Book Review

#SciFi Worth Reading: Mintari A World of Dinosaurs #BookReview #scifibooks

In the captivating world of Mintari by Daniel Arenson, readers are transported to a remote planet where dinosaurs roam once again. This thrilling dinosaur adventure captures the imagination, reminiscent of the excitement and wonder sparked by Jurassic Park. From the pristine landscapes to the heroic endeavors of Jurassic Joe, Arenson’s storytelling prowess brings to life a world teeming with ancient beasts and danger.

I love my dinosaur stories and, honestly, most disappoint me. Mintari didn’t. At the heart of the story is Jurassic Joe, a legendary figure known as a defender of dinosaurs and a relentless foe of poachers. As a semi-mythical ranger who resides in the untamed wilderness of Mintari, Jurassic Joe embodies the spirit of adventure and heroism. Tragedy has Joe wallowing in a cave, nursing his pain.

Meanwhile, Simone LaRue needs to jumpstart her floundering journalism career and flies off to Mintari to find Jurassic Joe. Getting the scoop on him will get her back in everyone’s good graces. Only, she is unaware that she is being used by a ruthless businessman – Joe’s estranged father.

The backstory of each of the main characters is complicated and intricately woven so that they collide. With lots of dino action and bad guys worth hating, Mintari was a novel I enjoyed. Here’s the blurb:

Dinosaurs. Majestic giants. They’ve captured our imagination for generations. On planet Mintari, they live again.

Mintari is far from Earth. Wild. Pristine. A world where triceratops herd across grasslands, pterosaurs soar over golden mountains, and T-rexes prowl the misty forests.

But these magnificent beasts might soon disappear. And only one man can save them.

They call him Jurassic Joe. A semi-mythical figure. A ranger who lives in the wilderness of Mintari. Defender of dinosaurs. Bane of poachers. Folk hero. But is he real?

He better be. Because big game hunters are landing on Mintari. A lot of them. It will take a hero to stop them. And they must be stopped. Or the dinosaurs of Mintari will be lost forever.

Fantasy Worth Reading: The Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking #BookReview #fantasybooks #booklovers

The Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking by T. Kingfisher is a delightful and enchanting novel that blends the genres of fantasy and mystery to create a unique and engaging story. The novel centers around the life of fourteen-year-old baker Mona, who has an insignificant magic ability to influence dough, and a sourdough starter familiar named Bob.

The novel takes place in the charming and whimsical world of Riverbraid.  Some folks, but not many, are magical. The magical talent a wizard has is often very narrow in scope and is often very minor. What makes Riverbraid different from the neighboring city-states is that it leaves magic folk alone and blends them into normal society.

This changes very quickly when Mona arrives at the bakery one morning and finds a dead body. What’s more alarming is she’s arrested for the crime and dragged in front of the duchess for trial. From there the story keeps building and twisting until Mona has no choice but to fight back.

Turns out, she’s the last wizard left as a hostile army gathers outside the city walls. But what can she and her little talent with dough do against an army of men who enjoy killing and destroying? This is the jewel of the novel – being creative enough to turn the insignificant into something formidable and mighty.

This was a fun read. The characters are well-developed and endearing, with Mona serving as a relatable and lovable protagonist. The supporting cast, including an animated gingerbread cookie, a woman who can bring dead horses back to life, and a young thief, add charm and depth.

The plot is fast-paced, and at its heart, The Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking is a story about resilience and courage in the face of adversity. Mona faces numerous obstacles and dangers as she tries to protect her town. She overcomes them all with some sage advice from more experienced wizards and a lot of encouragement. Besides, there’s no one else.

Here’s the blurb:

Fourteen-year-old Mona isn’t like the wizards charged with defending the city. She can’t control lightning or speak to water. Her familiar is a sourdough starter and her magic only works on bread. She has a comfortable life in her aunt’s bakery making gingerbread men dance.

But Mona’s life is turned upside down when she finds a dead body on the bakery floor. An assassin is stalking the streets of Mona’s city, preying on magic folk, and it appears that Mona is his next target. And in an embattled city suddenly bereft of wizards, the assassin may be the least of Mona’s worries…

Fantasy Worth Reading: The London Seance Society #BookReview #fantasybooks #Booklovers

The London Seance Society by Sarah Penner was a fast-paced story full of twists and turns. And ghosts! It is a story of very few characters, but they are all excellently written and relatable.

Penner’s writing style is atmospheric and evocative, which immersed me deep into the world of seances in 1873.  Lenna Wickes is apprenticing with the experienced and renowned Parisian medium, Vaudeline D’Allaire. Vaudeline is the same medium Lenna’s sister was learning from when she was murdered. Lenna doesn’t believe in ghosts or seances or any of what she considers ‘nonsense’, but she’ll do what she has to, to find out what happened to her sister.

Meanwhile, in London, Mr. Morley is struggling to keep the London Seance Society going after the society’s leader, Mr. Wolckman, was murdered. Morley decides the best course of action is to invite Vaudeline to London and have her conduct a seance to find the murderer of Mr. Wolckman. The society and London are froth with dangers and Vaudeline won’t go unless Morley ensures her safety. Mr. Morley is willing to do what he has to.

The mysteries and facts of the murders have layers that slowly reveal the shocking truth.

After a slow start (which is only the first chapter really), this story quickly morphs into a splendid page-turner with a very satisfying end to the bad guys. I would recommend this speculative fiction treasure, which seamlessly blends the genres of magical realism, mystery, historical, and paranormal. I liked this book so much, I went and looked up what else Sarah Penner wrote. She only has one other book – The Lost Apothecary -which is also a gem. I look forward to her next release.

Here’s the blurb:

1873. At an abandoned château on the outskirts of Paris, a dark séance is about to take place, led by acclaimed spiritualist Vaudeline D’Allaire. Known worldwide for her talent in conjuring the spirits of murder victims to ascertain the identities of the people who killed them, she is highly sought after by widows and investigators alike.

Lenna Wickes has come to Paris to find answers about her sister’s death, but to do so, she must embrace the unknown and overcome her own logic-driven bias against the occult. When Vaudeline is beckoned to England to solve a high-profile murder, Lenna accompanies her as an understudy. With shared determination, the women find companionship that perhaps borders on something more. And as they team up with the powerful men of London’s exclusive Séance Society to solve the mystery, they begin to suspect that they are not merely out to solve a crime, but perhaps entangled in one themselves…



#Fantasy Worth Reading: The Buried Giant #BookReview

Fantasy worth reading, The buried giantThe Buried Giant is one of the best in fantasy books worth reading. This beautifully written novel combines elements of fantasy, historical fiction, and allegory to create a thought-provoking and emotionally resonant story. Set in a mythical version of medieval Britain, the book follows an elderly couple named Axl and Beatrice as they embark on a journey to find their long-lost son.

What makes this book stand out is its exploration of memory, forgetting, and the role of storytelling in shaping personal and collective identities. Axl and Beatrice live in a society where a mysterious mist has clouded people’s memories, and they struggle to remember their own past as well as the larger events that have shaped their world. As they travel through this fantastical landscape, they encounter a range of characters and situations that force them to confront the truth of their own past and the harsh realities of the present.

Despite its heavy themes, The Buried Giant is also a pleasure to read on a purely aesthetic level. Ishiguro’s prose is elegant and lyrical, with a keen eye for detail and a gift for creating memorable characters. He weaves together elements of Arthurian legend, myth, and folklore to create a unique and haunting world that feels both familiar and entirely new.

Overall, I would highly recommend The Buried Giant to anyone looking for the best in fantasy books worth reading. It is a deeply moving and profound novel that will linger in your mind long after you finish reading it.

The Blurb:

In post-Arthurian Britain, the wars that once raged between the Saxons and the Britons have finally ceased. Axl and Beatrice, an elderly British couple, set off to visit their son, whom they haven’t seen in years. And, because a strange mist has caused mass amnesia throughout the land, they can scarcely remember anything about him. As they are joined on their journey by a Saxon warrior, his orphan charge, and an illustrious knight, Axl and Beatrice slowly begin to remember the dark and troubled past they all share.

By turns savage, suspenseful, and intensely moving, The Buried Giant is a luminous meditation on the act of forgetting and the power of memory.

Book Eaters: #BookReview #Fantasy Worth Reading #fantasybooks

discover great fantasy books, The Book EatersIn “The Book Eaters” by Sunyi Dean, readers are invited into a mysterious world on the Yorkshire Moors, where a hidden lineage of individuals possesses a unique ability to consume books as sustenance. However, this seemingly enchanting skill takes a darker turn when Devon, a member of The Family, discovers that her son has a peculiar hunger for human minds. Dean’s novel delves into themes of family, identity, and the consequences of forbidden appetites.

Within the secretive lineage of The Family, books are not mere vessels of knowledge but a literal source of sustenance. Dean’s imaginative concept paints a vivid picture of a world where books are devoured, their content absorbed and retained by those who partake in this literary feast. Spy novels become peppery snacks, romance novels are sweet delicacies, and even maps can be consumed to recall specific destinations. The author’s portrayal of this unconventional culinary practice sets the stage for an intriguing exploration of the characters’ relationships with literature and the repercussions they face.

As a member of The Family, Devon is raised amidst the rituals and traditions that revolve around their book-eating abilities. She witnesses her brothers feasting on tales of adventure and valor, while she herself is nourished with carefully selected fairy tales and cautionary stories. Dean skillfully weaves the themes of family bonds, the weight of inherited expectations, and the struggle to reconcile individual desires within a deeply rooted lineage. Through Devon’s journey, readers experience the complexities and conflicts that arise when personal identity clashes with established traditions.

It is such a unique plot and was a treat to read. There were a few unnecessary chapters, IMO, but overall it is a well-written debut novel. If you like something different and dark, this will fit your appetite.

Here’s the blurb:

Out on the Yorkshire Moors lives a secret line of people for whom books are food, and who retain all of a book’s content after eating it. To them, spy novels are a peppery snack; romance novels are sweet and delicious. Eating a map can help them remember destinations, and children, when they misbehave, are forced to eat dry, musty pages from dictionaries.

Devon is part of The Family, an old and reclusive clan of book eaters. Her brothers grow up feasting on stories of valor and adventure, and Devon―like all other book eater women―is raised on a carefully curated diet of fairy tales and cautionary stories.

But real life doesn’t always come with happy endings, as Devon learns when her son is born with a rare and darker kind of hunger―not for books, but for human minds.


#SciFi Worth Reading: Noor #scifibooks #booklovers

Noor by Nnedi Okorafor was a fabulous treat. With each turn of the page, the story unfolds, revealing layers of mystery and intrigue.

“Noor” introduces us to a world where technology and magic coexist in an uneasy balance. Set in a futuristic African city, the story revolves around the life of the titular character, AO, a young woman with a special ability to see and manipulate the threads of fate. From the very beginning, Okorafor skillfully draws us into AO’s world, a place where ancient traditions intertwine with modernity and where the line between reality and the supernatural blurs.

It begins with AO nursing a broken heart. Her man left her, and she drives to the market to get what she needs to make herself a feast, a feast to forget him. The story starts so ordinary, but it doesn’t stay that way. There was surprise after surprise as the story skillfully unfolds.

I absolutely loved this story and highly recommend it.

Here’s the blurb:

Anwuli Okwudili prefers to be called AO. To her, these initials have always stood for Artificial Organism. AO has never really felt…natural, and that’s putting it lightly. Her parents spent most of the days before she was born praying for her peaceful passing because even in-utero she was “wrong”. But she lived. Then came the car accident years later that disabled her even further. Yet instead of viewing her strange body the way the world views it, as freakish, unnatural, even the work of the devil, AO embraces all that she is: A woman with a ton of major and necessary body augmentations. And then one day she goes to her local market and everything goes wrong.

Once on the run, she meets a Fulani herdsman named DNA and the race against time across the deserts of Northern Nigeria begins. In a world where all things are streamed, everyone is watching the “reckoning of the murderess and the terrorist” and the “saga of the wicked woman and mad man” unfold. This fast-paced, relentless journey of tribe, destiny, body, and the wonderland of technology revels in the fact that the future sometimes isn’t so predictable. Expect the unaccepted.

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