The Edge of Everything by Jeff Giles

edge of everything

It’s been a shattering year for seventeen-year-old Zoe, who’s still reeling from her father’s shockingly sudden death in a caving accident and her neighbors’ mysterious disappearance from their own home. Then on a terrifying sub-zero, blizzardy night in Montana, she and her brother are brutally attacked in a cabin in the woods–only to be rescued by a mysterious bounty hunter they call X.

X is no ordinary bounty hunter. He is from a hell called the Lowlands, sent to claim the soul of Zoe’s evil attacker and others like him. Forbidden to reveal himself to anyone other than his victims, X casts aside the Lowlands’ rules for Zoe. As X and Zoe learn more about their different worlds, they begin to question the past, their fate, and their future. But escaping the Lowlands and the ties that bind X might mean the ultimate sacrifice for both of them.

Gripping and full of heart, this epic journey will bring readers right to the edge of everything.

Disclaimer: We received a copy of this book from NetGalley courtesy of the publisher (Bloomsbury)

Why we chose it: Both the cover and the description grabbed us. They were enticing, they were intriguing and so we did a little research on the author. What we liked, we found.

Review: The Edge of Everything has left us conflicted. Our mind is in many factions – somewhere between like, love and minor dislike. The book wasn’t perfect, but we’ll get to that later.

The first thing that struck us is the same thing that we always notice first. Our main character. In The Edge of Everything that main character is Zoe. Her point of view is told in third person which works perfectly – it allows an intimate look at her persona without getting caught up in unnecessary detail the way a lot of books do. Let’s start with how funny she is…..

Damn that girl is hilarious. On numerous occasions at the start of and throughout the novel we laughed out loud. Thankfully there was no one around to offer us weird looks or ask questions that would distract us from reading. We can’t stress how wonderfully Jeff Giles captured an authentic sense of humour that has just enough sarcasm and elements of oddity. Zoe’s thoughts and mannerisms came across as unique to her. She’s not a used up trope or an archetype. You’ll find there are some aspects of her character that are flawed (genuinely flawed) but we won’t mention what they are just yet.

After the original sense of giddiness that overtook us we hit that point in a book where you wonder “Are we getting too much information, too soon?” It’s not necessarily the author’s fault – they’ve got a whole world with a cast of characters and a backstory to introduce us to. They’ve got to do it quickly and coherently so we don’t start asking questions later on like “When were we told the colour of Zoe’s eyes?” or “What was Zoe’s relationship with her Dad?” For a moment Jeff Giles managed to annoy us in the way he wrote it (an almost flashback scene that we usually have a thing against)

After a small break we continued on, but it wasn’t long before we hit another snag that had us truly contemplating never reading another word from this book again.

In an event (that we won’t disclose any details on besides what’s given in the description) Zoe meets a guy she’ll come to call X. Jonah, Zoe’s brother meets him too, but Jonah isn’t what’s of importance right now. What’s important is that we feel the connection between Zoe and X is almost immediately too strong despite the event with undisclosed details mentioned above. To us, as readers and reviewers it’s okay for two characters to instantly have a connection. A weak one and maybe even a moderately strong connection, just enough to build on. It felt like what was between X and Zoe had already been built on prior to their meeting which seemed very odd to us…..

We even had to re-read a few pages repeatedly to see if there’d been some sort of time jump we’d skimmed over or something that could explain it to us. We couldn’t and then as our frustration built so did a headache which caused us to stop reading, take a drink and think.

Could we overlook what’s almost like instalove, but isn’t? Could we read on knowing that from this point on a book that had started out promising despite a little flaw could turn into a full on disaster? It was surprising really that we could. We simply liked Zoe in a singular way that allowed us to.

X himself is an interesting character away from Zoe for us. His life…..life is an exaggeration, but we lack a better word and the type of magic depicted are borderline fascinating. We also liked the characters who came along with him as his story thread was woven in. Ripper and Banger, as well as others proved entertaining. They were more than just secondary characters there to fill a role. They added heart and emotion in a similar way that the other character of Zoe’s life such as her brother (we mentioned him briefly earlier) and her best friend Val.

In particular though, there’s something about children characters that we can’t help, but adore when done right. Jeff Giles definitely does it right in The Edge of Everything. Jonah is beyond perfect including his ADHD, he’s so wondrous and loving that if at any point during our read or in the future we discover a way to spirit him off the page and into our life then we will do so. His interactions with the world and his uniqueness made him easy to fall in love with. For everyone to fall in love with. Zoe of course being the older sibling could be at times impatient with him. On occasion she acted wrongly towards him and that made us want to act in a way that resembles violence toward her.

(We don’t condone violence towards characters in books. It’s unlikely to end well, but Jeff Giles seems to have a thing for weaving emotion)

The plot of the book itself isn’t all that unique if we’re honest and we’re always honest when it comes to books. A girl and indeed a family coming to grips with the loss of a father and a bounty hunter forbidden to reveal anything to said girl. It’s pretty generic right? Especially the fact that he breaks all the rules for this one girl. X breaks all the rules for Zoe and together the two of them discover what fate has in store and what the future may hold.

Blah, blah, blah.

What spices this book up and makes it not all about the forbidden couple is that it actually takes the time and the words to show you how the girl comes to grips with the loss of her father. How she tries to come to grips with the loss of her father. It shows how breaking the rules has consequences, but that these consequences are limited to those members central to the crime. Not the world. This isn’t a save the world book. It isn’t even a book that shoves insane Ripper and hilarious Val to the sidelines because there’s a muscly boy on the loose.

It’s a book that manages to tell a story and not the remnants of one.

As we neared the end of the book there were some twists and turns that we didn’t see coming. At all. Our theories on what was going to happen didn’t pan out….well, one did, but you don’t need to know that. When the book ended, we were satisfied with the ending. It didn’t feel rushed and it didn’t have a false happy ending to please the reading public. It was honest to the story being told and we appreciated that.

To conclude, while The Edge of Everywhere has some problems they’re not too big and can be overlooked. In terms of those factions we stated at the very start of this review, we’ve found a home for our opinions on this book. It’s a book that we almost love, but can’t truly. At least not yet. It’s possible that in the future after some re-reads we will indeed love it because the book certainly has the potential to be loved due to the writing style and as always the characters who can make or break anything.

AS ALWAYS, THANK YOU FOR READING! Have you read this book yet? What did you think? Let us know what you think in the comments and don’t forget to follow us on:

And we’d love to be friend with you on Goodreads so send us a friend request. That way we’ll be able to see what you’re reading.

Arkon, Annie and a creator.

Windwitch (Extract) by Susan Dennard.

 

 

Disclaimers: We received two advanced digital copies of this book courtesy of the UK and US publishers (Tor and Tor Teen which are imprints of Pan Macmillan and Macmillan-Tor/Forge respectively). This review may contain some things you consider to be spoilers. You have been warned.

Why we chose it: Read our review of Truthwitch right here.

Review: So, we might have accidentally requested both UK and US extracts of Windwitch on NetGalley at the exact same time and been approved for both, but you won’t judge us…right? We adored Truthwitch and our extreme requesting skills for its sequel should be applauded.

Applaud us while you read this review and then applaud yourselves because you’re great.

We’re not ones to usually talk about the language used in books, but for this novel we feel it’s very important to touch on the words used and the feeling they create as we read them. Susan Dennard likes to use the word ‘for’ a lot and we’d forgotten that when we opened up Windwtich on our phone, so while we fell right back into the world she had created – we also experienced some annoyance.

But don’t worry dear friends. That annoyance faded quickly as we became used to the writing style and because of that we can focus on another aspect of the language used.

The curse words.

We enjoyed them so much because cursing is fun and cursing in a fantasy novel is just accurate. It gives the characters a realness as they speak. There emotions come across so very clearly when an author doesn’t feel the need to make everything PG.

In the one hundred and something pages that we read there was a lot covered. Merik became an even more prominent character and we expected that. The title is Windwitch and Merik is the only such witch we know of. Merik’s temper isn’t under the control it once was and we really liked that because his chapters had an edgier feel. A darker tone.

Vivia has garnered her own individual page time now that Merik has become a focus point and even after only a short time experiencing her mind we can happily say that she’s a character we’re going to enjoy. She has similarities to her brother, but there are some subtle and not so subtle differences to her world perspective that we think will endear her more to us when we get the chance to read the full novel.

Everyone who’s read Truthwitch is fully aware that Safi and Iseult, the threadsisters who are brilliance and clever and deceptive and kind. Who are wicked and wonderful together in the way they play off of one another are separated. There are many things that we can say about their new adventure, their different, but ultimately the same adventure –  so many things that we could say and yet we have absolutely no intention of sharing anything with any of you.

We’re cruel like that. We like to pull at your heart strings because we have none and we like to leave you needing more which is something that this extract did to us. We knew the cut-off point was coming. We had mentally prepared ourselves for it and yet when we were unable to continue we felt shocked.

This can’t be where they leave us we thought. There has to be more we promised ourselves. There has to be, there has to be. There wasn’t.

We wanted so much more to devour. We should have more to devour and knowing that Susan has written it makes us feel slightly better, but not completely. We have to wait for the rest and we have no patience. It’s a problem of ours that we do not intend to rectify.

This extract of Windwitch that we were lucky to read had many revelations and so many new developments that honestly…we can’t help, but flail excitedly.

THANK YOU ALL FOR READING THIS REVIEW! We’ll have another one on Windwitch when we get the chance to read the full thing and it will be more in-depth than this one because there will have been more to process and examine and it’s entirely likely that we’ll be left with a bunch of new theories and questions for the third book.

Have you read Truthwitch? Did you love it? Let us know in the comments and don’t forget to follow us on:

And we’d love to be friend with you on Goodreads so send us a friend request. That way we’ll be able to see what you’re reading.

Arkon, Annie and a creator.

Shadow Rites by Faith Hunter

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Jane is keeping the peace between visiting groups of witches and vamps in the city, but then trouble comes knocking on her doorstep. When her house is magically attacked, the wild chase to find her assailants unearths a mystery that has literally been buried deep.

A missing master vampire, presumed long deceased, is found chained in a pit…undead, raving mad, and in the company of two human bodies. Now it’s up to Jane to find out who kept the vampire hidden for so long and why, because the incident could tip already high supernatural tensions to an all-out arcane war.

Goodreads

Disclaimers: This review may contain spoilers for both the book it focuses on and the previous nine books in the series. You have been warned.

Why we chose it: Jane Yellowrock is a winner.

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A Collection of Unfinished Books.

a-collection-of-unfinished-books

Overall disclaimer: These reviews are shorter than what we usually write.

It’s true. There have been more than a few books that we haven’t finished lately and we were hesitant to review them because we don’t really like leaving a book unfinished and then writing up our thoughts on them without all the information. It feels like cheating, bur we’ve come up with a solution!

We’re going to put all the books we did not finish into one post and have a collection of mini reviews because that way we feel less guilty and our post doesn’t look embarrassingly short.

Our genius never fails to amaze us.

Let’s get on with it, shall we?

haven

Princess Haven was never meant to be Queen.

Her immortality has saved her time and time again, but when the last of her royal family dies at her feet, she is next in line to rule a nation on the brink of war. With no formal training on how to be Queen, Haven must rise to the occasion with the help of her best friends, and personal guard, or risk losing everyone she has ever loved.

With war to the West, and no escape to the East, the evil tyrant Kadia sets her sights on the six kingdoms. Haven’s neighbors are quick to fall under the swords of Kadia’s shadow soldiers, leaving a sea of bodies and a clear path to Haven’s only home.

As Kadia’s obsession with Haven mounts, little time remains, and Haven must make a choice; join together with her fellow Royals, and test her immortality in a final stand against the evil Queen, or flee across the sea to a foreign republic in hopes of salvation. Both choices have a cost. Both plans could go awry. Haven must decide quickly, or she might be the only one left.

Goodreads

Disclaimers: We received a digital copy of this book via NetGalley courtesy of the publisher (Friesen Press). This review may contain some things you consider to be spoilers. You have been warned.

Why we chose it: It sounded fun.

Review: The writing was really a problem for us in Haven. It was such a problem that we stopped well before fifty percent. In fact, we only managed a few chapters before we gave up and it still gets to us how wrong everything felt. We thought we might teeter of the edge of a cliff if it were to get any worse. Characters felt as if they’d simply been thrown together without any regard for the chemistry, whether platonic or romantic that should be between them. We couldn’t stand it.

Our main character, Haven, is immortal in the sense that neither injury or disease can take her life. Chop off her head and it would probably grow back. Shoot an arrow right through her chest and she’d be fine in moments. We thought, because it was written that way that Haven’s immortality was common knowledge. It felt like everyone knew about it, but then it seemed at an early point in the book as if it wasn’t?

The arrow we mentioned was shot at Haven in an assassination attempt and the reactions people had to it were over exaggerated. Protect the Queen. Protect the Queen. No one batted an eyelid when she healed up. Hello, Queen’s Guard. You’ll all die before she does. Our eyes figuratively rolled out of our head.

It all made no sense and you all know how very much we hate things not making sense.

We completely understand now why some people abstain from period novels no matter what the genre is. Up until the book dialogue written in novel not set in a modern time didn’t bother us. It never felt stilted or stupid or forced…the dialogue in Haven felt forced. Things were said and then basically said again. It was frustrating.

We feel like there’s a slight possibility that the execution of the plot could have redeemed this novel if the writing hadn’t been so annoying, but saying that is grasping at straws. This book is very similar to the many fantasy books that already exist out in the world. Better fantasy books. It’s unfortunate because we really wanted to enjoy Haven.

To conclude, Haven was just not something we could get behind and though we feel bad about writing a negative review, it is honesty that is required of us and it is honesty that we give. This book might very well be the next best thing for some people, but for us it is something we simply couldn’t get behind.

burning-bright

In 1812, Elinor Pembroke wakes to find her bedchamber in flames—and extinguishes them with a thought. At 21, she is old to manifest magical talent, but the evidence is unmistakable: she not only has the ability to start fires, but the far more powerful ability to control and extinguish them. She is an Extraordinary, and the only one in England capable of wielding fire in over one hundred years.

As an Extraordinary, she is respected and feared, but to her father, she represents power and prestige for himself. Mr. Pembroke, having spent his life studying magic, is determined to control Elinor and her talent by forcing her to marry where he chooses, a marriage that will produce even more powerful offspring. Trapped between the choices of a loveless marriage or living penniless and dependent on her parents, Elinor takes a third path: she defies tradition and society to join the Royal Navy.

Assigned to serve under Captain Miles Ramsay aboard the frigate Athena, she turns her fiery talent on England’s enemies, French privateers and vicious pirates preying on English ships in the Caribbean. At first feared by her shipmates, a growing number of victories make her truly part of Athena’s crew and bring her joy in her fire. But as her power grows and changes in unexpected ways, Elinor’s ability to control it is challenged. She may have the power to destroy her enemies utterly—but could it be at the cost of her own life?

Goodreads

Disclaimers: We received a copy of this book via NetGalley courtesy of the publisher (Curiosity Quills Press). This review may contain some things you consider to be spoilers. You have been warned.

Why we chose it: This cover is so pleasing in a way.

Review: There’s nothing truly awful about Burning Bright, but there are a few problems and there’s one main reason why we stopped reading before the end. We grew bored with this book because we felt like we’d read it before. Young girl defies predominantly male society. Young girl has magic (granted magic is a common enough thing in the world of Burning Bright). Young girl is the only one with the power to save the world. Young girl has trouble controlling it, but really gains control far too quickly.

HELLO SPECIAL SNOWFLAKE!

The young girl is Elinor and she bored us. Her character really wasn’t very interesting and things that were exciting or anxiety inducing to her had zero affect on us. Elinor’s defiance of her father and decision to join the navy came across as…dull and we have a problem with that.

Elinor is an Extraordinary and she is the only one who has the ability to wield fire in England for over a century. We thought that the discovery of her powers would have more repercussions than it actually did. There was no real big ripple to the unveiling of her fire power and that leads us to another problem.

The magic system in this book felt hastily explained. We were introduced the elemental magics and non-elemental magics and everything, including Elinor’s own magic was subsequently glossed over. It made for not so good world-building.

One thing we hate in books is when the main character makes epic declarations about their faith and destiny when they’ve done absolutely nothing to support their pretty words. There is no backing in character development, story arcs, or anything that makes us feel what the character says is actually viable. We don’t understand why it’s done and we couldn’t understand why the author had Elinor do it.

In conclusion it seems we had more issues with Burning Bright that we previously believed and feel that while we may not have discussed them in an in depth manner, we have done enough to portray our feelings towards the book.

WELL THIS WAS INTERESTING. This post is probably the longest one we’ve written to date and it feels nice getting these two reviews out of the way because we think if we were to stew on them, we’d end up wondering how the books ever got published.

Thank you for reading! Did you like how we wrote this post? Have you read any of the books we’ve mentioned? Let us know in the comments and don’t forget to follow us on:

And we’d love to be friend with you on Goodreads so send us a friend request. That way we’ll be able to see what you’re reading.

Arkon, Annie and a creator.

 

 

 

The Midnight Star by Marie Lu

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There was once a time when darkness shrouded the world, and the darkness had a queen.

Adelina Amouteru is done suffering. She’s turned her back on those who have betrayed her and achieved the ultimate revenge: victory. Her reign as the White Wolf has been a triumphant one, but with each conquest her cruelty only grows. The darkness within her has begun to spiral out of control, threatening to destroy all that she’s achieved.

Adelina’s forced to revisit old wounds when a new danger appears, putting not only Adelina at risk, but every Elite and the very world they live in. In order to save herself and preserve her empire, Adelina and her Roses must join the Daggers on a perilous quest—though this uneasy alliance may prove to be the real danger.

Goodreads

Disclaimer: This review may contain some things you view as spoilers for both the book in question and its predecessors. You have been warned.

Why we chose it: The Young Elites was good and The Rose Society was even better.

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The Queen of Blood by Sarah Beth Durst

bloody-queen

An idealistic young student and a banished warrior become allies in a battle to save their realm in this first book of a mesmerizing epic fantasy series, filled with political intrigue, violent magic, malevolent spirits, and thrilling adventure

Everything has a spirit: the willow tree with leaves that kiss the pond, the stream that feeds the river, the wind that exhales fresh snow . . .

But the spirits that reside within this land want to rid it of all humans. One woman stands between these malevolent spirits and the end of humankind: the queen. She alone has the magical power to prevent the spirits from destroying every man, woman, and child. But queens are still just human, and no matter how strong or good, the threat of danger always looms.

With the position so precarious, young women are chosen to train as heirs. Daleina, a seemingly quiet academy student, is under no illusions as to her claim to the throne, but simply wants to right the wrongs that have befallen the land. Ven, a disgraced champion, has spent his exile secretly fighting against the growing number of spirit attacks. Joining forces, these daring partners embark on a treacherous quest to find the source of the spirits’ restlessness—a journey that will test their courage and trust, and force them to stand against both enemies and friends to save their land . . . before it’s bathed in blood.

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Magic Binds by Ilona Adrews

magic-binds

Kate and the former Beast Lord Curran Lennart are finally making their relationship official. But there are some steep obstacles standing in the way of their walk to the altar…

Kate’s father, Roland, has kidnapped the demigod Saiman and is slowly bleeding him dry in his never-ending bid for power. A Witch Oracle has predicted that if Kate marries the man she loves, Atlanta will burn and she will lose him forever. And the only person Kate can ask for help is long dead.

The odds are impossible. The future is grim. But Kate Daniels has never been one to play by the rules…

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