Reading Lately: July 2021 Edition

It’s time for another round of book reviews! Had a few duds this month that I wasn’t too impressed with. But did have 2 solid reads.

Book reviews of She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan; The Godstone by Violette Malan; The Sinful Lives of Trophy Wives by Kristin Miller; Seven Deaths of an Empire by G.R. Matthews; Rabbits by Terry Miles | Puppies & Pretties

What I’ve been reading lately

Rabbits by Terry Miles: I didn’t like this one at all. I kept reading hoping it would get better and it just didn’t. There is a game that isn’t a game that might actually be helping keep the world together. The idea of dimensions was interesting. But the characters are boring and I just didn’t care about any of them. This is a hard pass.
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
c/o Netgalley

Seven Deaths of an Empire by G.R. Matthews: Set in a world where an empire is ever expanding, it follows General Bordan and magician apprentice Kyron. The emperor has just died on the front and Kyron is sent with a group to protect the emperor’s body back to the capital. Bordan is back in the capital trying to keep everything together until the succession can happen. I wanted to like this, and it does have some high points, but I found Kyron to be annoying and a brat. The overall setting and the plot was interesting, if a little opaque until the very end. But I just couldn’t get past Kyron’s whining.
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
c/o Netgalley

She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan: This was a great book. Set in China under Mongol rule, famine is rampant. One family has a son, Zhu, that is given the destiny of greatness, something unheard of in a peasant family. And their daughter was given the destiny of nothing. When bandits take the last that the family owns, Zhu dies. Instead of succumbing to the same fate, the daughter takes on her brother’s identity and goes to join the monastery Zhu was promised to. We then follow her/him as she continues to grow and try and embrace Zhu’s fate of greatness as her own, no matter what it takes. This book tackles some pretty heavy topics like gender identity, fate/destiny, war and exploring if the ends justify the means. The characters are complex, the plot is fast moving and the twists and turns will keep you reading. As you can imagine, this is a heavy and dark book, but still fantastic.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
c/o Netgalley

The Sinful Lives of Trophy Wives by Kristin Miller: It’s been a bit since I’ve read a thriller and this one is quite enjoyable. It gave me Big Little Lies vibes. Set in an ultra-ritzy neighborhood in California, we follow Brooke, an author and newly married trophy wife as she meets two other women in the neighborhood, Erin and Georgia. Erin is a big newscaster and Georgia is known as the Black Widow, as both her husbands have died and she is now preparing to marry her third husband. But there are hidden secrets in their lives that are starting to come to the surface. This is a quick read and fast paced. The twist at the end was definitely not what I was expecting, but I liked it. This would make for a perfect beach read.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
c/o Netgalley

The Godstone by Violette Malan: This book was…fine. I struggle to pinpoint exactly what I didn’t like about it. I think it was the lack of drive by the characters. Set in a world with magic practitioners, we follow our two main characters to the City as Arlyn has been called to be the executor of the will of a distant cousin. But plot twist, Arlyn is really the cousin that “died.” (Practitioners live a really long time and Arlyn has been in hiding). His goal is to protect (or does he?) an artifact that he made that could ruin the world. He brings along Fenra to help (aka use) as she is a much stronger practitioner than she seems. So back to my drive comment. The characters are literally trying to save the world, and there is no urgency within the plot or conversations. It’s like, oh I suppose we should try to get the Godstone before the other dude gets it. Oh darn, we didn’t, now we have to figure something else out. Shucks. I found the worldbuilding interesting, but there were some pretty big gaps in it (like for real, what is a Mode?!?) Anyway, I can’t recommend this, but I also can’t say don’t read it either. It’s just meh.
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
c/o Netgalley


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