Book Reviews

THE BELLES by: Dhonielle Clayton

Dhonielle Clayton is woah!
This book kept me on the edge of my seat, I didn’t know how it would go. Only two parts I guessed correctly and still it’s amazing how they came into play.
In a world of gray, Belles are the only color and the only ones capable of making others beautiful.
What happens when being the favorite turns out to be a bad thing? Where those most beautiful on the outside have the ugliest soul.
Camellia has dreamed of being the chosen favorite all her life. That is until she actually becomes so. A crazy princess, a deceiving “suitor”, broken sisterly relationships, and an accidental murder. Just small snippets of her life.
Be careful what you wish for.

Daughters of Nri by Reni K Amayo

What happens when gods get jealous and team up with jealous mortals?
Tyrants and mass murder.
The Eze Who stole The Mother’s crystal isn’t the man of justice he likes to project to his followers. He is a paranoid man who slaughters villages because they dare to let their twins live.
Naala and Sinai live different lives that are about to collide.
Once I got to page 40, I started flying through reading this. The mystery, the fear, betrayal, anger, just so many emotions. Both sisters go through hardships that in the end make them stronger for the task at hand. I loved seeing them blossom as the story went on.
There were moments I wanted to smack them upside their heads and others where I wished I could hug them.
Reni K Amayo did an amazing job at weaving such a beautiful story and I can’t wait to read its sequel.

AKATA WITCH by Nnedi Okorafor

Akata Witch just kept on with the action. Whether it be from bullies at Sunny school, her home life, or lessons from Anatov.
Sunny is albino, but more as well. Born in America, living in Nigeria, she belongs to two worlds in more than one way. As she learns that she has magic in her spirit, her albinism means she walks in both the world of the living and the world of others.
Through gaining friends who also have magical capabilities she learns more about who she is and family secrets.
It is up to her and her coven to save the world from a murderer.
AKATA WARRIOR by Nnedi Okorafor

Sunny and her Oha coven is back. Though they stopped Ekwensu last time, this time she makes her way through. Sunny pays the price by being separated from Anyanwu, a process that should’ve killed them both.
Sunny learns that she is more than just her spirit face, that she is leopard people and not just because of Anyanwu.
Of course Chichi and Sasha are being troublemakers and their relationship drama. Orlu is the voice of reason and Sunny strength at time.
Together they must face trials to ensure the ending of the world doesn’t happen.
One thing though, I want to know what the Nimm or leopard people took from Udide?

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

I honestly thought it was going to take me at least a week to read. However this book kept my attention and I couldn’t put it down.
Tomi Adeyemi did a beautiful job weaving a story about oppression, magic, and change.
Zélie has grown up under a murderous king and being looked down upon for her white hair. A sign of magi lineage, her mother a powerful Reaper that she watched be murdered when the King destroyed magic. By some twist of fate the Princess of Orisha begs for her help to escape from her father.
They go on a mission to bring back magic to save the diviners and to hopefully make a new kingdom. Sadly, death follows in their wake as the royal guard tracks them. To bring back magic might require more sacrifices than they initially thought.
Zélie has my deepest sympathies for she endures so much pain and grief.
If I could I would give this book more than 5 stars. My favorite read for 2020 thus far!
Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi

I was not expecting that ending. No spoilers just woah!
Zélie is once again dealing with so much pain, betrayal, and the stress of being a leader.
She thought she was only bringing back magic to the diviners, but she brought magic back to everyone. Not everyone deserves it though and because of that there is no shortage of death.
I don’t want to spoil it for anyone else so I’ll just say one more thing, “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.”

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen

Have you ever read a book that you like a lot, but you don’t love it and you don’t know why?
That’s how I feel about Garden Spells. I really enjoyed reading it and will read the rest of the series. Although I’m not in a rush to do so. I can’t quite put my finger on why I didn’t love it. Would I recommend this book? Absolutely.
The Waverleys have always been an oddity for the town of Bascom, North Carolina. Members of the family are endowed with peculiar gifts and their garden is imbued with almost magical properties.
For Sydney, being a Waverley was a curse. She ran as far as she could, but sometimes home is where it’s safest even if you don’t like it.
Claire on the other hand prospers in the constant knowing that Bascom and Waverley’s are meant to be. Why not make a profit on the rumors off the family legacy? However even the best laid plans can have a hiccup especially when that hiccup is in the form of an artsy neighbor who is determined.

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

We’re not in Kansas anymore. And Dorothy ain’t the sweet girl we know from the movie.
Amy Gumm is transported to Oz by Tornado 🌪. Why?
She learns that Oz isn’t like the movie or story she grew up knowing.
Dorothy went back to Oz and turned into a power hungry courtesan.
Good is Wicked and Wicked is Good. However even that isn’t as it seems.
She’s been brought to Oz to kill Dorothy and save the land from dying.
Does she have it in her to kill?
This major spin on a classic is awesome! I can’t wait to read the rest.
The Wicked Will Rise by Danielle Paige

Amy is still stuck in OZ, her first attempt on Dorothy’s life was a failure.
Learning that Ozma and Pete are the same person.
The Wizard telling her she needs Tinman’s heart, Scarecrow’s Brain, & Lion’s Courage before she can kill Dorothy. Easier said than done, right?
But is The Wizard, Wicked or Good?
This book was interesting, getting more insight into the Wicked and watching Amy grow.
However the romantic tension scenario and a few other parts made me not like it as much.
The unexpected betrayal and ending makes up for the ugh moments, somewhat.
Yellow Brick War by Danielle Paige

Honestly how hard is it to kill Dorothy? How many more “good” characters are going to be WICKED? Also why the hell is the once independent, strong-willed heroine turning into a weak-minded individual?
If you can’t tell by the few sentences from above, I’m mad.
What started as a great twist on a classic story with a modern character who wasn’t brainwashed or shell shocked by the beauty of Oz has become a let down.
I don’t want to give away too many spoilers for those who are still looking forward to read this.
All I’m going to say is people from Kansas who travel to Oz somehow get a bit addicted to magic and turn Evil, not WICKED, just plain ol’ EVIL.
Amy for all she endured back in Kansas and in the first book is letting a love interest make her weak. Look I get it love makes us more vulnerable, but in this case it’s making her plain stupid and gullible.
Oh and did you know that the famous Ruby slippers that Dorothy wears are the shoes that returned her to Oz, not the first pair she wore?
Again I let the major WTF moments from beginning and end sway me with my rating.
The End of Oz by Danielle Paige

Another attempt to kill Dorothy has failed.
Did you know there’s a counterpart to Oz called Ev? Where Oz favors emeralds, Ev favors rubies.
Amy, Nox, and an unexpected visitor from Kansas have been transported by a section of yellow brick road to Ev.
Well it seems like Dorothy and the Ruler of Ev, Nome King are to be wed.
Along the way they find, a kind of friend who was long thought dead by The Order of the Wicked.
That ending, woah.
As much as I wanted to give this a higher rating I can’t.
Compared to the other books in the series this was the worst in terms of writing style and overall storyline.
It should not have taken 17 chapters for the author to write how she did in the previous books. Nor should it have taken that long to actually have some substance.
The first 17 chapters felt childish in terms of writing style and were superficial at best.
Honestly with the last two books it seems like
the author got lazy or just didn’t care anymore. Overall I have both enjoyed and hated this series. Oz will never be the same.

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