Book Review: Empress of All Seasons

Author: Emiko Jean

Genre: Fantasy

Age Range: 13+

Published: By Gollancz on November 8th, 2018

Content Warning: Tough love parent, gory violence and death

Format I Read: Kindle e-book

Grade: Exceeds expectations

Note: I received a free digital ARC of the book via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review

Book Review: Empress of All Seasons by Emiko Jean | Nandini @ Unputdownable Books (post graphic image)

Book Synopsis (section header)

In each generation, a competition is held to find the next empress of Honoku. The rules are simple. Survive the palace’s enchanted seasonal rooms. Conquer Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall, and you can marry the prince. All are eligible to compete – all except yokai, supernatural monsters and spirits whom the human emperor is determined to enslave and destroy.

Mari has spent a lifetime training to become empress. Winning should be easy. And it would be, if she weren’t hiding a dangerous secret. Mari is a yokai with the ability to transform into a terrifying monster. If discovered, her life will be forfeit. As she struggles to keep her true identity hidden, Mari’s fate collides with that of Taro, the prince who has no desire to inherit the imperial throne, and Akira, a half-human, half-yokai outcast.

Torn between duty and love, loyalty and betrayal, vengeance and forgiveness, the choices of Mari, Taro and Akira will decide the fate of Honoku.

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Book Review: The Book of M

Title: The Book of M

Author: Peng Shepherd

Genre: Adult fantasy

Format: Kindle e-book

Published: By HarperCollins Publishers on June 28th, 2018

ISBN13: 9780008225629

Grade: Exceeds expectations

Note: I received a free digital ARC of the book via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review

The Book of M

Synopsis

One afternoon at an outdoor market in India, a man’s shadow disappears—an occurrence science cannot explain. He is only the first. The phenomenon spreads like a plague, and while those afflicted gain a strange new power, it comes at a horrible price: the loss of all their memories.

Ory and his wife Max have escaped the Forgetting so far by hiding in an abandoned hotel deep in the woods. Their new life feels almost normal, until one day Max’s shadow disappears too. Knowing that the more she forgets, the more dangerous she will become to Ory, Max runs away. But Ory refuses to give up the time they have left together. Desperate to find Max before her memory disappears completely, he follows her trail across a perilous, unrecognizable world.

As they journey, each searches for answers: for Ory, about love, about survival, about hope; and for Max, about a new force growing in the south that may hold the cure.

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Book Review: It’s a Question of Space

Title: It’s a Question of Space

Author: Clayton C. Anderson

Genre: Non-fiction

Format: Kindle e-book

Published: By University of Nebraska Press on July 1st, 2018

ISBN13: 9781496205087 (Paperback edition)

Grade: Acceptable

Note: I received a free digital ARC of the book via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review

It's a Question of Space

Synopsis

Having spent over 150 days on his first tour of the International Space Station, it’s safe to say that Clayton C. Anderson knows a thing or two about space travel. Now retired and affectionately known as “Astro Clay” by his many admirers on social media and the Internet, Anderson has fielded thousands of questions over the years about spaceflight, living in space, and what it’s like to be an astronaut. Written with honesty and razor-sharp wit, It’s a Question of Space gathers Anderson’s often humorous answers to these questions and more in a book that will beguile young adults and space buffs alike. Covering topics as intriguing as walking in space, what astronauts are supposed to do when they see UFOs, and what role astronauts play in espionage, Anderson’s book is written in an accessible question-and-answer format that covers nearly all aspects of life in space imaginable. From living in zero gravity to going to the bathroom up there, It’s a Question of Space leaves no stone unturned in this witty first-hand account of life as an astronaut.

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Book Review: The Smoke Thieves

Title: The Smoke Thieves (The Smoke Thieves #1)

Author: Sally Green

Genre: Young adult fantasy

Format: Kindle e-book

Published: By Penguin Random House on May 3rd, 2018

ISBN13: 9780141375397

Grade: Exceeds expectations

Note: I received a free e-copy of the book via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review

The Smoke Thieves (Book Review)

Synopsis

A princess, a traitor, a hunter and a thief. Four teenagers with the fate of the world in their hands. Four nations destined for conflict.

In Brigant, Princess Catherine prepares for a loveless political marriage arranged by her brutal and ambitious father. In Calidor, downtrodden servant March seeks revenge on the prince who betrayed his people. In Pitoria, feckless Edyon steals cheap baubles for cheaper thrills as he drifts from town to town. And in the barren northern territories, thirteen-year-old Tash is running for her life as she plays bait for the gruff demon hunter Gravell.

As alliances shift and shatter, and old certainties are overturned, our four heroes find their past lives transformed and their futures inextricably linked by the unpredictable tides of magic and war. Who will rise and who will fall? And who will claim the ultimate prize?

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Book Review: To Kill a Kingdom

Title: To Kill a Kingdom

Author: Alexandra Christo

Genre: Young adult fantasy

Format: E-book

Published: By Hot Key Books on March 6th, 2018

ISBN13: 9781471407390 (Paperback edition)

Grade: Outstanding

Note: I received a free e-copy of the book via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review

To Kill a Kingdom (Book Review)

Synopsis

Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most lethal of them all. With the hearts of seventeen princes in her collection, she is revered across the sea. Until a twist of fate forces her to kill one of her own. To punish her daughter, the Sea Queen transforms Lira into the one thing they loathe most—a human. Robbed of her song, Lira has until the winter solstice to deliver Prince Elian’s heart to the Sea Queen or remain a human forever.

The ocean is the only place Prince Elian calls home, even though he is heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world. Hunting sirens is more than an unsavory hobby—it’s his calling. When he rescues a drowning woman in the ocean, she’s more than what she appears. She promises to help him find the key to destroying all of sirenkind for good—But can he trust her? And just how many deals will Elian have to barter to eliminate mankind’s greatest enemy?

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Book Review – Deathknight

Title: Deathknight

Author: Andrew J. Offutt

Genre: Adult fantasy

Published: By Venture Press on December 21st, 2016 (first published February 1st, 1990)

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

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Summary

(adapted from Goodreads)

Falc of Risskor is feared, respected and obeyed throughout the land. Known as Deathknight, he is an infamous member of the Sons of Ashah – honour-sworn men who preserve the peace had protect the citystates of Sij. When knights of the Order start being killed, Falc must bring justice and seek revenge on the brutal murderer. With an unlikely companion and a loyal darg, Falc ventures across the land to seek vengeance, and avoid being killed himself. On the way, he will have to encounter those who know him, those who hate him, and those who want to kill him. His task is a difficult one, but will Falc uncover the truth and protect the Order?

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Book Review – Beasts Made of Night

Title: Beasts Made of Night

Author: Tochi Onyebuchi

Genre: YA fantasy

Published: By Razorbill on September 26th, 2017

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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Summary

(adapted from Goodreads)

In the walled city of Kos, corrupt mages can magically call forth sin from a sinner in the form of sin-beasts – lethal creatures spawned from feelings of guilt. Taj is the most talented of the aki, young sin-eaters indentured by the mages to slay the sin-beasts. But Taj’s livelihood comes at a terrible cost. When he kills a sin-beast, a tattoo of the beast appears on his skin while the guilt of committing the sin appears on his mind.

When Taj is called to eat a sin of a royal, he’s suddenly thrust into the center of a dark conspiracy to destroy Kos. Now Taj must fight to save the princess that he loves – and his own life.
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Book Review – Dream Me

Title: Dream Me

Author: Kathryn Berla

Genre: Young adult (contemporary + sci-fi)

Published: By Amberjack Publishing on July 11th, 2017

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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Summary

(adapted from Goodreads)

Zat is a dreamer from the distant future—a time when humans no longer dream and Earth is a desolate wasteland. He dreams of the beautiful Earth of the past, and a fiery-haired beauty named Babe. Against the wisdom of his peers, Zat decides to risk everything to travel back in time and live in Babe’s dreams.

Babe is the perpetual new girl in town. Her father’s job frequently moves the family around the country, and Babe just longs for a place to call home. As she settles into the sleepy town of Sugar Dunes, Florida, Babe begins to have strange dreams of a green-eyed boy named Zat. But the dreams come at the cost of nearly crippling migraines every morning. The more time Babe and Zat spend together in her dreams, the more Babe’s pain increases, and Zat begins to question the reality of his existence. Can a dream become a reality?

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Book Review – In Truth & Ashes

Title: In Truth & Ashes (Othersleves #3)

Author: Nicole Luiken

Genre: YA Fantasy

Published: By Entangled Teen on January 2nd, 2017

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Summary

(adapted from Goodreads)

On the True World, Belinda Loring has known from childhood that she must Bond with the son of another noble First Family. But when the ceremonial magic goes disastrously wrong, Belinda becomes a national disgrace. Scorned as Broken, she turns to Demian for help getting revenge on the man who ruined her: the radical Malachi. But the seeds of Malachi’s murderous plans lie buried in Belinda’s past, in the dark days of her kidnapping – a period of which she has no memory. And Demian may hold the key to recovering all that she’s lost – and saving the worlds.

Thoughts

Note: I received an e-copy of this book via Net Galley in exchange for my honest review.

Being approved to receive the ARC of the third book is what got me into the series and I’m so glad I did. I honestly didn’t want the book to end and would’ve loved to see more of what happened in the other worlds after the climax. It’s definitely made it to my favourites list. I wish more people would pick this up and give it a chance because it has some amazing characters, fantastic world-building, a superb plot and an easy-to-follow writing style.

Read the detailed review here.

[Check out my reviews for the first book, Through Fire & Sea, here, and the second book, Amid Wind and Stone, here.]

Recommendations

I recommend this book to everyone who can read because, believe me, it is THAT good!

For music, I’d recommend some ambient nature sounds for about 50% of the book to enhance the feel of the setting and the soundtrack of Doctor Strange for the latter half owing to the spectacular world-building.

In terms of food, pick whatever comfort food you love because this will hit you in the feels and the ground will start to shake beneath your feet towards the climax. Mine is a piping hot bowl of noodles.

Links

Book: Website | Amazon | Goodreads

Author: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads