Posts Tagged: 3.5 star books

The Queen of Blood: Review

The Queen of Blood: Review

The Queen of Blood is the sort of quiet, more subdued fantasy that mostly feels dreamy and innocent. And then Sarah Beth Durst will turn right back around and remind you at various points that this story has quite the emotional barb. The story of young Daleina, training to be a potential successor to the queen of Aratay, is one in which you will find many of the more common fantasy tropes, but also many subverted. And it’s such an endearing story, and well done in the telling, that I found I didn’t much mind how much of the book follows well worn fantasy paths. Daleina’s world is one full of bloodthirsty spirits. There are spirits for each of the four elements, as well as tree spirits. These pernicious inhabitants barely tolerate the existence of humans; their blood thirst is only ever barely sated. The one force keeping the spirits from… Read more »

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Dreaming Death: Review

Dreaming Death: Review

Dreaming Death is the first in a new adult fantasy series full of murder, mystery, and magic. The story is told through several POV characters, but the narrative mostly revolves around Mikael, a broadcaster, and Shironne, a touch-sensitive. The story-world is rich, and this is definitely the sort of fantasy novel in which a large portion of the novel (especially at the beginning) is spent on explaining the world, its rules, its magic, and how it all works together. I was immediately hooked by the creepy and heartbreaking first chapter in which we witness a murder through the terrified victim’s eyes. This is what Mikael sees when he dreams a death. These dreams come unbidden to him, and are obviously deeply unsettling as he perceives everything as though he himself is the victim. As a broadcaster, the dreams are then sent out to all nearby sensitives. When Mikael dreams, many suffer. Shironne is the… Read more »

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Steeplejack: Review

Steeplejack: Review

It’s interesting to ponder what qualifies as a fantasy and what exactly makes that so. You can have fantasy that takes place in whole other realms replete with magic and magical creatures. You can have fantasy that places in our very own world, but with elements of the wondrous. Then you have works like Steeplejack, in which there is no magic (or none yet presented) but the world it takes place in is not our own, and so it is a fantasy work. It just occurred to me while reading how interesting the many varietals of fantasy works are.  This is a book that reads very much like a historical crime novel that takes place in 19th century South Africa. But it is not 19th century South Africa, only a land in an unknown world that has many echoes and similarities to it. Does this seem like a complaint? Not… Read more »

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Places No One Knows: Review

Places No One Knows: Review

What a strange impossible dream of a story this book is. For the first ¾ of it I had no idea entirely what to make of it. Here is a girl who doesn’t sleep, but basically sleepwalks through her life. The (probably intentional) sense of numbness did nothing to make this an enjoyable reading experience.  It was like reading through a haze of drear and gray. And then, in the final act, it was as if a flower had suddenly turned to bloom. My heart was aching, and I was gripping the pages turning them furiously while shouting at the heroine in my head. I went from feeling sort of meh to full on adoration. This is one of the hardest times I’ve ever had rating a book. I’ll tell you right off the bat that a part of the reason I had trouble connecting is that I found the… Read more »

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A Curious Beginning: Review

A Curious Beginning: Review

If you’ve been itching to curl up with an absorbing historical mystery that will make you laugh and swoon, then A Curious Beginning is right up your alley! I am not usually much one for mystery novels, but the combination of features here, Victorian London, an intrepid and super sassy heroine (also a lady scientist, yay!), and a developing romance hit all the right checkmarks for me. I’m glad I gave this one a try as it really is a super enjoyable set up to what could, finger crossed, be a long and rewarding series! The story begins with our heroine, Veronica Speedwell, burying  her last “relative” and remaining connection to her childhood. A foundling, Veronica had been raised by two spinster sisters, often moving at a whim around the country, causing constant upheaval in her life. Veronica soon discovers, though, that her very life is under attack, with mysterious… Read more »

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Not If I See You First: Review

Not If I See You First: Review

This is the sort of book where it would have received a higher rating if this was my sort of book. It’s a quality book. It’s very well written and well paced, the characters are fully fleshed out, believable, and flawed, and there are lessons to be learned and hearts to be broken and mended. It’s just not really a Kim book, and I didn’t really know that going into it. I can like contemporaries when they’re romantic and mostly cutesy (with some gravity thrown in for balance). I am saying this so you know to take my rating with a grain of salt. I think usual fans of contemporaries will really like this one! In actuality, this is a lot different than I thought it would be. I thought this was going to be a book about broken hearts and second chances and slowly learning to come back together…. Read more »

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Willful Machines: Review

Willful Machines: Review

When I saw Kirkus describe this book as “Gothic, gadget-y, gay” I knew I needed it in my hands as soon as humanly possible. I am happy to say it is all of those wonderful things. And while I didn’t quite love it, I did really, really enjoy this book. There’s so much to like! Yes, there  are wonderfully complex characters, killer robots, and the sweetest M/M romance. The writing beautifully evokes the brooding boarding school setting. This is a near-future sci-fi thriller with a touch of the dystopian. 16 year-old Lee is the closeted son of an ultra-conservative president who is both fiercely anti-gay and anti-robot. It’s unfortunate then, that Lee has a penchant for tinkering with mechanicals, too. The Human Values platform was created in response to an attack by Charlotte, an AI gone rogue, in which  Lee’s mother was murdered. Ever since, Charlotte has been using her… Read more »

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