Book Review: “Sandymancer” by David Edison

Sandymancer by David Edison

Sandymancer by David Edison

LENGTH: 368 pages

GENRES: Fantasy, Science Fiction, YA, Fiction


RELEASE DATE: 19 September 2023


A wild girl with sand magic in her bones and a mad god who is trying to fix the world he broke come together in SANDYMANCER, a genre-warping mashup of weird fantasy and hard science fiction.

All Caralee Vinnet has ever known is dust. Her whole world is made up of the stuff; water is the most precious thing in the cosmos. A privileged few control what elements remain. But the world was not always a dust bowl and the green is not all lost.

Caralee has a secret—she can draw up power from the sand beneath her feet. But when she does… she winds up summoning a monster: The former god-king who broke the world 800 years ago and has stolen the body of her best friend.

Caralee will risk the whole world to take back what she’s lost. If her new companion doesn’t kill her first.

Sandymancer is what happens when Oz meets armageddon, with failed gods, lost magics, and murderous gigantic steel harpies. Caralee has always longed to see more of this broken world—but as she stumbles upon its secret roots, she may discover that their doomsday wasn’t quite what everyone thought.

My Review

Sandymancer was one of the new releases of this year’s third quarter that I was really looking forward to. And, ugh, again I just didn’t care for it. I don’t know what’s wrong with me – usually I’m interested in books I end up liking.

I honestly don’t know how much of a review this is gonna be, cuz I kind of came away from this novel not really feeling much of anything. I didn’t exactly hate it, but I didn’t really like it either.

So, I’m gonna just go straight into the review.


  • The premise ▼

I thought that the idea and the world building of Sandymancer was super interesting. Whenever past and present or present and future mix, you can get a bunch of interesting interactions between characters. And there were some of these – even if I think they could’ve been done better.

  • The world ▼

As I mentioned, I really liked the background and world building here. I especially liked the setting itself. It was so cool. Edison really did a good job bringing the world to life – I had no trouble visualizing the way it looked.

I also really loved the different biomes. The summary makes it seem like the only places the novel will be taking you is around a desert, but the characters actually go through a few kinds of different places.


  • Everything else ▼

I didn’t really like anything else about the novel. Not that it was necessarily bad or anything, I just didn’t care for anything else. The characters were okay, but I didn’t really have any feelings about them either way. And the narrative didn’t really match the third person limited perspective of the main character.

Another thing I didn’t like was the flashback chapters that appeared every two chapters. They seemed redundant and annoying, and basically everything that happens in them eventually comes to light during the journey in the present. The flashbacks really felt unnecessary, and I wish they weren’t there. They always took me out of the story’s flow.

I also found that there was too much for such a small SFF novel. The world building felt like it was for a tale much bigger than the one we got, and it makes me wonder if this was originally intended to be a duology or a trilogy or something. There were just so many concepts introduced.

The ending was also subpar. I didn’t like it. I also didn’t like the sequel bait that the author snuck in – even if such a thing might expand the world and warrant the extensive world building. I just don’t care about this world enough, I guess.

Final Thoughts

All in all, Sandymancer by David Edison is an okay book. It’s definitely not for everyone, me included, but those who enjoy weird and unique science-fantasy and such might be interested in giving it a shot.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Have you read any of the author’s other work?

As always, thank you for reading, and have a wonderful day/night!

See ya ~Mar


Book Review: “Blood Stain” by Linda Sejic

Somewhere in the asscrack of the mediterranean…

Blood Stain: Volume #1 by Linda Sejic

Blood Stain by Linda Sejic

COMIC: Blood Stain (Volumes 1 – 4)

LENGTH: 512 pages (all together)

GENRES: Horror, Contemporary Fiction, Graphic Novel, Fiction

PUBLISHER: Image – Top Cow

RELEASE DATE: 13 April 2016


Elliot Torres is kind of in a rough patch. With no career, a seemingly useless chemistry degree, and a near pathological addiction to online gaming, Elly needs something in her life to go right especially when her family asks her to start pitching in with the rent.

Enter Doctor Vlad Stein. After a series of failed part time jobs, Elly desperately answers Dr. Stein’s ancient classified ad: ASSISTANT NEEDED. But when the doctor ~who, according to rumor, is the creepiest mad scientist in human history demands an in-person job trial at his spooky lab, making ends meet might be the least of Elly’s worries. Or maybe she’s been playing too much survival horror.

Originally published on DeviantArt as a bit webcomic, and even adapted by fans into a YouTube audio drama, this is the first print collection of the hilarious series from rising star writer/artist LINDA SEJIC (Tales of Honor, Wildfire).

My Review

“I heard from a friend of a friend… that that guy… is a mad scientist!”

I’ve been kind of getting into graphic novels and webcomics recently, so when this came up on my feed it looked right up my alley. Dark, mad scientist aesthetic? Comedy-horror? Yes, please!

Alas, it just… didn’t live up to my expectations. A huge part of said anticipating was, of course, my fault, but I still had a different idea as to what kind of graphic novel Blood Stain was, as opposed to what it ended up being.

But let’s start off with what I liked about it…


  • The characters

The characters were the star of the show here. (As they should – they’re characters! – but whatever.) Out of everything in these graphic novels, the cast was what shone the brightest. Particularly our leading lady, Elliot Torres.

Elliot Torres is a recent chemistry graduate who’s currently experiencing the first big hurdle of a young adult – finding and keeping down a job. As someone who’s been in her situation before (rather recently, in fact) she was extremely relatable. She’s also a spunky nerd who loves video games, which also helped me like her – as I too am a spunky nerd who loves video games. I also loved how her family (aka: her motivation) is always first in her mind, and how much she throws herself into everything she does, so as to help them out.

Vlad Stein – accidently christened “Blood Stain” by Elliot, hence the title – is our protagonist’s new workaholic, socially awkward boss. And no, sorry to burst everyone’s bubble, but despite his name, he isn’t a vampire. He’s a bit of a mad scientist though… At least, he has the aesthetic for it. I know, I know, I was a little disappointed as well (particularly since the covers and synopsis seem to imply supernatural connotations that don’t seem to exist). He was an okay character, one that I neither like nor dislike.

I really liked Serge though. He seems a bit out of place at first – like seriously, why is he here? But he’s a difficult character not to like, and I fell hard and fast. His purpose also becomes clear somewhat quickly in the story, which also helps. He worked as an excellent straight man to balance out Vlad’s and Elliot’s different kinds of weirdness.

  • The art

The art is so good, guys. And the character designs were awesome. I also really liked the way that Sejic draws environments and backgrounds.

I also really liked how the panels would sometimes just change fantastically for seemingly no reason (at first). Elliot’s hyperactive imagination and weird dreams were always hilarious to witness.


  • The dialogue

I didn’t really like the dialogue at first. It felt very clunky to me. The conversations between characters didn’t always come off as natural, or how people talk at all. It did improve a little bit as the story went on, though.

  • The genre

As for the genre… Contemporary fiction isn’t bad or anything like that, it’s just not my preference. But the covers of these graphic novels kind of like to you, and the summary is vague enough that certain things… might be inferred.

For example, I was sure Vlad was gonna be a vampire or something, and that there’d be other subtle supernatural stuff hanging around in the background. But. No dice. This is simply a very non-supernatural, slice-of-life comedy.

Final Thoughts

Blood Stain by Linda Sejic is pretty fun so far, if you like contemporary, dark comedy. Its illustrations are also beautiful – Sejic is really a talented artist.

This might also be a good comic to curl up on the couch with during October. Though it’s not supernatural, and not quite a horror, it still has a dark aesthetic perfect for spooky season.

As always, thank you so much for reading, and have an excellent day/night!

See ya ~Mar


Book Review: “The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue” by V.E. Schwab

What is a person, if not the marks they leave behind?

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

LENGTH: 444 pages

GENRES: Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Fiction


RELEASE DATE: 6 October 2020


In the vein of The Time Traveler’s Wife and Life After LifeThe Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is New York Times bestselling author V. E. Schwab’s genre-defying tour de force.

France, 1714: In a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever – and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.

Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world.

But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore and he remembers her name.

My Review

It is sad, of course, to forget. But it is a lonely thing, to be forgotten. To remember when no one else does.

So, confession: I’ve never really had any intention of reading this book. I don’t really know why exactly – I guess I’ve just never thought it might be a book for me. But I absolutely adored A Darker Shade of Magic and loved the Shades of Magic trilogy as a whole, so when my mom wanted to buddy read it, I decided why the heck not?

And, spoiler alert, I loved it. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is just… so beautiful, but also heartbreaking. Aside from it being a more slower paced book, which are books that I sometimes annoying for me to get through, there was only one caveat I really had with this novel. But I’ll get into that in a bit. Let me sing its praises a little bit first.

My Praises

And the first thing I gotta gush about Addie LaRue is how much I love how the relationships are written. Not the romance, even though I liked that as well. But the relationships as a whole.

Every time someone forgot Addie, my heart cracked just the slightest bit, even though I knew it was coming. But when someone Addie loved so fiercely forgot her (ex: her father), my heart really started to break. This book made me cry twice, and one of the times was about Addie’s relationship with another character.

The second thing I really enjoyed were the characters. Though there is a little bit of a plot, I found the book to be primarily character driven.

“I remember you.” Three words, large enough to tip the world.

Addie is our MC of course, and even though a lot of her earlier decisions (as in, a lot of the choices that she made in the flashbacks), she did grow on me, and I really began to feel for her later on. (Though she did still annoy me at certain points.)

I also really liked Henry. I think it’s because he’s different compared to other male main characters that I usually come across while reading, and it was refreshing for me in a way. His and Addie’s budding friendship (and romance) was very sweet. And at first it might feel as if they’re moving too fast – but circumstances are revealed later on that recontextualize many earlier scenes.

Never pray to the gods that answer after dark.

And then there’s Luc. Ah, Luc. I have a lot of feelings about this demonic entity. He’s intentionally written as attractive and he has one of those kinds of personalities, but I still kind of hated him. I don’t really know what it was about him exactly, but I think part of it was that I found it a little hard to comprehend how a creature that existed from the beginning of the universe, could become so thirsty for a human girl. It just didn’t make sense to me. And yeah, I know part of it was because he wanted to run the deal, but he was still thirsty for Addie.

The Caveat

“Nothing is all good or all bad,” she says. “Life is so much messier than that.”

I really didn’t like the ending.

As I read through The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, I fell in love with it more and more. Of course, I knew from almost the beginning that this was most likely going to be a four star read (because I cried), I thought that that would be it. (If a book makes me cry, I usually give it at least three and a half stars.)

But that ending, it was just so… neutral. Undetermined. It kind of almost felt like Schwab didn’t really know how to end the novel, honestly. But yeah, basically the end of the book disappointed me. It wasn’t necessarily bad, it just didn’t vibe with me.

In fact, I originally rated Addie LaRue four stars because the ending bothered me the way it did. But after some distance from finishing the book, and reflecting on the novel as a whole, I decided to alter my rating. Because it really was a good book, and I really did ultimately enjoy it a lot. (Even if what I considered to be the main conflict of the book was never resolved.)

Closing Thoughts

And there in the dark, he asks if it was really worth it.

Were the instants of joy worth the stretches of sorrow?

Were the moments of beauty worth the year of pain?

And she turns her head, and looks at him, and says “Always.”

Even though I thought the ending sucked, ultimately The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab is a very good book. It’s one that I heavily recommend as well, particularly if you like character driven slow-burns with just a dash of fantastical romance.

Also, before I close it off, there’s one other thing I forgot to mention. The back-and-forth between the past and present was really well done. And I’m usually really iffy about this type of storytelling. It’s always either hit or miss – and I guess this was a hit for me.

As always, thank you all so much for reading, and I hope you have an amazing day/night!

See ya ~Mar


Book Review: “My Happy Marriage” by Akumi Agitogi

“Don’t apologize. Do it too often, and it loses its meaning.”

My Happy Marriage (Volume #1) by Akumi Agitogi

My Happy Marriage: Volume #1 by Akumi Agitogi

LENGTH: 160 pages

GENRES: Fantasy, Historical, Romance, Fiction


RELEASE DATE: 18 January 2022 (English Version)



Born talentless to a noble family famous for their supernatural abilities, Miyo Saimori is forced into an existence of servitude by her abusive stepmother. When Miyo finally comes of marriageable age, though, her hopes of being whisked away to a better life crumble after she discovers her fiancé’s identity: Kiyoka Kudou, a commander apparently so cold and cruel that his previous would-be brides all fled within three days of their engagements.

With no home to return to, Miyo resigns herself to her fate-and soon finds that her pale and beautiful husband-to-be is anything but the monster she expected. As they slowly open their hearts to each other, both realize the other may be their chance at finding true love and happiness.

My Review

He wanted someone who would genuinely enjoy living in his forest cottage as his wife, not simply relish his status or wealth. And Miyo would do that. He had no intention of letting go of her.

My Happy Marriage was a sweet little Cinderella-esque romance. I discovered it via the anime version that began airing this past summer. After it made me cry nearly once an episode, I decided that I had to read the original material.

This was the first time I was reviewing a book on my blog that was originally in another language as well, so I was pretty excited about that, too. (Though it’s not the first I’ve mentioned reading, as I read a few mangas a year, and I talked about Another on my list of books with spooky vibes from last fall.)

And… I didn’t like it nearly as much as I’d hoped to. The story is nearly the same, and the anime followed it almost to a T, but I didn’t like it nearly as much. I suspect it was the translation, but I’ll get into that in a bit. First, I’m gonna discuss some of the things I liked about it.


“It’s a pleasure to meet you. My name is Miyo Saimori.”

Miyo Saimori is our protagonist here, and she’s very unconventional when compared to many western female MCs. She’s quiet and nervous, and she keeps to herself, but this is all mostly a result of her abusive upbringing. We see small pieces of her true personality, but on very few occasions. Her true self is still reserved, but she’s also determined and stubborn and brave. (But she’s not a sassy teenager that’s inexplicably good at everything, and that everyone likes, so she’s still different.)

Kiyoka Kudou is Miyo’s new fiancee, as well as her love interest. He appears cold on the surface, but this is merely a facade that he puts up. He’s actually quite similar to Miyo in several ways, but he’s far more confident, as he had a completely different upbringing. He’s still shy when it comes to interacting with Miyo at several points in the first half, but after it’s revealed that she’s his first real romantic relationship, it all makes sense.

“I don’t think I deserve you… but I want to stay with you forever and help you somehow.”

“You can.”

“I need to… do better, so that I can support you for as long as possible.”

“I would appreciate anything you do.”

Their romance was also very sweet, and was one of my two favorite things about this book. They’re both very tentative and gentle with one another, and it’s extremely wholesome. They also have real, actual relationship goals, like communication and working in tandem as a team, and working to keep each other happy. It’s also a bit of a slow-burn, so fans of that will probably enjoy it.

The other thing I really liked was the supernatural stuff that was going on in the background. It was very interesting, and was what drew me into the anime to begin with. I wish the world building and supernatural aspects had been as prevalent as they were in said anime, but that’s just my preference.


The translation. As I’m not sure how good the original text is, as I cannot read Japanese, I have no choice but to blame my issues with the writing with the translation.

The prose just doesn’t flow naturally for the majority of the light novel. It’s kind of clunky and awkward at several points. The dialogue is also a little weird at times, and it doesn’t always come across as normal human interactions.

There also wasn’t a lot of plot going on. Most of it is just characters and description, until the last quarter of the novella. Which isn’t too bad, as it isn’t that long a book, but I have to say: the anime is definitely superior as an adaptation. For me, at least.

Final Thoughts

“Everything you did for me was necessary.”


“And I’m delighted you went to such lengths on my behalf.” Having someone who cared about her, who was willing to do something – anything – for her, was a blessing. She’d forgotten that joyous feeling until recently. It was Kiyoka, Yurie, and everything that happened since she’d met him that had allowed her to experience that feeling again.

All in all, I thought that My Happy Marriage was fine. I neither adored it nor did I hate it – I just found it to be okay. I really, really liked the anime adaptation for it, though.

Those who like shorter, bite-sized novels and novellas, as well as supernatural romances will probably find some enjoyment from it. People who like middle grade and YA will probably be okay with the slightly jenky writing, as well.

And as always, thank you so much for reading, and I hope you have a great day/night!

See ya ~Mar

My Links:

Book Review: “Thornhedge” by T. Kingfisher

The love of monsters was uncomplicated.

Thornhedge by T. Kingfisher

Thornhedge by T. Kingfisher

LENGTH: 116 pages

GENRES: Fantasy, Fiction


RELEASE DATE: 15 August 2023


From USA Today bestselling author T. Kingfisher, Thornhedge is an original, subversive fairytale about a kind-hearted, toad-shaped heroine, a gentle knight, and a mission gone completely sideways.

There’s a princess trapped in a tower. This isn’t her story.

Meet Toadling. On the day of her birth, she was stolen from her family by the fairies, but she grew up safe and loved in the warm waters of faerieland. Once an adult though, the fae ask a favor of Toadling: return to the human world and offer a blessing of protection to a newborn child. Simple, right?

If only.

Centuries later, a knight approaches a towering wall of brambles, where the thorns are as thick as your arm and as sharp as swords. He’s heard there’s a curse here that needs breaking, but it’s a curse Toadling will do anything to uphold…

My Review

“There is a story,” Halim said, watching her closely, “of a beautiful maiden in a tower, enchanted by some terrible magic.”

“There cannot be a story,” said Toadling, almost inaudibly. “Everyone has been dead for so long. There cannot be a story. Who told you such a story?”

Thornhedge was a book I was looking forward to, ever since I first heard about it a few months back. I fairytale retelling? By the author of What Moves the Dead? Oh, heck yeah!

But I didn’t really like this book as much as I hoped that I would. Which has been a bit of a trend lately, unfortunately. (I’m looking at you Witch King. And you, the rerelease of Masters of Death.)

But I did like a few things about it. So I’m gonna talk about it. Uh, yeah.

(I’m just so eloquent, huh?)


I really liked the characters. Toadling was a very different take on the fairy who cursed the princess, and one I’ve never seen before. She’s nervous and insecure, but she has a phenomenal sense of duty that keeps her tied to the tower surrounded by thorns. She’s also curious, and longs to get a taste of the world(s) beyond her exile. Which is where our other major character comes in.

Halim was a great take on the knight in shining armor. Particularly because he’s not much of a knight – in his own words. He’s even more curious than Toadling, as that’s what led him to the tower to begin with, but he’s even more kindhearted. Even when he and Toadling meet face-to-face, he’s far more curious to her predicament than he is hostile, and spends the majority of the tale doing everything in his power to help her.

Beyond the characters, the other two things that I liked were the way T. Kingfisher built her world, and the lack of romance. Concerning the first of the two – I love the way that she weaves her stories (so far). The world building itself is just so intricately tied into the narrative in a way that I can’t imagine any other way to tell the story. I found it beautiful.

Regarding the lack of romance – I love gen relationships! There aren’t enough books completely free of romance out there, especially in the fantasy I’ve read, and it hurts me. I love a good friendship, and there aren’t enough novels where the main characters are just really close friends that exist. Particularly in a fairytale retelling.


As much as I loved the way the world building was, and how the story of Thornhedge was told… I don’t know how to explain it, honestly. I guess the novel itself just wasn’t quite for me.

This is nothing against the writing – I already said I liked it. I think the problem was there was too much background, and yet not enough. Maybe. Like I said, I think I just didn’t end up liking it as much as I’d wanted. I don’t know. So I’m not really sure what to put in my little con section here, lol.

Final Thoughts

She had so many choices and she had never had choices, never been given a chance to choose anything more important than what fish to snatch or what herb to pick.

Thornhedge by T. Kingfisher was a very interesting and different take on Sleeping Beauty. Despite the fact that I didn’t quite enjoy it as much as I’d have liked to, it was still a very refreshing take on a fairytale retelling.

I think that people who’ve read and enjoyed more of the author’s work will probably like this one, at least a little bit. I also think that those who just enjoy fairytale retellings and retellings in general, will find something to like about it, too. (As well as my fellow gen lovers!)

So yeah, as always, thank you so much for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful day/night!

See ya ~Mar

My Links:

“Masters of Death” by Olivie Blake | Book Review

Even after centuries of practice, it never grew less unsettling when it happened this way – sloppily. Gorily. Murder had never been his favorite method of disposal.

Masters of Death by Olivie Blake

Masters of Death by Olivie Blake

My Review

This is the story mortals tell about a man who was the godson of Death, who they say eventually learned my secrets and came to control me, and who still walks the earth today, eternally youthful, as he keeps Death close at his side, a golden lasso tied around my neck with which to prevent me, cunningly and valiantly, from taking ownership of his soul.

Before I get into the review proper, I can explain! My previously unexplained absence, that is. I just… needed a little break. A vacation, as it were. (Especially cuz I hadn’t really had one in the almost-year that I’ve been blogging.) But I’m back now, and with another book review at that!

Masters of Death was something that I was pretty excited for – it was even on my list of anticipated books coming out during the third part of 2023. So yeah, I was pretty excited for it.

But it kind of fell flat for me. Just a bit. I know the reason – it was a couple of different things, actually. As much as I enjoyed many things about this book, there were almost as many things that I didn’t much care for.

The Characters

I really, really liked a lot of the characters. Fox D’Mora was a fun protagonist to follow, and his relationship with his adoptive father made him easy to root for. I liked his dialogue with the other characters, and how, throughout the novel, the mask that he displays to the world is slowly pulled off.

Death was probably my favorite character, however. Even though he didn’t get as much pagetime as I thought he should, whenever he was in a scene, he absolutely stole the show. His relationship and dialogue with Fox was extremely endearing (and entertaining), and I wish that there was more of it.

“Let me guess. This is her husband?”

“Fiancé,” Fox corrected in a blandly guiltless tone. “He passed just before they could be wed.”

“How fucking convenient,” Death remarked with a sensation he often experienced but had not felt prior to Fox’s guardianship. It was a mix of things. Not anger, exactly. More like disappointment.

“Papa,” Fox warned, arching a brow in expectation. “What did we say about the cursing?”

Death lifted a hand, dutifully snapping the rubber band he wore on his wrist for the reward (if such a thing could be said) of Fox’s indulgent smirk. “I still don’t see why this is necessary,”

Our leading lady was Viola Marek. I actually rather enjoyed her character, even though she was technically not like other vampires. Her arc was one I found incredibly relatable to follow, despite the fact that she was an ordinary woman with extraordinary circumstances. Or perhaps that was the reason.

I also really, really, really liked almost all of the other characters. There are too many to discuss here, though, so I’ll just talk about the two that will pertain to my review later on. I really enjoyed Tom, and his and Viola’s begrudging friendship with each other was fun. Brandt kind of sucked as a character, though. I didn’t really like him that much.

The Plot

There is a game that the immortals play.

It is played around tables that open at dusk, and close at dawn.

The stakes are impossibly high, and yet laughably low.

There is only one secret: The more you have to lose, the harder it is to win.

There is only one rule: Don’t lose.

The plot was pretty interesting, but it was also one of the slowest that I’ve ever read. The summary is also written a certain way that implies the story to be a little different than it actually is. I get that they were trying to attract readers without giving too much of the plot away, but I feel slightly lied too.

I enjoyed the plot that we did get to see, to a degree. The buildup during the first half was great, and really pumped me up for the second part of the book. Only, the second half of the book fell somewhat flat. I didn’t find the immortals’ game to be all that interesting, until the very, very end of the novel, and it took up so much pagetime.

The Romance

For me, the romance in Masters of Death was its weakest aspect. I just wasn’t really interested in any of the couples. Not to mention that there was at least one romantic relationship too many.

Scratch one thing, actually. There was one couple that I was pretty invested in – Viola and Tom. They were just super cute together, and they had the most natural romantic chemistry out of everyone. But I didn’t like any of the other couples.

I found Brandt, Fox’s love interest, to be annoying as a character, so I found them hard to root for as a couple. (I hated Brandt, actually.) And as for Cal and Mayra – they were just one couple too many, at that point. Yeah, they were really sweet together, but this book just wasn’t long enough to develop all of these relationships to the way they should’ve been.

The Writing

I found Blake to have a rather dry wit (that I enjoyed), and her prose was very strong. She tells a story very well. And the humor is on point (did I mention that?).

A few parts of the book were too much for me. I thought the book was overly written at certain times, which is something that I never appreciate. It forced the story to move a bit slowly for my liking, which is one of the biggest reasons for my rating.

Final Thoughts

“Everything’s a game if you play it right,” the second figure said.

“But strictly speaking, this is no longer a game,” said the first figure. “Now it’s a war.”

And then everything went dark.

Masters of Death is a rather intricately woven urban fantasy by Olivie Blake. I personally found it to be a kind of mid, slow moving book, but it’s something that I think a lot of other people would like.

As always, thank you to everyone for reading. I hope that you all have a fabulous day/night!

See ya ~Mar

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Weekly Wrap-Up: 8/7 – 8/13

Here we are again. Another weekly wrap-up. Can you tell that I’m disappointed in myself about last week? Lol.

Ugh, I don’t know what happened during the second half of the last week. Actually, no, I do – food poisoning and the like sucks. It wasn’t exactly good poisoning (maybe), but my stomach definitely didn’t agree with a couple of things I ate. At all.

(Also, I’m not sure if I can have coffee anymore. 😭😭)

Anyway, I’m not gonna waste anymore time. Let’s wrap up the past week.

Tuesday 8/8: Yumi and the Nightmare Painter Review

Yumi and the Nightmare Painter by Brandon Sanderson

Last Tuesday, I finally posted my review of Yumi and the Nightmare Painter by Brandon Sanderson. It’s a Japanese manga and Final Fantasy inspired fantasy. I really enjoyed it. I gave it ★★★★★.

Yumi and the Nightmare Painter Review

Wednesday 8/9: WWW Wednesday / Can’t-Wait Wednesday

On Wednesday, I double posted for the first time in a long time. First, I participated in one of my staples: WWW Wednesday. WWW Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words.

Then, I posted for another thing I’ve been participating in every once in a while – Can’t-Wait Wednesday. Can’t-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Tressa @ Wishful Endings.

WWW Wednesday 8/9

Can’t-Wait Wednesday: “Thornhedge”

Books I Read Last Week

Goals for 7/14 – 7/20

My goals for this week are to just be better than I was last week. My blogging output was just so bad! Ugh! But yeah, I just want to be better.

For this week, I want to post reviews for the books I finished last week. I also want to participate in my favorite weekly features/memes, as per usual. Also, it’s getting to the halfway point of the month, which is around the time I participate in my other monthly post, so I’d like to do that too.

But that’s kind of all I’ve got planned. Wish me luck!🤞🍀

And of course, as always, I hope you have a wonderful day/night. Thank you so much for reading.

See ya ~Mar

“Yumi and the Nightmare Painter” by Brandon Sanderson | Book Review

The star was particularly bright when the nightmare painter started his rounds.

Yumi and the Nightmare Painter by Brandon Sanderson

Yumi and the Nightmare Painter by Brandon Sanderson

My Review

Yes, she said, bowing her head again. Tell me what you need, and I will do whatever I can.

Please, it said. Free. Us.

All went black.

So, after reading A Frugal Wizard’s Handbook for Surviving Medieval England, I decided that that would be it for Brandon Sanderson novels for awhile. Most of his books were set in the same universe – even if they’re on different planets and stuff – so I kind of felt intimidated by it all.

But then I saw the cover for Yumi and the Nightmare Painter and read the summary, and I absolutely had to read it. Even though it was set in the Cosmere universe, and I knew it would be filled with all kinds of references, and might even feature other characters that I didn’t know, I really wanted to read it.

And despite this, that there were a ton of references that I didn’t understand, and that there was at least a character or two from other books, I was still able to really enjoy it. Honestly, that’s probably because I don’t need the most context to enjoy a book, even when it’s a spinoff or something. I know, that’s really weird. But it’s something that I’m able to do for whatever reason. Maybe it’s because I’ve read so much fanfiction, and I’m used to jumping into a new fandom where I’ve never seen or read the original media, and then I have to figure out the original story on my own. Yeah, that’s probably it.

Anyway, I really, really enjoyed this book. I should probably just give up the ghost and start reading an actual Brando Sando series already.

The Characters

Once, she would have assumed that she couldn’t hide, no matter how good the disguise. She would have assumed that people would instantly know a yoki- hijo. But she had lived in Painter’s world. She’d been normal for a week and a half at this point.

I loved the characters in this book so much. They were so relatable in their own ways, despite the fact that they came from such different worlds to each other, and to our own.

Nikaro “Painter” is our male co-protagonist. He’s the embodiment of “deep” and an “angsty teen.” Or at least, that’s the front that he puts up – that’s what he wants himself to believe. But what he actually is, is a lonely, sensitive young man, who feels a little aimless. I loved his character development into someone who accepts who he is, and becoming a so-called “hero” in his own right. He was a great character to follow, and his dialogue with our leading lady was fantastic.

Said leading lady is Yumi, one of the yoki-hijo, a young woman that has the power to summon the spirits of her land and assist the people with them. She’s quiet and reserved, and she holds the entire world on her shoulders, and the stress that builds up because of this is what triggers the inciting incident. Her character development was also fantastic, and I loved watching her grow into an independent young woman.

Most of the other characters were very minor, but they were still pretty good, even if their impact on the story is smaller.

Our narrator, Hoid, has appeared in many a Brandon Sanderson novel. Admittedly, I did a little research after I read Yumi and the Nightmare Painter in order to find this out, though I suspected as much. I liked his narration, and the little bits of his personality throughout. His spren, Design, was also a highly enjoyable character, and I loved hee interactions with Yumi and Painter. Both Hoid and Design made me want to read the Stormlight Archive very, very badly, so despite its length, I’ll probably end up reading it soon.

Design nodded toward Yumi. “Why do you like her?”

“I don’t. We’re forced to work together.”

“Nikaro. Do you want to try that again, and make it sound persuasive or something? Because I’ve only had eyes for a few years, and even I can see straight through you.”

The romance between Painter and Yumi was very sweet. They were a very easy couple to root for from the beginning – they’re such cinnamon rolls! I also love how obvious they were about it, even though they tried not to be.

The other character relationships were also nice. I liked how Yumi bonded with Painter’s former friends. There’s a few nice female friendships here. I also liked Design and Hoid’s relationship, and how you can infer so much about it, even with their pretty much non-existent interactions throughout the novel.

The Setting

The hion lines were the colors of Kilahito. Needing no pole or wire to hold them aloft, they ran down every street, reflected in every window, lit every denizen. Wire-thin strings of both colors split off the main cords, running to each structure and powering modern life. They were the arteries and veins of the city.

The setting was so cool. I loved the contrast between Yumi’s bright and warm world, to Nikaro’s dark, cool one. The hion line lights that powered and lit everything up were also very interesting. I also really loved the contrast of cyan and magenta (it made a very pretty cover).

The matter of how Painter and Yumi’s worlds were tied together was something that I was guessing until it was revealed. Why, oh why, did I wait until this year to read a Brandon Sanderson book? Why? They’re just so good!

The Plot

The story of this book – or should I say stories – was so, so good. Sanderson said he was inspired by the manga Hikaru no Go, Final Fantasy X, and the anime Your Name, and it really shows. Before reading this book, I was aware that it was inspired by some Japanese media, and I’d already guessed that Your Name was one of them while reading, because of what happens after the inciting incident.

The B other plot wasn’t quite as interesting. I don’t care what Hoid says in his narration – this was Yumi and Nikaro’s story! And even though I’ve read this book cover to cover, I still consider it to be the primary plot.(Again, I don’t give a crap about what Hoid claims.)

This was a very character driven book as opposed to plot, however. There was quite a bit of plot, don’t get me wrong, but it was what one would call a slow-burn. That didn’t mean the book was boring – far from it, in fact. The characters were so entertaining, and narration so fun, that it made up for that entirely. Such a well-written novel.

Final Thoughts

Art doesn’t need to be good to be valuable. I’ve heard it said that art is the one truly useless creation-intended for no mechanical purpose. Valued only because of the perception of the people who view it. The thing is, everything is useless, intrinsically. Nothing has value unless we grant it that value. Any object can be worth whatever we decide it to be worth.

So yeah, do I recommend Yumi and the Nightmare Painter by Brandon Sanderson? Hell yeah I do! It’s a wonderful story, with a sweet little romance, as well as lots of interesting commentary about art. (Particularly with the AI stuff going on now.)

This book was wonderful, and the art was so pretty. I love, love, loved the art so much! Aliya Chen is a fantastic artist, and the art also added to the slight anime vibe of the novel.

Anyway, thank you so much for reading. I hope you enjoyed! And I hope that you have an awesome day/night!

What Brandon Sanderson books have you read? Have you read Yumi and the Nightmare Painter? What did you think of them if you have?

See ya ~Mar


Weekly Wrap-Up: 7/17 – 7/23

Yay! Last week was better for me! I got in four posts (aside from the weekly wrap-up of course). It was a huge improvement after the week preceding it.

I honestly don’t have much of an intro this time. ☹️ So without further ado, let’s jump right into the wrap-up.

Monday 7/17: Majestic Monday

Last Monday, I did the first Majestic Monday that I’ve done in a long time. It felt great, and I’m excited to post more of these in the future. For those who don’t know, Majestic Mondays are when I gush over covers that I like.

Majestic Monday #14

Wednesday 7/19: Shelf Control

On Wednesday, I finally posted another Shelf Control. Shelf Control is a weekly celebration of the unread books languishing on our bookshelves created and hosted by Lisa @ Bookshelf Fantasies.

Shelf Control #14

Friday 7/21: First Line Friday

Last Friday, I once again participated in First Line Fridays. First Line Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers (formerly) hosted by Wandering Words.

First Line Friday 7/21

Sunday 7/23: Deltora Quest Review

Yesterday, I finally posted my review for the entire first series of Emily Rodda’s Deltora Quest. It’s a series of fantasy books geared towards children/middle grade. I rated the entire series as a whole ★★★★☆, but I also rated each of the eight books individually.

Deltora Quest Series Review

Books That I Read Last Week

The City of Rats by Emily Rodda
The Shifting Sands by Emily Rodda
Dread Mountain by Emily Rodda
The Maze of the Beast by Emily Rodda
The Valley of the Lost by Emily Rodda
Return to Del by Emily Rodda

Goals for 7/24 – 7/30

I want to do at least four or five blog posts, aside from this weekly wrap-up. I’ll be doing my usual weekly feature participating, of course, but I also definitely want to do one and hopefully two book reviews. I’m also considering doing a new post this week.

So yeah, I just want to keep on keeping on, basically. Wish me luck! 🤞

As always, thank you so much for reading, and I hope you have a fantastic day/night!

See ya ~Mar

Deltora Quest | Book Series Review

Deltora Quest: The Complete Series (21st Anniversary Edition) by Emily Rodda

Deltora Quest: The Complete Series (21st Anniversary Edition) by Emily Rodda

SERIES: Deltora Quest (Books 1 – 8)

LENGTH: 736 pages

GENRES: Fantasy, Children’s Fiction, Middle Grade Fiction, Fiction

PUBLISHER: Omnibus Books (Scholastic Australia)

RELEASE DATE: 2021 (Original editions published 2000)


A special 21st anniversary edition of the best-selling first series of Deltora Quest from award-winning master story-teller Emily Rodda…

Three companions – Leif, Barda and Jasmine – are on a perilous quest to find the seven lost gems of the Belt of Deltora. Only when the belt is complete will the evil Shadow Lord and his rule of tyranny be overcome. Set in the fantasy world of Deltora, a sprawling kingdom of magic and monsters, bordered by the sea and a vast, curving mountain range, beyond which is an unknown territory called the Shadowlands. The adventurers must solve puzzles, clues and mysteries to fulfil the quest.

The much-loved first series of eight books is bound in this volume, celebrating 21 years of Deltora magic and mystery.

My Review

So… This review took forever. Sorry about that. (And it wasn’t because I didn’t like it – quite the contrary actually.) The next one hopefully won’t take as long, haha.

This series… This series was something I’ve wanted to read for a long time. As the thumbnail alludes to. But I didn’t discover it until I was about thirteen, and I felt at the time that I was too old to give it a shot. I was also super afraid of being judged by my peers, and I didn’t really have a subtle way of acquiring a chance to read them. I’d suspected that I’d like this series though, so it’s rested in the back of my mind for over a decade.

And now, I’m an adult with no shame and an Amazon account, so both of the perceived hurdles of my early teenhood are gone. So, I read it.

And I really enjoyed it. Yes, it is very clearly a series of books written for ten year olds, and there was a lot of awkward, stilted dialogue (and the author has something against contractions), and there were a couple of huge plot holes, but it was otherwise very enjoyable. I think Deltora Quest is very good. Especially if you consider it’s meant for kids who don’t really notice or care about that stuff. I would’ve given it five stars, had I read it as a tween, and I still rated it pretty highly now.

A long time ago, like on Wikipedia or something, I read that this series was inspired by the videogames that Emily Rodda’s children played. I have no idea whether this was true or not, but I certainly believe it’s possible. The series entire structure is extremely comparable to several fantasy games – The Legend of Zelda in particular comes to mind. (And this is why I’ve always suspected that I’d like it.)

The Characters and Setting

The main characters were pretty likable, though they were a bit simple. They made a lot of very stupid decisions that I’m surprised at, concerning two of them are sixteen (Leif and Jasmine) and one is an adult at least in his thirties (Barda). Though this kind of decision-making did decrease a fair amount in the last couple of books, so I guess that’s character growth.

I thought that Leif was a decent protagonist, and is easy for the reader to root for. His cleverness and sneaky streak were also fun, and I wish they appeared more. Barda worked well as the wiser mentor figure (when he wasn’t being stupid), and he also worked great as the muscle of the group. Jasmine was a great female character, and was definitely the most useful member of the trio in several situations.

I found the setting to be extremely rich and immersive. It’s a credit to Rodda’s writing that this is so despite how short these books are, as well as all of the locations visited. I really loved it.

The Other Stuff

There were also a lot of surprisingly darker aspects throughout. I often forget how dark children’s/middle grade sci-fi and fantasy can get, and Deltora Quest once again reminded me. There’s quite a bit of dying and almost-dying going on, as well as a cult in one of the books, mind control, and some pretty gruesome descriptions. It was a pleasant surprise to read.

However, the “key quest items” that the trio retrieved at the end of each book began to get overpowered. Actually, no, some of them kind of started out overpowered. Leif used the topaz in particular in nearly every book, almost every time he wanted to think up a plan. I just kind of wish he used his own mind as it was and his own ingenuity. It kind of felt like he was “cheating” some a few of these moments.

My Individual Ratings for All the Books in Deltora Quest

So yeah, I quite enjoyed this series, and it was a long time coming. Here are my ratings for each individual book in the series.

There was the topaz, symbol of faithfulness, gold as the setting sun.

The Forests of Silence by Emily Rodda

There was the ruby for happiness, red as blood.

The Lake of Tears by Emily Rodda

The opal, symbol of hope, sparkling with all the colours of the rainbow.

The City of the Rats by Emily Rodda

There was the lapis lazuli, the heavenly stone, midnight blue with pinpoints of silver like the night sky.

The Shifting Sands by Emily Rodda

For honour there was the emerald, green as lush grass.

Dread Mountain by Emily Rodda

There was the amethyst, symbol of truth, purple as the violets that grew by the banks of the river Del.

The Maze of the Beast by Emily Rodda

And for purity and strength there was the diamond, clear and sparkling as ice.

The Valley of the Lost by Emily Rodda

Where this story began, so it will end.

Return to Del by Emily Rodda

Closing Thoughts

Deltora Quest is a great little fantasy series. I definitely recommend it to kids, and honestly, anyone could read it. It’s kind of trope-y, and there’s a fairly obvious hero’s journey, but it’s enjoyable nonetheless.

As always, thank you to everyone so much for reading, and I hope you have a wonderful day/night! Sorry again for the long wait between book reviews. Life kind of happened.

See ya ~Mar