tomas are all vying for control of the kingdom and Girton’s obviously going to try to keep his best friend alive and make sure he comes out on top. In addition to preventing assassination, Girton must also try to keep his poisoned master alive, solve a murder, find a spy, and possibly help Rufra to win a war, all while he tries to keep his greatest secret hidden.

On to some of my issues that prevented this book from being a five star read… First and foremost, Girton seems to have not matured at all in his five years spent traveling with his master. He routinely makes very childish choices, shows juvenile rage, and is a giant idiot on several occasions. While his peers have matured – become leaders of men, gotten married, had children, etc. Girton has seemingly remained fixated on his lost teenage love and thus stagnated at that age mentally. My other issue was the use of the dream sequences. Clearly this is Girton struggling with his internal conflict and his magic, but they do tend to disrupt the story. It was like all of a sudden I wasn’t reading the same book and while they lent perspective to Girton’s inner struggle with his power, I feel like the “voice” of the magic would have sufficed. Also, is anyone else with me in wanting to know more about the hedgings? Are they just a superstition of the populace, or do they really exist?

Overall, this book was really great – from the dialogue, to the subplots, to the action sequences. I liked this so much more than the first book and I really think it’s because the characters have aged up and have stopped trying to be simple bullies, but have escalated things to war. Which, let’s be honest, is much more interesting to read about. I think Rufra and Aydor both had excellent character growth and the newly introduced characters were equally interesting. If you had lukewarm feelings about Age of Assassins, I would encourage you to give this book a try – you may have the same experience that I had! I’m tremendously excited for King of Assassins to release in August – yay for short waiting periods!

Currently Reading: 3/12/18

Cover- A Veil of Spears

A Veil of Spears by Bradley P. Beaulieu

Already it is time for the third installment in The Shattered Sands series and oh how excited I am! These are probably my favorite desert setting books and the plots are thick, the characters fascinating, and the pages many. This one clocks in at 672 pages, so it’s going to take awhile to get through, but I have no doubt it will be awesome.



Cover- The Disappearance of Winters Daughter

The Disappearance of Winter’s Daughter by Michael J. Sullivan

Since I’m basically hopeless at reading physical books I purchase, I decided to go ahead and get the audio version. It will certainly be enjoyable and I may actually prefer the audiobook since Tim Gerard Reynolds is such a fantastic narrator. He will always be the voices of Royce and Hadrian!


Blood of the Four by Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon – Review

Cover- Blood of the Four

Published: March 6, 2018

Publisher: Harper Voyager

Genre: Fantasy

Series: Standalone

Pages: 480 (Hardcover)

My Rating: 5.0/5.0

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


The acclaimed authors of The Map of Moments and The Secret Journeys of Jack London join creative forces once more in this epic, standalone novel—an exciting dark fantasy of gods and mortals, fools and heroes, saviors and destroyers with a brilliant beam of hope at its core–that should more than appeal to readers of N.K. Jemisin and Brandon Sanderson.

In the great kingdom of Quandis, everyone is a slave. Some are slaves to the gods. Most are slaves to everyone else.

Blessed by the gods with lives of comfort and splendor, the royal elite routinely perform their duties, yet some chafe at their role. A young woman of stunning ambition, Princess Phela refuses to allow a few obstacles—including her mother the queen and her brother, the heir apparent—stand in the way of claiming ultimate power and glory for herself.

Far below the royals are the Bajuman. Poor and oppressed, members of this wretched caste have but two paths out of servitude: the priesthood . . . or death.

Because magic has been kept at bay in Quandis, royals and Bajuman have lived together in an uneasy peace for centuries. But Princess Phela’s desire for power will disrupt the realm’s order, setting into motion a series of events that will end with her becoming a goddess in her own right . . . or ultimately destroying Quandis and all its inhabitants.

Blood of the Four was one of those random, unsolicited books that just show up in my mailbox from time to time and I was admittedly unsure of its quality. I hadn’t read either of the co-authors and the synopsis sounded good, but not particularly unique among the fantasy genre. I decided to go ahead and read it anyway and it was seriously one of the best books I’ve read! It just really struck a chord with me and I devoured it, reading during every spare moment of time.

One thing I would like to point out about Blood of the Four is that the synopsis barely scratched the surface of what would occur in this book. Holy crap-noodles guys, so much happened and suddenly I was hating characters and loving others and wondering more about the history of Quandis and and and !!!!! I would have to say that this book from basic fantasy character origin story to full blown city destroying magical doom in about 100 pages. Okay, slight exaggeration, it took most of the book to do that but every single page was great. And it was a standalone, so it’s done and I don’t have to be sucked in to a subpar sequel that lost the magic the first book had! THIS IS A WIN-WIN SITUATION. I would kind of love a prequel though, telling of the Pent Angel and how it became heresy to believe in anything but the four.

The characters were really great too and managed to have way more depth than some characters in multi-book series that have serious popularity. Princess Phela was an initial favorite because she was sneaky and ambitious, but it quickly became apparent that her ambition was malignant. Blane was actually somewhat similar to Phela, but more of her flip-side. He was ambitious, but in the long run not as twisted as her. Both had good intentions but ultimately Phela went too far, too quickly and ended up in the same shape as her mother. Admiral Daria Hallarte was pretty awesome – another who rose above her initial station in life and by keeping her secrets close, earned the respect of her fellow naval officers and sailors. Demos Kallistrate ended up not being a noble turd muffin as I had expected – YAY! Due to a tragic affair, Demos’ father was executed as a traitor, and he and his family were enslaved. This was particularly hard to deal with as he was the heir to the Baron Kallistrate and his fellow slaves were instructed to be especially cruel to him. The story arc of each character was deep considering all their development happened in a single book – take note authors, and image what you can do with 3 or 4 or even 5 books!

I’ve gotta say, this book blew my expectations away, making me extra glad I actually read it! I would wholeheartedly recommend this, especially since it’s not like a 10 book commitment – it’s a standalone after all! 5/5 would book-push this book. 5/5 would read again. Also, I can’t seamlessly integrate this  but the magic in this book was that solidly awesome elemental stuff, but maaaaaaan does it tear up the user who doesn’t respect it. Oozy black ichor from the orifices, premature aging, intense pain, etc. Brutal stuff, folks.

Lady Henterman’s Wardrobe by Marshall Ryan Maresca – Review

Cover- Lady Henterman's Wardrobe

Published: March 6, 2018

Publisher: DAW

Genre: Fantasy

Series: The Streets of Maradaine #2

Pages: 352 (Mass Market)

My Rating: 4.0/5.0

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Mixing high fantasy and urban fantasy, the second novel of the Streets of Maradaine series follows the Rynax brothers’ crew of outlaws as they attempt their biggest heist yet and restore justice to the common people.

The neighborhood of North Seleth has suffered–and not just the Holver Alley Fire. Poverty and marginalization are forcing people out of the neighborhood, and violence on the streets is getting worse. Only the Rynax brothers–Asti and Verci–and their Holver Alley Crew are fighting for the common people. They’ve taken care of the people who actually burned down Holver Alley, but they’re still looking for the moneyed interests behind the fire.

The trail of breadcrumbs leads the crew to Lord Henterman, and they plan to infiltrate the noble’s house on the other side of the city. While the crew tries to penetrate the heart of the house, the worst elements of North Seleth seem to be uniting under a mysterious new leader. With the crew’s attention divided, Asti discovers that the secrets behind the fire, including ones from his past, might be found in Lady Henterman’s wardrobe.

The gang’s back in businessssssss! I’ve so been looking forward to reading Lady Henterman’s Wardrobe because The Holver Alley Crew was such an epic story full of all my favorite things. It had heists, betrayal, mucho action, gangs, food, geez… EVERYTHING! And guess what. This book has all those things again!

Still looking to take down those responsible for the Holver Alley fire, the Rynax brothers and their associates are lead to the home of Lord Henterman and his Lady wife. At the same time, their also trying to stave off the advances into their territory by one named Treggin who is more than a normal street tough. This book seemed to focus in on fewer characters, obviously the Rynax brothers were a big part, but Helene and Mila also played bigger roles. Many of the others were reduced to being true side characters, which helped bring in the focus and develop the four “main” characters a little more. Mila is quickly becoming a favorite of mine, with her solid street presence and ambition.

Lady Henterman’s Wardrobe had an exciting plot and I expected no less. This time around it didn’t feel as personal, perhaps because while the characters are still out for revenge, the tragedy of the fire has become somewhat distant since the first book (at least for the reader). I was really engaged with the story from the very beginning, but things really picked up when Lady Henterman appeared. I was SO surprised and I dearly wish her to die on sight next time she makes an appearance. I loved that Druth Intelligence was brought in on this one a bit and I’m looking forward to seeing if a crossover with our favorite Constabulary duo will happen because of the Druth Intelligence linkage… Yes, I realize that seems somewhat cryptic for those of you who haven’t read all the Maradaine books. That just means you should get to reading them!

Overall, this was a solid sequel, but I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as The Holver Alley Crew. I love starting a new series and often find that the first book in a series usually ends up being my favorite, so this could definitely just be a me thing. By all means pick up this series if it intrigues you. I love the heist atmosphere and fictional thieves and spies are some of my all-time favorite characters. Marshall Ryan Maresca has quickly become one of my favorite authors and I genuinely look forward to each and every one of his new releases.

Waiting on Wednesday: The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme originally hosted on Breaking the Spine but has since linked up with “Can’t Wait Wednesday” at Wishful Endings now that the original creator is unable to host it anymore. This is a great way to share upcoming released you’re excited about!

Cover- The Winter of the Witch

I can’t believe this trilogy will be concluding in a mere 5 months! The Winter of the Witch will be the grand conclusion to the Winternight Trilogy and I expect it to be nothing less than magical and possibly heartbreaking. Plus, that cover is absolutely stunning, ya know? There isn’t much to the synopsis, but I imagine that saying too much will give the plot away and besides, running blindly into books can be kind of nice.

Currently Reading: 3/5/18

Cover- Torn

Torn by Rowenna Miller

At last I’m finally going to check this book out! Torn sounds like such an awesome debut and I really hope it lives up to my expectations. The MC is a seamstress that stitches magic into clothing and it sounds like there’s some intense political uprising plot going on. I think it has such potential and I can’t wait to finish it up and share my thoughts!