Tag Archives: five star review

The Silver Thread by Emigh Cannaday

The Silver Thread by Emigh Cannaday

 The Silver Thread
by Emigh Cannaday

Talvi Marinossian has slain maenads and fought off vampire attacks, but nothing has prepared him for getting involved with one of these forbidden ‘Modern Girls’. When he finally tracks down Annika it’s obvious that she’s changed since her recent adventure in his homeland. It’s also clear that she’s not ready to embrace the next chapter in her life. He tries to persuade her to open up to him, but she finds it difficult since he won’t even explain how he earns a living, why he has a secret cell phone, or the reason he keeps another woman’s handkerchief in his pocket. Instead of relying on Talvi to help her adjust, Annika delves into her music and her job, and it isn’t long before the new lovers find themselves completely out of sync with one another. Just when they start to find their rhythm, Talvi is called away on business and whisks Annika off to Paris for what is supposed to be a working vacation. But one bad decision leads to another, and the chaos that ensues may cost someone their life.

Annika Brisby Series #2

Rated: ★★★★
Publisher: Silver Poplar Press
Publication: December 1, 2012
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Romance, New Adult
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this title.

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The Silver Thread by Emigh Cannaday

A year and a half ago, I was invited by the author to review the first book in the Annika Brisby series, (WHICH is still FREE on Kindle). I loved it and was lucky enough to get a copy of the second book in the series, The Silver Thread by Emigh Cannaday. It took me ages to finally get around to reading, but I decided to make it my first book of 2018 and BOY AM I HAPPY! I absolutely could not put it down and finished it within the day, absolutely devouring every word. It was just so utterly fantastic and everything I didn’t know I wanted.

When last we saw, Talvi and Annika were separated. Married after only a few months of knowing each other, Annika was thrust back to the modern world, unwillingly leaving Talvi behind. I was worried the majority of the book would be Talvi trying to find his way back, but surprisingly, he reaches Annika within the first ten percentish of the book. Then, things got so good. Cannaday just absolutely gave me everything I’ve ever wanted with these whirlwind romances: reality. Yes, Talvi and Annika love each other. But, they also came together suddenly, quickly, and in the midst of a dangerous quest. How do you continue a romance when it’s time to settle into the routine of romance and daily life? Especially when you know nothing about your partner’s tiny habits, such as how they take their tea or coffee. Seeing Talvi and Annika struggle to maintain their independence, while also keeping together this relationship was so realistic and just a joy to behold.

Apart from the relationship, the story itself was really interesting! Trying to find out what Talvi’s occupation is/was, what he was hiding from Annika, and then the ending!! That ending had me instantly running to amazon to buy and download the third book in the series. Seriously, if you’ve picked up the first book in the series and are the type of person (like myself) that wonders how these larger than life situations and romance can be maintained when things go “back to normal,” pick up The Silver Thread by Emigh Cannaday. Continues to be one of my favorite urban fantasy, new adult romances!

Devil's Call by J Danielle Dorn

Devil’s Call by J Danielle Dorn

 

Devil’s Call
by J Danielle Dorn

On a dark night in the summer of 1859, three men enter the home of Dr. Matthew Callahan and shoot him dead in front of his pregnant wife. Unbeknownst to them, Li Lian, his wife, hails from a long line of women gifted in ways that scare most folks―the witches of the MacPherson clan―and her need for vengeance is as vast and unforgiving as the Great Plains themselves.

Written to the child she carries, Devil’s Call traces Li Lian’s quest, from the Nebraska Territory, to Louisiana, to the frozen Badlands, to bring to justice the monster responsible for shooting her husband in the back. This long-rifled witch will stop at nothing​―​and risk everything​―​in her showdown with evil.

Rated: ★★★★
Publisher:  Inkshares
Publication: August 8, 2017
Genre: Western, Paranormal
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this title.

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Devil’s Call by J Danielle Dorn

HOLY CANNOLI! Devil’s Call by J Danielle Dorn was amazing from the very first second I picked it up! I knew, from the very first few pages I would love this book, and my hunch was right. It was so much more than I thought it would be. Though it is marked as a horror novel, to me, it fits more as a Western/paranormal. I went into it expecting horror, expecting gore and scares and instead, got the saddest sads I’ve ever sadded. Pacing was fantastic, the writing spectacular, and the story itself remarkable touching and solid.

Now, I know I said it was Western Paranormal, and I don’t want folks that don’t usually lean towards fantasy type novels, or westerns, to be turned away. The paranormal aspect of this story is minimal compared to the actual beauty of the story. Yes, the protagonist is a witch, but what lies at the crux of this story is a sweeping tale of vengeance and love. Li Lian weaves a tale of regret and sadness so palpable, I had to stop myself from weeping. Written as a journal from Li Lian to her child, we understand from the start this will not end well or happy. Yet, I never really understood how sad and dark it could get. It’s the good kind of sad, the kind that makes you feel as though you’ve learned how to better live because of experiencing it.

The novel moved at a steady pace, neither going too quickly to grasp the action, nor too slowly to grow bored. Every single detail given was chosen for maximum impact and given at the exact right time. What was truly remarkable was how perfect the setting is for this tale. The landscape often reflecting the narrative of the story and the turmoil Li Lian experienced. From cities with a gravitas to ground the characters, to the wild plains of the newly charted western United States that mirror Li Lian’s growing recklessness? though that isn’t the right word, it fits well enough, Dorn uses the setting almost as an extra, ever present character that does more than set the mood. It sets the story.

Devil’s Call by J Danielle Dorn is easily one of the best books I’ve read this year. The high quality writing and construction never falters. I was left with such sadness, but with also the tiniest bit of hope, which might seem like folly considering how everything came about. Yet, I hope there’s room for a follow-up novel, which I will greedily and hungrily pick up! A definite must read!

Enchanting Yuletide

Enchanting Yuletide

 

Enchanting Yuletide
by Jena Baxter, CK Brewer, Guy Donovan, Barbara Lieberman, Ellie Lieberman, Raven Williams

Six stories of the holiday season, guaranteed to put you in a festive mood. So, grab your hot chocolate and snuggle up to experience the season as you’ve never done before. After all, tis the Season for Magic!

Rated: ★★★★
Publisher:  Pipe & Thimble
Publication: November 15, 2017
Genre: Holiday, Christmas, Fantasy
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this title.

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Enchanting Yuletide

This was SUCH a welcome holiday read! I was contacted out of the blue to review Enchanting Yuletide, and even though I was hesitant, a) because anthologies are usually hit-or-miss, but more importantly because of b) what we went through reading the Wolfsbane and Mistletoe holiday anthology. However, I was sad that I hadn’t read anything holiday-ish this month, so I said yes. I was SO HAPPY I gave it a chance! The stories were all fantastic in different ways, thought provoking, and actually left me feeling moved. I mean, I got weepy over one story in particular.

It’s a really short anthology of only six authors — six stories. So, I don’t want to give too much away. But I will talk a little about my two favorite — Hand-Me-Downs by Barbara Lieberman and The Memory Tree by Ellie Lieberman. Hand-Me-Downs was incredibly heart-warming with a touch of holiday magic that is incredibly relateable given the times we live in right now. A mother-daughter pair who find themselves struggling. No home of their own, constantly on the move, health issues. Yet, even with the struggles, they have love, family, friends. They are never thrown away or discarded. Their holiday becomes a magical affair that just makes you feel warm and reminds you of those old black-and-white movies you’d watch as a child the week between Christmas and New Years Eve.

Then, juxtaposed next to such an uplifting tale, we have The Memory Tree by Ellie Lieberman. Just as touching, but in such a different way. Where Hand-Me-Downs shows us the good cheer in holiday spirits, The Memory Tree reminds us that it is okay, and sometimes necessary, to remember the not so good during the holiday season. The things that hurt and are missing. The people that are no longer around the Christmas Tree or the dinner table. Just thinking about this short makes me emotional. It almost feels like we are given permission to feel bittersweet, which is something I personally find comforting the older I get.

The other four stories in Enchanting Yuletide are also just as fantastic, but in different ways. We have Seasons, a story of 3 brothers — one a neutral party, one a bitter betty, and the other forced into a villainous role. I mean, who, with siblings, can’t relate to that dynamic? Then there’s Tempus Fugit where we find upgrades aren’t always a great thing… Then, for those looking for a more straightforward fantasy take on Winter, we have Deep Winter Fire and Solstice Magic. Both constructing beautifully detailed worlds where humans emerge as the inheritors of magic.

After reading Enchanting Yuletide, I have to honestly say, I have six new authors to add to my watch list. Their ability to create such beautiful worlds in so small a space is a sign of true talent. Considering the kindle price is only $3.99 USD right now (December 15, 2017), do yourself a favor, get into the Christmas mood, and pick it up!

Stay tuned for some really cool, in-depth Q&As to find out more about the stories in Enchanting Yuletide, as well as about the authors themselves!

The Haunted Forest Tour by James A Moore and Jeff Strand

The Haunted Forest Tour by James A Moore and Jeff Strand

The Haunted Forest Tour
by James A Moore and Jeff Strand

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Haunted Forest Tour!

Sit back and enjoy a smooth ride in air-conditioned comfort as your heavily armored tram takes you through nature’s most astonishing creation. The forest is packed to capacity with dangerous and terrifying creatures of all shapes, sizes, and hunger levels, and you’ll get to observe these wonders in complete safety.

Howl with a werewolf! Gaze into the glowing eyes of a giant spider! Look right through a spooky ghost! See horrific monsters you couldn’t even imagine, only inches away from you! Things with fangs, things with claws, things with dripping red jaws—you’ll see them all!

Not thrilling enough? Well, it’s Halloween, and so we’re offering a very special tour through the Haunted Forest. The new route goes deeper into the woods than any civilians have ventured before, and you’re guaranteed to get a good scare! Rest assured that every possible security precaution has been taken. The Haunted Forest Tour has a 100% safety record, and technical difficulties are unheard of. You will be in no danger whatsoever.

We promise.

Rated: ★★★★
Publication: February 17, 2017
Genre: Horror, Comedy
Personally purchased title.

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The Haunted Forest Tour by James A Moore and Jeff Strand

While searching for a good scary book to read for the Pages and Pause Screen Halloween episode, I stumbled across The Haunted Forest Tour by James A Moore and Jeff Strand. The synopsis did grab a chuckle out of me and I thought okay, clever. Maybe if the book could be half as clever, it’ll be enjoyable. Boy, was it more than just half as clever! It was surprisingly fantastic!

Haunted Forest Tour is a constant thrill. Every time a question is raised, it gets answered within the next ten-ish minutes. A character pops up that is just horrible? Guess what? He’s dead! Everything is just constantly flowing and and moving. Which is surprising considering this book has two authors. I’ve found that most books with co-authors can become clunky and the handoff from one author to another is blatantly obvious. This is definitely not the case in Haunted Forest Tour. It is fluid and seamless.

Then, there’s the perfect balance between horror and comedy. You’ll get one scene where you are completely terrified, but it will be followed up by something so foolish, you can’t help but laugh, and then we can go back to gore (which is light, in my opinion, esp when compared to something like Little Heaven by Nick Cutter). It’s all just so wonderfully crafted, a truly fantastic horror story. What makes it even better is that the questions are all answered. You don’t really need them answered, you accept it at face value. Yeah sure, New Mexico seems weird enough to have a random forest full of monsters pop up. Why not?

If you are looking for just a fun, but scary book to read, I DEFINITELY recommend The Haunted Forest Tour by James A Moore and Jeff Strand. It’s just super great and really makes me want to pick up more stuff by both authors.

 

Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova

Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova

Labyrinth Lost
by Zoraida Cordova

Alex is a bruja, the most powerful witch in a generation…and she hates magic. At her Deathday celebration, Alex performs a spell to rid herself of her power. But it backfires. Her whole family vanishes into thin air, leaving her alone with Nova, a brujo she can’t trust, but who may be Alex’s only chance at saving her family.

Brooklyn Brujas #1

Rated: ★★★½
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication: September 6, 2016
Genre: Fantasy, YA
Personally purchased title.

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Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova

Listen, a book that takes place in the outer NYC boroughs, features witchcraft, has a potential bi protagonist, AND oh yeah, she’s latinx as well? I WAS SOLD IN A HEARTBEAT! Maybe it was wish fulfillment, but Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova was just everything I have wanted in a very long time. Because of this, it had the potential to let me down, and yet, it gave me life.

Centered around a family of brujas based in Brooklyn, Labyrinth Lost follows middle daughter Alex as she fights against who her family thinks she should be, struggles to find who she actually is, and oh yeah, travels through a magical land akin to the Underworld after a spell goes awry, risking her life in the process. What really makes this book so special isn’t the magic (though it’s pretty cool), but the emotion. The ties that bind Alex so tightly she feels like she can’t breathe, but when they’re gone, she feels lost. That everything is centered on her relationship with the family, and on the search for her place within it, while magical events are afoot, just makes this feel so real and let’s it stand out from every other typical YA magical girl story.

I would be a liar, however, if I didn’t admit that it does still follow some YA conventions — namely romance with 2 love interests. However, like with everything else in the book, Cordova gives it her own take. We have a potential love triangle that DOESN’T really involve the two parties fighting constantly and forcing Alex to choose; there are moments, yes, but mostly, they are able to put differences aside for Alex’s sake and because to do otherwise would put them all in danger. Also, it’s a queer love triangle!

Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova is a great read that stands out among all the other YA magical girl stories. Cordova creates multidimensional characters that feel real with realistic reactions and emotions that carry the fantastic story forward. I cannot wait for the second book in the Brooklyn Brujas series to come out!

For more in-depth commentary on Labyrinth Lost, check out the Pages and Pause Screen Podcast where I talk about the story along with my co-host Ally as it happens (Full Spoilers).

This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

This Savage Song
by Victoria Schwab

There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from author Victoria Schwaba young woman and a young man must choose whether to become heroes or villains—and friends or enemies—with the future of their home at stake. The first of two books.

Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives.

Monsters of Verity #1

Rated: ★★★★
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Publication: July 5, 2016
Genre: Fantasy, YA
Personally purchased title.

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This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

I had been dying to read This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab after hearing from so many what a wonderful fantasy author she is. I bought the book without reading the synopsis or knowing anything about it really, while I was in Portland’s City of Books about a year ago. I just thought okay, good cover, people have said good things, I’m taking a chance! That chance lay on a bookshelf for almost an entire year before I finally picked it up for the Pages and Pause Screen podcast.

I absolutely LOVED it. I knew almost immediately this book would be a five star book. The writing was flawless and the characters were so well rounded and well written. The world-building, which can prove to be cumbersome to deal with for many, seemed seamless. Everything flowed naturally, so that any little bit of information we learned about this world, about monsters and music, came alongside the action and not in large chunks of awkward exposition that breaks rhythm.

Schwab does a fantastic job deconstructing the typical male and female roles in fantasy. Usually, we’ll see the aloof, broody male that has anger issues, and the serene, docile female that quiets the rage of the other. And then, of course, this leads to an inevitable romance, that will down the line be tested. Schwab changes everything up! She gives up the perfect gem that is Kate Harker — angry, vicious, cynical, calculating, and August Flynn — a soft boy trying to do and be good in a world that only considers him capable of being a monster, that only wants him to be a monster.

The two form an unlikely alliance considering their end goals are complete opposites — at first. Slowly, the come to know each other and then, just when you think here comes the romance, there isn’t! It ends! Do you realize how amazing this is? That, in a YA fantasy, there are two protagonists, a male and female, and they grow close and DON’T kiss kiss fall in love? I can’t remember the last time I’ve read something this compelling without romance (if you have, please do rec them to me!). It felt so good, so refreshing to have two characters meet, go through something, and then realize things are still what they are (cryptic wording simply because I don’t want to go into spoilers). Though, Schwab is fantastic at crafting their platonic relationship because if you wanted to, there’s plenty that can be construed as romantic and as hinting towards a romance. And if you don’t, then it isn’t there, taking over the spotlight of a wonderful story or being crammed down your throat.

Leaning away from the characters, the story and world is extremely interesting as well. Crimes actually have real, tangible, physical repercussions in the form of the three types of monsters: Corsai, Malchai, and Sunai. We’re told that particular acts of violence will result in their creation. At first glance, this monster system makes sense. Seems flawless, but then something happens towards the end and you realize there are cracks. This opens up what can be a great discussion on whether all acts of violence deserve to be treated the same way, whether creating one malchai by accident is just as bad as creating a malchai on purpose. There’s a reason we (in the US) have different levels of murder in the judiciary system, as well as labels that can be applied instead of murder.

This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab is simply one of the best YA fantasy books I have read in recent time. Set in a unique world with it’s own set of rules and norms, redefining what the other and monsters are, and putting together a pair of protagonists that fall on different ends of the spectrum in this world, yet not having them fall in a romance, are all things that set this novel apart from many others in the genre. Definitely, pick this up, find a friend, and discuss!

Long Black Veil by Jennifer Finney Boylan

Long Black Veil by Jennifer Finney Boylan

 Long Black Veil
by Jennifer Finney Boylan

On a warm August night in 1980, six college students sneak into the dilapidated ruins of Philadelphia’s Eastern State Penitentiary, looking for a thrill. With a pianist, a painter and a teacher among them, the friends are full of potential. But it’s not long before they realize they are locked in—and not alone. When the friends get lost and separated, the terrifying night ends in tragedy, and the unexpected, far-reaching consequences reverberate through the survivors’ lives. As they go their separate ways, trying to move on, it becomes clear that their dark night in the prison has changed them all. Decades later, new evidence is found, and the dogged detective investigating the cold case charges one of them—celebrity chef Jon Casey— with murder. Only Casey’s old friend Judith Carrigan can testify to his innocence.

But Judith is protecting long-held secrets of her own – secrets that, if brought to light, could destroy her career as a travel writer and tear her away from her fireman husband and teenage son. If she chooses to help Casey, she risks losing the life she has fought to build and the woman she has struggled to become. In any life that contains a “before” and an “after,” how is it possible to live one life, not two?

Weaving deftly between 1980 and the present day, and told in an unforgettable voice, Long Black Veil is an intensely atmospheric thriller that explores the meaning of identity, loyalty, and love. Readers will hail this as Boylan’s triumphant return to fiction.

Rated: ★★★★
Publisher: Crown
Publication: April 11, 2017
Genre: Suspense, Coming of Age, LGBTQA*
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this title.

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Long Black Veil by Jennifer Finney Boylan

This is an amazing book that surprised in many ways. Long Black Veil by Jennifer Finney Boylan is extremely well-written, has strong characters, and an ending I could only hope for! This is a tough review to write simply because I don’t want to spoil anything, but the best things I want to talk about might be considered spoilers.

The mystery at the crux of the story is a simple one, and perhaps because it is so simple, we never really see it coming. All is revealed to the reader midway through the book, which is a good thing because the heart of this novel doesn’t lie in solving the mystery. The heart of this novel lies in piecing these people together. In watching them struggle to overcome what happened, stutter, fail, and then try again. Only after everything has been brought to light is there any hope of moving forward.

There are slight suggestions to spoilers here as I will briefly touch upon the ending. I was worried, given what unfolds in the book, that the ending would be one we see all too often. A trope that I hate with a passion that befalls characters like Judith, where they are denied happy endings and used as a means of self-reflection for other….. ‘mainstream’ characters. Boylan definitely teases that this is the way it will end, that we will get that predictable ending so many characters like Judith meet in ‘mainstream’ fiction, but thanks to every deity, we don’t get that. We get a good ending. Perhaps some cynics will say it was too saccharine considering the events of the book, but I disagree, and would argue that those readers possibly missed the point. The point of the mystery, the point of the novel. That holding onto hate, to darkness, to secrets, will poison and consume you, will lead you to darker roads you might not be able to turn away from. Yet, if you persevere, you face the truth, and are willing to accept the same in others, then yes, good things are possible.

Long Black Veil by Jennifer Finney Boylan is an extremely well-written novel that draws its suspense not primarily from the mystery, but from the interpersonal relationships between old friends and former selves; the struggle for self-acceptance for ALL of the characters.

Quotes & Excerpts

For a long time, I’d searched the world, thinking I could start up new friendships like the ones I’d had before. But I never met people like that again. I know people will think that’s what everyone believes about their college friends, but it’s true. Maybe we’re like flowers that open up at that brief moment in our lives, and after that, we close up again, one by one.
– Chapter 8

I have a different theory, which is even more harebrained. It goes like this: Maybe we should all just love one another, even if we don’t completely understand the things that people bear in their dark, strange hearts, even if the stars that other men and women are following seem invisible to us. If we make ourselves open to the humanity of others first, maybe understanding will follow. An incomprehensible theory of the universe isn’t necessary if your only ambition is to embrace another soul. What you need, maybe all you need, in fact, is the willingness to love.
– Chapter 24

The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

 The Bone Witch
by Rin Chupeco

Let me be clear: I never intended to raise my brother from his grave, though he may claim otherwise. If there’s anything I’ve learned from him in the years since, it’s that the dead hide truths as well as the living.

When Tea accidentally resurrects her brother from the dead, she learns she is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy means that she’s a bone witch, a title that makes her feared and ostracized by her community. But Tea finds solace and guidance with an older, wiser bone witch, who takes Tea and her brother to another land for training.

In her new home, Tea puts all her energy into becoming an asha―one who can wield elemental magic. But dark forces are approaching quickly, and in the face of danger, Tea will have to overcome her obstacles…and make a powerful choice.

Memoirs of a Geisha meets The Name of the Wind in this brilliant new fantasy series by Rin Chupeco!

Book 1 of The Bone Witch series

Rated: ★★★★
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Publication: March 7, 2017
Genre: Fantasy, YA
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this title.

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The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

Sometimes, a popular book comes out that everyone loves and I just don’t get. I’m used to those situations happening. But then, sometimes the opposite happens and a book that has been hyped up comes out to less favorable reviews, but I love it. That always shocks me. So, when I finished The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco and immediately thought FIVE STARS GREAT FANTASTIC, then checked goodreads to see the rating, I was flabbergasted. This was a book that I thoroughly enjoyed and wanted more of.

Chupeco does tremendously well in framing the story between before and after. This is probably one of the most successful aspects of this book. It builds up the suspense and helps propel the plot forward. It kept me thrumming with anxiety as I saw the pages left to finish the book dwindle down while the two halves of the book were nowhere near close to connecting. Part of the book takes place after. After what? We can only guess the specifics but we know Tea was exiled. A bard finds her and she tells her tale to him while working on something that had me frightened, not only for what’s to come, but for her very sanity as well. The rest of the book is the story Tea is telling about her childhood, about how she got to the point she’s at by the end of the book. He story stops short of filling in all the gaps, which we’ll likely see more of in a sequel.

The story itself was well crafted, with a solid start to worldbuilding. We get the idea of these different cultures, social hierarchies, myths, etc. and how they influence everything, especially Tea’s story. Tea, a small town girl with big town magic, gets roped into becoming an Asha, almost like a magical geisha. She has to learn history, politics, song, dance, etc. all in order to provide stimulating conversation and entertainment to those that can afford it. But, Tea’s specialization requires even more of her. As she is a bone witch, she will also be in charge of defeating monsters that pop up periodically — a task only bone witches are capable of completing.

Now, this wouldn’t be a YA fantasy novel if it didn’t also include romance, which is hinted upon from the very beginning. I died because I was so intrigued by who it would be she fell in love with. I had my suspicions and I had my hopes and my suspicions won out, but my hope is still there! Trust me, you don’t want me to spoiler that because we literally do not get a name until the last page and it was SO WORTH IT.

Another thing that really sets The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco apart is the inclusion of people of color. I never once while reading felt that this was a world of white, which I absolutely loved and think we need more of, especially in fantasy. I mean, if we can have 3 headed dragons, why not a cast of diverse characters? Also, the addition of a potentially lgbtqa* character towards the end had me throwing my hands up in glee (at least, that’s how I read the character secret as).

There was only one part that did slow the book down — fashion descriptions. Yes, they may have been important in creating the story, but I honestly could not keep track of it all, nor did I make that big an effort to. It ended up becoming lines on a page to skim past.

Overall, The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco is a novel that I absolutely adored. It felt unique, had me connected to the characters and world, and now has me in agony waiting for the sequel to pop up. Such a lovely and refreshing YA book!