Waiting on Wednesday: The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton

“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 Devil and the Dark Water

Like so many others, I had a great time reading The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle and had been casually keeping my eye out for Turton’s next release. Well, there is finally both a cover and synopsis so here we are! The Devil and the Dark Water promises a maritime murder-mystery and a great deal of supernatural creepiness. It sounds like the PERFECT October read, which coincidentally is when it will be released.

Currently Reading: 4/6/20

Cover- The Southern Book Club

The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix
AHHHHH it’s finally coming out on Tuesday!! I’m really looking forward to this quirky, awesome sounding horror/fantasy. Initial reviews are looking good, so I have pretty high hopes.

Cover- Race the Sands

Race the Sands by Sarah Beth Durst
This sounds like a pretty wild story and once again, the early reviews are fantastic! Racing on deadly beasts and battle corruption at the same time! I don’t even know… this has been lingering in my TBR queue for too long and it’s almost the release date.

 

House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas – Review

Cover - House of Earth and Blood

Published: March 3, 2020

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

Series: Crescent City #1

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 803 (Hardcover)

My Rating: 4.0/5.0

Synopsis:

Bound by blood.
Tempted by desire.
Unleashed by destiny.

Bryce Quinlan had the perfect life—working hard all day and partying all night—until a demon murdered her closest friends, leaving her bereft, wounded, and alone. When the accused is behind bars but the crimes start up again, Bryce finds herself at the heart of the investigation. She’ll do whatever it takes to avenge their deaths.

Hunt Athalar is a notorious Fallen angel, now enslaved to the Archangels he once attempted to overthrow. His brutal skills and incredible strength have been set to one purpose—to assassinate his boss’s enemies, no questions asked. But with a demon wreaking havoc in the city, he’s offered an irresistible deal: help Bryce find the murderer, and his freedom will be within reach.

As Bryce and Hunt dig deep into Crescent City’s underbelly, they discover a dark power that threatens everything and everyone they hold dear, and they find, in each other, a blazing passion—one that could set them both free, if they’d only let it.

With unforgettable characters, sizzling romance, and page-turning suspense, this richly inventive new fantasy series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas delves into the heartache of loss, the price of freedom—and the power of love.


I am ALWAYS excited for a new SJMaas book because, well, they are the junk food of the book world. They are so much fun to read and I’ve accepted that sometimes I like things that are bad. This book has flaws and a few things that drove me crazy, but overall it was an incredibly entertaining story!! And it’s certainly one that will leave fans clamoring for the sequel.

SJMaas loves her uber hot, perfect humanoid fantasy creature main characters… especially the fey. Bryce Quinlan is a lovely, sassy, half-fey who loves to party with her BFF Danika who happens to be one of the most powerful werewolves in the city. They’re a pair of drunk, drug muddled party girls and that seems to sum up their personality for the first quarter of the book. I have to say, I really didn’t like Bryce or Danika very much at the beginning. Danika, of course, gets killed very early on and Bryce goes into a depressive spiral and beats herself up for not being there, etc. Then the detective work comes in and the real story begins- OH YEAH! Someone else is murdered by the same creature/person that killed Danika and Bryce is assigned by her boss and the governor of the region to investigate the death with Hunt Athalar. He’s tall, dark, handsome, enslaved to the republic, and he happens to be the Governor Micah Domitus’s personal killer. If you’ve read any other SJMaas book, you will guess exactly what happens next.

They hate each other, but the tension is building and you just KNOW that they’re falling in love each time they are rude or inconsiderate to one another.

What a healthy way to form a relationship, right?

It’s utterly predictable at this point but I just can’t stop reading it.

Obviously, the slow development of the relationship is a huge part of the story, but there is actually more to the story. The detective work part is actually really great and I was just as invested in the whodunnit as I was waiting for the first flames of love to kindle. And the friendships in this book are POWERFUL. I loved that Bryce has wonderful, supportive, loving parents and wasn’t an orphan or totally dysfunctional like so many other books tend to portray the main characters… The side characters were great, including Bryce’s stepbrother Ruhn, Lehaba the fire sprite, Fury the assassin, Juniper the glorious dancer, and so many others!! 

I loved this book, but in my wise old age, I realize this isn’t a masterpiece. It’s a NYT bestseller and SJMaas knows what sells well to the masses (or should I say Maases?). She has certain quirks in her writing like overusing stupid phrases (ie. alphahole) that make me want to poke my eyes out,but then she goes and writes such compelling characters with these sad, sad backstories and maybe they can be redeemed. DANGIT. It’s like reading a soap opera!!! I’ll also mention that the setting was really interesting – Crescent City actually felt like a real place. Like, you’d definitely have a favorite restaurant, coffee shop, etc. It was more fleshed out than settings in her previous series.

In short, if you like her other books, you’ll love this! It’s a better beginning than either of her other series and I hope she sticks with the adult fantasy genre rather than sliding back into the psuedo-YA thing because it’s really working for me.

Shorefall by Robert Jackson Bennett – Review

Cover- Shorefall

Published: April 21, 2020

Publisher: Del Rey Books

Series: Founders #2

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 512 (Hardcover)

My Rating: 4.5/5.0

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

Synopsis:

The upstart firm Foundryside is struggling to make it. Orso Igancio and his star employee, former thief Sancia Grado, are accomplishing brilliant things with scriving, the magical art of encoding sentience into everyday objects, but it’s not enough. The massive merchant houses of Tevanne won’t tolerate competition, and they’re willing to do anything to crush Foundryside.

But even the merchant houses of Tevanne might have met their match. An immensely powerful and deadly entity has been resurrected in the shadows of Tevanne, one that’s not interested in wealth or trade routes: a hierophant, one of the ancient practitioners of scriving. And he has a great fascination for Foundryside, and its employees – especially Sancia.

Now Sancia and the rest of Foundryside must race to combat this new menace, which means understanding the origins of scriving itself – before the hierophant burns Tevanne to the ground.


OH MY JEEZ this book was possibly just as awesome as Foundryside! Robert Jackson Bennett really knows how to build a messed up world where you can lose yourself in the dark alleys, tenements, and the gutters below the gilded halls of the elite. I mean, that’s a little dramatic, but it’s not untrue! This second installment is essentially another episode of the wealthy merchant houses screwing up EVERYTHING and nearly destroying the city because they want more power. All the while, the freelancers who are trying to change the industry are trying to clean up the egregious mistakes of, in this case, Ofelia  Dandolo.

This book starts out as a wild ride and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Basically, the lovely, somewhat larcenous (but good intentioned) crew at Foundryside are trying to swipe the contents of the entire lexicon at one of the major foundries. It’s brilliant and daring! Heists! But then THE FIRST OF ALL HIEROPHANTS, CRASEDES MAGNUS is about to be unleashed upon the world after centuries of being trapped in death. The book entirely shifts focus to trying to stop Ofelia Dandolo from bringing him back, and then (spoiler) trying to kill him again. It’s an intense read and you most definitely need to read Foundryside prior to even thinking about Shorefall

Aside from the fantastic plot that kept me on the edge of my seat, have I ever mentioned how great the world building is? Well, let me just tell you, it’s incredible and decidedly Venetian (or perhaps Italian) in general in it’s inspiration. I can just visualize these ancient stone walls surrounding the wealth inside the campos where the great families run their merchant empires and hundreds in the street for parades reminiscent of those for Carnivale. The scent of hot metal and foundry smoke on the breeze, the cobbled streets… you get the picture. It’s exotic and bright, but not nearly so bright as the cast of characters. 

I continue to admire Sancia Grado’s resilience and her love and friendship with Berenice, Gregor, Orso, and even Clef. Gregor is what I would call the secondary main character in this installment and it’s fascinating to see him struggle with the scrivings that both saved him and hold him thrall. Orso and Berenice play important roles, but you don’t get to see in their heads quite the same way as the reader does with Sancia and Gregor. That being said, I love them too and the whole crew is complimentary of one another, but defined and unique. 

This was a fantabulous read and I didn’t want it to be over! This is intended to be a trilogy, so I at least have the comfort of knowing I get to read another book set in this world. 

Waiting on Wednesday: A Dance of Fate by Juliet Marillier

“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- A Dance with Fate

Okay, I am really excited for this book and the synopsis promises much second-hand stress and emotions. A Dance of Fate is the second of the Warrior Bard books and I’m expecting intrigue!! This will be out September 1, 2020 and will definitely not be the last of Juliet Marillier’s books I read this year.

Currently Reading: 3/30/20

Cover- Dragonslayer
Dragonslayer by Ducan M. Hamilton
This just sounded really fun. A guard and a magical barmaid are sent off to slay a dragon. The big selling point for me is that apparently the dragon gets its own POV chapters! It’s a trilogy that is now complete, so if I really like this I can binge read all of them!

Cover- The Book of Koli
The Book of Koli by M.R. Carey
Post apocalyptic world, killer plants – I’m sold! Plus, the series looks like it’s on a somewhat accelerated release schedule so I can read them all without forgetting too much.

If I read as much as I hope to this week, I’ll also start reading Scythe by Neal Schusterman!

Where Gods Fear to Go by Angus Watson – Review

Cover- Where Gods Fear to Go

Published: December 3, 2019

Publisher: Orbit Books

Series: West of West #3

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 544 (Paperback)

My Rating: 4.5/5.0

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

Synopsis:

The outrageously thrilling West of West trilogy comes to an action-packed close in Where Gods Fear to Go –a gritty epic fantasy journey in which a mismatched group of refugees battle animals and monsters, an unforgiving land and each other as they cross a continent to fulfill a prophecy.

Battling across the Shining Mountains, the questers discover a land more terrifying than they ever could’ve imagined–and they’ve fought thunder lizards.

All the while fighting and falling in love, the tentatively allied Wootah and Calnians must survive monster attacks, flash floods, and tornadoes to uncover the secret of The Meadows. And then comes the hard part.
To save themselves and everybody else, they will travel west of west, deeper into danger…and attempt to take on a goddess who has already killed all the gods.

Ummm, I really didn’t think this trilogy could get any crazy but it certainly did! What began as an entertaining and hilarious story of a tribe running from certain death and the supernaturally enhanced warrior women hunting them down turned into something almost poignant. Okay, I wouldn’t go that far, but it was full of feeling, action, hilarity, and absurdity. In short, it was a darn good series that really took me by surprise and if you’re so inclined I would highly recommend the audiobooks because the narration makes it that much more on point.

Our unlikely cast of characters continue to find themselves in one predicament after another. They’ve just escaped the plains tribes but are now in the hands of the sasquatches who have mad telepathic powers that can debilitate even the most formidable warriors. This happens nearly first thing in the book, so I can safely tell you they escape and continue their journey to the far west, where they hope to defeat the warlock queen. There’s plenty of world building and further development of some characters that may have been somewhat flat (relatively speaking) up to this point. 

It’s difficult to discuss specifically what I loved most about this book without providing spoilers for all three books. Rest assured, it was greatly enjoyable and I liked it much more than the second book, which I thought dragged a little bit through the plains tribe section. It was a SOLID and emotional finale and I legit teared up a little during a couple sections because despite all the ridiculousness, there’s a serious plot and characters you just can’t help but to love.

What Should I Read Next?

20200327_200421I watched a recent Youtube video from BookswithEmilyFox where she went through her shelves and discussed her unread books. It got me thinking about how many unread books I have lingering on my shelves and, well, what better time to work my way through them! The selection above just features first books in a series and not the copious numbers of second or third books in a series I have hanging around (maybe a later post??).

Help me decide – which one should I read first? I’ve heard good things about most of them and would love to hear your thoughts too!

Subscription Box Review: OwlCrate – March 2020

Basic Box Info

This box only has two options – Owlcrate, which caters to fans of Young Adult books and Owlcrate Jr, which caters to Middle Grade readers.

  • Owlcrate (29.99 + Shipping)
  • Owlcrate Jr. (27.99 + Shipping)

Boxes are shipped between the 15th and 20th of each month. Shipping is available worldwide, with the exceptions of Mexico and Peru. The FAQ said that delivery was proving to be unreliable in these countries, though if a more reliable shipping service is available service may resume in the future.


March 2020 Unboxing: Music of the Night

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This is the 5 Year OwlCrate Anniversary box and there are a couple extra special items!

The book this month is The Kingdom of Back by Marie Lu, which is a fantasy tale about Mozart’s sister who has her own unique gift for music. The OwlCrate edition is a much lighter cover than the standard and has lovely silver gilded pages.

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On the left is a wooden art piece with a quote from Victoria Schwab’s Monsters of Verity duology. The cool owls on the right are actually bookplate stickers you can hand label. If you’re one of those people who actually lend books, these might be useful!

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I’m rather fond of this month’s pin design, too! I am a sucker for all things trees and this one is particularly lovely!

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I love getting candles in book boxes and this Goblin Grove candle smells amazing. The peach/pear scent really stands out and there are micro shimmers in the wax that add a little extra touch of fantasy. The Bella’s Lullaby mint chocolate lip scrub is going in my beauty stash for a home spa day. This is definitely more chocolate than mint.

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The “extra” item this month was a pair of OwlCrate print socks. Always a win for me! The last item is a cool little bluetooth speaker (rechargable) that you could easily take with you anywhere.

Waiting on Wednesday: To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini

“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- To Sleep in a Sea of Stars

I am INTRIGUED! I was a tremendous fan of Paolini’s Inheritance Cycle as a youngling and I’m very curious to see how his writing has matured over the years and how he does sci-fi. To Sleep in a Sea of Stars is the story of a xenobiologist who discovers an alien relic on an uncolonized world and it sounds like it leads into a first contact type of story. I’m really looking forward to getting my hands on this monster (800+ pages!) in September 2020!