Hidden Blade by Pippa DaCosta

30031040Rating: 4 stars

Series: Soul Eater #1

Ace, the nameless one, is stuck in a rather unfortunate situation. He’s a powerful being but his life isn’t his own. By nature he’s a bad guy. It can’t be helped. Eating souls is what he does. He’s also forced to do bad things because of his situation with Osiris. At heart he wants to be good, but it doesn’t come easily. I love characters that are as conflicted as Ace is. 

All of the other characters were interesting, but it was hard to get attached to them. The world building was good. The use of Egyptian gods was cool. I definitely want to know more about Ace’s past and about what was going on with his mother. There is a lot more to explore in this world, and I definitely want to read the rest of the series.

So this was probably worth somewhat less than 4 stars, but it was too good to give it less than 4. Something was missing for me, but I’m not sure what. Nothing was wrong with this, but for some reason I just didn’t love it.

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Rating: 4 stars

Series: Caraval #1

I was hesitant to read this because it’s YA and has tons of rave reviews. Usually that’s a recipe for disaster, but this was good, damn good. I read the whole thing in one sitting. The best thing about it is that it’s YA that doesn’t feel like YA. The characters were mature. I easily could have thought they were in their twenties. In fact Scarlett was cautious, almost too cautious for her own good. She was the antithesis of a TSTL heroine.

Caraval was a magical game only held once a year in a different location each time. Scarlett dreamed of going to the mysterious games for her whole life. The opportunity to go finally came, and it didn’t turn out like she expected. The rules of the game were vague. She didn’t know who to trust or what was real. It was far more dangerous than expected.

I loved the characters! Scarlett did what she thought was best even when it wasn’t what she wanted. That’s admirable in its own way. She always analyzed the best way to handle a situation. Doesn’t mean she always made the best decision though. The main side character was Julian. I didn’t know what to make of him until the very end. He went from scoundrel to kinda sweet, but what was real?

The ending was one hell of a surprise. Didn’t see it coming at all. There was a lot more going on than I would have guessed. I can’t wait for the next one because I’m dying to know more. The ending wasn’t really a cliffhanger. The main story was wrapped up, but some things were left open ended.

The Turn by Kim Harrison

29277157Rating: 3.5 stars

Series: The Hollows #0.1

Finally an explanation for how tomatoes almost wiped out the human population! It makes more sense getting the whole story rather than getting bits and pieces in the Hollows. I still question why tomatoes, but then again it’s not like any other food would have been less ridiculous.

Trisk was an elf in the sixties. She had two strikes against her: being a dark elf and being a woman. At that point in time all supernatural creatures were still in hiding. Trisk, despite being the smartest in her class, was sent to work in a human lab. She managed to do two amazing things while there. She made the T4 Angel tomato which was helping to feed the hungry around the world and perfected Daniel Plank’s virus so the biological weapon could not harm the inderlanders.

Kal had picked on Trisk for her whole life. An argument between them caused Kal to lose his shot at getting a prestigious job. After a while he was tasked with the job of verifying Trisk’s work would work as she claimed. If there were fault with her work, Kal would be able to take it over and make a name for himself when he perfected it. He was determined to find fault with it whether it was there or not.

I liked Trisk. She made the best out of what she was given. Sometimes she made some stupid decisions but it made her seem normal. They weren’t of the TSTL variety. She was strong, caring, and determined to do what was right regardless of the odds being against her. Kal OTOH was a self serving bastard. It’s easy to see where Trent got his ruthlessness and superiority complex from. Kal would have done anything, manipulated anyone to get what he wanted. Despite being privy to his thoughts, I didn’t like him. Regret and self doubt weren’t there, so it was hard to see him as redeemable. I didn’t hate him, but there sure as hell wasn’t much to like either.

I enjoyed the book, but it took me a while to get into it. I was pleasantly surprised to see a few characters from the Hollows series like Al. I’m not sure if this is a prequel series or simply a novel. The storyline about killer tomatoes was wrapped up, but I want to know more about Kal, Trisk, and Quen. Things weren’t settled between them, and I’m hoping they end up better for them at some point.

Thanks so much to Netgalley for giving me this ARC in exchange for an honest review!!!

Midnight Curse by Melissa F. Olson

31352753Rating: 4 stars

Series: Disrupted Magic #1, Scarlett Bernard #4

Technically this is the first book in a new series, but I consider it to be book 4 in the Scarlett Bernard series, which is fine by me since I wasn’t happy with the way somethings ended in the last book. This was the best of the Scarlett books yet!

There was a time gap of 3 years, so the characters have matured. Scarlett was decisive and knew what she wanted out of life. Despite having relationship issues with Eli, she didn’t convince herself she wanted things she didn’t to appease him. However Eli remained the same: needy and dependent. Their relationship perfectly depicted how two people can love each other but not be compatible.

Scarlett’s life had been relatively calm and uneventful until Molly contacted her about a serious problem. Molly’s life was on the line unless Scarlett could prove her innocence in a short period of time. Knowing she couldn’t do it on her own, she contacted her old friend Jesse who was somewhat reluctant to help with the case.

Jesse had been through a lot in the last 3 years. His strict moral code didn’t mesh with the old world, and it wasn’t easy for him to come to terms with that. Other issues popped up in that time like getting a divorce and fame from writing a book. When Scarlett stumbled into his life, he was lost. Working on a case for the first time in a long time reminded him of what he wanted out of life. I always liked Jesse but preferred him even more now. He finally accepted things as they are instead of expecting them to neatly fit into the categories right and wrong.

There was not a cliffhanger at the end, but I’m really looking forward to the next one just to get more time with the characters.

I received this from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day by Seanan McGuire

511lyfv4hxlRating: 4 stars

Death is a defining moment in everyone’s lives both the dead and the living. Everyone is meant to live for a certain amount of time. Sometimes people die before their time is up. Then they become ghosts who must leech time from the living so they can finally move on.

This wasn’t a difficult read, but it wasn’t a light read either. It was much sadder than I expected it to be. Jenna died before her time while grieving the loss of her sister. She never really let go of that grief even in death. As a ghost she still lived, but it was a dismal existence. Much of this is about how life and death aren’t fair. People often don’t get what they should have.

There was a mystery, but that part of the story was just okay. The world and characters were vastly more interesting. This is a novella, so obviously the mystery wasn’t going to be complex. It turned out to be far too simple. It would have been better if Jenna had made any kind of plan when going to save the day.

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

28862387Rating: 3.5 stars

It’s hard for me to rate this book. On one hand I really liked it and didn’t want to put it down once I got past the 25% mark. OTOH it’s one of those books where something is always happening yet nothing is. It had to be taken as it was without looking deeper or cracks began to emerge. There weren’t gaping plot holes or anything like that. Many things were alluded to but were never explained in any depth.

The writing was beautiful. It was captivating and made the book worth reading. Many people will love this book, but I wanted more. I didn’t even realize how much more I wanted there to be until the end which is odd considering how much I liked the ending.

There wasn’t much of a plot. One event stumbled into the next without much direction. It fascinating enough that I wanted to know what would happen next. Vasya was unique. She could speak to the gods of old but did not fear them. Many had moved onto Christianity, and unknownst to them was causing chaos in the world. Vasya tried to right things, but there was little she could do alone.

The characters aside from Vasya had no depth. Determining who was good and bad was easy. Several characters were included just to move the plot forward. In hindsight some had no purpose at all. Vasya wasn’t close to anyone which is part of the reason why none of the characters were fleshed out. I felt like I knew the characters but only a certain side of them.

What bothered me more than anything was the lack of answers. Obviously Vasya was special, but what was she capable of? It was insinuated by many that she had powers, but other than speaking to animals and old gods, I’m not sure what they were. The purpose of the necklace was vague. The mythology was explained on a need to know basis, which surprisingly little was imperative to know for the story to unfold.

I received this from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.