A Prayer for the Necromancer by C. Wain (The Shinigami Tomes Book 1)

BLURB~

“Blood. Fear. Death. Love. The legends of old tell of a primordial Creator. Merciful and lonely he was when he breathed new life into the barren womb of Oar, the everlasting universe. The Creator’s very essence and mana stood silently for stability and life.

Amidst gods and mages, the warming darkness of a mysterious man enshrouds the life of a young village girl.
What happens when common beliefs hide the true evil in light?
What happens when a rogue and despised necromancer sacrifices his own flesh for the sake of others?”

REVIEW~

The writing style of this book is very different than what I am used to reading. There is a lot of “inner thoughts” or internal dialogue. The author is very good at illustrative writing. It is detailed and very expressive. Some scenes of violence are rather graphic, which serves the purpose of the story well. You GET that what is happening is horrific and those perpetrating the acts are evil beings. I use the term ‘beings’, because this story doesn’t take place in our universe, but some other realm. To be honest, I was a bit confused at first and had to re-read certain parts to understand what was going on (there was a lot going on throughout the entire book.) Once I had a clear grasp of what was happening, though, it was truly very interesting. The author’s sentence structure and word building are striking in that the images and scenes depicted can be easily imagined. The quality of expression is this author utilizes is quite evocative.

There was a good build up that flowed at a steady rate, but when there was action- it was FULL ON! The author brings you through this dark fantasy adventure at a perfect pace, holding back and then revving up again, driving the story in such a way as to keep you engaged. There were shifts in the flow of the tale that kept you on your toes while reading and provided a feeling of wanting to read further to see what would happen next.

I absolutely loved the character Aline. She is feisty, independent, and can hold her own. On of my favorite quotes from the book is when she is speaking with her father about marriage and she says “…ignorant men who think that women should stay at home and die alone after a miserable, uneventful life. No, Father! I will never be a man’s possession!” Talk about sass & strength of spirit! The other MC, Kaze, is a bit harder to pin down. I can’t decide if I like him or not. Of course, there are plenty of supporting characters, both friend and foe, that you get caught up in as well. At times, it seemed there were almost too many too keep up with.

The plot is so imaginative and complex. I was quite surprised at how intense the narrative is; a very well thought out premise on the part of the author. This book is truly unlike anything I have ever read before, which makes it more intriguing. I sensed undertones of religion and spirituality in the story that I had not expected. There many cliffhangers and loose ends that entice you to read the next book, hoping some of that will come together.

This was an entertaining bit of escapism for me. Although it was not as easy to read as I might have liked, it was still followable. I was delighted to see that book 2 is already available and I do intend to read it. I give it 4/5 only because it was a bit confusing and seemed to have a bit too much going on all at once. Of course, if Id not been distracted b reality, this may not have been the case. I am looking forward to continuing with the saga. 4/5.

This book was given to me by the publisher via Netgalley. all thoughts and opinions are my own.

The Lines We Leave Behind by Eliza Graham

BLURB~

“England, 1947: A young woman finds herself under close observation in an insane asylum, charged with a violent crime she has no memory of committing. As she tries to make sense of her recent past, she recalls very little.

But she still remembers wartime in Yugoslavia. There she and her lover risked everything to carry out dangerous work resisting the Germans—a heroic campaign in which many brave comrades were lost. After that, the trail disappears into confusion. How did she come to be trapped in a living nightmare?

As she struggles to piece together the missing years of her life, she will have to confront the harrowing experiences of her special-operations work and peacetime marriage. Only then can she hope to regain the vital memories that will uncover the truth: is she really a violent criminal…or was she betrayed?”

Review~

The basis of this story was so intriguing. The blurb captured me and I just had to read the book. The writing was fluent and pictorial. You could imagine yourself there. The story is told in first person, passing back and forth between the main character’s (MC) present day and through flashbacks. The dialogue and self-talk felt authentic and surpassed my expectation. In fact, I was a bit caught off guard at the verity with which the author presented the feelings of the MC, Maud/Amber. You could actually visualize and feel the things Maud saw and felt herself; the surrender of her sanity and memory to the trauma she’d experienced. All the characters were believable, even if not likeable. Graham is an excellent author with a clear expertise of the written word. She narrates in such a way that you get a feel for what it may have truly been like for the people of the time and setting.

Though engaging, the story moved forward at a slow pace in the beginning, but I attribute this to the fact that the story is being ‘told’ by the MC, who is, herself, very slowly remembering the fragments of her life that she has forgotten. This novel resonated with me profoundly. I was mortified, outraged, and even became viscerally incensed as Maud came to the realization of all that occurred that took her to the point of withering sanity. As she comes to grips with the trials she faced-how she was manipulated, exploited, betrayed, and unscrupulously robbed of her identity and life, I openly wept with sympathy for her.

Oh my word! The plot development was very taut and engrossing. As Maud’s story unfolds against the background of WWII Yugoslavia, Graham easily maneuvers between ‘present’ and ‘past’ during moments of memory, thoughts, and through sessions with her therapist. As Maud struggles to recall the events of her former life, from which she feels so detached; she is unsure what is real and what she may have imagined. Was she really a secret operative for the Allies in the Balkans during war? Or is this some trick of imagination conjured up in her addled brain? It is more towards the second half of the book, that we come to know the truth and can catch glimpses of a future, possibly happier life for our heroine. No spoilers, so I will not go further into the storyline.

I found this book immensely enjoyable. I loved the arc of the story. I also liked the bits of history I learned while reading it. In fact, I plan to read and learn more on the subject. It was easy and pleasant to read. I feel it is historical fiction, mixed with suspense, drama, and mystery. A sensational novel that is both compelling and inspiring. 5/5

This book was given to me by the publisher via Netgalley. all thoughts and opinions are my own.

This review, or portions thereof, with be posted (when able) to Amazon, Goodreads, B&N, IG, Pinterest, FB, Litsy, Kobo, BAM, and my own blog.

Unfortunately I am unable to provide all links at this time as I am using my phone.

A Stitch in Time by Beryl Kingston

Blurb~

“Rose’s life is about to be torn apart by war, but can she and her sisters piece together a new life in a rapidly changing world?

London, 1914: Rose Boniface and her orphaned siblings live a small but happy life in South-East London. But when war breaks out across Europe and her older brother enlists, nothing will ever be the same again.

As men leave for the war in droves, the girls must take on whatever work they can find to make ends meet. High-risk work in munitions factories and back-breaking domestic labour seem to be all that’s available to them, but Rose has other ideas…

A tale of love and heartbreak, triumph and resilience, this sweeping saga by best-selling author Beryl Kingston takes the reader inside the extraordinary lives of ordinary women in Wartime London.”

The author seems to write effortlessly. Her narrative is evocative, and so descriptive and vivid. It is as if the characters stood before your eyes. The pacing was perfect for the plotline, with each passage, in turn, relevant to the arc of the story. The characters were likeable and dynamic. You became emotionally invested in them and their tragedies and triumphs.

This is a wonderfully written book about a remarkable family enduring through the hard cruelties of life during war. It shows the bonds of family, and illustrates how different members of a family unit can grow and come into their own. Their family ties strengthen during adversity.

While reading, there were moments of heartbreak, and, at times, laughter while cheering on our heroine Rose. The story was a bit predictable, but still enjoyable. The story flowed so well, and that made it an easy and wonderful read. 5/5

This book was given to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Confessions of Jonathan Flite by Matthew Beier

Jonathan Flite claims to have memories he can’t explain. Seven layers of them, to be exact, all belonging to a group of teenagers who disappeared from a place called Idle County in 2010—ten years before his birth. Seventeen years of anxiety, violent outbursts, and refusal to admit he is lying have landed him at Crescent Rehabilitation Center, a seaside juvenile center for rich kids, and nobody has ever dared to believe his memories might be real.

Until now. On a blustery November day just three months after a nuclear terrorist attack in Geneva, Switzerland, ex-CIA psychiatrist Thomas Lumen arrives at Crescent to interview Jonathan for a book about Idle County. Fueled by his personal connection to the disappearances three decades earlier, he asks Jonathan to share what he knows—anything and everything.

By reigniting this thirty-year-old mystery, however, Jonathan inadvertently becomes a target of the very same religious terrorists who attacked Geneva, and they’ll stop at nothing to keep the secrets of Idle County under wraps. Jonathan must then make a choice: to continue telling his story, or risk the safety of everyone he loves.”

Quality of writing: This is well written and engaging. The author uses descriptive language to help the reader vividly imagine scenes and characters.

Pace: The story is well paced. Not too fast or slow. The steadiness of the pace keeps readers from getting bored and skimming.

Plot line: This book is a page turner. Intriguing, and descriptive, the narrative is thought out and unique. 

Character Development: I felt the character development was strong. The author again, used detailed, and expressive terms that allowed the reader to get a sense of the characters’ personality and appearance.

Ease of Reading: This story was not difficult to read at all. The story line was easy to follow.

Review

I’m a bit crazy about this book! It was engrossing and made you wonder what would happen next. The story is told through differing timelines with complex characters. It was a fantastic read. I felt the story was structured and captivating. The author’s writing skills are impeccable. I am so excited to read the next in the series. I found myself absorbed in the story. It was very interesting and it felt as if life got in the way of my reading =0)  I highly recommend this book. 5/5 stars.

 

I received this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for and honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Love you Gone by Rona Halsall

WOW! That’s my review of this book. It is SO SO SO good! I know I am using lots of exclamation points but I mean it emphatically-WOW! I am just…dang, I can even think of a word to describe how I feel after reading this book y’all! It was completely different book than what I had expected from the blurb. It ran me through wave after wave of emotions and there were so many twists, my brain was like, “whoa!” I hate the phrase, “gripping psychological thriller” but that is exactly what this was.

Halsall did a brilliant job with this one. Absolutely brilliant. I can’t say enough god about this book. I don’t often say that a book is a MUST READ but this one is. Even if you don’t care for this genre, you will be puled in and held tight page after page. I couldn’t read fast enough to get to the end and see how everything turned out and what actually happened.

You know from the blurb that Mel and her family are supposed to a cabin/cottage for some much needed family time. Mel is running late because of work and when she arrives, she finds a note that her husband Luke, and their two sons have gone for a walk, but they don’t return. If I tell you anything else, I’ll spoil it for you except to say this: It is told from different POV and over different time periods.

This is an amazing work of psychological thriller and family drama. A fantastic read with a great plotline, pace, believable characters, and it is ver well written. Kudos to Rona for this fantastic book! 5/5

This book was given to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Secrets Between Us by Rachel Keogh

I was expecting a lot from this book. I really was. The blurb and the premise made it seem very promising. Reality is though, it was not a “gripping psychological thriller.” The writing was good, but the plot was SO predictable! If the author meant for you to pretty much despise the characters, then she really did a great job at that. None of them had any truly redeemable qualities.

It’s about identical twin sisters Elli and Tia. For the past 15 years, Tia has been institutionalized and never once has her sister ever come to visit her. Ellie does, however, send weekly letters revealing her deepest secrets to her sister, and then telling her to burn each letter after it is read. The facility Tia has been stowed away in shuts down suddenly and Ellie is basically forced to allow her sister to come live with her and her husband Will. Now, this couple has a very successful life and that life doesn’t suit having a twin sister about. Especially not one who hasn’t got all of her wits about her. The story starts to gain a bit of muster about this time.

I won’t say more lest I spoil it for you.

Though I didn’t care for the book, I have to admit it was still an enjoyable read. It didn’t require a lot of thought and was fast paced. A quick story that passed time well.

I give this book a 3/5.

I received this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Fury by Rachel Vincent

Oh my gosh! Where do I begin? I didn’t know this was the third book in a trilogy. E of time constraints, I had to read it as a stand alone and I hated that. I will try not to give away any spoilers, especially since I am not quite sure what I might spoil… I sort of pulled things together at the end, though I do plan to go from the beginning and read all three.

So, here’s the gist, from what I can tell. Delilah Morrow and her friends including Gallagher- he’s important- and others have escaped the Savage Spectacle some time ago, at least 10 months or more. The group is in hiding with some friends and looking for others who escaped at the same time. They are the cryptids and humans hate them or use them for entertainment (kind of reminded me of a Hunger Games/X-men blending in that sense.) The story is told from different time periods by two different characters. One, of course, is Delilah and the other is Rebecca Essig. The past is the 1980s and Delilah lives in the present day- not exactly sure when this present day is, but- both of them seem to be telling parts of the same story at different times at events that all come together in the end. This was really confusing at first, maybe because I haven’t read the other two books yet, but I started to catch on.

A lot of the story is about Delilah and the fact that she is pregnant. Oh yeah, 10 months pregnant because she is part fae. Also, this is Gallagher’s baby, which is a huge issue and they didn’t plan it, they were…coerced maybe I can say, into conceiving this child. I think Gallagher is a bad boy with a good heart. He tries to comfort and protect Delilah but she is resentful and distant towards him. There’s not really romance per se, just that it sort of lingers in the background between them.

What this book does have is violence. Lots of it. A friend who has read all the books told me that the whole series is assaulting to the readers sense of morality. This is a perplexing and unique story. Since I am not sure I might give away too much, I’ll stop here.

As far as my actual review of the book? Well, I already said I was going to get the other two and read the whole trilogy. Not even knowing the backstory, I absolutely loved this book!!! It is fascinating and complex. It is tender at times and also full of malice. The ending was bizarre for me. That is not the right word. I mean, it made sense, but it wasn’t what I thought it would be. And it wasn’t pretty.

All in all, without having read the first two books, I would say this book is a definite must read for folks who like dark  fantasy or dystopian books. I give this book a 5/5.

This book was given to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Daughters of the Lake by Wendy Webb

This book is about a woman named Kate Granger. She has been having dreams for weeks now, and the same woman appears in each one. She has recently moved back in with her parents after she discovered that her husband was cheating on her. Her parents’ home is on Lake Superior, and one day a woman’s body washes up on the shore. The dead woman is also holding a baby in her arms. Her vintage clothing stands out, as it appears to be a night dress one would have worn 100 years ago. And you guessed it, I am sure – this is the woman who has been haunting Kate’s dreams. She is desperate to find the link between herself and this woman. As she tries to unravel the mystery, things get strange for her.

Kate goes to visit her cousin Simon at an old family estate that he and his partner have renovated to be a bed & Breakfast. While there, an old photo is discovered. In the picture, the woman, Addie and her husband Jess are having a picnic with Kate and Simon’s great- grandparents. She knows now that this woman is intertwined with her family’s past somehow, and dives even deeper into the quandry. She begins to search her family’s history to determine what that link might be. The more she discovers, the more eerie and fascinating things become, Kate feels compelled to solve the query.

This gothic tale is a told while switching back and forth in time and uses the voices of both women to the story. It is thrilling, and suspenseful. I was pulled in by this book and found myself lost in the story and mystery. It was a bit predictable, but very interesting nonetheless. Webb’s writing is flawless. Her descriptions, of the characters and settings seem so real. This novel is full of mystery, intrigue, and suspense. There is also a bit of romance.

I won’t reveal more as I don’t want to give spoilers, but this was a very enjoyable read. The writing, plot, and character development is spot on. I give this book a 4.5/5, only because of the predictability throughout the story. I would purchase a print copy for myself and would also recommend it to a friend.

This eARC was given to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions and thoughts expressed are my own.

This review, of portions thereof, will be posted (when able) to Amazon, Goodreads, B&N, Litsy, Pinterest, Kobo, FB, BAM, and my own blog. Unfortunately, I am able to provide all links as I am using my phone.

https://www.amazon.com/review/RA24NRJJ7PMZN/ref=pe_1098610_137716200_cm_rv_eml_rv0_rv

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/daughters-of-the-lake-wendy-webb/1127627447?ean=9781503901339#/

The Iron Flower by Laurie Forest

This book jumps right in where The Black Witch (TBW) left off, with Elloren and friends in tow, now fighting with the resistance to keep the Gardnerians from seizing control of the entire Western Realm. She again is forced to confront biases and bigotry and continues to encounter new forms of prejudice among new characters and races she meets in this second installment of the series.  If you liked TBW as much as I did, you’ll love this one too. There are some differences though. There is a lot more romance involved in this book. A love triangle becomes a central point of the book, in fact. While it detracted somewhat from what made me enjoy the first book so much, it wasn’t too overpowering. It did, however, drag out quite a bit and that became a bit frustrating at times. 

Verpacia is becoming a more perilous place and Gardnerian soldiers are gaining more strength in numbers. Lukas Grey is also now the commander of the fourth division base. As you can probably surmise, the love triangle is one in which Elloren is caught between Lukas and Yvan. (They are always drawn to the bad boys, aren’t they?) She has different reasons to be attracted to both though Lukas admittedly is only after the power he thinks she has as a descendant of The Black Witch. Yvan himself, seems to wax and wane regarding his feelings for her but she doesn’t know why, of course. This makes things even more confusing for her. Thus, she is somewhat torn between the two. TBH, it felt a bit off kilter for her to even entertain a pull towards Lukas, as he is the depiction of everything she is hoping to change in her world. This also what I like about her character; she is fallible. She can make mistakes and wrong choices, but her heart is good, and she is continually learning and growing stronger in her own self-identity. The book was very emotional for me. personally. I even cried at times.

She is compelled by the resistance to “play both sides”, which puts her closer to Lukas and creates more romantic tension between the two of them. It also puts her in the position of having to hide her new belief system and be shoved back into the people with the same thought patterns she was taught when she was growing up. She finds herself in a duplicitous and uneasy predicament. She is trying to save all those she has grown to care about, but will she lose herself in the process? 

This book was absolutely riveting for me. There were highs and lows that were extreme. I didn’t expect to be so emotionally invested in these characters, but I was. This book was just as good as the first and I enjoyed it immensely. The characters and plot were well developed. The settings were written with meticulous descriptiveness. The writing was impeccable. The only teensy thing that I didn’t care for was that the book dragged just a bit. Otherwise another fantastic read that I would highly recommend. I can hardly wait to read the third book! 5/5.

I was given this book by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions and thoughts expressed are my own.

This review, or portions thereof, will be posted (when able) on Amazon, Goodreads, B&N, Litsy, FB, Pinterest, BAM, Bookbub, and my own blog. 

 

Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa

Julie Kagawa has done it again. In Shadow of the Fox, she has weaved a tale of adventure set in a brilliant and wondrous world. I can’t even truly put into words how fantastic this book was. Oh my gosh, the cover! Did you see the cover?!?! I would hang it on my wall; it’s so gorgeous.

Told from three character POVs, going back & forth, the story is basically one of good vs evil with a bit of romance thrown in, but not too much. It does help the plotline though. Kagawa created an enthralling and splendid fantasy realm. It is abundant with such vivid, descripting writing, you can just see the world unfold in your imagination. I found myself absolutely engrossed in this book. It is full of Japanese folklore and legends.

Okay, so there is a magic dragon that shows up every thousand years and if a person can recite a specific prayer properly from a scroll, and is pure of heart, that person is granted one wish. Thing is- the scroll is in three different pieces. One of our main characters secretly has a piece, and the other is seeking it, with orders to retrieve it no matter the cost or consequence.

Yumeko has been sheltered her whole life, having grown up in a monastery and raised by monks. She is half human, kitsune (fox-spirit,) giving her special powers. She is innocent to the outside world, but she is also very shrewd, and also quite the trickster. She flees from the only home she’s ever known with a portion of the scroll from her home after her adoptive family is murdered and her home is destroyed by demons. She need to deliver this piece of the scroll to another temple because she believes the rest of the scroll to be there. She will need protection on her journey though.

Enter Tatsumi, a Samurai warrior with a sword holding a horrible demon inside it. He has to keep control of his emotions in order to make sure the demon stays inside the sword. The two make an agreement that Yameko, pretending to be a human peasant girl, will take him to find the ancient scroll if he will protect her along the way. Thus, the pair find themselves on an epic adventure, both with something to hide. During their quest, they attract an assorted band of supporting characters who tag along and add their own bit to the story. They also encounter many mystical, fantastic, and supernatural beings that serve to add to the plot by attempting to thwart them on their quest.

Along the way, we find that Yumeko has a kind heart and that touches the stoic Tatsumi. So begins our typical romance trope of a budding romance between the once foes, now allies, no I LIKE you, like thing. It does serve a purpose in moving the plot forward but the book isn’t centered on it.

The growth of the main characters was delightful to read and I felt myself rooting for them. The side characters also play a part that enhances the story. I enjoyed reading about the Japanese folklore as well. Yumeko is one of my new favorite heroines. This novel is action packed.

The ending was a bit anticlimactic, though it sets up for the sequel nicely. Over all, I thought it was absolutely amazing and creative. I can hardly wait for the Soul of the Sword to be released! 5/5 stars.

This book was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

This review, or portions thereof, will be posted (when able) on Amazon, Goodreads, Kobo, Bookbub, BAM, Litsy, IG, B&N, Pinterest, Facebook, Kobo, and my own blog. Unfortunately, I am unable to provide all links at this time, as I am using my phone.