Review: The Last Necromancer by C.J. Archer

Charlie has been living on the streets as a 13 year old boy for the past five years. Five years before, she’d discovered a terrible power she had: she could raise people from the dead. Her father, horrified when she’d accidentally raised her recently deceased mother, had kicked her out of the house. Charlie’s only way to survive was to disguise herself and become a thief on the streets. She’s known as “Fleet Footed Charlie” and is one of the fastest boys out there.

Until the day she’s caught and thrown in a holding cell with some dangerous men. When one is killed trying defend her, Charlie has no choice but the raise his spirit and use him to escape. That, however, brings her on the radar of the Ministry of Curiosities and Lincoln Fitzroy, who will stop at nothing to secure both her and the girl, Charlotte Holloway, under the guise of protection. The only problem is, Charlie is Charlotte Holloway, and she doesn’t trust her captors with that information.

Fitzroy says he’s on the trail of a dangerous madman who wants to use Charlie and Charlotte to raise an army of dead. But is he any less dangerous than the madman? Or is he and the Ministry even worse?

I loved this book so much. First off, it has my favorite trope every, Sweet Polly Oliver, where a girl disguises herself as a boy and lives successfully as one until she’s accidentally discovered. And this book does that so well. It draws out that moment of discovery until it’s sweet torture and you don’t know if you want it to continue or want the discovery to happen. And then, it delivers and it’s wonderful.

Charlie is an amazing character, too. She’s smart, funny, vulnerable, and charming. You can see how she was able to survive on the streets for so long. I loved her relationship with all the characters, especially Fitzroy, but her interactions with his underlings, Seth and Gus, were charming as well.

Fitzroy is an amazing character. There seems little he can’t do, except behave like a human being. He’s cold, reserved, mysterious, and brilliant. He’s very intriguing, and Archer does a good job teasing his past and personality as the book goes on.

The mystery was quite well done as well. I admit, it took me a long time to figure out what was going on, even though at one point I said, “Oh, it’s sounds like X.” I should have listened to my instincts. I felt so foolish for not making the connection to what I said to what was going on. But the mystery was intriguing and unfolded at a natural pace. It kept me riveted and wanting to listen to it nonstop.

Also, a special shout out to the narrator, Shiromi Arserio. She has a gorgeous voice and I’m completely astonished at the ride range of colors she brought to each character. I’ve got a little bit of a crush on her and her voice.

If you like supernatural mysteries with romantic tension and humor, this is for you. I highly recommend this book. It’s quick and fast paced and just a lot of fun.

November Wrap-Up

So, November was a weird month. It went by really quickly, but also felt really long. I’m not quite sure how that happens.

Highlights: I won NaNoWriMo my first time out. I figured I probably could, since I’d just written a novel the previous month, but at times, I was sure I was going to fail. My initial outline was way too bare and if I’d stuck to it, I wouldn’t have met the 50,000 word goal. Luckily, I was able to flesh out the plot once I was in and met it the day before Thanksgiving.

I also ran my first 5K. I didn’t totally embarrass myself, which was awesome. I came in 24th out of 35th in my age bracket, which I felt was respectable. Also, it poured rain the entire time and was cold for California, but I had so much fun. I’m doing another on December 14th and one more on New Years Day.

I’m in the poncho.

The run on December 14th is the Jingle Bell Run to raise money for the Arthritis Foundation. I’d be thrilled if you could donate to help support the cause. My former principal (and favorite principal) introduced me to this organization because she had rheumatoid arthritis. She never let it stop her, though, and even went horseback riding in Hawaii, among other adventures. My dad has arthritis, too, and I’m hoping the money that goes to the foundation will help find ways to make him more comfortable. You can click here and donate.

Read: 6 books

Categories: 5 adult, 1 YA

Types: 2 physical, 3 e-books, 1 audio

Pages: 1789

Hours listened: 9

Sources: 1 Goodreads Giveaway, 2 library, 2 ARC, 1 from the author

Rage by Jonathan Maberry

A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas

Think of England by K.J. Charles

Fable by Michele Packard

A Touch of Death by Rebecca Crunden

The Night Country by Melissa Albert

Top 5 Books on my Current TBR

Should reader’s read books that aren’t for their target age?

Top 5 Authors I NEED to Read

Top 10 Changes in my Reading Life

Do Bloggers/Reviewers Have to Review every book they read?

Top 10 Books I’m Thankful I Gave a Chance

How has reading shaped you life?

So, overall, not my best month, but not my worst either. I was super busy and reading sort of fell by the wayside. I’ll catch up this month, though. I’ve already finished two books and I’m in the middle of two more.

How was your month? Any firsts for you? Let me know in the comments!

Let's Talk Bookish – How has reading shaped your life?

It’s Friday and time for another Let’s Talk Bookish. This is a weekly meme hosted by Rukky at Eternity Books where participants are invited to discuss a topic. This week’s topic is “How has reading shaped/changed your life?”

I have always been a reader. My parents read to me from an early age, and I grew up with a great love of books and reading. Some of my earliest memories are going to the library and checking out stacks of books to take home and devour. I participated in the library summer reading program and tore through books, wanting to read the most (I never did, though). Reading has always been a huge part of my life.

When I was in fourth grade, I transferred schools. It was an incredibly difficult transition and the girls at the new school could be incredibly cruel to me. They teased and bullied me, sometimes physically. I took solace in books. I’d always had an active imagination, and having that escape really helped. It didn’t matter that I didn’t live near any of the few friends I had; I had friends in my mind. Stories and books became a solace and a refuge. If the girls were being too mean, I could take a book out to recess and escape or even just walk away and imagine myself into another world.

In high school, I met another girl who loved to read as much as me. We initially bonded over Star Trek, but quickly found we had so much more in common. We would spend hours at the bookstores, pouring over books. We lent and recommended books to each other all the time. We never ran out of things to say to one another.

Reading has also shaped my writing life. Although I was always adamant about not wanting to be a writer (a stance I’ve since reversed), I’ve always been writing because I was influenced by reading. My earliest scribblings were poems. In fourth grade, I wrote a sequel to Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIHM as a gift for my teacher who read it to us. I wrote Star Wars fanfiction in high school, then graduated to pirate romances after I started reading romances. I started writing vampires after Interview with the Vampire and the Anita Blake books by Laurel K. Hamilton. I realized I could connect all my writing into a shared universe from Cassandra Clare, which led to me writing two books this year. Reading has guided and directed my writing from the beginning.

My identity as a reader has always been important to me. I’ve always been proud of it and excited to share my love. Without reading, I wouldn’t be the person I am today and I honestly can’t imagine who I’d be without it.

How has reading shaped or changed your life? Drop a comment below and let me know!

Review: The Night Country by Melissa Albert

Title: The Night Country

Author: Melissa Albert

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Length: 352 pages

Genre: fantasy

Publication Date: January 7, 2020

Source: NetGalley

Alice Proserpine has escaped the fairy tale world, the Hinterland, where she was created. Now, she lives in New York with her mother and other escapees. Now, though, something is killing ex-Stories and taking their body parts. Worse, all evidence points to Alice. Desperate to find out what is happening, Alice decides to investigate, and finds that the deaths may serve a larger purpose. Meanwhile, Ellery Finch slips out of the fading Hinterland into worlds he’d only dreamed of all while hoping to find a way back home.

I highly enjoyed this book and tore through it with great enthusiasm. In fact, I think I enjoyed it more than The Hazel Wood. It moves quickly and dives right into the action. I liked Alice trying to first navigate the two worlds by being with the others from the Hinterland and our world, and then rejecting the her Hinterland heritage and past. Of course, that would never work and the Hinterland comes to her with a vengeance.

I liked the new characters, especially Sophia. I loved her back story and wish we could have gotten more of her. Daphne was another interesting character, but she was quite scary. I especially liked all the children characters, because they were creepy, like all good fairy tale children should be. The Trio was amazing.

I do feel it was a little rushed, even at it’s length. I would have liked to see more of Finch’s journey and get more of him. There’s something he does that’s really interesting, but I wish there had been more of it. There wasn’t enough. I also would have liked to see more of Alice’s life before it all started falling apart. It would have helped to see more of her normalcy. Or, maybe she never really had any.

Despite all that, I really did enjoy the book. I thought it was a strong follow up to The Hazel Wood.

Yes, I would. If you liked The Hazel Wood, I think you’ll enjoy this. If you enjoy creepy fairy tales and seeing them try to integrate into our world, then this book will entertain you. It’s a solidly written book with amazing characters and a great plot.

WWW Wednesday November 27

Hey everyone! It’s Wednesday and time for WWW Wednesday once again. WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Each week, participants are invited to answer three questions:

What are you currently reading?

What did you just finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently reading:

I’m listening to The Last Necromancer by C.J. Archer. I just started listening to it on Monday and meant to listen on my trip down to my parents, but got caught up in podcasts instead. Still, I liked what I listened to and can’t wait to read more.

I also made some more progress on Interview with the Vampire. They’ve finally made it off the plantation and are heading to New Orleans soon. So, progress!

Just finished reading:

I finished A Touch of Death by Rebecca Crunden over the weekend and really enjoyed it. My review is here. I finished The Night Country by Melissa Albert yesterday and loved it. I thought it was super fantastic.

Reading next

To be perfectly honest, I am probably going to march into my sister’s room after I’m done writing this post and borrow Finale by Stephanie Garber because I’ve been dying to read it and she said I could borrow it when I visited. I probably won’t read either book I’m currently reading at all. I also probably will not get started with The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner like I meant to this week like I intended because I will be reading Finale. So, that’s what I’m reading next.

What are you reading this week? Drop a comment below and let me know!

Top Ten Books I’m Thankful I Gave a Chance

It’s Tuesday! That means in two day, I’m running my first 5K! I’m excited and nervous. I know I can do it, but I’m still worried that something will happen.

But that’s Thursday. Today is Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic is “Thankful Freebie”, which means we get to choose the topic. I’m going with Top Ten Books I’m Grateful I gave a Chance.

  1. The Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare. So, I’ve been in fandom a long, long time, and I knew who Cassandra Clare was long before she started writing books. All I knew about her was that she was wanky and got her fans to buy her a laptop. Because of that, I never read any of her books. However, this year, I decided to give Clockwork Angel a chance and I’m so glad I did. Not only was the whole series wonderful, but it helped inspire me to start writing again. I didn’t realize that all her books were set in the same universe and it occurred to me that I could do the same thing. In less than a year, I went to having one book written to almost three (I’m currently writing the third.) So, yeah, I’m super glad I gave the books a chance.
  2. The Illuminae Files by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman. Before discovering BookTube, I’d never heard of these books. I was introduce to them by A Dash of Ash. Even hearing her enthuse about them, I wasn’t sure they were for me. Still, I decided to give them a try. At first, it was a huge struggle because I wasn’t following who the characters were. But, once I adjusted to the format, I fell in love. I love the characters, I love the story, I love the format, and I love AIDAN. In fact, it may be time for a reread of the series.
  3. Scythe by Neal Shusterman. This was another book I’d never heard of before BookTube and I dismissed it at first because I didn’t know what it was about. Then, I picked it up at a bookstore and read the first chapter. I fell in love. I didn’t buy it, but I checked it out from the library. However, I think I’m going to buy all three books now that The Toll is out and reread the first two before diving into the third.
  4. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. Yet another book I thought I wouldn’t care for, I bought this for three bucks at the library store. It was in perfect condition and I felt like I had to buy it. It was such a magical book. I loved the characters, the setting, the worldbuilding, everything. And to think,I never would have given it a chance if I hadn’t first read
  5. Caraval by Stephanie Graber. I’m not a huge fantasy lover, and I thought this book would be out of my comfort zone. However, I decided to give it a try, and I’m glad I did. I loved Scarlett so much and the whole game of Caraval and her obsession with following the rules was just so much fun to read. I liked Legendary even more and I’m so excited to read Finale very, very soon.
  6. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. This is another book that I picked up because of BookTube. It was so popular and people loved it so much, that I decided to give it a try. I admit, I struggled with it. I couldn’t get into it at first and actually put it down and stop reading. Then, one weekend last March, I hurt my foot and called in sick to work. I decided to spend the weekend reading and I went back to SoC and jammed through it. I was so glad I did. I actually liked Crooked Kingdom even more, but I never would have read that if I had’t read the first one.
  7. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. I struggled so much to read this book. My mom recommended it to me, and I tried, but couldn’t get past the first chapter. It just didn’t grab me. Finally, I sat down and pushed through and I discovered the delightful magic of Harry Potter. I’m so glad I gave it a chance.
  8. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. So, one of the places I hang out on the internet has strong opinions about everything. I swear, everything they like, I hate and vice versa. Which is why I finally decided to give Fangirl a chance because they hated it so much. I figured, I’d love it. And I did. It was like reading about myself during my early years in fandom. I was never as popular as Cath was, but I had a very popular series that people made fanart for, fangirled my OCs, and kept me going through some dark times.
  9. Uprooted by Naomi Novik. I don’t like dragons all that much, and when I read the description of this book, I thought it was about a literal dragon. And even when I realized my mistake, I wasn’t sure. However, I have loved every single fanfic that I’ve read of Naomi Novik’s and decided I was being stupid. I loved Uprooted so much. I’m so glad I gave it a chance.
  10. Beauty by Robin McKinley. I remember the first time I came across this book. I was in eighth grade in our library. I was trolling the shelves for books and came across this one. Instead of reading the description, I read the first line and went, “A Sleeping Beauty story told in first person? That’s so dumb.” And I put it back on the shelf. It wasn’t until I got hurt (there’s sort of a theme here) and stuck in the library during PE that I gave it another chance and realized it was a Beauty and the Beast story and it was amazing. I cannot stress how much I love this book. It’s my favorite book ever and I read every year and just… yeah. It’s a huge part of my heart.

What are some books you are thankful you gave a chance to?

Review: A Touch of Death by Rebecca Crunden

Title: A Touch of Death

Author: Rebecca Crunden

Published Date: February 23, 2017

Length: 306 pages

Source: I was sent this book from the author

Nate Anteros has a habit of speaking his mind. In the Kingdom of Cutta, a totalitarian kingdom where the last of humanity lives safely inside the walls, speaking your mind is the last thing you should be doing. Nate only survived prison thanks to the influence of his mother and father. After being released, he disappeared for two years before mysteriously returning. The trouble is, he hasn’t learned anything in his absence and causes a fight that forces him and Catherine Taenia to flee into the mountains one night, making the dark, cold, and terrible trek to a neighboring city.

Although they are quickly allowed back home, they find they are infected with a mysterious infection that makes it impossible to bear the touch of anyone but each other. Once again, they are forced to flee the city, and the King’s guards and make their way to the one place they will be safe: the Outlands. Of course, safe is a relative term, considering that beyond the walls of the Kingdom are mutants and rabids.

One the run, Catherine and Nate must find out what happened to them and how to stop it before it’s too late.

I really like this book, and I feel the strength of it lies with Catherine. She’s such an interesting character. At the beginning, she’s totally bought into the system of the world she’s lived in. She believes the king is just, the laws are fair, and that dissenters are insane to question the way things are. The book is her journey from pampered princess to understanding that there is something seriously wrong with their society. She starts out strong, too. She’s headstrong and determined and honest. She speaks her mind an isn’t afraid to stand up for herself. She’s amazing.

Nate is well done, too. His whole life, he’s been shown the ugly side of the Kingdom, even though he, too, has grown up in wealth and comfort. He believes in loyalty and friendship and brotherhood. I love his relationship with his brother, Thom. They are close and loving and totally connected. I like how he treats Catherine and how he enjoys arguing with her. His journey is painful to read, but so well worth it.

I was completely engrossed in this story. I loved the world-building, although I do wish some of it had been a little more explicit. I guess at one point, humans lived underground and mutants roamed the earth, and I’d like to know more about that. Especially the mutants. I hope that those topics are more explored in the other books. I greatly look forward to that.

I would recommend this to people who enjoy dystopian books and books about characters fleeing from the law. It’s engrossing, well written, and has great characters. It’s definitely worth checking out.