The Deep ARC Review

The Deep

The Deep is a fantasy novel about the descendants of African slave women thrown overboard into the sea by slave owners. Pregnant women were thrown overboard for being “sick and disruptive cargo,” but what would have happened if their babies adapted to the new environment and survived anyways? The zoti are the answer to this “what if.” They are born from the bodies of women thrown overboard, but rather than having legs they have tails and can breathe underwater. They do not remember where they came from, as it is too painful for them to remember. Only Yetu is cursed with being the Historian. She is overcome by the pain of the History, of all the horrific memories of the first zoti and of the women thrown overboard. She barely remembers who she is, and she cannot rid herself of the History lest the rest of her people suffer as she does with the memories. But one day, she can’t take it anymore, and flees to the surface. She leaves the rest of her people in the process of the Remembering, the yearly pain of the memories coming to the surface again, and she flees to discover herself outside of the painful memories of the ancestors.

I came into this novel expecting a hard-hitting dark fantasy book that mixed history with the secrets of the ocean in a beautiful way. WHat I read was a confusing story that jumped around in time, where I was never sure of who was speaking. Sometimes the POV only referred to the main character as “We”, sometimes the POV was clearly from Yetu, and sometimes I could never tell who was speaking at all. I kept reading hoping that things would clear themselves up by the end of the story, but they didn’t. The book was so short that I never truly felt any connection to Yetu or her people, and I couldn’t figure out how the side characters were even important to the story at all.

One thing that confused me the most in this story was Yetu’s multiple (?) love interests? I could not tell whose POV the story was supposed to be being told from at the time, but Yetu was with a male side character, and then she was talking to and seemed to be romantically interested in a female character Oori. I am not completely sure if it was even Yetu with the male character, as that occurred during a POV switch where the only pronoun being used was “we.” But it made the story confusing to read as it seemed like Yetu was with both this male character and the female character at the same time, just going back and forth between the two. This is simply one example of something that didn’t add up within the story.

I also couldn’t understand why the other zoti didn’t understand why Yetu was in such pain being the Historian. She was cursed with the Rememberings constantly, and she had to lead them through their own Rememberings as well, so why didn’t they understand her pain. They were clearly in pain during the Rememberings, so why was it so difficult for them to understand that this was how she felt all the time?

The only part that I did like about this book was the dark fantasy aspect. I was horrified by the description of the zoti helping the newborn zoti out of the bodies of their dead mothers, but I loved how it was described and how the instant connection was made from this horrific real world to the underwater fantasy one. I also did enjoy reading some of the flashbacks of history, even though I felt like they could have been expanded on.

If this book had been longer and focused on Yetu’s story alone, I believe I would have really enjoyed it. If the book had been this length and been a collection of short stories from the Rememberings without trying to connect the main plot of Yetu, I believe I would have enjoyed that as well. But as this story was written, it feels more like a hodge-podge of information than a coherent tale, and I could not recommend it.

I received an advance copy of this book and this is my voluntary review.

Overall Rating: 2 out of 5 books.

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The Jinni’s Last Wish Blog Tour Plus Review

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The Jinni’s Last Wish
by Zenobia Neil

Publication Date: September 13, 2018
Paperback & eBook; 224 Pages
ASIN: B07FLDRY4V

Genre: Historical Fiction/Fantasy

 

 

As a eunuch in the Ottoman Imperial Harem, Olin has already lost his home, his freedom, and his manhood. His only wish is for a painless death, until he meets Dark Star, a beautiful odalisque who promises to give him his deepest desire. He refuses to believe her claim to possess a jinni in a bottle. But when Dark Star is accused of witchcraft, Olin rubs the bottle in desperation and discovers she’s told the truth.

Olin becomes the jinni’s master to save Dark Star, but it’s not enough. In the complex world of the Topkapi Palace, where silk pillows conceal knives, sherbets contain poison, and jewels buy loyalty, no one is safe. With each wish, Olin must choose between becoming like the masters he detests or risk his life, his body, and his sanity to break the bonds that tie them all.

“Vividly imagined and achingly beautiful, this is the closest you’ll get to an Ottoman harem without a time machine.” — Jessica Cale, Editor of Dirty, Sexy History

“Sensual, magical, and meticulously researched, THE JINNI’S LAST WISH is a scrumptious read.” –Heather Webb, international bestselling author of Last Christmas in Paris.”

“Hauntingly sensual, The Jinni’s Last Wish is an erotic fever dream that lingers long after the last page.” — Mia Hopkins, author of Thirsty

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Chapters

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Before I start my review, I am going to be rating this as a fantasy simply because I have never read any historical fiction or nonfiction books about this time period in these countries! I don’t want to accidentally slip up and say that it is accurate or inaccurate, simply because I do not know. I could not tell the fantasy from the fact-based fiction if I tried. That being said, onto the review!

Olin is a eunuch in a harem for the Ottoman Empire’s Sultan. He hates his life, as he is considered neither a man nor a woman, but some sort of monster in between. If he doesn’t work for the Sultan, he will be forced into another demeaning job. He knows that he is lucky to still be alive, but what sort of life is he living? He will never be free again, he can only wish to rise in the ranks by working for the Sultan. Maybe someday he will be one of the Sultan’s most trusted guards, and won’t have more parts of himself cut off as punishment. Then, Dark Star, the girl who has been tormenting his thoughts, comes to him and tells him that she has a way for him to get his life back. At first, he worries that his new life will be worse than his current one, but then he decides to take the chance. Soon he learns that there are worse things than being one of the forgotten eunuch’s in the Sultan’s harem.

This fantasy setting was very dark, and I felt that it was appropriate for this type of story. Fictional harems are often glamorized, but this story changes the meaning back to its original context. Harems were just a way for a king to have as many women as he wanted, and none were there willingly. Many just gave in and acted as if they enjoyed their lives, especially after realizing that there were not many better options as a slave. Others still wanted to try to fight against the established rules. Even after going through all that they had been through, I still think that they didn’t have it as bad as the eunuchs. At least if they did something wrong they were usually just killed and not forced to go through more mutilation torture.

This was one of the best dark fantasy novels that I have read, and I don’t read very many dark fantasy novels. I only wish that the story hadn’t been focused on sex as much and has instead focused on more of the characters as people, but I do understand how it fits the setting of being in a harem 24/7. If it had a bit more development and hadn’t been randomly interrupted with a flashback or a sex dream during certain parts of the story, this would have been an absolutely perfect book for me! But despite those minor imperfections, I did truly enjoy this story.

I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a new dark historical fantasy novel to read.

I received an advance copy of this book and this is my voluntary review.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 books

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About the Author

Zenobia Neil was named after an ancient warrior queen who fought against the Romans. She writes about the mythic past and Greek and Roman gods having too much fun. Zenobia spends her free time imagining interesting people and putting them in terrible situations.

She lives with her husband, two children, and dog in an overpriced hipster neighborhood of Los Angeles. Visit her at ZenobiaNeil.com.

Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, November 12
Review at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, November 13
Feature at Teaser Addicts Book Blog

Wednesday, November 14
Review at Pursuing Stacie

Thursday, November 15
Feature at Maiden of the Pages

Sunday, November 18
Interview at T’s Stuff

Monday, November 19
Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Tuesday, November 20
Review at Bri’s Book Nook

Wednesday, November 21
Feature at What Is That Book About

Friday, November 23
Review at Pass Me That Book

Tuesday, November 27
Interview at Jorie Loves a Story

Thursday, November 29
Review at Jorie Loves a Story

Friday, November 30
Feature at Book Nerd

Monday, December 3
Review at Bookfever

Wednesday, December 5
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Monday, December 10
Review & Guest Post The Book Junkie Reads

Tuesday, December 11
Feature at CelticLady’s Reviews

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour we will be giving away a copy of The Jinni’s Last Wish! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on December 11th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US residents only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

The Jinni’s Last Wish

The Orphan’s Wish

The Orphan's Wish (Hagenheim, #8)Orphaned and alone, Aladdin travels from the streets of his Arab homeland to a strange, faraway place. Growing up in an orphanage, he meets young Lady Kirstyn, whose father who is the powerful Duke of Hagenheim. Despite the difference in their stations, Aladdin quickly becomes Kirstyn’s favorite companion, and their childhood friendship grows into a bond that time and opposition cannot break.

Even as a child, Aladdin works hard, learning all he can from his teachers. Through his integrity, intelligence, and sheer tenacity, he earns a position serving as the duke’s steward. But that isn’t enough to erase the shame of being forced to steal as a small child—or the fact that he’s an orphan with no status. If he ever wants to feel equal to his beautiful and generous friend Kirstyn, he must leave Hagenheim and seek his fortune.

Yet once Aladdin departs, Lady Kirstyn becomes a pawn in a terrible plot. Now, Aladdin and Kirstyn must rely on their bond to save her from unexpected danger. But will saving Kirstyn cost Aladdin his newfound status and everything he’s worked so hard to obtain?

I have never read an Aladdin retelling quite like this. Aladdin was an orphan who was rescued by Kirstyn’s family, and the two are raised together. They go on many adventures as they are children, but then Aladdin wants to make a life for himself rather than staying under Kirstyn’s family. A little while after he leaves, Kirstyn is found in an extremely dangerous situation, and it may be up to Aladdin to save her life.

This was an amazing romance story/fairy tale retelling. I honestly couldn’t remember much about this novel when I did read it a few months after plucking it from NetGalley, so I was in for a sweet, sweet surprise. Everything flowed smoothly and there was just enough suspense to back up the more typical historical fantasy parts of the story. I fell in love with their romance and wanted for them to be able to get their happily ever after.

There were no editing errors in this advanced copy of the book, and the plot moved quite smoothly. The story was not short but I did not feel like it took me ages to finish reading it. I couldn’t put the book down once I started reading it!

My favorite thing about this novel was the character development. We go to see Aladdin and Kirstyn grow from small children to capable adults who happened to fall in love with one another. They connected in a way that people around them just couldn’t understand, but their relationship did go through several stages as they got older. They weren’t born falling in love with each other, it was a process. I was just happy that the author showed a healthy boy/girl friendship before they became an official couple.

I really have nothing to complain about with this story! It was just such an enjoyable read, and I would definitely recommend it to people who like fantasy-romance stories and fairy tale retellings.

I received an advance copy of this book, and this is my voluntary review.

Overall Rating: 6 out of 5 stars

Broken Arrow Revisited Review

Broken Arrow Revisited by [Glenn, E. L.]This novel is a mixture of historical and science fiction. Kirk is a Cultural Anthropologist who travels back in time to one of his most heavily researched tribes, the Apaches, in the 1800s, on the cusp of a war. This well-researched time travel novel was full of life from beginning to end, with three-dimensional characters, and engaging storylines. It is not too technical but manages to immerse me in the world without describing the scientific details of everything. The character development is intense, as Glen manages to control several characters and show their growth as the years passed. The world-building is not so descriptive that it becomes boring, but it does not skimp on description where it counts. The plot was smooth, even with several timeskips. This was overall a very satisfying read, and I couldn’t put it down once I got started.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical fiction or anyone who is looking for a new adventure novel in a fresh, well-written universe.

Overall Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

View my full review on the Online Book Club here!  https://forums.onlinebookclub.org/viewtopic.php?f=63&t=70984

 

 

Death Doesn’t Bargain Book Review (Deadman’s Cross #2)

Death Doesn't BargainDeath Doesnt Bargain is the second historical fantasy title in New York Times bestselling author Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Deadman’s Cross series. Where Deadmen tell their tales, and every soul is damned or redeemed by the final choices they make.

The Deadmen are back…

But so are the demons who have broken free of their eternal prison and are bent on mankind’s destruction. The worst of the lot is Vine, determined to claim their lives for taking hers. She will see the world burn…and has the perfect lure to destroy them all. One of their own.

Kalder Dupree has never known a day of mercy. Born to the cruelest of mer-races, he sacrificed himself for his crew and is in Vine’s hands. He expects no mercy or rescue.

Yet Cameron Jack is determined to set Kalder free. As a Hellchaser, it’s her calling, and she cannot allow even a not-so-innocent to be tortured for an act of kindness that spared her damnation.

To defeat evil, it sometimes takes an even worse evil, and Cameron is willing to do whatever she must to make this right. If Vine thought she had her hands full before, she hasn’t seen anything nearly as powerful as Cameron’s resolve.

This series has to be one of the most addicting series that I have ever read! The only sad part is the fact that since I received this novel early, I will have to wait an even longer time to read the next installment.

This book FINALLY focuses on Cameron, and gives her a new love interest, Kalder! I appreciate the fact that these novels actually focus on one couple at a time, as we learn their backstories and they learn each other. It helps me to connect with the characters even more and learn to appreciate their stories.

Cameron is definitely a worthwhile character, and in this novel, we learn more about her and her brother, and their family life before the seas. She is a strong woman who is determined to set Kalder free and teach him that he deserves kindness.

Kalder has been hardened against the world for many years after a horrible experience with his family. He doesn’t give mercy, nor does he expect any back. He knows that Cameron is not the right woman for him. He doesn’t deserve someone so kind and pure. However, Cameron is determined to change his mind, and slowly he falls for her.

I can’t express how much I LOVED this book. A: There are MERPEOPLE. I love merpeople so much, it’s not even funny. B: Cameron and Kalder were so sweet to each other, I lived for the romance in this novel. C: The action scenes were even more intense in this novel. This novel scared me a few times, it is definitely a dark fantasy novel. If you read the first one and didn’t think it was dark enough, read this one. The scenes with Kalder and his brother nearly made me cry.

The world-building was definitely even better in this novel, and the pacing was perfect. I read this book nearly in two school periods or about 2 hours. I was completely drawn in and addicted to this novel. There were no editing errors even though I had an advanced copy, and as a plus, the cover art was beautiful. I have absolutely no complaints about this novel.

I would recommend this novel to lovers of romance and dark fantasy.

I received an advanced copy of this novel and this is my voluntary review.

Overall Rating: 6/5

Deadmen Walking Review (Deadman’s Cross #1)

Deadmen Walking (Deadman's Cross, #1)Deadmen tell their tales . . .

To catch evil, it takes evil. Enter Devyl Bane―an ancient dark warlord returned to the human realm as one of the most notorious pirates in the New World. A man of many secrets, Bane makes a pact with Thorn―an immortal charged with securing the worst creations the ancient gods ever released into our world. Those powers have been imprisoned for eons behind enchanted gates . . . gates that are beginning to buckle. At Thorn’s behest, Bane takes command of a crew of Deadmen and, together, they are humanity’s last hope to restore the gates and return the damned to their hell realms.

But things are never so simple. And one of Bane’s biggest problems is the ship they sail upon. For the Sea Witch isn’t just a vessel, she’s also a woman born of an ancient people he wronged and who in turn wronged him during a centuries long war between their two races―a woman who is also sister to their primary target. Now Marcelina, the Sea Witch, must choose. Either she remains loyal to her evil sister and almost extinct race against Bane and his cause, and watches humanity fall, or she puts faith in an enemy who has already betrayed her. Her people over the totality of humanity―let’s hope Bane can sway her favor.

Even though the Goodreads synopsis focuses on Bane, I loved hearing about Marcelina’s story. She always hated Bane, but she can never leave him because they are irreversibly bound. Throughout the novel, she learns more of the truth about his backstory, and she learns more about his sister Elf. I also really enjoyed reading about her own backstory. I won’t spoil too much, but it definitely held a lot of secrets and plot twists!

Also, at the start of the novel, it seemed like the main story would be about a girl named Cameron who is masquerading as a boy to find her lost brother, Palen. When the book changed focus to Bane and Mara, I was quite confused at first and thought that it was just a very long flashback. However, this cleared up quickly, and it did not distract me very much from the rest of the story.

The world-building of this novel was incredible. I felt as if I was personally on a boat and fighting off demons, learning about the cursed passengers. I loved the amount of description that the story had about each character and each scene. It truly draws the readers in, and I fell asleep a few nights because I had read this book until my eyes couldn’t stay open any longer. This was definitely one of the most fleshed-out fantasy books that I had ever read, with some of the best world-building and character development.

I had never read a single book by Mrs. Kenyon before, but after this, I definitely plan to do so. This was a multiple POV fantasy novel that actually wasn’t confusing or long-winded, but just generally enjoyable!

I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a new adult fantasy read.

I received a copy of this book and this is my voluntary review.

Overall Rating: 5/5