Tag Archives: magic

Book Review: Given by Nandi Taylor

Wattpad Books
Published Jan 21st, 2020
449 Pages

Yenni has never been this far from home. With only her wits, her strength and her sacred runelore, the fierce Yirba warrior princess is alone in the Empire of Cresh. It’s a land filled with strange magics and even stranger people—many of whom mistrust anyone who’s different. But Yenni will prove herself, and find a cure for her father’s wasting illness. She will not fail.

No one warned her about the dragons. Especially not about him.

Yes, there is something powerful and compelling about the violet-black dragon known as Weysh. In human form he’s muscular, beautiful—and completely infuriating. What kind of arrogant creature claims a stranger as his Given; as his destined mate? Yenni is no man’s—or dragon’s—plaything. But other magics must be at work here, because Weysh might just be her best hope at finding the answers she seeks.

Only now Yenni can’t tell if she’s fighting her attraction to a dragon…or fighting fate itself. – Goodreads

The cover. We cannot have a conversation about this novel without discussing how amazing the cover is. Not only does it completely grab your attention but seeing a dark skin woman in the front looking not only fierce but feminine does wonders to me.

But as we all know you cannot judge a book by its cover and the book was okay. It didn’t do anything for me by any means but there were things that I love.

I loved the focus on Yenni, her home and her traditions. I liked the fact that she did not change herself, physically or mentally, to fit in with her new environment. She stayed true to herself while also allowing herself to learn.

I loved the imagery within this novel. Everything was clear and it felt as if it was living and breathing because of this it was why I finished the book.

Here is what I didn’t like. The romance was forced and there was no spark or even connection there. Weysh was such a good character but not for Yenni. There was just nothing there and when they did come together there was still nothing there. I didn’t feel real not the whole dragon and human in a magical world real but the love, the attraction, the chemistry was not there.

The book is focused a lot on that romance, but it is also focused on Yenni trying to find out the source and the cure for a sickness in her village. I wish there was more deep dive on the second part. Its not like Yenni was love struck or anything, it was just a case of a romance that actually didn’t need to happen.

But the other issue I had with this book was how slow it was. As much as I loved Yenni and the imagery, the book overall was not really engaging, and it was easy to put it down.

Overall, it was okay. I was expecting more from this book and it wasn’t SOLEY because of the cover. The summary promises a lot but more importantly a steamy chemistry that you can’t help but love.

This doesn’t appear to be a series, but I would actually love another book within this world.

Overall,

2 Pickles

Book Review: Nameless Queen by Rebecca McLaughlin

Crown Books for Young Readers
TBP Jan. 20th 2020
352 Pages

Everyone expected the king’s daughter would inherit the throne. No one expected me.

It shouldn’t even be possible. I’m Nameless, a class of citizens so disrespected, we don’t even get names. Heck, dozens of us have been going missing for months and no one seems to care.

But there’s no denying the tattoo emblazoned on my arm. I am queen. In a palace where the corridors are more dangerous the streets, though, how could I possibly rule? And what will become of the Nameless if I don’t?- Goodreads

I liked this book. It was a good read. It kept me invested from beginning to end.

I loved the world building of the novel. But I wanted more of that world. It was very the rich is getting richer and abusing the poor while the poor is getting poorer and abusing each other. The divide was very clear, the picture of peasants and grayness was very visible and greatly appreciated that.

What caused me to give this book 3 Pickles (spoiler I know), was the Nameless that became Queen. She was good at being Nameless but when her title changed she didn’t know how to the play the game. This frustrated me because at several points she realizes that being royal is a game that needs to be played and instead of self-improving and getting hip to the game, she just didn’t and did more complaining as if she didn’t have the power to change things. It was a frustrating circle to read because she saw it and acknowledged it and then did nothing.

There was some character development but not enough for me to bump up my rating.

I wish the author added more about the magic, the history of the city and more history about the Nameless Queen. We find out information but it didn’t completely satisfying. Yes, there will always be questions especially if a book is a series. However, it would have been great to have more development on the world.

Overall, I would recommend this book. I am pretty it is a series, which the way it ended it made sense. But it didn’t need to be a series As previously mentioned,

3 Pickles 

Graphic Novel Review: Grimoire Noir by Vera Greentea

First Second
Published July 23rd 2019
290 Pages

Bucky Orson is a bit gloomy, but who isn’t at fifteen?

His best friend left him to hang out with way cooler friends, his dad is the town sheriff, and wait for it―he lives in Blackwell, a town where all the girls are witches. But when his little sister is kidnapped because of her extraordinary power, Bucky has to get out of his own head and go on a strange journey to investigate the small town that gives him so much grief. ]

And in the process he uncovers the town’s painful history and a conspiracy that will change it forever.- Goodreads

This book is a problematic fave but it is really hard for me to actually say that because there was an extreme party foul within this book that left a bad taste in my mouth and even thinking about it, I am feeling some type of way. But let me start with what was my fave part of this book.

The story was really good. I loved the fact that it does the trope where there was a problem in the past and the solution has now become a problem in the current time. I loved the artwork. The artwork was extremely detailed, moving and the colors were perfect in every scene. It set an amazing mood that sucked you into the novel.

But there were issues. Firstly, there was a lot thrown into this novel and it could have been spaced our better or there could have been better fillers. The author touches upon a lot of characters and history but doesn’t explore them and leaves more questions then answers by time you get to the end of the book. This book could really use another deep dive by the editor to add more content and space to make it a second book.

Bucky was a horrible person. He wasn’t smart enough at all to figure things out and it was handed to him. He didn’t listen to people and he was jealous of the fact that he did not have magical powers. With all of that he had the freaking nerve to accuse people of things and barge into their homes as if he owned the place. The fact that he felt so entitled bugged me out.

Now here is the thing that left a bad taste in my mouth. There were two Black characters (technically 4, 2 were side characters) and both of them were considered evil. No issue with Black characters being villains but if they are the only two Black characters in your book that is a problem. The side characters I had mentioned . . . one was a picture of a Black witch to show that there were Black witches in the past. I 100% believe this was done to show lineage. The other Black character was there to show how evil the main villain was.

The other issue with this is one of the Black characters had to prove she wasn’t evil unless she helped Bucky. And that was bull.

If you are going to be “diverse” then do it well. If there is literally only one Black family in your town, then you need to dip into their history and their story line. You can’t just assume that the reader is not going to notice that you make mention of other Black people but don’t show them. Its disrespectful.

And it was disappointing to read something with a strong story with huge potential but dropped the ball on its characters and its development. Its been a very long time since I have been upset after finishing a book.

Overall,

2.5 Pickles

Book Tour: The Dark Lord Clementine by Sarah Jean Horwitz

Algonquin Young Readers
Published Oct. 1, 2019
336 Pages

Dastardly deeds aren’t exactly the first things that come to mind when one hears the name “Clementine,” but as the sole heir of the infamous Dark Lord Elithor, twelve-year-old Clementine Morcerous has been groomed since birth to be the best (worst?) Evil Overlord she can be. But everything changes the day the Dark Lord Elithor is cursed by a mysterious rival.

Now, Clementine must not only search for a way to break the curse, but also take on the full responsibilities of the Dark Lord. As Clementine forms her first friendships, discovers more about her own magic than she ever dared to explore, and is called upon to break her father’s code of good and evil, she starts to question the very life she’s been fighting for. What if the Dark Lord Clementine doesn’t want to be dark after all? – Goodreads

This book cleared up my reader’s block in the most adorable coming of age way possible.

I love it when books focus on children wanting to go their own paths and/or seeing that there is a different path to take. The literal wonder in their eyes, speech and movements just builds an excitement like no other.

When you first begin the book, you know that Clementine wants something more. Shoot, I was genuinely surprised that by chapter three, there wasn’t a mention of a mother. The book is literally dripping in Clementine wanting more than the life she already has and that kept me interested throughout the entire read.

Clementine herself is an interesting character to read because she is trying so hard to follow what is “right” in her world but at the same time she is constantly conflicted if she is strong enough to do what is “right”. I loved her drive and her curiosity to explore and at the end of the day the love she has for her father.

The pace of the novel was a bit slow but I am okay with that because it is a lot of build up. The author gets you emotionally invested. Also this book is told in different point of views. Transitions are not in the middle of the page like other novels and it fits. Having the different points of views really works in this novel.

Overall, I was not expecting the emotional aspect to this fantasy read and if you are not paying attention you might miss it.

4 Pickles 

Book Review: Marrow Charm by Kristin Jacques

The Parliament House
TBP Oct. 1, 2019

Azure ‘Azzy’ Brimvine lives in a world decimated by magic, where humans have retreated underground from the overwhelming dangers of the surface. But Below is no safer than Above.

Magic borne plagues continue to eat away at the remaining human cities, a sickness that doesn’t merely kill, but creates aberrations from the stricken: people twisted by magic into something dark, dangerous, and powerful. It is an existence of fear and constant dread. When Azzy’s brother, Armin, is infected and cast out into the Above, she sets out after him, determined to be there for him no matter what he becomes.

The world Above is full of monsters, both wild and cunning, some more human than Azzy was led to believe. Armin is captured and bound for the Auction block of Avergard, a ruthless city of inhuman lords and twisted creatures. To reach him, Azzy must brave the perils of the Above and the chaotic life forms created by the Gate. To reach him, she must find allies and forge new bonds in this broken world.

And Azzy must reach him, before Armin’s new power is used to open the Gate once more. -Goodreads

This is going to be a short review because I actually didn’t care for Azzy or Armin. More Azzy than anything. She did a lot of whining and a lot back and forth and did things without much thoughts.

For life underground, she really didn’t try to know more or achieve more. She just went though the motions until her life was disturbed and then there was a problem. Normally, I wouldn’t exactly have an issue with this but I do because she worked under a apothecary but didn’t really have the motivation or drive to learn things on her own. It was a bit disappointing to read.

However, there was something that I liked about this book and that was the magic and the setting. The author has skill in sucking you into the world and keeping you there. Not to say I would live in that world because its messed up but one of the aspects I like was a side character Azzy meets. But Azzy shows a lack of understanding, care and investment because this character could have done wonders for Azzy like real wonders but Azzy doesn’t think that far ahead.

I digress on this short review. I can see why people love it so much but I wasn’t exactly thrilled with it and I was bored.

Overall,

2 Pickles 

Book Review: A Jewel Bright Sea (Mage and Empire #1) by Claire O’Dell

Rebel Base Books
TBP: Sept 3rd, 2019

It was her talent for tracking magic that got Anna Zhdanov sent to catch a thief. A scholar’s daughter sold as a bond servant, she has no desire to recover the Emperor’s jewel for herself. But a chance to earn her freedom has driven her to the untamed Eddalyon province, awash with warm breezes, lapping waves, and more danger than she could possibly guess.
 
Within days her cover as an indolent noblewoman is in question, and it’s clear there’s more to Anna’s task than she knows. Soon she’s the captive of the unpredictable pirate captain Andreas Koszenmarc, hunted by the Emperor’s guard, besieged by a brigand queen, and at odds with her only friend. She must trust someone if she is to survive. But when all that’s certain is that everyone is hiding something, it’s no simple thing to choose …- Goodreads

This is one of those reads that I reluctantly enjoyed. Nothing really happens until you are about 70% into the book which is a lot of time. Why I pulled through for so long? Because I knew it was coming. The author gives you a (very) slow build not in regards to the romance of the novel but the whole pirate adventure theme. I actually really enjoyed it and wished the author added much more of that excitement and magic way more in the beginning of the book.

In regards to the romance, it was unexpected because nothing gives way for anything to happen. It made sense but it was forced. There wasn’t any form of lust or want from Andreas or Anna at any point before the big explosion happened. I understand that maybe the author was putting a lot on them as characters so when they had downtime they could see each other but that method didn’t really do anything for me.

However, I did like their romance once it started and I did like the book right after it hit the 70%.

Overall, its one of those books that isn’t exactly good but you get drawn into it and start feeling yourself enjoying it. There is a book two and I hope that the author chooses other characters to focus on that are part of Andreas and Anna’s story as opposed to talking about them. I plan on reading book two.

3 Pickles

Fall Cover Love

If you are a new follower, I do a cover love post throughout the year. Here I display different books that will be released between 1-3 months. You can check out January here and June here.

Which are your favorites? And what books coming out this year that I should be looking for?