ARC Review: Warrior of the Wild

This book was sent to me by the publisher per my request. I chose to review it on my own and all views and opinions expressed are my own and are not influenced.

Warrior of the Wild
Author:
Tricia Levenseller
Release Date: February 26th, 2019
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Rating: 1.5 stars
Synopsis: How do you kill a god? As her father’s chosen heir, eighteen-year-old Rasmira has trained her whole life to become a warrior and lead her village. But when her coming-of-age trial is sabotaged and she fails the test, her father banishes her to the monster-filled wilderness with an impossible quest: to win back her honor, she must kill the oppressive god who claims tribute from the villages each year or die trying.

Warrior of the Wild really missed the mark for me and a lot of it had to do with the main character. And the world building. And the side characters. And the romance. I guess I just need to say it: I really did not like this book very much.

Let’s start with Rasmira, the main character. I was expecting a fierce, feminist female main character because that’s what the hype around this book was saying. What I got was a girl who by page two of this book was obsessing about a boy kissing her. And sure, fierce warriors can want romance, but it grated on me because there was nothing about Rasmira that seemed fierce to me at all. Rasmira, to me, is the equivalent of a rich white girl who excels at a school sport and receives nothing but praise because her parents are donors to her private school. I got so annoyed whenever she was thinking her “poor me” thoughts. I never connected with her and found her to be whiny, immature, and unlikable.

And then there was the world building. The whole premise of this book is how Rasmira is banished to *The Wild* and must survive to win back her honor. The Wild…isn’t that scary. It’s basically a forest with some wild creatures in it (creatures that never attack unless it is important to the plot, which is basically never). Color me unimpressed. Like, how have so many of the “warriors” from villages been banished to the Wild and then died? Sure, if you go poking around the dwelling of the Peruxolo, the “villain” of the book, you might find yourself at the wrong end of a knife, but by and large the Wild seems like a place where you could take your family camping as long as you have some mild campsite fortifications. And outside of the very not scary Wild, there wasn’t much to be learned about this world. There are a couple villages, we get their names…and that’s about it.

I’m going to mash my issues of side characters and romance into the next paragraph but first a spoiler warning because the next paragraph definitely has some spoilers:

Okay, I will admit that I like romance in my books. At bare minimum I need one longing glance between two characters to enjoy a book. But never, in all my reading, have I been more annoyed and put off by a romance than I was in this book. When Rasmira is banished to the wild she find two boys who have been living in the wild for the last year. Which I thought was cool at first. And then I got to know the boys. Iric and Soren are from the same village and were basically brothers (by choice, not blood). But Soren is basically a selfish pretty boy and manipulated Iric to go out for the warrior trial, which he failed and was subsequently banished, and Soren decided to get himself banished as well because he felt guilty. The friendship and animosity between the two boys felt wooden at the best of times. Then we come to one of my big issues: the “romance” between Rasmira and Soren. The whole basis of their relationship is the fact that they are the only two hetero characters in the wild and the author even writes this observation into the story. It kinda disgusts me that Rasmira learned to trust again by falling in love with another dumb boy, but I guess we can’t all learn our personal strength outside of relationships with men [insert sarcastic eye roll here].

End spoilers.

So all that being said, I did like certain parts of this book. I thought the revelations about Peruxolo were interesting. I liked that this book went in a direction I was not anticipating. While the writing style wasn’t perfect, I was a least consistently drawn into the story, even though I never connected with it. And…I think that’s about it. This book just missed the mark so hard for me. For a book that has been so hyped as a fierce, feminist story, I felt incredibly let down.

Book Review: Shadow of the Fox

Shadow of the Fox
Author: Julie Kagawa
Release Date: October 2, 2018
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Rating: 4.25 stars
Synopsis: One thousand years ago, the great Kami Dragon was summoned to grant a single terrible wish—and the land of Iwagoto was plunged into an age of darkness and chaos.
Now, for whoever holds the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers, a new wish will be granted. A new age is about to dawn.
Raised by monks in the isolated Silent Winds temple, Yumeko has trained all her life to hide her yokai nature. Half kitsune, half human, her skill with illusion is matched only by her penchant for mischief. Until the day her home is burned to the ground, her adoptive family is brutally slain and she is forced to flee for her life with the temple’s greatest treasure—one part of the ancient scroll.
There are many who would claim the dragon’s wish for their own. Kage Tatsumi, a mysterious samurai of the Shadow Clan, is one such hunter, under orders to retrieve the scroll…at any cost. Fate brings Kage and Yumeko together. With a promise to lead him to the scroll, an uneasy alliance is formed, offering Yumeko her best hope for survival. But he seeks what she has hidden away, and her deception could ultimately tear them both apart.
With an army of demons at her heels and the unlikeliest of allies at her side, Yumeko’s secrets are more than a matter of life or death. They are the key to the fate of the world itself.


Shadow of the Fox is one of those books that I could never quite pin down my feelings on. From the time I started it to right now as I write this review, my rating has fluctuated from 3 stars, to 5 stars, to finally landing on 4.25 stars. I went into this book with fairly high expectations because I have been a fan of Julie Kagawa since I devoured her Iron Fey and Blood of Eden series many years ago. I am happy to say that my exceptions were met.

I think the issue most people will have with Shadow of the Fox is the pacing. And so did I…until I had an epiphany. This book reads like an anime series. I think it was at the scene with the bear and the cave that something just clicked in my head and screamed “This is like an anime!!” From there, I loved the journey we were being taken on. I’m not even a huge anime fan (with the exception of Cowboy Bebop and Shokugeki No Soma), so it wasn’t the fact that it’s like an anime that made me like it. My epiphany just made me understand the pacing more. I think if people who aren’t familiar with anime go into this book with the knowledge that it isn’t paced like your average YA fantasy novel, they will enjoy it more.

Yumeko, who I consider the main character, is sixteen-year-old half human and half kitsune who has been raised by the monks at the Silent Winds Temple. After her home is destroyed, she sets out on the journey the head monk of the Silent Winds Temple gave her before he died: take the temple’s portion of the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers to safety. On her journey she meets Kage Tatsumi, demon slayer of the Shadow Clan, and strikes a precarious bargain for him to travel with her as protection. Both are keeping secrets from the other and any slip of truth could destroy the tenuous alliance they have. Both Yumeko and Tatsumi have POV chapters and my BIGGEST issue with this book is the lack of indication that a POV has changed from chapter to chapter. Because the book is written in the first person it can take a minute to figure out whose POV we are reading at the beginning of each chapter. I got more used to it by the book’s end, but in the beginning, it really bothered me. I read this book with a book club and the POV switches were a problem for a lot of people in the group. Beyond Yumeko and Tatsumi, we are introduced to a host of secondary characters that bring mystery, danger, and whimsy to this story. My favorite of the secondary characters is definitely Okame and if any harm befalls this lovable ronin I WILL RIOT!

The thing that initially kicked my rating up to 5 stars for a while was the ending. It was SO GOOD! A certain part of it was predictable but the way it played out was not. There was action and betrayal and the promise for more story. AND THAT EPILOGUE OMG! I’m not sure how I’m expected to live while I wait for the next book, Soul of the Sword. All I can say, is I definitely have a pre-order already in.

At the end of the day, I settled into a 4.25 star rating because the POV issue and weird pacing. Even though I came to appreciate the pacing after a time, it still was rough in the beginning and can be a real make or break situation for a lot of people (there were a few people in my book club who DNFed this book because of pacing). I think this book would be good for fantasy lovers who are looking for a story that is structured a little differently from the typical YA fantasy.

Want Now Wednesday: ALL THE 2019 BOOKS!

Well folks, it’s the last Wednesday of 2018. Instead of focusing on just one book I’m wanting, I’ll be featuring one for each month of 2019. And because I am terrible at choosing just one, there are going to be more than a few honorable mentions for the months where more books have already been announced. Seriously, I’m the worst at making choices.

January
Kingdom of Copper (The Daevabad Trilogy #2)
Author: S.A. Chakraborty
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Release Date: January 8, 2019
Synopsis: [Here]
I just finished The City of Brass, the first book in this series, the other day and hot damn do I need this next book in my life right now.

Honorable Mentions: King of Scars (1/29), The Vanishing Stair (1/22), Ship of Smoke and Steel (1/22)


February
Smoke and Summons
Author: Charlie N. Holmberg
Publisher: 47North
Release Date: February 1, 2019
Synopsis: [Here]
I read and loved The Paper Magician series by this author. When I stumbled upon the fact that they have a new book coming out I immediately added it to my 2019 TBR.

Honorable Mentions: Spectacle (2/12), A Soldier and A Liar (2/19), Last of Her Name (2/26), Stolen Time (2/5), Four Dead Queens (2/26)

March
A Question of Holmes (Charlotte Holmes #4)
Author: Brittany Cavallaro
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: March 5, 2019
Synopsis: [Here]

This series is one of the few contemporary books I will read. Probably because twisty and dark and just so damned dramatic in all the way I love. Even though the cover makes me want to scream in rage (ORANGE? WHY? WHY? WHY?), I will be picking this one up the moment it is released.

Honorable mentions: The Fever King (3/1), The Waking Forest (3/12), Once & Future (3/5), To Best the Boys (3/5)

April
Wicked Saints
Author:
Emily A. Duncan
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Release Date: April 2, 2019
Synopsis: [Here]

Look, just go read the synopsis and try to not add it to your TBR. Go on, I’ll wait here…

Honorable Mentions: (April is gonna be a good month, btw) The Devouring Gray (4/2), Descendant of the Crane (4/2), The Raven’s Tale (4/16), We Rule the Night (4/2), The Hummingbird Dagger (4/16)


May
Aurora Rising
Author:
Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Release Date: May 7, 2019
Synopsis: [Here]

I CANNOT WAIT FOR THIS ONE OMG IS IT MAY YET

Honorable Mentions: DEV1AT3 (5/2019), We Hunt the Flame (5/14), Dark Shores (5/7), Nocturna (5/7)


June
Blood Heir
Author
: Amélie Wen Zhao
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: June 4, 2019
Synopsis: [Here]

I found this one through #bookstagram and damn does it sound good.

Honorable Mentions: Seven Deadly Shadows (6/4), The Beholder (6/4)




July
Dark Age
Author:
Pierce Brown
Publisher: Del Rey
Release Date: July 9, 2019
Synopsis: [Here]

I’ve been reading the Red Rising books since the first one came out in 2014. Brown, besides being brutal to his reader’s emotions, is a creator of worlds and characters that I lose myself in. I am counting down the days until Dark Age is in my hands.

Honorable Mentions: The Merciful Crow (7/30), The Storm Crow (7/9), The Beckoning Shadow (7/2), Grimoire Noir (7/23)

August
House of Salt and Sorrows
Author:
Erin A. Craig
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: August 6, 2019
Synopsis: [Here]

I hate Summer and August is the most summery of the summer months. This book sounds dark and mysterious and will be a perfect world for me to escape into during my summer month dread.

Honorable Mentions: Wild Savage Stars (8/27)


September
Darkdawn (The Nevernight Chronicles #3)
Author:
Jay Kristoff
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Release Date: September 3, 2019
Synopsis: [Here]

MIA FUCKING CORVERE. Enough said.

Honorable Mentions: The Girl the Sea Gave Back (9/3), Serpent & Dove (9/3), A Treason of Thorns (9/10)


No Cover Image Yet…

October
Into the Crooked Place
Author:
Alexandra Christo
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Release Date: October 2019
Synopsis: [Here]

The synopsis has some of my key words: black magic and young crooks. Also, I’m here for the Crooked Place. I love names like that.

Honorable Mentions: Ninth House (10/1), Beyond the Black Door (10/29), The Never Tilting World (10/15)

November
Chain of Gold (The Last Hours #1)
Author:
Cassandra Clare
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Release Date: November 19, 2019
Synopsis: [Here]

I mean…it’s Shadowhunters. So I’m sold.

Honorable Mentions: The Sky Weaver (11/12)


December
…I’m sure there is something that will be released in December that I’ll be waitin on. I just don’t know what it is yet  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

If this has shown me anything, its that there are a lot of good books to read next year!

Book Review: Stalking Jack the Ripper

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Stalking Jack the Ripper
Author: Kerri Maniscalo
Publisher: Jimmy Patterson
Genre: YA Historical Fiction/Horror
Release Date: September 20, 2016
Rating: 4 Stars
Goodreads Synopsis:Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord’s daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.
Against her stern father’s wishes and society’s expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle’s laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.
The story’s shocking twists and turns, augmented with real, sinister period photos, will make this dazzling, #1 New York Times bestselling debut from author Kerri Maniscalco impossible to forget.

This. Damn. Book. I technically started reading this book in October 2017, but put it down because my book follow through has been terrible the last year. I finally started SJTR back up in September of this year and pretty much devoured it. And then I mentally yelled at myself for ever putting it down.

Let’s talk about the best part first: THE BANTER! Y’all, I lived for the banter between the mains, Audrey Rose Wadsworth and Thomas Cresswell. It was just so damn good. I am hoping that the delicious banter between these two continues through the rest of the books in the series.

The world building is immersive without being overbearing. I felt like all the characters were well written and believable. I wavered with figuring out the mystery of the story as I usually do, but that was fine. I normally don’t read mysteries for the sake of the mystery. I find that I like mysteries more for the characters. There are always such outlandish characters in mysteries.

All in all, I really enjoyed this book. I gave it 4 stars strictly because I just felt like it didn’t stick with me quite as a book should to garner a 5 star from me. I am definitely going to be continuing this series in the coming year.