Tag: #bookblog

Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse Review

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Well, we’ve made it to my last review of 2020. Luckily, it’s a good one. I haven’t heard a lot about Black Sun, but it’s so good. It’s book one in a fantasy series inspired by Native American culture. Let’s get to it.

A god will return to the city of Tova under a black sun on the day of the winter solstice. The Sun Priest prophesizes an unbalance in the world. Days earlier, a ship launches from a distant city bound for Tova. The captain, Xiala, is Teek. Her magic calms the waters. Her only passenger is a blind man name Serapio. His destiny is ahead of him and he will do anything to fulfill it.

My Thoughts on Black Sun

I love the fact that Black Sun is inspired by pre-Columbian America. I think we can all agree that we need a break from fantasy based solely on European culture. It’s time for something new and this gave me everything I wanted.

The storyline is pretty straight forward. The new religion is trying to cast out the old gods. However, there is corruption in the system. There is a steady uprising in the number of cultists that are returning to the old gods. The cultist prophesize the return of the Odo Sedoha. The unrest in Black sun is almost palpable. Something big is about to happen.

Next, let’s talk about characters. For the most part, Serapio is our main character. He is also probably the most developed. However, Xiala and Naranpa are important to the story as well. Some mysteries still remain around each of the characters, but I imagine those will be revealed throughout the series.

I believe Black Sun is the starting point to something epic. There was a lot of world building and unanswered questions, but it left me wanting more. It was an awesome read.

My Rating: 4/5

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The Invisible Life of Addie Larue by V. E. Schwab Review

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The Invisible Life of Addie Larue has to be one of the most hyped books of 2020. It has been everywhere. However, when I first started it in October, I put it down. I found it very slow. I picked it back up this month, and I’m glad I did. Let’s get into my final thoughts.

France 1714: a young woman makes a hasty bargain to live forever. However, she will be forgotten by everyone she meets. Thus begins the tale of Addie Larue. She will travel across centuries trying to leave a mark on the world that doesn’t know her name. But after 300 years things suddenly change when she meets a man that remembers her.

My Thoughts on The Invisible Life of Addie Larue

Like I said at the beginning, this book is slow. It’s very character-driven and that takes some time to build. But the writing is gorgeous. Every sentence V.E. Schwab writes is decadent. You will find yourself longing for the river banks of France.

The story picks up when Addie meets Henry. I love his character arc. He added a lot of depth to the plot, which I think was his purpose. I don’t want to say that there was a lot of monotony in Addie’s arc, but there definitely was. It didn’t matter how many centuries she lived her story was always the same. I believe that was Schwab’s intention because meeting Henry felt like a jarring experience that changed everything.

Another character that intrigued me was Luc. I would love to know more about him. He fabricated this whole thing, and I want to know his thought process.

Overall, The Invisible Life of Addie Larue was a beautiful read. It was a twisty, tricky story of the intertwined lives of the main characters. Beauty and heartache permeated every detail. There was also hope and love throughout. If you can overlook the slow development, it is worth the read.

My Rating: 4/5

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Sister Margaret Review

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I love a good crime story and Sister Margaret is just that. Thank you to Bully Press for giving me a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Tommy Keane has been a detective in the Bronx for years. When Tommy gets in a little trouble, he is transferred to the 21st Precinct in Manhattan. He expects an easy ride, but then a beloved nun is found brutally murdered. Even a seasoned detective is surprised by this motive.

My Thoughts on Sister Margaret

Sister Margaret was a good read. However, it was to the point, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. There wasn’t a ton of back story or filler content to bog the crime aspect down. I appreciated that.

Although, I would like to learn more about Tommy. There were glimpses of his life, but no answered questions. Since it’s the start of the series, I expect there will be more of his backstory to come. I also really liked his mother, so I hope she’s included in the next one.

The crime was pretty horrifying, but believable. I believe one of the authors was a detective. You can tell by the details that the authors know what they are talking about.

I did start to piece together the motive, but I was wrong about the perpetrator. It ended up being even darker than I expected. It was a heartbreaking case. There were a lot of emotions at the end. Sister Margaret is a pretty solid crime fiction novel. I look forward to reading more.

My Rating: 4/5

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Graphic Novels for Beginners

I’m new to graphic novels. I just started reading them last year. I’ve read some really good graphic novels, but I’ve also read some really bad ones. Today, we are going to focus on the positive. I’m going to share a few that I have enjoyed. Obviously, it’s not a large selection because I haven’t read many myself.

It’s a great time to get started with this format. As I shared in my Beat Those Reading Challenges post, graphic novels are a great way to reach those goals. But I know jumping into the world of graphic novels can be a bit overwhelming. There are so many to choose from. Hopefully, you can find a few from this list that you will enjoy.

The Grimm’s Fairytales

Synopsis:

For over two hundred years the powerful stories of the Brothers Grimm have enchanted millions around the world, but there has never been an adaptation as intriguing or provocative as this. Grimm Fairy Tales explores a much darker side of the infamous fables you heard as a child as these classic tales are retold and re-imagined with a terrifying twist you’ll simply love as an adult.

This collection is a fun retelling of the classic Grimm’s Fairytales. They use the fairytales to teach modern day characters some horrifying lessons. It is such unique take on the fairytales, plus the artwork is beautiful.

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The Tea Dragon Society

The Tea Dragon Society|Katie O'Neill

Synopsis:

From the award-winning author of Princess Princess Ever After comes THE TEA DRAGON SOCIETY, the beloved and charming all-ages book that follows the story of Greta, a blacksmith apprentice, and the people she meets as she becomes entwined in the enchanting world of tea dragons. After discovering a lost tea dragon in the marketplace, Greta learns about the dying art form of tea dragon care-taking from the kind tea shop owners, Hesekiel and Erik. As she befriends them and their shy ward, Minette, Greta sees how the craft enriches their lives–and eventually her own.

This is the cutest thing that I have ever read. It’s very, very short. I read it in 15 minutes. There is not a huge plot, but it is so cute. The tea dragons are adorable. It will make any bad day better. You need to read this.

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Aquicorn Cove

Aquicorn Cove|Katie O'Neill

Synopsis:

When Lana and her father return to their seaside hometown to help clear the debris of a big storm, Lana remembers how much she’s missed the ocean–and the strong, reassuring presence of her aunt. As Lana explores the familiar beach, she discovers something incredible: a colony of Aquicorns, small magical seahorse-like creatures that live in the coral reef. Lana rescues an injured Aquicorn and cares for it with the help of her aunt, who may know more about these strange creatures than she’s willing to admit. But when a second storm threatens to reach the town, choices made many years ago about how to coexist with the sea start to rise to the surface. Lana realizes she will need to find the strength to stand on her own, even when it means standing up to the people who she has always relied on to protect her.

This is by the author that wrote The Tea Dragon Society. It’s just as cute and fun, but it is a little more developed. This one really focuses on the environment of our oceans. It helps spread the word about environmental issues while still being completely adorable.

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The Witch Boy

Synopsis:

In thirteen-year-old Aster’s family, all the girls are raised to be witches, while boys grow up to be shapeshifters. Anyone who dares cross those lines is exiled. Unfortunately for Aster, he still hasn’t shifted . . . and he’s still fascinated by witchery, no matter how forbidden it might be.

When a mysterious danger threatens the other boys, Aster knows he can help — as a witch. It will take the encouragement of a new friend, the non-magical and non-conforming Charlie, to convince Aster to try practicing his skills. And it will require even more courage to save his family . . . and be truly himself.

This is another adorable story. It’s actually a middle grade graphic novel, but I think anyone would benefit from reading this.

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So those are a few of the graphic novels that I have read and loved lately. They are easy, fun reads that will help you get acclimated to the graphic novel world. Obviously, since I’m new to the format, I could use some graphic novel recommendations myself. Leave some in the comments below!


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Wild Horses on the Salt by Anne Montgomery

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Wild Horses on the Salt immediately caught my attention. The author reached out to me and me and offered a copy in exchange for my honest review. Set in the wilds of Arizona, I figured it would be for me. Let’s get to the review!

When Rebecca Quinn flees from her abusive husband, her only option is to head to Arizona. There she meets Gaby, her aunt’s best friend. Becca finds refuge at Gaby’s inn located in the Tonto National Forest. There Becca settles in surrounded by new friends. Becca’s new life is suddenly shattered when her husband tracks her down.

My Thoughts on Wild Horses on the Salt

I enjoyed this one. I loved the whole found family aspect. The main character definitely needed love. She came from an abusive childhood and marriage. Throughout the book, Becca copes with post-traumatic stress disorder because of that.

In one part of the book, a character (I can’t remember who) described Becca as hard to get to know. As a reader, I found that to be true. She did feel a little one dimensional. I would have liked to see a little more character growth, but overall I liked her.

I loved the fact that nature played a large role in this. There were chapters woven in that was set from the perspective of one of the wild horses that live in the Sonoran desert. While the life of the horse and Becca didn’t intersect in a big, dramatic way it did show all of the little ways that humans and nature interact. I loved that the author had a lot to say about the environment and wildlife conservation.

I feel the need to mention that this is very much a slow burn read. However, I found it necessary. Becca was healing from trauma and that takes time. The climax didn’t really happen until Becca’s husband returned near the end.

Lastly, let’s talk romance. It’s obvious that a romance is being set up. While I liked the romance, and her potential partner, I didn’t think it was completely necessary. I wish it had focused more on personal growth and healing.

I really liked Wild Horses on the Salt. It’s not an easy subject to read about, but Anne Montgomery wrote it well.

My Rating: 4/5

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The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah Review

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I bought The Great Alone on a whim this spring and I’m just getting around to reading it. This book reminded me of The Shining and Gilmore Girls mixed together. I know that’s a weird comparison, but it works. It was an interesting read outside of my comfort zone, but it was enjoyable.

When Ernt Allbright returns home from the Vietnam War, he decides to move his family to Alaska. Thirteen year old Leni, hopes it’s the start of a bright new future for her family. Her mother, Cora, would follow Ernt anywhere. Including America’s last frontier. They find a home off the grid among some of the strongest men and women in the country. As winter creeps closer, Ernt’s mental health slowly deteriorates. Leni and her mother must learn how to survive on their own because the biggest threat that they face lives in the same cabin as them.

My Thoughts on The Great Alone

The Great Alone is a coming of age story. Watching Leni grow up in the harsh environment showcases the human ability to adapt to the most difficult surroundings. She truly loved Alaska even though she face some of her most challenging years there.

While Leni is the center of the story, the whole family was really well developed. My heart broke for them in so many ways. Cora faced terrible domestic violence. During those moments I absolutely hated Ernt. However, the author wove his character in a way that you felt like you were in Cora’s shoes. She made you experience the emotions that Cora felt for her husband. There was hatred, fear, compassion, and love of the man that he used to be. It was a completely heartbreaking situation.

My main complaint with The Great Alone was that it could have ended sooner. At a certain point the story was coming to a conclusion, but then I realized there were a hundred more pages. It took a turn that I didn’t necessarily love. The story already felt fully developed, but then an extra conflict was tacked on to the end.

When The Great Alone actually ended I was satisified. I enjoyed the conclusion even though it felt like it went around the world to get there. I think if there had been a little more streamlining this could have been a new favorite. Unfortunately, it ended up falling a little short.

My Rating: 3/5

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