Continue below to read my review of the book and be sure to follow this link - [TOUR SCHEDULE] to check out the rest of the stops on the 'LITTLE THIEVES' book tour brought to you by TBR & BEYOND TOURS and MARGARET OWEN!
October 19th, 2021
Young Adult Fantasy
Once upon a time, there was a horrible girl…
Vanja Schmidt knows that no gift is freely given, not even a mother’s love–and she’s on the hook for one hell of a debt. Vanja, the adopted goddaughter of Death and Fortune, was Princess Gisele’s dutiful servant up until a year ago. That was when Vanja’s otherworldly mothers demanded a terrible price for their care, and Vanja decided to steal her future back… by stealing Gisele’s life for herself.
The real Gisele is left a penniless nobody while Vanja uses an enchanted string of pearls to take her place. Now, Vanja leads a lonely but lucrative double life as princess and jewel thief, charming nobility while emptying their coffers to fund her great escape. Then, one heist away from freedom, Vanja crosses the wrong god and is cursed to an untimely end: turning into jewels, stone by stone, for her greed.
Vanja has just two weeks to figure out how to break her curse and make her getaway. And with a feral guardian half-god, Gisele’s sinister fiancé, and an overeager junior detective on Vanja’s tail, she’ll have to pull the biggest grift yet to save her own life.
Margaret Owen, author of The Merciful Crow series, crafts a delightfully irreverent retelling of “The Goose Girl” about stolen lives, thorny truths, and the wicked girls at the heart of both.
rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ (4 / 5 stars)
I wasn't prepared for how much this book was going to hurt me.. nor the ways it would choose to do so. My emotions didn't start out particularly raw, in fact.. people have often felt I don't seem sensitive enough.
Like anyone, I can get invested in a specific character or relationship.. sure. I can become moved by their losses and their struggles. But this story hurt me in a very personal way. Vanja's pain is old and carefully tucked away, so when it gets dragged out.. it's not healed up quite like one might think.. having left it behind as she did. It's still a poison eating at the way she views everything.
In part, I blame unfamiliarity. I had never actually read The Goose Girl prior to picking up this book, which is the original fairy tale penned by The Brothers Grimm and I haven't read anything from Margaret Owen before, author of the acclaimed Merciful Crow series. If I had, perhaps I'd have been ready, but I have my doubts.
Though the story of The Goose Girl is troubling, Owen's touch takes it from a mere warning to a visceral experience. While Vanja's behavior may be unsavory, I certainly couldn't fault her for her reasoning. Watching her process, not just the things that had been done to her.. but also the lack of aid and the feelings of betrayal she developed was heartwrenching. The very way she subconsciously approached situations where she had been hurt, so telling of exactly why she would arm herself emotionally in the ways she had.
Death and Fortune enamored me. I loved the fact that though they were moved to attempt kindness, as gods.. their actions were disassociative. The lack of true understanding for human feelings was the perfect frame for Vanja's already battered childhood.
The world-building is rich and if not always beautiful.. at least beautifully textured. With a villain the likes of which I rarely come across, an intriguing magic system, and just the right evolutions between characters.. at just the right times.. Little Thieves manages to be both achingly dark and surprisingly hopeful.
If you like stories that dig in their claws and don't let go, characters that are more grey than black or white, and moral choices that leave you questioning your own principles.. this is the book for you.
About the Author:
Born and raised at the end of the Oregon Trail, Margaret Owen first encountered an author in the wild in fourth grade. Roughly twenty seconds later, she decided she too would be an author, the first of many well-thought-out life decisions.
The career plan shifted frequently as Margaret spent her childhood haunting the halls of Powell’s Books. After earning her degree in Japanese, her love of espresso called her north to Seattle, where she worked in everything from thrift stores to presidential campaigns. The common thread between every job can be summed up as: lessons were learned.
Fortunately, it turned out that fourth-grade Margaret was onto something. She now spends her days wrestling disgruntled characters onto the page, and negotiating a long-term hostage situation with her two monstrous cats. (There is surprisingly little difference between the two.) In her free time, she enjoys exploring ill-advised travel destinations, and raising money for social justice nonprofits through her illustrations.
Continue below to read my review of the book and be sure to follow this link - [TOUR SCHEDULE] to check out the rest of the stops on the 'TIDES AND RUIN' blog tour brought to you by LITERARY BOUND TOURS and MIRANDA LYN!
Tides and Ruin
(Fae Rising Series)
October 12th, 2021
New Adult/Upper YA
You heard her scream when he fell on that battlefield.
Stealing a prized jewel is nothing compared to a heart. Raised to be the perfect thief, Lyra was not above using her body or her siren’s song to take exactly what she wanted, when she wanted it.
But when she is attacked and her song is stolen, she must find a way to win over the commander of the Flame Court while on the brink of war, even if it means sacrificing everything she’d ever learned about being a siren. She thought she could fool him, fool them all. But really she was only fooling herself.
This standalone spin-off will sweep you under the sea with star-crossed lovers, stow you away on pirate ships, and destroy you all over again.
rating: ★ ★ ★ (3/5 stars)
'Tides and Ruin' is the fourth book and a spin-off of the Fae Rising series by Miranda Lyn.
Over the last year, I've heard a ton about this author and series from my friends.. even those who don't read a lot of indie work.. and so I've been meaning to give it a try for awhile. This book has all the elements that I couldn't resist.. sirens/mermaids, pirates, fae, and the sea.
Star-crossed love is always a fun trope, especially when there's innate distrust involved.. and Lyra has plenty of that. She's a bit of a jaded character, written to come across as an edgy, tough-talking female.. but it reads more like posturing by someone who thinks that's how it sounds. The result being she's a bit of a cliche, however likable.
The author has an elegant writing style and paints dramatic scenes vividly, but the more personal encounters are often just more of a glancing blow. It's really kind of interesting to see how different the two are at times.
All-in-all, it's a quick, fun read. While there's a lot of room to expand on character and story depth here, it's enjoyable for what it is. Somewhat steamy, mythical fun with a bit of 'eye candy' along the way.
Blood and Promise is the debut novel for Miranda Lyn.
She grew up smack dab in the middle of the United States with nothing to do but dream up stories of fantastical creatures and powerful heroines. Now married with three children of her own, an idea sparked a buried passion within her to follow a dream and teach her children that anything is possible if you’re willing to work hard for it.
Check out our website for extras, character art, and exclusive content. www.faerising.com. Also, click here to sign up for the mailing list and get access to more exclusive content and giveaways!: https://www.faerising.com/subscribe
Continue below to read my review of the book and be sure to follow this link - [TOUR SCHEDULE] to check out the rest of the stops on the 'STORM TO SPRING' blog tour brought to you by LITERARY BOUND TOURS and ATIMA KIM!
Storm to Spring (Matrons of Miang, Book 2)
October 5th, 2021
Young Adult Fantasy
Brave the Storm.
Yeena’s time to choose her consort is nearing, but she has her doubts both about her Nakoyan lover and her own abilities as the future matron. When she is compelled to help free an Andan prisoner, she gives the young spring witch an offer he can’t refuse and in return he reveals a secret that will change everything. Now Yeena must face down her own demons in order to claim her birthright and to protect the people she cares about most.
The second standalone installment in the Matrons of Miang series about overcoming trauma, finding your strength, and learning to love after losing it all. Featuring an elemental magic adventure, fierce romance, and an adorable baby dragon. Legend of Korra meets How to Train Your Dragon in this Asian-Inspired, OWN Voices fantasy romance sure to enchant and captivate YA readers.
rating: ★ ★ ★ (3/5 stars)
The story is casually paced and at first glance, seems to give off Avatar: The Last Airbender vibes through its clan and magic system design. Once beyond that initial impression however, it develops into a broader topic.
Carefully curated through layers of Asian inspired fantasy, is a gentle discussion about generational obligation and what it means to try to balance such ingrained beliefs with the personal need for individuality and actual happiness. In Yeena's case, the cost could be high, but that's something she has to figure out for herself.
I feel like the prose is a little stiff. It's clear that Kim is still developing her skills, as it reads a little like someone just out of a creative writing class in regards to sentence structure.. not quite fluid or comfortable yet. But the plot moves forward steadily and all of the basics are in place.
While the relationships contained within the book could be given a bit more depth.. again, I chalk that up to an author just on the cusp of blossoming. Kim obviously has lovely stories to tell and a lot of potential in the future.
As traditional as the setting was laid out, the dialogue language did pull me out of immersion a bit.. but I still enjoyed the journey. If you're looking for a quick read with some interesting texture and strong female representation, give this one a try.
Atima Kim is an Asian American author from Seattle, Washington. In addition to writing books she is a small business owner, dog walker, chicken owner, and a perfectly average mother.
Her books draw lots of inspiration from her real life and she hopes to achieve more representation and diversity in literature and especially the world of self-publishing.
Her debut novel “Spark to Shadow” is set to be the first in a series of standalones.