Book Recommendations, Book Reviews, Uncategorized

The Wonder Engine by T. Kingfisher

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“Caliban would have laid down his life for Slate, probably with a sense of relief, but a man’s socks…that was asking a lot.”

The Wonder Engine by T. Kingfisher is the concluding book of The Clocktaur War duology. I reviewed book one here, but to explain briefly three criminals are forced to get cannibal tattoos to go on a suicide mission for their government. It’s filled with creatures that are similar to talking dogs, giant clock armies, love, demons, and I could go on and on.

This was originally supposed to be one book, but was split in two to keep everything the author wanted. This causes the book to start off a little awkwardly. It has to start off like a second book, so it’s repeating what happened in the first, and it takes a little bit to take off.

But when it does, man I was hooked. I love all these characters so much I would read about them getting groceries and enjoy it. Luckily, this book has a bunch more action to that, and it does it so well. The ending took my breath away. I was so scared and horrified and sad but happy because the book was so good. And for the first time in a long time I cried while reading a book. I’m still crying a little now if I’m being completely honest. 

To say the least, I loved this book. I want everyone to read this series and love it like I do. T. Kingfisher started she will definitely be back in this world she created and I will be eagerly waiting for any news about it. I don’t know how I will move onto any other book now, and that’s one of the highest compliments a book can receive.

5 stars

 

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Book Recommendations, Book Reviews, Uncategorized

Grip of the Shadow Plague by Brandon Mull

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“When jumping is the sole option, you jump, and try to make it work.”

Grip of the Shadow Plague is the third book in the five book Fablehaven series by Brandon Mull. Here is my review of the first book, and here is the second book’s review.  To sum up the book simply Kendra’s and Seth’s grandparents run Fablehaven, a magical preserve for magical creatures, but it is under attack and they must do everything they can to save it.

As this is the third book in the series, things have become increasingly intense and dire for the Sorenson family. As the series has become darker and more complicated, my fondness from the series has continued to grow. Many described series as getting better as the books continue, and that definitely holds true for this series.

The world has been expanded, the magic is more intense,the characters continue to grow and develop, and new ones have shown up. I can’t say much else about the books though as I don’t like writing spoiler filled reviews. I do, however, want to touch upon something that I noticed before but it became more prominent in this book. In the first two books there were only two characters of color, but in this one a lot more were introduced. Without getting too into it, basically it is only these characters that get hurt. The white  characters always find a way to be virtually unhurt. I feel unsure about whether to mention this, I looked for reviews from people of color, but no one else that I could find mentioned this. I felt like I must mention at least something even though I feel I can’t make a full discussion about it. I did find this post about the Native American representation though.

I did end up giving this book five stars, and I definitely will continue this series. It has successfully gotten me hooked even with the reservations I have about it.

5 stars

Book Recommendations, Book Reviews, Uncategorized

Clockwork Boys by T. Kingfisher

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She glared at both of them “I realize we’re all going to die, but I’d just as soon we do it there and not here.”

Clockwork Boys by T. Kingfisher is the first book in the Clocktaur War duology. T. Kingfisher is actually the pen name of Ursula Vernon, an author I talk a lot about on here as she made the Dragonbreath series. This is an adult steampunk fantasy series though instead of a children’s fantasy one.

The Clockwork Boys follows three criminals and a priest on a quest to figure out how their weird giant clock centaur enemies work and how to destroy them. Why would criminals be trusted with a mission like this? Well, the first two groups turned up dead, and they put carnivorous tattoos on them that will eat them if they even think about abandoning their mission. It sounds crazy, right? But somehow it all makes sense while reading. The world isn’t confusing at all with the way Kingfisher writes. 

I have completely fallen in love with these characters. We have Slate, the group leader and expert document forger, Caliban, a disgraced knight with a dead demon wrapped around his soul, Brenner, an illiterate assassin, and Learned Edmund, a priest/scholar who has never been around a woman before. They are a motley crew that simply make magic together.

The writing, the plot, the pacing, the description, I loved all of it. The only thing I can think to complain of is I wish it was longer. I guess they split the book in half for some reason, but there’s a second one out there that I can’t wait to get my hands on. Easily a five star book. Everyone should go pick this up to experience it for themselves.

5 stars

Book Recommendations, Book Reviews, Uncategorized

Medium Wave by Rose Zolock

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The evil was coming for her.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This has in no way shaped my opinions of the book.

Medium Wave by Rose Zolock is the first book in a new paranormal thriller series. Becky Moran has made herself famous by pretending to be a medium who can talk to the dead. She has a radio show called Medium Wave. However, during one of her shows Becky touches an old, paranormal object, and suddenly has the very real gift of seeing the dead. Now she has to deal with her new gift because it turns out not all spirits are good. Some are dark, and they are coming after Becky.

The premise of this novel is one I love. The way everything played out felt very natural while still surprising me (somewhat). The story follows Becky, mainly, but also the studio team that had built her image. It showed a lot of the business side of having a radio show which I liked just as much as the paranormal plot line going on.

I didn’t much like the way the narration would jump into everyone’s heads though. Sometimes it felt repetitive though it was basically the only time that we got to know the other characters. So it was good and bad.

The book includes a main gay character and a main black character which was cool. There was also a lot of fat characters, but I found that less cool because they were always painted in a bad light compared to the tiny, perfectly slim Becky Moran. It was something that really started bothering me by the end of the book. Beck was also in general the perfect person and everyone around her had a lot of bad flaws.

Suicide is mentioned a couple of times in this book so be aware of that if that might bother you. Nothing was especially scary to me, but I don’t think I scare that easily. I could see this being really scary for other people.

All in all, I enjoyed this book, and I could see myself continuing on with this series. It’s a relatively short read, though I felt the end dragged on a little too much. It’s still a solid four stars for me.

4 stars

Book Reviews, Categories, Uncategorized

The Serpent’s Secret by Sayantani Dasgupta

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“In the name of the Garden State Parkway, how many times do I have to tell you guys?” I jogged down the front steps. “For the last time already, I am not a princess!”

The Serpent’s Secret by Sayantani Dasgupta is the first book in a new middle grade fantasy series called Kiranmala and the Kingdom Beyond. I’m not sure how many books the series will end up being. There’s not much information out since this book barely came out at the end of February, but there will definitely be a book two.

This is an ownvoices novel with an all Indian cast that draws from many different folktales and children’s stories from West Bengal, India. I knew that from simply reading the novel, but in the author notes at the end Dasgupta lists the different stories she used. The number that she layered together along with all the science elements was seamless, and created a rich world that I’m sad to have to leave now.

Kiranmala has grown up being told all her life she’s an exiled princess. She doesn’t believe her parents until her twelfth birthday when they disappear, two princes appear on flying horses to help, and a demon smashes through her kitchen. Even then, she’s slightly skeptical, but determined to do whatever she has to in order to get her parents back.

The whole story reminded me of Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan, but I think I connected to Kiran and Neel and Lal even faster than with Percy and Annabeth. They were all so real, and their relationships and inner struggles were so complicated and well done while remembering their young ages.

I loved this book if that wasn’t obvious. I could gush more about it, but I think I’ll end it here so you can go out and get it yourself even quicker. I’ll be waiting anxiously for any news about book two.

5 stars

Book Reviews, Uncategorized

Dragonbreath by Ursula Vernon #7-9

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This is my third review mentioning the Dragonbreath series. The first and second each have three books in each. Since I’ve discovered the series, I’ve been waiting to reach this book. As we have mentioned briefly before, Isis and I have been writing a book together that includes fairies. I loved actually knowing real background on the topic so I could see exactly how Vernon used the real lore and mashed it together with her imagination. 

In When Fairies Go Bad, Danny’s mother accidentally messes with a fairy ring. As revenge, the fairies kidnap her. So Danny must figure a way to get her back with his friends, Wendell and Christiana. The usual mess of funny jokes, interesting magic, and fun adventures followed. It’s easily one of my favorite Dragonbreath books I’ve read.

5 stars

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In Nightmare of the Iguana Wendell has been having nightmares. Like with anything is the Dragonbreath world, it’s not regular nightmares. Monsters are sneaking into his dreams and messing with him. Danny and Suki, from book 2, has to go into his dreams to protect him.

As I’ve mentioned in my previous reviews, Wendell is a particular favorite of mine. So a whole book centering more on him was more than welcome to me. And Suki coming back in was exciting. There is also a new creature they become friends with that is the cutest thing ever. This is another five star book, and another favorite from the series.

5 stars

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In the ninth book of the Dragonbreath series, The Case of the Toxic Mutants,  Danny is forced to visit his grumpy Grandfather  at his senior living place. He is convinced his neighbor had stolen his dentures, and keeps calling Danny’s parents. His parent’s are convinced he is lonely and are thinking of having him move in with them. Danny can’t have that as he would be rooming with Danny.

I loved meeting a new relative in this book. Vernon always knows when the series needs something new to series to keep it a little different and interesting. This isn’t one of favorites, but it was fun. The mystery was nice, and I loved the conclusion.

4 stars

 

Book Reviews, Categories, Uncategorized

The Pirate’s Wish by Cassandra Rose Clark

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He strung up strands of tree vines and red berry leaves and muttered his charms while I sulked in the corner and watched him. Just cause I was in love with him didn’t mean I wasn’t gonna resent him for locking me away like I was useless, or that I wanted to spend every moment of the day hanging around him.

I didn’t plan on jumping right into the sequel of The Assassin’s Curse but I couldn’t focus on anything else after finishing it. So I picked it up, and ended up finishing it even faster than the first one. I loved this book. I gave it five stars.

At the end of the first book, Ananna and Naji have been stranded on an island, but with the knowledge of how to end the curse. This book is all about curing it, falling in love, friendship, mysterious magic, more pirating, and more fighting. There’s a lot of angst, but such good angst I couldn’t get enough.

I didn’t mention it in the first one because while Marjani was important, she didn’t have as big a role as she did in this one. But she is a woman of color who is in love with another woman of color. And yes it’s on the page, and also, yes, it is happy and well done.

Speaking of Marjani, she has definitely become one of my favorite side characters. Along with the Manticore. Characters continue to drive this book, and I still stand by if you don’t like the main character Ananna then you won’t like this duology much. You might even dislike this book less than the first. It’s not the case for me though. She does a lot of actions through hurt and anger I don’t agree with, and that could have been addressed, but I still love her.

I think this is a great end to this small series. I found out that Clarke has a spin off series that is set in this world, but doesn’t include these characters. I think I might check that out, and even her other books if she has them. She has a nice writing style, and I think she might be one of my favorite authors.

5 stars