Waiting on Wednesday: Daughter of the Serpentine by E.E. Knight

“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- Daughter of the Serpentine

First of all, how absolutely stunning is this cover!? I love the colors and would 10/10 pick this up based on the cover alone. Now, I absolutely loved Novice Dragoneer when it came out last year, so it was a no-brainer to put in a request for this (fingers crossed!!). Daughter of the Serpentine continues to follow Ileth as she trains to become a fully fledged Dragoneer one day but this time there are PIRATES. I’ve been loving the pirate/high seas adventure books that have been popping up lately! This will be out in November 2020!

Currently Reading: 6/15/20

Cover- The Empire of Gold
The Empire of Gold by S.A. Chakraborty
Oh my GOSH I am loving this book!!! I’m already more than 30% into the book and I’m just excited to turn pages and see what’s going to happen next. I hope the ending is a banger.

Cover- Gemina
Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
I decided to scrap the audiobook I had planned for last week because I just wasn’t enjoying it. Ended up picking up Illuminae and now here we are. Clearly I’m just going to binge read (okay, listen to) this series. The audio performance is amazing and the hype is real!

The Kingdom of Liars by Nick Martell – Review

Cover- The Kingdom of Liars

Published: May 5, 2020 (eBook)

Publisher: Gallery/Saga Press

Series: The Legacy of the Mercenary Kings #1

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 608

My Rating: 4.5/5.0

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

Synopsis:

In this brilliant debut fantasy, a story of secrets, rebellion, and murder are shattering the Hollows, where magic costs memory to use, and only the son of the kingdom’s despised traitor holds the truth.

Michael is branded a traitor as a child because of the murder of the king’s nine-year-old son, by his father David Kingman. Ten years later on Michael lives a hardscrabble life, with his sister Gwen, performing crimes with his friends against minor royals in a weak attempt at striking back at the world that rejects him and his family.

In a world where memory is the coin that pays for magic, Michael knows something is there in the hot white emptiness of his mind. So when the opportunity arrives to get folded back into court, via the most politically dangerous member of the kingdom’s royal council, Michael takes it, desperate to find a way back to his past. He discovers a royal family that is spiraling into a self-serving dictatorship as gun-wielding rebels clash against magically trained militia.

What the truth holds is a set of shocking revelations that will completely change the Hollows, if Michael and his friends and family can survive long enough to see it.


This book is a great example of the right book for the right mood. When I first picked it up in early May, I was excited but ultimately just wasn’t feeling it after about 50 pages. I read a few other books I was more interested in at that moment and picked The Kingdom of Liars back up at the end of the month. At that point, I fairly tore through it and ended up really enjoying it! Moral of the story – if you’re just feeling a little meh or like you’re in a reading slump, consider picking a book up when you’re actually in the mood for it. Sometimes obvious things like this need to be pointed out to us bloggers who are trying to write reviews by certain dates etc.

Now to the actual review!

Michael Kingman is the son of the man who murdered the prince. He and the rest of his family have been stigmatized and spat upon by most of the kingdom – commoner and noble alike – since the terrible event and he’s never quite come to terms with that. The Kingman family had been the right hand of the King for centuries and were instrumental in founding Hollow but that legacy has been tainted and the Kingman children have taken their own paths in life. Michael is a bit of a rogue and hangs out with folks who are somewhat criminally inclined or who’ve just had a hard upbringing. His eldest brother is the executioner and wants nothing but to lose his tainted last name. His sister Gwen works in a care home where their mother has also been secreted away from the public eye.

When Michael is offered a high paying job assisting a noble called Domet as he moves from the care home back into society he can’t refuse. It’s the only way of continuing the care his mother needs after she suffered terrible memory loss, which is the unfortunate side effect of having a magical gift that is overused. Domet turns out to be a brilliant drunk and encourages Michael to enter the Endless Waltz, which is basically a ritual wherein a young noble steps out into society, in order to prove that Michael’s father didn’t truly murder the prince. This is where the story begins to really take off and become a page-turner. From this point I didn’t want to put it down – the stakes and drama were high!

Overall, this ended up being a fantastic read and I’m incredibly excited for the sequel because it had one heck of an ending. The whole ending was just traumatizing and I loved it! It totally turned my expectations on their head – suddenly nothing was as I thought and just… wow!

Stacking the Shelves: 6/12/20

Stacking The Shelves is a weekly (or in my case monthly) meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews and it’s all about sharing the books you’ve added to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. You can include books you buy in a physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts, and of course ebooks!


Received for Review:

The Last Uncharted Sky by Curtis Craddock
I’m SO excited for the conclusion to this trilogy! It’s a charming yet action filled story with Three Musketeers vibes. Thanks to Tor for the eARC!

Demon in White by Christopher Ruocchio
I’ve been working on a re-read/catch up on this series in anticipation of this release in July. Can’t wait to check it out! Thanks to DAW for the eARC.

The Trials of Koli by M.R. Carey
This is another sequel I’m really looking forward to! The first book was a promising beginning to a new post-apocalyptic world. Thanks to Orbit for the eARC.

The House of Styx by Derek Kunsken
A new sci-fi series where humans have colonized Venus despite it’s harsh conditions. The synopsis reveals little, but it was pretty tempting. Thanks to Solaris for the eARC.

The Black Song by Anthony Ryan
Another awesome sequel on hand for summer reading! Thanks to Ace for the eARC so I can dig back into Vaelin’s next adventure.

The Empire of Gold by S.A. Chakraborty
EEEK!!! This may the the book I’m most excited about out of this haul! This has been a thoroughly fantastic series and it’s now coming to a close! Thanks to HarperVoyager for the eARC.

My Purchases: 

I decided to pick up a hard copy of The Girl of the Stars since my copy from the publisher never arrived (I assume due to COVID?). I’ve also picked up audiobook copies of Spirit and Illuminae recently, both of which are fantastic reads!!

Waiting on Wednesday: The Trouble With Peace by Joe Abercrombie

“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 Trouble with Peace

At last!!! The US cover for The Trouble With Peace has arrived! I can’t wait to see what Savine dan Glokta, Leo dan Brock, and Rikke get into in this installment. I loved the new setting and characters (both new and old) in A Little Hatred and find that Abercrombie just keeps writing amazing stuff. This will be released September 15 2020!

Currently Reading: 6/8/20

Cover- Steel Crow Saga

Steel Crow Saga by Paul Krueger
I’ve had this on my Audible wishlist for several months now and decided to pick it up finally. It’s interesting but I’m not sure I love it yet and may decide to pick up something else instead. Or maybe I’ll just trudge along. If you’ve read this, what did you think of it?

I’m also finishing up A Declaration of the Rights of Magicians this week. It’s a fantastic book but has definitely taken a bit longer to get through than I anticipated!

We Ride the Storm by Devin Madson – Review

Cover- We Ride the Storm

Published: June 23, 2020

Publisher: Orbit Books

Series: The Reborn Empire #1

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 528 (Paperback)

My Rating: 4.0/5.0

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

Synopsis:

In the midst of a burgeoning war, a warrior, an assassin, and a princess chase their own ambitions no matter the cost in Devin Madson’s visceral, emotionally charged debut.

War built the Kisian Empire. War will tear it down.

Seventeen years after rebels stormed the streets, factions divide Kisia. Only the firm hand of the god-emperor holds the empire together. But when a shocking betrayal destroys a tense alliance with neighboring Chiltae, all that has been won comes crashing down.

In Kisia, Princess Miko Ts’ai is a prisoner in her own castle. She dreams of claiming her empire, but the path to power could rip it, and her family, asunder.

In Chiltae, assassin Cassandra Marius is plagued by the voices of the dead. Desperate, she accepts a contract that promises to reward her with a cure if she helps an empire fall.

And on the border between nations, Captain Rah e’Torin and his warriors are exiles forced to fight in a foreign war or die.

As an empire dies, three warriors will rise. They will have to ride the storm or drown in its blood.


We Ride the Storm is another book that’s made its way quite successfully from self-published to traditionally published. I didn’t entirely love this book from the beginning, but the POVs really started to grow on me and by the end it was gripping. 

The assassin character, Cassandra, was fascinating from the first page. She’s a talented assassin who also happens to be a high-end prostitute. She can get close to the wealthy and few others look too closely. She also has a voice in her head (not her own voice). Princess Miko was also fairly likable and made a stunning turn into one of the most cunning characters. She was clearly clever from the start, but by the end I was thoroughly impressed! Captain Rah e’Torin was a bit less likable from the start. I can’t quite put my finger on why, but it took me a good half of the book before I really became invested in his POV. 

The story is basically that of two kingdoms on the brink of war and what leads the war to finally begin. Throw in a nomadic horse warrior nation and you’ve got yourself quite the action packed tale. I feel the horse warrior tribe component is increasingly popular of late in fantasy – I can think of at least one (and maybe two) other books that feature this. I like it, just hoping I don’t get burned out on it due to overuse!

Overall, this was an enjoyable read with interesting characters and some excellent political plotting from all three players.  The next book in this series, We Lie With Death, will be released January 2021.

Subscription Box Review: OwlCrate – May 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.


May 2020: Rebels With A Cause

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Another awesome box from OwlCrate. The theme is weirdly fitting for the current state of the world.

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The OwlCrate special edition of Incendiary by Zoraida Cordova is quite lovely. I’m a little torn as to whether I prefer this or the original cover which was stunning. It is the story of a girl who becomes a rebel spy to help people escape the oppression of the crown. This month also featured a bonus book called Witchy by Ariel Slamet Ries and it’s a graphic novel!

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OVEN MITTS!!!! I love it when I get truly useful items in these boxes! These are going straight to the kitchen because I can never have enough oven mitts.

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Got a nice wooden magnet and a crystal shaped pin as well. The pin design is simple, but nice looking.

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Got a set of nice quality stickers with quotes from various authors like Margaret Atwood and Neal Shusterman. On the environmentally friendly side of things, a bundle of reusable metal straws were also included! This came with two cleaning doodads and a nice bag to store them in.

The Angel of the Crows by Katherine Addison – Review

Cover- The Angel of the Crows

Published: June 23, 2020

Publisher: Tor Books

Series: Standalone

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 448 (Hardcover)

My Rating: 3.5/5.0

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

Synopsis:

A fantasy novel of alternate 1880s London, where killers stalk the night and the ultimate power is naming.

This is not the story you think it is. These are not the characters you think they are. This is not the book you are expecting.

In an alternate 1880s London, angels inhabit every public building, and vampires and werewolves walk the streets with human beings under a well-regulated truce. A fantastic utopia, except for a few things: Angels can Fall, and that Fall is like a nuclear bomb in both the physical and metaphysical worlds. And human beings remain human, with all their kindness and greed and passions and murderous intent.

Jack the Ripper stalks the streets of this London too. But this London has an Angel. The Angel of the Crows.


Friends. Countrymen. This is not the book you expected based on the amazing synopsis. I mean, the synopsis does say that, but fair warning. This is purely and simply, Sherlock wing-fic (fanfic but give a character wings). I was just as shocked as so many other reviewers seemed to be, but I wasn’t entirely disappointed. It was fun and catered to my love for the mystery solving, brilliant Sherlock Holmes and the ever loyal John Watson. 

To be clear, the characters are not called Sherlock Holmes and John Watson, but rather Crow and J.H. Doyle. Crow is an unusual sort of angel who doesn’t have a building to be guardian to the way the rest of his brethren do. He’s an anomaly and has managed to bend the rules and declares himself the Angel of London. J.H. Doyle (or Dr. Doyle) has rather traditionally been injured during the war in Afghanistan and his injuries have resulted in his return to London where he can’t afford a flat by himself. If you’re at all familiar with the BBC show or the books you’ll guess what happens next. They become fast friends, solve crimes, and have dangerous adventures but this time the author throws in a bunch of supernatural stuff and Jack the Ripper.

Crow and Doyle, while original in some aspects, are comfortingly familiar characters. The cases themselves are thematically on point with the stories as well, though they certainly have minor differences. It was similar enough that I could guess who the culprit would be at each turn. 

While I greatly enjoyed this book, I struggle to rate it because it’s literally Sherlock with supernatural bits and the supernatural parts themselves weren’t all that in depth. The whole angel thing for one could have been so much more detailed! Angels guard a building. If the building is destroyed, the angel usually becomes Nameless and they sort of float about in a drone type state until further notice. The Named angels can’t leave their buildings, but protect them and usually the inhabitants. Crow has managed to avoid this, though I won’t spoil how. Angels can Fall and become evil, but this is merely glossed over. So many of the potentially amazing supernatural elements were just vague. 

This was tremendously fun, but it certainly wasn’t what I expected from Katherine Arden’s latest book. Admittedly, I would hate to have to live up to reader’s expectations following her much loved and acclaimed The Goblin Emperor. If you like Sherlock and/or re-tellings of Doyle’s stories then you’ll more than likely enjoy this as well. Do note that Crow (our Sherlock) doesn’t so much do amazing deduction as what seem to be brilliant guesses. I think this is in part due to Dr. Doyle being the main POV. 

Waiting on Wednesday: The Way Back by Gavriel Savit

“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 Way Back

First of all, this cover is absolutely gorgeous and second – it claim to be perfect for fans of Neil Gaiman and Phillip Pullman! The Way Back is the story of two teenagers who are swept into the Far Country where ghosts and demons reside in Jewish folklore. It sounds absolutely captivating and it’s September 2020 release is just in time for the beginning of autumn. I know you people love reading scary stuff, particularly during spooky season.