Posted in Book Review

Cursed by Thomas Wheeler

Read Dates: September 26, 2019 – October 20, 2019
Publication date: October 1, 2019
Source: eArc via Netgalley

GoodreadsAmazon

Cursed2

4 cats

Nimue is a Fey who holds within her the power of The Hidden. Because of this, she’s viewed as an outcast in her lands and is called “cursed”. But her mother, Lenore, the Arch Druid of their village, makes sure Nimue is taught to hold her own.
Until one day, the Red Paladins ride in and lay waste to Nimue’s people. Lenore gives Nimue the sword of power and tells her to find Merlin. So Nimue sets out to find Merlin per her mother’s final wish. She never expected that this would land her in the company of Arthur and Morgan who mean to help her find Merlin at whatever costs. Nor the company of many other kinds of Fey folk who are on the run from the Red Paladins.
Nimue struggles between her thirst for revenge against the Red Paladins and her decency and sanity. Will the sword of power take over her mind and turn her into a bloodthirsty, power-hungry killer? Will she be able to give the sword to Merlin when she finds him? Or will she use the sword’s history to proclaim herself Queen since whoever wields the sword is the “one true king”?
Regardless of what she decides, kings and interested parties everywhere will do what they can to claim the sword for themselves, even if that means allying with unlikely groups of murderers… or worse.

First of all, I’m super excited that this book is being adapted into a Netflix show. I can’t wait to see all of this come to life on screen!
Secondly… there are a lottttt of characters in this book. So I feel like maybe we should start there. Let’s just give you a brief rundown of who’s involved with this story:

  • Nimue – Main character. Has a connection with the “hidden”. Is labeled as a “cursed” child by the people of her village.
  • Lenore – Nimue’s mother. Arch Druid of Dewdenn
  • Arthur – Sword for hire who takes an interest in Nimue and her cause
  • Morgan – Arthur’s half-sister. Pledges herself to Nimue and her cause
  • Squirrel – 8-year-old little boy from Nimue’s village. He and Nimue are close friends
  • Uther Pendragon – 26-year-old King of England
  • Merlin – Wizard. Advisor of King Uther
  • Lady Lunette – King Uther’s mother, the Queen Regent
  • Gawain – A friend of Nimue’s from Dewdenn. He has since disappeared. They call him “The Green Knight”
  • Rugen – The Leper King
  • Father Carden – Head priest leading the Red Paladins
  • Weeping Monk – Father Carden’s favorite follower
  • Sister Iris – A pupil of Father Carden. She only wants to do his bidding, earn his respect, and be his favorite
  • Brother Salt – Member of the Red Paladins who is particularly good at “carving” information out of people
  • Abbot Wicklow – a mysterious man who is observing the work of the Red Paladins
  • Red Spear – Viking Warlord who is loyal to the Ice King
  • Lord Cumber – The Ice King (self-proclaimed)
  • Hilja – The Ice Queen
  • Pope Abel – Leader of the Trinity
  • Kaze – mysterious purple-robed woman. Gawain’s trusted companion
  • Lady Cacher – of House Chastellain. A friend of Merlin’s

It seems a bit overwhelming, I know, but these characters are introduced in such a way so that you won’t ever be confused. They only come into the story when it is their time. Some are mentioned before they actually play a part but, I’m telling you, the author made this so easy to follow.

Ya know what I found refreshing about this book? There’s a female heroine but she isn’t glorified. She makes mistakes. We’re shown her thought process multiple times where she’s wondering if she’s doing the right thing or she’s trying to figure out if she made the right decision. What’s even more, she makes mistakes! She literally makes choices in the story that lead to bad things happening. But she takes everything as it comes. She owns up to everything. SHE PUTS HER PEOPLE BEFORE HERSELF. Even though those same people ridiculed her at first and saw her as different and weird… she still chose to put them first and do what was best for all and not just one. That was so damn refreshing.

The adventure in this book is endless. The story follows Nimue, Father Carden, and occasionally the Weeping Monk or Arthur. This story does not lack adventure at any point. The action is present from the very start until the very end of the book. I was never bored while reading this story.

I really liked how these classic characters were shown in a different light. Instead of Merlin the wizard who outsmarts everyone and who can get himself out of any situation, he was instead ensnared multiple times. Yes, he still had the witty tongue to get himself out of said situations but sometimes in the story, he just plain got lucky.
Arthur is just as human as the rest of them. Making his own mistakes and bad choices. Running from conflict. But eventually, finding his flaws and correcting himself to be worthy of the knighthood he’s always dreamed of.
Lancelot even makes his appearance in this book! But I won’t go into detail about his character as that would be a MAJOR spoiler.

I feel like this story is a better representation of how things would actually be if the Sword of Power was out there and in the hands of one person. Yes, the Sword of Power chooses someone and that person is said to be the rightful king, but let’s be honest here, there will always be evils who wish the power for themselves and will do ruthless things to get to it. This story embodies that. It shows the selfish desires of man, even the ones who may have meant well in the beginning. It shows the price of wielding such power and how that power can go to your head if you let it. It reminded me a lot of Bilbo Baggins and The One Ring to Rule Them All.

I honestly can’t wait to see all of these characters come to life. I can’t wait to see if the show will be just as relentless as the book was. Torture, mass slaughters, poisonings… It got pretty brutal at times. But, GOODNESS this book was so good. It kept me on the edge of my seat. It kept me wondering what might happen next. Then there were all the twists. Those were so much fun. At one point I was whooping and fist pumping into the air because I was so excited about the twist that came my way.

I did see that this book didn’t do so well where ratings were concerned on Goodreads… But I really enjoyed it and would definitely recommend it to anyone who can handle a middle grade book that has about 100 more pages than it really needs. But again, I was never bored. The adventure was so abundant that I didn’t mind the extra pages.
You do have the option to just wait for the show to come out next year though. But I definitely urge people to always read the book first. 🙂

Shout out to Frank Miller for the amazing illustrations throughout this book! I rather enjoyed those as well!

Keri

Posted in Book Review

You Have to Believe Me by Sunday Tomassetti

Read Dates: August 27, 2019 – September 4, 2019
Expected Publication Date: September 19, 2019
Source: eARC via Ardent Prose PR

GoodreadsAmazon

You Have To Believe Me2

5 cats

Dove is lost. She’s recently lost her husband, Ian, whom she believed to be her one and only, her true love. She didn’t just lose him, she lost him to her best friend Kirsten Best. But soon, they both lose him when he’s murdered and left with no DNA leads for the police to go on. Kirsten suspects Dove, Dove suspects everyone… but both women are determined to get to the bottom of what really happened to Ian.

WHAT A ROLLER COASTER!

So I was invited to read this eARC in exchange for an honest review, and upon going to the Goodreads page to read the synopsis, I was 100% in. Not to mention, the publisher mentioned the book would have a “Minka Kent” feel to it. I discovered Minka last year and was IN LOVE. So, naturally, I was more than willing to give this book a go.
Soon after receiving the eARC, I found that this book was written BY MINKA KENT under the pseudonym Sunday Tomassetti. And that could explain why I was so absolutely taken by this book.

Kent\Tomassetti has a way of fashioning a story around multiple characters and then smoothly delivering the meat of a story in a way that keeps you going and guessing until she reaches the end and she gathers up all those characters you read about throughout the novel and brings them together to show you how their stories intertwine. I LOVE the way she tells a story.

So naturally, I was drawn in from page one of this book. I was never bored. I felt like an armchair detective right along with Dove. Over analyzing everything and writing things down that I thought may be important later on. Little did I know, nothing I was over examining would matter when it came down to who the actual killer was. Because in true Kent fashion, I was given all of these different characters stories to explore and break down that caused me to look in all the wrong places. I LOVED IT.

At first I was thinking Dove was going to be similar to Rachel from The Girl on the Train. A woman gone mad when her husband and her “perfect life” leave her for some other “better” woman. But Dove was so much more than that. I came to really enjoy Dove’s character a lot. The way she didn’t single any one person out… she was always weary of everyone. No matter how long she’d known them or what reasons they lacked to kill her ex husband, she suspected EVERYONE. So looking at the story from her perspective was always enjoyable as she would puzzle out all these possibilities and ridiculous theories behind why a certain person would have been involved.

Kirsten was fun to read as well. I didn’t enjoy her in the beginning. I was kind of in Dove’s corner from the start. Especially since Kirsten was Dove’s best friend before Kirsten began dating her ex husband. I had no sympathy for Kirsten as she sat alone at Ian’s funeral and watched Dove with Ian’s family. But I did come to enjoy Kirsten’s chapters as most of the twists in this book were revealed in her chapters. Not to mention, the things that were happening in Kirsten’s life seemed significant to me… and it turned out they were.

There were multiple supporting characters in the story which was a lot of fun to examine. When I read a mystery with so many characters, I always find myself questioning every last one of them as Dove does in the story. We have Noah, Dove’s boss and friend. Ari, Dove’s co-worker and friend. Michael and Lori, Ian’s parents. David Hobbs, Kirsten’s neighbor who becomes her only friend. There are also some other characters who show up in the story for the sake of finding new information in relation to Ian’s murder. I broke them all down. Every last one of them. But I did NOT see the end coming. I thought I had the killer figured out and also the motive behind the killing, and while I was close, I was wrong.

This book was so amazing and really goes to show that you can “know” a person for most of your life… but do you ever truly KNOW them and know everything they’re capable of?

I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good mystery/who dun’it type novel. Minka Kent, Sunday Tomassetti, it doesn’t matter what name she writes under, I’m going to be reading everything this woman pens.

Keri

Posted in Book Review

The Homecoming by Andrew Pyper

(Read dates: January 28, 2019 – February 1, 2019)
Expected Publication date: February 26, 2019
Source: Netgalley via publisher – Simon and Schuster

GoodreadsAmazon

710h-xrmjsl

cat-face_1f431cat-face_1f431cat-face_1f431cat-face_1f431cat-face_1f431

FIRST FIVER OF THE YEAR!

First of all, Andrew Pyper, WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL MY LIFE? I am scrambling around the internet in a frenzy looking for other books by Pyper. What a writer. WHAT. A. WRITER.

Ok, so this book takes place in the middle of a rain forest in the Pacific Northwest. A family has been called to gather there to read the last will and testament of their estranged father. But there’s a catch to the will: they can all split his assets (which are quite the fortune) but only IF they stay there in the lodge for 30 days. 30 days. With no contact to the outside world. Only them, the lodge, the forest, and the things they haven’t discovered that lurk there… watching them.

Starting this book, I was immediately sucked in. The story is told through the perspective of Aaron, the eldest son of the recently deceased Raymond Quinlan. As a surgeon who works back in the city, saving lives is all Aaron knows. He doesn’t really know how to do anything other than surgery. Especially being in a lodge where he is forced to converse with his family. What he didn’t expect, were the dark turns their stay would take. Every member of the family has a weird feeling about the forest and what lies within the massive acreage. But things really start to pick up when Aaron’s sister sees a man in the woods… watching her. From there, if I tell you anything else… it would be too much.

What I can tell you is how ABSOLUTELY AMAZING this book is. JUST READ IT!!

I was genuinely afraid of what may happen next and boy did I have every right to be. This book threw so many things at me that I did NOT see coming. This was definitely one of those “WTF” type books in the sense that you never really understand what’s happening until the characters lay it all out for you. Highly recommend this for fans of thrillers. I would call this a mystery book as well but it’s so much more a thriller. It will keep you guessing, keep you on the edge of your seat, and leave you struggling to catch your breath when it’s all over.

Special thanks to the publisher for providing the ARC via Netgalley.