New Release Review: Nettle and Bone

Hello Everyone,

Such a gorgeous cover! 🥰

Book Title: Nettle and Bone

Author: T Kingfisher

Series: Standalone (I think)

Genre: Adult Fiction, Fantasy

Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates

Page Count: 300

Trigger warnings: starvation, murder, rotten teeth scene, gore, death of dogs, demonically possessed chickens, dark magic, child abuse, off screen rape, abusive husband, light language (?)

Goodreads Summary:

After years of seeing her sisters suffer at the hands of an abusive prince, Marra—the shy, convent-raised, third-born daughter—has finally realized that no one is coming to their rescue. No one, except for Marra herself.

Seeking help from a powerful gravewitch, Marra is offered the tools to kill a prince—if she can complete three impossible tasks. But, as is the way in tales of princes, witches, and daughters, the impossible is only the beginning.

On her quest, Marra is joined by the gravewitch, a reluctant fairy godmother, a strapping former knight, and a chicken possessed by a demon. Together, the five of them intend to be the hand that closes around the throat of the prince and frees Marra’s family and their kingdom from its tyrannous ruler at last.

My Thoughts:

I flew through this book in one sitting! It was sooo good! I really hope that this spins into a series though it doesn’t need to. It’s fun, fast, and just the right sort of dark that I love in fantasy stories. This is my first T Kingfisher and it won’t be my last!

My Review:

Marra is a fascinating character. I think she’s one of the first covenant raised children in a book that I actually liked. She wasn’t overbearingly religious and there was barely a hint of religion in here. I liked her attitude and her humor. She was easily identifiable with.

The story begins with her sisters. Damia is married off to a king, and she winds up dead. It’s suspected murder but nothing can be proven. Her other sister, Kania, goes to marry the same thing while Marra hides in a covenant. The family is pulled apart and Marra realizes that no one is going to rescue them. She has to do the rescuing and to do that she may need to kill a king.

She makes a few friends here and there. A witch that has a demonically possessed chicken. A forty year old sell sword. A bonedog whose name is Bonedog.

The quest is good, and fun for the reader, but for the characters they encounter all sorts of trouble along the way. And at the end there’s a brief feeling of loss and grief though we leave off with a happy ending.

I adore books like these. I love the dark atmospheric setting, the slow build up and the characters were all handled perfectly. I’m happy to rate this 5 stars. If I could, I’d give it ten stars in that I had such a good time! If you’re looking for a pick me up, I definitely recommend this one!

My Rating:

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Until next time,

-Pass Me That Book

Book Review: The Circus Rose

Hello Everyone,

Such a beautiful cover!

Title: The Circus Rose

Author: Betsy Cornwall

Series: Standalone

Genre: Fantasy, YA, Retelling

Publisher: Clarion Books

Published: 2020

Page Count: 300

Goodreads Summary:

A queer retelling of “Snow White and Rose Red” in which teenage twins battle evil religious extremists to save their loves and their circus family.

Twins Rosie and Ivory have grown up at their ringmaster mother’s knee, and after years on the road, they’re returning to Port End, the closest place to home they know. Yet something has changed in the bustling city: fundamentalist flyers paper the walls and preachers fill the squares, warning of shadows falling over the land. The circus prepares a triumphant homecoming show, full of lights and spectacle that could chase away even the darkest shadow. But during Rosie’s tightrope act, disaster strikes.

In this lush, sensuous novel interwoven with themes of social justice and found family, it’s up to Ivory and her magician love—with the help of a dancing bear—to track down an evil priest and save their circus family before it’s too late.

My Thoughts:

Magical, lyrical, told in two parts, one part being poetry and the other part being story this was beautiful, sad, enchanting and wonderful. Betsy Cornwall has won me over with her beautiful prose and elegant writing. Such strong characters though I admit to Ivory being my favorite compared to that of Rose. A retelling of Snow White, Rose Red this is one of my new favorites.

My Review:

I’m always a fan of circus stories. I’m sad that they are mostly gone now. The circus to me was always magical and exciting. I even tried joining one once but was unsuccessful. This book I put off reading for at least two, three years now, I devoured in a single sitting. It was half told in verse, split between two characters, Ivory (who was my favorite) and Rose. While I’m not a big fan of novels in verse, I still felt that this was handled well for a retelling of Snow White and Rose Red. While short, this definitely didn’t hold back it’s punches, in proudly displaying Rose and Ivory and their mother, all together struggling to get by daily. The characters felt so real it was as if I was there amongst them, enjoying the show.

This was one of the first YA books I’ve read in a while, and I’m so glad it was a high rating for me. I’m also glad that I own a physical copy. I hope to get through more of the authors backlist titles at some point though no clue when that will be. This book is recommended for those that want representation for bisexual characters, nonbinary characters, sapphic love interests and a satisfying ending.

My Rating:

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Until next time,

-Pass Me That Book

Book Review: The Border Keeper

Hello Everyone,

Title: The Border Keeper

Author: Kerstin Hall

Series: Book 1

Genre: Fantasy

Publisher: Tor dot com

Page Count: 300

Goodreads Summary:

She lived where the railway tracks met the saltpan, on the Ahri side of the shadowline. In the old days, when people still talked about her, she was known as the end-of-the-line woman.

Vasethe, a man with a troubled past, comes to seek a favor from a woman who is not what she seems, and must enter the nine hundred and ninety-nine realms of Mkalis, the world of spirits, where gods and demons wage endless war.

The Border Keeper spins wonders both epic—the Byzantine bureaucracy of hundreds of demon realms, impossible oceans, hidden fortresses—and devastatingly personal—a spear flung straight, the profound terror and power of motherhood. What Vasethe discovers in Mkalis threatens to bring his own secrets into light and throw both worlds into chaos.

My Thoughts:

Beautifully told, excellent execution. This is a strange, yet lyrical story of demons, gods, and more. Despite that this was less than 300 pages (240 exactly) it still packed a punch. Each chapter was new and interesting. I’m going to ponder this for ages.

Notes:

While I can write the characters names please don’t ask me to pronounce them. I honestly have no clue. I don’t do audiobooks though I may try to figure out how to say Vasethe.

My Review:

Vasethe goes to the Border Keeper for help. Eris, the name that he chooses to call the Border Keeper-for she has many names-is unimpressed with him. This whole book revolves around the pair of them, as Vasethe catches Eris up on current history, culture, people and more. Together the pair work together.

I can’t tell you more about the plot without giving away spoilers. There’s a quest involved, sort of, and more questions than there are answers. There’s a curse, and limited time in searching for that they hunt. There’s betrayals and confusion and lots of near death experiences. Magical and enchanting, I recommend this for fans that like unusual settings and great characters.

My Rating:

⭐ ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Until next time,

-Pass Me That Book

Library Book Review: Warrior of the Wild

Hello Everyone,

Title: Warrior of the Wild

Author: Tricia Levenseller

Series: Standalone

Genre: Fiction, Fantasy

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends 

Trigger Warnings: mentions of rape, bullying, favoritism, violence and monster gore

Book Summary:

How do you kill a god?

As her father’s chosen heir, eighteen-year-old Rasmira has trained her whole life to become a warrior and lead her village. But when her coming-of-age trial is sabotaged and she fails the test, her father banishes her to the monster-filled wilderness with an impossible quest: To win back her honor, she must kill the oppressive god who claims tribute from the villages each year—or die trying.

My Thoughts:

This surprised me by how good it was! I went into this completely blind and unaware of much of the plot. Sure, some of it was predictable but it was still enjoyable due to the banter, romance and it’s a standalone so I flew right through it. I liked there was a gay main character in it. I liked they all had happy endings. I was fast paced, with great characters and a believable plot. While I didn’t agree with how certain people got their ending, it was still well handled. The writing was strong and the book itself was fun.

My Rating:

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Until next time,

-Pass Me That Book

So I Read The Belgariad Series: A Review

Hello Everyone,

Such lovely fantasy covers, don’t you think?

Back in my teens, before The Lord of the Rings and The Wheel of Time there was a little lesser known (or so it seems to me) fantasy series titled The Belgariad. I plowed through them all, one by one, and fell in love. There were actually women in here unlike in Lord of the Rings (where there were maybe a tiny handful barely mentioned) and the women were powerful, real, and not all of them magical. The writing was good and the characters were so real, I felt as though I was a part of their world if only for a while. Now granted, it had its flaws. Polgara could drive me insane after a while. Garion could be particularly stupid at times. But it had the atmospheric quest to defeat evil with a traveling company that I loved in Lord of the Rings and it also had powerful magical women that I admired out of Wheel of Time. It was the best of both worlds. And in 2009, I was saddened to learn that the author, David Eddings, had passed away.

Image found through Pinterest.

Now technically I have only read the first half of Belgariad. I’m right now on Guardians of the West and looking forward to plowing through the next half of the series. That’s also not including all of Eddings other books, series, and the like that I still haven’t read but hope to get to soon, when my insane tbr will let me.

I’ve just learned through Pinterest that there’s a prequel too. So fun! I’ll need to buy that, asap. But back to my review. If you liked the previous series that I mentioned (Lord of the Rings & Wheel of Time) and you enjoyed the series Iron Druid by Kevin Hearne, the Princess Bride by William Goldman and you liked Dresden Files by Jim Butcher you’ll probably love these books. There’s all sorts of side quests, a bit of politics down the line, a bit of romance here and there, a kidnapping, and plenty of battles filled with swords and magic both. The evil bad guys are numerous and the primary bad guy vaguely makes me think of the eye from the lord of the rings, but it’s all wonderful and worth investing in these books and reading them one by one. I suggest a fall reading. A cozy fire, and plenty of your favorite tea.

This is exactly the version that I have of the series!

I highly recommend this series it was one of my favorites and still is. If you haven’t yet read it, you definitely need to. Trust me, you’ll love it. It’s fun and entertaining and I hope they make a Netflix series for it one day.

My Rating:

⭐ ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Until next time,

-Pass Me That Book

Novella Review: A Dead Djinn in Cairo

Hello Everyone,

Book Title: A Dead Djinn in Cairo

Author: P. Djeli Clark

Genre: Fantasy

Series: #0.1

Publisher: Tor

Page Count: 45

~•~•~•~•~

Book Summary:

Egypt, 1912. In an alternate Cairo infused with the otherworldly, the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities investigate disturbances between the mortal and the (possibly) divine. What starts off as an odd suicide case for Special Investigator Fatma el-Sha’arawi leads her through the city’s underbelly as she encounters rampaging ghouls, saucy assassins, clockwork angels, and plot that could unravel time itself.

My Thoughts:

I really don’t want to spoil this novella so my review is going to be short and sweet. This was so much fun to read. Granted, it took me a bit to actually get a feel for it, but once I did I just breezed through it and finished it in less than an hour. It’s fast. It’s fun. And with the murder mystery it kept my interest. I did guess who the bad guy was correctly but I still had an entertaining time reading this. Highly recommend for any fantasy or mystery fans

My Rating:

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Until next time,

-Pass Me That Book

Ebook Review: The Traitor Baru Cormorant

Hello Everyone,

Such a gorgeous cover!

Book Title: The Traitor Baru Cormorant

Book Author: Seth Dickinson

Series: Book One of Four

Genre: Fantasy

Publisher: Macmillan

Page Count: 400

Goodreads Summary:

Tomorrow, on the beach, Baru Cormorant will look up from the sand of her home and see red sails on the horizon.

The Empire of Masks is coming, armed with coin and ink, doctrine and compass, soap and lies. They’ll conquer Baru’s island, rewrite her culture, criminalize her customs, and dispose of one of her fathers. But Baru is patient. She’ll swallow her hate, prove her talent, and join the Masquerade. She will learn the secrets of empire. She’ll be exactly what they need. And she’ll claw her way high enough up the rungs of power to set her people free.

In a final test of her loyalty, the Masquerade will send Baru to bring order to distant Aurdwynn, a snakepit of rebels, informants, and seditious dukes. Aurdwynn kills everyone who tries to rule it. To survive, Baru will need to untangle this land’s intricate web of treachery – and conceal her attraction to the dangerously fascinating Duchess Tain Hu.

But Baru is a savant in games of power, as ruthless in her tactics as she is fixated on her goals. In the calculus of her schemes, all ledgers must be balanced, and the price of liberation paid in full.

Trigger Warnings: Content and trigger warnings for homophobia (always in a negative light, but still very abundant throughout the story), racism, colonialism, sexism, misogynistic comments, talk of genital mutilation. (According to Google)

My Thoughts:

I was completely enthralled with the first fifty two percent of the book! While the plot wasn’t original (at least to me) the writing was beautiful and Baru was a strong, likable character.

The writing drew me in, though it certainly contained a lot of tough subject matter so please do pay attention to the trigger warnings listed.

Though I enjoyed the first half of the book, it started slipping as Baru is an accountant and… numbers just aren’t my thing, okay? It was hard until I just dnf’d at 60% of the way through. Who knows? I may go back to it but for now I’m just going to keep mulling about how much I liked the first half of the book that I’m still thinking of it a week and a half later.

My Rating:

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Until next time,

-Pass Me That Book

Ebook Review: Brambles

Hello all,

New to me author and first review of October!

I have never read anything by Intisar Khanani but now she is high on my watch list. This is the short prequel to Thorn, that is the explanation of what Princess Alyrra had done to earn the court and her mother and brother’s hatred. (As described through Google/Goodreads). I won’t give away spoilers but I will list trigger warnings.

Trigger Warnings: bullying, mentions of flogging/beating, mistreatment of servants, abuse, emotional abuse?, physical abuse, and attempted murder

Now I’m unsure if it’s actually emotional abuse, but I feel it is. I can’t say without spoilers as it is a short story, but this is pretty hefty in how servants and the princess are treated. I would go in this with caution, if any of these triggers apply to you.

Goodreads Summary:

In the kingdom of Adania, everyone knows what Princess Alyrra did to earn the court’s contempt, her mother’s disdain, and her brother’s hatred.

She betrayed her own.

Yet, the truth hides another story, one of honor and honesty, of a princess gambling her own life for another’s. It’s a tale of courage and consequences, and a choice that can never be undone.

A short story prequel to her multi-starred fantasy, Thorn, Intisar Khanani’s “Brambles” gives Alyrra’s account of what really happened all those years ago, and how a few critical days turned her life into a daily fight for survival.

~•~•~•~

My Thoughts:

For 40 pages I was enchanted by this world. Valka was a villain you just couldn’t help but get strong feelings for in all the negative ways. Princess Alyrra was definitely a character to root for and her brother obviously needs a lesson in manners. Forty pages and yet I’m still pondering all the actions and characters in this novella.

My Rating:

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

First read of the month gets five stars! I’m hopeful that this is a good sign. Happy reading to all!

Until next time,

-Pass Me That Book

Ebook Review: The Good Luck Girls

Hello all,

It feels like forever since I have done a proper review, and I’m so glad to be back in business! I hope this turns out well, I’m testing out a new style for reviewing. Like the graphic? I made it with Canva. But on to the book…

About the Book:

Book Title: The Good Luck Girls

Book Author: Charlotte Nicole Davis

Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates

Page Count: 400

Genre: YA, Fantasy Fiction, Dystopian

Book Summary:

Westworld meets The Handmaid’s Tale in this stunning fantasy adventure from debut author Charlotte Nicole Davis.

Aster, the protector
Violet, the favorite
Tansy, the medic
Mallow, the fighter
Clementine, the catalyst

THE GOOD LUCK GIRLS

The country of Arketta calls them Good Luck Girls–they know their luck is anything but. Sold to a “welcome house” as children and branded with cursed markings. Trapped in a life they would never have chosen.

When Clementine accidentally murders a man, the girls risk a dangerous escape and harrowing journey to find freedom, justice, and revenge in a country that wants them to have none of those things. Pursued by Arketta’s most vicious and powerful forces, both human and inhuman, their only hope lies in a bedtime story passed from one Good Luck Girl to another, a story that only the youngest or most desperate would ever believe.

It’s going to take more than luck for them all to survive.

My Thoughts:

This was loads of fun! Fair warning for readers, this starts out with attempted rape. There’s references to sexual abuse, past rape, swearing, referenced past suicide, and violence. It’s definitely feeling like Handmaid’s Tale but not so much Westworld. I mean, it barely identified with Westworld-apart from the train. At least that I could tell but I admit it’s been longer since I watched Westworld than Handmaid’s Tale. Handmaid’s vibes were way stronger for this book but I’m not complaining as I love that series.

The story tells of Clementine accidentally killing a man fixing to rape her in a “Welcome House” and Aster grabs her little sister and a few other girls and flees. Violet, one of the girls, tells them they can have safe harbor in finding Lady Ghost at the border, but that freedom comes at a price. Desperate, the girls flee lawmen, ghosts, and their pasts in the hopes of finding safe harbor at last. With one questionable ally named Zee to guide them, will they reach freedom? Or forever be a good luck girl?

There’s a lot of character in these pages, though a few spots seemed to drag it picked up quickly again. The pacing was fast for most of the book, and I loved the characters overall. Aster and the other girls were all strong female characters that I loved. I think my favorites were a tie between Aster and Violet.

The nicest surprise in this book was that there was no love interest! It was all about survival. Sure, subtle hints here and there but not overwhelmingly so. It was nice reading a YA book that didn’t have a strong romance side plot. Aster’s primary focus was caring for her sister Clementine, not in getting a boy! Finally, a YA that is all about survival and no romance. (Don’t get me wrong, I adore romance but this makes a refreshing change!)

My Rating:

⭐⭐⭐⭐

I received this through my ebook library app. I’m grateful to my library supporting my reading habits. Thank you also for reading my review. I’d love to know your thoughts in the comments.

Until next time,

-Pass Me That Book

Book Review: Piper

Hello friends,

A bit of backstory about this “book”. I thought it was an actual book, that I had on my wishlist for Overdrive for years. I had no clue that it was a graphic novel! Imagine my surprise when I finally get it from the library in physical format and find out it’s a graphic novel-something that I rarely read.

Now, it wasn’t bad as far as graphic novels go, the art was actually really nice! It had a smooth flow for the story and the print wasn’t too small to read as it is with most graphic novels I pick up (or maybe that’s just me). I read it in one sitting and can feel safe in rating this 4/5 stars.

But how does one review a graphic novel without giving away most of the plot?! I’d really like advice for those who do read graphic novels and review them, it would be so helpful and I’d be glad to help in return anything y’all need help with!

But back to the story.

I’m sure we’re all familiar with the tale of the Pied Piper, one of the first cautionary tales I learned about as a child actually, along with Rumpelstiltskin and King Arthur and fae. This was nicely handled, starting off with true accounts about missing children from an old town named Hameln. In that “something happened to our children”. And “one hundred years ago our children disappeared.” I find the historical aspects fascinating and would like to read the Chronicae Eccelsiae Hamelensis of AD 1384. I like when authors peak the historians in me interest!

Now, the story here keeps most elements the same, but I warn for bullying of deaf children, murder, and death of children as potential triggers.

And though the story is dark, as well as quite bleak at the end it was still beautiful writing. I really enjoyed this fast read, and do suggest that you give it a try! From one who rarely reads graphic novels and comic books this was a treat!

Until next time,

Pass Me That Book.

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