Review: A Mirror Mended (Fractured Fables #2) by Alix E. Harrow

A Mirror Mended (Fractured Fables #2)A Mirror Mended by Alix E. Harrow
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A Mirror Mended is the second installment to Alix E. Harrow’s fairy tale-based novella series, Fractured Fables.

The first in the series, A Spindle Splintered, was such a delightful surprise for me when I picked it up last fall.

In that story we meet our protagonist, Zinnia Gray, who due to an industrial accident is left with a rare fatal condition. She’s told she won’t live to see her 22nd-birthday. In spite of this, or maybe because of this, Zinnia tries to live her life to the fullest.

Her best friend Charm, knowing this about her, decides on her 21st-birthday to throw Zinnia a Sleeping Beauty-themed party. It’s at that party, at the stroke of midnight, that Zinnia pierces her finger on a spinning wheel and first gets transported into another world.

It happens to be the world in which the real Briar Rose lives and the two women work together to try to halt their doomed fates.

In this installment, we find Zinnia still fixing fairly tales. She has traveled throughout the fairy tale multiverse always seeming to find herself in her comfort zone; Sleeping Beauty.

That’s why Zinnia is beyond shocked when she looks into the mirror one day and sees a face looking back at her. A beautiful, slightly evil face.

It seems Zinnia may be on to a whole new story, which just so happens to be one of my favorites, Snow White.

The Evil Queen has come seeking Zinnia’s help. She’s found out how her story ends and she is desperate for a better ending. Zinnia’s intrigued.

Not only is the Evil Queen beautiful, but as Zinnia gets to know her, she feels like maybe the Queen is a bit misunderstood. Zinnia wants to help, but will she be able too before the story ends for them both?

This installment was just as much fun as the first. I forgot how incredibly smart and witty the writing is. It hooked me in from the start.

I’m seriously obsessed with this series. I’m not sure exactly how long this series is slated to be, but I am hoping for many, many more. Zinnia Gray is life.

I would definitely recommend the audiobook format as well. The narrator really brings spirit to the story and breaths life into Zinnia. It’s completely immersive and fun.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Tor and Macmillan Audio, for providing me with copies to read and review. I can’t wait for whatever comes next!!

View all my reviews

Review: Witchlings by Claribel A. Ortega

WitchlingsWitchlings by Claribel A. Ortega
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

After reading Ghost Squad in 2020 I knew I wanted more from Ortega. I had so much fun with that book.

The characters, the relationships, the humor, the heart; it was such a fantastically pure Middle Grade story. The perfect start for future Horror Readers like myself.

In Witchlings, Ortega is able to bring a classic feel to a modern Fantasy story.

Set in a magical town called Ravenskill, we follow 12-year old Seven Salazar, who on the night of her Black Moon Ceremony gets a result she wasn’t expecting.

For context purposes you can picture the Black Moon Ceremony as a kind of sorting hat process. Young witchlings are essentially sorted into covens based on their skills and abilities.

Seven and her best friend have always dreamed of being in the same coven. They want it so much that the girls actually begin to take it as a foregone conclusion.

Unfortunately, that’s not how it works out and Seven ends up as a Spare. A witchling who doesn’t get placed into one of the five covens.

Spares, if we are being honest, are sort of looked down on by the whole town. It’s not the greatest fate and disappointing for Seven, but she’s not alone. Two other witchlings become Spares during that ceremony, Thorn and Valley.

Making matters worse, when the three witchlings try to seal their circle, forging their bond as sisters, it doesn’t work. Now they’ll be doomed to a life without magic, except there’s a catch and Seven knows it.

She invokes their right to perform an impossible task. If they are able to complete it, their coven will be sealed and they will be able to gain full power.

If they fail they risk being turned into toads. No pressure.

Thus the three witchlings, who initially believed they had nothing in common, learn to work together and rely on one another to accomplish their goals. Friendship truly is magic.

Witchlings is so engaging from the very start. Seven, as well as Thorn and Valley, are all very well fleshed out and super relatable.

I love how pure their friendship is and the evolution of their relationship is so natural. I am sure young readers will be able to see a bit of themselves in at least one of these main characters.

The witchlings uncover a bit of a mystery involving their town during the course of their impossible task and even in the face of dangerous odds, they forge ahead to reveal the truth.

I loved that bit of mystery and intrigue. It was surprising and fun. You can tell that Ortega poured her whole heart into this one and I would definitely recommend reading the Author’s Note at the end.

Hearing a bit of Ortega’s inspiration behind this story really helped me to appreciate all she brought to the page.

I cannot recommend this one highly enough to both Middle Grade Readers and Fantasy Readers in general. Additionally, the audiobook is superb.

I am super stoked for the sequel to this. Yes, there is one coming and I cannot wait!!!

View all my reviews

Review: Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher

Nettle & BoneNettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A hearty hello to one of my new favorite books. Seriously, Nettle & Bone was the EASIEST FIVE STAR RATING I’VE GIVEN ALL YEAR!!!

I absolutely adored this story from the very first moments. T. Kingfisher positively swept me up into the humorous, enchanting fantasy quest of my dreams.

Nettle & Bone follows Princess Marra of the Harbor Kingdom on a quest to save her sister. Marra is the third-born daughter in her family. The first born was married to a particular Prince. It didn’t end well.

Now the second-born daughter, Kania, is married to that very same Prince and Marra suspects that he is hurting her. Vorling, the Prince in question, has his sights set on a male heir. If this second sister can’t produce one for him, guess who is next in line?

Marra! This isn’t her main concern though. I mean, yes, that would be absolutely terrible. This guy is basically Joffrey Baratheon reborn.

Regardless, Marra’s only concern is getting Kania out of danger. She is literally willing to do anything in order to free her, including commit murder.

Unsure how to even begin, Marra enlists the help of a Dust Wife. I won’t go into what exactly a Dust Wife is, just trust, this one is one of the coolest characters ever written!

The Dust Wife asks Marra to complete three impossible tasks and then she will help her. Before long, the two set off on the road to the Northern Kingdom, along with the Dust Wife’s hen, who happens to be possessed by a demon.

Thus it begins, the most perfect quest. They gather traveling companions along the way, such as a former, and arguably sexy, knight, as well as a Fairy Godmother.

It’s safe to say that I love this story with the same passion, and frankly, for the same reasons, that I love The Princess Bride. Kingfisher is delivering all the classic Fantasy Quest tropes I adore, while glazing the entire tale with a healthy layer of humor.

Additionally, I enjoyed how she was able to mix real-life themes into this story. For example, partner abuse, which we all know is very real, the way that was explored in this fantastical setting was quite interesting.

As I mentioned earlier, from the very start I was hooked on this story. Previously, I have only picked up Horror stories from Kingfisher, but this proves her talents know no bounds. She crushes any genre she writes in.

I am so happy to have found a new book to add to my all-time Favorites list. I will definitely be picking up a hard copy of this and rereading it at some point in the near future.

As an aside, I did listen to the audiobook and highly recommend that format. The narration was fantastic and kept me dialed in the entire way through.

Thank you so very much to the publisher, Tor and Macmillan Audio, for providing me with a copies to read and review.

It was such an enjoyable reading experience and the good news is, this isn’t it from Kingfisher in 2022. I’m so excited to check out What Moves the Dead very soon!!

View all my reviews

Review: Fortuna Sworn (Fortuna Sworn #1) by K.J. Sutton

Fortuna Sworn (Fortuna Sworn, #1)Fortuna Sworn by K.J. Sutton
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars**

Fortuna Sworn is the last of her kind. It was her and her brother, Damon, but he went missing two years ago.

Since that time, Fortuna has spent her days blending into the human world while searching for him at night. On one of her searches she gets captured by goblins and brought to the market to be sold.

Luckily she’s able to escape the whole being sold thing, but she did catch someone’s eye whilst at the market; a very powerful faerie named Collith.

Before she knows it, she’s receiving a proposition, her hand for the possibility of getting her brother back. I am putting it simply, but you get the gist.

The story follows Fortuna as she enters the world of the fae, hoping against all hope that she’ll be able to find what she’s looking for.

But if she finds her brother, will he even want to be rescued? And what is she sacrificing in the process?

This was good. I liked it. A solid foundation for the start of a series. I don’t read a lot of fae books, in fact, I have only read a handful that I can think of, but I liked how this one was constructed.

Additionally, I’m very intrigued by the ending and will be continuing on to the second book.

I won’t claim I understand everything going on here, but I loved Fortuna as a character and want to learn more about her and this world.

Fortuna is a creature known as a nightmare, which I have never come across before. Basically, she can make people see, or experience, their worst fears just by touching them. She wields this power as a weapon and I got to say, it’s pretty badass.

As stated above, I’m definitely on board to continue on with this series. I listened to the audiobook and thought it was a great way to take in this story. The narration was fabulous.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Dreamscape Media, for providing me a copy to read and review. I’m so happy I finally had the chance to check this one out. It sucked me in!

View all my reviews

Review: For the Wolf (Wilderwood #1) by Hannah F. Whitten

For the Wolf (Wilderwood, #1)For the Wolf by Hannah F. Whitten
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars**

The first daughter is for the Throne.
The second daughter is for the Wolf.

As the second daughter to the Queen, Red’s fate is set. While her sister will inherit the throne, Red will be sacrificed to the Wilderwood and the monsterous Wolf that resides there.

In her kingdom it is believed that the Wolf of the Wood has the ability to release the world’s captured Gods, and that with Red’s sacrifice, he just may choose to do that. Thus, Red could essentially be the savior of the world.

It’s never worked before, but now could be the time.

Red doesn’t know about all that, but she is hiding a mysterious gift that she learned once, the hard way, is dangerous. Because of this, she is ready and willing to go, if only to protect her friends and family from herself and the magic that lies within her.

Upon entering the Wilderwood, Red quickly discovers it isn’t at all what she expected. Sure, it’s dangerous, but she was planning on instant death. Not so much.

Also, the Wolf, he’s not a beast, he’s a man who lives in a castle, has an incredible library, two humorous roommates, a magical mirror and he needs some help.

Is this starting to sound like anyone you know?

For some reason going into this, I expected a Little Red Riding Hood retelling, but it’s straight-up, Beauty and the Beast. My favorite fairy tale of all time. I smiled every time I discovered another connection.

This is wildly creative. I loved the entire atmosphere of the Wilderwood and the Wolf’s castle. It’s dark, dank, murky and dangerous. The root magic, or earth magic, that Red and the Wolf had is quite captivating. I really enjoyed that aspect.

Red and the Wolf’s slow burn romance was also enjoyable, although when I say slow, I mean SLOW.

For me, it dragged on too long. I almost feel like this could have been broken into two books. While I liked all of the content, it failed to keep me entirely engaged. I was constantly checking to see how many pages I had left.

However, it’s good. It is a well thought out story with some great world creation, so please do not let my one small grievance affect whether or not you pick this book up.

In fact, please pick this book up. I want to hear your thoughts! If you enjoy Fantasy with interesting magic systems, you could end up loving this. Particularly if you are a fan of slow-burn romance.

I am absolutely planning to continue on with this story. There’s some complicated political maneuverings occuring, as well as intense family drama, so I can’t wait to see how that plays out.

Looking forward to it!

View all my reviews

Review: The Last Fallen Star (Gifted Clans #1) by Graci Kim

The Last Fallen Star (Gifted Clans #1)The Last Fallen Star by Graci Kim
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Riley Oh has never felt like she fits in. She loves her adoptive family with her whole heart, but while they are a part of the Gom clan, a powerful line of Korean healing witches, Riley is a saram; one without magic.

When her sister Hattie is about to be initiated into the clan, earning her Gi bracelet and the ability to perform spells without adult supervision, Hattie comes up with a plan to share her magic with Riley.

While that sounds like a great idea, like many great ideas before it, things don’t quite go as planned.

With Hattie’s life hanging in the balance, Riley must now go on a seemingly impossible quest to find the last fallen star. Obviously, it would be helpful if Riley even had the slightest clue what the star is, or how to find it.

Along with her best friend, Emmett, the two work against the clock, challenging everything they believed about their world, in order to try to save Hattie.

I absolutely adored this story. Riley was such a sweet little gumdrop. She was so easy to get behind and support.

I really appreciated the growth Riley made as a character and the way Kim incorporated so many true to life, coming of age issues into this fantastical story.

I thought there was a lot of great content in here for young readers concerning things like the meaning of family, friendship, being true to yourself and who you are meant to be.

This story left off in an incredible spot for a continuation of the series. I am really, really, really looking forward to the next book, set to release in 2022.

I highly recommend this action-packed, Korean-mythology inspired Middle Grade Fantasy Adventure. Yes, it has everything! Such an impressive debut!!!!!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Disney Books and Rick Riordan Presents, for providing me with a copy to read and review.

I will be praising this one to the rooftops for a long time to come!! Available now!!

View all my reviews

Review: Malice by Heather Walter

MaliceMalice by Heather Walter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Once upon a time, an evil fairy cursed a line of Princesses to die. The only way to break the curse, true love’s kiss.

You may be thinking you’ve heard this story before, right?

I’d say, not quite like this. in Malice, Heather Walter has put her own darkly creative spin on the beloved tale, Sleeping Beauty.

Alyce is a Dark Grace, living in a house of Beauty Graces since she was just a young girl.

While the wealthy of Briar set appointments with the other Graces to enhance their beauty, they go to Alyce for more sinister potions and tinctures.

Alyce has never fit in with the other girls and is frequently harassed by them; particularly by the beautiful and talented, Rose.

As deplorable as their treatment of her is, Alyce grows used to it. She even comes to accept it, in a way.

That’s why when she crosses paths with the last Princess, Aurora, and Aurora shows her kindness, Alyce isn’t quite sure how to react. Why would the Princess want to be friends with her? It doesn’t make any sense.

In the midst of all of this, Alyce actually stumbles upon, and befriends someone else. Kal, a man magically imprisoned in a tower, who promises to teach her how to harness her powers.

Through her meetings with him, Alyce begins to learn more about her history, potential and the world outside of Briar.

The world Walter created within this story was absolutely immersive. I loved the magic system. Learning about the Graces and their powers, but also the interactions with Fae and the history of Briar.

It’s richly detailed, but in a way that stays engaging. Alyce was a fantastically created character. I felt her every emotion; also extra points for including her kestrel, Callow. Three cheers for animal companions.

I also thought the relationship between Alyce and Aurora was well done. It felt natural. The stakes were really high and it definitely pushed the drama of the story.

I did feel like the end dragged on a bit, but overall, I was so impressed with this. I would definitely recommend Malice for Readers who enjoy the darker side of fairy tales.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Del Rey, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review.

I appreciate the opportunity and look forward to reading more from Heather Walter!

View all my reviews

Review: Amari and the Night Brothers (Supernatural Investigations #1) by B.B. Alston

Amari and the Night BrothersAmari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Yes, yes, yes!!! Middle Grade Fantasy at its best!!!

I love Amari. I love the world. I love the magic system and humbly request at least ten volumes for this series.

Is that too much to ask? I think if you pick it up, you’d agree.

13-year old, Amari Peters, lives with her Mom in the Rosewood housing project. She had an older brother, Quinton, who was smart, fun and brave. He meant a lot to Amari. He was her best friend.

Quinton has gone missing and Amari doesn’t understand why it isn’t a bigger deal. Why isn’t it on the news? Why do the police act like if something happened to him, it was probably because he was up to no good?

Amari knows better. She doesn’t care what they insinuate about him, Quinton is the best person she knows and she is going to find out what happened to him, whether others believe her, or not.

Upon arriving home after an especially trying day, Amari is surprised by a visitor who gives her a clue that may help; the answer to which lies in a briefcase hidden in her missing brother’s closet.

She can’t believe what she finds. The Bureau of Supernatural Affairs? Is this for real?

Quinton has nominated her for a try-out? The prospect is sort of scary, but Amari knows this may be her best, perhaps only chance, of getting to the bottom of her brother’s disappearance. She’s got to go.

Thus begins Amari’s introduction to the hidden supernatural world around her. She also discovers the power within herself.

Under the guise of attending a ‘leadership camp’, Amari is able to stay at the Vanderbilt Hotel with the other Bureau trainees. There she is fully immersed in learning, training and competing. Did you hear that? Learning, training and competing.

It’s a MAGIC SCHOOL trope! I know, it’s called ‘camp’, but it’s a magic school, only one of the best tropes ever created.

The Reader learns along with Amari the ins-and-outs of the world and magic system. The good guys, the bad guys, the history. It’s all beautifully constructed and paced out.

I was totally engrossed in this while reading it. As first books in a series go, this is top notch. It definitely left me wanting more and I can’t wait to see how Amari grows in future books.

If you are looking for that good old-fashioned, kid discovering they are actually part of a magical world, then learns about it, competes within it, and fights evil forces, kind of book, you NEED to pick this up. There’s not even an option.

You can thank me later.

View all my reviews

Review: The Bone Maker by Sarah Beth Durst

The Bone MakerThe Bone Maker by Sarah Beth Durst
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars**

Twenty-five years ago, the five heroes of Vos, waged an epic battle against the evil magician, Eklor. Although they were victorious, only four survived.

This fight, now the stuff of legends, was memorialized in songs and stories, but the ones who fought it went their separate ways when it was over.

Kreya, the group’s leader, lost her husband, Jennt, tragically in the battle. Saving his body, she has moved the two of them into a tower in the mountains, far from other people.

Kreya is a bone worker and continuously resurrects Jennt for short periods of time. She is busy formulating a spell she believes will bring him back for good, but it requires copious amounts of human bones to work. A resource she doesn’t currently have.

She knows where to find all she will need, however; the old battlefield. It’s illegal though and will be dangerous as heck. She’s going to need help.

Thus, she goes to her old friend and fellow fighter, Zera. Even though Kreya ghosted her for 25-years, Zera is a good sport and agrees to go on the mission.

Reunited, the two women, embark on a cross-country quest to steal some bones; all for a good cause.

Once on the battlefield, however, they discover their battle may not actually be over.

Kreya and Zera stumble upon evidence that indicates Eklor’s reign of terror may be resurrecting itself.

Eklor had created an inhuman army from animal bones. It was believed all had been destroyed, but they find a few of his horrifying constructs still functioning and still murderous. They rush back to the city, assemble the old crew, and prepare for round two!

The Bone Maker is a story of second chances. It is creative, pulse-pounding, nail-biting, full of danger and twists and turns. I had a lot of fun with this story.

The characters were fantastic. I loved the five heroes. Their relationship dynamic was heart-warming. They supported one another and played off of one another’s strengths and weaknesses beautifully.

Even though they had moved on, and some would consider them past their prime, they were still willing to put it all on the line for one another and to fight for what was right.

Eklor was a marvelously constructed villain. His motivations, powers, abilities to deceive; it was all so well done. I also enjoyed how Durst framed Kreya’s relationship with Eklor. They were similar in a lot of ways. It sort of reminded me a bit of the dynamic between Harry and Voldemort.

Additionally, I was impressed by the magic system. The bone magic was fascinating. The different types of bone workers and what powers they could wield.

Certain aspects had a sort of steampunk feel that I rather enjoyed. So, yeah, overall, really good standalone Adult Fantasy. I would absolutely recommend it.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Harper Voyager, for providing me with a copy to read and review.

I really appreciate it and will definitely be picking up more from Sarah Beth Durst!

View all my reviews

Review: Akata Warrior (Akata Witch #2) by Nnedi Okorafor

Akata Warrior (Akata Witch, #2)Akata Warrior by Nnedi Okorafor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars**

A year has passed since Sunny first discovered she was a part of the magical Leopard Society and along with her friends, Orlu, Sasha and Chichi, formed the youngest Oha Coven ever.

Now a little older, and a bit more experienced, each of the four kids have been selected by a powerful Leopard mentor to oversee their studies and continue strengthening their powers.

Sunny’s mentor, Sugar Cream, is a wise older woman with incredible power. She’s tough and I loved reading their interactions with one another. You can tell that Sugar Cream sees something very special in Sunny.

Through it all, Sunny continues to try to understand her visions of a coming apocalypse. What can she possibly do to prevent the horrific things she envisions from happening?

In the midst of all of this, her older brother departs for college. When he arrives home unexpectedly, late one night bloody and battered, Sunny knows she needs to do something.

Enlisting Chichi’s help, the two girls head off to the University to set things right. Their escapade causes Sunny to break one of the Leopard Society’s rules however and detection is swift.

Her punishment consists of Sunny being locked in the library basement, which trust me, is not as magical as it sounds.

It is during this time of isolation that Sunny begins to feel more compelled towards her quest.

Along with her friends, she must find the secret town of Osisi, facing off against mortal enemies along the way in order to stop the end of the world from coming.

I flew through this story. There is so much going on. Sunny is basically living a dual life. She has her home life with her family and regular school, as well as all of her dealings within the Leopard world.

I enjoyed watching her relationship with her family change as she changes and grows more confident in herself and her powers. Particularly, her relationship with her older brother.

The friend group, again, is the highlight of this story for me. I love the way the four personalities play off of one another.

There’s more drama in this installment as the relationships veer out of friendship territory and more into romance. Although this wasn’t my favorite plot point, I think it was executed naturally and therefore, I didn’t mind it.

In addition to the characters and relationships, I loved the world so much. It’s actually quite dark and dangerous. Our protagonists definitely do not have an easy go at it.

Okorafor uses excerpts from books that Sunny is studying to help educate the reader on the lore, history and magic system of the world. I thought that was such a fun way to develop the story.

I did get a little lost towards the end, but I think it was because I was reading so fast. I was anxious for everyone to be okay and I let that get the best of me!

The ending was so satisfying. Initially, before picking up this sequel, I wished there were more books in the series. Now that I have completed it, I couldn’t be happier with how Okorafor left Sunny.

This is odd to say, but I am proud of Sunny. Her growth and accomplishments. I am okay with leaving her here and moving on.

View all my reviews