Mini Reviews: Jan 2022

So since, at the time I am writing this, I have read 11 books so far in Jan I thought I would just do some mini reviews, I will only be focusing on the books where I actually have a lot to say!! It’s basically a wrap up post early but I don’t care hahaha.

Legendborn – Tracy Deonn

  • Author: Tracy Deonn
  • Series: Legendborn Cycle #1
  • Genre: Contemporary Fantasy
  • No. of pages: 501
  • Dates read: 20.12.2022 – 02.01.2022
  • Star Rating: 5 stars

Plot: After her mother dies in an accident, sixteen-year-old Bree Matthews wants nothing to do with her family memories or childhood home. A residential program for bright high schoolers at UNC–Chapel Hill seems like the perfect escape—until Bree witnesses a magical attack her very first night on campus. A flying demon feeding on human energies. A secret society of so called “Legendborn” students that hunt the creatures down. And a mysterious teenage mage who calls himself a “Merlin” and who attempts—and fails—to wipe Bree’s memory of everything she saw. The mage’s failure unlocks Bree’s own unique magic and a buried memory with a hidden connection: the night her mother died, another Merlin was at the hospital. Now that Bree knows there’s more to her mother’s death than what’s on the police report, she’ll do whatever it takes to find out the truth, even if that means infiltrating the Legendborn as one of their initiates. She recruits Nick, a self-exiled Legendborn with his own grudge against the group, and their reluctant partnership pulls them deeper into the society’s secrets—and closer to each other. But when the Legendborn reveal themselves as the descendants of King Arthur’s knights and explain that a magical war is coming, Bree has to decide how far she’ll go for the truth and whether she should use her magic to take the society down—or join the fight.

So I started this back in December for a book group I was apart of and I was super excited to read it due to the hype I saw on social media. But with any hype there always comes a worry that it won’t meet my expectations or I just won’t like it. Thankfully that was not the case at all with this book. When I tell you that it met every single bit of hype I saw! It went above and beyond.

Starting off with Bree. What a character. I am so happy Bree exists and is able to inspire readers out there. She is badass, smart, powerful and hilarious. I loved watching her journey and experiencing everything with her. I cried with her, laughed with her and was scared with her. I get why everyone loves her.

In terms of the world. I really enjoyed this modern day exploration into King Arthur and his Knights. At times, I will be honest, I was a bit confused with how everything worked and who was in charge/worked with who but what I did understand was really interesting. I have always been a fan of King Arthur’s legends. But there is an element to this world that I was not prepared for and element to the magic system and Bree’s world in particular, which I can’t say due to spoilers, that not only had me sobbing but elevated this story for me. It took the story from a fun YA urban fantasy with swords and demons and grounded it, into history, into real personal experience. This book was always going to be a 5 star read but that addition was what made it a top tier book for me.

I also wanted to talk about the exploration of grief. At the beginning of this book and weaved throughout is the discussion of Bree’s mothers death. As someone who experienced losing a loved one at the same age as Bree, I really loved how Tracy Deonn handled and portrayed grief and loss in this story. And that ending!!! Oof.

The Mysterious Case of the Alperton Angels – Janice Hallett

  • Author: Janice Hallett
  • Series: Standalone
  • Genre: Thriller
  • No. of pages: 432
  • Dates read: 03.01.2022 – 04.01.2022
  • Star Rating: 5 stars

Plot: Open the safe deposit box. Inside you will find research material for a true crime book. You must read the documents, then make a decision. Will you destroy them? Or will you take them to the police? Everyone knows the story of the Alperton Angels: the cult-like group who were convinced one of their member’s babies was the anti-Christ, and they had a divine mission to kill it – until the baby’s mother, Holly, came to her senses and called the police. The Angels committed suicide rather than go to prison, and Holly – and the baby – disappeared into the care system. Nearly two decades later, true-crime author Amanda Bailey is writing a book on the Angels. The Alperton baby has turned eighteen and can finally be interviewed – if Amanda can find them, it will be the true-crime scoop of the year, and will save her flagging career. But rival author Oliver Menzies is just as smart, better connected, and is also on the baby’s trail. As Amanda and Oliver are forced to collaborate, they realise that what everyone thinks they know about the Angels is wrong, and the truth is something much darker and stranger than they’d ever imagined. This story is far from over – and it won’t have a happy ending.

Thank you so much to the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Janice Hallett NEVER DISAPPOINTS!!! NEVER EVER! I literally love everything she writes! So for starters I must add that Janice Hallett writes her books in an epistolary format. This means that her entire book is made up of documents. Emails, texts, articles, transcripts everything. Not only is this so rare in fiction but it’s incredibly engaging.

The plot in this book was just so smart. Not only were our two main characters incredibly interesting in their own right but also their interpersonal dynamic was so engaging. Throughout this story I thought I knew what was going on and literally with Hallett’s work you do not know what she has got up her sleeve until the literal last page! I was up into the late hours of the night to make sure I finished the book as I NEEDED to know how it ended. This plot kept me guessing.

Snow White with the Red Hair Vol. 1 – Sorata Akiduki

  • Author: Sorata Akiduko
  • Series: Snow White with the Red Hair #1
  • Genre: Fantasy Romance
  • No. of pages: 200
  • Dates read: 05.01.2022 – 07.01.2022
  • Star Rating: 4 stars

Plot: Shirayuki is an herbalist famous for her naturally bright-red hair, and the prince of Tanbarun wants her all to himself! Unwilling to become the prince’s possession, she seeks shelter in the woods of the neighboring kingdom, where she gains an unlikely ally—the prince of that kingdom! He rescues her from her plight, and thus begins the love story between a lovestruck prince and an unusual herbalist.

I will be honest straight up and say I was expecting the re-telling to be a lot stronger. I am not sure about the rest of the series but this is a very loose re-telling on Snow White. To be honest, unless it changes in further volumes, you didn’t really need a whole thing about it being a re-telling.

Anyway, the story itself was really fun. I love anything that has a herbalist/apothecary involved I find it so intriguing. Each chapter works as a standalone story which helps you get to learn a bit more about our characters. This worked super well as a way to introduce all these new characters rather than one flowing story we get to learn motivations, interests, dislikes etc.

I felt the story was funny but I love the romance in this. I feel that the pacing of the romance is done really really well.

The Faraway Paladin Vol. 1 – Kanata Yanagino

  • Author: Kanata Yanagino
  • Series: The Faraway Paladin #1
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • No. of pages: 200
  • Dates read: 08.01.2022
  • Star Rating: 5 stars

Plot: In the city of the dead, long since ruined and far from human civilization, lives a single human child. His name is Will, and he’s being raised by three undead. The three pour love into the boy, and teach him all they know. But one day, Will starts to wonder: “Who am I?” Will must unravel the mysteries of this faraway land, and unearth the secret pasts of the undead. He must learn the love and mercy of the good gods, and the bigotry and madness of the bad. And when he knows it all, the boy will take his first step on the path to becoming a Paladin.

This was a book I picked up on a whim when I went book shopping back in like May of 2022. I just liked the look of the story and the art design. I ended up loving this story and ordering the sequel right after I finished reading it!

First of all, the art design from the characters to the setting and even to the fighting scenes was so clear, easy to follow and just amazingly done. I love character designs where each character looks so vastly different from one another and this was the case here.

Story wise, I was really connected and engaged with following Will as he grows up and learns everything his mentors teach him. I followed him on this journey of self-discovery but also learning the secrets kept hidden from him by his guardians. The ending especially was so great.

But most importantly, I loved his relationship with his guardians. I loved how different each dynamic was different depending on which guardian he was with. But the core focus point of each relationship was the love and the memories they shared together. This story was just so great! I can’t wait for the sequel.

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