Book Review: Aru Shah and the End of Time

Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi
Rating: 5 Stars
Series: Pandava Quintet, #1
Length: 368 Pages
Purchase: [Amazon] | [Barnes & Noble]

Synopsis:
Twelve-year-old Aru Shah has a tendency to stretch the truth in order to fit in at school. While her classmates are jetting off to family vacations in exotic locales, she’ll be spending her autumn break at home, in the Museum of Ancient Indian Art and Culture, waiting for her mom to return from their latest archeological trip. Is it any wonder that Aru makes up stories about being royalty, traveling to Paris, and having a chauffeur?

One day, three schoolmates show up at Aru’s doorstep to catch her in a lie. They don’t believe her claim that the museum’s Lamp of Bharata is cursed, and they dare Aru to prove it. Just a quick light, Aru thinks. Then she can get herself out of this mess and never ever fib again.

But lighting the lamp has dire consequences. She unwittingly frees the Sleeper, an ancient demon whose duty it is to awaken the God of Destruction. Her classmates and beloved mother are frozen in time, and it’s up to Aru to save them.

The only way to stop the demon is to find the reincarnations of the five legendary Pandava brothers, protagonists of the Hindu epic poem, the Mahabharata, and journey through the Kingdom of Death. But how is one girl in Spider-Man pajamas supposed to do all that?

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Book Review: Five Dark Fates

Five Dark Fates by Kendare Blake
Rating: 4 Stars
Series:  Three Dark Crowns, #4
Length: 452 Pages
Purchase: [Amazon] | [Barnes & Noble]

Synopsis:
After the battle with Katharine, the rebellion lies in tatters. Jules’s legion curse has been unbound, leaving her out of her mind and unfit to rule. Arsinoe must find a cure, even as the responsibility of stopping the ravaging mist rests heavy on her shoulders, and her shoulders alone. Mirabella has disappeared.

Queen Katharine’s rule over Fennbirn remains intact—for now. But her attack on the rebellion exacted a high price: her beloved Pietyr. Without him, who can she rely upon when Mirabella arrives, seemingly under a banner of truce? As oldest and youngest circle each other, and Katharine begins to yearn for the closeness that Mirabella and Arsinoe share, the dead queens hiss caution—Mirabella is not to be trusted.

In this conclusion to the Three Dark Crowns series, three dark sisters will rise to fight as the secrets of Fennbirn’s history are laid bare. Allegiances will shift. Bonds will be tested, and some broken forever.

The fate of the island lies in the hands of its queens.

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Kingdom of Souls Book Review

Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron
Rating: 4 Stars
Series: Kingdom of Souls, #1
Length: 496 Pages
Purchase: [Amazon] | [Barnes & Noble]

Synopsis:
THERE’S MAGIC IN HER BLOOD.

Explosive fantasy set in a world of magic and legend, where one girl must sacrifice her life, year by year, to gain the power necessary to fight the mother she has never been good enough for.

Perfect for fans of Sarah J Maas, Tomi Adeyemi and Black Panther

THERE’S MAGIC IN HER BLOOD.

Arrah is a young woman from a long line of the most powerful witch doctors in the land. But she fails at magic, fails to call upon the ancestors and can’t even cast the simplest curse.

Shame and disappointment dog her.

When strange premonitions befall her family and children in the kingdom begin to disappear, Arrah undergoes the dangerous and scorned process of selling years of her life for magic. This borrowed power reveals a nightmarish betrayal and a danger beyond what she could have imagined. Now Arrah must find a way to master magic, or at least buy it, in order to save herself and everything she holds dear.

An explosive fantasy set in a world of magic and legend with a twist you will never see coming.

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Book Review: Reverie

Reverie by Ryan La Sala
Rating: 4 Stars
Series: Standalone
Length: 384 Pages
Purchase: [Amazon] | [Barnes & Noble]

ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis:
Ryan La Sala’s debut fantasy is an #OwnVoices story following Kane Montgomery, a gay teenager piecing his life back together after an attack robs him of his memories. As Kane searches for who he was, he uncovers a war for the creative rights to reality itself, each battle played out in an imagined world turned real: a reverie.

Reveries are worlds born from a person’s private fantasies, and once they manifest they can only be unraveled by bringing their conflicts to resolution. Reveries have rules and plots, magic and monsters, and one wrong step could twist the entire thing into a lethal, labyrinthine nightmare. Unraveling them is dangerous work, but it’s what Kane and The Others do.

Or did, until one of The Others purged Kane of his memories. But now Kane is back, and solving the mystery of his betrayal is the only way to unite his team and defeat reality’s latest threat: Poesy, a sorceress bent on harvesting the reveries for their pure, imaginative power.

But what use might a drag queen sorceress have with a menagerie of stolen reveries? And should Kane, a boy with no love for a team that betrayed him, fight to stop her, or defect to aid her?

Reverie is about the seduction of escaping inwards, about the worlds we hide within ourselves, and the danger of dreams that come true.

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Ascender Review

Ascender, Vol 1: The Haunted Galaxy by Jeff Lemire, Dustin Nguyen (Illustrator)
Rating: 4 Stars
Series: Ascender, #1
Length: 136 Pages
Purchase: [Amazon] | [Barnes & Noble]

ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis:
Powerhouse creative team Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen launch an all new series in Ascender! Set 10 years after the conclusion of Descender’s storyline, here magic has taken the place of machinery and the rules are very different indeed… Mila, the daughter of Andy and Effie from Descender, spends her days exploring the lonely wilds of the planet Sampson and trying to stay out of the clutches of the evil disciples of the all powerful vampire witch known only as Mother. But like her parents, Mila doesn’t like to play by the rules and when a certain robot pal of her dad’s shows up, nothing will ever be the same! With all the scope and heart of the sci-fi classic, Descender, Lemire and Nguyen reunite to take readers on an unforgettable fantasy quest!

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Book Review: Aurora Rising

Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Series: The Aurora Cycle, #1
Length: 473 Pages
Purchase: [Amazon] | [Barnes & Noble]

Synopsis:
The year is 2380, and the graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Star pupil Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but his own boneheaded heroism sees him stuck with the dregs nobody else in the Academy would touch…

A cocky diplomat with a black belt in sarcasm
A sociopath scientist with a fondness for shooting her bunkmates
A smart-ass techwiz with the galaxy’s biggest chip on his shoulder
An alien warrior with anger management issues
A tomboy pilot who’s totally not into him, in case you were wondering

And Ty’s squad isn’t even his biggest problem—that’d be Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley, the girl he’s just rescued from interdimensional space. Trapped in cryo-sleep for two centuries, Auri is a girl out of time and out of her depth. But she could be the catalyst that starts a war millions of years in the making, and Tyler’s squad of losers, discipline-cases and misfits might just be the last hope for the entire galaxy.

They’re not the heroes we deserve. They’re just the ones we could find. Nobody panic.

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Book Review: Shadow and Bone

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Rating: 3 Stars
Series: The Grisha, #1
Length: 369 Pages
Purchase: [Amazon] | [Barnes & Noble]

Synopsis:
Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.

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Book Review: Song of the Crimson Flower

Song of the Crimson Flower by Julie C. Dao
Rating: 4 Stars
Series: Rise of the Empress, Companion
Length: 288 Pages
Purchase: [Amazon] | [Barnes & Noble]

ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis:
Will love break the spell? After cruelly rejecting Bao, the poor physician’s apprentice who loves her, Lan, a wealthy nobleman’s daughter, regrets her actions. So when she finds Bao’s prized flute floating in his boat near her house, she takes it into her care, not knowing that his soul has been trapped inside it by an evil witch, who cursed Bao, telling him that only love will set him free. Though Bao now despises her, Lan vows to make amends and help break the spell.

Together, the two travel across the continent, finding themselves in the presence of greatness in the forms of the Great Forest’s Empress Jade and Commander Wei. They journey with Wei, getting tangled in the webs of war, blood magic, and romance along the way. Will Lan and Bao being to break the spell that’s been placed upon them? Or will they be doomed to live out their lives with black magic running through their veins?

In this fantastical tale of darkness and love, some magical bonds are stronger than blood.

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Book Review: Four Dead Queens

Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Series: Standalone
Length: 429 Pages
Purchase: [Amazon] | [Barnes & Noble]

Synopsis:
Get in quick, get out quicker.

These are the words Keralie Corrington lives by as the preeminent dipper in the Concord, the central area uniting the four quadrants of Quadara. She steals under the guidance of her mentor Mackiel, who runs a black market selling their bounty to buyers desperate for what they can’t get in their own quarter. For in the nation of Quadara, each quarter is strictly divided from the other. Four queens rule together, one from each region:

Toria: the intellectual quarter that values education and ambition
Ludia: the pleasure quarter that values celebration, passion, and entertainment
Archia: the agricultural quarter that values simplicity and nature
Eonia: the futurist quarter that values technology, stoicism and harmonious community

When Keralie intercepts a comm disk coming from the House of Concord, what seems like a standard job goes horribly wrong. Upon watching the comm disks, Keralie sees all four queens murdered in four brutal ways. Hoping that discovering the intended recipient will reveal the culprit – information that is bound to be valuable bartering material with the palace – Keralie teams up with Varin Bollt, the Eonist messenger she stole from, to complete Varin’s original job and see where it takes them.

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A Brief Review: A Monster Calls

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, Siobhan Dowd (Conception)
Rating: 4 Stars
Series: Standalone
Length: 206 Pages
Purchase: [Amazon] | [Barnes & Noble]

Synopsis:
At seven minutes past midnight, thirteen-year-old Conor wakes to find a monster outside his bedroom window. But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting– he’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the nightmare he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments. The monster in his backyard is different. It’s ancient. And wild. And it wants something from Conor. Something terrible and dangerous. It wants the truth. From the final idea of award-winning author Siobhan Dowd– whose premature death from cancer prevented her from writing it herself– Patrick Ness has spun a haunting and darkly funny novel of mischief, loss, and monsters both real and imagined.

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