Book Review: A River Of Royal Blood by Amanda Joy

Book: A River Of Royal Blood by Amanda Joy

Published October 2019 by Putnam|368 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: A River Of Royal Blood #1

Genre: YA

An enthralling debut perfect for fans of Children of Blood and Bone set in a North African-inspired fantasy world where two sisters must fight to the death to win the crown.

Sixteen-year-old Eva is a princess, born with the magick of marrow and blood–a dark and terrible magick that hasn’t been seen for generations in the vibrant but fractured country of Myre. Its last known practitioner was Queen Raina, who toppled the native khimaer royalty and massacred thousands, including her own sister, eight generations ago, thus beginning the Rival Heir tradition. Living in Raina’s long and dark shadow, Eva must now face her older sister, Isa, in a battle to the death if she hopes to ascend to the Ivory Throne–because in the Queendom of Myre only the strongest, most ruthless rulers survive.

When Eva is attacked by an assassin just weeks before the battle with her sister, she discovers there is more to the attempt on her life than meets the eye–and it isn’t just her sister who wants to see her dead. As tensions escalate, Eva is forced to turn to a fey instructor of mythic proportions and a mysterious and handsome khimaer prince for help in growing her magick into something to fear. Because despite the love she still has for her sister, Eva will have to choose: Isa’s death or her own.

A River of Royal Blood is an enthralling debut set in a lush North African inspired fantasy world that subtly but powerfully challenges our notions of power, history, and identity.

I liked A River Of Royal Blood!  It’s like a combination of Children Of Blood And Bone, Throne Of Glass, and Three Dark Crowns.

It’s definitely an interesting book, and I really want to know more about Eva’s magic.  Hopefully, we’ll see more of her magic and learn more about it.  Her magic seems like the sort of magic that people are wary of it, and that makes me want to see it more.  I totally get why we didn’t, and I’m hoping there’s a way for Eva to use her magic without too much trouble.  Honestly, it’s not looking good, but hopefully, things will work themselves out.

Isa’s magic actually scares me more than Eva’s.  The control she has over people, and the way she’s able to bend them to their will is much more terrifying than killing.  I mean, it seems like that’s what Eva’s magic is, but it’s hard to say because I feel like we get so little about it.  But for now, what Isa can do is a lot more scary.  I really want to see what any challenge or battle would look like between the two.

I did feel bad for Eva, because it seems like she was kept in the dark about so many things.  I can’t imagine being close to a sibling and then finding out that one of you won’t survive the fight for the throne.  It made me sad for Eva.  And finding out that my magic was bound, and can only be removed by someone who’s no longer around to do it?  That would also be a terrible thing to know.  I can get why these things would be kept for her, but it made things harder for her, especially at court.  But I also felt like, in the end, she also decided she had to fight for her life.  Hers is a world where it’s killed or be killed, and I feel she really made the decision to fight after everything that happened.

Not that it wasn’t there before, but it seemed like she lived in Isa’s shadow.  It was like she accepted that Isa was going to be queen, and was everyone’s favorite.  I think it took a while for Eva to believe in herself, and hopefully, she’ll continue to do so.

This book is definitely Eva’s journey, but there is part of me that wanted to see more of Isa.  I’m not always a big fan of multiple narrators, but I think seeing a few chapters from Isa’s POV would have been interesting.  Still, I’m glad we got to follow Eva, and I definitely find myself rooting for her.

3 stars.  I liked A River Of Royal Blood.  While I don’t think I’ll be rushing to read the next book in the series, I’m still interested enough to see what happens next for Eva.

Book Review: Full Disclosure by Camryn Garrett

Book: Full Disclosure by Camryn Garrett

Published October 2019 by Knopf Books For Young Readers|290 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: None

Genre: YA Contemporary

In a community that isn’t always understanding, an HIV-positive teen must navigate fear, disclosure, and radical self-acceptance when she falls in love–and lust–for the first time. Powerful and uplifting, Full Disclosure will speak to fans of Angie Thomas and Nicola Yoon.

Simone Garcia-Hampton is starting over at a new school, and this time things will be different. She’s making real friends, making a name for herself as student director of Rent, and making a play for Miles, the guy who makes her melt every time he walks into a room. The last thing she wants is for word to get out that she’s HIV-positive, because last time . . . well, last time things got ugly.

Keeping her viral load under control is easy, but keeping her diagnosis under wraps is not so simple. As Simone and Miles start going out for real–shy kisses escalating into much more–she feels an uneasiness that goes beyond butterflies. She knows she has to tell him that she’s positive, especially if sex is a possibility, but she’s terrified of how he’ll react! And then she finds an anonymous note in her locker: I know you have HIV. You have until Thanksgiving to stop hanging out with Miles. Or everyone else will know too.

Simone’s first instinct is to protect her secret at all costs, but as she gains a deeper understanding of the prejudice and fear in her community, she begins to wonder if the only way to rise above is to face the haters head-on…

I liked Full Disclosure!  I really felt for Simone, who’s pretty amazing.

It can’t be an easy diagnosis, and you see how much it affects her.  Whether it’s telling friends, or a guy she likes, it’s not an easy thing for her to share.  When it does get out to the whole school, people are completely horrible to her.  People just don’t want to take the time to truly understand what it means.

Miles, Claudia and Lydia are pretty supportive, and even though Simone has her issues with them, they do care about her, and it’s clear they support her and still want to be around her.  It’s especially important with Miles, since they’re pretty into each other.  Being HIV positive is a pretty big deal in any romantic relationship, but he was great because it honestly didn’t seem to bother him or scare him away.  It seemed like he was willing to take things slow and wait.

Her dads are pretty awesome too, and I love the relationship she has with both of them.  It’s obvious they love her and would do anything for her.  It’s also nice to see a YA book where the parents are around and involved in her life.  A lot of times, it feels like the parents are absent or barely there, so it’s nice that they actually show up more than once or twice, if at all.

I also liked that we got the whole story with Sarah.  It’s interesting that there was no flashback, but I thought it’s inclusion was well-done.  And I get why it’s hard for Simone to trust people because of what happened with her.  I really felt for her when it happened again.  Because people can be horrible, especially with things they don’t understand.  But she has a great support system with her dads, her best friends, and Miles.  And even her support group was pretty cool too.  They definitely understood what she was going through when no one else did.

It’s definitely an important read, and I’m glad I read it.  I think Positive by Paige Rawls is a good read-alike for this one.  Positive is a memoir, but I was reminded of it the whole time I read this book.  Simone is more than her diagnosis, and she really came to life in this book.  I’m not a musical person by any means, but for some reason, I feel like I’d get along with her.  I thought it was interesting that Rent was the school musical, though I got really angry when one of the teachers involved with the musical was hoping that Simone, as a student director, would win the school a lot of theater awards.  I hated she would try to use a student like that, but thankfully, the other teacher involved wasn’t about to let her do that.

3 stars.  I liked Full Disclosure, though I didn’t love it.  I’m not sure why, but regardless, this is a must-read!

Book Review: DEV1AT3 by Jay Kristoff

Book Review: DEV1AT3 by Jay Kristoff

Published June 2019 by Alfred K Knopf Books For Young Readers|448 pages

Where I Got It: I own the hardcover

Series: Lifelike #2

Genre: YA Sci-Fi

Lemon Fresh has seen better days.

After the climactic battle in Babel, she finds herself separated from Ezekiel and Cricket in the wastelands. Lemon’s abilities to manipulate electricity mark her as a deviate, and deadly corporate operatives are hunting her to use as a weapon in the war between BioMaas Incorporated and Daedelus Technologies. Instead, Lemon finds herself falling in with a group of fellow deviates—a band of teenagers with astonishing abilities, led by an enigmatic figure known as the Major, who may hold the secrets to Lemon’s past.

Meanwhile, Cricket finds himself in possession of the puritanical Brotherhood, a religious cult set for a head-on collision with the Major and his band. Searching for Lemon, Ezekiel finds a strange ally in an old enemy, and uncovers a plot that may see him reunited with his beloved Ana.

And inside Babel, a remade Eve hatches a plan to bring an end to the world.

Honestly, I don’t know what I think about this book.  I felt the same about the first book in this series, and that continued with this book.

I liked Lemon Fresh, and she has an interesting time in this book.  It was the same with Cricket, but I didn’t really care about what happened with Eve.  It was interesting to see how the groups that Cricket and Lemon Fresh ended up had so many connections to each other.  Personally, I wish we saw more of that but with how things went with Lemon Fresh, I’m not that surprised we didn’t.  And I did feel for Lemon Fresh, because I wanted a different story for her.

I think Lemon Fresh was my favorite to follow.  Hers is the one I remember more, though Cricket had his own challenges.  I felt like we didn’t get enough of Eve for me to have strong feelings either way.

I know people love Jay Kristoff, and this series, but I had a really hard time getting through this book.  I could only read a couple chapters at a time before needing to put it down and do something else.  I felt like it took me forever to get through this book.  I struggled to get through Lifelike when I tried to re-read before this one, and I remember having a hard time getting through it when I read Lifelike for book club ages ago.

I think I read this one because I wanted to know what happened next.  For some reason, Eve’s family made me think of the Romanov’s, and how people think Anastasia survived her family’s execution.  Part of me is wondering if it’s just coincidence, or if there is some inspiration there.  Either way, I wanted more about that, and it didn’t happen.  Which is fine, because I’m glad we followed Lemon Fresh and Cricket.  Still, I would have liked a chapter or two from Eve’s perspective.

Both Lemon Fresh and Cricket narrate, but it didn’t really work for me.  I thought it was confusing and their chapters sounded exactly the same.  It took a while to figure out who was narrating, and by the time I got settled into who was narrating, it switched, and I’d start the process all over again.  Maybe I’m just really used to books where it’s obvious who’s narrating.

I’m not sure if I’m going to going to finish the series.  Part of me does want to know what happens next, but I don’t know that I’m invested enough to keep going.  It’s an interesting world, and I wish we knew more about what life was like before this world started, and what life is like everywhere else.  It seems pretty contained to a Southern California-type area, at least from what I can gather from the map.  So it makes me wonder what it’s like everywhere else in the U.S.

2 stars.  Overall, Deviate is just okay.  I really liked Lemon Fresh’s story, but I don’t know if it’s enough to keep me reading.

Book Review: Serpent And Dove by Shelby Mahurin

Book: Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin

Published September 2019 by HarperTeen|513 pages

Where I Got It: I own the hardcover

Series: Serpent & Dove #1

Genre: YA Fantasy

Bound as one to love, honor, or burn.

Two years ago, Louise le Blanc fled her coven and took shelter in the city of Cesarine, forsaking all magic and living off whatever she could steal. There, witches like Lou are hunted. They are feared. And they are burned.

Sworn to the Church as a Chasseur, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. His path was never meant to cross with Lou’s, but a wicked stunt forces them into an impossible union—holy matrimony.

The war between witches and Church is an ancient one, and Lou’s most dangerous enemies bring a fate worse than fire. Unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, a choice must be made.

And love makes fools of us all.

Serpent & Dove was just okay.  I wanted to like it more, because overall, the story was pretty cool.

I mean, a witch marries the man who’s hunting her.  It actually bothered me that she was pretty much forced into it to make the Chasseurs look good.  It was hard to get past that, especially once we learn a lot more about the witches and the church.  The church, by the way, reminded me a lot of the Catholic church, and something about how witches are hunted down made me think of the Spanish Inquisition.

I didn’t care for the relationship between Lou and Reid, and I think it’s because of how they’re forced together.  I just had a hard time rooting for them, knowing what I know about Lou and how she had to hide it.  How she managed to keep it hidden from Reid for so long surprised me, but then again, he seemed oblivious at times.

The beginning and the ending were interesting but it was hard to get through the middle of the book.  We learn a lot at the end of the book, and there’s a lot of action at both the beginning and the end, but it felt like the middle was full of nothing I cared about.  I’m actually surprised I finished it, because there were times I wanted to just not finish the book.  I did want to know how everything came together but I don’t know if I’ll be picking up the next book.  It just felt really slow and long.

I felt like, even though there’s more than enough story for a sequel or two, that the story did wrap up pretty well.  It would work well as a stand-alone novel, in my opinion.

2 stars.  Serpent & Dove was okay, and really long and slow-paced.

Book Review: The Everlasting Rose by Dhonielle Clayton

Book: The Everlasting Rose by Dhonielle Clayton

Published March 2019 by Freeform|344 pages

Where I Got It: I own the hardcover

Series: The Belles #2

Genre: YA Fantasy

In this sequel to the instant New York Times bestseller, Camille, her sister Edel, and her guard and new love Remy must race against time to find Princess Charlotte. Sophia’s Imperial forces will stop at nothing to keep the rebels from returning Charlotte to the castle and her rightful place as queen. With the help of an underground resistance movement called The Iron Ladies-a society that rejects beauty treatments entirely-and the backing of alternative newspaper The Spider’s Web, Camille uses her powers, her connections and her cunning to outwit her greatest nemesis, Sophia, and restore peace to Orleans. 

I have really mixed feelings about The Everlasting Rose.  I really liked The Belles when I read it almost two years ago- enough to pick up the sequel and see what happened next.  But I’m not sure how I feel about the sequel.

I really liked the world and we see more of it in this one.  I felt like the underground resistance randomly came up but I also feel like it sort of makes sense, considering how little Camille actually knew.  We learned some stuff at the end of The Belles that is the focus in this book.  Sophia really takes things to a different level, and part of me wishes we had spent more time closer to Sophia to actually see what happens.  We do get it in bits and pieces throughout the book, which is fine, and works okay enough, considering what’s going on with Camille, Edel and Remy.

I did like the significance of the Everlasting Rose, and how it had a few different meanings.  I really liked the moments where I got to see each meaning of it.  One is definitely better than the other, that’s for sure.

There’s definitely more to the Belles power than I originally thought.  It was hinted at in The Belles, and I did kind of like how it was used throughout the book.  It makes me wish we saw it earlier in the series, because I wanted to see a little bit more of it, but I think it worked well here.  Just because the first book had a different focus than this one, and it might have been a little out of place in this book.

Changes are in store for Orleans, and under Sophia’s rule, you see how much it affects everyone.  What people think about the changes under Charlotte’s rule remains to be seen, and hopefully, we’ll see that in the last book.  Even though my overall feeling is…meh…I still want to finish out the series and see how much has changed.  I won’t be rushing out to get the next book, but at some point, when it is released, I’ll pick it up and read it.

I wanted to like it more, but considering how fast I went through this book, I didn’t like it as much as I could have.  It did keep me reading, though, so I’ll give it that.

2 stars.  Overall, The Everlasting Rose was okay.  The world is interesting but I lost interest in Camille’s world in this book.  Hopefully, the next book get my attention a lot more than this one day.

Book Review: Only Ashes Remain by Rebecca Schaeffer

Book: Only Ashes Remain by Rebecca Schaeffer

Published September 2019 by HMH Books For Younger Readers|432 pages

Where I Got It: I own the hardcover

Series: Market Of Monsters #2

Genre: YA Fantasy

After escaping her kidnappers and destroying the black market where she was held captive, all Nita wants is to find a way to live her life without looking over her shoulder. But with a video of her ability to self-heal all over the dark web, Nita knows she’s still a prime target on the black market.

There’s only one way to keep herself safe.

Nita must make herself so feared that no one would ever dare come after her again. And the best way to start building her reputation? Take her revenge on Fabricio, the boy who sold Nita to her kidnappers. But killing Fabricio is harder than Nita thought it would be, even with Kovit by her side. Now caught in a game of kill or be killed, Nita will do whatever it takes to win.

I was really excited about Only Ashes Remain, and it ended up being an okay book.  I didn’t like it as much as Not Even Bones, to the point that I’m not sure if I want to finish the series and see how it all ends.

Usually I finish a series if I make it past the first book, but I was pretty uninterested in what was going on.

I wasn’t sure how I felt about Nita in the first book, and in this one?  She was really frustrating.  I get her need to take revenge on Fabricio, but as it would turn out, she was so very wrong about everything that had happened.  There’s a lot that she didn’t realize or see, and I wonder if being at home so much hurt her.

Nita is pretty naive, but that makes sense considering the world she lives and how she grew up.  She trusted the wrong people, and was so focused on going after Fabricio that she didn’t realize the real danger until it was too late.  I don’t know that I would have acted any differently if I were her, and I did like seeing her finally figure things out.

I don’t really have strong thoughts about any of the characters.  Kovit is interesting, and I want to know more about him.  Kovit and Nita have a lot to work out but hopefully they’ll be able to agree to disagree.  It felt like everyone was just…there, and even though we meet quite a few people along the way, I could not begin to tell you anything about them.  I couldn’t even tell you names, much less anything about them.  That’s how little they stuck out.  It’s also been a few days since I’ve finished the book, so that might be part of it too.

I was so curious to see what would happen next, and now I’m not sure if I even want to know how things work out for Nita, Fabricio and Kovit.  I just wasn’t into this book, which is sad because I was so interested in reading it.  Maybe I just wasn’t in the right mood for it, or maybe I just wasn’t into this book.  Either one is possible, and I’m thinking it’s a little bit of both.  I wish I had more to say about this one, but I don’t.

2 stars.  Only Ashes Remain was just okay, and even though I like the world Nita lives in, I just don’t know if I want to keep reading.

Book Review: Gravemaidens by Kelly Coon

Book: Gravemaidens by Kelly Coon

Published October 2019 by Delacorte Press|416 pages

Where I Got It: I own the hardcover

Series: Gravemaidens #1

Genre: YA Fantasy

The start of a fierce fantasy duology about three maidens who are chosen for their land’s greatest honor…and one girl determined to save her sister from the grave.

In the walled city-state of Alu, Kammani wants nothing more than to become the accomplished healer her father used to be before her family was cast out of their privileged life in shame.

When Alu’s ruler falls deathly ill, Kammani’s beautiful little sister, Nanaea, is chosen as one of three sacred maidens to join him in the afterlife. It’s an honor. A tradition. And Nanaea believes it is her chance to live an even grander life than the one that was stolen from her.

But Kammani sees the selection for what it really is—a death sentence.

Desperate to save her sister, Kammani schemes her way into the palace to heal the ruler. There she discovers more danger lurking in the sand-stone corridors than she could have ever imagined and that her own life—and heart—are at stake. But Kammani will stop at nothing to dig up the palace’s buried secrets even if it means sacrificing everything…including herself.

I really liked Gravemaidens!  I was drawn in by the cover, which is really pretty.  And it sounded like something I’d like to read.

I loved how Kammani just wanted to save her sister.  I also loved that she sees the selection of her sister to be a death sentence.  Everyone- or most everyone- sees it as an honor but Kammani wasn’t one of them, and that was nice to see.  She really does everything she can to save the ruler of her country, though it seems to be to save her sister from dying, and not because he’s a good ruler or anything like that.

She’s definitely trying to figure things out, even though it ends up being pretty dangerous for her.  Things go in a completely different way than she expected, and things weren’t what they seemed.  The book stands on its own pretty well, though I’m curious to see how the second (and final) book goes.

Gravemaidens does have a lot of elements that I’ve seen in other fantasy books, so nothing was particularly surprising as far as characters or plot goes.  It didn’t get in the way of me enjoying the book at all, because I did like Kammani and how she was willing to figure things out.  You could tell she cared about her sister, and they do have a really great moment towards the end of the book.

Something about going into the afterlife made me think of Greek mythology.  Maybe it’s because Netherworld was mentioned frequently, and paying the Boatman coin came up several times.  I know the afterlife isn’t a concept solely related to Greek mythologies, because it comes up in a lot of religions.  But I did finish Outrun The Wind recently, and that’s a Greek mythology retelling, so maybe I just have Ancient Greece/Greek mythology on my mind.  Now, I’m curious to know if she was inspired by any kind of mythology.

Still, I wanted to know more about Kammani’s world.  You get an idea of what it’s like, and I hope we see more of it in the next book.

I liked Kammani but I didn’t love her.  I’m not sure why I didn’t love her but you could tell saving her sister was important.  I wasn’t a big fan of her sister, Nanaea, who came across as spoiled for most of the book.  She did make more sense and I understood her better by the end of the book, but I still haven’t warmed up to her.

Speaking of liking or not liking characters, I wasn’t a fan of Dagan.  Something about how much he wanted to be with Kammani was off-putting to me, and even though he said he didn’t want to push her, he also seemed much more interested in her than she was in him.  I wasn’t interested in anything romantic between Dagan and Kammani but I was intrigued by the possibility of Naru and Kammani.  I feel like anything romantic has been set up for Dagan and Kammani, but if it does, it’ll take a lot of convincing to get me on board.

4 stars.  I really liked Gravemaidens and considering that things seemed to be wrapped up pretty well, I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Book Review: Outrun The Wind by Elizabeth Tammi

Book: Outrun The Wind by Elizabeth Tammi

Published November 2018 by Flux|302 pages

Where I Got It: I own the paperback

Series: None

Genre: YA Fantasy/Re-Telling

The Huntresses of Artemis must obey two rules: never disobey the goddess, and never fall in love. After being rescued from a harrowing life as an Oracle of Delphi, Kahina is glad to be a part of the Hunt; living among a group of female warriors gives her a chance to reclaim her strength, even while her prophetic powers linger. But when a routine mission goes awry, Kahina breaks the first rule in order to save the legendary huntress Atalanta.

To earn back Artemis’s favor, Kahina must complete a dangerous task in the kingdom of Arkadia— where the king’s daughter is revealed to be none other than Atalanta. Still reeling from her disastrous quest and her father’s insistence on marriage, Atalanta isn’t sure what to make of Kahina. As her connection to Atalanta deepens, Kahina finds herself in danger of breaking Artemis’ second rule.

She helps Atalanta devise a dangerous game to avoid marriage, and word spreads throughout Greece, attracting suitors willing to tempt fate to go up against Atalanta in a race for her hand. But when the men responsible for both the girls’ dark pasts arrive, the game turns deadly.

I thought Outrun The Wind was just okay.  I wanted to like it more, but I had a really hard time getting into it.

I was bored the entire time I was reading the story.  If you’re looking for any action, this is not the book for you.  It moved at what felt like a snail’s pace, and I had a hard time staying interested in the book.  I wanted something more to happen, and it didn’t.

I liked the setting, though.  Kahina’s world is one where gods and goddesses roam the earth, and are living, breathing people.  It’s too bad we only got a glimpse of Artemis, but this book wasn’t about her- it was about Kahina and Atalanta.  I’ve heard of Atalanta, but I don’t know her story, so I can’t speak to this book as a re-telling of her story.  I felt like I was in Ancient Greece the entire time, and though the setting didn’t feel like an additional character, I think the world was still one I wanted to spend more time in.

I don’t know how I feel about Kahina or Atalanta.  I didn’t feel particularly interested in their stories or what happened to them, and I wish their backstories felt a little more clear.  Their pasts felt really muddled, and we get some tidbits about what happened, but it seemed a little fuzzy to me.  Maybe I just wasn’t paying enough attention.

It seemed like it was supposed to be a romance, but I didn’t pick up on that at all.  The description made it seem like there was going to be romance involved, but it felt like they went from enemies to friends and never quite made it beyond friends.  Unless I’m massively missing out on something, and I’m completely and utterly clueless.  Maybe I just need to be hit over the head with it, because any romantic connection that was in this book went over my head.

Kahina and Atalanta just didn’t feel completely fleshed out to me, though I felt like we knew Kahina a little bit better.  Atalanta felt a little more guarded and closed off, but I still feel like we didn’t get to know them as much as we could have.  Maybe that’s why I felt like they never moved past the friends stage.

2 stars.  Outrun The Wind was okay, and I wanted to like it more than I really did.  It wasn’t for me, but if you like Greek mythology, this might be worth checking out.

Book Review: The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White

Book Review: The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White

Published November 2019 by Delacorte Press|352 pages

Where I Got It: I own the hardcover

Series: Camelot Rising #1

Genre: YA Fantasy/Re-Telling

There is nothing in the world as magical and terrifying as a girl.

Princess Guinevere has come to Camelot to wed a stranger: the charismatic King Arthur. With magic clawing at the kingdom’s borders, the great wizard Merlin conjured a solution — send in Guinevere to be Arthur’s wife… and his protector from those who want to see the young king’s idyllic city fail. The catch? Guinevere’s real name — and her true identity — is a secret. She is a changeling, a girl who has given up everything to protect Camelot.

To keep Arthur safe, Guinevere must navigate a court in which the old — including Arthur’s own family — demand things continue as they have been, and the new — those drawn by the dream of Camelot — fight for a better way to live. And always, in the green hearts of forests and the black depths of lakes, magic lies in wait to reclaim the land. Arthur’s knights believe they are strong enough to face any threat, but Guinevere knows it will take more than swords to keep Camelot free.

Deadly jousts, duplicitous knights, and forbidden romances are nothing compared to the greatest threat of all: the girl with the long black hair, riding on horseback through the dark woods toward Arthur. Because when your whole existence is a lie, how can you trust even yourself?

From New York Times bestselling author Kiersten White comes a new fantasy series reimagining the Arthurian legend, set in the magical world of Camelot.

I really enjoyed The Guinevere Deception!  One, it’s Kiersten White, and I love her, and two, she did a King Arthur re-telling.  How could I not like this book?

I really liked Guinevere.  She’s pretty awesome, and even though I’m not super-familiar with all of the King Arthur stories, I have a vague sense of the characters and the story.  I loved the idea of Guinevere as a changeling, and seeing her navigate Camelot and water was a pretty different but cool take on the story.

White really made the story her own- Guinevere as protector of Arthur against magic, what she did with Lancelot and the appearance of Brangien and Tristan from the Tristan and Isolde story…it’s a really cool re-telling.

Seeing Guinevere on her journey was one of my favorite things about the book.  She had a lot to figure out, and I loved taking that journey with her.  Things weren’t what she thought they were, but if there’s anyone who can keep Arthur and Camelot safe, it’s her.  There’s a lot of gaps in time for her, and I hope she’s able to get those memories back.  I don’t know if she will, but she did the best she could with the information she had.

Things between Arthur and Guinevere got my attention.  They’re definitely friends, and even though they’re married, I can’t help but wonder if they’ll move past the friends stage into something more.  Honestly, I thought there might have been something between her and Mordred, which would have been a little weird because Arthur is his uncle.  I know Arthur and Guinevere are fake married and all, but still.

I liked Lancelot, and I can’t wait to see how things go as a knight for Lancelot.  Lancelot was not who I expected them to be, though I liked seeing Lancelot fight, and go through the tournament.  I think Lancelot will be a great knight, and friend, for Guinevere.

There’s a lot to like about this book, and it’s hard to talk about it because I don’t want to spoil anything.  There are some interesting twists and turns, and I want to know what happens next!

4 stars.  I really liked this take on King Arthur, and Guinevere is a great character!  I loved going on this journey with her.

Book Review: Not Even Bones by Rebecca Schaeffer

Book: Not Even Bones by Rebecca Schaeffer

Published September 2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt|368 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the e-book from the library

Series: Market Of Monsters #1

Genre: YA Fantasy

Dexter meets This Savage Song in this dark fantasy about a girl who sells magical body parts on the black market — until she’s betrayed.

Nita doesn’t murder supernatural beings and sell their body parts on the internet—her mother does that. Nita just dissects the bodies after they’ve been “acquired.” But when her mom brings home a live specimen, Nita decides she wants out — dissecting living people is a step too far.

But when she tries to save her mother’s victim, she ends up sold on the black market in his place — because Nita herself is a supernatural being. Now Nita is on the other side of the bars, and there is no line she won’t cross to escape and make sure no one can ever capture her again.

Nita did a good deed, and it cost her everything. Now she’s going to do a lot of bad deeds to get it all back.

I really liked Not Even Bones!  I was intrigued by the plot, and I went through this book pretty fast because I wanted to keep reading.

I thought Nita was interesting.  I don’t know if I like her- I haven’t quite decided on that yet- but her character was an interesting one.  I mean, she can heal herself, in a world that doesn’t look kindly upon people with unnatural abilities.  Yes, she helps her mother by dissecting magical creatures so her mother can sell them on the black market, and yes, she realizes that there is no line she won’t cross to get her life back to normal.

She had lines she wouldn’t cross, and ends up throwing all of that out the window once she ends up on the black market.  I don’t know if I like her but I really want to see what she’ll do to get her life back to where she wants it.

I really want to know more about Fabricio and her mom.  Fabricio pops up at the beginning and the end, so who knows what he’s doing for most of the book?  What’s he really up to?  Whatever it is, I hope we find out.

As for her mom, selling her to the black market seems like something she would do.  What happened to her mom, and will we ever find out if she’s dead or alive?  We definitely find out what happened to her dad, but her mom?  What’s she been doing since Nita got taken?  I have so many questions about her, and I hope at least some of them get answered.

I did like Kovit, though.  I wasn’t sure about him for a while, but he’s a pretty cool character.  I like that he won’t hurt friends or family, and I want him to be okay.  He definitely grew on me, and he and Nita have a pretty interesting but understandable agreement/relationship.

I’m hoping there isn’t a love triangle.  There isn’t one in this book, but I feel like this book is setting one up for the rest of the series.  At the beginning of the book, I thought that Nita and Fabricio might end up together, but knowing what I know now, I do not want them to end up together, should romance come up.  I don’t know what would change my mind about him, but at this point, it’s going to take a lot to get me to change my mind.

4 stars.  I really liked Not Even Bones, and I can’t wait to read the next one, if only to see what happens with Nita and Fabricio.