My Review of Akata Witch (Akata Witch, #1) by Nnedi Okorafor – 5 Stars

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Information from Goodreads:

Akata Witch transports the reader to a magical place where nothing is quite as it seems. Born in New York, but living in Aba, Nigeria, twelve-year old Sunny is understandably a little lost. She is albino and thus, incredibly sensitive to the sun. All Sunny wants to do is be able to play football and get through another day of school without being bullied. But once she befriends Orlu and Chichi, Sunny is plunged in to the world of the Leopard People, where your worst defect becomes your greatest asset. Together, Sunny, Orlu, Chichi and Sasha form the youngest ever Oha Coven. Their mission is to track down Black Hat Otokoto, the man responsible for kidnapping and maiming children. Will Sunny be able to overcome the killer with powers stronger than her own, or will the future she saw in the flames become reality?

Hardcover, 349 pagesPublished April 14th 2011 by Viking Children’s

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My Rating: 5 Stars

via GIPHY

My Review of Akata Witch (Akata Witch, #1) by Nnedi Okorafor

5/5 stars

Once again Nnedi Okorafor did not fail to impress. I’m pretty sure I read on her page that a movie or show is in the works for this book and I’m excited to see it manifested.

“It’s just an insect specter,” Orlu said as he touched the sting with his knife. He made a popping sound with his lips. “They’re the result of insects people smash. Most angry spirits come from deaths by acts of cruelty. If the insect is angry or a vengeful type, it’ll return as one of these.” Slowly the feeling in her legs returned. The bruise on her hip from falling remained, though.

This is a really interesting book with engaging, dynamic characters that easily stand out from each other. This series might well be described as a more diverse, unique, and perhaps grounded Harry Potter in that we’ve got a group of kids, some of whom are already aware of “magic”, one who is not. They are sent to attend “magic school” all while still leading their “regular” lives. No offense to the Harry Potter series but this story isn’t about your typical idea of magic. A person’s ability is often unique to them or something they’ve inherited from a relative. I love the idea that what might be a disadvantage or flaw in the “lamb” world translates into an ability among Leopard People. It’s beautiful.

This story is easy to read, well-paced, and original. It’s fantastic and feels true to life even as it’s set in a country, continent and culture I do not know. I’m grateful for this opportunity to read a story set in Nigeria flavored with fantasy. We all know one of the beauties of reading is being able to travel outside of our own lives, this book delivers on that in SO MANY ways.

“Lesson one, ” Anatov said. “And this is for all of you. Learn how to learn. Read between the lines. Know what to take and what to discard. Sunny, we don’t teach as the Lambs do. Books will be part of your learning but experience is important, too. You’ll all be sent out to see for yourselves. So you have to know how to learn…”

There is violence, but it’s not overwhelming . I think it’s comparable to a PG-13 movie, mind you I don’t read a lot of books of this age-range so I might not be the best judge. That said my 12-year old niece isn’t big on scary or violent stories/movies but I think I will recommend this to her nonetheless. The main characters are 13-14 years old. Nnedi gives these characters energy and attitude true to children. Sunny, the main protagonist and a new student of the Leopard world, is a spunky, sassy girl who is understandably nervous but brave. She’s bullied for being albino but she remains strong and stands up for herself even though at times it hurts to feel like an outsider.

Okorafor is good at tapping into the characters’ emotions and not forgetting those seemingly small moments of emotional pain, young and old. You’ll also find some great lessons woven into these pages.

“Sunny, there are Leopard People all over the world from every tribe, race, whatever. None is better than the other.”

I will continue to make my way through her work moving right along to Akata Warrior, #2 in this duology. I strongly recommend reading this book and more of Nnedi Okorafor. If you haven’t yet branched out to more diverse authors, Nnedi Okorafor’s books are a great place to start for the fantasy/sci-fi genres.

“Let me tell you something Chichi and Sasha have a hard time respecting,” Orlu said, putting his fork down. “Leopard People – all our kind all over the world – are not like Lambs. Lambs think money and material things are the most important thing in the world. You can cheat, lie, steal, kill, be dumb as a rock, but if you can brag about money and having lots of things and your bragging is true, that bypasses everything. Money and material things make you king or queen of the Lamb world. You can do no wrong, you can do anything.

Leopard People are different. The only way you can earn chittim is by learning. The more you learn, the more chittim you earn. Knowledge is the center of all things…”

From Akata Witch (Akata Witch, #1)

The following are more quotes from the book that are listed and liked on Goodreads:

“People are too focused on money. It’s supposed to be a tool, not the prize to be won.”

“They’re capable of great things, but potential doesn’t equal success.”

“We embrace those things that make us unique or odd. For only in these things can we locate and then develop our most individual abilities.”

We’re going through some truly incredible times in the world right now. Sometimes I feel like we should have expected 2020 to be different. I mean, 2020 right? Gosh… The change we are experiencing is profound and much of it overdo. I am proud of those standing up against injustice. I am proud of those standing up for science and the good of the community. I am proud of all the brave people exercising their courage in the face of fear. I am so proud of all the people embracing each other, coming together, and demanding a better world for everyone. People are showing each other that hate has no place among us.

In the midst of all of this, many of us are wondering what can I do? How can I help? Maybe you’re marching, maybe you’re not, but you want to know how you can be a part of the change and help to usher it forward. One way we can do this is to continue to support each other and to support communities of color. We can help by investing in communities of color; this in part means supporting the work done by people of color, and the businesses, the arts, and the efforts among so many other things. In the bookish world, the art world, we do this by buying books by and about people of color. We do this by talking about their books and stories, telling our friends and family, our neighborhoods, our social media-hoods. We can help by promoting more diversity in the arts. Don’t have many or any authors of color on your TBR? Well now is as good a time as ever to branch out. And when you find those authors you enjoyed, spread their name far and wide. Encourage others to read their work. Then find more and share more. Read non-fiction and fiction by and about people and communities of color. Read books that take place in a community, neighborhood or region unlike yours.

We in the bookish community already love to read, so let’s be super intentional in what we pick (if you’re not already doing this) and make sure you pick up books, more books by and about people of color. In fact, I have an idea, get this book and others by this author! 😉

From Goodread’s author bio:

Nnedi Okorafor is a Nigerian-American author of African-based science fiction and fantasy (Africanfuturism and Africanjujuism). Okorafor has won a Hugo, a Nebula, a World Fantasy Award, and a Locus Award, and her many fans include Neil Gaiman, Rick Riordan, John Green, and Ursula Le Guin. She is writing a series for Marvel about Shuri, Black Panther’s sister, and has a number of book-based projects in development for film and TV – including HBO’s adaptation of her novel Who Fears Death, with George R. R. Martin signed on as executive producer. Okorafor is also co-writing the screenplay of an adaptation of Octavia Butler’s Wild Seed with filmmaker Wanuri Kahiu for Amazon Prime Video, with Viola Davis producing. Her novel Akata Warrior (of the Akata Series) is the winner of the Lodestar and Locus Award for Best Young Adult Novel.

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/588356.Nnedi_Okorafor

The above link will take you to her Goodreads’ bio page but THIS LINK will take you to her website.

You can CLICK HERE to read my review of Lagoon, a sci-fi/fantasy, first contact book by this author. Another five star read in my humble opinion.

You can also CLICK HERE for my review of Binti, an awesome sci-fi novella, the first of 3 books I shamefully have yet to finish! (But I will. 😉 )

And I will be re-reading (one of these days) The Book Of Phoenix (Who Fears Death, #0.5). I want to refresh my experience with this book as I read it at least a couple years ago but have since become a big fan of this author.

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Rest assured I will continue to work my way through her books. Today I start Akata Warrior (Akata Witch, #2).

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Have you read any of her work? Have you heard of these books or her? What did you think? Don’t be afraid to express your opinion. Have you read any I have yet to read? What other authors of color would you recommend we read? I encourage you to share. In the coming week I hope to put together a post about authors of color in an effort to help promote and support their work. Some will be authors I’ve read, some I plan to read but have heard great things about. I would also like to include suggestions from others such as yourself. I plan to link to some great posts with similar lists by other book bloggers.

So let’s as a bookish community come together and show our support for authors and communities of color by promoting their work far and wide.

Black Lives Matter.

My Review of Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor – 5 Stars

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Information from Goodreads:

It’s up to a famous rapper, a biologist, and a rogue soldier to handle humanity’s first contact with an alien ambassador—and prevent mass extinction—in this novel that blends magical realism with high-stakes action.

After word gets out on the Internet that aliens have landed in the waters outside of the world’s fifth most populous city, chaos ensues. Soon the military, religious leaders, thieves, and crackpots are trying to control the message on YouTube and on the streets. Meanwhile, the earth’s political superpowers are considering a preemptive nuclear launch to eradicate the intruders. All that stands between 17 million anarchic residents and death is an alien ambassador, a biologist, a rapper, a soldier, and a myth that may be the size of a giant spider, or a god revealed.

Hardcover, 304 pagesPublished July 14th 2015 by Gallery / Saga Press (first published April 10th 2014)

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My Rating: 5 Stars

via GIPHY

My Review of Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor

5/5 stars

I know I say a lot of stories are unique, maybe it’s just because I’ve been fortunate enough to come across such jewels but this book deserves such a description more than most.

Ayodele smiled and nodded, gazing into the camera. Adaora shivered. If there was any strong hint of the alien in Ayodele’s appearance, it was in her eyes. When Adaora looked into them, she felt unsure… of everything. A college friend of hers used to say that everything human beings perceived as real was only a matter of the information their bodies recorded.

From Lagoon

Nnedi Okorafor is a very talented and imaginative writer. I will continue to look forward to and gravitate towards her work. Much like one of the main characters in this book, a female marine biologist resident of Lagos Nigeria, Okorafor is an explorer and scientist of “what if”.

But the air really did shiver. And as I stood there, it came right at me. There was no physical breeze; it came like a ghost. Then it washed over me like a great wave of water. When it passed, I felt drenched, heavy.

From Lagoon

This story takes place in Lagos, Nigeria with an almost completely Nigerian cast. I loved this opportunity to visit far outside the world I know. I’m so happy that she went ahead with including large amounts of Pidgin English and other slang as I really enjoyed being fully transported to another time and place. Aliens have landed in the ocean off Lagos with the goal of making contact with the locals, among other things. What will they do? What do they do, the Lagosians and the aliens? Such stories as this really make you wonder, what would we do? Do you think people would panic? Who do you know who might at least try to welcome them? Who might outright reject their existence even as they stand before you?

His aunts were excited to have so many to cook for, and they happily went to the kitchen to get to it. Nevertheless, his mother’s face looked pained. She must have had a feeling that this situation went beyond the family. Beyond their beliefs. Beyond their religion.

From Lagoon

Her story is not one I’ve ever read before, not the aliens or their mission, or their skills. If I have heard such a story it would only be similar, but not anywhere the same. I really enjoyed her focus on the ocean as well as the sea creatures interaction with the aliens. That detail alone is unlike other first contact stories.

This story is an accessible easy read and it feels real even as I’ve never seen or met aliens nor have I been to Nigeria. The author is herself Nigerian-American so we have the privilege of reading an own-voices story. I read with a new perspective since I read this during the Covid-19 pandemic. There is violence, mention of sex acts, and strong language.

The story’s structure and voice are also different. I liked the bits from the perspective of animals or various people out and about on the street in addition to switching between main characters. I also enjoyed all of the characters even if we didn’t dive all that deep into them. This story didn’t seem to need that. Even if you find fault in some parts of the story I think you will enjoy it and its originality. Also it’s fast-paced, something is always happening. This book has interesting curves and angles. I recommend this to all fans of sci-fi/fantasy especially first contact, African culture, and ocean stuff. 🙂

Aman iman, Adaora weakly thought. The phrase meant “water is life” in the Tuareg language of Tamashek. She’d once worked with a Tuareg man on a diving expedition. “Aman Iman,” had been his answer when Adaora asked how a man of the Sahara Desert had become an expert scuba diver.

From Lagoon

You might recall my review of Binti, another of Nnedi Okorafor’s books that I loved. I shamefully admit I kind of forgot about it just after I was in the midst of planning to order it. (That felt complicated to say. That’s probably how I forgot. 😉 ) Don’t worry, I will, oh yes I WILL make my way back to it. I’m still planning to re-read The Book of Phoenix (Who Fears Death, #0.5) Mainly because it deserves it, I read it a while ago and I forgot I’d already read it when I came across Binti. Yes that’s all weird of me, don’t be surprised.

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But never mind that, check this information out in the author’s bio on Goodreads:

Nnedi Okorafor is a Nigerian-American author of African-based science fiction and fantasy (Africanfuturism and Africanjujuism). Okorafor has won a Hugo, a Nebula, a World Fantasy Award, and a Locus Award, and her many fans include Neil Gaiman, Rick Riordan, John Green, and Ursula Le Guin. She is writing a series for Marvel about Shuri, Black Panther’s sister, and has a number of book-based projects in development for film and TV – including HBO’s adaptation of her novel Who Fears Death, with George R. R. Martin signed on as executive producer. Okorafor is also co-writing the screenplay of an adaptation of Octavia Butler’s Wild Seed with filmmaker Wanuri Kahiu for Amazon Prime Video, with Viola Davis producing. Her novel Akata Warrior (of the Akata Series) is the winner of the Lodestar and Locus Award for Best Young Adult Novel.

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/588356.Nnedi_Okorafor

Wow and heck yeah! This woman is making some waves and I am enjoying having the privilege of experiencing them. I encourage you all to check out some or all of her work. Upon finishing this book I’ve started Akata Witch (Akata Witch, #1), her YA/children’s fantasy series. I already have both books in the series and am looking forward to reading them. Stay tuned for my reaction to Akata Witch later this month.

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And don’t forget to visit Nnedi Okorafor’s website and add her books to your TBR, Goodreads and otherwise.

Also if you do add her and her books to your list as a result of recommendation, I would so appreciate it if you could give me a shout-out, link back here. I’m all about giving credit where credit’s do, so if you refer me to a book I do not hesitate to give you credit. I do my best to keep notes when I visit other bloggers, listen to podcasts, read articles, talk to people, friends, family and they interest me in books and/or authors. Then I link to and/or mention said person/group/publication when I post about adding the book/author. As I said above I read the Book of Phoenix a while ago and later heard of Binti through at least one podcast, including Writing Excuses.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read my thoughts. I’d love to hear yours, whether you liked the book or not, or are just now adding this to your TBR. Or maybe you’ve read other books by Nnedi Okorafor, let’s chat! 😀

If you want to know what I think about other books I’ve read please VISIT THIS PAGE. Or if you want to know what my upcoming reading plans are CLICK HERE. I try to keep everything up to date as best I can, so stay tuned, follow me, for updates. 😀

Bye for now. I hope you and yours are safe and well.

Anticipated Reading & Recent Book Haul & Thyroid Update Apparently…

Hello there, how are you? Alright here. Little bit of stress and anxiety, little extra I mean because I had to have a blood test to check up on my thyroid levels. This is a new thing for me. Admittedly I feel strange, like I’m airing dirty laundry talking about it here. I’m thinking about family reading it, like wow that’s personal. But guess you can’t be too surprised seeing as I talk about my anxiety right? And yet… What makes me want to share for sure is thinking about Ritu at But I Smile Anyway and the piece she wrote for the site Cysters. Her piece is titled PCOS-er And Proud! She shares her experience living with polycystic ovaries, how she didn’t know as a teen and then struggled as an adult trying to start a family. It’s a really interesting and eye-opening piece, I encourage you to read it. I knew nothing about PCOS, though I’d heard the words I didn’t know what it can be like for women living with this condition. Her story reminds us, it’s good to share. It’s good to be heard.

So I’m saying it here, I have recently been told I have an under-active thyroid. I don’t really have a story to tell just that this was almost relieving. It helped to explain why I felt a little extra depressed, extra tired all day, and have been having more trouble losing weight than what is my usual experience (my weight fluctuates a lot…my diet fluctuates a lot 😉 Lol.) Of course no one wants to hear your body isn’t doing something right on its own, that it’s kind of malfunctioning but answers are nice. I’m in the beginning of dealing with this situation so we’ll see.

Doctor said start Levothyroxine and get your blood checked again in six weeks. Now that was before Covid-19 took over and the call to stay at home was put in place. It didn’t take me long to say, well I’ll just wait this out and get my blood drawn once it’s safe. But, well you know, this big ole virus situation ain’t such a small ordeal and ain’t going away soon. So I’ve been wondering what I should do. The reason they need to draw my blood again, and probably often if this is a thing, is so they can see if my current dosage is working or if I need more. Today I finally called the doctor’s office and asked if I needed to get this test. Triage nurse said yes. We need to know if it’s working. Okay, thanks. (Anxiety said: SHIT!)

Luckily there are walk-in labs for diagnostic matters, I don’t have to go to the actual hospital, but still. With my mask on I went. Got it done. Nervous the whole time wondering if my mask would keep me safe, if the hand sanitizer would keep me safe, if I should do extra things like take my fleece off before I go home (I did but I think that was overkill). But I thought too about all the women in there (didn’t see any guys, sorry). Soldiers for real. Here I am shaking in my boots for the quick in and out visit I’m conducting. Were there sick people here today? They’re in there every day. They’re in there all day. They see us all. They have to watch us nervous, and probably think how do you think I feel? I stood at check in after questioning my relaxed position in the chair in the waiting room, which was like 10 feet from the check in point. I feel really stupid, standing there like the chair would kill me if I sat in it. I apologized. She thanked me for staying standing. That simple, I felt better.

Now I wait. I wait for my thyroid function cascade panel (something to that effect, the whole shebang) and for time to pass and tell me I’m not going to develop Covid-19. I think about my symptoms (thyroid, not Covid cause I don’t have that). I am still having what feels like trouble losing weight but I’m not quite as tired throughout the day as I was. Nor am I as depressed but my irritability, hm, that’s something that’ll fight you (or me and everything in my circle) like an angry badger. The science me is looking forward to the results, see where this thing takes me. Why? Because what if I do need a stronger dose, if my thyroid is still being lazy (that’s probably not the best way to describe it)? Then they might up my dose. Okay you’re waving your hand, come on what’s the point Elpy? What if feeling better is that close to me? Get it now? Cool.

😀 Okay so that’s the important part of my day. (A small, no his voice is loud. Okay a loud voice in my head, that of one of my characters who recently visited the Saloon at The Carrot Ranch, is reminding me I’m still making excuses for not focusing on my book. He thinks I should mention that to you guys.)

The rest of this post is the light, fluffy stuff I want to share: anticipated reading for the rest of April and May and my recent book haul from Book Outlet! I did not open that box for three days by the way, so I feel good about that, and I sanitized my hands after touching it. 😉 The books are on my shelf now and happy to breathe again. The books I plan to read next are from a Book Outlet haul last year (I recently found them after wondering what happened to all those books…) Oh wait, one book is from Book Depository because it’s an Australian publication and at the time that was the only place I could get it. Let’s get started. I’ll post the pictures then list them with links to Goodreads.

What I plan to read after I finish Everything Here is Beautiful by Mira T. Lee (really interesting contemporary fiction novel about a character with mental illness) and in the order I show them:

  • Catching Teller Crow by Ambelin Kwaymullina & Ezekiel Kwaymullina – 2019 – YA Fantasy, mystery – It was thanks to Books and Tea with Brittany (her blog has since been deleted) that I discovered this book written by an Australian Aborigine and has won awards. Yeah! I am now learning that this book was given a different title (?) in the U.S.: The Things She’s Seen. Apparently because they didn’t understand it? That frustrates me…ugh. But this is up next, it’s short and I’m excited.
  • Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor – 2015 – Sci-fi, fantasy – This is the author of Binti (OMG why haven’t I finished that series!) and The Book of Phoenix, both of which I’ve read and enjoyed, especially Binti. Naturally, you find an author you like you follow them and go back for their other stuff. 😉
  • Akata Witch (Akata Witch, #1) by Nnedi Okorafor – 2011 – YA Fantasy, children’s middle grade – As I said above, I’m a fan of this author. I saw she wrote this interesting sounding book (nominated for Locus Award for Best Young Adult Novel 2012) and I was curious. Curious in part too to see if might be a cool rec for my niece.
  • A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic, #1) by V.E. Schwab – 2016 – YA Fantasy – I learnt of this author from her interview on the Writing Excuses Podcast (awesome podcast btw). I’ve also heard her mentioned it seems everywhere else. She is a prolific writer. V.E. Schwab is her pseudonym for her adult work, while Veronica Schwab is for her young adult and middle grade work. This will be the first of her work I’ve finally read. I picked up the box set from Book Outlet last year, so I hope I like it as much as other people because I have the trilogy!
  • Stay tuned as I read them in this order!
And these are the books I picked up recently (for cheap!).

So there you have it, some personal updates (I promise to keep you updated) and some bookish updates. Now let’s see if I can get some of MY BOOK work done and hear from my characters. Wouldn’t that be nice, if I could talk about my own freaking book? Yes, yes, be patient little one. 😉

Let me know if you’ve read any of these, plan to or are interested (please don’t leave any spoilers). If you add something to your TBR thanks to me I’d really appreciate it if you give me a shout out for it. 😀 Oh and if you want to partake in some kind of buddy read, let me know in the comments. I hope to start Catching Teller Crow this weekend or next week. Alright, onward!

February TBR Additions 2020

Hello again all you fine people. I am here as promised to bring you my February TBR Additions 2020. Perhaps you’ve already read my January TBR Additions list also posted this week (well Sunday). That was a really long list and I thank you for reading it. If you haven’t, know that even though it’s very long it’s also really interesting because the books are quite varied, in my humble opinion that is. This list is not short – there’s 16 books – but it’s not as long as that one (26 books). ***It’s not 20 books because I added four just before midnight. Here I thought it was the 1st already. 😉

As always, I thank you for riding along and sharing any thoughts you might have of this list. Do not be afraid – do be kind and respectful – to tell me if you think a book is bad or yuck it doesn’t appeal to you. You will not hurt my feelings. In fact I’d be interested in picking your brain about the matter assuming such a discussion can be done without spoilers. 😉 That said, let’s get to it!

  • The Natural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood – fiction, dystopia
    • I love the podcast The Garrett, hosted by Astrid Edwards. It’s an Australian based podcast. She interviews so many interesting authors, diverse authors, and they’re really good interviews. Astrid, you’re great. I recommend this podcast for sure. Recently I heard the interview with Charlotte Wood and actually made a note, I believe I was waiting in line at the grocery store and added it on Goodreads right there. 😉 I think that’s a beautiful cover too.
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  • Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line by Deepa Anappara – fiction, mystery
    • I discovered this book thanks to an NPR interview. The author, a journalist, was talking about the outrageous fact that in India 150 children go missing A DAY. The vast majority of these young people are forced into some kind of labor, like working in people’s homes and sex work among others. She said it’s not well reported on or managed so she decided to write a novel about it, her debut in fiction. Her protagonist is a young boy. She chose a child so as to take the edge off the story from time to time.
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  • The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides – mystery, thriller
    • I think this is the first in a long time for which I can say I heard of from another person in person! Lol. I was at a family member’s birthday party when I got to chatting with an older woman I’d just met. She told me her book club read this book (a debut novel) and loved it. She said they were split down the middle in terms of predicting how it ended.
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  • As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner – classics, fiction
    • I found that my grandmother and/or great-grandmother (don’t know whose copy it was) had an old copy of this book and well, it appeals to me so I think I’ll give it a shot, one day. 😉
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  • Mr. Sagittarius by M.J. Mallon – poetry, photography, fiction
    • I think it was thanks to Carrot Ranch and a blog tour? Oh shoot I’m sorry I didn’t put this information in my notes. But this is a new a poetry, prose and photography collection by Indie author M.J. Mallon. Interestingly enough my poetry has photography mixed throughout it but no prose, however we clearly have similar interests in that respect. Anywho, I’m excited to be able to support a fellow Indie Author.
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  • Can You See Me? by Libby Scott & Rebecca Westcott – children’s middle grade, contemporary
    • C.G. Drews (author and blogger) over at Paper Fury talks about this book in one of her latest posts. The blurb on Goodreads says this book is for fans of Wonder by R.J. Palacio. While I haven’t read Wonder I’m interested in reading this “coming-of-age story about learning to celebrate yourself…”. Ann M. Martin, New York Times bestselling author of Rain Reign said, “This glimpse into the world of a young autistic girl is astonishingly insightful and honest. Tally’s struggles to ‘fit in’ are heart-wrenching, and her victories are glorious.” This is fiction but it is own-voice in that Libby Scott is a young autistic author and this story is inspired by her experiences.
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  • The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle, #1) by Patrick Rothfuss, narrated by Nick Podehl – Audible Audio edition – fantasy
    • So this is kind of a funny story. I told you before that Audible just had a sale on many series; each book in the respective series was marked down. I saw this and believed it was one I’d added to my TBR this year. I know I’ve heard of this before and it’s hugely popular. This series has two books and they’re long, so good candidates for Audible books I thought.
    • Low and behold, this series was not already on my TBR; I was somehow confusing it with The Lies of Locke Lamora I’d heard of from Inside my Library Mind and SilverWolfReads in January. Lol, well they’re added now!
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  • The Wise Man’s Fear (The Kingkiller Chronicle, #2) by Patrick Rothfuss, narrated by Nick Podehl – Audible Audio edition – fantasy, epic fantasy
    • The sequel to the above book. The one downside and/or upside depending how you see it, to Audible editions is I wind up reading/listening to books I wouldn’t otherwise have picked up so soon. But hey this book has 392,856 ratings on Goodreads with a 4.57 star rating. It was published in 2011. Wow!
    • AND Nnedi Okorafor, an author I follow, the woman who wrote Binti, speaks highly of this series on Goodreads. 😉
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  • The Name of All Things (A Chorus of Dragons, #2) by Jenny Lyons – epic fantasy
    • Okay, so, I’m listening to this book on Audible right now and IT’S AWESOME. It’s really long, certainly an epic like Lord of the Rings but well worth the time. Here’s the thing, I did not know this was a series! Last night I was just browsing browsing, clicked on Jenn Lyons and there you go, there’s more! Then I saw there’s actually a third!!! Wow. So I don’t know that the Audible version is available for the 2nd as it just came out October 2019 but I’ll keep an eye out.
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Wow, okay that’s it. Phew! Twenty-six books added in January and 20 added in February bringing my Goodreads’ TBR to 336! Holy moly, I think I need to slow down on adding books but then how will I remember new finds? Maybe I need to cull my list as many other bloggers have, at least review it to see if I’m really still interested in all these books. God knows I don’t have the time to get through all the books I want, especially not with my own novel on the fire! What do you think about this list?

And as I said in my January TBR Additions 2020 post:

It’s super important to me to give credit where credit’s due. So I try to make a point to take notes when I’m reading other people’s blogs or listening to podcasts (I’m not as good with the latter). Whenever I actually do take notes, be it NPR interviews, blogs, podcasts, talking to people, I will certainly mention it when I mention my interest in the book (assuming I find the notes 😉 ). It’s really a great practice to tip your hat to others and their efforts to spread the word about books they like. Not only does it help the authors of these books, but it also helps other bloggers and podcasters. So I ask humbly please, if you discover books thanks to my blog – lists like this one – that you give me a little shout out. Thanks in advance!

My Review of A Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse, narrated by Tanis Parenteau

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Info from Goodreads:

While most of the world has drowned beneath the sudden rising waters of a climate apocalypse, Dinétah (formerly the Navajo reservation) has been reborn. The gods and heroes of legend walk the land, but so do monsters.

Maggie Hoskie is a Dinétah monster hunter, a supernaturally gifted killer. When a small town needs help finding a missing girl, Maggie is its last, best hope. But what Maggie uncovers about the monster is much more terrifying than anything she could imagine.

Maggie reluctantly enlists the aid of Kai Arviso, an unconventional medicine man, and together they travel the reservation, unraveling clues from ancient legends, trading favors with tricksters, and battling dark witchcraft in a patchwork world of deteriorating technology.

As Maggie discovers the truth behind the killings, she will have to confront her past if she wants to survive.

Welcome to the Sixth World.

Audible audio book – August 7th 2018 by Audible Studios – Listening time: 8 hours and 58 minutes

My rating: 5/5!!!

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I found this book thanks to SilverWolfReads and her post My Great American Book Haul in which she shares the 30+ books she picked up during her visit to NYC. She got the sequel to this book, Storm of Locusts (The Sixth World, #2) but of course you gotta start at the beginning right? So I did and I’m so happy.

This is why it’s not great to write reviews so long after the fact because it’s difficult to keep track of all your thoughts on the book. This is also why I said I was going to start taking notes. Lol. Anyways, I had been thinking a little while ago that I would change my review format to Pros/Cons of the story/book/narration/style etc. I likely will do that in the future however for this particular review I will not.

Reason being, I was really happy with this story as well as the overall narration. It starts off all in the action. Being post-apocalyptic you would expect just that, for a lot to have already happened and happening. But I don’t always love post-apocalyptic stories because they’re so much the same dreary burnt up world. There’s definitely some dreary world stuff going on here but the flavor, I found, to be different. I like how right from the start you know there’s some weird stuff going on underneath it all. That makes me feel like I need to sit up and pay attention.

Much of that is thanks to the story being built around Native American lore, which I admittedly do not know but find fascinating all the same. This story stands out among the crowd of post-apocalyptic stories centered around white culture. Out of respect I believe we ought to all be paying more attention to all the histories of our nation, including the stories, mythical and factual.

Not to get all political or politically correct or incorrect or passively political or pascifistically politically corrected!

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This telling is fabulous and provides a stimulating albeit rather unknown to me, background. You do spend a fair bit of time wondering and waiting for just what happened to the world. However, I think Roanhorse is clever with her writing and gives enough for you to hold on to the reins and stick with the story without falling off as a result of impatience. There’s a lot, I hear, that will continue to unravel about the world and the underlying story in the next book. Which I agree with a review I saw that that makes for some great storytelling and world building when done right. Which it is, IMHO.

I don’t know if it’s worth noting but I will agree with some other reviewers about almost (in my case) being annoyed at the part where Maggie the MC has to get dressed to go to this place which would of course require that she be a little provocative looking. But I mean, I don’t know, it’s not terrible in this context considering she has to do so to fit in (not a spoiler btw). So I have to give it a pass but I can see where people might feel that way. Because of course many of us can’t help but wonder why bad ass women are always half-naked? But Maggie doesn’t get “half-naked”. Moving along…

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I’ve also heard people say that some of the paragraphs are long in description which is not something I typically enjoy. However, I listened to this as an audio book so I can’t say it bothered me, or at least I don’t remember if it did! Lol. Which says a lot about the story. If it’s fast moving and interesting I don’t tend to get too hung up on specifics that might normally annoy me. Basically, slow me down long enough to think a lot and I might likely get frustrated. Okay not always but you get the point. 😉 This book is first person, present tense and I think it all worked for the most part.

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If you like post-apocalyptic urban fantasy for sure check this out. If you like bad ass female characters check this out. If you’re interested in Native American lore check this out. And if you want all of that wrapped up with a bow, yeah this is the book for you. She might fall into some of the bad ass female tropes, including her relationships, but it’s worth it. This story is super unique and well worth the time it takes to enjoy. Rebecca Roanhorse is on my radar now.

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My debate then was do I read the next one to get a feel of the writing, the words or do I continue on with audio? My answer: I will continue listening to this series. The reason I will go with Audible Audio again is because I like Tanis Parenteau and her reading of this book. The next book as noted above is Storm of Locusts (The Sixth World, #2).

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I will add here as well that SilverWolfReads is responsible for my reading/listening to Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer, #1) by Laini Taylor. Read my review here. Great story also!

Okay, your turn! Read this? Reading it? Want to? Feel free to agree or disagree with me here, albeit respectfully please. 😀

If you want to read some of the other things I’ve had to say about books I’ve read then go to THIS PAGE and read what reviews I have available. If you want to know what i’m reading CLICK HERE.

I would so love and appreciate if you’d like to follow me (there should be a button around the bottom right corner somewhere…) as well as your feedback. I am a chatty Cathy although I am not a Kathy or a Cathy. And if I write those names a few more times I will swear that is not how they’re spelled!

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My Review of Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer, #1) by Laini Taylor, narrated by Steve West

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Audible Audio edition

Info from Goodreads:

The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around—and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries—including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?

Welcome to Weep.

Audible Audio – Published March 28 2017 by Hodder & Stoughton

My Review

Ok how do I rate this after being so conflicted at the beginning? Easy!!!

5/5 stars

I discovered this book thanks to SilverWolfReads and her giant book haul from her trip to NYC. I believe I added these in June 2019, you can find these additions in TBR New Additions Part 1. There are a whole host of other books I added to my TBR thanks to her blog, including Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse which I listened to before this book and loved. That moved a lot faster from the start and made it that much more difficult to survive Strange the Dreamer’s slow start. But thanks so much for sharing what you read!!!

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Funny thing is I’m listening to the last chapter as I write this or at least start writing this. That’s how impressed I am with where this story went and ended. Some endings can change how you feel about the whole story, be it book or movie. I saw Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri and was all wrapped up in it until…the ending. Then I was pissed because I did not think it was a satisfying end to such a movie. This book however just kept getting better and better.

In my post Currently Reading (which will change as my reading does) in January/early February, you might have read that I was not enjoying the beginning of this book. Here’s what I said:

I’m in about Chapter 10 I think? So far I’m disappointed because this book is taking so long to be interesting. Lazlo, the main character (MC), really feels flat to me at this point. Given the number of roaring reviews I’ve discovered there to be (saw, didn’t read just glazed over a few) I have faith that this book improves but if I was given an ultimatum I’d be tempted to DNF this.

You know a book is taking too long to really grab you when you almost forget you’re actually supposed to be paying attention to what you’re listening to and you struggle to want to.

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I wish I could remember exactly what chapter it was that changed things for me. I know what happened in the story that did it but I don’t want to tell you anything more than what the summary from Goodreads does. My reviews will not contain any more of a summary than that because I don’t want to spoil the story. Some people like the standard review in which people provide their own summary, the kind we were taught in school. However, I have found that I don’t usually want to know too much more because I like the surprise of discovering the details myself. I know that people warn you if they’ll be spoilers but sometimes just knowing too much before you start is a spoiler, not unlike a movie trailer that shows you all the best parts of the movie.

For instance – the following example is made up and has nothing to do with this book – let’s say a summary tells you the story is about a mystical mountain covered in fog all year long except for two weeks in the summer. No one has visited the mountain ever since a hiking party of 10 disappeared save one individual who came back mute and blind. But then a small boy gets lost, last seen walking in his sleep towards the mountain. Who will brave the mystery to find him? Then let’s say I write a review that doesn’t “contain spoilers” per se, but I tell you that the people have rumored there’s a herd of magical ponies that live midway up and that’s what they’re afraid of. That might be a common detail but you wouldn’t have known until you read the story or someone’s review. I wouldn’t have minded discovering the ponies for myself like a fun little prize in my cereal box; I know it’s in there but if my brother gets it out and shows me, the surprise is done.

That said how I feel about the book now does not change how I feel about the beginning. Don’t like, not gonna like it but this story is a testament to the power of word of mouth. Were I any less patient with books, quicker to DNF I would have quit this early on. But I can thank all you lovely fellow readers out there for letting us know it gets better because HECK YEAH it does!

It took a long time for me to get into Lazlo as well. I still think he kind of feels flat, not the most dynamic and fleshed out of characters, in my humble opinion but he grew on me. There are other characters that appeal to me and appeal to me more. But I can almost promise you (almost because I don’t know you so I could be wrong) that once this story gets going you’ll find it hard to resist.

I respect Laini Taylor’s creativity and imagination. This book could do without a lot of the information – IMHO – especially in the beginning but the story (I think I’ve said that enough) as a whole is emotionally intense and magical with themes true to real life. You might start off uninterested or less than interested but you reach a point where you have to know what happens next. Then you can’t put it down or push pause. The progression this story takes is like climbing a mountain, once you get to the top it is breathtaking. There’s plenty of tension and mystery, wonder and perceived terror. And there is heart ache and super cool twists and turns. Yes there is violence and talk of horrible acts, including rape and murder. However, I absolutely recommend this story and will without a doubt continue with this series. The next book is Muse of Nightmares (Strange the Dreamer, #2).

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While I can’t complain about the beginning enough, I also can’t tell you enough how much I like the ending. Great cliffhanger but also so grating! AH! Laini, you have a new fan. 😉

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Hardcover edition (cover)

Have you read this? Are you planning to? Let me know if I introduced you to this book or tipped the scales for you, maybe even give me a nod on your own blog if that applies. Giving credit to my fellow bloggers, aka sources, when they’ve introduced me to a book or books is super important to me. I do my best to take notes when I add books thanks to them. In fact I have a unpublished post draft that is just for notes of this kind.

Thanks for your visit, please come again! Follow me if you like what you’ve read here and elsewhere because there’s plenty more to come. 😀

2019 TBR List New Additions Part 2

*** Quick funny side note: I scheduled this to publish on New Year’s day but then it disappeared! I couldn’t find it in my list of published or ALL posts. Then again, I didn’t go to the last page of the list… today I figured it out. It was scheduled to post 1 January 2019. Lol, oh silly me. Today I figured it out, must be my renewed yoga practice cleared my head this morning. So I did finish a while ago and have wanted to find it before I publish Part 3. And that’s why you’re also getting 2 posts kinda back to back.

Welcome to Part 2 of the 2019 TBR List New Additions. If you missed the first post click HERE for Part 1. I didn’t add any books to my TBR in October. Can you believe that? Ugh I wasn’t in the bookish world but that’s fine because I was in the writing world gearing up for NaNoWriMo 2019 which I did win. Woo Hoo Heck Yeah! 😀

July 2019 TBR List New Additions

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  • What the Woods Keep – Paranormal Fantasy/YA/Mystery by Katya de Becerra – I already have my copy of this, hopefully I’ll get to it sooner than later. Sorry I don’t recall which podcast I was listening to when I heard about this. But check my list if you’re looking for some book and writing related podcasts.
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August 2019 TBR List New Additions

September 2019 TBR List New Additions

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Oh my I did not add any books in October! It wasn’t because there wasn’t anything to add rather I have not been reading blogs for a long time nor articles about books. I’ve been more focused on my own writing. It can be tricky to juggle reading and writing though both are very important.

November 2019 TBR List New Additions

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  • The Book of Koli (Rampart Trilogy, #1) – Sci-fi by M.R. Carey – I’m not entirely sure where I found this book but I know I added it in part because I am at least a little familiar with Carey’s work. I’ve seen a movie and read a book and was plenty happen with what I experienced. Looking forward to this one.
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This concludes 2019 TBR List New Additions Part 2. If you missed Part 1 CLICK HERE and check it out. That list covers half of May through June. Part 3 is all about December because that’s when I got back to my TBR as well as a list I found at Lit Hub. That list, whoa, I hope what I found there is worth all the work it added to my list!

Stay tuned for Part 3. It will be published in the first couple of days of the New Year. From there you can expect a post about what I plan to read in January and Part 2 of my thoughts on Audio books. Check out Part 1 HERE.

So, what do you think?

What I’ve Been Listening To

Hey there folks! Recently, and not so recently, I’ve posted about audio books (Audio Book Talk Part 1 & Part 2). I blabbered a bit about the conundrum of reading versus listening. It’s a big issue for me! Lol. I think I’ve made that clear. What I haven’t made clear to you is just what…hm….um… not what I’ve read… okay… what my ear’s have attended to! This post is for the stories I’ve listened to.

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In Part 1 I told you how Wicked Saints by Emily Duncan was the first audio book I’ve listened to in a long time. And I really enjoyed it. Next I told you I listened to Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson, yet another good book. After that came The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon; not bad but I didn’t love it for a couple reasons. Or maybe The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater came before that? Before or after, that one I really liked, best of them all. Since then? Let me tell you…

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Or read…

After The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon, I listened to The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle, #2) by Maggie Stiefvater, narrated by Will Patton.

This is the second time I’ve edited this because I don’t have a sweet memory so I’ve had to do some rewinding considering I listened to this way back in the summer. Of course I remember I enjoyed this series thoroughly and recommend it to most if not all fans of fantasy, particularly YA fantasy. However, book 2 wasn’t my favorite. It’s not that it was bad, it was just a little convoluted and not quite as flowing as the first. But I still liked it and was happy to get to know these characters more. Maggie Steifvater is a very talented writer. Her imagination and character development are beautiful.

Next was Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle, #3) by Maggie Stiefvater, narrated by Will Patton.

Book three didn’t disappoint, in fact I liked it more than book 2, maybe not more than book 1 but very entertaining. Still loving these characters and their growth.

From there I listened to Wally Roux, Quantum Mechanic by Nick Carr, narrated by William Jackson Harper.

This, as the image shows, is an audible original, one of two picks I get each month with my subscription. I’d call this a short story more than a novel and it was worth it. More a book for teens but still interesting enough. I liked the character Wally and his story and would recommend this. It’s not exciting, but good.

After Wally Roux I started and finished the last book in The Raven Cycle, The Raven King (The Raven Cycle, #4) by Maggie Stiefvater, narrated by Will Patton.

So my mental rewind back through this summer and fall’s audio books brought me to some bittersweet truthes regarding the end of this series. It wasn’t just my memory that made reflecting difficult. This book didn’t sew up nicely. It didn’t end so neatly. I’m not necessarily disappointed but I’m disappointed. Not enough to ditch Maggie Stiefvater, oh no, or not read the Ronan Lynch spin-off that follows, Call Down the Hawk. Just enough to be bummed. But I won’t spoil here.

What I listened to next was very, very different than the above (and not as good). Cold Waters (Normal, Alabama #1) by Debbie Herbert was a book I picked up through one of Audible’s Daily Deals. What can I say, I needed another book to listen to!

But I didn’t love it. I’ll take some more Stiefvater after this one please! Sure it did its thing in the world of mysteries but I wasn’t impressed. I think I gave it 3 stars for effort. I won’t continue with the series.

After that I listened to an Audible Original, another of my monthly freebies. Buried Deep by Margot Hunt and read by Therese Plummer is also a mystery.

Please understand that I am a fan of mysteries, I always have been. But I’m also really critical. Sorry, not sorry. Cold Waters was significantly better than Buried Deep. Buried Deep is not a story I recommend.

Okay now let’s get back to some better stories although…

My next read was much anticipated. Call Down the Hawk (Dreamer Trilogy, #1) by Maggie Stiefvater, read by Will Patton is a stand alone continuation of Ronan Lynch’s story. It is true however that it’s probably best to have read The Raven Cycle first.

Gosh I feel some kind of way about this book and about writing about it. I should probably save it for something of a review but I’m sort of doing tiny reviews here too. Let me say again that I really appreciate Stiefvater’s talents. But please please stop throwing the kitchen sink in. I mean okay maybe the kitchen sink analogy isn’t accurate but one review I read after the fact explained it best. It was like being in someone else’s dream where it makes more sense to them than you. Loads of people love this book but I just think it was a little too much dream world. I think it hurt the story. That said, oh there’s so much more to say I’m going to have to write a separate post for sure, I did like this story. I do like this world and love these characters. Worth it? For sure. Hoping the next book will be excellent.

Thank you Ellyn @allonsythornraxx for talking about this book. And thank you Inside My Library Mind as well!

Okay moving on. Another mystery/thriller thanks to Audible Daily Deals. But am I so thankful for Audible? Or am I losing my taste for mysteries after spending all this time in fantasy lands? The Red Hunter by Lisa Unger, read by Julia Whelan was creative and interesting. But it was too long, way too long.

I’m a little surprised seeing the Goodreads’ page again and the fact that Unger is a bestselling author. It’s not that she’s a bad writer by any means. The Red Hunter however could have skipped a lot of the individual parts. But again, it was entertaining and had its thrilling moments but didn’t blow my mind.

Wow so this brings us to my latest listen and what I’m currently listening to! Last one I finished was The Diviners (The Diviners, #1) by Libba Bray, narrated by January LaVoy. Here we have another YA Fantasy.

I will lead with this was a worthy listen and I will continue the series. That said, it was way too long. It was like a compilation of a bunch of different character stories that all happen to related. It just took too long to get to the part where they’re relating! On the other hand Libba Bray is a great writer. I respect the research she does for her stories, from time period lingo and culture to historic events, she does an excellent job. I think a lot of people would like this story, as long as you don’t mind a long lead up.

This series find is thanks to Ellyn @allonsythornraxx and her post about the 4th in this series due out this year. Oh my gosh I better catch up! Four of these! Gosh…

And finally we’re up to present day. Actually I very recently finished The Diviners. Therefore I’ve only just begun Trail of Lightning (The Sixth World, #1) by Rebecca Roanhorse, read by Tanis Parenteau.

Lucky me, this and The Diviners were not Daily Deals but they were special deals just in time for me to need more books in my Audible Library! Woo hoo! Everybody loves a sale right? 😀 I have heard the name Rebecca Roanhorse a lot and am finally venturing into her imagination. So far I’m digging it! Heck yeah!

Oh yeah, while it’s not an audio book I’m also read reading, like a physical book, Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices, #1) by Cassandra Clare (ha ha I started to type narrated. 😉 ). Yet another name I’ve heard a number of times. This is a big book, 668 pages! I’m 174 or so pages in and it’s interesting, not as interesting as Trail of Lightning but I suspect it holds a lot of promise. And I learned kind of late that I’m pretty late to this party… Lol…

I almost forgot; while I know I’ve heard of this elsewhere I know for sure I can thank Ms. Victorious at Victorious pages for telling me about this series.

Kind of a long post I know but hopefully you found it interesting enough. Have you read or listened to any of these? I do kind of feel like I missed out on some real physical pages with words. (I think I need to read some Maggie Stiefvater in the flesh or paper and experience the stories more.)

Let me know what you think, I’m curious. Stay tuned for my post about what I will be listening to for the rest of January and February.

TBR List New Additions Part 1

Hey there! This TBR List New Additions Part 1 is a part one because I haven’t done such a post since MAY. Wow, May. I have added way too many books to share them all in one post. I’m not sure if everyone loves posts about new additions to TBR lists but it’s kind of a fun way to nerd out, discover new books, and give props to other bloggers, writers, podcasters, nerds alike. 😀 Browse the pics for some covers that appeal to you. Follow the link to the book’s Goodreads’ page, read the blurb. Add to your list. And maybe then if you have your own blog, or what-have-you, give me a shout out for bringing the book to you attention. Teamwork makes the dream work! I love to chat so feel free to ask questions or share some of your own thoughts about my new additions.

My last 2019 TBR Updates post was back in May, May 13th to be exact. So this list will start from the books I added May 14th. If I’ve got someone to thank for it I will, or some specific thoughts as to why I added it, I’ll tell you. This post will cover a couple months (don’t think I added books every month) so this will be a three part post. Let’s get started.

May 14-31st 2019 TBR List New additions

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  • The Deepest Blue – Fantasy by Sarah Beth Durst – While I didn’t love this book I am a fan of Sarah Beth Durst so naturally I had to pick this up.
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June 2019 TBR List New Additions

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  • What Rose Forgot – Mystery/Thriller by Nevada Barr – Years ago I read Nevada Barr’s Anna Pigeon series as fast as I could. Then I slowed down on reading fiction and I never caught back up with her books. I’m happy to know she’s kept on writing and this appealed to me.
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There you have it, my 2019 TBR new additions for the second half of May & all of June. I think there may be a duplicate or two in there but for the sake of time I’m going to let them stay. This is the list my Goodreads’ TBR showed me so I’m going with it. Of these I read “The Deepest Blue” by Sarah Beth Durst and wrote about it. And I’m currently listening to “Call Down the Hawk” (audio book) by Maggie Stiefvater. I will finish it today, just in time to end the year. Don’t forget to stay tuned and read Parts 2 & 3 of my 2019 TBR List New additions.

Have you or do you plan to read any of these? I read reviews but not always before I read a book because often once I’ve made up my mind to read a book I don’t want to know too much more about it. And often people include story synopses in their reviews. So you’re welcome to share your links with me, I will check them out after I’ve read the book. Please do share your most basic thoughts, spoiler free, here. You just might get me to push the book up my list. 😉

Happy New Year to you all! I’m really looking forward to the writing and reading that’s about to happen. Stay tuned, perhaps this year…perhaps…this year…

My Review of The Book of Life (All Souls Trilogy, #3) by Deborah Harkness

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Info from Goodreads:

The #1 New York Times bestselling series finale and sequel to A Discovery of Witches and Shadow of Night

Fans of the All Souls Trilogy sent this highly anticipated finale straight to #1 on the New York Times hardcover bestseller list. Bringing the series’ magic and suspense to a deeply satisfying conclusion, The Book of Life is poised to become an even bigger phenomenon in paperback.

Diana and Matthew time-travel back from Elizabethan London to make a dramatic return to the present—facing new crises and old enemies. At Matthew’s ancestral home, Sept-Tours, they reunite with the beloved cast of characters from A Discovery of Witches—with one significant exception. But the real threat to their future has yet to be revealed, and when it is, the search for Ashmole 782 and its missing pages takes on even more urgency.

Paperback, 561 pages – Published May 26th 2015 by Penguin Books (first published July 1st 2014)

My Review

4-4.5/5 stars (depending on the day)

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Trigger warnings: violence, mention and talk of rape(s)

Sorry it has taken me SO LONG to get this posted but I did it. Lol. Hopefully before the month is up I can get you a post regarding my thoughts on the TV adaptation of this series. Let me just say I’m not happy, although it was still interesting…mostly…sort of…*sigh*

I was all set to give this book 5 stars but I’ve been re-thinking it. The Goodreads’ rating system is what I refer to when I’m thinking simply about how I feel.

  • One star – did not like it
  • Two stars – it was okay
  • Three stars – liked it
  • Four stars – really liked it
  • Five stars – it was amazing

Four stars for sure as I really liked it but I got stuck thinking how I loved this book but I don’t know if it necessarily is amazing. Ugh… and yet I think the series as a whole is pretty amazing.

While I disagree with a lot of other reviewers I do agree that this book has a lot of flaws. I’ll be more transparent here. Okay, I was set on five stars right and then I read several other reviews with two stars that made some pretty valid points in terms of unanswered questions. Then I felt kind of embarrassed that I still liked this book so much when Deborah Harkness and her editor(s) really missed some key points, or didn’t care to include them. That said I think it says a lot about the book that even without those answers – some of them key plot points – I was wholly satisfied with the ending. And yet, even as I think about these complaints I recall that I’m very sad to see this trilogy come to an end as I will miss the characters.

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Unlike the bad reviews I didn’t mind the large amount of characters, especially those brought back from the other books. Sure there was a lot to keep up with but I think Harkness did it well. For the most part I found the majority of the characters, especially all the “important” ones, to be distinct. There are some very satisfying character reveals. As far as characters are concerned, five stars all day!

She does change POV from chapter to chapter and it is a little strange at times. I can’t say I loved it, this being one of the complaints from the bad reviews. For me these changes were like that little bump in the sidewalk that you don’t catch when you’re strolling along having a lovely time and then OPE, you trip but catch yourself and turn around like WHAT THE HECK! Huh, what a nice little rush of adrenaline. And you walk on, BUT you DON’T fall and wreck your day. These POV changes tripped me up a second but the bulk of the story kept me moving along swiftly.

Maybe half way through the book I felt like I did after a couple seasons of the TV show True Blood. (I did not read the books by the way.) It got weird and not in a cool way. It was like they were trying too hard to make things extra different. I started to worry about this happening in The Book of Life. If you’ve gotten this far in the series you already know Diana is an incredible witch with all the powers a witch can have. Sure that’s a trope that bothers some from the get go, not me, and it might bother even more people as her power grows and grows. But let’s be honest, that’s what this story is about. This story is about that extraordinary moment in time when everything changes. A time when two powerful people discover each other and more about themselves. In my humble opinion, tropes are a problem when the story and characters are lacking, perhaps that’s why the bad reviews exist, because for those people it was lacking. I disagree; I think the story itself carried its weight. The content woven in and out, the character arcs and the constant discoveries, however great or small, worked for me.

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All in all I can’t make a decision, some days it’s 4 stars, others it’s 4.5. Either way I was satisfied. My great aunt has finished book two at this point and she’s on to book three so we’ll see what she thinks about this finale.

As I mentioned there is a TV adaptation of this series on AMC (pretty sure). It’s over now but of course you can find it on demand on Sundance or AMC (depends on your subscriptions of course). They are planning a second season, and I will watch it no matter how frustrated the first one made me.

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In other news Deborah Harkness published her latest book (and I do believe the first since The Book of Life) Time’s Convert (All Souls Universe, #1) in September 2018. I think it’s fair to say it’s a paranormal fantasy romance that follows the history of Marcus – Matthew’s vampire son – up to the present. I’m not sure yet how I feel about reading this but I’ve signed up for a giveaway so if I win then of course I’ll be reading it. We’ll see.

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Thanks for reading everyone. Please let me know what you think about this series if you’ve read it or maybe you want to? If I’ve introduced you to the series please do give me a shout out. See you next time!