I had a pretty exhausting few weeks in February and early March writing long and detailed summaries for the Black Witch Chronicles by Laurie Forest. All I wanted to do for the rest of the month is read without feeling the need to write long and and time-consuming blog posts, so I’ve decided to do a mini reviews of all the books I read in March (7), as well as the 3 books I read as part of me and my friend’s 24 hour Read-a-thon on April 2nd/3rd, for a grand total of 10 mini reviews (plus a bonus). Enjoy!
- The Demon Tide by Laurie Forest
What to say about this latest book in the Black Witch Chronicles that hasn’t already been said…in my top five favorite series of all time for absolutely certain, it’s perfection. The characters, the plot, the worldbuilding, the romances…all completely unmatched. If you are a fan of fantasy, YA or adult, you are missing out if you haven’t read this series. 5/5 stars.
2. Dead Heat by Patricia Briggs
This is part of a long-winded re-read I’m doing all of Patricia Briggs’ books that take place in the Mercy Thompson world. These are comfort books to me, and while I think the main Mercy Thompson series is my favorite over Alpha and Omega, Charles and Anna give me the same sort of comforting fuzziness as Mercy herself does. Though these books are definitely meant to be read in order, each book has a standalone storyline, and there are a million of them. If you like books that are quick, fun, adult urban fantasy books, I can’t recommend Patricia Briggs enough, she’s my favorite. Start with Moon Called if you haven’t read any of her books before. 5/5 stars.
3. Wings of Ebony by J. Elle
Wings of Ebony is a debut novel. I struggled right off the bat with J. Elle’s storytelling style, it’s very non-linear, which isn’t bad, it was just not my favorite. It felt to me like I was reading a sequel where I’d never read the first one. I almost DNF’d it, but even though I struggled with the style, I could tell there was talent and am glad I ended up finishing it because I did go out and buy the sequel. Her characters have a lot of heart, and it’s a very interesting genre blend of urban fantasy/contemporary/sci-fi, because it takes place largely in the “real world”, but also partially on a magical island hidden from the real world. It deals with a lot of social themes like racism, cultural appropriation, and poverty. Overall, a well-written book that wasn’t quite my style, but got me enough in the end. 3/5 stars.
4. A River of Royal Blood by Amanda Joy
Another debut novel, I thought it had a really cool concept and a beautiful world with African influence, but also the author’s own take on fae and “bloodletters” (read vampires). I liked the rival heirs theme (one sibling must kill the other for the crown), it reminded me of Kendare Blake’s Three Dark Crowns series, though not as dark. I liked the narrator and the supporting cast was great too. But it didn’t quite give me that *something*, as much as I enjoyed it, but I was certainly eager to go and get the sequel, which I was happy was already out. 4/5 stars.
5. Neon Gods by Katee Robert
I think this is the first romance novel I’ve rated on this blog. As a Greek mythology nerd, I was warned that this book takes some liberties and is more like going to a party where the theme is Greek mythology rather than reading an actual Greek myth retelling. The writing itself isn’t bad and the characters are fun, their relationship is cute. There are several plot holes though. But that isn’t the point. This book is all hot, steamy smut, and I absolutely devoured it. 4/5 stars for a great erotica novel.
6. Skin of the Sea by Natasha Brown
Yet another debut novel (I read a bunch this month). Skin of the Sea is a beautiful novel inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid, but with real-world historical influence as well as a stunning African backdrop. While the story itself and the characters were on the simpler side (it’s a very short novel in true YA style), I felt absolutely transported to Simi’s Africa, and I was fully engrossed in the African mythology and history that this book taught me. Truly fantastic, but not quite long enough or complex enough to push me into giving it full points. 4/5 (though I did already pre-order the sequel).
7. A Queen of Gilded Horns by Amanda Joy
The sequel A River of Royal Blood and end of the duology. While I’m happy with the ending of the story, I found myself a bit disapointed in that I simply wanted MORE…I feel like the author chose to focus on only really one of the relationships with the narrator and another character, and that part was fine, except that the author built up the narrator’s relationships with two other characters in the first book, and I felt like their arcs weren’t quite given enough love. Honestly, I have no complaints about the content that was there, she’s a great writer, I just think that she did so much lead up but wrapped up the ENTIRE STORY in the last 50 pages, so it felt a bit rushed to me. I think this story would have been way better as a trilogy. But I still had a great time reading, so 4/5 stars.
8. A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik
This is my Book Club book for the month, and was the first book I read as part of my 24 hour Read-a-thon. I’ve seen this book all over BookTok, but I had no expectations for it. I think it’s going to be controversial among my Book Club gals but I LOVED it. Galadriel is one of my favorite narrators in a long time simply because this book is like reading her journal/magic manuel. There isn’t much plot to speak of, which normally would be a huge turnoff for me and did make the pacing pretty slow, BUT Galadriel is absolutely so hilarious that I found myself actually, physically laughing out loud and reading quotes to my reading partner. The book was so good and I’m ravenous for the sequel. 5/5 stars.
9. Night of the Dragon by Julie Kagawa
The finale to the Shadow of the Fox trilogy that I started forever ago and only just got around to finishing. I truly love Julie Kagawa’s writing and have for more than a decade now. I always compare this trilogy like reading the novel version of anime or manga (which are two mediums I don’t really partake in but I still know a lot about the tropes). This final book also reminded me of a video game where the characters are like “here we are, the final fight”, and then the bad guy goes down and they’re like “we did it!” but then an even BIGGER, BADDER GUY rises up and they have to keep fighting, and that just keeps happening? There was a lot of action and drama in this final book, which kept it moving at lightning speed. I won’t spoil the ending, but it’s pretty crazy. This book and the series overall is a 4/5 stars.
10. Mister Impossible by Maggie Stiefvater
One of my truly favorite authors of all time, Maggie Stiefvater’s novels feel like reading poetry. It’s all about imagery and vibes with her, plot is definitely secondary. This is the sequel to Call Down the Hawk and the second book in the The Dreamers trilogy. It had been a while since I’d read the first book, and unfortunately Maggie isn’t much of a recapper, but besides it taking me a little bit to get into the story, I loved it as usual. Her style is completely dreamy and her characters are deep and complex. But the pace is slow, as with almost all of her books, but somehow they’re still pretty impossible to put down. Can’t wait for the finale, 5/5 stars.
Belle Revolte by Linsey Miller (DNF)
I do not count books that I don’t finish toward my overall count for the year, but I wanted to give my review here because I rarely review books that I don’t like. This is my first DNF in at least 18 months and I am going to try and do it more with books that I’m not enjoying. I put this book down after reading 1/4 of it. The reasons were that I found the writing style clunky and confusing, the characters bland, and the plot VERY sluggish. I think she had a decent concept, but the book definitely needed editing and a better inciting event to keep the reader engaged.
I’m going to try to do a few more full reviews of my April books, but I do like this mini-review style, so I’m going to try and throw together a monthly recap of everything I read in this style that I don’t give a full review.
Let me know if you have read and liked any of these books, or if you disagree with anything I’ve said here, I’m always hungry for discourse. See ya next time!