The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

GoodReads Summary:
In the early 1900s, a young woman embarks on a fantastical journey of self-discovery after finding a mysterious book in this captivating and lyrical debut.
In a sprawling mansion filled with peculiar treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artifacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored, and utterly out of place.
Then she finds a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds, and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure and danger. Each page turn reveals impossible truths about the world and January discovers a story increasingly entwined with her own.
Lush and richly imagined, a tale of impossible journeys, unforgettable love, and the enduring power of stories awaits in Alix E. Harrow’s spellbinding debut–step inside and discover its magic.
The Ten Thousand Doors of JanuaryReview:
The Ten Thousand Doors of January might just end up being my favorite book of 2019. I got about 40% into the ARC for this one (Thanks to NetGalley for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review!) and I just could not put it down. I stayed up entirely too late last night finishing this one.
The main character, January, is sheltered enough to have nice things and travel in style, but not so privileged that she doesn’t know that she is different. She is half black and half white. She thinks of herself as an in-between girl, which is more accurate than she realizes. I really liked January’s character. I sympathized with her when she was struggling and admired her when she was at her fiercest. She really made this story what it was. This book is told in a way that January is telling us a story after it has all happened. I really enjoyed the story being told this way because it felt like we were right alongside her on her adventures. She’s brave without being totally reckless. She’s smart without being annoying about it. She’s loving and loyal, while sometimes having doubts.
There was a handful of supporting characters. I really just loved them all. Samuel was sweet and determined to be a part of January’s life. I loved his perseverance and dedication to her. Then there’s Jane, who I adored also. Her story was a tough one and I just loved the way things were wrapped up for her. I loved that she’s kickass and tough, even though everyone seems to doubt her. Mr. Locke was someone I was unsure about for most of the book. I wanted to love him because he took January in and cared for her like she was his own daughter. But something just didn’t sit right with me about him. His backstory was fascinating. Finally, her father, Julian. I really wanted to love him despite his constantly leaving January for work. I’m a sucker for a good father/daughter relationship. Though this one wasn’t the best, the end result was so wholesome and heartwarming.
Overall, I adored everything about this book. I loved that we got two different stories within one. We get the backstory that January learned as we did. I thought this was a really interesting way to tell the story. The Ten Thousand Doors of January was everything I wanted and more. It was detailed, full of strong characters and adventure, and I just could not get enough. I will be raving about this book for the foreseeable future. Go get it, read it, and love it, so we can rave about it together.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Lady Rogue by Jenn Bennett

GoodReads Summary:
Some legends never die…
Traveling with her treasure-hunting father has always been a dream for Theodora. She’s read every book in his library, has an impressive knowledge of the world’s most sought-after relics, and has all the ambition in the world. What she doesn’t have is her father’s permission. That honor goes to her father’s nineteen-year-old protégé—and once-upon-a-time love of Theodora’s life—Huck Gallagher, while Theodora is left to sit alone in her hotel in Istanbul.
Until Huck arrives from an expedition without her father and enlists Theodora’s help in rescuing him. Armed with her father’s travel journal, the reluctant duo learns that her father had been digging up information on a legendary and magical ring that once belonged to Vlad the Impaler—more widely known as Dracula—and that it just might be the key to finding him.
Journeying into Romania, Theodora and Huck embark on a captivating adventure through Gothic villages and dark castles in the misty Carpathian Mountains to recover the notorious ring. But they aren’t the only ones who are searching for it. A secretive and dangerous occult society with a powerful link to Vlad the Impaler himself is hunting for it, too. And they will go to any lengths—including murder—to possess it.
The Lady RogueReview:
The Lady Rogue was a fun and spooky read. I enjoyed all the different elements that made this story what it was. There’s magic and murder and mystery and I had fun with it. I really liked the characters and the romance.
Our main character, Theo, was fiery and fierce. She loved without abandon, even when she was feeling betrayed. I liked her obsession with crossword puzzles and her ability to translate ciphers. She’s clever and stubborn. She’s also wary of getting hurt, and it was interesting to watch her work through that.
Then there’s, Huck. I somehow loved him and hated him at the same time. I think that was because of Theo’s feelings. I liked that they had a history that took place before the events of this book. Huck’s just a little misunderstood and I’m a sucker for a boy with issues. I liked that Huck was such a contrast to Theo. Wildly skeptical to Theo’s desire to believe in the supernatural. I loved his fierce desire to protect Theo.
Overall, I enjoyed this book. The characters were likable. The story was compelling and interesting. The only thing that was off to me was some of the characters dialogue. This is supposed to be a historical fantasy novel, but the characters use quite a bit of modern slang. This was alright, but it took me out of the story a little. Despite that, I still enjoyed the story. It was fun and fast-paced and I’d definitely recommend it to anyone that likes fantasy.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Devil’s Thief by Lisa Maxwell

Summary:
Esta’s parents were murdered. Her life was stolen. And everything she knew about magic was a lie. She thought the Book of Mysteries held the key to freeing the Mageus from the Order’s grasp, but the danger within its pages was greater than she ever imagined.
Now the Book’s furious power lives inside Harte. If he can’t control it, it will rip apart the world to get its revenge, and it will use Esta to do it.
To bind the power, Esta and Harte must track down four elemental stones scattered across the continent. But the world outside the city is like nothing they expected. There are Mageus beyond the Brink not willing to live in the shadows—and the Order isn’t alone in its mission to crush them.
In St. Louis, the extravagant World’s Fair hides the first stone, but an old enemy is out for revenge and a new enemy is emerging. And back in New York, Viola and Jianyu must defeat a traitor in a city on the verge of chaos.
As past and future collide, time is running out to rewrite history—even for a time-traveling thief.
The Devil's Thief (The Last Magician, #2)Review:
After reading the first book in this series, The Last Magician, I knew I had found a new favorite. Despite this, it still took me three months to get to The Devil’s Thief and I have no idea why.
I was so happy to be back in this world. It was exciting and magical and I loved every minute of it. I really enjoyed all the different perspectives this story is told it. It jumps around between characters and time periods. I thought this was such an interesting way to tell the story. I was just sad to see the gang broken up.
Esta was still a firecracker. I wish we’d gotten to see her travel in time more and use her ability more but she couldn’t under the circumstances and it was understandable. Harte was infuriating literally the entire book and that’s all I’m going to say about him. Viola was sassy and fierce and mischievous and I cannot wait to see how her story plays out in the end. I loved Cela and Jianyu and mayyyybe I hope we get to see some romance with them.
These characters were the heart of the story and I just adored them all. They’re a diverse cast in the sense of ethnicity and sexuality. I love them all so much and I’m so mad at Lisa Maxwell with the way she ended book two.
I also really enjoyed the timeline. Most of this story takes place during the World’s Fair and Maxwell doesn’t hesitate to have Esta point out all the bad shit that took place there. Though the people of that time period may not think about it, Esta looks around and acknowledges the things that should have been done differently.
Overall, this sequel was a little slow. I still enjoyed it very much. But I was expecting some sort of step toward the resolution of their end goals. Instead they seem to just get themselves into more and more shit. The end up worse off than they were when the story started. I’m really interested to see how Maxwell is going to wrap up all the loose ends in the next book. I’m not sure how many books are supposed to be in the series but I’m already anxiously anticipating the next installment.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Ship Beyond Time by Heidi Heilig

Summary:
After what seems like a lifetime of following her father across the globe and through the centuries, Nix has finally taken the helm of their time-traveling ship. Her future—and the horizon—is bright.
Until she learns she is destined to lose the one she loves. To end up like her father: alone, heartbroken.
Unable to face losing Kashmir—best friend, thief, charmer extraordinaire—Nix sails her crew to a mythical utopia to meet a man who promises he can teach her how to manipulate time, to change history. But no place is perfect, not even paradise. And everything is constantly changing on this utopian island, including reality itself.
If Nix can read the ever-shifting tides, perhaps she will finally harness her abilities. Perhaps she can control her destiny, too.
Or perhaps her time will finally run out.
The Ship Beyond Time (The Girl From Everywhere, #2)Review:
I read the first book in this series (reviewed here) because I was going to an event where this author was going to be. I am very glad I did read that book because I met the author and she was completely wonderful. She was funny and I just adored meeting her. So, after that event I thought I should probably get this book and read it (as well as all her other books but those will be for their own reviews.)
I adored this book just as much as the first. There were times where I thought to myself that Heidi was really going to do this or that to me and then she turned everything around again much to my pleasure. I love the concept behind the magic in this series. Being ‘Navigators’ they can travel through time, but only if they really believe in the place that they are going to, as well as having a map of that time and place. I just find time travel in general so compelling, but this method was so unique and interesting to me. I also really enjoyed how the author incorporated a combination or history and mythology. So, the characters visit real places in history as well as places that cannot be proven to have existed. I just loved it.
Next are the characters. I think there’s a really interesting father/daughter dynamic here that I appreciate, specifically because I was raised by my father in a single parent home. I really felt like her father wasn’t as present as he was in the first book and I think I would have liked just a little bit more insight into his struggles of fighting his addictions for his daughter. Nix was still my favorite. She’s fierce, strong, clever, and unapologetic about who she is. She stands up for what she wants and what she thinks is right. She’s insanely curious and always trying to learn and I really loved that about her. I also adored her love interest. Kashmir was exactly what I wanted him to be. I’m happy we got chapters from his perspective. I felt like it gave a bit more insight into his character. We learned more about his fears and insecurities and I liked that.
The rest of the supporting characters were as enjoyable as they were in the first book, but we didn’t really get any further insight into the familiar characters which I would have liked. Instead, we met new characters and learned all about their struggles and goals.
Overall, this was a great sequel. I enjoyed all of the different aspects of the story and plot. I loved all the dynamics between the characters. Time traveling pirates is all you have to say to me and I’m sold.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang

Summary:
When Rin aced the Keju, the Empire-wide test to find the most talented youth to learn at the Academies, it was a shock to everyone: to the test officials, who couldn’t believe a war orphan from Rooster Province could pass without cheating; to Rin’s guardians, who believed they’d finally be able to marry her off and further their criminal enterprise; and to Rin herself, who realized she was finally free of the servitude and despair that had made up her daily existence. That she got into Sinegard, the most elite military school in Nikan, was even more surprising.
But surprises aren’t always good.
Because being a dark-skinned peasant girl from the south is not an easy thing at Sinegard. Targeted from the outset by rival classmates for her color, poverty, and gender, Rin discovers she possesses a lethal, unearthly power—an aptitude for the nearly-mythical art of shamanism. Exploring the depths of her gift with the help of a seemingly insane teacher and psychoactive substances, Rin learns that gods long thought dead are very much alive—and that mastering control over those powers could mean more than just surviving school.
For while the Nikara Empire is at peace, the Federation of Mugen still lurks across a narrow sea. The militarily advanced Federation occupied Nikan for decades after the First Poppy War, and only barely lost the continent in the Second. And while most of the people are complacent to go about their lives, a few are aware that a Third Poppy War is just a spark away . . .
Rin’s shamanic powers may be the only way to save her people. But as she finds out more about the god that has chosen her, the vengeful Phoenix, she fears that winning the war may cost her humanity . . . and that it may already be too late.
The Poppy War (The Poppy War, #1)Review:
Another book down for the BookTube SFF Awards reading! I’ve been slowly trying to get to all the books nominated for these awards. The Poppy War is one I’ve heard nothing but good things about. So, I was surprised to find that I didn’t like it as much as I anticipated I was going to.
This is an adult historical fantasy that had quite a lot going on. I thought I was going to get a story of our main character going away to school and learning about how to lead an army or something else political in her country. But instead I got that, plus some war.
I loved the main character. Rin was sassy and sarcastic and didn’t take anyone bullshit. Just because she was a war orphan didn’t mean that she didn’t earn her place in the school she’s come to. And she doesn’t let anyone push her around. I loved it. She made me laugh quite a few times.
But the further into the book we got, the less I liked the story. As the country starts going to war is when I started enjoying it less. There were a few parts I had to skip pages because it was too gruesome and graphic. I didn’t love that. I know it’s adult fantasy, but I’ve read my fair share that didn’t have scenes like The Poppy War.
Aside from this, I thought the story was interesting and cool, but things happened so quickly. I would have liked for the story to slow down just a bit and get more into the details that happened in the beginning. I thought the mythology and the world were really intricate and interesting and thought I didn’t love The Poppy War I’m still planning to read the sequel.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell

Summary:
In modern-day New York, magic is all but extinct. The remaining few who have an affinity for magic—the Mageus—live in the shadows, hiding who they are. Any Mageus who enters Manhattan becomes trapped by the Brink, a dark energy barrier that confines them to the island. Crossing it means losing their power—and often their lives.
Esta is a talented thief, and she’s been raised to steal magical artifacts from the sinister Order that created the Brink. With her innate ability to manipulate time, Esta can pilfer from the past, collecting these artifacts before the Order even realizes she’s there. And all of Esta’s training has been for one final job: traveling back to 1902 to steal an ancient book containing the secrets of the Order—and the Brink—before the Magician can destroy it and doom the Mageus to a hopeless future.
But Old New York is a dangerous world ruled by ruthless gangs and secret societies, a world where the very air crackles with magic. Nothing is as it seems, including the Magician himself. And for Esta to save her future, she may have to betray everyone in the past.
The Last Magician (The Last Magician, #1)Review:
I officially have a new favorite book. I won’t say favorite series until I read The Devil’s Thief, BUT, I completely adored The Last Magician. I’m sad that it’s been sitting unread on my shelf for so damn long.
I loved literally everything about this book. I cannot think of a single thing that I didn’t like. The magic system was intricate and interesting. I’m still not sure I totally get it but I’m excited to learn more about it in the second book. The writing was great. Not too simple but not filled with words I didn’t know attempting to sound smarter than necessary. The story was well paced. Nothing felt like it was dragging on or rushed to be wrapped up. The characters were well crafted and just incredible. I cared about them. They had me invested in their stories and I genuinely cared about what happened to them. There were parts that had me holding my breath in anticipation of what was going to happen. Other parts had me smiling to myself, or even swooning here and there. Things felt realistic with a modern girl going into the past where the culture was different. The difference in the times was mentioned and acknowledged.
I feel like I could go on and on and on. But I’m not going to do that. I’m going to tell you that if you like fantasy​ if you like historical fiction, or slow burn romance, or time travel or magic, or all of the above then you need to read this book. That is all. I need to go find out what happens in book two.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.