NetGalley eArc Review: The Seventh Perfection by Daniel Polansky

This is going to be a short review, because honestly I don’t have anything to say about this book other than why I didn’t like it.

I try to find the good in books, but this is probably the worst book I have ever read.


Title: The Seventh Perfection
Author: Daniel Polansky
Page Count: 176
Genre: Fantasy Novella
Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

When a woman with perfect memory sets out to solve a riddle, the threads she tugs on could bring a whole city crashing down. The God-King who made her is at risk, and his other servants will do anything to stop her.

To become the God-King’s Amanuensis, Manet had to master all seven perfections, developing her body and mind to the peak of human performance. She remembers everything that has happened to her, in absolute clarity, a gift that will surely drive her mad. But before she goes, Manet must unravel a secret which threatens not only the carefully prepared myths of the God-King’s ascent, but her own identity and the nature of truth itself.

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The Seventh Perfection was 176 pages of a waste of time. Throughout the entire story I didn’t figure out what the point of the story was, where it was going, or how any of the stories overlapped.

I had no idea what was happening at any point, I wasn’t even sure if our main character was male, female, or human half the time.

When I thought I understood what was happening, something would happen in the story and I would be more confused and lost than before.

I’ll give the author credit for writing a story in the second perspective. It’s a very rare situation, but honestly not sure it was worth it.

Maybe it was just me. Maybe I was the reason the story didn’t make sense, but I can honestly say the only thing that I liked from the book was the idea that people spent their lives learning these different “perfections” to serve the ruler.


I am sorry to disappoint everyone with this review. I don’t have the best luck for books I look out for on NetGalley, I seem to always be disappointed in them, but one day I will find one I enjoy!

Book Review: The Fool’s Folly by Keith Moray

I received this book as an eARC from NetGalley in return for an honest review of it. 

I don’t often read mystery, but when I do, I enjoy the thrill of it.

Mystery novels can have an unsatisfying end, which ruins the entirety of the book, and mystery novels can have characters jump to some wild conclusions for the sake of wrapping up all the loose ends. 

It is a tough line to walk, making the character learn enough to solve all the clues, but when done well it makes the story much better.

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Trust no one…

1485, Yorkshire, England

King Richard III has held the English throne for two years. But the country is rife with rumours about the fate of his nephews, the two princes imprisoned in the Tower of London, and there is a continual threat of rebellion by Henry Tudor.

King Richard’s heir, John de la Pole, presides over the stronghold of Sandal Castle. When a suspicious death occurs in his household, he instructs Sir Giles Beeston, the newly appointed judge, to the Manor Court to investigate.

But before Sir Giles can get to the bottom of the murder, more grisly deaths occur.

Are the deaths connected? Is there a plot against the King?

And can Sir Giles unmask the killer before he too falls victim to the killer…?

Title: The Fool’s Folly 
Author: Keith Moray
Rating: ★★★★☆
Genre: 
Historical Fiction, Mystery
Page Count:
 233


A Story Not of Our Time

Stories set in our world and time are often of little interest to me. I can enjoy them, if the story is interesting enough, but I much prefer travelling to a time or place where I couldn’t possibly have lived.  

The medieval period is probably my favourite time period, with the Victorian Era a close second. 

A medieval mystery is an interesting combination, because often we associate mysteries with evidence, DNA samples, camera footage, etc. That isn’t possible when your greatest scientific advancement is a siege engine. 

When all those things are missing, logic and good old detective work takes hold.

The Fool’s Folly captures those two features well. Moray creates great characters that show their intelligence from the beginning, and the book explores it along the way. Their conclusions aren’t drawn out of nowhere, they make sense and you can follow them.


Politics at Play

A major issue that can easily arise when a book is set in medieval England is the politics. People could spend their whole life studying medieval England. The lord and ladies, the wars, the political game of chess.

It can be exhausting, and easily become hard to follow. 

The Fool’s Folly does suffer from this at times. It never becomes impossible to follow, but there are moments it becomes tough to understand everyone’s relationship to the story. 

Other than those few moments, the politics of the book aren’t a major plot line. The characters that are introduced are very few, and their positions in the world are easy to understand.


Left Unsatisfied

I wasn’t a fan of the way this story ended, but to be honest I can’t explain why. 

I enjoyed the characters well enough, the logic to come to the realization of who the killer was, was sound and made sense. The final scenes of the book weren’t out of place.

Thinking on it, I think I was left unsatisfied with who the killer ended up being. I enjoyed their justification, I just didn’t like how they left the people’s lives they were involved with. 


Final Thoughts

The Fool’s Folly is a short read, and if you enjoy mysteries, then you should pick it up. 

A short book like this won’t take much time to get through, but you’ll enjoy trying to solve the murder for yourself. 

The politics at play won’t disrupt the story for too long, but be aware that they can have an effect on your understanding. 

Blog Tour and Book Review: The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Title: The Inheritance Games
Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller
Pages: 384
Rating: ★★★★☆

Avery Grambs has a plan for a better future: survive high school, win a scholarship, and get out. But her fortunes change in an instant when billionaire Tobias Hawthorne dies and leaves Avery virtually his entire fortune. The catch? Avery has no idea why–or even who Tobias Hawthorne is. To receive her inheritance, Avery must move into sprawling, secret passage-filled Hawthorne House, where every room bears the old man’s touch–and his love of puzzles, riddles, and codes. 

Unfortunately for Avery, Hawthorne House is also occupied by the family that Tobias Hawthorne just dispossessed. This includes the four Hawthorne grandsons: dangerous, magnetic, brilliant boys who grew up with every expectation that one day, they would inherit billions. Heir apparent Grayson Hawthorne is convinced that Avery must be a con-woman, and he’s determined to take her down. His brother, Jameson, views her as their grandfather’s last hurrah: a twisted riddle, a puzzle to be solved. Caught in a world of wealth and privilege, with danger around every turn, Avery will have to play the game herself just to survive.


A Thrill Ride from the Start

The Inheritance Games puts you in the action right from the start. You don’t have a chance to catch your breath because after a few pages something puts you right in the middle of the drama.

And the ride doesn’t slow down. There is intrigue and deception, red herrings and puzzles thrown at us left and right, there is hardly a chance to slow down.

Barnes jams a fun puzzle solving story into 384 pages, and it fits perfectly. Any less or any more, and the story would seem forced in either direction.

The characters push the plot forward and we never know who we can truly trust, and who is against the protagonist.


Well-Written Characters

The characters development in this book are some of the best I have seen in such a short piece. Too often, characters are either too developed where they become unbelievable, or they are underdeveloped where they are as interesting as a soda cracker.

We get introduced to just over a dozen different characters that are prominent in this story, and the only one we can trust completely is the protagonist.

The characters are often simply written, but that simplicity is explored to its fullest extent.

I wouldn’t say any of the characters are deeply explored, but each of them has an idea or personality that they embody, and Barnes develops them perfectly.

There are a handful of characters we should be able to trust in the story, but Barnes’ writing makes it so that we can’t trust anyone else in the story. This only adds to the tension that the story already had.


A Simple but Effective Mystery

I don’t often read mystery books, but when they are written well, they can be a lot of fun and thrilling.

Barnes’ gives us an escape room type mystery that takes place on the land of an impossibly large mansion.

With almost anything as a possibility in the mansion, The Inheritance Games follows the protagonist and a group of four brothers as they try to get in the mind of their now deceased grandfather.

A mystery doesn’t have to be world ending, or life saving. A mystery can be as simple as finding the answer to the final puzzle your grandfather gave to you.

Barnes takes that simple idea, and expands it into a simple but fun mystery. Her character’s story doesn’t save any lives, but to her, it’s everything. Her world is torn apart, and that means we are invested in what happens to her.


Final Thoughts

The Inheritance Games is fun and fast-paced read. You’ll be hooked by it from the start, and it will take you for a thrill ride right up until the end.

The ending of the book sets up a good sequel, and the reactions from people online point to a lot of excitement around the sequel when it comes out.

Book Review: Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson

With Rhythm of War coming out in a few months, I have been reviewing the entire Stormlight Archives series.

The Way of Kings
Words of Radiance

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Title: Oathbringer
Rating: ★★★★☆
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Genre: High Fantasy
Page Count: 1,248

In Oathbringer, the third volume of the New York Timesbestselling Stormlight Archive, humanity faces a new Desolation with the return of the Voidbringers, a foe with numbers as great as their thirst for vengeance.

Dalinar Kholin’s Alethi armies won a fleeting victory at a terrible cost: The enemy Parshendi summoned the violent Everstorm, which now sweeps the world with destruction, and in its passing awakens the once peaceful and subservient parshmen to the horror of their millennia-long enslavement by humans. While on a desperate flight to warn his family of the threat, Kaladin Stormblessed must come to grips with the fact that the newly kindled anger of the parshmen may be wholly justified.

Nestled in the mountains high above the storms, in the tower city of Urithiru, Shallan Davar investigates the wonders of the ancient stronghold of the Knights Radiant and unearths dark secrets lurking in its depths. And Dalinar realizes that his holy mission to unite his homeland of Alethkar was too narrow in scope. Unless all the nations of Roshar can put aside Dalinar’s blood-soaked past and stand together–and unless Dalinar himself can confront that past–even the restoration of the Knights Radiant will not prevent the end of civilization.


The World is Torn Open

Oathbringer starts in a world that has been torn open. A world that nobody has ever seen, and nobody quite understands anymore.

Most things are the same for our characters, but the few differences are changing things so quickly that this 1,200 page book seems so fast paced, its nearly impossible to put it down.

We follow the same characters throughout the book. It is their story, and we focus on how their actions and experiences affect and are affected by everything that is going on.

Sanderson is a master world builder. Within three books, he has made a world with so many mysteries and background plot lines, that it’s created a spiderweb in my mind of the possibilities.

Sanderson writes in a way that even though we know this series is going to take many more books to complete, we can’t help but feel the anxiety and stress that the characters are feeling. They must navigate this new world, and the stressors that come along with it.


A Series Just Beginning

The Stormlight Archive series is just beginning. We aren’t halfway done, yet I feel like these three books have created a world so much deeper than a lot of other books I read.

Oathbringer has opened the world’s doors even wider, and I can’t imagine how things will end up.

With each page, more answers were given, but at the same time, more mysteries and questions popped up.

Oathbringer is a big turning point in the story. We hit a turning point of the character’s ignorance being tested. Their beliefs and understandings of the world are either proven wrong, or are changed, and Sanderson’s writing does a great job at making it relatable and something that the readers are able to feel along with the characters.


A Deeper Experience

Oathbringer is a part of a series that is the best at world building and character arcs, in my opinion. Very few books I have read stand close to the work that Sanderson has done with this series.

Oathbringer focuses on Dalinar, the seemingly head of the Alethi forces against the end of the world. He has been deemed insane, almost from the first moment we met him.

Getting the chance to get into his mind has been one of the best choices by Sanderson.

Dalinar is the one character truly understanding what is happening, but even he doesn’t know a fraction of what is going on.

Getting inside his head and seeing the visions alongside him makes it possible to understand the world in a bigger sense than focusing on just the main characters.


Final Thoughts

Oathbringer is the third book in probably my favourite book series ever. It is so complex and build such an interesting world, that the reason I couldn’t give it five stars is because it might be getting too big.

Things can get too out there too quickly if Sanderson doesn’t focus the story a bit more. I know he has the writing capabilities to do so, but this world is getting larger and larger with each book, and it could quickly get too big for its own shoes.


What did you think of Oathbringer and the rest of the Stormlight Archive Series? Let’s chat about it in the comments or on social media.

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Movie Review: Howl’s Moving Castle

To make my way through the Studio Ghibli reviews I have been doing these last few months, today we have How’s Moving Castle.

If you’re Interested in my other Studio Ghibli reviews, you can find them here:


Title: Howl’s Moving Castle
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Rating: ★★★★☆

Sophie has an uneventful life at her late father’s hat shop, but all that changes when she befriends wizard Howl who lives in a magical flying castle. However, the evil Witch of Waste takes issue with their budding relationship and casts a spell on young Sophie, which ages her prematurely. Now Howl must use all his magical talents to battle the jealous hag and return Sophie to her former youth and beauty.

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A Story of Self Worth

Usually we see stories of self-worth and self-love happen in teenage movies. They’re young and often have a fresh outlook on the world. Their minds are impressionable and they aren’t yet set in their ways.

Adults are usually set in their ways and understand their place in the world. We see them change some times, but not usually in the way they see themselves.

Howl’s Moving Castle follows Sophie and her journey to discovering who she really is. It’s told in the way that Studio Ghibli movies usually tell their stories: in the background of the main plot line.

Though it’s subtle, if you pay attention enough, the characters grow in a fluid, linear way. They’re not jumping from place to place in their development, they change slowly throughout the whole movie.


A Fun Adventure

In the foreground of the story, Sophie and her new found family try to save Howl as he fights against the warring humans. There is plenty of magic, feel-good fun, and tension that it makes for a great movie.

The beauty of animated movies is that you can tell a story based off the animations. The world and the time period don’t need to be mentioned, the viewer can pick that up based off of what we are seeing in the background. Animated movies do this in a way that real-life movies can’t. The message doesn’t come off as strongly as if it were animated.

Howl’s Moving Castle focuses on just the story and tells it at a perfect pace.

The magic doesn’t need to make sense, the world doesn’t need to be explained. It is a self-contained adventure that doesn’t need anything further.


Subtle Growth

My favourite part of this movie is something that happens to Sophie at different times in the movie. This is a bit of a spoiler warning, so if you haven’t seen it yet you may want to skip ahead.

Sophie is turned into an old woman at the start of the movie, and part of her story is to find a way to reverse that spell.

There is never a mention of how she can reverse it, but at times we see her slip from old-woman Sophie into the Sophie we saw at the beginning of the movie.

Nobody seems to realize it, but if you’re really paying attention, Sophie changes between the two when she has moments of personal strength.

She has moments where she acts in ways that shows she is more than what others say she is, and Sophie’s outward appearance reflects that.

When she acts as her true self, that is what the audience sees, and vice-versa.

It’s subtle throughout the movie, but I think it is a nice message for a family movie like Howl’s Moving Castle.


What did you think of Howl’s Moving Castle? Where does it rank in your Studio Ghibli favorites? Let’s talk about it in the comments, or on social media!
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Book Tour and Review: Come Join the Murder by Holly Rae Garcia

Hello dear readers, it feels like it has been a while since we have been in a book tour with Blackthorn Book Tours. I want to thank them for giving me a copy of Come Join the Murder in return for an honest review.

I had to refresh my memory of this book a bit because it has been quite a while since I read it; over two months I think, but once I read a few pages it all came back to me.

Fair warning, if this book does sound like something you are interested in, just be aware that there is an excessive amount of violence and possibly sexual assault, but I can’t remember a specific instance of that. Either way, it is a bit gratuitous.

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Title: Come Join the Murder
Author: Holly Rae Garcia
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Buy it here

Rebecca Crow’s four-year-old son is dead and her husband is missing.

Divers find her husband’s car at the bottom of a canal with their son’s small, lifeless body, inside. The police have no suspects and nothing to go on but a passing mention of a man driving a van. Guilt and grief cloud Rebecca’s thoughts as she stumbles toward her only mission: Revenge.

James Porter knows exactly what happened to them, but he’ll do anything to keep it a secret.

James didn’t plan to kill Rebecca’s son, but he’s not too broken up about it, either. There are more important things for him to worry about. He needs money, and his increasing appetite for murder is catching the attention of a nosy detective.


Repetitive Cycle

This book involves murder, obviously. It is in the title after all. Its the murder that we aren’t expecting that ends up being the best part of this book.

We get to see a murder repeated over and over throughout the book, with different variations each time. We don’t know which one is quite the truth, but they all are to some degree.

I think Garcia does a great job of using the cyclical style storytelling to create a great character development and show their slow descent into madness.


Vigilante Justice

Though Vigilantes are often seen as the bad guy, many people see their actions as a good thing. I am not sure if the protagonist in this book is technically a vigilante, I enjoyed that she wasn’t predictable. She could have fallen into one of many stereotypical female character tropes, but Garcia went with a different route and gave us a strong female character that took actions into her own hands.

The short, quick read is a nice touch to this character development because it makes it seem like we are in the protagonist’s mind. Her life is flashing before her eyes, likely happening so fast she can’t sit and think things through.

She quickly devolves and she becomes an entire new person, and the fast-paced story really accentuates that storytelling.


Surface Level Characters

Other than the protagonist, the characters really didn’t have much depth to them.

There are a few small characters we get for a few scenes, and they are more than forgettable. They add so little to the story that I honestly can’t remember anything about them.

The side characters that we get a bit more of are also forgettable. They are fairly bland, stereotypical, and seemed unnatural. It’s hard to call them that because they likely were suffering from some mental health issues, so they wouldn’t be acting normally, but the characters didn’t feel real to me.


Final Thoughts

Come Join the Murder isn’t a bad book. It’s rather interesting because we get nice character development from the protagonist as they fall from grace into an evil person. It is a trope I don’t come across often enough but it is enjoyable.

The book was just a bit bland, which is why I have it three stars. It’s worth the read, but it’s nothing overly special.


What’s your favourite book that has a protagonist go from good to bad? I like the trope and I am looking for more, so share them in the comments!
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Book Review: Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson

Hello dear readers, today we continue on the path of The Stormlight Archive with the second of the three currently released books: Words of Radiance.

I reviewed The Way of Kings last month and did a summary of it to refresh my memory for when book four comes out.

The fourth book Rhythm of War comes out in a few months and I am beyond excited, so I am giving the first three the love they deserve.

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Title: Words of Radiance
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Rating: ★★★★☆
Buy it here

Expected by his enemies to die the miserable death of a military slave, Kaladin survived to be given command of the royal bodyguards, a controversial first for a low-status “darkeyes.” Now he must protect the king and Dalinar from every common peril as well as the distinctly uncommon threat of the Assassin, all while secretly struggling to master remarkable new powers that are somehow linked to his honorspren, Syl.

The Assassin, Szeth, is active again, murdering rulers all over the world of Roshar, using his baffling powers to thwart every bodyguard and elude all pursuers. Among his prime targets is Highprince Dalinar, widely considered the power behind the Alethi throne. His leading role in the war would seem reason enough, but the Assassin’s master has much deeper motives.

Brilliant but troubled Shallan strives along a parallel path. Despite being broken in ways she refuses to acknowledge, she bears a terrible burden: to somehow prevent the return of the legendary Voidbringers and the civilization-ending Desolation that will follow. The secrets she needs can be found at the Shattered Plains, but just arriving there proves more difficult than she could have imagined.

Meanwhile, at the heart of the Shattered Plains, the Parshendi are making an epochal decision. Hard pressed by years of Alethi attacks, their numbers ever shrinking, they are convinced by their war leader, Eshonai, to risk everything on a desperate gamble with the very supernatural forces they once fled. The possible consequences for Parshendi and humans alike, indeed, for Roshar itself, are as dangerous as they are incalculable. 


Character Perspectives

Words of Radiance focuses more on Shallan’s story. She is a main character throughout the first book, but was second fiddle to Kaladin. Now Kaladin takes a step back and his story is more of a supporting role to Shallan.

I am not the biggest fan of Shallan, she seems foolish and selfish, but she becomes more likable in this book than in the first. Each chapter focuses on a small handful of characters, and the overlap in this book is a lot more than the first.

I like that we don’t just get current events and experiences though. We are also getting the backstory for whomever the main character of the book is. It is adding a wonderful amount of depth to the world and I am loving every minute of it.


Character Development

With each backstory we are getting, we discover the world more and more. Within the first two books of the series we explore maybe a tenth of the world, but each chapter let’s us explore a little more each time.

I also think Sanderson does a wonderful job at letting characters grow as the story continues. We already see their struggles and their fears right from the start, but then we get to explore it more, further our understanding of it as the characters come to realize them, and then we watch them grow.

Sanderson is a master of worldbuilding and I honestly don’t know of too many other authors that are able to do what he does in this series.


The Plot Thickens

Each chapter that I finish of Sanderson’s work blows my mind. He is able to take your understanding of his worlds and tear them apart in an instant.

Too often he opens your eyes more to the entirety of his realm, and its really amazing.

What makes me enjoy this book even more is that we get the “bad guy” perspective. Too often books come from the good guy’s perspective, and we don’t really get a chance to see the decisions made by the other side.

Words of Radiance allows us to explore their thoughts, their feelings, and their struggles almost as much as Shallan’s and her allies. I think that it really helps us empathize with them and the story becomes a lot less black and white, there is much more gray.


Final Thoughts

I absolutely love Words of Radiance and the rest of the series. I think it is a terrific example of what a high-fantasy book can and should be. The world is so vast and unknown, the plot so enticing and suspenseful, the magic so well developed, and the characters so well written and developed.


What did you think of Words of Radiance, or the rest of the Stormlight Archive series? Let’s talk about it in the comments, and make sure to follow me on social media for more!
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