[The Girl King] Mimi Yu


This novel follows Min and Lu, two sisters whose paths are spread out before them. Lu is destined to become the first female Emperor, and all of her lessons are preparing her to take over from her father when he deems her ready. Min is her younger sister, seemingly destined to be forever in Min’s shadow. But when their father betrays Lu and passes the throne to a male cousin, suddenly Min has the potential to have more power that her sister. As Lu flees her home and becomes a fugitive, Min discovers something inside of herself that she begins to nurture. Power comes in many forms.

The Girl King starts with a prologue, something I both love and hate in equal turn. Prologues can work to set the tone of the book, but I don’t think that the prologue in The Girl King did it any favors. It actually made it very hard to get into the story. It starts with characters we don’t see in the next chapter, so I was left wondering what the point of the prologue was and who the people were. Eventually it ties into the rest of the book, but when the main plot of the book involves Lu and Min, I really felt like the novel should have started with them.

The three main characters of The Girl King were Lu, Min, and Nokhai. Lu and Nokhai traveled together through most of the book, while Min was on her own. I thought they were all well-developed, with my favorite being Nokhai. I wish that more of this story had been spent on his past and shapeshifting Continue reading

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Top Ten Tuesday: My TBR list keeps growing and growing and growing…

This top ten list is coming a bit late because I just have been feeling a bit under the weather lately. The negative 20+F/ negative 28+C degrees has been killing me. I can handle cold, but when it’s so bitterly cold that it feels like you’re breathing in glass…that’s hard to deal with.

I’ve been doing a lot of reading because I’ve been hibernating. Even though I’ve been getting some books off my TBR list, I keep adding more books! It’s a never-ending––though enjoyable––battle. These are my most recent additions to my TBR.

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A modern day Henry VIII. I really like reading about the six wives. I think it’s fascinating. This one is narrated by the modern day Anne of Cleves.

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This is set in the Romanov court and has magic. Historical fiction + magic is something that I can get behind!

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This is a mystery surrounding twelve sisters and the tragic deaths of some of their number. It’s a retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses but I’ve never read it, so it will be new for me!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Meant to Read in 2018

As I mentioned in my last top ten, 2018 wasn’t a great reading year for me. There were a lot of books published last year that I really wanted to read! Others are ones that have been published in the last few years that I’ve been itching to read. I’m really going to try reading them this year because I need to make my TBR list shorter.

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The end of one of my favorite historical fiction / retellings, I want to get to this one soon! But I’m also putting it off a bit longer because I don’t want it to end.

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As quickly as I read through Truthwitch and Windwitch, I didn’t get to this one yet! I’m planning on reading it before Bloodwitch.

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I got this in a book box last year! The cover is so beautiful and I’m really looking forward to reading the story this year.

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[Empress of All Seasons] Emiko Jean

This is another novel that is inspired by Japan and by yokai. I recently read Shadow of the Fox, and was a bit worried I’d compare Empress of All Seasons to it. Empress is a completely different novel. When Mari is born into the Animal Wives––the beautiful beast yokai ––and is an average beauty, her mother knows that her path in life will need to be different. Instead of training to become a wife who will steal the fortune of her husband and then return to the Animal Wives, Mari’s mother begins to train her to become the greatest Animal Wife of all: The Empress of All Seasons. For every generation, a competition is held to find the next empress of Honoko. And Mari has been training for this her whole life.

There’s two main parts of this novel. The competition to become empress is one of them. Young women from across Honoko come to the palace to compete in seasonal rooms, where perpetual spring, summer, autumn, and winter––and their own dangers––wait for them. The rooms were interesting and I thought it was unique to have the woman fight the season. If they conquer the room, they’re one step closer to becoming empress. Continue reading

[Truthwitch: The Witchlands I] Susan Dennard

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Truthwitch is my official first read of the year! I read it last year in three days and I read it in three days this year. It’s one of those books that sucks you in and suddenly it’s three in the morning.

Truthwitch follows two witches who have a knack for getting into trouble. But when they get into a bit more than they can handle, Safiya and Iseult have to flee everything they’ve ever known. And as a rare Truthwitch––her powers the kind that people would kill for––Safi must keep one step ahead of everyone who is after her. The Threadsisters will do anything they can to keep out of the hands for those who would do them harm.

This is one of my favorite fantasy books! I love this immense world so so much. It’s set in the Witchlands, a series of lands with different rulers that are just coming out of a Twenty Year Truce. There’s a lot of bureaucracy that surrounds the Truce, which means that there’s rules that each country are bound by. But there are ways around the rules. As Safi and Iseult navigate through this world, they begin to discover just how much they need each other––and how much their world may need them.

It’s not only the world that I’m really impressed by, it’s the magic system. Safi is a Truthwitch and she can tell if people are telling the truth or not. Iseult is a Threadwitch, someone who can read the Threads that make up a person. It’s very handy for knowing if they’re in danger or not. There’s also Windwitches, Earthwitches, Waterwitches, Airwitches, Aetherwitches, and Voidwitches. Each witchery is connected to an element, and each witchery is further broken down into different elements of control over the element. It is so unique. The magic system alone is a reason to read Truthwitch, but another thing is the great characters. Continue reading

Top Ten Tuesday: Authors who were new to me in 2018


Last year was not a good reading year for me, so I only have seven authors on this list. I wanted to read a lot more than I did, but with moving a couple of times, a new job, and lots of changes I wasn’t really prepared for, I spent a lot of time…not reading. But I did finish my novel (again) so I was productive in other ways.

These authors are ones that I’d been recommended by other readers and authors I’ve meant to read and only got to them last year. I tried to keep my list to books that have been out for awhile that people love. I wanted to keep to what I thought the spirit of the prompt was! So here are my top seven!

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Susan Dennard is basically my new favorite author. I read both Truthwitch and Windwitch, and I can’t wait until the third one comes out! It’s one of my most anticipated releases of 2019.

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Ursula K. Le Guin is an author who did so much in her lifetime. I really liked what she did in A Wizard of Earthsea. It allowed for a great discussion in our bookclub.

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Hannah West wrote a really great fantasy that was a mix of fairytale retellings! I really want to check out her other books as soon as I can.

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[Rule] Ellen Goodlett


Akeylah. Ren. Zofi. Three young women with terrible secrets that spell death if they’re found out. They think they’ve managed to get away with it, living quietly with their guilty conscience. In a moment, that changes. Suddenly the heirs to a dying king, they are moved to the court where they need to learn how to become a ruler. Navigating a court where their every move is watched is difficult for three women who are used to going unnoticed in the world. Only one of them will take the throne. Unless their blackmailer reveals their secrets first.

These secrets and the mystery of who is blackmailing them is the focus of the novel. While the book is also about the three sisters suddenly becoming heirs to an empire that for some of them has caused them nothing but harm, this mystery underlies everything that occurs. Supposedly the king wants to train Akeylah, Zofi, and Ren to be the next ruler. However, I felt like there wasn’t enough of this in Rule. It seemed to have been forgotten in the wake of the mystery. I would have liked to learn more about the world. There’s hints of a growing rebellion and of the way different countries have merged in the past, but it doesn’t really go in depth.

As for characters, I found Akeylah, Zofi, and Ren to be interesting protagonists. Coming from three distinct backgrounds, they allow the reader to navigate the world of the court with them. They each had unique voices and I found their fears and motivations to be well-developed. I liked reading how they went from working individually to working together. Continue reading