Review: The Bruising of Qilwa by Naseem Jamnia

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Thanks to the publisher (Tachyon Publications) for the ARC of this book.

It’s no secret that I am weak for beautiful covers. I was a little wary of my readiness to read something epidemic-themed (a fear that luckily proved to be unfounded, but it was so pretty and the concept seemed so interesting. Unfortunately, while a good effort, it’s another of those novellas that really should have been novels with how much they try to do to the point the pacing and plot suffer.

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Review: Scarlet Odyssey by C.T. Rwizi (Scarlet Odyssey #1)

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There’s one very simple and shallow reason I picked up this book: I wanted antelope familiars, pets, or mounts in my fantasy (mostly thanks to a certain livecam I’ve been enjoying this year). This sounded the best out of the few recs I got, it works for the Set in Africa Bingo square and as a bonus, the antelopes mentioned were kudu. Unfortunately, even though it really is a pretty good book and definitely one fans of epic fantasy would enjoy a lot, I didn’t count on my inability to handle big multi-POV epics.

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Mini Reviews: Bitter, Two Dark Moons, The Djinn Falls in Love & Other Stories, Aurora’s Angel

Still behind on two reviews from the April reading frenzy, plus with a more recently read anthology and another DNF, it’s time for mini reviews yet again. All of them were read (or, in the case of Aurora’s Angel, attempted) for this year’s r/Fantasy Bingo, respectively the Revolutions & Rebellions, No Ifs, Ands or Buts, Short Stories, and Shapeshifters squares.

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Review: Weird Fishes by Rae Mariz

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ARC received from the publisher (Stelliform Press) in exchange for an honest review.

I’ll admit: it was the cover that got my attention. The cover, and the promise of a story centering strange sea creatures with an ecological bent. And really, it largely delivered on that – the worldbuilding was incredibly imaginative. I love non-human POVs that feel non-human, taking biology into account. The expected environmental aspect was not “humanity is a plague and must die” and I loved that too. If you liked The Deep, you might like this as well.

Unfortunately, the ending was soured by a rape scene with incredibly brutal consequences, that both felt rather pointless and the content warning at the beginning didn’t come close to preparing me for. It also left me in quite a predicament regarding how to review. After all, most of the book was fantastic, with that one scene like a worm in the last bite of an apple. And, after all, I do not do spoilers as a rule and it’s an ARC besides. But how else to talk about it? What do I do?

So: this summarizes my thoughts for those who need a TL;DR, more details with the minimum necessary spoilers for those who need a more detailed content warning somewhere below the cut.

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Mini Reviews: The Will To Battle, The Thousand Names, Witches of Lychford, Of Charms Ghosts and Grievances

It’s again time for another round of mini reviews to catch up on my backlog – this time two novels I finished back in March but couldn’t give full reviews to, and two novellas. Once again without any DNFs or books I’d dislike 😊

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Mini Reviews: The Missing Page, Seven Endless Forests, In the Watchful City, Phoenix Extravagant

Despite the January and February slumps, I’m still reading at a faster pace than I can write full-length reviews. So here’s another round of shorter, more condensed ones to hopefully help me catch up at least a little.

All of them are books I enjoyed a lot, and hopefully I can convince you to try one or two as well 😁

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Review: Strange Beasts of China by Yan Ge

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I’m not sure how long have I had this on my TBR. But I have long enjoyed books that are off the beaten track, and this fit my type to a T. Strange, certainly, and melancholic, and unsettling and beautiful, I would recommend it to anyone looking for a fresh and surreal read.

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Review: Squire by Sara Alfageeh and Nadia Shammas

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ARC received from the publisher (Quill Tree Books) in exchange for an honest review.

I’m pretty sure I’ve been looking forwards to this graphic novel for a few years now, having first heard about it back in my webcomic-heavy era – the concept and the art were an immediate draw. I was delighted when I got a chance to give it a try.

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Review: A Master of Djinn by P. Djèlí Clark (Dead Djinn Universe #1)

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Having put it down in late August about halfway through, I have been reading A Master of Djinn for a shamefully long time. One of those weird cases where I enjoyed it too much to DNF, but not enough to keep from being distracted by every other book out there. Still, I did, eventually finish it, and despite some plot structure issues, the worldbuilding makes it good enough to recommend.

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Mini Reviews: A Woman of the Iron People, The Labyrinth’s Archivist, The Hidden Palace, Fireheart Tiger

Given that within the last week or so I managed to finish a book that confused me too much to write a full review, two novellas, and had another DNF, it’s once again time for a round of mini reviews.

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