“The Belles” by Dhonielle Clayton

I don’t read much YA fantasy anymore, and that’s on purpose. I felt duped by the ones I read in recent years because although they are categorized as fantasy, the romance is almost always the focus. Now, that’s not a problem, if that’s what you like and why you picked up the book, but it’s a disappointment for me. So because of that (and other reasons), I’ve been cautious about the YA fantasy books I choose to read.

But recently I read The Belles for a buddy-read with Rachel at Life of a Female Bibliophile. I’ve been curious about it, love the cover, and bought it after briefly meeting the author about a year or two ago. It was a quick read and certainly interesting, but… meh. I didn’t care much for it.

Genre

YA Fantasy

Series

The Belles, book 1

Pubbed

2018

Goodreads summary

Camellia Beauregard is a Belle. In the opulent world of Orleans, Belles are revered, for they control Beauty, and Beauty is a commodity coveted above all else. In Orleans, the people are born gray, they are born damned, and only with the help of a Belle and her talents can they transform and be made beautiful.

Continue reading ““The Belles” by Dhonielle Clayton”

“Boy Snow Bird” by Helen Oyeyemi

This novel had been sitting on my shelf unread for a while, so when a bookclub I’m in chose it for one of our reads, I was enthusiastic to do so. I’d heard great things about it and that it’s inspired by the Snow White fairytale, so I thought the book sounded promising. But unfortunately, the story wasn’t as outstanding as I thought it would be.

Genre

Historical Fiction; Magical Realism; Literary

Series

n/a

Pubbed

2013

Goodreads summary

The widely acclaimed novel that brilliantly recasts the Snow White fairy tale as a story of family secrets, race, beauty, and vanity.

In the winter of 1953, Boy Novak arrives by chance in a small town in Massachusetts, looking, she believes, for beauty—the opposite of the life she’s left behind in New York. She marries a local widower and becomes stepmother to his winsome daughter, Snow Whitman.

Continue reading ““Boy Snow Bird” by Helen Oyeyemi”

“Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky” by Kwame Mbalia

I finally got around to trying one of the Rick Riordan Presents books! 😊 I enjoyed reading Riordan’s Percy Jackson and Heroes of Olympus novels, so I was glad and eager for novels published under his imprint since they would also be fun middle-grade fantasy novels but would instead tap into other world mythologies and folklores.

Apart from that, I was also interested in Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky because there are few middle-grade fantasy novels that center on a Black character and is grounded in Black culture and myths. So I was beyond excited to read this, and I enjoyed it!

Genre:

MG Fantasy

Series:

Tristan Strong, book 1

Pubbed:

2019

Goodreads summary:

Seventh-grader Tristan Strong feels anything but strong ever since he failed to save his best friend when they were in a bus accident together. All he has left of Eddie is the journal his friend wrote stories in.

Continue reading ““Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky” by Kwame Mbalia”

“Greyborn Rising” by Derry Sandy

Here’s a paranormal novel set in the Caribbean that includes creatures from Caribbean folklore. There are jumbies, soucouyants, lagahoos, and a nefarious obeah man intent on letting in more monsters from the Grey.

(Btw, I know the author and received a free copy of the book to read and review; but my thoughts below are my honest reaction to the story.)

Genre:

Paranormal; Fantasy

Series:

n/a

Pubbed:

2019

Goodreads summary:

The Greyborn are Rising and only the Order can save humankind.

The world consists of three parallel realms; the Grey where Greyborn—preternatural creatures of legend live; the Ether which is the realm of Heaven and Hell; and the Absolute where humans make their home, blissfully unaware of the tripartite nature of their world.

Continue reading ““Greyborn Rising” by Derry Sandy”

“Brass Carriages and Glass Hearts” by Nancy Campbell Allen

I was looking forward to reading this novel. I started listening to Allen’s Steampunk Proper Romance novels last year on audio and took a quick liking to the first book, Beauty and the Clockwork Beast, which is influenced by both the fairytale Beauty and the Beast and the classic novel Jane Eyre. I liked the second book as well, but the third one wasn’t as engrossing as the first two. However, I was still interested in the series and even more so because the fourth book, this one, hinted at some Cinderella influences. Unfortunately, my reading experience with Brass Carriages and Glass Hearts was not as great as I thought it would be. I didn’t like it. 🙁

(Btw, I received an ARC through NetGalley to review, but my thoughts below are my honest reaction to the book.)

Genre:

Paranormal; Romance; Historical Fiction; Steampunk

Series:

Steampunk Proper Romance, book 4

Continue reading ““Brass Carriages and Glass Hearts” by Nancy Campbell Allen”

“The Inheritance” by Robin Hobb & Megan Lindholm

My buddy-reader in all things Hobb, Emily at Embuhleeliest, and I completed the last novel in Robin Hobb’s Realm of the Elderlings series last year and have been craving more of the story ever since. Will Hobb write more stories in this epic fantasy series that’s 17 books long (including a prequel)? I don’t know, but I think there’s potential for her to write more and if she does, Emily and I will read it.

Well, wanting more of Hobb’s stories no matter what they are about, Emily and I decided to read Hobb’s anthology of short stories, The Inheritance, which contains stories written under the pseudonyms Robin Hobb and Megan Lindholm.

We began with the Hobb stories, of course, since they are based in the Realm of the Elderlings settings (so that we completely wrap up that series) and then moved on to the Lindholm ones. They weren’t what I expected.

Genre:

Fantasy; Sci-Fi

Series:

Realm of the Elderlings (some stories are set in the same world)

Continue reading ““The Inheritance” by Robin Hobb & Megan Lindholm”

“The Goblin Emperor” by Katherine Addison

I read Addison’s debut novel, The Goblin Emperor, back in May for the Wyrd & Wonder reading event, a month-long celebration of all things fantasy. The book sat unread on my shelves for a long time, so I was happy when Wyrd & Wonder rolled around and the hosts decided to use it as the group read. And guess what? I loved it! 😊

Genre:

Fantasy

Series:

n/a

Pubbed:

2014

Goodreads summary:

The youngest, half-goblin son of the Emperor has lived his entire life in exile, distant from the Imperial Court and the deadly intrigue that suffuses it. But when his father and three sons in line for the throne are killed in an “accident,” he has no choice but to take his place as the only surviving rightful heir.

Continue reading ““The Goblin Emperor” by Katherine Addison”

“First Frost” by Sarah Addison Allen

Sarah Addison Allen is now one of my favorite authors. I love her writing too much for her not to be. This is the second of her novels I’ve read and again I devoured the story as if hungering for it for days. It’s a sweet story. I enjoyed reading it, and I loved the characters and the town it’s set in for how quirky they are.

Genre:

Magical realism; Romance

Series:

Waverley Family, book 2

Pubbed:

2015

Goodreads summary:

It’s October in Bascom, North Carolina, and autumn will not go quietly. As temperatures drop and leaves begin to turn, the Waverley women are made restless by the whims of their mischievous apple tree… and all the magic that swirls around it. But this year, first frost has much more in store.

Continue reading ““First Frost” by Sarah Addison Allen”

“The Magic Thief” by Sarah Prineas, illus. by Antonio Javier Caparo

When I checked out the e-book of this novel from my library, it had been a long time since I’d read a middle-grade novel, and I missed them. It was also around the time of the OWLs Magical Readathon, a Harry Potter-themed reading event, and I needed a book to satisfy my Herbology requirement — a book with a title that begins with M.

I’d never before heard of the Magic Thief series or its author, Sarah Prineas, but the synopsis and the cover made me think of the Septimus Heap books by Angie Sage, so I knew I would enjoy reading it. And I did!

Genre:

MG Fantasy

Series:

Magic Thief, book 1

Continue reading ““The Magic Thief” by Sarah Prineas, illus. by Antonio Javier Caparo”

“The Madness of Cambyses” by Herodotus, transl. by Tom Holland

Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), my review of this book will be very short because I don’t remember much about it. I could have avoided posting a review of it, but because the intent of my blog is to record everything I read (at least all the books), I must post a review. So here it is.

Genre:

Nonfiction — History

Pubbed:

Penguin Little Black Classics, N⁰ 78 = 2015
The Histories, transl. by Tom Holland = 2013
The Histories by Herodotus = c. 440 B.C. (Who knows?)

From the back of the book:

Weaving factual account with colourful myth, the ‘father of history’ tells of the psychotic Persian king — and his fateful death. (Goodreads)

My thoughts:

Certainly an interesting read, but I didn’t care for it. I attempted to read Herodotus’s The Histories once before because I’d read somewhere that it’s like the gossip pages of the classical world, so I picked it up to see what juicy tales Herodotus would tell me. I forgot which translated version I attempted to read back then, but I was very bored after a few pages and gave up because I didn’t really care to read it. I was just being nosy.

Continue reading ““The Madness of Cambyses” by Herodotus, transl. by Tom Holland”