‘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.

Be sure to check out my YouTube channel Izzy Rain – YouTube or my Facebook page Izzy Rain | Facebook

‘Shatter the Sky’ Book Review

Maren’s girlfriend is kidnapped by the Aurati, prophets for the emperor. Maren has to do everything in her power to get Kaia back… that includes stealing a dragon. She becomes an apprentice in a faraway kingdom to one of the women that took her love. Maren uncovers all kinds of secrets about princes and empires all while trying to save Kaia from a terrible end.

The characters in this were like the characters in every other young adult fantasy novel on the shelf. Seventeen, outcast, and on a mission, that describes Maren and most fantasy heroines. In an honesty she a was a bit of a Mary Sue. This book was nothing new and I will continue to say that throughout this review.

World building was one of the pluses for this novel. The start a book really shows you how this world is and how the emperor rules with an iron fist. I just wish that there would have been a map somewhere in this book. There might be in other editions but not in the Litjoy Crate version!

The writing was not anything special. It seemed like the characters teleported a lot. Again, there was no map so I am not sure the distances of each kingdom but the characters made it seem like it would be a long way and then they would get to said location in five pages. I don’t know.

The plot has all the common tropes of the fantasy genre. Saving someone taken by evil forces, a tyrant ruler, a lost prince, the chosen one, love triangles, all of that! Everything that readers have seen and read before. It brought nothing new to the table.

I feel as though this was not intriguing for me. The moments that were supposed to be big plot twists, they didn’t wow me, I was just like ‘okay, cool.” Nothing too exciting. This has just all been done before. Lots of common tropes.

This was an average read for me. It was not bad it was just like I had already read this story before. I think if you are a fan of young adult fantasy novels, like Girls of Paper and Fire, then you might enjoy this one. I will not be picking up the second book, I think it will be very similar to this one just with some of the roles reversed.

3 out of 5 stars.

I filmed my experience reading this book, you can check that out here: SHATTER THE SKY: READING VLOG | MARCH 19 – 22, 2021 – YouTube

It will up on my Facebook page later this week! Izzy Rain | Facebook

‘The Name of the Wind’ Book Review

Kvothe tells the tale of his life. He might seem like your average inn keeper but that is all a secret identity. The story begins when he just a child and how he became an orphan. He had to surive on the gritty streets of a large city. However, Kvothe was more advanced, smarter, than most. His knowledge is what got him going in life. It’s what got him out of poverty and off of the street. The Name of the Wind is Kvothe’s life story.

I started out not really feeling anything for Kvothe, well firstly, we are not really sure who our main character is. The reader finds out a few chapters in. He was not anything special or different for the fantasy genre. I know that this book is well loved and extremely popular so maybe this was different at the time it was published in 2007 but then again I can think of fantasy novels that came out before this one that had similar characters. I did start to feel something for our main man, Kvothe, just towards the last ten percent of the book I started to not like him. I felt like he was using a lot of the people in his life even though earlier in the story he was saying he would never do that. Also, all the female characters basically had the same descriptions, which in one of the interludes that is pointed out.

This book did have good world building, though. I think the religion and story telling aspects really added to that element. The percent, probably the majority, that this book took place at the university enhanced that to as we got to learn about the world and magic system as the characters did. I did enjoy this universe and want to know more about it.

The writing is in a descriptive taste. It never felt too long though even though this book is a beast, it is over seven hundred pages. I never felt like it was dragging at all. I did the audiobook version and had no complaints with that edition.

The Name of the Wind, character driven or plot driven? It’s really hard to say. The plot was rather boring to me, it wasn’t anything amazing. There might have been the character development since I did not like Kvothe by the end of the novel. I’m just not sure, I felt like this plot was a bit all over the place and that there really was not any meaning to it. Please give me your thoughts on this, in the comments!

The plot, or lack there of, is what made me have no intrigue to pick it up. I even took the weekend off of reading. It just was not an exciting read for me. I would like to know why the inn keeper is on the run and in hiding and what those spiders were and how Bast got with Kvothe but that does not push me enough to pick up the next book in the series.

This was an average read for me. I am shocked by this just as much as you, the person reading this. Did this fall into the overhyped category? Maybe, but I do not want to say that because I know that I am in the minority here. I still encourage you to pick up The Name of the Wind since it is so popular and staple in the fantasy genre. It was just not my cup of tea.

3 out of 5 stars.

Check out my YouTube channel at Izzy Rain – YouTube

Or you can like my Facebook page here Izzy Rain | Facebook

‘Into the Drowning Deep’ Book Review

The Atargatis set sail in 2015 in search of mermaids. The crew was made up for a mockumentary for the Imagine TV Network. The channel had been known of making these kind of shows on different cryptids but none had ever gone as dark as the voyage of the Atargatis, the whole crew vanished, killed by these mermaids of the Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean. Seven years later, a new crew has set out to find out what happened to the previous ship.

The cure for anything is saltwater… tears, sweat, or the sea.

Isak Dinesen

Some wanted fame, others revenge, proof that they were always right, or simply just to follow their studies or career. Everyone on this ship had a mission. The characters in this book were so real. They all had their flaws and might I add that they were all morally grey, in my opinion. I was constantly thinking someone would turn on the other. This was a really diverse cast be it, disability, race, or sexual orientation. There was lots of representation here. All these characters had a purpose, Tory was probably the main character but the others did not feel like they were pushed to the side either. The characters in this book are going to get a five out of five from me.

Mankind’s exploration of the oceans had been going on for centuries, yet barely scratched the surface, leaving much of the depths uncharted.

Chapter Nine

The atmosphere was so creepy and that is just what a horror novel needs. In general, boats being in the middle of the ocean freak me out anyway and then the author adds in killer mermaids. Just the thought of being in the middle of the Pacific, in a very desolate part of the ocean might I add, knowing that there are things that want to harm all the humans around you.. that is horrifying. Mira Grant hit the atmosphere nail right on the head. Once again a five out of five.

When I first started this book, the writing was so great. Probably the best I had read in months. However, that rating started to drop when we got into the science bits. Yes, this book is about a lot of scientist on a vessel but sometimes it was like reading another language and I found myself skimming. The writing just got heavy at the science bits but at the other parts it was great! Four our of five stars.

I had only read one book before this that was set on a boat and it was a thriller, not a horror. Boat books are just so unique. I really liked how this voyage was to solve a mystery of the past ship and then the mystery that humans have had for centuries, are mermaids real? Add in the fact, that all these characters had different motives. They were all seeking something different rather it be closure of a family member who was on the Atargatis or it be to bring a new creature into the realm of biology. Sometimes their motives changed throughout the voyage. Grant very much so did her research for this book, it just felt so real. I could totally see this happening in real life. You really feel like that you are put into this story, the plot gets a five star.

Intrigue is something that I find so important in horror, mystery, or thriller novels. You are trying to find out what is behind all of this or what is going to happen next. I was always making theories with this one but a lot of the time my theories came out to be wrong! That just shows that Mira Grant is so intelligent with her writing, she had ideas that I was not even thinking of. I do not know how I felt about the ending though. I wanted to know more about how the characters felt after everything on the ship wrapped up. I am not sure if there will be a sequel, at this time. Four out of five stars.

If this book was one thing it was logical. Often times in the CAWPILE system, I never know what to say about the ‘L’ part of the acronym. ‘Into the Drowning Deep’, does not leave me skipping over this category, though. Everything was so well thought out. The paragraph structure and everything was just so logical. It is a heavy read but you learn so much about different kinds of study that fall into the marine category. 5/5.

I did enjoy this book, I think all of you who have read this blog post can see that. I enjoyed that all the characters were so different and even though there was a large cast, I was never getting them confused. The atmosphere was so creepy and fit perfect with the black and red cover of the book. The writing was great but it was heavy at times which was the main downfall for me but I think if you have a career path in the science or field of if it is just something you are interested in then you would not have the same problem that I did. The plot was unique and this would make the perfect movie, someone really needs to pick this up. I was constantly trying to find out what would happen next and it never felt like a drag to pick up but I am lightly disappointed in the ending. This book was smart, too smart at times but it just made it all the more realistic. I will be picking up more books from this author.

The final rating for this book is a 4.5 star out of 5.

Be sure to check out my Youtube channel here: Izzy Rain – YouTube

Canterbury Tales Review

PhotoRoom_20200810_133634

This is a retelling of the Canterbury Tales. This is not the original. Barbara Cohen took four of the original tales and made them easier for us to understand in modern times. This is done in prose and not poetry like the original.

The first tale that we are told is the one of ‘The Nun’s Priest’s Tale‘. It is a fable which uses animals to get its point across. The reader learns in this that if someone is too prideful they might not see their own faults or anyone’s around them. This could lead to their downfall.

Then we come to ‘The Pardoner’s Tale‘, this is a tale to teach the readers about greed and what corruption that it can lead to. However I found that it could also teach us you get what you deserve and treating others how you want to be treated.

Ah, now the tale that I remember the most from reading this in high school, ‘The Wife of Bath’s Tale’. In this tale we really see how women were as people and how they were treated in fourteenth century Europe. I do think this is a feminist story, we see how women want to be treated in a relationship and also that there is more to a woman than just her face and body. Something that I really wish men would understand.

The last tale that we come across in this short book is, ‘The Franklin’s Tale‘. This is a tale on relying on someone else, having faith in that person. It can also be seen as staying true to yourself. It is a story of honor, very much Stark and Tully manner.

When I purchased this book on Amazon, a year ago, I thought it was all the Canterbury Tales and the original version. Not a version that is made for young readers to understand and get a general idea of Chaucer. This is my fault! This is all a me problem and not the book problem.

I found that the way the prologues are done to be awkward. They mention tales that the reader will not read in this bind up, I found myself being confused by this. I know that I did not go into too much detail about what the tales are actually about but when they are around ten pages long I feel like there is not much that I can say without spoiling it.

Should I find a copy of the actual Canterbury Tales to read it? If so, do you have a certain one that you recommend? Again, everything here is a me problem so I felt like I should just give the book an average rating of a three star.

Star Wars: Knight Errant Review

PhotoRoom_20200806_133609

Kerra Holt is a Jedi. She is known is an errant knight in Sith run space. All alone and not in her own galaxy. Her goal is to end Sith rule and the oppressions it has on the citizens on multiple planets. Rusher is a mercenary, he works for whoever will hire him and his crew. Usually his employer is a Sith lord. He does not like the Sith but it is a way to make money. Narsk is a spy, taking work for Sith lords just like Rusher. Those are our main characters.

Lord Daiman rules a few planets in Sith space. He is only in his twenties but sees himself as a god. He tells his people that they or their universe simply did not exist before he did. Most know that this is a straight up lie but they live in a dictatorship, where questioning that could end up with death or another kind of severe punishment.

Kerra is on a mission to kill this Sith lord and rid the galaxy of him. She will save his people and take them as refugees, back to the Republic. She lives undercover in this world to understand its people and investigate how it is ruled. She is one Jedi who has to take down many Sith lords. Can she do it?

Rusher is working for Daiman. There is a battle to come and he has been employed to have his group be the troops. Rusher knows that Daiman’s whole regime is a scam. He knows that the elites just play this game of power. He is just a piece in it. It gives him something to do and money to make.

Narsk is one of the few people who has a general idea why this war has been happening, what started it all. One of the ploys from his current employer, Daiman’s older brother, is to kill Daiman. He comes across a Jedi in this time as well. They both have the same goal but for different reasons and go about it very differently.

Are all Sith bad? Are all Jedi good? Is there a pure evil and a pure good? These are questions that go throughout many Star Wars novels.

*****

 Before starting this novel, I had no idea that it was an adaption of a graphic novel. I thought the book came out first and then the comic. So, I have to say, read the comic first! From reading other reviews I have heard that this is very helpful and adds more to the characters and the story!

John Jackson Miller’s books seem to very plot driven and not character driven. Kerra Holt was without a doubt our main character, she’s on the cover of the book and the title is about her. I still had lots of questions, how did she get to sith space? How long has she been there? Does she plan on going back to the republic? We do not really get any answers to those. Then we had other character POVs, who I did enjoy, but they were just a long for the ride. We did not get any real development with them. I would have liked to know more about the certain Sith lords in this story.

Characters were a three out of five stars. I enjoyed them and liked the tension that we had between Kerra and Rusher but we only really had development with Kerra and none of the others.

The atmosphere was like most Star Wars books set in the old republic era. I thought seeing how each government on the planets ran and I really like the tundra world that we see in the last part.

Atmosphere is a four out of five stars.

The writing was not anything special. The very last chapter, I do think was beautiful but the rest was just average for me.

The writing was  average so that is a three out of five stars.

The plot. Earlier I said that Miller’s stories are more plot drive than character driven. Now that I think about it, yes, there was a plot, but it was just a lot of action taking place. There was not any dull moments but it was always go, go, go, and I think that was over done. Then the ending, I just thought it wasn’t good. We did all this travel and fighting throughout the novel and then the ending was just bland. I wanted to know what happened next. Maybe I have to read the comics to find out.

The plot gets a three out of five stars.

Now time for the intrigue. I was intrigued. I wanted to know who characters were working for, what their motive was, would they be alright, and so on.

Intrigue gets a four out of five stars.

I have a lot of questions about the logic. This isn’t necessarily about the book but I just felt like this taking play a thousand years before the events of the Star Wars movies, nothing has really changed with the society. The technology has not advanced much.

Logic is a three out of five.

Lastly, did I enjoy Knight Errant? It was an average read for me. I probably would have enjoyed it more if I had read the comics before hand. I will read the comics at some point. I wish we would have learned more about the characters and that our plot was not always at such a fast pace. This is just one stop on my journey of reading all the Star Wars canon and legend books.

 

February TBR

My February TBR is here, the first blog post of 2020! This month I plan on reading five books to bring me closer to my 2020 reading goal of 63 books! In February I will be participating in the Explore-A-Thon! I will leave a link to their twitter at the end of this post!

The first book I plan to read this month is a booktube favorite, the first book in the Illuminae Files trilogy, written by popular authors Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. This book is written in a multimedia format and I’ve been told the audiobook format is the route to take as you follow along.

This story takes place in the unimaginable year of 2575, following two main characters, Kady and Ezra. They were once lovers but the relationship did not seem to work out for the pair. Their planet gets taken over by an enemy civilization, they both have to find their way to an evacuation craft. An enemy ship tails at them, willing to end it all at any second. That is a worry until a plague breaks out among the evacuees. Kady has to get to the bottom of how it all started, the artificial intelligence is supposed to be protecting them from such things. She has to try to break into the system but it is almost impossible to hack through all the codes and files of data. There is one person who can help her and that is no other than Ezra.

Beartown is a work of fiction that is translated from Swedish. It is also one of the longest time books on my TBR, it has been on my shelves for at least two years and I am so ready to get to it!

A small village nestled by a forest, that’s what Beartown is. Everything revolves around the ice rink that was built years ago by the town’s founders. Their local team is making its way into the national hockey playoffs. If the team of teenagers could win, that would wake up this sleepy town again. A violent incident comes upon a young girl, that could change everything for the town. Tempers are flying with fingers being pointed, all the hopes and dreams of Beartown could come crashing down.

I found out about this nonfiction book from Claire Ridgeway on YouTube! If you are fascinated by Tudor England, I highly recommend checking out her channel. She has written several books on English history as well.

Margaret of Austria played and important role in Middle Ages Europe. She was an influence to one of the most notorious consorts in English history. Margaret was well educated and spent her youth in various courts across Europe. She was regent of the Low Countries and cared greatly for the arts and humanities. Margaret showed what it was like to be a strong ruler.

February TBR Video

ExploreAThon

October 2019 Wrap Up

DF1F3A6B-301B-44B8-969E-B4EDDF678E53.JPG

In October, I finished four books. That adds up to 1,357 pages. I don’t give rankings to graphic novels or children’s books, so overall the ratings I gave these books made it be a very good book month!

  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak 4/5 stars
  • Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan 4/5 stars

I also took part in the Witch-a-thon on book tube. The challenges I completed and which books I used will be listed down below.

  1. Pick a book that features your heritage: The Book Thief as I am 30.9% German.

4.  Pick a book that involves a pantheon of deities: Wicked Saints as our main character can communicate with the gods.

October TBR

All the Books I Read in October

“Wicked Saints” Review

IMG_8812.jpg

“She had come here to stop a war, to bring about justice for her gods, to bring them back.”


Nadezhda Lapteva, Nadya, was raised at a monastery in the country of Kalyazin. She has no memory of her parents; all she knows is life in the mountains. Her mother knew that the child she was carrying was touched by the gods. “Nadya communed with the entire pantheon was a rarity the priests who trained her could not explain.”-Page 34. The records in Kalyazin, never spoke of a cleric who could speak to more than one god, but Nadya could hear them all. She is something divine.

“War has made us all used to living in desecrated spaces once considered holy.”

   Across the border in Tranavia, there are different rulers, the high prince being Serefin Meleski. He is the prince and one of the most powerful blood mages. He has been sent away by the king, his insecure and weak in magic father, to Kalyazin. He is to kill the cleric and take blood magic to those who still believe the ways of the old gods. “If he pushed Serefin out of sight, the slavhki of the court would never recall the son was more powerful than his father.”- Page 74. It is obvious that Serefin has built up resentment to his father in these years away from the court and in battle in a foreign land.

“Don’t you wonder what it would be like? To be someone else, with no expectations upon you or the fear of retribution keeping you on the same path.”

    A monster, not knowing what path he is to take, who he is to become. He has had a conflicted life, starting at the same age. Is he just a normal boy with powers stronger than some or is he becoming a monster? He has left the cult he was raised in, to find the path that he truly wants or needs to take. “Here was the very thing she had ben taught her entire life was an abomination-and he was very much the worst kind of abomination-but he was also just … a boy.”- Page 116

“The girl. The girl and the monster and the prince.”

     These three have to come together and assassinate the king, to a end a holy war that has been in the works for a hundred years. “The Tranavians had found ways to shield themselves from the gods; that was one of the reasons the war had begun in the first place. It meant that if they had found some darker method of harnessing magic, then the gods would not know. It was terrifying.”- page 135. Nadya is being sent by the god she still believes to end this war by bringing her gods back to Tranavia. Serefin has come back to court to find a suitor to be his future queen. The monster must decide what his fate will be. How will all their paths cross to take down the king?

“No one. Just a girl. Some small scrap of divinity.”

  Ah, a young adult fantasy that received a ton of hype. Will I enjoy it? I did! I am always hesitant opening up the cover of a book that has been talked about so much on booktube or bookstagram but Wicked Saints did not disappoint. I think the audiobook would be better for the Something Dark and Holy series, as I am still not certain on how to pronounce certain names and locations that are mentioned throughout the story. A glossary would come in handy as well as I was often finding myself confused with the gods, characters, and words that are used in this universe. The writing style was average, it made me feel cold though and I think that is perfect for a world that is inspired by Poland and Russia.

This plot line was entertaining, wondering how all three paths and plots would cross. I liked how we had multiple kinds of magic and how they were against each other, both types seeing the other as an “abomination”. I did not know which one was truly the good one. Theories were constantly coming to my head as I read this story, there were so many twists and turns, I was wanting to know what would happen next. I will be continuing this series when Ruthless Gods comes out on April 7,2020.

August Wrap-Up 2019

August was my weakest reading month ever! I was so busy and exhausted but you’re not here to read my excuses. I ended up reading three books that adds up to 1,346 pages.

Texas, post civil war America, Ruby is growing up in this frontier of a state. She has recently become a woman, she starts to make decisions of her own and one of those being applying to art school in Philadelphia. To her surprise, she actually gets in and gets to leave Texas, her family, and her love, Bismarck. Not only does Ruby learn about the arts at college but she learns about herself and the world that is changing right in front of her eyes.

The first thirty-five percent of this book dragged on and on, plot points were happening but I just felt very bored and found myself thinking of other things than the words in front of me. The romances in this book has no real foundation, but the characters, the way they interacted and spoke made it seem like they did. I feel like they from meeting and then straight to the bedroom. The main thing that made up for that was Suanne Schafer’s writing style, I am shocked that this was her debut novel, the writing was beautiful and very detailed! The other thing that I liked about A Different Kind Of Fire was Ruby’s character arc, I think character arcs are so important! This ended up being a 3.75/5 stars for me.

Jane Eyre starts her life by having both parents fall a sickness and later death, before her first memory. She sent away to live with the only family that she knows, the Reeds. Her uncle dies while she is young and as she grows older her aunt hates her alongside her cousin. Jane has never known love her family doesn’t love her who else is there to do so? She falls ill,one night she tells the doctor all of her struggles he suggest her going to any other family she has,all Janes knows is that they are poor. Then it is brought to her attention that she can receive an education.

Education is a way out for Jane. She learns languages, arts, and even friendship. Jane stays at the boarding school for eight years, never seeing the Reeds. Once it comes time for her to leave she goes to an estate she’s never been to, to become a governess to a young girl from France. At Thornfield hall, Jane discovers love and that life does have meaning after all.

Brontë’s writing style was truly beautiful, That is something that I love about classics, you can tell that the writer is really knew what they were doing and putting their heart into it instead of just trying to make a quick buck. The writing was very atmospheric and I could easily make out the scenes in my head, that is something that I’m always happy about. I did like the romance in Jane Eyre I think the pairing did love each other even through all the twist and turns throughout life. My two complaints are I didn’t really care for the plot and the writing was really dragged out this book could have been 300 pages shorter.

Jane Eyre Book Review

August TBR 2019

August Wrap-Up 2019