‘Gods of Jade and Shadow’ Book Review

In 1929, Mexico, Casiopea opens a forbidden chest that resides in her grandfather’s home. Inside there is a quest that needs to be had with the help of an ancient Mayan god that Casiopea thought was only a myth. She must help this immortal being reclaim his throne or die a slow and painful death.

Casiopea is like any other young adult fantasy lead heroine. This novel is actually listed as adult on Goodreads but in my opinion it falls more into the category of YA. I started out feeling indifferent on our characters. They were average and I never felt any real connection to any of them. Casiopea was a bit wishy washy, hypocritical, but I think most girls of her age and in any decade, can be like that.

The atmosphere was one of the strong suits of ‘Gods of Jade and Shadow’. I loved getting to travel all across Mexico, and a little bit of Texas, with the characters. It is a country that I know only the basics about so it was so cool getting to read about how each city varies with its culture, landscape, and overall personality. Silvia Moreno-Garcia did a great job with descriptive writing to really put you in a location rather it be our world or the underworld of the Mayan gods!

I briefly mentioned the writing in the paragraph above, the descriptions were pretty good in this book. I also like the paragraphs about Casiopea’s dreams and looking up to the stars as if they would have an answers to all of her questions about life, those paragraphs felt so hopeful and dream like.

The plot is very unique with it being Mayan gods, as we get so many books about Egyptian, Greek, and Roman gods, we also seem to be getting quite a few about Slavic mythology. I find all mythology interesting though, so I am not complaining, but seeing something set in North America is very refreshing. I think if you are a fan of Naomi Novik, you will like this novel, it has some of the similar tropes. I have seen this book labeled as a Cinderella retelling but I would take that very lightly. The plot was something new and nice to see in the fantasy market.

This plot did move along nicely as it was quite fast paced. I think the characters always being on the move in their quest was a part of making it move fast.

An average read, this was new and unique but I could not connect with the characters and found myself skimming through the paragraphs. My min wandered a lot while getting through this 334 page novel. It is more of a plot driven story than one of character development. My opinion is unpopular as many of those I follow on social media really seemed to enjoy, ‘Gods of Jade and Shadow’. I would suggest still picking this book up if you are interested in the fantasy genre or into mythology.

3 out of 5 stars.

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‘When the Sky Fell on Splendor’ Book Review

“Just Kids. Kids, pretending to be okay in a world that wasn’t.”

Chapter Thirty-five.

Six teenagers in small town Ohio are all linked together because of a town tragedy and how it impacted each of their families. This group of kids call themselves ‘The Ordinary”. They have a rule that they won’t talk about the event that brought them all together and only do things that make them happy so they can forget all about the grief that took over the town of Splendor. The Ordinary have a Youtube channel where they post fake paranormal videos and what not but one night when they are going out to film one of their episodes, the unexpected happens. They catch video of something falling from the sky and it changes everything that they have ever known.

I was not a huge fan of these characters, even though I wanted to be. I was getting all the boys confused from the get go. They are all supposed to have quirky personality traits but I feel like you could have morphed them all into one and it would have been fine. I didn’t really like Franny, I just found her kind of annoying. There was not one exact thing that I can think of off the top of my head, I just didn’t think she was likeable. Characters get a two out of five.

“Nothing in this universe could ever be deleted, only hidden.”

Chapter Thirty-six.

The atmosphere was alright. Splendor is just like any other small and ordinary town in the United States. I feel like this had to happen in a small town though, it would not be as fun in a big city. Three out of five.

I expected more from this author to be honest with you. I have heard so many people rave about ‘Beach Read’, so I thought the writing must be great. It was an average writing style, it got the job done, nothing impressive. Some paragraphs were very nice and emotional but some paragraphs are not going to make up for a 350 page novel. Once again, a three out of five.

“How many billions of things had to happen just right to give me this ordinary life.”

Chapter Thirty-six.

This is a very interesting plot and one that is right up my alley. It is a coming of age story, check mark. Aliens, another check. Compared to Stranger Things, basically a bingo. Again, this book is just ordinary like the group of friends. I am not that all impressed by it and I feel like the plot we had going for 90% of the books just got all thrown away with the ending. I don’t think that this book was leading towards that at all. There’s so many things I could say but it would be spoilers. We will just leave a three star here.

The intrigue fell flat as well. The first half of the book was so slow. I did not know when the story would actually start happening. Then we got to that fifty percent mark and it all started happening and the pacing was great. I was making theories/predictions throughout my time reading.. I got all of them right. Yes, that is fun getting to know that I was right but also makes it boring when I knew what would would happen. 3 out of five.

My logic complaint, I do not know if this falls in the right category but we will just put it here. It’s the ending thing again, I guess it works with the grief aspect of the story but I feel like it just made the rest of the story seem pointless. I think there were some loose ends with some of the plots as well. They just were not wrapped up. 2 or 3? Let’s do a 2.5

This was an average read for me, I mean, I kind of feel like I wasted my time but it is too late to complain about that now. I feel like this book would have been good with just Franny and Remy but instead we got a whole pack of underdeveloped characters. The atmosphere was just a small town, nothing marvelous about it. The writing was like any ole book. The plot was really cool I just wish we would have got a better ending. This was an average read, nothing more to it.

The final rating for this book is a 2.75 out of 5 stars.

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‘The Paris Hours’ Book Review

“Paris is always there, waiting for him on the other side of the door.”

Chapter 39.

Paris, between wars, everyone has lost something. Camille has lost a dear friend, the one who held her biggest secret. The notebook where it was written is now missing. Her reputation depends on it not landing in the wrong hands. Souren is a refugee from Armenia, he has lost his homeland and his family. Then there is the artist Guillaume he has lost a great love and is in a serious debt and has to find the money to pay it or his life could be taken from him. Finally, there is Jean-Paul, a writer, who dreams of America but cannot leave France because he truly believes his daughter is not dead but lost in the streets of Paris.

This is a character driven novel and those are my favorite kind of books to leave. Usually, shorter books seem to be more plot driven but that was not the case for ‘The Paris Hours’. This book is less than 300 pages but I feel like we got to connect with the characters so well in that span of time. (The book only lasts the course of a day.) I will be honest though and tell you, that not all these characters had entertaining chapters. I think Souren and Camille have the best chapters and they were my favorite to read from. I feel like Souren had the strongest story out of all of them and I think it can be applied nicely to the refugee crisis we have seen in recent years. I might have connected with Camille more since she is our only lead female character but I just enjoyed her chapters and her mission to protect herself and her family. Guillaume is our lovesick character. I just did not connect with him and I still do not understand why he was in the debt that he was in. Yes, sometimes I did feel for him but at other times I felt he might be a tad selfish but that is better than having a novel filled with Mary Sues, I just did not connect with his character. Lastly, Jean-Paul, he was not one of my favorite characters but I could really feel the emotion in his chapters. His plot left me with my jaw dropped at times. You could just really connect with him. The characters are getting a five out of five.

‘The Paris Hours’ is a love letter to the city of love that is in its title. This book just gave off such a French aesthetic or vibe. You just instantly feel like you are walking the streets with the Eiffel Tower towering in the smoggy skies of the French capital. The atmosphere also gets a five star.

The writing, the writing! Oh my gosh, the writing is so good in this book. I think it will be an acquired taste, much like other French things. This writing was just so beautiful and so romantic. It never dragged but it never got too fast either. It was such a breath of fresh air to read. I think this writing goes perfect with the setting of France and especially at this somewhat of an awkward time in the country’s history. There is so much I could say but I just cannot get the words out. I think you will understand more when I tell you that the writing is a five out of five star.

“Some things you cannot leave behind. Your history will pursue you doggedly across frontiers and over oceans. It will slip past the unsmiling border guards, fold itself invisibly into the pages of your passport, a silent, treacherous stowaway.”

Chapter 23.

I left the quote above because I think it perfectly describes the plot of this story. We all have a past and there is no running from it, there is no changing it. The past has happened and there is nothing we can do about it except move on. Sometimes we do have to accept it and think about it first though, before we can actually move on. All these characters have a past and that is what is impacting their decisions and the actions that they are taking throughout this day. Again, this is not a real plot heavy book and if that is something that you are into then you probably won’t like your journey reading this I think you really have to dig to find that true plot and story. The plot gets a 4 out of five.

The short chapters really helped with the intrigue. They just leave you wanting more and then you have to wait to get through all the other POVs to get back to the character. It is a good technique. Short and fast chapters will always be the best. I am going to give this a four though because I felt like some we did not really get a wrap on.

I feel like I do have to state that there were some typos throughout the novel, which there are probably some typos in this blogpost so I should not be one to judge but I also do not have an editor. So there were some instances where a space was forgotten and words were pushed together. The biggest however was in the second to last chapter, on page 249; “He is leg is hurting, and he wants to go home.” I am assuming the author meant “His leg is hurting.” I just hate to see things like that in books, maybe there needed to be a better editor on hand.

Time Travels in one direction only. There is no going back.”

Chapter 32.

I really, really, did enjoy this book. I did not think that I would feel that way going on because of the ratings on Goodreads and that I have heard nothing of this book before, I got it from BOTM. This was such a wild card for me, my favorite so far this year. The characters were fabulous, I might not have connected with all of them but that is life, we do not connect for every soul that we meet. I loved the French setting, the author did such a good job dropping us into 1927 Paris. This was the best writing that I have read in a long time. The plot is something that I will not forget. Again, I really enjoyed this book and I will be looking into more books by Alex George.

This book gets the rating of 5 out of 5 stars.

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‘Well Met’ Book Review

Emily’s sister April got in a car accident and has broken her leg. Emily moves in with said sister and her niece to help out until April can get on her feet again. She has never lived in a small town like Willow Creek, Maryland before. She assumes it will be a rather boring summer with nothing to do except sit around the house and watch Netflix. Willow Creek is known for it’s Renaissance Faire, which Emily’s niece, Caitlin will be working at with practically the whole town. Simon’s brother is the one who founded the festival around a decade ago. Simon takes on all the weight of the festival on to his shoulders. It is something that he takes very seriously and does not like Emily’s lack of understanding about the festival.

Emily was a really relatable character. I could understand her feelings and thoughts. She was a pretty funny perspective to read from. I do think she grew throughout the story and we were able to see that. I was not a fan of Simon Graham, though. To put it kindly, I think he was a jerk. I so did not want our main character to get with him but from the synopsis of this book it is obvious that the two of them get into some kind of relationship. I liked him in his pirate character but outside of character he was just terrible! Maybe it was so we can really feel how Emily feels but I don’t know, I could be a minority here. I think I might have felt better about him if we had chapters at his POV. I did like the townspeople though, this really did feel like a small and cozy town. I liked the side characters a lot. We will give the character’s a three out of five.

I, myself, have never attended a renaissance faire or festival but I REALLY want to go to one. When I am vaccinated and it is safe to travel again you can definitely catch me at the Carolina Renaissance Festival. This setting was a lot of fun but it did get repetitive at times. We just went through the every day activities of the tavern life. If we were not there we were at the human chess match. I think I actually preferred the parts when our main character Emily was at her bookstore job. The setting was good though I think we will give it a four out of five stars.

The writing was not anything great. It was just average and bland, nothing to get excited about. As I stated earlier it was a funny writing style, it could make me laugh. Just your average three star.

The main trope of this book is enemies to lovers. That is advertised everywhere, so, no, it is not a spoiler. I usually love that trope but here I just did not enjoy it. I felt like their reason to hate each other was just petty. I would get maybe disliking but these characters full on hated each other, that is until she saw him in leather pants. Like come on, you are going to stop hating a guy just because he looks good in a tight pair of clothes? Stupid. Then, the going from enemies to being lovers was just so sudden, I do not think Simon would just suddenly change like that, again maybe if we had chapters from his perspective too that could be different. I just was not a fan of this romance. I feel like this might be extreme but I am going to give that a two out of five.

The chapters in this book were too long for a romance novel. I was dreading picking up the book knowing that the long chapter potentially would be going through the same events yet again. I get that is life that the same events usually happen day to day but it’s just boring for a book. I feel like there could be so much done with the Faire setting. 3/5.

I guess everything here is logical as it does feel realistic. I have never been to a Renaissance Faire so I will take this book’s word for it that this is how they play out. We will do a four out of five.

Did I enjoy this book? I don’t really know. It was an average read, I know it seems like I hated it but I am being honest, I did not hate it. I really liked the main character, Emily, and then all of the side characters. The atmosphere was pretty cool, I just wish we could have explored more into it. The writing was not anything special but it was not bad either. The romance was not my favorite but it does seem I am really picky with romance novels, I think I do better with ones in a fantastical or historical setting but I did like A Lesson in Thornes by Sierra Simone. The chapters were long, even though this book was under three hundred pages, I feel like it could have been shorter. This could have made a good novella. This did seem like a realistic romance even though it might have been petty. ( I am glad that I don’t have a hate like that towards anyone.) I think others might enjoy this book but it was just not for me. I will not be continuing the series.

This book gets a 3 out of 5 star rating.

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