Review: Legendborn and Bloodmarked by Tracy Deonn

What can I say about this series that the internet hasn’t already said? It’s great! Amazing! Spellbinding! I truly love it and there better be a third novel. I read that it was conceived as trilogy but I have yet to read any announcement of when the next book will be released. So crosses fingers!

Bree has just lost her mother in a car accident and is grieving in when her and her best friend, Alice start classes at Early college program at University of North Carolina. Bree immediately starts noticing strange things around campus and can’t help but think it might be connected to her mother’s death. With the help of Nicolas, the boy who is supposed to mentor her, work together to infiltrate a secret society based around King Arthur and Round Table and well things are more than what she bargained for.

This novel not only goes into the myth of Arthur but also the brutal of history of slavery and racism. This may be 21st century America but the legacy of Slavery is still far too close to us. Bree does what she has to do to fit in and has the right heritage but will never be fully accepted because of the color of her skin. It’s a complicated history that I can never do justice here. The other major theme of this series is Grief and generational trauma. Which seems to be a trend among popular media these days but that’s another essay. We begin the series with Bree being angry about her mother’s death and needs someone to blame for it and the society with all it’s money and trappings is the perfect target. She’s not entirely wrong for blaming them but not for the reason she thinks. This is really her journey to get herself through the trauma of it and coming out the other side. I highly recommend it for all fantasy fans looking for a new take a old story because it is a quite a ride.

What I’m Reading Now: The Tenth Girl by Sara Faring

Cover of the Tenth Girl by Sara Faring

Set on the very edge of Patagonia, there is a girl school where there had previously been a tragedy. A mysterious illness once overtook the school. It is now reopening and in 1970s Argentina with a looming military dictatorship, Mavi can’t say no to a job that’ll take her out of Buenos Aires. I’m looking forward to this!

Kate’s favorite books of 2022

I did it! I read books in 2022! Not as many as I used to, but definitely more than any other year since COVID! I am so excited! I feel like I’m back! Kind of! So, without further ado, let’s get into it. In no particular order, here are my favorites of this past year!

  1. These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong

I really enjoyed this book. It has mobsters. It has monsters. It has people behaving exactly as we know people behave during a pandemic in a pandemic. It’s set in colonial Shanghai. It has a sequel. I hightly recommend it.

2. The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai

This romance by an author who has an excellent social media presence was so satisfying. I liked the characters. I liked their romance. I liked that they both had a story arc. It was great.

3. The Girl from the Well by Rin Chupeco

I like horror movies a lot. Like, a lot a lot. My Netflix recs are basically just baking shows, kdramas, and buckets of guts. So, this seemed right up my alley. It wasn’t as scary as I thought it was going to be, but it was so good. Based on the Okiku myth, the ghost of a girl who was murdered, and has stuck around to torment her killer… and then torment more killers. I was taken in by the story and I needed to know how it ended. I just found out it has a sequel, too!

4. The Dispatcher by John Scalzi

I thought this was an interesting premise, so I downloaded it. In it, if you die by murder, you come back okay. Dispatchers are people who work in places like hospitals just in case things go wrong. The main character, Tony Valdez, is contacted by the police because a fellow dispatcher has gone missing. It gets sucked into a mystery about where his friend is and how he ended up there. There are two more books in the series. I binged them all back to back. They were entertaining.

5. Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

I started this ages ago (maybe in 2017? Like, ages ago) and then finished it this summer when I was visiting my sister. It was… I want to say beautiful? Laszlo Strange is an orphan librarian who talks himself into a position on a quest to help Weep, a place of legend, rid itself of the floating palace of slain gods. When they get to the city, he meets a woman in his dreams. The woman is a child of the slain gods and lives in the floating palace above the city. Every day they live their lives, and then at night, they meet in Laszlo’s dreams. It’s not as cheesy as I’m making it sound. There’s a little bit of mystery (Is Strange really an orphan? Where is he really from?) and a little bit of lore from the world. I really enjoyed the relationships in this book. It also has a sequel!

Quick Review: The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai

I picked this book because the premise sounded interesting and because I love Alisha Rai’s social media presence, but I’ve somehow never read any of her books.

This book is about Rhiannon, the founder of a dating app a little akin to bumble who, despite some obstacles, has built an amazing company and Samson; a former football star who ended his career early. They have met once before, through Rhiannon’s app. Imagine both of their surprise when Rhiannon goes to an industry event to try and meet the head of a dating website she’s keen on buying to grow her company only to meet Samson, the founder’s nephew and new website spokesperson.

Rhiannon and Samson were both very likable characters and I loved their interactions. The complicating factors were heartbreaking, but how they dealt with them separately and together was heartwarming. The romance was great. The spicy parts were nice and spicy. The resolution was the plot so very satisfying.

I really enjoyed this book and I will definitely be picking up more from Alisha Rai.

I read it as an audiobook. It is narrated by Summer Morton and Brian Pallino. Their takes on the characters were excellent. I got the book through audible. I’m almost caught up on my backlog of credits! (Although, not the backlog of books…)

Beth’s Favorite Books of 2022!!!

It’s that time of the year again. Where we all look back and reflect on the past year and everything we read and take stock in all the good books and stories. In 2022, I read 43 books. 8 books more than last year. So reading wise, I think this year was successful. Looking over my books from this year I would say there was a theme and it was fantasy novels lead by female characters. I really leaned into that this year. So without further ado, here are some of my favorite books that I read in 2022 in no particularly order. I’m going to do this list in the order of which I read them.

  1. Chosen Ones by Veronica Roth – There are so many books that feature children or young adults who are charged with saving the world from Percy Jackson to Harry Potter but what happens when they succeed and grow up. Chosen Ones is just that. A group of 6 ones saved the world 10 years ago but the trauma of that time is still with them despite the fame that came with it. Tragedy strikes and they are all the evil they thought they rid themselves is back. It was just great. They all handled their shared experience and I think that’s important to explore because we all process trauma and grief differently and I don’t think we all appreciate that.
  2. Sort of Super by Eric Gapstur – Yes, this was written by a friend but even if it wasn’t I would have loved it. It such a joyful story of a young boy and his sister learning about their new super powers. The artwork is so vibrant and colorful that really makes the story pop of the page. I can’t wait to read the next adventure.
  3. A LIttle Too Familiar by Lish Mcbride – This was the perfect palette cleanser for whatever ails you. It was a sweet and wholesome romance novel between a witch who pairs people to their familiar animals and a werewolf. A little on the spicy side but just so amazing. If you haven’t read any of Lish Mcbride’s book this one is a good one to start with or her Necromancer series.
  4. The Priory and the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon – Everything you could ever want from a high fantasy novel. A quest, romance, magic and dragons. I will admit the sapphic love story in the center of the story could have a few more scenes but a minor complaint to an almost perfect story.
  5. The Sandman by Neil Gaiman – I maybe a bit late to this one but I loved characters and stories. The little vignettes in between the major story arcs. I listened to the audio presentation, so the voice work of James McAvoy and Kat Dennings among others might have something to do with how much I loved it but it was so great. I haven’t finished the series yet but I can’t wait to listen to Act 3.
  6. The Inheritance of Orquidea Divina by Zoraida Cordova – You can be forgiven if you read this and immediately thought of Encanto. They both use magical realism to tell the story of family trauma but this takes it so much farther than Encanto could. For one it’s not a Disney Movie. The Divina family are a magical family that is both blessed and cursed and Orquidea’s grandchildren must resolve the her past for them to move forward. So beautifully done.
  7. The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang – A mix of history and magic that explores the harsh realities of colonialism, race and war. There is no winners but only losers when it comes to all of these legacy and R.F. Kuang doesn’t let up in here commentary. It is not an easy read but so worth it.
  8. Greywaren by Maggie Stiefvater – The Dreamers Trilogy and the Raven Cycle comes to an end with this satisfying final novel. The Lynch brothers learn to be brothers again and save the world. Hennessy found peace in herself and Jordan got to live her life. I am sad that the end to this series but characters like this will live forever.
  9. Legendborn by Tracy Deonn – I just finished this book but this was great. A new twist on the Arthurian legend. The Round table never disbanded but the ancestors of the legendary knights still fight demons from another realm. Bree has just lost her mother and to find answers she joins a new club to only be discover so much more. This book tackles more than just myths but racism and slavery and how as much as we think we are beyond it but how it still is very much apart of us. I have already started the next book in the series.

So that’s it Those are my favorite books I read this year. What were your favorite books? Leave them in the comments and maybe I’ll add them to my list for 2023.