Archive | November 2022

Death Warden by C. J. Stilling (Review)

Today’s review is for a suspenseful fantasy novel called Death Warden!

Title: Death Warden

Author: C. J. Stilling

Fantasy • upper YA • 2019 • 434 pages (e-book)

Read May 8, 2022 • 3 stars • Favorite character: Bastien • I received a free e-copy of this book from the author. I was under no obligation to write a review. All opinions are my own.

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This was such an edge-of-your seat read! I. Could. Not. Stop. Reading! Wow. It was a bit too dark for me, personally, but it was super suspenseful and exciting. The worldbuilding, setting, and magic systems were very cool, especially the shadows! It was neat being immersed in this world that’s magical but with a slight steampunk edge (although it was also pretty gritty, and sometimes hard to figure out goodguys versus villains). Also, it had cool tropes like found-family and assassin-girl and academy-type stories!

It was told in a really unique way in alternating present-and-past timelines, so it was neat piecing together Reen’s story from the flashbacks and the present, while second-guessing along the way. I’m not sure I BREATHED during the entire ending! Whew! *collapses* *thumbs-up*

Shoutout to Bastien for being an amazing cinnamon roll character. He was great! (I almost . . . wish . . . well, there’s a certain other amethyst-eyed character I want him to be! *cough*) All the other characters were very vivid and there were a lot of shifting motives going on, so I couldn’t always root for anyone besides Reen and Bastien (I feel like I was supposed to like Cron but I just never did; I think that’s just me, though).

Unfortunately, zombies and plagues are a no-go for me, and the book is also just . . . dark. Kind of too dark for my personal taste, but that’s just me! (I could have done without the nightmares it gave me. *nervous laugh*) I almost put it down a couple of times because of the disturbingness, but I was hooked and had to know what happened, so I am glad I finished!

Although it wasn’t a personal favorite of mine, it was definitely well-written and gripping, a solid read. I’m sure many other readers of YA would not find it too dark and would enjoy it! It’s perfect for fans of Six of Crows (with less content) and Vespertine (what I’ve heard of it).

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Beyond Her Calling by Kellyn Roth (Review)

I’m excited to be reviewing this beautiful book by Kellyn Roth today!

Title: Beyond Her Calling

Author: Kellyn Roth

Series: The Chronicles of Alice and Ivy, #4 (but stands alone)

Historical Fiction / Christian Fiction / Scotland (I DON’T CARE, IT’S A GENRE) • Adult • 2022 • 255 pages (paperback)

Read May 9, 2022 • 4 stars • Favorite character: Jordy • I received a free ARC of this book from the author and was not obligated to leave a review. All opinions are my own. (And I actually finished “reading” it by getting myself the audiobook off Audible because Scottish accents!)

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I enjoyed reading this historical fiction novel set in the 1880s in Scotland. Scotland! That had to be the best part of it, and I really enjoyed the setting and especially the accents!

Ivy Knight from England heads up to Scotland for a visit. Drama, friends new and old, relationships, and soul-searching ensue. I liked Ivy’s point of view and her thoughts, and especially the way she compares everything to music, which made me happy. She’s a dear, and her sweetness and occasional awkwardness but determination to do right made her a lovely character.

Jordy McAllen is great too! He’s my favorite. *grinning* A passionate but sometimes endearingly boyish young doctor, with a delightful accent and also a sense of fun, trying to find his way. Ivy and Jordy are also adorable together. *cackles* They’re both such cinnamon rolls!

There were one or two things I felt I was missing due to jumping in on book four, but only in a very mild way, but in general it was a good standalone too. It’s adult fiction but clean other than some mature issues discussed from someone’s past. Everything’s tied in to the characters’ faith throughout the book and there were some inspiring lines at times.

Also, this is random, but I enjoyed that there were letters throughout the book between several different characters (epistolary bits in books make me happy for some reason), and references to other books, like Jane Austen’s.

It wrapped up satisfactorily (like I said, stands alone pretty well), but I’m definitely hoping to check out the next book about these characters because I’d love to spend more time with Ivy and Jordy! (I think the next one featuring them is After Our Castle. I can’t wait!)

Best for fans of Christian historical romance, and, of course, Scotland! (I also recommend the audiobook!)

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World Diver by Haylie Hanson (Review)

A review today for a fun urban fantasy with a dash of sci-fi!

Title: World Diver

Author: Haylie Hanson

Series: The Luminaut Trilogy, #1

Urban Fantasy • YA • 2021 • 352 pages (paperback)

Read May 8, 2022 • 4 stars • Favorite character: Nemo! • I received a free ARC copy from the publisher as part of an Instagram book tour. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions are my own.

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This was a gripping YA Urban Fantasy novel! It’s well-written and I loved the humor—that and the voice/style was a blast! I just really enjoyed that aspect of it. The robots, the kinda-magic, the modern setting, and a hint at multiple worlds, all made this book super unique and fun, and was a winning combination!

The characters were all interesting, even the ones I didn’t click with, and it was an enjoyable story with a vivid setting, like getting sucked right into a movie. (Anyone who’s into surfing or robotics will enjoy this one, even if those parts went over my head. XD) The plot and growing mysteries, the emerging Luminaut backstory, the engaging writing style, and the wide range of challenges Callie faces on all sides kept me flipping pages. I HAD to know what happened next!

Then we have NEMOOOOO! I adored Nemo the tiny robot! He is SUPER CUTE and has such a great personality and is so fun. He’s the absolute best and I adore him! Nemo made the book so incredibly fun in every scene he was in. 😀 The way Callie was trying to train him to pretend to be a “real” robot instead of the sentient one he is was hilarious and I loved it so much! XD (Nemo forever, okay!)

And Diver! I loved Diver too. Super cool, and such a neat concept! Almost like a giant Baymax but with telepathy and you can, like, drive him, and I DON’T KNOW IT WAS REALLY COOL.

Basically, I’m absolutely here for the robot characters and they make me happy! XD Especially Nemo. 😉 hugs him forever

Any less-favorite things were personal preference things. Like I don’t tend to generally enjoy modern drama (like family/school issues), and some types of YA drama (like love triangles…but also not!), or the MC being (I thought) slightly unfair to another character or deceiving others (with a purpose, but still), or the fact I was right about a spoilery character—but I didn’t want to be! (Feels. XD) So a few things frustrated me slightly or at least weren’t my favorite, but that was certainly a me-thing of not clicking with contemporary high-school type stories, not anything “wrong” with the book itself, which was extremely well done!

I’m very excited to read the next book because THAT CLIFFHANGER, THOUGH! :O I’m so glad the next book is on my shelf and I will definitely continue this series because I must know what happens next! Plus, you know, that fun writing. And Nemo… 😀

Overall, a compelling, unique book that pulled me in and kept me reading late into the night. If you love modern YA fantasy you should enjoy this one!

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